A Bucket Of Candy

Our little Byrdie went Trick or Treating last year but being so young it was a short experience. This year she is almost 2 and a half. We dressed up her up as Ponyo because it’s her favorite movie. My friend sewed her an amazing costume from scratch and she LOVED the whole experience of dressing up and going out. She was a little shy but bravely marched up to each house and said “trick or treating!” instead of “trick or treat”. Heart melt. It was adorable. She said thank you to each person then “let’s get another treat!”.

We have just recently moved to Florida and are brand new to this community. We went over to the friends who invited us because their neighborhood goes ALL out for Halloween. There the residents get really into decorations (some a little too scary for my taste) and alot of the neighbors sit out with their fire pit on the driveway handing out candy and socializing. Our friends did that too so after walking around a bit we went back to their house for chili and apple crisp. l had been sitting outside with my little girl’s bucket beside me and my husband’s costume on top of it. I went inside with her because it got cold and shortly after the candy ran out and everyone else came in. We forgot the bucket was sitting there full of candy. Even though it was only outside at most for ten minutes, and despite the fact that it was covered up – someone stole it! We were so upset and just felt sick. It was our fault for leaving it there and we felt awful. As waves of regret swept over me I kept thinking how disappointed she would be. We weren’t worried about the candy. Who possibly needs that much candy anyway? She loved that green bucket. It was a big piece of the Ponyo costume and story and she was so proud of it. Not only that it was the whole experience. How could we explain such a cruel trick.

In the grand scheme of things it would be quickly forgotten and with a global perspective it really wasn’t a big deal. But we are parents and our hearts hurt at even the smallest things when it comes to our little ones. Fortunately my sweet girl was having fun playing and didn’t realize what was going on. My husband took off running down the street to try to catch the person but it was too dark and too late. We just felt awful and couldn’t bear the thought of telling her.

At first she didn’t even notice. When we left the our friend’s house they gave her the basket they had with all their leftover candy in it and their grandsons (young kids around 8-10) all reached in their bags and gave her candy from their own haul. We had to stop them because they were actually giving too much and we felt bad. They were so kind.

So we got in the car and realized we could go get her another bucket from the Dollar Tree store if we could hurry and get there before they closed. As we drove she picked up on the fact that her bucket was missing and we sort of fumbled over our words and told her that it was lost but we are going to find it. Fortunately we found another one just like it. The cashier overheard us talking and asked what happened sowe told him the story. He said “That’s awful!” and expressed the frustration most anyone would at the story of a little two year old’s bucket of candy being stolen. He rang us up and said “Wait just one second” and picked up his cell phone. We overheard him calling to ask his mom if she still had candy and told her the story and said he was going to send us there. He then proceeded to give us the address and told us to go there she would take care of us. Now I realize it may seem a little strange to take these directions and go to a strangers house, but on the other hand isn’t that what Trick or Treat is? For some reason, we felt ok about it. Perhaps it was our urgent desire to rectify the situation for our little girl.

In the car Marlo started asking questions about the bucket like “why did we have to buy it”. So we had to break down and tell her what happened. We told her we still had to go to one more house. She didn’t skip a beat and was just excited she got to go to one more house. So we went and the older lady who lived there was so nice. For some reason barely anyone had come to their door and she had a huge, huge bowl of candy left. She literally filled Marlo’s bucket to the brim with candy. That child wound up with more candy than she lost. Much more.

We told her we have to forgive the person (as we reminded ourselves) so it was turned out to be a learning opportunity for us all. We couldn’t help thinking of the scripture about the sparrow. God cares about the sparrows and even my little Byrdie’s bucket of candy. He gave her back so much more than she lost.

It’s a story we’ll never forget.

Luke 12:6-7
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

i’m still here …


it’s been a whirlwind. in august i decided to go back to school. crazy. i must have been taking some kind of crazy pills that day. it really did all get decided in one day and then boom, after starting college …ahem… awhile ago i went back. i am taking digital photography and finally learning something i want to learn about. it’s every bit as hard as i thought it would be and more to take classes online and some in person, be a mom, be a wife, work part time from home and have a husband who is working two jobs and going to school full time.

it’s alot.

it’s just a season though and in march my husband starts student teaching and then he graduates in june. what a glorious day that will be. some kind of party is definitely in order i do believe. so we have a little girl now, no more baby, she’s a toddler 1 1/2 to be exact as of this week. she’s getting into everything. we found 5 gum wrappers on the floor yesterday after she had apparently decided to raid my purse and eat 5 pieces of sugar free gum. running around after her, doing my job and trying to squeeze in school and taking pictures whenever i can doesn’t leave room for much else like cleaning or writing here. i am doing some writing over here though, talking about going to school for photography and other stuff. i’m still here, i’m not giving up on this blog, i’m just trying to get through this season and learn all i can so we can go new places.

It’s Still Happening …

My husband is seriously on a roll with this cooking business. I am thrilled but almost afraid to be too excited in case it ever ends!

I’ve always loved eating out and it’s been hard for me to get excited about the seeming monotony of eating at home pretty much every night as an adult. I love to cook for guests and parties but as much as I hate to admit it I have never been great at coming up with an exciting week of menus for the home. I tend to get stuck on making the same things over and over which is funny because I crave variety in food to the point that a bowl of pasta gets boring and mundane to me before I reach the bottom. Give me a little of this and a little of that, a buffet, small bites that add up to an colorful and delicious plate. This however is a whole new world, the opposite of boring.

It reminds me of living with my Dad when I was growing up. He is a fantastic cook and was always coming up with something delicious and interesting … Oysters Rockefeller, Linguine with Clam Sauce, German night with Sausage and Sauerkraut, Mexican night, grill outs, Sunday suppers with chicken slow roasted in a clay pot. Whether he was cooking or teaching me to love raw oysters on the half shell at 8 or 9 years old food was never boring growing up with him. Not to mention I grew up in the South where food is almost a religion.

So I thought I’d share a little of what this has been looking like in our house. Just so you know we are most definitely on a tight budget and also trying to use up some things in the cabinet and make the most of leftovers. Here’s what we are having this week:

Monday – Mini pizzas, half with pesto and mozzarella and half with pizza sauce, red pepper flakes, pepperoni and a mix of mozzarella and provolone.

Tuesday – Marinated Grilled Chicken with garlic and herbs, Grilled Corn on the Cob & a Italian Salad

Wednesday – Homemade Fried Rice with Chicken

Thursday – Colombian BBQ Flank Steak Tacos with Aji and Guacamole

Friday – Mexican Taco Night with a friend coming over for dinner! (Utilizing the rest of the corn tortillas (which we always fry in oil and salt) but this time doing one of our old stand bys … typical Tex-Mex style tacos with seasoned ground beef, sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatos, lettuce, olives and green peppers for extra flavor and crunch. You can never go wrong with Taco Night.)

Saturday – Watermelon, Feta, Steak and Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad with Arugula (utilizing leftover Steak from Thursday night)

Nathan made this Colombian Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole with a Watermelon & Feta salad (pictured above with a Lime Spritzer I love to make … so easy just lime juice and seltzer water) on the side a couple weeks ago and it was seriously one the best meals I have ever had. We loved it so much he is incorporating and varying it in some other dishes this week. So this is how we are doing it. I don’t even miss eating out. I also love that fact that my little Byrdie just eats whatever we eat and is learning to love a variety of spices, flavors and textures! We are saving money, discovering new things, my husband is turning into an amazing cook and we are having fun in the process!

Working Mama

My little Byrdie turned one last week but I’ll tell you more about that later. For now I just wanted to say that I love my job. I love being a stay at home Mom and I am very blessed to have a little part time gig too. I work for Genre Creative – assisting on photo shoots, running our new photobooth The Soap Box, writing blogs, updating social media and whatever else my friend Robin needs help with. It can never be said enough … when you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. I love this job and having worked jobs I didn’t love by varying degrees I can truly say I that I am thankful from the bottom of my heart. Plus I am learning more about photography and I get to run a photobooth! I’ve come a long way since I wrote this. So between being a wife, mommy, work, my Etsy store and this blog … things are a quite busy! I will be posting here more often though so don’t give up on me. For today I leave with you a couple of fun pics from the photobooth at my little Byrdie’s birthday party.

The Man Can Cook

Today I’d like you to meet someone very special. My husband, the infamous Nathan Smart. He may be better known for his music or his comedy but there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s handsome, he’s smart, he makes me laugh harder than anyone, he’s an absolutely wonderful Father and folks let me tell you … this man can cook.

It wasn’t always that way. We were friends for a long time before we ever dated. Back in the day when were just a bunch of twentysomethings doing music and hanging out full time it was rumored that Nathan lived off Pop Tarts and Grape Juice (He may deny this but I have it on very good report). He was notorious for being a picky eater. Very little passed his discriminating palate. He was skinny as a rail and lived off the finest soda pop, fast food and sweets he could find. The years went on and his love of junk food didn’t change but his palate has broadened enormously. In the old days black beans and rice were about as exotic as his food selections got and cooking was just not something he was interested in. A trip to Japan helped change all that along with a healthy dose of my slight addiction to the Food Network. Fast forward to today and you have a man that loves to cook and does it quite well and not just for someone who just started. He’s good.

So this week he decided he would take over the kitchen until further notice. Planning, shopping and cooking dinner every night. I love to cook too but with an 11 month old crawling around getting in to everything I have not been very inspired to say the least. Did I mention that my brother is living with us? Well Josh just moved here from Georgia. So in all of us my husband has a very receptive audience as he attempts to teach himself to really cook.

Last night he made a Summer Flatbread. That’s what I’m calling it since it was a modified version of this recipe. Asparagus, arugula pesto, fresh mozzarella, fresh sliced corn from the cob, peas, fingerling potatoes all on a crispy homemade flat bread and topped off with arugula, Parmesan cheese and a fried egg over easy. It was an explosion of fresh summer flavors. Light and filling all at the same time. Perfect for a July dinner.

I hope this continues …

In The Weeds

From where I sit I can see a weed growing strong and very tall in the yellow flower pot on my deck. Last year it held the bright red geranium my Mother planted for me. Every time I see it I wish I would go out and get rid of that weed and plant something pretty. Then I think about what that involves when you live in an apartment with a little baby. First finding a place to dump it all out and something to shovel it with and a way to occupy the baby while I do it, then getting myself and the baby ready to go out, packing the diaper bag, going to the store to buy another pretty flower to plant and some soil, the money it costs to buy those things, then getting home with them, walking up the walkway and then up two flights of stairs with all that and the baby and the diaper bag, then finding a way to actually do the planting and potting and clean it all up while keeping the baby happy. That’s the process my mind goes through for any number of daily tasks. When my husband isn’t working or going to school or doing homework he might watch our daughter for an hour or so and in those times when I have the ability to get something done, it amazes me how much can be accomplished. These times are few and far between so it’s hard to decide what to do with that gift of free time. So a plant on a deck with a weed flying high and waving in the wind isn’t high on my priority list.

Once upon a time I waited tables for a very short time. There was a phrase I remember people saying “we are in the weeds”. It meant things were backing up, food wasn’t going out fast enough, tables needed to be cleared, it was hectic. That’s how I feel right now……in the weeds.

The funny thing is that this particular weed growing in my flower pot has tiny daises at the top of it. Little round white flowers with yellow centers that don’t seem to realize they are growing at the top of a big ugly stalk. They just smile up at the sun proudly as if they were zinnias or dahlias or a bright red geranium.

And so it is with life these days. Pretty little bright spots of Summer, sunshine and joy in the midst of weeds.

goldiestereo on Etsy!

After 4 years or more of dreaming, making notes and lists, talking about it, thinking about it … it’s finally here! My Etsy store is up and running with vintage housewares and other items like retro board games and gift wrap. It may seem like a small thing but it’s a dream come true for me. I love going to yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores and finding treasures. Those things I want to keep for myself but just can’t justify or find the room. I can’t just leave them there so I am sharing them with you. Sometimes you go out and there’s alot of things you could buy but I try to only select things that I like so much I would almost rather keep it for myself. If you love mid century modern, if you love quirky kitsch then I hope you will love my store. Let me know what you think? Have something you have been looking for? Let me know perhaps I can find it for you. I look forward to hearing from you! I’ll be adding more items soon!

Happy Mother’s Day

Today was my first Mother’s Day as a Mom.

It was such a special day and made even more so by my wonderful husband and family.

My life is so full.

I am so thankful.