This one time, at blog camp…

This one time, at blog camp…

This one time, at blog camp, I found my people and lost my words.

I spent last weekend at Callaway Gardens for the Aiming Low Non-Conference and it was far and away one of the best experiences of my (blogging) life. Anissa and the Aiming Low team did an excellent job pulling all the best parts of conferences and combining them in a way that made the 75-100 people who were there feel like they were at summer camp.

There was much talking, eating, complaining about bad coffee, laughing, crying, and bonding over our common thread… our words.

Meeting the lovely Stephanie and Lindsay in person, seeing other friends for the fourth or fifth time, getting toon swag from JC Little… I can’t put it into words.

Winning boots and photobombing The Pioneer woman… speechless.

You know, nevermind.

Since I can’t find the words to express my overflowing emotions about how wonderful this NonCon was, I’m going to leave you with some pictures.

Unless you were there, it won’t make any sense anyway.

But for those of you I had the lovely opportunity to commune with last weekend, I love you all. And I’m ready for next year. Unless Anissa decides we need to do it twice a year!

And now I’m off to dig through the inspiration from all the strong people I call friends, and find my words.

Shark: It’s What’s For Dinner

Shark: It’s What’s For Dinner

I briefly mentioned the fishing trip my boys took while we were at St. Simons last week in my post on Monday.

They went out with Captain Tim of Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters last Wednesday for a 4 hour trip. To say they had a great time is an understatement. They fished the Hampton River at the north end of Sea Island using a baitcaster reel and they found a treasure trove of fish. Sharks, in particular.

That’s what Henry they went for, and that’s what they got!

Tim wrote more about their trip on his blog, including their score (shoutout Capt. Donut)!

After they got back to the marina, Capt. Tim expertly filleted three of the sharp-nosed sharks for us to take home. I may have gagged a little thinking about eating shark, but whatever. Henry was all, “I’m gonna eat shark” and coming from my kid who eats very little meat (my kid) this was huge.

So I talked to Tim about what to do to it to make it delicious. He promised me that we would love it.

We got home and I took the fabulous knife out that I won on Adam’s site from Ree and first of all, you ALL need this knife. It’s the best thing to slice bread since sliced bread.

I cut the shark meat into small bites for Henry and smallish pieces for us.

Still… skeptical. I mean, it looks like white fish but it’s shark.

Jason picked up a Fish Fry breading from the Farmer’s Market and I thought it was a little flimsy so I added some panko crumbs to it. I would say it was half and half.

In oil, I fried them up. It smelled like a good ole catfish joint up in here, y’all!

Look how crispy they fried up.

But still? Skeptical.

I plated them up with some fresh Silver Queen corn we got at Poppell Farms on our way back from St. Simons. (Followed a Georgia AgriTourism sign off Hwy. 341 around Odum.) I also made some roasted cabbage and I knew it would be delicious.

So if all else failed, we had some edible food.

But the verdict was:

SIX THUMBS UP. Two thumbs from each of us, obviously.

We’ve had shark three nights since we got home. It’s been fabulous each time, and I have to tell you… I’m kinda sad that there are only 4 more pieces in the freezer.

Henry has devoured it. And asked for more. I’m not sure if it’s the novelty of catching it and eating it or if he really just loves it, but you can be sure I’m going to be calling a lot more stuff “shark.”

Thanks, Capt. Tim, for a great day and for fixing us up with some good eats!


The Most Magical Week

The Most Magical Week

Unlike most other times we’ve gone to the Georgia coast, this one was drama-free and downright magical. Also, there were no plane crashes or celebrity deaths (that I’m aware of).

There are so many things that happened this past week while we were in St. Simons that rendered the two of us speechless. Signs and confirmations that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do and we are where we should be were hiding around every corner.

We drove straight into Tropical Storm (or whatever they were calling it) Beryl knowing that our first two days would be full of rain but didn’t care one bit. In spite of my horrible fear of bad weather and knowing that Jim Cantore was on the Island with his “oh shit” crew and jacket, the peace we all felt driving over the causeway was the precursor to a wonderful week.

Staying at The King and Prince brings back so many memories of my childhood, staying there with my grandparents when the hotel was simply the Historic Hotel part. None of the villas or oceanfront rooms were there. It was small, simple, yet grand. And even with all the additions, it still is.

On Memorial Day, I took myself out into terrible weather to get a glimpse of the hottie extreme-weather-chaser and succeeded.

Later that night, Henry called us out onto the patio to see the most amazing double rainbow I’ve ever witnessed.

The week continued to get better.

From the perfect sand dollar we found when we walked out onto the beach, to the family portrait we took in the spot where Jason and I got married almost 14 years ago…

To the fabulous yellow bag and angel I bought from my friend Marti at Two Friends and the sweet potato ice cream from Moo Cow…

and to the fishing trip Jason and HL took with the singular goal of catching a shark, that ended with Henry having caught three sharks by himself and three being filleted to bring home with us, the week just got better and better.

We were having such a great time, we added a night.

We enjoyed two meals at Bennie’s Red Barn… the first one was so good we had to go back for more (per Henry’s demands). Chip, from Alfonza’s Supper Club where we had our rehearsal dinner, sings in Bennie’s now. The first night we were there, he sang “Butterbean” to another table and tears welled up in our eyes. The second night, I talked to him and told him he sang at our rehearsal dinner forever ago. He gave me a big hug and said he’d had another table request “Butterbean” so we got to hear it again!

The last night, we surprised Henry with putt-putt. On the way from Bennie’s to The Village, I got an email saying I had been chosen for BlogHer’s Voice of the Year. To say I was floored is an understatement. I may or may not have squealed and cried a little. We celebrated with drinks from the bar at the King and Prince when we got back to the hotel. (My hand has been forced by Jason and I’m now going to BlogHer in NYC in August.) Here’s the post if you want to read it!

And as always, when I’m on the Island, I’m reminded of what an amazing experience it was being a nanny for two summers for an amazing family. They are my Island Family and we always jump at the chance to see them. If only Haley weren’t on the other side of the country, we could ALL lunch together. Instead, we had to just talk about her at lunch and wish she was with us!

We’re home now. Summer vacation is in full force. There will be camps and Bible Schools and two blog conferences and fun. But we’re all refreshed and ready to take on the summer with a renewed sense of purpose.

An Eagle and A Bobcat Go To Turner Field…

An Eagle and A Bobcat Go To Turner Field…

Last weekend, Henry got the chance to go on the field before the Atlanta Braves game as part of Scout Night. It was also like Little League night and some other something night. There were a TON of kids in line to walk the field.

We had no idea what to expect, but we got him all uniformed up and headed that way. My mom and dad (Rock) came with us. The plan was for Rock, an Eagle Scout, to walk the field with him. We even gave my dad an early birthday present — a red Scout shirt.

Here’s my little guy when we got in the stadium.

He proceeded to be extremely goofy.

We got to see some little band that came marching in. I’m not sure if this is the official Braves band or what, but they were good.

We waited in line for what seemed like forever. It was like an hour but thankfully we got there when we did because there were a ton of people behind us.

Then we went through the tunnel. It was pretty cool, I’ve gotta say!

Here’s my Eagle and Bobcat scouts.

Henry and I pretended to storm the field. They were SO serious about you not getting close to the grass.

At home plate.

Making the walk. I don’t think he let Rock’s hand go the whole time.

These guys were awesome. I’m not sure who they were, maybe coaches or something? They just stood there and waved and smiled at all the boys that came by. It was kinda cool.

Once we made our way, in the heat, up the elevator to the tippy top of the stadium, we ate. And watched. And danced. And cheered.

We all had a great time!

And I think it’s something Rock and Henry will remember for a long time. I’m proud of my Eagle Scout and my Bobcat Scout.

ps: The Braves lost.

pps: I was disappointed there was no halftime show.

ppps: I know nothing about baseball and plan to keep it that way.

pppps: I ran into a dear friend seconds after texting her to see where she was. Seriously, like hit send and THERE SHE WAS. Freaky. ((waves at Liz))

ppppps: The End.

Pimiento Cheese 101

Pimiento Cheese 101

Seems like pimiento cheese sandwiches are a popular topic with us in April. This time last year, I wrote a little post about sandwiches. I guess there’s just something about Spring in the South that brings out the need for pimiento cheese and fresh bread.

Today I made a batch to take to a friend’s house tonight and thought I’d share my very simple recipe for pimiento cheese that is easily spreadable to be used on sandwiches or as a dip.

The first thing you need to do is to gather your ingredients:

A beer or glass of wine. This is for you to drink while making this.

I use 2 blocks of cheese, usually different kinds. Today I mixed Medium Cheddar and Colby Jack. It gives a little different flavor. Traditional pimiento cheese is made with sharp cheddar, but I like to mix it up.

Mayonnaise. If it’s not Duke’s, you should just give up and make a grilled cheese. Or at least don’t tell me about it.

Small jar of pimientos. You’ll dump the whole thing, including the juice so don’t drain it.

Salt and Pepper. 

Grapeseed Oil. 

Grab your food processor, put in the cheese grating attachment. I’m sure there’s a name for it, but I don’t know what it is. Cut the cheese into pieces.

Grate the cheese.

This is the part I hate. You have to dump out the cheese into a separate bowl (getting it dirty) to change the attachment to the little spinny thing. I’m sure it also has a name. But whatever, just use it.

Add the cheese back in. Take your Duke’s mayonnaise and add some. Add a lot. More than you think you need. I can’t tell you how much, just play it by ear. Sometimes I have to add a little several times while mixing.

Add the jar of pimientos. Dump the whole thing, juice and all.

Salt and pepper. Remember that the juice and pimientos are salty, though.

Here’s my super secret tip: Grapeseed Oil. Add a small amount, maybe 2 teaspoons, to help the pimiento cheese not turn hard in the refrigerator and stay easily spreadable. This is a very important step unless you want a big hunk of cheese in your fridge.

Mix well until smooth. I like to make it pretty smooth but you may choose to leave it chunkier. If you choose to, you can hand mix it and that will leave it very chunky. Your choice.

Serve it up all pretty with some pita or wheat crackers. Or if you’re going to make it into a sandwich, spread it on some very fresh white bread. Smoosh the sandwich and enjoy.

It’s served best with a cold PBR and some Lay’s.

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