Posts Tagged by Pioneer Woman

Happy New Year and the 2015 Best of the Nest

happy new year

Happy New Year to all my readers, blogging buddies, family and friends! I am so grateful to have you in my life and and for your support during this third year of my blog. I appreciate you more than you could know!  Thank you!

2015 was a year of super highs and extreme lows. Like many of you, I’m ready for a fresh start, to begin anew and resolve to do some things better, differently or not at all.  It’s going to be a big year for me because I’ll turn 50 in a couple of weeks – yes, 50. Holy moly. My daughter will also graduate from grad school this year (fingers crossed!)

Acting on a kind request from a wonderful reader, I present to you – a roundup of some of the top posts on this blog, in the past year. The posts are drawn from the articles that garnered the most hits and comments. It’s really cool to take a look back to see which posts generated the most views. I had a few in mind that I thought would make the Top 10, but I was surprised to see several that I never considered. First, a couple of Honorable Mention posts who were so very close to making the list:

Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade

Inspired by an amazing trip to Italy with my daughter in 2015, this lemonade is crazy good!

Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade 1

Best Coconut Pound Cake Recipe (with Bonus Lessons!)

The Best Coconut Pound Cake

And the Top 10 Nest Full of New posts of 2015…the Best of the Nest!

10.  The Time the Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

This day still doesn’t even seem true in my brain. So amazing (Ree AND the cookbook!)

The Time The Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

9.  Fresh Peach Cobbler

I can’t even stand how amazing this cobbler is. Come on summertime!

Peach Cobbler with Cream

8.  Have a Fondue Party at Home

Why not? It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s cheese!


7. How to Make Macrame Hangers

This old school project is back and super easy!

Macrame Covered Hangers

6. Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is the best and so easy. My sister and I just started another batch of extract after we used up our supply on holiday treats.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

5. Beer Cheese Soup

This is the yummiest and most decadent soup you’ll eat this season! We’ve been enjoying it for several years (read “football seasons”) and it freezes well, too.

Beer Cheese Soup

4.  Seedless Blackberry Cobbler

Mmmm…more cobbler.

Seedless Blackberry Cobbler

3. The Amazing Burger Round-Up: 16 Fabulous Burgers

There’s no wrong time when it comes to burgers. Summer, winter, rain, wind, snow…doesn’t matter. This post offers 16 yummy burgers, plus sauces and buns.  Don’t miss my post on making the perfect Oven-Baked Fries!


2.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

This one was a surprise. What started as a little note to my Mom on her 70th birthday, has made it’s way to the number 2 spot on my top posts again this year. Moms pretty much rock, right?

Happy Birthday Mom

1. Easter Mason Jar Craft

The top post of 2015 just happens to be the most adorable Easter goodie ever! I’m a big fan of Mason jars and these little cuties were so simple and were a huge hit. Check out the companion centerpiece, too!

Easy Craft - Ball Jar

I’d like to thank you all for hanging out at the Nest this year. You’ve been so inspiring and supportive and I truly appreciate all of your input and suggestions.

I hope that 2016 brings you joy, fulfillment, health, and success. I pray that it is the year we will all act on our dreams, hopes and desires, and that the new year ushers in a more peaceful, stable era.

Happy New Year!

The Time the Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

The Time The Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

I don’t know about you, but I think Ree Drummond is one of the neatest people ever. (No, not clean neat…cool neat.)

Does anyone say “neat” anymore?


No? Just me?

Well, it doesn’t matter. I’ve declared her “neat”.

I’ve followed The Pioneer Woman for several years on her blog. (Yes, there really was a Pioneer Woman before her explosion on the Food Network.) I love how she loves her family. I love how she loves her unexpected life. I love how she doesn’t sugarcoat everything. There are messes and times they run late and kids who get sick, stuff that gets dirty and things that aren’t perfect. There is grit and stress. It’s a real life.

She’s also feeling that heart thing that happens when your child leaves the nest. My heart thing started several years ago when my daughter left for college, but I still feel it every day. Y’all know what I’m talking about…

Suffice it to say that I feel like I can relate to Ree in a lot of ways, as do so many women across the country. Very few of us live on a ranch, but we relate in Mom World, in Wife World and often just in Woman World.Country Living Fair Ree Book Signing 1

Ree was in Atlanta on Friday at the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain Park. She’s recently released a beautiful new cookbook called “Dinnertime” and was visiting to chat about it and sign some books.

Country Living Fair Ree Book Signing

This colorful cookbook gem holds yet another example of her neat factor – there’s a “Breakfast for Dinner” chapter. Love that.  And, to ramp up the neat thing even more, her sweet husband Ladd was the photographer for the cover shot.  Seriously.


So I was in line for the book signing and passed the time chatting with my new friends who were in line with me. Everyone had come from different places, for different reasons. The woman in front of us, Ms. Theresa, had driven up from Celebration, Florida with her husband in an RV. The folks behind us were local, like us, and were restaurant owners. Yet another young lady near us was about three weeks from delivering her first baby, but said only labor would have kept her away.

Like I said, Ree is just super neat. You have to be to attract so many kinds of fans.

Soon, Mrs. Drummond arrived via golf cart to begin the first book signing session.  The crowd politely clapped for her, she waved and headed inside. I hesitate to admit this, but I got a little teary when I saw her.   What the heck is that about?!?

Answer: She’s neat and we all feel like her friends.


A good hour or so later, we had snaked our way down the hill and around the building. It was finally my turn to meet my friend Ree.

Wait, I’m not ready!

What am I going to say?

I need to put on some lipstick.

I should coach my husband one more time on how to use the iPad camera.


Someone grabbed my books to hand to her, complete with a little yellow sticky note with the correct spelling of my name. Because we might not be to spell or even recall our names when we get there.

Another someone took my phone to ensure that I got a commemorative smart phone photo of my experience.

My husband moved into position with the iPad to take some back-up photos.

OK, deep breath. Relax. It’s Ree. It’ll be fine.

I must have looked bewildered because a final someone took my elbow and guided me to the table where my books were patiently waiting for to me get a grip and catch up.

Country Living Fair Tracy and Ree Chat

As I looked up, Ree said hello and I was instantly alright. I felt like I was talking to my best friend. We chatted a little, we took pictures, we laughed at my husband. She was very genuine, fun and cool.

Country Living Fair Ree Talking to Bill

No, not cool…neat.

Country Living Fair.1.Tracy and Ree

So after she told my husband how sweet he was and we talked a bit about football (yes, that’s what I do), she handed me my cookbooks, wished me luck with my blog and I was on my way. Country Living Fair.5.Tracy and Ree

The security guard handed me back my phone as I left…I couldn’t wait to see what had been captured on it!

And then it was all over.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, was my BFF…for about a minute and a half.  And I’m a happy girl with a new cookbook.


Country Living Fair Tracy and Ree

Are you a Pioneer Woman fan?  If so, be sure to keep an eye on the Nest or sign up for updates. My BFF Ree signed a cookbook for you, too! It’s actually the top one in the picture above. Stay tuned to learn how you can win it!





Country Living Fair (Atlanta) is This Weekend! (10/23-25)

If you’re in the Atlanta area, or can get here this weekend, don’t miss this awesome fair at Stone Mountain Park. The weather is going to be beautiful!

I’ll be there…you’ll find me in line to see Ree with my new Pioneer Woman Cookbook!

Country Living Fair - Atlanta

Country Living Fair - Atlanta - Ree