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The Not Dinner Party

One of the things I most love about Nashville is the creative community and nontraditional work atmosphere that I’m surrounded by.  So many people here are involved in the arts or events or some other occupation where work doesn’t mean sitting behind a desk from 8-5, which often leads to really interesting collaborations and projects.

When Keith and I got married just over four years ago, our dear friend Hannah Blanton (Hannah Elaine Photography) was an easy pick to hire as our wedding photographer.  Not only is she a kind and fabulous individual, but her photos capture moments in an almost photo-journalistic way.  We were thrilled with the images from our big day..all those special moments frozen forever…and my sweet friend Jessica even hired Hannah for her wedding the next year (a photo of Jess and all her bridesmaids is still the first photo that pops up when you click on Hannah’s page.)

Husband and Wife!  One of my favorite hots by Hannah Elaine Photography from our Dec 2010 wedding.

Husband and Wife! One of my favorite shots by Hannah Elaine Photography from our Jan 2010 wedding.

Hannah and her husband John are often our partners in crime for everything from canoeing to improptu trips to the art museum (John was one of Keith’s roommates back in both of their bachelor days) so when she needed a shoot location (and a few “models”) Keith and I were game to offer up our backyard and gather a few friends. It wasn’t the first time that we’d had a wedding-related-backyard-dinner party: just a couple of years ago we hosted the wedding rehearsal dinner of our dear friends Bubba & Erin, so naturally we were thrilled that they could be part of this shoot!  It was a sentimental nod to their big day and great to catch up.  Hannah’s husband John and our good friend Keely sat in as “models” as well and the six of us had a blast sitting around our table in the backyard while Hannah snapped photos right and left.

I just thought I’d pass along some fun photos for you to enjoy…and I might have one or two more related posts up my sleeve in the coming days, so be sure to check back.

Cheers: To friendship and fotoshoots.

Cheers: To friendship and fotoshoots.

Cake balls and wedding cake by Frosted Affair. I love that the photo on the wall behind the cake is an actual wedding photo that Hannah shot over 4 years ago at my wedding!

Cake balls and wedding cake by Frosted Affair. I love that the photo on the wall behind the cake is an actual wedding photo that Hannah shot over 4 years ago at my wedding, as well as a sweet photo of my grandparents off to the left.

L to R: Erin, Keely and Me.  Thankful for the sweet friendship these girls bring to my life.

L to R: Erin, Keely and Me. Thankful for the sweet friendship these girls bring to my life.

Gift boxes by Batch.  We were so excited to receive a box with lots of local personal care products and an adorable dishtowel!

Gift boxes by Batch. We were so excited to receive a box with lots of local personal care products and an adorable dishtowel!

Wish my table looked this amazing all the time!

Wish my table looked this amazing all the time!

Bubba and Erin....these two crack me up to no end.  So fun to have a second Bordeaux/Frizzell backyard dinner party.

Bubba and Erin….these two crack me up to no end. So fun to have a second Bordeaux/Frizzell backyard dinner party.

Paper goods by Maria of Green Bean Paper co.  Such a fun girl and such adorable paper goods.

Paper goods by Maria of Green Bean Paper co. Such a fun girl and such adorable paper goods.

Nothing brings me more joy than watching my husband laugh.

Nothing brings me more joy than watching my husband laugh.

Thanks Hannah for this sweet portrait of Keith and me.  Love this man.

Thanks Hannah for this sweet portrait of Keith and me. Love this man.

Nothing better than fresh flowers!!

Nothing better than fresh flowers!!

L to R: Keith, Me, Keely, John, Erin & Bubba.  The "model" squad.

L to R: Keith, Me, Keely, John, Erin & Bubba. The “model” squad.

You can check out more images from the shoot on Hannah’s blog by clicking here.  And check out our amazing vendors as well!  They were all amazing to work with and the best at their craft.  (I’m trying to come up with an excuse to hire Hayley to come make my face look pretty again.)  And you don’t have to be getting married to use their services.  They’d be happy to help you out with any type of party or gift needs.

Hayley Bidez Makeup Artistry – Model Hair and Makeup

Events by Elaine – Product Staging and Table Design

Caroline of Batch Nashville  – Guest Party Favors

Maria & Green Bean Paper Co – Invitations, Name Cards

Mary Love & Rosemary & Finch – Floral Arrangements

The Bride Room – Girl’s dresses

Southern Events  – Linen and Tableware Rentals

Frosted Affair  – Cake and Cake Pops

Reuben Victor – “Peace in the Valley” Signature cocktail

An Update “Couched” in a Sectional…

One of the first things Keith and I did as newlyweds (well, besides go on our honeymoon) was buy new couches.  I didn’t own a couch and his had been around for a while and we just felt it was time to update a bit as we sought to turn “his” house into “our house.”  After checking out a few stores, we found some light blue microfiber couches at Rooms-To-Go that fit our taste and our budget.  We bought the sofa and matching loveseat and I just couldn’t get past how pretty the robin’s-egg-blue looked in our newly painted front room.  But after the remodel of our house a year later, we started to feel that the love seat and couch scenario wasn’t as practical for our new space.  And while the couches aren’t uncomfortable, they also never turned into that sink-into-and-take-a-long-nap sort of coziness we kind of hoped they would one day soften into.

Our light blue couch and loveseat.  I sure did love them!!!

Our light blue couch and loveseat. I sure did love them!!!

As we talked about what sort of couch we might like to one day have, the conversation turned to a sectional.  It seemed like a great way to be able to snuggle on the couch together while still having enough room, provide additional seating, and best utilize the space in our now-much-larger living room.  So the great sectional search began.  And as with all furniture purchases in our house (you guys know the drill by now) I was looking to find exactly what I wanted at exactly the price I was willing to pay and would settle for no less than fulfilling both of those goals.  (If this is your first time “furniture shopping” with me here on the blog, you can catch up on my find-what-you-like and then at-the-price-you-want style by checking out my posts on buying an ottoman and my dining set, a chair, and light fixture…just to get you started.)

After considering possibly every sectional ever created, Keith and I decided that the Pearce sectional from Pottery Barn was precisely what we needed.  We loved the style, the dimensions were perfect (dimensions were tricky for us as everything seemed to either be too long or too short) and the price was, well, close.  We knew that a sectional was going to be something we were going to save up for since giant pieces of well-made furniture don’t typically come cheap, but we also wanted to get the best price we could.  So we waited.  And window shopped the Pottery Barn store in the mall several times.  And requested practically every free fabric swatch you can request on the PB website.  Unfortunately for us, the clerk told us that the “oatmeal linen” upholstery that we loved had never gone on sale in her several-year tenure at the store…a fact supported by the three times the piece went on sale in other fabrics since we first looked at it about 2 years ago.

And then.  Behold.  One day as I was surfing the web, I clicked over to look at “my sectional” again for fun and the oatmeal linen was on sale!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  Keith and I decided that maybe it was time to pull the trigger on our big purchase.  But when we added the couch to the online cart, it showed a $125 “large item” delivery surcharge on top of the normal taxes and fees that get added on at the end.  So we called the Pottery Barn store about 20 minutes away to see if we could waive the fee.   Not only did the store offer to match the online sale price, but they added on some mysterious discount to erase the $125 delivery fee that ended up discounting it even further.  A win all the way around!

We sold our other couches on Craigslist for exactly what we were asking for them (the girl who bought them was positively delighted and kept saying, “but they look NEW!”) and the sectional was delivered last Thursday….just in time for me to hit the Memorial Day sales this weekend to grab some new throw pillows.   And I can for sure say that it’s everything we hoped it would be and more.  It’s comfy, it brightens up the room, we can both curl up without anyone’s elbow in the other person’s ribcage.  It’s lovely.  And it could probably sleep a person or two as well if anyone needed to crash.

And I promise, next week I’ll blog about something that has nothing to do with furniture.  Probably.

Our new Pearce sectional and it's throw pillow friends.  So thrilled with our new set-up!

Our new Pearce sectional and it’s throw pillow friends. So thrilled with our new set-up!

Out With The Old, In With the…….Older

By now, you’ve probably realized that I can’t keep anything the same for too long when it comes to furniture.  I love swapping out items for something cuter and more functional, particularly if I can get it at a bargain.  But my quest for something new doesn’t always mean actually NEW….just new whatever place in the house needs something different.  In fact, some of my most favorite pieces in our home are old, like a dresser that I’ve been using since just after college.  It was my grandfather’s dresser when I was a kid and sometimes I expect to find his clean white hankies carefully folded in the top left-hand drawer when I open it.

But as all you married folks out there know, one dresser, no matter how fabulous, is not enough for two people.  We’ve been on the hunt for a second dresser for a while now, limping along with a cool, but impractically designed inside, chifferobe that I bought at an antique store for cheap in college.  The problem was that we loved my grandfather’s dresser so much that we didn’t want to give that up, but finding something that matched was impossible and even something that merely complimented it was proving a monumental task.  I was about to just throw in the towel and buy a dresser, any old dresser, just to be able to put my laundry away.

A few weeks ago when Keith and I were in Mississippi helping with the garage sale at my grandmother’s house, my mom was trying to figure out what to do with the “good furniture.”  We’d been able to sell anything that lacked sentimental or actual value, but there were several pieces remaining in the living room that were legitimately antique,  were still in fabulous shape, and that quite frankly, no one could bear to part with because there were just too many memories attached.  We were able to make space in my parent’s house for a couple of them by rearranging and selling a bookshelf of my mom’s, and several things were earmarked to go to my uncle’s apartment, but a few pieces still needed a place including a beautiful buffet that has been in my grandparent’s dining room as long as I can remember.  It had been given to them by my great-grandmother who had used it in her house, so while I’m not sure exactly how old it is, I’m thinking that 75 years or so at least is a safe estimate.

And then it hit me.  Just because it was intended to house dishes and silverware, china and goblets, didn’t mean it couldn’t be the perfect home for socks and t-shirts and running clothes.  And while my grandmother always adorned the top with a teapot and tea cozy year round and tins upon tins of pecan sandies and other cookies at Christmas, that didn’t mean I couldn’t set all my perfume bottles and jewelry out on an old mirror.  I bought some dark wood Old English scratch cover and polish, gave it a loving coat, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  And love that not only is it practical, but it’s a little piece of history as well.






“A” for Asparagus

The other day, my parents were passing through town and we popped over to see my boss’ garden.  There’s lettuce galore right now along with other leafy greens and the beginnings of other things, but what I was particularly enamored with was her asparagus bed.  It wasn’t but just a few years ago that I hated asparagus, and now I can proudly say that I’ve eaten it 3 times this week and just writing about it makes me crave some more (and I just had it like an hour ago.)  I bent low to admire these little asparaguses (asparagi?) popping out of the ground while mom picked lettuce and Dad and Kelly discussed the trials of getting a good crop of tomatoes.

My friend Erin will attest to the fact that cooking asparagus in the Bordeaux kitchen has often been synonymous with setting off every smoke alarm in the house.  No matter what we tried, it seemed that it never cooked super well (either too tough or too burned) and we’d have to open all the windows and fan the smoke away from the detector.  Then one day, quite out of laziness, I hit upon the perfect way to cook it.  I’d bought some fish from Whole Foods that needed to be cooked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven, and since I didn’t want either the main dish or the side dish to get cold while the other cooked, I decided to just throw it all in there at the same time and crossed my fingers.   The result was delicious and I’ll never cook it another way again.  So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make an impressive and healthy side dish, I bring you this “recipe” if you can call it that.



*1 bunch of asparagus

*about 3 teaspoons of olive oil

*ground sea salt

*ground pepper mixture


1. preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Rinse off asparagus

3. Cut about half an inch off the bottom of the stalks and throw the tiny pieces away (the end with out the fluffy part.)

4. lay all the asparagus out on a cookie sheet….the kind with a lip (otherwise it’ll all roll off and that would be a pain.)

5. lightly brush the asparagus with the olive oil using a pastry brush (silicone or bristles…either is fine) until there is a light coating of oil over all the stalks.  (This is the key step.  Just a thin coat.  Brush, don’t pour.)

6. sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over all stalks.

7. bake in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes.

8. enjoy!


“Spring Break” : My April in Review

My boss and I were talking just the other day about how we’d both been looking forward to the month of April; she’d purposefully taken some time off the road to work on a big writing project,  which means I had time off the road as well, and we were both looking forward to some rest, relaxation, getting things done that had been put off.  And now I look at the calendar and its the 24th of April for goodness sakes and I’m having trouble figuring out what happened to my “off” month.

So I thought I’d give you a quick review of some things that have gone on.  Mostly to try to wade back into this blogging pool.  Dip my toe in.  I’ll give you some photos.  Everyone loves photos, right?

First up in un-blogged-about-April-adventures was a little bluegrass fun on April 5th with my friends Andrew Greer and Kyle Buchanan.  We kicked off the morning playing happy instrumentals and “country-fied” versions of the hymns I grew up on in the Southern Baptist Church…all in the front yard of speaker Patsy Clairmont for her “On The Porch With Patsy” event.  It was a blast to meet such a sweet group of ladies and then close out the night with a special Hymns For Hunger concert with singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan.  Being home and still playing great music all day was a gift.


L to R: Kyle, Me, Andrew & Patsy @ “On The Porch With Patsy” April 5, 2014


L to R: Kyle, Cindy, Patsy, Andrew , Bethany at Hymns for Hunger, April 5, 2014


Next up was a trip home to see my parents in Columbus, MS.  The theoretical “purpose” of our trip was to help my parents with a garage sale to help clear out my grandmother’s house.  It was a sweet time to pick through items that we knew we wanted to keep to remember her by, telling funny family stories and laughing at some of the “junk” that had for whatever reason been living in Gran’s house for so long, etc. etc.  My brother and his son Drew also made it down for part of the weekend and so it was great to get to visit with them and bonus that Drew finally got to meet his “Uncle Keith.”  That one’s been about 5 years coming.  Mom made her famous lasagna (totally worth ditching the whole paleo thing for) and dad took us fishing.  Then we also got to celebrate Palm Sunday with them which was awesome since we knew we couldn’t make it back for Easter.


Fishing with Dad. Love getting to hop in the boat in the backyard and paddle around a bit.


I was SO surprised to catch this little guy. And I may be 31, but my dad still has to take the fish off the line.


Easter weekend was lovely as well.  We started off the week by celebrating a Passover Seder with our dear friends the Moritzes, who are Messianic Jews.  I’d never been to a Passover celebration and he did such an amazing job guiding us gentiles through such a beautiful dinner and celebration.  To hear the symbolism, the history, the meaning behind how this holiday has been celebrated for literally thousands of years added a layer of richness to my faith that I doubt I would have gotten any other way.  To understand that THIS was what Jesus and His disciples celebrated right before He was arrested and crucified and then subsequently rose from the grave was a powerful lens through which to view a week that we typically color with plastic grass and stuffed bunnies and as much candy as we can possibly stuff in our tummies.  In a culture so far removed from the circumstances and traditions that were commonplace in the time of Christ, we miss so much of what the holiday is truly about.



The elements of the dinner.


Adam teaches through the dinner and impressively read a vast portion of it in Hebrew. He’s a smartie.

The saturday before Easter, we headed to the Ryman Auditorium to catch the fourth stop on the Nickel Creek reunion tour.  I’d seen their farewell tour there 8 years  ago and so it was really special to be back with my husband to hear their reunion.  They did not disappoint and I reveled in old favorites and new tunes all night until my toes wouldn’t stop tapping and my cheeks hurt from grinning.  I neglected to take photos, but I’m not so sad about that as I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have captured the awesomeness on film.

Easter Sunday was lovely beyond measure.  We headed over to our fabulous church for Sunday morning service and as a bonus had along Keith’s best friend who basically is Never. In. Town.  After church, our friend Sarah cooked an “Easter Feaster” extravaganza for us and some other folks.  These great girls and I have all been friends for a long time.  I’ve known some of these girls for about 1 or 13 years and the rest of them for at least 6.  That’s alot of year of friendship to share.  Over the years we’ve all met our husbands, gotten married, and now some of the braver folk have even started having babies so our collective group of friends now boasts the addition of one boy and one girl.  Baby Jude and Sweet Kara have added a whole additional level of joy and chaos to the mix and we are grateful for them.  And of course, we’ve made all our husbands be friends (they didn’t really have a choice, but fortunately all love each other so it works out fine.) and they keep us all laughing with their antics.


Easter at St. B’s with the best husband ever.

L to R: Holli & baby Kara, Jenni, Me, Amanda, Sarah and Shanna.  I can't even add up all the years of friendship represented here.

L to R: Holli & baby Kara, Jenni, Me, Amanda, Sarah and Shanna. I can’t even add up all the years of friendship represented here.

L to R: Blake, Keith, David, baby Jude, Russell, Jacob and Jeremy.  So grateful for these amazing husbands.

L to R: Blake, Keith, David, baby Jude, Russell, Jacob and Jeremy. So grateful for these amazing husbands.

So that’s been my April!  Whew.  So much for having “down time” but grateful for all the folks I’ve gotten to see this month and ready for life to crank up again next month as I hit the road again.  Fear not, I have 4 posts half-written that I promise to finish and some great new recipes to send your way.  One of them isn’t even healthy.  Happy Spring!

So Your Child Wants to Quit Violin Lessons….

So we’ve been slacking a little bit on the blog this week.  Mary-Hall, as you all know, has been busy with her first week of being a mom of TWO sweet boys, (if you missed the big news, check it out here!) and I don’t really have an excuse.  I’ve just been lazy.  So today I’m doing something that we never really do….I’m re-posting a blog that was originally posted on my music website,  But I really love this particular post because my mom has some great words of wisdom.  So here you go!  I hope you enjoy the read….and the bonus picture of me playing the violin as a tiny munchkin.



I love getting to meet people on the road and talk and hear their stories and questions.  Often times I get asked how I started playing violin as a career, my stance on music education, etc.  But then sometimes I meet moms of tiny violinists and the question comes up…“If my child isn’t as excited about lessons as they used to be, do I make them keep going? Do I let them quit?”  I always share my experience as best I can to encourage them.

Then a few weeks ago, a mom sent me a message on Facebook.  I’d met them at an event a few years ago and we had talked…I’d encouraged her that violin could be a great thing for her then 6 year old daughter and she and her husband had felt that it might be exactly what the Lord had for them and their little girl.  And apparently the little girl had the same idea.  Lessons were begun with a beloved teacher and it was a great experience all around.  Well, for a while.  Then she’d been moved to write me a letter.  Her daughter is now on the verge of turning 12 and they feel at a crossroads.  To quote her letter, “She has a natural gifting so there’s not that desire to practice, which I’m sure that’s totally normal for her age. But we aren’t going to let her quit because at this point we feel like we’d be letting her out of what we know God spoke. But I don’t want it to be miserable for her!!!  My question is, did you ever go through that? How did your parents encourage you to stay the course? What could I be doing to really make the violin something she loves?”

I felt a tiny bit at a loss. I can cheer-lead for music education all day long as I’ve been both a student and a teacher.  I know the impact it’s made on my life.  But there was a key element missing here as I’ve never parented a child at ALL, let alone through the decision to persevere or call it quits with an activity.  But fortunately, I DID know someone who had been through this, not only with violin lessons, but with a myriad of extra curricular activities that I chose to be a part of as a child, adolescent and young adult.  My own mom.  So I emailed her asking if she’d be willing to sit down and write a response.  Fortunately not only was she willing, but the letter she wrote was excellent.  So excellent that it seemed a shame not to share it with you all.

Dear Fellow “Violin Mom”,
I’m Bethany’s Mom.  Bethany passed your message on to me, thinking that perhaps I could give you some feedback from the point of view of a Mom whose “been there, done that.”

Now, believe me, I’m not claiming to possess the wisdom of the ages, just a little bit that comes from experience.  Here are some things I’d consider, although you may already be aware of all these:

  1. Is your daughter actually asking to quit, or is she just at the stage where the novelty of playing violin has worn a little thin?  Maybe her playing needs a little “new life” breathed into it through attendance at a special workshop or a few lessons into a different genre of music – some bluegrass or Celtic fiddle (which is usually pretty lively, fun stuff that can expand a player’s overall ability).  If she is actually asking to quit, find out why.  Sometimes at that age, kids get teased about their activity, if it isn’t the “cool” activity of the day. Also, that is the age at which girls’ lives are really beginning to open up and they see other activities and opportunities that compete with their music.  Bethany primarily took violin and piano up until age 11, at which point her schedule began to truly burst with other interests (horseback riding, 4-H, a theater group for children that she founded, show choir, jazz ensemble, etc. etc.).  These all had merit and gave her great experiences. There were many times all the way through high school when she barely had time to practice violin, but we plugged away at lessons from week to week.  After all, a girl may play soccer for a season in her life, but music can be taken THROUGH LIFE.  If she wants to “try other things,” allow it, if you can possibly afford the time and money for it all.  Not having to choose between violin and another activity may make it easier to stick with her music, even if her progress plateaus for a while.
  2. I’m assuming she takes not just private lessons, but has the opportunity to play [music] with other kids?  If she’s not in a group class of some sort, playing violin can be an “isolating” experience, and I’d recommend a class, workshop, etc. so she can develop camaraderie with other young musicians.  Also, help her find ways to use her violin playing as a ministry – at church, at nursing homes, etc. (Bethany even “sold songs” at a church bazaar to help with the fundraiser.) Using her talent may be key to maintaining interest.
  3. It’s difficult to think of an 11-year-old going through hormonal changes, but the fact of the matter is, a girl that age is changing internally, and whether or not you can see the transformation just yet, her endocrine system is cranking up and can cause mood swings that may make her act like she’s “miserable” one minute and perfectly chipper the next.
  4. It’s difficult to know whether God was speaking about your daughter’s entire life, but she’s now had 5 or 6 years to gain a valuable musical education and all that goes with that (fine motor skills, listening skills, brain development, poise, etc.).  Just like riding a bicycle, IF she did take a break from violin, she has already benefited from the training and she could pick it up again without having lost too much – although again, sometimes we just have to plug away and maintain.
Let me share my own experience. As an 8-year old, I wanted to learn the guitar.  I was so small, and my parents unable to afford much, so they bought me a ukelele – which doesn’t sound much like a guitar.  However, I taught myself a number of chords and still desired to learn the guitar.  At age 13, I was almost tall enough to handle my aunt’s guitar, which we borrowed. But it was just a difficult age at which to start. I wanted to go out with friends, and for other reasons, I stopped lessons after only a few months.  “Life got in the way,” but in the back of my mind I still desired to learn to play the guitar, even while I learned the violin alongside my daughter (as you may know, part of the Suzuki Method is that a parent learn along with the child).  Anyway, to make a long story short, I always WISHED I had persevered with the guitar back when I was a teen, and finally, about 2 years ago – at age 60, I again took up the instrument.  I’m never going to be a “Chet Atkins,” but I sure have fun with it.  I always wonder, though, how accomplished I could be now IF I had plugged away when I began at 13.  But those chords I learned on the ukelele and during my 3 months of guitar lessons stayed with me and gave a little jumpstart.

I sure hope your daughter will hang in there – not necessarily to become a professional (that was not our goal with Bethany – just that music would be beneficial to her overall development) – but to have a skill she can enjoy throughout her whole life – and use to the Glory of God on many occasions.

Best wishes to you both!
Barbara Daniel

Spring Chickens

I know we’ve had a lot of chicken posts recently, but I needed to add one more.   For those of you who have been tracking with the Saga of Sylvia the Sick Chicken, I have sad news….Sylvia went to that big chicken coop in the sky last Wednesday.  She’d rallied there for a little bit…and then just started getting, well, slower.  She’d stop in the middle of the yard to nap.  She stopped eating.  She wasn’t really pooping (sorry, but she wasn’t).  She stopped getting excited about seeing us.  And she barely weighed anything.  So Wednesday morning I decided to spend some quality time with her.  I wrapped her up in a towel and put her on my lap while I got some work done on my computer.  She napped most of the day.  She didn’t seem in pain, just content to sleep on my lap.

That afternoon I had to run to a meeting and about 10 minutes after I left Keith sent me a text message: “I think Sylvia just died.” it read.  Then, about 15 seconds later, “Yep.  She’s definitely dead.  She just laid over on her side and went to sleep.”  We were sad to see our girl go, but happy she went in peace.  If you’re wanting to reminisce her short life (like I did) then you can check out this video from last August when she laid her first egg.


Sylvia snuggled up on my lap napping. She passed away about 30 minutes after this photo was taken.


Yesterday was nice weather and Spring seems to have finally sprung, well sort of…so Keith and I decided that it would be a good time to do a “Spring cleaning” in the coop and de-winterize all the little cold weather tweaks that we’d made.  You might remember that we added a heat lamp and a made a few other temporary changes.  So Sunday we shoveled out the pine shavings from the coop floor, removed the heated waterer, heat lamp and indoor roost, rehung the outdoor roosts and gave everything a good cleaning.  The girls seemed really happy with their tidy home and hopped around the backyard eating as many earthworms as they could find.

Although I’m super thankful that we brought Beverly Clucky home to replace our first chicken casualty, Gertude, (who had a brain tumor,) we’re not rushing into getting a new girl this time.  I know it’s Spring and all the co-ops are starting to put out all those cute little chicks and it’s so tempting to bring home a new little critter.  Please, before you do….read all about my experience adding a new girl to the flock.  It’s not all fun and games and cute little feathered friends.  It’s a slow and painstaking process, one that for us worked out well despite my doing everything wrong, but one that I’m not sure I’m up for repeating anytime soon.  So for now, we’re going to hang on to our three amigas and be thankful that everyone else is healthy and happy for the time being.


L to R: Louisa, Jane and Beverly Clucky. Our little flock of remaining hens.

Paleo Pepper Pot Roast

I’ve actually been making this dish since before I even know what Paelo was.  In fact, it was the first “grown up” dish that I learned how to cook.  It’s a crock-pot recipe so that’s not exactly saying a whole lot, but it was a big deal to me to say that I could cook something.  It was also the first dinner I ever cooked for Keith, way back before we were even officially dating….and it’s been a staple for us since.

So as I was looking for a simple yet tasty dinner to put together for tonight, I remembered we hadn’t had this particular recipe in a while.  And then I realized that it was totally in line with the Paleo diet, so I immediately headed out to the grocery store.  And I thought you guys might like it too…it’s got a little bit of a kick.  So here ya go.  Pot roast anyone?


Paleo Pepper Pot Roast

  1. 1 chuck roast (mine was about 2 pounds.)
  2. 1 jar peperoncini peppers
  3. celery – chopped
  4. diced or sliced white onion
  5. carrots -chopped into 1 inch chunks, or, 1 package baby carrots
  6. one packet Kroger brand (or comparable)  “Salad Magic Zesty Italian” salad dressing mix (**note….this is just a seasoning packet to make your own salad dressing….not actual liquid salad dressing.)
  1. Put half the carrots, celery, onion and jar of peperoncini peppers into a crock pot.
  2. Pour half the salad dressing mix packet mix on top of the veggies and pour in half the pepper juice.
  3. Add the chuck roast, then add the rest of veggies on top along with the rest of the seasoning packet and pepper juice.
  4. Turn crock pot on low setting and cook for 8 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Note:  Although it renders the recipe “non-paleo” it’s also really yummy to cook red new potatoes in with the roast.


Winner, Winner, Chicken….Winner.


After having had a long week of hand-feeding Sylvia the chicken and freezing weather, we had a brief moment of beautiful sunshine and the girls were more than ready to run around the yard eating whatever they could find.  Booger the cat and I sat outside with them and as I fed them treats, they all started to congregate around me on the steps to our out-building.  Keith, ever-ready to grab a great photo op, snapped a photo and posted it on facebook where a friend mentioned we should enter it in the “Flaunt Your Flock” photo contest that Tractor Supply Co. was running.  We did.  And we voted and asked people to vote, but with so many entries, we didn’t hold our breath.

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Fast forward to this morning when I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing.  Since it was a number I didn’t recognize, I screened it….and then squealed with delight when I listed to the voicemail from Matt, from TSC, who was calling to find out what prize I would like to choose as I’d been selected as the week 2 winner!  What!?  Awesome.  Since our girls have been eating food like they were teenage boys, I chose the ten-pound bag of feed and container of dried meal-worm treats (the favorite delicacy to our feathered ladies) which they assured me would arrive in the mail in about a week.  I’m sporting my brand-new “Sriracha” rooster tee all day in celebration.

Here’s the thing though.  The weekly winners are based on the merit of the TSC judges.  The overall grandprize is based on popularity….so your vote counts….and there’s still time to vote for my photo.  Just CLICK ON THIS LINK (or on the photo below) and it will take you straight to the contest so you can vote for me.  And, you can vote for me once every 24-hour period if you feel super motivated/dedicated.

My photo as featured on the winners page!

My photo as featured on the winners page!

So excited that my sweet girls got some recognition…….and some yummy food coming their way!  THANK YOU Tractor Supply Co, for such a great competition and for supporting hobby farmers like myself.  We appreciate all you do!

Paleo Mashed Faux-tatoes

When we started on our Paleo adventure we certainly started branching out a bit, but there were some things we swore we’d never do.  Or at least, one thing we swore we’d never do…mashed cauliflower.  If you just gagged or said “ewwwww” out loud, I feel ya.  I did too.  All the way through about 5 Paleo cookbooks I gagged.

Then for some reason, I just decided what the heck.  Keith had planned Bison burgers one night and I thought mashed potatoes sounded amazing.  But potatoes aren’t on the diet.  (Well, sweet potatoes are in moderation….but that wasn’t what I was craving.  I was craving mashed potatoes like my grandma used to make.  White, fluffy, buttery, creamy mashed potatoes.  And that made me start thinking about all those recipes I’d seen in all those cookbooks claiming that mashed cauliflower was the perfect substitute for mashed potatoes.  I figured why not give it a whirl?  All I had to loose was the $2.50 for a head of cauliflower and the 20 minutes to make it.

I was shocked at not only how easy this recipe was, but how absolutely delicious they were.  They took me back to my grandmother’s kitchen and my cauliflower-hating husband not only ate a gigantic portion, he also declared they should become a “staple” in our household.  So without further ado, I bring you:


Paleo Mashed Faux-tatoes

  1. 1 head of cauliflower (about 4 cups of cauliflower)
  2. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  5. pinch of onion powder
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop cauliflower (florets & top piece of main stem) into 2 inch pieces (I broke off the leaves, held the head over a bowl and just sort of hacked at it, then threw the bottom of the main stem away.)
  2. Steam the cauliflower until it’s tender (I think it was between 10 – 12 minutes for me).
  3. Once the cauliflower is steamed, dump it into a food processor.  Add coconut oil, rosemary, oregano, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Puree until creamy and smooth. Serve with steak, grilled chicken breast, etc.!

(if you don’t own a food processor, you can use a stand mixer, hand mixer and bowl, or possibly even a blender.)

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