Friday, September 30, 2011

Clean as a Whistle

My house is clean as a whistle, Stanley Steemer came and cleaned all the carpets and area rugs. Oh, how I love clean and I know just where I inherited the gene! My Grandma Keeling's house literally sparkled, she knew all the secrets to keeping a house spic and span. In fact, Spic and Span WAS one of them! Armed with her arsenal of cleaning products, no dust speck or germ was allowed in the little rock house where she and Grandpa lived! Even though it set smack dab in the middle of no where, with pastures all around and dirt roads that lead to town, her house was spotless.

Summers when I would go for my two week vacation, she was busy as a bee from morning till night. The beds were made as soon as we slipped out of them, "Spread up the covers." she'd say. I was an obedient child and she molded me quickly to her ways! Next was breakfast, never cereal unless it was a bowl of oatmeal chocked with nuts and bananas, butter and brown sugar and a splash of cream. More often it was hot bread in the form of buttermilk biscuits, bacon/sausage/or ham, eggs fixed the way you wanted... just as if you were a paying customer in a diner!

After breakfast the table was cleared, all except the stash of sweets that set permanently in the middle of the table. Preserves, honey, sorghum, sugar bowl, salt and pepper, and pickled hot pepper vinegar that Grandma had canned to enjoy with brown beans and cornbread. I'd wipe the table clean with the dishrag, then help dry dishes. The kitchen smelled of Ivory Snow flakes and Clorox, she'd add just a small capful to her dishwater. When she drained the water, she'd sprinkle Comet in the two porcelain sinks and then use Jubilee on the Formica table and counter tops. That was just the first hour of her day...

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Guess who was spotted at Dollar General this week at Dumas, Arkansas? Reese Witherspoon, really! Can you imagine pushing your cart down the aisle, loading up on Fanta Orange, detergent and toothpaste when you round the corner and right smack dab in front of you is Elle Woods from Legally Blonde! They said on the news last night ( Yes, it made the news... this is big stuff here!) that she's doing a movie with Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan and Sam Shepard. The feature film “Mud” is written and directed by Arkansas native Jeff Nichols. MUD is about two 14-year-old boys who get tangled up with a mysterious fugitive hiding out on an island in the Mississippi River. They get in over their heads and it it isn't long until a line of bounty hunters besiege their small Arkansas town.

So back to running into celebrities, have you ever? It was 1982, and among the first people who shook our hands and welcomed us to Bentonville, Arkansas' First Presbyterian Church were Sam and Helen Walton. You would never have guessed that they were billionaires, they were just two friendly Arkansan's welcoming a new family. Years later in 1992, I stood in front of Walmart Headquarters as President Bush passed by in his limo to present Sam Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The nation's highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian, it was only a few weeks until Sam Walton passed away from bone cancer. We stood there as much for Mr. Sam, it was incidental that the President was there too. Proud of our own, when Mud opens in 2013, we'll be there with bells on to give Jeff Nichols some support. I bet with actors like Witherspoon and McConaughey, it's going to be a great movie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Percolator Punch

Here I set with my cup of coffee and in the distance, I can hear the school bus. The bus struggles to make the steep grade up our mountain, we are between a "hill and a holler" so it kind of echos back. Peaceful.

Mornings when I was a kid were comforting too. Mom would have the radio tuned to KWTO's Bill Ring show and they would play "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." The kitchen would be warm and the smell of fresh perked coffee filled the air. Remember before Mr. Coffee when our Mom's actually perked a pot on the stove?

I started drinking coffee when I was 12 I think. My Grandma Risley would give me a sip of hers when we would visit. She'd say, "Let me fix you a cup of your own" and she'd doctor it up with a splash of cream and a spoonful of sugar. I loved it and I still do. Mine is brewed in a pot that grinds the beans on one side and brews on the other. I love the whirrr of the blades that turn on at 5AM. It's the only reason I can make myself get out of bed and face the day!

A couple of years ago, I found an old electric percolator at a local flea market. There it set, the gleeming chrome made it look brand spankin' new! They had a little kitchen table set with Harvest Gold Corelle dishes that transported me back to my childhood, to that house on Summit Street. I brought that shiny percolator home and made this...

Percolator Punch
9 cups apple cider
1/2 cup cinnamon red hot candies

Pour apple cider into percolator, place candies in percolator basket. Cover and begin the perking cycle. When the cycle is complete, remove the basket and leave punch in the pot to keep warm.         

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning new tricks, woof woof!

My sister in law was talking about Selectric typewriters the other day. In the 1960's it was top of the line, the fastest way to get documents out. Lots of changes over the years and keeping up with those changes is challenging. Not as easy as it sounds because the rules change daily. I evidently didn't get the memo years ago, I saw on Facebook yesterday that PR Daily says we need to wake up and smell the printer ink...double spacing after a period is so over. They are an online source for public relations, social media and marketing specialists, they should know.

Back when I was in Mrs. Spradlin's typing class in 1968, we were taught that proper spacing after a period was two spaces. If you didn't make those two spaces, it was wrong and you went home with a big red check mark. There were years after high school that my fingers didn't touch a typewriter. I was occupied with wiping kids noses, clipping coupons and cooking breakfast/lunch/dinner. When I got on the computer in 1990, my dial up AOL was a whole new world to me. Lots of sites to visit, email and if I had the patience to set and wait for each page to load...
I was surfing the web!

Now there are new words, new punctuation and new rules. No more double space after a period. What would Mrs. Spradlin say?

she wouldn't like sentences that start with out capitals either

or the dots that I LOVE to use...

or the ♥ or the ☺

She'd give me a big red

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's really beginning to look fallish here on Granny Mountain. When I drove into town on Friday, the first colors of the season were showing. It's probably not going to be a very colorful autumn since we had such high temps and no rain. We are finally getting down into the 40's at night now with days in the 70's and 80's, perfect. fall. weather.

I can't imagine living anywhere else, a dangerous mindset if you work for a company that has transferred us many times. A few more years before retirement so it's always in the back of my mind. We have moved often; from the Midwest, to the Gulf coast, to the West coast, to the East coast and then back to the Midwest.

Most of our transfers went well, one did not. A transfer one cold January to North Carolina started off like all the others; Hubby goes on to the new location, list house, go for house buying trip, sell house. The night before the movers came we had an ice storm. They almost cancelled, but they didn't and it was a hard day for everyone getting everything, including a vehicle into the moving van without falling down. We flew onto NC and waited for our furniture and vehicle to arrive a few days later. I wasn't expecting the phone call we got at the motel telling me the moving van was on it's side in Knoxville, TN. The ice storm followed an Easterly course, making the roads dangerous and slippery. Everything we owned was on that van. It's a sickening feeling to realize you may lose possessions that mean so much. Not tv's or refrigerators, I'm talking about the china that my Grandmother has passed along lovingly to me...the pottery that our daughters had made in grade school...the gun cabinet that my Father-In-Law had made for us one Christmas. The van arrived in a few days. Unloading piece by piece we had broken furniture, dinged appliances and of course the vehicle was damaged even though it had been "chocked" with huge wrapped boards. As I unpacked boxes I was surprised that the things wrapped in packing paper amazingly were fine. I did another "Happy Dance" that day when I unpacked Grandma's china, not one piece broken! Insurance paid for all of the loss and like so many times in our life, the things that were the MOST important were just fine.
Possessions are just things. Things can be replaced.
Family is the true wealth, family and good health.
Everything else is just a bonus!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Muffins

Apple Spice Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (grating fresh nutmeg makes all the difference in these muffins)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
sugar and cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar, add melted butter and applesauce and blend well. Fold into dry ingredients gently, then spoon into paper liners and top with cinnamon sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from muffin pan and place on a rack to cool.

Happy Fall!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Peace of my Heart

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cartoon's Oyster Bar and Grill~Seafood Chowder

If you ever find yourself in Springfield Missouri, you might want to visit
Trip Advisor gave it Thumbs Up! on their Oyster Poorboys so that got our attention. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but more times than not that is where you find the really great places!

Typical bar and grill when you enter, we were surprised to find a live band playing to a whole roomful of cold, wet bikers who were raising money for the March of Dimes. Bikers are like that, and a little cold rain isn't going to keep them from riding for a good cause! 

Cartoon's is one of those places that people love to gather, they provide all the creature comforts like a fire to warm you on cold days and even a pool out back to enjoy the hot summer days.... really!!!

I ordered the Oyster Poorboy and a bowl of their homemade Seafood Chowder. Like always, I dive in and then remember to take the picture after I've devoured half my meal! The chowder was so good, and really very different from any I'd ever had. In place of the potatoes that are normally a given in chowder, it had chunks of very tender broccoli and cauliflower. Lighter than a chowder, but rich and satisfying... I could have eaten two bowls easy! The poorboy was super too, big fat oysters lightly breaded and fried on a fresh french baguette. Good thing it was half portion or I'd have had to go lay down somewhere! I came home and looked at Taste of Home and found this one.
Close, dangerously close to their recipe...

Seafood Chowder
6 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup cut up broccoli
1 cup cut up cauliflower
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound crabmeat
1/2 pound shrimp, cut in chunks
1 cup half-and-half cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Saute onion and celery in reserved drippings until tender. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, water, carrots, parsley and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add crab, shrimp and bacon; simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream and heat through. Yield: 4-6 servings. 
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We had a little getaway for Jerry's birthday. Nothing fancy, and when I say that I mean it! He was celebrating a milestone birthday, you know the decade ones... the ones that can get you in a really bad mood unless something special it planned. We stayed at The Wilderness Cabins
 at Branson, Missouri just a couple hours away.

We love to stay someplace with charm and having a kitchenette is a plus. We like to do our own breakfast, wear our pjs and take our time getting around. I pack everything but the kitchen sink so we don't have to be afraid of not having the things we need!

It looks small, and it was. They had beds for 4, I imagine two adults and two kids but I don't think I could have stood it long if I'd had little ones underfoot. I'd  have made a poor Pioneer Woman, not THAT Pioneer Woman... she has a house for living and another for entertaining, I mean the old days kind that made do on the Prairie with a one room cabin. It was great for a weekend, but more than that and I'd be going a little berserk! 

It did have all the comforts that you need, comfortable rocking chairs on the front porch and a gas grill on the back porch.

We didn't have to do without any of the necessities of life! It even had wi-fi, sort of. I could get connected, and I could read my email and Facebook. I just couldn't post the one picture I wanted to post so badly for our GRANDson Ewan.

Everywhere you looked, was peace and quiet. Forests with big Oak trees surrounded the cabin and even though it was a rainy weekend, we enjoyed every minute.  

There were other cabins all around us, but honestly you felt as if you were the only ones in the woods.

But just a few miles from us, there was a whole different world going on... 

...more tomorrow!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Whooo's on his way to Texas?

GRANDson Ewan had dental surgery last week and was such a BIG BOY that we wanted to send him a little surprise! We just happened to be at Branson over the weekend, and saw this cute Owl in the window at Build-a-Bear just and waiting for a good little boy or girl. This was the first one that was "born" at the Branson Build-a-Bear so he was very special!

Owlee needed some stuffin'

You can choose for him to be a softy or a plumpy, we like plumpies in this family!

Just right!

Now he needs a heart, we kissed it cause we love Owlee already...

Just a few snips and ties and he's all done!

Now he needs a good bath and a blow dry...

All ready for his birth certificate, isn't he cute? He even can say a few hootie hoot hoots if you give him a hug!

On his way to Ewan's house right now!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Today is my dearly beloved's birthday and we are off on a trip down memory lane. You know I'll share it with you when we get back! I wanted to have a birthday post just for him on his special day, but I don't think I can top this one I did back in 2009....

When you get older, there's not too much hulabaloo that goes on around your birthday like when you were a kid. Most of the time we just get a few gifts, have cake and that's it. So yesterday when I went shopping for his cake, I wanted something special...something that would make him remember this day.

"Older Than Dirt," that's just mean and anyway,
he might get me the same cake on my birthday!

Maybe a "theme" cake, he likes to fish...

This is more up his alley, he would like the extra gift inside too!

This one says "Epi Barfday 2 My Beloved," sweet!

"Happy Briday" that a Friday Birthday?

"Happy Barthday," but this one's for Omar!

"Congratulations on Completing your jail sentence"...nope doesn't fit!

Now who would buy this one???

This one says, "You're Thirtee Won"...too young!

"Half way 2 30"...this won't work either.

"Happy Birthday The Big 2 Sex" It's been 34 years since he was 26!

This girl needs more practice!

Too scary!

Balloons too small...

Balloons too large...

Balloons during tornado season. I just want something different than everyone else's cake to show him that I went that extra mile to make his day memorable. Oh, I see it! In the back of the bakery case just waiting for me to come along and choose it for Hubby's Big Day! I can't wait to serve a slice with a big scoop of ice cream...

Where do you think I ought to put the candles???

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