Monday, June 29, 2009

What Makes Me Smile

My first ever Linky party! Woo hoo! The other day I was inspired to look through my home to see what made me smile. I had no idea it would go any further. But when Kat suggested I turn it into a Linky party, I mulled that thought over all day and decided that I very much wanted to see the same thing from y'all. If you haven't read about What Makes Me Smile, head back over there to see what started this idea.

Now, I want to see what in your home you love. What can make you smile out of the blue by just looking at it and thinking about the person behind it, or the memory it invokes. I can't wait to read your stories.

Remember, when you link up, make sure you are linking your post address, not your blog address. If you'd like the button, here's the code.

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Make me smile by telling me What Makes You Smile!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Etsy Items!

I have added a couple new tassels to my Etsy shop! Click on over from the sidebar to see my vast array (HA!) of pretties. I will be adding more as the weekend progresses, so shop early, shop often!

And don't forget, Monday is my first ever Linky party. Be thinking about what makes you smile, and be ready to link up! Hopefully Mr. Linky will be nice and show up for my party. If not, well, we'll just party without him. I really want to see and hear about what makes you smile. I would love to see a bajillion people sign up. I'm not even sure how many that is.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Husband Still Rocks!

Sound Man thought I thought he didn't rock anymore because it's been so few and far between My Husband Rocks! posts. Sorry, baby. You know I love you more 'n my luggage. And you know that I know you totally rock.

I have waited all week to share this with y'all. If you've read my blog at all you know I think my husband is the best thing since PB&J. I'm always proud of him, but this week he just went overboard. He started his own blog! Now, he had one before, but posted only a couple of times before he just quit. He didn't have time for random thoughts. Seeing as how all my thoughts are random I have plenty of time for mine. Of course, just his starting a blog isn't what I'm proud of. He is using the blogosphere to keep him accountable in his weight loss journey. Man, that's accountability! Between him and Kat, they'll have me on here being all accountable. Whatever.

But back to my original thoughts. A few years ago, Sound Man decided he wanted to run in a 5k to benefit St. Jude's Research Hospital. I thought he had lost his mind. But he showed me, and how. He started in May training for a race in July, and by the time the race came, he was completely hooked. He ran in at least 5 races from July 3 through December, losing 40 pounds in the process. On his December 2nd race, the temperature was a very cold 28 degrees. He raced his heart out and by the time he was done I was really concerned about him. After that day, his lungs never felt right to him, and he ended up with two bouts of pneumonia over a period of three months. So bad that the second round landed him in the emergency room. Needless to say his racing was over for a while. Even after he regained his health, anxiety over what might happen kept him from getting back out there. His weight crept back on, more swiftly than it had come off.

He gives blood on a regular basis, and over the course of the last year each time he donated, his blood pressure got incresingly higher. Realizing that this wasn't something to fool around with, he decided to join a weight loss competition at work. I'll let you read about how he's doing at his blog, Sound Man Weight Loss.

As proud of him as I am, I also want to be encouragement for him. I know if you hop over there for just a second and cheer him on, he would love it. He loves my bloggy peeps almost as much as I do!

When the alarm sounds at 5:30 and he crawls out of bed, aching for just ten more minutes...when it's so humid outside it feels as if every breath is a gulp of water...when he doesn't think he can go one more mile, but does anyway...he so very much ROCKS!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Do You Love...revisited

I have thought about my earlier post a lot today...Kat made a good suggestion in her comment about doing a Linky party. I think I want to jump in with both feet and try this!

So, Monday morning come on back here and get ready to link up with what makes you smile in my first ever "What Makes ME Smile" Linky party! Woo hoo! If you'd like a button, feel free to grab it. I can't wait to see what makes YOU smile!

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What Do You Love in Your Home?

The other day I was just going about my daily business when I noticed something that I see every day. This time, however, I looked at it, thought about the person who gave it to me, and realized that I loved having it in my home. It made me smile.

If you've ever read FlyLady you know what she says about things in your home: if you don't love it, get rid of it. If it doesn't make you smile, it doesn't need to be cluttering up your home. Now, honestly, my home is one big clutter pile right now. Sound Man is working on getting his and Kiddo's project finished, I have tassel stuff out the wazoo, and I'm still getting things back in order from when my men went camping a few weekends ago. I'm a slow mover, what can I say?

My point is, I looked at this little object and smiled. And it got me to thinking...what else in my home do I love? Here are a few of the things that caught my eye...and believe me this list is far from finished.

My bird vignette. I love the nest with the eggs in it, I love the birds, I love the Nester tassel, and I love the person who gave me the tassel...Kat. She gave it to me for my birthday last year. The bird book was one Sound Man has had for years. I love it used this way. The mug came from Old Time Pottery; the branch/nest came from JoAnn's and I glued some eggs in it; the little birdies came from a home decor store that is just up the street from me. And that lamp? Oooh, I can't wait to get a hold of it soon. As soon as I saw Centsational Girl's post about redoing her crystal lamp, I knew I would redo mine. I will post pics when I finish.

My bird's nest picture and a sweet church bird house that came from my beloved Piney. Sorry the picture is kind of dark. My house faces north, and I have NO windows on the east, therefore I have NO beautiful morning light streaming in. Sigh...oh, well. I haven't told you about Piney yet. I will when I'm able to without bursting into tears. Not that the bird house makes me burst into...oh, nevermind.

Oh, and did you see the Kimba bird back there? I have several of those, and they make me smile big. As does Kimba. She sent me an email this week that had my laughing so hard I was crying.

My Tuesday Morning round toile box. It has a pretty bow on top of it. It's my favorite color. It was $4.99. All of which makes me smile.

Pictures of my ancestors. My sister had these pictures copied for me one Christmas. The one on the left is my great-great-grandmother; the one on the right is her daughter, my great-grandmother; and the picture in the middle is of her daughters, my great aunt and grandmother in their college uniforms. I was privileged to go to the same college they did.

My little black shelf. It holds several little treasures, most of which belonged to my precious Mimmie. The fact that I took that sad little country blue shelf and made it into something beautiful makes me smile, too. And that rooster. Oh, my goodness. What a mess of trouble he's gotten me into. He was the inspiration for my tassels. Do you remember who gave him to me?

Speaking of tassels, they make me smile, too. All except the Ole Miss ones. I had to make those, but I didn't have to like it. Hee hee.

So what started this introspective post? What colossal thing did I gaze upon that had me going through my house taking pictures at 7:00 in the morning? This...

It's a little bell jar I have in my red bathroom (which also makes me smile) that has some little tags in it. They came from my sweet bloggy friend that I also now know IRL, Susie Harris. She put them in the package with my rooster tassel that I won. I just looked at this...this painted thrift store pedestal (it was the ugliest shade of purple), a thrift store bell jar, and paper and ribbon...and smiled.

Now, I want to know...what do you have in your home that makes you smile?

Edited 6/29/09 to add: link up at What Makes Me Smile to show me what you love!

Edited 6/30/09 to add this to Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped. Just reading her Tuesday posts puts a smile on my face!

Edited 9/14/09 to add this to Teri Lynne's 100th Post Party!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Busy Week

WARNING: Totally random post!

Maybe it's just my imagination, but I think this week has been and will continue to be busy. How 'bout yours?

Father's day was full of church, lunch with friends, a wonderful afternoon nap, getting to spend some time with my Daddy, and finally taking Sound Man out for dinner at Colton's. If you've never heard of Colton's, it's one of those restaurants where you eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. I sure hope none of us ever develop any peanut allergies we aren't aware of. It would not be pretty.

Last night we had Kiddo's last regular season baseball game, but next Monday we start a tournament. In 100 degree weather. I have to remind myself that I DO love living in the South. Sheesh.

Today I get to eat lunch with my BFF Kat, who is probably wondering why I'm taking so long to get ready and haven't called her yet to let her know to come pick us up. Little does she know I'm blogging about her. Heh heh heh. I love eating with her and her kids. We do not get to spend enough time with each other. I need to get down to her place and steal pick some blueberries. Yummmmmm.....

Tonight our family is getting to go to the Pink Palace Museum's Imax members-only showing of Under the Sea with our friends, Jeff and Lisa, and their kiddos. I am looking more forward to it than I think Kiddo is, and he's going to be a marine biologist.

Tomorrow is grocery day and I'm hoping to be able to get some great buys at Kroger using some strategies I've learned through Jen, plus my trial membership at The Grocery Game. Then I hope to get some ribbon to finish up my bedskirt and curtains project, plus finish up a painting project I started over a year ago! And of course catching up on all my favorite blogs is in the plans, too.

So, how has your week been? : )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

So very thankful for the Father my little boy has. I love you, My Sweet!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm Guest Posting at The Great Adventure!

If you've read my blog for long, you know that I have participated in My Husband Rocks! Fridays since its inception over at Katy Lin's blog, The Great Adventure. I loved the concept of weekly posts honoring our husbands. I haven't done a formal MHR post in a while, but I hope through my other posts you still get the idea that my husband most definitely rocks!

This week Katy Lin is celebrating the first anniversary of MHR, and has asked me to guest post for her today! I was so honored and excited when she asked. I had a jillion thoughts run through my head on what to post about, and finally landed on one last night about 10:30. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? If you'd like to read my post, head on over to The Great Adventure to check it out!

While you're there, get entered for the giveaways she's got going on. So far, there's FOUR! I posted about the first one here. But so far Katy has three others (from juicychristians, Define Your Space, and 3LambsGraphics...they are ALL great), and will have the final one tomorrow!

Now, head on over there!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homemade Manicotti

I haven't posted a recipe in a long time. I guess because I've read too much Pioneer Woman I think I have to have pictures with each step in the process. Which is good, because sometimes I start jabbering on and on and by the time I'm finished, I don't even know what I've said.

I was looking through my blog pic folder to see if I could find blog fodder in between projects we've got going on here at the Sound-Man-Heathahlee-Kiddo homestead. And I found just the thing. Homemade Manicotti.

This is one of my fam's favorite recipe, right up there with Pasta Carbonara. I always get cheers when I announce we're having either one of those entrees. Now, just like The Nester says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," this recipe doesn't have to be perfect to taste wonderful. It certainly isn't restaurant looking, but oh, how it tastes! Here's the step by step process of how I make Manicotti. I will have an actual recipe you can copy and print at the bottom.

The first step is to make your "pasta." They are actually crepes (pronounced kreps) that you cook like pancakes. Mix flour, milk, eggs, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. It will be a thin batter:

While you're mixing that, let a non-stick skillet heat up and spray it with cooking spray:

It should be pretty hot, but don't burn the spray. Pour about two tablespoons of batter into hot pan (I use a scoop for's so easy and the exact amount I need):

Now, you need to work fairly quickly or your crepe will set just like this, and it's too thick right here. Take a spatula and start to draw the circle out a little bit at a time:

Just lightly drag the spatula in a circular motion and you'll get the shape you want. Remember, this is not perfect...just a generally round shape is what we're wanting.

See how it's already starting to set? This has only been in the skillet for a few seconds. The more you draw the batter away from the center the thinner the crepe is, and the quicker it cooks. I know I'm making this sound harder than it is, but it's really easy!

Keep spreading...

And fill in any holes you may have. Here's what the completely set crepe will look like on top:

Flip it over just to make sure the top gets done. For literally, like, two seconds. This is what the bottom will look like when you flip it:

Now, set aside all these little sweeties (and resist putting powdered sugar on them and eating them. Resist, I tell you!) on a plate for a second to get the rest of the stuff done.

Pour half a jar of spaghetti sauce, whatever kind you like...just make sure it's about 28 a 9 x 13 baking pan:

And please make sure your counter is as cluttered as mine when you do this. Thank you.

Next, mix your filling. An egg, ricotta cheese, Romano or Parmesan cheese (grated), and parsley.

This is what it will look like:

Now you're ready to roll up your crepes. Take one crepe, and scoop about three tablespoons of filling in the center of it:

You can put as much or as little cheese mixture as you want. I like mine cheesy, so I put a honkin' big spoonful in mine. Then, roll the crepe, covering the mixture all cozy in it's crepe blanket:

Don't bother tucking the ends or anything. When you finish rolling it, lay it and all its friends in the baking pan:

Just shove 'em all in there 'til the pan is full. Then, pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the rolls, covering them evenly. I don't have a picture of this step because I'm a ditz.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes. Take aluminum off and bake for another 20 minutes:

When you take it out of the oven, grate Romano or Parmesan cheese over the top and let its melty goodness melt all over the top. Oh, and I've since replaced my broken Pampered Chef cheese grater with another one. That I got at a garage sale for $5. Considering a new one was going to cost me over $20, I did a happy dance when I saw it. Garage sales ROCK! How's that for covering two subjects in one post, Jen?

Back to the subject at hand. It will look just like this, right before your family devours it:

I may have sprinkled mozzarella over this one. I can't remember. You can if you want to, but the Parmesan is really enough.

Trust me...this is one that is worth the trouble. It's not hard, it just takes a little time. Your family will thank you! Here's the recipe all written out:

Homemade Manicotti

Crepe Noodles:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese (I use two 15 ounce containers)
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Place flour in a mixing bowl; whisk in milk, eggs, and salt until smooth. Pour about 2 tablespoons onto a hot greased 8-inch skillet; spread to a 5 inch circle. Cook over medium heat until set; flip for a few seconds, then set aside. For filling, combine cheeses, egg and parsley. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons down the center of each crepe; roll up. Pour half of the spaghetti sauce into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Place crepes, seam side down, over sauce; pour remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle additional cheese over top and let melt.


I totally forgot where I was going with this...I linked up to Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday post...there are SOOOO many other recipes to drool over, and Jen herself has some hilarious and fun ideas for pizza for Dad. Head on over!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Giveaway Day

I know, I know. Another giveaway. It must be in the water.

Actually, that's not right. It's TONS of giveaways, and great stuff, at that. The Nester has assembled so many I lost count. But trust me, you're gonna want to get involved in this. Now head on over to Nesting Place to see what wonderful things she's got lined up. But don't sign up for the pillow. I'm so gonna win that.

Edited to add: I just saw in my updated blog list that Katy Lin is hosting giveaways this week to celebrate one year of My Husband Rocks! Head on over there to enter for a beautiful print from hopeink when you get done at Nester's! : )