Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Beginnings

Christmas is over for another year, the last tree came down today. As happy as I feel putting them up each year, I have pangs of sadness when I pack away the ornaments. Forty-three Christmases packed away in less than a dozen boxes. Many of the ornaments so old or so tacky they don't even make it to the branches, yet I hold onto them. They've made their way to the bottom of the the storage boxes like the Land of Misfit Toys, they have lost their place on the trees. 

I did pass along some ornaments and decorations this year to our oldest Grandson. His first apartment is decorated with hand-me-downs, he never says no to anything we offer! He inherited Papa's old but much loved recliner and most recently a sofa and loveseat, a little worn where I set and and blog! I noticed today as I read his Facebook post, on the counter in the kitchen set Mom and Dad's salt and pepper shakers. You've seen them in every Grandma's house since the 50's, clear glass shakers with aluminum tops. I love that he uses them, the tops are pitted from years of salt. They set on Mom's stove in the house on Summit and seasoned a million meals with ♥

The first day of the new year seems to be a good starting point for new beginnings. Last year was filled with extreme happiness and extreme sadness, but that's life in a nutshell. Wishing everyone a Happy and healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

Peanut Butter lovers will swoon when you make this delicious sheet cake... rich, gooey and delicious!
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 sticks margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
In a 2 quart mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, soda and salt; set aside. In a saucepan bring oil, margarine, peanut butter and water to a boil. Pour over dry ingredients. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.
Blend well. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
Peanut Butter Icing
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (can use crunchy)
1/2 cup miniture marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
While cake bakes, combine milk, sugar and margarine in a saucepan; bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla. Stir to melt marshmallows and pour over warm cake.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Want to hear a good Ghost Story?

If you happen to live in my neck of the woods and you are scouting for something spooky to do, Eureka Springs offers a whole week of eerie activities. The Crescent Hotel, known as “The nation’s most haunted resort hotel” offers ghost tours! You can explore the halls nightly, and even venture underneath the hotel while you hear the tale of its long, strange history.  
We drove over yesterday hoping to see some Fall color, but I think we're about a week early. Funny how Mother Nature decides when the show starts! We've had perfect conditions for the leaves but it's late this year. Eureka was pretty crowded, lots of folks make the trip for the great shopping. We never fail to visit the Crescent Hotel, perched on the crest of West Mountain. The 78-room resort hotel is not only known as one of America’s most distinctive and historic destinations, but it is also said to have spirits that walk the palatial grounds!
As usual, I took a zillion pictures... I just can't control myself when there's history and a camera involved!
Everywhere you looked, the hotel was decorated for Halloween. But this is one of those places that looks the part no matter what time of year you visit.
 I ended up with 78 pictures in all and last night when I posted them on my Facebook wall, I deleted the "bad ones." This morning I went to my trash bin and retrieved the following pictures. "Orbs" or sunspots, what do you think?

So here's the ghost story, it's a true account as reported by Mike Masterson in our state paper, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette a few years ago. He recounted the terrifying experience of friends who spent the night at The Crescent, room 101, The Governor's Suite. Beth Shibley of Burgaw, N.C. had joined her mom Lou Ann Moles (wife of Harrison's mayor Pat Moles) and her sister Lorie Baker for a fun weekend. After a full day of shopping and sightseeing, the three turned in around midnight. Beth and her Mom shared a one bedroom and Lorie was in the other. Shibley, 42, says that while sleeping in a double bed with her mother, something held down her legs and arms and began suffocating her. "It was like a great force of intense pressure pressing down over my whole body, and I couldn't breathe," Shibley, who works as a graphic artist, says of the 2 a.m. experience. Her account as told in USA Today in a special feature on haunted hotels:
“I was awakened by something that started to suffocate me,” Beth said. “I couldn’t breathe and felt an intense pressure on my chest like I was being squeezed against something hard. I couldn’t even draw a breath to shout. . . . I tried reaching to my mother, but my wrists were pinned together on the bed and my arms were being held down with great force.
“My legs wouldn’t move either, except for my right foot, and I started reaching for Mom’s foot under the covers. As soon as my foot touched hers, the pressure stopped and I could breathe, speak and move again. My heart was pounding. I was covered in sweat. There was a horrible smell in the room that was like damp earth and sour sweat, but stronger, almost like sulfur.”
She said she first thought the odor might have come from her sweat soaked nightgown, but the stench had left the room after about 30 minutes. The next morning, the gown still smelled of laundry detergent. Her mother never awoke during the incident, Beth said. “I went back to sleep,” she continued. “At 2:30 a.m., I felt something grab both ankles and jerk me very hard. It pulled me completely under the covers, which had been tucked into the bottom of the mattress. I ended up in the middle of the bed with the covers entirely over my head and my feet off the end of the bed. 
“This time, I could still breathe and shout, so I started yelling and hitting Mom in the area of her kidneys, since I was so far down in the bed. She sat up and asked if I was all right.” Beth said she tried to explain what was happening, but her mother said the story of a bad dream could wait until morning, so Beth leapt from the bed and retrieved her camera, all the while reciting reassuring Scriptures. Lying back down with the camera around her neck and snuggling close to her mother, Beth said she fell asleep with her finger poised on the camera’s shutter button, then lapsed into a vivid dream. “Mom watched me asleep because by now she’d become freaked out. She also watched me taking photographs with my eyes closed even as I slept soundly the rest of that night.”
In her dream, a man wearing a black suit and tie and a top hat appeared at a center fourth-floor window of the hotel. Then six people came up behind him in three pairs. They picked up the man and threw him out the window, but his fall was broken by a rope wrapped around his neck. “I saw his neck jerk to the side, and his hat fell off his head and landed to the right of where I was and watching,” Beth recalled. “I was holding my camera and I focused on the window and snapped a picture. Then I said, ‘Gotcha!’ ” The scene began to fade, but as others came to the window wearing clothing of another period, she continued taking pictures and repeating,“Gotcha!” By then, she said, “I’d come to realize in my dream that I was dealing with something not of this world,” she said. “But I also was no longer afraid.” In all, Lou Ann had watched her daughter snap five pictures in her sleep.
Later, when the film was developed, Beth said that the three women were startled to find one of a misty image leaning over the edge of the bed. A second picture showed the room’s ceiling fan and drapes in focus. “In the top right corner is the outer outline edge of a window with three ropes coming from it in the exact colors of what the pairs of people were wearing in my dream,” Beth said. “They also were holding three ropes in my dreams and the ropes came out of a window. 
“An enlargement showed more glowing red and blue spots in the mist as well as three pairs of little white X’s in a triangle pattern, similar to the way six people came up behind the man in pairs.” 
The next day, she told me, she wandered outside the hotel, which as an institute in the 1930s housed thousands of cancer patients. There she saw the fourth-floor room as she’d seen it in her dreams. It was exactly two floors above her bedroom’s window.
Beth’s story was among several told in a special feature about haunted hotels that was published last week in USA Today. I’ve seen the photos and they are inexplicable.
“This experience has made me aware of things I’d never thought were possible,” she told me. “These manifestations felt demonic. . . . I believe I’m one of the good humans and that’s why the evil spirits hated me so much. I’m thankful everything ended well.” -

This story just sends chills down my spine! If you'd like a little "excitement" here's the link to the Crescent Hotel!
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