Friday, June 29, 2007

Miss Potter

I waited and waited for this to come out on dvd. Brent's mom mentioned seeing it (and raved about it!) in theatres in the late spring, and I could not find a theatre near that was showing it then. So I had to be patient...and it was worth it!

A lovely story of Beatrix Potter...Hadleigh and I have been reading some of her stories together at naptime...a beautifully filmed inspiring story, especially for someone who also wants to write stories (no illustrations for me though!)...whimsical elements...great performances, especially by Renee Zellweger...and the English countryside!

It now sits in our dvd collection...hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Lately, I have found so many things that are inspiring be more creative...more entertaining...more organized...more I thought I'd share a few places with you. (And sorry that it has taken me all week to get these inspiring ideas to you...we've been plagued with internet issues...grrrr....)

  • First of all, if you have been in North Texas between April and now, you probably haven't been able to miss the rain...lots and lots of rainy days. Those inspire me! It's coming down in sheets right now!
  • My friend Jillian has been inspiring me with this... just looking at this banner makes me want to have a huge 4th of July celebration. (And she's selling the banner kit in her etsy you can have one too!)
  • I found this website a few weeks ago: MatthewMeadStyle. It is full of entertaining ideas, collectibles, yummy recipes, and just beautiful things for the home! You can see lots more in his archives section...fabulous stuff for all my favorite seasons! (Love the ice cream cone idea!)

  • Aby has some great organizing tips and fun ideas on her blog and website, Simplify 101! Like this great use for Target dollar spot galvanized tin buckets:
  • And here's a recipe blog after my own heart, Dessert First! Yum! We just bought an ice cream maker and have been enjoying it immensely! I'll have to try that recipe for Nectarine Sherbert soon!
  • And tomorrow, I will share with you an inspiring movie (rental) recommendation for the weekend...a must-see! Now, I'm off to enjoy listening to the rain and some scrapbook supplies!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Clean vs. Neat

This weekend while Brent's mom (lovingly called Kammy) was visiting, the two of us talked about keeping things clean versus neat. We both agreed that keeping things neat, tidy, and organized comes easily to us. But neither of us just love to clean, though it must be done.

I often apologize to friends in advance for my house not being more "clean". And of course, they come over and express disbelief at how I could think things were dirty. But they really mean neat. I am pretty good at reigning in clutter...but I just really don't like cleaning. I wish I loved to vacuum and sweep and scrub baseboards but it just doesn't come naturally.

So I love it when I find cleaning products that work really well and/or make my cleaning responsibilities a little bit easier. So I thought I would share some with you.

Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush Toilet that it scurbs easily, flushed the yucky stuff away, and hangs discreetly from the side of the toilet, thanks to the enclosed hook!
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser...seriously, works wonders on just about everything! I keep stocked up...because you never know where crayon will end up! (Nathanael hasn't yet figured out why I willingly give him the white crayon when he's running around the office.)
Scrubbing Bubbles Flushable Wipes...nice and easy...I really just use these for cleaning the toilet surfaces, although you can use them in the bath and sinks.
Sprayway Glass Cleaner...I was raised on Windex, but for mirrors, this really can't be beat! Makes leaving a streak-free mirror pretty easy (...although never ever ever ever again will I have a huge sheet of mirror in a bathroom...)
Easy Off BAM Grime, Lime, and Soapscum Remover...okay, seriously, this is the best stuff. We have hard water and our glass shower door was impossible to clean until I found this. It makes clean up so much easier...just make sure to wear gloves, cause the stuff is pretty strong.
Bounty Paper Towels...I can't remember the name of the particular towel, but I think they are the ones that are supposed to help prevent streaking...I like them because they hold up well and last awhile.
Bar Keepers Friend... is a great cleaner for the kitchen. I use mine especially on my AllClad Stainless Steel cookware and my copper teakettle (a friend gave it to me as part of a wedding gift...and it was a great discovery!) It has many uses, so check it out!
And it's hard to see in the picture, but our "dustbuster" is in the picture too...and it makes such an easy job of cleaning the crumbs from the two spots around our dining room table that consistently are a mess. Can you guess whose seats I'm talking about? Brent brought ours home a few weeks ago, and I am so glad he did. I pull it out all the time!

Now if only I could find an overhead vacuum system that would retrieve dust periodically throughout the day...because our house is dusty 10 minutes after being dusted. I am not exaggerating! Thankfully, dusting is one of the chores I enjoy...a great way to multitask while talking on the phone!

Do you have any great cleaning products you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I am SO very sleepy. Brent's mom was in town visiting (hence my blog neglect), and so we had a few late evenings together (and a very fun visit! I'll post some pictures soon.) Plus last night we had a crazy thunderstorm with incredible high winds...70 mph with gusts up to 90 mph from what Brent told me. For the first time, I am thankful we have no big trees near our house because there was this huge bang against the house that woke us up at 1:30 am or so. I first thought "A tree just fell on our house." And then I remembered that our trees are really little with no nearby trees that could cause such a sound. The noise was the fence gate next to our window that until then had not been shut completely.

After checking to make sure we had no tornado warnings, we eventually fell asleep...but let's just say that tonight, I will go to sleep EARLY!

So I wish I had more leftovers from last night's dinner because it was SO I have to share! (It's an older Southern Living recipe.)

Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole

1 (16-ounce) jar mild salsa
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed
2 (19-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Combine first 3 ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup sauce mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart oval or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with frozen cheese ravioli. Layer with black beans, chopped cilantro, green onions, and remaining sauce mixture; top evenly with shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

2. Bake, covered with aluminum foil (lightly sprayed with Pam, to prevent cheese from sticking), at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. I served it with chips and guacamole...everyone loved it!

And now, I'm off to make a cup of tea to try and wake up a little! Lot's more to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Caramel-soaked French Toast

I made this on Sunday morning while my friend Shannon was visiting. And it was oh-so-yummy. Crisp on top, caramel-y on the bottom...perfect french toast, in my opinion! And I reheated leftovers the next day in the microwave, and they still tasted great! I hope you enjoy...seriously thinking we need to have them again soon! Oh--note that you have to refrigerate for at least 8 hours before cooking!

Caramel-soaked French Toast

1.5 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
10 slices French bread
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2.5 cups milk or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar *
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon*
1/4 cup butter, melted*

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Pour caramel mixture evenly into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Arrange bread slices over sauce, squeezing to fit in all slices.
2. Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients; stir well. Gradually pour mixture over bread slices. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon, stir well. Sprinkle evenly over soaked bread. Drizzle melted butter over the bread.
4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden and bubble. Serve immediately.

*These ingredients will be needed after the french toast has been chilled.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Emily & Ryan

On June 2, I was privileged to be a part of Emily and Ryan's wedding day.

Emily and I were pretty much inseparable in our first few years of high school. We used to talk about what our wedding days would be like and dream of who we were to marry.

So I knew that Ryan was "the guy" the first time I met him...over Christmas of 2003, I think. There was just something about the way he treated her, looked at her, spoke with her. I remember smiling at Emily later that night and wondering to myself (and maybe out loud to her) when the wedding day would be.

And it was a beautiful day (the rain held off until we left the reception, indeed an answer to prayers)...the ceremony was outside on the golf course...and I can't remember a more beautiful setting for a wedding than this...God's creation was the perfect backdrop for such an occasion. Emily and Ryan were radiant, so happy to finally be man and wife.

Thank you, Emily and Ryan, for such a special day, for being such special friends.

(And thanks to Jill and Jane for sending me the pictures from the wedding! Below is one of my favorites of the bride and groom, taken during the rehearsal dinner.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

We love you Mimi!!!!

Today is my Mom's birthday...and my grandmother always used to claim she was 21-plus when asked about her age!

So happy 21-plus to you still look far too young to have four children over 21 and two (almost three) grandchildren! I hope that you have a very special day...and a wonderful weekend at the beach. Wish we could join you there...

I pray that God would bless you this next year...for I am blessed to have the dearest mother and friend in you. I love you!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

If you give a mouse a cookie

So yesterday during her "naptime", I hear Hadleigh squealing in her room "Don't tickle me, don't tickle me" with a real sense of delighted panic (like when she's playing with Nathanael or her Daddy). She was really noisy, so I went inside to tell her to be a little more quiet. She told me "He's tickling me." When I asked her who, she said "The mouse." And pointed to the cover of her well-loved copy of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. I keep smiling when I think of that conversation yesterday...the imagination of a child is such an incredible thing!

So in honor of Hadleigh's imaginary animal-friend, I thought a cookie recipe would be fitting for today!

And since we ran out of our stash of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies last week, I plan on trying this recipe soon. I found it in the 2002 Cooking Light Annual Recipes and the woman who submitted it claims these taste just like Thin Mints...I'm hopeful!

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 Tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
2. Combine brown sugar and next five ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for two minutes. Beat in egg white. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until well-blended.
3. Coat hands lightly with cooking spray. Shape dough into a 6-inch log. Wrap log in plasstic wrap and feeze one hour or until firm.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Cut log into 24 (1/4-inch) slices, and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yields: 2 dozen

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just wanted to share...

we're having a GIRL !!!

And we're so excited!

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