Friday, January 28, 2011


So this week I actually discovered a red wine that I absolutely love, not just tolerate. A little background, I'm a fairly light drinker and have pretty much been a non-existant one since my heart surgery and the complications that went along with that. (While I do enjoy an occassional glass, I do have a few self-imposed rules:  I never drink if I'm angry, sad, or in a bad mood. None for me whatsoever if I have to drive (that should be a no-brainer, but for a lot of people unforunately, it isn't). I also refuse to drink around anyone that I know admittedly has drinking issue; no need to to influence someone in a negative way.. ) Anyways, during a recent trip to my doctor, I was FINALLY told that a glass with dinner on occassion would be safe now, so that was welcome news! 

While Jack and I visited with our friends at their apartment, my sweet friend, Gina gave me a glass of the most delicious red wine! It was not bitter, and it didn't leave a nasty aftertaste like many do. (I'm a white wine kind of girl). I aboslutely loved this red though, so I thought I'd pass on the suggestion for those of you who like an occassional glass. I think it would also be a nice wine to incorporate with a good recipe as far as cooking goes too! I will definitely be trying this one out in a nice red wine cream spaghetti sauce (I'm thinking something along the lines with roma tomatoes, bell peppers, brown sugar, onion, garlic, meat, asiago, cream, block parm and gouda, and fresh herbs wish a few splashes of wine: I'll post pictures and the ingredients I decide on when I decide to make spaghetti again and try on this wine in it). I think it would also be a nice addition to a beef stew recipe or a great chicken/steak marinade!

And the winner is: Yellow Tail's Cabernet Sauvignon! Now, those of you who are legal and enjoy wine: GO BUY SOME NOW! Not only is it delicious; it's also inexpensive, which is great for those of you who enjoy an occassional drink but also watch your spending like I do!


Welcome to the world, sweet baby girl!!

Baby Kendall on her way home for the first time. How precious is this sweet little angel?!?!

On Monday, my niece Jackie and her husband Daniel welcomed their first little one into the world! They are such a sweet couple and are going to make such great parents! Kendall Ann Larkin (leaving the last name out to be safe) was born 6lbs 11oz, and 19.5" on Monday afternoon. As her great aunt, I might just be partial, but she is one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen! I aboslutely adore being an aunt and I can't wait to spoil this new little one rotten! I'm planning a trip to visit them once they get settled in; I can't wait to meet my sweet new great niece and hold her!

(For those of you who keep up with my rather large family, that puts the new nice/nephew count at 14! I love being an aunt and getting to share my life with all of them!  :)

~ Terri, Jackie, Sydney (Blake), Taylor, Isaac, Cooper, Kianna, Leedora, James, Jessica  (those are my nieces/nephews and foster nieces) and then there are Kaitlynn, Alexandrea, Brayden, and now little Kendall - those are the great nieces/nepehws!~

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Ranger!!!

Today is my beloved little Australian Shepherd, Ranger's first birthday! I can not believe how quickly he has grown and how much this sweet little guy has changed my life in such a short span of time! It seems like just yesterday when Jack surprised me with a little ball full of fluff the night before Easter. Jack knew how much I had missed my other Aussie and how I talked about them constantly. He apparently conspired with my sister Kimmy for quite a while to try and find the perfect match for me. How Sweet! None of the local shelters/rescues had a puppy that fit the bill, so he decided to do a lot of research and find a wonderful breeder. That led him on quite the journey. a round-trip from Memphis to Missouri and back. He told me that he would be out flying all day, so I didn't think anything of him going out of town. I just went about my day and then went to Target that night. On my way back home, I got a call from Jack asking where I was and when I would be back home to let him in. (We don't live together and at the time, I had just moved into my old apartment and had yet to make key's for everyone.) When I got home that night, I pulled back the vertical blinds and turned on the porch light to let Jack inside of my apartment (he had just jumped over my patio and hung out there until I got home). When I opened up the blinds and door, I could not belive what I saw- there stood Jack with the most amazing little puppy....the one that I had unknowingly picked out several weeks prior when we were looking at puppy pictures at Ihop during one of the first large Memphis snows of 2010. Since he had been all of the way in Missouri, I never even entertained the idea that it would be a possibility to get the little guy. What a surprise when I found out he was mine! :)

That's the "short" version of Ranger's story. Since I've had him he has been such a wonderful dog. He has finished Puppy, Intermediate, and Advanced training classes. He passed his Canine Good Citizen test last saturday (Jan.22)- All before his first birthday! He will begin agility classes on Saturday and we are also in full swing with training so that Ranger and I can become a certified therapy team. Any job you give him, he excells at and strives to please. I'm looking foward to many, many more years to come with this amazing dog!

Happy First Birthday, Ranger!

It's hard to believe he's grown soo quickly!

Ranger on his first birthday, today!


Just a fun tidbit!:

Ranger was born on January 27th

I adopted Macy on August 28th

My birthday is July 29th

Jack's birthday is November 30th

How sweet is it we all found each other, and that we're tied together in such a unique order. =)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What a Pickle!

Literally! I got myself into quite the pickle tonight (or this morning; however you want to look at it!). Let's preface this by saying that I have been quite sick all week. I haven't had much of an appetite for anything other than water and crackers. So, fast foward to 2am-ish today and I was absolutely starving!! Since I discovered a fairly healthy recipe for fried pickles the other day, I thought I'd give it a shot. Why not? I couldn't breathe through my nose or sleep anyways!

I am MORTIFIED! Let's just say different oils have different boiling points! I mixed up my batter and fixed the pickle chips up to put into the boiling oil (keep in mind that I didn't even have it on high). As soon as my pickles started to boil (and despite me having the vent on high), things started to smoke quite a bit and then I hard the ear piercing scream of my fire alarm! I live on the second floor of my apartment complex. I have neighbors above and below me as well on the back side of my unit and on the left of me- that's neighbors directly on 4 sides of me. The apartments in this complex have multiple sprinklers and fire alarms. Speaking of fire alarms, the apartment complex tested them all last week; somehow though, my unit was skipped over- well; the good news is that now I know mine work too!

My first thought (being sickly right now in addition to tired and hungry), was to pour some of the oil down the drain - I had left the water on a bit since I had just washed my hands and I didn't even think about it- soo dumb!! Oil + Water = SMOKE! The fire alarms started screeching even more!! I was praying to God that the sprinklers wouldn't turn on (or the alarms in the other apartments). I honestly half expected a phone call from the apartment complex super or a fireman at my door. I was freaking out! I finally switched burners with the half empty pot of oil and put a cover on it- I opened my balcony door, turned the fans on in each bathroom and left the vent on over the stove. Almost 45 minutes later and my apartment is much less smoky! As far as the fire alarms go- thankfully, the sprinklers never went off and the alarm turned off after I got the situation under control (much to my relief!). For the record, the ceilings are 9' here and even on a step stool, kitchen counter, or my table, there's no way I could reach them to shut them off myself; I'm glad they went off! (I guess they're able to detect the amount of smoke in the air and alarm accordingly? No clue!)

The good news is -my fried pickles turned out lovely, my fire alarm does indeed work (I hope my neighbors slept through it!), and at least the sprinklers did not go off, or a fire truck show up over this-I would have just died had they showed up and evacuated over something like that- could you imagine? Does that even happen?? Anways, I'm glad that did not happen tonight. Hope you lovely readers had a good laugh and my goofy expense!

(Yummy Homemade Fried Pickles! I may have set every damn fire alarm off in my apartment in the process of making them, but it was oh soooo worth it!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Review: A Very Untraditional Christmas

Considering I haven't posted since the 23 of December, I figured it was about time for a new post!
Since I didn't post at all about Christmas, here is the not so "short version" :

Typically, when I host the holidays, I go all out. I cook for days and days ahead of time, I clean, I design, I bake, I shop/wrap, I decorate, and I look foward to spending time with loved ones. All of the Christmas preperations aside, the thing that I look foward to the most each year is spending Chrsitmas with my family. The laughter, the music, the cheer, prayers over Christmas dinner and remembering our Savior, the smiles on everyone's faces...that's what makes the holidays "magic" in my opinion.  It really didn't feel like Christmas this year for me though. Christmas time has been a bit of a tough time for me over the past few years. Long story short, I left my very abusive, unfaithful ex husband the week of Christmas back in 2008. I literally told my entire family I was getting a divorce on Christmas Eve 2008 after I signed a lease on an apartment that morning, with my sister Kimmy by my side (she's seriously my rock!). I had secretly been staying at her house that week after my ex threatened to kill me. I had to move very quickly to get myself into a safer living arrangement because I was in danger, so I literally moved into my apartment on Christmas Eve and Chrsitams Day that year- needless to say, I wasn't exactly full of holiday cheer! That holiday seemed to drag by and was a very tough one. Despite it all though, I survived and grew stronger; best yet, when I was least expecting it and not even looking, God brought the most amazing man into my life, Jack. (It'll be two years this May!). Last Christmas (2009) I was soo afraid that something, no clue what, but just was terrified that something bad would happen and everything would just go wrong as well because of what I went through the previous year. Thankfully though, last Christmas was lovely, despite my unrealistic fears, I got to spend it surrounded with loved ones from my family and my sweet boyfriend, Jack's family.  Last year I truly felt loved and blessed and it helpeed me understand that each year is new and there's something good to find in every situation.

In 2008, the blessing that came that Christmas was God giving me the strength to leave an abusive situation before it was too late for me. I was terrified at the time, but I knew that I could eithor leave, survive, and fight for myself, or I could stay in that situation and be hurt worse, cheated on time and again, or  even killed.

In 2009, the blessing that came that Christmas was God allowing my family and I to have an amazing "cookie bake" with my Nannie. At the time, we did not know that it would be her last Christmas. I am soo happy that I got to spend those precious hours with her and my family. I am also glad that I learned that Christmas that it was a fresh start and not all Christmas's had to be a repeat of the tough times I experienced in 2008. Jack and his family made me feel soo loved and cherished and it was just wonderful to know that I could have a good experience again and focus on Christ's birth and the miracle of Christmas.

In 2010, the blessing that Christmas was that God allowed me to recognize that family isn't just flesh and blood- sometimes, our best "family members" are our beloved friends.  Although this year left much to be desired (in the sense of my family's lack of appearce on Christmas), I am happy that I got to spend it with the people who showed that they truly care- Jacks' family, Jack, my dad, and my best friend, Renae. 

This was my first Christmas without my Nannie (she passed away last Feb.), so that was already hard. Add on my family bailing out an hour beforehand, and it was also my first Christmas without any of the  family I've grown up with - (my mom, my aunt, cousin,etc). On a brighter note, It was also my first Christmas EVER to spend with my father (who by the way is Jewish haha). My sister Kimmy and her kids went to visit her husband's family for Christmas, so Jack and I celebrated with them earlier in December. I'm glad we got to celebrate with them early at least, but it definitely wasn't the same without having all of her kids running around. My sister Monica along with my other nieces and their kids were planning on comming over for Christmas, but at the last minute the weather forecast looked nasty, so we didnt' want to risk them having a car wreck to get here, so the day before, we decided it was best if we met with them for New Years Day instead (and that turned out to be fun!). The rest of my family however (my own mother, aunt, cousin) cancelled not even an hour before they were supposed to arrive. I had really looked foward to hosting Christmas this year (it was planned out several weeks ahead of time and everyone agreed that it should be at my place, so I didn't mind volunteering my apartment for it). I was very hurt that my family I had spent every Christmas with since I was little (my mom especially), didn't even show. Our streets were not bad, and they even had the offer of Jack picking them up in his truck if they didn't want to drive themselves. Still, none of them came. You just don't do that to people. I had been cooking two days straight and was hosting, so that was really upsetting to see my apartment all decorated for everyone, and then to have such a let down occur. To make matters worse, my mom was supposed to bring the main dish (I had about a million desserts and side dishes made up, but she was responsible for the main dish, so since she didn't show, I had to come up with that as well with no notice). By the time Jack and I got back to my apartment (we had brunch with his family that morning) I was hurt, upset, and didn't feel like cooking much of anything else....soooooo, Christmas dinner included a ton of side dishes, and some lovely homemade spaghetti....yup, I made spaghetti for Christmas dinner...and you know what? It was delicious!

The ONLY family member who did not cancel on me for Christmas dinner was my father. I was soo relieved to have at least one of my relatives there with Jack and I when we sat down to eat! It was also the first Christmas I've ever celebrated with my father. I can't put into words how much that ment to me. It was an untraditional Christmas of sorts- I had none of the family I'd grown up with to celebate present, an untratidional meal, and none of my Chrsitmas traditions got carried out really. I have to say though, the Chrsitmas dinner that I spent with Jack and with my Jewish father, was one of the best meals that I've ever had. Not because of the cusine, but because of the company- Jack, the love of my life was there beside me, and so was my father. (When I was growing up, my father was non-existant and one of my few memories of him included him breaking into my mom's house and watching him punch her right in front of me, the next few times I saw him after that was in a court room. I went years without seeing him after that. As I've gotten older, I've learned there is more to the story than that breif version, but nontheless, I didn't have the traditional father many people do when I was growing up. Some people say that people can never change; I don't think that's right though. My father has changed inside, and it has been such a blessing to get to know him over the past few months. That's why forgiveness is such another wonderful Christmas gift in my opinion. I'm soo glad I gave him another chance to be in my life!)  Honestly, one of the best Christmas "gift's" I've had this year is a realtionship with my father. For almost 25 years he was non-existant in my life. The past year he's changed soo much and has been there for me constantly.. People can and do change sometimes, and God giving me the gift of a father is really an awesome blessing and a wonderful gift this year. In a side note, I was also glad that all of the food I cooked for Christmas didn't go to waste. I was able to send  a lot of it over to my Jewish family's home to spread cheer there as well with my Granny, my uncle, and my sister. They all got a kick out of the Christmas food too!

Christmas night was another untraditional blessing. I got to spend it with the man I love and with my best friend, Renae. We had all had a bit of a rough Christmas, so we decided that a funny movie was in order to cheer everyone up. I packed bags of homemade chex mix for all of us to sneak in, and we went to the movies to see "Little Fockers". It was hilarious, and just what we all needed to cheer us all up on a very untraditional Christmas! It may not have been the best Christmas this year because I was missing my family (I REALLY missed not having any of my family with me that I'd grown up sending Christmas with). However, it was a blessed Christmas because I was able to spend it with Jack's family (who treat me like their own), Jack, my father, and my best friend. You really find out who your friends are sometimes- and it ment the world to me that some of mine really stepped it up and were there to make Chrsitmas just a bit brighter.

(In a side note, I did finally get to see my mom, aunt, sister Monica (and nieces/great nieces/nephews) as well as my cousins for New Years Day- we were celebrating my niece, Jackie's marriage. I'm happy that I got to give my mom and aunt/cousin their gifts (better late than never). I'm also happy that I got to see the rest of my family, even if it wasn't on Christmas. Family time is something that should be cherished and celebrated. I hope that next Christmas is a little bit brighter and a bit more traditional though. If anyone asks me to host again however, the answer will definitely be: NO THANKYOU! ;)

~~ If you made it all the way through that post, you deserve a cookie! ~~