Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PW's Caramel Apple Sticky Buns

Feeling domestic?
yea, that was me last night, adding some ooey gooeyness to our late night Bowl game.

They taste wonderful, like so wonderful that you feel guilty. Check em out at:

Of course mine didn't look like this....
And my oven was smoking from the gooeyness that dripped to the bottom...
And my hand has an inch long burn mark from trying to pull them out....
And I may have used  a bit of profanity when discovering the gooeyness dripping out of the pan...
And I may have sent my daughter to bed with flour and sugar encrusted in her eyebrows from letting her "help"...
And it may have take me a good 45 min to clean up all the pots and surfaces I tortured.....

but they were GOOD and I'd make 'em again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gift a Book

Here's my latest reads, both of which I would highly recommend as great gifts for Christmas. I'm into nonfiction right now and have no plans to switch!

This one is good for any dad reader. The "real" story of Moby Dick as told by a shipmate who's diary was just recently found. I'll say this....deperate times call for desperate measures. Glad I was not meant to be a whale hunter.
Nathaniel Philbrick's In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.

Next, for the ladies.....a quick, easy and fun read, Tractor Wheels and High Heels by Ree Drummond. Oh my, she speaks my language of all the millions of thoughts that go through a woman's head.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Family Traditions

I grew up with family traditions with my siblings and to this day they don't let us break them when we are together for holidays! Most all of them are pretty traditonal and I like the sense of unity and routine (surprise surprise!) they bring.

Except for the circus----pretty random! When I was small the circus was always in town on Thanksgiving weekend. It was awesome.

I want to have our little family's own traditions too.
Here's our short list:

Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade
Attend Christmas Eve service
Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday

That's it --- it's so short!
I'm looking for help to think of ideas, so leave a comment and tell me your family's favorite tradition!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


My reading kick ended with this one:  Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Wow, I'm not sure I ever read a book this long (~900 pages)!

What a story to put our lives into perspective. A reminder that third world countries today still have clean water rationed, waste filling up the streets, and no access to medicine. A reminder that love for one another has no monetary boundaries or privileges.

I almost quit the book about three times, had to skim through a few sections, but I was determined to finish.

Open your mind and try this one out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let's Read

I've been reading a bit lately (or trying to).

Here's the books that have made their way on (and off) my nightstand.

Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs

The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky by Ken Dornstein

I attempted both these books for a good 80 pages and then gave up. So, save yourself some time.

Now, I am on my 3rd book and it "feels like" a keeper, finally.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I think we will see this one in the movies.

*update* I finished this book in 48 hours! whew. I'm embarassed to say that I don't know much about WWII and this book definetly brought some things to light -- how many men died, how horrible POWs were treated, and of course post-tramatic stress from anyone returning from war and trying to life a normal life from then on. As an adult I think that we should know these awful, inhuman stories that built our county. So enlighten yourself and you will surely find a more grateful attitude.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's that you smell?

yumminess baking in the kitchen!

Ladies, I am have been putting the crock pot and oven to use. It's amazine how when you keep good ingredients in the house you can find something to eat.

Here's what we've been eatin:
Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

Rosemary Bread
It tastes awesome, especially if you have a rosemary plant at your house (or a bush in my case).

  • 1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 c. flour (all purpose is fine)
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh Rosemary plus more for topping ( I typically add more rosemary)
  • Olive Oil, Corn meal, Melted butter and
Dissolve yeast in the warm water and sugar. (I like to buy yeast in a large package and then store it in a plastic container and keep in the freezer. It lasts forever. OR if you don’t make bread that often, just buy the yeast packets.) Add flour, salt, and 1-2 tsp Rosemary and stir until blended, do not
Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until double in size. (don't use metal bowl for the first rising or mixing metal cookie sheets for baking is ok)
Remove dough. It will be sticky. I like to put shortening or oil on my hands for taking out the dough and shaping it. I think it works better than flour hands. Place it in 2 rounds on a cookie sheet lightly coated in oil and sprinkled with corn meal. OR you can place it on your silicone baking mat with no oil. Cover with a towel or greased plastic wrap. Then let it rise another hour.
Brush each round with melted butter and
lightly sprinkle with
more Rosemary and salt.  Bake @ 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce temp to 375 for 15 minutes more.
Cool slightly, then cut into nice size bits or
rip it apart and dip in a bowl of 
olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This bread can’t be beat! It is soooo delicious and a really easy bread recipe. If you’ve never made bread before, Rosemary Bread is a great one to start with.

Bacon Ranch Chicken‏ from the crockpotgirls:

It's starting to feel like fall, happy cooking!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pocahontas Camping

Camping if FUN! smores, outdoor cooking, brews, being one with nature, crickets chirping as you fall asleep.

I highly recommend this place. It is located near Richmond, has a good playground, electricily (hello fan!) and an awesome waterpark!

except when....
it's 92 degree, you have poison ivy, a hurrican has just come through and a 2 year old who missed her nap.
Which is why we cut our stay short and came back to the air conditioning.

I hope to come back and make this place work for us.

We did have some fun:
-Wigwam using her potty in the back of the truck.
-Wigwam going down the big slide at the waterpark, making that other toddler look like a sissy! ha
-New way to cook eggs-slice a green pepper ring and crack the egg into the center
-Sixletts for Noah
-Marshmellows for all
-Wigwam taking a shower with me and yelling "mommy, nakid nuddie"
-Maymont park visitng the animals
-Moe's for dinner

And some not fun:
-Wigwam refusing to nap in the tent
-Wigwam melting down at the waterpark due to no nap
-Wigwam melting down at the campsite
-Wigwam melting down because I ate a bite of the ice cream we were sharing
-Me melting down because Wigwam is melting down
-Noah melting down because it's 95 degrees and he is packing the truck as soon as possible

Maybe we'll try the back yard next time.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Hurrican Irene made landfall at Cape Lookout, NC on Saturday, August 27th 2011 as a Category 1.
We live about 1 hour east of there and decided to ride it out.
Here's how it went down:
Our work shut down at noon to send everyone home to prepare. We strapped down the grill, brought patio furniture and toys in the garage, filled the tub with water (after being bleached of course), bought 4 packs of ice. It started to rain around noon and we lost power at 11:30pm. Wigwam slept in our room because we were nervous about a leaning tree in our front yard.

Between Noah and I we stayed up most of the night listening to the running radio for updates on tornados that were nearby. At times the wind was so strong and the rain never let up. All you can do is pray for safety.

Wigwam got up at 4am and was wide awake. The rest of the day was full of rain, listening to the radio and trying to keep a 2 year old busy while inside. And trying to explain to her that we could not watch Mickey Mouse, open the refrigerator or make smoothies. The day lasted FOREVER. The eye passed around 10am, a calm relief for an hour, then the wind and rain were worse as the final bans moved through. By 8pm or so the rain had let up mostly and the major part of the storm had moved through. We opened windows for a breeze, which was fairly cool.

We awake to no rain, yea! We decided to start the morning off with breakfast on the grill: whole pound of bacon, biscuits and chocolate chip cookies (why not?). It was wonderful.

Next, to begin the cleanup and minature melt down from all parties. We started with the refrigerator and freezer, most of which was lost. What a mess (think liquid ice cream spilling down 4 shelves). Then to head outside and begin on the yard. Noah started on the roof and then moved to the chain saw. We had about a 6" layer of debris over the entire yard. We raked and raked and when I quit, Noah raked some more. It was 92 degrees. We melted. And raked some more. We have the blisters to prove it.

We were overwhelmed. I do not claim to be Survivor-Woman, nor do I want to be.

We were probably 50% done with the yard debris we decided to quit. I pulled out Wigwam's pool and gave her a bath in it while she played with the bubbles.
We chatted with neighbors and even had some friends over to grill out....well, what else do you do when you have 20 hamburger patties, 7 chicken breast, 15 hotdogs and a steak thawed out?

We were blessed with a warm shower that evening, I guess the hot water tank was full when the power had gone out. Unfortunatley, we started sweating again about 30 min afterwards in our 86 degree house.

I put a sweaty Wigwam to bed in her diaper.
I laid on the guest bed in front of the window and drifted off to sleep until.....
that wonderful sounds was heard. you know the one "dum duuum" and the power was ON at 11pm! Noah came to get me and we shut all the windows and stood on top of the vents ---ahhhh, so cold!
Then the little voice in my head said "please don't go away, please don't tease us".
I started the diswasher and turned on the fan above our bed.

Good night (and don't you dare turn on that alarm clock, I don't care what my work says).

In hindsight I will leave next time this ever threatens to happen, or at least own a generator. I really do feel blessed that we fared to well. I passed many houses trees on their roofs on my way into work this morning. I crossed over power lines in the road and reminded myself that others still do not have power. I took Wigwam to school and was reminded of how blessed we are to afford insurance. I will have aching muscles for a week while we cleanup, but I have a home to shower and sleep in at the end of the day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bluegrass Cousins

Trip to the Bluegrass State Conquered!

Twice a year we get all the kiddos together and boy is it wild! Eight kids 4 & under is a seriously busy non-stop party. Once again this was a "we did it" trip, Wigwam and I flew with a layover, delayed flight and canceled flight.
Grandpops playing in the pool

The oldest playing dress up with the younger ones!
My niece. Birthday Buddy, is she not adorable??! I could eat her up.
Baby Michael III, cutie pie! Entertained by his wild cousins.
It's good to be 4!

Red Rover, Red Rover. And who is the only 2 year playing this game? Wigwam. It's the running joke in our family that thinks she's 4 along with the others. But it's not a joke, she does think she's 4.

Grandpops! (and Susie)

See, this is what most 2 year olds, but not too far from mom.

To sum up the fun: Wigwam slept for 13 hours when we got home and then took a 2 hour nap. Whew!

Monday, July 18, 2011

D.C. Conquered

Oh yea. We did it. 
Photos are proof.

Start: stoller visits White House 
 Next: Stroller visits Washington Monument. Wigwam is thrilled to be at the nation's capitol. or not.

And then we found fun, Smithsonian jumping:

And then we found carousel: bliss.

And then we find water to play in: wet bliss.

Then we put on our shoes to go. My heart melts. I miss him.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toddler meets D.C.

We are headed to D.C. for the weekend to hang out with Noah and explore the city!
Excitied? yes
Nervous? yes
More nervous than excited? yes

Why? A 6 hr drive by myself with a toddler in the back and of course the 6 hr drive home; staying in a hotel; no place to nap while out and about; and the list goes on...

Hopefully, I can chill out and have some fun. Hopefully, Wigwam will be in good spirits and flexible with her routine. In efforts to plan for a success, I just ran to the Dollar Tree and got new and exciting toys & snacks to bribe Wigwam with.
Ashamed? no

Our activities may (or may not) include:
National Zoo
Museum of Natural Science
The Mall
Capitol City Brewing Company

Anyone been to these places? Suggestions for taking a 2 year old to these or other places?
Think the Pres can handle a 2 year old?

In the words of Wigwam "LET'S DO THIS!"

*follow up post to come!*

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

sisterly love

There she big sister, confidant, mother-of-the-year award winner, friend. (and Wigwam two hours past normal nap time)

What would I do without her? Seriously, she's that good.

She's the only one in this world who "knows" what it was like to grow up in our family, to win Junior Miss in a small town (ha!), to have conversations about your aging parents with, to proof my english papers in college, to ask mommy-type questions to.

I think about how important it is to have someone like that in your life for support and how I want Wigwam to have a sibling. (especially if there was another baby girl!) And then I quickly think of that first year and how hard it is, how I didn't have time for makeup or fixing my hair. But what's life really about? surely not makeup and hair gel.

So now you know....we're debating #2.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spring Garden Part 2

And there she grows...
In fact with the extremely hot summer and drought the garden has not fared so well. All my squash and zucchini died, along with the cilanto, and the cantelope, and the basil......need I keep going?

What I do have is tomatoes and peppers! whoo hoo, hello salsa. At this point I'm not sure my produce will equal the amount of money I put into the garden, but I guess that's the risk you take.

And so I continue to water it while I get attacked my monster mosquitos and drown it in Miracle Grow (good bye organic, just gimme somethin)!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spring Garden Part 1

we are growing a vegtable garden for the 2nd year. I love doing this, having perfectly ripe veggies to cook & eat, knowing what has been put on them (or not in my case) for pesticides.

Wigwam loves helping me water the garden after work every day and also running out to check if there is anything ready to pick. Girl loves some cherry tomatoes right off the vine. As a mom, any veggie she's eating is a good one. She usually either takes one bite and throws it on the ground or stuffs the whole thing in her mouth....juice running down the face and staining her shirt. Oh well.

This year we bought our plants and I'm hoping that I can get an earlier start next year and grow from seeds....much cheaper.

So here's what's growin':  roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zuchinni, squash, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, basil, cilantro, cantelop, cucumbers and banana peppers....we'll see which ones make it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yellow Alien

There have been sightings of a yellow alien (not an undocumented worker) but a real space alien. It was thought that this elusive being was only in the forest behind EAD. But due to encroachment by a Physical Fitness Trail, and Numerous errant arrows from the new Archery Club it has migrated southeast.

But this sighting happened right here in our Development office. It is fast and illustrious, so guard yourself.

The description is as follows: Body is small but yellow, smallish eyes and teeth, but when upset, the teeth turn into ravenous fangs that can tear a Carolina Fans neck out. And it has a telekinetic power and can make you think deeper thoughts that will make you feel you are insane. The alien may be tick infested, and if it touches you, your skin will have a tingling effect as if you are covered in poison ivy and coupled with the telekinetic mind power adds to the itching effect. It has an affinity for wearing human jeans but it covers its gangrenous feet with hideous yellow coverings. It is said that if a person sees its feet, that it will turn to a pillar of salt and be left in the woods as a salt lick for bears. Also, this being does procreate and it's young look exactly like human children. Do not be fooled by the cuteness of its young. That is what is uses to draw you in before it turns you into Eastern NC BBQ.

BE ADVISED: This Being is dangerous and has been known eat small goats, large donkeys and the occasional Government contractor.

Please, if you see this hideous creature, stand still, do not run of it will attack you in a most unpleasant way.


Office for (M)anagement of (E)xtraterrestria(L) and (I)ntergalactic (S)ource(S) (A)gency
AKA Office of (MELISSA)

This is the email that was sent around to the whole office today. Gotta love co-workers!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


A peek at what Wigwam's up to at 24 months:

·         Text from dad: “I have snot on my shirt. Not mine.”
·         Text from mom: “take some wipes, there’s not any in the truck and you are headed out @ poop time!”
·         As dad is using the noisy drill, you say “stop that, hunny” J
·         “I like to move it, move it” singing & dancing
·         Sing the song “bringing home a baby bumble bee” “twinkle twinkle little star” and “abc’s”
·         As I get out of the shower you say “mommy, naked nudie”!
·         You know that the neigh-neighs are after the turn onto our road and look forward to seeing them and say “I ride it”
·         What color is that? “pink” to everything
·         Like to “swim” in the bathtub on your belly
·         More movement songs “wheels on the bus” “teddy bear, teddy bear”

....and MANY MANY time outs and melt downs, i must have chosen to not to remember these.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I try to run two 5K's a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Sometimes I wing it and am sore for a few days after. This past one I trained for 7 days just so I wouldn't be in pain.

I finished in 28 minutes which I was pretty pleased with.

The photographer got this photo of me and I had to share! I feel like I look like a professional! How often can I say that? Usually I'm bright red and a sweaty mess, so luckily he snapped this one only 1/2 mile in.

Runner's World next cover? I think so.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Painting and Poop

i've been on a blogging vacation-why, you ask?
painting and poop

Wigwam got a stomach bug that started with puking for 12 hours and ended with 48 hours of diarrhea. lovely, eh? yea, no fun for mom & dad either. luckily we didn't catch it, but we did have it all over us. didn't know it could be so bad. wow. six load of laundry. countless baths. it. never. ended.

but we're better now! so we started painting.

did i mention that this year we have already power washed the whole house, shed & driveway, stained the deck, painted all the railings (four sides), and spray painted the patio furniture?

so-the painting continues.
we are painting Wigwam's ceiling and trim work. geesh, have you ever painted a popcorn (i hate) ceiling? we've been at it for 2 nights and still not finished. ready to be done, put furniture back, and watch a reality tv show.

i must say that painting is so gratifying though, immediate pay back. the ceiling is so bright and clean. i have white knuckles.

hmmm, did i mention that i bought some new kitchen chairs (slightly used) that need painting also?

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Trip to feed the Quack Quacks

Our trip started by a plan to go release some energy and feed the ducks...

We were surprised with this visitor! She was not scared at all and came within 3 feet of us. We think she may have been pregnant, but then again I've never seen a pregnant deer so how would I know?

This guy must be huge! We could not see his full size or any of his shell because the water was so cloudy, but he's a big boy and UGLY.