Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Old Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks!

When we go camping, one of our favorite activities is playing games. We normally play Uno, SkipBo, Triple Yahtzee, or Dominoes, and we play to see who the 'champion of the week' will be for this trip.

While I won more games overall than my hubby did this time, I think we both were the champions for this trip - we were both winners. You see, we 'taught ourselves' how to play chess! Well, we didn't totally teach ourselves, we did have some help in the form of this game that my husband bought a few months ago . . .

No Stress Chess by Winning Moves is a great way to learn to play chess! It comes with a chess board, all the pieces, and a set of cards that teach you what each piece can and cannot do. The instructions are simple, and easy to read, as you can see hubby doing here . . .

The board is two sided, and on one side it shows where each piece goes, and how the pawns can be moved either one or two spaces forward.

There are cards for each piece, and it tells exactly what each piece can or cannot do in play. You begin playing with the cards, each player drawing one card per move. We only used the cards three times, then checked back with them a few times to clarify points. But they made the learning curve very easy!

There is one extra card, and it tells you that you can move either of the two cards used last. It just adds a little something extra to the game.

And before long you totally give up the cards, and move to phase two. Within 3-4 games we were playing according to the phase two instructions, and we are about ready to move to the final, real world rules. And we only started playing last Friday!!! And in only 5 days!

And another amazing thing - and you won't believe this one! My husband, who works long hard hours in front of two large computer monitors, and comes home every night so exhausted and 'brain dead' that all he wants to do is sleep on the couch, well, the last two nights he's wanted to play chess after dinner. That is amazing, and I'm so happy that he's found something he likes well enough to perk up and spend a little while talking and laughing instead of going to our separate TV's until bedtime.
So, thank you, Winning Moves for coming up with a great way for dummies like us, to learn to play a game we always thought was too hard. We love you for it!
{Note: You can find No Stress Chess HERE at Amazon.com}

Have a wonderful day, friends!!! Becky

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine

Update - 9:30 am Tuesday: I was all dressed and ready to go take my parents to the hospital, and my mom called. My dad had gotten up and felt better, the swelling in his feet, ankles and privates had gone down, and he had lost a lot of fluid (urinating) over night, so he no longer thought it was necessary to go this morning - PTL!!! Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts - they are much appreciated! B.


A little while ago my dad called. He rarely calls me, and when he does, there's always a reason. I know this heat has really been bothering him, but I haven't seen him in almost two weeks. My aunt has seen him several times and given me reports while we were out of town.

When he called, he asked me if I will take him to the emergency room in the morning. That, for him, is HUGE!!! He doesn't like going to the ER, but we know from experience that just going to his regular doctor doesn't work. At the ER they can give him more serious attention and address his issues immediately. So, I guess we'll be going to the hospital again tomorrow. I'll take my laptop so I can check in with y'all, so I will let you know what's going on.

As I was sitting here, thinking about what all I'll have to do in the morning to get myself ready to go pick them up, I thought of these pictures I took the morning we left for our trip. I was going to use them for Floral Friday, but I think we can all use a little sunshine on a Tuesday, don't you???

If you remember, I bought two sunflower plants and planted them, but the squirrels tried to climb them and broke one totally and killed it, and bent this one, but I staked it up and it's bloom is a gorgeous ray of sunshine.

While I was standing there taking pictures, the bumble bee landed on the bloom, and stayed there longer than I did! He was still taking nectar when I went back inside.

I hope he's pollinated those little seeds well, because I'm sure the squirrels already have this staked out for a fall feast!

Have you ever had a cowlick where one piece of your hair just wouldn't lay down? I wonder if the sunflower feels that way!

But it sure does add a little something extra to this smiling bloomer!
Once again I appreciate all your prayers and good wishes. Have a blessed day, Becky

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Free Glidden Paint!

Just a quick post to tell you about this great offer! My sweet friend, T in Maryland told me about it, and I wanted to pass it on to you.

Glidden paints is having a 'National Paint Giveaway'. If you click on this LINK, you can choose a color from a large selection, fill out the form, and Glidden will send you a free quart of their eggshell finish interior paint - while supplies last. It's really easy, too!

I ordered the French Country Blue - what color are you going to order???

Friday, June 26, 2009

Floral Friday - What I Think Is Blooming In My Yard . . .

While we are here at Lake Chatuge camping, paddling, eating, sleeping, reading, playing, and in general relaxing, I'm not too sure what's happening at my yard. Do you miss your garden when you are away from home???

Anyway, I took these pics last week so I could share with you what I 'think' is probably still blooming while I'm away playing.

Phlox, buddleia, daylilies, dahlias, althea zebrina, calla lilies, black and blue salvia, heuchera and zinnias, zinnias, zinnias!

So, how does your garden grow these days???

From the lake, blessings! Becky

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tasty Thursday - Sweet Slice of Summer - Part Two

Remember last Thursday's post when I said sometimes the easiest things are the best??? Well, it's still true, especially with this yummy pie! It's only got a handful of ingredients, and there are as many flavors as there are flavors of Kool-Aid! Doesn't this pie look scrumptious?

My mom found this recipe years ago, and I have tried three flavors, but I think she has tried four or five. It's called Kool-Aid Pie, perfect for summertime, and it's so easy to make it's ridiculous!

Lemon Kool-Aid Pie
  • One pre-made graham cracker crust
  • One 8 ounce carton Cool Whip - thawed
  • One can sweetened condensed milk
  • One flat, unsweetened pack of lemonade Kool-Aid
  • Lemon Extract - optional
  • Lemon Juice - optional
  • Yellow Food Coloring - optional

Mix the Cool Whip, sweetened condensed milk and Kool-Aid. Taste for tartness. If you want more lemony flavor, you can add the extract or lemon juice. (I like mine tart, so I added 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon extract). If you want it more yellow in color, you can add a few drops of food coloring, but that's a personal preference.

Note: When you first start mixing, it's kind of gunky, but as the ingredients begin to blend, it will become thick and creamy.

When you've got it to the right lemonyness, pour the filling into the pie crust, and refrigerate for at least two to three hours, but preferably overnight.

(That is spearmint on bottom and the lighter on top is lemon balm.)

Now for the fun part. You can also make:

  • a lime pie, using lemon-lime Kool-Aid with lime juice,
  • an orange sherbet pie, using orange Kool-Aid and orange extract (and I promise it tastes just like orange sherbet!),
  • a strawberry pie, using strawberry Kool-Aid and strawberry extract, and maybe some sliced strawberries on top???

This is a delicious dessert, sweet and creamy, and so easy anyone can make it. Try your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid pie, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how good it is!

From the shores of beautiful Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, Georgia - have a great weekend!!! Becky

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our Vacation - Day Three at A43

It's been another beautiful day. The weather is perfect, and the breeze off the lake cools us down wonderfully! We stayed here most of the day, but got out and rode around for a little while before stopping for dinner. That's what this post is about. Dinner!

We went to Smoke Rings BBQ in Hiawassee, Georgia. It was really good. Here's a picture of their menu . . .

We ate out on their deck, and here's the view - isn't it lovely!

That's Lake Chatuge beyond the next door building, and below are the mountains to the east of the lake . . .

I ordered the BBQ Chef Salad, and a baked potato on the side.

The potato above was totally unnecessary.

The description of the salad said mixed greens, hard boiled eggs, bacon, cheese, onions, croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers and samplings of our sliced smoked pork, beef brisket and turkey. Small samplings, hmmmmm. I was not expecting the three 4 ounce servings of meat on that monster of a salad!

It was delicious. The leftovers will be delicious for lunch tomorrow!

So that was our third day here at the lake. More of the same tomorrow. Blessings, friends! Becky

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day Two at A43

On our second day of vacation we . . .

ate breakfast . . .

paddled in the canoe . . .

played dominoes . . .

ate lunch . . .

played skip-bo . . .

ate snacks . . .

played dominoes again . . .

went out to dinner . . .

played Triple Yahtzee . . .

ate watermelon . . .

took showers . . .

crashed in the camper!!!

Oh, and we watched the wildlife, too! There were crazy people on jet skis, wave runners, boogie boards and skis out on the water, and on land there were birds, squirrels, geese and a pair of groundhogs. Fun!

(See that canoe? That's 'Red' our mid-life crisis little red convertible!)

Muskrat Love - scratch that, Ground Hog Love!!!

We're going out riding and exploring tomorrow - maybe I'll have more pictures next time! Blessings friends! Becky

Monday, June 22, 2009

A43 - The First 24 Hours

In a word - wonderful! That's the best way to describe the first twenty four hours here at A43, the temporary home base of Camellia Cottage, Too. Right now, as I write this around 6:40 pm on Monday evening, this is my view . . .

and I'm sitting here enjoying the low 80's temps with a nice breeze right outside this . . .

in a lawn chair, with my feet propped up on the bench (left hand side) of the picnic table, here . . .

Today we . . .

paddled in the canoe . . .

had a nice lunch . . .

read and relaxed here in the campground, played a crazy game of double 15 dominoes . . .

watched the lake some more . . .

had a brief thunder storm and light rain shower, then watched the skies clear and bring back the sunshine . . .

had DQ for dinner . . .

and now we're still sitting here, enjoying the nice breezes and cool temps and watching the lake. I'm so glad it's not going anywhere, and neither are we, at least not until Sunday! And tonight - ahhhhh this is perfect sleeping weather!
Have a blessed day, Becky

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What A Father Does

This is the most recent picture I have of my Daddy. It was taken a couple of months ago, and he was doing what he loves best - eating! And it's one of his favorite meals, too - my mama's homemade biscuits and gravy, sausage, cheese, jelly, etc. He's never had any use for cameras, and hates having his picture made, so I have precious few pictures of him. I guess I got my preference for being behind the camera from him! I got a lot of my other 'ways' from him, too.

Today, at almost 79 years old, Daddy is a mere shadow of his younger, healthier self. These days his heart is working at about fifteen percent (15%) of a healthy heart; his vascular system is deteriorated and extremely fragile, he has diabetes and he will NOT control it with diet, and his kidneys are functioning at about twenty five percent (25%) on a good day. He has suffered several heart attacks, a stroke, prostate cancer, had a triple bypass, an aortic bypass, and multiple stints and bypasses of other arteries. But he keeps on kicking!

His two younger sisters, who are thirteen and fifteen years younger than him, call him the energizer bunny because he just keeps on going. His doctors call him a 'living legend', which is just a kind way of saying he shouldn't still be alive, and they don't know what to do with him any more! I say it's just because he is stubborn and strong willed and determined. That's what has kept him with us this long!

My dad has not lived a perfect life. He has made plenty of mistakes and bad choices, and is living with many of them still today. If I chose, I could tell you tales of how he disciplined us with a belt and even a stick. But I choose not to remember those times today. What I choose to remember today is that even though he didn't always show it outwardly, he always loved me - despite my imperfections! And that's what Fathers are supposed to do, love their children. A father loving his children is one of the greatest examples a man can set for future generations.

My daddy has no concept of computers or the internet, and he will never read these words, but I think he knows how I feel about him. I love him. Pure and simple, but then he set that example, didn't he!

Have a blessed Father's Day, friends! Becky

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Estate Auction - finally!

Last Saturday - day of the estate auction - dawned sunny and hot! I was excited, so I left earlier than I needed to, thinking I might find a yard sale or two to check out. I found one, and it was a bust, so I ran by my parents house for a few minutes. I promised my mom I would take her to run a couple of errands later, so I knew I couldn't stay too long at the sale.

When I got there, after parking out in the cow pasture, I found the desk and got my number and headed out to look over the goodies. Before I'd gotten started good, I heard my name being called - I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was anyway.

You see, when I got out of school, I didn't hang around my home town. I worked in 'Atlanta', I had apartments in 'Atlanta', I married and lived in Norcross and now my current home well north of 'Atlanta'. I live 25 miles from my home community where my parents still live. As a matter of fact, their 59th anniversary is this month and they still live in the same house they built and moved into when they got married.

So, although I've been 'around', it still seemed strange to have someone calling my name. It was Peggy - a lady I'd known all my life, she married the older brother of one of my high school friends, and in fact if I remember correctly, she was my Sunday School teacher once - or maybe it was MYF (now UMYF), but that was lifetimes ago! But I chatted with Peggy and her sisters until the auction began.

They started with pots and pans, tupperware, lamps and moved on to the big furniture. The box lots of linens (what I really wanted) were set back and I could tell it would be ages before they got to them. Besides, at noon they were going to go inside and sell the really big furniture, appliances and then out back to sell the car and tractor. I couldn't wait that long because I'd promised my mother I'd be back.

So as the items sold - quickly- that auctioneer (Jeff Dobson and Associates, Jasper, GA) knew his stuff and he and his team moved those items fast. I bid on a few things, but had a budget, and they all went out of my budget. I knew my time was running out, because I didn't want to stay for the stuff from the house or the car and tractor. Finally, out came this . . .

I love benches! I love anything that is practical, utilitarian, actually USED for something. And I'll just bet that Horace built this bench for Florence years ago. It isn't in great shape, but I loved it, so I waited. A couple of people bid, then the bidding slowed, so I jumped in. (By the way, I just love bidding at auctions - it makes you feel so empowered!)

And I got it! For a whole $20, that bench is mine, and will soon be sitting on my tiny back porch to be used for sitting, foot propping and probably a place for a magazine and a cup of coffee. I want to make a couple of cushions for it, too. But first I need to clean said tiny porch from top to bottom! After vacation.

Anyway, I think it's lovely, and I can't wait to get 'her' settled into her hew home.

I especially love the old paint - gives her character, doesn't it!

So, that's my purchase from the estate auction. I hope Florence would be proud that I bought something of hers and will enjoy using it and remembering her. I know I'm happy I got to go and get a treasure.

I came by the old house on Wednesday, and they were putting up a for sale sign. That house has been there as long as I can remember. I even hit their mailbox once when I was in my early driving days and made it crooked. I sure hope whoever buys the Clark's farm will honor it's heritage.

Thanks for visiting today! Blessings, Becky

Friday, June 19, 2009

Floral Friday - My Mystery Bloomer

Happy Friday! This is a special Friday for me, because I'm packing up the camper, getting my clothes ready, food stuffs for a week, dog food and treats ready, making sure the life vests and paddles are handy, and in general getting the camper cleaned and ready for a week in the mountains!

We'll be leaving on Sunday to go to Hiawassee, Georgia for a week of camping. We're taking the canoe and lots of good things to eat; books to read and games to play, and I'm taking a couple of crafty things to work on. I can't wait until Sunday afternoon, when the camper will be set up, the canopy and screen are put up over the picnic table, the bed is made, the a/c is on, and we can put the canoe in the water and paddle around Lake Chatuge.

But before everything is packed, before the canoe is strapped onto the camper and the camper is hooked to the truck, I need to share my mystery bloomer with you. The mystery isn't in the plant - I know what it is, but it's blooming out of season, and the blooms are totally different from the way they usually look!

It's a tulip magnolia, and it's one of the fist things to bloom in March. Here are a couple of pictures I took in March, see how there aren't any leaves, and the blooms are wide and two-toned, and very pretty?

Well, it's blooming again, and the blooms are totally different! Take a look at these blooms . . .

Aren't they lovely???

Note: Please disregard the powdery mildew on the leaves - I'm working on it!

These blooms are lovely, and - I think - made prettier by the presence of leaves, but . . .

Why is it blooming again in June, and why are the blooms totally different???

Can anyone explain this to me??? My theory is that it's just really happy to have more water this year after the drought, but it's just speculation on my part.

Have you ever had anything like this happen? Will it still bloom as usual next year? I have questions. Does anyone out there have answers???
Thanks for joining me for this mystery edition of Floral Friday! Have a great weekend, Becky

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tasty Thursday - Sweet Slices of Summer - Part One!

Sometimes the best things are also the easiest! That's especially true about summertime desserts. My hubby and I just love fresh, in season fruits. Right now peaches and watermelons are the best, and we've already eaten at least four watermelons this year. They are just so good, and kept cold in the fridge, are a great evening treat instead of some heavier desserts.

Here's what we had tonight . . .

Doesn't it look delicious? Icy cold and so sweet and juicy!

Do you see anything that looks out of place in this next picture???

Here, look a little closer . . .

Yes, that is a salt shaker you see there with the watermelon. I don't know about other parts of the world, but here in the southern US, a bit of salt on watermelon just makes the flavor POP! It's not enough to make it salty, just enough to bring out the sweetness of the melon. For years, people have debated over using salt on watermelon - or not - and rarely do they change their opinions. But, I actually converted my husband long ago. He didn't want to be converted, but I made him taste it, and he was sold!

Here's hubby digging into his share . . . see that salt shaker right beside him???


But hubby and I aren't the only members of this household who just L*O*V*E watermelon. Take a look at these two girls whose mouths are watering . . .

Aren't they waiting so patiently? Here's Bailey Sue, watching every move I make.

She keeps licking her lips, like she can taste it , but this is the best pic I could get of that tongue darting out so fast.

But finally, success - she got her first bite. Yummmmmmmmmm!

I only give them two or three bites each, but it's funny to watch them wait, and then take their bites from my fingers. And their 'styles' are so different. Bessie Mae just grabs hers and runs, and often tries to take part of a finger with it! But Bailey Sue is delicate and dainty, and she'll take just the tiniest bit of one corner and pull it until I let it go. Then she practically swallows it whole!

Sweet treats and desserts don't have to be rich and sticky and sweet. As I said above,, sometimes the best things are also the easiest! Why not enjoy an ice cold slice of watermelon soon!

Blessings friends! Becky