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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Time to be Thankful Together

On Thanksgiving Day Mike and I prepared a feast - roasted turkey that a neighbor's grandson won in a local turkey shoot after Mike gave him $12.  (Free turkey for us, fun for the young man, and a donation to a local charity.)  I cooked southern-style dressing, divided the recipe into a couple of parts and added oysters to one part for Mike.  We had home-canned green beans, scalloped potatoes, apples from a family member's orchard, and cranberry salad.  Yummy!  Then, we stored the leftovers in the fridge together, loaded the dishwasher, and waddled into the den for naps in front of the TV.

Friday, I went to Mom's to meet the family for a pot-luck lunch.

We had loads of food for a huge feast.

I took corn casserole, deviled eggs, and cranberry salad, my grown children brought food, my sister brought food, my grown nieces brought food.
We ate till we groaned.  Then, there was a bit of fun to be had as well.

A multiplication card game was popular for a while.  Yes, sometimes we are nerds.  Lillie was the expert for this game.

Bryan made the  littles (and one of the nerds) do a bit of giggling.

Adam sharpened Mamaw's cooking cutlery for her.  I think he  is anticipating another feast about a month from now!

There was lots of talk and a bit of advice passed along from the parents of toddlers and parents of those parents to soon-to-be-parents.

Then, it was  outside for a bit of exercise.  The kids played a little basketball.  The adults checked on the furniture shed, worked toward wintering cattle waterers, took a walk, and Corey did a little Armadillo reconnaissance.
The wild bunch went on an ATV ride.
I tracked this bunch down just as I was leaving and rescued Jessica, Madalyn, and Megan by giving them a ride to the house.  J, M, and M enjoyed a piece of quiet as they strolled back up the driveway!  I think it is safe to say that we recognized things we should be and are thankful for and for things and those we have given up since our last Thanksgiving.  Hope your holiday was filled with smiles and giggles like those oozing from the photo above!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gobble, Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!
From my family and a real turkey who strutted across our back yard...
by the way, he isn't the one I have in the oven.
Hope your holiday is filled with happy times making cherished memories.

Runs in the Family

Last year we spent a fun afternoon touring and this boy wanted to go into and check out every single shower on the home tour.  


This year I took in the tour with his Aunt Bridgette and guess what?

Runs in the family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Baby Gift

Bridgette and I collaborated recently to give a personalized baby gift for a young girl with whom I work.  She is a Big Orange fan as a graduate of The University of Tennessee.  So, I decided to go with that concept for a gift for her soon to arrive little fellow.
With Smokey as the mascot, we figured every little boy needs something with the dog's sweet face on it...and we thought we had better do that times three - a onsie, a swaddling blanket, and a burp-cloth.
Then, Bridgette decided that since little babies are often peeking over mom's shoulder, maybe a bit of personalization to make the outfit more like a jersey on the back was in order.
Included in the mix was a bit of orange-and-white-check to keep that UT flavor going.
So, baby Josiah will have a soft swaddling blanket with orange check and Smokey on one side and soft grey flannel on the other, an outfit with Smokey on one side and his name on the other, a burp-cloth with Smokey and his name on one side and orange check on the other, and a burp-cloth with the big orange T on one side and UT orange on the other.  Everybody will know he's a fan!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Yep.  I'm running a little behind.
A few days back (Nineteen to be exact) we had some visitors.  They came to the door dressed in their Halloween finery.
One little trick-or-treater was all about figuring this process out.  He took a look inside his treat bag when Mike gave it to him and was glad to get some chocolate pudding.  (Never mind that it was setting atop a bag chocked full of chocolate kisses, candybars, and candies.)
The other little trick-or-treater was hot, tired of being wagged from place to place, and ready to be home and in bed.
They both were cute little fellows and we enjoyed their visit.  Since we live in the country, they were our only trick-or-treaters.  We were certainly glad to greet them!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tractor Drivers

The other day I heard the rumbling of a tractor going behind the house.
So, I went outside to check things out.
These two tractor drivers were hauling hay up the hill to the horses.
The bigger fellow slowed down as I came out and made sure the smaller fellow saw me out there.
The small fellow made sure to check everything out and answered my questions.
Dad (the bigger fellow) did a little prompting.
That little fellow is a man of few words.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Middle Tennessee Parade of Homes 2016

Last year I went to the local home tour with Bryan, Jessica, and Harris.  This year they were in the throes of their own parade of home tour since they are building a house and deep in the construction process.  So, this time, Bridgette met me and we took in the tour.
photo from The Tennessean Newspaper
While there were more homes to tour, we didn't see nearly as many things we really liked and wished for as I saw last year.  I think the styles tended to run more to the modern style and less toward the country-traditional style that I like.  There were also many less practical ideas which were featured.  The photo above shows an extra-large island in the  kitchen.  I think that is probably a bit of a waste.  While a big island is nice, this one was just a bit too big and could have been cut down by about a third.
This kitchen had a large island - maybe not as large as the one above - but it was large.  The vaulted ceiling and open floor plan was nice.
I really liked the lighted box cupboards above the cabinets and the planked vent hood was really pretty, too.  Everything in this house was bright, light, and open, which was nice.
I really liked this island.  It was a good size - not too big.  I also liked the wood counter top and the pretty color and shape to the large sink.  I've always liked having a window over the sink for enjoying the outdoors while washing up pots and pans, though.
This is a look back at the kitchen from the other side of the island.  I liked the pretty wood (I think) vent hood, the brick back splash, and white cabinets that went to the ceiling.  I think this was our favorite home of the tour.
photo from The Tennessean Newspaper
Another house had vaulted ceilings with beams and an open floor plan.  It was truly beautiful.  I'm just wondering what will happen over time when those beams get dusty.  This is one of those things that I thought was a bit impractical.
I absolutely loved this ceiling, though.  It seems like understated elegance to me.  I'm sure that whoever had to cut all that trim and make those angles fit didn't think it was understated but I loved that detail.  Over on the left can be seen something else that is quite trendy and popular right now - shiplap.  This was set on an angle and was attractive.
Another angled look that I liked was this bathroom floor.  This was wood-look tile.  I really like the look of this and would pin it for if I ever redo a bathroom or build a house.  I also liked the color - not really grey but not really brown.  With the tile, the floor could be heated and still have the  look of wood.  I thought this was a good idea.
This bathroom was huge!  It was probably larger than my master bedroom.  The tub sat out in the middle of the floor.  There  were glass panels and doors right behind it separating the huge walk-in shower from the rest of the open bathroom.  Everything was some sort of marble or marble tile.  To me it felt cold and sterile.  Plus, it seemed like a lot to keep clean!
This bathroom featured the floor tile set on an angle to form a chevron pattern.  It was pretty.  The stained wood vanity was also a nice change.  The tub featured a tile surround but it seemed a wee bit dark to me.  I guess they were going for a masculine look with t he dark woodwork as well.  Notice the covering over the tub area.  It was sort of cool but again, I think it would be an issue to keep clean.  It had a roof over it made of reclaimed tin.
This powder room or half-bath had some novel and interesting features.  The vanity is crafted from a Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel.  The walls were papered with what looked like torn pieces of brown craft paper and finished with some sort of clear coat finish.
This bathroom had an example of some popular artwork.  It looked like reclaimed wood or pallet wood with subway-type print on it listing popular points of interest in middle Tennessee.
This reclaimed wood art was also interesting.  It looks to me like old-time tobacco sticks form the stars of the flag.  The stars are cut from a single board.  Very neutral and very interesting.
This reclaimed wood art featured an old-time childhood verse topped by some carved wings.
photo from The Tennessean Newspaper
This boy's bedroom featured Tennessee orange and the state flag symbol.  It also had a built-in loft.  There was more than one bedroom with a loft.  This one had a staircase which made it the better of the two in my mind.  The other one only had a ladder going up to it which I think would make cleaning unbelievably difficult.
At t he top of the loft was a hammock and a tent.  It was really cute and I'm sure some little person will really enjoy the space.  I'm just glad I don't have to clean up there!
This cute boy's bedroom was decorated with lockers for storage and cute wall art like the gone fishing sign.  The window treatment was made to look sort of like a shed overhang of reclaimed tin.
Reclaimed wood was covering the wall that served as the base for the bed headboard and for the base of cute art made from snipped pieces of license plates spelling out Tennessee features.
The bed was quite a showpiece.  It was crafted from parts of a pickup truck.  The headboard was the back piece of a cab and the footboard was crafted from the tailgate.  The linens were a fabulous compilation of great fabrics and textures - probably not the wisest choice for a boy's bed but really cute.  Also, notice the door going into the adjoining bath - a wood barn-style door.
photo from The Tennessean Newspaper
Reclaimed wood was used in a bonus room bar space here.  The art on the wall was an old piano keyboard.  If I recall correctly, the spindles for the stair rail were rebar like what is used to fortify concrete.  I really liked the rustic light fixtures.
Here is a closer look at the light fixture.  Simple, rustic.
Another light fixture that I liked was created from reclaimed metal pipe and fittings.
I loved this light fixture and really liked the stained beadboard ceiling.  I thought for a long tie that I would like a wood ceiling treatment like this but after having stained wood ceilings in our office, I'm not so sure I'd like that.  They are dusty!  If the ceilings are high, how would one keep the dust cleaned off?
photo from The Tennessean Newspaper
Here is a look at the rest of the bedroom where this beautiful French chandelier hung.  The room was huge!  I did like the large window, the tray ceiling.  The headboard of the bed reminded me of a large mantel piece but was upholstered in the arched section near the pillows.  The floors were beautiful  The modern, mirrored side tables were pretty and I loved the two side chairs.  It truly looked luxurious.
Wood was used here as the backer for shelving  If I recall correctly, this was either leading into or a part of the mud room coming in from the garage.  I think the wood looked a lot like flooring to me.  I liked the look, though.
The doors in this house were stained wood and it had a wonderful and unique light fixture as well.  What I really liked was the architecture of the woodwork, though.  I like the wide crown molding, the board and toppers over the doors and the archway leading into the vaulted ceilings of the kitchen.
This is a great light fixture but the showpiece in this entryway was the bricked barrel ceiling.  I don't know if this was tile or faux or what but it looked very natural and beautiful and I loved how they had the light shining up toward it there at the crown molding.
Then there were the outdoor spaces!  This was by far our favorite.  The screened porch had a fireplace.  Then, the steps led down to a nice patio with a fire pit as well.  I hate that this photo is blurred but the screened porch was cedar planked.  The industrial cart shown here served as a buffet or bar that was lit by the hanging lanterns.
Here is the close-up of the tub that had 'iced down' drinks (it was filled with raffia).  I really liked the deer applique on the flour-sack towel.  The lining to this cool basket was galvanized.

The home tour featured luxury homes built adjoining a golf course.  So, many of the amenities were not intended for the average homeowner and that is truly what we are is average, at best.  Practicality was probably not something that was a consideration when building them.  It was a nice way for us to see how the other half lives in a way.  Plus, some of these ideas would make the average home really a special place to be without having all the luxuries.

For Bridgette and me, I think it was an afternoon well-spent and we look forward to next year's tour.