Friday, November 26, 2010


It was so nice to have the whole family together, cousins, aunt and uncles, grandmothers and great grand children. The weather was more like the Fourth of July than Thanksgiving, but we were thankful for that! Here is our turkey "avant" the grill.

A tradition at our house is to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. One of my all time favorites...........

Several years ago my husband heard "The Kimmer" aka Kim Peterson describe on his radio show (WGST in Atlanta) that he cooked his turkey on the grill basting with wine. We've been doing that for several years now and they always turn out SO tender and delicious!

My favorite part of the Macy's parade when Santa's the start of the Holiday Season for me!

Now that the parade is over, it's back to cooking in the kitchen. Notice my new nifty apron. It was made by my cyber friend, Becky Stancil. Check out her etsy site here. It's so cute with that vintage flair and the pink is for Breast Cancer Awareness.

It's nice to have a house full again! Kids playing Wii.........

And two gorgeous redheads, my son's girlfriend and my niece.

It was such a nice day we got t0 enjoy the deck and catching up with family and friends.

The coconut cake aunt makes the most wonderful coconut cake. It is legendary. It takes 3 days to make and soak up the coconut juices. One year she made one to take to her son's house in Charleston. Fortunately for us, she forgot it and my cousin brought it to our house by default. I've never made it myself, but I do have her recipe. If anyone wants it, let me know and I'll post the recipe.

And here's the proud cook with his 23 lb perfectly grilled turkey!

The newly engage couple! Yea for Charlie and Natalie!

Abe wasn't so excited to see my photo of UGA biting an Auburn player.

Here's most of the crew............missing about 4 in the photo, but close. We had a great time but missed those that couldn't make it.

My very creative niece and her wonderful necklace made out of bungee cords. See it blogged about here.................

Here's my mom and her sister. My mom told us a story about the year she was 10 years old. It was during the depression in 1938 and her father was out of a job and there was no money. They were not having a turkey for that Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving her mother let her go to the 10 cent movies on the square. During intermission they usually played a few games and she won a drawing..............and it was for a fresh turkey. They DID have turkey that year after all!

Lora takes home the BEST TAKE HOME MEAL EVER! was so nice to have everyone home and talking and having fun together. I'm very thankful for all of our blessings this year!

One of my oldest son's new endeavors is starting a business with his friend FREAKING for children. Their website should be up and running soon, but in the meantime you can "like" them on facebook here. They are prints of original acrylic paintings on gallery wrapped canvases and are very cute!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


One of our traditional family recipes is Heavenly, not the kind from the 60's or Venice Beach. This one is made with marshmallows and a cooked dressing mixed with whipped cream. Yum! Note to self: Mix in the large lid of your cake holder because it makes a lot. You need to make it a day ahead to let the flavors blend together..........heavenly!


1 large can pineapple cubes (drain & save)
1 pound marshmallows (small variety)
1 cup broken pecans
1 jar red maraschino cherries
2 cups seedless green or red grapes (cut in halves)
1/2 pint strawberries
1 large can mandarin oranges
1 1/2 pints whipping cream - whipped

3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon flour
6 egg yolks (beat well by hand)
3 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup pineapple juice (left over from canned pineapple)

Mix all fruit, nuts, marshmallows. Cook dressing in top of a double boiler until it becomes thick like pudding. Cool dressing mixture before adding to fruit. Then add whipping cream. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I woke up early this morning to make another batch of my grandmother's cornbread dressing. I made a full recipe on Saturday but decided if we wanted to have any leftovers this year, I'd better make another 1/2 recipe. (Her recipe is below) But first I wanted to take a couple of photos of the beautiful leaves this year. It's cloudy today so I just opened up my front door and snapped a shot of our USUALLY ugly bradford pear tree. I'm not sure why the leaves are such beautiful colors this year but they have been spectacular.

Even the Hackberry trees are all decked out in shades of gold and yellow and fill my back windows with a golden glow.

My grandmother was born in 1897 in Mississippi. I'm not sure where she got this recipe but we have been making it ever since I can remember, with a little tweaking here and there. We always tried to find PINE MOUNTAIN white cornmeal, but I can't find it anymore at the grocery store so I used WHITE LILY self rising white cornmeal.

6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks real butter
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 recipes of cornbread (see below)
1 recipe: 2 cups cornmeal, 1 2/3 cups buttermilk, 1 egg, 1/4 cup wesson oil.
3 small onions, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
12 slices white bread, toasted and crumbled

First make your cornbread. Heat the 1/4 cup wesson oil in a black iron skillet in 400 degree oven for a few minutes until it is very hot. Mix the cornmeal, buttermilk and egg. Pour the 1/4 cup hot oil into cornbread batter, stir. Then immediately pour batter into iron skillet and bake for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven.

While the cornbread is baking, dice your onions and celery. Use less onions if they are very strong. Put these two items in a bowl.

Next, melt your butter. I pulled out my "vintage" mid 1970's Dansk pot. I haven't used it for such a long time because it was just too small when I was cooking for 5. Now that we're back down to 2, I use it more often. You'll add the butter later.

Toast your bread. I usually have to toast each piece at least twice sometimes three times to make sure it is toasted completely through. It crumbles a lot better. Just don't burn it! Crumble the cooked cornbread and the crumbled toast into a large bowl. Then add spices, melted butter and eggs. Mix well and add onion and celery. Add the chicken stock.

Spread mixture into a large greased pan and cook at 400 for about 40 minutes. Don't overcook or it will become dry. There you go, Southern Cornbread Dressing!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I'm glad I left my camera on the desk last night. Early this morning my husband caught these two in our front yard...........looking for pansies I'm sure!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I just finished reading a great book titled MUDBOUND by Hillary Jordan. If you liked THE HELP by Katherine Stockett, then you'll like MUDBOUND. It won the Bellwether Prize for fiction which is a prize for a book about social awareness. The book takes place in Mississippi just after WWII in the 1940's. The inside book cover describes it as "a gripping and exquisitely rendered story of forbidden love, betrayal, and murder, set against the brutality of the Jim Crow South". Every once in a while a book has made me cry, but I've NEVER cried AFTER I've finished a book and closed the cover..........until now! Hillary Jordan's descriptions make it easy for you to imagine her characters as when she states, "He felt light against me, insubstantial. His ribs protruded like the black keys of a piano."

I had never heard of this book until I was browsing the Kent District Library one day. Check out their "staff picks" and their "book club in a bag" reading lists. I also check out the staff picks on the Arapahoe Library District website. If you want a good book to read, try Hillary Jordan's MUDBOUND.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It's starting to look and feel like Thanksgiving! Even on a cold, rainy day, a 4 on the Melish Meter, and it's still beautiful outside with the brilliant autumn colors bursting forth. Once I bring the Publix Pilgrims salt and pepper shakers down from their top shelf, I feel like the Thanksgiving season has begun. Making my cornbread dressing grocery shopping list, washing tablecloths and thinking about how I can make a centerpiece out of leaves and pods from my backyard. Can't wait for the whole family to be together this year!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Matthew 25:35

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

This year we count our blessings. We are not hungry or homeless. We look around and see a lot of people who are having a really tough time. Giving a basket of food to a family who would not otherwise have a Thanksgiving, is something we can do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I added a painting to my Powder Room downstairs by Ann Litrel titled "Three Elms". Ann and I are in an outdoor plein air painting group together. My daughter and I visited Ann in her studio last winter and took some photos of her painting. That is when I saw this painting in that wonderful frame. It is a glicee, in fact...........a reproduction of one of her original oils. (I can't afford the originals!) When we painted this room "Pumpkin Spice" I knew her painting would be perfect. In fact, when I went to her studio I noticed she had painted the entire back wall of her studio this SAME color! The three elms stand on Elm Street in downtown Woodstock. As you drive or walk down Elm Street you have to do a little jog to get around the trees. The new Elm Street Arts Center will be just down the street from these trees. My daughter and I took some photos of the old, dilapidated Elm Street house which is being renovated for the arts center and I remember taking a few of these trees as well. Now I can look at them all the time!

Friday, November 12, 2010


I'm making homemade applesauce today and the house smells wonderful!! I'm using McIntosh apples today because they are tart and cook down to a wonderful consistency. Just add a little sugar and cinnamon, cook on low and.........presto, homemade applesauce.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We finished the powder room today. The watercolor, painted by my friend Betsy Cozine, was my inspiration for the pumpkin wall color. Betsy painted this watercolor on one of our trips to Monteagle, TN and it reminds me of all of the fun we have while painting outdoors. The wall paint color is "Ground" by Behr, the mirror is from Penney's and the Minwax stain on the hardwood floor is a mixture of 2/3 Dark Walnut to 1/3 Ebony.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I arrived home Wednesday afternoon to a whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound. As my mom and I peeked around the corner we saw the wallpaper in the powder room coming down! My husband needs another project so down comes the wallpaper after 14 years. Actually I've been putting it off because I was the one who hung it in the first place and I know I used Elmer's glue in some areas. I pictured in my mind that we would have to peel off pieces the size of a quarter at a time. But since my husband is a lot more courageous than I, he tackled the walls. Actually it wasn't so bad (easy for me to say). It came off in sheets for the most part and required some sanding.

Almost finished scraping off the old wallpaper and time to decide on a color. I remember painting a client's living room and dining room in Greenville, SC orange back in the late 70's. It was awesome! And, with Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkins on the brain, I decided on orange.

We (my husband) installed a new light fixture and is almost finished with the painting. Since I refused to rehang the mirror that the builder had installed 15 years ago, I am now looking for the perfect bathroom mirror. Here is the room so far, the orange is showing up in the photo really intense. But in reality, it is not quite that electric! It is really pretty.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Last week we had our floors refinished, after 15 years! No more pets or children around and it looks like we'll be staying here for a long time, so we decided to take the plunge, battle with the dust and refinish the floors. I decided to paint the stair handrails white to match the trim. I like that. But, I wasn't sure if we should paint or stain the stair treads. The estimate to stain was $230.00. Painting was looking pretty good. Then I remembered several years ago when I worked for a faux painting company we would actually faux paint the stair treads to match the floor. Below you can see the lighter stair I still need to stain. If you try this, first tape off the area and press down the edge of the tape next to the area being stained or painted to keep the stain from seeping under the tape.

Next, get a comfortable pillow to sit on..............because those hardwood floors get REALLY hard!

This is the stain I used. Remember when you used to polish your shoes for school? This has the same consistency as shoe polish. It first goes on pretty thin.

I used old rags to wipe the stain onto the wood. An old t-shirt works really well because it is smooth. I used up all of the old t-shirts on the other stairs, so I'm using an old piece of terry cloth.

The trick is to go with the grain. Let the first coat dry a few minutes and add another coat, depending on how dark you want your finish. The stain does come in several shades. I bought Dark Walnut. My floors are a little darker because we mixed 2 parts Dark Walnut and 1 part Ebony. I kept adding layers until I liked the shade. is the finished product. When the stairs are completely dry, you can polish with a cloth and then varnish. The stain cost me $17.00 with tax. I bought mine at a local faux painting store called Paintin' the Town Faux but I'm sure most faux stores would have a comparable product. I think it looks pretty good and I didn't have to take apart the banister and sand the stairs!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


"Not the CHANGE I had in mind" is what O'bama is probably saying tonight in the White House. Well, it's about saving our country, Stupid! This looks like an historic election. The voters are speaking and the elephant in the room is the Tea Party. Below are some photos taken at a Tea Party in Centennial Square in Atlanta last summer. We want less government and more fiscal responsibility. What's so hard to understand about that, Nancy and Harry?

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Roarrrrr, I'm a Leopard"

My little great-niece dropped by Halloween night to show us her leopard costume! She loved our light-up eyeballs in the ivy and the tombstone that opens to reveal a skeleton when triggered by movement.