Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New toy


Wow, can't believe it has been a week since I last posted. I have been busy reading about compost, cuz, well compost happens...I bought a book and have reading and learning all about composting, because I want to do it right you know? Now I am more confused than ever. Actually, I wasn't confused before I read the book. I just thought you put gunk in there and voila! rich black compost.The author does go on to reassure that just about anything you put in the black box will turn into compost. So I've dumped in weeds, and grass, and scraps, and dirt-maybe I need to get a life?

Speaking of life, my little bush beans are sprouting! It always amazes me to see those delicate little stems shoving heavy soil out of the way as they seek the sun and its warmth. Most of my other plants are doing well also. Except my Petunias. They look a little puny. I have to have Petunias, I love Petunias and the way they smell. Someone should formulate a perfume that has a Petunia base.

This blog writer is in a bad mood. I had to go shopping today for an outfit to wear to a big shindig at the MOTH's (M-O-T-H stands for man of the house)place of work. Shopping almost always leaves me in a foul mood. The body just isn't what it used to be and trying on clothes just serves to remind me of that fact. Unless I'm shopping for shoes, the feet are the last to go. The rest of me may expand, but the feet stay pretty much the same size.

I always come home from shopping grumpy and determined to go on a diet. And, of course, what do I do when I get home? Grab a bag of salad crutons and eat the whole thing. Not good. At least I washed them down with diet Coke. So now I'm fat, grumpy, and have really bad garlic breath.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

A glass of strawberry tea and time with Hilary

I think I mentioned earlier in the week a cute little cookbook my sister sent me as part of my birthday celebration. It is written by the fabulous tea room near her home. I was looking through it and found a recipe for strawberry tea that sounded so good that I decided to make it to take to work today along with other goodies to celebrate my bday and a co-workers. Oh boy! that recipe is a keeper. It was so divinely delicious. I am going to give the recipe here for anyone else who would like to have a glass of strawberry tea.

Steep 3 family size teabags in 1 1/2 qts. boiling water for 5 min. Add 1/2 c. sugar, one large can of thawed lemonade, and 1 10 oz bag of thawed, pureed strawberries. Chill. When ready to serve, add a 2 litre bottle of lemon-lime soda. That's it. You gotta try it.

When I got off work I had big plans with my granddaughter Hilary. She recently lost 2 teeth and had a stash of $ from the Tooth Fairy and wanted to take me out to eat Chinese food and then go to my house to do make-overs on each other. The dinner ended up costing more than she had so I paid, but that was o.k.

We headed home and for the duration of the 25 min. drive we played, "guess my favorite number, Lovey" It was always "6". Every single time, all 15 miles.

The makeovers were a lesson in color theory. I ended up looking rather bruised and battered as it turned out because purple was the favorite color of the day (along with number "6" of course.).Then we moved onto water colors, then bubbles outside that she and the dog tried to bite. That was followed by a bit of singing from my "50 Songs for Children", also a gift from my sister. Next was watercolors (again), a snack, and behold! What did my ears hear? It was the sound of her parent's car in the drive coming to pick up the little general. I think that girl could whip an army battalion into shape.

All of this was accompanied by running commentary about life in the kindergarten fast lane, the boy she is "absolutely crazy about" (her words), why she thinks I should get some pet mice, what should we play after we finished playing, and the clincher, "Lovey, you are my favorite Lovey." After that little affirmation I was just about ready to start all over again. Almost.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

missing you...


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spreading the birthday joy



Well, my OLDEST sister has come up with novel way to celebrate her YOUNGER sister turning 50. And I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying what the old girl came up with. Everyday since last Friday she has been mailing me a little something. Lots of times the theme is "50" Today's, for instance, was the fantastic vintage songbook. When I opened it, I was so captivated by the illustrations and the songs that it completely went over my hoary old head that the book was titled "50 Songs for Children". I am spending some quality time with my 5 year old granddaughter Thursday and it is my plan to sing everyone that I know the tune for. That would be about 45 of them. Fun huh?

The same day I got the book, I also received this little packet of Morning Glory seeds from her. I thought she was making reference, in a tongue in cheek way, to my sleeping habits. I AM NOT a Morning Glory. Rarely see it. I AM a MoonFlower, however. I work late and sleep late. It's always worked for me. I should be an all night securtiy gaurd or a stocker at Wal-Mart. So anyway, the seeds are soaking in anticipation of being planted tomorrow, altho I will probably never see them.

I am going to spread the birthday joy in my own way at work Thursday. Another gal I work with also has an April bday so I am making chicken salad to serve on croisannts and a coupld of kinds of cookies. I think maybe green tea shortbread and Madelines. In a super cute cookbook the big sis also gave me I found a recipe for strawberry tea that sounds so delish that I think I will make that too. Everyone will be so surprised.

So thanks, Sis, for all the birthday joy!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

just one more day

Just one more day to hold Isabella, to smell her baby smell, to shovel babyfood into that little rosebud mouth that opens like a baby bird's when she sees the sppoon. Just one more day to hear all her little baby babble taht sometimes sounds exactly like words. Just one more day to try and hold onto the squirmiest baby I have ever held. Just one more day to ask her for a kiss and receive one of those slobbery open mouth kisses. Just one more day to watch her splash about in the tub and one more night to watch as she sits in her mother's lap and listens to her bedtime story.

I want this last day to be special. But, how much more special can it be to just experience all these things one more time and tuck them deeply into my heart and hold them dear until the next time? The next time being Christmas, for we are flying them home for the holiday. i can't think of a better gift.

Oh, and I'll miss her mom too. :) I'll miss the sound of her running down the stairs, clattering in the kitchen, and singing all the goofy songs she knows in all the goofy voices she has created. She is a total goof-ball. I'll miss watching movies with her late at night and I'll just plain miss the sight of her everyday.

For after tomorrow they will be winging their way back to their naval base home in Hawaii. I dread the jet lag and the exhaustion of taking care of an active baby on an airplane for such a long flight. I am praying for a safe flight and an empty seat next to her so she can put Isabella in it for a nap. She's one spunky girl and it's a good thing. I hope her husband realizes what a prize he got when he married her.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

happy birthday Louie?



o.K., so yesterday was my 50th birthday. I find that absolutely hysterical. I CANNOT be 50! I still like to bake cakes in my Suzy Homemaker Oven. If it should snow, I would be the first one flying down the hill on the sled, I LOVE a good story book. I still like dolls, and I like to eat "kid" candy. You know, stuff like Laffy Taffy and Tootsie Rolls, oh, and sour candy. I love sour candy.

But, yes, I AM 50. And yesterday I celebrated the fact with some of my favorite people. The funniest thing was my cake. My granddaughter Hilary chose it for me. She made sure that it said "Happy Birthday Lovie" because that is what she
christened me a few years ago. But when my daughter, Hilary's mother, went to pick it up it said, "Happy Birthday LOUIE".Oh my goodness! We all got such a kick out of it! It was worth every penny my daughter paid for the mistake. All evening everyone called me "Louie" My daughter said it sounded like a gangster's cake.

See my presents? I love them all. J.Jill is one of my faves so I cannot wait to use the gift card from their store. That will take all of 15 minutes I am sure. The other boxes contain something I have hankered for and just wouldn't buy: everything for creme brulee! The torch is awesome! i think I will be trying it very soon. As in this week.

There's nothing better than extending the birthday joy over several day's time. Today, protruding from my mailbox was a box from my friend Amy at Inspire Co. If you have never visited her website, you simply must. Without any doubt she is the giftfairy herself just as her website proclaims. I could barely contain myself as I opened up the box from Amy. Inside was a tower of gifts discribing how I stay young. Each box had a little gift representing a secret to youth. Things like "She has a sweet tooth" Inside was some sour jawbreakers. I do love sour candy. Another box said, "She celebrates her birthday all month long" Inside was the sweetest little pin. It went on and on like that for 13 gifts. Even now, hours later, they are still spread over my dining room table. I plan to keep each little typed "secret" to look at for the days when I don't feel so young.

All in all, I think turning 50 was a pretty grand thing. I'm still young enough to be young and just old enough to get the Senior Citizens' discount at the grocery.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

What are we doing?

We are squeezing in all the good times we can with our daughter MC and granddaughterIsabella before they have to leave next week for their navy base home in Hawaii. It is bittersweet fun tho because we are not sure when we will see them again. Christmas hopefully, but you never know.

Earlier this week we took the whole gang and dined at our favorite Italian place,Carrinos. We had a great time. Outside it was pouring rain but inside all was merry and bright at our table. The daughters and I love Sangria so we ordered a carafe and split it 3 ways. It was just enough. Love that stuff.

Today we headed to Knoxville to allow MC and Isabella time to visit Isabella's great-grandparents then we headed to the mall for a little shopping. No trip to the mall is complete without a stop at the Godiva store. We all go in and choose our favorite truffles then walk down the mall swooning over our choices as we dip into the little gold bags that contain nirvana for chocolate lovers. Even little Isabella got in on the act today with a white ganache enrobed in white chocolate. And let me tell you, she can swoon with the best of them when it comes to good candy. She gnawed and squeeled as she leaned back in her stroller with her sweet treasure.

Tomorrow? Well tomorrow is my birthday! So there will be cake! And steaks grilled outside, and Sangria! I told you we like our Sangria! And presents! It's not a bad way to turn 50 let me tell 'ya.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My thumbs are gettin' all green.

It always happens every spring. I trade in my pink polished winter thumbs for thumbs with a greenish tint to them. I start out guns a blazing of course. I talk the husband into tilling up every speck of ground we've got me following behind with some potted treasure picked up at a nursery somewhere. Trouble is, the days get hotter and the weeds tall and my blazing guns barely resemble a fire cracker, and a dud at that. I really want to do better this year. I am thinking small and lots of containers. I almost succumbed to the pricey ones at Lowes, some of them wooden and some in that plastic that looks so realisticly stone. But in a few months the wood gets a little rotty and the stone-looking ones don't look so hot anymore, so I went to Big Lots and picked up a bunch of cheap ones for the price I would have paid for one fake stone one from Lowes. I am going to try growing lots of different things in the pots. One year I grew broccoli in a pot. It did pretty well. but I do have a couple of small strips of tilled up space that I am going to use in the traditional way. I mean you have to have a few tomatoes growing or it's just not summer ya know?

I'm getting all herby again too. I use to have about 50 different herb plants-culinary, craft, and medicinal. I am the family witch doctor and am just fascinated with herbs for health mantenance and even for health related things that aren't serious. I made herbal massage oil for my pregnant girls' growwing bellies last summer and they loved it. I want to make some diaper rash salve and a few other things.Right now the only herbs I really have are culinary so I need to replenish my stash of medicinal ones. I know just the place to go too. It's an herb farm in NC. Getting there is an adventure in and of itself and I am going to try and talk the husband into taking me soon. I think the promise that he can use the 4x4 before journey's end might be an incentive to him. I can always hope.

Speaking of herbs: I've been reading and did you know that most of us have a goldmine right in our lawns? The humble dandelion my friends is an herb you should know. Plus, if you have a whole lot of them growing in your yard, ( and I do) on a sunny day they smell like butter. Everyone knows that you can eat them (unless you sprary your yard), but did you that the plant everyone loves to hate is also a natural diuretic? It is also a tonic and said to be good for gout,rheumatism, and stiff joints. One of my herb books even has what is called the "dandelion cure". Personally I think the malady that dandelion have the biggest effect on is the winter blahs. One of the first plnats to trumpets spring's arrival who can resist those sunny yellow flowers followed by the puffballs that are a mainstay of most childhood memories. So don't curse your dandelions folks, go outside, smell their fragrance, blow a puffball, throw some in your salad and have a little dandelion tea. It will be good for whatever ails you.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

daughters: bane or blessing?

Well, they are a blessing, of course. God blessed me three times. That or He just likes a good laugh.

When they are young, it's pretty simple. Lots of cute clothes that you get to choose, dolls, baby buggies, pony tails and hair bows. I was always sewing or crafting something in sets of three. Now, they don't all have the same taste but if I make something for one, news travels like lightening and I had better get busy and make something for the other 2.

As they grew the estrogen began to flow around here like water over Niagara Falls. We survived the estrogen overflow and now they are all grown-up married, with one daughter each "benefit" as the mother of grown daughters is that suddenly they see themselves as the imparters of all manner of advice for me their mother. Mostly it's on the fashion front. I'll admit to being a little weak in that area. As each decade passes, I get a little fuzzier in that department, or maybe smarter. Comfort is key.

Example: A few years ago I discovered the sports bra. It was love at first wearing for me. A sports bra keeps the "girls" firmly attached to the chest-no jiggle and the straps do not fall off your shoulders. Two great features for a chest that has grown quite a bit over the years. Another plus, you can get them at Wal-Mart and they are cheap. Well, a few weeks ago I found myself in a Victoria's Secret boutique with my youngest. I haven't been in one of these stores in years. Vic. doesn't really cater to us Rubenesque types. As I waited for my daughter as she chose teeny tiny snippets of fabric that pass for panties in these places, I wandered over to the hardware/underwire bras and was surprised to see my size and even more surprised at the price. The daughter, hands full of cutesy printed bits, comes over and proclaims, "Mom, you should try one of their bras. Those sport bras are NOT a good look for you. It makes your boobs look like another fat roll." I tried to ignore the fat roll comment and hoped she would lower her voice a decibel or two as I argued that the thing was way too pricey. Finally, she talked me into it
and I left Vic's only slightly pink-faced with my little bag telling all the world
where I had been.

Once home, I tried on my new armour. Gosh, I hate when I'm wrong! No shoulder straps falling and two girls that look as though they have had a face lift.

Daughters-I think I'll keep mine. but now way will they get me in those stilettos they wear.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

more scenes of home





Home; I love it so. Ask my girls and they will tell you what a homebody I am. I can stay home for days and be quite content. I love making things look pretty with flowers and plants and little arrangements here and there. I love the little blue grape hyacinths all nestled in their pot with the pewter bird keeping watch. It sits in a corner of the vanity in my downstairs bath.

The flowers in the cut glass punchbowl pack a different kind of punch I think. i love the colors. It is just 3 bunches of grocery store bouquets. 5 bucks each. So far they have lasted a week. The tulips are living a faster paced life I am afraid. Just 3 days ago they were just buds, now they are full-fledged gaudy gals all decked out in red and black. I'll tuck something else in there as soon as these girls wind up their show.

The pink thing that looks a little like one of those frou-frou things ladies used to put on rolls of toilet paper to, well disguise the toilet paper? That is the cake I made for my middle daughter's birthday today. It was so pretty! So very girly girl I think. I was at Michael's last week and came across a cake decorating book published by Martha Stewart and when I saw this cake, I knew I had to make it. So I bought 3 of the 6" pans that the recipe called for, stocked up on butter and eggs and went to work. i am not usually that great a cake baker, but this one turned out great-nice and level, all 3 layers. The Swiss Meriingue Buttercream was tricky and I almost lost faith that it would work, but yes! it did.The ruffle decorating technique was very quick and easy too. It was very impressive in the end i think.

We had a great time celebrating daughter B's birthday. Good food, a pitcher of Wild Plum Tea and lots and lots of laughter with the antics of the granddaughters and the dog thrown in. We never pass up an opportunity to laugh and act goofy. My favorite proverb says, "A mery heart doeth good like a medicine" That is so true.
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Go Fly a Kite!



Granddaughter Hilary and her pop saw the last days of March out in a timely fashion. Although March made her entrance lamb-like, she said good-bye in the same way. No lions in my part of the country anyway. Just cool and brisk.

It was a crazy month for us. We have been having lots of company and the house has been filled with all manner of conversation, laughter, and unfortunately, almost everyone has been in some stage of the crud that is going around. I think I am the only person who hasn't had it.

March always brings out the wanna-be gardener in me. I start out swell, but choke along the way, usually once the going gets hot outside. A little sweat on my brow and I wimp out quick. But right now when everything is new and green, I am gung-ho. A pea patch would be so sweet, tomatoes superb, and zuchinni-well we won't talk about those little monsters will we? Maybe I'll manage a few container crops and just call it a day.
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