57 In Life/ tshirts

Pecans, T-Shirts & Mobile Bay Magazine


I snapped this off early this morning around 7:30 when Paige was proudly donning her new “hand painted” Santa t-shirt. We are in the full swing of Christmas over here, and our colored lights are haphazardly draped all around our house. The background slightly resembles “Christmas in a dorm room”, with a touch of homemade paper chains to boot.


It has been chilly here but we’ve still managed to work in some crafts & a little outside play time. JM is completely in love with this table. Even the cold won’t keep me away from it. The only explanation I have is that has rippled glass and makes everything on it extra loud. He was so enthralled he wouldn’t even look at me.



Paige came home last week with a palm tree reindeer. We loved it so much we decided to make a handful more. If you live in a climate like ours they’re super easy to make. These brown “reindeer heads” are from the spent palm tree fronds…once you doctor them up they look like reindeer!


Despite what I consider bitter cold temperatures, we ventured out to the beach this weekend at sunset.




We’ve seen lots of new feathered friends in the bay– mostly loons and ducks. They seem to have moved in for the winter. I took this shot of the moon last night while the sun was setting. It’s been fun to watch the sun and moon take on a new perspective as the days have grown shorter. This is looking to the east from our deck. The moon clearly up just as the sun as gone down.


And this is looking to the southwest.


We headed a few miles north this weekend to pick up some pecans. There is thankfully no shortage of pecans in Baldwin County! They didn’t have any shelled, so we settled for cracked, and my very gracious husband shelled 6 pounds of pecans this weekend. All of which will likely be made into Maple Cinnamon Pecans.


I will share the recipe in the next post. It happens to be one of three that I shared with Mobile Bay Magazine for their December issue. I also had the pleasure of sharing some Honey Bee Tees information with the folks at Business Alabama for their December issue.


Let’s see… so there we are. I’m kinda thankful that I only see myself in the magazine when I check-out at Walmart & the occasional bookstore run in. I turn a little red in the face every time. Justin has been a champion through all of this. His office took the cover picture, scanned it and printed it out on a plotter and hung it in the lobby of his office– resulting in a nearly life-size poster of the cover to welcome him and anyone else entering the building. As you may gather, he has received a small amount of grief over this. I just stay home with the kids and let him have the attention. He thankfully can take it like a champ.

The folks at Mobile Bay Magazine came out in October to shoot. They were the most wonderful group of people and we had a blast.


This is the editor, Lawren Largue {with baby #2}, Stephen Potts {in blue who had to brave the water}, and Ellis Metz. Mallory Boykin was here too… she was busy with the assorted wardrobe pieces she brought with her.


This is Matthew Wood, he was the freelance photographer for the story. He is also a musician and a super nice guy!!



The kids were only a little confused about staging Christmas in October with wrapped empty boxes, etc.


They made out with plenty of Candy Cane Crunch cookies to compensate for the fake presents…




The 14 foot Starcraft made an appearance… looking better than she ever will, sporting a garland of greenery and garland of shells!



And here are a few shots inside the magazine…




They have posted the article online and will feature a “12 days of Christmas” on their website! I’m hoping to get my act together and put those 12 links on the sidebar so that you can find them there too! And if you live the Mobile area,  this is an excellent publication and would make a fantastic Christmas present. As would Business Alabama.  Justin has subscribed to Business Alabama for over a year, and we both enjoy the issues. A good gift for that hard-to-shop-for-businessman {or woman}. Kathy Hagood wrote an “Under the Executive Tree” feature in their December issue, and I was thrilled that Honey Bee Tees made the list!


And, speaking of Honey Bee Tees… I’ve been slow to inform you that we are stocked with Christmas! Several new designs are in the shop and everything is ready to ship. Let us know if your order is a gift {in message section at checkout} and we’ll be happy to mark out the price on the packing slip & include a note for the happy recipient from you! Also, if you don’t follow us on Facebook, please do, I am more timely there with shop updates!


New designs include: Art Supplies, Duck HuntChristmas Ride {also for adults & in raglan}, Oh Christmas Tree* {& in short sleeves too}, and there is a Train Ride raglan now too! Sweatshirts are in too and both the Bird DogFloat Plane are perfect for these chilly months!

*Rover wears his Oh Christmas Tree tee all winter long… we think it works for Christmas and beyond!

41 In Life

Thanksgiving & New Orleans


I was going to title this post “Catching Up”, but if I’m honest, I could title every post “Catching Up”. I feel like there’s always so much catching up to do and not nearly enough time to actually do it. We have been busy little bees, going back and forth between the brown house and the rental house, packing and unpacking, visiting with friends and saying good bye to friends. Living in limbo between the two may be catching up with me, and honestly, I’ve found myself being tempted to despair. When I feel overwhelmed, or like this limbo game is one I’d rather not play any longer, I remind myself the alternative is to live alone with the children and have weekend visits from Justin. I had that last year. While it offers the material comforts of home and is lacking the stress of running two homes, it is truly void of what our family needs, which is being together. So we are all still together, and I am thankful for that. I just have been a little overwhelmed keeping up with, and going between two places. We initially thought we would be here through December, but it looks like it will be quite a bit longer… which is great because we love it here. I just need a better system to manage being in two places.

So, back to the catching up business. We packed up the week of Thanksgiving and headed back to the brown house to spend Thanksgiving there.


Our Thanksgiving dinner plans weren’t to begin until later in the day, so we had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving morning at Justin’s family’s farm. We gathered leaves, picked Satsumas, climbed deer stands, checked on the bees {which gave us a little concern with their lack of activity– we are hoping the chilly temps were to blame for so few coming and going from the hive}.



The kids and I sat in the car while Justin got a closer look at the bees.




On our way home we had the pleasure of spotting a bald eagle… it was beautiful!


My mother-in-law always does Thanksgiving up right with all the festive accoutrements. The food was fantastic, and it’s always good to be among family that we don’t see as often as we used to.



Like a crazy person, I ventured out on Black Friday with the kids to buy an artificial tree. There seemed to be no alternative considering no one would be there to water it. We survived our quick trip to Lowe’s, got back home, threw that baby together in a matter of minutes and wasted no time stringing the bright colored lights. If I only get to see that Christmas tree for 3 or 4 nights it was worth every penny.






After the Thanksgiving festivities were all said and done, we made our way back to Orange Beach. Justin had a conference in New Orleans this past week and guess who got to sneak away and join him!? {It would be appropriate to enter excited squeals here.} My very kind and generous in-laws came to our house last Tuesday so that I could head over to New Orleans for a few days with Justin. I feel confident many of you have children and understand how few and far between nights away can be. In fact, this was our first time to get away together, just the two of us, since we’ve had kids. {Shame on us, we know!} I rolled in to New Orleans alone, Justin was already there, and somehow I didn’t know, or forgot that New Orleans is a pretty big city! I managed to get myself a little turned around but eventually found the hotel.

Night 1 we snapped a picture together before walking out the door…


We made it to the lobby where I ran into a college friend and took another picture of my handsome husband. 🙂


We stayed at the newly re-opened Hyatt Regency by the Superdome… it was way nice. {As the Raiger would say.} I’d go again and hang out with a bunch of crazy archaeologists just to stay there. Speaking of crazy archaeologists, I’m married to one and we got to spend a great deal of time with others as this was a “Cultural Resources” conference. The first night we made our way on foot to John Besh’s Luke on St. Charles. I ordered something terribly awful for my health but absolutely delicious to my taste buds…. the Croque-Madame et Frites.


There was lively {the nicest way I can think to say it} college football banter & a little archaeology talk to accompany it.


The next morning came early, and Justin was to be in scheduled meetings all day. I did my homework and knew that I wanted to spend at least one day in the Garden District on Magazine Street. Now, let me tell you, all of that was easy to plan out beforehand but when the rubber hit the road and I knew that I was about to venture out in New Orleans alone, including a plan to brave public transportation, I admit I had to have a little pep talk with myself that there’s no reason why a 31-year-old, mother-of-three can’t get around New Orleans on her own. To reassure myself I stopped by the concierge to run my plan by her and make sure she didn’t advise otherwise. She said it sounded good to her. I’m sure some of you are old pros at navigating cities… I’m getting there!

My first encounter was with the street car. We stayed in the Central Business District {CBD} right beside the Superdome… it was a fine location but I probably walked about 20 miles both days I was there. Day one, I ventured down Poydras to St. Charles and planned catch a street car to the Garden District. The first lesson I learned was: it helps to wait for a street car at a street car stop. Don’t think I didn’t chase him down & beat on the door. I also learned very quickly that public street cars are usually very full, and not of tourists. In fact, I may have been the only one. I wondered if I looked like a tourist. Maybe the 14 layers of clothes and sweat on my forehead gave me away. Too bad I didn’t have my big camera around my neck to seal the deal.

My first stop was the Brass Menagerie where I may have spent way too much time with the older couple who own it, but in turn received first hand accounts of their Katrina story. They have beautiful pieces but I currently am not in the market for gas lanterns, door knobs, faucets, or drawer pulls!



This is Magazine Street…


It’s a fabulous stretch of antique shops, cafes, old houses, thrift shops, & boutiques. Thankfully it lacks the scantily clad, or naked women, cages and Voodoo shops that you can find in the French Quarter. I also noticed the  homeless folks I encountered on Magazine didn’t scream “*@&# you!” if you didn’t contribute to their cigarette fund.

Here are a few more pictures of my time exploring Magazine…






I had a delicious lunch {tomato bisque & salad} at Gott Gourmet Cafe. I sat at the counter, which seemed like the most logical place to sit when dining alone.



And then I ventured back out…


And loved every minute of it…


I found several little things at an antique shop to give as Christmas gifts, and for myself, I found a pair of twig-like earrings at a boutique/antique store and a sweet mustard yellow shirt for myself at a thrift store.


Since I can’t show my gifts, I’ll show two of my finds for myself…






This night we opted for dinner alone at Emeril’s NOLA. We walked from our hotel and while it’s not terribly far, it’s kinda far. But it was so good! And it was so nice to have dinner together, just the two of us.




A creme brulee trio followed our meal…




… and after!




After all that food we decided we’d walk some more. We headed up to Marigny which is a part of town Justin enjoys for it’s music joints. We strolled around a while, poking our heads in different bars, listening for music that would draw us in. We finally found it… with a street band, their dogs, and their instruments. I would imagine they were all late teens to early 20’s. We spent about an hour with them. Justin played their guitar and they accompanied him with the fiddle and mandolin. It was entertaining and they were great kids. I gathered that they weren’t truly “homeless”, but they welcomed food money and leftovers. I was so thankful to be out in the fresh air with these nice kids than to be sitting in a smokey loud bar. We wanted to go back the last night we were there but didn’t make it. If you’re familiar with NOLA, when I tell you I walked from the Superdome to the streetcar and then walked all of the Garden District and then walked from the Superdome to NOLA and then to Frenchman in Marigny… you know it was a day with lots of walking {not in any kind of athletic shoe}. Justin very graciously heeded my suggestion for a cab ride to the hotel from Marigny.




I’m apparently a slow learner because the next morning when Justin headed out for his conference I, again, had to have a similar pep talk with myself… go explore the city. have fun. you will regret it if you don’t. So again, I set out on foot. My first stop didn’t require too much gumption… Anthropologie. It was my first time in one and it didn’t take me long to realize I really like Anthropologie. From there I ventured further into the French Quarter. I made my way to The Little Toy Shop on Decatur, past Jackson Square. I found a few things for the kids and then made my way to Felipe’s {you need to read that in Spanish, not French} for lunch. I happened to go to Felipe’s by way of Cafe Du Monde because I could think of nothing that was better suited to follow my Mexican lunch than a beignet. Even Felipe’s Taqueria is beautiful… I love OLD cities! I spent the rest of the day poking around the French Quarter which was great, but I may have secretly wished I was back in the Garden District.










When Justin’s conference wrapped up that evening we planned to meet some folks at Napoleon House for dinner. I was nearly walked out at this point so we hopped on a pedicab and were actually a little early so we stopped in a great bookstore on Chartres before dinner. Napoleon House had good ambiance but the menu, in my opinion, didn’t measure up to the ambiance of the restaurant. But we had a great time with the dinner crew… I was again outnumbered by the archaeologists but had a great time and enjoyed their conversations.  They are a super nice group of folks, and I believe we all had a great evening. We shut down the Napoleon House and made our way to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, one of the oldest buildings still standing in New Orleans. I am not a night owl so at this point I was fading fast, but I was thankful to be able to see a really cool spot on Bourbon Street, they have NO indoor lighting, all candles. Very cool. From there we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.






We headed east the next morning early and were so excited to see the little rovers, all so big and dearly missed, but we sure enjoyed a weekend away just the two of us… such a great little reminder we need to do it again soon and not wait 8 years! I absolutely loved our time in New Orleans. It was surprisingly much more charming than I remembered, and I look forward to going back again!


I took my camera but it stayed in the suitcase most of the time… I did take a few pictures of our view from our room on the 23rd floor.



Wow… long post! Time for bed, I’ll be back soon.

65 In Life


Hello rovers.


Today is November the 16th. With temperatures hovering around 80, I have no choice but to wear shorts… at least they are corduroy.  Despite the warm and stormy weather outside, I’ve been sneaking in a little Christmas music. I do this at home when Justin’s at work because he’s the “no Christmas music ’til after Thanksgiving” type. Bah humbug!  I will remind you that “Patty Loveless holiday” station on Pandora rarely disappoints!


Morgan had a wonderful surprise birthday party the weekend after her birthday at the “brown house”. It was a post-church lunch celebration and the only way I could pull it off was to host it in the newly renovated {so-close-to-being-done} garoffice! I had to tell her that “I had it all clean and didn’t want any kids out there getting it dirty” in order to keep her out! It paid off. She was thrilled with the surprise and loved seeing her old friends, and it was such a treat for Justin and me too! I made a somewhat hasty decisions to make all the food from scratch… you know, sweet potato casserole with Baldwin  County sweet potatoes and Baldwin County pecans. Thankfully all the sides were accompanied by fried chicken that I didn’t fry and a beautiful birthday cake that I didn’t bake!

Our sweet friends knew exactly what would bring the birthday girl a GREAT big smile… post-party they invited her out to ride their beautiful horses. Thank you, Abby for the picture!


She absolutely loved it, and her daddy did, too. They had a great afternoon riding together with friends!


We ended up staying in town on Monday, in order to get a few loose ends tied up. This ‘trying to live in two places’ deal can be somewhat challenging. Every time we go home to the brown house we all find such comfort there. I think it’s the familiarity of our belongings that makes our trips home feel so nostalgic, and the wonderful friends we have there help, too. That’s my ‘coffee pot corner’ in my kitchen pictured above, taken apparently at 6:46 am as the coffee was just starting to fill the pot. I love that little corner of my kitchen and when I go home I appreciate it. I bought that tiny 4-cup coffee pot last year when Justin was gone, it was all I really needed since there was no one to join me for my morning coffee drinking. I’m thankful now that we have to brew two pots in it when we’re home because he’s there with me.

The week we got back from the brown house JM had a field trip to the fire station, and just like Paige’s trip he had a turn behind the water hose {wearing Mommy’s sunglasses}!


I really have to work hard to get candid photographs of him because this is his new “smile”. Sweet, but not exactly authentic! I don’t even have to say smile for him to make this face, I can just point my camera or my phone at him and he does it.


This past weekend, Justin invited 3 of his friends down to the “grey house” for a guys weekend, and the kids and I vacated to the east to spend the weekend with my family. The kids were in absolute heaven! They love their cousin Sloane and their MommaSis’, Uncle Chance, Mom & DaddyBoy, so I knew the weekend would not disappoint… and to top it off our beloved dog Eufaby was there too! My parents have very kindly welcomed her into their home while we are living at the beach, and it’s been months and months since we’ve seen her.


Erika has a “den” of sorts at the landing at top of her stairs… a cozy room with dark walls, and pops of color everywhere! The girls slept soundly on the daybed together, until 1:30 am Thursday when I knocked a piece of plywood down the stairwell that was serving as a gate. Have you ever heard a sheet of plywood go down a wood staircase? It’s all Erika’s fault, she woke me up and said something about one of my children coughing… or something. Needless to say, we didn’t use the “gate” the rest of the time we were there.

We did play in the back yard with Daddy Boy.




We squeezed in a trip to the park…


Paige & I accompanied Momma Sis’, Chance & Marla on a photoshoot at Grayton Beach.






We also got to ride around in DaddyBoy’s new ride. Mom and DaddyBoy have recently purchased a house just a couple doors down from Erika and Chance, so there were many trips back and forth {2 doors down on a gravel road in a neighborhood}. And all trips by car were easily justifiable because who doesn’t love a Grand Wagoneer, especially one with a green license plate! I may have my eye on a grey one, but dad assures me I wouldn’t want to leave home without a mechanic in the backseat, so I’ve enrolled JM in a vocational school.



There’s no doubt it’s a sweet ride and just getting inside brings back so many memories {my parents both drove them when we were growing up}. One thing that’s different is that this one is now 20+ years old and may need to have the exhaust checked because if you sit still too long the fumes will get to you! Just ask Rover.




DaddyBoy drove her {officially named Goldie} down to Rosemary Beach on Sunday and we took the little ones to the Flutterby Festival.



Paige spent Saturday night with Mom so if it appears as though she has on lipstick, she does. Mom swore it was her lightest shade… you know grandmothers have a hard time telling their grandchildren no!







Mom made a valiant effort to get Rover to hold his paint brush properly.







After that we loaded up and headed back to the “grey house”! The kids had an absolute blast and it’s always hard to leave!!



And a few matters of business before I go…

The sweet little Tee Pee tees have been deeply discounted and can still  arrive in time for your Thanksgiving festivities!

If you’re looking for an enriching and wonderful book to read to your children about Thanksgiving we are thoroughly enjoying The Courage of Sarah Noble, check your library!

And last but not least… I must congratulate the Chi O ladies at Auburn for representing at Homecoming… 3 out of top 5 is pretty awesome! War Eagle!