Thursday, December 30, 2010

Self-timer Mishaps

I've had my camera for about a year and a half, and it's taken me all of that time to get the hang of the self-timer. And combining it with my tri-pod is more challenging that it should be. When you only have two people in your household, it essential to have any pictures that aren't solo in subject. So, this Christmas I left my tri-pod out so I wouldn't forget about it and attempted to figure it out the camera's self-timer. 

It took me a few of these (I'm the orange-y blur):

No blur, but still orange...

Third times the charm...

I'm so thankful for these friends. DeeDee and I were "set-up" by Sis and her friend May (DeeDee's best friend from Memphis). They decided since they were such good friends with each other that their friends should be friends. They came to Jackson for a weekend to introduce us. It felt like a blind-date. But it  worked! We have lots in common including (but not limited to) a love of red wine. John Eric isn't so happy that DeeDee has turned into such a red wine's hurting his budget. Doc doesn't like the fact that Nurse DeeDee has turned me into a somewhat germ-a-phobe (at least about his scrubs) and that he now has a scrub buckets for all things that went near the gross lab.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mammy's Cheese Waffers

Mammy, my great-grandmother, used to make us these waffers. She'd serve them in small wooden bowls. I'd always want more than one bowl. Everytime we visited we'd hope she had some in a tin in the kitchen. Usually, she did (or she had dad's favorite--oatmeal cookies). There are very few family gatherings without these...and lots of bad feelings toward the cousin who eats the last one--or takes the tin to another room to eat in secret. I've never done that. Really.

This recipe can also be used for cheese straws--if you have that little thingy that makes cheese straws.

1 stick oleo (a.k.a. butter)
1 1/2 cups flour
12 oz sharp cheddar chesse (I use Cracker Barrel extra-sharp cheese)
1 teaspoon salt
little cayenne pepper

Grate cheese and cream with softened butter.
Add flour, salt and pepper.
Divide in two and roll out (like in long skinny tubes). Put in ice box (a.k.a. fridge) for about half an hour. Slice in thin slices. Or you can roll in small balls and mash lightly with a fork (in picture above). Put on ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes @ 300.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bridge Lesson #1

I'm not someone that's big into New Year's Resolutions. I think they should be creative--and not just about losing weight, eating healthier, going to church more, etc. A few years ago Doc's was to drink more different types of beer. This year, I've decided two things: learn how to play bridge and pick back up the piano.

And, there's no better time than the present to get started!

Net plays every Saturday with a group of ladies and I've watched on-and-off my entire life. One time, I think it was the summer after the fourth grade, we were in Gulf Shores and Net tried to teach Mom, Sis and me how to play. I think I was called the "dummy" on the first round and I gave up on that as a recreational activity.

So, this year, I'm in for trying again and we had our first lesson on Sunday afternoon.

What I learned:
-bridge has a lot of jargon like: "false club," "always cover an honor (facecard) with an honor)," "on the board" and it's extremely important to "get trumps out quick"
-it requires a lot more math than I am comfortable with
-it's very complicated to determine your bid--that seems like the hardest part including guidelines like: to raise a person to change suits you must have 10 points and to raise in suit you must have seven points
-it's good to have a void (none of one suit)
-suites are ranked spades, hearts, diamonds, then clubs

And to quote "big" Elise, "Breast Your Cards!"

Lesson #2 Coming Soon:)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

He is the Reason for the Season

I bring you good tidings of great joy
which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day
in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
LUKE 2:10, 11

We spent this Christmas remembering God's grace and blessings from this year. We have so much to be thankful for--family, friends, our dogs, our home, good jobs, opportunities, a new sister and a new niece that will be here in eight short weeks.

On Christmas Eve we went to our church's service. It was so sweet and great to see some friends from college who were home for Christmas. Then we went to a Christmas Eve Open House at Emma George's--she and Net were college roommates in the DDD house at Ole Miss. Emma George has made us feel so welcome in Jackson and always makes us feel right at home.

Santa came on Christmas morning--even though we have no chimeny. I bet a little fairy let him in!

The dogs were very excited to help us open gifts...

After Christmas at our house, we went to Net's to join all the Givens' for bloody mary's and cheese straws. It even snowed a little but didn't stick.

West was surprised earlier that morning by a new puppy, Maggie. She was so sweet! Pound puppies are so sweet - she's about six months old and is a lab/shepherd mix.

Uncle Buford and me - he's my favorite uncle on dad's side - and not just because he's the only uncle on that side! He is going camping with West's Boy Scout troop for a few days in Hardy...bbbrrr...

Net and Warren with a giantic map of Tate County. I'm not a huge fan of his facial hair, but he doesn't seem to be too concerned with my comments :)

On the Second Day of Christmas...

Mom and I tried to go to church (but both forget there wasn't an early service so we did yoga instead) and Dad, Doc and Oliver went duck hunting in Marks. They were very happy with their results. Even bringing back one drake with a band - a rare find.

Did you know that December 25th is  just the first day of Christmas? The song "The 12 Days of Christmas" tells the story of the twelve days between Christmas Day, December 25, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, January 6, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world. Each line originated has a religious meaning and was a sort of secret catechism that could be sung in public in a time when Christians were perscuted and not allowed to celebrate Christmas:

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.

2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.

5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.

10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.

12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

And one last note...
Just FYI to those of you who read Sis' comment on the last post. My Santa mugs aren't "hot." I did not steal them from mother--Kroger had them on sale a few weeks ago :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

King of Norway Cinnamon Rolls

My mom tells the story of how Mama Jean came upon these special cinnamon rolls. One time (in the early 60s) her family was on their way from Norway back to the US on a boat. Apparently, in those days you didn't travel overseas on planes. So, one morning the most amazing cinnamon rolls were served. Mama Jean went back to the kitchen and asked the chef for his recipe. He kinda laughed her off and said something to the effect of, "I'm the former head baker for the King (of Norway) and I don't think I could every just tell you how to make the rolls; I'd have to show you." So, she gave him their address in a little city outside of Oslo and went on her merry way thinking she'd never hear from him again.

A few months later, they had returned to Norway, and there was a knock on the door to their apartment. And low and behold, it was the baker from the ship. Dressed in his official King of Norway baking outfit. And he proceeded to make cinnamon rolls with her in her kitchen. And we've made them every Christmas to eat on Christmas morning (along with sausage balls). The "official" - at least in my mind - recipe:

2 cups milk (I use 2%)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
5 cups flour

1 box powdered sugar

Warm milk to luke warm. Melt butter in the milk.

Beat eggs slightly.

Add to the milk mixture.

Add the sugar...

and the salt....stir....

Add the yeast...

Move to a bowl (not metal--bread won't rise in a metal bowl) and use a wooden spoon to stir (bread won't rise using a metal whisk).

 Add flour to the right consistency about five cups.

There is not a picture of the next step (because I cannot follow directions) and thus my rolls didn't rise as much as they should have. Dump the mixture on a floured surface (lay down wax paper for easier clean-up) and knead (fancy word for beat) for about 10 minutes. If you're angry about anything this is a good time to take it out on something.

Grease your bowl with oil, put in the dough, turn dough over. Cover with a dish twol and let rise to double (about 2 hours). If you dough doesn't seem to be rising, try boiling a pot of water near the bowl. Also, make sure to leave it under the stove light.

Roll out to thin.

Stoke melted butter generously.

Sprinkle sugar...

Then cinnammon (and pecans if you like them).

Roll from the long end (like a jelly roll).

Dip a knife in flour and cut small rounds.

Placed on a greased pan and let rise about one hour.

To make icing: sift about one box of powdered sugar. Add a small amount of milk and stir in a little vanilla.

Poor icing over cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 400 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve with hot chocolate and enjoy!

Fairy Doors

Last night we went to a party at some friends' house down the street. They have lived in the house about a year and a half and have totally redone it. The whole house was amazing but my favorite part was...the fairy houses.

Yes, fairy houses. Look on the baseboard of the bookshelf:

 See the small red door? Below, is our hostess, Kaytie, and me. I felt like a giant!

You had to squat down and basically get on the floor to see inside (not that easy to do in heels and cocktail dresses)!

A fairy-sized Christmas tree!

 A fairy-sized bookshelf (complete with a duck decoy) along with hardwood floors and a rug.

And a fairy-sized fireplace with stockings. I wonder if a fairy-sized Santa can fit down that chimney?

 Doc with Del--couldn't they be brother and sister? The wall behind them was covered with pages from a vintage cookbook--so cute!

Doc with our host, Drew, don't they look good not in scrubs and up to their ears in Grey's books?

And then there was one more fairy door (but only fairies can open this one) on the bookshelf in a bedroom.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Regrets from Christmas Browsing

Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town

Don't you just hate it when, in an effort to practice more self-control, to be more thrifty, to not buy things for yourself when you're shopping for others, etc., etc., etc. you wind up kicking yourself not two seconds from when the good side of your head beat the greedy side?

Today, during lunch, my friend Kim and I were browsing at Interiors Market in Fondren when I saw a used copy of a coffeetable book on A. Hays Town houses. There were several parties for Laura and Thomas in Baton Rouge in houses that were designed or inspired by A. Hays Town and they were just lovely.

And so, when I saw a used copy of the book I thought: WhooHoo, an early Christmas present for me!
And then, No, you're shopping for others. Wait a minute, you could give it to Doc for Christmas! Yay, I can still buy it.
But then, No, that's greedy to keep buying things for you and giving them to Doc so that you can have them on Dec. 26 when they become mutual property.

And so, I put it down and not two seconds later, did some little old lady come and snatch it up. Okay, she didn't really snatch it up, but she grabbed it awfully quickly to be using cane. And then she checked out. And then we left and returned to work.

And now I'm seriously thinking about how to justify buying one on Because, if I used the little search box to the right of this post, I get 15% back as an Amazon Associate. And since none of my blog readers (hint to Mom and Sis) have tested it out for me yet to see if it really works, I really should try it. Right?

Justified. And now back to work.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Announcing: Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Frank Givens...Dec. 18, 2010

Laura and Thomas' wedding weekend has been such a blast. The weekend started off with a wonderful dinner at Ruby and Allen's house on Thursday night. Then on Friday we had the bridesmaids and groomsmens' luncheons. That night the rehearsal and then dinner at City Club. Thomas did such a great job on his toast! Saturday was a fun day with a wedding day brunch that was hosted by many of our Gandy cousins and some friends of Laura's parents. Sis and I decided that it's much more fun to be on the groom's side than the bride's--we had so much fun dressing up and visiting with all of our extended family and friends.

 Getting ready to put on the dress!

 Waiting for it all to begin!

On Friday night, we celebrated our five-year of the many reasons I love December weddings.

Mom and Daddy--so happy!

Time to party! The reception was at the Old Governor's Mansion in downtown Baton Rouge. The wedding was right across the street at First Presbyterian. It was the first wedding in the newly renovated sanctuary.

Bad boys! Such fun for all of the "youngest" counsins--West Givens, Walker Gandy (pincher!), and Thomas Gandy--to get to hang out. Net says that West is a Buford--I see it here!

Sis and Margaret (Crews) Bond--both expecting the first great-grandchild for Net and Renie in March!

The Buford cousins: Warren, Amy, Susan, Meg, Tom, Buford, William, (Missing Frank!)--we'll photoshop him in. Father-of-the-groom duties called!

My spray tan is a little intense. I'm really hoping that Sis and Nancy are super pale or that the flash is making me look this dark.

 The mamas!

The Anderson crowd (or most of them!): Josh, Chris, Mark, Bonnye, Mama Jean, Austen, and Papa Carrel.

 Mama Jean with her girls.

 My bridesmaid's bouquet.

 Thomas and Noah...many, many great memories (and a few long nights!) with these two.

Laura's dad, Allen, with his sister and her family.

Thomas with the Anderson crowd! Aunt Betty and Uncle Ronald (not pictured) came from Forestburg, Texas.

It's official and legal!

 Laura's sister-in-law, Liz, and her daughter, Morgan, the cutest flower girl!

 Well, this flower girl was just as cute!

Old Governor's Mansion.

Our friends from Italy (and South Korea)...I think they get the award for the farthest travel. Matia came to both my wedding and Sis'--how great that his parents and girlfriend got to come to Thomas' wedding?

Quite a cake! It was beautiful and delicious! T's cake was yellow with chocolate icing and a Colonel Reb on top. I ate both!

Headed to the Big Apple as Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Frank Givens.

More pictures: