February 18, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week Seven

Ugh. February. February is quite literally my least favorite month of the year. Every other month of the year I'm cool with, but I have never liked February. I always get a case of the mid-Winter blues in February. I've been feeling a little down, anxious and pent-up lately, and I think it's showing in my attitude about a lot of things, like this project for example. I contemplated quitting this week. I mean why not? The whole world is cold and gray and six weeks is longer than I've ever lasted before. I wanted to quit but I didn't. So here's to keepin' on even when you want to quit and looking forward to Spring and sunshine. They're just around the corner, y'all.  

I'm linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming and Carrie from My Life, Our Journey and the rest of the Catch the Moment Crew! If you want to join in, let me know. There is a fantastic Facebook group full of supportive women!

043/365 Thursday February 12th, 2015

Pretty lines and perspective hanging on my breakfast nook wall. 

044/365 Friday February 13th, 2015

Christmas was over almost two months ago and I've still got these guys from my garland hanging around. I really don't like this photo. It's super grainy. I need to work on my ISO setting. 

045/365 Saturday 14th, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day flowers from Christopher. We don't really do Valentine's Day for each other, but I was so happy for this little taste of Spring! Plus, tulips are my favorite flower!

046/365 Sunday February 15th, 2015

Preparing for Winter Storm Octavia. When snow and/or ice is predicted all Southerners must report to their nearest grocery store and buy bread, eggs, water and milk. Don't ask me why. I don't know. Actually, I do know. It goes back to the great ice storm of 1994. I'm sure it was stressful for the adults, but I just remember camping in my living room with my parents and having a ton of fun with my friends. Severe weather is much different as an adult and a parent! 

047/365 Monday February 16th, 2015

Well the storm came and dumped a ton of ice and freezing rain on us. Our neighbors to the north got snow. Not us though, just gross ice. Our garden flag was frozen like this.

048/365 Tuesday February 17th, 2015

"Snow" Day part two. I made bacon, eggs and biscuits for breakfast. Evie remembered the heart shaped donuts from Valentine's Day and requested heart shaped biscuits. I couldn't tell that sweet face no. If heart shaped biscuits make my big girl happy, then heart shaped biscuits it is!

049/365 Wednesday February 18th, 2015

Before I went to bed on Tuesday I checked the weather and to my dismay it said we were supposed to get snow over night. No. No. No. For maybe the first time in my life my I prayed for it NOT to snow. Much like when I pray that it will snow, my prayers were not answered in the way that I hoped. 

It's been so cold and yucky that it wasn't even hard to pick my favorite photo this week. Hands down the flowers from Chris win. The man sent me Springtime in the middle of Winter. Just looking at my flowers and that photo cheers me up! 

What photo was your favorite this week! I hope the rest of you who got blasted by Octavia and Neptune stayed as safe and warm as possible! 

February 13, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week 6

Wow! Week six of my project 365 and I am having so much fun! I am really loving getting behind my Nikon more, and I can really tell a difference in my photography already. It might not be evident in the photos but it is evident behind the camera. I'm taking more time to set up shots and think about the technique behind it. This was exactly what I hoped this project would do. It's pushing me. It's stretching me. I love it. 

I'm linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming and Carrie from My Life, Our Journey and the rest of the Catch the Moment Crew! If you want to join in, let me know. There is a fantastic Facebook group full of supportive women!

 036/365 Thursday February 5th, 2015

"Take my pitchur momma!" This girl is a ham lately and in typical almost four year old style thinks sticking her tongue out is the funniest thing ever. 

037/365 Friday February 6th, 2015

These beer bottles have been sitting out on the table in my "formal dining room" since Christmas when I needed more room in the fridge. They are pretty when the light hits them in the morning but I should probably throw them away. 

038/365 Saturday February 7th, 2015

It was birthday dinner that night so a quick shot of our still-not-yet-put-away Christmas lights seemed appropriate. Hey, at least they are off the house! 

039/365 Sunday January 8th, 2015

These two are still best buds. They're eight, but still play like puppies outside. Reily still kicks Rocky's butt proving time and time again that while she was the runt of her litter she is scrappy and tough. Great things come in small packages!

040/365 Monday February 9th, 2015

MJ loves to sleep in any box or bag she can find. Monday's choice was Emma's Vera Bradley school bag. She snoozed in there for a good hour. 

041/365 Tuesday February 10th, 2015 

Running out of time and daylight. You get my gross boots. 

042/365 Wednesday February 11th, 2015

Finally, we get to my favorite for the week. My sweet sweet little Emma Ann. She lights up my world every single day. Even when she is fussy or cranky and I want to run away screaming I wouldn't trade a day with her for an easier life. I think we will keep her.

 Which is your favorite for the week! I was actually torn between the one of Evie, the one of my boxer babies and the one of Emma. Emma won out because I can't resist those baby blue eyes staring up at me!

February 9, 2015

Loaded Potato Soup Recipe

I recently made a big pot of loaded potato soup when Chris had bronchitis. We are big potato soup lovers in our family, especially in the colder Winter months. You can throw this in a bread bowl or pair it with a sandwich or roll. It's hearty enough that a bowl of it will fill you on its own though! I hope you enjoy!

  • 11 TBS of salted butter
  • 2/3 cups of flour
  • 4 cups of milk, warmed, skim, 2%, whole --whatever ya got. I used 2%.
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped and divided
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Freshly shredded would be best, but let's face it the bagged stuff works just fine here.
  • 8 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, divided
  • 1/2 bag of southern style hash browns thawed and completely cooked*
  • sour cream
  • additional shredded cheese for topping
  • In a large soup pot or dutch oven (I use a large enameled cast iron dutch oven) melt butter over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour.
  • Cook the flour and butter for about five minutes. This is important so you lose the floury taste in the roux. Give the flour a whisk every thirty seconds to a minute. Don't let it burn.
  • Slowly pour the warm milk into the roux whisking constantly. It is VERY important that you warm your milk up. I cannot express this enough. If you dump cold milk in you will end up with a soup full of lumps and clumps, and no one wants that!
  • When the milk mixture is smooth, go ahead and add the chicken broth as well. Be sure to whisk while adding the broth also.
  • Add a good handful of the green onions, reserving some for garnish, and stir into the pot.
  • Add the black pepper and garlic powder and stir in as well.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture thickens a bit and begins to bubble, stirring occasionally. You could turn the heat up just a tiny bit to help speed this along, but if you do that keep a close eye on your soup.
  • Next add the cheese in two separate batches. Be sure to stir the first batch of cheese in until completely smooth before adding the next.
  • Stir in the majority of your crumbled bacon, reserving some for garnish.
  • Stir in the hash brown potatoes.
  • Allow soup to bubble and simmer for 5-10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as needed. There is a lot of salt in the cheese and the broth, but you've added two very bland things (flour and potatoes) so you might find that your soup needs a bit more salt.
  • Here you can either stir the sour cream into the soup or serve it on top. I serve it on top because Chris doesn't like sour cream.
  • Serve in bowls topped with cheese, green onions and bacon.
  • NOTE: For the hashbrowns I usually dump about half the bag into a microwave safe bowl and zap them for 10 minutes stirring once in the middle. This thaws and cooks them. I can also do this while I am making the roux etc
What are your favorite Winter weather recipes? 

February 4, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week 5

Week five of Catch the Moment. Wow. I'm almost shocked by myself. Five weeks isn't really all that impressive. I'm proud though because despite our family battling the flu, a mystery evil virus, a cough/cold, transient synovitis and a double ear infection during these five weeks I have not given up on my project 365! So while all of you who have done this before are probably like, "Five weeks? pish posh, that's nothing!" I am going to go ahead and give myself a big ole pat on the back. Most importantly though I am going to keep on keepin' on!

I'm linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming and Carrie from My Life, Our Journey and the rest of the Catch the Moment Crew! If you want to join in, let me know. There is a fantastic Facebook group full of supportive women!

029/365 Thursday January 29th, 2015

I'll go ahead and admit that technically speaking this photo isn't very good. And what do we do with not very good photos? We put them in black and white, because reasons. Anyway, if you don't know by now, this is Evie. She will be four in March, and on Thursday she finally gave up her pacis. Evie, if you ever read this I hope you know how proud you make me! 

030/365 Friday January 30th, 2015

Remember that tree from a few weeks ago? Here it is again with a beautiful blue sky behind it. I've decided to make "Clem" (as I've named him) a regular guest for my Project 365. I'm hoping to see him snow covered, covered in buds, in full green and in all his Fall glory. We shall see. 

031/365 Saturday January 31st, 2015

My birthday! Huzzah! Nana kept the girls so Chris and I could have a nice low key evening in. We used our new Big Green Egg for the first time and oh, holy yum! Ribeye, grilled sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli! I had one happy tummy! Also, these are iPhone photos because 1) it's my birthday and I do what I want, and 2) no, you go right ahead and dangle your expensive DSLR and lens over a 750 degree grill. I'll just watch, thanks!

032/365 Sunday February 1st, 2015

Skillet Nachos for Superbowl Sunday. Even though I'm sad that the stinking cheating scumbag Patriots won, at least the food was good. 

033/365 Monday February 2nd, 2015

Sick baby. Monday. Need Coffee. Nuf Said. 

034/365 Tuesday February 3rd, 2015

We are having a bit of a cold snap, and I love seeing my girls in their hats before we leave in the mornng! #girlmom

035/365 Wednesday February 4th, 2015

Early morning girl talk! I didn't ask them to do this either. I told Evie to make sure that Emma didn't roll off the couch (mother of the year, I know), and when I turned around, well the scene was was too perfect not to be the photo of the day. I think I will keep this around for when they are thirteen and sixteen and estrogen is ruling our household! 

Hands down my favorite photo this week is my girls. It's hard to beat seeing these two babies of mine love each other this much. What's your favorite photo of the week? 

February 3, 2015

Saying Good-Bye to the Paci

If y'all know my darling girl, Evie, at all the first thing you know is what a true paci addict she is. She has loved them dearly since she was a wee little thing. She has consistently slept with close to ten pacis in bed with her since she was about three months old. When she was about a year old we started cutting back. First, it was no pacis in the car. Then it was no pacis around the house. Next, we eliminated pacis for nap time at school (or rather we were informed that they were taking them away -- still a big point of contention with me). Since then she's held on to her pacis for nap time at home and bedtime. 

I'd like to tell you that we made giving them up Evie's decision because we believed that she would do it when she was ready. I'd like to say this was all a part of some sort of free range parenting philosophy (Oh, hahahahahaha) and we were giving her the power to make her own decisions. That sounds so much better and much more with it than the truth. The truth is: we were lazy. 

The plan was to have them gone by age three. Then we were selling our home and moving in with my parents. Then we were moving in with Chris' parents. Then we were moving into our new home, and she was adjusting to her brand new room. Then we were bringing a new baby home, and, boy oh boy, what an adjustment that was. It was just so much change, and I couldn't bring myself to take away that source of comfort. 

Since then we've talked about the Paci Fairy, or cutting them down until there is nothing left.

Still though, we've been lazy, and the paci addiction has lived on. 

Until this past Thursday morning when I was upstairs changing Emma's diaper and getting her dressed for school. I heard a little voice shout from the kitchen, "Oh no, Momma! We forgot to get my pacis to give to Ms. Chelsea!" Wait. What? Apparently Evie's 3K teacher and her entire class had a discussion on Wednesday about Evie being such a big girl and not needing her pacis anymore. Ms. Chelsea told Evie that if Evie would bring her pacis to Ms. Chelsea that the class would have a special "Evie's a Big Girl!" party with cake. The second thing you should know about Evie is that she will do almost anything for cake. She loves cake. 

I gently asked Evie if maybe we should wait until Monday to take all of the pacis to Ms. Chelsea. She was adamant though. "No, momma! I want to take them today! I'm not a baby anymore. I don't need them. I won't fuss tonight at bed. I promise." So, while there was a part of me that wanted to wait because, oh holy crap my baby is growing up, Chris and I decided that we should just go with it. So we did. 

Evie walked into her classroom and handed Ms. Chelsea a little bag with all of her pacis in it. She was a little hesitant but I could tell she was proud of herself. 

Her class celebrated with, of course, cake on Friday. 

And since then Evie has been 100% fine without her pacis. We've found a few lurkers, and every time she just holds them out to Chris or me and says that she needs to take them to Ms. Chelsea. I am in awe of what a big girl she is becoming. She makes me so proud. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be able to pawn Emma Lou off on one set of grandparents and take Evie out for a special celebration! 

Do you know any paci addicts? Are/were your kids paci addicts? How did you handle taking their pacis away?

February 2, 2015

Catch the Moment: Week Four

I'm here for week four of Catch the Moment. I feel like this week was much better in terms of effort and in terms of getting in a groove with this daily photo thing! So far I've stuck with it for four whole weeks (and I'm already into my fifth), and that is so much longer than I've ever stuck with a project 365 before. 
I'm linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming and Carrie from My Life, Our Journey and the rest of the Catch the Moment Crew! If you want to join in, let me know. There is a fantastic Facebook group full of supportive women!
If you feel inspired grab your DSLR (or iPhone or point and shoot or whatever!) and get to clicking!
022/365 Thursday January 22, 2015
I spend a lot of my time with this clock as my view.

023/365 Friday January 23rd, 2015
Leaves on the magnolia tree that Chris bought for me when we moved into our new house.

024/365 January 24th, 2015
Finally a sunny warmish day! Ahoy matey!

025/365 Sunday January 25th, 2015
Southern Cookin' Makes Ya Good Lookin'

026/365 Monday January 26th, 2015
Early morning light.

027/365 Tuesday January 27th, 2015
Sisters in the tub together!

028/365 Wednesday January 28th, 2015
We've got spirit! Yes, we do! (Even when we are drinking water!)

Which was your favorite for the week? I am having trouble choosing between the photo of Evie on her play park and the one of the girls in the tub.
*I watermark all of my photos; sometimes I might even watermark them twice. Sorry, I'm not sorry. I'm protective of my children's likenesses, and I will protect them. If you are family and want access to the family photo sharing website where I keep all my photos sans watermarks, please email me.