Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kitchen Games

The day after Thanksgiving marks the first day of the Christmas season! So Jojo, Laura, my mom and I gathered in the kitchen to make Christmas cookies. By the numbers: 10 different types of cookies, 3 kitchen-aide mixers, 6 full Christmas tins, over 200 cookies and who knows how many cups of flour (plus about a cup that made it on the floor).
That night, it was time for another Hill family Thanksgiving tradition-- Crazy Hat Uno! This is my most favorite night of Thanksgiving break. Chris and I keep an eye out for hats throughout the year and look forward to unveiling our finds.
In addition to the basic Uno rules, you must wear your hat throughout the game. If you are caught without a hat at any time during the night, you must immediatly draw two.
I love games and I love crazy hats. But I especially love chants and cheers. Which is why I'm often the loudest when a Green 8 is thrown down ("Greeeeeeeen Eight-cres is the place to be!") or a Red 9, Blue 2 or Yellow 8... etc.

Crazy Hat Uno is just another reason that Chris and I are thankful for good friends and family.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Chris' brother, Justin and his wife, Laura live next door to PD. My parents parked their motor home in the driveway between the two houses, adding to the Hill compound.

Thanksgiving morning all three kitchens were busy with flour, kitchen-aids and baking. (And adorable aprons made by my mom.)

After we prepared our dishes we paraded across the street where the Cedars have been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for over 30 years! We had six turkeys, three dressings, 5 pies and over a dozen side dishes!

In addition to the usual Thanksgiving dishes, we also had entries to The Iron Chef: Thanksgiving edition. The secret ingredient was cranberries. The three judges had a tough job discriminating the tastes of six different cranberry dishes.
The third place was candied cranberries made by Aunt Donna, second was cranberry pinwheels made by my dad and the first place winner was... me! The award winning dish? Pumpkin Cranberry Bread.

After naps and movies, we gathered back together for a wii bowling tournament, Dance Dance Revolution showcase and the end of a great Aggie football game.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Katie's Birthday

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Eve. So the Beard parents and the Hill compound traveled for a Baton Rouge tradition:

The 25 adults divided into teams, participated in some friendly trash talk and proceeded to barrel roll, sneak and shoot their way to victory.

After each game we checked our stats and Chris and Laura were both consistently in the high scores.
When we got back home we hosted a meeting for the Secret Scarf Society. Which is all I am allowed to mention about that.

In addition to Thanksgiving Eve, yesterday was also my 29th birthday. It marked the beginning of a year long celebration that I am hosting, "Goodbye 20's". Should be amazing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Aggie Weekend

Last year a group of my Aggie theater friends got together to see a football game and to host our own mini-reunion. And since an Aggie can't do something once without making it a tradition, we all got together this past weekend to do it again. We rented a house on the Traditions Golf Course, bought our tickets and set-up the Beirut table. I volunteered to cook for the weekend and we all had a great time.

Here are Randy and Brian enjoying some Texas Hill Country porch time:
Here I am, holding Brian and Bonnie's Baby, Kyla (still can't believe they have a baby!)
She was a delightful baby-- just giggled and played all day with us. She even helped daddy win at Beirut!

Here are the spoils of Pancake Saturday:
And lastly, a shot of us hanging out:
You'll notice Chris in the background, making a rare appearance for the weekend. Poor guy didn't feel well for most of it, so he quarantined himself to the bedroom.

I didn't take any photos the whole weekend, so I'm thankful that John Meinburg shared his with me! As the wife of an LSU alum, it was fun to go to Yell Practice and root for the good ol' Texas Aggies... and the fact that we beat Nebraska just made it even better!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Shed Weekend

We have an adorable house that was originally built in 1945. I'm not sure what people did in 1945, but they apparently did not have the need to store a lot of things.

We, however, do.

I'm pretty sure we're the only couple on the block that has these items stored in their attic: sixteen flamingo cups, passover plague finger puppets, eight pirate skull cups, matching bumble outfits for dog and owner, LSU outfit for the garden yeti and two pairs of elf shoes. What can I say? Life's a party at the Hill House!

So we don't have a lot of storage space, but we DO have a large backyard. Therefore, we need: a shed weekend!

Chris wasn't happy with any of the sheds he saw at Home Depot so he talked to his friend, Casey, and they drafted plans. Casey, PD (Chris' dad) and Gma (Chris' grandmother) all came in for "The Shed Weekend".

Here's our backyard as the morning begins:

Here it is in the afternoon:

Even Gma helped! 
 And here's the finished product:

Now our lawnmower, paint cans and 12 Mardi Gras costumes will finally have a home. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Good One-Dish Dinner

Our Supper Club theme last night was "One Hit Wonder". My mom thought I should look through my grandma's recipe box for some good casseroles.

Sure enough, this gem was towards the front:
A Good One-Dish Dinner? Perfect!

Stephanie made a salad:
And Ashley made a great vegetable casserole:
What I loved about all three dishes was the lack of dairy. Most of the one-hit wonders I found while I was searching called for a pound of cheese or cream of mushroom soup. But we were able to find some delicious, lighter options!

Here's a photo of "A Good One-Dish Dinner":
I doubled the recipe (including the corn bread topping) but still didn't have near enough topping. What you see is one box of Jiffy. Next time, I'll use two boxes. Besides that, the meal was a total hit!

Not only did it taste great last night, but Chris and I both enjoyed the leftovers today. I fully expect to be adding both casserole dishes to my "old faithful" list.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Super Supper Club

Tomorrow night we are hosting our monthly Supper Club.

It started around Christmas last year when we had our friend, Ashley, over for dinner. She and I lamented that we had so many recipes that we wanted to try, but always seemed to turn to our "old faithful" meals-- especially when entertaining. After a spark of inspiration (and a few glasses of wine), the Super Supper Club was born!

There is one main rule: you must make something you have never made before.

Once a month we get together to prepare our dishes (we have a group of about 5 other girls who come when they can). The girls bring their ingredients and we cook together in my kitchen. That way each girl learns 3-5 new dishes, not just the one she is preparing. Then we gather around the table to eat and critique... and decide the next month's theme.

Many of the dishes that I first tried at a Supper Club gathering are now my new "old faithful" meals!

Throughout the months we've had many Celebrity Guests (those who are invited to eat, but are not required to prepare anything) as well as Celebrity Chefs (those who are invited to teach us a new technique). Of course boyfriends are often the Celebrity Guests and Chris is always included-- he's our bartender! He makes drinks to fit the theme-- like Sangria when we had a Tapas night. 

Tomorrow night's theme is "One Hit Wonder". Casserole/Stew/Crockpot meals that have a protein, carb and green rolled into one. I'm thinking of making a casserole version of Shepherd's Pie. I'll make sure to post photos of mine, plus the other dishes after tomorrow night.

Other themes we've had:
  Breakfast for Dinner
  Comfort Meals
  Tailgating Treats
  Endless Summer
  Caribbean Delights

Any suggestions for upcoming themes? Post a comment and let us know! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Eats

Keeping this organization momentum going...

Yesterday, I organized the pantry. This was very needed AND just in time for the Supper Club on Thursday night. Since we host it at our house and there's always a little bit of chaos while getting everything on the table, it'll be nice to have everything in it's place.


And after:

I love the "oxo-pops" that you'll see in both photos-- we use them for EVERYTHING!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Real Simple

Today I organized my closet.

It's been about a year since we moved into our little home on Community. Which means it's been about a year since I first organized my closet. So this was due.

Here are some photos mid-process (to be fair, it got worse before it got better):

A trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond gave me everything I needed:
100 Real Simple Hangers (and their clips for skirts/pants),
2 Real Simple Accessory Hangers
16 Wonder Hangers

Here's the result:

I don't usually buy things "as seen on TV", but the Wonder Hangers are great! Truly did give me more space.
And I'm extremely happy with the Real Simple hangers and accessories. Getting rid of all the mismatched hangers (especially the wire ones from the dry cleaners) felt so nice!

Next up on the Hill organizing machine... the pantry!