Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a fantastic book; I am so excited for the movie to come to the big screen! (the book has me talking in their terms now) It's a historical novel about a young college student Jacob Jankowski.  (later to be played by Robert Pattinson- yum!) He's 23 and preparing for his finals as a Cornell University vet student.  Because of events (I won't spoil it for you) he runs away and joins a traveling circus. There's drama, action,'s great.  Read it.  Reese Witherspoon will play the leading lady; however, as I was reading I imagined Rachel McAdams playing her part. So, we shall see how that turns out.  There is some language and vulgarity, but just enough to make it interesting!  I can't wait for a circus to come to town!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trash to Treasure

I have been looking for a new dresser for my bedroom. I have looked around and even thought about purchasing a new bedroom suite, but at this point that’s not really what I need to do. Also, looked around at places like Big Lots and such, but it’s always hit or miss! My mom and Granddad found these two pieces at Ruth’s Flea Market somewhere in Welch, AL, and they are just what I need! They were victims of a house fire. They made it out with a few bruises, but after a little elbow grease they are beautiful! We got the two pieces for $120.00. They are Ethan Allen, and just missing one drawer. They had a lot of smoke damage, but most of it cleaned right off. You can barely tell they were ever in a fire! So proud of this find!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This has been an extremely busy week! It’s been a good week; one filled with new and exciting things and the excitement of packing for vacation! Tuesday night, I became a student again! That was interesting…I enjoyed signing up for a class because I wanted to and not because I had to! I started a floral arranging class at Auburn University. Now, I am officially an Auburn Tiger! This class will meet on Tuesday nights for 5 sessions, and we will learn the fundamentals of how to arrange floral arrangements out of stuff in your yard and for more professional reasons. I’m mostly looking forward to learning more about different varieties and types of plants and flowers and especially names. This week she showed us how to take what we have in our yard and mix it with different things to make a nice arrangement. Pictures will follow once we start actually making stuff. I have to miss next week, but my teacher said I could come early the following week and she’d show me what I missed! I think I will learn lifelong lessons from this class, and I’m really excited about it! It was strange to have that feeling in the pit of my stomach Tuesday night…you know, the one you always got on the first day of school! I enjoyed it!

Wednesday night was exciting as well. My dad joined me for pedicures! I had given him a gift certificate for Father’s Day, and we decided to use them right before our beach trip. He enjoyed it so much. I knew he would! I got him the works, so he got all the special treatment.  Everyone in there was extremely impressed that I have such a great daddy. And I must say I do! He’s the best! After pedicures, my parents came to my house to help me rearrange furniture. My dad helped me make a headboard out of fabric, so I was very anxious and ready to get that hung! We did a total switch on the beds. It seems like a simple concept just swapping the beds, but it was a little tougher than I thought! It was fun though, and I can’t wait to get everything made up! I really like how my house is coming together!! Later, I’ll post pics of the bedrooms and the headboard.

Just an update on my week, next week I’ll be in Hilton Head with my family! So far, we have planned a kayak excursion and a shark fishing trip! I’m so excited!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Sew Time!

This is my latest craft; I’m trying to learn how to use the sewing machine. So yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby, (I will never go on a Monday again…just passing that tidbit along) and I picked out some fabric. Last night, my mom helped me figure out the shape, and she showed me how to pin everything, cut it out, and get prepared to sew! For my first piece, I’m pretty impressed! It’s not perfect. I need to figure out a better way to actually hold it on Pixie, but that’ll come. I really need my grandmama here to show me. But, it is what it is, and I’m sure she’s watching down guiding my mom’s and my hands!

Friday, July 9, 2010

We interrupt your program…

I work a good 30 minutes from home, but with that there are some perks. The city my office is in is in the city I grew up in, the city where my family still lives. So, the perks: I get to take my dog to my parent’s in the morning (just as if I’m taking my child to day care) that way I can let her out and play with her at lunch, and I also get to eat lunch at home with my dad and sometimes I even stay for dinner, too! It really works out for me. I don’t ever have to buy any groceries, so maybe it balances out on the gas I have to buy. My mom is a school teacher which means she’s at home in the summer. This has another perk, because this usually means that she has a lunch made for us by the time we get there. Well, one lunch last week my granddad joined us, and we were enjoying our, I don’t remember , chicken salad maybe, any who, we were enjoying lunch talking about the garden, life, etc., and my mom breaks in with this oh so urgent news. I mean I would have thought she was announcing the next big thing. After this whole conversation we had, I’m going to break it down in highlights for you. If you ever have an armadillo problem, just put out bubble gum. There, that’s what the exciting news was. We have a farm house, and apparently some armadillos have been digging huge holes around it, so I guess to them this was good news, but it just sort of made me giggle. I have no idea how it works, but they went to check and no more armadillo holes. She said just to spread around a few pieces of cheap style bubble gum (the kind in big tubs are Sam’s). I hope I have been able to help someone by sharing this important piece of information. And remember, armadillos are one of God's creatures, too. So please try the gum method before the gun method...Happy chewing!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's still Edible!

I try not to be a wasteful person. I have to say, I’ve gotten a lot better since my college days…*cough*cough* since I’ve started paying my way. I’ve even gotten some of those reusable shopping bags- if only I could remember to actually take them into the store with me… Last week on my shopping trip I decided to buy some strawberries. They were buy one get one free, so I had to get them! They were a deal, and I can justify that! I had about a third of them left getting ready to rot in my frig. So, I decided to figure out something to do with them. I found a recipe for a strawberry sauce, and I thought I’d give it a try. Now, the recipe called for all the strawberries that they put in those little plastic containers. Remember, I only have a third, so I figured I could play with the ingredient amounts and come out with a nice strawberry sauce to hopefully put on a cheesecake I said I was going to make. To say the very least, I am not a mathematician, I did well in school, but once I got to college I did whatever I could to take the bare minimum…I’m talking pre-cal here people! Apparently, my measurements were off- the sauce has a very strong vanilla flavor. I haven’t tasted it today after it cooled, but tasting it yesterday I think it should be ok, not perfect, but still edible. That’s what I love about cooking. I’m not getting graded on it; if it comes out terrible- so what?! It’s either still edible or it needs to go in the trash. There are no set rules (except for baking). You can play, mess with, and mess up. It’s ok and encouraged to try different things and change recipes. I can take a perfectly perfect recipe and make it my own! Sometimes it comes out just plain wrong, but sometimes you end up with a perfect accident! God bless!

What are some of your perfect mistakes? Let me know!

Still Edible Strawberry Sauce
-My ingredients: Strawberries, Vanilla, Sugar, Water
-With this amount of strawberries: I used 1/4 cup of sugar (should have used about half of that); 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (should have used about a 1/4), and about a Tablespoon of water.
-Next, mix all ingredients in a pot and let boil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
-I mashed up my strawberries while I stirred. You can blend this, but I left mine chunky.

strawberries cut in half

my ingredients

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Goodies

I hope everyone had a great and safe 4th of July weekend! I also hope everyone remembered this weekend wasn’t only about lake, food, fireworks, etc. Brief history lesson: In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress thus setting the 13 colonies on their way to freedom. Basically, this is America’s birthday! Happy Birthday, America!

Last Thursday night we had a few friends join us to watch the fireworks show from Stephen's house. Luckily, we could see them perfectly from his front yard. So instead of piling out to the high school with everyone else in the town we decided to invite others to his house. I wanted to share this quick dip recipe that I used to put out for friends. It's as easy as it is quick and cheap! I got this from a dear friend's mother back in high school and have loved it every since.

No name dip
1 block cream cheese
1/2 jar of salsa dip

Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. With hand mixer, mix the two together. Top with shredded cheese and refrigerate overnight for best results. Serve with tortilla chips.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to the lake with Stephen and his family. Of course, I didn’t want to show up empty handed, so I’m going to share the simple recipes (and tips) I took along with me.

The first recipe I decided to make was Rice Krispies Treats because everyone loves a Rice Krispies Treat! From past experience they can be a little difficult on the stove top. I can remember making them with my cousin years ago and having marshmallow fluff attached me to as if it were spider webs from all corners of my body! This time I used the microwave and my mama’s stirring arm and they were super simple! We used the recipe on the box and added just a few little touches.

Rice Krispies Treats
3 Tablespoons butter
1 package regular marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies

Variations on ingredients: I used about 4 Tablespoons of margarine, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

To melt your marshmallows in the microwave I took a large bowl (TIP: spray with cooking spray first!) and put the margarine, salt, and vanilla in the bottom followed by the marshmallows. I cooked it for 1 minute, 45 seconds, stirred then put back in for another 30 seconds.

Pour in Rice Krispies in two batches and stir. (TIP: spray your spoon with cooking spray as well!)

Next, I took a 9X13 baking dish and lined it with wax paper and then sprayed with cooking spray. Fill the baking dish with your treats and take another piece of wax paper (sprayed) and spread out the treats evenly. This is basically just pressing down and molding your treats into the shape of your baking dish. Allow to set. I allowed mine to set overnight then cut into small squares and placed little American flag toothpicks in them! Great treat! The biggest tip I can share is cooking spray is your friend!

The second treat my mom and I made was the stuff I discovered to be called Cornflake Candy. I never knew this stuff had a name but always loved it! It is another very simple yet satisfying recipe.
Cornflake Candy
3-4 cups Kellogg's Cornflakes
1 cup Sugar (white granulated)
1 cup Light Karo Syrup
1 cup Peanut Butter, I used creamy Jif

First heat your pan to medium, add sugar and syrup; stir for 2-3 minutes. Next, add your peanut butter and stir until it’s well incorporated.

After this has come together, mix in Cornflakes. I continuously added a handful at a time and found that I used about 3 ½ cups of Cornflakes.

Lastly, spoon out about a tablespoon size onto aluminum foil. Let cool.

I placed these on a red plastic platter and snipped a few zinnias from my mom’s garden, and I was off! Everyone enjoyed these treats, and they didn't break the bank or take up an entire afternoon. It goes to show that you don't have to be a gourmet chef or spend lots of time and money. Sometimes it is the littlest of gestures that make the biggest impact!

Happy July, and God bless you and America!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Today I’m going to share my feelings on rescued pets. I can NOT stand to hear the words, “I don’t want a rescue” or “I don’t want a pound dog” or even worse “Something must be wrong with it, if it’s in the pound”. Those kinds of comments make me want to slap the silly out of people! I admit there was one time I thought I needed the perfect little overly priced pup to fit into society, and well, we see how that turned out. She was the cutest little thing, who bit me all the time (still have a scar on my lip…thanks, Milly), smart, but a little bit of a brat. Rest her sweet soul, and I cry every time I think of her, but she was a bit of a brat. When I got Pixie, she was pitiful. She absolutely needed me, and I can honestly say that if I had not have rescued her she probably would be dead right now. She has the sweetest soul. If people would realize what all is out there to adopt. Pixie is from a puppy mill which means she was raised to be one of the expensive little “designer breeds” (Malti-poo, thanks to Jessica Simpson for making those popular) to be sold in pet stores for ridiculous amounts of money, and she is not a rare find in a humane society. If people would only look, there are thousands of “designer breeds” and even pure breeds to be rescued. Not to mention, they come with all their shots and even spayed or neutered, and Pixie came with a microchip. Pixie was about six months old, so I believe that she was being kept to be a mommy dog to put it nicely. I am so thankful that she was rescued before she ever endured any of that misery. It breaks my heart to think about this time last summer she was stuck in a tiny over filled cage in the heat of summer probably in some hot barn somewhere. This is her first summer to fully experience. She loves running and rolling around in the grass, chasing birds and squirrels, and eating flowers. It warms my heart to see her expressions and truly see it in her face how grateful she is for everything she has. After I got her and still to this day, it is precious to see how proud she is of her dog bed, toys, and treats. I cannot explain to you the love a rescue pet will give. Animals that need rescuing are just like homeless children who need adopting. It has nothing to do with them, it was just the situation they were dealt.
Words of the Pedigree commercial:
Shelter dogs aren’t broken; they’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we’d call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write. The one dealt a bad hand and responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter dog- adopt one.

It’s cool to adopt!! Check out who else loves a rescue dog!

Twilight stars: