Tuesday, November 29, 2011

After 40 Years, We're on the Same Page

Sometimes it amazes me how we can be so different and yet think so alike---about some things. Take this for example:
I've had this dish drainer for at least 15 years. I was just thinking that I really needed to get a new one. Of course, I didn't write it down, so didn't remember it when I was at Target. Then, the very day after I thought I needed to get a new one, Butch came home with this:
Honestly, we never even discussed it. I was so happy, such a little thing, but still, it made me happy that he noticed. I try hard to keep everything looking new around here and it takes a lot of work. I'm glad that he's on the same page.

Well, except---I'm never going to feel like I HAVE to order off the "dollar menu" at McDonald's, Taco Bell or wherever....

Monday, November 28, 2011

White Bean Chili

Janet gave me this recipe years ago. Mindy asked me to make it for her and her work friends, Jennifer and Ricky. I'm sharing the recipe for them and anyone else that might not have it. It's been known by several names: Chicken Chili, White Chili, or how it was given to me:

White Bean Chili
In a large crock pot:
6-8 cans white beans (I use great northern)
1 onion, chopped
minced garlic
1 can chopped green chills
4-6 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
4-8 squirts of tobacco
salt to taste

Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with sour cream and cheddar.
You can cook this on top of the stove instead of the crock pot as it is already cooked. Just be sure to cook it slowly for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. I also crunch tortilla chips or fritoes on top.

The Christmas decorating is finished. Pictures to come.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Storytelling Sunday---Thanksgivings Past

We were living in Charleston, WV on Thanksgiving, 1977---our first one away from home and without extended family. Sandy was 5 and Stephanie was a year old. I made a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We got "dressed up" for dinner and 20 minutes later it was all over but the mess. I then called home to St. Louis and realized all the fun the family was having without us. That was it. We never had another Thanksgiving alone.

Thus started the Eads' family tradition. Walter, Chris and girls came every year---wherever we lived---to celebrate with us. Chris made the dressing and Butch made the pies for several years. Often times, Walter and Butch did the clean-up after dinner before watching their football games.

We always enjoyed our time together with the girls---many games, great food and fun shopping. Chris and I would go when the stores opened, but that would be 7 a.m. I doubt we would have done midnight or 3 a.m. like they do now-a-days.
Thanksgiving was really warm again this year, reminding me of all the years that the Eads' came wearing their new fall sweaters only to sweat "bullets" down here in the south. Each year Chris would say, we need to remember that it's still hot in Nashville in November.

There is one Thanksgiving that really stands out in my memory. It's the one where I almost committed child abuse. If I was ever going to do it, it would have been in 1979.

I had just finished with all the house cleaning and Thanksgiving prep---working all day to make everything perfect. It was about 10 p.m. on Wednesday and the Eads' #1 family was due to arrive about 11 p.m. I was completely exhausted, but just sitting at the kitchen table going over my list for the next day. About that time, Sandy (who was 7 at the time) went in to the refrigerator for milk. She was behind me when she dropped the entire gallon. Not only did I feel that cold rush of milk up my legs and back, it "splatted" straight up and out---EVERYWHERE---dripping down the wallpaper, all over the counter, chandelier, stove---just everywhere. I started yelling---"you better run---I'm going to beat you!" Being no dummy, she took off as I continued to rant and rave. You also need to know that this was back in the days where you had to wax your floors on your hands and knees---which I'd done earlier in the day. OMG! I completely lost it. Butch came running in to see what had happened. He figured it out pretty quick. Later, I felt bad for Sandy---she was such a good kid and it was an accident, but I was just so tired.

I brought it up to Sandy while visiting last week and luckily, she doesn't even remember it. I guess the time I nearly committed child abuse didn't leave any permanent scars.

Family, time together, good food and fun---that's what Thanksgiving is all about. I'm glad that's what my gang remembers.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Showtunes---Anything Goes

Did you watch the Macy's Day Parade? Anything Goes won the 2011 Tony for the best revival. During the parade, they performed this song---another of my favorites. It doesn't get better than Cole Porter!

You're the Tops

Friday, November 25, 2011


On Tuesday, Steph and Mindy informed us that Thanksgiving would be starting on Wednesday this year. They were planning on coming for dinner, watch a movie, stitch and spend the night so they'd be here bright and early for the parades---as if they live far away or something---15 minutes tops. Okay, we're game---pretty much whatever the girls want---we're pushovers and love that they want to be around so much. I made a "big" dinner---pork tenderloins, mashed white and sweet potatoes (together) and broccoli casserole. Nicky, Morgan and Carson were here too. Jordan was out with friends.

After kitchen clean-up, we were going to watch "Survivor" and then the movie. Turns out that watching something with the whole family requires a lot of pausing and re-winding. Everyone talks too much. Add to that the "mom, I've messed up my knitting, can you fix it?" (Mindy) and "mom, can you teach me this stitch?" (Steph)---it's less than the relaxing evenings that Butch and I have come to enjoy. Why aren't they here at 5 a.m. when I'm fresh and ready to tackle any problem? I'm tired at night and just want to "chill out." Then out comes the nail polish...

When we realized that "Survivor" wasn't even a new show---just a season "highlights" show, we turned it off. Mindy had brought her favorite Christmas movie---Love Actually---which isn't a Christmas movie at all---it just takes place during the holiday season. Butch was having none of that, so he went upstairs to watch football. The girls went to bed after the movie. I looked around at the mess and decided to just tackle it in the morning---when I'm fresh. As usual, I was the last to bed and the first one up.

I had decided that I wanted to get my new Christmas tree decorated before Friday. I don't just have a "to do" list---I put it all in a timeline and I live by it. I plan out everything and schedule it all. That's how I get everything done and stay on task. If I'm ahead for the day, I'll pull something off of the list for the next day and get that done too. Works for me.

I bought the tree half price last year after Christmas---it was still expensive. Right away, Butch wasn't happy that I'd settled on a flocked tree---but then, he didn't want to go with me to pick it out either, so "oh well, tough luck." We never had a flocked tree before. But my philosophy is---if you're spending that much, you want it to look different. Of course, they were all beautiful at the store, so it was hard to choose. All I can say is it's BIG and it's WHITE!!
I spent about an hour on Tuesday removing ALL of these tags. OMG, I thought I would go crazy. It's a pre-lit tree with about a 100 strands of lights---must be only 25 lights per strand. Ridiculous! Here's the proof: many of the tags were really tiny---but then my OCD kicks in and I have to get every single one of them. My arms got so tired trying to get the scissors inside the tree, hold the tags, snip them and then try to grab the tiniest pieces with my non-existent fingernails.
And now I have to admit---I MADE A MISTAKE! The tree is so WHITE that my ornaments don't even show up! I love my tree to be chock full of ornaments and it is---you just can't see them!!
Basically, all the ornaments did was tone down the white a little bit.
 Even up close you can barely see the ornaments. Not to worry, I have a plan.We'll see how it looks when I'm done---just what I need---more work.
Plus, I never counted on the mess of fake snow dropping all over the place and clinging to my clothes which then allowed me to "snow" all over the house. Did I mention that I made a mistake? But this is a mistake that I have to learn to live with. I'll do it.

By 7 a.m., I had finished decorating the tree. I did a couple of other decorating related things then Butch and I started watching the "pre-parade"coverage. The girls came down around 8:30 or so. Mindy was in time to see Adam Pascal perform one of the songs from Memphis, but Steph missed it. Seeing Times Square and all the excitement made me wish I was back there. I just love New York.

On the commercials, I suggested that everyone "pitch in" and get the house in order---overnight bags everywhere, purses, shoes, sweaters, jackets and fleeces draped everywhere, dishwasher to unload and a huge pile of recycle stuff to be dealt with. Nicky was coming at 9 a.m. to make the bloody mary's. He makes good ones and has become our official family BM maker (okay, you know what I mean).

In our family, we assign the easiest jobs to the youngest---things they can do and not mess up. With that in mind, I said to Mindy, "So, Elizabeth, what can I give you to do? How about straightening the kitchen chairs and getting out the bloody mary glasses?"
This is what she did---when they should be squared up like below. Does that make me the one with the problem? I guess so. Either which way, she did this one little thing and "forgot" about the glasses and had to be reminded. Truly, we don't know where she came from.
We had a relaxing morning watching the parade, everyone got ready---we've been going to the club for dinner for the past couple years. The food is so good, so easy and no work. I do make a turkey breast so we can have sandwiches later. I make the "whole nine yards" at Christmas. This way we all get to enjoy a laid back Thanksgiving.

Jordan was complaining that the sun was too bright. She is pretty much always uncooperative about my need for photos. I take them anyway---she'll be sorry one day!
 Stephanie and Nicky.
My face is so swollen and tight, it feels like it's going to "pop." I am tapering off the pred, so once that's done, the swelling will recede some. That's just how it is, but I still hate it.
Carson and Morgan. She had on these cute textured hose with seams---that she had going up the inside of her legs. I told her that the seams were supposed to go up the back. Kids today don't know that.
Standing next to Mindy always makes me feel shorter and fatter.

After lunch we came back here for football and naps. Stephanie, Mindy and I pulled out the "holy grail" (mom's Scrabble game) and played. Mindy was the big winner this time. The girls left about 5 or 6. I did a couple of things off of my list for today, got my jammies on and settled in for the evening. A perfect day---until---I notice this crazy, bright, alien-type glow coming from the entry. I figured I'd forgotten to turn off the lights. But instead, I discover this: 
 OMG! This tree is from outer space---it's so bright and white---nothing subtle about it.
Can you see a single ornament? I'm admitting it again. I made a mistake. It sure didn't look this bright in the store. I should have at least gotten the colored lights---then there would have been some color. When I figure out how to "fix it"---and I have a few ideas---I'll post an update.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Year of Memories and The Scrap Room Challenge Club

Hey All,
Just wanted to let you know that I've started a new blog for A Year of Memories and The Scrap Room Challenge Club. With over 50 people in all of these clubs, I figured it would be easier for those that are only interested in scrapbook related topics to go there. I will still be posting my own layouts here as well as there.

There is a clickable link on the right under "blogs"---A Year of Memories.

See you there too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Visiting the Lapps Famlly

We have been going to the Lapps family's house the week before Thanksgiving for many years now. It's always a fun trip. Sandy's house is beautiful and welcoming. This is what greeted us---really feels like Thanksgiving---since I didn't even get my fall stuff out this year. I knew I'd be facing Christmas as soon as we got home, so didn't even have the energy to think about fall---plus we've been traveling so much, we weren't really home to enjoy it.
 It was nice to experience a little of the season here. Add to that, the COLD weather (although one morning, Mindy sent me a picture of her temperature gauge in her car---23 in Nashville---the difference is Nashville got up to the 60's---Kalamazoo doesn't get past 40's) and of course, I wasn't prepared. I only brought a denim jacket. I borrowed one of Sandy's pashminas and was good to go.
 This just cracked me up. Elizabeth still has trouble pronouncing her "R's." But this is proof that she doesn't even hear the "R's"---she says and hears "yiez" instead of "years." That last word is stage.
 Our little "daisy scout" made our dessert---apple crisp---from their apple picking outing. It was very good---hot with vanilla ice cream.
Showing off the "goods."

Sandy and I spent two days shopping. I got just about all of my Christmas shopping done. We kidnapped the girls and took them to Taco Bell where we met Butch and Greg for lunch. That might not have been such a good thing after all as they begged to "skip" school for the afternoon. We didn't let them, so Elizabeth wasn't happy about that.

Sandy is a great cook (and Greg too). They made a couple new recipes that were really good. I plan to make them in the next couple weeks. One recipe was for a roast beef and provolone sandwich that was pretty easy but sooo good. The other was a shrimp and pasta dish. Both were delish.

Friday night we went to Red Lobster---always good. While we were eating, Mitchell called to say that his plans for the evening were all "screwed up." He was supposed to be going to a party with friends. It was all arranged with the other mother who was to take them---the party was 45 minutes away. Add to that, the boys basketball practice and getting ready time---there wasn't going to be much time at the party. Somehow, he got left behind after practice by his friends. Not surprising---we all know how teenagers can be so flakey. Anyway, Sandy and I took Mitchell to the party. By the time we got out there, there was only about an hour to kill before it would be time to pick him up. Instead of coming back home, we went to Walmart. He got 2 hours at the party and had a good time, so it was worth it. By the time his friends got there, they only had 45 minutes at the party. Turns out Mitchell got the better end of that deal.

I managed to squeeze in a few games with the girls too. Before we left on Saturday, Elizabeth taught me a new one---"Stare"---that was fun. You get a minute to look at a card and try to memorize everything on it. Then you are asked a few questions about it. If you get the answers right, you get to move around the board. We do take advantage of every moment.

I can't believe I didn't snap some shots of the other kids. I guess when I had my camera out, they weren't around.

They'll be here for Christmas which is just around the corner. I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week. This fall has just flown by. Where is the time going... pretty scary, really!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Storytelling Sunday---Stephanie's Arrival

It was the fall of 1976 and so much was happening all at the same time. Butch was working for Central Parking System and going to Washington University trying to complete his education. We tried to buy our first home, but the deal fell through at the last minute because the house needed a new roof. The seller wouldn't pay for it and we didn't have any extra money. We were pretty upset, but then found out 2 days later that Butch was being promoted and we were moving to Charleston, WV on January first. This all happened at the end of October.

On November 18, Butch was in Charleston finding a place for us to live. Sandy and I had gone to my mom's house for dinner. Afterwards, I started playing poker with Matt and some of his friends. It was about 10:30 when we finished. Sandy was asleep, so mom suggested that I just spend the night. I had not spent the night one time since marrying in 1971. This night I did.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, my water broke. I was scheduled to have a "C" section on Monday---this was early Friday morning the 19th. Mom took me to the hospital while Sandy slept unawares---thank goodness I was there.

I was not at all happy to have gone in to labor as that was the only advantage of having a "C" section--- avoiding the "before" pain in exchange for the "after." She was born at 5:18 a.m.

I've always believed that things happen for a reason and as they should. Whatever made me spend the night? Someone GREATER than us has always looked out for us.

We made our move, Butch continued with school and rose through the ranks of Central Parking and the rest is history. And Steph, she's 35 this weekend. We loved her from the start.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Showtunes Saturday---"Think of Me"

Today is Stephanie's 35th birthday, so I decided to devote this Saturday Showtunes to her. She love Phantom of the Opera and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat---both are tied for #1 in her book, so here's a selection from each!

"Think of Me"

"Any Dream Will Do"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I got 6 hours of sleep last night!! All in a row!! Well, really 5 hours and 45 minutes---but I'll take it! I feel well rested and raring to go! In New York, I "holed up" in the bath tub 2 nights, but the girls said it didn't bother them. I'm happy to be getting back to normal---at least for me. Down to 20 MG of prednisone---still more than I'd like, but at least I'm still able to taper down. That's a good thing. This time, this is IT---I just KNOW it!!!

Here's hoping that the next time you see me, you will see less of me!!

I'll always hold out hope!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

New York New York

Our trip got off to a bit of a rocky start. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. is not the girls favorite thing to do, but we had a 6 a.m. flight. Why not get there early and have the whole day---to which they basically agree. Our flight was delayed about a half hour getting out of Nashville. When we arrived at LaGuardia, we had to circle for another hour until they diverted us to JFK---due to fog---but not a bit at JFK. Of course that completely screws up all the plans---meeting up with Sandy and then meeting our car and driver.

Once we landed, we called Sandy to find that she was sitting on the runway in Chicago. Turns out she sat there for 3 hours. I called the Exeucar company and got them to pick us up at JFK. It took us another hour to get in to the city. By now its noon. We checked in and headed out for lunch. While we were there, Sandy called that she had arrived. I told her to get a cab to the hotel. All was not lost. It was about 1:30 when she got there, so we had the rest of the afternoon to walk around and shop. It was cold---low 40's---and windy.

Now our trip in a "nutshell":

 The big surprise for the girls was a trip to my favorite diamond dealer for their Christmas present. They each got to pick out a little something. Christmas---done!

 Next stop Macy's---we spent several hours and got lots of Christmas shopping done.

 I picked up a few baubles in the garment district for "A Year of Memory" kits.
You can't go to New York without picking up a few more pashmina's from the street vendors. We all love them---the perfect thing to throw in your purse to take the chill off. And you can't beat the price---buy 4 @ $5.00 each and get the 5th free.
 Souvenir ornaments of our trip.
Here was my "big" splurge (except for replacing my diamond necklace that I lost a couple of weeks ago). Remember I said I was going to use my poker winnings to really buy something? Well, when I added it all up, I had $192.50 to spend---that was just the bills and quarters---so my poker money isn't completely gone---I have enough for my next "stake." I got myself another travel purse. I love carrying something smaller and more compact that can go over my whole body for handsfree convenience. Thanks to all the Zimmermann's, friends and grandkids that contributed to make this splurge possible!
 The price was just right there! I just need to win a few bucks to cover the tax.
 We couldn't resist the Macy's shopping bags. Each one was cuter than the next. We each got one. Mine is the black and white striped. One mistake---my handles aren't long enough to put on your shoulder.
The girls loved Avenue Q---I knew they would. It's just a fun show. 

 The reason we went to NewYork in the first place.
This was the most fabulous Italian place. It will be on my list of places we HAVE to go to from now on. Steph had been here a few years ago with friends. We had to wait for about 45 minutes at 5:15 p.m. It was totally worth it.
The only problem is that all the food is served family style---humongous portions. This is the tiramasu AFTER we finished. It easily could have served 10 people. This is Steph's favorite dessert anywhere, but according to her, it's the best here. I don't like coffee, so have never liked tiramasu. I tried it here and have to admit, it was really good---didn't really taste like coffee.
Okay, so the Garrett's popcorn is a Chicago tradition. We always stand in the block long popcorn line when there. But when Sandy saw a Garrett's in New York they had to stop. There wasn't a line, but when she asked for the Chicago mix, the people there asked her how she knew to order that.
The Chicago mix is a combination of the cheese and caramel mixed together---you have that sweet and salty thing going on. It is so completely unhealthy, but soooo delish.

We had a great time, great food and lots of laughs. Mindy was even a good sport about the "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit that we went to. Aside from the slow start, everything was great---except, why is it---there are 13,237 cabs in NYC and when we needed one, we couldn't find one? From now on, I told the girls that they needed to sacrifice "cute" for comfort when it comes to shoes. We ended up walking 10 short blocks and 2.5 long blocks to dinner---which "did in" a few feet (not mine---I learned that lesson in London).

Now it's off to Kalamazoo this week for Butch and I. But before I go, it's going to start looking a lot like Christmas around here!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Storytelling Sunday---What Kind of Fool Am I?

It started with this "boy." Jim Stegge was one of Ronnie's friends---although that made him my friend too---as we all ran in the same crowd. Anyway, Jim was a good dancer. He and I spent a lot of time coming up with dance routines to "perform" at "teen town." Yeah, we were one of those couples people circled around to watch. He could do the splits and other nifty moves---but he did split a few pairs of pants.
During the summer between 9th and 10th grade, Ronnie and Jim took me to a party to meet the boy below---Les Horstkoetter. When we got there, most of the "boys" including Les were late due to their ball game. By the time they went home, showered and arrived at the party, it was completely dark. It was a basement party with no lights. I met Les, but never actually laid eyes on him. Turns out it was a "necking" party. I can remember pursing my lips tightly together and praying that the night would be over. I was pretty inexperienced in the "boy" department. I "went with" Roger Schultz my freshman year, and even though we grew up together, we had never kissed. We only had just started holding hands about a week before the "big break-up." 

Anyway, when Ronnie and I got home, I started to cry to mom about what had happened. She started hitting Ronnie and yelling at him about taking his sister to a party like that. Looking back, it was pretty funny because he was my "younger" brother! Big lady killer that he was...

I didn't hit it off with Les then---met one of the other guys---ironically named Bob Anderson. Another guy of the same name would be a good friend 20 years down the road. I "went with" Bob for about 6 months before I started dating Les. I honed my kissing skills then.

Now here's the thing. Jim told me that Les, was part of the band "Every Mother's Son" who was a "one hit wonder" in the 60's. They had just one song---"Come on Down to My Boat Baby." Jim told me to never mention the band because his mom made him quit and he was really upset about it. So, I never mentioned it. I dated him about 6 months too. That was about my limit---new guy every 6 months or so.

He took me to his junior prom---my first. Back then, you got one dress and wore it to every prom you went to. I went to three. You can't see the butterflies in my hair, but I thought I was somethin'! 

I never did ask Les, if he was in that band. I'm pretty sure I was played for a fool on that one. He did have a guitar and drums, maybe, just maybe....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Showtunes Saturday---Memphis

And this is why we came to New York:

Adam Pascal in Memphis

and this with Bon Jovi member/creator of Memphis David Bryan
Adam Pascal in Memphis

I have been lucky enough to see Adam Pascal on stage three times now. The first time, Mindy and I didn't even know who he was. We saw him in Aida---somewhere around 1999. When Rent the movie---starring the original cast---came out, we recognized his voice. Adam originated (and had his Broadway debut) in the role of Roger in Rent. Then about two years ago, I saw him perform his role in Rent along with Anthony Rapp at the Fox in St. Louis. That was a special treat for me. I took Ranya, Janet and Jeanne with me.

I "snagged" my first autograph last night and am thrilled to add this to my "junk!" Notice the date too.
The irony of this is that I'm supposed to see Memphis in Nashville on Wednesday night. We'll be at Sandy's by then, so it's a good thing I came to New York to see it!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Can Totally Relate...

After my post "It was ALWAYS about the Candy" I can't think of anything worse!
(sorry, you have to watch a 13 second commercial first).

We ate all your candy!


in Glee. Haven't liked a single show this season---or most of the performances for that matter. What the heck are they doing with the show. And last night---puulleassseee---another---"let's do it"---show. They did it last year, but apparently didn't really "do it." Did they "do it" last night, or do we have another one of these coming next year too? I'm getting pretty fed up with it. The show doesn't seem to have any direction. Who knows where it's going. Looks like the "beast" is going to have a boyfriend. Who the heck cares? This show is supposed to be about the teens and the performances. Let's get back to that.

I'm holding out hope for next week's show---my idol---Idina Menzel will be back. I hope she performs something good.

Oh well, at least the girls and I head to NewYork tomorrow. I'm looking forward to my real Broadway "fix."

Will report form there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tea Party, AYM and a Recipe Share

Yesterday, it was one of my "A Year of Memories" group meetings, here. I decided to "set" high tea for us. After all, I'm only too happy to show off all the teas I bought in England. I know most people don't really "get" it, but there's just something about tea that makes me happy. It seems so refined---just relaxing over a "cuppa" with good friends, catching up on the latest news. I've had tea with my friends regularly over the years---and it's always been a ritual. In KY I had a friend that we'd get together every afternoon for tea. Here, it was every Tuesday morning with some and every Friday mornings with others, I miss that---haven't really done it regularly with my friends for years. 

Of course I start every day with a pot. Even that is exciting. "Which one shall I have today?" How about Twinnings Earl Grey, Lady Grey, or William and Catherine's blend? Or Prince Charles "High Grove" afternoon blend. I have quite a stash of Harrods, so that's always a good choice. Maybe I'll go with American made Harney and Sons "Sally's Surprise" full of pink rosebuds."
I should have been English---or more to the point---maybe I just want to be "royal." 
I set it up in the sunroom. When you are in here, you sort of feel like you are sitting outside. It was a gorgeous day in Nashville.

 You can't have a tea table without flowers. Luckily, the roses still look grand in the garden and inside too.

I love that I was able to use my vintage linens.
I even made "homemade" Clotted Cream. When we were in England, Butch asked me exactly what "clotted cream" was. It's pretty simple---heavy cream, a bit of sour cream and a little powdered sugar. Divine. Mindy wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft. pole. She says anything with "clotted" in the name sounds disgusting. This from the girl that loves sushi---go figure. Anyway, I made a batch and now have some in the fridge for the next week or so. 
Unfortunately, this sort of ruined the effect. I made 2 pots of tea, but I only have one regular tea cozy. I had to pull out the Christmas one. I can't believe I was all over England and never even thought about buying another tea cozy. Darn!
 On to the layouts. The topic this month was to scrapbook your hobbies or collections. Suzanne focused on her scrapbooking by taking close-ups of her scrapbook room. She has a great space that's well-organized.
Sally is one of the most creative people I know. She's a true artist and her house is adorned with her paintings. This is her first year to "dabble" with scrapbooking. Her title says it all.

Kim couldn't make it this month, but Mary Jo came. She's joining us next year. It's going to be a good year. As I wind up this year, I've asked them to think about which topic was their favorite. I have another group starting up at the scrapbook store---15 are signed up. Between all 4 groups, I now have 41 people participating. Who knew this would grow so "big." And all from my "Making the Most of My Memories" Workshop. I'll be offering that again after the first of the year---after my regular organization classes. I still teach that in KY every year. Here, due to space limitations, I had to offer it 3 times as only 10 can fit in the store's scrap area. I still really enjoy sharing my organizational tips.

Now on to the recipe. I made some Chicken Noodle Soup that was delish. And it was so easy. You know I'm all about quick and easy. Could be a good tailgate recipe for a cold game. I should have taken a picture---it was pretty too!

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
32 oz. chicken stock (I use Swanson 99% fat free)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used the low fat for this too)
Whisk together in crockpot.

4 boneless chicken breasts
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 ribs of celery, sliced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 T. onion flakes
1 T. parsley
Add to pot.

Cook on low about 6 hours. You can't overcook it. Pull out the chicken and shred. Return to crockpot.

8 oz. extra wide egg noodles, cooked
Add to chicken mixture.

I made a pan of cornbread to go with it. Actually, I made beans and dumplings over the weekend and needed more cornbread for those leftovers, so decided to serve it with the noodle soup first.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 7, 2011


 This was Pete's page from last month about "My Meaningful Stuff."
This months topic was Halloween or something that scared you are, or afraid of.  This is Bruce's page, titled, "Halloween---not so scary...Reptiles---very scary." It's well known that Bruce is deathly afraid of snakes, lizards and frogs. It's pretty ironic that their house seems to have been built over a snake pit. Through the years, not only have they seen dozens of snakes in their yard, but when digging to plant bushes or flowers, they literally dug into holes full of snake eggs. I'd have to move! At their farm, they see lots of snakes too. But the worse has to be startling a snake that was sunning on the porch. I quickly crawled up inside the house. I'd have to move!

Susan has lots of pictures of Halloween parties through the years. There are some pretty funny photos here---starting with Pete as a child with a fake mustache and a gigantic liquor bottle.

This is Butch's "My Stuff" layout from last month. He does not want to do the  Halloween layout. He only has one picture from Halloween and says he doesn't even remember one thing about it. That's okay, he'll just be one page short in his album. He's the first to refuse to do a layout. Sort of wrecks my record.

"Dressed for Success"is Hugh's title. It's about Halloween and also some company functions that  required costumes.

Jack had several stories about when he was "Un-Nerved" over the years: heart attacks, near-auto accidents, "war-time" when he was in the military and the time he was a little boy and got stuck in a hole "face-down." You can see the dangling legs in the photo. That picture is actually upside-down. I already fixed it, but forgot to take a new picture of the layout.