Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sew fun

 These are the fabrics I'm using in my top-secret sewing project for this angel baby. I'm pretty sure I like shopping for fabric as much as I like sewing...so many beautiful patterns to pick from! I've started working on just a tiny bit of The Project, and I think I'm going to LOVE the way it looks when it's done. I hope I do, anyway! It's for Princess Elizabeth's first birthday (in, uh, May...I jumped the gun a little) so I'll have to wait until then to unveil it. I'm thinking I've found a new favorite project, though!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yum, and a Thanksgiving rundown

Well, Thanksgiving started out as a disaster nearing Griswoldian proportions...a trip to the ER, a near takedown of a boiling vat of giblet gravy, a mad dash to get a rapidly-melting plastic utensil out of a 400* oven, a drawer FULL of 50 years worth of silverware dumped out on the floor, a telephone pole down across the road. Shall I go on? Thankfully, we managed to salvage it. It was nice to visit with the various family members who showed up at both of our eatings. I'm especially thankful for a family that can roll with the punches and laugh when plans "fall spectacularly to pieces". (Name that movie.)

On a different note, my recipes turned out to be quite tasty. I'm posting them here in case anybody reading this wants them:

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
printable here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/holidays/scalloped-sweet-potatoes/

2 lbs sweet potatoes
4 strips bacon
1 whole onion, diced
2.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk
grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 325. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices (who the heck ever measures stuff like this? eyeball it.) Boil potato slices for 5 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. Cook the bacon strips. (The directions have you save the bacon drippings to cook the onion. I microwaved the bacon and used olive oil instead of grease. It worked perfectly and was a smidge healthier.) Crumble and set aside.
3. Saute onion until tender. Stir in flour over low heat and stir until a dry paste forms. Add milk, salt, and pepper. I added more pepper than was called for...taste as you go. Cook over low heat and let the mixture thicken a bit.
4. Arrange half of the sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle on half of the bacon. Pour on half of the milk gravy. Layer the remaining potatoes, bacon, and gravy.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

*This is a great alternative to sweet potato casserole (of which I am no fan). Easy and tasty!

Caramelized Onion Dip
from "Real Simple" November edition

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced or diced (I used one white and one yellow.)salt and black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sour cream
chopped fresh chives

1. Melt the butter and add the onion with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes until the onions are very golden brown (but not burnt!). Remove from heat.
2. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, chives, onions, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Stir well.
3. Serve with chips, crackers, pitas, or veggies.

*This was a huge hit. It was even better after it sat in the fridge for a few hours.


Friday, November 26, 2010

One little point

Sometimes, one little point is all you need to get what you're after. That one little point might be just good enough. Today one little point was enough to pull of a giant come-from-behind win, and I'm a really, really, ridiculously happy lady. Here's to that one little point! AU 28-UA 27. Off to gather up what's left of my nerves and enjoy the weekend basking in the glow of that one little point. WDE!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All over the place...and excited

My mind is all over the place today. I have 3,000 things to do before tomorrow, I've got a serious to-do list kickin', writing on the ol' blog is not even kinda on that list, and yet...here I am. Priorities!
  • I fell down my wooden outside stairs rather spectacularly yesterday afternoon. Just call me Grace! I'm sporting a couple of giant, throbbing, wince-inducing, nearly-impossible-to-get-comfortable-on lumps. The landscape of my back (and behiney...) may never be the same.

  • I'm more excited about Thanksgiving this year than I've been in a long time. Can't wait to get home! I'm pretty pumped about the two recipes I'm whipping up for the feast tomorrow. If they're worth eating, I'll post the recipes later.

  • I'm very much looking forward to (and feeling a bit nervous about) the Iron Bowl on Friday. Here's hoping the Tigers hold on to their winning streak!

  • I'm embarking on a new sewing project (a 1st birthday present), but it's a secret. I'm really, really, ridiculously excited about it.

  • Just realized this is the 100th post. Pretty nifty.


Monday, November 22, 2010

God's navy

I read this a while back in my devotional book and thought about it again today. This is one of the readings that really, really stood out to me, and I'd like to share it with anyone who reads this little blog of mine.
We are many, but in Christ we are all one body. Each one is a part of that body. Romans 12:5

"God has enlisted us in his navy and placed us on his ship. The boat has one purpose - to carry us safely to the other shore. This is no cruise ship; it's a battleship. We aren't called to a life of leisure; we are called to a life of service. Each of us has a different task. Some, concerned with those who are drowning, are snatching people from the water. Others are occupied with the enemy, so they man the cannons of prayer and worship. Still others devote themselves to the crew, feeding and training the crew members. Though different, we are the same. Each can tell of a personal encounter with the captain, for each has received a personal call..." Max Lucado, Grace for the Moment, p. 578.

I loved this devotion. I absolutely see myself as a "crew keeper". Not much makes me happier than taking care of other people so that they are equipped to fulfill their role, whatever it is. It's been interesting to keep family members and friends in mind when I re-read this. It's fun to try to figure out who fits in each role in God's navy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On the rolling plains of Dixie

I got to spend my Saturday in my happy place, glorious Auburn, Alabama. As much as I adore Auburn, I'm glad that I moved away...for the sole fact that I get little-kid-on-Christmas-morning excited when I get to visit. It was a stellar day. Tailgating, darling friends, great weather, fabulous seats (albeit in the GA section...which cleared out nicely by the end!), a visit from Sir Bo, a flyover, a gorgeous sunset, and a solid victory. Oh, and this goosebumpy moment, which makes me want to weep and sing the fight song. Bo is such a high-class kinda guy...I bet Michael Dyer won't ever wash his forehead again.

I was unhappy with the thuggish behavior displayed by some of the players and some of the fans (from both teams), but instead of griping about it, I'll just pray for all of them :) One thing, though: how stupid must you be to throw a bare-handed punch, over a referee's shoulder, at a player wearing a helmet? And pads? And a face mask? When you're already winning by more than 2 touchdowns? Does it feel good to get booted off the field like a CHILD and have to run past the student section on your way to your time-out corner? Me thinks no. An Auburn man (at least, an Auburn man with any class and self-control) is better than that. Oops, this sounds unkind. Better get back to praying...see how far I fall? And so quickly! I've got my work cut out for me.

All in all, I enjoyed the day so much. I'm THRILLED that I got to go to this game. I'm so proud of my Tigers and their hard-earned 11-0 record and their guaranteed spot in Atlanta next month. War Eagle!

I was wondering why this UGA majorette had her hair pulled back in such a tight bun. The reason why became immediately apparent to me when she, you know, set her batons on fire. All FIVE of her batons. Engulfed in flames. She was easily the biggest hit of the halftime show.

I love this one of the field...the colors turned out so bright and pretty.

orange and blue sunset

And THIS is how the West was won. WDE.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's all pray for this man

I've been making a conscious decision every day to not speak or think badly about people but instead, to pray for them. Some days I go down in a big fat burning ball of failure, but at least I'm trying. On that note, this man really needs some prayers.

Kanye West is not one of my favorite people. He seems to suffer from a severe case of I-think-I'm-much-more-important-than-I-really-am syndrome. This is a terrible sickness that I hope to never develop...and if I do come down with it, I hope someone will love me enough to knock me down off my self-constructed pedestal. After watching this interview I found on my homepage, it hit me how miserably unhappy Mr. West must be. He needs prayers from more people than just me.

(2:27 and 6:36 are what made me cringe. Ick. Prayers, prayers, prayers.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

Fun fact: Did you know that Birmingham is home to one of the country's oldest and largest Veterans Day parades? This was the 63rd annual parade, and I decided to celebrate my day off work by attending. The weather was stunningly perfect, and I (unknowingly) chose a spot right by the viewing stand...I got to see everything. It was fabulous and very moving; I'm so glad I decided to go. I'm thankful that there are people selfless enough to serve our military and our country. And (let's be honest), it was also a good excuse to play with my new camera :) I love, love, LOVE having a camera where I can adjust the shutter speed and take pictures of objects in motion. That alone was worth paying for! Here's what I came away with:

I think these ladies were my favorite. I would love to sit down and chat with them. What an interesting perspective on WWII they must have!

Marion Military Institute---I wish I could've captured just how many of them there were. It was truly impressive.

This gentleman is nearly 101 years old. He looked AMAZING; his secret is probably sunscreen.

I felt like a creeper taking this without permission, but it was so worth it. I think this is my favorite shot of the day.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my darling family and friends
  • my health
  • my job, and a glorious day off today
  • the men and women who have served in the military and fought for our country so that I can have the freedom to do what I want to do
  • those veterans being much, much more selfless than I am
  • the opportunity to go out to the Bham Veterans Day parade today...fabulous
  • my new camera...still getting to know each other, but I'm learning more every day
  • my sweet students and the things they're teaching me this year
  • a few more weeks until I'm done with my last grad class of the semester
  • being able to afford grad school and the time to do my classwork
  • finally finding skinny jeans made for non-skinny people :)
  • stellar weather this week...it'll spoil ya!
  • getting to see Mr. Bush on TV several times this week...didn't realize it, but I've missed him and the class with which he conducts himself
  • the holidays approaching
  • fun plans this weekend...bring 'em on!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Feelin' a little crafty

I've been in a crafty mood lately. I found a wreath tutorial here and decided to make one of my own yesterday. It was very easy, just time-consuming. Like, I watched "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the time it took me to make this bad boy, time-consuming. (Side note: I adore those movies, don't you?) It was fun, though. I may make one for myself someday with non-Christmas ribbon. My super cool parents are the lucky recipients of this little guy.

(I took all of these pictures with Nikki. We're still getting to know each other. Excuse the occasional blurriness.)

Let's get to it! (Click the link above for specific directions.)

Step 1: Cut a million bajillion pieces of ribbon. (You could use whatever you wanted, but I think the finished product has more visual interest if you mix different textures and widths of ribbon.)
Step 2: Make loops with your ribbon pieces, stick a pin through them, and jab them on your wreath one color at a time. Don't quit and throw it away when your wreath looks as hideous as in the picture below. It does indeed shape up by the end!

Step 3: Keep jabbing.

Step 4: Jab some more.

Step 5: Ignore the fact that you're developing calluses from pushing all those pins. Continue to jab.

Step 6: Jab in ribbon loops until your wreath is sufficiently full. Attach a ribbon for hanging (didn't get there with mine yet) and hang 'er up!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
  • my family and friends
  • my health
  • my job
  • beautiful, cool fall weather
  • a fun day off today spent at Christmas Village with Mimi and Mrs. Linda...it was like an NYC '06 flashback...I loved it
  • a day off next Thursday, and the men and women who have served, fought, and even died in order for me to have that day off
  • the holidays coming up...so much to celebrate and be thankful for
  • my new camera, even though I have yet to take a picture I really like...lots to learn!
  • baby #2 news from a darling college friend
  • the last few days of daylight past 4:00 pm...love this time of year but really miss the sunshine after the time changes
  • the right to vote on Tuesday, and the way it all turned out...here's hoping it's a change for the better
  • getting to break out my Dutch oven to make chili this week...didn't use it all summer and forgot how much I love it...next up: this recipe on top of this
  • fun plans for the next two weekends
  • getting this in an email yesterday...one of my very favorite moments from "The Office"...it's a whole lot funnier when you see the whole episode, but I'll take what I can get :)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet Nikki

Ain't she purty? I've been saving since August for Nikki, and now she's finally mine. I am most excited about her. She has a strap, a pop-up flash, and, get this...a lens cap. A lens cap! I have officially made it to the big time. She makes cute noises and does lots of cool and fancy things. In fact, she's far, far too cool and fancy for me, but I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can. I see lots of adventures in the future for Nikki and me.