Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Looking forward to February

I've mentioned, I think, that I'm a summer girl.
(If you've followed the way we Georgians handle winter storms
this week, you now know why!)
I would love to give credit where credit is due, but I don't know the real source of this photo.
It was downloaded from January 29,2014

But.... I'm really looking forward to February!

There are a few upcoming events that I am really excited about.
And... it all started with the Talbot's Catalog!
I don't think I've mentioned it, but I'm also definitely, a Talbot's girl:

If Gymboree made women's clothes, this is what they would look like... and I love them!
So preppy and cute.  (Put down that Snickers! Those are horizontal stripes!)
This catalog screams, "Spring!!" and I'm ready!

February begins with Kenneth and me checking out Million Dollar Quartet - 
a Broadway production re-living the day Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins,
Johnny Cash and you know who

came together and made music history.

February also includes one of my favorite family traditions, 
The Great Valentine's Day Treasure Hunt:

Clue from 2013 Valentine's Day Treasure Hunt 
This year's treasure hunt will be, well, only the best ever!

... and if you put all my favorite men from the screen together, you'd get 
The Monuments Men
which opens February 7!

The Fab Four waiters from the 2013 Central Presbyterian Valentine's Day Dinner

Also that weekend, my friend and great American, JR,
has put together another fabulous Valentine's Day Dinner at our church. 
And. I. Can't. Wait. to see what she'll do this year as she majors in jaw dropping events!

I love the Olympics.  I'm one of those women who adores "all that ice dancing" as
De calls it.  I'm fired up about the opening ceremonies on the 6th.

February also will see piano festivals for Julia, the beginning of the track season for
John, Youth Sunday for them both,
 the beginning of soccer season and (I'm hopeful) the beginning of a permanent
warm up for the south.  It's 11 degrees today!
... so happy snow day today for all of those of you not spending your 24th hour
stranded on I-285 in Atlanta snowlock!
(Our interstate system in Atlanta has been paralyzed for going on a full day due to ice.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snowmen for Sam

Sam has always known how to crack me up.
Laughter and Sam just go together.
For years, he's lived across the street and has been
one of John's best friends.
Baseball, Football, Halloween, Easter Egg Hunts, movies,
swimming, birthdays, spend the nights and a lot of eating,
 are the memories I will always have of these two boys.
Oh... and snow days.

Three years ago, during a rare snow day,  Sam spied the cover of 
Celebrate Magazine at my house.  
"I want some of those snowmen, Miss Christa."
"Uhm hmm".
"This magazine tells you how to make them."
... and I thought he'd forget.
Not so.

Baseball, Football, Halloween, Easter, movies, swimming,
birthdays, spend the nights, more eating than imaginable and now
calling on cell phones and driving in pick ups...
no matter when or where he sees me...
"Miss Christa, Got my snowmen ready?"
For three long years, the answer has been, "not yet, Sam"
Soon he will be 17. A few months before John.
Then in only a year, he'll be leaving that house across the street.

Just like snowmen, childhood doesn't last forever.

At last, Snowmen!

Making Sam's Snowmen:
White Cake Mix and ingredients for cake
1 tub of white frosting
White Candy Melts
Chocolate Candy Melts
Flaked Coconut
White Sparkling Sugar
Toothpicks or small diameter dowel
Mini Chocolate Chips
Ribbon for scarf

Bake cake according to directions on box.

Crumble cooled cake into large bowl.  Stir in entire tub of frosting.
Shape into small, medium and large balls.

Place cake balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
Freeze at least 1 hour.

Using the microwave, melt the vanilla candy melts according to package directions.
Roll the cake ball in the melted mixture.
Working quickly, apply coconut flakes and sparkling sugar.

Let dry and harden completely.

Build snowmen using toothpicks (thin, long dowels work better)
 and more melted vanilla candy if necessary.

The same technique using Oreos, marshmallows and chocolate
candy melts  forms the "magic" hats.
(Dip Oreos and marshmallows separately into the melted chocolate candy.)
Use toothpicks or extra melted candy for the "glue"
to attach Oreo to marshmallow.
(Oh.. and the snowmen tend to be a little top heavy,
 so don't use Double Stuff Oreos!)

Click here or more Snowman love...

...and I'm linking to this very cool party, Sew Many Ways.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Run! Run! Run!

One of the best things about January is the ML5K in Athens.
The coolest things about this race are:
1) It's a 5K.
I've run a marathon.  Believe me, a 5K is way cooler.
2) It benefits ESP of Watkinsville.
So... it's a fundraiser that benefits one very special little girl and
a bunch of her friends.

LP and her Social Chairman Mom, LGP, at the 2013 Chili Cookoff, Central Presbyterian Church, December 8

Not only is this sweet girl one special little lady,
 but her Mom and I go way back.
We were sorority sisters back in the day
(and she still remembers the handshake!)

Our youth group sponsors a chili dinner fundraiser for ESP in December.
Then in January, we use the funds to help sponsor the road race.

Baby O, proud of her sign, poses with John and me

John and I were among lots of church friends who ran,
and another precious little girl, Baby O, cheered us on.
She made the sign herself.
The original read "Rum, Rum, Rum!" (until Mom intervened).

What a great way to end a super nice holiday.
(And to the rest of the country, don't hate, but it was sunny and 70 at
the starting line.  :-)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Becoming a Belle: it's all about collards and cornbread

Making cornbread:
Okay, so choosing a silver pattern is much more exciting,
but cornbread is very, very practical.
This recipe comes from one of our favorite belles, CT,
and John says it is, flat out, the best evah.

Nora Mill Cornbread
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Nora Mill cornmeal - PLAIN
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix 
until completely blended.  Pour into a well greased iron skillet. 
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes. 

So, use the recipe above on New Year's Day.
Serve with a "mess" of collard greens.  That brings money in the New Year.
You're gonna need some of that before we get to choosing silver patterns!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Becoming a Belle Lesson 1

Right now as Julia is wrestling with her Daddy,
I think that my new blog series, 
"Becoming a Belle"
is completely appropriate!
(First of all, Julia, belles. do. not. wrestle.
Their impeccable manners prevent that  :-)

So... this series will capture a few of the things that I want my Baby Belle to learn.
Some of them are quite common, but difficult to master - like making biscuits - some
of these concepts are disappearing from our landscape faster than our southern accents.

While books have been written on the matter of belle being, nothing beats example.
Fortunately for you, Julia, you know 
the authorities.
Nanny, Aunt Martha, Aunt Mary and Aunt Helen have got this down pat.
Their examples are better than any primer!

So getting right down to business...
First of all, Belles are certain of their inheritance:
Isaiah 41:1 KJV
Fear not: forI have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name; thou art mine.

Then, Belles know what to do with this inheritance:
Proverbs 31
 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. we've got lots to talk about, but first I've got to look for my distaff.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Reading through Matthew

When I began my little blog, I planned on doing 
a few posts here and there called "Beauty Secrets".
They were never intended to deal with outward appearances,
and  I can't claim much first hand knowledge in that arena.
I have resolved this year to work on my inner beauty, though.
 My church website offers a great place to start.
Check out Central Presbyterian Church's website, click on the tab labeled
"Resources" and then "Reading through Matthew".
2014 is going to be beautiful!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Taco Soup

While one of my favorite places in the world is
Chic Fil A, (it doesn't take much to make my happy)
I really love beef.  For me, any meal including red meat
is just perfect.  Now that winter really is coming to
Georgia, it's time to make soup!
The low for today is supposed to be 7 degrees!  
We haven't had temps like that in over a decade.
Know what? I'm kinda excited!  
Get out blankets, sweaters and coats
and put on the soup.
It's winter!

Taco Soup
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups celery
2 cans potato soup
2 (16.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (8 ounce) cam tomato sauce
1 can kidney bean, drained
Fritos Scoops

Brown ground beef and drain well.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours.
Serve with Scoops.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Eve (or before the resolutions begin in earnest....)

I look forward to the New Year's Eve party always
hosted by our good friends and neighbors, JT and RT.
Each guest brings finger food and or libations
and for many of us it is the last hurrah before
Weight Watchers begins again.
We eat (a lot) and every year Ron has
a different, fiercely competitive game.  This year,
my team won a game where the players' knowledge of
80's music was put to the test. 
My team won. (Just sayin'.)
Would you remember that Eddie Murphy had a hit
No? You're certainly not alone, but that's 3 points we grabbed.
(Good job, Marla.)

New Year's Eve 2013

Here's to a healthier, lighter 2014.
(But first we're gonna have an awesome New Year's Day Supper
with pork tenderloin, hoppin' john, collard greens, cornbread,
sweet tea and just the smallest slice of pecan pie.)  Tiny. Really.

I have recently stumbled upon this Billy Graham prayer from
The Saturday Evening Post 2008.  Y'all know how I love Billy Graham.

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.
We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year. 
In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love. 
In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need. 
In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost. 
And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).
We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them. 
Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year. 
And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.