How would you like to win a $500 Wal*Mart Gift Card?
30 Nov 2008 1 Comment
in Nothing Much
The lot our house sits on is nearly two-thirds of an acre, and the front part is nice and shady. We liked that part when we bought the house a little over eight years ago. In August. When it was 147 degrees in the shade and all of the leaves were on the trees.
Lo and behold, a few months later, the sky began to fall. Oh, wait. It was just leaves from the sycamore tree.
OHHHH, that sycamore tree!
We love it in the summer because it shades half our house. And it is pretty, with its big old green leaves spread out like giant fans.
But we hate it in the fall because of THIS:
Poor Tater Daddy. Two days after he gets the leaves blown off the driveway, mulched up and bagged, the scene is the same.
It’s kind of like anything else, though. If you ever get caught up on laundry, everyone in the house gets ready for bed, and there’s a whole new batch of dirty clothes. As soon as you get the house completely vacuumed, someone will inevitably walk through mud and sand, then wander around in every room until he’s found you to tell you that the house sure looks nice. And we all know that as soon as you wash your car, it’s going to become a target for every bird within 25 miles.
Eventually those leaves will stop falling, and because we live in the south, about 12 days later it will be spring. Then we’ll love our sycamore tree again.
Right now, though…not so much.
28 Nov 2008 2 Comments
I’m thankful for a lot of things. But after having eaten two HUGE meals within five hours of each other, I am eternally grateful for whomever cinched up a pair of pants with a strip of elastic and called it a day.
We started off at my mother’s house Thursday at around 12:30 with turkey, dressing, corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, asparagus casserole, cranberry salad, pumpkin pie, and chess pie. Then we all fell out and napped until we were really good for nothing.
I grabbed a pecan pie out of the oven, and the hubs and the young’un and I headed deep into the country for his extended family’s get-together where we did it all over again. Only this time, there was double the food. Plus ham. And a coconut cake that would’ve made you slap the person sitting next to you had you been there.
Tater Daddy headed back to Memphis because we have all of these dogs to fool with, but the Tot and I stayed with Poopsie for another night. My brother, Jim, was home. And there is nothing better to a two-year-old than an uncle who’ll give you his undivided attention. For the 36 hours we were together, Tater Tot had probably the best playmate ever. At one point I looked up and he was being pushed down the hall in a box making train noises. When I asked my brother how he got talked into THAT one, he said, “Well, he got in the box and I just started pushing it.” It was kind of like, You’re such a girl sometimes.
So anyway, we finally left late this afternoon, and I’m sure my poor tired brother was a little relieved when we left. I mean, entertaining a toddler will take it out of you.
But it’ll also put something into you.
Both of you.
When Tater Tot was going to sleep tonight, and we were telling God who and what we were thankful for, the first thing he said was, “Uncle Jim!”
I’m thankful for Uncle Jim, too.
26 Nov 2008 4 Comments
A couple of you have asked
- What in the world is chess pie? and
- How did it get it’s name?
Well, because I love new bloggyland friends, and my mother is entertaining Tater Tot, or vice versa, I’ve found a link for you with a couple of theories. You can read them and decide which one you like best.
Anyway, a chess pie is delicious. It’s butter, sugar, and eggs. HELLO?!
26 Nov 2008 6 Comments
The only thing I’ve been asked to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house is a chess pie.
I have what must be the easiest recipe in the history of chess pie recipes, and I have no idea where it came from or how long I’ve had it. This one is so simple, y’all, and it is soooooo yummy. For me to say that about something that I cook is rare, because I generally think that I am a lousy cook except for a handful of things. And this chess pie is one of those.
My Daddy, who didn’t have too much of a sweet tooth, LOVED these pies and asked for them on special occasions like Father’s Day and his birthday. He said he’d rather have one of these than anything from a store. I don’t think I’ve made one since his last birthday in February, and even though he didn’t have much of an appetite by then, he managed to eat a pretty good-sized slice.
So, let’s make Papa’s Chess Pie, shall we?
With a nod to Noble Pig’s style, if she won’t mind, here’s a picture of what you will need. (Check out Tater Tot’s reflection in the back-splash!)
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt and vanilla. Set aside. (What can I say? I had time on my hands and I got picture-happy.)
Melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the sugar and vinegar, and bring it to a boil.
Pour it into the egg mixture and whisk for a few seconds until well blended. Pour into a pie shell.
Here’s what your finished product should look like. I told you it was easy!
Since pie crusts come in packages of two, you may as well go ahead and make two. I promise you that they won’t go to waste. If you’re disciplined enough to just keep one around for your family, you can always take the other one to a friend or neighbor and be their favorite person for, like, FOREVER!
PAPA’S CHESS PIE
1 stick margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 TBSP vinegar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 frozen pie crust
Melt margarine. Add sugar and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil. Add mixture to beaten eggs, salt, and vanilla. Beat well. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.
I hope you and your families and friends have a very happy Thanksgiving. If you are traveling, no matter the distance, be safe. I hope the next few days are filled with laughter and kindness, thoughtfulness and peace.
26 Nov 2008 2 Comments
Who says men don’t fall for a little sweet talkin’.
A tutorial is in the works. Apparently the ladies in Tater Daddy’s office have been after him to show them how to make the garland, too. So he’s worked out a deal. They’ve agreed to make all kinds of things they know he likes to eat — fudge, Chex mix, cheese balls, sausage balls, and I think someone is making homemade chicken and dumplings, which I think is going a little too far, but it gets me out of cooking for a night or two, so, you know, SCORE.
The event is to take place next Friday, the 5th. So look for some pictures to be up a day or so later.
In other news, check back in a little while if you like CHESS PIE. I’m sharing my recipe. And pictures. The pie is in the oven now, and it smells sooooo good.
24 Nov 2008 4 Comments
I mentioned in an earlier post that my mother, Poopsie, wrote for our hometown newspaper for years, and I’m going to share one of my favorite columns with you today. In the spirit of Thanksgiving and all.
As stated earlier, all of her material IS copyrighted, so please refrain from stealing it or we’ll have to call cousins Bubba, Buck, and Bubba Junior to hunt you down and put the hurt on you, backwoods country-style. I am using the article, although I have changed the names, with permission…and a hug, by the way. Because she’s a sweet Mama. Awww…..
Every now and then, one fo the good old hometown stories makes another round on the “Well, I remember hearing that…” circuit. The stories are wonderful because while they have taken on some embellishment over the years, they are basically true, and in the case of the following, one of the main participants told it…on herself.
Years ago, when the late Mr. and Mrs. John Smith were not long married, Mrs. Smith and her sister decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner together. Since neither one had ever before experienced the pleasure of preparing the feast, the old “two-heads-are-better-than-one” approach seemed to be a good idea. And so it was that planning and dreaming of delicious things, they sent Mr. Smith and the sister’s husband off to fetch a turkey, and they went off in another direction to run their errands.
Due to a slight breakdown in communication, or a total lack of it, the gentlemen returned from their search with a turkey, all right, but it was “on foot” and very much alive. They happily left it in the yard and went about their business, their contribution delivered and their mission accomplished.
When the ladies returned from their do-around, they were stunned to find their dinner’s main course tied to a bush and intently watching their every move. They had not meant for the men to bring home a live bird, for goodness’ sake, but there it was, and time was short.
And great was the wringing of their hands.
No matter how hard they tried, they could not bring themselves to be turkey murderers, so they thought and thought, trying to find some way to humanely get dinner on the table. Then, suddenly, they had a wonderful idea. Feeling better by the minute, they found a bottle of chloroform, and while one lady held the turkey still, the other put a cloth doused with the anesthetic over the bird’s nose holes until he passed out. This action, they figured, would allow them to de-feather the bird and have it almost ready to cook when the men came home to kill and clean it.
The sisters lugged the dead-to-world foul-de-jour into the house, and while he slept (very deeply), they plucked him just as clean as a whistle. Then, with great care, they put him into the ice box to keep him from spoiling while they planned the rest of the dinner.
The men soon returned, but they were horrified when the women told them what they had done, and rushing into the kitchen, they flung open the ice box door. And, lo and behold, a naked, groggy, stiff-jointed turkey tumbled out and staggered across the floor, headed for the warmest place he could find.
His bid for escape was halted, of course, by the frantic Thanksgiving posse, and there he stood among them, plucked bald and shivering and searching their faces with his sad, beady eyes.
After considerable discussion and carrying on, all concerned decided that they had become much too attached to the turkey to eat him, but he looked so pitiful that the sisters immediately fetched their needles and yarn, and before long the solution was in hand.
They crocheted that turkey a sweater.
And then they all went out for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Smiths kept the turkey as a pet for years, and wherever he went he always wore his little frock, because while some light down returned to partially cover his skin, he never did grow many real feathers.
And the next year, wiser and finally able to laugh about it, the sisters began their celebration cooking with a deceased bird, for which they all were — and we all can be — exceedingly thankful.
Happy holidays, pilgrims.
23 Nov 2008 1 Comment
It’s another cold Sunday and there is all kinds of randomness floating around in this head of mine.
For one thing, I am trying to make homemade chicken noodle soup, courtesy of Robyn at Pensieve, but do you think the water will boil? Heck, no. It’s taking its own sweet time over there, and I’m not even watching the pot. I only look at it occasionally to see if it’s doing its thing. Which it most definitely isn’t.
On to the real randomness.
- I have a new blogging friend whose name is similar to mine, so, of course, I think she’s fabulous. She’s an American gal living in Australia, which sounds awfully fun, too. Plus, she’s new to the wonderful world of bloggyland, so stop by her place down under and say hello sometime. She’s known as Tater’s Mama.
- My friends, David and Amy, have been home for a week with their daughter, Ella, and they’ve settled in quite nicely as a family of three plus Sampson, the dog. Sweet Ella is beautiful and happy and loved. In addition to adjusting to being parents of a one-year-old, David and Amy are keeping us posted of how things are going on their blog. Feel free to stop in and say hello.
- Tater Tot’s Grandparents’ Day program was Friday, and it was cute. His class sang “The ABC Song,” ”The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Saw Saw The Wood.” Tater Daddy was to video the performance and I was going to take pictures and stand at the ready should the teacher need help if a meltdown or six occurred. However, a microphone obstructed Tater Daddy’s view of our little star, so we switched roles. Guess who forgot to take a single picture? I got the camera out last night to download the pictures, and finding none, asked why. He said, “I didn’t have the camera.” Um, I gave it to you when you handed me the video camera. ”Oh, I guess I didn’t notice. I’m sorry.” He really has so many good qualities that it’s not fair to gripe about stuff like this. Even when I really want to…..
- The Christmas decorating has begun. I found this snowman Advent Calendar (or countdown calendar, if your prefer) at TJ Maxx for $12.99 last week.
I thought it was cute, and it’ll do the trick. Tater Tot wants to wear it, so we’re having to explain to him about 97 times a day that it’s not a costume. The one I would really like to have looks like this.
It’s from Pottery Barn Kids and it costs around $70. If I were crafty, I’ll just bet that I could probably make it for, what, around $12.99? Since I’m not at all crafty, and I’m not going to spend $70 for a Christmas decoration, I figure I did alright for the bargain decoration that Tater Tot not only wants to wear, but also hugged last night before he went to bed.
- Tomorrow’s post is going to be an extra special one because my mother, Poopsie, is the author. I’m using one of her articles from her days with our hometown’s weekly newspaper. Among my favorite humorists are Dave Barry, and the late authors Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck. In my humble opinion, my mother tops them all. I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for a Thanksgiving tale.
That’s it for this Sunday. I’m going to go check on that chicken. Wish me luck, y’all, or it’s going to be plain old noodle soup for supper.
22 Nov 2008 7 Comments
This will be the first Thanksgiving without my father. While I hate to even think about it, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for it because he would hate for any of us to be miserable. He would understand our sadness. He would understand our missing him. But it would break his heart for us not to be able to enjoy the day.
So I’m doing my best to get ready for this first holiday season without my Daddy.
Last year he didn’t come to the table. He ate in the den in his chair where it was more comfortable for him. So rather than standing in the dining room for the blessing, we stood in the den so that he could still give it. Tradition, you know.
It’s also kind of a running joke in our family, because Daddy gave the fastest blessing in the history of blessings. He also spoke softly, so if you wanted to hear what was being said, you had to really concentrate. When my mother’s father was alive, he always laughed and said, “What did he say?” every single time.
Some people called it a “whiplash” blessing, because no sooner had you bowed your head than you were raising it back up.
It was simple.
Lord, thank you for the food that you so kindly give.
Let us show our thanks in the way we talk and live.
How I am going to miss hearing it and the man who spoke those words this year. But I will also give thanks for that man, who was one of the greatest blessings in my life.
That’s Papa and Tater Tot last Thanksgiving. Those two were really something together. I am beyond thankful that my Daddy lived long enough to enjoy his grandson; to love him and be loved by him.