Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Boomama is hosting a dip-tacular today in preperation for the upcoming football seaon, and I just had to join in the fun!

I am CERTAIN that I will not be original with this dip...but I cannot help it! It is my favorite and the hubby loves it. Just reading the recipe makes me want to go straight to the store to get the ingredients for Saturday.
I GOTTA have this when the AUBURN TIGERS kick off the season this year!


8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor FRANK'S REDHOT Sauce ( I put that stuff on everything!!)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz. each) SWANSON® White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained


HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
MIX in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with Fritos.

Easy and Cheesy- My favorite kind of recipe!


My little tiger!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Upcycled Concert "T"

My sister handed me a shirt last time I was in Alabama and said, "turn this into a pillow".
I said OK.
I could make pillows in my sleep.
I did not think much more about it until I needed a project to use up my bobbin thread because I needed to switch out my bobbin thread to black and when I thought black, I thought of the T-shirt and so I grabbed it and got started.
My mind works in mysterious ways.

WHEN it is working at all that is, so I think my mind was on vacation when I got started on this because I really did not take very good pictures.
Truth be told, I did not get overly involved, because I really did not have a vision of HOW STINKING CUTE it would turn out!
 So as you can see( or really you can't actually see, work with me here) I cut the top and bottom off of the shirt. Essentially leaving the main artwork of the T-shirt with some blank black canvas on each side of the art. I then cut the bottom of the T-shirt into 4 long strips.

I baste stitched(some would call this a gathering stitch) down the middle of the strips on a VERY low tension setting. Once this is done, you can pull the bobbin thread on each end, and it "gathers" the ruffle for you. I was taught this method by and old pal of mine way back when (shout out to Tami Stanford) and I think of her every time I do it! It makes it so easy.

 Then, I pinned the ruffles in place and ran a stitch down the center over my gathering stitch to secure it. Some would say that you should remove the original basting stitch at this point, but the ruffles were so tight that I could not get to it.
 I backed it with some coordinating fabric that I had, that I knew my sister liked. I love the way the green matched the "Poison" logo. I suppose that I COULD have used the back of the T-shirt for the backing, but I wanted to add some structure and the stretchy knit of a T-shirt would have been less than ideal for the sham style back that I chose.
(AKA...I cut the top off the art on the back of the shirt by mistake) 
I wanted her to be able to get the insert out easily for washing.
I would like to take a moment to point out that I could hardly go to sleep that night because "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" and "Talk Dirty To Me" lyrics kept running through my head!

But it was totally worth it because I LOVE the way it turned out!
I am already eye-ing some beloved T-shirts that might need to be upcycled.
What a great way to showcase some favorite T's that you no longer wear.
Oh...and BONUS, I never counted on loving the way the T-shirt ruffles feel. GREAT texture!

***Once I saw how cute this turned out, I just KNEW that I had to share it on Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style***

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Once upon a time....there was a beautiful girl. She met a guy at work named Big D.

Then she fell in love...
with his wife...
well with me.
We've been pretty tight ever since that first faithful baby shower that I TRIED to help her host....
 I used to have a job that allowed me to be off during the summer
(what the heck was I thinking giving that up)?
A mutual friend of our's at the company was expecting and Rayna was heading up the office shower. Well, being the crafty busy body that I am, I called to RSVP and to tell her that I would be happy to help in anyway that she needed, I mean, after all. I was OFF work at the time and had the time to spare.

 Little did I know, number one, she thought I was pretty snooty calling up to say that I did not work. I believe her exact impression goes something like
( insert syrupy su-weet southern drawl)
"Hi....this is Melanie Marsh, Big D's wife? Um, yes, I was calling to say that I would be MORE than happy to help with the shower...I mean, I DON'T work, so I can do WHATEVER you need."
My recollection is a little less dramatic, something more along the lines of...."do you need anything, like ice or paper plates? I will have time to stop by on the way becasue I do not have to work that day"....Truthfully, it is probably a mix between our two recollections,but it is still so funny to hear her tell it to this day!

Number two, when it comes to a shower, this little lady needs the help of NO ONE! She had it under control like NOBODY's business. That shower was great of course, and so was the one that she threw for me when I got pregnant about 5 years later!

Anywho- we are buds.
And it all started with a baby shower.
So, when I realized it was Baby Shower Day at Kelly's Corner, I just KNEW that I had to link up to show some of her goodies, because RaynaLane has the MOST gorgeous, clever, resourceful, can be used again and again, and treasured FOREVER baby shower decoration!

 If you have been admiring all of the pictures in this link, then you are a RaynaLaneInc fan already!
She started out so most good things.
She made burlap table runners for her best friends' wedding reception. They were a hit...of course. I mean, you saw them, right? They are GORGEOUS!
Well, THE PEOPLE wanted more. Before she knew it, she was catering to bride's as well as individual's who wanted their own burlap runners for their homes.

 She started getting a little restless and has branched out!
She now makes, burlap banners and also TEAM table runners. Perfect for a tailgater like me! Anyway, I know I will be calling on her for the next baby shower I throw. Check out these adorable burlap banners! Welcome Baby,
Welcome ....whatever you decide you want them to say, she can do it.
Need a certain color scheme? She can do it.
Can you imagine how cute? After the shower, you could give it the lucky mommy to be and she could put it up in her hospital room! then she could put it up on the front porch! then it could LIVE in the baby's room!

I know...I tend to get a little over excited and use too too many exclamation points!!!!!!
But it is my RaynaLane and I am so stinking in love with all of her wonderful creations. I just wanted to share them with the world!
(she makes a mean taligating buddy, too! I mean, how many people do YOU know that have ALREADY saved you a place in line at the porta potti BEFORE you even arrive at a Jimmy Buffet concert when you are 7 months pregnant? Is that love, or what?)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?

My mom absolutely LOVED Stevie Nicks. I don't think love is even a strong enough word for it! Once, back in 2001, or 2002??? ( I lose track) she, my sister and myself went to Chastain Park Amphitheater  to see her. It was a MAGICAL evening. First of all, if you are familiar with Chastain Park, you know that it is such an intimate cool venue for live music. We spent the afternoon leisurely primping around the house getting ready. We were drinking wine, blaring music, putting on make up...we even put glitter tattoos on our faces. We were having a ball! We put on our long flowing Stevie Nicks dresses and lace up platform boots, and set out for the show.
I remember, we found our seats and were anxiously awaiting Stevie as we frantically fanned and tried not to sweat. All of a sudden it got gray and VERY dark. Did I mention that Chastain is an OUTDOOR amphitheater? Well, the wind picked up, and the thunder started rolling in. We were pretty upset, we thought that surely we would get rained out or at least rained on which would not have been much fun in our long flowy dresses, lace up platform boots and glitter tatoos...
Stevie hit the stage, and just like that, the thunder stopped, but the cool breeze kept on blowing throughout the ENTIRE show. It was PERFECT! Mom was certain that Stevie had somehow arranged the weather just so in order to make the tempueratures a little more bearable. Maybe mom was right?
That night, The Edge of Seventeen could NOT have gotten any better! The guitar lead in to the soong went on and on and on...building our suspense until we could hardly stand it! We were all smiles and dancing.....
We ended the night like a couple of teenagers...driving through Krystal's for some "gut bombs". Then we got home to find we had locked ourselves out and had to throw stones at the window just to get someone to let us in......ahhh, to be young again! forward many years, and here I am. Left on this earth with no mom.

Funeral's come fast. There are so many things to consider. Things that you don't dare think about until you have to. When it came time to select music, it was pretty simple. We all knew that there had to be some Stevie in that Chapel! Even mom's old girlfriend's from work inquired if we were going to play Stevie.
Mom always told us stories about what all of the Stevie songs meant. It was important to her. The one that we chose to play at the funeral is near and dear to my heart. It was written by Stevie Nicks for Joe Walsh. I found a great write up that explains it perfectly in case you are interested it is in the post below the video.
Mom's cousin, held service for us at the funeral. I am so glad. He listened to the music before he planned the service, and he perfectly tied the message into the song. How, no one can write our funeral for us. We write our funeral with our lives. Mom wrote a beautiful life for herself. Full of joys, sorrows, and plenty of grankids to carry on her legacy! We miss her terribly.
I wrote something for mom and I spoke those words at her funeral. Maybe one day, I will share them here, but for now...please enjoy this beautiful song.

This song was written as a tribute to Joe Walsh of the Eagles. In the liner notes of her TimeSpace album, Stevie explained:
"I guess in a very few rare cases, some people find someone that they fall in love with the very first time they see them... from across the room, from a million miles away. Some people call it love at first sight, and of course, I never believed in that until that night I walked into a party after a gig at the hotel, and from across the room, without my glasses, I saw this man and I walked straight to him. He held out his hands to me, and I walked straight into them. I remember thinking, I can never be far from this person again... he is my soul. He seemed to be in a lot of pain, though hid it well. But finally, a few days later, (we were in Denver), he rented a jeep and drove me up into the snow covered hills of Colorado... for about 2 hours. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, but he did tell me a story of a little daughter that he had lost. To Joe, she was much more than a child. She was three and a half, and she could relate to him.

I guess I had been complaining about a lot of things going on on the road, and he decided to make me aware of how unimportant my problems were if they were compared to worse sorrows. So he told me that he had taken his little girl to this magic park whenever he could, and the only thing she EVER complained about was that she was too little to reach up to the drinking fountain. As we drove up to this beautiful park, (it was snowing a little bit), he came around to open my door and help me down, and when I looked up, I saw the park... his baby's park, and I burst into tears saying, 'You built a drinking fountain here for her, didn't you?' I was right, under a huge beautiful hanging tree, was a tiny silver drinking fountain. I left Joe to get to it, and on it, it said, dedicated to HER and all the others who were too small to get a drink.

So he wrote a song for her, and I wrote a song for him... 'This is your song, ' I said to the people, but it was Joe's song. Thank you, Joe, for the most committed song I ever wrote. But more than that, thank you for inspiring me in so may ways. Nothing in my life ever seems as dark anymore, since we took that drive.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pretty Little Things

 My sister makes jewelry...
 you know the stuff...
 all that cool hand stamped metal.
 She is pretty freaking talented.
 She did a show at "Soul Spa" at Saint Luke's this past weekend.
 She was a hit!

 With Christmas just around the corner....
 You will be glad you did!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Timely...Heros and Preschool

Last night, I told Dan that I loved him because he was my hero.  I further demonstrated my point by singing out very loudly you are the wind beneath my wings. I need to learn when to stop sharing. Just because I blog doesn't mean I have to let all of my crazy out. It is just so much more fun to let you see the REAL me.

Jack was in the room with us and he looked at me and said, "mommy, you can't call daddy hero. That is for Mr. Incredible". Funny. At his age he is SOOO literal! As he grows, he will learn more about words and how they can take on different meanings. This morning I saw this video and it was so precious it moved me to tears. It is from the perspective of a mom. It is about her little boys' and some thoughts about heros. If you can possibly find the time, you should jump over and check it out!

To My Little Super Heros at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar.

Jack is my little hero this week. He has started preschool. He has been going to Mrs. Kim's, an in home day care, since he was 8 weeks old.
It has been quite a tearful transition for him and for me, but he is trying so hard to be big. I am so proud of him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are you ready for some football?

Well, it has dipped down to a refreshing 90 degrees here in Georgia. It has definitely put me in the mood for even cooler weather and some FOOTBALL! The Pickle Tree has been working working working to get ready because you know how we like to have our kids ready for game day here in the south!

 Can I get a WAR EAGLE?
Too cute with the coordinating ruffle pants!
 Gotta include our boys! You can never go wrong with a classic seersucker!
 So fun!
 Even little tigers like to show there pride!
 You gotta start 'em young!

 Even though I bleed orange and blue....I have to admit, the houndstooth thing is really cool!
 Bama babies like to show their school spirit, too!
 So sharp!
 You know you Bama fans out there are loving all this houndstooth! My hat's off to Bear Bryant!
 I am a Bama girl, but I am living smack dab in the middle of Dawg country, so I had to show a little Georgia love!
Pretty sweet I have to admit!
May all your teams have a safe and successful football season this year!

I thought since today was Wednesday, I would link up over at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday! There is not a whole lot out there during football season that wows me more than some Auburn Tiger gear! I am sure some of you fans feel the same way about your team gear!

If you see soemthing that you can't live without or if you want The Pickle Tree to make some gear to represent your team, check out my etsy shop!

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4th of July/ Camping Adventure/ Birthday Party EXTRAVAGANZA! -3 part series continued

3rd Birthday Party! SO proud of my BIG BOY!

Finally- the last part of "the series". It only took me a month and 1/2 to get it all in! WHEW!
In case you missed part 1 or part 2, you can see them here or here.

A quick background...we joined a park at Lake Allatoona called Cushing Park. It was founded back in the 50's as a retreat exclusive to Delta employees and their families. A few years ago they opened it up to the public. We were looking for a place to store our boat, so we joined. They have a pool, campgrounds, cabins, boat slips, boat houses, bath houses..all kinds of cool stuff. STRAIGHT OUT OF THE 50's. Well, except for the boat slips and docks. Those are updated and actually super nice!
Anyway- July is HOT for a kids birthday party, so as soon as we joined, I knew that I would just do Jack's party there at the pool and rent a pavillion. Worked out PERFECTLY! I rented a couple of cabins starting the weekend of the 4th and we stayed the entire week right on through to Jack's party the next Saturday.

It was a camping themed party- so this banner welcomed everyone!
It says happy campers and I tell a little about how I made it here.
 You can see little hints of Delta and airplanes and such all around the Park, like this cute little airplane on the playground! Always a hit on the small fry circuit.
 Rayna and Gavin
 Aunt Jarah and Aleah
 You can see Tiffany here in the background. It is a gated park which is nice, but can get kind of complicated for a party. She and Brad, her husband manned the gate and let the guests in. Thanks to Brad and Tiff...wouldn't have been much of a party without the guests!
Big D had downed a tree in our back yard a few weeks before the party, so I had him make us some "stumps" for the party table!
 Nick and Caroline, our awesome neighbors!
 We had a jeep pinata. Jack LOVES pinatas. Whenver we go to a birthday party, he asks ahead of time if he will get a turn to swing at the pinata!
 Grace posing with the pinata
 Our neighbor, Christopher, really did a number on it!

Jack had already opened one of his gifts. A monster truck, his new obsession!
 The goodies! Everyone's favorite part of a pinata!

 Our friends Jim and Julie were there with their girls!
 KK taking a picture of Uncle Josh taking a picture of her

Uncle Josh taking a picture of KK taking a picture of him
 Baby Raynor
Sophie likes her sucker

 No camping party is complete without smores on a stick, right?
Peanuts were a crowd favorite.
All good campers eat hot dogs, right?
My friend Rayna got the stickers for the tops of the party favors. Animal crackers for the littles and trail mix for the bigger kids!
 The cake.....The cake could be it's own post!
 It was a tree stump to go along with the theme. "Jack is 3!!" is "carved" into the tree.
 The campground is on top complete with a jeep, tent, and campfire.
 So cool. I love the critters. This cake was made by my very talented neighbor. If you live in the Atlanta area and need a cake, you should check her out!
 The coolest part about the cake was that Jack ADORED it! Once he saw it, he pretty much stayed right beside it. He just stood and admired it and asked everyone to look at it!
 It was SUPER cool when we cut it open. I loved the camping theme, but I wanted to add some color. SO we did! It tasted great!
 Blowing out the candles! Make wish buddy!
 We had given him his birthday present the night before the party on his REAL birthday. He gets a knife each year from his daddy. This year it was an engraved swiss army knife.
 His big present was his very own, very first bike!
 I think he likes it!
 We opened the rest of the gifts once we got home from camp.
There was just way too much action at the party for unwrapping gifts! He got lots of cool monster trucks and he LOVES them all!
The whole party was a success!
Happy Birthday Jack- mommy and daddy love you very much!