Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've been considering getting bangs forever. I think I have been too afraid to do it because I was sort of a mullet child until like 1995.

But I've noticed my monsty forehead more and more in pictures of myself and was thinking that bangs could be great, although i'm wondering if summer might be the worst time to give them a try considering i'll be doing a lot out doors and getting sweaty regularly (hopefully....unless i have a job,  i guess).

so. i was wondering your thoughts on bangs, those of you who have tried them in your adulthood.

the before and after pictures of Dana from MADE are what inspired me to seriously consider getting mine chopped:

thoughts/suggestions, ladies?

Friday, April 23, 2010


I am not much of a cooker. You all have posted some Yummy sounding recipes lately. I tired to make a new recipe tonight - beef and potato casserole. But half way through I managed to slice the tips of TWO of my fingers off; only leaving me to call Preston to quickly get home, bandage my fingers, and finish the dinner I was graciously trying to make for Him. He knows very well - I am no Martha Stewart. In fact, its better if I just stay out of the kitchen all together. However, give me a room with a sewing machine and I can go to town.

I love sewing. I had sewn a lot before Kale was born, making a nursing wrap, all of Kale's cloth diapers, liners, wash cloths etc... While he was so little I hardly was able to get much done. For some funny reason, I thought I would get a ton of stuff made, and even my scrapbook done when I was on maternity leave. Little did I know, it was going to be all I could do to get some sleep, laundry, and house chores done. however, now that he has gotten a bit older I have managed to find more time to sew, as I have learned to juggle him and everything else.
Recently I have been making a sun dress; I hope to wear down at the Baby beach blast over memorial weekend. It's been my first time ever using a pattern. I'm not quite done with it; but with my grandma, and a few more hours, it should be finished soon. Aside of making the dress I have been ripping out some baby bibs, and wet bags. (This way in my sewing I can feel like I've accomplished something).
I needed a new wet-bag for our cloth diapers - something that was big and could hold two days worth of diapers before I did the laundry. I made this one, and it has been awesome!
Also, Kale has needed some more bibs. I thought we had a lot, actually more then enough. However, I was wrong. Between eating solid foods, and all the daily drooling - I can't keep any of our 20+ bibs clean. So I made some. These turned out great; and they were practically effortless. I did snaps on some and velcro on others. I picked out some printed material for one side, and the other is a plain chenille. (which is so soft!) The best part of these bibs was that I had SO MUCH fun making them. So anyway that's what I have been up too lately.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More big news!

Graham Charles Parnell is here!
7 lbs 13 oz
Born April 20, 2010

Congrats to Merritt, Brent, Avery, and Griffin!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35

I don't know why bread has such a monumental effect on me.

There is nothing exciting about it's appearance and yet as far as I am concerned, there is literally nothing better than a loaf of crusty bread, good quality olive oil and a bottle of red wine. It feeds my soul. Why is that?

Maybe it's just an association that I have grown over the years to have with it. Perhaps, based on something like the verse above. It plays such a huge role in the life of the Christian metaphorically. And it's the core of Jesus's message to the Gentiles.

Or did you ever read the Box Car Children? As a child having read the story, I often thought of those four poor, orphaned children, where a loaf of bread was such a tremendous gift to them. Every banquet, dinner party or reception that served crusty rolls, had me savoring every bite of that simple treat thinking back on those kids and how tasty it must have been to their hungry stomachs.

When JP and I got married, for some reason, I thought my ultimate goal in domestic success was to be able to one day make leavened bread in it's finest form, crusty on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. Just like the French.

So after about 4 years of marriage and numerous failed attempts at bread making (I've put all this pressure on myself throughout life!), I got acquainted with a bread maker, which was a Godsend. And since then I've made all sorts of really tasty breads with just the push of a button. The other week, our poor bread maker decided it had had enough and needed a sabbatical. Horror! What were we going to do?!? So as we wait for our part to come in the mail, I decided to try my hand once again at the old bread making by hand. And, dang it, it was going to be crusty, just like the bakeries in town.

I searched for hand made crusty bread, chose the first recipe I found (which was from the The New York Times; I figured it was some professional trying to adapt the process to those of us cursed with anything containing yeast) and ALAS! I can do it! I'm here to tell you that I have arrived (and I'm barely over 30!). So here's the recipe. Try it for yourself. You will never turn back, I promise.

And for those of you living close to our new mommies, please take them some. Lord knows they won't have time any time soon to get to this frivolous cooking!

Adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

Time: About 45 minutes plus about 3 hours’ resting and rising

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough


1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, (with a towel) but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel (parchement or wax paper works for this as well) sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone (all I had was a stoneware pie plate which works but you can only bake one at a time) on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup (I'm gonna try 2 cups water to see if it will get any crispier) hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Yield: 4 loaves.

Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.

I know 6 cups of flour seems like a lot, but go ahead and make the whole batch. That way you have the dough all ready to go for the next meal and just have to pull off a piece! We hammered two loaves over dinner last night but then maybe we are gluttons. If you are using refrigerated dough, then let rest 1 hour and 40 mins before sprinkling with flour and slicing the top. Now go ahead, humor me and scroll back to the top. That really is MY bread. Isn't it beautiful?!? Now let's see if I can actually do this again...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thanks Anna!

The weather today is great. 
And my little house is actually pretty hot from this Spring weather. 
So I'm getting to enjoy my new skirt for the first time.
 I'm lovin' it!

this is just about the worst picture of me I've seen in awhile, but I wanted you to see me in it. 

and no, i'm not wearing panty-hose that is the ACTUAL color of my legs!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yummiest Easiest Ever!

I'm putting together my grocery list and menu for this week again. I hate doing this. And I was thinking that I wish I had your staple meals so that I would know what to try this week. Then I got to thinking and wondering what our "staples" are. I'm not sure we have too many, but this is one. But it's dessert, so it doesn't count.

 Does it?

I made a double recipe of this yesterday so that I could take some to a meeting at my church and have some for Landon (and I) at home. I received this recipe from a friend a few years back. She said it was the easiest, yummiest dessert ever and had brought a copy of the recipe to every one of us gals at the Bible study.

She was right. I love this stuff.

It is very easy: ALL ingredients go into the bowl at the same time and can be mixed with a spatula. I love that - i hate accumulating tons of dishes after using spatulas, measuring spoons, a bowl for dry ingredients, a bowl for wet ingredients, and then the mixing thingies and baking pan and everything. yummy desserts really shouldn't be that messy and high-maintenance. 

And all of the ingredients you should have in your house. I just had to buzz to the store and get an orange. One orange is all you need - unless you follow ALL of the directions... And I use vanilla yogurt sometimes instead of plain and it's just as good.

okay, i'll just get along with the recipe so you can get closer to enjoying it!

Orange-Yogurt Cake
Martha Stewart Living, December 2006 (who else?)
printable recipe here
(photo by butter and sugar - i swear it looks exactly like this!)

  • unsalted butter, softened for pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • 2 large oranges (1zested into thin strips, both segmented) -( i have no idea what this means and never do it :))

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Stir four, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg and vanilla in a bowl. Pour into pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes, Let cook on a wire rack.
2. Place zest strips in a bowl. Stir in segments and remaining tablespoon sugar. Garnish cake with some segments; serve with the rest. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

I'm not sure the high altitude allowances, Anna. I think that adding another tablespoon or two of flour wouldn't hurt (mine has come out sticky ever since we moved here), and it usually takes this cake at least 30 minutes to bake here at 4300ft.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Stuffed Taco Potatoes

I heard of people using potatoes and then topping them with a bunch of taco type stuff. I actually have that planned for this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Rub whole potatoes with sea salt, pierce with a fork and bake at 400 until done.

Split them open and top with:
black beans or ground beef
red and green bell pepper
purple onion

Broil them until the cheese melts and the beans are warm.

Then finish with:

sour cream

You could also put in chicken, broccoli and top with some cheese. Isn't there a place in Atlanta that is famous for their topped baked potatoes? Seems like Williamson Brothers does a version of it too.

You can also make mashed potatoes, adding a sweet potato into the mix. It makes them beautifully orange and yummy delicious!


okay hannah....

i must admit that i love potatoes, regardless of the carbs!! i'm posting 3 recipes but 2 are soups...but i thought that since you are still getting snow, maybe its not too warm for soup! the other idea that i had was "shepherds pie" but don't have a really good recipe for it. you could always look on if no one else has one...

Baked Potato and Broccoli Soup

1/4 cups flour
28 oz chicken broth
3 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
cheddar cheese, green onions, and bacon bits for topping

Whisk together flour, and 1/3 cup broth until smooth.

Combine remaining broth and next 3 ingredients in a dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in flour/broth mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in milk and cheddar cheese. Cook mover medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts.

Top with desired toppings. Enjoy! (I normally serve this with a big salad and rolls...)

Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef, browned and crumbled
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced (i use the side of my grater to make really thin, round slices)
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 onions, diced
1 can corn
3 small carrots, sliced
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 cube beef bouillon
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cups water
oregano, basil, garlic salt, pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a layer to cover the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle the celery over the potatoes and then cover with ground meat. Throw in remaining vegetables. Add seasonings. Mix together the soup, bouillon, and water and pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
(This is a really hardy soup so I normally don't even serve anything with it)

Honey Roasted Red Potatoes
(i'm thinking you could use regular pot. too)

1 lb potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 11x7 baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil.
Place potatoes in a single layer in dish and top with onion.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Drizzle over potatoes and onions.
Bake for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring 1/2 way through cooking time.

"What's 'taters Precious?"

Alright, lovelies....

Boring post topic - but I was hoping from some responses from you brilliant ladies.

(photo by authorwannabe)
Landon and his buddy bought all of Idah's potatoes for their climbing trip, of which they ate zero. In other words, I have a garage full of potatoes. I don't really like potatoes. Not really. They are full of carbohydrates and they don't even taste very good (in my opinion). But alas, I can't handle watching them go to waste, so I will be dishing them out.

I was wondering if you would maybe post a potato recipe that you like - we are already getting sick of roasted rosemary potato wedges around here. Hailes, can you post the potato bar recipe that you served us all at Christmas?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our Biggest News in 2010!

Leland June
6 lbs. 3 oz.

Born April 5th, 2010

Congrats to
Garrett, Crystal & Little g!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Celebrating the Risen Lord

I think that Easter is the one, most important holiday to Christians. And being back in the Episcopal church, I have found that there is much meaning and ritual associated to the leading up to the biggest celebration in our faith. There is pretty much something to commemorate every day of Holy Week and you can even take it all the way back to the beginning of Lent. Taking the time walking, praying and experiencing that through these services, makes Easter all that much more meaningful and glorious.

But I have to admit, that past couple of years, we've not managed to participate in any of it outside of Easter morning. Finding childcare and arranging to be there is just too much hassle in reality. Besides, not to mention a very easy cop out.

The whole idea of Lent pretty much brings you down, way down, as you come to grips with what actually happened all those many years ago to Jesus, a person just like you or me, and yet so much more. The stations of the cross are painful, not to mention, depressing. The reality is larger, more influential, and easier to envision as I get older maybe. It's just a lot of emotional work if you really set aside the craziness of life and spend the time to reflect and mourn the loss of that perfect life.

But then as Easter morning comes, it's all that much more powerful to see, experience and celebrate.

So, maybe next year I'll actually have the guts to really take the time to reflect and walk that long road of sadness, redemption and finally, the pivotal celebration of the miracle that our Christianity revolves around. I'll stop hiding behind the easy excuses. It's not a simple thing to experience. It's like going to the third world. Once you've been, it changes your perspective on the ordinary, what you know and are comfortable with, in a way you could have never intended or imagined. It's painful but a stark reminder to what lies beyond ourselves.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Tradition

We began what I hope to be a new Easter tradition. We made paper mache eggs. Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of flour to make the paste. My mom suggested using wallpaper paste that you can find on clearance at the store which I think we will try next year. Try to coat the strips of paper with the "paste", layering to cover the entire surface of a balloon a couple of layers thick. Let dry over the course of a couple of days.

Here we are getting started.

After they dried for a couple of days, we went back with a thinner paste this time, covering the entire egg and then laying the strips of tissue paper over the shell.

Here is Neenas with his finished egg!
We made a nice warm nest to "hatch" them in and...

...would you know that they hatched this Easter morning with all sorts of goodies!?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A New Snack Idea

I am always looking for healthy snack ideas for the boys outside of the typical PB and Ritz. I ran across this idea in a magazine a few months back. Graham crackers, topped with ricotta cheese and drizzled with honey.

There's just something magical about honey. I often times find myself in a trance while putting it in my tea or oatmeal as I admire it's golden beauty. This is just another excuse to use it I guess. Sorry a total diversion. Whoops. See, I'm tranced with a mere picture of the stuff.

I know how some of you may feel about ricotta cheese, but the next time you have a little bit left over from making lasagna, then think about trying this out. I'm stocking up to make sandwich versions for Diddle's class next week. If I can get them to eat spinach and cottage cheese on crackers with a face made out of olives and cheddar then I bet they totally dig this.

Disguise is the key, I've found, with preschoolers! My boys will eat anything with a face on it!