Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Happy List: Looking Forward to Fun!

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We've been so busy with end of the school year activities and appointments. I think that next year I'll make our annual check-up and physical appointments when school's out in June.....because there are always so many activities at the end of the year.  Why does that happen?  There have been way too many activities crammed into these last three weeks of school.

My Happy List

1.   The next three weeks will be filled with horse shows and pool parties.  *squee*  Summer is almost here!  So happy!

2.   There is a new book release I want to share with you:  Lynn Kurland's latest was released today, and if you haven't read any of Lynn's books, you are a loser!  (LOL just kidding....) Seriously, Lynn is the very best romance writer out there.  Her stories are amazing, and I'm so happy about Lynn's new book!  Check it out next time you're at the book store or library.

3.   I finally found the perfect little espresso cups for my Nespresso machine. YAY!  I ordered them from An Angel At My Table.  I ordered them on a Thursday, and they arrived the following Monday: all the way from England! :D  I got a great deal on the set, and they fit my Nespresso Pixie perfectly. Happy!

I like the little blue stripes on the cups!

4.   Shanley Belle (my oldest daughter) will be taking her last final exam this afternoon. Although she'll be going to summer school, we'll still get to see more of her the next month or so. YAY!  SO HAPPY to spend time with the big sis!

5.   Look at the adorable tag Linda @ Random Creativity sent me!  I commented on how much Shelley would love it, and she sent it to me! Bloggy friends are the best, aren't they!  The tag made Shelley's day, and she put it on the French memo board in the library.

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What's making you happy today?  Please link-up some happiness here. This is a link party!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, April 29, 2013

Musical Monday: No One Is to Blame

I loved this song by Howard Jones when it was first released in 1985, and I liked it even more when Phil Collins remixed it and sang back-up for its re-release in 1986.  I hope y'all enjoy it, and it might be new to some of my younger readers!

Howard Jones and Phil Collins "No One Is to Blame"

"No One Is to Blame"

You can look at the menu but you just can't eat
You can feel the cushions but you can't have a seat
You can dip your foot in the pool but you can't have a swim
You can feel the punishment but you can't commit the sin

And you want her
and she wants you
We want everyone
And you want her
and she wants you
No one, no one, no one ever is to blame

You can build a mansion but you just can't live in
You're the fastest runner but you're not allowed to win
Some break the rules
And live to count the cost
The insecurity is the thing that won't get lost

And you want her
and she wants you
We want everyone
And you want her
and she wants you
No one, no one, no one ever is to blame

What have you been listening to lately?  Share @ Musical Monday!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Nigella's Pesto Green Beans

I am enjoying Nigella Lawson's new cookbook, Nigellissima, so much!  I cooked her recipe for Green Beans with Pistachio Pesto, and it was a hit!

All you need to do to make this recipe is cook green beans how you like them first, then toss them in pistachio pesto.  The difference between Pistachio Pesto and Regular Pesto is the nuts: Instead of using pine nuts, use pistachios in your pesto recipe.

This is not exactly how Nigella makes hers, but this is how I made mine:

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Pistachio Pesto

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T pistachios
4 T extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 T freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

***Toss with green beans, pasta, anything!  This is some good stuff!!!

If you havent' bought her Nigellissima, and you love Italian food, then you are missing out!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, April 26, 2013

Literary Friday: My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes)

This week I read My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes) by Luisa Weiss.  Part memoir, part recipe book, I couldn't put this one down.  I've even already tried a couple of her recipes, and they are fantastic, too.  Luisa is the author and creator of the popular The Wednesday Chef blog.  I love how Louisa decided upon her blog's name: It's in honor of the Wednesday food section in the New York Times.  Luisa has spent years collecting recipes, many of the clipped from the paper.

Luisa has such an interesting history.  She is the daughter of an Italian mother and Jewish-American father.  Born in Berlin, she split her time growing up between Boston and Berlin as her parents divorced when she was in preschool.  Spending time in the kitchen began with Joanie, her nanny, in Germany.  Luisa loved spending time in Joanie's homey kitchen, and Joanie's early influence is evident throughout the book.  The simple comfort of conquering a recipe became an anchor for Luisa as she went to graduate school in Paris and moved to New York to begin a career in publishing.  Eventually, she was lured back to Berlin, and that's when the book really becomes interesting to me.

Have you noticed I haven't mentioned much about the love story aspect of the book?  Well that's because I don't want to post any spoilers.  Trust me....I enjoyed reading it, and I found myself cheering Luisa as she bravely takes a giant leap for love. Her voice is so genuine, and she is too, too cute.  I only hope to one day possess her confidence when planning and cooking for a dinner party. This book is the perfect combination for the romantic and the gastronome, and I look forward to preparing even more of the recipes from My Berlin Kitchen.

This is one of the first recipes I tried when Mr. Art @ Home was recovering from his food poisoning illness.  It was a huge hit, and I can't believe I've never made an omelet like this before.

Omelette Confiture

1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
Small pinch salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons black or red currant jam
1/2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1. Separate the egg white from the egg yolk. Beat the egg yolk with the milk in a small bowl until well combined. Beat the egg white with the salt in a spotlessly clean bowl until it just holds soft peaks. Fold the beaten egg white into the egg yolk mixture.
2. Melt the butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let cook for 3 minutes, until the edges have set, making sure the heat of the stove is not so high that the omelette browns or burns. Shaking the pan gently, flip the omelette and cook the other side for an additional 3 minutes. This takes some practice, but there’s no shame in using a plate over the pan to invert the omelette instead of flipping it.
3. When the omelette is set and cooked through, slide it onto a plate. Dab the jam along the center of the omelette and then roll up the omelette—using a plastic spatula should help. Shake the confectioners’ sugar through a sifter or strainer held over the omelette. Serve at once.

I went with the Tiptree red currant jelly.

I hope you'll link-up and share your book love today!

Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We Want to Know Wednesday: Are you a Girly Girl or a Tomboy?

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{no. 1} What does your morning routine look like?

I wake up at 5:30 every morning and make a huge pot of tea.  Then I wake my family up and make breakfast and lunch for Shelley.  Once I get everyone out the door, I get dressed and either go to Pilates, the art studio, or run errands.  I'm more productive in the morning!
My family has a fit if I make anything but PG Tips tea.  Check out this hysterical commercial:
{no. 2} How long does it take you to get ready for the day?

Usually around 35 - 40 minutes, start to finish (shower, make-up, dry hair). Ten minutes for Pilates because I don't wear any makeup and I don't have to ponder about what to wear and I don't really dry my hair.

This stuff miraculously cuts the drying time of your hair in half.  It seriously works.
{no. 3} If you could wear one thing every day, what would it be?

yoga gear....but I sorta do unless I'm going to do art......

From Lulumon

{no. 4} Are you a girly girl or more of a tomboy? 

More girly girl, but I definitely have a tomboy streak.
I prefer:
Cars to diamonds,
Top Gear to Grey's Anatomy,
Dogs to cats,
The Five to The View,
Boating to shopping.

The Five
Fox News Channel
{no. 5} Where is your go to place to shop? 

I don't really like to shop much.  As a matter of fact, most of my girlfriends refuse to shop with me!  Usually they drop me off at the book store and come back for me later.  :/
My go to place to shop is The Gap.  LOVE their t-shirts, and I live in them if I'm not wearing Pilates/Yoga gear.

I love jeans and t-shirts!
from GAP
Join Kenzie and Scriptor for We Want to Know Wednesday!
Until next time...
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Happy List: It's Spring! and Random *Happy*

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I'm very happy that everyone is feeling better here, and I can't wait to plant containers this week.  I already have a few roses, and I was so worried because we'd cut them way back!
My Happy List
1.   I'm visiting my favorite nursery today, and I hope to plant at least three large containers.  I have a Pinterest Board for containers.  Check out this pretty one:

This pretty container was originally pinned from Houzz.

Are you following me on Pinterest?  It would make me so happy if you would!  :D

2.   I actually found a great bargain @ Pier 1 the other day.  I rarely ever find steals I would've been willing to pay full price to own.  

What a bargain!

All I added was one dozen assorted roses for $6.99.  YAY!
Bargains make me so happy!

3.   I have been stalking climbing hydrangeas online lately.  Looking at the pretty hydrangea images is making me happy!  I should probably make a climbing hydrangea Pinterest board.  Our brick wall under our master bedroom window looks stark, so I'd like to plant one to climb our brick and surround our window.  Mr. Art @ Home is scared it would ruin our brickwork and mortar.  What do y'all think?

Our brick is almost the same color as the brick in this photo.
Share your happy posts with us today.  This is a linky!

Until next time...
Ricki Jill

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Feeling Blue

Dear Bloggy Friends:

Today I'm feeling blue.  My heart feels worn out.  It has been one awful week.

The terrorist attack on Boston has affected us all.  

I want to comfort the people of Boston:

I want to give them a hug,

make them tea, 

give them a treat,

give them flowers,

and say encouraging words, like our President did.  He quoted from one of my favorite passages from the Book of Hebrews:

The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

~Hebrews 12:1-2

{You may read a transcript of President Obama's remarks from the Memorial Service here.}

I have faith that God will help the City of Boston heal.  I also have faith in the fine people of Boston.  Boston is one of our greatest cities!

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Just look at what law enforcement and Bostonians have accomplished in less than a week!  You've apprehended one of the perpetrators, and killed the other.

You have been strong, Boston.

Plus, you're already helping the victims of the bombings through several organizations, including The One Fund.

You deserve recognition for your efforts...what a wonderful community!

However much I wish I could comfort you, Boston, I want you to know that you have comforted and encouraged me this week.  I've been watching the coverage on TV and listening to it on the radio, and I've been awed and humbled by your bravery, determination, and resolve.

While I've been trying to nurse Mr. Art @ Home back to health, you have strengthened us.  

Thank-you, Boston.

Mr. Art @ Home has been terribly ill since Tuesday with a high fever, headaches, and GI issues. We've had several sleepless nights.  I finally persuaded him to go to the doctor yesterday and his doctor has no idea what's wrong.  However, it must have been bacterial as the shots yesterday and the Bactrim seem to be working.  He tested negative for the flu.  I won't be posting again until next Tuesday, but I hope that our entire household can rest the next few days. Hopefully I can visit a few of your lovely blogs!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, April 19, 2013

Literary Friday: Chronicles of Nick: Inferno

Nick has his driver’s license and he’s not afraid to use it. But turning sixteen isn’t what he thought it would be. While other boys his age are worried about prom dates and applying for college, Nick is neck deep in enemies out to stop him from living another day. No longer sure if he can trust anyone, his only ally seems to be the one person he’s been told will ultimately kill him.

But life spent serving the undead is anything except ordinary. And those out to get him have summoned an ancient force so powerful even the gods fear it. As Nick learns to command and control the elements, the one he must master in order to combat his latest foe is the one most likely...

~from Sherrilyn Kenyon's website

I love this young adult series for several reasons (this book is the fourth installment).  This series is a spinoff of the hugely popular {adult} Dark Hunter series.  Nick Gautier (pronounced Go-shay) is one of the most popular characters in the series, and the YA series is all about his high school years before he becomes one of the Goddess Artemis's Dark Hunters.  Nick is supposed to bring about the destruction of mankind as we know it in the distant future, and we do get a glimpse of a grown-up Nick in the series as he works with Artemis to try to undo his past.  But something seems to go terribly wrong in this book, but we won't know what it was until the next book (of course).

As a mom, I love this series because Nick's mom is a strong presence in the series.  This is very unusual in YA books, and as a mom of a teenager, I appreciate this!  Nick's mom Cherise loves her son so much, and she is involved in his life.  There are actual consequences for Nick if he skips curfew!  LOVE Cherise.  Nick loves and respects his mom, and he is also respectful of other adults in his life including Bubba, Acheron, and Kyrian.  Plus the books also focus on real issues our teens face.  This book focuses on tough breakups, and book three's focus was cyber bullying.  There is still some mention of the bullying in book four as the students at Nick's high school are still coping from the fallout of a bully's actions.  One of Nick's friends named Brynna writes a poignant letter to the bullies of the world, and if you have a young teen, please print out a copy for him or her to read.  Read Brynna's letter to a bully here.

Perhaps the one thing I love best about the series is that it's based in New Orleans.  Reading the series makes me homesick for Mr. Art @ Home's hometown.

You can read more about the series here.

What have you been reading?  This is a linky!

Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Friday Confessional

The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

~Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We Want to Know Wednesday: Would You Rather....

Kenzie and Scriptor host We Want to Know Wednesday.  This week, we're playing Would You Rather.....


{no. 1} Would you rather... go out to eat or make a nice meal at home? I'd much rather eat at home.  With the exception of a recent meal I prepared:  Scotch Eggs.  THey turned out way too huge, and I followed the recipe, but they are so large!  They look like dinosaur eggs.  :/  {so not sharing this recipe with y'all}

Dinosaur eggs
Scotch Eggs

{no. 2} Would you rather... drive or fly?  There was a time when I would have said fly, but I definitely prefer driving now.  We road tripped to upstate NY last summer and had a blast! Plus, my car is so much dang fun to drive.

{no. 3} Would you rather... go to a sporting event or watch it on TV? Definitely go to the sporting event, especially if it's Alabama Crimson Tide football.  Roll tide!

Bryant-Denny Stadium, Home of the Crimson Tide

{no. 4} Would you rather... read a book or watch TV? If you don't guess this one, you're not paying attention.  I'd much rather read a book.  Here's my latest:

{no. 5} Would you rather... go to bed early or sleep in late? Go to bed early! I'm a morning person.

Sunrise over Double Oak Mountain

This was a fun distraction for me because I've been so upset about the terrorist attack in Boston.  Thanks for hosting, ladies!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No "My Happy List" Today.....

I'm just not feeling very happy today due to the terrorist attack in Boston at the Boston Marathon.  My heart breaks for the families affected, and I pray that those responsible will be apprehended and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Comments have been turned-off for this post.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, April 15, 2013

Musical Monday: Sweater Weather

Isn't this cardigan *pretty*

We had the best weekend with Shanley Belle!  It was her sorority's Parents' Weekend, and it's always so nice visiting Tuscaloosa in the spring.

Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day.  Perfect.  Not so much for brunch on Sunday: It was rainy and cold.  So I kept singing "Sweater Weather" in my head all day....  ;P

I love cardigan sweaters, especially during the spring and summer.  It might be ninety degrees outside, but I usually freeze inside because of the air conditioning.

Here are two other sweaters I *heart* :

Methinks I'll be going cardigan shopping this weekend!  ;P

But I digress....

Moving on to Musical Monday, here's The Neighborhood with Sweater Weather.  Now I'm not daft....I know that this song isn't really about sweaters. And I fear that the speaker of the song is a cheater cheater pumpkin eater. Naughty boy.  But I still like the song anyway, and I predict tremendous success for The Neighborhood.

Sweater Weather
by The Neighborhood

All I am,

Is a man,

I want the world,
In my hands.
I hate the beach,
But I stand,
In California with my toes in the sand.

Use the sleeves of my sweater,
Let’s have an adventure.
Head in the clouds,
But my gravity’s centered.
Touch my neck,
And I’ll touch yours,
You in those little high waisted shorts.

She knows what I think about,
And What I think about,
One love. Two mouths.
One love. One house.
No Shirt. No Blouse.
Just us. You find out.
Nothing that we don’t want to tell you about, No.

It’s too cold, 
For you here, 
And now so let me hold both your hands in,
The holes of my sweater.

And if I may,
Just take your breath away.
I don’t mind if there’s not much to say,
Sometimes silence guides our minds to move to a place so far away.
Goosebumps start to raise,
The minute that my left hand meets your waist.
And then I watch your face,
Put my finger on your tongue ‘cause you love the taste.
These hearts adore,
Every one the other beats heart is for
Inside this place it’s warm,
Outside it starts to pour.

Coming Down,
One love. Two mouths.
One love. One house.
No Shirt. No Blouse.
Just us. You find out.
Nothing that we don’t want to tell you about.

It’s too cold, 
For you here, 
And now so let me hold both your hands in,
The holes of my sweater.

What are you listening to?  Join Miss Angie at Musical Monday!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill