thankful & rested

We have finally recouped from the travels over Thanksgiving, and are still in the process of decking the house with all our Christmas fun.  T man has always enjoyed the whole week of Thanksgiving off, so we enjoyed Monday and Tuesday of last week staying in our pajamas as long as possible (while I worked), and then I was off Wednesday to enjoy the day with him, too.  The sleeping in that occurred on Wednesday was much needed.

We headed to Oxford first for him to do some hunting before we headed to Columbus, MS for the Thanksgiving holidays with the whole Carter side of the family.  It is JUST NOW turning into perfect hunting weather, which is perfect Martha-stay-at-home weather. :)

Thursday we arrived in Columbus and were greeted by his sweet sweet Aunt Diann & Uncle Mike.  They hosted this HUGE gathering and we are so thankful for their hospitality and making our time there so wonderful and relaxed.  See what I mean, huge??  Look at all these cars...

In our 3 years of marriage (and ALL of T man's life), Thanksgiving was spent with the Dudley side of the family in Scooba, MS with the same [delicious] Granny Ree food and biscuits and pie and weenie roast.  T mentioned in the car how he wondered what food we will have.  It was kind of like an unknown, but boy was it ever another delicious Mississippi feast.

Turkey, ham, ribs, potato salad, broccoli salad, sweet potato casserole, dressing, cranberry, purple hull peas (that were AMAZING), and rolls.  That you see is T's plate, so not everything pictured.  Heavier on the meat, lighter on the sides... that's my guy!

We enjoyed the chatter and laughter all day Thursday, and I had so much fun laughing at the little girl cousins (his cousins kids).  They are just hilarious!  We braided hair, shook our booties, and did the walk-up-the-legs-flip trick.  Over. And over. And over. Loved it.

Friday was another amazing day of sleeping-in and I got to finally experience Aunt Diann's "white 'lasses" also known as white molasses also known as cooked sugar and water.  But it IS delicious on her biscuits, let me tell you.

T man had craving for fried pickles while we were sitting around Friday, so we whipped up a little batch and everyone raved about them.. Thanks T and Pioneer Woman!

T's mom brought the weenie roast to Columbus since it is one of their favorite traditions, and I think all the Columbus folks enjoyed it too.  Uncle Mike started a fire without a match and called the "fire spirits" (still trying to figure that one out) and we sat around it for hours roasted hot dogs and making s'mores while the girls ran around and drove around their barbie jeep.

The wonderful and restful weekend came to a close with one last Saturday afternoon hunt in Oxford.  We grabbed up the little Gibby from the kennel (yes, we boarded the spoiled guy) and headed home.

This little guy was exhausted from his Thanksgiving trip

As I sit and reflect on the year, it's hard for me to even remember everything I'm thankful for, but I am so thankful for family and friends and the joy they bring to our lives.  I'm thankful for the abounding amount of blessings we have as a family.  I'm thankful for new life this year and what a joy that brings. I'm mostly thankful for my salvation and that I can live freely knowing Jesus and what he did for me on the cross.  Thankful.  Thankful. Thankful.


happy happy 3 years

Today, T man and I celebrate 3 years of marriage.  I can't believe how fast the years go by, as it seems we were here just yesterday.... oh what fun we had on this day in 2008!

T and I dated for 5 years before getting married, so we knew each other very well.  We are still continuing to get to know each other daily, and we are having so much fun living life and spoiling our dog-child.  We treasure this time being a couple because we know it will never be the same again (once little human-children come into the picture).  We celebrated year 3 together in Italy back in May (you can read about our trip here, here, and here), and tonight we're celebrating at this fancy restaurant here in Memphis (we've been hearing rave reviews)!

We also like to give simple "yearly" gifts (paper, cotton, this year leather), and I can't wait to see how T likes what I came up with for leather.

Here we are celebrating year 1.....

Celebrating year 2....

T man, I love you.  I can't wait to see what happiness and challenge our 3rd year will bring.... whatever it is, you are the best teammate this girl could ever dream of.... love to you now and always!


antlers in the house

To continue along with the deer theme we have going, I recently added some deer antlers to a wall in our house.  Big step for me, but I love how it looks.

I'll start by saying that T man has a nice sized 8pt mounted deer head that he has been wanting to hang in our house.  It is currently up in our "storage room" which will be the future man-room/play-room/computer/etc.  I did not grow up with taxidermy in our house, but I do feel lately taxidermy is acceptable when done correctly.  Aka, antler sheds with no animal marble eyes staring at you.  Maybe one day I'll feel differently and his prized trophy will hang down stairs, but until that day, he will live upstairs with his friend the bobcat (the other trophy he wants to hang).

The first thing relating to deer (and T's hobby) I ever put in our house was an antler lamp.  We had just purchased our benches to stack for a sideboard/shelf in the den... Did you ever see these stacked benches?

Anyway, we needed a skinny base lamp, but wanted it to be neat looking.  Leslie suggested an antler lamp, and T (of course) loved the idea.  So we found a handmade antler lamp on etsy, which I ended up loving.  It has since moved (I love moving lamps around for some reason) next to the couch.

T brought home a big box of antlers from his granny's house last winter, and they've been sitting out in our storage garage since.  I was rummaging around out there looking for some shutters (for another project) and I started rifling through the box of antlers.  Sidenote: there is a nice supply of old shutters (as mentioned), cabinet doors, doors, and wood all from the previous owner.  I looked over to find this cool looking cabinet door with some rusty hardware and thought it might make a perfect background for some antlers.  See?

After some paint and sanding T and I came up with this for our living room/future library/sitting room...

I like it!  And it satisfies his need for some deer around the house (for now).  I also put some other antlers around the house.  These here on our mantel are from a deer killed by me... it's true.  First time I ever shot a gun was at this 6 pt buck.  :)

Anyone else have a significant other who likes taxidermy or deer/wildlife art and wants it in the house?


guest post: a word from my deer hunter

T man sent me a message the other day that said, "I'm working on a guest post for your blog."  I said, "Oh are you?  What is the subject?"  He said, "Mississippi Primitive Weapon Season."  I thought to myself, is he kidding?  Why would anyone who visits hootenanny want to read about primitive weapons?  Well the nice wife that I am said "fine" and a few moments later I received this in my inbox.  Think he's excited about primitive weapons?  You guessed right.

Without further adieu, here's a word from my main man:

To those who don’t participate in deer huntin’ (you’re missing out), deer season is deer season. For those who do, deer season is the time of year we look forward to as soon as the previous year’s season closes. It’s a block of time divided into several distinct time periods with unique legal requirements related to acceptable weapons, bag limits, and type of deer taken. It’s not as simple as “alright fellers, (spit tobacco juice) load your guns and lay ‘em down.” It’s a refined, dignified, and quite complex event where variables such as wind direction, temperature, moon phase, barometric pressure, weather fronts, mast production, feeding/bedding patterns, and other crucial factors must be considered in order to be successful. The most recent block of time to open was the primitive weapon season. As my hunting activities primarily occur down in the ‘sip, the rest of this post relates to Mississippi regulations.

Primitive Weapon:

Nowadays, primitive weapons, for the most part, are not as ‘primitive’ as they once were. Back when
Chief Rocking Horse sharpened a rock and tied it to a twig using the whiskers of a rabbit or when ol’
Rupert Williamson had to pour the powder down the barrel of his 1700’s model musket and use his
ramrod to load in the pellets. Nope. Now most come equipped with multi-power scopes, the capability to quickly reload, and provide the opportunity to effectively take game at distances of 200+ yards. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) defines a primitive weapon as follows:

"Primitive firearms" for the purpose of hunting deer, are defined as single or double barreled muzzle-
loading rifles of at least .38 caliber; single shot, breech loading, cartridge rifles (.35 caliber or larger) and replicas, reproductions or reintroductions of those type rifles; and single or double-barreled muzzle-loading, shotguns with single ball or slug. All muzzle-loading Primitive Firearms must use black powder or a black powder substitute with either percussion caps or #209 shotgun primers or flintlock ignition. Breech loading single shot rifles must have exposed hammers and use metallic cartridges. Cartridges may be loaded either with black powder or modern smokeless powder. Scopes of any magnification are allowed on primitive weapons.
My choice of primitive weapon you ask? The Harrington & Richardson Superlite Handi-Rifle .45-70 Gov’t.

Harrington & Richardson describe this model as:

“… super-tough, high-density polymer stocks and fore-ends will persevere and help you make a deadly accurate shot through it all. And their smooth, simple break actions require very little maintenance and have minimal moving parts for the utmost in reliable function. For added versatility, these rifles can be factory fitted with your choice of accessory rifle and shotgun barrels. All models are equipped with our Transfer Bar System that makes ours one of the safest single-shot rifle platforms in the world today.

We're proud to offer a broad selection of hard-hitting calibers from the flat-shooting 223 Remington all the way up to two crushing big bores, the 45-70 Gov't. and 444 Marlin. Rough handling, wicked weather and any game animal in North America. The Synthetic Handi-Rifle® can handle it all.”

I have one of the two crushing big bores… and it kicks like a mule.

My choice of load? The Winchester Super-X 300 Grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)

This load is hot and creates a crater for an exit wound. This kind of knock down power will eat that ol' shoulder up. Ballistics for this particular load when zeroed @ 100 yards puts you +1 at 50 yds and -12.2 @ 200 yds. At 200 yds, you’ll have to put the cross-hairs on the top of the back and let it drop on in the kill zone.

The reason I bring up this topic and you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to read it (thanks to the beautiful MGC for letting me) is because of section 49-7-37(2), (3), & (4) from the Mississippi Code of 1972 which led to the public notice of rule number W163434. This referenced section states (paraphrased):

‘There’s too many dadgum deer down here in Missippi and were about open up a special primitive
weapon season two weeks earlier than usual so you bunch of rednecks can get all dressed up in that
tacky camo and paint your face and what not and put a dent in this here overpopulated deer herd.’

Translated: too many deer. This special season actually opened on Monday, November 7, but because I had to grow up and get a big boy job, I won’t be able to participate until this Saturday. So, to all the deer down there on the McCluskey Ranch, I’d recommend you sleeping in a little late come Saturday or you might just find out what a ‘primitive weapon’ feels like when it hits slams into the ol’ front shoulder.

...T Dudley signing off.

Aren't you so glad you got to hear all about primitive weapons?  You're welcome!

Happy deer season, T man!


fall soups

I love soup.  We even served it at our fall wedding (3 yrs ago!), and that reminds me, I need to try and get that butternut squash soup recipe from our caterer.  It was delicious when we tried it, and everyone said it was sooo yummy (I didn't have any the day of).

This fall I've tried a few new soup recipes that T and I have loved.  The first one was crock pot Jambalaya.  I had some shrimp and chicken in the freezer that I wanted to use, so I just googled "crock pot jambalaya" and found this winner. See recipe ---> here.

Of course tweaking needs to take place when cooking for T, so this is what I did:

Crock Pot Jambalaya

Turkey Sausage
Diced tomatoes
Chicken Broth
All the spices listed in the recipe
Frozen Shrimp

Threw all these in the crock pot and cooked on high for 3 hours.  I threw in the shrimp after 3 hours and cooked for 30 more minutes.  Served it with some wild rice and it was delicious!

The next one was my favorite I think, and I saw it on pinterest.  Well I went back today to find the recipe and I can't exactly find the one I used online, so good thing I wrote it in my recipe book.

Lasagna Soup

2 T olive oil
1 lb turkey sausage
(1 green bell pepper) left this out because we don't like green peppers
1 onion, chopped
32 oz chicken broth
3 cloves garlic
15 oz can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t crushed red pepper
4 oz broken whole wheat lasagna (about 4 noodles)
1/2 c chopped basil
3 T parmesan cheese
1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese

Heat oil over medium-high heat in dutch oven.  Add sausage, onion, garlic and cook until sausage is browned and crumbled.

Add broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt & crushed red pepper.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes.

Add noodles and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until noodles are tender, about 15 minutes.  (Whole wheat noodles cook longer, so if using non-whole wheat, then about 10-12 mins.)

Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella, basil and parmesan.

Serve with your favorite bread!

 [photo courtesy T man]

T absolutely LOVED this recipe and talked about it for the next few days.  We froze the leftovers, so I'll get to bring that out when we get some chilly temps again!

We had our church class over on Sunday and again, I wanted some soup to go along with the fire we had out on the patio.  I pulled out our church cook book and made a taco soup recipe that everyone raved about, so I wanted to share this one, too.

Taco Soup

1 1/2 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans black or chili hot beans (I used one can of black)
11 oz corn
1 can rotel
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can hominy, drained

Brown beef (turkey) until done.  Drain well.  Add beans, corn, ro-tel, dry seasonings, tomato sauce, and hominy to meat mixture.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over corn chips and top with grated cheese, sour cream and cilantro!

Gibson thinks soups are delicious too

don't we have the cutest dog you've ever seen?  I hope he looks like a puppy forever....


a guest is with us

I know the desktop calendar is a little tardy (it's already November 7th!), but I had the idea this month to see about getting a friend of ours to share her awesome designs with everyone.

Jennifer Ferguson, who lives in Oklahoma, is one of T's dear friends from Oxford.  Jennifer is a graphic designer and I've always loved everything she creates.  First thing I ever got to see were her wedding invites (which were amazing), and everything since then is just so fun and so different!  She has an etsy shop where she makes the cutest greeting cards, so I urge you to check it out here ---> squirrelintheattic.

Here is what she created for us!

I hope everyone enjoys Jennifer's cute November desktop!  Go visit her etsy shop and leave some comments below!

Thanks Jennifer!