Friday, October 30, 2009

Pride and pie

I made a pumpkin pie last night.

From scratch.

That's right, I went out and slaughtered my own pumpkin with my own two hands.

And then, because I'm extra homemade, I mashed up the pumpkin with a potato masher instead of pureeing it with an electric kitchen appliance.

It's not that I'm actually that homemade or that our power was out. We just don't have a blender or a food processor.

Cody had already made a sweet potato pie this way and it turned out fine.

We are but peaceful, pie-loving folk using plain ingredients and simple tools in our fat, fat way of life.

I had some of the pie for breakfast.

In addition to being great because pie for breakfast is always great, the pie actually tasted good.

I'm feeling pretty awesome about myself right now.

It's obviously not as smooth as from-a-can pumpkin pie, but Laine told me to call the 'grit' "texture" instead, because that sounds rustic. Then she called it "rustic pumpkin pie."

Yup, rustic pumpkin pie.

I'm feeling so insufferably proud of myself that I want to put that rustic pumpkin pie out on my dining room table next to a basket of organic, locally grown apples that I bought from the farmer's market.

No really, I have a basket of those in the fridge.

But that would attract ants.

We have a slight ant problem.

It's mostly under control, but the damp weather doesn't exactly help.

I guess now would be a good time to admit that the crust was store-bought.

I should probably also admit that I don't really care where my pie--or its ingredients--come from as long as, you know, it's pie.

And I get to have it for breakfast, because I'm a champion.

And pie is the breakfast of champions.

I'm sure the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook would back me up on this.

I hope you're staying dry.

I hope you have a great Halloween/fall-type celebration weekend.

I hope you have pie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More fall pictures

We went to Petit Jean this past weekend.

I had no idea it was so nearby!

I love buildings with no roofs.

And I just love fall.

Jack's Wedding, Part II

The cake!

I was trying to be stealthy and take a picture of Mr. Craig and Mrs. Anita without the flash.
It didn't work.
See? I obviously used the flash here.
Hello, Mom and sisters.
Jack and Mallory are popular.
Chad and Robert and Mike had to stand.
(Cody missed this due to work.)
Robert took these out-of-focus shots with my camera.
This picture effectively sums up the past 15 years.
Someone's missing.
No one's ready.
And there's no explanation for this behavior.
This is as good as it will get.


Mr. Craig and Mom, the best 4H club leaders ever.

Mrs. Anita refused to look at me.
Oh, how I hate her!
No, I don't.
I love her.

Lovely little family shot.

Which reminds me: I would have sworn to you that I took pictures of the bride, the bride with her new family, and a couple of the lovely area where the wedding and reception took place.

Then I remembered that after I took this picture of Dallas and the family, Karen asked me to take a picture with her camera.

And then I took some other pictures with her camera.

And that's why those pictures didn't turn up when I developed this film.

At least I have this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vinegar and Courtship

So. I don't know why I keep thinking about Halloween. But I do.

At first, I didn't have any exciting plans.

But now I do.

I'm helping Laine clean her new house!

PS: Laine and Robert are homeowners. Isn't that exciting?!

When she asked me yesterday, I didn't think I'd want to come and help her with the gritty, move-in cleaning stuff. But later in the evening, as I was vacuuming the walls by the ceilings in our house, I realized I was totally born to do stuff like this.

I mean, I've been meaning to do that to my walls since June. But I never got the chance because of Cody moving the moving schedule up, the one-car thing, me basically deciding I didn't actually want to live in the house, etc.

But it only took about 15 minutes and I could tell the difference when I was through.

My house has been looking pretty great these days.

I'm nesting.

I'm finally settling into this house and it's getting pretty cute and I want to have things how I want them when the cold weather takes over.

And now, here was my chance to help my sister.

I mean, they bought this house. They're planning to live there for a long time. We're having Christmas there.

Plus, the previous owners died.

Fine, they didn't die in the house. But I wanted to mention that point because I felt it was interesting.

I want it to be nice.

And I know I'd do a great job.

Once it was decided that I could help, the rest of this morning was an excited flurry of plan-making emails. We both love plans. And emailing. I've already printed off check-off lists from

She jokingly asked if she should buy vinegar.

Okay, I was a little crestfallen with that. Cody had picked up another gallon of vinegar earlier in the week and I was already pretty excited about including it amongst the other cleaning supplies on the mental list I was making.

Yes, I was going to combine our cleaning supply forces.

Okay, I'm probably still going to bring the vinegar.

I'm actually really excited.

I'll be the first person in our family to get to 'meet' Laine's house.

And I love cleaning.

Sometimes I do stuff and people throw out the whole "oh, you can come clean my house if you want to" line.

No. I don't want to.

I don't want to have to work around your furniture and junk mail and hear you talk about the projects you intended to start and then you would have done x, y, z.......

More importantly, you don't want me to.

You don't want to see the look of judgment that sometimes surfaces (it's fading with time. Usually).

You don't like my methodology.

My mother can back me up on this.

  • Jen's style: Throw away this outdated catalog! Who cares if you like this model's haircut and might remember to take it with you to your next hair appointment?!

  • Mom's style: Sweetie, please don't put that W-2 form with the burn trash.

It's a delicate balance.

But Saturday is going to be all about storming into bare rooms and ridding them of their grime and disuse.

I love storming and cleaning.

BUT: if I was going to celebrate Halloween beyond setting a bowl of candy on the front porch, I already had a costume in mind.

A few months ago, some friends discussed the possibility of a suspenders and jumpers party for a birthday. When the birthday got a little closer, we decided to just go with the theme of 'birthday' instead.

But an idea was forming....

I could go as a homeschooler!

I wasn't going to wear a jumper, but I was going to have a long skirt and my hair plainly pulled back. Then, in an attempt to kind of make the long skirt look seem a little 'cooler,' I would top it off with a t-shirt that read "I ♥ Courtship."


The heart would be an iron-on applique of this picture:

How priceless would that be?!?!?!


For the uninitiated (bless your heart), this is from the cover of the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

I wish you could see my dad's copy of this. He highlighted and underlined that thing like he was going to write a dissertation on it.

Basically, courtship works like this (or this is at least how I tried to explain it to Cody's brothers while we were watching the Duggars' wedding special):

You, the young man, know a girl who seems like she will be a good wife. You approach her father and request his permission to get to know his daughter better in a supervised setting. If he gives his blessing, you'll spend more time with her and her family and see if she will be a good wife and mother and is a godly young woman. Then you get married.

This was Dad's rule when I was in high school.

Translation: basically, courtship is some big scam to keep all boys away from your daughter forever because very few, if any, guys are going to do this.

Especially if the dad is Dad.

Dad knew what he was doing.

Which is why, between the cleaning jokes and the courtship references, he and Mom will probably enjoy this post.

There's a pretty good chance they'll be the only ones.

Okay fine, I cracked myself up too.

I may just make that t-shirt for fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I don't have any big plans for Halloween this year other than seeing if trick-or-treaters come to our area.

But I have observed the holiday before:

Monday, October 26, 2009

This, that, the other, and home decor.

I woke up in the middle of the night from some scary nightmare about a watching a movie about some little boy psychopath who became a violent psychopath after being locked in a cell in an asylum with his deeply disturbed twin brother, who suffered from developmental delays, moaned constantly, and had to wear a plaster mask.

I jerked myself awake and saw this:

Only it was dark, the tape was especially reflective, and I got the full effect of both crosses on my husband's face.

It's just something he does sometimes.

Also, he breathes with his mouth open in his sleep.

Everything about Cody is a shock to my system.


I was at the farmer's market, buying extra sweet potatoes for my sleeping husband (because I'm such a nice girl). I was behind this woman and her two sons, who were taking 90 million years to deliberate over what sweet potatoes were, what they could do with them, and which ones they wanted to buy.

So when my phone rang, I went ahead and answered it because it was my dad.

"Hey kid, what are you up to?"
"I am buying sweet potatoes right at this very second. How are you?"
"Well, I have exciting news. I was at a meeting down in Texas this past week and they were talking about E. coli being such a problem with feedlots and some packing houses have started spraying down the carcasses and it's really cut down a lot of germs. Guess what they're spraying the meat with?"
"Aww, I was going to surprise you with something you didn't know about vinegar!"
"But I'm such a good guesser!"

The answer is always "vinegar."

Vinegar is so great. That's probably why we're out of it right now.


Cody and I were going to Target yesterday (I had intended to buy vinegar, but forgot) and I thought I saw a coffee table on a curb.

I mentioned this to Cody.

Miraculously, he asked if I wanted to go back and immediately get it.

But of course!

So we turned on a side street.

And drove around forever.

And then we got on the street.

Nope, wrong one.

Then another.

Whoops, not this one.

Then, the right one!

Then I yelled "Ta da!" and Cody was startled.

After Cody felt obligated to ask the people in the house if they had actually set out the coffee table for the trash collectors, and we tried to fit it in the back seat, and then we tried to put it in the trunk, and then we had to fold down the back seat and I had to pull a lot of junk into the floorboard of the car, then we fit the coffee table in the car.

I want to sand it and paint it.

For now, I just have a bud vase of flowers and some coasters on it.

It's coffee table book time!


Almost immediately after loading the coffee table into the car, I received a picture text of Mom balancing Sara's puppy, Zoe, on top of her dog, Mozart.

It was possibly the greatest five-minute period in my life.


Cody doesn't get excited walking through Home Depot.

I don't understand.

My family doesn't understand.

His mother doesn't understand.

The whole store smells like lumber and possibilities.


I re-did my banner of fall photos in the living room.

I want to string more decorative leaves around the living room, dining room, and front porch, and then leave the house decorated for fall all the way through November.

The newest issue of Martha Stewart Living came in a couple of weeks ago, and there were all of these neat ideas for spray painting dried gourds, and making really easy decorative pumpkins (why does no one make pumpkin pin cushions?! They would be so cute!), and assembling wreaths covered in sweet gum thingies.

This may be the best fall ever.


Speaking of photo banners, this is in my dining room:

I sewed them to ribbon and hanged it next to Cody's signed Bill Mallonee poster.

I'd like to do one for Cody's family.....just as soon as I get some acceptable pictures of everybody.

I'm working on it.

This one won't make the cut, though.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We'll pretend I'm non-conformist

Good morning.

I'm really relieved that it's Friday.

What am I wearing right now?

I'm so glad you asked.

Denim shirt (hush).*

Dark gray pants.

And tan shoes with blue flowers on them that would almost be appropriate if I was wearing brown pants.

Because when I was about to walk out the door this morning, I really thought I was wearing brown pants.

The shoes that would almost work if I was wearing brown pants most definitely do not work with dark gray pants.

It seemed like a good time to bring out this story again.

Happy Friday, friends.

*I actually bought this shirt back in the summer of 2001, just before I went to college. Mom said I had to buy something other than more t-shirts. She even sent Laine with me. I'm not sure what we were thinking. I was 18 and still bought clothes big enough that I could have some extra growing room. Does that not just break your heart? But I did grow. At least a little. But this shirt is still as baggy and frumpy as ever.

But I will say this: kudos to J. C. Penney for their durable casual wear.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Still Raining

My rubber boots are in the car......2 blocks away.

And I still want to go on a field trip.

Long, long ago (last year), we went to the Pink Palace.

Laine and I planned an awesome field trip.

Our husbands were dragged along too.

It was lovely.

Where would you go on a field trip?

But I'm Not

I'm tired, I'm cranky, I don't think this workday will go well, I'm growing fundamentally unhappy with my job, I feel a little ripped off, and I wish I was taking a field trip today.

Preferably indoors.

I love field trips.

Laine and Cody at the Pink Palace in Memphis.
February 2008.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dear Ladies,

Dear Ladies and Anyone Else Who May Care to Know This,

He's mine.

All mine.

And he's quite happy about it.

Most of the time.

Girl Who Should Really Put Down the Camera