Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday ~ May Edition

I'm joining Mel, Sheaffer, & Shay today for an episode of "What's Up Wednesday." Gosh, I can't believe May is nearly gone, but HELLO, SUMMER!  Can I get an amen? 

This month's question is, "What is your favorite thing to grill in June?"  Whell....Wayne does all the grilling at our house! We actually have an outside kitchen that we call, "the cook shack."  My favorite thing that he grills would have to be a steak because I believe my hubs grills the best steaks around.  I'd much rather have his than one at the restaurant.  He also likes to grill shrimp, corn, pineapple, and of course, hamburgers!

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK... Junk! Do you hear me?  I can't remember the last time I put a pot on the stove or stuck something in the microwave! We have eaten out for nearly two weeks and while all that's well and fine, it's time to get back to my weekly menu planning! I'm craving some home cooking!  Do you ever get like that too?  I mean, summer is here and it's time for fresh veggies, salads, and homemade ice cream!!

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT... It's Alise's birthday week, so of course I'm thinking about all the events that lead up to her birth ten years ago. I can't believe our Baby Girl has made it to double digits! It seems like yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital in her lavender and white embroidered gown and matching bonnet. All my friends told me that the years would fly by, but I had NO IDEA just how fast! "A day in the life of a ten year old" post is coming soon!  Happy Birthday, Alise!  We love you!

WHAT I'M LOVING... I'm in love with my new MacBook Air!  Wayne bought me a new laptop this weekend and it's FAST, y'all! There's definitely a learning curve to going from Microsoft to Apple! 

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO... Someone at the office said that May is a busier month than December is with Christmas. And I had to think about that one. But they're right!  May is a busy month and just by reading my favorite blogs, I can tell that y'all are busy, too!  We've been busy with end of the year activities at school, softball games, Mother's Day with a migraine, a wedding, getting the pool ready, you name it! But the highlight of our month would have to be seeing Taylor Swift in concert last week!  You can read all about it HERE.

WHAT I'M DREADING... A few weeks ago, when the temps were well into the 90's and the humdity was nearly 100%, I wanted to tweet, "I hope all you summer people are happy!"  I don't sweat because I "glisten," and I don't even like to do that when July and August arrive here in Louisiana!  So I'm really dreading the hotter temps that I know are coming our way eventually.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON... I'm working on two posts related to women's health right now that I'm kinda excited about. I'm hoping to wrap up the Hawaiian posts by the end of July.  In non-blog-land, I'm hoping to paint a Christmas present that I've had for two years and never done anything with. It's mine and Wayne's monogram and I plan to put it over our bed.  I also want to finish our picture collage in the hallway this summer. 

WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT... I'm just excited that summer has finally arrived! No more homework, no more tests, no more lunches for three whole months! I'm ready to crank up the grill on the weekends and entertain with our family and friends at the cook shack and by the pool! Let the fun begin!

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING... A friend of mine suggested the Outlander series and even though I tried reading book one about a year ago, I'm STILL struggling with this book! Rebecca suggested I try the book on CD this time and I nearly died when I picked up book one from the library.  It was like picking up three volumes of an encyclopedia! I just. can't. do. it.

I'm also reading, The Governor's Wife by Mark Gimenez, a new author I found a few months ago.  The next book I plan to pick up is Allison Leotta's new novel, A Good Killing.  I love her Anna Curtis series!  As for watching, Wayne and I are trying to get caught up on The Blacklist, Scandal, and House of Cards.

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO... When I'm not listening to Outlander in the car, I'm listening to the '80's Pop Radio & Summer Hits of the '80s - both on Pandora - while I'm out by the pool.

WHAT I'M WEARING... I plan to share in a future post some of the outfits that I've been wearing lately.  I'm not a fashion blogger, but I do tend to link up with some of the fun parties from time to time. Right now, my go-to pieces are maxi skirts, pink chucks, ON shorts, wedges, necklaces, cardigans, and the color yellow. It has taken me over forty years to discover that I love the color yellow!! 

This past Sunday night, I wore shorts, a lacy top, a leopard cardigan and wedges to meet some friends for pizza.  Wayne thought I looked "very nice" {not his exact words but this is a PG rated blog! With a few southern choice words and hissy fits thrown in from time to time!}. My last "fashion post" was HERE when I was sporting my favorite coral pants for the office.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH... I'm looking forward to Alise going to church camp for the first time in a few weeks. I can't wait to hear about all the wonderful memories she'll make with her friends. I went to camp for the first time when I was in the 4th grade and I loved it!  It was the first time I felt a sense of "independence" away from my parents. I just know she's going to have a great time!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW... I found out this week that our middle school football team and cheerleaders will be traveling to the great state of TEXAS in October to play in COWBOY STADIUM!  I think the parents are more excited than the kids! And what a great opportunity for our small private school! Also, one of Alise's classmates will be competing this week in the National Spelling Bee!  So even if school is out for the summer, we still have a little school spirit going on in our world!  GO MUSTANGS!!

I'm also linking up with Andrea today at her blog, Momfessionals, for her monthly recipe link up.  You can see my recipe for the M&M Cookies I tried from Pinterest.  They were a HUGE hit!  Wayne and Alise absolutely LOVED them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

M&M Cookies For The Win

A few weeks ago, Wayne made a Sam's run.  

(And just a little side note, I found that most people either love or hate Sam's. I'm in the "hater" category.  And it's not that I HATE Sam's, it's just that I hate to go there.  I don't buy in bulk because we don't eat in bulk.  I mean, who can eat a whole flat of green beans in a month?  Certainly not us.  So we have certain things that we go for, like paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, etc., but I don't "grocery shop" at Sam's.  But I have friends that do.  I have friends that "go to lunch" at Sam's by going around the store and trying all the freebies. Seriously.  I also don't like to go because I can't get out of there without, at the very least, spending $150 bucks!)

Okay.  So that's my rant for the day.  Back to Wayne.

He made a Sam's run and lo' and behold he brought back not a large bag of M&Ms but the XXL size bag.  I think he was trying to tell me something: Mama needed a chill pill in the form of chocolate!  So what does ONE do when ONE come into possession of said bag of M&Ms?

Well, you make M&M cookies of course!

Here's the easy recipe I used.  The only thing about this one is that the dough has to chill in the refrigerator for several hours and my two peeps were chomping at the bit to try one like, right then! I had to hold them off!  But they both agreed that the cookies were worth the wait!

This is a picture of the cookies before they were baked.  The recipe calls for rather large cookies, but I think next time, I will make them smaller.

M&M Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup of M&Ms, plus more for adding on top before baking
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, plus more for top 

1. Combine butter, sugars, egg and vanilla in mixer on medium speed until mixed thoroughly.

2. Add flour and pudding mix (dry). Add baking soda and salt and combine on low speed.

3. Add candies and chips on low speed.

4. My dough made about 11 even mounds (next time I will make them smaller). Place the mounds of dough on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and then flatten.  Add additional M&Ms and chocolate chips on top (I did not add extra chips, just the M&Ms for added color) and refrigerate the dough for 3 hours.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I baked my cookies for 12-15 minutes on waxed paper so they wouldn't burn on the bottom.  You want them just browned around the edges.  I let mine cool for just a few minutes and then I transferred them to a wire rack.

I hope your family enjoys these cookies as much as we did!

For the original recipe and more detailed directions, visit Averie Cooks by clicking HERE. I have also added the pin to our Horton Family Favorites board.

Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Things About a Taylor Swift Concert

Before I left work on Tuesday, I reminded my secretary that I would be off on Wednesday to take Alise to Shreveport to see Taylor Swift {Ok. Yeah, I'll admit, I was a little pumped about it, too!}! As I was walking out the door, Diane said, "You know she's kicking off her world tour, too?"  I said, "Yeah, right!  Outta all the cities in the world, she's kicking it off in little ol' Shreveport?"  So I decided to google it when I got home and lo and behold, my secretary was right!  Taylor WAS kicking off her 1989 World Tour in little ol' Shreveport and Baby Girl and I were going to be there to see it!! Unbelievable!!  Rule #1: Never doubt your secretary!  Because even if she would never go to a TS concert herself, she DOES have three triplet granddaughters that are eight years old!

Alise and Claudia in front of Taylor's 18 wheelers behind the Century Link Center (where we had to park).  Not sure why there are so many pallets?

If you've been reading my blog lately, then you know that Wayne bought the tickets over six months ago and we had decided to surprise Alise with them Tuesday night.  Some people have asked why we waited to tell her, so I thought I would explain our reasoning behind the wait. We debated giving the tickets to her at Christmas, but I really didn't want her to have to wait so long for her to enjoy her present.  Then, at the last minute when we decided to surprise her with a puppy at Christmas, we made the decision to give the tickets to her for her birthday because it would be a special "double-digits" present, even though her birthday is actually six days after the concert. I've said before that I couldn't wait to give them to her and nearly caved a few times, but it was SO worth it on Tuesday night!

{one.} Surprise! I wrapped the tickets in a box and put it on the kitchen island in front of the bar stool where she normally sits.  I then took a picture and posted it on Instagram because I wanted to see how long it would take her to see the picture and come running into the kitchen to see who/what the present was.  Alise LIVES on IG so I figured she would be in the kitchen shortly. Would you believe I had to end up calling her into the kitchen for supper and that's when she noticed the gift?!  Long story short, she cried, she screamed, she gave me and her daddy lots of hugs and kisses and "thank you's" and "I love you so much!"  She. was. ecstatic!

One very happy little girl!!  She could not believe she was going to see TS!  I think we all cried that night!

{two.} Go with the one who brought you into this world. After all, I carried her for nine months, didn't I? I like to think I'm a pretty cool concert mom!  I mean, I DID spend thirty minutes in front of the full length mirror trying to decide what to wear!!

I decided on brown, coral, and leopard at the last minute only because Alise wouldn't wear what I had in my mind for her to wear.  I had planned for us to both wear our lace/crocheted skirts and cowboy boots, but she wouldn't have it. Ugh!  And believe it or not, I didn't freeze to death!

See what a great concert mom I am?  I let her wear red lipstick!!  But the highlight of my night was when Alise reached over for my arm during one of the songs and said, "Mommie, thank you so much for bringing me here tonight!"

I asked her this morning, "Alise, did I embarrass you during the concert at all?" And she said, "Well, mom?  You started dancing during "Shake It Off" and it kinda embarrassed me."  Say what?!  And I just thought I needed to work on my "gangsta lips."  Obviously I was going for a kiss pucker up!

{three.} Go with friends. We originally bought four tickets and due to some drama this year at school, we decided to invite a friend that Alise doesn't get to see very often! The girls had a BLAST!

{four.} Listen to Taylor's latest CD no less than two weeks before the big show.  I hate to give too much away because I know some of my readers are planning on going with their girls when Taylor comes to their cities, but please! Whatever you do!  Make sure you get the arm bracelet that they will give you when they scan your ticket at the door!  It's the highlight of the whole show and a very, very AWESOME idea! 

I also can't say enough about the rising and rotation of "the cat walk."  But if you're going to hear her "old tunes," you will be disappointed {like me!}.  She even puts a new twist on my favorite song, "Love Story."  

{five.} One of the reasons I took Alise to the concert was because Taylor seems to be a good role model for girls, and I like that.  When she talked at her concert, she wasn't necessarily inspirational or motivating, but she "talked up" to the crowd. She talked about being a better person, even when bad things happen in our lives.  She said, {and I'm paraphrasing} "that we aren't defined by who people say we are."  She was very grateful to her fans for her recent eight awards and her music video for "Bad Blood" had totally blown away everyone when it debuted earlier in the week, too.  Taylor's outfits were not skimpy, but modest, and she never danced with her male dancers inappropriately.  For me personally, the concert was more about the experience with my {soon-to-be} ten year old daughter.  It was her first concert and I was just excited for her!  Excited that I got to share in her experience to see someone she admires so much for the first time.  When Taylor Swift walked out on stage at 8:30, I thought I was about to lose the hearing in my left ear from Alise's screams.  And I would take her back again in a heartbeat!

And dance to "Shake It Off" again, too!  Because I'm the cool concert mom!!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Little Bit Of Coral

If Pinterest has done anything for me lately, it's encouraged me to shop my own closet.  And I like that.  I've figured out that if I want to style a particular item in my closet, I just google it on Pinterest to get ideas, keeping in mind what I already have.

I've been stuck on the color coral for a while. The color is so versatille that I can dress it up for the office or style it down for a more casual look.  About a month ago, I picked up a pair of coral ankle pants at Target {Sorry, but I couldn't find them on line}.  There were only two pair left and I knew that if I didn't grab them, I'd never see them again {And speaking of Target, I really hate that I missed the Target and Lilly Pulitzer collaboration a few weeks ago, but someone was on a ship in the Pacific}.

Here are a few pics I liked for Pin-spiration!

Coral pant and white t-shirt summer trend              9 casual work outfits for spring - Page 2 of 9 -                 cute spring outfit for work  We can spot a chanel clutch from a mile off. Those golden studs are set perfectly against the chic tan shade.$159 Want!
            (1)                                                        (2)                                                          (3)

  1. I love this blouse!  When I first saw this look on Pinterest, I thought, I have everything I need to pull this     off. Even though this style is more casual, I have several things in my closet to dress it up and make it "office worthy."
  2. Leopard.  Enough said.
  3. I really like coral and navy together! And I had several pieces in my closet to make this look work for me.
I posted this picture a few weeks ago on Instagram.  It was a casual day for me at the office and my friend, Jennifer, had given me this leopard tunic by Cabi. Because she loves me, I guess.  Ha!  She actually gave me the blouse last Fall and I just never wore it.  Well, shame on me, y'all!  I love the silky feel of this blouse!  It's going to be a very popular piece for me this summer!  I paired it with my coral pixies {although they look orange in the picture} and the look was born! I love it!  Notice my big hair!  The bigger the hair, the closer to God!

Love, love, LOVE me some coral and navy, y'all!  Wayne was my photographer in the rest of these pics, and he was making me laugh oh-so hard!  He is SO silly! I can't believe I got some descent ones, but it was a cloudy day and a storm was about to hit, so I've got the wind-blown look.  I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to these kind of posts {if you can imagine that since my OCD tendencies seem to come out in everything else}, so what you see is what you get!  I even forgot to accessorize, but I'm not sweating it!  I bought the navy light weight jacket from Dress Barn last year and my navy heels are so old they are actually falling apart!

I love this navy and white cardigan that I got at Target last year with these pants.  It makes for another nice office fashion outfit for days when I don't have meetings.  I normally wear cardigans unbuttoned, though.  I just got a wild hair that day.  What can I say?

And this?  I don't know what I was trying to pull here.  I walked out of my bedroom, and Alise said, "Oh, Mama!  So sexy!"  I turned around and looked at her and asked, "What do you know about sexy?"  She just grinned at me.  I wasn't trying to be sexy, but I do wear this blouse to the office - on my shoulders of course - but it's really made to wear either way.  Y'all know how I feel about lace and I love the turquoise and coral together, too!

I get emails from time to time about my hair.  I have natural curly hair and it doesn't like the 100% humidity we have here in Louisiana. The sides are angled to look longer than the back, which is "stacked."  I wish I had done something with it on this day for the pictures so it would look a little fuller, but whatevah. It is what it is.  And yes, I do color my hair. I'm planning to go blonder in a few weeks!

I wish you and your family a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  But please remember that freedom isn't free and that Monday means more than just BBQs and swimming pools. A part of me changed the day we visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Honolulu last month.  That day will stay with me, just like you and I will never forget where we were on 9/11.  A year ago this week, our family met some army brats when we were celebrating Alise's birthday at a local restaurant.  I can call them that, because that day, they became our friends.  I was never more proud of Wayne than I was that day because after we thanked them for their service, he also paid for their meal.  A few days later, they shipped out to Afghanistan.  Julia had a three year old daughter that she left behind.  We've kept up with them on FB and sent them care packages and a few weeks ago, those same army brats returned home.  We're hoping to meet up with them again soon.  Thank a vet or soldier this weekend.

20 Great Verses and Quotes on Freedom to Remind Us - It Is Not Free

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog today.  I'm linking up with these parties.

   pleated poppy   I Feel Pretty Logo

   Mix & Match Fashion 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

School Projects and Taylor Swift

Have I ever told y'all about the time I wanted to be a teacher?  I mean, like a history teacher? I'm a history buff, what can I say?  But all that was before I took a bookkeeping class in high school and all historical dates and wars were replaced with debits and credits.  The point I would like to make, though, is that if my plan had worked out instead of God's, I would at least like to think that I would be a fair teacher and NOT SCHEDULE PROJECTS THE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL!!  I mean, WHO DOES THAT?!  So yeah!  For the last TWO weeks of school, we've had back to back projects!  And then the day before it's due, Alise calls me from afterschool on her friend's cellphone asking if we can change to a different option.  I told Baby Girl not NO, but you-know-what NO!  Had she lost her mind? Anyway, she made A's on both projects, school is over for the summer except for Awards Day on Wednesday and so somebody can stick a fork in me because I'm done, done, DONE with fourth grade!!

In other news, I can. not. WAIT! to give Alise Taylor Swift tickets tonight!! I have them wrapped up in a box with a sweet "Now that you are ten" letter attached to it (of course she doesn't "officially" turn ten until next Tuesday). We've had these tickets for nearly six months and she has NO idea!! I can't begin to tell you how many times I've wanted to just go ahead and tell her over the last two weeks! Friday morning, I needed to stop by the convenience store on the way to school to get some change, and while I was inside, the radio station announced that they would be giving TS tickets away on Monday and Tuesday at 8:00 am. When I got back in the car, I thought Alise was going into cardiac arrest telling me that we had to listen to the radio and could I listen at work so that I could win tickets! I said, "Alise?  Do you even know where this concert is?"  "Well, no. It's probably in Houston or somewhere like that." I said, "I'm not driving to Houston to see Taylor Swift!  She's going to be in Baton Rouge next weekend. Maybe they're giving tickets away to that concert." "Yeah, mom!  You're probaby right!"  Probably?  Really?  Sunday night, a friend of mine posted a pic on Facebook of Taylor's 18 wheeler trucks pulling into Shreveport. I showed Alise the picture and she got this very sad look on her face.  I feel guilty for building the excitement up, but oh, well!  She deserves it!  Because you don't know HOW many times I was ready to sell those tickets over her behavior and smart mouth!!

Just like this weekend!  I went in her room Saturday morning to help her find a dress for a wedding we were attending later that evening and every. single. one. of her dresses where on her closet floor wrinkled to no end!! Seriously. How much effort is required to hang something up?  Then she begins showing me where on the dresses they were dirty, so long story short, I got her butt in the car and we headed to town to find her a new dress.  We tried on and tried on and we argued until I nearly lost my religion right there in the Dillard's dressing room!  She already had a (dirty) green dress, but she was hell bent on getting another green dress!  So I bought it just to shut her up!  And then we had to buy shoes for her.  And then she was STARVING!  After all that, MAMA deserved a new dress!  So I bought me a new one, too! Here's a pic of the dresses we started out with for her.

And then I went home and took a nap!

And then we all got gussied up for the wedding that evening!  Oh, how I wish I could have gotten a pic of the three of us!

Every time I look at the pic of Alise and I, I think we look like flowers!  She's the stem and I'm the flower.  Ha! And let me just say what a mighty fine hair day I was having!  Especially on such a humid day!  My dress is by Chelsea & Violet (I love this brand!) and it was on sale that day for $70!  I am SO in love with yellow this season, y'all!  I'm seriously considering wearing this dress with my cowboy boots and a denim jacket to TS!  A friend of mine saw our picture on FB and asked to borrow my pearl necklace to wear to her son's graduation last night.  I was so shocked and humbled, and of course, I said yes.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Tuesday!