Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rainy Saturday

Happy Mardi Gras Weekend, Y'all!

I know, it has been a while. My head is hanging in shame here since I haven't posted in a long time, but Mama has been busy. Work has picked up in the last few weeks, so there has been less time to sit at the computer, and the kid activities are in full swing.
The Hall of Fame Dance Competition was held in Little Rock a couple of weeks ago. Miss Coco had three large group dances and all the girls did a great job. This photo is from the lyrical number "Tiny Dancer." This one didn't garner any big awards, but they did get "Top Tap" for "Rockin Robin" and "Top Jazz" for "Party Time".

They work so hard during the week on these dances, and it is so worth all that driving and waiting and hair curling to see the smiles when they are on the stage. Today we head to West Memphis, Arkansas for another regional competition. The hair curling should begin about 1:30. Wish us luck because with the pouring rain outside, I am not sure how well it is all going to hold up! I am hoping that they will allow us to do a little bit of video or photos at this one so I will have something decent to show you later!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pine Bluff, February 5 and 6, 2011

We had a great show weekend in Pine Bluff.....all our friends had a great time too! Brady won his puppy class both days, and Joey got Best Opposite on Saturday, and Best of Breed on Sunday. Above, our little handler gets re-aquainted with a little pug that she showed in Benton Arkansas back in October. As soon as the "real" show photo gets here, I'll show it to you!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Three Holidays.......

Ok, I apologize for seemingly dropping off the face of the earth, but it has been a busy time for us. I have to admit that many days, quick facebook updates are as far as I get!
I bribed the kids into letting me take some cute snaps this morning at church. They were pretty cooperative when they found out that it involved opening ONE small present!

Don't her eyes say, "Hurry up already!

Kristy Kringle spent a little time at school, then took the kids to visit Santa.

We spent Thanksgiving at the Mississippi Sheriff's Boy's Ranch with the extended family.
It was a great day of food, family, and ponies!

Fall photo ........ some days they cooperate without a huge bribe!

Halloween skirt I made for the chicklet to wear to school.

Packing for the dog show in Decatur. Honestly, Joey ( right) gets excited when he sees the suitcase come out. He and Brady both went to Decatur. Brady won his breed and a group 4 in the B match!

In Benton, Arkansas, on Halloween weekend, the little duo won the grand prize in the costume contest.

That weekend, she got a Select on her Joey, but she also had a nice single point win for a lady with pugs who recruited her to show a dog for her. It was a dog that was brought just to build the points for another dog who was hopefully going to win, but as it turned out, the kid di da good job and got the point on the little filler dog.

As you can see, we stay busy. All of the usual cooking and crafting is still going on.....
I promise to be better about updating both
Facebook and MMS in the new year. Hold me to it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keeping Busy

This summer and fall are proving to be really busy for the family, in fact we have had to split into two traveling camps a few times recently. The girl and her little pooch were big winners in Little Rock a few weeks ago, much to everyone's surprise and delight. They won Best of Breed over several other Champions , one of whom has been ranked in the top 10 nationally for almost all of 2010! There were some very seasoned showmen in the ring, as well as a couple of professional handlers, but our tiny dancer and her little partner waltzed away with the prize for the day. I was so shocked that I dropped my camera on the floor and just nearly had a heart attack. After having won nothing the day before, this win was just that much sweeter!
That same weekend, down in Greenwood, the men of the family were at a martial arts tournament. The competition was stiff, and the opponents worthy, but our boy survived the battle and came home with a second place trophy for patterns and a third in sparring. It won't be long until he has a BLACK belt!

We have a really good time doing all this stuff with the kids, even though sometimes, the logistics makes it difficult. In a couple of weeks, we have the same thing again. Dad and boy will be going to rumble in Jackson and hopefully bring home some trophies, and the girl and I will be popping down to Tupelo to see if the judges there have any ribbons that need to go on our wall.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Red/Black Belt

While the sister has been dancing her dog around the show ring this summer, brother has been working on his board breaking skills. He broke this one with his HAND! That is his brand new red/black belt. Hopefully in a few months we will have a skunk belt and sometime in the spring......a BLACK BELT!
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Puppy Dog Tales

This weekend at the Memphis Kennel Club Dog Show out dynamic duo won Select Dog on Saturday and gained another point toward little Joey's Grand Championship. On Sunday, they weren't in the ribbons, but I feel had the best show day ever. The child did everything right and the dog was the best he has ever been for her. We were so very proud! Last weekend in Little Rock, they were awarded Best of Variety ( same as best of breed) on Sunday, beating several professional handlers as well as the number 10 ranked dog in the country. We were SO happy with that! As soon as the pictures come in, I'll be sure and post!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Long Wait is over

We have been anxiously checking our mailbox every day for the picture taken at the Greater Shelby Kennel Club show where our little angels did a great job and were awarded Joey's first point toward his Grand Championship. It was the little ladie's second dog show ever and her first one with her very own dog. The first day, there were no accolades, but the second day - the judge liked their style!

Mucho Gracias to Judge Rodney R. Merry for seeing what the rest of us have been seeing at home!
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Gulf Coastal Getaway!

School starts again next week, so with that looming, we decided to take a last little weekend getaway to the coast. This time, "camping" at an RV park in Ocean Springs. This area is a pretty well kept secret, I think, because this morning, we were the ONLY people on the beach except for a few on the bike paths. There is a gorgeous playground and paved walking and cycling paths all over.

Today- beach, pool, blues, and BBQ. Tomorrow - Fishing, Lulu's, and cookout.
Pictures....I promise.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

On our first dog show weekend with the incredibly cute "Joey", he got Select Dog and the first point toward his AKC Grand Championship. The Grand Championship is new to AKC and was started as incentive for people to get their Champion dogs into the ring to compete again. The judge today was quite friendly and surprised us by giving our tiny duo the Select Award. This is exactly what we were hoping for! We are so blessed to have him because not only is he a good showman, but he is a great companion for our girl and is fully capable of showing her what this dog show thing is all about.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dynamic Duo

Today was the first show for our Dynamic Duo of Miss Coco and Ch. Dazzle's See Me Shine( aka "Joey").
The preparation seemed endless with a lot of training ( for Coco, not the dog) and aquisition of the crate, the dress, the lead, and all the other stuff that is necessary. The tiny dog requires just a bit of trimming and a spit-shine bath.
Unfortunately, being only 7, our girl is not old enough for Junior Handler Competition, so she has to show in the breed competition. Little Joey is already a champion, so he can only enter in the best of variety class, which means there isn't a number placement. Basically there is a winner and best of opposite. There are some other things that are awarded, but I don't have all that figured out yet. The point being here that because there is not graduated placement, wins will likely be far between for these guys, but they both love it, so we will continue to enter as long as it is fun. Who knows, with a little polish, the ribbons might come!
How could anyone not fall in love with either one of them?

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Once upon a time....

........I went to the library and met someone famous.

On Monday night this week, my goofy friends and I trucked it down to the Hernando Public Library to meet one of our favorite authors, Ms. Charlaine Harris. We sure felt like big booknerds, but there were about 347 other goofy booknerds there too! For those of you who live in caves with no books or television, Charlaine is probably most famous for her Southern Vampire Series , aka the "Sookie Stackhouse" books. These entertaining books have inspired an HBO series, True Blood, which is now in it's third delicious season.
Miss Charlaine was entirely gracious as she answered questions from the audience - ranging from what inspires her to where the story is going in the future. She talked a lot about how hard it is to be a serious writer, and how she actually "goes to work" each morning in her office across the carport. She works until noon, takes a lunch break, then goes back to work. Amazing. Like a regular job, only she can wear her pajamas if she wants. She also apologized for killing off a favorite character, Claudine. I personally didn't mind the loss of Claudine, but she better not even THINK about harming the darling Eric Northman. Yes, Charlaine, that is a friendly little threat! ( Just kidding....I know you won't do away with him. )

My girls Lesley and Sarah really enjoyed their momentary brush with fame, even though Les almost had to punch some lady in the neck because she busted in front of us in line.
We got a few minor spoilers and the good news that there is a new Sookie Companion out that will contain a little novella that will feature Pam and Sookie and a trip to Tunica. There are recipes in it too ( Not Charlaine's idea, she said. ) I know I will get this one in hard cover!

After a lengthy talk period, she graciously autographed books and chatted with fans. Good thing most of us have seen cattle work through a chute, 'cause that was sort of how it felt. The little librarians were riding herd and trying to keep the peace. Eventually, everyone got their books signed and had a chance to speak to her. When we got up to the table, we thanked her for coming, then managed to work in plugs for the Tunica Humane society, then quipped about how Claudine dying wasn't NEARLY as painful as Kisten's death in Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series..... She broke out in a smile and said she knew what we were talking about, and that she really pushed the dislike button on that one too! One of Charlaine's causes is support for SPCA, so it sure didn't hurt to speak to her about the plight of the animals in her own home county!
One of the most important things that Charlaine said the whole night was that " There is absolutely no excuse for people not to read." I so wholeheartedly agree. I have been a rabid reader ever since I started reading, and I would love it if my kids turned out to be too. There are so many EXCELLENT books out there to be enjoyed! With libraries, bookstores , and electronic media, books are accessible to everyone, there really is no reason not to read. Through the years I have always found a "book friend" who would read along with me so we could talk about out "stories". At Kirby, it was Susan. At PHC, Sarah. Now, Gail. (I do have to prod Gail a bit though- she has book-o-lepsy. Every time she picks up her kindle, she falls asleep. Maybe they should put an alarm in it when it tilts over as you fall asleep.)
Anyway, the message here is READ! Teach your kids by example that reading is fun and that you can learn about anything you want to just by turning a page! If you can, volunteer at the "liberry" or help out with a literacy program. The rewards are infinate, the price small.
If you happen to read this Charlaine, THANK YOU again for coming and we look so forward to seeing you again. Oh, and say hi to Alex for us!!!!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

When we last went to the coast to take supplies to the wildlife rescue group we support, the ladies and I decided to stop by The Shed for a little 'que and to check out the place since it was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Let me just say, Guy got this one is a DIVE. We absolutely LOVED it!

First you have to navigate a narrow lot of white slag filled with cars and trucks, and all sorts of bikes. There are some tables under tents at the end of the lot....not sure what they are for, but they overlook some swamp area off the Back Bay of Biloxi.

Like I said, there were bikes everywhere. The bikers that went with them were having a group picture made when we were there.

Walk just a few yards further and you see where the boys chop the wood used to fuel the smokers....... no kidding. They were out there with axes and chain saws cutting up logs.

There is an outdoor "theater" of sorts, and this golf cart ( destination nowhere) is on top. Everything out there is weathered and worn, and held together with nails, screws, rope and I would bet there is duct tape somewhere in the mix.

Even the marquis has a certain flair.

The landscaping was "lush"......... Guess they are going for that unspoiled look.

Inside, the decor is what you might call "Visual Noise". You walk up to the counter, order your food, then when it is ready, the servers walk around calling your first name, then you verify that it is yours by giving your last name. I so wanted to give them the fake name of some famous person. I'm gonna do it next time.

See what I mean about visual noise? Those are rope lights....there must have been a thousand miles of them.

Something about the whole thing made these two grin like they had a secret.

On to the food.....above, the SMALL pulled pork sandwich plate.

Below, the Beef BBQ salad. It was fabulous.
The BBQ sauce is called " Shed Spread" and it was really really good. They do sell bottles of it. Now y'all know what you are getting for Christmas.
So, right in there there was supposed to be a picture of Gail's baby back ribs......however, there is some sort of technical thing going on with either Blogger or me. So you will have to settle for a photo from after the frenzy.

She didn't lick the sauce out of the plate, but I know she wanted to.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Waist-ed Away in Tortilla-ville......

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make four tortillas AT HOME. Surely, how hard could that be? Immediately I went and checked Pioneer Woman's archive and found a recipe that was rightly simple, yet contained ( gasp) LARD. Now, while it is true that I am from the South, and have no aversion to pork fat, I had never purchased lard. At least not in it's pure and un-adulterated form. When I went to the Walmart's for the weekly foraging session, I looked at the lard but couldn't bring myself to buy it. The stuff is cheap, but just the thought made me keep on trucking. The next week, however, I succumbed to it and bought some. It sat in the pantry for two weeks. Then the other night I decided to just jump the gap and make the things. They were delicious! But there was a texture issue -it was more like frybread or a gordita shell than it was a tortilla. When I think flour tortilla, I want it to be a little chewy and to bend without breaking. Not to knock Ree's recipe, I figured it was my technique.

So, back to the internet for another recipe. This time I found one with oil, and MILK. I made these this morning and again, the taste is perfect, but the texture
( while better than the first batch) still is not what I was looking for. They got eaten up with gusto, so no complaints, but still.....I strive for the perfection I know I can find.

Here's what I did:

Easy Tortillas

2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp masa ( you could leave this out, but I had some, so why not?)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk ( in my case, 1/2 cup 2% and 1/4 cup half and half)

Mix the flour, masa, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add vegetable oil and stir in til blended. Warm the milk in the microwave , but don't scald it like I did.
Pour in the milk and work until it forms a sticky, yet crumbly dough.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2 or 3 minutes, then plop it in a bowl to rest for maybe 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take the dough ball out and slightly flatten it into a rectangle. With a big knife, cut it into 8 pieces. The gently roll each piece into a ball. Put balls on a plate ( not touching) and cover with towel to rest for 10 more minutes. Evidently they get tired and testy from being handled.)

Get out your iron griddle, or in my case, electric non-stick pancake griddle and get it going at medium high. ( 375 on my electric thingie)

Roll each ball into a roughly 6-8 inch circle. Mine turned out to be shaped like
South America, but that is just how it is here in Mississippi sometimes.
As you get them rolled out, plop the first on on the heated surface and while it is cooking, roll out the next one. In 30 seconds, flip it over and put on the next one. In thirty seconds, take the first one off, flip the second one over and add the third. Obviously, if the things don't look done, don't do it that fast, but mine only took about 30-45 seconds a side.

Serve with whatever you like. Today we had them with scrambled eggs and bacon, but I could sure see some butter and honey with cinnamon ( Sopapilla?) or some fried apples. Love y'all!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"It Ain't Rocket Science"

To quote Emeril Lagasse, "It ain't rocket science, it's just cooking."
Well, E is correct, but with baking, you do have to sort of follow the directions and it will most of the time turn out fine. This time, it turned out LOOKING right, but as for the taste, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if it was a real success. The glaze tastes GREAT! I can tell you that because I accidentally licked my finger when I accidentally let some drip on the side of the plate accidentally not on purpose.

Here's the how to:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-n-half

In mixer, beat the sugar,butter and shortening until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, allowing them to become fully incorporated.

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.
Put the vanilla in with the milk/half and half. ( Lucy's recipe called for whole milk and all I had was 2%, hence the half-n-half)
Alternately add the dry mixture and the milk into the mixer with the butter/sugar combo. Mix gently until thoroughly blended. ( Really, turn the mixer down low or you will puff flour all over yourself. Voice of experience)

Spoon the batter into a WELL GREASED and floured (and hopefully friendly) Bundt or tube pan. Bake at 325 for about an hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before you turn it out onto a plate.

5 tablespoons butter
1 block of Baker's chocolate ( I had semi-sweet, but use what you have)
1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee ( hot) or a double shot of espresso
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl until able to blend with fork.
Dissolve coffee powder in the hot coffee and set aside.
Add the powdered sugar to the butter/chocolate mixture, stirring constantly. Add a spoonful of the coffee as you go, mixing well....keep adding until you get the consistency you desire. You won't likely use all the coffee . It should coat the spoon thickly when you are done if you want it to stay on the cake.

When the cake is cooled enough to touch, but still warmer than room temp, drizzle the glaze over the top..... allow to cool completely , then cover. I put mine in the fridge, but it would be ok to sit "table top" if served that day.

Don't run out and make this tonight....wait until I get some feedback from the folks at church. I am pretty sure it will be fine, but If it just had cream cheese somewhere in it, I am sure it would be PERFECT!

Tomorrow is the big Fourth of July Fireworks and Waterslide-palooza at church and I decided that instead of entering the home-made ice cream contest (which incidentially I have never won) that I would make a cake to go with all the delicious not-made-by-me ice cream.

So, I just made Lucy Buffett's chocolate pound cake with mocha glaze, sort of. I now know that the reason nothing I make ever turns out the same twice is because I have to change SOMETHING every time!

Picture this. I have everything out on the counter, the kitchenaid is working hard at whipping up the shortening, butter, lard, and sugar. Yes, shortening, lard, and sugar. The shortening and butter were in the recipe, but I bought that lard and I just put a teaspoon in there to be bad. It will probably be what makes it over the top. When it came time to add the cocoa powder, it said only 3 heaping TEASPOONS.
My thought was, " Surely that is a mis-print, 'cause this stuff looks anemic." I dumped in two more tablespoons. The vanilla was only one tsp. Mama put in two. Then I started thinking I might have over done the cocoa and it might be a little bitter, so I put in some more sugar. I hope no one dies from this cake.

The glaze was a whole 'nother matter. The recipe wanted more cocoa powder. I was feeling Baker's chocolate bars. It said hot coffee. I thought espresso powder dissolved in real espresso. The Baker's chocolate,espresso glaze is good enough to just drink it like it is.

Anxiety is running high right now because the cake is in the oven now, in the kamikaze bundt pan. I have had the pan for 13 years - bought it just after I got married. These days, it is a total crapshoot to use it. Sometimes, the cake comes out perfect. Other times, half it decides to never leave the pan. I am hopeful that this time it will decide to act right and let the cake go so that we can have something lovely to take to the festivities tomorrow.

Oh and did I mention that my oven has to be set 20 degrees lower than whatever the recipe says because if not it will be charred on the bottom? See what I say about crapshoot? Oh well, if it does turn out, you will have pictures and recipe tomorrow, if it isn't what I think it should be, there will be a chocolate trifle of some sort for work Monday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Summer Career

This is the "official" photo from the show photographer. It isn't that different from the one that I took myself and showed you earlier, but I figured that since I didn't have anything else in the can for your viewing pleasure, y'all could suffer through just a little bit more of this.

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Of course, when this guy hits the mats again, you will definately be subjected to many heart-tugging photographic moments.