Pack Ya Bags, 2012 Is Comin'

People get pretty buck about New Years.  Not talking about the partying and such, really, more about how they view it.  Resolutions are stupid vs. resolutions are awesome; the holiday is stupid vs. the holiday is awesome...you with me? 

I've been on both sides, I guess.  There's a lot of pressure to have fun tonight, so that's a little ridiculous, but I am looking forward to it, so who knows.  And as far of the resolutions?  I've had good luck and bad luck with them, so there you go.  With that being said, I am at my core a girl that l-o-v-e-s to set a goal.  Maybe I don't always meet them, but I love to set them.  And make them measurable and attainable.  So here's a portion of my list, in no particular order. 

1.  Travel More 
I got bit by the travel bug on our honeymoon.  Brandon and I had a pretty serious discussion about how since we live in a small town, we must get out and travel more.  Not just big trips, but more weekend trips, too. Maybe we'll come to visit you. 

2.  Think more positively. Where your thoughts go, you go.   
As a therapist, I practice mainly from a cognitive behavioral perspective.  It's direct, it gives you the power to make changes, it makes sense.  It's not easy, especially if you are more of a half empty kind of gal, but it's possible.  And it makes you nicer.   

3.  Read more for pleasure.
I tackled Gone With the Wind this year.  Whew, it was really intense.  But it re-sparked my love of reading and got me jazzed about doing more of it.  Thank heavens for Turnrow and their awesome recommendations.  

4.  Run a half marathon.
As I wait for my computer to quit acting like an a-hole, I've been checking out what kind of schedule I need to be on to make this happen.  Since I took off so much exercise time during the holidays, I've really got to book it to make this happen.  Pray that I don't get plagued by the lazies.  Country Music Half Marathon...I'll see you in April!

5.  See more live music.
Don't have specific plans for this yet, I'm open for suggestions!  If anyone has any connections with The Mountain Goats or Patty Griffin, I'd love for that to work out. 

6.  Appreciate what is in front of me.
Speaking of Gone With the Wind, Scarlett didn't do that.  And she kind of lost everything. 

7.  Get re-inspired by my career.
Not just my specific job but get re-inspired about being a member of the helping profession. 

8.  Focus more on being healthy / eating healthy food and less on weight.
This is a constant struggle for me as I love food that is bad for me.  I'm hoping to become a master hearty salad maker and maybe even tackle my fear of fish. 

9.  Have more people over for supper. 
Who doesn't love a dinner party? 

10.  Get better with my camera.
I love pictures.  Always have.  I've had my camera since the summer and hope to develop a better understanding of how to use it.  I'd also like to get better at taking pictures of people living their life, doing their thing.  So if you see me lurking around with my camera, just ignore me.  I'm practicing. 

11.  Dance.
I love to dance.  I'd like to join a dance troupe of sorts but until then will settle for Zumba and impromptu dance parties at Websters.

12.  Unplug.
I love technology and social media but could probably benefit from doing less of it. It can kind of make you crazy, if you think about it.  I'm just such an over sharer.  Like right now...I'm over sharing.  Moving on. 

13.  Create more
Sew, garden, you know...stuff like that.  Hell, I might start painting.  Jokes.  I'll stick to fabric.



A Few on Friday

Well hey there!  Happy Friday!  Hope you're having a good one so far.  Mine's going well.  Just playing around on the WWW trying to find some recipes for New Years Day.  I'm starting with this one.  It's not actually from the internet.  It's from an even better place....  

This is Clemmie's recipe for greens.  Clemmie is one of my co-workers; I asked her to tell me how she does her greens and this has led to a plan for an afternoon lesson on picking and cleaning greens.  I'm a little nervous about the whole neck bone situation, she told me to just grab a pair of gloves from the hospital and tackle it that way.

*Update.  Clemmie has just found a random pair of boots from the maintenance department of the hospital and is now trekking to the greens patch to just pick them herself.  I really wish ya'll could meet this woman.  

I'm also going to try my hand at Hoppin' John.  I think i'll give this one a shot.  What about you?  Are you planning any New Years meals? 

In nerdy news, I've got 18 lbs of fabric heading my way on Tuesday.  Jazzed doesn't even begin to cover it.  I'll be armed with my new ipod player and joy and will be ready to go.  I'm excited to try this new pattern...

find it here 

What new mother wouldn't want to put their new baby in a pouch?  Hopefully, my friends will. I mean, if a tiny McCaleb were to appear, I would for sure put him (or her, but McCalebs don't have girls so I'm pretty sure it's him) in a pouch.  

Speaking of a pouch, Zumba is coming to Greenwood!  Ok, that has nothing to do with a pouch (a pooch, maybe) but I'm really excited!  I love to Zumba alone, I can't imagine how rad it will be to Zumba in a group..

Probably about as rad as Sleigh Bells coming out with a new album. Here's a song if you aren't familiar. 


Here's to a Happy New Year! Hope everyone does exactly what they want to do.  Keep it real and safe and I'll see you guys in 2012!


Greek Salad with Oregano Marinated Chicken

Don't worry, our smoke detectors work.  It takes them a minute to actually detect said smoke, but they work.  How do I know this?  Because I set them off when I was cooking supper last night.  

It was not awesome. It was quite hairy.  I was in the weeds.  But it was my own fault, really.  Trying to do to many things at one time.  This trying to do to many things at one time led to me making an executive decision and not measuring this dish out to calculate the points. AND I copied and pasted this recipe directly from the food network website.  I have no idea what constitutes a non reactive dish.  How's that for going rogue? 

Greek Salad with Oregano Marinated Chicken

coped and pasted directly from Food Network

For the chicken:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • A couple good pinches salt
  • 10 grinds black pepper
  • 4 (6 to 7-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts


For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of your chef's knife
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 10 to 15 grinds black pepper


For the salad:

  • 2 to 3 hearts romaine lettuce
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 3/4-pound), cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese



To marinate the chicken: In a non-reactive dish, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix together. Add the chicken breasts to the dish and rub both sides in the mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

To make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a resealable container and shake vigorously. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and then bring to room temperature before tossing salad.

Assemble the salad: cut off any dark tips and the bitter white bottoms from the romaine leaves. Cut the lettuce into 1-inch strips and place in a bowl that is large enough to hold all the salad ingredients comfortably. Scatter cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta over the top. You can prepare the salad up to a few hours in advance. Cover it with a moist paper towel and refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

To cook the chicken: Heat a nonstick skillet or grill pan over high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing it into thin strips.

Give the dressing a good shake and pour it into a nice little serving bowl, using the lid to strain out the garlic.

Toss salad just before serving and fan chicken out on top.

So there you go.  It's pretty good!  I have a new obsession with a Greek salad and this one made me happy. Seriously, give me feta or give me death.  I've packed it for lunch today and am pretty jazzed.  

I have, because I'm sweet and love you so, calculated the points according to a few different serving amounts.  Seeing as how I didn't actually measure this dish out, I have no idea how many of what size servings it makes...these are just a guess! 

6 servings - 7 pp
5 servings - 8 pp
4 servings - 10 pp 
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Post Excitement Funk

Does anyone else ever get into a post excitement funk?  I do.  After the wedding and the honeymoon and the holidays, I'm finding myself kind of wandering around, not quite knowing what to do with myself.  

What helps me when I'm like this?  Words!  And music!  And  french fries!  And wine!  But let's just focus on the words...

find it here

find it here

find it here 

find it here 
find it here 

find it here 

find it here 

Do you get in funks?  How do you crawl out? 


21 Ingredient Chili


This was the first WW thing I've cooked in a while.  Thank heavens it was good; if not I probably would have gone to Burger King.  That's where we are right now, guys.  That's where we are. 

Soooooooooo 21 Ingredient Chili.  Sounds like kind of an undertaking, huh?  Well, it's really not.  It's mainly spices.  And things you probably have around your house.  And chicken thighs.  Those are still pretty intense for me, those chicken thighs.  But they sure do hold up well in a crock pot. 

Wow, I'm kind of a nerd. And out of rhythm with my food bloggin'.  Got to find my voice again. 

Anyway.  Here's the recipe. 

21 Ingredient Chili
from Crockpot 365

28 oz chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
1 15 oz can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15 oz can of cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15 oz can of corn (drained and rinsed)
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 4 oz can of diced green chilies
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 cup of spicy brown mustard
2 tbl of soy sauce
2 tbl of honey
3 tbl of chili powder
1 tbl of chipotle chili powder (this is hot, use less if you are sensitive)
1 tbl of onion powder
1 tbl of garlic powder
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups of fat free chicken broth

Cut up the chicken and place it in the bottom of the crock pot.  Add all ingredients but the chicken broth; carefully stir to try to combine everything.  Add the chicken broth.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes 11 servings)
Points plus 7
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The McCalebs Go To Napa

One of the reasons that I love a blog is that it's like a modern day slide show.  My little corner of the blog world not only helps me archive recipes, but it also is a place to remember important times in me life.  Just in case anyone was curious, here's a post of some of the highlights of mine and Brandon's honeymoon.  In true nerd fashion, I wrote everything down that we did in my little moleskin / travel journal.  Anyone heading out to Napa anytime soon, hope this helps! 

BTW, if my huge camera and confused look didn't give blow my tourist cover, I'm sure that me furiously scribbling in a small black book did.  As Brandon and I kept saying to each other, "We'll never see these folks again." Care.


Fume Bistro was a restaurant right across from our hotel.  The guy at the front desk recomended we go there and I'm glad we did.  We sat at the bar, drank good wine, and had a lovely assortment of apps and small plates.  Maybe those small plates involved pizza and macaroni and cheese.  Maybe they didn't, I don't know. 

Bouchon Bakery was quite the hit, their Lemon poppyseed muffins were out of this world.  We ate outside; a fat bird made eyes at me the whole time.  I think he wanted my muffin...

Hey there, grapes.

The first winery that we visited was Rambeuer.  The wine was delightful and all went well until the guy giving the tasting invormed Brandon that his Viking stove was broken.  We had a good chuckle, bought a bottle of wine, and got out of there to enjoy the view.   

We left Rombauer and, of course, got a little lost.  Well.  It was like devine intervention when a sign for Frog's Leap lept (sorry) out at us.  Brandon exclaimed that he would like to give it a visit and whipped the cherry red push button start Altima around. 

It was such a great tasting.  The view was lovely and they gave you snacks.  This made me a happy, happy gal.  And don't get me started on the wine...it's my new fave.  The sauvignon blanc really blew my skirt up.  If you ever want to buy me a present....

For lunch we stopped off at Gott's Roadside.  This used to be Taylor's Refresher and lots of people recomend it.  And for good reason.  Their milk shakes are legit and the burgers are perfect after a morning of wine tasting.  While we were there, a pack of people stumbled up dressed in full out tacky Christmas gear.  They were doing a themed wine tasting tour and I was extremely jealous.  Next time...  

We spent some time exploring the city of Napa.  We had Mimosas at The Kitchen Door and beers at Norman Rose.  Dinner out took us to Yountville where we had drinks at Hurley's and Bottega.  Bottega was super cool because they had a huge fire place, lots of heaters, couches, and blankets.  For a girl that spends 98% of her time freezing, I was pretty jazzed. 

The main reason of our going to Yountville was to eat dinner at Bouchon.  My wonderful friends in Greenwood treated us to dinner here, it was such a great time.  And of course, our server was born in Meridian lived in Indianola for 3 years.  How's that for small world??  His name was Garrett, he was awesome. 

Moving on.  I was given my first glass of Rose by an enthusiastic Steelers fan.  So that was nice.  But nicest was the food.  It was all perfection. 

Let's talk about breakfast.  ABC Bakery in Napa was worthy of a roof raise.  See Brandon's lemon riccota pancakes and my breakfast burrito.  Pretty awesome.  Oh, how I love breakfast. 

We waddled away from breakfast and went to Cakebread for a tour and tasting.  It was great, you should go.  It was super infomative and the wine is where it's at.  Here we are in front of some barrels.   

And here are the Cakebread grapes.  And some misty mountains. 

We had a late lunch, early supper back at the Herman Rose.  We split a burger and some fries and were very happy.  This was Sunday afternoon and we were able to watch some football at the bar.  Who doesn't love burgers and football?  It was also fun chatting with the locals; I love to chat with a local.   

Our last night in Napa was spent at the movie theater.  Is this strage?  No, it's not.  Brandon loves a movie, any movie, and I love to not be sluggish when traveling accross the state of California.  It was the perfect end to the first leg of our journey.   

Stay tuned for the second leg!

**Disclaimer.  I can't get the spellcheck to work so hopefully that wasn't too painful for you.


A David Sedaris Kind of Day

So this morning on my way to work, NPR's Morning Edition played David Sedaris reading "Santaland Diaries", one of his essays about his time spent working as an elf at Macy's.  This has had me in a David Sedaris mood all day and led me to hunt down one of my favorite essays, 6-8 Black Men.  Ginny (my office mate) and I just listened to it while wrapping up our progress notes; I almost spit my water out on my computer several times.  



Back and Bigger Than Ever

Hi!  How are things?  I've been gone away for quite some time, it's good to be back.  Well, I'd rather still be listening to waves hit rocks in California but you know what I mean.  As soon as my the alarm clock went off at 3 am on Wednesday morning and I realized that I had to come home, I was ready to be home.  You get my drift, right? 

Not only am I back, but I'm bigger than ever.  Well, not ever.  I'm not back up to that faithful starting weight but I did gain five, yes five, pounds on the honeymoon.  Why?  Because we ate fancy french fries and mac and cheese with most meals.  For such health conscious people, those Californians sure love a carb.  I do too, so I'm not complaining. I will say with complete and total enthusiasm that each and ever single pound was absolutely worth it.  And as I type this, I'm eating chex mix.  It's major confession time over here in my corner of the blog-o-spere.  

But I'll be starting back to WW hot and heavy some time real soon.  Like after Christmas probably.  

While I've been eating french fries, though, it seems that a few things have changed over at the WW.  They've taken away two of my points (rude) but they have decreased the point value for a serving of wine from 4 pp to 3 pp (sweet). I"ll be doing more research soon to check out other changes. 

Looking forward to trying new recipes and getting back on track.  Next week.  Or the next.  


My Flight Anxiety

If all has gone according to plan, by the time you read this I'll be calmly enjoying my flight from Jackson to Chicago, the Chicago to San Francisco.  Maybe I'll even finish up Gone With the Wind...who knows.  If things have not gone according to plan, then I'll be acting like this...

Beware Nanny, both videos contain some harsh language. 

Here's to keeping it together.  See you guys next week!   


The Awkward Girls Guide to Enjoying Your Wedding: Part III

All this weddin' jazz?  It's over like (snap your finger) that.  Kind of crazy town.  Here are my thoughts on the aftermath.

1.  When you get back to your house after the weddin', it will probably look exactly as it did when you left it.  Clean clothes will still be stacked on your chair, paper from gifts will be strewn across the den, dishes will be piled high in the sink, there will be nothing in the fridge.  I have no idea who I thought would come clean my house while I was off being married; I guess I was being delusional in my thoughts that butterflies and blue jays would usher me into a spotless house. That didn't happen so Brandon and I just dropped our bags and went straight to the Crystal Grill.  

2.  People stop asking you if you need anything.  Or if they can get you a drink.  Or if you are OK.  I got real used to that.  You need something?  It just happens.  You want something?  You get it. Turns out, I don't hate being coddled.   

3. We are waiting to go on our honeymoon.  We will fly out on Friday and I am so freaking glad. After a big something, I require a lot of down time.  I would rank my weddin' day as a "big something." I might have flipped out if I would have had to pack for a weddin' weekend AND a honeymoon.  But you do whatever  you want.  

4.  It's OK to not embrace change easily.  I don't.  At all.  I've had a few "oh s**t I'm married" moments. I don't think this makes me a bad wife, I think it makes me me. I feel just as confident as ever that I love my mister and that he loves me and that we are committed to doing everything in our power to have a healthy, loving, and forever marriage.  I also feel a new bond growing, which is pretty cool.  But I did call Lindsey yesterday and tell her that she needed to find us some good music to go hear sometime soon because i was NOT loosing who I am just because I got married.  I'm not sure why I choose music to retain my sense of self, but you get my point.  I am kind of a me-monster.  But we covered this in premarital counseling, so it's not a surprise.  

5.  Dive into the building of the home together.  Me and Brandon (and Win) created ourselves a gallery wall last night.  We drank leftover wine from the rehearsal dinner, ordered Domino's pizza, and had ourselves a grand time.  

6.  The post weddin' acne will come. Like, come like you're in 7th grade.  Hey Napa, I have adult acne.  

7.  Something might have gone wrong at your weddin'.  And you might find out about it on Sunday.  But don't freak out (like I did).  Do what you can, complain to your friends, move past it.  

8.  Go ye forth and enjoy your life of contentment and togetherness with you mister (or misses).  During our ceremony, Father Matt quoted the Indigo Girl's Power of Two.  He said: "so we're OK, we're fine baby I'm here to stop your crying." And then he wished us a life of contentment so joyful that it was awesome.  Maybe he didn't say exactly that, but it was something close.  And perfect.   

I hope you've enjoyed reading these little entries as much as I've enjoyed writing them.  Thanks for joining me on the ride, your recommendations to long and happy marriages are welcomed and encouraged.  


The Awkward Girls Guide to Enjoying Your Wedding: Part II

So here's the second installment in my three part post about weddin' surviving and enjoying.  Part II deals mainly with that blissful weddin' weekend / day.

1.  Have someone to do your wedding bidding. Lucky for me, my maid of honor is also a college kid that had just finished finals.  She didn't really do my wedding bidding but she, along with Win, hung out with me and kept me entertained and focused the week of.  Chickey constantly said things like "pull out your list" when I found myself staring at the wall. 

2.  Enjoy your friends. It is so rare for all of my friends to be in one place these days.  Brandon's crew is the same way.  I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with them.  They are troopers, my ragtag crew.  They're pregnant, full time workers, recent moms, all that.  One of my goals for the weekend was to get to spend time with the ones that I love, I feel like I met that goal. 

3. But get enough sleep. Blue Mother Tupelo played at Webster's the night before we got married.  Wouldn't have missed that for anything!  My main problem, though, is that I can't sleep late.  I was up at five am, pestering my mom and my sister.  Then my mom kept telling me to close my eyes for "just five minutes." Lack of sleep was probably a factor in the wild and unexpected mood changes that occurred that day. 

4.  Plan the outfit that you will get dressed in. Gotta make sure that whatever you wear wont mess up that up do when you change.  So, in a perfect world I would have dressed to wed in a fresh Juicy Suit like Brittney Spears did when she became Mrs. Kevin Federline.  Or hell, at least a cute jean, sassy flat, and a relaxed button up from JCrew.  But of course I didn't really think about that and wound up with holy Toms, black fleece pants, and a button up flannel with rouched sleeves.  Did I mention that the flannel was a bit small?  It was.  However, Chickey's outfit takes the cake as she rocked jeans, cowboy boots, and a cropped zip up hoodie purchased at Lerner when it was in the Greenville Mall. She's a trooper, that Chickey.

5.  Remember to take your veil to the beauty shop.  I don't think there's any need to explain this one further. 

6.  Eat. I am a girl who loves to eat.  Everything, all the time.  I shock people regularly with the quantities of food that I can consume.  Not so on the weddin' day.  I had to force down a half a pimento cheese sandwich and barely touched the ocean water that Jen got me.  There's a possibility that my wild and unexpected mood changes could have been due to a blood sugar issue. 

7.  Know that the day might be a complete emotional roller coaster.  I'm kind of a loose cannon so I didn't really know how I'd feel on my wedding day.  For most of the day, I felt nothing.  Like I wasn't hungry, cold, nervous, excited.  I was kind of numb.  This, strangely, made me feel a little nutty but mainly I was just enjoying hanging out with my friends in the room we got ready in.  This all changed about 10 minutes before the wedding.  All of my bridesmaids had to leave the room and suddenly it was just me and the photographer.  I was terrified,not of the photographer but of the being without my ragtag bunch.  It was the strangest thing.  I awkwardly stared at him while he snapped my picture; he eventually announced that he was going to give me a minute.  So I sat there completely alone and freaked the freak out for about 4 minutes.  Then I decided that just wasn't going to cut it.  So i got up, picked a few things up around the room, poured myself a glass of Persecco, and reapplied my lipstick.  The nervousness was manageable and I was then told to come on out as it was time to get started.  I met my dad and watched my bridesmaids make their way into the sanctuary.  Dad and I went and hid behind a (glass) door until it was time to walk out.  Right before the doors were opened I felt the strangest feeling of calm and joy wash over me. The rest of the ceremony was a freaking blast.  I didn't feel nervous, I just felt happy to be with Brandon listening to the ceremony.  I didn't even wig when I couldn't figure out my left from my right OR when we realized that my hands were too swollen to get my wedding band on. 

8.  Take something.  Speaking of emotional roller coasters....identify extreme feelings and deal with them appropriately.  Take a minute by yourself, take a pill of sorts, take a seat, take a sip of water, take the opportunity to ignore people.  Figure out what you need and take it. 

9.  Pick your battles.  I'm not going into details about this one.  Just pick your battles.  At your wedding, in life, etc. 

10.  Completely ignore people if necessary.  It's kind of amazing what people will fly in a ask you / yell at you minutes before you get married.  Really, it is. 

11.  Completely ignore parts of the day that freak you out.  The flowers between the layers of my cake were forgotten.  This meant that when you laid eyes upon her, the first thing that you saw were the 1982 plastic columns.  But I can say this...it was one of the best cakes I've ever eaten so the columns really didn't matter.   

12.  Stop what your doing, look around, and take in the moment.  I did this several times during the day and I'm so glad I did!  These moments are like little snapshots in my mind and help me to remember people laughing, visiting, eating, and drinking. 

13.  If you don't want to do something, don't do it.  I wasn't real wild on the idea of throwing the bouquet and the garter, so we didn't.  Everyone appears to have survived despite us ignoring this tradition.

14.  Bring a cute, yet sensible shoe to change into.  So after we left the reception, we went straight to the Alluvian.  I rocked my dress for a bit and then changed into a short little white number.  It was swingy, it was cute, and I could use the restroom without assistance.  I was pumped.  I left my blue shoes on for a while then realized that not only could I not feel my feet anymore, but I was also walking like something was wrong with me. So I changed into those unfortunate Toms I was telling you about. Win looked down at my feet and said, "Oh, no, really?  Not even like a cute gold flat or something?"  No.  It was all I had.  Fail. 

15.  Have a blast.  Previously stated snarky comments aside, I had so much fun on our wedding day.  Brandon did, too.  Seriously, the happiest day of my life.  It rocked!

Here we are leaving the reception.  I look like I'm about to throw down my mink and jump someone, Brandon just looks bewildered.  But I still love this photo!  Thanks to Aunt Mary Margaret for taking it!  And that's snow in my hair, not a crown.  


The Awkward Girls Guide to Enjoying Your Wedding: Part I

This is a post that has been swirling around in my brain for quite some time.  Planning my wedding was an interesting roller coaster for me.  I'm kind of unpredictable emotionally so I really wasn't sure how it would turn out.  I've always stomped my foot and said that I was either eloping or having a teeny tiny something or other, mainly to avoid the headache that I figured would come along with the planning.  However, when it came down to it, I couldn't imagine not sharing this day with the people that I love. 

So.  The planning of the Country Christmas Weddin' began.  I learned a lot that will for sure come in handy as I plan my next wedding (KIDDING, this is forever), hopefully this knowledge will help you as well.  Or maybe it wont.  Maybe you'll just enjoy laughing at my awkwardness.  Either way.....enjoy.  Part I will cover the pre-planning part of the party.

1.  Get yourself a wedding planning checklist.  I used this list from Real Simple.  I use the term "used" loosely.  I lost it a few times and kind of wound up ignoring most of their suggestions.  However, it was nice to have a guide.  And It helped me to make all of my lists.  Lord, I love a list. 

2.  Make a plan to organize. And then change it completely.  Right after we got engaged I wend out a bought myself a fancy white 3 ring binder and a pack of dividers to go along with it.  Then I realized that I do everything on the world wide web AND I don't have access to a color printer.  And wedding mags are expensive and contain lots of things that are kind of tacky (sorry). Out the window went my binder and my tabs.  Thank goodness that I decided to.....

3.  Join pinterest. It's the modern girls version of the wedding binder.  Here's my weddin' board.  It totally simplified things.  If i saw a favor, a flower, or a font that I liked, I was able to "pin" it and remember it.  I got most of my inspiration from wedding blogs.  Some of my favorite wedding blogs were: Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, and Wedding RowEtsy was quite helpful, too.  And I swear Pinterest doesn't pay me to talk about them, I just love them and like to talk up the things that I love.  Which is why I talk about my crock pot as much as I do. 

4.  Decide what's important to you. This one is pretty obvious.  Everyone has different things that are important to me.  My list was pretty random but it was mine and that's what matters. And obviously, the most important thing of planning a wedding is the nurturing of the relationship so I'm not even going to go into that.  This post is more about the stuff, not the relationship.  The top of my list was photography, followed closely by save the date cards (strange, i know), getting married in my church, feeling calm,  and the music.  The photographer, Will Jacks, was my first choice and I'm so glad that I was able to use him.  He made me feel extremely comfortable and I'm blown away every time I look at his work.  I am also blown away by how wonderful my church was during this time.  I was not raised an Episcopalian, nor was I raised in Greenwood.  The members at Nativity were extremely helpful and I am so grateful.  I am also grateful for the talent of the designer of my Save the Date cards.  She was a friend of a friend and was a delight to work with.  Contact me for her info!  And contact me for the info regarding our band.  Swing de Paris was recommended to me by a friend and are based in Jackson.  They were easy to work with added a special touch to the reception.  And as for feeling calm, I have no idea.  It was touch and go at times but I tend to be a bit over dramatic.  Just go with it.

5.  Find the talented people in your life and use them.  I've got bakers , party planners, and paper people.  You've got people, too.  Just have to smoke them out. 

6.  Know the laws in your state.  As in like what it takes to get your marriage license and stuff like that.  Obtaining our marriage license was also a little touch and go, PTL all's well that ends well.  Thank goodness we didn't show up at the court house acting insane.  

7.  Be sure to volunteer and sign up for lots of extra activities.  Like head up a committee, volunteer for a lot of sewing projects, take an online class.  At first I was saying this sarcastically but now I'm actually glad I had other stuff going on.  It helped me to stay realistic and remember that planning a wedding really isn't a full time job.  It is what you make of it. 

8.  Conserve your PTO  hours at work.  I'm glad I was able to take off time before and after the wedding.  Having to wake up the Monday after the wedding would have made me cry. 

9.  Save save save save your money.  I was lucky enough to have my parents carry most of the financial burden of this shin-dig. However, things pop up and i kind of felt like I was spending money like a drunken sailor towards the end.  A cushion was helpful. 

10.  Talk about your honeymoon.  This was a suggestion given to me and Brandon by our friend Mary Margaret.  It was fun to discuss a time when we would get to relax and celebrate together.  But if you are afraid of flying then don't talk about the fact that you will have to get on an airplane.  I've just about convinced myself that I will just magically appear in Napa. 

11.  Use your support. I have amazing family and friends. Amazing.  I mean, my ragtag bunch of peeps really came together on this one.  Despite everything that my friends and family had going on in their lives, they made me and Brandon feel so special and celebrated during this time.  I had people I could squeal with, people that laughed at me when I was talking crazy, I had people that I could complain to, I had people that helped me to stay focused and organized.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

12.  Do the pre-marital counseling.  Brandon and I met with our priest several times. It was pretty intense at times; the first meeting I left crying and Brandon left saying he was "exhausted." However, it ended up being such a blessing to our relationship.  Do it, don't be scared.

13.  Be yourself.  Good, bad, and ugly.  If you're not being yourself and your future mister isn't being himself then it's not going to be y'alls deal.  And that's not cool.

14.  Remember, all that matters is that you actually get married.  Chances are, that will happen as long as you, your betrothed, and the officiant are there.  Nothing else really matters!
Here we are at our Stock the Bar Party.  If you are getting married anytime soon, or have any other life events you'd like to celebrate, have yourself a stock the bar party.  B-L-A-S-T.  But don't face plant on the porch of the Blue Biscuit while trying to find your friends.  Because that would be awkward. 


We Did!

Mrs. McCaleb here, reporting that the weddin' was a smashing success.  I had a freaking blast and felt a joy that I've never experienced before.  Thank you so much to everyone who came, celebrated, and helped us get hitched. 

While I don't have any snaps of me and the mister, I do have one with me and a sister. 

Be back later with recipes.  Or not.  Maybe I'll just spend the next week eating leftover strawberry cake and grinning. 



No Cocktails for Us...

Turns out:

(f) In no event shall a license be issued by the circuit court clerk when it appears to the circuit court clerk that the applicants are, or either of them is, drunk, insane or an imbecile.

find the MS Code here

I'm wrapping things up at work today, then I'll be heading home this afternoon to wrap up last minute wedding details. 

Rest assured that I (or Brandon) will not be getting drunk OR acting crazy.  At least while we are in the circuit clerks office.

Gots to get that marriage liscense. 


Ornament Swap Toffee

Last night was our starting to become an annual Christmas ornament swap.  It's a great time to come together with friends and come away with some sweet tree jewelry.  I scored this:

The big pink one, not the tiny cupcake.  Win gave me that tiny cupcake a few years ago...isn't it just the sweetest? 

Speaking of things that are the sweetest, let's talk about toffee.  If you stopped in for last "A Few on Friday" post, you heard me ramble on about wanting toffee.  Well.  Instead of just talking about it, I decided to take the bull by the hornes and try my best at making it.  Yeah, maybe there's a loftier goal that I should attempt but oh well.  

Toffee.  The process can be a little scary at times, but overall it's not bad!  You can do it!  This was someone named Utahna's toffee recipe, I went rogue and am calling it Ornament Swap Toffee.  Seeing as how she (the toffee, not Utahna) made her Greenwood debut at this party, it seemed only right. 

Sorry, Utahna. 

Ornament Swap Toffee
from Red Couch Recipes

1 cup of pecans
1 cup of salted butter, cut up
1 cup of sugar
3 tbl of water
milk chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350.  Roast pecans for around 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, break them up into pieces, and place them in a small-ish baking dish.  I used an 11 inch pie plate (that's all I got) but you could do something like an 8x8 baking dish.  Set it aside. 

Ok so here's the candy making part.  Make sure that you can give this stuff about 12 minutes of your undivided attention...no walking away.  Or trying to change the song on your itunes. And look alive because I may or may not have had 2 small fires while making this.   But don't be scared...dive in there and do it.  

Place the butter, the sugar, and the water in a medium sauce pan. Turn the heat to high and begin stirring.  Keep stirring and stirring and stirring with a wooden spoon.  What will happen is the candy will turn start to change colors.  Your goal is for it to be an amber color and to start to lift away from the sides of the pan as your stir it.  Mine took about 11 minutes.  

Once it's done, pour it over the pecans in the baking dish.  Do not scrape it out of the pan, just pour it.  Scraping could cause crystallization...which sounds scary.  Allow the candy to cool, about 8 minutes.  Pour the chocolate over the candy, however much you want but enough to cover the whole thing.  Allow it to start to soften, take a fork and spread it out.  

Allow chocolate to completely harden.  I stuck mine in the fridge to speed this process up.  

Once it has hardened, flip the dish upside down on top of some parchment paper.  Beat on the bottom of the dish until it pops out.  Break the candy up and enjoy. 

I didn't line my dish with anything, nor did I spray it with anything...the candy just came out.  Also, I saw the words "crystallization" and "sugaring" several times while I was researching this.  I still don't know exactly when this means other than you are screwed if it happens.  I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't sugar or crystallize; this turned out to be a good method for me. 

Someone call a dentist, I might have been bitten by the candy making bug! 

Happy Tuesday!


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