Monday, February 28, 2011

Something Quick for Dinner

After a long weekend of eating out and eating from concessions stands at the basketball tournament we here at the funny farm are ready to get back to a more normal diet
(i.e. more veg, less crap).

This meant starting out sauteing some aromatics - onion, carrot, celery, garlic.

To that add black beans, browned lite smoked sausage, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, salt/pepper, liquid smoke, bay leaf, and enough chicken stock to make it slightly soupy. Add in some parsley toward the end of simmering the whole mess and serve it over a big scoop of rice. 

Yes, I realize that I didn't picture everything I mentioned, but hey, I am making this up as I go people!

This was a pretty tasty dinner. 
Good comfort food for a wet, cool Monday evening.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Agony of Defeat and Growing Up

I was very proud of my sweet daugther and her fellow cheerleaders during this tournament.  They have truly cheered their hearts out and kept us all going during this grueling tournament schedule.  This morning they competed in the cheerleading competition and really performed well - in fact probably the best that they have ever performed their routine.  Unfortunately, there were three other teams who were bigger and more experienced and our little squad just couldn't place ahead of them in the competition. 
 If the competitions were judged on heart then our girls would have taken first place.

About halfway through the last basketball game the emotions of cheering her last game ever bubbled to the surface for daughter.  She did a good job of holding it together until it was over, but I could tell she was struggling.  I was struggling for her in the stands.  (In case you don't know me - I have a very strict policy that no one cries alone around me.) 

  Hubs, on the other hand was keeping the mood light by wearing daughter's hair extension as a soul-patch.  That is one goofy man that I married. 
I love him for keeping the mood light and distracting daughter from her emotions.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shockingly Good Time and the Lady Vols

Thankfully at out of town basketball tournaments it isn't all basketball, all the time. 
(Thank goodness because our kids aren't having great success this year.)

We had time for a little trip to the Oak Ridge Museum of Science and Energy. 
Very cool place.  The kids all had opportunities to experience the Vandegraaff Generator.
Wait for it...
It was a hair-raising experience.
(Sorry, it had to be said!)

But the coolest experience came from being allowed into The Pratt Pavilion to see a closed practice of the
Lady Vols basketball team. 
(Sometimes it is all about who you know.) 

It was amazing to see the Lady Vols run drills and scrimage with the guys.  They more than hold their own. 

Also getting to see Pat Summitt, the winnest coach in college basketball, inspire her team to be their best was amazing.  

Very cool day. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

Day One of the K-Town Throwdown Lutheran Basketball Tournament in Knoxville. 

The boys almost won their game, the girls had a heartbreaking loss. 
The cheerleaders looked fabulous! 
I might just be a little bit partial.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sweet Home Away From Home

My friend Becky and I are in Knoxville for the
K-Town Throwdown Lutheran Schools Basketball tournament. 

This trip is the best of both worlds for students and parents. 
The kids are housed with families from the host church/school so they get to make new friends and have a great time. 
The parents have absolutely no chaperoning duties so other than showing up for games there is no schedule to keep. 
Life is good.

The biggest decision is where to eat dinner. 

Our digs are not fancy, but we don't have to cook, or clean, or help kids to homework, or do laundry. 
Yep, life is good.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning It New School

Hubs is teaching daughter how to play chess. 

This is evidently how it is done in the 21st century.  They are playing and learning strategies on her Nookcolor. 

We have an actual chessboard. 
I think it is in a closet around here somewhere...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Do You Think?

These little crocus are blooming in my parent's yard right now.

Are crocus weather-defying daredevils or eternal optimists?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Daughter, Even Better

I have been interested in photography for a long time. 
A few years ago I had the good fortune to meet a new young family at our church.
The Cobbs are one of those families that you feel instantly comfortable around (and a little jealous - they are just so darned cute!)
Erin is a photographer and was in the beginning stages of starting a business with this extraordinary talent of hers. 
She made a mention on her blog that she was thinking of mentoring someone and I jumped at the chance.  
She graciously agreed. 
We haven't met that many times, but the right advice given at the right time paired with me taking thousands of pictures in between meetings and I am starting to get the hang of this photography thing. 

The light was so pretty the other afternoon that I got Allison to let me take a few exposures of her. 
The resulting pictures were fine, but not great.
Allison had a few blemishes to deal with and a bruise on her forehead (she swears she doesn't know how this happened). 

I pulled out the DVD of Erin's Photoshop editing methods and set about making this picture better. 

Her instructions are very user friendly and idiot proof (I can attest to this!)
If you are interested in finding out more about Erin Cobb, her photography, and her Clean Color editing DVD, read more about her here.

This photo isn't quite up to Erin standards, but it is pretty darn acceptable I think. 
The subject matter is certainly

Thanks Erin.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ode To Our Christmas Lights

Oh, lovely twinkling Christmas lights
How I loved you over the Christmas season. 
You made our New Year's Eve sparkle.
You even illuminated lovely icicles during our winter thaws.

But how will we miss you if you won't go? 
Your (less than lovely) green cords don't make me happy.
Your dim bulbs don't add to the esthetic of our home. 

We rock the redneck look fine without you.
You need to go.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Canine Field Trip

I love going in the car.  When it is just Mommy and me I get to sit up front.

My mommy told me that it was too pretty to stay inside today so we were going to the park to take a walk.
I have sufficiently terrorized all of the squirrels and birds in my yard so it is time to share my talents with others.

With my magnificent hound dog proboscis I plan to sniff out anything that might be threatening the park.  (You're welcome.)

There are ducks around here somewhere!  I can tell we are getting close!! 

Is it too soon to think that spring has sprung?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slow News Day

It has been a slow news day around here although awfully hectic in terms of running around.  So - here's a pic I actually took on Sunday while snapping a few pictures for a Valentine's Day card for Allison.

It's truly puppy love. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

We have never made a huge deal about Valentine's Day around here.  Just a few cards and small gifts to say
"I love you" to our family. 

Growing up I remember my mom always made a special dessert for our family for Valentine's Day.  My favorite dessert that I recall her making for the occassion was Cherry Cheesecake.  Remember that, with the sweetened condensed milk custard base and the canned cherry pie filling topping? 
Not very healthy but mighty tasty!

Not wanting there to be much leftover to call my name tomorrow when I am alone in the house with it, I wanted to make something tasty and relatively healthy and single serving. 
Dark chocolate fondue and strawberries and Oreos. 
Really yummy. 

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Is What Saturday Morning Breakfast Looks Like Around Here

If I give my family the choice of what to have for breakfast on the weekends they always choose waffles.
I rather like them myself - crispy on the outside, airy and soft on the inside. 
Don't hate me because I am waffle-awesome.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Part of Winter

This lousy picture illustrates one of the things I like best about winter:  cozy evenings at home with the family, fire in the fireplace.  Nice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alabama Snow, Part Trois

 Hi.  It's me again, Peaches. 
As you can see by looking out my window, it has snowed again. 

I spend way too much time indoors when there is snow on the ground.  When it snows I can't keep my short, yet shapely legs and belly dry.  My ears get really cold too. 

All of the snow this winter has really cut into my squirrel chasing and bird terrorizing. 
The chipmunks are running amok without my regular perimeter checks.

Will this winter ever end? 
 I am starting to lose my girlish figure since being stuck inside most of the winter.

Aw, forget it.  Wake me when it's spring. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Any Better?

I took the carboard corners off of the mirror, changed the candles, and swapped the pedestal for a figurine.
Whatcha think?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Keep or No Keep?

I picked up a new mirror today.  I am test-driving it on the mantle. 

Whatcha think?  Keep or not to keep?

Lemon + Chicken = Chicken Piccata Yum

Monday evenings in my home are rather frantic. Between kids getting home from school, getting homework done and getting son out the door to scouts, 4pm to 7pm are crazy!  It was closing in on dinner time and I needed to make something fast. 

I got all my ducks, er, dishes in a row and commenced to making chicken piccata. 

After getting all the chicken browned and resting in a warm oven, it was time to make this tangy simple sauce.

In about 30 minutes, the final product was done - and quite tasty if I do say so myself!

Gotta feed my boy scout. 

(p.s. Son was in a silly mood last night. 
He said the dinnertime prayer for us by starting it, "Yo God, What up?"
He got to start again.  )

*editing note: I tried for a very long time last night to upload pictures so I could post.  After about an hour of waiting on pics I gave up and went to bed.  Oh well, best laid plans and all.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Super Bowl Spread

My Wisconsin-born hubs and my son have been working on Super Bowl snacks for this afternoon. 
Let's review:
Pork, ground and stuffed into a casing (bratwurst)
Beef, ground and stuffed into a casing (Hebrew National dogs)
Turkey, ground and stuffed into a casing (Ball Park Turkey Franks)
More pork, ground and stuffed into a casing (summer sausage)
con queso made with sausage, cheese dip, and salsa, served with tortilla chips

Here are the additions made to the spread to bring up the health level a bit:
fresh pico de gallo (Pioneer woman's recipe, yum!)
veggies with light ranch dip
Shrimp burgers made by my sweet daughter. 

Gotta balance things out a bit, you know?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dorothy Meets Alice

This afternoon daughter and I went to a production at her old school.  It was a play based on The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. 

The costumes were great.  It was nice to see some old friends and some new faces.  

 It was very high energy and well-done.

Here's a pic of my favorite flying monkey. 
(How many folks can say they have a favorite flying monkey, huh?)

The wicked witch was really terrific. (I bet she has a favorite flying monkey too!)

The cards danced and generally caused mischief.  I think they need to be dealt with. 
(I crack myself up!)

It was a well-spent afternoon.  Great job Academy Children's Theater.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Joys of Living on a Mountain

Living on a wooded mountain lot, this is about as close as we come to grass in our yard. 

As wet as it has been lately what we do have is lots of moss.  And lots of mud.  And puddles. 

Come on spring!