Finally… an office

After I wrote this entry about my love for drawing, I’ve been really doing some thinking about how I could incorporate that into a part-time business (from home). I’ve been working on my drawings for the past few weeks and I now have 20-or-so of them stock-piled up.

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I am THINKING about scanning them and opening an Etsy store! I have a few ideas for a name and am going to be working on a logo over the next few days. The shop could include things like digital downloads of my drawings (for coloring pages), custom painted items, and maybe a few other things as well. For now I would need to focus on things I can easily produce (on-demand) without having a huge stash of inventory though.

First thing’s first – I need an office/studio. Well, we have an office, but until yesterday it looked like a craft store threw up in there on top of all the office supplies and files and bills…

20160494271_46e131e55d_oYeah, it wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, I spent the day yesterday working in the office. I cleaned out the cabinets and the bins and drawers. I threw away old crafts, re-organized everything and now I’ve got a ton of space to work with! I have 2 different desk areas – one is a built-in desk and one is an antique hoosier cabinet I’ve had for many years. They’re at different heights, so I can choose which is more comfortable for which task. Honestly – being a tall girl with long legs – NEITHER is really the right height for me… but I’ll make it work.

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Yes I have 2 laptops side-by-side… One is new and the other one is ancient, but it has all my design programs on it and I’m going to milk every last drop of life out of it!

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Now I just need a rolling (height adjustable) office chair. This kitchen chair isn’t working for me…

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Better-than-Bisquick…

Weekends around our house don’t get started without a sweet breakfast. That’s our thing – donuts, crêpes, pancakes, french toast – there’s just something about the weekend. Maybe it’s the extra time we I have to spend in the kitchen before the kids are up. My internal clock is set for 7am REGARDLESS if it’s the weekend, weekday, kids are spending the night away, we stayed up til after midnight binge-watching House of Cards… 7am and I’m up-and-at-em. Well, this weekend was no exception.

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This weekend it was pancakes! I’ve written about this recipe before, but I stand by my comment that it’s the best pancake recipe I’ve ever used. It comes from a blog called “Somewhat Simple” and I stumbled upon it through Pinterest. They’re completely fool-proof and stand up to any addition you might think of. This time I made 2 types – plain (yummie) and chocolate chip for the girls.

The Best Pancake Recipe

adapted from Somewhat Simple

Makes about 16 pancakes I use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon and I think I get about 20-24 pancakes out of this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of sugar I only use 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 tbs. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (this is my addition)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together to eggs, milk, vanilla and oil.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. *Don’t over mix, the batter will be lumpy.
  4. Bake on your griddle or stove top until golden brown on both sides.

For “fancy pancakes,” measure out your batter on the griddle, then sprinkle on whatever you’re going to add (chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.) before they start to bake too much. This will ensure your addition is really incorporated into the pancake and not just sitting on top it.


19806731121_baa14051c0_oIt’s always a crowd-pleaser and SO GOOD with syrup, homemade berry compote, honey, yogurt – whatever you want to top them with! This is truly the simplest recipe I’ve ever used. ALMOST as simple as Bisquick, but SO MUCH tastier!

Steve had to leave shortly after breakfast to go to work for a few hours, but Miss M wanted to MAKE SURE she got in one last wave before he pulled out of the driveway.
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The Dentist will see you now

I had a routine dentist appt. yesterday and took M with me. I’ve long thought that I had the best hygienist in the world, but yesterday she really proved herself up to that monicker. While she worked, she included M in what she was doing – explaining everything along the way. She gave her a set of gloves and told her what all the little tools were for. After she was done and the dentist came in, she whisked Miss M away to fill up my her goodie bag.

Guess what we did when we got home?

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That’s definitely the CUTEST little dentist I’ve ever seen…

A little culinary adventure

So, let’s talk about food. I LOVE food. I love hamburgers and French food and spaghetti and Thai food. I love popcorn and candy and scones and homemade pancakes. I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t TOO much that I won’t eat. My favorite food in the world is Mexican, and I must say that my trip to Houston DEFINITELY peaked my taste buds.


19040068204_a590da48ac_oMy first night there, we went to Good Dog (which actually originated as a food truck) and had hot dogs. Ok ok – so it’s not Mexican… but DANG those were some good hot dogs! I had the southern dog (being from Alabama) topped with chow chow, bacon and collard greens. What? Yep – collard greens!

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The next day we went to Torchy’s Tacos in the Heights for brunch and I had a taco with egg and avocado, lime, cilantro and salsa, and another one with egg and smoked brisket. Come to Mama!!!

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Well, I liked Torchy’s so much that I went back for lunch the next day when my sister-in-law went to work I had a baja shrimp taco and the Democrat (slow smoked brisket) and an ice cold glass of local beer. Holy cow – that’s taking “Tex Mex” to a whole new level! SO GOOD!


19148619184_4309219dd6_oYes, that’s a tortilla… a homemade tortilla from Lupé Tortilla that’s bigger than my head! If you’ve never had a handmade tortilla (I was a handmade tortilla virgin until this trip), you need to stop what you’re doing and try to find some. Oh my – they’re thin and soft and have such a good flavor. They’re nothing like the store-bought pre-packaged crap we have here in Alabama. Not to mention the FABULOUS fajitas that came with the tortillas. Mmmmm… the meat and cheese and beans and pico… SO GOOD!


19150316883_ee7da4a78c_oAnd no trip to a major city would be complete without a shopping spree at the Mecca of all grocery stores – Trader Joe’s! Oh how I love this place.  I can’t help but break out into a huge grin – just walking in the doors!

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Want to know what this luscious plate of Mexican yumminess is? Well, that’s our leftovers, folks. Yep, that’s right – leftovers! We went by the Alamo Tamale place (OMG – the best tamales you’ve ever put in your mouth) in a sort-of shady part of town to get these beauties. We went at 2:30 and thank goodness they still had some. They’ve been known to sell out before noon! I bought 2 dozen to freeze and bring home and we got 6 to split for dinner. The ones on our plate (above) are chicken, but I brought home pork, bean and chicken/jalapeño. Mmmmm…


19150314133_ba238d99d5_oAhhh Houston… how I love your culinary treasures. Goodbye my friend – until we meet again.

A little bit about Mama Teasie

I’ve also created this post as a “Mama Teasie” page (at the top by my “About Me” page), but I’ve got a bit more digging to do first. I need to find a few more pics of Mama and I’ve got box-after-box of old photos to go through. 

Mary Evelyn Wallace, Mama Teasie, was born in the year 1906 in a little town at the foot of the Appalachian mountains called Rutherfordton, North Carolina. By 1930 she was married to Frank Dewey Monteith and had a 2 year old little girl (my grandmother). At some point before my grandmother was born they moved in with Pa’s parents and sister just down the road in Gilkey, North Carolina.

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This is Pa with my grandmother – their first born.

Gilkey is not much more than a dot on the map and their claim to fame is a lumber mill and a gas station – nothing else. In fact, if you blink, you would never know it existed. The nearest town is Rutherfordton, which is only about 10 minutes away by car, so that is where they went for anything they needed.

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Pa (my great grandfather) and his father built the family home on top of a hill in Gilkey, but they made certain that the ladies (Mama Teasie, her sister-in-law and mother-in-law) had everything they could possibly need to provide for their growing family. They had a canning house, a well house, an outhouse (with 2 sized holes), a barn, a wood shed, a smoke house, a chicken house, and a tractor barn (which was later used more as a garage). They had gardens, fruit trees, hunting land, timber land, and Aunt Lexie (Mama Teasie’s sister-in-law) even had a gorgeous flower garden chock-full of tulips.

She and Pa had 4 children, 6 grand-children, 7 great grandchildren (my generation) and now there are 9 great great grandchildren and 1 great great great grandchild (I think I got everyone in there).

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Pa (Frank) is sitting down with my Uncle Bill in his lap. From left to right behind them is my Aunt Sue, Uncle Bud, Mama Teasie, and Grandma Kent.

Pa passed away in the early 70’s and I never got the chance to know him, but Mama Teasie was alive until 1984 (at the age of 78) and was VERY MUCH a part of my life. This is one of the only pictures I have of myself with her. I remember her in the kitchen cooking with an apron on or sitting out under the tree in the shade (like this picture) with a glass of tea… Mama wasn’t the type of person to pose for photos – she was the one enjoying life, taking care of her family and taking pictures of us.
Me and Mama Teasie

I know I’ve said it before, but the thing I remember most about Mama is the fabulous food she served. I’ve been looking around and I can’t seem to find any of her recipes, but I don’t think she actually USED recipes very often – other than to tell someone else how to make something. I feel like she was born knowing how to cook and she just cooked from instinct – she didn’t use recipes or try new things from magazines and books. She didn’t use shortcuts or frozen/boxed meals.

She just COOKED!

Just call me “Willie Nelson”…

Last weekend I drove all the way from Auburn, AL to Houston, TX for a visit with my sister in law. I stayed several days, and we had a great time painting and watching tv and site seeing (I’ve never been to Houston), but the drive out there was almost as interesting as my time there!

I drove south on 65 until I got to I-10 and then took I-10 West all the way into Houston. My husband and I drive I-20 several times a year visiting his family in Shreveport and east Texas, but this is the first time I’ve been on I-10 for that long.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was the amount of bridges and water I drove over. There were lakes and bayous and waterways and rivers… It was fascinating!

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After I crossed into Texas, the bridges stopped for the most part. The land got flatter and the horizon got further away… and the temperature started to climb.
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104˚ is the highest it got on my drive out there, but somehow it feels like a different kind of heat. It’s not the hair-frizzing, humid, oppressive heat we have in Alabama.
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It’s just good, unadulterated HOT air.