We met with a architectural designer/draftsman and builder on Saturday armed with a 7 year folder full of pictures and ideas.  The night before, my husband, a brilliant organizer, and I took the idea folder and hashed out the details.  We came up with a list of what we needed, what we wanted, and what we are willing to compromise on.  For instance, I am giving up the formal dining room to a office/library, but will be gaining a much improved and brighter eating area with a view off the kitchen. 

The designer called yesterday and said he found a copy of the original plans from the HOA and a septic site plan. That will save him time and us money!!  Our first challenge will be building around the septic tank and field lines because they, of course, are exactly where the addition will be going.  We should start receiving drafts by Friday.  This is great motivation to get the main house ready to put on the market by the Spring.

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The street side of the lake house.

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Billie looking for anything she can chase.

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1.  Fabulous Parties by Mark Held, Richard David & Peggy Clark. 

2.  Nell Hill’s Entertaining in Style by Mary Carol Garrity.

3.  Williams-Sonoma Entertaining, Chuck Williams, editor.

My Top Ten Cookbooks

October 23, 2009

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1.  Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.  A world renowned chef from Birmingham, Alabama, I read his cookbook like it was a novel.

2.  Baking With Julia.  A must for anyone who loves to bake.

3.  Easy Weeknight Favorites by Southern Living.  Do I need to say more?

4.  Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.   One of these days I am going to perfect my cake baking skills, and this will be the book I use.

5.  Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.  Needs no  explanation, okay I will give you one anyway.  I have never tried one of her recipes that I didn’t like.

6 & 7.  Food For Thought and Magic by the Junior League of Birmingham, AL.   These girls know how to cook.

8.  The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook–The New Classics.  Martha is a good teacher.

9.  Feast of Our Lady of Victory.  A local cookbook put together as a fundraiser by a neighbor.

10.  Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.  A good basic that I have had since I was 16.  I think it was probably my first ever cookbook.

Am I Just a Whiney Baby?

October 23, 2009

Maybe it is because my husband and I have been listening to Dave Ramsey or maybe it is due to my laziness,  but we are putting the main house on the market so we can remodel the lake house.  For the past two years, we have spent more time on home repairs than on home enjoyment.  Where do I begin?  The crushed septic field lines underneath the newly installed tumbled stone patio started it all, 3 AC units that gave up the ghost,  a new roof, trees that had to be cut down because they were growing over the roof,  garage doors that broke despite having them serviced every year, 3 skylights that started leaking, 11 large pine trees that have blown over due to storms (I am thankful they fell away from the house), a washer and dryer and refrigerator that had to be replaced,  a leaky 2nd water heater we didn’t know we had in the attic until it was too late,  dry wall repairs from the roof, the water heater and the skylights, squirrells in the attic  (we did catch and release–they can’t get back in because we cut down the trees) and I am not including all the repairs I have done myself. To borrow from a 6 year old nephew talking about the family dog who wanted to go outside and play, am I just being a “whiney baby?” 

Hawk, the Whiney Baby

Hawk, the Whiney Baby

 I hope not and that is not my intention.  We are excited about this journey!  We have been saving ideas,  pictures, thoughts, and a dream list in an idea file for 7 years.  Our ultimate goal is to have a place that is comfortable and welcoming to family and friends.  There have been a lot of good memories made at the lake house and we look forward to many more. We meet with a draftsman and builder tomorrow morning and I plan to document this remodel every step of the way.

The Lake House

The Lake House

Our View

Our View

Mom to Mom

October 21, 2009

Mom telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.

Mom telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.

At the end of my sophomore year at Auburn University (WAR EAGLE), I called my mom to discuss what I was going to declare for a major.  Home ec education or accounting were her two options to help me choose from.  In about 10 seconds, together, we decided it should be Home Ec Education.  After my first year of teaching, I went back to night school to start working on a degree in Accounting.  My students were bigger and more worldly than me and ate my lunch on a daily basis.  Marriage and children followed shortly after and I have spent the last 18 years as a happy homemaker.  I do love all things home ec-whether it is cooking, sewing, family, gardening, or taking on minor home and repair projects.  I will share the good, the bad and the ugly of my home pursuits and hopefully you will learn from my successes and mistakes.

It is official, the begonia has passed the day lily as my favorite flower.  Maybe it is because they require even less care than the day lily or maybe because the deer have not eaten them, so I have actually seen a begonia bloom as opposed to the deer food tender lily blooms that have a hard time making it to maturity.  The posted pictures will serve as a reminder to me what the begonias looked like before I brought them inside for the winter to start their slow death in the sunroom.IMG_1930IMG_1928IMG_1929

Future Fried Green TomatoesThe tomato plants are done dealing!  The daytime and evening temperatures are too cool to set any blooms on the tomato plants so they are going to be heaped into the compost pile, but not before I pick all the green tomatoes.  My mouth waters as I anticipate our last fried green tomatoes of the season.  Forget all the batter mixes you can buy at the grocery store, my method is simple:

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Salt

Flour

Peanut Oil for deep frying

Slice green tomatoes just slight of 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt and let sweat for about 30 minutes.   In a gallon size storage bag add enough flour to coat tomatoes.  Add tomato slices and shake to cover.  Fry green tomatoes in peanut oil until golden brown, turning once.  Drain on paper towels and salt to taste if needed.  Temperature of oil should be 350-375 degrees F.  The key to crispy fried green tomatoes as opposed to soggy fried green tomatoes is not to try to fry too many at once as this will lower the temp of the oil.

This is also the way I fry yellow summer squash, only I use cornmeal instead of flour.  You can also peel eggplant and cut into french fry strips and prepare same way as tomatoes.