January 2, 2015

short'nin bread

One of my mother's only spoken regrets is that she never asked her grandmother to write down the recipe for her "perfect" biscuits. My grandmother (my mother's mother) made them often, but the secret recipe was in her fingers and nowhere else. I've been a little concerned lately that my children, full blooded southerners, have a taste for bagels more than biscuits. Bless their hearts...

I know I'm to blame for this. It's almost embarrassing what I'm willing to do to get a good fresh bagel and a coffee...probably shouldn't allow my stomach to dictate my schedule like it does

...There's a certain kind of guilt only women living South of the Mason Dixon line can experience. That guilt is one of shame and comes from feeling like a traitor. There are only a few things that make me feel like I've betrayed my roots. One is the lack of monograms in my life, another is the lack of pearls in my small jewelry collection, and the third is knowing that my kids haven't experienced a biscuit that wasn't suffocated by butter and served through a window. 

Charleston's famous Callie's biscuits
It's time I give my oldest two a quick but thorough lesson on love and lard. My Aunt Susan swears by the recipe on the back of the White Lily flour sack. Some folks only cook with Crisco, others prefer lard, and butter will always be better, but I guess it depends on what happens to be in the pantry when you get a hankerin'. 

I'd love to hear about your family's best kept secrets. If you're lacking in that department, here are a few articles and recipes that peaked my interest. 

In the meantime, I'll be folding, kneading, cutting, and mixing up some hopefully delicious carbs. Stay calm and biscuit on...

November 21, 2014

To the mom who just can't

It all started at preschool pick-up.

Beeland was riding side-saddle on my hip, trying her best to escape or grab something or break my back, or all three. There were also 500 bags and papers and coats wrapped around that (baby holding) hand. The other arm was hugging my oldest daughter, who is awesome at unintentionally tripping me, bless her.

Mid hug, Mary Cannon's teacher stopped me to say that MC handed her a whoopie cushion on the playground today. The teacher asked MC where the whoopie cushion came from, to which said child responded, "from my pants." Turns out, my little "lady" was storing a 36" red Martha Stewart (it all comes back to Martha) balloon in her bloomers...deflated, of course...but still, baby. got. back. 

Not that I'm surprised...

I wasn't sure how to respond to the balloon in pants issue...so I made some awkward comment about panties and kept walking. Whyyy?

We made it to Ford aka the stripper's class and whatdoyaknow, his shirt was completely unbuttoned...I should also mention there was a dollar bill sticking out of his back pocket.

After several errands, we made it home and the kids went down for naps. 

Well, first Mary Cannon accidentally flushed an entire roll of toilet paper...or tried to. I fished it out, along with everything that goes in a toilet and said good night. 

Thirty minutes of silence gave me no reason to believe they weren't sleeping, until the click-clack of princess heels got louder and louder. I heard "I'm sorry" before I saw anything. Then this precious little sinner popped her head around the corner.

Not sleeping...

While this one transformed herself into Frieda Kahlo, the stripper/back pocket dolla' boy, was pretending to snore. Three year old boys aren't very patient though. It's wasn't five minutes after Frieda was sent to timeout, that another clinking sound started. I busted my brave middle child dangling from the top shelf of Mac's medicine cabinet stealing handfuls of pennies out of the change jar that is supposed be unreachable.

Between the make-up and the money stealing, the stuffed clothing and the lack of clothing...I can't help but see the resemblance.

Parenting lesson #384: mama's don't let your babies grow up to be...brothel owners.

November 17, 2014

"Monet and Martha"

The following jumped out at me as I scanned my inbox over coffee numero uno this morning. I like how freeing its concept is. Many of us spend half our lives laboring over what our "calling" is, trying to figure out the details and secure a plan. What if we stopped trying to find ourselves. What if we separated our identity from our circumstances and just did our thing (without thinking so hard about what our thing is). I wonder... if we did that, would we be able to live fully without fearing any missteps? On the flipside, this would require (me) being way less controlling and not anxious and "enjoying the journey," which is so cheese-ball it makes me want to vomit. It might not be so bad, though. Enjoy: 

Somehow, notes Os Guinness, "we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us." Now, some children are gifted toward science, and others are born athletes. But whatever their specialty, all children are inherently creative. Give them a barrel of Legos and a free afternoon and my boys will produce an endless variety of spaceships and fortresses and who knows what. It comes naturally to children; it's in their nature, their design as little image bearers. A pack of boys let loose in a wood soon becomes a major Civil War reenactment. A chorus of girls, upon discovering a trunk of skirts and dresses, will burst into the Nutcracker Suite. The right opportunity reveals the creative nature.

This is precisely what happens when God shares with mankind his own artistic capacity and then sets us down in a paradise of unlimited potential. It is an act of creative invitation, like providing Monet with a studio for the summer, stocked full of brushes and oils and empty canvases. Or like setting Martha Stewart loose in a gourmet kitchen on a snowy winter weekend, just before the holidays. You needn't provide instructions or motivation; all you have to do is release them to be who they are, and remarkable things will result. As the poet Hopkins wrote, "What I do is me: for that I came."

Oh, how we long for this-for a great endeavor that draws upon our every faculty, a great "life's work" that we could throw ourselves into. "God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing," says Guinness, "and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there." Our creative nature is essential to who we are as human beings-as image bearers-and it brings us great joy to live it out with freedom and skill. Even if it's a simple act like working on your photo albums or puttering in the garden-these, too, are how we have a taste of what was meant to rule over a small part of God's great kingdom.

If your dreams seem too heavy to take flight, remember what [you] do is [you]: for that [you] came. 

Thankfulness to the band, poet Hopkins, the person who shared this with me, Monet, Martha...and also to the tiny little Oprah floating around in my head saying "DO YOU!" 

November 14, 2014

Shake and Bake


Slacker, here...good to "see" you guys again! The stomach bug, strep, and a slew of other germs mistook our house for the hotel motel holiday ill and have overstayed their welcome by three weeks. Sometimes you have to back away from the computer to juggle life and hold the chillins'. That's where I've been- on the sofa, scratching backs and holding hair. We're finally on the mend and I'm binging on the internet (or that damn thing that advertises all your personal information, as my grandmother would say). 

I don't know about you, but I'm in the mood for some holiday cheer. Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hanukkah for many of our friends), New Years...Bring it; I surrender to your warm fuzzies and food comas. 

How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving? Here are some dishes and details I'd like to gobble up (I totally went there), starting with dessert: 


Pass the golden spoon and leave these goat cheese mashed potatoes and me alone.


A little velvet ribbon adds color and texture to your table. This is from a sweet wedding featured on Style Me Pretty. (So simple...but comforting in a pumpkin spice kind of way, right?!)

These inspire me to press the napkins and have them monogrammed. You can't beat Leontine Linens
Side note: It's the season of thankfulness and we're talking about "pressing" our NAPKINS and spending a wad to have them monogrammed. I luh-huh-huv (really love) beautiful things, but there's something about zhushing that makes the rebel in me want to sell everything and reduce my amount of baggage. Have you ever felt consumed by the treasures in your life? I know I do sometimes...especially with all the beautiful images we have access to now. Back to thankfulness...

I'm thankful for this blog. Not so much the blog, but the people I've met because of it...and the wisdom I've gained from watching and listening to them. I'm thankful for the little and big lessons I've had to learn this year. And since it's relative to the season...I'm thankful for all the fried turkeys that have allowed my family to live well and pay the bills.

If you've been reading from the start, you know that we don't just eat turkey in November at my house...it's our year round obligation (more pleasure that obligation, really). Turkey never disappoints, but literally I'm going to turn into a butterball turkey. My adulterous mind is taking me to places it shouldn't...would it be so bad to serve Thanksgiving...steak?

 Okay, maybe for the day after. 

Oh there's more...but the baby wakes and the big kids are home...can we continue this steak discussion later?

  count your blessings, and get your food on.

November 3, 2014

Chairish your space

Recently, I was given the fun opportunity to style a kitchen/ dining nook for Chairish. If you're unfamiliar, Chairish is an online site that lets you to sell furniture, accessories, and lighting or buy from other sellers (often with free delivery and always free local pick-up).

Click here to see other rugs like this
Their team wanted to feature this rug and needed some inspiration on how to pull it all together from their (awesome) inventory. Thanks to Holly for reaching out to me...I am flattered that out of all the incredibly talented design bloggers out there, you guys chose moi! What?! Okay...here we go. Since the rules were whatever I wanted them to be, I literally chose random pieces that caught my eye. I think this concept turned out well and I wouldn't be sad if Santa wanted to deliver this little nook to my chimney come December...Santa...?
I'm drawn to this painting called Ice Cream and Ferris Wheels; The colors are beautiful and that title is so fun and playful. It reminds me of my own family, so I had to choose it! Linda Colletta has a wonderful collection that you might want to see.

These two pieces don't seem to be a perfect match at first, but toss in a few unique and fab accessories and a few classic chairs and pendants...and voila! I present to you a modernly vintage- easy to live in- pass the peas, please- family style kitchen/dining nook. Hope you like! 

If you more than like it...then it can be your's! Just hop on over to their site or choose from the list below and have a cup of joe while you wait for the goods to be delivered. Don't forget to invite me over for supper around your uh-maz-ing new carved wooden table. 

I'd have to recover the chairs, I think...but everything else, I'd take just as is! Happy dining!

October 21, 2014

Chase me!

It's race time in Georgia! I'm excited to partner with this year's event team to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Columbus' Steeplechase and get you ready for that tailgate. Polish the silver and press those linens because in just a few days, the boxwoods will go up and the party with go down as one to remember.

Photo Credit: #chaserace
Photo Credit: #chaserace
I don't know about you, but my life is nuts. I have way too many things crammed into each week, kids who have activities, groceries to buy, laundry to clean, etc. Even though my friends and I don't have much time to plan elaborate tablescapes and fancy meals, we still love the idea of going to the race, setting up a pretty tailgate, and enjoying a gorgeous day with our families.

My talented friend Lisa and I hunted and gathered some of mother nature's best treasures last week and came up with several different inspirations for how to create a gorgeous tablescape on a dime. The oh so talented Dori Nix captured each detail beautifully...her images will give you the confidence to sneak to your neighbor's yard before the sun rises and snip a few of those awesome blooms...not that I'd know anything about that. So risky!

I should point out that this lovely silver container is...wait for it...plastic! Nobody's ever noticed. Shhh...don't tell. Use it, wash it, re-use it, or toss it! You're so welcome...

Try mini pumpkins as place card holders or tie your silverware with a sprig of rosemary.

Save your money for the catering! Look to the side of the road for your centerpiece. We used magnolia leaves (and spraypainted a few gold for a little extra), these amazing purple berries (Can someone tell me what they are?) and extra greenery from Lisa's yard. How simple, free, and pretty is that?  

 Make sure to recruit handsome helpers. We added a few blue hydrangeas to the mix.

How adorable are these individual vases with the wood tags?! They're less than $5.00 here.

Try filling a bowl with gourds for color and texture, if you're not a plant person. 

Now for the food...Feast your eyes on this list of amazing options. JK Culinary knows how to make your tastebuds dance...race on over to the phone and place an order quick! Save me a bite!

I love these flags! They are so fun and make me feel like a kid.

Speaking of kids...Don't forget the littles! Here's what I'm thinking:

the child's guide to steeplechase

October 12, 2014

When I grow up...

Hello, you.

I've been thinking about how to simplify life lately. Then I realize every "simple" idea I have is complicated. So hypocritical of the voices in my head...

I have an incurable idea-itis. Some mornings I hop out of bed, grab a coffee, and am unusually organized...super-mom. Other times, I wake up and just want to be Janis Joplin...I'd make a terrible Janis Joplin. 


In this exact moment I'd be content with a little bakery; the kind you find in the movies- quaint, but pretty. Everyday, beside my better half (usually this is the wife, but we like to do things backwards), I'd make warm delicious fritters and fresh baguettes...and other things that are made in bakeries. 

It'd be the place to spend a rainy morning, or to enjoy a slow weekend brunch, or maybe it'd be where folks satisfied a late night sweet tooth. Even the old grump with his worn cardigan and disheveled hair (there's always one) wouldn't be able to resist our special chocolate croissants.

photo credit: c philippeau
To bee-bop down the sidewalk to "work" beside the ones I like/love most, to serve and visit with good people, and to snack on chocolate and carbs all day; This is my (current) idea of luxury.

I'd risk failure and figure to see if it could play out as in my daydream. 

There I am. Image found here

As we'd say in the South, What'chu chewin' on?

Actually, forget that last line. I've never heard anyone say that...but all the bread and pastries made me think of chewing and that seemed like an appropriate metaphor for contemplating.