How does one jump into blogging after such an embarrassingly long absence? Well, here we go.

Random thoughts and musings.......

Are you having Olympic withdrawls now that the games are over? I'm not certain if you can relate, but my obsession with the Olympics left my husband a little puzzled. You see we are not "sporty" people. We never watch a game or attend any sort of organized sports. And truthfully, I'm glad I married a man who is not "married" to a team or has to get home to watch the game. If that is your thing, awesome! To each their own. But back to the Olympics- this year, my mom and I were actually in Chicago and watched the Opening Ceremony from a hotel, complete with snacks from Trader Joes. It was fabulous! I have since recorded the coverage each night and watched with baited breath as they swam fast and tumbled, and ran and ping ponged and even trampolined! And now, nothing. Sigh.

Also, another subject we should discuss, pie. There is a lady at the farmer's market who is killing the pie scene. She has cutesy marketing and homemade crust to die for. I'm currently enjoying a slice of gingered pear and apple pie with coffee. Not bad for a Monday afternoon.

Next up, the weather. Fall is my favorite season. You know this about me. So the last 2 days when I wake up and the temp is hovering at 60 degrees, I get all kinds of swoony and think about wearing my husbands flannel whilst sipping a cinnamon pumpkin latte and burning a maple sugared candle. Oh, speaking of pumpkin- this morning we "harvested" a volunteer pumpkin from the garden. What's a volunteer pumpkin you ask? Well let's rewind a little. Last year, sometime in December, when I realized my pumpkins were still on the porch and Christmas was near, I picked up those bad boys and threw them on our garden spot. Never to be thought of again.......until a couple of months ago. We noticed that a "squash" variety was growing in the garden. But all we had purposely planted were tomatoes, peppers and onions. Do you see where I'm going with this? Not much time passed and we noticed the vines were taking over the lawn, creeping over the fence and venturing into the neighbors lawn too. And as we peered under the giant  The sad thing about pumpkins coming on this early, well they don't make it to my "fall porch" where they sit happily amongst the mums and greet my visitors. But the great thing about pumpkins coming on this early is that if you husband is as nice as mine, he will cut them up, arrange them on a cookie sheet and roast them at 350 until tender. At that point you will wait until them are cool enough to handle and peel the skins, put them in your grandmother's pyrex mixing bowl, the one you normally use for making cookies and meatloafs, and then you will use a little elbow grease and show that masher who's boss. After that you will divide into ziploc freezer bags and throw into the freezer for a later date. Or you could go ahead and make a pie right then.

Other things I would like to mention, my church. I absolutely love my church and the people who are in it. It's a small country church but the hearts of the congregants are BIG. I'm currently the Sunday School teacher and something about that phrase makes my heart swell. For many years we have struggled with fitting in at a church, or finding a church we could call home. And now my hubby is the pastor and shepherd of this flock and I'm so proud of him and the calling God has for us. Just remember, God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called. We are always going to fall short, but God has our back.

Well that's all for random ramblings today. I'll be back soon.....

Winter Is For Soups…….


We are having some very warm weather in my neck of the woods lately.
It's February, and our weekend temps are going to near 70 degrees!
To some of you frozen over in the tundra, that may sound heavenly, but I would prefer a little snow.
To which we have had none so far.

Now normally, as soon as fall hits and the weather is a bit chilly, the soup bug bites me.
I love soups of all kind.
Chicken noodle.
Beef stew.
Tomato Bisque.
Potato Corn Chowder.
I could go on and on.

I'm always looking for new recipes, I get stuck in a rut and make the same stuff all the time.
Probably because it's easy.

Our local newspaper recently did an article featuring soups, and they broke down the different types.
I liked the clarification and thought maybe you are a dork like me and might want to know about all the different soup bases.
However, if you are a fancy soup chef or some kind of aficionado, you might want to skip this next part.

Types of Soup

Bisque- a thick, rich soup made from fruits, vegetables, game fish or shellfish and thickened with cream, pureed until smooth, and often contains sherry. 

Bouillon- A clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings. It can be consumed in this state, or used as a base for other dishes, sauced. Bouillon is a stock that is strained and then served clear as a coup.

Broth- a thin soup made from a clear stock foundation that can be thickened with starch or the addition of rice, barley, vegetables of eggs.

Chowder- a soup usually with fish or seafood as the main ingredient. Potatoes and other vegetables are typically added and the soup is enriched with salt pork fatback and thickened with flour or crushed soup crackers-two ingredients that define a chowder.

Consomme- a refined, clarified broth.

Puree-  a soup made from boiling vegetables that are strained into a smooth pulp.. A good puree has the consistency of thick cream.

Stock- a liquid in which leftover flesh, bones or shells and vegetables have been boiled to create a flavored base. The flavor is extracted by long, slow cooking. Stock is not seasoned; it is an unfinished product that is an ingredient in another dish.

Veloute- the richest, thickest soup of all, veloute is a broth-usually chicken or shellfish-thickened with eggs, butter and cream.

Well, I feel a little smarter reading that- how about you?

I had never heard of a "Veloute" before and if I had been asked on some game show to describe the difference between a broth and a bouillon, I would have failed miserably.

So now that we are geared with the knowledge of soup bases, the possibilities are endless.

I have heard before that
  "with a sharpened pencil, anything is possible….."
"with enough coffee, anything is possible……"

But maybe, we can now say,
"with the right broth base, anything is possible….."

And since Pinterest is my bff, I 'm going to share a few soups from my board that look good.

Happy Soup Day to you!

Hello Friday


Let's take a trip back into my youth, shall we?

Somewhere between wearing Care Bear shirts…..

And killing it with the carpet bag vest and jean skirt…….

(My cute little cousins Holly and Morgan. I think we were at White Fence Farm. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm wearing panty hose under that jean skirt. Ugh.)

There was a night on TV called TGIF.
And all the shows were golden.
And family friendly.
That means no nakedness or swearing or other disturbing things happening that are so readily available on TV's today.

It was on ABC.
And they played shows like Family Matters and Boy Meets World.

I literally could not wait to get home after a long week of school and eat popcorn and watch these shows with my family.

To this day, my mom still texts me on Fridays and says "TGIF".


Have you been following along with She Reads Truth ? Everyday, those ladies bring the word and it packs a punch.
Not only are their words beautiful, but the graphics they combine with it are stunning.
Some seriously talented gals running that show.

Today's reading on Esther is about Power, Pride and Anger.

Everyday, there is something horrible on the news. Its full of more bad than good.
There is so much evil and wickedness that it seems like staying in bed with the covers over your head is the safest bet.

But God created us to be influencers.
Full of grace and hope for those who can't find it for themselves.
People are struggling to find their way all over this world.
It's not always headline worthy stuff either. 
That quiet girl in the cubicle next to you. Yep.
That guy who makes your Iced Venti Americano, with an extra shot, light on the ice every morning, him too.
Or that couple you share a pew with at church, going thru the motions. 
The family up the block pretending every things cool. 
It's a real struggle friends.

Let love be your guiding light this weekend.
Pick out the good from the bad.
Let Love Be Your Motto.

Very Pinteresting….


Sometimes I peruse Pinterest for recipes.
Sometimes I peruse Pinterest for a craft idea.
Or to look for a good book.
Or Christmas stuff.
Or cute dogs.

And one time I saw the cutest picture of a baby giraffe.

Can you even handle that?!
Go ahead and type in baby giraffe's on Pinterest. It will instantly make your day brighter.

Lately I've been wanting to fluff up our nest a little. We have lived in our new house a little over 3 months now. Our walls are bare and not much actual decorating has taken place. I kind of feel like I needed to get to know the house. And how it flows. And what works best and where. But now I'm ready to make it ours.

I mentioned in a previous post that the New Year brings on thoughts of moving the furniture around or just doing something NEW.

So hear are some of my recent pins and inspirations for decorating.

I hope you enjoyed some of these cozy spaces, and maybe even found a little inspiration too.

Would you still be my friend if I didn't wash my hair????


Lately I've been fed up with my shampoo. The expensive stuff, the cheap stuff. All of it. 
It leaves my hair feeling weird or my scale is itchy or broken out.
The end result is dull, lifeless hair.

I used to do my hair on a regular basis.
Up until 5 years ago, I had colored my hair since junior high.
That's 18 years of hair abuse.
And if you would have seen some of my dye jobs, oh girl.
The things I have put my hair thru should be illegal.
Bad perms, several colors of the rainbow, covered up by other colors of the rainbow.
I'm relieved this all happened before instagram and Facebook.
I had countless bad haircuts, including once incident, late one night in college after watching a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow where I thought my roommate was somehow equipped to cut my hair with a cheap razor and dull scissors. How hard could it be? I had to wear turtle necks or a scarf for a very long time after that. ( Thank God it wasn't summer.) My roommates thought it was hilarious.

So almost 5 years of not abusing my hair. 
And the grays are showing.
Most days I let my hair air dry and just hope for the best.
But I feel the weight of the shampoo/conditioners.
Leaving it looking blah.
I have come across several articles about kicking shampoo to the curb and then finally I read this one.

  • Baking Soda WashAdd one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water inside the squeeze bottle. Shake well. Use enough in the shower to fully saturate only the roots of your hair. A pre-made bottle of this solution will last me 4 washings (but it’s going to be different for every person.) I also have to use 2 tablespoons of bs in my solution instead of just one. Keep in your hair until it starts feeling ‘slippery.’ I’ve noticed this change after about 2 minutes. THOROUGHLY rinse out.
  • Vinegar Rinse: Add two tablespoons of vinegar to one cup of water inside a spray bottle. Shake well. Apply to length of hair (roots are not needed) paying special attention to your ends. Keep in for the remainder of your shower and rinse right before you get out. Some women keep it in as a leave-in conditioner (personally, I’m not sure about this one).

I worry about the chemicals in shampoo. And all the ingredients I can't pronounce.
And I can't even bare to think about those ingredients being tested on animals.
But I also like having nice hair.
So surely there is a happy medium somewhere?
And I'm tired of washing it

So do a little reading. See how you feel?
What does your daily hair regimen look like?

I'm going to try this out and keep you posted.

Have You Met Eugene?


You all know Charlie right? Cutest Beagle in all the land?

His cute furriness kills me. Everyday.
We adopted him from the shelter almost 4 years ago. And they called him Roscoe. Pffft.
I thank God that I didn't come upon him and his other little puppy brothers and sisters because I would have crumbled under the cuteness and become a crazy beagle dog lady and brought them all home. Whew!
He is a total mama's boy and we are nothing short of ridiculous when it comes to our dogs.

Those big fuzzy ears are heart melters. 
He is totally, 100% spoiled to the core.
He is our first "child".
He sleeps with us.
And drinks the rest of our coffee that he thinks we leave for him in our mugs every morning.
Basically, he's addicted.

But this is a blog post about Eugene. Our second child.

Hi Eugene!
He is happy all the time.
Always wagging his tail.
Always ready to eat.
Loves to play outside.
Content with chewing on a bone for hours (if it lasts that long!)
He is the perfect sidekick for Charlie.

His story with us, starts with Teddy.
You know, that farm boy I married?

Hi Teddy!
{Gosh he's cute.}

Ok, back to Eugene.
Sometime early last Spring, Teddy was reading the newspaper and saw that there was a "mess of hound dogs" at the shelter.
Darn those newspapers featuring cute puppies and what not.

So he decided that he needed a dog. Possibly a huntin' dog. 
A dog that would ride in the truck with him and go on adventures. 
Really a sidekick for Teddy.
(Charlie gets car sick and prefers to nap on the couch with a good bunky, i.e.. blank)

And we had long decided that Charlie really did need a friend because he was doing weird things. Like barking at the broom for no reason.
Or shredding up napkins and papers when he normally did not.
We thought he was lonely while we were at work and needed a pal.
Turns out we were right. (Thank God!)

We prayed and prayed about it.
I assure you, praying over your silly pets, is not silly at all.
God loves them too.
And yes, all dogs ARE going to heaven and don't try to tell me otherwise. I mean it.

Ok, where were we?

We were on our way to the shelter to pick out a hound dog.
But on our way we passed the local farm store and wouldn't you know that on this particularly sunny Saturday morning there was someone in an old farm truck giving away puppies.
Of course!

So we stopped.
And Teddy instantly fell in love with him.
Ol' Eugene.

When he was tiny he looked this.

He was so little, and fragile and too young for them to be giving him away from his mama.
He's a lab mix of sorts.

And he would fall asleep anywhere.
He would be playing, playing, playing and then zonk out!
Just like that!

He started capturing out hearts immediately. 
Although the puppy phase is not for the faint of heart.
We really, really lucked out with him.
Hardly any accidents in the house.
Nothing major eaten up.

He and Charlie got to adventuring right away…… my ferns on the front porch!

Eugene got cuter and cuter everyday.
And bigger.
It was like we watering and feeding one of those things that expand in the bathtub the longer it soaks.

Here's a funny fact:
When we want our boys to come inside from the backyard, we stick our heads out the back door and whistle "Flava Flav". Do you know that sound? The old rap guy who always wears a huge clock around his neck?
Yeah, I know it's weird.
BUT, the dogs come running!
It's wonderful.
For awhile I secretly thought Eugene might only speak Spanish, but luckily we broke thru that language barrier. 

See? Bigger.

He loves to sniff my ears and kiss them.
I'm not sure what this means about me.

You cannot imagine how hard it is to get a picture with him not moving.
He is constantly on the move.

Here they are, tag teaming, slurping up coffee from Teddy's mug.

And so that is the story of our Eugene.
And I'm holing true to the part about me sharing too many pics of our dogs.

Happy Monday!

Random Weekend Thoughts


Hello Saturday, 

Oh how I love you! You start with a little sleeping in, several mugs of coffee and maybe a little reading.
Then the rest of the day feels endless with opportunities. 
Should we wander about the town? Stopping at the book store, grabbing more coffee (always a good thing) or eating lunch out?
Or maybe instead we should stay in, and bake the day away. A loaf of bread or a new soup sounds super inviting on a cold day.
And then of course there is dinner to think about, should we keep it easy and order in a pizza or should I get that frozen bird out of the freezer and roast a whole chicken? Because recently I am feeling unstoppable when it comes to cooking, even if it turns out terrible.
Have you ever made your own chicken stock?
I looked up a few recipes.
This one looks like a good one to try!

Did I tell you that I whipped up some homemade mayo last week?
Oh yes, I really did.
I found the recipe here. 
This might sound silly, but I really felt a little like a superhero after I did that.
It was so ridiculously easy, it was almost embarrassing. 
The same can be said for homemade pie crust. 
Why do we buy the store bought (I know, I know- it's easy!)?

Each and every time I make it from scratch, I think to myself "Rachel- you should do this more often!"

But then I hear Paula Deen in my ear saying from her show that she uses store bought pie crust and it feels like it's ok. Or is it?

Dear Paula Deen, 
Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a store bought pie crust?
Yours Truly, 
Ambitious in Arkansas

Don't worry. I would never send such a letter to her. 
I love her.

Sunday will be church and life group and no doubt a good meal or two. 
There is also the expectance of a "wintry mix" here in Northern Arkansas.
Which really means, anything goes.

And after all this Much Ado About Nothing, I will leave you with this. In case you are all about that bass. :)
Have a great weekend!

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