Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Farm

I love going to the family farm.  Years and years of hours and hours of wonderful memories.  

The house has undergone some remodeling and updating in recent years.  It was just a few years ago that running water and indoor "facilities" were installed.  Don't be shocked, no one has actually lived in the house for longer than I have been alive.  Prior to the indoor plumbin' upgrade, there was an outhouse...that is until one year at Halloween it got stolen and wound up elsewhere.  Growing up, my sister and I would go out with my grandparents and great-grandparents to help in the garden, mess around out in the pastures and by the ponds, and to have incredible meals in the kitchen.  For many years, there was a big wood burning heating stove in the front room and a ginormous (to my little kid eyes) wood cookstove in the kitchen...please note that if you fall against said stove while running around the table, you WILL get burned!

The farm was homesteaded by my family in 1861.  In recent years, the acreage has been decreased due to "progress" aka new regional airport. 

It seems that it takes three men to fix one gate post.

The best dog in the world, Molly, is buried under the tree on the left.  She had to be put down five years ago.  The boys and I decided the best place for her was the farm.  She loved coming here and having the freedom to run unleashed and chase cows.  We covered her grave with the overturned wheelbarrow.

At the risk of going all "Scarlet O'Hara/Tara-esque" on you...the farm is a part of my soul.  To me, it represents family history, traditions, and is the embodiment of all that I believe in: a simple life full of hard work, laughter, family, self-reliance, avoidance of unnecessary fake trappings of fake/commercial life.  It was a place of refuge for me in recent years when I needed time and space to contemplate changes for my life.  It is a sanctuary.  I am blessed to be fortunate enough to have access to such a place. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Mania

Welcome back to the real world!

Monday morning following a 4 day weekend out of town found me faced with a mostly full gallon of milk, not yet expired, but quickly approaching the  "you smell it...NO, YOU smell it" stage.  

For better or worse, we decided if we ate and drank fast, we wouldn't notice.  (my vote was that it was okay...smelled like milk to me!)

How is it that the house manages to get messed up even when we are not here???

Might have something to do with it being straightened up until we walk through the door and in a state of exhaustion throw everything on the floor in heaps, and collapse on the couch to settle down before heading to bed.  

The animals seemed to have missed us.  Jack met us at the door with two of my shoes in his mouth, while the cats were perched on the piano and on the counters. 

So, now begins the week of putting away the Fall decorations and dragging out all the Christmas stuff.  Didn't we just do that?  Wouldn't it be easier to just leave everything for each holiday out year round?  You could say you were celebrating Valeastfourthoweengivingmas.  HA...try coming up with a greeting card for that!  Really, it would be so much simpler in theory anyway.  Don't know about you, but I have way too many overly glitterized decorations that lose more glitter on a daily basis than the kitties shed fur!  

Wes has said for some time that he was going to invent a "crap-olator"...sort of an escalator type thing for getting holiday decorations out of the attic.  Nearly all of ours are now housed in the cabinets in the garage, so we rarely have to venture up into the storage abyss.  

It will be a week or two before we go get a tree.  Most of the fun of the tree is going to the tree farm on the coldest, rainiest/snowiest day when the bulk of the ground is one giant mud pit, tromping through looking at each and every tree trying to remember which kind it is that I like, while trying to find one that is better than Charlie Brown's but not too huge, not too bare, not too full, not looking too much like Cousin It, not one with "animial spray paint spots", not the saddest looking, not the most beautiful, but just the right one.   

This is the first year in some time that we did not watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" on Thanksgiving.  Bah humbug on the vetoers of that plan.  Just because no one actually stays in the room to watch it...we LISTEN to it, and deeply emote the sentiment of the story, while showing off our ability to recite it verbatim.  Would you say grace?  I pledge allegiance... Oh well, that means there is more time to watch "A Christmas Story" repeatedly until we want to shoot our eyes out or wish we would go blind from soap poisoning!   

Did you hear that?  Laundry is calling my name...


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Good thing he already knows how to do this!

We are home.


Long, boring drive...thank goodness for knitting and iPad.


Cats and dog happy again.

Rehydrating and going to bed...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We went, we wined, we walked, we watched...

Fun day spent with family.

Piddled around this morning, and polished off the rest of the chocolate cream pie for breakfast. Holy Moly need to get back on the eating right wagon!!

After lunch, and a quick stop at the liqour store, we went to a couple of flea markets. I am on the lookout for some antique wooden thread spools. It seems that whenever I am looking for a specific item, it cannot be found anywhere.

Then, we headed off for the farm...by way of Tontitown Winery. A few samples and a couple of purchases later we were AGAIN on our way.

The farm has been a wonderful place to go and relax for as long as I can remember. No one has lived in the house for many, many years, but I have so many memories of going there with my parents and grandparents to work in the garden, cut firewood in the woods, gather pecans and walnuts, drive around the pastures in the old red truck, sit on the banks of the ponds skipping rocks, and building playhouses with my sister in the great big ditch.

After the guys...it took all three of them!...repaired a gate post, we drove into Highfill for a walk in the park followed by dinner at the cafe.

Ended the evening with a funny movie.

What a wonderful life!

Tomorrow, back on a first name basis with the front passenger seat, knitting needles, and the Kindle app.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday FO's

Wesley loves his car...and he really scares me (not really, but it's the motherly thing to say)

Yay for Fred!! It's not even December and he is done shopping for Carrie. Boo for Carrie, she got to hold it in her hands but does not get to open/use it until Christmas!!!

Made a little stop by this shop in Bentonville. No fabulous fibers were found that could not be lived without :(

Have been doing a little knitting, but nothing to warrant a post. The Poppy sweater is progressing and one of Wes' socks is off needles.

Being as it is the day after Thanksgiving, of course the turkey has not even been finished off. Funny, though...

We had no trouble whatsoever finishing off these...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Hoping everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We travelled to Arkansas to spend time with my family. It was a loooooonnnngggg trip thanks to thunderstorms, tornado warnings, golf ball sized hail, flash flooding, and a nail in a tire.

My sister and brother-in-law came down to Daddy's house about 11ish. I got the pies done (Chris and Wes asked for another pumpkin pie and Alex wanted a chocolate pie), then Carrie and I prepped the rest of the meal.

The guys spent the afternoon relaxing, watching some football, and playing with their iphones.

Pictures will follow after we return home.

In the meantime, have given much thought today for all that I am thankful for.

1. My faith in the power and love of my creator.

2. Wesley, my husband. He is the love of my life, my "mo anam cara". I am thankful every single day that our lives have become one.

3. My children. My boys are wonderful. I love them unconditionally and know that they love me the same way. I am proud of the men that they are becoming. There have been some struggles with them, as there are for most blended families, but they have gotten past any differences and have recognized that their parents AND their step-parents love and care for them very much. And for that, I am very thankful...so many other children in blended families have difficulty getting past the manipulations and guilt/lying that can be perpetrated by "adults". I have so many step-mom friends that are in such tough places, that I am truly blessed to have boys that accept the blended aspects of our family and have grown enough emotionally to recognize that they are loved by all and openly accept and seek out a relationship with both the "old" and "new" parts of their family.

4. My family. It goes without saying that they are special. Time together is always interesting. You never know what is going to happen or what someone will say, which leads to peals of laughter. The stories and inside jokes are fun to see being repeated by my boys. They have grown up with tons of family stories that they may not have been present for, but they know them by heart and repeat them with joy.

5. My friends.

6. My animals.

7. My life. I am finally at a place where I can tune out and ignore the drama llamas and have taken control and responsibility for what I allow to affect me. Many may try to wiggle into my head or life through their words and actions, but NOTHING can impact me unless I give it the power to. So, I am thankful that the drama llamas have been effectively put out to pasture! Through my faith and the love of my husband, children and family, I have taken back the power of knowing it is safe to be me and be loved for being just that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How did they do it?

Progress continues on the Craft Room.

The wall cabinets are up on the long wall and above the washer/dryer.  Base cabinets for the work space area are set in place, but not yet screwed in.  Because of the work space length,  Wes was going to have to make a custom counter top and either do it sort of butcher block style or tile it.  We opted for special ordering a counter to fit and save some time and headaches.  So, the base cabinets are waiting for their topper for probably another 2 weeks.  

In the meantime, I have been arranging and rearranging the cabinets and drawers.  So much blank space, so many options...I am in heaven!

On the top shelf of the double door base cabinet, I stuck a basket full to over flowing with balls of scrap yarn and lonely single skeins left over from projects.  

We are keeping the laundry room door shut all the time now, since the cat door has been installed.  

This is what I came home to this evening...

This has Norman written all over it.  I have this mental picture of him carrying one ball at a time through the little door.

Monday, November 22, 2010

This ain't no kid cuisine!

Wes and I are home alone for dinner tonight.  

Which means we get to eat grown up food.  

You know the kind that is not fried, coated, breaded, or in any way associated with either ketchup or ranch dressing.  




that was good (and easy too!)

Do you like white pizza?  We do and normally I make a kid friendly version totally from scratch, but this definitely kicks it up so many notches it's on an entirely different stick.

White Pizza with Arugula from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa).  Try it, you will not be sorry, but you will be a little fluffier <burp...'scuse me>

Sunday, November 21, 2010



There, I said it.  Don't hate me.

It smells good, but not gonna taint my tastebuds.  (Yes, I have tried repeatedly over the years to LEARN to like it...geez, why would anyone think something you have to learn to like is good?)

It's Sunday morning.  The men of this house know I am going to make waffles for breakfast.  Yet, still they sleep.

Oh well...more time for me and my tea.

My favorite teapot (Blue Willow).  Actually, my only one...how obscene is that???

My favorite teacup and saucer.  I have four of these.  They are verrrrry old.  They were given to me by my Cousin Audrey about 20 years ago.  They were some of her prized possessions.  Audrey was the first cousin of my Papa Grammer.   I grew up with Audrey and her husband D.C. always around.  She and D.C. loved camping, playing Wahoo, had Pekingnese dogs and I have a treasure trove of memories with them.  Bless her heart, as a little girl I loved "doing" Audrey's hair.  She was so patient and sweet...always letting me wreak havoc upon it even if she had just been to the salon that day to get her hair did.  My sister and I called her "Audindranner".  I have no idea how we came up with that. 

Be still my heart.  The Gods have poured forth the Elixir that sustains me (hot OR iced).

(PG Tips in case you were wondering)

Rough Life

The door was a trauma...at first...and only for Bella who really did not want to be stuffed through it.  

It quickly turned into a game.

Which led to more playtime...

Which resulted in utter and complete exhaustion...

Yep, it's a rough life!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't let the door hit you in the...

Hey! Who shut the door to our food and litter box?  

Oooh, what is this?

Whatever it is, it makes for a fun game.  

Friday, November 19, 2010


It is done.  

Off needles.

Ends woven in.

I cheated and wore it before blocking it.

And now it is finishing drying.  

It makes me smile.

And it made  me cuss a little.

But, it was worth it.

Here it is before blocking.

And now for a Sourdough Starter recap...first batch...I killed it.  Second batch...I killed it.  Third batch...not going there, sticking to homemade whole wheat bread. 

Over at Tami's there's a whole lot of finishing going on.

The End.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I got a pickle...

I got a pickle...

I got a pickle...

Hey, Hey, Hey

(name that movie!)


Now what?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When the cat (or fish) is away...

It's November 17? 

Are you kidding me?

But, yesterday was May 12, I swear!

Tuesday is "my" day for knitting with the girls, errands, extraneous houseworky things, and whatever else needs to get done.  It started off okay.  Got caught up on my Service League responsibilities, paid some bills, putzed around in my jammies all morning. 

Sounds fun.  EXCEPT for poor Miss Sophie.  She is sick.  Over the weekend I thought it was just hairballs...sorry, tmi.  But the poor thing has left pukies all over the house.  She left them on Chris' sheets and comforter, down the hallway, in my closet, on the counter, in the bathroom, on the couch, ON TOP of the kitchen cabinets...  And sadly, I am the only one in the house that is not obliviously lazy/squeamish and stubbornly avoiding while being sure to tell me about it seems to get to clean it up.  Kitty Girlfriend is gonna find herself on sabbatical in the garage if this does not stop soon.

Progress is being made on the craft/laundry room. (Sorry, it was late last night when I was snapping pics)

In case you were wondering what the funny smudgy things on the ceiling are...they are fish.  Yes, I have fish stamped in the plaster of every ceiling in my house.  Yes, there is a "Fish-a-holic" that lives here and better keep his "Knit-a-holic"  comments to himself.  No, it was not fun stamping the suckers up there.

Started the Poppy Sweater and so far, the colors are working for me.  Downside...33 1/2 inches of stockinette with random garter stitches and yarn changes. 

Wes' socks that he so sweetly asked me to make have been ignored for the most part.  Did manage to measure his foot this morning, which means something I'm sure.

I am killing time at the shop while he has gone to Lake Monroe with his Dad for a day of fishing.  Shhhh...don't tell...I ordered Jimmy John's for Tom and I...

Have you visited Tami's yet?  No?  Well, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Time for Reflection

Have you ever encountered people in your life that just "get you"?

The people that understand and accept you and can tell you like it is and snap you back to focus on what is truly important.

Enter James. 

We have been friends since high school.  He is  a total goofball, but also one of the wisest people I know.  He grew up as the son of a Presbyterian minister.  From that beginning, he started the journey of finding his own faith views and through the trials and tribulations of life has developed a way of looking at life, people, circumstances that I personally find inspiring.  He and I have one of those intuitive friendships, where one of us will call the other and the first thing out of our mouths is, "I was thinking about you."

Currently, James is a pilot...flying for FedEx.  But, in his spare time...which seemingly (thanks to his schedule) is quite a bit, he is also a phenomenal photographer.  He has "the eye" which on its own brings brilliant shots, but he is also blessed with the "soul" which takes his photography to an entirely different level.

If you get a chance, visit his  blog.

Hey buddy...always remember the wise words of Billy Squier!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Memories...aka...WHAT were we thinking???

I just don't know.

I was there.

I was an active participant.

It was MY car "chomping" the Cyclones...which was better than the year before when we built a toaster out of a fridge box and made toast out of foam to "toast" the Tigers.

But still...

Springdale High School Homecoming Parade 1984.  

Could it get worse?


The cast of "Callous" (our parody of "Dallas") for the Olympics of the Minds 1984 competition.  Oh my...left to right...my BESTEST girlfriend Teresa, me, sad but I don't remember, and Shara.  I remember the skit, the theme music we used and the hours upon hours upon hours I spent building and testing the balsa wood structure to find the design that would hold the most weight while simultaneously being dismantled.  

Oh dear, think I better put the box of pictures away for the night!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby, it's chilly, so it's Chili!

I admit it and am proud to accept the nicknames of Martha Freakin' Stewart and Betty D**n Crocker. 

There is just something so fulfilling and rewarding to me to have a well organized home (NOT a house), that is chock full of memories, yummy homemade foods, and comfort things around that were made with love.  It is who I am and I embrace it. 

To anyone who disses that can, as my dear Mother used to say about people that frustrated her, "They can just go suck an egg!"  Honestly, have no clue what purpose that would serve, but it does feel good to say. 

Because of the cool nip in the air, the leaves flying around, and because I wish to share some yummy goodness, here is my all time, hands down, most favorite of all Chili recipe.  I came by this recipe when I was in 7th grade and taking a Home Ec class (Go Cougars!  Southwest Rules!, Central Drools!).  <fine I'll spare ya the math...I am currently 39 and 60 months old!>  It is a winner and can be made with beef, turkey, venison, any combination of, or no meat at all.  It is THAT good. 

Mrs. Graham's 7th Grade Home Ec Class Chili

2 cans pinto beans
1-14oz can whole tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley
1 # round steak cut into smallish cubes
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Cook tomatoes, onion, green peppers and seasonings until onions and peppers are soft.  Cook meat, drain and add to vegies/seasonings.  Stir in beans.  Simmer at least 1 hour.  *I often add water just to thin it out a bit. 



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