Friday, November 28, 2008

Why Do I Always Think This Year's Tree is the Prettiest Yet?

Well, this year's tree IS the most perfect. We're old school all the way around here. Nothing else seems to work with this old house.
While I was picking our tree, (I picked the third one he pulled out, I had told him all I wanted was a Balsam that was tall and skinny!) the man at the tree farm told me that one time he spent FOUR HOURS with a woman who couldn't make up her mind. I bet he wanted to kiss me! We always buy our tree at the tree farm that was across the road from the house where we lived when I was born, way back when. The old house is still there and I cannot believe that seven kids and two adults lived in it, it's so tiny!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It's strange how doing a mundane task, such as cleaning out the silverware drawer, when you reach in the back and you pull out a piece of your past, and remember....and suddenly a lump in your throat forms and an involuntary tear forms in your eye. You quickly brush away the first tear, but that is soon followed by many more and you give in, and let them fall.
While you work you cannot believe that you would be moved to tears by finding something that brings back such a flood of good-- and pleasant, memories. The tiny fork and spoon here brought back a treasure that had long been held in my heart and as I slipped these into a ziploc to give to Jamie and they clinked together, I recalled feeding my little ones, their eyes bright, the tiny chubby fist pounding on the high chair tray, mouth open wide in anticipation of their oatmeal, peaches, or whatever the little spoon had on it, while the happy innocent sounds of Sesame Street played on the old console television in the background. Did I know those would be the very best days of my life? Does a young mother have the perspective to know the treasure that is every single moment? Did I know I should enjoy wiping the baby's mouth and pulling her chubby little body up and out of the high chair seat then chasing her around our tiny two bedroom starter house?
Do you remember the first clinking sound when they got their first tiny teeth on the bottom, and the pride that a mom feels when she's taking care of her little one, the sweetest baby that there ever was in the whole world. Exhaustion and cares cannot take these little joys away from us mothers.
To someone new I pass these to, so that my little blue-eyed baby who grew up already (where did the time go?), might one day use these for her little ones. They are not fancy, we didn't have a lot of money, they could have been purchased at the grocery store or been a package topper at the baby shower; but they were loved, saved, and are ready for a new generation of babies, whose mommy and daddy love and adore and take care of of them with much love and a swelling of pride in their hearts.
Maybe passing these spoons on makes me realize that time has marched on, and my days of raising little ones, and yes, even the joys and the sadness that comes along with it, is going now to a new generation. I hope the treasure of tiny and seemingly modest gifts like this are appreciated, and it makes me glad that no matter how simple, I saved something to pass along and the memories attached carry love to new little ones that are yet to be.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Just a little list....I'm sure that if I sat here and contemplated even longer, I could come up with more. And really, as Americans, all we've been hearing for years is how terrible everything is, and we are faced right now with a culmination of problems that seem to be brewing into the "perfect storm", an economic and a moral one. Sometimes we are just not thankful enough and don't take the time to be reflective.
It seems to me that the problem at the heart of all our existing problems that are ungulfing us are things that have a root in a moral decision that someone made, took the wrong path, it led to more bad decisions, and things snowballed and we have a major meltdown.

But, when you get down to it, the simple things in life are what really matter anyway. Might America's problems cause her people to simplify? I do hope so. Would that be a bad thing? I don't think so. I see how so many have forgotten what led the founding fathers to our shores in the first place and there is much still to be thankful for. We did not get here by simply holding out our hands and asking the government to do things for us. Americans have always made things happen. In spite of all their problems....America transcends problems and solves them. And then we move on. May we conquer the latest problems, if God is willing.
And the biggest problem that was conquered is that someone, back when, made the right moral choice, had a burning conviction, that moved them to ACT; yes, the "yearning to be free"....and they paid the highest price with their like minded brethren, and we have the results hundreds of years later, still paying off.


God, above all.

Our freedoms, granted to us by Him and paid for by brave men before our independence and throughout the years, through good times and bad.

The domestic tranqility and relative safety that's been ours since September 11, 2001, chiefly because our soldiers are willing to go and fight. Say what you want about our President, it's the popular thing to do to bash and disrespect him, I'm sad to say, but you have to admit that his first responsibility of his office is to keep the American people safe, and that is something he has accomplished and I'm sure he's just holding on for January 21 when this heavy load of responsibility is off his shoulders and the load can be carried by someone else for a while.
Remember that feeling on September 11 of the panic, and the feeling of "what's next"? Remember how everyone was thankful that Bush made that speech on the pile of rubble to show the world that we won't back down? I don't think very many people now recall or reflect on how horribe that vulnerability was that we had while the war of terrorism was fought on OUR land. Many of us never had known that feeling before.
So Thankful For....

Our family, and that we'll all be together Thanksgiving week!

Our health, when you have that, you have it all.

So far, for the work our family has to do, no one in the family is laid off, so thankful for that.

We had a bountiful garden and a lot of it is in the freezer, the rain and weather was perfect for the garden and we actually had more than we could use!

Half a beef, half a hog, and Mark's deer, all in the freezer.

That Thad was safe last night in an accident on his way home from work.

A warm home and the best of neighbors, the country kind!
I wish you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING right now, I will most likely not be blogging for the next week or so while Jamie and Thad are with us. I hope to have many memories made this coming week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Sold for $15.50

Sold for $1.99

From the bulging picture file on my computer named "EBAY" come two pictures and two stories. Well, actually I have over 1400 pictures in that file, listed on the same day and sold just hours apart and show you that you just NEVER KNOW. I mean, a bunch of plastic from Tupperware the late eighties? Who knew?
The top picture is a set of Tupperware stencils from the late eighties, still in their original bag, never used. PRICE: .25 cents. My kids used to play with these, back when kids still picked up paper and pencils to play.

The lower picture is of a very old (or vintage as they say on eBay) kitchen prayer plate that your grandma could have had in her kitchen when her kids were growing up. It was made in Ohio and had a stamp on the back with the town's name. PRICE: $1.00

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Try not to drool at these crispy bits....
Oh, and the reason the picture isn't nicer is because I forgot to take the picture for you BEFORE we ate dinner! I am a bad, bad, blogger.

Okay, it seems fall has truly set in, they cut the corn, so our house seems naked and exposed, the days are cold and gray (does anybody but me think it seems like January weather already???) the grass is almost dead and everything outside looks like crap because there's not a foot of snow yet to cover up all the ugly and comfort foods are callin' my name.

So to remedy this recent malady, today I got out my trusty Vidalia food chopper (a gift I bought myself, I really love it, thanks!) and my favorite LeCrueset barn red oval casserole dish (Love that more! So thanks, Mary!) and I got to work on this ham casserole. Good food fixes everything, right? Yes and the best thing is that it makes my house smell GOOD.

We had ham Sunday so I needed to use up the leftovers. Mark and Lem are particularly fond of this dish, Luke will not eat it. Ever. But. Never fear, you can make this dish even if your little sister has never bought you a LeCrueset casserole dish in barn red. Any dish will do. But nothing cleans up quite like my dish. Just sayin'!

So did you want the recipe so that you, too can scrape the crusty goodness off the edge of the dish to nosh on while you dish the leftovers up to a Gladware container for your husband to take to work with him for lunch tomorrow? Okey dokey. Go forth and make sinfully delicious and cheesy casseroles! And don't worry about the resulting love handles. After all, we are goin' for the HEARTY look. Not the waifish look.


First...swear off your diet for this meal. It's over until tomorrow.

2. c. cooked cubed potatoes (this is where the chopper comes in so handy, did you see my perfect little diced potatoes in the picture?!)

2 c. cooked cubed ham

1 fifteen ounce can of whole kernel golden corn, drained

1/4 c. fresh parsley (optional)

1/4 c. butter (optional, I never put this in)

1 T. chopped onion or green onion or leeks (or none!)



1/3 c. all purpose flour

1-3/4 c. milk

1/8 t. black pepper (coarsely ground is best)

4 oz. shredded cheese, preferably yellow

A little cubed Velveeta (if you have it, if not then stomp your feet and growl because you truly need the's really good for the heart.)

Boil your potatoes until they are ALMOST done, you want them al dente', so to speak. Drain off the water and mix with your other ingredients. Then mix your flour with almost boiling milk, whisk until thickened, add to the potato mixture, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until done, then remove the foil and bake 15-20 minutes or more until you have the top browned to your liking.


And...don't blame me when you develop love handles.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Colorful Team...They're not just red and black!

Luke's basketball team is VERY colorful....White, Brown, and Green!
I snapped this picture of three of Luke's teammates because the only time I can catch these three standing still is when they're not playing basketball....when they're on the court, all you see is a blur!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sometimes we tend to think of craft shows as crocheted dishcloths and useless refrigerator magnets, but the one I went to this weekend had some pretty nifty stuff! Up-to-date and clever, the above is called a "sweater purse" and I thought it was a great idea. If I like carrying it is another matter altogether and I will experiment with it soon. (Sometimes I get excited about the concept of something like this, but when I try to actually use it in real life, I may be disappointed. But we'll try to keep positive about this one.)

First, the old sweater has to be wool. Then it's shrunk (washed and dried) and the arms cut off, it is then lined and made into a purse, the handles have cording in the centers to keep them from stretching. On the inside are pockets made from the sleeve, the handles come from the other sleeve. Clever, huh? The button closure is a loop and the button is chunky and substantial. I'll let you know how it is to use. I just thought you might like this idea for your old sweater, I won't be looking at old wool sweaters the same anymore!


Baked Potato Soup with melted cheddar and bacon bits and green onions on top. Tastes just like a creamy baked potato!

What a nice day! The weather really stinks but it's a nice day anyway. It's gray, cloudy, dreary and a cold rain is falling. It's the kind of cold rain that if the temperature dropped a couple degrees it would be SNOW. (How I wish it were! The guys were watching the UM game this afternoon while I made the soup and it's snowing big flakes there! I'm actually jealous!)

For the guys it was nice because it's opening day of deer season, and for me because it's the annual craft show at Flushing High. I met a friend and her daughter there and it was really nice to be able to be with a friend, get into the Christmas spirit looking at all the gifts and Christmas decorations. I bought a few things and as we walked out into the cold and windy rain I thought, baked potato soup sounded so good for today. So, I came home and got busy, and it really isn't that long from start to finish for this rich and hearty soup. I thought you might like to have the recipe to try, so here it is!


(Garnish with green onion or chives, and shredded cheese and real bacon bits if you have them, if you don't it's still darn good!)

4-6 large potatoes, peeled and diced

6-8 c. water

1-12 ounce can of evaporated milk

16 oz. heavy cream

1/2 c. sour cream

3 T. butter (optional, it tastes just as good without it!)

1/2 t. onion salt

1/2 t. garlic powder

salt to taste

coarsely ground or freshly ground pepper, to taste


1. Place the potatoes and water in a large saucepan. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat and simmer just until potatoes become tender...bring some out and test with a fork

2. Mix together the evaporated milk, heavy cream, sour cream, butter and onion salt, garlic powder and salt and pepper with the potatoes. Simmer stirring often to keep from scorching until the soup is creamy and not watery. If you can't wait for this, I have found that adding instant potato flakes to the soup can easily speed up the process.

3. When the soup is the right consistency, scoop out into another bowl and mash just SOME of the potatoes (unless you added the instant flakes) and return to mixture.

4. Serve with shredded cheddar on top, and a few real bacon bits, and if you like some chopped chives or green onion...enjoy! It's even better leftover tomorrow. Very filling and warms you right up!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Corn's All Gone!

It's all gone now, all our cozy corn has been eaten up by the big red combine and hauled away in the semi. Our little cocoon is now gone and we are wide open to the world once again!'s cold and the wind can come right at us now. We're ready for the snow (please remind me that I said that along about February?!).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To Honor a Veteran....

This handsome man my daughter married is a veteran...he served our country in the United States Army....and he served in Iraq when we began our action over there in 2003. I could write a lot, but this time I'll let Luke do the writing, the following is a themed paper he wrote for a patriotic writing contest for the VFW. He was asked to submit his composition for the next level up and he is now competing with other students to place in a national contest. I cut and pasted his paper for you to read here because I cannot think of a better way to observe veteran's day than to honor a veteran within our own family that we are all extremely proud of .

Thad, we love you and honor you and all those who are like you today. A young man fresh out of high school ready to go serve his country wherever he may be needed is reason enough to keep on believing in the goodness of the United States of America. Thank God for all the boys who become men over the years in the way Thad did. God Bless America and God Bless Our Military and Our Soldiers.

Why America’s Veterans Should Be Honored
Luke G.

Why should America’s veterans be honored? America’s veterans should be honored because they risked their lives to defend their country: the United States of America. In any war, of all that we have been in, every veteran in every war who died in it, or who survived to live out the rest of his or her lives should be honored the same: greatly.
One example of that is World War II. Many men died in the battles of Normandy and Iwo Jima. They died defending our country. Normandy and Iwo Jima were two of the worst battles in World War II. The men that fought these battles were all braver than most people in the world today! In the battle of Normandy, around 10,000 men died, when only around 5,000 men have died in the war in Iraq. But every man in both World War II and the war in Iraq should be honored with great respect.
Another example is my brother-in-law, Thad B*****. He served our country for six and a half years, but before he was honorably discharged, he was a sergeant in the 3rd Armored Calvary of the US Army; he was a Bradley tank mechanic. His regiment came in from the Persian Gulf and he made his way with his regiment towards Baghdad and Fallujah. As they rolled into Fallujah on a convoy with people yelling at them and trying to stop the convoy.
He worked non-stop for days at a time with no sleep at all, and when he did sleep, it was on top of his "88" tank recovery wrecker's hood. Sometimes he would realize that he had not removed his boots for days when it was 120 degrees. They had no source of water, so they had to find ways to get it in hostile territory and in very dangerous conditions, but they had to have it to be able to do their work. He only got to talk to his mother one time while he was in Iraq and had to hang up because they were getting shelled. He was so thin when he got home that his mother hardly recognized him.
He doesn't ever say much about his time in Iraq, and when someone tries to thank him for serving, he replies "I was just doin' my job."
That is why America's veterans should be honored because every soldier does their part and we will never know what all they went through physically and mentally, to defend our country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

:: January::2008::

One week ago today, I took the convertible out for a ride, TOP DOWN. Today, it's so cold and tonight will be in the low twenties...brrr! Get ready, winter's showing up!

Week One: Off to a Blazing Start

Week One: Obama shows his infinite wisdom in choosing as one of his "economic advisors" the governor of the state of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, an immigrant from Canada who came to us by way of California. She has been in office almost as long as George Bush has been. She has been a miserable failure at her job. There have been budget battles and standoffs year after year.
She presides over the state with the longest sustained recession and is highly partisan. As attorney general of our state, she went after businesses with a vengeance. She has done the same as governor. Businesses are fleeing our state at an alarming rate.
She has found ways one never dreamt about to invent new fees and hike existing ones. She has raised taxes on businesses and individuals. We have more one-way U-HAUL rentals than any other state. There are virtually hundreds of thousands of houses that are sitting empty, and not only because of foreclosures but because people had to walk away from them because they had to move to get work: jobs are few and far between. We were in the tank for years before the rest of the country felt even the hint of a downturn.
I can certainly see why Obama would ask her to be on his "team"....after all I am sure she'll have lots of ideas on how to muck things up on a national scale.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

She's her daddy's girl.....

She's always been her daddy's girl...
May 12
Madelyn's In The Grove Plantation
Athens, AL

There was hardly a dry eye in the place when Jamie and her dad danced at her reception. I have to admit that when I think about it, still, after all these months, there's a lump in my throat and a little sniff...more wedding photos in another post, I still have to blog about the biggest event I've ever worked on for our was special and I have some beautiful photos to share! For now, I was just thinking about Jamie and her daddy and how much they love each other. There have been a lot of weddings lately and now more than ever I have a special place in my heart for those daddy/daughter dances that take place at American wedding receptions. It's something to treasure for always.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday, Luke!

Getting ready to blow out the candles!

Halloween 2006

Luke's new braces December 2006

Luke and his cousin Katie just a little bit crazy...

Our own karate kid!

And he breaks the board! Red belt testing two years ago in November.

A New Guitar 2006

Beatin' up on the polar bear at Bronner's Summer 2007

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Rock....

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Spring 2008
He's my rock, my shield, someone who is strong when I might be weak, he loves and accepts me for who I am, unconditionally, even with all my faults . He married me when I was probably way too young, yet helped me grow up and be strong by trusting completely in me.

He is my children's father, the one who they look up to, and in their eyes he can do no wrong. They all want to please him, and I appreciate that. He is sentimental, and that is not weakness, as I once may have thought: sentimentality is a good and kind strength.

He is strong, he is hard-working, he may be too quiet sometimes but over the years I have come to appreciate what that means. I love his common sense, and I love that he came out so good when he went through so much in life that was not so good.

I love how he loves his animals and how he takes such good care of them. He is my rock and without him, there would be no foundation for me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My guy didn't win the primary or the general. So.....I'm just trying to focus on the fact that God is still in control. Our enemies, however, are very happy. That should tell us something. But, no. We're more interested in "making history". Yes, we will make history. And it will be hell when we finally realize what we've done. And it won't be our greatness that will make the history books this time. Those who look to the government to "fix" everything, rarely are satisfied, and at some point they'll look up from their low and groveling position to see that they could've and should have done better for themselves on their own. And for all those helpless types with their hands out, we all DO have the freedom to make for ourselves a better life. Right now, anyway.
Obama the Great eerily talks about a "civilian security force" and soon you may not have the freedoms you once had, your family and neighbors may have to report you for something as terrible as opposing the party in power, owning a firearm, or earning extra money that the government wants to get its hands on in order to hand out to others or keep for its fat and greedy spending habits. This "civilian security force" may be like the KGB in nature, and you'll have to take it, because that's the way Obama rolls. He said it, the masses ignored it, and when they're fully enmeshed in his policy, may regret their folly and the resulting loss of freedoms but it will be too late.
Pure hell is the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be defeated politically and economically into submission to an ideal that we know for a fact never has worked, never will work. We have elected a man who hates the military, hates any sort of authority. I can't even go to Canada without showing my birth certificate and he becomes President without releasing his to prove his country of birth? He couldn't get any kind of clearance even for low-level security because of his radical associations and he is now our President? (Even a low-rank air-force soldier has more clearance than Obama could ever obtain!)
Here is a man who will do more in a few years to disassemble our constitution and our democratic republic than any man before and how do we know this? Because he has said so , he will also knowingly take away and dismantle defense systems important to our safety and security, and we cheer him like a god?
I never thought I'd see the day that the America I knew would join Cuba, Venezuela and all other shining examples in Europe of communist/socialist ideals. God Help Us.
I am so sorry that Americans are so lazy, and so intellectually and morally bankrupt that they could actually elect someone who so fundamentally stands for everything our country has fought against for so many years, who takes in his lies and follows like the pied piper.
Reagan defeated communism in the Soviet Union, and we as Americans remember so little of history that we ask for socialism on a GREEN PLATTER? The next four to eight years will be like the Carter years times ten.
Obama, a far left wing nut job running as a centrist, spoon feeds the people lies with the help of his socialist followers in the media and the people obligingly swallow them. I am convinced that from this day forward, nothing but rosy forecasts will follow his inauguration day. Even if things aren't rosy, the Kool-Aid drinkers in the mainstream media will be only too happy to be spoon-fed what to report and how to report it in glowing terms. Those who do not follow the die that has been cast will be put out of business. Freedom of speech will be a thing of the past. He and his cronies on the left in Congress will try a “Fairness Doctrine”!
The decsendance into putrefaction has begun, and we will reap the pungent rewards of this into our grandchildren's generation. There is no question that the election of this socialist is a mistake, the magnitude of which is enormous. Will it ever be fixable, or will we have cast ourselves into the pit of miserable mediocrity forever? Once a nation takes the plunge over the cliff into "economic fairness" is there anything but pain beyond it?
Will The One be happy only when he has dropped each and every one of us into the very same boiling pot of poison policy?
Everyone will have a goal set for them by Obama, and that goal will be for all of us to become middle class. He will not be happy until we are all the same and his radical left wing nuts in Congress will only be too happy to help him with this goal. I am sorry for our nation, and even sorrier that we have a generation of people too lazy or too ignorant to not realize that to ignore history is to repeat it.
Too bad that they will be taking all of us, our children and their children along for the fall. The English say "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN"! I say “GOD, PLEASE SAVE AMERICA and preserve her and honor the sacrifice and wisdom of our forefathers. And give our children the wisdom to look backward in order to know how to go forward once this long siege is over!”
And....remember that it's my blog, and I'll post what I want to. You're welcome to comment, and you're welcome to start your own blog. Let's talk freely while we're able. Sadly, it may not last for long.

The old U.S.S.R. it coming back.... to U.S.?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why do I like living in the COUNTRY?

One reason: Fall, all golden in its glory, mellow and soft, the way it smells, even the sound of fall is beautiful: quieter, more blue. Like the earth is saying to us, "It's time for me to rest, put the blanket over me and let me be". The sleepiness of the haze in the morning is awakened by the sun and slowly melts away to reveal scenes like these.
I love the way the excitement grows especially as farmers run back and forth: the combine, the grain truck, the plow, the planter, all make their way up and down the road, tracks of mud follow each. The farmer's wife runs her men the meal, or follows them to the next field or to get the next piece of equipment they'll need for the next field they're going to work.
The fields are ripe and ready to harvest, and a feeling of well-being, of being blessed by God linger in the air. We can feel it: the change in the air tells us that winter surely is almost here, but yet we can savor one more day of warm weather like a blessing unexpected.
Another reason is a scene like the one above that greets me each day. I do believe I will be melancholy the day they turn into this field with the cornhead on the big red combine to cut this beautiful crop. But it's all something to savor, especially the harvest time. I can remember this winter as the cold winds and snow blow across this same field that lies behind us that next spring will bring another season of excitement as the seed is once again laid in this bounty-producing ground!
No matter what happens tomorrow, the seasons are something God has given us all to savor, to enjoy and to mark our years this way.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ma and Pa Kettle

It was GREEN ACRES all the way....
Halloween 2008
Thanks, Al + Lisa for the fun
Halloween Party!
+ Thanks to Robyn for help with the idea when I
needed it!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How'd Jack-o-Lanterns get their name?

From FUN

Jack O'Lanterns have been part of Halloween for hundreds of years in both the U.S. and Great Britain, where our familiar 'pumpkin lanterns' are often made from large turnips. The name 'Jack O'Lantern' is not nearly as old as Halloween and originally had nothing to do with the holiday. 'Jack O'Lantern' was a 17th century term for a night watchman, so called because he carried a lantern on his rounds. The term was also applied to 'will-o'-the-wisps,' the strange lights sometimes seen in swamps and graveyards at night, based on the belief that the lights seen were the lanterns carried by spectral watchmen making their ghostly rounds. With such a spooky history, it's not surprising that Jack O'Lanterns became a fixture, and emblem, of Halloween.