Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Quick Post From Disneyworld

Not much time for posting, but couldn't resist a little one.
Obviously, when you do Disney in the summer, it's HOT!! I bought this battery operated fan/mister the last time we were here. I remembered to bring it this time with spare batteries. It's quite tedious filling it up with ice as you have to have just the right size of cubes and then put them in one at a time. 
Butch is such a good guy!!! He patiently filled my mister this morning! I charge 25 cents for 2 squirts. Believe me, everyone wants it! It does get tiring---carrying it around. It doesn't really stay on your shoulder and around your neck just hurts. The ice melts fairly quickly and then the water gets warm---hardly refreshing.

I'm not sure it's worth the 20 bucks I paid for it. I've only made about a buck twenty five selling squirts. I'm such a sucker.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I've Alway Been a "Cry-er"

Things move me. I cry at touching commercials. I cry with friends. I cry at weddings, I tear up in beautiful gardens. I cry during movies. I cry while reading. I cry at ceremonies---even if it's not about my family. And you can always count on Survivor to "tear me up" when family members send letters or arrive in person. I'm just empathetic. I put myself in the other person's shoes. I'm okay with that.

However, there's nothing to cry about this weekend. We're heading to the happiest place on earth!!
Disney, here we come! We're planned---I've made a schedule for each day---and printed it out---weekly as well as daily---for all 13 of us (my grandmother would be turning over at that number---once on Thanksgiving, she had my cousin bring a friend to make the number 14 for dinner---but I digress).

We've gotten our fast passes. We've made dinner reservations. We know what particular food and drink specialties to try in the various parks. We have many little known secrets to discover. Sandy is our expert there. She reads ALL the books! We count on her!

Doing Disney with us is exhausting. We always get the "park hopper" passes so we open the early park and close the late park. We carry ponchos for the showers likely to crop up. Nothing keeps us away. In fact, we like a bit of rain because the crowds thin out. We even fight! Even though we say that everyone can do their "own" thing, we all want to stay together. That leads to some bickering about what to do when. We always have a plan!

We go back to the hotel in the afternoon for a little pool time and relaxation---we stay at the Beach Club Resort. We've even been known to accidentally leave a certain family member who was napping, behind! "She" won't let us forget that! Here's a hint.
We swear we didn't do it on purpose! She's not so sure.

This year will be Nicky and Justin's first time at Disney with us. We think they might be a little afraid! They should be! I'm taking my Fitbit and will report back. This week will be a real test for my "new foot." I'm excited.

So, you see, there's nothing to be crying about. Then, just to get in the mood, I watched this---and cry I did! Just like I always did when Mindy was little. This was the only movie that kept her occupied for an hour an fifteen minutes a day. Yes, she watched it every day from about 9 months old to about 14---that would be years!

Enjoy---and see if you recognize the movie and who is singing? I'll tell you after the link, so don't peek! Baby Mine.

From Dumbo with Bette Midler singing.

I won't have much time for blogging, but I'll try to get a few photos posted.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summers Meant Softball

And that meant this crew! Circa late 1960's. Many of us started playing together in the first grade---and continued on for eleven years. I'm the third from the right in front. My sister, Janice is on the far right in front. 
By year three, we were the City/County Champions EVERY year! That's what happens when you start a team from a young age and play together consistently. I played 3rd base for ten of those years. This is what I remember most:

1. We practiced at Mr. Beckman's farm and drank Kool Aid from a big pot with a ladle (quite unsanitary by today's standards---but we were kids and didn't know any better).
2. It was so hot during the summer that sweat dripped in to my eyes and burned, causing me to pray that the ball would not be hit to me.
3. My best friend, Reenie---far left on the front row---broke her ankle sliding in to home plate. I can still hear the crack!
4. The eight grade boys challenged us to a game. I didn't get to go, because I "lied" by omission. I just told my parents that we were having a softball party at Karen's and didn't mention the boys. Back then, you had to have graduated eighth grade to go to boy/girl parties.
5. My mom was one of the coaches---that's her 4th from the right on the back row.
6. Our coach entered us in to a pre-season league. We came up against a team that was so "bad" that they didn't even have any equipment. We had to loan them our gloves and bats. Turns out, they thought they had joined a volleyball league. (We played that too, but softball was our passion).
7. We had our banquet at Romines---known for the best fried chicken.
8. I was not a good batter, but I was a really good bunter.
9. We quit after our junior year. By then we were interested in boys and most of us had jobs!
10. If you notice the picture above I always wore crew socks. I never could stand the feel of feet in shoes without socks. Still can't. Apparently, my sister felt the same way. We didn't seem to care if that set us apart from our friends! I was always confident in my sock/no sock choice!

And that's my "throwback" for Thursday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Family Reunion

We had a great time at the ALL family reunion. We have all been friends for 25-30 years. Our kids grew up together. When we decided to discontinue the Family Trivia Party at Christmas after 10 years, Butch and I came up with this idea---a big family picnic.

Considering all week they predicted rain, we couldn't have asked for a better day. It was sunny and hot, but not too humid. Everyone brought a dish so we had a wide variety of food. We had a lot leftover!

We had a corn hole tournament. The "buy in" was $2.00.

 Even the kids got in on the act.

Basically, without them knowing it, we gave them their money back. They thought they had won $2.00! Of course, since their grandparents paid for them, they did WIN $2.00.
 Everyone has decided that we need to make this an annual event. We will!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Italians Beware!!

Do not buy bracelets with magnetic closures!!! I repeat: DO NOT BUY BRACELETS WITH MAGNETIC CLOSURES!
These were some of my favorite bracelets. But I have not been able to wear them. It got to be too dangerous---and a potential liability!
A close-up in case you don't know what a magnetic closure looks like.

Once you start talking, they fly off. The magnet is just not strong enough to withstand an Italian during normal conversation.

(Get it---we talk with our hands???)

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Last Sunday, I decided to surprise the girls. We went to White Castle first. Sandy loves White Castle and they do not have them in Charlotte. From there, we met the Retro Sno truck in Elmington Park.
 I have never done this before but had heard about it. You just have to check their website to see where the trucks are going to be throughout the week.
 Elizabeth got the rainbow---which seemed like the best---lots of juice.
 Stephanie told us that Retro Sno had been at her work. She got the Raspberry Wedding Cake. Sandy got it and said it was good.
Victoria got the pink lemonade. I got plain old-fashioned cherry. It was good, but really nothing more than a regular sno cone. Still, it was a fun little surprise on a steamy hot day!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Outside my window: What can I say? It's hot. You can fry an egg on the patio. The pool is barely refreshing these days.

 I am thinking: I want to get up in my scrapbook room. I haven't been able to spend any time up there since the big clean out a few weeks ago---or maybe it has been more than a month---yikes! Where does the time go? I'm planning to have an hour today--perhaps two. 

I am thankful for: Air conditioning! No explanation necessary!

From the kitchen: I have planned the first annual ALL Family Reunion for my friends tomorrow at the park. I have a couple dishes to make for that---Cowboy Caviar (click for recipe---makes a lot) and Carrot Casserole. 

I am wearing: I'm still in my pajamas and plan to stay that way until my friends come over for a swim party.

I am hoping: To break in my new tennis shoes. I used my rewards and "thanks for sharing" dollars from Macy's to buy two new pairs before Disney. I have a week.

I am reading: I've just started The Invention of Wings for book club. I've already finished Industry Darling. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go to book club since I'll be at the beach. This will be the first meeting I've missed since Connie and I started the club six or seven years ago. The funny part about it is that I could have gone if I hadn't changed the date to accommodate someone else. That's what I get for not checking my own calendar! I'll send my comments anyway. 

I'm watching: I finally got Butch to watch a series. I really like watching full seasons on dvd. We're watching Suits---recommended by my friend, Nancy. The only problem? Butch doesn't want to watch more than one episode at a time. I could watch two in a row for sure!

I am busy creating: I haven't created anything since the centerpiece for Mitchell's little party.
I'm itching to do some scrapbooking.

I'm bummed: That the weather forecast for tomorrow is not looking good. It could be a soggy picnic.

I am hearing: GMA in the background.

Around the house: I think it's really "cute" that Butch bought these glasses. We have tons of glasses and don't really need them. I guess you can never have too many gin and tonic glasses. 

 I guarantee you they came from the Dollar Store! Actually, the Dollar Store has some good stuff.

In other news: Jordan and friends have been over to swim three times this week. The problem? It's always after 10:00 p.m. I guess that's when everyone is finished working. It's not really a problem, but the music can get loud. We're happy to have them here. I keep the refrigerator stocked with soda and pantry stocked with chips. Reminds me of when our girls were young. Our house was the "go to" house. We didn't have a pool then. We're just glad to have them around. They clean up perfectly! I like that!

 One of my favorite things right now: 
First---who doesn't like free stuff? The first free things were the tickets to the Sounds Game---minor league baseball. Nicky's office has season tickets, so he offered me some. I took a couple friends. They were giving out free t-shirts. For what the shirts cost them I wish they'd had the park sprayed for mosquitoes. Maybe the did. My friend, Mary Jo and I were the only ones bothered. Of course, I have a problem with mosquitoes. Remember recently, I found out that they like O- blood types. I always knew it was the universal blood type, but I had no idea that everything in the universe would love it!
Second---I discovered Lemonheads when I was putting together the sunshine boxes I sent to the girls at school. They are tart lemony things that last a long time---for when you want just a little something. 

I appreciate: Friends that bring lunch to the pool and then leave half of it behind for dinner! Thanks Connie---delicious pasta salad, cheese toast and German Chocolate dessert!

I regret: that rain is predicted for tomorrow. Our First Annual ALL Family Reunion might be very short.

How the weekend is shaping up: Besides the picnic tomorrow, the "kids" are coming over on Sunday for a Father's Day pool party. It's supposed to be sunny by then.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Bonaroo is a music festival held outside of Nashville every year. It's become quite a thing---tens of thousands of people---mostly young---come for 4 days of fun and music (and sun, heat and mud).

Jordan and Morgan have been a couple of times. This was Mitchell's first. Many of his friends from Charlotte were also going. When we were at his house last week, everyone was asking him questions about it---who all is going? Do you have a tent? What are you doing for food? When are you leaving? Any way, you get the idea. He got aggravated as he didn't really have any answers. He prefers to fly by the seat of his pants.

When they arrived in Nashville on Wednesday, Sandy told me that Mitchell went grocery shopping to buy his food. He bought 4 large jars of peanut butter, 4 large jars of jelly and 2 loaves of bread. Sandy  gently pointed out that he had gotten a jar of peanut butter for each day! He agreed that maybe he had too much, so he left one jar at home!

They came to Nashville on Wednesday. The teens left about 10 p.m. They borrowed a canopy and lawn chairs from us. Around 5 a.m., Mitchell had texted Sandy to say that they were stopped at a standstill on the side of the highway for 5 1/2 hours. Seems everyone decided to arrive at night. They finally got in and set up by 10 a.m. They said that their camping spot was pretty nice---no shade---Bonaroo is hot---but still a reasonable distance from the main stage.

Apparently, there is some popular group called "deadmaus." Jordan, Morgan and Carter (Morgan's boyfriend) bought these mouse heads. Can you spell H-O-T? Plus, there is no place to see out. Seems crazy to me, but then again, I'm 50 years removed from my teen years. I can remember combing my hair forward like the Beatles and strumming a tennis racket with 3 other friends as we imitated the FAB Four!
Turns out that by wearing these mouse heads, they were able to get all the way to the foot of the main stage.

I've noticed that in a lot of their pictures, someone has their tongue sticking out. Thank you Miley Cyrus!
Okay, Mitchell said they could not see out of the mouse heads, but you can clearly see "in" so I'm pretty sure they can see out.

Billy Joel and Mumford and Sons were the headliners. There were dozens of other bands. Billy Joel didn't play until late Sunday night. The kids packed up prior to the concert so they could leave right after and beat the traffic. They made it home about midnight---allowing them to sleep in a bed!

Although they had a great time, Mitchell doesn't feel the need to go back. We'll see how he feels about that next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Butch's Birthday

Butch's birthday fell on a Thursday this year. Not only did I plan a nice dinner, I posted an old picture for "Throwback Thursday" on Facebook.
There were a lot of hilarious posts. But the funniest thing was Butch saying he would never have worn a vest and had no recollection of this. I let him off the hook by telling him that it was a Christmas gift---all the "boys" got one this particular year. He probably never wore it again after this picture. The 1970's were not known for great fashion!

For his birthday dinner, I made salisbury steaks* mashed potatoes, fried okra, applesauce and cheese bread. I made "brown butter lemon bars" for dessert. While sitting around the dinner table, we discussed our upcoming family vacation to Disney World.
The "magic bands" arrived last week. Sandy and I got them all linked to our account so that all of the necessary information was on them. We spent about an hour and a half figuring out all of the fast passes for each day.
These bracelets contain EVERYTHING! It's your room key, park tickets, fast passes, meal plan and credit card for other purchases. The "kids" are excited about the thought of "dad" paying for all of their drinks as they take the "drink around the world" challenge in Epcot---and souvenirs too!
And of course, in Disney fashion, it all comes in the cutest boxes. Just opening it is a surprise.

One of Butch's birthday gifts was the Risk game. We had one back in the 1970's that was sold with one of our lake houses. It was a nice throwback. We played on Saturday night, but we all forgot that it's a long game! We played nearly 3 hours before calling it a draw.

I found this salisbury steak recipe recently on Six Sisters and liked it so much that I decided I was going to make it for the family. Here's the recipe:

Salisbury Steak
1lb. lean ground beef (I used chuck)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 egg
2 T. water
1 lg. jar beef gravy (I used Heinz Homestyle Beef Gravy)
Large onion (this was not on the original recipe, but in the 70's when you could find this on restaurant menus, it always was topped with onions)

Mix together first 5 ingredients. Shape in to 4 patties cook in sprayed pan over medium heat for 10 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and add sliced onions. Saute' until soft. Drain any excess grease. Return patties to pan and add gravy. Heat through. Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Party Time

It's party time on many levels. Last Wednesday, Sandy, Mitchell, Victoria and Elizabeth came to town. The specific reason was so that Mitchell could meet up with his cousins, Jordan and Morgan to go to Bonaroo. That report will come tomorrow.

For today, we'll start with the surprise "off to college" party we planned for Mitchell.

We ate outside. I had just hired the "Mosquito Squad" to spray for the mosquitoes. It didn't really work, so they are coming back this week.
I made all of his favorite foods---macaroni and cheese, zucchini and a Caesar salad. I made Red Lobster cheese biscuits and bought Corky's ribs. I can't believe I don't have a picture of the chocolate chip cookie cake I had made. The writing looked like a 10 year old had done it. It tasted good, so I guess that's the main thing. We opened gifts before the "kids" left for Bonaroo.
 It just wasn't that long ago that they were like this!!
They have grown up way too fast!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's That Time of Year

The Georgia Peach Truck is back! They don't call Georgia the "peach state" for nuttin'! They are the best peaches---so juicy and sweet. We're so lucky that they bring them to us!

The Peach Truck lists all the locations where they can be found. Every Saturday, the truck is just down the street from me. Last summer when Jeanne and Janet were visiting, we happened upon it and stopped. The peaches are pretty pricey---$8.00 for about 6-8 peaches. Even at that, they are worth it. But, we discovered a little cost saving measure. If you ask for the "seconds", you get a whole box for $15.00. We couldn't find anything wrong with them.

Well, this year, I asked about the "seconds"---discreetly waiting until the other customer had walked away. The seller said he only had a quarter box that he'd sell me for $5.00.
That's a lot of peaches for 5 bucks! Good thing it wasn't a whole box. I sent bags home with Mindy, Stephanie and Margarita---and still have plenty left. With the Lapps family in town this week, I plan to make frozen peach daiquiris for the pool!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How Does My Garden Grow?

I need to call it Butch's garden these days. Aside from picking out the plants and deciding how they are to be put in the pots, he does all the planting.
This is one of my favorite planters. I bought the base a couple of years ago at a fair in St. Louis with my sister, Jeanne. I gave it to Butch for Christmas.

You do have to water it every day, but that's nothing new. Everything in pots has to be watered every day.
This is called a jackmanii clematis. I love the purple.
I especially love it when it trails up through the ivy and peeks out above.
We used to put these planters around the pool, but it was too much trouble watering them. Now, most of them are around the porch.
I love the ostrich ferns as they are disease resistant and drought tolerant. Plus they are the only ferns that can take full sun. They are prolific too. Each plant produces at least 10 babies every year. I give them away in the spring. They need to be thinned out. The crepe myrtles on each side usually start blooming in July.
I don't think there's any flower more rewarding than Annabelle hydrangeas. They are glorious. They make wonderful cut flowers that dry nicely.

Even when they are past their prime, they fade to the green flower heads and dry on the busy. It's satisfying to have the green flowerheads all summer.
Shasta daisies are always cheerful.
I gave away some of the lavender. Actually, I'm thinking of getting rid of it altogether. It's too large and "sprawly" for my taste. I made that word up, but I think you know what I mean.
The straw flower looks good close up.
From a distance, it looks a little forlorn. There are quite a few blooms so maybe it will look better when they flower out.
The magnolias are the queens of my yard. I have them on 3 corners surrounding the pool.
They are probably 50 feet tall. Someone asked me once if I could handle the mess. Without a doubt! They may drop leaves, but I love them.
I used to have the foster hollies that guard the entrance to the pool---topiaried every year. I started out doing them myself. Then I had garden people do it. Finally, my arborist had to handle it. That's not something they normally do, but since I make friends with every person that works here, Aaron made an exception. Now, they are just too big for anyone to manage. I remember when we first moved here, the foliage when all the way to the ground. I "went out on a limb" and just started hacking away. I made the right decision! In fact, I think I'm going to limb them up some more.
We have tomatoes. They usually ripen around the 4th of July. Of course, we have to fight the birds and the squirrels for them.
I don't think we'll get many this year. The foliage looks like crap.
This isn't my garden, but last week, on my way to bridge, I saw this tiny---barely born little fawn. It hobbled across the road on wobbly legs as its mother waited on the other side.
You can see how tiny it is compared to this sign which is about 6"x10". It's the smallest fawn I've ever seen. There was a car in front of me who stopped first.
She just wouldn't go. I could see that the mother was getting nervous and the baby was so scared. I pulled around her and said that we needed to leave so the baby could join it's mama. I don't know if she listened to me. Few people do! I can be bossy like that.

How does your garden grow?