Friday, February 26, 2010

The new PB Catalog....

Oh Pottery Barn...why do you tease me and capture my heart each and every month with your catalog? I was perfectly happy with my dining room just one hour ago and now all of a sudden I feel the need to hang very large keys around the perimeter and then put a large bushel of green hydrangeas in the middle. Just last month, you told me it was cool to have empty bird nest with pale eggs and a chalkboard wall. Make up your mind PB- you are making me broke.

This is an every 3 or 4 week ordeal for me. I am one of "those" people who has to change their duvet/bedspread every month. I feel the need to pile up all of my accessories in the middle of a room and "rearrange" them every quarter. I get bored looking at the same paint colors and furniture. You can see the problem in this.....right?
And actually come to think of it we do need outdoor furniture. Well the word "need" might be slightly overrated here. Perhaps the word "want" would be better. It looks like we now have plans for the weekend....SHOPPING!!! Hearth and Patio here we come....
Don't you just want to sit on this couch and drink a glass of that yummy water with lime? I could see me chillin' on that couch while NT grills and the pets play in the yard. Spring and Summer please hurry!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The 80's were AMAZING!

The 80's were amazing and I want to go back. This evening, NT and I took a field trip to an 80's paradise, it was filled with cabbage dolls, Strawberry Shortcake, Teddy Ruxpin, Care Bears, and more.

It is called..... my Parent's basement.

Bless their hearts (as us southerners always say) for storing ALL of my toys for over 25 years.

Right there by the Christmas wreaths and garlands are my favorite toys all stacked up waiting for me to......well, I don't really know what they are waiting for me to do. Certainly not waiting for me to play with them. And I can't really envision NT and I loading up a truck with my strawberry shortcake kitchen set and setting it up in our breakfast nook. I guess the toys are there for when I want to reminisce of the good ol' days.

Here are some of the highlights from the tour a la Morgan's basement.....
This was one of my FAVORITE toys and honestly I would bring this little guy home today. And perhaps display it on my nightstand or the mantle. The fact that it is wearing a MILK t-shirt makes it even more fabulous. In case you don't know this is a Mon-Chi-Chi.
Baby Mon-chi-chi fingers and toes. I think I might go on ebay tonight and buy a whole family of mon-chi-chis.
This was sidekick....Neta Gay the Cabbage Patch doll. I took this doll with me everywhere. And in case you were wondering...NO I did not come up with the name Neta Gay. She came out of the cabbage with that name.
Though I loved her.....I really don't remember her looking that scary when I was young. The red hair, crazy dimples and buck teeth--kind of crazy.
This doll could be an impostor because I don't really remember her...she must have been second fiddler to Neta Gay.
Not sure about this either but I am assuming since it is pink that I must have rode my barbies around in it.
This mini boom box only plays one song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Such a nice song talking about "dreams really do come true." Whoever wrote that song was probably not in radio sales....just saying.
Sorry Mom....I know you are dying that I am posting this picture. To those who do not mom's house is VERY neat this is just the "stuff that Summer refuses to take to her own home but will not let us get rid of it" area. The main highlight is the Strawberry Shortcake kitchen in the upper right. Love it and the big plus is I would not be able to start any kitchen fires on it.

Writing this post made me think of other favorites from the 80's: Garbage Pail Kids, Fashion Plates, Care Bears, Candyland, Pound Puppies, California Raisins, He-Man and She-ra, the Smurfs, Light Bright, My Little Ponies and a another fave of mine.....Rainbow Brite!

I would like to point out that I just did some research on Ms. Brite and it is no wonder that I loved her as a child. She rode on a magic horse named Starlite, lived on a rainbow, was in charge of all the colors in the world and used "Star Sprinkles" to make everything work. Rainbow Brite is my hero. She has a very similar view of life as I do....gumdrops, fairytales and hugs wrapped in honey....perfect. (Thank you Chris!)

And my parents are also my heroes, thank you for continuing to keep all of my old toys in your basement so that once every 5 years I can go there and remember how amazing the 80's truly were. Oooohh.....i wonder if I could find my old "Popples" lunch box and thermos down there??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to plant a garden....

Okay, actually this blog post might be more about "what not to do when planting a garden." In true summer style, this planting a garden idea turned out to be quite a scene, a hot mess if you will. This whole concept starting on a whim at Lowes....kind of like when you are at the grocery store and you see Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the end cap and all of a sudden you MUST have doughnuts. Well in this case it was "we must grow tomatoes." We must have a portable greenhouse. perfect. (we should have stuck with the krispy kremes)

I feel like it is appropriate at this point to mention that I have NEVER grown anything. I have planted pansies and hung a few hanging baskets but that is about the extent of it. Here is the crazy part....I didn't realize that you could buy these veggie plants already planted. I thought you had to grow them from seeds but a wise sage (our painter) told me that no, you can just buy them already growing from almost any garden center. Now this comment might make me sound dumb but I prefer to think of it as horticulturealy challenged. Yes, I made up that term. I think I will point out the mistakes I made along the way in order to prevent you from making the same ones in case have the same whim to buy a 25 cell greenhouse.
I am glad we are starting with just four things....less for me to kill.
Here was mistake #1. Do you see those 4 little directions at the bottom? That was the ONLY directions I followed, I did not see the book of instructions until later. This one little mistake caused a series of other small mistakes. So this is our seed starting greenhouse kit....fabulous.
Here are the little pod things that have the nutrients and such. If I had read the detailed instructions I would know that the pods are supposed to face upward in order to make sure they do not bust out the sides when they expand (mistake #2). However, I did not read the
So the pods started to expand. They looked so FUNNY. I didn't know if I should go get the Mason's pooper scooper or if this was what it was supposed to look like. Mistake #3....I didn't know how much water to put so I just started adding.
You see the problem right? That little bugger on the left kept expanding and then busted out the side. (Mistake #4)
Yep....the pods are trying to escape. I do not blame them.
So then came mistake #5 which was I didn't read that you were only supposed to put one or two seeds max per pod. I actually just emptied the full envelope....all 1.2 million seeds. Then came the needle in the haystack dig to try pinch out the tomato seeds....which apparently are "runners" said the before mentioned "painter" who apparently doubles as a gardening expert.
The main point here is we survived planting the "garden" and now we just have to wait for it to germinate (I don't even know what that means). I covered it with plastic and now we wait for 4-8 weeks.

Next time we are at Lowes and feel empowered, we will try to stay out of the gardening section. Home improvements stores give you confidence to be the ultimate do-it-yourselfer....making it look so easy....who knows maybe I will become an expert gardener.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Smile baby.

Look over here...turn this way...can you smile for me? How about an over the shoulder look...okay no then? Fine, just ummmm......curl up in a small ball....perfect....fetal position...even better. Baby Emma.....such a natural for the camera.

I have a lot of hobbies but photography is my favorite, I am VERY much still learning but luckily I have friends like Chelsea who are willing to let me practice. Chelsea's Goal: Get a photo for baby announcements. My Goal: to not make the baby cry. I just took these today so I have not had time to review them all but here are a few of my faves.
Now you are probably thinking either Baby Emma just grew up REAL fast or this is a different baby. Yep, this is big sis Addison. I also like to think of her as America's Next Top Model. Chels, you know it's true....this girl is one step away from the runway! (Look at those eyes!!)
Emma, can you look this way? Oh right, you are 10 days old...then just look to your left. perfect.
Why am I naked in this basket? And who is that girl standing on our couch?
Now another thing that made this photo shoot "unique" was that the subject had to stop and eat every I don't know....5 minutes or so. Ok that is a total exaggeration but either way it gave me good quality bonding time with Addison and we played with her princess collection. Did you know there were 5 Sleeping Beauties and they were competing for one Prince Charming who lived in the woods and killed dragons and sometimes stayed in a high palace? Yep, neither did I. Addison educated me quickly and told me that it is all about "true love's first kiss" and then you live "happily ever after." I love this point of view (it is so "pink unicorn/happy gumdrop").....maybe I was meant to be a Disney Princess.

I have one more addition to this story. About 5 weeks ago, I stayed with Chels overnight and Addi and I bonded. To solidify this bond, I did what Aunt Summer does best, I tried to bribe her. I went to Wal-mart and purchased the coolest box of legos. Here is the mistake--I forgot to take them to her during my next visit so I told her about them. I promised to bring them next time. Next time came and went with no legos. Then the next next time came....and went. I kept forgetting. Now I don't know kids very well but it seems to me that little Addi would have a bit more going on than to think about this stinkin' box of legos that Auntie Summer promised (I mean...hello....she did just welcome a new baby sis into the world). But....what was the first thing she said when I walked into today (note: 4th visit since I originally mentioned lego)....."Mommy, Ms. Summer is here! (now, direct look at me) Did you remember to bring my legos?"

Well....about that. And here was the answer I wanted to give. "Addison, your Aunt Summer is very forgetful. She has to make lists for everything including simple things like walk the dog, unpack suitcase, cook dinner. And so far your legos are not on the list. Therefore, they are sitting in my Denver, NC. And honestly, I just got the legos to move me up that internal ranker of yours. I want to be "cool" Aunt Summer"

......but, I thought that might be a bit much for a 3 year old. So instead I tried this line....

"No worries Addison. I am actually sending them by magic mail and they will arrive this week!"

Now....I must go write a list. List Item #1: Visit post office. List Item #2: Make legos fit into small flat rate box List Item #3: Don't make promises to a 3 year old

Saturday, February 20, 2010

25 Things You Don't Know About Me you read US Weekly? They have that little section where celebrities tell 25 random fact about themselves. I think this made the facebook circuit in early 2009 and the blog world before that. Well in true Summer fashion I am catching on a couple of years later and here are 25 things I am sure you are longing to know....

  1. I wish Ellen DeGeneres was my neighbor.
  2. I hate green beans.
  3. I am a speeder.
  4. When I was in pre-school, I was sent home for wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt. (And it was the cool Thriller album picture with the white tiger--can you believe it?)
  5. I crumble sausage into my grits. yum.
  6. I love Danica Patrick.
  7. I was in the Marching Band my freshman year in high school. I hated the big hat.
  8. I "google" everything.
  9. The Bosu Step is my favorite piece of gym equipment.
  10. Chai Tea for coffee!
  11. I won the "Most School Spirit" superlative my senior year in high school-go figure.
  12. My husband scratches his back with a fork. weird. no worries, it immediately goes to the dishwasher.
  13. I chew Trident Gum.
  14. I took piano lessons for 6+ years.
  15. I had a Cabbage Patch Doll named Neta Gay and she went EVERYWHERE with me including the Western Sizzlin Steakhouse every Sunday where I would try to cram food in her mouth. she never would eat--obv.
  16. I like re-usable shopping bags.
  17. Three is my lucky number.
  18. Wheel of Fortune is one of my obsessions and I believe I could win.
  19. The Smurfs and the Get-A-Long gang were to of my favorite cartoons as a kid.
  20. I think I would be a great Cruise Director!
  21. Being in radio, free tickets are king of my thing but....I did pay for tickets to see Stevie Wonder, Beyonce and the off broadway show Wicked
  22. Speaking of is my FAVORITE thing to sing in my car. For you fans..."No one mourns the wicked"
  23. When I work out, Flashdance tunes are what motivates me. "She's a maniac, maniac for sure...and she's dancing like she's never danced before."
  24. I don't know how to whistle.....or swim....or apparently cook ;-)
  25. Why is #25 so hard to think of?? Ok- I love the mall. It feels like home to me.
I didn't even get to mention that Paperboy was favorite Nintendo game, that I am a bad backseat driver, that I hate scary movies, cleaning litter boxes make me dry heave or that I wish Hawaii was just a two hour drive from here....oh well...maybe on the next list.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wok this way.....

After the stuffed green pepper debacle last night I have to admit I was a bit nervous about trying Pad Thai. But here is my thought, I love it so much that I might as well try to learn how to make it.....even if it goes horribly wrong at least I will know what NOT to do the next time. Find the sample recipe I used here. Now I will mention that finding the ingredients in the store was a bit of a hot mess for me. I was in good ol' Harris Teeter for what felt like a small lifetime. Long enough that in the middle I bought a chai tea latte at the front of the store and used that little cup holder that is on the buggy--I always wanted to do that! The death of me was the tamarind I gave up and took the easy way out and purchased a pre made deal. It was good. Here is a pic:
Pretty yummy sauce and really saves money and time....and in my case sanity.
Now the noodles are a bit crazy. This was probably about half my chai tea right here...picking out the noodles. I mean it is called Rice Sticks...are you rice or are you a noodle?
Just bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the noodles in for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Then, decide if you want to it to be vegetarian or if you want to add chicken or shrimp. I still have a minor intimidation factor with cooking meat so vegetarian it is!
You can really choose to add tofu and other veggies but we went with a shallot, 3 cloves of garlic and later added bean sprouts.
Get the wok really hot and then add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add two eggs.
Scramble it up and then set the egg aside.
Okay then add 2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. I should point out that I am a teeny bit nervous around the hot wok/oil since I have set two scarves on fire so I called NT in to do the wokking.
Saute the shallots and garlic (and meat if you are using it) for just a couple of minutes.
Then add your rice noodles. Add either your homemade sauce or if you are a wimp like me...use your handy dandy pre-made sauce. We then added salt, pepper, chili powder and hot sauce. Keep sauteing the ingredients together. At this point things are smelling really yummy and I realize hey this isn't too hard....(especially because NT is doing all the work and I am just taking pictures like a fool) That being said, it is pretty funny taking pictures for the blog while cooking. Since I am new to this blog concept, I forget to take pictures of key steps and then I also think "how funny that I am taking five pictures of chopped garlic"
Anywho, after you have stirred in the sauce add your eggs back in and then add the bean sprouts.
Complete the dish with chopped peanuts and a lime (which I forgot to buy--great.... I spent an hour in the grocery store and forgot the peanuts and ended up with a premade sauce). But it was indeed very yummy and we will make this again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"A" for effort

There are a few popular sayings that come to mind when I cook.
  1. "A" for Effort
  2. Bless her heart
  3. least she gives it a try
The sad thing to me is how much effort I put into planning the menu, grocery shopping and attempting to cook. For goodness sakes, I started a blog about becoming a domestic wonder woman--yet I can't even make a basic stuffed green peppers and my husband does all the household chores including the laundry. I just remind myself that at least I can decorate and I am a nice person.

So tonight was supposed to be the "easy" night--easy stuffed green peppers. No really...the recipe had the word "easy" in front of it. And as well it should be, it is ground beef, onions tomatoes, spices, green peppers and cheese and yet somehow I MESSED it up. The rice was completely undercooked as were the peppers.

Let's back up about an hour. NT enters the kitchen and says "Do you think I shoud be scared when you cook?" The question confused me because it could mean multiple things:
  • I am scared that you might destroy our home by starting your fourth kitchen fire
  • I am scared I might get salmonella because I am afraid you might under cook the meat
  • I am scared that I won't like what you cook and I will therefore starve to death

  • I am scared that I am going to have to pretend to like your undercooked stuffed green peppers and if I tell you truthfully that it is the worst thing I have ever eaten you will yell at me and/or cry. Therefore, as a good husband I will eat this and smile and be scared of all the above.
The truth is I have made stuffed green peppers multiple times and they have always been good. This time it just didn't work all. I would love to be that blog that has beautiful pictures of my food and all the amazing recipes that I craft each night but that is simply not the case. Stick with me and maybe one day....I guess that is why I am a "domestic diva in training." I have the Diva part down pretty good already! The downside of this story is that tomorrow is actually the hard recipe.....Pad Thai. We used to eat this multiple times each week in Raleigh at our favorite restaurant Sushi Thai. It will be interesting for sure....heck....I have never even heard of "rice noodles" and have certainly never cooked with fish sauce, bean sprouts or thai chilis. Good Luck to me and yes NT you should be scared....real scared.

Monday, February 15, 2010

She's my Aunt Summer

Today was a very special day, I was a guest for lunch at my niece Chloe's school. Now those of you who know me are probably doing the math and thinking that I am only child so how do I have a niece (NT's sister is not married yet)--well I round up. April who is my very close cousin (really like a sister) has a very special and amazing daugther--Chloe. I love her....times 100...times 1000. Check out April's blog here.

On Mondays, Chloe has the opportunity to have a family visitor for lunch...enter Aunt Summer. For starters I was a wee bit nervous because I am not used to being around a group of kids. Entering into an elementary school in 2010 is a bit different from when I was in school in the mid 80's. I think anyone could have walked in and said they were my family and picked me up. To get into Chloe's school was like trying to enter the White House (well unless you are those party crashers)--I had to identify myself, fill out information on a computer, get my picture taken, wear a badge, enter through special doors. Crazy.
Walking through the school was a nice feeling. I always wanted to be a teacher, I think it stems from my obsession with markers and wipe off boards ;-) I waited outside the cafeteria for Chloe and could smell that oh so familiar cafeteria scent. Do you know the smell I am talking about? It is like nuggets and some type of weird veggie smell mixed together with cleaning spray. Odd. I also remembered loving pizza day at my elementary school-we had rectangle pizza and I loved it. I wonder if I would still think it was good today? But my thoughts were interrupted when I heard "Summer! Summer! That's my Aunt Summer." Chloe was in a single file line but jumping up and down waving her hand. She did this all the way until she got to me. Btw, she is the cutest girl in her class (just sayin')

I surprised her with Subway (tip from her mom). Did you know that Subway Kid Meals come in a super cute reusable lunch bag? I asked the Subway lady if I could upgrade my clear plastic bag for a lunch bag but no luck. Dear April if you are reading this....I know you told me to get white milk but they were out...I promise...I did not intentionally get the chocolate milk. I figure it is better to confess this now before you see the below picture!!
The first thing Chloe said when she opened her lunch was that sometimes her Mom will let her eat her cookie first. I feel like kids always try to pull this one on me and you know what it normally works on Aunt Summer. Today was no different. Now I would like to point out that cell phones are strictly prohibited at the school but I pulled out the iphone quickly to get a few shots...what I won't do for my blog!
Note: This is NOT a freckle on Chloe's cheek....that is a chocolate chip. And yes I cleaned her mouth before she went back to class.
A little bit of Chloes lunch. The grapes and crackers were from a little gal sitting across the table who wanted to trade out for part of Chloe's cookie and her Cheddar sun chips. Apparently having Subway is pretty cool (1 point for Aunt Summer)

My favorite part of the day was when Chloe took me to meet her classmates....she was so proud to have me there. It warmed my heart. Here are the highlights:
  1. Chloe introduced me everytime in this manner. "This is my Aunt Summer, she has a Wii and a small dog." And the kids seemed impressed with that. Imagine if I did my sales calls like that...."Hey my name is Summer and I am with Curtis Media Group. I have a Wii and a small dog. Would you like to buy some advertising?"
  2. Chloe introduced me to 1 of her TWO BOYFRIENDS. People, she is 5 years old. I about had a heart attack. However, April assured me the boys are nice kids. However, the one boyfriend named Gunner put his arm around Chloe's waist and I was about to pop him. I told her no boyfriends until she is 40 especially with the name of Gunner (aka: player)
  3. A sweet little gal named Victoria told me I could back anytime and held my hand in the hallways
  4. Chloe invited me back next week. I feel cool.
Chloe and her Dad are going to this cute is that. Love her.
Another Kindergartner named Ellie wrote this letter and it was hanging in the hallway.Kids have an amazing way of looking at the world and it really brightened my day to spend my lunch hour looking through the refreshing eyes of a 5 year old. back to the real world of cold calls and rejection.SIDEBAR: Later in the day, back in the home office, I looked down to find Hines with a bit of cotton stuck to his beard. Hilarious. He didn't even realize it was there. It is like when we humans get spinach stuck in between our teeth and no one tells us. One more thing--that list of 33 things I love--add Iphone camera to that list please.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A fave website....

So if you need a smile, a laugh or a car be sure to check out my dad's website. I occasionally visit his site just to see what he has for sale and honestly to make sure he doesn't have one of our cars listed. He is known to sell my and my mom's cars right out from underneath us--of course I don't mind--I love getting a new car. Thanks to dealer Johnny, I have had 36 cars--crazy, huh? Well this visit to produced quite a laugh--check out my dad's description for this HHR.

Chevy Wagon, this is # 17 we 've had for sale, gas milage/ 100K mile warranty/ ride/ quality/ price.......everybody should drive a HHR!!!

Super shiney, Carfax, runs and drives like new, We've sold 16 HHR's because we sell them cheaper than any other dealer (my shops in the backyard, no overhead, Johnny buys the cars, Johnny cleans up the cars, Johnny sells the cars, Johnny does all the paperwork, you get the picture?), asking $10,900 for this 09' with 21K miles....CHEAP!!!

First, I love that my dad thinks everyone should own an HHR. Second, I think it is fabulous that he spells shiny with an "e" and lastly I love that he competes with the "big guys" by being a mega multi-tasker. That's my Dad!! There is not a better place to buy a car than Johnny's One Stop--I promise--and I am not saying that because he is my dad. Did I mention that you get a soda and a pack of Crackers just for visiting and a custom Johnny's One Stop t-shirt if you buy a car? Keep an eye out and let me know if you see my Murano sneak up on his site ;-)