Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cupcakes are good for the soul

A new cupcake store just opened here!

The first cupcake store in this town and I went today and got a dozen for the office.  A cupcake run!  Ha!!

They've been selling out every day so I went right after lunch and I was able to get a good variety of the ones they had available for today.  The classic Red Velvet plus Pink Cadillac, Razzle Dazzle, Key Lime, Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Shortcake.  I chose the Razzle Dazzle, the chocolate one in the corner of this picture.  It was chocolate with chocolate ganache, a raspberry cream in the middle and the frosting was raspberry with glittery sprinkles.  It was delicious!!  The only thing we really didn't like was the Crisco-like taste the frosting left behind in our mouths.  The cupcakes were still really, really good, though, and I understand why they're selling out every day.  If they put my mama's buttercream frosting on top of those amazing cupcakes, they'd be perfection.  Just sayin'.  :)

If you're wondering how cupcakes fit in my South Beach project, they don't.  I am extremely hormonal this week so don't judge me.  You might get cut. :)  I have been ill as a hornet since Tuesday.  I even snapped at the mailman today but he so totally had it coming.  I actually felt the hormonal imbalance when it happened.  Like a surge of bitchiness all of a sudden.  That's never happened before.  I've been having my sleep interrupted a lot because I wake up covered in sweat a few times a week.  So not cool.  I know that night sweats are all part of the menopause process but dang, I JUST turned 44.  I'm too young for this mess.  I had a complete blood panel done last year, though, that showed I was premenopausal.  So, too young or not, here it comes.

So, yeah, I ate a freakin' blankety-blank cupcake today!!!  You wanna fight about it??        

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Set free

I went grave huntin' with Ami and Brian today at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon.  Ami's doing a photo scavenger hunt and one of the things on her list that she has to capture is the grave of someone famous.  She picked Duane Allman.  He and fellow Allman Brothers band member, Berry Oakley, are buried side by side at Rose Hill.  They died just over a year apart, both due to injuries they received in motorcycle accidents.  I hadn't been to their graves in years.  It's really sad but due to vandals, the families have had to put a fence around them.  The last time I was there, there was no fence and you could walk right up to the graves.  A lot of people did.  Placed flowers there, smoked pot there, played music there, hung out there.  

This is their resting spot today.

 Duane is on the left and his grave reads:

Duane Allman
Nov. 20, 1946
Oct. 29, 1971

I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can.  I will take love wherever I find it and offer it to whoever will take knowledge from those wiser and teach those who wish to learn from me.

Berry's on the right and his grave reads:

Our Brother B. O.

Raymond Berry Oakley III
Born in Chicago: Apr. 4, 1948
Set Free Nov. 11, 1972

"Help thy brother's boat across and lo!
Thine own has reached the shore!"

I just loved that "set free".  

Y'all take it easy, Duane and Berry.  Peace!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cars 2

I rounded out my awesome birthday with these little guys.

I have been wanting to see Cars 2 ever since I heard there was gonna be a Cars 2 and when I found out that it was coming out ON my birthday, I had to see it ON my birthday.

It was cute, it was heartwarming and it was funny.  Mater was the star of the movie this time and he was hilarious!  I felt a little sorry for the Gremlin and the Pacer.  They couldn't help it 'cause they were lemons. I really enjoyed it.  AND my Skittles!!


That's all I can say about this day.  My 44th birthday.  I had the most beautiful, thoughtful, delicious, fun birthday today!!!  The girls I work with are just incredible.  I don't know how else to describe them.  They love me and they show me.  I'm truly blessed. 

Here are some pictures from my awesome, sweet day!!!

Pretty flowers that Lisa got me!!

Big bag of Skittles that Lisa gave me so
I wouldn't have to buy any for my movie
(Cars 2) today after work!!  Ha!

Playing peek-a-boo with my beautiful balloon, also from Lisa

Yummy Mexican dip that Lisa made,
one of two things today that was South Beach friendly!!  :)

Awesome lumpia that Niki made!  I've never had these before. 
They were beef and cabbage spring rolls and they were delicious!!!

Good Lord.  These brownies Dr. Patrenos made. 
Heaven with a brown sugar crust on top!

Incredible artichoke dip that Cheryl was so sweet
to make and bring to me on her day off!
I ate waaaaaaay too much of this stuff!!
But it was SB friendly and it IS my birthday so there.

This was my birthday cake.
A cappuccino fudge cheesecake that
Michelle made for me.
That girl likes being a nurse but
I believe she has missed her calling.
This cheesecake was unbelievable!!

Just look at it!!
The crust was crunchy and fudgey and awesome.

Beautiful sweet surprise flowers that
I got just before lunch from my mama and daddy!!
A bouquet full of daisies.  My favorite.  Thanks, Mommy!!

Cutie little watch Dr. P gave me!!
I love it!!

Perfect sign for my peaceful kitchen.
Lisa P left this for me. 
She's on vacation at the beach
 this week and missed my party
but she didn't miss my birthday.
So sweet.

These people are amazing.  We're a family and if I had to spend my birthday away from my birth family, I can't think of another group of folks I'd rather be with.  We had a blast today!!!  They gave me huge, very generous gift cards to Kohl's and Old Navy.  Dr. Niebaum gave me a Kohl's gift card, too, and I'm fixin' to go get some new clothes and stuff!! 

I'll probably need bigger ones after this day.  Ha!!  It was such a fabulous day.  I also got 100+ Happy Birthday wishes on Facebook!!!  

And my precious sister wrote a beautiful blog today in honor of my birthday.  

I'm a blessed and lucky girl to have so many people love me and want the happiest of birthdays for me. 

Y'all got your wish.  It was.

Fill in the blank Friday --- Birthday Edition!

Birthdays are SO. MUCH. FUN.  I celebrate mine all week!

My favorite birthday memory is my special Summer of Love birthday in 2007 when I turned 40.  I was born in the Summer of Love, just as the summer was getting started.  I have always felt drawn to that era.  My family surprised me that day with a hippie party, complete with 60’s decorations, balloons, streamers and a peace sign birthday cake.  A sign that read, “Hippies Use Side Door” greeted me at the front door and I was like, “Wait a minute.  I don’t HAVE a side door!”  It was all really, really sweet.  Ami made me a beautiful scrapbook of history, some hippie, some mine.  There were love letters in there from every member of my family, including Larry, who was in on it from the beginning and didn’t tell me a thing, and Brian made me an awesome CD collection of 60’s music.  It was just a wonderful day. 

A birthday tradition my family has is Mama putting a candle in our toast on our birthday mornings.

If I had to choose one birthday meal to eat for the rest of my life, it would be steak cooked on the grill with mushrooms, corn on the cob, ‘tater wedges with lots of ketchup, cake and ice cream.  Can you tell I’m missing my carbs??!!

My birthday is TODAY!!  I was born on Saturday, June 24, 1967 at 6:02 pm.  Just in time for supper!

If I could take a birthday trip today, I would go back to Disney World and wear a tiara all day and get a cupcake everywhere I went.  And then I’d go to the closest beach, Cocoa Beach, take my Mentha with me and I'd stay a week.

The best birthday gift I ever got was my Mrs. Beasley doll when I was three and she was a pretty big deal!  When my daddy pulled up in the driveway and handed me that bag with Mrs. Beasley in it, I nearly lost my mind!  I wanted her so bad.  I still remember how that felt.  My family and friends are always so thoughtful and I’ve always gotten such wonderful gifts, things I really, really wanted and things I didn’t even know I wanted until I got them.  But it’s never been about the gifts anyway.  I just want to celebrate the day I was born with people who love me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mentha, I think I love you

I was off this afternoon and I went to Bath and Body Works to start on my spree that Mama and Ami gave me for my birthday.  They are having their semi-annual sale right now and lots of stuff is 50% and 75% off!  I got a lot of stuff!!  And I only used one of my gift cards.  I am SET for summer!  I can save the other card for fall!!

My friend and fellow South Beacher, Kim, has been talking about the Mentha body wash at BBW and she made me want to try it.  I got me some today.  I love anything minty and this stuff is AWESOME!!  It has almost 2% pure peppermint oil in it and it smells incredible but the best part is how it cools your skin and leaves you all tingly.  It is the PERFECT summer body wash!

It would also be perfect to take to the beach.  Can you just imagine spending the day at the beach and being all hot and sandy and tired and ill and cranky (oh, is that just me?) and going back to your room to a soap that not only cleans your skin, cools you off, sings to you and buys you dinner but also sends shivers right down your spine??  I'll definitely be taking this stuff with me on my next beach trip!

But until then, showers after walking from my car to my house in this 100+ degree heat will have to do.  I'll get by somehow.  :)

Thanks, Kim, for the tip!!

Eggplant tomato parmesan

Mama gave me a HUGE eggplant that she and Daddy got at the farmers market and this is what I did with it!  I just made up something.  I sliced the eggplant and blanched it in boiling salted water for about five minutes, then I minced two cloves of garlic and sauteed them in olive oil with basil, salt and pepper.  I layered the eggplant slices in the bottom of the dish, topped them with mozzarella cheese, added two cut up fresh tomatoes, more mozzarella and then parmesan cheese on top.  I baked it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This is how it turned out!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Pizza, South Beach style!

I used my new pizza stone tonight and made a healthy, whole wheat pizza.  It was soooooo gooooooood!!

 This is what I used.  

I brushed olive oil onto a store-bought crust, added baby spinach, mozzarella (shredded and sliced), tomatoes courtesy of my sweet friend, Sabrina and her precious little Ellie who brought them to me today, fresh sliced mushrooms, feta cheese and fresh basil from my little plant on my laundry room windowsill. 

 This is it just as it went into the oven.

Fifteen minutes at 400 degrees later 
and it came out looking like this!
Slap yo' grandma.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy's day (and mine, too)

Fried green tomatoes!!
I'll have to steal some good pictures from Ami and Brian later but I wanted to post a few that I took of our day today.  We had such a wonderful day with Daddy!  Mama cooked an amazing dinner, roast, potatoes, carrots and little pearl onions JUST like I wanted!!  And she made me some fried green tomatoes!!  Just for me.  She made a delicious red velvet cake and we had ice cream to go with it.  My diet got shot right in the butt today, I'm just gonna go on and admit that.  

But it was my family birthday celebration, too!!  That gets me a reprieve, I think.  :)

Fresh fried skillet corn 
Birthday cake!
I opened my gifts and I got a shopping SPREE to Bath and Body Works from Mama and Daddy and Ami and Brian!!  Thanks, y'all!!!  BBW has a bunch of new summer scents and I couldn't decide on just one or two and now I don't have to!!  Y'all ROCK!!!

I opened my gifts from Larry, too, and look what he got me!!!  I just LOVE what he got!!!

Dance Star Mickey Mouse!  
He sings and dances to six different songs 
and even moonwalks!  He is the cutest thing!!!

 This is him clapping his hands!
I had so much fun with him today! 
Daddy even videotaped me dancing with him.  Ha!!

 He got me this beautiful Emile Henry pizza stone, too!
I love it!!  I didn't have one at all and I've been wanting to make 
healthy whole grain pizzas at home and now I can!

My baby MADE this gorgeous thing right here for my birthday.  Carved it out of soap. Can you even believe how amazing and incredible it is??  I love lighthouses and he wrote on the card, "To the light of my life -- From a tempest-tossed boat"  Awwwww!!  He is so precious and sweet and romantic.  I promise, I squeeze him every chance I get!  I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful, loving man to be my partner through this life.

 Just look at the detail!!
I put it in our beachy bathroom, 
right beside the vase of sand and seashells 
and the baby sea turtle.  Perfect spot, don't you think?

Ami helps Larry get my stuff together.  She is so sweet to order and hunt things he wants to get me. She's his shopping go-to girl and I'm so grateful to her for that. She made this little beach-inspired box to wrap my lighthouse in. On the top, there's a little slit and underneath, it says Beach Money! It's a bank!  Sooooo cute and sweet and I love it.

Ami put together a love song CD for our parents for their anniversary and she gave it to them today.  This is them opening it along with a framed picture of the five of us that we had taken Mother's Day.

We had such a beautiful day!  Lots of laughter, good food and time spent with the ones we love the most.  You can't get more beautiful than that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My first attempt at cake balls

I've been hearing all this talk about cake balls and I've even had a couple that were brought to our office and were pretty dang good so I decided I'd make my daddy some for Father's Day tomorrow. I made them tonight, chocolate cake, chocolate icing and chocolate candy coating. Chocolate Overload! 

First thing you do is make a cake.

This is the frosting I used but you can use any kind, 
any combination, that you like.

Let your cake cool for about 20 minutes and while it's still warm, 
crumble it up until it resembles dirt.  :)

Add the can of frosting and mix well.
Chill in the freezer for two hours.
If you don't chill the mixture,
the balls will crumble and fall apart.
Or so I heard.  :)

Melt the candy bark stuff in the microwave.

Shape your cake mixture into balls and dip the balls into the melted candy coating. This was the hardest part for me. Being the perfectionist that I am, it drove me nuts that I couldn't get them perfectly coated and smooth. If anybody out there knows how to do this, please comment and let me know! I used toothpicks and a fork. And they turned out like this.

They ain't Cadillac style but they ARE right tasty.

Farmers market finds!

My local farmers market was finally open today!  Turns out they ARE closed on Sundays.  That's why they haven't been there the past two.  Duh.  It makes me very happy when businesses are closed on Sunday!  They are supposed to be!!  When I was a kid, you could forget going to a store on Sunday.  You better get what you need on Saturday!!  Sundays were for God and family.  As they should be.

They didn't have very much left by the time I got there but I was able to get what I wanted.  Mama got me some stuff that I'll pick up tomorrow so I didn't want to have too much.  So I just got a few yellow squash and some homegrown Georgia 'maters!  I also got the cutest little gourd cucumbers and some peaches.  They also have watermelons, cantaloupes, pink-eyed and purple hull peas, sweet corn, cabbage, Vidalia onions, peanuts for boiling, apples, Florida oranges and homemade jams and jellies.  If you're in the Byron/Centerville area, go check 'em out.

Just NOT on Sunday!  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday!

The last movie I saw was Bridesmaids.  A ridiculous, hilarious mess.

I want to paint my bedroom and master bathroom in calming, peaceful ocean colors -- blue, aqua and white.

Surprises are fun when I'm the one doing the surprising.  I don't like to be surprised.

The best accessory is a big smile!

My favorite warm drink is caramel macchiato coffee.  I've started drinking two or three cups of coffee in the mornings, but only on the mornings I'm working.  I don't drink it at home or on the weekends.  Weird.  Anyway, International Delight has a skinny version of their caramel macchiato creamer and that's what I use in my coffee.  Yum!!  Starbucks also has a delicious version I like, hot or cold.

My favorite cold drink is sweet tea.  Duh.  I drink it with Truvia these days, though.  I used to drink a gallon of sweet tea EVERY DAY.  Ahhhh, those were the days.

Currently I'm loving summer storms, the fact that next Friday's my birthday and that True Blood is starting a brand new season on the 26th!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sweet dreams, little birdy

It's a very stormy night here tonight!  Lots of loud thunder, lightning and heavy rain.  I'm LOVING it.  I went out on the porch a few minutes ago to bask in it and this is what I found.  

Another little bird nestled in the corner!  


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy early birthday to me!

This was my very South Beach-friendly lunch today! The girls from the office took me and Lisa P to O'Charley's to celebrate our June birthdays. I had the cedar-planked tilapia (PERFECTION on a plate!), broccoli, a house salad with blue cheese dressing and sugar-free raspberry iced tea.  Yum yum!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

South Beach 2.0

I couldn't get Weight Watchers to work for me.  I counted my points and still wasn't losing anything!!  And I have to see INSTANT results or I get discouraged.  AND I have a bit of a sugar problem.  If I'm allowed to eat it, I'mma eat it.  It's just that simple.  I felt like WW was letting me have too many calories so I got back on South Beach Phase 1 on June 3rd and so far, I've lost six pounds.  I had so much success with South Beach last year so I KNOW it works.  You just gotta DO RIGHT OH MY GOD AND NOT EAT SKITTLES.  

So I've gotten back to eating eggs, turkey bacon, veggies and lots and lots of low fat cheese, cottage, ricotta, shredded cheddar, string, those yummy little Laughing Cow wedges, Babybels, you name it.  I had to refresh my memory on some SB-friendly recipes that I liked so much last year like ricotta cheesecake and egg muffins (which is more like a quiche than a muffin.  Scrambled eggs, green peppers, ham or bacon, cheese, salt, pepper all mixed together and baked in a muffin pan).  It really hasn't been hard to get back on track.

I only cheated once.  At the movies with the girls from work last week.  With Skittles.  

Father's Day is this weekend and we'll celebrate my birthday, too, and I already told Mama months ago that I wanted pot roast, potatoes and carrots for dinner.  I'll be cheating that day.  I'll be off Phase 1, though, so I'll have a little wiggle room.

My goal for the summer is still to lose 20 pounds.  14 more to go!  If I lose 14 more pounds, I'll weigh that lie I told on my drivers license.  :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday!

This weekend, I have tonight and tomorrow all to myself and I have NO PLANS. Yay!!  Sunday, I'm gonna spend the day reconnecting with my sweet hubby and hit the farmers' market Sunday afternoon if they're open.  They weren't last Sunday.  I am DYING for some yellow squash!!

My last vacation was in March.  A staycation, the best kind!  I stayed home most of the week, went to IKEA with Ami and Brian, got a massage, did my spring cleaning, read, hung my laundry out on the clothesline, got lots of rest and just had the best time right by myself.

My next vacation will be in July.  Don't have any plans yet.  Another staycation sounds good to me!  I'll go somewhere, though.  Maybe back to High Falls.  That was SO nice.  I do plan to clean and waterproof my deck sometime this summer.  Might as well do it then!

My favorite ways to relax are napping, taking bubble baths and lighting candles or incense (patchouli is my favorite!).

When vacationing, one should always eat local food!  Never, ever eat at McDonald's when you're on vacation!  You can get McDonald's at home.  Find some little hole-in-the-wall place.  Those are the best places to eat! 

When vacationing, one should never forget to take your own pillow!  And if you're like me, your own sheets and towels.  'Cause yuck.  The first thing I do when I get checked into a hotel is take that comforter off the bed and pile it up in the corner.  I've seen Dateline.

The best part about a vacation is just getting away and seeing and experiencing new things!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rain is a good thing!

We got some much needed rain today!  We've only had an inch and a half of rain in two and a half months!  Technically, it's still spring but you can't count on the calendar when you live in Georgia.  It's been 97 degrees or hotter every day for two weeks.  It's dry as a loaf of toast around here.

Well, it was.  It started coming up a bad cloud about 6:00 and I wasn't even sure that what I was hearing was thunder, it's been so long.  But then I started hearing the steady ping of raindrops bouncing off my chimney cap (I LOVE that sound!!) and I knew it was RAINING FINALLY!!!!!  YAY!!!!!

Rain is a good thing for 'maters and peppers trying to grow.

I put chicken wire over my strawberries because the squirrels 
in my backyard think I planted the strawberries JUST FOR THEM.  

Rain is a good thing for dry toesies, too.  :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My sticket

Sticket = stupid ticket

That's what I've been calling this parking ticket that I got the day I went to see my beloved Captain Jack.  The movie started at 5:30, I got to the theater at 5:30 'cause I had to go by Walgreens and get some Skittles 'cause I refuse to pay $3.50 for the same box of Skittles that Walgreens has for $1.  Paying $3.50 is just criminal.  Y'all know it is.

So, heck yeah, I smuggle Skittles.  I know you ain't judgin'.  You do it, too.

Anyway, I was running late and not paying much attention, I accidentally parked in a handicapped spot.  Really, it was accidentally.  The Galleria has handicapped spots marked with signs that say TOW AWAY ZONE MAX FINE $500 so I parked in a spot right beside the last sign.  Just whupped it on up in there like I had good sense, got out, bought my ticket and went in to see my most favorite pirate in the wide world.

After the movie, I walked out to the parking lot and THEN I noticed the painted handicapped symbol on the pavement right up under my car.

And I noticed a little piece of white paper under my windshield wiper.

I did what anybody who accidentally parks in a handicapped spot would do.  I got in my car, cranked it up, turned on my windshield wipers and let that sucker fly!  I didn't think another thing about it until I was telling Larry about it and he, being my moral conscience in times when I'm iffy (and I'm his, too, 'cause that's how we roll), told me I HAD to pay it.

Dang it.

So I drove around in the theater parking lot that afternoon to see if I could find it.  I couldn't.  I called City Hall that Monday to find out how much I owed and how to pay and it was so soon, I wasn't in the system yet.  She told me the fine is $72.  "Just mail it to the address on your citation.", she says.  Yeah, right.  "That citation is litterbuggin' itself down Watson by now", I say.  (No, I really didn't say that!  I told her I "couldn't find it".  No lie there.)

I've been SICK about having to pay that $72, not that I didn't have it,  I do, it's just such a waste, so careless of me.  I don't do things like this.  Ever.

Today, I had the afternoon off and I decided I was gonna go take care of this ticket.  I went to City Hall and the lady who collects the tickets is on vacation this week.  They sent me to the Police Department.  I went to the Police Department and the sweet lady there couldn't find me in the system.  I told her that it was at the theater and that I'd parked in a handicapped spot and she said, "Oh, well, it was mall security, then" and I say, "They don't send those to y'all to collect?" and she said no, they only involve them when there's a disturbance.  I'll keep that in mind.

She suggested I check with the mall.  So I did.  I went to the mall office, explained my situation, they called somebody from security, I told her my li'l story and she laughed and said, "it's a warning" and she showed me one.  She said they don't give tickets at the mall, just courtesy warnings.  Well, I'll be dogged.

For two and a half weeks, I've been stressing and talking about this blankety-blank sticket.  And it was a WARNING THE ENTIRE TIME.

I thanked her, blessed her heart and promised I'd NEVER do that again.

So, class, what did we learn today??  When you see a little piece of paper underneath your windshield wiper, you might wanna LOOK at it.  It's probably just a Chinese menu but you just never know...

Monday, June 6, 2011

With this ring...

Today is my parents' 46th wedding anniversary!  They spent the day together and were able to go down to the lake, have a nice meal and stop by the farmers' market before they started back home.  Sound like an exciting anniversary to you?  It sure does to me and I'm so happy they got this day!!  Some of you may not know the sacrifice my parents make every single day of their lives.  You see, my grandma, my daddy's mama, is in a nursing home.  She is 88 and in poor health and she is completely bedridden.  My mama and daddy get up every single morning, seven days a week, and go to that nursing home to make sure Maw eats her lunch and gets settled back down afterwards.  They have been doing this for years.  They will continue to do this until Jesus calls Maw home.

These two incredible people that I was SO blessed to be born to know exactly what love is.  They LIVE it every single day.  They express it every single day.  Not just to Maw but to each other, their three children, their three in-law children, their two grandchildren and everybody they come in contact with.

Everybody loves Miss Alice and Mr. Rick.  They are the epitome of love, loyalty, commitment and devotion.

This is my favorite picture of my mama and daddy.
It was taken before they married, when they were just teenagers dating.
Are they not the most adorable couple you ever saw??
This picture makes me want to grab a guy and go on a double date with them!!  I LOVE IT!!!!  

This is them on their wedding day.
June 6, 1965
So handsome and so beautiful, 
their whole lives before them.

This is them three years later, 1968, after me and my brother got here.
Our sister, Ami, joined us in 1977 and completed our family.
I just love how Mama is looking at Daddy in this picture!
You know what?  She still looks at him that way.  

With this ring, for better or for worse, forever and ever and ever.

Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids!!  I love you sooooooo much!!!