Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hi, I Follow You On Twitter!

Y'all I have no idea when I became such a dork, but somewhere along the way when I wasn't looking I turned into that weird girl from the party.

Thursday evening from 5-7 was a Rocket City Bloggers Meet and Greet at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitor's Bureau and I decided to check it out. I have not officially joined this group, as of the writing of this post, but was interested in seeing how one of their events would go. The event was set up to introduce bloggers and local business to form working relationships. Plus, there was free food and door prizes and I happen to be a fan of both of those.

Not long after arriving and enjoying a sampling of the appetizers, I spotted my friend Lindsey walking through the door. I was overjoyed as it is always nice to see a friendly face in a random social setting. Lindsey blogs over at I'll Never Be June Cleaver and also contributes to Tennessee Valley Moms. Lindsey is also the sister of my friend and co-worker Meri and we go to church together; so, I made a beeline for her when she walked through the door.

We chatted for a few minutes and then while Lindsey went to sign in, I went over and introduced myself to Carol Marks of Girl Gadabout. We follow each other on Twitter and Instagram and so I thought it would be nice to say hello. So, I introduced myself by saying, "Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself, we follow each other on Twitter." OH YES I DID. Such a random and awkward introduction. Carol then introduced me to Rich who was there to help promote blogs and asked me where I wanted my blog to go. To this I had no answer. I mean, really, I had no answer. I realize those of you who know me find this hard to believe.

I soon made my way back over to my comfort zone known as Lindsey. Moments later I noticed a guy across the room who looked familiar, that's because I follow him on Twitter too. He actually used one of my tweets in a story he wrote way back in the fall when the revamp came out. I started following him soon after and still do. I also went up to him and introduced myself by saying, Hi, I'm Natasha, I follow you on Twitter. Seriously, life was so much better before social media. These people probably think I'm a stalker and I assure you and them that I am not.

Thankfully, I had to leave about 20 minutes until 6:00 p.m. so that I could make it to my WOW class at the gym. Sadly, Lindsey told me that after I left my name was called for a door prize - a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes! I guess it's a good thing I wasn't there or else I would have had cake for dinner and for the next few meals as well.

So, yes, I've apparently become that socially awkward stalker type girl. I have no idea what happened to me, but it seems I need to get out more.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Product Review: Wedding Invitations by Minted

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved all manner of stationary product - everything from paper to cards, notepads and calling cards. In fact, one of my favorite memories of my late maternal grandmother is when during one of our shopping trips to the mall, she would take me by Christie's Pals and let me pick out a stationary product. I have no doubt I spent close to an hour pouring over all the options and finally deciding on what to take home. I actually still have some of the stationary products I picked out then.

I still love stationary products, and feel that letter writing and card sending is a lost art. Often I am drawn to the paper aisle in the store and can still spend hours pouring over the options before finally making a decision on a set of thank you notes or a set of stationary. So, when I was recently asked to review wedding invitations for Minted, I gladly agreed. Let me emphasize the point that, no, I am not getting married any time soon and no, there is no man in my life at the moment. However, if there were and if I was planning a wedding, I would definitely consider purchasing my invitations from Minted because they have some really great choices that will fit the personality of any bride out there. Anna, are you reading?

When searching through the hundreds of wedding invitations couples can narrow searches through various topical categories such as classical, elegant, and vintage (among others) and can even search based on color. The thing I love most about these invitations is that the couple can make them their very own - to fit their personality. Some of the invitations can be designed with photos, others with just words and designs. There are tons of options and all of them are unique and gorgeous.

Here are some of my favorites:

A Chalkboard Marriage Wedding Invitations - I'm a fan of the chalkboard look and think this one is simple yet elegant and would work well for couples planning an intimate and even casual gathering of family and friends.

 Country Club Wedding Invitations - This is a more traditional looking wedding invitation which again is simple and sophisticated and would work great for any type of wedding from a large church ceremony to a simple outdoor gathering.

Float + Framed Wedding Invitations - Another simple design, I really love thins one. I like that the main focus is the names of the couple, as it should be.

All of these invitations can be personalized with color changes and various paper styles. In addition to invitations, matching RSVP Cards, Thank You Cards, and Reception Cards can be ordered. The prices are very reasonable and the quality is outstanding.

Minted also has a great set of Inspiration Boards put together by designers and customers which can provide inspiration to brides and grooms who are looking for some fabulous wedding ideas. One in particular that I liked was the Vintage Garden Wedding Board seen here:

Once again, I would like to emphasize that I am not getting married, but should that day come, I will definitely check out Minted for invitations to that miraculous event. Another thing I loved about Minted is that they are an American company, headquartered in San Francisco - a city which I now love thanks to my vacation last month!

Minted has a great selection of other stationary products as well so if you are looking for a dainty set of personalized notes or some funky birthday invitations, be sure and stop by their site and check out what they have to offers. All of their products are lovely and if you're anything like me, you will get lost in all the selections and have a hard time making up your mind.

In exchange for writing this post, I was compensated by Minted with a set of free business cards. All opinions and views, however are my own. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Cornucopia of Unrelated Information

Well, it's Tuesday night and I just got home from my WOW session and my arms and legs feel like jello. I guess that's a good thing. I'm also hungry and hope to be eating dinner soon. The WOW sessions are going great and I would love it if this group would sign up for another six weeks after the first six, but they probably have things to do in the evening, unlike myself.

Other than painting the shed this past weekend, I really didn't have much else going on. I think I mentioned that it was free Showtime weekend and the entire season two of Homeland was one Saturday and gave my DVR a workout for 12 straight hours. I re-watched season one starting early last week and finished up on Saturday morning and then started on season two some time in the afternoon.

After all was said and done, I watched about 18 hours of Homeland over the course of four days, including six hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I think it probably goes without saying that I was rather consumed with the plot line and even dreamed about it at night. Now I'm completely caught up and really sad that there are no more episodes to watch. Here's looking forward to the next free Showtime weekend.

Sunday morning on the way to church I saw a black Volvo station wagon parked and for sale in a lot at the corner of Governor's and California. I thought it looked like a newer model and decided to go take a look at the price after church Sunday afternoon. I pulled out of the parking lot about as fast, or faster, than I pulled in. The Volvo was in fact a newer model and the price tag was $25.6K. If anyone wants to buy it for me, contact Peter.

Speaking of cars, it really would not surprise me if Blue killed over at some point. I did manage to repair the missing side view mirror on the passenger side a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully the one I bought was the right size and it was no trouble at all to fix. Lately it seems that I sometimes hear what sounds like crickets in the car and then at other times I hear a bzzz like a bee, which never ceases to make me jump. I'm beginning to wonder if Blue is being operated by scores of insects under the hood instead of an engine. I mean, Jackie did find a roach in the back floor board a few weeks ago when we were out at a garage sale. We ended up driving to the car wash to suck it up in a vacuum, but when I couldn't see it, she used something (I can't remember what) to flick it out of the car. It landed on it's back and Jackie turned it right side up and then the roach came towards me and I screamed at the top of my lungs and and ran away. It was quite hilarious and got me moving at an early hour. Thankfully, there have been no other roach sightings in the car, otherwise, I might have to set it on fire and cut my losses.

In closing I would like to let you know that I'm currently in the process of a boot experiment of sorts and I am looking forward to reporting on that next week when said experiment has been completed. Until then, may your cars be bug free!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Think I'll Call It The Barn

I think I mentioned last week that my new shed now has a door. It's very exciting. Now I just have to schedule the moving in of all my "junk". The door that my dad and Buddy used was a leftover they found at Wilson Lumber Company and they cut the bottom of it off so it would fit the shed. I assume that Buddy primed it because when they hung it up it was primed with white paint already.

On Friday afternoon, I stopped by Home Depot and picked out some paint - Red Brick - to paint the door and got up around 6:00 on Saturday morning to put the first coat on. I like to work either before the sun comes up or after it goes down, otherwise it is blazing hot in this Alabama summer.

I put the second coat on around 7:00 Saturday night and then finished with a third and final coat on Sunday morning at 6:00. During the total of four hours or so that I spent painting the door, I managed to amass almost 30 mosquito bites on my legs; but, the door looks great, so it was worth it. I love the red color and the shed, well, it looks like a little barn really and I love it.

One thing, however, that I did not love about it was the massive amount of spiders that had already accumulated inside. My Aunt Linda told me about a bug bomb and so after church on Sunday I went and bought one and set it off during the afternoon. After church Sunday night I swept out the shed and hopefully the spiders will not return.

I'm really excited about the new shed and I want to send out a big thanks to my dad and his friend Buddy who worked so hard on putting it together for me.

The door before the red paint

During the painting

After the first coat

Also after the first coat

Three coats and it's done. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Mundane Life

It's been yet another busy week for me at work, which really isn't so bad. I'd much rather it be busy than slow - for one it makes the time seem to pass quicker and I've got no complaints about that.

Other than work being busy, not much else has been going on; yet the time seems to move at the speed of sound. On Tuesday and Thursday nights I'm taking the Women on Weights class that I believe I mentioned last week. The class is going really well. There are five of us in the class and it's a good mix of people and the trainer has set us up with some really great exercises. At the time I am typing this, my arms still feel like jello from the class earlier this evening. My concern is that after the six weeks is over I may go back to being unmotivated and start skipping the gym again. Hopefully, though, this six week course will motivate me to continue the routine and get back in the habit before going home each afternoon.

This summer at church we are having meals at church before classes. The cost is $5 per person or $20 per family. This week was the second time for the summer and we had hamburgers and hot dogs. Well, the burgers were actually soy burgers I think because they tasted like those burgers that were served in your elementary school cafeteria. They weren't the worst burgers I've ever had, but they definitely were not the best. I think this is a great idea that the church is doing and I wish they did it year round and not just in the summer. It is really convenient to have dinner at the church building before Bible study.

I'm actually helping in one of the three-year old classrooms on Wednesdays this summer. The lady that teaches is one of our elders wives and she is amazing. She has more energy than I do and is probably old enough to be my grandmother. She is really great with the kids and I actually feel kind of useless; but, she has been a great teacher for me to observe and learn from and for that I am thankful.

My dad and Buddy finished with the shed this week as they were able to get the door hung. Now I just have to paint the door and move all my things in. I hope to get the door painted this weekend and then maybe get everything moved in the following weekend. It will be really nice to have all of my things back in the shed. There have been many times this summer when I've needed this tool or that and then realized it wasn't here. I am exceptionally grateful to my aunt's boyfriend for letting me store all my "junk" in his workshop.

Besides painting the door this weekend, I really don't have any other bog plans. It's free Showtime this weekend and I am beyond excited to finally be able to record and eventually watch all of season two of Homeland. So, if I seem a little paranoid in the coming days, it's probably because I'm on Homeland overload. I'm re-watching season one now and by the time I'm done with season two I'll probably think everyone around me is a terrorist. It's worse than watching a couple of hours of Fox News.

At any rate, I hope everyone has a great weekend and with any luck something exciting (and by exciting I mean good exciting, we've had enough bad exciting this year) will happen and will therefore provide me with something to blog about besides my currently mundane day-to-day activities.

Oh, and happy summer, if you're into that kind of season.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

I finally have a minute to sit down and at least recap the weekend. As mentioned in the coleslaw post, I cooked lunch for Father's Day. Meatloaf is my dad's favorite and I always cook it on Father's Day since no one else is very keen on it. Shockingly my mother actually said it was good - she hates meatloaf - but she did slather it in Heinz 57 sauce; so, there's that. In addition to meatloaf and coleslaw we also had green beans and mac and cheese. My dad made the cornbread because last year he said mine was not good and I refuse to make it for him again. For dessert I made an upside down peach bundt cake that was not bad at all. I think it was actually prettier than it tasted. It wasn't too sweet which was nice. 

The meal was my gift to my dad, same as it was for my mom on Mother's Day. My dad, however, gave both my brother and I a nice card which caused me to cry and if I'm not mistaken my brother teared up a little bit too. It just had a personal handwritten note and is something each of us will always treasure. A few years ago he did something similar when he gave each of us a Bible that he had read through from Genesis to Revelation. I'm not sure if he even remembers giving us those, but it's one Bible that I will forever be grateful that I have. 

After lunch I came home and watched the US Open which I finished watching after I got home from church that evening. Poor Phil - always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to the US Open. It was heartbreaking - again; but, the golf course at Merion stood up like a champ and no one finished under par which is just remarkable. I thought it was a very good tournament. Sunday night I had dinner with my Aunt Linda and some of her friends at Jason's Deli. I had the salad bar, which was just as fresh and delicious as always. 

Backing up a bit to Friday night - I did my grocery shopping after work and spent the rest of the evening breaking green beans and watching TV. I'm sure you are envious of all that fun. Saturday I got up and did some cooking for our Father's Day lunch and worked on the laundry. The church where my dad preaches had a community cookout on Saturday afternoon and I stopped by for that and had some free lunch. The turnout wasn't as good as it was in April, but the food was still good. After the cookout, Sydney came over and she and I went to see Jackie's two kids sing and dance in Blue Plate Broadway. This was the second year that Troy and Ashlyn participated and the show was very cute and entertaining. They both did a fantastic job. Jackie and I tried to convince Sydney to do it next year but she didn't seem too interested. She was, however, exceptionally excited to see "her boyfriend" Troy after the show. 

My aunt, Sydney's Ya-Ya came and picked her up after the show so that Sydney could spend Father's Day with her family. So, I had what was left of the evening to myself and spent it making the aforementioned cake and coleslaw and watching overtime of the hockey game. 

So, it was a quick and rather low-key weekend, but then again, aren't they all quick - too quick really. This has started off as another busy week at work. I had customers in on Monday and Tuesday and I hope the rest of the week isn't quite as hectic. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm really looking forward to a couple of days off for Independence Day,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coleslaw 101

I'm sure when you clicked over here today the last thing you expected to see was a post about coleslaw. Believe me, it's not a subject I ever thought I would devote a whole post to, but here we are. I don't remember when or even how it started, but one day I became the official coleslaw maker in our family and now it is my most requested dish. My grandmother Opal was the original coleslaw maker in our family and I tired to replicate her slaw for some family event and ever since I've been the go-to coleslaw person. Even my grandmother loves it.

I make coleslaw for every holiday and cookout and all events in between and the funniest bit of all is that I don't even eat it. In fact, I don't even like the smell of it. I like coleslaw in general, but I guess when it's something you make all the time you kind of develop a distaste for it.

I often get requests for my "coleslaw recipe" and I hate it when people ask that because there is no "recipe". I just make it. There are no official measurements and that's what makes it difficult when people ask for the "recipe". Since I made coleslaw as part of our Father's Day lunch, I decided to put it in a post so I can refer people when they ask. There are still no measurements, but maybe this will at least help folks out when they are trying to make it on their own.

Here we go...

The Ingredients: Cabbage, Carrots, Onion, Mayonnaise, and Splenda (or you can use Sugar)

First, I chop the cabbage and then put in the food processor and pulse until it is very fine.  

The cabbage in the processor before it is pulsed

Chopped Cabbage

After chopping a bowl of cabbage only, I chop a bowl with cabbage, carrots and onion. In this case I used about 15 baby carrots and a little more than half an onion. The amount of onion you need will depend on how strong the onion is. You don't want the coleslaw to be overpowered with onion. 

The bowl now contains all chopped ingredients.

I use a spoon this size to scoop out the Mayonnaise. It's a serving spoon - bigger than a Tablespoon, but not as big as a giant serving spoon. The Mayonnaise jar I was using while making this batch of coleslaw was almost empty so I scooped as much as I could. Most of the time, if the jar is fairly full, I will scoop about three or four heaping spoonfuls of Mayonnaise into the bowl. 

 Here is the bowl with Mayonnaise scooped in.

Next I pour in Splenda (or sugar if you prefer). Again, there are no precise measurements, I just pour in the amount that looks good. If I were to guess I would say maybe a cup or so. 

Then I stir everything together. Sometimes I might add more Mayonnaise and Splenda depending on if the mixture is dry or not. Basically I just want it all to be mixed well an all the cabbage, carrots, and onion to be coated with the Mayonnaise and Splenda. (Yes, I keep my mixing bowl in the sink while I'm working.) 

Finally, I place the coleslaw in a pretty bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. That way it will be cold and all the flavors with me melded together. 

Here's an up close photo of how finely everything is chopped and what it looks like after mixed. 

And that, my friends, is how I make my infamous coleslaw. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Well, Hello There

I probably deserve the award for the worst blogger of the week, but I've fallen on busy times and unfortunately, the blog was placed on the back burner. I'm comforted by the fact that the blogs I most frequent have also been a little slack this week so at least I'm not the only one.

I think I mentioned that when I got back from vacation I was given the lead on a program at work and so I've spent the last two and a half weeks trying to get up to speed on that in addition to my keeping up with the other programs I work on. So, to say that I've been busy at work is a bit of an understatement. I've very grateful for the opportunity and welcome the new challenge. The only issue is that when I get home in the evenings I just don't feel like getting on the computer again so I've got to find a happy medium somehow.

Also this week I've started a new class at the gym. Since January I've been trying to get a Women on Weights Class started at the Y. I actually paid for the class that was slated for a January start, but then it was cancelled because the instructor had foot surgery (I can relate). After she came back from surgery she tried to start the class again but I was the only taker, then I went on vacation and long story short, we finally started the class this week when we had five people (including myself) sign up. It's a strength and conditioning class and we meet with a personal trainer two nights a week for six weeks. So far we've met twice and I have really enjoyed it.

I don't recall if I mentioned it or not, but when I got back from vacation, my lawn mower pooped out on me. I started mowing one night and after about three laps around the yard the mower just decided to stop. Thankfully my cousin Chris and his wife Amy came over on Monday night and Chris was able to get the mower working again. I was thrilled because I did not want to have to pay someone to mow the grass again or possibly buy a new mower or possibly pay lots of money for someone to take a look at it. So, I was and remain very grateful that Chris was able to get it up and running again.

I think that's about all for now, although there seems like there should be more since I've been scare around these parts. I suppose work has taken up most of my time lately and I assure you, that's not good blogging material.

I hope you all have a nice and relaxing weekend and with any luck, I'll do a better job of posting next week! Until then...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The New Winner Is...

So, I never heard from one of the winners of the last giveaway and I've chosen a new winner. Since I'm about 90% sure none of the people who stopped by as a result of Sophie's tweet will check back in, I'm drawing from comments two thru five because I know all of those folks and don't want to have to draw a third time. Hey, it's my blog.

The new winner is comment number 5, islandblessings.

I'll be in touch with the new winner soon. In the meantime, I will attempt to find more than five minutes of free time and post something worth reading soon.

Have a nice Wednesday!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Busy as a Bee

Let me tell you, people, I have been super busy at work lately which makes me a terrible blogger because when I've got my head stuck in front of a computer all day, it's about the last thing I want to do when I get home in the evenings. Nevertheless, I have stopped in to say hello. 

Since I didn't update you much at the end of last week, I guess I should start there. On Thursday afternoon I met my cousin-in-law (or do you just say cousin?) Amy for a matinee showing of the Great Gatsby. I had it on my list of movies to see but since it came out right before I left for vacation, there wasn't much time. So, I was happy to go see it with Amy and we both really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure how I would like it and actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, which was a pleasant surprise. 

After Amy and I went to the movie, I went home for about an hour and then met Amy's daughter, my cousin Alexandra for some karaoke. It has been years since I've done karaoke and it was one of my favorite things to do years ago. Jackie went too and we stayed for about two hours, leaving for home around 11:00 p.m., which is late for a work night. Thankfully, I wasn't too tired the next morning. 

On Friday, after work, I stopped by Lowe's to pick up a few things for my little landscaping project in the area of the yard where I plan to bury The Tide's ashes. I think I mentioned that my aunt bought me an azalea and so I wanted to get a couple more to plant with the one she gave me. I also needed some other supplies for my little project and so I picked up a few things, and left the rest for my trip to the Home Depot on Saturday morning because there were a few things Lowe's didn't have and I didn't have a lot of time and needed to scoot on home. 

When I finally arrived home, Jackie was waiting on me because we once again volunteered for the Salvation Army truck run to feed the homeless. It was once again an humbling and rewarding experience and we were thankful we had the opportunity to serve others and be more appreciate of all the Lord has given us. After we did the truck run, we went to Ted's BBQ and got some dinner for ourselves. We sat outside as it was a nice evening - somehow we have lucked out this year and the weather hasn't been ridiculously hot yet which has been a nice blessing. After dinner we parted ways and I spent the rest of the evening watching TV and doing laundry. 

Saturday morning I met the care group I was in at my old church for breakfast at Ryan's. First of all, I'm not a fan of buffets, they kind of give me the creeps. Furthermore, the buffet at Ryan's was almost $9 and I wasn't very hungry and didn't want to spend $9 for one pancake and a slice of bacon. So, I elected not to eat and instead just visited with my dear friend Pat and the other people who were there. It was really nice to see all the folks there and catch up with them. Afterwards I went to Home Depot and bought a few more things for my project. 

I spent the rest of the day doing a whole lot of nothing. I did manage to get some cleaning done and finished up the laundry. Sydney came a little before 6:00 and after her mother left she started crying and ended up crying herself to sleep. I put her to bed and thought to myself, "I sure hope she doesn't wet the bed," since she fell asleep so early and sure enough about 3:00 a.m. I was awoken by Sydney who had wet the bed. I gave her a change of clothes, put the sheets in the wash and put her in bed with me. She then proceeded to hog up most of the space in the bed. A four-year old can sure take up a lot of room. 

Sunday we went to church and then had our weekly Mexican lunch with Josh, Alexandra, and Indigo. She left about 1:00 and soon after I was napping away. Sunday night after church I made a grocery store run and watched some TV and that was my weekend in a nutshell. Not too exciting, but not too dull either. 

This week I start a new class at the YMCA which should provide me with interesting material as most all workouts do. Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

And The Winner Is

Thanks to everyone who entered the A Little Salty to Cut The Sweet Giveaway! Thanks to Sophie sending the link out via Twitter I had a lot of newcomers to the blog. Hopefully some of you will stop back by again. Thanks to all of you, I finally have a post that garnered more comments than the infamous Jim Brickman post!

The two winners of the giveaway are Paige who left comment number 23 and Margaret Stabler who left comment number 30. Please contact me at about the details of your winnings.  If I don't hear from the winners by Wednesday, June 12, a new number will be drawn. I also apologize at how dumb these screen shots of look. If you've stopped by here before then you know I have issues with trying to post these pictures.

I wish I could give you all a prize, but you know, money doesn't grow on trees and all that; but, I hope you will all check out Sophie's book because it truly is delightful.

Thanks again for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ingrid, Is That You?

Monday night was the start of the 2013 season of Concerts in the Park at Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville. It has been years since I had attended one of these concerts, but Sunday, my cousin Alexandra mentioned she was going and invited Jackie and I to come along and so we did and it was such a fun night.

I sent Jackie a text on Sunday night and asked her if she wanted to walk to the park from my house. I came up with the idea that I could pick her up from work (she works downtown) and then we would go to my house, walk to the park, enjoy the concert and then use her car parked downtown to get back home. She agreed and that's exactly what we did. I picked up sandwiches at Subway before I picked Jackie up so we could also enjoy some dinner while at the park. 

We left my house about 5:15 and headed towards the park. Before leaving we packed a backpack with drinks, our sandwiches and Chex Mix as well as our phones and Jackie's keys. I asked her to bring her key to my house so I wouldn't have to bring my keys along and she checked to make sure she had it before we left and I asked her again before shutting the door - you can never be to sure about these things. 

It took us about an hour or so to walk to the park. I, after all, am a slow walker. I think the distance is a little over three miles, but it's a lovely walk through Five Points, Old Town and downtown and so it didn't seem like it took as long as it did. 

When we arrived we staked out a spot under the trees. Alexandra and Indigo were running late and so I sent her a text to let her know where we were sitting. Our friend Maria, and later Denny, also joined us for the night. Not long after the first band started playing, a nice looking man was standing close by and it looked like he was searching the crowd for someone. He asked Jackie if her name was Ingrid. She said, no, sorry. He then told us that meeting someone for the first time at Concerts in the Park was probably not the best idea. Bless his heart, I hope he found Ingrid and she didn't stand him up. 

Alexandra and Indigo showed up around 7:00 or so and sat with us under the trees. We eventually moved to the grass because sitting on dead magnolia leaves was not comfortable on the backside. The two bands that played were really great and it was such a fun night. It wasn't too terribly warm out and after the sun went down it was actually comfortable. 

The concert wrapped up around 8:00 and we headed to Jackie's car and then back to my house. Jackie put her key in the door and it didn't budge. She tried another key and it still didn't budge, and long story short, she didn't have the house key and we were locked out. So, I called my dad and he graciously pulled himself away from the Women's College World Series and came to unlock the door. 

Concerts in the Park takes place each Monday night beginning at 6:30 at Big Spring Park in front of the Huntsville Museum of Art. It's a really fun event and I definitely plan on going again. The schedule for the rest of the summer is listed below, and I would like to add that I had no idea my late grandfather had a band. I cannot wait to check it out!

June 10 - Cristina Lynn, Tangled String Band
June 17 - Tropical Breeze Steel Band, The Brakers
June 24 - The 911 Reporters, Groove
July 1 - Strings of Pearl, Olde Towne Brass
July 8 - Jimmy Henderson, Bourbon & Shamrocks
July 15 - The Ben Parker Project, DiscOasis
July 22 - U.S. Army Materiel Command Bands
July 29 - Step Heavy, Jeff Whitlow and the Old Barn Band
August 5 - Winslow Davis, Mambo Gris Gris
August 12 - Ashley Smith, Rocket City Jazz Orchestra

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of Boo Mama's new book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, as well as a lovely set of measuring spoons. Contest is open through Thursday night! Good luck! 

Indigo enjoying the night out on the town!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway - A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet

~~ This Giveaway Is Now Closed ~~

Y'all, I'm so excited about today's review and giveaway. I've been looking forward to it for a long while and the day has finally come. 

I'm sure some of you, if not most, are familiar with The Boo Mama Blog written by the always delightful and hilarious Sophie Hudson. I first learned about Sophie's blog when I was standing in line at The Pioneer Woman's book signing way back in ye olden days of 2009 and started reading it soon after and have been a loyal reader ever since. While Sophie originally hails from Mississippi (and is a fierce Bulldogs fan I might add), she now resides in Birmingham with her husband and son. Today, Tuesday, June 4, Sophie's book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet comes out and I'm just as happy as can be to share a little bit about it with you. 

Back in January I emailed Sophie and she was kind enough to put me on her advance book list. I wanted to do a book review and host a giveaway for her debut book. As luck would have it, the day after The Tide went on to doggie heaven, I had a package on my front porch and it was a copy of Sophie's book as well as some other little surprises. It gave me a much needed smile in the midst of such sadness. 

I started reading the book while I was on vacation and finished up soon after and y'all, the book is just as fun as her blog. Sophie definitely has a knack for storytelling and if you love her blog, then you will love her book as well. She focuses primarily on the older generations of her family, telling quirky stories that quite honestly could have come from my own family. As I was reading the book, I laughed out loud and sometimes laughed silently until tears formed in my eyes. Her book also caused me to cry at times and at other times just made me think deeply - I know, it's scary isn't it? Sophie tells her stories with such love and detail that I feel like I could walk into one of her family reunions and just feel right at home with her people. If you are anything like me and love a good story, then you will really love this book. Throughout the book, Sophie also mentions various favorite scriptures or how she felt God working in her life during the time frame of the story she is telling and perhaps it will cause you to look back on your life and see God working through you and your loved ones as well. 

At the end of the book, Sophie includes a few recipes that are suitable for any Sunday Dinner on the Grounds and they all look scrumptious and I hope to cook one or all of them soon. She says in the introduction to the recipes that she originally didn't intend to include any recipes, but decided to and I, for one, am thankful she did because those are some mighty fine recipes she has printed in the pages of her book. Most of the recipes came from her mama, or her mama's friends and since those gals hail from Mississippi, well, you know it's full of Southern goodness. 

I tell you all of this to let you know that this week I am giving away two copies of Sophie's lovely and charming book as well as a set of measuring spoons which she sent me in the package I received early last month. As soon as I received my package, I loved, loved, loved, the measuring spoons and immediately decided I must find some similar to them to give away with the book and lo and behold, I found the exact ones thanks to The Google. The measuring spoons and books are on order and shipping to me soon and as soon as I have everything in hand, I'll be shipping out the prizes to not one, but two winners! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. I'll leave the comments open through Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Central and the winner will be announced on Friday morning after I crawl out of bed. Good luck everyone and if you happen not to win, please be sure and check out Sophie's book anyway. It is so good - you will love it! 

Monday, June 3, 2013


Well, it was my first full weekend back home after vacation and it had just enough activity to not totally tire me out. Tomorrow, however, will be my first full week back at work and I have no doubt the energy I saved over the weekend will be put to good use on the job.

On Friday afternoon, I took in a solo (that is by myself, not that I was the only one in the theater) showing of Star Trek Into Darkness and it was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be - review coming later in the week if I get around to it. After the movie, I met Jackie at I Love Sushi and we enjoyed some time together. I made it home around 8:30 and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and reading.

Saturday morning, I went over to Jackie's at 7:00 a.m. and we went to some yard sales that we were hoping would be fantastic but turned out to be less than stellar. After the yard sale run, we walked the track at the school to get in some exercise before it got blazing hot outside. We kept hoping the sun would hide behind a cloud, but we had no such luck.

After I dropped Jackie back off at home I stopped by the vet's office to pick up the remains of The Tide. I had her cremated and will be burying her in the backyard in the coming weeks. I have a little landscaping job I need to complete in the area where she will rest and want to get that completed before I lay her in her final resting place. I plan to have a memorial and invite a few people. It probably sounds kind of crazy to those of you who may not be animal lovers; but, to me, The Tide was practically like a person and I just want to have a little ceremony for her. I tried not to cry when I picked her up but, as you might expect, I did. In fact, there still hasn't been a day that I haven't cried. I miss that dog like crazy. When I come home I am so anxious to see her and then it hits me that she won't be there and it just breaks my heart. I meant to take her leftover medicine with me but left it at home so I will have to make another trip there soon to drop it off. They will be able to donate it to people who are not able to afford medicines and I am so thankful for that - even in her death she is still spreading love to others.

The rest of Saturday was kind of lazy. I did some laundry, took a nap and did a little cleaning. Sydney came over around 6:00 p.m. and we watched a couple of movies. She asked me, "Why did Tide have to be put to sleep?" and so I grabbed a tissue and tried not to sob like a baby and explained as best I could that The Tide was sick and she was not going to get better and it was the best thing I could have done for her so that she wouldn't suffer. I don't know if she understood or not, but hopefully she did a little.

Sydney fell asleep during the second movie and I put her in bed soon after. About 2:00 a.m. I heard footsteps which scared me until I remembered that she was at the house. She said she was ready to get up because she just wanted to be sure and get up early. I said, well, you can get up if you want to, but I'm staying right here. So, she pouted her way back to bed and was asleep soon after. Thankfully she didn't get up again until almost 7:00 and I was already awake at that point.

We enjoyed a morning at church and lunch with Alexandra, Josh and Indigo at Casa Blanca. She went home around 1:00 and I took my Sunday nap. After evening service I went to the grocery store. It was basically the first time I have been to the store since I've been back from vacation. I had picked up a few things last week so I could take lunch to work, but other than that I had not bought much so it was a big haul for me this week.

I hope the rest of you had a nice weekend as well. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll be hosting a giveaway, so I hope you will stop back by and check it out. Until then, have a great day!