Family · Surprise · Theatre

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia Beverly MA

She was in Mamma Mia!!! Yes folks, my step-daughter Jamie made her debut at North Shore Music Theatre in the ensemble of Mamma Mia. We could not be more excited for her. The pride on my husband’s face said it all as we watched her perform.

Jamie has wonderful parents who have supported her since she started dancing at the age of 4. Her mother has always been by her side as she learned and worked hard to master her art. We wished her brother Nick and step-sister Lacey had been able to join us and see her perform. Unfortunately, their schedules made it impossible. They sent their support and wished her the best. Love those kids! Look at a nice piece that was written about her from Dance Wear Corner.

For someone who isn’t a huge fan of musicals and having never seen Mamma Mia or even read the book, I was mesmerized by the show. What an incredible performance! Now I will have to see the movies. North Shore Music Theatre has such character. A beautiful round stage so the performers were coming down the aisles beside you, drawing you further into the performance. It felt like you were right there on the island with them watching as the story unfolds before you. I must say, I was impressed! And reviews agree. Broadway World Boston had a lot to say about it.

We are all very proud of Jamie. Family and friends from all over have come to see her in Mamma Mia. Now that the run in Beverly is over, she is back in New York on her next adventure. We can’t wait to see what she will be doing next. I will keep you updated!

Crafts · Family · Party · Surprise · Wedding

So What’s New?

There is a great deal going on right now. We are down to the wire on the wedding shower for Ashley. That means I have a lot to get done before I head back to Texas. I had her brooch bouquet just about finished and torn the whole thing apart yesterday! It just wasn’t what I thought it should be. I scrapped the whole thing, ordered what I wanted for it and now I am waiting for my deliveries. Crazy I know, but it just didn’t speak ‘Ashley’ to me like it needed to do. I think my sister and niece were a little surprised at the news, but they know if I don’t like, ain’t nobody gonna see it.
I will be finishing up the rest of my to do list for the wedding next week. Bouquet, hair pieces, corsages, jars, flags, dream catchers…the list goes on and on. But I will be done and everything ready to head to Texas with me in a few weeks. I will be taking a few days after the shower to visit my daughter Lacey in Houston. She just returned from vacation with Abby and Maya, so I can’t wait to catch up on what is going on with her. I am hoping to see Amber and Chris while I am there. It will be great to see them. Their wedding is just after the new year! You will see what I am doing for Amber later this year.
We now have our official Facebook Page up and running as of yesterday. Look and ‘like’ our page so that you can see the latest of our adventures in your newsfeed. We are also on Instagram and will be posting little pictures and videos of our adventures between our blog posts. Our Pinterest boards are growing, and we are sharing the great people we have been following with you. We are also on Twitter.
It is all so exciting for us. Marie introduced me recently to an app called Marco Polo. On this app you send little videos for free back and forth instead of having to type out a text message. You can find it in the app store so check it out. We have had so much fun with it and when we shop it is easier to communicate when you need someone’s opinion. No longer must we take pictures and try to get them to send. We just make a little video and share.
In September we will be adding a series of blogs/posts called ‘Tips, Hacks and Cowboy Hats’. It will be where we share helpful hints and open it up for you to share your helpful ideas with us or questions. I always find it interesting when Marie and I cook or work together at the different ways we do things. And I am always learning about new tools, programs or apps from Ashley and Marie. They seem to know what is the latest and greatest that will make my life easier.
So, have a great weekend, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I can’t wait to hear from y’all and please share with us your ideas or questions. What are you working on? Is there something fabulous you would like to share? Hope to hear from you soon!

Baking · Cooking · Food · Surprise

Is That Brioche?

Bread Pudding 12
So creamy and delicious

My husband and I are huge fans of bread pudding. During one of our dinners at Kres is Orlando, the chef had sent out bread pudding for us to try after the incredible dinner he had prepared. What a surprise and enjoyment to taste this amazing creation. It was made with Brioche!

Brioche is amazing bread. So light and a little sweetness that you just can’t resist, or at least it is hard for me. When I was shopping at The Fresh Market in Kissimmee I picked up a package of their cinnamon swirl brioche tray. It is like a cinnamon roll without the icing and extra sugar. Such a nice balance of the brioche with the cinnamon. Tasted so good warmed up with a little butter on it. The next day I had a piece toasted with fresh fruit.

Tonight, after the brioche had been in the refrigerator for a couple of days I decided to fix my husband a little surprise of bread pudding from the cinnamon swirl brioche. Now there are a million recipes for bread pudding out there. But this recipe is mine. So, you’re getting my little secrets I don’t normally share.

1 loaf of cinnamon swirl brioche
4 eggs beaten
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon and a little more to dust the top
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried strawberries diced
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut brioche into 1-inch cubes and place in large bowl. In another bowl combine the sugar, beaten eggs, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon making sure it is mixed well. Pour mixture over brioche cubes and let soak for 30 minutes. (Brioche is not toasted or dry, so you don’t need to soak any longer than that. If you do have dried brioche, then soak at least an hr.) Fold in the cranberries and strawberries. Spray casserole or baking dish with Pam or you can use butter. Pour mixture into dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Allow the bread pudding to cool. You can top with whatever whiskey sauce, chocolate sauce, vanilla sauce, fresh fruit or ice cream of your choice.

Bread Pudding 9
Out of the oven and cooled

As I mentioned, I used dried strawberries in this one. You can use whatever dried fruits you would like and nuts as well. Here in Central Florida we are huge on the strawberries and if you haven’t tried dried strawberries, you should. It is like a little fruit leather (fruit roll-up) still in the fruit. There are recipes on Pinterest with directions for drying strawberries. You don’t need extra sugar with them as the drying process brings that out. But once you have one, it is hard to stop eating them.

Tonight, I had some fresh strawberries I need to use up. I cut them up and add a little sweetener (I use Swerve instead of sugar 90% of the time) to them (about a tablespoon) and let them sit in the refrigerator while I made the bread pudding. Then I added an oz of both vodka and Chambord to the strawberries. Gave them a little mix and put them back in the refrigerator. When I gave the bread pudding to my husband, I topped it off with the drunk strawberries. Now here is a little secret, take the strawberries (4 cups worth), leave them whole but remove stems and place in a Ziploc bag. Add the sugar, ½ cup fresh orange juice, vodka, and an oz of Grand Marnier. Let the strawberries sit for about an hour turning every 1/5 minutes. Serve the strawberries in a nice stemmed glass with a little sprinkle of rock sugar on top and some whipped cream. Taste incredible with a scone or shortbread cookie on the side and a nice cup of coffee.

Enjoy!

 

Beach · summer · Surprise · Vacation

Weekend Getaway part 1

Jeff and I don’t really get away from the ranch very often.  Usually people come visit us, like Misha and Jimmy.  Plus we always have animals to see after, which makes trips a little hard.  But this summer we managed two long weekend trips.

This past weekend we ventured to Galveston.  My old stomping grounds.  Oh how I love the beach!  It is my happy place.  If you have ever seen the movie, City Of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage, and then you know the scene when all the angels go to the beach and you can just feel the presence of God.  Well that is how I feel about the beach.  I think it is the most amazing wonder God created.

On our way to Galveston, we made a stop and visited my Mom and Dad.  I got to see my older sister Libby too.  It was a nice visit.  I haven’t seen them in forever.  After that we headed to the Galveston with a pit stop at the boardwalk in Kemah.  If you have never gone to Kemah you should.  It is a little town on the west coast of Galveston Bay.  They have a boardwalk with restaurants and carnival games and rides.  There is an aquarium and you can watch gorgeous sailboats on the bay.

We enjoyed some Bubba Gump seafood and couple of rides and games before heading back on the road to Galveston.

My favorite hotel to stay in Galveston is Hotel Galvez.  It is old historic hotel built in 1911,  and has survived so many hurricanes.  There is a documentray on the History Channel about Galveston.  If you like Texas History it is a must watch.

We did a little shopping and visited an art gallery on the strand, we walked the seawall and ate some delicious seafood, we had an afternoon of spa time,  and of course we went to the beach.  Each day Biv and I would take a walk on the beach and look for seashells.

The beach is so relaxing to me.  And Galveston brings back so many memories.  If you have never been to Galveston, you need to make a trip there.  Especially if you love history.  There is so much Texas History in Galveston.  It was a major port for the United States.  There is the Bishop Palace, which is a must tour.  There is a tour of wood carvings around Galveston.  You can walk or rent motorized bikes.  There is pier 21, Moody Gardens and Aquarium and Pleasure Pier.

1BB63BB8-43B2-47B7-921A-A460347C3D08

Just to list a few things to do.  Now I know the water is not gorgeous blue like Florida beaches but it is just so relaxing to sit under an umbrella and to feel the ocean breeze.

B919DA94-431B-4C09-B63C-0A07B3D59A28

Oh how I miss living on the beach and smelling that ocean air.

But you know what I miss the most?  The fresh seafood!!!  And did we eat seafood, even for breakfast.  The Hotel Galvez is famous for their Sunday Brunch.  You don’t have to stay at the hotel to have Sunday brunch there.  Many locals come to brunch after church on Sunday morning.  The food is amazing.  The best buffet I have ever eaten at.  They have waffle, omelet, pasta, prime rib stations with a chef to cook up whatever you want.  Jeff had an omelet with shrimp, not to mention all the other food he ate.  Like his second plate with prime rib and mashed potatoes…which he said reviled mine.

B6B894A6-6B35-4AF9-B8D6-12FA859AAAA0

I had gulf shrimp, raw oysters and  eggs Benedict. Yum! And of course some seafood gumbo!

Here are a few pictures of the Brunch buffet.  And these are just some of the buffet.  I love the pelican ice sculpture with the gulf shrimp. oyster and crab legs.

Then we hit the dessert bar.  OH MY!  All these wonderful desserts.  I didn’t stay on my diet here.   Bread Pudding, Creme Brûlée, Red Velvet Cupcakes, tarts, Chocolate Creme Cups ( which tasted so similar to my chocolate pudding ) ,  Cherry Cobbler and Cheesecake to name a few.  Here are some pics.

Brunch may have started our day with a bang but it was the fireworks out over the Gulf, that really gave us a great finale to our Sunday.  Jeff was so tired from our day of exploring he took a nap on the Adirondack chair on the lawn waiting for the fireworks.


So if you have a chance for a weekend getaway, don’t forget about Galveston, Texas.  So much to do and enjoy there or just sit back and relax on the beach.

2D6208A7-7677-43FB-944D-54E0211C8550

Baking · Surprise

Sweet Taste of Summer

We had guests over and we went to grillin’.  We grilled fajitas and made all the fixin’s…  good ole guac, pico, grilled veggies, rice and beans, and don’t forget that homemade salsa.  I had promised George and the crew I would make them a pie, to thank them for all the work they had done on the house.

Well I couldn’t make up my mind so… I made two desserts.  A friend of mine gave me some extra rhubarb that she had left over from making strawberry rhubarb jam.  Oh YUM!  That jam was delicious.  So I made a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.

B677A974-0628-49B4-B339-69FBD11A06BE

Since I was making two desserts, I kinda cheated and used Pillsbury pie crust.  I do that sometimes when I’m in a hurry.  No one ever notices that it’s not my homemade crust. Or maybe they just don’t say anything.  Well I think it taste pretty good to me.  For the Cobbler itself all I did was mix rhubarb cut up and strawberries chopped. ( I leave my strawberries pieces big. ) I don’t really have a recipe, so here is what I did for this large casserole dish.

  • I used about 5 cups of rhubarb chopped in about 1/2 in or so pieces
  • about 3 cups strawberries chopped
  •  about a cup of sugar (depends on the sweetness of your strawberries my strawberries were really sweet)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of tapioca to thicken (I had some on hand but your can thicken with cornstarch)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons or so of orange zest

Just mix all the ingredients together and put in a pie or casserole dish.  I didn’t put crust on the bottom of this cobbler I just topped with crust.  You can even do a dump type crust with this cobbler.  Bake 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is nice and brown and cobbler is good and bubbly.

DBE4994A-4CAE-47DB-905C-10364F45B330
Lil Biv took the extra pie crust and cut out Texas Shapes and baked with cinnamon and sugar.  This was so good served with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream!

 

If you need a specific recipe to follow because sometimes I do.  I found this one on-line that is real similar to what I made.  Strawberry rhubarb pie

My second dessert was a lemon meringue pie.   It must have been good.  I didn’t get a picture before it was sliced.  And all that was left was one slice by the time I had a chance to take a pic.

260a7f89-d3bc-4181-8083-6a4e9af939eb.jpeg

 

I couldn’t find my recipe for lemon meringue pie that I usually use.  But Lil Biv had made this pie filling before and it was so good.  It didn’t make as much as my recipe does but boy is it good.  So here is the link to the Lemon Meringue Pie.  And it is so yummy!  I may have to bake 2 pies and see which I like better.  My recipe or this recipe.  Now for the meringue I used 6 egg whites and half the sugar and sometimes I use cream of tartar when making my meringue.  People think meringue is hard to make.  It is not.

  • Chill your bowl in freezer
  • only use glass or stainless steel bowl
  • Make sure the bowl is good and clean
  • do not get egg yolk in your whites….any fat at all with keep meringue from fluffing  up
  • beat on high-speed… I mean high
  • slowly add sugar and if you have fine baking sugar use that.  (but most of time I just have regular cane sugar on hand and it it’s fine.)
  • add cream of tartar if you want stiffer peaks than what is forming.
  • whip until peaks are standing up

Next time I make meringue, I will try to remember to record the process and show y’all.  I’m trying to get use to this blogging stuff.  And I know I like lots of how to pics.  I promise to get better with the pictures.

What are some of y’alls favorite pies to make?  Please share, I love new recipes to try!

Y’all have a blessed day today.  Stay cool in this summer heat.

Family · Party · Surprise

Facetime Surprise

I was sitting here quietly working on my many projects I have going and about to fix dinner when I got a text from my sister. (This happened a few weeks ago.) Marie asked if I was available to Facetime. Sure! I pulled out my iPad (I don’t have an iPhone, I am a Samsung girl) and called her up. What to my surprise, she and my niece Ashley were with the wedding planner talking about invitations.

 
Yikes! All I could think about is here I am with no make-up on, my hair a mess and I am in a tank top with sweats. Oh, please don’t let them be able to see me. I just can’t be seen like this outside my home. I must wear make-up to the grocery store people! I don’t do this! Yes, I freaked out! Don’t laugh, it’s not funny…okay, maybe it is but no! We need to work on our communication skills…

 


So, I am pacing in my kitchen as she flips the camera angle around, so I can see what is going on. Whoa! Forget about me, look at all the pretty paper. There are these beautiful invitations before them. I listen and watch as they discuss what is what to get me caught up.

 
I had my own ideas of what Ashley and Joshua’s invitations should be like. I had made a mockup of what I had in mind for her a couple weeks ago because I am horrible at communicating my ideas. I am one of those people with hand gestures and different words to describe things when I talk. Yeah, it drives my husband crazy, but he still loves me. Anyway, Ashley had liked my idea and was excited to see what can be done like it.

 
I loved the laser cut on the paper. It is expensive but exquisite and would have been great. Not in the budge though. There is such a huge variety of papers and weights as well as foiling and embossing available these days. So, as we went through everything and KC her planner helped pull it all together, Ashley was able to give them an idea of what she wanted. The art design will be a first of it’s kind for the stationary company they said. Everyone is excited to see the mockup when it is done.

 
No, I am not going to give the details away. My sister will share all that when it is all done. But to hear the excitement in Ashley’s voice as she was seeing it all come together was priceless. The little touches that show the many facets of who she is are going to be amazing. Oh, I am so excited for her! Just you wait and see!

Family · graduation · Party · Super Heroes · Surprise

Our Future Superheroes

Saturday was graduation day for my son Belvy.  We had a  party for Belvy and a few of his friends that were graduating, to celebrate the big day.  We adopted Belvy, who is from Haiti, when he was 13 years old but he wasn’t able to come to the U.S. until he was 16 1/2. …lots of bureaucracy…  But we were so excited when he finally was able to come home to us.

574BBD54-92EC-4657-9635-9AFA331816EF
Belvy and his dad on graduation day.

Belvy didn’t speak much English when he first got here.  I homeschooled him for a couple of years working on his English and filling in gaps in his education.  He then enrolled in Peaster High School where my older 2 children graduated.  Four years later, he is a high school graduate.  We are so proud of Belvy!  All the hard  work he has put in to his education.  He is our super hero.

3625CABD-1A52-4305-88F0-98146919BFAB
Belvy’s favorite bible verse

The  party was so much fun.  We went with a Super Hero theme.  I think Belvy loved it.  He is so into action movies… Marvel and DC…

 

Kids swam for hours, ate hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos, and  played video games in the Game Truck.

Then as the sun went down, we watched a movie outdoors on a giant screen.  …The Adventures of course! My favorite part.  Sitting and relaxing with popcorn and a good movie.

 

CRONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2018

709128F6-0D17-4FEF-89AA-DAD3DB8391A1