Halloween Harvest And When DO You Carve Your Pumpkins?

Happy Halloween! Here's our front porch - not so- yet. It is "our" Southern Living front porch on my mac. :) Y'all know what, we usually carve our pumpkins on Halloween Night. I don't know if that is a reality of living in the Deep South or just a family tradition. You know I still wanted to play along with all my "'Bring Your Own Pumpkin!!" so love me anyway... I am truly Southern, and we do tend to get 'stuck' doing things 'our way.'

We just never carved them early. I think for those "inards" reasons. Anyway, one more what "I Learned From Blogging" - I mean who know - carve the pumpkin the night before Halloween. Well, wait a minute, where's the book, you know, "'T'was the night before Halloween...." I mean we must be the only people on the planet to carve our pumpkins on Halloween night.

And hey, what a revelation, because do you know the nights we're hustlling to get that candle lit and get Jack on the porch before the first little darlings ring the bell.

That's all I'm sayin' about the punkin's. However, I do want you to know the Bloggy Giveaway Winner will be given away tomorrow. And then, I have to talk about my first "Bloggy Award" next. :) For now, Sweet dreams to all and to all a good carve!

p.s. When DO you carve your pumkin's?! :)


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Welcome The Souptacular Crockpotalooza and Southern Oyster Stew

Welcome, welcome!! to this exciting time - the lovely hostess Boo Mama's "Souptacular Crockpotalooza!" is here and just in time for the Holidays. Just in time for these down right cold Southern Nights.

My dear Aunt wrote a lot of things and she could have written Southern Living with her amazing Oyster Stew Recipe that we grew up inhaling - almost literally. It seems from the time we were weened this Oyster Stew flowed from our bottles! Maybe shortly thereafter.

Oyster Stew by Mrs. Paula Deen

2 green onions, chopped, plus additional sliced green onions for garnish
2 tablespoons butter
12 ounces fresh raw oysters, undrained
1 quart half-and-half or whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Crackers, for serving
Sliced green onions, for garnish

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat until edges of oysters begin to curl and mixture is hot but not boiling. Serve stew with crackers and garnish with sliced green onions.

Cook Time 10 min
Level Easy
Yield 4 to 5 servings

Here is the very cool thing that I learned about just recently from Pensieve who is a fellow Paula Deen admirer. In all of my surfing of Mrs. Deen's website, I have never noticed the Recipe link! Y'all will see the Oyster Stew recipe that I entered into the Souptacular but you can go from there and create your own online recipe file @ PaulaDeen.com. That's almost as cool as her Hot Hoecakes!

Y'all know what that means - No More Cooking from my MacBook!! Right, no more hovering over my MacBook and hoping not to smudge butter (Paula Deen's signature ingredient :) all over my screen. I can actually file it and print it anytime. Rather than googling as I fire up the skillet.... So the Recipe Link Rocks!

One word of advice, I respectfully add my little gem of wisdom because we know Paula Deen's recipe's need "no help" - just remember on this one to be careful not to scorch the milk. It is such a small degree of heat difference between hot, hot and not boiling. So be careful there.

Don't shy away from Oysters because they are the pearl of many New Orleans dishes and Southern dishes in general. Go ahead, try it and if you are real adventursome, kick your head back and enjoy an Oyster on the Half-Shell after you have dropped two drops of Tobasco Sauce on top. You can almost claim to be a Southerner if you follow this right of passage - and act like you l.o.v.e it! Just ask Mountain Man, he knows and he's in the Club.

Mountain Man and I were high-a-top a Rocky Mountain Colorado and still courting when Mountain Man first tried this delicacy. Talk about irony, Southern girl (eventually to become Carolina Mama) on top of the Mountain and Mountain Man eating a raw oyster... well, we've been in each other's Club ever since. And that is just a whole other post.

Okay now, come on y'all, tell me do you enjoy oysters? On the half shell? Plan on trying them? This recipe? Or do not eat things from the bottom of the sea! :)

Anyway, of all things Enjoy the Oyster Stew!

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"Win It Wednesday" La Plates Winner

This week we have a Winner of our regularly scheduled "Win It Wednesday" Giveaway - chosen by Random.org :

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-10-29 21:47:50 UTC

The Winner is Shannon @ Southern Grits and Tidbits! Congratulations Shannon! That is a fun one. And y'all it was a Random.org thing.

The good news is that my Bloggy Giveaway Carnival is still up!! So go for it! Thanks for playing along and after the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival, we'll be back to the usual "Win It Wednesdays."


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My Tom Cruise Ray-Ban Aviators

My Tom Cruise Aviators and even free shipping! This time last year, I needed a pair of sunglasses. It was Christmastime so I had a great excuse to find the perfect pair of sunglasses. I have always been one for quality over quantity in the style department. Forget about one-of-each color of the PayLess Shoe bargain of the month. I'll take my tried and true Nine West or Dansko any day.

This applied to my sunglasses. I have had many a pair but none like This Frame also known as the Tom Cruise Frame! :) In my college days, these Arista Frames survived many of football game, trip to the beach and Camden Cup. So I looked and looked for her replacement while shopping.

And I did!

Nordstrom's carried my Tom Cruise Aviator - Arista Frames ! :) With a price. I paid $139.00 + a pretty hefty shipping so my total was somewhere @ $150. That was OK since we all know the high quality of Ray-Bans. They are enduring and classic all in one.

And like an old friend, I was back. It was me again except a "few" years "wiser."

This year guess who is looking for sunglasses for family? And guess what little gem I just discovered from a friend of mine. Check out Fast Sunglasses. They are an online FastSunglass source for Discounted Designer Sunglasses.

Get this, FastSunglass.com offers Free Shipping! In this economy that's saying something.

Doing the math, my typical Ray-Ban purchase of $150 just turned into just $99.04! And it gets shipped direct and at Christmastime that's pure gold!

This Works For Me Wednesday! And for Christmas too!

Okay, go ahead and tell me: Are you a Ray-Ban fan? What is your favorite sunglass company?


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What I Learned Early Voting in North Carolina

Firstly, look at the cute button compliments of my friend Shannon @ Southern Grits & Tidbits. Thanks Shannon!

As promised, I'll do it - right here in the mommyblogging world. I'm going to go ahead and talk about The Election. Yes, that election, The Presidential Election '08. The election that Americans find difficult to discuss. Or even discuss say in the context of Voting. I will discuss it and I did vote. And I Voted Early! Am glad I did.

What I Learned Voting Early in North Carolina: NY Times that would be us - North Carolina - right here actually doing the voting....
1) Taking our children to the polls was an awesome and quite educational experience - glad we did it again;

2) Early Voting really does avoid the long lines especially if you go in the mid-afternoon;

3) Candidates actually still campaign right in front of the Voting Center.;

4) We enjoyed this aspect. It was refreshing to meet candidates in the everyday setting as opposed to the media driven forces;

5) I really missed the Bake Sale ladies that we always had at the polls growing up; you know the ones who make homemade goodies and sell it for next-to-nothing right there at the Town Hall;

6) This NY Times: North Carolina Butterfly Ballot article piqued my interest. I can see the point;

7) I recalled the lady that gave me the ballot was on her way to the NC State Fair and we DID NOT get the full lecture about the straight ticket or not; So our friends at NY Times may have a point;

8) Something about the "Straight Ticket" thing has always bothered me anyway; it just screams 'in the box,' "I can't think" and "I am not going to consider each candidate for who they are."

9) Anyone know a sane reason for a no-identification vote? I hate to go there but we all know where we've been in this here American Presidential Election Process; it just makes sense. I'm just saying; and

10) It was awesome to express our freedom to vote in the United States of America in an election year when regardless of the outcome, we will have a first presidential/vice-president ticket in the White House. We're living this history.

Have you voted?! How was your process!

You can still go here and here to enter my "Win It Wednesday" and Bloggy Giveaways! :)

Enter quick - tomorrow is drawing day for "Win It Wednesday!"


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Hello Monday! and The Bloggy Giveaway Carnival :)

Hello Monday and Welcome to the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! The Giveaway for this week is a part of the Carnival, so in other words, "Win It Wednesday" :) starts today for this week!

Enjoy what Cheryl @ Lula Ballou has contributed for this fun Giveaway - It's the Padded Gadget Case for iPod, Cell Phone, Camera - Patchwork Night and Day Floral with Red Twill!

This cute little gadget pouch is perfect for those trips when you don't want to take your purse! It's padded (to protect your gadget) and measures

approximately 4 1/2" wide , 6" high and closes with a zipper top. Perfect for carrying your iPod, cell phone, MP3 player, small camera (just to name a few). Just attach it to your belt loop, bag or stroller handle and off you go!

Of course, I had to add my personal favorite pick.
(1) Go visit Lula Ballou and chose your own.
(2) Then come tell me all about it in the comments.
(3 )And let me know just what you would use yours for on any given day. The offer is open to U.S. residents and readers with a valid blog and/or email.
(4) In keeping with my Bloggy Sisters in the Giveaway - sign up to Subscribe - top right sidebar; and
(5) Makes Wishes to Win this Lovely Lula Ballou.

**** To WIN AGAIN:

Enter enter @ "Win It Wednesdsay" is still open! :) Good Luck!!

Okay, we'll talk tomorrow. I think this is enough Bloggy Stimulation for the thought processes today. Believe me there's more - so tomorrow I'll see you just a week before "Election Day '08" for "What I Learned When I Voted Early!" See ya soon!


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Sunday Scripture - Happy Sunday!

My son helped chose today's verse. It is our pastor's favorite verse which he inscribed in my boys' Bibles when he signed them. I like it too.

" For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." Ezra 7:10


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Just So You Know... My Mantras and The Energy Level...

Just so you know.... the energy level around her is high. These pictures capture a moment of truth here at Carolina Mama. The boys are full of energy on a regular basis. I know it is not anything new to parents of small children. And for multiples parents, parenting twins or triplets can be exhausting on any level and particularly when all of that energy is like an explosion at one time!

That is one of the mantras here - we are doing all of our parenting in one fell swoop. It's a one shot deal right now, know previous knowledge from child one or two. It is the full-court press everyday. And a lot of the time, Carolina Mama is out numbered. To put it in my basketball terms from days of yore, it's two-on-one. Then two-on-two strengthens up things a bit.

However, I thought I would draw your attention to two things here: In the first photo, the boys are having a grand ole time in none other than the laundry basket. I love this shot - because they still fit in it! Ever so barely. There is a photo of them at about a year or so both laying in the basket with plenty of room so this makes me a bit nostalgic.

And the second photo, sums up the end-of-the-day around here. Full-on Tigers actually 'working out' and Mountain Man worn out! ;) Carolina Mama's where else in the kitchen whipping up something marvelous. ;) Honestly, I don't know about you but we often half laugh and half cry how can someone be so tired after a day-in-the-life and the boys are so full of energy. :) That's the mantra of parents everywhere, right!

We joke that they had it right in the days of old when the 'children' married in their teens. They were raising children while they still had the energy of a child. No wonder. And I have had a friend or acquaintance or two who got started so early they laugh because they are finished by the time we are in the throes of raising twins.

Yet for me the underlying, I'm loving every moment. Even the tired ones, because the mantra I've always had has been, "If all I am is tired, I am very blessed!" So true.

Everyday I am thankful for our healthy, happy, big little family! The energy and joy of these boys is not taken for granted. And as my friend, Esther would say, I am very thankful "For such a time as this!"

So tired as we may be, I am eternally grateful for each day I get to get tired with my crew whatever we do! And to the Father who gave us these gifts seven years ago.

Happy Saturday and may we all get a little rest!


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What I Learned At Phantom of the Opera With The Girls

Recently, a friend invited me to join in a little girl time at Phantom of the Opera. What a treat! I have to say I love musicals, theatre and Broadway. Yet, somewhere in there between expecting twins and mothering twin sons, my cultural experiences in the musical arena have been simultaneously narrowed down.

Here's What I Learned At Phantom of the Opera With The Girls:

1) I realized how Thankful I am for my heritage in that my mother loved music and participated in Pops, the Orchestra, our church musicals and music department etc. all of my life and she passed this love on to us.
2) I am thankful for all the lessons I was given in music - years of Piano and some Flute. They are old friends I am thankful to have.
3) I love Musicals - they take me away;
4) I love sitting and relishing my life in a way in those moments that only I can do in this extra-ordinary way and setting;
5) Time with the Girls is always a real delight and blessing;
6) The Starbucks really adds to the conviviality - especially the Cafe Mocha;
7) Music speaks;
8) I love dressing up a little and being out on the town;
9) I do love being still and hearing and feeling the music; and
10) Love is powerful!

It was a great time. Take a little time to see something special this season. Do you enjoy cultural events like this? And when was the last time you took in something similar?

See you next week with "What I Learned When I Voted Early!" :) Did you register for this week's "Win It Wednesday" Santa's Plate. :) The Giveaway is Wednesday. Have an awesome Weekend!


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My Life With Boys - and My "Fro Me To YOU"

Great Falls National Park Cir. Winter 2005
Greetings Y'all! Here's my flashback to Winter 2005. One thing I like about 'Fro Me to You' is looking through all my old pictures and then a few good laughs.

This weeks is of the Tigers and me hanging on a tree. That's My Life! Outdoor living at it's finest. Actually, this one is at Great Falls National Park view of the Potomac River. My some good hikes were had. The boys were just turning four. Four and how can I even comprehend seven!

I just love this picture in that it truly depicts our life. A candid shot of all of our activity. And just why I love being a boy mom, twins mom, Carolina Mama! :) The good Lord knew what He was doing when He had me fall in love with climbing trees and particularly in our large Oak tree in our backyard when I was a girl. Of course, it shaded our two story doll house and that I am thankful for too!

Tell me some of your favorite Mommy memories? Or moments as we live the Mommy-life! And check out Kristen's "Fro Me To You" I've timidly gotten involved and it's been a blast! :) You just might find an old favorite or two or three!


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Win It Wednesday Giveaway - La Plates for Christmas

Hi Y'all, Today's Win It Wednesday Giveaway is the lovely La Plates Santa's Cookies Plate. Isn't it just adorable! Now, I want to play Santa. :)

La Plates is melamine and is MADE in the USA! Lara's LaPlates just out in Coastal Living. So if you are in an area that has the current issue, you'll see her awesome products in the Coastal Living Magazine. I love the Zebra Plate and the Holiday plate in addition to this cute Santa Plate.

Go here and browse around and chose a favorite. Come back here and list it in the comments with a valid blog or email address and you're entered for this Christmas goodness!

Good luck and come back on Wednesday for a winner!


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BlogHer Mom Blog Search (Dad's too) - My Sweet New Widgetbox :)

Okay, I just found the Blogger version of Stumbleupon!

Get the BlogHer Mom Blog Search (Dads too) widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox!

Good stuff!

Check out my Widget box just click on the Title you like. It's the Mom Blog Search Widgetbox. Just use the coded search tool right there and it searches the many, many blogs in the Parenting section of BlogHer and voila you've got what you need at your fingertips.

Straight to the basics! I just love the instant gratification of this. Talk about narrowing down the search.

That Works For Me Wednesday! Let me know what's working for you. And how your first search on the Mom Blog Search Widgetbox goes. :)

*** Last Week's Win It Wednesday Giveaway Winner of the "Mothering Without A Map" author signed book is...

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-10-22 12:58:57 UTC

Congratulations Marni! And a huge Thank You to Kathryn Black for the book contribution. It is one great read!

Sign up for the next Awesome Win It Wednesday Giveaway here. For the new Giveaway ....Christmas is the hint. Good Luck!


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Buying Made in the USA - Sweetgrass Baskets at City Market

Good Monday Morning to all! We had an awesome weekend complete with amazing Fall weather. We enjoyed being outdoors.

Like everyone, lately I have been thinking about our country's financial and political goings on. One thing has been on my mind through it all, how have we gotten in the situation where we find it difficult to purchase products in the USA Made in the USA?!

This summer I took these pictures above of Sweetgrass Baskets were taken in the Charleston City Market, these women have incredible talent and workmanship. There is homegrown right before your eyes. We did support these ladies and I want to keep 'supporting' them. Their products are amazing!

Some years back, I recall Wal-Mart's strong effort to support our country and they would mark their products Made in the USA. Ever since my children became more aware and since the lead based paints in the toys made in China, I get frustrated too often when I pick up a toy or whatever good and it is made in China. I know there are reasons to out-of-country source. And I know the plight of the people in these countries. That is a whole other post.

Right now I am seeking out ways to buy Made in the USA. And I love supporting other Mamas who are entrepreneurial moms, or just companies in general here in our country. WIth Christmas coming, I know I have mentioned before, but I love the little Etsy shop. If I cannot make it for time or talent, someone at Etsy can. I love that.

We are continuing our search to purchase Carolina homegrown goods whenever possible. These pictures above were taken in the Charleston City Market, these women have incredible talent and workmanship. There is homegrown right before your eyes. We did support these ladies and I want to keep 'supporting' them. Their products are amazing!

How do you do it? Are there any shops, retailers, etc. that you would share? Does this frustrate you too?

Gotta scoot, the Tigers have a field trip today. And it is a flawless day for it.


Being Thankful and Sunday Scripture - Have a Blessed Day!

Being Thankful - Babble Playground
Just love this post, "Being Thankful - Babble Playground" posted on the Canadian Thanksgiving this past Monday. Julie Cole, my friend at Mabel's Labels reminds us all to be thankful.

Here's one of my favorite quotes of hers: "motherhood can sometimes regress into a culture of complaining. Easily done - an entire group of humans who are sleep deprived and whose lives are no longer their own. Admittedly, I'm not a big complainer. I was raised by a non-complainer and it worked well for our family. I figure if I complained more, people would listen less and I quite enjoy feeling like my voice is heard."

Isn't that great. I most likely appreciate it because I too was "raised by a non-complainer and it worked well for our family" too. The whole article is worth a read and will leave you - well, thankful.

"I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." Psalm 7:17


Fall Sights and Sounds Are All Around

Love Fall. Being raised in the Deep South, I don't recall the coolness of Fall. As an adult, it is so fun to enjoy the seasons. Here is a little glimpse of ours. This week, I am enjoying the little things in life. Sometimes the little things are big things, my family, the boys running through the leaves in the yard with their Tonka trucks. The smell of pumpkin spice from my new candle. The uncontrollable laughter of our children, brothers, twins sons, as they grow up right here and now a little bit each day. The joy of my family surrounding the table for a meal together. Joy in the everyday. I love the idea that today is a gift - the present.

May you have a joy filled day with your own sights and sounds of fall.

The Men in My Life and A Great "Win It Wednesday" Giveaway

"The Men in My Life"

"Win It Wednesday Giveaway!"

Clearly, first things first, meet the men in my life. Mountain Man and the Tigers, more specifically, Lion on the right and Cheetah on the left. I am very blessed indeed. Since you can see the sweetness in their faces, I will suffice it to say, I am blessed beyond measure! Just sharing my joy in this weeks "Fro' Me To You."

***This weeks "Win It Wednesday" is the fabulous book, "Mothering Without A Map" that we recently discussed here. It's an autographed copy by author, Kathryn Black! Enter to win and if you do not, it will be a read you will want to do shortly. It's an awesome book.

Here's how to enter:
1) Enter before noon Wednesday, October 22nd;
2) Go here to check out her website and workshops, etc.
3) Come back here and comment
4) Have a valid email address and/or blog.

Have fun and enjoy the anticipation!