Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Confessions: Naughty or Nice?

Happy Friday, My Lovelies!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I've had a great week, and I have a few things to confess!!!

I confess…

I confess that I've cooked many batches of cookies, and taste tested waaaaaaay too many…for quality assurance of course!  ;P

I wanted to get a head start on holiday baking, and after four batches of cookies so far I'd say I'm well on my way!

Plus, I'm participating in:

Stay tuned...

Baking and freezing cookies ahead of Christmas?  NICE!

I confess…

I confess that I chastised my daughters for taking their phones into church for our Thanksgiving service Wednesday night….only to have our priest ask the congregation take out our phones and text someone not present and express our thankfulness and/or gratitude.   :/

*forehead slap*

I'm still indecisive over who's NAUGHTY, Russell (our priest) or I!!!

I confess…

I confess that we Treleavens don't do Black Friday, and certainly not Black Thursday.  *BUT* one of my daughters BEGGED to go to her favorite store at 6AM for a big sale (extra 50% off sale items).  We went, and there was NO ONE out at that time!  You could have shot a cannon down HWY 280….methinks everyone had already returned home from the door busters!

Upon arrival, there was a "bait and switch…"  Everything in the store was 20% off.  I was not a happy camper.  But the good news is I'm almost done with Christmas shopping, yay!

Having Christmas shopping practically done?  VERY NICE!
Having shops baiting and switching???  VERY, VERY NAUGHTY!  :/

I confess…

I confess that 2014 will be the year of doing, so I want Christmas presents that will enable me to do more fun stuff!!!

I must needs some series 7 paint brushes!!!  :D

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Cute sweater from Sundance

From L'Occitane, the cure for dry winter hands

I love me some Smart Wool socks…one of my favorite things on the planet Earth!

I really want this book!

Santa, Baby…..I've been a VERY NICE GIRL this year!!!  ;P

I confess…

I confess that I've been VERY NAUGHTY calling everyone by their elf name. (Thanks, Vandy)
What's yours????

Hello!  My name is Pudding Peppermint!!!  :/

I confess…

I confess that I'm terribly nervous about the Iron Bowl tomorrow.  For those of you who don't follow college football, the Iron Bowl is the grudge match between The University of Alabama Crimson Tide v. the Auburn Tigers.

NICE:  Roll Tide!
NAUGHTY:  War Eagle!

Until next time…

Roll Tide Roll!!!
Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: A Potion to Die For

This week I read a cozy little mystery: A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake. It's the first in a series, and I learned about it on Diana's blog, Book of Secrets.  You can read Diana's review here.

One reason I was intrigued with reading this book is the setting:  fictitious Hitching Post, Alabama.  Hitching Post is a scenic tourist town where folks can get a quickie wedding (hence the name of the town) or a quickie divorce. The local weatherman sometimes predicts not only the weather but the "chance for divorce."   These predictions always cause a run on Carly Bell Hartwell's Little Shop of Potions, a magic shop that specializes in love potions.  Across the circle from Carly's shop is her younger cousin Delia Bell Barrow's Hex Shop. I love the friction between these two witches….one dealing in the white arts, and the other in the dark arts.  

One morning Carly finds a body in her shop, and there are no signs of a break-in.  The corpse is clutching one of her custom-made, hand-blown glass potion bottles, and Carly's day and weekend declines even further after the discovery:  Carly's ex-finace Dylan who left her at the alter is back in town and the lead detective in the murder case; Rumors are spreading all over town that Carly's potions are killing people; and Cousin Delia shares with Carly prophetic dreams that portend danger to Carly.

Dylan warns Carly to quit sleuthing and let the professionals handle the case, but Carly's business and reputation is on the line.  Plus her fragile heart might break yet again being in such close proximity to Dylan while he investigates the murder.  I enjoyed the flirtatious banter between Dylan and Carly very much, not to mention the sexual tension.  I love how he calls her Care Bear…he really is adorable!

This little book has it all: puzzling mystery, suspense, wit, Southern sense of place, endearing characters, romance, entertaining family dynamics.  I can't wait for the next in this series.  This isn't a genre I often read, and I'm so happy I read it!

On a personal note: There are many witchy, woo-woo parallels in this book to my life.  I'm from the general vicinity in north Alabama where the fictitious Hitching Post is located;  several of the characters' names are the names of people near and dear to me, for example, Carly's best friend's name is Ainsley, just like my best friend!  My husband is the descendent of the Bell family (we added an "e" to the end of Shanley's middle name) of the Bell witch fame.  Plus we recently named a rescue pup Boo (as in Boo Radley) and there's a Boo terrier in the book.  

I've actually been reading more cookbooks lately than literature.  What have you been reading lately?

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Happy List: It's Thanksgiving Break!!!

My Happy List

Welcome to My Happy List!  Please use the button coding above, link-up, visit participating blogs, and have fun!!!

I'm so happy that the holidays are here!  :D

My Happy List

1.   I survived last Friday.  The high schoolers did a great job with their Coffee Shop fundraiser, and the kids were delightful during their Spanish Cooking Class here at the house.  Mr. Diego served-up some wonderful Spanish tapas!  

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Shelley's friends Daria, Sue, and Jessica don Christmas aprons.

2.   Our new countertops in our bathroom are so pretty!  I love the Alabama marble.  I can't show you the rest of the bathroom because it looks like a bomb went off!  I'm happy that Mr. Art @ Home found the marble at such a ridiculously inexpensive price.

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Am I the only person in America who likes brass?
Methinks I am…..Mr. Art @ Home also installed new faucets.

3.   Roses make me happy, especially a bucket full of them from the flower market.  :D

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Some of them aren't opening……

4.   I decorated for Christmas, and we'll put the tree up this week.  Christmas decor makes me so happy! I doubt I'll post many photos because you've seen most of our decor from previous years.

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Decorating our kitchen makes me happy!

Anthropologie's annual tree trimming video
"Welcome to Merryville"

5.   I cleaned-up my art studio!  *squee*  A person can actually walk through from the dining room to the foyer.

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Being able to see the floor and my table makes me happy!

6.   Big Sister is coming home today from college.  I can't wait to spend some time with her!  Lil Sis has been out of school all week.  SO HAPPY to spend some time with my girls!

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A certain teenager and Westie princess I know slept until 2:00 PM yesterday....

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Then one of them had the audacity to request homemade beignets for "breakfast!"  :/

I'll see you back here on Friday for my Literary Friday post and link party!

Until next time…

Thanksgiving Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Monday, November 25, 2013

Musical Monday: Woods

Happy Monday!  I'm in a chill mood today, so instead of my (usual) Alt-Nation favorites, I want to share with you "Woods" from George Winston's Autumn CD.

The images are stunning, too.  I almost shared "Thanksgiving" from the December album, but I don't like it as well.  Maybe next year!


Hear some other great tunes @My So-Called Chaos:

Musical Mondays

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Autumn In Our Garden *plus* a Savory Soup Recipe

Happy Sunday Evening!

The weather has been so pretty here lately, and I've been spending a whole lot of time outdoors (although it was a wee bit chilly here today).   I wanted to share with you some photos from our garden.  All of these photos were taken over the past three days:

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Scenes from the woods behind our home

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We could have sleet and a little snow and very cold rain this week.  I think the roses will be history by next weekend!

I love this recipe for Potato and Kale Soup.  It is the perfect meal after a long walk in the crisp autumn air.   I hope you'll try it!

Potato and Kale Soup

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
Bunch of kale
4 oz packaged diced pancetta
salt and pepper to taste

1.   Lightly brown the pancetta.  Don't burn it!
2.   Cover potatoes with water in a large pot (water should be about 1/2 inch above potatoes).  Add a couple of teaspoons salt to the pot.
3.   Cook potatoes until done, about twenty  minutes or so.
4.   While potatoes are cooking, wash kale and remove thick stems.  I usually only use the top third of the leaves for this recipe.  Stack the leaves on top of each other and cut across the leaves spacing about 1/8".
5.   With a masher or hand mixer, mash potatoes in water until most of the lumps are gone.  Stir in pancetta and kale, and cook an additional three to five minutes until kale becomes wilted.
6.   Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

NOTE:  Cubed ham or 5 - 6 slices of bacon can be substituted for the pancetta.  I've made it with all three!

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Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Confessional: A Wee Bit Steampunk Obsessed, Lass?

Happy Friday Evening, Sweeties!

It's time for Friday Confessional, and I have a lot to confess about my Steampunk addiction.

What is Steampunk???  According to the Urban Dictionary:
Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes. [It can also be] a lifestyle choice, wherein the participants embrace deliberate anachronism and quasi-anachronism as seen in steampunk fiction. Often characterized by modifying one's electronic gadgets to make them look a century out-of-date.

I confess…

I confess that I love {most} things Steampunk!!!
My all-time favorite YA series is Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices….possibly party due to the Steampunk goodness of Victorian London.

I confess…

I confess that Steampunk can be Oh! so *pretty*
For example:

I confess…
I confess that I've been very intrigued with Steampunk Interiors.

I so love this lamp…..*le sigh*….

But it must be duly noted that I liked it before it has become mainstream.

I confess…

I confess that it weakens the coolness factor of it all when anything becomes mainstream, and that makes me sad!!!

I'd consider Restoration Hardware mainstream, yet on the higher end price wise.

If I ever live in a loft, I'd definitely add some Steampunk cuteness to my decor!

I confess…
I confess that I have an unhealthy obsession with NBC's Dracula.  Here's why:

1.  Jonathan Rhys-Myers as Dracula
2.  The setting is Victorian London
3.  The style is Steampunk
4.  The production company is the same one that produces Downton Abbey so visually it is soooooo pretty!!!  I love the sets, costumes, and little details.
5.   Jonathan Rhys-Myers as Dracula
6.   Action-packed
7.   Very conflicted characters
8.   Jonathan Rhys-Myers as Dracula

{I confess that I'm a fan of Jonathan Rhys-Myers…}
BTW He played Valentine in City of Bones (most horrible villain ever…even worse than Voldemort IMHO), and he played King Henry VIII in The Tudors.

Cast of Dracula

Grayson (Dracula) comforts Mina in his Steampunk-licious lab.

The Making of Dracula

Are any of you watching Dracula?  It airs Friday nights @ 10/9C.  :D 

I confess…
I confess that I'm not quite so sure I'm ready to incorporate Steampunk into my Christmas decor just yet…

But he's cute, isn't he???

I confess…
I confess that I might need a Steampunk 12-step program….and soon!

What do you have to confess?  Join Aubrey @ High-Heeled Love for Friday Confessional!

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Literary Friday: Q&A, Comfort, and my Favorite Thanksgiving Stories

Happy Friday!

Welcome to Literary Friday!  I hope y'all have had a wonderful week.  Mine has been extremely busy but fun!!!

I want to share with you two Thanksgiving stories by Truman Capote.  They are classics, and I like to re-read them every year.

Both stories are about Buddy and his elderly Great Aunt Sook, and  the setting is rural Alabama during the depression.   "A Thanksgiving Memory" is about the anticipation and preparation of Thanksgiving.  Buddy and Aunt Sook are on a quest to make the perfect pecan pie.  They use a baby buggy to go out and gather the pecans for the pie, and I absolutely love the South Alabama setting, characterizations, and the love Buddy has for his Aunt Sook.  Their relationship is so sweet!  However their friendship is tested in  "A Thanksgiving Visitor." This one is also about Thanksgiving prep, but Buddy feels betrayed as Aunt Sook has invited the class bully to Thanksgiving dinner.  She wants to teach Buddy a lesson about how to deal with bullies in this sweet, heart warming yarn.

Have you read either of these stories?  

They are perfect paired with pecan pie and coffee!  Talk about Southern Comfort!!!

Speaking of comfort:  Marfi's second week of A Book and a Blanket is live!

Jen, one of my book club members, is hosting a fun Q & A with two other Literary Junkies.

Here are this month's questions:

1.  What are you currently reading?  Tell us about it!

You can see my current reads on my literary page.  Stay tuned to Literary Friday for more!  I'm reading this little book, and it's very fun!  It's about witches in Alabama.

2.   How many books have you read this year? Do you set reading goals for yourself?

My goal was to read 52 books this year, and I'll make my goal.  So far I've read 49!

3.   What do you think are the best and worst book-to-movie/TV show adaptations?



4.   What is the first line of your favorite book?

"When Josey woke up and saw the feathery frost on her windowpane, she smiled."


5) What’s your favorite quote from a book?

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” —Alice Hoffman 


I must be in a magical realism mood today!

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bright Christmas

Hello, Lovelies!

I'm in a tizzy.

No, really….

I've decided to take down all Thanksgiving decor because we're hosting Spanish Cooking Class for my daughter's HS Geography and Spanish class. They will be eating in multiple rooms, so I need to take it all down.

But that's not why I'm in a tizzy.  Nope!

Do you remember how I've always wanted to redo our master bath?  You've never seen it on my blog, and you never will.  But Mr. Art @ Home decided to "surprise" me with new marble countertops, sinks, and hardware that will be installed tomorrow.  Yes, tomorrow morning….at the same time we'll be hosting the Spanish cooking class.

I'm actually in a panic right now.  {seriously}

So in order to try and save Mr. Art @ Home from a slow and painful death  to distract myself, I've been looking at colorful Christmas pretties.  I think on Saturday I'll decorate for Christmas.   It really makes sense because we aren't celebrating Thanksgiving here.

I *heart* this tree from Ikea.  So much fun!

Of course this is from Martha….
I love the traditional urn with a modern twist!

From Etsy
{so cute}

This site gets me into soooo much trouble!

What's your Christmas decorating style?  Bright, traditional, cottage, retro, rustic, or something else?

Until next time…

Ricki Jill