Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mooseltoe Christmas

When J & J were small, this was one of our favorite Christmas books:


Product Details

This Moose was an organized wonder when it came to Christmas.  (My hero!)  He tried to make everything "perfectly perfect", and it was.... until he forgot the tree.  This book is a cute read for anyone of any age - especially people like me who take Type A to another level - especially  at Christmas!



Every year for the last ten, I've used Ann's Amazing Holiday Planner free templates that were found on Disney's Family Fun website.  This year, they are gone, so I opted for a new planner that I found at www.brownpaper--packages.blogspot.com.  I love it even more!  I plan to print 10 more years of templates just in case these disappear :-)

organized cover

from www.brownpaper--packages.blogspot.com
this redirects you to the cutest blog ever: simplykierste.com

Speaking of holiday planning, do you know Mary? If not, meet her at my new favorite blog for all things culinary: deepsouthdish.com.  Then go to her "Christmas Cookies, Candies, Southern Christmas Dinner Menu and Recipe Ideas".  Then be amazed. (I understand she has a cookbook that will be out soon.  I'll be first in line. I'm such a fan.!)

Last year, I saw this idea on Pinterest:


Genius! A simple way to store and organize your gift wrapping


This organized wrapping station was wonderful for keeping things neat and mobile.  Sometimes you want all that stuff in the family room so you can watch "The Grinch", too.  Roll it right on in.
(Obviously, the credit here goes to acasarella.net. Check that beautiful blog out and like me, you'll wish you had more time to copy  be inspired by some of the featured projects.)

For gift ideas, I decided to stay at home.  Our local weekly paper ran an ad last week that explained the monetary value to the community when commerce stays local.  I admit it.  I love shopping online, but since I, myself, work at a local Athens business, I thought I would highlight some others with wonderful wares that would make great gifts. Here are some of my favorites:

The Pearl Girls is a business that has beautiful jewelry at all price points.  Nothing whispers southern lady any more beautifully.

R. Wood Studio Ceramics
Interesting pieces to complement or anchor any table.

Phickles Pickles, now on Baxter Street 


Morning Ride
Jittery Joe's Coffee: an Athens staple


One of the best presents I ever got was a gallon of my favorite Brunswick stew


Anything from here.  Really.

There's a great gift shop here that features locally made products


Gift Ideas
Striplings General Store
With everything from sausage to T shirts to a delicious Southern Breakfast basket to decorated pigs...

So whip up those Thanksgiving dishes, then let the shopping begin!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Disney Halloween

My co-worker, BFF and great American, JB, and I share lots of laughs, lots of interests and one definite passion: Halloween.  This year, like most, we dressed up for Halloween at work, but unlike the others, she and I decided there should be a theme.


So, we had a Disney theme.  Suffice it to say that TT and JB were hands down winners!

Has there ever been a better Queen of Hearts or Ursula outside of Walt Disney Studios? I think not!

JB as Ursula

SD as Fawn

TT as Queen of Hearts

Yours truly as Minnie

MS as Clarabelle and CB as Doc McStuffins

LH as The Mad Hatter
I don't know if the others have as much fun as TT, JB and I, but they play along and we love them for it!  JB and I started talking about and planning this months ago.  Sadly, a very busy end of the month Friday and impending inventory kept us hopping.  (In years past, our CEO has dressed up, played along and taken us all to lunch.) This year the festivities were kept to a minimum because of the schedule, but everyone still looked great and JB and I are already talking about next year....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Season

"Oh how we love pumpkin season.  You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right?
Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin... we anxiously anticipate it every year."

Trader Jo's Fearless Flyer, Pumpkin Season 2010



A local church, Milledge Avenue Baptist,  has the coolest fund raiser every year that benefits their youth and childrens' ministries: selling pumpkins... and lots of them!


Washington Farms Pumpkin Patch has a corn maze and "pick your own pumpkins" for sale.


Sure it's pumpkin season, but this is still the Land of Cotton...


And some of the most fun occurs during pumpkin season:






John is number 91...


Jules and buddies pinked out for pumpkin season.


"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and 
THE GREAT PUMPKIN." 

-Linus van Pelt, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just Dance

When the high school guidance counselor and John were going over his schedule this summer, I got tickled when he asked, "How about dance?"  It really cracked me up when John said, "Sure!".
John loves to dance and he's good at it. He has enjoyed the class this semester and I hope he can continue through spring semester as a member of the Swing Team.



My hat is off to Ms D at NOHS.  Half way through Wednesday night's dance program, I thought, "Wow! I'll bet she goes home tired everyday!"  Her hard work and that of her students really paid off.
The program was very nice and I enjoyed seeing some of the young dancers who were so  unbelievably talented.

video

I think that John just enjoys the break from his AP classes and Chemistry.  He enjoys being with friends and the girl to guy ratio of about 30:1!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Eat Athens VI - NONA

Our "Eat Athens" campaign has been kinda sidelined after the beginning of school,  This was due to several factors.  The first of which is that the adults went on a diet and the kids' schedules picked up to the point that we were just participating in "Drive Thru Athens". We're not giving it up, though, and we went to a place for our wedding anniversary that I have been dying to try for sometime: NONA.  NONA is "New Orleans in Athens".




Those who were in and around Athens fifteen or twenty years ago will recall the old Gautreau's that was in East Athens.  I loved it and I miss it.  It was this nostalgia that fueled my very high expectations for NONA.  It was a very nice anniversary meal, but it wasn't Gautreau's.  We had lunch there because we had an evening football game.

I had Crawfish Etouffee and De had Grilled Chicken Maque Choux.  It just wasn't Gautreau's. I could go on and on and on about the Crawfish Etouffe they served.  Yum!  NONA's  etouffee was okayish, though not as spicy as I like and the side of collard greens was good.  De enjoyed his meal... all except the weird side of creamed spinach. (Had I payed dinner prices for my etouffee, I think this review would be harsher.) We had an appetizer of Raw Oysters on the Half Shell with hot sauce and horseradish, which was good and we didn't have dessert.  A major disappointment was that beignets are only offered at brunch on the weekends. ( I guess we could have called ahead to ask about that, but we don't think things through that far!) Our service was just fine.  Our bill including sweet tea - which De thought was good - and coffee was around $50. (Fifty bucks for two - no alcohol, no dessert and... the lunch menu - just keep all that in mind.)  I would try NONA again simply because it has such a fun, lovely atmosphere, but for this trip, I give it 3.5 out of 5.

Crawfish Etouffee

Grilled Chicken Maque Choux


NONA is located in the old Harry Bissett's building, so that is nostalgic in itself for me.  Harry's was quite the place to go when I was in college.  It is a beautiful building and has been nicely redecorated for the new restaurant with three pretty spacious (looks tiny from outside, so this is surprising) separate dining areas.



Every other year, (for about twenty!) we've gone to The Last Resort for our anniversary.  It is an Athens eatery that never disappoints.  I can't say that NONA will fit the bill when it comes time to decide on the venue for number 22!  So far, Last Resort holds the lead firmly for my favorite celebration destination!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kirkin' of the Tartans

Here our family wears our tartan and carries our banner for the Kirkin'
It is a curiosity in my church that while others may say that Easter or Christmas services are their favorites, so many of our members say that it is the "Kirkin' of the Tartans" service.  This service is uniquely Presbyterian and while it celebrates our church's (kirk's) Scottish heritage, it is uniquely American.

Because our minister has done the research, I will shamelessly plagiarize our bulletin from this service:

The History: The ceremony of Kirkin' of the Tartan is of American origin, though based on Scottish histroy and legend.  In 1746, Scotland came under British rule after losing the Battle of Culloden and druing this rule the Scots were forbidden to carry arms or wear kilts or tartans representing their Scottish heritage.

The Legend: This act promoted the stubborn Scots to secretly carry a piece of their tartan as they went to the kirk.  The minister then slipped a blessing (a kirkin') into the service for the tartans.  This tartan prohibition lasted for nearly 50 years.  At the repeal of the act, the Church of Scotland celebrated with a Service of Family Covenant, at which time the tartan of each family was offered as a covenant expression for the Lord's blessing.

The First Kirkin': The Saint Andrew's Society of Washington, DC held the first kirkin' during the early years of WWII.  The late Dr. Peter Marshall, a Scot, then Chaplain of the US Senate and Pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, led the service in 1943, choosing"Kirkin' of the Tartan" for the title of his sermon.

Drums and Bagpipes provide the music for this service


Tartan banners line the front of the church

Baillie Ancient Tartan

I was able to order scarves and ties from scotweb.co.uk.  They were reasonably priced and were delivered in about 2 weeks.  Since this service occurs every year on Reformation Sunday, we will be able to wear them again.  And you know what?... I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Goodbye, Baby A


During the last few weeks, I've enjoyed countless blog posts and Pinterest pins on the glory of Fall. I've enjoyed the cooler weather, college football, boots, pumpkin spice coffee and all other goodies she brings, too. I've also spent the last month being angry with summer.  That's right.  Summer is a thief.  She breezes in with promises of beach trips and lazy days, but I've found, she wants something in return.  She has taken from me before, so I should have seen it coming.  This was ruthless though. Just as she was sneaking out on September 22, she grabbed something so precious:

"I know my ear trick is darling"


"Nanny's party wore me out"


"Mama, look what I got you for Christmas!"


"I was going to be Cujo until Mama found this ridiculous glow in the dark pirate costume"

It has been hard to adjust to homecoming without wagging, walking alone with no panting, grits in the morning with no begging and sitting down to watch TV with no petting.

To quote one of the most wonderful kiddie lit authors ever,  he was, "precious and priceless and fascinating and winsome".  (-Kevin Henkes, Chrysanthemum)

Soon, another dog will come into our lives - cause who can live without one?  There will never be another Baby A - lover of grits, running, squirrels, CHILDREN, balls, his Chic Fil A cows and most of all - our family.  He is sorely missed.


Archie "Baby A", "Mr. Pants", "Angel Baby"

May 3, 2007 - September 22, 2014

The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common.
Our Lord God has made his greatest gifts the commonest.  - Martin Luther