Cupid’s Crunch

For many, the highlight of those cold winter months is the excitement of Valentine’s Day in February.  While some see this as a greeting card holiday, I love the fun, creativity, excitement, and romance associated with this little holiday.  Valentine’s Day is always about the little things you can do to make those around you feel cherished and adored, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to make it happen.

Cupids-Crunch-Treat | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

For my Madeline it’s all about finding that sweet card to reach her special friend who happens to live in Cuba.  For Bradley it seems to be finding that perfect Georgia Bulldogs shirt for his girl.  For Audley, who already treats me with flowers and the like quite often, it’s about getting off from work early so we can enjoy a quite supper together.  And for me, Valentines day is treating my nieces and nephews with sweet notes containing a treat their parents can thank me for later (Sonic gift cards for ice cream, anyone?), surprise sweets for my own kiddos, and preparing a special meal for my love that we may turn into a carpet picnic or enjoy at an elegantly set table.

It’s all about the little things.

Speaking of sweet treats, my entire family is totally addicted to a particular snack mix that I make for a variety of holidays, but thought it would be fun to share in a Valentine’s theme.  That’s why I love making this mix as you can tailor it to fit whatever holiday you want from Christmas to Independence Day!

Cupids-Crunch | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Cupid’s Crunch is also great in that you can make it fit your needs.  We have no allergies, so I love to make it a little sweet and salty using popcorn, pretzels, nuts, Kool-Aid mix (with the sugar already added) and candy.

Valentines-Snack | Fiddle Dee Dee

You can use candy melts from any craft store and save yourself time coloring the candy, but I love the taste of Ghirardelli’s brand of white melting wafers.

Valentines-Snack-Mix | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

In a VERY large bowl mix together one entire bag of melted white candy wafers with your popcorn and pretzels.  Once you have stirred it together, spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle your Kool-Aid on top of the sticky mix.

Valentines-Snack | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Next, add a few more pretzels, any candy, nuts or sprinkles you might want to combine.  This is where those colored candy melts come in handy if you desire; otherwise tint one bag of white candy two shades of pink.

Valentines-Treat | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

You can use a plastic bag with a corner cut off for this step, but I add the melted candy to squeeze bottle and drizzle all over the snack mix just to make sure everything is all stuck together.

Valentines-Cupid-Crunch | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Let the mix stand about 20 minutes, then break it a part and put into seasonal baggies or a pretty bowl and share with your favorite Valentine!

Click here for the full printable recipe for Cupid’s Crunch .

Valentines-Cupid-Crunch-Snack | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

FYI, if you pay a surprise visit to college and take an entire recipe to your daughters dorm room, both she and her roommate will polish off EVERY SINGLE BITE  in one evening.

Cupids-Crunch-Snack | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Check back, I have a couple of more Valentine’s treats to share between now and next Wednesday as well as a fun give-away!

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Bon Voyage

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Travel is no longer the “big deal” that it once was.  Whether for pleasure or business it seems everyone is always on the go somewhere.  Even for us, we travel as much as our time and bank account will allow.

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We live in a wonderful world filled with many glorious things to see and do! 

Cienfuegos-Airport | ohfiddledeedee

Sadly, with vacationing and travel becoming such a common affair, general etiquette has become much less common.  

It is nothing to be nearly knocked-over in the airport, screamed at by an unhappy traveller, run-off the road by an angry driver, or appalled by the dress (or lack there of) from others.  As Audley, Bradley and I  begin to pack for a family adventure this fall break weekend, I have really been occupied with issues concerning proper manners in an airport, flying, and driving in an area in which we are unfamiliar.

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While etiquette seems to be a thing of years past, It is something I have been passionate about my entire life and always want my family to practice, even as they are growing up and moving on into their own adult lives.

First, when traveling, be patient and be prepared.  Pushing, shoving, screaming, and muttering curse words for small children to hear are not going to keep flights on time or make the lines shorter.  Since 2001 security in airports has become extremely tight and getting through check-point lines can often seem like a lifetime.  Save your self the heartache of rushing to your flight or sitting in rush hour traffic and plan ahead.  Try to be at the airport at least an hour and a half for domestic flights and two and half hours early for an international flight.  You will still have a wait of some sort, but you shouldn’t have to run to catch your flight!  When we travel by car we do our best to remember time zone changes and leave an extra hour time in hopes of avoiding rush hour traffic or other delays.  Accept your delays with grace and tact.  Impatience will not change a thing.

 

Second, be understanding and tolerant.  It is not the poor girl who is checking boarding passes fault that the flight is late, nor is it security’s fault that a hundred people showed up at once to go through the lines.  And understand, if YOU change your flight after arriving at the airport to avoid delays YOU are risking the loss of your luggage.  Also, while traveling, realize that things are not going to be as they are at home.  Just traveling within your home country you will find so many cultural differences, so don’t you know another country will be a whole new experience!  Be open to these differences and try not to offend anyone by snarling your nose.  Try something new, go with the flow, and you might find something that you love!

Businesspeople Walking Through Airport with Luggage

Third, take care of your health.  If you feel a cold coming on a couple of days before a trip, take proper care of it, don’t assume it’ll just go away.  Would you want to sit next to someone who is coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose an entire flight?  Also, be sure to get shots you might need before going.  If you take prescriptions, be sure to have them filled and then pack them so that you are not spending time you could be having fun calling pharmacies and doctors trying to get what you need.  Rest to the best of your ability before and during your trip as well.  Improper sleep contributes to feeling bad and colds which you do not want on a trip!

Fourth, please get dressed, and have a little class when doing so.  I do not want to see your boobies or your bum.  I have my own and know what they look like.  I have a teenage son who doesn’t need any encouragement to think impure thoughts and an overly opinionated husband who will judge your character based on your dress.  Bathing suit tops are for the beach and halter tops are perfect when you are in your own yard, not for riding in an airplane.  Have respect for the people around you and cover up.   Also remember, lounging pants are found in the pajama department for a reason.  Sleep in them, don’t wear them in public.  When traveling it is important to dress attractively and comfortably.  Slacks, jeans, flowing skirts, cotton tops, sandals, or tennis shoes work great for travel.

It is OK to dress as if you care about who you are.

Dressed-To-Travel | ohfiddledeedee

It also speaks volumes to those sitting around you.

 

And finally, have A LOT of respect for everyone you come into contact with.  Say “excuse me” or apologize  sincerely when you bump into someone or have your belongings in their way.  Keep your personal items to a minimum so that it is easier for you to get around, avoiding awkward situations.  Plan ahead; have your boarding passes, passport, driving directions, hotel reservations, etc., on hand for easy access.  Don’t hold up the security line by packing everything you own into a carry-on despite FAA regulations (no liquid over 3 ounces, must be in clear bottles, etc…) or wearing shoes that take a lot of time to remove.  Make sure you have information available regarding liquid prescriptions on hand if asked.

You don’t like unnecessary delays, so assume others feel the same.

Bon-Voyage | ohfiddledeedee

Oh yeah, keep your voice down when talking on the phone or to a traveling companion.  No one really cares about Joe-Bob and Flossie’s marital issues or LouAnn’s broken pinky toe.  And don’t assume everyone you sit next to wants to have a conversation.

When I (or anyone else) put headphones on upon boarding, it means, I am shutting everyone & everything out.

My kids (now more of adults) have always been full of life.  All four are such social butterflies, loving to chat with adults as well as their peers, and we constantly reminded them that not everyone has their passion for living when we travelled with them.  They get excited about being with people and enjoying all they can bring to life.  If you have children, please keep them occupied.  Don’t let them annoy other people by running around, pushing on seats, or tugging on them in restaurants, in flight or while you are delayed at a rest stop or airport!

Whether in a car or on an airplane, I have always allowed our kids to carry backpacks filled with activity books, reading material or a couple (not the whole toy box) of small toys to keep them from being bored.  As they get older iPods and tablets are fabulous for entertaining kids and teenagers alike.  They were also taught to sit down and behave, not to bother others.  Not everyone likes children and especially other people who aren’t family’s children.  You will find you are happier because your children are behaving and others around you will appreciate it as well.

And ask my kids.  We have turned around, canceled several trips, and left restaurants due to misbehaving. Sometime’s it’s the only thing to do to show respect to other’s around us and teach a lesson.

It also made our kids better people and more aware that they are NOT the center of the universe.

Passport-to-Travel | ohfiddledeedee

And just a note, If you are traveling in a foreign country, learn some basic phrases in their language.  The people there will appreciate you so much more for doing so, even if you mess it up a little!

There is much to do before we leave for our extended weekend, but I think we are off to a great start!  

How do you travel with your family and what are some basic courtesies that you extend?  If you travel often, you know that we need more and more people extending courtesies!

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Saturday Brunch for Two

Saturday mornings have become quite precious to Audley and me.  He travels so much during the week for work that we have truly come to value a quiet morning together on the weekend.

 We also know these are limited as four kids have kept us hopping for years with anything from color guard competitions to swim or wrestling tournaments.

Autumn-Flowers | ohfiddledeedee

Spending quality time together is something every husband and wife should make an effort to do to keep the lines of communication open and reconnect after the chaos of life has weighed us down.  These moments are also valuable as we go through different seasons together.  We want to be on the same path, not running opposite directions!  Our marriage has always come before our children and I am ever so glad as a new season of life is fast approaching in the form of the empty nest!

Autumn-Tabletop | ohfiddledeedee

Bradley’s wrestling season begins at the end of October, so Audley and I are savoring each Saturday we have available before the chaos of Senior year wrestling season begins.

 What’s a better way to enjoy a morning together and set the mood for conversation, than a pretty table and brunch for two?

Setting the table also creates a romantic atmosphere, and couldn’t we all use a little more romance in our lives?!

Autumn-Table | ohfiddledeedee

Contrary to popular belief, brunch does not have to consist of six or eight courses of fattening pastries, heavy breads, and complicated dishes.

Believe me, you can fill up just fine on bacon, eggs, and fruit.

Saturday-Bruch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

Just dress it up a little!

Herb-Baked-Egg-Brunch | ohfiddledeedee

This Herbed Baked Egg dish I served up for our brunch is perfect.  It looks so elegant, yet is so simple and delicious!

It’s also very filling, which we know is most important for our guys.

Assembling the dish takes a few steps, but it still comes together rather quickly (I know you don’t want to spend all morning in the kitchen), and allows for you to multitask if you’ve planned ahead.

Keep it simple and gather your ingredients for the entire brunch first.  This includes any sides that you have chosen.  I prepared bacon and fresh berries for our brunch.

Herb Baked Egg Brunch

 

 

 

The full recipe for printing is just below my steps here.

For the herb baked egg dish, I used four eggs, heavy whipping cream, real butter, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh herbs (dried will work), & garlic.

 

First, I put the bacon on, then completed the first steps of the recipe by combining the herbs and parmesan cheese and melting butter and cream in an individual cocette.

{The beauty of this recipe is that you can change up the herbs to suit your taste.}

Herb-Baked-Eggs | ohfiddledeedee

As I flipped the bacon, I added the eggs and the herb mixture to the cocette.

Finally, I removed the bacon from the pan to drain on a paper towel, then removed the eggs from the oven.

{Click here — Herbed Baked Eggs for the full printable recipe.}

 Herb-Baked-Eggs-Brunch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

All that is left is plating your food, which is simple enough.

 

Weekend-Brunch-for-Two | ohfiddledeedee

The romantic in me planned ahead for our brunch together and set a pretty table, but you can serve up brunch on paper plates if it works better for you.

 The idea is to spend a little quality time together without too much fuss.

Herb-Baked-Eggs-Brunch | ohfiddledeedee

You’ll enjoy the time and I know your spouse will as well.

What are some ways you and your spouse like to connect with one another?

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Family Birthday Celebration

It wasn’t until my kids started going to college and getting married that I understood how much it means to my own parents to have all of their kids in at once.  You really don’t think about those times when you’re living the everyday chaos of raising four kids, until one day you wake up and the house is just a little quieter and your schedule is just a little emptier.

It happens so fast!

Audley turned 46 while Madeline and I were in Cuba last month, so I wanted to make it up to him with a fun dinner celebrating him!  I found a weekend all the kiddos were actually free at the same time (really difficult when we’re spilt between three states), and planned a dinner party for us to all enjoy!

Early-Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

Since we were celebrating Audley, I didn’t want him to have to man the grill and cook his own birthday dinner, so I put together a simple and lovely menu consisting of his home cooked favorites:

Pork-Roast | Fiddle Dee Dee

Pork Roast cooked in cast iron (Click here for the recipe with picutres or print Comfort Food – our Favorite Pork Roast here)

Potatoes & Carrots

Corn on the Cob

Crisp salad filled with farmers market fresh veggies

Sister Schubert’s Dinner Rolls

And of course a yummy birthday cake from Kroger bakery (picked out by the 20 year old child)

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I wanted to set a pretty table, but how do you do that for a man without being too frilly?  It took just a little thought, but was totally doable!

I layered my table linens, using a white tablecloth for the base, then topped it with a denim table runner.

After scouting the floral section at Publix, I found several bouquets with day lilies, sunflowers and really fluffy greenery (I have no idea whats it’s called) that looked pretty, yet not overly feminine.

I cut the flowers down and used stemless wine glasses for vases.

Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

When doing centerpieces, while the large ones are beautiful, it is important to remember that you need a line of vision for your guests to promote easy conversation.

These short arrangements really worked well for creating a line of vision while still looking pretty.

Masculine-Birthday-Table | Fiddle Dee Dee

I also used small galvanized pots of succulents, wooden platters, and a rustic lantern to round out the table decor.

Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

The yellows, greens and denim all looked so lovely together.

Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

To finish off the look I set the table with our simple white wedding china and antique glassware that belonged to Audley’s grandparents.

early-fall-tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

While Bradley generally doesn’t pay attention to the little things, my girls loved the set table.  They all live such hectic and busy lives with school and work, it was so nice just to sit down and enjoy the food, conversation and uninterrupted family time.

Family-Dinner | Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley’s parents were able to drive down from Tennessee to celebrate with us as well!

I have always tried to set special tables for the family as our kiddos were growing up for holidays and birthdays and any other special day I could conjour up. It’s nice to know that it was appreciated and something they now look forward to when they come home!

Family | Fiddle Dee Dee

Our kids have grown up, and our family size grows as well!

And while they enjoy being treated special, I’ll savor the few weekends we can manage to have them all together at once!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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