Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Garden Update

The garden is growing like crazy! Tony’s garden is growing fast too, or so I hear. I haven’t seen it since the first of June and would like to go over and take a look for myself.

Juliet Hybrid

I’ve picked a few of the sweet 100 tomatoes, which are the really small ones – like cherry tomatoes; and I’ve also picked one of the Juliet hybrids, which are a little bigger. One of the large tomatoes was almost ready for picking when an animal started eating it. I think the problem is squirrels and I’ve got to get some netting to put around the plants. I had this problem last year too and thought it was a rabbit, but now I think it is squirrels.

Sweet 100s

Saturday when I looked out the door, I noticed what I thought was a green tomato laying beside the garden in the yard. Sure enough, when I walked out there, it was a green tomato with teeth marks in it. I guess a squirrel picked it off the vine and started to take it off, only to abandon it in the yard. I imagine it was a bit too big for the squirrel. Yesterday when I got home from work, I looked out and two tomatoes were lying by the fence. These squirrels are getting really brave, I’ll tell ya. So, one of the projects for this weekend is to buy some netting so that I may be able to enjoy at least one tomato before the season’s out.

Tomato - captured and attacked by a squirrel

I’ve also already picked a jalapeño and used it in some salsa I made this past weekend. There’s a bell pepper that will soon be ready and a couple of more jalapeños will soon be ready as well.

So, that’s the garden update for today and of course, here are a few more photos of The Tide, just for Candy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I wanted to share of couple of things with you that I really love right now. Of course, my love affair with these things could wane at any time, but for now I really like them and want you to like them too.

Gigi’s cupcakes are really yummy. When Gigi’s first opened in the fall, I admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the cupcakes. Being a baker myself, I thought the cupcakes weren’t that great. The first time Tony and I had a cupcake from there was right before they were closing on a Tuesday night and I had a chocolate and he had the Boston Crème. I really didn’t want chocolate, but since it was closing time and that’s all they had to chose from, that’s what I was stuck with and I didn’t like it all that well.

I decided to give them another try and liked it so much better the second time around and I have been back many more times. The cupcakes are a little expensive at $3.00 each, but when I want a treat and don’t want to bake a whole pan of something, I will stop by there and get a cupcake… or two.

This past Saturday, after doing the grocery shopping and saving more money than I anticipated, I decided to stop in to Gigi’s to see what they had to offer. The menu changes every day and they also have flavors of the day which are not on the daily menu. Well, to my surprise they had a lot of my favorites and Tony’s favorite too (Boston Crème). So, I bought four. By the time I took the photos below, I had already eaten one of the cupcakes. The icing is a bit much and I usually don’t even eat half of it. Gigi’s is located on Whitesburg Drive in Huntsville and they have other locations in other cities as well. The next time you’re looking to treat yourself stop in and pick up a cupcake – you will be pleasantly surprised.

Boston Creme (bottom left)
Red Velvet (top right)
Tiramisu (bottom right)

The other favorite thing I wanted to tell you about are these new candies from Wonka, well, actually Nestle, since Nestle makes Wonka candies. They are called Wonka Exceptionals Fruit Marvels and they are delightful! I saw these when I was checking out at Wal-Mart last week and I decided to grab a tin to try. I don’t know what it is about the candies at the check out but if there is a new gum or candy that catches my eye, I will always get it. So, I picked these up and had forgotten about them until Sunday morning when I was sitting in church. I opened them up and the first surprise was how large they were. I thought they were going to be much smaller than they actually were. The second surprise was when I put them in my mouth and realized I had discovered a wonderful treat and my new favorite non-chocolate candy.

The outer shell is a hard candy with a sugar dusting and inside is a chewy morsel. Seriously, I didn’t think I would be able to stop eating these they were that good. I picked up the pomegranate flavor, but they also come in tangerine. I haven’t seen these at other stores yet so look for them at Wal-Mart and try not to eat the whole tin in one setting. I dare ya!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Movie Review - Grown Ups

Last night Tony and I went to see Grown Ups, starring Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider.

Tony and I both love Adam Sandler. He has been one of my favorites for a long time. His old movies, although at times crass, are absolutely hilarious I think. No matter how many times I watch them I always end up laughing. His newer movies are equally as good, even with a more grown up (no pun intended) tone. He’s also very believable as a serious actor in movies such as Spanglish and Funny People. I’ve seen almost ever Adam Sandler movie and have never been disappointed; so, I was excited about seeing this film.

I had seen a lot of reviews prior to the film saying that this one was a bust. As I’ve mentioned on here before, a lot of times, movies with ensemble casts are often not that great; so, I wasn’t sure what to expect and went in hoping that the film would have more laughs than just the scenes from the previews.

As soon as the movie started, I was laughing and I didn’t stop until the film ended. Overall, there’s not a strong plot throughout the film, but it was fun to watch and a great film to see if you want to just go and have a good time. Watching this film is literally like watching a bunch of friends get together and have a good time and I could see this gang of friends ending up together at the lake every summer. This was also a good family movie. There were lots of kids and teenagers when we went and there really isn’t a lot of swearing in the film, which makes it a great movie night for the whole family. If you’re looking for a good laugh this upcoming holiday weekend, check out this film; you will not be disappointed.

Tony's take: pretty good.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

Well, folks, I’m sad to inform ya’ll that my and Jackie’s trip to Atlanta this week has been cancelled. It seems that it just wasn’t in the stars for us to go, or I guess it was all part of God’s plan, or something along these lines.

Yesterday, Jackie’s was informed by her ex that he wouldn’t be able to keep their kids because he was planting crops. We thought we may have to cancel; but thankfully, Jackie’s parents’ came through and agreed to keep the kiddos for her so she could enjoy a weekend away and so the trip was back on.

This morning, not long after I arrived at work, I got an email from my friend Virginia. Virginia and I were sorority sisters at Alabama and we were planning to stay at her house for the weekend. She and her husband and their kids were going to go to Six Flags with us and we were all going to have a large time. Virginia’s email informed me that Mike’s grandmother passed away last night and so they had to cancel on us.

So, apparently, as I said, it just wasn’t in the stars for us to head east and enjoy ourselves this weekend. I am very sad for Mike. Ya’ll please keep his family in your prayers. Apparently his grandmother had been sick for a while and at least she is now no longer suffering; but it is still very hard to loose a loved one.

Of course, selfishly, I’m also sad for Jackie and me because we were looking forward to having a weekend of no obligations and lots of roller coasters; but, we will reschedule and do it another weekend later this summer; so, we’ll be okay.

Funny, the first thing that crossed my mind when I got this news (after feeling sad for Mike, mind you) was, “what am I going to cook for dinner this weekend?” Does this consume the thoughts of anyone else or is it just me? I swear it seems as soon as I’m finished with one meal, I start thinking about the next, and I only have two mouths to feed – technically only one mouth since Tony and I are neither married nor live together. But, since he eats the majority of his dinners at my house, it’s two. I was really looking forward to not cooking for anyone this weekend and now it seems I need to intimately study the Publix weekly deals and plan some menus. Any suggestions?

So, now my weekend will be filled with yard work and cooking and cleaning and all the other fun things I do on the weekends. I hope to catch a small reprieve and possibly hit the pool with Jackie and the kiddos this weekend… that is if it doesn’t rain.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jiminy Crickets and Other Ramblings

I feel like I work at a bait and tackle store these days and this is no exaggeration. I don’t know what it is about the office area where I work but it seems to be infested with crickets and other sorts of wonderful bugs and the incessant chirping is about to drive me batty. It also makes me wonder if this bug invasion is what led me to be sick last week. Who knows; maybe I should just catch these critters and hand them over to my dad so they can be swallowed by a Tennessee River bream; which I can then in turn eat. Hmmm…

In other news, I took down the curtains in my bedroom over the weekend and washed them along with my bed skirt and the blinds in my bedroom. My bedroom has a door that leads to my front porch which I never used but I cleaned the doors and what do you know it’s like a whole new view. I guess I didn’t realize it was so filthy. Let me tell you when you own a house it seems the work is never done. There’s always something else around the corner that needs repaired or cleaned or cut or painted or you get the picture. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

What are ya’ll watching on TV this summer? I’m still watching Deadliest Catch, one of my most favorite shows of all time, and I have a feeling that this week is the episode where Captain Phil dies, and I just know I’ll be crying like a baby. I just love that man. There shouldn’t be many more episodes left, which makes me sad, but there’s always next season.

I have also started watching a show on NBC called Persons Unknown. The previews for this show intrigued me and so I recorded the first episode to watch and haven’t missed one yet. I am hooked. The show is about a group of people that have been kidnapped and taken to a remote location. They cannot escape and they do not know why they are there. Every week there is so new twist and turn to the plot and I literally cannot wait for the next episode to come out. I’m not sure if this show is getting good ratings or not, but I will be highly upset if NBC pulls the plug. It comes on Monday’s at 9:00 p.m. Central and if you want to catch up on the first three episodes, check them out here.

I also started watching the reruns of Glee, which are awesome. I don’t know why I didn’t start watching this when it came out last fall, probably because I figured Tony would make fun of me; but readers, this show is really fun!

I love Sun Chips, but the new bag is too loud and it’s rather annoying. You definitely can’t sneak around eating those.

LeTour de France starts one week from Friday and my prediction is a win by Frank Schleck. I think Tony is going with Contador (aka Pistolero) this year. Regardless of who wins I am looking forward to seeing Dore Holte run alongside the cyclists on the mountain stages. I sure hope he’s there.

Well, I guess that will do it for random thoughts today. Jackie and I are headed to Atlanta on Thursday for an adventure at Six Flags and who knows what else; maybe a baseball game. I’m not sure if I’ll be back with you tomorrow; but if not, I hope everyone enjoys their week and weekend and I’ll catch up with you next week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Me and my Daddy after an Alabama victory at LSU!

I hope all the father’s out there had a Happy Father’s Day! Every year for the past three or four years, I have cooked meatloaf for my dad on Father’s Day. I realize that meatloaf may not sound like a delicious dish to most people out there; but my dad loves the meatloaf I make. Since no one else in the family really likes it, he requests the dish every year on Father’s Day and I guess you could say it’s become a bit of a tradition.

My dad’s parents, my mom’s dad, my parents, brother and I all enjoyed lunch together which also included, creamed potatoes, fried squash, green beans, coleslaw, cornbread, and deviled eggs. It was a really good meal if I do say so myself! I meant to take photos of everything and everyone but I wasn’t feeling great yesterday and just wasn’t up to taking photos.

What about everyone else? Do any of you have any Father’s Day traditions? I suppose because there are a lot of absentee dads out there, Father’s Day doesn’t get as much respect as Mother’s Day. So, I just want to give a shout out to my dad, Steve, who is the best father a girl could ask for! He has taught me so much and is always there when I need him. I have been blessed to have such a loving, caring father in my life and I hope all of you have the same.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's A Rather Boring Week

Hello Readers! There’s not much going on in the life of Nat these days. This past weekend was busy, but mostly with errands and cooking and cleaning and mowing the lawn, which you all probably do as well and therefore don’t need to read about.

In other news, I’m sick with a sinus infection, or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I use the Neti Pot every day, which I’m obsessed with; and ever since using it every day, I’ve not had one sinus infection until now. I coughed on the way to the gym Saturday morning and had a feeling something was coming on; I realize that sounds strange but we all know our bodies pretty well I think. Yesterday was the onset of the first sinus infection of 2010; thank you heat and humidity! So, I’m headed to the doctor this afternoon to confirm my suspicion and hopefully get some drugs.

My friend Erika told me today that she heard you were not supposed to use the Neti Pot every day. So, I guess I’ll have to cut back my usage and see how that goes. In the meantime, I have a stuffy head and want to be sleeping right now.

Since there may not be much material this week on the Chronicles of Nat, I thought I would pass along some other sites for you to peruse.

Word To The Mot is written by Jackie’s niece Brooke, who is living in France for the summer. She’s updating everyone on her adventures there – try not to get too jealous. Leave her a comment of encouragement; I’m sure she would appreciate it.

Culinary Concoctions by Peabody is a food blog that Erika introduced me to a while back and has lots of yummy desserts as well as a witty story to go along with each dessert. Call me crazy, but I think if I met Peabody in “real life” we would be great friends.

My Milk Toof is another blog Erika introduced me too; it’s a little odd, but in a good way and you may find it as interesting as we did.

Stuff White People Like is a site I came across a year or so ago and it totally cracks me up. Go back and take a look at all the past entries and tell me it’s not true!

I hope to be back to regularly scheduled blogging this week. Maybe there will be something noteworthy to tell you about. In the meantime, check out these sites and recommend some others in the comments section and have a great week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fun, Food, and Friends

Ah… summer. Last night after the gym, I met Jackie and the kids and some other friends for dinner at Wing’s. Our friend Jay and a guy named Andy were playing guitar and singing out on the patio and we decided to go support them and have some dinner. Nothing like fried food after hitting the gym!

I recently read an article in Parade magazine written by Mitch Albom about our fascination with outdoor dining. It was a funny article and I kept thinking about it as we dined on the patio amongst the flies and the heat. Actually it wasn’t too hot out there, surprisingly. I tried to find that article so that I could link to it and you all could read it, but I have been unsuccessful in finding it.

I brought my camera along because is it really a fun time if there’s not proof? Enjoy the photos and I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Troy was drawing pictures of Harry Potter characters when I arrived

Ashlyn looking lovely with her strand of pearls

After our food arrived Troy found a very versatile french fry

It could be used as a smiley face

Or a booger (never thought I would write booger on my blog!)

Ashlyn found one of her own

Andy and Jay

Friday Movie Review - Get Him To The Greek

This past weekend, Tony and I took in a movie – Get Him to the Greek, a raunchy film that has quite a few laughs.

If you’ve seen the previews to this one, then you know the premise. Basically Jonah Hill’s character has 72 hours to get a rambunctious rock star from Britain to Los Angeles to perform in a 10th Anniversary concert at the Greek Theater. Along the way, they encounter lots of booze, drugs, loose women, and other crazy obstacles which are meant to leave the viewer wondering if they will ever make it. But it’s the movies people; we know they’re going to make it!

This movie was hysterical at some points and quite filthy in others. If you are easily offended, then this probably isn’t the movie for you. Even I found it to be racier than I would have liked, but overall it was more funny than frightening.

Jonah Hill was as delightful as ever and Russell Brand’s outlandish acting made the rock star Aldous Snow seem quite believable. The end of the movie actually had a bit of a sentimental moment and if you look beneath the surface there’s an actual message there.

Tony's take: pretty good

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Doors Are Open - Kind Of

As I’ve mentioned on this blog in the past, the church I attend is in the process of building a new building. (I think it’s weird to say building a building, but anyway…) I wrote about the progress here and here. This past Sunday evening, we held our first worship service in the new facility. I can hardly believe that the building has come so far so fast! It seems like it was just yesterday that we moved out of our old location and started worshipping at our temporary home.

Although the building is not completely done, the fellowship hall/auditorium/worship center/whatever-you-want-to-call it is complete and looks really great. My friends Lisa and Candy and all the other ladies on the decorating committee did an excellent job picking out the colors.

Until the classrooms and offices are finished, we will remain at our temporary location and then permanently move into the new facility in August or September. In the meantime, we plan to have a few worship services and church activities there. The next one is scheduled for July 4! If you live in the area, we’d love to have you. The building is located on Winchester Road and we are now known as Chase Park Church of Christ. I think we are having a cookout and fireworks that night too so it should be a lot of fun. Having the new building is really exciting; a lot more exciting than I thought it would be actually. I am looking forward to the classrooms being completed so we can take full advantage of our new home.

Here are some photos from the first worship and fellowship - unfortunately no empty cigarette packs were lying around this time:

Tony with his fake smile

Folks talking and fellowshipping after service

The stage - still a work in progress

The soundroom - where the magic happens - ok, not really.

Doesn't Tony look thrilled to be having his photo taken by my outstretched hand?

People eating after service

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ashlyn's Dance Recital

This past Saturday was Ashlyn’s dance recital. I think this was her third one; but the first one I’ve had the opportunity to attend; so I was really looking forward to it. When I was in grade school, I used to go to dance recitals every year since all of my friends were dancers. I never took dance and was always a little jealous of those who did. I don’t think my parents could afford it or maybe they just didn’t want to afford it. Who knows? What I do know is that my lack of taking dance as a child has greatly contributed to my lack of coordination and dance skills as an adult. You can’t win ‘em all I guess.

Ashlyn’s dance group did a number to “Walking on Sunshine” and wore pink outfits with yellow shorts. They all looked so cute and did a really great job.

After the show we went to eat at Little Rosie’s – it was Jackie, Ashlyn, Troy, Tim, Jan, and me. I had a great time. I think we stayed there for an hour and a half or longer just talking and catching up. Now that Tim and Jan go to a different church, I don’t see them as often and I really enjoyed spending time with my other family.

Troy rode with me to Little Rosie’s and on the way announced that he had to go to the bathroom… right now. So, I drove by my friend Shawna’s house so Troy could use the facilities. Thank goodness she was home! It was a really funny experience and one that I’m sure we will never forget. It’s not often that people stop by just to use the bathroom.

Here are some photos from the show:

Here's Ashlyn dancing the afternoon away!

This is my favorite! I love the jump!

Ashlyn with Jackie

Ashlyn with me

Some of the moms of the dancers got together and did the dance from Thriller. It was rather funny.
They did a great job and their costumes were really well done!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Unsuccessful Venture

Afternoon Update: Kendra sent the photo above a little while ago. It was taken by a friend of hers. Apparently this is the car the MJ drives - love it!

As mentioned, there was an unsuccessful venture of sorts this past weekend. Back in March I wrote on this blog about a Michael Jackson impersonator that performs in and around Huntsville.

On Friday afternoon/early evening while I was cooking dinner, my friend Kendra sent a text saying that Huntsville’s very own MJ was at the corner of Whitesburg and Governor’s Drive. For months I have been on a search to see this guy and haven’t been lucky enough for a sighting. Robert, a friend from work, saw MJ at a wedding and was lucky enough to dance with him. Here’s the video. But as for me and Tony, we have not been lucky enough to see him.

So, after Kendra sent the text, I sent a text to Tony to let him know and about 10 minutes later we were in the car to see if we could finally see for ourselves the elusive MJ.

Here's Tony driving as quick as he can to see MJ

Unfortunately, by the time we got to Fuel City, MJ’s favorite spot at the corner of Governor’s Drive and Whitesburg, he was no longer there, which was a shame, really. I had my camera in hand ready to take a photo but we were unsuccessful in our venture to find MJ.

If you have a MJ sighting, tell us about it in the comments section. I want to know all the places where we can possibly see this guy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy 90th Birthday Margaret!

Rudye and her sister Margaret - the birthday girl

This past weekend was busy – packed full of unsuccessful adventures (more on this later) and fun activities. This first of the fun was my best friend Margaret’s 90th birthday party which was on Saturday morning from 10 –noon.

Earlier in the week, Margaret’s sister Rudye called and asked me if I would serve cake and of course I agreed! How could I not help out?! After all Margaret is my best friend. You see, Margaret would always tell me I was her best friend when I would see her at church. Then one day a few years ago, I was walking by a classroom and I heard her tell my friend Janet, “You are my best friend.” So, of course, me being me, I stopped in my tracks and said, “Margaret, I caught you! I thought I was your best friend.” It has become a bit of an inside joke for me, Margaret and Janet, and we often laugh about it when we are around each other.

So, I arrived at the party a little early to get set up for serving cake and to take a few pictures. (Please excuse the outfit I was wearing. I have no idea why I went with this but needless to say it was less than flattering and it looked like I weighed about 20 pounds more than I actually do – not that you care, but I do. Thanks for letting me get that out.)

Me and the birthday girl!

The party was a huge success and had a steady stream of people for the whole two hours. That’s a lot of cake cutting! Margaret was afraid no one would come which is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard because she is one of the most loved people at our church. She and her sister Rudye will make you laugh any time you are around them. They have a quick wit and are absolutely hilarious. I heard a story at the party that their hair dresser calls them the Dynamic Duo and it is certainly the truth.

Margaret and her hairdresser

Three men showed up to the party even though it was for women only. The first man was with his wife and was someone I didn’t know. The second man was Lisa’s granddad, Mr. Hendrixson and I imagine he came because he had to drive his wife, Mrs. Connie. The third man was Mark Rowe, father of my friends Shelley and Kimberly. I imagine he came because he’s unconventional and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Today is actually the day of Margaret’s Birthday – 90 years old! That’s amazing! I hope you have many more birthdays Margaret because you are an absolute delight to be around and I am proud to call you my best friend!

The serving table

A lady from church made these "M" shortbread cookies

The birthday cake

The flowers were so pretty

The first guests come through the door

Guests enjoying cake

Here is my friend Candy (right) talking to my friend Pat.
I gave Candy a piece of cake with a rose because she loves icing like nobody's business!

Here's my friend Lisa with another friend Claudette.
Claudette's is actually Lisa's aunt by marriage and is also a great teacher!

Mr. Hendrixson, the second of three male guests

Mark Rowe the third of three male guests - getting a hug from Lisa

The cards Margaret received for her birthday.