Sunday, December 30, 2012

Updated: Twenty Goals in Twenty Twelve

  1. Make six DIY crafts (one has to be a sewing project).
    1. T-shirt Scarf
    2. Bauble Necklace
    3. Flower Magnet @ School
    4. Jewelry
    5. Paper Garland- Does sewing paper count?
  2. Read two books- Don't judge, it's better than zero.
    1. Radical by David Platt
    2. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
    3. A Marriage Without Regrets by Kay Arthur- Thanks for the recommendation, Lindsey and Kristen! I am halfway finished.
    4. Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison
  3. Plan a big trip (such as Chicago, New York City, or Boston).- One is in the works!
  4. Make five new recipes.
    1. Cookie Dough Dip
    2. Chicken Divan
    3. Pioneer Woman's Pancakes
    4. Black Bean Salad
    5. Bacon Wrapped Green Beans
    6. Frozen Strawberry Salad- Extra
    7. Homemade Blueberry MuffinsExtra +1
    8. Chicken Tortilla SoupExtra +2
    9. Morning Glory MuffinsExtra +3
    10. Italian Salad DressingExtra +4
    11. Omelets- Overachiever
  5. Figure out where we want to live for at least the next three years.- We have a tentative plan which is good enough for right now!
  6. Start a journal- Does a blog count?
  7. Celebrate Mom's 50th Birthday!!
  8. Make a birthday calendar.
  9. Go to an art retreat.
  10. Go shopping in Birmingham.
  11. Visit the flea market in Nashville.
  12. Go skiing with my dad.
  13. Start a new tradition with my husband.
  14. Learn how to can tomatoes- Amanda?? Are you reading this??
  15. Complete Red Velvet's Art Journal E-course.
  16. Learn to use my cricut.
  17. Vote!!
  18. Pray more.
  19. Make a few Christmas gifts this year.
  20. Start exercising.
This was probably one of the best things I could have done for myself this year- my only regret is that it took me 28 YEARS to figure this out!!  Making a personal goal list motivated me to do things when I would have normally felt too tired to do anything out of the ordinary.

Because I loved making a goal list soo much last year I am challenging you, my favorite readers, to make one with me in January 2013!!  I think it would be a great way to document your year on a page (or two).  Think about it... (a) It's easy, (b) It's super fast, and (c) It's an awesome keepsake to share with your family a few years from now.  Have I convinced you yet???  

I can't wait to see what some of you come up with:)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

In lieu of my appreciation for corny jokes, I decided to share a few.   I apologize for not giving credit to the original source... most were either sent to me via email or found at a secondary location.  

I must say, I may never look at snow cones the same.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Favorites

Favorite Songs
  1. “O Holy Night”
  2. “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant
  3. “Christmas Canon” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra- This is the song I walked down the aisle to!
  4. “Where Are You Christmas” by Faith Hill
    Favorite Christmas Movies
    1. Elf- Hands Down!!
    2. Home Alone 
    Favorite Places to Travel
    1. New York City
    2. Natchitoches, Louisiana
    Favorite Christmas Treats
    1. Christmas Tree Cookies
    2. Polish Mistakes
    3. Peppermint Bark (Dark Chocolate)
    Favorite Christmas Activities
    1. Celebrating with Family
    2. Looking at Christmas Lights- It's even better when turned into a scavenger hunt!
    3. Listening to my Pepaw read the story of Christmas

    My Dad keeps sending me these pictures via email so I figured I would share them with you.  

    Cheers to being a kid again!

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Dead or Alive

    On American Pickers the other night, Frank and Mike were talking about old pictures.  They said that alot of portraits taken during the Victorian Era were taken of dead people.  It is believed this was because pictures were too costly; therefore, people only took photographs out of necessity (such as to remember a family member).  They further explained that the photographer would typically prop the subjects up to make them look alive; and sometimes even pose them with their family members or a favorite item such as a toy.  WHAT??!! 

    I can't help but think of these old pictures I recently picked up from a local flea market.  I wanted to use them for a project, but now I am not so sure I even want them in my house. I feel like I am hearing a secret or seeing something that wasn't meant for me to see!!! I'm almost afraid to ask, but what do you think?  Do you think these people were alive when these pictures were taken?

    Anybody need some extra photos?

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012


    As I was driving home from school yesterday, I decided to call my Dad.  Our conversations are usually pretty sporadic and this one did not disappoint.  Somehow we found ourselves on the subject of faith and creationism.  He had no idea what I was thinking about posting today; however, what he said was very relevant and right on target!  He said he once heard a preacher describe the beginning of earth like this... Have you ever broken a cell phone and then thrown it up in the air?  Better yet, have you ever broken a cell phone, thrown it up in the air, and then expected it to come back down in one piece- perfectly put back together? 

    In truth,

    "As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." Romans 14:11

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    My Kind of Funny

    Sophie Blackall has to be one of my favorite artists to date.  She was born in Australia and now resides in Brooklyn, New York.  I think her prints are awkward.hysterical.and brilliant.  Here are some of the ones that continue to make me laugh.  Enjoy:)

    What's your favorite?

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Christmas Gifts 2012: (Mostly) Handmade Edition

    1.      Handmade Cloth Dolls
    I think these are the sweetest little dolls!  How fun would it have been to have a doll that actually looked like you as a kid?!  I think this will be a future gift for our nieces:).

    2.   Olliegraphic Plate
    I have already purchased one of these for a dear friend's daughter and have two more on the way for my favorite nieces.  They are customizable and appear very durable.  I would highly recommend these for the younger family members.  The company occasionally offers discounts on their Facebook page. 


    If you have ever visited the Pioneer Woman's blog, you are very familiar with the family dog, Charlie.  Ree Drummond is a beautiful writer with hilarious commentary on her beloved family member.  I think this would be a perfect Christmas gift for children of all ages.

    I purchased one of these for a Christmas gift a few years ago. The sellers have several colors to choose from and they allow you to pick any quote that is within the appropriate length to make it extra special.  I really like the fact that the creators hand paint all of the letters (instead of using vinyl).  

    5.   Earrings!!
    These are made by yours truly (insert shameless plug here)! 

    6.   Jewelry Roll
    I bought these for my bridesmaids five years ago and I still think they are just as pretty as ever.  The seller allowed me to customize the style, stitching color, outside color, and interior color for every single one I purchased to match the personalities of my bridesmaids.  I would highly recommend this as a gift for friends, sisters, and/or co-workers!

    I love, love these necklaces!  They are made by a lady who lives in my hometown of West Monroe, LA.  Her husband beads the necklaces while she stamps the charms.  My brother and I bought my mom one for Mother's Day a few years ago and she wears it all.the.time.  

    8.   Cake Pan
    A few Christmases ago, I bought customizable cake pans for my grandparents.  I thought the Cake Pan Lady was very reasonably priced and her product did not disappoint. Everybody loves a good potluck dinner every now and then, right? 

    I think these Walk In Love tees would make a perfect gift for guys and girls alike. I may have to add one of these to my personal Christmas wish list this year:).

    These prints on canvas are created and sold by a family from our church.  They're a cool family with an even cooler story behind all of their work.  You should check them out!

    I would love to hear about some of your favorite handmade/local gifts!

    Happy Shopping,

    Sunday, August 5, 2012


    "A person who constantly seeks glory on earth constantly fears troubles on earth. But a person who seeks glory only with God fears no disturbance except for God's judgment." -Anonymous writer on Matthew 5:12

    Sunday, July 22, 2012


    The more I write, the more I feel the need to share my desire for this blog.  If you get nothing else from this post, please know/remember that I get to pick and choose what I want to share with all of you on Hootknows- it’s not always an accurate picture of real life.  It’s just a snapshot. In other words, please do not think the grass is always greener on my side of the fence- I struggle too!!

    I created this blog to document some of our everyday details (and to make me take pictures to go along with those everyday details).  I hope it is evident throughout my posts that my strength and joy comes from the One who lives within me- Jesus.  He is the reason I wake up every morning! 

    I am humbled and honored that you find my life interesting enough to read about.  Thank you!


    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Texas Road Trip

    After visiting my family for a week in Louisiana, I decided to head to Texas with some great friends to surprise Alisan (pronounced Alis-AN) for the weekend.  This was kind of a last minute trip just like mine and Fosh’s beach trip.  In fact we were supposed to go to the beach with Alisan and her husband this summer, but after a minor change of plans Fosh and I decided to go by ourselves instead.

    Since college Jessica, Amanda, Alisan, and I have planned a trip every single summer so that we could catch up and spend time with each other.  Over the past few years, we have traveled to Destin, New York City, College Station, Gulf Shores, Austin, Nashville, and Dallas to see each other since we all live in different cities/states now.

    Amanda did not go on this particular trip because she now has a baby and was visiting her out-of-town family.  To make a long story short, Alisan knew Jessica was coming to visit her, but she didn’t know her sister Abby and me were going to tag along.  Don’t worry we checked with her husband first to make sure it was okay!  She was not very surprised (that’s just the kind of girl she is), but she was very excited to see us!!! And to be honest, we were super excited to see her too!!!

    During our weekend visit we talked, and laughed, and talked some more.  We played Apples to Apples until the wee hours of the night.  And by played, I mean we lobbied as hard as we could hoping the judge would choose our answer instead of Alisan’s answer because she kept WINNING!  Our lobbying went as far as trying to prove warts were indeed useful and corn on the cob was considered chewy.  I think we even convinced ourselves of these “facts” at some point throughout the weekend.

    In addition, we explored the downtown area of McKinney and propped ourselves up in the dressing room(s) at the outlet mall in Allen.  We did our best to hold every second captive and had a blast doing it!

    Alisan and I have an ongoing joke that it doesn’t matter how far away we live from each other OR how long we go without seeing each other, we still somehow manage to dress very similar to each other.  On this particular day, we both walked out of our respective rooms wearing the exact same shade of purple.  We just had to shake our heads and keep going.

    I love these girls so much and am so thankful for their friendship!!!  The next girl’s trip (plus husbands) is Nashville, RIGHT??Thanks for being such amazing friends!


    Tuesday, July 17, 2012


    "Where you're going, how you're getting there and what you're doing to get there isn't as important
    as who you're becoming. Finish strong." -TC

    Tim Coats is such an inspiration to sooo many people in my hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana!! He was a youth minister at my old church and has done countless other things in the past such as deejaying at a local christian radio station and owning a laser tag center so that our youth would have a fun and safe place to hang out. His passion is encouraging the younger generation and ultimately furthering the kingdom of God. He rocks my socks off!

    Photo Source: Ashley Roark

    p.s. Tim Coats has started a group on facebook called "TC's Tidbits" that anybody can join.  In his words, "We all get bombarded with 'stuff' on fb, but if you want a short snippit each day that gives hope, encouragement, and just a different perspective than the world gives, [leave a comment below]."  You can unsubscribe at anytime.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Pop Quiz

    While I was visiting my Dad in Dauphin Island a few weeks ago, he decided to point out some of his favorite things as he showed me around the island.  Although I didn't document all of our private tour, I feel like I took pictures of the most important part.  Are you ready for this???  My Dad fell in love with one of these chairs while he was staying at the beach. Can you guess which one?  I'll give you a hint... it's not yellow or blue-- although blue is his favorite color. 

    You see that homely looking white chair that looks like it was a day late and a dollar short? Yep, that was his favorite.

    Until next time,

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Walk the Line

    There's a fine line between looking like you have to go to the bathroom and looking cool.  I walk the line.

    Photo Source: Kelly Moore Photography
    Yours truly,

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Dad!

    Happy Birthday, Dad!!!  You truly are the best Dad in the world!  Thank you for always talking to me, laughing with me, and challenging me to do my best.  I admire you so much and appreciate you always living by example.  I love you very much and I can't wait to eat Johnny's Pizza with you for lunch today! 

    I love you!

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    To My Mom

    Here are 50 reasons I’m glad you’re my Mom...

    1. You have a kind heart to the less fortunate.
    2. Your laugh is contagious- especially when it's natural humor.
    3. You were a fantastic single mom!
    4. You love your job and have always worked hard for everything you own.
    5. You love to shop.
    6. Everybody is always welcome at your house. 
    7. You cook the best soul food- especially fried okra!
    8. You still peel my tomatoes whenever we're together.
    9. You have the prettiest green eyes.
    10. You love your mom more than any other person in the world.
    11. You stand up for what you believe in.
    12. You are low-key.
    13. You are honest.
    14. You value your sisters- and they value you.
    15. You love costume jewelry! 
    16. Daisies are your favorite and the color yellow will forever remind me of you.
    17. You would give Michael and me the shirt off your back.
    18. In fact, you would give anybody the shirt off your back.
    19. You can laugh at yourself when necessary.
    20. You know how to do everything. I'm pretty sure you could build your own house if you had to.
    21. Everyone is considered family at your house.
    22. We always had home-cooked meals growing up.
    23. You're confident.
    24. You have a soft spot in your heart for animals.
    25. You can sniff out a hole in the wall restaurant with the best of them.
    26. Your coleslaw is delicious.
    27. You've always made my friends feel apart of the family.
    28. You play Scramble with Friends with me (and let me win sometimes)!
    29. Your vegetable soup is the best.
    30. You have a pretty smile
    31. You taught us to say "please" and "thank-you".
    32. You taught us to accept everybody.
    33. You didn’t allow me to have more than one coke a day while growing up- I still try to stick to this rule.
    34. Sweet tea is a staple at your house- even though you only drink unsweet tea.
    35. You taught us the importance of a dollar. I still remember going to the fair with a specific amount of money for food and entertainment.  That money had to last us the entire night.  It was up to us as to how we spent it, but once it was gone... it was gone.
    36. You never batted an eye when I asked if you would attend Melanie’s Art Retreat with me.
    37. You wrote a post on Melanie’s blog that I will treasure forever.
    38. You’ve always talked highly of our dad in front of us.
    39. You fixed my hair until I was embarrassingly too old to still have my mother fix my hair.
    40. You still go through the trouble of stuffing our stockings and wrapping our gifts at Christmas time.
    41.  You desire to know more about Jesus.
    42. You are crafty (refer to #20… I’m pretty sure you could sew your own clothes if necessary too).
    43. You secretly let Fosh use your yellow cupJ. Just kidding!
    44. You’ve never been one to “Keep up with the Joneses”- you’ve always just done your own thing.
    45. Your family is important to you.
    46. You think it should only take five minutes for everyone to fix their hair.
    47. You wonder whose legs I inherited knowing full well they are yours made over.
    48. You visit me in Tennessee!
    49. You have a beautiful heart.
    50. You are my favorite lady in the whole wide world.
    Happy 50th Birthday, Mom!!  You still look as beautiful as ever. 

    I love you!

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Double Take

    During the summer of 2009, my friends and I decided to take a trip to New York City to celebrate Alisan graduating from college.  We thought it would be fun to celebrate with her since she celebrated our college graduation with us (and because we love her)!  

    While we were there, we took a picture on the top of the Rockefeller Center in front of the Empire State Building.  Please keep in mind, this picture was taken in June 2009.

    Amanda, Jessica, Me, and Alisan
    Fast-forward to January 2010.  One of my favorite bloggers decided to paint a picture to raise money for Haiti.  I know Elsie does not know me from Adam (or Eve); however, her painting could not be more spot on of our picture above (even though that's not the Empire State Building in her picture).  I am still in disbelief that I did not buy this painting.  I mean, check out the hair color!!  And we're even standing in the right order!!  Sigh. It was too good not to share.

    Photo Source: Here
    I hope y'all are having a fantastic day!!


    Friday, July 6, 2012


    ‎"The Christian life isn't hard. The Christian life isn't even difficult. The Christian life is IMPOSSIBLE. There has only been one Person who pulled it off, and He was so good at it that they named it after Him... God is telling us 'You can't live the Christian life; but I'm telling you I know Who can. I'm going to put the One who can live the Christian life inside the one who can't live the Christian life, so that the One who can live the Christian life can live the Christian life THROUGH the one who can't live the Christian life'. That is the mystery of the Gospel." - Louie Giglio

    Watch me long enough... better yet, watch me five seconds and you will see that I will inevitably fail every time without Jesus by my side. He is my strength and my joy. And for that, I am thankful.


    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Barefoot & Pregnant

    …in Singapore. Just kidding!! Well, kinda.

    I asked my amazing friend, Christina, to be a guest blogger on Hoot Knows.  Christina has to be one of the coolest people I have ever met.  She is from Singapore yet knows how to cook more American dishes than I do (I realize this is not saying much for those who know me).  She's been known to make her own beef jerky and peach jam.  She loves American politics, majored in Journalism, and is now a speech-language pathologist in Warren, Arkansas.  I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did!!

    Brooklyn and I were classmates in graduate school. And for about three months, we carpooled on Mondays to our externship sites. I always enjoyed that one-hour-plus car ride with Brooklyn. We talked about pretty much anything and she, being Brooklyn (who is never always all about herself) always asked about how things are different in Singapore vs. the U.S.A. Brooklyn asked if I would do a blog post about cultural differences, and here, as I am 20 weeks pregnant, I decided to share some pregnancy old wives' tales and customs that the Chinese in Singapore believe and/or adhere to. 

    First off, understand that foods are categorized into "hot" and "cold." A pregnant woman is not supposed to eat watermelon (because it is considered "cold). It will affect the "qi" and the "yin/yang" in the body. And the baby will likely be sickly. Cold food is believed to cause miscarriages. The womb is an incubator and has to be warm to let the embryo grow (like a hen sitting on her eggs). Too cold = no baby chicks. Some also believe that eating watermelon will cause the baby's head to be bigger. Other fruits that I have been told to avoid: Watermelon, pineapple, cold drinks.
    I was told not to do any sewing/cutting (especially on the bed) because my baby might have cleft palate/lip. 

    Do not criticize other people (especially other babies) because your child may take on the qualities of the person whom you criticized. (example: So-and-So has bad skin = your baby will have bad skin. So-and-so is whiny = your baby will be whiny). 

    Do not reach your arms high beyond your head. It will cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's head. 

    Pregnancy is considered a joyous experience. Hence it should never "clash" with something that is mournful (such as funerals). Therefore you will never see a pregnant woman attending funerals (unless it is a very close family member.) 

    After you give birth, you are supposed to go through a period of confinement - a period of time (about a month) where the mother will take to recuperate from giving birth (because it is such a straining, exhausting, draining experience). During this time, you are NOT supposed to wash your hair, take a bath, go outside the house, be in a cold place (like using the fan or AC). This is because all these activities are considered "cold" and will affect the mother's health such as cramping and arthritis in old age. During this time, you will be eating things like liver, ginger, chicken in sesame oil, and drinking hot tea such as date tea, ginger tea because they are of a "hot" nature and will help restore the body's back to its balanced yin/yang stage. What's nice about this period of confinement is there is someone (either a family member or a hired help) who will do all the grocery shopping, cooking, chores around the house for you. 

    Do not touch the baby's head - it is supposed to carry the spirit of the baby. 

    These are some of the old wives' tales/superstitions that I grew up knowing and my mom and best friend have been trying to convince me to follow. When I offer logical explanations supported by scientific data and research to my mom, she will always tell me, "You are afterall a Chinese. You aren't built like the "westerners". (I must mention that mom always tell me the 11 years in the U.S.A., has made me big-built and stocky like Americans!).


    Thursday, June 28, 2012


    Photo Source: Unknown 

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Oh, Brother

    Last week my brother called my dad from Colorado (he’s working up there for a few months) and told him he was thinking about getting a motorcycle.  Please keep in mind my dad rode a motorcycle in high school- in fact, it was his only mode of transportation when he was younger.  Needless to say my dad was beyond EXCITED!!!!  Except he held it in.  He didn’t say one word while my brother was talking.   He waited until my brother hung up the phone and fiercely began researching them on the computer.  This was the day he had waited for the better half of his adult life!!

    One thing you need to understand here is my dad gave up riding motorcycles once he became a father.  He recognized they were dangerous and never wanted to influence us on buying one once we were older.  But now… now that my brother was the one bringing it up, it was on like a chicken bone.

    Dad's Motorcycle Drawing circa 1969
    There’s only one problem with this story… my brother never mentioned getting a motorcycle after that day.  What was my dad supposed to do??  He was knee-deep in his research by now and way too excited about this possible new adventure.

    Dad's Motorcycle Drawing circa 1969
    I’m sure you can guess how this story endsJ Yes, my father is now the proud owner of a motorcycle.  And not just any motorcycle… a HARLEY!!!  And not just any Harley… the kind my husband wants!!!  Oh, Brother.

    Dad's New Motorcycle circa 2012