Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Caught a peep....

Saw this in the grocery store yesterday and I knew Easter is on its way!

Colorful... fun.. and totally nasty to me!  I love a marshmallow, but a Peep? EWWW!  No thank you! But I do know that they burst forth each Spring to announce the coming of Easter.  

And while perusing the seasonal aisle I caught a glimpse of this...

I have the clearest memory of my dad bring a bag of Reese's Pieces to my daughter when she was no more than 2.  I can see him putting one out for her to try and I can see her face when the taste hits. She was hooked!  She loves pretty much anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. Shortly after that, I discovered these Reese's Pieces Carrots and they have been in her Easter basket ever since. At 25, she doesn't actually get a basket any more.. but I can assure you I will be purchasing a carrot for her. (Remember traditions are big in our family.. and they often involve food!)

There will be a few other Easter goodies bought despite the fact that we no longer do baskets.  My husband will expect to have 2 or 3 of these goodies..

Snickers Easter Eggs.

My son's tradition has changed. For many of his 20 years he received these...

But a few years ago he discovered the Easter version of Lifesaver Gummies. Evidently the flavors used are not the regular ones and can only be found at Easter, so he tends to stock up.. though they never last him that long!  LOL!

And for me.. my favorite Easter candy is one I have loved since I was a little girl. 

My mother owned a pharmacy that was more like a general store and we sold Russell Stover candy there.  I remember when the Easter Candy came in and there would be the Coconut Nests.. NOT the eggs with coconut cream filling.. these nests are milk chocolate and toasted coconut shaped like a bird nest and then topped with 3 jelly beans to look like eggs. I usually fed the jelly beans to my dog!  (I hate jelly beans) Now I give them to my husband. :-)  You can now get a Coconut Wreath at Christmas, making this treat available at other times of year. But I still look forward to it at Easter.  Takes me back to my childhood.

Awww Easter candy.. need to up the walking to get ready!  

Monday, February 25, 2013

The counting continues....

61. New Bluebird Houses (see earlier post)

62. Hearing my musician son play and sing (he will leave the nest soon and I won't have him providing the soundtrack for my days any more)

63. The weekend... it has been one of those weeks and it is nice to be home doing normal home stuff and just relaxing with my husband.

64. Hints of spring.. I see little green buds and flowers popping up here and there.. Spring will be exploding here very soon!

65. Hot tea and honey... I am nursing a bit of a scratchy sore throat.. the beginnings of a cold I fear.. and I am so thankful for hot tea with honey to soothe it.

66. Fabric... I probably have mentioned this one before... but I love being able to cut and sew and create quilts for us and others... and even tiny little scraps no one really wants can be used to create a bit of quilted love.

67. Organizations like Quilts for Kids, Project Linus, Quilts of Valor etc. that provide quilts for children and veterans in the hospital.. and provide a way for quilters to use their skills to touch someone's life.

68. Podcasts... I love that I can listen to sermons given years ago and / or miles and miles away with just a touch of a finger.  One of the wonders and blessings of technology.

69. Time with my mom... Mother is 81. She has a pacemaker check this week and afterwards we had lunch at a favorite little cafe and then went to a bookstore.  Simple things... just a bit of time... special memories.

70. Crockpots.. again, I have probably mentioned these before, but I am a huge lover of slow cookers and use them several times a week.  Earlier this week I made Rotel Dip in one for Bible study... last weekend I made Hobo Stew.. today I have a new recipe I am trying out.. Tamale Pie (thankful for a husband who is adventurous!) Crockpots are one of my favorite servants!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Our neighbor came over the bring us something. The gruesome twosome were not neighborly. They barked rudely and got a scolding.  Here they are afterwards.. don't they look repentant? HA! (Ignore the messy computer cabinet.. didn't get a chance to close the doors before grabbing the shot)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Heavens Declare..

Psalm 19 tells us the Heavens declare the Glory of God. When I hear that verse I think of a night sky full of stars, a brilliant sunrise or sunset, a bright full moon... but I saw just as much glory and beauty in a pre-storm sky the other afternoon as I tooled around the backyard.

The Heavens Declare....

Ready for Residents

As is evident from earlier posts, I am a total nut when it comes to birds.. the outdoor kind. Not a fan of birds in cages.  I grew up watching and listening to sparrows, doves, cardinals, jays, mockingbirds, hummingbirds and more.  And I have carried that love.. instilled by my mother.. into adulthood and passed it on to at least one of my kids. Over the years we have watched birds build nests.. seen babies fly for the first time.. buried a few that the neighborhood cats or our dogs have gotten.. saved a hummer we were certain was dead.. and spent many hours watching with a Field Guide in our hand to id new to us birds.  So it is not surprise that our yard is geared towards birds. My sweet husband landscaped our back yard years ago and made certain we had flowering plants and plants that have berries to attract birds.. as well as bird baths, feeders and houses. And he even put my glider out in the midst of it so I could sit and take it all in. :-)  He is a good man!

We have had bluebird houses on the fence line for many years. Every February we clean them out and wait for the scouts to come exploring. We have watched the mama and papa bluebirds build the nest and even seen them going in and out to feed babies. They don't like to be watched... they are very covert.. I call them secret agent birds. Only once have I seen the babies fly.  I was outside doing laundry and heard a sound, turned around and there they were. It was one of the most precious things I have ever seen.

Several years ago some other kind of bird pecked at one of the houses and made the entrance hole larger.. which meant the bluebirds stopped using it.  Both houses were looking ratty and in need of repair or replacement. Then our neighbor decided it was time to replace the fence, so we had to remove the houses before it came down.  We decided this was a good opportunity for new ones.  Soon we learned that the carpenter where my husband works makes bluebird houses and we ordered up 2 new ones. He brought them in this week and hubs got right to hanging them up.  Here they are on the fence row..

and here is a close up...

I was sooo excited to see them there. But even more excited the next day when I saw Chickadees going in and out of one the next day!  Chickadees are one of my most favorite birds. Did some research and found that they will nest in Bluebird houses. Had no idea!!!

I have not seen them back there, but the following day I saw bluebirds checking out the new digs.

So hopefully we will see someone moving in soon. I have a small bowl full of thread scraps from sewing that I plan to toss out once I see nest building activity.  Would be fun to see bits of it in the nests around the yard.

As for the old houses, they are on a shelf in the carport.  This winter the wrens and sparrows used them to get out of the cold and rain.  We are expecting nests to be built in them this spring too. We have wrens in the carport somewhere every spring. They are too cute but sooo loud!

Hopefully I will be able to snap some photos of our winged friends... maybe even a shot of a bluebird!  That would be a coup!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

3 Roses...

Valentine's Day is also our firstborn's birthday, so we have kept the Cupid fest simple over the years and celebrate our baby girl instead.  But we haven't tosses out all the hearts and candy!  Usually I get everyone one candy item.  Sometimes a card.. I love cards but the cost of them has gotten ridiculous!  Hubby gets in on the act with flowers.  Again.. keeping it simple

White Roses are very special to me. My dad planted roses when I was little and he had one bush that was a white rose.  He would tell me that was my rose.  So I grew up loving white roses.  When I was a teen I made a deal with God... the way I would know the guy was "the guy", he would send me a dozen white roses. I never told a soul. I got white roses over the years.. but never a dozen.. until my 19th birthday. I walked into the dorm and saw them and started to cry. I already knew my fella was "the guy" but that just confirmed it and sent me over the moon!  So each Valentine's Day I receive a lovely white rose...

When our Valentine girl was born, my dad gave her pink roses.  My husband decided to continue the tradition and so starting with her first birthday, he gave her a pink rose just as he did this year....

When our son (baby #2) was a wee one, he asked with a hang-dog look one year why Daddy gave flowers to the girls, but not him.  And so a third rose was added.. deep red for his little man... who is not so little any more...

We are a family who loves tradition... not locked into it or obsessed about it, but we do love it.. cherish it.. look forward to it... memory makers.


Primos is a local restaurant that has been in the Jackson area since the 1940s. My folks lived here from 1950 - 1956 and ate there at Primos Cafe.  This is a photo of the original Primos...

After my husband and I moved up here, we started eating at Primos (it had moved to a new location). In fact, when I was pregnant with our first child, I had horrible all day morning sickness. When it finally started to subside a bit, the only thing I could eat and keep down was a grilled cheese and homemade veggie soup from Primos. I ate it daily!  The day our daughter was born, friends took Bill to lunch while I got a much needed nap.. they walked across the street from the hospital to.. Primos!

I worked around the corner from the Cafe and had many business breakfasts and lunches there.

And then tragedy struck... a fire.. and Primos was gone!

But not for long. They rebuilt.. in 2 locations.. and we were back in business!

Our kids have grown up eating there. It is a family favorite.  And it is still my favorite local hangout with my husband.  It is a bit like going to eat with family.  Home cooking.. daily specials.. and the bakery!  Oh my!  Primos is known for their bakery.. petit fours, cookies, mini pecan tarts, caramel cake, and so much more!

Primos is far from fancy.... and we like that about it... friendly hometown cafe where you can just go and be yourself and laugh with the locals...

This is what the Cafe we ate at looked like before the fire.

This is the front of one of the new locations... Love the neon!

The interior is very reminiscent of the original... in fact, some of the booths came from there and were refurbished.

Love the tables.... so 50s.

One of my favorites.. Chicken Pot Pie with a homemade Primo biscuit on top.

And lastly the bakery.. which was sooo empty the other night!  This was the day before Valentine's and they had been picked over by folks grabbing up goodies for V-Day parties.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blessings continue....

51. Using old family things like crystal and plates and such.

52. 3 roses.. every year my husband gives me a white rose, our daughter a pink rose and our son a red rose for Valentine's Day.

53. Sunshine!  We have been having weeks of gray skies and rain.. sooo soggy here. Yesterday and today have been bright sunshiny days which I am loving!

54. My servants.. LOL!  A friend calls all our modern conveniences her servants.. in reference to the Proverbs 31 woman's servant girls (Prov 31:15).  So far today I have had my dishwasher, washer, and iron serving me.

55. Towels!  As I mentioned earlier we have had lots of rain lately and our poor yard is soggy and has some muddy spots.  The 2 pups who live here are indoor doggies, but go out regularly to do what dogs do outside. They are both low to the ground, which means they come in with wet paws and bellies!  And one of them loves to splash through mud puddles!  So I am very thankful for towels and wash clothes to clean them up (and again for a servant that washes all those towels and wash clothes!).

56. Family times... last night part of our family gathered to celebrate our daughter's 25th birthday. It was not grand affair.. but so wonderful.. we sat around our old kitchen table (been in my husband's family for several generations).. eating homemade lasagna... laughing.. conversing... lingering... it was lovely!

57. "Jean" Dates... My mother's name, my daughter and I all have the same middle name.. Jean. And Lord willing, I will one day have a granddaughter with that middle name. (We really love tradition here!)  The 3 "Jeans" try to have some just us time every now and then.... we got to do that this week with lunch out together. It was a hoot!  Such great memories being made!

58. Hot tea with honey... I love hot tea and I especially love it with honey.. local honey to be exact. And with this weather we have had lately, I have loved it more as it has soothed an itchy throat and help with coughs.

59. Waking up with a song playing in my head... 99% of the time it is a worship song or hymn... and it usually sticks with me all day. Love it!

60. NOT being on a cruise.. LOL!  This week a cruise ship broke down in the Gulf of Mexico and the passengers and crew (4600) were stranded with no power and little plumbing for several days as it was slowly towed to shore.  Far from an ideal situation!  Glad I was home.. on dry ground.. not stuck with a boat load of cranky folks!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Picking up where I left off...

Last year (or maybe even before then!) I started posting blessings. The plan was to post 10 a week. The plan failed. :-(  Life got in the way and I chose other things over blogging.

Well I started reading Ann Voskamp's books One Thousand Gifts recently. In it she talks of making a list of 1000 things that she is thankful for.. I am once again challenged.  And the thing I love about her list (what I have read so far) are that they are often the ordinary things we take for granted each and every day.. a bird, heat in the house, the mess of having children underfoot (my nest is almost empty, so trust me I know that one really is a blessing!)... 

I posted 40 things last year.. so today I am going to pick up where I left off. I like to write (talk with my fingers) so I tend to feel the need to expound on each thing I list. I think that is why I often didn't get around to it.. no time to go into detail.  This year I am not going to worry about that.. the details.. they may come at times, but even if all I can do is list some things.. that will be enough.

Thankfulness keeps me focused on God.. on His being at work in my life and the world around me.. lifts my spirits and encourages me to keep on..

41. Boxes of fabric ready to become quilts to wrap others in a cocoon of love
42. A car pulled through the carport and parked on the patio (yep.. on the patio).. that means the nest isn't quite empty yet. We still have 1 "child" at home for a bit longer.
43. My daughter's tweets which are often quotes... we share a love for good quotes!
44. An over-crowded deep freeze... means there is food to eat for the days to come.
45. Bowl full of my husband's freshly made pimento cheese.. yum!  Also means our child that doesn't live at home will be coming by.. she loves her daddy's 'minter cheese.  :-)
46. Quietness...
47. Watching our 2 furbabies play and wrestle with each other.. especially when Miss Mia gets fired up and starts to bark that sassy little bark of hers!
48. Seeing God at work in a very personal way in the life of someone I love
49. Online Bible Study with new friends (Let It Go study)
50. A clean kitchen... which I will have once I get off the computer! LOL!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cornbread.... it's what's for supper!

I am a Southern girl through and through.  There are a number of Southern foods that course through my veins.. turnip greens, biscuits with fresh cane syrup, peach cobbler, chicken and dumplings, butter beans,..... the list goes on and on... and you can be sure that cornbread is a big part of it.

I was not a bit fan of cornbread as a kid. Probably because we had it sooo often. It was my mother's go-to bread.  Yeast rolls were a huge treat and came at restaurants or when we had company over and had roast. Biscuits were at least once a week, but I never grew tired of them.. how can you grow tired of biscuits!

I never remember having sliced bread at the table like so many families did. Nope, mother would throw together a pone of cornbread without thinking.. it was the most natural thing for her. I can close my eyes and see her in our little kitchen mixing it all together and later flipping it in the hot cast iron skillet. Pure Magic!

I married a fella who loves cornbread... would eat it every meal I think!  But I never learned to make it, so for the first 10 years or so of our marriage he got Cornbread muffins from Jiffy Mix. He never complained, but I know he relished those meals at Mother's and in restaurants where there was real cornbread.  After 10 years of marriage and the birth of our 2nd child, I came home and our income took a dive. I started learning to cook from scratch.. the way my mother and grandmother's did.  And I fell in love with it and, I might add, took to it like a duck takes to water. I saw unabashedly that I am a good cook.  You need only look at our waistlines to know that!

One of those from scratch things I learned to make was cornbread and with it came a new found love for it. I was no longer a kid bored with it over and over. I will eat it with a regular meal, but I really love it with soups and stews.  Oh my!  Soooo good!

Last night's supper was one of those meals... I discovered a wonderful easy to make soup / stew online this year.. Hobo Stew.  I love a dish where you toss stuff in a pot, let it cook and voila! You have a yummy meal!  And, of course, there had to be cornbread. It goes perfect with this!

Decided to document the process... phone pictures not perfect. I do not have photo worthy lighting in my kitchen... but they work...

I have no recipe (true to many things I cook)... and while I have lovely vintage Pyrex bowls I use for so many things, I always.. always make cornbread in a Pyrex measuring cup. No idea why since I never measure anything when making it. I just do.  I also have plenty of whisks, spoons, spatulas etc but I always mix it with a fork... my mom mixed hers with a fork... it's a family thing.

I have made cornbread for years in a skillet, but when my husband and his sisters were going through their parents estate, they came across cast iron that had belonged to their grandmother. I ended up with a few pieces including a corn bread stick pan. I had one before but the sticks were skinny and shallow and burned easily. This one is perfect!  Just the right size. And it is now seasoned to perfection! So in the batter goes.

And 20 minutes later out it comes...

Let's flip these babies over and see how they look...

        Ready to dip into some stew!