Monday, July 6, 2015

Wow! We sure packed a lot into our 4th of July weekend!

[And I hope you had a great time celebrating too!]
 These last few years we’ve mostly hung out at home – not planning anything special and waiting until the last minute to go get ice cream and find some fireworks – 
 [Last year we ended up seeing Madison’s / Space Center’s / Huntsville’s shows all within minutes of each other.  And all without getting into the crowds and traffic – lol.]
But this year Craig pulled together a special family time for his mother… for years his parents went to Gatlinburg to attend the midnight parade – billed as the FIRST fourth of July parade in the nation since it starts at 12:01 on July 4th
So he got to work and we managed to have 13 family members meet for the weekend. 
[And we surely missed those who couldn’t join us!!] 
We gathered together at the Greystone Lodge in the heart of the city and all met for a late dinner Thursday evening… Love the balconies on this hotel that overlook a creek – 
When the door is open all you hear is the babbling creek – 
even though the highway is just steps away.

And on Friday morning we got our chairs out early – per tradition – 
and then stopped by a handy candy shop and picked up a caramel apple for breakfast 
[I mean… why not?
There was a bear outside inviting me in...] 
Then some of us shopped out in Pigeon Forge while others hiked up [and down!] 
Mt. Le Conte. 
In one day. 
Yes. 
[I know I couldn’t do it…]
 
 That evening we shopped some more in Gatlinburg – and even though there’s been some changes in the shops in recent years – there’s still enough of the staples [taffy – wind chimes – candy corn – walking sticks – fudge – pancakes – stuffed bears – wood carvings – quilts – t shirts – etc.] to feel like it’s always been the same. 
It was soon time to get ready for the parade... 
Since we'd eaten a big meal for lunch [Johnny Carrino's] we grabbed a quick sandwich at Subway
 and we gathered up around 10:30;
 and yes, our chairs were SOAKED,
 But they were still there - 
It really is kind of neat how no one bothers the chairs 
that people put out as early as 6:30 a.m 
[Yes. 
We did it too.]
  We had garbage bags to put down to sit on --- 
 and umbrellas [- thanks sweetheart!]
We weren’t going to let a little rain stop us from enjoying the evening!
 And it really was a nice parade with lighted floats – tributes to all of the military –
 bands – and of course the shriners in their little cars…  
And honestly - I've never seen so many Uncles Sams in one place...
After the parade we headed straight to bed because Craig had made reservations for him and our boys to do some fly fishing early the next morning…
  And even though the water was HIGH because of all the rain – 
I still think they had a great time together.
 
 I went along to play with my camera a bit – and was kinda, sorta, hoping we might see a bear… but all I was saw was tracks and poop [I know - TMI.] 
 
I love that we can be SO CLOSE to civilization and yet it feels so far away 
once you get into the trails outside of the city….
And yes. They all caught a few – tiny ones – but with the water like it was that was just about as good as it was going to get.
 
[Photo Cred: Kat Gorney]
That evening we all gathered together at The Peddler where 
Gr-Mother treated us to a special meal. 
It’s always outstanding. 
[We ate there on our honeymoon over 30 years ago – cool.]
 
We enjoyed taking a few [?] family photos 
 Then we headed back to the hotel so we could be ready to hear 
the army concert at the aquarium [just across the street -]
 We put our chairs out by our cars and gathered up at nine to visit while listening to music prior to the Fireworks Show.
  And it didn’t disappoint. 
We were so close it almost seemed they were shooting them off the back of our hotel – lol. 
[GREAT job on the hotel sweetie!]
And then of course, the next day we ended our time together with breakfast at the Pancake Cabin [Log Cabin Pancakes - ?]
 Because you just can’t go to Gatlinburg without eating pancakes at least once. We like this place because it’s off the main drag and has its own parking lot.
With our family spread out -- so much – four states -  in seven cities I think it was very nice to have some extended time together. Gatlinburg was a wonderful destination for a family trip – it has enough to do [inside and outside of town] so that every person can find something they enjoy and plenty of restaurants to gather together for family meals.
 And while I enjoyed meals together so much it’s not always easy to visit with everyone [even if we’re all at the same table] without shouting down the row… so the times when we were waiting were some of the best for me – waiting for a table at Jose’s  – waiting for the parade – and especially when we were just visiting while waiting on the fireworks. 
I enjoyed those times of just ‘being’ together the most of all –
  It was a great weekend – I’m exhausted – 
and I ate WAAAAAAYYYY too much --- 
so I’ve got to get back on track this week. 
Happy July everyone!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth!


Just playing around with picmonkey a bit -
free, on-line!

Friday, July 3, 2015

surrender

All One Little Word images are from pinterest -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Okay. So today I wanted to share another Little Big Meal from Fresh Market

Can you tell I'm loving these?
- I think it is a REALLY good deal!
But first I have to show you some little treats I made for the holiday! 
I'll tell you more in a minute!
This week's LBM is hamburgers -- > 
It's an easy way to try some of the different burgers that Fresh Market has to offer. 
I picked up a couple of turkey burgers with green peppers, etc. and a couple of beef with bacon and cheddar... Also, for $20 we got some giant kaiser buns, chips, slaw, corn to grill, cheddar cheese slices, 
and a dozen cookies. 
A pretty sweet savings of $17. 
Yay.
 We did the burgers on the stove top [still loving my Bobby Flay grill pan] and added fresh tomatoes and onion from the Farmer's Market. It was a fairly quick and easy meal.  
And, DELISH.
 [With a heat index of 105* we / I decided to not grill outside ---]
 This week I also made a couple of family favorites for our Fourth of July gatherings... 
First I made some Krispie Rice Treats --
 I remember that my sister used to make these for Christmas each year and used food coloring to jazz them up a bit for The Holiday so I thought I'd give it a go for the Fourth of July 
[and who am I kidding? --- I saw it on pinterest as well - lol.] 
 Just melt 3 tablespoons of butter with a bag of marshmallows and stir in six cups of toasted rice cereal [ha.]
Note: I made two batches all at once to have enough for the three layers of color...
 I took a third of the mixture out into a bowl and Craig added red food coloring while I mixed it with my hands [with my little disposable gloves on - you know -- the ones I use when I take cooked chicken off the bone...]
 Then pressed it into a 9x13 pan. I added a layer of mixture with no food coloring, then used blue on the remaining mixture in the pan it was cooked in and pressed it on top of the red and white layers.
Here's a tip: for the 2nd and 3rd layers form little patties in the palm of your hand and press it down before adding it to the layers... they will all mold together nicely after it's all put together.
Let it cool a bit before cutting into little bars.
Another tip: dip your knife in water between each cut for easier slicing.
I packaged them two to a ziplock sandwich bag...
[Y'all remember that I made them a few weeks ago -- > they're one of my favorites too! Ha.] 
AND they're easy to make without heating up the oven [and kitchen!] on these 100* days!
A win-win.
Click on the link above to get the recipe.
Be mindful that they might not 'set-up' as well if you make them on a rainy day...
We had the leftover burgers for dinner tonight and Craig cooked the corn / cob in te microwave - 
I'm not of fan --
But Emma is always ready to eat my piece for me!
[And - NO --- she does not get to eat an entire piece of corn.]
Happy Fourth of July Y'all!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Let’s see… it's been a pretty regular week …


Had a training event here in town and then I worked in another county this week – 
 and have to say that I miss having a window in my office --- 
especially with storm clouds rolling in. 
LOVE IT.
Also got a gel / shellac manicure [depends on where I go what they call it…] and I love it. 
This should last me a good three weeks or so… and while I don’t like to have it on my nails ALL the time – I do try and put it on now and then…
[photo cred: random guy in the lobby]
I attended the Scrap It Southern Style Event in Birmingham this past weekend and it was 
BUSY. 
Lots and lots of games and activities [AND PRIZES!!] 
Still, I was able to accomplish most of what I had planned. 
And it was great to visit and catch-up with some scrapping buddies!
[Photo Cred: Cindy Scrapper]
I finished up the sorting of the youngest’s albums [had a STACK of pages that needed to be divided between high school – college --and all about Matt.] 
Now I need to make some decent looking labels for them!
[Photo Cred: Kim - Keller's Creations]
The class I took was great and the ‘chopped’ game was SO FUN – 
and I was happy to be a finalist! 
[I came in 2nd & won a ThirtyOne bag full of goodies!] 
I’ll share more of the pages / layouts I completed in a couple of weeks –
On another note – I always love seeing this iconic 'landmark' 
going south on 65 early in the a.m.
I've been known to pull off the road for a a photo - 
But this time I just held my phone out and snapped away -- 
lucky to get one I could crop down and shop up a bit!
I’ve also seen the white squirrel at least two other times this week – still adorable…
and I always think it's funny how I go in for a haircut and ask for about a half inch off and it always comes out at least a full inch or inch and a half shorter - lol...
Kind of like bargaining...
[I ALWAYS start with MUCH less - and am usually happy with the results...]
And now it’s back to the work week – glad this is a short one for us!
Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Well, we’ve recently discovered the Fresh Market Thursday Little Big Meals

... something I’m sure many of you are well aware of… and since my sweetheart got a new grill recently we’ve been cooking outside a bit 
[even in this crazy heat wave!]
   
First we gave the sausage meal a go –
For $20 we got 4 sausages, a pre-cut veggie pack, hoagie buns, and seltzer water [raspberry!] Plus – some good ole raisins and peanuts!
We bought two meals and actually had the butcher package up a variety of sausages [chicken and apple sausage, anyone? Oh my!] We also had andouille – hot [!!], and mild…
Yum.
I tossed the veggies with just a bit of olive oil and Craig tossed them on the grill with the sausages. [LOVING this little grill that has plates that prevent flare-ups 
AND keeps the veggies from falling through!] 
 [LOVE my sweetheart... And , well, yes -- > that is a chamber pot setting outside my back door --- used for compost, I assure you!]
Meanwhile, I put some [jasmine] rice in the rice cooker with a chicken bouillon cube… and about twenty minutes later we were ready to sit down and eat… [He grilled some yellow squash from the Farmer’s Market too.]
The seltzer water has a delicious flavor that sweet daughter-in-law said reminded her of some she had while in Europe… But just a little note: 
DO NOT put sweetener in it! 
It’d be fun to have a photo – but suffice it to say that I was covered in seltzer water about five seconds after I put the truvia in the bottle – lol. 
Lesson learned. 
 
I almost forgot! Before we started on the meal I peeled and chopped a few Chilton County peaches [from Peach Park!] and put this quick little cobbler in the oven… 
seriously easy 
– and one I’ve eaten my entire life ---
Melt a stick of butter [I actually only used ¾ stick in this one] 
in a casserole dish [350* oven.]
 In a mixing bowl whisk together: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour [I use self-rising] and 1 cup milk [I use 2% - but I’m sure it’d be even better with whole – lol] 
Once butter is melted, pour in batter [it will seem thin] and toss fruit on top. 
DO NOT STIR
Bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes. 
 Oops! I forgot to take a photo of the finished product – but it looked much like this blueberry one my sweetheart made last week – just feel free to use a cup or so of any fresh fruit you have on hand.
I always love blueberry cobbler – but have to say that 
this peach one was DELICIOUS.
 I'll share the next Thursday Little Big Meal soon! 
They are a DEAL - seriously!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I was a little slow

 getting out the summer / patriotic decor...
But I wanted to share with you 
what I did this year - 
 I used the banner on our mirror in the entry
and tucked a few sunflowers in a milk glass vase...
I put my giant jar of flags on the side board
and added the sparkly wreath to the empty frames...
And in the hallway, next to our stairs I hung the big star
I picked up at Hobby Lobby a few years ago when it was 80% off...
 
The frames hold vintage Fourth of July photos.
[One is actually my dad and one of his brothers sitting in front of a big flag
when he was 6 or 7 years old.]
It's mostly things recycled from previous years.. 
but somehow it ends up in different places each time I bring it out ---
And of course, you remember the little wreath 
I made for our porch this year --
We've got BIG plans for the Fourth this year and we're looking forward to a fun time --
Hope you have a great time planning a celebration too!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Well.... hell-o Summer!

It's hot as heck out there!
 I'm not complaining --- yet.
But I am thankful that I don't have a job 
that requires me to be out in it all day long...
 
Sooooo - I traveled a bit this week -
Back to The Capital City...
 
And was bitten by a spider in my hotel room
[a first for me.] 
- I'd just bragged about how this particular location had been refurbished 
and looked pretty nice....I hadn't stayed in this spot for several years, but it was near our training site, so I gave it go...
But won't be back - lol.
[We stay in a particular chain of hotels and they really are pretty nice for mid-priced hotels... I've rarely had a problem and feel safe there - even when traveling alone...
PLUS we get mega points that we use for vacay days...]
While there, I did a little test run on some 4th of July fun...
- Hotel Room Art -
In other news - 
we're loving our little patio area and view into the yard...
 I'm still doing the #expressyourselfy challenge...
[It ends on the 30th -]
And I FINALLY saw the elusive white squirrel!!!
[Craig's seen him off and on for YEARS.]
He's adorable.
We also attended the cute couple across the street's renewal of vows to 
celebrate their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. 
How cool is that?
They're a hoot and have been good neighbors to us -
 Lastly, our little natural screen is beginning to grow 
-- and bloom even!
[I'll share more on this project in a few weeks.]
We had such a wonderful time with our boys and sweet daughter-in-law on Friday evening with Fresh Market's $20 meal [-- more on that in a week or so too!] We just enjoyed visiting out on the patio and being together with no real agenda.
Good times.
 We also had a good time being with my family for a quick meal together 

and a little splash pad time.
[We're a cRaZy bunch - ha.]
Happy Summertime to You! 
Stay cool!