Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Treasured Chest of Memories

In my granddaughter Lilly's room stands a simple little chest that has been in my family for about seventy years.   This  small  chest, with four drawers that tend to stick when opened, stands firmly on four little legs, the front two spindled, the back two straight.  If sold in a garage sale it might bring twenty dollars, but to me it's priceless.

It was purchased by my newly wed parents when they found out they were expecting my oldest sister, Shirley.  With a very small income, I imagine they had to miss a few meals to pay for it.  But what joy they must have felt as they painted it and lovingly filled it with clothing and bedding in expectation of their first child.

As time passed and they added three more children to their family, each baby, in turn, was to use this little chest in his or her nursery.  Finally, when it was no longer needed, the little chest was relegated to the garage, where it held some of my dad's tools and some of mother's old magazines.

Years later, when my sister, Becky, married and then found out she was pregnant, the little chest was emptied of tools, loving dusted off,  and carried to another nursery to eagerly await the birth of her first daughter and my parents' first grandchild.  My sister then had two more children and with each new birth,  the little chest was painted a different color and filled to the brim with blankets, bibs and booties.

Years passed, the children outgrew the small chest and once more it was returned to its neglected spot in mother and daddy's garage. 

In 1977, after five years of marriage, Mickey and I found out we were expecting and once more it was time to pull out the old chest and haul it all the way to Duncan, Oklahoma where we had just purchased our first house.  Mickey removed five coats of old paint and gave it a fresh white one.  Back then, we didn't get to find out the sex of our child ahead of time, so we painted the drawers an avocado green and  placed it in our jungle-themed nursery of orange, yellow and green to await the birth of Mendy, our oldest child.  Our second daughter, Melanie, came along four years later and once more the chest was painted and filled with frilly little clothes, shoes and hairbows.

The chest remained in Melanie's room until she was about five years old and years later we were to discover that she had placed a whole collection of stickers on the side nearest the wall.  When she got her "big girl"     bedroom set, we moved the little chest to a storage room in our basement where it returned to its former life  as a tool cabinet.  That little chest traveled with us to Topeka, KS., St. Louis, MO, and then to the Texas     cities of San Antonio, Katy and finally, Dallas.                                                                                              

In 2004, we learned that our first grandchild, Michael, would be born and once more the old chest was stripped of its paint (and sticker collection) and given a fresh coat of white paint with blue and red drawers to match a new nursery.

Three years later, in anticipation of our granddaughter Lilly's arrival, the drawers were repainted with pink and green butterflies and now it's full of sweet little girl clothing.                                                              

So far its been used by eleven children, spanning three generations. My parents and my oldest sister have since passed away.  But hopefully, this little treasured chest of memories will remain in our family and will continue to add to the anticipation and excitement of young parents for many years to come.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh My,Have You Tried Oreo Truffles?

Here's a great recipe to share with family and friends this holiday season.

a bag of double stuffed Oreos
a block of almond bark
a block of cream cheese

Step 1:
Place the bag of oreos in a food processer and and completely crush.  I had a small processor and had to crush mine a little at a time and then place them in a bowl.

Step 2:
Place the crushed oreos in your mixer and add a softened block of cream cheese.  Mix on medium speed until completely blended.

Step 3:  Place the combined mixture in the refrigerator or freezer until it is well chilled.    Take it out and form small balls about one inch in diameter.  Place these on a waxed surface.

Step 4:  Now chill the balls until firm.  Next melt the almond bark in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Take it out and stir it until smooth.  If necessary, continue to microwave and then stir in 15 second intervals until it is nice and smooth.  Dip each ball, using a toothpick to pick it up, in the almond bark.  I used another toothpick to then help me remove it and drop it onto the waxed paper.                                                                       

Step 5:  They are now ready to eat!  I decided to dress mine up for the holidays by adding a little color.  I melted some red and green Wilton chips in the microwave.  I then cut a tiny hole in the corner of two plastic baggies and filled each bag with the green and red colored coating.  I drizzled a little across the tops of each hardened truffle and placed them in little paper cups for gift giving. Note: Some recipes say to refrigerate them until serving.  I found that if the balls are small enough and well coated, that refrigeration isn't necessary.

Aren't they pretty?  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Barbershop Mystery

For the past two and a half years I have been taking our grandson, Michael, to our local barbershop for a haircut every five weeks.  We live in a very small town with only two barbershops.  The owner/operators of the shop we patronize are two brothers who appear to be in their forties or fifties.  My husband also gets his hair cut there and occasionally takes Michael with him.

Every time we enter the shop I am mystified by the conversation that takes place.  It doesn't matter which barber does the cutting.  The conversation goes something like this:

Barber:  Hello, young fella.  Take a seat right up here. (Looks at me)  How would you like his hair cut?

Me:       Oh, just like it is now, only shorter.

Barber:  Does he wear the front combed down?

Me:        No, his mother combs it over to the side when he goes to church.

Barber:  Which side?

Me:       Over to the right.

Barber:  Do you want a little sideburn?

Me:       Yes, and can you cut it pretty high over the ears?  It grows really fast.

Barber:  Do you want the back blocked or tapered?

Me:       Blocked.

Then the barber proceeds to cut Michael's hair and carries on a little conversation with him.  When he's finished, Michael climbs down, gets the piece of gum the barber offers, hands him a check and we're out the door.

The mystery:  Each time we go there it's like they've never seen us before.  Why don't they remember us, know that they cut it previously, and just cut it the same way it looks, only shorter?   Can't they look at the back and see that it's blocked?  Can't they see the little sideburns?  Can a five year old grow sideburns where there were none in just five weeks? Really, how many little boys call their grandma "Googoo"? That alone would make me remember us. Also, I never hear them ask these questions to the men who get their hair cut while we're there. They just start cutting.

Oh well, if they ever do remember us and just start cutting, I'm going to be so disappointed.  This is so much more fun. I walk in feeling like I'm entering Floyd's shop in Mayberry and I walk out feeling like I'm leaving the  Twilight Zone!          

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate, anyone?

A few months ago, my husband and I spent the night in a cute little bed and breakfast in Jefferson, TX.  Early the next morning he asked me to go down and get him a cup of coffee while he dressed.  On the buffet in the diningroom was this amazing coffee brewer with a little carousel of assorted coffees in tiny containers.  All I had to do was pick one out, put it in the receptacle and it magically brewed this steaming hot cup of coffee!

Weeks later I was still thinking about that beautiful, sleek-looking coffee brewer.  I even looked it up online and discovered that it brews different sizes of cups, is available in red, and has two different types of carousels to hold all the little coffees.  I thought about how cute it would look on my counter top and how much fun it would be to twirl that little carousel and look at all those different little K-cups. I could name it Katie (that's what I would have named my third daughter if I'd had one), but no, Katie Keurig sounded too much like Katie Couric and I'm too much of a political conservative to be reminded of her each day.  Beginning to sound like an obsesssion?.

I think so.  Because you see, the problem with all this is I DON'T DRINK COFFEE!!!  Now I tried to justify this obsession with the fact that it also brews tea and hot chocolate.  But, I don't drink hot tea and I only drink lowfat, sugar-free hot chocolate which isn't available in the K-cups. I did think about how much my husband would enjoy having me fix it for him.  But really, he only drinks coffee on Saturday and Sunday mornings and downs a whole pitcher in about 30 minutes.  Oh, and did I also mention that I'm extremely practical and even on vacaction I only buy gifts for myself that are functional?  Hence, my big collection of cookbooks, my rolling pin from Silver Dollar City (who buys a rolling pin when everyone else on the trip is buying jewelry?), and a jar of molasses from some little town in Tennessee. 

So, how, oh, how was I going to justify spending a great deal of money on a beautiful, sleek, shiny, black, magical coffee maker that was obviously calling my name?  Well.........I didn't have to! Because my son-in-law's sweet, sweet mother heard about my ridiculous obsession and understood the need in my life to own something that was completely impractical.  So when she showed up at my door on Thanksgiving with this big, exquisitely wrapped box, my joy was complete!  I now have this ...........

 sitting on my countertop!  Isn't it beautiful?  Then I had to go out and buy this..........

so it wouldn't be lonely!

And now of course, the only way my practical side will ever relax and let me enjoy this thing is by frequent use.  So don't be surprised when you walk in my door and the first words out of my mouth are..."Can I fix you a cup of nice, hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate?" 
Thanks again, sweet Gina, for understanding!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is............................

Leslie!  Congratulations and look for it in the mail later this week!  I hope Makenzie likes it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Giveaway!

To celebrate my favorite month of the year.........
 I'm having a Christmas giveaway this week!  You can win a cute little personalized "I Spy" bag  just like the one pictured below.  It contains at least 30 items hidden in the plastic beads. It's a great toy for church, doctor's office  visits or long car rides.  Older children can read and find the items alone, while younger ones can enjoy some quality time with a parent or grandparent.
To win, just leave me a comment telling me who you'd like to give it to. You can leave a comment on this post, email me at or leave a comment on my FB wall. (If you have trouble leaving a post here, just sign in as "anonymous" and leave your name in the post.)  One entry per person, please.
The giveaway is open until midnight Friday night, CST and a winner will be randomly chosen and posted on Saturday.
Merry Christmas and good luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine. This year we celebrated with our son-in-law's family. We had a wonderful lunch.

                                   Lots of great conversation........                             

                                        Busy children..............                                                                                

                                  Happy children..........                                                                                            

                                   Silly children............                                                                                     

                              An after dinner walk...............                                                        

                           Some beautiful music........                                                               

                                      and one tired little boy who's already
                                      dreaming about the next holiday!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thirteen people entered my drawing for the Thanksgiving apron and this little guy with the spiffy cap wanted to select the winner!


the winner is.................

Glenda Davidson from Arnold, MO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations, Glenda, hope you enjoy wearing your apron this Thanksgiving!
Thanks to everyone for entering! I enjoyed all your comments and the new recipes a few of you shared. I'm planning a few Christmas giveaways soon so I hope you'll stop back by for those.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gobble Gobble Giveaway

If your comment won't post, just leave me a comment on my FB wall or email it to me. Don't want you to miss out!
Good luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Gobble, Gobble Giveaway!

Yes, you read that correctly! I've decided to celebrate the holiday with a giveaway. I love Thanksgiving! In our home it's the one holiday where the guest list always changes. We have been blessed to have so many friends sit at our Thanksgiving table through the years. This year we will be hosting our son-in-law's parents, his two sisters and their families, along with our children and grandchildren.

It seems that no matter how many times I plan and re-plan (is that a word?) the menu in my head, I always serve the same things. For me, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without dressing made from my mother's recipe. My daughter, Melanie, just has to have cherry pie. The first year my son-in-law spent Thanksgiving with us I felt sorry for him because he was away from his family, so I asked him to tell me the one dish he just couldn't live without at Thanksgiving. It was sweet potato casserole and it's been included in our holiday menu ever since.

So.......if you will leave a comment on this site telling me the one Thanksgiving dish you must have on your menu, I will include you in a random drawing to win this cute little apron made just for you. (If you have trouble leaving a comment, just sign in as "anonymous" and then sign your name on your comment.) This giveaway is open to residents of the 48 contiguous United States. One entry per person, please, and the deadline is midnight, Friday, Nov. 6th CST.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, Nov 8th. If the winner does not contact me by midnight, Weds., Nov. 11th, another winner will randomly be selected. Good luck!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Decorating...Grandmother Style

My decorating style has definitely changed since I became a grandmother. I doubt if HGTV will be knocking on my door anytime soon to showcase my interior design. But that's okay! After all, what can be better than a post-it note picture of my grandson and me on my closet door?

And I'll bet no one else has these Halloween decorations on their breakfast room window...
I can't wait to see what he has in mind for Thanksgiving! Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 19, 2009

These Aren't "Just Cookbooks"!

The picture above is a view of my kitchen counter. To the left of my kitchen sink I have a whole row of cookbooks which contain a lot of the recipes I use for my daily cooking and special holiday treats. I would be the world's worst cook if it were not for these recipes!

Recently, I picked up one of the books to find my recipe for biscuits and was shocked to discover the bottom half of it all wet. Closer examination revealed that all of my cookbooks were wet! I was so upset I began crying and blubbering about how everything was ruined and what was I going to do without them. My husband, who was making his morning coffee, just looked at me like I was crazy and commented, "They are only cookbooks." This made me cry even louder and I began to wail as I took each one in hand and told him why they were so special. As I paused to catch my breath and wipe my nose he sheepishly said, "Well, I'm the one who got them wet. I got some water on the cabinet and thought I wiped it all up." This statement caused another round of tears and accusations of "How could you have done that to my books and not told me?", followed by his promise to this crazed woman that he could fix the damage.

As I looked on with alot of doubt and skepticism, he proceeded to dry the pages of each book with my blowdryer and then very carefully iron each page while standing at my ironing board. I don't think I've ever loved that man as much as I did at that moment! When everything was dry, including my eyes, he took a board, painted it to match my cabinets and replaced all my books on the raised shelf to prevent a repeat of this disasterous occurence.

That morning I realized how much of my life was tied up in those well-worn, grease stained cookbooks. Pictured below is my very first cookbook. It was given to me at our wedding shower and fortunately for my husband, it included how-to pictures along with a lot of the recipes! My favorite recipe for chicken and dumplings is in this book.

The first one I purchased for myself was this cookbook of recipes from what was then Oklahoma Christian College. (If you attended there in the seventies, don't worry, I don't mean the recipes from the cafeteria, but instead from those in the campus community!) After graduating from Oklahoma Christian, Mickey and I both worked there for three years. Many of these recipes and the pictures included in this book hold special memories of college days and our life as newlyweds. I've used it so much in the past 38 years that the cover fell off and got misplaced many years ago!

This recipe book is from the church we attended in Arnold, Missouri. It was compiled in conjunction with a ladies retreat and distributed a few months after we moved away to Texas. It is so very precious to me because many of the ladies wrote sweet little notes next to their recipes and I received it in the mail after I moved away.

All of these ladies hold a special place in my heart!

The next one was given to me by my mom in 1989. It contains some of her recipes along with her sister's, my Aunt Pallie. Both Mom and her sister have since passed away so it means so much.

My mom's handwritten recipe for her Thanksgiving dressing is on the back page. Next month I'll pull this one out, gingerly run my fingers over her writing, cry a few tears and make her delicious dressing for my family.

This one was published by my neighborhood subdivision in San Antonio. I loved that beautiful neighborhood with its many live oak trees. Mickey and I enjoyed many evening walks there.

This one I won on the plane as our family flew with all the other Southwestern Bell employees to get our first glimpse of San Antonio. What a day that was! They literally rolled out a red carpet, complete with a mariachi band, as we got off our buses in downtown San Antonio!

This cookbook is a compilation of recipes from the great cooks of the Katy church of Christ congregation. These women can really cook and oh how I miss them all!

This one I picked up in the Old Country Store restaurant in Jackson, Tennessee. It reminds me of the six years we spent making that Texas to Tennessee trip while our girls were in school at Freed-Hardeman University.

The book below is a reminder of the great trip I took to New Orleans with three of my Katy, Texas friends. What a fun trip !

And this book is all about home. It contains many of the great Oklahoma recipes I grew up eating, including wild onions and eggs. Yum!

This one represents our life now. We've lived here in the Dallas area for eight years and have enjoyed many of the wonderful recipes from this book at our church fellowships. What great cooks and better yet, what wonderful friends!

So I guess it took my husband's accidental water spill to make me realize that these aren't "just cookbooks". Our lives, as most, are centered around home, family, good food, great friends and all the wonderful memories created by "breaking bread" together!


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