Monday, July 23, 2012

Pinterest Project: S'More Graham Treats (Aka: Balls of Love)

My ever-lovin' boyfriend returned from Bermuda over the weekend. Hooray! He had a great time with his family, and was even so sweet to bring me back great goodies! He's a keeper, that's for sure. (But I already knew that!)

Before he returned, I was in the mood to whip up something tasty. My good friend, Jill was coming over Saturday morning to go antique-ing and explore Lillian, Alabama (she had never been to the bustling city!), so I decided we needed some sugar-y fuel for our shopping extravaganza.

I recently pinned a recipe for S'More Graham Krispie Treats, and let me tell you, they looked DELICIOUS. And easy. two adjectives I am a sucker for when it comes to desert. (And breakfast, too apparently... Jill and I ate a piece before we set off on our adventure! Hey, no one ever claimed to look to me for healthy meal choices most of the time.)

All I needed was:

Golden Graham cereal
1 bag of mini marshmallows
6 tbps of butter
mini chocolate chips
8x8 pan
cooking spray

I melted the butter. I added the marshmallows. I poured in the cereal. I folded in the chocolate chips. I mushed it in my sprayed pan. I sprinkled with more chocolate chip.

(You can get the detailed recipe from the link above)

Delicious they were indeed! They satisfied the crunchy, the sweet, the gooey, the chewy, the chocolatey. What more you could ask for in a treat?


Unfortunately, this is the only picture I took.... but you get the idea. 

I shared the treat with my good friend, Mashay, who has a little Sweet Pea on the way. She (and the baby) loved them so much, they had two.

"These are so good! I honestly don't even remember much of it, I ate it so FAST!"
(Insert me laughing here) "I know. I'm not sure what to call them though. S'More Graham Krispie Treat is a bit of a mouth-full."
"I'm going to rename them Balls of Love!"

The pregnant woman has spoken, my friends. They shall be called Balls of Love!

I'd love to hear what you do with the recipe. If you add some extra pizazz, please share!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora, Colorado Shooting: The Evil Among Us

You don't have to hear it from me to know that there is extreme evil in this world. This evil only seems to continue to grow, and I'm not sure there is ever an explanation to be found.

Last night, many excited movie-goers in Colorado settled in to the familiar movie theater seats, chomped on their popcorn and Raisenets, ready to see the latest installment of their favorite comic book  saga. It was late, but they were laughing, I'm sure. Many probably came in pajamas, A break from the weekly norm, a midnight debut at the local movie theater. I'm sure most of them had it penned in their calendar or had a reminder in their iPhone for months, had purchased their ticket days in advance.They were planning only on a fun, exciting time.

As the chatter hushed when the lights dimmed and the previews began to roll, no one suspected evil in the air. No one noticed the hidden firearms strategically placed near the emergency exit. None of those twelve people thought, "Today could have been the last time I saw my family, kissed my wife, ate my favorite meal." None of these things probably happened this way- evil works mysteriously like that. It lurks. It creeps. It shows up unexpectedly.

59 people wounded.
12 dead.
At least 3 weapons.
1 24-year-old man on a mission.

A very evil mission.

On the outside, James Egan Holmes seemed to have it all together. Working on his post-graduate work at University of Colorado in Neuroscience. Just moved into a new apartment. Loving parents in San Diego.

That's the scary part. Evil never takes a form that could be recognizable. If you saw him on the street yesterday morning, would you have looked twice? Got a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach? Would you have waved hello, let him go ahead of you in line, commented to him about the weather?

I have never been to Colorado. Never seen the installments of the Batman trilogy. I have seen a midnight movie premier only once in my life. Yet, my heart goes out to the people who sat in the theater, who witnessed evil in its truest, most fleshly form. My heart aches for them as if I was there, or if I knew them all personally. My heart goes out to the people who tried to escape, tried to save their friends and family. Mostly though, my heart goes out to the ones left behind, the ones who were not greeted this morning by their loved ones returning from their movie outing, but greeted instead only by grief, unanswered questions, and anger.

" The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." 

James Holmes did just that last night. He stole. He killed. He destroyed.

Evil is among us. You can not predict it, you can not always identify it, but it is among us.











Photo and details from

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have made some great friends and connections through the great web of bloggers. One of these talented bloggers is Kelli, who had a great post recently that I just couldn't help but put my own spin on.

Something that I am constantly trying to accomplish is getting to know myself. That may sound funny to some of you, but honestly, it really is a never-ending process. What are my instinctual thoughts and actions, and which have I acquired over time to follow etiquette or popular opinion? Sometimes I know what I gravitate towards, but other times- I surprise myself. It's kind of a fun journey.

In yet another step of my continuous journey, I wanted to compile a list of a few of my favorite things (I'm humming along with Fräulein Maria as I type this, of course.)

So here it goes!

1. Pictures- Some people don't understand, or get a smidge irritated with my incessant clicking- but I can't help it! I love capturing the fun memories I'm constantly making. My brain couldn't possible remember every detail, that's why God created the camera.

2. Purple- my favorite color. It makes me oh-so happy.

3. Road trips- the sights, the stops, the songs. Road trips are instant life-long memories. They are bound to be filled with funny stories to be told and retold for years.

                  (Our visit to the Mayflower during our Thanksgiving road trip to Massachusetts.)

4. Accents- of any kind. I love hearing them, I love recreating them (albeit poorly), I love endless conversations with my mother while using British accents, I love recreating the accents Shane and I heard on our pit stop to Wytheville, Virginia after Thanksgiving... I just love accents.

5. Cherry Coke and Double Stuf Oreos- My ultimate bad day pick-me-up.

6. Steel Magnolias- If you've read my blog at all, you have probably figured out what movie is at the top of my list. My colors are blush and bashful!
(I consider these sassy women my friends! You know I love you more than my luggage.)

7. Creativity- Writing, crafting, whipping something up in the kitchen, I love the freedom and fulfillment that creativity brings.

8. Love- I love seeing it, feeling it, sharing it, and being in it. I am a blessed gal to be surrounded by so much love in my life.

9. A good book- need I say more? And if I do, read this.

10. Curls- I admit, I always feel a twinge of jealousy when I see a girl walk by with a great head of voluminous, silky curls. I'm always finding fun new ways to curl my hair.... (Like this one I tried recently.)

11. Celebrity look-a-likes- Mine are Hilary Swank and Emma Stone. Who are yours?

12. Eating breakfast for dinner- Omelets. French toast. Biscuits and gravy. Bring. It. On.

13. Ann Margaret, Jackie O, and Molly Ringwald- Not sure which era I belong to exactly, but its certainly not this one!

14. Youngin's- I love being "Aunt Libby," love the softness and coo of a new little person, and baby showers are some of the best parties out there!

 (Kaybree Joy. No greater "joy" than being an aunt!)

15.  Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes; Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.

...These are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Stories of a Small Town

Good morning from Starbucks! It's awfully early, but Shane is on his way to his hometown near Boston, and then leaving on a cruise to Bermuda. Tough life, huh? I just get to be the chauffeur.

I actually really do love early mornings. I never really classified myself as a morning person, but I guess in a sense I am. I think, in part, because I am such a light sleeper. So, the first inkling of noise from my alarm and I am awake, ready to jump on whatever the day has to offer. The afternoon is free game for crashing, but the mornings... count me in.

Small towns have been on my mind lately. Yes, I love the hustle and bustle (and shopping) of a city, but I have always found myself so romanced by the lure of a small town. Growing up, my mom, brothers, and I spent the summers in her hometown of Everett, Pennsylvania. It was really beautiful... rolling mountains, trees for miles, the sights and smells you just can't find amongst tall buildings and traffic jams. My aunt lived in the cute 2-story farm house that she, my uncle, and my mom grew up in, and we stayed there each summer. It sat on the end of a winding dirt road, right on a small river. Big Bend Beach Road. You don't get more sweet and more country than that.

I loved my summers there. The walls of that house were filled with so many stories, so much history. Even as a child, I could feel it and understand it. I slid down the stairs and could picture my mother doing the same thing when she was a child. I could smell the chicken and dumplin's in the kitchen that my grandmother, whom I never knew due to Alzheimer's, was preparing for her three children; see her effortlessly piecing and sewing together a dress in the living room. I could hear the engine of my mom's 1970-something Chevy Nova barreling down the road just before curfew. I could taste the salty sweetness of a hot Pennsylvania summer as my Uncle Sam played with matchbox cars on the front porch and the girls lounged around in bikinis, sipping Pepsi through a straw and eating Gobs, dreaming of the days of adulthood independence.

The 2-day drive along the east coast from central Florida to Pennsylvania each summer, was always approached with anticipation. We loaded up the mini-van, my twin brothers and I packing a bag of coloring books and cards, and off we went... stopping for Happy Meals, and a warm bed somewhere in North Carolina, when the audio book could no longer fulfill its purpose of keeping my mother awake.

We passed through Virginia, Maryland, trudging along until we saw that lovely state sign. Welcome to the Keystone State. Our month-long summer extravaganza had finally begun. Bring on the picnics, the lemonade stands, the sleepovers, and the stories.

The stories were always my favorite part. Those stories of the people your life would have been more complete by knowing, of the crazy things your favorite aunts did in earlier times that you chuckle listening to because you struggle to even imagine it, stories of families joining, 2 sisters marrying 2 brothers and the silky spiderweb of family growing. Stories of the infectious laughter of the man you never had the privilege to know, but is in your blood just the same. The man with a strong, level head atop his lanky, tanned body from the hard labor he did outside, the same build your mother saw when she looked at your brothers. The man who carried your mom on his shoulders and put his arm around hers as they drove around in the cab of his pick-up truck. Who scolded his children when they misbehaved, but ended each day with a bear hug and a kiss... until, that day, much earlier than if life was ever fair, those kisses came to a screeching halt.

These stories allowed me to have a bond with people much deeper than just if I had gotten to  know them myself. I think that is why I always loved that house on Big Bend Beach Road so much. Its walls were filled with so many stories. The funny, the far-fetched, the moving, and the untold. You do not have to experience them first hand for a story to become a part of you.

As you move through life, I challenge you, and myself, to treasure the stories you are creating. One day, you will share them, you will allow another person to experience your past with you.

As Shane and I are beginning a life in the small town of Lillian, Alabama, just as my mother began her story in Everett, Pennsylvania, the walls, roads, restaurants, and shops are filled with stories. May you find them, live them, and share them.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Pinterest Project: Wall Decor!

Let me just preface this before I give you the wrong idea: I am not an artsy person. Oh, how I would love to be, how I strive to be, how my fingers and brain pine to be those of a person with ample artistic ability!

Sadly, however, my projects are usually a flop. I have never given up on my crafty side- I just had to come to the realization that my version of that masterpiece would undoubtedly turn out... well, a little less masterful.

My boyfriend recently bought a house in the quaint, southern town of Lillian, Alabama (more on that later this week.) Being that currently, it is (technically) a bachelor pad, I don't have to describe the walls very much to you. They're bare. REALLY bare (aside from some football memorabilia). Something just had to be done... so, with my Pinterest iPhone app in hand - and permission from the boss man, of course- I set off on my mission!

First stop (translate: only stop), Wal- Mart. Now, don't be fooled, there is no Wal-Mart in the quaint, southern town of Lillian, Alabama. I had to drive a wee bit!

I picked up: 2 wrapped canvases, 3 small tubes of puffy paint (white), and 2 cans of Pistachio spray paint. (okay, okay, you caught me: I just really enjoy saying that I painted something Pistachio!)

My blank canvas/clean slate/ "oooh, I hope this turns out okay!"

My all of the above, plus my precious, just-been-the-groomer, pooch.

So it began.... Penciling out a design on the canvas, I got to work. This honestly, was a bit scary. I am a terrible drawer, and free-hand scared the monkey mess out of me!

First step completed: sketched canvas!

On to the second step, tracing my design with the puffy paint. I wanted to make sure it was really dimensional, so it would pop off the walls, while still looking understadely modern. (I do believe I just created a new art description!...?)

So, just to be sure we're on the same wavelength here: not only did I have to free-hand a design with pencil, but then I had to go back and do it all over again with puffy paint! Yikes!

Puffy paint trace.... the end was in sight, and I was growing pretty proud of myself.

This is my crafting face. I felt it just needed to be documented.

After the tracing was complete, I had to (patiently- not my best trait, mind you) wait for it to dry. I could have waited 4-5 hours, but I decided to wait overnight to be sure. How is that for patience??

With my Pistachio spray paint, I lightly swept over the canvases a few times until I achieved my desired look. Voila! I was finished.

What do you think!?

I have to say, I am pretty proud of the way the turned out, and they look really great on Shane's living room wall! They're not perfect, but they are ours. And I love that.

So all-in-all, it took $20, a couple hours, and a little bit of patience. How is that for a self-proclaimed non-artist?!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jane Austen, Oiser Boudreaux, and a Book Club.

I have always been a lover of books. As far as my memory serves me, I have some fond memories of my nose inside a book. My favorite outings with my mother were to the public library. I read every book in the American Girls series by the time I was 10. During the summertime, my mom would give my brothers and me a reading list and book report assignments (so as not to fry our brains with t.v.!). These were my favorite summers... I remember quite a bit of grumbling from the bros, though!

As I read, I was enamored by the art of story telling, the structuring of sentences, new adjectives that entered into my vocabulary. I know I am not alone here- books are wonderful escapes!

In the last year, I moved to a Pensacola, where familiar faces are scarce. Spending lots of time at Panera Bread and Barnes and Noble, I realized what a great bond books could be. I wanted to join a book club! But how does one find one, start one, or weed out the bad ones? This is scary territory- a book club is no Southern Lit class (although, I will be eternally in love with Flannery O'Conner because of that English Minor I have in my back pocket.)

A good friend of mine was telling me recently about the great book club she belonged to in Colorado. All the members became so close, and their husbands and boyfriends even started a club of their own during book club meeting time! This sounded so lovely to me, I just had to have one of my own. We would start one! Yes! How excited I was.

That is, until I got a text from her a few weeks later. She had talked to some girls she knew. None of them were interested. Instead of a book club, they wanted to have a wine-and-dine club.

Now, as much as I love wining and dining... how could they not love the idea of a book club!? These girls didn't like to read! Preposterous! They didn't get enthralled by the vacation a good book can bring... they didn't feel the closeness to a group of characters as if they were your real friends. How could this be!?

I realize with t.v and the internet, people don't read as much as they used to. But this is a very sad epidemic. What happened to "Sexy Girls Read"??

I have found that I can describe or reference most anything in life with a quote from Steel Magnolias. (Perfect example...)

This time is no exception. When wealthy and oh-so cultured Clairee invites Ouiser to see a local play, Ousier's response is this:

I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don't see movies 'cause they're trash, and they got nothin' but naked people in 'em! And I don't read books, 'cause if they're any good, they're gonna make 'em into a miniseries.

Oh Ouiser, how I do love your charm! But, is this how most people really feel?


I suppose, for now, I will go another day without belonging to a book club. If anyone has any ideas on how to start a great one- please let me know!

And, since my blog is in reference to Jane Austen and I have yet to even mention her- I will leave you with these wise words from good ol' Janie:

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Oh, baby baby!

I have always loved being around babies. There is just something remarkable about such tiny fingers, ears, and belly buttons. It's an unmatchable feeling when a baby smiles at you, this miniature human so new to the world and all life has to offer. My mom says it best when she says, "I just love little people!"

I had many jobs babysitting throughout my teenage and college years, and even a stint of live-in nannying, which was one of the most rewarding, humbling, and terrorizing jobs I have ever had. It's amazing what you'll find yourself doing (or bribing) to get a 4-year-old to not embarrass you!

It really puts you in check when you are responsible for the life of a child... And however that child acts in public, well, that's a direct reflection on you. Whatever hissy fit, loud opinions spoken about the people around you... You might as well have said it yourself!

I am so excited for the day I bring life into the world, but trust me: babysitting is the best birth control out there. My day can wait a few years.

Recently, I had a conversation about parenting, marriage, and family that really got me thinking.

When you get married, your spouse and you officially become a family. Albeit small, you are a family of 2 nonetheless. Whenever the two of you decide to bring life into the world, those children are an extension of the family you've built, but they cannot be the foundation. The family unit must start with the marriage foundation, and build off of that. This is why "child-centered" parenting just can't work. Yes, your children need to be nurtured, praised, and taught good values. But I know that if my marriage gets constantly put on the back burner, and the family foundation isn't fed into, the family as a whole will suffer.

I want my husband and I to not be afraid to show affection in front of our children, and not be afraid to take time out of our busy lives for some alone time on occasion. I believe these things are important, and will be such a great example to the children we are bringing up.

I think so often today, parents are much too focused on being their child's best friend and not upsetting them, or feeling bad for disciplining them. But let me tell you something I know is true: disciplined children grow up to be healthy adults.

So if the foundation, the marriage that the family is built on, is healthy and thriving, then both parents are on a united front and can give their children the love and lessons they need.

I know I am not yet a parent myself, but these are things I have learned and observed. I want to enter into marriage with the idea that we are starting a family, and the extensions we add on to that will be welcomed, irreplaceable blessings, but can never replace the foundation our marriage has created.