Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lots to be thankful for

We had the most wonderful of Thanksgivings.  Larry and I have SO much to be thankful for.  This was our first Thanksgiving together, in our new home, and our families were coming to celebrate with us and help us give thanks for this amazing, incredible year we have had. 

This Thanksgiving was also the first time I had ever roasted a turkey.  Crazy, I know.  Forty-seven years old, never cooked a turkey.  I've just never had to.  Mama always does the turkey and the dressing.  This year, though, since we were hosting dinner in our new house, Larry and I decided we'd roast the turkey.  We were excited to try out our new roasting oven so we got up at 5:30 and rubbed that turkey down with butter and seasoned him up good and I stuffed bunches of rosemary, thyme and sage in the cavity.  That was the extent of my "stuffing" that turkey.  It's dressing down here in the south and we make a pan of it and serve it beside the turkey.  It gets nowhere near, ahem, that area.  It's okay if you do the stuffing thang, we just don't.  Okay, so we get that sucker all ready and put him in the roaster and start the clock.  The instructions say for a boy this big (22.1 pounds!), he is to cook at 350 degrees for 4 1/2 hours.  Well, I'll just tell y'all it's a good thing I watched his temperature like a crazy woman with a pointy meat thermometer because he was DONE in just under three and a half hours.  We started him out breast down and after three hours, that breast was 165 degrees.  We took him out, flipped him over onto a roasting pan and put him in the regular oven to brown another half hour.  He was completely done and registering 175 by that time.  We could have easily taken him out of the roaster at 2 hours and browned for 30-45 minutes.  Just giving y'all a head's up in case you ever want to buy/use an Oster roaster oven.  The instructions are wrong.  We'd a'been eating sawdust and dressing if we had followed those instructions. 

He was beautiful!!  Brown, juicy and delicious.  Not one place on him was dry.  Here's Larry carving him up!

We also cooked a 12-pound ham and I added a brown sugar glaze once it was done.  It was most yummy!!

Mama made this adorable cake (red velvet, my favorite!) for us.  

 Here are me and my mommy right here!

I used as many of my vintage dishes to serve in as I could.  This one is from a set of three Glasbake dishes that Rhiana and Juan got for me at an estate sale in Atlanta last weekend!  I'd seen the sale advertised online and Larry and I just couldn't go.  We were both nursing some ailments, Larry's back and my neck. So we asked them to go and I said to just get me one piece if they were even still there.  Not only were the pieces all still there but they got me all three pieces, plus a bunch of ramekins and soup bowls with lids, too! 

I steamed some fresh asparagus with lemon butter and I thought they were just perfect for that Green Floral Daisy dish!

We had a feast!  Sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole, bacon-wrapped green beans, zipper peas, homemade mac and cheese, roasted potatoes, sweet peas, those delicious Mennonite dinner rolls and Mama made about a dozen sweet potato and pumpkin pies.  I know I'm forgetting something!  Feast, I tell ya!

Juan, Rhiana and the girls stayed with us until this afternoon and we so enjoyed having them.  We had so much fun!  We planned a few activities to do with the girls and we had a great time making memories with them.  We may have even started a few traditions!

We made a gingerbread house!

And Emma and I drew pictures with sidewalk chalk...

While Paw Paw and Elizabeth made a birdhouse.

And Paw Paw showed both girls how to build a cotton ball snowman!

We watched Fried Green Tomatoes, Frosty The Snowman, Christmas Vacation and Forrest Gump and Juan and Larry even ventured out for a quick trip to Walmart last night. 

We had such a great time.  We talked and we laughed and we played and we ate and we laughed some more.  

Yep.  Lots to be thankful for this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


It's feeling more and more like home here every day.  Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to lately.

Larry hung a tennis ball from the ceiling in the garage to hit my windshield so I'd know where to stop.  :)

It reminds me of a scene from my favorite movie.  Ha!!

Ami and Brian got a new entertainment center and we got their old one since it was a lot bigger than ours and we needed one that big to fill up all that space.  I think it looks great! 

It has lots of room to display stuff, like my growing collection of vintage baby planters.  That little cowgirl was actually mine when I was born.  It held flowers that my daddy's job sent me and Mama in the hospital.  I never actually intended to start a collection of these, it just kinda happened.  You know, at estate sales.  Totally NOT my fault.  :)  And they are sooooo cute!

I picked up this gorgeous old clock for $5 last weekend.  Larry replaced the cord and it's good as new!  I love it.

We got Tom chillin' in the freezer.  We got us one of those fancy Oster roasting ovens and we're going to try it out this weekend on a roasted chicken before the big day.

Yeah, they do.  They sure do.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Pie

Our very first Sunday Pie in our new house was...PUMPKIN!  

I made one this afternoon to try out that new oven!  Larry said it was the best pumpkin pie he's ever had in his life.  He said it won't last the night.  Ha!

I just used a basic recipe:

1 can of pumpkin (15 oz)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
2 eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and I cheated and used a frozen pie crust.  :)  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, then bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 more minutes.  Easy peasy!

It turned out great, tastes amazing and totally hit the spot after a long, stressful week.  It got us in the mindset for Thanksgiving, too!  Can't wait!!

Settling in

We are just about done!  Larry's working in the garage today, I'm roasting a chicken and unpacking THE LAST BOX!  I want to get the carpets shampooed today but may not get there.  I've done something to my left shoulder and I'm in a good bit of pain.  I might just take it easy today.  It is Sunday, after all.

We have worked pretty much nonstop unpacking boxes and arranging things.  If we hadn't had to stop and clean every single surface, we'd be done by now.  Everything was covered in 2-3 inches of dust and grime and we got the last of the ceiling fans cleaned last night.  I knew I was going to have to clean to get the house up to where I wanted it but I never expected to find it the way we did.  Oh well, now I know it's clean and as Larry calls it, "Ginger clean".  Ha!  This house is too beautiful not to keep it up and keep it clean and that's what I'm going to do.  Live and learn, I guess.  And don't expect anything, that way you won't be disappointed.  I've had to really pray about this because I've felt way more anger and animosity than I should have.  I just wouldn't do that to someone and would never expect it to be done to me.  But it was and as disappointing as it was, I'm dealing with it.  I finally got the floors mopped and the last of the blinds and light fixtures scrubbed yesterday.  This house is clean now and I guess that's what really matters.  Time to move forward!

I had my coffee out on the deck this morning and I used the opportunity to take a few pictures, in the peaceful quiet of a gorgeous fall Sunday morning.  Tabbie Hoffman joined us for about a minute and then he was ready to go back inside.  He's still not completely comfortable and spends most of his time under our bed. 

Larry hung my mushroom birdhouse from the magnolia.  Perfect spot! 

I've been a little intimidated by my fancy new Kenmore Elite oven so this morning, I made blueberry muffins.  Something easy, something fast and they turned out pretty dang good.

We're having Thanksgiving here this year.  We wanted to have our whole family together in our new home to celebrate and give thanks for this amazing year we have had.  I decided I'd better try out the oven before I try to cook that turkey!  So we're having roasted chicken and potatoes, veggies and pumpkin pie for an early supper today and from the smells coming from that kitchen, I'd say I figured it out just fine.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bronze baby shoes

When Larry was a baby, his parents had one of those portraits with the bronzed baby shoes made of him.  Since they were an Army family, they moved around a lot.  All over the world. When Larry's mama passed away in 2005, it finally came home with me.  It is my most precious possession.  More precious than my rarest piece of Pyrex, more precious than my wedding rings, even.  I'm serious about that picture!

So serious that before we moved, I specifically told Larry there were several things I was taking to the new house myself.  Tabbie Hoffman, Banjo, my Pyrex and that bronzed baby shoe picture of him.  When I went to pick up our boys at the condo last Wednesday, they were there, my boxes of Pyrex were there but that picture was not.  I shrugged, thought to myself that one of the guys packed it anyway and I didn't think much of it.

In the chaos that ensued last week with the moving and unpacking and cleaning (OMG the cleaning!), I didn't miss it.  I figured we'd get to it eventually.  As we unpacked box after box and got closer to having no more boxes to unpack, I started to feel a little panicky because we had not found the picture.  By Tuesday, I was in meltdown mode.  We looked everywhere.  In boxes we'd already emptied, in the attic thinking it was in with some Christmas stuff, in boxes of tools from the shop, in our suitcases, everywhere.  It was not here.  We could not imagine where it was.  Neither one of us remembered packing it.  Larry called the guys who helped us move and none of them even remembered seeing it.  I was devastated.  Squalled for three days.  Larry tried to console me, telling me it was just a THING and was not worth me getting so upset over.  I was so upset and stressed, I broke out in a rash all over my neck, chest and arms.  I could not be consoled, could not rest.  Crying all the time, I kept telling Larry, "That thing has moved 30 times and been FINE.  We move ONCE and we lose it!"  I was just heartbroken!  

Larry thought that maybe somehow the movers who moved the family out of here picked a box up by mistake, that maybe it was on its way to New Mexico and we'd have to just wait and see.  We knew that it was NOT at the condo because we'd gone over there last Thursday night to steam clean the carpets, mop and just give it a good deep clean before our tenants moved in.  Nothing was left in that condo!

Even though I only have a 10-minute commute to work every day, I use that time for quiet time with God.  That's when I pray about stuff and talk to Him about my day, my life, just whatever.  This morning, I told Him I couldn't figure it out.  I had no idea where that picture was but I knew that HE did.  I told him, "I know You're going to get it back to me." and that I trusted Him completely, in all things, even when I don't understand them.

I got to work, settled in at my desk and got ready for my meeting at 10:00.  

At 9:36, I got this picture texted to me from Larry with a message, "See the resemblance?".  He's standing just outside the front door of our condo.

I immediately started squalling uncontrollably, I called him and said, "Oh my God, where was it???!"  He'd gotten a text from our tenant saying he'd found a baby picture that we would probably want.  Probably?!  

So where was it, you ask??

In a kitchen cabinet.

Where I put it.

For safekeeping.

I remembered immediately.  We were packing my Pyrex that night and I said, "I'll save this for last, wrap it and place it on top so it'll be the first thing that we take out."  Sounded like a good plan, huh??  I put it in the cabinet to keep it safe, shut the door and promptly forgot ALLLLLL about it.  I'm blaming it on menopause brain.  That's my story...

I've never been happier to see anything IN MY LIFE.

 Do you blame me???

Sunday, November 2, 2014

We have moved!

Whew!!  What a crazy week.  We closed on our new house Tuesday, started moving in Wednesday and we have been nonstop ever since.  We have pretty much gotten the big stuff in place and now we're tweaking and fine tuning and putting pictures up and stuff like that.  We are wore slap OUT.  And sore in places we didn't even know we had, our backs are stiff and cranky but our hearts are full and content.

We had such a fun Halloween!  There are tons of kids in this neighborhood and we sat out on the porch and Larry gave out the candy. 

Here he is waving at the neighbors.  And eating Troy burgers.  Thanks, Mama and Daddy!

My favorite trick-or-treater, sweet little Lion.

And his sister, Dorothy.

I took this shot of Larry and Banjo that I absolutely love.  

We had a cold front blow in Friday night and I do mean blow in.  Like 30 mph winds!  It was so cold yesterday but has warmed up a lot today.  We suffered our first damage from the wind, too, a slat blew out of the fence and Larry's out there now repairing it.  And talking to neighbors.  :)

We're taking it a little easier today, resting up from four exhausting days, and decorating a bit.  I put the German cuckoo clock up.  And sure enough, it's set at 2:24.