Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Today is our niece Erica's 3rd anniversary with husband Gary. Happy anniversary!
I think our family needs to plan an annual party for the last week of January to celebrate all the birthdays and anniversaries!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vacation - January, 2010 - Post 2 of 3

Thursday, January 21st
After we left Vicksburg, MS, we drove directly to the New Orleans airport and picked up our friends, Janet and Jeff from Connecticut. They have been friends with The Husband for 30+ years.

We checked into the Place D'Armes Hotel. Following is a picture of me standing on the balcony outside our room, which was a 1/4 block from Jackson Square!
Following is The Husband (on the right) with Jeff. We were, of course, walking Bourbon Street at this point.
Janet and me:

On this day we at dinner at Pat O'Briens.

Friday, January 22nd
We took a horse drawn carriage ride on this morning. Our driver took us to Saint Louis Cemetery #2. You know me and my fascination with cemeteries!

Following photo is of me, Janet and Jeff posing in front of a large mausoleum.
Here are Janet and Jeff during our horse drawn carriage ride.
During our tour, we drove by the corn stalk wrought iron fence located outside The Cornstalk Hotel. I very much liked this fence.
We also saw the same fence a couple of days later outside a house in the famous Garden District.

The horse drawn tour of the French Quarter, the cemetary and Frenchman's Street was entertaining. Our driver was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and also gave us some good pointers on local restaurants.

After the tour, we walked into the Saint Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square.

We then spent the best $6.00 of the weekend! This was the admission to The Presbytere, which is a Mardi Gras museum right on Jackson Square.

The contents of this museum were overwhelming! They had jewelry:
They had ball gowns:
They had costumes:
They had so many sparkly, glittery, pretty things! I strongly recommend you visit this museum next time you are in New Orleans.

On this night, Jeff, The Husband and I had a wonderful dinner at Irene's. Unfortunately, Janet was not able to join us. She went to the Irene's with us, but returned to the hotel because she started to feel ill.

Saturday, January 23rd
Unfortunately, Janet was very ill all night with a stomach virus.

We took it easy all morning, sleeping a bit late and going our separate ways for a while. I somehow ended up at the Christmas shop near Jackson Square. I added to our ornament collection, of course.

Jeff, The Husband and I met for a leisurely lunch on Bourbon Street. Afterwards, we walked and walked and walked, seeing many sights! I spoke to the artist who designs purses. Click here for her website. The purses were striking, but pricey.

We returned to the hotel for a nap, and to check on Janet. Bless her heart, she was still very ill.

Later in the evening, we went out for dinner and again found ourselves on Bourbon Street. There were lots of Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints fans partying in advance of the game the next day. I just had to have my photo taken with men wearing purple suits. How classy!
The Husband and Jeff observing the crowds.
The Husband and me having a good time.
Sunday, January 24th
Janet was a bit better on Sunday morning when we met up to check out of the hotel.

We took a quick driving tour of the Garden District and then parted ways. The Husband wanted to get out of New Orleans before crazy football fans descended en masse before the playoff game.

Janet and Jeff had a 6pm flight out of New Orleans. Unfortunately, it was delayed due to storms in Atlanta. They didn't get to CT until 1pm on Monday and during the trip, Jeff came down with the same virus that made Janet so sick. Our poor friends! They are going to think twice about meeting us for a weekend getaway again!

The Husband and I drove on to Jackson, MS for the night. We decided to stop there instead of driving all the way to our next destination.

Check back soon for Post 3 of 3 describing the last part of our road trip.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary & Happy Birthday!

Today is The Husband's brother's wedding anniversary. Here are he and his lovely wife a couple of years ago.* Happy 27th Anniversary!

* Note to self: Get a current picture of B & C!
Today is also the birthday of another precious niece! Happy Birthday, Mary!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vacation - January, 2010 - Post 1 of 3

The Husband and I recently took a road trip. This is post 1 of 3 documenting our activities.

Monday, January 18th

We left Tulsa at 1pm. We drove straight through to "beautiful" Pine Bluff, AR and checked into a local Best Western. We used our Garmin GPS in an attempt to find a locally owned restaurant. The first two restaurants we drove by at 7:00pm were closed. We ended up at a Red Lobster, which turned out to be fine. The waitress there was very personable and made our dinner very pleasant.

We were back in our room at the Best Western and I was in my pj’s, in bed, with a book, by 8:30pm. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, January 19

We had a quick breakfast at the local Huddle House. What, you say, is a Huddle House? Why, it’s like a Waffle House, but not!

As we approached Grady, Arkansas (site of a state penitentiary), we saw 30-40 prisoners dressed in all white, clearing brush away from the railroad tracks. They were supervised by 6-8 armed guards on horseback. I so wanted to take a picture, but I had two thoughts: 1) I did not want the guards to gallop over and ask me what I was doing and 2) I felt bad for the prisoners.

We drove down the road another 20 miles or so and saw yet another group of prisoners dressed in all white, clearing a ditch under the supervision of a guard on horseback.

These two scenes brought to mind all the scary prison movies we have ever seen.

A little further down the road, we saw the following sign:

My first thought was “When did God get into coffee?” But, hey...if the restrooms are "ultra clean" as advertised, I'm going to stop in!

We made a pit stop at Jehovah Java in lovely Lake Providence, LA. It was a hopping place at lunch time. There were probably 18-20 people in there besides us. They have coffee (of course), sandwiches, burgers, salads, sweets, etc. All the food looked good, but we weren't hungry. They have a small gift shop and free internet access. They do not have a website, which is too bad because it was a cute place.

We drove on into Vicksburg, MS and took a driving tour of the town to get our bearings before checking into our Bed & Breakfast. We stayed at Ahern's Belle of the Bends. We selected The Josephine room. Mary and Dan, the Innkeepers, were charming and we looked forward to spending two nights in their lovely home.

We had dinner that evening at the Walnut Hills Restaurant. Oh my! I had fried catfish with fries that was wonderful. The Husband had fried chicken and a baked sweet potato that was to die for. Kenny was our server and he took excellent care of us. Ask for Kenny when you visit!

We stopped after dinner for a cocktail at Duff’s Tavern and met several nice people. It was, however, very pleasant to return to our gorgeous room in the Belle of the Bends B&B.

Wednesday, January 20th

Mary, the innkeeper, prepared a lovely breakfast for us. We started with yogurt and fresh fruit, accompanied by warm biscuits with butter and fresh strawberry jam. This starter was followed by Eggs Benedict and hash browns. Now let me just tell you that Eggs Benedict is my absolute favorite breakfast while on vacation. What a pleasant surprise that Mary fixed it this morning.

We sat and visited with her for quite a while after breakfast. She is a lovely person and very easy to talk with.

We finally got out and about mid-morning. We took a bit of a driving tour of the city. Here's The Husband at an overlook with a majestic view of the Mississippi:

We then made our way to the Vicksburg National Military Park, a Civil War site.

We toured the visitor’s center and watched their movie about the siege of Vicksburg. We then took the 16 mile driving tour of the park, while listening to a DVD which highlighted various monuments and special locations in the park.

There were many very impressive sites in the park. One was the raised gun boat, the U.S.S. Cairo:

A second was the cemetery of 18,000+ Union soldiers.

We left the park and ate a quick lunch at Bumpers. What is Bumpers you ask? It’s like Sonic, but not! Bumpers has a fried bologna sandwich on the menu. We did not try it. We should go back for it!

After our fast food fix, we drove to the Vicksburg City Cemetery, where 1,800 or so Confederate war dead are buried.

I can’t help it, I really like exploring cemeteries. This one in particular was so pretty and interesting. The terrain is hilly, so when you gaze in any direction there are interesting hills and hollows where the dead have been laid to rest. This cemetery is, obviously, very old. There are people buried there from before the Vicksburg siege in 1863, up until the present day. The family plots are very extensive and organized, representing generations of families in this area.

We also visited a couple of antique stores, but we found nothing we could not live without. I was disappointed, frankly. I love finding things I can’t live without!

A big storm blew in late in the afternoon with heavy rain, lightning and tornado watches/warnings. It was a perfect environment for a short nap before dinner.

We had dinner at Diamond Jack’s Casino, in DJ’s Seafood & Steakhouse. Sharon, the hostess on duty, was a delight to visit with and Roosevelt, the bartender, was a great guy. We had dinner in the bar and he took excellent care of us.

After dinner, we walked through the casino and somehow managed to lose $40 at the slot machines. Darn it!

The Husband and I are NOT casino people. We work too hard for our money and would prefer not to lose it in 5 minutes in a slot machine or at a gaming table. That said, we have been known to occasionally walk through an Oklahoma casino and marvel at the activity. Diamond Jack’s was different than the OK casinos. It was not packed with people, and because of that, it was not overwhelmed with cigarette smoke. We actually stayed longer in the casino than we do in OK and when we walked out we did not reek of smoke. People were gambling, but they did not seem as intense or desperate as in OK. Not sure what to make of that, but that’s how it seemed to us.

As we returned to the B&B, it was sprinkling. Once we were safely inside, another round of thunderstorms and lightening hit the city. Oh my, noisy and bright, but beautiful!

Thursday, January 21st

Mary, the innkeeper, prepared another great breakfast for us this morning.

As an addition to the B&B, Mary has a small gift shop on the grounds. Of course, I did not miss the opportunity to shop. It was evident that she carefully selects her merchandise, because all of it was quite special and she had a story for everything. Don’t tell The Husband, but I did spend some money there!

We found Mary very easy to talk to and very funny. We spent the most time with her, but her husband was equally as charming during the brief time we visited with him. Their B&B (Ahern’s Belle of the Bends) is what a B&B experience is supposed to be.

Special Note:

Mary and Dan are nearing the end of the “Innkeeper” phase of their life journey and have put the inn on the market. If you, or someone you know, is seriously considering becoming an innkeeper, I can’t think of a more beautiful and successful B&B business for you to own. Contact them for more information.

For those of us who imagine we might want to run a B&B some day, Mary recommends reading this book.

Check back in a couple of days for post 2 of 3 describing our vacation!

Tulsa Bloggers

Who is planning to attend the Tulsa Blogger Meetup?

I've never attended one of these events, but I think I will start with this one. Maybe I'll meet you there?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Bye!

Good bye, Pernell Roberts.

I loved you as Adam Cartwright and I loved you as John MacIntyre.

Friday, January 22, 2010

United Airlines Breaks Guitars

I watched The View one day last week and they had musician Dave Caroll on the show.

Dave is famous on You Tube because of his songs about United Airlines breaking his guitar and his efforts to get them to admit responsibility and compensate him.

He has promised three songs about this situation. The following are the first two.

Song #1 Very cute!

Song # 2 Again, very cute.

Here's a link to his website. Dave Caroll Music

Good Luck to Dave. I hope he profits from his 15 minutes of fame!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

American Idol

I am not an American Idol fan.

I did, however, watch the show last year when David Cook was performing. I did this simply because of his Tulsa connection.

This year, I've gone back to not watching the show.

But who in the world can resist this audition? Not me, for sure.


It made me laugh and I hope General Larry Platt reaps a financial reward from his 15 minutes of fame.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WWYD?

I went to the mall Sunday to have my nails "done."

As I walked OUT of the mall, I passed an area where there were discounted Christmas decorations. I, of course, browsed through the remaining items.

There was one (ONE!) 60x120 tablecloth from the Martha Stewart collection that would have fit our table (with all three leaves.) There were also 3 packages of 4 napkins each to match the tablecloth. All of these items were marked 75% OFF regular price.

I did not purchase these items. Yeah, me!

I told myself I did not need them because I have an entire storage bin full of Christmas tablecloths, napkins and miscellaneous linens.

Was I correct in passing up the opportunity to purchase yet another Christmas tablecloth and napkins?

WWYD? What Would You Do?

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Where These Came From...

Now that the weather has warmed up, The Husband and I are planning this weekend to take the Christmas lights down and remove the Christmas tree from the front porch.

We will take the tree to the yard waste drop off location and it will be mulched.

Because the tree is outside, the salt dough ornaments suffer the effects of the weather. By the end of December, a good portion had torn and fallen off the ornament hangers. Thursday, I swept up the fallen ornaments, as well as pulled the remainder of them from the tree.

It's a colorful, but sad pile of ornaments.
Looking forward to next Christmas when we have this fun all over again!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You

Our neighborhood has had some recent problems with houses, garages and cars being burgled.

A neighbor found a list of "21 Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You" in a local newspaper and brought me a copy.

Most were things we've heard before, but a few caught my attention:

1) I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

2) If it snows while you are out of town, have your neighbor create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway no one is home.

I would not have thought of either of these items, especially the snow item.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs

Monday night dinner at the Powell house:

The Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs
Snow Peas and Mushrooms
Autumn Potatoes


The Pioneer Woman's meatballs (found on pages 172-173 of her cookbook) were quite good. This recipe will be a keeper in our menu planning.

The snow peas and mushrooms were stir fried in extra virgin olive oil (evoo, to quote Rachael Ray!) and garlic, which is an old standby for us.

The Autumn Potatoes was a recipe I forgot about and decided, on impluse, to give it a spin. We both like it and have determined it will also make a repeat appearance in our future menus.

Autumn Potatoes
Baking Potatoes (equal amount to sweet potatoes)
Sweet Potatoes (equal amount to baking potatoes)
butter, brown sugar and honey to taste
1 teaspoon salt

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Mash and add honey, butter and brown sugar to taste.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The American Woman's Cookbook (1942) - Table Service - Styles of Service (part 2)

Page 81-82:
Chapter: Table Setting and Service

Hot Food Should be Served Hot on heated dishes.
Cold Food Should be Served Cold on cold dishes.
When the Host and Hostess do the Serving at Table, the host serves the meat, and often the vegetables, and the hostess serves the soup, salad, dessert and beverages.
In the Maid-Less Household, the hostess will find great convenience in the tea-wagon, or any other kind of serving-table that may stand at her right, ready to help her.
Before the Dessert Course, the table should be cleared and crumbed. the salts and peppers, the bread and butter plates, and all other accessories or dishes that will not be used in the dessert course, are removed on a tray. When the table is crumbed, a small folded napkin and a plate should be used, and the crumb-clearing is done at the left of the guest.
When the Dessert is Finished, the dessert plate is exchanged for the after-dinner coffee cup, if the cofee is served at table.
At the End of the Coffee Course, the cups are exchanged for finger bowls if these were not placed with the dessert.

Suggestion from me:
Instead of using a napkin and plate to crumb the table, consider picking up a vintage crumber set. I have a couple of hammered aluminum examples:
Number 2
Or you can use a napkin and a silent butler, four hammered aluminum examples are pictured below.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Girl Band!

The nieces performed for me on Saturday.

I was blown away, needless to say.

Did you see Baby L "ROCKING OUT?"

Oh my goodness! She was sticking her tongue out (a la Gene Simmons) the entire time. I was laughing so hard, I'm amazed 1) you couldn't hear me and 2) I could hold my iPhone straight to record the performance.

I love my girls, but I think some music lessons should be in their future.

Just saying...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Where Has The Past Week Gone?

My, the week has flown by.

The Husband's Cousin Charlene from Denver was with us last Friday-Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I got busy and packed away 95% of the Christmas decorations in the house. I usually have that task done before New Year's, but I didn't this year so Cousin Char could see the house all decorated.

I was really glad to get the decorations packed away. I finished packing the remaining 5% in the house on Saturday morning. Now, if it would just warm up a few degrees, The Husband will take down the outside lights and we will get rid of the tree on the porch.

Thursday, I went with friends to see Avatar at the IMAX theater. It's a great movie and I would recommend you see it, if you have not done so already.

Friday, since the schools were out due to the frigid weather, I helped The Sister and her husband by babysitting the nieces for several hours so they could work.

Saturday morning I started the day by making our bed! I'd not done that all week, shame on me. I don't know about you, but it makes me feel like the day has officially started when I make the bed. I've also packed away the last little bit of Christmas stuff and have been doing laundry and straightening up.

Now, I think I'll start the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol.

What have you done all week?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Biz Boil

I have long been a major fan of Biz Stain Fighter.

For years, I have been able to remove the worst stains from clothing, napkins, tablecloths, etc. by soaking the item overnight in Biz and water in the washing machine. There have been very few stains that resisted that treatment.

Now, I have a new treatment for the most stubborn of stains. I just found this from @lazyorganizer on Twitter.

lazyorganizerMy kitchen towels were grossing me out so I had to Biz Boil them. I love the BB! http://macnstuff.com/mcfl/1/stainremoval.html

I will, for sure, give this method a try!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Cheese Grits

I prepared the Pioneer Woman's Cheese Grits for our late family Christmas celebration in Oklahoma City this past Saturday.

The recipe is found on pages 164-165 of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook.

The recipe is the same as a recipe I have had for 15 years, with the execption of the garlic cloves and cayenne pepper. Both ingredients were good additions to my old recipe.

The family gave the grits a positive review, especially Nephew-In-Law Tim. Cheese grits are one of his favorites because his grandmother always made them.

I think Tim's endorsement is a pretty solid one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas in January

We spent a lovely day with The Husband's family on Saturday. We gathered in Oklahoma City at niece Amy's house to celebrate a late Christmas. Aunt Charlene, from Denver, was even able to join us.

We all contributed various tasty dishes for lunch and Amy managed to set places at tables for everyone!

This table seated our nephew and his sweet wife, plus two of the great-nephews and the great-niece.
Here is The Husband, The Brother-In-Law and our future Nephew-In-Law.
The extended family only buys gifts for the kids. See four little boy heads in the picture below? These are more great-nephews tearing through the paper to the concealed treasure.
Here's an exception to the "kids only" rule, a Nephew-In-Law opening a surprise gift* that was found for him this past year.
Our niece, Mary, qualified for the "kids only" gifts this year, as she is not married and still in school. She gets married in August, 2010, so this is her last year as a "kid."
Another Nephew-In-Law, Tim, was very happy with two food items at lunch. One being the "Pioneer Woman" cheese grits Aunt Cindy prepared and two being the Snickerdoodles Aunt Claudia baked. Two recipes his grandmother always made when he was growing up.

Again, we had a lovely day with the family...despite the tub overflowing in the upstairs bathroom.**

* Surprise gift = An item The Husband and I find sometime during the year in our estate sale, flea market, vacation shopping trips that is absolutely perfect for a member of the family. You never know who might receive one and when!

** Incident involved a new toy boat and four little boys figuring out "Will it float?"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - 2010!

Here is the 2009/2010 "blue moon" from my front yard at midnight.
Here is the New Year's tree in my house.Happy 2010 to you and your family!

I can not believe I stayed up to midnight this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!