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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday's Take-Out

I'm not sure what the deal is but I've been craving comfort food, I mean good ol' greasy home-style meals like nobody's business lately!! (Well, actually I can probably pinpoint the reason - boys, now is the time to skip ahead to the next paragraph - It's a certain time of the month, but that's TMI, really, now isn't it?) 

Anyhow, found this gem of a recipe on Pinterest and knew for sure THIS would quiet my nagging cravings after seeing it was none other than a Paula Deen recipe. I was saved! It was a little more involved than I like some of my meals to be, since I'm a busy working mom, but it was worth every second I spent in preparation. Every single one of my kiddos ate these and licked the plate clean! One even went back for seconds. 
Thanks, Paula. I owe you one. 
Well, this recipe probably added a few more than a pound or two to my waist line, so perhaps, you owe me?  

Farmer's Pork Chops
Via: Paula Deen
www.pauladeen.com 



Ingredients:

  • 8 Smithfield Boneless Pork Chops, about 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Paula Deen’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Paula Deen’s white sauce (see below)

Paula Deen’s White Sauce
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Peel potatoes; slice 1/4 inch thick and cover with cold water.


Slice onion into very thin slices, and then cut the slices in half. Drain potatoes; layer half the potatoes in a well-greased 15x10 inch casserole dish. Scatter half of the onion slices on top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with remaining potatoes and onions. Cover potatoes with white sauce.


 Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high or bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Sprinkled seasoned salt on pork chops and dredge chops in flour mixture. Lightly brown chops in vegetable oil. Do not cook them completely.


As chops are removed from frying pan, lay them on top of potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes.


 The juices from the pork chops will drip down into the potatoes. Delicious!

Paula Deen’s White Sauce :

Melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in flour; add salt and pepper. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Add milk, 1 cup at a time. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 1 to 2 minutes, then let stand at least 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in parsley or chives, if desired.

We served ours with corn and sweet carrots. It was SOOOOO good!!!
If you try it, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday Transcriber Make-up Post

(My) Once Upon a Time...

          My day begins. The time of overthrowing villainous tyrants, wrangling snaggle-toothed monsters and conquering the world is at hand. Today - I make my own destiny (and my bed, if time allows).
          As I sit up in bed and stretch, opening my sleepy eyes to the morning, a sight comes into focus. Mounds of blankets on the floor to either side of my bed, and one very large one in my bed next to me, are slowly stirring and I see 2 tiny clawed toes sticking out of one of the blankets on the floor and tufts of ratted hair poking out of another. From underneath both of those, I hear heaving breathing and low, throaty, growling sounds.
I am surrounded.
          I slide off the bed and tip-toe ever so carefully around the slumbering creatures only to discover another one at the foot of my bed. This one is drooling and growling louder than the first. It seems safe to walk over as this one appears to be hopelessly tangled in the blankets and is half stuffed under my bed. This is one heck of a land mine and I must tread lightly so as not to wake the beasts. If only I could figure out why they infiltrated so voraciously in the night.
Manuervering my way through the treacherous swamplands, I manage to make it to my bathroom and brush my teeth without disturbing the creatures in the other room, although they are stirring more frequently now. One snorted. Forget changing out of my pjs and into my suit of armour this morning or doing my hair or make-up. And the loo is definitely out of the question, all too risky. This maiden will be working on her iron bladder skills. Maybe not all hope is lost...there is another bathroom down the hall.
          Peering out into the hallway, I am dismayed. The light in my oldest creature's lair is on and there is movement in the shadows. There is no evading her. She has eyes and ears that can sense my presence from miles away. In order to pass her territory I must offer a sacrifice - usually a pair of shoes or a cute shirt will work in satisfying her insatiable demands.
          Today, as I pass, she is sifting through the ruins htat is her closet, most of which now makes up the floor of her cave. I try to slide by undetected, but am betrayed by a faulty floorboard.
          "Mom! You're up, good! I need to borrow a purse."
          I gulp. "Which one?"
          "I was thinking the new one you just got from Coach." she says looking at her freshly filed claws.
          "No! Not that one! Anything but that one, I beg of you!" I plead on my knees.
In the end, it is a small price to pay to use the restroom without waking up the little monsters in my room. I spent the next hour tip-toeing as quietly as a mouse disarming booby traps around the house. Some of the most disarming I've seen include, tiny Lego pieces which can leave a hero limping for days; tiny rolling things which can send a person crashing to their doom; or the worst of them - a secret barrier behind passageway doors that, like a cannon, shoot the door directly back at the unsuspecting individual and leave them wondering what happened when they wake up on the floor with a nasty knot of their forehead.
          It's not long before the largest creature awakens in the kingdom, The Grizzly Ogre. But I fear not - he is easily distracted by food and shiny objectss. The worst abuse he's ever let loose is the occasional tickle fight or pillow war. With gnarly teeth (and breath, I might add) he comes staggering out of the master chambers nearly trampling one of the creatures lying camoflauged on the ground. They rouse- but not fully, thank goodness. There is still so much to do in the land before they come to.
          The Ogre sounds off, "I'm so hungry. It's been ages since I've eaten!" He clumsily smashes through the pantry door and upon finding nothing appealing, stumbles to the fridge. He stuffs his face with raw bacon and lefotver pizza, then slams the door shut making an awful racket.
"Mmmm. Gooood." He pats his tummy.
          I pleadingly put my finger to my lips to shush him.
          "Oh, sorry", he mumbles, but not much lower.
But alas, the tiniest prince of the house has been stirred and his cries are made known throughout the kingdom. The inevitable occurs and one by one the creatures crawl out from their slumbering spots.
          Whilst breakfast is prepared for the monsters, Ogre showers.
And so begins the first quest of my day. I must prepare myself for battle. It will be mostly friendly fire but nonetheless - I must prepare for the worst. Since I have not had the chance to make it to the maiden's chambers, I am still in my night clothes, and for this Iam thankful. I don a long apron as my breastplate, a large rag as a shield and several eating utensils as my weapons of choice for this war. Let the war begin...
          The first blow is served by, none other than, the most dashing creature, my oldest son. He and his older sister apparently finished supping at the same time to which they raced to the sink. The girl creature won, much to the dismay of my man-creature, who proceeded to wrestle her to the ground, sit on her face and, shall we say, release built up pressure from his bowels.
          "MOOOOOOMMMM!! Make him get off of me!" come her muffled screams. "It stinks so bad!!" she says gagging. The man-creature giggles. Looks like it's time for my first retaliation. Commence Evil-Eye Stare! The day may still be young, but my magic powers are thoroughly warmed up and the man-creature obeys my wordless order, retreating without further incident. The girl creature gasps and the green color begins to leave her face.
          Scanning the battlefield, I spot the most docile of the creatures, my middle child, although you'd never know this fact by the gruesome mess that is her dismembered breakfast. The toast has been severely scorched and I don't expect it to make a full recovery. The butter has obvious schrapnel wounds, but will pull through. The jelly on the other hand, has been cut to bits and is bleeding out all over the table.
         Despite the gore described, there seems to be minimal damage. I breathe a sigh of relief and, like a foolish unlearned warrior, let my gaurd down just a little.
*SPLAT!*
          I'm hit! Luckily, 'tis a minor flesh wound. I look around at the suspects only to find giggling monsters all pointing in the same direction.
          The tiny Prince sits in his high throne with a severed piece of granola bar in hand and a grin on his lips.
          Surveying the land sends me on Quest #2, and may require the use of a little magic persuasion: Wrangle creatures to get castle as clean as possible (and keep it that way for as long as possible). It's a daunting task but, it must be faced. Otherwise, our world would be overrun by the Underdwellers, scavenging little 6-legged creatures that can overthrow even the most guarded of castles.
          However, I must hitherto admit that convincing all 4 creatures while Ogre hunts up grub is a much more daunting task than challenging even the most resilient of dust bunnies. And yet, divvying up chores proves to be even more counter-productive than washing dishes in dirty bath water.
          "But, Moooomm. I'm supposed to meet my friends in a few minutes", moans the teenage creature. This is the self-same creature I encountered earlier. She has finally emerged from the bathroom I sacrificed a precious item for just an hour earlier. "Can't we do this later when I get back?" she bargains.
          "Well, when will that be?" I indulge her with a tone of negotiation, much to the merriment of the other creatures. With a bit of playing field now, I'm much more confident in my negotiations with her this go round.
          "That's the thing, I was going to ask you if I could spend the night." she smiles, hopefully.
          "Oh, well in that case - no", and I handed her the broom. Teenage creature exhales rather loudly for such an early hour of the day. I look at her and mouth the word "Coach" to her. She begins sweeping diligently.
           "Mom?" comes the voice of my man-creature. "Aren't I too small for chores?" he asks with a look of hope twinkling in his eye, eyebrows raised.
          The irritation in my voice in rising. "No! In fact, in my experience, he who is of smaller stature produces more filth and therefore, must removie it vigorously." Man-creature, kicks his foot at what I can only assume was an invisible imp.
          With chores endowed upon the lot of them, the work begins. However, most of the time this consists of most of the little monsters doing chores that undo someone else's chore and me struggling to keep up while coming along and picking up the pieces. I begin to wonder why I didn't just disperse them into the world and clean by myself, because essentially, this is my work x2.   
          It's not long before my little creatures begin to morph into tyranical little toads like some evil spell had been cast upon them. Gnashing teeth and clawing was not to be unheard of. I was no stranger to this plague. The cure, thank goodness, was easily attainable. I would have to use one of my counter-spells.
         "STOP!" I shout with both arms raised to the sky. As I eyeballed the lot of them, I saw wide-eyed monsters gnawing calves and tiny fingers interwined in tangled, matted ponytails. Slobber dribbled from the corner of one's mouth. The stare I gave was bold, authoritative. I was gaining my ground, my position, back in the land.
          "This will cease or so help me, you are all doomed to a life of endless despair, locked away from the outside world until your insides have rotted!"
          It is at this precise moment that the moral of our story reveals itself. For in walks the man-creature, muddied from head to toe. He has just come back from his obviously perilous garbage-dumping journey. He is being as brave as a little dashing monster can be and fighting fiercely against the tears pooling in his eyes. The dewey-eyed Prince looks at his brother and shakes his head 'no' as he seems to unwittingly know this is the absolute worst moment in time to have arrived in this state of being.
          The revelation dawns on me like a sunrise on Mercury. Apparently, it rained last night, (and from the looks of my little man-creature, it was a torrential downpour that I'm surprised didn't carry us all off into oblivion), which is why the creatures made their camp in my bed chambers.
          "I...*sniffle*, I fell in the mud and now I'm all filthy in our clean house" his little voice cracks under the pressure of his emotions.
          I let my once majestic and authoritarian hands fall to my humble sides. The man-creature turns to go bathe leaving a trail of fresh muddled footprints on the Pine-fresh floors. A disagreeable objection comes from one of the other creatures, the one I'm assuming did the mopping.
          "Wait." I interject pleadingly and walk to him, kneeling by his side. The tear is dangling by a lone eyelash but holding fast. I wipe it away with my thumb. "I think I may have been a bit confused on my earlier words of wisdom."
          "Really? *sniffle* How?" he asks sheepishly, still not looking me in the eye.
          "What I meant to say was 'he who is of smaller stature produces the most cuteness and therefore...(dramatic pause for effect)....must be tickle-tortured!"
          A roar arises from the lot of the creatures, my beautiful little monsters, and they all quickly join in laughing and giggling and smiling gleefully.
          "I hear someone say torture?!" says Ogre as he smashes through the front door from his treacherous day of hunting.
          And we all lived (and learned) happily ever after.

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, February 25, 2013

Modest Monday...(a tribute to the Military)

Is anyone else in love with the muted tones and stream lines of the popular trend of the vintage military look?? I. Am. Dying!! Yet, again, I wondered if this was just a passing fad or a stay-around-style when it hit the runways, but I still fell instantly in love with it. So, I went and got a few items for myself.

This is the very first little military-style jacket I ever bought. I can't remember where I got it, but I get a ton of compliments when I wear it. I usually pair it with straight leg jeans with a red and white striped tank and red heels.
 
THEN, I found these purses within the same week of each other. The smaller clutch I found at, of all places, Old Navy and the vintage-style messenger bag I found on Etsy.
 
Let's get started with the basics. With military, you usually think buttoned up, epaulettes, patches and muted tones like khaki, green, black and brown. Doesn't seem all that interesting at first thought, but look at what stylists have come up with:
This is as basic as it gets, right here. Pair this with a denim jacket, a pencil skirt or black jeans, a cute military-style hat, a messenger bag like mine, some big gold earrings and a bracelet and you'll be surprised with the final outcome. It's extremely versatile and can be dressed up to your personal liking.
Pairing lace or other soft textured fabrics with the stream lines of the military style help to transform it into a feminine-friendly trend. Add pearls or a long gold chain necklace for even more dressy feel.
 
Find a tailored suit jacket like this one and add it to your wardrobe for instant date-night chic or business-casual look. A big bold-faced watch and simple clutch add a sense of confident sophistication.
 
Just another example of great military chic. Find this in a vest and you have a ton of options for dressing it up or down!
 
 
And we can't forget pants, espcially not cute camo pants like these (which can be found at Victoria's Secret)! I am not a camo fan in the least but I do own a pair of these. I typically wear them with nude or black heels and a black V-neck shirt tucked in in the front with a black or brown belt and gold jewelry. Simple, comfortable yet very daring and chic.
 
 Now, that we have the basics down, let's add some funk to it!
If you're not so much into the whole military style or don't feel you can pull it off confidently, try stepping out in a simple yet cute military-style hat first. Then, add other pieces to your wardrobe as you get more confident and comfortable with it. This one or ones like it can be found on Etsy.
 
The hot colors coming up for Spring are pink and orange. I'm sorry but I'm not about to pull out my husband's camo shirt and pair it with some orange jewelry (Heaven help me if that's the next trend to hit the runway). But, look at this take on the military style in bright cheery colors. Totally doable!!
 
Love this hot pink paired with the vertical striped pencil skirt. Slimming, to say the least. Paint your fingernails to match and viola! Super chic!
 
 How about adding a simple military shirt to a striped skirt or printed jeans (which are coming back in now)? I hadn't thought of that till I saw this picture. I will be trying that this week!
 
This red jacket is very eye-catching and reminiscient of an 80s Michael Jackson (and I absolutely love that!). Add some aviators and simple earrings and you're an instant style icon!
 
And who says military has to be all drabby in its color schemes? Look for one like this in gold or silver sparkles for a night on the town! Uh, yes, please! And the great thing about this is that if you're of the older generation and feel like the military style is "too young" for you, but you love it all the same, try this! ANYONE can wear this piece and do so successfully.
 
And don't forget the sailor look! So very popular, even in young children's looks right now. A skirt like the one above can be found at The Limited online.
 
Spring is on it's way and here in Oklahoma, that means that February is cold and snowy, March will be a bit warmer but terribly windy and April will be fair but rainy before we get any enjoyment out of all the budding signs of new life around us. So, don't pack away your jackets yet. In fact, these next few are not only fashionable, but functional military-styled gems.   
 
Love these robin's egg blue and sunshine yellow peas. It's like a walking "Welcome Spring" sign! And the 20s-inspired bucket hat, adorable!!
 
If this post has inspired you to invent your own military chic wardrobe, start by shopping Army surplus or Goodwill. Lots of cool hidden treasures can be found there. You can also find some super cheap gaudy items at flea markets or garage sales and turn them into cool one-of-a-kind items like these:
This upcycled messenger bag can be found on Etsy, here.

Upcycled iPod/iphone case from military canvas.

Old upcycled band jacket with ruffles! (Eee!!)
 
So use your imagination and make it yours!
Happy Modest Monday
and
God Bless America!!







Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Stalker

After a long and wonderfully uplifting morning at a Relief Society conference today, I. am. beat!
Spiritually, I am full.
Emotionally, I am whole.
Mentally, I am repaired.
Physically, I am drained. (Maybe staying up late playing games with friends when I have to get up early the next day isn't such a good idea after all?)

The main theme of the 3 workshops I chose to go to was "Demand in yourselves improvement. Do not expect perfection." The last class was by far my favorite because the message the teacher conveyed spoke straight to the heart of my heart. It was for me, no doubt. And I love hearing about new blogs to start following and today I found one!


Daring Young Mom is a unique inspiring blog from a young mom in Seattle. I'm linking you up to one of my favorite posts by her here, Drops of Awesome. It was the main message of my favorite class today.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free-for-All Friday

For the Love of a Child...

If you've followed my blog for the past month, and read my Tuesday Transcriber postings, and you didn't know me, you'd most likely think I was a dark, depressed individual. Heck, even if you do know me, you might begin to worry about my mental health status.
I'll admit, it's been a rough few months.
We lost a baby through a private adoption fail! We only had the little sweetheart for about 72 hours but the sever was traumatizing, not only because I was having to give a child back (whom I was told was going to be MINE for 7 solid months before we even got her), but because of how it went down. It was beyond odd and soap opera-ish and I'm not going to delve into it with anyone.
It's over.
It's behind me.
However, it still hurts and haunts.
But that story and it's outcome does not define who I am. It does not stop me from being me and expressing myself and my opinions.
In fact, I learned a lot about me and my capabilities. 
We've known for several years we wanted to adopt. We wanted a big family originally, but I was only (ha! only) able to have 4 children before the doctor said it was taking a toll on me to carry them. Plus, I had terrible PPD. So, the option of adopting came into light, but was fleeting. Because in all reality, I wasn't sure I could love, I mean truly love, a child that I had not bonded with through pregnancy and birth. It scared me because I knew that wasn't fair to that child and I just didn't think I had it in me.

It is amazingly mind-boggling what a person is capable of once you turn your plans, your ideas, your struggles, your pride, over to God.
It wasn't until I had a very vivid dream one night that I realized there was a plan for us and it included adoption. I won't describe the dream here because it would take up way too much cyber-land, but I will say this - it was the most vivid, colorful, happy dream I have ever had in all my years of slumber. I had a young artist paint the most predominant part of the dream, which was a huge Oak tree filled with bright colorful silk fabrics hanging from it. I came to realize those fabrics represented children in need of a home, a forever family. A purple silk was wrapped around me and I knew we had one of those sweet angels coming to us soon. We  began the paper work and classes and became approved as an adoptive family in Jan. 2010.
[Fast forward to Jan. 2012]
(Once again, I stalled us from adopting because my fear of the unknown got in the way. A entire year slipped by before... )

We received a phone call that proved not only urgent but life-altering.
The case worker on the other end of the line said "newborn", "desperate need of a home", "Can you?"
My heart froze.
I asked if I could talk it over with my husband, hung up the phone and the next thing I know I heard the word, "Yes" come out of my mouth into my cellphone.
I figured it would be a couple weeks before we actually got the baby so, I was preparing myself mentally and emotionally for a newborn. In about 12 hours I received another phone call stating that the baby would arrive the very next day.
Needless to say, my anxiety levels sky-rocketed. I rushed out to buy all things baby that we no longer had anything of (considering our youngest now was 8!)
It came time to pick the baby up from DHS.
It was a Wednesday.
It was cold.
We were met by several ladies oo-ing and aw-ing over how cute this little bundle was in the back with the case worker.
I shivered slightly. And I wasn't sure if it was because I was cold or nervous, quite honestly.
We were led back to a small room and there, in the arms of our case worker, were the tiniest little face and hands I had seen in a long time, nestled into a soft blue blanket.
And I knew.
He was mine. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Now, I was still nervous, but no longer because I was afraid of not being fair to this child with my love and attention, but because I was afraid I had forgotten how to raise a baby. lol
But mainly, I was afraid that I was going to spoil this child rotten!!
But that is not the case. Not at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite turn of events - he has spoiled us!
We've had Newman since he was 3 weeks old. He's now 14 months old and so very much a part of me that if anything were to happen to prevent us from finalizing the adoption, I'm really not certain my heart could handle the loss.
It kills me, every day, waiting for the court date so I don't have to worry about anything coming between me and my sweet baby boy.
I've not been able to post a single adorable picture or sweet, funny video of his antics since we got him because that would be a violation of his rights, until he is finally ours. I understand that and don't dispute it one bit....but I'm so anxious!!! I want the world to see him at his brightest, with us, in his forever family.
But patience is not my strongest virtue.
I guess I'm getting some practice in for whatever God has in store for me in the future.
*sigh*
So, I'll keep waiting.
I have kept a journal for him from the day we first got him and have posted important events and milestones in it for his curiosity and reading pleasure later on down the road. On the second page I have written down the lyrics to a song I feel describes my feelings for him perfectly...

"A Thousand Years"
by Christina Perri
 
Heart beats fast,
Colors and promises.
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.
One step closer.
I have died everyday
waiting for you.
Darling don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for at thousand more.
Time stands still,
beauty in all [he] is.
I will be brave.
I will not let anything take away
what's standing in front of me.
Every breath, every hour has come to this.
One step closer.
I have died everyday,
Waiting for you.
Darling don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for a thousand more.
And all along I believed
I would find you.
Time has brought your heart to me.
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for a thousand more.
One step closer,
One step closer.
I have died everyday
waiting for you.
Darlin' don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for a thousand more.

  I. LOVE. this. little. man. of. mine.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday's Take-Out


Ok, ok...
Several of you have asked for the recipe for the soup Jonathan brought to the chili/soup cook-off a couple Fridays ago.
I'll give it to you, but you first must understand something....

That was MY recipe!!

I found it, I made it, I tweaked it and made it again, I fed it to my husband like the good diligent wife I am and he loved it the second the spoon touched his dry, hungry mouth. When it came time for the cook-off, he betrayed me! Took my own recipe and entered it into the competition against me!
Do you understand what I'm trying to say here, people?! 
*heaving heavily with blood shot eyes and sweat dripping from forehead*
So.
Now that we have that out of the way, here is the recipe.
(But I'm warning you, if I find this in the next Chili/Soup Cook-off......I'm coming after you...)

Olive Garden's Zuppa Tuscana Soup Knock-off
 Ingredients:
1 lb Sage Sausage
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
5-7 slices of bacon
5 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin (about 1/4")
2 c kale, chopped
1 c heavy whipping cream or half and half
1 qt water
2 cans of chicken broth
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Directions: 
Brown the sausage with the onion and garlic in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Wipe the pan out and fry the bacon until brown and crisp. Set aside on paper towels and pat dry. Combine the water, broth and potatoes in a soup pot until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Add sausage and bacon and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the kale and cream. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer until heated through. Do not allow to boil. 
Serves 4. 


(remember, you have been warned....)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

High Tea with the Crawley family

Let me just start off by saying that if you are just getting into Downton, there is a HUGE spoiler alert here. Do not read any further, but rather skip to the pictures.

You have been warned!!
 
*Hankie in hand, sniffling violently*
How can we go on, how can we survive without Lord Matthew?!
It was hard enough losing Sybil, but Matthew!?
Lady Mary is a strong individual and character and I imagine she'll get on just fine without him...eventually. The fact of the matter is, she struggled to finally snag him (and at first struggled to decide if she even wanted to snag him). And now that she got him, sorted out the fact that they were not incapable of having children and the ever-engaging problem of how to save Downton, my only question is why??
WHY?!
But, Matthew did leave his legacy behind. As LAdy Mary so matter-of-factly stated "We did our duty."
*sigh*
But why...?
Now, I've got to wait another 11 months to find out what happens to the poor baby chap and Mary. And Branson, for that matter!
 
Ok, the coast is clear. You may read on from here...

We celebrated the Season 3 Finale in high fashion with a proper english dinner and tea before the viewing. Enjoy!



 
 
A table spread I think the Dowager would be proud of.
 
"At my age, one must ration one's excitement." The Dowager Countess
 
Our proper English titles.
 
 
"What is a weekend?" The Dowager Countess of Grantham
 
Shrimp Cocktail Shooters
 
Mini Quiche Lorraine and Florentine.
 
Chicken, fruit and nut salad
 
Sausage and Bacon bites
 
Smoked Oyster, olive and avocado bruschetta.
 
Asparagus creme soup
 
Sparkling Georgia Peach and Bartlett Pear Juice
 
The desserts. Caramel Pecan tartlets, Chocolate cream tartlets, tuxedo cups, lace cookies with cranerry-orange curd and coconut.
 
I must say, the food was divine, the company enjoyed and the viewing superb!

The Tuesday Transcriber

"Dark"

I feel it all around me,
neverending,
ever blending
into the vein of my sanity;

Seeping into my soul
completely,
discreetly,
devouring me whole.

I wrestle with myself;
unfair,
unaware
the chain I forged myself.

The dark covers my eyes,
laughing,
lapping
at the tears I dare cry.

Is it all just a game?
Innocent,
impotent
to who and what we blame?

Or is this destruction?
The finale?
Death Valley -
my soul's voluntary abduction?

The story's been penned.
Learn,
or burn?
Just how will my story end?

                                     C. Mason Nov. '12

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free-For-All Friday (part deux...)

Happy Valentine's Day!! 
Here's a look into our festivities...

 It started off with me finding a note from 2 of my kiddos. This one was from Abby - 

And right next to it was this one from Garrett - 


With this super cool drawing on the back! 
(Melts my heart). 
Then, I found this odd black journal sitting next to the notes from my kids. I opened it up to see who belonged to so I'd know who's room to put it in and saw it was addressed to me. THIS is what I saw...
Believe me, tears ensued...love, love this man o'mine!

He also got me these: 


Then, it was time to get crackin' on decor and food for our party that evening! I made these valentine's fans to hang on my burlap wreath. SO easy and super chic! 

Set the table for dinner, was on the list next. Thanks Martha Stewart for the graduating/fading flower arrangement idea. 


Fondue Bar, meat and cheese dip side...

Shrimp cocktail and drinks for all...

Dessert fondue side....

The extras...

 O. M. Goodness....

Then, we played Minute to Win It!


And a little Charades to top the night off...Lol! 





 We made these Valentine boxes for the kids classes. Julia's - 

And her Valentines...

Garrett's box (made in the 11th hour, mind you...)

And his Valentines...

We had so much fun making these!! And they put good use to old used crayons. 
Here's how to do it: 
Unwrap and chop crayons. We realized the smaller the chunks, the less colorful they are. We broke the crayons into 3rds. 

Put in any sized/shaped silicone mold. 

Bake @ 230* for 15 min. or until melted.

Let cool completely (about 20 minutes), then pop out of the mold and glue to your paper backing.



Aaaannnndddd, to top the night off, our little guy decided to take his first steps last night!!!
Stay-tuned for the smash hit video in March...

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