Thursday, March 23, 2017

From this Side of the Pond

I'm late . . .I'm late . . .for a very important date with Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?
On Saturday, we celebrated our sweet granddaughter's first birthday!  It is so awesome watching her grow and change . . .and she is soooo cute!  Surely that tutu constitutes some sort of March Madness, right??  She had never (as far as I know) experienced cake before and was a little cautious at first but the smash cake quickly became March Madness, too!  Our daughter said the cake picture should be made into some sort of meme!  Let them eat cake!  I ate ALL the cake!  

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.
The first thing that I thought of was "lella lotion" which is what our son called Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion from Clinique.  I still call it "lella lotion" without thinking!  We also called the hair salon "the haircut place" and I think that is what I still say!!  My favorite made up word was Snoopy Magic or Mommy Magic.  When the kids were sick, Laura would always say that she needed either Snoopy Magic or Mommy Magic.  Snoopy (a similar one pictured below) would rub his feet on their tummy for a tummy ache or Mommy (me!) would rub their face or arm or tummy to make them feel better.  Laura was sick last week and texted me (she is a grown up now, remember?) and told me that she needed some Mommy Magic.  I sent her the picture below and told her that Snoopy was on his way.
her snoopy is much loved like the velveteen rabbit! (photo from amazon)

snoopy to the rescue! (photo from google images)
3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were- clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?
Let's see . . .yes, I NEED to do some spring cleaning.  I desperately need to clean out my pantry.  I don't have a real pantry and I have wire shelves in a "closet under the stairs" and stuff gets stacked every which way in there.  I'm thinking of taking a day off next week and cleaning!!  I have a weekly cleaning lady who dusts and vacuums and cleans the bathrooms and kitchen.  We need to clean the ceiling fans and we need to wash the outdoor windows!!  My problem is that I'm terribly allergic to dust and to pollen and both are plentiful inside and out!!

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?
Y'all . . .every once in a while when I'm home alone for a weekend, I love to watch old movies ----- especially old Doris Day movies.  Several of her movies were in New York -- Pillow Talk??  I loved Send Me No Flowers; Lover Come Back; Please Don't Eat the Daisies.  They would be considered totally silly by today's standards but I sure do still enjoy them!

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?
Every single thing is blooming here and it is beautiful.  Today we have sun and blue skies and a pleasant breeze!  Just the right climate for putting a spring in my step!!

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?
I had a giant blackboard when I was a kid and loved to pretend to be a teacher!  When I was an elementary student, I tended to be a teacher's pet and was usually allowed to help grade spelling and math tests :-)  I teach a large adult sunday school class now which is a totally different kind of teacher.

7. What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?
I have horrible allergies so no floral scented anything for me.  I'm not a big wine drinker but floral notes sound like they would be good in wine!  Easter is coming up and the scent of lilies kill me (not really dead but you know what I mean!).  I do like the scent of roses but even roses can sometimes set off my allergies.  The few scents that don't seem to bother me are essential oils like peppermint or breathe easy.  I can stand a tiny bit of lavender essential oil and I can tolerate lemon pretty well.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm late again answering the Wednesday Hodge Podge questions.  I just have a hard time finishing - Monday, Tuesday, and  Wednesday are exceptionally busy on my job and I'm too tired to write when I get home.  I had planned to write early before work yesterday but couldn't get motivated.  I work hard for my priorities to be God, Others, and Self . . . so sometimes my stuff falls to the bottom of the pile.  I've been working harder on self care - making time to ride the stationary bike every day and prep ahead meals . . .so sometimes writing just falls down to the bottom even though I love it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Madison and Laughter and Old (not age!) Friends

A couple of weekends ago, we met our dear friends for lunch.  They live in Nashville and we live down in Alabama . . .so we met in the middle.  I asked a question on Facebook, "where is your favorite place to eat in Huntsville, AL?"  One of my friends forwarded an email to me from her friend who lives in the area.  She gave us several recommendations and I received lots of great recommendations from friends on Facebook.  I wanted it to be an enjoyable day for Mark so one of the places suggested was Old Black Bear Brewing Company in Madison, a suburb of Huntsville.  I read several reviews and it sounded good!

The brewery is located in a small historic district directly across from the old train station.  The dining area had a wall of exposed brick and a wall with lots of windows.  For those of you who live in Birmingham, that should sound unusual to you - "the dining area" of the brewery.  This brewery serves food -- and it was good food!!  I emailed the owner and asked about their ability to serve food and brew and he sent me a great informative email about Brew Pub License and how many gallons you can make and how the license allows them to serve food.

Jan snapped this photo of Mark and Hayden and I'm so glad she did!  Hayden and Jan are the kind of friends who love to laugh and we love to laugh so it is always fun to be together.

Not only does Old Black Bear Brewing company make beer . . . they make their own ginger beer AND they make their own vodka.  Those two ingredients, along with a lime, make the perfect Moscow Mule.  I NEVER drink in the daytime (except sometimes on vacation . . .and this was a mini vacation, right??) but couldn't pass up the opportunity to try this.  It was worth it! Jan and I both had Moscow Mules while the guys tried several flights of beer.

The day was spectacular.  In February and March in Alabama, we never know what kind of weather to expect.  On this day, the skies were blue and there was a light breeze and the sun was shining.  Perfect weather for walking around the little town.

We went in most of the little shops.  I had a slight problem - almost ALL of the store owners were burning scented candles.  The shops were fairly small and the scents were overpowering to someone who has massive allergy issues.

There was a cute sweet shop and they even had chocolate covered bacon!  I love that the name is Whistle Stop and it is directly across from the old train station (which is now a restaurant).  I love the charm of the old buildings and I was so happy to see a tiny old downtown area that has been refurbished. 

Our time together was over much too quickly and they headed back to Nashville and we headed home to Birmingham.  The day was awesome - filled with food, fun, and fellowship - 3 of my favorite things! (along with a few beverages and lots of laughter!!)

Monday, March 13, 2017

SO I GOOGLED . . . .

Seriously, I love google.  I use it every day.  I use it MANY times every day.  One day, I typed into the search bar, "most comfortable shoes for overweight middle-aged women with bad feet."  Seriously! I wasn't disappointed. There are lots and lots of articles and blogs about shoes.

I was thinking about my shoe collection. My shoe collection is probably much smaller than many people.  I used to have pumps of every color - some of my favorites were pink!  I actually had light and dark pink pumps!  (this was in the 80's)  I had some great shoes back then.  Now . . .now I have several pairs of tennis shoes and a pair or two or three of "fancy" dress up VERY UNCOMFORTABLE shoes . . .and I have shoes made for comfort.

Let me tell you about some of my favorites.  I don't know what I'm going to do when my Mudd white sandals totally fall apart.  I need to start googling to see if I can find some more.  These are by far my highest shoes and they are wedges and I love they way they look on my feet and they are comfortable.

The next pair of shoes is my "goldish" neutral pair of Bernie Mevs.  I have these also in black and I have an open toed pair in black.  Very comfortable shoes but neither these nor the Mudds have arch support.

The middle pair of shoes is made by Cobb Hill.  They are by far the most comfortable "dress" shoes that I have ever owned.  They have arch support.  They are cushy (that is a word, right?) and the heel is fairly low and sort of chunky.  I found these through one of my google searches and I have been very pleased.

I would wear "flip flops" every day of the year if I could . . . and I probably do wear them 300 days a year.  These are sandals made by Vionic.  I have purchased most of mine through Amazon but they are available at Belk and Zappos and other places.  I buy a minimum of two pair each year and literally wear them until they are quite shabby.  Vionic even makes fun flip flops that are more like true flip flops (with arch support!!) and they even make slippers.  The corduroy slippers below have a home under my desk at the office (and I've worn them today because it is cold!!).  I was even able to purchase booties by Vionic.

Another comfortable brand is Alegria.  I like to wear these with pants and socks.

Here are the booties and they are super duper comfortable.  I ordered mine from Zappos.

My last shoe recommendation is for boots.  I love the look of boots but I have wide calves.  So once again, I did a Google search.  Did you know that Old Navy carries wide calf boots?  They do!  They are comfortable!  They would be better with arch support but they are really great and I like them so much that I own both brown and black.  I just looked them up and right now they are on sale for $31.99!  Obviously they aren't real leather but I have worn them for two winter seasons now and love them.  Granted . . .I only wear them when it is really cold and I live in Alabama so we don't have THAT many cold days but they are great!

Is there a clothing item or a shoe item that you love?  Do you use Google as much as I do?

My feet were made for walking . . .and I need comfort!  Happy shopping!  (p.s. - none of these companies know that I'm writing about them!)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Magazine Worthy?

We have a neighborhood email and a neighborhood facebook page and I love the feeling of connectedness that those two items bring.  I rarely respond to the emails but always read them.  This last week, someone had requested recommendations of residents who have great porches.  This person needed some shots of awesome porches for a magazine shoot.  I actually responded and told the person about our next door neighbor's porch - they have happy hour almost every afternoon and anyone is welcome to bring their drink and sit on the porch with them.  We haven't participated yet but as soon as the pollen is better, I'm going to be first in line.  It looks fun. . . and if you don't have a drink, they will offer one to you!

I also described our porches to the writer and even attached a couple of photos and then I made the statement, "our porches are definitely not magazine worthy."  I've been thinking about that statement ever since then.  Who says?  Yes, I know that I said it!  I know it really isn't magazine worthy but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I love some of the things on our porch (we actually have several porches but I'm talking about the screened porch).  These photos were taken on a cloudy day.  The porch is actually the walk through from the garage to the house and right outside the porch is our small courtyard.  We have a patio area tiled in the same tile.  As you can see, the porch opens from our main living/eating area so if we are entertaining and the weather is nice, we can use the porch as an extension of our living space.  When Mark fries fish, he fries it outside on the porch.

Our son, Glenn, made the two tables.  He made one for me for Christmas a year or two ago and he made the other one for my birthday this past year.  The rockers that match came from At Home.  The third rocking chair was Mark's - one of his pieces of furniture from his first apartment post college.  I think his parents bought it for him.  We used it in our nursery and rocked our babies in it.

There are several fun items on this table.  The Igloo cooler was my daddy's.  He worked as a carpenter and he worked for the L & N Railroad and I'm sure he had many days where he needed a cooler of cold water.  The cute faucets were purchased at Southeastern Salvage and they are to give the impression of beer or liquor taps.  That would be fun to have real ones!  The antlers wrapped around the orange bucket are from the farm from a deer that Mark killed.  The box on the very bottom shelf was Mark's daddy's . . .or maybe even before.  The writing on the box is "Libby's canned meat!!!"  The small red lantern on the bottom shelf was a gift from our friend Butch, who died several years ago.  The Jack Daniels bucket, the wooden box on the middle shelf are both from Southeastern Salvage.  We love that store.  The little red lanterns on the middle shelf are from Target.  I can't remember where the birdhouse on the bottom left came from.  I think it might have been a gift but I cannot remember!!  I think the silver candlesticks were a wedding gift . . .almost 33 years ago!  Lots of sentimental items on one bar table!!  We can clean the top off and set out drinks of all kinds.

This is the other table that Glenn made.  I asked for a very narrow table to go in this space.  This table is more rustic that the other one.  The fish on the stringer are metal and they came from Frontera.  I know this sounds so silly but Frontera and Southeastern Salvage are kind of "date" locations for us - it is something we both enjoy doing and we enjoy looking together.  This is really funny because Mark HATES to shop - I mean truly H.A.T.E.S. to shop.  The blue bucket is another Jack Daniels bucket from Southeastern Salvage.  The lures are real lures from some fishing trip.  I think the little red tricycle came from At Home and the giant pine cone came from the yard Hobby Lobby!  We have no big trees in our yard!  We have a tiny yard!!

Here is the view looking toward the garage.  The pillows in the old rocking chair are actually the cushions for the iron furniture in the courtyard.  I have a wreath of forsythia on the garage door because you see it from inside the house and I always try to match/coordinate the garage door with the two front doors (one main front door and the upstairs porch door).  We have two ceiling fans which make the porch almost bearable even in the hottest part of summer.  Summer in the deep south can be brutal.  We purchased fans for all of the porches from Dan's Fan City and they installed them and the fans and Dan's Fan City are all awesome!

Magazine worthy?  Probably not.  I don't have that fancy decorating flair that so many of our friends have . . .maybe our porch isn't magazine worthy . . .but our porch is filled with special items.  Our porch is much loved (by us and by our cat!!).  Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder and I think our porch is quite nice!!

Do you have outdoor living spaces?  Are you like me?? . . .I have horrible tree allergies . . .so I can't even use our porches right now.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Y'all join up with Joyce over at From This Side of the pond and answer the questions.  This is her 300th Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Check out her lovely blog!!
From this Side of the Pond
1.        What is one area of your life where you're a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?
       Since I’m a #1 on the Ennegram (I’m sorry – I know y’all are tired of hearing about this but good grief, it rings so true!!) . . .I actually have a problem with being a perfectionist.  I want my work to be perfect and I’m really upset when I make a mistake.  I’m trying to be more healthy about this aspect of who I am!!  I’m trying to recognize it when it happens.  It is bad enough that I expect myself not to make mistakes but I also have a tendency to have too high expectations of others.  Is perfectionism a good thing?  It can be.  I also can be a slippery slope!

2.      What's something you find perfectly ridiculous?
How about this pink unicorn in my office?  I bought it for my boss’s daughter but I haven’t seen her yet so Pinky has been hanging out in my office.  I cannot tell you the number of grown adults who have sat in my office and held Pinky.  We are all quite ridiculous!

3.      What's a skill you've developed by way of that old fashioned saying, 'practice makes perfect?
I’m an excellent typist/keyboard user.  I learned to type when I was in high school on an old manual typewriter (good grief – when I type things like that . . .someone might think I’m old!! Hahaha!).  I then progressed to electric typewriters and then electronic typewriters that were sort of like a word processor and of course, now we use keyboards and Ipads, etc.  I used to love to take the “timed tests” and because I have a competitive spirit, I wanted to win!  I wanted to be the fastest in the class.  Practice makes perfect!

picture from Google images - from Royal

4.      What's your idea of a perfect breakfast?
Breakfast for dinner??  I really don’t like breakfast food first thing in the morning but later in the day or at dinner – yummy!  Biscuits and gravy; hashbrowns; fresh fruit; bacon and sausage – yum yum!  Or how about homemade waffles with lots of butter and syrup??  I’ve been trying to eat healthier so I’ve been eating my overnight oats with fat free greek yogurt and strawberries and blueberries.  I don’t eat it until about 8:45 or 9:00 after I get to work.

5.      What's a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you've taken that you'd rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.
When our kids were at the end of sixth grade, they went on a trip with the school.  Mark and I scheduled a trip to coincide with their time away.  We flew to St. Martin and stayed in a lovely resort on the French side of the Island.  We ate wonderful meals.  We reconnected.  We drank wonderful drinks on the beach.  It was a wonderful trip.  That trip would be close to a 10.  (and it was long ago so I’ve forgotten any problems we might have had!).  Just this past weekend, we were also talking about a weekend trip from several years ago.  We were with some of our closest friends at a hotel in South Alabama for a wedding.  We had a wonderful time and that weekend was pretty close to a 10.

6.      What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can't do perfect, how about one that comes close?  
I love this quote by Erma Bombeck – “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.’”  I hope that sums up my life right now.

7.      How would you spend $300 today?
Something must be terribly wrong with me because I immediately thought, “just $300?”  So very sorry – just being honest.  Let’s see . . .I might go online to Amazon and buy a bunch of books to read.  I might buy a pair of Antelope shoes.  I could give the $300 to Mark and he could go to a fancy restaurant/bar and $300 might buy two shots of Pappy VanWinkle bourbon.  If the money just came from out of the blue, I should tithe on it, shouldn't I? . . .or maybe give it all to a ministry??

8.      Insert your own random thought here.

I did well last month.  My intentions were to write every day.  Our internet was down for an entire weekend so I'm removing those days from the equation.  I missed just one or two other days so I’m counting it as a success!  (do you hear that healthy person – not cutting myself down for not being perfect???)  This month, I actually have a couple of things to write about but I just haven’t had the time to sit down . . .actually, I have sat down after Mark has been in bed . . .but I’ve been reading a thriller at night after Mark goes to sleep.  I truly can’t figure out who committed the murder!  If you've read it DO NOT TELL ME!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Come on over!

Mark and I are as opposite as night and day in many ways but we do a few things together and we do them well.  We both love to entertain and I guess you could say we have the gift of hospitality.  We hosted our supper club (we've been together since 2004!) last Saturday night and had so much fun.  I changed up my box (made by Brian) and made it look fresh and springy!  I used the Silhouette to make layered flower napkin rings and used brightly colored napkins.  I should have removed the cloth and table pads and used the chargers but I was going for a little more casual look.

Mark was so excited to prepare part of the appetizers.  He had "Wild Hog Sausage" (this means it was NOT from the grocery store) and he had a venison tenderloin (also not from the grocery store!!)

Mark does an excellent job of carving meat.

When I was going to the grocery store he asked me to buy parsley to decorate his platter (he learned that trick from his mama!!).  Isn't it a beautiful platter?

One friend brought raw veggies and dip for the non-game eaters in the group.  I'm not normally a wild game eater but I did try a piece of the sausage.  It was really good.  It is only March of 2017 and I've eaten wild game at least twice - pretty good for me!!  Mark does such a good job of cooking it - prepping from start to finish.

We were in charge of the main course and I bought a six pound rump roast at the Piggly Wiggly.  The meat market man will cut one for you if you ask!  My mother-in-law says that a larger piece of meat cooks better and she is a great cook so I follow right along!  I did marinate the roast for a few hours in Greek Salad Dressing and Mr. P's marinade and Cavender's.  When I placed it on the pan, I covered it in coarse ground black pepper and a healthy dusting of garlic salt.
Preheat the oven to 325 and cook it about 27 minutes per pound.  It was really good.  I also made tornado baked potatoes.  They were a lot of work and I'm not sure they were that much better than baked.  I did half sweet potatoes and half regular baking potatoes.  I made a mixture of equal parts of cinnamon and sugar and used that on the sweet (along with olive oil and butter) and I used salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese (along with olive oil and butter) and the regular potatoes.  I baked them at 400 for about an hour.

One supper club member brought a great cous cous salad that was so fresh tasting.  We also had green beans that were yummy and an incredible chocolate and peanut butter dessert.  Of course, no supper club would be complete without some spirits.  The guys were drinking Blanton's bourbon (and a girl or two might have consumed some!) and of course, there were other spirits available.

We laughed and talked and laughed some more.  I feel so blessed to call these folks friends - that are as close as family!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fast Lane or Slow Poke on this Wednesday HodgePodge

1.      'Slow and steady wins the race'...tell us about a time this was true in your own life. I agree with the statement that slow and steady wins the race but agreeing with the words and living the words are too very different things!!

2.      'As slow as molasses'...Do you like molasses? I like molasses in Ginger Snaps!  I also like to leave the Ginger Snaps sitting open overnight so that they soften up.  Anyone else do this?  How about maple syrup? I like maple syrup.  I also like Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima . . .Yes, I know they are not the same!!  Caramel? I love caramel!!  Butterscotch?  I’m pretty fond of butterscotch!  What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat?  I really love caramel and a caramel and cheesecake combo is ALWAYS good.  I also like butterscotch and make a really good Brown Sugar Brownie that includes butterscotch chips. Speaking of slow moving treats, Mark purchased some sorghum this last year and it has been in our refrigerator.  He heated it up last night and offered it to all of our young adults (instead of syrup on their pancakes) but I don't think we had any partakers.  I do not like it - way too strong of a flavor! Only one young adult even knew what it was!

3.      Your favorite slow song? I CANNOT remember the name of it.  I’ve done a google search of slow songs from the 80’s and 90’s.  There was one obscure song that I used to love and it was on a CD that we had when we lived in our old house.  I keep hoping that a few words of the lyrics will pop into my head so I can search the lyrics!!  I even emailed Mark and asked him if he remembered the song or artist and he replied that he couldn't even remember last week!  The song is flirting around the edges of my brain and I'm hoping I'll remember it at some point!!

4.      Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot? I love our crock pots!  I cook in them all the time on Tuesday nights.  One of my favorite things to cook is green beans – you use 12 cans of drained green beans (remember I’m feeding a lot of people!), some brown sugar, a tiny amount of vinegar, bacon, a tiny bit of bacon grease, salt and red pepper flakes!  Let them cook all day and they are so good!  I also have a mini crockpot and I love to melt white cheese dip in it when we serve Mexican food!!

5.      You may delay, but time will not.' ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month? We tend to hurry through most things at our house.  We eat quickly.  We do our housework quickly.  Mark’s motto (just like his granddaddy’s before him) is “let’s hurry up and go so we can hurry up and get back.”  I do tend to delay having difficult conversations and I definitely think that would qualify as an unpleasant task.  In staff meeting/chapel, our senior minister has been talking with us about having Crucial Conversations . . .and I hate those kinds of conversations. . . so I procrastinate and move slowly!

6.      Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.
      Traffic – right???  Why can’t they all go the speed limit that I want to drive?  IAm I driving above the speed limit?  Who me????
      Lines in the grocery store . . .need I say more?
      Other people who take forever to do a task that I KNOW I could complete in a few moments . . .that one is bad, isn’t it?

7.      March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. Yes, I am crafty.  My name is Lisa and I’m a craftaholic.  My name is Lisa and I have a crafting room!  I’m probably not going to try anything new in the crafting world in the next 30 days unless I try to use the pens with my silhouette or unless we try to applique something using my silhouette.  I would love to learn a simple technique for calligraphy . . . in my spare time!

8.      Insert your own random thought here. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday – the last day before Lent 2017.  We made pancakes and bacon and sausage and fruit for the young adults last night.  I’m pretty sure that I’m going to give up a behavior or two for Lent this year.  Giving up sweets or Diet Pepsis might be good for me physically but I need to work on my spiritual life.  I didn’t grow up in a denomination that practiced Lent (nor Advent) but I so love these times of intentional preparation.