Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Let's Decorate the Hodgepodge

Thanksgiving has come and gone...can you even believe it?
I hope everyone had a great one!
I don't know about you, but I'm still stuffed. 
And here I am planning the meal for our early Christmas gathering, less than two weeks away.
I have already decided that a variety of appetizers will be the meal.
The fall decorations have made their way back into the garage and in the next few days,
Jim will bring in the Christmas tree (my skinny little fake one) and numerous tubs.

I will have the house to myself this weekend so I can make as much of a mess as I want to!

I get a little misty thinking about the possibility of decking these halls for the last time.

Of course, we are not sure exactly what God has in store...
...but hey, it's all good!

So we're here for Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Let's get on with the questions, shall we?
1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

I guess when I first heard of blogging, I found it rather silly...I wasn't really sure what the purpose was. Then I started reading one, then another and another. And then I got this wild hair and started one crazy is that? Before long I began to feel connections to the author's hearts and personalities...many seemed as though we were kindred spirits, so to speak. Never did I imagine that such wonderful online friendships could be formed...and I have been amazed that you don't have to meet someone face to face to really care about them. My blogging sisters have truly enriched my life. 

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

I believe I touched on this in my last hodgepodge post. You can pretty much find me in the "reheat and eat" camp, not only because I really enjoy most leftovers but I'm not into wasting perfectly good food. My favorite thing to reheat and eat could possibly be chili or soups in general...they seem to get better every time. There is very little that I 'could not abide' as a leftover but green salads and some fruit salads don't seem to do well in the fridge for long. And this just may gag some of you but sometimes you just may find me eating cold pizza...right out of the fridge... for breakfast. 

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

I think we all need some "me time" in order to be who God created us to be...and whatever that looks like will be different for each one of us.

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Decorating ideas and/or help setting up for an event at church, or maybe putting together an insert or flyer pertaining to said event...and on the home front, mending or alterations of some sort. One instance that stands out is when I was asked to help Adam hang his bear rug on the two-story high wall of their former home. It began with drawing a diagram of the wall and planning the placement of the bear. He attached the anchors to the wall in all of the right places while I hand-stitched heavy duty D-rings onto each paw, the head and other strategic places. The real fun came when he climbed an 18 foot extension ladder as I held up part of the weight of this thing that seemed to weigh a ton...BUT, we got it up there! I don't know if my fingers hurt more after sewing on all of those D-rings or the time when I helped him sew up the skin on one of his own taxidermy projects. Yes, I've done that too. 😉

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

There are many smells that remind me of my childhood home and some of them are seasonal. In the warmer seasons the one smell that I can never forget is the aroma of freshly washed sheets that hung on the clothesline to dry. They will never escape my memory...just as the smell of cedar awakening the senses on that first cool autumn evening as a thick, cozy quilt was brought out of the cedar chest and placed on my bed. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I must confess that I wrote most of these answers 'under the influence'. Not really, but I do still feel a bit swimmy-headed. I am writing this post after having a medical procedure earlier today (Tuesday) so I am home from work. Praise the Lord that there is no more stent in my common bile duct and hopefully, no more will be needed in the future. God is good! I will make sure to proof-read (again) in the morning before I hit the publish button. So what's my excuse for all of my other typos?

Have fun decorating!

(If the spacing looks all wacky on this post,
it's because blogger must be having issues and not letting me edit it them correctly.
It's driving me a picture hanging on the wall that's crooked.)


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

Well, it's finally here.
The turkey has been thawing out in the fridge since the weekend,
the spiral sliced ham is just waiting to be placed in the crockpot,
the loaves of bread are stashed on top of my refrigerator in the roasting pan
and will be toasted tonight for tomorrow's dressing.
(I call it dressing because I don't stuff it in the bird, therefore it's not stuffing....
even though it stuffs the belly!)

(the dressing before it's actually dressing)

And speaking of dressing, I have to say that I am quite proud of myself
that I have been able to reproduce Mom's dressing to a "T". 
 And I have to make someone a whole pan of their own...for later...
and it's not the hubby (it's Aaron) fact, Jim doesn't eat it at all...
...doesn't like wet bread, he says...oh well, fine by me.

I am also going to try a new, nearly sugar-free recipe for my cranberry salad...
no canned berries this year, only because they are loaded with sugar...
 BUT...I could easily eat that stuff right out of the can!
I'll let you in on the recipe if it turns out well...I kinda made it up.
I'm the only one who likes it, therefore I will be eating it all myself so I hope it's good!
I will most likely make another batch since Carrie, our DIL loves cranberry salad too. 
We will be celebrating an early Christmas in a couple of weeks 
since the the Tennessee Rays will be in town.
 Olivia, our rock wall climbing princess, will be competing in an event in Charlotte, 
which is about two hours away from here that weekend as well.

This will be our first time to see her climb in person...other than just on video.
She has found her niche, it seems...seriously, the girl is a maniac!
I really do enjoy cooking for Thanksgiving dinner more than any other time I think.
There will only be three of us for dinner due to work schedules and this and that,
so after sending some leftovers home to those who had to work, we will be enjoying them too.
We actually enjoy the leftovers even more so than the meal, itself.
Crazy, I know.
So who's thankful for Joyce and her Hodgepodge?

She is so faithful to come up with interesting and many times hard questions week after week.
I don't know about you but some of her questions have actually been helpful to my life...
...prompting me to ponder deeply and sometimes bringing about a new awareness of myself,
and if I'm being completely honest here, sometimes even conviction.
Thank you, Joyce for all of the time and thought you put into the Hodgepodge every week!

So here are Joyce's questions for the week...and I thought her acrostic was very clever!

1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

No doubt about it, I cling pretty tightly to tradition when it comes to the holidays, if at all possible. When I am hosting the dinner, I tend to make most of the basic dishes but always welcome anything that someone wants to bring. When I was growing up, Mom always cooked the turkey and dressing and the married families brought many of the sides. I never knew the joy of going to Grandma's, unfortunately, since they had already passed on before I came along. One of my fondest memories is when I was a little girl and I would help Mom with the dressing...that must be why I just had to learn to make it just right. She would toast the bread and after it cooled a bit, my job was to tear it into pieces. I can still hear her voice scolding me when put more of it into my mouth than in the bowl! Later on when the families started growing, our house just couldn't hold the people anymore and my older sisters with larger homes would take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Then I moved away...and for eleven years we were able to make the trip up to Ohio when we lived in KY, only three hours away. But then moving to NC made it more difficult to do this as often, mostly due to crossing snowy and icy mountains to get there. To answer the rest of the questions within this question, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was always playing on TV, football was a non-issue, the menu was almost always the same and dinner was on the table at 1:00. After the meal, my brothers broke out their instruments and we had a family jam session and sang Christmas music. There have been just a couple of times when the holidays were celebrated a little differently ...and if you wish you can read about them here and here.

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

Our holiday celebrations are always laid back and help is always offered and accepted. Now, when it comes to making the gravy, I'll do that myself, thank you very much!

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

White bread (which I never buy except for dressing) and extra food....period.

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

That I can make my mama's dressing and for God's Amazing Grace.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

The way I see it is thankfulness and gratefulness go hand in hand and it is a conscience CHOICE that we make, understanding the fact that not one of us is worthy. Every little blessing, even the tiniest one, is a gift from God simply because He loves us. When we are genuinely thankful, we naturally feel grateful.

6. State your own random thought here.


Much love to all and
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"I'll have the Hodgepodge with a side of Tennessee"

Here it is Wednesday again and y'all know what that means...'s Hodgepodge day!
Last week at this time I was getting my teacup exchange reveal post put together
and missed out on linking up to the hodgepodge.
I'm doing good to get one post out a week but it did feel kind of like something was missing!
I was also getting everything packed up for a little trip to see our Tennessee bunch.
We got on the road at o-dark-thirty on Thursday morning and arrived at our destination
by about 1:00 PM, Tennessee time.
It's always nice to gain that hour on our way but not so much for on the way back.
But, eight hours is eight hours, no matter how you slice it, right?
There was still a lot of beautiful color hanging on those Tennessee trees.
I don't know how many times I have shared photos of their beautiful long driveway,

but here it is again...

and again...

...and once more, just for good measure.
If you turn right at the fence post and go down few hundred yards,
our future driveway will be on your left.
And seeing the well with my very own eyes made it all a bit more real.

Here are a just a few of our future neighbors.
One morning as I was walking down the drive which overlooks the petting zoo, 
I aimed my camera to get a shot and then someone yelled "COME AND GET IT!"
...and they did.
But I guess I should really be getting on with the matter at hand...

She asks us the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here are this week's questions...

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?
Speaking in front of a group of people...and I think I've mentioned this before. Give me song and I'll sing it but please don't ask me to speak!
2. Your least favorite spice?
Sometimes it's not the spice itself, but the amount of it. I am not a fan of too much sage, especially in fact, I don't use it at all when I make it.. Another least favorite would be anise because it reminds me of licorice and even though I know it's actually an herb and not a spice, a little bit of cilantro goes a long, long way.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

Just one?? Being able to give up bread....or sugar...or both!

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I do enjoy visiting historic homes. The first one that I remember visiting was The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts years ago when Jim and I were first married. I was amazed by how low the ceilings were and the doorways were tiny. People must have been quite small back in the 1600's. From the ones listed above, I have been to Mount Vernon and you'd think a girl who has been in NC for 25 years would have surely been to the Biltmore, wouldn't you? Well, if I have the opportunity before I leave this state, I certainly hope to be able to make it there.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

Technology has already pretty much taken over the world and it actually scares me a little to think about what it will be like in ten years. Now here I sit, typing on a computer with my iPhone at my side as I write these words. I like my technology just as much as the next person, to an extent. I realize this seems a bit like a contradiction but I am not ready for a world where technology takes the place of human beings...over our brains (or human thoughts) when they are no longer required for us to go about our everyday lives. It saddens me to say that I'm afraid many things that we take for granted in our current day and time will be obsolete...many of them already are...and nothing about this makes me glad. Anyone got a time machine they aren't using??

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

So much to do, so little time. How is it possible that Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away? I have no turkey, I have no bread for stuffing, I have nothing that I need to make a feast. It looks like it's going to be a busy weekend!

 If you can stand it, (and even if you can't) here are a few more photos from our trip.

That gorgeous view from the back deck...

Olivia and her friend, Shiloh...

Parker, whittlin' on the back porch...

fuzzy things...
and oh yeah...did I happen to mention that view?
So now, if you're still with me, have a fabulous remainder of the week!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Teacup & Mug Exchange Reveal

It's that time again...
...time for us to reveal all of our lovelies from...

Stephanie's Fall Teacup & Mug Exchange

This makes the fifth exchange that I have had the joy of participating in.
Each time I have eagerly awaited for Stephanie's email to arrive
 with the name of the lady that I was to send my package to.
I immediately click on their blog and do some snooping familiarize myself a little with who they are.

I was delighted to find out that I was to send my package to Dee at Traditional Simplicity.
I was unfamiliar with Dee but found out she has been blogging since 2006!
Wow...I don't even think I knew what a blog was back then!
It was fun getting to know a little about her on the sly and shopping for her teacup and other goodies.
This is what was in the box of goodies that I sent to Dee.

She favors soft pastel colors so I found this lovely teacup set with matching spoon...

...pretty tea party napkins and plates, a variety of gluten-free yummies, a 2018 datebook,
a couple of vintage doilies, some of her favorite mint teas
and a darling set of Pioneer Woman love bird salt & pepper shakers.

Now, on the other hand, I found out who was sending a package to me right away.
She even sent me an email, introducing herself and telling me to be expecting my surprise any day!
That delightful lady was none other than the sweet Lauren at Wonderfully Made.
Let me tell you, everything contained in my box of goodies had her special and unique flair,
with so many personal touches, right down to the packaging.
 I had to take photos during each step of the "unveiling" since it was so beautifully done!

There were three separate boxes inside the big box plus a darling hand made card...

...and this beautiful bookmark, also hand made.

What a treat it was to open each box, finding such lovely and unique items inside.

This box contained a wonderful array of loose teas.
 Printed on a label inside of the box lid was a description of each one...
including the ingredients, how long to steep them, and even the caffeine content!
Then there was this cutest bundle of...well...sticks of some kind and after I opened the plastic,
I still wasn't sure what they were but I had an idea...

...and that's when I got the brilliant idea to send Lauren an email and just flat out ask her!
We had a little chuckle over me not knowing and her forgetting to mention what they were.
I have to admit that I am still somewhat of a novice when it comes to tea-drinking.
Most of you probably know that they are straws filled with different flavored honey.
You just snip off the end and squeeze it into the tea.
I can't wait to try them!

On opening box #2, I found this beautiful silver spoon adorned with a vintage chandelier crystal...

...a lovely vintage linen hand towel
and a package of decadent buckeye chocolates.

These candies are also a favorite of Jim's and he didn't hesitate one little bit when I offered!

Being from Ohio with the buckeye as the state tree and the Ohio State Buckeyes a favorite team,

our families have made these yummy peanut butter-filled chocolates often.
In fact, every year at Christmastime, they were on Jim's wish list.

Talk about delicious!
So when I finally got to the last box, I unwrapped this exquisite and most elegant teacup.

I just love the soft pink roses, the gold edging and it's beautiful shape.

I feel so blessed to have received this delightful package.
Lauren most definitely is one talented lady...just look at her beautiful blog!

And what a precious heart for the Lord she has which is quite evident.
She and I have become Facebook friends as well.

But of course, none of this would be possible if it were not for our dear Stephanie.
It has to be a full time job for her with all that she puts into these exchanges.
Thank you once again, dear Stephanie for all you do to make these exchanges possible!

You are precious blessing from the Lord, my dear.

We will be traveling on Thursday to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with our Tennessee bunch.
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Until next time....
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