Thursday, May 31, 2012

New furniture!

When Cameron & I purchased our home 2 years ago, we made some of the necessary furniture and appliance purchases, but the college sofa & chair-and-a-half stuck around.  They have been showing (and feeling) their wear for a while, but we were hesitant to take the plunge.  Nothing like furniture sales on a holiday weekend to change your mind!  After much thought over fabric choices - and Harry working his connections at a local furniture store - we purchased a beautiful, Craftmaster sofa & loveseat at a great price.

While I loved the pale stripe on the floor model or a classic linen, I kept reminding myself of my four-legged children.  I finally decided on the fabric on the right.  It's made of olefin, and everything I have read says it's very durable and stain resistant.  I like that it's textured and multi-tonal, and it reminds me of grasscloth.

Now, I just have to wait 6-8 weeks for it to show up!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Weekend

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Ours was perfect!  We spent the weekend at Dauphin Island with Mary & Poe at her family vacation house.  Friday night, the boys went night fishing while Mary and I enjoyed some good wine & conversation.
 Beautiful view of the sunset from the Dauphin Island bridge

Saturday, we headed out on their boat for a full day of fishing.  The water was crystal clear - we saw plenty of fish, stingrays, and dolphins.
 fishing under the oil rigs

 Poe & his spade fish

Cameron & his Spanish mackerel - we fried this guy for dinner

Unfortunately for us, snapper season doesn't start for another week - of course, we all caught plenty of snapper, which the dolphins were eager to gobble up when we threw them back!

There was also a huge cobia just taunting us by swimming around the boat, but wasn't at all interested in the bait.

And there was still plenty of time spent enjoying the beautiful weather.

Saturday night, we rallied and took a moonlit cruise over to the Pelican Pub, a place full of locals.  When the DJ looks like this guy:

You know it's an interesting place.  And Mary may or may not have demonstrated the Hammer Time dance...

Sunday, we had a lazy morning then headed out to Sand Island to meet up with friends and relax in the water.  Sand Island is a little strip of beach off Dauphin Island that is THE place to hang out, and Sunday it was full of boaters:

 Mary's family house is back in that little cove

 just add a tin roof and this is my dream house

Morrison getting some love from his momma

We actually headed home Sunday night and spent Memorial Day cooking out with friends and enjoying the holiday.  We also made a large home purchase that I will share about later. :)  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and remembered those who have sacrificed much so that we can enjoy our freedom!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Foodie Friday

Nothing new to share this week!  We did repeat the grilled portobello mushrooms with fresh basil from our garden.  Somehow that just made them taste better!

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial weekend!  We are off to Dauphin Island with friends!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boat Trip

 After multiple attempts at a boat trip this spring, we were finally successful.  The Boston Whaler was a little temperamental early on, but Cameron got her running better.  Sunday, we put in at Fowl River and slowly made our way, fishing and enjoying the scenery.

my first catch of the day - a croaker

 This house is huge!  We think it may be a fish camp.

because a riding lawn mower on the side of the river is completely normal...

 There are plenty of shrimp boats on Fowl River.

 Palm trees are not a common occurrence along Fowl River, except for that little patch in the distance.
According to Cameron, there is an archaeological site there that altered the land and allowed palms to take root.  The things you learn boating with an archaeologist...

 We made our way down the river until we hit the Mississippi Sound.  Thankfully, it was nice and calm so we headed across to Dauphin Island.

 that's the bridge that crosses from the mainland to Dauphin Island.  It's a beautiful drive!

 I managed to capture this flock of pelicans gliding in perfect unison.  They remind me of military airplanes for some reason.

Once we got there, we pulled up on Little Dauphin Island.  I explored while Cameron fished.
 These birds were not happy with me for disrupting them.  I'm amazed I didn't get pooped on!

 I actually found a whole horseshoe crab buried in the sand.  And for anyone who knows my obsession with collecting seashells - No, I did not keep him (however, I did think about it!).  I remember seeing these in a seashell shop in Pensacola when I was a little girl and being scared of them??  I have never actually seen them in the wild so it was pretty cool to get to find this one, then see 2 more alive in the water.  I also found tons of hermit crabs and unfortunately lots of trash. :(

After a while, some friends met up with us, and we spent the afternoon lounging on 
the beach before starting the trip back.

 I practiced driving the boat for a bit.

 and took a few more pictures of the wildlife.

It was an amazing Sunday afternoon spent on the water.  A perfect end to the weekend!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Foodie Friday

Lots of recipes to share this week since I completely skipped last week!  Several are oldies but goodies in our house, but definitely worth sharing.

First up is a recipe I have made many times, but it's so good, I think I need to share it.  My mom has been making Sweet & Sour Meatballs for forever, and it was one of the recipes I took with me to college.  For the longest time, I called it pineapple and meatballs, which apparently didn't sound too appetizing when I offered to make it for my friends!  Everyone always came around once they tasted it.  I actually made this recipe for Cameron when we first started dating.  I think it won him over! ;)

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ginger
1/4 c flour
3 T oil
15oz can pineapple chunks
3 T brown sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/4 c vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 green pepper, cut in strips
Rice, cooked

Mix ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.  Form 16 balls.  Roll balls in flour.  Brown in oil.  Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup and add water to make 1 cup.  Stir juice into pan drippings.  Mix brown sugar and corn starch (no lumps!).  Add vinegar and soy sauce and mix together.  Stir into pineapple juice in skillet.  Allow to cook down into a thick sauce.  Add meatballs, pineapple, and green pepper.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over hot rice.

I decided to make Breakfast Casserole for our beach trip.  I have had this before and went searching for the recipe last fall.  Success!  I actually made this for breakfast on Christmas morning last year.  It's great to make ahead and just put in the oven that morning.  Personally, I do not add mushrooms, tomatoes, or onions to it.  Also, I recommend decreasing the number of eggs from 10 to 7.  It was a hit with the boys and reheats well for the next morning so perfect for a weekend getaway!  (It got devoured before I took a picture, but of course the camera is gone, so I wouldn't have a picture anyways!)

You always need good junk food on a beach trip so I tried out a new cookie recipe to take with us.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies via Pinterest were amazing!!  The blogger mentioned keeping them in the freezer - what a genius idea!  a) they don't sit out on the counter, tempting you every time you walk by.  b) they stay fresh longer.  c) somehow they taste better!  You do lose the chewy cookie sensation a bit, but still delicious.  I think they taste better than plain chocolate chip.

For Mother's Day, we had the Gill family over for Cameron's ribs for dinner.  I'm always up for trying out a new dessert when there are other people around to eat it.  I chose a Sweet Tea Icebox Tart recipe that I pulled out of Southern Living.  I tried to make it in my cute ceramic tart dish, but unfortunately it didn't bake evenly.  The gingersnap crust ended up a little overdone.  Overall, it wasn't bad, but it was very reminiscent of key lime pie, just not as good.  The tea flavor really wasn't that prominent.  Oh well, that's why you try new recipes right?

Last night, Cameron  made some delicious fillets!  The Big Green Egg was money well spent!  Who needs Ruth's Chris?

That's it for the last two weeks.  Happy cooking!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Working on my green thumb

So I have accomplished a couple garden projects over the last couple weeks that I wanted to share.  Nothing major, but, hey, it's a start!

Several months ago, Cameron and I started talking about trying out a small garden.  With our rambunctious dogs, a planter box would be a necessity in order to keep their little paws out.  Cameron was able to use some old wood from a friend's deck renovation to build the planter, so the dirt was the most expensive part.  Ideally, I would have left it a natural wood color, but some of the boards already had some white paint on them.  I toyed with painting it a bright, fun color, but in the end decided I would be happier with neutral brown.  We planted mint, basil, rosemary, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and okra. 

I'd love to say that's how my little garden planter still looks, but less than 24hours after planting it, a tomato plant was destroyed with muddy pawprints left as evidence.  So we now have it surrounded by chicken wire.  Certainly not the most attractive, but the plants are staying where they're supposed to and actually starting to grow!  (and yes, those are kayaks hanging on the side of our shed.  They aren't exactly easy to store when they're not being used!)  I am planning on surrounding the base with monkey grass to pretty it up a bit!

For my second project, I attempted some planters by the front door.  I have wanted big, black urn planters for our front porch for at least a year, but everytime I found some I liked, I did not like the price tag.  While scoping out plants for the garden, I found these at Lowes.  Cute, lightweight, and only $25.  I'll take two!
Zoomed: dotchi 15" Caviar Black Waterloo Urn

After getting Mom's approval that they were an appropriate size for my porch, I picked out some plants for them.  Because they sit next to the door, they don't get much sun (although I'm now realizing they get more than I originally thought), so I looked for things that do ok with shade.  I went with coleus, an orangey-pink begonia, and white impatients.
I'm liking the way they turned out.  Now I have to see how they fill in.  I'm worried it may be a tad crowded, but not bad for my first attempt!

Since I have yet to share many pictures of our house, here's a picture from when we first bought the house 2 years ago.  It hasn't changed much to be honest, except the Alabama flag was replaced with a MUCH more attractive Auburn one. :)  Unfortunately, the tree to the right is starting to die and will likely need to be cut down soon, preferably before hurricane season gets here.  I'm dreading it because the trees were part of what attracted me to the house to begin with.  The plan this fall is to redo the flowerbeds - move the larger wild azaleas to the back yard and plant some new bushes.

As for the backyard, we've been experimenting with a patch of sod and so far have kept it alive for about a month.  We are seriously considering resodding the backyard, and then maybe we will FINALLY have grass back there!  Then there's the topic of actually planting something in the flowerbeds we laid out last year...but that's a whole other post on its own.