Monday, December 27, 2010

Dreaming of a White Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas weekend beginning in Madison with Casey, John, Kate, Anna, my mom and Stacy's mom. We were so surprised and excited to wake up Christmas morning to snow on the ground and flurries still in the air! Had to be careful with the great-grandmas -- and they were worried about the cold -- but it was a wonderful Christmas. We went to Christmas Eve service at Casey & John's church. On Christmas day, John's parents Kaye and Mitchell came up from Wadley to spend the day -- and we all watched Kate enjoy her multitude of gifts!

Anna cooked Christmas breakfast of egg casserole and a special coffee cake that Zach's family makes. And Casey cooked Christmas dinner of ham, sweet potato caserole, green bean casserole and rolls. W had plenty of desserts with MawMaw's red velvet cake and tea cakes -- and candy that Casey and Anna had made.

On Sunday, we headed down to Birmingham to Gary and Carolyn's (Stacy's brother) in Trussville. Their son Brian and Amanda came over and Greg and Jessi came up from Hartford to enjoy a wonderful Christmas lunch. Once again, we ate too much! We are so blessed to be able to celebrate with our families!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas time! I love the lights . . . and decorations . . . and the feel-good spirit of the season. No matter how tough things get, there's always the hope and joy of Christmas that lifts me up. And I love goofy Christmas movies! I've set the tivo to record every one on ABC Family Channel and Hallmark and Lifetime! And doesn't our little Kate look so precious in her Christmas photo by Casey?

So I've finally finished decorating my tree and the front of the house is all lit up. Stacy said, "Don't do that much this year!" That's because I tend to keep adding lights! One year, when I was still using colored lights for the kids, one of his students at school told him our house was "lit up like a juke joint!"

Anna has designed several Christmas cards, stickers and address labels that can be ordered from PaperStyle. Check out her blog and portfolio for what she's been working on lately.

And check out Casey's blog for what she's been doing lately with her photography. I'm always amazed by my talented daughters and how creative they are!

I do love Christmas! It is the most wonderful time of the year!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Footprints In The Sand

Every year for one certain conference I get to attend, the girls and I make it the "Girls' Conference." And Stacy isn't allowed! The first year we went, it was only me and Casey because Anna was working. Now that Anna can work from almost anywhere, she is able to go. We didn't get to go last year -- which disappointed the girls tremendously! And this year we added our newest girl, Kate!

What fun to spend three days with my favorite girls! They get to have fun while I'm in meetings during the day, and then we get to eat some great seafood and shop at the outlets in the evenings. And I sure did feel good when they told me Kate asked for CiCi when she woke up!

Kate loves the sand -- but this time she kept saying, "Ocean get you." We tried to tell her it wouldn't, but it was in her head and we don't know where she got that from!

When we got home Friday, they wanted to visit the Peanut Festival. The only way we could get Stacy to go was to tell him Kate wanted PawPaw to take her! She had to sit on every tractor there -- and of course PawPaw was happy to accommodate her! I told her to tell him she wanted a Gator!

And she loved all the animals. We fed and laughed at the goats and chickens -- ate corn dogs, elephant ears and roasted corn (my fav) -- watched the tiger show -- and waved at the big Peanut! She kept wanting to go back and see the peanut!

We ended the visit with a birthday party for Casey with MawMaw, Nanny and Jessi -- and it tugged at my heart as Kate waved to us when they drove out. At least we'll get to see them all again in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kate and the Wonder Horse

Kate, Casey and John were home this weekend for a short visit for Shera's baby shower (due in November) -- and we had a lot of fun with Kate! And Kate spread a lot of fun throughout the house! Casey found the old bouncy "Wonder Horse" in the attic and brought it down for Kate to ride on! And Kate made Casey ride on it too!

The Wonder Horse was my sister's that my mom said they bought when Susan turned two - so that would have been 1959. (Bought it so she wouldn't be jealous of my brother Walker, who was born in March of that year!) Does that make it - and me - an antique? Kate is fearless on it and looked like she was riding in the Kentucky Derby!

At the shower was Shera and soon-to-be-daughter Parker, Jill and daughter Sophie, Brooke and son Brody, Heather and daughter Luci, and Casey with Kate. So fun to see them all with their kids - and other than Kate trying to steal Brody's choo-choo, they all played well together! Sophie was so cute with her lemonade stand (that she charged $60 for her lemonade - no checks!)

Although it was over too soon, we enjoy our time with Kate. She loves to go look at the cows and to play outside -- and she loves any type of ball. We got to have some great "Oak Grove" shrimp (yes, it was really good) and lunch at MawMaw's today with Jessi and Nanny. (And fun with my friends Sat. morning going to the Holiday of Hope in Dothan and the Botanical Gardens Scarecrows exhibit!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My New Spa

Ok, so our bathroom isn't exactly a spa -- and it is really tiny for a master bath. But to us, our remodel is a spa! Matt Rosser (Cutting Edge Construction) did a great job! Love the tiled shower (Dale Pitts, Pitts Floor Covering). I finally got it cleaned up enough for us to take a shower -- and I think I stayed in there for 30 minutes! We still have to hang the cabinet on the wall, but it's now in operation!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grandma CiCi's Firsts

I am blessed to be the benefactor of a couple of Kate's "firsts"! The fact that those firsts include "poo" is just a side bar!

The latest of those firsts was this weekend when I lovingly gave up my Auburn ticket to my daughter Casey (wasn't that sweet of me?) to get to babysit for my adorable granddaughter Kate! Ok, so maybe I wasn't so generous because it's a moot point. Kate will always trump Auburn!

So after tailgating with the fam (missed you, Anna and Zach!), Kaye and Mitchell (other grandparents) and I loaded up Kate in the truck and went to Dana and Lance's home (John's sister) and their two boys Lang and Landon. The kids had a blast destroying the house with toys and balls (Kate's favorite) and colors (Kate's second favorite). She also got a chance to color with "markers" (which her mom doesn't let her have)! They all played so good together, and Kate was absolutely worn out by the time the game was over.

But I digress! Back to my "first." For some time, Kate's been becoming aware when she needs to "poo." She's 18 months, so this is normal. One night she tried to tell her dad John when he was giving her a bath -- and they ended up with poo in the tub!

So we're enjoying the game and the kids are playing, and Kate comes up to me pulling at her pj's saying "poo." So we rush to the bathroom (with a kid-sized potty) and I strip her down and she sits on the pot for about 1 second, then jumps up and runs into the den only to pee on the floor! Bummer!

I clean that up and we get her dressed again, and she comes back pulling at her pj's in about 10 minutes. I think she's bluffing again and just wants to run around naked, so I put her off! Then she comes back in a minute in desperation pulling at her pj's and saying, "poo, poo!"

So here we go again to the bathroom, disrobe and she sits on the pot. Again, she jumps up, but in the process, out pops the "poo" into the potty! Scared her to pieces!! I tried to tell her it was a "good thing" and made a big deal of telling her how big she was. We wipe, put the poo in the big potty, and I asked her if she wanted to flush it away? Oooooh nooooo. She's scared of the big potty! Hopefully I didn't tramatize her too much . . . and she'll be pooing in the potty for good -- which would please her parents, since neither much like changing poopy diapers!

So, proud grandma CiCi got to experience Kate's first "poo in the potty" experience! I'm so proud! Maybe I'll start calling her "Kater Poo!"

And my other first poo experience? I changed her very first poo diaper when she was in the hospital! As long as I don't get known as the "poo grandma" I'll be okay! Any time I get to spend with Kate is wonderful . . . even if it's sitting on the potty!

(And she looked so cute in her little Auburn cheerleader suit CiCi and PawPaw got her!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Fun at the Beach

We're down at Seacrest Beach (just west of Panama City) for our family vacation. The house at Seacrest Beach villas is beautiful but a little daunting for the great-grandmas with three flights of stairs! It's me and Stacy; Casey, John and Kate; Anna came up yesterday; my mom and Stacy's mom; and Zach will come down Thursday. And Jenna came today to visit! I know by the end of the week we're all going to be ready for some "alone" time!

So right now Kate is watching "Elmo" on TV (like baby-crack) -- the Greatgandmas are talking old times and gossiping -- Anna and Jenna have gone to the beach -- Casey and John are shopping at the Outlet Mall -- and Stacy and I are just chillin! Ahhhhhh!

The beach is beautiful -- no tar balls, no oil. Water's ok -- just some green slime that gets stuck in your swim suit! The sun's hot, and there are really quite a lot of people down here!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hanging by a wire!

I've been intrigued by the popular mixed media jewelry I've seen in catalogs and on Etsy, so this weekend I finally pulled out my supplies and old collection of beads and tried my hand at it. I don't think I'll become a professional, but they turned out kind of neat. And I found I had several chains that would work with them! So here is my 4th of July jewelry experiment!

This was a shell necklace that I had purchased in Charleston a couple of years ago. I added the moon-shaped charm that was my grandmother's and a few other odd pearl beads. Kind of cool, I thought!This pendant I made from a huge gold earring that was my sister Susan's with a locket that was my grandmother's (Mattie Cook Stockley). I added a little flower and a couple of beads.I've been wanting something in browns and had this gold chain with the brown beads linked in already -- just had to cut down the length. Then I added the ring from somewhere and a cluster of assorted beads.

We've had a facelift!

No, not me -- my home! Our siding (which was supposed to last over 20 years) was beginning to look irridescent when the sun hit it. So we took this chance to change out the rails on the front porch and, finally, get rails going down the steps. I love it.

Matt Rosser did the work, and he's been great to work with! Highly recommend! He's going to paint our patio next!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Birthday Surprise

My mom's birthday was June 27, and my brother Walker and his wife Frances decided to come for the weekend and surprise her. He told Mom to expect a surprise package on Saturday. Hoping we wouldn't give her a heart attack, I called to tell her I had some errands to run and would stop by and take her to lunch!

When we got to her house, Walker went to the door and rang the doorbell. When she knows I'm coming by, she'll leave the door unlocked and I'll knock and walk on in. Well, Walker rang the bell again, and she called out, "It's open! Come on in." He still rang the bell, and she got irritated and went to the door and just stood there in shock.

She said she looked at him and thought, "That looks like Walker." It was so funny -- and we were glad we pulled one over on her! The weekend turned out great. We had a great lunch at Chee Burger Chee Burger and took her to the Old Mill Restaurant for dinner that night! And came back to her house for some ice cream birthday cake! So, happy birthday surprise, Mom!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Call me CiCi . . . or "Crip"

My ankle/leg has been hurting for at least six weeks now -- I've limped all over Alaska -- and everywhere else. Had x-rays done before our trip which didn't show anything. Well, today I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, more x-rays . . . and I have a stress fracture in the lower part of my leg. Woopee! Now I'm in a "boot" for six weeks. At least now I know what's wrong -- and that it's really something and not just arthritis. Don't know how it happened. I didn't fall, didn't twist it. Who knows. The boot actually helps it to feel better; it's just a pain to take off to drive (it's my right leg) and then put back on. Anyway, now I'm a crip for a few more weeks, but hopefully it will heal and I'll be good as new again!

Tonight we Skyped with Casey and Kate -- and Kate said our names for the first time! We were so excited! You'd have thought she quoted from Shakespeare or something! CiCi and PawPaw -- what wonderful words from a 16-month-old! Almost as good as the first time my kids called me "mama"!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Anna in Africa

While Stacy and I were having a good time cruising Alaska, our daughter Anna was travelling for a different reason . . . on a mission trip to Africa with SERV Ministries in Atlanta.

On her blog, Anna wrote on June 8, "As most of you know I have been in Africa on a mission trip for the past two weeks with SERV Ministries International. I will try here to briefly, somehow give you a vision of what we did and saw. If you would like to read more about our time there, check out the postings on SERVs blog while we were there." Read about her trip on her blog.

You can also read about their travels and mission work on SERV Ministries blog. It's humbling to read about the basic needs of the people in Kenya, and what we take for granted here in the U.S. And Anna said they were truly happy for what they receive and the blessings that God gives them. She said one lady who was poor and hungry passed up meals so they could be given to her neighbors. That is sacrifice. Thanks to SERV Ministries, Anna and the rest of the team that served the people in Kenya.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Last Frontier . . . By Boat

Alaska was so cool . . . in more ways than one! The scenery is beautiful . . . snow-topped mountains, georgeous waterfalls, green everywhere . . . whales, seals and bald eagles everywhere! We had a fantastic time, but were glad to get home . . . except the temperature! It was in the 60s and 70s during the day and 50s at night! Perfect!

We got to Seattle in time to take a half-day tour the day before our cruise ship set sail. Our 3-hour tour with All Seattle Tours was great with our tour guide Joe giving a great narrative with all the sites -- he was funny too. It's a very interesting city -- funky and arty. I got to see the Fish Market and the oldest Starbucks and the Sleepless In Seattle house!

So we boarded the Carnival Spirit on June 1 for the trip up to Skagway and then back down to Juneau and Ketchikan. It's the 7-day Alaksa Cruise, and it's some beautiful country -- and the ship is beautiful. I highly recommend upgrading to a balcony room -- it's worth the extra money and you get to wake up to beautiful views! We were supposed to end at Victoria, British Columbia, but weren't able to dock because of wind (they said). That was a bit disappointing -- I was looking forward to seeing the gardens there -- but hey, they did give us an $11 refund! I was expecting at least a free drink!

Jeremy Lee at Wiregrass Travel booked our cruise for us -- and I HIGHLY recommend consulting him for any cruise or travel you're interested in! He helped with our sighseeing excursions at the cities we docked at, recommending Shore Trips which was less expensive than Carnival's side trips. At our first stop in Skagway, we did the Whitepass Rail and Summit tour up into the mountains on a train and back down by bus. In Juneau, we took the Mendenhall Glacier tour; and in Ketchikan we did the Ketchikan City and Saxman Totem Village Tour. All in all, a great time! Now, where do we go next? Hmmmmmm.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Must love pigs!

I just realized it's been over a week since the kids were home and I haven't even posted the photos of our amazing granddaughter! It was absolutely the best weekend -- we celebrated niece Jessi's upcoming graduation (on the 27th) and Anna's birthday (on the 20th) -- and got to spend time with Kate (now 14 months and getting cuter all the time!) Kate had an entire family to show-out for -- and she did perform!

It's so much fun to see her laughing and running everywhere! She has this little stuffed pig they call "piggy" that she refuses to let go of. So I got up in the attic and found Casey's pig set that my sister Susan gave her when she was little. It's a mamma pig and three little piglets -- and I washed them and cleaned them up before their visit. Kate loved the pigs! She would bring me the bigger mamma pig and then try to carry all three piglets, all the while saying "Ph, ph, ph!"

Casey and John are bringing her up right -- she can't say CiCi or PawPaw -- but she can say "War Eagle" and "Auburn"! That's my girl!

Anna left on Monday for her mission trip to Africa with SERV Ministries. Prayers are appreciated -- and you can follow their trip and mission through SERV's blog. I got to talk to Anna today on the phone, and they are having an amazing time giving out food and ministering to the orphans. So proud of her and her dedication. I hope to one day join her on a mission trip.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Zoo memories

Zoo's are so much fun! Casey and Kate took a road trip to visit with Anna this past weekend, and spent the day Friday at the Atlanta Zoo. Such cute photos, and Casey said Kate loved it -- especially the petting zoo! She thought Kate was going to climb on the pig, because it was the same color as their dog Cherokee, and Kate climbs all over him!

When the kids were smaller, every time we'd go to Memphis to visit, we always took a trip to the zoo and Pink Palace with Nanny and to the Children's Science Museum with Grandpa Hank. They always loved the zoo. I remember one time when Casey was still small in a stroller, we were looking at an ostrich -- and Casey kept calling "duck!" It was hilarious, and everyone around us laughed! The monkeys and gorillas were always a favorite too, but their homes smelled pretty bad.

When I was a kid, we always took a trip to the zoo before school started with the Goodfellow kids (there were three of us and five of them)! Back then, they had rides at the zoo too -- the little boats that went in a circle in about an inch of water and a small train you could ride on. One time, they were moving a white rhino -- I don't remember in or out -- but they had him in a huge crate, picking him up with a crane. I got my picture in the paper that time with the crowd watching. We joked which way we'd run if they dropped the crate and the rhino got loose!

Even when I was in high school, we liked to go to the zoo! When my sister was about 13 or 14 (before she could drive), Kathy, Rose and I took Susan and some of her friends to the zoo. We got tired before they were through, so we went back to the car (a light blue Rambler station wagon, no less) to listen to the radio and watch for cute boys (like we were cool in a Rambler station wagon)! Then here came Susan and her friends with a policeman! I thought, "What on earth have they done now?" But it wasn't them, they had a flasher! Oh my gosh, it was hilarious! He didn't try to abduct any of them, and I don't think they were scarred for life -- but the parents had to take them to the police station to look at a line up and mug shots. I don't even remember if they ever caught the guy! But what a memory!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just a couple of things . . .

I've been remiss in my blogging, so I have several things to add today.

MawMaw's birthday was April 12, and Gary and Carolyn were home the weekend before. We all got together for dinner on Sunday. She insisted on cooking -- but at least we did take her out to eat at the Old Mill the night before. We didn't have enough candles for the cake, ha ha! Happy birthday, MawMaw! We wish you many more!

Stacy's been waiting for five years to get a chance at tickets for the Masters. He went with Jimmy Ralph Brannon the year before he passed away. This year he was able to get four tickets to the Monday practice round. He took Vernon, Tony and his principal Harold (that's how he was able to get off from school!) They all enjoyed their "man trip"!

And last, but not least, it's Cystic Fibrosis Walk time again, and this is a reminder of Eleanor Guilford, who has CF. She is the daughter of Robert and Coleen, and the granddaughter of Buddy and Patricia. Check out Eleanor's blog, and donate to CF if you are able. It's such a wonderful cause, and it is through their research that the drugs that keep Eleanor healthy are available. Isn't she precious -- and such a joy to her family. If you would like to read Coleen's letter about Eleanor's day, email me and I'll send it to you. It is so touching, and Eleanor has such a big heart!

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Loving Savannah!

Savannah, Georgia, is my new favorite place! Since I had a conference there a couple of weeks ago, Stacy and I traveled a day early to take in the sights. Words can't describe how much I love that place! The architecture, the parks (squares), the old warehouses on the river, the history -- and the homes! Beautiful - enchanting - mysterious - delicious - shabby cool! The flavor of New Orleans without the seediness.

We walked from our hotel the first night down to the river-front district -- and ended up on the bluff at Moon River Brewery (named in honor of Johnny Mercer who wrote the lyrics to the same-named famous song from Breakfast at Tiffany's - he was born in Savannah). Although they turned the lights out on us right after we were seated -- participating in "Earth Hour" to demonstrate their "greenness" and tribute to their idol "Al" -- we tried to read the menu (black with tiny white type) with one little battery-operated (are batteries really green?) tea-light. But the food was really good -- I had the Awesome Ossabaw Dip (cream cheese, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes & scallions baked) and a chicken Caesar salad. But trying to eat my salad in the dark and not knowing what I was spearing with my fork was a challenge! And the NCAA basketball championships were on TV -- and they turned it off! There were some unhappy people in that place! We laughed and told our waiter that we all worked for electric companies (a group of us co-op communications people), and that we loved electricity and thought they should be using it! I had to try one of their beer specialties -- Wacky Wit (a hint of cinnamon with an orange slice) -- loved it!

The next day (Sunday) we took the Old Town Trolley Tour of the historic district to get a feel for the layout of the area. First we rode the entire circle (takes about an hour and a half), then got off in a couple of areas we wanted to explore. I love to read southern fiction, and so many of those books have been set in Savannah -- none more famous than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- and of course the movie Forrest Gump! I didn't get the see the famous "bird girl" statue from Midnight -- but I did get to see the Forrest Gump bench (it's in the Railroad Museum at the end of the tour)!

That night we all ate at One-Eyed Lizzie's on the river -- then took the Ghost Tour from Moon River. We didn't get to see any ghosts -- but it was fun hearing the stories! Had a delicious Po Boy sandwich with fried shrimp and a mango/something margarita. Yum!

Monday began my conference, and we were tired that night and stayed in after the conference reception. On Tuesday, Stacy went to the Fort while I was in meetings all day. I had to give a presentation on "Engaging Our Employees" that afternoon. I had begged my co-op friends (I called them my groupies at the meeting) that they had to put "fantastic" on the review even if I sucked! I didn't choke and they seemed to like it -- so I survived my first conference presentation!

Since Tuesday was our last evening there, we wanted to eat someplace that would be really good -- not necessarily expensive, just good. Someone had recommended The Cotton Exchange, so after the group Riverboat Cruise, several of us decided to eat there. I had one of the nightly specials -- Shrimp and Grits, one of my favorite dishes! It was wonderful -- and our waitress was so nice.

I didn't get to visit any of the antique shops there, but I did get a couple of original pendants (for necklaces) -- one an aluminum diamond shape and a the other a fossil stone with interesting silver scrollwork! Usually I get a coffee mug for my souvenir, but we're kind of overrun with coffee mugs right now, so I got a tiny "Waving Girl" statue to diplay in my printer's box. I got to check out a couple of the many artists' galleries there -- and of course, we had to get some chocolate praulines! Ummmm! I can't wait to go back to my newest favorite place!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 3 -- Where's the beef?

So last night was chicken and a salad. I found a really great low-fat honey mustard dressing and added some cranberries (that's good for you, isn't it?) and tomatoes and just a little cheese to the salad. Stacy said, "Is this it?" I caught him making a snack about an hour later -- but it was a bowl of oatmeal! I can't blame him!

Tonight it was broiled talapia, sweet potato in the microwave and the rest of the salad. The sweet potatoes were huge and very good - nice filler! Then I made strawberry pies from the FFA strawberries that came in today! I did use sugar-free Jello in it, but it still had sugar -- and I bought "lite" Cool Whip! It wasn't quite set, but the pie was delicious! Yum!

But now I'm ready for some good old beef! I don't know if I can be a chicken every night kind of person! Lord, give me strength!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 1 on our Heart Healthy Diet

Stacy's close call -- not a heart attack but he had one artery 90-95% blocked and had a stint -- has really got his attention -- and mine too. We're both overweight and need to trim up our diet. The doctor told Stacy that particular artery (behind the heart that serves the lower portion) does not show up in a stress test. He would never have known until he got hit with the "big one" -- which the doctor said was the "silent but deadly" blockage -- he probably wouldn't have survived it. The reason for the heart cath was that he was getting short of breath and having chest tightness.

So now we're on the first day of our "Heart Healthy Diet"! On my shopping trip to the grocery store yesterday, I didn't purchase anything unless it was low fat, low sodium or no fat! His mom offered to buy shrimp last night, but Stacy said no thanks -- so she made him his favorite homemade Tomato Soup (no salt)!

I've been checking out recipes on different websites. Tonight's came from the Mayo Clinic:

Pork Chops with Black Currant Jam Sauce

1/4 cup black currant jam (I substituted blackberry jam)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons olive oil
6 center cut loin pork chops (trim off all fat)
1/3 cup wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 orange slices (I left out the organes)

In a small bowl, whisk together the jam and mustard. In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook, turning onece, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. (I sprinkled with Mrs. Dash and a tiny bit of sea salt). Top each pork chop with 1 tablespoon of the jam-mustard mixture. Cover and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the pork chops to warmed plates.

Cool the frying pan to a warm -- not hot -- temperature. Pour wine vinegar into the pan and stir to remove the bits of pork and jam. Pour the vinegar sauce over each pork chop. Sprinkle with pepper. Garnish with orange slices if desired.

We also had mixed steamed vegetables in a "light" sauce. No more meat, veggie & starch for dinner! Maybe I can have my rice and his mashed potatoes every once in a while! For desert, low fat yogurt or ice cream. Plus I have enough left over for another meal (I only cooked 4 pork chops.)

I give this pork chop recipe 4 stars -- it was very tasty -- nice flavor -- with a sauce (I don't like dry meats). It was a different type of flavor that I thought was very good -- a little sweet with a touch of the mustard taste for spiceyness! Stacy says he gives it 4 stars also! In fact, his comment was, "Was that really a healthy one?" So yea! Tomorrow night -- chicken!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CiCi Heaven

I spent three days in Montgomery with eleven high school juniors going up and down stairs in the Capitol and State House, but it only took one year-old granddaughter to wear me out! Whew! Parenting is definitely for the young!

But I dearly loved every minute I got to spend babysitting my beautiful, precious granddaughter Kate last weekend while her parents took a much-needed vacation ski trip to Utah! That one-on-one time I got to spend with her was priceless! Although she got sick with an ear infection, and we spent four hours in the Urgent Care on Sunday (and I forgot the pacifier) with about a hundred really sick people (I disinfected Kate, me and everything we took with us when we got back to the house)!

The first night was an experience. Kate has a precious room upstairs with a really nice baby bed. But these new baby beds (that convert as they grow up) don't have "let down sides" like our old-fashioned baby beds did; and me, being a little (maybe a lot) on the vertically-challenged side, couldn't reach all the way down to the bottom of the bed! So after I rocked her to sleep, I tried to lay Kate in her bed. Since I couldn't reach all the way down, I tried to "drop and roll" her into it -- it wasn't that far down! But it did wake her up -- and I knew that wasn't going to work. Casey said not to sleep with her in the regular bed because she might fall out-- so what else could I do? I got a comforter off the bed and laid down on the floor with her to sleep! Even with the comforter and carpet, that floor was still pretty hard!

She was so funny! A couple of times she woke up during the night, and she would put her face right up to mine and look at me so seriously -- like she was thinking, "Who in the heck is this person on the floor with me?" Then she'd flop back down and go back to sleep!

She also likes to run her hands through your hair while she's trying to go to sleep, then she'll grab your hair at the top and just pull -- and pull -- and pull! Gladly my hair is still intact!

So the next night, I said the heck with it and we slept in Casey and John's bed with pillows piled up on the sides to "fence her in"! That worked just fine -- she didn't fall out -- and my back was saved!

Of course, I just about let her do whatever she wanted! We played farm -- watched Elmo videos (she loves Elmo) -- read books (really fast, you have to skip the words!) -- took walks around the neighborhood with Cherokee (their black lab I also babysat) -- sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" -- and played with the remote controls! She doesn't mind telling you (with grunts and turning her head) when she doesn't want to eat any more or she doesn't like something (like her medicine)! In fact, she kind of reminds me of her mom Casey when she was little! It's amazing how much you forget once yours get grown! It's also amazing how fast it all comes back -- and how much things have changed in thirty years since I had kids!

Thanks, Casey and John, for letting me have this time with my beautiful granddaughter! Although I had to go back to work to get a rest -- I wouldn't take a million dollars for that fun CiCi and Kate time!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Little Cupcake's Birthday

We spent the weekend celebrating our Kate's first birthday in Madison! I caught Kate's cold, but that's okay -- it was well worth it to get to kiss on that cute little face!

She still takes a while to warm up to us, but she smiled and waved (she's got that beauty queen wave down pat) at us when we arrived! If you can get her away from her mom and keep her occupied, she's pretty happy -- but one look at Casey, and she's gone!

Everything was "cupcakes" for her birthday, including cute little cupcake lights that Nanna Kaye got for the party! I got her the cupcake PJ's for Valentine's Day -- and she even had a "cupcake cake" (it's made from a silicone cake form I gave Casey for Christmas). And Casey made the smocked cupcake dress that she wore.

Kate actually handled all the attention and people very well, but she was so tired at the end of the day. All the families came -- and with friends, it got kind of crowded in the house! She loves the slide her PawPaw and I got her -- plus a few other things! But that's the fun of getting to be a grandparent -- spoiling the child! The parents can straighten her out later!

She's just beginning to walk -- and she loves anything Elmo (from Sesame Street). She got an Elmo talking phone, and she kept holding it out toward the TV like she was trying to turn on her Elmo DVD! If she points at the TV, that means "turn on Elmo!" She also loves books and got several as gifts. Probably her favorite gift was the Little People Farm Set great-grandma MawMaw got her! Her PawPaw loved that, and he let Kate play in the back of his truck

Her official birthday is the 24th, and we all wish her a wonderful first birthday and many more to come! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATER!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Clear the Stage

This is a great song by Ross King -- and it makes you to think about your worship. Do we have too much noise in worship now? What happened to the time of silence to focus and wait on God? Clear the stage and get rid of all those idols we worship instead of God . . .

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow, snow, snow . . . and Kate's frilly tee!

Kate's cute little birthday t-shirt came today (you know, the one I spent too much money on)! In fact, the mailman woke me up ringing the doorbell! It's just too precious! I can't wait to see her in it next weekend. It's hard to see, but it has her name embroidered on it, and the icing is a pink frilly tutu! It even came in its own pink cake box! Thanks for the suggestion of Pettiskirtstyle, Anna!

Casey says Kate's favorite thing to do now is throw food off her high chair -- and Cherokee sits right there to catch it! Ha! And they didn't want him begging at the table! It will be wonderful to see them next weekend for the big birthday bash! I only have a few things for her . . .
We got snow yesterday! We didn't get as much as they did just 40 miles above us -- but we did have a gound covering! It was great to see all the pictures of the snowmen everyone posted on Facebook! But the sun came out today; and although it's still cold, the snow is now gone. Maybe that's the best kind to have -- here for a day to enjoy, then gone tomorrow and back to normal. Seeing what they're going through in D.C., I wouldn't trade places with anyone -- even to be able to get snow more than once every 20 years!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Small Crowd . . . Good Show!

Bec and I went to a play Friday night at the Featured Players in Dothan -- Bell, Book and Candle. It's kind of a "laid back" type of place that has open mike night and music during the week. I had been there before with Tammie back in October. Instead of theatre seats, they have sofas and chairs that they've picked up from various places. Kind of cool and bohemian -- eclectic, like me!

I had emailed and made our reservations, and we got there about 15 minutes before the play was to start -- and we were the only ones there! I mean, we had a choice of seats! So, I thought, maybe everyone else is running late, and they'll come in a few minutes. But, no -- no one else -- except one guy . . . who was the boyfriend of one of the girls in the play!

So we took our seats . . . on the front row of course! At least I didn't have to worry about someone with a big head or hair sitting in front of me -- which always happens to me! We got our door prize tickets (good chance we might win)! And it's a really wierd feeling to be the only ones there!

The play was actually really good. All of the actors did an excellent job -- and they must have felt wierd too, playing to only three people -- on opening night! I had seen the movie before (Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart and Jack Lemmon) and kind of remembered the plot. If Jimmy Stewart was in it, it can't be bad, can it? Here's the movie at Amazon.

It's a love story about a witch Gillian, her suave brother Nicky, her kooky aunt Queenie, a drunk author and, of course, the normal guy Shepard that Gillian falls in love with -- making her a witch no more! It even had a live cat! I was really getting into the story and enjoying the show. We clapped at intermission -- Bec won the door prize (two tickets to a future performance) -- and we gave a standing ovation at the end! It was hilarious!

But it's also really sad that they did all that preparation for just us! We're grateful, of course. I can only hope they had more the next night -- and will have even more as they play out for the month of February. We went because Bec's nickname at work is "Witchy" -- it's a long story for another time! But I look forward to more performances there and will go back. Maybe I should hope for a small crowd next time . . . so we can have those great front row seats again!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What grandparents won't do!

I've always heard that grandparents will do anything for their grandchildren. Well, I've just proven it. Never in a million years would I have bought a t-shirt for one of my children for $50! But I've done just that.

Of course, it's custom embroidered with a tu-tu cupcake on the front -- but really, $50? But Kate will look soooooo cute in it for her first birthday! (This isn't Kate, but it's the t-shirt!) Isn't it cute? From Pettiskirt Style online.

And I've bought plenty of cheaper things from Kohls and Target too! There are just so many cute clothes out there, it's hard to decide -- so I get several!

Casey says Kate took eight steps by herself yesterday and now has a tooth -- finally! The kid's been teething for months! I cannot wait to see her! We're going up the weekend before her birthday for the big bash!

In Style in town is going out of business, and I hate to see them leave. Such cute things in there, and now everything is 25-50% off. I bought so many cute pink bug things for Kate -- which she's too young for now, but I'll hang on to them to give her when she's old enough. And she doesn't just have kid things -- angels, purses, luggage, jewelry, notes -- great way to stock up on baby gifts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just like my mind . . . cluttered!

Woah! This month was supposed to be calmer and slower, but as each day goes by, my calendar gets more and more cluttered! Now here it's the end of the month -- and where did it go? Thought it would be a catch-up month, and I just keep getting more and more stuff to do. And when I get home, all I want to do is chill. My Christmas stuff is still sitting in the hall to go up in the attic! At least it's boxed up -- and the tree is down! It was the second week of Jan. before I got that done. But it's going up tonight -- then I won't have to listen to the President talk!

Not even going into politics. I'm convinced no one in Washington DC has any common sense. They need to listen to Dave Ramsey -- budget and don't spend it if you don't have it. Don't make laws if you can't fund it -- from the budget. Every time they make a new law or rule, it results in more paperwork and expense for those of us who have to pay taxes and live by those rules.

Can't believe our baby Kate will soon be one year old! She's trying to learn to walk -- by holding on to people or things! She's so cute -- and determined. I feel a Skype session coming on! I can't wait to see her and hold her again! Casey's video is too cute . . .

100124KatePlayingMov4 from Casey Cooper on Vimeo.

Anna's redesigned her blog site and logo. She recently started designing for and had her first sale this month -- with great comments from the buyer! It's so exciting for Anna -- and for me, the Mom!!! Paperstyle is an online place to buy custom invitations and stationery. Click here to check out the rest of Anna's designs at PaperStyle! And her photo and bio are on there also in "Meet the designer"! And Casey took the photos of Anna that she used for her photo!

My mom's doctor is closing her practice this week, so she was in search of a new doctor. I talked to her about seeing Dr. Gabrielson, who Stacy and I both have begun using after bouncing from Hartford's sometimes clinic and Slocomb. I really like him, and he's been working on my cholesterol and high blood pressure. So yesterday Mom called to check on moving her medical records, and she told me who she talked to (Amy) and that they had discussed Mom's other doctor. I had to laugh. I told her that I had been there twice and I still didn't know anyone's name except the doctor. She gets to know everyone everywhere she goes -- and their life history, where they grew up, how many kids they have, their favorite food! She's so funny!

So, enough rambling . . . time to pick up my book and read myself to sleep! Night!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

TV reality woes

Like the books that I love to read, the shows I love to watch on TV are the ones that are a little quirky and funny. Life is too serious to have to spend my evenings watching serious shows. Keep it light -- that's my motto.

I'm holding my breath for Dancing with the Stars to start back -- plus Design Star. Can't wait for Project Runway which begins a new season this week. I don't like reality shows that feature people's lives and intrusive TVs into those lives. The people on those shows must be really hard up for money or have a really high opinion of themselves.

The Bachelor on ABC started last week, and since I watched last season's Bachelorette and thought Jake was cute and seemed so "guy next door" -- I decided to watch the first show. Plus, Anna's ex-roommate auditioned for the show in Atlanta and almost made it -- so I wanted to see the girls that did make it. Good grief! They were so cheesy and put on -- and some were downright slutty! And the girls Jake picked were the most shallow ones there! That's it for me -- not watching any more.

However . . . immediately after the Bachelor was a show called "The Conveyor Belt of Love." Now how's that for a name? Five women sat before a conveyor belt that and ran about 30 guys through on a conveyor belt. Their job was to convince the women to choose them. It was hilarious! And the goal wasn't everlasting love -- it was just a date! The beautiful blond chose the chubby nice guy with a great sense of humor. The shallow princess chose the shallow buff guy (that I really thought was gay)! Evidently it will be a series -- but it's received bad reviews in the press as a "meat market." No worse than The Bachelor is with women -- and much more entertaining!

HGTV's finally got something new going besides real estate shows. "Design Interns" is okay, but a little dull -- it's not a "Design Star." I like the "Outdoor Room" and the new "Curb Appeal" and "First Time Design." The Antonio Treatment looks interesting -- last season's Design Star winner is different but likeable.

I'm watching "Launch My Line" on Bravo, but it's not Project Runway -- and I liked "The Fashion Show" better. I wish they'd bring back Top Design, but it isn't listed on their website. I love "Shear Genius" though -- a hair style reality show. It's been pretty entertaining the past couple of years and starts back Feb. 3! But I can't stand those "Housewives of every big city in the country" shows. Just a bunch of whiny rich you-know-whats.

Color Splash, Divine Design and Design on a Dime are still my HGTV favorites. I wish any of those shows would come do my house!

They've also had some pretty good shows on the FOOD channel. The Next Iron Chef was good -- now they have a quirky "Worst Cook in America" on Sunday nights! Now that's pretty good for a new twist!

And I love "The Tudors" on Showtime, but it wasn't worth the money for a subscription last year. They didn't have any movies I wanted to watch, and their original shows are only about sex addicts, drug addicts or lesbians. I'll just wait for the DVD to come out on Netflix and skip the regular season this time.

Maybe they'll bring back The Newlyweds on ABC. But until then -- I'll keep watching for those quirky shows and "made for TV" movies on the Hallmark Channel (but not Lifetime TV movies)!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Polish your glasses and get to reading!

I love to read. It relaxes me -- I get to escape my life (which sometimes isn't too exciting) into a pretend life. Nothing's better than curling up in front of the fire or on a rainy day and just reading for hours, though I don't get a chance to do that too often. Usually I read before I go to bed.

Before I got my Kindle, I used to read in the bathtub. Everyone I shared books with said they could tell if it was any good by how wavy the pages were! If it wasn't that interesting, I would fall asleep and drop the book into the tub!

Now that I have my Kindle (which I got last year for Christmas), I won't read in the tub for that very reason -- I don't want to ruin it! A Kindle is an electronic book from Amazon, if you haven't heard about them yet. It's wonderful! I purchase the books from Amazon and they are downloaded within minutes to my Kindle! Like magic! The books are cheaper -- and some are even free -- but I can't share any more, and my mom doesn't like that part!

It's better than paper books because it's not bulky -- you can tote around hundreds of books with something almost as small as a paperback and much thinner. I bought a cover for mine so I wouldn't ruin it -- and I have a clip-on light so I can read at night in the car. You don't have to hold it open to read it. You can't lose your place -- if you turn it off, it automatically goes back to the last page you were reading when you turn it back on. You can change the size of the type to suit your "eyesight" -- and you can move the books to an archive after you've read them so you don't have to wonder if you've read that one yet. The archive is somewhere out there in electronic book land, but you can get the books back if you ever want to read one again.

When I find an author I really like, I'll read everything they've written, then I can't wait until their next book is out. Sometimes they take too long to write a new book, and I get anxious! I don't like books about perfect people -- I like them to be a little crazy or cooky or chubby! I don't like anything too serious. I especially like mysteries that are funny too -- maybe a little romance thrown in! But I don't like those steamy romance novels that have a patent plot -- doesn't matter what time frame they're set in, you already know the plot before it starts! I like a little twist in there!

Anyway, if you're looking for something to read, here are some of the books I've read that I really liked (the others are in my list on the right with links to the authors' websites):

  • Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsela. She also wrote the Shopaholic series, and her characters will drive you nuts, but they're so cute and funny you can't help but love them. Twenties Girl is my very favorite that she's written. Anna's a Sophie addict!
  • Dorothea Benton Frank -- I just love everything she's written. Her latest is Return to Sullivan's Island. There's always some kind of twist -- with strong, wacky women! She can write a great story that keeps you rivited and laughing all the way.
  • C.A. Belmond -- I'm anxiously awaiting her next book A Rather Charming Invitation. which is due to come out Feb. 2 this year. The adventures of Penny and Jeremy take you all over Europe, although Penny is from the U.S. Casey and Anna love these books too!
  • Jennifer Cruise -- I love anything she's written also! I've gone back and ready everything! I'm so ready for a new one I can't stand it. They're sassy - sometimes naughty - hilarious and always involve some type of mystery.
  • Cleo Coyle -- I've finished all her books and I'm ready for more. I love her "Coffee House Mysteries" and can't wait to read more about Claire Cosi and the Village Blend Coffee House in New York. I devoured the latest, Holiday Grind, in two days! It satisfies my love of lattes and sassy mysteries!
  • And of course, Ann B. Ross' Miss Julia series. If you haven't met Miss Julia, you must. She tries to be so prim and proper and gives you a good laugh in the process! I can just picture her living in Miss Ludies' house in Hartford. Miss Julia Delivers the Goods is due out in April!
  • And last, one of my latest finds -- Rita Lakin's "Getting Old Series." These are several like Miss Julia in a south Florida retirement condo complex -- with a little romance on the side! It gives me hope that getting old isn't so bad!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's wishes . . .

I received this today from the Good Clean Funnies List. They're great to subscribe to (free) -- a humorous email every day -- because life has to have a little "funny" each day! This is my wish for everyone this new year:

May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs, and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count, and your mortgage interest not rise.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Where has the decade gone? It seems like yesterday I was helping to chaperone our church youth trip to Atlanta for Youth Link 2000 -- and we were all wondering if the world was going to go dark at midnight!

We managed to survive that media threat -- and now we're dealing with the latest -- global warming! Sometimes I worry about what the next decade will bring -- it seems like the world is changing so fast it's hard to keep up. Not long ago we were all impressed with big clunky bag phones as the "latest thing" -- now we have the iphone and Blackberry where you can connect to the Internet from just about anywhere, electronic books like Kindle that you can download and store hundreds of books, and Facebook where you can connect with long lost "friends" instantly. PCs and email are just about obsolete! And our country is building up a national debt that we'll never be able to dig our way out of, I'm afraid.

Sometimes I want to scream, "Hold up -- it's going too fast -- my mind can't comprehend it all!" And I realize I'm getting older and want to slow down! That's when I'm glad I live in the country -- next to a very small town (about 2,000) -- with one 4-way stop between me and my work! I need my "green" fix every day -- trees and fields rolling with cotton and peanuts, or freshly plowed dirt! Where people are are still grounded in common sense -- and faith -- and a sense of community.

So this new year, I'm not making resolutions -- just continuing on with what I've always tried to do -- doing something worthwhile each day -- trying to make my community the best it can be -- and being grateful to God for all that He has blessed Stacy and me with. 2009 has been a wonderful year with the birth of our first grandchild, Kate -- my mom's health better with her pacemaker -- Stacy's mom getting her new knee -- Anna's success with her free-lancing business.

The new year has already started off good! My brother Walker and his boys were here for black-eyed peas, turnip greens and cornbread today -- and Auburn finally (after 3 tries and overtime) won the Outback Bowl game! WAR EAGLE and HAPPY NEW YEAR!