30,000 words

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

When I picked Wells up from Cowboy Day at school last Friday, he immediately took off his shirt. You know, because it is springtime in Mississippi and 85 degrees with 100% humidity. There he was, sitting in the backseat wearing only a cowboy hat, a bandana and blue jeans. Lucky for him, my darn phone was full. Unlucky for you, I’ve got to dump these babies.

So, Valentines weekend we took a last minute trip to the beach. The beach in February might not sound like a good idea to you, but I would go during a category five hurricane if someone invited me.

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Exactly.

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Clearly they were making fun of my beach jumping. We see who’s laughing now.

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Graham loves BUTT and Alley’s but thinks it is a weird name for a restaurant.

It was the weekend before Fat Tuesday, and Seaside had kids activities and a parade.

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It’s scary how much that looks like my junior prom pic. Except Graham is a little taller than my date.

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Insert funny story here. I’ve got nothing.

But more pictures.

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So much food. So many selfies.

So ready to go back.

literally thighing

Friday, April 10th, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I run out of things to cook during the week. I also get in a rut and make the same things over and over.

“Mom. I can’t eat another turkey burger. I. Just. Can’t.”

There is one thing on heavy rotation that gets zero complaints… chicken thighs. They are delicious, quick and easy, and probably on rotation at your home as well.

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Chicken Thighs

(I really need to come up with a catchier name for this dish. Live and Let Thigh? Thigh Thigh Birdie? Thigh Hard? Jazzerthighs? Thigh just don’t know.)

1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Simple Truth brand is my favorite)
1-2 shallots or 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
white wine (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons of butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

Orzo, rice, couscous or quinoa (cooked according to directions or substitute low sodium chicken broth for water)

Salt and pepper the thighs on both sides. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the thighs pretty side down. (Not sure why this matters, but Ina said to do it so I do it.) Don’t let the thighs touch in the pan, or they won’t brown properly.

This is the only thigh gap I will ever have.

Cook until the thighs are done and browned (five to six minutes on each side). Remove the first batch from the pan and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. After all the thighs have been removed from the pan, add the shallots and cook for about a minute (stirring constantly with a silicon spatula). If you use onion, you will have to cook it a little longer. Add the garlic and cook for about thirty seconds. Now here’s the fun part. Add about a half a cup to a cup of white wine and scrape all the browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. This is fun because you can’t waste that bottle of wine you opened for this recipe. What’s the saying? Waste not, get wasted? Kidding. Turn the burner down to low and let the sauce simmer until it reduces and turns golden brown (stirring occasionally). Add the butter and stir until melted, then add the chicken back to the sauce. (I usually pull the chicken apart into smaller pieces before adding it back.)

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Serve the chicken thighs over whatever you like. That’s it… told you it was easy.

What are your favorite weekday recipes? Please share. I really need to find a replacement for Turkey Burger Tuesday.

Friday Five

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Happy first day of spring. After my last post, we decided Wells was well and ventured off on a spring break (during winter?) road trip to Asheville via Atlanta. Mid-trip, Wells relapsed, and I fell victim to the stomach evil. On the bright side, I read a great book on the drive home.

1. Come On Ride That Train

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I finished The Girl on the Train in a day. The characters were extremely unlikable, and the plot was depressing. But, I could not put it down. It is dark, yet well written, and I loved the twist at the end. If you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Wait. I already know what you are thinking. The photo of the book and its wonky font on that wavy background would make anyone nauseated.

2. Solid Gold

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You can stop looking for the pot of gold. I found it at the end of the rainbow that is Target. These shoes are so cheap, so comfortable and so ugly they are cute.

3. Pump Up the Jams

While at Target, I came across these pjs. They are the same style as the navy ones I mentioned here, but in a springy print. The picture doesn’t do them justice… much cuter in person.

4. Take Me Back Home To Mississippi

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This Mississippi cutting board from Amazon (you’re killing me, Prime) is great for entertaining. Cheese, crackers, fruit and nuts make a perfect appetizer for unexpected guests. Seems fitting since it is the hospitality state and all.

As pictured, my dinner. We don’t have guests.

ps- If you like brie and blue cheese and you haven’t tried cambozola, get on it.

5. Mint To Be

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How cute is this gold pot from Anthropologie? I added a couple of mint plants since it is spring and all. And since I like mojitos and all. It is $14 and 15% off today only.

Plus, it matches my sandals.

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Be sure to check out all the Five on Friday posts. Have a great weekend!

the grapes of wrath

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Last week, school was cancelled because of the weather. The boys hung out in their pjs most of the day and waited for snow.

And then it snowed! They both asked me to fetch the snowball makers Santa brought last Christmas. Too bad it only lasted five minutes and didn’t stick.

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They were snow disappointed. 

The next day, I got a call that Graham had gotten sick during cooking class. I tried to blame it on raw cookie dough or something, but his teacher told me a bug was going around. Uncle Scott was visiting from Seattle. (Or as G calls him, “My long lost cousin Uncle Scott.”) He flew south for the winter only to end up “snowed in” a house full of stomach virus. No wonder he waits so long between visits.

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So, Graham was pitiful, and I did what any concerned parent would do. I stocked up on 100% grape juice.

I’m not sure if it is scientific fact or superstition, but people swear by the stuff. Graham told me all his teachers drink it, and that they never catch the stomach bug.

I pumped the healthy members of the family full of it, and no one else got sick. Whew.

Yesterday, I got an email from Graham’s teacher that five more kids in her class had stomach virus. When I picked G up from school he told me that a little boy (who was sick last week) threw up again during class. Off we went to the Krogers to purchase more juice.

Might I add that this little experiment reminded me how delicious grape juice is. Just last night, Wells and I discussed how we both need more of it in our lives… virus or not.

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Fast forward to 2 a.m. and the harsh wake up call of an eight year old barfing his brains out.

Now, there isn’t much worse than seeing your child sick. Except maybe seeing your child sick and puking purple on the stairs. You know. The stairs with the beige runner.

Lucky for Wells (and the rest of us), school was cancelled again today. He got to rest up and thankfully feels much better.

In conclusion, when the grape juice works, it works. But when it doesn’t, you do… for hours… scrubbing carpet.

I will never drink grape juice again.

Um, unless wine is considered grape juice.