Category Archives: Miscellaneous Thoughts

Sometimes I just have random thoughts to share. Topics may vary, depending on my ever-changing mood. The views of this blogger may not reflect your own, so please be tolerant or exercise your sense of humor while reading. I have been known to use sarcasm enthusiastically.

One Kitchen, Many Hearts – June

I love our blogger boxes. There’s no other way to say it. It’s like Christmas morning, every other month. For June OKMH Boxes, I received a carton of love from the 45th parallel from Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic. We’ve never met, but we are twins separated at birth (never mind the pesky age difference). She is my sister from another mister. My doppelgänger. And because of that, her box was an exercise in perfection. It started with this card.

This is us in 30 years, and my vote goes to “buck naked”

Fuel for my soul, that’s what this box is.

The first goodie out of the box was this can of chipotle peppers (which we love), a jar of lemons preserved in salt (which I have never in my life tried), and a recipe for BBQ sauce that combines the two. Kirsten nailed this one. I love lemons, we both love barbecue, and TCP loves to grill. I can’t wait to try this recipe and those gorgeous salt-preserved lemons.

Smokey, zingy, tasty goodness – all in one recipe. Very cool.

Next up, a little something for the girly girl in me. Hello summer!

Lips & nails – throw in some mascara & it’s a girly emergency kit.

Then my heart stopped beating when I found these…

Dried cherries from the Upper Peninsula region of the 45th parallel.

If you’re thinking “big deal… dried cherries” then I question how we can be friends (except for my dear friend Kaki – she gets a cherry pass). Seriously, as a cherry lover there are few things as glorious as a gift of Michigan cherries. Canned, fresh or dried – I’ll take them any way I can get them. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a little tear of joy came to my eye when I pulled these out of the box. They are the perfect blend of tart & sweet, dried & plump. I covet these the way some girls covet diamonds. Have mercy, they’re delicious.

This next little gadget blew my mind.

The Cuppow – it turns any wide-mouth canning jar into a travel mug.

As a lover of canning jars AND my morning coffee, my jaw dropped when I saw this. The Cuppow fits onto any wide-mouth canning jar, which I just happen to have a love affair with. In the list of things I hoard, canning jars rank near the top. When I saw this, I did the head slap/why didn’t I think of this thing. It’s so simple it’s brilliant. And Kirsten kicked it up another notch by including my first ‘to go’ beverage AND a handmade travel jar koozie. Seriously. She raises 4 boys, homeschools them all, runs a household, trains a dog and bakes every single day. And she still found time to knit a cover for my travel jar. UH.MAZE.ING.

This simple rigid plastic lid will change you life.

Knowing my love of canning jars, Kirsten capped my June box with yet another of my obsessions – buttons. Or in this case, buttons in an antique canning jar she found in an antique shop. My mother and I went through these like kids in a candy shop, ‘ooooing’ and ‘ahhhhing’ over each new find. We laughed our butts off when we found a small denture charm in the jar. It looks ancient, it’s a little disturbing, and it’s absolutely hysterical. I loved them all. Here’s a collage tribute to our button fun because every crafty girl loves buttons.

Antique buttons in an antique jar; she just gets me

Saying that I enjoyed this month’s box would be a gross understatement. I loved it all. Kirsten’s picks could not have been more perfect. Seriously, these boxes are too much fun. I have a feeling we’re going to need to expand this next year to include more friends. Because everyone loves friends and presents.

To see what the other girls in our group got, drop in on:
Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic (who received a box from me)
Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Kat of Tenaciously Yours
Madelyn of La Petite Pancake
Allison of Decadent Philistines Save the World

OKMH Bloggers (top) – Mads, Kirsten & Megan; (bottom) Jeanne, Allison & Kat


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love

Postcards from Small Town Texas

The Complete Package and I have been enjoying scenic drives to small towns throughout Texas. This is the second in a series of photos documenting our lazy day adventures and highlighting these small town Texas treasures.

Second Stop: Yoakum, Texas

Yoakum, Texas is located between Houston & San Antonio on Highway 95 So., 35 miles south of I-10 and 11 miles south of Shiner. To learn more, visit

To see the first story in the series – Hallettsville, Texas – click HERE.


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Travel Tales

Moody Haiku

Ever had one of those days? One of those funky, moody, blue days when you just feel out of sorts? A day when even a counter full of homemade fried pies can’t seem to snap you out of it (so you KNOW you’re really in a funk)? I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling funky. And when I feel funky, my mind goes to weird places. Like haiku. Don’t judge. I don’t shake my head or wag my finger when you eat peanut butter from the jar with your fingers. Do I.

In the tradition of 5-syllables then 7-syllables then 5-syllables, here’s where my mind went yesterday. And don’t even think about stealing these little pearls. Some day, they’ll be published (on a bathroom stall somewhere).

Oh lovely bacon,
you beguile me as you lay
on my BLT.

Grey hair – yes, down there;
the drapes and now the carpet.
{sigh} Growing old sucks.

"The Complete Package"
He says that's his wrestling name.
He does not wrestle.

"Someone shrunk my pants!"
she declared as she ate pie.
Oh snap. That was me.

Boston Terriers:
I love their smushy faces
And sweet, warm snuggles.

I have a new bike.
It takes me on adventures.
And makes my butt numb.

"What's for dinner, babe?"
“Go make yourself a sandwich.”
“Wow. I feel the love.”

I love barbecue
and ice-cold Dr Pepper.
I’m a Texas girl.

Hey, tailgate driver:
if you’re gonna hug my butt,
introduce yourself.

Okay, guys – it’s your turn. Throw your best or worst haiku at me. I could really use a chuckle. But couldn’t we all?


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts

Houston 2012 Art Car Parade

The Complete Package and I attended our first Houston Art Car Parade this weekend. What a hoot! Over 300 cars entered this year’s parade; each one of them unique and entertaining. Here’s a look at this year’s event, starting with Houston’s mayor. Note: You can click on any photo to see it in a larger format, then simply hit the ‘back arrow’ on your computer to return to the blog.

And to prove that it’s not just about the cars, here’s a tribute to my favorite “accessory” of the day. Caution – you may not be able to handle all this sexy.

To the funny & friendly lady who sat behind us at the parade ogling the Viking Skater man (I believe her name was Lynn) – that one was for you. {wink}

If you’d like to learn more about the Houston Art Car Parade, please visit their website at


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love, Travel Tales

One Kitchen Many Hearts – Round 2

Remember back in February when a group of my blogging friends and I started a box exchange program? Well, it’s that time again and I’m so excited to share what I got from my friend Madelyn of La Petite Pancake blog from the sunny state of California. The great thing about exchanging gift boxes with friends is that we all seem to get each other. There’s no awkward moment of ‘what should I send’ or ‘I wonder if she’ll like this?’ We’ve known each other for over a year now, and it’s starting to show. Perfect case in point:

A box of love from Madelyn in California

It’s a margarita and mojito party in a box. Yup. She totally gets me.

Spring = Cocktails. I like the way she thinks.

This arts & crafts disclaimer cracks me up.

We’ve been tossing around the idea of building a blogger compound with cute cabins for all our families, a huge kitchen, and a dining barn so we can all cook and eat together. Plans also include a fire pit for Peep S’mores, a full bar, activities for the kids, and perhaps a craft room; keeping in mind, of course, that we can’t all be Martha Stewart. We’re just waiting for one of us to hit it big on Power Ball. Remember ladies… you (we) can’t win if you (we) don’t play.

Mads really did think of everything.

Cocktail Book – check. Cute Napkins – check. Recipes – check. Citrus Reamer & Cocktail Stirrer – check. All I need to do now is grab a bottle of hooch from the pantry, and this party is ON! Wanna come over?

The perfect margarita? Only one way to find out!

Mads knows I’m a margarita girl. She also knows I love a challenge. Looks like I’ll need to mix up several glasses of “research” to test this recipe. It’ll be like America’s Test Kitchen – if they were all standing around the kitchen swilling hooch instead of scientifically disecting recipes for the perfect meatloaf. (Between us, Chris Kimball could use a cocktail. I’ll bet Julia Davison parties like a rock star. Anyone who loves bacon like that knows how to have fun.)

101 Mojitos. 365 days in a year. I'd better get busy.

Remember Cake Week? Cookie Week? Salad Week? Well, there’s chatter going around that we might need to host a Cocktail Week, so this book is sure to come in handy. So much research, so little time. As I said, I love a challenge!

So there you have it – another great gift box from our One Kitchen Many Hearts project. Thank you, Madelyn! Thanks for the box of awesome. Thanks for contributing to the delinquency of a grandmother. And thank you most of all for being my friend.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, to see what I shipped to Seattle for Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver, click on the link.

To see what others in our blogging circle received, check out:
Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
Kat at Tenaciously Yours
Madelyn at La Petite Pancake
Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World

One Kitchen Many Hearts - (top) Madelyn, Kirsten & Megan; (bottom) Jeanne, Allison & Kat


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love

In Search of Bluebonnets

It’s wildflower season in Texas, which means bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush and all of their colorful friends have come out to play. One of the most scenic drives in the Houston area is called the Texas Independence Trail and last weekend, The Complete Package and I grabbed Ziggy and hit the trail. Here’s a glimpse of what we saw along the way. A little piece of Texas, just for you.

I love this fun tractor mailbox. I want to ride it into the sunset and just keep going. It reminds me of ‘Mater from the Cars movies, which just makes it that much more fun. Remember how they’d sneak up on tractors and honk, and the tractors would moo and then fall over backwards? I love that part.

Speaking of fun, we had a fabulous time getting lost on back roads all day just taking in the sights and doing whatever we wanted. It was so relaxing. The Complete Package thinks we were about 2 weeks early for full blooms, so there’s a good chance we’ll be getting lost in the Texas Hill Country again in a few weeks. If we do, I’ll keep you posted. Between last year’s drought and this spring’s rains, it’s expected to be a bumper crop. Stay tuned!


Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Travel Tales

Foodie PenPals – Round 2

The Lean Green Bean

March marked my second month as a participant in the Foodie PenPals program. In January, I was matched with Jacqueline from Kentucky. I sent her a nice box of goodies from Texas, as documented here. This time, the person selected to shop for me was from Kentucky. What are the odds? Well, they’re probably about 1 in 300, but I was still stunned when I saw that a Kentucky girl would be returning the favor this time around. My new penpal caught on to it, too. Tara immediately noticed on my January blog post that my first match was from the Bluegrass State. And since this was her first time to participate, it just all seemed so… appropriate. Like foodie fate.

Here’s what Tara sent:

Foodie PenPal swag from the great state of Kentucky

Here’s how I knew we would get along just fine:

Be still my southern heart; it's biscuit mix!

Tara did a great job of picking items made in Kentucky, like this salsa

Salsa was interesting because it was fun to compare Kentucky salsa to our Texas version. Verdict: ours is salty/spicy; theirs is slightly sweet; both are good.

Then there was this gem – coffee laced with Maker’s Mark. Hello, Kentucky!

She had me at booze, but I also love coffee

I especially loved all of her handwritten little notes.

This note explains why she sent Cincinnati Chili.

It turns out this chili is made just over the border from Kentucky. Close enough for me. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try Cincinnati Chili. From what I’ve heard, it’s very different from the chili we make here in Texas. I haven’t tried it yet, but only because we just had a giant pot of Texas chili, and that just wouldn’t be fair. {insert childish giggling here}

Thank you, Tara, for another great Foodie PenPals experience. I thoroughly enjoyed your selections, as well as your written commentary of each item. I didn’t post a close-up of the stick candy, but it is very much like what I grew up eating in NW Arkansas. Thanks for the blast from the past! I hope you had an equally rewarding experience for your first Foodie PenPal exchange.

To see what I sent my March match, go to For the Love of Kale blog written by my new Foodie PenPal Heather. I’ve already heard that the coffee cup that was included didn’t survive the journey. That’s a bummer. Heather is vegan, and I confess I went into it with zero experience picking out things for a vegan diet. I just kept reminding myself of her hint of “nothing with a face.” You should have seen me browsing grocery aisles, picking up items and asking “does this have a face?” It was fun and educational, to say the least. Fingers are crossed that she liked everything in her box!

If you are interested in participating, click this link to the Foodie PenPals homepage. Remember, you do NOT need to be a blogger to participate. You just have to love food and the opportunity to make new friends. Who knows…. maybe I’ll draw your name some day! And that’s part of the fun. You never know who you’re going to be shopping for, or who will be sending you a box of goodies until the list comes out. I hope to see some of you on it soon!


Filed under Food & Recipes, Miscellaneous Thoughts