Monday, December 31, 2007

Elementary Essay

What does Happy New Year mean to me? Football!

Outback Bowl, Chik-Fil-A Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl!

From sun-up to sundown it's wall to wall football. The ceiling fan will be on to keep the tv cooled off. Of course, Pork Roast, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread will be filling up the kitchen island so plates can be loaded up at halftime. But the food is not the centerpiece of this day. With alumni from Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, Colorado, USF, and Ohio State coming in and out for visits, we have to be equal opportunity fans. We're ready to good naturedly cheer for everyone's favorite team. New Years Day is college football's day . A colorful, exciting, heart-pounding day. Go 'Noles, War Eagle, Go Dawgs, Go Buffs, Go Bulls, Buckeye pride!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home again, home again

Just back from a wonderful visit to Georgia for Christmas with lots of family and cold weather. Brr-rrr-rrr! Favorite things: fire in the fireplace, cuddley sweaters, walking in the fields with dogs and children, millions of stars and a huge moon in the sky.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Big Birthday Giveaway Day

Welcome to the Birthday Extravaganza!

It's my birthday so that means presents for you. To honor the Pay It Forward promise, I'll be sending a hand-made gift to the first three people who comment on this post. When Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe had her PIF day, I was lucky enough to catch it early (insomnia pays, sometimes). Now it's my turn.

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Paying It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”
Just let me know which is your favorite beeswax ornament (see the Christmas Open House post for a picture) and it's yours! There are bears, scotties, stars, angels, a rocking horse, and snowflakes.There will be some extra special surprises thrown in , too. I'll try to get it to you by Christmas but it is something you can use all year in your decorating.
Happy Day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Open House

Roxy welcomes you to the Holiday Home Tour hosted by Notes from A Cottage Industry and Christmas Tour of Homes hosted by BooMama!
Click on any picture to see more detail.

This tea caddy is in the hall with Christmas house lanterns and trees.

The banister is one of the first things to get decorated.

Here's the BIG tree in the living room (this picture shows about half of it). It's got ornaments from years of collecting and saving.

The Winter White tree in the dining room has the only snow we'll see in Tampa.

The Nativity my grandmother made when I was a young bride has a special place on the buffet

Here's my favorite Christmas china...a birthday present from two darling daughters.

Beeswax ornaments that
smell so sweet!

My little kitchen tree with toy cooking utensils for ornaments.

Our chocolate Advent calendar.YUM!!!!!

The mantle is ready for it's close-up, Mr. DeMille

Thanks for visiting........come back anytime!..........please enjoy the family recipes below. There's more a few posts down.

Merry Christmas to ALL!

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked A Cake

Christmas time usually means cookies, but this is a wonderful cake to have on hand for drop in company. It can be made in loaf pans for gifts and is beautiful frosted with Royal Icing.
Sour Cream Pound Cake
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs separated
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups regular flour
1/2 pint sour cream
Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add vanilla and salt. Blend in egg yolks one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Fold in beaten egg whites. Bake at 350 for 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before taking out of pan.

Cookie Swap

It's cookie swap day at Scappy Jesse! here's my contribution......

Glazed Pecans
3 cups sugar
1 8 oz carton sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups pecan halves
Combine sugar and sour cream in a heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat sirring constantly until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Continue stirring until mixture begins to cool. Add pecans, mixing well. Place small clusters of pecans on waxed paper and cool completely.

Sausage Cheese Balls
3 cups bisquick mix
1 lb. hot bulk sausage
10-12 oz sharp cheddar cheese-grated
1/2 cup water
Brown and crumble the sausage, drain. Combine in large bowl Bisquick, cheese, sausage, and water. Roll into small (no larger than a quarter) balls and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Yield about 200.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Special Delivery

Our sweet mail lady rang the door bell this afternoon and that can only mean one thing.......something too big to fit in the mailbox. WoooHooo! Here's what I found when I opened the door.
So I brought it inside and got after that box with some scissors (don't want to break a nail!). Here's what was inside.........a pretty package from Kari & Kijsa! That silver snowflake is going right on the Winter White tree in the dining room. Here's what was inside..................................which is also going in the dining room. To see how it looks, just go to the Open House post and you'll find it on the buffet. Thanks Kari & Kinjsa! I love my silhouette.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Action Jackson

Son Jack has moved to Utah to work at Snowbird Ski Resort. He'll be snowboarding everyday and rock climbing when he gets time to travel to the southern part of the state. Wonder if he'll miss days like this?

Busy Hands

So much to little time. It's hard to know where to start. Do the tole painting first..........................

then the collage assembly?

What about all those vintage photographs that need to be scanned?

Oh, can't forget the felt mittens that need to have their jingle bells sewn on.

The swag is made for the mailbox someone needs to go put it up. Guess who!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Drum Roll Please

Here's the very best recipe for a sugar cookie that you can cut with cookie cutters. They can be iced and decorated or eaten plain. Delicious either way!
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cream butter and sugar, Add egg and vanilla. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and add. Chill one hour. (hint: leave dough not being used in refrigarator. It is easier to cut when cold.) Bake on cookie sheet at 375 degrees for eight minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wish Book

Sometime between Thanksgiving and the first of December, the wish book would arrive in the mailbox. It's hard to understand the anticipation of a mail order catalog today with five or six showing up everyday whether you want them or not. But back in the dark ages when the only things ordered by mail were seeds and Maine hunting boots, the Sears catalog was eagerly waited upon.
My brothers and I would race down our steep curvy driveway to the mailbox looking for the big book. The day it came, wrapped in brown paper with ordering instructions printed on the outside, we would leg it back up the driveway as fast as we could. Then we'd flop down on the den floor, huffing and puffing from the hill climb, and flip open to the toy section. The pages were turned carefully and we'd each choose one item we would like to find under the tree on Christmas morning. I was always fascinated by the costumes page. There was a nurse and a doctor, cowboy and cowgirl, beauty queen and football player. Wonder what kind of kid would want that instead of Chatty Cathy or an Easy Bake Oven?
When we got to the Lincoln Logs and Matchbox cars, my eyes would glaze over while waiting for something more interesting. Like the Fabulous Barbie pages! One outfit after another straight from 5th Avenue. Gosh, Barbie was stylish with those open toed mules and leopard prints. We certainly didn't know anyone who dressed like that.

There was always a featured baby doll who got a page all to herself.She was back lit on a red velvet drape as if to say, "Only the luckiest little girls will get this doll this year." The doll was usually wearing a long pink or white chiffon gown and was lying on a matching ruffled pillow. I'll never forget the Christmas I became one of the luckiest girls and found the coveted doll under our tree. She was just as dainty and sweet as she looked in the wishbook. I moved her from my wicker cradle to my pink vinyl baby carriage and back all day. She really was a dream come true. That doll is the only toy from way back then that is still with me today. She lives in my grandmother's old trunk at the foot of my bed so when I'm rummaging around looking for something packed away, I'm reminded that I'm still one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's For Lunch?

In this world of plain organic soy yogurt, vegetable puree drinks, and tofu patties, a girl can get a hankering for a grilled cheese sandwich. And I don't mean Jarlsburg on sourdough panini, either. I mean American slices on white with mayo. With chips and a sweet pickle on the side. The kind of lunch you could get from the lunch counter while Christmas shopping at Lenox Square........ before they enclosed it. A Coke to drink goes without saying. A Coke float if a person was feeling extravagant.

If you could have anything you like for lunch, what would it be? Throw caution to the wind. Banana and peanut butter sandwich? Datenut bread with cream cheese? Or the ever popular Olive loaf?

The lunch fairy is poised to grant your wish......all you have to do ask. Silent's your chance to speak up.....don't be shy (What's good in the U.K.?). Or even better, share a recipe for a fabulous luncheon dish. Aspic,anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thank You Notes

My cousin in Virginia just sent me this reminder and I'm passing it on to you. Let's Say Thanks has made it easy for everyone to send a postcard to a military member at Christmastime letting them know we're thinking of them. Just go to the website, choose a card design, sign it , and hit send. It's that easy! The cards take a little bit of home overseas to the guys and gals who won't be spending the holidays with their families. Please take a minute to do this little act of kindness. It's a little thing that means so much.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Birthday Santa

My mother loves to tell the story about the day I was born. I made her cry because I ruined her Christmas that year. First of all, I was late. Come to think of it, I'm always late. That's why I set all my clocks ahead random amounts so I'm never really sure what time it is. But I digress. My parents already had a cute little eighteen month old boy who they wanted to spend Christmas with......they didn't even know me. So I showed up on December 20th...late...and Mom's doctor told her she might go home the 24th. She cried. The good news is she made it home in time and my Dad bought me a Coca Cola Santa that Rich's was selling that year. We have an old black and white photo taken with a Brownie camera of that Santa on the sofa next to a big blob of blankets. I was somewhere in the big blob. That ol' Santa saw many Christmas days with us, but he finally disintegrated.
Not long ago, Coke started selling the Santas again. My dad got me a new one for my birthday and the new guy spends every Christmas on the sofa......just like his predecessor. It just wouldn't be Christmas without him

Thursday, November 22, 2007


It's going to be one of those picture postcard Thanksgiving days this year. Perfect football weather, friends and family together for dinner, everyone pitching in with their favorite dishes. Here's what we're fixing: turkey,rice and gravy, green bean casserole, apple cranberry crunch, and pumpkin cookies (scroll down for recipe).

Hope you and yours have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gold Gloves

On Tuesday the National League Gold Glove Awards were given out with few surprises. Andruw Jones picked up his tenth. Derek Lee picked up his third. But a record was broken this year by Greg Maddux when he won his 17th Gold Glove. That was a record for a pitcher and it broke Brooks Robinson's record of 16 by a position player. Maddux has always helped out his own cause by being an excellent fielding pitcher and that's a trait that should be emulated by up and coming players.
There were five first time awards given to Russell Martin (Dodgers), David Wright (Mets), Jimmy Rollins (Phillies), Jeff Francoeur (Braves), and Aaron Rowand (Phillies).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Day

Today was the first serious day of Christmas shopping. I've picked up a few things here and there all year, but it doesn't feel like Christmas shopping until the stores are decorated for the holiday. One of the shops was called the Pink Cabana and as you can imagine it was decked out in pink trees with pink, green, and silver ornaments. The furnishings in the store are upholstered in a large black and white check so the effect is charming. I found stocking stuffers for my daughters and mother, as well as the dog. Even found something for me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Golden Time

Dogs can be like grandchildren. When pictures are passed around, the photos are appreciated most by those with the most love for the subject. Others will oooh and aaah because they recognize the bond......they have it with their dog.....not because they think the dog is beautiful. What's beautiful is the bond. Does it mean more when a dog is aloof and independent or affectionate and intuitive? Depends on the owner and what they need from their dog. Hunting and herding dogs aren't meant to be pets but in general are fiercely loyal. The jobs they do come from extensive training of instincts they possess. When the job is done well, the master acknowledges with words and affection. A non-sporting dog who fills the role of family pet is following his instincts, too. Protective and obedient, they become part of the family. An intimate communication is established between dog and master that can be expressed in subtle gestures and soft sounds. These are the beloved pets that are remembered when photo albums are brought out and old stories are told. The mysterious bond never breaks and images impressed on the brain produce phantom sightings of the creature long after it's gone. Running down that familiar track or lying in that accustomed spot, they are here again. The time we had with them is golden, the love, undying.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Moleskine

The section at Barnes and Noble with cards, journals, stationary, and maps is my favorite. On every trip over there, I save the best for last. It's books first, then the fun stuff. With such a large family cards are always on the shopping list. The best are quirky photos or beautiful landscapes on the outside and blank on the inside so a poem or personal message can be added. Today a new Moleskine notebook made it into the shopping bag. It's the 240 lined acid-free pages with an expandable inner pocket. Big enough for someone with large handwriting but small enough to fit in a pocketbook. It feels like Christmas morning to pull off the shrink wrap and give the elastic band a snap. The shiny black cover has a grainy feel and opens easily the first time- not stiff like cheaply made notebooks. The inside cover has lines to write who the journal should be returned to if it's lost. There's also a line for the amount of a reward to be paid on it's return. much is this little book worth? Today it's worth the asking price of $16.95 but in a year when it's full of thoughts and memories and postcards stuck in the pocket it will be priceless.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Golden Age Of Television

Jack Benny was the subject of the AmericanMasters series from PBS this week. Clips from Benny's radio days and television show, as well as movies were featured. Jack Benny was a unique talent doing ground-breaking work at everything he tried. Even though the character he played was a curmudgeonly old tightwad, Benny was in fact a warm and generous man loved by millions. He started careers for so many people who are now household names themselves and true admiration and affection showed on the faces of those who described working with him. Little blurbs with George Burns, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope,Carol Burnett, and Milton Berle were scattered throughout the show. Seeing them all on one show was like getting seconds on dessert. His humor was accessible to everyone in the family witnessed by the countless shots of kids crowded around the old black and white with dad in his recliner. Seems like a good idea to stock up on DVDs of the shows to watch when there's nothing on TV.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Worry Wart

Worry doesn't add one day to your life but it does add character to your face and gray to your hair. It takes your mind to another day instead of letting you focus on this one. If we had back the amount of time we've worried away, our lives would be twice as long. Does worrying about what to have for dinner get it cooked? Can you worry away the thank you notes you need to write? Oh, if only worry could pull weeds.

Children can be a major source of worry as they skip out the door and into the big, bad world. It can be so tempting to rein them in and protect them from harm, but is this doing them any favors? So many life lessons come from mistakes made when children are playing outside in their neighborhood. That play teaches them alot about what people are like and how things work. So let 'em go and have faith!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Pilgrims Ate Tacos, Didn't They?

Am I the only one who has such a hard time making Thanksgiving work? Between work and school, no one in my family can take more than Thursday off, so going to Georgia is out of the question. But it doesn't feel like Thanksgiving if we don't go. What to do......what to do? Maybe I'll pretend it's like any other day and make tacos for dinner.

Road Trip

Son Jack and I are going on a road trip tomorrow. He's not very excited about it. The last thing a 19 year old wants to do is spend nine hours in a car with his mom. It'll be like learning to drive all over again.....

........for hour after hour after hour.

He wants to go to North Carolina to climb and I want to visit family in Georgia. So it's the old two birds,one stone thing.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chili Night

When the temperature finally drops into the low sixties and the humidity is lower than dog-panting level, it's time to make a big pot o' red. Some people think the more ingredients, the better, but I think less is more in the chili world. Our family favorite is as follows:
2 lbs. lean gr. beef
2 28 0z. cans crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
2 packages Chili-o w/onion mix
1 cup water
Brown the ground beef in a dutch oven, drain off fat. Add tomatoes,beans,and seasoning mix, and one cup of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook at least 30 minutes. Serve over brown rice and top with grated sharp cheddar and chopped sweet onion. This chili is better the next day if you can stand the wait.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Movie Night

Long Way Round is a documentary that follows Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman on a motorcycle adventure from London, England to New York, New York going east.

It chronicles the pair formulating an idea, assembling a staff, acquiring equipment, and traveling around the world. From the Chunell through Belgium and Germany went by quickly. Things slowed down considerably through Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The journey continued on through Russia, Alaska, Canada, and finally, the United States. Since this originally aired on television in Britain, it is broken up into episodes. This really doesn't detract from the adventure and makes it possible to watch in smaller bites. Expect to have your preconceived notions about the Eastern European counties challenged. This two disc set is perfect for a weekend's worth of entertainment.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies’ skirts across the grass—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song:
RLS 1913

Thursday, November 1, 2007

At It Again

The rookie music reviewer strikes again! I'll forgo the format most writers use of trying to describe the songs in cryptic sentences. goes.....REM has a new live album (that's cd in old people talk) with lot's of favorites and a terrific sound.
It's a two cd set and also comes with a DVD of the concert. Amazon has samples of most of the songs, but you've probably heard them before. One song that was left off the album ,but is my favorite REM song is "Nightswimming" so I'm putting it up here for you to enjoy.It reminds me of late summer at the lake up in the mountains a long time ago.....good times.
Mike Mills was interviewed on the Dan Patrick Show and played a bit of the piano part of Nightswimming over the telephone. The only thing that kept me from sobbing was when he messed up and yelled "Shoot!" in the phone. Funny guy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

Watch out for things that go bump in the night!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spinach And Carrot Brownies

Recently Jessica Seinfeld (wife of Jerry) appeared on the Oprah Show to promote her new cookbook. The angle is vegetable-heavy, kid-friendly recipes that are quick and easy to make. Jerry Seinfeld came on halfway through the show to rave about his wife's innovative recipes. He said the brownies were irresistible. Oprah ate so many cookies, brownies, and chicken fingers that she made herself sick. SOLD! I couldn't get to Barnes and Nobles fast enough. I even went an extra ten miles and got the last one in Tampa.

The cookbook is well organized and seems to be aimed at young mothers who haven't done much cooking. This is something undoubtedly needed judging from the convenience foods such as Lunchables and frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the supermarket. All the recipes are based on vegetable purees that enrich kid's favorites such as macaroni and cheese, chicken finger, and mini pizzas. But the cup of spinach puree and cup of carrot puree in the brownie recipe does not a dessert make. Maybe some frosting, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup would make them edible, but it's questionable. That Jerry is a great salesman.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Family Time

Twenty something years ago, we moved hundreds of miles away from the ancestral home to vacationland. At the time we thought it would be short term and a transfer would take us back in a couple of years. Boy were we wrong. A job change and many mergers later has us right here in the same place. Now I believe in the old saw "Bloom where you're planted" so I explored my new home and found church, library, shopping, and garden nurseries that we would patronize for years. We made friendships then that we still enjoy today. We made a home in a neighborhood that was perfect for our young family. There were lots of children home during the day with their moms and plenty of beautiful weather to play in outside. Our children grew and thrived in our little piece of paradise to adulthood and now our relationships are long distance ones. Number one son lives in Utah to be near rocks to climb and snow to ride. Baby girl goes to school in the pursuit of athletic training and hopes to spend lots of time in Italy. Her twin brother is chomping at the bit to get back to California to continue the dream of a rock climbing equipment company. Only our oldest daughter still lives at home but is gone so much putting on parties and weddings for folks that we hardly ever see her.

Well, this past weekend we had everyone home for the first time in over a year. It took us no time at all to fall back into the old comfortable feeling of warmth and security. Just seeing every one's face and having easy conversation was heavenly. Being able to reach over and touch my son's arm and see his beautiful smile is a closeness I've missed for months. Of course, it all went by too fast. Baby girl got in her car and drove off early Tuesday morning and yesterday we took Number one son to the airport in the gray, drizzly afternoon. Now my heart is broken all over again. The time we spend together as a family is so precious and I will relive it over and over again. There will be a handful of photographs of us next to each other at the beach to peer at. But right now I'm so jealous of the families who live close to each other and have Sunday dinner together every weekend. As proud as I am of my children's independence and pioneering spirit, it is in direct conflict with my wish to have them around all the time. One instinct is from the head, the other is from the heart. The struggle between the two rages on.