Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My little cousin Charlie has been such a great sport this week; he hasn't complained once when I've asked him to let me take a few photos.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Bird

I had so much fun making my turkey for Thanksgiving! Although the process was looong and tedious, I'd say it was worth it in the end. He was a pretty bird.

We began by cleaning the bird and removing all the giblets and gross bones. I have spared you pictures of this step, but here is the raw bird. He was a whopping 12 pounds.

After that, I set him aside to dry so that I could make an herb butter. I put this in the fridge to firm up a bit.

I then washed and chopped a few veggies - celery, carrots and onion - and placed them in the bottom of my disposable roasting pan, along with about 32 ounces of chicken stock. (They recommend placing your turkey on a RACK inside the roasting pan, so that the turkey doesn't sit in its own juices; however, if you don't have a rack you can make a bed of vegetables like this and that solves the problem.)

I also prepared my herbs and lemons, which I stuffed into the cavity of the bird right before roasting. (Sage, thyme and rosemary.)

I gave him a good massage with the herb butter; I placed a lot of it under the skin the rest I rubbed on top. Then I seasoned him generously with salt and pepper...

...and stuffed his little cavity with the herbs, lemons and leftover onions.

Next came the cooking part, which is the part that made me not want to do this again anytime soon. It wasn't difficult, per say, just tedious. The first hour was a breeze. Preheat to 325 and toss him in the oven for an hour. Easy. But after the first hour, my recipe required that I baste the turkey (or spoon its juices over the top) every 20 minutes. It doesn't seem like a difficult task, but 20 minutes goes by pretty fast; there's no time for a nap, a load of laundry, or a shower. And if you don't baste, your turkey will be dry and crackly. Yuck. I'm so glad my parents were keeping Mary Ella, because there'd be no chance of doing this having a toddler running around. And I'd recommend taking your shower and getting ready during the hour that he is cooking instead of just standing around. Your turkey is DONE when the internal temperature measures 165 degrees in the breast, and around 170-175 degrees in the thigh.

BUT... it was all worth it in the end. Because about 4 hours later, just in time for dinner, my bird looked like this:

He was so pretty on the plate. I almost cried when it was time to carve the little guy. See my fake smile? I was less than thrilled.

For anyone that wants to try this at home, I used this recipe because it had about 200+ reviews and everyone said it was easy and delicious. I must say I agree.

Oh yeah...

If any of you need help getting rid of your leftover dressing, I have just the trick. Her name is Mary Ella.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the madness of making the food, catching all the football games, and losing sleep over Black Friday deals. But I hope we can all take the time to reflect on our blessings and the One who blesses us so richly with His love.

I am thankful for my husband, Mary Ella, the sweet heartbeat of my unborn child (which I was able to hear last week!), my family, my house, my job, my friends who are wonderful, my church and my pastor, my small group, my health, my country, and my freedom. But most of all for Jesus. Thank you God for these gifts!

Today I am in charge of the turkey bird. I've had this bird in my fridge for the past 2 days attempting to thaw his little wings out and finally had to put him in a water bath this morning so he'd unfreeze! He was being a little stubborn. I've never made a turkey before - never attempted anything like this - so here's hoping for a juicy, tender, golden brown and crispy-skinned turkey. Because if he's not juicy, tender, golden brown and crispy-skinned around 5pm, I'll be slightly panicked and my family will be without protein. And I'll go back and read the first 2 paragraphs of this post and remember that it's not the end of the world.

Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Christmas List

I don't really want or need anything for Christmas. I would be fine just getting together with family and eating and playing games all night. So this is just for fun. But if I knew that Santa would bring me anything I wanted, and that those in need would also be blessed equally, here is what I would ask for:

1. Bath & Body Works Oil Burner
I love these things! My best friend Katie bought me one a couple years ago as a hostess gift. I used it so much that it finally turned black so now I think I need a new one. You buy the burner and then buy any scented oil that you like. They all kinds of scents and usually special ones come out around the holidays. You add 20 drops of oil to the dish at the top and place a tea light candle in the bottom. It smells up your entire house in no time! My favorite scents - well, the only ones I've ever bought - were Midnight Pomegranate and Japanese Cherry Blossom - both are wonderful.

2. The Pioneer Woman Cookbook
I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond. For those that don't know her, Ree used to be a Los Angeles diva who wore stilettos every day and ate sushi every night. On a trip back to her hometown, she met and fell in love with a cowboy, a real life cowboy. They ended up getting married, and now this diva lives on a cattle ranch with her husband, dogs, a bazillion cows, tons of horses, and her 4 kids. She started a blog to document her life on the ranch, which has in turn become one of the most popular blogs on the world wide web. She cooks, takes pictures, gardens, and documents every minute. She is HILARIOUS. And now she has a cookbook! And I want a copy.

3. Janome Sewing Machine
I don't need this, but like I said, this is my fun wish list. I would just like to have a machine that is a little "smarter" than the $99 Singer that currently sits in my sewing room. Nothing fancy, and I really don't care about having an embroidery machine or anything, just a sewing machine that runs a little smoother and that has the digital screen and more stitches to choose from.

4. A tropical beach vacation
Any location will be fine, Santa. All I need is the sun, some sand, and a comfy chair to sit in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting Ready

We're gearing up for the holidays. Love the cool weather because we get to wear cool hats.

Tonight I helped Mary Ella decorate her Christmas trees. She would say "Pitty!" (pretty) over and over and kiss each ornament.

Last night I set up Mary Ella's nativity set. Tonight I noticed that apparently the Chic-Fil-A cow was also present at Jesus' birth. He was meticulously placed laying down beside Jesus' manger. I tried to tell Mary Ella that a cow would not be needed; that the whole purpose of Jesus coming was that he alone would be the ultimate sacrifice, that no cow or lamb or ram would be necessary, but she just wouldn't have it. I did convince her that he would get a better view of the baby if he were standing by the shepherd. She conceded, and thus, this year's nativity:

Friday, November 20, 2009


Do you love it? I do.

Hilary Keegan, of ScrapBlog Designs by Hilary, gave my boring blahhg a makeover; more like a total overhaul. I am in awe of people that have the ability to do things like this. I wish I had the talent and the vision to create little labels, cute fonts, and colorful, lively header images. She did a fantastic job and I love every inch of it!

Thanks, Hilary!
(Her button is at the bottom, which links directly to her site!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun at the Park

Great weather today! We enjoyed playing at the park. Surprisingly we were the only ones there so I let Lucy off her leash. I'm not sure which of my girls had a better time.

Tervis the Tumbler

Do you have one of these? I think I am the last to hear about these things, but I might be the biggest fan. The Tervis Tumbler is my new best friend.

Here are the reasons why:
1. It does not sweat. Not one bit.
2. It does not require a coaster. Not at all.
3. It keeps my drink cold forEVER. I fill it up with crushed ice in the morning and still have ice (LOTS of ice) in the afternoon.
4. It fits in my car's cupholder. Not many 24 oz cups do.

Seriously, these things are amazing. I also bought a top and a packet of big straws because I prefer to drink from a straw. They do not leak or spill when dumped over by a toddler, either. Another great reason to love them. It's a great way to make yourself drink more water; I only like water if it is ice cold, and this does the trick. All day long, ice cold water. I imagine that this would be the perfect gift for a breastfeeding mother (remember how you become deathly thirsty all of a sudden during breastfeeding? Ahhh, this would be heaven.)
You can buy them at little cute boutique stores like PolkaDots (Florence) or Wrapsody (Birmingham), and also at Bed Bath & Beyond, which is where I purchased mine. They were cheapest there. And it came with my initial on it. But they have all sizes and shapes and team logos too.

The website has all the different designs. Go get your Tervis Tumbler!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zoo Day

Our day was perfect in so many ways. The Nashville Zoo was a breath of fresh air and offered so much more than I expected!

This was Mary Ella's face most of the day:

She loved the aquatics exhibit... And I loved this polka dotted sting ray. Have you ever seen one of these? I'd like to hang him on my wall.

They also have elephants...

Meerkats... (here she is with cousin Ashley)...

and an island of monkeys... which this monkey loved.

This little nugget didn't make a peep all day long. We could have left him on the kitchen table in his bouncy seat and he probably would've been fine all alone. He's such a good baby. But Vicki (his grandmother) didn't complain about getting to carry him in the sling. She was in heaven. I can't blame her. He's an angel.

They had a play area especially for toddlers with big mats. Mary Ella loved running as fast as she could then falling and getting right back up. I love her face here. Pure joy.
She took a little longer to get up after one particular wipeout... I think she must have realized how tired she was!

Her favorite exhibit by far was the petting zoo, of course. I'm not sure if it was the up close and personal contact with the baby goats or the freedom to run around or the dirt. Every chance she got, she'd just sit down and dig in the dirt and throw handfuls of dirt over her head. It was hilarious. And despite my tendencies to chase my child with Germ-X, I decided to let her have fun and be a kid, and that she did. She was filthy by the end of the day. I'm thinking we might get her a bag of mulch for Christmas this year.

All in all we had such an exciting time. We did a WHOLE lot of walking because the zoo is HUGE, so we're pretty wiped out. But what a great way to start the weekend.
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