Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Variety is the Spice of Life

Last year, I was introduced to The Savory Spice Shop through my friend Leah. Since then, I've slowly begun replacing all of my spices with ones ordered from there. I have been amazed at the difference in flavor! Now that I have all these matching bottles, it seemed the perfect time to put them on display.

My spices were formerly jumbled together in a drawer and I had to constantly stop little hands from absconding with them. On a positive note, my kitchen smelled like cinnamon for a week after Lauryn's last escapade. 

As I said, I'm slowly replacing, so I still have a mix of tins and random bottles. The glass jar on the bottom shelf is my kosher salt container. It typically sits on the counter next to the stove while I'm cooking so I can measure out pinches as needed.

The drawer houses my fresh garlic, California bay leaves, and other bagged spices/spice mixes that don't yet have bottles.
Next step: place an order for more spices!

At some point I may replace the drawer knobs or add some decorative touches with paint, but for now I like the natural color of the wood and the simplicity of it. I'll live with it for a while and see how it speaks to me before I make any changes. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kaity Hits the Road

“Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ~ Elizabeth Stone

 Well, on Sunday afternoon, my heart got into her Daddy's VW Beetle and drove off down the road.

On Saturday morning, Jeff took Kaity to get her Learner's Permit, and once it was burning a hole in her pocket she couldn't wait to get out and put it to use.

I haven't been brave enough to let her have a turn with my car yet, but it's coming soon, I know!

Saturday, January 16, 2016


We have slowly been getting Pippin used to sitting with us as we go about our days. One night while we played cards, we all took turns letting Pippin sit on our shoulders.

Jeff was still wearing his apron from when he was washing the dishes earlier in the evening.

This was taken just a couple of days ago, and Pippin is much more used to being with us now. He especially likes sitting with Kaity and me because he snuggles down in to our hair.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Daisy Mae Pittard

In early May of 1998, Jeff and I had been married just one month. He was working for the city natural gas department. I was attending Augusta State University, working as a substitute teacher, and was still part-time at Chuck E. Cheese's. Jeff and his partner got called to a local veterinary clinic to repair a busted gas line. As soon as Jeff saw the litter of adorable little tabby cats in the vet's office, he knew exactly what to get his new bride for her upcoming 19th birthday.

Now that Daisy is nearly 18, she has been increasingly showing her age, including an inability to eat well. With many factors in mind, we made the difficult decision recently that her time with us was at an end. This evening we had her put to sleep.

Daisy has been a wonderful part of our family and we already miss her.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

My Little Sous Chef

When it comes to preparing food in our home, Kaity is learning how to cook basics, and she's my go-to sous chef for making meals flow more smoothly, like prepping dough to make pizza or focaccia. Joe always shows interest and asks questions about what I'm cooking, and of course he's always available for taste-testing when I'm baking. Selah enjoys helping me, but it's a once in a while kind of thing, as long as there's nothing more exciting going on. But Lauryn, far more than her siblings, loves to be in the kitchen with me. 
Lauryn is helping me prepare cheese quesadillas to go with our Cowboy Soup.
That child makes me laugh because if I so much as walk through the kitchen she comes running! "I help you!" She drags a chair over to her station at the counter begging, "I stir it!" It's always heartbreaking for her when I'm simply cleaning the countertops or putting away dishes and not actually cooking. I confess that sometimes I tiptoe quietly through tasks if I don't want any "help" at the moment.

She watches everything I do like a hawk, and wants so badly to get her hands in there to do exactly as I am doing. It has been a tremendous lesson in patience for Lauryn's mama! She's learned that she cannot touch my knife, but she places her left hand over mine or on my wrist and the other one goes behind her back. Until her hands are in place, my knife doesn't move. When the chopping/slicing/dicing is done, I move the knife away and she moves the prepped vegetables into the bowl, pot or skillet where they belong.

In these pictures, she's helping me make cookie dough.

She always has to have a hand on my arm so she can feel like she's helping.

"I lock it!"
Helping me turn the mixer on!
One day, I was making a roux. The butter had melted and was ready for the addition of the flour. As I sprinkled it in, from her chair next to me Lauryn said, "Oh!", opened the utensil drawer and got out the whisk. This was not a coincidence, as I already had a spatula out for something else. Truly, she is a prodigy in the kitchen.

Saturday, January 02, 2016


On Monday, Jason and Paige brought their three kids over to stay for a few days. Since they both work and the kids are on Christmas break, we thought it would be the perfect time for the cousins to come and enjoy some time with us.

It was an interesting dynamic having so many at once, but all seven kids did great together. Their ages dovetail with one another nicely: 2, 5, 9, 9, 11, 14, 15. They explored the woods outside, played basketball and rode bikes, played board and card games - the favorite, I think, being Machi Koro. They also challenged each other to playing games on the Wii, like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and Mario Kart.
Sarah, Joel and Kaity playing Machi Koro.
Joel and Kaity playing Jeopardy!
At one point during a grudge match between the two oldest cousins, I sent this text message to my brother-in-law: "So our kids have been playing Jeopardy! and I think we need to revisit our plans to have them carry the torch of our genius. To wit: Kaity just used the phrase Koala Toast." 

They built worlds on Minecraft ...
Joe and Jacob
 and played with Play-Doh.

This is the disaster area that was my living room in the mornings. The kids all piled on pillows and blankets sprawled on the floor and across the furniture. Because who needs a perfectly good bed when everyone can camp out in the living room? As Opie Taylor says, it's "adventure sleeping"!

It was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to doing it again!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Christmas at Grammie and Bobba's

On Christmas Day, we all loaded up the car and drove to Grammie and Bobba's house! Stuart and his boys were already there. Though we arrived at lunchtime, the kids (okay, and maybe the adults, too!) elected to open presents before eating.

Selah hugging Santa-Bobba!
Jeff, unveiling his new parakeet cage!
Uncle Stuart got Lauryn DVDs of Mary Poppins and Toy Story.

Stuart and Ralston
Selah got a new bike! Kaity is sporting her new Star Trek: TNG jacket, complete with Starfleet insignia communicator badge.

Here's me, cooking Christmas dinner - prepping deviled eggs at the moment:

 Even Claire got a nerdy little gift. Kaity bought me this sticker of the Enterprise's registry number:
Over the next few days, we visited with Stuart and his boys, and Grandma Fran. We played games like Quiddler, Machi Koro, and Golf (a card game). Mom and Berk took the kids to the park to play, and they all played outside as much as possible, considering all the rain we've had lately!

Mom's birthday is on New Year's Eve, and this year she met me in Athens for lunch, then came back to the house to meet Pippin, play games and of course to see the kiddos. We ate at Goodie Two-Shoes, and can definitely recommend it. It was delicious!
Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mama!