Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some Things Need to Change

These days, a lot is being said and done about empowering women. Every where you look, you'll find videos, magazine articles, or blog articles about what we need to do to raise our daughters to be strong women. There is all kinds of advice about building self esteem. There are nation wide programs for young girls. I just hope it helps, because some things need to change.

I wish there had been some sort of movement like that for her:
This is my grandmother. I think she's beautiful! She never thought so. In fact, many of the pictures that I have of her, she had written on the back---"ugly Jennie." It breaks my heart that she never thought she was attractive. She was from a large family---eight children. She quit school after the 3rd grade to help on the farm---basically, she raised the younger kids. She was kind, generous, loving and never said a bad word about anybody. She was also bossy and freely gave advice---whether asked for or not. I like to think that I am a lot like her---at least I'm the bossy part for sure!
This is her at 32. People in the old days just looked older to me. She never smiled in pictures. I hope she just wasn't sad all the time. I would hate to think she lived her life unhappily. She found solace in her faith and passed that on to her children. She was very important to me. I still miss her.

I do hope that the changes taking place for girls today really work so that everyone feels good about themselves and realizes that there are much more important things than an outward appearance. Those things need to change!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mystery Trip

Well, it's been a whirlwind, action-packed, fun-filled weekend. I had every intention of blogging along the way, but there simply was no time. Every night it was 11:30 p.m. by the time we got back to our hotel. Here's the run-down:

We arrived in Atlanta at 10:30 p.m. We stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn----our first time. Jordan said it was the nicest hotel she's ever been in. It really was so nice---2 bedrooms, living room and full kitchen. I don't know why we haven't discovered this before now.

I bought early bird tickets for the Georgia Aquarium. We arrived at 9 a.m. and spent several hours browsing around. We ended our tour with the dolphin show.

After the aquarium, we had lunch at Panera Bread. After a brief rest, we left at 5 p.m. to fight Atlanta rush hour traffic. It took us an hour and twenty minutes to go 24 miles. We had dinner at the Harbour Bar and Seafood House before going to the theater.
I got tickets for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  The girls love theater, so this was the perfect thing---a musical comedy. Our seats were the best in the house---front row center. Jordan was even singled out during the show as one of the character's sister, Marigold. Another character took a liking to her---much comedy ensued. We were all in stitches.

This was our shopping day. We hit some really good sales at Forever 21 and H&M. The girls love those stores. The clothes are so reasonably priced, that you can really get a lot of bang for your buck. I also surprised the girls with a Brighton charm bracelet. I let them choose the charms---each symbolizing parts of our mystery trip.

The final surprise was meeting up with the Lapps family at Cheesecake Factory for lunch. The surprise was on both sides---although Victoria figured it out due to some pictures that Morgan posted on Instagram.

That evening, we went to the Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner field. We all had such a good time. Morgan almost caught a foul ball. As it was coming towards us, I completely froze. I saw my life flash before my eyes. I was certain the ball was going to "bean" me. Morgan stuck her hand up and took the pain. Unfortunately, she didn't catch the ball---the lady right in front of her grabbed it. We sort of thought that was lousy that she didn't just give it to Morgan---but baseball fans are pretty die hard. All-in-all, there were 3 balls hit right to us---one two rows up and one 3 people to our right---besides the one Morgan almost caught.

 Morgan Instagramed this photo. The things these kids know how to do---amazes me.

These kids are really good with the "selfies." I think their arms have already evolved to be six inches longer than any previous generation.

 When we got back to the hotel---at 11:30, the teens hung out in our room until after 1 a.m..

We got an early start and was home by 10:30. We all had a great time and the girls loved every part of the trip---especially the "mystery" part.

One mystery remains.
Why would anyone feel the need to wheel their suitcase through the aquarium? Beats me!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Project Postcards

I signed up with my friend, Sian to participate in a postcard swap. Here's what I've received so far:
 This one came from Rinda. We'll be visiting San Francisco in September.
 This one is from Jess in England. I want to walk through her village!
My friend, Cher from Philadelphia sent this one. I love flowers!

Mine are going out today!

I'm leaving this afternoon to take these two on a Mystery Trip.
 They used to look like this---so little and sweet.
Now they look like this---big girls, but still sweet---mostly.

Both will be gone before you know it as they head off to college in August. I'm so happy to have a weekend with them. I'll be blogging our adventures from the road. All they know is that we are leaving at 2:30 p.m. Maybe we'll pick up a few postcards along the way!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Few Things

1. We saw Belle yesterday for "movie Monday." Soooo good! It's a winner---and there have been few of those lately.

2. I finished The Husband's Secret over the weekend. This is a fabulous book!! It's written in my favorite format---each chapter is a different person with a mini cliff-hanger at the end of each one. If you are in my book club, don't read it yet as I'll be choosing it for one of my picks in September.

3. I planned a project for when my sisters were here. Everyone had been saving corks. Here's what we made:

4. What a difference a week makes!
This tree hydrangea didn't even have a bud on it when we left for vacation. When we got home it was just starting to bloom. 

5. I picked up some needlework.
I made this for Mindy. Connie picked the project. She's just about finished with hers---all she has left is the background. The finished piece is about 24" tall and 10" wide. It worked up very fast because it's done on 13 count.
 The woman that did the finish work did a spectacular job.
 Here are a couple of close ups of the decorative stitches.
 Doing projects with a variety of stitches is so much fun. By always switching them up, it never gets boring. Plus, if you are doing a stitch you don't particularly like, you don't have to do it for long. 
This pill box was done by Stephanie. She turned it in for finishing months ago. You can pretty much plan that it's going to take nearly 6 months to get your needlework back---unless it's pillows. The lady that has been doing them for a few years now only takes about a month to get something back.

6. My latest AYM layout:
The journaling reads:
I have been a bibliophile ever since I can remember. I learned to read early. I read constantly. I belonged to a book club that sent me books each month. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. My favorite gifts were books---although I pretended to my friends that I didn’t really like them---I certainly didn’t want to be considered a nerd. I don’t think a day has gone by since I learned to read that I have been without a book. I read every day. Sunday is my favorite reading day as I devote 2 to 4 hours to a good book. In the winter, there’s nothing I like better than sitting in front of the fireplace with my book. In summer, you’ll find me on the front porch swing. I have started 3 different book clubs. I really enjoy discussing books with other people. I love getting their perspectives and opinions. I read a wide variety of books---crossing most genres. I consider myself well read.

I have always loved the tactile experience of a book. It still surprises me that I could fall completely in love with my Kindle. But I have to say, with the advancement of that technology, I also love the Kindle app on my iPhone. Now, I am NEVER without my book. The only problem I have with my Kindle is the guilt it makes me feel. I have a beautiful library full of books---that sit idle these days. Even if I want to read one of them, I’ll end up purchasing it for my Kindle. It’s just so easy and convenient. Plus, one of my favorite features is being able to keep track of the number of books I read each year---on average---36. If I was forced to choose only one hobby in my life, READING would be it!!! I cannot live without books. Thomas Jefferson may have said it first, but it’s my sentiment exactly!

That's enough for now.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up and a Recipe share

It was a great weekend---so much fun---busy---crazy! Just how we like it!

On Saturday, we started at a yard sale. I bought these chairs---love them. The family didn't---and really gave me a hard time.
Jeanne and Janet liked them too---and even encouraged me to buy them. When the family started criticizing me, they cowered---that's the only word I can think of to describe their silence!! Anyway, I still love the chairs. But Butch does get a say once in awhile. As it turns out, Jordan will be able to use them in her new apartment. The best part? The chairs were only $5.00 each!!
Next I took them to the PFunky Griddle for breakfast. It's a family favorite located in a little old house. Each table has a griddle built in to the middle so you can cook your own food. They have the BEST pancakes ever!

Breakfast was a good way to kill time until we could go to Marathon Village.
 The purpose of our visit here was to go to Antique Archeology---owned by Mike Wolf from American Pickers. The "door guy" said there is always a line. By the time we got there, the line was down the sidewalk nearly to the end of the rail. It was hot---waiting in that line.
 Jeanne, Janet and me posing outside the door---actually---inside another door.
The shop was really pretty nice with lots of expensive antiques. They had this entertainment, which was fun. We all left with a few souvenirs---t-shirts, guitar picks and cooler cups. I bought a couple of post cards.

We got back home around noon and did our project. Jeanne planned it. 
 We each made a fairy garden. They turned out so darn cute!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool. Steph, Nicky and the girls came over too. Mindy came for dinner (recipes below.) We had a poker game after dinner. When it was all said and done, I won a nickel! Morgan was the big winner. It was the perfect ending to a great long weekend. 

There was only one hitch. On Sunday, after they'd been gone an hour and a half, I discovered that Jeanne had forgotten her computer. They turned around and I drove to meet them. We met in Clarksville. When I got home, I went straight to a 2 1/2 hour nap. I was exhausted from all of that fun!

I love my sisters and look forward to our sister's weekend every year. Luckily, since Jeanne and Janet are scrapbookers, I have more opportunities to spend time with them. We'll be scrapbooking together at the farm in October. I can't wait!

Ritz Chicken

Author: Six Sisters Stuff
Serves: 4

There are just a few ingredients needed for this delicious, moist chicken! We grew up eating it all the time because it's just so simple to throw together!
    4 chicken breasts (I doubled this recipe and used a whole bag of chicken tenderloins rather than the breasts)
    1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
    ½ teaspoon garlic salt
    black pepper to taste
    2 eggs, beaten
    ½ cup butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together crackers, garlic salt, and black pepper.
3. Dip each chicken breast in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the cracker mixture, coating it completely.
4. Place each coated chicken breast in a 9x13 pan.
5. Cut the butter up into small pieces, and put them over the top of the chicken breasts.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

PS I Love You Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 small pkg. coconut instant pudding 
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

1. Grease a 13x9 pan. Prepare cake mix according to the package directions, adding pudding, poppy seeds and extract. Bake and cool.

2 cup 2% milk
1 small pkg. vanilla instant pudding

2. Poke holes with a wooden spoon in cooled cake. Whisk milk and pudding. Pour over cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until pudding is set.

1-8 oz. Cool Whip
1/4 cup instant coconut cream instant pudding (I didn't do this because I did not buy 2 pkgs. of pudding)
3 T. milk
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

3. Mix and spread over cake. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sister's Weekend

Every year on the second weekend of July, we have a sister's weekend here in Nashville. I have 4 sisters and 2 sister-in-laws. Only once has everyone been able to make it. This year, since we were all together in South Bend for Devon's graduation and in St. Louis the following weekend, I didn't think they would want to do it. But Jeanne and Janet did and I'm so glad!!

They arrived Wednesday night---with my "Italian food fix" from St. Louis. We don't have any good Italian markets here. I rely on St. Louis to get all of my favorites---Italian bread, salciccia (Italian sausage), provel cheese (only found in St. Louis), Italian olives, Volpi salami, toasted ravioli, and Imo's pizza.

I have a busy weekend planned for us. We spent all day at the pool yesterday---complete with frozen pool drinks. We went to dinner at the Loveless Cafe---I take all out-of-towners to this famous Nashville "institution." Jeanne said I had never taken them. It's a delicious meat and three. We brought home a lot of leftovers.
A couple fun facts about the Loveless. They have 450,000 visitors a year and serve 7,000 biscuits each day. They are known for their incredible biscuits. We thought 7,000 biscuits was an impossible number, but then counted our biscuits. They server us (3 people) 10 biscuits! We brought the leftovers home to have for breakfast. Jeanne bought their blackberry preserves.

After dinner, we stopped by Home Depot to pick up a few things for the project Jeanne planned for us. I'll share that later.

Today (Friday), we have our AYM meeting this morning. We'll also be doing the title page for out album. Next, we'll get organized for the cork project I planned. I have Jordan and Morgan coming over to wait on us while we float in the pool. They'll be making our pool drinks and lunch. There will be 8 of us, so I like to "hire" the girls to do everything so I don't have to miss anything.

Tonight, we'll have happy hour, a light dinner and then work on our projects. Saturday, we're going to a sale, breakfast at The Pfunky Griddle and then downtown to visit Antique Archeology---Mike from "The American Pickers" owns it. After that, we'll spend the rest of the afternoon in the pool. Luckily, we've had a mild summer. Usually, by this time, the pool is warm---like bath water---not refreshing---just wet. Right now, the pool water is perfect! Still cool.

It's always a fun weekend that goes by way too fast. For now, I'm just trying to enjoy every minute.

I hope y'all have a great weekend too!!