Nov 23, 2009

An evening with the Lee brothers!

Well leave it to my fabulous friend and neighbor, Charla,
to pull together such a fun event Sunday evening!

Yes, Charla, somehow sweet talked the talented Lee brothers to come to her home and visit and mingle and sign copies of their great new cookbook called
And it is just that!
If you are in Charlotte, run to Park Road Books and pick up a copy!
The sweet owners helped organize this. And if you are not order one immediately!

Yes, the same Lee brothers who are featured on Food Network and have been endorsed by Paula Deen and many other notable chefs. They are contributing editors for Travel & Leisure and are the wine columnists for Martha Stewart Living.

Raised in the low country of Charleston, SC, these two brothers were surrounded by yummy southern traditions and their recipes showcase delicious southern dishes with a fresh, updated twist. They are traveling now for their book tour and we were lucky enough to chat in a very small setting and get to know them. Pictured above: Ted Lee, Charla Muller, Matt Lee and me. And by the way, if you don't know about Charla and her INCREDIBLE and fabulous sense of must read more about her here and here!

They did some chatting about growing up in Charleston and their love for good food, seafood and tips on making new innovative dishes from some of the old classic southern cookbooks
like this one.

The books sold that evening like hot cakes
and it seems that we helped them on their journey to possibly being a NYT best seller!
We like to help here in Charlotte that way, ya'll know.

My sweet friend Missy and I chatting about the new cookbook
and tasting some yummies together!

The Lee Brother's homemade pimento cheese in the back was FABULOUS!
Interestingly enough, my sister has met them during a food event in Georgetown, SC and they have shared delicious ideas. If you remember, my sister has her own catering business called Puttin' on the Grits and she's quite a "foodie" herself!
Check out just some of her talent here if you don't believe me.

If you'd like to see the entire collection of photos from the evening click here. And here's to a delicious Thanksgiving that's only a few days away. Ahhhhh! Blessings to you and yours!

Nov 21, 2009

craving slowness...

Not sure about you, but bet I am not the only one feeling like I am doing the mad dash most days, in and out of carpool lines, rushing to the grocery store, to a meeting, to volunteer, to meet a friend, to exercise, to children's activities, to squeeze it all in.
I realized something today. As wild as it is over here with four children who definitely keep us busy...THEY are often the ones who seem to make me slow down, teach me to "stop and smell the roses" and to enjoy even God's smallest blessings.

Today, they called me outside to see the color of the leaves...
to see that a bird had finally made a nest in the bird house...
and to show me an airplane making a line in the blue sky as if it was the most amazing thing they had ever seen. The enthusiasm and joy with which they share their findings makes me super happy but also sad that I sometimes miss seeing those things without their eyes.

What started as "reluctant to respond" and thinking about being too busy, I finally followed and eventually grabbed the camera and we went on a walk around the yard shooting images of daily things here that seem to define slowness, goodness, awesomeness and of course color.
I am craving slowness and look forward to family Thanksgiving time which should feel that way. Like a slow cooking soup in a crock pot, I am craving slowness more than ever and can bet you are too. I pray that as we enter this season of the mad dash and the hurry-hurry, and the purchase-purchase, we remember to slow down and enjoy the days, the details, the gifts and the abundance we are all so fortunate to share. We really do not need much more than that.
great quote about gratitude: "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."

Nov 19, 2009

Many Ways to Give THANKS!

Kids will go nutty for these Dough Nut Hole Acorns!
And look how cute the cut napkins are as colorful leaves!

Indian Tee Pee Treats are clever and look fun to make!

This green fruit roll up makes a sugar-filled corn treat.
Who thinks this stuff up???

Turkey cupcakes look fun to make! Use your left over Halloween candy!
Hats off to Thanksgiving!

Great tradition...What are you thankful 4?

And this game for most ages sounds fun too!

Cute napkin ring craft...look at these darling Pilgrim napkin rings.
Use family photos for everyone at your table!

All photos are from Disney Family Fun and you can see everything I mentioned and lots more on their great site! Have a great weekend as your family prepares for Thanksgiving!

Nov 17, 2009

Indian Princesses

Promised to blog about this from last weekend. They had a blast with Daddy! Over 400 total (girls and their daddies) attended Longhouse at Camp Thunderbird last weekend and the weather could not have been more beautiful!

Nature hikes with chosen walking sticks...

Arts and crafts...

Horseback riding...canoeing...and so much more!

Even Indian face painting!

Lots of chatting about nature and the amazing outdoors!

the tribe...

VERY TIRED when they arrived home but this one was not too tired to build a replica of the cabin they stayed in from the weekend!
David took a bunch of photos so if you want to see the enormous collection click here.
Great memories!

Nov 15, 2009

Thanks & Gratitude...

One of the MANY things that happened this weekend other than the GLORIOUS weather was this! We finally finished our THANKSGIVING TREE. The girls and I used the di-cut machine at church with our construction paper to make the various leaf and cross and turkey shapes.

The kids had a ball writing what they are thankful for on them. David and I still need to write ours. OK, so you can really make your Gratitude Tree or Thanksgiving Tree any way you'd like but here's how we made ours in case you want step by step instructions.

We found a pretty decorative planter and filled it with styrofoam then the kids found great sticks from the yard (plenty to choose from in ours especially after the crazy rain storm we just had!

Then we stuck them into the styrofoam and covered it with garden moss. The after the kids wrote on the di-cut leaves we hot glued them onto the tips of the branches. It makes a great center piece for the entire fall and next year we will do this just before Halloween and enjoy it through Thanksgiving!

We have always had the family tradition of writing on paper strips what we are thankful for then passing and reading them during the Thanksgiving meal. This year I pre-cut so many leaves, we will use the leaves in a basket for our thanks & praises. They are just prettier than paper strips don't you think?

It seemed easy for the boys to fill theirs out today after the Sunday morning we had. David was with the girls on their first Indian Princess camping weekend (pictures to come!) and the boys and I had a fabulous weekend alone. This morning I told them to put on blue jeans and sweatshirts and we were going to real worship. We headed over to the Harvest Center and skipped church at Myers Park Presbyterian. It was AWESOME and POWERFUL and polar opposite of our normal worship experience. We have been there before so they knew us, but this time it was even better. We sat among the homeless of Charlotte, NC. They are humble and grateful. They are hopeful and trusting. They are thankful for all the small things we take for grated. They believe with every cell in their bodies that Jesus can and will save them, even from themselves. The pastor had been a former drug dealer, had been in prison, had made his former girlfriend have 3 abortions... and the boys had LOTS of questions which I did answer, although I was prepared for none of them. There was clapping, crying, hands in the air, organ playing, shouting, screaming, alter calls... and we were asked to come up front to be prayed for. We were 3 of the 4 caucasian folks in the building and yet it felt so right. They prayed over us and I wept big tears. The boys and I felt guilty for being prayed over when we felt it was they who needed the prayer most but maybe not. It was a 2 hour service, long but intense, then we were whisked into the kitchen to help pass out the desserts as folks left with their fresh fried chicken and sides. It was a holy banquet for sure and the boys asked as we drove away, "Can we please go to the Harvest Center on the Sundays you and Dad do not teach Sunday School?" Wow! Honestly, we have been struggling with gratitude here lately and I think this is just what God ordered...a dose of what most of the world lives like. And the boys went a whole day without bickering and seemed grateful to have spent the morning that way.

And for that I am thankful. VERY!
Have a fabulous start to a great week!

Nov 12, 2009

For the love of paint & Pop!

So here is the fabulous fisherman oil painting I purchased for my sweet daddy's birthday! If you've met my dad, a.k.a. Pop, you know this looks JUST like him! And here's the story behind it. I was recently introduced to a fabulous lady named Kelley Sanford, a talented artist in Charlotte who gave a live demonstration at a friend's gathering one evening last week. It was fascinating to watch her paint a still life from start to finish. Right up my alley and could have stayed all night watching her, but had to scoot out early for another event. But as I mixed and mingled and viewed her paintings for sale I noticed a painting of a fisherman that looked JUST like my daddy! I was blown away! She had painted him and yet she didn't even know it.
Ironically, Dad's birthday was coming up and I needed something special for him. I couldn't quite swallow the price for the larger framed one and the smaller unframed one was already sold. But when I mentioned to Kelley that it looked just like Dad, she said she'd be happy to paint another one for me to give to him. I was thrilled! So we stayed in touch and I went to her studio to pick it up this week. The studio is great...right across from The Buttercup, in an old home on the upper level. The old floors are as pretty as the paintings.

She teaches lessons there weekly and you can tell she loves what she does. I love that! Seeing someone living their passion out loud is just contagious and we certainly have that in common! Kelley has a great website here and a wonderful blog here. If you're a local Charlotte gal and want to dabble in oils, you must contact her! If you want to shop for gorgeous and well priced oils call her! Plus she's sweet and friendly and everyone who takes lessons from her adores her! And Kelley, you made me miss my grandfather who painted only with oils, and so you also
inspired me to dust them off and get them back out again for another try! Thank you for the inspiration and for sharing your talent!
Here are some of my favorite Kelley Sanford paintings:
Blueberries...this may be my fav! The colors in this are just so yummy! Love this one so much!

Through the Orchard...LOVE this one!!!
Docked...just beautiful!
and there's nothing like the marsh...gorgeous!
Be inspired!

Nov 11, 2009

What's Happening?

So much going on...all fun stuff, but busy! Whew!
Some recent happenings here:

The Silly Squirrels ended their great soccer season! Our big celebration is Thursday evening but the last game was Saturday. It was a privilege to be the coach for this precious bunch of girls!

Daddy took William and a friend to the big Star Wars event in town. It was amazing with the symphony and light sabers and swords galore...a 9 year old boy's heaven!

Walker's challenge baseball team won the weekend tournament! All 4 games! And the final game was such fun to watch!

Pop (my dad) had a birthday today (Veteran's Day) and we met for ice cream and celebrated. Yes, he even wore the party hat at Ben & Jerry's...what a sport!
Busy here working on the new line of inspirational jewelry which will be coming out in January for Manual. New website should be ready soon too! And the order for the inspirational embroidered linens I designed for Peking Handicraft should be here in a week so they will be available to purchase.
Check back soon because I will be blogging about a fabulous local artist I recently discovered and the neat story about her painting which was Dad's birthday gift.
Sweet blessings from rainy Charlotte!

Nov 10, 2009


On Tuesdays, I pick up FIVE precious 5 year olds from the carpool line and we head to the YMCA for ballet and tap class. It is truly a hysterical experience! Getting 5 in car seats and deciding who sits where is a huge decision in and of itself...then getting buckled, then sharing every single detail of their school day. They all talk over each other, not out of rudeness, but
rather out of excitement. It is crazy but pure bliss to me and even though I have to rush and get them in tights before class starts, it is one of my favorite happenings of the week! Even today in the POURING down rain, they are happy and giggling and have not a care in the world. So we're on the way and we have this wonderful silly songs cd and they always request specific songs. They know every single word (me too!)and we are jammin' in my minivan and sometimes we even get funny looks at the stop lights because we are all dancing and signing our heads off! They are so happy and care free and even if I had a bad day before 1:00, when I have that car load of happy girls, they just make me feel like I am 5 again too!

Here's to sweet children for bringing out the best in every day, even the rainy ones!
James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above."

other inspiring posts...