Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Silly Billy Gene

This picture was taken years ago after Christmas dinner at Mom's. Whoever took it thought it would be funny to get our "best sides" in a group picture. That's me, my mother-in-law and Mom. We are a silly bunch and I thought I would try to put a smile on your face by sharing some of the one's that we have taken through the years.

Here we go...

Mom~Christmas 1982

The women in the family love to get something sparkly to wear!

Stephanie~11 and Amy~3 Christmas 1981

It's in their blood to ham it up!

This is the Chief Ham, His Hamness, Grandpa!

Me~Christmas 1993

"Ohhh, this is too much!"

This is Hubby's Popeye Face, he does this one in a lot of pictures!

We are also an excitable bunch, much enthusiaum no matter what the present may be!

Hubby~Christmas 2000 in Texas

He wanted to brag to everyone that he went swimming on Christmas!

Amy~Christmas 1985

Great picture to show to her son when he's older!

Hubby or Napoleon?

This is where Hubby gets Popeye Face...from his Dad!

Hubby with his "purty face!"

Even our cat "Smudgy" was a clown!

Ok, I had to get permission from our daughter Stephanie to share this one! In defense, she WAS on cold medicine and she was doing her best to keep Jackson amused during all of the present opening on Christmas morning 1994.

This may be my favorite...the players are seated left to right, my Mom, my Mother in Law and my Father in Law. The gift is from us...a bread machine. Dad T.'s saying, "Maybe now I'll finally get some hot bread!" Look at Mom T.'s face...then look at my Mom's!

Hey, it was funny!

Ewan~Christmas 2007

The Silly Billy gene is alive and well in the future generation!

In loving memory of my father-in-law who taught us all he had to know about silliness! We miss you Dad!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Home Sweet Home

We moved a lot when our daughters were growing up. I've counted before, 18 addresses in 45 years. Not enough time to put down roots with many of the houses. Home should always be that place where memories are made. It has to be much more than four walls to feel like home and a Mother's job is to add the ingredients needed to make the warm and fuzzies.

If you reach back into your childhood those feelings are stirred when you remember how you felt in the security of those walls. It wrapped around you like a blanket and protected you from the outside world. I can remember my bedroom...the wallpaper was pink roses. I can see the white curtains moving gently with the cool breezes from a south window. It was an old house, on the corner of Summit and Division with a big wrap-around porch. Mom had the banisters full of pots of begonias and impatiens and ferns. I would set out in the swing and watch as neighbors mowed their lawns or walked to the neighborhood market. Inside, Mom was almost always in the kitchen cooking.

Since our daughters are eight years apart, their strongest memories would most likely be two separate houses. For Stephanie the house on Birch in Harrison is where she learned to ride a bike, celebrated many birthdays and wondered how Santa got in the house Christmas Eve since we didn't have a fireplace! For Amy the house at Horseshoe Bend is where she lost her first tooth, learned to swim and played long summer days with our dog Lizzie. It's not far from here, if you go by boat it's only a few coves away. It seems like such a long time ago that we lived on that little farm, 25 years can seem like an eternity while feeling like a "blink ago."

Every house had celebrations...holidays with family gathered, sleepovers with best friends and private "alone in their bedroom" time when they played and pretended and grew up. 

In their heart and minds will forever be the color of that bedroom or the pictures in the hallway. Etched in their memories are playing house or riding their bikes or just setting and dreaming about their future.

Home is as simple as the front door...

...or the sound of the doorbell~

It's that feeling of welcome and being the most important thing in your parents' lives. That is what being a Mother is, and a Father too. Forever that bond that never goes away, only gets stronger. Even when we are separated we hold those memories most dear.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Memphis Memories

We've been to 5 Bass Pro Shops now and it's definitely on our must-see list when there's one anywhere close to where we're traveling! Bass Pro at the Memphis Pyramid has topped them all!

The first night we went downtown to have dinner and could see the Pyramid in the distance. Even from blocks away it's huge! 

You really can't miss it as you cross the bridge from Arkansas to Tennessee, I could almost touch it! At 321 feet tall (about 32 stories) it’s considered to be the seventh largest pyramid in the world.  

The first thing you notice is the sheer size of the place, approximately 220,000 square feet.  Aside from the square footage on the first two floors, just look up and it's 28 stories to the top! 

You feel as if you are in a Cypress Swamp; there are huge ponds, towering Cypress trees and an 84,000-gallon alligator habitat.

The aquarium in the middle of the store is a 24,000 gallon aquarium that showcases native Tennessee fish.

A quick trip to the top on the tallest freestanding elevator in America, it's open on all 4 sides by glass panes! 

Once we got to the top, the lobby opens out to a beautiful restaurant called The Lookout at the Pyramid .

"Steam Punk" style d├ęcor with gears and metal sculpture, another impressive aquarium in the middle of the restaurant. 

I can't imagine how exciting it would be to dine there looking out onto the lights of Memphis!

Speechless, we just stood there taking in the magnificent views more than 300 feet above Memphis and the Mississippi River! The glass-floored observation decks are patterned after the Grand Canyon Skywalk. I have to say it was a little scary at first, then the Awesome Factor kicks in! 


No matter which direction you look, the view is spectacular!

One more video, I promise it's worth watching... Big Cypress Lodgethe first hotel inside a Bass Pro Shop! There are 103 rustic rooms and tree-house cabins inspired by vintage duck hunting camps. After watching this video, you may think you've been missing out on "rustic" accommodations!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rendezvous BBQ Memphis

Memphis is a great place to visit, a trip to the iconic Charles Vergos Rendezvous was first on the list! It was everything we expected, aside from our rib dinners being out-of-this-world good, the place just oozed character! Sometimes it's the history behind a place like Rendezvous that elevates it to Stardom Status!

The restaurant has been designated as an All-American Icon by Nation's Restaurant News magazine, they don't just give that to everyone! In 1948 Charlie Vergos took an old coal chute from the wall of his smoky basement tavern in Downtown Memphis and created barbecue history. Over the years he served those famous bbq dry ribs to equally famous guests, including Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and former Vice President Al Gore, many entertainers such as Bill Cosby, Justin Timberlake and Mick Jagger.

Charlie Vergos is gone now, he passed in 2010 but the city of Memphis owes him a great deal of gratitude for his stand to make the downtown area a destination. He refused to relocate the restaurant to the suburbs. 

"When others gave up on Downtown, he stood firm," said his son Nick Vergos, who co-owns the Rendezvous with his brother, John, and sister, Tina Jennings.

The son of Greek immigrants, Vergos was a World War II Army veteran who fought in the European theater. Later on, he was transferred to the Philippines in preparation for the planned invasion of Japan when the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war. When he came back to Memphis, he married Greek wife Tasia.  

In 1948 they opened his tavern and sandwich shop in the November 6 Alley, near where Rendezvous is now. 

Twenty years later, he moved the business to its present location. From tourists to locals, it's a favorite place to go for BBQ. 

I couldn't help but notice the wall of portraits on the backs of paper restaurant plates. One of the waiters has the gift and practices his talent on customers during breaks. That's the thing about a place like the Rendezvous, it's a stepping stone for others to realize their dreams!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Nana's Potato Salad

Nana's Potato Salad- a Ricer makes this potato salad light as air!!

Potato Salad is one of those recipes that you make your Mom's, or your Grandma's, or your Mother-in-Law if's she makes the best one... don't tell Mom that though! It's mayo or mustard based, has the cast of characters... pickles/celery/onion/eggs. Being a foodie made me try many recipes and I've come to the conclusion that technique again wins over in this one. I used about 3 recipes to come up with one we really like, even Jerry that always said he could "take it or leave it" loves this one!

Nana's Potato Salad
8 Medium Russet potatoes; Peeled and in chunks
1 1/2 Cup Mayo
2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tsp Garlic powder
1/2 Tsp Black pepper
2-3 Tbsp Sweet Pickle, Minced or Chopped (your preference)
1 Cup Onion; Minced or Chopped (your preference)
2 ribs of Celery, Minced or Chopped (your preference)
4-5 Hard boiled eggs, riced or in larger chunks (you might save one to slice on top)
Garnish Paprika; (Optional)
1. Boil peeled and diced potatoes in salted water until done. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, pepper and chopped pickles; stir well and place in fridge.
3. Once potatoes are cooled to room temp, rice them into a large bowl and add the minced onion and celery.
4. Chop the hard boiled eggs to desired size and add to potatoes, celery and onions; toss.
5. Remove cooled dressing from fridge and pour into potato bowl, toss until evenly coated. Garnish with paprika if you desire. Place back in fridge to chill till suppertime and enjoy!!
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