it's a zoo out there

I've been wanting to visit the Nashville Zoo for some time and with family in town this weekend, it was the perfect opportunity Plus, having kids along makes everything even more fun!

Bob's mom and dad, sister Mary, and our nephews David (4 1/2) and Grant (almost 2), and niece Lucy (almost 1) came to visit from Alabama and we made the most of the day Saturday at the zoo.

I'll have to preface this post by saying that my camera took a turn for the worst this weekend. So much for the rice method. It worked until halfway through our zoo trip and then the screen went all fuzzy. I was able to rescue the pictures I'd already taken but missed a lot of the fun stuff from the afternoon. And I didn't get many pictures of my sweet nephews and niece at all. :(

So, without further adieu...

This boy had a lot of fun.
Meerkats - there was a whole family of baby meerkats that followed their Momma around like baby ducklings.

Eland - learn something new everyday.

Grant was like a little monkey in the Jungle Gym!

The closest I could get to see the giraffes. The baby giraffe was out too. :)

David says he loves to ride wolves. I picked a zebra.

Sweet girl

Among my other favorites were the elephants and a very amusing show that almost looked choreographed by a pair of talkative gibbons! I am looking forward to going back with a working camera to capture a little more of the wildlife.


friday musings

The weather in Nashville this weekend:

Perfect for a weekend with my favorite nephews and niece

Maybe perfect for a visit with this guy if it's warm enough for him to come out.

Hopefully to learn a little of this from my talented mother- and sister-in-law.
Happy Friday!


oysters, beads and bourbon

...Street, that is! (No bourbon for me!)

We had a fabulous time celebrating one of my favorite people in the world's 30th birthday this weekend in the Big Easy. It was my first trip in about five years.  

But, rest assured, we ate, drank and were merry! The roadtrip down with Bob, Kim and Aaron was full of great conversation, lots of laughter and loads of fun. And, we may or may not have enjoyed a "Drive-through Daquiri" in Slidell, LA to welcome us to NOLA!

I had some of the best meals in a long time - check out The Ruby Slipper's amazing breakfast, or Acme Oyster's declious oysters on the half shell if you're headed down there. We rounded out the weekend with a delicious Johnny's Po-boy (crabcake for me, shrimp and crawfish for my fellow travelers) and gumbo before we headed home.

Oh, and can't forget a fabulous visit with my grad school friend, Allison, who lives in New Orleans. Such a treat to catch up with an old friend.
No pictures were taken, so here's an oldie but goodie from Molly's wedding.

All in all, a great trip with great friends. And, I'm fairly certain my best friend of almost 14 years (14, can that be?!) had a great 30th birthday.

The weekend in pictures...

(Unfortunately, my camera took a nosedive into a cup, so the few pics I have are from the roadtrip down, a few from our first stops and from my iPhone. My camera spent two days drying out in a bag of rice - and I'm happy to report it is back and functional again - albeit a little sticky. Nothing a little Windex won't fix.)

The Birthday Boy enjoying his first beer of the trip!
Lunch in T-town brought Ooey Gooey Fries...and our first Mardi Gras beads of the weekend
So glad Kim could come!
These two will be married in June!

Houston High Alum

What did we learn this trip? No more Hand Grenades!


roll tide

I thought it'd be fun to link up with Kelly's Korner today for her Show Us Your Life - ALMA MATERS link up. Especially since I had an amazing college experience and found so much more than I ever imagined at my alma mater.

If you know me in real life, you certainly not surprised to hear that I am a University of Alabama graduate - class of 2005 and 2006. (I'm kind of a fan) That's right, I loved it so much  that I stayed and went to graduate school there as well (or was I just not ready for the real world?).

I marched in the Million Dollar Band...

Please resist the urge to laugh.

met some of my very best friends...

Kirby, Molly, Berkley, Kim
Berkley and I

Matt, Ben and I

Molly and I
Kim and I
and met the love of my life at Alabama. It's a story for another day, but Bob and I actually met right after school started our freshman year and didn't begin dating til a short time after we graduated from undergrad in May 2005.

We got engaged on Alabama's campus (very special to us as Bob's parents both met there and got engaged there as well).
Please ignore the cheesy smile and lack of hair on Bob.

And still enjoy returning as often as we can. Tuscaloosa will always hold a special place in my heart.

Miss these sweet friends!

Roll Tide!


baby happies

I'm in a new "stage" of life. You know the stages...all your friends are getting engaged, then everyone's getting married, then buying a house, then having a baby. I'm in the baby stage.

I. love. it. There is nothing I love more than a baby. And even better when I get to buy her pretty things, love him, hold him, baby-sit her...and then give him back and go home and sleep. (Sorry, parents!)

One of the reasons I wanted to learn to sew, besides to make curtains, was to make baby gifts. I love homemade things. So I taught myself how to make a baby blanket and that has become my favorite gift for friends welcoming a new bundle of joy.

Side note: I love the word happy for little gifts. I love to bring my mom happies or my husband or whomever else. They just make me...happy.

When we received a birth announcement for a friend's fourth baby (FOURTH!) recently, I wanted to send them something to let them know we were thinking of their sweet baby boy - even from 700 miles away.

I gathered up some leftover material from my sewing closet and got to work. I love to buy fabric, but sometimes, you have to use those remnants. I've stocked up on the soft, minky dot fabric in blue and pink when it went on sale so I usually have that on hand - it can be pricey otherwise.

The finished product for little Thomas Michael.

I also had a bib and a burp cloth (so easy to "pretty up") already made, so I threw those in the box too.

Makes me want to curl up in a warm, soft blanket!


road trip

The Somerville Zoo and I took a short trip down I-65 this weekend to visit one of my favorite people in the world and her pup, Bowser.

Pouting b/c Momma wouldn't let me sit in her lap the. whole. ride.

It was a quick trip, but my sweet college friend Kim and I enjoyed a lot of shopping, food and a little vino, while the pups played...and played...and played. Conversations with old friends make my heart smile.

Feeding time at the zoo.

Grace loves Auntie Kim's! (Sorry for the poor iPhone pic!)

It's safe to say we all had a great weekend - two of the three of us are fast asleep and I'm not far behind! Thanks, Kim and Bowser!


risotto with chicken and caramelized onions

I love risotto - but I'd never made it myself. Bob and I decided to try something different last weekend, and boy am I glad that we picked this recipe on a weekend and not a weekday!
Annie's Eats' Herbed Risotto with Chicken and Caramelized Onions took forevvvvver to make, but it was delicious! We really like to cook together and this was the perfect recipe to do just that. 
I'd probably try it with a red onion next time, for a little color and just because I love red onions. Other than that, the only problem I had was that I didn't have enough reserve broth left after I cooked the risotto. It was still creamy enough, but I would have liked to loosen it up a bit.
All in all, a great recipe for an at-home-date-night. Fun to cook alongside my sweetie and even more fun to eat!

Check out Annie's picture in the link because it looks a lot more appetizing than mine!


curtains up!

What a project! I’m proud that I finished them and part of me wants to make another set…but most of me doesn’t, at least not right now.

So, I introduced you to my sunroom a few weeks ago.

The sunroom was much of the reason we bought this house. Bob and a sweet friend of mine’s husband just loved it. Of all the houses we looked at, we kept coming back to that sunroom.

When we moved in, we left it white and hoped inspiration would hit. We eventually purchased these fabulously comfortable (and right for the price!) chairs, relocated our wine rack and added the table and lamp. The sunroom also serves as the canine dining room.

We settled on a paint color, and added these prints to the wall over the wine rack.

I started searching for window treatments and just wasn’t happy with what I found. And, honestly, that is the reason I learned how to sew. I decided I would just make curtains.

Yeah, right, like it’s that easy.

Luckily for me, my husband bought into my madness and gave me a sewing machine for my birthday. I found the fabric for the window treatments shortly after and made the cornices for above the back window (no-sew, no fuss). I went ahead and bought the necessary fabric for the curtains when it was on sale a long time ago and it’s sat in the corner of my “sewing closet” while I figured out how to use the blasted sewing machine.

A close-up for Molly :)

After I could put it off no longer, and after I was tired of being asked by my husband when it was exactly I was going to make those curtains, I decided to get to work.

I wanted to make Grommet Curtain Panels, so I found this tutorial online.You can read the instructions at the link above, but here are a few photo highlights from the process and a few thoughts from the mind of a novice sewer:

- To make curtains, you need to have plenty of patience, plenty of space and these friends:

I used my dining room table (with pads to protect the surface of the table) and the floor next to it – behind a baby gate and safe from puppy paws and teeth.

- You know that old adage Measure twice, cut once? Measure twice, three times, maybe even four times, trust me.

- From the tutorial - Step 3: Place a yard stick, or other straight object, along one side and use scissors to cut the edge so that it is perfectly straight. Repeat the process on the remaining three sides of the fabric so that the fabric does not have any irregular edges. Yeah, that’s pretty important. Cutting blindly across your fabric will result in a jagged edge. Don’t ask me how I know.

- It's handy to have a boy with box cutter to cut the holes for the grommets and who's willing to snap them into place...

Safety first
...and to hang the curtains when they're done!

...with a couple of cute supervisors, of course.


And, tada! They're done!