? ??????????????????? ????Easy Install Instructions:???1. Copy the Code??2. Log in to your Blogger account
and go to "Manage Layout" from the Blogger Dashboard??3. Click on the "Edit HTML" tab.??4. Delete the code already in the "Edit Template" box and paste the new code in.??5. Click "S BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rising to the Occasion

There isn’t much that represents the south better than homemade biscuits and a truly well made southern biscuit is a force to be reckoned with. The taste of this warm and delicious delicacy has the ability to bring a family together or pull them apart. Wars have been fought over these southern treasures. Seriously.

Growing up, one of my favorite things about a Saturday morning was Mom making a big pan of homemade biscuits and tomato gravy. If you are not familiar with tomato gravy, you have missed something wonderful. Bearing in mind you must be a fan of tomatoes as well. It is a simple dish that includes just what the name describes. Gravy with stewed or chopped tomatoes. Although it might sound like an odd combination, it is a coming together of two very different tastes that work together to create a unique and wonderful dish. This, along with my Mother’s homemade biscuits, was a huge treat for us. Mother always complained that her biscuits were not pretty enough or too big, which is something I never quite understood. They looked just fine to me and besides….who cares? This was not a biscuit pageant. All that mattered is how wonderful they tasted. Next to Mom’s biscuits, I have to admit, there was one other person who’s biscuits I thought highly of and still crave….my Aunt Doris’ biscuits. Aunt Doris is my great aunt who we would visit regularly on our trips to the country. She and Uncle Walter were the warm and fuzzy version of the Cleavers. They never had children of their own so we felt like theirs every time we visited. Aunt Doris, being the true southern woman she is, always fed us like kings when we were there. Honestly, I remember suppers that often included two main entrees, several fresh vegetables, a dessert and of course mouth watering biscuits. She made biscuits every morning too. Breakfast included the usual….some version of pork (or two), eggs, grits and/or hashbrowns and thankfully…..those biscuits! Jars of homemade jams and jellies were always present. There was excitement when she opened that cabinet that held her biscuit supplies. Uncle Walter helped her out in the kitchen but his calling was more about entertainment. He possessed a simple but wonderful sense of humor as well as a love of telling wonderful stories about his life growing up. He is my Papaw’s brother and one half of a set of twins. His sister Aunt Rene being the other half. He and my Papaw have always been close and are a great deal alike. Everyone in our family enjoyed those visits and Aunt Doris’ infamous biscuits. So much in fact, that my Dad made a fatal mistake one day when he suggested to my Mother that she get Aunt Doris to show her how she made her biscuits. They say ignorance is bliss and this statement could not be truer than the moments that led up to this terrible suggestion. Dad couldn’t have known how those few simple words would alter his future….or ours. Could he? We all know now. There have not been biscuits made in the Bounds’ home since and I do mean none. There have been feasts prepared along with prize-winning desserts. There have been no biscuits. In fact, the subject of biscuits is a taboo subject. We all quietly respect that. While we miss the biscuits Mom once prepared, we accept our biscuit empty lives and occasionally remind Dad that he robbed us. He knows it. We all know it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A New Day

To everyone who is reading I am writing today to apologize for neglecting my writing duties. Obviously, I have the time so there is not a valid reason other than I seem to have been stuck in a writer's block. It seems that I have ideas popping in my head at various times of the day or night but when it comes time to sit and put my thoughts on paper...or in this case...a blank screen...I seem to freeze or simply write a few lines that never develop. Then a pretty little butterfly flutters by and I've lost my focus. So, there's really not any butterflies or other distracting shiny objects inside my home but you get the idea. Today I am rededicating myself to this blog. Not because I am under the impression it will influence world peace or cure cancer but because it somehow contributes to my personal sanity to get these fingers to clicking and write my thoughts down. Also, on that note I have tossed around ideas for months now on an official title for my blog. There have been plenty and some of you have offered a few wonderful ideas as well. There are two common thoughts that continue to surface. One is my strong love of my southern 'raising' and the other is the idea that this really is a personal way to keep my head and thoughts leveled and preserve my sanity. So, on that note...the official title to my blog will be 'A Southern Girl's Pursuit of Sanity'. Thank you to everyone who has given me encouragement the past few months in regards to my writing. It truly means the world to me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's the Circle of Life

Our family is expanding, yet again. Oh no...not me or any other living human in this house (sigh of relief) but our Mama Cat..Roxy. The real kicker is that we are not sure how. Well, let's stop for a moment. Of course we know 'how'...but we're just not sure how or better said...when. We have watched this cat like a hawk watches their prey, taking every precaution to not let her out as we know she has, let's say loose morals. Hey...she's a cat. The last few weeks we have noticed her expanding body hoping and praying that she was simply becoming a fattie. In the last few days however, while we bravely and even adamantly called her a tubbie and even nervously laughed while we "mooed" at her...deep down feeling the dread that this isn't a simple matter of binge eating. This morning, our fears were confirmed. As my alarm was going off and I dragged myself from bed, I was met with a very insistent meow. Several in fact. I knew. I looked over at Brian and said..."We have babies". This was the all too familiar chatter I got from her after the last delivery. It was a little premature though as it appears she was simply letting me know they were coming. There may have even been a little bit of "I've been trying to tell you people I wasn't a Jenny Craig candidate". After checking to make sure we didn't actually have a nursery going just yet, I made up a nest for her and she promptly took residence. Within 30 to 40 minutes, the first one was delivered. We are waiting on more and trust me...there are more. I shouldn't be excited because I now face the daunting task of finding homes for these babies in a few weeks but I can't help but get a little smile on my face as I watch this take place. For those of you that remember the first kitten she had about a year and half ago...Abbey, the big sister is anxious as well. I won't let her in the room unless I am there to watch her so in between she is outside the door, pacing, crying and occasionally 'head butting' the door. Siblings....they are all alike.

As a side note....it's not too early to shop for Christmas and wouldn't a little kitten look great under that tree? :-D

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So Easy A Caveman Can Do It

If you thought cavemen only existed thousands of years ago or maybe in a Geico commercial, think again. It appears I have been raising one all this time. Who knew? So here is how the conversation went that led me to this realization. Zane and I are getting ready to spend some time at the park...just the two of us, which is the best time for us to have our heart to heart's.
Zane: Mommmmmmm....(him dragging my name out more than a few seconds is never a good sign)
Me: Yes?
Zane: When I get married, my wife is going to stay home and raise babies and do housework.
Me: Well, good luck with that. That marriage should last...oh about 2 or 3 minutes.
Zane: Why is that?
Me: Becuase women today don't want to be told they can or can't have a career. In fact, it is most likely your wife will want to have a career.
Zane: Yeah, that's stupid
Me: Why more stupid than you having a career?
Zane: Because women are supposed to stay home and work.
Me: And you learned this where? Never mind, how do you suppose you will be able to take care of your wife since you don't want her to work.
Zane: I plan to be a pro skater (stop with the spandex jokes...he is referring to skateboarding, not ice skating haha)
Me: Really now? When will this dream be fulfilled?
Zane: I should be on the pro circuit Christmas after next.
Me: Hmmm...that makes you almost 13...planning on much homework while you are on the road?
Zane: Oh I will finish school because I will need to be able to manage my finances.
Me: (trying not to giggle or show my skepticism) That's great...so being a rockstar is SO last year?
Zane: I haven't ruled that out. I will need to make a lot of money to be able to take care of my family and finally build you that big house with the wrap around porch.
Me: Carry on, Son....you follow that dream and never mind what your wife wants. Mama wants that house....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Year

It has been a long year. Today it feels like a very short year. I'm referring to the one year anniversary of losing my brother. My big brother. There have been moments I honestly didn't think I would remember how to smile and enjoy my life and the wonderful family and friends that I have been fortunate to have around me. I am quite positive there have been moments that those same family and friends have questioned if they would ever enjoy a minute around me. Yet, here I am and they are still here. Saying it has been a roller coaster of emotion is possibly the understatement of the year. I still, even in this moment I am writing, can't think about Dewayne being gone without choking up but thankfully I have managed to smile and even laugh over the memories I have of him. That is the best part of all of this. I have so many wonderful memories. Many of those memories are more recent but I tend to think of our childhood more than anything. We were not 'dirt poor' growing up (even though I probably thought so at the time) but we were 'financially challenged'. Despite this, we never stayed idle for very long. Our life was filled with family and church activities that brought us all closer. The thing that stands out in my memory more than anything is that no matter how much Dewayne and I might have fought as brother and sister while growing up, he never failed to be my big brother in every sense of the term. He fought off the bully in elementary school that tortured me and looked after me and worried over me. He introduced me to his 'rock and roll' music and the books he loved. He used to love the Alfred Hitchcock series that was written for kids, 'The Three Investigators' and read those books to me. I read them again as I grew older and still love them. I laugh when I think about Dewayne's romantic adventures. Goodness, he loved girls and they usually loved him right back. One of my very favorite memories with him was when we (Dewayne, me, Anne and Mike) all sang together in church. Almost every weekend, we traveled to a nearby church somewhere to play another singing and we always got back for church on Sunday morning at Papaw's church. Dewayne was our lead singer and was wonderful. I miss hearing him sing. Thankfully, he recorded at least one CD so we can all still hear him but I do miss those live sessions. I miss talking to him more than anything. We had the most comfortable talks. Any subject we found to discuss was easy. I miss the way he loved my kids. The way he would come in, smile with that one eyebrow raised and give you the best hug. I miss those stories he would tell describing something he had seen on a recent trip on the road, playing golf or singing or running into an old friend. I really miss how much he loved me. I miss that most of all. I know he is in Heaven now and he is not in pain so for that I am thankful. Selfishly though....I wish he were here. I love you Dewayne!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My True Hero

My Grandfather happens to be the greatest Grandfather that ever lived. Now, I know most of you will argue that point but I am making the declaration anyway. At the age of 87, he is still just as sharp minded as I can remember he was when I was just a tot. (yes, eons ago). Brian tells me often he hopes to be that sharp when he gets up in age, to which I respond...I wish I was that sharp now. Back to Papaw...I know he gets his 'sharpness honest because his Mom was razor sharp right up until the day she passed away at the age of 90. She raised 11 children, more or less on her own as she had outlived 4 husbands. Just to give you an idea of how great Papaw's memory is still..Just last fall, we were visiting him and he told us about several childhood stories. One was about the last time he saw his Dad before he died. He told of this story with such great detail, I could close my eyes and picture it as if I had been there myself. Papaw was just over the age of 4 when he lost his Dad. He wasn't much older than that when he saw his Stepfather die after saving two of his siblings from drowning. It was believed that his Stepfather might have had a heart attack but was never known for certain. Papaw tells so many great stories about growing up. How he teased and tortured his younger siblings, all in good fun...how his Mother wanted things quiet while they enjoyed the evening meal. It was not unusual for him to use this known fact to his advantage. Often, he would just stare at his younger brother, Uncle Walter, until Uncle Walter would screech 'Maaaaaaamaaaaa...make him stop!" Her response was usually a back hand without ever looking up. Uncle Walter has told us about Papaw hanging him on the clothes lines by his overalls. So many great stories. My favorite part is the way Papaw gets tickled every time he tells one...several times before he ever finishes. He also described to me several times the loneliness he felt as his ship left New York taking him to war. It was night and for the longest time he stared into the darkness at the Statue of Liberty until it fell from the landscape. I am so thankful he came back home. My Mother was 2 the first time he ever saw her. Papaw and Mamaw raised 6 children while he was a pastor and did construction on the side to supplement his family's income. He was never formally trained but he could build anything or fix anything that needed repair. He is so easy going and has more patience than anyone I've ever known. Even with Anne and me when we would tag along with him to Philadelphia so we could see our 'boyfriends'. We once changed all the clocks in the house so we could steal a little extra time. The next day nothing was mentioned up until it was time to leave again that evening. All he said then was "Now, you can change those clocks all you want, but I'll still know what time you get in." How did we ever think he wouldn't notice? I have learned so much from him and usually by watching his actions. He has remained faithful to God and the church all these years and has never wavered from his beliefs. He still has as much patience with my children as I remember he had for us. He still teaches me things. Things about being a parent, things about being a better person. He told me not long ago that our greatest task as a parent was to save them from themselves. I had to think about it but it made complete sense. He taught me when Haley was just a baby that children truly belong to God and it was a gift to be given the chance to raise them. It's something I have never forgotten and often when I say my prayers, I still thank God for this gift. I thank him for my Papaw for being such a great teacher. His love and wisdom are a blessing in my life and I am so lucky he is my Papaw.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

God Bless America...Land That I Love!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July celebration! We had a enjoyable weekend with family over on Saturday. The parental units joined us Saturday evening. Brian cooked up his famous ribs on the grill....oh my they are yummy and I made baked beans, potato salad, and rolls. We both pitched in on the jalapeno poppers. We made 44 and there was not one left afterwards. Ice cream and fresh fruit was dessert. Later, we watched the fireworks from the park which were breathtaking. Sunday was a lazy day recovering but nice just the same. I couldn't help but think throughout the weekend how blessed we are to live in this great country. It's not just a cliche. I can remember when I was very, very young my Mother telling me often how lucky we were to have been born in America. Often times I would wonder why it was I had won the lottery of sorts. Now I understand that those decision are left up to God and for that I am thankful. We are so very fortunate to enjoy the freedom we have and owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women AND their families who serve our country and those that have given their lives for our freedom. It's so easy to take freedom for granted. I know I have been guilty of that myself...but just stop and think once in a while that while we are free to walk and talk and go about our lives as we choose, there are people around the world who are not so fortunate. I am proud of the men in my family that have served although I chuckle when I remember a story about my Grandmother and a certain phone call she received from the Army recruiter when my Uncle Mike was a senior in high school. She quite sternly informed that recruiter that she had already given three men in her family to the service and there would not be another one going so just to back off. Keeping in mind that those three men came back home safe and sound but she fully believed she had done her part. I can't say I blame her but it still makes me smile to think about that sweet, soft spoken lady getting tough with the Army.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poppin' Peppers!

Just a week or so ago, B and I tried something new on the grill so I thought I would share with you guys. Caution..only try this if you are all about the 'hotness'. It was really simple and turned out quite tasty. Since we planted the jalapenos, I was doing a little research on how to make chipotles. In the process, I came across several how to videos on YouTube. (Yes, it's true, you can find ANYTHING on youtube...just ask Zane) There were videos on how to make a version of jalapeno poppers on the grill or you could make them in the oven but the grill sounded nicer. You need fresh jalapeno peppers, cheese, onion, bacon and brown sugar. We used feta and extra sharp cheddar and it turned out wonderful! To begin, you need to slice the peppers in half and clean out all the seeds and the white meat or membrane. Keep in mind this is where the heat is so clean it out well....you will still have plenty of heat, trust me. Once this is done, wash and dry the peppers. In a bowl, mix your cheeses. We added minced onion for flavor. At this point, you simply stuff the peppers as full as you can. Cut your bacon in half and sprinkle with brown sugar. You can rub it in just a little to keep it from falling off. Wrap the half slices of bacon around the peppers and get ready to grill. Note...the bacon will stay on the peppers without any help but if need be, you can slide a toothpick in to hold it down...just remember to take them back out. Cook on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes and let cool before you try to eat. Now here are a couple of steps I didn't do the first time but will 'definitely' do next time. First...use latex gloves when handling the peppers, especially if your skin is sensitive like mine. Trust me on this one ;-) Also, next time I plan to roast the peppers in the oven before I stuff the cheese in just to make them a little more tender. The peppers were great and even though that packed the heat, it didn't stop us from clearing a tray.....Let me know how they turn out!

Monday, June 8, 2009

This and That

It's been a great week! Zane returned from his 'Travels With Grandpa" on Monday. He really had a great time visiting with his Grandpa and seeing a few states he had not visited before, including making it to Laredo, TX where he was able to at least see the gates of Mexico. He thought that was pretty cool. Other cool sightings included....large cactus (or is that cacti? lol), oil wells, and one of the trucks from CMT's 'Trick My Truck'. He learned a lot from Grandpa too. We should all learned to listen to the 'older' folks more often. Where else can you find this much knowledge and plain common sense wrapped up in a loving package like Grandparents? The picture above is one Zane took. I thought it turned out pretty well.....

My nephew, Kyle, is visiting. What a loving and handsome young man he has become. I am so proud of the level of maturity he has and how strong he is both physically and spiritually.

Friday I planted Lantanas by the mailbox. If you aren't familiar with those, they are a 'shrub like' flower that is available in several colors. Lantanas are wonderful for attracting butterflies too, which is a bonus. The real beauty of these flowers is that they tend to grow well even in poor soil and full sun. You don't find that often. In addition, they are annuals so once the planting is done, you simply have to sit back and watch it grow and come back bigger and better every year. I read that you can also start new plants in the early spring from cutlings. I fully intend to learn more about that and give it a shot next year. While I'm on the subject of my planting projects, I can give you an update on the 'Garden on Wheels'. In just a few short days, the plants are already showing growth and look wonderfully healthy. The cart has proven to be a very handy investment as well. I know once these plants get larger, it would be too hard to move without damaging the plants, but for now, I have simply pulled the cart around to the faucet for watering.

Haley went to Hattiesburg Sunday to see her 'Friend-Boy" Cameron receive his promotion at an awards ceremony on Monday. She went with Cameron's Mother. Cameron will be deployed to Iraq soon so be sure to keep him in your prayers, as well as all of our other service men and women. We owe a huge debt to all these wonderful and brave souls for the work they do. Sunday was D-Day but we should all take a moment to remember the ones who have given their lives for our freedom every day. When you say a prayer, don't forget their families who also make the sacrifice. God bless them all.....

Lastly, I just wanted to share a new search engine I think is worthy of a mention.
www.bing.com is powered by Microsoft and appears to eliminate a good bit of those sites that usually pop up with no relevance at all. Give it a shot and let me know what you think....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Veggie Tales

Sunday I planted veggies. Hubby and I are trying a new approach that I'm just a wee bit excited about. First, let me tell you the soil in our yard leaves a LOT to be desired. So, with this in mind we are trying out the "5-gallon bucket method". This method apparently has proven quite successful for many as I have found in my Internet research. Ideally, I would like a small garden with some of my favorite veggies (squash, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, peppers...maybe even a few beans or peas) but given our limited amount of space and the crummy dirt, I have decided to go with this new method. Well...new to me. We have 6 buckets that we are going to try. Saturday, we purchased 2 jalapenos, 2 Big Boy tomatoes, 1 Roma Tomato and 1 Cherry Tomato plants. Brian drilled holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. In addition we placed 2 or 3 inches of washed river rock in the bottom for better drainage. Then...the planting began. (insert dramatic music ha) I can't wait. I am planning on a bountiful harvest for which I have many ideas. The jalapenos I plan to smoke for chipotles. The tomatoes I will use for several things and hopefully there will be enough to make a salsa. I can use the jalapenos for that purpose also. After an extensive Internet research, I decided to plant both jalapenos in the same bucket. The 'experts' say that planting 2 to 3 plants together produces far better results. This decision also left a bucket open to use for pumpkin seeds I purchased for Zane to plant. He has visions of a successful roadside pumpkin stand because of the high yield....Go Zane :-) The final step was buying a utility cart to put the buckets on. This allows our plants to be mobile which is beneficial in a couple of different ways. One, we can control the amount of light the plants receive much better and secondly, we don't have to worry about the buckets killing the grass beneath them. Trust me, this is all trial and error, Anyway, if this works well this year, we may add more next Spring and possibly a raised bed type of garden. Regardless of the outcome, I truly love to dig and get my hands dirty. I'll keep everyone updated on the progress. Wish me luck......



Friday, May 22, 2009

Baby Steps

I am a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, an Aunt, a Cousin and a Granddaughter. I have two children who challenge me almost daily. My daughter, Haley, is 18 and graduated from High School just last night. My eyes are still red and puffy to prove it. My son, Zane, is 11 and will begin middle school this next school year. Between the two of them, I am having one of those serious Mom moments...ok, let me be real....it's more than a moment. Everyone tells you how fast they grow up and you 'think' you have an idea; but, you have NO idea until you have experienced it. I am looking at these two and thinking, I should still be rocking them, chasing them and trying to survive smelly diapers, 2 a.m. feedings and those first steps being made. I thought those years were challenging because let's face it, small children in the house is like being on a suicide watch. Sit in any room of the house and look around at the endless possible ways your child can be hurt. :-) Those years have evolved into the "I know more than anyone, especially my parents" years. The only comfort is knowing that when they have a family of their own, they will once again realize Mom and Dad are pretty smart. Smelly diapers and 2 a.m. feedings have been traded in for Mom mending the scraped knee, soothing the broken heart after her 'first breakup', putting millions of miles on the van to get to dance, softball, football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, the skate shop, the skate park.....and plenty of other places. Questions like "Why does God put stars out only at night?" and "How are bulldozers made?" have turned into "Can I dye my hair?" and "When can I start driving?". Well, as you can tell I can go on for days, weeks and even months about what Motherhood has meant to me and how my life changed when these two crazy but loving kids came into my life. I'm sure I will elaborate more in future blogs but for now I will stop or else I will never stop the tears. lol One of my favorite aunts in the world (and I don't say that lightly) told me this morning that while she was looking at pictures that were made last night after graduation, she thought..."She did it. She got her raised. Even though it really never stops...she got her to this point of entering her adult life and she is raised. No matter what it took to provide for her and take care of her...she did it." I have had some proud moments in my life but I don't think I have ever felt the pride like I felt when she said this to me. Sometimes when life deals you a bad card and you feel just a little insignificant....Moms everywhere should rejoice when they look at their children. My kids are healthy, happy and loved. The rest is just details.