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Posts Tagged ‘My Thoughts’

Non-Menu Plan Monday

Well, how is everybody?  Me?  I am just fine and finally feeling like blogging again.  For some reason, this summer just took its toll on me and my inspiration well had run completely dry.  Thankfully, the urge to cook, take photos, and (most importantly for this space) write about it is finally coming back. 

I guess I can blame it on the hot weather, but that’s not really it.  There have been a few family health issues going on which thankfully are resolving themselves nicely.  Praise God!!  C & I also have a big personal project we are diving into and, hopefully, I can fill you in on that a little more in the near future.  It’s a wonderful opportunity but a BIGGIE!!!  In fact, if you want to say a little prayer for us, please and thank you, that would be just great.

Do you ever have the feeling that your brain is evolving into something a little different?  I guess that sounds weird, but I have been toying with the idea of changing my blog name to something that seems more “me”.  For some reason, PPC just doesn’t seem to perfectly match what I want this space to be.  I am far from perfect and even though (as my tag line says) cooking and photography are my perfect hobbies, I have never been really comfortable with the word “perfect” in the title.

Maybe I am being too sensitive, but I really don’t want to try to be perfect because I know I can’t be.  Only God and Jesus are perfect and I can only strive to be even just a tiny smidgen like them.  There may be a few changes in this little space, but maybe not.  Can you say, “Indecisive”? 

Thanks for sticking with me through my dry spell until I felt the proverbial rain filling my well again.  Stay tuned for some fun things to come!

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Nashville, Tennessee is one of our favorite places to visit for a day or weekend trip.  C & I were having a little cabin fever a couple of weeks ago so we took off for parts south one Saturday.  The original reason for our trip was to go to the Apple Store at the Mall at Green Hills and I tacked on a few other destinations in the same mall.  You got to make your trips count, don’t you know?

We also visited the Green Hills branch of the Nashville Public Library because we such huge NERDS!  There is a very good reason we did that, but that’s for another post.  The library was very pretty inside and out.  They have a pretty fountain at the entrance and a walking path with a statue.

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I have to admit we found the statue a little creepy.  It is a little freaky to sit there and have the “old man” staring at you.  Anywho, since we were out to have a little fun, I decided to search for a new restaurant to try in the area and kept coming back to Table 3 which is a French bistro right next to the mall.  What a success! 

The ambience was great and the food was even better.  One of the specials that day was pork chili and I really hesitated because I thought my mind was made up to try the French dip.  I decided to forgo the chili and go with my first instinct.  Of course, C had the cheeseburger and "pommes frites”.  (C’s statement to me: I just want fries with my burger.  My statement to him:  Pommes frites is fancy French for fries.  You’ll be just fine.)

I went with the baby green salad with my sandwich and I was so glad I did.  It was all so tasty.  Enough with all the words.  Here are the pics:

I think C’s look says it all:  Can we just eat already?

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After this, we hit the mall and there were so many stores that I wanted to check out.  There are some stores that just don’t exist in Kentucky.  Restoration Hardware was my first stop and the look is amazing, but the prices are ridiculous!!!  One bathroom cabinet (that wasn’t even solid wood) was $2100.00!  Um, no thank you and I promise not to break anything while I am here.  It was neat to see the set-up, but, in my opinion, their wares are way overpriced

C & I finally made it to the Apple Store and it was a madhouse.  The service was prompt and friendly and C’s errand didn’t take long at all.  After the mall experience, I braved the traffic and made it to Anthropologie.  This was another store that I had heard so much about and wanted badly to be impressed.  They do have some neat things and I can see how food bloggers would go crazy over their selection, but, again, the prices were just a little too high to justify my purchasing things there.  They also some kind of weird air freshener or candle burning which didn’t set well with C or my allergies.

We had a great time and I told C that we just experienced how the “other half” live since this is a swanky and well-off area of Nashville.  I mean, I got behind a Maserati in traffic, for Pete’s sake!  I think I’ll keep my Chevy.

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Friday Brain Dump

How’s that for a title?  I think this winter weather is seriously affecting my mental capabilities, because I have had tons of post ideas swirling in my head this week but I can’t seem to put pen to paper so to speak.  So here goes nothing…please forgive the randomness.  I blame it on this:

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That’s right, we had another winter storm last Sunday night with about a quarter inch of ice with 4 inches of snow on top of it.  Oh, joy.  As you can tell, the wind blew and piled the snow up to our back door so it has been pretty much useless up to today.  Sure, it’s pretty, but one can only take so much of this.  We actually got a “snow day” from work on Monday and that is RARE!  Here are a few shots from Monday:

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At least the dogs enjoyed it.

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C & I slipped and slid our way to work on Tuesday, but the roads were still messy.  I felt so sorry for the road crew workers, because they were doing their best. I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on these photos.  I was riding shotgun and taking these the whole way to town.

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Thankfully the temperatures are getting warmer every day so hopefully this won’t last much longer.  On another note, I had my first root canal yesterday and it actually wasn’t bad at all.  In the last 4 or 5 months, I have had a filling replaced, a crown, and now a root canal with a crown coming up for this tooth.  I think my teeth started falling apart the minute I turned forty. 

I can’t complain though since my “problem” was easily fixed and I have been very blessed with good health. There are so many people that aren’t so fortunate.  On that note,  I want to send out a special request to all of my readers.  A little 5 year old boy, whose parents are originally from my area, has been diagnosed this week with Stage 4 Birkett’s Lymphoma.  I ask you to please pray for him and his family.  The doctors say that this is a treatable disease, but he will probably have chemo treatments for at least a year.  He is a precious looking little boy who doesn’t deserve this.  Check out his Facebook page here.

Speaking of prayer, this week was the beginning of the Lent season leading up to Easter.  As a Christian, I find the Easter holiday just as inspiring and important as the Christmas season, maybe more so.  Since the protestant faith doesn’t do quite as much for Lent as the Catholic faith does, I am not really “giving up” anything except a little more of my time every day to Bible study and prayer.  The Bible app on my phone and iPad has 3 different Lent reading plans and I am going to try to study through all three.  Why don’t you join me?

Shew, I think my mind feels a little clearer now.  Oh, no, wait…there is one more story to tell about our trip to Nashville last weekend, but that might have to wait for another post.  Have a great weekend, everyone and thanks for plowing through my untamed thoughts!

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Since the President gives the country a State Of The Union address and our governor gives a State Of The Commonwealth address, I thought I would give my own version, The State Of The Blog address.  As of March 9th, 2013, I have been blogging for 4 years at this little site.  When I look back at some of those first posts, I will chuckle at myself and realize how far I have come in my writing and photography skills.  I am still not the greatest, but at least I have improved.  While my dad was in the hospital and rehab facility for weeks these past few months, I worried that I would have to give up blogging for a while since there wasn’t much free time.  Thankfully he is now at home and doing great so back to blogging I go, very happily I might add.

This is my creative outlet.  The cooking of the food, the photographing of the food, and, finally, writing about all of it brings me joy.  This is kind of like my alter-ego and it is a place I can go express myself and write about what I want to write about. 

Since this is definitely not my full-time job (hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?), I try to keep my hobby as inexpensive as possible.  The most expensive thing I have bought for blogging is a new camera, but we use that for many other things.  I have purchased a few bowls, plates, and pretty dishtowels to use as props, but that is about it.  I love to look at other blogs that are professionally designed with all kinds of buttons and gadgets, but didn’t want to pay for it.  Enter my amazing husband, C! 

A few weeks ago, I needed to learn how to enter HTML code into a blog post using Windows Live Writer (another great FREE product).  While C showed me how to do it, he asked if there was anything else I wanted to add.  YES!!! Many blogs had “Pin It” buttons so readers could “pin” their posts and I wanted one.  We did a little searching on the WordPress site and found by going to “Settings” and “Sharing”, we could make those buttons a reality.  Now at the bottom of every post, there is a Pinterest, Print, Twitter and Email buttons.  Love it! 

Speaking of the print option, this is due to another freebie that C knew about call Print Friendly.  Just go to their site and click on “website button” at the top right and you, too, can have a print option on your site.  I really like it because it pulls the photos to one side so all of the text is together and that makes it much easier to read as an actual recipe.  Also, you can hover your mouse over sections and delete them so they won’t print and empty your ink cartridge.  Genius, I say, just genius.

I also added a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button right under my “About Me” info on the right hand side of the page.  I love Pinterest so please follow me and see all of the stuff I may never get around to doing or buying.  Ha!

If you are new to this space, thanks for stopping by and I hope you return many times.  If you are a regular reader, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I love doing this and if only one person gets enjoyment out of besides me, then it is completely worth it.

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It’s funny…when I started doing the Thoughtful Thursday posts a while ago, I was worried that when I sat down to write it nothing would come out.  It has never failed though that some idea or “thought” would cross my mind and I would write about it.  Sometimes it’s projects around our house or a trip somewhere that ends up here, but more often than not, this post is about MY thoughts.

Last Sunday morning, we attended church for the first time in a while.  Why, you ask?  Pure laziness, but that is changing right now.  C & I sat down with our kitchen calendar where I do my menu planning and wrote down the church’s name on every Sunday as a reminder that that is where we need to be that one morning per week.  The fact that we had slacked off majorly in our attendance had been eating at me for awhile.  I felt like that I wasn’t doing my part for God.  That I was asking Him to do things for me, sometimes little things but sometimes BIG things, and I couldn’t muster up enough time and energy to dedicate this time to worship He and Jesus.  Shame on me!!

Anyway, the subject of the sermon was “Taking Inventory” and it really made me think.  The pastor talked about how the new year is a great time to take inventory of our lives and see if we are where we want to be and also to take stock of the blessings in our lives that we sometimes look over or take for granted.  I have a wonderful life with a wonderful husband and family.  There are still things that I want to accomplish and, hopefully, I will, but by and large, my life is pretty darn good. 

There are a few things that I want to improve on this year.  Firstly is church attendance and tithing.  C & I got off to a good start and plan to continue with both. I always feel so much better after going so I don’t know why we slacked off so bad.  

Secondly, I want to improve my diet and exercise routine.  Overall it’s not too bad, but I eat way too many sweets so one of my goals is to cut back drastically on sweet stuff, especially the premade artificial junk food.  Starting this past Tuesday, when I went back to my regular work schedule, I stopped all soft drinks and candy bars.  Hard?  You betcha, but I know it will be best for me in the long run.  I will probably still make one or two desserts a month, but I am saving my “sugar” for those good homemade treats and not waste it on junk that’s not that tasty anyway.  Ellie makes sure I get plenty of walking in everyday, but I used to do yoga a few days a week and it made a huge difference in my flexibility and strength.  I hope to be able to do yoga or some kind of stretching exercises about three days a week.

Thirdly, I need to improve my attitude at work.  Sometimes when you work with the public day in and day out, it can really get under your skin and when you work in the court system, it can REALLY get under your skin when you see the same people over and over and over again.  I have a great job that has good hours and is close to home so I need to focus on the positive and not the negative.  I could be working night shift an hour or two away, but I don’t have to do that, thank the good Lord.

These are some of my goals for 2012.  I will update you all about them every once in a while to see if I am sticking with them.  I hope everyone has a blessed and prosperous new year!  Holler at me and let me know what your goals for this year are.  I would love to know!

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Did you all, my readers, think I have stopped reading since I haven’t had a bookworm post in so, so long?  Never fear, I have had a book in my hand all spring and summer long and have read some really good books and some not so good ones, too.  Let’s take a look, shall we??

I guess I had better say something first…I read for pure pleasure.  Unless it is the Bible (the perfect instruction manual for life) or a cookbook/gardening/how-to book, I read to get lost in another world or another life.  Books are an escape for me and I love them!  Sometimes I think I should have been a librarian in some big old library full of rare and precious books, but maybe that is because of the book I am reading right now.

I am in the middle of “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova, and it is so good.  If you recall, I wrote a short post about another book by the same author called “The Swan Thieves”, and I think I like “The Historian” better than that one. 

I have also read the first two books by Stieg Larrson: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire”.  My co-worker, K, has the third book, “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”, and I can’t wait to get a hold of that one, too.  I highly recommend these, but with one caveat.  The first book starts out a little slow, but don’t give up on it.  If you can make it through the first 50 pages or so of story background information, you will be rewarded.  The plot takes off from there and doesn’t stop until the very end.  The second book, not weighed down by history, takes off at a run and keeps going.  It is great!  These will be the only three books by the author because he passed away shortly after the third books was completed.  So sad!

Two other books that I have read this summer and enjoyed were food-related.  Yay!  One of my favorite topics!  The first was “The Hundred Foot Journey” by Richard Morais and “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle.  My local library was having a summer reading program for adults and these two books were on the reading list.  I didn’t get signed up in time to complete enough books before the deadline, but it was fun to read some different authors that I have never heard of before.

My favorite of the two was “A Year in Provence”.  I think I finished it in three days and wished it was much, much longer.  It is about the author and his wife’s first year of living in the Provence region of France, and it is a true story, which makes it even more entertaining.  “The Hundred Food Journey” is fiction, but good as well.  An Indian family decide to move from India to England and then France after the death of a special family member.  The interactions between the Indian family and the locals of France is especially entertaining.

I also read “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert since I had heard a lot about it, but had not yet seen the movie.  I don’t think I will bother with the movie.  I finished the book, but it was a struggle.  This is also a true store of one woman’s journey to put her life back together after a difficult marriage and divorce.  She travels to Italy (to eat), India (to pray), and Indonesia (she finds love) to recover from her sadness.  I guess the best way to say it is that I was very uncomfortable with her religious decisions.  It seemed like she wanted to take the “best” parts of every religion and put them together to make some sort of hybrid.  That just doesn’t fly in my book.  If you want the easy, happy, and loving parts of God, you must also take his rules along with them. 

I hope you enjoyed my little book review list.  I hope to start on the Harry Potter series soon.  I like the movies and want to try the books, too.  Happy reading!!

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Today starts your virtual journey on C & I’s 10th anniversary vacation we took last week.  I hope you enjoy, but I warn you that you may get tired of all of the photos I put on here from this trip.  We had such an amazing time road-tripping through parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio before making our way back to bluegrass land.  It was an adventure I will never forget!

C & I started out on Sunday with the plan to drive to Natural Bridge, Virginia to see Foamhenge.  That’s right, I did say “Foamhenge” not “Stonehenge”.  Here is a little history…I was watching Ace of Cakes on the Food Network one night and, in that episode, Duff and Geoff take a road trip.  One of the stops they made was at Foamhenge, which is a free road-side attraction built by an artist.  It is a full-scale replica of Stonehenge made of huge foam blocks.  C was hooked!  He had to see this.  We had already been talking about a beach vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary and that pretty much sealed the deal for Virginia Beach.  Anyway, back to our story.

We arrived at the Kentucky/Tennessee/Virginia lines (yes, they are that close together) and realized that we would have to go through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel.  Gulp!  I am not that fond of being underground, but here goes…

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After that, we took Highway 58 through a good portion of Eastern Virginia.  This is a main highway, but it wraps around a mountain so it is really, really curvy.  Then it started to rain while we were on the really curvy road.  Thankfully, we made it without any problems and the scenery was great to look at.

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We finally arrived at Foamhenge and it was so cool!  The place is not fancy, but if you like Stonehenge and have a sense of humor, you really need to go!

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It was kind of desolate.  I was a little afraid someone would sneak in and lock the gate behind us.

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There is even a levitating Merlin!

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This is the path back down to where we parked.

We were being watched!  I think it was an attack deer! 

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Once we had experienced Foamhenge, we headed toward Lexington, Virginia, where we were spending the night at the Hampton Inn-Historic District.  This hotel is partially housed in a historic house called Col Alto.  You can stay in those rooms, or did like we did, stay in the separate hotel in the back which is quite a bit cheaper.  You can still walk through the historic home and enjoy the ambience without having to shell out the big bucks.  I was saving my hotel budget for the beach!

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This is it for Day 1.  Please check back next Thursday as we travel to the coast!

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