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Springtime Fun List!

Springtime Fun List!

It’s time for some springtime fun, y’all!  I’m linking up with some lovely ladies to share our bucket lists for spring. I’m calling mine a Springtime Fun List!  Yay!

Spring sprung around here (Coastal Georgia) weeks ago, so I *might* have taken just a teensy-weensy head start!  Behold my list of spring wonderfulness goals!

  • Go to the beach at least twice.
  • Try two new restaurants in downtown Savannah.
  • Go to Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
  • Take a trip to Alaska.
  • Buy a new Easter dress.
  • Get a new, official (professional) picture of Gene and me.
  • Focus on Easter by observing Lent.
  • Make and put up some springtime decorations in the house.
  • Go kayaking in a new location.
  • Write at least one REAL letter or note to a friend each week.

I bet you can’t tell which ones I *might* have done/started early!  I’ll post updates as I work through the list, so pop back in often to follow along.

(You’ll find updates about how I did on my list here and here.  And check out my summertime fun list here!)

I’m eager to see what the other ladies are planning to do.  Here are their links so we can ALL get some good ideas for things to do this season.

Leslie at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After.

Dani at Family.Love.Inspiration.

Tamara at My Retirement Project.

Whitney at Whitney à la Mode.

Ashley at Perks of Ponder.

Sheila at Making the Most of Every Day.

Do YOU have a springtime fun list?  Or if not an official list, what are some things you’d like to do over the next few weeks?  Please share them with me in the comment section below!  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

(How did I do?!?  See updates here and here!)

Top Ten Posts of 2016 – My Favorites

Top Ten Posts of 2016 – My Favorites

Yesterday I shared the top ten most viewed posts on OutAndBack in 2016.  Today I took a few minutes to look back through all my posts and picked 10 personal favorites.  I’ve listed them in the order they were published.  ( The Letter R & the Elephant and Currently – December 2016 are favorites, but since they made yesterday’s list, I won’t include them here.)

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Top Ten Posts for 2016 – Most Popular

Top Ten Posts for 2016 – Most Popular

What a fun year here at OutAndBack!  Thank you for stopping by, reading a while, and cheering me on!  Here are the ten most popular posts for 2016 (based on number of views).

1.  Electric Pressure Cooker – YES!  My initial foray into the world of electric pressure cookers.  I started with the Farberware model; here’s what I thought of it.  (Coming soon:  a post comparing this to the Instant Pot that I purchased later.)

 

2.  Michael Ann’s Kitchen  Day One of the Write 31 Days Challenge.  Welcome to my kitchen!  Let me show you around!  You’ll find the complete list of posts in this series here.

 

3.  One Carly, Three Ways  LuLaRoe posts have been VERY popular this year!  LuLaRoe fans abound, and for good reason!  If you’ve not succumbed to the LuLaRoe world yet, Carly is one of their wonderful dresses.

 

4.  Style Perspectives: How Would YOU Wear It?  I linked up with the fabulous ladies at The Blended Blog for this one.  We styled a blazer, tank/t-shirt, and jeans.  Easy peasy and FUN!

 

5.  Currently – December 2016  Each month I link up with Anne at In Residence for her “Currently” posts.  The topics change every month.  This is a fun post to write AND a fun way to quickly check out bloggers I don’t know.  The variety of responses each month always amazes me!  Beautiful Thomasville, Georgia featured prominently in this “Currently” post.

 

6.  In the Beginning  This was Day 2 of Michael Ann’s Kitchen, my response to the Write 31 Days blogging challenge.  On this day I shared what Mama taught me about being a successful cook.  She knew what she was talking about!  (Do you suppose my kids will ever say that about me?!?)

 

7.  Capes!  This post is nearly a year old now, and it’s cape season again!  Check ’em out and see what you think!  (I like THIS cape post a lot better!)

 

8.  The Letter R and the Elephant  Yes!  THIS is one of my favorite posts of the year!  Funny, funny story!

 

9.  Cozy Fashion for the Holidays  LuLaRoe fashion hits the Top 10 again!  This time I styled LuLaRoe leggings and linked up (again) with The Blended Blog.

 

10.  Fall Fashion Find: A Casual Dress  Wow!  Another fashion post and another link-up with The Blended Blog!

 

So, I’m curious.  Did YOUR favorite post(s) make the top ten?!?  Leave a comment and let me know!  I plan to list MY favorite posts tomorrow, and most of them ARE NOT on today’s list!  (You KNOW you’ll need to come back tomorrow, right?!?  HOW will you ever sleep tonight?!?)

 

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Currently – December 2016

Currently – December 2016

Hooray for a new Currently link up!  Here’s what I’m currently up to!

Doing:  Visiting new friends in beautiful Thomasville, Georgia!  I met some ladies at the #READSavannah event back in September, and two of them live in Thomasville.  I had been here once before and discovered a delightful downtown area with loads of unique shops and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.  (I’m looking at you, Jonah’s Fish and Grits!)  I’m here now to invest in these fledgling friendships and to eat more great food!  What a joy it’s been!  I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know Julie and Mary Jane better.

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BONUS:  I was also able to meet up with Susie, a “virtual” friend of mine I met on the GYPO Style Challenges.  It was our first time to meet in real life!  Talk about a blessing!  Oh my!  So this friendship, too, has taken great leaps forward this weekend.  I thank God for prompting me to come and spend time with these ladies!

Susie and me in The Book Shelf! I love this book store! It's owned and run by Susie's daughter, Annie.
Susie and me in The Book Shelf! I love this book store! It’s owned and run by Susie’s daughter, Annie.  (Yes, I’m wearing LuLaRoe leggings again!)

Enjoying:  Eating my way through Thomasville!  I had lunch yesterday at Savannah Moon Bakery & Cafe; monster grilled cheese and tomato bisque!  Dinner last night was at Jonah’s.  The hush puppies were JUST as amazing as I remembered!  I nearly wept over them the first time I had them.  For real.  Last night I chose (along with hush puppies) grilled mahi and grits with tasso gravy and a side of collard greens.  Y’all!  I was one happy Michael Ann!  This morning I’m blogging from Grassroots Coffee, and in a minute I’m meeting Mary Jane at the Q Cafe for breakfast.  Lunch plans are to be determined.  I’m not ruling out a return trip to Jonah’s!

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Cooking:  I tried a new pressure cooker recipe for Chicken Cacciatore last week, and it was a hit!  I used this recipe as a starting point and added a couple of cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or so of capers, and about 1/4 cup (maybe less) white wine.  I used chicken thighs and cooked the whole thing for 15 minutes as the recipe said, then served it over brown rice (cooked in my second pressure cooker).

Wrapping:  I’d love to say I’m wrapping up my Christmas shopping, but I’m just getting started!  Thomasville offers some amazing shopping!  Did I mention that already?

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Firefly is one of my favorite shops in Thomasville. ONE of them!

Playing:  Christmas music.  Lots of it!  Jordan Smith’s album is still a frequent flier, and I just located my Christmas in Velvet album.  That was my favorite album when I was growing up (back when it really was a physical LP album!), and I still love it.

Link-up:  Be sure to click over to Anne and Kellie to see what they (and a lot of other fun folks) are CURRENTLY up to!

 

So, what are YOU currently doing, enjoying, cooking, wrapping, and playing?!?  DO tell in the comment section below!

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Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

Plan To Eat – HALF PRICE!

A few weeks ago I talked about how much I love Plan To Eat, a program that allows me to easily capture and file recipes I find online.  It’s also a fantastic meal planning and shopping tool.  Here’s some big news!  PLAN TO EAT IS AVAILABLE AT HALF PRICE THIS WEEKEND!  This is the only time you can save on this amazing tool.

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Read my post about it here.

Then click HERE to check it all out!  This is a WONDERFUL deal!

Isn’t it fun to support smaller businesses!

(If you’re curious, yes, this is an affiliate link.)  Happy shopping!

Thanksgiving Baking & Forgetting Rule #2

Thanksgiving Baking & Forgetting Rule #2

I’m totally laughing at myself right now, so I just HAD to come over here and leave a quick note!  Remember those basic rules of cooking that my mom taught me?  Yep.  I just went and totally blew #2: read the recipe all the way through BEFORE you begin!

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I’m making Southern Living’s Ambrosia Pudding Pie for Thanksgiving.  My pumpkin pies are already baked and cooling on a rack, so I started in on the ambrosia pudding pie.  First step:  make lemon curd.  COOL!  I’ve never made that before!  I work through those steps and then read, “Chill for 4 hours or up to 3 days.”  WHOOPSIE!  Thankfully I have plenty of time this afternoon, so it’s all good, but this could have been quite the tragedy!

I’ll just let the curd cool whilst I move on to making Texas Sheet Cake Cookies.  I won’t make them too big this time.

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If you still need a quick, delicious pumpkin pie recipe, I shared Grandma’s recipe here!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Let’s count our blessings whilst we prep for this great holiday!

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Currently…

Currently…

It’s time for Currently!  Here we go!  I am currently…

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Discovering:  Well, REdiscovering just how clever the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass is!  I posted a review of the movie when it was in theaters, and now it’s out on Blu-Ray.  This is an excellent movie on every level.  It’s a feast for your eyes, your ears, and your heart!

 

Celebrating:  Meeting a big goal!  I signed up for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge, and I did it!  I wrote my series, Michael Ann’s Kitchen, and posted every single day of October!  As is typical when we push ourselves to do something hard, I learned a LOT!  I learned tons about blogging in general, WordPress, and the powerful tools available to me via remarkable apps like Canva and Pic Monkey.  I’m exhausted, and I’m exhilarated!

 

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From my birthdaypalooza last week!  More about the cake here.

Starting:  Well, REstarting a concerted effort to make wise food choices and to exercise.  I’ve been off my game for a while, and then Hurricane Matthew threw me for a loop emotionally (even though we made it through just fine).  That emotional exhaustion plus two birthdaypaloozas (mine and my daughter’s) plus the Write 31 Days challenge totally upset my apple cart!  It’s time to right the cart and get back on the wagon.  (Oh dear!  My tired is showing!  Moving on…)

 

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My daughter and me on Sunday, October 30.

Wearing:  Let’s talk about what I’m NOT wearing.  The temperatures here in Coastal Georgia are STILL pushing 90 degrees.  In November.  Ugh.  So I’m NOT wearing my beloved hoodies, boots, or jackets.  It’s sad really.

(Well, there WAS that weekend camping trip last month near Chattanooga, Tennessee when the temps dipped to just shy of freezing!  Bliss, I tell you!  And, yes, we tent camp.  Stay tuned for more about that trip!)

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Googling:  More electric pressure cooker recipes and charts.  I wrote about how much I’m enjoying my pressure cooker several weeks ago, and I’m still loving it.  I’m considering buying an Instant Pot because (1) I’d like to see how it compares to my Farberware pressure cooker, and (2) some days I’d like to have TWO of them to use!

That’s what *I* am up to these days!  How about you?  Let me know in the comment section!

I’m linking up today with Anne of In Residence and Catherine of A Short Blonde.  Be sure to see what THEY are currently up to as well!

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I Did It! #Write31Days

I Did It! #Write31Days

Wow!  I’m sitting here in a Halloween carb coma–I blame the Moon Pies, pork lo mein, and Dairy Queen Pumpkin Pie Blizzard that may or may not have been consumed tonight–and I’m thinking back over the last few weeks and what I’ve experienced.  Some of my expectations of this Write 31 Days challenge proved to be accurate, but I was surprised by several things!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I’ll be back later tonight for a wrap up of Michael Ann’s Kitchen, but for now, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Have a great, fun evening!

We’re ready for our neighborhood trick or treaters!  #halloweensouthernstyle

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Two Key Tools

Two Key Tools

This series ends tomorrow, and I haven’t shared my two key tools in my kitchen!

First up is my Breville Hemisphere Control Blender. I had an okay-ish blender for years. I decided to upgrade a few years ago, and I eyed the Vitamix but decided I didn’t want to spend that much money. I bought my Breville instead and have been incredibly pleased with it. It passes the big test, blending smooth, icy drinks easily and consistently.

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