Wednesday, November 30, 2022


I'm joining up with From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge! I would love to hear your answers -- either in the comments or feel free to copy and paste the questions into your own blog and link up over at From This Side of the Pond. Thanks to Joyce for the questions!!

1. Sum up your November in ten words or less. It was a month of food, family, fun, and fellowship. (extra words – this last week is a killer for many reasons!!)

2. Are you hosting any holiday parties this year? Attending any? Party pooper, party animal, or life of the party...where do you land when it comes to parties? Since we are in this small apartment, we won’t be hosting any holiday parties this year. We will go to one party on December 15. I will go to a “girl’s party” on the 18th. Our office Christmas party is the 14th. Our supper club is getting together on the 10th. Our “out to eat” supper club is going this Thursday, December 1. The last two aren’t parties but they are fun social occasions! We are also invited to a “family” party on Christmas night where lots of extended family is invited. I love to laugh and I tend to be a “loud talker and loud laugher” so does that make me a party animal or life of the party? I don’t think I’m a party pooper.

3. Do you purchase holiday clothing of any sort (sparkly tops, Christmas jammies, Santa suit, etc)? Do you remember when Christmas sweaters were in style? I used to have some of those! My daughter came home from college during her Freshman year and wanted to borrow all of my “tacky Christmas sweaters” and I’ve never worn one since and don’t own any. I love a good sparkly top and did buy one at Talbots that I might wear to either our supper club or to the party on the 15th.

4. What's your go-to recipe when you're asked to bring an hors d'oeuvre to a party? We usually go to a couple of parties where appetizers are requested. I like to make a charcuterie board. Sometimes I make this recipe called Chunky Cheese spread that is delicious. Mark has grilled a venison tenderloin before and we’ve taken that to a party.

5. December 3rd is National Play Outside Day...what might you do to celebrate? I doubt that I “play outside” but I might!!

6. Insert your own random thought here.  It has been a stressful week so far. When you work in a church, seasons like Advent can be quite busy. Here is random thought #2 – we are meeting with the designer this week to pick out some finishes for the house. Maybe they will start in January!!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Week In Review

See that play on words? Normally, if I write a Monday post, it is a Weekend Review but I have more photos than just a weekend! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!!

I did more cooking than the above but does anyone else make Cream Cheese and Olives and stuff celery with it for Thanksgiving? It is also really good on toasted bread!
Granddaughter #1 was out of school all week and Pops took her to the climbing place on Wednesday morning and then they came back to the apartment. She wanted to make Thanksgiving cards for everyone who would be at lunch on Thursday . . .so Pops and I helped her make them. I even had some googly eyes and pom poms we could use.

Thanksgiving day found us at my mother--in-law's house. Throughout the weekend, we played lots of  Old Maid!
The pecan crop here in our area has been massive and there was lots of "picking up of pecans" along with lots of cracking. We have lots of engineers in the family so of course, they had a long handled pecan cracker.
My sister-in-law smoked two turkeys and they were yummy . . .though the turkey is one thing I could do without on Thanksgiving!
I made a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce instead of cream of mushroom soup. I also roasted brussels sprouts and stuffed the celery. We brought ham and pickles and olives, too. My son made the cranberry apple -- bottom right corner by the celery. One sister-in-law brought sweet potatoes with pecan topping. My favorite part is the dressing and gravy and we make them in muffin pans so everyone gets lots of crusty.
We have a tradition of playing croquet on major holidays if we have enough folks in town. We did!
The youngest player was six. Isn't she cute?
The oldest player was Mark! There is always a lot of cheating going on!
This is my cute son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter #1.
We have pictures of the kids over the years sitting on these same steps. We were missing our daughter, Laura and her husband and daughter and we were missing Grace.
Mark's momma enjoyed sitting on the porch while they played croquet in her yard.
Friday night brought a birthday celebration for son and daughter-in-law who both have November birthdays. They had a toast with our son's Vanwinkle!
After the toasting, we ate at a local restaurant and enjoyed the food and fellowship!
Saturday found us driving an hour and 45 minutes south to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter #2 PLUS we got to see their new house.
We had a fun time playing! I think it is so cute how this generation of kids -- even at 3 years old -- knows how to take a selfie!
Daughter and I went to Hobby Lobby and bought fabric using her Birthday check from her grandmother. We recovered the cushions on her banquette seating.
The previous owners left their trampoline so there was jumping going on!

Sunday brought church, working in the Welcome Center, teaching Sunday school, and family lunch along with more Old Maid games!

How was your weekend? Did you eat any new foods? Play any games?

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Crazy questions Sunday Stealing

It is time for Sunday Stealing and these questions were stolen from Swap Bot. I wasn’t going to answer the questions today because I need to be studying Sociology. My final is two weeks from today. I’m going to answer quickly – ha! When has that every happened?

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? My granddaughter LOVES unicorns so I must choose unicorn!

What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence? My daddy smoked and even though he had stopped smoking years before, he still died of cancer. I’m going to do away with cigarettes and cigars (and any other form of tobacco).

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? I haven’t actually “seen” these with my own eyes, but someone I know keeps posting pictures of crazy bathrooms saying that he is going to remodel their bathroom. . . into one of these crazy ones.

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child? This is not the absolute worst name but there is a politician in Alabama whose first name is Young and his last name is Boozer. I cannot imagine the jokes that must have been said about his name.

What would be the worst thing for the government to make illegal? For me personally, I would be very sad if the government made Diet Pepsis illegal. That is not a deep answer but I’m going with it.

What are some of the nicknames you have for customers or coworkers? I really like my co-workers so I don’t have any nicknames for them. My husband has a tendency to call people “idiots” or “morons” and we have to remind him not to say that in front of our granddaughters.

If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called? How about creamy peanuts?

What movie would be greatly improved if it was made into a musical? I truly have no answer for this!

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time? Buy one get on free . . .vomit flavored jelly beans. They really exist.

What is the funniest name you have actually heard used in the real world? Lemonjello – it is not pronounced lemon jello . . .it is lay mon’ jel o. My son had a child come through the Explorium when he worked there and her name was La-a. That is pronounced La dash a. Seriously.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to? Our family has croquet “tournaments” on my mother-in-law’s front lawn and on Thanksgiving, I heard the comment, “this would be funnier if we were drinking.”

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse? The common housecat (not ferocious like a lion) might be cool!

What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable? The cashier might be uncomfortable if you bought a bunch of alcohol and a lot of tobacco products and maybe come condoms while you were 9 months pregnant.

What is something that you just recently realized that you are embarrassed you didn’t realize earlier? Wow – another crazy question . . .I had something removed from my face last Monday at the dermatologist and I look like Mark hit me . . .and I had to teach adult Sunday School today. I realized that I’m more embarrassed about my appearance than I thought.

What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could settle their differences with? They could play croquet!  Winner takes all. They could flip a coin. We’ve played a lot of Old Maid this weekend. You could have a “loser” card and the person who ended up with that card . . .well . . .would be the loser. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

T.H.A.N.K.S. Hodgepodge


Joining up for the Hodgepodge! Please feel free to answer the questions in the comments section or copy and paste the questions into your own blog and link up with us at From this Side of the Pond. Thank you to Joyce for coming up with the questions every week!!

1. Have you ever been on a cruise? If so where did you go and how did you like it? If not, do you have any desire to take a cruise someday? Yes, I have been on one cruise way back when I was about 20 years old. My best friend was going on a cruise with her parents and they invited me to go along and paid for half of my trip. Otherwise, I couldn’t have afforded it. It was 7 days and we went to San Juan and the Virgin Islands and a fun private island. I think I would like to do a river cruise in Europe at some point.

2. Tell us about your Thanksgiving plans...are you hosting? cooking? eating out? turkey or some other main? is it stuffing or dressing in your house? homemade cranberries or cranberries in a can? are pies on the dessert menu? what kind? what are your 'must have' sides? Tell us one thing you're especially grateful for this year. We will be eating at my mother-in-law’s house. She “thinks” she is cooking but we are all doing the cooking. My sister-in-law will make the turkey and dressing. We are providing the ham, a green bean casserole, roasted Brussels Sprouts, and a relish tray. Mark’s other brother and wife are bringing sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie. Our son and his wife are bringing this apple cranberry casserole that we all LOVE. We will serve cranberry sauce straight out of the can (if someone remembered to buy it). I don’t waste calories on that side. A friend of ours is bringing a dessert which happens to be another pie - pecan. It will be a feast. By the way, I LOVE dressing and gravy and would be happy to have just those two items on my plate.

Last year at Thanksgiving - we've had
it at our house for several years but my
sister-in-law just moved to town so
we are having it back at my mother-in-law's
house this year

I am grateful for the gift of life! Seriously. After the house fire and emergency surgery for me . . .and then my sister-in-law had brain surgery this week and is doing great . . .life is indeed a gift and I am thankful.

3. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round? Do you remember that I work at a church? We used to have people dropping by the church ALL of the time asking for help. Our church now has a mission hub about 3 miles away where we can send people for food and clothing. We have a social worker on staff who helps navigate all of this. My husband volunteers there a couple of days a week now that he is retired. Most of the time, the folks on the street begging for money are not homeless. We had someone from the homeless coalition come and speak to our young adult group. He advised us to never give money to the folks on the off ramp of the interstate. They are usually dropped off . . .and they are usually not homeless. We give to our church regularly. We also give to a few other worthy organizations. For Christmas, we always take an angel from our angel tree at church. I’ve ordered everything from Target for a 7 year old little girl.

4. Have you started decorating for Christmas? Is your tree up? Shopping done? Wrapped? This question made me laugh out loud . . .and then I had a tiny panic attack! I haven’t started decorating. I prefer to decorate after Thanksgiving because I LOVE Thanksgiving. We are going to put a tree up – even though we are in a small apartment. I have ordered my angel tree presents and I have bought one thing for our youngest granddaughter. I have also bought something for my sister to give to that same granddaughter. I haven’t wrapped any.

5. Create your own acrostic using the word THANKS. 

T – is for Travel – something we love to do Together

H – is for Hope – without hope, where would we be

A – is for All of our friends and family who mean the world to us

N – is for Neighbors who show up when your house burns

K – is for Knowing that God loves me . . .and not just me . . . but everyone

S – is for Study . . .if we aren’t learning, we are dying.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. I’m taking a day off today and I just made my to-do list and it is a mile long. Mark has his men’s group at 6:00 a.m. so he is already out of the apartment. The cat is playing behind me so I can hear him. He makes the funniest sounds when he is playing. Speaking of playing, Mark is going to take granddaughter #1 to a climbing place at 10:00. I hope he is bringing her to play at the apartment after that. We have new Old Maid cards that my sister sent us!! That was WAY more than one random thought. What can I say?? I have a hard time having just one thought 😊

Monday, November 21, 2022

Weekend in Review

I'm going to back up to Wednesday because I can (since it is my blog) :-). Y'all know I work in a church. One of the ministry areas under me is hospitality so I am the face in the Welcome Center quite often. We have Wednesday night supper each week and we usually feed over 300 people. We have TONS of young families with kids involved in choir, handbells, etc. and all of those things meet on Wednesday night. Our chef prepared a Thanksgiving feast for this meal and we served almost 500 people. A volunteer mans the Ipad where people can pay if they didn't make reservations online and pre-pay. We sold 160 dinner tickets for folks without reservations! Our chef kept cooking and the volunteers and kitchen staff made it happen. It was a little bit like a modern loaves and fishes!!

I took a day off on Thursday to drive down to help my daughter in her new classroom. The school has built a new building and all of the third grade classrooms were moving in on Thursday and had to be prepared to teach on Friday. I hung bulletin board borders and ate lunch with the kids. I also got to surprise this little nugget after school. She and I played in Laura's classroom for about an hour after school until Gran had to drive home.

I worked from home on Friday morning and then got my hair trimmed. Mark's sister and her husband came over and ate a casual dinner with us. We were preparing a new recipe on Saturday night for our supper club and we needed to do a test run. I'm glad we did! The recipe is excellent but the sauce was a tad too hot for us. Mark LOVES hot stuff but even he started coughing when he tasted it. For Saturday night, I toned the sauce down. Here is the recipe. I don't like salmon so Mark grilled sea bass for me on Friday night and halibut for me on Saturday night. Let me back up to say that Mark let me taste his salmon on Friday night and of all the times I've tried salmon and hated it . . .I didn't hate this. I'm not sure I could eat a whole piece but it was definitely the best salmon I had ever tasted.

Isn't this cake amazing? My friend made

This is the first time we've hosted our group
in the apartment.

Sunday found me working the Welcome Center in the morning and working a meeting in the afternoon with some family time thrown into the middle.

The family time included a birthday celebration for our son and daughter-in-law who both have November birthdays.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything interesting or fun?

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday Stealing


 Thanks to Bev for this week’s questions. It looks like she stole them from Hodgepodge.

-What’s your favorite childhood memory? I don’t think I have a “favorite” childhood memory. One of my favorite things was our family vacation to the beach every summer. My parents scrimped and saved and we would drive to Laguna Beach, FL (near Panama City) and rent a house within walking distance of the beach. We would stay a week. We usually only ate out once so in hindsight, it probably wasn’t a vacation for my mom. I also loved growing up on our street. There were 17 kids at one time on our street and we played kickball and baseball and Barbies and “beauty pageant.” We rode bikes and we would swing as high as we could swing.

Just a few of the 17 plus
some from around the block

-Do you sing in the shower? Nope. Do you? You probably wouldn’t want me to sing 😊.

-What is the best gift you’ve ever received? Our twins turned 36 yesterday and the two of them were a great gift back in 1986. Another great gift was back in the day before FaceTime, my hubby surprised me with a camera for the computer and he bought one for my sister in Houston so that we could “see” each other more often.

-Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors? I like being outside but I am probably more of an indoor person. My hobbies (when I have them) are usually indoor hobbies.

-Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? I talked with our daughter on Saturday morning.

-What do you keep in your bag or handbag? I keep TOO MUCH CRAP in my purse. I have not one but two wallets right now. I have two epi pens. I have several lipsticks and a checkbook and several pens

-Can you knit? No, I can’t.

-How many hours do you sleep each night? I probably sleep about 6 hours normally. I’ve been trying to get more lately.

-Who is your role model? I need to think about this one some more.

-Who was your first ever pen pal? Way back when I was in high school, I met a girl named Rachel and we were pen pals for years and then when we were old enough to drive, we actually got together several times and we would talk on the phone. I lost touch with her about 10 years ago. I need to do a social media search and see if I can find her.

-What has been your favorite job so far? I love my job right now. It has been stressful lately but I still love it.

-What is your favorite go-to recipe for mid-week meals? We have fresh fish in the freezer so I would probably grab a salad kit at the store and get Mark to grill/or blacken some fish. This is an easy and healthy meal. The other quick and easy is to grab three things – an onion, a pack of ultra lean ground beef, and a can of Campbell’s French Onion soup. Slice the onion and place into a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil and allow them to cook down a little.  Make four patties with the beef. Remove onions from skillet. Brown the patties in the skillet and cook until correct temp. Pour a can of Campbell’s French Onion soup over the patties and put a lid on the skillet and let them simmer. I might cook some green beans and a salad to go with the meat. If you like to eat starches, you could do rice or mashed potatoes.

-How often do you eat in a restaurant? We don’t eat out as often since covid. We eat out maybe 4 times a month.

-Are you close to your family? I talk to one sister on the phone almost every weekday. I talk to my other sister several times a month. I talk to my niece (sister’s daughter) once a month or so. We see Mark’s family every week. We see our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter #1 usually once a week and son and I usually talk on the phone once during the week. We don’t see our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter #2 as often because they don’t live nearby but she and I talk multiple times during the week.

-Which phone app could you not live without? I don’t know what we did before Waze.

-If you could afford to volunteer full time for a charity, which would it be? We have so many great opportunities to serve. Our local Firehouse Shelter is amazing. Our Food Share and Sharing Table at our church is amazing. Right before the world shut down for covid, I trained to be a volunteer at a local place where they rescue, house, etc. people who have been involved in human trafficking and other bad situations. I would probably love spending time with them.

-Do you have any siblings? Yes, I have two sisters. I count Mark’s siblings and spouses as my own, too – he has a twin brother (and wife) and another brother (and wife) and a sister (and husband).

-Who is your favorite YouTuber? I don’t have a favorite YouTuber but I love watching reels of Asian women when they show their after work routines or their cooking routines.

-Have you ever been a bridesmaid or a groomsman? Yes, I’ve been a bridesmaid and a maid of honor several times. I think I was maid of honor twice and a bridesmaid at least 3 or 4 times.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Life in the Fast Lane Hodgepodge


Thank you to Joyce for the questions. Please join us and link back up here.

1. When did you most recently need to 'think fast'? Elaborate. I often have to think fast on my job. I deal with a lot of folks everyday and that often requires fast thinking. I can't really elaborate.

2. The Hodgepodge lands on National Fast Food Day. What was the last fast food you ate? What's your favorite fast food? How often do you grab fast food? I rarely eat fast food these days. We have a place in town called Urban Cookhouse and you can order online and go through a drive through to pick up but their food is fresh, the meat is cooked on a Green Egg, and it is fairly healthy. I’m not sure that is fast food. I think it might be “good food fast.” We do get salads from Chick Fil A every once in a while. If I were to eat some fast food, I would probably grab some French fries from Milo’s with several tiny cups of their sauce for dipping. I love french fries and it is better if I stay away from fast food. If I were getting some fast food, in addition to the french fries, I would get a cheeseburger from either the little local restaurant down the street from our church or a Quarterpounder from McDonald’s.

3. Life in the fast lane, get nowhere fast, on the fast track, not so fast...pick one and tell us how it applies to your life in recent days. Some days are life in the fast lane. Yesterday was one of those. I felt like I went non-stop all day. I was at work for 12 hours. Sometimes I feel like we are “getting nowhere fast” regarding the rebuilding of our house.

4. Are you a fast walker? fast talker? fast worker? fall asleep fast? stay fast asleep without too much trouble? I am a fast walker and a fast talker (I'm also a loud talker) and a fast worker and I tend to fall asleep quickly. I don’t know that I stay “fast asleep.”

5. What is one 'hard and fast rule' in your house? We don’t discuss anything important after 7:00 p.m. at night. We’ve had that rule for years.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  I hope to take Thursday off and drive to the school where our daughter teaches (about an hour and 45 minutes away) and help her decorate and set up her new classroom. Her school has built a new building and her third grade classroom gets a new room.