Friday, October 30, 2009

Snacks . . .

Do you have a favorite snack or 'light lunch' that you enjoy when you don't have time for a real meal??? One of my favorites is a nice apple, peeled and sliced, and some good sharp cheddar cheese. It's a fruit and dairy together, and it's filling, easy to eat, and delicious!
A long time ago, probably close to 20 years ago, a friend and co-worker told me about it, shared her lunch with me, and I was hooked. My love of the combination hasn't changed, but I just wish the friendship had lasted.

Her name was Barbara, and she was a few years older than me. We worked together off and on for a long time, we did things away from work together, I went to her daughter's wedding, and she put in a good word for me and helped me to get a better position in our office. I cared about her, and admired her, and valued her friendship. And I'm talking we were really friends . . . maybe not 'best' friends, but we were close.

Over time, she got a couple of promotions and moved to another department, and one day I realized she wouldn't even acknowledge me in the hall. I was devastated! Before long we were both at a company function, and she openly snubbed me, and that broke my heart!

Now, I've been retired from the company for more than 7 years now, but Barbara still comes to mind occasionally. Almost every time I have an apple and cheese, thoughts of her are there. And each time I make squash casserole from the recipe she gave me, I remember her.

And from time to time, when she comes to my mind, I lift her up in a quick prayer and ask God to bless her wherever she may be today. Because that's what friends do for friends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Glorious Fall Sunday

This past Sunday was a glorious fall day in northern Georgia! And of course fall in north GA means APPLES!!! Ellijay, Georgia is home to the Georgia Apple Festival, and any number of apple orchards and 'apple houses' where you go to buy fresh, local grown apples, produce and treats such as jams, jellies, apple bread and fried pies!

Hubby and I ran by and picked up my mom and headed for the hills . . . the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains! We stopped in Ellijay for apples and sweet potatoes, drove up through Dahlonega and Cleveland, Clarkesville, Batesville, and on to Clayton, then up to Dillard, GA where my mom bought collards, mountain cabbage (regular green cabbage grown in the mountains and picked after a frost that supposedly makes it sweeter and crisper) and onions. Next, up to just north of the NC line to the Spring Creek Creamery where we got ice cream - it was so good and creamy! I got coconut, and it was very coco-nutty and just scrumptious!

After that, we headed home where we had a slow cooker dinner waiting for us. It was a great day, lots of fun and LOTS of driving! We also made a few stops along the way where I took pics of some of the most colorful trees. Enjoy! Becky

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Lost It" . . .

Well, I think I've finally lost it! I am working on a fall decorating project, and needed some green thread and a needle. I remember getting the thread, the needle and starting to thread it, but I don't remember if I did, and can't find the needle and thread anywhere. Anyone seen a needle with green thread anywhere???

Many Blessings, friends! Becky

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last Blooms of the Season, and The Girls

Hi Folks! It's been an absolutely gorgeous day here today! Perfect blue skies, light breezes and temps in the upper 60's to lower 70's. Just perfect! So nice that I got out the camera and took a walk around our yard to see what might be still blooming. We've had a couple of frosts, but not a real hard, killing frost yet. Here's what I found >>>

Yellow Buddleia

The last of the white cleome.

Chinese Snowball Viburnum

The mums by the mailbox full of buds.

The 'Nanho Purple' buddleia.

The 'Encore' azaleas. They are looking kind of raggedy, but I love the color!

Those are white berries, not blooms! It's a white beauty berry bush.

Here is a closeup of the berries.

I'm not sure what this is, but I think it may be 'false aster'. It is a constant bloomer from mid spring until frost.

Pink 'knock out' rose.

David Austin rose 'William Shakespeare'

The promise of things to come; the pale pink camellia bush is just full of buds!

David Austin Rose 'Heritage' is a haven for insects! See that tiny bee in the center . . .

and this guy hiding out among the petals. I hope he doesn't think he's found a long term home, within a day or so all the petals will fall and he'll be out in the open again.

Oh, and the girls, well, they are a constant source of affection and enjoyment to us! Every day, about 2 pm they get all excited and can't wait for 'daddy' to get home. Here is a picture of them on the sofa, waiting and watching out the front door . . .


And Bessie has a unique talent. She sits up on her bottom, her short back legs tucked underneath. She loves to stand at the door, looking out for the truck to pull in the drive.

And of course, who could say no to a face like this, now tell me???

She couldn't understand why daddy wasn't home yet, even though he wasn't due for about 2 1/2 hours!

I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying pretty (and colorful) fall weather. Blessings, Becky

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Decorating for FALL . . .

~Front Door Welcome~

We don't do halloween here. I do decorate for the autumn/harvest/fall/Thanksgiving season, but you won't find any ghosts, goblins, jack-o-lanterns, evil spirits or that kind of thing here at our home.

~Sweet, spicy candle that smells like fall~

So many people put more emphasis on 'celebrating' a day that was originally about the dead and spirits, but don't even acknowledge or are insulted by my favorites Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving. and since when did halloween become a holiday??? I won't be capitalizing it any time soon.

~End table in living room - can you tell I love birds?~

When I was a child in the 50's and 60's we dressed up in scarecrow, cowboy/girl, gypsy type costumes made of things in our closets and then visited a select few friends in the surrounding area. We lived in the 'country', with a few neighbors, but not many very close. So we went 1/4 mile down the road to my grandparents, then out the road about 1/4 mile in the other direction to Claude and Lively's place. If they had them, they usually gave us colorful Araucana chicken eggs (and yes, for halloween), as well as some candy. Next was the Manns, and maybe one or two other folks within a couple of miles of our house. And that was it, and it was fun and 'enough' for my brother and myself.

~Coffee table with fall magazines and stacked fabric pumpkins~

Now my hubby and I live in a small subdivision of about 65 houses and lots of kids who wouldn't even speak to us on the street if they were made to. But come October 31st they are here with their hands out and get upset if you don't give them what they want or as much as they want. And let's not even mention the area below our subdivision where someone hooks up a wagon to their tractor and brings a couple of dozen kids from another neighborhood to visit us - just this one night a year.

~Fall flag outside front door~

So a few years ago we just turned out the lights and pretended we weren't home. A few made their way down the dark driveway and found the doorbell button, but not many, and there have been less every year. This year we have plans, and will not be here at all, and for that I am very thankful!

~Wood Scarecrow~

And yes, it is partly a religious thing, and I know there are some wonderful alternatives out there! Before we moved to our current home we helped at our church's 'Trunk or Treat' for several years, decorating our car in a theme like harvest, camping, etc. and giving out candy to children as they walked around. There were rock climbing walls, moonwalks, games, hayrides, and all kinds of fun things for kids to do in a positive, loving atmosphere. And we had literally hundreds of kids from all around the area. And we had a BLAST!!!

~Mr. Crowe sitting in the front porch rocker. He's 54" tall, but without a spine or bones, he prefers to sit!~

Thankful, grateful, joyful, that's how I like to spend my fall/harvest season. Preparing for a Thanksgiving with family and being grateful for all our many blessings. That is so much better than dressing up like something or someone 'wicked' or bad, and going out and acting like your values and beliefs don't matter for just that night.

~Old Tom Turkey in the other rocking chair; he is also 54" tall~

Please don't be offended by my words here today. I am simply stating my position on halloween. And I hope you have a wonderful one, however you celebrate it. We live in America, and we can celebrate any day we want, and isn't that a wonderful thing!

The pictures above are most of my fall/harvest decorations. The are scattered around the front porch, living room and dining room. But before I go, I want to share one last decoration with you. It's a paper mache' pumpkin on a bit of moss under a cloche. BUT, it's not really the pumpkin I want to share - it's the cloche! I bought that cloche (bell jar) not including the footed cake plate at a yard sale this summer. It's about 15 1/2 inches tall, and a tad over 11 inches across at the base. It's made from hand blown glass, and has a few little air bubbles in the glass. The lady who was selling it showed me the catalog she bought it from, and she paid $80 plus shipping. It was still in the original box, which had never been OPENED!!! I opened it, made sure everything was intact, threw it in my car and skedaddled out of there! Why? Well, because I was afraid she would realize what she had done. I mean, surely selling an $80 cloche for $10 wasn't one of her brightest moments! :o) But I sure was pleased to take her up on it!

~Cloche on cake pedestal with paper mache' pumpkin and moss~

It's going to be a pretty week here for a change, so I think I'll be starting my pre-holidays cleaning. The coat closet and linen closet need straightening something awful, and my kitchen needs a good scrubbing from top to bottom. That's what I'll be doing this week, what about you???

Have a great week everyone! Becky

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Tale of Two People . . .

There was once a young woman of 32 years who was lonely and needed a special someone in her life. She went to a special place, filled out lots of forms, handed over more money than she could afford to a place that promised to introduce her to suitable young men.

Over the next few months the young woman met several very nice young fellows, but no one was 'the one'. There was one young man who didn't call for a long time, but one day he decided to give it a shot and called the young woman. They made a date for the following Sunday. Due to circumstances beyond the young woman's control, she had to postpone the date to the following Thursday. April 11, 1984. That was the day when she would meet the young man who turned out to be 'the one'.

Within weeks the young man had professed his love for the young woman, and not long after she professed her love for the young man. They had a wonderful time together, and on December 30th, 1984 the young man asked the young woman to be his wife. On July 20th, 1985 the young couple was married at the church the young woman had attended since childhood, surrounded by family and friends.

(Photo taken around 1988)

Being married in July, differences in cold sensitivity didn't matter, but come winter's cold weather things began to get a little sticky. The young man was very hot natured and the young woman was cold natured. The man didn't care for a lot of covers, but the woman liked a LOT of nice snuggly blankets. A struggle ensued. Eventually the young woman bought a heating pad for her cold natured feet, and things got better. Marriage, after all, IS about give and take.

Years later, the woman heard of a new product on the market called a 'bed buddy', and she rushed out to find - and buy - one at her earliest convenience. Now here was something useful! A sock-like tube filled with rice that you could heat in the microwave and use in the bed for stiff muscles or . . . cold feet! This was heaven! And no more forgetting to turn off the heating pad!

Eventually the purchased bed buddy wore out, so the woman decided she could make her own, and took a cotton tube sock, filled it with rice and tied a knot in the end. It worked great! And each fall the woman would make a new one for the coming winter. No more cold feet - ever!

Years later, the young woman decided she could make a 'pretty' bed buddy, and worked on perfecting her own version, which she called a 'Foot Warmer'. Here is a picture of the one she has made for this winter . . .

It is about 5 1/2 inches by 11 inches and is made of vintage (1960's - 70's) cotton flannel, lined with vintage cotton sheeting. One end is sewn on the outside so that when necessary the stitches can be taken out, the old rice thrown away, the bag washed and dried, new rice put inside, sewn back together and used many more times.

And since the now, not so young woman liked hers so much, she has decided to put one almost just like it in her Etsy shop so that someone else can discover the joy of no longer having cold feet!

Blessings folks! Becky

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tara's Sponsoring a Giveaway!!!

Okay folks! My sweet blogging friend Tara is sponsoring a giveaway over at Karla's blog. The winner will get to spend $25 at Tara's Etsy Store 'Tara's Vintage Kitchen'. How cool is that! You can find out more about the giveaway by clicking on the word blog, and you can find out what kind of vintage goodies that are up for grabs by clicking on the picture below.

Now, I have to tell you - Tara is one of the sweetest gals out there in blog land, and her sponsoring the giveaway is one more bit of proof of her sweet heart! If you haven't visited her blog, please check it out!

Have a great week, folks! Becky

October 11, 1930 - September 12, 2009

Today would have been my Daddy's 79th birthday. Instead of being here with us, he is now whole and healthy and enjoying a glorious birthday feast in heaven with friends and loved ones.
I love you, Daddy, and miss you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What I've Been Doing . . .

The last week has been really nice for me. I've told you all about the last year or so, taking care of my dad and then how hard his last weeks were, and then after his services I got sick and was sick for a week, and then sick or not I had to get things ready for our camping trip. But now we are home, and this last week has been so very nice!

I got to cook real meals again (which hubby TRULY appreciates) and catch up with the laundry, but I also started working on my office/craft room, trying to get it re-organized so I can actually accomplish something - MAKE something - in here! I've been doing what I call S-O-S-T: Sorting, Organizing, Storing and Tossing. And it feels good to be changing things up a bit, and making things easier to find. But, before I start, I have a confession to make.

YES, I am one of those people!

I am one of those people who, before she throws something away thinks "can I do something with this?". And I am proud to be one of those people. Mainly because, folks, there isn't a lot of extra money laying around here for me to go buy cute boxes and bins and pretty matchy-matchy stuff to make everything pretty enough to go in a magazine! When I say I'm reorganizing, that's exactly what I'm doing - RE-ORGANIZING! Moving things from place to place and then labeling so I'll know where everything is.

Times are hard. I'm not working now, and hubby has taken a cut in pay because of our tanked economy, so I can't go out and spend money on something we can't afford. And if I was working now, most likely I still wouldn't be buying cutesy things for my supplies. I would be buying groceries and paper products, laundry and cleaning supplies, and maybe a bunch of flowers for the table from time to time, or even a nice New York Strip for the grill.

So, with that said, I've been re-purposing a few items for storing supplies. Now, most of these will be hidden in the closet, but they will be stored nicely and safely away. Here's the first of my recent re-purposing projects:

It is the caps from the large wholesale club sized detergent bottles. I save them up above the washer/dryer and when I got enough, I made a nice little sorter. There is one of the older, larger ones in center, and then 7 of the newer 'ultra' sized caps around it. They are glued and then held together to dry with clothespins. This will go on my work table and hold small things like beads, buttons, pins, etc. I'll show you pics of it in use later, as work progresses in the room.

The second and third re-purposing projects were easy, especally the oatmeal box! I just cleaned it out, labeled it and filled it with re-purposed juice and soft drink lids to use in making pin-cushions. It is now in top of the closet, ready for me to grab in an instant when I need them.

The bucket is just what I needed to keep a bit of poly-fill close at hand! It's a 7.8 pound bucket that held the 'oxy' cleaning powders that I use in laundry. I washed it well, dried it, and cut a hold in top large enough for my hand to fit inside. The lid is tight, so it won't come off easily if I grab a large handfull of filler. And it will set on my work table at the ready. I will probably eventually cover it or spray paint it, but for now, it works great!

I've also been moving things around. I have a fair amount of fabric - a large part of it vintage (1950's) chicken feed sack and other vintage (1960's and 70's) fabric. There is also a good bit of small amounts of fabrics I've gotten at the fabric store's remnant bins - oh, how I love those remnants! Anyway, I had the fabric in plastic drawers, and never could find what I wanted, so I cleaned out one of the shelves on my bookcase and stacked the fabric there. Now I can find everything quickly, and I love the way it looks!

And I had a big box of teeny bits of fabrc I couldn't bear to throw away, so the other day when I took Mama to run her errands, I took the bits and a basket and went through them all piece by piece. If it was big enough to make a yo-yo, I kept it, but if not, it went into the garbage. Now here is my basket of small bits, nicely folded and ready for projects.

Ribbon. I LOVE ribbon - am probably addicted to it, but storing it is a booger bear of a problem! Most of the smaller widths of ribbon came on small rolls, but the larger widths came in bundles from a store at a local antique market. So a while back I bought a bunch of clothes pins at the dollar store and started winding the ribbon onto them. But even then finding a place to store them so I can SEE them was a problem. But yesterday I found a solution! I cut cardboard to fit the bottoms of these wire baskets. Covered them with fabric bits, and stacked the pins of ribbon inside. I love the look of it, and I also LOVE that I can see them easily. What do you think???

Here's a better close-up view of the bottom basket >>>

You can see everything, and it's so pretty! This will also go on my work table if (when) I get it cleaned off and re-organized. I still have about 20-30 pieces to wind onto the pins, so guess what I'll be doing at night when watching TV???
So, that's what I've been doing! I've promised hubby a special dinner tonight, so I'm off to the kitchen to get things straightened up and make some crepes for our dessert. I only make this dinner on RARE occasions, but tonight it's Chicken in a Tarragon Cream Sauce, Steamed Rice, Roasted Carrots and Caramel Apple Crepes with real Whipped Cream. Hubby deserves this special meal, though, because he's been so sweet and patient with me this last couple of months.
Okay, now it's your turn. What are you up to these days???

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Easy Apple Cobbler

I had fully intended to do this post last night and schedule it to post in the wee hours this morning. But something happened last night. I forgot!!! So I'm going to post it today instead. Here is my recipe for Easy Apple Cobbler!

(Please note, this cobbler has a more cakey type crust than a pie crust type crust.)


Peel and core 3-4 large firm apples. Normally I would use Fuji or Rome Beauty apples, but what I had was Gala, and they worked fine.

Have you ever used a melon baller to remove the seeds and core from an apple??? They work great, and are much easier than apple corers to me.

Slice the apples into about 1/2 to 1 inch slices, then cut the slices in half - this makes perfect bite sized pieces. Into an oven proof casserole dish, pour about one cup of apple juice and 1/2 cup or so of granulated sugar. Put it on the stove on warm, and dissolve the sugar.

Add the apples and a bit of cinnamon (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) and just a tiny pinch of ground cloves. The cloves is optional, but I love the bit of sweet spicy-ness that it adds. Cook on top of the stove for just a few minutes until the apples begin to look a bit soft. While they are cooking, prepare the crust.

First, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of self rising flour, and a nice pinch of cinnamon in a bowl. Using a wire whisk to mix these ingredients is easiest, and helps the sugar to 'sift' the flour so there won't be any lumps in the crust.

Meanwhile, melt one stick of butter or margarine in the microwave. Add 1/2 to 2/3 cup milk and the melted margarine to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour the crust right over the apples in the casserole dish. The crust will sink to the bottom, but as it cooks it will come back to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden and the apple juices are bubbling around the edges.

Allow to cool for a bit, then serve alone, with ice cream or whipped cream. Leftovers are great heated up in the microwave, too.

I prefer it by itself or with some good quality cinnamon ice cream, but that's hard to come by except during the holidays.
I love the addition of the apple juice, because it makes the apple flavor so much better. I have tried this using water to cook the apples, but it's just not the same at all.
If you try this, please let me know how you like it! Blessings, Becky