Friday, June 30, 2006

My new cooking find

I have recently discovered cooking with dried beans and I love it! I have found a few really good recipes and I just love the concept. Dried beans are dirt cheap (now I understand why Dave Ramsey uses “beans and rice” as his mantra of budget conscious eating, and they are so flexible. You can soak them overnight if you are planned or for a few hours in boiling water if you are in a hurry. Mostly though, beans are just so good for you. A quarter cup of lentils provide 50% of your fiber needs for a day. And none of us get the fiber that we should. Here are a few recipes that I have used recently and liked.

Lentil chili

Butter beans

Red beans and rice

Refried beans with homemade tortillas, garden fresh tomatoes, and a little bit of shredded sharp cheddar

Tonight, we’re trying the black bean soup…we’ll see!


The bigger boys were playing outside in the pool while I watched from the kitchen window and fed David. They started dumping all of the water out of the pool by holding the sides down and gallons of water poured onto the yard. I ran outside to tell them to stop, leaving David in his highchair. When I got back inside, I found out that David was too hungry to wait for me. The picture doesn’t do it justice though—the bright green mashed avocados were smeared everywhere!

We’ve been doing well and staying busy. The highlight of the week was Miller’s 6th birthday last night. There was coloring, a bug hunt, cupcakes, a piƱata, hot dogs, and candy…what else could any little boy want? The whole family went and we all enjoyed it.

We are waiting to get the final word that the signatures are on the contract to sell our Jackson house. We agreed with the buyers yesterday on a price and conditions, but I am leery until it is all signed. Actually, I will still be concerned until we have closed, which is set for the 31st of July.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy 6th

Six years ago today I married my Prince Charming. We celebrated in style--a full day here at home with the boys (plus, I got a 2 hour nap mid-afternoon!) Bryan and Meg left this morning after a short, but good visit. Between visiting, a lightening storm, and Joseph's nightmares we didn't get to bed last night until after midnight. Thus, the nap was a much needed part of the day.

Joe mowed all day, but is still at the point with the new riding mower that mowing is fun. That will change in time, I know, but for now it is nice.

We had steak, fresh cucumbers, and baked potatoes for supper and French chocolate snowball for dessert!!! After supper, we walked around outside a bit and I picked a few blueberries. We capped off the evening with Sabbath preparations and a quick prepstepping dance to ITunes in the office. David is going to be baptized at church in the morning--adding to an already busy time at church!!

Oh, and the latest picture is from the other day when Joe left the boys unattended outside. Of course, Joseph smeared mud all over Will!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Several new pictures on Flickr today. A few from Joseph and Will in the pool . And yes, we did buy a bathing suit for Joseph last week since his suit from last year was too small and therefore passed to Will. Also, a few random ones of David. He does love his Cheerios.

We’re doing fine here. The boys and I have worked in the garden the last few mornings before it has gotten unbearable hot. Things are growing well and so I am hoping that we’ll actually have a crop. We’ll see.

Tomorrow we go to Jackson for Joe’s doctor’s appointment and to run a few errands.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

T Day

T-day has arrived. That’s right, Tractor Day. I know that everyone else thought that it was Flag Day, but here at Casa Holland, it was Tractor Day. It is really just a riding lawn mower, but when you are 2 and everything is big compared to you, it is a full-fledged tractor.

It is quarter to nine here and the boys are just now in bed for keeps. They were in bed at 8:15 when we got home from church, but then Joe had to test the new lawn mower a bit. I could hear them both yelling from their beds, “Hi, Daddy! Hi!” since they could clearly see him circling the lawn below them out the window. A few minutes later, little feet on the stairs and Will breezes through the kitchen, “I going out to see tractor.” “Okay,” I concede. Joseph follows a minute later, after seeing that Will didn’t get punished for getting out of bed. Both gleefully chase Joe around the yard and I snap a picture of Daddy and sons together astride their new toy/machine.

(And no, just in case you are wondering….unfortunately, the purchase of the lawn mower is not due to our Jackson house selling. It is just due to a %0 financing deal from Sears until 2007.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dry county

So I just read in the paper (in the section with the police blotter) that someone was arrested for “possessing liquor in a dry county.” Another section contained a lengthy article describing some people’s disapproval of M.A.D.D.’s stance allowing for responsible alcohol consumption after age 21. So, I’m wondering….is someone going to come and take me away for the bottle of bourbon in my pantry?

We were looking for a place that sells wine (to celebrate the end of the visit with the Virginia ladies and their hard work) this past Thursday, but to no avail. Phillip told me that there is a law against the sale of wine and liquor in Attala County. We were interrupted at that point in the conversation and so I didn’t get him to elaborate. However, he did have Joe over to drink Bass Ale and smoke cigars a week ago.

The article was about an arrest for possessing liquor and this being a “dry county” and I’m starting to worry. Not even that Joe and I drink much at all (in fact, the last time that we bought wine was over a year ago), but neither am I used to it being prohibited. Add to that the fact that beer is sold in the grocery stores and I am completely befuddled. Beer seems much more likely to be overly consumed leading to drunkenness than wine. Which goes back to my original concern…what is going on here?

Update on the tananger

It is now open season on summer tanagers at 5302 Attala Road 3022. Yes, that colorful bird that only a few days ago was such a delight to my mom and aunts is now the number one nuisance around here. He has continuously beat himself against the great room window since they left and shows no sign of stopping. He started his incessant banging at 5:30 AM this morning, which is 1 hour too soon for this sleep-deprived mama. If I had been holding a gun at that moment (and possessed the ability to hit a small moving object at short range), the illustrious S. Tanager would have met his doom at 5:31 AM. However, since I do not (and probably could not), he survived. I put my head under the pillow and managed to doze for a few more minutes. Even when we were working outside this morning, his “twee-duh-wee” sounded above the cacophony of bird noises as especially noticeable.

So, I’ve told Joe he is free to rid us of S.T. if he is able to contrive a means to do so. Sorry to my dear aunts and mama, but S.T. has overstayed his welcome!!

I’m taking a break from a busy morning working outside.—just checking email and blogging a bit before I go and make lunch. We transplanted two more fruit trees/bushes of some sort—I think plums, a climbing rose, and another fig. We also planted my herbs. Last night I had done more pruning and weeding around the yard and Joe weedwacked more. I guess Mama’s pruning must have inspired us.

Mama and the aunts left yesterday after a wonderful and hard working visit. The upstairs is completely transformed and fabulous. Now, when I walk into the boys’ rooms it looks like home. And the kitchen has been time warped forward by at least 20 years. They worked tirelessly the whole time they were here and we had a good time talking while working too. We’re glad to get back to a quieter life (I must admit to getting increasingly grumpier while they were here as I didn’t get the alone time that I need to recharge), but will greatly miss their company. Highlights of the visit include: Meg’s dead-on impression of Joseph’s elbow-flopping gallop, Leigh winning the wet T-shirt/running through the sprinkler contest, seeing the tanager/”teenager,” showing off my family at the church potluck., having the family “oohh” and “ahh” over a very old, ugly-wallpapered, oddly styled house that has good room for us and an increasingly homely feel, and the previously mentioned “Great Tree Massacre of 2006” provided to us by Mama.

I still can’t believe that they drove 13 hours just to see me and my family!!! I am amazed and so grateful!!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Today I made bread by hand for the first time in a long time. I have gotten so accustomed to making our bread with the bread machine that I forgot how good it feels to knead the dough by hand. I also worked hard to get ready for Joe’s installation service. We also had a good visit with a church member who sweetly brought us some food. The aunts and Gee come Monday night!!
Yesterday, we went back home (old home) to Jackson to cut the grass, fix a few holes in the sheetrock and paint. The house was fine and I think that one of our neighbors might have cut the grass after we left. It was just over 2 weeks since Joe had cut it, but it definitely didn't look like 2 weeks of growth. Joe cut it again anyway. I would have guessed that Mr. Walker did it. The Walkers are a very kind older couple that lives across the street--the absolute best neighbors we have ever had. But, Mr. Walker has just started to pay someone to cut their very small yard and ours is so very large. I hope that he didn't do it!!

I wrote a comment on Barbara Curtis's blog yesterday on an excerpt from her book about losing children. I do enjoy writing, but managed to fritter away the afternoon doing so. I had a few minutes that I sat down at the computer while David and Will napped. Just as I was getting up to start working again, I welcomed an unexpected visitor. It was a good visit that I was thankful for, but between that and my wasted computer time, I didn't have everything ready to go when Joe got home. I am still learning how to best watch my time.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

How to find us

I have had to give directions to our house several times in the past few days and just in case you are ever down this way, let me tell you how to find us….We are

Just out of town heading north
Past “Touch of Class Taxidermy”
Past the propane tank lot
Past the sign for the “Farm fresh goat’s milk”
Past many bunches of Queen Anne’s lace
Past the RV supplies and mobile home dealership
Past several flourishing vegetable gardens
Past the Sugar Creek Market
Turn onto the gravel (really dirt) road
By the pasture with the 3 horses
Go past the house with 3 times as many dogs as people
Past the house with all of their wood for winter stacked in the front yard
Bear right away from the welcoming sign to Bethel Baptist Church
Drive up the hill and around the bend
Past the (power line) and the grove of pecan trees
Start looking as you approach all of the young pine trees
Slow down and watch for any errant tricycling little boys at the end of the driveway
Turn right into our drive and follow the crepe myrtles to the front door.


Well, we have discovered the fire ants. Both boys were bitten on Saturday—Will several times on his foot and hand and Joseph on his hand. It seems that they are all over the place around here and soon we will better be able to know where they are and avoid them!!! They are smallish brown ants with their hind body section slightly larger than a regular ant. Sometimes they have traditional ant “mounds,” other times you can just tell that the soil has been disturbed and they have tunneled underground.

Will is very allergic to them and developed huge welts from the bites. He has always reacted strongly to bug bites. I didn’t even realize what he had gotten into at first and thought he had scrapped his heel while climbing. It was only after a few seconds when his cries intensified that I realized he was being bitten and rushed to sweep the ants off.

Joe worked yesterday to spread poison on 3 mounds, but we found 3 more this morning and now that I am learning more what they look like, I realize that they are everywhere. The boys will have to learn to be wary of them!