Thursday, December 10, 2015

November in Pictures (and a recipe!)


We started the month off right with a delicious batch of homemade gumbo. My cousin gave us a bunch of sausage the same weekend my parents had a ton of homegrown okra and I was trying to figure out what to do with them. A combination of a couple recipes from Southern Living's Annual Cookbooks and a few hours later, we ended up with this. See below for recipe!

We finally pulled the trigger on a new fence in November. It was somewhat of a disaster- as is to be expected of any major home project, but we survived and love the end result.

Even though they destroyed my flower beds in the process. 

This took three tries because Moose walked through the first two. And then when I tried to put his paw print in the cement where I wanted it, he refused. Go figure.

All done, pre stain.

I spent a couple days in San Antonio for a work shoot.  Always an interesting day at work.

We took a road trip to Lubbock with friends to watch the Red Raiders take on Kansas. I honestly can't even remember if we won or lost, but we definitely had a good time. 

Hitting up our bar of choice back in the day, Blue Light.

D's first time at Jones.

My Aggie was a good sport and wore red and black.

Partying it up like college kids.

We stopped on the way out of town at The West Table for brunch. HIGHLY recommended. Lubbock has gone fancy on us. 

High and tight for the wee one.

Ended the month on a sweet note with no reason flowers. 

And as promised, here is the recipe for gumbo- this one is going into rotation for us... 

Southern Living Gumbo
1/4 cup bacon drippings
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
5-6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 tablespoon tabasco
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2-1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2-1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2-1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (16 ounce) package frozen cut up okra (can also use fresh)
2 lbs. fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 Rotisserie chicken, shredded
Andouille sausage, cooked and cut up
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Hot cooked rice
Gumbo filé

1. Combine bacon drippings and flour in a large dutch oven.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 15-20 minutes or until the roux is the color of a copper penny (or darker). 
2. Stir in onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
3. Add next 11 ingredients.  Simmer over medium heat for an hour, stirring occasionally.  
4. Add okra, shrimp, chicken, sausage, and Worcestershire and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.  Cook rice while this finishes simmering. 
5. Serve over hot, cooked rice with a sprinkle of filé on top. Best served alongside crusty french bread!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

October in Photos

We decided Ethan was about the age to get a swingset for him. After failing to catch one on sale this summer, one of my dad's friends was trying to give theirs away. A good power washing and a coat of stain and this baby looks brand new!

 E & Gigi testing it out.

Trying on his outfit for his cousin's baptism.

Second plane ride, first one of substance since he was only about 8 weeks old last time. 

Enjoying those gorgeous Arizona sunsets. Not enjoying the inferno- we were all three drenched in sweat! 

I was wrangling Ethan during the baptism so I didn't get any of Remy, but we were able to get a family shot afterwards. 

Passed out in his bowtie.

Cousins. 

I got this from our daycare and had to laugh... one shoe on, one shoe off. Such a mess- just like his mama.

Enjoying the cooler weather on the patio.

We kept these two munchkins for one night while my brother and SIL went to a reunion. It was fun but BUSY!

Pumpkin patchin'

Gigi and GP getting in on the fun.

This guy has been the only person to cut my hair in 12 years. UNTIL he decided to get out of the business a year ago. I had one mediocre haircut before he decided he missed all his crazy clients. Dallas ladies, Ian works magic- go see him!


Just chowing down on a rib at a game watching party. 

Still amazed they stopped wiggling long enough to get this one!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We Survived Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I've always loved to dress up and it's even more fun now to come up with costumes for all of us.  Here is our first year with Ethan (last year):
 Shark, Lifeguard, Shark Attack Victim

This year was Ethan's first "real" year to trick or treat. I was that slightly psycho mom last year that brought her infant up to your door. Partly to score some candy, but mostly to have you fawn over my adorable shark. Yep, I am that girl. But, look how darn cute he was...


I digress.

I knew this year was probably the last year that I could dress him in whatever I wanted without his input since his vocab is still limited to things such as "ball" and "wa wa."  I also knew I wanted one of those puffy outfits that toddlers look so cute in and something that we could find accompanying outfits for Den and me. 

I found this adorable little wolf outfit online at Spirit:


An easy red cape for me, a grandma hat for Den, and we were ready to go!

We went to my cousin's house and had a wonderful time, but it was definitely not without it's drama.  

I feel like people always post their adorable family photos on Facebook and you see them when you're covered in sour milk and have a toddler running around like a banshee trying to jump off the couch with sharp objects in their hand and you no doubt wonder what their secret is and where you went wrong. 

So let me just tell you the REAL story behind our Halloween and these cute little family photos.

We're at my cousins house and all the kiddos at the halloween party up and decide it's time to go trick or treating and our plan was to all go together so the adults could converse, etc. So we scramble to get all our costume parts and everything together and head out the door.  At the last minute, we decide to grab the stroller out of my car since Ethan was one of the smaller kids in the group.  So Den puts him in the stroller and is about to buckle him and I say "no, let's not buckle him in- he'll be jumping in and out to trick or treat." Famous last words. 45 seconds later, I push the stroller barely off the first curb and Ethan SUPERMANS out of his stroller face-first onto the asphalt. He starts SCREAMING and I scoop him up to comfort him and see that his mouth is bloody.  I run back to the house and take him to the bathroom and by the time I get there the fur on the front of his cute little wolf costume is literally matted in blood.  At one point Den suggested taking him to the emergency room because he was bleeding so bad.  

It was TERRIBLE.

Ethan was crying. I was crying because I busted up my baby. All the family was trying to get the story of what happened and help comfort E.  It was chaos. 

Twenty minutes later, everyone had calmed down and Ethan's lip had stopped bleeding for the most part and my mom suggested that we take him to one or two houses.  I was against the idea at first thinking we should just hunker down and lick our wounds, but she convinced us and I'm so glad she did.  We went to probably five houses and he ended up really getting the hang of it.  I think it was a good distraction for him and I was able to get some good photos.  

Checking out his haul.

Attempting to snuggle the mom guilt away.

All in all, it was a good night, but I just thought the real story should be told.  

Huge props to D who handled the situation like Husband of the Year. Never once did he snap at me, tell me he told me to strap him in, or blame me in any form or fashion.  He was just there to comfort and help.  I told him later that I realized that if the tables had been turned, I wouldn't have handled it nearly as graciously as he did. Which definitely makes me realize that I need to be a little more understanding in similar situations. However, there have been several post-Halloween jokes about "mom dropping you on your face," but I guess I deserve that.  My saving grace is that the odds of his 17-month old memory being good enough to store this one away are slim.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August in Photos


I spent two days in San Antonio for work- one of our clients was a guest on San Antonio Living. I don't travel very much with what I do, so I have to admit it was a little bit of treat. 

The day we were on the show, they had baby leopards on. Live morning TV is always interesting because you never know who else will be there.

Beautiful courtyard at our favorite riverwalk hotel.

No surprise that I pretty much ate my way across San Antonio. 

Grabbing one last bit of quiet time at the airport before heading back home.

Introducing the wee one to Hatch Chilifest at Central Market.

First Circus!

Entranced.

Surprise visitor at work. 

Best way to wear out little ones.

Dinner with the fam to celebrate birthdays.

Playing with cousins.

Crazy hair day at school.  He got a haircut two days later.  

My best friend flew in from Phoenix to hang with us for a few days. It was her first time meeting Ethan and I think it's safe to say they hit it off.

Fountain sittin'

Still working on the accuracy bit of using a spoon.

My guys.

Solo parenting while Dad was in Ireland.

Blowing kisses to each other via FaceTime.