Monday, November 30, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Well, we are home again! Had a wonderful time at our daughter's home in San Antonio. Love to see the GRANDson's and we always have such a good time. They have a beautiful home in one of the most beautiful cities in the US. The weather was perfect (you can count on that) in the 70's everyday and clear blue skies.

We went down on the Riverwalk Friday and enjoyed all of the Christmas festivities that are just starting. The shops and gondolas are decorated for the season, but the lush tropical Riverwalk stands alone in beauty. We used to live at Seguin, just 20 miles away and would visit the cities many attractions often. I never tired of the Riverwalk or Market Square or the Alamo. The history and culture of the area is rich in tradition. The warmth of the people of San Antonio gives tourists a "Welcome Mat" whatever time of year they visit.

We had dinner at Casa Rio, operating in the same location on the Riverwalk since 1946. It's a beautiful old stucco and stone building that is decorated traditional "Casa Style" and the food is just the best Mexican you can find! We did have about an hour wait, but everyone was already in "Holiday Spirit" and we talked and visited which made the time fly. We took pictures along the Riverwalk and once inside I couldn't help but take these so that you can "enjoy" the food too! We got their Deluxe Plate, loaded down with homemade tamale, taco and enchilada...beans and rice and they start you off with a delicious guacamole salad that has a drizzle of chili vinaigrette and individual cheese nachos. You don't miss a thing if you order this one!

Alamo Square was so pretty with all of the lights and the huge tree that's decorated each year in front of the Alamo.

The tree at the Menger Hotel is always beautifully decorated! The hotel, built in 1859, is celebrating 150 years. We had dear friends who honeymooned there in 1946 and celebrated each year by going back and spending the night. Now that is true romance! The Menger is famous for it's Mango Ice Cream, very refreshing after a spicy meal or a long afternoon of shopping and sightseeing on a hot Texas day!

Menger Hotel's Mango Ice Cream
Recipe from the Menger Hotel/Alamo Square San Antonio, Texas
2 large, ripe mangos
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Cut the mango in half and cut the flesh from the pits. With a spoon, scoop the mango away from the skin and put in food processor. Add the sugar, cream and lemon juice and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Makes 1 quart.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guilt is Good!

Hi there, it's me Ben the dog...

blogging for Mom today so that she can have the day off.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I was at the kennel. That's not exactly the truth, I was at my groomer Dina's house having a wonderful time. I wasn't invited to San Antonio this year since Mom and Dad decided to fly. It's ok, I'm not too upset. It would have been noisy, they all talk at once in this family! River is my dog cousin and he would have shared things with me, but mostly we'd be stuck at home while the People shopped and went down on the Riverwalk.

So, my weekend wasn't too bad. I took lots of naps, ran and played in the country with Dina's Cockers and enjoyed a little turkey on Turkey Day! Now that they are home I'm giving them the "LOOK!"

You know what I mean, that sad eyed, Poor Me Look! It will be good for at least a week...extra treats, meat scraps and lots of petting.

Guilt is good!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The "Wish Book"

I saw on the news that the JCPenney catalog has become a casualty to Internet shopping and rising costs. The company says its fall/winter catalog will be its last. Sad, but it held on longer than Montgomery Ward and Sears. Printing and the cost of mailing the catalogs have just made it impossible to continue.
When I was a kid it was a red letter day when the Christmas "Wish Book" would arrive in the mail! My Mother would carefully look through the catalog for ideas and my brother and I would "dog ear" the pages with toys we wanted. I'd dream about having a particular doll or doll buggy and my older brother always wanted things like erector sets. Toys didn't cost an arm and a leg then, but I'm sure it was hard with Daddy's wages to buy extra.
We still get Christmas catalogs, although much smaller...more of a magazine type. I still love to look through them and dream. It's just that the dream costs more these days!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Tiny Cabin

A social worker from a big city in Massachusetts recently transferred to the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia and was on the first tour of her new territory when she came upon the tiniest cabin she had ever seen in her life.

Intrigued, she went up and knocked on the door.

'Anybody home?' she asked.
'Yep,' came a kid's voice through the door.
'Is your father there?' asked the social worker.
'Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in,'
said the kid.
'Well, is your mother there?' persisted the social worker.
'Ma? Nope, she left just afore I got here,
' said the kid.
'But,' protested the social worker, ' are you never together as a family?'
'Sure, but not here,'
said the kid through the door.
'This is the Outhouse!'

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pie in the Oven

Thanksgiving separates the Adventuresome from the Traditionalists.The Adventuresome have Silken Chocolate-Walnut Tart or Apple-Cranberry Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust.

Both delicious I'm sure. But we fall in the ""Traditionalists" category. Our family doesn't vary too far from the recipes that our Mothers made, or their Mothers, or their Mothers. We are stuck, wanting to try these recipes but unable to do so on such an important holiday as Thanksgiving. Our children are now making memories with tradition for their children.

They don't want to take any chances on messing thing up by preparing a

Pumpkin Custard Pie
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 uncooked pie shell, homemade or bought

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Add the eggs and the two milks and mix thoroughly.

Put the pie shell in the oven for about 5 minutes to set the bottom. Remove it and pour in the filling; just fill about 3/4 full. Bake for 10 minutes more at 425, then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes—but it can take longer. If the edge of the crust browns too fast, make a little collar of aluminum foil and place around it. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Pecan Pie
1 uncooked deep dish 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 cups pecans, pieces or whole
1/4 cup melted butter
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Be sure there are no holes in the bottom or sides of the pie shell and put the pecans in it. Beat melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and flour until well blended. Add vanilla and corn syrup. Beat until this is well mixed. Pour the batter evenly over the pecans.

Put pie in the preheated oven, reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake for approximately one hour. About half-way through the baking time, rotate pie.

The pie is done when the entire top of the pie is puffed. The edges will begin to puff first and there will be a sunken area in the middle. When the center is totally puffed up, the pie is ready. It will fall when cool. Cook slowly and don’t overcook.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Season

When the Grandsons were here this summer, I gave them a couple of pocket knives from the many that I inherited from Daddy. Oh how he loved those knives and how proud he would be that his Greats wanted them for their own. He loved hunting and fishing, so carrying an appropriate knife was a necessity.

Every year about this time Daddy would be in the woods. Hunting season is in full swing here in Arkansas. If you are from a family that hunts, you take off work...however and whatever you have to say to do this is acceptable. Some small business just close their doors and everyone has a few days off. No sense trying to run a business when everyone seems to have a touch of "Deer Fever."

Daddy would often kill us a wild turkey for our Thanksgiving meal. It was a leaner bird than a Butterball, but if you didn't know it was wild you wouldn't taste a difference. We often had homegrown vegetables to eat along with the meal. I can remember my parents being very proud of the fact that the meal cost practically nothing from their pocket. Maybe that was because they lived through the Depression, or possibly because my Dad's family is Cherokee Indian. Whatever the reason, I too felt great pride when we set down to the table on Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the Holidays Begin...

Did you hear the "DING?" The Holiday Bell is about to ring with Thanksgiving just around the corner! That glorious time of the year when family gathers for a big meal to celebrate the things that we hold most dear. It's also the time that a lot of people dread; travel nightmares that bring stress levels to the top, being in close quarters with family members you aren't crazy about and having to be polite and eat something that is green and wiggly!

Make this year the year you strive to be stress free. Go back to your childhood and pretend you are at the Children's Table once again! You was fun! Lots of cousins around to play with and your parents were occupied all day so you pretty much could do whatever you wanted to.

We would travel to Aunt Joy's house or my Grandparents to celebrate with family. The meal was usually buffet style so the kids had the pleasure of filling their own plates. When we'd set down at the Children's Table the plates looked like this...potato chips and dip, pie, cake, candy, and jello of every color. Jello salads were a very popular side dish in our family!

There was always enough food to feed an Army, and when we were all together we almost met the criteria! Turkey and cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, hot rolls and PLENTY of pies, cakes and candies. No one ever went away hungry.

When the blessing was said, a hush would come over the noisy bunch. A wave of quiet to hear the words that said what we all felt. That we were grateful for those who were there and remembering those who had past. That the blessings of our life included good health and home, and plenty. Plenty in all facets of our life. We had the most important gift of all, a family that loved each other.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Game Plan

We will be in San Antonio over Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean we won't be participating in our Annual Black Friday Shopping! The good news is that Hubby most likely will get to sleep in this year and Stephanie and I will be hitting the stores for bargains. You have to get up early if you're dreaming of laptop computers, high definition flat screen televisions, mini notebook PC, or the newest video games. How in the world will you be able to make it to different stores and buy all the discounted items on your list? Well, you need to make a Black Friday game plan. Here is how to make a game plan and prepare for Black Friday shopping.

Step 1~Recruit your team, your husband, your wife, your cousin, your aunt. If you can, split up to cover more ground. You husband can go to the electronics store while you go buy the toys for gifts. You get the point.

Step 2~Gather all and pack all your supplies. You will need a calculator – one you can use and still talk on the phone. You cannot forget your cell phone and bluetooth. You will need the cell phone to call your team and the bluetooth so keep your hands free. Bottled water is another must; there is no time to stop to get water. You will need snacks; low blood sugar is not something you want when you are in a long line.

Step 3~Wear comfortable clothing. I suggest you wear layers. You may have to wait in line outside a store so make sure to have a sweater. It can also get hot in a crowded store so make sure you can shed a layer. Wear your most comfortable shoes. Ladies I would suggest you wear a purse that you can wear over your shoulders. Guys wear pants with lots of pockets.

Step 4~Make a list. Make a list of what you need and a list of what you want. This will help you when deciding on your budget.

Step 5~Decide on a budget. Decide how much money you will spend on luxury unnecessary items and how much money you will spend on other people’s Christmas/Hanukkah gifts.

Step 6~Do your research. Visit the blogs and websites that have Black Friday deals. Some websites have sneak peaks of Black Friday circulars.

Step 7~Plan out your route. Do a google map search. Look for stores that are close to each other. You only have at most 2 hours to get all your shopping done. Keep in mind that the best items go quickly.

Step 8~Once you have decided which stores you will go to, you need to go some reconnaissance work. Familiarize yourself the stores’ layouts. Make sure you know where the items you will be buying are located. When you get to the store, go straight to that isle and get your item and go pay. There is no time for window-shopping.

Step 9~Make sure to verify the opening times. Some stores open as early as 4 AM.

Step 10~Make sure to get to bed early. I’m sure that won’t be a problem after the Thanksgiving turkey, fixings, pies, and wine. Set your alarm clock before going to bed!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

All Better!

I'm all better and I really think the Acai Berry is the reason my cold only lasted a few days. It was just a cold, but it was Doozy starting in my head and then dropping like a ton of bricks into my chest overnight. For two days I laid like a slug in bed, not even taking a shower. Day three I went to the store and bought Sambazon Antioxidant Elixir. The bottle said it provides powerful antioxidants and 600% DV Vitamin C... just what I needed!
Açaí 101
Acai (ah-sigh-ee), the fruit that's making believers of world-class athletes and health-conscious people everywhere. Grown in the Amazon rainforest, acai is truly a gift from Mother Nature. It has a rich, berry-cocoa flavor that makes it taste amazing, and its packed with more antioxidants than blueberries or pomegranates, plus loads of healthy Omega fats, protein and dietary fiber.

Açaí pulp contains:
• A remarkable concentration of antioxidants, to help combat premature aging, with 10 times the anthocyanins (purple colored antioxidants) of red wine.

• A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols, to help promote cardiovascular system and digestive tract health.

• An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
Açaí is a dense source of particular class of flavonoids called anthocyanins (red-blue phenols with potent antioxidant properties)

• Anthocyanins are a group of phytochemicals in red wine thought to contribute to the French paradox, i.e. France has one of the lowest incidences of heart disease of any westernized society despite a prevalence of smoking and a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Açaí pulp contains 10 times the anthocyanins of red wine per equal volume.

*All of these claims are documented at Sambazon's website.

Why is it so pricey? This LINK shows the process of getting the Acai Berry from jungle to finished product. I paid $7.99 for the 32 oz. bottle...
a small price for getting back in the race again!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Home Fires Burning

I love that first smell of cold weather. It's a crispness that's hard to explain, it just smells cold! Last night when I let Ben out, I could smell the woodsy warm fragrance of someone's fireplace smoke. Familiar like an old friend's face, it transports me back to my childhood. Winters in Missouri were cold and snowy. We visited my Grandparents often, and when we'd get there we'd pile out of the car and hurry into the warm little rock house. Grandma would have supper ready and the fire would be crackling in the fireplace. It was a mix of smells that are ingrained in my memory...ham and baked sweet potatoes, green beans, homemade rolls and pumpkin pie. That farm and their hard work provided the meals that they would fall back on all winter. It's a comforting memory that I return to every winter!

1 (20 oz.) can sliced pineapple
1 fully cooked smoked ham, whole or half ~Go to
2-4 c. (depending on size of ham) cola beverage

Arrange pineapple on ham; secure with wood picks. Place ham in shallow pan. Pour cola over ham; bake 15 minutes per pound in preheated 350 degree oven, basting with pan juices occasionally. Remove to warm platter and let stand 20 minutes before carving. Serve with sweet potatoes and hot ham drippings. Makes approximately 30 servings with whole ham, 15 servings with half.
Print Recipe

Thursday, November 19, 2009

VapoRub, Lick the Bowl and Tales From the Coop Keeper

The good news is that Mom finally got the ok from her doctor last week that she no longer has to wear the neck brace, the bad news is that everyone in the waiting room that day was hacking and coughing so I'm down with a cold. I know sleeping with the window open last week probably wasn't a good idea with nights in the 50's now, but I love the cool bedroom air. It's almost like camping except the bed is a whole lot better!

How can a cold make you feel so lousy? I don't think I even have fever but for the past two days I've worn the same pj's and haven't even showered. Tomorrow I must get in the shower and at least clean myself. I hope I feel like going into town for some juice and tissues, running low on both.

Mom's words ring clear everytime I catch a cold, I head straight for the medicine cabinet and the jar of Vicks VapoRub. She would slather it on our chest and neck, I'd fight but always lose the battle. Now I am a believer and it's my first line of defense.

Right now it's a head cold but it's trying to go to my chest and you know what that means, that irritating cough that takes forever to get rid of. We are flying next week so I have to get better quick. I'm going to buy some more Acai juice and try to stay home for a change.

Since I'm home and I've had a chance to catch up on my favorite blogs and guess what?? I found two new ones I LOVE! If you love to cook as much as I do you will be in 7th Heaven over

If you are searching for the perfect desserts to have for the holidays, Monica's blog may be the only site you have to visit.

...And I have found another farm blog that is so down home,
Chickens In the Road good, Pioneer Woman good...
Jayme wears many hats, she's a chicken farmer, she's a wife, she even homeschools her nephew Aaron (who by the way is cooking his way through Pioneer Woman's Cookbook.) So if you have some down time... I hope that doesn't mean you are sick with a cold,
go over and visit these two great blogs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Musical Closet

About this time of the year I realize the stark truth, sandal wearing time is over. It's a sad thing, I shed a tear...I'll miss them. My Birkies, my flip flops, my many, many sandals that are my best friends all summer. But alas, I have many good friends in my closet. They come and go with the seasons, but they have endeared themselves to me by being there to comfort me. It's time to change out the summer clothes in my closet for fall and winter. The summer things go to the back where they will take a nap and have some much deserved R&R. I'm a boring shopper, buying multiple colors in favorite brands.

Some very organized people have their clothes arranged by four seasons, but if you're like me and have limited closet space I play "Musical Closet" and the summer things go sit in the back! This is a great time to go through the things that need to be repaired, a button , a hem or maybe just pressed before putting away. As you sort, you're going to find the pieces that look too worn to wear, too good to throw away. Make yourself put these in a pile for Goodwill. There are plenty of people in the World that will appreciate that blazer that's a little out of fashion or the top that has faded a little over the summer.

From Real Simple Magazine, a few tips for organizing your closets...
Try this hanging technique from Kim Cosentino, a professional organizer in Westmont, Illinois: Hang all your clothes with the hooks opening toward the room (this will seem like the wrong way). After you wear an item, replace it on the hanger with the hook opening toward the back of the closet. Each season, you'll be able to assess quickly which clothes you haven't worn, because the hangers will still be facing the wrong way.
Go shopping in Your Closet...Next time you're putting away laundry or dry cleaning, grab an armful of clothes that you haven't worn since you can't remember when and try them on in front of a full-length mirror, suggests Jeanine Baron, founder of Streamliners Inc., an organizing company in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Put the ones that you would want to buy again back into circulation; donate the rest.
Act Like You're Moving...This one works for me since we've moved a LOT!
Say you had to uproot and relocate. What would you take with you? You don't actually have to pack up anything―just set aside the few things that you love and use and see what's left over. Give those things away to someone you know that could use them, or donate to charity!
After you do this you'll find you have room in the closet for more clothes...
Let's go shopping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Being frugal is suddenly in. People who live in the country are now ahead of the pack–only they never paid attention to the pack to begin with. Frugal is a lifestyle in the country. There's surprising satisfaction in the simple pleasures of a meal of beans and cornbread, add some fried potatoes and you haven't spent more than a buck for the whole meal. Country people have always found joy in the simple life. Appreciating the things that last, recycling and reusing are a way of life. My parents and Grandparents took great pride in their gardens and the food that was "put by" for the winter. Firewood and hay was stockpiled months before cold weather, forever ingrained the story of the The Ant and the Grasshopper.

Life was simpler for them. Now, the rest of the world tries to catch up with "Country Folk."

It's easy...all they have to do is slow down!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crime in your Neighborhood

You can't turn the TV on anymore without noticing that it seems like crime is at an all time high. Even in our neck of the woods crime is up. We've had two robberies from our boat dock in the last year. We all take precautions to safeguard our valuables, but sometimes no matter what you do a thief can outsmart you.

We can't just live in fear though, being well informed is a powerful weapon to keep you safe. There are some great sites that help you look up the crime that is occurring in your neighborhood. I went to and poof...there it was, 126 crimes in nearby Fayetteville broken down by catagory. Assults, thefts, breaking and entering, sexual assaults, robbery, thank God no murder. It shows a map with notations of the crimes and the sidebar gives the specifics; address, date and category of crime. It's a powerful search engine that can take you back the last 3-30 days and even pinpoint your address for crimes that may have happened nearby. In times like these, we need to be aware and keep on our toes.

Where to Go Online to Check Your Local Crime Statistics -- is my favorite site. It shows you a map and where the crime occurred on the map. It also gives you a short description and the type of crime (robbery, vehicle theft, etc). You can sort by date of crime and type of crime. It can also show you a map of sex offenders. It also has a great analytics section, which shows you charts of and graphs and crime trends. It is free. You can sign up for alerts to you email address. -- is very similar to It shows you a map with icons depicting different crimes. It offers a many US cities, but is limited. One good feature is that it offers popular international cities like Paris, France and Madrid, Spain. The international feature can be helpful if you are traveling abroad and want to know where to stay as to avoid crime. -- This is a sight you would use if you are moving and want to compare neighborhoods. It gives you a map with different areas and their crime information. You are also able to pick trendy neighborhoods, areas to retire in, etc.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Some days I just go through the motions, barely noticing the beauty all around me. When my life gets busy, hey it stays busy... I kind of run out of gas. I need a jump, some STP, new spark plugs. Something that will make me have some get up and go. When I hit one of these "spells," my enthusiasm for life just evaporates. The Recession, stressful days and just living life make us lose that zeal for growing in mind and spirit.

Sometimes you just run low on Inspiration! is a Wellness website that and shares people's intentions – personal, social, spiritual and environmental. It also is a wonderful source of great articles on Healthy Living, Relationships, The Planet and Spirit...all subjects that influence our quality of Life.

Go visit and add your Intent for the Day!

My Intent is to find the source of my negative body image.

My Intent is to let go of the need to be in "control" and relax.

My Intent is to forgive myself and move on.

My Intent is to acknowledge the balance...if I complain when things aren't peachy, I also must compliment when things are going good~

My Intent is to not take things personally.

My Intent is to weather the storm outside, and calm the one inside.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Flu Bug

The Mayo Clinic has a great tool on their website that helps you decide if those sniffles and sore throat are a cold or the dreaded flu bug. A couple months ago I think I may have had the flu, I had a pretty high fever for about 5 days. The worst part of it was my arms and legs felt like they were falling off. I'm a big baby anyway, but I needed a lot of care those days from Hubby. For some odd reason, I get sick on the weekends. Don't really know what that's all about. I even gave birth on the weekend. Just considerate I guess, don't want anyone to miss work!

The site has a button (click here) and you just answer eight questions asking whether you have a fever, headache, cough, sore throat and other symptoms. After you take the test then you can read what to do for the symptoms. I would recommend chicken soup, tissues and a good dose of The Housewifes of Atlanta re-runs!

Friday, November 13, 2009

How the other half lives...

The Swarovski crystal toilet (Jemal Wright Bath Designs)

My Mom used to say that a lot. Anytime she would see extravagance in any form she would say, "That must be how the other half lives!" As a child I'd picture someone living in a mansion, surrounded by modern conveniences that Mom considered "extravagance." She and Daddy lived a typical middle class life in the 50's and 60's, but at that time most families managed with one car, one phone and one bathroom. Not so anymore.

The number of bathrooms in new homes often match the number of bedrooms. It's said that the average human being spends a total of 567 hours of their lifetime on the toilet. I know what you're thinking...who figures these things out? Is it a full time job? Where can I apply?

When we were building 4 years ago I visited home centers, plumbing "specialty" stores and perused home magazines for trends. Our house sits smack dab in the middle of the boondocks so we wanted something that looked old and weathered. We decided on the rubbed bronze for fixtures. They look like an old farmhouse to me, just up my alley! I didn't see these in the home centers while I was searching....

Designer Jemal Wright has presented a bedazzling way of ensuring that every single minute of the 567 hours is remarkable. The ultimate of “bling," these bathroom furnishings bring new clarity to the term...


The World's First Chrome-plated bathroom and spa sets, Jemal Wright creates two lines of fully functional works of art. Chromeozone has a chrome plated porcelain base.

This line can have dyes added to match any color scheme, from gold metallic...

to emerald...

...even Texas Longhorn Orange!

Now, this Brushed Bronze is beautiful...

Love the handle...

Really love the sink!

Now which SoftSoap would look good???

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obituary Notice

“Mean Rooster” McMinn of Walton, West Virginia passed away suddenly on Monday November 9th . He had lived all of his life at McMinn’s Chickens In the Road Farm, being the second chick hatched and the first rooster of said farm. He was a spirited rooster who staked his ground, protected his flock and chased adversaries. Known far and wide, thanks to Chickens In the Road blog, he was both feared and admired.

“The Cockles of my Heart” documented his greatness.

His family describes him as “Always interesting but never friendly.”

Mean Rooster leaves a host of friends and family; the McMinn’s…Suzanne and 52, Ross and Princess, , his flock of hens, the gaggle of geese, the donkeys…Pocahontas and Jack, Giant Puppy, Dookie and Boomerang, Little and Kitten, the goat family…Clover, Nutmeg, Fanta and Sprite, the pigs…Sausage and Patty, and the sheep…Annabelle, Jester, Clifford, Rosalie, Josephine, Mocha and Cappuccino.

He will be greatly missed and always spoken of kindly in his passing.
A memorial statue is being considered with the appropriate plaque simply


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little treat to tide you over...

This is the time of year that a hot cup of chocolate topped with marshmallows or better yet...a cloud of whipped cream satisfies my sweet tooth after dinner. I keep cocoa mix on hand and also whipped cream in a can, ready to appease any fireside craving. But my little cup o' cocoa pales after reading about Serendipity Three in New York City. They celebrated their 55th Anniversary by officially breaking the Guinness World Record Monday morning with a four gallon cup of hot chocolate! It took 12 pounds of cocoa powder, 8 quarts of heavy cream and one pound of fine shaved French chocolate to make the giant cup.

The Frozen Hot Chocolate is a must-have at Serendipity, the base is a partially frozen hot chocolate and in the middle of the gigantic parfait bowl is a huge dollop of sweetened, indulgent whipped cream. Top it all with chocolate shavings and let it drip over the edges, and you have a chocoholic's dream. You can order the mix directly from Serendipity's website and make it at home....or you can do what I did and used my favorite recipe search engine, Recipe Puppy!

Frozen Hot Chocolate
3 ounces of your favorite chocolate
2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice cubes
lightly sweetened whipped cream
chocolate shavings
1.Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted.
2.Add chocolate mix and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup milk, stirring until smooth.
3.Cool to room temperature.
4.In blender, place the remaining 1 cup milk, room-temperature chocolate mixture and ice.
5.Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
6.Enjoy with a spoon or a straw.
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grinning from ear to ear!

I can't imagine why anyone would come to GrannyMountain to read my thoughts or look at my old pictures. But I'm glad you do, it makes me want to write more! Not only do you come and keep me company, Classy Chassy over at Expressly Corgi brought a
Kreative Blogger Award with her the other day!
Thank you for saying that, you have me
Grinning like a cat eating cockleburs!
So since I'm supposed to be Kreative, I searched a favorite old Ozark periodical (Bittersweet) to let you know just how I feel about this award.
When I first started blogging in February,
I was as Green as a gourd.

But after a few months I am getting the hang of it. In fact,
I've got so many things going,
I can't get any iron hot.

But even a blind sow finds an acorn every now and then!
I didn't think I had any more chance than a grasshopper in a chicken house.
I can tell you I'm happy as a hog in a wallow,
and happier than a dog in a meat packing house!

It's enough that you come and visit GrannyMountain, I can honestly say
I don't need the Award anymore than a tom cat needs a marriage license!

Here are rules of this Kreativ Blogger award - I must list 7 things about me that you may not know. Hmmmm. Let me think about this for a moment.

1.My first job was a waitress at Klepper's Cafe in Harrison, Arkansas.
2. I gave my 2 weeks notice the very first day, I was not cut out to be a waitress!
3. Even after 40 years of cooking, I still follow a recipe to the tee.
4. I washed Hubby's wool Pendelton shirt and shrunk it to infant size. He did forgive me!
5. I love buttermilk.
6.I hate black-eyed peas (please don't tell or I'll be kicked out of the South!)
7. I'm a very lucky person to have met the perfect husband the first time around!

And now, the people I would like to pass this award on to are as follows:

Finding Joy In My Kitchen

A Bird In My Hand

Chatty Crone

The HogscaldHoller

Smiling Country Ranch

Pine Cone Retreat

Picket's Place

If you have the time, and these days that's the hitch...pass the Award along to 7 others. If not just accept the Award and post on your blog! Some bloggers are award free,
so just go visit and tell them
Granny Mountain said "HOWDY!"

Rules are made to be broken...but here are the "official" rules of the
Kreativ Blogger Award:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Blogs.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just try one little bite...

This year we will be spending Thanksgiving with our oldest daughter Stephanie and family in San Antonio. I know she's thinking and planning already, she is my daughter after all! We both like to cook and try new things. Our SIL is also a great cook, his expertise is more to the smoker, bbq and turkey fryer. All worthy of "Bragging Rights!"

I love to try out regional recipes. One Thanksgiving we had recipes that were from New England. Now, that is a stretch for Southerners that think bread stuffing is something we would just as soon pass up, Thank you very much! I did a sausage bread stuffing and you know what, it was delicious!

My Dad used to insist that we try one little bite of something that we thought we didn't like. He wouldn't make us eat it all, just a bite to see if we could learn to like a new food. Most of the time we'd realize, "Hey, this is good." I'm glad I learned to like so many things but more than that, I'm glad my mind is open to new things. Like Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Deluxe Pumpkin Cheesecake
Taste of Home Holiday: Thanksgiving, October 2009
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 20)
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Optional garnishes:
chocolate syrup, caramel ice cream topping, whipped topping, additional crushed gingersnap cookies
1. Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 19 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
3. For filling, in a large bowl, beat the one package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in remaining cream cheese, one package at a time. Add remaining sugar. Add 2 eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add vanilla and remaining eggs, beating on low speed just until combined.
4. Place 2 cups filling in a small bowl; stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove 3/4 cup pumpkin filling; set aside. Pour remaining pumpkin filling over crust; top with remaining plain filling. Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonfuls over cheesecake; cut through with a knife to swirl.
5. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
6. Garnish with chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, whipped topping and additional crushed gingersnaps if desired.
Serves: 12
Printable Recipe

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just a little breakfast for me...

[photograph by Dan Jackson]

I'm enjoying the Dr. Oz Show daily on NBC. He's the wonderful doctor who has been a favorite on Oprah's show. Dr. Oz has an amazing ability to infect you with his enthusiasm to start being healthier today. I have the Real Age Diet Book that he and Dr. Roizen co-wrote. It's full of so much information on the connection between food and health. So many diet books focus on just calories, this one uses the most recent research to help you change your eating habits in permanent, healthy ways.

I've never been a big breakfast eater. I don't wake up hungry, ever. For one thing I don't like many breakfast foods. The above picture is hard for me to look at, I do not like eggs. Sugar on an empty stomach has always made me queasy. So that eliminates cereal, oatmeal, pancakes. So what's left? Toast. I like toast. Toast and butter and COFFEE. That's what I really like.
A BIG CUP OF COFFEE and the newspaper!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I am Mother, Hear me Roar!

I was only 19 when our first daughter Stephanie was born. It was 1971 and my husband was in college at the University of Arkansas. I knew nothing about babies, I’d never even babysat so taking care of a newborn was going to be a challenge. But I was up for the challenge and despite the fact that we didn’t have “Two Nickles to Rub Together,“ we were excited about her birth!

Dr. Brown was a wise old doctor who had cared for hundreds of Mom’s to Be in his 40+ year practice. His office was only a half block from our apartment so I would walk to my monthly visit. He was kind and helpful, guiding me to the classes that would help me to become a good Mother. I took one on newborn care and another on breastfeeding. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed even though my Mom hadn’t with me or my brother. My Aunt Joy was the strong suit here. I had seen her effortlessly breastfeed her two sons and after reading in my paperback copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare, I knew that sterilizing bottles and mixing formula was too complicated for me.

Looking back I’m amazed that I didn’t have doubts about my ability to breastfeed. In the 1970’s few women were, it was passé…old fashioned. I read, and re-read every book available on the subject. If I had been older and wiser some questions would have popped into my head…

“What if my milk doesn’t come in?”
“What if the baby doesn’t latch on?”
“I’m worried the baby is not going to like my milk. What do I do?”

After Stephanie was born, I had the initial sore nipples, the first few weeks of nursing I felt like they were going to fall off! But they didn’t and Aunt Joy wisely told me to moisturize between feedings. The weeks flew by and at 6 weeks Stephanie was sleeping through the night, I was getting enough rest to feel like a human again. Breastfeeding was a normal part of my life.

I loved the closeness, that feeling of being so needed. No matter how busy our life was, or how broke we were…when I sat down to nurse her it was ok, we were going to make it. She ate and she grew and I felt like I could do anything now. I am Mother, hear me roar!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mrs. Hayes, 2nd Grade

I love to listen to XM radio when I'm running my errands. Most of the time it's set on 156, the Oprah Channel. Gail King is not just Oprah's Best Friend, she's like that friend from High School that tells it like it is! The one that listens and agrees AND the one that gives honest advice when you need that. She meddles in her kids lives, loves...loves...loves things
and occasionally forgets what she's talking about...just like I do!

The shows range from fashion to food to Classic Oprah, the shows that bear repeating. I heard one from way back...1989... the other day that touched my heart. Oprah had her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Duncan on her show. She introduced her to the audience and when Mrs. Duncan walked out on the set to join her, Oprah melted into a pool of emotion. She was unable to interview her former teacher, so overcome with love and admiration for the woman who played such an important part in her 9 year old life. She blubbered and sobbed, barely able to say more than "Mrs. Duncan, I love you!" That deep love that is usually reserved for Moms and Grandmothers. She finally was able to talk and she said, "You let me collect the milk money everyday!"
That's when I lost it.

I too had a Mrs. Duncan, she was my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Hayes. Oh, how I loved that woman. She was kind and patient, guiding and directing the 30 impressionable lives for the 9 months she had us. We learned how to add and subtract, all about the World in Social Studies and how to write in Cursive. But we learned so much more from Mrs. Hayes. We learned trust and responsibility and that
Honesty was the Best Policy.

I'll never forget Mrs. Hayes or that feeling when she would have me collect the milk money each morning. It was good to be so young and trusted to do an important task.
I have to go get a tissue now.........

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Keep on at it!

Britain's Ivy Bean celebrated her 104th birthday in September. Possibly the oldest person on a social networking site, she currently has over 50,000 followers! Ivy lives in a "care home" in the northern English city of Bradford, near Leeds, and updates her followers about the ups and downs of her life, from getting her hair done with her good friend Mabel, to eating fish and chips and watching her favorite game show, "Deal or No Deal," on TV.

Last month, she tweeted her sadness that her friend Norma had passed away overnight.

Before getting onto Twitter, Ivy was already active on Facebook,
where she maxed out her 5,000-friend limit in no time!
You go Girl!
But she prefers Twitter because it's easier than Facebook, it only requires updating. She has linked both accounts so that her tweets automatically show up on Facebook. Ivy knows people must think it's amazing that she's so active on online, but she thinks it's a good way of keeping in touch with people. And for those who find it hard to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, she offers this advice:
"Keep on at it."

"Old" is not the first word that comes to mind with when you think of this friendly lady with a warm and infectious smile! A resident of Hillside Manor, she recently won a gold medal at the residential home's Over-75 Olympics in the Frisbee-throwing category. And she enjoys bowling on the home's Nintendo Wii. No surprise for a lady who was a gymnast when she was younger.

What do her friends think of her online popularity? "I think they might be jealous," she said with a joking laugh. Others at Hillside Manor also have Twitter accounts, but not her friend Mabel Davis, 87. "Just put me on yours, Ivy," she says.

Already, Ivy's Centenarian Tweeting and Facebooking have attracted International attention, and news outlets from around the world have interviewed her. Her daughter, Sandra Logan, 61, said she arrived for a visit one day only to find her mom busy with a call.
"I'm on the phone with Israel,"
Ivy called out to her daughter!

Part of the reason Ivy is so active online is because the care home makes activities for its residents a priority. One resident wanted to learn more about photography, so he now takes a course once a week at a local college. The home also helped another resident get a passport so he could visit his son in Spain. Hillside Manor also recently hosted a quiz with students from the local college. The subject was history. The Hillside Manor residents won. "We're trying to do something different than knitting or crochet," explained Pat Wright, the home's manager.

Ivy came from a large family with four brothers and three sisters, all are gone now. She was nearly 40 when she got married during the "Great War" to Harold Gibson Bean. He was a cook in the army, and she worked in a mill. After the war, the couple got a job "in service" to a wealthy family. Ivy Bean was a housekeeper and her husband was the cook and butler to Lord and Lady Guinness in Northamptonshire, England. Daughter Sandra, their only child, was born two years later, in 1947. The couple retired together but Harold Bean died a few years later, when he was in his 70s. Ivy now has three great-grandchildren with two more on the way, they all call their famous great-grandmother "Little Nan."

Wright says Bean is "very open" to new suggestions and new ideas and is always willing to have a go at something. "She must have been like that all her life," Wright says. "It's not a new thing. I think if you're one of those people that'll try anything through your life,
it doesn't stop when you get old."

As she types an update on her Twitter page, Ivy certainly seems to be displaying an open mind. Would she agree? "I don't know if I have or not," she says. "But there's something there. There must be!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stilletto School

I'm thinking I need to start wearing heels. Oprah did a whole show on accessories the other day and heels were at the top of the list. They make you look taller, thinner and as if those aren't THE most important reasons for making yourself go through agony, YOUNGER which translates into being HIP. Anything that will make my 5'4" chubby body and 29" inseam legs look longer, I'm all for. But that said my feet have not been in real "Grown Up Heels" in a long time. New Balance has been my best friend since 1990. Other than a few pairs of Clarks, Naturalizer or Dockers, my feet haven't been more than a couple inches off the ground in 20 years. I'm not counting the rare occasions that I've HAD to wear heels. They're on only long enough for said function and then taken off immediately in the car on the trip home. Yep, a couple of weddings, a few funerals and a few parties add up to maybe 20 hours of "Wear Time." That's not even a whole day. If my feet were a boat motor I'd be considered Brand Spankin' New!

How do those runway models do it? When I watch Bravo, everyone has heels on.

The Housewives of Atlanta wouldn't be seen out without their heels on. Of course they live a little different life than I do. My weeks include a trip to Walmart, TJMaxx, Tuesday Morning, Sam's Club, the mall if I'm really bored and Windcrest Nursing Home to visit Mom. None of those places require heels. In fact, they might not know who I was!

W.W.D.W. (Women Who Don't Work) are a rare breed these days. I've been lucky to be a stay-at-home Mom and have the luxury of being a homemaker. But along the way my wardrobe and my shoe collection has dwindled to very few fashionable choices. The closet is full, but there's not much in there that would be considered high fashion. I struggle when I actually have to pull together an outfit other than jeans and a casual top. So....this week, I'm going to go to my favorite shopping places to find something that will take me off Vogue's Don't List.

Something that would make Stacy and Clinton proud.

I do hope Used~2B~New has some good things in...
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