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Friday Feast: Epic Awesome Cornbread

February 15, 2013


There’s not a lot of cornbread that I’ve enjoyed in my lifetime. Always dry, boring… truly, a waste of calories. But, my mother-in-law always nails it. Like, better-than-soft-bread good. When I asked about the recipe, she referenced the Fannie Farmer cookbook, which I’ve used since she gave it to me when JD and I first got married. Since the cookbook is long and filled with tons of recipes, I’ve passed over the cornbread because of my dry history with the food. But I took a stab at the recipe, and holy cow, so good. Here’s my adjustment to the Fannie Farmer recipe:

Cornbread (modified from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

just under 1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 egg, well beaten

2 tablespoons bacon fat (yes)

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Grease an 8-inch square cake pan.
  • Mix the cornmeal,flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk, egg, and shortening or bacon fat, and blend well.
  • Spoon into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and cut in squares.


Soooooo good. Mad props to the mother-in-law for changing my long-standing views on cornbread!


February 12, 2013

tornado closet


It’s a little overdue, but I just want to pop over and say that turning 31 was quite great. I’m finally feeling awesome and settled in many areas, specifically at home, at work, and with myself, and I can’t express how appreciative I am about this. I had an excellent birthday with many surrounding surprises and events, and I feel so loved and blessed.

I’ll be popping over more frequently this month to show you a project I’ve been working on, some food I’ve been cooking, and a little lady we’ll be celebrating.

And, finally, a description of the shot above, because at first glance, it might look a little “pitiful”… The picture above was actually taken at about 2:30am one night in late January when JD, Maggie, Lucy, and I all crammed into our closet when the tornado sirens went off. Our little foursome was calm and sleepy, and Maggie slept on me most of the half hour we were in there. She was so snuggly and warm, and JD wanted to document how sweet we were… but the flash was so bright! So I squinted a bit. But, there we were, safe together in the cramped space. Thankfully the weather spared us, and it was a fun night as a family of three plus Lucy the dog.

Looking forward to sharing more with you soon.

Luster Cluster: Brussels Sprouts, scribbles, and music tv

January 16, 2013

Time for Luster Cluster! It’s been a while, folks!

Here are a few things I’ve found around the web lately.

Typeface for Doctors… love it!

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JD and I get DirecTV, but we have the very basic package. For the past few weeks, the channel called Palladia has been giving us a little free trial of goodness. I don’t know much about it… I think it’s owned by MTV and VH1 or something, but it’s all of what was awesome about music channels before “Jersey Shore” and other “music” shows arrived. JD recorded a bunch of live concerts they have been showing, and we’ve been watching/listening happily to Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Walk the Moon, Mumford, Avetts, Temper Trap, Passion Pit, you know the drill. Good stuff.

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If I could share all of my Google Reader stars with you, I would. Here’s are two of my recent highlighted posts that I think will be very helpful in the upcoming year:

“How to fly with a toddler,” by both Hither and Thither and Cup of Jo blogs.

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I love using old family heirlooms and antique furniture mixed in with otherwise modern furniture. Design*Sponge collects a roundup of its Sneak Peeks in a “best of” collection.

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These are pretty fun, no?


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Each day, in my inbox, I get two comic strips: Arlo & Janis and Calvin & Hobbes. I have a soft spot in my heart for comics, what can I say? So in preparation for the Super Bowl, coming up in just a few short weeks, I just had to share this giggle.

orange zest

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I love my new job… (love it!)… but I’m now in a cubicle rather than an office “room,” and I’m struggling how to decorate it. I’m guessing this is too much? (It’s cool for a party, though. via Style Me Pretty)


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Finally Tom’s that are work appropriate!


Tom's Ballet Flats?!
Tom’s Ballet Flats?! by sheilaho featuring toms
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And, last but not least… brussels sprouts. Why are they the “it” vegetable right now? Here are a bunch of recipes for them… someone please make them so I can try them please!

Resolutioning in 2013

January 1, 2013
by LupenGrainne

“Take a Chance” by LupenGrainne

New Year’s resolutions… they feel so overdone. For so many years, I thought New Year’s resolutions were silly, but in recent years, I’ve decided it gives me great practice in goal-setting, looking ahead, assessing where we are and what needs to happen. If anything, it’s excellent self-reflection that should happen more often anyway… January 1 is just a great incentive.

So, in order to make myself a little more accountable, I’m throwing my New Year’s resolution out there, along with some readers’ resolves as well. What do you think? What are yours?

My resolution for this year is to have less guilt, do more exercise, and eat better. (So boring, I know!) I also want to complete a growth chart for Maggie (a project I’ve had on my mind for a few months now and hope to complete before her birthday), as well as do some house reorganization with the items I already have.

Here are a few others…


Cussing less.


1. My older sister and I are memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Two questions a week, all year!
2. Last year, Krammy and I spent less to pay off debt at rapid pace. It felt amazing and after a while it wasn’t even that hard to do. So this year, I want to start giving more. We have dear friends from Oklahoma who are trying to adopt. My goal is to save enough and give enough (without the help of my husband) to pay for their home study. I think it’s around $1000. It’s going to be tough, but I think I can do it. I’m praying that God will use this “exercise” to soften my heart and teach me more about himself. You can find their blog here.
3. Kids: finish teaching Cole to read and get Julia out of diapers.
My New Year’s resolution is much the same as it was last year (obviously I followed through on it).
I would like to wake up an hour before everyone in the house to do whatever I want yoga, read, whatever so I have that time by myself before the whole house gets up and starts being all crazy.
Last year I made the same resolution, but the only time I got up early was when I played tennis 3x a week at 6:00am from June-October, but if I was not playing tennis, I was sleeping.
I have two ways that I want to improve myself in 2013.
I need to write more letters to my grandparents!  I don’t have a specific quantity, but I’d feel good if I got a letter in the mail once a month or so.  I should put a reminder in my phone so that I actually do this!
I also want to pick up the guitar again.  I’ve actually pulled it out recently and have been picking at it.  I’ve used YouTube some to relearn (I’m starting back at beginner–I don’t remember anything), but I’m just getting started.
Alex (please check out Alex’s blog!)
Along with the usual suspects [eat well, move more, love entirely and live immensely] I have a one word resolution for 2013 – spontaneity. I love that I live in Nashville and hope to quiet my wanderlust by breaking out of my usual routine and begin to truly enjoy and appreciate the unusual, the small, the out-of-the-ordinary that makes Nashville so special.
My New Year’s resolution is to get up when my alarm goes off the first time instead of the tenth.
Walk to and from work 3 days per week.
Bring my lunch (or otherwise eat for free) 3 days per week.
I want to work on my financial responsibility. Of course I’m also going to try to get back on track health wise.
I want to resoundingly beat my son-in-law at Words with Friends at least once.
New Year’s Resolutions…I am not a huge maker of these, because I tend to make resolutions all year long. :) But more so than ever before, mine is to spend 2013 getting organized!  Now that I don’t have an infant in the house, and knowing that my studio will be completed this year, I am making it a priority to de-clutter the house, weed through the kids’ toys, and organize my storage areas (such as laundry room, closets, etc) so that we can use our space to its fullest potential!  It may take most (or all, haha) of the year, but we will do it!  First up, I’m going through toys and donating what we have outgrown.
Enjoy my children more!

Oh Advent Tree

December 17, 2012

Photo Dec 12, 9 10 41 PM

There are a ton of things I love about Christmas, but my all-time favorite is the childhood Advent tree that I inherited from my parents. Ever since JD and I got married, I was able to use the Advent tree at my own house… what a thrill! But, the icing on the cake is introducing this pretty thing to Maggie, who responded to it as well as I could have hoped.

The Advent tree was handmade by a family friend in Ponchatoula, so it has a lot of memories and sentimental value from when I was very little. I had hoped that Maggie would also have that same joy of counting down to Jesus’s birthday. And even though Maggie is only 9 months old, I can tell that she already enjoys it. She lights up when we count to the date, and she smiles when we pull the ornament out of the day’s pocket.

Photo Dec 12, 9 17 22 PM

Other little Maggie-friendly Christmas things this year include a ribbon-only Christmas tree. I fuzzied up the photo below (intentionally on Instagram), but here’s the best shot of the ribbon tree. I think it turned out nicely!

christmas tree

And, as usual, our Christmas cards decorate our stairway railing. At this time of year, they get pretty full!

Photo Dec 16, 10 14 44 AM

Yes, our Christmas card is a little Maggie-centric this year, but, geez, how could it not be? What a cutie. Lucy made an appearance on the back…


Have a wonderful, merry Christmas, friends! I’ll be back around New Year’s to talk about some New Year’s resolutions. I’d love to hear yours!


Friday Feast: Nutella No-Bake Cookies

December 7, 2012


Last night I was scrambling to find something to bring to my girls’ quarterly “Wine Night,” but I didn’t have time to run to the store. I also didn’t want to spend my post-work/fun-Maggie time cooking. I remembered this recipe that I refer to often, but I just wasn’t feeling “peanut-buttery.” A quick scan of the pantry turned on the lightbulb: Nutella.

By easily replacing the peanut butter with Nutella in this recipe, I made an amazing cookie that was prepared quickly… as well as eaten quickly. JD also did quality control and thought it was great.

Check out our pretty spread last night, including the Nutella cookie beautifully placed within the mix of homemade pimento cheese, brie, baked pears, and, of course, wine:

Wine Night spread

Definitely check out the 2009 version, but here it is repeated, with Nutella.


2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 stick margarine

3 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup Nutella

  • Boil the first three ingredients in a saucepan for two minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix together.
  • Spoon onto wax paper in individual cookie sizes.
  • Let cool for at least 15 minutes.

We will miss you, Liz!! Alabama is better for getting you!

Gift Guide 2012: Parents of Kiddos

November 29, 2012

Sigh. Maggie. I just like her. And, I am so thrilled beyond measure to get to buy her Christmas presents for holidays to come. But, here’s the deal… she’s still not old enough to really ask for anything. Originally I would have posted this as a gift guide for kids, but actually, it’s for the mommies and daddies that love them. Here we go:

Ok, fine. I’m sure this is totally gross to all of you, but I went to a baby shower recently where this was gifted to the expecting mommy and I thought… genius! I would definitely get this Nose Frida for the new mom!

“Hare Styles” onesies and t-shirt… perfect.

While we’re talking t-shirts… have your people call my people.

I’m learning a lot about patience while I let Maggie feed herself with those little pinchers. I can’t quite trust her with a plate, but when she gets a little older, these plates would be a ton of fun.


Did you really think I’d go a whole Gift Guide year without something chevron? This is the cutest.

This whole Blik site has wonderful kids’ rooms decals. If I didn’t enjoy DIY painting, I’d be searching through here.

Considering I still haven’t filled two empty frames in Maggie’s nursery, I am always looking for sweet prints and cards to fill them. This BigCartel shop has a bunch of sweet drawings.

Little boys. Cute ties. Perfect combination.

We got this toothbrush for Maggie to begin her long life of brusha-brusha-brusha. This is one of the cutest little person things I’ve bought.



I totally stole this from Goop’s gift guide but COME ON. I can’t resist… sushi!! booties!! And, I’m done:


Don’t forget to check out past Christmas Gift Guides since 2009! Scroll down to the bottom of the About Page.