1/6/22

Memphis

Before Christmas my mom and dad took us to Memphis to see **HAMILTION**!! 

The enthusiasm for this trip was not equally distributed among family members. 
A certain 9 y.o. boy, who shall remain nameless, would have rather stayed home and grilled squirrel. I told him we were building his character, dragging him to a nice hotel, making him eat in restaurants, etc.

"There's no such thing as fun for the whole family," a concept my mother in law once shared years ago. I think she got it from a comic strip. Truer words were never spoken.

city slickers

This was a walking trip. We parked our car on Friday night and didn't see it till departure. I loved frolicking around downtown. I feel a connection with Memphis. One of my best friends from college is from there, and I have loads of good memories going to visit her and her fam.

Stephen tried to convince me to rent a scooter. I said no I needed to practice on open land first.


I adore a glass champagne and it was double good in the lobby of the Peabody.

feeling so French

We saw the ducks and bought some surprisingly affordable souvenirs in the gift shop.

  
 historic motel where MLK Jr. was killed

drinks on the rooftop bar

professional photo bomber 

The show was fantastic. We've listened to the music and watched the original cast on Disney numerous times. I was worried I might be a little disappointed, but quite the opposite. I appreciated how the cast added there on whimsy and personality to the show. 

in route to the Orpheum 


The theater was gorgeous and a good time was had by all but one. 👎


It was bonus that my aunt and uncle, Lynn and Steve, could join us! We always love being with them. We're spoiled.


Thanks, Lovie and Doc for an extra large time.

1/3/22

Hey 2022

Where to begin? 

Happy New Year! We took down the tree and welcomed 2022 with a quiet night at home. I love this time of year. It is the perfect palete cleanser to follow the hustle of Christmas. I clean out, freshen up, and brighten all the spaces like my hair is on fire. Room by room I go. I'm reading Minimalista to get inspired. 

This is also a time for no drinking. With holiday merriment and travel behind us, it's time to rein in the booze. I trick myself by pouring fancy water into a champagne flute. A friend and I are doing a dry January together. The exception is if I go out to eat (which is rare), I can get a drink. I don't believe in extreme deprivation.

This is my favorite article about cutting back on drinking. I so relate.


My children return to school tomorrow. It's bittersweet. They can't stay here, but I will miss the days of togetherness. 


George and Laurie have had a lot of fun making comedy videos together. Some of them are actually funny.

What are you excited about this year? Tell me your dreams. 

8/5/21

PUPPIES!

One lovely evening in May, our neighbor's Vizsla frolicked over and impregnated our British lab. What's done is done. 

Therefore, on July 7th, 2021 we welcomed 11 puppies into our already chaotic family life. Puppy birth is an education unto itself -- and I'm counting on the experience to make up for any holes or gaps left in the wake of homeschool science.


Sally, the mama dog, successfully birthed 6 blonde/strawberry blonde pups and 5 black pups. 


It's therapy. Puppies are therapy. And if you don't love them at least a little bit, then you probably have no soul. 


As it currently stands, we have 5 promised to owners, 4 lighter pups and 1 darker. This means we have 2 light and 4 dark that need a person or persons.



These pics are from the BIRTHnight. We had so many puppies we actually got bored and went to bed on puppy number 9. We awoke to 2 more, totaling ELEVEN. #hastag #fertilemertle


We are selling them for $55/pup to cover the cost of shots + food. You know you want one or TWO.


Seriously, the cycle of life is amazing. We made some memories on this night. Some families go to Disney. Some have puppies. 


For real, email or DM me if you want one.

sbspooner@gmail.com

7/21/21

Summer Staples

1. ZINNIAS

Every spring we plant zinnia seeds. I get the biggest rush making a bouquet from my own cuttings. They are so easy to grow. All you need is a patch of grass or a pot, water, and lots of sunshine.



2. ICED LATTES 

If I find myself running errands in the afternoon, I love nothing more than to grab a coffee from the Vintage Cafe. 



3. FARMER'S MARKET TOMATOES

Literally, nothing better. Throw on a little feta, fresh herbs, vinaigrette salad dressing or olive oil, salt, pepper. The end. 



4. SUNSCREEN STICKS

This is the easiest way to protect little faces. Realistically, I'm not gonna reapply if I have to hold my kids down and get my hands dirty.

What are your summer staples? Jean shorts? Old movies? Linen sheets? 

It's the little things. 

7/8/21

The 4th + Welcome Home from Camp CAKE

Do you have any 4th of July traditions? We usually go to my sister's pool for the afternoon and eat barbecue nachos or something equally as good. We deck out in our patriotic garb and the kids end up doing some sort of parade or 4th of July "show." 

It's one of my favorite holidays. I LOVE THIS LAND, and I am so grateful to live here!

.......

Following the 4th, on the 6th, we retrieved our older 2 kids from camp. They were gone for 3.5 weeks! This mama is happy to have us all under one roof again. 

While they were gone I had a bit of an identity crisis. Suddenly I had so much less responsibility -- kidwise. Who am I? Why was I put on this earth? 

Now that they are all home again I am so busy and overwhelmed. I'm cranking out huge batches of taco meat and my washer has. not. stopped. in three days. It's hilarious to imagine all that questioning and deep thinking I was doing 2 weeks ago.

And because no homecoming is complete without a cake, I made this easy chocolate chip one. 

It lasted 5 minutes. It's SO good!

great picture, right? 

1 box yellow cake mix 
2 3 oz boxes instant vanilla pudding 
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
8 oz sour cream 
1 cup oil 
1/4 cup water 
8 oz chocolate chips 

bake in a greased bundt pan at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes

7/1/21

Covid

How did you all fair during the pandemic/lockdown/Covid-19? Was it wild or what? Is it still going? 

I remember feeling nervous in early March last year. 

Church was the first thing officially canceled. Then schools said don't come back after spring break. One by one, things fell off the calendar. 


Next, 15 days to slow the spread. 

We started zooming. Zoom Sunday school. Zoom ballet. Zoom speech therapy. I hate zoom.

We began sneaking around with friends, having drinks in dark yards. Was this really happening?

My brother's wedding was scheduled for early May. He and his fiancé moved it up to early April because better to go ahead and get married in quarantine than wait this thing out. Turns out it was the right decision.

homemade alcohol wipes, let me know if you want the recipe

Funnily enough, that weekend was the absolute peak of the pandemic hysteria. Both governors of our states issued lockdowns and travel restrictions. 

But this is AMERICA! Forgive us, we did not stay home and save lives that weekend. We loaded up the fam in our SUV and with wind blowing in our hair -- we crossed the state line without incident. 

rehearsal dinner

It's fun to tell the tale now, but there was heightened anxiety. We had never done this before, defied the government during a lockdown. My fear was getting in trouble with the authorities and being fined some arbitrary amount -- or worse, carted off to jail!

Side story: we left all the kids' wedding clothes at home on our bed. And by we, I mean Stephen. As soon as we realized it, without hesitation he said he would drive 4 hours back home and get them. Of course, I told him absolutely no, but his willingness to drive a total of 12 hours to Jackson to Montgomery to Jackson is proof that he has a heart of gold. 

We made do...without proper clothes. The wedding was beautiful in their backyard, perfect weather, immediate family, a preacher, and a photographer. Some things you just can't miss, and your only baby brother getting married is one of them! Pandemics be damned.

Then there was the worst Easter ever. The weather was hot, humid, and cloudy. No church. 

And that's when we snapped. We were DONE with Covid. 

We formed our Covid family. Us and a few others broke quarantine (again). We went to the lake, the beach, the pool, we had pizzas on Sunday nights, gathered on the 4th of July. We had a blast, quite frankly. No one got Covid. These are the people I want to be with when the world ends.

Summer camps were canceled. Everything was canceled. Masks mandates were in full force. By early fall 2020, things were back but not normal. 

Hop forward to November. People actually started getting Covid, people we knew. We had lots of exposures. Our family Thanksgiving plans were canceled. It got real. 

In December, Stephen tested positive. Somehow I did not get it. Crazy, right?

In January, I got it -- the VIRUS-- from a totally different exposure. Three of our kids got it as well. I was thrilled to have natural immunity. 

Early on during this whole ordeal, my mom mailed me a copy of this essay by C.S. Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age. It's a good read. Probably need to keep it on file.

6/28/21

Personal Pizzas + Stocking Up

With George being an only child last week (others at camp), my plan was to minimize time in the kitchen. But a boy's still gotta eat. 

Hello, personal naan bread pizza. 

naan bread
mozzarella cheese
pepperoni 

In the oven 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Stephen's method is to layer a little cheese, then the pep, then a little more cheese. This makes it extra good. Trust us.



Of course you could serve naan bread pizzas to a crowd (and I have), but it is especially handy for a meal of one. Keep it in your back pocket if you're hosting a grandchild or dining solo...or cooking for an 8 year old boy after a long swim.

It's no more trouble than making a sandwich.


....

In other practical matters,

I'm working on getting a comfortable stockpile of consumable items and toiletries. This is not about earthquakes or end times. It's about convenience. 

How to: go to Walmart and get three of everything you need. 

Why three? Because that's what Jordan Page said to do. One for now, two for later. It's extra, but not excessive. 



Of course some things come with multiples in a package...like soap.

Do you keep a stockpile of household goods? 

Traditionally, I've bought things as needed, but after being inconvenienced a couple of times lately, I'm changing my system.

Happy Monday!
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