Martha made my lunch — It’s a Good Thing

Recently, out to dinner with friends, we shared if money were no concern, what personal luxury would we indulge in on a regular basis.  Most of us said having a personal chef.

I can’t help myself when I go to Macy’s and see how they have merchandised the Martha Stewart line of home products.  Especially her food storage containers.  I upgraded recently to a monogrammed lunch box courtesy of Sister Bee’s Thirty One business.  So, I decided it was time to trade in the Gladware plastic tubs where the lids don’t fit anymore.

Martha made my yogurt parfait this morning and packaged it in this cute little divided cup.  It has a container on the bottom for your yogurt and on top your granola or fruit and a spoon.

Then, she packaged my lunch in this cute four piece lunch to go kit.  A place on the bottom for your sandwich, with little grooves to hold the included ice pack.  Two little containers with lids fit on top of that and a snap-on cover goes over all of it.  It fit perfectly in my lunch tote.  Unfortunately, it’s sold out on-line, but Macy’s still had some in stores.  It would make the perfect gift.
The other thing I would love to have is her salad to go kit.  Great for preventing your salad greens from getting soggy.
Who wouldn’t eat more healthy if we had these fashionable containers to tote to work?

Everyone needs a Sister in their Hive

Today is my Sister Lady’s birthday.  Everyone should be lucky enough to have a sister.  My story is unique in that she was 15 when I came along…much more like a mother to me than a sister.  All my positive childhood experiences are rooted deeply in the love I felt from not only her but my two brothers.  Several years ago, Earnie gave me a few albums with photos she had made from slides from my birthday parties and family vacations.  In almost every photo, I am being held by someone.  Earnie always says that my feet never touched the ground my first year of life.
But, today is reserved for Sister Bee and the many things I learned from her…
She taught me my ABC’s. Always be aware of boys with rocks.  “R” for rocks.
You must accessorize, even in the mountains.  Notice the purse and scarf.
Swimming can be fun, but never before 4 p.m.,
and ladies never get their hair wet while swimming.
I learned counting…like how long can I hold you because Earnie is feeding you a tad much.
I learned that chocolates are to be savored and not shared with the dog.
I also remember…
1) Learning to tie my shoes in the front seat of her Camaro (circa late 60s)
2)  Going to Dairy Queen for an ice cream if I did really well on a math quiz
3)  Making asparagus jello and that those two food groups should never be used in the same sentence.  It was terrible.
4)  Sister helping me come up with a craft to make to give as gifts for Christmas each year.  One year I made “kitchen spice ropes” and another year a recipe holder using a hairspray lid, plaster of paris, a plastic fork and flowers.
Happy Birthday, Sister Dear.
“Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply.”
 ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

Party of Twelve

Miss Bee turned 12 on Sunday.  We packaged her invitations in red and pink polka dot bags with a label that said “It’s going to be swell, Phoebe is turning 12.”  Tucked inside was a strip of photos of her (like from a photo booth) and the invitation.

Miss Bee ordered Frito Pie for lunch, so the night before the wingding (as Daddy would call it) I made three big pots of chili.  Then Sunday morning we put the chili into crockpots to heat.  I set out all the toppings…cheese, sour cream, red, yellow and orange diced bell peppers, cilantro, and of course Fritos.  For those that preferred the salad route, we chopped tomotoes and romaine lettuce for taco salads.  It was fun watching everyone customize their own mug o’ chili…

That’s my niece bee, Violet, dipping her taquito into her chili.
Dinner was on your own and some decided to enjoy the photo booth we had set up in the study… I found all the artwork online and ran it off on card stock, then hot glued the props to paint sticks..

I debated about showing this next one, because it’s kind of creepy…like from “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”

We also enjoyed a round of “Pin the Nose on Ruthie.”  I blew up a photo to poster size and guests enjoyed trying their chance at pinning a nose on the bullseye.

This is Earnie…not getting very close…
For dessert we enjoyed ice cream cake from Marble Slab and Auntie M made her famous strawberry cake.  Ruthie, the wienerful, enjoyed two giant brownies she found and promptly ate (the rest of the night’s outcome with the brownies I’ll save for another blog entry.)

We finished with opening presents (she’s wearing her jelly-bow from her Godsister Annie).  Then Miss Bee passed around her party favors — a S’more Kit with heart shaped peeps…

Happy birthday, my sweet girl.  Becoming your mother has been one of my greatest joys.

Daddy Hung the Moon

It has been almost a year since Daddy went to live in heaven and oh, the new mischief heaven must have going on with him there.  I think of all the saints he has greeted since then, some have been his friends in the last year from church.  And the famous people…I wonder if Daddy was involved in the planning of Elizabeth Taylor’s welcome to heaven party.

Anyway, I have been thinking about him alot lately.  More so than usual.  Earnie happened to share with me that she’d been thinking about Daddy alot and I told her I had too.  We got to thinking it was because he was probably doing something big in heaven like planning a festival or parade.

daddy moonThen, last night on the way home, we saw the Moon.  A big, fat glorious Moon. Look back at my blog entry on March 19 from 2011 and you’ll see that Daddy passed away on the day of the Perigree Moon.  Ever since that night our family looks into the sky to “visit” with Daddy.  It has been our constant sign that he’s always with us.  When I go out in the evenings to take Ruthie the wienerful for her nightly constitutional, there Daddy is.  Big as life, shining down.  While I miss him dearly, I wouldn’t trade his Moon for anything.

Hosting a Grandmother-to-Be Shower

Neighbor Bee, Cindy, is about 6 weeks away from being a Grandmother to little Addison Leigh – Miss Addi Bee.  So, it was only proper to have a shower for CiCi (the name Addi will call her).  We assembled the neighbors for a “Sips and Sweets” afternoon shower.

It started with the invitation.  I found artwork on the internet and printed it off on cardstock — “She’s About to Pop with Excitement!”  Miss Bee and I packaged the invitations inside cellophane with a bag of microwave popcorn, tied them up with ribbon in the same design as the bag, attached a card that said “hope you can pop in!” and Miss Bee hand-delivered each invitation one afternoon.

For the big day we had a few party activities…one included a quiz to match each guest’s name with the translation of the meaning of their name.  Then, each guest wrote their wish for Cici and Addi and added it to the “Wishes and Wisdom Tree” I had made with a few artificial forsytheia placed inside a galvanized bucket.  I made birds out of scrapbook paper and after a wish was made the bird was placed on the tree.  I made the little sign next to the tree from some artwork I found on the the internet.

I let Cindy take the tree home so when the baby comes and visitors stop by to see her, they can make wishes to add to the tree.
Next, was the table and food –the best part!  I found the tissue puffs at Hobby Lobby.  They came three to a package and were already assembled you just had to puff up the tissue sections, very easy.  Hung them from the chandelier with the same ribbon I had used on the invitation packages.

I used Earnie’s milk glass collection for all the treats.  I labeled each dish with a fun name on colored card stock.

For libation we enjoyed “She’s a Peach” Bellinis…the little guests sipped cherry limeades in their champagne glasses.
Cindy received alot of nice things for her nursery.  Now, all we have to do is wait for Addi to get here!

The Mother’s Encyclopedia

Sister Bee dropped off a box of things from her house, of which consisted six volumes of “The Mother’s Encyclopedia”.  The first copyright was 1933, followed by a reprint in 1942 a year in which I am sure many new things were updated on childrearing — being how we were so progressive in the ’40s.

Each volume covered a broad range of topics.  My favorite is Volume Four:  Measles to Prostitution — how about that for an opener at the dinner table when Timmy gets home from school.

The photos are hilarious.  I have taken the liberty to update the captions from the original…

“Go on outside Suzie with your brother and play on the rickety, tetanus infested fence
while Mommy makes me a pitcher of margaritas.”
“Dear, do you think it’s a problem we dressed Jeff in a dress
for the family Christmas card?”

The original title of this photo read:
“The disturbed child may need help.”  I think that’s a keeper.
I shall close with a dramatic reading  from Volume One titled “Natural Childbirth.”  This is exactly as it appears:
“As the doctor lifted up my baby and placed her on my stomach, a wonderful feeling of accomplishment came over me.  Under the sheet my hands moved forward to touch her, and it gave me such a thrill to realize that this little girl, with the umbilical cord still attached to her, was really part of me.  I had just been through a normally comfortable delivery following the principles of natural childbirth.  And it had worked!  Just as I had been told it would.  Every stage of my labor was clear in my mind, and not for an instant had I wanted to avoid the experience through the blackout of drugs or anesthesia.  I felt well, not at all fatigued, and greatly refreshed.”
Alrighty then.

Miss Hathaway, Take a Letter Please

I have a new secretary!  I have named her Miss Hathaway — for those of you who know your TV trivia — she was the dutiful, prim secretary of Mr. Drysdale at the Commerce Bank on the Beverly Hillbillies.

My secretary came from Sister Bee’s house.  It was Earnie’s and Sister Bee has been using it for years.  She is redecorating her house and moving things around and offered it to me.  I am so excited!  I’m using it to put on my makeup in the morning and for secretarial duties like check writing and correspondence.  Here she is….

The desk flips up so I can hide any insightly mess.

Inside I have on the bottom shelf my morning accessories like makeup, perfume and a dish of q-tips.  On the top two shelves I have my latest books and accessories.

The desk cubbies hold stationary, my clock and timely coorespondence, a milk glass cup of fun pencils, a Citron bottle with a red flower, a journal my besties gave me and my mirror for when I feel like belting out “I feel pretty” from West Side Story (I have been known to do this, by the way).

The last time I was at TJ Maxx I found this fun frame so I put a photo of my besties from one of our trips.  Sister Bee gave me the “buzzes” card.

Moving out an old desk and a cabinet freed up space for a sitting spot next to Miss Hathaway.

The leather storage ottoman I found at Kohl’s last year for almost nothing.  The table is from my Southern Living at Home days.  I use the ottomon for the desk and also a spot for me to put my shoes on in the morning.  The framed photos are botanicals I took during a trip to England to visit Mr. Bee’s family.  The wall lamp I found at Home Depot and I love it because it frees up table space.  Do you see Ruthie’s weinerend in the photo?

Two more things to show you before I buzz off.  New uses for old things…

I find I almost never use the bedside table on the right side of the bed.  Thought I would use this wasted space by topping it with a dressing mirror and my jewelry.  I am so glad I did!  I use this space every morning now to accessorize my outfit and check my hair on the way out.

I took a tiered dessert server and put my baubles on it so I can see what I have.  And, I found a hand ceramic piece at TJ Maxx on clearance (I guess no one could think of how to use it) to hang my long necklaces on.  Very chic!

One last change up I made was to move Earnie’s marble top Victorian table to the bedside.  I like it so much more. Gives me more room for my things and creates visual space as well.  The photo doesn’t show all the detail of the bottom.  I had a crazy thought…painting the bottom a peacock blue?  Mr. Bee would die.

What to do with my latest book, the remotes, my lotion and notepad?  I took Earnie’s old rattan desk organizer and put all the stuff in there.  Looks great and keeps it all together.  Old is not so bad.

Gotta run.  Mr. Drysdale needs me to make a deposit into the Clampett’s account.

Mother Dear

Earnie turned 84!  She was having her girlfriend’s getaway with her 99 year old friend in Denver last week on her actual birth date so we had to delay the celebration until yesterday.  We gathered at the sister-in-law’s hive and enjoyed a salad luncheon — chicken caesar salad, bean salad (Miss Bee’s fave), potato salad, and broccoli salad.  Then for dessert, Earnie’s favorite — Strawberry Cake.

This is the recipe using strawberry jello and about 8 cups of oil and a dozen eggs.  But, boy is it worth it.  Miss Bee adorned the cake with candles and we sang.

My mother is beautiful, funny, strong, smart and kind.  While Daddy has always received the laughs and attention over the years, she’s the one that has been the backbone of the family.  One of the things I love about her most is her ability to laugh at herself and not take life too seriously.

She’s also very inquisitive….about everything.  Driving her anywhere is a real treat sometimes…”why do you suppose they are building that facing that direction?”  “That office wasn’t here the last time we were here, what kind of doctor is that?”  “How you think I could get a hold of that glue they put on the back of credit cards they send you…you know the rubbery adhesive that you peal off things?” “I see that person out walking all the time, how far do you think they walk everyday?”  “I could use this box for something.”  And the list goes on, literally, everyday.

And, don’t even get me started on her poor hearing.  That’s made for alot of funny laughs.  Latest installment:  “Do you think Ruthie might like to have a treat?”  — Earnie’s reply — “I didn’t go to a University.”  Okay.

I love you Earnie.  Each day you are with me I am a better person.

Let Them Eat Cake

Today’s discussion includes two things:  First, my secret profession and secondly, wedding cake.

Mr. Bee and I attended a wedding of his co-worker’s last evening.  Saturday night big events, like a wedding, are not something I really look forward to because I covet having free weekends to do what I choose.  So, knowing I had to take a shower, do my hair, put on makeup, my Spanx and find something to wear was all going to be worth it because, in the end, my reward was wedding cake.

I am not a big fan of Groom’s cake.  It’s usually chocolate, which I like, but it’s also dry.  I will knock a line of women down for a big, thick, corner piece of Bride’s cake, which is usually white.  Mr. Bee has been married to me long enough now to know that white cake with white buttercream frosting is the way to make my heart sing.

Here’s a photo of the happy couple (that would be me and Mr. Bee) after we had a glass of wine and our appertifs…I am going to take a break from the cake talk and review the first point…my secret ultimate profession….wedding singer….

No, this isn’t me.  It’s the singer in the band from the reception.  I thought they did a nice job.  She sang on key, was dressed appropriately and they had a great mix of songs they played.  I wanted to be an actress and major in theatre when I went to university but Earnie said I had to actually earn a living.  I became a nurse, which in some way is like acting.  I think wedding singer would be the perfect jumping off point to re-visit the whole acting thing.

When I mentioned to Mr. Bee that I wish I were up there singing he said, “Yeah, but your version of a wedding singer would be more like Debbie Reynolds.”

I knew what he meant.  Debbie played Bobbi Adler, Grace’s mother on Will & Grace.  Everytime Grace would come home with Will, her mother would be laying on top of the piano singing.  Mr. Bee said that would be me when Miss Bee comes home from college.  He’s right.  Okay, back to cake.

As soon as we arrived at the reception, I made a bee-line for the cake to see what we had in store.  After all, it was the whole reason I was wearing Spanx.  I was working on my strategy of how I was going to score two pieces of bride’s cake without anyone noticing.  Here’s the bounty…

My world of cake came crashing down at 10 p.m. when the darned bride and groom still had NOT cut the cake.  They were happy as clams dancing the night away and since the bride weighs all of about 95 pounds cake was the last thing on her mind.  Mr. Bee turned to me and said, “we need to go.  I have an early flight”.  Cue sounds of old-timey records scratching.  “But, everyone is going to get to eat cake and we’re not.”

I completely understood his plight.  I didn’t really need the cake.  But I wanted it.  I have been thinking about it ever since.  I am thinking about staging a fake wedding and calling a bakery with a fake name to have a small cake made for myself.  Of, course my birthday is coming up and Mr. Bee already has the bakery’s number on speed dial.

Six Things You Should Focus on Everyday

I signed up to teach our adult Sunday school class tomorrow.  For about a month I have been thinking about what to share.  Recently, I picked up a copy of one of my favorite magazines Life:Beautiful.  I have posted about this lovely magazine before.

The photography is ethereal and the articles are inspiring.  I read an article by Joyce Meyer entitled Enjoying Everyday Life:  Six Things You Should Focus on Everyday and knew this was the message I wanted to share.

I have really enjoyed my summer with Miss Bee.  Relaxed summer days, a slower pace at my job, no homework to do every evening, no lunches to pack, or hurried mornings preparing and serving breakfast before the bus comes.  I am hoping I can keep this peaceful feeling despite the approaching first day of school.  I know when my hurry and anxiousness bubbles to the surface Miss Bee is sure to feel it.  Do I want to empose these feelings on her?   So, this is my message.  Six things I can work on everyday that will help the “Keep Calm, Carry On” mantra in my life:

1.  Feel Blessed — Start the day with the right attitude and focus
2.  Be Thankful —   Treat everyday like Thanksgiving.  Say thank you more often
3.  Offer Encouragement —  Build up those around me
4.  Be Truthful —  Admit your weaknesses and make hard choices
5.  Make God’s Word Your Vocabulary — Make time for God’s company everyday
6.  Be Quiet — Listen Before You Speak — Hold Your Tongue.  Are your words really necessary?