Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011–Part I

Hello, everyone.  Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas.  I know we did!  I'm beat, though.  Besides all of the hustle and bustle and goings and comings, we have been battling bugs around here.  Little Lucy felt absolutely miserable the whole weekend.  She had an “awful” ear infection according to the doc and ran “beaver” as high as 103!  Poor baby! When she just wants to lie around with her head on your shoulder, you know she’s feeling bad. Thankfully, she was on the upswing by Monday, but it looks like she’s shared her germs with me and Ty. Yuck!

We took so many photos over the holiday.  There’s just no way I could share everything with y’all at one sitting, so I’ve decided to split it up and just take things little by little.

My monkeys love to dress up.  Ty wore this elf costume last year when he assisted Santa at the restaurant.  He pulled it back out again this year and wore it around the house for three straight days!  When he finally took it off, Lucy seized the opportunity and donned it herself.

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The Tool Man said she looked like a Christmas version of Friar Tuck.

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Poor baby.  You can tell from her eyes that she just wasn’t feeling well.

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I spent the entire day before Christmas baking.  I made a total of 8 cakes and pies.  Some were old favorites, and some were new finds from Pinterest.  Some were for our family, and some were for others.  For the most part the sweets turned out great, but I admit there were a couple of flops, all of which were new recipes.  When will I learn to stick to the oldies-but-goodies?

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A little cooking lesson for you:  I wanted to show y’all what a pie crust should look like when it’s rolled out.  You see all those light spots in the crust?  That’s butter, my friends.  Wonderful, glorious butter.  As the pie crust bakes, the water in the butter evaporates, and the resulting steam creates pockets of air that make for a flaky texture.  Just thought I’d throw in a little science for y’all this morning.

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The hits:  Sweet Potato Pie, Carrot Cake, Hershey Bar Cake, Coconut Cream Pie

The Misses:  Cinnamon Roll Cake and Tres Leches Cake.  They weren’t awful, just not worth trying again.  Tres Leches cake just sort of reminded me of wet, soggy cake, and as far as the Cinnamon Roll Cake goes, my old-faithful Honey Bun Cake recipe knocks it out of the park in both taste and ease!  I’ll have to share that with y’all another day.

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Christmas Eve.

Time for bed.

You know what that means.

Time to put out some cookies for Santa!

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This picture makes me laugh.  Ty was in his skivvies here, so he quickly wrapped up in a blanket to avoid any embarrassing pictures.  He’s learned these pics go directly to the blog.

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To be continued…


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Little “Bone Collector”

Shhhh!  Be veh-wee, veh-wee quiet…

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Do you see that deer right there? 

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Yeah, that’s the one.  My Dad got these pictures this fall on the trail cameras behind his house.

My beautiful picture

Ty was able to go hunting one evening with Papa a couple of weeks ago, and this spike got a little too close for comfort.  POW!  Ty dropped him in his tracks.  I’m not sure who was more excited about this one…Ty or Papa.


Something fishy is going on with this deer though.  Those antlers haven’t been seen since the night Ty killed this spike.  It’s really been bugging Ty not to have his “deer horns.”  But something tells me he just might find them again Christmas night.  Hmmm…….

My little deer slayer.  Only 7 years old and already 5 deer under his belt!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

At the Farm

Sunday we had family-get-together at the Tool Man’s aunt’s house.  The children always have the best time visiting Aunt Pam and Uncle Rusty.  Their place is a regular menagerie.  Ducks, rabbits, peacocks, horses, goats… You can see why the children have so much fun over there.

All the kiddos took a turn on the horses.  The Tool Man was in charge of leading the children around the pen.  You may not know this, but before I came along the Tool Man was part cowboy, and it looks like Lucy shares his love of horses.  She was not afraid of them at all and insisted her daddy take her for a ride.

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After everyone got a turn on the horse, Uncle Rusty brought the goats around for a snack.  Each kid got his own bucket of corn to share with the goats.  The little ones had a hard time keeping the goats’ noses out of their buckets.

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Lucy wasn’t satisfied with just feeding the goats, though.  She just had to take a ride on one.  Ha ha.  This was too funny.  She used the goats horns as handlebars.

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Lucy thoroughly enjoyed riding Mother Mary (and for all of those born north of the Mason-Dixon Line, that’s pronounced “May-ree.”)

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Finally, Santa popped in for a short visit with all the kids.  Everyone knew it was really Uncle Rusty, but for the most part they played along.  Lucy was the only one who would not sit in Santa’s lap.  She had big alligator tears rolling down her cheeks, poor baby, but she warmed up a little when he pulled a teddy bear and lollipop out of his bag for her.

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You might be wondering about Ty.  Well, he had his fair share of fun too.  Most the time he was out prowling around the countryside with his older cousins.  Or he was, as I like to call it, playing “Price Is Right” with the pool.  You know, getting as close as he possibly could to the water’s edge without going over.  Thankfully, he managed to stay dry.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cooking with Lucy

Without a doubt, our favorite dessert around this house is most definitely BROWNIES!  Straight out of the box.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  The last time I stirred up a batch of brownies Lucy insisted on assisting.  She didn’t let the fact that she was too short to reach the counter stop her.  Lately, she’s been going to the pantry and pulling out a box of peanut oil to use for a stool.  Seeing her dragging this box all around our house reminds me of a little stool I used to have that had these words printed on top,

This little stool is mine.
I use it all the time,
To reach the things I couldn’t
And lots of things I shouldn’t.

I’m afraid this box of peanut oil may get Lucy into trouble someday.

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Of course, the absolute best part about making brownies is getting to lick the spoon.  Lucy enjoyed it so.

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In case you are wondering, yes, she did get chocolate batter on her crisp, white shirt, and yes, it did come out in the wash.

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You know it’s gotta be good if you get it all over your face, and it doesn’t bother you one bit!

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Nothing like an ice cold Diet Coke to wash it all down.  Ahh!  Just  for the taste of it…Diet Coke.  Anyone remember that jingle?

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Here’s a fun little picture I just had to share with y’all.  My mom has a very similar picture of me wearing about twenty strands of Mardi Gras beads.  I remember putting all those beads on my neck and thinking that I must look like Mr. T.  Ha ha!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

He May Not Look Like Much Now…

Last night the Tool Man and I took the monkeys over to my Dad’s house so they could meet his new baby, a Mastiff puppy.  Although the puppy (he doesn’t have a name yet) weighs only about 8 lbs. now, he’ll be tipping the scales at about 200 lbs. in 18 months.  Yikes!  That’s no dog.  That’s a small horse!  Can you imagine?  A 200-lb. dog?  And he could grow to as much as 30” tall at the shoulders.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog that big.  Thankfully mastiffs are known to be a gentle breed, and they are good with children.  I imagine it’s because they in no way feel threatened by them.

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This little guy is so calm and quiet.  I know he’s just a puppy, but we are all hoping he retains this laid back temperament.  We aren’t really hyper-active puppy people.

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Ty and Lucy absolutely loved having a dog to play with.  Actually, I think Lucy enjoyed the doggie toys just as much as she enjoyed the dog.  Santa may have to bring her some chew toys this Christmas.

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Hard to believe that this cute little puppy will be almost 8 times the size of Lucy in a few short months!

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Ty thinks that Papa should name the puppy “Hershey,” probably because that’s what his cousin, Reese, named his dog.  I think he should call the dog “Tiny.”  One other name in the running is “Badger,” as in Honey Badger.  Oh, yeah.  Geaux Tigers!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Blogger Today

Happy Thursday everyone!  Y’all are in luck.  I’m giving you an early Christmas present.  A special guest will be blogging for us today.  It’s my very own monkey, Ty.

A couple of nights ago the Tool Man and I got to missing Ty.  We knew he was upstairs, but he was being very quiet.  Too quiet.  If you have children, you know that nothing strikes suspicion in a parent’s mind like a quiet kid!  So the Tool Man snuck upstairs to see what Ty was up to.  He found Ty recording this video blog.  Ty was so proud of his video.  He insisted that it was for my blog, and I’m happy to post it here for all to see.  He took this video so seriously.  My child is a nut, I tell you!

A little background info before you push play:  Ty had just received a gift from a family friend.  It’s a “Santa Bag” in which a child places his letters to Santa.  The video is mainly about this Santa Bag and about Ty’s Christmas tree.

I hope y’all will enjoy this video as much I did.  Be sure the volume is turned all the way up.  Ty was speaking rather softly, as he explains in the video.

Christmas Tree Boy


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How I Spend My “Free” Time

Hello.  Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We sure did.  There’s no doubt that Christmas is my favorite day of the year, but when it comes down to it, Thanksgiving yields that same special time with family minus all of the stress.  I’m beginning to appreciate this fact more and more every year.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’ve been working on getting the house ready for Christmas.  This weekend I managed to set up the tree, and it’s about 90% decorated (there are still a few more ornaments left to unpack and hang.) Ty also got a full-sized tree in his room this year.  Here’s how he reached the top branches.  Very resourceful!

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School is also back in session this week, much to Ty’s disappointment.  But I tried to make him (and me) feel better about this by pointing out that we’ve only got three weeks until we’re out again for Christmas. Whoop whoop!

Ok.  Now time to get to why I’m here today…

Sharing about my favorite pastime.


Oh, the hours I could spend “fetching more pins.”  If you’re on Pinterest, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  My creative side absolutely loves browsing through photos gathering inspiration for my next crafting, decorating, or cooking adventure.  Pinterest is the main reason why my blog has been feeling a bit neglected lately.  If I’m not actually on the site, I’m making something I’ve seen on the site.  Which brings me to the point of this post…

Sharing a few of the things that I’ve made with inspiration gathered from Pinterest.

Waffle Hashbrowns

Waffle Iron Hash Browns.  I made these for the Tool Man one morning last week.  They turned out really good!  So crunchy, which is exactly what I like but can never seem to achieve.  Next time I want hash browns, I’ll definitely cook them like this.

Turkey Tube

Turkey Tube.  This was Ty’s inspiration.  He woke up early one morning and crafted his own version of a turkey while I was still asleep.

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What do you think?  Ty couldn’t find an empty cardboard tube, so he made his own with construction paper. Also, as you can see, he is a firm believer in scotch tape!

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup.  This was a delicious and super easy recipe.  I tweaked my version a little bit, adding a few extra ingredients like fresh onions and peppers and some seasonings. Also, I served my soup over a bed of hot, steamy rice.  We enjoyed this soup so much so that I made a big pot of it to sell at the restaurant this week.

Window Frame

Window Frame Display.  (I pinned this photo myself, and I have no idea where I first found it.)  I’ve been saving a old window for the past 7 or 8 years, just waiting for the right project to present itself.  This week I finally decided it was time to do something with it.  Here’s my version.

Lucy's Window Frame

I made this for Lucy’s, using some family heirlooms and things I picked up at flea markets.  I love how it turned out!  The blue card was given to my parents when I was born.  The bib is Lucy’s, and the baby bootie was given to a great aunt of mine about 70 years ago.  I think this project is a perfect shabby chic element for Lucy’s room.

Chicken Burritos

Crispy Chicken Wraps.  Yummy much!!!  I made these this weekend, and the Tool Man and I gobbled them up during the LSU-Ark game.  (Maybe that’s why they tasted so good!)  Shredded chicken, rice, beans, and cheese all rolled up in a tortilla and grilled in a pan.  The secret to making them crispy is to spray the outside of the tortillas with Pam before cooking.  So good!  My stomach is growling just thinking about these.  The recipe calls for black beans, but I didn’t have any on hand.  I did have a can of refried beans, so I used that instead.  Also, you were supposed to use chopped red bell pepper.  Didn’t have that either.  Instead, I just added a couple of spoons of picante sauce.  Mmm mmm good!!!  I can’t tell you how much the Tool Man loved these.  Definitely a recipe to remember.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this seemingly random post today.  If you are not following me on Pinterest I invite you to check out the link on my sidebar.  And if you are not a member of Pinterest, I would certainly recommend starting an account of your own. The inspiration is endless.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

Hope all of you have a wonderful day this Thanksgiving.  Our celebrations actually began last night with a Louisiana-inspired gumbo meal with the Tool Man’s family. Yumm-O!  Today we’ll have Thanksgiving lunch at my parents’ house, feasting on the traditional turkey, dressing, and my favorite, sweet potato casserole (with pecan praline topping, not marshmallows.)

I don’t know who’s been more “thankful” for our Thanksgiving break from school, the pupil or the teacher.  I bet I know who needs it more.  That’d be me!  I’m just plain tired.  Plus, there are so many things around here that I want to do but just don’t have time for when we’re doing school.  This was going to be the week for me to catch up on crafts.  Unfortunately, with all of the cooking I’ve had to do, all of my “fun” activities have been pushed to the back burner once again.Sad smileNow maybe with the cooking out of the way, I can squeeze in a craft or two before the new week begins. I want to tackle a project or two for Lucy’s room, and I have a few Christmas gifts to sew.  As soon as these projects are done, I hope to share them with y’all.

In the meantime though, here’s what’s I’ve been cooking up this week:

First, a birthday cake for 6 year old Zack. Yea, LSU! Beat Arkansas!!

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Besides the birthday cake, I had a few orders for some Thanksgiving desserts…

Carrot Cake

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

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I was so proud of the way this pie turned out.  It looked (and smelled) amazing!  Just wish I could have taken a big ol’ bite of it.

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Last, but not least…

Gooey Butter Cake

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With a name like that, you know it’s gotta be good.

And rich.

Very rich.

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Besides all of these glorious treats, I also whipped up a gi-normous pan of dressing.  Huge!  When it was all said and done, there was a grand total of 27 eggs in it!!  Whew!  I can’t wait to dive in.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Unique Cake

I just realized that I never officially shared my latest cake creation with y’all.  This cake might be the most unique cake I’ve done so far…

It’s a tuba!

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The birthday boy plays a tuba in his high school’s marching band, and he requested a cake shaped like his instrument of choice.  Not being very familiar with tubas, I had to do a little research to see exactly what they looked like.  Let me tell you, there are a lot of tubes on a tuba!  (Maybe that’s where it got its name. Ha ha.)  I opted to streamline this cake version of a tuba and included only a few pipes and tubes, but I think you still get the idea.

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To give the tuba a 3-dimensional effect, I carved the larger, wider portions of the horn out of cake and covered those parts with fondant.  For the smaller tubes, I rolled fondant “snakes” and laid them into place.  When I had the shape of the tuba like I wanted it, I painted the whole thing with edible gold dust.

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Then I added a few symbols to emphasize the musical theme.

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So what’s cooking next week?  Well, I have a chocolate pecan pie and an “LSU” cake to make for a customer.  Also, as the C.E.D.M. (Chief Executive Dressing Maker) for my family, I’ll be turning out a big ol’ pot of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving dish.  And just in case there are any yankees reading this post, “dressing” is the correct term for “stuffing.” Ha ha.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Baking Just for Fun

Well this past week marks the first week in a couple of months that I have not had to bake a cake.  (Unless, of course, you count the sweets I made for the restaurant, which included a heavenly Coco-Cola Cake – Yummmmmmm!)

Never the less, I found myself in the kitchen, whipping out treats purely for the fun of it.  I’m not gonna lie to y’all, though.  Not all of my baking endeavors turned out for the good.  My Dad requested a pecan pie to share with his brother who was visiting from out of town.  But unfortunately, with all the distractions of two little monkeys, who shall remain nameless, I managed to add twice as much butter as called for in the recipe.  Bummer.  I realized this about 30 seconds after I popped the pie in the oven, and I did my best to salvage the filling.  In the end the pie actually tasted fairly good, but it looked like it had been beaten with an ugly stick.  When it comes to cooking I believe at least half the appeal is in the way a dish looks, so I was none too happy with this little pie.

So the next night, I decided to redeem myself by turning out a recipe of Paula Deen’s Lemon Blossoms.  I think I succeeded!

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These little bites of goodness are so petite and cute that it wouldn’t be hard to make oneself sick eating them.  You could very easily down a dozen before you even knew what you were doing.

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This is a glorious little recipe that begins with a boxed cake mix.  Take it from me, there is no shame in taking a little help from a cake mix now and then.  Especially when you doll it up with some extra ingredients.  And certainly when you are a mother to two little monkeys!

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I’m sure you could find this recipe elsewhere online, but if you’re interested, I decided to save you the trouble and post the recipe here.  It comes from the book Paula Deen & Friends.

Lemon Blossoms (Makes approx. 5 dozen)

  • One 18.25 oz. package yellow cake mix
  • One 3.5 oz. package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray miniature muffin tins with cooking oil spray.
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, and oil and blend well with electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Pour a small amount (about 1 Tbsp.) batter into each cup of the prepared tins.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Turn out onto a tea towel.
  3. To make the glaze:  Sift the sugar into a mixing bowl.  Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 Tbsp. water.  Mix with a spoon until smooth.  With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they are still warm, covering as much as the cake as possible.  Place on wire wracks over wax paper to catch any drips.  Let glaze set thoroughly (this may take an hour) before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

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