Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Friday

Peanut Butter Fudge
I love to eat sweets. Who doesn't though. Anyway, I am particularly fond of peanut butter and peanut butter fudge is near perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth. I know when we think of fudge we think of the cold months and winter holidays. I think we need to shake it up and make it in this heat wave. We of course need to keep it in the fridge so we don't have peanut butter soup...but that might be good too...hmmm?! Randall loves peanut butter fudge also, so it is always a winner at our house.

1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Pour over confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth; pour into an 8x8 inch dish. Chill until firm and cut into squares.
My sweet little foodie has never tasted fudge or peanut butter. I think it is time to put down the moon pie and try a little scoop of Skippy!

Abby

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Tote Of Blessings

Henry and I headed to Memphis this week to see the fam and for me to shop my friend's fall/winter consignment sale at the Agricenter. She is such a peach and lets me in for the first preview sale each season. It is so good to know sweet people...I am blessed by her. I get the first pick with a handful of other parents and it is so much fun! Lots of my old work buddies/friends are there each time and it is like a social outing and a bargain hunt all at once. SCORE!
Randall usually goes with me but he was in Indiana this week, so I ventured out alone....while Henry played and ate at the Piccadilly with the fam (I know Wilma ate her veggie plate in heaven smiling down on that meal. Sweet memories at that place).


Preparing for this sale is like an all out mission. close family and friends are all wishing me luck...like I am competing in a championship or something. It is serious stuff. I get siked up for days, checking online for costs on things I will be looking for so I can compare, taking inventory of H's closet, making a wish list and getting an empty tote ready for the haul. This time I needed more than one tote. I went nuts. Randall cant be having work trips during the sale anymore...I need that man! He is the best shopping buddy a girl could ever have, but this time Sassy was a close second.



I think she would have encouraged me to buy it all, if she could have. She was so cute guarding my loot while I kept running back for more. I would tell her what I was going to run off and look at and she would yell "GO" as though she was putting me back in the game. I loved it... love her! I want to be her when I grow up. She makes me laugh like no one else on this earth. I think she is equally fond of me and that makes my heart happy. There is nothing sweeter than a true friend who beams with a giggle because she is so happy that she has made you laugh and she then says with pure joy, "Oh, I just love making you laugh".





This view also makes me smile. I scored big, I tell ya. My pals and even people I did not know were laughing at me at the check out (that backseat was full too...you just cant see it) and saying "That boy is ROTTEN!" and a few asked how many children I was buying for and I was embarrassed to say "oh, just one". The lady in line before me looked at me, smiled and said real matter of fact like, "I love you. I don't know you, but I love you". She had an only child once...she now has 6. It happens. I bought ALL of his fall/winter clothes, shoes, most of his Christmas gifts (you just wait until the Christmas post in 5 months...you will be floored at the bargains), his birthday gift (Tickle me Elmo in perfect condition for 3 bucks!), necessities we can use, and lots of puzzles, books, and DVDs. I buy only boutique or name brand clothing too. This is the only way he is able to wear that style of clothing. It is so much fun and a blessing to our family to go to this preview sale. You would think this child would be sitting in his carseat with all his loot smiling and not crying as we left Memphis, but he was mad at me. I made him leave the comfy side of cousin Thew (Hollye's husband...they are a cute little pair) to head back to Arkansas. Poor thing, poor pitiful thing!



I share this post, not to brag about my loot, but to share how we provide for Henry. We buy 90% pre-owned clothing and toys for him. We are picky about what we buy and because of that he is able to have nicer things than he would have if we bought new. Call us cheap, or tacky (some have. They are of course the blessed ones who do not provide for their children on their own. I say that with my best southern charm! ) but it is smart and most of the time he stains it or grows out of it before he wears it more than twice! I also like to be good stewards of our money and our blessings. If you do not buy at consignments for your children, you should look into it. You would be really surprised at the rewards you can reap. I am now buying pre-owned for myself on occasion. The pink Polo I have on in the above photo was bought for $8...brand new without the tag...the first "real" Polo I have ever owned...I have 3 of them now...just sayin!




Abby

Monday, July 25, 2011

Love That Air

We took Henry to see Randall's Grandad last weekend. He has a window unit in his home. It is one of the older homes in their town...in fact I believe it was Randall's great-grandparents home. He has a window unit. As a parent of a toddler I often fail to prepare and plan for new discoveries. They in turn catch me off guard. This was a discovery that resulted in great loud "AHHHHHH's" in the vent, lots of arm waves in front of the vent and lots of me going "NO! Do not touch the buttons, Henry!!". It was really cute how he spotted it, ran toward it and immediately went "AHHHHHH".

It made me laugh and almost cry. It took me back to Spradling Avenue when I was a little girl. At that time my grandparents lived in the home my mother grew up in and they had a window unit. While watching Henry discover the fun of a window unit, I remembered the smell of that air, it is not like any other smell. I remembered the "Ahhhhhh's", trying to catch the air, and my family telling me to get away from it.
Henry is experiencing that fun now. I just love making memories with him that will last a lifetime. I know it is just a window unit, but the window unit in my memory bank was in a house where I knew I was loved and accepted. Henry will know in his Grandad's house he was the crown prince, and shared a name with the man who often called him "Hank" because he loved to joke with his mama and make her say "No Hank!"... and remember that window unit just like I remember my Mawmaw and Pawpaw's. So simple, yet so sweet.

Abby

Friday, July 22, 2011

Food Friday

Ice cream. Who doesn't love ice cream?! When I say "ice cream" I include Popsicles, yogurt and sorbet. I don't know anyone who does not like ice cream. Last night turned into an ice cream night at our house and it was not planned....I love those kind of nights.



This is Randall's favorite ice cream place. His favorite flavor is served in the fall and winter, so he usually gets a gift card from someone for his birthday or Christmas, since those happen at that time of year. Last night he used one of his cards and got cake batter. (Yes, it is July and he still has a balance on a gift card...you have to know him to understand!) He let me have a bite and it was yummy. I like the birthday cake flavor better though because I love the icing and sprinkles. I was not in the mood for any, so I just took a few bites of his. He was glad, I am sure...more savings on that gift card! Bruster's is a popular place and they have excellent ice cream. Ours also serves Nathan's hot dogs...odd, but those are good too...and that is for another post!

I was so glad I did not partake in my own cup of Bruster's ice cream because I got a text later in the evening to meet my "whoo hoo girls" for some yogurt at 8:45. I felt so "happening" to go somewhere at 8:45. Just sayin! I am usually in pajamas by that time. We ventured out to a new place in town and I am now hooked!
Everything is nonfat and some things are even non dairy. The presentation and atmosphere were so fun and inviting. You get whatever you want and then they weigh it. I got a mix of red velvet, California twist and praline, and I then put a touch of crushed heath bar on top. It only cost $3.11. I was a little worried since the price was dependant on the weight! I got a light serving of all the flavors, but it was perfect and yummy. I will be visiting that place a lot! Randall is not a huge yogurt fan, so on ice cream nights we will have to make two stops!

Sadly, my sweet "whoo hoo", Stacee is moving next week. We met to soak her up one last time over yogurt. She was one of my first friends when I moved to town. I will miss her smile, her spunk, her motivation on the days I run, her style and her fabulous southern accent!

This little foodie has not been much on the food lately. After the stomach bug he acquired a cold. The poor little stinker can't get right! I love him though, and will clean up his vomit and snot forever if I have to! ha. He does love to lick a frozen orange push pop and I let him do so each night while he watches Wheel....he loves Wheel of Fortune. He claps for them, he squeals and he is usually asleep before the Bonus Round. I love my little fella, as if you couldn't tell!

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Busy Summer

It seems like its been forever since I've been on here. I've been busy but not busy enough not to blog. I think I have a case of writer's block!

We've been swimming, swimming and swimming. I told Stephen the other day that our next house is going to have to have a pool in the backyard. I love it! My lips, however, not so much. I have had a fever blister (or 9) every week this summer. As much as I like to blame Samuel's leaving for camp on them, I know better. It's the sun.

Samuel survived Boy Scout camp. He didn't want to go but did "just for you Mom". Gotta love the teenage years! He ended up having a great time and is even thinking of working there next year for a couple of weeks. His last night at camp he had to hike a couple of miles, fix his supper, find & construct his shelter, and sleep. BY HIMSELF! Oh my! He loved it! The next morning he woke up, hiked back down and swam a mile all before breakfast. I'm thinking of calling home "Boy Scout Camp" from now on. None of the kids do anything before breakfast!!!

David and Daniel are having fun this summer as well. They have enjoyed being the oldest sons when Sam was gone and we have really enjoyed spending time with them. They are so very funny!

Anna is the princess of course. She is so pretty and sweet. Funny and cute. I could eat her up.

So, how's it going with you? Are you having a fun summer?

Julie

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inspiring Online Obesession


I have a new online obsession...as though I needed another. Between this blog, Facebook, Linked In and just checking my email, my floors are always way past needing a good mopping! Pinterest. If you have not discovered it yet, you need to! Leave me a comment and I will invite you. You have to be invited, which I think is a bit cheesy, but they did not ask my opinion.
I like browsing through it each day because it has an inspiring, happy, calming effect and one can never have to many of those quick moments!

Due to this new obsession/site I have Henry's b-day party already planned...and it is 5 months away!
Abby

Monday, July 18, 2011

B-I-B-L-E School on Main Street

This past week Henry went to B-I-B-L-E school at our church. Henry loves the "B-I-B-L-E" song that we play in the Tahoe over and over and over and over again, so when I would say "Bible School" he would say "B-I-E " (That is how he spells it and he drags the E out for a long time).

I was the preschool "craft lady" (as I was quickly named by the preschoolers) and made the BAD mistake of going into Henry's room for crafts on the first night instead of sending one of my helpers. It is a wonder his teachers did not kill me with the craft scissors. He cried ALL NIGHT because he kept seeing me and hearing me. He is such a mess about going to church, I tell ya. He tunes up as soon as we turn into the parking lot. It is actually funny and I laugh at him now. He does not laugh though.




Look at that face. He loves his church, he just plays hard to get so he can get special attention (which he has had great success. He is super-duper rotten with the nursery workers). It made my little heart so happy to work VBS again after a few years of not being plugged into a local church...and having my baby boy there made it even sweeter.




Sadly, Henry got a stomach bug and only attended 2 nights of VBS. He stayed home with his Daddy while I did crafts. It was an eventful week starting back to work and then working VBS at night with a sick baby at home. His Daddy was a peach and took off work to take care of him this week. I am glad to say we survived it all and we are still singing "B-I-E" with a smile.





Abby

Friday, July 15, 2011

Food Friday

I love this dip. I got the recipe from a friend when I lived in Mississippi. It is ALWAYS a hit for parties/gatherings. I have been craving it lately and thought I would share it.

1 (14 ounce) can Rotel Tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can white shoepeg corn, drained and rinsed
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) bottle Italian dressing (I like Kraft Zesty Italian)

Drain all canned ingredients.
Mix vegetables together in bowl.
Coat with the Italian dressing.
You may not need the entire bottle.
Cover and chill overnight. Drain before serving.
Serve with corn chips or crackers. (this is great with Fritos!)

Eating out without children is such a treat. I never realized it until I had Henry. I always wondered why parents acted excited to go out to dinner without children and I truly get it now. Randall and I used to hang out in downtown Memphis in our single days. We enjoyed eating at all the local dives and observing the drunks on Beale...and my favorite was going to the roof of the Peabody after dark and looking over the river with my man. Yuck...I know. Anyway, we enjoyed a night in Memphis a few weeks ago before flying out to Minnesota the next morning. We ate at the Rendezvous. It is always fun to people watch there...and eat! The sausage and cheese plate is always a must before the meal. Oh, we did not go to the roof and smooch, if you were wondering!






My foodie. I found this and had to post it. His 1st bday party at school in a Halloween bib...love it. He has grown up so much since December...wow! I love that sweet face.




Happy Food Friday!


Abby


Friday, July 8, 2011

Food Friday

I love squash. Randall is not a huge fan so we eat very little of it. In our 8.5 years of marriage I can count the times I have prepared it. We took Henry to a local produce stand last weekend for the first time and I insisted we purchase squash. I make my hubs try things even though he does not particularly like them. He is a grown man in a house with other folks and can deal...just sayin! ha. So, I made a squash casserole and sprinkled it with love, of course. He actually liked it and said it could a "do over"! He is a good man, I tell ya. Branching out is not so bad.

This recipe is sort of like my Meemaw's, but tweaked a bit. She made a yummy squash casserole...she casseroled everything. I am a lot like Wilma, I too adore a casserole!

3 pounds yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups crushed buttery crackers, into coarse crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash in a large saucepan with onion. Add enough water to cover; bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, and mash slightly in a colander, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible; transfer to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon butter to squash. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper; mix well. Transfer to a shallow 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs; dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

And while I prepared our squash casserole, pork loin, fresh tomatoes and grilled veggies this little foodie of mine played with his play dough. His Daddy bought him play dough and he is so good with it. He does not try to eat it, which makes me VERY proud. Sweet little love!


Happy Food Friday!

Abby

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Turning North in High Heels



"You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north." Deuteronomy 2:3. I love this verse. I discovered it in a book I was reading one morning in May before a job interview. I wrote it on a note card and put it in my car. I glanced down at it on my way to the interview and laughed because I realized I was headed north of town. Well, I am now employed by that company and recite this verse with much praise to God's amazing provision for me. It sums up the last year of my life so beautifully. I am excited about putting my high heels back on and stepping up!



I quit my job last June 15th. It was a sticky situation. I felt it was best I leave and find another job that I could feel good about it and not "icky" every day as I was forced to make decisions I did not agree with. I have learned in my short career that looking like you have it all together does not mean you do and lots of warts and scars come from wearing that mask. I decided to flee that path in life because there is not enough Oil of Olay to cure the mess that mask can leave on a girl!



So, 54 weeks later I have a new job. It has been an interesting year. One that has brought many laughs and many tears. Being home with Henry more in his first year of life was a true blessing and one that I will cherish in my heart always. Reaching out and finding new circles of friends has been a great gift this past year. Feeling like "me" again has also been a relief. Discovering J'Town as Abby Jo and not who I was asked to be in my job has been so refreshing. I think I like it here after all! It is still an odd place if you are a transplant and not a native, but it is not that bad now that I see it through new eyes and a refreshed heart. What a journey and what a trail of memories!



The job I will start this next week is proof that God's provision is great and we cannot predict his moves no matter how much we try. I thought I had landed the job in May. It was mine in my head. I had it all planned out. No other interview had left that impression on me. It was a perfect fit. I got the call and it was indeed not mine...it belonged to someone else. I was sad, but through all the searching the past year I had come to realize God truly knows what is best and it was not this. So, I moved on, but I hit a dead end one day..and hit it hard. I texted Mama and gave up. She is always the one I give up to. No one else, but her. 4 days later I had the job that had belonged to someone else....God!



Mama's Sunday School ladies are prayer warriors. She told them I had lost hope and the thought of another interview was making me want to puke (sorry, but it literally was). They had prayed that someone I had interviewed with would call me and want me after all. Someone that wanted me in the community and liked me for me. I had no idea they had prayed this prayer until I called Mama and told her this company wanted me after all. She said "HOT DOG!" and then told me how and why this happened. I got goose bumps. Prayer is so powerful and God reminded my weary heart of that truth in a mighty way.

The people I am going to work for were also praying. Praying for a good person and someone who could help grow their business. God told them who. So, this job is God's and not mine. It is not mine to plan out in my head. It is His and I am SO thrilled about that. I can't wait to see what is in store for all of us as we set out on this new little journey. So, if I don't blog as much for a while...this is why. I am going to juggle a busy toddler, a husband starting harvest in 5 states and a new job! Pray for me..and if you have been praying for me this past year...thank you so kindly. There were many hours, days and weeks those prayers powered me through my journey.





Abby


Friday, July 1, 2011

She's Got Betty Davis Eyes

"Happy Birthday to Mawmaw. Happy Birthday to Mawmaw. Happy Birthday Queen Mawmaw, Happy Birthday to you!!"


Today we are skipping Food Friday to wish our grandmother a very happy birthday! She is one sassy and classy woman. It is such a joy to have her as OUR grandmother. She has 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren who love her dearly. Many friends have "adopted" her over the years and we have learned to share her gracefully...yet we do smirk a little on the inside knowing those eyes really belong to us!


Happy Day To YOU, Little Darling!


Julia Kathryn and Abby Jo