Friday, February 27, 2015

A birthday for my Sister/Cousin...

You've heard me speak of my sister/cousin.  She's actually a cousin, but since we have been only children and surrounded by friends and relatives with actual biological sisters, we've adopted the idea of saying we are sisters.  Sisters of the heart, at least. May every one of my cousins know that I love them all. Cousins are by nature just wonderful because we have shared some wonderful people, such as grandparents, aunts... and other cousins...  It's a part of our past that is really magical. It's a part of our past that reminds us of family, get-togethers..  great hot rolls, magical baked beans, Katie Salad... Ma's dried apple pies...  Just good things to treasure in our hearts.

Well, this week was my Sister/Cousin's birthday.  She is always my go to wonderful friend. Through so many wonderful times, she's right there helping me celebrate with all my heart. And through some very sad and rough patches... same exact thing. She is there for me to rely on. I treasure her help and her kind spirit. A cup of coffee at my mom's kitchen table... and some deep heart to heart conversation. It's just a treasure beyond words. We've been friends together in sunshine and in shade, as Mary Engelbreit says. I won't go into any of the sunshine OR the shade today, but she will read this, and SHE WILL KNOW!!!

I wrapped Mom's gifts in Lavendar with white ribbon and mine with white with lavendar ribbon.  Now, if you know me, you realize that it's rare to have ANY ribbon whatsoever.  That's because I save (hoard) ribbons and never find them when I need them.  I have at least three tins/totes full of ribbons and paraphernalia to wrap with..  but they are stashed...  

We had cherry pie and coffee.  Not exactly a birthday cake, but I knew her beautiful daughters, husband, and granddaughters would be having cake for her real birthday celebration. And who can't do a piece of cherry pie in the coldest days of February? Definitely a hit with Mama because cherry is her new favorite.

I used my dinnerware from Mary and Martha, a sweet company filled with spirit-filled goodies. These I chose as a gift from Mom a couple birthdays ago. There is a scripture verse along the edge of each plate and in the bottom of the cups. I gave myself Gratitude...  I am very, very grateful for all my blessings. I don't act it a good deal of the time, to my utter shame. But I am.

I gave Mama Wonder. She introduced me, you see, to the wonder of imagination, joy, play, and the outdoors. Playing dress up, school, and who knows what. She did the very same for my son as she baby sat his whole young life. We had more picnics out in the yard with our cats moping around close by. Almost all cats here have been named Sally... I love that name for a cat.

This pie bird is fairly old, handmade. I bought this one and one for my grandmother when I was very young in Arrow Rock, a touristy type town near here that boasts a summer theater and many shops filled with hand made treasures. I don't bake with it in the pie, although I could.  I usuallly just plump it down in the middle for decoration...  plus that way there is a cool bite of cherry pie goodness wedged inside that bird for whoever does the dishes...  Mmmmmm..

New to me this year, my Temptations Shamrock Romance bowl.  I love it! Happy St. Patrick's Day to me from me. I gave my cousin the table setting, Blessing.  She is a blessing indeed to so many people. She helps me and my mom so much. We look forward to her visits so much.

I am indeed grateful to have such wonderful friends and family in my life. This day was one to honor someone who has blessed my life forever. Perfume on cats, coffee in playhouse, wallpaper in shower, magical trips to see Riverboats, painted barns, a little shop called Shady Peanut Lane, turning off that mournful music (Sorry, Enya!), panic filled trips behind an ambulance, holding hands as the auctioneer began a sale, snow falling gently on a red-lit front Excello porch with family tucked inside around Grandad's Christmas tree, and much, much more.  Happy Birthday, Dear One.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I woke up in a total panic this morning at 6:30. For some reason, the skies looked so bright, and I had been sleeping in total konkland...  I thought 6:30 was much, much later than it is.  I do a little snooze thing with my son because I can.  I'm retired.  I love the snooze alarm myself, so I just accompany my own pattern of snooze alarm with a little phone call up to his quadrant of the world to help him get up.  Well, today, I was practically crawling through the phone. He casually suggested he was going back to bed!  He gets up FOR REAL at 7:10...  I somehow got it all confused. I finally saw the "light" and realized I had just momentarily lost my bearings. "Well, what's wrong with me?" I asked him. His remark was classic. "Dunno, Mom."  haha..  No, that child has no idea what's wrong with his mother...  just that something is...  and always has been, I'm afraid.

Today is sunshiney and warmer, but winter hasn't decided to leave us alone.  My little Mama has a painful case of sciatica that foretells snow, for sure.  Plus the Weather Channel hints at snowy conditions for at least one week or more.  I understand we're switching to Daylight Savings time in a little over a week.  Not my favorite season.  I prefer God's Time, as my ancestors called it.  I just do.  I could be Amish?  Naw...  I love my conveniences, warmth, and computer too much to be a happy Amish.  Plus I'm too sedentary.

Well, lucky me.  My son is coming for supper tonight, so it's time I figured out the menu, set the table, and got a little bit of it ready.

I didn't watch the Oscars, but I did catch some of the more mentioned clips on You Tube.  I loved Lady Gaga's rendition of The Sount of Music.  I thought Joan Rivers should have been in the Memoriam. I thought the Memoriam was totally frustrating. By the time I could see the picture of the beloved, zip...  on to the next.  I think the actors should shut up about political/social agendas. Who really wants to hear those? The gift baskets? I'd rather not know how much they are worth because in all honesty, that kind of makes me ticked.  And...  I think it's way more fun if more of us in the public have seen the movies they are talking about and voting on. I felt sorry for the widow of The American Sniper, who had to jet back to the trial about her murdered husband in the next flight... and it didn't even win. I think Glen Campbell's song is too darn sad.  Just too darn sad to win or be listened to, although Tim McGraw did a great job. Oprah doesn't act at all like she did all the years she needed my attention to keep her sponsors happy. I didn't like that one lady's boobs hanging out either, Mom. And... I don't know why Lady Gaga would have chosen those red, welders gloves...  and finally,  I hate to admit it, but my beloved Faith Hill didn't look as pretty as usual.

There.  Enough of my personal rant.  Hope I didn't offend anyone. I'm not meaning to, but today is just one of those days when I woke up knowing what I liked and didn't like...  just not what time it truly was.  Ha ha..

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough ..... decorate...

It was a rugged night with tons of new snow and sleet, freezing rain..  Lots of little "fires" burning on the home front that luckily have been "squelched" without any further trips to the doc. I have located a lovely little quilt to sleep under that really makes the nights on the day bed just that much more yummy. And tonight follows a day of melting snow that cascades off my roof in huge avalanches braided with hanging icicles.  Let me just say I wouldn't want to be an UPS man at my house right now.

I finally, after days of procrastination, put out a few items to decorate for one of my favorite little holidays, St. Patrick's Day. I think historically I have it all wrong because I always think of Ireland as the land of the Celts and mystic fairies, leprechauns, shillelaghs, and shenanigans. But St. Patrick is purported to have driven the "Snakes" out of Ireland, and in later years I've learned the snakes weren't exactly reptilian.  I don't know for sure.  I just love Ireland and have always felt a bond for it. My ancestors arrived here in 1604, and I'm fairly certain I'd love to live in a little cottage by the sea (if it has WiFi, of course.)

Fixing a little roast tomorrow to cozy up lunch with my son, Mama, and whoever the North wind blows in. I'm loving the cool green hues slowly replacing my vibrant reds I had everywhere for Valentine's Day.

Enjoy any warmth you can find.  My particular poison tonight is a wee cup of  peppermint tea laced with raw Colorado honey. I haven't brewed it yet, but I hear it calling my name pretty darn loud!

My sister/cousin made the pretty greenwork sampler and the felt shamrock, and a dear friend gave me the Celtic cross.  Our "family" of almost son and his dear Irish bride gave me the ornaments in the pretty shamrock box.  I became friends with the leprechaun from Mom's garden, and he informed me he'd love to join my party if I'd let him stay inside during the winter's snows.

Somewhere, and I'd love to know where, I have a box of tiny leprechauns I collected my whole entire life before moving in with Mom. I'm not sure how to ever find them because all the things at home have been shifted, stashed, and generally... misplaced.  I don't see how my son has managed to stand that house with all its frippery and frou frou.  He does the best he can, but since he's about six foot, five, he doesn't look the type for miniature leprechauns.

Are you all interested in Pinterest?  I love to look, but I've actually never quite figured out how to pin something of mine, and I don't really ever make anything I see on there.  My boards are fun to look at, but in a way, Pinterest makes me feel kind of ... inadequate. Honestly, right now I can't get the pin off my mind that takes marbles and shapes cupcake wrappers in the shape of shamrocks, dyes the batter green... dips an oreo and makes a pot of gold...  I am lucky to have a green salad any more. Although I used to do a lot of Irish menus.

I always had an Irish menu and invited my mom and dad and gramma to supper on St. Patrick's Day. A Few times I even tried to make Irish soda bread, but it never really turned out very delicious. Irish stew was always the real hit because my daddy loved anything remotely beef. And the year I tinted the potatoes a bit green was not overwhelmingly a success because everyone swore they could taste the tint.  Who knows for sure?

Well, we have a couple weeks or more before I have to dig out that green dye and go after some poor unsuspecting pale menu item. What kind of things do you fix for the "small" holidays?

Whimsy and Hugs!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Slow Day...

Morning! Well, actually, Good Afternoon! By a little bit. This quick day is melting before my very eyes, as the saying goes... But not due to any of this early morning's sun. Oh, no. Although the sky was blue and sparkly, the temps rang chilly... And the forecast drear. Freezing rain turning to Sleet turning to Snow all through the night until tomorrow. I looked at Mama and announced it just had to be chili soup weather. She was all for it.
I wrote about our Sweet Chili practices here.

Enough rambling about my chili. It was a magnificent lunch, and we have enough In my huge Lodge Dutch oven for a long time to come.

I'm decorating for spring, doing laundry + plus trying to mop floors and clean bathrooms... Ugh. I really just want to take a nap beneath the aqua and cream quilt I snuggle under through the night. Not feeling the love today, I guess.

Are any of you fans of The Mentalist? I watched the series finale last night. I'm sad that it's over, but in my opinion that's one of the few shows the networks didn't ruin... Yay, CBS! The last season was the best... In my crazy heart Jane and Lisbon are living in that little lakeside cabin... Smiling and being happy.... I'll miss it. I might even watch the entire seven years again on Netflix.... So little that I watch. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Orange Salad, as promised...

Champagne Oranges

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup sugar
8 large navel oranges
1 1/2 cups Champagne or sparkling white grape juice (I used grape juice,)
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
Sprig of fresh mint (I didn't use this.)
Combine the marmalade and sugar in a small saucepan. Mix well, place over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Cut the peel from the oranges, cut into slices and then quarter each slice, removing the white center pith from each. Put into a medium bowl.

Pour the sugar/marmalade mixture and Champagne or grape juice over the sliced oranges. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

Sprinkle with almonds before serving and add a sprig of mint.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman


This was exceptionally fresh and delicious!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Settling in...

It's difficult to run through the days and the nights, always searching for the upbeat and the life in the days. Holidays, even the little ones,  bring cause for celebration.  We enjoyed a China Garden lunch yesterday with my son and a friend to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day and an early Chinese New Year.
A fairly  heavy snow fell  through the night, and this morning my son woke up with some kind of cold or flu or asthma. ...  I hate it when he's ill. .. just hate it. 
Here are some bright photos from the parties we had throughout the week.  I'll share a sunshine recipe for orange salad tomorrow. ..

My sister/cousin's beautiful sugar cookies, a gift from the heart!

A little brunch on Friday

A salad party last week! 

My friend's delicious salad.

Another gift from my sister/cousin...

Have a safe and happy week.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

One of a Convocation

Happy Valentine's Day. Ours was uneventful but nice.

Yesterday was quite the whirlwind. Had company. And the guest  (translation: only usable) restroom decided to overflow... two inches of water or more everywhere.. I have found  a new plumber...  they are great great great.  From Moberly. .. I called them, and they were here in an hour and a half. Needless to say there was a lot of commotion during my brunch / lunch. Had to move out furniture and boxes from a storage room. ..  ugh..  they did that easily, but I have to clean and go through stuff. ..  the drains now work.

Anyway, I decided tonight to go into town for a pizza for Mom and me. And Facebook had been filled with photos of bald eagle sightings at my Macon Lake... Since it was Sunset, I thought. ..maybe...  There..... Hello, Beautiful. ...  He was the only one I saw. But regal, gorgeous....  I was thrilled!!!

Cheery Cherry Morning

Today was a good day to bake up some Valentine muffins. My friends came for brunch, and I'll be showing those photos tomorrow. I wanted something red, and I had a sack of frozen giant sweet cherries. A quick search on Google yielded this recipe for Sweet Tomatoes' Cherry Nut Muffins. Well, why not? I would recommend these. Not dry, and the cherries made huge, moist pockets all through the batter. In fact, I just had one with a cup of coffee here at midnight. happy Valentine's Day to me...

Sweet Tomato Days was my recipe blog name before I ever heard of the restaurant chain of Sweet Tomatoes.

I'll share the recipe found on the Internet.


3½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole-wheat flour (I didn't have this, so I used all-purpose)

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups reduced-fat buttermilk (I made mine with 1 tsp. vinegar per cup of milk.)

11/8 cups granulated sugar

1 cup canola oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 (14.5-ounce) can tart cherries, drained ( I used frozen sweet cherries. They were huge and awesome!)

1 tsp. vanilla extract (I added this.)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick spray or use paper liners. It's a good idea to spray the top of the tins lightly, too, which can help prevent the muffin tops from sticking.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and chopped nuts in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, sugar, oil and eggs. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Gently stir in the cherries.

Divide the batter among 20 to 24 muffin cups, filing them about 2/3 full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 20 to 24 muffins. I made extremely large muffins and sprinkled sugar on the tops before baking. It took about 30 minutes at 350°. I had 18 muffins.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!!!!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter Nights

Just the kind of cold, I mean uber-cold, night to light some candles, stir some soup, and watch a movie on the Hallmark Channel with Mama.

Thinking of school lately.  These winter months were always full of basketball and lots of fun. I've even been dreaming about school.  Today is Homecoming at Bevier... and evidently Valentine parties, early out and teacher conferences...

I had a lot of fun conferences--- and a few unbelievable ones.  I'll never forget the little mother who took my grade and said, "Well, that makes all F ' s for my son." I awkwardly wondered what kind of punishment might be in the wings. But she then said. "Douglas won't be in school tomorrow. This decides it." My mind races. .. are they moving?  Is she killing her boy?  Then,  "We will be getting him a four-wheeler tomorrow."  I'm sure I had the stun-gun look...  She finished brightly as she smiled to get up, "We need something to ground him from...for motivation, you know." I remember  nodding ... and I don't think Douglas  ever got another F in my class ...  ???
Then another time I greeted a little mom with,  "I just enjoy your son so much. He is getting an A. He is my top student.  She sighed sadly  and shook her head.... "No, I'm  Bobby Green's mother."  When I assured her that I meant..... indeed her son, the one and only Bobby Green, she grabbed the card, began to sob uncontrollably, and said, "I at last have something to put on the refrigerator!. ... first time in 11 years!"...  Bobby almost didn't finish school, but he did make her fridge time.

I've never liked grade conferences, so I won't over romanticize it now. I've been praised, thanked, blamed, cussed, cursed, and blessed. Sometimes an A makes the parent mad because they really don't think I challenged Tasha enough... Sometimes the parent is so mad at the student I feel led to intermediate and save the sad little do-nothing from steam and torture. Lots of times I've had the parent as a student and can't believe he or she can't remember antics pulled a generation ago! I've had the principal save me. I have had beautiful moments of being on the same page... But mostly I didn't like conferences. They are awkward moments of mental dance with parents who feel defensive and protective, embarrassed or proud. ..  just usually uncomfortable confrontations blended with friendly chat. ...  and truly brutal, uncomfortable chairs for hours on end.
Enjoy the chill....

Monday, February 9, 2015

Six Weeks

Lest we get all involved and in love with Puxatawney Phil a la the Bill Murray/Ande McDowell movie Groundhog Day, let me refresh your memory what a ground hog, noncartoon-style, really looks like. You might remember this guy who stood only inches from my screen door. Yes, you see the screen in this picture.  I'm sooo glad I had a screen there, and by the time he expressed his pure hatred of me, I wished for a row of bars, as well. Groundhogs are mean. At least Missouri ones are. They kill chickens and burrow in our flowers and fields. A family of them has wreaked disaster and destruction, and dare I cliche havoc, on the barn foundation.

I like all animals, and until I gentle-heartedly tried to take this one's picture as he munched my flowers as a salad, I thought I liked ground hogs, too. A long time ago when I lived at home, my son and I caught one of these critters in a live trap, and we generously took him miles away to the middle of nowhere and let him out on a picnic table.

He bolted for freedom the minute the trap was opened, but as I saw this guy bare this ugly set of teeth, I realized what a dumb idea that had been. We were entirely too close and vulnerable had Mr. Trapped Groundhog decided to turn ugly on us. Oh, yes. that was another of my stellar ,"dumb mothering" moments.

I know I'm a few days late for Groundhog's day. I remember a dear friend of mine who always ate sausage and biscuits on Groundhog's Day...  Ground Hog...  haha...

I was just sitting here and contemplating the six more weeks of winter thing, and it hit me to revisit my personal Phil.  As Sweet Home Alabama's Mama always repeated, "Just Sayin'."

Have a good Monday. Don't kiss any groundhogs.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Full Moon, February style.  I woke up at Four A.M. with no real reason to get up, of course. But as I glanced out the window, instead of the cloudy, snowy sky I expected, this gorgeous creature awaited my oohs and ahs...  And she got them.  I am totally enamored with the moon, full or otherwise. 

I tried to take a photo with my new camera, but alas! I couldn't find the setting in the dark, and I just didn't want to turn on a light and interrupt the "thing" I had going on with this beautiful moon visible through elderly locust trees in Mom's front yard. 

So cell phone snaps it is.  I don't even mind the fuzzy quality because that's the blur of sleep recently past. The snowy yard illuminated the trees enough to create this silhouette effect, which was totally stunning in my humble opinion. The purples and greens are totally natural, not a smidgen of photo shop or editing...  I didn't even crop the curtain flounces from the tops of a couple.

I'm going to need to move my kiester from this window for some of my photos or we are going to have to change the name of the blog to "view from my window" or something similar. One thing sure, you are not getting a glimpse of the pantry tonight like I thought you might. I didn't do much at all today except take care of Mama a little and have a delightful little breakfast party with my sister/cousin. 

When I look at the moon, I think how it has guided the sailor, comforted the shepherds, including King David of long ago... romanced the lovers and intrigued the scientists. A force of nature and a pull toward lunacy, that craziness born of the word for moon itself. Full moons brought out the wild in my students.  They truly did.  The beautiful old girl brings out the wild in me, too...

Goodnight Dear Blogland...  Perhaps we will catch a glimpse of her again tonight, waning yet lovely still.  Aren't we all?

Whimsy and Hugs!