Friday, January 30, 2009

The real me is a Southern girl with her Levi's on and an open heart....

If you know me, then you know how much I love Jessica Simpson. I was a HUGE fan of "Newlyweds"! I totally understand her blonde moments because I have blonde moments of my own. The boy at Bed, Bath, and Beyond calls me Jessica Simpson because when I was setting up my wedding registry, I was completely confused and claimed to have the same domestic qualities that Jessica Simpson had. I think she is beautiful and I wanted to be her!

I am sure you've heard by now that Jessica has "packed on the pounds". This "news" story is driving me crazy. If you haven't, here's the side by side comparison of her a few years ago and the photo that's the "talk of the town":

Now, maybe the outfit wasn't the most flattering outfit that she could have chosen, but the girl is still beautiful. And she has curves! I have curves! I was watching "Entertainment Tonight" while I was getting ready for dinner last night and they said that Jessica now weighs around 135 pounds. I was completely offended because I weigh 132 and I don't consider myself to be fat. Now, I've lost about 30 pounds in the past year and I am proud to be this size.

It's so refreshing to see a celebrity who is not "skin and bones". She looks like a real woman. I thought when she did "The Dukes of Hazzard" movie she looked sad and anorexic, but now she looks healthy and happy. The poor girl can't catch a break!

But, beauty isn't just on the outside. As my mom told me when I was growing up, there are plenty of outwardly beautiful people that are so ugly on the inside. And who hasn't come across those people? We all know that many women in this country suffer from diseases like anorexia and bulimia. We need to teach girls and women that it's ok to have curves. As we get older, our hips widen to give us those "birthing hips". It's natural and normal. It's all part of God's plan.

When I am getting ready in the morning, I always listen to the local news and the "Today Show". Well, after hearing and reading all of this about Jessica, I was so excited to hear that she is the opening act for the Rascal Flatts concert that's coming to Memphis on March 5! I am so excited!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Knox vs. Knox

A few days ago, I posted a link to a blog about a little girl named Harper. She was born almost two weeks ago and she's been on a respirator. Yesterday, they were able to take her off of the respirator and she's breathing on her own. She's also eating on her own. It's such a wonderful blessing. Many people have been praying for this little girl and she and her family have touched so many lives. It's amazing to see what God can do! Please keep Harper and the Stamps family in your prayers. They're anticipating on brining her home in the early part of next week.

As you know, I am just now learning how to cook. Well, this week has been quite successful for me. Last night, I cooked dinner, made Rice Krispie treats with cranberries and chocolate for dessert and then proceeded to make red velvet cupcakes for my mom's birthday (which was Sunday, but she's returning from Cancun today). I really don't know what's gotten into me. I am really starting to enjoy cooking! I hope this isn't a phase!

While I was baking, Fred was watching "Dog Whisperer" and he was trying to practice some of the techniques on Knox. It's actually quite humorous because Knox is 12 1/2 weeks old and he doesn't obey quite well, but Fred thinks that he's learning. I believe Knox thinks Fred is trying to play with him. Right now, everything is a game to Knox. I always get a kick out of these two.

Speaking of Knox, I saw a photograph of Brad Pitt with his son Knox and I must say that he and Angelina make beautiful babies, but my Knox is cuter! I know I am partial; so, I'll let you be the judge. Who's cuter?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

The entrance to our neighborhood...

Our house...

I wanted to title this blog, "Walking in a Weiner Wonderland" since I have a dachshund, but I didn't want people getting the wrong idea.

Today is the second time in two weeks that it's actually snowed in Memphis. Snow is one of those words that you say and people freak out, rush to the grocery store and prepare for a long winter's nap. It's actually quite humorous.

If you know me, I am not a fan of cold weather or snow, but seeing it this morning was a bit exciting. I started to think about how many children actually slept in their pajamas inside out in hopes that school would be cancelled. Well, they got their wish and I hope they're able to enjoy it while it lasts.

Last week, I wasn't able to take any pictures of Knox in the snow because I was at work, but my mom told me that he was not a fan of the snow. Well, this morning, I got to see that for myself. I was only able to take two (not so good) pictures of him in the snow. Perhaps I will get some better ones tonight since the snow is supposed to stay around for a bit longer.

Knox doesn't like the snow...

Fred and I made it safely to work in Munford and it's a ghost town around here. It's actually quite funny because all of the office employees that live in Memphis are here and those that live closer to the office are not. Weird, huh? The temperature is supposed to hover around freezing for the remainder of the day. I hope the streets aren't worse tomorrow.

For those of you who are off, enjoy the snow day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cookbook Jungle

After searching online last night for new recipes, I decided to start another blog, "Cookbook Jungle".

I found some great recipe blogs that are already out there and I too wanted to share recipes. I am always looking for something new and delicious to cook. Hopefully others will stumble upon "Cookbook Jungle" and find the meal that makes their family smile!

I am always up for new recipes; so, send them my way! Who knows, they may even appear on "Cookbook Jungle"!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Barefoot Contessa

Before this weekend, I didn't believe I had a domestic bone in my body. In fact, I am sort of like Jessica Simpson in that department. If you've ever seen "Newlyweds" then you know what I am talking about. I have a maid. I rarely cook. I have never really liked to cook. It's just so much easier to call in something or just go and get something.

I think my mom was trying to tell me something when she bought me a monogrammed apron for Christmas. We all know that I would never pick that out for myself.

My maternal grandmother was a phenomenal cook. Her house was cleaner than clean. I even told the teacher's at my preschool that "you could eat Thanksgiving dinner off of my grandmommy's potty". The woman was Martha Stewart before there was Martha Stewart.

One of my new year's resolutions was to start to cook more and to enjoy it. (Notice I didn't say get rid of my maid) Well, so far, so good. I have been cooking mainly on Sunday's for my family and at least once during the week for just Fred and myself. I have this beautiful kitchen and it never gets used. When Fred and I do have children, I don't want to be a "fast-food mom". I want to cook healthy, nutritious meals to help them grow.

I had a $20 coupon that had to be spent at Williams-Sonoma by January 25. So, Fred took me there and I bought one of their meatloaf pans. My mom had purchased one and said that it was great!

After we left Williams-Sonoma, Fred called his parents to invite them over for dinner. Since I had my new meatloaf pan, I decided that I was going to make my grandmother's meatloaf. (I've come to realize that none of my grandmother's recipes are complete. They don't tell you exact amounts and tend to leave some ingredients out.) I went to the grocery store and I bought the ingredients that it called for as well as some other ingredients that I got off of a meatloaf recipe at Williams-Sonoma. I used the W-S recipe as a guide on amounts.

I came home, threw the ingredients together (mainly by eye-balling it) and started cooking the meatloaf. I also made green bean casserole and mac and cheese. An hour later, the food was done and we were ready to eat!

I have to say that I was quite impressed with how it turned out. It actually smelled and tasted like my grandma's meatloaf! Fred's mom was impressed and wanted to know how I made it so moist. It made me feel good, but I think the meatloaf pan helped.

After I did a great job, I decided to try my luck again. I just got a recipe for some "cake balls". (strawberry cake and vanilla icing topped with white chocolate bark) I made them and they turned out great! Rich, but good! I got it off of a great recipe blog: She has some really great sounding recipes that I am thinking of making this week.

After two successful tries, I decided to cook again. This time, it was a combined effort by Fred and myself to cook breakfast for my grandfather.

Since my parents are in Cancun for the week, I have decided to cook a few more things this week for Fred and my grandfather. I think they are my guinea pigs, but they'll eat just about anything! I just hopes that my luck doesn't run out! :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Praying for Harper

I came across this blog through one of my friend's blogs and it has really touched my heart. I hope that those who read this will be touched and will pray for Harper's strength and recovery as well as her family's strength. May our thoughts and prayers be with this family!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Did You Know?

RULE: You are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

1. I hate being called "Carolyn" and even more than that, I hate being called "Carolyn Smithwich"! How can you not say "Caroline"???
2. I love warm weather. Give me the warmest day on record and I'd still be happy.
3. I love my family more than anything in this world. I would do anything for any one of them.
4. I would love to become a Jazzercise instructor, but I just don't have the time right now. Maybe one day when I don't have to work.
5. I treat Knox like he's an actual child. He's my son with four legs and a fur coat.
6. I am a planner. I love to have things planned well in advance.
7. I love being an only child. I am spoiled and I know it.
8. I don't do well with misspelled words or incorrect grammar. What can I say, my mom was a teacher.
9. I love my birthday. I get so excited for it and I think it's the best day ever!
10. I think that I should have been a performer, but I can't sing.
11. I become obsessed with restaurants very, very easily. It's weird, I know.
12. I don't take constructive criticism very well. In fact, I try and argue with the person. Not my best quality.
13. I love to travel. I love seeing the culture and the land.
14. I enjoy working for my dad. I think he's the best boss and I really admire him.
15. I love designing and decorating. As a former school teacher's daughter, I had a lot of practice with bulletin boards.
16. I really enjoy walking outside. I hope that Knox will love it too when he's older.
17. I have become a homebody. I love spending time with Fred and Knox in our home.
18. It's one of my resolutions this year to cook more! I have a beautiful kitchen that is neglected. I want to love to cook.
19. I dream of becoming a housewife when we have children.
20. I think that my mom has the life. She gets up, works out, goes to lunch, goes shopping, etc. I want to be Little Val.
21. My grandfather is totally awesome. The man has so much guidance and wisdom. Not to mention how funny he is. I love being around him.
22. I miss my "Florida" friends.
23. My husband is my best friend. We spend a lot of time together and I love it!
24. My London to Athens trip in 2004 was a life changing trip. I learned a lot about myself.
25. I miss my grandmother. She was an amazing woman! Sometimes I see a little bit of her in me and it makes me smile. Everytime I look down at my wedding ring, I am reminded of how much she will always mean to me.