Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Signs of Summer

I know it's officially summer when....

*My flowers are blooming and I am spending more time outside. I love that!


*Friends are sweet enough to share vegetables from their gardens and going to the Farmer's Market is a weekly event.




*My kids are home!


*I have more time to make yummy recipes like this (which I am planning on trying tomorrow!)...


*I am finally able to do things I have put off all year long because I was too busy.


So far, I am enjoying every minute of this summer!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday

Saturday morning we left Mississippi and flew back to Charlotte. It was an easy flight and we were glad to get back home since Laura and Lindy and Mark were here. Laura and Lindy have finished their summer school now so they will be home for the rest of the summer.

We had John and Ashley over and grilled steaks and had fun having everyone together. Unfortunately, Steve got that same sinus infection I had so he wasn't feeling too good, but he is feeling much better now.

Yesterday was church and then I went to a wedding shower, but can I just tell you how wonderful Sunday nights are during the summer???!! I appreciate them so much since they are the worst night of the week during the school year. We rented The King's Speech and I actually stayed awake during the whole thing! haha


It was really good. Such a good story and great acting, too. We all loved it and I would definitely recommend it.

Today I got to keep my sweetie pie.


Ashley is working at Mother's Morning Out this summer so he is going to stay with me one or two days a week. He is such a happy, pleasant baby. It is so much fun keeping him.

I think I told you how I've been trying to think of ways I can use the herbs in my garden, right? Well, today Laura and Lindy and I used some of my mint to make some mint tea and it was delish.


We used the Neely's recipe from the Food Network. Here is the link if you are interested.

Tonight we are watching South Carolina play in the College World Series. They have done so good this year! Go Gamecocks!! I've got one eye on the game but I've also been reading the best book that my mom gave me. It is called Signs of Life.


It's a true story about a 24 year old girl...a high school English teacher who is newly married and five months pregnant when her husband suddenly dies in a tragic accident. The story is her journey back from this tragedy and it is so good. I guess with everything we have been through this year, it hits home even more to me, but I got hooked by the first page or two and it is a very easy read. She is such an honest writer. I bet you might like it too!

Well, I'm off to read and watch some baseball. Have a great night!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mississippi

Funerals are the weirdest thing. On the one hand, there is so much sadness and heartache. And on the other hand, they are such a warm family time with lots of love and hugs and fellowship. And it's all wrapped up into one big package. That's what we have been experiencing over the past few days.

We flew to Mississippi on Wednesday morning to attend the funeral of Steve's cousin Cynthia. She died suddenly last week of cardiac arrest. When we got here, we went straight to a luncheon given in her honor at the governor's mansion in Jackson. Cynthia's daughter Jackye is married to Governor Haley Barbour's son, Reeves. There was so much family there and it was very nice for them to host us. We were able to sit and talk and catch up with everyone. We even got to go up to the Bilbo room. This room has some furniture that was owned by Governor Theodore Bilbo. He served as Mississippi's governor twice and he is Steve's great-great uncle. Anyway...there was a lot of history there so it was interesting.






The next few days were filled with the visitation and the memorial service and lots of people offering condolences and tons of food and flowers. Here we are at the funeral home for the visitation. The family stood in line for over three solid hours greeting more than 750 friends. They are loved!


We have been eating like pigs...shrimp, catfish, biscuits and tomato gravy, chicken and dumplings...all that good Mississippi food. And we have had lots of family time to reminisce and swap funny and touching stories about Cynthia and how much we all loved her and are going to miss her.


It has been the best of times and the worst of times.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Cutest Thing

Since I have been out of school, I have been trying to work on all the things that I never have time to do while I am working....clean out drawers and closets, take stuff to Goodwill, go through stacks of paperwork, etc. But it hasn't been all work. I have had fun sleeping in and having people over to cook out. I went to lunch with some friends yesterday and did some shopping, too. It has been wonderful. I've also gotten to spend some time with this sweet boy...


Is he the cutest thing or what?? I could just eat him up! (I hope you don't mind if I do a little grandma bragging for a minute??)


He is a little butterball and that's the way I like 'em! All those rolls and dimples are so fun to kiss on!

Ashley called this afternoon to see if I wanted to go get some Italian ice with her and David since it is BLAZING hot here today. I thought he looked adorable in his Gamecocks onesie!


And somebody loved his Italian ice!! Haha. He has never tasted anything like that before and he was all about it. He kept reaching for it and he even started to throw a fit when we stopped giving it to him. So funny!


I know I am biased, but I think he is the sweetest, most precious little boy ever!



Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Fun Weekend And Some Sad News

This weekend, we decided to drive to Greenville to see Laura and Lindy. Laura has been taking summer classes at ECU with Lindy and we wanted to go hang out with them before their time there was over. We had a lot of fun!

Thursday night Mark and his girlfriend, Kate, met us for Mexican food. Lindy's boyfriend, Sean, came too. We got our favorite...homemade guacamole. I think I could make a whole meal just out of that! :)




After dinner, we just walked around campus for a while. Lindy and Laura showed us where some of their classes were.

On Saturday morning, we got bagels at one of Lindy's favorite places.



Laura had to take an exam so Lindy and I went back to her dorm to get her all packed up and ready to come back home next week.

We had fun just hanging out all day and late that afternoon, we drove to the beach where Steve's sister, Angela lives. (Lindy had to study for an exam so she didn't go with us.)

Angela was so sweet and fixed us a big shrimp boil. It was so good!





We rode bikes and walked out to the beach and hung out and talked. Angela lives near Beaufort, NC, which is a really cute, quaint little town. If you read any of Nicholas Sparks' books, you will know that many of his books are set here. "A Walk To Remember" was even filmed here! After dinner, we went over there and strolled around. We got coffee and cookies and looked at all the boats and listened to music. It was such a nice night!

Angela has two little kitties named Flo and Jerry (after Steve's parents, Florence and Jerry). They were adorable and entertained us constantly! They were so playful and funny.


Laura and Steve and I left this morning, but Mark and Kate stayed and went to the beach for the afternoon.

On our way back to ECU, we stopped at a few roadside stands and picked up some peaches, tomatoes, blueberries, and blackberries. Yummm!! That is one of my favorite things about summer!




And, you know you are in the country when you see one of these signs...


When we got back to ECU, we took Lindy and Laura to lunch at a little place called Sup Dogs. I got this yummy chili hotdog...


We had a great weekend!

Despite our fun weekend, we have had a heavy heart. Last week, Steve's cousin, Cynthia had a sudden heart attack while she was in New York City with her husband and a few friends celebrating her 58th birthday.

We have been so worried about her all week and right as we were pulling into the parking lot at Lindy's dorm on Thursday afternoon, we got the phone call that she had passed away. I can't even tell you what a shock this was. Cynthia was beautiful and energetic and bubbly and fun. You would never in a million years dream that she would be the victim of a heart attack!! We loved her so much and will really miss her.

Here she is with her daughter, Jackye and one of her grandbabies...


(Her daughter, Jackye, happens to be married to Haley Barbour's son Reeves. Haley Barbour is the governor of Mississippi.)

She loved her children and grandchildren so much and she was very much loved by her whole family!!


I know Steve would appreciate your prayers for his family. We just lost his dad two and a half months ago, so this is hard for them right now. We will be traveling to Mississippi next week to spend time with his family and go to the memorial service. Thank you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are You Pinterested??

The first few days of summer have been so nice.


I have gotten lots of rest, but I have been busy, too (in a good way!) Unfortunately, I came down with some kind of ear/sinus infection/sore throat/cold thing the minute school was out. But I went to a minute clinic yesterday and got a Z-pack, so hopefully I will be feeling better asap! I definitely don't want to waste my fun summer days feeling bad.

Did I tell you that I am growing an herb garden this summer? I am growing basil, mint, tarragon, oregano, rosemary, etc. So I have been looking for yummy recipes that I can use them in. Last night I got to use my basil in some bruschetta and it was delicious! I went to a little party on Tuesday night and one of my friends brought this recipe and I loved it, so I tried it last night. It's really simple, but it tastes alot like my favorite dipping sauce from Carrabas, which I love!

I thought I would share the recipe with you since most people love light healthy recipes in the summer.

Bruschetta

1 large can tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil
3-4 cloves garlic
4 T. olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Pulse these together in a food processor until it's all mixed up and chopped.

I bought a baguette and sliced it. Then I toasted it with mozarella cheese and put the bruschetta on top. Enjoy!


I also wanted to share with you something that I have had so much fun with. You've probably already heard of it, but it is a website called Pinterest. Oh my word...you could get obsessed with this site!

Have you ever cut pictures or recipes you liked out of magazines and put them in a file? Well, this is basically the same concept. You have different boards (like a bulletin board) that you can pin the things you are interested in onto. (Thus the name "Pinterest"). Not only can you get tons of ideas and inspiration here, you can also just enjoy all the beautiful photography and artistic inspiration. It is eye candy...seriously. You have to be invited though, so if you are interested, let me know. I think I have about six invites that I can use. Just send me your e-mail address and I will invite you. Here are a few examples of my boards and what I have pinned on them...

Favorite Spaces and Places...




Parties, Favors, and Gifts...




My Style...




For The Home...


At The Table...




Anyway...you get the idea. These are just a few of my boards. You can make a board for anything at all that you are interested in...it doesn't have to be recipes or decorating or fashion ideas! In fact, two of my boards are "Child of the 70's" and "America" where I put things that remind me of growing up and beautiful, patriotic pictures. It is alot of fun. Oh...you can also network with other people. You follow other people and others follow you. Kind of like on twitter or blogs.

If you have some time, you should check it out. I bet you would love it! :)

This afternoon I am leaving to go see Laura and Lindy at ECU! I am looking forward to seeing them. It seems like it has been such a long time. We are going to have so much fun. Yay for summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

First Day Of Summer

Guess what? It is a beautiful summer morning and I am sitting on my back porch, coffee in hand. Rocky is lying right beside me and the wind is blowing in the trees and the birds are singing. I have nothing I have to do and nowhere to go (except a fun dinner with friends tonight!) and I feel like today is the first day of a new beginning for me.


As you can tell from my lack of blogging, I have just been through one of the busiest and most intense years of my whole life. (And that is saying alot because with four kids, I have had some pretty busy, intense years!) I'm really not sure how I am still here to tell you about it....haha! At times I didn't think I would make it.

Teaching at a Title 1 school in addition to all my other commitments and every life change and event that we have had this past year had started to feel like I was running on some kind of treadmill and I couldn't get off. It seemed like all I had time for was working and anything that had moved to the top of the "urgent" list. And that is NOT the way I want to live my life. So I ran all the way till the end of the year and now I have decided to step down. I resigned from my teaching position yesterday and now it is time to get life back into balance. Whew! Thank goodness.

I have a few job opportunities for next year that I am exploring, but they will not be anywhere near as time consuming or demanding as what I have been doing. So we will just wait and see what God has planned.

Meanwhile, today is the first day of summer for me. Woo hoo!! I am looking forward to so many things....

getting projects done...

going to the farmer's market for those yummy summer fruits and vegetables and cooking healthy meals...


reading some good books...

beach trips...



summer nights...


spending time with my family and friends...

cookouts and picnics...


laying by the pool (one of my favorite things!)...


fourth of July...


You know...all that fun stuff!

Really, our summer has already gotten off to a good start! Last weekend we drove to Kingsport, Tennessee to go to the wedding of one of Ashley's best friends, Robyn.






Robyn is the sweetest girl and she was a beautiful bride! Steve and I also had a great time driving through the mountains and just taking our time. We stopped in Blowing Rock and strolled around on the way back and just enjoyed the ride.

Last night was my nephew, Bryson's graduation party. He is graduating today and we are so proud of him. He was a football star at his high school and he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I know my brother Blake and my SIL Angie are going to miss him so much.


I think having your kids leave for college is one of the saddest things ever. I cried for days. Bryson is going to the University of South Carolina, though, so he is going to LOVE it!




So...thank you, summer, for finally getting here!! I can't wait to spend some quality time with you! :)