I Could Sing Of That Corn Forever

I knew deep down in my butter-clogged heart of hearts that we would have some mighty fine food while we were at the ranch. So when Ree arrived at The Lodge on Tuesday night with this tray – and about five others – I knew we were in for a treat.

Oh my mercy. Were we ever. Because that’s a big bag of avocados, my friends.

Avocados are one of my love languages. Along with tomatoes and black beans and sweet potatoes and steak and do you really want me to finish this list? Because it could take awhile.

So. Here’s the skinny about the food (OH, I am loaded with punny lameness today).

Monday night we ate a bunch of appetizers because we had a LOT of TV to watch and a big meal would have taken away from our TV time. And let me just tell you: we did some TALKIN’ BACK to the TV. I was especially vocal, mainly because I can’t seem to shake the feeling that if I just talk loudly enough, I can convince the people on the screen to listen to me. Please remember that I have never claimed to be rational and/or even remotely normal.

Ree brought us some cream cheese-stuffed jalapeños that were wrapped in bacon, and we WIPED THEM OUT. I think there were two left the next morning. And I think there were zero left after we’d been awake about four minutes. So we had the jalapeños and some really great salsa and tortilla chips and mashed avocado with chopped tomatoes on top and a whole bunch of cheese. It was perfect.

Tuesday at lunch we warmed up a pasta dish that Ree brought us Monday. I don’t know if the recipe is on her blog or not, but it was pasta shells, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash COVERED UP with the most delicious white sauce I have ever eaten. Somehow it managed to be hearty and light all at the same time. Shannon and I talked about it the whole time we were eating. And I know that it was totally healthy because hello? Did you see all those vegetables I just mentioned?

Since Melanie and Shannon have already written about Tuesday night’s supper, I’ll just add this: it was one of the most fun meals of my life – one of those times when the people and the conversation and the food were a happy, happy blend. The only thing that would have made it better is if all of our husbands could have been there. However, Marlboro Man was a mighty good sport to hang in there with us – even though he was outnumbered four to one – and he didn’t seem the least bit fazed by the way Mel and I TALK VERY LOUDLY AT THE SAME TIME when we’re together.

(By the way, Mel and I met Shannon’s hubby for the first time Sunday night, and we were crazy about him, too. The three of us talked about SEC and Big 12 football for about two hours, and I just think that’s the most fun – when you meet a friend’s husband and think oh, y’all TOTALLY belong together. Makes me love my friends even more when I get to know their sweet husbands.)

(Anyway. Where was I? Something about supper?)

Okay. Pictures. I only have a few because I was very busy with all the eating and all the talking.

This is officially the first time I’ve posted a picture of a raw slab of beef on my blog, but I just think that when you see butter slathered on top of meat, you need to document it. Treasure the moment. Preserve it forever and always so that future generations can testify to the goodness of butter and beef together. Amen.

Bready bread bread. Filled with all manner of buttery breadish deliciousness.

And here is The Best Corn I Have Ever Eaten In My Whole Life, And That Is Saying Something Because I Have Put Away Some Corn In My Time. I know the picture is blurry. I think it’s because my hands were a little shaky in the midst of so much corn-related excitement.

The whole meal was so stinkin’ good. And the company was even better. We all had some OPINIONS. OH-PIN-YUNS. So much fun.

And do you know what I really, really miss about The Lodge today now that I’m safe and sound and sitting in my pajamas back home in Alabama? Besides all the fun, funny friends, of course?

This refrigerated drawer.

I really been trying to cut back on my Diet Coke consumption, but every single time we opened this drawer, I could have sworn that I heard angels sing.

Peppy, caffeinated angels.

With cartons of Land O’ Lakes butter in their hands.

Resisting The Urge To Title This Post “Where The Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down The Plain”

Yesterday Melanie, Shannon and I embarked on a little road trip to visit Ree. Even though the four of us have emailed back and forth and forth and back for what seems like forever, we’ve never gotten to sit down and hang out and talk nonstop and eat bacon. So yesterday we hopped in the car, drove out to the middle of nowhere, turned right and left and left and right and then drove a bunch more miles. Then we waited for a horse to cross the road. And then we drove a little farther. And when we finally caught our first glance of this wide expanse of land, we gasped.

Seriously. I still have not found the words to describe how gorgeous it is. But when I find the words, I will share them.


Last night Ree told us that we were going to get up early today, “work cattle” and maybe even ride a horse if we wanted to. Melanie was all about some horseback riding, but since the last time I rode a horse my forehead had an unfortunate mishap with a tree limb, I decided that I’d pass on the horse-related activity. Shannon agreed. So we both woke up this morning after Melanie left to make her acquaintance with Peso The Wonder Horse, and we donned our ranch-y shirts and blue jeans. While we hummed “Oklahoma.”

Because cliches are important to us.

Oh, and I should also tell you that last night, when one of Ree’s daughters told Melanie that she was going to be riding Peso today, I misheard the horse’s name as “Queso” and spent the better part of twelve hours absolutely delighted that Melanie was going to get to ride a horse named Cheese.

If I ever write a book set in the Wild West, I think that will be my title: A Horse Named Cheese.

Anyway, Ree picked up Shannon and me around 6:30 this morning, and we rode out to a pasture where there were a lot of cowboys and lo, even more cows. As soon as I saw Melanie I knew that her horseback riding experience had left an indelible imprint on, well, the top half of her legs, but she perked up when she realized that I had her sunglasses with me (I’d impulsively picked them up on my way out the door because it was so stinkin’ bright outside). Apparently even cowgirls need their tortoiseshell Jackie O shades.

For the next couple of hours we watched the cowboys (and Missy!) brand and vaccinate calves. We tried to stay out of the way and in the blessed shade, but the whole process really was fascinating. Those men work HARD – I mean, they essentially wrestled livestock for the better part of the morning, and it was so evident within the first five minutes that they absolutely love what they do. It was hot and they were covered from head-to-toe in I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-what, but they were a happy bunch. So were the kids. And everybody was so nice to us, especially considering that my obnoxiously large sunglasses coupled with my Adidas tennis shoes practically screamed, “HELLO! I AM A TOURIST FROM ANOTHER PLANET! I HAVE COME TO WATCH YOU WITH YOUR COWS AND YOUR HORSES IN YOUR PASTURES!”

I tried to take lots of pictures, but let me tell you: it is HARD to take pictures of cows. There’s virtually no shade in the middle of the pasture, so the sun beats down on everything and creates a glare and renders my little point and shoot camera pretty much useless. Plus, cows move. They move a lot. So I have a new level of appreciation for Ree’s photography, because suffice it to say that I didn’t really get the same results that she does.

For example.

Stunning, isn’t it?

Oh, I do have a gift.

There was so much memorable stuff about the morning – the sound of all that cattle, for one thing, because WHO KNEW THAT COWS WERE SO NOISY – but I think what I loved more than anything was just watching how everybody interacted, everybody helped out, and everybody managed to have fun doing some seriously dirty work in the midst of some seriously mind-numbing heat.

And the kids found a baby turtle.

And somebody was maybe a little on the sleepy side when he put on his boots this morning.

And finally: do you think I could fit this little one into my luggage?

Because if so, I’m totally taking him home.

Because Printer-Copier-Scanners Are Handy

So, internets. Could I interest you in winning one of these?


Because I have a giveaway for the (wireless!) HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One Printer, Scanner & Copier going on right here.

It just might be your lucky day.

(Edited to add: you have to enter the contest on the giveaway page – so I’m going to close comments to this post. Thanks, y’all!)


This post by Antique Mommy left me wistful and teary-eyed.

And it reminded me that while these days we’re living in might be tinged with bittersweet, they are still very, very good.

Christmas Tour Of Homes 2008


Hey, internets – welcome to the 2008 Christmas Tour of Homes!

I’ll go ahead and confess to y’all that I panicked a little bit last week when I realized that this tour-o-homes business was on the horizon and, HELLO, MY HOUSE LOOKS JUST LIKE IT ALWAYS DOES AT CHRISTMAS, OH SWEET MERCY THE PRESSURE.

But then I remembered that there are a few little traditions that I’ve never shared with you, and as you can imagine my relief was palpable.

First, though, let’s look at all the stuff that looks just like last year!



And with lights!


Oh, we are very fancy. And once again I can take absolutely no credit at all for my tree, because Mama decorated every single bit of it. Thankfully she didn’t take any tree-related tumbles this year, though the decorating was briefly interrupted by a pesky stomach virus. Obviously she rebounded and finished the task at hand remarkably well.

As always I decorated the bar in our living room. For those of you who aren’t familiar with why there’s a bar in our living room, here’s the gist: our house was built in 1974, and apparently early-70s homeowners felt it was imperative that beverage service be located within ten feet of the television. For whatever reason I get a kick out of the fact that the wet bar now boasts garland, lights, Christmas stockings, and a one-armed monkey stocking hanger.



See? That’s our one-armed monkey stocking hanger. The monkey used to have two arms, but then he tied up with a certain two year-old a few years ago, and the two year-old won. The monkey still does an absolutely beautiful job holding a stocking, though, and I smile every single time I walk past him.

(He’s also completely broken in two at the waist, so it stands to reason that he could use some encouragement.)

Our Christmas card tree – which is a 6 1/2 foot tree that we got for free and now use to display Christmas cards in the playroom – is one of my favorite traditions. It brings me untold delight, especially around December 24th when it’s chock-full-o-cards.


And, as always, I LURVE me a festive table.


For the last several years I’ve put my parents’ aluminum Christmas tree (from way back in ye olden 60s) in our little boy’s room. He loves it because it’s shiny (it’s also very lean-y) and because we put Mickey Mouse lights on it. All the ornaments on this tree are from my childhood – my brother’s elves, my sister’s carolers, my handmade stuff from Sunday School and kindergarten – and it’s so much fun to see how much the little man enjoys it.


And another fun thing in his room? This giant stocking hanging from a curtain rod.


In the past I’ve always done garland and lights outside our front door, but this year I wanted to do something a little more simple because, well, I just wanted to do something a little more simple, AS IS MY PREROGATIVE AS A FEMALE, OH THANK YOU. So I found this cool iron container at TJ Maxx for $9.99, and I filled it with some pieces of a shrub that’s in our backyard.


And just to clarify for all you gardener people, I believe that the Latin name of the greenery I used is shrubae in our backyardae.

Be sure to look for it in your favorite horticulture journals.

The container tends to clang against the front door when people walk in or leave, so it also works as a bell. Who knew my $9.99 would provide me with a container for greenery and an entry notification system? I’m completely undeserving of such good fortune.

Finally, when we were visiting my brother and sister-in-law last weekend, I was totally captivated by the Nativity scene they have in their foyer – and I took a picture of it just for y’all. Because I love how every single creature in the stable is looking at the manger and anticipating the arrival of Jesus.


May the same be true of us, sweet friends.

Thanks so much for joining in the fun today – I hope you have a great time touring and commenting and visiting and whathaveyou. Remember, as I’ve said before, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so PACE YOURSELVES, PEOPLE. Drink lots of water, eat lots of protein, and please, as always, no wagering.

Oh, I kid. But y’all make this so much fun, and I am grateful.

Four quick things before I go:

– It would be great if you’d leave a comment when you visit the blogs that are participating in the Tour. Even a short comment can encourage someone so much!

– Here’s a refresher on Christmas Tour guidelines.

– Everyone who leaves a comment is eligible to win a very special door prize from Engraved Euniques. I’ll draw for the prize this Friday, December 19.

Please make sure to leave a link for YOUR POST’S SPECIFIC URL, NOT THE GENERAL URL OF YOUR BLOG.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

A Giveaway That’s Peachy KEEN

The fine folks who make the delightful KEEN shoes and bags are about to make y’all so happy.

No, really. They are. I promise.




Because KEEN is giving one of you lucky people the free item of your choice from the (fab) new KEEN site. Anything you want. Sassy boots. Laptop bag. Kids’ shoes. Pick the one item you need most – and it’s yours (provided, of course, that random.org cooperates with your plans).

Here’s how to enter:

1. Visit the KEEN website.
2. Look around.
3. Come back here and tell me your favorite item.
4. Sit tight until next Monday, December 8th, when I’ll close comments and draw for one lucky winner.

If you win, the good KEEN people will give you a coupon code that will unlock the KEEN kingdom, so to speak. Then you can select your item and have it shipped straight to you.

Oh, the internet is a delight, isn’t it?

And if you decide to go ahead and buy a few presents on the KEEN site, you can get free shipping from now until December 8th by using the coupon code BOOMAMA.

So get your shopping kicks with KEEN – and have fun, everybody!

(Number of times I used the word “KEEN” in this post? Eight.)

(Nine if you count the title.)

(But I couldn’t stop. It’s a catchy word, KEEN is.)

(That makes ten.)

(You’re welcome.)

This giveaway is now closed.