Monday, February 28, 2011

Mardis Gras Time

Lent starts exceptionally late this year, which means I have had lots of time to ponder King Cake!  Not that I need an excuse, but I like to whip up a shrimp and grits dinner in honor of this tasty confection.  You're welcome to try to find a quality cake in your neighborhood, but the folks down in the Delta get it right every time & are truly the best.  Paul's Pastry ships them overnight delivery in a festive box filled with cake, beads, coins and toppings.  You dress the cake when you are ready to serve.  I always leave the bag of almonds off and simply top with icing and sprinkles. (Note: I typically use the sliced almonds in a salad.  I just don't like them with my sweets!)

Fat Tuesday is the last official day in Mardis Gras, which means you have 8 more days to order your king or get invited to party!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sundays with Manning: Pet Agree

Manning is mostly a good a puppy, but he has his challenges: eating toilet paper, digging in my garden and jumping on new friends.  A few weeks ago I couldn't take it any more and decided to do some research.  I read Cesar's book, but it said pretty much what I already knew.  Our dog needs at least 1 1-hour walk per day.  Well in these temps that's just not going to happen.  So I kept checking out other options on Amazon, a truly great resource/time waster.  After just a little bit of searching, I found the Pet Agree Ultrasonic Trainer.  It's reasonably priced and wouldn't interfere with the Invisible Fence.

You simply press the button for 1-2 seconds and it emits a high pitch noise that dogs hate.  Over the last few weeks, I've had lots of workers around the house and Manning has mostly resisted the temptation to jump on them. Huge accomplishment!  He's still tempted to eat TP on a day where he doesn't get enough attention, but Manning's Charmin appetite seems to have diminished ever so slightly.  Now I just need to curtail the digging and I'll be a pseudo happy dog owner.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Howling in the Wind

Backyard Pine Tree
We had a terrible storm sweep through Nashville on Thursday night.  Even after a night of high winds and jarring cracks of lighting, Mr. Diva, Manning and I were still surprised to wake up to the potential loss of 2 trees.  Poteet Tree Service has already been out to inspect and has said the backyard pine needs to go. I won't miss their endless pine needles come this fall, but I started to really worry about our magnolia's prognosis. 

Beloved 'Grisham' Magnolia

Mr. Poteet mentioned removal as an option, but I'm going to see what just removing the damaged branch will do.  I hate to loose the beautiful tree as well as the curb appeal. Definitely more updates to come!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diva Makeover

I'm not sure if it was the cold weather, my need to nest or a just other blog envy, but I decided that Non-Stop Diva needed a little makeover.  There are so many great blog designs out there for inspiration that it was hard to decide where to start.  Two column vs Three ColumnButtons or No Buttons?  What to do with the header...  

The options are endless. Thankfully, I found Shelia, who helped me clear the clutter of yore.  Yay for another fabulous Etsy find!  If you're reading this on Google reader, you'll need to click over to the actually site to see the transformation. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shower Hour

Photos by my fabulous sis

My lovely friends were so sweet to throw a shower for me and Little Miss Diva here in Nashville.  We had quite the spread including tasty bites from The Picnic as well as a fabulous mocktail bar. I was all too thrilled to have a fun drink alternative to water. 

For those ladies who needed a morning cocktail, they had them covered.  Can you see the name on the Champange?  In case you can't, it says Baby Walker established 2011...too fun!  

They also had my little sweet tooth covered with these delicious petit fours from The Perfect Bite.
If your in Nashvegas, she needs to be on your speed dial...oh so tasty!

Monday, February 14, 2011

ATK's Blueberry Muffins

I was scrolling through my digital camera and found this picture.  In the holiday and baby craze, I managed to not post a tasty, binder worthy recipe.  Oh the shame!  I heart American's Test Kitchen (ATK) and had this recipe in my to-try binder for quite awhile.  I'm glad I finally tried it.  The lemon-sugar topping is just heaven.  These muffins are a real treat for any day of the week, especially if you want to share with guests.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring Fever

With all the snow falling, I'm definitely craving fresh blooms.  Thank goodness for spring gardening catalogs.  Flipping through these catalogs gives me a fresh perspective on my garden.  Thankfully, I planted a great deal of perennials last year that hopefully survived the hot summer and cold winter, which means I shouldn't have to buy too much.  Given the spring arrival of Miss Petite Diva, I might be overly crazy thinking I'll have any time to look at my garden, let alone dig in it...but here I am dreaming and planning any way.  

Last year, I dove right into mulching and really didn't have a clue what I was getting myself into. It's a serious workout, so thanks dirt for the nice toned physique.  I was definitely planning on getting a partial truck load this year, but given the little Diva, I've opted to splurge!  The fabulous folks over at Lakeview Lawn Care are going to weed (woohoo) and mulch all my beds come early March.  While I'll miss the work out, I'll love looking at the quick result a team of landscapers can do!

So what else is in store for my beds this spring?

Astilbe-I've been wanting to add these plants to my garden for awhile and am thinking that might compliment my back hosta bed quite nicely. 

Gaillardia-A little flowery show for the front walk.

Herbs-My big spring project is to create an herb garden right outside my kitchen door and window.  I dorked out the other day and even made a sketch!  I picked up some fabulous lemon balm last year (the early inspiration) and plan to add basil, chives, lavender, and oregano.  More info on this project to come.

Window Boxes:  Last year, I added some cascading ivy to the 2 corners of each window box.  I left space in between for annuals (pansies at the moment).  I've picked a zinnia to grace them this spring/summer.  I hope they love their new home!

As always, I'll keep you posted as we thaw, the work begins and as Manning tries to thwart my plans!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Operation Baby Room: Complete

I really wish that I had the before shots of this room. I'm really thrilled with the end result. 

The picture above the table was a gift from my parents when I was baby!

My Dad and stepmom brought back this cute guy from Africa!   

We needed a little extra air circulation and some overhead lights for late night session with the Petite Diva.  I'm normally not a fan of fans with lights (ha), but the dome was a nice compromise. 

Where it all came from:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Testing, testing...1,2,3

I must confess I've got a bit of a problem. I'm a food lover. I thought trimming down my food magazine subscriptions would help, but dang all these tasty blogs and TV shows! I'm tempted at every turn. A few weeks ago, poor Mr. Diva was inundated with lots of new recipes:
Red Beans and Rice, Butter Chicken (love the blog, hate the chicken), and Paula's Goulash. Sadly none of these well photographed dishes were impressive enough for the binder. Thankfully, Mr. Diva had plenty of cookie dough balls to ward off any hunger pangs.

After 3 so-so attempts, I finally pulled a winner out of the recipe rabbit hat. I signed up to take snacks to Bible Study tomorrow. A perfect opportunity to try a new pseudo-easy recipe. Given my panache for all things lemon, it's quite surprising I don't have classic lemon bar recipe in my arsenal, but I'm happy to report that void has been filled. Warning: These guys take a little bit more work than a brownie, but the lemony sweet treat is worth the effort.
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