Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let the exhaustion begin...

We are leaving soon for our second trip to South Africa.  When we went for our honeymoon, Steve was planning our next trip before we even left.  Our last trip was at the end of hunting season and there were quite a few animals we wanted that we didn't get.  This time we will be right in the heart of hunting season (this is like their Dec/Jan), and since this will be our last trip to South Africa for awhile, hopefully we will get everything we want. 
We will be hunting right around where the blue lion is.

The trophies from our last hunt aren't even here yet, which is reminding me that hunting may not be the best sport for an instant gratification girl such as myself.  Supposedly they have been shipped to the States, we just don't have them yet.  Then the taxidermist will do his/her thing which could take several more months.  Thank goodness we had them do my zebra rug in SA. 

Our travel time to Johannesburg (which is a 3.5 hour car ride from the ranch) is about 29 hours.  There is a 7 hour time change and the jet lag kicked my booty last year.  It took us about a week to get back to a normal sleeping pattern.  I would say this is the part I am looking forward to the least.  At least the trip will be broken up by a few quick stops as opposed to last year which was a direct 17 hour flight from Atlanta.  Maybe if they didn't turn all of the cabin lights on every 3 hours to give us a snack of some sort, we could sleep and the flight might be a little easier...just a thought.

After our return from SA, we are home for about 5 hours before we get on yet another plane and head to Florida for the Tom James semi-annual meeting.  While Steve is in meetings, I will be sleeping off my jet-lag by the pool.  I am so excited to see our Tom James family and to go to a beautiful Florida beach.  (No offense Galveston, but you aren't even in the same league!)

Well, maybe I'm a bit biased.  What do you think?

Marco Island

Now, before you read this and realize our house will be vacant, I want you to know that we have a very sophisticated security system; so don't even waste your time.  If you do decide to try your fate, feel free to take our couch, guest bedroom mattress, and dinning room table; I want new ones.

So keep us in your prayers as we travel and don't try to break into our house or you may be greeted by house sitters with guns, rabid dogs, alarm systems, and explosives...this is Texas afterall.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Short, but delicious.

Tuesday night we had a fish fry for Steve's co-workers.  We needed to get rid of some of the fish we have collected and most importantly, Steve wanted to show his appreciation for all of their hard work.  I made grilled corn on the cob, Fancy Mac and Cheese, green beans tossed in the bacon grease from the mac and cheese, and Monkey Bread.  Steve fried about 2/3 of the fish and grilled the rest.  A couple of the girls from the office brought dessert and we had quite a feast.  I LOVE each of his co-workers and love having them over; always a good time.

Let's talk food though.  The Fancy Mac and Cheese was the first thing gone.  I can not explain how delicious this was.  The only modification I made was that I left the onion out.  Just about every person present (there were 16-18 of us) came over and told me how amazing it was.  If you want a crowd pleaser, make this dish.  OMG!

If you have never had Monkey Bread, you definitely need to make some.  It's not healthy, at all, but it sure is delicious.  Especially when served with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream...

I love fresh green beans, so after steaming them a little, I minced some garlic, sliced some onions and cooked them in the bacon grease.  Then I added the green beans to re-warm them and give them some bacon flavor (because EVERYTHING is better with bacon).  Needless to say, this was the second dish eliminated. 

Steve announced at the fish fry that his assistant is being deployed to the middle east; he won't know where he's going until he gets there.  Nick serves in the National Guard and we are all so thankful for his service.  I wish him lots of luck and safety while he is over protecting our freedom. 

OK, two assignments from this post:
1.  Make these recipes.
2.  Thank a service member today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Last Friday night, Steve and I had some friends over for a "Fancy-ish Dinner Party".  The invitation read as follows:

Congratulations!  We have decided to have a dinner party, and you are the select few (selected from thousands of candidates) who have made the guest list.
Dinner will be black tie optional.  If you opt not to don your formal wear, just wear jeans.  We will be in casual clothes, but if you want to dust off your tux/gown, bring it on.
Don't bring anything, just an appetite.  We will most likely be having pork, so if you have an aversion to the pig, let us know and we will have a PB&J with carrot sticks waiting for you.

In true fashion, we had Mexican food.  I used the rest of my Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork and made enchiladas and Steve made fajitas.  I also tried these brownies and they didn't exactly turn out.  I feel blasphemous saying this, but I do not recommend this recipe from Pioneer Woman.  They were a complete mess.  All of the caramel settled on the bottom so they were impossible to get out of the pan.  Also, there is WAY too much caramel in them.  If I were to make them again, which I won't, I would increase the cooking times on both layers and would have used about half the amount of caramel that is suggested. 

Our friends Les and Emily didn't disappoint with their Fancy-ish attire.  I took a few prom pictures for them:

Then Steve taught some golf lessons upstairs...cause that's what we do at Casa de Callaway:

Our friend Kevin dressed up Fancy-ish as well. 

All of these outfits wanted me to go dress up more (I just had a casual dress on).  I was thisclose to putting on my wedding dress since I have been dying for a reason to squeeze into it again, but felt breathing was more important while entertaining guests. 

One of our friends who will remain nameless, apparently didn't read the entire invitation and truly believed this was a black tie affair.  He and his poor girlfriend came dressed to the nines and were shocked when Steve answered the door in shorts and a t-shirt.  His girlfriend later told me that she was really wondering about us since we were asking people to get all dressed up just to stay at our house for dinner.  Apparently she doesn't know how fancy we truly are. 

We had such a good time and were so glad to get to spend time with friends that we don't get to see nearly enough.  After everyone got here we realized the theme could have been "Tom James Quitters" because one person from each couple quit Tom James (I represented for our couple). 

After throwing the party, I realized how much I love having people over and so our friends can be expecting more parties in the future.  Now to think of more themes...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catch of the Day

For the long weekend, Steve wanted to go to my grandma's house on the Rainbow River in Florida to do some Bass fishing.  This is a win/win for me because Steve is happy to get to fish and I get to visit my family...and Florida!

My grandma has had this house for as long as I have been alive and I have so many memories there.  Growing up, we spent nearly every Thanksgiving (aka FL/FSU weekend) and most Easters there.  My cousins, brothers and I would play in the water, dive for turtles, fish, swing from rope swings, and play some very serious games of tag at night. 

This past weekend, my aunt, uncle, Gram Weez, cousin, her husband and son Maxim, other cousin, his wife and son Orion all joined the party.  We ate like kings, played in the water a lot with the kids (it's weird not being one of the kids anymore), kayaked, played board games, and talked until it seemed like there was nothing left to say.  The only things missing were my parents. 

When we went to the river over Thanksgiving, Steve and I hired a fishing guide named Keith (not my brother) who took us out of Angler's in Dunnellon and we caught more fish than I have caught on that river in all 30 of my years.  He has taken other family members out who caught several bass over 10 lbs, and while we didn't catch any of those that day, Steve didn't give up hope that it would happen for us sometime.  We hired Keith again and this time we took my uncle out with us the first day. 

We got to our first spot and Steve immediately started fishing off the back of the boat.  With the help of the guide, apparently he doesn't realize I have fished all of my life and don't need too much help, I quickly caught 2 keepers and Steve caught 1.  My uncle, who I call Dubs, said he was waiting to make sure it was worth the effort before he began fishing.  After my second 4 lb bass, I asked if it was up to his standards.  He agreed and took my rod and reel.  His very first cast he reels in an over 7 lb bass, the biggest of his life.

Tell me that's not the look of a happy man.

We were a little worried when he was reeling it in, because the fish hung itself up under a log on the bottom of the river.  We could see it's white belly shining up from the bottom, but with Dubs' expert angling skills, he got that fat lady in the boat.  

That night, we were having a fish fry, so we were keeping some 3-4 lb bass to eat.  After Dubs caught his big fish and we had about 5 keepers in the boat, Keith said he wanted to try another spot.  For the previous hour, I had been doubled over with stomach pains, but not wanting to ruin the trip, I didn't say anything.  Once Keith mentioned us moving, I asked if he could take me back to Angler's and they could call me when they were done fishing that day. 

I went back to the house and started to feel better...probably because I got to play with Maxim who is one of the cutest little boys in the world.  The guys called around 12 saying they were done and when I got to Angler's they were cleaning the 7 fish they kept.  After getting the details from everyone, it appeared I didn't miss too much, just a lot of 3-4 lb bass.  Steve fried the fish that night and they were DE-LISH! 

Since I missed half the day of fishing, Steve suggested we go out again Monday...really I think he just wanted to go fishing again, but if he feels better saying it was for me, I'll play along.  Steve's first cast that morning landed him his biggest fish of the trip, a 6 pounder.  He has caught a bigger bass he claims, but this was still a nice fish.

After he caught that fish, we moved to another spot where Keith and I gave Steve a little head start.  After he caught a few 3 lb fish, it was time for me to get in the game.  Doing what I do best, I caught my own personal record, also a 7 lb bass. 

I think Dubs' fish is bigger than mine, but that's okay, I have time to catch a bigger one.  The next time we go, Keith better have his game-face on, cause I know I'll be wearing mine.