Friday, April 30, 2010

Vote the Date: May 4

Yesterday was the last day for early voting, but if you didn't make it don't worry. Be sure to mark May 4, which is next Tuesday, on your calendar. We need to get out and support the candidates that have conservative values and believe in small government and less taxes. Getting out and voting also sets the tone for the mid-term elections this November.

Because this is a primary election, it is more difficult to know who to vote for. The Shelby County GOP won't be sending a mail out with suggestions on who to vote for. Bryant took the time to research the candidates and wrote down each position with who we were voting for. I am sharing it here to encourage you to vote on May 4. You can also go to the Shelby County GOP website and look up each candidate.

For County Mayor, we support Mark Luttrell
For County Sheriff, we were considering 2 candidates, we decided on Bobby Simmons

For Probate Court Clerk, we support our friend and Republican Paul Boyd
For County Commission District 4, Position 2 - Wyatt Bunker. Wyatt is in our Bible Fellowship class, and submitted a proposal last term to reduce property taxes by $3M.

Here are a few others:
For Trustee, David Lenoir
Register, Tom Leatherwood
County Clerk, Wayne Mashburn
Criminal Court Clerk, Kevin Key
County Commission District 4 Position 1, John Pellicciotti. Pellicciotti is very outspoken against consolidation.
County Commission District 4 Position 3, Terry Roland

Some positions such as Circuit Court Clerk and Juvenile Court Clerk only have 1 candidate running, so they will obviously be elected. If Bryant and I don't know enough about a candidate, we will not vote for them just because they are the only one running. For example, Bunker's proposal to reduce property taxes was turned down by two Republicans, Mike Ritz and Mike Carpenter. Mike Ritz is the only one running for County Commission District 1, Position 1. If he is in your district, do not vote for him.

Also, Mike Carpenter is running against Joe Baier for County Commission District 1, Position 3. Do not vote Carpenter. Vote Joe Baier. Officials must be held responsible for their decisions in office, even if they are "Republicans."

Monday, April 26, 2010

1 Weekend with 2 Boys and 8 Supervisors

It's amazing how much energy little boys have. My nephews came to visit a couple of weekends ago and I think I'm still recovering. We had a blast and didn't stop for 4 days straight. On their last night in town we were sitting around the table at about 9:30 p.m. when Bo asked if he could run around the neighborhood again like the night before. After an action packed day, he managed to run non-stop for half a mile. It was something like 10 laps around the circle in front of my parents' house. And we thought we had kept them busy... Here's a recap of our long weekend together.

Thursday afternoon they came over to my house for lunch and I gave them a tour of our new home. I was glad to see the swing set that the previous owners left in our backyard was a big hit, especially the see saw.

After Bo found the sea saw he emphatically said, "Aunt Missy, I think you made a good decision (on buying this house)." I love that he didn't care at all what the inside looked like; the swing set in the backyard sealed the deal for him :)

Max showed what a tough guy he is by hanging on for several minutes. He is our meat and beans eater.

Friday, we spent the day at the zoo. Didn't take any pictures- guess we were too busy looking at all the animals. Saturday we had a picnic at the Collierville Town Square. It was such a pretty day and the boys got to see 2 coal trains come by. They also loved getting to look inside the trains parked on the tracks.

A little further down they found a red caboose!

Bo even got a peek at where the train engineer sits.

Sunday after church we had an Easter egg hunt for the boys. Our backyard has lots of good hiding places.

Max was delighted to find an egg in each of the painted pots on our table.

After the hunt, Bo broke out his tee ball set and got a few swings in.

For halftime, B and M enjoyed cupcakes and a glass of milk on the patio.

I guess the sugar made everyone hyper because after the snack what started as picking up a few pine cones and bean pods turned into full-out yard work. We raked 2 large trash bags of pine needles with the help of 4 little hands in big gloves. Uncle Bryant was most impressed :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

White Tulips

Tomorrow will be 4 weeks that B has been at aerial refueling training school. He was scheduled to have his check ride today which means he would be home tomorrow night. But due to the usual maintenance issues with the C-5, his ride has been postponed. It should be just a couple of more days until he gets back, but I have learned to have no expectations when it comes to homecomings.

One thing I always remember when he is out of town is something my mother-in-law told me a couple of years ago. She said in times of war the military wives would pick up flowers at the market to keep their spirits up when their husbands were away. There was something about bringing the fresh cut flowers into their homes that elevated their moods.

Ever since I heard that story, I make it a point to pick up a bunch of blooms if B has been gone for more than a week. I never get a big arrangement; I prefer the simplicity of just a couple of stems. Today I picked up these white tulips at the Kroger in Germantown for $3.99.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Smoked Salmon

After the morning worship service yesterday, I decided to eat at home since the salmon that had been in my refrigerator a few days wouldn't make it any longer. I have a very easy way to cook salmon that always turns out good. Bryant introduced me to the cast iron skillet and I use it every time.

Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the skillet. Set the fillet of salmon on top. Pour olive oil on top side of fillet and then sprinkle with rosemary and pepper. Add fresh lemon juice. You can also add garlic and salt or any other seasoning you think would work. I keep it simple. Broil in oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how done you like it - I like mine well done. (I only use a small piece of fillet so I'm not sure how much time multiple fillets would need.)

Bryant called me as I started steaming some broccoli on the stove. During our conversation, I could hear the salmon sizzling in the background. I took a peek in the oven, and it looked pretty done. So I took the skillet from the stove and set it directly on our stove top. I bragged to Bryant that the salmon looked perfect as it was still sizzling and crackling. A couple more minutes talking on the phone and I begin to notice the salmon is still making a lot of noise and it almost looks like there is smoke coming from it. Hmmm... I figured I must have used a little too much olive oil on the skillet and it's just cooking up the excess.

Sixty seconds later and the smoke is starting to billow and gain momentum. At this time I mention to Bryant that the salmon is smoking. "Wow, guess I broiled it too long. Weird." I start opening some doors as the house is beginning to fill up with smoke.

Sixty more seconds and the word fire runs through my head as I'm now looking at a smokestack (slight exaggeration) and wondering at what point a flame is going to appear. I frantically ask Bryant if I should take the salmon outside! He says I can just set the hot skillet directly on our wrought iron table. Now the salmon is smoking outside instead of inside and every door downstairs is open.

Thank goodness I was talking to Bryant at the moment of decision to take lunch outdoors. I'm wondering what on earth happened? B says, "Was the burner turned on where you set the skillet?"

Oh yeah..... Oops.

Our stove top is a "smart top" which means when there is no pan, the burner shuts itself off. I'm still trying to get used to it, because certain pans only work on certain burners. So when I was cooking my broccoli I started on the right burner, it didn't take, so I switched to the left. I never shut off the burners since they shut themselves off automatically. Well, right before the shut-off time I set the hot skillet on the right burner and it recognized there was a pan and began heating up again.

I will definitely be shutting off my burners from now on. After all that, the salmon was actually very good. The skin on bottom was completely charred but the rest was just fine.

The rest of the day I kept thinking that one, Sundays are for eating out, and two, I really had no idea if and when a fire was going to break out. I kept watching the smoke rise and expand and I thought, "Please don't let there be fire." I couldn't help but relate my story to all the stories of the burnt offerings I've been reading about in my Chronological Bible.  Except all the people wanted bringing those offerings was to see fire.

The people in the Old Testament had to bring the choice animal to the priest to offer as a burnt sacrifice for their sins. The priests (Levites) would make the preparations on the altar according to how God instructed them to come to Him.

And then the moment came.

They probably were standing in anticipation as they could see the smoke rising to heaven and they were praying in their hearts, "Please let there be fire." For God would only show His acceptance of their offering if He sent fire to blaze up from the altar. The fire was a symbol of God accepting their sacrifice.

Praise God that He would one day send One who would be the ultimate offering, an innocent sacrifice for the guilty. And on this Monday morning, I don't have to find a ram, or a pigeon or a goat to sacrifice for my sins. I can enter the Holy of Holies offering Jesus, my sacrifice that has been accepted by God. Hallelujah!

Sometimes all it takes is a little smoke to clear our perspective and a little spark to shed light on eternity.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Banana Cake

I had two reasons to bake tonight, well three actually. I had 2 overly ripe bananas that would not make it another day; my sister, brother-in-law and nephews are coming in town tomorrow and I wanted to try my new mixer. A couple of weeks ago our mixer died while making homemade biscuits. Oh well, it lasted for 8 years. Lee recently mentioned that she bought a mixer from the Williams-Sonoma Outlet and so I followed suit and purchased a $90 mixer for $39!

Last time my sister came in I made homemade banana bread, so I wanted to make something different this time. Plus I'm trying to cut back on sugar and banana bread has lots of white sugar and white flour in it. Now don't worry, I'm not getting any crazy ideas about cutting out sugar completely. I like cupcakes way too much to do that. Just trying to cut back and think of sugar as a treat not part of the food pyramid.

This Banana Cake is very simple and calls for only 6 ingredients. Instead of white flour, it calls for nut flour. I used almond flour because it is low in carbohydrates and is a good source of vitamin E, fiber and protein. You can get it at Whole Foods Market.

1. Beat 3 eggs.

2. Mash 2 extra ripe bananas.

3. Add 3 cups of nut flour, ½ - ⅔ cup of honey (I used ½ cup), 1 teaspoon baking soda and ¼ cup of melted butter (not in picture).

4. Mix all ingredients (with spatula not mixer).

5. Pour into a buttered baking pan and bake at 350°F until top springs back when touched (about 40 minutes).

6. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Now this Banana Cake is not your traditional "cake". Think of it as an alternative to banana bread. Great for breakfast with coffee or for a mid-afternoon snack with tea.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Happy

I've heard many people say this week that Easter is their favorite holiday. Everyone loves Christmas but as a Christian, Easter should be quite the celebration. Christ is risen from the dead! C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E!

I've been looking forward to Easter Sunday all week. Everything around me seemed more beautiful: the Redbud trees blooming in our backyard, the Cardinal that always catches my eye when he visits our patio, and the vibrant butterflies that flutter past as I'm taking Miles for a walk. Every time I see a butterfly it reminds me of the new life we have in Christ.

Last week I also had cupcakes on my mind and I found these butterfly laser cut cupcake wrappers in lavender.

Aren't they fun? The wrapper slips over a cupcake to add another layer. You can contrast the color of the cupcake liner to make the presentation pop. They are also reusable, since you don't bake the cupcake in the wrapper. I thought they were pretty and would be perfect for a spring tea party or any party for that matter. But I won't be using them at my next party because I bought them to give away!

If you would like a set of 12 Lavender Butterfly Cupcake Wrappers, just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. Tell me what you looked forward to on Easter when you were little: the Easter egg hunt, the candy or the dressing up?

One winner will be chosen at random. Deadline to enter is Tuesday, April 6th at 8:00 p.m. CST. Time's up! The winner is Lee!

Enjoy your cupcake wrappers!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Saweet Cupcakes from San Antonio

My recent spring break trip to San Antonio wouldn't have been complete without sampling a cupcake or two from the heart of Texas. Sunday afternoon Bryant and I googled some local cupcake shops and found Saweet Cupcakes, a mobile cupcakery.

When we called to check their hours, they were already packing up for the day but told us we could find some of their cupcakes at SoGo Market Cafe & Takeout. When we pulled up to the cafe we saw this pink van parked in front.

Isn't that a cute idea? Saweet Cupcakes bakes their cupcakes out of SoGo's kitchen and sells them around the city in various locations. They have a weekly schedule on their website. I read they don't use preservatives and bake their cupcakes daily so they're fresh off the van.

I was so glad they had a Strawberry with Strawberry Frosting and Bryant chose the Dark Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting. I love the perfect dollops of frosting on top.

Oh my, that was the best strawberry cupcake ever. The strawberry frosting was almost identical to the frosting at Muddy's Bake Shop. And they have the best frosting! I liked Saweet Cupcakes' strawberry cake better because it wasn't as sweet as Muddy's and had real strawberry pieces in it. The Dark Red Velvet cake was kind of dry. I felt bad for B because all he got was one bite of mine. I tried to convince him to get a strawberry to go for later. But then I probably would have confiscated that one too. It was THAT good!

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