Happiness Is . . . A Snow Day

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We did it! We FINALLY got some snow - a mere 1 1/2 inches, mind - but when you haven't seen a good snow in years, that will certainly suffice!

The boys have been making good use of it. They've been knocking things off of our 100 Things to Do This Winter List, focusing mainly on #20 (snowball fights).

And there are some other kids that I think seem to enjoy the snow too. Check out these snow-themed Peanuts finds:


Isn't this how every kid feels when they build a snow fort:



And isn't this how every adult feels when it snows:


Maybe if you got a tad bit more snow than we did, you'll be able to attempt this (the neighbors would be so jealous!):


And I'm leaving you with this free 8 X 10 printable of Lucy's thoughts on snow. (Download it from Mrs. Greene.) For what it's worth, I think Lucy is on the right track - everybody knows you can't make snow cream with the first snow of the year . . . although since some of us have been waiting for a few years for a good snow, we might be willing to look at that as a mere "guideline" and dive in. :-)


One Hit Wonders: Free Valentines Printables

Sunday, January 26, 2014

If you've followed us for any length of time, then you know that we've brought you Free Valentine's Printable Roundups in 2013 and again in 2014. Well, before this season got too far away from us, I wanted to jump in on the action and bring you some free 8 X 10 Valentine's Printables. And what better place, I thought, than with song lyrics. 

But, I didn't want to go the traditional route - I wanted to feature one hit wonders:


The criteria I used for my selection process was overwhelmingly scientific - I chose songs that were either dubbed one hit wonders by VH1 or Wikipedia (and certainly ones that I remember). ;-) But, I did specifically choose songs that would likely never be thought of as "love" songs - and yet they have lyrics that are perfectly "schmoopy" for Valentine's purposes. 

I have a feeling you'll know these (but I've included videos just in case you need a refresher):

Casanova by LeVert - this 1987 tune's main message is that the singer "ain't no Casanova"  (how romantic!) but the chorus manages to leave us with this sweet message:




I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow - this 1982 hit is actually a cover of a 1965 hit by the Strangeloves, but let's be honest, don't we all remember it as THE  Bow Wow Wow song? And the first line of the song is pretty Valentine-worthy:




And finally, perhaps the one you'll have to think the hardest about, is Iko Iko by the Belle Stars. This 1989 hit is actually a song about two Mardi Gras Indian tribes and their confrontation. You probably heard it first in the movie Rain Man (and then again years later in The Hangover). What could be romantic about a tribal confrontation??? Well not much, but the song did give us this this awesome lyric:




These are sized to print (high-quality) at 8 X 10, but if you're the crafty type, you can also resize and use them to make a Valentine card for your sweetie.

Enjoy!

Cowboy Caviar

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This recipe is a real winner and if you're looking for a new appetizer for Super Bowl Sunday, then give this one a try! And while you should have already eaten your black-eyed peas for New Year's Day, this recipe would also be an excellent way to serve those up, so make sure to Pin it. 

(I've also included links to other Super Bowl appetizers after this recipe, so keep scrolling!)


Cowboy Caviar
1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can white corn, drained and rinsed
5 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
3 avocados, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp. cilantro
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add drained and rinsed black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, sliced onions, and diced avocados to a large bowl. 
  2. Distribute lime juice over diced avocados to help prevent browning.
  3. Remove seeds and pulp from tomatoes, dice, and add to bowl.
  4. Add Italian dressing, cilantro, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients.
  5. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips. (This is best served the same day as you prepare it.)
Notes: 

Make your own Italian dressing with our Italian dressing mix recipe, or use a prepared dressing.

This makes a great appetizer, but it's also a great sandwich filling - load up a 1/2 pita pocket with this mix and you have a tasty lunch!

Looking for other Super Bowl recipe ideas? Check out these other Harris Sisters recipes that would be perfect for game day:

  1. Pizza Fondue
  2. Healthier Queso Dip
  3. Spinach Artichoke Dip
  4. Super Simple Salsa
  5. Creamy Spinach and Red Pepper Dip
  6. Black Bean Salsa
  7. Liar Liar Chex Mix
  8. Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  9. Sweet Corn Salsa
  10. Kicking Butt & Taking Names Chili

Snow Cream Recipe

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Here in good old Music City, we are still high and dry- COLD, but dry.  All the snow missed us to our north and east.  But, I know quite a few of you might be able to use this recipe this week.  


I fondly remember making snow cream every winter growing up.  But Mama always said that you should never use the first snow of the season.  No worries, back in the day- we ALWAYS had more than one snow.  So we dutifully waited until the second (and subsequent) snows to mix up our snow cream, and it was always worth coming back in from playing in the snow for!

Those were the days!  This southern girl sure does like a good snow.  Enjoy some for me!

Winter/ Valentine's Wreath: Decorating your Front Door for the Wintertime Blues

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I don't know about you, but for me it always seems like that wintry time between the holidays and springtime is just a little blue- ESPECIALLY after taking down and packing away all the lights, glitz, and glamour that is Christmastime.  And I have personally struggled for years with finding some sort of wreath for our front door that is seasonally appropriate for this wintertime stretch. 

So this was the year I decided to do something about it.  Typically, when decorating a wreath you want to choose floral that is right for the season, but that becomes a bit of a challenge in the winter. Yes, there is evergreen, but to me, that just looks like you forgot to take down your Christmas wreath.  And then there is also boxwood, but you might remember, I just did a boxwood wreath for Christmas this year, and it was definitely time for a change.  So I decided to start with a grapevine wreath instead, and here is my finished product. 



You will notice I also incorporated ivy into my wreath, just stringing it along over my grapevine. And because I wanted it to look Valentine-y without using hearts and roses, I chose deep deep red flowers for the bulk of my floral.  I added a couple of green hydrangea sprigs to break up the red a little and hint at the coming spring, and finished it with my pièce de résistance, a deep red peacock.   She is truly fantastic, and her tail feathers are so long, I couldn't even get it all in this photo.  

This wreath was super simple to make.  All supplies came from the floral section of my local craft store.  I waited until they were running a 60% off floral sale, and then stocked up.  I always arrange everything on my wreath the way I want it before I start gluing any of it down.  And I always leave the stems on my floral pretty long too.  It helps when you are working with grapevine as you can just tuck the stems directly into the wreath for extra security.  Once you have it all where you want it, secure it with hot glue (or crafting wire).  I happened to use hot glue on everything except my lovely love bird. She already had wire on her feet so they were easy to secure.  I just used an extra measure of wire around her neck to help keep her in place so she wouldn't be top heavy.  If I had been thinking more clearly at the time, I would have also added a few pearls around her neck.  She seems like the kind of girl who might like that.  

Note to self: pick up a cheap pack of pearl beads next time I am out and about. 

And voilà!  Just like that, I now have a wreath for my front door that looks wintry without looking like I accidentally left my Christmas wreath up too long, and looks Valentine-y without screaming hearts and roses. Mission accomplished!

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Monday, January 20, 2014

I THINK my love of roasted vegetables has been well documented in these recipes: Garlic Roasted Asparagus, Garlic Roasted Green Beans, Roasted Pumpkin Puree, and Roasted Tomato Soup

BUT, just so that we're clear on the subject, I thought I would bring you Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup today. It's quick and easy (not to mention delicious)!


Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup
2 heads cauliflower
10 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
12 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
parsley and croutons for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Cover in minced garlic.
  2. Roast for 25 minutes until the cauliflower is golden in spots.
  3. While the cauliflower roasts, heat the remaining olive oil and add the onion, cooking until the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for another minute.
  4. Stir in the cooked cauliflower and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Carefully ladle batches of the soup into a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot.
  6. Add milk and cheese, stirring and cooking on low until cheese is melted.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Garnish with Garlic Parmesan Croutons and parsley before serving.

Photography at Its Finest

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I have often said if you want to jazz up your photos, sprinkle them liberally with kids and animals.  And if you don't have any, borrow some.  :)  Turns out I have been proven right once again.  Our fabulous family photographer, the talented Emily Gibbs, just shared the most amazing photos taken by a mother in Russia of her children playing with the animals on their farm.  

Take a look and prepare for some serious precious overload. 









And in case that weren't enough, there's more- much more.  Take a look at all these amazing photos here.  Enjoy!

One Man's Trash: Pink Depression Glass

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In today's edition of "One Man's Trash" we take a look at some of my favorite collectible glassware. For the past several years now, I have consistently sought out pink Depression Glass to add to my Valentine's Day table decor.  Each year, I usually find a piece or two that I am especially keen on, and this year was no exception.  Here's a quick look at some of the Depression Glass gracing my Valentine's table this year. 







To give you a little background, Depression Glass was produced in large quantities by many different glassware companies across the US around the time of the Great Depression.  In most cases, it was given away for free or distributed at a very low cost, as an incentive to attract customers into businesses (such as movie theaters) or to buy certain products (such as cereal or other food items) at a time when there wasn't much disposable money in most households.  

For the most part, Depression Glass pieces were not especially high quality items.  Remember, they were mass produced and distributed.  However, their collectibility derives from the fact that these pieces are scarce today.  Obviously, they are no longer produced, and due to the fragile nature of Depression Glass, many pieces didn't survive over the years.  Yes, you can still find them on the market, but expect to pay a pretty penny in some cases, especially if it's a rare pattern or color- oh yes, there were many more colors produced than just pink, although it happens to be my personal favorite.  

So there's your quick overview.  I love learning about the history of vintage items.  They have certainly lived a life before us.  Kind of makes you wonder exactly where they came from.  Did they live in a housewife's cupboard in Michigan, Maine, or Missouri?  Or grace the dinner table in Louisiana, Texas, or Colorado?  We may never know those kinds of answers, but it sure is fun to think about, isn't it?  

Free Valentine's Day Printables

Friday, January 10, 2014

You may remember the Walkush Family's trials and tribulations with handmade Valentines last year. Well, this year, I've got a handle on things and I've been scouring the Interwebs for ideas. You see, now that the boys have had a taste of handmade Valentines, they have absolutely no interest in going back. Making them is far too fun! ;-)

So, that being said and with our information from last year firmly implanted in my brain, I've managed to gather a nice group of FREE Valentine's printables that will be easy to assemble - especially since we have two separate sets to do. I've also included ideas below to help with party planning (should you have the need) and decor.

Make sure to check out my FREE Valentine's Day Printables Pinterest Board and my Valentines Day Pinterest Board. I will be loading them up in the days and weeks to come with my latest and greatest findings of FREE Valentine's printables and decor.

Here are my FREE Printable finds so far:



Just Another Day in Paradise has two printables for snack-sized bags of nacho cheese flavored chips (Doritos) - buy these in bulk at Costco if you're thinking of doing this one:


Cupcake Cutiees Designs has multiple printables that can go on either Kool-Aid juice boxes or bottles:


Bloom Designs has a printable that you can print on sticker paper and affix directly onto bubblegum tape:


Dixie Delights has designed a mini Tic-Tac-Toe board that you play with M&Ms:


Delia Creates had designed this Valentine's Card for a glow stick - and glow sticks come in packs from the Dollar Store - can't beat that!


The Silly Pearl Handmade has free Hershey's Kiss stickers and bag label:


And here are a few candy bar wrappers. First up is a "Udaman" wrapper from Jeanne Winters (more suited for YOUR sweetie than for the kids' classmates - but I love this one):


And here are some kid-friendly Monster Wrappers from The Elli Blog:


These Monster Wrappers happen to be part of a full Valentine Party Kit from The Elli Blog:


And I happen to think that this is an EXCELLENT game for any Valentine's Party (three different games with directions and free Chocolate Taste Test Printable Score Card at B. Nute Productions):


Or if you need a game for a kids' party, Makoodle has you covered with this free printable Valentine's Bingo:


If you want to entertain your kids for the first 14 days of February, leave a Valentine's joke in their lunch boxes each day leading up to Valentine's Day. This free printable is courtesy of Over the Big Moon:


And, here are a couple of free printables for decorating purposes. The first is a Tunnel of Love ticket from Flamingo Toes:


The second is a Vintage Kissing Booth Sign by A Geek in Glasses (Hey! I resemble that remark!):


And finally, here are the Harris Sisters' own One Hit Wonders Valentine Printables:


Hope you "love" these as much as I do! ;-)

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Elvis Presley would have been 79 today. Or, I guess if you're one of those people who think that he's still hiding out in Graceland, I'll say for your sake, he IS 79 today. :-)


And since we've firmly established that I am the Elvis fan in the group, I am happy to write a tribute post on the King's birthday.

Now, we've firmly established that I will break out in song to teach my kids my VERY FAVORITE LESSON Elvis-style. But, I happened upon this gem the other day, and I think we can all learn a thing or two from it:

*********************************************

Everything I Know I Learned from Elvis

I learned all of this just from listening to Elvis’s songs.

TRAVEL

1. The typical train is 16 coaches long.

2. All food in Germany consists of hasenpfeffer and black pumpernickel.

3. The Heartbreak Hotel is located at the end of Lonely Street, and its desk clerk dresses in black.

4. Hula dancers are best judged by their ability to really move that grass around.

5. A harem in the Middle East contains 20 women.

6. So efficient is the US postal service that it will return an unwanted letter within 24 hours of its initial posting.

7. There are few sounds that make you feel more lonely than that of the midnight train.

8. If hitchhiking, it’s hard to choose a better destination than Memphis, Tennessee.

RELATIONSHIPS

1. When inviting a young woman to dance, you may increase your chances by noting that chicken is being served in the barn.

2. If rejected by the older sister in a family, by all means have a crack at her little sister, who may have matured more than you at first noticed.

3. Women named Marie are naturally duplicitous.

4. It’s OK to date your cousin, providing she’s a distant cousin “but not too distant with you.”

5. Girls named Daisy tend to drive you crazy.

6. If caught without a partner during a dance at a federal penitentiary, why not try dancing with a wooden chair?

7. Conversation with a girlfriend can become tiresome if she fails to break up the conversation every now and then with a little action.

8. A .44-calibre pistol is an excellent firearm choice for a woman whose partner was doin’ her wrong.

PERSONAL GROOMING

1. If wearing suede shoes, particularly of a light hue, one should make their protection is one’s No. 1 priority, even above that of preventing arson attacks on one’s own home.

THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

1. There are few looks in life more intense than that of a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store.

2. A passionate kiss can be measured by the fact that even a team of wild horses would be unable to drag apart the two participants.

3. The embrace of a grizzly bear provides a useful point of comparison when considering the pressure necessary to demonstrate real passion during an affair.

4. A good hound dog should be able to catch a rabbit.

GEOGRAPHY

1. People are more likely to be alone during a blue moon than during any other lunar event.

2. In the state of Kentucky, precipitation usually occurs when a man is hitchhiking from town to town, having been abandoned by his baby.

MEDICAL

1. The lips of attractive women tend to taste like breakfast spread, in particular honey.

2. A temperature of 109 is quite common during the early stages of an affair.

3. The experience of love, especially early in life, can have serious medical consequences including sensations of itching, hand tremors, leg spasms, heart palpitations and language difficulties.

PHILOSOPHY

1. Children born in disadvantaged areas such as ghettos should receive special assistance as this reduces the likelihood of them turning to a life of crime, thus perpetuating an endless cycle of disadvantage.

2. A rabbit’s foot, while widely considered a creator of good luck, makes only a moderate contribution to one’s happiness compared to the impact of finding a good life partner.

3. If you suspect someone is evil, check their middle name because it may well be “Misery.”

Now, show me one passage in Plato, Sartre, or Confucius that can match all of that for depth, width, and wisdom. I’ve lived my life by it, how about you?

*********************************************

And for those of you who may not be THAT familiar with Elvis's songs, the songs referenced (in order - to the best of my personal knowledge base and Googling abilities) are: Mystery Train; G. I. Blues; Heartbreak Hotel; Rock-A-Hula Baby; Harem Holiday; Return to Sender; I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry; Memphis, Tennessee; Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On; Little Sister; (Marie's the Name of) His Latest Flame; Kissin' Cousins; Tutti Frutti; Jailhouse Rock; A Little Less Conversation; Frankie and Johnny; Blue Suede Shoes; Shake, Rattle, and Roll; Stuck on You; Stuck on You; Hound Dog; Blue Moon; Kentucky Rain; Night Life; Burning Love; All Shook Up; In the Ghetto; Good Luck Charm; and Trouble.

Happy Birthday, Elvis! Your words of wisdom are still with us!

Cornbread Waffles, Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Well, it should come as no surprise that THIS family has had its fill of black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread in the new year.



If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you must not be a dyed in the wool Southerner, bless your heart. If it makes you feel any better, my husband is originally from Ohio, so he had to be eased into this tradition too. :-) 


Anyhoot, it's a New Year's tradition to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens for good luck. The black-eyed peas represent coins and the collard greens represent cash-money (as Aidyn Kale Walkush calls it). And  if you eat them on New Year's day, you're bringing yourself some prosperity. The cornbread? Well, that just tastes good with black-eyed peas and collard greens. ;-)  

This year, I decided to change up the way we made the cornbread, so I served it waffle-style. Let me tell you, this was an excellent decision, as it cooked up quickly, and the leftovers also tasted great served for breakfast with syrup and fruit (and according to my husband we'll be making these again to serve with his Kicking Butt and Taking Names Chili).


Cornbread Waffles
3 cups yellow self-rising corn meal mix
2 eggs
2 Tbsp oil
2 cups milk

  1. Preheat waffle maker.
  2. Measure corn meal mix into mixing bowl. 
  3. Beat together eggs, oil, and milk. Stir thoroughly into corn meal mix. 
  4. Prepare waffles according to your waffle maker directions.


Black-Eyed Peas
1 16 oz bag dry black-eyed peas
1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp soul food seasoning*

  1. Wash the dry beans. Place them into a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Let them soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter in olive oil. Saute onion and garlic in mixture. Add soul food seasoning.
  3. Add drained beans and enough water to cover beans by one inch.
  4. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 hours. At 1 1/2 hour mark, add salt.
Note: If you cannot find soul food seasoning at your local supermarket, you may substitute 1 tsp cayenne pepper.


Collard Greens
2 bunches fresh collard greens
1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
  1. Wash fresh collard greens, pat dry, and remove leaves from stems. Tear or cut leaves into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a large saute pan, melt butter in olive oil. Saute onion and garlic in mixture. 
  3. Add greens, salt, and pepper to the saute pan and cook, tossing often, until wilted and tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve with balsamic vinegar or hot sauce.
Notes: I use a 12" straight sided saute pan to fit two bunches of collard greens. I add the collard greens to the pan in batches as I tear the leaves, tossing between each batch that I add. This gives them an opportunity to cook down and gives me an opportunity to multi-task! By the time I have torn the last of the leaves, I have enough room in the pan to add the last batch. I also cover the pan with the lid when I add the last batch to speed up the cooking process, but this is optional.

This post contains affiliate links.

Paula Deen's Cinnamon Rolls

Friday, January 3, 2014

When I requested cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast this year, we decided to try a new recipe, and all I can say is Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Paul Deen has done it once again.  And I will never use another recipe for cinnamon rolls.  EVER.  It's that good, and surprisingly, not too hard to make. 



Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

Dough:
1/4 ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour

Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans (optional)

Glaze: 
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 teaspoons hot water


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.  In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  Add yeast mixture.  Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.  Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 - 10 minutes.  Place in a well greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  
3. When doubled in size, punch down dough.  Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9 inch rectangle.  Spread melted butter over dough.  Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough.  Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins, if desired.  Beginning at the 15 inch side, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal.  Cut into 12 to 15 slices. 
4.  Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter.  Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.  
5.  Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency.  Spread over slightly cooled rolls. 


Notes:

For the filling, we used a total of 1 cup of sugar (1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar), rather than the 3/4 cup of white sugar called for in the recipe.  It was AMAZING!  We didn't add nuts or raisins this time, but will definitely try this recipe with nuts next time. 

We actually prepared our dough and filling the night before and left in the refrigerator overnight.  It worked great that way.  Just bring it up to room temperature before you cook your rolls. 

These rolls reheat nicely in the microwave.  Cover with a paper towel and heat for 30-35 seconds. The icing will stay intact.