Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017 Gourmet & Birthdays

Saturday night my husband and I hosted the June monthly gourmet group at our home. Since they were all coming to the dinner, I decided that we would honor two of our members for their milestone birthday's that they shared. One was my sweet husband and our friend, Tom Sawyer. 

We had such a great time celebrating even though right in the middle of appetizers in the back yard it started to rain.  So...we pulled the party in the garage.  We had 39 people in attendance so it's not easy to host that many for appetizers in my home.  Everyone came to the garage where we quickly set up tables and brought the appetizers inside.  The rest of the night was spent celebrating with good friends and good food. 

Our menu was some of the boys favorites:

Italian Pasta Salad
Italian Green Salad
Main Course
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Chicken Spaghetti
Italian Green Beans with Bread Crumbs
Birthday Cake of Course!
Vanilla Ice Cream
Homemade Blackberry Cobbler
(made with handpicked berries by our scared fingers)
Sweet Potato Pie
We started the appetizers out in one of the living room of our yard.  There is a love seat, two chairs with ottomans and bistro table with chairs out there so people can mingle well.

Since our theme seemed to end up Italian we started with table decorations that lend that way.  I put large baskets of loaf bread for that olive oil and balsamic vinegar to be enjoyed on the table.  This is our deck and as you can see before the rain it would have been a great night to watch the stars while eating!

Our friends also gathered by the fireplace area where there is additional seating and another table to seat more of our friends. Notice the wooden painted cupcake that was painted by my friend, Lauren to help celebrate birthdays. 

It was a nice place to gather as people arrived through the back gate to the party.

This is a pic of our kitchen table showing our bread baskets before dinner.

The dining room was also decorated with the paper lining each side of the tables.  It was a nice addition since it helped keep the olive oil and vinegar off the table cloth. Check out the vase of tomatoes from our yard on the table.
The airplane was decided upon because my husband works for
Express Jet and both men love to travel via Express Jet and Delta. 
The birthday cake was made by a friend of our at our church, Shirley Tyler.  She always does a great job and love to use her as she is retired and local.  She also makes cookies and other items as things to give guests as they leave afterward. 

Blowing out the candles for a mile stone birthday was pretty easy surprisingly.

Tom looking pleased with himself after giving those candles a work out!

I set up the desserts in the kitchen and served from there. 
Look at that huge pan of Blackberry Cobbler, Yum, Yum!!
This chest/coffee table was my moms hope chest and we had it painted 3-4 years ago.  We had to put up a table in the den to seat some of the guest.  It ended up holding our going away tray of bread that we gave departing guest. AS you can see I wrapped them on white paper and tied them with jute.
One thing I forgot to mention that during our appetizers we played a game with our old childhood photos. I previously asked everyone in our gourmet group to text/email me their photos between the ages of 5-10.  I put them in a word document and printed them out.  Everyone had to guess who the photos were and it was a lot of fun.  There was a winner that missed less than 5 people out about 25 photos. Madelyn Alexander you ROCK!
 I thought the night was a huge success as people lingered and talked to late hours.  Afterwards, the cleanup wasn't too bad.  Below is a pic of my cleaned up kitchen with my home grown vase of tomatoes still shining.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Our Garden

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  Genesis 2:15

The scripture above is on a plaque above my garden bench that my husband painted years ago when he built the bench.  I thought you would enjoy being reminded of this verse as I share. 

Welcome to our garden that we so enjoy working in every week.  I wanted to share some of the pics that we have taken of our backyard.  Please enjoy!

The outdoor patio is outside our garage and off our back deck. We decided several years ago to extend our gathering area to include this area.  We had some men dig it out about 3 inches down and install the pebble rock. Over the last couple of years we have ran a path on each side of this fireplace area and lined them with monkey grass.  The paths go to another sitting area in the back of the lot where there is a fire pit and benches.  As you can tell we love our outdoor rooms.

We have ordered 2 more Adirondack chairs and should be coming this week. 
So excited we can all gather in front of the fireplace. 
The fire screen is really not a fire screen at all but an old Mexican garden
gate that we use there in the summer while its warm outside. 
This is the left path leading to the playground and fire pit seating area.

My husband built this arbor about 15 years ago.  It has jasmine on it and has done quite well.  As you can see this path continues and leads to the garden shed, which I'm sorry I didn't include that picture.  Next time!

These bloomed last month and were triple blooms. They are planted in a bed covered with ivy and come up with ivy underneath.  Pretty carpet for them.  They were just beautiful!  Each year I get a new one and plant it after Christmas and the next year they always come back prettier than they were in the pots at Christmas.

This year was our new addition we installed as a above ground planter garden.  We had a tree removed several years back and the grass had not grown over the stump removal so we put in a little batch of tomatoes.  Can you believe that we have 75 green tomatoes from these 6 plants.  I know that is unbelievable, but true.  Also planted is squash, okra and all varieties of bell peppers and several banana peppers.  All in that small area!

I purchased 5 Tea Olives bushes this past weekend, so we will be planting those in between the knock out pink roses in the background against our brick wall.  They will be planted in between every 3 bushes.  This line of monkey grass is not a straight line, but a scallop.  There are 3 scallops and so there will be one planted on each end and one in between each scallop.  I'll post an after pic later.  They will grow about 4 feet tall and help disguise the garage in the background.

On the left side is a bank of holly bushes that are 9 feet tall and to the right of it is another path that goes around to the front door.  It's a very shady area. 

These are pink geraniums that flank each side of our fireplace.  I can't believe they were planted the week of Easter and have doubled in size.  They love the sun that this area provides.  Also there is a small pot of lavender that also loves the dry summer Georgia heat.

You can see my storybook rabbit behind the fireplace.  I simply love this rabbit. He is about 4 feet tall and everyone that comes in the garden loves this bunny.  He is reading to two smaller bunnies below his feet.

 This is a lace cap hydrangea that I planted several years ago.  It's in a pretty large pot and my deer love it.  I have to keep it sprayed with "Deer Off". 


This path leads from the playground area to the left of the fireplace, and is our 3rd seating area.  It's where my sun loving plants love to sit as they recover from damage or issues.  The actual potting bench is behind it in the shade.  I love this are because it's out of the sun but has some sun in the morning.

I hope you have enjoyed the little tour of our backyard.  Come by anytime and enjoy your summer in your backyards!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Memories

This week I begin to plan Easter at our house by creating our Easter menu. As I did many memories begin to flood my mind such as the memory of Easter 1957. My momma took these pics of my brother, Ken (tallest with glasses who passed away last July 2016), me (the little one in the front left age 4). The other two children were our neighbors, Susan Guthrie and Wayne Guthrie (Wayne passed away at the age of 16). Our moms made our beautiful dresses that year and we were so proud of them.

The next pic was of my little sister, Katrina on the right and on the left the neighbor's child, Robin Guthrie.

Easter is such a beautiful time of remembrance and renewal of new life though our Savior. I thank God for the beautiful memories of Easter pasts and am so grateful we have these memories with our children and grandchildren today.

Now it's Good Friday and the memories of past celebrations come back also with time spent with family at church and at dinner at home.  I know your also must have pictures of your families that you also cherish.  Especially when you look back after a love one has gone to be with Jesus.  But just as the Lord passed on the cross He gave new life on Sunday!  So I look forward to seeing my loved ones in Heaven one day.

Here are some of our most recent years at the Cross of my son-in-law and daughter's church. I love how they celebrate at their church every year with this cross that is full of fresh flowers.  The minister also gives everyone in attendance something that represents his sermon to make the service more meaningful. Items such as peacock feathers, old keys, Jesus sandal charms, etc.  I still have some of these small trivial items that help me remember these sermons.

I think the boys were 1 and 3 here.
Our boys were only 2 and four. 
Boys were 4 and 6
They may have been 3 and 5 here.

It's great to see how our children have grown since we began attending when Harris was a very tiny baby.  Memories of Easter's past, what a great thing!
May each of you have a wonderful Easter filled with memories that will last forever.  And keep making many more every year!

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Bunion Foot Surgery

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Bunion Surgery

I just wanted to give all a small tutorial on how my Big Toe Bunion Fusion surgery went. I know this is going to be a long post, so if you aren’t having bunion surgery in your future you may not want to stay with me for this post.  I’m writing it mostly so I won’t forget everything I have gone thru to get to this point, but also for those of you out there that need the information.  It would have been so nice to find this post on the web before I went to surgery. At the bottom of the post I will list some things that you may want to consider purchasing or arranging before you go to surgery.  It will make your life so much easier I promise! It was wrapped in a hard bandage so it couldn’t be bumped and was told to not unwrap it and return to the doctor in 3 days.

I had surgery on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.  The orthopedist found that my main joint had a ton of arthritis on it and was really deformed. So instead of just shaving the bunion off, she had to put in a steel plate with 4 screws and a staple.  I knew beforehand that I would need the plate and screws but did not know about the arthritis. 

 Before the  surgery the anesthesiologist told me he was putting a pain block at the surgery site so when I got home to start taking my pain pills before it wore off and that’s exactly what I did every 4 hours.  My husband would set the alarm on my phone and write down when I took a pill.  I also had two antibiotics (for 2 weeks) to help me heal quickly as I am a type 2 diabetic.  I took  the pain pills for 4 days and I promise you I did not have any pain.  God has been so good to me during this time for I don’t do well with pain

Below is a picture the day after my surgery with a cool air compress on that kept it from swelling.  Not mandatory, but my BFF had this machine so thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of it so she loaned it to me.  Also, another tidbit, until you put your foot on the ground 7  weeks later, it has to be elevated above your heart.  I did this on the sofa, bed, and especially while sleeping at night,  everywhere I was and I promise it makes a huge difference in recovery. 

After 3 days I received a hard cast and since it was the week of Thanksgiving my husband thought that I needed a Christmas cast.  The cast stayed on for 4 weeks.  That was the hardest part of it all. 

We live in a two story home so the first two weeks I didn’t even try to go downstairs.  After staying in bed for a week I utilized the upstairs study/den in the recliner.  After the second week I was feeling better and wanted to venture downstairs.  So you know what that means, bump, bump, bump on my back end.  Also that meant that someone had to take my scooter down the steps.  Eventually after my cast was removed I learned to take it down in front of me and drag it up behind me.  It would have been nice to have someone there to do it but someone had to go to work if you know what I mean! I also couldn’t shower without help because that cast was hard to get in and out of the shower with.

December 17th,  I went back to the Ortho and she removed the cast, which was wonderful because that cast was so very heavy.   Here they are cutting it off my left foot.  A shame you can’t see a picture of my face as it was beaming!  Another baby step!!! 

She replaced the cast with a boot but no putting it on the ground.  I wore the boot for 3 weeks, but could take it off to bath the foot and finally could get in and out of the shower by myself still using the shower stool.

January 7th, she said I could do some limited walking with my heel on the ground and return in 6 weeks, February 18th . Also I didn’t have to sleep with the boot anymore.  The first time I put my foot on the floor pain shot up from my heel and I was not able to walk on it for about 4 days.  I massaged my heel every chance I got and put heat on it.  On the following Monday I was able to begin walking a lot more.  Now I see that the circulation and muscles are returning and it feels so much better. 

My next appointment is February 18th, 6 more weeks and then she says I should be able to wear a tennis shoe for a while.  How long I’m not sure but at least I am now walking a little.  I hope by the time I return I’ll be walking everywhere.  Baby steps, I have to keep remembering.  But she did say I should be able to return to some exercising in March so for that I’m excited. 

Days Before Surgery
1.       Rent a Scooter with basket or use a tote bag that will hang from handle bars.

2.       Rent or purchase a Shower stool.

3.       Put all your bathing/hair  products within arms-reach so you can get them while seated.

4.       Buy a plastic cover for showering (or use a trash bag).

5.       Borrow if you can a cool air machine for swelling (not a definite need but nice).

6.       Purchase soft bandages and paper tape for when you wear your boot. (at least 2 packages of bandages).

7.       Select pants that have wide legs such as jogging pants and long or short T-shirts (at least 4 sets).

8.       Also pull out your undergarments, large socks (I used my hubby’s tennis socks) and gowns/pajamas..

9.       Take the clothing and put them in a place to easy access.

10.   Pull your one shoe out of the closet for easy access.

11.   Pull together a basket that can hold your cell phone, snacks, magazines, IPad, note pad, pens/pencils, medicine billfold with credit and debit cards, bills for bill paying, thank you note cards, stamps, books for reading, lots of bottled water, and anything  else that you may want to use during recovery and boredom.

12.   Wherever you end up, bed, sofa, or chair you will need pillows to elevate your foot. 

13.   A small cooler for if you have to have someone leave you lunch and snacks for the day (when my hubby returned to work).

I know this sounds like an extensive list but it would have saved my husband countless steps in the recovery process.  It’s hard enough for that person to prepare the food, food shopping, do the wash, etc. and take care of you. Especially during Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. 

During this recovery I will say I had many wonderful friends and co-workers stop by and visit, bring coloring books, crayons, magazines, flowers, snacks.  I think we had food for two – three weeks for dinner every evening.  What would you do without friendship.  I know my husband really appreciated all those blessings as well as myself.

Also, I must tell you I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this if it had not been for my wonderful husband.  It was a long haul and still not over but up until last week I could only fix myself a sandwich and only if I had to.  So most of all you will need someone who is willing to stay with you.  

I wrote this about 8 weeks ago in May.  Since then I am doing much better and can wear my shoes, or some of them.  No high heels ever.  But at least I'm styling better now.  The doctor has sent me a stimulator that I use nightly for 30 minutes which helps stimulate the tissues in my foot and has attributed to healing my foot.  It is really working!  

Baby Shower 101

Hi Everyone,

Baby showers are so much fun and you always have a great time when you attend, especially when it's only family invited.  I wanted to share with you all about the baby shower that I gave for my niece a month or so ago.  She is having a boy and since we already knew his name, it was easy to plan. 

The menu was a fun one!

Mustache Cupcakes
Blue Cake Pops
Popcorn Bags
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Cheese Straws
Bow Tie Pasta
Chocolate Malt Balls
Bow Tie Sugar Cookies
Martha Washington Balls
Sweet Tea
Homemade Lemonade

The fun was that I made everything except the Bow Tie Cookies, Cheese Straws and the Martha Washington Balls.  My sweet niece, Marcy did those.

Here are my pics:

Above: Popcorn Balls for the little ones were a big hit. And can't forget the beautiful bow tie cookies.
Below: the infamous Martha Washington Balls that my niece brought were wonderful.  Mom would be so proud that the recipe has continued with the grandchildren.

 These were cut from my Silhouette Cameo and put on a poster board for the mantle.

 All the first generation girl cousins.  The second from the left was our honoree, Holly!

 This was our family group.  Actually there are a few absent, but we had fun and missed them!

We are so excited to welcome Davis into the world and can't wait to see him!  Congratulations Holly and Chad for the upcoming birth of Davis.  I know he will be spectacular, after all he will be a member of our family! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book ~ The Paris Apartment

I recently read a great book by the name of "The Paris Apartment" by Michelle Gable. This book was an historical fiction book, based on a true story of a Paris apartment that was closed in the 1930s during World War II and not opened again until 2010. It was discovered after the owner Marthe de Florian died, left it to her child and that child died at 91 years of age.  Then the estate discovered the apartment. 

Below is the link to view the  pictures and article regarding this wonderful apartment.

In the apartment there were paintings by the famous 19th century Italian painter, Giovanni Boldini. The story is written around a fictitious character Amy, that works for a antique broker and discovers the dairies of Marthe de Florian that owned all of these paintings and antiques in the apartment. It turns out the Mathe was the woman in the pink muslin evening dress, was his muse, and an actress at The Moulin Rouge. The book allows you to discover life in Paris during the early 1900s.

Michele Gable has another book, "I'll See You In Paris"coming in February 2016. It's about another of the paintings from the apartment. I won this book while participating in an online chat with the author and with my book club, The Book Chicks. This book is just as good, if not better than the first. Look for it in the book stores.