Archive for the ‘Other Holidays’ Category

I am thankful for so much…this is just a little bit…

I am thankful for my family, my children, Simon, a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes (especially since it has gotten cold after 2 warm winters), medical care, a bed to sleep in, friends, my faith, freedoms, my walk with God, peace—peace with others and peace with myself, to know how to love, to know when I am wrong—sometimes after someone has pointed it out 😉 , possibilities to explore new things, a car to drive and gas to put in it, stores to shop in and jobs for my children, a church to go to, books to read… I could go on and on.


There are things that I am thankful that I don’t have…  I am thankful I don’t have snow to shovel (though I like/love snow), a long trip to travel this week, sickness, diapers to change (oh, I’m so thankful for this), that I’m not in the hospital with a loved one, and in a way…I’m thankful my husband isn’t here to pick up after any more (well…). I am thankful for the good and the bad as all are blessings in some way if we choose to see it. I am thankful for my parents because they chose to keep trying until they had me. I am really thankful for the way they raised me. I’m also thankful—so very thankful—that there are answered prayers and that I kept praying. 🙂


Happy Thanksgiving and may all of your prayers be answered in God’s will and His way.

Happy Gardening! 😀

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When one becomes a dad, that person is a dad for life. It doesn’t matter how old the child becomes. I hope all who read this had a great dad and that he was a positive influence on your life. I know we all make mistakes but we must deal with the consequences of those choices we make. 


My oldest right before her dad left for Desert Storm

Several couples I know were not able to have children. That pains me because so many take parenting for granted. Some have lost babies and children–lost to death. My parents could only have me so they appreciated their responsibility especially with the babies they lost. Becoming a parent is a blessed thing and we should treat it that way. On the other hand, I know fathers who should not be allowed—in my opinion—to be called “father.” Even today, my girls cannot call the man who is biologically their father…”Daddy.” To them, still, they feel they do not have a father and honestly, he isn’t a father to them any more. There are other people in their lives who fulfill that role better and it hurts my heart so much that the man who is their father will not reach out to them.


Please never take being a dad for granted and always reach out to your children even if you think they do not want to talk to you or whatever. When you let go, they feel you do not care. They feel that you do not love. Please…   You are not going to be perfect, but perfect does not matter, does it? 😉 And, always take relationships—the girl, gal, lady, woman, etc. you are with—very seriously. Children should never be a product of a consequence that was not thought out ahead of time. Don’t just love your children from afar. Please… It matters. It isn’t about us as parents. It is about our children—even men and women who do not have children 🙂 . We are all parents in some way. There is no shame in having no children. The shame is when parents act as though they do not have children.


Happy Father’s Day!


Amy (me) helps her dad plant flowers


Daddy, thank you! You taught me well because you were a great father and I will never forget it. You were not just a father to me but to so many! Thank you again! I love you!

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This was written the Tuesday before Thanksgiving–the last day I spoke with my husband. This posting is what lead up to the new me because this is who I am and it lead to the decision I made that Friday night. Stripping away the memories has been difficult and continues to be. I hit a little snag this week but I have to face the demons to get through.

When I was a young girl we went to see The Sound of Music—the movie. Back then, going to the movies was still more of a theatrical production than these days. I don’t know why, but this has always been my favorite movie. Great ones have come along and I would watch them over and over but when you ask me my favorite—it has to be The Sound of Music. There are parts I love and parts I don’t…the cemetery scene is one I didn’t like and still have not formed a fondness for. Many of the music scenes are wonderful to me, and I always cry BEFORE cue 😀 especially before this one…


The most meaningful part of the movie to me was when the Reverend Mother summoned Maria out of seclusion. Maria had returned to the Abbey because she felt an emotional love for the father of the children she had been sent to govern—as well a love for the children. She felt it was wrong since she was there for the Church. She had yet to take her final vows. I write a lot about selfless love and boundaries and self-discipline. This is the epitome of all three.


The life of nuns and so many others who serve God selflessly show real dedication. There is not much room for love of self because their lives are filled with sense of duty and purpose. Julie Andrews exhibits such emotion with little drama. One sees what is going on inside of Maria–the conflict, and the Reverend Mother comes to her aid as a parent would for their child. I love where the Reverend Mother admits that she may have been wrong for leaving Maria in her seclusion for so long. She tells Maria that her love for God is no less if she loves this man and that she doesn’t have to choose. The climax of the scene is the song, “Climb Every Mountain.” Tears roll even before the music begins—ALWAYS—probably because of these words…


  • Reverend Mother: Maria, the love of a man and a woman is holy too. You have a great capacity to love. What you must find out is how God wants you to spend your love.
  • Maria: But I pledged my life to God. I pledged my life to his service.
  • Reverend Mother: My daughter, if you love this man, it doesn’t mean you love God less. No, you must find out and you must go back.
  • Maria: Oh, Mother, you can’t ask me to do that. Please let me stay, I beg of you.
  • Reverend Mother: Maria, these walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.


My love for this movie was echoed in my marriage. My husband’s family was from Germany and he was stationed there for a while before we married. Actually, both of us have German ancestors and I have always wanted to visit this area especially Austria and Black Forest region. My husband had promised he would take me one day—another one of our dreams… It’s Thanksgiving. It’s tough this year—really tough. This is one of those things I am having to work through. It is hard when you have a dream from your childhood to become so ingrained later in your life. How do you separate that? How does one peel those memories away and preserve the innocence? How do I restore the memories of my childhood with my parents who are no longer here along with the hope and dreams I have shared and wanted to share with my husband? I don’t have the answers.


May your dreams always become reality and may your gardens be filled with great blessings. Happy Gardening! 😀


Quote taken from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Sound_of_Music


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If my parents were alive today they would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married in a little church in Alabama in 1952.


My parents as they exited the church.


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!


And, Happy Gardening to everyone else!


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Well, if you are reading my blog today then there is a huge chance you are not in Savannah celebrating. I think I have mentioned this before—I have never been to Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day and never want to! Yes, I enjoy (love) the city including all of my memories from there, but wild horses could not drag me to Savannah on March 17 unless a family member is ill or something to that effect (knock on wood). It is absolutely beautiful in the springtime with all of the azaleas in bloom but when everyone else seems to be heading there you will find me heading the other way—or just staying still.

Yes, I do have some Irish in me, quite a bit actually, but all of the ancestors were gone from Ireland by 1800 in order to have a better life here in the states. I don’t mind giving honor to good ole St. Pat but I wish he had run all of the snakes out of the states, too. Then, there would really be a cause to celebrate :)!

Enjoy today and imbibe responsibly! Happy Gardening!


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Banana Rum Cake

I usually start cooking this recipe in the fall and continue through New Year’s because I love the smell not to mention the fact that I think the cake tastes good. I sometimes give these cakes as Christmas gifts or take them for get-togethers during the holidays. My oldest daughter helped make these. Aren’t they beautiful? I have been making this cake recipe for 30 years now. Has it really been that long? The pan on the right is over 30 years old and is looking its age.

The recipe begins with a boxed pound cake mix (oh, horrors 🙂). Betty Crocker’s Pound Cake mix is what I start with. Besides an egg, I add rum, sour cream, a well-ripened banana, and nutmeg (freshly grated). If I don’t have a well-ripened banana, I have been known to ‘squish’ a banana before peeling and add to mix, but it doesn’t have the same exact flavor. Here are the ingredients if you would like to make this cake-ignore the ones on the box.

Banana Rum Cake

  • 1 1-lb box of pound cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c dark rum
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I use freshly grated)

I first grease a loaf pan. Then I pour the mix in my bowl using a fork to break up lumps and ‘sift’ through the mix. I then add the next 3 ingredients and stir vigorously. You can use a mixer, but I never do with this recipe. Lastly, I stir in the darkened banana-not rotten-followed by the freshly grated nutmeg. I make sure the large banana lumps are broken up and mixed in well. Next, I pour the mix into my greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees according to the size pan you are using and the time on the box or just a little more. You may want to decrease the temperature ever so slightly if using a dark pan. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove cake from pan. This is where I take a big sniff. It should smell absolutely delightful.

You can try a piece while the cake is still warm and then compare it to one from the next day to see how you like it. I like it both ways. This recipe came from a college friend’s grandmother many years ago. It was a simple way to make an enhanced pound cake that I still enjoy making. The fresh nutmeg is so aromatic and really makes the cake come alive, so to say.

Happy Gardening and may your kitchen yield many lovely baked goods this winter!


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For the first time in several years I did not awake at 2 am or earlier trying to beat the crazies (yes, I know I have been one). When our girls were young, my Christmas shopping was complete by the close of business Labor Day all except for the little things like Christmas candy and such that at the time were not put out until just before Thanksgiving (now it is before Halloween). The first time I dared to Black Friday shop (and I mean when the doors open) was to get our first cordless phone from all places but Walmart. The crowds were nothing like today’s crowds (or last night’s crowds), but Hubby thought I had lost my mind. That was all we bought and I was so proud that we actually got what we went for.

Neither my husband nor I like crowds. I know why I don’t… Back in one of my previous lives I worked for an eating establishment at the mall—with an outside entrance. The day after Thanksgiving was usually our biggest sales day of the year. There were years where I worked almost 40 hours in two days. Yep, and it wasn’t just sitting around-it was hard work. It was insane! But…I was so much younger.

In more recent years my hubby, the girls, and I would get up and stand in line for electronic items—Christmas for the family. Target was the store of choice except last year everything we wanted was already taken, so we headed to Staples. We I  always had a plan—knew exactly what we needed wanted and each person had a cheat sheet with their particular item they were in charge of. It was fun bonding time, but this year we slept in for several reasons…one, the stores opened earlier with some not opening til 5 or 6 AM–I refused to stay up all night. Two, our pre-Christmas funds are really low nonexistent (the piggy has been broken due to my computer dying and the car murder crash). And, lastly, I did not think there was much of an offering that I would stand in line for. Well, not all of us stayed home this year. My youngest went with a friend to WM last night and then to Target. I hear that she got ruffled and tussled at WM. It is all insane!

While there is so much focus on purchases this holiday season, I would like to ask that we be more attuned to giving of and from the heart that costs us little to nothing out of our pockets.

Happy Gardening and may your holidays be filled with fun and good cheer now and throughout the year!


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Traditional or other?

This is usually the time when I start getting excited about Thanksgiving dinner which is not really dinner in our house-not usually. Sometimes it is served as lunch anywhere around 11-ish to 3-ish or is truly dinner around 6-ish. I am not excited because it is too hot, way too HOT—yeah, that broken record is back on.  I had hoped the hot weather was behind us at least for this year but we have been in the 80s with a degree shy of record heat, again.  It didn’t make me feel better to learn that our winter forecast is for warmer than usual temps through February—I guess someone thought this was news?

For our Thanksgiving meal, we sometimes have the traditional ham or turkey or both. One year, we had two (2) turkeys AND a ham. I bought a cooked turkey from Mr Sam’s. I also baked a ham with my pineapple-brown sugar topping, but I guess my mother-in-law didn’t think that was enough as she brought an Indiana bird with her for me to cook, too. We opened the ice chest from her trip and yes, there it was…another Tom Turkey. SURPRISE!!!! She also brought 5 or 6 mouths to feed in addition to our small crew. People laugh, but I like it when we barbeque ribs on the grill for our meal because I don’t have to spend all of the time in the kitchen. Going non-traditional is just fine. Who said traditional meant turkey? My family growing up did ham for T-giving and turkey for Christmas. Today, we still have die-hards who love my dressing and sweet potato casserole—I’m one of those, too, but I can do it any old way…with ham or turkey or both or neither.

So, what’s on our menu this year…

  • Turkeya nice plump juicy Butterball cooked in a cooking bag…no stuffing except for onions 🙂
  • Cornbread dressinga recipe passed down from my mother
  • Sweet potato casserolea local recipe I began making about 20 years ago
  • Mashed potatoesfor those who do not like sweet potatoes (Hubby)
  • Baby lima beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Fruitnot yet decided
  • Saladnot yet decided…maybe a fruit salad?
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Rollsprobably not my yummy Frigidaire (yeast) rolls 😦
  • Pies

We have never had issues with turkey leftovers and I have wondered why there is so much ado about them. We absolutely love turkey so we usually have it twice the day it is cooked with enough for maybe 2-3 meals afterwards depending on the size of the bird. I love this type of turkey on a sandwich, too.

So, do you have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and if you cook a turkey, do you stuff your bird with stuffing or something else?

Hope everyone’s plans are working out for this Thanksgiving! I know I am so blessed to live to see another Thanksgiving and am thankful that we can provide a nice meal for our family when so many cannot.

Happy Gardening!


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Jack-o'-lantern and Bee

I have not always been a quilter or even a seamstress, but when I was young, I was always crafting something.  I loved to design and create plans, and then I enjoyed seeing those plans come to life. I was not a fan of investing a lot of time in any one thing, so a lot of tedious hand sewing is something I tried to steer clear of. I did not get bitten with the sewing bug until my college days. My mother bought me a sewing machine when I moved away from home—an electric one. I wonder if she knew how much of a gift she gave me, but I wish I had taken my Singer treadle one with me, too. I enrolled in a sewing tips course while I was working on my master’s degree though I could already sew. Our teacher taught us how to make things she sold in shows and exhibits. She shared with us abundant tricks of the trade. The variety of things I made helped to spark my creative talent in sewing and kept alive a spirit in other things, too. I owe this lady so much.

Ghost and Clown

I have been going through some of our early photos with the girls and found some things I want to share. I only hope they will forgive me. I love making costumes. The thought of becoming someone else is magical to me, and  I still enjoy creating my own patterns. I don’t go for the scary or the occult at Halloween, but we have allowed our children to trick-or-treat because it has been a good way to get out and visit with our neighbors. We moved into our house before my youngest could walk so she stayed home her first year. Her costume was a fuzzy one piece outfit (with hood). I sewed ears on it along with a small tail. I could not find a photo of her in it, but she basically spent the night crawling back and forth on the front porch while I sat outside giving out candy.

The jack-o’-lantern costume was used by my oldest for 2 years since I made it a little big. The above photo was taken on the second go-round. The bee or yellow jacket is my youngest daughter. I hated that I had to buy fairy wings to use, but I painted them and they worked just fine.

Lil' Miss Muffet

There have been many costumes over the years but these are a few of the earlier ones…–Ghost (a story here) and Clown(multi-colored mop hair)—Little Miss Muffet (complete with spider)—Little Red Riding Hood—50s Era outfit (poodle skirt)—and Pink Bunny Rabbit. The ghost looks more like a zombie (which I’m totally against). I didn’t want her sight to be obstructed. I wasn’t very happy how this one turned out. The rabbit outfit (below) was made from one-piece pj’s that I cut the feet out and added a big white tail.

Lil' Red Riding Hood

Some that are not here are a Hershey Bar, Pikachu (I was very proud of that one), a raccoon, a kitty, a witch, an 80s pop star, and others I don’t remember. Perhaps I will show some of them when I get to those photos. By the way, these are not digital ones, so they do not show up as well.

50's Era and Bunny

About the poodle skirt:  It was made from material that had little white sheep on it. After purchasing it, I put it on my sewing machine which at the time was in our bedroom, and one night after the lights were off I looked over to see all of these glowing spots. It scared me so bad! Each sheep glowed after being exposed to light, so I thought it would be good for a costume.

I want to include pieces of these costumes (or scraps) in the memory quilts, but I have to find some of the costumes that have been packed away. The trick now is to keep everything together until I can start on the quilts. I had planned to have the tops finished by now, but with all of the things that have happened this year I am glad that we are doing as well as we are.

There are more things to come as I take a trip back in time. And, if you are wondering what the bunny is doing over there in the photo, that is my youngest. She would dance and sing all of the time. She got caught in the action. Did you check out that bunny tail?

Take care and Happy Gardening!


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Halloween is coming and today it finally feels like fall again. We have had a few brief cool downs but the A/C is still on and is still running at times (set at 77) - just not as often as during the summer. Temps have been in the upper 80s to low 90s hovering around record highs for this time of year. We usually have cooler temperatures by now, so I am really hopeful that it will be cool for Halloween. 

This photo is from a shirt I bought some years ago. I have been wanting to wear it, but it is long sleeves...I am have been wearing shorts. Speaking of photos, I still do not have the fall photo I wanted to add to the top of my blog. This one is from last year’s trip to the mountains. I hope to get photos on our little jaunt tomorrow. We had big plans for this week, but hubby has spent his vacation in bed with what seems to mimic the flu if it is only a bad cold -- not fun. We are a pair, him with his cold/flu and me with my back. Oh, joy!

Happy Gardening and may your Halloween and other holiday preparations be filled with fun!


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