Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Thanksgiving recap

I want to jot down some thoughts before I forget everything!
Thanksgiving 2021 was much better than 2020. We were able to include a few friends plus our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter #2 were able to join us this year. Last year, they had covid!

I bought two new tablecloths at Target and they were $15 each - score! I have lots of tablecloths but not two that match. I need the 120" length on the big table and I bought the shorter one and folded it in half for the card table. 

In case you can't tell, I love pilgrims. I have quite a few pairs. I love Thanksgiving. The centerpiece below wasn't quite finished. I added pumpkins on the back side and more leaves.

Mark smoked a 14 pound turkey for us on his Pit Barrel Cooker. It was really good. I also bought a ham from the Honeybaked Ham store and we enjoyed both.

I think this was my third time to host Thanksgiving. I finally nailed the dressing. I used a blend of my mother's recipe and Mark's mother's recipe and it was just right. I forgot to take a picture but we make it in muffin tins so each piece has a little crust. I hope I can recreate it next year. My mother-in-law doesn't put sage in hers and I love sage. I used 2 pans of cornbread, about 6 biscuits, a bag of Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing (looks like croutons). I did the onion and celery in the food processor so that you don't have chunks but you have great flavor. I also added poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, along with broth and eggs. I greased the muffin tins the old fashioned way - I used Crisco. Some of the first ones stuck but for round two I sprayed with pam. Next year, I need to use Crisco and pam. They popped right out.

I made the gravy, a green bean casserole, and deviled eggs and everyone brought something. Everything was delicious.

Here we all are around the table. The third person on the left is my sweet 96 year old mother-in-law. We weren't sure we could get her here and in the house but we did. Our daughter went and spent the day with her since we didn't have a sitter and helped her get ready. We had plenty of men to help her in and out of the house.

Our good friends joined us and they brought a hostess gift for me - a giant bottle of Grey Goose! It is my favorite.

Our daughter and her family stayed from Wednesday through Friday morning. She and our daughter-in-law took the girls to a "you paint" pottery place on Wednesday afternoon. I can't wait to see their finished projects.

Granddaughter #2 pictured below with our giant cat, Harvey. Look how her little pony tail looks sort of like his ear - both on the right side. She lay down beside him and said, "Can you say meow?"

After they left, I rested and puttered. I cleaned out two drawers in the bedroom - my sock drawer and my earring drawer. Both are very organized now. I also straightened up our closet but I'm not going to show a picture because it is not very neat. We share a walk in closet and it is just not quite big enough. We make it work.

On Saturday, we did a couple of errands together. Mark had a gift card at a local beer place called Hop City. Hop City just happens to be down the block from one of my favorite places, Frontera. While he was beer shopping, I was looking at all of the fun things at Frontera. My family is always talking about Big Foot so I had to snap a photo and send to them! They had Big Foot to go in your yard in 3 different sizes.

We also went to Trader Joe's. I love that store.

On Sunday, we went to church and then I taught Sunday School. The lesson was on Tamar -- and we talked about how God used all sorts of people in the lineage of Jesus. Jesus didn't come into a perfect world for perfect families.

We then headed to my mother-in-law's house. She lives just a few minutes from our church. We had packed up all of the leftovers from Thursday and had them in the fridge. We reheated everything and ate turkey and dressing and gravy one more time.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Stealing Questions

Thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing for the questions each week. This week’s questions were stolen from mantelligence

1. What is the craziest, most outrageous thing you want to achieve? I would love to travel to every country in the world. I’m 63 so this may not happen. My other goal is hopefully going to happen. I’ve mentioned this on my blog before – I’m going to take a class at a local junior college beginning in January – Sociology. My first goal is to complete my 2 year degree. I have a good many credits that are still good from when I was young. After I get my 2 year, I would love to go on and complete my 4 year degree. If I were younger, I would go to seminary after that (which is pretty outrageous).

2. Have your parents influenced what goals you have? My mom died when I was a sophomore in high school and I was about 25 when my daddy died. I do hear my daddy’s voice at times (not literally). I can hear things he “taught” us about life. I think my parents would be proud of me.

3. What is a fashion trend you’re glad went away. My mother-in-law and I were just talking about this the other day. I am so glad that shoulder pads went away and I hope they never come back.

4. What word or saying from the past do you think should come back? I think “cray cray” for crazy was a great word but my daughter shut me down hahahaha! I think I probably say things all of the time that are outdated.

5. What do you bring with you everywhere you go? I take my phone pretty much everywhere I go.

6. Is there such a thing as a soul? I believe we each have a soul.

7. Is there life after death? I definitely believe in life after death.

8. Do you think there will ever be a third world war? I would hope NOT but history has a tendency to repeat itself. We are so divided in our world today that a third world war would probably not be a surprise. 

9. What smell brings back great memories? This is not my normal answer but I was actually thinking about this smell this past week. We live in the south and where we live has its own “scent”. When we were in Red Rock Canyon, the smell was so different. I remember Mark and I actually had a conversation about the smell. Mark had a meeting in Las Vegas about 20 years ago and we rented a car and did some sight seeing. It was a fun trip.

10. How would you like to be remembered? I would love to be remembered as a philanthropist but since we aren’t “wealthy” . . .I don’t think that will happen! I would love to be remembered as a good mom, a good wife, a great friend, someone with a great laugh, and most importantly of all, a lover of Jesus.

11. What kind of music are you into? I’m all over the board when it comes to music.

12. What is the biggest surprise of your life? I think the biggest surprise might be the wonderful life I live. Last night while Mark and I were eating dinner, he reminded me once again of all our many blessings in life.

13. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? French fries – not even a complete sentence – just French fries!

14. Where is the most awe inspiring place you have been? We visited the Cliffs of Moher this summer – pretty amazing! This is not my photo - this one is from IrishCentral.com.

15. Describe your life in six words – blessed with more than I deserve!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Book Reviews

I read all of the time. I have books loaded on my kindle so I can read wherever I am - either on the actual kindle or on my computer or on my phone. I normally read thrillers or mysteries but I usually lurk on the edges of our neighborhood book club Facebook pages and read what they are reading. My sister is also in a book club in Texas and she often shares what they are reading. This encourages me to read other genres.

I mentioned this book recently and I highly recommend it.

This book was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post. This historical fiction novel is based on the true story of J.P. Morgan's personal librarian. Belle, the librarian, is actually a black woman who is light skinned and she crafts a white identity. I love what the authors shared at the end of the book. They were both real and honest. 

I, a white woman of privilege, take so many things for granted. This is not a book that "preaches" at you but it is a book that will make you think.

I also read this book and I recommend it, too. I think I downloaded it after reading a review on Preppy Empty Nester (maybe?).

This is the first time that I have read a book by Beatriz Williams and I think I will have to read some more. Our Woman in Moscow is also historical fiction. As a child, I remember hearing whispers of things happening in Russia and whispers of people who were said to be communists. One of the reasons I was drawn to the book is that two of the main characters are twins . . .since I'm married to an identical twin and we have fraternal twins, I'm almost always game to read about twins.

Let me tell you about two more. I think this book was an Amazon Prime first picks choice.

This book is a "thriller." I like a book that keeps me on the edge of the seat. Barbara Nickless did a good job of keeping the identity of the killer a secret . . until she didn't. At First Light is set in present day and includes Vikings, ritual murder, birds, music, and riddles -- among other things!

I also love a book that can make me laugh out loud. Janet Evanovich's books do that for me almost every time. 

I read the reviews online and this book got horrible reviews. I just love Stephanie Plum and her crazy family - especially Grandma Mazur. Yes, the book is similar to some of her other books and I can agree with some of the things the naysayers wrote in their reviews BUT the book made me laugh out loud and that is always a good thing.  

What have you read lately? Do you have a favorite genre? Do you have any recommendations?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thankful Sunday Stealing

 Thanks to Bev for the Sunday Stealing questions each week!

1) What teacher are you most thankful for and why?  What did you learn from him or her? When I was a senior in high school, I took honors English. Our teacher taught us so many things that I still use today. She wanted us to enter the world knowing the difference between their and there. She wanted us to know when to use I at the end of a sentence and when to use me. I hear this used incorrectly ALL of the time.

2) What’s the season you’re most thankful for, and what’s your favorite part of each season? I love November and if the temps could stay in the 60’s or 70’s with sunshine and the days were a tad longer, I would be truly happy! I do love summer, too. Spring in Alabama is gorgeous but I can’t be outside due to allergies. I take shots and pills but spring wins in our battle each year.

3) What electronic device are you most grateful for, and what does it add to your life? I love my iPhone and my apple watch. I love that I can track my steps and keep up with my exercise minutes. I also admit that I love being connected . . .according to my husband, way too much.

4) What musician or type of music are you most thankful for? I don’t “know” music well. I love the old hymns and the new hymns. I am thankful that some people are smart enough and musically inclined enough to put scripture to a tune.  I enjoy Christmas music – after Thanksgiving, please!

5) What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life? Nature all around – green grass and blue skies in the summer, brightly colored leaves in the fall. Even the bare branches of winter have a stark beauty. Spring – see above – gorgeous in Alabama! We have azaleas, crepe myrtle, hydrangeas, and many more lovely blooming flowers. Today I swept my mother-in-law’s deck. She is 96 and her chair looks out over her deck and backyard. It was bothering her that leaves literally covered her deck. I went outside to sweep them off and even the dry and crinkly leaves that have already turned brown have beauty in them.

6) What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for? I’m thankful for our church. We have a food pantry and a sharing table each week and we are feeding about 1400 people every week. We provide Christmas to lots of folks through our angel tree. Yesterday, I wrestled a bike into the back of my car by myself. A 3rd grade girl needs a bike and I found a pink one!

7) What foods are you most thankful for? I’m thankful that we have food to eat period. (see above about 1400 people needing groceries). I’m thankful that we can buy fruit of all kinds and vegetables galore in order to have a healthy diet.

8) What local store or restaurant are you most grateful for?  How does it contribute to your quality of life? This is a tough question. Walmart is definitely not local but we have one just a couple of miles from our house and we can find just about anything we need there. We used to have a restaurant “The Boot” within walking distance to our house and we were very grateful for that restaurant and we still miss it.

9) What book are you most grateful for, and why? As a Christian, I should say the Bible . . . so I’ll start with that. I’m grateful to learn about Jesus and how he wants us to live. I’m also grateful for several books I’ve read over the last year that have opened my eyes to the living conditions of others.

10) What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life? I cannot wait to read some of your answers. This is another tough question. My husband has extended numerous acts of kindness to me when I didn’t deserve it. 

Right before I hit publish . . .I remembered a story of great kindness. It may not sound like much but it was truly special. After my divorce I was broke - yes, I was broken emotionally but I was also broke financially. Seriously. I didn't have any extra money. It was my first Christmas alone and I didn't even have the money for a Christmas tree. That was not something I was going to ask my daddy to purchase. I was sad about being alone and I was sad about the stupid tree and I think I started crying at work one day and Mel, a wonderful co-worker and friend, brought me a Christmas tree stand and bought me a tree.

11) What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better? I was married for about 18 months when I was very young. He left me (another story for another day) and actually is no longer living. I thought my world had ended. I have been married to Mark for over 37 years now and I can’t imagine my life without him. We live a nice comfortable life. We have a lovely home. We have traveled together. I’m not sure I would have had a comparable life with my first husband.

12) What vacation are you most grateful for? I’m usually most grateful for the vacation I’m on at the moment. Our trips to Israel and Ireland would definitely be near the top of my list. Israel is technically a working trip for me but I’m so grateful for all I have learned and experienced.

13) Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for. I’m grateful for our wedding day, the day our twins were born, our son’s wedding day and our daughter’s wedding day. Yes, I know that is a list of four events.

14) What product do you use on a daily basis that you most appreciate? Can it be clean water? Is that a product? We definitely pay for it. Clean drinking water is something we often take for granted. I’m also thankful for toilet paper! Ha! That is definitely a product!!

15) What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for? I feel very grateful that we are able to gather together this Thanksgiving and include not only immediate family but those friends we consider family. Our dining room table will be surrounded with love on Thursday and I am indeed very grateful. I've been working on my centerpiece for our dining room table. I can't decide if I want to leave the antlers or not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The week BEFORE Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

Thank you to Joyce for the questions! Answer on your own blog and connect with us or answer in the comments below!

1. It's often said we should be grateful for small blessings. What is one small blessing you are feeling especially grateful for today? On Tuesday I did the devotion for our staff chapel (I work in a church) and it was about gratitude. Being grateful is on my mind! I'm thankful for the sound of the clothes dryer running in the background. I know that is random but I'm going with it!

2. How do you feel about leftovers, not just on Thanksgiving but after any meal? Favorite thing to make/eat using your Thanksgiving leftovers? I meal prep on Sunday afternoons for my lunches so I guess those are leftovers . . .we definitely eat leftovers at our house. My husband would eat them far longer than I . . .I throw them out much quicker than he would. I love the dressing (some of you may call it stuffing - this is Alabama and it is dressing) on Thanksgiving and it is even better left over!! I love making soups with the leftover turkey!

3. Sherwin Williams unveiled it's 2022 Color of the Year-Evergreen Fog. Are you a fan? Would I find this mid-tone gray green shade anywhere in your house? Does your house need painting? Inside or out? What one space is most in need of a paint job? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire a professional? Lots of questions in this one question! I'm not fond of colors with lots of gray. Gray makes me feel gray. I just looked up Evergreen Fog and it is very gray on my screen. If I visited you and your house was painted this color, I would love it - seriously. I just couldn't live in it day after day. We've had the outside painted in the last year or so. Outside is good. We've continually touched up the inside but last week I told Mark that some of it needs repainting. We've done some of our own painting but it sure is nice to hire a professional - if you can find a good one who is reasonably priced. 

4. What is one aspect of the way you were parented that you are grateful for today? I typed out an answer to this question and then reread the question and my answer would have been totally incorrect! My mom died when I was a sophomore in high school and my dad died when I was 25. I'm having a hard time remembering how I was parented. We had to help around the house - I remember my sister and I standing at the sink washing and drying dishes. My mom was active in church and she took us to church and I'm glad she did that. I wish they were alive so I could ask them how they parented us!!

5. Write an acrostic for the word-thankful (update: I misread . . .and used Thanksgiving!!) - let me be honest. I am a horrible acrostic writer. I read other ones and think "why couldn't I come up with that!" 

Thankful . . .and I am thankful for

Home - a home far better than I ever dreamed I would have (and Hodgepodge!!)

A day to be together with loved ones

Neighbors who are great

Knowledge - isn't it wonderful that we can keep learning no matter our age?


Good food and God's grace

Icing - though I don't eat it anymore . . .Icing is good!

Victory in Jesus - really that was what popped into my head -- also, Vaccines - yes! I got my booster last week.

Ideas, Icemakers, Imaginations, and Ibuprofin - I imagine I'll need some of all of those

Nachos, Navel Oranges – good grief – what else begins with N? (this may be my worst one)

Grey Goose - shhh! I may really need this on Thursday night.

6. Insert your own random thought here. I would love to hear about Thanksgiving menus – what does your family eat on Thanksgiving? Do you eat lunch or dinner? I think there will be 12 adults and 2 children around our table. I think I’ll add the card table to the end of our large dining table.

Our menu as of this moment is:

Turkey and dressing and gravy

Honeybaked Ham

Green bean casserole

Sweet potato casserole

Asian Slaw

Relish tray – pickles, olives, pickled okra

Canned cranberry sauce – whole berry plus the other one (I don’t eat it but the rest of the family prefers the canned??)

Pumpkin pie

Pecan pie

Another dessert made by a friend who will be joining us

Something else (not sure what yet) made by another couple joining us – I’m thinking a green vegetable? And rolls? Any other ideas?


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Weekend Recap

What a weekend! I worked on Friday and picked up last minute groceries because our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter #2 were arriving later on. They met one of their friends for dinner and got here just in time to bathe E and put her to bed.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and they met friends at the zoo. I decided to stay behind and do prep for our dinner.

I booked our friend who is a photographer to join us late in the afternoon. She took family photos for us and I can't wait to see them. She came in and joined us for beverages and snacks while I put the food in the oven.

Our kids plus one spouse all have November birthdays. We celebrated this way last year with photos in the afternoon, dinner, cakes, and presents. I didn't take a single photo. I'm going to be honest - I was soaking up every single moment of having both of them and their families in our home.

Granddaughter #1 enjoyed playing with the box.

She would get in and fold her little self up into a ball and her daddy would tape the box closed. She would then pop out of the box.

She did it for granddaughter #2 and it was cute!!

I love these girls.


For dinner we served cranberry chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans wrapped in bacon, and salad followed by German Chocolate Cake and Funfetti Cake.

On Sunday morning Mark and I were up bright and early and headed off to church. I taught our adult Sunday School class and then headed back home while Mark went on to his mother's house.

We drove the golf cart up to Moss Rock Tacos and Tequilas and grabbed a quick lunch. I am NEVER a day drinker but I did have a Mimosa - yep, I did.

After gobbling up our lunch, we headed home because our daughter was hosting a baby sprinkle for her friend. Do y'all have sprinkles where you live? You have a baby shower for the first baby and a sprinkle for the next one. They usually have a theme - like bring diapers and wipes or children's books. It is not as big as a shower. We were able to host it in the pavillion in front of our house and it was a glorious day. Laura's co-hostess had a migraine so my son-in-law and I helped run everything out to the pavillion. Our house is the one with the red brick chimney in the background. When the party was over we helped clean up and Laura and her family loaded the car and headed home - about an hour and 45 minute drive.

mother-to-be on the left and
her mother on the right

Mark and I exercised some and I did laundry, etc. and then at 6:30 we headed to a neighbor's house for supper club. Our neighborhood has the coolest thing - you sign up and they divide everyone up each month (not in December) you go to a different home. You also have to host a couple of times. We have participated in 2. We were a host home in September and we went to a neighbor's house on Sunday night. Both have been so much fun and we've met folks that we didn't know at all. Both times we ended up having connections with different people in the group - mutual friends from outside the neighborhood, etc. The host home provides the main dish and simple beverages - tea, coffee, water. Everyone else signs up for a different portion of the meal. I took the appetizer and I wish I had made a picture of the finished tray. I made a new cheese ball that had pecans and cranberries and scallions and cream cheese and white sharp cheddar. It was so good! I also had two other cheeses and lots of crackers. Here is the cheese ball prior to rolling it in pecans and cranberries (dried).

I'm going to be honest - by last night (Monday) I had worked all day on the back of such a busy weekend and . . .I was tired to the bone! I rode the bike and ate leftovers and that was about all I could manage!!

What did you do this weekend? Anything fun? I don't think we have anything to do this weekend except I will be teaching Sunday School again. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday Stealing

Linking up with Bev - she finds the questions each week and we answer. She stole these questions from Ned the Duck!

Name Your Favorite…

Place: I can be happy anywhere with our family - those times when both kids and their families are with me and Mark. In reality, I have a lot of favorite places - Orange Beach, Ireland, Israel all come to mind and I hope to have more favorite places in the years to come.
Color: Pink is my first choice but there is also a shade of green that I love. I also love orange and red! I'm not very good at pinpointing just one!
Smell: old books! You know - like in the library when I was growing up! Also, there is nothing so sweet smelling as a freshly bathed baby. The diaper our two year old granddaughter woke up with this morning was NOT my favorite smell!
Magazine: Garden and Gun - we love that magazine. The photography is beautiful and the articles are well written.
Texture: I'm weird about texture in food. The first thing that comes to mind is the silky softness of our granddog, Riley's ears. She is a german shorthair and her ears are the smoothest texture and she loves for us to rub them. She is getting to be an old lady. My son texted this picture to me thi week.

Thing to do when bored: One time I was snowed in at a friend's mother's house. Let me tell you that it is rare to get snowed in anywhere in Alabama but it does happen every 10-20 years. She told me that she didn't think anyone should ever say they are bored because there is always something to do. She taught me to polish silver that day! I love to read and I like to ride my recumbent bike and both of those combat boredom if done together! I can always clean out something or organize something - check out my junk drawer post from yesterday.
Precious stone: I love diamonds. Aren't they a girl's best friend?
Animal: Harvey cat!

Time in history: The one I'm living right now! Does that count? It will be history tomorrow, right
Font: I'm horrible at picking out fonts. I use cambria a lot.
Sound: I love to hear a baby laugh - the kind where you can't help but laugh along!
Fruit: I love almost all fruit! I really love strawberries and blueberries and bananas and a good ripe watermelon! I love Alabama - Chilton County - peaches!
Vegetable: I also love most veggies - but nothing beats an Alabama tomato grown on Sand Mountain. Sometimes I will eat a tomato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the summer.
Store/shop: According to my shopping habits over the last 20 months or so, it would have to be Amazon! I love our Super Target. I buy most of my clothes at Talbots and Chico.
Quote: I'll have to give this some thought.
Historical figure: I'll give the Sunday School answer - Jesus.
Letter: Are you asking what letter of the alphabet I like the most? I just read this a few moments ago -- Q because it is oval and has a curly tail hahahaha!
Memory: I can't do just one. I remember the day we married and the day our twins were born and the day our son married and the day our daughter married. All of those days are extra special. Our recent trip to Ireland has given us lots of new wonderful memories.
Dessert: I don't eat sugar anymore but if I did . . .there are a few things I love. One is German Chocolate Cake made by my mother-in-law's recipe. I made it this week for our son and daughter-in-law's birthday.   

Candy: see above - I don't eat sugar anymore but if I did - Reese Christmas trees or Reese Pumpkins -- I love Reese cups and the holiday shapes are the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter.
Restaurant: I love Hot and Hot here in Birmingham. It is definitely in my top 3.
Language: English! Or maybe I should say - my love language is words of affirmation.
Thing to learn about: I love learning about other countries. We have a trip planned for June - Italy, Germany, and Austria. I'm so excited. We are also planning another Israel trip in February of 2023.
Thing about yourself: I love my eyes and I love my smile.

What would be your answer to some or all of these questions?

Friday, November 12, 2021

Where Bloggers Live Junk Drawers

 Today I was visiting Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After and her post was about junk drawers! Do you have junk drawers around your house? I have 3 in the kitchen and after reading several posts by bloggers who were linking up . . .I was inspired to organize the kitchen junk drawers. I stopped at Walmart on my way home from work and picked up some inexpensive drawer organizers and they worked perfectly!

Now I need to straighten the pantry and straighten inside my cabinets . . and clean my closet . . . and clean out the bedroom junk drawer . . .and clean out the attic. Oh my goodness. My mother-in-law used to tell a story about a woman who needed a new light switch cover on the wall - plain and simple. As a result of that one piece of plastic, she had to paint the room and then supposedly ended up redecorating the room. I can sort of see how that would happen. Cleaning out three junk drawers made me want to clean out everything!!!

Here are the before shots of the drawers. Could we cram anything else into these drawers? I think not.

this drawer had markers and pens
and pencils and socks from Ireland -
really? There was a whole lot of
other stuff, too!

drawer #2 had an old checkbook
with two church members' names
written on the back - I guess it was
the only thing handy to write on!
Do you keep a roll of string? It
comes in handy? A rolling pin . . .
actually there was another
rolling pin, too!

Drawer #3 held a magazine and
some recipes and some ribbon and
a few cords and some gift cards
for door prizes and more!

Look at these organized drawers! I'm taking bets on how long they stay like this. Some people seem to cram things in the drawers . . . maybe several someones.

Drawer #1 - pens, pencils, glue, 
scissors, hole punchers (2), rubber
bands, and lots of post it notes
plus index cards. I love to make
notes on notecards!

Drawer #2 contains a plethora of
batteries, masking tape, a
book light, sticky felt circles
for the bottom of chairs, extra
reading glasses.

Drawer #3 - tape, cords, flash drives,
random cords, the little rolling pin,
prayer beads, the big rolling pin,
sticks for shish kebobs, and a
selfie stick!

I threw a few things away. I put the recipes in my recipe binder. I have a tiny stack of stuff to put upstairs with my crafting supplies. I have 3 or 4 things on the counter to see if my daughter-in-law or granddaughter wants to claim them.

Do you have junk drawers? How many in the kitchen? In other rooms? Are all of your spaces organized all of the time?

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A Glass Half Full Hodgepodge

 1. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you had thought about it maybe another five minutes before hitting publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? I'm going to answer the second half of the question first -- I'm 63 now so I don't know if I'm still middle aged. I'm going to keep pretending that I am and not change the title. On to the question about the name. I wrote the following on Thursday, June 4.

Last Friday while driving home from the farmer's market, I decided to create a blog and even thought of the name at that time. I was thinking about our kids - now 22 years old. . . almost 23 - and was thinking about the different role I will be playing in their lives. My thoughts are sometimes erratic. They pop around in my head like the kernels of popcorn that I love. I imagine that my writing will be the same. To be honest, I doubt that there is anyone who would really and truly care to read this so I think I'm doing it just for myself (and then if someone else likes it, that is just icing on the cake!) So just what are my middle aged mom musings this day. Laura is interning at a very special pre-school here in town and I had been to visit on Friday. Seems like only a few years ago that she was the little girl student and now she is the "teacher." Today her class went to a petting zoo. I was able to locate a picture of Laura and Glenn at the same petting zoo when they were in preschool. She took it to school with her today to show the children. Glenn is away this summer working at a Christian camp. He is a grown man . . .on his own far from home.

Today starts the process - I have no idea if I'll write something every day - maybe prayers or something about vacation or scrapbooking - or if I'll ever write again . . .but today starts the process.

2. What bill do you least like to pay? I actually dislike paying bills. We have one major credit card that we use and pay off each month and I hate paying that. As I'm typing, I thought of another one. I hate paying our neighborhood association dues and they are due at the end of December. I live in a wonderful neighborhood and I actually don't mind paying dues but lately we don't seem to have a say so in anything that happens around here.

3. What is your favorite word? Okay okay, calm down. How about one of your favorite words? I'm going to say three words -- please and thank you - ok that was 4 words counting "and." I definitely have some words I hate!! I'm sure that there are other words I like but they elude me at the moment.

4. Is the glass half full or half empty? Elaborate. Half Full 99% of the time though the last couple of days I've been in a weird place. I still think my glass is overflowing with blessings.

5. Were you here for that very first Hodgepodge post? If so, were your answers then similar to what they are today? Tell us what was happening in your life in November of 2010? I was blogging back then but I don't think I knew anything about bloghops like Hodgepodge. I wish I had!! I just reread my posts from November 2010. Our twins were turning 24 and our soon to be daughter-in-law was turning 25. Our son and soon to be daughter-in-law were engaged and we were gearing up for a January 2011 wedding. Our daughter, Laura, wasn't married yet and she and I made some really cute t-shirts for her to wear in her classroom. We have an amazing Children's Hospital here in town and they have a support group for the parents of kids with cancer. Our Sunday school class cooked meals once a month and delivered the meals to the hospital for those parents to eat. I evidently I was the one who cooked in November 2010. It is hard to believe that has been 11 years ago.

6. Insert your own random thought here. I tried a new recipe last night for a spaghetti casserole in the crockpot. We served it to the young adults with green beans and salad and bread. Here is the recipe -- it was yummy. I used whole wheat pasta and ground turkey sausage along with ground beef.

crockpot liners to the rescue!


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Weekend Recap

Our weekend sort of began on Thursday night. Our son-in-law's grandmother died and the funeral was to be held in another town. Mark and I drove down after work on Thursday to keep our granddaughter while they went to the funeral on Friday. We had a lot of fun playing with our sweet girl. She is two through and through.

Pop playing baseball with her.
I chased the balls. I had over
11,000 steps on Friday.
Look at the photo - I caught
the ball in motion!

Sweet baby rolling in the leaves

Pop pulling Miss E in her luxury
wagon - it even has a cup holder!

On Saturday, I went to Art in the Lot which was at our church . . . in the parking lot. I saw lots of friends and lots of cool items. My sister-in-law had a booth and I bought a few things from her and I bought a tiny present for my daughter and daughter-in-law at two other booths. This is such a cool event. I could have spent a lot of money in several booths!

This is my sister-in-law's booth.
She is an amazing artist.
She draws the design and then
carves the stamp and
then inks it one color
at a time.

I love the redbird (cardinal)!!

Saturday night we met friends at one of our neighborhood restaurants for an early dinner. It is so nice to be able to walk to dinner. They came back by the house for a nightcap and a little conversation. I didn't take a single picture but I did drink an awesome margarita!

Sunday morning we headed to church and Sunday School. Sunday was All Saints Sunday and it is one of my favorite worship services of the year. We honor those who have gone before us in the last year (November to November). I have tried to write words about this service and its meaning but I can't find any of the right words. I type and erase. Type again . . .and erase. My friend writes the names of all those who died on ribbons which are tied onto a bar/banner. This banner is brought in during the beginning of the service while a bagpiper leads the procession. The congregation then sings, "For All the Saints." No, we don't worship saints and we don't pray to saints. During the communion (Lord's supper) liturgy, the names are called and a candle is lit for each member who died this past year. This year was particularly hard because we had a couple of close friends who were among those named.  We are a large congregation but we lost 38 members this year which is a lot. We also have a tree of remembrance and place a hand painted ornament on the tree for each member who died. We have different ornaments in a basket for others to write the names of friends or family members who might have died this year.

Our senior pastor took this photo and
I may have borrowed it! The
ribbon banner is in the background.
Our pastor also made the wooden
tiered box for the candles. 

The bagpiper - he played during the
processional and then he played 
Amazing Grace at the end of the service
and led those who wished to go to
our prayer garden.

tree of remembrance

Don's ornament - he is our friend
who died while we were in Ireland.

extra ornaments - butterflies

After church we headed to Sunday School and then to my mother-in-law's house for Sunday lunch. It is amazing to me that we've been able to keep the tradition of Sunday lunch going even when she is unable to cook. We've taken turns providing lunch or we've picked up take-outs or we've ordered fried chicken from the Pig and made some sides. For the last two Sundays, Mark's sister has been in town and she very graciously cooked lunch. Grandmother loves having her family around the dining table on Sundays.

What did you do this weekend? Does your church celebrate All Saints Day? Do you eat Sunday lunch as a family?

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday Stealing - Family/Framily edition


1. How big is your immediate family? Who are the members? My original immediate family – I have two sisters. I’m the baby. One sister is 8 years older and the other is 13 years older. Our parents have been dead many years. My “now” immediate family is me, hubby, one daughter and one son-in-law with a 2 year old and one son and one daughter-in-law with a 5 year old.

Here we are last November - we are having
family photos taken next Saturday for this

2. Who are you closest to in your family? What kind of relationship do you have with that person? Is it like friendship? I’m very close to the sister who is 8 years older. We were still living at home when our mom died and I actually lived with her and her now ex-husband for a while. I’m also close to both of our kids. Our daughter calls almost every day and we chat. Hubby and I are as different as night and day so many of our leisure activities are different BUT as empty nesters, we have become much closer. I think Covid and all of those months of staying at home also made us closer.

3. Which day of the year are you most likely to spend with your family? It is rare for me and my sisters to spend any specific day of the year together. Middle sister lives many hours away and older sister lives about an hour away. We usually spend Thanksgiving with our kids and my husband’s immediate family.

4. As a child, did you go on family trips? What do you remember about those vacations? We went to the beach almost every summer for a week. I think my parents must have scrimped and saved so that we could go. We ate most meals in the little houses we rented. We usually went to Captain Anderson’s or some other seafood restaurant for one meal which was always a treat!

5. Is there a black sheep in your family? What is different about them? I don’t think we have a black sheep.

6. Do you know your extended family? How many of them have you met? I know my first cousins on my mom and dad’s side of the family. Hubby has lots of first cousins and we know them, too. I did 23 and me several years ago and I need to try to meet some of those folks.

7. Have you ever been to a family reunion? How was it? We’ve had family gatherings but not in many years. When I was a child, we went to “the first Sunday of May” decoration day. It was at a tiny church and people brought Sunday lunch to be shared together after the service. I think they called it “dinner on the grounds” and they had a concrete picnic table where they spread out the food. I think the point was to “decorate” the graves of your family members. I don’t remember ever decorating any graves. I remember meeting a few other relatives but since our parents and grandparents are no longer living . . .I have no idea where they live or even their names at this point.

8. Who are you most proud of among your relatives? Who do you look up to? My daddy was pretty amazing and actually so was our mom.  My daddy dropped out of school and I assume he got his GED if they did that back then. He was a carpenter and then an engineer for the L & N Railroad. My mom was placed in “foster care” (before there was foster care so I have no idea who she was living with) and she overcame a lot. I don’t know if the families were nice to her.

9 What characteristics have you inherited from your parents? Do you look like them? Do you behave like they do? I look a lot like our mom. Years ago at a funeral, one of my mother’s step brothers came up to me and said, “oh my goodness – you look just like your mom did.” One of her other step-brothers would always whisper in my ear, “you look just like your mama.” Those words were balm to my soul. My daddy had a temper and I have to constantly fight that tendency. As I get older, I also find myself slipping in a colorful word or two . . .and he “cussed” like a sailor!

10. Does your family have any heirlooms? Will you inherit anything that has been in the family a long time? We don’t have any that I know of! I have a quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was a child. My daddy was a blue collar worker so we were never wealthy.

11. What happens to old people in your family? Do they live with younger family members or move to a retirement home? How would you prefer to spend your old age? My parents never made it to old age so I don’t know how that would have been. My husband’s mother is having a difficult time right now (she is 96) and her children are taking turns spending the night with her in her home and we have sitters during part of each day.

12. If you are married, how well do you get along with your in-laws? My mother-in-law has been a mother to me far longer than I even knew my own mother. She has been a wonderful mother-in-law. I think I get along ok with my sisters-in-law and also my brothers-in-law.

hubby's side of the family (in-laws) at our
daughter's wedding. We are missing one
nephew in this photo.

13. What do people mean when they say, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”? This saying is very true. Our family is our family – period.

14. If you live far away from some members of your family, how do you keep in touch? How often do you communicate? I talk to one sister almost every day and I talk to the other sister every three or four weeks. As I said above, I talk with our daughter almost every day and I talk with our son at least once a week.

15. Are you so close to any of your friends that you consider them to be like family? YES! YES! YES! We have been in a supper club since 2004 and those people are framily. We not only gather together monthly but we pray for each other and keep up with each other’s families. I'm also in a friend group with 3 women and we get together once a month for lunch. They are definitely framily - I don't have a single picture of the four of us together. I thought I did!! There are also a few young adults who we think of as family. As I'm typing, I'm realizing how many friends we consider framily. We met a younger couple on a trip a couple of years ago and I think of them as framily, too!

The four friends on the left are definitely my
sisters and I claim the one on the far right, too.
Our daughter is the pregnant one in the middle
and the young women - one on the left
and two on the right -- I claim them as
extra daughters.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

I Was Going to Ask You on a Date

Several of you have asked me to share a story that I casually mentioned in another post. First of all, I want to be very clear. My heart goes out to all Vietnam Veterans and to all those who have served in any war. Also, I am in no way form or fashion making fun of anyone who is homeless. Our church is very involved in helping those who have no place to live and those who suffer due to insufficient income.

On to the story and I need to start with the "back" story:

A co-worker, on her next to last day before retirement, backed into my car. Since we were leaving the country, we dropped my car off at the dealership on the night before our flight. We were thinking that we wouldn't have to rent a car because we were going to be gone 10 days and surely the repairs would be done by our return. We returned from our trip and Mark called to see if we could come and get my car. NOPE! They hadn't even begun because of my friend's insurance. After a phone call or two, things were straightened out and work was to begin on my car . . .but now, I had to have a rental. The State Farm agent made the arrangements for a rental car and Mark drove me to the Hertz location and let me out . . .and he drove off to go check in at his office since we had been gone. I walked in and told them I had a text saying my rental was ready . . .and they proceeded to tell me that there was not a single rental car available. I quickly called Mark and he had to turn around in traffic and come back and get me and drop me off at home before he could go to the office. Around 4:00 that afternoon, I called and they had a car so we made a return trip to Hertz.

The rental car had Illinois tags (remember this).

Fast forward (or slow crawl) 11 days and my car was ready. This short story is turning into a much longer story - sorry :-). I called Hertz and asked if I needed to fill the tank before returning the rental and the answer was yes.

There is a Shell gas station/convenience store/fried chicken place about a mile from our office. I drove there on my lunch hour to fill up. I stepped out of the car and inserted the card and started pumping gas. I had pumped maybe 10 seconds when I noticed a man approaching me. I did reach back into my car and grabbed my purse and put it on my shoulder just because I had recently read about some gas station thieves. This man had a pleasant expression on his face and he had great dreadlocks. As he approached, he asked, "Are you from Illinois?" (remember the tag). I told him no and that I was an Alabama girl through and through. I thought he would walk away but NOPE he wanted to have a full blown conversation. I decided that it was broad daylight and there were other people around so I would answer his questions.

He told me that he has a sister who lives in Chicago. Then he asked me for money and I told him that my husband always laughs because I never have cash on hand. He then said, "your husband? That was my next question. I was going to ask you on a date." Y'all . . .at this point I'm chuckling because what the what?? He then told me that he is a Vietnam Veteran and that he is homeless. He also said, "Your husband is a lucky man because you are one FINE woman and your husband is one lucky man!" Once again, I'm just chuckling and I said thank you. He told me that he was 66 and that he was probably too old for me. He asked me several times - how old are you? 49? Y'all I'm 63 but I didn't tell him. He THEN ASKED, "Where is your husband right now? Is he at work?" I said yes, yes he is. The man then proceeded to say, "Well, we've got time then!!" Y'all I kid you not!!!!

I texted Mark afterwards and told him that a 66 year old homeless guy with dreadlocks just asked me on a date. Over the previous weekend, another gentleman had been slightly inappropriate to me when I was with Mark. Mark texted back "I better watch out!" hahahaha!!

Of course, the story doesn't end there. I drove to Hertz that afternoon and Mark was to pick me up at 4:30. I went in and turned in the keys and as I was walking back out to wait (covid - no waiting inside) Mark called. There was a stopped train and he was having to go around the world. I sat down on the curb to wait. Literally sat on the curb in a dress with my computer, my purse, and my lunchbox. He then called and said he had to stop at the dealership first because we had to pay and they were going to close. While sitting on the curb . . .I texted with my friend, Marietta. I read part of my book on the kindle app on my phone. Both of our kids called and I talked to them and FINALLY he got there. I felt like all of that deserved Taco Mama for dinner.

What a crazy adventure all due to a fender bender!!

Oh - just FYI, I drive by that gas station almost every day and I've seen my friend in that Shell parking lot several times. I'm thinking he might be running a scam. I wonder how many other ladies he has asked on a date this week?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Thankful Hodgepodge

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog and link up here or feel free to answer in the comment section!

From this Side of the Pond
1. Three things you're grateful for this first week of November? 
I am thankful for my family and our friends (who are like family) and our church and oh so many other things - good health, sunshine, a juicy orange! This week I'm feeling very thankful so my list could go on and on.

2. Is Daylight Savings Time a thing where you live? Do you think we should continue setting the clocks forward and back? Why or why not? If you could add an extra hour to your day would you want it added morning-noon-night? Do you think it likely you'd be more productive or more likely that you'd just waste more time? Yes, daylight savings time is a thing here in Alabama. I wish we could just get on one time and stay there. Of course, I would "say" that I would love an extra hour every day but I don't know if I would be productive or not.

3. Who is  your favorite author? Your favorite book by your favorite author? I love reading so I don't know that I have a true favorite. I love James Patterson. I enjoy Janet Evanovich. Let me tell you what I just read - go load it on your Kindle or go to your library and check it out. Historical fiction is not my normal genre but this book is worth reading. I didn't want to put it down and I didn't want it to end. After you read the book, read what both authors wrote and read where they took creative license vs. actual history. After you read it, I would love to hear your opinion.

4. It's National Sandwich Day...will you celebrate? How often do you eat a sandwich? What's your favorite? I actually had a tuna salad sandwich for lunch on Tuesday. Have y'all purchased the Lewis Keto bread? It is a game changer. I've never been a "normal" breakfast eater so probably 5 out of 7 days a week, I have a few slices of turkey, a slice of velveeta, a squirt of two of mustard, a tiny squirt of Hellman's' light mayo on Lewis Keto bread for breakfast. Yes, I know it is weird but it works for me.

5. Have you started your Christmas shopping? If so when did you start? If not when will you start? Do you give more or fewer gifts than you did five years ago? I have not started my shopping. I will probably do most of my shopping online and I will probably shop online over Thanksgiving weekend. Our "children" and our daughter-in-law all have November birthdays and I like to celebrate their birthdays and Thanksgiving first - before we decorate for Christmas and before I start shopping for Christmas.

6. Insert your own random thought here. We had an awesome Halloween night. By my best calculations, we had between 1000 and 1100 trick or treaters and they were polite and they had fun costumes. I love our street - everyone is sitting outside with a beverage handing out candy. I did feel slightly sorry for myself over the weekend. We were not invited to a single party and social media made me think that everyone I know was at a party. I guess that means that I need to have a party . . .that way, I have a party to attend!!

We bought 1520 pieces of candy and
we gave away close to 1500 pieces.
The first 5-600 got one piece each.
The last 45 minutes, we gave out
two pieces per kid.

The trick or treaters seem to arrive in groups
most of the night. I love when a whole
group dresses up with a theme.
This just shows how many
folks there are - we have all
ages and all nationalities.

I have no idea who this family is 
but I asked if I could take their picture.
This is a great family costume idea!!

We didn't get to see our granddaughters in person but I saw pictures and I'll share those, too!

our son, DIL, and granddaughter #1

Granddaughter #1 made the cutest
unicorn jockey - she LOVES

this little nugget had a bad cold
and cough so she dressed up
but they weren't able to go
to their church Trunk or Treat.
She loves that thumb.