Monday, April 30, 2012

Project 365 Day 121 - April 30th

My son always falls asleep in the funniest positions.  Tonight was no different.  I left him in the living room for a few minutes to go change clothes, which wasn't a big deal since he was watching a movie while sitting on the floor playing with his tool set.  A few minutes later, I walked back into the living room to find him passed out on the corner of the couch still wearing his "work" gloves.

Giveaway from Delightful Order

Have you ever dreamed about organizing your life?  If you have,DaNita from Delightful Order is giving away one of her Everyday Message Center prints.

They are 16x20 and come ready to use, personalized with your family name.  You simply insert the print (which you can get in your choice from 1 of 5 colors) into a frame and use a dry or wet erase marker.  If you want to enter the giveaway, go here to find out how.

If you don't win, you still have a great opportunity to get your Everyday Message Center print... She's offering 10% off in her Etsy Shop.  This discount also applies to the Child Message Center prints.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Project 365 Day 120 - April 29th

For weeks I've been trying to get a picture of the beautiful cardinals that love to sing in the trees outside my windows.  I finally succeeded as we were headed to church this morning.  I saw this one on the branch in front of where the car was parked so I pulled out my camera (yes, I take it to church with me too) and snapped a couple of photos right before it flew away.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Project 365 Day 119 - April 28th

It was supposed to be a beautiful day at the ballpark for a t-ball game, but I think Mother Nature had other things in mind.  In the end, it didn't rain until much later in the night.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Project 365 Day 118 - April 27th

The kids and I finally made it to the pool today for the first time since Spring Break, that was a month ago.  Despite how warm the weather had been, the pool water was still like ice.  Oddly enough, the weather has been much cooler over this past week, but the water has started to warm up.  I am so not even trying to figure that one out!

I got brave (with my two kids in the pool, that is the only way to put it) and took my camera into one corner of the pool.  After making sure the kids were nowhere near me, I placed the body just above the water and looked for a focus point.  I absolutely love how I was able to focus on one ripple in the water and throw everything else just slightly out of focus.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Project 365 Day 117 - April 26th

I love this time of year... the wheat fields are full and beautiful.  I snapped this photo while we were sitting at a stop sign next to one of the many local wheat fields.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project 365 Day 116 - April 25th

As time passes, we gradually fall in and out of touch with certain people in our lives.  One of my closest friends from high school, Will Johnson, and I dealt with that more than once.  We stayed in touch after graduation but time and distance caused us to lose touch.  A few years later we reconnected, but again lost touch.  In 2005, we reconnected for one last time through MySpace.  We have remained in touch ever since.  He and his beautiful wife, Jessica, have become like family to both me, as well as my husband and kids.  

This could not be any more true than where it concerns my daughter.  She (and I) met Jessica for the first time on the afternoon I shot their engagement photos back in 2009.  Daisha instantly bonded with Jess and has loved her ever since.  Whenever possible, even if only once a year, we try to get together with Will and Jessica and plan it without telling Daisha.  They came into town for her Kindergarten graduation back in 20010, we met them for a beach day last spring, and tonight, they showed up to dinner to surprise her. Daisha didn't even realize they were in the area visiting.

This photo may not be great technically, but it touches my heart.  This was taken within seconds of Will and Jessica walking into the restaurant where we were meeting for dinner.  Daisha knew we had 2 people meeting us, but had absolutely no clue who they were.  I have not seen a smile that big on her in months, and it brought tears to my eyes to know that two people have made such a huge impact in her life without even realizing it!

Just a note, the fuzziness of Will and Tony was completely coincidental - I didn't want to use my flash since we were inside the restaurant.  The two of them moved toward each other to shake hands just as I snapped the photo, resulting in the blurry background with Daisha and Jessica remaining clear... love it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project 365 Day 115 - April 24th

The landscapers were on the property today testing the sprinkler systems out before the warm weather returns.  As the kids and I walked back from the mailbox, I turned to see this little rainbow hovering between two of the sprinklers.  I snapped and got this single shot before the guys shut them back down.

Monday, April 23, 2012

52 Weeks of Pinterest - Week 18: Donut Holes

It wasn't until I realized this morning when I woke up that we were out of my 3-year old's favorite breakfast food - cereal.  I pulled up Pinterest with him so we could look for something fun to make that he would find appealing.  The first and only thing that sparked his interest was the recipe for Donut Holes from Cooking Classy.

I reviewed the recipe and was happy to discover that, with the exception of buttermilk, we had everything we would need already.  Not having buttermilk was an easy fix since I learned many months ago how to cheat that ingredient.  For those who don't know, you add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring glass then fill it with regular milk until you have 1 cup total.  Mix it and let it set for about 5 minutes... Presto!  Instant buttermilk.

If you want to see the recipe and Jaclyn's steps for yourself, you can check out her blog here.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, for coating

- Preheat your oil oil over medium heat in a pan or pot to 350 degrees.  Be sure to watch your oil as it's heating  if the temperature isn't right, the donut holes won't turn out right either.

- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, sugar, and melted butter.  Use a fork to stir the dry ingredients in; mix just until combined.  The dough will be sticky... don't overmix.  

- Once the oil is ready, measure out 1/2 tablespoonfuls dough and using your hands gently roll into a ball, being careful not to overwork the dough.  I'll admit that the dough can be difficult to roll - we did more of the drop method, using a fork to help shape the dough and drop it into the oil.

- Gently place dough ball into oil and fry until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown.  Carefully remove with metal tongs or a fork and drain onto a paper towel lined plate.  Roll in sugar.  Repeat this process with remaining dough. 

A couple of notes from our trial:  
1.  The dough itself is fairly sweet so you don't want to overdo it with the cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.  I actually served them with a little bit of plain cream cheese, which balanced out nicely with the light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. 
2.  If you use 1/2 tablespoonfuls as stated, you should get about 30 donut holes.  Since there were only three of us eating and my son was hungry (plus he was helping make them and measuring only works for so long), we ended up with 12 oversized ones.  They still cooked all the way through and tasted great!

Project 365 Day 114 - April 23rd

I have no clue what the things growing on these trees are... all I know is that as I saw them while I was walking down the sidewalk, I became intrigued and had to stop to take a picture.  They look like some sort of flower and barnacle all rolled into one.  LOL

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Project 365 Day 113 - April 22nd

I'm not going to pretend to know what kind of flowers these are... I have no clue.  I just thought they were pretty so I snapped a photo when I saw them out in front of the office of our apartment complex.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Project 365 Day 112 - April 21st

I know it doesn't look that way, but this is the "scary" creek that runs behind our apartment complex.  There's actually nothing whatsoever that makes it scary other than the things that continue to be spotted in it.  First there were water moccasins, definitely one snake I have no desire to interact with.  Second were the gators - yes, alligators.  There were rumors of a 10-foot, an 8-foot, babies, and eggs.  The only proof that has been found is a baby gator of about 1.5-feet in length.  I'm no genius, but I know that where there's a baby gator, a mama isn't too far behind.  Lastly, we had cow sightings.  It's true!  A couple of days ago some cows escaped from a nearby farm and went exploring our apartment complex, including taking a stroll through the creek.

The craziest thing to me is that it isn't even a creek - it's a runoff area for rainwater.  LOL

Friday, April 20, 2012

Project 365 Day 111 - April 20th

I've said before that I'm all for supporting local businesses.  Well today, Kathy took me to one that I've heard rave reviews about but hadn't yet tried... Gelato Joe's.

If you're a lover of italian food and especially desserts, this is definitely a place you have to try.  They serve everything from sandwiches to pasta to Italian Ice.. and of course, gelato.  The customer service is wonderful, the prices are amazingly low for the quality of what you're given, and the taste is to die for.  

For my first visit, I opted for the raspberry gelato and my son had the banana pudding italian custard.  I also picked up a few goodies to take home:  the biggest chocolate covered strawberry I have ever seen in my life, a huge slice of bread pudding (for Tony since it's one of his favorite desserts), and the best cannoli I've tasted (the canonoli shell was dipped in chocolate).  One of my favorite things about Gelato Joe's is that everything is made fresh in-house.  If you want to find out more, or to see their full menu, they have a website you should definitely check out.

I can't wait to go back and take my family so we can sample some more of their deliciousness!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Pinterest - Week 17: Deep Fried Mini Candy Bars

We here in the South love our food fried.  From chicken to pickles to twinkies, if it's made, we'll fry it.  In all honesty, our family doesn't eat a ton of fried foods, but every once in awhile we go for it.  Tonight is the night to do things fried...

My daughter will be leaving after school tomorrow to go on her first Girl Scouts Camping Trip for the weekend.  To celebrate, I decided we needed a special dessert:  deep fried mini candy bars.  I've had them, but never made them myself, so this was a first.  The recipe actually came in my email yesterday so I pinned it to get back to it later (that's what I've started doing rather than moving things to my email folders).  When I tried to pick something special for tonight, I knew exactly where to go.

The recipe is from one of my favorite blogs for sweets - Hoosier Homemade.  If you've never seen this blog, I highly recommend you check it out.  Liz always has fun ideas that allow you to be creative, and her cupcake designs are awesome.

If you want to go directly to her link for this recipe, you can do so here.  It's super simple:
Ingredients - 
mini candy bars in your favorite flavors (we're using Snickers and Twix)
1 egg
1 cup milk
a pinch of salt
1.5 cups flour 
oil for deep frying
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions - 
Freeze your candy bars overnight, or several hours at a minimum.

You whisk the egg, milk, and salt together.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth.

Place the batter in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a deep pot until it reaches 365 degrees.
Dip your frozen candy bar into the cold batter, then carefully place it in the oil.

Let it fry until it is a light golden brown, then pull it out of the oil with some tongs or a metal spatula (Note: plastic utensils will melt in hot oil.)  Place the candy bar on a cooling rack over a plate or sheet pan to allow excess oil to drain off.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!!!

My kids devoured there servings in next to no time... it was funny to watch their faces as they tasted them for the first time.

Project 365 Day 110 - April 19th

I love to look at old buildings, and not just the front of the buildings, but all sides and angles.  This shot was taken from the passenger seat of our car while waiting on my husband to come out of a nearby store. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project 365 Day 109 - April 18th

Who doesn't love bubbles!?!  I have kids, so it's inevitable - we always have bubbles available for playtime.  The first time I attempted Project 365 back in 2010, I took a bubble shot.  I was determined to make it different, better.  I love the way the colors came out in the photo this time, plus you can even see my reflection in the bubble.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Project 365 Day 108 - April 17th

I don't get it... What is it about curtains that fascinates children so much!?!  I have to fight to keep both my son and daughter out of my curtains, as well as the sheer panel that separates the two.  This photo was snapped today while Keiran danced in the sheer.  I love the way the sheer draped around him looked on camera and knew it had to be today's photo.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Project 365 Day 107 - April 16th

This has got to be one of my favorite shots so far... it's simple but I love the way it turned out.  I love that the flower behind the fence is in focus more than the one poking through.  I love that you can see the rust on the chainlink so clearly, and that it actually looks beautiful when contrasted with the buttery yellow of the flowers.  And I love that the shot turned out so beautifully without any editing to enhance it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Project 365 Day 106 - April 15th

Our pastor gave a great sermon in church this morning entitled "Don't Waste Your Storm".  He talked about how you should use the calm times in your lives to prepare for the rougher times, the stormy ones.  The passage he specifically discussed was Mark 4:35-41.  The passage reads as follows:
          That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side."  Leaving the    
     crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with him.  A
     furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was on
     the stern, sleeping on a cusion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we
          He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet!  Be still!"  Then the wind died down and it
     was completely calm.
          He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?"
          They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

Today's message was a reminder that if you give your life to God during the calm times, he will be there for you in the tough ones.  My family has faced some tough times in recent months so this message really hit home for me.  As we left church and prepared for some quality family time today, I looked out the window of the car to see today's photo.

I love the way the utility pole looks like a cross among the clouds, and the way that through all of the storm clouds, you can see some sunshine peeking through.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Project 365 Day 105 - April 14th

I don't remember off-hand what kind of flowers these are (and it probably doesn't help that all you're seeing is the start of the bloom).  Both the flowers and leaves are huge - I'm hoping to get a shot of one fully open in the coming weeks as they start to open up more... we have two trees in the middle of our apartment complex that will be covered in these flowers before long!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Project 365 Day 104 - April 13th

I am a huge fan of local businesses.  As someone who is working hard to start my own business, I believe that giving support to all types of businesses is great for the economy, but I prefer to give my money to the smaller local businesses whenever possible.  Living in a smaller town has some advantages - one being that we have lots of small local businesses.  One of my newest favorites is Prissy Pots.  Located on Highway 59 in the heart of downtown Robertsdale, AL, Prissy Pots has tons of cute and quirky gifts that will make even the most crochety old woman feel like a girly-girl.

One of my favorite things about Prissy Pots is that their prices are affordable.  If you're interested in checking out their website, you can do so here.  I have not been asked to support the shop or promote them in any way... I am just pointing out a cool little shop that I think deserves some promotion.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project 365 Day 103 - April 12th

It was once again time for a trip to Auburn with my friend Kathy.  Every few months she drives up to Opelika, AL (not far from Auburn) to meet her daughter or son-in-law.  During those trips, she is usually picking up or returning her 3-year grandson Nate.  Since Keiran and Nate have become buddies, we will typically ride with Kathy.  It gives she and I some "girl time", plus I can give her a break with the driving.

Part of the routine of this trip is lunch at the local Cracker Barrell.  This was the 3rd trip that I have actually made with Kathy but the first time I had seen these cool windchimes hanging outside.  We all know that Cracker Barrell is famous for the old-fashioned rocking chairs lined up outside the door for customers to sit in and/or purchase.  Because my husband is such a huge fan of the rocking chairs (though we've never splurged to pay the high price for one of theirs), I had to get a picture of this windchime to show him.  I think I'm going to take some extra money the next time to buy him one as a gift.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Project 365 Day 102 - April 11th

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of super sugary cereals, especially early in the morning.  However, as a child, one of my two favorite cereals was Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries.  It wasn't until Sunday when I discovered Oops All Berries.  I don't know how long it's been out, but my mother-in-law brought a box for the kids.  I think I got more excited than they did.  LOL  The crunch berries were always the best part of Cap'n Crunch cereals so to have the option to have only the Crunch Berries was fabulous.  I know, I sound like a kid!  :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

52 Weeks of Pinterest - Week 16: Fried Green Tomatoes

Growing up in the South, I was always fascinated by fried green tomatoes.  Much to my detriment, I was never given the opportunity to try them until my college years.  Let's just say that I was hooked from the start.  I love almost all things tomato-related anyway, so these fried green tomatoes were like heaven to me. For years I've been wanting to make them myself, but the prices on green tomatoes always seemed so ridiculously high.  That was before my recent trip to one of the local farmer's markets.  At $0.99 per pound, I grabbed 4 and was ready to give it a whirl. With leftover ribs and barbecue chicken for dinner, I knew tonight was the perfect night for a good southern dinner.

I pulled up this recipe that I found on Pinterest a few months ago.  It came from Real Simple and seemed easy enough to do.  I grabbed the necessary ingredients and got to it.

1/2 C all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 C yellow cornmeal (all I had on hand was white but it worked just fine)
1 lb green tomatoes, sliced to about 1/2" thick
1/2 C oil (I used vegetable)

Start by putting the flour, eggs, and cornmeal into separate bowls.
Dredge your tomato slices in the flour.
Dip the tomatoes in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off.
Gently press each slice into the cornmeal - pressing will help the cornmeal to adhere to the tomatoes.
Preheat your oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, drop your tomatoes carefully into the pan a few at a time - remember that placing too many in at one time will decrease the temperature of the oil.

Allow the slices to fry on each side for 1-2 minutes or until golden in color.

Remove the tomatoes from the skillet and allow to cool on a paper towel-lined plate.  Season to taste with salt and enjoy!!!

Project 365 Day 101 - April 10th

Today's photo has no special significance or meaning - it's just some pretty flowers I found growing on the bush next to our building.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Project 365 Day 100 - April 9th

I made it!!!!  It's Day 100 and I am thrilled to have come this far already.  Only 266 more days and photos to go.

Everyone has used the phrase "A Penny for Your Thoughts" at some point or another, which is why it seemed to be the perfect theme for my 100th daily photo.  Your thoughts are what have kept me going throughout this challenge, and your thoughts are what will continue to keep me going throughout the rest of the year.

So here's to you, my family and friends - here are 100 pennies for your thoughts of my photos!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Project 365 Day 99 - April 8th

Happy Easter!!!  This day has been so much fun for our family.  We started out by attending church for the first time as a family.  It was also the first time I had attended in about 14 years and was long overdue.  We chose to go to the SonRise Service that our new church held in the local park.  I have to say that it was a wonderful service - and my kids were remarkably well-behaved for it being 6:30 in the morning.

When we came home, we had breakfast then the kids got to explore their baskets to see what the Easter Bunny brought for them.  Daisha's basket contained some smaller items and a kickball; Keiran's had similar smaller items and the much-anticipated soccer ball.  For weeks he has been telling us that the Easter Bunny was bringing him a soccer ball so I guess it's a good thing the rabbit came through.  LOL

My in-laws joined us for a non-traditional Easter lunch/dinner before we headed outside for some fun.  I took the kids to a neighboring field to play with their new balls while Tony hid the eggs.  Daddy hiding treat-filled eggs for the kids to find has become a tradition in our family since we first did it as part of our first Easter together 6 years ago.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Project 365 Day 98 - April 7th

We took the kids down the street to the Annual Easter Egg Hunt held by one of the smaller towns locally.  The kids had a great time scrambling among the herds of children to collect as many eggs as they could.  Daisha was in the group for kids ages 7-10 and managed to make out like a bandit.  Unfortunately, Keiran was in the group for kids ages 3-6 and only collected 4 eggs.  Whoever thought putting 3-year olds in an egg hunt with 6-year olds obviously hasn't spent much time with kids.  The younger ones were almost trampled on by the older ones and got next to nothing since their little legs wouldn't let them move as fast.  Fortunately, Daisha was a good big sister and shared with her brother.  I snapped this picture as they looked down into their baskets together waiting to see what kind of prizes they'd won.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Project 365 Day 97 - April 6th

While we were at Books-A-Million the other day so I could pick up a new Bible, I came across the cutest puzzle.  It was an overhead shot of a bunch of cupcakes topped with bright, funky colors of frosting.  Knowing my daughter has been wanting some new "artwork" for her room, which is done in the same colors, I figured this would be perfect.  Today, as we worked to finish the puzzle, I snapped a quick shot of the last bunch of pieces before we worked them into place.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Project 365 Day 96 - April 5th and 52 Weeks of Pinterest - Week 15: Bible Heart Photo

I have seen photos done like this before and, after coming across one on Pinterest, I decided I wanted to do my own using my new Bible.  I wasn't originally thrilled with the way it turned out.  The photo as it came straight out of the camera was fairly boring and nothing spectacular to look at.  I played around with some of my favorite PhotoShop actions and came up with the photo you see above.