Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Bells of Christmas

Bright and early we rolled out of the bed for Black Friday's specials.  GRANDson Gavin was fairly easy to get up, he was wired for the hunt! If he didn't inherit anything else from me, he's got the BARGAIN GENE!

After we fill ourselves to the brim on Thanksgiving, we carefully look over the ads. The morning may be filled with timing the turkey, dressing and sides to all come out of the oven at the right time...but the afternoons are for planning our strategy.

We all rolled out of the bed at 4AM. Hubby fought the battle at Sam's Club, it actually wasn't too bad he said!

They even gave you a muffin for coming to the earlybird event!

Next on his list was Sears and they were busy. He picked up the one item he went for and escaped the mob!

Meanwhile, Gavin and I pulled into the Walmart parking lot at 4:54 AM. We had our map, downloaded the night before of the secret location of the desired present (I'll give you and hint, he didn't want the pink one)!

We snaked our way through the crowd and got in line at balloon 14 just as they announced they had ran out. Before we could even say a word, before Gavin's mouth turned from toothy smile to sad sack frown....an ANGEL appeared out of nowhere. In her right hand she held the Christmas red version that he wanted so badly he could taste it. Then the Angel said, "I have an extra one...would you like it?

All Gavin heard was the Bells of Christmas ringing loud and clear! We were lucky this year, found everything on our list and got home before 7 AM!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Washing Dishes

Someone thought this would be a great picture, three women washing the Thanksgiving dishes circa 1980. I didn't realize until this year that this may be one of my favorite pictures. That's me on the left, my Mother-in-law washing and Mom putting away. We all were skilled at washing dishes since none of us had a dishwasher, and the time went fast because we were laughing and talking about memories. We took turns then with the holiday meals. Somewhere along the way, I took over the apron and became the cook. I don't even remember when it happened. Somewhere about the time I became Nana I think. I love the planning and the preparation so I look forward to every holiday.

 We woke up to sleet and snow on Thanksgiving, not enough to cause any travel problems but it did add to the holiday mood!

 We are good team, Hubby stays out of the kitchen unless he's needed to wash up pots and pans or carve turkey! Ben also waits patiently for his Thanksgiving turkey...

 This looks like a lot of dressing for our little family, but everyone takes leftovers home and it goes fast!

 I used my daughter's roaster and the turkey turned out great! I miss not having two ovens but this was the perfect answer to that problem. If you have trouble juggling all the casseroles that have to be baked at the same time as the meat...go out and buy one of these! 

It was a perfect day, but we sure miss having both daughters and their families. Christmas is coming though and they will all be here! I've started planning my menus and I'm using the roaster again for brisket!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Daddy's Dressing

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is still a part of our lives...it's the homegrown sage that comes from my Mom's farm. My Dad planted that sage over 40 years ago and even though he's gone now, the sage thrives in the garden at Lead Hill. Every fall before frost I pinch off several stems of the fragrant herb, bring it home and dry it. The fragrance of that sage reminds me of years of happy Thanksgivings on the farm.

My parents built the house in 1949 on land that had been in Mom's family since 1860. Across the pasture on Keeling Lane, her parents lived in what we have always called the "old place." In pictures from long ago, you can see the gingerbread trim at the eaves. When I was little, I'd look at those pictures and think of Hansel and Gretel! To Mom it was a memory, to me it was almost a fairytale. So long ago, when she was a little girl and her Grandmother lived in that house before her parents married. Things like that escape you when you are young, yet my Mother and Grandmother were intent on passing on that part of the family history. Now it's clearer, and dearer.

My Dad loved preparing his famous chicken and dressing for the holidays. It was his offering, as much from his heart as from the simple ingredients that went into the dish. He had made it so many times for family and church potlucks that he could have made it in his sleep! If you’re from the South, it’s cornbread dressing made with unsweetened cornbread. Sauteed onions, celery and sage; slow simmered broth from the chicken and generous amounts of butter make this a cardiologist's nightmare! But it is “Slap Dab Delicious” and comfort food at it’s finest!

This is the time honored recipe that Daddy used to make and has been passed down to me and to our daughters to share with their families. It is remembered fondly in our family and immortalized in the Risley Family Cookbook.

Daddy's Dressing

1 pan crumbled cornbread (no sugar in cornbread, please!)

1pan biscuits

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 bunch celery, chopped

1 stick butter

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tablespoons dried whole leaf sage

4-5 cups rich chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare cornbread and biscuits the day before. Cook onion and celery in butter and broth covered until tender. Pour over the crumbled breads in a large bowl, add beaten eggs. Rub the sage between your palms to release the flavor adding to bowl. Add broth to make a very moist consistency (almost soupy, as this bakes it will dry out). Adjust seasonings adding salt, pepper and more sage if desired. Bake 350* for 45 minutes until hot, or place mixture in crock pot on HIGH until hot then turn to LOW to keep warm.

Like everything in life, this dish is best when eaten at the table with loved ones...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lost and Found

This may be the only thing we haven't lost! We are having a run of bad luck recently with lost checkbooks and earrings... misplaced I should say because those were found. Now it's something REALLY important. Something that can't be easily replaced. Hubby is upset, I'm very upset. We used this item almost daily and now it's gone, GONE. Disappeared from the Earth, poof! The last time we saw it was Sunday afternoon before the kids came over for dinner. After they left Hubby settled down in his favorite chair, turned on the History Channel and realized it was gone. We took cushions out, we looked under furniture. Had it just grew legs and walked off or maybe, just maybe we had put it away? THAT is unlikely!

We have a special place in the entertainment center, an "Aches and Pains" drawer. You don't have an Aches and Pains drawer? Inside this drawer resides the buckwheat heating pad, the corn heating pad...poker chips, checkers and cards. The games don't get much action, but the heat pads...well, let's just say they see daylight a lot these days! Missing from the drawer is a rice bag. It was handmade by me, the idea from my SISTER-in-law way back in the 1970's. I think we may have used it once during that decade. Maybe twice or 3X during the 1980's. We were 40's during the 1990's so that's when it came to live in the family room.

I don't know where it got off to, but I know what I'm going to make this week. You need to save the directions below, you may not need it now, but you will someday...

Click on the picture for a link to Skip to my Lou! Cindy has a great tutorial on making this wonderful little bag that would make great Christmas gifts. It can be used for aches and pains or my favorite use...warmed and laying at my feet while I'm blogging!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Virtual Vacations and a $100 Prize!

Mornings I check my email, make sure my blog posted, then see what's going on at Chickens in the Road, Tales from the CoopKeeper and Purple Chocolat Home. Sometimes, there's a fight brewing. Sometimes there's a Menopausal Meltdown. And sometimes when I'm lucky, I get to go to Hogsmeade Village, visit Hogswart School and partake in chocolate cauldrons from Honeyduke's.  

Yesterday I was making my "rounds," curled up on the couch in my pink robe, coffee in hand when I read on Jacqueline's blog Purple Chocolat Home that I was the winner of the $100 gift certificate from Macy's! I nearly dropped my coffee and I could barely type as I scrolled down to comment!

Macy's is an iconic destination for Christmas. If you are lucky enough to live close to one, you know first hand the fabulous holiday displays are the stuff that dreams are made of. We shopped at the Macy's in Sacramento, California when we lived there early 1970's. We would mostly "window shop," but the sales were good enough that we were able to buy a beautiful china hutch that we enjoyed many years. It now lives with our youngest daughter Amy in Texas. Every Christmas when we decorate the trees, I love to unwrap the special ornaments that mean so much to me. One of those ornaments was bought at Macy's nearly 40 years ago.

We haven't put our trees up yet, but when we do...I'll share that little Angel with you!
Thanks again Jacqueline for a wonderful giveaway,  I can't wait to do some online shopping!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mom's Apple Pie

GRANDson Gavin was riding with us last weekend to Mom and Dad Tilton's house. It's a small trip, about 25 miles over to Fayetteville. We were trying to get him to do a little math in his head so we asked, "How many pies do you think Great~Grandma has made in her lifetime? She's 86 now and hardly a week goes by that she doesn't make a pie (or 2) a cake, or cookies. Great~Grandpa is nearly 90 but his appetite is mid~30's! They have been married 63 years and if she has made two pies a week like I'm guessing, that's 6,552 pies! Some weeks she didn't make any though, but she made up for those weeks when the church had a potluck and she took 3! Anyway you figure, she has had a LOT of practice!

They have an Arkansas Black apple tree in their backyard and it really did well this year with a bumper crop. Arkansas Blacks are an antique apple, an heirloom variety that has stood the test of time for keeping well and staying firm as long as they are stored in a cool garage or basement. She's been putting sliced apples down in the freezer for weeks now for pies.

I've watched as she put on her apron with the big pockets, pulled out the green Tupperware bowl and started peeling apples, one by one. She never measures anything so it's a handful of sugar and sprinkling of spice. A few turns of the apples and she places them into an old Pyrex pie pan that she's used hundreds of times. It didn't take her more than 10 minutes to stir up the crust and roll it out, into the oven it goes and it's not long until the house smells of cinnamon and goodness.

Life zips by us, this year especially. Don't let another day go by without a slice of pie. Make one or just buy it and bake for the ones you love. It's one of the memories that you'll hold close to your heart!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Light Bulb Moment

I'm getting all my chickens turkeys in a row, I should say I'm planning my ATTACK! It's the weekend before the big day and I'm not talkin' about Thanksgiving. That's under control... I have my menu planned, I have "most" of the ingredients in house and I even have the dishes out that I'm using this year.

The attack I'm gearing up for is Black Friday. That day when you get up early, fight the crowds and get the bargains of the season. Well, that's what I've always thought. I'm just saying I had an epiphany when I realized that I could get the special buy on the boots if I bought them today... how could that be???
Black Friday's price $39.50/regular price $79.00)

Black Friday's price $19.99/regular price $69.00
That's a total of $60+ tax. So this morning after I had read the paper, checked my Facebook and email, looked at how many comments I had on yesterdays' blog...I looked at Belks' ad.
It said the boot was $47.50 (40% off) today...

... and this one was $34.99 (50% off) today.
THAT comes to $82.50+tax. I used my Belk coupons to subtract $30 off my purchase...that made the boots cost $52.49... LESS than Black Friday's prices!!! Whoo Hoo!
That made me do the HaPpY DaNcE!

I plan on sleeping in then having a leisurely breakfast 10ish!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Worry Box

I have a "worry box" in my head. It's for storing big stuff and little stuff, my worries and worries for the ones I love. Right now it's full of relationship worries. Someone I love has a broken heart and I'm feeling it too. He's too young to have a broken anything. In fact he was 6 a blink ago.

He was swimming like a fish in the pool. He was spending the night at Nana and Papa's. He was playing cars and riding his bike. So how can it be he's now juggling work, school and relationships?

About 16 is when it starts getting complicated. Up till then, it's pretty easy... homework, friends and riding your bike. Then one day you just wake up and you have responsibility. As much as I want to help, this time I can't. It's gonna take more than Bactine and a bandaid.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Daddy, his brother Walton and cousins Luster and Herman...
(deer hunting season, 1949)

I love to take short cuts, the backroads that cut off miles or time to my trips. No matter where we have lived, I have found an easier path to the places I go most often. My trip to town now is mostly country. It takes 5-10 minutes tops to get into Rogers and then maybe another 5 minutes to the grocery store. If I go 2nd Street to Walnut there are 6 stoplights. If I go the back way...there is only 1. I save time and gas. Like that way best.

When we lived in Springdale, it was twice that many lights if I went the path that all the other "rabbits" followed. But I didn't go that way. If I went down Silent Grove Road, by the old pump station I got to see a pretty little creek and the trees hung over the road like a lane in Merry Old England. I've never been to England, but I have seen pictures and they look just like the back way!

I inherited the love of backroads from my Dad. He knew every dirt road in Boone County and knew people all along those roads that he hunted with. It's deer season in Arkansas and this morning you could hear the sound of guns in the distance. It was my Dad's favorite time of the year and he looked forward to being in the "deer woods." There's a sereneness to the woods, just the sound of your footsteps. You are alone with your thoughts and all around you are the things that God has provided for your pleasure. It's a time to reflect on what's really important in your life. Even if you don't bring home a deer you come back a new person.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's early at my house, EARLY:30! We get up with the chickens, pour our cups of coffee and retreat...Hubby to the recliner and his paper, me to the sofa and my laptop. I say it's because I need to check my blog, but really I check my Facebook. I see what everyone on my friend list did last night. Hubby  does not "get" Facebook. He says, what do you say? I tell him it's like talking to someone. He says, then call them. I say, no it's like talking to one person and lots of people can see it. He says why would I want to do that? Then I just give up!
Have you ever noticed how entertaining some people's Status Updates are on Facebook? How can they be so entertaining first thing in the morning? Where do they come up with these funny little sayings. Are they just that clever or do they have "help?" My inquiring mind went to the place where I find out everything these days...GOOGLE! There it was, lots of publications of Witty-ness for the Facebook Challenged...that would be me!

If only life came with a ◄◄ REW ► PLAY ▌▌PAUSE █▌STOP ►► FF

Joycee.... is coloring on your wall! ((̲̅ ̲̅(̲̅C̲̅r̲̅a̲̅y̲̅o̲̅l̲̲̅̅a̲̅( ̲̅̅((>

”The greatest thing about Facebook, is that you can quote something and totally make up the source.” – George Washington

► PlayTheMoments ▌▌ PauseTheMemories ■ StopThePain ◄◄ RewindTheHappiness.

Joycee is going to jail, directly to jail. She is not passing go. She is not collecting $200.

Don't you just hate it when people say stuff in their status that you really didn't want to know? I hate that. Anyway, I gotta go poop.

Joycee is cle'a]ni.ng he'r ke]yb29oa;rd

Statistically, 132% of all people exaggerate.

Never make the same mistake twice, There are so many new ones, Try a different one each day.

Always give 100% at work: 12% Monday, 23% Tuesday, 40% Wednesday, 20% Thursday, 5% Friday.

Dear Pringles, Now that I am no longer a child, I can no longer fit my hand inside your tube of deliciousness. Work on that.

Joycee.... believes that the problem with being punctual is that there is rarely anyone there to appreciate it.

٩(•̮̮̃•̃)۶ ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ ٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶ ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶ ٩(-̮̮̃•̃)۶

Cut here —————–✄———————

.... ʎɐqǝ uo pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ʎnq ı ǝɯıʇ ʇsɐן ǝɥʇ sı sıɥʇ

.... ̿̿̿ ̿' ̿'̵͇̿̿з=(•̪●)=ε/̵͇̿̿/'̿'̿ ̿ this is a stick-up... give me ALL yo [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅1̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]!

And my favorite...
 ¡ǝɯıʇ ǝɯɐs ǝɥʇ ʇɐ ʞooqǝɔɐɟ ǝsn puɐ puɐʇspuɐɥ ɐ op ʎןןɐuıɟ uɐɔ

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Decorating Rules

We started putting some of the Christmas decorations outside last weekend. I hope my neighbors won't talk about us like I do Walmart for putting things out so dang early. If we wait, the weather invariably turns cold and then it's miserable to get out and hang lights or garland. One year my devoted Hubby put lights up in an ice storm. He only did that one time and I think it was the year our first Grandson was born. Having lights on the eaves was at the top of MY list that year anyway! We are not wasters of electricity...that said let me put some addendums to the statement.

Christmas Decorating Rules
#1 All things deemed EXTRAVAGANCE can  be justified as NECESSITY if it pertains to GRANDchildren's happiness.

#2 Parents and Grandparents are responsible for, not exclusively but to a large part, for the making of memories with lighting displays, large trees and animated characters.

#3 All things made at school take precedence over anything store bought, no matter how elegant or sparkly.

We have enough lights that we can never put them all up. Most live in special clear storage boxes on shelves built just for them in the garage. Years of collecting, we have red, clear, multi-color...we have icicle, single strand, twinkling, non-twinkling, 7watt "old-fashioned", mini lights and now some of the new LED lights that will actually SAVE us money. Gradually, I am replacing the older "wasters" with the new "savers." I wait until Christmas is over every year, then I buy when they mark them down to 75% off.

So for now, I shop, I buy, I decorate.  From now until Christmas Eve no bauble, sparkly ornament or pine fragranced bough is safe. I am Grandma and I am on a mission. By the time the GRANDkids arrive we WILL have an adequate number of lights, enough food for an army and presents under the tree. There WILL be copious wasting of electricity, overeating and merrymaking!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Lots of bloggers are doing a whole month of Thankful posts, so good for us to say out loud the things we are most grateful for. This morning two of my most precious blessings are still asleep upstairs. My husband who is my rock, always the same and who knows me inside out...upside down. And our middle GRANDson Gavin who spends Friday nights with us, lover of bacon and Monopoly and golf cart rides!

Our life is blessed in so many ways.. with family and friends, good health and happiness. Happiness is one of those things that you have to work on. Lots of people have material blessings, a place to call home and the necessities of life. But being happy inside is a little harder with the stresses we face daily. We rush along every day, checking off the list of things that have to get done. Somewhere along the way we all begin to feel a little drained. Vitamins won't help with this condition that is deep within our hearts. No matter how healthy our bodies are, if our spirit is drained, we are crawling through our days...barely living. When our heart is happy we face each day with new found strength. It's all in how our hearts perceive the day ahead of us.

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Go Wild!

What were your plans for the day? Cleaning the house, grocery shopping, maybe a load or two of laundry? Yesterday I broke free, went with the winds of change and did something totally different. That's right, I shirked my duties and picked up my "partner in crime"... my daughter Stephanie. We had plans to go to a great place here called OOPS. It's a decorator's paradise, right up our alley!
They were loaded with Christmas and I was in Heaven. No matter how you decorate, they had something just perfect for everyone. Who wouldn't want a Christmas Malamute? Perfect in a foyer, and you wouldn't even have to feed them!

These were huge, great for a large table or ledge.

Not sure how I would use these golden crabs...on the tree, in a big bowl or maybe in a stocking?

These may be hard to sell here, we are a looong way from Vegas!

These made me smile, my "Flamingo Knees" are better now!

Santa's Elves were busy at work...

 Everywhere you looked they were tooting horns...

Tending forest friends... 

...or wrapping presents!

Every color you could imagine in trees...fuchsia, magenta, peacock, tangerine, oh...and a few green ones too!

They did have a strobe on the floor that I wanted. It sprayed a disco-like light show across the trees, I was mesmerized. I wish you could see it in the pictures, you'd want one too!

If you are going to have a lime green tree, you need a matching wreath!

Stephanie chose these for her Christmas wreath. Somewhere between Oz and Dr. Seuss, that's the theme!

I hate that Thanksgiving gets squeezed every year as we "blink" and it's Christmas.

I have a feeling my home may be the only one without a witches broom/ farmer's hay rake/ decorator fork.
I almost missed this great shot...I was looking at the bronze elk and trying to decide where I'd put them...

Waiting patiently on his "daddy's" motorcycle, this little Jack Russell Terrier was enjoying the sunny Fall day!

"What are you looking at?"

"Haven't you ever seen a dog before?"

"Take a picture, it'll last longer!"

...and then they were gone!
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