Monday, July 26, 2010

A Beautiful Day

This past Friday morning, my husband roused the kids and I out of bed awfully early. He informed us there were doughnuts and coffee waiting in the kitchen and the boat was hitched and ready to be taken out. He wanted to go fishing. Our bay waters have recently reopened in light of the threat of oil. Shrimpers were given the green light to cast out their nets once again. Honestly, it is a sigh of relief. Us locals are aware that we are by no means out of the woods, per se, but a reprieve is always welcome.

We had a wonderful time, once we managed to get the boat launched! You see, it takes our family quit a bit of effort to arrive at any given destination. We couldn't locate one of the kids lifejackets and ended up purchasing a new one. The bait shop was out of shrimp at 5:30 a.m., so we had to wait an extra hour. My youngest had to do his "daily constitution", twice. You see where I am going with this?! "Snake Bit" as my husband claims, that's what we are. My oldest, who is only seven, has perfected the art of complaining. For fours hours all we heard from him, "When can we go home, I'm sleepy.", "It's hot!", "I can't catch anything, I quit!". I wished I had a mute remote for him on more than one occasion! All in all, the day turned out to be magnificent! We were fishing for speckeled trout. So were a lot of other fishermen. It has be years since I have been fishing, but it is like riding a bike, you never forget. My husband did have to untangle the nest I created with the rod, his fault for giving me the cheap rod! Of course he had to hook the shrimp for the boys and I, ( I have issues spearing something alive), and cast the lines too.

There were no signs of oil, just several boons placed about. Many "spotters" anchored together and chilling under there umbrellas. There were several fisherman out, and surprisingly, not many shrimpers.
As we rode from one spot to another, I took some time to take in my surroundings. The skies, though slightly cloudy, were blue, the water was perfect and inviting. Nature was alive all around us. The pelicans perched on posts and patiently awaited their next snack, as well as the sea gulls which loomed overhead and occasionally dove to retrieve a fish. My husband, with his keen eyes, spotted a family of porpoises. They put on quite a show for us. The male, I am assuming, was enormous. I do not believe I have ever seen one that big! It was something like you would see at Sea World. He would shoot straight up out of the water and then flop down onto his side. This happened several times. Absolutely spectacular! God has such a creative hand. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me and reminding me that he created this for us to enjoy and appreciate. How we take it for granted. We can become so caught up in our own personal world that we forget to look what is all around us. This time on the water took on a greater reflection for me. It is like a whole seperate world, all to its own. An escape for me.

The oil may not stay out of our bay, that we cannot change. What is done is done, fingers have been pointed, the blame has been layed. God has loaned us this world for the time being, it is up to us to appreciate it and care for it. We cannot change the course of our future, His return is inevitable. We can appreciate what He has given us. We can find our own place for reflection and inspiration. God has created an enormous piece of art called, our earth. What will you look at it and see? Are you a glass half empty or half full?

You might wonder if we actually caught any fish? Why yes, I did. Key word, "I". M, my husband, had his line bit through twice, and both the boys had several nibbles but were to trigger happy and lost them. We finally figured out what was biting through his line when the boat next to us caught a shark! Of course they released it, but our suspense was confirmed. Yes, alas, I the only woman in the family had to hunt for our food. No, I did not clean it, I had done all the hard work! We did enjoy one 3 lb. speckeled trout for dinner, though. M fried him up and he was soooo good! Here are a few pics I took while out on the boat. Notice our youngest is holding up the fish I caught. I'm a little too girly-girl when it comes to live slimy things!

blackberry photos 089

blackberry photos 090

blackberry photos 093

blackberry photos 088
The grey blob you see is the porpoise performing.

blackberry photos 092

blackberry photos 094
I do not know if anyone lives in this house, but I can see it ,all cleaned up, with my family living quite comfortably in there!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Papier Baby Shower!

I recently hosted, with the help of a few friends, a baby shower for my sister-in-law. I even enjoyed this one. Not that I haven't enjoyed others in the past, but when you are the hostess, you are so busy seeing to everyone's needs that you do not have time to enjoy the party yourself. When you work so hard on all the preparations, you want to take part enjoying it also. Well, this one I did. I think that is in part to making sure the set up and details were taken care of the day before, leaving only minut details for the day of.
This party was a sit down lunch. I wanted guests to feel comfortable, relaxed and not have to balance plates on their laps. Most importantly, I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves.
The Papier theme came from my sister-in-law's love of stationary and all things paper. She has a gift of gift-wrapping, tissue flowers and such. I also tried to incorporate her nursery colors into the decorations. It is always easy to plan a party when you like someonelse's taste and color scheme! The meal theme was all things salads. Here is a look at our fabulous time!

Mel's shower and other stuff 050
This is the beautiful mother-to-be.

Mel's shower and other stuff 049
One of the tables. Melanie's nursery colors have the turquoisy-blue citrus and browns, and I think some greens. I stuck with the citrus orange and blue. Love the color combination!

Mel's shower and other stuff 072
The plate setting. Instead of name cards for seating. I opted to use bud vases. I felt this would be more intimate and not make people uncomfortable about sitting next to someone they did not know too well, (and it is prettier).

Mel's shower and other stuff 070

Mel's shower and other stuff 034
These were a recipe of Mel's favorite cake that I printed for each guest and placed at each plate setting. (I was determined that the guest would remember to take them home!)

Mel's shower and other stuff 077
Some of the guests, my mother-in-law and two of my husband's aunts, and some others enjoying their meal and fellowship.

Mel's shower and other stuff 051
Of course we enjoyed caramel cupcakes for dessert!

Mel's shower and other stuff 055
The appetizer tray, which was on a tea cart.

Mel's shower and other stuff 053
Since our mother-to-be has been enjoying the fruits of her labor, no pun intended, and has found an even greater fondness for tomatoes, this Caprese Salad was a must.

Mel's shower and other stuff 054
Some of the other delectable dishes.

Mel's shower and other stuff 052

Mel's shower and other stuff 030
One of the arrangements I did for the tables.

Mel's shower and other stuff 010
Since we were using a paper theme, I made several of these paper flowers a few weeks ahead. They really were easy and added some whimsy to the decor.

Mel's shower and other stuff 022
This was to add flair to the dessert bar.

Mel's shower and other stuff 024

Mel's shower and other stuff 007
I am sure you are wondering what in the world I am posting a pic of my fat cat, Duchess, for?! Well, as you can see in the pic, (which actually conceals her true physique), Duchess is a robust cat. Evidently, she felt left out of the party and snuck into one of the dining chairs before the ladies found their way to their seats. When our Aunt Pam attempted to pull out her chair, it wouldn't budge. She kept trying to pull, but the chair wouldn't give. Finally it was discovered that the cat was in it, and unfortunatly my MIL barred her from further festivities. Poor dear.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lost in the Summer!

Ok, I admit it, I have been on a blogging hiatus! I have become enraptured by the Summer's temptations and neglections! Sleeping in late, lazing the days away, and enjoying the lack of schedule. Quite honestly, it's been blissful! I apologize for leaving you followers out on a limb. I just couldn't quite bring myself to any responsibility, (other than my kids)! Now, feeling a little convicted, I am back! I have a great party to feature that we gave my husband this past weekend. His birthday is July 3rd, so I think it is fair to say he is lucky to have fireworks for his celebrations. I am jealous. I admit it. His birthday was, in my opinion, the perfect manly birthday. Since the guys planned to play golf during the day and then regroup out our house for an evening cookout, I carried the golf theme to our house for decorations.

The day started with breakfast for the guys at the golf club house. Then they played eighteen holes of golf. I snuck in a few little surprises for the players for their game. I purchased prizes for the number of golfers, and came up with categories for awards. This was enjoyed by all the men and a great way to add a little fun and humor, as if they really needed it!
If you would like to do this, here are some category suggestions:
Most Mulligan Sales (whoever buys the most drinks)
Closest to the hole
Best Chip-in
Sand Trap King
Worst Score
Best Score

For the party, which I slaved away on ALL day while he was having a great time, I purchased a large bag of recycled golf balls, reindeer moss, wooden letter "M", sheet moss, and I borrowed some of my hubby's tees. Oh, I also purchased some faux grass in square retangles, which I then cut down to look like newly mowed grass. Granted, I must admit, this does not look like some of those parties you see on other blogs, but then again, I am on a budget and the focus was all about the hubby enjoying his day! I also will share with you, over the next few blogs, some of the dishes that were served. There is nothing and I mean NOTHING as good as a B-BQ spread!

Summer 2010 014
This was the main food table. My MIL was kind enough to pick some of her hydreangas for me. Aren't they HUGE?! I added some colored sand and golf balls to glass cylinder vases, purchased a clear picture box (took off the back) and filled it with sheet moss, glued a tee and golf ball- viola!

Summer 2010 023
This is one of the outdoor tables, (just in case you couldn't tell- give me a break, its still morning!). I used some lanterns I already had, and layered the bottom with golf balls then added a candle. I think, sometimes, that linen napkins can be used for more than wiping your mouth. Here it adds a layer of fabric and a good contrast to the burlap, I love texture!

Summer 2010 022
This is the other table; I think the golf ball is wandering off the green!

Summer 2010 025
This is the appetizer bar. The tiny dish you see are these stuffed jalapeno peppers, which a friend brought. I think they last all of about 10 minutes! No joke! I'll have to pass this recipe along, it is too good not to share.

The wreath that greeted guests as they arrived.

Summer 2010 041
Here is the birthday boy blowing out his candles. I am sure when he sees I've posted this I will get into trouble! His mother made his cake. It was a Mississippi Mud Cake, and soooo delicious!

The night ended with a firework show courtesy of a friend who brought the "works"! The kids really enjoyed it and cheered the guys on. They had a great viewing atop the fort!

Summer 2010 049

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
This is courtesy of my friend, Dawn. You may want to triple this recipe, it goes fast!

1 cup ground pork sausage
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 lb. fresh jalapenos, seeded and halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sausage in a skillet over medium heat, and cook till done and browned. Drain grease. In a bowl, mix together sausage, cream cheese and parmesan. Spoon 1 tbsp. of the mixture into each jalapeno half. Arrange stuffed peppers onto a baking dish. Bake 15-20 minutes until bubbly and light brown.

To lighten the load: substitue turkey ground sausage for pork and reduced-fat cream cheese for regular.

Did I mention how ridiculously easy this is?!