Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I've Moved!

That's right...I've moved to a new "home."

After much contemplating, and considering staying here and just remodeling, I decided to just start fresh in a brand new home.

This blog will remain, but I'll no longer be posting here.

If you'd like to visit me in my new location, come see me at Jennifer's Little Corner.

It's not all spiffed up yet, actually, it has a lot of work to be done to make it mine, but you can visit anyway!

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


No, Seriously! I lost this blog AND my business blog a while back and have been trying to figure out what on earth happened!

I purchased domain names a few years ago, and renewed them each time I was supposed to. But something happened in early 2013 when Google decided to make some changes. I had free web hosting through them, and from what I understood, since I was already established with them, I would be able to continue the free blog hosting.

But something went wrong. Sometimes they throw a lot of stuff out there that is very confusing, and I apparently missed something. But all of a sudden, my blogs were all distorted and I couldn't do anything about it! And then they seemed to vanish...I couldn't access them by typing in the address. I was VERY frustrated! And sad! (Especially about my personal many stories and pictures!)

I decided that somehow, the blogs must still be able to be accessed. They HAD to be! Obviously, my domain name was outdated, so I managed to take care of that. I renewed it with no problem. But then what?

I did figure out that the reason my blogs weren't accessible, is because I had them redirected to my domain name. So I fixed that, and they are BACK, but in blogger. With the doggone on the end! Oh, and this one doesn't even have my actual blog name in the URL because it's still the same from WAY back when I first began and didn't know what to call my blog, and really didn't but any thought into it. Now, I have no idea if my "old" friends can see the updates since the address is different. Guess I'll find out!

So, I repurchased my domain name for my business blog, but haven't for this one yet. For two reasons: one, because I still haven't figured out how to get it set back up to work with the domain name. And two, because, I'm really trying to decide if I want to keep this blog going, as in continue posting on it.

I was a TERRIBLE blogger the past few years (almost non-existent). But now I'm finally missing blogging and think I might be a little more frequent at posting. But I don't know if this blog "fits" me anymore.

I know I'm still a night-owl deep inside, but my life now doesn't really let me be one. I've considered either starting a whole new blog, or changing the name of this one. I'm not sure. I'm thinking about the name "Jennifer's Little Corner." I actually went ahead and secured a blog with that name before I managed to get this one to work again. That name would be more "me," because I don't blog about one particular thing, but about all facets of my life. And no matter what I end up blogging about, it would still fit.

So I'm now trying to decide what I really want to do. Decisions, decisions. Guess even I will have to wait to see what happens!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Order for 2013

Aaachoo!!! Wow...there's a lot of dust on this ol' blog! Goodness...only 10 posts in 2012 and even less than that in 2011! To think I was ever actually a blogger. Sigh.

Oh well. This year probably won't be much different, but you never can tell!

I thought I'd come here and "put in writing" what my word for the year does like I usually do in January.

This year's word is...ORDER.

I seem to constantly find myself overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with what needs to be done.  Overwhelmed with stuff. Even just overwhelmed with life in general sometimes.

As I looked around recently, I felt out of control. I had stuff everywhere! And though some of it may be junk that doesn't need to be here, the rest of it is stuff I use (or want to use) but it was all swallowing my up due to lack of space and organization!

So I began to take action and have already made LOTS of changes. I won't go into those details right now, because that's a whole different post, and this one is supposed to be focusing on my word! But MAYBE that will be my next post?!

Anyway, I finally began feeling a little bit of a sense of order. And it felt SO good. I knew that I wanted to keep going in that direction.

So I've been plugging away, as time allows, to get EVERYTHING in my house in order! I have to do it a little at a time, because even in getting things in order, I get overwhelmed! I try not to think about what still needs to be done, but my mind just spins and spins and I have a dozen or more projects in my head all at once!

But I'll get there.

My prayer is that once everything is in order,  I can be much more productive, less overwhelmed, and over all happier!'s to ORDER in 2013!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #8 - Make Ahead Muffin Melts

Make Ahead Muffin Melts

I'm always looking for quick breakfasts that are also tasty and not sugar-laden. These Muffin Melts looked like they might be a good choice.

I whipped this mixture up early last week. It didn't last too long. It was yummy on English muffins. We did add the tops to our muffins instead of leaving them open-faced. We've all enjoyed them around here!

It is equally yummy eaten cold on sandwich bread. It's like fancy egg salad. And it's quite good right off the spoon as well!

I will definitely be making this again. It's a nice change at breakfast time!

Please note...this is NOT MY PHOTO! I borrowed this from The Pioneer Woman herself. Though it should be pretty obvious, because my photography skills don't hold a candle to hers...I only wish I could make my food look this pretty in pictures!

But, I completely forgot to take a picture of this before we ate it all. I'll try not to let that happen again!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #7 - Crash Hot Potatoes

Crash Hot Potatoes

This is a recipe that Ree posted ages ago on her blog. I remember when she posted it. Soon after, everyone in the blogosphere was making these potatoes. My procrastination must have kicked in, because I never got around to them. When they were all the rage in the cyberworld, I missed out. But now that they are in the cookbook, I decided it was finally my time to give them a try.

And I'm so glad I did!

They are delicious! So crispy, and just, well...yummy!

I used small red potatoes, but they weren't the new potatoes. I plan to make these again...but I will use the new potatoes. Mine were just a little too big, even though I picked out the smallest ones in the bag. It took them longer to boil, they were a little more difficult to mash than I thought they should have been, and they took longer to bake. And they were just bigger than the cute little ones Ree made. In spite of all that, they were amazingly good. I only had one on the plate here, but they were all gone after dinner.

She included a variation in the book, to which I jumped all over...cheddar cheese sprinkled on top just before baking! Yum!

These are a perfect potato side dish. I tire of the 3-4 ways I make potatoes, and am very pleased to be adding these to the rotation! I served these alongside Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich which was in her first cookbook. (It was delicious too...especially with some provolone cheese added to it!)

They were enjoyed by my family...two thumbs up from everyone!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #6 - Citrus Butter Cookies

Citrus Butter Cookies

Baking is something I love to do. Breads, cakes, cookies, pies...I love it all! The intoxicating smells that radiate from my kitchen when I bake, tickle me pink!

Unless I burned something. Then...well, that's a story for a different day!

I would bake all the time if someone else would come behind me and clean up my colossal mess! But that's not gonna happen. Oh well, a girl can dream!

In all my baking endeavors over the years, cookies have been my least successful. Cakes are more my sweet spot. I baked and decorated cakes for many years before I "retired" due to the stress it caused me to put on myself. I did alright making a birthday cake or special occasion cake. But every single time I did a wedding cake, I became a basket case! It needed to be perfect! I would end up sick to my stomach pretty much every time. I decided to give it up. That was quite a few years ago, and I still don't regret it. I love to make a cake every now and then for a special occasion, and I still make them for my kids' birthdays. But I always remember why I stopped doing it in the first place!

Anywho...back to the cookies. I have one recipe for chocolate chip cookies that are delicious and bake perfectly for me every time. An on-line friend shared the recipe with me years ago, and it has been my go-to recipe ever since. And I've had a few cookie recipes turn out pretty well. But I get nervous when looking at a new cookie recipe, because I know there's a good possibility it's going to flop for me.

And of course, there is would be a cookie recipe in this book! I decided to go ahead and tackle it and get it out of the way. Plus, I had all the ingredients on hand and was craving something sweet!

These require a little more effort than I usually want to put in for a cookie. There is a LOT of grating of zest to be done. But really, that is the most difficult part. The rest is a piece of cake.

Or cookie.

The result is a very citrus-y, soft, sweet, chewy cookie. Um, lots of cookies! I was a bit surprised when it made almost double the amount of cookies that the recipe said it would. I thought maybe I made mine too small. But then I compared them to Ree's pictures, and realized mine were bigger! The recipe on her site actually says 36 servings, which is closer to what I came out with. Mine made just under four dozen.

I had a difficult time with drizzling the icing, so I ended up just pouring some on each cookie and letting it form a solid layer of icing on top. I loved them that way, but some may find that to be much too sweet.

I knew that I couldn't bake this batch of cookies and keep them in my house, because they would continue to beckon me to them, and I'd eat pretty much all of them all on my own. Not that I've ever done anything like that before. Ahem.

Instead of listening to their cries from my kitchen, I took them to school on Monday and shared them with my coworkers. I asked them to rate them...delicious, terrible, or in between.

I got mixed reviews. A few thought they were too citrus-y. But I warned them that they were citrus cookies. These were ladies who aren't huge fans of citrus-types of foods. They were just a bit too sweet for a couple of people. But for the most part, they were a hit. No one said they were terrible. And I know these ladies...if it had been terrible, they would have told me! Needless to say, I wasn't stuck with four dozen cookies to consume by myself!

My kids liked them VERY much. Chip wasn't a huge fan.

I didn't eat four dozen, but refuse to admit how many I did eat!

You can find this recipe on Ree's blog right HERE. You will also find much prettier pictures! Her cookies were more photogenic than mine!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #5 - Basic Chicken Salad

Basic Chicken Salad

I didn't mean to be so long in posting the next review. However, my sinus issues came back with a vengeance and I had an extremely difficult start to the week causing me to leave work early on Monday and head to the doctor. A steroid shot and steroid pack, along with an antibiotic was in order. Thursday morning, I gloriously awoke for the first time in a week, without a splitting headache!

So...onto the next recipe. Basic Chicken Salad.

I have always loved chicken salad, but I tend to be a bit picky about what goes in mine. I don't like fruit in all. So when I read this recipe and and saw that it had grapes in it, I approached it hesitantly. But I went for it anyway.

Can I tell you something? Ree has changed my thoughts on fruit in chicken salad! I don't have any idea why this worked for me...maybe it was the combination of the other ingredients, but my eyes have been opened to a whole new world!

The only thing I did differently from the recipe was leave the celery out. I love celery in chicken salad - sometimes that is the only thing I add to the chicken besides the dressing. However, one of the 2 or 3 things in this world that my husband does not eat, is celery. Therefore, I left it out so he would eat the salad.

The recipe calls for yogurt or sour cream. I had sour cream on hand, and no yogurt, so it was a no-brainer. I'm not a yogurt fan, but I'm sure it would have tasted just as good in the dressing.

I also loved the nice little crunch that the almonds added. Oh, and I forgot to buy fresh dill, and mine hasn't grown enough for harvesting yet, so I was stuck using dried. It worked fine, but I would love the bright taste of fresh next time.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I was most definitely a fan of this chicken salad. I served it on yummy, flaky croissants.

As for the rest of the family...

Chip wrinkled his nose when he walked into the kitchen and saw the grapes jumping into the bowl. He's not fond of fruit in chicken salad either. He wasn't won over quite as easily as I was. He ate the grapes out of it, and then ate the rest on his croissant. He liked that. Just not a fan of the grapes.

CJ liked it very much. He prefers grapes in his chicken salad.

Ruthi tasted it by itself and really liked it. But when I made a sandwich for her, something changed and she didn't care for it so much anymore. But she's 7...and a she's wishy-washy. She did end up picking out just the chicken and eating that.

I would definitely make this again. I think it would be great for a ladies brunch!

*Edited to add: I meant to put this in before I published, but I completely forgot! Ree has a recipe for chicken salad on her is almost the same one that is in the cookbook! In this version, she boils the chicken. In the book, she just says cooked, chopped chicken, so doesn't include the step of boiling it. (And I actually used a purchased rotisserie chicken from the deli.) You can find it by clicking right HERE.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #4 - Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Didn't mean to take so long to get around to posting this. But I've spent the last few days on my couch, only getting up when absolutely necessary, thanks to a terrible headache due to sinus pressure. I'm so over having sinus problems. Anyway, I'm beginning to feel better, and I'm very thankful. Instead of going to bed, like I should be doing, I'm staying up just long enough to get this posted.

This was the third recipe I made for Easter dinner. I had fresh strawberries from the strawberry farm that needed to be used up, and this recipe helped make that possible. This is a spin on the classic strawberry shortcake...the cake is actually cake (not biscuits as you find in the south, or angel food cake, or actual shortcake), and instead of whipped cream, it has a cream cheese frosting.

Something happened with the actual cake when it kind of sunk in the middle. I've never had that happen to me before, and I've baked LOTS of cakes in my time. So I have no idea what happened there. But the way it looked had no effect on the taste whatsoever, and that's all that matters!

Now, that sagging middle did make this cake a little difficult to spread the berries and frosting on, but I managed just fine. And to hide the fact that it was uneven, I just piled some extra strawberries in the worked as a nice disguise. But honestly, once this cake was cut and being devoured, no one remembered what it looked like!

About the cream cheese frosting...Ree says - "Warning: You'll feel like eating this bowl of icing before you even get it on the cake." I did not take this warning too seriously. I mean, I've eaten a lot of cream cheese icing in my lifetime...big deal, right? Wrong! She wasn't kidding...I DID want to eat it from the bowl. And I may have indulged in a spoonful or six. Oh.My.Goodness! This stuff is divine! This will forevermore be my go-to cream cheese frosting for everything!

I think it's pretty clear what I thought about this cake. It was amazingly yummy! I will never admit how much of it I actually ate.

Besides us, my Mom, Dad, and Brother shared in this yumminess. Which is probably a very good thing. I could never make this cake and be left alone with it! It would not end well...for me or the cake! It was unanimous that this was delicious!

Now I want to try it again and see if I can resolve the sinking problem. I still can't figure out what happened there! But I have many other recipes to get to first.

Stay tuned...coming this week: Crash Hot Potatoes, Basic Chicken Salad, Make Ahead Muffin Melts and Citrus Butter Cookies!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #3 - Twice Baked New Potatoes

Twice Baked New Potatoes

This was the second of three recipes I made for Easter. And I'll go ahead and tell you right up front, these were a hit!

The only very small change I made was that I didn't actually use new potatoes. I used regular red potatoes. They were a much better value and were fairly small, so I opted for less expensive spud.

They were small, but a little larger than new potatoes, so they took just a bit longer to cook initially. I had an unnecessary concern that I wouldn't have enough filling to make them nice and full. There was plenty! In spite of the 2 or 7 spoonfuls I ate! ;-) When I put them back in to bake, they took a bit longer than the recipe said. This may have been because they were a little larger, but probably because I had the green bean casserole in the oven too.

Like I said, these were a hit with my family. They are so delicious! And they were just as delicious at lunch yesterday! They are simple to make, but it's a little time consuming scooping out all those potatoes. I think when I make these again, I will double the batch and freeze them before the second baking. Then I can pop them out and put them in the oven whenever I want them!

Ree has a very similar recipe on her blog - you can find it HERE. There are only a couple of changes from this recipe to the one in the book.

Monday, April 09, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #2 - Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

There were some really super smells coming from my kitchen on Saturday! I made three recipes from Ree's cookbook. I will break these recipe reviews into three different posts to keep this from getting too long. So you will have to stay tuned for the other two. And hopefully by the time they are posted I'll have another one to add.

Today I'm talking about Green Bean Casserole. You can click the link for the recipe, because it's on her blog. I actually made this last year to take to a family gathering and it was a big hit. I had people telling me that they don't like green bean casserole, but they liked this.

This is NOT your typical canned green beans, cream of chemical soup, french fried onions casserole. Not that there's anything wrong with that...I've enjoyed it for years. But I was definitely growing tired of it. So this looked like a nice spin on it. It was a hit last year, so I made it for Easter dinner at my parents' house this weekend.

I only made one slight change when I made it this time. Ree blanches her green beans for just a few minutes and leaves them nice and crunchy. I enjoy a crunchy green bean, but not in my casserole. So I cooked my beans a bit longer. Not too long...I didn't want them mushy, but just a bit softer to the bite. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. Because, why mess with perfection?

This green bean casserole is SO good. It has a very nice creaminess to it and the flavors are amazing.

Everyone who ate this yesterday enjoyed it. I think Chip felt a little afraid to tell me he liked it "just as well" as the traditional casserole. I told him he didn't have to worry about offending was fine that he liked both! My Mom can't stand the traditional casserole, and she really liked this.

Ruthi ate the green beans, but didn't care as much for the rest. But she doesn't care for the traditional either. She just likes plain green beans!

Here's a picture of the casserole right out of the oven:

I could have let it brown just a bit more, but I was running a little late and needed to get it out right then. It didn't was still delicious. I just wish I had thought to take a picture after we dug into it to show the pretty color on the inside. Oh well..if you really want to see what it looks like, (and GOOD pictures at that) you can click on the link to the recipe.

So...thumbs up all around!

Coming up next
...Twice Baked Potatoes

Saturday, April 07, 2012

My Pioneer Adventure #1 - Mexican Recipes

My friend Lorrie suggested calling this cooking venture "My Pioneer Adventure." And so far, I like that best! So, unless something else comes up that I like better, this is what I'm going with!

Here's my first results/review post! I'll discuss each recipe I prepared, any changes I made, what I thought about the recipe(s) and what my family thought.

Yesterday I decided to make Barbecue Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas. To go with them, I chose Mexican Rice and Restaurant Style Salsa.

*Disclaimer - I am not a photographer or a food stylist. So my photos will not look anything like those on Ree's blog!

First, the Quesadillas. I LOVE quesadillas, but pretty much always make them the same way. So I was excited to try something new. Everything came together pretty easily. I forgot to brush the barbecue sauce onto the chicken before I sliced it, so I just brushed it on after. I don't think it made any difference at all.
I had never grilled pineapple before, and I could have made a meal off of just that...I love pineapple, but now I love it grilled even more!
I don't care for really spicy food, so I took just a small slice of the jalapeno and diced it up really small for my quesadilla. I added a few slices to Chip's, and left if off of Ruthi's completely. CJ had to work, so he missed out altogether. Oh...and there's nothing wrong with my sour cream in the above picture, except for the fact that it's not sour cream. It's cottage cheese. Because somehow I managed to grab the wrong thing at the store! I read the sign and price but just grabbed the wrong container without paying attention at all! So I put it on mine just for the picture - but it actually tasted pretty good!

The verdicts:

I absolutely loved the flavors of the savory chicken, the sweet pineapple and the tangy barbecue sauce together. My mouth did a little dance with all the flavors jumping around in there! A thumbs up for me.

Chip didn't love it. He said it was alright and that the flavors were interesting. He said it was nothing like he'd ever tasted before. Then he said, "Do I ever want you to cook it again? No." So it's a thumbs down for him.

When Ruthi first tasted it, she said the chicken was good but then the juicy pineapple ruined the taste of the chicken. She didn't finish hers. Later, she went back for it after it was cold and she liked it much better. She said she didn't like both the chicken and the pineapple being juicy, but when it was cold the chicken was drier and she liked it more. But she took the pineapples off. She likes them on pizza, but apparently not on quesadillas. For her - one thumb up and one thumb down.

CJ had to work and didn't get to taste it, so no opinion from him.

Mexican Rice

This was pretty simple to make too. But it makes a LOT of rice! I followed the recipe exactly, but forgot to add the cilantro at the end. Would have made my picture prettier!

Mine did take longer to cook than the recipe suggested, so I was glad I got it going before I started everything else. It smelled delicious while cooking.

The Verdicts:

I liked it, but it had a pretty good kick to it, and was a bit much for me. I think if I were to do it again, I'd just add diced tomatoes instead of Rotel, then kick up the seasonings a little. I ended up mixing my black beans into mine and then was able to eat it which counter balance the heat, and I liked it that way.

Chip has never been a fan of Mexican or Spanish type rice, and this one really didn't do it for him either. He was surprised I was eating it at all due to the heat factor.

It was too spicy for Ruthi.

So sadly, this was kind of a thumbs down dish for us. Not that it wasn't good, just didn't suit our tastes.

Restaurant Style Salsa

This was VERY similar to a recipe I've been using for a few years that was given to me by a friend. There were only a few differences, so I was curious to see if it came out much differently from mine. I followed Ree's recipe exactly, except I did remove some of the seeds from the jalapeno first. Oh, and my limes were really small, so I used the juice of the entire lime. I LOVE cilantro and am usually pretty heavy handed with it. But Chip seriously dislikes cilantro, so he usually eats the stuff from a jar. I measured it out this time so I didn't use more than the recipe called for, and hoping that since there wasn't as much in there, Chip would like it.

The Verdicts:

I liked it. It was very similar to the one I usually make, just a slight difference in taste. However, it was quite a bit hotter than I usually make it. I believe that's due to the use of Rotel. But I liked it anyway. Even though don't usually like really spicy foods, somehow if it's good salsa, I can deal with it!

The hope of using less cilantro causing Chip to like it didn't work it. It was still too much for him. He did say if there was more heat to it, it might be ok.

Too hot for Ruthi.

CJ tasted it today. This boy LOVES hot food...really hot food. And he said there was too much jalapeno in this! He also said there wasn't enough cilantro. So he wasn't a huge fan.

Guess I have a lot of salsa to eat now! I don't mind a bit.

However...not sure what I"m going to do with all this rice that is leftover!!!

I'm making a couple of recipes for Easter tomorrow. I'll be back to let you know how they turned out!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Dusting Off the Ol' Blog for some Frontier Cooking!

So I announced on facebook yesterday that my "happy mail" had arrived. Here's a picture of what was waiting for me in my mailbox.

I was so excited to get this! And the sugar on top was the fact that I only had to pay $2.01 for these books! I had a $25 gift card I'd earned through swagbucks. The books came to $27.01 and qualified for super saver shipping. After the gift card, there was only $2.01 for me to pay! Awesome deal! (But I would have gladly paid full price...I just had to have the cookbook and really wanted the book as well!) I love the first book and am already loving the second one too!

I've already started to read her love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. Even though I've already read most of it on her blog, I'm excited to revisit it and discover the new parts! I remember when she would announce that she was going to be posting a new chapter that day or the following day, and I'd sit and hit the refresh button over and over until it would show up. I couldn't read it fast enough! And then she'd leave us hanging...every.single.time! It was torture. I couldn't wait until she'd post the next chapter! But the blog version ended at the day of her wedding, and the book goes beyond that, so I can't wait to get to that part! No...I"m not obsessed with her and her life at ALL...why do you ask?
Now I'm just hoping Ree, aka: The Pioneer Woman, adds an Atlanta stop to her tour so I can go get this one signed. After waiting in line for three hours (with my wonderful husband) I finally got to meet her and she signed my book. But all of a sudden I felt starstruck. I was so giddy and I think I managed to mumble, "I'm so excited!" And then I asked something to the effect of 'aren't you tired?' (of signing all the books). I remember she replied quite cheerfully,  "Not at all!"
Betsy and Hyacinth were with her. By the time I had moved to them, I was much more relaxed and was able to have a somewhat coherent conversation. Though I can't recall any of it.
I'd love not only to get my new book signed, but to redeem myself and be able to say something a bit more intelligent coherent. So...fingers crossed that she will add Atlanta...or at least somewhere in Georgia!

So...after I got my cookbook in the mail and thoroughly browsed it cover to cover, I made a decision. I was inspired by Julie from the movie Julie and Julia. If you haven't seen it, she decided to cook through Julia Child's entire cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 365 days, she prepared all 524 recipes. That's almost two recipes a day!

With that inspiration, I've decided to cook through The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. Yep...every single recipe. Thankfully Ree only has 109 recipes (if I counted correctly) in this book. I am not setting a deadline for this quest because if I feel pressured, it won't be fun. And I'm doing it for fun. And for the food...definitely for all the yummy food! I'll just do recipes as I least two a week, and sometimes more! And then I'll blog about my results and be honest about my family's and my opinions. What you won't find is amazingly clever writing, as I'm not a writer. NOT my gift at all! But I can write what I'd tell you if I were telling you face to face about a recipe I've tried. So that's the plan.

I've cooked many of her recipes in the past, including a few that are in this book, and I've loved them all! So I'm excited about doing this. And I'm even going to do the recipes that scare me or don't thrill Eggs Benedict...blech...I do NOT like runny yolks! But I'm going to try it anyway! I'm just thankful I don't have to put a live lobster in a pot like Julie did! ;)

Unfortunately, Ree and I don't have names that go together so cutesy-like as Julie and Julia did, so I wasn't sure what to call this venture. An online friend suggested "Cooking Through the Frontier" and I kind of like that. My husband suggested "The Ree" and that's just not working for me, because it really doesn't say what it is. Though "The Ree Project" just came to mind, or "The PW Project." I kind of like those too. Or I could combine our first initials and call it the "R/J Project" or something like that. I don't know for sure. If anyone has a vote or another suggestion, let me know!

I made three recipes for dinner this evening, and was planning to go ahead and post my results/review tonight. But this post is getting pretty long, so I'll wait and post it tomorrow. So...if anyone out there is reading, help me to decide for sure what to call this little venture! the way...if you've never heard of The Pioneer Woman before, or have never checked out her blog be sure to click over there now and check her out. You won't be sorry!

Friday, January 06, 2012


Look at that....just over 5 months since I posted last. Better than the entire year I went without posting right before that, but still...TOO long. I don't even consider myself a blogger anymore. That's ok though. It's here when I do "feel the urge" to share something, waiting patiently on me.

It's a new year...I can hardly believe it. Where did 2011 go? But that seems to be the question EVERY year. In some of the years past, I've done what many others do and chose a word to focus on for the year. I decided to do that again this year. I thought long and hard about my word, which is why we are almost a full week into the year before I've made a decision. This year's word is STRIVE.

Most of the time, I feel like I'm am on a giant roller coaster with huge hills and valleys. Some days I'm trucking up to the top of that hill and even make it to the top. Everything is great and I feel like I'm on top of the world. But just as quickly, I go careening down that hill into the valley, and I tend to get stuck there for a while.

During that time, I'm very hard on myself, often having my own little pity party. It's not a fun place to be, but when I get there, as much as I want to start the ascent back up that hill, I have a very difficult time getting my engine started again. Then that climb back to the top appears impossible. A dark cloud seems to hang over me, and I beat myself up. I focus on ALL of my faults and decide that I can't do anything right, and since I can't, then why even try? Then the sun comes back out, and that impossible climb becomes attainable again. It's a crazy cycle. One I'd really like to break.

I know that I am NOT perfect, and I never will be. And I don't believe God expects me to be. However, what I've come to realize is that even though I can't reach perfection, I can try harder to be a better me - the best me I can be...and I know I haven't been doing that!

So, I am going to STRIVE to be the best I can be, at everything I do. I looked up the definition, and it says:

1: to devote serious effort or energy : endeavor
2: to struggle in opposition : contend

I plan to devote serious effort to become a better me. My opposition, most of the time, is is me who I struggle with most!

So, I'm not making resolutions per se, but I am STRIVING for a better year...with a better me!

I will STRIVE to love myself more...this means taking care of myself. I have majorly neglected myself over the past year or two, after working so hard to take care of myself prior to that. So I'm striving to get back to taking care of me through exercise and eating better.

I will STRIVE to become a better Christian, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Friend, Teacher, Homemaker & Business "Owner" &. I have specific ideas in mind to help me be better in all these areas, but I'm not going to list those here, as it's not really a checklist. It's more of a change in the way I think and in my attitude. And that's difficult to put on a list.

So that's it...I am going to STRIVE in 2012!

And who knows, through all this, I may even become a better blogger too...but don't count on it! :-)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm now being called "Gammy"

My daughter's wish came true on Thursday.

As we walked through the door on Thursday afternoon, she proudly and excitedly exclaimed, "I can't believe I'm a mom!"

She is now the proud mother of a precious little bunny, affectionately named Timbo. (I'll get to the name shortly.)

She's been wanting a "pet of her own" for quite some time now. She talked about getting a fish, but knew that wouldn't be satisfying enough since she couldn't take it out and pet it! We can't have a dog or cat due to Daddy's allergies. So we started talking about a possibilities of something from the rodent family.

I quickly steered us away from a hamster...I was afraid she'd end up smooshing it! So we considered a guinea pig or a rabbit. In the end we decided on a rabbit. Chip and I had a rabbit our first year of marriage and we LOVED that thing. He was totally spoiled, never slept in a cage...he ran free in the house. He would jump into our laps like a cat and would even sleep with us. We knew it would be fun to have a rabbit in the house again.

We've been talking about this for a LONG time, and finally decided the time was right. And it just so happened, a friend of ours had some baby bunnies ready for new homes!

So Thursday morning, Ruthi and I set out to pick out a bunny. They were all so cute, so it was hard for her to make a decision. But she finally settled on a precious black bunny, with the tiniest spot of white on his nose, and just a little bit of white on a couple of his paws.

Meet my Grandbunny:

I don't think there's ever been a more loved bunny! The first day was a little difficult for Ruthi, however. After we chose this rabbit, we headed over to my parent's house to pick up a cage my Mom is letting us use. While we were there, we found a little basket that was perfect for Ruthi to carry her baby in. Then we headed to Wal-Mart to pick up some food and supplies. It was too hot to leave baby bunny in the car, so the basket was perfect for carrying him inside Wal-Mart. It had a little flip lid so she could reach in and pet him.

Before we headed home, I called Chip to see where he was. He was right down the road at our friend's salon doing some work for her. So we detoured over there to say hi and introduce him to his grandbunny!

While there, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to get my hair colored. So Ruthi and I ran quickly to grab some lunch, then went right back to the salon. A couple of hours later, we were finally on our way home.

When we got home and let Timbo out of his basket, he ran under the cabinet and hid. It was hard for Ruthi to understand he needed time to adjust to his new surroundings...that he'd just been pulled from everything he'd ever known in his short little life. She was SO afraid her new bunny wouldn't love her!

I was finally able to convince her to wait patiently for him to come out. Before she knew it, he came out and crawled right into her lap. She couldn't have been happier! And the days since then, she holds and loves on this little guy EVERY SECOND POSSIBLE! I have to tell her to put him down so he can run around for a bit.

He has adjusted quite nicely. He seems to really enjoy running around. He's very friendly and loving. He doesn't love being in his cage at night, but I don't want him chewing things he shouldn't. Therefore, he has to stay in there at night and when we aren't home to supervise him.

OK - his name. Ruthi tossed around a few names, and thought she had settled on Shadow. But then CJ brought something to her memory. From the time she was 2 or 3, she's loved watching the movie Beethoven. When she was younger, she couldn't pronounce Beethoven, and for some reason called him Timbo instead. We've always thought it was adorable, and CJ told her a long time ago that if she ever had a pet, she needed to name it Timbo. So that's how he got his name.

Now, we aren't 100% certain that it's a boy just yet, so the decision has been made, that if Timbo turns out to be a girl, the spelling of the name will change to Timbow...because a girl needs a "bow" at the end! (That was Chip's brilliant suggestion!)

Wow...this post has turned out much longer than I anticipated! So, I'll end it there and just leave you with a few more pictures.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is...

My Two Front Teeth!!!

My sweet baby girl lost her front teeth...finally! We noticed these two teeth were loose in December last year! We thought for sure they'd come out before Christmas.

NOT! Those things were holding on TIGHT! I didn't know teeth could hold on that long. I was beginning to think she'd never lose them!

I'm a little behind here...these did come out almost two weeks ago. But the fact that I'm getting around to blog about it at all is a small miracle!

One tooth came out on Tuesday, the 12th. She popped it right out herself. The second one was being a little more stubborn...but it NEEDED to come out. So on Wednesday, her Daddy grabbed hold of it and didn't let go until it came out. This was the first time ever a tooth actually hurt her a little on its exit, but it seemed necessary. I took these pictures on the same Wednesday, and you can already see the other teeth coming in.

I must say, she looks so stinking cute with those teeth missing, and I LOVE the occasional lisp it causes. (Though she INSISTS it doesn't make her talk any differently!) I'm just sad those other teeth are already filling in the gap and I won't get to enjoy this a little longer!

And since these pictures were taken, they have descended even more!
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