Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frugal Flowers

A couple Sundays ago, I found this bunch of flowers on the kitchen counter
with the note tucked in the top.
'Love you like all get out!'

For the next couple weeks, they opened up, little by little.

 What a gorgeous bouquet ...
& all for $1.99 in the market-down flower bin at Kroger!
I love flowers ... & I like 'em even better when they haven't broke the bank.

He loves me & I love him!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Must FOLLOW, not co-lead

I took this in '09 at Spring Mill State Park on a camping trip.  See 2 of our boys standing upstream?

 We've all seen the bumper stickers that say
God is my co-pilot.

Sounds spiritual, but it's simply not true.

The truth is ... on this journey through life
{walking by faith, not by sight}
God IS the pilot.

He's in the driver's seat
{right where I want Him to be}.

We must ride along, not fretting as he navigates us
through the twists & turns of life.
We must follow, not co-lead.
{Where He leads me, I will follow.}

We are NOT in charge of this journey.
We are called to restfully follow.
Our Pilot is completely trustworthy.
{What time I am afraid, I will trust in Him.}

He, that breathed the very breath of life into our bodies,
is well-capable of navigating us through the turbulence.
{Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun 
a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.}

We can rest in the very situation where HE has lovingly placed us, 
knowing when we do, we'll find freedom that ONLY comes from following.
{Where He leads me, I will follow.}

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
~Proverbs 16:9 

I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
~Proverbs 4:11

{inspired from my morning devotion ~
More Joy for the Journey}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My new rave:  BISCOTTI

No, it's NOT homemade.
Got it right off the grocery store shelf.

If you've never had it, your first thought may be:
'boy, these are hard cookies'!
You'll be right!
Biscotti translates to 'twice baked'.
One old Italian bragged that biscotti could be stored & eaten for centuries ...
& because of this, it was useful during long travels & times of war.

The first documented recipe for the biscuit is a centuries-old manuscript, 
now preserved in Prato, found by the eighteenth-century scholar Amadio Baldanzi.
How incredibly cool is that?!
In Italy & throughout Europe, biscotti is meant to be 'dunked' 
& is traditionally served after dessert, with wine or orange juice.

I like mine dunked into my hot morning coffee.
What a treat!

Thank you to the Italians for another delectable delight!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Garrett's Day at the Statehouse!

Garrett is spending the day at the Indiana State house serving as a page.
He is working with Representative Woody Burton.

I think he looks like a future politician, huh?

What does a page do:
House and Senate Pages are students who assist members of the 
General Assembly at our state capital in Indianapolis, Indiana.  
Their duties include delivering materials and messages within the Capital complex, 
answering phones in the Members’ offices and working in the 
House or Senate Chambers when the General Assembly is in session.  
Serving as a Page is an excellent way to learn about and participate in 
the legislative process of our State.   

In addition to visiting the capitol building and touring such locations as 
the governor's office, the chambers of the Indiana House and Senate and 
the Indiana Supreme Court, pages get the chance to witness floor sessions,
committee meetings, and help staff members.

Today will likely prove to be quite an electric day at the Statehouse.
The Democrats have boycotted House sessions in an attempt to prevent action 
on the controversial right-to-work legislation.

Indiana House Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer announced Friday that 
House Democrats would be willing to return to the Indiana Statehouse at 
“high noon” today. 

Garrett could not have been more excited to be at the Statehouse today, hoping
to get in on the action!

Another big 'to-do' in Indy right now, the Super Bowl is coming to town!
Super Bowl XLVI will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012. 
On our drive in to the Statehouse this morning, we got to see our city getting all
decked-out for the big event.

Garrett is standing in front of our newest hotel, the ginormous JW Marriott.
The largest banner being installed for the Super Bowl is on the front of it.
It's only partially completed, but you can see the Lombardi Trophy taking shape.
I wouldn't want to be working on the scaffolds for this project!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Flea Market Finds

There's a brand new flea market in town.
It's only 3 minutes from me.
Do you see the potential for a problem?
Yep, me too.

I felt compelled to check it out ...
& help their new business venture, just a bit.
I only bought the things that I could.not.resist.

Here's a look at my new treasures!

My favorite find:  these old skates!
Could anyone resist these?
These look like they'd fit a 7 or 8 year old ... 
& I can just imagine who may have skated around a frozen pond in these delightful boots.

I've been wanting to get my hands on some old skates for a while now 
& at $5 a pair, these were quite a find!

I love the rusty old latches.

Oh the fun with these when I decorate at Christmas time.
For now, I think I'll hang a pair on the old sled that's sitting on the front porch. 

These is my 2nd favorite find: an antique wooden candle holder.
I've seen these in magazines & I'm so excited to now have one of my own.
Another great deal at $10.

Old, chippy, discolored ... all the buzz words that equal 'appealing' in my eyes.
Found this unique ironstone dish for $5.
Never seen one quite like this & I love it so much.
It will be perfect with my other pieces.

I had to bring this cute lil' roller home with me!
It has just the right amount of character.

This will be used as decor above my kitchen cabinets.
Another $5 well spent.

To use along side the roller, I bought this old grater {$2} & pan {$1}.
Gunnar wanted to be assured that both were for 'looks' only ;)

Loved this oval frame & drawer shelf.
$4 for the frame ~ $3.50 for the shelf. 

Doesn't it have such pretty detailing?
I even like the polka-dot paper.

Isn't this shelf super cute?
I'm thinking this will go in the master bathroom.

I have quite a fascination with doors, gates & windows ...
so this lil' guy was hard to pass up {$2.50}.

I even found some 'non-decor' items.
A whole booth of Goodie products netted me the headbands.
As for the mini-chopping board, I have one of these already & I love it.
For .75, I decided I could you another one.
And, I always like to have basket wrappers for gift-giving, 
as I tend to go this route often.
Fill a basket full of coordinating items, wrap it in a clear bag, tie on a gorgeous bow
& you have a beautiful gift!

Oopsie, how could I forget about these beauts.
Found these vintage clip earrings for $1.
These will be the perfect bling on a Shabby Bowtique  flower!

Not to bad for a day of 'junking' ... not bad at all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Gyros

We recently had dinner at a wonderful family-owned Greek restaurant near us.
The atmosphere was very authentic & the traditional Gyros {fyi: pronounced 'year ohs'}
were fabulously delicious! 
We wanted to go back the next day week, but since we weren't able to,
I decided to see if I could come up with a copy-cat version at home.
I'm happy to say, the recipe got a thumbs up from everyone!


Looks yummy, huh?
Here's what you do:

Peel & chop 1 seedless cucumber.
Strain for a few minutes, getting rid of much of the water.
If you don't do this, your Tzatziki cucumber sauce will be too runny.

Mix together Greek yogurt, garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon, cumin,  dill,
& salt & pepper to taste.
Chill in the fridge while preparing the rest of the meal.

I decided to go with chicken instead of the traditional gyro meat 
{usually a beef & lamb combo}, seeing as how I don't own a spit & all.
Chop approximately 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Season according to your taste.

I used a bit of garlic powder, mesquite grill seasoning, & italian seasoning.
Saute chicken in olive oil til no longer pink in center.

Here's my chicken chopper {the resident chef-in-training}.

Heat your bread in the oven {5 minutes or so}, in the microwave {whole stack for 1 minute},
or pan fry just enough to warm through.
I used what I had on hand ... which was flat bread & Nan.
Pita would be the most authentic choice, of course.

Build your gyro by topping the flat bread with shredded cheddar cheese, chicken,
shredded lettuce, tomato & onion slices, & Tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Chicken Gyros

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
preferred seasonings, salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
Saute chicken in olive oil until no longer pink in center. 

6-8 flat pitas, flat bread, or Nan


1 seedless cucumber, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dill, chopped
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste 

Mix all above ingredients to make the Tzatziki cucumber sauce.

Shredded lettuce
tomato & onion slices
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Hunt

Seems we're all on the 'hunt' around here lately.

I've taken down all the Christmas decorations & packed 'em up for another year.
I have not, however, filled up the empty shelves & spaces.
They sit bare, a silent reminder that I need to get busy.

I've gotten out all my decor 'possibilities', a whole pile of things taking up floor 
space in the living room.
I'll be using my existing favorites ... just hoping to switch 'em up a bit for a new look.
My style is pretty consistent throughout the house, so most of my things are
interchangeable from room to room.
Basically, I've been shopping my house.
It's fun ... & it's frugal ... but it's also frustrating.
I go back & forth.
Would this look good above the cabinet or on the end table?
Should I put this in the china cabinet or on top of the armoire?

So, in my usual fashion, I start looking for inspiration ...
in magazines, at blogs, & dare I mention my new source for inspiration, Pinterest?
Oh my.
What Pinterest should be called is 'Two Hours Later', cause that's precisely what happens.
Once you get on, you can hardly pull yourself away.
If I tried to make, cook, wear or visit all the things I've liked or pinned, well, let's just say
I'd be busy til eternity & still wouldn't accomplish it all!

So, my hunt is for decor ideas & inspiration.
Really, I've seen enough in the last few weeks to decorate 10 houses.
What I need to be doing is ... doing it!
I need to get busy!

I'm also hunting a few new old pieces to add in.
One antique store down & about 3 more to go.
Hopefully by the end of the week, my mission will be accomplished.

Our sons are on the hunt too ... for vehicles.
Yes, I said vehicleS ... plural.
Our twin sons are each ready to buy their 1st truck.
They've been saving & saving in order to pay cash for a vehicle.
 They just turned 17 last month, & probably by the end of the week, 
our driveway will host another couple trucks.
They've been to several used car dealerships & have spent plenty of time online 
checking things out.
It's exciting for them, nerve-wracking for me.
I'm very proud of them though, choosing not to go into debt for something to drive.
The James Pennington, Jim Sammons, & Dave Ramsey is paying off.

James, well, he's hunting for something too, but I can't announce for what just yet.
You'll have to stay tuned for that one.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breakfast at Pennington's

photo credit

My boys often stare into the pantry & say, "I don't know what to have for breakfast ...
Mom, suggest something!"

So as I begin to name off the usual breakfast choices, I usually manage to mention 
something that they have forgotten about.

We all have our go-to favorites, like cereal or eggs & toast.
Occasionally though, we get on 'kicks' of eating certain things ... 
& we'll eat it everyday til we make ourselves sick of it.
Lately, I'm on a kick of eating grits.

Yep, grits.

And when I casually mentioned that on Facebook, well, let me tell you, 
that was a HOT topic.
Now, it wasn't the grits, in & of themselves, that caused such a stir ... 
no, it was the fact that I like my grits, dare I say, with sugar that caused such a who-do.

Course, anybody who knows anything about anything knows that Southerners 
take their grits seriously.
When we were vacationing in SC, we toured Boone Hall Plantation.
As we were standing in the beautiful dining room, the guide was telling about the foods 
that were commonly eaten at the plantation.
When she mentioned grits, she said it was plain-out a sin to eat grits with sugar!
That put me in my place, no two ways about it.
My mom is a Virginia girl, born & raised, but she married a Hoosier.
That surely must be where I've gotten off track with the grits.

All this got me to thinking about how our food choices, our likes & dislikes, are influenced 
by our heritage & what part of the country we grew up in.
We all eat primarily the same things ... just in various different ways.

I thought I'd share with you some of our breakfast faves ... 
ya know, breakfast at Tiffany's  Pennington's!
Who knows, you may see something 'new' that you'd like to try out at your house.

photo credit
  • White Rice ~ we love this for breakfast!  
I always have the 'minute' rice on hand.  
Equal parts water & rice ... & pop it in the microwave for 5 minutes.
After the water is absorbed, we sweeten w/white sugar, butter & a wee little bit 
of milk to make it creamy.
Two words: Yummm-O.

photo credit
  • Grits
These are cooked & served much the same way as the rice.
Follow the microwave directions on the canister.
Sweeten with sugar & add plenty of butter {butter & grits are best friends, ya know}.

A friend shared how she likes her breakfast grits & I think I'm ganna try it ...
serve them salted, with over-easy eggs & toast.
I let you know my verdict ;)

photo credit
  • French Toast
Quick & easy ... I use 1 egg for every 2 slices of bread.
Beat the egg in a shallow bowl & dip the bread in, coating evenly.
Sometimes I add just a teeny bit of vanilla extract in the egg to add a yummy flavor.
Spray skillet with cooking spray {or oil} & fry over medium heat.
Serve w/warm maple syrup.

Now, my favorite way to eat french toast is to leave off the syrup 
& instead, sprinkle the toast w/a little salt.
I don't know ... it's just something I saw my mom do growing up.

photo credit
  • Toast
Not much better than the classic breakfast of buttered toast. 
The Pennington twist here came from Garrett ... & oh is it yum.
After buttering the toast, sprinkle it with brown sugar!
I know!

Another way we like toast is topped with Nutella.
If you aren't familiar with Nutella, you must quickly get acquainted!
It's a thick, chocolatety hazelnut spread that is pretty much addicting.
{I've tried the Kroger version & it's just as delicious at a cheaper price.}

My mom often made us cinnamon toast.
She buttered the bread, sprinkled on the cinnamon & sugar, & baked it 
in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

And lastly, another thing I learned from my momma, buttered toast is quite
tasty dipped in chocolate milk.
My kids love this too.
You'll just have to trust me on this one ;)

photo credit
  • Eggs
We love eggs around here!
Boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, egg salad, deviled eggs, eggnog ... 
you name it, we like it!
Here are some of our faves:
~Eggs fried over-easy

~Fried egg sandwich 
           Fry the egg, yellow cooked through.  Salt & pepper & serve on soft white bread.
           Sometimes we like a bit of mustard & mayo ... kinda tastes like a deviled egg.

~Scrambled eggs
           This is how I make 'em:  beat eggs with fork, adding in milk & a bit of water.
           For 2 eggs, use about 1/4 c. milk & a Tbsp. of water {this makes 'em fluffy}.
           Fry in butter for extra flavor.

~Scrambled egg sandwich
          This is another of my mom's specialties.  
          Follow the same directions above for the eggs.
          The main difference is in the frying technique ... do not break up the egg.
          Let them fry flat, similar to a crepe.
          This way, there is one large piece of egg for the sandwich.
          Dress up the sandwich with mayo, lettuce, & onion ... delish!

photo credit
  • Breakfast sandwiches
Riley isn't much of a breakfast eater, so a breakfast sandwich often appeals to him.
I buy the bagged sausage patties from Aldi just for this purpose.
Cook in the microwave for 1 minute & put it on toast, bagels, biscuits
or English muffins.
Add a fried egg & a slice of cheese & you've got something better than Mickey D's.
{Bacon is a good choice too.} 

photo credit
  • Homemade Donuts ~ I am a rock-star mom when I make these!

Use a tube of the small biscuits {not the Grands} for this recipe.
Flatten each biscuit a tiny bit ... you can even cut out the center for donut holes.
Heat canola oil in skillet over medium heat then reduce to low.
Fry biscuits on each side until lightly golden, making sure center is no longer doughy.
While hot, toss in powdered sugar {or cinnamon sugar}.

Here are a few more morning favorites:
  • homemade waffles & pancakes {countless ways to add variety here}
  • biscuits & sausage gravy
  • oatmeal {old-fashioned, quick cook, steel-cut}
  • cereal
  • pop-tarts, toaster strudels & scrambles
  • fresh fruit
  • breakfast burrito
  • bagels with flavored cream cheese

"He that but looketh on a plate of ham & eggs to lust after it hath already committed 
breakfast with it in his heart."  C.S. Lewis

Here's to happy mornings, no matter how you like your breakfast.