Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book in Review

Our book club just completed a very
moving novel that I'd like to share with you.

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini
The novel focuses on the lives of two remarkable Afghan women through a span of thirty years, roughly the 1960's - 2003.   From the Soviet invasion to the rule of the Taliban and the post war rebuilding Hosseini is able to bring fear, violence, desperation and hope to life within the pages of his novel. To me it is Hosseini's incredible storytelling ability that propels this heartbreaking story of 
Miriam and Laila.

 In more than one way, it is a love story. 
A love between a man and a woman, family love, parental love, the love that exists within a friendship, love of your country, and love of God.  The characters seek love and in certain ways are truly saved by love.  Both women are flawed and hurting in different ways, yet are drawn together by a common misery.  The story's of Miriam and Laila, their journeys and lives in Kabul became very real to me! 

As real as any story a close friend would share in secret.
Their story was so gripping, which makes it hard to pace yourself girls.  
At the heart, it is an amazing story of human life,
human loss, and human love.

And Hope.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Behind every trial and sorrow that He makes us shoulder,
God has a reason."

"Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting."

And my favorite-favorite...
"In a few years, this little girl will be a woman who will make small demands on life, who will never burden others, who will never let on that she too had sorrows, disappointments, dreams that have been ridiculed.
A woman who will be like a rock in a riverbed, enduring without complaint, her grace not sullied but shaped by the turbulence that washes over her."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Way Back Wednesday

How did this little guy go from...
 ~ THIS ~
~ THIS ~
 so quickly?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A FUNNY dog, a FINICKY cat and a hamster who steals the show

We spent the evening with some friends this weekend
and watched a great family movie!

If you haven't seen Walt Disney's

we would definitely recommend that you check it out soon.

Bolt is the story of an American white Shepard who
has lived his entire life on the set of his made for TV
sci-fi action show,
where he believes he has special super powers!
Through an accident, he becomes separated from his owner
Penny and sets out on a cross country trek to reunite with her!
Along the way, he meets an old alley cat named Mittens
and an absolutely fearless, hysterically funny,
TV-obsessed hamster named
{who by the way was my favorite
and stole the show with his quick wit, crazy faces, and loyalty}
Through a series of adventures the unlikely friends
realize that it doesn't take "super powers" to
accomplish a mission...

just teamwork!

I love this shot of Punzie {the little dog} eyeing Gracie's
popcorn like a hawk!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday TRUEism

This dude is smokin'...
and I get to go see him tonight at the
theatre with one of my sweet friends...
Team Jacob, hands down.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Monday

Boy do I have a treat for you today!

I tried a little supper recipe from one of
my favorite little blog friends...

{photo credit: the sugar pie farmhouse}

Aunt Ruthie

She is the Southern matriarch who resides over at the

A smile comes across my face
every time I have the opportunity to visit Aunt Ruthie's!

Her blog is sweet, cozy, uplifting, and I always leave encouraged.
She has a passion for first of all her faith, then her family and finally her home and strives to preserve the old fashioned ideals that our country was founded upon! 

If you don't believe me, scroll through some of her past posts to view her spectacular home in the Ozark Mountains!

Now I would be remiss if I did not also mention that
she is also one dynamite cook.

I have eyed her
HiLLbiLLy SpAgheTTi PiE
long enough.

Today is the day to pull out my
cast ,
iron skillet

{this is a MUST item for this recipe}
a jar of sweet tea,
my vintage cherries apron
and give it a whirl. 

 Okay, let's round up our supplies...

First, pull out your cast iron skillet. 

You'll need one of the extra large ones for this recipe!
A 13 and 1/4 " {diameter} skillet is perfect.
Now if you don't own a cast iron skillet,
 you could always use a deep skillet with a lid.


- 1 bunch green onions, chopped

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 1/2 pound extra lean ground beef

- 1/2 pound Italian sausage, 4 links {sweet or hot} casings removed

- 4 garlic cloves, minced {or minced garlic in the jar if your like me}

- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

- 1 teaspoon salt {I add more}

- 2 cups water

- 8 ounces spaghetti, broken into 3 inch pieces
{I used half of a 16 ounce package–Thin spaghetti–not Angel Hair– but you can use regular }

- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream {or half and half}

- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Okay...check, check, and check

Let's get cookin'

1.Pull out your skillet and saute green onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil, on medium heat 5 minutes.

{photo credit: the sugar pie farmhouse}

2.Add beef and sausage, brown over medium-hi heat.

{photo credit: sugar pie farmhouse}

3.When almost brown, add garlic, pepper flakes, oregano, and parsley.

4.Once browned, stir in crushed tomatoes, water and salt.

5.Add broken spaghetti. Push spaghetti into liquid, and cover for 8 minutes.

{photo credit: the sugar pie farmhouse}

6. After 8 minutes, stir pasta so the noodles won’t stick together. Reduce heat to medium low simmer for 6 more minutes until pasta is al dente {almost cooked but still a little firm}.

7.Add basil, Parmesan cheese, and cream, stir well.

8.Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese, put in oven to broil until spotty brown. {stand there and keep watch or set a timer for 3 minutes at a time until it’s ready, or else you may end up with Blackened Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie!}
{photo credit:the sugar pie farmhouse}

I served this with a big Italian style salad and it 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday TRUEism

 I thank my lucky stars
that my life is blessed with

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Petting Zoo Pals

With cameras, bug spray, and kids in tow,
we braved the Texas heat/humidity
to visit the {free} local
petting zoo with some sweet friends!
Libby Lou

Court Jackson, you are one handsome dude!

My Man
Stylin' & Profilin'

Addison found the goats more to her liking!

Staring at....water.
The ducks were hiding out in the shade!
You know it's hizz-ottie-H-O-T-T-I-E
when ducks hit the shade tree instead of their pond.

And I'll be a mOnKeY's UnCLe if our kids didn't have more fun walking these stumps. 
If they crossed them once, they crossed them 10 times. 
Even Levi, Gracyn, and Court braved the treacherous stump walk. 
Libby, poor girl, was the only one who lost her balance and sustained a slight injury. 
She was still a little shell-shocked from the injury and the
 deer attack in this photo...

We all walked away unscathed by the animals...
except for Libby's t-shirt which showed an actual
dental impression
from a deer who apparently eats
size 4T cotton tees for lunch!
Thank goodness the alligator on display was only plastic.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


 Finally, I took the time to post our pictures from the Fourth of July!

We had a FaNtAsTiC, family-FuN-filled

After we finally got all of our "stuff" loaded up for a short weekend getaway... 

We headed south to Lake Whitney!

My cousin Scott owns a lake house there,
 that he so graciously offered to host everyone at.
And when I say everyone, I mean everyone...

10 adults, 3 kids, and one baby!

luckily it has lots of room and
there were people everywhere, and
 we shared the bathrooms, and
 it was rarely quiet, but
everytime I looked around,
everyone was Smiling,
Laughing, Joking, or Telling old stories
about going to the lake when they were young.

We had so much fun, what a blessing to be able to
say that about your family!

On his property Scott has several fruit trees. 
The peach tree in particular was loaded down with beautiful fruit.
It was so heavy, that the branches were hanging on the ground!

Gracie busied herself with picking peaches and storing them
 in a butterfly catching net!

Cade even skinned one with his teeth and proceeded to
chomp away at all the sweet, juicy goodness...
Whitney was quick to warn him to check the middle
"white wigglies"

Cade declared his peach
"white wiggly" free
and chowed down!!!

This from my uber picky kid.

The fruit trees attracted a multitude of butterflies.

Lucky for Cade,
he is kin to one expert butterfly catcher...

This girl didn't need a net!  All she needed was the 2 hands God gave her to lay hold of those beauties!
Cade took lessons from Whitney and was catching his
own butterflies by the end of the weekend!
They were like 2 peas in a pod. 
I think they were cut from the same cloth!
They were the best of friends.

We relaxed

Snuggled with Uncle D after naptime

Swam in the pool

Water skiied, tubed, swam, and rode around the lake on Scott's
awesome boat

Ate more delicious food than you could shake a stick at...

And put on the best fireworks show in the neighborhood...

All said we had tired bodies, but full hearts 
on the way

It was a FOURTH to remember.

We each made some new family memories
and I look forward to making more in the years to come!

Thanks Uncle Scott


God Bless the USA

Is it just me or does anyone else still tear up
when they hear the ole' Lee Greenwood