Friday Favorites ~ In The Kitchen

I love being in the kitchen. It gives me great happiness and satisfaction cooking and baking for my people. There are things about this kitchen that we will eventually update (I’m looking at you 1990’s tile countertops) but one thing I love is the west facing window over my kitchen sink that gets the most lovely light in the afternoons.

I also love my big kitchen towels I found at Target a few years ago, too. And apparently the dogs liked them as well and they had a grand ole time playing tug-of-war with one. Sad, I know.

But the good news is that I had to replace it and wouldn’t you know it, Target not only still had them but also in some new colors. They’re part of the Hearth and Hand With Magnolia collection. I am not a brand specific person, I like things that are well made, affordable, and do what they’re made to do, but I will say I haven’t bought any other kitchen towels since I found these.

I also found some napkins at Target because wouldn’t you know it, when the pups realized how much fun kitchen towels are they had to give napkins a whirl! We’ve had the majority of our cloth napkins for at least a decade but my favorites were some Pioneer Woman sets I got a few years ago. I liked the colors and they had the right texture to them. The way a napkin feels is the deal breaker around here so I am always on the lookout anyways but after the kitchen linen olympics with the dogs it has become more of a priority. I loved the color and subtle pattern to these sets, also done by Hearth and Hand, that come in packages of four. They also have some solid colors but I was drawn to these because they seemed so summery without being obnoxious.

I’m really excited about this next Friday favorite because it’s a book! A cookbook to be exact. I have been wanting to make a sourdough starter for a long while but the two times I attempted it I questioned what I saw and smelt happening and ditched the efforts. I have friends that tried it years ago and ended up basically giving themselves food poisoning and they are accomplished cooks and bakers so I am treading lightly with this kitchen adventure.

However, in our farm quest Rob came across a youtube channel and sent me a link to a few things knowing I would like it. The Prairie Homestead is just a well done online space for all things farming and homesteading. What I have found so engaging about their website is how easy it is to follow and understand…they present things in a way that makes you feel like they are just like you; and that you can do what they do. They seem normal, not like polished professionals and I mean that in the best possible way.

One of her videos was a tutorial on sourdough starter and I loved watching it. Next thing you know, her cookbook landed in Rob’s Amazon cart and then it arrived on my doorstep. It’s like magic, y’all 😉

I can’t wait to get back from Florida next week and start my starter! I will keep y’all posted on what I am sure will be my success. (Said totally tongue in cheek…I fully expect some bloopers because that’s the way I seem to roll.)

The last item on my list to share with you today is the reason my blog will never hit the big leagues, friends. Because y’all are going to love this dish and somebody is going to wonder where I got it, how much I paid for it, and how big is it. And I can only answer the first two questions.

TJ Maxx and $12.99

If you pushed me I might would say it’s a two quarter but honestly that is information I never paid any attention to. But isn’t it so pretty? Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe too! But sadly, not driveway safe. I had a companion dish that was oval shaped that met its demise, along with the English peas it was carrying, on our driveway one Sunday morning as we headed to church.

So there you go, friends, a few of my favorite things in the kitchen right now. What are some of yours?

Have a great weekend!

Friday Favorites ~ Color Bombs and Pig Roasts

The last two weeks have been full, y’all! Monday a week ago a sweet family from Friday came into to town for a visit, which was delightful, and they left on Thursday. On Friday Sarah and Devon came into town for the long weekend; we haven’t seen them since the engagement and it was so good to have them here! Her ring looked pretty in the facetime call we shared after he proposed but it is so beautiful in person.

Hays is going to do their official engagement pictures next month but they let me do some silly fun ones while they were here.

Some of you might remember the color bomb session Sarah did with two of her nursing school buddies when they graduated. We used powdered tempera paint for that and the colors were fabulous! The only thing we could find (totally our fault since it was a spur of the moment shoot) was an actual color bomb set from Hobby Lobby. The color was not as vibrant but Sarah and Devon still had fun!

And messy. They got a little messy.

The way he stalked her across the field was funny. You can tell from the tilt of her head she was trying to talk him out of it.

You can also tell she knew she wasn’t going to be very successful.

In the end it was hard to say who won the colorfest but it is safe to say these two are quite happy together. And we couldn’t be happier for them.

Because we were just messing around I asked Rob to use the drone and we caught a few cute pictures with a bird’s eye view. I still have a steep learning curve with it but I am enjoying it!

This week we had another overnight visit with some friends from Florida. It was so good to see them! It is amazing how much children can grow and change in six months. This afternoon Emily and Hays are coming to stay the weekend with us. I love the times when we are all together but that is harder to make happen with grown children with jobs and responsibilities so I will be grateful for weekends and little getaways whenever they can make it happen.

Have a happy weekend, y’all! We will be celebrating Pentecost with a Cochon de lait at church. (Ko shawn de lay is cajun for pig roast.) We plan to feast and fellowship bigly. Come on and join us!

Bountiful

Last weekend started off low key but with plenty of work to put our hands too. Rob and Sam worked really hard to dismantle the horse ring left by the previous owners. I literally climbed on the counter in my bathroom to get a good view of them because Sam was using power tools for the first time 🙂 Rob and I took the drone up for a few minutes before they got started because we want to document our progress as we work the land.

Dinner Saturday was delicious and right in the middle of it I looked up to see Emily and Hays pulling into our driveway. It was a lovely surprise for Mother’s Day! They also gifted me with some homemade vanilla that I cannot wait to use.

Sarah and Devon sent me the absolute best card along with a beautiful new addition to my Willow Tree figurine collection.

Rob and Abigail, Sam and Claire gave me the one thing I have wanted for literally years and years and we finally have the best place for it here…a swing to hang from one of our beautiful oak trees! I can hardly wait to sit in the mornings with Rob and drink our coffee together.

Speaking of coffee, my sweet friend and I went to a really lovely bakery in Lake Charles called The Bekery as a way to wrap up a book we’d been reading together. The food was scrumptious and I enjoyed a yummy lavender and honey latte. We are already planning our next read and decided this will be our tradition every time we finish a book.

Another favorite this week is this book.

We are looking for ways of using our property instead of selling parcels of it. Currently we are researching raising chickens and/or pigs and cultivating a flower farm. I am more excited about laying hens and their beautiful yard eggs rather than raising meat birds. And I like the idea of pigs more than meat birds for some reason. But I am positively delirious with joy at the idea of a flower farm! I almost always have fresh flowers in my house and if you pay any attention to my photography it’s easy to see how much I enjoy floral photography. I have a lot of reading to do to be able to really make things thrive in the ground here but I’m eager for the challenge.

Currently we have a huge blackberry bush growing and producing like gangbusters so I know the land can be fruitful. Trying to harvest ripe berries earlier in the week earned me and Emily some scratches but no pain no gain, right? Totally worth the yummy hand pies Claire baked yesterday. There are a ton of almost ready berries and I realize I am going to have to check it daily if I don’t want them going to waste. It’s already frustrating because of some of them are out of reach already but the bush is so beautiful.

Since we are talking about sweet treats I am going to wrap up this week’s Friday Favorites post with a link to a recipe I made a few weeks back for church. My mother shared it with me years ago and until recently I had forgotten all about it. For some reason the original recipe was called Italian Bakeless Cake which just doesn’t sit right with me. I have no idea what is Italian about it but the weirder thing to me was calling it “bakeless” which is just an odd sounding word to me. I promptly made it Italian No Bake Cake but no matter what you call it just make sure you get called to the table to enjoy it!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Friday Favorites – Puppy Edition (From my Phone)

Rex and Louis.

They are such a pair! Full of energy, mischief, and mayhem. But my goodness, we love these little guys! Rob probably not as much because the amusement of puppy antics wears thin for him rather quickly but he does say he will love the dogs they are going to be 🙃

They used to be so little!

Now Rex is about 30lbs and Louis is 26lbs. When I walk them by myself that is a whole lot of puppy to handle!

They are so funny though. One of them will find a stick or something (anything really and I do mean anything 🤢) and they will let just enough hang out of the side of their mouth so the other one can see it. Then the fun begins! The one with something will deliberately pass into the line of sight of the one who does not have something and the shenanigans start.

Looks like an episode for dogs gone wild or something but it’s not a cigar I promise, just a stick.

Tug of war is a favorite pastime of theirs. And so are bubbles which just makes me laugh watching them.

We do spend a lot of time with them outdoors and Rob built them a dog run of sorts that I affectionately refer to as the play pen. Our yard is plenty big so we take lots of walks, rain or shine.

A stunning selfie of me in my raincoat and what you can’t see are my wellies. Whoever invented rubber boots has my deep heartfelt gratitude.

We are working to having them in the main part of the house which they love. They are such social creatures and really want to be with their people. They are finally past the initial excitement of being inside and needing to explore and sniff every inch of everything and will actually settle down and rest inside in whatever room most of us happen to be in. That does tend to be the kicthen most often and they get quite curious when I’m cooking.

They still like watching the horses. As they have gotten bigger they have gotten braver and will bark at them. They horses pay little attention to them.

Poor Lucy…she is great with child and due to foal next week. I figure that even though I have been watching and waiting and waiting she is probably going to give birth while we are in Monroe for the wedding :-/

So that’s the puppy update. It’s funny to me that we now have two cats and two dogs and Rob is also planning on getting chickens. (We will put them in a veritable fortress to protect them from the pups.) The girls are still trying to convince Rob we need cows but Claire is hoping only a milk cow. No way does she want to raise her future dinner 😉

Have a good weekend, y’all!

It’s The Weekend, Y’all

We have friends coming to visit us from Florida tomorrow and we are so excited to see them! We have settled in and found a home here so much faster than we expected and it gives me much joy to introduce my Florida people to my Louisiana people. They will even get to be here for church on Sunday.

In somewhat related news, Emily has just about all of her stuff out of the apartment so I will take today to wash linens and get the space ready for Al and Mary to stay in. Bless her heart, Em has been driving back and forth a lot between here, Monroe, and Pensacola and I know she is ready for the wedding and to finally get settled. I am excited for her but at times it also makes me sad…somehow I wasn’t quite prepared for how quickly we arrived here and I naively thought because I had already gone through having a daughter move out that I knew what to expect. I didn’t, mainly because when Sarah moved into her apartment she was still only 20 minutes away. I’m adjusting though. Being mindful that this is the normal and right way of things. It helps that Hays is such a godly young man and I know he will love Emily well.

And this brings me to the first of this week’s Friday favorites. When we were in Monroe for Em’s birthday we were talking about how difficult it has been for my very homebody child to basically be living in limbo since our move in November. She knew she wouldn’t be here with us in Sulphur for long so it really hasn’t become her home in a settled sense. She also knows that despite Hays moving into the apartment they will share and being able to decorate and set it up that that is not yet her home either. Throw in trips back to Pensacola for wedding dress fittings and meetings and you can see why she is just sort of over it. I joked something about her being a woman without a country and Hays quipped back without any hesitation that she does indeed have a country, she is just waiting on her visa. Y’all may not find that as funny as I did but it really made me laugh. I think he might be ready for the actual wedding to get here too.

Here are a few favorite images of some yellow tulips I had recently. I love tulips, don’t you? I love flowers in general and cannot wait for spring to get here so I can start playing in the dirt!

Another favorite thing I came across this week is this cartoon. I get confused by all the texting abbreviations and this were quite funny to me. I think my favorites are ROFL and MOG.

The article I was reading about the cartoonist also used the word pithy and that fell into the favorite things category too. Sarah just returned from a trip to England and one of the biggest things she noticed was the differences between the way Americans speak and the way the English speak. It was more than the obvious accents; she said they just use nicer words in general and sound so much more pleasant. They probably use the word pithy more than we do.

Last favorite thing for this week. You can go here and get the recipe for a delicious sweet treat that I took to the superbowl party we went to last Sunday. This cookie dough dip is made with cream cheese and melted brown sugar and butter and is just so tasty and a little unusual from normal sweet treats. You should make some.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

A Friday Favorite

Wasn’t yesterday simply glorious? The weather was so perfect! The only issue I had with it is that the perfect spring day really shouldn’t show itself in early January but what is there to do other than enjoy it?

The puppies had a great day and Rob worked on building them a sort of dog run/pen that will be great for them. It is amazing how quickly they are growing and running out of good space in the laundry room. (While I am somewhat sure they could safely be inside the main part of the house without accidents now they have no self control around the cats. We tried. We will not be doing that again anytime soon.) They love being outside though so the space Rob is making for them will be perfect. Plenty of sunshine but around a tree and safe from scooting under the big fence into the horse field behind us and eating things that ought not to be eaten by anyone.

I took advantage of the beautiful weather to repot some house plants I recently bought. Over the last five years or so I learned that I could actually keep plants alive but unfortunately when we made the move from Florida I didn’t have room to bring all of them with me. I brought a few of the ones I had had the longest and now I am working to add more to our home. I love having fresh flowers in the house but I also really enjoy nice green plants. They add such a touch of life to a home, don’t you think?

I rescued this little guy from the clearance section at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure where I am going to put him yet but I am sure I will find the right spot.

Even though I have been working with houseplants for a few years I still consider myself a novice. Because of this if I am not careful I end up honing in on one or two types of plants and only using them but I really want to broaden my green thumb. I didn’t have one of these (Please don’t ask its name…I forgot to keep the little plastic thing that came with it with that information.) I choose it because of the variegated greens on the leaves. It’s so bright and lively.

It found a nice home in our entryway which is still a work in progress. Rob is going to paint it using the same color he put in our bedroom; and we are looking for just the right table or hall tree to be a focal point. Then a rug and stuff on the walls but we really don’t want to rush just to have something there so patience is called for. But until then I wanted something to make it look less empty and undone.

The last plant to be potted is one that I already have that does well. He adds just the right color and look to our fireplace ledge. Most of the time I stick with white pots but this little guy came with the additional turquoise~esque one and it ties in nicely with the couch pillows so I decided to use it.

I’m thinking there might still be a few things to tweak yet here but I like how things are right now so I am content to make changes only when the right thing shows itself. I’m learning the value in waiting even as I balance my nesting and the desire to have everything settled and done.

I think one of the reasons I love house plants so much is the simplicity but gentle vitality they add to a room. Someone once said that having a beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house. I like that thought, don’t you?

Friday Favorites Target Edition

So, I enjoy shopping to a certain extent but I am not one of those store or brand specific fangirls always gushing about the latest thing at Target or TJ Maxx or wherever. However, this week I came across a few things spending time with one of my girls and browsing at Target (one of her favorite stores) and decided I would share them here.

This first thing is the only one I actually bought. The others are just wouldn’t-that-be-nice-to-have kinds of things.

I am always looking for good kitchen towels. I use them a lot plus I am a very tactile person so a good kitchen towel is, well good. I was pretty sure these had a good feel to them and seemed like they would be absorbent but I have learned my lesson in the past so I only bought one to try it out. Loved it enough that I went back the next day for another one.

First, they’re huge which my soul doth love. So does my son. He actually commented on it when he was drying dishes after dinner. Second, they have some nice color accents but no obnoxious pattern. And third, they dry things wonderfully. In a nutshell, I give you the perfect kitchen towel.

IMG-0822 (1)

Like I said, I don’t go much for specific brands. Mostly because I want to like something based on the merit of the thing itself and not just the name attached to it. However, there is a reason that Target partnered with Chip and Joanna Gaines. The stuff is really really lovely. Whether I get anything else from them it is just a delight to browse their collection and see what they are doing.

Something else of the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia I enjoyed were some of their candles. I love the look and most of the smells were marvelous. What I didn’t love? The price tag. As pretty as they are at $15 a pop I probably won’t buy them. (I do realize they are less expensive than gold standard Yankee Candles but I don’t buy those either.And these smell way better than the Yankee in my opinion.) If I was going to spend that kind of money on something that I will literally burn up it would be these though, for sure.

When I finally stopped handling the towels and sniffing the candles and moved into the general kitchen section I found a couple of other things I liked. I was actually looking for a table runner but the one I liked was a little more than I was willing to spend on an impulse buy.

(Side note: my husband loves my shopping habits. I will go in and wander and look and pick up and set down without buying much, if anything at all. I have a friend who calls me an unshopper. I guess I just have to be in the right mood to actually spend money unless I really need it or want it.)

IMG-0805 (1)I like pineapples though and how cute are these salt and pepper shakers?

I hesitate to use the word “collect” because then somehow I will end up with 457 pineapples but I do have a few pineapple things already. A couple of white ceramic ones in my kitchen and a key chain. And t-shirt. Okay, I borrow my daughter’s pineapple earrings occasionally too. Oh, goodness I also have a cute tunic dress with a pineapple pattern on it. Maybe I have a problem already and just didn’t realize it.

IMG-0807 (1)

 

So as not to go overboard with pineapple stuff (more than I apparently have already) I also found a line of glass and wood kitchen items that I really liked. How fun is this pitcher? Perfect for orange juice or the lemoncello vodka collins I shared last week on She Feeds Her Family.

What I haven’t found? Napkins. Cloth napkins to be specific. I mean I can find them but not the right texture. And by right texture I mean ones that my love will like.

I guess I will just have to keep wandering and browsing and unshopping until I do find some 🙂