Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Crafty

Ah what a day it has been! The weather today was pretty warm for December and very windy which only means one thing... much rain is on the way. I have cleaned house, cooked a little, hung some laundry outside and got a tad crafty. I have guests coming over tomorrow for a little New Year's black eyed peas, cabbage, apples and hog jawl. Yesterday I got inspired to make something for my gals coming... although I'm not quite sure who will show up! Whoever the friends are they will have a little parting gift from me to start off their new year.

One of my resolutions for 2011 is to begin journalling again. I used to carry my journal around with me everywhere. I not only kept random writings but also ideas. If I need a recipe for bath salts I still know where to go! Aside from my journal I almost always have a spiral notebook nearby. I have at least four floating spirals for grocery lists, quick thoughts and whatever else I want to write down at the time. Heck, I have two sitting right here by my computer! One of them has some notes and pictures of an idea for my guests tomorrow to tie in my spiral love and writing. They are super easy to make and cheap!

Here's what you need: spiral notebooks, fabric, patches, ribbon, spray glue, newspaper

Yep that's it! Cut the fabric into 7.5 x 10 inch rectangles. Iron fabric if needed. Pic what you want to decorate your spiral with.

Spread out some newspaper and in a well ventilated area. Turn fabric over and spray the back of the fabric with spray glue (genius invention!) Turn the fabric over and place it onto the front of a spiral notebook pressing down to secure. Next spray the backs of your patches one at a time and place them on the front of your spiral.

Let the notebooks dry for about 15 minutes or so.

For the last step, open the notebook to the back cardboard. Spray one end of a piece of ribbon cut to about 12 inches long. Place it in the top left corner of the inside piece of cardboard. Allow to dry at least 30 minutes before closing. Your friends are bound to love taking a new journal, grocery book and whatever they'll like to use it for!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Calling All Jars... To The Basement!

The Christmas holiday is over. We got home from Sunday school and church and something clicked. Something that clicks about this time every year. The subconscious urge to get organized. I don't know if it's a subliminal superstition that things need to be put away, floors need to be swept, empty canning jars to the basement, or if it is simply a mental reasoning, "every thing's in it's place" feeling that I need when a new year is coming. Either way... it has to be done before the stroke of midnight on January 31st.

I actually think I did read the superstition once, maybe in a feng shui book I picked up while trying to cleanse my home. I, to this day, after reading a small belief book of red doors and plants in certain corners, have nothing under my bed. Actually there is a dog bed but she prefers it be there... not me.

Today I have completely cleaned my crap/craft room, moved my jars, put up the Christmas tree and stockings, organized the VCR/DVDs and feel much, much better. Yes... we do still have and watch VCR tapes. We live in the country, 1/2 mile off the road. Who can afford to run the cable TV that far? I did, however happily accept an outdoor antenna from my husband this Christmas which I am so excited about. Not that we will have tons more channels to find nothing to watch on but for the shear fact that on Monday nights at 7:00 p.m. from now until free television is no longer offered I will be watching the Antiques Roadshow and eating my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with plain Lay's, dill pickles and beverage of choice with a gratifying smile upon my face.

As for the new year ahead, I will be ready. I still have to arrange the top shelf in the dinnerware cabinet to stop the clinking of glass up there and whatever else I come up with to straighten, dust and regulate. I believe in not taking a bunch of clutter, dirt and disarray into a new year for fear that the year that lies ahead will too be cluttered, dirty and in total disarray. Even if it's just a silly Old Wives' Tale, sweeping out all of this year's dust is a good feeling.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

While cleaning out my, messy as all get out craft room today, I came across some inspiring notes that I took when I was watching a sermon on television one Sunday morning. I am at a constant struggle in my mind between work and my impatient mind in what I really want to be doing with my life. I keep having a nagging in my heart to "just do it" and a pulling in my mind that says "do what?"

My notes included: Lord, take my creativity and make me creative to make a difference. Help me to use the right and left side of my brain together. Help me to use my talents for others.

There are a lot of choices for New Year's Resolutions. One year I made a resolution to stop storing pans and pots inside my oven. I realized just yesterday that I succeded in doing just that. My thoughts today are this, if I can stop a simple habit such as pots and pans storage I can make what I really want to be doing just as simple as that. Can't I?

I'd better get to thinking of what it is I can use my talents for in the coming year.

All things are possbile with God.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

All In A Day's Thankfullness

After a day of orientation at my new part time job, which included five hours of training via computer, my jaw hurt from clinching, my eyes from staring at a white screen and my head from a combination of the two. Not to mention the nauseated feeling from taking quizzes after each session. I have never been a test taker. Even my mother said this after putting myself through real estate school twice and flunking the state test three times. I was still puking the following morning on the way to work after the third time... which was not my charm.

The average person or should I say the "normal" person would have come home, took off their shoes and laid down to rest after an anxiety filled afternoon. Not I. As soon as I rounded the corner of the driveway leading to the house I felt better. I saw Miss Pepper, who is finally old enough to stay out from her pen (at fourteen) while I go out during the day.

When I pulled in the garage and got out of the car I was instantly energized. I came in to the house and immediately threw out the casserole in a bag that had been thawing out all day in the sink. I had just finished learning the do's and don'ts of freezing and thawing and bacteria growing for five hours. There was no way I was cooking it.

I opened the freezer, pulled out two chicken breast and got busy creating a fabulous meal of chicken parmesan, a salad with cukes from the garden and garlic bread for my hard working, good smelling man... and myself. When I hear that diesel engine coming up the drive it puts a smile on my face like no other... every time.

I can have fun at my new job. I get to make things, and clean up after myself and learn new things. And to boot I get to love what I come home to.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Blackberrycello... well that's what I am calling it. After picking berries Sunday morning I couldn't decide what to make with them. I didn't want to make a cobbler because Shaun and I never eat it all and it would just wind up going to the pigs. So I thought I would make a liqueur sort of concoction out of the berries which is what I did.

Feel free to try this yourself. Although I won't be able to give results for some time the berries are free in the woods right now so what the hell.

P.S. this is only part one to the recipe since I am kinda winging it. I will have another post in 40 days with the second step... K?


2 1/2 cups blackberries
3 cups vodka or 750 ml
lemon zest of 1 lemon

Put blackberries into a large glass jug.
Take your potato masher and squash the heck out of them. Next using your lemon zester, scrape the yellow off of the lemon. Try not to get any of the white pith... pith... pith is something you do behind a truck at a party... after dark of course. Not a fan of that word. Add the lemon zest to the mashed blackberries.

Pour in the vodka, put the lid on and give it a good shake to mix it up well. It doesn't really matter what kind of vodka you use. Cheap stuff, expensive stuff... it all gets you where you want to be. Just make sure it's 80 to 100 proof because this will probably be stored in the freezer.

Now comes the wait. Place your jug in a cool, dark place. Mine stays underneath our steps in the basement. Pretty much any time of the year you'll find something in a jar under there... fermenting... in a good way. Leave it there for lets say forty days. You can visit it from time to time and give it a little shake and a smooch if you want to. Then we'll go to step two.

I actually made mine on the 28th. So somewhere around August 6th or 7th I will post the second stage of our experiment. If your planning ahead you will need sugar, water and more vodka. So you (I) have time to save for the next bottle. Hey I'm the one with no job here!
I am thinking about trying a different recipe to see which one turns out the best so stay tuned.

Fried Southern Squash

They're coming in! The squash plants in our garden are starting to produce squash like nobody's business! Are boy are they gooood. Last week Shaun and I picked the first two squash from our garden. They were in the frying pan within thirty minutes! Although I froze squash to use all winter long we have been out for a couple of months. At the same time, if you're a squash lover, nothing can beat the taste of a freshly picked yellow beauty.

Here's my recipe for fried squash. It is based on just two squash because that's enough for a side dish for me and my hubby.

Southern Fried Squash

2 Squash
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 Tablespoon Butt Rub or whatever seasoning you prefer.. or not
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cups Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon butter

This is in the order of the process here. Slice squash, cutting off the two ends, into about 1/4 inch thick slices or a tad smaller. In a small bowl whisk egg and milk together. In another bowl blend flour, and seasonings together with a fork. Heat canola oil in a skillet on medium high heat.. that's about a six on my dial. Dip each slice into the egg/milk mixture then into the flour mixture flipping it in the flour several times to coat well. Sit each slice on a plate. Do this whilst your oil is heating up.
Test your oil for readiness by adding the butter to it. It should sizzle and melt pretty quick when ready. Place about seven slices of battered squash into the pan. You should be able to see the edge of the bottom beginning to brown slightly. When you do, carefully stick a fork in the edge and turn each one over to brown the other side. When both sides are lightly browned to perfection remove them to a paper towel covered plate. Continue with the rest of the squash.

I also bread okra this same way. Okras tend to pop more in the frying pan so turn the heat down. And also turn it down if it starts to smoke or brown too quickly.

It's golden goodness on a plate folks and a sure sign that summer is here!
P.S. If you've never heard of Butt Rub.. now you have. My family usually picks it up in Florida but I believe it's readliy available in Tennessee somewhere.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's about time!

I am so excited to pass on the news that this morning I went on my first blackberry picking adventure this year. I managed to pick about a quart and a half which isn't that much but at the same time well worth the trip. I found a sweet new honey hole at the back of our farm that I spent a good ten minutes picking at.

As I was on the Arctic Cat trolling about the edge of the woods I kept thinking of tips to pass on to others who may or may not have ever been blackberry picking before. Now I am not necessarily talking about tame blackberries that you pick at an orchard, just plain ole wild growing blackberries. The kind that you have to risk chiggers, weeds and poison ivy over. Those are the best and only kind for me.

Anyway, here are some tips for picking blackberries... wild on the farm, road side or where ever your good luck takes you.

  • Be sure to wear your rubbers. And by rubbers I mean footwear. I wear my rain boots because they are tall and thick and I am virtually invincible when I have them on. There is really no where I can't go and you need that to step on brush to get to the good stuff.
  • Long pants are a must. Duh... or else you're gonna get scratched and bleed from the thorns. I know it's hot but you just have to tough it out for chiggers sake!
  • Which brings me to bug spray. I literally have to buy the decent flowery smelling kind because during the summer I wear it like perfume. I am a mosquito magnet. Plus it helps to keep the ticks and chiggers away. Of course my husband is the chigger magnet in our household. I swanee he could get chigger bites in a swimming pool.
  • One gardening glove. I use this to pull and hold other branches back. You'll find that you wish you had one when the first thorn enters the back of your hand. You can wear one on each hand if you want to. Personally I like the dark stains around my cuticles and under my nails. Sort of like war paint.
  • I don't think I have to mention sunscreen. But I will mention a nice, decently sized straw hat. They help to keep you cool while protecting your face and neck from sun damage. I even have the Mister wearing one this year!
  • Containers. Now here's my tip. Take a few of these. Small ones like berry baskets to put berries in as you pick. Also I recommend taking about a 9x13 cake pan. Blackberries bruise very easily. Especially when you start piling them on top of each other. The little bit of weight will smash the ones on the bottom... not good.
  • Watch where you go. Remember that you are in somebody else's world. There are bird nests inside of briers and all sorts of other creatures that live there. So please just take the berries and leave everything else like you found it.
  • Look before you reach. I know it's tempting and I have done it too. You just reach right on in there after the big one. Twice today I reached and almost pulled back a bee. They are doing their jobs. Look first.
Remember to have fun. The best time of the day is in the morning because it's much more enjoyable than in the heat of the day.
P.S. I am predicting a drought for this summer

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hello Again

If you are all still there... I'm BBBAAACCCKKKKK! Wow... I haven't even looked at my blog in a month or more and although I haven't been working I sure have found myself busy! I've never been the type to just laze around it's just in all my busy-ness I haven't done any blogging. So get ready because up and coming are recipes, crafts and a whole lot of other mess to share with you... I just gotta upload some pics first. Hmmm. sounds like me.

I heard a statement on an Alice rerun yesterday and although I have watched the episodes a hundred times I never really heard her say this. When Flo was leaving the diner and going to work in Houston Alice said to her "you're setting up barriers so you don't have to make a decision." I think that's what I've been doing about a lot of things in my life. Setting up barriers so I won't have to deal with them... which is not the thing you should do. I have found myself since March making up excuses and thinking "no one wants to hear about that craft" or "they'll know I didn't make that recipe up myself." Who cares I say! I am going to share it with you no matter where I got it and how I made it.

Point made... I'm BBBBAAAACCCCKKKKK muah! I reckon I was here all along.. just behind the scenes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pass The Chicken Spaghetti Please

Several weeks ago I happened upon a website. Thinking back now I can't recall how I came across it. Most of the time I find blogs that I like to read or websites that I like to frequent through the photo website flickr. I post photos there, have friends that post photos there and find myself looking at pictures from other users quite frequently so I may have found a picture of hers there. However I found it I am so glad that I did. The website is The Pioneer Woman. She has cute stories, great photography tips and yummy recipes. There was one recipe in particular that I wanted to link you too as I don't want to post it like it's mine although it has definitely found a home in my personal cookbook.

The recipe is for Chicken Spaghetti. It is a very easy casserole to make and most of the ingredients I had on hand already. I was able to make it the same evening that I found it which made me happy. I like to use good tasting easy to make recipes on week nights because seriously.. 1. it's just my husband and I, and 2. I don't want to spend all night in the kitchen. What I liked most about this recipe, besides the yummy taste, is that it bakes in a 9x13" casserole dish. Using this info I divided it in half before I cooked it, baked half of it that night in an 8x8" dish and froze the other half. It was several weeks ago that I originally made the casserole and yesterday morning I popped it out of the freezer to thaw in the sink while I was at work. When I got home last night I emptied the mixture in to an 8x8" dish, topped with cheese as the recipe says to and baked it as directed. I made a salad and toasted some garlic bread and Hello.. supper was on the table in 30 minutes. It was fantastic because I had other things I wanted to do on my mind besides cook a big meal.

Another tip I want to share is a garlic bread that I found that is oh so yum. It's at the WalMart bakery, it comes as 2 loaves, precut, takes less than 10 minutes to cook, is very good, and is only $3.00. I think each loaf has 12 precut slices. It could be 10 but for Shaun and I it's perfect for two slices with pasta salad for lunch on a Sunday or four slices with an Italian supper anytime. I generally buy two at a time and keep them in the freezer. That way I'm not rushed to use it all right away.

I hope you enjoy The Pioneer Woman's recipe site and maybe even the garlic bread!

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Heel Of Approval

As I was purchasing my first (and maybe only) pair of sandals for the 2010 sandal wearing season I remarked to my niece that I wished my toes were polished so I could sport my new sandals when we left. The cashier behind the counter overheard our convo and said "it's ok.. natural unpainted toe nails are in style." If you could only see my face at this point. I'm not sure what boyish beauty magazine she read this in but I'm here to tell you it's not true. Or maybe she meant that the natural colors that are offered now are in style. Maybe even if I had taken my boot off and showed her why they were covered with socks and boots she would have taken that horrid remark back.

Never the less with the fantastic view of our Tennessee weather forecast for this week I needed to do something about my situation. So yesterday I gathered up my do-it-yourself pedicure supplies and headed for the kitchen sink. Now don't let that talk you out of ever eating at my house that I give myself pedicures on my kitchen counter. I always have and it just makes more sense to me. Why do it in the bathtub when your whole body is immersed and you've got skin flakes from your feet floating? Plus I always bleach out the sink and surrounding counter tops when I'm done so stop hissy fitting.

In the midst of self-indulgence, soaking my feet in mildly hot water with Calgon mixed in, using my sanding paddle and ped egg to conquer my heels and big toe sides, and pushing back a winter's worth of cuticles, I realized hat I hadn't brought my oil that I use on my toes after I polish nor had I brought any lotion. I thought for a moment, opened the cabinet to my right and there sat my olive oil. My hands are used to me dabbing olive oil on them during the winter after washing dishes to soothe my cracked fingers but my poor feet have never gotten any. I snatched a saucer from my left hand cabinet, poured a dab of EVOO as Rachael Ray would say, and used my middle fingertip to dab olive oil onto every spot that I had sand papered. Let me tell you it is less than 24 hours since I did this and my feet still look terrific. And it's not just because of the new sandals. I only used maybe a half of a teaspoon total for both feet and they are still just so soft.

I do admit to enjoying the luxury of someone else doing the pedicure dirty work especially for a new sandal premier but as well as the olive oil worked on my heels I couldn't be happier. Try it yourself!

Hoppin Your Way

Hi to all! Easter is this Sunday and out home has been elected to host our family's Easter lunch and egg hunt this year! I am so tickled. I was talking menus with my sister this morning and thought I would share a loved recipe from my Grandmother's cookbook with you. Each holiday I try to make something that I think my Grandmother might have made and brought with her and choose the recipe from her collection. Here is the salad that I chose for this holiday.

Blackberry Salad

2 small boxes blackberry jello (or mixed berry)
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 carton sour cream (softened)
2 cups blueberries or 1 can
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Drain blueberries and pineapple - save juice. Dissolve gelatin in 2 cups boiling water. Add juices, stir and add fruits. Pour into casserole dish. Chill until congealed. Mix sugar, sour cream, cream cheese and vanilla. Spread smoothly over jello. Sprinkle with nuts. I generally use pecans for the nuts.

I always love a fruity gelatin salad with a holiday family dinner.. I probably get that from my Grandmother.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are You Wearing GREEN?

OK. This morning I have decided that in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day and Spring being right around the corner I commit to wearing green in some outward fashion every day of the month of March! I have already started the month out on a green note with a thrifted sweater I got this past weekend for $1.99 at Thrift Smart. Thanks for the stop M.E.! I have to tell you... it is an American Eagle sweater that still had the $48.99 tag on it. It kind of has a strange fit so I can see why not everybody would wear it because I almost stuck it back in the closet when I first put it on this morning. I have always been a lover of the color green. HEY.. you can still get in on the fun! We'll just call today a Bye day for you if you don't have anything green on. And it may just make deciding what to wear a little easier for you and me. It's also OK to repeat if you need to. I probably will. I'm also going to be making a craft or two that involves green for those days I'm not feeling as greenie. This will be 31 days of green! How fun! I will also... if my attention can hold out this long, be posting a pic on my flickr site each day (minus weekends) of what I have on that's green. So... are you with me???

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What High Heels?

Howdy do all! As of February 14th of this year my now husband and I have officially lived together for one whole year! This time last year my house had sold and our new house wasn't ready to move in to yet so trailer trash I became. We have a trailer at the front of our property that my Hunny lived in while making a major life change for him and moving me in. We now rent the trailer out to a pair of wonderful tenants that we luckily have never had a problem out of.

I grew up in a "dress the kitten up in clothes", all girl environment having three older sisters and a wonderful family of three girls, two doors up that I played with all of my childhood years. A.K.A. the hunting and killing of animals was not in my vocabulary. Hell.. Barbie and Ken barely lived together in the same Barbie house. It was a pretty innocent world back then. So moving to the country in my thirties in to a total boy world has been some what of an adaptation. I now own my own shot gun, I cook venison on a regular basis and I seemingly have traded in eighty pair of four inch strappy sandals for rain boots, thinsulate and shoes with tread on them. I have fallen in love with our thirty acres, the woods, our creek and my new life. All of the shoe shopping and nail manicuring every other week seems a little silly now. As our tax man said last week, "a farmer is least likely to spend a dime on himself" or something like that. I didn't want to look like a big nerd pulling out my journal to write down what he had just said but at the time it made perfect sense to me. Something in my mind has been trained by me to say... now Laurie... do you really need that? And if I can't say yes at that very moment I just give it some time and if it passes then I let it go. If I still want it then I get it. (This is not at all where this post was supposed to go)

I will report that as of yesterday I successfully received my third pair of my favorite jeans. When you find a pair of jeans that are perfect for you and it really hurts your soul when your tail end finally busts through the holes on the corners of the back pockets, it's time to check ebay. I have found and purchased not one but two pair of my favorite jeans over the last couple of years. I am currently and proudly wearing a pair right now. I would take a pick for you but really don't want to show my ass on my blog ;)

I posted a picture on flickr today of a very proud hunter.. my husband.. and his latest kill. I have to say that I feel extremely lucky and would much rather have a man that spends his down time from work hunting with friends and behaving instead of letting the devil take over his idle hands. What I'm trying to say is I'd much rather him hunt in the woods than stray downtown to the not so local noodie bar. Noodie... not noodle :). After I posted the pic I looked at it giving it the "pull back & cringe face" of the chick from girl world. It's a shot gruesome to me with the little drops of blood here and there but it is what it is and he is so proud. Not that I have feelings for wild dogs. The only feeling that killing coyotes that close to our home is the feeling of not wanting to let the cat go outside by himself for fear of him being scooped up and me never knowing what happened to him. He's a chunky little fella that any wild dog could feast on! Bless his heart. And it's legal so I'm OK with it.

I love my new life with my husband. Did I mention we are getting two piglets soon? Not to have so much as pets, I will name them temporarily, but Oscar Meyer will be losing a very good customer for a while once they get a certain size.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HHHhhhhmmmmm but alas....

Hello All. Well.. Monday evening was a big bust. We went to Walmart. We got a new TV. But we still got no Channel 8. And after having such a wonderful day I have to report that the evening was not so super. I couldn't even report back on it yesterday. My facial expression has currently changed. What can I say? I miss public television. It was worth paying a small amount when a telethon sucked me in to a cookbook and show called "The Rise of the Southern Biscuit" that I just had to have and thus fore made a donation. But there were other shows that I equally enjoyed. The Antiques Roadshow for numero uno. It got me through my single years. Every Monday night you could find me stuck to the television at seven o'clock sharp while sitting at my ungodly heavy glass table that I got whipped into taking eating my favorite single meal, a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on toasted white bread, kosher dill pickle spear, Lays original potato chips and Smirnoff Ice. Ah.. those were the days. Not the single life... the ARS, BEC, SI & NPT.

Which by the way.. why is everything abbreviated now a days? My new favorite is LBL. Light Bladder Leakage. Not that I have it and it's a favorite but it's the fact that society has gotten so comfortable with abbreviations of medical conditions that it sounds "cooler" to accidentally piddle in your pants if it's called LBL. The next time you end a text with an LOL add a little LBL cause if it was that funny you know you did... just a little.

I also miss the documentaries on NPT, Sesame Street, Sunday cooking shows and I could never forget Tennessee Crossroads. That is a good show. Shaun and I would watch it every Sunday morning. It was a show all about Tennessee and attractions and down home, good ole Tennessee meat & three's all over the state. I don't even know who has the best bar-b-q in Tennessee anymore...even though I never tasted it myself. If the Crossroads said it then it is the best.

Just imagine life without Bob Ross on Saturdays and you have imagined my life without NPT. Of course we could just pay for cable or satellite and we'd have it but who wants to pay for TV? I reckon I'll just do without. LOL... LBL

Monday, February 22, 2010

What a Good Monday

Well I hope everyone in Tennessee enjoyed the beautiful weather over the weekend! I have to say that Saturday, even though it was gorgeous outside that I stuck with staying indoors. My sister Mary Evelyn and I stumbled upon a craft on Friday that made use of a box of one million vintage buttons that we bought at the big Crossplains yard sale that we had to try on Saturday. Three hours in to it we had missed out on some major sunshine. It's weird to say that I've gotten used to staying indoors this winter. It's just been too cold. I will still bundle up and venture out to the woods on the weekends but staying out there for long isn't fun.

Yesterday however was a different story. The sun came out and I think the temperature got to around 64! I had the house windows open and towels out on the clothesline. I fell right into the day like a pro. I have so missed the crunchy feel of line dried towels and wash cloths. It's a comfort of our home that I love. I got the house clean and in tip top shape. In the afternoon my Dad came over and we went walking in the woods and in the creek. We walked down the cold crick to the waterfall and further to where our creek meets the larger creek behind the church camp that backs up to our farm. I picked up a good rock to use as a door stop in our bedroom. At one point I lost a rock that I had chosen. I sat it down to help Miss Pepper get down off a ledge by the waterfall and forgot to pick it back up. Luckily I found two more which prompted me to realize that I had lost the first one a ways back. Silly me.

When I go into the woods I am generally packing the necessities. Camo over-the-shoulder bag with binoculars, camera, telephone and bottle of water and handy walking stick in hand. None of those things actually came out of my bag yesterday, but it was too full, so I thought, to put the new door stops in so I carried one in my left hand and the other in the elbow of my left arm. With all that in tow I can't believe I made it back up the hill! When we got back to the house I realized my binoculars were sitting on the porch rail where I left them when Dad got there. I guess I was excited to have a friend walk the woods with me!

Hey.. I wanted to remind White House-ians that the White House Library (which I love) is having their annual book sale this week. After I went to the dentist this morning and got a tiny filling in the back of my #10 tooth I stopped by. I was looking for Country Living magazine back issues and Honey I found them! I bought 12 issues for $1.00! I also bought VHS tapes Vegas Vacation, Christmas Vacation, Meet the Parents and the second season of Friends on DVD. I topped it off with one hardback book to read because I'm out of books right now that I like to read before bed. It had a pink, blue and yellow cover and the back of it said it was hilarious so I bought it. I like funny stories before bed.. hence why I married Shaun! All in all I spent $3.50 at the book sale extravaganza! I was pretty proud walking out to the parking lot.

So, when I walked through the living room into the kitchen this morning, my hubby was sitting at the table eating his cinnamon rolls I made and drinking coffee "listening" to the TV. The tube(if it has one) finally went out this morning. I turned the fan on in the living room because it had a bad burn-y after smell. Long story short we are going this evening to purchase a new one and I am SO excited because there is a good chance that with the reception on our new TV I may just be watching Antiques Roadshow this evening!!!!!!! I haven't been able to watch it since the whole "change over" to digital TV came about last year because we can't pick up channel 8 anymore with our rabbit ears! The new TV won't require the use of our loving converter box because it will be DTV ready. So... wish me luck!

To top off a wonderful morning, my Granddaddy came by right as I was getting back to work from the library and dentist and asked if I could go eat lunch with him... Well Yeah! I just don't turn down lunch with Granddaddy.. he even let me drive his car. Luckily.

Like Kermit the Frog said "Rainbows have nothing to hide" :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

GBBC 2010!!!

Hey Y'all! I am so excited about The Great Backyard Bird Count. Mainly I am excited about piling on warm clothes, packing my binoculars and bird book in my little camo shoulder bag and heading into the woods this Saturday and Sunday. I have a few species that I am looking for in particular that don't do bird feeders. I will be watching and counting the birds that I see at my feeders too but to me it's exciting to seek and find. Plus I think we are supposed to see a little bit of sunshine this weekend so that will go well with my hunting.

It's fun to get involved and to get kids involved in bird watching. You really don't have to spend but about 15 minutes counting what you see. There is a simple data form that you can print before you count. It is mainly used if you do not have internet access but can help log what you have seen and how many of each species at one time that you see. Copy and paste this link. It will take you directly to where you can print the data sheet, where you can find a list of birds in your area to look for, and where you can diretly submit what you've seen.

Click on the The Great Backyard Bird Count picture on this page with the people on it and it will take you directly to the website.

Thanks for participating and have fun!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How To Say "I Love You"

Howdy Doodle All! Valentine's Day is this Sunday and I figure that everybody that stops by my blog already knows how to say I love you in english. So I looked up a few more versions of I love you in other languages just for fun and I thought I'd share a few with you. In case you want to surprise you're lovie on Sunday morning with telling them that you love them in Polish!

French ~ Je t'aime
Spanish ~ Te Amo
Polish ~ Kocham Ciebie
Hawaiian ~ Aloha wau ia 'oe
Slovak ~ Lubim Ta
Swahili ~ Nakupenda
Icelandic ~ Eg Elska Thig
Creole ~ Mi Aime Jou
I haven't decided which one to use on my Mister yet. Any of them them is sure to get the same response from him.... HUH?!?!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine Sweetness

Good Day All! I truly hope everyone had a great weekend. I was able to find some much needed alone time for craft projects at home yesterday so I have a couple of things to share this week before Valentine's Day gets here. Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorites. Even when I didn't have an actual Valentine the one day set aside for love always seemed so neat. Although every day should be like Valentine's Day in my book.

Today I wish to share a recipe for a very pink cake that is perfect for the one day filled with red and pink! It's a recipe that came to me by surprise. My Grandfather's wife, Granny Martha made a special strawberry cake that we all loved. When my Grandfather was moving a couple of years ago he let me pick some of his cookbooks to take home with me. While reading a book of sweets one day I found Granny Martha's strawberry cake recipe written on a piece of paper in her handwriting tucked in between some pages. I surprised my Grandfather with it on his next birthday and have made it many times since then. It is always a crowd favorite and due to it's dark pink, fluffy and moist texture topped with pink strawberry icing with seeds popping in your teeth... crowd favorite is a well deserved name. I hope you enjoy it as much as we always have.

Strawberry Cake

1 box white cake mix
1 small box strawberry jello
2 Tablespoons flour
4 egg whites
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites until light and fluffy. In another mixing bowl combine all other ingredients and stir until combined. Fold egg whites into cake mixture. Pour into greased baking dish. Place in cold oven. Set oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for one hour. Toothpick check the cake. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer if the toothpick comes out not clean. Allow to cool before icing.


1 stick softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup drained, chopped strawberries
4-5 cups powdered sugar

Mix ingredients for icing together. The original recipe says to use only a box of powdered sugar. I have found that to get any kind of consistency this isn't enough. I use almost one whole bag of powdered sugar. I kind of estimate on how many cups here because I haven't actually counted.

Store covered cake in the refrigerator.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Show Your Love

Hiya folks! Here's a fun little sewing project that you can do for Valentine's Day so you can "show your love." What you need is a sheet of felt, a sheet of paper, sequins, seed beads, thread, a needle and a safety pin.

First, cut heart shape out of the piece of paper. If you aren't real good at drawing hearts you can trace one from a cookie cutter or whatever else you have. Next trace the heart onto your felt. You want to cut out 2 hearts. Next, you want to begin sewing sequins and beads onto the top side of one of the hearts. Once you have the entire heart covered you'll need to whip stitch the other heart on to the back of the sequined heart to both hide and protect your stitching. When you are finished stitching around the outside of your heart be sure and run your needle into the back to bury the final thread after you knot it. And last, thread your safety pin in to the back of your heart and apply to whatever you wish!

I found the safety pin that is shown at a local craft store in the jewelry supply department. If you are using a regular safety pin you can stitch it on to the back heart before sewing the two hearts together.

I hope you enjoy showing your love!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hey Look!! It's me!!

Gee whiz y'all... I have just been refusing to blog. I don't know what it is. I've been busy cooking, crafting, creating, and renting the heck out of library books! I call it renting for some reason. I was always intimidated by libraries... I think it was the fact that I had to be quiet that pushed me away. I do remember to silence my cell phone every time I go in and I have become quite the regular at our tiny local library. Even a tiny library houses tons of books I've found. I have been glued to my latest rental... Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafting. Wow. The things I never knew. I got out my post it notes and started tabbing pages. My grocery list has grown this week too as far as crafting supplies goes.

I wanted to share some pictures of what I have made so far. You'll have to rent the book to find out how to make them yourselves... evil I know. But I have been having so much fun. Last night I read about marbleizing, like on paper or anything for that matter. I think I'm just going to have to ask for this book for my birthday. It's a good one.

I am sad to report that I may just get kicked out of the library yet because as I was picking the book up off of the copier from imaging a recipe for bath fizzies I tore a page. Talk about the gasp heard round the world! Yeah.. that was me. I feel like such a common criminal. They are sure to revoke my library card when I tell them what I did. I'll probably leave out the copying part but I for sure can't hide that tear... it's a big one. Mama always said I can't do anything halfway. They probably have some of the acid free tape that's better for the books.

P.S. Please don't tell Martha.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forcing Spring

Hello all! Well if you are anything like me then you just can't wait for spring to arrive. I asked my Mister this morning if he remembered when we planted potatoes in the garden last winter. I remember getting the last bag of potato sprouts last year because I almost waited too late so this year I intend to be on my wise.

Back to the subject of spring. I wanted to share a little trick that I tried last year of forcing spring blooms indoors. Yesterday, here at work, I noticed about a three foot branch on a forsythia bush had gotten broken by someone opening the fence. I snagged it on my way in from my walk to the mail box, trimmed off the small twigs from the bottom and stuck it in an old soda bottle with water in it. Hopefully I will have blooms in about ten days. I can already see a little green from the buds.

Last year I read about this trick and wound up trying twigs from several different trees and bushes that I know flower in the spring. I remember specifically the forsythia, dog wood and Bradford pear working well. Try it out for yourself! Bring a little spring indoors.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Simple Yummy Syrup

Good Tuesday afternoon all! I have been such a blog ignorer! Not that I haven't been thinking about blogging for you, I've just been slammed and haven't had the time. I will tell you that my bloggy thoughts are jamming up in my head like traffic! I do hate to report that this will be a quickie but none the less a goodie!

So this past Sunday, while indulging in sweet chocolate thoughts I whipped up a batch of my Mother's famous chocolate syrup that goes so well over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and thought I would blog the yummy recipe for you! So here goes:

Mom's Chocolate Syrup

5 1/2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
4 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons white Caro syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1cup sugar

In a saucepan on the stove top, melt the butter and mix in cocoa. Add milk and let boil until a little thick... about 6 or 8 minutes stirring constantly. Add sugar, syrup and vanilla and boil for one minute. Pour into a container that can be kept in the refrigerator. This makes about a cup or a little more (I've never actually measured) and can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks. Pop it into the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds before pouring over ice cream. Maybe even ice cream on top of a brownie.

I can remember as a child when my Mother would make this recipe I would sneak into the fridge, spoon in hand, just for a taste. It's very rich and very yummy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lip Loving Fun

Hiya everyone! Guess what... I think it's going to snow some more tonight! Aren't we having a fun 2010 weather wise so far? I think so! Well for my next trick... it's all about your kissers! I find that I need lip moisturizer all year but in the winter months especially. I've always got a tube of something in my purse but most of the time it doesn't do the trick for long. I am a firm believer in petroleum jelly...a.k.a. Vaseline. I use it every evening on my lips and hands and every morning in my ears. Yes in my ears. During the winter the inside of my ears get extremely dry so I dab a little PJ in them, rub it around and go about my day. I also use it during the summer months on my heels before bedtime.

Here's a little recipe that I have for homemade lip gloss that literally takes a very few minutes and ingredients to make. And let me tell you.. it really does the trick.

Homemade Lip Gloss

Petroleum Jelly
Powdery, Glittery, Shiny Blush or Eye Shadow
Olive Oil
Essential Oil Any Flavor (optional only if you have it already)
1 Small Container With a Lid

In a small bowl dab about a tablespoon of petroleum jelly. Next add about 1/4 teaspoon powdered make up. The make up is for color and/or shine. I used some pink shimmer, eye shadow powder. You can crush the make up a little to make a powder. I wouldn't use more than 2 colors together if at all. Add 3 drops of olive oil using a straw with the tip of your finger at one end to get just a drop. Add 3 drops of any flavor oil. I used lemon in mine this time. Stir ingredients together and place in you lip gloss container. Use a clean fingertip to dab a little onto your lips as needed.

I really had a lot of fun making this and it was such an easy craft that I will use for the rest of the winter. Using this lip gloss throughout the day has made my lips feel great and not dry at all. I love it!!

News From The Feeder

I woke Saturday morning to find only a few visitors at my suet and bird feeders as I had not filled their plates the evening before like I usually do. Santa had brought my Mr. tickets to the Grand Ole Opry to see his favorite country music star Hank Williams Jr. so in the midst of getting ready for dinner and a show the feeding of the birds had slipped my mind.

At this point there was only a small corner of the suet cake left and no sunflower seeds at all, plenty of snowflakes fluttering about but few feathered friends. As I watched the early risers finishing off yesterday's left overs I noticed a bird that I hadn't seen before which almost sends me in to instant panic mode. Where are my binoculars? Where's the bird book? Quick before he flies away!! Luckily when I got back to my perch he was still chowing down on his morning breakfast. I glared at this bird through my binoculars and indeed it was a newbie to my eyes.

It was obviously in the woodpecker family and somewhat larger and darker than the downy woodpecker beside him patiently waiting for his turn. He had some spots, almost hairy on the back of his head and just a tad of red feathers speckled the top of his head. I left my post and frantically searched the rooms of my house for my bird identification book. Why I can't put things back where they go I'll never figure out! I finally located my book to find the name of the newbie at the feeder to be a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker... of the juvenile variety due to the light red markings on his head. The adults have much more red than this guy did. They are a "winter only" resident in Tennessee.

After all the feed was gone I ventured out in my cozy sweatpants and green cowgirls boots (hot stuff.. I know) and refilled the suet cage and sunflower feeders. In no time at all I had drawn a crowd which must have scared the teenage Sapsucker away for now. I tried to sneak out to take a picture but he was also a bit camera shy. I did manage a few from the my bathtub perch which aren't too clear.

On Sunday I bundled up and went walking through the woods in search of what may be out and did see an adult version of the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. The younger one visited my feeder for the remainder of the weekend which I am very pleased about. I also was able to locate one of the Pileated Woodpeckers that live near the creek. Unfortunately he located me too and flew away. Maybe one day I'll be able to catch him on camera!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This'll Warm You Up

Is This'll even a word?? I say yes! Good Tuesday to you all! We are five days into 2010 and it is frigid outside! I don't mind it much. I always say "if it's going to be winter bring on the cold!" I think we may just be on a record breaking streak for the number of days with below freezing temperatures here in Tennessee. As for me.. I have turned into a sweater girl. I am a hot natured person meaning I get hot easily but I have broken through that by way of comfy sweaters that aren't too confining. This past weekend, my sister and I went to two thrift stores in Nashville and I scored seven sweaters, two t-shirts and a cool new purse all totalling about forty dollars. Man, what a thrifty shopper and I am in love with my new sweaters. Just judging by the brand names I purchased I would have easily spent two or three hundred bucks on them retail... maybe more than that.

Today I would like to pass on a recipe that I've had for a long time. You may have it or have had it at some point in time. It's a hot tea sipper made with Tang orange drink and instant tea. When I cleaned out my pantry before New Year's, I found a jar of it that I had made last winter. This past Sunday I drank a warm mug of it after bird watching outside and it was sooo good. So here's the recipe for you:

Hot Tang Tea

1 - small jar of Tang or orange flavor, powdered breakfast drink
1 - small jar of instant tea
1 - Tablespoon cinnamon
1 - Tablespoon ground cloves

OK... my recipe says it like this... Mix whole jar of Tang and half of small jar of instant tea. If you already have the ingredients on hand or can't find small jars of Tang or tea, mix half as much tea to Tang. Meaning if you use 1 cup of Tang, use 1/2 cup of tea... got it? Mix in cinnamon and ground cloves - adjust according to how much you make. Store in jars. When you are ready to mix up a mug just stir in a couple of spoonfuls of mix to a mug of hot water.

I have also seen raspberry cool ade added to this recipe for an even fruitier taste. I stores for a long time in jars with lids on them. It is sure to warm you bellies during cold winter days!

P.S. This recipe can also easily be given as gifts. Just tie on directions with a strip of cut fabric for a homemade look.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Backyard Bird Count

Happy New Year everyone! First things first... here's what I am excited about today. I am taking part and encouraging you to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count! The National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are asking people to keep their eye out for birds and keep a count of how many you see from February 12, 2010 through February 15, 2010. You don't have to watch out for birds the whole time. If you have a feeder in your yard you can just write down what you see on which day and log on to to report what you have seen.

I am so tickled about this. I am an avid bird watcher. I have always loved to see different species and especially since moving to the country last year. I have enjoyed seeing different birds, some that I haven't seen in a long time and some that I have never seen.

In December I recommended a bird book called Birds of Tennessee - Field Guide. It has great pictures and descriptions to help you identify what you've seen. You can purchase it on Amazon's used books for five or six dollars plus shipping. Or hey... you can just ask me and I'll look it up for you!

Back to the Great Bird Count. I was just fishing around on the sight and I found it very interesting. They have what has been reported in your area over the last several years. As for me I plan on being outside at least on February 13th and 14th no matter how cold it is! Heck I was out bird watching yesterday and the temperature didn't get over 27 here. I do recommend proper bundling if you plan on bird watching from anywhere other than your windows!

If you want to set out feeders to attract birds to your yard here's my tip. I feed birds in my yard black oil sunflower seeds and also have homemade suet out for them which I thoroughly enjoy making. Since that post I have tried the recipe using leftover bacon grease and grease from meat that I have cooked and it also works well.

Please ask me any questions about the bird count and I'll try to help.

**Hey just to let you know... there are no reports from anyone in White House, TN** I found that interesting. So to my readers in White House it's your time to stand out!! I hope you enjoy your hunt!