Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Big Little Lies

I've recently finished reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Like her last book, The Husband's Secret, I was gripped from page one. But I made myself read it extra slowly! The chapters are really short and so it's easy to fly right through it. Even Ryan commented about how long it was taking me to read this book!

It's about three women and their friendship, schoolyard scandal, bullies both big and small, how we really don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and what really happened on Trivia Night. There's a dead person after the school fundraiser but the question is: Was the death a murder, tragic accident or just parents behaving badly?

You must read to find out! Here's the NY Times review.

Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have bought the film and television rights so it'll be exciting to see what becomes of this!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Garden Talk III

Where or where did this cold weather come from??? Fortunately, I never got around to planting anything last week, but my little seedlings are beyond ready to leave their little cups and my zinnias are so leggy looking I'm afraid they're about to walk off. Hopefully, this is it for cold weather and it'll be okay to plant by Good Friday (which is when "they" say to wait to anyway). But I always get impatient and want to jump the gun.

New things are continuing to pop up!

Hosta coming up in the back bed by the garden. 

See the brown shoot coming out of the middle of the banana tree stalks? It wasn't doing that last week. Look at this grass, I mean weeds, in our back yard. Ryan says he will mow this week!

I have no idea what these are and will update after Net tells me:) They look like they are drooped over, but they are supposed to look like that! I think they should be called Eeyore plants.

I believe these little purple flowers are called sweet violets and I'm not sure what the tall, leafy things are but they are sprouting up all over the beds in the back.

Grape hyacinth (muscari botryoides) have popped up in several places. I love these tiny plants!

These little purple flowers - thrift - also survived the winter in my window box! They are all over our neighborhood and vary in shades from light purple to dark violet. In the foreground is lemon balm. This stuff spreads like crazy. My neighbor says you can make tea out of it. 

Look at this azalea trying to bloom! Go back to sleep, little friend! I covered all the azaleas with old sheets before the frost this weekend so hopefully they will be okay.

I spent some time clearing out this bed by the back steps where the hydrangeas are sprouting green leaves. Scout, as usual, is my little helper and very curious as to what I'm doing :)

And in other weekend news, I saw a very dear friend from Ole Miss on Saturday!

Cameron was in Clemson for a horse show and got in touch a few weeks ago. We made plans for lunch and went to the Pot Belly Deli. It felt like we were back in college until we noticed how young all the Clemson students looked! We picked right up where we left off - like we had just had lunch at the Tri Delt house. 

Sis and Oliver's wedding was the last time we saw each other! That's waaayyy too long. But now that we are both on the East Coast, we've made plans to get together again soon!!!

We talked about the time one of our horses tried to buck her off. And I knew I had a picture from that day. This must have been 2003 or so - I'm in front on Pete with Sis behind me and Cameron is on Lady. Who knew then that Miss Hunter/Jumper would turn into a reining champ! Maybe Lady inspired her...

Links to Garden I and Garden II posts.

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Mom

My mom came to visit for a few days this week and (as always) we had the most wonderful time and enjoyed every second! She's always up for anything and went to my Pilates class on Wednesday and Barre class on Thursday. Everyone commented it was very obvious we're related! The Life Center (the fitness center of GHS) is great, and I was so glad to introduce her to my rowing budding, Phil. We discuss our TV shows and garden plans at least once a week!

On Wednesday afternoon we did a little retail therapy and then had facials at the Paul Mitchell school. Afterwards we felt like we'd had naps and massages too - it was that relaxing! Ryan got home and we all headed downtown to look at the spring flowers and eat at Roost.

This is the beech "Root Tree" along the Swamp Rabbit Trail going into Falls Park.  

Ryan's been wanting to take bread to the ducks in Falls Park since we moved here. Of course, he is ignoring the posted signs that say: "We're full! Please don't feed the wildlife." But Dr. Doolittle thought they looked skinny. 

I sent this picture to my dad and he remarked that Ryan is a wolf in sheep's clothing! Lucky for these ducks they don't live in Marks, Mississippi!

This isn't where we ate but it's one of my favorite places and I thought it looked so cozy with the lights and the rain!

Mom and I played so hard on Wednesday that Thursday we took it a little easier! After Barre, we did a little antique browsing and then met Jennie at The Local Taco for lunch - currently my favorite Mexican food in town! We also visited the barn where I go ride. It's moved to Traveler's Rest since Mom's last visit and there's a new tenant. This is Shamrock. 

Mom cleaned scrubbed my oven. And it sparkles! When my brother was little he'd get upset when Mom cleaned her own oven - he said that Mama Jean liked to do that! I'm glad Mom is continuing this tradition :)

I'm looking forward to her and Dad coming back this summer. Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cherry Blossoms & a Georgia Wedding

One of Ryan's good resident buddies got married this weekend in Macon, Georgia and we were thrilled to be able to go. The drive between here and Macon was gorgeous on Saturday morning and most of it was not along the interstate so we saw many farms and small towns where everything was beginning to bloom. Is it me or do the spring colors seem more intense this year? Maybe it's just that they are so appreciated after winter! I was our driver so there are no pictures to show you of the drive - Ryan doesn't enjoy hanging his head out the window for the perfect shot like me:)

We ate a late lunch at the Rookery in downtown Macon. The downtown area reminded me of Oxford - it's obviously a college town - and the Cherry Blossom Festival was going on so there were people everywhere. We waited half an hour for a table but the hamburgers and battered fries were totally worth it!

While our food settled, we followed the Cherry Blossom Trail through the area around Wesleyan University. I never seen such beautiful trees. And they were everywhere! Excuse the picture overload, but I couldn't pick my favorites!


The wedding was beautiful and sweet and made me feel all sappy inside. I think the longer you're married the more you appreciate and love weddings. And all they symbolize for the two lives going forward as one.

And the reception was fun and full of great food and beautiful flowers. Jennie and Craig were also there - it was fun to know someone besides the bride and groom. We enjoyed comparing the differences between Southern and Northern weddings. They had never heard of a groom's cake and never been to a wedding that started after six p.m. I had never seen the wedding party introduced at the reception or the toasts given at the wedding (both of which I think are great ideas!).

Us with Jennie and Craig.

These two haven't done much relaxing since July 1.

Each layer of the cake was different flavors - butter almond, chocolate and carrot.

Ryan and Katie

Us with the happy bride and groom.

We had long sparklers at our wedding - I love them!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Garden Talk II

Hurray for the first official day of Spring! And for it being my brother's 28th birthday! Happy, happy Birthday, Thomas! You're my favorite brother (and not just because you're the only brother).

The weather on Thomas' birthday is always so divergent. One year it still feels like winter and the next it's full-on spring. This year it's leaning more towards spring, and I'm trying to record exactly what's popping up in my yard so next year I'll remember what is what. I've sent quite a few pictures to Net this week asking, "What is this???" Fortunately, she's had all the answers!

New things around the yard (since my last garden post):

A pretty pink hyacinth has popped up in the back yard - it's a member of the lily family and Net tells me to fertilize it!

A rose bush - I fed it RosePride fertilizer earlier this week. It looks like a few of the branches aren't coming back to life so I may trim them off. Let me know if there are any rose experts reading this - I am definitely not one!

Did you know that "all the tea in China" is made from the leaves of camellia shrubs? I believe my camellia is a joponica - but I may be wrong! Wouldn't be the first time:) Camellias are also known as the rose of winter. 

Iris coming up along the drive way next to the porch. Also, jonquils have popped up along the drive way and in the front flower bed.

I'm hoping these are tulips coming up in the flower beds in the front yard.

And in the garden:

My strawberries are coming along just fine and a few more have come up in other beds so I've moved them to the strawberry bed. From what I've read, it's best to rotate your crops in their garden placement to cut down on disease. But I don't know if this applies to plants like strawberries that will come back each year?

My zinnia seeds from Wal-Mart sprouted up right away. Unfortunately, only one seed from my zinnia from Eudora Welty's garden came up and it's looking a little pitiful.

Our generous neighbor, Don, passed along seedlings for squash, peppers, tomatoes and more a couple of weeks ago. It's been interesting to watch them grow and right now they all look like the same plant. I planted my squash seedlings because they were bending over the cup they were growing in and breaking. Not looking too hot right now so these may need to be re-started! And these seedlings will be going in the ground over the weekend.

Hope you have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's for Supper?

When the seasons change I get the urge to try new dishes and these fit the bill nicely for earlier spring...

Pecan crusted trout - I had pinned this recipe but then noticed Fresh Market had already done all the work for me for $5.99 a pound. So I just went with their version. It was delicious and company worthy! I did pan fry the fillets with a little olive oil and butter instead of the instructions to bake it. I'm sure baking would have made it a tad bit healthier! Served with Brussels sprouts from the farmer's market and rice. 

Spring soup! Actually this is called Scallion Soup - here's the recipe. This was amazingly simple to make and very tasty. And costs about $4 total. Can't beat that! I used half-and-half instead of cream because that's what was in the fridge. You could easily use milk or leave it out all together. 

Cabbage Rolls -  a combination of this recipe and this one. For the meat filling: 1 pound ground beef, 1 egg, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup raw rice and salt and pepper. For the tomato sauce: 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 lemon juiced, 1/4 cup red wine, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper (all to taste). One of the recipes suggests freezing the whole cabbage head and then putting in hot water to make the leaves easier to peel off. That works pretty well, but I should have taken off the core before putting in the freezer. Discard the first layer or two of leaves - the inside layers are softer and sweeter. This made eight rolls and I thought they were even tastier the second day.

A themed supper is always fun so on St. Patrick's Day we had Bangers and Colcannon with Guinness Onion Gravy. I found Irish bangers at the Fresh Market but I think you could substitute smoked sausage. Colcannon is a mixture of mashed potatoes and cabbage that has been sauteed in bacon and butter. Healthy, right?