Thursday, September 29, 2011

When it Rains....it Hails?????


In anticipation of rainy days, we raced to our newly disked fields from the weekend to plant our seeds of winter green (rye grass) so our horsey pals would will have something to munch on through out the cold months. Getting the whole planting sequence right is such a tricky thing; plant the seeds too early - too hot  - grass dies; plant too long before rain and doves eat your seed, plant too late and the grass takes forever to grow.  However, we saw rain in the forecast this year so we decided.....it is time for the seeds to be sown!  
(Using my I-phone for these photos as I didn't have the Nikon with me...this is the Hipstamatic app)

A whirly bird full of rye grass is like a huge bucket full of feed to these ever hungry creatures!  You have to move quickly! 


We have learned to wear hats around whirly birds spinning seeds out all over the place or you will be washing rye grass out of your hair for weeks!  
Ellen sat on the fence to supervise (and give Doc some lovin).



The very next day ~ just as the weather forecaster promised (how unusual) ~ the rain appeared.  We were privately giving ourselves a big pat on the ole back!  Ellen and some friends from school were out playing in the rain (still balmy, and hot in this part of the world) and all of sudden - bam the heavens opened up with half inch to one inch size pieces of hail!  


Somehow Ellen's bike had been left out in the rain, so I suggested she bring it in, and as you can see by the expression on her face, the hail hurts a bit more than rain!  However, they were determined to stay out and play in it..."how lucky can you get to be playing in the rain and have it turn into hail" was all I heard them say to each other.  "This is the most amazing day of our lives", "This is so awesome"!  Yes, we live in the South and our children NEVER see snow or ice fall from the sky, 
and it was one of the most amazing days of their lives! 

I don't know if it was the right decision or not, but I let them stay out in that hail storm...look at that smile! Until one of them complained, it seemed like this was something not to be missed.  Who knows when one might have this experience again, right?


Really ~ I can count the number of times I have seen this type of hail on one
  hand and speaking of one hand.....



The hail storm lasted about 15 minutes, and you have never heard three girls run about and screech and shrill with excitement as they did.....thankfully, no one was hurt. 


 Yes, I would say that was quite a hail storm! 
It will live in these girl's memories for the rest of their lives. 


The girls topped it off with S'mores - good comfy food when you are wet and cold!
(photo by Ellen - she was quite proud of her photo)


And I topped it off with Shrimp and Grits - a new recipe from Southern Living 
that is incredible and easy....here it is!

Parmesan Grits - 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup uncooked quick grits, 1/2 fresh grated Parmesans cheese, 1/2 tsp pepper ( I use Tony's Chachere seasoning of course).

Bring four cups of water to a boil and gradually whisk in grits, Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, whisk in cheese and pepper.   If you don't want to use Parmesan - use sharp cheddar.

Creamy Shrimp Sauce - 1 lb unpeeled medium size raw shrimp, 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, 1 1/4  low sodium chicken broth, 1/2 cup chopped green onions, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. hot sauce, 2 cups firmly packed fresh  baby spinach.

Cook Shrimp with pepper and salt in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shrimp are pink - spice to taste. Remove shrimp from skillet. Add oil, heat for thirty seconds, whisk in flour, cook thirty seconds to one minute and then whisk in broth and next five ingredients; cook two to three minutes until thickened; Stir in Shrimp and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted...

My shortcut to make this even faster! Mix all ingrediants into broth including the flour and pour into the skillet....I also added some fresh basil and rosemary!  

Serve over grits - If you don't like grits you can serve over rice!  

This is also Lo-Cal - Only 235 calories a serving!   And so delicious!  



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hello there!


OK ~ I have fallen off the blogging wagon...once again; but I have a good reason!  I am back into my knitting OBSESSION!  It started with a class at our cute little knitting shop we have in town...next time I go, I am going to photograph it, as it is just adorable and is so inspiring!  I took a class on how to knit a hat on circular needles and use double point needles....and that got me 
back into high knitting gear!  

Looks so easy when you look at this photo - right?  Well, it has been ripped out no less then five times and should have been ripped out a sixth but I was too tired to do it.  
I nick-named it HFH ~ Hat from xxxx.


That top little part on the DPN (knitting lingo for double point needles) should NOT be rough....but that is what I get for going ahead of the class and thinking I can finish it on my own....oh well, it is for a baby (Maggie) and she will never know the difference.  Besides, we are also learning how to make a cute I-cord with a pom -pom for the top, so my plan is to make the pom pom really BIG and cover the whole thing up....it may be so big, you won't even see that cute little Maggie under it!  



Once I finished the hat, I started on something that was a bit easier and less stressful - a scarf!  


It came out adorable and is for a special person with a birthday around the corner...I will be able to take some photos soon of them wearing it so I am excited...you will see them on the blog soon!


And another reason for my lack of blogging was a quick trip to Atlanta to meet Elizabeth - hence this scarf was born on the plane trip...now that it takes so LONG to fly anywhere....knitting is a very nice thing to do on a plane!  At least you feel like you accomplish something in all that time you spend sitting around! 

 Unfortunately, the trip wasn't a FUN trip...it was to continue the dental work on her teeth.  We are in the home stretch now and the end is in sight.  One more appointment after this and she is done!  It was great to see her.  We were able to have lunch and catch up on college life before she spent four hours in the dental chair and literally RAN highspeed through the Atlanta airport to make her flight back to college.


Sara has been busy ~ This is her latest work of art ~ her project for art class was to make something artistic  out of trash!  They had to have some sort of inspirational quote as well to go with the project..if you have some young children ~ this is a fun "I Spy" Game
Can you find the
1. comb 2. Bic lighter, 3.Starbucks lid, 4. match, 5.tape dispenser, 6. pecan, 7.whistle, 8. battery, 
9. car remote (Sara - I am not happy about that one - just because the battery was dead does not mean it doesn't work!) 10. barrette

The chicken body is made of shredded coke cans and the tail of Sprites - the base is an old desk from her school.  Pretty amazing what you can do with trash these days! 


This weekend, we were delighted that a camp friend from Mississippi was able to come visit.


The girls had a great time catching up on life since summer!



Just a cool photo of a cool mushroom....


Jordyn had never gathered eggs!

Snuggling in to watch movies

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fondue!




Fondue for Dinner - Its Fun! 


It began quite simply...


An afternoon rollerblading excursion...


 to the local grocery store...


Ellen selected a nice cut of beef.....


and on the way home, I thought.....


 (whoops) one of them is going to take a nose dive!
no...I really didn't think that...I thought ~ it would be fun to have fondue for dinner!


So we chopped up some chicken, beef and potatoes, steamed artichokes for a side, lit a Sterno can, poured some canola oil in our fondue pot and started to cook.  Ellen had a few friends over who had a) never had fondue, and b) never had artichokes...maybe we should have stuck to pizza????


However, expanding horizons and palettes are a good thing and her friends seemed to enjoy 
trying something a bit different. 


Rachael even liked the artichokes!  We laughed that everyone has their own style of how to stack the leaves....some are "neat stackers" are some are not.


Ellen is a neat stacker!


Fondue was such a fun dinner that we did it all over again with Sara and Katherine!  
We learned that "a watched pot never boils"!


Fondue is meal that inspires conversation as you patiently wait for your meal to slowly cook before your eyes.  


It is fun to take some time and have a long, relaxing meal and really talk
 to one another while you have dinner. 


The girls got a bit creative in their zest to cook and began to 
experiment....first we tried....


a sugar snow pea.....it was OK...not too bad, but not great......



Katherine figured the broccoli would taste pretty good - and it did...so we added
 that to our "meat-a-thon"!  

Things got out of hand when Sara took a chunk of artisan bread and decided to fry it in the fondue oil....needless to say....


It was not a good thing! 


But overall - we have thoroughly enjoyed our fondue and our fondue experimentation - next time I will be armed with a few more squash type veggies!  
Our next adventure will be cheese fondue - the artesan bread will have a home there. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Agony of "Da feet", The thrill of......



A Homecoming Date??????  Yes, that's right...in the midst of gritting out a three mile, hilly (well, what we call hills in LA) cross country race, Sara gets asked to her school's homecoming!


How on earth does that happen, you might ask? Keep reading and I will tell ya!


It is hard to tell from this photo, but these girls stomachs are churning with butterflies....as Sara says, she begins to get nervous around Thursday and stays that way until the race is over on Saturday!  


They are off! Once they run, it is like a huge weight is lifted off their shoulder, and they have a 
few days until they get to do it all over again! 


So, back to how this whole Homecoming date thing happened....their high school is like none other that I have witnessed when it come to asking out girls for Homecoming.  The guys try to think of the craziest, zaniest, most memorable ways they can possibly ask a  girl out.  


When  Elizabeth was a freshman and I was new to the school, it was shocking to me... that a boy would publicly ask a girl out in front of the whole school in ways such as: billboards on the side of the road, balloons all over the girl's car, signs all over their locker, flowers delivered to them in the middle of class, principals calling them to the office and having a note there asking the girl, golf balls spelling out the question in their front yard,  the list goes on and on.....


Last year, a boy wrote a song and sang it at lunch time in front everyone to ask Elizabeth!  Their creativity knows no bounds and they just don't seem to be embarrassed about
 the whole public aspect of it!  After five years of highschool, I have now become quite used to the ideas and look forward to hearing all of the fun ways these girls get their dates. 



Now, picture Sara , sweaty, huffing and puffing ~ three miles up and down hills (even Louisiana hills) is difficult!  And, as she is running, there stands this cute boy, with a cute sign that says:
Sara ~ Homecoming ????


1. She manages to see it....
2. She manages to read and process it with the oxygen deprivation going on in that brain! 
3. She manages to say yes in the split second that she does all this while running by him!
I am impressed! 
Here she is, giving me the only hint of a smile I got the entire race....not sure if this was before 
the big question was popped or after, but she told me she spotted the camera and did her best to smile for me!  My sweet Sara. 


Needless to say, this wasn't the best time she has ever run, but it wasn't her worst ~ and it is the first time she has ever crossed the finish line with a homecoming date in hand! 


Here she is at the very end of a killer course ~ the finish line is a sight for sore eyes! 


Time to go shopping!