The House That Love Built

Meadowbrook-House0003
4617 Meadowbrook Drive

This is where it all began for me. 4617 Meadowbrook Drive.  Everything that I am started in this house.   Two parents and three siblings that loved me beyond measure.  My love of God, family and friends is all rooted from this place.  I am so blessed that I had such a magical childhood of playing in the backyard, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, yummy meals every night around the table, a Daddy and Mother that worked as partners to provide for our family, and siblings that geniunely loved me and wanted to spend time with me.

“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” Winston Churchill

One-Eyed Pirates

 
 
 
 
Before I left for vacation I made a huge loaf of bread in the bread machine to make sandwiches for the road and to have the left over bread for toast.  Toward the end of our stay, we had several things left in the refrigerator I needed to use up.  So, I whipped up one of Mr. Bee’s childhood favorites — One-Eyed Pirates.
 
 

These are super simple to make.  Butter each slice of bread then cut a hole in the center of each piece of bread using a steak knife.  If you want to be precise you could use a cookie cutter.  Take the center out of each slice and put all the pieces of bread in the skillet, butter side down to toast.

After the slices of bread are brown and crispy (I’m in the mountains so everything cooks slower), crack an egg into each center.  Cook the eggs until they are done to your liking. I needed to use up some cheese we had in the refrigerator, so I added sliced white cheddar cheese on top of each egg, but you can leave the cheese off if you want.  Sprinkle some cracked, black pepper.

While the eggs were cooking I tossed in pre-cooked bacon to warm and crisp up.  I also broiled some sliced tomatoes sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Everything came out looking like this.

Breakfast:  It’s What’s for Dinner



Love on The Rocks

Returned Sunday from a restful time in Ruidoso where the weather was cool and the livin’ was easy.  Woke up Monday morning for my first day back at work…to a stomach bug.  Not so good times the last few days, but I was due for a good bug as I haven’t had one in the while.  As they said in the Devil Wears Prada:  “I’m only one more stomach flu away from my goal weight.”

First post back, thought I would share a cute, easy craft that Miss Bee and I did while away.  Why is it when kids turn into tweens, they suddenly don’t want to exert any physical energy?  This visit she wasn’t interested in the least going with me on a nature walk.  Ruthie, the weinerful, gladly went along.

I gathered a few river rocks and Miss Bee sat down with me to make these….

You start with some river rocks, mostly ones with a flat top so you’ll have enough work space to draw your little something.  I scrubbed them with soap and water.  Put them on a cookie sheet at 400 and heated those babies up for a good 10-15 minutes…

Miss Bee still has the energy to color, so we grabbed her box of Crayolas for the next step…

Carefully take out the rocks one by one with tongs and set them on a cup towel.  Then, using the crayon of your choice, draw away.  The rock makes the crayon melt so you have to work fast, and with not too many colors, or they all blend into one mess.  So you need to do simple designs like hearts, stars, flowers, etc..

We left the sunshine one for our hostess along with a box of chocolates from the local chocolatier.  Who knew crafting in the mountains could be so fun?

Cookie Bar — A Fantastic Party Idea

We don’t have a Whole Foods near our house, so it’s no surprise that I had my recent trip to their Austin store during my visit to the bestie’s house.

There were tons of things to feature and write about, but for me, I zeroed in on the “Artisan Cookie Bar.”

As an event planner, I am always looking for ideas for parties.  This cookie bar is an original, fresh way to not only serve guests something they love — cookies — but it’s visually appealing as well.

You can make your own mini chalk boards with wood scrap or print on place cards the names for each cookie.

If you’re the host for the next book club gathering, maybe try recipes pertinent to your book.  It goes without saying that this could be a great idea for a holiday open house.  Make a percolator of hot cocoa with “adult” splashes of Bailey’s and Kahlua for the grownups.  You could put tags on small shot glasses that say “just add milk” and have a big carafe of eggnog.

If you don’t bake, then make a trip to your favorite bakery and get a dozen of several different kinds of cookies.  The food is your centerpiece.

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world,
had cookies and milk about three o’clock in the afternoon
 then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”
 
quoting Robert Fulghum in 1987 at Middlebury College
 

Sargento Ultimate Baked Potato Salad Recipe

Recenlty, I noticed a yummy recipe on the back of a Sargento shredded cheese packet.  I decided to give it a whirl with the grilled hamburgers we were having for lunch to celebrate my friend Miss Penny’s birthday.  It’s really more like a baked potato casserole, but they call it a potato salad.  The dish is the bomb and would be perfect for pot lucks.  Hope you try it!

3 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled, cubed and cooked
2, 8-oz packages of Sargento Shredded Cheese (the recipe calls for mild, I used sharp)
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced black olives (if olives aren’t your thing, I bet you could substitute with green onions)

Place cooked potatoes in an even layer in a greased 9×13 baking dish (I cooked the potatoes until just slightly done so they wouldn’t fall apart).  Combine mayonnaise with 3 cups of cheese and onion; spread mixture over the potatoes.  Sprinkle potato/cheese mixture with bacon, peppers and olives.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes (I actually cooked it another 10 minutes because I had cooked the potatoes the night before and the dish was cold).  Top with remaining one cup of cheese and bake another 5 minutes.  It says it serves 12.  That’s about right if you want seconds or leftovers for another meal in the week. 

I took some photos of the prep and finished product:


Cooked Potatoes (step one)
Mayo, Cheese and Onion Mixture
Cheese mixture on potatoes
Chopped pepper and olives
Just out of the oven
Note:  I was not compensated for this endorsement.  Just a housewife looking for a new recipe.


Helen Keller and her oatmeal

Earnie got her hearing aids last week.  Over the last year, Miss Bee has been administering her own brand of  hearing test to see if Earnie’s hearing is getting worse.  She sits in the back of the van and very quietly says “Grandmother”.  Miss Bee continues this routine until it is said at a decibel heard on Earnie’s level.  It’s quite scientific.

When we took Earnie a few weeks ago to her initial screening exam, the audiologist asked if we’d like to be apart of the hearing test to see what it would be like for Earnie.  If Miss Bee were a homeschooler — she would have gotten extra credit in learning the anatomy of the ear drum because they stuck this camera in Earnie’s ear and projected it on a screen.  As I suspected, she had a giant ball of wax in her ear, which only made Miss Bee nauseous.  For having a nurse as a mother, she’s awfully squeamish.

Then it was the isolation booth — like they have at the Miss America Pageant (I secretly always wanted to be in an isolation booth!).  The audiologist sat in in the next room behind a window with her mouth hidden so Earnie couldn’t have any visual cues and had to rely on just hearing the words.  So for about 20 minutes all Miss Bee and I heard was…Say bat, say fat, say noisy, say dog, say cheese, say chalk, say fly, say oink, say milk, say bird, say fish, say wash, say wax, and this went on and on and on.

Some of the words Earnie got, but most she missed.  Earnie is a really good sport and laughs at herself all the time, which is good, because I laugh at her too.  Miss Bee and I were trying real hard to not laugh.  But when they started the part where “when you hear the ringing tone raise your hand” we almost had to leave the booth because the ringing was so loud and to the point of making our ears bleed, but Earnie still had that look on her face like “no, I don’t hear ringing.”

Once fitted with her new, sporty hearing aids the audiologist explained that the volume would need to be adjusted a little at a time over the next several appointments.  Her brain has become so accustomed to not hearing words that she will have to learn sounds again.  When we walked out of the place into the parking lot, Earnie looked like Helen Keller from the movie when she learned how to sign “water” to Miss Sullivan.  You could tell Earnie was hearing sounds she’d been missing for a long time.  It was really quite sweet.

On the way home Earnie told Miss Bee and me the story of how she took her own mother (we called her Little Tiny Grandmother because she was, well really little) to get hearing aids.  Back then they were not as technologically sophisticated so the devices were the size of a deck of cards that you had to stick in your front pocket, or in my grandmother’s case, in her undergarment.  Earnie said the first time Grandmother heard the sound of water running out of the faucet she was annoyed at how loud it was.

As we were passing a Braums Earnie said let’s go there and get something cold.  Miss Bee ordered a hot-fudge sundae, I got a large cherry limeade — the best I ever had — even better than Sonic.  Earnie, well, she got oatmeal.


 
Never an unfunny moment with my gal pal, Earnie.  Hear’s to you!  Stay tuned (ha, ha) for more fun stories of the hearing aid chronicles.


Sleeping in a Boutique

I had the pleasure of staying at The Ashton Hotel recently for business.  Considered a “boutique” hotel, I had never stayed in this style of hotel.  Boutique Hotel is a term popularized in the US and United Kingdom to describe hotels which often feature luxury facilities in a unique, smaller setting.

One of the first hotels of this kind is in London — The Blake’s Hotel.  Here are a few of their rooms…

The Ashton Hotel, where I stayed, is located in downtown Fort Worth and convenient to tons of restaurants and shopping.  However, when I get the chance to stay in a hotel ALL BY MYSELF I don’t care about what’s outside the room.  Give me a big, comfy bed, a TV and a mini bar and I’m good.
Here’s what my room looked like

Ginormous bed with soft down comforter and freshly laundered sheets. Check.

Toiletries in the bath and my own toothbrush holder. Check.

Vanity surrounded by navy blue tile and a gorgeous gold mirror with gentle lighting.  Check.

Nice big tub with subway tile decking.  Check.

Golden ottoman to sit on while I drink my coffee and stare at myself in the mirror.  Check.

At one point during my stay, I couldn’t get my key to work in my door.  So, Brandon, the ever-helpful front desk man came to my rescue.  They still use regular door keys, you see, and while he was dismantling my door, we chatted about the hotel’s history.  Built in 1915, the building was the first home of the Fort Worth Club which still exists in another location downtown.  Next door to the club was the original site of the White Elephant Saloon and brothel.  I guess you could have dinner with your wife, then after she got home safely stay for a drink and other activities next door.  When the Fort Worth Club moved it became Haltom Jewelers.  Then in the 60s, none other than Cullen Davis bought the building and it was the home for his oil dynasty until he put on a wig one night and shot his ex-wife, her basketball boyfriend and step-daughter in the 70s (actually, he was aquitted, but seriously).  The building stayed vacant for years until it was bought and revived as The Ashton Hotel.

Okay, Brandon got my door fixed.  I walked in and found this on my bed.

Ingrid had turned down my bed in the evening and treated me with two, warm chocolate chip cookies. Awesome.



So long purple, silly bears, and all things little

Miss Bee is done with purple.  She is also done with My Little Pony, rainbows, and Disney dvds.  Entering middle school this fall, she’s wanting to transition to a “big girl” room.  While away on her mission trip, we transformed the room…

Summer Dragonfly on the walls.  The chair was a gift to Miss Bee from Earnie’s friend Margaret.  It’s a vintage silk, tufted slipper chair in a beautiful shade of green.  Sophia, the calico, approves.  The nightstand is from Pier 1 and has three drawers for all of Miss Bee’s treasures.  The cobalt blue lamp is also from Pier 1.  On the shelves are Miss Bee’s collectibles of dachshunds, family photos, and a pencil sketch of an English cottage drawn by her granddad.

The iron bed, which was a hospital bed, was purchased by Earnie back in the 60s at a flea market.  I painted it a soft yellow back before Miss Bee was born to use it in her nursery.  The blue toile bed skirt and pillow sham are complimented by a soft green coverlet that I already had.  The curtains are Pier 1.

Sister Bee has them in her guest bedroom and I just love them.  I have several Pier 1 curtains in my home.  They use heavy, good quality fabric.

Treasures on the bedside…handpicked seashells from our trips to England; Miss Bee’s “Moon” artwork she did with her cousins.  If you’ve followed my blog you know that the Moon has great significance in our lives since the death of our beloved Daddy and Papa; and a little sign I found for Miss Bee on a shopping trip.

I’ve noticed this last year that her lovey, Millie the bear, is going on fewer trips with Miss Bee and usually ends up spending the night in the chair, rather than in bed. But, last night when Miss Bee laid her head down exhausted from her week, she asked for Millie…

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart.
I’ll stay there forever.”  Winnie the Pooh

Seems like as much as we want things to change, they sometimes end up the same.  Have a fab Friday!

What a Peach — a refreshing recipe for Mojitos

I love to try new recipes especially when they are featured in Southern Living magazine.  This is a recipe from their June issue for Peach Mojitos.

I have mint growing everywhere in the garden and the peaches were really good looking at Walmart.  So, I decided to give this little cocktail a whirl.

• 2 large peaches (about 1 lb.), unpeeled and chopped

• 1/2 cup superfine sugar (be sure to use superfine like the recipe says — it dissolves alot quicker)

• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

• 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves

• 4 cups club soda, chilled

• 2 cups white rum

• Garnishes: fresh mint sprigs, peach wedges

Preparation

1. Process first 3 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Yield should be about 2 cups.)

2. Muddle mint leaves against bottom and sides of a glass pitcher to release flavors. (Leaves will be bruised and torn.) Add club soda, rum, and peach mixture; stir to combine. Serve immediately over ice.

Hints:  I made the syrup mixture up the night before, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it.  Then, the next day I made up the drinks.  I actually tripled the syrup mixture and had some left over.

Be sure to wear your hostess skirt while drinking.

“Sir, you dropped your prostate”

These are just a few of the funny things that happened this weekend as neighbor bee Cindy and her hubs, Mark, traveled with Mr. Bee and me to Canton, Texas.  The first weekend of every month, vendors of all kinds set up their wares on miles upon miles of space in this sleepy little town. 

As I was brushing my teeth the night before (many a great idea is developed from me being in the shower or brushing my teeth), I was trying to think of a way to make this field trip engaging.  I came up with the idea to have a boys vs. girls scavenger hunt.  I briefed the group over pancakes at Cracker Barrell and upon arrival in Canton off we went.

When you found the item, you had to photograph it for proof.  We had two hours to find the items then meet back up for lunch to see who had won.

1.  An orange bowl or cup

Thanks Tupperware
2.  A Cigar Store Indian
Cindy and I spotted this as soon as we entered the grounds. 
We thought for sure the boys wouldn’t see it.
Ironically, this was the first item that popped into my head while flossing. 
Apparently, they saw it too because it was the same exact photo.
3.  An oil can
The lady with one tooth remaining in her mouth said she just sold item #4, the bird cage…
#5 A Stop Sign

I had to be pretty clear with the boys that this had to be a sign for sale, not on a pole. Note:  The people in the photo were negotiating with the seller to buy ALL their mermaid decor.  Maybe they were thinking about opening a Red Lobster.

Next to last on the list, #6 a fire hydrant.  Cindy and I cheated on this one.  We said it had to be an non-working fire hydrant for sale.  Since Mr. Bee and Mark never read my blog, we’ll never be exposed.  It was a real one.  Cindy suggested we photograph it with the crap leaning against it to make it look like an antique.


Ended up we tied the game.  #7 on the list, Cotton Candy, which I thought would be plentiful in this land of trash to treasure was no where to be found.  I should have put batter dipped grilled cheese sandwiches on the list, because they were everywhere.
Along the way I did spot this treasure that I wish I purchased for my office at work…I could have put it on my desk.

We lasted until about 3 p.m., then we had to leave because our internal organs were melting.  Oh, here’s the part about the man’s prostate…

Cindy and I were walking along and a man walked in front of us with his purchase.  I noticed that the price tag fell off.  I said to Cindy, “That man’s price tag just fell off, I wonder if we should tell him?”  Cindy got this real worried look on her face and starting looking all over the ground.  I’m like “what are you doing?”  She said, “I thought you said that man’s prostate just fell out on the ground, and I was looking to see where it was!”  Oh, my gosh.  We laughed for about an hour.  I finally said, “honey, if his prostate had fallen out, I think he would have known it.”  I can just see me calling 911 and asking Cindy to “secure the prostate” until medical personnel can arrive on the scene.

There was a lady that was chit chatting with friends and her arm looked like it had just been bitten by a shark.  Cindy tried to describe it to me, because I missed it. 

Sweating and shopping can be fun.