Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shy, Quiet and Reserved

I hate it when LinkWithin posts this at the bottom of a daily post. Early on in blogging I would have NEVER posted anything so personal as me in a pair of bloomers! Actually not my bloomers, my daughter's bloomers... that's not right either, we don't know who they really belong to.

Let me start over. These were a joke gift for Stephanie at Christmas. When the kids were here over the holidays we decided to embrace the Recession and do a little Thrift Shop buying for our Christmas Eve gifts. Traditionally, we open one gift on Christmas Eve and usually it's boring pj's. This year we decided we'd do our shopping at the Benton County Thrift Store. It had to be used and it had to be funny.

We drew names and off we went on Christmas Eve errands, the men in one car and the GRANDson's, Stephanie and me in the other. I always jokingly say I never have my shopping done until the stores close on Christmas Eve, but it's true! There's stockings to fill, brunch to put together and then there's always that last minute run for batteries!

It was fun buying silly gifts and the excitement of watching as we opened them after dinner. Hubby and SON-in-law got great new golfing outfits, look how COOL they look!


Stephanie's expression was priceless, just like the MasterCard Commercial, except these cost 50 cents and we didn't have to use a credit card!



Gavin got a Flasher Doggie who opened his coat to reveal a beating heart!


Jackson got a tape from the 1980's...

I got groovy orange flip flops! Don't they look nice with my "freshly manicured" toes? It was great fun AND we "stimulated the economy" with our purchases...I think maybe $10 total for 6 gifts. This idea would be fun for a reunion too so feel free to steal our idea if you have one coming up!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Serious Love Affair...

The 4th of July is right around the corner and our kids will be here this year. I’m trying to get some cooking done this week so that I won’t be in the kitchen the whole time. I've made my menus and have a gameplan. I know for sure we'll be doing some burgers and hot dogs. Most likely ribs or brisket will also be on the menu over the weekend.I'll make potato salad and coleslaw, and baked beans...all necessary with BBQ! And it wouldn't be the Fourth without a watermelon, I hope I can “thump” a good one! Is that how you pick one? I’ve heard some people say if the stem is curly like a pig’s tail and all dried up it’s a good one. Also if the underside is yellow then it’s ripe.

When I think of summer, one of the first things that pops into my mind is ice cream! My Mother had a serious love affair with ice cream so we didn't have to ask for the stuff, it was always in the freezer! Growing up, my summer day often included a slice of neopolitan ice cream, Mom's favorite. She would open both ends and then slide the entire contents out so that she could slice it with the butcher knife. Musical ice cream trucks drove the maple lined streets of our neighborhood in the afternoon and treats were 10 or 15 cents. In 1960 even that small sum wasn't given to my brother and me daily, it was a once a week treat. Mom's addiction to the white fluffy stuff would often dictate a night time trip to the local Dairy Queen. As a kid, I didn't appreciate the perks of living with a Mom who loved ice cream!

This summer has been shaping up to be a hot one. We've already had over two weeks of 90's, unusual for the Ozarks. So I've been keeping my eyes peeled for good ice cream recipes. While the kids are here we need to partake in some cold, refreshing ice cream. To me, it’s like eating up memories one delicious spoonful at a time. After all, it just wouldn’t be summer without it!


(from The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen website)
3 cups Mashed Berries (or Peaches)
3 cups Sugar, Divided
4 whole Eggs
14 ounces, fluid Half-and-half
1 can Evaporated Milk
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 dash Salt
1 quart Whipping Cream
Mash fruit and add one cup of sugar. Stir and let stand for 1 hour.
Beat eggs and remaining sugar until lemon colored. Stir in sweetened fruit, half-and-half, evaporated milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and dash of salt.
In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold whipped cream into fruit mixture. Mix in ice cream maker until frozen.
Makes 6 quarts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grandma's House

Mom's looking forward to her GRANDS and her GREATS coming to visit her soon. Since they live in Texas, they don't get to come often. Summertime and the holidays mean a visit though so she's excited about them seeing them. Her new home's not far, just over the river and through the woods from where I live!

Her mailbox is the first thing you see. Roses blooming all around, just like her farm.

Flower beds with every color in the rainbow...

Clean sparkly floors and everything spic and span, just like she likes it...

A dining room for celebrating family milestones, like birthdays. Mom will be 86 in August!

The dining room has plenty of room for company to join Grandma for a meal...

Rocking chairs placed just so to shuck corn...

A big yard is a necessity if you are a Grandma, a place for your Grandkids to play!

Welcoming to visitors and home to Mom.

This room stays busy with residents who love to do crafts, visit with neighbors and fill their days with activity.


Life's path sometimes leads us to unfamilar roads. When that happens, finding your way home again can be daunting. Tina Cox has devoted her life to helping seniors find joy and purpose again. For Mom, Home Sweet Home has Jamestown on the mailbox!

*Photos courtesy of
Jamestown Nursing and Rehab
2001 Hampton Place
Rogers, Arkansas 72758
479-986-9945

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Awesome!

My new favorite book has a website!!! 1000AwesomeThings.com


#476 Biting off the last piece of the popsicle without losing any of it...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants

I have a book that I can go to for encouragement anytime I feel the need and here lately, I’ve needed it a lot. Life Is Short-Wear Your Party Pants by stress management consultant Loretta LaRoche reminds us to slow down, love more and treat ourselves more kindly. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. I know I beat myself over the head when I don’t get all of the things on my “To-Do” list done. I stretch myself too thin and then wonder why I can’t get it all done…sound familiar?? Her practical advice about wearing your Party Pants will set you free to claim peace and happiness in your life!


Loretta said her Mom used to say “You never know.” They would clean the house on Saturdays because…”You never know.” In the middle of a wonderful meal her Mother would remind them to save leftovers because…“You never know. Small pieces of wax paper were saved, as well as string and empty egg cartons because…well, you know! She said she kept trying to understand what it was she didn’t know but needed to know. She used to ask her Mother if something bad was going to happen, but then her Mom would counter with, “Someday you’ll see.” She had a hard time coping with all of this as a child, but the thing that really pushed her over the edge was underwear. Her Mother bought her the most hideous underpants, on sale…the kind that wouldn’t wear out, ever. Loretta longed for the kind that were pretty and feminine with little flowers and lace. When her Mother finally had a weak moment and bought her a pair she was ecstatic, until Mom said the usual: that she couldn’t wear them often because… “You never know.” She added they were going to be her “Party Pants.” Just how many parties did a nine year old go to? The pants stayed in the drawer surrounded by their ugly step-underpants. She wore them twice, she still had them but they didn’t fit anymore!

Loretta mentions a favorite story about a woman who was in her kitchen preparing roast beef for dinner. Her young daughter was watching her make the meal, and the young girl asked, “Mommy, why did you cut the ends off the roast beef?”And the Mother told her: “Honey, that’s just the way you prepare it.”“But why?”And the Mother had to think about it for a second and acknowledged, “You know, I’m not sure why. It’s just the way my Mother did it, and I’m sure she had a good reason.”“Let’s ask Grandma.”So the woman called her Mother and asked why she cut the ends off the roast beef. The older woman had to admit she didn’t really know why she id it either, but she did it because that’s the way her Mother prepared the roast beef. So they called the old woman, the child’s great-great-grandmother who was now in her 90’s, and asked her why she cut the ends off the roast beef before cooking it.“Well,” the old lady said, “it’s because I didn’t have a roasting pan big enough to hold it!”

How many of us have inherited that scarcity mentality from our parents, a mentality that says we shouldn’t celebrate and use the good things in our everyday lives. But like the woman who cooked the roast beef we should look beyond what we’ve been brought up with to try to find our own path to a happy life.

It’s a great self-help book that will bring insight to your life and you’ll laugh your socks off the whole way through!
Please, wear your prettiest panties today!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yes, I know it was you...

Rain, rain and more rain. I went out today in between storms to see how my tomato plants were doing. The whole row, a dozen tomato plants were gone...disappeared, kaput. The last time I checked on them they were about a foot tall and everyone of them had little tomatoes forming. I was thinking BLT's, homemade spaghetti sauce and all of the fresh sliced tomatoes we could eat. Now it's back to square one. Do I buy more tomato plants or do I get my gun and wait for the deer to arrive for the 7pm buffet???

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Testing the Waters...

I got a call the other day from my cousin who wants MY help in setting up a blog. I think I can do it, after all I did set this one up a year and a half ago. She lives across the state from me so my idea is that we get online, get on our phones and walk though the process. She is taking a BIG chance asking me to help, but I foolishly think together we can figure it out!
When I talk to Arleen, it's like we are 10 again. She was the closest I ever came to having a sister. Summers at my Aunt Joy's had many perks, chickens to feed, a horse to ride and my cousins all nearby. She was so much fun to be around and still has that quality about her!

I probably have forgotten the "gliches" along the way, but Blogspot walked me through the whole process. Backgrounds, widgets and slidebars...ShareThis, Feedjit and Playlist, if it was as simple as a click, I could do it. If the directions sounded too technical, too risky I didn't add it. Kind of like life, I just stuck my big toe in the water and tested it first.
So, we're going "swimming again!"
Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Do I Live Here?

Thanks Stephanie for sending this website...
We all have neighbors that "march to a different drum." The ones who mow at odd hours or run their sprinklers when it's raining! Why someone would seed their roof falls under this catagory! But this is America and to each his own as they say...

What could be the cause of this fire?


Cat lover... we used to have a neighbor years ago who walked their cat on a leash. I'm sorry, but that's just strange!


Champagne wishes and tuna-mac dreams!


Man-opausal jogger...


Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Urban Waterfalls…

Now don't these pictures make you glad you live in a "normal" neighborhood?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's in a Name?


What's in a Name is a website that will surprise you....the letter of your name has some influence on your personality! After checking out other family members names it was amazingly close! This is what it said about me....

“C,” the third letter of the alphabet, represents energy.

These are good-humored people who are willing to help you if they can. Their genial, lighthearted spirit makes you feel good when you are around them. Carefree but cheerful, they may have you thinking twice with their dry sense of humor. (That's me, never saw a problem I can't tackle!)

“C’s” are lavish with themselves and those they love. Most are liberal with their money and tend to give it away with the knowledge they can always get more. (Oh yes, I think giving is better than receiving!)

Versatile and skillful, they are proficient at anything they desire. Some wives of a “C” husband might even be heard saying they are married to a “handy-man.” (I definitely have a "can-do" attitude!)

Those with this letter in their name may be called an orator. Eloquent and outspoken on any subject, they may make their living as a speechwriter or philosophy teacher. (This is a nice way of saying long-winded...is that not me to a tee?)
As organizers these people are the promoters you want in your corner. With a need for organization, they will not only construct a system of having everything in it’s place but will also go through the disposition of such without batting an eyelash. Engineers and inventors might be found with a “C” in their name. “What they conceive, they will achieve,” is their motto. (Love, love, love to organize!)


Some “C’s” may be a little impatient. That combined with their spur of the moment actions might lead others to believe that “C” people are not as organized as they really are. (How can they know me so well???)

A negative “C” may be careless and unscrupulous. Reckless and unprincipled, they don’t care who they hurt as long as it benefits them. (I hope I'm not this one...)



So, what are you waiting for...
click HERE and go check out what your name says about you!

*(Joycee is a mix of my name Joy Colleen...my family calls me by my middle name!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

$270 Italian Dinner

Our $270 Italian dinner wasn't prepared by a famous chef...

It didn't include wine aged to perfection and it wasn't served on Tuscan china...


It began like any other Thursday night. We both got home around 5:30PM, hubby from work and me from the craziness that I simply call "ERRANDS." Groceries to unload, then the magic trick I perform called dinner. How about a little pasta? One pot for the sauce, I make and freeze that ahead for nights like this. Another pot for the boiling water. I pour myself a tall glass of peach tea and sit down to watch the news while the water comes to a boil. I can hear it bubbling so I get up, take the lid off, lay it down on the glass cooktop and add my pasta to the boiling water. In about two seconds there is an explosion underneath the pot lid...

This is what a $270 hole looks like. The glass cooktop will be here next Wednesday!

*If you have a glass cooktop, I encourage you to re-read the don't section. Don't use uneven pots on the cooktop. This evidently includes pot lids that are concave....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Talker, Watcher or Doer?

There are three kinds of people in the world...talkers, watchers and doers. Maybe we are born that way, or maybe we take on these traits as we get older. I would say we fall into the "watcher" category. We take our time and process every big decision we have to make. Not ones to jump into a new situation, we have "talked" about getting a hybrid for about five years now. All along the way our lives dictated we needed a truck. After all, we do live in the country. And we do our own yard work. And we "might" need a truck for those times when we buy a washer or a new chair to save on the delivery costs. So, we put off buying a greener alternative until yesterday.


For the past month Hubby has been doing his "homework," studying the car magazines and looking online for the best one for us. He started the dealing on Wednesday and in just a few days of "too much," or "not enough for my trade-in" ...and some worrying on my part...


Yesterday we became a "doer." We finally gave up that truck that ate gas with a BIG spoon, the one that hauled mulch and dumped dirt. We said goodbye to it's usefulness that often got us into bigger projects than we could or should do. We'll miss it, but when we are feeling a little sad we can just look on the dashboard of the Prius and see that we are getting 51mpg. That will make us feel a little better!
Happy Father's Day Jerry, enjoy your new car!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hoarder?

I can't go to the grocery store without buying more than I have on my list. Years of buying on sale, in multiples has left me powerless to saying "no" any item that I find at a good price. My theory of buying extra was inherited from Mom, it's her fault! When I'm going through the channels, A&E's Hoarders is sometimes being advertised. I've watched the show only a few times, just not interested in watching a show about junk. I don't understand how anyone could allow this to go on. Do I see my hoarding of food as different? Yes!

#1 Our food is stored neatly in enclosed(i.e. closets) areas

#2 I never have anything that I have to throw away because it's expired

#3 I buy only things that we actually use, it's not gonna stay in a bag somewhere

#4 I don't buy on credit, we pay as we go

#5 I have extra mayo, mustard, ketchup, pickles, flour, salt, sugar, oil, peanut butter, jam, crackers, pasta, rice, beans, canned fruit, canned vegetables. Plenty of Wishbone and Ranch Dressing, extra bottles of soy, steak sauce, taco sauce, popcorn, jello...you get the idea.

So, does that constitute a hoarder? What do you think???

Friday, June 18, 2010

Searching for the elusive Crab Butter...

Can you tell where we ate dinner the other night? Of course you can, we all love these Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster. Whenever they run an ad on tv, my mouth starts watering and I start planning our next visit!

I had their new Chesapeake Shrimp with Crab Butter, it had wood grilled shrimp on skewers drizzled with a chunky crab infused butter and was served with roasted new potatoes and a great fresh corn and red pepper side. Oh, I was a happy camper! So, I've been searching for a "copycat" recipe online. No luck with that...so far...but I did find a great site with the Internet's largest recipe index called


If you are a Foodie like me, you are always searching for new recipes. I can't buy every cookbook I want, I'd need another room added if I did this! I was thrilled to see they have a huge collection of recipes from my favorite chefs...Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Ina Garten, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck.

Look what I found...a bumped up Cheddar Bay Biscuit! This may just have to satisfy my crab cravings until I can find their recipe for Chesapeake Shrimp with Crab Butter!

Red Lobster Cheddar Crab Bake
(Serves 4-6)
This is similar to the cheddar garlic bisquicks at Red Lobster but have the additional crab.

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup crabmeat (fresh or canned lump)
1 3/4 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine bisquick, 1 cup cheddar, milk, and 1/2 of melted butter.
Mix until well combined.
Pat dough into 8 inch pizza shape.
Sprinkle with parsley (crushed fine).
Sprinkle crab over dough and add remaining cheese.
Bake 14-16 minutes (or until cheese begins to slightly brown).
Combine butter and garlic powder and brush on top.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not Rocket Science

Every morning now I'm thrilled when we have half a pot of leftover coffee from breakfast. In the colder months we drink the whole pot, trying to warm up. Now that the ac is on, I break a sweat when I'm making toast! Mid-morning I take the cold coffee, add milk and a little Splenda and pour over ice...kind of like Starbucks and I didn't have to go anywhere.

One of the blogs I stalk daily visit is Full Bellies, Happy Kids. Sandra has a huge archive of wonderful recipes but today I found one that was just for ME! Thrifty, save the last bit of everything me! She had stolen tweaked it from Foodie With Family to suit her tastes and after making her version, all I can say is THANK YOU! I may even try some flavorings of my own since I waste money treat myself to Starbucks drive through when I'm running low on energy!
Sandra's recipe is
HERE. Being the rebel that I am thrifty and wanting to make larger quantities for morning and afternoon iced lattes, I have streamlined the process to suit my tastes.

Iced Coffee
1/3 cup Nesquick chocolate drink mix
1/2 pot of leftover coffee, still warm from breakfast
Sugar or Splenda to taste

As soon as hubby leaves and before you get on the Internet to waste the next two hours checking email, getting on Facebook, and of course Blogging...add the Nesquick to the hot coffee. Place the pot in the fridge to wait patiently for your planned coffee buzz later to chill. Then when it hits you, that I'm running low on energy "I need a Starbucks" feeling you have waiting for you in the fridge the makings of a $4 iced latte. Get a tall glass, add some ice and pour the mixture halfway up, add skim milk if you are being good or if you are feeling naughty add whole milk to the top and stir. If I am feeling really naughty I can give it a spritz of Reddi-Wip and a sprinkle of cinnamon! Then suck it down drink up and plan a shopping trip with the money you just saved!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Change

Change is never easy, especially when it involves a move. We have moved 19 times in 40 years, some places were as little as a year. Lots of transfers but all along the way we were lucky to have help, family or movers or both.

This past weekend we moved my Mom to a new facility closer to us. She has spent the last 4 years in a specialized unit for Alzheimer's patients but after a fall last August, she's lost so much strength that she is in a wheelchair. She's been well taken care of and felt that it was truly home so we thought long and hard about a move.

For the last two years we've watched as a huge facility went up out on New Hope Road. An article months ago called Jamestown "NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S NURSING HOME." Built more like a nice resort than a nursing home, the rooms are huge. When you enter there's light pouring into the hallways from a central courtyard, framed with windows floor to ceiling. A huge covered porch welcomes resident to come outside and sit in rockers under the paddle fans. It's Grandma's house all right, the overall feeling to guests is that it is a home. They are using points of the Eden Alternative , pets to be enjoyed, activities to nurture and fill the days and quality of life. A new idea but an old, old principle...treat others as you would like to be treated. It can be done, it is being done in health care facilities across the world now.

If your family is facing this hard decision, visit all of the facilities in your area and ask about the Eden Alternative. The more we expect and demand, the faster change will come.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Downtime

I love this time of year when we can sit outside in our favorite lawn chairs. Sometime after supper when the dishes are done and the work of the day is behind us...


When we can just sit with a glass of iced tea, minus our phones...


Just relax and enjoy the chirping of the crickets and watching as the firelies come out...


Having someone to enjoy the moment makes it even better...




...but even if you are alone,
it's a time to regroup and feed the inner part of us that needs DOWNTIME.


Monday, June 14, 2010



Last week was a bad one for the residents of New Braunfels, Texas and Caddo Gap, Arkansas who both had flooding. Lives were lost and the areas are devastated with damage in the millions of dollars. Both storms happened during the night causing rivers to jump their banks and the power of the rushing water was unbelivable.

We lived only a few miles to the south of New Braunfels, on Lake McQueeney in 1998 when heavy rains caused massive flooding. Our neighborhood was a disaster along the waterfront with 12 foot of water in homes. We were evacuated by the National Guard and didn't have any idea that we would come back the next day to a dry house. Since we lived 2 blocks up from the waterfront homes, our house escaped flooding. It came to the edge of our garage, you could see the water mark up along the bricks. There were weeks of clean-up, you don't know where to start after the water takes it all downstream.

Regardless of whether you have flood insurance, so much is lost. Not just furniture and clothing, it's the important things like family albums or china that had belonged to your Great Grandmother can't ever be replaced. Gone. We pulled together and helped with whatever we could during those weeks that stretched into months. Something as simple as a meal or clean clothes means the world to someone who's lost their home.



The city of New Braunfels draws their lifeblood from the emerald green waters of the Guadalupe River with many tourist related buisnesses all along the banks. The hot Texas days can be killer, but floating on the river or spending the day at Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels makes memories for thousands of visitors each year.

My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones and homes and to the businesses all along the river that now have to rebuild, again.

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