Sunday, June 27, 2010

As a Mom, I have Bragging Rights!

Stephanie just got a promotion!!! A nice raise and bonus comes along with it. She's excited for some new challenges. I guess this makes working nights and weekends worthwhile. She is definitely a hard worker. She's a teacher at heart and very good at it. She's still teaching---just adults now.

While she was telling me about it on the phone, Mindy "beeped" in. I called Mindy afterwards and told her the good news. She was excited for Steph too.

Mindy went on to tell me the reason for her call. She said, "mom, guess what? The office manager is going to be on vacation this week. Technically, I'm over her, but I get to fill in for her while she's gone. I'm so excited! I get to answer the phone and write down messages for people!" She was so excited---just like a little kid. I wonder where she gets that!!!

Here's her professional picture and bio:

Director; Human Resources and Internal Affairs

Mindy Eads

Mindy Eads moved to New Orleans from Nashville in the fall of 2003 to attend Tulane University. In December of 2006 she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with minors in Business and Sociology. She enrolled at Tulane Law School the following semester.

During her time in graduate school, Mindy worked at select fine dining establishments throughout New Orleans. These experiences fostered an interest in the unique food culture of New Orleans. She received various service awards which showcased the dedication and aptitude she had for fine dining. Recognizing that her passion was not law, Mindy decided to change career paths; in June of 2008 she had the pleasure of joining Chef Scott Boswell's management company, Scott Boswell Enterprises, and shortly after was named "Director of Human Resources and Internal Affairs."

Sandy may not work outside the home, but as one SAHM that knows, her job is 24/7!! She gets paid in hugs and kisses.

I'm proud of all my "girlies"!

I guess I have to eat my words!

It's funny how that happens.

On Friday, while floating in Nancy's pool with friends, we were talking about hot dogs as supper. I was remarking that hot dogs should be served with chips and maybe pork and beans. It seemed weird to me that someone was serving them as a meat with vegetables on the side.

Well, today, I invited Stephanie and the girls for dinner. I have an over-abundance of vegetables from the farmer. I told her that we were putting pork steaks on the grill. She called me back a few minutes later to say that it would only be her and Nicky as the girls didn't want to commit.

Butch went to the grocery store to pick up a couple more pork steaks---which he couldn't find---people here don't know what pork steaks are. Sometimes I've found them marked as blade steaks. I already had a pack of two that I found at Publix, but Butch won't shop there because he says it's too expensive. He's right, but I like that store much better than Kroger's. He wound up buying pork chops. That's okay, pork is pork---slap some barbecue sauce on it.

I started cooking at 3 p.m. and didn't finish until 7:30 (which of course includes, eating and cleaning up). About 3:30, Steph called to say that the girls were coming after all with 3 friends---Jordan's boyfriend, Cameron was out-numbered by 4 girls. I knew I had plenty of vegetables, but not enough meat. That's where the hotdogs come in. Turns out, hot dogs can really be a meat with vegetables. There were enough pork chops if we split them, but the kids all chose hot dogs anyway.

The side dishes were: cucumber salad, squash casserole, buttered parsley potatoes, and fresh green beans. For dessert, I made a zucchini cake (recipe follows). Jordan was the only one "brave" enough to try the cake. She really liked it, but couldn't convince the other kids to try it. They thought it sounded disgusting. Instead, they ate all of Butch's Klondike bars. He complains, but really, I never see him happier than when there are a lot of kids in the house. It's funny how he tries to make them happy.

There was enough food left over for another meal for all of us. I sent Steph home with theirs.

Lessons learned:
hot dogs can be a real meat even if it's not
zucchini cake tastes really good even if you forget to put the nuts in
I really like it when people eat and run

Zucchini Cake
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups zucchini, grated (I used my mini-food processor)
1 cup oil
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into a 9x13 prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix well and spread on cooled cake.

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Tomato of the Season

Here it is---my first real tomato---and 2 weeks before the 4th of July! I just might have BLT's after all. Of course, that would require a trip to the store for bacon, lettuce and bread---oh, never mind. I'll just eat it like an apple!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Girl's Trip to Chicago

On Christmas Eve, the last gifts that Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy opened were charms from Juicy Couture for their bracelets along with a note that I was taking them on a girl's trip to Chicago where they would pick out another charm.

Sandy told me that for several days, Elizabeth kept talking about the girl's trip to Chicago. Sandy finally said, "Elizabeth, you're not going." To which she responded in all of her 4 year old wisdom: "mom, it's a girl's trip and I'm a girl!"

I felt a little bad, but not for long! I "treat" the "kiddoes" regularly!

Our trip was great. Our friends kept emailing or texting about the weather and if it had ruined our trip. We were oblivious to the storm. Turns out, it happened during the hour and a half we were having "high tea" at the Drake Hotel---where we stayed.

Sure, I've taken the girls shopping before---mostly New York & Co., which I almost consider disposable clothing---it's so cheap---but never had I indulged them like this. I could just see Butch rolling his eyes when the girls called him with daily reports!! They picked out a pair of Ray Bans for him.

We arrived on Thursday and did just a little shopping. We had a nice lunch at Spiazza and browsed the shops a little more before our Segway tour. Sandy and Stephanie had never done that before---great way to tour a city. We had Chicago pizza after at Giordano's---you have to get on the waiting list---they give you a time---and then when you are 45 minutes out from being seated, you order your pizza. Delicious---much better than my first experience with Chicago pizza about 18 years ago.

I was so excited to see Billy Elliot on Friday night. It was good, but I was a little disappointed. I couldn't really see why it won 10 Tony awards in 2009. I've had it on my list to see---at least I can cross it off---don't need to see it again and don't need to buy the music (didn't even sound like something Elton John would write).
We spent all day on Saturday in Macy's. We hit their summer clearance sale just right---I had a coupon for an additional 20% off for the whole day. The girls started with beauty makeovers at the Estee Lauder counter---they also had one of their free gift promotions going on. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and then back to Macy's. Everybody found some cute things. I got a few things too. All around, a successful trip---but, boy, time sure does fly when you are having fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


After a really fun weekend in Chicago---which I'll blog about later---Steph is having to deal with her teenagers and their erratic comings and goings. Actually, I'm dealing with it too!

Sunday night, Jordan called around 9 p.m. to see if she and friends could come over and swim. Butch handed the phone to me thinking it was too late. I stay up late and her curfew is 11, so I didn't have a problem with that. We got to see the new pool lights for the first time---lookin' good.

Jordan arrived with her boyfriend and his cousin. Then she asked if there was an extra swimsuit around---like that beanpole could fit into one of mine! Steph has one here, but that's too big too. She said she'd just have to watch---yeah, right. I'm not stupid---I knew she'd go in with her clothes. I didn't care about that either. When they left about 10:30, they didn't even come through the house. I guess she was afraid that I'd yell at her about swimming in her clothes.

Yesterday, Morgan called and asked if I would pick her and her friends up to come swim at 1 p.m. Butch, needing gas---and willing to drive out of his way to save 2 cents a gallon---even though it costs him an extra $2.00 to get there---said he'd go. As soon as Morgan and her 2 friends got here, they wanted food. I was trying to take my nap. Butch was dealing with the frozen pizza while Morgan made bagel thins for them. She ended up using the whole bag---sort of defeats the purpose of getting the thins if each person eats two. Then it was soda and other snacks. Finally, about an hour later, they set the music to "blast" and were heading out to the pool.

About that time, Jordan arrives with her boyfriend. They all had a good time. Cameron left around 4:30 to get to work---gotta' like that---a boyfriend that actually works.

The girls came in and were telling me that Steph had "required" them to be at a family dinner from 6-7 that night. Thinking that Steph was picking them up on her way home from work around 5:15, everyone was just waiting and talking. 5:30 comes and goes. Our dinner is almost ready when I tell the girls to give their mom a call. They thought I had called her and told her that they were here. Total miscommunication all around. Steph was already home and not happy. I ended up taking them home after Butch and I ate. I offered to let them eat with us. I had plenty of vegetables, but only 2 bbq pork chops. They declined---I guess fresh peas, squash, tomato and cucumber salad didn't sound so good to snack loving teens.

On the way home, I asked Jordan if she had swum (swam?) in her clothes the night before. She started with "grammy, I fell in." I told her that I wasn't born yesterday and was sure that she'd "fallen" in. I knew that when she left without saying good-bye she thought I'd yell at her. I reminded her that I'm cool! I just want her to know that she can't pull one over on me.

I think it's going to be a long summer for Steph---and me too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jeanne, Ronnie and Janet Visit

Gosh, it's over a week now that Jeanne, Ronnie and Janet visited. Where does the time go?
They arrived on Thursday afternoon. That night, we had the first of 3 poker games. I won $6.50 playing "dealer's choice." Friday night, Stephanie and Nicky joined us for Texas Hold'em. Jeanne whined and complained that she didn't like "hold 'em." The truth of it is that she doesn't know how to play and is lousy at bluffing---which is the biggest part of that game. It helped me that Nicky wasn't so good at it either! I was the "big" winner of $40.00. Ronnie told me that I needed to put the 2 twenties in my poker can to always keep my poker money separate.

On Saturday night, I was having fun acting surprised and gloating about the 40 bucks every time I opened my can. Well, the joke was on me in the long run. I ended up losing $39.50 of it that night. I knew I wouldn't have a 3 day winning streak, but it was fun while it lasted.

We had such a good time---but it always go by way too fast.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nancy's Bedroom

Nancy's bedroom turned out beautifully. I was thrilled to be involved in the project from the very beginning---choosing the paint color. Although her bedroom was beautiful, Nancy was ready for a change. We shopped for fabric, scoured the antique shops and flea market. This gorgeous bird bedding came from Pottery Barn. The window treatment in the bathroom was made by Nancy as was the table toppers and monogrammed pillow on her bed. She used pillow shams to make the toppers. I don't sew---just tell other people what to do! I'm good at that.

My original idea was to have a huge antique frame that would frame the smaller frames for over the bed. What we found in the way of large frames were hundreds of dollars, so I had to abandon that idea. To add interest to the picture collage, I had Nancy put a couple of the picture hangers on the corner so I could hang them on the diagonal.

I love the old needlepoint bird pictures Nancy found. We found the bird lamps at the flea market. I love going----I find pretty cool stuff just about every time.

The vintage gate (replica) I actually found for another friend's room. But when Nancy saw it, she fell in love with it, so I saved it for her bathroom. She wanted to use it for jewelry. I decided to add some of the hankies from her collection. I asked her if she had any vintage jewelry---she opened up the bottom drawer of her dressing table and let me "have at" her mother's jewelry. I used clip earrings and vintage pins to hold the hankies. She added her "regular" stuff.

It was so much fun to do. Now that I'm finished with all of my friend's decorating projects, I think I'll start one of my own. I'm thinking the sunroom---stealing Nancy's "birds". I think I'll start by selling all the furniture and window treatments on Craig's List and start from scratch.

Of course, I still need to find a drywall man and get my library repaired and painted. I think I'll paint the grass cloth in there while I'm at it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Year of Memories---June

Sorry, the pictures aren't so good this time---I handed off my camera---won't do that again.

The theme this month began with a piece of "bling" titled: Happiness. Everyone took it from there. I already can't remember all the titles. My page is titled "Happiness is a stroll through my garden." I used my old typewriter to do my journaling in the circle.

Really crappy pictures, sorry!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CHIHULY Exhibit at Cheekwood

Last week, Butch and I were invited to a private party at Cheekwood---our botanical gardens---for the Chihuly exhibit. It is all hand-blown glass. It took 2 and a half weeks just to pack it up for shipment. Pretty cool stuff.

First Harvest

Here are my first tomatoes. I was thinking of having some really little bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, but decided on a taco salad instead!

We've started up with our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) again. The farmer's harvest was a bit bigger than mine!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Talent Show

Mitchell competed in his school talent show recently. He and his friend played "Stairway to Heaven." Mitchell has gotten pretty good on the guitar. He does take lessons, but I think it all began with "guitar hero."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pool Update

I think I mentioned that our pool company went out of business. Well, there really are only 4 small issues left---a little brickwork, the new drain we had put in is placed "higher" than the ground, no diving board and that stupid piece of equipment sticking up in the middle of our yard. I still can't believe how stupid that is. The problem with that is in order to move it now, it will require chopping up the new decking and purchasing and installing new lights. Once the wire has been cut on the lights, you can't splice it since it is water related. I don't know how much this will cost, but the lights were $350 each and we have 2 of them. I have an electrician coming out on Monday to talk to me about them.

The company---Blue Haven Pools---is a reputable, national franchise. Butch has been talking to the corporate office. So far, he's been able to get them to agree to get us the diving board which turns out to cost $792.00. The company has no obligation to us personally, but they told Butch that a lot of people in our area have been left "hanging". They are going to try to work with us. I doubt we'll get much more than the diving board as they really have no obligation to us, but that's a nice "big" thing to get from them. I do hope that works out.

On the Hunt---Again!

Well, I guess the time has come. My "semi-retired" guy is looking for more to keep himself busy. This week, he's worked like a mad man around here---cleaning out the garage, power washing the pool and patio, and hauling off junk. That's what steroids will do to you!!

Now the squirrels are driving him "nuts" again for stealing his "nuts" from the birds and tearing up his feeders. I have to admit, it looks like Snow White's meadow out there with all the birds, rabbits and squirrels.

Those 4-legged creatures better leave the bird feeders alone or they'll be sorry....

PS It's just a bb gun---won't wound or kill---we believe in safe "pain".

PSS Butch humors me with the camera too. He had to know I would publish this.

What Teens are Totin'

In this day and age with teens totin' guns and drugs, this is what "my" girl is totin'. So darn cute!

She's not feeling too great in this photo, but she humored me.

This just wasn't that long ago---I'm not talking about how cute and little she is---I'm talking about how cute and little "I" was (okay, well both).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great New TV Find!!

I have Sandy to thank for this. She introduced me to a new show---knowing my love of show tunes. It's GLEE! I was so excited about this show that I was telling Stephanie and the girls about it. They said that they already had been watching it. It started in the fall of 2009 and picked up again this spring. I couldn't believe that the girls hadn't mentioned the show to me---considering it is SO "up my alley."

It's about a high school glee club that is considered to be a bunch of geeks even thought there are a couple of football players and cheerleaders in the club. It's a quirky show---a drama and a comedy all at once. But, it's the singing and dancing that blows me away. These kids have the most incredible voices. I've already watched the first dvd collection of the first half of the season and can't wait for the second half since I've only seen 3 episodes of that. They have all kinds of guest stars---including Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel from Broadway (my dream is to see them live). They sing everything from Lady Gaga and Beyonce to Queen, Journey and show tunes---you name it, a little of everything.

I watched the extras (I'm obsessed like that---I watch ALL the extras of any dvd I see) and found out that the best dancer of the bunch is the guy that plays his part in a wheelchair, so he never gets to dance on the show. On one episode, in order for the kids to understand what it's like to be in a wheelchair, they did a routine on the song Proud Mary---"rollin' on the river"---it was fabulous. The kids are all cute and so are the teachers. The cheerleader coach is hysterical---calls her girls the cheerios.

Now, I can't say for sure if Butch likes the show---I don't think he would admit it anyway---but he stayed up past his bedtime last night to watch the final episode of the dvd's with me. And now tonight, he said he was going to bed and I said I was going to watch the season finale of GLEE---he stayed up and watched it with me! Tonight, Josh Groban and Olivia Newton John were on.

I'm just saying---if you need something new to check out this summer with all the re-runs---give GLEE a try. It starts over and will run all summer on this Thursday at 7 p.m. on FOX. Totally worth the time---even if just for the music. Check it out here (I hope it's clickable---sorry---couldn't do anything about the commercial):

Monday, June 7, 2010


Butch had to go back to the doctor on Friday. He put him on prednisone. He should have listened---never mind---I'm just sayin'!

He finally took the bandages off yesterday---the oozing has stopped. Looks like he'll live.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend Trip to Tulsa

Butch and I left on Thursday to visit his aunt and uncle in Tulsa, OK. On the way, we stopped in Eads, TN. I had seen an ad for an antique store there---which is how I found out there even WAS an Eads, TN. I tried to do a little research before going to find out when the town was established and who it was named after. We know that a few generations back, there were Eads from Butch's side in TN. Anyway, I couldn't find any information. We stopped there, but didn't find out anything that way either---it's just a really small town outside of Memphis.

We detoured to Mississippi so that Butch could find a cache there. We spent the night. The next morning, Butch found a couple caches---and didn't realize he also "found" poison ivy. We stopped again in Little Rock, Arkansas so I could go to a scrapbook store. I spent about an hour there---while Butch made phone calls. Our next destination was Fort Smith, Arkansas with the intention of doing a little sight-seeing. That didn't take long---not much there---plus, it was really hot. I relaxed under a tree with my book (side note---I'm ahead of my 50 pages a day goal!) while Butch geo-cached. By the time we got to Oklahoma, he was excited because he had found caches in 3 different states in the same day. I guess you have to be him to get the significance of that.

We met up with Walter and Chris for a pizza before going to Uncle Pat's and Aunt Jean's. We had a fun filled weekend all around. The guys drove to Stillwell, OK to meet up with their Uncle Bill and cousin Porter to fish for the day. We girls went to an antique mall which was really good.

On Sunday, we drove up to Pawhuska, OK---where Butch's dad and uncle grew up. There were 10 in the family plus another that died at birth. I really enjoyed riding around that town---looks like a ghost town now, but still has charm. We visited the cemetery and found some family graves. Also, we saw this tree loaded with mistletoe, so we couldn't resist!

I loved seeing the prairie and all the beautiful wildflowers. After reading The Worst Hard Time last summer, I'm still fascinated with the whole "dust bowl" thing.

There's a picture of Butch and Walter finding a cache.

It's ugly, but the poison ivy is really bad. It "dripped" all the way home. Butch finally went to the doctor today (Wednesday) as it's spread to his eye. If he would only listen to me....but then nobody does, so what's the use!!

But the most exciting thing of all---I was sitting on the porch with my book when Aunt Jean came out and told us to notice the bobcat in the yard. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!! A WILD ANIMAL IN THEIR BACKYARD! That's Oklahoma. I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever seen in person. I don't think anyone else got my excitement. But of course, I get pretty excited at just about everything---I guess it's the same as the boy who cried wolf.