I hope everyone had a great weekend. Can you believe we are more than half way through this year already? I spent the weekend sorting and packing and have been able to make even larger donation boxes and feel quite liberated by it.  While the weather was better, it was still not great and I can’t tolerate the heat with what’s going on in my body so spent the weekend inside and was able to catch both NASCAR races and watch some Hallmark Christmas movies too.


We’re still having high temperatures in the mid 90’s, but the dew points have dropped making the heat indexes a bit lower so it’s a bit more tolerable even with high humidity.


Nothing as I’m fasting for an 11AM test.


  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads
  • LIVING AREAS… I spent the weekend sorting and packing so have a bit of mess, but nothing I can’t live with.
  • KITCHEN… quite clean, but I plan to make a mess soon.  I’m such a messy cook as I invent
  • STUDIO… Nothing this week
  • YARD… Hubby just mowed so we’re good for now
  • BLOG… still doing some recipe updating and planing for future posts as I re-do some pictures from the blogs I’m combining


Midnight Texas Starts tonight. I have been stockpiling Christmas movies on the DVR all week during the Christmas in July premiere at Hallmark and we found a few more Netflix shows we’ve been trying.

I’m still only half way through with Book #2, French Roast of Ava Miles’ series for Dare Valley. I keep falling asleep LOL. And then there are my summer standards:

  • THE NIGHT SHIFT – I’m ready for T.C. to come home.
  • SALVATION – We’ll see where they go with it.  I’m still undecided.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon and fun side of Tyra.
  • ZOO – is back. I wasn’t sure I liked the 10 year jump into the future, but am getting used to it since they are using the same characters, just took some adjusting.
  • FOOD NETWORK STAR – I LOVE Jason and Matt and Rusty.  Jason was so funny on the Holiday Baking Championship which he won against professionals.  He is pretty innovative with flavor combos and I just love his country accent and euphemisms.
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – always a fun watch – loving the new softer side of Simon
  • DATE MY DAD – it’s pretty cute and I want to look as good as Raquel Welch does when I’m her age!
  • GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW – I just love this show – they are always so civilized and nice with recipes that make me WANT to be a better baker.
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters this season and some I can’t wait to see go home as well as a couple I thought I was NOT going to like that are growing on me. I was quite surprised with this week’s ending, at least with the final challenge and who Yachecia choose to battle against and was impressed that she chose to save 6 others instead of herself.  I really thought she’d pick Jeff. I just don’t care for him and I really thought he should go after yelling at Gordon Ramsay.
  • THE “F” WORD – I love this fun new side of Gordon Ramsay with his funny antics and pranks with disguises.








The first of the four yucky tests is over and the second is later this morning and then I have to wait 5 weeks due to scheduling availability for test three and four which fortunately will both be performed at the same time while I’m under anesthesia by my doctor. Last Friday’s test was a ClusterF**k of technicians and misread orders that left me flustered and agitated.

At this point I almost don’t care what they find as long as the find something that can be cured and cured sooner than later.  This has all been going on for over a year now and it is no way to live!


The older (over 100 in human years based on the current dog years to human years calculator) Gunny gets, the easier it is to do this to him on a regular basis.  He also sleeps through thunder and door bells now too.


Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.









THE BAPTIST WHITE LIE CAKE ~ A little Sunday Morning Humor

I received this in an email several years back and LOVED it!

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of the ladies who bake for church events.

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies’ Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute.

She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed, “Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!”
This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends.  So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom – a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing.

Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect. And, before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work,  Alice  woke her daughter and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home. When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone & called her mom.

Alice was horrified-she was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night,  Alice  lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice  promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time.  She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa, but having already RSVP’d , she couldn’t think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old south and to Alice’s horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert!  Alice  felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake!  She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor’s wife said, “What a beautiful cake!”

Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, “Thank you, I baked it myself..”

Alice smiled and thought to herself, “God is good.”



As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of  living my life as if every day is Christmas or better explained, to carry Christmas in my heart ALL year long. I just think life goes smoother if it becomes a way of life ALL the time, not just seasonal.

As a Christian woman I believe life is all about change and that learning to cope with it as it happens will help you through life as you help others. I believe in Murphy’s Law, the Domino Effect, Payback’s a Bitch, and Karma. I also believe that Pay It Forward and living by the Golden Rule go a long way to keep the former from happening to begin with.

I believe everything happens for a reason and that life is one big adventure. I try to see life through rose colored glasses and be as tolerant as possible. My glass is always half full, as well as refillable. I am an optimist, extremely positive minded and usually a really upbeat person so anything goes within reason.

Lent is another of those seasons that I try to carry in my heart ALL year long. The traditional purpose of Lent is preparation through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial. Many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penance. Many Christians also add daily devotionals and praying to draw themselves near to God.

Traditionally Lent is described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. These 40 days are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer – justice towards God, fasting – justice towards self, and almsgiving and forgiveness – justice towards neighbors. In these more modern times, observers give up partaking in vices and often invest the time or money saved in charitable purposes or organizations. I choose to do this ALL year long, it just makes life easier and happier.  It takes so little to be a good person ALL the time.



An email I’d never seen, but made me laugh…

The Stranger 

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. 

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind. 

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) 

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home – not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.


My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!)
about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.. 

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave. 

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 

(Note: This should be required reading for every household!)
His name?…. 
We just call him ‘TV.’ 

He has a wife now….we call her ‘Computer.’ 

Their first child is “Cell Phone”. 

Second child “I Pod “.


Revival of Common Courtesy ~ Thank You Notes

Emily Post has an entire chapter dedicated towards the art of communication and correspondence. There are some steadfast rules for common courtesy though and I will try to highlight those here.

Despite our busy lives, we should never omit graciousness from them.

Dinner Party
If you are the guest of honor
Appreciated by the host, but unnecessary if you thanked them when leaving
Overnight Visits
Always – except family and close friends whom you see often. You can call them instead.
It is always appropriate to send a note in addition to verbal thanks.
Anniversary, and
Christmas Gifts
Always – except family and close friends whom you see often. You can call them instead.
It is always okay to send a note in addition to verbal thanks.
Shower Gifts
If the gift giver was not in attendance
Many like to send a written thank you in addition of the verbal thank you
Gifts to the Ill
As soon as the patient feels well enough
Send thank you notes to all hand written notes of condolence
All personal messages need to be acknowledged
Form letters from firms need not to be acknowledged
Wedding Gifts
ALWAYS even if the giver was in attendance
Thank you gift that arrives after the event
Should be acknowledged so that the giver knows the gift arrived safely

I have a few great resources to leave you with today.
1) The Art of Thank you:Crafting Notes of Gratitutde by Connie Leas who believes, “Writing a thank-you note is a small but gracious way to repay kindness with kindness…”
2) Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion by Sandra E. Lamb who believes, “What’s so often missing from our lives today is the richness of shared humanity, those moments when we feel really connected to other human beings…”
3) The Little Red Writing Book This is an amazing book that covers so many topics regarding writing in general. Page 81 starts the chapter about choosing an appropriate tone that I felt helped tremendously.
4) The Thank You Book For Kids by Ali Lauren Spizman, an amazing book written by a 14 year old. Contains hundreds of fun and creative suggestions for writing memorable thank-you notes.

Revival of Common Courtesy ~ Every Day Manners

“The cardinal principle of etiquette is thoughtfulness, and the guiding rule of thoughtfulness is the Golden Rule. If you always do unto others as you would have done unto you, it is likely that you will never offend, bore or intrude, and that your actions will be courteous and indeed thoughtful.” ~Emily Post

“Parents who insist that their children practice courtesy and good habits at home are doing them a great service, for these habits then become lifelong and the natural way to do things. It is then unlikely that they will ever embarrass themselves socially or in business, for their unconscious actions will reflect a well mannered person.” ~Emily Post

Need I say more? Evidently yes based on what I see in everyday life. Just this past weekend I observed at least a dozen occasions where this was NOT being practiced. When I was young I was taught to say please, thank you, I’m sorry, excuse me and a variety of other niceties that tend to make life more pleasant as well as show respect for my elders.

Though the reasons for many things has changed, the act of doing them has not. For example, in Victorian days a man escorting a woman on the street would walk on the street or curb side of the woman to keep her from being splashed by mud. These days, a man still does it, but now more for safety.

Social amenities are still in fashion despite women not being the frail creatures once thought. I know feminists everywhere will hate me, but I LIKE when my husband opens the door to a building or even our own car for me, stands when I leave the table at a nice restaurant, takes his hat off indoors or walks on the street side. After all these years we have developed an instinct for being courteous to each other. Our children were taught the same.

As a society we have wandered away from many day to day courtesies. We as parents have the responsibility to create the adults of tomorrow and that training begins at home. That is pure fact. I recently overheard a couple of moms out having lunch complaining about how their kids were not learning manners at school or in daycare. HELLO? I truly blame this on the parents. It is not up to the schools or daycare to teach the children manners. Many common courtesies are no longer practiced by many families and/or enforced by parents, but we as parents have the responsibility to make time in our lives to do just that; teach manners to our children, expect a certain level of courtesy from our children and adjust the bad habits before they get out of hand.

One of the examples of the need for everyday manners is on public transportation. Awhile back I was on a subway when a young mother carrying a baby got on as did an elderly gentleman with a cane. The car was full and not one man or teenager got up and offered their seat to either of them. I was embarrassed for us as a society!

There are some personal habits that should be addressed, but based on today’s casual acceptance I will only mention and then leave the interpretation to the reader: men removing hats indoors, slouching/posture in general, elbows on the table while eating, chewing with your mouth closed, belching/burping in public, women in dresses sitting in a ladylike manner, disposing of your gum appropriately, smoking in public, being a good neighbor, personal space/crowding and the list goes on and on.

I have seen many well behaved children and truly appreciate the effort their parents put into their training. I just get so disappointed that so many other parents are readily accepting less than acceptable in their lives as well as their children’s. The ME generation does NOT have to be here to stay. Hubby and I went out for a nice leisurely afternoon lunch today at a little restaurant we like to frequent. It is very quaint and scenic. Halfway through our lunch a young family came in (the kids were about 2 and 5). Mom and dad sat at the bar and ordered a drink leaving the kids to wander. HELLO?? The 2 year old wanted something the 5 year old had and when she didn’t get it started a tantrum that the parents were ignoring and the rest of us were enduring. NO ONE said anything! I was beside myself. Normally I would have been pissed, but not said anything. Today was not normal – I had a splitting headache and was just beginning to relax when this all occurred. I calmly walked over to the parents and asked if they wouldn’t mind taking the little girl outside to calm her down. They were quite insulted by MY nerve as they put it. I told them I was insulted by their nerve. They were clueless!! I actually had to spell it out for them that while everyone was trying to endure their little girl’s tantrum, it was not our responsibility to do so. We were all out spending our hard earned money on a relaxing day which did not include providing daycare for them as their children ran around unsupervised.

While there are even more situations we could address because our entire life is full of them (strangers, prejudice, those with handicaps, unexpected visitors, hospitals, church services, etc… the ultimate rule of thumb is and always will be the Golden Rule for ALL situations.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

How were you taught everyday manners?
How should manners be introduced in everyday life?
At what point do you insist on good manners from children?

The Revival of Common Courtesy ~ Mealtime Manners

This sounds like it should be a short topic right?   WRONG!
“We shouldn’t save our best manners for the outside world anyway-
surely the people with whom we live deserve our best efforts!
~Emily Post
Mealtime manners can help you in so many facets of your life. When I think of mealtime manners, I actually laugh out loud as I recall the scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts needs to learn what all that cutlery is for. Now we don’t need all that cutlery for everyday meals, but we do need to know what it is for and when to use it as well as a plethora of other manners.

The family dinner is the opportunity for children to learn the basics of good manners and not only their table manners, but the importance of courtesy toward one another as well as how to carry on a polite conversation.

Many of you can remember your own mother telling you to chew with your mouth closed, not talk with your mouth full, use your napkin, don’t teeter on your chair, sit up straight , don’t put you elbows on the table, etc…

Your napkin should be place in your lap as soon as you are seated unless it is a formal event and then you take your cue from the hostess. Do not tuck it into your collar, shirt, belt, etc… The napkin is supposed to be placed to the left side of your setting if your leave the table. At a dinner party the hostess will place her napkin on the table to signal that the meal is over.

It is appropriate to reach for anything within your ‘simple’ reach, but not if your reach extends over your neighbor or the other side of the table. ‘Would you please pass’ is the best phrase to use for whatever you need.

As for the cutlery – The rule is always the same, use the implement for each course that is furthest from the plate. The only time this is not the case is if the table is incorrectly set.

Many families have resorted to “do it yourself” dinners and/or eating on the run or in front of the television ~ This is Unfortunate! How will your children learn if this is allowed? When my niece was here, I asked her to set the table one night I was distraught at what I saw when she was finished. Our kitchens are classrooms for the family and setting our children off on the right foot through life.

How do you bring your family to the dining room table for a family meal?


Click on the picture to make it larger!

Does this describe your life at any point in time? Be honest. I know we have all felt like we were at the end of our rope at one time or another. What do you do to “recover” from those feelings?

I try to stay positive at all times, but even an optimist has their moments. I remember one night when hubby and I were out throwing back sipping a few drinks with friends and hubby was going on about some silly thing and I pointed out the positive part while trying to overshadow the bad. Now hubby all in good nature turned to me, smiled and said, “you know you can be a real bitch sometimes”, then he laughed and kissed me. My point is that life isn’t all wine and roses and sometimes too upbeat can be just as annoying as always pessimistic so it really is okay to feel like this cartoon every now and then, just don’t linger there.

Instead you need to make these – they’ll make you smile!

4 ounces Orange Juice
1 jigger Tequila Rose
4 ounces 7 up

  • Blend orange Juice and tequila rose together until well mixed.
  • Add 7up.
  • Enjoy.
  • Next time I’m going to add some rum too!

Can We Motivate Others to Be Kind and Caring by being that way first?

I originally posted this at 3 Sides of Crazy October 2008, but I find it necessary to repeat more and more as time moves forward.
Have you ever noticed that many people tend to save their best manners for when there is company or are they are in the company of strangers? Have you noticed how the relationships that matter the most in their lives are manner free so to speak? Is this true of your life? Our families and close friends are some of the most important relationships and the longest and most enduring, don’t these people deserve our very best?
I recently overheard a young mother complaining that her child was not learning manners in school. Hello? Manners should be taught by parents AT HOME and begin at a very early age. There is nothing wrong with demanding our own children learn how to say please, thank you, take turns, share and be respectful of their elders in their home as well as out in the world around them. In fact, the fate of our society may well depend on it. Learning it at home first will hopefully extend into their everyday world and future business life. Children crave discipline and direction. Offer it up to them.

Some of the major categories that should be addressed while they are young are the basic please, thank you and table manners, but don’t stop there. They should be taught about privacy, and how to answer the phone and the door properly. Privacy is a two way street. Your children crave it as much as you do. As long as the lines of communication are open and there is an element of trust between you and your child this should not be an issue. Left unattended children are naturally nosy and will snoop, eavesdrop and tattletale creating even bigger issues. Learning how to greet people properly at a young age will help them to overcome shyness and social settings with strangers. Shyness is not an acceptable excuse for the lack of politeness.

No matter the fashion fad, being clean and neat shows your children to respect their own bodies and ultimately they will realize that neat, clean and polite convey a self esteem and self confidence that moves with them through their life. Giving in and letting them ‘do it’ because all the other kids are only brings their self-esteem down and creates a herd animal mentality. Now I know this makes me sound as old as my grandmother, but I do believe this whole heartedly.

All of these build to teaching older children to become young adults that learn to entertain one or more friends, date and plan events for a group. They need to learn how to make an invitation, how to RSVP and when a hostess gift is called for. They need to understand what you expect in your home so that they can not only abide by it, but learn to appreciate and live it. One day they will have their own homes and children and you would like to think that you helped give them a head start on making that life a bit easier.

In today’s world we no longer have the ‘traditional’ family with 2.2 kids and a stay at home mom. So you do need to tailor all of this around your own family life. whether it has stepparents, extended family, grown kids who have moved home, etc… It is NOT written anywhere that you must be a soccer mom gone from home 5 nights a week where no one sits down to dinner together and offers up conversation and manners. Have a family night, dinner night, game night or some such. Offer up your very best to those you love.


The Revival of Common Courtesy was something I began over at 3 Sides of Crazy a couple of years ago mainly because of a rude driver.  Unfortunately I allowed it to fall by the wayside in all the confusion of life, but lately feel like the revival needs reviving. We have all been feeling the stresses of everyday life lately and with the holidays approaching I think we need to remember what’s important in our lives.  To do that we have to put the people in our lives first.  Everything else does need to be done, but it is small stuff by comparison.  I get Dear ABBY sent to me in email everyday.  Most days I scan and delete, but this one struck a nerve with me.
Recently I have noticed an influx of people on cell phones in restaurants in particular and with all the bluetooths and ear pieces these people appear to be talking to themselves for all intents and purposes.  I was particularly annoyed with a table across the way where 2 gentlemen were having conversation, but not with each other.  They were both on their phones.  My uncle asked me what really bothered me since they would be talking to each other anyway.
Have you ever noticed in a restaurant that you hear people, but your not really listening and it’s okay as long as they are not yelling or screaming.  It is just a normal “flow” of conversation so it is background noise?  I hadn’t really given it much thought until this particular day.  One guy was obviously talking to his wife about the kids and some discipline issues in a normal tone and the other guy was talking to an employee and loudly barking orders – NOT the normal flow of a conversation hence it was disruptive.  Their food came and they ate, but also took more phone calls.  I don’t think they said a word to each other, just their phones so it was quite disjointed and not the typical conversational “background noise”.
If I go to a restaurant and spend hard earned money for a meal I want to enjoy it.  Not one of us is so important that we have to have a bluetooth hanging from our ear all the time and take every call that comes in. And before you say it might be my kids, I already know that, but teaching our kids that it is NOT all right to interrupt is our job and that includes being out with hubby or friends.   My kids would text a 911 and know that the house better be on fire or something similar in order for it to be considered an emergency.  Otherwise, it will wait until I get home.  Personally I vote for a NO CELL PHONE section in a restaurant.
So I offer you this Dear Abby and will let you draw your own conclusions.
DEAR ABBY: When I am out with my friends, they can’t keep their hands and eyes off their cell phones. They sit there and text whatever guy they’re involved with, and I feel like they would rather be with anyone else but me.  I have talked to them about it, but they say I “don’t understand” because I have never been in a relationship. Abby, I’m not jealous because they have guys to talk to. I am hurt that my friends think cyber communication is more important than spending time with friends. What do you think? — TEXTED OUT IN TEXAS

DEAR TEXTED OUT: I’m glad you asked. It is rude for people to behave the way you have described. Good manners dictate that people give their undivided attention to those they are with. To do otherwise sends the signal that their present company is less important.