Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Idea No. 1

This would make a perfect gift for an infant (or his mama) on your Christmas list. Someone gave one of these to Becca and it is one of the cutest things (besides Martin) in Martin's nursury. Use wooden blocks and arrange the numbers in front of various items such as a table ledge, pottery bowl or create a shadow on a wall. Then frame in a pre-matted tri-photo frame. Becca's is white with a distressed look but you could do blue or pink to match the baby's room. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thinking of Thanksgiving

Now that Cyber Monday is upon us and I have--pause--done NO shopping online, I've been able to reflect on what an awesome four days we had in our old "stomping grounds." Besides the fire, our time at home was really uneventful.

Doc did a lot of duck hunting and slept in a cabin in Marks with no heat, electricity or running water. He loved every second of it. And it made it very easy for me to choose to stay with my parents!

I had lots of time to walk, cook and visit with my family and friends. I finally made it out to the Boundre Place to see Pete and got in a good visit with a friend who was my Saturday morning riding partner from jr. high unitl I left for college--we are planning a ride after Christmas. It was fun to see her horses (several new ones) and dogs. It also really made we want to add Wild Mustang Pony to my Christmas list (if Santa happens to read this.)

Mom and I went to Memphis on Saturday morning to have lunch with Sis at her favorite place--Panera Bread. And we got to see Elizabeth Magee's nursery. I think she told me not to take photos but I did snap this one of the crib when she wasn't looking. So, so precious.

That afternoon, Doc and I went to see our best friends from pharmacy school. We married exactly six months apart and Bec and I joked that we were the "Pharmacy School Bread Winners Club." When we all lived in Oxford we had supper club/Grey's watching night every Thursday night and took turns cooking. We mourned when they left us living in Jackson and moved back to Oxford for our P6 year. They now live in Arlington, Tenn. and have the most precious little boy--Martin Bryant--born on October 1st of this year.

We hogged him (sorry Mamie and Papa John).

And loved on him.

And reallly, really wanted to take him home with us.

But, we left knowing that he'll always be comforted by the life-size cardboard cutout of his daddy that will soon grace every Fred's store in 11 states!!! (And will hopefully one day have a place in our living room. We're thinking of making a Butler Bryan, a Santa Bryan, a Halloween Bryan...you get the idea).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Part 2: Stay Calm and Gobble On

So, before we even had a chance to gobble--let alone get the turkey in the oven--we had to call the fire department! Thank God for the wonderful men in the Senatobia Volunteer Fire Department.

Here's the short story: Doc and I had been at my parents house for less than an hour. Dad was in Oxford working on his duck hole, Thomas was napping, Laura and Ryan were sitting at the dining room table studying for their upcoming exams and Mom and I were in my room admiring her dresses for the wedding.

Scout and Pepe were in the kitchen and Scout starting barking. As this is not unusual, we all ignored him. When Mom and I came into the kitchen from the back of the house the den and kitchen were FILLED with smoke and a fire was spreading from the vent-a-hood up into the attic above! We both started screaming and Doc ran in from the living room, it awoke Thomas from his nap and he and Doc attempted to put it out with baking soda and a disfunctioning fire extinguisher. When that didn't work they sprinted to the hall, pulled down he atic door and started an assembly line of passing water from the kitchen and hall bath up to the attic.

At the same time that Doc, T, Mom & Laura were trying to save the house, I put Pepe & Scout in my car (by this time Mom had called the Fire Department) so they wouldn't get hit by the fire trucks. Then I saved the mint julep cups, Mom's favorite china from her mother, photo books, painting from Papa Carrel, and some more of Mom's favorite things.

In the end, the firemen said that Doc and T saved the house and it was just moments away from going up in flames. They were wonderful and got to the house extremely fast--most of them were probably enjoying their Thanksgiving dinners! One of the funnier moments was that T was in his boxers for the whole ordeal and only after it was all over did he even realize that he had no clothes on! I told him that's why most people sleep in pajama pants and he said we were all lucky he had on what he did!


We still had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Our sweet neighbors (whose home burned down in four minutes time a few years ago) cooked our turkey for us and helped us clean up. The kitchen was a mess but electrician came and we had electricity to cook everything else.

Net showing Laura the second-day hankerchief that belonged to my great-great-great-great-great grandmother. It is old. To say the least. It is going to be her "something old."
The "non-bloods." Yes, we are that family who takes "blood" and "non-blood" pictures. This wasn't posed though--it just happened. Doc and Oliver are so happy to have another person in their picture!

'Twas the Night Before Duck Season

I belong to a club. It's not exclusive, and includes all kind of women--old, young, stay-at-home moms and professional gals. Some, like me, are happy to be a part of this group. For others, it's not something they look forward to--they dread it and hate it and talk so bad about it. The club? We laughingly refer to ourselves as The Duck Hunting Widows.

Doc, looks so forward to the opening of duck season every year. He gets so excited that it's hard to not be excited for him being excited. It starts with the opening of dove season on Labor Day. This though, is just practice in his eyes for what's coming up in the next few months--the ducks. Then with every cold snap, we know it's getting closer and closer. He starts watching the sky, looking for signs of movement from the North. Fortunetly, the state of Mississippi has moved the opening day from Thanksgiving to the day after Thanksgiving. One of the major themes of our pre-marriage counseling was the preacher just didn't understand why I'd want to get marrried in December when I knew Doc was a huge duck hunter???

Doc and Bryan dove hunting last Labor Day. They're thinking: Oh, the birds I can kill. The limit? What limit? I've got them hidden well....
Dad on Christmas morning in the facemask Doc picked out for him. He wore it most of the day.

Once when Sis and I were little, we got really into Bambi and begged him not to leave with his "firestick"...he told my mom to quit letting us watch that movie.
My happy hunters: Dad, Thomas and Doc. Dad's grandmother, Mammy, used to tell my mom that, "There's a lot worse things a man could be doing." I try to remember that when I get frustated at spending weekends alone...

'Twas the Night Before Duck Season

'Twas the night before duck season, and inside our house,
I was laid up in bed, listening to my spouse.
The camo displayed, the duck calls nearby;
I just shook my head and kept pondering, "Why?"

The season is long, I'd better prepare.
Sixty days of washing his long underwear.
Shotgun and shells gleaming, ready to fire;
At least he's prepared, it's down to the wire.

The puppies were nestled, all snug in their beds,
while visions of ducks flew about in their heads.
I in my robe and Doc in his boots,
he explained that it isn't that loud when he shoots.

Then out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter;
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
I flipped on the lights and what did I see?
A whole group of boys, just waiting to play with their toys. 

Giddy and happy and delighted were they;
Oh the ducks they would call! Tomorrow's the day!
Swapping high fives and loading the truck,
they dreamed of shooting their limits with luck.

Tomorrow at 4:00, I'll arise with my man,
to feed him some breakfast and tell him my plan.
"While you're away, some shopping I might do.
All for me and NONE for you!"
--Adapted from one of Sis' friends in Memphis: http://confessionsoftheyoungandmarried.blogspot.com/
(FYI: I do not get up at 4 a.m. to cook breakfast!!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Keep Calm and Gobble On

Doc and I are hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner this evening with some of our friends in Jackson because one of each of the other couples has to work Thanksgiving Day (definitely the downside of working in the medical field). Doc worked every holdiay last year (thank you CVS Pharmacy) and so I know that it is no fun having to celebrate without your other half!!!

So our menu is: Cherries Jubliee-Black Pepper Glazed Ham, Mama Jean's Macroni and Cheese, Sourdough and Sausage Dressing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Bread and Pecan Pie. And possibly Mammy's Cheese Waffers for cocktail time.

The silver is polished, table is set, and all I have left to do this afternoon is cook the ham, sweep the floor, and sample the wine tasty food.

I found some really cute free print outs at http://www.pizzazzerie.com/blog/ to use on the table as name cards and also to put around as decorations. It's so hard to find cute Thanksgiving things but I think that's also one reason why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no pressure to be everywhere on the same day. And retailers jump straight from Halloween to Christmas in their marketing ploys.

Doc is a huge duck hunter and this year Mississippi's duck season opens at sunrise on Friday morning. So, he's happy if he gets to hunt to his heart's content and I'm happy if I get to do what I want to do--hang out with my family and friends and watch "It's a Wonderful Life" an insane number of times, start cooking Christmas sweets and decorate the house and tree. It's a win-win situation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Grown-up Christmas List

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Beginning with Advent next Sunday through Epiphany on January 6 it's a time to remember the birth of our Savior. It's a time to renew mind, body and soul. And to boot, there are parties, special songs, great church services and presents. I can honestly say that at this point in life, giving a great gift is just as much fun, or more fun, than receiving one.

Great gift-giving is hardwork. It takes thought, time and energy. And planning. Lots of planning. These are just a few of my favorite things, both for me and people I love. A few weeks ago, I sent a modified version of this list to Doc & Oliver--Sis and I usually do this since we have many of the same tastes and my favorite gifts usually come from this. Last year, she got a little put-out because Doc bought most of what she sent and O bought very little off her list. Neither of them seemed to appreciate the time I spent making part of this year's e-mail rhyme to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Doc has admitted to not reading it yet. But that's okay, I know he monitors my blog to read what I say about him...and make sure I don't post pictures of his current 'stache!

For you (or me):

iPhone Smartcase. This was featured in Real Simple awhile back and I've had it saved in my favorites folder on my work computer...I'm sure a Christmas wish list was what Internet Explores creators were hoping that function would be used for...

Enamel Lodge Dutch Oven. According to my favorite Jackson chef Tom Ramsey, Lodge dutch ovens are the very best bang-for-you-buck. I've heard that you can by the slightly damaged ones from the factory store in Chattanooga but I've not been there (yet).

The Nook. My mom gota Kindle last year for Christmas and I didn't realize how much I wanted one unitl I borrowed her's this summer. I went with a Nook over a Kindle because there's a Barnes & Noble store here and I like the idea of being able to take it in for service.

I think this just speaks for itself...I did see it at Sam's the other day...the Sam's card is in my wallet (top left side).

1st edition of Mark Twain's autobiography that will be released 100 years after his death. Even if I get a Nook I want this one in hardback...yes I'm a bookworm...

by Kristin van Ogtrop, editor of "Real Simple," magazine. Her blog "Adventures in Chaos" is one of my favorite things to read. 

Wubbanub--These cute little pacies have stuffed animals on the end of them.
Note: When Sis first told me about these, I missunderstood her and thought she said "Luvanub." Do NOT Google that and hit images...I think the IT department at Millsaps may have flagged my computer.

For those who "have it all" or just to do something a little different, consider donating to a charity...

ARF (where Scout came from!): http://www.arfms.com/

Doctors Without Borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Wedding is in ONE month...

Laura and Thomas' wedding was exactly ONE month from yesterday! The wedding festivities kick-off this weekend in Baton Rouge with a engagement party honoring them the night before the LSU v. Ole Miss game.

This is the happy couple at their announcement party in Baton Rouge in April. Thomas has what we call "Visa Eyes"...basically what Dad's eyes look like when he gets the Visa bill...

We're so excited to be going to Baton Rouge, seeing our wonderful family and friends and hopefully continuing Ole Miss' two-game winning streak in the series. When we were in the 8th grade, Sis and I came back from spending Spring Break with our cousins in Baton Rouge and told Dad we thought we'd go to LSU. His answer was along the lines of, "Not if I'm paying for it..."

He's held a grudge against the Tigers for along time. Like most Ole Miss fans, he loves going through the Grove, finding a group of people in that awful purple and gold and yelling, "Go to hell LSU." In the '60s he and his parents and younger brother went to the Orange Bowl, at LSU, to watch the Rebels play. Net and Granddaddy (the ever thrifty accountant) had tickets with Net's sister and her husband but sent their boys to the LSU student section. Apparently, the students took Buford's little Rebel flag and burned it and then threw oranges at both of them!

But that's all really besides the point, other to say that we are so, so excited about this wedding that's taking place in Baton Rouge. For me, especially, it's been fun thinking that exactly five years ago, I was thinking, our wedding is 1 month away...then three weeks away...then two weeks away...then to think we've been married five years (and dated for four years before that)...it's amazing how time flies when you're havin' fun.

T popped the question in Oxford last December...he had asked Sis and me for ideas. We told him exactly opposite of how to do it and then he took advice from neither of us. I love his eyes in this picture...We toasted them the next night with champagne in Senatobia and Laura told the story of how Thomas dropped the ring in her purse and then acted like he couldn't find his wallet...then they went to City Grocery and celebrated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yesterday, the Clarion-Ledger had the sweetest front-page story about Lex, a Marine dog whose handler from Quitman was killed in Iraq and whose family has since adopted the bomb-sniffing soldier dog. It made me cry. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to tear up. Here's a link to the YouTube Video:

Lex's story made me want to hurry up and get home to see my sweet dogs.

Pepe is so sweet, and humble, it's almost impossible to get a picture of him looking at the camera. He also hates the rain and I had just pushed him out the back door. He is non-confrontational and lets Scout boss him around. I wish he'd just sit on Scout one good time and show him that the 100 pounds of Pepe is a lot bigger than the 30 pounds of Scout.

Scout is the opposite of humble. He has no issue looking you straight in the eyes and starring. His eyes are a white-blue and it's a little creepy. Doc says he crosses his legs because he's copying me...it really is cute. He's not a smart as Pepe--we've been working on shake for going on six months and Pepe picked it up in about five minutes. But what he lacks for in brains, he makes up in heart--this dog will try to climb in your lab anytime, anyplace you sit down.

Please let me go outside and play in the rain...i want to get muddy and chase squirrls...

My watchdog--this is his job...to watch us and make sure no one (or thing) gets to his family. When Pepe's in his watchdog mood it always reminds me of "101 Dalmations". Pepe would be the leader of Scotland Yard and we are in his mind, his pets, his people.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yardsale Time

Twice a year our neighborhood sponsors an official yardsale day. All the good stuff is snatched up within 30 minutes so it's necessary to stalk out what your neighbors are dragging out on Friday evening. The next one is tomorrow, November 13. Here are some recent finds I've found in the neighborhood:

Old Hostess tins. So much prettier than ziplock bags for cookies.

This child's hutch--dated approximately to the 1930s with the original paint.

An old TV/radio. There's a knob that switches from TV to radio and the buttons along the side are for Channels 3 through 12. We've put it in the living room right inside the front door. It faces our flat screen, plasma TV that gets way more nine channels. Televisions have come a long way in 60 plus years!

This kitchen scale has found a great home on top of our fridge. I love old kitchen gadgets and cookbooks...

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Secretariat" A Must See for Horse Lovers

DeeDee and I went to go see Secretariat yesterday and I can just say it may challenge Titanic for being my all-time favorite movie to see on the big screen. If I still had all that babysitting cash that I did in 1997 I would probably go see it seven times or more. But it costs more to see a movie here than at Tobie Town Twin Cinemas thirteen years ago. A lot more. And I have bills. I didn't really get that concept in 1997.

But I digress, the movie is faboulous:

Copyright: http://www.sportandcinema.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Secretariat-Movie-Trailer.png

On the way there, DeeDee (laughingly) said, "This movie is going to make you want a racehorse..."

Little did she know (unitl then)...that I do have my very own racehorse. Well, not really a racehorse. Except in his head where he is King-of-the-Last-Great-Indian-Stallions (a.k.a. Pete):

Some of my favorite things about Pete:
1. His age. It's undetermined. Upon his arrival into our family in the summer of 1994it was said to be "around seven"...in horse-trader terms this could be anywhere from three to 12. My best guess is he's now around 24 years young.

2. He poses for cameras (just like "Big Red"). He always has--it's the only way we got any ribbons at the Tate County Saddle Club shows on Saturday nights (that and if there happened to be less than five in the class.) I fell off while warming up in the ring the first time I was actually going to get to do one of the riding classes. I chipped my tailbone. It still hurts after sitting down for too long in the wrong position.

3. His favorite songs are: "Jesus Loves the Little Horses" (as written by my mom!) and "Home, Home on the Range"

4. His bag of tricks. For a horse that came packaged as child-friendly, we were all in for a big surprise when the first thing this small Appaloosa did when three kids started screaming that daddy FINALLY bought a horse they could ride was anything but "child-friendly." His newest trick is to just lie-down. He's thinking "You're are out of quarters--this ride is over. At first I thought he was dying. I jumped off and started freaking out. Doc (we were riding double) just stayed on to "teach him a lesson." After about five minutes, Pete gave a big sigh and got his big-butt off the ground and continued the pony ride without a hitch. I can't tell you the number of kids in Tate County (all of them much better riders than me) told me they broke an arm coming off him. Doc actually remembers him from his childhood when he was owned by a family friend. He wasn't allowed to ride him.

5. He walks four times faster when headed towards the barn, than away from it. This is part of the overly-head strong thing that makes you either love or hate Appolosas.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Net's Red Beans & Rice

My grandmother, Net, came to visit recently and made us the biggest pot of Red Beans & Rice. Net grew up in Tullulah, Louisiana and bases most of her recepies on the "Holy Trinity" of Cajun cookin'--onions, celery and bell pepper. Red Beans & Rice is a great thing to do with a left-over ham hock. Serve over rice and with corn bread. It makes a big pot that you can share or freeze it in serving sizes and enjoy all winter long!

Here's what we did:
Ingredients: ham hock (or some type of stock), 3 cans kidney beans, onion, green onion, bell pepper, celery, fresh herbs (or dried if that's all you've got).

2. Put in large stock pot ad cover meat with water. Add a couple of stocks of celery with the leaves (they hold the flavor!).

3. Cook on low until the meat falls off the bone. Remove the meat from the pot and shred. Give ham hock to dog.

4. While the meat in simmering, chop your veggies.

5. After you've removed the meat from the pot, add the following to the broth: 1 bunch green onions, 3 stalks celery with leaves, large onion, bell pepper. Cook this until the vegetables begin to get soft.

6. Drain the kidney beans in a colander and add to the pot. Add in ham and gently stir the mixture (don't want to break the beans!)

7. Allow to cook down and then begin seasoning: Add one clove fresh garlic (minced) and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then taste and add some (or all) of the following: fresh basil, parsley, oregano, Tonys and fresh pepper.

The final product:

8. Make more corn bread than you think you need--second helpings are a must!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Miracle Worker

The story of Helen Keller has always fascinated me. I remember watching the movie in elementary school and reading the book. Everytime we're near Tuscumbia I always wish we had time to stop and see her house, Ivy Green.

Doc surprised me a few weeks ago with tickets to see "The Miracle Worker" at New Stage Theatre. We went last night and it was so, so good! I wish I was half as talented as the actors.
Here's the 411 from New Stage's website: Trapped in a secret, silent world, Helen is violent and spoiled. Only her teacher realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. What awaits Helen outside the doors of her dark world?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ode to the Hermit Crabs

Sadly, the newest members of our household lasted barely a week. Just long enough to get names--Larry, Princess Aurora, and Scooby-Doo. They were happies brought back from my trip to Gulf Shores. Here's the only photo we have of them:

Pepe showed a little interest in the little crustaceans but Scout immediately decided if it wasn't something he could chew on (their claws pinch!) then he really didn't care what was on the glass bowl on the kitchen table.

For me, living in their little glass house, filled with sponges and sea shells, they reminded me of a book I read over the summer called "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Wells. The story follows her dysfunctional family from her early childhood to her bold escape to New York City where she became a very well-respected journalist. In her memorir she gives doesn't "gloss over" the bad parts of her childhood or her parents, but at the same time she describes them with affection and understanding. As one reviewer said, "Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story." (http://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm?book_number=1560)

Looking out at our world, it must have seen strange. From their little glass bowl their viewpoint was limited to the kitchen. I'm not even sure crabs have good eyesight. But if they could see, they would have seen us rushing out the door each morning, heard the dogs bark their good byes, saw the dogs wrestle in the kitchen, saw us eat strange food (one night we felt a little guilty for having crab right in front of them, they saw friends come over dressed in strange costumes (most disturbing was the girl in a French maid costume with skeleton leggings), etc., etc.

I watch him scurry on the sand
To find a house that's second-hand.
He crawls in someone else's shell
And stays because it fits him will.
Imagine if we did the same,
Just barged right in and staked a claim
To any empty house that fit,
Then settled down to live in it.
By Sandra Liatsos