Thursday, January 21

Cowboy Puppet to the Rescue!

Dr. Seuss once said "You're never too old, too wacky, too open a book and read to a child."
Around here, wacky and wild are always in the air.
Even when it comes to reading.
From the start, it's been important to us that Little Man become a lover of books. We frequent our local library (where the concept of whispering is still completely us both) and this particular day, he selected a book called Cowboy Small. Inspiration alert!
Here's where the curtain rises on our Cowboy Puppet (as seen below). If a book is lengthy and exceeds ten pages, I completely lose my beloved boy's attention on page 11. Squirrel!
With (2) paper lunch sacks, (2) mustaches, (2) yellow stars (slightly deformed), (2) cowboy hats, (4) squares cut like a vest, and (4) google eyes, we were ready to craft our very own Cowboy Small(when boys refuse to sit still, us Moms will craft to extreme lengths).
A little glue here and there transformed our menagerie of goods into a wild west masterpiece (to a three-year-old at least).
Today, Cowboy Puppet took the stage and did the storytelling. Much to my delight (and complete surprise) Little Man stay hooked for all 45 pages. Yeeeehaaww!
Parenting is about small victories and today, I was triumphant. Tomorrow is a different story.
Happy Trails and may your child be filled with focus!

Wednesday, January 20

2016 Color of the Year

I consider myself a fairly informed person but the older I get, the list of "things I didn't know" somehow continues to grow.

For example...until recently, I had no idea you can curl your hair with a straightener.

I'm still perplexed when people use the phrases "awfully pretty" or "an accurate estimate".

And I've been completely in the dark when it comes to revealing the Color of the Year (or even that one existed).

This is why Guest Contributor, Fancy Nancy's presence in my life has been so fulfilling.

She makes me better...and much more aware of the glamorous world around me!

2016 Color of the Year (by: Fancy Nancy)

Every year around this time, the Pantone Color Institute announces its “Color of the Year” for fashion and interior design. Those of us in the industry hold our collective breaths to see what will be hip and hot for the coming year. Selecting a Color of the Year is a process that is taken very seriously. Companies send teams of color experts (exactly what does that look like on a resume’?) far and wide to gather inspiration. Then they reconvene to discuss what inspired them, what color trends they observed and even social trends that influence color. From that, the “Color of the Year” is chosen. Well…Pantone has spoken ; (drum roll, the envelope please) the trending color for 2016 is not one, but TWO colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity.  Errrrccchhhh!

My first impression was that they couldn’t decide if they were having a boy or a girl! How could this combination possibly work beyond a children’s bedroom? As it turns out, they are meant to inspire a sense of connection, wellness and peace and balance warm and cool. Lord knows, we could all use a dose of that, so let’s take a closer look.

In the Pink: Rose Quartz.
I’ll admit, my first thought was Shelby from Steel Magnolias and her wedding colors, blush and bashful. I could just visualize a room that looked like it had been sprayed down with Pepto Bismol! To my surprise, this is a sweet, gentle pink with just the barest hit of peach which elevates it above baby d├ęcor. Rose Quartz has a softness that creates a soothing ambience and a peaceful feeling in this crazy, madcap world.  Think of those last hues of a serene sunset, or the inside of a budding pink rose.
Serenity has a calming effect, a very airy and clean color. Since Serenity has a hint of purple, it looks surprisingly chic with a deep plum. It reminds me of blue sky with just a hint of violet. In the 80’s we called this color Periwinkle! Pantone describes it as a tranquil color that promotes peace. This is a great color for a bedroom or bathroom, wherever you want a calming ambiance. What about on the ceiling, like an expanse of blue sky, to provide a calming effect to any room? In the South, we have a delightful tradition of painting our porch ceilings blue for a variety of reasons. Whether you paint yours blue based on superstition, getting back to nature, or just because you think it’s a lovely color, blue porch ceilings are a wonderful way to add visual interest to your outdoor space and make the space appear cooler.  
If you are like me, you are having trouble with the idea of painting your walls pale pink or blue? Call me commitment-phobic, but let’s not rush into anything. I much prefer the idea of using these colors in small doses, like accessories or maybe a small bit of upholstery. Lamps, rugs and throw pillows are a good way to bring these colors into your rooms and add a light touch for the eye. If you decide to use these two colors together, think of beach house with pure white as a backdrop. Even if you don’t have any blue in your home, you can add small touches like a vase of hydrangeas or a beautiful painting. Individually, surprisingly, both colors work well with gray, which continues to be the most popular neutral color and the gray combines a masculine feel with the feminine, mixing the best of both worlds.

Well, the suspense is over for another year. Expect to see these color choices cross over into fashion, so you might want to start planning that Easter dress. As for me, I am off to find towels for my 1960’s pink tile bathroom. Who knew, I would be so fashion forward in 2016.

Tuesday, January 12

Sweet Corn Cake


Monday, January 11

Taco Soup

Many years and a few pant sizes ago, I sat in the kitchen of a very dear friend and inhaled two bowls of this glorious soup. Soup that impacted my life in a big way (not to mention, the company).

You see, it was a time in my life that included wine and cheese for dinner (with a bowl of Cap n' Crunch chaser). Cooking was Figi to me...a thing I'd heard about but only dreamt of experiencing for myself.

Thank goodness for friends that can cook!

The original recipe, in my sweet friend's handwriting. Using this card makes me smile every time I prepare it!
This is absolutely the easiest pot of goodness you'll ever make and will consistently result in a family ready for seconds!

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans (16 oz.) mexi-style chili beans, with juice
(Original recipe calls for 3 cans so use the amount you prefer.)
1 can (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, with juice
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 1/2 cups water
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package ranch salad dressing mix

In medium stockpot, cook ground beef and onion until meat is cooked thoroughly. Drain any excess liquid. Add  the next five ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil. Stir in taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix (which is the secret to this deliciousness) until combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Top with grated cheese...or a half-eaten slice from your little sticky man. Muchas gracias!

You could also opt for a dollop of daisy or even a few avocado slices. The world is your oyster...err, taco!

To add a little extra bing bang to your bowl of BOOM (I seriously crack myself up), tomorrow I'll be posting a to-die-for Sweet Corn Cake recipe that makes for the perfect pairing.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 6

2015 Year in Review

Last week was full of "Most Popular Events of 2015". The news recapped historical events, tabloids hit the highlights of top celebrity scandals, and I did what I always do...wrote about it!

You see, in the midst of life's chaos, one thing at our house always remains...sharing. From a helpful DIY to my most favorite comfort food, we shared it all last year.

Here's ten of 2015's most popular posts, in case you missed them the first time or simply need a sweet reminder.

In no particular order...

#1 ~ Starting things off with a BANG, July's Ambush Blog Makeover post! According to the page views, you guys were as excited to see the "new & improved look" of S&S almost as much as I was to unveil it! What will happen in 2016? Stay tuned...

#2 ~ As always, this is an S&S favorite. Originally debuting in 2014 and reposted in 2015 (by popular demand), the blue ribbon winner for "Most Popular Post Infinity"! Baked Oatmeal

#3 ~ In 2015, I added a few elite Guest Contributors from various areas of interest. Our Delightful DIY Contributor, Leigh, has been a very popular addition to the S&S red carpet. Her Personalized Door DIY post was loved by many!

#4 ~ Many milestones occurred last year and none more heart-wrenching than the loss of our sweet Old Man. The popularity of this post shows your support of S&S and sincere love of life's four-legged friends. (PS. I miss his drool!) You're Never Prepared for Goodbye

#5 ~ I'm still uncertain if the popularity of this post was due to the food or the tribute to Mother's Day and the spectacular women who have sacrificed so much to make us fabulous. Either way, it's one of my favorites too! Mother's Day Brunch

#6 ~ I wondered if the title of this post would create a bit more buzz than normal. It turns are super excited about gestation (as am I)...bovines or otherwise! Congratulations, You're Expecting!

#7 ~ This soup is the fairest of them all. It's no wonder it was the most popular of 2015. Yum, yum, give me some! Lasagna Soup

 #8 ~ There was more feedback regarding this DIY than any other. Maybe it's the simplicity, the versatility of design, or the complete cuteness...either way, you LOVED IT (but you already knew that)! Crayon Sandpaper Shirt

#9 ~ The final DIY that had you talking were these sophisticated stripes. Super Hunk and I braved a new frontier with these cuties and had a blast doing it! You should tackle them this year, your space will thank you. Simple Stripes

#10 ~ Last, but definitely not least, you enthusiastically joined me in getting to know our new S&S family members. These four ladies have made this blog a MUCH BETTER place by sacrificing valuable time to share their tips and techniques as Guest Contributors. (Our beloved baker, Jessica, is seen below but click on the link to see all of their beautiful faces.) Getting To Know Our Guest Contributors

2015 was a wild ride! I learned more about what works, what pretty much flops, and all things in between. Thank you for your loyal support and I look forward to a fantastically fabulous 2016!

Saturday, January 2

New Year's Texas Caviar

It's a well-established southern New Year's tradition, the consumption of black-eyed peas as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
I honor said tradition to...#1) To keep my southern ancestors from rolling over in their graves, while staying connected to my roots and...#2) Super Hunk has an almost unhealthy love of black-eyed peas and I have an almost unhealthy love of him.
This is a Texas spin on our favorite little bean...pea...whatever! They're not just for New Year's anymore! 

Texas Caviar
2 (15 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 (4 oz.) cans green chiles, chopped
4 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup tomato, diced
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of one lime
Salt & pepper to taste

Have you ever noticed the bean...pea...whatever bubble bath that results from rinsing? No? Just me?

In a large mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients.

Next, add remaining ingredients to pea...bean...whatever mixture.

Mix and pour in your favorite bowl. Add a little oomp by garnishing with extra cilantro and tomatoes.
You can dive in with chips or...

Add a little pizazz to your delectable burger!
Either way, it's a recipe you'll want to enjoy all year.
Happy 2016, friends! I hope it's filled with all things delicious!
(The question of the year...Is it a pea? Is it a bean? Who really knows?!)