Sunday, May 30, 2010

Springtime in Tennessee

 My children are growing up with spring smelling of honeysuckle and magnolias. 
I grew up with the smells of pine trees, mountain air and lilacs. 
What does your spring smell like?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

1st Birthday

The plan was to have a real birthday party for Collin with invites, a cool cake, friends and games. But, that didn't happen. I'm really tired. (Have I mentioned that lately?) In the end, I called my next door neighbors and asked them if they wanted to have cake with us and sing to Collin. They have a little boy Lydia's age and a baby just about the same age as Collin. They walked over and we spent an hour eating cake and watching the kids make a mess. Now that I think of it, that was probably just what Collin would have chosen to do anyway.

I think these blue eyes are here to stay.

I never claim to be much of a cake decorator; I usually just wing it. Tasted yummy though.

At least Collin seemed to think so.

Happy Birthday sweet sweet boy. 

More photos here. Scroll down to see his gifts.

 Collin's b-day shirt is from mitetees.

Just one happy moment with my boy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's worse....

...the fact that I have my baby boy wearing a flower crown or that I have him sporting a wife-beater. No matter how cute it is, it's still just wrong.

How can my sweet baby be turning one this week? It just went too fast. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Perfect Anniversary

We celebrated our 9th anniversary this weekend and it was perfect. Last year, I was just about to have Collin so our anniversary was celebrated with takeout on the couch. This year, Shane really made up for it. He sent me out for a mani- pedi, to get my hair done, and to the mall to get a new outfit. All of this in preparation to go to my favorite restaurant in the world, St. Johns.

When I say my favorite restaurant in the world, I mean it. I've eaten at some wonderful restaurants from Italy to New York, and St. Johns in Chattanooga Tennessee surpasses them all. When I hear that someone who lives in Chattanooga has never been there, I feel it's like a local New Yorker who's never seen the view from the Empire State building- a shame. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this area, you must must must make reservations to dine there. Want to live vicariously through me? I'll tell you about our meal..... 

While we waited for our first course, we were treated to small bowls of chilled tomato soup with grilled shrimp and ramp Crème fraiche. After the first taste, Shane and I smiled at each other and settled into our seats knowing were in for a few hours of pure culinary bliss. 

For our first course I ordered the quail breast and arugula salad with radicchio, honeybells and maple glaze, sprinkled with edible flowers.  Shane ordered potato and ramp soup with butter poached main lobster and black truffle oil. Mouth watering yet? I wish I had photos to make you even more jealous, but by the time the food arrived, the lighting was too dim (i.e. romantic). I always get the quail at St. Johns. It's delectable no matter how it's prepared. Wondering what a ramp is? It's an incredibly rare wild leek that only grows in the Appalachian Mountains for three weeks. It has a wonderful garlic taste and for the next while can be found throughout the St. Johns menu. I love discovering new foods. 

Speaking of new foods, I decided to be adventurous and try the leg of venison while Shane picked out a Buffalo steak. Mine was served with a gouda cornmeal souffle and marinated beets that perfectly complemented the gamey meat. The buffalo steak was absolutely divine paired with a scrumptious Béarnaise sauce. 

The highlight of the meal was (of course) the dessert. As soon as Shane told me we were going to St. Johns, all I could think was....Chocolate Pudding. Chocolate pudding at a five star restaurant? Oh, you have no idea how good this dish is. Served warm with carmel ice cream, it may be the most divine dessert I've ever tasted. Shane even called ahead to make sure it was on the menu.

I could eat at St. John's every night. Our server Catherine was wonderful, and the chef, Daniel Lindley, is pure genius. By the way, if you want to enjoy St. Johns quality food in a more casual atmosphere (and less expensive), check out The Meeting Place. I've never been, but I plan to try it out...very soon.

Thank you thank you Shane for an amazing anniversary night out. I felt beautiful due to all the pampering you arranged and I had a wonderful time.

Now what to do for our tenth anniversary? I'm thinking....Paris. I've heard they have good restaurants there. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Picture Spring - 30 days of soulful seasonal celebration

During the month of April I participated in Big Picture Scrapbooking's "Picture Spring - 30 
days of soulful seasonal celebration". It was a wonderful online class that gave daily "inspiration" to awaken the inner photographer and to celebrate the surrounding beauties of Spring. 
I tried to do every assignment, but life got away from me. I did accomplish most of them. Some other assignments can be found here, and here.
Here are the rest of my photos.

The first day we were to take 30 steps from where we were at that moment and snap a photo. This is my lovely cherry tree. It makes me smile every time I see it.

We were to find spring pastels. This is Lydia's closet. She is a lucky little girl, don't you think?

Finding Springtime shadows.

"Awakenings" - finding evidence of new life. Taken on the first day where the buds were really making their entrance. 

The tree we planted when we first moved into our home. 

April showers.

Self portrait.

This is not some fancy cropping. My multi purpose lens broke, so I only have my prime lens. Thus, this is as far as I could hold the camera away from my face. Ignore the eye brows. I'm going natural until I can get in for a wax and a much needed facial.

One day we were to take a photo of our current "projects". This is my springtime office, and my little blog is my current project. That and learning my new camera. (Obviously)

As if you haven't seen this photo enough, this was the day we were to photograph "into the sun".

The assignment was to take a photo as if looking from another persons point of view.

We were to photograph spring fabrics. I found this display in a trendy section of downtown Chattanooga.

We were asked to catch light in someone's eyes. (Isn't he darling?!?)

The assignment was to photograph a charm that had personal meaning. I ended up taking that a bit farther....

The assignment was to look for "daily rounds". The simple and beautiful circles around us. However, on this particular day, this was the only "round" I was interested in.

One day we were to lay on our backs and photograph the sky.

"Mommy? Why are you laying down in the grass?

And finally, on the last day we were to take a photo of flowers. My hydrangeas have just started to bud, but my neighbor's yard is full of them in full bloom. I was so tempted to leave with an armful, but I settled for just a few shots instead. 

That was fun. Can't wait to start "Picture Summer". Want to join me? Scroll down to find out how.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why I'm Festive

I'm a housewife. As much as I detest that title, that's what I am. (I have an idea for a better term here.) I'm a stay at home mom. A homemaker. Most of the time I love it. I love that I get to stay home with my darlings and be a part of this precious time in their lives. I like creating a home.

But here's the honest truth. Sometimes it is mad boring. Maybe boring isn't the right word. Exhausting and mind numbing? Sometimes the days run together into a mad dash of clean up one room- walk into the next and find it a disaster-cook breakfast-clean dishes-"Collin, please don't cry, I just want to take a 3 minute shower"-cook lunch-clean dishes-play Candyland-change diapers- find baby food all over my jeans - get spit up down my bra- run to the grocery store- nurse-cook dinner- clean dishes- "please don't splash water all over mommy"-storytime- one more kiss and hug.....collapse into bed....

All that mommy stuff I do is important. It's what makes our family work. But 20 years down the road, I'm not going to remember how clean the house was or what I made for lunch. That doesn't make it any less important. All the things we do as mothers helps with the development and well being of our children.

We aren't going to remember most of these things in 20 years. What are we going to remember? Christmas. Birthdays. The Valentine Lady. Summer BBQs in the backyard. Family vacations. Easter Egg hunts. Fourth of July writing in the air with sparklers. When my children look back at their lives, I bet they will think about what made the special days special. I may not remember many Wednesday night dinners as a child, but I remember every Christmas. I remember Halloween. I remember Sunday dinners because Sunday dinners were always special.

Day after day, 99% of us do the same thing over and over. We care for children or sit in our offices and we do the things that are required of us. A few times a year there are days that stand out. Days of celebration. An anniversary, Father's day, Halloween. These are days that break up the monotony. If it isn't your particular inclination to make them a bit deal, that is totally fine. But for those of us who do want to celebrate, it isn't an affront. It isn't to make anyone feel bad about not participating in the celebrations. It is just something some of us do to bring more joy into our life.

Celebrating life. Maybe that is my thing. I love birthdays. I love that there is a day totally dedicated to celebrating someone's birth. My children's birthdays are going to be special. However they want them to be. I love Christmas. I love the smells that remind of childhood stories around the tree. I love Halloween and the glee of a home filled with spooky decor and giggling at silly costumes. I love all of it. It isn't extra stress to me. It is a de-stresser. A relief from the everyday.

When I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to throw a birthday party for Lydia, she said "You know, Lydia really is too young to remember these Birthdays". That's true. But she will remember always feeling loved. The traditions will become a part of her. And as parents we don't always do things for our children so they will remember them. Sometime we do it so that we as parents can remember the utter joy and happiness displayed on our sweet children's faces. For me, those memories alone are worth the trouble.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How could he not be cool

Shane grew up with a kitchen that looked a lot like this. Minus the mask and parasol, the ceramic saint and the prostrate mermaid. A kitchen like this in a country home with a wrap-around porch. Of course I fell in love with him. 

Happy 9th Anniversary sweetheart. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Upcycled Mother's Day Bouquet

I am loving this "upcylced" trend going on now. Mainly as the creations are really cheap to make. I'm pretty proud of my little bouquet that came together in 10 minutes. 

Started with some side-of-the-road wildflowers. (I love Tennessee this time of year.) I arranged them in an old spaghetti sauce jar. The jar still had remnants of the label, so I went into the attic looking for some fabric or ribbon to cover it. 

Found this ugly baby's outfit in the Goodwill box. I stared at it for a while, then had a little epiphany. If I cut one of the legs off....

and wrapped it around the offending the spaghetti sauce jar, I could use the top snap to secure it.  Tuck the fabric under the jar, add raffia for extra decor and .....

Voila! So pretty and so free!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Take it to you" Baby Shower

(Just a reminder...VOTE FOR LYDIA TODAY!!!!)

Also, one more day to enter the Canvas Press Giveaway!


When I lived in rural North Carolina, I might have died from loneliness had I not met my dear friend Jenn. (Who was also near death from loneliness). When Shane and I moved from NC to Chattanooga, I cried for a week, knowing we wouldn't be spending our Sunday evenings with Jenn and her family anymore. When she moved just 45 minutes away, I was overjoyed.

Soon after moving here, Jenn found out she was pregnant with her first boy! And then was put on partial bedrest. (Oh, I know how badly that sucks.) So, not only is she stuck at home, but she doesn't really know anyone nearby. Thank heavens for our church to help her out! I really wanted to throw her some kind of baby shower, but she hasn't met anyone and, again, she is stuck at home. 

I decided to throw her a surprise "take to you" baby shower. It goes along the same lines as the "Satellite Shower" I threw my SIL a while back. Who needs lots of guests? We have three lovely daughters, two good friends and a baby to boot! 

Jenn only leaves her house to pick up her daughter from school, so I knew that was my only time to get in undetected. I asked Jenn if we could come over to visit one afternoon and asked her to leave the door unlocked at her house for me since we just happened to be arriving while she was gone. 

I was running late and had exactly 8 minutes to set up the picnic and gifts. Lydia tried to calm a screaming Collin as I ran back and forth from the back yard to the car. Somehow, everything was done before they returned home. 

By the way, why has no one told me how easy it is to make a key lime pie??? My word, I used this simple recipe and it was wonderful! Next time I will make it twice as thick though. Shane and I spent one wonderful day at Key West. I never liked Key Lime pie before that, but now it is one of my favorite desserts. 

A few photos of the "shower".

Big Sisters. 

I wrapped up chicken salad sandwiches (tea style) in parchment paper and served them with kettle potato chips and keylime soda. I wanted a "kids" friendly treat, so I covered jello cups with shower appropriate fabric. I think they turned out kind of cute! Paper supplies from Garnish.

Not to be outdone, Collin showed up in his blue and green tie.
 No, I didn't make the diaper cake. Scroll down to the next posts to see who did.

The only thing I didn't do at the shower was to take a photo of the girl of honor and myself. This one from Thanksgiving will have to do.

Congrats Jenn! Can't wait to see meet your little boy!

I noticed as I was setting up that almost everything I used for the shower came from Chattanooga vendors. I thought I'd give them some props. Scroll down to check them out, and to see what I got Jenn as her gift. 
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