Mothers Day is timeless.

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Today is Mother’s Day 2015 and although I didn’t see my son, my mother, nor any of the other special women in my life in person, I have enjoyed talking with some of them and looking at these precious pictures.

Jordy  

When we were both wee ones – 1986

 

1988

  

When we got to see UK play in the Music City Bowl, Nashville

  

That time he surprised me with a birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris in Nashville.

 

My mother, Linda Baird 

  
 
Oh, how I miss Gran, Mamaw, and Nanny. 

  

Gran Hazel Johnson , me, Mamaw Ree Baird- December 1995

  

Todd, Jordy, me, Nanny Winnie Simmons, Tony, Tara – 1993

  

Nanny with a picture of her main man, – 1984

  

Mybeautiful stepmother Linda Simmons, Tony, Tara, me – Graceland. 1979

I was honored to know my Great-grandmother Hala Elizabeth McGahan Roy for 25 years of my life. Not many people can boast of a Great-great-grandmother, but Jordy had one for over six years. Grandma Roy passed away at age 100 in March 1993.  

Great-grandma Roy and me – 1990

  

Five Generations – my mother, me, my great-grandma, my son, my gran

  
I have been incredibly and bountifully blessed with extended mothers. A host of aunts on all sides of my family and special friends. Here are just a few… 

The Baird aunts – Velma, Myrna, Glenda, Pat, Linda (mom)

These two beauties on either side of mom have loved and supported me for well over 35 years. Anita Tucker and Wanda Mitchell


My two favorite reasons for Mother’s Day are also my two favorite singers.  

Jordy and Mom

My flowers and card from my hubby, Bradford   

 

Bison Chili

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Like most chili eaters, I made up my own recipe for this thick, hearty, comfort soup. And it goes a little somethin’ like this.chili recipe

Ingredients:

Ground Bison – 1 pound
Tomato Puree or Crushed Tomatoes – 28 oz can
Vegetable Broth – 1 cup
Onion – 1 diced
Garlic Cloves – 2 or 3 minced
Kidney Beans and/or Pinto Beans and/or Black Beans – 15 oz can each of two varieties
Salt – 2 tsp
Ground Black Pepper – 1 tsp
Chili Powder – 1/4 cup (I blend together a combo of cumin, garlic powder, cayenne    pepper – all to taste preference.)
Water – 1/2 cup

Now do this with all that:

1. In a large Dutch oven, add the ground bison and diced onion. Brown the meat over medium heat. Drain excess fat if necessary. I usually don’t have to with bison. Stir in minced garlic.

2. Pour in the tomato puree and vegetable broth. Pour the half cup of water into the empty tomato jar/can, swish around to loosen remainder of puree and pour into pot.

3. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and pepper.

4. Drain beans and empty the cans into the pot.

5. Now don’t get in a hurry. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 2-4 hours. Allow the heat and bison fat to draw those wonderful flavors out of the spices. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors blend together.

6. Serve with biscuits or homemade croutons. Try my recipe for croutons here.

7. Top your serving with the usual suspects – cheese, sour cream, onions, relish, olives, jalapeno peppers. The choices for chili toppings are endless!

Chili is even better the next day so look forward to those leftovers!

Created equal

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Glennon inspired me to share my feelings on this…..
When I first heard about the immigrant children coming into the US recently, my first thought was “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25: 35-40
As a Christian, these words of Jesus are familiar to me and his teachings are but one of the reasons I love him. As a mother and a human being, my heart mourns for the horrible plight of these innocent children and their mothers, who incidentally were created and born onto this earth the same way I was. Exactly the same way. As an American, these wordsGlennon Melton quoted in her blog post (see link below for entire essay)-“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

-these words humble me with extreme gratitude that I was born onto these United States of freedom and abundance of material things. I look around in so many areas, at so many situations, at my own heart and wonder where is the abundance of love for our fellow man, women, and children outside our loved ones and our own selves? I really want to be loving and unselfish and daily strive to do so even when it doesn’t look like I am. Who am I to think I deserve more love than any other person to whom I was “created equal”? God help me.

#theyarechildren
http://momastery.com/blog/2014/07/25/theyarechildren/

Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites

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I was enjoying a lovely afternoon at home when I decided to make the day even lovelier by whipping up a sweet treat. Inspired by an Instagram photo posted by my childhood friend @coachb308 aka Shelley Bishop, I set about to satisfy my sweet tooth. I scrounged around in my kitchen cupboards and pulled out the necessary ingredients to make Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites (I just made that name up. I know, I know, not incredibly original but whatever…I digress). Here’s what to do:

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini cupcake/muffin pan with coconut oil.
  2. Mix together the oil and vanilla and beat in the egg.
  3. In a separate bowl pour in the sugar, then sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With your mixer on low speed, gradually stir the egg/oil/vanilla mixture into the sugar/flour/etc mixture until well blended. 
  5. Spoon in about one tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup in the prepared pan. I like to use The Pampered Chef’s Small Scoop and Deluxe Mini Muffin Pan.
  6. It took 12-13 minutes in my oven, so watch these little dudes very closely as to not over bake them. Mini hockey pucks aren’t very rich ‘n chewy.
Some of the stuff you put into this recipe.

Some of the stuff you put into this recipe.

Yeah, so I tested one before they cooled. So?

Yeah, I tested one before they cooled. So?

Pan and scoop

I didn’t wash the pan and scoop before photographing them. Sorry about that.

This sweet little platter that belonged to my Gran is just right for Extra Rich 'N Chewy Brownie Bites.

This sweet little platter that belonged to my Gran is just right for Extra Rich ‘N Chewy Brownie Bites.

These would also be delicious with a pecan on top of each one or some powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Let me know if you make some!

 

Unwelcome House Guests

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Unwanted guests (home invaders!) arrived at our house one recent spring day in the form of tiny black ants around the kitchen sink. My kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house, all bright and joyful with items I love and enjoy adorning the counters and shelves.

Kitchen windowEDIT

Imagine my dismay to wake up that morning to a dark cloud cast over my cheery kitchen. Okay, so it wasn’t that dark considering ants are so tiny, but you know what I mean. All I could see was lines of tiny, black ants scurrying about my sink and counter tops, no doubt being “extremely wise” (if you say so, Bible). While the best-selling book of all time recommends the ways of the ant – Proverbs 6:6-8, Proverbs 30:24-25, I personally do not hold the pesky creatures in such high esteem.

As I was hurriedly leaving for work that morning, I stopped and grabbed my spray bottle of ‘I Love Lemon’ (kitchen cleaner by Blessed Nest Natural Cleaning products that I like to make with essential oils – recipe here) and sprayed the little colony scurrying around. BAM! DEAD!

Then as a repellant, I flung a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil* around the back of the sink where the ants seem to be entering the sink area, then I rushed out the door. I went home at lunch time and NOT ONE SINGLE LIVING ANT could be found in my kitchen! Several days later a few determined ants attempted to set up camp around my sink again. With another dousing of Peppermint Essential Oil – this time mixed with filtered water in a spray bottle, the problem was again taken care. It’s been weeks since I and my cozy kitchen have been bugged by unwelcome guests.

*I use Peppermint Essential Oil by doTerra, my favorite essential oil brand.

DAY TWO: Washington, D.C., 05.30.13

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Brad’s day began with meetings at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). At 1:00 pm, I gathered in the lobby with some other MADD board members and staff to take the Metrorail to join Brad and the others for a tour of the Newseum. “The Newseum, a 250,000 square foot museum of news, offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.”  Very interesting!

November 22, 2013 marks the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The museum has on display fabulous exhibits of never before seen photos and artifacts.

Creating Camelot - The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.

Creating Camelot – The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.

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“We are going to sell Jack like soap flakes.” – Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.

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“I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it.” -President John F. Kennedy

Along with the beautiful, happy photos of the Kennedy family were not so pleasant reminders.

Abraham Zapruder's famous camera. The private citizen captured the infamous deed on this home-movie camera.

Abraham Zapruder’s famous camera. The private citizen captured the infamous deed on this home-movie camera.

A sobering presentation of the Berlin Wall displayed actual sections of the Wall. East and West sides pictured.

Berlin Wall - East Side & West Side

Berlin Wall – East Side & West Side

Brad and I posed for a photo on the terrace of the Newseum. Notice the Canadian Embassy on the immediate left and the U.S. Capitol in the background.

American Citizens being all touristy.

American Citizens being all touristy.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

First Amendment Display. Shout out to MADD!

First Amendment Display. Shout out to MADD!

Washington D.C is steeped in the history of our nation’s founding and progress.  The historic presence was palpable as we walked the streets and were surrounded by artifacts. It’s a must-do trip for all Americans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY ONE: Washington, D.C. 05.29.13

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My husband Brad is a member of the MADD National Board and Executive.  I’m so proud of him. This bittersweet appointment comes with an unfathomable price.  http://www.jedbulla.com

Brad's MADD nametag

I accompanied Brad to our nation’s capital on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 for a MADD national board meeting.  This gorgeous sunset welcomed us to town.

Sunset, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is steeped in colonial history – our union’s founding, a northern perspective on the Civil War, intricate architecture.  This is a thrill trip for me as I am a lover of history and old buildings.