Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Secrets

This Saturday morning I thought I'd share a few secrets with you dear readers. I am absolutely not a private person - I keep it real at all times - but I'm not an open person either, if that makes any sense at all. So here are a few of my deepest, darkest secrets.

1. I am the most self-conscious person you will ever meet. Modest to the core and never, ever confident.

2. I am a hopeless romantic, and I feel the need for constant affirmation.

3. I expect more of myself than others do.

4. I am madly in love with my family, friends and job... and I am so thankful for the people in my life.

5. I have had precisely 3 serious boyfriends in my lifetime (all of which I dated for no less than 3 years), and I can count on one hand the amount of people I have ever kissed. True story.

6. I am constantly seeking perfection: Perfect marriage, perfect children, perfect job, perfect body, perfect family, perfect life. I've only recently discovered that it doesn't exist.

7. I would seriously like to write a book someday.

8. I can't say no. No matter what. Unfortunately, it's hereditary. I hope I can teach MaryCollis to be a stand-up person without feeling constantly obligated.

9. I love to sing. I love music. I wish I could play guitar so we could have sing-alongs as MaryCollis grows up. Sometimes I secretly wish I was a back-up singer to somebody amazing like Bonnie Raitt or Carole King.

10. Despite being very opinionated, I am actually quite tender-hearted and have my feelings hurt very easily.



I never watch Oprah, but I happened to land on the channel the other day while Rob Lowe was on, and I have to say that I am amazed by him. His new book "Stories I only Tell My Friends" came out the other day, and I desperately want to read it. I fancy him a very honest, loving, family man-type person, and I teared up as he read an excerpt about his wife of 20 years.

"And in the most surprising fact of my life - the one point I thought I wasn't capable of feeling and unworthy of achieving - I am still in love with my wife. After almost 20 years of marriage, I look at her face and see her radiant light. I hold her and feel our hard-earned and sometimes difficult history passing between us, enveloping us in an aura of comfort, gratitude and profound attraction. If you'd asked me when I was a young punk what would've been the best thing that could've come my way, I would've said to be in a movie directed by Martin Scorsese... but God had other plans. He gave me Sheryl."


What a man. His interview was so honest and raw that it got me thinking about myself and not only the kind of person I actually am but the kind of person I want other people to see me as. Do you ever get the impression that people view you as a completely different person than you actually are?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Notes on the Royal Wedding

When it comes to the Royal Wedding, I was not one of those over-the-top excited/wake up at 4AM kind of gals. I simply didn't care. But I just so happened to catch the re-run this morning, and I literally could not take my eyes off Kate. Could she be any more perfect?


Everything about her was flawless - the hair, the makeup, the tiara, the gown, the earrings, the veil... well, there was that hideous bouquet but I suppose I can overlook that.

Was I the only person in the WORLD who loved this hat? Love.It. Everybody is talking about how terrible she looked. My word! It's not as if every other hat was tiny and delicate, and she showed up looking like Lady Gaga's latest invention. They were all large and obnoxious! It was by far my favorite. Not to mention that the same person designed every single hat, so you can't really single her out - none of these folks picked their wardrobes. The end.

Who would've thought Harry would turn out to be the hot one?!

Those Middletons sure got some good genes. Lawsy mercy at that figure!

Her evening gown. Swoon.

Did you guys watch? What are your thoughts?

Fabulous Finds Friday

I haven't bought shoes in a long, long time... so when Chad announced his plans to take me to New Orleans last weekend, I knew I had to bite the bullet. I desperately needed some black pumps that were not so 2005, and guess where I found them? PAYLESS! I also found these gems.


They are so cute and SO comfortable. Payless has got it going on. Have you guys been recently?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Tricks!

Last week in Starkville, MaryCollis debuted the "stanky leg" similar to Dan Mullen's stanky leg (fast forward to the 1:52 mark for some laughs). Chad's commentary puts it over the top.


New as of TODAY, MaryCollis can sit up in the crib by herself... making naptime difficult.

Thrifty Thursday


I planned on going to the grocery store today, so I spent all morning scouring the internet for coupons and deals. I found some good ones too - including $5 off Huggies diapers (we prefer Pamper's but you can't beat $5 off!), $4 off a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD (hot dog!) and buy one get one free Ole Spice deodorant (Raz recommended I switch to OS immediately!). I had about $20 in coupons, so needless to say I was pretty pumped up.

On my budget-friendly shopping list:
Link sausage (for red beans and rice)
Broccoli and carrots (to steam as a side dish)
Sweet potatoes (as a main dish for MC and as a side dish for the adults - Need it twice? Cook it once.)
Cornmeal (for cornbread-makin')
Noodles (for a pasta dish I'm making Saturday)


Coupons and a long list in-hand, me and MC head into Walmart (sigh). ATTENTION LAUREL RESIDENTS! Avoid Walmart at all costs until they finish remodeling. It is a hot mess. All the old people are stopping to talk to MaryCollis, and I don't even mind that they've trapped me into a corner in the freezer section with their motorized shopping carts because I have a PILE of coupons that I'm super excited to use. I'm just throwing things in the cart willy-nilly because "Oh yeah! I've been meaning to get MaryCollis some sunscreen" and "I wonder if this Johnson's Vaporizing Bath Wash will help her congestion?" So by the time I get to the checkout, my buggy was overflowing.

When the girl announced my total, I was a bit taken aback but then I remembered my coupons! She took the stack of print-outs and immediately said, "Baby, these ain't got no barcode." Huh? I looked down at the pile and said, "Yeah, they do, they're right there - see?" She shook her head. "Naw. They's supposed to be a smaller one in the corner I can scan." Fiddlesticks. The only reason I bought Huggies was because I had a coupon. The only reason I bought the DVD is because I had a coupon. The only reason I bought the deodorant is because I had a flipping coupon! Blast.

Turns out I wasn't so thrifty today, but I do have a cheap meal idea to share with you!

Cheesy Pasta Bake
1 box noodles (any kind will do - I like penne)
1 jar sauce (your choice!)
1 lb. beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pack sharp cheddar cheese

Put beef, garlic, onion and bell pepper in a skillet and cook until meat is done (You can cook the veggies separately in olive oil but I like to skip a step - and avoid washing another pot!). Tip: If you're not concerned about eating on the cheap, you could add anything here - squash, zucchini, mushrooms, etc. Drain and return to pan. Add jar of sauce and stir to combine (if you have them on hand, you could add bay leaves here). Cook on low heat until hot and the flavors have combined a bit.

Cook pasta and drain (be sure to add salt to your pot - gotta give that pasta some flava). Pour sauce mixture into pasta pot and stir until pasta is coated. Pile sauced pasta into a baking dish and top with tons of cheese. Bake at 350 until bubbly and golden brown. So simple, delicious and cheap! The best part is, it makes about 8 servings (normal servings, not Chad-sized servings), so you can eat on it all week.

Chad and I just made this recipe up one day. We were so sick of plain ole spaghetti, so we conjured up this easy concoction. You could play around with this any way you want to - you could use alfredo sauce instead of marinara and use broccoli, carrots and chicken in place of onion and bell pepper. You could add cream cheese to your marinara sauce and make it a creamy sauce. The possibilities are endless. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

What happens when Chad takes MaryCollis for a campus stroll with a camera handy? Behold.

The Junction

Dudy Noble

The Hump

Just working on my fitness... at the Sanderson Center.

Chapel of Memories

Union

Lee Hall

Gerald, the Narcoleptic ... I gave her a double bath when she got home!

Swalm/Drill Field

Davis Wade

Happy Hump Day!
aarp

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Cherry Tomato Salad (via my friend Pam Jones)

40 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can sliced black olives
1 cup sliced green olives
3 oz. pine nuts
2 green onions, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 TB sugar
salt & pepper to taste


In a dry skillet, toast pine nuts over medium heat until golden brown. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, green olives, black olives and onion (tip: this looks lovely in a glass bowl!). In a small bowl mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Pour wet ingredients and nuts into glass bowl containing vegetables and gently stir. Chill one hour.

-------------------------------

This is such a great Spring/Summertime salad... You can eat it plain, as a side dish to meat or atop crackers. And it really does look so elegant in a beautiful glass bowl (think Hope's engagement party, Raz and Mal!).

Enjoy (and sorry no photo)!
aarp

Monday, April 25, 2011

Motherhood Monday


I have an amazing tip for you mamas out there. I can't remember exactly where I first heard the idea, but it is the single most fabulous piece of advice I have gotten so far. And I'm going to share it with you, my sweet readers. Layering bed sheets. That's it. It's that simple and that genius. Here's how:

1) Cover baby mattress with a waterproof pad (like these).
2) Top with a fitted sheet.
3) Lay another waterproof pad on top of sheet.
4) Top with fitted sheet.
5) Lay another waterproof pad on top of sheet.
6) Top with fitted sheet.

This system is crucial during the early months of accidents. The older your baby gets, the less you'll appreciate the layering system; however, when your baby is sick or has those random spit ups you will be so thankful you did it. When the babe has an accident, just rip off a sheet and pad and put her straight back down. You can do that 2 more times before having to layer all 3 back on there. Everybody knows you can't change a baby's bed by yourself. It's impossible. So save yourself the hassle of a middle-of-the-night mattress change. This is a great system, and we've only had to make MC's bed twice so far (after ripping all 3 sheets off). That's an average of once every 3-4 months. Ain't bad. DO IT!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Week in Starkville

This past Monday, the Patricks packed up and hit the road for Starkpatch. The Napiers (plus Ben's youngest brother, Jesse) joined us for a sleepover because we were taking Jesse on a tour of campus Tuesday morning. After a long day of touring MSU/Starkville, the Napiers headed north to Oxford to visit Ole Miss (just 1.5 hours away), and Aunt Lauren headed south from Oxford to visit us in Starkville!  We were so happy to have her because Wednesday was one of the worst days I've seen as a mother, and Lauren always knows exactly what to do or say ("Let me put her to bed while y'all go eat dinner some place quiet" or "Come on, MaryCollis, let's go play outside while Mama gets a nap" - God bless that woman). We had some super crazy weather while Lauren was visiting. Tornadoes and hail everywhere!

These pictures were taken about 5 minutes apart. So weird!

MC during scewwy wevver

As you know, MC has been battling something for a few weeks now. She was on Amoxil, but apparently that didn't fix whatever was ailing her. And by Thursday I had had enough. And I mean enough. We weren't in Laurel, so I didn't know what the heck to do so I called our doctor to check in. I explained to the sweet nurse who answered the phone that she was crying non-stop and still wouldn't eat and I just KNEW it was an ear infection because she kept pulling on her ears, and she said, "You need to take her somewhere."

So Aunt Lauren and I took MC to Urgent Care, and we weren't very enthusiastic at first but the doctor was so friendly and so sweet to our little MaryCollis, that he changed our minds. He said her ears were just as perfect as they could be but her throat was red and that's probably why she's pulling her ears because the ears and throat are connected and the brain can't tell the difference when one hurts. He prescribed a different antibiotic, told us to Clorox all her toys and give her infant ibuprofen because in addition to the sore throat, she was probably fussy from teething (Ugh! That again... I swear, MC will be 14 years old and we'll still be saying "Don't mind her. She's just teething"). Can we say OVER IT?! I don't know what made the difference, but the rest of the weekend she has been perfectly fine. Babies are so weird.

Thursday night my parents came into town (along with Belle), Will and Ash followed on Friday (along with Kit) and Andrew came in on Saturday. So we had a house full - 5 family members, 2 spouses and 3 dogs. Phew. We made fajitas for lunch on Friday, and Mac came to visit since she was off work. That evening, all the boys went to watch baseball at Dudy Noble while Mom and I stayed home with the baby.

Saturday morning, we all got up early to go to the Cotton District Arts Festival and Taste of Starkville - an annual event held in Starkville's historic Cotton District. Basically, there is tons of food, live music and art/crafts for miles. It's usually held the same weekend as Super Bulldog weekend, but this year they were separate. It was an amazing crowd for Easter weekend! Check it out. (Click photos to enlarge).

Top left: Laurel native Mandy Buchanan's booth.

Awesome hand-carved and hand-stamped posters (we bought one).

Gah... the Cotton District is STILL where it's at.


The Fam


All smiles at CDAF

The sun was in and out on Easter Sunday, but here are some shots of MaryCollis on her first Easter!

Everything went straight into the mouth. Everything.

Oops! Her fall down.

Doc, you're so silly.

You see my toofers?

Whoopsee.

Angel girl.

"I don't want to take pictures anymore, Aunt Ashmo."

MaryCollis has slept like a rock all week in Starkville... and it may or may not be because she is sleeping in a walk-in closet with no windows. You bet your toosh I'm going to Target as soon as we get home tomorrow to purchase some blackout curtains.

Hope y'all had a good Easter!
aarp

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fabulous Finds Friday


As mentioned earlier this week, MaryCollis has been a sick little thing. There is one product I simply cannot live without during times of illness. If I could buy stock in this product, I would. It's the Stephan Baby Mini Medicine Bottle.

It's genius!! You no longer have to fight your baby with a syringe to get 2-3 teaspoons of medicine down them. And no more staining! They suck it down just like a bottle - no mess. With Tylenol or gas drops, you're only giving them a few drops at the time, so you can just use the dropper... but when babies are on antibiotics or large amounts of medication, this thing is a lifesaver. Sho nuff.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Coupon Suzy. Have you heard of it? It's amazing! I've always been annoyed by those people that hold up the line at grocery stores because they want to save .03 cents on their ground beef... but motherhood does something to a person. Saving money (even .03 cents) is no longer a choice... it's a necessity. And it's kind of fun! Chad and I have fallen in love with Wanchai Ferry meals. They are so cheap ($6.50 for a 2-person meal) and delicious - and Coupon Suzy always has a $1.50 off coupon for them. So yeah, for a $5 meal ($2.50 per person), I'll clip a dadgum coupon. Sue me.

A few of my favorite CS coupons: All Big G cereals (stock up on those Cheerios, moms!), Wanchai Ferry, Nature Valley granola bars, Similac, Pampers, Huggies, contact solution and DVDs. Sometimes it's hit or miss, but so are all bargains (Hudson's Salvage, Big Lots, Dirt Cheap, etc.). I check it 1-2x per week and again right before I head to the grocery store. You can also type in your zip code to get more specialized deals. Try it!


I also wanted to share a cheap meal idea with you. It's so stinking easy you will kick yourself that you hadn't thought of it before, and people LOVE it (right, Raz??). It's called Taco Pie. Here goes.

2 cans of crescent rolls
1-2 lb. ground beef (depending on how beefy you want it)
1 bag sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1-2 packs taco seasoning (1 pack if you're using 1lb. beef; 2 if you're using 2lb. beef)


Line a 9x13 Pyrex with one of the cans of crescents (I spray my dish with Pam first). Brown beef, drain and put back in the pan. Add taco season + water and cook according to directions on back of packet (usually 5-10 minutes). Pour seasoned meat over crescents, then top with as much cheese as you like. Top it off with the other can of crescents and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes - depending on your oven. It'll be golden brown and so flaky and delicious you will die. You can top it with sour cream, salsa, black olives, jalapenos, whatever you want! But you honestly don't even have to. It's that good.

Enjoy!
aarp

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

My parents were in New Orleans for a dental conference last week - and Chad thought I needed some time away from it all - so me, Chad and MaryCollis packed up and hit the dusty trail Saturday morning. We met Mom and Dad for lunch at Ugly Dog Saloon (a hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint that did not disappoint!), then they took Doodle Bug home with them while we spent the night. Here is our weekend in photos (click photos to enlarge):
Ugly Dog Saloon & BBQ, where we found initials (identical to Andrew's) written in the concrete. We thought it was a coincidence until he told us they were actually his!

On our way to dinner at Muriel's, we were stopped by a traditional New Orleans wedding march (so neat!), then we leisurely walked around snapping photos so I could get some practice with my new cam. Obviously, I haven't mastered nighttime photography. :(

Sunday morning on our way to breakfast at Cafe Fleur De Lis (our FAV!!), we shopped around town for our dream apartment (if we ever win the lottery). We found this gem nestled at the intersection of Royal and Conti (top left and bottom photos). It's right down the street from these other two buildings, which I love. The white one with the palm trees reminds me of the architecture in Monaco (click here to view my facebook album from our Monaco trip).

Cafe Fleur De Lis. Get the pancakes. Amazing.

After breakfast, we browsed our favorite children's shop - Nola Kids. The selection is amazing, and the prices are even cheaper than the children's shops in Laurel! We also took a look-see at a new shoe store called ShoeBeDo (cute name, not so cute shoes). The shoes were really out there - which I can appreciate - but the price tags were also out there - which I can not. :) After window shopping on Chartres, we went to Riverwalk and found some really cute onesies with bands on them (a few of our favs: "Crawl the Line - Johnny Cash" and "Who's Bad - Michael Jackson").

Also at the Riverwalk, we found numerous items we could've (and should've) gotten for the Napiers.
1) A hand-painted scene from TBL and a hand-painted portrait of The Dude.
2) "Kitchen." No explanation necessary.
3) A plethora of Marilyn Monroe paraphernalia (since Raz's latest obsession is the Kennedy family).

Also, I should have gotten BOTH of these for McDoodle. How PRECIOUS are these?! Love.

Happy Hump Day!
aarp

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