Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jack Frost Nipping at the Hodgepodge

Baby, it's COLD outside! 

As I write these words the wind is whistling through the rafters due to a cold front moving in,
making tonight's temperatures the coldest of the season so far.
Now I realize that 20 degrees might not seem that cold to some of you
but for us southerners, that's cold...
...although I am not forgetting the fact that in a week or two, 60 or 70 is likely to return!

We even had a little bit of snow over the weekend...and little bit are the keys words here.
While we only got about an inch, many folks to the south and west of us got bunches!
It was so beautiful coming down in huge flakes and just perfect timing as well,
making our early Christmas gathering even more festive and special.
 (once again, no camera in hand!)

We had a great time making merry on Friday that continued through Saturday.
We enjoyed a feast of  Honeybaked ham, yummy appetizers and desserts
and also celebrated Dylan's 17th can this be...17, really??
After the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper was cleared from the floor,
our dear DIL Carrie, introduced us to a little bit of fun called Bean Boozled.
It's all about taking a chance on eating a certain jelly bean... will either taste like something good or something very bad...but here's the catch...
the good and the bad jelly beans look identical and no sniffing allowed! 
And if you don't swallow it, you're out of the game!

 Let me just say this, they nailed the Spoiled Milk!
Oh. My. Word.
It took all evening to get that taste out of my mouth...BUT
from the expressions on Adam's and Dylan's faces,
I think Dead Fish and Canned Dog Food were right up there!
And YOU TOO can enjoy this fun family activity, available wherever games are sold!
So, like that old song says..."the party's over" least for now.
I think I'm going to just chill out a bit until Christmas Eve rolls around.

I want to just sit back and take in the beauty of the Christmas lights and the soft glow of candles.
I want to listen to some beautiful carols and reflect on that holy night of long ago. the meantime, 

...we have Hodgepodge questions from Joyce to be answered!

1. "Hurry less, worry less"...what's your strategy for making that happen this holiday season? How's it going so far?

The only strategy I have is to intentionally find time to just sit down and be quiet, even for a few moments...the room is dimly lit with Christmas lights only, no TV, no noise...(except for that angel on top of the tree that squeaks every time her wings move....remember, she's old.) I would like to be able to tell you that I have done neither hurrying or worrying but then I would be fibbing. I will tell you though, that having our main family gathering early this year...last Friday...has given me a chance to sit back and chill now that all the cleaning, wrapping, food prep, etc. is over....and Christmas Day hasn't even arrived yet. Jim will be working on the 25th so I imagine we will get together on Christmas Eve with Aaron's family to exchange gifts and a bit of merriment and I am anticipating a quiet, laid back Christmas. I am looking forward to the days between now and then to refresh my focus on that One perfect gift.

2. Do you have a list of to-dos that need accomplishing in order to prepare your home and/or property for the winter season? What are some of the jobs on your list? Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone to accomplish these tasks?

There are several things that we normally do to winterize before the big chill but there is nothing particularly difficult about them so we do them ourselves. Among them are disconnecting water hoses, blow the mounds and mounds of remaining leaves away from the house and roof, and my personal favorite, covering the vents around the foundation with Gorilla Tape. In North Carolina you may not want to do too much winterizing...on any given day in the winter, you may have 70 degree temps and you just might want that garden hose handy in case you want to wash your car!

3. According to dietitians surveyed, the most popular health foods for 2018 will be -turmeric, sprouted foods (bean sprouts, breads with sprouted grains, etc), veggies in place of grains, dairy free milk, and pulses (lentils, chickpeas, etc).  What's the first thought that ran through your head when you read this list? Of the foods listed which one might you add to your regular diet? Also, can milk really be dairy free? Is it still milk?

As a matter if fact, I have just started to take turmeric capsules. Turmeric is touted to have many medicinal properties such as being a super anti-inflammatory, supports immune health, helps relieve pain, and can aid in digestion, among other things. And if Ezekiel bread wasn't so doggone expensive, I'd eat it everyday...but I do buy it occasionally because I love the texture. (For those of you who are not familiar with it, it's made with sprouted grains.) And just the other night (after sneaking a few bites of German Chocolate cake) that cup of ice cold almond milk was just about as close as it comes to the real thing and I am in awe that this is even possible...milk from nuts? Really? I have been drinking it for a while now...the unsweetened vanilla flavored I said, I'm a believer...30 calories and less than 1 carb is good with me!

4. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. According to the Pantone site 'Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking pointing us to the future.' What say you? Do you like the color purple? Did you see the movie or read the book-ha!?  Is purple a color you wear often? Describe for us one purple item in your home without using the word purple.  If you were in charge of such things what color would you select for 2018?

I have never heard of Pantone so I googled it ...and all I have to say about that is "whatever". I  might like an iPhone or a laptop in that color but it would make for an odd looking outfit if you ask me. I do like purple though...and the movie is one of my fact if I am flipping channels and catch it on, you can bet I will stop to watch at least a portion of it. I do have a few purple-ish clothing items...the eggplant shade to be precise but I wouldn't say I wear it real often. I have no clue as to what color I'd select for 2018...anything except orange or yellow...anything matches my trademark black pants. 😁

5. Favorite book you read are reading this year?

Although I am not terribly bookish, I do like to read. This year I am enjoying the devotional book, "Jesus Always" by Sarah Young...among a few others.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

This is our "new" temporary seems to be getting more real each day. This is what you do when you don't want to throw money away on rent for a year. 😉

Who knows...maybe we'll like the "glamping" lifestyle and forgo the farmhouse all together.
Somehow, I seriously doubt it.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Hodgepodge Welcomes December

Oscar & Tasha would like to say...

 And welcome to another edition of the Hodgepodge...

...where Joyce from This Side of the Pond asks us the questions
and we answer them on our blogs.
So this is what my weekend looked like....

Hmmm...looks like that wise man is praying for the angel who fell from the!
I promise you, everyone is now properly situated in their places.
And after the tree was all decorated, I found these lovelies tucked away in the laundry room.
(The walls in my living room are not really orange...just the reflection of all those colored lights!)

I had purchased them at Goodwill months ago and completely forgotten about them.
I mean completely.
I call them vintage but they're probably just retro...anyway the box they came in was quite aged.
I tried to do a little digging into how old they might be but all I know is they were made by the 
Christmas by Krebs Company.
I found some very similar to them on ebay and they were described as being from the 70s.
Well, there was no way they were not getting on the tree... know, the one that always looks the same year after year...
...except this year, my unchanging tree has a few new "old" baubles hanging on it.


1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

"Anticipation, Anticipay-yay-shun"

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Well, of course the microwave should have it's own day...everything else does, right? I use mine everyday for one thing or another, whether it is a re-heat, to soften butter or bread for a few seconds, or to cook me up a yummy Healthy Choice microwave meal for when I come home for lunch. I do a lot of cooking for just me, myself and I since Jim isn't here for supper most nights. I gave up my standard 2-slice toaster a few years ago for a toaster oven and make many meals in it or in a skillet. I sure do rely on it though for a lot of things and would miss it if it was gone. Could I get along without it? Sure...I could...but I don't want to.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

I think it would be "Silent Night". Can you just imagine being there... in that manger...being a witness to the birth of our Lord Jesus? To see the wonder on Mary's face as she lays eyes on her brand new baby boy, the Savior of the world as her husband Joseph stands in awe. The shepherds, the animals, all gazing in wonder at the sweet baby lying there in the hay...radiant glory all around... as that Star shines ever so brightly. And then there are the angels....ah yes... their voices are such a GLORIOUS sound! Can you hear them? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have been there?

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

It would have to be driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Surely there must be other places just as lovely or even more so, but to me. it's almost heaven. Of course this photo does it no justice but it's the only one I could find without going through files and files.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

I never make a Christmas list for things I want, personally...only for what what I need to buy for preparing the meal. When it comes to getting tangible gifts, I really don't want or need a thing. But everything that I would wish for, especially in days such as these, is expressed so beautifully in this familiar song by Amy Grant.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Need I say more??

Until next time...may your week be blessed!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Let's Decorate the Hodgepodge

Thanksgiving has come and gone...can you even believe it?
I hope everyone had a great one!
I don't know about you, but I'm still stuffed. 
And here I am planning the meal for our early Christmas gathering, less than two weeks away.
I have already decided that a variety of appetizers will be the meal.
The fall decorations have made their way back into the garage and in the next few days,
Jim will bring in the Christmas tree (my skinny little fake one) and numerous tubs.

I will have the house to myself this weekend so I can make as much of a mess as I want to!

I get a little misty thinking about the possibility of decking these halls for the last time.

Of course, we are not sure exactly what God has in store...
...but hey, it's all good!

So we're here for Joyce's Hodgepodge...

...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Let's get on with the questions, shall we?
1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

I guess when I first heard of blogging, I found it rather silly...I wasn't really sure what the purpose was. Then I started reading one, then another and another. And then I got this wild hair and started one crazy is that? Before long I began to feel connections to the author's hearts and personalities...many seemed as though we were kindred spirits, so to speak. Never did I imagine that such wonderful online friendships could be formed...and I have been amazed that you don't have to meet someone face to face to really care about them. My blogging sisters have truly enriched my life. 

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

I believe I touched on this in my last hodgepodge post. You can pretty much find me in the "reheat and eat" camp, not only because I really enjoy most leftovers but I'm not into wasting perfectly good food. My favorite thing to reheat and eat could possibly be chili or soups in general...they seem to get better every time. There is very little that I 'could not abide' as a leftover but green salads and some fruit salads don't seem to do well in the fridge for long. And this just may gag some of you but sometimes you just may find me eating cold pizza...right out of the fridge... for breakfast. 

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

I think we all need some "me time" in order to be who God created us to be...and whatever that looks like will be different for each one of us.

4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Decorating ideas and/or help setting up for an event at church, or maybe putting together an insert or flyer pertaining to said event...and on the home front, mending or alterations of some sort. One instance that stands out is when I was asked to help Adam hang his bear rug on the two-story high wall of their former home. It began with drawing a diagram of the wall and planning the placement of the bear. He attached the anchors to the wall in all of the right places while I hand-stitched heavy duty D-rings onto each paw, the head and other strategic places. The real fun came when he climbed an 18 foot extension ladder as I held up part of the weight of this thing that seemed to weigh a ton...BUT, we got it up there! I don't know if my fingers hurt more after sewing on all of those D-rings or the time when I helped him sew up the skin on one of his own taxidermy projects. Yes, I've done that too. 😉

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

There are many smells that remind me of my childhood home and some of them are seasonal. In the warmer seasons the one smell that I can never forget is the aroma of freshly washed sheets that hung on the clothesline to dry. They will never escape my memory...just as the smell of cedar awakening the senses on that first cool autumn evening as a thick, cozy quilt was brought out of the cedar chest and placed on my bed. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I must confess that I wrote most of these answers 'under the influence'. Not really, but I do still feel a bit swimmy-headed. I am writing this post after having a medical procedure earlier today (Tuesday) so I am home from work. Praise the Lord that there is no more stent in my common bile duct and hopefully, no more will be needed in the future. God is good! I will make sure to proof-read (again) in the morning before I hit the publish button. So what's my excuse for all of my other typos?

Have fun decorating!

(If the spacing looks all wacky on this post,
it's because blogger must be having issues and not letting me edit it them correctly.
It's driving me a picture hanging on the wall that's crooked.)


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

Well, it's finally here.
The turkey has been thawing out in the fridge since the weekend,
the spiral sliced ham is just waiting to be placed in the crockpot,
the loaves of bread are stashed on top of my refrigerator in the roasting pan
and will be toasted tonight for tomorrow's dressing.
(I call it dressing because I don't stuff it in the bird, therefore it's not stuffing....
even though it stuffs the belly!)

(the dressing before it's actually dressing)

And speaking of dressing, I have to say that I am quite proud of myself
that I have been able to reproduce Mom's dressing to a "T". 
 And I have to make someone a whole pan of their own...for later...
and it's not the hubby (it's Aaron) fact, Jim doesn't eat it at all...
...doesn't like wet bread, he says...oh well, fine by me.

I am also going to try a new, nearly sugar-free recipe for my cranberry salad...
no canned berries this year, only because they are loaded with sugar...
 BUT...I could easily eat that stuff right out of the can!
I'll let you in on the recipe if it turns out well...I kinda made it up.
I'm the only one who likes it, therefore I will be eating it all myself so I hope it's good!
I will most likely make another batch since Carrie, our DIL loves cranberry salad too. 
We will be celebrating an early Christmas in a couple of weeks 
since the the Tennessee Rays will be in town.
 Olivia, our rock wall climbing princess, will be competing in an event in Charlotte, 
which is about two hours away from here that weekend as well.

This will be our first time to see her climb in person...other than just on video.
She has found her niche, it seems...seriously, the girl is a maniac!
I really do enjoy cooking for Thanksgiving dinner more than any other time I think.
There will only be three of us for dinner due to work schedules and this and that,
so after sending some leftovers home to those who had to work, we will be enjoying them too.
We actually enjoy the leftovers even more so than the meal, itself.
Crazy, I know.
So who's thankful for Joyce and her Hodgepodge?

She is so faithful to come up with interesting and many times hard questions week after week.
I don't know about you but some of her questions have actually been helpful to my life...
...prompting me to ponder deeply and sometimes bringing about a new awareness of myself,
and if I'm being completely honest here, sometimes even conviction.
Thank you, Joyce for all of the time and thought you put into the Hodgepodge every week!

So here are Joyce's questions for the week...and I thought her acrostic was very clever!

1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

No doubt about it, I cling pretty tightly to tradition when it comes to the holidays, if at all possible. When I am hosting the dinner, I tend to make most of the basic dishes but always welcome anything that someone wants to bring. When I was growing up, Mom always cooked the turkey and dressing and the married families brought many of the sides. I never knew the joy of going to Grandma's, unfortunately, since they had already passed on before I came along. One of my fondest memories is when I was a little girl and I would help Mom with the dressing...that must be why I just had to learn to make it just right. She would toast the bread and after it cooled a bit, my job was to tear it into pieces. I can still hear her voice scolding me when put more of it into my mouth than in the bowl! Later on when the families started growing, our house just couldn't hold the people anymore and my older sisters with larger homes would take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Then I moved away...and for eleven years we were able to make the trip up to Ohio when we lived in KY, only three hours away. But then moving to NC made it more difficult to do this as often, mostly due to crossing snowy and icy mountains to get there. To answer the rest of the questions within this question, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was always playing on TV, football was a non-issue, the menu was almost always the same and dinner was on the table at 1:00. After the meal, my brothers broke out their instruments and we had a family jam session and sang Christmas music. There have been just a couple of times when the holidays were celebrated a little differently ...and if you wish you can read about them here and here.

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

Our holiday celebrations are always laid back and help is always offered and accepted. Now, when it comes to making the gravy, I'll do that myself, thank you very much!

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

White bread (which I never buy except for dressing) and extra food....period.

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

That I can make my mama's dressing and for God's Amazing Grace.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

The way I see it is thankfulness and gratefulness go hand in hand and it is a conscience CHOICE that we make, understanding the fact that not one of us is worthy. Every little blessing, even the tiniest one, is a gift from God simply because He loves us. When we are genuinely thankful, we naturally feel grateful.

6. State your own random thought here.


Much love to all and
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"I'll have the Hodgepodge with a side of Tennessee"

Here it is Wednesday again and y'all know what that means...'s Hodgepodge day!
Last week at this time I was getting my teacup exchange reveal post put together
and missed out on linking up to the hodgepodge.
I'm doing good to get one post out a week but it did feel kind of like something was missing!
I was also getting everything packed up for a little trip to see our Tennessee bunch.
We got on the road at o-dark-thirty on Thursday morning and arrived at our destination
by about 1:00 PM, Tennessee time.
It's always nice to gain that hour on our way but not so much for on the way back.
But, eight hours is eight hours, no matter how you slice it, right?
There was still a lot of beautiful color hanging on those Tennessee trees.
I don't know how many times I have shared photos of their beautiful long driveway,

but here it is again...

and again...

...and once more, just for good measure.
If you turn right at the fence post and go down few hundred yards,
our future driveway will be on your left.
And seeing the well with my very own eyes made it all a bit more real.

Here are a just a few of our future neighbors.
One morning as I was walking down the drive which overlooks the petting zoo, 
I aimed my camera to get a shot and then someone yelled "COME AND GET IT!"
...and they did.
But I guess I should really be getting on with the matter at hand...

She asks us the questions and we answer them on our blogs.
Here are this week's questions...

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?
Speaking in front of a group of people...and I think I've mentioned this before. Give me song and I'll sing it but please don't ask me to speak!
2. Your least favorite spice?
Sometimes it's not the spice itself, but the amount of it. I am not a fan of too much sage, especially in fact, I don't use it at all when I make it.. Another least favorite would be anise because it reminds me of licorice and even though I know it's actually an herb and not a spice, a little bit of cilantro goes a long, long way.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

Just one?? Being able to give up bread....or sugar...or both!

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I do enjoy visiting historic homes. The first one that I remember visiting was The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts years ago when Jim and I were first married. I was amazed by how low the ceilings were and the doorways were tiny. People must have been quite small back in the 1600's. From the ones listed above, I have been to Mount Vernon and you'd think a girl who has been in NC for 25 years would have surely been to the Biltmore, wouldn't you? Well, if I have the opportunity before I leave this state, I certainly hope to be able to make it there.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

Technology has already pretty much taken over the world and it actually scares me a little to think about what it will be like in ten years. Now here I sit, typing on a computer with my iPhone at my side as I write these words. I like my technology just as much as the next person, to an extent. I realize this seems a bit like a contradiction but I am not ready for a world where technology takes the place of human beings...over our brains (or human thoughts) when they are no longer required for us to go about our everyday lives. It saddens me to say that I'm afraid many things that we take for granted in our current day and time will be obsolete...many of them already are...and nothing about this makes me glad. Anyone got a time machine they aren't using??

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

So much to do, so little time. How is it possible that Thanksgiving is only a little over a week away? I have no turkey, I have no bread for stuffing, I have nothing that I need to make a feast. It looks like it's going to be a busy weekend!

 If you can stand it, (and even if you can't) here are a few more photos from our trip.

That gorgeous view from the back deck...

Olivia and her friend, Shiloh...

Parker, whittlin' on the back porch...

fuzzy things...
and oh yeah...did I happen to mention that view?
So now, if you're still with me, have a fabulous remainder of the week!
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