I'm Back

Thank you SO much for all the comments & prayers concerning my Grandpa. Each one of your comments has meant so much to me. I love our blogging community. Y’all are so sweet and supportive.

Last Sunday my family traveled to Pawpaw’s hometown of Jennings, LA. Wow, he was so organized! Pawpaw left us a folder with all the details of his funeral and his last wishes. He included things like life insurance policies, the funeral home he wanted us to use, the church where he wanted the service to be held, and a poem written by his father that he wanted read at the funeral. He even wrote his own obituary.

At the graveside, the U.S. military did a 21 gun salute and they each saluted his casket. They folded the flag over his casket and presented it to my Grandma. She gave it to Pawpaw’s best friend, my brother. It was a touching ceremony. We will really miss him but we know he’s in a better place.

Thank you again for all your prayers and encouragement. I love y’all!

My sister printed the poem Pawpaw's father wrote and a photo for the guest to take

We got to walk through the house Pawpaw grew up in

A visit to south Louisiana isn't complete without having authentic Cajun food

It was hard to think about Christmas this year or get into the Christmas spirit. On Christmas Eve, I finally managed to wrap my presents and bake sugar cookies. We ended up having a nice Christmas. I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas. I can’t wait to catch up on your blogs.



I’m so overwhelmed. Thank you SO very much for all your comments, phone calls, text messages, and most of all your prayers. Eventually, I want to visit each of your blogs and personally thank you.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “The Greatest Generation,” coined by Tom Brokaw. It describes the generation of men and women who lived during the Great Depression and served our country in World War II. Pawpaw was a part of the Greatest Generation. Without a question or doubt Pawpaw served our country in WW II. I’ve heard an estimated 1000-1200 World War II veterans die each day.

Today at 1:30 PM we lost another U.S. hero, a World War II veteran, a member of the Greatest Generation, and the best Grandpa I could have asked for. Pawpaw went to see Jesus peacefully, without pain. My brother held his head and my dad prayed for him as he left this life. I know if I had asked Pawpaw who do want holding you as you leave he would have said, “Jarrett.” They have each told me on different occasions that they were best friends. Pawpaw wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It hasn’t even been 24 hours and desperately I miss him. Pawpaw was a good person, the kind of person you want to be your friend. Earlier this year I was feeling down about layoffs. I went to my Grandparents house and watched the LSU game with Pawpaw. Later that night he asked me to take him to Taco Cabana for a Cabana Bowl. Pawapaw was a simple man and being around him was comforting.

Pawpaw could fix anything. Once I took a hair dryer to Italy and plugged it into an (overpriced) adapter in a Rome hotel room. Not only did the hair dryer blow, the power went out in the entire hotel. Opps. I really liked the hair dryer and I brought it to Pawpaw to see if it could be salvaged, knowing I would probably have to spend $19.99 on a new one. He fixed it!

Pawpaw had no enemies and he would do anything for anyone. Once a lady from the church called and asked to speak with my Grandma. She wasn’t available and Pawpaw said, “Can I take a message?” She said, “Yes, our Jack Hamm (a church member) is not doing well. We are asking everyone to pray for him today at noon.” Pawpaw didn’t hear very well and misunderstood her. He responded with, “WHAT? Your jack hammer is broken and you want me to pray for it at noon? I’ll just fix it for you.” He was always generous with his time and his skills and he always made us laugh.

Pawpaw was fun and spontaneous. My brother told me one of his favorite memories was visiting my Grandparent’s home in Louisiana. My parents had purchased a slip-n-slide and we were in the backyard having fun. Pawpaw came home, dressed in nice pants, a nice shirt and a hat. Jarrett remembers Pawpaw throwing off his hat, running, and sliding on the slip-n-slide in his nice clothes.

I’ve been reading the book, '90 Minutes in Heaven.' It is true story about a man who was in a car accident, pronounced dead, went to Heaven, and came back to earth. In the book he said when he arrived at the gates of Heaven he was greeted by the people he loved that had passed away before him. They acted as if they had been expecting him and they were over joyous that he had arrived.

Today as I mourned Pawpaw’s death, I remembered that part of the book. I thought about all the people that were greeting Pawpaw...his mother, his father, his older brother and a sister. I know there are many other family members and friends greeting Pawpaw and excited that he is home.

Pawpaw was nostalgic. In the last year, he had asked my mom to cook and bake some of the old recipes his mother made when he was a child. I think tonight he is having the meal of a lifetime… all his favorites! Tonight Pawpaw’s arms aren’t black and blue from the blood thinners, he can walk without swaying or falling, he can stand straight, he doesn’t need a pacemaker, he can use his hands the way he used to and his smile is bigger than ever.

Our family is sad and we will be for a long time. However, I find comfort in knowing that Pawpaw will greet me at Heaven's gate someday; he’s expecting me.


Urgent Prayer Request

Yesterday afternoon my mom was Christmas shopping and received a call on her cell phone. It was Dr. B, my Grandparents neighbor. Yesterday afternoon when Dr. B’s son was getting off the school bus he saw my Grandpa, Pawpaw, passed out on the sidewalk in a pool of blood. Dr. B’s son ran into his house screaming for his mom. Dr. B ran outside and had her son call 911.

We think Pawpaw was walking from his house to the mailbox. He tripped and fell. We have no idea how long he was passed out on the sidewalk and we are so thankful Dr. B’s son found him.

My mom dropped her stuff and ran to the car. She called my dad on her way and he rushed to Pawpaw’s house. Luckily, my Grandparents live a minute away and in the same neighborhood. When my dad arrived the paramedics were loading Pawpaw into the ambulance. A police officer was spraying the pool of blood with a hose. My dad said it was a significant amount of blood. Pawpaw has a pacemaker and takes Coumadin, which is a blood thinner. It’s very common for pacemaker patients to take Coumadin. One of the side effects of Coumadin is you bleed easily and it’s hard to control the bleeding.

At first Pawpaw seemed stable. I was supposed to go out of town today for work. My parents said to go. At 11:00 PM last night my mom called and said, “Your dad said you should not go.” The bleeding in Pawpaw’s brain had increased and the doctor informed us he has permanent brain damage. His heart rate dropped and was in the 30 range. At 11:00 last night the doctor said he had anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours to live. I rushed to the hospital, my parents rushed to the hospital, and my brother started his drive from Dallas.

When I arrived at the ER, Pawpaw’s heart rate had gone up and was in the 60 range. They were moving him for the ER to ICU. We were there until 4:00 AM but there was no change in his condition. The doctor told us the situation is not looking good and will probably result in death. His vitals are okay, he’s on a ventilator but the brain damage is permanent.

I keep asking myself how this is possible. He was just walking to the mailbox and now he has permanent brain damage… just because he wanted to check the mail? How? How does this happen? Why? Why did this have to happen to him? Pawpaw told me he has prayed that he would outlive my Grandma because she has dementia and needs full time care. Pawpaw wanted to be the one who took care of her because nobody else can care for her and love her the way he can. Why couldn’t that simple, humbling, and sweet prayer be answered? Why?

If you remember, will you pray for my family? We are so devastated. I almost fainted last night at the hospital and I'm sick to my stomach. Pawpaw is my mom's dad. Please pray for my mom. So far, she's holding up but I don't think reality has set in yet. My poor Grandma... because of the dementia she keeps asking us where Pawpaw is and when he'll be home. Each time we tell her what's going on, it like the first time she's heard the bad news. She can't even begin to process it. Thank you so much for your prayers.


Discount on Cute Aprons & Danielle's SA Visit

Scarlet Threads~

Yesterday I posted about Scarlet Threads. An amazing company my friend Carrie started. "Scarlet Threads is a compassionate boutique, specializing in unique aprons designed and produced by talented seamstresses in rural Asia." You can read more about Scarlet Threads core vision and values here. Your heart will be touched.

So Vintage~ Love it

Scarlet Threads is offering a 10% discount to all my readers now through December 16. At check out just enter the code "peeptoe." If you order by December 16, your order will arrive before Christmas!

A Scarlet Threads apron is the perfect last minute Christmas gift and the perfect gift the for girl who has everything. Don't forget about other gift occasions... birthdays, bridesmaids gifts, thank you gifts, hostess gifts, Mother's Day, etc... The possibilities are endless.

So Girly-Girl

Danielle's Visit to San Antonio~

Last weekend Danielle visited San Antonio. Each day was full of fun activities! Friday night we visited the Charles Dickens Christmas event at Bracken Village. I love the Santa Claus at Bracken Village, he's fancy.

After Bracken Village we made a HUGE pot of vegetable soup. I had no idea it was going to make this much. Danielle and I ate the veggie soup for about three meals and I still have enough to feed 20 people.

Saturday morning we went to my mom's house for Danielle's sewing lesson. I decided to make lunch while they worked on a throw pillow slip cover. I'm still working on my tote bags from Thanksgiving. Someday I'll have a finished product. :(

I made a Christmas tree shaped veggie pizza (but it's not really a pizza)

Saturday night we had Mexican food on the Riverwalk and took a boat ride. Danielle got the see the Alamo. It's a bit anti-climatic but worth a photo. Danielle asked me about the purpose and meaning behind the Alamo. Hmmm... so bad. I really didn't know much about it or care. So much for that Texas history class I took in high school. However, I was able to tell her about the maintenance guy at Rivercenter mall seeing the ghost of Mexican solider one night.

Sunday after church we went to SeaWorld. Sunday was a great day to go; the weather was perfect and it wasn't crowded. We got to ride the 2 big roller coasters THREE times each with no wait!

Christmas Cheer at SeaWorld

The Dolphins were so cute.

My friend, Leslie, works at SeaWorld as one of the Shamu trainers. Leslie took Danielle and me backstage to "meet" the whale. We got to touch him and ask Leslie questions.

Leslie has the most fascinating job and she's one the nicest people I've ever met.

I've know Leslie for about 8-9 years. We have talked and talked about her job & the whales but I haven't been to SeaWorld since I was a kid. Sunday was SO fun. When the show started and Leslie ran out on the stage, I cried a little. Yep, I cried. She is just incredible! My favorite part was when Leslie dove off Shamu's nose! It was magical!


Lisa, Angela, Danielle, Carrie~ That's a Creative Title, Huh?


Thursday I had the honor of meeting Lisa from Osborn Odds 'N Ends and Little Bits of Lindy. I have been reading her blogs for the longest time. I've always looked up to Lisa and admired her. She is just as sweet and wonderful in person as she is in blogland. Lisa met Danielle and me at the Guenther House for brunch.

Lisa brought Danielle and me gifts... so sweet! I love the little Christmas sign and the koozies!Thank you so much, Lisa.


Y'all know Angela from Sweet Tea Diaries, right? LOVE her! If you don't know Angela, you must check out her blog. She's one of the nicest people I've ever met and she just won an award for employee of the year at her company. Angela sent me a belated birthday gift last week. I love, love, love it. Thank you, Angela!

Super Cute Barbie Note Cards

The Cutest Frame Ever


Danielle is visiting San Antonio this weekend. She brought me the cutest Christmas ornament! She purchased it in Chicago and I adore it. Thank you, Danielle! Check out her blog for a few weekend photos.


My friend Carrie has started a business, Scarlet Threads. Carrie and her husband Jacob live in China and volunteer at New Day Foster Home. The vision of Scarlet Threads is so touching, "No matter what country we call home, as women we care about the same things -- our children and our families. When you purchase a Scarlet Threads product, you become intricately connected to a woman half a world away. You give her the chance to provide for her family in a safe and dignified way, and you make our vision a reality. You are tied, with a scarlet red thread, to a woman just like you."

Carrie generously gifted me with one of the aprons sold at Scarlet Threads. I love it... I love where it came from and the story behind the apron. Carrie, thank you!

Danielle modeling the apron but being very difficult about it.


Recipes and Girly Household Tips

I've had a few requests for my sister's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup recipe. It's so delicious. If you make it, let me know!

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

2.5 pounds of fresh tomatoes (use any variety of tomato you like and you can mix them... heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum)

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 small yellow onions

1/2 cup of good olive oil (California Ranch is my favorite Olive Oil)

Freshly ground black pepper and salt

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 quart chicken broth

2 bay leaves

4 tablespoons butter

An entire bunch of fresh basil

3/4 cup heavy cream. Jenn adds a few splashes of the heavy cream. It keeps the soup healthier.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and cut tomatoes into halves. Spread tomatoes, garlic cloves, & onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic, & onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 3/4 cup of the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves, add to pot. Use a hand blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken broth, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Jenn making the soup and sipping wine

Jenn served the soup with a Mahi Mahi-Veggie Taco

Asparagus Casserole
I also had a few requests for the Asparagus Casserole I made for Thanksgiving Lunch. It was so creamy and rich. I found the recipe in the Paula Deen magazine, need I say more. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo but the finished product looks just like a green bean casserole.

1⁄3 cup butter

3 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 (8-ounce) package sliced baby bella mushrooms

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1⁄4 cups whole milk

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1cup sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (6-ounce) can french-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add asparagus, onion, and mushrooms; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add flour; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened. Stir in cheese, sour cream, salt, lemon zest, and pepper.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan, and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top with onions, and bake for 5 minutes longer.

I'd like to share a few girly household tips...

Tip #1

Have you ever had the leftover wax from a votive candle get stuck in your candle holder? I thought everyone knew this trick but Danielle told me many people don't know and I should share. The best way to remove the remaining votive candle wax is to put the candle holder in your freezer. Let it completely freeze and the wax will slide right out. It's a great trick!

Tip #2
Before I left for NYC, my mom informed me that I should cover the outside pipes and faucets because San Antonio was expecting a winter freeze. She was on her way to my house and I asked her if she would help me. I have never had to perform such a task.

When my mom arrived she told me I needed old hand towels and rope. Okay, I've got a few old hand towels but ROPE... not over here. I searched the garage for something to tie the outside pipes with and I found tulle. Yes, I have tulle in the garage. Here's our masterpieces.


I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

This is the first year I've had a Christmas tree taller than 4 feet. In the past I've put up so many Christmas trees for mall display windows in October and November, by the time December comes around I'm done with Christmas decorating.

I decided to purchase a 7.5 foot tree this year. It's fake. I'm not sure I can handle a real tree. When I was a kid we purchased real trees. On 2 occasions our real trees came with a free gift, a lizard. Yep, a disgusting reptile in the HOUSE. When my mom saw the lizard she screamed as loud as she could and we ran. My dad did something to get rid of the lizard. I have no idea what he actually did and I don't want to know. So I have a fake tree and I really like the idea of not having to buy another one next year. Luckily, this tree did not come with a free gift. ;)

A Few of my Favorite Ornaments

The Pink Tree is in my bedroom. I call it the "personality tree." The pink tree displays all my fun, funky ornaments.

Dining Room Table

The pink Santa is a vintage chenille fabric wine bottle cover. I found it in Nashville at the Christmas Market. I'm kinda obsessed with vintage chenille.


New York, New York

Of all the NYC Girl Trips, this year was my favorite. We did so many fun things, ate too much food, and took about 1000 photos. I'm not kidding about 1000 photos. We don't have a final count yet but it's close. Don't worry I won't post all the photos or be the person who loads their entire camera card to Facebook.

Friday morning we stopped by the Today Show. Leslie got to Rockefeller Plaza early and got to see the entire cast. Jenn and I were late because we love to sleep. Oh well, I did see Lester Holt and Natalie Morales. My sister made massage appointments in Chinatown. Yikes~ it was painful but I don't have a knot left in my back or shoulders.

My friend, Maria, arrived on Friday afternoon and we had lunch at Wichcraft in Bryant Park. After lunch we did some shopping and checked out the Christmas windows in a few of the department stores. NYC has the best Christmas windows!

After shopping and window gazing it was time for a cocktail at Bryant Park. Bryant Park has a great ice skating rink next to the cocktail place. I really love Bryant Park during the Christmas season.

We headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I did bring "night outfits" so it's important to change for the night events. ;) We took the subway to Greenwich Village for dinner. We took a ton of photos while we were waiting for the subway and on the subway, very fun!

We had dinner at Perilla in Greenwich Village. Anyone a Top Chef fan? Perilla is the restaurant Season 1 winner, Harold, opened. The food was really good and the atmosphere was quaint.

After dinner we headed to the famous Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes! They were delicious! If you're planning a trip to the city, Christmas is the best time to go. I've been in the summer and fall. Christmas is always my favorite time of year to be there.