Wednesday, December 5, 2012

P.S.--We're moving...

We're moving to WordPress.  Won't you follow us?

www.callicutt.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Liebster Award


Whew, we've had a whirlwind week!  We pulled into our driveway at 10:15 last night after a long journey home from Walt Disney World.  The trip was fabulous, but that's another blog post for another time.  While we were vacationing at the happiest place on Earth, I found out that our humble little blog was nominated for a Liebster Award!  Thanks to Esther over at Esther Norine Designs  for the nomination!

In complying with the Liebster Award rules, here are eleven completely random facts about me:

1.  I'm obsessed with any and all things Gone With the Wind.
2.  I love brussel sprouts.
3.  I can't sleep if I don't read first.  Currently, I'm reading this.
4.  I love British history, especially the Tudor dynasty.
5.  Rearranging furniture is a weekly occurrence in our home.
6.  My favorite part of the day is when Mr. C comes home from wrestling practice.
7.  I know every single line of the following movies:  The Princess Bride, Anchorman, & Clueless.
8.  I love making peanut butter sandwiches and dipping them in chocolate milk.
9.  I once read Gone With the Wind in three days.  I've also read Little Women in eight hours.  I'm like the Lightning McQueen of the literary world.
10.  My very brash personality is a direct result of my Dad and my Grandaddy Shealy, so if I come across as a crotchety old Southern man, that's why.
11.  My brother is the literal embodiment of Nick Miller and I love him for it.

Now for my nominations...the rules stipulate that I choose a blog that has less than 200 followers and it needs to be a blog I love.  I couldn't choose just one, so...

Congratulations to Sarah Grace over at Gracefully Made Designs and Amy over at Taking Steps Home.  Both of these blogs are well-written and provide loads of decorating and DIY tips!

Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!  Tomorrow we'll be back with all the usuals.  Gobble, gobble!

XOXO,

Court

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homemade Fraps

On Sunday I posted this photo:
Bathed in sunlight and glory--the pumpkin spice frap.
and received several inbox messages about a recipe.  My friends, it couldn't be easier.

You'll need:

  • 8 cups of hot coffee
  • 1/2 a cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 a cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin flavored creamer {I like this one}
  • 1/4 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
In a large pitcher, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.  Pour in the 8 cups of hot coffee, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.  Add in the 1/2 cup of pumpkin creamer and chill overnight. 

This frap mix lasts about a week at our house and it's perfect for the morning rush.  

Enjoy!

XOXO,
Court

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Pot Roast

Welcome to a new series:  Sunday Dinner Specials.  It's simply Southern and all delicious.  Join us for tried and true recipes that are simple enough to put together on a Sunday morning, yet delicious enough to impress luncheon guests.  Won't you join us?


Growing up in the South is such a special treat.  I've traveled all over the Continental United States and the Southeastern portion of this country is just...different.  Things are slower down here, and old traditions that are foreign or outdated elsewhere are still natural.

Yes ma'am.

No sir.

Thank you notes.

Monograms.

Perhaps the most important Southern tradition is Sunday Dinner.  Did you have a Sunday Dinner when you were growing up?  While my extended family didn't get together every Sunday, we had a standing date with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents once a month.  My Grandma would cook a turkey breast and my mother always made a gallon of sweet tea {a treat in my house!}.  On Sundays when it was just the four of us, Mom still made something special:  roast beef with all the trimmings, salty sweet ham with pineapples, and of course, we always had deviled eggs.

P.S.  I can eat like six deviled eggs without even blinking.  Is that gross?

Anyways, I digress.  Now that it's just the two of us, Mr. C and I have been terrible about the tradition of Sunday Dinner.  It's so much easier to just pick up a couple of containers of takeout for lunch and then dig around in the refrigerator for supper.

Easy.  It's such a nasty word.

Life can be easy or life can be good.  Easy is Kraft Mac-n-Cheese.  Easy is a greasy container of Moo-Shu Pork.  Easy is plastic cutlery.

Good is real utensils.  Good is a roast beef swimming in broth and red wine.  Good is shaving your legs even when you're tired because you want to look and feel your best.

Good can be hard, but easy will always be a little disappointing.

In an effort to choose the good route and not the easy route, I made a pot roast.  I prepped my ingredients the night before to simplify my Sunday morning routine and then I set my alarm twenty minutes earlier than normal.  Twenty minutes was the difference between easy and good.  I woke up early to make a pot roast, and you should too.  



Here's what you'll need:

Roast Beef with Egg Noodles
  • One carrot, chopped
  • One celery rib, chopped
  • One onion, chopped
  • Two garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • One package of mushrooms, diced
  • Two cups beef broth
  • One cup Marsala wine 
  • Two bay leaves 
  • 8 ounces of egg noodles 
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


The first thing you need to do is sear the beef.  Liberally salt and pepper one side of your roast.




And then sear it in a hot pan.  Don't pick up the meat with your tongs until it's ready to let go.  While you're searing one side, salt and pepper the other.  You should not sear the meat more than two minutes per side.





Set your roast to the side.  Reduce the heat to medium-high.  Then, add two tablespoons of olive oil and one whole diced onion into the hot pot.  Then, add in your diced carrot, diced celery, and diced garlic.  Salt and pepper it well and cook 10 to 12 minutes.







Make a well in the center of your vegetables and throw in the mushrooms.



Now let the vegetables all become best friends forever and reduce down.  This should take an additional 5 or 6 minutes.


Now, turn your heat up and pour in the Marsala wine.


And add two bay leaves.


Now you're ready to add in the beef stock and tomato paste.



Now pour everything into a covered baking dish and settle the beef on top..  I used my Pampered Chef Covered Baker.




Then, slide your baker into the oven {preheated to 325} for two hours.  When you get home from church, you'll have a tender roast just ready to be shredded.  A starch is necessary for service and we chose egg noodles to soak up all the saucy goodness.


It helps to have a big, strong hunk to shred the beef.

We served our roast beef with wilted kale, green beans, yeast rolls, and creamed corn.  P.S. My Dad is a messy eater.

So how about you?  Do you prefer takeout or a home cooked meal?  Do you have fond Sunday Dinner memories?

Happy Cooking!

XOXO,
Court

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day: A Review


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*This is not a sponsored post.  I just really love Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products and I think you will too.

When you live in a farmhouse that was built in 1934, you just get used to certain things like creaky floors, dusty baseboards, and the occasional bump in the night.  Oh, and did I mention the heifer that gave birth right outside our bedroom window on Thursday night?  Because that happened.  P.S. it was loud.

I adore my little old house for many reasons, most of them revolving around my sweet great-grandparents who built the old place.  I love knowing that the room Mr. C and I share was my Grandma's bedroom when she was a young girl.  I love cooking cornbread in the same oven my Grandmother Shealy cooked cornbread in {and using the same recipe too!}.  I love the rolling hills, the green grass, and yes, even the occasional whiff of cow manure.  That's a lot of love for such a little house, but there is one thing I hate:  cleaning.  

Oh, cleaning day brings about much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  In fact, Mr. C brought in help our first year of marriage because I hated cleaning so much.  The help was lovely, but we're now graduates of Dave Ramsey's FPU program and...well...I'm in charge of cleaning my own home.  Together Mr. C and I devised a system of weekly chores designed to make sure we have the weekends off and that our home stays neat and tidy.  As we continue to dive into this green lifestyle we're exploring, we've really taken a look at the harsh chemicals used in cleaning products.  If we can't pronounce it, we don't want it in our home.

And I've made my own cleaners.  They are really great.  But I wanted something uniquely fresh, green, and feminine.  Cue Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.

via
With yummy scents like basil, rosemary, bluebell, and lavender, Mrs. Meyer's is revolutionizing the cleaning industry.  With mild trepidation, I ordered a starter kit that included counter spray, all-purpose cleaner, dish detergent, and handsoap.  Starter kits are available here and at Walmart.com.  

My shipment arrived promptly--a starter kit {scented lavender} and a box of lemon verbena scented dryer sheets.  I set to work at once by starting a load of laundry {with my homemade detergent} and then mixing 1/4 of a cup of the all-purpose cleaner with one gallon of hot water.  Weapons in hand, I set out to tackle my bathroom.

via
First of all, let's talk about lavender.  I love it.  I hate eating at Outback Steakhouse, but I love washing my hands in their restrooms because they have Yardley's English Lavender Soap.  The gentle, soothing scent of Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose Cleaner was a definite winner in my book.  It didn't smell like chemicals--it just smelled fresh and clean.  

Now let's talk about my bathroom.  As I mentioned earlier, my home was built in 1934.  It was the first house in Franklin Springs to have indoor plumbing.  The Depression-era tub was replaced in the early 1960's by one of those big metal monstrosities.  It's hard to clean and it's cold when you first step into the shower.  I had my doubts that anything but straight bleach could clean it, so Mrs. Meyer's All-Purpose Cleaner really shocked my socks off.  It cleaned away soap scum and grime gently.

I then continued using the all-purpose cleaner to scrub the tile walls, my sink, the baseboards, and the floor.  It did a great job of getting everything squeaky clean and the lavender scent lingered nicely once I finished.

The counter spray was just as effective in cleaning my counters, refrigerator, and stovetop.  It cut through grease and erased stains that I {once again} had assumed could only be cleaned with bleach.

via
I discovered that when using the dish detergent, a little goes a long way.  It cut through grease really well and the scent was pleasant as I washed my dishes.  I didn't have to soak anything--the soap was powerful enough to remove those sticky bits that often remain after baking something in the oven.  The detergent was also really gentle on my eczema-riddled hands.

via
The hand soap that was included in the starter kit is conveniently housed in a bottle that includes a handpump.  I could mention how great the scent is, but I fear I'm beginning to sound a bit redundant.  I would like to point out that this handsoap is cheaper than the scents available at Bath & Body Works and you get more soap.  

via

Mr. C begged for dryer sheets that were not lavender scented, so I indulged him by ordering the lemon verbena scent instead.  It's slightly masculine in a musky, outdoorsy kind of way, so he likes it.  I have incredibly sensitive skin, so I was slightly nervous about using a scented dryer sheet, however, I haven't had any problems with this product.  I assume it's because the softening agent is vegetable-derived, but I'm happy to report that our sheets and towels smell wonderful.

via
 As a full-time teacher and part-time housewife, I give Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products an A+.  The price is slightly higher than a normal cleaner, but it's well worth it.

In other news, Mrs. Meyer's also has a book:  Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home:  No-Nonsense Advice That Will Inspire You To Clean Like the Dickens.  It's on my Christmas list!


Happy Sunday, y'all!  Join us this evening for a wonderful new series:  Sunday Dinner Specials.  

XOXO,

Court


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lately








It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, y'all.

XOXO,
Court

All-Natural Orange Concentrate {DIY Cleaning}

Thanks for all the well-wishes yesterday.  I feel much better.  Yesterday I only ate a handful of pecan halves and three chocolate chip cookies, so I have this awesomely voracious appetite this morning.  Once Mr. C stops snoring, I hope to convince him to pick up breakfast at The Roystonian.

Saturday means Cleaning Day.  We're working ourselves into a weekly cleaning schedule so that our Saturdays can be free for adventures, but thus far we've struggled with the day-to-day schedule.  I have a standing appointment every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and my Tuesday/Thursday afternoons are booked up with piano students.  Mr. C has wrestling practice every single afternoon so by the time we both drag ourselves home, we're too tired to stick to the schedule.  I do believe we'll get there one day, but for now we clean on Saturdays.

I've written about our desire to only use chemical-free cleaning products in our home.  I still haven't been able to give up my Clorox obsession, but I did just place a huge order for some Mrs. Meyers products.  I can't wait until they get here and my home smells like clean lavender!  Until then, I'll make do with some wonderful homemade cleaning concentrate.


Isn't it pretty?  It smells so good and it's super easy to make.  You'll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Citrus peels
  • 1 Mason jar, dome, and ring
  • Two weeks
A few months ago, I bought a crate of Clementines.  Do y'all love Clementines?  Mr. C and I can literally polish off three or four everyday...each.  They are the perfect size to fit in my purse {or the Mister's pocket} and they are seedless.  Total convenience in a healthy package.  

Each time we peeled a Clementine, we stuffed the citrus peels into a Mason jar and drowned them in white vinegar.  Once the jar was full, I placed the dome on top, screwed the ring on tight, and refrigerated it for two weeks.  Something magical happens during that two week timespan.  The vinegar becomes thick and super concentrated and it smells so good.  And I'm not going to lie...it doesn't taste too bad either!  

Now, whenever I need to clean something {my stovetop, counters, bathtub, or sink}, I simply pull my jar of concentrate from the fridge and mix 1/4 a cup with six to eight cups of hot water.  When I'm finished with my weekly cleaning, I pour more white vinegar on top of the citrus peels and put my jar of concentrate back in the refrigerator.  It couldn't be cheaper, greener, or more convenient.  

Happy Saturday!

XOXO,
Court

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