Thursday, August 28, 2014

Leno Fun

Yesterday Sis and I met in Atlanta for my birthday present from Ryan -- tickets to see Jay Leno perform! I've loved Jay Leno since Leigh Allyn introduced me to him our freshman year a college. At first it drove me crazy that she went to sleep watching The Tonight Show. I almost cried when he left the show earlier this year!

We had dinner before at Cinco Mexican Cantina before the show and then headed over to the Cobb Centre. Waiting before the show...

That's him - it's a tiny version of him but it's Leno! He was so funny and kept the audience laughing for an hour and half. I was very impressed that he didn't seem to look at notes or anything and just kept on rolling. 

For lunch today we met our cousin, Margaret, and her family for lunch. We were so excited to meet Walker - he is just precious - and Ellie has grown so much since the last time we got to visit! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Taste of Fall

Yesterday and today the upstate is enjoying a nice little preview of fall weather. It feels glorious outside (at least until you start to do anything strenuous!). The weather put me into the mood for fall food like a poppy seed chicken casserole. And our farmers market has had the most delicious snap beans that make a wonderful side.

First I cooked the beans for about 4 minutes in the water left over from boiling the chicken for the casserole. Then I melted butter and added to crushed garlic cloves in the iron skillet and threw in the beans. Sprinkled with "shake shake" cheese (EM's term for canned Parmesan cheese!). I cooked these until they were well done - basically until Ryan got home and it was time to eat. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Update

We had a wonderful weekend trying to soak up Ryan having the weekend off - it won't happen again until October! But we are so thankful for the past "easy" month and feel rejuvenated for this harder month of wards that starts today.

Friday night we went to a Peds get-together at a condo overlooking the Drive baseball game. The stadium is a mini Fenway Park (the team is a training team for the Red Sox) and even has a small Green Monster. It was incredibly hot and I have no idea who won the game. 

Saturday we played tennis (I lost) and after lunch attempted to go to Paris Mtn to hike and swim. We got there and the bottom opened up!

So we changed our plans and went to see "The Hundred Foot Journey" instead. It's about a displaced Indian family who open up an Indian restaurant in the a small village in the South of France. "Maison Mumbai" at first disturbs the village's Michelin star restaurant and its owner, Madame Mallory. It was definitely one of the best movies I've seen in awhile! Highly recommended!

Watching a movie about food made us hungry and so we ended the day at Giovanni's. Ryan had heard about this hole-in-the-wall place from a guy who said he ate there five times in one week when he first tried it. It was truly that good!

Sunday we tried out a new church and had a lazy afternoon. Ryan studied and I went to an open house for the barn where Sassy Stables is moving. I'm excited about the week ahead - Sis and I are meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday and then Chad and Kristen and family are coming for the weekend! And, of course, Ole Miss football starts on Thursday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lake Conestee

Jennie and I attempted to walk at Lake Conestee Nature Park yesterday evening. A threatening thunderstorm cut it short but we did get to do one short trail and saw this beautiful swampy area. I can't wait to go back and explore some more - the park has over 400 acres and is just six miles from downtown.

Scout is always up for anything - we had to sneak out the back door so Pepe wouldn't hear!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

South Carolina Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joes are one of those foods that say "summer" to me. Growing up, we always had them at the lake after a day of skiing. But it's been a really long time since I made one and this South Carolina Sloppy Joe in this month's Southern Living made me what to fix that! Click here for the recipe.

Basically, you make a hamburger patty and then top with chili and a coleslaw mixture. I served with roasted sweet potatoes. It was definitely good enough for company and easy enough to do on a weeknight. A little fancier than the typical sloppy joe! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chasing Waterfalls

We had a great time on Saturday exploring Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park. The beautiful lake is located right where South Carolina meets Georgia and North Carolina. Known for its crystal-clear water, Lake Jocassee is a popular place to scuba dive. We'd heard that the waterfalls were only accessible by boat. Turns out really only accessible by motor boat - after a few hours we realized we would not be getting to them in a canoe. Oh well, we had fun trying!


Look how clear the water is in this picture! It was amazing to look down and be able to see the bottom of the lake. During lunch I mentioned to Ryan how I'd love to see a bear. Well on the way back home, one ran right in front of our car!

Friday, August 15, 2014


For some reason this has seemed like a long week! A good one, but a long one. I blame computer issues and that crazy class on Monday that made me feel stiff as a board all week. Not good for sitting in front of a computer most of the day! Anyway, the weekend is upon us and we are so ready. We have plans to rent a canoe and find a place to float. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Every few months I get on a running kick. I am not a natural runner. I've run off-and-on since college but have never gotten a "runner's high." I actually really doubt if exists! Anyway, over the last two weeks I've made progress - over 8 miles in six runs. Which I know is nothing compared to most people who run but for me is a lot! I use the Nike running app - it keeps me motivated and it cheers for you at the end which I find very rewarding!

The app is saying my pace was slower today, but I actually attempted to run up a few hills! Attempted being the key word - I think a turtle passed me at one point. Our street is at the crest of a hill and if I venture off it, there's at least one major hill involved! Now if only the app gave results in more real-life terms:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pickled Snap Beans

When my sister and I were four, she told everyone at our family reunion that her name was Mary Pickle. Our parents never knew where she came up with that one, but I thought of it the other day when making these pickled snap beans. The farmer's market is overflowing with Blue Lake beans right now and this looked like something we would like. I used a recipe from "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea" by Martha Hall Foose.

Boil 1/2 pound of beans in salted water for 3 minutes or until tender. 

Drain and then plunge beans in icy cold water to stop cooking. 

Drain again and put in a ziplock bag with 1 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons pickling spice (I used McCormick). 

I transferred to a jar when Ryan told me the whole fridge smelled like pickles but I think he was exaggerating!  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Difference in a Few Letters & An Easy Recipe

One of the perks of residency is that I have access to the hospital's gym, called the Life Center, that has a pool, every type of exercise machine imaginable and workout classes. I've been going to a class or two a week and have really enjoyed rediscovering Pilates and trying the gym's version of Pure Barre. Yesterday I was feeling brave (and like I'd eaten too much over the weekend) and so I thought I'd try a class called interval intensity. When the instructor welcomed us to interval insanity, I knew I was in trouble! The props included: dumb bells, jump rope, mat, body bar, big ball and a half-round thing that you jumped on and used for lunges. We did a series of burpees which I thought only football players did. I really don't know how I got out of there still breathing. And this morning I can barely walk! Next time I think I will look a little closer at the schedule and class descriptions.

And because working out always makes me think of what I want to cook next, here's an easy weeknight recipe...

BBQ Cups

This is an easy (and certainly not original to me!) recipe that comes together with very little prep and planning. Plus, I usually have all the ingredients on hand which is always helpful!

Brown one pound ground chuck, a small chopped onion and two chopped cloves of garlic. You could also sub onion and garlic powder to make this an even quicker meal. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat and add 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. 

Mash out canned biscuits (I buy the layered kind and peal in half) in ungreased muffin tins. Spoon in mixture and top with any type of cheese. I used 5 large jumbo biscuits and made 10 BBQ cups. We had the leftover biscuits for breakfast the next day.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. These also taste great left-over for lunch. Just pop in the microwave for a few seconds!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Fun

We enjoyed a very low-key weekend. Friday night we had Mississippi friends over and enjoyed talking about what football games we hope to make in next few months. Hard to believe it's almost that time of year! Saturday morning we went to the farmer's market and then to play tennis. I think it was the only sun we saw all weekend. Ryan won the first set 6-2 and lost to me in the (a very grueling) second set 4-6. We were too worn out to play a third set!

Studying never seems to end for Ryan so while he plowed through his many books and practice tests, I read the latest edition of Garden & Gun cover-to-cover. I cried my way through City Grocery owner John Currance's Good Dog: A Chef's Shadow column (warning: only click on that link if you're in the mood for a good cry!). I immediately went and got Pepe a blanket -- his new hair cut leaves him shivering under the ceiling fan -- and begged him not to get any older! 

Saturday night we went to an improv comedy show at Coffee Underground. There were some people behind me in the coffee line talking about Cups in Jackson -- turns out it was someone from Ryan's class who is doing a residency in Greenwood. Small world! The show was funny and reminded us of our fun trip last summer to Second City in Chicago. Ryan is a big fan of improv and I feel like I'm developing an appreciation for it (especially after reading Tina Fey's book Bossy Pants).

Sunday we tried out a new church and then later celebrated Jordan's birthday at her in-laws. They have a beautiful pool and had invited us to swim, but it was too cold for all but a few. I only get in when it's hot and sunny!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ikea Tour

On my way home to Greenville on Wednesday I stopped at the Ikea in Atlanta. It's probably not a good thing that the gigantic Swedish super store is just a mere five minutes off the interstate. I gave myself one hour and really had to hustle. I'd plan on giving yourself at least two hours to browse and soak it all in!

If you've never been in one, allow me to show you...

The store is arranged in a one-way layout so that you weave through the entire thing (and if you try to deviate you'll get lost, so just embrace the journey and stay on the main path!). The first section has various showrooms set up with products and each item has a tag number. You are given a nifty little pad to write down the aisle number, bin number and item number for the self-serve area located at the end of the store. Or other tags will direct you to the market place.

For instance, I love this ottoman in the showroom:

I write down these numbers: 

And would pick up in the self-serve furniture warehouse:

I didn't get the ottoman but it is on my list! The most fun part, to me, about Ikea is the apartments they have set up showing what you can do with 430 square feet or 270 square feet, etc. It really is amazing - and made me feel much better about our 850 square feet! 

Here's the 430 sq foot apartment:

Now you would have to be exceptional neat but it seemed very livable. I love the two chaise lounges that serve as a sofa and could easily be guest bedding.

And the 270 square foot apartment was much smaller and featured a loft bed. 

Tiny, tiny but very cute!

There's great options for bedding, children's things, kitchen items, art work, lighting and storage solutions. Basically, you name and Ikea has got it! My main purpose of this stop was to find a rug for our living room. Now that we have a new sofa, it was the only thing missing. There were three options for the "Valby Ruta" rug. I got the largest size (which for some reason isn't showing up online but was $129 for a 6'7 x 9'10). 

From showroom to living room:

My birthday money was burning a hole in my pocket. Mission accomplished! The pillow on the sofa is also from a trip to Ikea about three years ago!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back at Home

Warning: long post and a ridiculous amount of pictures ahead! I'm making up for my lack of blogging over the last week with a major overload.

They say you can't go home again, but I have to disagree! Maybe it's because Senatobia rarely changes or because all my loved ones still live in the same houses they have for all of my memory. I love being at Net's pool and only knowing the time when the church bells start ringing. I love that I know {and are related to many} who lives in just about every house on my walking route. Senatobia is a lovely small town and great place to be from. I always leave the "Five Star City" wishing for a few more days. Needless to say, Sis and I and her girls had a wonderful visit. We played tennis three days in a row (haven't done that together since high school) and she won every set. Which I think is how it usually ended in high school. We laughed at the hill we used to hate running before tennis practice. It is a small slope compared to Birmingham and Greenville hills!

We saw Aunt Lucile (who is making a remarkably speedy recovering from knee replacement surgery) just about every day and got to visit with her granddaughter, Sara, and great-granddaughter, Lucy Kate. Which was a great surprise because our visits home never line up! Margaret and her mini-me, Sidney Kate, came to Net's pool for a swim and it was so good to catch up. We realized it had been a year since her we last saw each other. On Tuesday Dr. Ethelyn was in town tending to her house and I had a much longed-for visit with her. She put me right to work cleaning out a cabinet. We found a new set of kittens outside her door and it took all my self-control not to come home with one.

I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed being home so I'll let the pictures tell the story.

I drove to Birmingham and got in the car with these sweet girls. We did lots of silly things like put lovies on our heads to stay happy. It was about five hours to Birmingham and then a little less than four from there to Senatobia. From left: Mary Thorne with Bunny, Elizabeth Magee with Lambie and Poppy with Dog. The second half was much better, albeit louder, than the first!

Mom had a chocolate birthday cake for Sis and I to share. First time every we've shared a cake so, of course, we gave her a hard time about this as she made a big effort to make us feel like we had individual birthdays every year! Net came over and we celebrated 31 with lasagna and cake.

Friday we spent the day at the playgound and in Net's pool. I do not see how Sis takes all three to the pool by herself. Even one-on-one defense was difficult! Elizabeth Magee is into goggles.

One morning I saw this beautiful sunrise on my walk. The perk of being on Eastern time was that I saw lots of pretty sunrises! 

Mary Thorne is into music. She starts bouncing whenever she hears a tune. Needless to say, she was extra impressed with Warren and his guitar and piano playing. There's a video of this in the post below. Net cooked pancakes for Warren, his friend, Julie, and me. Julie declared they were just as good as she had heard!

We went over to Ms. Ellen's to see her horse, Buck. EM kept asking to go see Pete and Angel. This was our distraction technique! Poppy was the brave one and the first to pet the horse. EM thought it was great that Ms. Ellen is Frank's "Ticer" (one of her best friends in Birmingham whose dad grew up with us). They grew up across the street from each other and have lots of fun stories about riding horses!

Ms. Ellen taught us all how to ride and I think I loved our visit way more than the girls!

Saturday night Dad treated us all to the Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell  at the Snowden Grove Amphitheater. He was so funny and the music was great! His advice on making it in the music world? Be famous for something else first.

Sunday morning we headed to Lake Sardis. Once again, Poppy proved to be Miss Braveheart and was the only one not scared of the boat! 

Mary Thorne preferred the boat when it was standing still. I'm sure that will change! Afterwards, we went back to the pool where Aunt Sis impressed Elizabeth Magee with her cannon ball skills. I knocked a contact loose in the process and spent the rest of the day a little dizzy. 

After naptime we went over to Ryan's parents house to see their chickens. This was a bit hit! There was a baby chicken that kept jumping on his mama's back. 

Later that afternoon we went over to Net's house and had (really, really good) fried chicken with Aunt Carole and Uncle Buford. They moved West into his dorm at the Mississippi School of Math and Science this weekend - he is so excited and we are all so proud of him!

We spent lots of time just playing in the living room. Poppy and Mary Thorne both love a rocking horse. Uncle Buford gave this one to Sis and me when we were their age! 

On Monday Oliver's mom and grandmother came to see the girls and I so enjoyed getting to see them. We went to Penny's Pantry for lunch and I think half of Senatobia was in there. Ryan was so glad I saw his all time favorite English teacher, Mrs. Still. I left them there and met my friend Jenna Lee in Hernando for lunch. We had such a good visit that ended at the Dip with a chocolate milkshake. I couldn't leave Hernando without stopping to see these cute kids - Harper will be in 4th grade and Silas in 4k. Can't believe that!

Monday afternoon Mom and Dad took EM to the children's museum. She came back talking about how Frank was too old to be a doctor and would have to leave that up to Uncle Ryan! Apparently the doctor section sparked some deep conversations. 

Siggi being silly. My parents are amazing grandparents.

I painted EM's toes and nails and then she painted my mine! Mom chose this moment to tell me she was out of finger nail polish remover (she really wasn't). She's so funny.

Tuesday morning we went on a long walk while Sis had her CE class in Memphis. We stopped by Net's to visit with her and Aunt Renie who was in town for a doctor's appointment in Memphis. EM was impressed that Aunt Renie is Net's big sister just like she is the big sister. 

Poppy was upset because she wanted to be crawling in the strolling like Mary Thorne is doing in the background. Who knew strollers were so fun?

The "naked ladies" all over town were beautiful. Elizabeth Magee thought the name was so funny when Aunt Lucile told her what they were called. She kept asking "Why are they naked?"

National Twin Day is something I've never heard of but if the Today Show declares it to be, it must be true! We took this twin picture the next day! Please note that Poppy is sitting on my lap. She has finally decided that Aunt Sis is not a horrible clone of her mother. And, in fact, usually says "yes" when Mama would say "no."

We were all a little sad to leave but happy to be back at the same time. EM said, "I want to stay in Senatobia forever." The ride back was long but we made it to Birmingham Tuesday before dark. Mary Thorne loved grossing us all out on the way home by sucking on her chocolate covered toes. She is a ham. 

I got home yesterday afternoon and am now playing catch up with a very messy house, lots of laundry and dirty dogs! Home sweet home.