Monday, February 28, 2011

random photos

I've been backing up all of the photos that we have stored on both of our computers because I am thoroughly convinced that if I don't, one or both of them will crash tomorrow and I'll lose everything.
Is this a form of nesting?
Anyway, I've come across a few interesting photos I just had to share.  It's amazing the pictures you don't remember, and the ones you wish you could forget!
I'm warning you, my hair has been an issue for me my entire life...
This was an especially good look don't you think?  Before braces, and during the growing out process of my "wedge" haircut.  Mom, seriously, I still can't believe you cut my hair short.
Meredith, that's you with the paci I believe :)

The late 90's look.  Go flyers.

I was a ballerina.  Did you know?  And I thought I was fat here. 

Speaking of hair...

Can we say mullet?  I didn't ask the daddy bird's permission, and he is going to kill me. 
I'll put in a cute one to redeem myself:

He started early.   Baby bird would love that thing!

Speaking of baby bird...

it looks like he's posing here.   We call this his glamour shot.

More hair.  I put this in because this is like 2005 and I look like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader from the 80's.  When we go anywhere near a beach (Hilton Head here) this is what I'm blessed with.  Seriously, I need some help.

Here are some "did you know?'s"

Did you know I was the Murray State Mascot my senior year of college?

Nice windsuit mom.  Sportin' the school colors.

Did you know our firt home was a trailer in Alabama?

This is the day we  moved out.  Check out the huge redneck antenna attached to our porch.  Here's the really funny thing, I cried when we left!  I loved that trailer and I loved Auburn.
I know you should never say never, but I hope to NEVER live in a trailer again!

There was a longhorn cow that lived on the farm that would occasionally wander into our yard:

I'm not really sure what else to say about that.

Did you know there are rednecks everywhere?

I shot this not in KY or AL, but in upstate NEW YORK where we used to live.  This was a gas station like, a mile from our house.  Hahahaha!!

Did you know I went to Louisiana a week after hurricane Katrina to help with disaster relief?

They wouldn't even let people into New Orleans yet, so we went to Mandeville which is right across the bay.  I had never experienced such destruction in the US, and I still think about all those people at least weekly.

Did you know when horses pee, it's like, gallons?

I actually have no idea how much it is but it seems like gallons.  I just thought this was a funny shot.

Did you know if you let people throw birdseed at you at your wedding you will find said birdseed for years after, still hiding in crevasses in your car?

It's true.  You will.  But it was fun :)

I don't really have much to say about this one.  I've just always liked the shot.  Daddy Bird was still in vet school and he just looks young and skinny and handsome :)  We didn't have a care in the world.

Go through your photos tonight!  You'll have a blast, I promise!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a day to myself

So Daddy Bird and Baby Bird are on an overnight trip to the in-laws to take care of some "cattle stuff" and since I work a weekly 4 hour volunteer shift on Wednesdays, I needed to stay home.  Plus, I now have this evening and tomorrow morning to myself!
It's so wierd because even though I have a MILLION things to do around here, I find myself missing the noise of my two-year-old and the companionship of my hubby.
It is really, really nice though to be able to have time to myself, and I really appreciate the Daddy Bird for giving me lots of opportunities like this.
So what are my plans for "me-time"?

  • Laundry!!!!
  • I have two baby showers coming up so I'm dragging out my neglected sewing machine and getting back to some sewing.
  • I made a solo trip to Target and Babies R Us today to do a little registering.  Amazing how fast you can get in and out of a store when you're by yourself!
  • I made myself a little omelette for dinner and used some leftover grilled chicken, asparagus, shredded mozzarella, onion and salsa.  Sounds strange but it was super yummy!
  • I really need to get on top of some clutter/cleaning.
  • I plan on watching Parenthood tonight.  Do ya'll watch that show?  Daddy Bird and I think it's the best show on right now.
  • Backing up my digital photos.  I took a photo workshop last Sunday with my girl Melissa Mann Bean of MelissaMann Photography, and she has me convinced that my computers are both going to crash at any minute, thus resulting in a loss of every digital photo I have ever taken.  I have nothing backed up (I know, I know) so I'm working on that.
  • Did I mention laundry?  It's a never ending battle.

On a completely different note.  Can I just tell ya'll how outraged I am about the crazy, wacko, University of Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, who poisoned the two 130 year old, beautiful, live oak trees at Toomer's Corner, on the corner of Auburn's campus?
Now I realize that if you are not an Auburn fan, this may mean absolutely nothing to you, so I'll explain.
When AU wins a sporting event, primarily football, but at times other sports, thousands of fans flock to Toomer's Corner to "roll" the two live oak trees that have been a fixture there for the past 130 years!

It's pure craziness, and I know it's just a silly sports tradition, but those trees are truly in the center of town, and they are really beautiful, when not covered in TP.
Last week, Harvey Updyke, a retired Texas State Police trooper admitted to poisoning these trees!  He even called in to a radio talk show to brag about it!  It's pretty much been determined that not only will the trees most likely die, but because the soil is so contaminated, new trees can't be replanted on the same site.  I don't know an Auburn fan who is not just sick over this, and many Alabama fans are as well.
Crazy wacko.
I wish I had a great picture of Daddy Bird and I in all our Auburn glory at Toomers Corner.  But I don't.  So here he is with some of his Auburn vet school buddies.  Take note, because this may be the only time you EVER see Daddy Bird in shorts.

War Eagle!

Friday, February 18, 2011

easy calzones

Do ya'll like calzones?  I am such a sucker for stuffed pizzas, calzones, and stuffed breads.  It's comfort food for me.  I've had this recipe for calzones for a long time, and my two favorite things are that 1. It's easy and quick enough to make on a week night, and 2.  You can change up the filling ingredients to fit your taste or mood.
Don't be intimidated by making your own crust.  It's super easy, and the dough could also be used for a traditional pizza if you are so inclined.

We had these for dinner last night so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Easy Calzones

For the crust:
1 pkg yeast (I like to use rapid rise for this recipe)
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 Cups flour

For the filling:
Whatever you like on a pizza!
Some suggestions would be:
 mushrooms (canned or fresh)
green pepper
browned italian sausage
mozzarella cheese
provolone cheese
grilled chicken
artichoke hearts
pizza sauce or alfredo sauce

Last night we used pizza sauce, pepperoni, mozz cheese, mushrooms, green pepper, and onion.

Veggie calzones would be awesome Meredith, if you are reading this :)

Melted butter for brushing

Dissolve the package of yeast in the 1 cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl.  You want your water on the HOT side of warm if that makes sense.  I usually turn my tap on as hot as it will go, let it heat up, fill my cup measure and then by the time I get it over to my bowl with the yeast it's about the right temp.
Stir in the sugar and wait about 5 minutes for your yeast to "bloom."

If you've never cooked with yeast before, it's a bit like a science experiment.  When the yeast get all warm with the water and all fed with the sugar, they start to reproduce rapidly and you can actually watch this take place in your bowl.  It's called "blooming", and it's probably only cool for a baking nerd like myself.

Add the oil, salt, and flour and mix your ingredients until smooth.  You may have to mix the ingredients with your hands at the end to get them all incorporated.
Throw some flour down on your counter, and rub some oil on your hands. 
Dump the dough out on the floured counter and knead it until it becomes nice and smooth, about 3-5 minutes. 
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl (or one sprayed with cooking spray), cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it rise in a warmish place for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your filling ingredients and oil a pizza pan and sprinkle it with some cornmeal.  The cornmeal is optional, but I like to do it.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

After the 30 min rising time on your dough is up, remove it from the bowl and divide it into 2 pieces.  Roll each piece into a circle approx. 10 inches in diameter.  They do not have to be perfect!  My circles look more like ovals, and sometimes they are kind of squarish.  No big deal.
Divide your filling evenly between your circles.  Fold dough over the filling and crimp the edges to seal.  You want to get your dough sealed pretty well here, otherwise all that yummyness will leak out all over your pizza pan.  Transfer the calzones to your prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.  After 15 minutes, brush the tops with a little melted butter to help them brown.

I like to serve these with maranara sauce for dipping.

You can double this recipe, but each calzone is pretty big.  I usually just eat a half, especially if I'm having a salad or something along with it.
Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day!

I was feeling so much better last night that I made some cookies for the Daddy Bird to take to work.
I used this recipe from the Tasty Kitchen website (if you haven't checked that site out, you really should!) and they turned out pretty yummy!  They were easy to throw together and the cream cheese icing was great.  I also like how the cookies aren't meant to be decorated perfectly.  The frosting just has a nice, homey look.

You could, of course add some sprinkles, or ice the cookies in different colors, but I was still feeling a bit lazy for all that.

When Daddy Bird came home this morning, he not only brought donuts (yay!) but he brought me an adorable Jade plant!

He knows me well!  Jade plants are my favorite!  So cute.

After he'd been home several hours, we realized Daddy Bird was coming down with the same sickness that had plagued me all weekend.  Oh, what fun!  Happy Valentine's Day, Honey!

Last night, when Baby Bird came home, he handed me this:

and said, "Happy Valentimes Day Mommy!"  Melt my heart!  Thanks to the Mom in Law for doing the shopping.

So my little nest is overflowing with plants now...let's hope I can keep them alive.  I didn't really inherit my mom's green thumb.

Today, we had a fun Valentine's party to attend at our friends' the Stover's house.

Sherri is one brave woman having all those kids and Mamas over!  She even had crafts!

There were lots of pregnant bellies there too, so of course we got a fun "belly shot."

Guess who's belly is the biggest?  At least I'm the farthest along.

Hope your "Valentime's" Day was a fun one!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sickness and boredom

I managed to contract the bug that made the baby bird puke all over Kroger last week.  It hit me yesterday, and though I didn't puke in Kroger, I did puke down the side of my mom's car.  While we were driving down the road.  Good times.

My in-laws (bless their hearts) took the baby bird for the weekend so I could recover.

The basement is all framed in.  Yay!  The next step is to get an electrician in here and then drywall.

We also purchased the flooring (I don't have a pic) so that will be ready to go in after the drywall.

Kourtney Kardashian is making me sick right now.  How does she look like that after having a baby?

I'm buying a belly bandit and I'm wearing it for like, 6 months after I pop this kid out.  Starting in the hospital.  I'm serious.

Speaking of buying, we are buying a bull.  He looks kind of like this, only younger:

He is a Red Poll bull.  We currently have an Angus bull named Oscar, but he is getting old, and we're not sure how much longer he'll be able to do his "job" well.   If I need to explain what Oscar's "job" is, please let me know.
Also the Red poll breed is known for producing superior grass-fed beef, so after some research, we chose this breed.
Ya'll need to help me come up with a good name for our new, red bull.

Don't those men in the above picture crack you up?  They are so serious looking!

The Daddy Bird has to work on Valentine's Day this year.  Honestly, we don't do much to celebrate anyway.  How do ya'll celebrate love day with your special person?

Can ya'll tell I'm bored?  It's one thing having a weekend to yourself when you feel like being productive, but when you are sick, being alone means a lot of boredom.  I'm not complaining though. Really!

Hope you and yours are staying sickness free this weekend!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

let's go krogering!

The above title does not apply to the baby bird any time soon.  In fact, I am convinced that we may now be banned from our local Kroger.

So I don't really talk much about my baby bird on this blog.  I mention him from time to time, and I love him to pieces, but I just usually choose to focus on other topics when I make my entries.
The following experience bears writing down, however, for a couple of reasons.  One is that I want to be able to read it later and laugh (hopefully) and two is that I need to give PUBLIC recognition to a very, very good friend that came to my rescue the other day.  
If you don't have kids, you may not want to read this.  It may cause you to never want them.  And if you are considering children in the near future, this may make you want to rethink.

So the baby bird and I were doing some shopping the other day at Kroger when he began telling me that his "tummy hurt".  What do you say to that?  Kids' tummies hurt all the time.  Being the caring, sympathetic mother that I am, I continued my shopping, but I did notice he wasn't eating his free sample of cantaloupe that I so generously allowed him to have.  Hmmm, that's funny.  My kid is like me.  We don't turn down food.
When I looked at him next, he was beginning to look green.  I asked him if he felt sick and he proceded to vomit all over himself, the cart, and the produce aisle.  Oh. My. Gosh.
I, like anyone, reached out to attempt to catch said vomit in my hands, but then quickly realized I couldn't contain it all, and what the heck was I going to do with it anyway?
One woman watched the whole scene unfold and graciously offered me a tissue.  Thanks lady, but I really need roll of Bounty.
What on earth do you do in these situations?  Why isn't there a section in parenting books called "when your child pukes in a public place" ?
I rolled the cart over to the customer service station and informed the lady there that I was very sorry, but my child puked in the produce aisle.  Baby bird and I then made our way into the restroom to clean up as best we could.  He had yacked all over his coat, so I put mine on him and began to search for my keys.

About this time I realized that my keys were conveniently locked inside my vehicle.

About this time I began to cry.

I decided that this constituted an emergency and began to call my sleeping hubby who was in the middle of a seven night work stretch, but I couldn't for the life of me get him to answer his phone.

Suddenly I began to smell a foul, foul aroma coming from my child.  Oh yes.  Diarrhea.  It just keeps getting better.  To top things off, I had a diaper, but no wipes.

I was getting desperate.  I decided to call my dear, precious, amazing, awesome friend Katie because I knew she would come to my rescue.  She's just that kind of friend.
Katie was there in 2 seconds flat.  She let me change the foulest diaper you can imagine in the back seat of her car, and she took my vomitous son and I home to retrieve my spare keys and then back to Kroger.
That, my friends is a true friend.
I am so blessed with a group of wonderful, Christian, women/fellow mothers/friends in my life that I can call on in ANY situation.
I'll leave ya'll with a slightly more angelic version of my baby bird from Christmas, and the hope that your coming week will be better than my last one.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

nursery ideas

So, not only are we currently trying to finish our basement, but we also have another project...
A Nursery!
I haven't really talked much about my pregnancy, or the baby girl bird growing in my belly, but I'm 28, almost 29 weeks along and I'm starting to get antsy about this nursery thing.
When baby bird #1 was born - 4 weeks early - we weren't prepared AT ALL!  The room was painted blue, and that was it!  It sent me into a world of panic, even though I knew he wouldn't sleep in that room for weeks (actually 5 months to be exact).
If I can tell you the one thing that I would change about myself (and my wonderful hubby too) it's our habit of PROCRASTINATING!  I've always been a procrastinator with a capital P, but I have gotten better in recent years.  With the home projects we are currently working on, I'm not really procrastinating, it's just that I really can't do much on my own without the help of the Daddy Bird.
We've got to get the ball rolling on this though, so let me show you my ideas for the nursery so far.
And, let me add at this point, shopping for girl stuff is WAY, WAY more fun than shopping for boy stuff.  Oh. My. Goodness.
Here is the bedding:

It's from Pottery Barn and honestly, it's one of the few bedding options that I saw that I even remotely liked.  I really like the colors in this, and I like the modern look.
Here's another view, in a room:

The main difference is that we have a dark wood crib and dresser, so the room will have a different look, but I think it will still be pretty.
We're going to paint the walls that light aqua, turquoisy color, and I'm loving that.
The other thing I love is this chandelier:

Hey, we're going girly, we've got to have a chandelier, right?  I think it will really add to the look of the room.
To add some pink, because I do really love pink, we're going with this rug on the floor:

It's super soft and pretty and will hide some of the stains that somehow appeared on the carpet in the room!

In addition to the crib, probably the only furniture we'll have in the room is a dresser with a changing pad on top, and a brown rocker/recliner.  The room is really small!

Oh, also, we'll probably do some decorative painting on the walls as well.  Daddy Bird has some plan for a tree with flowers or something, but I've been looking at some bird stencils in case plan A falls through and we need a plan B :)
So what do you think?  Any ideas for me?  Give me your style/decorating opinions because I'm not really good at these type things!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


News Flash!
Did you know eggs come in other colors than white?
Brown you say?

What about blue?

Fortunately for us, one of the vet-techs, Ann, that works at the Daddy Bird's practice raises chickens.  Ann is more than happy to sell us her chickens' lovely eggs.  Ann's eggs come in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes:

If you have never tasted fresh eggs that are not what you buy in your local supermarket, PLEASE, do yourself a favor and find some!  Our family eats at least 2 dozen of these eggs a week.  They are that good folks.  I had no idea that there would be such a difference in store bought eggs and farm-fresh ones.  They are so rich and tasty.
I'm also just fascinated by the colors and sizes.
I mean, how beautiful are these eggs?

This spurred me to do a little chicken and egg research for ya'll today:
  • Do you know how you can tell what color eggs a chicken will lay?  Look at their earlobes!  Chickens with white ears will generally lay white eggs, while chickens with red ears will typically lay brown.  Another way to tell is just to know the breed of chicken.  Certain breeds of chickens will always lay the same color eggs.
  • Where do those blue and green eggs come from then?  They come from a breed of chicken known as the Aracuana, Americauna, or "easter-egger".  These breeds tend to lay eggs in varying shades of green to blue.  Some of Ann's chickens are Americaunas.
  • Certain breeds of chickens are better egg layers, and certain breeds of chickens are raised for their meat.
  • It takes a chicken about 24-26 hours to lay an egg, so chickens can lay about an egg a day!  The world record for egg laying was set in 1979 by a White Leghorn chicken that layed 371 eggs in 365 days!!!!
  • There are over 150 varieties of domesticated chickens.
  • A hen lives an average of 5-7 years but can live as long as 20 years!  She will lay eggs her entire life, with production slowly decreasing after year 1.
There you go.  Some fun conversation starters for your next party :)
Now go find some fresh eggs to enjoy, and if you really love chickens, go buy this purse.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

our cattle

We made a quick trip to visit Daddy Bird's parents this past weekend and also to check on our cattle.  Daddy bird and Baby Bird make the drive up about once a week, but it had been a while since I had gone with them.
We have our approximately 15 mama cows on the in-laws beautiful farm because our little place here is just too small for all of those cattle!
A quick lesson on cattle production:
Our cattle are beef cattle, which means we raise them for the purpose of providing meat.  There are also dairy farms which raise cattle to produce milk.  Certain breeds of cattle are more suited to produce beef vs. milk, and our cattle are specifically bred for this purpose.
We are cow/calf producers.  This means that we have mama cows that we breed to a bull every year to get calves.  After the calves are much bigger and have been weaned, we sell them to someone else that finishes raising them to market weight and in turn sells them for beef.  This finishing process usually takes place on what is called a feedlot, but that's another lesson for another day.
We are experimenting this year by raising a couple of the older calves ourselves, and instead of selling them to someone else to finish on a feedlot, we are raising them on our grass pasture where they are free to roam around and behave as cattle were intended to behave.  This is called "grass-fed beef" or "grass-finished beef" because from birth to the end of their life they only eat grass.

HOOORAAAY for grass!
You see, God designed cows to roam around and eat grass. 
We, as humans created the whole feedlot thing where cattle are generally confined to a small area and finish their lives eating a grain based feed of corn and other grains. 
Please know this too.  Grass-fed is NOT the same thing as organic.  Beef can be labeled organic and still raised in a feedlot situation.  The cattle are just fed organic grain products.
Don't get me wrong!  I'm not knocking the farmers and producers that make their livings running feedlots!  It produces a very tasty steak and is a very profitable way to raise cattle.  It's just that Daddy Bird and I feel that maybe there is a way for us to raise beef that is healthier for us, and the cattle.

Here are some of our mamas:

This lady is my favorite!  Our cattle are not pets, and they don't have names, but this one is particularly tame, and she is short and dumpy looking and so cute!
She's giving me the evil eye here though.

Our cattle have it made, really!  They get to roam around a beautiful farm, and have food brought to them, and the only thing we ask of them is that they have babies and get fat.  Seriously.  I could live like that.
I probably gave you way more info than you wanted in this post, but it's good for all of us to know where our food comes from.  A vegetarian lifestyle is definitely not for me, but I do want to make sure I am feeding my family animal products that don't have a bunch of added hormones and steroids, just to increase the profits of the producer.  Not to mention, I like to support farmers that care for their animals in a way I think God intended us to care for them.
Thanks for listening to me rant!