Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Full, Fun, February Hodgepodge

 I'm joining up with Joyce and friends for Wednesday Hodgepodge - thanks for the questions.

1. February is coming to a close. Give us a two-word phrase that tells us something about how yours went. First, I must ask . . .how in the world is February coming to a close? Now to answer the question – how about “full and fun”? I’m not counting the “and.”

2. If you had to describe how you're feeling right now as an amusement park ride, what ride are you on? Explain. I am at the top of the Tower of Terror . . .about to drop! That is really way too dramatic but I do have my mid-term this week and between living normal life, working full-time, and trying to study, I do feel as if I’m perched on the edge.

3. What's something on your desk or a nearby wall that cheers you up when you see it or walk past? I don’t have our Easter decorations out yet BUT I did buy this precious wooden bunny tray on Saturday, and he is so cute. I decided to go ahead and leave him out. I bought him at WALMART!! Just in case anyone is panicking. I do move him when I turn on the oven.

4.  Are you a salad eater? How many salads do you typically eat in a week? Your favorite kind of salad? I love a good salad! I eat several per week. I have a few favorites – a local Italian/Pizza (Pizzeria GM) restaurant has a SHAVED BRUSSEL SPROUTS, PEAR, DRIED CRANBERRIES, PECAN, GORGONZOLA, & BACON W/ MAPLE-BALSAMIC DRESSING (copied from their menu) and I always add grilled shrimp. It is delicious. There is another local restaurant (Greenhouse) near my office and they have The Greenhouse salad which is mixed greens, romaine, watercress, pickled onion, tomato, goat cheese, salad crunch, avocado, Goddess vinaigrette and I add chicken. Can you tell that I prefer salad as a meal, not as a side? Our newest at home favorite is the Maple Bourbon Bacon salad kit. It is yummy!

5. Without telling us the category give us your top five:

(not necessarily in this order)



Cara Cara Oranges



Sunday, February 25, 2024

Smoking Hot Sunday Stealing

I'm joining up with the Sunday Stealing gang. Bev steals the questions and we answer. 

1. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? I have smoked one regular cigarette in my life trying to be cool (how dumb was that?). My daddy was a smoker and smoked unfiltered Camels. He did quit smoking because I came home from early elementary school and told him he was going to die . . .and I imagine I cried. I’m sure there were other reasons he quit. I will tell you that he did die of lung cancer many years later (when I was 25). All of this to say that I did inhale a lot of second-hand smoke in my early life.

2. What do you think of hot dogs? To be honest, I don’t “think” of hot dogs very often hahaha! I do enjoy eating a good hot dog – no raw onions, please. Sneaky Pete’s has a chili cheese dog that is very good. (adding this several hours later . . .hot dogs must have been on my mind after this question because I ate 2 Hebrew National 97% fat free hot dogs on 2 keto buns for lunch!! I just had no sugar added Heinz ketchup and mustard on them.)

3. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I start my day with Diet Pepsi!

4. What's your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? I love my engagement ring and wedding ring. Mark also gave me a diamond necklace and earrings but I don’t wear them that often. I have a piece of costume jewelry from my mom that I don’t wear but have always loved. It is a peacock with multi-colored stones. (I went upstairs to take a picture of the peacock pin and I'm guessing it was a casualty of the fire. I've looked everywhere for it - through all of the odds and ends of old jewelry - and I can't find it. Does anyone know what that gold thing in the upper middle is -- looks sort of like a ring with a chain? Some of this jewelry was my mom's and some belonged to Mark's Aunt Nelle. That funky piece and the gold charm bracelet belonged to Aunt Nelle.

I did find my long strand of pearls (below) that my daddy gave to me. I think he opened some money market accounts (or whatever we had back in the 70's/early 80's) and the pearls were a gift for a large deposit. I don't have many things from either of my parents so I love what I do have.

5. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Diet Pepsi is number one. I try to drink some water everyday. Oh wait . . .are you talking regular day to day drinks or alcoholic drinks? I love a good Moscow Mule or a good Cosmopolitan. I love Margaritas, but they have lots of sugar. Have you tried Cayman Jack no sugar added Margaritas? They are delicious, too.

6. Like to travel? Yes! Yes! Yes! I would be happy to be on a plane right now!

7. What should you be doing right now? I should be taking a shower and getting dressed. I should also be studying for my mid-term, which is due by Thursday of this week.

8, Your phone rings. Who do you want it to be? How about one of our kids or grandkids?

9. Do you like to ride horses? I have ridden a horse a few times in my life at tourist locations – Smoky Mountains and Hawaii.

10. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? It depends. If I’m with good friends, I’m a talker – both Mark and I are. If I’m with folks I don’t know well, I’m a listener until I get more comfortable. Mark and I can be the life of the party 😊 or either the really obnoxious guests hahaha!

11. What's in your pocket right now? There is nothing in my pocket right now but there is usually a Kleenex.

12. Last thing that made you laugh? We went over to our son’s house last night and Mark and granddaughter #1 were playing Barbies. On the way home from the basketball game, I heard her say, "Pops, do you have a story for the Barbies?" Mark invents these elaborate stories for them to use and last night's story involved the Barbies running away to be a part of the circus and they were walking on a tightrope. It was cute!!

13. How many TVs do you have in your house? We have 3 TV’s. Mark has one in the garage in front of the treadmill and his exercise bike. We have one in the family room and one in our loft/den/living space upstairs.

14. Who's your loudest friend? I am. We were just talking about that the other day. I’m loud. Our daughter is loud. Her daughter is loud. Most of our friends are more quiet.

15. Favorite sports team? (If you don't have one, just state that). Auburn Tigers – we are all Auburn, all the time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Thinking about the HodgePodge


I’m joining up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. She asks the questions and we answer and link up!

1. What kind of thinker are you-doer concrete thinking) analyst (analytical and abstract thinking), orator (logical thinking) inventor (imaginative thinking) or original thinker (creative)? What makes you say so? You can try this little quiz (link here) to help with your answer.  I had to take the test! These are my results and I somewhat agree. I thought I would be more “doer” and less “inventor.”

Doer: 38%
Analyst: 25%
Orator: 75%
Inventor: 63%
Original Thinker: 63%

2. Do you own a crock pot, air fryer, and/or instapot? Do you leave said small appliance sitting out? How often do you use it/them? Favorite thing to make in one of these? I own 3 crockpots. They live on a nice shelf in our garage. I use them often for Tuesday nights when we feed the young professionals. We fed 18 last night. I love making this recipeand the young adults will clean out three crockpots of this soup. I have a small air fryer and I have a spot for it in my pantry. I wanted one that was small enough that I could lift it out and put on a counter when needed, and then put it away. I use it about once a week or so and I mainly use it for frozen French fries. I LOVE French fries but try not to eat the ones that are actually “fried.” I allow myself to have the real thing a few times a year. I do not have an instapot. I personally love clean countertops and I do not like cluttered countertops at all.

3. What's something you hold a strong opinion on that matters not at all in the grand scheme of things? Last week, I mentioned that love means allowing your husband to fold the towels and not refold them. I really love to have our towels all rolled with the “finished” edge toward the front. I guess you can tell that I actually have a strong opinion on how the towels are folded.

4. Describe the view from your window. This is part of the view from our front windows (not today's view). We live on a park and when everything is green and lush . . .or when the leaves on the trees are orange and yellow and red are two of my favorite times to see this view. I also love to see children (especially our grandgirls) and dogs running happily all over the park.

5. Do you have a favorite brand? Explain. I love real post-it notes. I do not like the fake ones. I also love my Apple watch and I-phone. My most favorite brand would be Diet Pepsi 😊.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  I turned in a project for my American Lit class today and I am not confident about what my grade might be. It had to be done in a PowerPoint Presentation – I’ve made slides in PowerPoint before BUT items had to be cited in MLA fashion and even though I have the book and the internet, I’m 99% sure that I did those citations incorrectly. Also, I’m not sure I provided enough information about old Benjamin Franklin and his “The Way to Wealth” essay. These are those things that are so easy for a 19 year old but not necessarily as easy for this 65 year old.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

This & That AGAIN

So what have we been up to lately? I'm in the middle of writing a Power Point Presentation for my American Lit class and it is on The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin and this old lady is in over her head - just saying. That is why I'm blogging . . .my brain is fried.

I created a cute invitation a week or so ago to send out to our staff. We had a diaper and book shower for one of our co-workers. She has two little girls and this baby is a BOY!

Last weekend, we went to our long time (20 years) supper club on Friday night and our neighborhood supper club on Saturday night - Fun! Since it was Mardi Gras time, I decided to make King cakes for both events.
Here is my dough rising!

I also made an apple roll for Friday night. The recipe is here. I did sprinkle the green, gold, and purple sugar on top.

Here is King Cake #1 - it had a cream cheese, raisin, and pecan filling. Our friends said it was delicious.

Saturday morning, Mark picked up our local granddaughter and we decorated the golf cart for the Mardi Gras parade. We have it every year but this was our first year to decorate and participate.

We had 100 strings of beads and 100 mini moon pies. I need to order twice that next year.

Here we are on the back of the golfcart - headed to the town hall to line up for the parade.

I think we had 18-20 golf carts participating.

There is a better shot of this golf cart later on but the alligator was eating her hand. She thought that was so funny.

Mark was our driver and here we are in line.

Here we are!

The next few pictures are out of order. Sorry! We actually had to veer out of the parade in order to get our granddaughter to her basketball game . . .which she calls her cheer game! yep! She is 2nd from the right.

Here she is - they are mid court ready to do their half-time show.

After the game, we rushed back home for me to make two more King Cakes - one was cream cheese, raisin, and pecan and one was cream cheese, apple, and pecan.

Here are the out of order photos -- all three of us in line in front of the town hall -- waiting on our start time.

Here is a better picture of the whole golf cart. I think this one won "best decorated golf cart." It was clever!! (The phrase is from Swamp People"

Look at the side!!

Jump ahead to Tuesday and we had the diaper and book shower! This is our breakroom at work and we work with what we have :-). I can't believe we didn't take a picture of the mom-to-be or the food on the table!

I did take one picture of the cupcakes with the cute giraffe picks!!

Tuesday night, some of our young adult guys ordered these t-shirts - I heart Mark's meats. Yes - they are being very funny - haha! They had asked me to get Mark to smoke meat for their dinner (which he did) and then this group showed up in their shirts.

Mark is right in the middle of these crazy boys. 

We move from "sort of inappropriate" t-shirts to Ash Wednesday. Our service at 6:00 p.m. was meaningful and lots of folks attended.

Today we hopped in the car and took a load of clothes and stuff to our daughter's house. They live about an hour and 15 minutes (maybe an hour and a half) away from us. We drove down, ate lunch, played with our granddaughter, and came back home so I can work on my presentation . . .that I'm not doing at the moment. Please send help.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Love! Love! Love! Hodgepodge!

1. What does love mean to you? Do you remember the phrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? I always thought that was weird because to me, love means saying you’re sorry when you need to because you love that person. To quote scripture: Love is patient and kind. Love is not self-seeking. Love protects, trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love is way more than a feeling – love goes much deeper.

2. Is love blind? I don’t think love is blind. I love Mark but I can see that he folds the towels incorrectly (hahaha!). Love is accepting the gift that he folded the towels and saying thank you (and not criticizing his method or refolding them)!

3. How do you remember Valentine's Day as a kid? Do you have any special plans for the day this year? I remember making a Valentine Box and having a party and opening the cards and eating cupcakes. I can actually remember the Room Mothers standing around the edge of the room.

4 Are you a fan of the movie genre known as 'rom-com'? What's your favorite (or one of your favorites)? I do like rom-com but I don’t get to watch a lot of movies.

5. What's something you recently put your heart into? I’m getting ready to put my heart into teaching our John Wesley Sunday School class. I’ll be teaching beginning this week through Lent. We will be studying Crafting a Rule of Life by Stephen Macchia. Over the years, I have taught our class about 90% of the time. . .and then our house burned in July of 2022 . . .and then my job started including working on Sunday mornings. Since then, I’ve taught two Advent series and a Lenten series and I’ve taught another series or two.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  We had a great weekend and I have photos . . . maybe I’ll have time to write about it later tonight or tomorrow.

Heart art - free art from adobe stock

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Sunday Stealing

 I'm joining up with the Sunday Stealing thieves! 

1. What is a big dream you have for the future? At the moment, my big dream is to graduate from college.

2. What are your favorite hobbies? I actually love to do paper crafts and sew but I haven’t had time to do those things lately. We love to hang out with friends and we make time for that and I love to read and try to read some for pleasure every day. I’m not sure if this counts as a hobby, but I ride my stationary bike every day, too.

3. If you could change the world, what would you do? Could we have peace on earth and people in charge of the world who actually care about people?

4. What places have you traveled to?  What was your favorite? I’ve been to Israel, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Ireland. I loved them all but Mark and I both LOVED Ireland a lot!!

5. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I think I shared this one time – growing up, my family put mayo on corn on the cob. I was probably a teenager before I realized the rest of the world put butter on their corn. Butter is so much better.

6. What are your favorite places to eat? The places aren’t as important as the people with whom we are dining! Birmingham is a Foodie city, and we have amazing restaurants here. One of our recent favorites is Blueprint on Third.

7. What kind of music do you like?  Talk about a favorite artist or songs. I’m horrible with music. I like it and I listen to it and I appreciate it but I don’t have a favorite.

8. What was the last book you read? I’m reading The Ghost Orchid by Jonathan Kellerman right now.

9. If you could meet a character from a book, who would it be? I love to read funny cozy mysteries and there are several characters from those books whom I would love to meet. Just to name a few, I would like to meet Stephanie Plum and Grandma Mazur and Lula (books by Janet Evanovich)

10. Do you prefer books or movies?  Why? I love books (kindle) and I’ve always loved books.

11. What is something you used to be scared of, but aren’t any more? I don’t think I have an answer to that question.

12. What is something you were never afraid of, but are now? Same#11 – I don’t have an answer for this.

13. What item is your most cherished possession?  Why? I had a baby quilt that was made for me 65 years ago. I’m hoping it is somewhere packed away because I haven’t found it since the fire. I think my most cherished possession might be photographs (my neighbor rescued them). Why are photos important? Photos are like tiny glimpses of memory!

14. What awards or contests have you won? I was the Iron Man Ski Queen first runner-up back in the early 80’s (beauty pageant). I’m a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society as a 65-year-old college student. Pappy van Winkle had a contest quite a few years ago and I won a bottle of Pappy for my husband signed by the younger Mr. van Winkle. I won the bike rodeo when I was in grammar school hahaha!

15. Do you like working jigsaw puzzles? I don’t dislike working jigsaw puzzles, but we rarely do them.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

A Little of this and a Little of that

January was/is our Generosity month at church. This is a time where we ask folks to make a pledge of how much they will give over the year (tithe). A person isn't held to this. If life changes, folks can update their amount. We were to have our Leadership Dinner on MLK day but there was the chance of ice, so we postponed a week. Our theme was Greek (Paul-Corinthians) and our Chef made amazing food for the evening. We had stuffed grape leaves and Greek salad and pita and homemade hummus. We had chicken kebobs and Greek potatoes. It was a yummy meal. We, as the staff, were the servers to our leaders. One job I've never held is a server in a restaurant, but I think I did ok!!

We had great music. Our theme was "Cheerful" so we had some funny videos of our pastors and staff.

I told y'all that our designer (from the re- build of the house) came with a photographer to take photos of our house. She posted this one on social media of Harvey.

A week or so ago, Mark and I went to eat lunch at Ted's, a restaurant that has been in town for over 50 years. We were the recipients of a gift card.

Mark had fried chicken livers (not I).

I had a hamburger steak, brussel sprouts, and broccoli rice casserole. Needless to say, we ate yogurt for dinner.

Last weekend, we had supper club at our house and I made chicken pot pie. I should have taken a picture after I cooked it, but I forgot. It was delicious and we had a great time. We sat at the dining room table long after we had finished eating. We laughed a lot.

The last Sunday of January was our Celebration Sunday -- the Celebration of a wonderful month of Generosity. We had our Welcome Center decorated and it looked amazing.

We went to Soho Taco for dinner on Thursday night and then we went to the Homewood Theater for a great play. I laughed a lot. Community theater is fun. A lot of our friends have season tickets, too, and that makes it even more fun.

I have no pictures of Friday night but I went to a co-worker's home with a few others and we ate dinner together and participated in an on-line women's conference from Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. There were lots of ladies participating in person but we did the on-line version. Covid was good for something. We know now how to stream just about anything!! On Saturday, we all watched/listened from our own homes and had a text thread going between us.

Mark moved several of our plants to the garage for winter and this one is thriving!

We actually had a warm and sunny Saturday, but this is Alabama. We will have ups and downs in temps from now through March. It was nice to sit on our porch.

 Our neighbors invited us over to eat outside on Saturday night because the weather was amazing (before the monsoons arrived!). She has a garden in her yard and grew the Brussels and we had sweet potatoes and smoked chicken. I contributed some brown sugar brownies.

We watched Auburn basketball while eating.

The three of them toasted with an after dinner drink of RumChata mixed with something else. I politely declined.

I worked Sunday morning and we thought no one would come because of the rain but we were surprised once again. Our church parking lot was totally full so we greeted lots of folks!

Sunday afternoon, I made a giant pot of spaghetti sauce because I was going to (and did) make lasagna for our young adult group.

I took this picture of Harvey this weekend. He is such a handsome boy!!

All right - I'm caught up!! If you read all of this, you are amazing.