My Saturday on Instagram

Since my Instagram is private except for events I hashtag, I thought it would be fun to share my day through Instagram. 

People always make my favorite pictures!  We loved having our friends over for lunch.  They are friends from Europe and will be leaving to go to Asia on Wednesday. It was wonderful to spent sweet time together.   

We used from Basil from our Backyard to Table. :) We LOVED it! It made me have Best Italian Food Ever Chef status for a luncheon. :) And we indulged in our everyday favorite, Fresh Mint from our backyard. It went perfectly in our Sweet Tea. 

Me loving and sharing my Monogram from One Moms World's sweet daughter. Talent! 


It is always a good day when it starts with a great cup of Starbucks with the love of my life.


Then, I shared these fab Rudbeckia! from Whole Foods. Brightens everyone's day! 

I even found a little time to read some Jamie on his 50th issue.


Grater's Ice Cream made a visit locally and gave out perfect Chocolate samples of their goodness. The heat made this extra sweet. 


Another highlight was a Welcome Home Party for our Friends who just completed their Family of 10! with their adoption of 6 siblings from Latvia! They are all precious and it was a sweet celebration of life and adoption of these precious children. It brought tears to our eyes to see our children all playing together. 


Then, this pretty little package came in the mail from my precious niece. We are collaborating on being Twins! 


On a sad note, we are about to lose one of our original fish, Neon. We are all sad. Neon joined our family with our Aquarium and others fish 2 1/2 years ago. The boys and my husband are treating her separately here in her "hospital."  We are hoping for her recovery. She perked up when we all talked to her. 


That's a wrap on our Saturday for this week. I do believe this post contains most of my favorite things, family, people, faith, food, fun, fashion, reading, beautiful things, flowers, monogram, pink. :) t is fun to look at our full days and be completely thankful.   Hope you all have a blessed Holiday weekend. 

Carolina Mama 

Easiest Red Beans and Rice Crock Pot Recipe #Cajun

All my life the Red Beans and Rice have defined South Louisiana.  My mother had a way of making this simple meal one we all craved and devoured regularly.  In New Orleans and throughout South Louisiana, particularly, Monday is Laundry Day and with it comes a massive pot of Red Beans and Rice that have been cooked to perfection.

My Mom and Dad both taught me favorite things to cook. My Mom was the quintessential Southern Belle, Wife, Mom, Friend, Musician ...  and Cook. As a wife and Mom, I so appreciate your commitment to us through so many areas and specifically through her cuisine.

So after college when I began to cook for myself, it bothered me greatly that I was not able to master Mommy's Red Beans and Rice. I worked and worked. And there is great disappointment in trying and failing at something so innate as your heritage of recipes!

Yes, my mother's shoes were hard to fill. Yet, I really tried. Through the years, I got better. Trial and error have always been my friends. Try, try and try again have been my mantra as well. I work hard and achieve, eventually.

My efforts at reaching my culinary goals for Red Beans and Rice came when I was many miles away living in Colorado... you know, learning to Ski, Hike 14ers and Fly Fish.  Snowshoe, and more. I was more determined than ever to bring New Orleans to the Rockies. So with my dear native New Orleans Friend and Roommate, we perfected our recipe.

It's a culmination of my Mom, her Mom, us, Emeril, Paul Proudhome and more.  And since I am so enjoying this delicacy here in my Mom's native land of North Carolina, like a good blogger, I am here to share the goods with you!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Crock Pot Style - Easiest and Tastiest

1 .lb Red Beans (Camilla are THE best!) These will be good even with Wal-Marts.
1 .lb Andouille Chicken Sausage sliced thinly - health matters. We use Trader Joe's
1 yellow onion diced
5-7 garlic cloves diced
Spices you Love: Basil, White Pepper, Black Pepper, Cheyenne Pepper, Salt, Oregano, Thyme. Spice to taste
1 box Vegetable Broth - we use TJ's
2 T. canola oil
2 cups of water
Crystal Hot Sauce, a NOLA favorite!

4 c. cooked white rice according to package :)  Brown or Wild Rice taste wonderful as well.

KEY!  Soak Red Beans in Water OVERNIGHT. :)  This is gold. Refill the bowl to cover the beans with water for the 24 hours.

Rinse beans. Place them in the crock pot with the broth and cook on High for two hours. Then, add ALL the other ingredients layered in, stir a circle around the crock pot two or three times. Cook for 5 more hours on Low.  Remove lid and KEY! MASH some of the red beans with a fork. Stir.

Cook a Final hour without the Crock Pot lid off. Mash and stir some more and serve over fresh steamed white rice. Wild rice or brown rice taste great - tradition is white rice. Add Crystal Hot Sauce to taste! 

          photo credit:

This is a complete meal as rice and beans create a complete protein. Serve with a Salad and French Bread, and Banana Pudding. Que up a little Harry Connick, Jr.'s "Every Man Should Know" and "My Mama Told Me!" Enjoy!!!

Take Note: I omitted the sautéing of the onions, garlic and andouille. This saved time and did not effect the flavor at all! This was fabulous! No need to brown the already cooked andouille.

Hope you enjoy!

Let the good times roll!
Warmly, Carolina Mama

Tum-EYummies Children's Water Enhancers with Vitamins

In April, we loved working with Tum-EYummies Water and running in the Color Vibe 5k sponsored by Tum-EYummies. Now, we are so thrilled with their latest innovation - Kids Water Enhancers with Vitamins and Zero Calories. Believe me, and my boys, they are just the right amount of flavor to refresh your water and mix things up a bit.  Here's the latest and it is SO easy!


The flavors are tasty and packed with daily values of Vitamin C, B6 and B12! That is such a win-win! We love the portability of these waters. And you saw how simple they are to use. Now, kids can have the fun and flavor of water without the calories.

My boys LOVE the Tum-EYummies flavors, Fruitabulous Punch and Very Berry Blue. These water enhancers have NO sugar, NO caffeine, and NO sodium!  This makes moms so happy for their children. Now, water can help children reach their 100 percent recommended daily dose of vitamins.

As a Mom, I love that I can just drop one of these into my purse or tote bag and off we go. They are simple enough to leave in a lunch box.  I put one in a zip lock bag in my purse... just because I know me and if it can spill, it just might! :)

It is so awesome how Tum-EYummies is committed to Moms and Children. Listen to what the Director of Branding for Tum-EYummies, Megan Cosgrove said: 

“Moms have so many jobs, and among them is making sure their kids are eating and drinking right,”  “With our vitamin-packed kids water enhancers, we’re trying to give moms one less thing to worry about as they struggle to make drinking water something kids want to do.”

Each bottle makes 24 servings, packaged in a 1.62 fl. oz. bottle. They are available in most supermarkets and mass centers in the Southeast U.S. and retail for $2,99.

This is so good! I pay $1+ per flavored water, etc. So this is a wonderful value as well. Thank you Tum-E Yummies for working with us!  We LOVED Color Vibe with Tum-EYummies and these Water Enhancers are incredible! 

Color Vibe 5K Charlotte, NC
April 2014

Now, I am thinking about just mixing up a whole pitcher of Tum-EYummies Very Berry Blue for dinner for Taco Night! Do you blame me! :) Check it out and enjoy! 

Warmly, Carolina Mama

FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tum E-Yummies. All opinions are my own. 

Knifty Knits by Timmy - Knitting Lessons and Creations

You may recall my son is an accomplished knitter. 

Welcome to Knifty Knits by Timmy.  He continues to create beautiful handmade knitted scarves and hats. 

Knifty Knits by Timmy
Sashay Scarf
Meet Timmy: 
My name is Timmy I have been knitting for 5 years.  I learned from my grandmother
and I am happy to teach y'all How to Knit: Basic Knitting. I am 13 years old and I love basketball, RC cars and knitting!!! I love working with people. I teach Kntting Classes for people ages 12 and up. We learn casting on, garter stitch, and binding off. In my class, Hot to Knit: Basic Knitting, you will learn to make a scarf using these three stitches. All you have to bring is US size 8 Needles and Red Heart yarn size 4 medium. 
Here are some of my creations. This is the Sashay Scarf. It is my most popular scarf.  You can order one by emailing me at carolinamama1@gmail (dot) com. 

Knifty Knits by Timmy
Double Garter Cowl Neck Scarf 
I love to knit and I know you will also.  Please let me know if you have questions or would like to purchase an item.



I am so proud of my son sharing what he loves to do!  Thank you for your support and have a great day.

Warmly, Carolina Mama

Toyota Sienna 2015 RoadTrip Test Drive

We LOVE working with Toyota and were so excited when Toyota asked us to Test Drive the new Toyota Sienna 2015.  We'll admit it, we love the swagger wagon.  We are mini van people. We love out swagger. Seriously, I have always loved the convenience and efficiency of the sliding minivan door. So there my personal opinion that is all my own may be biased because I love that.

The Toyota Sienna 2015 is so spacious our growing boys loved it immediately.  So, naturally, we took off on a road trip to the Beach. #roadtrip We love living so close to the Carolina Coastline.

We packed all of our gear, the Body Surfing Boards, Ice Chest, Umbrella, Chairs, Beach Bags, Kites … all the things.  It all fit so nicely in the Toyota Sienna. 

I love the Driver's Seat….

She looked so pretty at the beach. We love the Salsa Red Pearl. 

This Swagger Wagon was so comfortable for us.  We love how open the front is and the sunroof 
added to this visual "Mommy Like." 

       Take a look at my view from the Driver's Seat. Love this view of the Toyota Sienna. So pretty and spacious! And the mileage in town and on the highway is fabulous!


Now, getting down to business, LOVE the cup holders, the SUB charge and 
the GPS Screen, Stereo, and all.  The best is that this is very user friendly. 

Seats up to eight passengers

Whether you’re head of the car pool or head of the family, you'll have room for everyone in Sienna. On 8-passenger models, the versatile center seat in the second row folds upright to form an additional seat. Now you don't have to leave anyone behind.
Now, that's awesome!  Room for 8! With School starting and carpooling, and 
sports practices, the Toyota Sienna makes room for many! 8 to be exact! 


He is Toyota's shot of the Salsa Red Pearl MiniVan. Love it! Toyota won the 
National Highway Traffic Safety 5 Star Safety Star Award! 

"Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's

 (NHTSA's) New Car Assessment Program ("

We LOVE when Toyota says, "Let's Go Places!"  

Tell me about your Minivan? Are you a Toyota Sienna Driver? Check it out and enjoy the benefits in many ways.  "Let's Go Places!"

Warmly, Carolina Mama

FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Toyota. All opinions are our own.