Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poor Ninny

I had to take down the mean picture of Ninny. She was ticked because I put it up, and I have to say, I really didn't care.....until she broke her foot yesterday afternoon.

So, instead, I'll put up my very favorite picture of Ninny. And Ninny, I hope your foot feels better.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm just telling you.....

.....somebody is going to have to put me in for a mental evaluation when Allison goes to kindergarten. I'm all weepy just at the thought of her growing up, having a birthday soon, and it being her last day of school.

Our last day at Park Hill CDC

Today was Allison's last day to go full-time to the Park Hill Child Development Center. It was so bittersweet taking her this morning. I'm so excited to be able to do more things with her (and her friends), but I have to say I could have never imagined how wonderful a set of people could have been to my baby. She has grown and developed so much over the past year that she has been there. And you just have no idea what it does to me when she tells me her "fabeorite" song that she sings at school is "Joy, Joy in My Heart".

Ms. Bryn - thank you for loving Allison. I could write a big, long list about how much I appreciate you, but that just says it all: thank you for loving Allison. I hope you know how much she loves you, too.

And just a little side note: Allison loves to wear her sunglasses to school. But today, for some reason, she decided that I needed some glasses too. I told her that I wasn't sure where my sunglasses were. She went and got her other set and told me to wear those, that they would look just "purr-feck" with my outfit. Do I have a diva or what?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Three Years in Review

As I have been working on the details for Allison's upcoming birthday, I've been getting a little nostalgic. So, I thought I would share with you some of my very favorite photographs of Allison over the past three years (can it be possible that she is turning three in a couple of weeks?)

I decided to start with the beginning:

Our first family photograph right after we met her for the first time:

And, to this day, every time I look at this picture I am just in awe of how full of grace and mercy my God really is:

And this is a picture of my OB/GYN holding Allison when she was one-week old. We named Allison after him.

I'm a Sunflower.......

.....which is what my sister's kitchen was decorated with in her last house (can you say 80's flashback?)

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recipe of the Week

This is a recipe that is actually on the menu tonight at our house. It has been a long time since I have made this (over a year), but I ran across the recipe the other day and remembered how tasty it is. The recipe is courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis on The Food Network. Giada is my least favorite food network star because she obviously doesn't eat her own food. She can't possibly - she's not any bigger than a stick. Paula Dean and The Barefoot Contessa, on the other hand, are my girls! I digress. Anyway, let me know if you try this - it's YUMMY!!!!


5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 link (about 6 ounces) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta anad sausage and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fashion Citations for the Week:

Yes, I know that I am not the fashion expert. But, let's just admit that it doesn't take Coco Chanel to realize these fashion faux pas that crossed my way this week:

1. To the lady in Wal-Mart this week that had a very stylish top on with strings that tied around her neck, here is your citation: cute top, but for the love of all things good and holy, PUT ON A STRAPLESS BRA!!!! I am quite certain that your cup size is probably at least a DDD. That means that going without a bra became a crime about four cup sizes ago.

2. To the lady at Casa Mexicana last night that sat at the table next to us, here is your citation: While we were eating, I have to admit that I was admiring your figure for a woman your age. I had guessed that you were probably in your late forties or early fifties. It looked like you watch what you eat without going overboard, and you probably workout a couple of times a week - I thought you just looked very healthy. Then you stood up. You are too old for me to know that you wear thong underwear from Victoria's Secret because your pants were too tight. For that matter, it doesn't matter how old you are, if your pants are so tight that I can tell what kind of underwear you have on or that you have none on at all, you are getting a felony citation.

And a fashion warning goes to:

The little girl at Target that was shopping for clothes yesterday. I overheard you talking about starting kindergarten this year, and then you proceeded to beg your mother for a T-Shirt that you just "had" to have that had a skull and cross-bones silkscreen print on it. I realize that people in the fashion industry think you should wear this, but you shouldn't. And fashion industry people, you had skulls on everything at Target from clothes to lunchboxes. Stop it! And little Target girl, your mom gets a gold star for telling you "no" on that one. (She should have told you "no" on a couple of other things, but we parents have to pick our battles sometimes).

...and speaking of fashion!

It's going to be a little bit of a challenge to dress Allison this fall since I no longer own a children's store. So, I've had to make a bit of a wish list, and here are my favorites so far:

And, through a little bartering, I got Allison the dress that is second from the right in this picture (and the matching tights - you can't forget those):

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What a FUN Day!!!!

Annabelle came over today for a play day with Allison while Christina went to the doctor. I LOVE to watch them play. It does everything good for my soul.

We did artwork:

They had a snack:

They played dress-up:

And while Christina and I were making this for her baby:

The girls snuck into the bathroom for a little time of their own:

But this is my favorite picture of all:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ugly Cry Tuesday

I had just collected myself after writing the last blog when I received this YouTube video from someone in my Sunday School class:

Now, do you just even need to know after the morning that I have had how I started boo-hooing again when it got to the person with the cardboard testimony "Lost Child....Found God's Amazing Grace".

Fair Warning.......

......get the Kleenex box very near before you read the rest of this.

I read Angie's post entitled "Papyrus" yesterday afternoon. Then, I read it again later on in the evening. You can read it here.

When I went to bed last night, I was still pondering the same question that she raised and that I have pondered so many times before: I believe with everything in me that God could have let my Audrey live. Why didn't He? He could have let Savannah Morden; he could have let Casey, Gabby, and Calyn Sharp live; He could have let Joshua Ables live; He could have let Jenna Bisbee live; and Jordan Dobbins; and Aubrey Lang; and Carter Purnell. He could have let them all live. Why didn't He? I believe that with everything in my soul that my sister could have a baby tomorrow if He would just speak the words. Why doesn't He? I believe that Jim Clements, who is working on his third month in CCU, could be healed tomorrow with just the touch of the Master's hand? Why doesn't He? The truth is....WE DON'T KNOW!

Here is what I do know though:

There really is a plan. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11. Yes, Chuck and I have discovered that part of God's plan was to raise a daughter here on earth named Allison, and let Audrey rest in His arms. As I'm sure you have guessed by reading this today, that doesn't always take away the sting and ache of grief.

The other thing I know:

On days like today when I am weak and weary, He is not. One of my favorite verses in the bible, Isaiah 40:28-31:

"The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not be faint."

Ok, this is turning into a little rambling, but I was just looking over what I have just written. In my ramblings about what God could have done, there are two things that God still could do if He chooses to.....and if we believe that He can. I believe. Do you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daddy's dirty little helper!

For all of you that know just how meticulous and sometimes obsessive my husband is about the yard and landscaping, you will understand just how adorable I thought this was! (Having said that, I have to admit it is one of the most beautiful yards in the neighborhood)

Friday, July 18, 2008

I've waited for this ALL summer...... least since I got over the excitement of "Sex and the City - the Movie". I will be seeing this on Monday with Tabitha and singing the music for oh, FOREVER!

Don't I look beautiful?

I'm so blog got a facelift last night that is a little more me. I think it turned out so cute!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I have finally fixed the comments setting (thanks to Tabitha) so that you do not have to sign up with blogger in order to leave a comment.

To leave a comment, just click on 'comments'. A new page will appear with a comment box on the upper right half. That is where you will type whatever comment that you want to leave. Next, you will click on the 'word verification' box. Type the letters that you see right above the box. Then you will click on the place that says 'name/url'. A box will appear where you will type your name. The last thing you need to do is click the 'publish comment' orange button at the bottom of the page.

I'm sorry these directions are so elementary, but my mother is extremely technically challenged. I love you, mom! Send me some comments.


I was over on The Purnell Family blog, and she had this quote today:

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

-C.S. Lewis

I know a lot of us can identify with that at different times. Thanks, Ashley for sharing this.

Super Recipe Saturday....that came and went twice I wasn't very good at posting a recipe every Saturday. But I had no idea that you people would start requesting some specifics if I didn't post. Here, in no particular order, are recipes that friends have requested this week.

Christina requested this when I took her to the doctor last week. I think the request was more along the lines of "I think I'm going to hurt someone if I don't have that casserole again soon". She's pregnant - and I'm afraid. So here it is:

1 - 16oz pkg Uncle Ben's wild rice, cooked
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup water chestnuts, chopped
2 cans green beans
Parmesan Cheese

Mix all of the ingredients together and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes and 350 degrees. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 more minutes.

Robyn has been requesting this recipe....forever. I have started making this soup as part of my Thanksgiving Dinner each year, but it is also very good as a meal itself if you had a cubed chicken or turkey. And, yes Robyn, I will make this for you when you have your surgery next month:

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup water
1 can (10 1/2oz) condensed chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. cook celery, carrot, onion and bell pepper in butter about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

Stir in flour and pepper. Stir in wild rice, water and broth. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in half-and-half. Heat just until hot. (Do not boil or soup may curdle.)
*This recipe is from Betty Crocker's One Dish Meals

Dear, dear, Sarah.....who sits around with her husband and wonders what is for dinner at the Rickard house. This is for you. It is really good to make ahead and freeze.

16 ounces spaghetti
2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 (3-ounce) package sliced pepperoni
1 large onion, chopped
2 (32-ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook the spaghetti using the package directions; drain. Brown the ground beef with the pepperoni in a skillet, stirring until ground beef is crumbly. Remove to a bowl, reserving the drippings. Brown the onion in the drippings; drain. Stir the onion into the ground beef mixture. Layer the cooked spaghetti, ground beef mixture, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and Cheddar cheese half at a time in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
*You may substitute sauteed vegetables for the ground beef and pepperoni
**Recipe from the NLR Junior League's Natural Temptations cookbook

In the words of my idol, Paula Dean: Bon appetit, ya'll!!!!!

Another day....Another birthday!

We celebrated my nephew's 14th birthday on Monday. Allison and I went to Nana's house for the party and for lots of fun times. We had pizza and birthday cake. Allison and Joy (my niece) had lots of fun with their baby dolls.....and my brother.

Meet my brother.....

...and that explains it all!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Kaden!

Allison and I went to a party today to celebrate the 2nd birthday of Kaden, the son of my friend Kera.

As you can see, Allison had a wonderful time. She was fearless. She jumped, ran, tumbled - you name it - she did it. She tried to keep up with the big kids.

I had a great time, too. In addition to Kera, Lyndsey and Christina were there. They are just some of my favorite people - and some of the most fun people I know. We all lost our children around the same time and met through a support group. Since then, we all have these wonderful kids that we have all watched since they were precious little miracles. It is an honor for me to be there to celebrate these wonderful birthdays.

Again, Happy Birthday Kaden!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Adventures at the new Peabody Park

Fun times on our little trip to the new park today:

A true love affair

For the 4th of July, we invited Nana, Mimi, and Lance over for dinner. We grilled steaks, and we had coleslaw, potato salad, and baked beans to go with them.

None of that mattered when Nana uncovered the homemade vanilla ice cream. Lance fell in love with Nana over her ice cream, and Mimi ended up inviting Lance to come to Conway sometime to visit.

He ate a big bowl. Then, he licked the blades:

Then he cleaned out the canister:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The only friends crazy enough to do this.....the Smiths. To celebrate my "retirement" (sale) of my part of Lads and Ladybugs, we had a little party tonight....and this is the cake Sarah ordered: (fun times!)

A "Whale" of a good time!

Chuck bought Allison this new whale blowup pool a couple of weeks ago. Sunday was such a beautiful day, and he put it up and let her have some fun - and did she ever!