Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hodgepodge in the Summertime

Yes, I do believe that summer has arrived!
It has been in the mid to upper 90s here the past few days and all I can say is...

So here's a little blast from the past to bring back a summer memory or two.

And my little garden must love it because it's going crazy.

I have my own personal little jungle growing on my deck!

They're all clumped together in the corner of my deck that gets the most sun.
So far they seem to be getting along pretty well and playing nice with each other.
I have heard that certain plants shouldn't be planted near others but I really don't know which ones...
...remember, this is still in it's experimental stage. 😉

Just look at my precious babies!
I have one eggplant but there are others in the process,

my tomatoes are still mostly green and you can bet I'll be pulling a few of those off the vine
for a mess of fried green tomatoes before they ripen!

And remember those male and female zucchini blossoms from a couple of posts ago?
Well, here's a look at the difference...the male blooms have skinny stems...

and the female blooms have fat ones that actually are what grows into the fruit, itself.

Yes, zucchini are actually a fruit, as I found out on our trusty Google.
Can you tell that I am excited about my little garden??
But right now, it's time to get to those Hodgepodge questions...
...where Joyce asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.

When I think of a bucket list, I relate it to something I want to do before I die. To tell you the truth, there are many things I want (need) to accomplish this summer but I wouldn't necessarily classify them as bucket list items. As usual, one of my goals is to stay cool! It has been miserable here the past few days and summer hasn't even officially arrived yet...Lord help us by the time August gets here! As far as plans go, the only travel that has been nailed down is a trip to Ohio to visit the family and attend my brother's surprise retirement party. He has been Minister of Music at his church for 30 years and is finally turning over the reins to his assistant. We do plan to make another trip to TN next month as well and I would love to get to the beach. I also have tons to do to the house, some jobs no doubt will be put off until the fall when it gets cooler.

2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?

Oh my, where to many fun memories. It could be something as simple as throwing an old blanket over the picnic table and benches to make a clubhouse and eating a picnic lunch in it. I also remember staying outside and playing with our neighborhood friends all day long until dark nearly in the vacant lot next to the house that included Red Rover, kickball or softball, croquet, Red Light-Green Light, freeze tag or hide and seek. There were games of hopscotch and roller skating on the sidewalk, riding bikes on our dead-end street...only, and jump rope games (including some of the adults) right in the middle of that dead-end street. The summers that we could afford family passes to the swimming beach at Crystal Lake was always a special treat but only when the older siblings were able to drive us as well as stay with us. Dad was always working and Mom never drove a car. It was a wonderful time in my life and it saddens me a bit thinking that so many kids growing up in today's world, with all of their technical gadgets, social media and the like are missing out on so much fun...and what's it's truly like to be a kid.

3. Rooftop or backyard? Why?

Rooftop seems to be referring to the city life and that is just not for me. I've never lived in the city nor do I think I would be happy doing so. Give me a backyard any day and it's even better if there's a big ol' porch, shade trees with a hammock and a great fire pit. Oh, and throw in a mountain view as well and call me a happy camper!

4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?

Yes, yes and maybe. For years now, I have found myself reading the nutrition info on nearly everything I buy. It has surprised me how much sugar and/or sodium some products contain. I should surely be dead by now when I think about all of the years this information wasn't known to us consumers. Now, this is not to say that everything I put in my mouth is always super healthy...but I am very glad that the info is readily available. I have to admit that I am not as concerned about where it all actually comes from....maybe I should be.

5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?

I can't think of one certain song I will actually have on repeat, simply because I would rather listen to the wind rustling in the trees and the birds singing. If this kind of heat stays with us all summer, there won't be much listening to those sounds either because I will be inside listening to the sound of the ceiling fans twirling and the A/C kicking on and off.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Wedding bells were ringing over the weekend at an impromptu ceremony in Gatlinburg, TN.

Aaron and his Michelle have most definitely endured a lot during their 14 years together. She has been there right by his side during some very trying times. We love her very much and are so happy that she is finally officially our daughter-in-law!

Many of you have prayed for him and some of you still do...I appreciate it more than you know.
Please don't stop now! 😌

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ain't No Hodgepodge High Enough

So we made it to the mountains of West Virginia and back in one piece.
It was a very lovely drive for the most part and if you are in to hairpin turns,
you would have most definitely been in your element!

Before we even made it into that part of the trip, we came upon this gorgeous waterfall,
right before we crossed over the Virginia/West Virginia line.

Falling Springs Falls, Falling Springs, Virginia
There was an overlook right off the road and as you can see, the view was breathtaking.
Some of you may have seen a few postings on Facebook or Instagram of our train ride.
While I'm getting that post together, here's a little preview.
Below is just one of the beautiful views taken from the train as we approached the summit.

And here is a panoramic shot of the observation platform overlooking the breathtaking vista.
The train tracks end here at the very top of Bald Knob.

John Denver wasn't kidding when he sang about it being almost heaven.
It was a fun trip, one we would certainly like to make again...preferably during the fall season.
Reservations would need to made well in advance so it won't be happening this year.
Anyway, it was a great little getaway!
So we're here for the Hodgepodge and let's get on with it...

...where Joyce asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.

1. What happens to the mail at your house?

I'd say that 80% of it goes into file #13...that's what my mom used to call the trash can. It's either junk or bills most of the time, which always seem to wind up on a pile on the dining room table until I get it sorted out...and we do get a lot of junk mail.

2. Something you always splurge on? Any guilt associated with the splurge?

Although I don't get them on a regular basis (Lord only knows I should), pedicures are something I have just recently started getting. Hey, I was 60 years old before I ever had my first one so no guilt trip here! I probably wouldn't have even gotten that first one if my daughter-in-love hadn't kidnapped me and held me captive in the salon chair. Like many things, we don't know what we've been missing until the day we experience it, right? It was the guilt for spending all that $$ on something as frivolous as a pedi that kept me away from getting that first one but no more. And you want to know something else....shhhh, don't tell anyone...I've never had a manicure... yet....only the homemade kind....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

3. There are many, but what are two important questions you think every bride and groom should ask/answer before they plan their walk down the aisle?

If I was going to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, the first and most important question (in my opinion) would be about what kind of relationship your prospective spouse had with the Lord. Every other thing can be worked out if God is center-stage. We finally got there but not without much pain and suffering. It's also of the utmost importance to know where each other stand on the issue of having children...if, when and how many.

4. What's the best advice your father ever gave you?

It didn't take long at all to come up with this answer. I remember well, sitting around the supper table when I was probably seemed that an acquaintance of my dad's had seen me leaving a local bar/night club one evening and told him so. Instead of raking me over the coals, he quite casually and very lovingly mentioned that he knew what I had been up to. He then followed it by a sentence that went something like this, "Honey...those aren't the kinds of places that any young lady should be going." That was it. Did I always take his advice? Well....maybe not right away but I never could forget his sound advice and the loving tone to his otherwise gruff voice and sharp edges. I'm thankful that I got that out of my system. Just tryin' to keep it real, folks.

5. Your favorite movie where a father features heavily in the storyline?

I'm sure there are other answers I could give but the one that stands out to me, actually, there two because they are recent movies that I've seen. One would be Mack, the father in "The Shack" and more recently the father of Bart Millard, the lead singer of Mercy Me (played wonderfully by Dennis Quaid) in "I Can Only Imagine". Both men...completely transformed by the power of God's love.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Until next time, hodgepodgers...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cultivating the Hodgepodge

Happy Hump Day!

It's been a couple of weeks since I have hodgepodged and I must say I've missed it.
Welcome back, Joyce...I hope you had a relaxing holiday weekend.
So what's been going on around here?
Well, let's little container garden seems to be coming right along...mostly.
And I am learning some new things... why, after my zucchini put out such gorgeous sunny yellow blooms,
are they now completely falling off at the stem?

So it seems that the expert gardener that I am, (ahem) did not know that this is kind of normal.
I learned that usually the first blooms to appear are those of the male persuasion...
...and we all know that boys can't have babies, right?
After they shrivel up and fall off, the female blooms come along and bear the "children".
What a novel idea!
So we'll see how many little baby golden zucchinis I wind up with.
And below is my one and only (so far) eggplant in the making.

I was stunned by the beauty of the bloom...

...and of course, only God would think to make it purple!

The tomatoes are tomato-ing right along as they should...

...but I will be surprised if I get any sweet red bell peppers off of my poor, sorry looking plant.
It is losing leaves right and left and every bloom just falls off leaving nothing behind.
Evidently, I have done something wrong...oh it goes... win some and lose some but it's not over until it's over so we will see!
Anyways, let's get on over to the Hodgepodge, shall we?

It's where Joyce asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.
1. Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.

It was a time of transition and transformation...a time when negative circumstances brought about positive changes...the year was 1989, I was 35 and Jesus became my Savior.

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?

Well, since you asked, I must say the older that I get, it seems to be easier to make better choices... not that I always do but I am getting so much better at it! When you are a young minded person (that would be me) and faced with the fact that your body is beginning to fail you in some areas, it can really be an eye opener. Starting to have a few health issues may have been a blessing in disguise for me. I am proud to tell you that I am keeping up with my rebounding exercises (mini-tramp) and adding to my steps weekly. I'm up to over 3 miles a day and have a new goal every week. That may not sound like much but it's HUGE for me! I broke a spring on my old rebounder over the weekend and a new and better one is on it's way from Amazon. I'm still using it...oh-so-very-carefully until the new one arrives. Sometimes I crave pizza and chocolate and I'll eat it...but more times than not, I crave vegetables and I eat them...and that is also HUGE!

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

Obsolete, really...just who are these folks who make up these lists, anyway? They, no doubt, are the same ones who tell us how to decorate our homes or what we should and should not wear. Of the items listed, here is what we still have AND use: bookshelves (DUH!), drip coffee maker with a twist...ours actually is a hybrid that uses filters and a pot OR K-cups. Jim likes to make a pot but when it's just me, I'm a K-cupper. Hubby still likes his alarm, we still have file cabinets, my old desktop PC is connected to my printer and even though I don't use it a lot, it still keeps plugging along...there are no phone books unless I find one stashed in a drawer (and I throw it in the trash before Jim finds it), no answering machine for many years since we haven't had a landline for many years, never had a fax or paper shredder at home but still do so at work, no Rolodex or CD racks, CD burner is built into laptop, china cabinet...are you kidding me? Where in the world would I put my teacups and dishes? Do they think we eat off paper plates all the time? (well, maybe I do most of the time), yes to the entertainment console/TV stand with shelves...our isn't hanging on the wall and there is a DVD player attached. Jim still likes his old calculator (no smart phone) and his take-out menus, and I will buy incandescent light bulbs until I can't any longer....AND finally, we have Direct TV, not cable. Whew!

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?

I'd say that it's going to be hard to get your hands on a working dumb phone, for sure. I have already warned Jim and he seems pretty resigned to that truth....but there are going to be folks who will hold onto what they like, no matter what it is for however long they can. And I highly doubt china cabinets and book shelves will be one of them.

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical?

I didn't really remember at all what I did to celebrate my birthday last year so I got on Facebook and went back to September 15, 2017. This was my post...

Just tryin' to obey the rules....

Is that typical? To tell you the truth, I usually don't like to make a big deal out of my birthday...well, except for that one time.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

And speaking of good thoughts, I am getting really excited!
We will be leaving at o'dark thirty on Friday morning for West Virginia.
By noon, we'll be taking that train ride to the top of the world.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Yummy Veggie Slaw

Hello...I hope y'all are having a good Saturday!

Rarely is it that I do a post on a Saturday and actually,
rarely is it that I do a recipe post....period!
But today I made this delicious slaw and I wanted to share it with you.
Now like many things I make, I kinda just made up it up and tasted it as I went along.
I mean, it's slaw dressing after all...not gourmet cooking!

It all started yesterday after I purchased this bag of shredded veggies at the grocery.
I have had the broccoli slaw many times before and it is delicious but when I looked closer,
I realized this was something a bit's called Super Blend...
...and it is a super blend...just look at the ingredients!

I wrote this post on a whim and should have taken the photo of the bag when it was full.
It would have been so much more pleasing to the eye...oh well.
There were no serving suggestions on the bag but right away my mind went to coleslaw.
I toyed with the idea of just buying a jar of Marzetti's Slaw Dressing but decided to make my own.
Now I usually don't really measure and of course you can always use your own recipe,
but here is my best guess off the top of my head...

               *an almost empty jar of mayonnaise (maybe 1/3 cup)
*a couple of sloshes of apple cider vinegar (maybe 1/4 cup)
*6-8 packets of stevia sweetener (more or less, according to your taste)
*fresh ground black pepper

I put the vinegar in the nearly empty mayo bottle and shook it to get it all out. 
Like I said, I'm completely guessing at these measurements...
...but isn't life really all about guesswork anyway?

 Mix it all together and refrigerate...but of course you can eat it right away if you choose.
I always like to let it marinate in the dressing awhile.

Now here in NC, most of us eat slaw with our pork barbecue and I'm not talkin' about as a side...
...we eat the slaw on the barbecue...on the bun.
So when there is no barbecue in sight but there's a dab of left over sloppy joe meat in the fridge,
well, it was a pretty good substitute!

It was so good, y'all!

I added a few veggie sticks for some extra added crunch...

...almost like fries but probably a bit better for you...maybe...just a bit.
And that was my lunch!
It really was so much better than your regular run-of-the-mill coleslaw 
and I will definitely be making it again...

...if I can remember my recipe!

Happy weekend, peeps!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Hodgepodge

Hello and Happy Wednesday!
 I'm glad to be hodgepodging again today after missing it last week.
Let me tell you, we have been getting tons of rain here in NC!
It has poured everyday for about ten days with even more in the forecast for the next several days.
We needed it terribly and have now gotten more than our share...
...of course come July, we'll be praying for more as always.
There have been periods of sunshine as well and my little container garden is thriving!
Yes, I've got babies coming on but I'll wait 'til next week to take photos.
And speaking of photos, you all know how I roll.
I like to get my lens up as close and personal with anything that will let me... this cute little guy...or gal.

And in between downpours, I couldn't resist dodging the showers to capture some fresh droplets.

And there were plenty of them to go around.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the backside of a flower is just as pretty as the front?

Okay...enough soggy's time to get on with the Hodgepodge.
Joyce asks the always interesting questions and we answer them on our blogs.

1. The last place you visited/patronized where you felt like you were given 'the royal treatment'?

I don't think I have ever been anywhere that has treated me (us) quite like royalty...and the closest thing I can even compare it to would be when we went on a "Royal" Caribbean cruise several years ago. We have been in restaurants, hotels, etc. where we have gotten really good service...and of course others, not so much. But royalty...nah. And speaking of royalty, how about that wedding over the weekend? I thought it was just wonderful and loved the mixture of cultures, especially that awesome message on love delivered by Bishop Michael Curry. 

2. The last task you completed that was a 'royal pain'?

That would be the time a few months ago when my refrigerator decided to go "pee-pee" all over my kitchen floor. I was home by myself when I discovered it and frantically began to stuff towels under it so the water didn't ruin my wood floors. I then had to pull it out, unplug it, remove everything from the freezer and figure out how and where to find out exactly where the water was coming from. Turns out it was just frozen up due to overcrowding and after it thawed out, we were good to go. Of course, while it was empty I went ahead and wiped it down inside and out...a job I was not expecting to have to do at a most inopportune time. Of course later I was glad to have been forced into getting my freezer cleaned out!

3. How have your strengths helped you succeed?

I may be my father's daughter and I did inherit his strong personality but any real strength that I might possess comes only through Jesus. I have been through some "stuff" in my life and there will, no doubt, be more to come. The only way I have been able to succeed...or get through it in once relying on His strength, not mine because I am nothing without Him.

How have your faults hindered you?

How have they not? Pride, lack of faith, self-righteousness, just to name a few, are never good things. Thank God for mercy and grace...and thank God I'm still learning.

4. If you found a remote that could rewind, fast forward, stop and start time, what would you do with it?

Oh wow, what a loaded question. I would probably wear the batteries out in that thing in just one day. It would be during those moments when I'm thinking about my parents, or maybe back when my boys were little and carefree...I would hit rewind so I could go back and relive some of those precious moments in time. I would press the stop button when I could sense danger or something on the horizon that I didn't want to happen...and the start button to get me motivated into action OR when it seemed like my life was going nowhere. And then there's the one you didn't mention...the pause button...when everything in life is good and you want it to last forever. I would use that fast-forward button when last minute company's coming and my house could be ready in a flash....OR when I'm finally just ready to go home and be with the Lord.

5. Any special plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Rain is in the forecast here for pretty much all weekend but Friday is our son Aaron's birthday. Hopefully, we will be able to have a dry celebration somewhere over the long holiday weekend. Will you in some way honor or recognize the meaning of this day (remembering people who died in service to their country)? Our Sunday morning worship service will be honoring those who have served, are currently serving, along with a few teens who are preparing to serve. They will be wearing their uniforms and a special video will be shown as a memorial for all whose lives have been lost serving their country. Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Yes, I've seen it once during a very rushed trip through DC. Does your town do anything special to mark the day? Not that I'm aware of.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Teacup & Mug Exchange Reveal

 Well, it's that time once again...
...time to reveal to the world what we received in our lovely packages from
Teacup and Mug Exchange
This was my 6th exchange to participate in and each one has brought such joy.
And you just couldn't ask for a more fun way to make new friends!
It is beyond me how our dear and gracious hostess pulls these events off twice a year.
Just thinking about all of the time, commitment and organization that goes into each one...
well...I just can't even imagine! 
As much as I enjoy the anticipation of receiving a teacup package from a new friend,
I get as much joy, if not more, from shopping, wrapping and getting together the package to my lady.
Before I show you what was in my goodie box, I'll show you what I sent to my new friend, Sam,
a lovely lady from the Sunshine State of Florida.
Sam does not have a blog but I discovered that she and I like many of the same things.

So I purchased a few things I would like, although I have never tried Darjeeling tea.
I fell in love with this teacup when I saw it...perfectly vintage that I found on eBay.
For a fleeting moment I was just a bit tempted to keep it for myself!
Of course, I'm kidding....mostly. {smile}

I also included some honey straws (something new to Sam), yummy biscotti,
and a quilting magazine since I found out that she was an avid quilter.
Sam is also a member of the Red Hat Society so I added some darling clip-art onto her card.

She also collects vintage handkerchiefs and she absolutely loves yellow roses.
 How blessed I was to find this true vintage hankie with none other than yellow roses on it!
I think I may have been as thrilled as she was!
I was able to find Sam on Facebook and I hope to keep connected with her there.

My lovely package was sent to me all the way from New York by Jacqueline.
"Jackie" does not have a blog but she had evidently been reading mine a bit...
...the girl knows what I like!
First things teacup was just exquisite.

I fell in love with the all-over pattern of delicate flowers and butterflies.
I don't have a teacup that's anything like this one.

Along with my beautiful teacup and saucer was an array of other goodies...

...including this darling vintage tin with chocolates inside (mmm...Hershey's Nuggets!),

zinnia flower seeds, a variety of teas including homemade strawberry mint julep loose tea,

a package of lovely note cards, some yummy chocolate mint cookies (she must be psychic),
and this darling wooden sign which now sits in my kitchen window sill.
And of course, all of these lovely gifts were accompanied by a sweet note card.

And it didn't take long for temptation to set in...
the cookies were calling my name and I'm pretty sure I heard them say, "Open me, open me!"

So I did...imagine that!

Girl Scouts of America, you've got nothing on Benton's Minty Fudge Cookies!

So another one of Stephanie's Teacup & Mug Exchanges in the books.
Each one unique, yet the sentiment is the same, time after time.

Stephanie, you put so much of yourself into each one of these exchanges.
Thank you for all you do...and what a blessing you are to so many!

Have a beautiful week!
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