Monday, September 27, 2010

Mouthwatering Monday - Look what's cookin'!

With cooler temperatures finally settling in, I wanted a few new fall recipes to try out. We eat alot of chicken in our house too, so I was really hoping to find something other than poultry. I was thrilled when I stumbled upon this recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions & Apples. I served it with Savory Sweet Potato Wedges (sans brown sugar & cayenne pepper), green beans & rice. It was easy to make, and absolutely delicious. This just might become a new favorite!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out of sight, out of mind

The kids were away at Nana's Friday night, so after our date Terry & I decided to take care of a few cleaning chores around the house that are easier done without the kids there. While sweeping the hardwoods, I decided to move the couch in the playroom to sweep under it. This is what I found.

I guess that's what I get for asking my 3-year-old & 2-year-old to clean the playroom while I'm working on the "cue-pitter." The good news is that I found the Moses and the "thassa hot bush" book Drew has been missing for a week. And the even better news is that Abi really cleaned the playroom tonight without any prompting at all. I was changing over my closet to get ready for the fall weather & she announced that she was going to clean the playroom - no argument here! She probably spent a good thirty minutes sorting things that had been put in the wrong place & putting them to rest in their proper home (all facing the same direction, of course). Then she called us all in there to showcase her handiwork - Mamy will be so proud!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drew's Barnyard Bash

To say that I love to plan parties would be a gross understatement. I truly wish I could do this as my full-time job. From the invitations to the party favors, I relish over every little detail. Here is a sneak peek from this past weekend's festivities. Photos by my friend & co-worker, Pattie Alliston, of Party Pattie's Photos!

Invitation photos courtesy of my BFF Shana of Shana Cawley Photography. The barnyard bash lawn sign was placed at the corner where you turn into our "neighborhood" directing guests to "Bragg Family Farms." And the John Deere signs were located at either end of the circle driveway welcoming our farm-favorite friends. These were a real find! They were the ends of a bookshelf that was on its way to the dump from the kids' school. I used some 2" and 3" mailbox letters for personalization. Napkin rings were hand-cut from a cow print design I printed. Party shirts for the birthday boy & Abi-girl were made by my friend Sweetie over at MiTy Sweet Monograms & Embroidery here in Milledgeville. The "thanks-a-doodle-doo" party favors were homemade cowboy cookies & the "Drew is 2" photo magnets. I also had cow print name labels for the cups. And the oh-so-cute personalized banner came from 62 card etsy shop, but we didn't get a photo of it - the banner was moved quite a few times through the party to keep up with the ever-changing weather.

What's on the menu?
Caesar Pasta Salad
Corn & Black Bean Salsa with Chips
Butterfinger Apple Dip with (you-guessed-it) Apples
Awesome Fresh Fruit "thrown together" by my Jama
Party Mix
For the kids
Sandwiches - Turkey, Ham or PB&J
Apples, Grapes, Cheese Cubes & Carrots

The chicken feeders were supposed to house candy corn, but apparently it won't be available in stores for another few weeks...SO I improvised with a last-minute substitution of Corn Pops cereal, peanuts, M&Ms, raisins, and chocolate morsels - not a bad fill-in! Kids' lunches were pre-made & served in individual "fish & chip" baskets I found on clearance post-July 4th.

I'm pretty sure if you asked her today, my sister Ashleigh would tell you that she never dreamed she would be making cakes almost every other weekend & gasp - working with fondant! It is really remarkable to look back at some of her first cakes from just a few years ago, and then see the incredible designs she is able to execute. She's the best & apparently loves me & my kids very much. I'm pretty sure there were multiple moments she wanted to kill me during the process of executing my design for this cake, but she can't argue that the end result wasn't worth you Shash!

And a "Barnyard Bash" just wouldn't be complete without farm animals. Many of you know that I grew up on a's much more of a farm now that when I lived there, but it was a farm none-the-less. We raised cows, had a horse or two along the way, and always grew a garden. I learned to drive when I was about 11 or 12 when my granddaddy left me in the truck in the pasture one afternoon as we were checking on the cows, and he got out to look at something & the hollered for me to "come pick him up." I may not look or act like a farm girl, but I know how to fish, have baled hay (not that I would do it now), and have even helped birth a cow. Anyway, back to the animals. My sweet daddy, Abi & Drew's Papa, came up early Saturday morning with a 10 foot trailer that was as loaded down with "farm" as it could be - a rooster & a hen, bunnies, natural wicker furniture, hay bales galore, gorgeous fresh-cut zinnias in shiny tin cans, and more washtubs than you could do a week's worth of laundry in. All of the finishing touches to really transform our home into the "Bragg Family Farms."
I also had the great fortune of being introduced to Sharon Varner of Follow That Dream Ponies & Farm. They live in Gray, and were incredible to work with & equally patient with my weather woes on the morning of the party. I must say that Buttercup was an even bigger hit with the kids than I imagined, and Sharon & her family felt like family to us!

I don't think the Birthday boy or Abi-girl ever thought for a second that the rain was going to slow down this party train & it didn't. As you can see, we were surrounded by good food, good friends, good family & good down-on-the-farm fun!

Thanks-a-doodle-doo for being a part of Drew's special day!
Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summertime Favorite

When I was growing up, summertime was always special. Since Mama taught school she was able to be home with us during the summer, and living on a farm provided for lots of memorable warm-weather activities - tree climbing, corn shucking, fishing, bike riding, butter bean picking, star gazing, and the list goes on. Now those of you who know her know that my mother is good at alot of different things, but there is no denying that she can make some delicious "sweet treats." I would dare to say that her pound cake, cinnamon rolls & apple crisp could rival even the best of them. One of my favorite summertime treats though were her homeade ice cream sandwiches made of three simple ingredients - graham crackers, vanilla ice cream & peanut butter. I honestly couldn't tell you if we ever had a real name for them, but these things are just heavenly.

I've been on a couponing rampage the past few months, and it seems like everywhere I turn I've seen the ads & coupons for S'mores ingredients - graham crackers, chocolate bars & marshmallows. Something about the sight of that Honey Maid graham cracker box took me right back to my Mama's kitchen & these ice cream sandwiches. I bought the crackers a week or so ago, but last night I took the kids with me to Kroger to pick up some rock salt for one of my new summertime faves (link coming once Shash posts the recipe on her blog) - watermelon sorbet. We left with rock salt in hand along with a bag of Cheetos, White Chocolate Peanut Butter and Nutella. I now had my inspiration in hand! Much like my mother, there's no "official" recipe to follow; but I'm pretty sure one variety or the other will become one of your summertime favorites too - enjoy!


I used 1 quart of vanilla ice cream (1 pint for each variety)
2 (of the 3) packs of Honey Maid graham crackers in the box
& about 1/3-1/2 jar of each - White Chocolate Peanut Butter & Nutella.

Mix your chosen peanut butter into vanilla ice cream with a hand mixer. Break your graham cracker in half & spread the mixture on one half, and top with the other. Repeat until all of your mixture is used. Line your sandwiches on a baking sheet & place in the freezer for about an hour to firm. Then just pop 'em in a freezer bag or container to store or gobble them all up right then & there!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Super Saving Sisters Challenge: Week 1

So I finally got my sister on the CVS bandwagon the end of last week & in her initial excitement she challenged me to a couponing duel on facebook, to which my response was "bring it." Anyone who knows me well knows that I have quite the compeitive streak when challenged.

Below is a summary of my Week 1 CVS trip at lunch today. It went down something like this...

Transaction #1
1 John Frieda Clear Hair Luminous Color Glaze $8.00 (on sale from 9.99)
1 John Frieda Sheer Blonde Shampoo $5.00 (on sale from 6.99)

1 $2.50 off any JF product coupon
1 $2.00 off any JF product coupon (was attached to the glaze at time of purchase)

Total Due $8.50 out of pocket (saved $8.48 off regular price)
Got back $3 Extra Care Bucks for spending $15 on JF products
Got back $1 ECB for 6th use of Green Bag Tag
$5 off $15 purchase coupon!!!!!

Transaction #2
6 Dove Deodorants @ $2.50 each (reg. $3.49 each)

$5 off $15 purchase
(2) $3 off 2 Dove Deodorant coupons
(2) $2 off Dove Deodorant coupons

Total Due NOTHING.
I literally paid $.70 in tax & walked away with six free deodorants. (saved $20.94)
Now THAT smells good!
Got Back $5 ECBs for spending $15 on Dove Products

Transaction #3
2 Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Sprays @ $10.49 each

1 $2 off Coppertone Coupon
1 $1 off Coppertone Coupon
$5 ECBs from Dove purchase
$1 ECB from above for Green Bag Tag
$3 ECBs from JF purchase

Total Due $8.98 (saved $12.00)
Got back $10 ECBs for buying 2 Coppertone products

Regular Prices (before sales, ECBs & coupons) $58.90
Total Out of Pocket expense (pre-tax) $17.48 - $10 ECBs credit = $7.48

That's a savings of 88% - beat that, sista. And I'm pretty sure that after I complete Extreme Couponing 101 on Saturday, I will be a savings Jedi!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Breakfast's Ready!

Come & get it. This is a modified Taste of Home recipe for Sausage Rolls. If quick & easy is what you're looking for, then this is the recipe for you. With just 3 ingredients & about that many steps, you can't go wrong with this family favorite on a Saturday morning or even for a special occasion! Enjoy.

Sausage Cream Cheese Breakfast Casserole

- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
- 2 cans crescent rolls

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2: Brown Sausage.
Step 3: Line 9x13 baking dish with 1 can of the crescent rolls.
Step 4: Drain sausage & mix with cream cheese.
Step 5: Spread sausage/cheese mixture over crescent rolls in dish.
Step 6: Layer 2nd can of rolls on top.
Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
Step 8: Serve & enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not-so-wordless Wednesday

My baby girl made the sports page of The Union-Recorder. Grab your copy today. Photo & write-up on page 9A!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Diamond Diva

For those who have only known me in my adult life, it may come as quite a surprise that I was a pretty good softball player in high school. Oh yeah, don't let the "Junior Miss" stuff fool ya. Abi gets it honest - skills, sass, style & my lucky number 3!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bloomin' Braggs

Abi was in a particularly festive mood this morning because we will be attending JazzFest tonight to hear Terry's middle school band perform, so I took the opportunity to get a few shots of my cuties. Too bad Drew found that pappy on the way out the door...that boy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Princesses & Pirates

Last Friday (my birthday & Abi's half-birthday) we celebrated at Chick-fil-A of Milledgeville with a Princess & Pirate party. Some of my favorite Junior Misses came out in full costume for the event. They even decorated the entire joint & had the cows dressed for the occasion as well. On second thought, maybe they didn't even know it was my birthday. Oh well, I choose to believe they did!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My "Irish"Blessings

"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand."

*I am from Dublin (GA); so that makes us part Irish, right?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Don't Want My Kids to Be Happy

My friend Bridget shared this post on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I loved everything about it. It was written by Missy from It's Almost Naptime. I have been meaning to repost it here ever since then; and well, "life" just got in the way. I've been busy with Junior Miss, a fun-filled Valentine's weekend of food poisoning with Terry, DDA training for MainStreet board re-certification and getting ready for the upcoming consignment sale...oh, and my more than full-time job & two sweet kiddos!

This morning I received just the prompting I needed to share this with all five of my readers ;) I have been subscribing to the Love Worth Finding Ministries daily devotionals ever since my quest to find another set of Proclamation Ornaments last year. This morning's devotional thought was titled "Happiness versus Joy," and I have copied the contents below.

Devotional thought from the messages of Adrian Rogers

BIBLE MEDITATION:Philippians 4:4 - “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:Happiness comes from outside circumstances. Joy comes from within. It’s cruel to say to people who are in sorrow, “Smile and be happy.” It’s better to come alongside and mourn with them than to try to force the square peg of happiness into a round hole of sorrow. The human life is a life of tragedy, sorrow, heartache, and pain. Yet in every difficulty, you can find joy. Happiness is an outside job. Joy is an inside job.

ACTION POINT:There is someone you know or come in regular contact with who longs for that joy. Find some time this week to bring the joy of the Lord to them.

This goes hand-in-hand with the original post "I Don't Want My Children to Be Happy" that has had such an impact on putting into words everything I want for my own children. It is hard not to get caught up in the moment by doing whatever it takes to make our children happy because as parents we DO want the very best for our children; but most of the time stuff is what they end up with and that is fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling. True joy, contentment and holiness can only come from within - from an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus; and our children should learn that by the example of how we live our lives each day as well as by the things that we place value in...which actually, shouldn't be "things" at all.

Please read this post and share with those you love, so the world can be just a little UN-happier! I could go for that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Father/Daughter Dance

Abi & Terry danced the night away Saturday at their first Father/Daughter Dance sponsored by Young Life. Abi hid under the table when she realized things were winding down because she didn't want to leave. Terry said they were the last ones out of the building! Click here to view the entire album.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mouthwatering Monday - 6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

For some reason, I pull this recipe out every holiday season. I guess it's because there are more opportunities during the holidays for breakfast to become an "event," so it's nice to have something on hand to add to the menu that doesn't require any additional prep. I made the batter & first batch of these on Christmas Eve, and finally used it up last week by taking breakfast to both of my local BB&T branch meetings. This recipe makes approximately 4 dozen muffins - store the batter in a tight container up to 6 weeks. You could also bake the entire recipe & freeze the muffins in a Ziplock bag for breakfast-on-the-run.

1 package (15 ounces) raisin bran cereal
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine the raisin bran, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Combine the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400° for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mouthwatering Monday - FREE LUNCH

Whoever said "there's no such thing as 'free' lunch" doesn't shop with me! This week Kroger has select varieties of Healthy Choice meals on sale for $1.99 each. You can get a digital coupon for $5 off 5 along with the printable coupon for $5 off 5. That's not just one free lunch - that's free lunch for a week! Happy shopping!

Super Sunday - Jump into the Light!

Wow - What a day! We had an amazing day of worship at Northridge today. It was "Youth Vision" Sunday & Craig's message was from my life verse, I Timothy 4:12 which says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young; but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." I will post the link to the sermon on Wednesday when it goes live. Everything in it was so relevant for not only our young people today, but for all of us who are called according to His purpose.

We found out a few weeks ago that the Pre-school choir would be performing during the worship service; and since I got in trouble for not alerting Abi's "fan club" the last time she performed, I invited our family to come to the service. Mama, OE & Jama came as well as one of my favorite JM's Jamie Lynn (aka "My Jay-muh-leen-uhn" according to Abi). We have been planning to partner with the church for some time now, but the holidays just seemed to overtake us; so we thought today would be the perfect time since we'd have family in town. Terry talked to Mike & set things up for Sunday, and also arranged to be baptized since his first baptism as a child was before his full understanding of what it meant to be saved. This was such a special day for our family, and we know that "greater things are yet to come..."

You can click here to view the video of the kids singing/dancing. As you can see, Abi's "performer genes" are in high gear!

We topped our "Super Sunday" off with what was almost an understood tradition growing up of Sunday Night Breakfast - pancakes, bacon & cream cheese grits! YUM! I even attemped chocolate chip smiley faces for the kids, but have found out that they both prefer them plain!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Frugal Friday - *updated*

I have several older posts waiting to be published, but I guess I'll just have to backdate those & complete when I get them done. This is too exciting to hold back. I've been couponing for a while now, but have recently buckled down. I had been using the Coupon Mom method, but never felt completely sure what links were actual links in her posts or what was advertisement. My friend Hollie told me about Southern Savers & I am on my way to some substantial savings this year. I had already done my weekly grocery shopping for the week when I saw the P&G spend $25 get $5 promotion at Kroger. Since we can always use diapers & wipes, the $25 was easy to spend AND both were on sale this week AND I had printed & e-coupons for both.

See this...

I got all of it for $25.81! 41% savings!!!

My next stop was CVS to get my free light bulb which they were out of, but I had $2 expiring Extra Care Bucks burning a hole in my pocket. As I was walking out, I spotted a twin pack of Fiber One Chocolate & Oats bars which I LOVE. The price was $6.99 for both with $3 ECB's back, which made them $3.99-minus the $2.00 ECB's I had received from just scanning my card at the "coupon-spitter-outer thing" on my last visit- minus the $1.00 off printable coupon...grand total 99 cents! Simply unbelievable.

I can't wait to put my list together this weekend for next week's shopping adventures...

*UPDATE* Friday after work I went to the CVS on the Southside of town after work to see if I could find the lightbulb & TOTALLY racked up. I got all this for $12.87 AND I even scored a hard-to-find Blue's Clues toy for Abi & Drew for Valentine's Day - operation SUCCESS!

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