Monday, May 31, 2010

Proud American

My brother wore grooves in the record "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie Doe. You rarely hear it on the radio anymore…it’s a real Golden Oldie! In the 1960’s he was a teenager and I was the kid sister who hung around and pestered him! He would hole up in his bedroom listening to Jan and Dean’s Little GTO and Dead Man’s Curve over and over. Records were less than a dollar then, gas for his 56’ two tone Chevy Bel Air was 29 cents… it was a simpler time. He worried about grades and if that cute girl in 2nd period Science class liked him, but the war was just on the news and in the papers. It was far enough away that it almost didn’t seem real. We watched Walter Cronkite on our old blonde Magnavox each night and the news was all bad. It was a steady stream of riots and combat. The Vietnam war had gone on since 1959 with no signs of ending. Americans had found their voice and there was unrest in large cities. Springfield in 1963 was still a relatively small town and you didn’t see picketing or hear anyone speak out against the Vietnam war. It just wasn’t American to do such things. Small town America was beginning to evaporate though. The war was taking too big a toll. It was striking too close to our friends and family.

It was a simple time when families gathered at the dinner table every night and talked about the days events. Moms still hung clothes on the line and visited with neighbors over the fence. Kids rode their bikes, played on the school’s swings and obeyed their parents rules. Be home before dark…good grades or else…tell the truth…be respectful of your elders. We went to bed at night knowing we were loved and that they were watching over us. I can remember that I felt like our President, our government was watching over us too and feeling safe within the four walls of my house. Too bad those days are gone, I wish we could go back sometimes.

He was a loving brother who played in the sandbox with me, took me for bike rides and shared his Hershey Kisses. He was a Veteran of the Vietnam War who served his country proudly. He was the firstborn son who held such a sense of pride for my parents. He was a loving husband and father who is missed everyday. He was the generation who served and was responsible, paid his bills and did the right thing...he was an American.

Remembering with love my brother who proudly served his country in the Vietnam War.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Take a Moment...

Hi. I'm "Hubby" that Joycee refers to from time to time. She has been encouraging me to write a blog of my own but I have no desire to invest the time that she does in hers. So today I am going to piggy back off of her!

My folks are both still living in Fayetteville. They are mostly house bound since driving has become an issue. So, when we go to visit we try to think of someplace to take them to get them out of the house. Since this is Memorial Day weekend we decided to visit the National Cemetery. I'd never been there so we depended on them for directions. They rarely agree on anything and directions were no different. Mom finally said to turn right on 6th Street. If we turned left a mile or so before 6th Street we would have gone to the Confederate Cemetery. Confederate Cemetery? Now I'm interested.

First to the National Cemetery. The beautifully manicured lawns and gleaming headstones all laid out in a perfect rows. Each stone marked with the name and vitals of the occupant. Most marked with a cross. Some marked with a cross, a circle, and a heart. We decided this differentiated the Protestants from Catholic. A few showed what appears to be a bugler. I wonder if this might be Jehovah's Witnesses. No clue. The few I saw with the Star of David were pretty self explanatory. Some of those buried there died in combat during World War II, Korea, Viet Nam and Gulf. Most didn't. They served their time and returned home to live out their lives in the peace and freedom they earned for all of us.

A group of middle aged folks on motor cycles pulled in. They knew someone buried there and had come to honor him. What is it about bikers that they always seem so patriotic? Maybe it is the freedom associated with riding that reminds them that their freedom was paid for by those buried here. More on that later.

When we left the National Cemetery I wanted to visit the Confederate Cemetery. Like the National Cemetery it is within the city limits but the difference was staggering. It was in a very country type setting. Almost spooky! The grounds weren't neatly mowed although there was a John Deere mower parked nearby. Hopefully the owner will climb on soon and make the dead proud. The stones weren't gleaming marble and I only saw two that were even marked to denote the occupant. It is kind of sad. Here is a link to give more information on the cemetery and includes the names of those known to be buried there. Most are unknown and forgotten. They are casualties of the different battles fought in the area. The Pea Ridge battlefield is close by and was the largest battle fought west of the Mississippi River.

One cemetery is funded by our tax money. The other isn't. One cemetery contains the remains of Americans who served the United States. The other contains the remains of Southerners who served the Confederacy. But, they are all Americans.

Many of those buried here didn't die in combat. They died of injuries and infections they got in combat. Or they died of disease or the elements they endured waiting for combat.

These weren't professional soldiers. They were farmers and merchants who volunteered to endure hardship and battle because they believed in the cause. They never got back to the farms and shops and families they left. They didn't like the federal government running their lives. If that sounds familiar it's because many of us feel the same way today. Fortunately, we have found ballots are better than bullets. Our government is elected and, if we aren't happy with how things are we can vote them out!

Below are a few pictures we took of the Confederate Cemetery.

The gazebo was really neat.

This monument, the gate and rock walls and the gazebo are all that is there to show appreciation. It's kind of sad. But that is how history works. It is written and subsidized by the winners.

One thing that really stood out was the ancient oaks and maples on the grounds. I wonder if they were planted when the cemetery was consecrated? Certainly they appear to be old enough. The rough and gnarled bark as well as the shape and obviously missing limbs are a testament to the years and harsh weather they have endured. And yet they live on. I like to think they take their responsibility to dead seriously and refuse to quit.

It's amazing how nature has allowed the wounds of the trees to heal and allow the trees to continue their vigil.

It's as if by living they want to remind us of the sacrifices and suffering endured by the folks buried there.

And after all, that is what Memorial Day really is all about. Our country has fought many wars during our short history. Looking back, some were more necessary than others. Some more popular than others. Some we look back with pride. Some we would like to forget.

I read about the "Greatest Generation". My dad was part of this. When they came home they were heroes for ridding the world of fascism and giving others the right to live in freedom. But I can also remember how the veterans of Viet Nam were treated. It is a shame on America that we must always remember.

I think I am finally getting to the point. The Bible says there will always be wars and rumors of wars. There will always be little men with big ambitions. There will always be reasons for war. Some good and some bad. There will always be a need for people to put their dreams on hold and their lives on the line. No matter your feelings for the conflict you should separate them from your appreciation for those doing the fighting. They didn't declare the war. Those folks are usually somewhere safe. They are the ones called on to fight the war. They are the ones buried in these two cemeteries.

Freedom isn't free. It comes with a price. So, while you are enjoying the weekend cooking out with friends and family or boating out on the lake, take a minute. Just one minute to remember that you can do this because someone else put their life on the line for you. Support the troops even if you can't support the war.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life is Good!

Ben, here. Mom's taking the day off so it's me or nothin'. Not too much going on here on GrannyMountain. I've been supervising putting mulch down in all the flowerbeds. It takes them forever to do a project anymore, nearly two weeks to put down 12 truckloads of mulch. Dad has reset the stepping stones that go down the hillside on the east side of the house. One of the things that isn't so fun about living here is that it's hard to walk without feeling like you are going to slip and roll down the mountain! Not me of course, I have 4 wheel drive!

I'm planning my summer...
*Sleeping on the patios
*Going out on the boat
*Watching for deer to bark at
*Eating hot dogs that fall off the Grandkids plates
*Riding around in the golf cart every chance I get

It's pretty laid back, dress code is swimsuits and flip flops but I like to just wear a short coat...Life is good!

Friday, May 28, 2010


The Bluebirds are back on GrannyMountain! I see them daily now at the birdhouses that my Father-in-law built for us. We started seeing them back in March, scoping out the "accomodations." We have the birdhouses placed at the edge of our yard, away from places where we walk often. Birds like privacy too!

Here's a list of some pointers if you want to attract Bluebirds...

•Ideally the box should be installed by mid-February, but you can still install one throughout the month of March and as late as early April when breeding begins. Because bluebirds begin their seasonal movements in February and male bluebirds begin establishing territory by mid-March, the box should be up as early as possible to increase the chance that it will be used. Once the female has arrived and chosen the nest site, it may be several weeks before the pair actually begin nestbuilding.

•Don't be discouraged if a bluebird pair does not choose your box right away or if you get the box up a little late in spring. Because of the shortage of suitable nesting sites, there's still a chance that a pair may come along in early summer that has been unsuccessful elsewhere. Also, you might get a tree swallow, chickadee or wren using your box instead. That's okay! These are native species, and they're using your box because there are not enough tree cavities in your area to go around. Put up more boxes!

•Face the opening of the box away from prevailing winds and in the direction of a distant tree if possible. The tree will become a landing point for young bluebirds when they first leave the box; they'll need a safe haven to avoid landing vulnerable on the ground.

•Bluebirds generally breed between April and the end of July. They may lay from three to six pale blue eggs per clutch, with an average of four or five. (Bluebirds often have at least 2 clutches and sometimes even 3 over the course of the breeding season.) The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 16 days, while the male assists in feeding her.

•You can check on the eggs and the nestlings once a week until the young are about 12 days old. Contrary to popular opinion, human "scent" does not cause the parent birds to abandon their young, because birds have a poor sense of smell. Take notes about what you find! After the birds are 12 days old, it will be best to observe the box from a distance, because disturbing the young later than this may cause them to "fledge" or leave the nest prematurely, which might reduce their chance of survival. Young bluebirds generally leave the nest between the 17th and 20th day after hatching.

•Once the young have left the nest you may clean the box out. Bluebirds typically re-nest a second and sometimes a third time during one season, and they frequently use the same box over.

Do you Etsy? Handcrafted items that aren't cookie cutter can be found for great prices on Etsy. They had over 900 birdhouses to pick from!

Recylcing at it's best...


One of a kind...



Poor indeed is the garden in which birds find no homes. ~Abram L. Urban

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sonic Summer

Don't ya just love to go through the drive through at Sonic and get a big Limeade? Drive-Ins are still one of my favorite places to go in the hot summertime. After dinner when your tummy says, "I have a little empty spot!" Sitting with the windows down reminds me of Taylor's Drive-In in Springfield, Missouri when I was 15 and my Sister-in-law and I would cruise the lot or get a cherry coke. Or Steak and Shake on Glenstone and we'd get the orange creamsicle shake, YUM! That was long before she and my brother married. We were a little dangerous together. One time we went out when we weren't supposed to and had a little fender bender. Murphy's Law says if you are somewhere you're not supposed to be, you WILL get caught!

We have an old fashioned Drive-In here called the Suzy Q. It's been around for 25 years and they're the REAL THING! You pull up, get out of the car and place your order at the window. They make the best hamburgers you ever put in your mouth! Grilled to perfection on a flat top that's cooked a million of them. And home cut skinny fries, hot and salty. The shakes are made with real ice cream using the old Mix Master, soooo good!

The best thing about going is setting with the windows down, under the neon lights listening to the music. Just doing nothing like when we were kids and didn't have mortgages or car payments. Take your kids and your Grandkids with you this summer and teach them to love Drive Ins too.Some things shouldn't change, some things were right the first time around...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grunt, Slump or Buckle?

Arkansas strawberries and rhubarb are showing up now in the local Farmer's Markets. May will bring on peaches followed by blueberries then raspberries. My heart is beating faster just writing this! If you love fresh fruit like I do, you can't wait to bake something yummy for dessert that requires a topping of ice cream! Ozark women have been making cobblers since pioneer days. All it takes is a little fruit... fresh, dried or canned and in two shakes of a lambs tail you have a hot bubbly, dessert on the table!

Simmer sweetened dumplings in with juicy berries and you've made a Grunt.
Blueberry Grunt
4 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup milk
About 1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, frequently stir blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, molasses, lemon peel, lemon juice, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 cup water until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the berries have released their juices and the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. With your fingers or a pastry blender, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add the milk and stir just until mixture forms a soft dough (do not overmix).
3. Drop 1/4-cup portions of the dough into the simmering fruit mixture. Cover the frying pan and simmer until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Spoon the warm dumplings and fruit equally into four bowls and drizzle the portions with cream if desired.
Makes 4 servings

Make a cake with fruit mixed into the batter or spooned on top, finished with a crumble topping and you've made a Buckle!Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons hot water (1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons)
Heat oven to 375º. Grease square pan, 9×9×2 inches, or round pan, 9×1-1/2". Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, milk and egg; beat 30 seconds. Carefully stir in blueberries. Spread batter in pan; sprinkle with Crumb Topping.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle with Glaze. Serve warm.
Mix all ingredients until crumbly.
Mix all ingredients until of drizzling consistency.
Printable Recipe

A Crisp is a baked dessert, the fruit filling covered with a crunchy topping crumbled over the top.Basic Fruit Crisp
6 cups fruit, peeled and sliced such as Peaches, Apples, Pears, Plumcots, Berries
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Meyer Lemons juice freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon Meyer Lemons zest
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/3 cup Brown Sugar firmly packed
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
4 tablespoons Butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square or rectangular pan.
In a large bowl, toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
Lay fruit into pan and set aside.
Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
Sprinkle over fruit mixture and bake approximately 30 minutes or until bubbly and crisp. Serves 6
Printable Recipe

To make a Slump, drop the dough over the fruit and cook on the stove top!Stone Fruit Slump
4-1/2 pounds mixed plums, nectarines, or peaches, fresh or frozen, pitted
(8 to 9 cups or 3 pounds prepped), see cook's notes
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted (2 1/2 ounces) cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cold buttermilk
To peel peaches, drop in boiling water for 30 seconds, then pull off peel. They may need a little more time in the boiling water if they aren't good-and-ripe. Or instead of peeling peaches, try washing them well and then piercing them gently with a fork. Once they are slices and baked, the peel will fall apart into the fruit and add a rosy color to the dessert.
1. Prepare fruit filling: Slice fruit over bowl so you can collect all juices. Slice each fruit into 10 or 12 pieces, depending on size of the fruit and drop the slices into the bowl. Separately, rub sugar, cornstarch and salt together in small bowl, then add to the fruit and gently toss to coat. Gently stir in lemon juice, then scrape the fruit and juices into a 10- to 12-inch nonreactive, deep skillet or a wide 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Whatever pan you choose, it must have a tight-fitting lid. Let stand for 15 minutes. During this time, the fruit will release some of its juices and the sugar will begin to dissolve.
2. Bring fruit mixture to a low simmer over medium-low heat. You will need to stir occasionally to prevent the juice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but do so gently to avoid breaking down the pieces of fruit. Simmer for about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Prepare dumplings: Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom together in a bowl. Add butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or pastry blender, cut in the butter (until butter is the size of peas). Add buttermilk and stir just until mixture comes together; it will be a slightly wet dough.
4. In eight portions, place dough atop fruit, distributing the dumplings evenly over the surface. Return to the stovetop and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and continue simmering for 18 to 22 minutes or until dumplings are puffy and cooked through to the center. Remove cover and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Sadly, slumps do not keep well. Serve immediately.
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

These are from an old War Eagle Mill Cookbook...
Apricot Patty Cake Cobbler
3/4 to 1 1/4 cups packed powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. ground mace or nutmeg
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
6 cups apricot quarters (about 2 lb. whole fruit)
Patty cake crust (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine sugar, mace, almond extract and orange peel. Add apricots and mix. If the apricots are firm and underripe, they will require the maximum amount of sugar. If the apricots are ripe and sweet, start with 3/4 cup sugar. Scrape mixture into a buttered shallow 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole and spread level.
With lightly floured hands, tear off lumps (3 to 4 T. size) of the patty cake crust and pat into cakes about 1/4 inch thick; lay them as shaped over the fruit, covering fairly evenly (a few gaps are fine). When all the dough is in place, press down lightly to join portions.
Bake cobbler in a 375 degree oven until fruit is bubbling and crust is well browned, 50 to 60 minutes. If using a 1 1/2 quart casserole, set on a large sheet of foil in case mixture boils over. Let stand at least 10 minutes or until cool. Scoop fruit and crust into bowls, adding more sugar to taste if needed.
Patty Cake Crust
In a food processor or bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 6 t. butter cut into thin slices, 1/4 cup cream cheese (2 oz.), cut into small pieces; 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel; and 1/4 tsp. ground mace. Whirl or rub with your fingers until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 large egg yolk and whirl or stir until dough holds together. Press into a ball.
Printable Recipe

Creeping Apple Cobbler
5 lg. apples, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teas. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled to room temp.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teas. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Adjust oven rack to middle and preheat overn to 375º.
Fit processor with slicing disk. Cut apples in half; fit them in the feed tube and slice. Remove apples to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon and toss until well blended.
With a pastry brush, coat the sides of 9 x 12 shallow baking dish with some of the melted butter. Pour the remaining butter into the dish and tilt it back and forth until its bottom is completely covered with the butter.
Sift together the flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder into a medium. size bowl. With a wooden spoon beat in the milk until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the butter coated dish. Sprinkle the apples, as well as the juice that will have accumulated, evenly over the batter.
Bake the cobbler 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is deep golden brown.
Yield: serves 6-8
As the cobbler bakes, the batter rises and literally creeps up through the apple slices.
Printable Recipe

Peach Crumb Cobbler
5 cup sliced peaches
1/3 cup pack brown sugar
3 tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten.
Combine brown sugar flour & cinnamon.
Toss with peaches & arrange in 7x11 pan (9x9 works just fine too)
Take topping dry ingredients, sift... add egg & mix until crumbly.
Sprinkle over filling. Drizzle butter over top.
Bake at 375 for 55 minutes.
Serves 6 big servings
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Magic Trick

Everday across the country families sit down to that "Magic Trick" called dinner. I say Magic is involved because often times it involves the things that are in the fridge in separate bowls waiting for Wednesday's "Something from Nothing" dinner.

You know what I'm talking about. That one chicken breast, those two spoonfulls of gravy, the half a baked potato that was salvaged from your resident picky eater.

My Mother was Queen of Leftovers. Nothing was ever thrown out. Nothing ever spoiled because she was diligent, on top of the refrigerator inventory.

There was always vegetable soup when roast was leftover.

Potato soup or potato cakes when mashed potatoes were needing a facelift.

Leftover bread? Chicken n' dressing was on the menu.

Meatloaf reappeared as chili.

Rice from breakfast could be spanish rice for dinner.

Even milk became buttermilk. Ok, I've lost some of you here...

So if you are trying to stretch those dollars a little farther,
ask Mom or Grandma how she did it in her time.
She's probably still got her recipe for Lima Bean Casserole somewhere!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First Job

I wasn't waitress material...on my very first day of my very first job, I gave my two week notice. That sounds like I am such a quitter and I hate that! But I was 15, the job was an assigned job with the VICA-DECA program at school and I had asked for a job that I could learn a trade. That's evidently what they had available so that's how I ended up in that cafe in 1968. It had maybe 20 tables but when lunchtime rolled around it was up to me, on my first day to take the orders and remember who ordered what. I failed miserably. It was a horrible feeling but I knew right off that this was not going to work. At the end of the day, I walked up to my boss and told her I wasn't cut out for this and I was giving my two week notice. She wasn't too surprised. It could have scarred me for life, but I moved on. In no time I was working in a flower shop, loving every minute and learning from a very patient, encouraging boss who loved to teach.

When I came across this website the other day at Hardly Famous, it made me feel a little better that others have moved on from their first jobs!

Michael Jordan – His first job was in a hotel and it lasted a week.
Bono – Gas station attendant.
Al Pacino – He got fired from his first job as a cinema usher.
Mariah Carey – Hat checker (she got fired).
Stephen King – Janitor.
Robin Williams – Ice-cream scooper.
Jennifer Aniston – Telemarketer.
Warren Beaty – Rat catcher.
Tom Hanks – Popcorn and peanuts vendor.
Madonna – Worked at a Dunkin Donuts.
Clint Eastwood – Pool boy, gas station attendant.
Brad Pitt – Dressed as a giant chicken for a Mexican restaurant.
Ellen Degeneres – Cleaned cars.
Rod Stewart – Grave digger.
Mick Jagger – Porter in a mental hospital.
Nicolas Cage – Sold popcorn at a theatre.
Julia Roberts – Worked in an ice cream shop.
Quentin Tarantino – Video store clerk.
Danny DeVito – Hairdresser in his sister’s salon.
Keanu Reeves – Janitor.
GRANDson Jackson is hoping to find his first job this summer. With the economy the way it is, there haven't been too many options.
I did see a couple jobs listed in last Sunday's paper...
Sign Shaker or one I KNOW he would excell at...
Donut Maker!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Rooster and the Hen

Tough times? Recession getting you down?
Let's go back to the Depression Era for a poem from a wise old hen...
Said the Little Red Rooster,
“Believe me, things are tough!
Seems the worms are getting scarcer
And I cannot find enough.
What’s become of all those fat ones?
It’s a mystery to me.
There were thousands through that rainy spell,
But now, where can they be?
But the Old Black Hen who heard him
Didn’t grumble or complain,
She had lived through lots of dry spells;
She had lived through floods of rain.
She picked a new and undug spot.
The ground was hard and firm.
“I must go to the worms,” she said
“The worms won’t come to me.”
The Rooster vainly spent his day
Through habit, by the ways
Where fat round worms had passed in squads
Back in the rainy days.
When nightfall found him supperless,
He growled in accents rough,
“I’m hungry as a fowl can be,
Conditions sure are tough.”
But the Old Black Hen hopped to her perch
And dropped her eyes to sleep
And murmured in a drowsy tone,
“Young man, hear this and weep.
I’m full of worms and happy
For I’ve eaten like a pig.
The worms were there as always,
But, boy, I had to dig!”~Adeline J. Haws

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IM just saying...

It's a fact of life, if we don't learn how to keep up with technology it's going to leave us in the dust! For years I fought getting a computer, I couldn't imagine having time to set in front of it and pay bills or email. Our first computer was a HP, and dial up took about 5 minutes to log on. I was right, I didn't use it much.

When the girls were teenagers, Zack on Saved By the Bell carried a cell phone around all the time that looked like this! By 1990, cell phones were a necessity even for me. I felt safer having one in my purse and just like Ziploc bags...I had to admit it was better than the "old way" of doing things!

Facebook and MySpace let's me keep up with our kids and GRANDkids. Better than a letter or email it's instant gratification! I'm so glad I turned the computer on in 1990 and waited for it to load AOL. Technology takes us farther than we ever expected, the ability now to Twitter, IM or text.

IM just saying it's all good!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"The Teen Commandments"

Remember 16? I barely do, that's been 41 years ago. Our GRANDSON is turning 16 this summer, how can that be? A blink ago he was running his Hot Wheels along the coffee table and helping me make chocolate chip pancakes on weekends! When you live a distance from grandkids, you are shocked when you see them over holidays or summertime. They grow by leaps and bounds, but when their voice changes and you don't recognize that person on the other end of the phone line...that's a wake-up call!

Stephanie mentioned recently she "earned" her Mother's Day card this year. Many times I felt that way when the girls were growing up. Not easy being Mom when they are teens. The only way you survive those years is to take a day at a time, not fly off the handle and picture their cute little faces at two when you look at their far out style now!

O Magazine had a great article last month on the "Teen Commandments" written by Lian Dolan. These are great tips to navigating the teen years! Just a few observations of my own in italics...

1. You shall not attempt to engage in meaningful conversation in the morning.
I always considered time in the car as time to have one on one, intense "Mommy Time." They were trapped and HAD to listen!

2. You shall not approve the use of more than two electronic devices simultaneously.
Our girls didn't have Ipods, mp3 players, Facebook or MySpace. They begged for years before we added cable TV. But teens have an innate ability to tune out parents, I remember having to repeat myself a lot!

3. You shall not offer commentary about haircuts, hairstyles or haircolors.
I was a much stricter Mom with our oldest daughter, sorry Stephanie! By the time we became parents to our second 8 years later, I picked my "battles!"

4. You shall not offer helpful suggestions on homework management.
Homework was done as soon as they came home and both were focused on doing their best, we were lucky there. It's a real worry when your kids struggle with a subject.

5. You shall not extend curfew beyond midnight.
I'm glad our daughters are grown!

6. You shall not expect a fully functioning frontal cortex.
They look grown up, but they're not! Continuing to parent when they are teens is crucial!

7. You shall not believe in the chaperoning abilities of the "older sibling."
Stephanie left a BIG impression on her little sister when she threatened to flush her down the toilet! Amy still talks about it...

8. You shall eat dinner together as often as you can.
We always ate dinner together but that was 1970's/1980's. With all of the outlets kids and parents have now, it's much harder. There's something about a meal that says home and family.

9. You shall not hesitate if they call and say they need a ride home from a party.
Having that conversation with your teen is probably one of the most important. Knowing they can depend on you always is a very good feeling.

10. You shall remember that you were 16 once.
I asked my husband if he remembered 16. He said, "Kinda, I remember how much I wanted a car!" Even though there's 42 years separating them, I bet Jackson would answer the same!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of the Lucky Ones!

Mom (1942)

I've always liked things that were old, steeped in tradition or passed down from one generation to the next. My Grandma Keeling instilled in me the value of heirlooms. That may be too "grand" of a word for the items that have been passed down to me. Cracked pitchers, faded plates and linens that are yellowed with age are just some of the things that I love.

My Grandma Keeling lost her Mother to rheumatic fever when she was only 6. Her father owned the general store in the small community of Lead Hill. Of course he spent many hours away from his young daughter, so Grandma's Aunt Zulah was there for her. Ten short years later, Grandma's father passed. She went to live with her Aunt and Uncle, her relationship to them was close, almost as if they were her parents.

I was listening to Dr. Laura Berman the other day on XM. She has recently lost her mother to cancer and is having a very difficult time. She was sharing with callers her feelings...her stomach "drops," as fear sets in and the realization that her mother is really gone. Even though for the past 25 years she and her mother lived apart, now there is a sadness that she can't reach out and call her, touch her.

One of the things that she mentioned that hit home with me, was the fact that she had become her mother. How many times have you said something and think, "My Mother used to say that?" The connection we have with our moms is complex. They guide and direct us our whole lives. We accept it as children, we resent it as teens and young adults, then we miss it when they are gone from our lives.

Moms are the ones who plan the family gatherings, bake the favorite cakes and go that extra mile to make our children and grandchildren's lives special. As they get older, we "take up the torch" and step up to help her out. It starts slowly, usually with holiday meals and then one day we are carrying the torch by ourselves. Almost without noticing we begin the process of becoming our Mothers.

How our Mother's can be our rock yet drive us crazy is an enigma. She understands us like no one else on Earth. In a lifetime your Mom is your caregiver, your role model, your confidant. Teen years she's your nemesis, the enemy and sometimes your worst nightmare if she catches you doing something wrong! But by middle age, if you're lucky...she becomes your best friend. The one you can confide in without any worry that she will ever judge, only support you in all things. I'm one of those lucky ones!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Starving to Stuffed, 30 min.

When I have leftover rice, and leftover rotisserie chicken, and half a bag of frozen shrimp in the fridge...I can make a quick dinner that is really good, really filling and really quick. The next time you get home at 6pm and you need to put something on the table quickly before the kids die of starvation...try this recipe!

Colleen's Fried Rice
2 Cups leftover Long Grain Rice, chilled (you can use brown rice too)
3 Eggs
1 Cup Frozen Peas and carrots
1 Stalk Celery (finely diced)
1/2 Onion (chopped)
1 Clove Crushed Garlic
1 Teaspoon Minced jalapeno chili (optional)
1 Cup leftover Cooked Chicken (diced)
6 slices bacon
6 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 green onions, diced
Cook the rice, cover and refrigerate. Gently whisk eggs in a bowl. In large saute pan, cook bacon, set aside to drain. Pour off all but a small amount of the bacon grease and add the egg mixture. Cook as if making an omelet, just turn over to cook through. Remove from pan and cut into small pieces. Add a little bacon grease and saute the onion until cooked. Add garlic, chili and shrimp, cook until shrimp turn pink.Remove from pan and slice. Heat a little more bacon grease and saute celery,carrot and peas, stir fry until tender. Add rice and stir through. Add shrimp, chicken,bacon, egg and sauces. Cook, stirring all the time until hot. Add green onions and stir through just before serving.
Printable Recipe

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Simplicity or just Common Sense?

The Recession has hurt a lot of people. It's cost jobs for some, income loss for others and for all of us we've taken a new look at our lifestyles. I speak for myself when I say it's been awhile since I had to budget our money. That's not to say I wasn't being careful. We started out with only "two nickles to our name," and fear of going back to that has always made us wiser about the choices we made. We struggled the first few years; college, new baby, old cars that were always broke. Somehow we always managed to pay our bills. Then the girls got older, hubby worked hard and one day it just wasn't so difficult. We are blessed to have enough. I'm noticing a new movement that has taken hold with the turn in the economy. It's called a "Life of Simplicity."

People are drawn to this lifestyle to find meaning in their lives, they realize a life based on materialism and consumerism is empty. It takes so much energy to "keep up with the Joneses." When we come right down to it, what gives us joy in our lives? For myself I can answer that quickly, my family and my home. So here's a list of 10 practical steps to simplifying your life.

1. Reuse paper bags, envelopes, newspapers, etc. Newspapers and shredded paper make excellent mulch in the garden. The mulch will break down over a period of time and add humus to the soil. (This is called recycling and most of us do it now without even thinking.)

2. Have a Buy Nothing Day. (This is called real life, also called too much month at the end of the paycheck.)

3. Carve some space for ‘mindful living’ so that you have time for ‘beingness’ rather than ‘doingness.’ (Being satisfied with what we already have.)

4. Find friends who know the glass is half-full or in other words, find friends who share the same value system as you do. (It's great to have friends who lean the same way you do.)

5. Grow your own food or buy as much as possible from local growers. (Gardening has surged in this recession, it's saves money...and the tomatoes are killer good!)

6. Use non-toxic products such as borax, vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and salt in your home, yard, and garden. (You don't need a lot to keep a clean house, elbow grease should be your biggest expentiture!)

7. Before you buy something, write the item down on a note and if you still want it after a month, purchase it then. (Daughter Stephanie says she "Gives the item a ride in the cart, then puts it back." Isn't that a funny way to decide if you really need something?)

8. Decide what is really working in your life and let go of that which no longer serves you. (All of the things the world says you "have to have," review what YOU really need and eliminate the rest.)

9. Surround yourself with what you really need and love. (That one's easy, family and a place to lay my head down at night!)

10. Go Organic. Organic gardening is not only about the avoidance of chemicals, but in the larger picture, it is organic living using Nature’s laws. (If you're not a gardener...Farmer's Markets are a great way to stimulate the local economy, improve your diet and go organic without paying high grocery store prices.)

Use it up, wear it out, make it do...
good advice then and now!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beauty...and the Beast

I've been gardening daily now, also known as "The Evening Buffet" for the deer!

I was setting out another flat of flowers and noticed a large black snake is on a rock ledge watching me. Far enough away that I didn't pee my pants and afterall it was a black snake, a beneficial snake if you can say that in the same sentence. He or She was about 4 foot long, and was about the size of a childs' wrist. I didn't get the camera and take a picture so if you'd like to see a Black Rat Snake, the variety that is most common in Arkansas, click HERE. Pioneer Woman showed us a cows' prolapsed uterus, but I'm still not over that and I don't want to cause any mental traumas. I'll let you decide if you want to see how scary she was...

Stop reading now if you have a weak stomach. I'm going to show you a picture that I took last summer. A garter snake, doing what snakes do. Turn away now if you're squeemish. Ok, are you ready? Are you sure?

Don't blame me, I warned you...

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