Angry Gnome’s Grilled Lemon & Cilantro Chicken


My husband made this recipe up. And I am in love. We eat this all summer. When we start making it, we know summer has officially begun. Eating this meal invokes instant memories of sunscreen and splashing children.



3 pounds boneless chicken tenders
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (for pita bread)
Tzatziki sauce (preferably the cilantro and chive version available at Trader Joes)
Pita bread (optionally delicious)
2 & 1/3 cup of white rice
1 Tablespoon butter (for rice)

For Marinade:

Juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons of Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic (or two teaspoons of all ready minced for you garlic in a jar. LOVE!)


My husband mixes and marinates the chicken in a large sealed plastic bag. He lets this marinate for one hour.




He grills the chicken until it is no longer pink. He flips them in the middle of cooking.





I make the rice and pita bread.

Add 2 & 1/3 cup white rice to a large sauce pan. Add 4 & 2/3 cup water. Add one tablespoon butter. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce burner to lowest setting. Cover and cook for twenty three minutes. (Depending on your stove, this might be twenty to twenty five. Play with what works for you.). Do not peek! Turn burner off. Let rice sit for two minutes.

Buy pita bread or naan bread. Turn burner on medium heat. Place medium sized skillet on burner. Lightly coat both sides of bread with olive oil. Place on hot skillet. Cook approximately two minutes per side. Place on paper towel lined plate. When all your bread is cooked, turn off burner. Cut bread with pizza cutter.


Spoon rice onto plate. Add chicken, bread, Tzatziki sauce. Enjoy!


Oh, and it goes without saying that this is even better with a glass of white wine. Isn’t everything?

Disneyland in June


We recently went to Disneyland. Like the forgetful dweebs we are, we forgot to take any pictures (Except for the one lonely graveyard pic from Haunted Mansion). I am so bummed. The kids are getting bigger every day. Growing bigger. Growing older. Growing apart. From us.

Why couldn’t I take a picture?

Here are the highlights I chronicled in my head from the day:

1. Eating at a restaurant in the park, we began speaking to the most wonderful old woman (she was the hostess). Picture a nursery rhyme with an old lady in an apron. You would have this woman. I believe she was even wearing an apron. Her face tried to hide that she had once been beautiful among many lines of gathering folds. But it was still there, in her twinkling crystal blue eyes. Her lips still full, despite time trying to steal them, bit by bit, away.

But it was her hands that interested me. She had the largest hands I had ever seen on a woman. And I began to ponder as she chuckled and spoke in delight, what stories her hands told. She tossed them about, describing her beloved grandchildren. Were they hands that had worked everyday of her life… Until they were so full of pent up energy they might burst?

Was she standing there smiling and laughing, all the while, being in terrible pain from arthritis plaguing her appendages?

Was this the way she was born? Her heritage, along with her curly hair, twinkling eyes, and rich spirit.

I do not know.

But I wonder. I do.

2. At the same restaurant, my nine year old son turned to me and said, “Mom, ten and under.” And he pointed to his kid’s menu.

I laughed and said, “Yes, and that is you.”

He said, “I know, but soon it won’t be.”

Oh, dagger straight to the heart…

So, his kid’s meal comes out. He had ordered the kid’s fried chicken meal. On the plate was one piece of chicken.

All was quiet at the table, when you hear my son who has the vocabulary and soul of an old man say, “This. is. infuriating.”

And he glowered at his lonely piece of chicken.

Which made us all laugh hysterically.

3. Being in the restroom with my daughter, when we both heard a scream.

A woman rushing from the stall dismayed at the self-flushing toilet.

Only to be met at the rows of sinks by her mother, who was fascinated by the magic of faucets and paper towel machines that would turn on without a press of a button or the turn of a knob.

It is rare in this world to witness someone being truly delighted. Seeing someone’s “first.” Someone in awe.


My daughter and I bathed in it.

4. Eating a giant bag of Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips from my Mary Poppin’s bag of treats and indulging in frozen lemonade as our family sat on a brick wall and people watched.

The icy sweet goodness.

The old Indian couple lounging on a bench in front of us. Her body covered with beautiful silver jewelry. Both wearing traditional Indian clothing. A young Indian family, in jeans, rushing up to them. Carefully handing over hot cups of liquid to their elders. Respectful. Itching to get back and enjoy the rides. The young woman’s braid, thick and luscious trailing down towards the small of her back. Never stopped swinging. The constant motion of motherhood.

5. My children’s smiling faces. Laughing. The outline of my daughter’s profile, as I stared and marveled at the beauty she is becoming. The sun gleaming off of her skin, as we waited in yet, another line.

6. Getting fast passes for Indiana Jones. Watching my daughter’s smiling face, my son’s stoic one.

The ride was over, I asked my son, “So, did you like it?”

“Yes.” He replied, “I didn’t stop grinning the whole time.”

And then he smiled in delight.

7. After Indiana Jones, which was our favorite ride of the day, we followed a family out the exit. The grandmother was faster than us and she used a walking cane. The mother was a smiling pretty woman. She stepped away from her family and I watched what she did next.

She approached a young couple in their late teens standing in the hour long standard line and handed them two extra fast pass tickets that she had in her possession. The thing is, I would never have given those teenagers those tickets. I would have assumed they would have been ungrateful, or, well, “teenagers.”

Those kids beamed at her. They thanked her so profusely.

They ran excitedly to the fast pass line and I watched the woman watching them and smiling to herself.

And I smiled, too. Because she was a better woman than me. And she taught me that I might have a little soul searching to do.

It was another “pure” moment. And my soul drank it in.

8. And tears. Lots of tears. Meltdowns from children in the heat. Begging to go home. A teenage girl crying. Fighting with her mother next to us.

The disappointment on the parents’ and children’s faces as they realized they just were not tall enough to go on the ride they wanted.

And I wanted to scream.

I have been that parent. My children have been those children.

I wish I had known…

“Be grateful! Relish Dumbo, Peter Pan, the carousel. Enjoy the holding of the hands. The sticky fingers. The slobbery kisses.

Because one day, you will be standing in the line that you had coveted and you will see those frustrated parents and children. You will envy the rides they get to go on as you stand and wait for another “fast” one.

Cherish that line that keeps them young. Because there isn’t another one.

That “tall enough” line is the measurement of youth. And it does not go backwards.”

But I don’t.

I remain silent.

And I watch them walk away in disappointment, as I stand there, my heart being the only thing shrinking.

8. Haunted Mansion.

My husband and I holding hands. Our children in a car ahead of us. Us. Kissing in the dark. Ghosts swirling around us.

9. Happiness.

Tired, aching feet.

Tired, happy soul.

Disneyland. Those are the memories I will take from the day. No pictures. Just images in my head.

My Craigslist Find


When we built our pool two years ago, I needed to find furniture to fill the spaces. But outdoor furniture is very expensive. I looked everywhere. I tried Costco. I had purchased our other outdoor sectional through them the year before. But that had been a great price, because it was discontinued. I could not find the deal I wanted the next year.


So, I checked craigslist. And I found a sectional with a matching giant ottoman that could make up into a huge outdoor bed.


Yes, outdoor bed. The ottoman fits perfectly into the couch. Having no need for an outdoor bed that could fit twelve (imagine the fun stories this piece could tell), we separated the two pieces into two separate areas around the pool. They came with blue cushions. I was doing a blue color scheme, so it was perfect.


But the fabric has not held up so well. Even though we put it in storage in the winter. So, I am going to try and revive it. Thank you, Teresa, for the suggestions. This is what it looks like for now.


It is the only thing I have ever purchased on Craigslist. Go big! My sweet dad went and picked it up for me. Thanks daddy!

I am always searching Craigslist for certain items. Shhhh… I am not telling what. I’ll let you know if I ever get them. I got beat out on a spectacular item by one hour, two weeks ago.

Have you purchased anything from Craigslist? What was it?

I shared this on:

Savvy Southern Style

And My Romantic Home.

Dear Children: Social Media


Dear Children,

I know you are upset at Mommy for denying you access to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I know it seems unfair when your peers get to participate in something you are not allowed to do. But your mommy is old fashioned. She was born before the internet. She was born before cell phones. Or digital cameras. Or digital cameras on cell phones.

And, oh my goodness, is she ever so grateful for this.

Because you see, children, Mommy made a lot of bad choices. A lot of bad mistakes. And there are people out there that want to see those mistakes. They feed off of it. And Mommy is so thankful to have been born at a time when these mistakes were not so easy to see. To witness. To chronicle forever.

I am going to try to protect you from this immediate gratification, perplexing world.

For as long as I am able.

And I know it does not seem fair.

But your brains are still developing. There are things you might say. Pictures you might post. Those could haunt you forever. As your parent, it is my obligation to help you make correct choices.

So, no, dear children. You will not have access to these instant social circumstances invading our internet. Not while I am in charge of you. Not while you live with me.

Because, children, you are going to make mistakes.

Big mistakes.

Hopefully, not too big…

I want you to have to deal with those in your heart and not on a page. Where someone else can judge. Write something. Punish you forever.

I choose this because I love you.

You tell me, “When I turn eighteen, I am getting a facebook account.”

And I know you will. (If there still is such a thing).

I also hope you remember the lessons I am trying to teach you. That you should think before you act. Think before you post. Think before you take that picture.

It cannot be taken back. And “forever” is a scary word in this world that cannot see the future.

But, regardless of what you do:

In this instant world, I love you every day.

Every second.

Every instant.


* I recently learned my children are googling my blog. Which is sweet. Very sweet. But I also want to know that they are learning something from me besides simple recipes and pretty clothing. These letters are real letters to my children. From their mother. You might not agree with my message, but please respect my sentiment.