DIY Summer Vacation Souvenirs!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

We are headed to the beach in one week...Yay! Lots of my friends have already been to the beach, NYC even India on trips this summer.  Instead of buying souvenirs this year, why not make your own? Here are two great ideas from  So pick up an extra city map when you are traveling this summer and make a great jewelry souvenir! (This could also work for school teams, scripture verses and photos, sororities,etc) Click HERE for instructions...Easy instructions of course! ;)

Ridiculously Easy Peach Cobbler

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This is my new favorite ridiculously easy dessert! I have already made it twice in the last month! Click on the link to go to and get the recipe! You won't be sorry!

Sunday Worship: Strong Enough

Banana & Walnut Stuffed French Toast

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I made this recipe today and just changed it a little...instead of egg bread I bought a loaf of french bread. I cut thick slices of the french bread, then cut a pocket into each slice to stuff the banana mixture into. It worked!  A great weekend breakfast recipe! Enjoy!

Banana & Walnut Stuffed French Toast

(Paula Deen)


  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 slices egg bread (I use french bread...sliced thick then cut a "pocket" in it for stuffing)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Maple syrup or jam, for serving


In a large shallow bowl, using a fork, beat the eggs until lightly frothy. Stir in the milk and set aside. Peel the bananas into a small bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in the walnuts and the nutmeg.
Spread the banana mixture over the 1/2 of the bread slices,(or stuff in the french bread pocket) leaving a 1/4-inch border uncovered on all edges. Top with the remaining bread slices and press down gently to seal.
Place 2 sandwiches in the egg mixture and press down gently. Turn over and let soak for a moment until evenly saturated on both sides. Repeat with the other 2 remaining sandwiches.
In a frying pan or on a griddle, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Place the sandwiches on griddle and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining butter, flip the sandwiches with a spatula and fry until golden brown.
To serve place the toast on plates and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve with maple syrup or jam.

It was a DIY Graduation Party Complete with Slip 'N Slide!

Lyndsay graduated on June 4th and we celebrated with a party at our house.  The main event was the home-made super sized slip and slide! Lyndsay requested a low country boil so of course we obliged and added in plenty of sweets and the famous Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding! All in all a great day!

Graduation Caps (how cute are they?) 

Chocolate PB Pretzel Cupcakes and DIY Cupcake Toppers

And then it was Slip 'N Slide Time!

Catching Up

Life gets busy...I have been pretty slack in updating the blog so I am going to take this Saturday morning to try to get caught up.  So here ya go...

Lyndsay's graduation on June 4 was a beautiful sunny day and a great day with friends and family. As Senior Class President she was had the honor of giving the prayer graduation.  We are so proud of her.  She not only excelled in academics in school but also athletics.  She will be going on to Montreat College in August on an academic and basketball scholarship and plans to major in Pre-professional Biology. Whew! I can't believe how fast time flew from the time she cried for two weeks in kindergarten until now.  We love you Lynds!

The family at graduation

Lyndsay with her sister Lauren

Lyndsay and I after graduation

The Countdown Begins! Graduation and Party Planning...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our "baby" will be graduating this Saturday and I can't decide if I am happy or sad or both.  But to keep from thinking about it all I am diving into planning her graduation party.  There will be a mega slip and slide, good food (low country boil! YUM!) and more! I thought I would share a little of my plans and maybe help any of you who are also planning a grad party soon!

Here is a FREE downloadable printable to print cute graduation tags you can use as cupcake toppers or tags on drinks or gifts. ( I am using them as cupcake toppers) I will post pics soon of how everything turns out!

Click HERE to download your free printables from Living Locurto.

Oprah's Farewell

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

As the whole world knows, today is Oprah's last episode of her 25 year run on TV. I have to admit there was a time when I never missed the Oprah show. But to be honest I haven't really watched it in a long time. I have tried to tivo these last episodes but I think I have only caught one of them. But when I saw this I couldn't resist! If you are a die-hard Oprah fan and will be watching the final episode at work or at's a great FREE download for you! Oprah Bingo! So long Oprah...

Go here to Design Editor to download your free party printables!

Sunday Worship: Stronger

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On this day I am reminded that no matter what seems to be taking me under that I just need to hold on a little bit longer. The pain won't last forever...and it will only make me stronger. What a promise!

Sunday Worship: Give Me Your Eyes

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lyndsay is home from her week of missions in Guatemala over Spring Break.  Looking through her pictures, I still can't imagine what her eyes have seen, how what she has seen has changed her.  What if we could see through God's would it change what we think of those around us, around the world?

The Classic Easter Bunny Cake!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Easter Bunny cake is a classic in our house! My mother made it for me and I have made it for my girls! If you have never tried this Easter classic, or you've lost your ya go! Just in time for your Sunday brunch tomorrow!

Bunny Surprise Cake

recipe photo
Blogger Christy Denney of The Girl Who Ate Everything shares a favorite recipe Bunny Surprise Cake. Add Easter colors to the batter and a colorful surprise awaits you when each slice of Bunny cake is served.
Prep Time
Total Time
box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® vanilla cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
Pink, purple, and yellow food color
containers Betty Crocker® Frosting Whipped Fluffy White
cups flaked coconut
Red licorice rope
Jelly beans
Pink sprinkles
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray or grease bottom of two 9-inch round pans. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs.
  2. Divide cake batter evenly into three separate bowls (around 1 cup for each bowl). Dye one bowl of cake batter with pink, purple, or yellow food coloring. Pour 1/2 of purple batter in each of the two greased 9-inch round pans. Pour 1/2 of the yellow batter over top of the purple layer in each pan. Pour 1/2 of pink batter over yellow batter in each pan. Do not mix.
  3. Bake and cool cake as directed on the box for two 9-inch round pans. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Place one of the cooled cake rounds on serving tray. Cut other round cake as shown in Diagram A below and place ears and bowtie of the bunny in appropriate places on the tray.
  5. Carefully frost the cake with frosting. Sprinkle cake coconut over cake. Use licorice to outline bowtie and make whiskers and mouth on the bunny. Use jellybeans for the eyes, nose, and to fill in the bowtie. Use pink sprinkles to fill in the pink of the ears.
Makes 12 servings
Make the Most of This Recipe With Tips From The Betty Crocker® Kitchens
When pouring the colored cake batter it’s not necessary to be exact. Just have fun and the colors with be surprising and colorful.
Frosting this cake does not need to be stressful. The coconut topping is very forgiving and will hide imperfections.
Use a cookie sheet or cutting board wrapped in aluminum foil as your cake tray. No need to purchase a cake board.

Easter Decorating

Since my girls were born I have been decorating for Easter...egg wreaths, bunnies, and more! They are 18 & 21 and I still decorate for Easter and yes, they still get an Easter basket from the Easter bunny! Don't judge! :) But I love Easter decorating, it seems to signal that Spring is finally here. Check out these great decorating ideas!

Sunday Worship...Follow You

Sunday, April 17, 2011

After traveling more than 12 hours today, Lyndsay and her group arrived in Zacapa,Guatemala for their week of medical/dental missions. How blessed we are that Lyndsay was given this opportunity to serve!  We can't even imagine what her eyes are seeing today! One member of the group stated that Lyndsay would come back with everything but her heart.  What a privilege to make this trip and to share God's be His hands and His feet amongst the least of these.

Sunday Worship:This is the Stuff that Drives Me Crazy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ever have one of those weeks, days, years? It has been crazy for me lately for sure. When I first heard this song I couldn't help but think that this was written for me! Isn't it funny how we can get so frustrated at the small stuff? It's those small things all lined up in one day that can drive us crazy though. But isn't it great how God uses the small "stuff" in our lives to find ways to get us to realize how big we are blessed? We just need to breathe and take one day at a time...cause in the big picture we are blessed beyond measure! Now where did I put my phone?

Sunday Worship..."Healing is in Your Hands"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I just want to say how blessed our family is that healing is in HIS hands.  When Jack was diagnosed with leukemia we believed God for healing.  But you know healing doesn't always come in the way we want it. We prayed for complete healing, we prayed for no bone marrow transplant.  Our path to healing was one that went through a bone marrow transplant, a move across the country for our family to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, bouts with graph vs. host disease and meningitis...not our prayer request for sure.  But oh what we learned through walking the path God designed.  It changed our lives and in ways we could not imagine... we were all healed.

Happy Birthday Jack!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Today is my husband Jack's 46th birthday! Happy Birthday to the greatest husband and dad!  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcake...say that three times fast!

I found this recipe on a new blog "Did Someone Say Party?" and just had to share! I love cupcakes! They are just perfect reminders of being a kid and also can be pretty darn fancy too! How cool would it be to have a cupcake shop? A local baker Dawn Hughes is baking up some of her famous cupcakes for me this weekend to take to my daughter's sorority's Mother Daughter weekend.  I can't wait to see them and I will be sure to share pics!  If you are in a cupcake mood try out this great recipe!

Check out Did Someone Say Party's great blog for a step by step photo recipe!  It's a great blog with great party ideas for all of you moms out there!

How could she be 21?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Our oldest turned 21 last week. How is that possible? When she was in first grade her teacher's assistant Mrs. Pendley said to me one day "Don't blink".  She was right.  One blink ago she was toddling around singing and dancing and playing pretend.  She was conquering her first dance with a boy at the sixth grade dance, getting her first pointe shoes, her driver's license, her prom dress.  And here we are.  She's 21. She thinks she is all grown up.  I did too when I was 21.  If I could just get her to do what I didn't...realize that staying young is better than being all grown up.  What's the hurry? She is such a special girl...sweet, smart, loving, loyal, hardworking, beautiful and we so blessed to be her parents! Happy 21st Lauren!

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As promised, here is one of my favorite Paula Deen recipes. I have made it alot and encourage everyone who loves banana pudding to try it.  Warning: it is RICH! So watch your portion control, but it is oh so yummy!

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

A new twist on an old favorite.  This banana pudding is delicious and pretty too!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy


1   12-ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whip
1   14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1   8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cup milk
1   5-ounce box instant French vanilla pudding
6-8   bananas, sliced
2   bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies


Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.  Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.  Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oh Paula Deen You Disappoint Me!

I am without a doubt a big Paula Deen fan. I have been a fan for a long time...not just one of those "fan-come-latelys". I have the recipe books...the early ones. I have "tivo"d the show for years.  I actually MAKE the recipes.  Yes, I like her.  So when Harrah's Casino in Cherokee announced that it would be adding Paula's Deen's Kitchen Restaurant to their property I was just a little excited!

I learned too late that Paula herself would be there for the opening so I missed it. But true to her spirit, she stopped at the Manna Food Bank in Asheville to help distribute Smithfield Hams.

I knew the stars had aligned a few weeks later when my daughter was scheduled to play basketball against Cherokee High School.  You got it...just a few miles from Paula Deen's restaurant! So I quickly made hotel reservations at Harrah's and headed to the ball game! However, we were quickly disappointed as we learned the restaurant would be closed the next day due to renovations/construction in the restaurant. So we left Cherokee with no Paula Deen cooking!

However, the stars lined up again for me just a week later when my daughter tells me her soccer team is headed to Cherokee! So my oldest daughter and I leave early to give plenty of time to grab lunch at Paula Deen's.  We arrive at the restaurant, take a few arrival pics (yes we were excited) and head in to check out the menu.


And here is the Paula Deen's Kitchen Menu...not exactly a value meal!

After walking through the fabulous Paula Deen Store we are seated.  We look over the menu and choose fried chicken with okra and tomatoes and collards for Lauren, and cornmeal crusted catfish with creamy coleslaw and sweet potato wedges for me.  After nearly one hour of waiting for our food (in an almost empty restaurant) our food arrives.  And it is HORRIBLE! I couldn't believe it. It was cold, the fried chicken was tasteless, the catfish was BLEH! Not quite sure how to explain how disappointed we were. So after almost $50 and one and half hours we left Paula Deen's with sad faces.

I am sure Paula has no idea that the folks at Harrah's Cherokee are totally ruining her rep.  Someone needs to tell her! It's that bad! Oh well...hopefully we will make it to the Lady and Son's in Savannah one day and all will be made whole again! In the meantime, in my next post I will share one of my favorite Paula Deen recipes that you can make at home...and it's guaranteed good!  

The call everyone hopes they don't get

Last Sunday night we got the call no parent wants to get.  Our daughter Lauren was on her way home for Spring Break.  It had snowed that day (yes we live in the NC mountains so it still snows in March).  She had hit a slick place in the snow covered road, began to slide, then flipped the car she was driving.  To make matters worse, this was the second wreck she had had in a two week span. Just two weeks earlier her car had been totaled when someone hit her in her apartment parking lot.  Now she had wrecked our friend's car who had let her drive their car while we waited on the insurance $. She was more upset over damaging their car than the possibility of being hurt.

My daughter and I jumped in a car with friends and headed towards Lauren.  She had wrecked about 40 minutes from home. There is nothing worse than coming up on a wreck site in the dark with police lights flashing and road blocks.  We made our way to her where she was waiting in a police car. The car had hit a rock wall (you know the kind God makes) and flipped on its side.  Somehow she had found a way to push the passenger's door open (meaning up) and crawl out. The police were surprised and wondered how she had gotten out.   

After a trip to the hospital to have her checked out, we headed home.  No broken bones, just sore muscles. Not the start to Spring Break that she wanted. 

She keeps asking why is everything happening to me? I don't really know how to answer that. I do know that sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives to get our attention.  I do believe He has our attention.  Sometimes we cruise along in our lives, being our own pilots, doing things the way we want to do them. Sometimes doing things we know we shouldn't. Sometimes we get in a "bad" rut and it is hard to get back on track. And then something happens to stop us in our tracks leaving us with time to make choices. Choices to get back on His track, to re-examine the direction we are allowing our lives to take. 

We are all a little exhausted right now. Mentally and physically. It's been a tumultuous beginning to 2011. And sometimes our kids don't realize that whenever they are struggling that we are struggling right there with them. As parents we worry, we lose sleep, we spend our energies trying to encourage them and keep them "up". It's just what we do.

As Spring Break comes to an end and she heads back to college, I am spending my time thanking God for his protection of her over the last few weeks and even thanking him for stopping us in our tracks and giving us time to re-examine our tracks.

I need a lazy weekend....but I am not going to get it

Friday, March 4, 2011

I need a lazy weekend.  I don't remember the last one I had.  There just seems to always be something that I NEED to do!  Our little family has had a tramatic and drama filled few weeks....our oldest Lauren, bless her little heart, has had more to deal with than any 20 year old should, including wrecking her car and a CRAZY-THANK-THE-LORD-HE-IS-AN-EX boyfriend.  And then there's Lyndsay...the winding down of her final basketball season complete with senior nights, playoff games (which we should have won...dumb refs!) and some tears as it all rolled to an end.  Yes, I need a lazy weekend.  I don't see it in the near future, but if there is a lazy weekend in your future, try these Lazy Cookies from Joy's Hope blog.  They are SOOO easy...don't ya love it?  (All of the photos and recipe instructions come from Joy's Hope blog.  While you are being lazy...mosey on over there and take a look.  It's a good one!)

You will need a mini muffin pan, Reese's Minatures, and ready to bake peanut butter cookie dough.

If your cookie dough makes 24 you are all set to go. If it makes 12 big cookies like the one I bought you need to break apart each cookie so you get 24 pieces of dough. Just place them in the muffin cups. Bake it for about 5 minutes LESS than the directions say. You need the cookies to be gooey when they come out of the oven.

While they are cooking unwrap 24 Reese's cups. They need to be lined up and ready to go because the next step has to be really quick. When they are unwrapped walk away. Trust me, if you stay in the kitchen they will start disappearing. Go check your email, read my blog, etc.

As soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven push a Reese's in each cookie. Since the cookies are still gooey the Reese's will fit in nicely. Let the cookies cool while still in the muffin tin. The cookies will cook a little bit more while they sit. When they are cooled pop them out and try not to eat them all. Enjoy