Thursday, May 21, 2009

Plums, Vinegar, and Mark Richt

There have been many times when I've been cleaning, using all my store-bought cleaner, when I've thought, "This CAN'T be good for you." I mean, have you smelled that stuff? There's no way that stuff isn't doing something bad for your brain cells. 

Since I am a teacher, I really need all my brain this concern sent me researching for more natural cleaning methods. The overwhelming result was vinegar. Plain 'ol white distilled vinegar. People use it for everything from pickling to mopping hard wood floors...and it's a disinfectant! After a little research, I found that by simply adding some water to vinegar with a little "smell good" will get you super-cheap, super-fantastic all-purpose cleaner. Seriously, it worked SO WELL. I even tried it on my windows, and sweet Mary, it worked better than Windex. And it cost about $0.87. Okay, I really have no idea how much the total cost was because I don't do math, I do know that the entire gallon of vinegar only cost $2.50, much cheaper than your standard bottle of cleaner.

Take one empty bottle....

...add some smell good. I used this stuff from Bath and Body Works, but essential oil would work. So would plain old lemon juice.

I used 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water, but any ratio would be fine...I wanted mine relatively strong because I wanted to clean my counters with the concoction. 

Voila! You've got your cleaner. Look out Martha Stewart.

These plums are from the tree in my backyard. This afternoon, I looked down and saw Shiloh eating something....and it was a plum! It suddenly dawned on me to go check on the tree.....and it was brimming with plums. I picked as many that were ripe, but there are so many that are still green. We'll have quite the harvest this year. I guess I'll be making plum pudding....because that's the only recipe I've ever heard of that calls for plums. Or maybe that's fig pudding? As in, bring me a figgy pudding? I don't know.

Any suggestions? What else could I do with a whole mess of plums?

They're little but they are DELICIOSO...very sweet. 

I was driving to A and G's house to feed their dogs....and look who I saw at the country club! None other than Mark Richt. You know, they say he wears make-up and that's why his skin always looks so good on camera. I don't know about that, but I do know that Alabama beat Georgia so bad this year that I know a few DAWG fans that are still crying about it. Just sayin'.

I hear that if Spurrier doesn't start winning at South Carolina, he might have to drive this thing around to make a living. 

The girls that I run with are out of town, at the beach without me. So while they are getting tan, I am getting fat and lazy and feeding A's babies. I brought the camera along just in case something good happened....and I'm glad I did. 

This is Henry and he LOVES the camera. I mean, really, really loves it. Every time I would put the camera to my face, he would sit down and hold up one paw and look directly at the camera. It was very regal.
So serious....

This picture cracks me up. 

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 15, 2009

You had me at pesto...

"Would you say that your pesto is the best-o? No, but it's pretty good-o."

Can you identify this quote? If you can, you and I both probably should get a life....or some new hobbies. 

Today marked the last day of the last full week of school. Tonight, my Seniors graduated. The Braves won at home. This afternoon, I made's awfully exciting around here.

My love affair with pesto began at Harvest Moon. I've had many-a love affair at Harvest Moon---with all the different amazing types of pizza--- but this particular night, I ordered the Roasted Rooster, which comes with pesto instead of tomato sauce. It was so good, I got a little weak in the knees.

And I haven't had pesto since then. And my life has seemed a little void. So, this afternoon, I marched out into the garden and picked some basil.

After giving it a good 'ol washin', I introduced to it to some friends....

They all fell in love, got married, and BAM--pesto was born. I should have taken a picture of the final product. I was just so excited that I couldn't control myself. Once it was done, I promptly added it to a bowl of pasta with some cherry was divine, heavenly, delisioso. Amen. 

This 'un is almost ripe for the pickin'!

These guys have probably been ready to pick for a few days. I was just too nervous to do it. I kept going out there, looking at them, touching them....picking your first tomato is a big deal, people! After a lot of fretting, contemplating, and prayer, I picked them. Now I'm afraid to eat them for fear that they aren't really ripe and I'll get sick or that one bite will kill me instantaneously....from tomato poisoning. I'll let you know what happens.

Tomorrow Scott and I are taking the youth and children from church to Six Flags. Scattered thunderstorms are expected all day. Heaven. Help. Me. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dear Mom...

Happy Mother's Day! 

I told my mom a few days ago that I had a blog. She said, "Oh. I've heard about those things but I have no idea how they work." After some explaining she says, "Well, are you going to write something to me on there?"

The answer is yes I am, Marmar. There is a slight chance that I forgot to put a Mother's Day card in the mail, so here is my online Mother's Day card to you:

Dear Mom, 

Remember that time you were picking me up from a friend's house and I swore that I knew how to get out of the neighborhood, and how we drove around for an hour, lost?  Remember that time that I got asked to Prom as a sophomore and you drove me to the mall the very same night and after looking for hours, you found the perfect dress? Remember those mornings where I would ransack your closet and wear your clothes? Remember that time when I was cooking my very first Easter dinner for 12 people, you helped me cook for hours? Remember that time we went to the strawberry patch and we came back with 20 lbs of strawberries?

I do.

Remember all those days when you drove me 30 minutes to school every morning? Remember those afternoons when you would let us pick out anything we want from the gas station as an afternoon snack? Remember all those times when you would take me shopping and never buy anything for yourself? Remember all those football games and plays....and ballet recitals, basketball games, awards ceremonies, and school functions that you came to?

I do. I also remember, when I was studying abroad, you would call occasionally to tell me that you had dropped $20.00 in my checking account. I remember all the things that I wanted to do and all the goals I had for my never said no, you never doubted one second. I remember all the times you adopted random stray pets, both temporarily and permanently, much to the chagrin of Dad. I remember how you paid for my high school education at Briarwood and how you supported every single activity, club, and organization that I wanted to join. I remember how you were the first to welcome any friend or boyfriend that I brought home. I remember how you can remember virtually any phone number that you've ever dialed (it's impressive).  

Sitting here and typing, I'm remembering so many things that you have done for me for which I have never said thank you. So thank you. Thank you for fighting for me in circumstances that would have forced many people to quit or give up. Thank you for everything you did and every penny you spent ensuring that I got a good education and that I could have a good life. Thank you for all the mileage that you put on your car driving me all across Birmingham. Thank you for all the spontaneous lunches you've bought me. Thank you for helping me plan a wedding. Thank you for teaching me to love my family and to have compassion on everyone. 

Thank you for everything, even though that will never be enough for everything you've done.

I love you, and whenever I become a mother, my prayer is that God would mold me after the amazing example that you've set for me over the years. Happy Mother's Day!  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Something Out of Nothing

Here in South Georgia, everyone is agriculturally knowledgeable. On my way to church from Albany to Dawson, I drive alongside farm after farm of peanuts, cotton, and soybeans. Everyone here is a farmer, knows a farmer, has a relative that's a farmer, so when I moved here, I had a lot to learn. I was the little girl from the big city. Kind of like Green Acres...but without the catchy theme song.

For instance, every late spring, it's time to "put the 'matoes in." (really it's more like "tamatuhs") Since I have been introduced to Mayhaw jelly, learned how to make homemade skillet biscuits, and started to say things like "actin' a donkey" (thanks Amy) since moving down here, I thought, what the heck. I'll build a flower bed. 

I will spare the details of my trip to Lowe's to get the materials. All I'm going to say is it involved 15 calls to dad, three trips back and forth across the store, bruises, and a few held-back tears. I hauled timber, handsawed the timber, nailed it together, got sunburned, and accidentally hammered my knee. 

But it was worth it....I bought some "tamatuh" plants and put them in. I put in some basil, other herbs, and even a watermelon plant. I started some zucchini seeds, not really sure what would happen, but they're growing! My little garden is doing well....I've been hovering over it like it's a child, but it's paid off. 

Some chives, just beginning to come up.

Some basil. Please excuse the focus, I had it on auto-focus because it was drizzling and I was holding an umbrella over the camera with my other hand.

Okay, anyone know what this is? Is it a real rose or one of the dreaded "knock-out" roses. They're pretty, they're thorny, but they don't seem quite like a real rose.  Anyone? Bueller?

Please notice the little bugs in the bottom left-hand corner. They're little hineys were touching and I could only assume that what was going on that their mama's wouldn't be proud of. I couldn't resist, I flicked them off. Is that bad? I just felt like they were violating my roses, real or not.

Soon to be pesto.

This is an Invincible Hosta. Seriously, you can't kill it. I tried. On purpose. Well, it didn't start as an intentional plant murder, but I forgot to water it....and that turned into me thinking, "I wonder what would happen if I just didn't water it." So I didn't. For an entire year. 

So imagine my surprise when this spring, guess who was back? Mr. Hosta. I named him out of guilt over my terrible little experiment. (my grandma would be so ashamed)

Zucchini sprouts! These are going in the garden this weekend.

All this gardening and plant-talk has got me thinking about the little miracle of plant growth, and I can't help but marvel at God's creativity. The daily growth of a plant is a tiny, beautiful, unique miracle and I am amazed that He can take a seed--lifeless, useless, ugly--and turn it into something so beautiful.....

..... I can't help but be thankful that He took me from my lifeless, useless state and gave me life and purpose. Thank you Jesus! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I have good memories about high school prom. I remember getting ready with friends, hair appointments, anxiety over what-do-I-say, what-do-I-do, is my hair going to make it,  etc.   I went to three proms and all of them were fabulous. In fact, in all four high school years, three dances a year, there was only one dance that was disastrous. I don't know if I should talk about it, but what I will tell you is that afterwards,  Meredith and I drowned our sorrows in some Ben and Jerry's Half Baked Brownie Batter. Even as freshmen we were smart enough to know that chocolate is the magical cure for everything. 

I couldn't help thinking about all my high school prom memories lately. I got to re-live all my proms as the Junior class sponsor since the Junior Class was in charge of the Junior/Senior Prom. Thanks to my fabulous parents (particularly Debbie), it was a success! I even had a few spare minutes to capture some of the big night. 

I have beautiful students.

The Senior boys. Camera settings were atrocious on these pictures, but I like the way it turned out.

These Senior ladies are F-U-N. I'm going to miss you girls!

Class of 2009. Sassy as always.

The one above was a complete accident. But I love it.

I secretly love the fact that these girls hang out in my room every 7th period. Love them.

This girl is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

I would explain the whole experience behind putting the Eiffel Tower up, but I can't. I'm still getting over it.

Thanks to all the fabulous moms that gave up their time to help so graciously! 

Yahoo! We made it! Now on to planning the Senior Trip.....Chehaw Park 2010!