Archive | January, 2012

Staying in

If you are sick, you stay away from others.  At least that is the rule my grandmother passed along to my mother and now to me and Wes (and I’m pretty sure it is what most doctors say as well).  While it’s not the fun option, and you may not even be “very sick” BUT canceling your plans when you are sick is the polite thing to do.

Well, today I reluctantly had to take our own advice and we had to cancel on our church supper club group.  I’d been looking forward to it for a while now, but Wes reminded me (as I was trying to justify why we should still have it) that missing something fun is nothing compared to the chance that we might cause others to feel bad or get sick.

As you can guess, all three of us are officially down for the count with a cold/virus.  Rand got it first, then me, and this morning Wes woke up with it.  In order to cheer myself up, I decided to look back through the photos we took over Christmas.  I never got around to posting them so here goes…

On Christmas Eve morning, I gathered with my high school girlfriends for our 15th (?) annual ornament exchange. Rand got to play with his friends Ryan and Rebecca. Here he is with Ryan…

On Christmas Eve we were so busy, I forgot to take pictures. We went to early Church and Rand was on his best behavior for the Children’s Nativity. Maybe some day he’ll be a shepherd or wise man himself. After, we gathered at our house for family dinner. James did snap a photo of the yummy apple cider margaritas we had with dinner. Recipe here.

On Christmas morning I didn’t take any pictures here at home, instead we shot a flip video of Rand, but I don’t have it uploaded yet, sorry. After, we headed over for breakfast at Grandmommy’s house and Rand was pumped about his new wagon, race cars and picaboo bear.

After Grandmommy’s, we headed over to Ema & Pop’s.  We are so blessed to have Grandmommy and Ema less than 5 min away from each other!

Here’s Rand with the only other two “blue-eyed” family members:

Ema and Pops were great hosts and spoiled us with a beautiful homemade meal.

Rand gave out lots of hugs and kisses and everyone wanted to play with him/hold him. He was definitely the best Christmas present for all of us this year.

Especially daddy!

The next day, we headed up to Raleigh for Christmas part II with the Capassos. Can you guess what MJ’s favorite Christmas present was? He sure takes after his mom and is a cheerful cleaner-upper. Now I’m thinking we should have just gotten him the real thing!

Don’t you keep your dirt devil in a circus tent too?

Again, Rand gave out the hugs and kisses. Sweet boy!

I seemed to have left out a lot of family members in the photos (most all of my photos seem to be of Rand…) and there are tons more photos from Christmas, so if you aren’t sick of us by now, you can see the entire album here.

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Around town

Yesterday was a big day. Rand learned how to drink out of a straw! I really didn’t have to even teach him, just gave him a new sippy cup like this one with a straw, and he just did it on his own.

Wes’ mom suggested we try a straw sippy cup (we’ve tried the other ones and he can drink from them, but we have to hold them for him) and so I picked one up when I was out… unfortunately only color left was pink.   Really it made all the difference to have the straw. Now he is drinking water like a champ. The book I’m reading stresses that it is important for kids to have water with meals when they eat solid foods (more on the meals and Rand’s 9 month appointment later!).

Rand and I stopped by the local Habitat Resale store just to see if they had anything fun and although we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, we did see some cool things…maybe for your home?

I love this coffee table. Probably because it looks like the one I already own. Would look cool with the faux bamboo painted red, don’t you think?

Saw this fun preppy blue and green chair. It was in great shape, so you wouldn’t even have to recover it.

Really nicely framed horse lithographs. I may have to go back for these.

I must have been on a horse-kick because I was also drawn to this weathervane. I can just imagine it painted a bright pop color like green or turquoise or red. Apparently green is the “it” color for the spring…

That’s all for now. We are lying low today with some stuffy noses.

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Friday Photo Flashback

This amazing January weather we are having reminds me of Brant & Claire’s wedding weekend – a beautiful weekend we spent last January in Jekyll Island, GA.  Who would have thought it would be 70 and sunny the last weekend in January.  Well here we go again!  And…an early Happy Anniversary to Brant & Claire!  I hope the sun is shining in Indiana for you this weekend.

Does it look like we had fun? Well, we did.

So did the Bride’s family

Me…a little over 7 months pregnant with Rand.

We all stayed in the restored Crane Cottage

(this image from Jekyll Island Resort)

It had a beautiful courtyard where we gathered pre-rehearsal dinner

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful setting for a wedding

We went on lots of beach walks over the weekend (Preggers wasn’t allowed to ride bikes around the island like everyone else…)
Driftwood beach was my favorite.

Me, brother & sister

Awwe…matching jackets

Lots of family catching up time

The End

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Food (part 1)

Several readers have asked me for some easy recipe tips.  While I’m still “in training” myself…I’m happy to pass along what has worked well for me thus far.

While Bisquick is a dirty word in some kitchens, I try and always have a box of Low Fat Heart Healthy Bisquick around.  I learned this one from my mama – she’d whip up some drop biscuits to go with dinner occasionally and it made dinner feel a little more special – wow, homemade biscuits!

I never had any idea how easy they were until now.  I NEVER take the time or make the mess involved with rolling them out/cutting, I just drop them with a spoon onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  They are almost impossible to mess up.  Also…you can go nuts with all the uses.  Here are a few ideas to run with:

    • Add leftover mixed herbs or chives from your garden to dinner biscuits
    • Make pancakes or waffles (they taste great, I promise!)
    • Use this recipe and some blueberries and lemon zest to make blueberry breakfast scones
    • Tonight, we used Bisquick to make some Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (ever had the ones at Red Lobster?)

The bisquick box is my secret weapon for adding something fun (and in 15 min or less) to a boring breakfast or a plate of leftovers.
Also, be sure to check the coupon database at because often there is a .50 off coupon.
Got any secret weapons in your pantry?
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Go heels

Today, although it looks like he’s wearing NCSU colors (ok folks…the last clean footie pj in the drawer), I tried to teach Rand about the Tar Heels.  Since he’s pretty much said his first words (Da Da), I figured “Go Heels” should be next.

While Rand was having his afternoon snack, I put on the fight song.  He was really interested for the first few seconds, but then he decided his Cheerios (and me making funny faces holding the iphone) were more interesting.

We’ll practice again before the big Duke game.

Go Heels!

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Friday photo flashback

(I know it is Sunday, but I’m trying to pretend it is Friday…) It is hard to believe that Rand was 9 months old on Friday. Here’s a photo of him at 3 months with his skinny little legs.

6 months later…he is SO BIG! At least he thinks he is. His “Ema” taught him how to put his hands over his head when you say “How big is Rand? He’s Soooo Big!” Funny thing, when he hears the video playing he’s been putting his hands up too. Raise the roof Rand.

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Do 9 month olds suddenly combust? Why is this on all Rand’s clothing? Last time I checked we don’t have any open flames anywhere and thankfully uncle James and uncle Sam haven’t taught him the magnifying glass trick yet…

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Rug Love

Our home currently is in need of several rugs…so I’m always on the lookout.   Saw this one on Overstock a while back and hoping it is still there when I’m ready…

and this one (in Navy, of course) – we just added to the “play area” in the kitchen.

Saw these on OKL today…they would be super cute for a kids room or play area:

Or these…

Some other hotties from One Kings Lane:

I wish I had a room in my house for this beauty




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Sweet peanut

Several readers asked where I got Rand’s outfit that is on our Christmas card…it is ON SALE TODAY on Zulily for $13.99 along with all the other cute Sweet Peanut deals that are going fast.  Check it out if you have time.

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Buffalo chicken dip

Here is the recipe for the most delicious (and slightly healthier than the usual) Buffalo Chicken Dip.  I got it from this blog – “Healthy and Sane.”

It makes a TON, so you may want to cut the recipe in half…OR, if you are like me, you can make 1 for your upcoming girls weekend, and 1 for your husband (mine in this case will be keeping Rand all weekend) who will most likely be watching the NFL Division Playoffs this Saturday.  Wes will, no doubt, be cheering for Tim Tebow.  Don’t forget to leave some carrots, celery and multigrain pita chips out for dipping!

(note: mine needed a little more time in the oven than it called for.  Also, if you bake it in a glass dish, you can pop it in the microwave to reheat it, if needed.  Also, I did not have wing sauce and just used Frank’s Hot Sauce)

Ultimate healthified buffalo chicken dip (serves a crowd)

  • 2 poached chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 packages (8oz ea) neufchatel (low fat cream cheese), softened
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s RedHot buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1.5 cups shredded reduced fat cheese (I used 1/2 mozzarella, 1/2 cheddar), divided
  • Baby carrots and pita chips for dipping


1. Preheat oven, or toaster oven, to 350*.

2. Mix all ingredients together, hold 1/2 cup cheese. The Kitchen Aid with a paddle attachment does an amazing job of creaming it all together. Super easy!

3. Transfer to 9×5 loaf fan (or another baking dish), sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

4. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Broil for 1-2 minutes to get the cheese extra golden on top.

Thanks so much Elina for a great recipe!!

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Weekend Recap

This photo pretty much sums up the days around here (cheerios stuck to our faces), but what fun would only one photo be?

Saturday I went to two estate sales and found some awesome framed moths.  Moths? Really? Well, apparently if I’d gone the first day, I’d have gotten the butterflies, but I’m a bargain shopper and I always go the “50% off” second day of the sale.  I still think they are beautiful and I adore how they are framed.  I’ll keep you posted where they wind up in the house.

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Saturday afternoon, Sam and Kristen went with us to Weymouth Woods for a little hike to see the bridge that Sam built when he was in high school.  It was his Eagle Scout project.  It is pretty awesome.

Rand was excited to finally get to see it too.

Sam, Kristen, Wes and I have been trying to find the perfect shrimp and grits recipe and Saturday night, we tried our second recipe. This one has been the best so far, likely because it is from Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill.

The only changes we suggest: we added chopped red pepper (at the same time as the green onions) and decided next time, the shrimp need to be cooked separately and then added AFTER they have almost cooked all the way. Our shrimp were large and took longer to cook and I think it made the veggie/sauce mixture a little overdone.  Also, we didn’t add all the salt it called for in the cheese grits. Shrimp and cheese are already salty folks!

(image from

Okay, on to another very exciting part of my weekend – my StitchFix arrived and I now have a new sweater that I LOVE!  StitchFix is a fun new venture (I admit, I was skeptical and just wanted to test it out) that turned out to be very impressive!  First, I filled out a style survey, then I paid $20 and scheduled a “Fix.”  Each StitchFix shipment is 5 items especially picked out for you based on your style survey.  I had to admit, I really loved all 5 items that came in my fix, but could only choose this time (so I’ll have some cash left to do it again!) The $20 you paid to schedule your delivery is deducted from whatever you choose to purchase.   And you don’t have to purchase anything if you don’t want to.  When you’re done trying everything on you just seal everything up in the USPS bag that is enclosed and put it back in the MAILBOX.  So easy.  So fun.  So clever.

Here’s my sweater.  Sorry for the scary iPhone eyes.

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Sweater – RD Designs via StitchFix

Oh and I have to mention that there is also a little card attached to each item with “what to wear” instructions.

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Sucked in

Yesterday at lunchtime, I was minding my own business eating a bowl of leftover tomato-basil-parmesan soup when BAM, I fell down the rabbit hole…I was just going to check my email…

Anyhow, I stumbled upon a few interesting things…thought I’d share.  Some from friends’ facebook pages, some from Pinterest and so on:

A blog post with a really good list of recommendations for iPhone/iPad apps.  I am OBSESSED with RedLaser now and have been scanning everything in sight.  This app is a revolutionary timesaver for a bargain hunter like myself.  Thanks for the great list Eric!

Rand is eating new foods everyday and thinking about what is best for him has really been convicting to me about what I eat and SERVE.  In our home, I’m the one responsible for what is on our plates at every meal.  Found THIS and THIS.  BOOKMARK!

I was randomly googling about if you can still cook and eat spinach that is a little slimy (you can’t), and found what I should have done when the spinach was gettin’ there.

Saw this on facebook…a good read if you’re human because you probably have someone to forgive too.

I was catching up on my friend Martha’s hilarious blog and she posted this fun video…Wes and I have enjoyed having a few date nights on the sofa with FOX’s new series New Girl.   Zooey Deschanel is so funny!

Last, but not least, thinking about New Year’s, made me think about what we were doing last year on New Year’s: celebrating James and Samantha like crazy.  I confess, I will never grow tired of watching their wedding video.  Makes me wanna plan a trip to Austin to visit them…maybe tomorrow at lunch I’ll just check into a few plane flights…

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Introducing tooth number 3

This post is dedicated to a dear friend who came to visit Rand over Christmas.  Ryan was one of the first friends I made when we moved to Southern Pines 20 years ago! Hopefully Ryan (soon-to-be oral surgeon!) will remember all those times I helped him with his middle school homework whenever the time rolls around for this kiddo to have his wisdom teeth out…


Rand just cut his 3rd tooth!  I’m thinking there are 3 more close behind. If not he’ll be a little silly with the two bottom teeth in and only the one top lateral incisor (had to look it up). If you don’t know your teeth either, that is the one to the right (or left) of the two central incisors (front teeth).

Anyhow, we’ve been making a lot of these teething sticks lately. They are inexpensive and you can make them when needed. All you need is a slice of bread, some baby food (I use apples or pear puree but have used sweet potatoes too once when we were out of fruit), some cinnamon and a microwave.

If you can, try and use whole wheat bread – it works so much better. We only had white wheat left over and it didn’t get as hard as the whole wheat does.

Just cut off the crusts of the bread (I keep a bag in the freezer for the crusts and use them later for egg casseroles or breadcrumbs) and then roll it out flat. Spread a thin layer of puree and then sprinkle the cinnamon. Roll it up and stick it (seam down) on a microwavable plate. Start with 1 min (or 40 seconds if your micro runs hot) and then if it isn’t hard after a min, continue to microwave in 15-20 second increments until it is really hard. Believe it or not – it can burn up! If you’re making it to be used immediately, then pop it in the freezer for a min or so to cool down, but otherwise, once it is cooled you can give it to your little one.  Recipe is from

This picture was taken a while ago…I’ve been making these for Rand since he was about 5.5 months old.
rand teething

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Soup Supper and Super Doubles

Happy New Year!

With the chilly temps that have settled in, we opted for a soup & grilled cheese night.  I found this recipe for Tomato-Basil-Parmesan Soup on Pinterest and it was yummy.  Even Wes, who is picky about tomatoes, went back for a second bowl.  Only things I changed…I used 1/2 cup of half and half and 1 and 1/2 cups of skim milk.  I think next time I may just use all skim milk.  Also, I used low-sodium chicken broth and omitted the salt.  Parmesan cheese is really salty, so taste your soup first before you add the salt!

Now I’m off to shop at Harris Teeter (HT Express online).  Super Doubles starts tomorrow…that means any coupon under $1.98 face value will be doubled (even some that say “Do not double” still double!)


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