Sunday, March 16, 2014

Six Degrees of MK

Last night Ray and I celebrated the wedding of Miss Mary Katherine Dickey to Mr. Wesley Jones.  As we moved through the ceremony and reception I realized that meeting Mary Katherine brought together so many people I knew at different times in my life.  Mer, as her little brother affectionately calls her, has a way of celebrating life to the fullest, and she did so last night at her wedding.  I am so honored to be included in her circle of friends.

I met MK through her mother, Kelley, when she served on the board at De Leon ISD.  Later as Ray served as Superintendent there, we got to be friends with her parents, Howard and Kelley, and just fell in love with Mary Katherine.  MK became friends with all of us at the Fort Worth Club when she became a member there.  Doc and Patty thought she was just delightful and we enjoyed kind of adopting her when she moved to Fort Worth.  Doc and Patty, Larry Don and Lori, and Ray and I traveled to Las Vegas one year to watch her run a marathon.  

As we became friends of the Dickey's, we got to know other friends who were at wedding also.  Peter and Susie, Nancy, and so many other folks from De Leon.  Shirley and Larry Simpson have been good friends with not only the Dickeys over the years but our good friends, Larry and Debbie Dyer from Granbury who now live in Hot Springs, Ark.  Such a small world!

It was also fun to run into our friends, the Millers, from White Settlement last night.  Mike Miller grew up down the street from MK's mother.  Jake and I attended church with the Millers when we lived in White Settlement.  Jake and Shayla Miller attended Brewer Middle School together.  Shayla and Laci lived together in college, and Shayla was a bridesmaid in Laci's wedding.  

As MK met and begin to date Wes, we discovered that Wes was a youth minister in Mansfield at the Church on Rush Creek.  Oddly enough, Kari Blankenship works as the children's minister at the same church.  Kari's mother, Susan Brooks Blankenship, was one of my childhood besties growing up in New Boston.  Susan's dad was the preacher at our church, and I spent a large part of my childhood at the parsonage with Susan.  I was Susan's matron of honor at her wedding when she and Vince married and was at the hospital the night Kari was born.  

When MK and Wes married, his parents and many of their friends also attended the wedding.  Wes' parents now live in the little town of Eldorado, Texas where our dear friend, Dr. Larry Blair grew up and later served as Superintendent of schools.  So many folks at the wedding last night know Blair and were excited to catch up on him and his family.  


I realize this story is a bit convoluted but what a fun night I had with so many people from so many different points in my life.  From my special friend, Pattycake,  and her connection to MK all the way back to my childhood with Susan was a special journey last night down memory lane while celebrating the union of Mary Katherine and Wes.  Besides the six degrees of MK, the wedding was beautiful as well!  And if you are on twitter, follow the trend at #weslovesmk.




Monday, February 3, 2014

Girls

Boy am I a lucky girl.  I've got girlfriends that are always there for you.  We've been through marriages, divorces, babies, grand-babies, death, disease, weight-loss, weight-gain, and everything in between.  I can't remember a time in my life that these girls were not a part of something going on in my world.  I've traveled with them, cried with them, laughed with them, lived with them, rejoiced with them and hurt with them over my lifetime.

They have wiped my tears, been my sounding board, made me laugh out loud til my sides hurt, hugged me close, snugged with me, scolded me, propped me up when I was ready to fall, and loved me in spite of myself.  What a blessing to have friends who remain in your life from childhood until forever!

Each one of us is different.  Each one of us brings something different to the group.  Each one of us has her faults and her talents.  But one thing we all have is a deep abiding sense of loyalty for our ability to stick together though thick and thin.  It's easy to rally around when times are tough, but the wonderful part of these friends is their ability to truly celebrate in the joys, accomplishments, and good things that have come to each us over time.

Blessed.  That is all!!!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January

What a month this has been!!!!  Just yesterday I was eating black eyed peas and cornbread, and today is ground hog day.  As I sit by the fire this cold afternoon and wonder where time has gone, I consider many things that have happened since my last blog.

I've seen death in the life of Ms. Shirley Brooks, a talented pianist and all around wonderful lady.  I know she is missed by her family, but also by her church family where she was part of the music team for 40+ years.

I've seen life as we celebrated at sweet Erin's baby shower.  My cousin, Brian, and his wife, Ashley, have doubled their joy with Rhett and Malia.  I've enjoyed Donna's pictures of Knox and watching him grow and change this first year.  I've watched Ellen's daughter, Elizabeth, and my friend, Ashley, as they both prepare for a second child in the spring.  2014 will bring about new and exciting life to our friends and families.

I've seen change in things from the weather to my daily walk with God.  One day it is 70 and then next day it is snowing.  But as they say in Texas, if you don't like the weather, it will change.  I've become convicted to really make a difference in my daily walk with Christ and spend more time in His Word.  I am a firm believer that the more time you spend reading your bible and praying that God will develop a true hunger in you for His Word.

I've seen old friends and new friends.  I've enjoyed spending time with new friends whether over an intimate dinner or just a glass of wine.  It's the connection and bonding of friends that are daily blessings to us.  I always in enjoy my Cleburne friends and those who live nearby that I can celebrate with daily the ups and downs that we experience in life.  I've had the opportunity to share an amazing weekend with girlfriends from childhood (one from the cradle).  It's like we still can make each other laugh over just the smallest of things.  We enjoy so many memories and love making new ones.

I've seen miracles.  Most of the miracles I've seen have to do with the life and death situations situations that friends have faced recently.  But they are here, alive and well with a promise of a future of happiness.

Finally, I've seen rodeo!  Boy have I seen rodeo.  From the Ranch Rodeo that kicked off the stock show to the Fort Worth Shootout and Bulls Night Out, I've see the legendary Fort Worth Rodeo several nights.  With only a week left to go, the rodeo will be over for another year.

I hope that I can spend more time in February blogging about things that cross my mind.  I hope you enjoy the musings of this simple country girl!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a New Year

Well, if you are reading this, I guess we  both survived 2013.  Who knows what 2014 has in store for us.  I do know that my Grannie Lester had several New Year's Day traditions that I am clinging to as always.  Grannie always cooked blackened peas with salt pork in a boiler on the stove.  She always made cabbage too.  Peas were for good luck and I can not for the life of me remember what cabbage is for.  I do know that she cooked turnip greens as they were supposed to be for money.  That is probably the reason I am not wealthy today is because I refuse to eat turnip greens.  I just don't like them.

Grannie also believed that if you washed clothes on New Year's Day that you would wash in bad luck.  My Momma never heeded that one as she said when we were growing up that if she skipped a day doing laundry that she would never get caught up again.  I have tried to adhere to that "not washing on New Year's Day" thing - but mostly because I just don't like doing laundry.

I hope you have a great New Year!  What traditions do you always follow?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vacuum Sealer

I'm obsessed with vacuum sealing food.  I love to cook and do so only in huge quantities.  I am not a fan of fast food or chain restaurants at all. I love good food when I eat.  I cook good food.  I cook like my Mama and my Grannie.  I cook like a Southern cook.  But I've learned a few things about cooking and eating.  You can always have healthy fresh food if you learn how to vacuum seal.

I started with a little ordinary vacuum sealer from the local Walmart.  I bought the rolls of bags and cut them to fit.  The sealer lasted a while but not too long.  The rolls of bags were expensive and bulky.  It wasn't until I learned of this cool place called The Vak Shack that I really learned to vac seal.  I order bags that are pre-cut and so economical.  I've ordered from them for a couple of years now.  It makes keeping and sealing great food fresh and economical.  

I can put up just enough in individual servings or for 2, 3, or 4 people.  Food just does not go to waste at our house.  Meat does not go to waste in our house.  When I find meat on sale at the store, I grab it, seal it and freeze it.  We can often eat rib eye, t-bone or tenderloin steaks for as little as 4.99 per pound.   Chicken, pork chops and wild game are often abundant in our freezer as I only try to buy meat when it is on sale and cheap.

When my last vac sealer finally died, I splurged and bought a commercial vac sealer.  What a great investment that was.  I use it at least 3 -5 times a week.  I never let fresh vegetables go to waste.   I just seal and freeze.  I always have great veggies as the local farmer's market this season was a fun Saturday morning adventure.  The good news is we eat a lot healthier these days.  

I close this ramble with a brief shout out to Amanda Crum who is back at the helm of the The Vak Shack!  I missed you while you were gone.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

File' Gumbo, Baylor Bears and Rain

Life is full of simple pleasures.  It just takes us a long time to figure out that the simple pleasures in life are really the greatest blessings we have.  

File' gumbo is a recipe that I have never really mastered.  The best gumbo maker I know is my sweet friend, Pattycake.   She is making me a huge pot today, and I have been dreaming of it all week long.  My mouth has been watering for 3 days.  Smelling the spices this morning just made me hungry all day long.  Best friends and great food make life grand.

Baylor Bears are ranked #8 this week and are undefeated this far into the season.  Watching how Art Briles has taken this team and developed raw talent into football history makes me so very happy to be a part of the Baylor Bear family.  

Rain is such a blessing.  We take if for granted because our lawns and plants are beautiful thanks to the modern day sprinkler system.  However, rain is so powerful.  Listening to it pound on the roof and seeing how it fills our little lake in the neighborhood are simple blessings in life that I recognize and give thanks for every time the sky opens up to rain.  

So I ask you, what simple pleasures in life make you happy, make you smile and make your day?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oxford Miss is Ole Miss

On a recent trip to Oxford, Mississippi, I learned several things.  I would say these are the top 10 things I learned on my trip to Mississippi.  These things in no particular order are as follows:

1.  Kudzu grows like wildfire in Mississippi and there is really no way to kill it.
2.  Boure' is one of the best seafood joints in the South.
3.  You can't get good Mexican food in Oxford.
4.  The Square in Oxford is really the true essence of a Southern College Football Town.
5.  There is actually a road in Oxford called Seed Tick Road.
6.  Kids really do still use bicycles as a means of transportation.
7.  Parker Wood is the best steak cooker I have ever met.
8.  You never ever quit being a Rebelette.
9.  There is something special about being Southern.
10.  You can find some of the best pizza in the world in Sardis, Miss at Tribecca Allie's.

The Moon

The post tonight is not a long one. I love waking up when I can't sleep, looking out the tall windows in my bedroom and seeing a large round moon shining down on me. When I am troubled and can't sleep, it reminds me that all is well. God put a little night light up there to let me know He is with me. It's a reminder that He is going to get me through any storm. He is the one thing I can count on when I am worried, scared, frustrated or anxious. Thank you God for your beautiful nightlight you've shone on me tonight.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Game Day in the Kitchen

Today is one of those awesome days I live for every year.  I got to sleep in till about 9:00 a.m. this morning and got up to a perfect pitcher of iced tea.  I turned on Game Day in the Kitchen and started going through my cabinets and recipes.  You guessed it...........I cook and watch college football all day.  My tastes are a bit eclectic and no one dish is designed to go with another.  I just like to cook certain foods.

My first dish I opted to create is actually for tomorrow.  I am making chicken & dressing to go with the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese that I am cooking for lunch tomorrow when all my kids and grandkids arrive!  It's going to be a special Sunday afternoon to have Jake, Lisa and Lori, their spouses and all the kids under one roof, if but for only a couple of hours.

Then I chose to take Mama's Duck & Wild Rice Recipe and try it with dove.  It is still cooking and the jury is still out on that one.  I'm also cooking a big pot of soup that we can munch on all week long.  There is nothing better to me that a big bowl of soup and cornbread at night when I get home from work.  Finally, I made some Queso Blanco.  Velveeta makes that now and it is pretty awesome.  I add the regular can of Rotel, but my friend Donna Boles told me to add in a carton of fresh pico and it makes such an amazing difference.  It tastes just like the Queso at Fuzzy's.  All I need is whatever they sprinkle on their chips there, and I'm Fuzzy in Cleburne.

It's been a great day so far.  All I need now is about 3 more TV's in my den so I can keep up with all the games I am watching today!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Grannie

On this date in 1904, Lydia Chasteen was born. She married William Lester and was my sweet Granny! I honor her today for the many things she taught me: how to cook, sew, shell peas, cut up a chicken, and the need to always wear a bonnet. She chastised me as a young girl for never wearing shoes, in my teens for swimming in mixed company, and as a college girl for not coming to visit often enough.

I wish I could remember her voice. But I can still see her hands, her smile and the loose powder she applied for makeup. I miss her still and wonder what she would have thought of her grands and great grands. She was opinionated, a devout Christian and devoted grandparent. How I was blessed to have had her in my life for 21 years.

Peeling Potatoes

Today brought back some special memories of a fine man - Jabo Barfield.  Jabo was my father in law and made such an impact on my life in so many ways both large and small.  My son was blessed to have learned many skills from him such as crappie fishing, cleaning quail and making a roux for gumbo.

During my first marriage it was a regular event that we would go out to the Grannie and Jabo's house for a lunch on Sunday afternoon followed by Cowboy football and often a fame of 42.  Church let out at noon and everyone would change clothes and head to the Barfield's.  In the summer we ate a lot of fried fish and french fries and the the winter was filled with fried quail or deer steak and cream potatoes.  Lunch was never served before 3:00 p.m. because there was no such thing as rushing potatoes, gravy or biscuits which were always made from scratch and never from a can, box or mix.

My job was to wash and peel potatoes.  I am not sure how I got that job, but somehow for years my job was to always peel potatoes.  I will never forget the first time I began peeling potatoes, Jabo leaned over from the stove and said the peeling is not that thick, you are wasting a lot of good potato there.  He came over and showed me how to peel them quick and fast with just a few strokes and leave as much potato as possible.  Grannie also taught how to figure potatoes when doing french fries or mashed potatoes - one for everyone and one for the pot.  It worked out every time and there were rarely any leftovers.

Tonight I am cooking deer steak at the request of my sweet hubby, Ray.  As I peeled my potatoes this afternoon, I had some precious memories of a great man who taught me such a simple but wonderful skill as peeling potatoes for a family meal.  I miss him and h is wit, wisdom and love for family! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Great Service


I am a big fan of delicious food and great service.  I rarely eat at fast food restaurants.  When I sit down and eat, I like it be on a plate (not paper) with a knife, fork and spoon (not plastic) and using a cloth napkin.  I like real glasses, except that I am pretty partial to my Tervis tumblers, and don’t drink out of plastic bottles at the table.  I love the Fort Worth Club for just that very reason.

I also enjoy feeding a lot of people.  I love to cook and do it pretty often.  I like to manage meals and not have leftovers.   I cook in large quantities but the food should always taste good no matter what you are cooking or for how many.  On a recent Princess cruise ship, I figured it would be really difficult to feed so many people and say that the food is not bland or fast food quality.  However, on that cruise, to say that there were thousands of people and the food was always delicious is really an understatement.  I am amazed at how the ship daily prepared delicious meals and yet managed to present the food in tasty servings on a consistent basis.  Several thousand folks on this boat  were being fed three or more times a day.  The meals were well seasoned; the servings were a nice proportion, and the combinations amazing.  Most restaurants serve a special type of food and don’t try to do it all.  Princess does it all.  The thing I am most impressed with is the consistency of how great the food AND the service each and every day. 

The service was amazing on the ship.  The wait staff was always kind and courteous.  They were very attuned to your wishes on board the Princess Cruises.  This is by far my favorite of cruise lines I’ve ever sailed.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Most Amazing Day


Recently, I experienced one of the most moving days of my life.  I went to the USS Arizona Memorial today where 1,177 people are entombed as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Can you imagine being stationed in paradise and waking up on Sunday, December 7, 1941 to all of the ships being bombed, exploding and on fire?

The other moving experience I enjoyed was dinner with an old friend of Ray’s from Bryson who is a resident of Honolulu.  She and I are very much alike in that we both like great food and good wine in a perfect setting.  She took us to a beach side restaurant in Waikiki.  I had the mixed seafood grill and it was perfect.  The fish in Hawaii is the most tasty and fresh ever!  I was in heaven that night. 

The end of the evening ended at Crazy Shirts which is one of my most delightful finds ever.  I bought shorts there about 10 years ago in San Francisco with my friend, Gail.  I still wear them to this day.  I bought another pair today. They are just the most comfortable blend of twill you can find.  They come in dyed colors such as beer dyed, wine dyed, crater dyed, coffee dyed and rum dyed.  I love them.  The tshirts are the equally as comfortable and last forever.

All in all……that was pretty much a perfect day!  I’ve crossed a few things off my bucket list!  Priceless!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is Pasta Southern?

I had a group of friends over on Saturday night for Pasta Bar.  Of course there was a little wine involved as well thanks to my friend, Pattycake.  Ellen brought a great salad and Janice came with her famous ice cream cake dessert.  I still have 1/2 piece of the dessert left in the freezer but I only eat two bites a day so I can savor it as long as possible.

But back to Pasta Bar.  I get a lot of ingredients and cut them up and put them in bowls.  I use onions, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, capers, zucchini  chicken and shrimp.  I boil up a whole lot of bow tie pasta and then have marinara and Alfredo sauce.  Everyone tells you what they want in their pasta and you cook it up in a skillet for them individually while everyone eats as their pasta is done.  I can keep three skillets going at once.

I had to ask myself, it this really a Southern dish.  We think of  pasta as Italian food, but served as a pasta bar, I am sure it is Southern.  Especially in how we cater to each and every diner at the table or who is sitting around the bar.  This is just a wonderful way to celebrate friends and family.  You could almost do it as a pot luck and assign everyone one or two things to bring.  

Just my musings on a few random thoughts this morning.  Hope you have a good Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Finds

There are those that say I am Southern.  But those that really know me well, know that I am Southern to the core.  My Mama and  Daddy raised me to be a Southern lady.  I was fortunate to grow up with great parents, amazing grandparents, a brilliant and funny little sister that I really didn't like much until I was about 32 or so, and some really awesome friends.

I love to share my Southern roots with anyone who will listen, but today y'all have to hear about this.  I found the coolest website.  It's called Bourbon & Boots.  The website I found for them is located at www.bourbonandboots.com.  I am hoping some day I can join their team, be a guest blogger or even feature a product on their website.  I just took about 5 minutes to browse the site, but I've already found gifts for me, gifts for friends and great products that I have purchased that they may want to include on their website.  

If you are near a computer, don't wait......log onto the site and take a look.  For those of you Southerners like me who enjoy a good bourbon and a great pair of boots, you are going to love this amazing site.  I feel like I know them already!

Y'all have a great day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Blessings

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes.  Sometimes we are overwhelmed at the sheer size of them, while at other times, we forget to say thanks for the little things that made us smile.  I've really made an effort the last few months to be openly thankful for the many blessings in my life.  

This is not to say that I still don't have trials and tribulations, but only to say rather than wallow in the the problems, I plan to find something every day to be thankful for in my life.  Several things come to mind that I remember I should say thank you to God for each morning that I rise.  I want to list a few of them out (and this list is by no means exhaustive) but certainly what has been on my mind lately.

1.  I am blessed to have had a place called home  with parents and family that has always been and always will be safe.

2.  I am blessed to have a son and two daughters who have good hearts, kind souls and a love for Jesus and fellow man.

3.  I am blessed to have wonderful friends that that I love and who are supportive of me and my goals and dreams and enjoy that our lives intertwine.

4.  I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who is Godly, the spiritual head of our house and who loves me unconditionally.

5.  I am blessed to have a warm bed, ample food, a car that runs and medical insurance.

Be thankful for all that you have (and not just the tangible) and don't dwell on all that you don't have.  God's has lots in store for me and you.  I'm really glad to get up every day and see his blessings unfold.  What are you blessed by these days?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Milk Day

Teaching moments come at the strangest times and places.  This story is shared from a relative whose son was learning to read and pronounce words.  It has become a bit of a joke in our family for many years.  I share it with you in hopes that you will take teaching moments with your children and grandchildren to teach them more than reading and writing but about fairness, equality, and loving your fellow man.
 
The young man was looking at the school calendar on the fridge and realized that he was out of school for a national holiday.  While gazing at the calender he noticed that the holiday said MLK Day.  He asked his mother  his school was celebrating "Milk Day".  She grinned and realized that he had misread the word on the calendar in trying to sound out words.
 
So, instead of blowing him off and curtly correcting him, she stopped her task and took time to explain a few things to the boy.  She showed him how they were all capital letters and not the word, MilK.  But she didn't stop there.  She explained that the initials stood for Martin Luther King and told him the story of the famous activist.  She explained that Mr. King wanted  people to live in harmony and treat each other equally and fairly.
 
Since that day, it has been referred to as Milk Day in our family.  I was glad to celebrate this day as I agree with Mr. King as well.  I hope we can become a nation that does not  judge a person by their skin color.  I would imagine if he were alive today, he would be also praying that we would not judge a person by their gender (male or female), their sexual preference (straight, lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual) or their religious belief (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or agnostic). 
 
Join me today in celebrating the dream prayed for by Dr. King.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cooks vs. Bakers

I am a cook.  I can take anything and turn it into a meal.  My Grannie Lester could do the same thing.  Cooks, like me, consider a recipe just a list of suggested ingredients.  I never exactly follow the recipe.  I just grab whatever is handy and dump and taste and dump and stir and add a bit of this or that.  Nothing ever turns out the same, but I never get complaints.
 
There are staples that pretty much can make anything amazing.  Onions, mushrooms, fajita seasoning, and bacon grease are my go to  seasonings.  You can add just about any one or combination of these items to any dish and it will turn out delicious.  My Mother would add a fifth item..............Cream of Mushroom Soup.  There are probably 10 or more cans at any given time in her cabinet.
 
But then you get to bakers.  Now I am not a baker.  I have a couple of go to desserts that I can make that always get great compliments but they are not hard.  I really do follow the recipes but that is just because I have to look them up every time I bake them.  I have friends who are great bakers.  In fact, my friend, Kim, is just amazing.  But she tells me that baking is like a science and you have to follow the directions, understand how humidity can affect the outcome, and determine what temperature to use to make something perfect. 
 
I wish I had that type of patience or temperament.  I just don't.  Fortunately, when we get together to create a meal, the desserts and breads are out of this world.  Which one are you...............a baker or a cook?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Guns and Girls

I was raised by a Daddy who had guns.  As such he taught me to shoot.  I learned to shoot pistols, deer rifles and shotguns.  Each had a specific purpose.  Shotguns were used to shoot birds.  Rifles killed deer and of course you carried a pistol to kill a snake or someone who was breaking into your home.  My husband was amazed when we were dating at my aim when we would go to the shooting range.
 
My Mother is a crackerjack shot, too.  So are all the other girls in my family.  I am always shocked at women who say they have never shot a gun, don't own a gun and are scared of guns.   With the recent uproar associated with gun control, I am worried.  I don't want to give up my arms.  In fact, I don't plan to do that at all. 
 
I carry a gun in my car.  I have one at my house.  You might even find one in my pocket.  I was once asked what I was so afraid of with all of these guns.  My response......."Not one thing!"  Arm yourself with knowledge about guns.  They are not just for the boys!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Linens

My Mother and I were shopping today at this really neat little store on the square in Glen Rose.  The sign on the store front said, "We don't have antiques.  We have Junk."  But they had some really cool junk.   And boy, did they have some cool junk.
 
I bought some great odds and ends of napkins, linen cloths to wrap up hot rolls and a beautiful square table cloth for my Mother to put on her oak table.  I bought two sets of cloth napkins with beautiful handwork.  We had a great time talking about the different dishes these beautiful linens would accompany on my table.
 
I am thankful that my Mother instilled in me the desire to have a beautiful table.  To this day, we eat on real plates, use real glasses and cloth napkins at meal time at our house.  I often use my china and crystal just because.  Mother always said there was no point in having it if you weren't going to use it.  The same she said was true for cloth napkins.  We have washers and dryers and there is just no reason not to use them.
 
So don't let them dry rot in the drawers.  Pull them out.  Set your table.  It really does make the food taste better.  Thanks Mom for teaching me to appreciate the family dinner!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roll Tide

Tonight was a great night for fans of Alabama (winning a national championship , fans of the SEC (where national championships seemed to procreate) and Texas A&M (the team that beat the national champions).  This is the game we anticipate and work for all year long.  We know the date early in the year, the location, and usually by December 1st we know the teams.  We plan our evening to be free and the meal that is cooked in the crock pot so that we can be ready for the pregame and kick off.  We chill that really good bottle of wine so we have something special for the evening.

But alas, when the final seconds tick off the clock and the winner is declared, we sense a sort of depression coming on for we know that we must wait a long seven and a half months until we are ready to play college football again.  The sadness sets in as we finally clean up the kitchen, wind down for the evening and talk of the things we must endure until the next football season - opening day at the Ballpark, hot sizzling summer temps, getting back in shape in preparation for summer and basketball  *Ugh!  The bright glimmer of January is that we get fresh new episodes of our favorite TV shows, some award shows, a new season of the Bachelor  and the hunt for the Superbowl (which I hope includes the Packers).

As we gear up for 2013 just remember, its only about 250 days until the start of college football!  Roll Tide (and Sic 'em Bears!)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pie

This weekend brought back some pretty amazing childhood memories.  I began digging through my recipe files and came upon one of my favorite's called Mother's Pie.  When I was growing up, I named the dish after the person introducing me to the food.  I cooked all weekend making chicken and dumplings, gumbo, soup, roasted chicken, grilled tenderloin fillets, twice baked potatoes, and pies.  Lots of pies were made this weekend.

But one pie in particular holds special meaning and tasting it brought back some warm fuzzy feelings.  Mother's pie, as it is affectionately called, is a pretty easy recipe.  You basically just dump stuff into a graham cracker crust.  I made it and promptly ate a piece as soon as it was chilled.  Delicious.  What a great way to bring back memories!  Send me a message if you are interested in the recipe.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Amy's Accomplishment

I want to take a moment to tell you of a story of a great woman who bloomed later in life.  She is my bestie from the crib, Miss Amy.  Amy married right out of high school and quickly (and surprisingly  found herself pregnant with John Fox.  She worked at the bank for many years and eventually remarried and moved to Shreveport where she finished her degree.  

Amy became a loan officer and quickly moved up in the banking world.  About 3 years ago, she decided to go back to school and complete her Master's Degree.  That is no easy task when you commute 45 minutes each way per day and have been promoted to an executive position in a regional company.  She also has a fiance, two dogs, a mother, and two grand kids to see after as well.  To obtain a degree with the all the time demands of her busy life is pretty amazing.

So, on December 15th with Gayla, Carla, Ray and I watched Amy walked across the stage, was hooded and given her degree.  I am so proud of her for all of her accomplishments.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Gatherings

One of my favorite times of the year is Crass Christmas Cheer.  We have our home open to friends and family for a few hours the Wednesday night before Christmas.  Ray cooks loads of ribs and the spirits flow.  The house is decorated for the holidays and everyone is always welcome.  Every year we invite about 275 of our closest friends and anywhere for 150-200 show up.  

Remarkably, the crowd is different from year to year.  We had such a great time this year seeing all our friends and family as they dropped in to gather and visit for the evening.  Each year, we cook 18 racks of ribs and before the evening is over there is rarely more than a half of rack left.  In fact, Ray put a rack back in the fridge to take to the son in law, but someone found it.  It soon disappeared as did all the other food in the house.

Now that the holidays are drawing to a close, it's time to clean up the Christmas stuff and just move forward with Crass Cheer!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our Family Christmas

My son is pretty amazing. He likes to get things for you that you would just not expect. This year, he got me a deli meat slicer.  It's is truly something I have longed for many a day.  I love to create in the kitchen and this is just the perfect tool to go with my vac sealer.  Since Christmas I have sliced summer sausage, cheese, ham, etc.  We have bags and bags of sliced stuff in the fridge.

However, we know that the blade on that little appliance is pretty sharp.  I am prone to slicing my hands and fingers up with my sharp knives anyway, so we had a long talk about how to be very careful when using this appliance.  In fact we even made a deal.  I won't use the appliance when I by myself (so if I cut my hand off, someone else can dial 911) and if you have had even a drop of alcohol (a sip of wine counts) you may not use said appliance.

Well as fate would have it, I have already broken my promise.  Ray was out of town and I wanted to slice up these little rolls and make wafer thin garlic bites.  So...........even though I was all alone (Pattycake was across the street) but it was early and there was no wine involved, I used the appliance.  Lo and behold, my sweet friend, Kim, who dropped by that evening bold face asked me if I used it by myself.  I contemplated covering but I knew she would catch me.......so I fessed up.  

The only saving grace was the wafer thin garlic crisps were truly the hit of the evening!  So what interesting gift did you get for Christmas?

About Me

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Having been raised with manners and class (which by the way has nothing to do with money), I spend my time trying to make my company always feel welcome and comfortable in my home and at social gatherings I often attend!!!!!!!!