Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaBloPoMo complete


The last day of Nablopomo is here.  Over the course of the month, I’ve written some pretty boring posts- stuff nobody really cares about-I’m sure, but I have completed the exercise.
I’ve applied some stick-to-it-iveness, which can’t be a bad thing. 
There hasn't been a lot of time to devote to this project, but a year from now, or two, I’ll have this rather sketchy record to remind me of what was going on in our lives. 
My recently downloaded Timehop app has convinced me of the value of that.  
Because of Timehop, I am reminded that three years ago today I finally got to hold Clay for the first time.  He was 36 days old. 
Reminders and being thankful usually go hand and hand.  It's good to consider all the good gifts in our lives.  
Anyway, I’m thankful for the gift of November, and the last few days of the month that have warmed up considerably and made it more comfortable to decorate the porches for Christmas.  
I'm glad to get to spend a little time in the fresh air before a hectic holiday season begins. 
I’ll wrap up the blog posting series with this quote from Jimmy Carter that kind of bridges my weekend and the Christmas season approaching. 
“It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”

Here are some of those joys and beauties:  







Day 29: Teach them to hike while they are young.





We just got back from an afternoon of hiking and rambling around the hulking cliffs that surround Bear Track Lake.  It’s a challenge to hike with small children, but I think it is well worth the time and trouble to instill a love of nature in them while they are young. 
We’ve been dragging our own kids around on hikes since they were babies.  We carried Hannah into the bowels of the earth (at Mammoth Cave), when she was only six months old. 
Now she has kids, and they’ve both been spelunking.  One is three months old; the other is three years old. 
Our afternoon hike sounds like a pretty minor expedition compared to some taken by one of my heroes, Mary Jane Butters. 
Mary Jane lives in Idaho, and she’s written several books that focus on living an organic life “farm-girl style.” 

She has written about the time she carried her daughter (about two years old) more than 50 miles on a backpacking trip.
She'd probably laugh at our short hike, but we enjoyed the time exploring and just being outside.  

A little time to disconnect





I was without internet service for day 28 and day 29 of my NaBloPoMo challenge, so I’ll be posting a couple of days late, although I wrote this on the correct day, I promise. 
The gals and I-my sis, her daughter, my daughters and the two grand kiddos, decided to skip the black Friday madness and rent a cabin not too far from home. 
So here we are, nestled on the edge of a small lake in a little cabin, and we are taking it easy. 
The lake covers seven acres, according to the owner, and its waters are blackish from the leaves that have fallen in and stained it with tannins. Kind of reminds me of the Black Lagoon. 
A couple of caves are nearby that we are planning to explore tomorrow. I wish it were a bit warmer so we could spend more time on the nice deck that overlooks the water.  Or paddle in one of the boats docked on the bank. 

For now, though, we are snug and cozy indoors.  The babies are sleeping, and I enjoyed reading a half-dozen Curious George stories to Clay before he went to sleep.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The tree is up!

Well, the big tree is up. It isn't decorated, but the lights are on.  So there's a start.

I've overcome my inner Scrooge, and the decorating has begun--no easy feat after a big meal followed by a few varieties of dessert.

Seriously, I've had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  The food was good, the company was good; I couldn't ask for anything more than to be surrounded by those I love.

I hope everyone else out there had a happy Thanksgiving too.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas after the kids grow up

I used to take the whole decorating for Christmas thing pretty seriously, especially when the kids were little.

I wanted to re-create for them the magic of Christmas that I experienced when I was a girl.
                                                                                                                                                         
Our Christmases weren't extravagant at all, but Mom put a lot of thought and care into choosing "just right" stocking stuffers and other small gifts to go with  a big gift or two.

That was no small accomplishment with there being five of us.

Now it's just me and the hubs, and I'm asking myself, is there really any need to put all that stuff out?
I love the festive look when it's all done, but I don't particularly enjoy putting it up, and I especially don't like taking it down.

Do I dare break with tradition?  With Thanksgiving coming so close to Christmas this year, I've got to decide soon.

Dunh dunh duh....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Around and around we go….

We've just sent the last November issue of the paper to the press, and that leaves four more issues to produce this year.

The next few weeks will be filled with shopping, giving, baking, giving, decorating--all things American Christmas.  During the holiday season, I'll cover as many Christmas events as possible.

January is time to haul ourselves back onto the wagon of self-restraint.  We'll work hard for a few weeks to set goals, to organize, to lose weight, or stop some bad habit.
In a few months, we'll be after another goal, project or diversion like a beagle hot on the trail of a rabbit.

By the time one reaches mid-life, there's a predictability to life's seasons.  For sure,
you can't be too positive of what life will throw at you, but the seasons and their rituals are a constant and a comfort.

The seasons turn, and turn, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.  We go around and around until our time is up and the merry-go-round of life throws us across that great divide between temporal and eternal.

Each deadline met, each milestone past, is cause to be thankful, while at the same time they unsettle us with reminders that time does fly.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Madness = Quick Post

In order to keep my NaBloPoMo deadline, I'm going to have to fire off a quick post from the office.  I've been editing scads of cute pictures from the Light up the Rivertown event, and the Excite night event on Friday night.

So, let's make this simple and quick.

I'll post a picture of Clay with one of the sweet friends who always expressed such love and concern for him when he was so sick.

Here, Clay meets Laura in person for the first time.

Aren't they cute?






Sunday, November 23, 2014

Simple Sunday: Ruminations



I spent a few minutes this morning reading from one of my favorite childhood books, one called Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

As I start to write this blog, it occurs to me that I usually write about the same sort of things that Wilder did. She focused a lot on the natural world around her, and she wrote about family, farming, growing and preserving food, etc.

Her family butchered hogs, smoked venison, and salted down barrels of fish, enough to last through the winter. They stored root vegetables in a cellar.

Her "sustainable" lifestyle was common for the era in which she grew up.

Yesterday, my family butchered more than 30 chickens.  We didn't have to smoke or salt cure them, because we have the easier option of bagging the birds and sticking them in the deep freeze.

We don't have to do this.  Lord knows it would be much easier and less messy to go to the grocery store and buy chicken.

But the more we learn about super market food supplies, the better home-grown sounds.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was a newspaper columnist after she grew up, got married and moved out of the big woods.

I have a book of her columns that I enjoy dipping into every now and then. The book is called Little House in the Ozarks, and it's mostly filled with short essays Wilder wrote between the years of 1911 and 1925.

She was concerned about how cars and highways were changing her world. She wrote about conserving the trees, and other environmental issues of her day.  She wrote how women's lives were becoming easier because of inventions like the washing machine and refrigerator.

Approximately one hundred years later, Wilder would be amazed at the ways the world has changed.
We have so much less work to do to maintain a household, yet we seem to be far busier.

One of the ways I prepare for a front-loaded work week when I have zero time to cook on Mondays and Tuesdays is to prepare something that will be good to reheat for supper in the following days.

Today, on a simple and quiet Sunday at home, I fried one of those plump big roosters we "dressed" yesterday.
I made potato soup with veggies from our garden, and I baked cornbread and made a blackberry cobbler from berries picked on nearby hillsides a summer or two ago.

I wrote a little blog post and clicked "publish,"and my thoughts went swirling out into cyberspace.

Laura Ingalls Wilder never saw that coming, I'll bet.

I wonder what the next generation of pioneer women journalists will be opining about?

It's hard to imagine, but I'll bet they'll still have to eat.








Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kentucky loves green bean casserole

I received a press release at work yesterday which said Kentucky is number one when it comes to loving the green bean casserole.

This press release came from the Del Monte company and included the basic green bean casserole recipe and several variations.

Green bean casserole was never a part of my family's Thanksgiving meal until my sister in law began to bring it a few years ago.

I like her version, but I had never really been a fan of the ones I'd tried before.

We usually eat homegrown beans at Thanksgiving, boiled down and seasoned with pork fat and salt, just like any other time of the year.

They taste so much better than those from a can.

Sorry Del Monte.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Finally Friday


And a frosty one.

I love the way frost makes a plain bare landscape look so magical--and clean.

I think of frost as purifying.   It burns away the dross and leaves only the most solid of elements: earth and rock--and birdhouses.





Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is there an elf on the shelf at your house?

Across the country, schools and homes have elves on their shelves to prompt good behavior.
The elves are watching, you see, to see if kids are behaving.  If not, the elves will report to Santa, which means some unfortunate little boys and girls might not get what they want for Christmas.
Decades ago when I was a youngster, there was no elf on the shelf.
Santa Claus himself was watching us, or the Big Man upstairs. Like the popular elf, they were liable to be anywhere and everywhere.
We were threatened with a lump of coal in our stockings, or a sackful of switches for Christmas if we didn't behave.
Pretty dire consequences, right?
But that wasn't the worst of it. Sometimes we were told the Booger Man might get us.
I'm not sure how long these threats are effective, but I can remember being more aware of my words and deeds in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  If I did or said something I shouldn't have, my conscience at least spoke to me.
Of course, I knew Santa wasn't real, but the Big Man?
He's the one I didn't want to mess with.
How were you encouraged to be well-behaved when you were a child?




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A little fall texture...


I like the textures of fall foliage.  I captured too much window frame in this picture, but I like the red leaves, the cedars in the background, and the seedy grasses.  That fuzzy stuff on the left is goldenrod.

I used to dislike "barren" fall landscapes, but they aren't really.  There's a lot going on in the fall, even when plants and trees look dead.

They are getting ready for another growing season already.   No matter what the season, spring is coming!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Because we could all use a little extra serenity in our day...

I wish it wasn't this cold so early in the year, but there's nothing to be done about it, so I'll just admire some of nature's handiwork.  



When two seasons collide, it makes for some pretty and peaceful-looking landscapes, don't you agree?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cookbook and restaurant guide spotlights some of Kentucky's best dishes

One of the perks of being a newspaper editor is that you sometimes receive complimentary copies of books to review.
I jumped all over the chance to get a copy of "Kentucky Back Road Restaurant Recipes: A Cookbook and Restaurant Guide," because it features several things I'm pretty enthusiastic about: my home state, off the beaten path mom and pop restaurants, and plenty of tempting recipes.
The book is part travel guide, part cookbook.
It features a recipe from one of Irvine's own long-time favorite establishments, the little walk-up restaurant that we call "The Twin."
The book explains what each restaurant, cafe, deli, etc., serves, then it tells how to make for yourself one of that restaurant's specialties.
The recipe shared from The Twin was the cake they use in their hot fudge cakes.
There are other intriguing recipes.  One is for a simple chili that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I wouldn't expect that in chili at all, but it probably adds some flavor and creaminess.
There are recipes for country favorites, like old-timey green beans and chicken and dumplings made with eggs and lard.
There's a variation of a hot brown made on a hoecake instead of white bread, and there's peanut butter fudge cake (?!), and tomato bisque from scratch.
The book features lots of color photographs taken in and of eateries from across the state, but there are other non-food related attractions included too.
So, with this handy-dandy book in your possession, you can make some of the tried and true recipes yourself, or you can look up the places that made them famous and eat there.
Sounds like a good time either way.
Or a good Christmas present for someone on your list?




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Long dark evenings make a lazy woman out of me

There were several things I could have done this evening, but because it's cold outside, and dark already, I've had little will to do them.
In the winter, even though it might only be, say, 6 p.m., my body tells me I should be inactive.
This evening, I did force myself to do some household chores, but the recliner kept calling my name. How about you?  Do you still have loads of energy and motivation when it's dark out, or do you choose a quiet pastime?
How do you while away the evening hours when it gets dark this early? Do you knit, crochet, paint or write?
Do you cook, watch television or read a book?
Or do you go out on the town? Get together with friends?  Shop?
Going out is usually the last thing I want to do once the sun sets.
Call me a hermit, I guess.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Finally Friday: I'm looking forward to...

Ah, weekend, here you come.  It's cold out, but that makes for good snuggling with these two dumplings who are coming to visit this afternoon.

This picture is on my desktop at work, and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

I sure do appreciate our photographer Dustin Stevenson for doing such a fine job of taking family pictures.





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Giving thanks: Doesn't it require more than just words?

It's so cold out tonight-nothing extreme really, but it was 70 here in good ol' fickle-weather Kentucky just a couple of days ago, so the cold hurts.

I think the cold was good for a cause tonight though.  Several local folks gathered at the county courthouse to discuss the need for, and plans for, opening a homeless shelter in our county.

The biting cold certainly made me think about how miserable and frightening it would be to have to spend the night outside in some makeshift shelter.

I also thought about how self-indulgent, or selfish, I can be. Remember that post I wrote on Tuesday,
about my hard day, and how I came home and ate more than I needed, and crashed on the couch in my super-cozy fleece pajamas?

I was thankful for the comforts of home, but I'll admit I didn't once think of those who might not have a home, or many comforts.

But tonight, after that meeting, I'm thinking about it, and I'm feeling a little ashamed.

Someone there quoted the scripture that says, "To whom much is given, much is required."

That puts a different perspective on gratitude and suggests that true thankfulness is more than saying so.

It's about passing it on...






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just where does that childish greed for presents come from?

Christmas is going to be a lot of fun this year, I can tell.
When you ask Clay what he wants for Christmas, he'll say "a tree."
He's been excited about getting a Christmas tree since he saw one decorated with toy trains, cars, etc. in a store back  in...August, maybe?
When his momma explained that there might be toys under the tree at Christmas-time, his eyes got even bigger.
So today, when we were shopping in a big box store, Clay saw some things he wanted as we walked through aisles displaying toy train sets, giant stuffed animals and other items that looked pretty tantalizing to a three year old.
"Clay have that, take it to Nan and Papa's house," Clay politely suggested a couple of times.
I told him he'd have to add it to his wish list, and maybe Santa would get it for him.
And just like that, here I go perpetuating the whole materialistic Christmas paradigm.
A part of me resists the idea, yet another part of me gets as excited about it as...well, a kid at Christmas.
And to think that Clay probably would have been satisfied with just a tree.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trying Tuesday: Production days are killer, so I'll be lazy now if I wanna

I'm trying really hard not to feel sorry for myself, because I had to sit at the computer all day long with barely a minute to glance up and notice that the sun was shining, and it was positively balmy outside for November.
Now the rain and the cold front and the dark have arrived, and it's supposed to feel like winter for the next week.
There are so many worse things that could happen, so I won't waste any more time feeling pitiful.
I figure I may as well go ahead and embrace hibernation mode enthusiastically.
Since I got home from putting the paper to bed, I took a short walk before the raindrops started to fall.
I warmed leftover homemade vegetable beef soup and I created myself an open-faced bbq pork on a hoecake sandwich (garnished with shredded cheese, green onions, and fresh greens).
I shoulda taken a picture of that thing.  It was purty.
Then I made myself a cup of vanilla chai and grabbed a chocolate chip cookie before hitting the couch.
How's that for comfort food? Is it any wonder I'm getting fat?
Now I've got my favorite fleecy cheetah print pajamas on, and I'm reclining on comfy cushions while browsing the internet.
Talk about comfort...or would laziness be a better word?
I refuse to feel guilty, though.  I've earned a break, and I'll do something productive tomorrow.
Mebe.

Does this picture inspire hibernation, or what?  It inspires me to curl up with a good book.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Soulful Sunday: Soaking up the sunshine

It's been one of those days that you wish you could duplicate for chasing away winter gloom later in the season.
The sun has been bright, and some of the leaves still are too.
Other bright spots in my day: A little tramp in the woods (see above).  A longer walk to Grandma and Grandpa's house with the grandbabies and the sisters.
A big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup.  Fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Sunshine.
More sunshine.
Snuggles with the grandbabies.
Who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Saturday at home: Preparing for a long winter


I feel like I've been channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie this afternoon.

With the last of the harvest comes the task of storing, preserving, or otherwise "putting up" for the winter.

We've got our potatoes stored so they won't freeze, and I pulled nearly a bushel of an assortment of peppers last week before that first killing freeze.  The girls and I prepped some for the freezer and used some to make pepper jelly.

The only thing left in the garden are the greens, but I'm not too worried about them, because they can take pretty cold temperatures.  

Another chore of late fall is cutting away frost-bitten foliage, mowing leaves (we don't do much raking anymore, the mower mulches them and scatters them around the yard where they will decay and become good fertilizer for the lawn).

We don't fertilize either; that's what all those fallen leaves are for.

I threw some half-rotten squash to the chickens and otherwise tidied up around the place a bit. I moved a few clumps of perennials and thought how pretty they will be when summer rolls around again.  

I enjoy the process of cleaning up the yard and garden in late fall. I like the feeling of closure it gives to the growing season, and it makes me feel accomplished and prepared for winter.

We've been discussing pork with our supplier, so we'll have plenty of fresh meat around the beginning of the new year.

My seasons have always revolved around sowing things, growing things, then harvesting and preserving for enjoying those things later.  

This is part of my mountain heritage, when folks had to grow and store and prepare for winter if they wanted to survive it.

Now I'm not entirely dependent on my own efforts for survival; there is a grocery store a few miles away. But I do rely on the old ways for a certain quality of life.  They feel my soul, my family's collective memories, and my culture is maintained.

So, bring it on, polar vortex spinning southward.  I'm not afraid of you.
We are prepared; and we are going to live well and eat well this winter.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's finally Friday: Time for a little food therapy.

I expect that there will be frost on the greens patch in the morning.  It is definitely chilly out right now.  But the last frost didn't hurt our greens; it just made the grass and leaves and greens all sparkly

and pretty.  

Having been raised on boiled greens with pork fat, I've just lately acquired a taste for mustard greens mixed with lettuces in salads.  I love that little bit of pungent bite in
 fresh mustard.  I also like it on sandwiches.  

Now the sycamore leaf in the picture is just for looks.  I don't know if they are edible, although it wouldn't surprise me if they were.  Many of the plants in rural landscapes are.  

Anyway, because I have such an abundance of mustard greens, I'm thinking of making pesto with some of them tomorrow.  
I don't see how I could go wrong...blend them with some olive oil, some lemon juice, some toasted sunflower seeds...

I'll let you know how the fresh mustard pesto turns out... 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday: I get to spread good news


The weather was raw this evening, and the house felt cozy.  I could happily have stayed in, but our high school marching band was being honored at a reception for a very successful season.  They finished second  in the state in their class with a nearly flawless performance. 
So I went.  I listened to the band director speak about overcoming the stigma associated with our county and the challenges of breaking through that and earning the respect of judges and other band programs from more urban areas.  
I know that what he's saying is true.  People sometimes don't expect a lot out of small Kentucky towns, but many of our local student groups are excelling wherever they compete.   
As part of my job, I have the privilege of publicizing their successes.  I'm thankful for the platform to be a cheerleader for these teams and organizations.  
The fact that our school is small and we don't have the resources of more affluent areas just makes our successes sweeter. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wonder-ful Wednesday: Moments to savor



I read a blog earlier today about the importance of cultivating a sense of wonder.  
I think I've been able to do that pretty well over most of the past half-century (my life!), just by nature of the things I like to do.  
But there are so many joy-killers, and our thoughts can become bitter or sour if we let them.  
The blog recommended spending time outdoors in nature, playing with animals or children, listening to music that really moves you, or preparing a good meal with friends or family--all these things are antidotes to becoming jaded and cynical.  
Sounds like excellent advice to me.  These activities definitely restore my soul, particularly if I preserve them with my camera. That way I can savor the moment twice.  
Here are a few wonder-filled moments.  
The first one is a wide-eyed look from our sweet little granddaughter.
The second is an early dusting of snow on autumn leaves.  We don't usually get that here in Kentucky, but we did last weekend.  


This rock.  I always wonder,..it reminds me of something...Darth Vader, maybe?  


Monday, November 3, 2014

We'll call this Manic Monday.

Mondays are typically very hectic at the newspaper office. This week, I'm catching a break--no city council meetings.
However, I plan to keep my posts short on Mondays, just for the sake of not becoming overly ambitious and self-defeating.
This is the little guy I wrote of yesterday who had such a rough beginning.  He always makes me smile and is sure to make any Monday brighter.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Soulful Sunday: Celebrating another year of change

I wasn't ready for it, but it came.  Last night, the first killing frost of the season zapped the life from my impatiens which were still in full bloom. It put the hurt on some roses that were looking really good too.
A gigantic sycamore tree at the corner of our yard has since dropped most of it's leaves. There's a small ocean of crunchy brown leaves below the bare white arms of the sycamore.
They are beautiful today, but the leaves will soon crumble and disintegrate into the ground until there's little evidence that they were even there.
The seasons of our life are.like that. When we are in the midst of summer, it's hard to imagine how quickly autumn can arrive and change everything.
Focusing on the loss that change brings can cause grief, even if the change is a good thing.  Our youngest daughter graduated from college, got her first job and moved out of the house this year.  
Our nest is empty, and honestly, I've felt less than enthusiastic about the idea at times.
The house is too quiet.  I miss the comings and goings of our daughters and their friends.
As Thanksgiving nears, I have to remind myself that not all change involves loss.
For one, my husband and I have a new granddaughter.  She's two months old now and is pretty as a picture with her mostly bald little head.
Our first grandchild, a grandson, didn't have to be hospitalized all year.
Three autumns ago, he was fighting desperatly for his life. Born with a birth defect called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, doctors didn't give him a very good chance of surviving.
During that time,  I participated in National Blog Posting Month for the first time.
I met the challenge and posted every day, many times writing in the waiting room or in the car on the way home from the hospital.
It was an incredibly stressful time, but the mental exercise of posting a daily blog provided a diversion for some of my anxiety.
It was difficult then to imagine what my grandson's quality of life would be if he were to survive.
He was 26 days old when his parents got to hold him for the first time.  After 36 days, I finally had my turn.
These days, our grandson has a few lingering issues, but he's hard to distinguish from a "typical" three year old.
He doesn't remember living in the hospital the first eight months of his life.  I wonder what he thinks when he sees pictures of himself taken during those days, his body distorted and swollen.  
Today our grandson is walking, talking, and is a very entertaining little person.
Those are some changes I celebrate.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sweetnin' Saturday

The end of daylight savings time and the subsequent long dark evenings seem like a good time to revisit my blog.
It's been one busy eventful summer, but I'll get back to that a little later.
Right now, lets talk dessert.
Where I come from, Saturdays were designated as the day when country women did their baking. Many of them adhered to a weekly schedule to organize their chores.  
I don't remember which chore was designated for every day of the week, but I do remember Monday for laundry and Saturday for baking.
Sunday was a day of rest, but it was also the day company came.  Maybe that's why dessert was prepared on Saturday.  Or maybe it was to be one step ahead of the game when preparing Sunday dinner.
Because National Blog Posting Month began today, and because this dessert is sort of fall-ish, I'm going to share the recipe for this decadent concoction.
It's the sort of recipe country cooks take to church potlucks and funeral dinners, and everyone swoons over and wants the recipe.
It  came across my Pinterest feed, I think, but I found it on "a blog by Chef in Training."
Here's the recipe for Pralines and Cream Dream dessert.  Click on the link if you'd like to see for yourself how yummy it looks.

INGREDIENTS:
Crust
  • 1 (11.3 oz.) box of crushed Sandies pecan cookies
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Cream Cheese filling
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. cool whip, thawed
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Pudding
  • 2 small boxes INSTANT butterscotch pudding, dry not prepared and NOT cook n' serve
  • 3½ cup milk
Topping
  • 12 oz. cool whip
Sugared pecans
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup sugar
Remaining Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Caramel ice cream topping
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. In a 9x13 baking dish combine cookies and melted butter to form crust layer. Press down evenly over bottom of pan and bake for 12 min. Set aside to cool.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip until smooth and well combined. Set aside in fridge until ready to assemble.
  1. In small mixing bowl mix pudding packets and milk and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  1. In a medium size skillet over medium heat, combine pecans and sugar. Stir until sugar is melted. Pour them out onto to a piece of parchment paper to cool.
To assemble
  1. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust.
  1. Next gently spoon pudding over the cream cheese mixture.
  1. Then top with the cool whip.
  1. Sprinkle the cooled sugared pecans over the top.
  1. Drizzle caramel sauce over the nuts and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

A few spring developments

Let's just say it's been a while since I posted on my lonesome blog.
Just look how cold it was the last time!  But winter has passed, although I sometimes doubted it ever would, and spring is now in full swing.




The hills are alive with birdsong and they are lush with new green.






Our "baby girl" just graduated from college, and she will be starting a big girl job in a couple of weeks.

(I messed up on the  pic at right, because my camera case got in the way, but I kind of like the way it framed Chelsea's pretty profile.
                      I have no idea who that feller in the background is.)


Chelsea was so elated to be out of school, that she bought herself a pup.  His name is Leo.  He has very long ears, and he poops a lot.





One of Chelsea's best buds, also her first cousin and my niece, just graduated with a nursing degree.


She's so happy to be outta there!















And her mama is obviously very proud.









My parents are proud too...their first three grandgirls, all college grads.












The bar is set high for these two.

There are other exciting developments in our lives.


We're going to be grandparents again!

This time, it's a girl. A girl!


What a blessing they are, these girls who grow up too fast.



The little guys are pretty special too. 
  
       Yes, they are.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A few snowy scenes

Weather forecasters call the cold "brutal" and "numbing."  It can be, for sure, but the snow and ice create some beautiful scenes.

Note the snow sculpture on the barn roof. 

Google + added the snow effect, but check out the ice.  


I like this pattern... 

and the fact that this old smokehouse stands through yet another winter.

\
A little blurry, but I love the mystical look of this photo.  


Saturday, January 11, 2014

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep


I agree with Robert Frost.  The woods are lovely--dark and deep.

They are cold and mysterious and moody--yet beautiful in a quiet way.

This is still life.

I wish I could step through the page and walk a one-lane deserted road whenever I want.




My siblings, cousins and I played on these cliffs when we were kids.

I love their craggy old faces, the lines that deepen with every ice storm, rainfall, cold snap.









The mist hovers around them like a breath, warm and personal.



                    My pictures below don't do the "frost flowers" justice, which I thought were beautiful on the first sub-zero morning we've seen for a while.



     How can spiky blooms form on sheets of ice on moving water?



   I don't understand how it happens, but it's beautiful.