If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu

We had a Thanksgiving Feast this Thursday past!

Even though I tried to do a little bit along, I came to realize that I am getting old and I am w-a-y out of shape when it comes to cooking a big feast!  

Here was our menu:

Corn Casserole by Jessica
Macaroni and Cheese by Bridgette
Pumpkin Cheesecake by Bridgette

The food was great.  The company was better!

I wound up not taking photos.  Again, old and out of shape influenced this, I guess.  I did happen to get a shot of the Mamas preparing plates for the little grands.
Those little grands sat patiently.
Well, for the most part, they sat patiently.  There was one little who had to sneek a roll out of the basket.
He was pretty cute about it, though.
Somebody else was pretty patient, too.  He just sniffed around and hoped one of the grands (or a grown-up) would drop a crumb or two.

We ate hearty and visited with one another and had a nice Thanksgiving feast.  One bunch stayed for a while but the other crew had to trek off to their next stop of feasting.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Are you a list-maker?  I am a list-maker.  I make lists of things to pick up at the grocery store.  I make lists of books I want to read.  I make lists of errands that need to be run.  I make lists of steps of food items to prepare for a big feast.  I keep lists of appointments on a calendar to help clarify where and with which teacher I will be working on each day.  Lately I've been making LOTS of lists!  Yet, there are still some things I forget to add to the list.  Why is that?

I used to make lists as reminders because I was responsible for shuttling children here and there and then back again and I needed the reminder to keep me focused with so much going on and so many places to be.  Now, I make lists as reminders because I KNOW that I won't remember things!

I use sticky notes - with lines - to help me remember.  I use Google Keep because I know that I am slipping both at home and at work.

I am noticing that lots of others seem to rely on lists as well.  I noticed it most recently in some blog posts.  For example, there are the five evening habits of successful people.  When looking at that short list, I decided I need to add walking to my repertoire.  I'm not saying I need to do it at night - I just know I need to add it to some point of my day.  I do read each night before going to sleep.  I wonder what it is Gates is reading, though?  Somehow, I don't think we have or do read the same things because, financially, he seems a bit more successful than me.

I also noticed this list on productivity.  I don't know if I am not stepping outside my comfort zone enough or if I am multi-tasking and that is impeding me from becoming more like Zuckerberg.  Or, maybe the folks I'm hanging with are too negative.  Come on guys!  Be more positive!

I loved the concept of the top ten things we should be informed about in life.  I think it is great to be a bit reflective.  What kind of advice would you give to a younger self?  That question truly made me stop and think...and begin to jot down a list.

Then, this is an entire post focused on important lists to keep if you want to be successful.  I know this concept to be completely true.  I think back on a time when I was asked to write down something that was a goal for five days from that moment, a goal for five months from that moment, a goal for five years from that moment.  I don't recall what I wrote for the first couple of goals but the one I wrote as a goal for five years from that moment was that I wanted to be teaching adults.  Within a couple of years of writing that goal, I was teaching at the local community college on a part-time basis.  Then, four-and-a-half years later I began my current job as an instructional technology coach working with teachers every day to seamlessly integrate student use of technology in their classroom.  I didn't really consciously work toward that because I wrote it down.  I do think it might have happened more because I gave some thought to the idea and worked toward making it a reality.

While I have many of the lists mentioned in the linked posts, I certainly don't have all of them.  Plus, I've got some that aren't even listed - my Christmas gift list, for example.  Some of them mentioned in those posts I think might be valuable and beneficial.  So, guess what I'm going to do as soon as I click publish?  Yep, I'm making some more lists!  How about you?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

This Turkey Says...

 Today, we are especially thankful for family and friends and the many blessings we enjoy.  We hope you and yours are enjoying some relaxing time with family and friends!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Little Along

Mike and I are having a Thanksgiving Feast right here at home this year.  Mama and Daddy changed up the day of their feast to try to accommodate some of the family but we already had plans.  So, the two of us will be feasting right here at home on Thursday.  We are not doing anything nearly so elaborate as the year we tackled Big Tom.  However, there are a few things that just mean Thanksgiving Feast to us.  So, on the menu this year for us is:

Southern Cornbread Dressing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Macaroni and Cheese
Cranberry Salad
Home-made Rolls
Pecan Pie

With a menu like that, we will eat rich all next week, probably!  Today I've stirred up the Cranberry Salad

the Southern Cornbread for the dressing, 

and cooked the sweet potatoes.  I figure if I do a little bit each day this week I won't be exhausted.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Time Off Means Time For Projects

I think the title tells it all.  I'm doing a little mini-makeover on the master bath.  It was high time, I'm here to tell you!

We went for about a year with the towel bar pulled out of the wall.  I think Mike must have been doing chin-ups on it or something and pulled it out of the wall.  It was put in the wall with some of those plastic anchors in the drywall and one of the anchors pulled out leaving a big hole.  It took me a while to come up with an idea.  Finally, I decided to get a board and anchor it to the studs in the wall, covering up the big hole left by the anchors and attach the towel bar to it.

I bought the board and asked Stephen to put some sort of edge on it so it would look more decorative and finished.  Well, that took months.  When I finally got it, I painted it right away.  Then, it took me a couple of weeks to screw up the courage to drill the holes for long screws to anchor it to the studs.

It turned out OK, I think.  At any rate, it looks far better than the big hole in the wall and the towel dangling off the arm that holds up one end of the bar.

Then, sometime back in the late spring, one of the light fixtures over the vanity stopped working properly.  At first it seemed to just blow out the light bulb at a faster pace than the fixture on the other side of the mirror.  Then, I realized it would flicker some like there was a loose connection.  Mike asked his friend who is a handyman about it and he said the little connector inside the fixture probably had just gotten pushed to far up in it by a strong-armed light bulb installer.  So, he told Mike to get some pliers or a screwdriver and pull out that little tab.  That worked for about a month and then the bulb would flicker again.

Now we have been operating with just one light fixture over the vanity for a month or two.  For my birthday I asked Mike for new bathroom light fixtures.  He gave me a Home Depot gift card and told me to go pick what I wanted.

I couldn't find something exactly like what was there with an oval base.  I could have chosen brass or bronze shaped like that but nothing chrome or silvery.  So, I wound up with a goose-necked round one.  I really like the fixtures and love, love, loved the price - $17 each!

The finish is brushed nickel instead of chrome but that doesn't bother me a bit.  Eventually I'd like to swap out the faucet in there anyway and can go for brushed nickel at that time.

Today was the day I decided to tackle swapping out the light fixtures.  I knew it would be my project when I suggested the change, anyway.  Mike doesn't climb ladders.  He likes to stay firmly planted on the ground.  Plus, he tends to have little patience for that sort of project.  I'm sure he would have asked the handyman friend to install them for me but I kind of like tackling projects like that.

Here is what it started out looking like:
I liked the style of these and didn't really want to change it except that the one didn't work.
Here is the look with the one that didn't work changed out.  See, not a drastic change at all.  However, I did think they need to match!
So, here is the look of the pair swapped out.  Far better than the darkened one side we've been living with for months!

There is one little problem, though...
Look closely above and below the base that is anchored to the wall.  Yep, the base piece doesn't cover where the base piece of the old fixture was.

The bathroom was painted before Mike and I married.  Obviously, the painter just painted around (and even a bit onto) the light fixtures and who knows where the left-over paint wound up?  So, now I've got to figure out a way to make that look better.  I first thought about having a bit of molding added above and around the mirror to camoflauge it.  However, after I installed the light fixture, I don't think that would work without some major overhall.  The electrical box would have to be moved and that tends to get more into the pocketbook than what I want to do at this point.

So, I think I'm just going to do a bit of a paint job - maybe create an accent wall or paint the entire niche there where the vanity sits.  Now, I have to decide if I want to paint it an accent color or do some sort of paint treatment on it...

I've done a little surfing and found these ideas...

I like this wallpaper accent for one thing but I'm not sure I want to go back to wallpaper.

I like this tone-on-tone stenciled accent wall.

Then again, maybe I should just go for easy.  This tutorial touts that characteristic.  That seems more my style!  Easy!
Would this be way to modern for my fairly traditional house?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Little Update

Since the days were a bit chilly and dreary this past weekend...

Since I didn't want to tackle an outdoor project...

Since I had a day planned with some friends over the weekend...

Since I had noticed the popularity of cheetah prints lately...

I did a little mini update in the den.
Cheetah print pillow covers!

My friends and I went to the Fabric House on Saturday.  I was looking for fabric to coordinate the room with my Granny's quilt.  No, I still haven't landed on something to finish out that room.  I still need a bed skirt, pillow shams, chair upholstery, and a coordinating fabric for the Roman shade fabric I have selected.  I even looked at trims with the thought that I could go with a white fabric and trim it out to coordinate the quilt and shades.  Nope.  Didn't land on anything that just sang out to me.  So, I stopped off at Hobby Lobby on the way home searching for something else altogether (I'm getting ready to do a bit of organizing round here.)  I stumbled across the cheetah print.  Remember that I've noticed it in several places lately and decided I needed a bit of it in my house.
I love that it is a simple cotton fabric that I can throw into the washer.  I simply made an envelope pillow cover.  I debated upon piping it with black piping but in the end decided to simply top-stitch the edges with black.
I think these are the perfect fall accent to go with my pheasant-covered pillows and the steer amongst the pumpkin pillow.  Happy fall with a little update!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Random Wednesday

I needed some inspiration because our menu has fallen into a rut.  I need to cut back on the calories I'm taking in or pick up on the exercise I'm putting out.  So, I've turned the cooking channel on and let it play - hoping to do the former so I could avoid the latter.  Bobby Flay and Ina Garten and Ree Drummond have great ideas.  I'm not sure their ideas work for my kitchen all the time but they have great ideas.

For example, they featured crystallized ginger and kale and things like that.  Those things are not staples in my pantry and fridge.

So, next I turned to my cookbooks.  Kay Robertson, Ree Drummond, Paula Deen, and Betty Crocker have some great ideas.  They also have enough variety that I can pick and choose and substitute things that actually are pantry and fridge staples around here.

Then, I turned to my Pinterest Recipe Board.  It sort of seemed like everything there is pretty much a dessert.  Maybe that is why I am needing to cut back on the calories or pick up on the exercise.

Of course, when I turned to Pinterest, I also lost an hour or so to random web surfing and that is when I turned these things up:

I loved the Tips and Tricks for Easy Christmas Decor.  Who doesn't want a big holiday to be easy?  I loved that Ashley used thread spools for a garland.

Practical and pretty!  I also loved her tassel garland.  And, her number one tip is the absolute best.  Perfect advice for just about any situation!

Marian, of Miss Mustard Seed shared great thoughts in this post.  Isn't it reassuring that even the decorator gurus have something just outside their shots or that they have an everyday-in-the-kitchen look and a gussied-up-for-a-post look?

When I stumble across things about canning jars, I always give them a look because my children are all about the use of some jars.  So, when I saw 37 Magical Ways To Use Mason Jars, I gave it a look and I really like the Gratitude Jar.  What an easy way to be nice to somebody.  I also wanted to make the Mason Jar Lid Christmas Tree Wreath.  I'm going to make the Mason Jar Christmas Tree and put it somewhere in my house.  Really!  I thought the Simple Centerpieces were a fabulous idea - and who doesn't love simple?  I've seen all these recipes that are made in jars and I think I'm going to have to try one of them - maybe the one featured in this collection.  The Reindeer Mason Jar Hot Chocolate Mix and the Candy Jar struck my fancy and so did the Peppermint Pampering one.  Maybe my entire family will just get canning jar gifts for Christmas this year!  Simple.  Who doesn't love simple?

I re-visited this post and realized I still need to integrate something leopard print into my life.  Soon!

This post about Sitting On A Bench For Five Minutes made me stop and think.  Am I really paying attention to what is going on around me in life or am I just rushing through it?

Finally, I've also been thinking and lifting up prayers for the folks in Paris.  I immediately thought about my reaction when our country was attacked and thought about all those mothers who have children in Paris and thought about how I just wanted to hold my children and make sure they were safe.  There is no making sense of terrorism.  I just pray that we all can make peace with this senseless stupidity and pray that things like this can be averted in the future.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You say...

You say po-taa-to.  I say po-tah-to.

Well, not really.

I say po-taa-ta.

After all, I am a southern girl.

So, I speak southern.

Yesterday, Mike informed me that I am a redneck.

I told him that I like to think I am someone who knows how to make do.

I told him that I like to think my recent project showed ingenuity.

I told him that I like to think my recent project is what is part of a current trend of up-cycling.

He laughed.

You see, with the onset of cooler weather, the pesky flies have been finding their way into the house.

If you've ever been on a farm...

...a farm with livestock...

you know that there tend to be lots of flies.

Usually those pesky things will stay out at the barn and only one or two will sneak into the house.

When the weather starts to chill a bit, they become desperate and start to seek warm shelter in order to survive.

So, they've been coming to the house...and in the house...

...and I've been fighting them.  I've declared war.

So much so that my handy, dandy, dollar-store fly swatter had become...

...well, a bit worn...a little wobbly..to be perfectly honest, it was falling apart!

So, being the frugal, DIY-er, who knows how to make do, I didn't make a special trip to the dollar store to get a replacement.

No, not me.  Instead, I used my ingenuity and up-cycled.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hard Time

I'm sad to admit it but I have a family member who is doing hard time.

She is a criminal.

I got a call from one of the grandchildren's mother this week informing me of the sad news.  She was exasperated and didn't know how to handle the situation.  She recognized that beheading wasn't really the best option.  (Thank goodness!)  That was the option she was considering at the time, however.

You see, one of the grandchildren - who shall remain nameless - had commited a series of criminal offenses.

First, she had swindled her sister out of a pretty large sum of money.  She added that to her stash to make a total of thirty dollars.  Swindling - first criminal offense.

Next, she had taken that money to school secretly.  She spirited that big wad of money into the school library where there was a book fair taking place.

Now, keep in mind that this grandchild's - who shall remain nameless - mother had already accompanied her to the book fair on the previous Friday and allowed her to spend a couple of dollars more than was budgeted.  Criminal offense two - sneaking behind Mama's back.

Then, this grandchild - who shall remain nameless - spent the entire thirty dollars on books.  Books focused on a topic of her choice.  Books that her sister might care nothing about reading.  Books that were too difficult for her sister to read at this point even if she was interested in reading that genre.  Criminal offense three - splurging on something selfishly.

Sadly, the next step was that this granchild - who shall remain nameless - tried to hide the ill-gotten goods - criminal offense four.

You see, normally, the grandchildren come in from school and drop their backpacks and get a snack before tackling homework.  On this sad day, said grandchild - who shall remain nameless - trekked directly to her bedroom.  She wiggled down beside the dresser and was sliding the ill-gotten goods into a hiding spot in the closet.  I know this because her angry, frustrated, ready-to-behead-mother had followed her suspicious behavior and caught her red-handed.

So, now this grandchild- who shall remain nameless - is doing hard time.

She has chores to do.  Lots of chores.  She's doing her chores and her sister's (the swindle-ee) chores.  She's also doing extra chores that Mama usually does.  Hard time.

She has no screen time.  No TV.  No tablet.  No iPod.  No Chromebook.  No screen time.  Hard time.

She cannot buy ice cream at school.  Hard time.

She is going to have to give the books away.  Before she reads them. Hard time.

The most frustrating experience of all, I think, was what she endured before going to school the next day.

You see, this grandchild - who shall remain nameless - had to empty her pockets, have her purse, lunchbox, and backpack searched.  She was frisked to check her socks, boots, etc.  Whilst this was taking place, she was trying to convince her mother that she had learned her lesson and the search wasn't necessary.  To which her mother looked her in the eye and replied, "You have broken my trust.  You will have to be checked like this every day until you have earned back my trust."

Hard time.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Inherited or Taught?

Is it learned or is it genetic?  I noticed this recently when I was watching my grandson.
Hands in pockets, strolling along, my son and his shadow.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dancing Machine!

I just want to say that this girl has nothing on our youngest granddaughter when it comes to dancing along to the music.  I know that we all really have been like this girl and danced along to music playing on the radio.  I think we also have all done just what Luci did as well.  Corey started playing a song using a phone app and...
All of a sudden, this little bit stopped what she was doing and began bouncing...
...twisting her hips from side-to-side...
...waving her arms around...
...and generally just dancing her heart out...
She was really serious about dancing to this tune.  Luci may not have her own YouTube following...yet.  But, just give her a little time!  Trust me, she is worth it!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

I love it when the grandchildren come for a visit.  Mike and I enjoy their smiles.
We enjoy their conversations.
We enjoy their company.
We enjoy their insight to the world.
As the days go by, however, it is hard on our hearts to see them move from being sweet little toddlers...
...to gussied up girls...
...to almost teens...
...oh my heart!
Too Grown Up!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sometimes it's the simple things...

Almost every time the grandchildren come for a visit, we notice things about them that we didn't really pay attention to when we were raising our own children, their parents.

On our most recent grandchildren visit, Mike commented at how the older girls seemed to entertain themselves and have a good time.  He was amazed at how Lillie just intuitively notices things about animals.  It is almost like she is in-tune with them.  She quickly bonded with many of the calves at the barn and even those outside in the pasture behind the barn.  She knows to move slowly and carefully so as not to startle them.  She noticed that one of the calves had pooped in his trough and needed a clean-up job.  She noticed which calves were drinking water and which were just sucking and butting at the bucket.  She noticed the markings on them and which ones looked most like the older calves as a result.  She even recalled a calf we sold back in the early spring and pointed out that one of the bottle-babies looked a lot like him.  Sometimes animal people are just natural born, aren't they?

We also chuckled at how Lydia could take toy cookware and dishes and play for over an hour with the popcorn seeds I had decorating the table.  She scooped out a couple or three handfulls and stirred and poured and measured and served.  She was just as happy as a pig in mud the entire time.

One of the ways the older girls entertained themselves was by gathering acorns.  They filled their pockets and asked if they could take them home.  So, we put them on a foil-lined cookie sheet and baked them a few minutes to kill any worms that might have been living in them.  Each girl took home about a quart-zip-bag full of acorns.  I'm sure their mom was thrilled!
Looking for acorns.
They also gathered acorns for me.  I gave them a couple of little bowls and they brought in enough to cover a cookie sheet for me.
I quickly learned that each girl needed her own little container.  Lots of arguments can be avoided by a simple plastic container.  Again, we baked them and only one popped and exploded in the oven.
I emptied the popcorn out of one of the vases on my kitchen table and filled it with the acorns.  That added a whole new deminsion of color and another element of fall to my centerpiece.
At this point, my fall decorations include ceramic, glass and porcelain pumpkins.  I didn't even buy a real pumpkin this year.  I think that is a first for my entire adult life.  Sometimes it is just easier to go with what I already have, though.

The girls also spent a bit of time playing in the mud puddles left from the week's rainy days.  They both came in at one point with pants wet from the knee down.  One of them even had to change socks.  Their mother asked why I didn't insist that they wear their rubber boots.

They did!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I think we are all especially mindful of our blessings and have a more grateful heart in November.  While I feel it every day, today, I'm certainly expressing my gratitude for those who have served to preserve the freedoms I enjoy.

A Good Cookie

Lydia and I baked cookies the other day.  This grandmother quickly learned just how many words the youngest granddaughter has mastered.  I was told, "I-ont cookie!"
So, we parked her in a chair to protect her from a cookie thief.
Toby - aka Cookie Thief
She enjoyed each and every morsel and didn't waste a crumb!  She might dribble a crumb in the seat of the chair, but she used those little fingers to pick it up and scarf it down.

Not that she was really still while she was nibbling her treat, but this was the most still that this little girl was for the entire visit!
She nibbled a bit and then had to store her cookie in a toy plastic bowl.  Then, she would nibble a bit more.
She sat in that chair and nibbled her cookie until that last morsel was gone!
There was plenty of chatter while she sat and ate but she sat in her chair from start till finish.
It looks like that cookie was delicious doesn't it?  I think she really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Baking Up Some Goodness

When our three granddaughters spent the day with us last weekend, we tried to do some run-of-the-mill things to entertain them.  They usually seem to like to spend time in the kitchen cooking with me.  So, Lydia and I made Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
Basically, the Kitchenaid did the mixing as I dumped in ingredients and Lydia scooped out the dough.
Scoop after scoop she dipped and plopped onto the cookie sheet.
We baked them up and everybody chowed down.