Monday, February 28, 2011

You will NEVER believe what I found today!!

Can you believe your eyes???

You know what this means don't you???

Maybe, just maybe that silly groundhog was right this year!

Spring, sweet spring
giver of all that life brings

Friday, February 25, 2011


Unfortunately tonight's dinner was inhaled so fast I didn't get a picture but I will share my recipe with you!

2 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick of butter

2 cups flour
1/4 cup cold crisco
milk to mix

With your hands mix the crisco into the flour well.  Pour in a little milk at a time until a firm dough forms.  Spread flour onto your counter, split dough in half and roll out until very thin.  With a pizza cutter, cut dough into strips, then run cutter cross wise forming two inch rectangles.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Drop dumplins into broth mix and allow to simmer between 10-15 minutes.  Do NOT stir the dumplins, but use a spoon to break them up if they begin clumping.  Cover and allow to softly simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Test a dumplin to make sure it's cooked through.  If not, keep simmering.

When I make a big pot of these, there are NEVER any leftovers (Sorry Jules!)  Imagine Cracker Barrel's dumplins -- only BETTER!

We had smoked pork chops, dumplins, croissants with pear preserves (homemade), and purple hull peas that I grew in the garden last summer.

Ya'll come on down, we'll cook up something yummy when you get here!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dinner Bell!!

Venison roast and veggies

Maverick stirring the lima beans

Ranger is just ready to eat!

I love my crockpot.  I can dump everything in when I leave early in the morning and come home to a a complete dinner that is fit for two growing boys!

I make a lot of venison stew and venison roasts in my crockpot.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

1979 Plymouth Sport Fury and Sky Blue Gremlins

Up until a year ago, my parents had not owned a new car since I was about 7 years old.  I remember the day they drove home that sky blue tic tac shaped Gremlin with dark blue pin stripes, "pleather" seats, and an 8 track player.  After the Gremlin, Dad blessed Mom with a series of green cars.  For years every used car that he bartered for, traded, or bought was green.  Emerald green, malibu green, seaweed green.  I remember the green malibu that mom caught air in as she was taking my sister and I to basketball practice one cold winter morning.  Topping a small hill, we hit blakc ice and took flight.  We landed on a large wooden post.  Then there was green goddess that we were in when mom hit the deer on the way to the PTO meeting. 

The following article was in the Paris Post Intelligencer, written by my Dad.

From the State Line

Once in the long ago, we owned a 1979 Plymouth Sport Fury.

The automobile was a year old when purchased from Johnny Richard Orr. Like many of our purchases, it was paid for with a crop of mortgage tobacco.

Mortgage was not the type of tobacco grown. This term simply means that money was borrowed to raise the crop.

Back in the good old days, many farmers planted Little Crittenden or Stag Horn tobacco seed. In years past, the majority of dark-fire tobacco produced along the state line eventually ended up in a pipe or snuff box.

Many mortgage crops were used by families whose parents worked day jobs. Money derived from mortgage crops usually went for such things as college for the children, medical bills, and various and sundry bank notes.

Any remaining funds from an already-thin profit margin many times were earmarked for a new television and living room suit or a used vehicle.

The “stove plant” in Murray had recently closed. Bob Smith was generous enough to employ me until I could find permanent work.

I worked six days a week for Bob. I usually saw him twice a week. Every Monday, he told me what my task for the upcoming week would be. Of course, sometimes the weather altered those plans.

Bob always found a chore for me to work on. Cleaning out fence rows or milk barns/stables, or moving or hauling hay. There were 13 months of work in tobacco. Bob always paid me around dark on Saturday.

Hico is a better place because of men like Bob. He is a very deep thinker, not prone to useless babble, and also a heavy reader. His knowledge of world, local or state affairs is astonishing.

A person could converse with Bob for an hour and never know he made a living farming. He can quote stock market trends, real estate investments, history, politics, sports and a little Scripture.

I had been working for Aubrey Hunt and the Paris Parks Department for about two months when Ann called the park office with some discouraging news.

Her lovely emerald Plymouth would not “crank,” — that’s rural for start. I self-assuredly told her that I’d crank it when I arrived home from work.

It was a tropical sunny afternoon. The schools had recently dismissed for their summer hibernation. The scorching mean days of July were still far away.

Upon arriving home, I deftly retrieved my heavy-duty jumper cables and attempted to “jump” the Plymouth from my trusty Gremlin, but it was to no avail. I was bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

My only recourse was Ralph “Wild Man” Page, who lived just north of Hico Church. He was an over-the-road trucker and was gone much of the time. He also was the proverbial village handyman, generous and well-liked by everyone.

Ralph was born with a ratchet in his hand. He was a motor master. There was nothing known to mortal man that Ralph couldn’t repair/rebuild.

I approached Ralph’s abode in hopes he’d be home. His wife, Lena Ruth, advised me that he was in Dayton, Ohio, and would be home about midnight. School was out and we could survive short time on just the Gremlin.

Our daughters, C.J. and Molly, were involved in softball and Girl Scouts, and were planning for their very first Freed-Hardeman basketball camp. I had a bedridden aunt in Hazel who Ann visited daily. It was imperative that the Fury was road-ready in a timely fashion.

Ralph came over the next afternoon and pronounced the verdict as the timing chain. We visited a local automotive shop and purchased the proper parts.

Upon arriving home, Ralph diagrammed a perfect set of instructions for me regarding the dreaded operation about to commence He unloaded his tool box from his Ford truck and laid out the proper tools needed for the next day’s assault.

Ralph had to leave for Red Bank, Ala., and from there to Tifton, Ga. I would face this massive undertaking solo.

In Hico folklore, I’ll be remembered as the Hicoian with the least amount of manual dexterity. If something could not be duct-taped or beaten into submission by a claw hammer, I was useless.

I diligently proceeded to follow Ralph’s written instructions. Little did I realize that the front half of the engine had to be dismantled prior to replacing the old timing chain.

The new chain went on with moderate ease. I began reassembling all the pieces in reverse order. Things were going just ducky. By nightfall, 90 percent of the motor was back in place.

I was hot, greasy and sweaty. Ann had fried chicken, creamed potatoes and gravy, cornbread and early June peas. A shower was in order. The Cardinals were on the radio. The world was good and the remaining motor parts could wait until the next morning.

I arose early the next day, awakened by the open-window perfume of honeysuckle. I quickly put all the remaining “stuff” on the engine. I felt as though A.J. Foyt could use me in his pit crew.

Then reality kicked in. There were three foreign “things” that I had left off the motor. Only the Lord knew where they belonged.

If you can imagine an old United States map puzzle with Nevada, Iowa and Michigan missing, that was my problem. I had three pieces to the puzzle but they were Burma, Peru and Bulgaria. They didn’t fit or belong.

I was afraid to crank the Fury. Ann was furious with me.

Sadly, like a whipped puppy, I ventured down to Ralph’s house. His wife told me that he was headed home from Davenport, Iowa. Ralph had to redo my poor effort at being a mechanic.

Ralph refused to take any pay for his labor. Ann and the girls were delighted and headed to the Memorial Park swimming pool. I sincerely thanked Ralph.

I filled my Styrofoam cooler with soda pop, and grabbed my Freddy Fender and Percy Sledge eight tracks. I hopped — not to be confused with the past tense of a popular breakfast restaurant — into my friendly, sea-foam-blue-colored Gremlin and headed slowly toward the state line, listening and singing along with Freddy Fender’s version of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.”

by Dan Patterson

Friday, February 18, 2011

Is that a wig or a squirrel? A young girl's story of alopecia.

Young Sally was quite proud of her dark brown pixie hair.  She felt it gave her special powers.  One day young Sally's hair mysterious fell out.  She decided that she was ready for a change and requested a wig with long luxurious curls.  Her loving parents agreed that is exactly what young Sally needed.

During recess at young Sally's school it was not uncommon for the gym doors to be propped open.  Often a squirrel would meander in to watch the children.  On this particular day young Sally was now almost completely bald and she decided that today would be the day to wear her new wig. 

For the past few weeks she had been quietly admiring strapping Johnny, the cutest boy in the second grade.  During recess she followed him to the other side of the gym.  Peeking around the corner, she watched him play volleyball.  The ball was coming right to strapping Johnny.  The ball hit the side of his hand and headed straight for young Sally.  As young Sally stretched out her hands to catch the ball so that she might return it and win favor from strapping Johnny the ball hit her in the head.

Unaware that the ball had caught her wig, her baldness was now apparent to her entire class.  A collective gasp filled the gymnasium as the wigged ball rolled by.  Off to the side young Sally saw the wigged ball roll by and thought it was a squirrel.

The wigged ball rolled right up to Sally's tiny feet.  When she realized what it was she picked up her wig and daintily blew off the dirt from the inside of the wig and flipped her long curls back onto her head.  She picked up the ball, straightened her small shoulders and returned the ball to strapping Johnny.

Today young Sally is a Mother of two adorable children, works, and is a full time student studying to be a virologist.  She has the courage of a lion and I am proud to call her my friend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Please excuse me while I vent . . .

Ok, I don't want to offend anyone, so if you're easily offended, you may as well stop reading now and click on over to a nice friendly blog.

I'm going to give you the quick and dirty and leave out all the nonsense.  I requested an increase in child support because ex went back to work.  Ok, it was approved but the judge has to sign off on it.  I've never had a reason to transfer my case to my new town.  Well, buddy, I do now.

After missing 3 classes and driving two hours to hear my name called followed by some random date in early March I got mad.  I don't mean a little aggravated.  Apparently today was only motion hour, whatever that means.  I had called the child support office 4 times last week to verify that I really and truly had to be there today and was told that yes, it is imperative and the judge kicks out the motion if the petitioner isn't in court.  Ok, yes ma'am, I understand. 

I had to pull my children out of school for the entire day and my mother had to reschedule a dr's appointment and drive an hour to meet me so she could watch them.

I literally saw red.  I was literally seething.  I can't come up with another word in the English language to describe my anger.

The primary reason I hadn't put in the request (yes it is a request, the child support office can refuse to take a case) at the new office was because I was afraid there would be a gap or a delay in receiving the support.  I left a message at the local office to see if I can transfer my case there.  I hope they call.  I hope they accept the transfer.

On top of that, I had gotten to town 3 hours early to spend time with my oldest and after numerous phone calls, he finally called back to say he'd just woken up and didn't feel good so he was going back to bed.

Today really sucked.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bunk Beds

When we moved into this house, my smoochies transitioned from sharing a king size bed to bunk beds.  They have loved those bunk beds.  They made tents out of sheets, made forts for their stuffed animals, giggled, told the secrets that brothers tell while cuddled up under blankets.

Can you imagine if adults had bunk beds?  Oh, the fun we could have! 

Even on a twin size mattress, they snuggle.  I remember the day when my oldest began to cut those apron strings.  He was 12 and I tried to pull him into my lap and he would have none of it.  I dread the day these two start to unravel the apron strings.

I'll be away from blogland for a day or two taking care of some personal business and concentrating on school.  I have two tests this week!  :~(

Have a wonderful week!  


Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day

Jules over at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow created this adorable button for Valentine's Day to thank her followers.  She offered it up for snagging in hopes that we would share it with our followers. 

So -  Thank you for following my blog.  I have been a bit neglective of late because of school.  But I am dreaming of spring and all the amazing photo ops that are coming up that will fill my little corner of blogworld.

If you have or have had small children, you may know where I'm going with this.  My two little scuttlebutts are addicted to stuffed animals.  They have tons of them.  My youngest sleeps in the top bunk and his bed is ... overwhelmed.... for lack of better words, with teddy bears, elephants, snakes, and puppy dogs.  And silly me bought them each a new one for Valentine's day.  I'm a glutton for punishment.

And a special thank you to Rina over at Our Slice of Heaven!  I won my first ever blog give away and received a beautiful full color magazine called that's life! cookbook.  Thanks Rina!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Colors

Candy corn plant


Sunflower - up close and personal

Morning glory with spider

Spiderweb on a foggy morning

I am so ready for spring.  I love it.  I'm starting to get anxious to feel my hands in the warm soil - get dirt under my nails.  I love planting in the garden, it's the promise of things to come.  The anticipation of waiting for that first bit of green to poke up out of the ground is almost too much for me.  I can't wait to drive the tomato stakes into the earth in hopes that each plant will produce an overabundance.

Spring - my savior after a cold, dreary, drab winter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One bitterly cold morning Hawk and Blue jay were huddled up desperately trying to stay warm.  Natural enemies, Hawk and Blue eyed each other suspiciously.  They knew if they huddled together, their chance of surviving the cold was much better than if they stayed alone.

Blue inched a bit closer to Hawk but Hawk would have none of it.  His natural predator's instincts kept him wary.  The wind began picking up speed and each bird realized it was now or never.  Friend or foe.

Blue gathered all his muster and inched closer to Hawk.  Both strong, both territorial, both freezing to death.  What could Hawk do?

He did what his instincts directed him to do.   And alone he faced the biting cold.

The moral of the story is that together so much more can be accomplished.  Every now and again it would behoove the human race to go against our instincts and do something that is for the better good of all instead of self.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Very Bane of my Existence

Math.  Not 2+2 but


I've already had behavioral statistics but this stuff is the pits.  I got so mad last night after the kids were sleeping because I couldn't figure out how to do something on my *@&# statistical calculator.  Part of my homework on the calculator I have to take pictures of and print them to prove I'm doing it.  That alone infuriates me. 

I don't mind learning something like this, but the amount of busy work is tedious and overwhelming on top of having a mandatory lab at 8 in the morning once a week ...

I hate this class. 

I don't say that lightly.

I remember sitting in Mrs. Catherine's second grade class doing the old kill and drill subtraction problems.  Mrs. Catherine played the old 33 rpm record that was old, static-y and in my 7 year old mind that old vinyl was the bane of my existence then.  I dreamed of grabbing the vinyl, running far away and jumping up and down on it.  Andrew, sitting in front of me, had been bumped up from 1st grade because he was labeled as boy genius, turned around and told me I was so stupid because I used my fingers for subtraction.

I am 40.  I still remember that.

Math phobia is real.  It is huge.  Those who are blessed to just "get it" have no idea what those who don't go through.

I have a 3.6 GPA - I am not a dumb person.  I just don't "get" math.  Unfortunately one of my children struggles with math.

I wish I could wave a magic wand for him.