Monday, November 29, 2010

Miscellany Monday

I decided on Thanksgiving this year that I never fully appreciated all the times that I  put my feet under my Mom's or MIL's table during the holidays.  I now know firsthand what work goes into the preparation for such a meal and it starts at least a week beforehand.  So, ladies, if you've never yet hosted Thanksgiving at your house and done most or all of the cooking, you'd better enjoy. Sooner or later the torch will likely be passed on to you.
Yours truly carving the turkey ~ not exactly a fun job
Our Thanksgiving table
I was most concerned about my dressing (it was only the 3rd time I've ever made it in my life) but it seemed to be a hit. Hubby said to remember exactly what I did because it was just right. So, I took that as a supreme compliment because his Momma made the best dressing I've ever eaten.

But, more importantly than good food is giving thanks for God's bountiful blessings and celebrating family. 

Does this look like he might have been "caught in the act?" You bet it does!  While I wasn't looking, Clancy took this opportunity to find the step stool, climb up on it and check out all that was taking place on the kitchen island.  It was the bag of marshmallows that  caught his eye  and needless to say, he got a little cupful and he was happy. This was Thanksgiving morning and he was CiCi's helper in the kitchen. ~smile~


Speaking of helper, I decided that I needed to plant a few more pansies this week and Clancy helped me with that as well.  Really, all he was interested in doing was digging in the dirt. Just a typical little boy, the more dirt he can get into, the better he likes it.  His wagon served as a great way for us to transport the pansies to the back flower beds. Gotta love little red wagons!

I don't know how many of you are married to deer hunters or even know much about it but my Hubby has been hunting for 53 years and has loved every minute of it.  He has killed somewhere between 150 and 200 deer during that time, but he got the big ONE on Thanksgiving morning.  Yes, below
 you are looking at a 10 point, 218 pound buck. The biggest of his hunting career.  Ask me if he was a "happy hunter" and my answer would be YES!!! See that smile on his face.

I've racked my brain trying to remember whose blog I found this neat website off of, but the ole brain has failed me and I just cannot remember.  And, it was no more than 3 days ago.  But, it is the neatest and for all your creative folks out there, you will love it.  I won't try to explain it, just go and see for yourself.  Click here and see how you can make word clouds.   Soooooooooooo cool!     

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of my Mom's untimely death. If you have not read my blog entry from Saturday (the one prior to this one), I invite you to read it as I shared from my heart remembering that day in 2008.

As always we all love our Carissa and Miscellany Monday. If you want to read more randomness, just click here and enjoy the fun.  And, blessings to each of you as we begin preparation for this Christmas season.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not Just Another Day

Monday will mark the 2nd anniversary of my Mom's untimely death..........

 It was Saturday, November 29, 2008.  The days prior to this day had been extremely busy for me.  Our daughter had given birth to our first Grandchild, a little boy, on Oct. 2nd in Oklahoma.  She would be returning to her teaching position on December 1st and I had told her that I would come and keep the baby for two weeks so that he would not have to go to the sitter until after the Christmas holidays.  Her MIL was going to come and stay the remaining days. We had had the plan in motion for several weeks and I laid out a plan to get everything done and in order for Christmas before I left.  Once I returned, I would have less than a week before Christmas and I wanted my "ducks in a row" before I left.

That Saturday found me putting the finishing touches on everything, marking "to dos" off of my list and packing my vehicle.  At the close of the day I felt very good about things and was looking forward to the special time I would have my new Grandson the next two weeks.  

I went over to my Dad and Mom's to enjoy a cup of coffee and cake that afternoon and to tell them good bye.  For almost as long as I can remember  my parents world stopped at around 1:30 everyday and they sat, drank coffee and ate something sweet.  I would often go over and join them and it was such a special time.  I got ready to leave and hugged my Dad  good-bye and told them that I would be checking in  as I drove to Oklahoma (about an 8 hour drive) the next day. When I got in my vehicle to leave their house it occurred to me that I had not hugged my Mom. I got out of my vehicle and went back and gave her a big hug.  Now, I was ready.

About the time our Grandson was born my Mom and Dad were traveling to see my younger brother.  They were in a hotel and my Mom got up to use the bathroom in the night and got tangled up in the bathmat on the floor, fell and hit  the commode and broke her shoulder (we now wonder if that's what really happened).  She had really suffered with it but was going to get out of the sling and get to begin using it the next week after I left.  She was looking forward to regaining use of her arm and shoulder.  During the time that Mom could not use her arm or shoulder, my Dad had gotten even better with his domestic skills.  He pretty much did everything there was to do around the house during that time.

By night on that Saturday, I was a tired puppy and decided to go to bed a little earlier than usual.  I was going to get up early to begin my travels and wanted to make sure I was "rested and ready" for the task ahead.  I was probably in the bed around 9:00 and had just dozed off when our phone rang at 9:30.  Of course, I looked at the Caller ID and saw that it was my parents phone number and thought it a bit unusual that they would be calling me at that time of night.

When I heard my Dad's voice my heart went to jelly. His words will forever ring in my ears, "Lea, your Mother has had a stroke and I am waiting on the ambulance to arrive."  ~~~Do what?  My Mom has had a stroke!  Oh, no God, not my Mom.  This cannot be!!  This is a bad dream. My Mom was fine when I left her this afternoon~~~  Dad went on to inform me that he thought it was a very serious one and why didn't I just head straight to the hospital and he would ride with Mom in the ambulance.  I do not even recall getting dressed or my husband and I driving to the hospital.  But, I so vividly recall seeing my precious Mother there in the ER and her now twisted face and her inability to utter any word outside of a mumble.  And, seeing the face of my Dad, her soul mate for the past 58 years.  These impressions will be forever etched in my memory.

The minutes turned to hours and the fog grew heavier and heavier in our souls.  The Drs. words were not encouraging, she had suffered a massive stroke and there was little hope of any recovery.  My two brothers, who both lived many miles away, were called and told the news.  One of them was able to make it in by Monday morning around 11:00AM.  Just as he arrived my Dad's cell phone rang. It was the nurse from ICU calling to tell him that Mom's Dr. wished to talk to him and could he please come to the hospital.  We arrived within a few short minutes and the three of us stood as the Dr. told us that Mom no longer had any brain activity and what were our wishes.  There was little discussion because we all knew that Mom would never want to linger in such a condition and so it was decided that all life support would be removed and she would be allowed to go to her eternal home.  The Dr. told us that once he removed everything, she would let us come and be with her in her final moments.  

Perhaps this sounds like a morbid act, but let me assure you that I would not trade that time at my Mother's bedside for anything in this world.  My baby brother and I stood on each side of our Dad and the three of us watched as our Mom drew her last breath and walked through Heaven's gates into the arms of Jesus.  Can I just tell you what a moment that was!!!  

As we stood there in the moments afterwards my brother said, "who is going to pray for me everyday now?"  Could there be any greater question to be asked by a child at a time such as this.  I can only hope for such. We always knew that everyday of our lives our Mom was interceding on our behalf and that was never to be again.  

Of course, there was no trip to Oklahoma to keep my Grandson, but instead, there was a visitation and burial to attend.  This was not in the plans, it was so unexpected. But, God being God, knew all the time that I was getting everything done ahead of time for Christmas, that this would be a good thing.  He knew I could not possibly have done that in the grieving state I was in.  And, God being God, knew that my Dad would be needing his domestic skills more than ever in the months following my Mom's death.  I stand in awe of our God and how His timing is always perfect. 

No, November 29, 2008, was not just another day.  It was a day my life was forever changed. I no longer have a Mom here on this earth and there's not a day that goes by that I do not miss her.  Yes, I got through it but I will never get over it.  She was a precious lady that left me with lots of cherished memories and I know she will be waiting on me when I walk through heaven's gates.  Praise be to Him!
Mom about 6 months prior to her death
The last picture taken of Mom and me about two months before her death

Mom's  casket covered with a pall cloth

Me and my brothers with our Dad at Mom's visitation

My Mom's final resting place on this earth
On this the 2nd anniversary of my Mom's death I  will be focusing on the life she lived and the lives she impacted in her 78 years.  I'm sure she was met with the words, "well done thy good and faithful servant."  Could we ask for more?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A B C's of Thanks

Finding Joy | The ABC's of Thanks

 Many thanks to Rachel at Finding Joy for hosting the ABC's of Thanks.

A - apples, they add such brilliance to a bowl of fruit
B - blogging, it has connected me with some of the most awesome folks on planet earth
C - cameras, one is strapped to me at all times, never know when a moment is going to be a "  photo moment"   and one must stay ready
D - Dad, mine, one of the greatest for sure 
E -energy to go and do everyday
F - family, where would I be without them, love, love them
G - green grass that colors our yard and makes everything seem so alive
H - heaven, knowing it is my eternal home gives me comfort
I -  ink for my computer printer. I use my printer all the time and so enjoy being creative on the computer and being able to produce it in living color
J - Jesus, God's son, born that I might have life eternal
K- Kindle, it's just the greatest little tech gadget, making reading so much fun and there's no stacks of books laying around when you have one of them
L - lemons, their bright happy yellow color makes me smile
M - my Mom, so thankful for her precious memory
N - nuts, I cannot imagine making a lot of recipes without them
O - Oklahoma, where our first Grandchild was born
P - prayer, the key to life for a christian
Q - quiet, just nothing like it at times
R - rest, just nothing like it either at times
S - smiles, they cost nothing and can make someone's day when we share one with them
T - Tommy, we shared almost 40 years of marriage and while we've had our  " ups and downs"   (hasn't everyone) we can not imagine life without one another
U- umbrella, a dandy item on a rainy day in Louisiana
V - victory in Jesus, nothing greater
W - water, nothing quenches the thirst like water
X - xtra special people in my life
Y - young ones that add that extra joy and happiness to our lives
Z -zippers that help to keep our clothes on

Blessings abundant to each of you as you celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for stopping by, I love sharing in the richness of your lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


 I have probably made dressing 3 times in my life, but this year, it is up to me to make it.  So, I have sought the advise of many great cooks, and Googled recipes and hints . Saturday morning I made my dressing and it is now in the freezer awaiting Thursday.  I feel very good about it and am hopeful that my family will think it is very good. ~smile~  I will let you know how it goes.


What is this you ask? Well, this is what has to be done to my hair after it has been washed and dried before this tool can be used.
My hair is so thick and course that I have to flat iron small sections at a time and I find clipping it into sections to start with it the easiest way for me.  When my Hubby first saw me doing this (several years ago) he thought it was some kind of new hair style and was quite worried.  Can I just tell you that I could part with a lot of things before I could my Chi Flat Iron.  Love, love it!


These two precious fellas cause us to have signs such as this on our front and back door.  It only took having one package left at
the door to cause me to have to make this sign.  The package was strewn all over the front yard.  You would really think that that folks would know better than to leave packages laying right at the door when they see two nosey dogs running around in the yard.  Might I add that everyone who comes to our doors gets the biggest chuckle out of my signs. ~laugh~

Taken Saturday evening during the performance
Hubby and I and another couple went to our local Little Theater last evening to see an Elvis impersonator perform.  I can't say that he was that great of an impersonator, but he did sing very well and he was as cute as a button.  ~chuckle~ It did bring back a lot of memories of the two times that I actually did see Elvis in concert, scarf throwing and all. ~smile~

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week I want  you to know what a privilege it has been to connect with you through blogging.  I never dreamed there were so many wonderful folks out there in "blogland."  I feel a real kinship with many of you and appreciate your words of encouragement and inspiration.  I have been blessed!

For more Miscellany Monday, click here and visit Carissa and you'll find a bunch of MM to read. Carissa is "the hostess with the mostess."  We love our Carissa and Miscellany Monday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome to My Kitchen

Good Morning Ladies!  Welcome to my kitchen! I have the island decorated for Thanksgiving and thought I'd give you a "peep" at the rest of my kitchen.  And, since many of you have asked about my "famous" fudge recipe, hang around and I'm going to share that with you too.
The kitchen island
Our kitchen table, the French Doors lead out to our covered patio
The stove area where it all happens ~smile~
A Baker's Rack that holds a part of my rooster collection and Portmeiron Pomona Dishes
Okay, now that you have had a "peep" I think you would agree that my kitchen is a "happy place."  I have quite a large collection of roosters that I so enjoy.  I think roosters have such personality and while I no longer collect them, I use to enjoy seeing how many different ones I could find.  At this time of year I do spend more than my usual amount of time in the kitchen and one of the reasons is because I'm making fudge in preparation for gift giving at Christmas.  I've referred to my fudge in various posts and after Wednesday's post I had several ask if I would share my recipe.  Well, certainly I will and not only will I share the recipe, I'll give you some "pointers" to go along with it.  I've learned a few "tricks of the trade" in the 20+ years that I've been making it.  Okay, here we go..........
The ingredients you will need
4 1/2 cups of sugar (I only use 4)
1 stick of butter
1 can of evaporated milk
Dash of salt
Jar of regular size marshmallow cream (I use Kraft Jet-Puffed and I place it in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it even more)
18 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer walnuts)
Spray the bottom of a heavy aluminum pan with Pam. Put butter, sugar, salt and milk in the pan.  Turn heat on pretty high to bring mixture to a rolling boil (stirring continuously to prevent scorching or sticking). Once it reaches a boil turn to medium heat and cook for EXACTLY 6 1/2 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow cream, chocolate chips and nuts. You need to work fast so that the fudge will stay smooth and creamy and not begin to harden before you get it into your pan(s).  Pour into desired pan(s) that have been sprayed with Pam. You can also drop it out by spoonfuls on to waxed paper if you so desire. But, let me tell you, you have to work fast, fast to get this done before the fudge begins to harden.  You definitely need 2 people to do this.
Now, a few more "tidbits" for you......
One recipe will fill a regular size bundt pan and it makes a nice presentation for a party or gathering.
One recipe will make 3 loaf pans about 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick.
And, I could go on and on about pans because I've used about every shape, size and description over the years.  The fun part is the removal from these pans. ~smile~  Regardless of the pan you use, let the fudge cool to room temp and then place it in the refrigerator (I usually refrigerate it overnight) before trying to remove it from the pan.  Cold fudge removes far easier than room temp fudge.  If you happen to use some of the cute foil designed pans, you really won't have any trouble getting the fudge out.  You will likely wrinkle the pan pretty good removing the fudge, and will not be able to use it again, but that's okay. These pans are cheap! Now, if you use a metal pan it can be a bit trickier. I have a granite top on my island, so I put down a piece of wax paper and turn the pan upside down on the wax paper and then I slam (for lack of a better word) the pan down against the granite and sometimes it takes 3,4 or 5 slams (depending on the size of the pan) for the fudge to pop out.  But, it will and you will be so proud when it does. ~smile~ I then wrap some Saran wrap around it and place it in a ziploc bag and ready it for the freezer or you can ready it to take someplace or better still, enjoy it yourself.
I used some of the half size bundt pans for these and here they are wrapped for giving last year.  
Well, I think this was a tad too long so I hope I didn't wear you out, forgive me if I did.  If I can answer any questions or help you, shoot me an email and I'll do what I can to answer your question.  Meanwhile, stop by for some other good "Company Girl" talk by clicking on the button above. Our dear Rachel hosts us each and every week and we have so much fun visiting around.  Blessings!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hodgepodge Wednesday

 1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?  Well, not so sure, guess this sounds like a feeble answer, but any day where the temperature is just perfect and the sun is shinning is "amazing weather" to me.
 2. What is a sound or noise you love? For many years I have had a little box fan in our bedroom and I turn it on every night before going to bed and the hum of that fan just send me into the best sleep. My Hubby thinks it's the craziest thing but he does "go along" and likely he would miss it if we ever didn't have it. My box fan travels with me too. ~giggle~
 3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish? Now, you can't be from Louisiana and not like seafood. I guess Shrimp would be my favorite. There's just so many wonderful seafood dishes made here in La. and I pretty much enjoy them all.  

4. What part of your day requires the most patience? Since our nest emptied, I don't think there's any part of my day that requires that much patience.  Evenings use to require a lot when the kids were home, but now that it's just Poppa and me.  Well, can I just say, it's wonderful!! ~smile~ Now, before you go thinking something you shouldn't....our years of a "full nest" were nothing less than wonderful. I wouldn't trade those years for anything, and as many tears as I shed when the nest emptied, there really is "life after kids."

5. What's your favorite shade of blue? I call it Williamsburg blue, but it's the shade of blue here on my blog design.  Absolutely love it!!

6. Do people underestimate you? There might have been a time in my life when they did, but not any more.  I like to think of myself as a "Steel Magnolia."  Not that I have lived through near the stresses as so many others, but I think I've handled the stressful situations that have come my way "head on." Thank goodness for God's grace and provision during those times.
7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach? Several months ago I had to have a Swallowing Study/Test done. For the test to be done, I had to swallow a thin tube. I can usually do about anything if I make my mind up but I just wasn't quite sure about this.  I think it was more just the thought of it than actually doing it.  I did have a lot of butterflies, but I handled it like I had done it a million times.  Nothing to it, so I guess I wasted those butterflies. ~smile~
8. Well, since Joyce threatened us with a wooden spoon (ouch!) I guess I'd better share a random thought.........over the past month I have made 35# of fudge to give away during the holidays.  I have been doing this for about 20 years and I look forward to making it and packaging it for giving each year. I pour it in various pans and molds and this year used the mini springform pans for some of it. I'm always on the lookout for a new mold or pan.  I have about 10 more pounds to make this year and then I'll be finished.  It freezes beautifully and I always start making it in Oct.  It's the creamiest, most nut filled chocolate fudge you ever did taste. ~smile~
Thanks Joyce, we're so glad you are hosting us on Wednesdays.  We know it takes a lot of "brain power" to come up with these questions week in and week out, so hat's off to you!  Click here for more Hodgepodge Wednesday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MIscellany Monday

I decided on my way to church yesterday morning that I wanted a cup of coffee from McDonald's (I happen to think they have great coffee). I pulled up to the drive 
thru and told the lady I wanted a regular coffee with two creams and then I pulled up to the window to pay. When she took my money she said, "next time you need to be sure you order a Senior coffee."  Oh, my goodness, talk about humbling! She just pretty much told me that I look over 50 years old and you know what, I'm sure she's right! ~chuckle~ But, does she know how good it would have made me feel if I had pulled up to the window and ordered a Senior Coffee and then when I went to pay her she had said, "well, Mame, you certainly do not look like you qualify for a Senior Coffee."  But, you can bet your bottom dollar that the next time I order a McDonald's coffee, it will be a Senior Coffee.

Do men ever grow up?  I mean really!!  We're out taking our family Christmas picture last Sunday when the above incident took place.  Hubby just decides right in the middle of our having our picture taken that he will start acting silly.  Good grief! Now, do understand that we were sitting right at the edge of the bushes while our picture was being taken.  Thank goodness, no one was present but our children and grandchildren and our daughter was taking the picture and just could not resist snapping this.  That's okay, sometime I will catch her when she is least expecting it.  Payback will come!!

We enjoyed the most gorgeous day this past Friday and I took advantage of being outside and planting pansies.  I usually fill about 10 pots in various locations and we enjoy them until the spring.  These little fellas are amazingly hearty.  They can be covered in ice and snow and will come out smiling.  I do love me some pansies! ~wink~

If you did not read my entry about these little quick and easy munchies, then by all means click here and find out how to make them. 
I began sponsoring a child through World Vision this past summer and I am so impressed with this organization.  They definitely "dot their i's and cross their t's."  They have everything so perfectly lined out to make one's sponsorship such a privilege. I'm amazed at what a mere $35 a month will do for a child. My child is a 12 year old girl in Zimbabwe.  Should you ever feel led to participate in a ministry such as this, I highly recommend World Vision.

Can I just tell you how much I love my Nikon Coolpix S8000.  I decided a couple of months ago that I needed a purse-size camera so that I would never be without one. My Nikon Coolpix P90 is just too big to carry all the time and I found I was missing a lot of picture taking by not having a camera with me at all times. The S8000 has the largest zoom (10X) of any of the tiny cameras at this time and more often than not, 10X is all I need.  I wouldn't give up my big camera but I sure do like my little one.

I assume I'm not the only one having issues with Blogger emailing my comments to me.  It just quit about 3 days ago and when I checked on the internet, it seems that Blogger is working to get it fixed.  That's just a nice convenience that I really enjoy and we all know how nice it is to get comments and having them sent straight on to you via email is just "the icing on the cake."
Stomach Virus BE GONE!!!! My sweet daughter in law called me very early this morning to tell me that our son had the stomach virus.  Little Princess had it last week and we thought that everyone else had escaped, but no such luck!  Since our son is Diabetic it's a bit more concerning than for the average person.  DIL had been up most of the night and needed some help this morning with the Princess so I left about 5:50AM and picked the Princess up and she will be in my care today.  A sitter normally comes to their house to keep her but not today.  Now, hopefully DIL can escape this terrible bug!

Thanks Carissa for hosting Miscellany Monday. I know you are a busy person and could so choose not to host us each week, but we really do appreciate your time and effort.

A most happy and blessed week is wished to each of you!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quick and Easy

I could not resist sharing this quick and easy candy with you. One of my girlfriends told me about the other day and I just had to try it.
All you will need to make this is:

Rolo Pretzel Candy
 Grid Shaped or Holiday Shaped Pretzels
A bag of Rolos
Pecan Halves

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and unwrap the Rolos (this is the hardest part). One bag of Rolos will make about 50 pieces of the candy.

Place the pretzels on the covered cookie sheet and then place a Rolo on top of each pretzel.

Place in 325 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes so the 
Rolos will melt.  They will look something like this when
you take them out of the oven. They should be soft, not runny!

Have your pecan halves ready and then place one on top of
each pretzel and press it into the Rolo.

Let them cool to the touch and enjoy!
Wa-La you've just made yourself some of the best tasting
candy you ever put your chompers into.  I mean can it 
get any better than sweet, salty, chocolate, caramel and crunchy!

These would make great little munchies to put in Christmas tins 
and give as gifts.  Now, aren't you glad I took the time to share
this quick and easy goodie with you?  I thought so!