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


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.

Host Parties With A Punch

I was in Pottery Barn recently and they had so many cute things out for Summer.  I love this time of the year for entertaining outside, until it gets 110 degrees, then not so much.   Here are my three things you need to host a fab party this season…
First, a good cocktail book.  I picked up this fun one as a wedding gift for a co-worker.

Punch Parties by Ben Reed shares all sorts of drink ideas.  Whether it’s a cool Cosmopolitan Punch, a sophisticated Sangria Blanco or a tangy Mojito, there is nothing like a beautifully prepared drink to add flavor and festivity to any social occasion – or to provide a reason to celebrate!   And with a large selection of non-alcoholic refreshers and tasty light bites to serve alongside, award-winning mixologist Ben Reed has created the perfect guide to hosting a truly unforgettable occasion.

Second, you need a stylish dispenser for serving the drinks.  They are everywhere in retail right now.  I have four in my party pantry.  Line them all up on a serving table with lemonade, iced tea, sangria and margaritas.  Something for everyone.

Last, I love these chalk board tags from Pottery Barn

Don’t just use them for dispensers (which is how they’re marketed at PB), use them to label your cheeses on a cheese board, hang on your front door to let your guests know the party is around back, or hang on a wine bottle with a sentiment as a hostess gift.  The possibilities are endless.

One day soon I will show you my own party pantry and the essentials every good hostess should have on hand.  Cheers!

What’s in my Lunchbox — Heirloom Recipes

Sporting my Martha Stewart lunchbox today, I love it when I have a good lunch to eat.  Since I work such abbreviated hours, I usually have a working lunch at my desk.  Today I brought left overs from Easter weekend.

The focus today is on the Paula Deen Blueberry Jello Salad and Julia’s Vermicelli Salad.    We served these at our Easter picnic on Saturday when we dyed eggs.
The jello recipe I tore out of a magazine before Paula Deen became a household word.  It is so yummy and a great dish to take to a friend or potluck.  You could easily make it into several smaller salads, or in my case I just made it in a 9×13 glass dish.
Boil 2 cups of water
Pour into a large mixing bowl then add:
1 20-oz can of crushed pineapple (drained)
2, 3-oz boxes of black cherry jello (I use sugar free and you can’t tell the difference)
1 can blueberry pie filling
Mix all together then pour into your preferred size dish.  Let set in refrigerator for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, mix together one 8-oz package of soften cream cheese, 8-oz of sour cream and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Spread onto the set jello and refrigerate another two hours or overnight. Garnish with mint or fruit.
The second recipe is from 90-years young Julia Johnson.  My childhood friend. 
Julia is an amazing cook.  I first tasted this vermicelli salad on a vacation when I was little.  Julia and her husband, Jimmy, went with me, Earnie and Daddy in the motorhome for a cross-country trip to Virginia and the Carolinas.  Earnie said Julia came over one day to measure the refrigerator in the motor-home so she would know exactly how much food to prepare and how to package it.  That might have been the summer when my waist line started to expand.
You have to do some planning with this recipe.  You make it the night before and there’s lots of chopping.

Cook one package of vermicelli pasta noodles (or really any type pasta you like.  Bow-tie might be nice)
Pour off water but do not rinse.

After pasta has cooled put it into a large plastic container with a lid.  Add 2 TBL of olive or canola oil and 2 TBL fresh lemon juice (not from a bottle), and 1 tsp of Accent seasoning.  Shake tub and mix well.  Refrigerate over night.

Next day to the pasta add one can of chopped green olives, one can of chopped black olives, one chopped onion, one chopped bell pepper, and one cup of chopped celery.  After you’ve mixed in the vegetables, add 2 TBL of mayonnaise and 2 TBL italian dressing.  Mix well and put back in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This is one of those recipes that tastes better with age.  I usually double it so I have some left over to eat all week.

I am trying to go through Earnie’s recipes to find one that I liked growing up.  I want it in her pretty handwriting she had before her stroke affected her ability to write.  I plan to frame a few and display them in my kitchen.  Aren’t some of your fondest memories watching your mother cook?

Lunch with Church Lady and Mrs. Schumacher

Last year after we lost Daddy, my church lady friend, Kristi (also known as Mrs. Burdette’s Egg Casserole) invited me, Mr. Bee, Miss Bee and Earnie to celebrate the day with their family and the Schumacher quints.  This is the famous Chocolate Dipped Pretzel dipped Schumachers.  It was so comforting to go and spend the day with them.

We behaved so nicely that she invited us back for the 2nd annual Burdette/Gode/Schumacher Easterfeast 2012.  There’s always ham because Grandma can’t have Easter without it.

And a pile of other food like grits (what Southern household would it be if there wasn’t a grits casserole), pasta salad (this is going to be featured in the Heirloom recipes blog entry later this week), fresh tomatoes, corn casserole, fruit, mini quiches, rolls, and of course chocolate sheet cake, cupcakes, cake balls and Mrs. Schumacher’s pretzels.

Each family has beautiful, intelligent and kind children that you actually like to sit around the table with and engage in conversation.  As an added bonus we got to be involved in Amy and Andy’s science fair projects — “The Tea Party” which tested our abilities to detect if the tea was sweetened with Agave, Splenda or regular sugar (I guessed wrong) and in exam room B. Andy’s test of “Are you for Real?” of guessing whether someone is giving a genuine smile or faking it.  After we left I wondered if the real reason for inviting us was because they needed test subjects.

God has blessed our family in so many ways.  He’s given us a treasured church family of loving, Christian people to grow old with.  If I live to be 80, then I will be spending Easter at the Burdette’s (or their assisted living facility) up until 2044.  I wonder if ham will still exist in the 2040’s?

Scenes from an Easter’s Eve — Caution Peeps and Fire are involved

Family came over tonight to eat an Easter picnic and to dye eggs.  I am going to make an entry another day to share the “heirloom” recipes we had for our picnic today.  But, here are some pics of the eggs we dyed.  See an earlier post about using food coloring for your egg dye.  We also got out the Martha Stewart glitter to bling up Miss Bee’s eggs.

Sister Bee brought each of us a homemade Easter basket made with a plastic drinking cup.  She tucked jelly beans inside with a tiny pink fuzzy chick.  So cute.

Then, we moved into the s’more making station.  I have to admit I took a slight pleasure in roasting my peep over the fire.

I highly recommend peeps on your s’more next time.  The slight crunch of the sugary coating and the hint of yellow made for a very delish dessert.

Happy Easter!

Cinnamon Roll Saturday

This past Saturday, I took Miss Bee to Ginger Brown’s diner in Lake Worth.  It was a cold, rainy day and the perfect conditions for comfort food.  Each meal comes with their famous homemade cinnamon rolls.  The chatty older couple next to us shared their cinnamon rolls with us (you see, she has diabetes and can’t eat them).  Plus, while we were waiting to be seated we did their “text us and we’ll give you a coupon for a free cinnamon roll” incentive.  So, we left with six of these bad boys…

We missed the “cinnamon roll happy hour”.  During non-peak times of the day, if you purchase nine cinnamon rolls you get nine free.  Perfect for a sleepover!

Are you like me and savor the center of the cinnamon roll for last?