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Thursday, January 31, 2013

I finished up the second book in the Divergent series, Insurgent. It was good but not as good as Divergent.  There were parts that made me scratch my head and ponder over where the author was going with the story. The ending is a cliff hanger which will be tied up in the last book in the trilogy which is due to be published next year. Hope I can remember all the facts of book one and two before three comes out!! If you are over 50 you can probably identify with me.:)  Now I am reading Bundle of Trouble by Diana Orgain. It is a cozy mystery series I stumbled across on Paperback Swap. Kate Connolly is a new mom, hoping to find a way to stay home with baby Laurie. She cannot bear to go back to being a cubicle queen at the office where she works. So she considers becoming a private investigator to bring in some income while staying home with her baby. Of course it helps that her mom lives nearby and is willing to baby sit at a moment's notice. The book is well written and I am enjoying it so far. After all the stress of Divergent and Insurgent I needed some light reading!  Now it looks like our library will be closed until the end of February so I have ordered several books from Paperback Swap. One is Brideshead Revisited. I remember when this was a mini series on television but I did not watch it so the novel is new to me. It is one of those, "If you like Downton Abbey you will like this" book.  And speaking of Downton Abbey...Sunday evening's program was so sad. I have to remind myself that this is just a story but I have really gotten caught up in the lives of Mr Julian Fellowes characters. In fact, Marvin and I both are hooked on this show so that makes me feel a bit better about my addiction. It is not very often that my physicist husband gets hooked on a tv series.

The BFFs and I are off to have lunch at the All Wright Pastry Shop here in Decatur. And they do sell more than pastries but I could eat several of their delicious cinnamon rolls!  Have a blessed day friends.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So proud of our oldest son, Ben. He was Auditor of the Year for his company, Overland Solutions.  Ben has always been a self starter and smart as a whip so we are not surprised that he is doing well in his profession. By the way, Ben is on the left...everyone tells me that he looks like me and I take that as a compliment. My hair used to be that color but at his age I was already turning gray. :)

It is a windy, rainy morning here. Schools are delayed as there is a tornado warning so I guess I will be taking Kendall to school at ten. It has been a crazy winter here so far!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There has been a lot of buzz here about a new dystopian novel series, Divergent by Veronica Roth. I saw the first  book in the series at Target and thought I would give it a try. With the library being closed I have found myself buying a few books.  The only other "dystopian" book I have read is Hunger Games so I am no expert on this type of book. My son, Charles, is getting his masters degree in English Literature and he had a course on Utopian and Dytopian novels. Sounds interesting doesn't it?

I sat down with Divergent on Friday evening and by Saturday I had finished it. It was very hard to put down!! It reminded me a bit of Hunger Games but then how many ways can you describe a futuristic world?

Divergent is set in the city of Chicago but it is not the Chicago that you and I know! The reader is not told what happened to lead to this time of destruction but I assume it was war. Now this society is made up of five factions: 1. Dauntless...the  brave and fearless ones who protect the other factions 2.Abnegation....the selfless faction who live to serve others and because of their selflessness they are the governing faction 3. Amity...these peace loving people are the ones who produce food for the other factions 4. Erudite...the smart people who come up with new technology for the society 5. Candor....these people could not lie if their lives depended on it, they are the conscience of the society.

As you can see, it is an interesting concept for living in harmony and peace. But human nature always raises its ugly head in its pursuit for power. Beatrice Prior lives with her parents and her brother in the Abnegation faction but at the age of 16, she takes a test that will show which faction she is best suited for and she may change factions if she desires.  At the time of Beatrice's test, she finds she would be suited for Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. This makes her a Divergent. Someone who cannot be happy in one faction because they are not controlled by one mindset. And this makes her very dangerous to the society. She must keep her divergence a secret.  Choosing to leave Abnegation and  become one of the Dauntless, Beatrice begins an initiation that will test her and change her. So Tris is born and she begins to grow up and accept her new life in a new faction.

I am not going to give away any of the story line but if you liked Hunger Games, I think you will find Divergent a good read.

Monday, January 28, 2013

 We had the Birmingham Grands here over the weekend. Margaret informed me that she lived in Hoova(Hoover). I had to share some pictures I took. I had to have some more recent photos of Baylor. Don't you love those blue eyes???
 Happy Boy!
 Sitting in the rocking chair looking at the ipad together.
 Miss Margaret.
Our sweet big sister. She is always coming up with funny sayings. She told me "Nana, you are being so nice today." I wondered if I had not been nice in the past! Ben told me that Mommy and Daddy say that to Margaret to encourage good behavior. :)  Maybe I need some encouraging in that area as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I just tried a Pinterest recipe and it is a Keeper. I have to admit that I did switch it up a bit after reading the comments of the people who had tried it. It seemed that some had success and some did not.  Here is the original recipe....1 16 oz bag of small pretzels(I used Rold Gold) 1/2 c vegetable oil, 1/2 c sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour pretzels into roasting pan. Mix oil, sugar and cinnamon, pour over pretzels. Bake 30 minutes, stir twice.

Ok...some of the people who tried it said it turned out to be a sticky mess. So here is how I did it and mine are yummy.

I put a piece of parchment paper in my roasting pan. I used only a half a bag of pretzels and that filled the pan. One poster noted that they really taste better the day they are made and tend to get stale if you keep them much longer. So I only used one half bag of pretzels!

I mixed 1/4  cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. I melted the butter in a saucepan, added the sugar and cinnamon and let it cook long enough to combine. I then poured it over the pretzels, making sure all were coated by stirring them well. I baked at 300 for 30 minutes but I stirred them every ten minutes. I drained them on paper towels and believe me they are YUMMO. Next time I might add a bit more butter and sugar just to try it out. My hubs said the pretzels with more sugar on them are the best!!lol...

Give this recipe a try when you need some nibbles for a  crowd, none will be left I am sure!

Friday, January 25, 2013

 Well as you can see, our shopping trip was a success!! We had the prefect day to go to Cullman. It was sunny and the temperatures were mild. We shopped til we dropped!  Now I am not a shoe addict and I seldom buy new shoes but I found such good buys yesterday that I stocked up. This cute pair of pink loafers was on clearance at TJ Maxx. Naturalizers and so comfy! I wear a lot of pinks so these will be perfect this spring.
 And my Tom's were on sale as well. The store was getting rid of the winter styles to bring in Spring shoes. These are cute purple corduroy shoes.
 And last a pair of Orthaheels. My friend, Deborah, introduced me to these shoes. I took a little fall two weeks ago and decided it might be time for some "grandma shoes". (Shoes with treads on the bottom!!) These shoes are comfortable and stylish and were on sale for 25% off.   I  am set with shoes for a while now!
 And the TJ Maxx store in Cullman had many cute things that we do not have in our store here in Decatur.  If you live in this area, check out the Cullman TJ Maxx. It is the nicest TJ Maxx store. Everything is merchandised perfectly and it is not "junky" at all. I found a pair of these little birdies and thought they would look good on some sconces in my dining room but they did not work there. I knew I would find a place for them!! One is on  the hutch in my kitchen.
 A pretty pillow for my sofa.
The other little birdie found a home on top of my china cabinet!

We did have a yummy lunch at Carlton's. I had a delicious cannoli while Deborah had tiramisu and Susan enjoyed a blackberry cobbler.  It is a day I will remember fondly for years to come.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just a pop in this morning! The BFFs and I are going to Cullman today to shop and have lunch. There is a nice Italian restaurant there and I am looking forward to some bruschetta and a lovely dessert! Cullman is about 20 miles away and it still has that little town feel. There is a lovely part of town called the Warehouse District that is filled with many different shops. There is a shoe store there that carries TOMs shoes so I hope to get a pair for myself. I purchased a pair in Gulf Shores last fall and I LOVE them. Now I can add TOMs and Yellowbox to my shoe addiction.  There is also a store that carries a big stock of Vera Bradley. I will have to look but not touch there!! But the best part of the day is spending time with my friends. We always come away encouraged and loved and nothing is better than that!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I am always showing art that Kendall has done so today I wanted to  share a giraffe that Landon painted. He had been telling me he wanted to paint a giraffe.  I sketched a giraffe head and gave him yellow, brown and purple paint. He informed me that he wanted the giraffe's eyes to be purple. I put a smock on him to protect his clothes and let him paint in the craft room while I did some chores. Now, I am usually sitting nearby, coaching the grands when they are doing crafts and Landon's work taught me that maybe I should just let them "go for it".  I think for a four year old, Landon did a pretty good job on his own. I will definitely be painting more with his boy!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It is a CHILLY morning here in Alabama. But to be honest, we have not had very much Winter Weather this year so we are due. And I hope that the cold snap might kill some of those pesky flu germs that seem to be floating in the air here.

I hope to get out and do a few errands. I have to mail some books to my Paperback Swap friends. I have mentioned this wonderful site before but if you are a reader, you need to check it out. I love reading and I often buy books at the local used book room at the library as well as buying some new paperbacks. When I finish with them, if I do not wish to keep them for my library I post them on Paperback Swap. For every book I mail, I get a credit to choose a book from their lists. Last week I mailed eight books! That is the most I have ever mailed at one time. Usually I get one or two requests every month or so. Now I am excited to go"shop" for some new books. Our library is still closed for repairs and I am missing it so much!!  I usually visit the library once a week.

And it is Seniors Day at Ross so I will stop by there in hopes of picking up a gift or two that I need. And I get 10% off today!

Sending warm wishes to my blog friends in the northeast....it is snowy and cold there.  Have a blessed day friends.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I just finished my second Augusta Trobaugh work, Sophie and the Rising Sun. While I LOVED Swan Place by Ms Trobaugh, I liked Sophie and the Rising Sun.  This novel is set just before WW2 in a small coastal Georgia town called Salty Creek. Being a small town, there is no such thing as privacy. If you go for a walk, your neighbor sees you and takes note. But on the other hand, if you have a need, the ladies of Salty Creek Baptist Church will be at your door to offer help.  The town of Salty Creek is shocked when an unconscious Asian man is taken off the Greyhound Bus and deposited at the local doctor's front door. When Mr Oto recovers, he decides to stay in the small town. He finds work with Miss Anne, tending her garden and living in a small house on her property.  Everyone in town is curious about the Chinese man who works wonders with flowers.  Of course, the townspeople assume he is Chinese and never refer to him as anything else!  Mr Oto also enjoys spending time painting and finds that another local woman shares his interest in capturing the coastal scenes of their part of the world. Sophie Willis is in her early 50s, about the same age as Mr Oto and after years of caring for an elderly mother and two old maid aunts, she is ready to do what she wants to do each day. As she joins Mr Oto each Sunday morning to paint, they develop a friendship. She finds out a little about his life and that he is Japanese, not Chinese as the town people think. Mr Oto tells her that first and foremost, he is an American, born and bred. In fact his full name is Grover Cleveland Oto.

But on December 7th, Grover and Sophie must face the reality of Pearl Harbor and the outrage that Americans have for anything associated with Japan. The citizens of Salty Creek come to realize that Mr Oto is Japanese and must leave their town. Miss Anne and Sophie help Grover hide out in an old cabin in the marsh. Grover knows that this is only a temporary solution to his problem.  He must leave to protect his mentor, Miss Anne and the woman he loves, Sophie.  Now here is where I have a problem with the story...after a hurricane, Grover and Sophie are gone. We never find out what happens to them. It is left up to the reader to make up the ending. I must admit that after investing all that time in the story of Grover and Sophie, I wanted a happy ending. I am a reader who likes my books to be resolved at the end...happy or sad, I do not care but I do not want to have to come up with my own ending!!  Still I would give this book three stars and I will continue to read the works of this author!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

 Kendall and I had fun last night decorating the house for Valentine's Day.
 We made Valentines to hang from our diningroom chandelier.

 We decorated both sides of the hearts so they look pretty .
 I felt rather like a little girl again, looking at all the pretty hearts.  The Red and Pinks  brighten up the dreary winter days.
 Here is Kendall, busy at work! She was wearing her La La Loopsy PJs because it was Pajama Day at School.
 Here is Landon, watching the goings ons!
 Our back door is all decorated thanks to Miss Kendall. She used lots of stickers to decorate her hearts.
 I told her she looked like Vanna White, posing here. When Kendall's mom, Amelia, was  a little girl, she wanted to be Vanna when she grew up. :)
And last, we added a banner to the mirror in the dining room. I found this in the $1 aisle at Target. I convinced Kendall to go a little easy on the heart stickers with this decoration.  It was a fun night...we ate pizza and had some Valentine Cakes for dessert. I love making Memories with the Grands.


Friday, January 18, 2013

We did get our snow yesterday. It was snowing to beat the band for about two hours and we got a little over an inch at our house. But then the sun came out and melted all the beautiful snow.  It is so nice to watch it fall...it never  ceases to captivate me.

I am late posting today as I had an early breakfast with my friend, Diane. We meet once a month for breakfast or lunch. She is a working gal so I accomodate her schedule. We met at Cracker Barrel and believe me, the crackling fire felt good this frosty morning. After breakfast I went to Publix to stock up on some of their buy one get one free deals this morning. Decatur was deserted this morning as people must have been afraid that the roads were still icy. Also, school had a ten am starting time this morning so I guess all the moms were home with the kiddos. My last stop was Target, where I picked up supplies to make valentines with Kendall. We plan to decorate my house for Valentines Day tonight. I really enjoy doing crafts with my girlie.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It has been so gloomy here that I have enjoyed lighting candles around my home to make it cozy. I put together this candle last week and I love the way it looks and smells. I got the idea from my friend, Deborah. She took a bowl, filled it with coffee beans and put several votives in the bowl and used it as a centerpiece. I have several of these hurricane like glass containers and I use them often around the house. As a centerpiece for my coffee table what is better than a candle and coffee beans! I purchased a vanilla scented pillar candle and a bag of coffee beans.( I got a bag of Eight O Clock Coffee Beans at Walmart for $4.98.) It was easy peasy to put together and it looks so nice. When the candle is lit and the coffee beans get warm, they put out a delicious aroma.  I have used this same idea through out the year, changing up the 'fillings'. In the past I have used popcorn, green peas, valentine conversation heart candy and sea shells as fillers for my candles. Be safe and only burn your candles when you are in the home.

Our rain is tapering off today but now we may get some snow this afternoon.  If the snow arrives, I plan to be home on my sofa, candle glowing and watching the lovely white flakes fall to the ground. Snow is always an "event" in Alabama.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

 After a week of rain, I was happy to see this pretty bag arrive on my doorstep yesterday.  It is a Vera Bradley overnight tote in a new spring color called Go Wild. And you all know what a wild woman I am!! I love the yellow and black flowers and the lining is a cute leopard print. I have a Vera Duffle that I use for traveling but it is really too big for an overnight trip. And most of the traveling I do is of the overnight variety.
And the rain continues here. One of my Facebook friends posted, "This is the Day that the Lord Has Made, I will REJOICE and BE GLAD in it!" I guess I needed to be reminded of that today as I am so weary of the rain.  Hopefully the sun will come out on Friday. I will be meeting my friend, Diane, for our monthly breakfast on Friday at Cracker Barrel. So Friday will be a grand day even if the rain continues. All my Alabama friends, try to stay warm and dry!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can you say SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder is bothering several people I know here in North Alabama. After four days of rain and more in the forecast, we southerners are ready for some sunshine. I have to admit that I like a rainy day now and then, especially if I do not have to get out in the rain. I light a candle, watch a movie or read a book and just vegetate. I have done all those things and I am ready to see the sun shining!!  The morning paper is now saying we might get some ice tomorrow morning. That I can do without!!! Ice brings the whole valley to a standstill and causes so much damage to trees and power lines. I am hoping the weather forecasters are wrong.

I have had a chance to watch some of the new dvds I got for Christmas and I have enjoyed getting to know a new British program, Rosemary and Thyme. Felicity Kendall is one of the stars of the program and I loved her in Good Neighbors, a Britcom filmed in the 70s. All I can say is she is very genetically blessed. She still looks amazing. The other star is Pam Ferris. You may remember Pam from the Harry Potter movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. She was the aunt that Harry 'blew up" like a balloon!! Ms Ferris also plays Sister Evangelina on Call the Midwife. In Rosemary and Thyme, these two ladies play plant experts who solve murders.  If you enjoyed Murder She Wrote, you will enjoy Rosemary and Thyme.

Well, time to get busy doing some chores around the house. Maybe that will lift my spirits!!:)

Monday, January 14, 2013

 Thanks to my friend, Candie, I have a new painting for my dining room and I moved some other accessories around my living room and dining room.  Sometimes it is good to change things up!  (please forgive the randomness of the photos, for some reason they did not load in the order I snapped them!!)Candie's friend, Paige, painted this fruit for Candie some years ago. Now Candie can no longer use it and she graciously gave it to me. I had admired it in her home and when she offered it to me, I was so touched.  Everyone knows my love of pears!!  With the high ceilings in our town house, bigger art fits the scale of the home. I took the small Ray Ellis print that I had in the dining room and placed it along side my Ray Ellis Suppertime at Cape May Print that hangs over my sofa. The prints  look so nice hanging next to each other and again, this placement is more in scale with the living room.

 One of my blog friends was unfamiliar with a pocket door and wanted to see a picture of ours so I decided to take photos of my guest suite for my blog. The guest suite is just off our living room so the pocket door really makes our guests feel a bit more secluded from the living area.
 Here is the guest bedroom...
 The little hallway that connects the guest room to the bathroom...
 And the pocket door that seals off the guest suite. Pocket doors slide into the wall so they do not take up any room.
 Another shot of the pocket door.
And the guest bath. I tried to coordinate all the colors in the guest suite. Some things I bought, some things were given to me by sweet friends. The print in the bathroom is a gift from my friend, Susan. It looks as though it was meant for this room!!

We had a great time with Lee and Lanier. We went out for pizza on Friday evening. On Saturday we took a ride to the country to eat at a Mennonite restaurant called The Old Cook Stove. This restaurant has so many yummy things to choose from on an amazing buffet. Along with all the meats and sides, they have WONDERFUL desserts. I love their home cranked ice cream...delish! While we were eating, the restaurant staff gathered at the front of the restaurant and sang some Mennonite hymns for their guests. After lunch we headed home so the football fans could watch the NFL playoffs. Most of all we just enjoyed visiting and resting. We hated to see Lee and Lanier leave to head home on Sunday morning. Later in the afternoon, Margaret and Baylor came to visit while Mom and Dad took in a movie. We always enjoy those two sweet grands.  Now on to a new week! I hope it is a good one!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

In preparation for weekend breakfasts, I made up a batch of Six Week Bran Muffins. Now this was a very popular recipe back in the 1980s and I made them frequently. It was one of those recipes you love for a time then it gets placed in the back of your cookbook and you forget about it. However I thought I would make something healthy to serve my guests this weekend and  Six Weeks Muffins came to mind. Maybe the bran will soak up the grease from the sausage and eggs I plan to serve on Saturday morning.:)  These muffins are called six weeks muffins because the batter will last in the fridge for up to six weeks. Since my batter never stayed in the fridge for six weeks, I cannot comment on the veracity of the name of the recipe.

Six Week Bran Muffins

1 15 oz box Raisin Bran
3 cups sugar
5 cups self rising flour
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp cinnamon
1 quart buttermilk
4 eggs

Place raisin bran in large bowl.( Note that the newer boxes of raisin bran hold more than 15 oz)  Pour buttermilk over cereal. I let this sit for a while to allow the cereal to break down a bit. I also added an additional cup of raisins.

Mix sugar, eggs and oil together...stir into buttermilk mixture.  Stir well.
Add cinnamon to flour and stir gradually into the wet mixture. You will use up some calories just stirring this in!! I suppose you could use a hand mixer but I have found with muffins that they taste better if they are not over mixed so I use a big wooden spoon to incorporate the flour.
I also use self rising flour...most Southern cooks do but if you do not, you can find the measurements for salt and baking powder online. Simply google six week muffin recipe and you will find it there.

Place your muffin batter in a large airtight container and store in the fridge. When ready to bake, place batter in greased and floured muffin tins and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I have given up greasing and flouring baking pans...I use Bakers Joy! It is much easier and the baked goods always come right away from the pan without sticking!

I know we will enjoy this blast from the past....we can relive the 1980s while we munch on our muffins!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We are having weekend guests, Marvin's brother, Lee and his wife, Lanier. Now that our children are grown up we enjoy spending weekends together. Lee and Lanier live in Memphis, Tennessee so they are just three hours away from us. All of Marvin's other siblings live far away so we do not see them as much.  I spent yesterday getting their room ready for them. We are fortunate in our town house to have a guest suite, a bedroom and bathroom that can be closed off by a pocket door. The pocket door allows our guests to have some privacy and when the pocket door opens, I know my visitors are ready to "rise and shine"!

Even though Lee and Lanier are family, I like to make sure they know they are special! I actually bought some new sheets for the guest bed this week. My older ones were getting worn and really did not coordinate with the new comforter I added in that room back in the fall.  So I washed the sheets, dried them and made a pristine bed using my old nurse, bed making skills. (Glad to know my nursing education was not a waste!)  I put some light reading on the bedside table along with a bowl of Ghiardelli  Chocolates.  I made sure the closet was neat and hangers were available to use. I took out one of my wooden tv tray tables and sat it up in one corner of the room so there is a place to put open luggage.  In the guest bathroom, I made sure there were plenty of soft white towels, extra toilet paper under the sink, and shampoo and soap in the shower. I also put two pretty glasses in the bathroom so they are set for taking any meds or just getting a sip of water during the night.

Yesterday, Landon helped me make some snacks to have on hand this weekend. We made up sausage balls and some Crispy Crackers.  Along with some sodas and sweet tea, we will have some good nibblies! And Lanier is bringing my favorite treat, cupcakes from Muddy's Bake Shop in Memphis. We have no big plans for the weekend, we will just "chill" as Lanier says. Being together and making memories is the best way to spend a January weekend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If there are any HGTV House Hunter fans out there, here is a heads up for you! Tonight, Decatur, Alabama, my own little corner of the world, will be featured on House Hunters at nine pm Central Time. I am looking forward to seeing my friend and former realtor, Whitney, taking a couple on tours of homes in our area. I have known Whitney for years. I taught all three of her children at Central Weekday School and when we decided to sell our house on Brandywine Lane, I knew Whitney would be my realtor. She is a sweetheart and a great saleswoman.

Speaking of homes, I am still working steadily on my post holiday clean and declutter! Yesterday I tackled several projects and I can say how proud I feel to open my closets and find them neat and organized. How long they will stay that way is anyone's guess.  As I was cleaning, I was thinking of my childhood days when we were a little more focused on our homes. There were not so many distractions back in the 1960s. With few conveniences, washing dishes by hand, drying and putting them away was a daily chore. Since we lived in the country and on a farm, dust was a constant. Sweeping and dusting was another ritual.  My mother got up every morning, cooked the family a hot breakfast, packed my daddy's lunch, got us off to meet the school bus and then started with her chores. How times have changed. My own children preferred cereal to a hot breakfast and once they were old enough I let them make their own lunches for school.  With a dishwasher, I seldom stood with my hands in hot water, washing dishes. My biggest chore was laundry for a family of five. And once the kids were teenagers, I taught them to do their own laundry. That included teaching my boys to iron and I can say that both of them are better ironers than I am.  I am thankful for all my modern day conveniences but I have happy memories of family time with my mother and sisters as we cleaned and cooked together.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roll Tide....It is crazy here in Alabama today with all the celebrating of the National Championship. I am proud of the team and congrats to them on their win!

Now on to a book review. Amazon always offers some free Kindle books. I have found many of them to be rather disappointing and I delete them from my Kindle but last week I downloaded an author I was familiar with, Augusta Trobaugh.  She is a southern writer who writes very poignantly of this region of the USA.  The free book was Swan Place. It is the story of a 14 year old girl named Dove. She lives with her mother, stepfather and two siblings on the wrong side of their little town.  Her life is hard but becomes harder when her mother dies, leaving Dove to care for her stepfather and her baby brother and sister. Dove has "been taught right" by her mother. She does what she has to do. That has been her lot in life.  Thanks to the love and encouragement of Aunt Bett, she feels she can cope and continue to attend school. School is a refuge for Dove as she loves to write stories and she is mentored by her English teacher. But Dove also feels the sting of taunts from the "rich girls" who mock her and her family.  When Dove's stepfather marries Crystal, a girl only three years older than Dove, Dove determines to get along with her and keep the family intact. As tragedy strikes once again, Dove shows the strength that has sustained her through out her life and carries on with grace and dignity.With the help of Buzzard and The Circle of Jesus prayer group, Dove makes a big decision that will set her life on the right track! This book is full of characters that will linger in your mind when the last page is read and the book is laid aside! Those are my favorite kinds of books.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Like everyone else, I was chomping at the bit for the latest series of Downton Abbey to be telecast on PBS. And even my sweet husband is hooked on this program. We were both happy with the first installment of the third season.  The house, the clothes, the actors and actresses make this series so engrossing. I did read in the local paper that the actor who plays Matthew is not coming back for a fourth season and I was so disappointed to read that...I have to wonder what Mr Fellows has up his sleeve for that story line.  While I do not live a formal life...I enjoy seeing all the beautiful crystal, silver and china being used as "everyday" dishes for this wealthy family. The crisp white tablecloths with no wrinkles...how do they do that? If I iron my tablecloths all day, I cannot produce that perfection.  I am waiting impatiently for myblog friend, Dawn, at Sun and Candlelight, to post her Downton Abbey Discussion blog. She does this on Monday mornings so that all of us Downton Fans can weigh in with our opinions.

And I must say that everyone in Alabama, is waiting for the Big Game Tonight!!The Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for the National Championship.  Since oldest son, Ben, is a graduate of BAMA, we are pulling for the Tide.  I am not a big football fan but I will be watching this game with my honey!  Roll Tide Roll!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How many of us go to the grocery store to get one thing and end up coming out with that one thing? I do not know about you but I never seem to come out with the one item I was looking for! I always find something else that I think I must have. On Wednesday I put a roast beef in the crock pot and then realized I had no rice pilaf to go with it....no problem, I would pick up some when I took Landon and Kendall to get their hair cuts. But it was so cold that day that I just could not bring myself to get us all out and into the store when I could go home to my warm house. So I did something I seldom do when preparing a meal. I looked in my pantry and determined I would find something to use instead of rice pilaf.   I came upon a box of mini pene and a can of golden mushroom soup. Would these two things work together to make a noodle dish?  I boiled two cups of pasta, drained it and added my can of golden mushroom soup. I stirred in a bit of milk to make it creamier and then poured in into a small casserole dish. I added some grated cheese to the top and placed it in the oven at 350 for about twenty minutes. I have to say, it was mighty tasty with our beef, greenbeans and homemade bread. ( Ok...it was a loaf of Rhodes Bread, but I baked it at home.)  It really encouraged me to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen. And I am doing a devotion on stewardship for our MOPs meeting on Friday so it gave me an illustration for that devotion as well!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I enjoyed getting out yesterday. Around noon, the sun came out bringing with it some warmer temperatures. That always makes me feel better. It has been very dreary in North Alabama this week. I had some Christmas money and I had decided how to spend it so I went to Staples to look for a protector for my Ipad. I have had it for a year, but with the grands using it, I decided Mr Ipad needed something to protect him from being dropped and broken! I found just what I was looking for and I have found I enjoy using my Ipad more with the foamy protector in place. It makes it easier to hold and if Nana is reading her Kindle in bed and falls asleep, I do not have to worry about it falling on the floor!! And I have had many books that have tumbled out of bed. Marvin teases me that if I have a book and my blankie, I am asleep within minutes.

I then had lunch with the girls at one of our favorite restaurants, Cafe 113. We sat at our favorite table, decorated with Gone with the Wind photos under the glass that protects the table. We all enjoy lunch with Rhett Butler! My friend, Deborah, brought me a Mary Engelbreit Day Planner. She knows how much I love ME.  Good friends know us inside and out and love us anyway. I am so thankful for Deborah and Susan and their loyal friendship.

After lunch, I checked out my favorite consignment store and found several things. Then on to Target to roam the aisles. My favorite aisle at Target is the dollar bins at the front of the store. I found some Valentine crafts to do with Kendall.  And I found some Valentine M&Ms!

Today is grocery day and I will stop at Walgreens to pick up my photo order. I try to order my photos at the end of each month so I can put them in my photo albums. I have one album for me and one for each grandchild. My mother did photo albums for each of my children and those albums are some of my favorite pictures of the kiddos. So I decided I would do the same thing for my grands.  It is a lovely and loving tradition.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

 Kendall and Landon had one last day of vacation yesterday so we spent the morning getting haircuts and the afternoon making snowflakes. After cutting some the old fashioned way and finding that it was too hard for Kendall to do the cutting herself(all those layers), Kendall drew some snowflakes!! Here she is cutting out one of her creations. After cutting out the snowflakes we painted them with sparkle glaze and then mixed glaze and blue paint as Kendall wanted to be creative with her snowflakes. We taped them to the back door and they look great and so welcoming as I come in from the garage!
 Landon had to get his picture made but he was in a silly mood!
 I still love Kendall's toothless grin. No sign of those big teeth yet.... Kendall got a cute hair cut yesterday. She is not a fan of long hair although Nana loves it.   I think this style makes her look so grown up!! And she is only in first grade!
A picture of our snowflakes.... I am so glad that I have a granddaughter who loves to craft as much as I do!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The second day of the New Year brings a return to routine here at Nanaland. And that means getting rid of all the holiday food around the house and getting back on the straight and narrow foodwise!! Marvin just left for work and Kendall and Landon are coming to spend the day with Nana. Both of the grands go back to school tomorrow. But today we will enjoy one last day of Vacation by getting haircuts and having a Happy Meal for lunch.  Tomorrow will be the first Friend Day of 2013. I look forward to getting together with my best friends to hear all about their holidays and to find out what they have been reading. All three of us are voracious readers and we can spend a lot of time talking about books.  And speaking of books, I saw that JK Rowling's new book is going to be made into a tv mini series in Britain. That says to me that the movie producers knew it would not be a big screen hit, verifying my opinion that the book was lacking!  Right now I am reading Miss Peregrine's School for Strange Children. It was a deal on Kindle this week so it was only $1.99.  I had it on my To Be Read list and one of my MOPs moms  reviewed it on Good Reads so I added it to my Kindle collection. I still find it hard to read on my Kindle. I really prefer a book I can hold in my hand but I am trying to move with the times!:)  I am also looking forward to a return to my MOPs group. This group of ladies is a fun group and I always come away refreshed after being with them!  The new year is filled with possibilities and I look forward to each and everyone of them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!! Marvin and I spent the evening here at home, watching tv and eating Krystal burgers. Marvin comes from a family of six kids and they seldom went out to eat in restaurants. But on New Years Eve, the family piled in the station wagon and headed to the Krystal on Victory Drive in Savannah, Georgia, to enjoy some of those delicious little burgers. We did not go for Krystals when our kiddos were here at home as none of them liked Krystals. So once we had an empty nest, we decided to continue the tradition. It helps that a Krystal is just two minutes from our house now!!

I hate to say I have a resolution because it seems that after January, they fly out the window. But this year I am making a resolution to be kinder.  I want to look for ways that I can bless others and DO IT. What is that saying...the road to hell is paved with good intentions??? Like most people, I have good intentions to send that card, make that phone call or bake that treat for a friend but then I get busy with other things and the opportunity is lost. I want to change that this year!!

Yesterday, I got a glimpse of a kind person. I had a small package to mail so I headed to the smaller Decatur post office thinking I would be in and out in a minute. Well the line was almost out the door. It seemed everyone had waited to mail their Christmas packages. As we stood(impatiently) in line, a man came in with four pieces of mail that needed stamps. Looking at the line, he seemed discouraged. A nice lady turned to him and said, " Do you just need stamps?" He nodded yes and she pulled out a page of stamps and asked how many he needed. After helping him affix four stamps to his envelopes, she refused to take any money for the stamps. Then she asked if anyone else just needed stamps and proceeded to help another person! I can tell you that it blessed my heart to see such a gracious giver. She explained that she had a lot of stamps and she seldom used them as she pays her bills online...she was happy to be able to share them with others. Now that is the kind of person I want to be in 2013!!