Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas - when did you get here?


What day is it? December 24th? NO, can't be already - well maybe yesterday my baby turned 18! Guess it has just arrived without my being prepared. I am not sure why I am not prepared (or why I am taking a break to blog, maybe denial). So, much to do, and not sure where to start.

Let's look at today's accomplished list: hash brown casserole, sausage ball mixed up, potato salad made, 3 load of laundry folded, calls to check on the sick - my mom and my sister. *Feeling good about what is finished.* To do list: meatballs, pigs in a blanket, chocolate chip cookies, cheese dip, hang stockings, clean up kitchen and living room, go to mom's to cook dinner for them tonight, put away all that laundry, oh yeah - and have Christmas tonight with hubby and kids. * Don't feel too good anymore.*

Things I love about the holidays - (maybe this will make be feel better) - being with my husband and kids, and the rest of the family, country ham breakfast at mom's Christmas morning - even if I am the one cooking it this year, jam cake, the presents, sausage balls, the Christmas tree. Yeah, feel better now.

I begin to think of all the Christmases past - how we learn to cherish those memories. I think of my dad sitting in his recliner while we opened the gifts. He just sat there with the biggest grin, I think he loved Christmas as much as we did. All those years we drug the kids up and out so early to mom's, this year we are sleeping in a little later. We always had a wonderful Christmas - this year will be no different. Well, we are planning to eat on paper plates this year, that is a change, but with my mom and my sister sick - I am putting my foot down and am only doing so much. I don't mind cooking - but I hate to clean up. Maybe they will forgive me - but they know I am not Martha Stewart.

My wish this year is for happiness and good health for my family for 2009. We could use it! But, no matter what comes our way - we will deal with it. Merry Christmas.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow Day

Okay, so that is not a current picture, it is from a snow day last year. But we can always wish. Today, is a school "snow day", we had more ice than snow, and not even much of that. For me it is a sick day. My early Christmas gift was a nice case of the crud. Not really a cold, not the flu, just a good stuffy head and runny nose.

But the good part is, the kids are home today. I know,John is not in school, but work was called off for him too. Just a great day of being at home, if only Philip was home too. If only we had snow to play in. At least we have hot chocolate! Maybe I will bake some cookies too.

How fast these years of snow days have passed. This is the last year Lea will watch for her school to close. I can't really believe she will be 18 this time next week, or that John is now 20. When I was Lea's age I was planning our wedding to take place in just 3 more months, and when I was John's age, I was expecting our 2nd child.

What were we thinking? We weren't thinking and I would not change a thing! Who knows why we do what we did when we were young? We certainly didn't, but things haven't turned out so bad? John has grown up into a nice young man with a good job, he has enlisted in the National Guard, and has plans after basic training of returning to school. Lea plans to attend APSU this fall. She has become such a sweet young lady. They both have their moments, but Philip and I are very proud of them both.

Sometimes it is nice to have snow days to just sit back and enjoy life and enjoy our kids! It is okay there was no snow, we still had snowmen! We made a Krispie Kreme run last night - if you haven't had the new snowmen doughnuts - go! They are so good and put you in the holiday spirit!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I just can't wait for the holidays to get here! I am just as bad about this as I was when I was younger. I love Thanksgiving, the parades, the football, the food, and the planning the route for shopping on Friday.

I love shopping the day after Thanksgiving, well that may be an understatement, like a huge understatement. That day is more than just shopping, it is an adventure. I don't remember getting out that day when I was young, this tradition/addiction started after I was married. I am the mother who has drug her children out of the bed at 4:00 am in 25 degree weather to stand in line, for what you ask, well the what doesn't really matter it is all about doing.

The kids think it is just the thing you do after eating way too much turkey the day before. We have learned so much through the years, which location of stores to go to, which entrance to use. This has evolved over the years, we learn a little more with each year's excursion. We even tag team sometimes. We call other faithful shoppers we know that are out and see if they are near a store we wish to make a purchase from. I would say teamwork has been a lifeskill my children have learned during these trips - well it sounds good anyway.

This year will be no different, I have already been doing my research. "Black Friday" has been in my Google box more than once this year. Most ads are posted by now and I do have a plan. Opry Mills - 5:00 am, Staples 6:00 am, Rivergate Mall - 6:30 am, Opry Mills after that.

This year my main partner in crime will by my sister. We have never been "together" on that day - we have crossed paths most times, but we are going to be joined at the hip this year I think. Actually, I think I have been tricked into being the chauffeur and bag carrier. Hey don't those people get good tips? Just a thought.

Everyone be safe that day, mad women like me and my sister will be out that day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Home at last

Home is such a wonderful place, so calming and relaxing. Today my sister returned home, from that dreaded place, the hospital. She looked very relaxed sitting in the recliner this afternoon.

No matter where we go - the best place to go is always home. We welcome time away at the beach, the mountains, visiting family, but the best part of the trip is always returning home. We find ourselves at peace there, we can just be ourselves.

Maybe we love home because it reminds us of family. Either the family there with us or those from our past. Anyway - I am thankful my sister is now home and they I too am home now, enjoying time with family.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Finishing a task is so rewarding. Tonight I have the satisfaction of knowing I have completed making my Christmas cards. I still need to update my mailing list, sign all the cards, address them, put on stamps and get them in the mail. Wow, sounds like I still have work to do, but isn't that rewarding too, knowing you have something else as a goal to strive for?

I have lots more to do! In a weak (out of my mind) moment, I was the one who persuaded my sister to send out "handmade" cards this year. What a year for that, most of you know she is having surgery next week, and well, guess who is making the cards for her to send? Oh well, just for this year, next year she can make her own or maybe make mine.

Doing something for someone else is one of my favorite things, guess that is why so much gets put on the back burner at my house. I love to do for others, it is so much for fun than say....laundry, raking leaves(maybe the kids will do that) or just basic household chores.

All I know, is I am so pleased with knowing I have completed this task. Wasn't sure it would be done before time to mail. And those who get cards from us at Christmas know, the day to mail is the day after Thanksgiving! I am not sure why, but like putting up the Christmas tree, it must be that weekend at least.

This could all be due to the fact as a child we never put up our tree or did anything "Christmasy" until after December 3rd, my sister's birthday. She wanted a birthday, then Christmas. Maybe I will wait to mail her card the day after her birthday this year. I am just glad Lea doesn't make us follow that rule, or we would not have any decorations up until Christmas Eve!

I just hope I stay this focused and on schedule for the remainder of the holiday season!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Patience, well I guess if you know me, you know I don't have much. Even thinking back to having children, I didn't have any there either. Just could not wait for them to be born, hence early babies.

Waiting is something I do not do well. I could blame it on this instant society we live in, but who am I kidding. It is just me, I want things now. Not just things, but to accomplish task quickly, go on to the next thing.

I think back to cold winter Saturdays when my dad would cook chili. He was not one to cook much, but what he made for us was always such a treat. Chili and fudge were his specialties. They both took time and patience to achieve. He would cook his chili from early in the morning until around 5:00 p.m. when we would all gather as a family to enjoy that scrumptious meal.

I guess that was one of those life lessons my dad tried to teach me, good things are worth waiting for. Again I find myself waiting, impatiently, for the words that my sister is healthy again. I am hopeful that those words will come soon. I could wish for those words tomorrow, but I know that will not be, but I do have faith they will come in time. Until then, I am thankful for my faith and the healing power of our Father in heaven. Mark 10:27

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I understand not everyone has an older sister as I do, some of you are thankful you are the oldest, any only child, or just thankful you don't have a sister. You can know you cannot be as blessed as I am to have an older sister like mine. She is the best ever(that may have something to do with the fact that she has a wonderful, much younger sister).

My sister has always been there for so many in her life, my mother, my father, me and so many more. She has been so many things to me through our lives. I am thankful she came to love me, since she had been the only child for nearly seven years when I was born. I am not so sure I would have been such an accepting older sibling, if there had been a new baby in the house just before my 7th birthday. But she somehow tolerated me and came to be my protector.

Yes, she felt it her job to watch out for me. That also turned itself into making sure my parents knew anything I did that she did not approve of as we grew up. Mostly she watched out for me. She has always been there for me. She was there when our dad was sick and was so strong in his last days. She was there when my kids were born and as they have grown into teenagers

Through every thing we have been through - we have become not just sisters but great friends. She is the type of person I would not call from jail - because she would be sitting in the cell right beside me.

The past few days she has become more and more admirable in my eyes. She is facing some tough days ahead, but shows such strength and courage. She is still my protector. She is trying to convince everyone - everything will be fine - six months from now - it will all be good again. Such courage, strength, determination, faith, and gumption she shows.

Guess it just good genes! Sister - I am there for you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apple Butter Birthday

What do you do when your mother has an abundance of apples and you are out of freezer space? If you are as crazy as I am, you suggest making Apple Butter. Mom, my sister and I spent my birthday together. We made Apple Butter for Christmas gifts. I think everyone we know will be getting some for Christmas. If I can count, and I am not to sure I could that day, we made 21 BATCHES of apple butter. Each batch makes like 6 cups. That would mean 84 pounds of apples, 21 cups of apple cider vinegar, 42 cups of water, 42 cups of sugar, 42 tablespoons of lemon juice, 48 teaspoons of cinnamon, 10 1/2 teaspoons of all spice, and 10 1/2 teaspoons of cumin. Needless to say my kitchen was rather aromatic with all that apple cider vinegar boiling - I thought it would stink for days, but was back to normal by Sunday.

That day was one of the best in a long time. Just the three of us there most of the day. We aren't sure who was in charge that day, none of us had ever made Apple Butter, but found a rather easy sounding recipe. I suppose we all took turns acting like we knew what we were doing. Mom was probably reliving 30 years ago, trying to get her girls to behave and get along. I truly enjoyed being together, especially the laughter,the silliness, the bossiness we all have, the complaining about the other, and the love we have for each other. That is how we are - some would say disfunctional - we would say just being family.

So, if you are our friends - I guess the secret of your Christmas gift has been spoiled. You guessed it - Apple Butter. Maybe you will forget about it by then and it will be a surprise.

You know the funny thing...

I don't even like Apple Butter. But I have found a way to use it that I like....Apple Pinwheels.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


You know the line in the Hokey Pokey, "That's what it's all about", well Family is what it is all about sometimes. We had a great trip to Texas this past weekend to be there to help Philip's uncle celebrate his 75th birthday. It was a surprise party for him, and boy was he surprised.

It was good time to visit with family too. John has enjoyed getting to know one of his cousins in Texas over the past couple of years, even though they did not grow up knowing each other, they seem to be close after just a few meetings. It is so interesting watching how we connect with family we really never knew. Genetics - there must be something that holds us close, even though we are far.

Lea experienced that this time, for the first time she met a cousin she had only seen pictures of and heard mentioned a few times. She is the sister of Michael, the cousin John has become good friends with. It was like Lea and her cousin were just meant to be friends. They found they like so many of the same things, disliked similar items and they themselves are very similar.

It was almost freaky watching the two sets of cousins enjoy being together - like they had been old friends - just getting reacquainted. They could have talked for hours if time had allowed. I see a trip back to Texas in the future, if not all of us, at least the kids will go soon.

There is just something comforting about being with family. You can be yourself and relax. Family bonds are so important to our lives, friends come and go - but family is forever.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day

I am sure many have posted on blogs about the origin of Labor Day and what it really means. It was a day of labor on our small piece of the world. We had a heifer to freshen on labor day, but those nine months of waiting for her new calf only brought sadness. The beautiful black heifer calf did not make it. This is common among first calves for heifers, but it is still sad. When I walked up to the upper field to check on her, since she was not in the barn lot with the others, she was just standing there over her calf. The calf was lifeless and she was hovering of it. Finally after a few minutes she walked away as if to say - there is nothing more I can do. All of her labor was for no gain.

She now has resumed her place with the others. The calf has been buried and life goes on. It makes me think of how we must pick up the pieces and move on after the death of a loved one. It pains me to watch a dear friend go through that very thing now. I watch her as tears fill her eyes from something that is said, a song that is sung, or just a memory fill her head. Luckily we can know the joy of heaven and that we are promised that there will no sadness there and we will be with many loved ones again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Apple Memories

There are so many memories sitting at our/grandmother's kitchen table pealing apples. There was a golden delicious apple tree just outside the back door, just beyond the cistern. Grandmother dried many apples from that tree out the bed of her old pickup. She also helped many of us freeze apples from that tree.

She shared many bushels of apples from that tree. It was just her way to share what God had blessed her with. Many neighbors, friends, and family have enjoyed aples from that tree. Several years ago a storm got the best of that tree. After being cut down and used for firewood to heat the house, another tree was planted in its place. That tree too has gone, but through the kindness of a good friend I sat tonight looking out the window from that kitchen table where those trees had been thinking of grandmother. Remembering fried apples, apple pies and of course everyone's favorite, fried apple pies.

Grandmother not only shared her apples, she taught so much while "working" them as she would call it. She taught lessons on cooking, freezing, giving, sharing and loving. She was one of my best teachers every!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Beginning for us

In June of 2006 we purchased Philip's grandmother's house. It is something we had talked about in the past, but never thought we would be able to do. John and Lea were our convincing factor. They both thought it was the right thing to do. They were willing to make sacrifices for us to own a piece of our history. All four of us have fond memories of playing in this house as youngsters. This may seem odd, since I was not part of the family. I grew up only a mile away and remember playing here with the same old metal cars and trucks Philip and the other grandkids played with. We moved into the house the end of April 2007 and have never regretted a minute of it. We continue to make new memories here. Who knows what memories we will make with future generations.