Jan 16, 2018

Weekend Wrap Up

I had the best weekend- two of my best friends growing up came in town for our second annual Knoxville girls' weekend.  I have laughed and talked so much that my face just aches.  My head might have ached a little bit Saturday morning as well.

Just us girls went to J.C. Holdway Friday night, for a delicious meal and plentiful cocktails.  I split the hangar steak, on the advice of my brother who happened to be on there on a  date night with his wife (great minds, yada yada).  It was fantastic, as was my starter of grilled broccolini salad.  And my multiple glasses of cava.

Saturday I trudged through a workout to give myself a boost, and to take advantage of the club's childcare.  You know it's not the most effective time when you spend longer eating lunch there than actually exercising. However, 30 minutes of intervals on the treadmill helped combat my six hours of sleep.

Saturday we let the boys come along, and headed to AK and Dixon's house for lasagna and Cards Against Humanity. It was another fantastic, fun, ribald evening. I haven't seen that side of midnight two nights in a row in quite a long time.

We have a new interim minster at church- he is wonderful!  However, I had a bad case of the yawns and was terrified that he would notice!  Ha!


Monday night I recovered a bit of equanimity by making chicken and dumplings featured in this month's Southern Living. I balanced it out with a metric ton of steamed broccoli.
Here's the recipe.  They hit the spot- Dell Harper had about five bowls.  Deeds had some broccoli and crackers because he only wanted tomato soup and "nuttin else!".  Fine, by me little buddy.  More for me!

While Tommy napped and I made dumpling dough, the kids got their Jackson Pollack on with this kit they got for Christmas from Target.
This was a horrible parenting decision on my behalf.  My back porch will never be the same.  They lasted about ten minutes without a vociferous discussion on technique that involved my darling children Jackson Pollacking each other.  And Target?  FYI- make your damn paints washable.  Thanks.

They exchanged art for a good long bubble bath, and I got my dumplings done.  All is well.  Except for my splatter arted porch.  Ahhhh, real life.

Jan 12, 2018

Five on Friday

1) Warm Weather (Albeit Temporary):

Is there anything more lovely than strolling by a creek in the watery, winter sun?
We have made the most of the last two day of warmer temperatures!

Wednesday Dell Harper and I enjoyed taking Buddy for a couple of miles down the greenway.  I jogged/walked and she scootered- the boys stay at school until 4 on Wednesdays so I can have a little girl time with my big kindergartener.

 The kiddos watched their afternoon program on the porch yesterday when the rain forced us off their new zipline.

 You can see it in the upper right corner of this pic.  If you can take your eyes off this cutie in a cardigan.  I struggle with that.  His cuteness is overwhelming at times- my teeth will be grinded to shreds before he makes it to two.

(Side note- why do cute things make us grind our teeth?  Such an odd reaction!)

2) L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Anorak

Per my very specific request, Morgan got me this number for Christmas.  I was BEYOND thrilled.  It's just like the one I had in high school (although missing the Aztec ribbon detail- prob for the best).  Yesterday's rain and mild temps made it perfect attire.  I had a lot of "OOOOOHHHHH! I had one just like that back in the day!"'s at all my various school pickups.  Here's the (non-affiliate) link- it's even more cozy than I remember.  I'm (almost) 5'4" and a 4-6, and mine is a petite small if you need sizing help.

3)  Pop Rocks for the Bath
These are awesome!!  My kids are obsessed- bath time is a par-tay now!  Santa had stuck a couple of packets in their stockings, and this mama had to amazon prime a big box of the packets.  So fun!

4) Dorothy Draper Prep
I nabbed copies of both of Dorothy Draper's books in preparation for an upcoming trip to the Greenbrier (squee!!!).  My attempted reading on the porch was made impossible by a sweet, be-cardiganed baby wanting to cuddle, but it's calling my name!

5) Oral History of Home Alone

This is a bit late, but my kiddos got on the Home Alone train big-time over Christmas break.  I hadn't seen the movie since I was a child honestly, having been quite burnt out by my brother's daily after-school viewings, and use of Macaulay Culkin hand on cheek moves to get out of trouble (he was successful in this).  Having had a 20-odd year break made it fantastic to see again.


I loved reading this oral history of the movie- the background made it even better.  Now, I'm off to wallpaper my entire house in shades of red and green.

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Jan 10, 2018

Loving Lately- Books, Audio Books and Podcasts

I've sent Dell Harper off to school, set up Deeds with some breakfast and a little old school Ghostbusters, and now am taking advantage of Tommy sleeping in a little to crawl back into bed with my laptop.  Emptying the dishwasher be damned!  Or delayed by 15 minutes.

I just picked up two absolutely fantastic books from the library:


Trophy Son follows the professional tennis career of a young man as he navigates his domineering and emotional abusive father (a retired hedge-funder and former Olympian) and his ascending career. It's fast, smart, and a fascinating glimpse into the world of professional tennis and performance drug use.  I've ordered his previous two books based on my enjoyment of this one.

Random fact- the author is Megan Kelly's husband.


I am torn between reading this slowly because I don't want it to end, and ripping through it because I am dying to know what happens.  An elegant, elderly, blue-blood, private investigator (minus any cartooniness), travels from NYC to Yellowstone to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a professional photographer at the behest of his daughter.  It's utterly original, compelling and simply brilliant.


I just finished listening to A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner.  It's a legal thriller about Legally Dead, a rapper accused of murdering his pop singer girlfriend.  It's fast, with plenty of twists and turns.  An excellent way to divert oneself while washing dishes or trudging on a treadmill.

Now for a couple of podcasts:

Do y'all listen to The Daily for the New York Times?

Host Michael Barbaro explores topics in the daily news with empathy and curiosity- usually encompassing a quick daily roundup  and a deep dive into people affected by whatever news event is occurring.  A fascinating (although frequently depressing) way to begin one's day.  20 minutes of current event education every morning.


In a completely different vein, I really like Ballard Designs' How to Decorate Podcast.  Each week, the hosts interview a well known designer, stylist, magazine editor or the like.  It's fun, chatty and inspires me to get my house just so!


So that's what I'm escaping with right now.  And little voices are calling me, so my brush with escapism and my cozy bed has come to an abrupt halt.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!