Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mr. Mom

Jody played Mr. Mom this weekend while I went to HOTLANTA with my friend Stephanie. Stephanie and I did go to Atlanta for business…we shopped for the fall clothes for her store (Eloise and Henry) at the Apparel Mart. We headed to Atlanta on Friday night, stopping in Anniston for dinner at Mellow Mushroom (YUM). On Saturday we had appointments from 8:30 am until 6:30 pm. However, we did make it out in time to stroll through IKEA and have a fabulous dinner at Taqueria del Sol (YUM, YUM). We shopped again on Sunday, finishing up around lunchtime. Both of us were STARVING so we hit Huey’s for a delightful New Orleans style brunch (complete with beignets) before we began the trek home. Funny story…I drove home and just happened to look down right after we passed the Anniston exits and realized we were on EMPTY. When I say empty, I mean the meter said 3 miles to empty! I am so use to my car beeping at me when the light comes on that I wasn’t really paying attention! Luckily, when we made it to the gas station just as the meter read 0 miles to empty!!! I told her that Jody would DIE…he starts getting on to me when I let my get past ¼ tank! But to my defense (knock on wood), I have never ran out of gas! It was so nice getting home at a decent time and much to my surprise…my house was empty when I arrived home!
The old saying goes – while the cat is away…the mice will play! My family definitely played while I was gone! Friday night they met Sam Smith and Baby Penny (with their parents) at the Mexican restaurant near our house for dinner. Saturday they visited with Bo and Scott Belcher and then took Camp and Sam (Sue and David’s) dog for a swim at the river. Then they ate dinner at the Golden Rule in Madison…I think they ordered one of everything on the menu (see the above picture)! Mary Reese LOVED the fried pickles and Banks the chicken fingers (see below)! Sunday, Jody managed to squeeze in a round of golf while the kids where “helping” Popsy and Gigi at their new house (that is why the house was empty when I got home)!

I got home to a nicely straightened house, upacked my clothes and started the laundry. I picked up the kids and we met Jody at Debbie’s house for homemade Chicken Pot Pie (YUM, YUM, YUM)! When I told Banks that is what we were having…he got so excited! We hope everyone else had a nice weekend..ours was full of delightful FOOD!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Random Act of Kindess

According to Wikipedia, a random act of kindness is a purportedly selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases even an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities. An oft-cited example of a random act of kindness is, when paying the toll at a toll booth on a highway, to pay the toll for the vehicle behind you as well. It was first coined in the early 1980s by peace activist Anne Herbert.
Last week I opened the front door to grab the mail and discovered 3 pots of pansies were adorning my front porch. I have no clue who brought them to me but every time I open my front door, I see them and they make me smile! Thank you to whoever placed them there! I am going to extend a random act of kindness to another person very soon…I encourage you to do the same!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Strait Talk

Last night we headed down to Birmingham with Kricket and Michael for the George Strait concert. Before the festivities, we made a pit stop at La Paz in Mountain Brook for a quick and delightful dinner (by the way...the margaritas are pretty delicious too)! If you have never seen him in concert, he is AWESOME. I would put him near the top of my list of favorite people to see concert (along with Tim McGraw and James Taylor). His music is just timeless. Kenny Chesney even made a guest appearance to help him sing Amarillo by Morning! Thanks to Patrick we had some really great seats...he ordered them before the accident. Sue and David were wonderful enough to give them to the four of us. During the concert, I couldn't help but get a little teary eyed picturing him there in his Stetson cowboy hat with a huge smile on his face having the time of his life! Recently I have been really thinking alot about him. The whole thing has just seemed so surreal to me. Anyway, we didn't get home until almost 1:00 am, so needless to say, I was dragging this morning!
We have no plans this weekend, so you will probably be looking at George's picture for a few days. I can think of alot worse people to have to look at :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Celebration of Life

Yesterday afternoon we loaded up with Jody's parents and cousin Michael and headed down to Tuscaloosa for a blood drive at the Sigma Nu house and a Denny Chimes Tribute for Patrick’s life. Sue had some t-shirts made to give to all the blood donors with Denny Chimes on the back and the words “Celebrating the life of Patrick Murphree.” I can’t think of a more fitting way to put it…Patrick truly celebrated life and impacted everyone he encountered. The Greek system at Alabama has always been so supportive of each other and yesterday was no exception. It was no surprise to me that LifeSouth had collected 80 pints of blood (the goal for the day was 40) by the time we left for the Quad and people were still coming in the door! The Denny Chimes Tribute so moving for me. While standing there with my husband and children listening to chimes, I thought about how my college experience at Alabama was so similar to Patrick’s. Like me, he truly loved everything about the University and made everything of everyday he was there. Also like me, he made some of his best friends during his time there. I also thought about all that I have done in the almost thirteen years since my graduation and realized just how much he must have been looking forward to. Some of his friends set up a facebook page for his memorial service in December. The following quote was posted and it was stated that it sounded like Patrick (I agree): Death is nothing at all – I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well; nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before – only better, infinitely happier and for ever – we will all be one together with Christ.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Joe D. Plumber

If any of you know my husband, you know that he was absent the day that God was handing out the “handyman genes.” For example, my father-in-law gave ME a new tool box for Christmas because most of our tools disappeared during our house remodel a couple of years ago. Saturday I turned on the garbage disposal without realizing that one of my plastic measuring spoons had gone down the drain. Needless to say…the disposal stopped working after it crushed up the spoon! I dug around in it and got out all the remaining pieces of plastic, but it still wouldn’t work. I was talking to my mom on Sunday about it and she said one of her builder friends told her to put a broom handle down the disposal to dislodge anything that was keeping it from turning. Being the handywoman that I am…I followed her instructions and got the disposal turning again. Excitedly I flipped the switch but to my disappointment nothing happened! Last night I had another epiphany…to check the breaker box in the basement to make sure the fuse didn’t trip. It was in the ON position so I was set to call the plumber today. BUT to my surprise, Jody got down in the floor and was examining the disposal under the cabinet and found a reset button on the bottom. He pressed the button and wah lah…it started working! Thanks babe for turning into Joe D. Plumber and fixing my disposal (without even calling anyone for advice) and for saving me the $50 it would have cost me to pay the plumber! I am proud of you!!! The best part…I didn’t even have to look at plumber’s crack!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Banks got his second progress report from Pre-K yesterday. All the items that he needed improvement on (see the "First" Common Thread post from October) he brought up to a P (Progressing toward completion of skill) except for the using scissors appropriately and holding pencils/crayons appropriately. We are proud to say that he had learned our new address (I think Mary Reese even learned it in the process) and no longer thinks our phone number 555-3245! Ms. Davis comments this time were "Banks is doing a good job. He is making a lot of progress." We are so amazed with everything he has learned this year and all the progress he has made!
We are truly blessed at our neighborhood school to have a FREE Pre-K program offered to our children. I was watching the news one morning when I was off from work during the holidays, the state of Alabama's Pre-K program is ranked one of the highest in the nation (finally we are at the top of a list you want to be on top of)! The ONLY problem is that the program is only available to about 4% of our children. The ones in our area are filled based on a lottery...you just hope and pray you get drawn! If you have a Alabama state ran Pre-K in your area...check it out! Governor Riley is working to increase the number of Pre-Ks in the state!
Anyway, off my soap box and onto Mary Reese's potty training progress! We had 2 major breakthroughs yesterday. First, she went to the potty at school! Before the Christmas break, she was using the potty at home but refused to even try at school. When I picked her up at school on Tuesday her teacher said she had not gone to the bathroom all day not even when they put a pull-up on her during nap. (I think she gets that from me...I use to hold it during high school so I wouldn't have to go to those bathrooms.) Then tonight she came running in the kitchen after dinner and said she pooped on the potty! Up until last night...she had just been going in her panties! By the way...her treat of choice for going to the potty has changed from Peanut M&M's to Baby Ruths (she is definitely my child)! Go Mar Mar, Go Mar Mar!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Delicious and Delightful

I have discovered a new soup recipe that is delicious, delightful and has to be pretty nutritious!
Roasted-Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 c. plus 2 T. olive oil
1 T. kosher salt
1 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz. canned plum tomatoes, undrained
4 c. fresh basil leaves
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. In an 8-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 T. of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minues, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pulse with a food processor until desired consistency is reached. Taste the seaonsings. Serve hot or cold.
I never really measure everything when I am cooking and never follow the directions to the letter (just ask my sister-in-law). I am not sure if I put the entire 4 c. of basil in. I have just been buying those packs in the produce section of the grocery store but I do use the entire thing. This summer when I make it...I will be using basil right out of my herb garden! Jody kind of turned up his nose the first time I was making this but after 1 bite he was hooked!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Date Night

Jody and I had a date night Saturday night thanks to Popsy and Gigi!!! Late Saturday afternoon, Popsy and Gigi volunteered to let the kids spend the night with them…so Jody and I decided we would have a dinner and movie date. We have been dying to see the National Treasure movie and to try out the new Monaco Theater at the Bridge Street Town Center in Huntsville. Excitedly we got online to book our tickets to the VIP part of the theater but they were SOLD OUT! We thought about just going to see it in Decatur but decided the regular seating in the new theater would be way nicer than the seating in the crappy theaters we have. We made a pit stop in Madison at Golden Rule Barbeque and ate dinner with Christopher and then headed over to the movie. We didn’t purchase our tickets online in hopes of getting into the VIP part (which turns out to be just the balcony section of the regular theater but they have leather seats and “a Wine Tasting Bar, appetizer dining and upscale concessions.” ) When we got to the counter to purchase our tickets they did have 3 seats available BUT they were no where near each other…so non-VIPs we were. We were about 45 minutes early to the movie, so we headed to the Scene Lounge to have a drink before the show. It is a really cool bar area that has drinks, sushi and appetizers. We ended up talking to a couple from Huntsville and all said we felt like we were not in Huntsville but somewhere like Atlanta or Chicago. Anyway, the movie AND the theater was awesome! Jody and I both said we would never attend a movie in Decatur again after our experience at the Monaco. If you are ever in the area or have on in your area…GO… Two Thumbs up from us!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

We hope everyone had a nice and safe New Year's Eve! We spent a quiet evening at home with the kids and Camp for the first time! Jody grilled us some delicious steaks on the Green Egg and I did asparagus and creamed potatoes. Banks and Mary Reese got a special treat of sparkling cider to ring in the new year (at 8:00 before they went to bed). I made it until midnight but headed off to bed right afterwards. Today we are having family and friends over for wings, pork tenderloin, grits and greens, black-eyed peas, gumbo and brownies with homemade ice cream. Then tomorrow it is back to work! Mary Reese starts back to school on Thursday but Banks doesn't have to go back until Monday. We are hoping for a nice, quiet 2008 with many fun times spent with family and friends!