Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Tuesday Thoughts About Back to School....

...and Covid. Well, it doesn't really matter what I think. It's already happened. The kids are back in school and the cases of Covid have skyrocketed. It's so rampant that they aren't even doing the trace contact protocol anymore. I've heard of some schools just shutting down for two weeks to try to stem the tide. No telling where or when this will all end. I'm just happy that the vaccine is available for kids now too. If everyone would just get it!

Anyway, on to my favorite pictures of some of my favorite people. 
My niece, Harper and nephew, Max in Texas. I got to see them earlier in the summer when I was in St. Louis. Still, not often enough.
Little Harper is about the cutest darn thing!

My nephew, Nathan is a senior this year. His brother..
Ben is a sophomore. 
These pretty girls are my nieces, Ava and...
Mya. I've sort of lost track of their grades. 

Now for the "littles":
My nephews Travis--with the big grin--I think he's excited about school. Nathan didn't want to get his picture taken. I also think he has a little separation anxiety!
My sweet little nieces--Evie and Josie. Evie is starting the 4th grade.. Josie is in kindergarten. I think she looks so cute in her little uniform--she's a tiny thing. Luckily her big sister will show her the ropes!

Family friends:
I love this age progression shot! So darn cute!! This is Analise and Merritt--the grands of my bff, Connie. I've had a front row seat to these two over the years. They are sweethearts. It just dawned on me that I didn't see any photos of their cousins this year. 
And these little cuties are friends too. Parker on the left is my little rock painter! Her sister, Maddie has helped out now and then too.

And finally, my "baby"!
Elizabeth is the youngest of my 5 grands. She's a junior this year and will get her license mid September. Yikes! She's just about all grown up too!

I do love first day of school pictures. It reminds me of my own girls when they were growing up. I always made pancakes on the first day of school. I continued that when Jordan and Morgan came along---Steph would bring them over for breakfast and pictures. 

I love that so many people have their own first day of school traditions! And, even though I pulled most of these photos from Facebook, I do love it that some family members text them to me every year. That's special!

I hope all of these kids have a great and safe school year!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday Mystery

These mysteries are for you because I already know the answers.

While we were in France, these utensils were placed on the table:
It took us a minute to figure it out. Butch, Stephanie and Nicky ordered escargot. 
You use it to hold the snail and pick it out with the fork. We had never seen them before. They actually were a bit awkward and didn't work that well. I guess it just takes practice. 

And then there were these in Monet's house:
I'll give you a hint. It was inside the door in just about every room. Give up? It's a light switch! I've never seen anything like this before either! And I've toured a lot of old homes!!

I have to admit, I love good mysteries and am always fascinated by the solutions!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Food

There's no way that I could stop talking about our trip to France before I did a food report. OMGosh y'all! It was all so good. And the bread...I had it at every meal. After 7 months of no bread, I couldn't get enough. 
I do not know the French names for anything I ate. But basically, this is a "Louie" salad. I love those! This one was full of shrimp. I could easily have eaten another.
This is probably the oddest thing I ate--frog legs. We had them quite a bit when I was a kid. They are pretty good. I passed on the escargot--which Butch, Steph and Nicky had many, many times. I also passed on the foie gras--which Steph and Nicky love. He must have had it at least 6 times. I did bring some home for our happy hour with the French Charcuterie! 
I forgot to get a picture before I started eating it. This was vichyssoise--cold potato soup. I do like that--and most cold soups.
We had Nutella crepes--twice! So, so good. This tiny jar was so cute. If we had little kids in the family, I would have brought it home for play food.
French onion soup--of course, I couldn't get enough! In fact, when Sandy and Greg took us out for our 50th anniversary, I had it again!
When we arrived in Paris, we had a couple days before the cruise. We stayed at the Pullman Eiffel Tower hotel. It was very nice. At breakfast, we each were given our own tongs to get our food from the buffet. I'm assuming they are disposable. If not, then I accidentally stole these!
How amazing does this look? It's a grilled ham and cheese. I've never seen anything like it, but I'm going to try it. Basically, it's a piece of bread, ham and then the cheese on top--I guess it's been broiled. So delicious. I really want to try it at home---if I remember!
I don't remember what this pastry is, but I got it for the pistachio ice cream--which was delicious. I also ate three of the little fruit berries. They looked like cherries, but were tart. One was sweet. Nicky dared me! I always say, "they cannot put anything on the plate that is not edible!" So, why not!
This was "amuse bouche"--just a little something that you don't order. This was a cucumber soup--I think. Cool and refreshing. I didn't eat the dill sprig.
These were some little cream puffs on a 4" plate. I would have loved to buy some of those plates. They would be perfect for charcuterie trays!

Prior to the trip, there were many food items that I wanted to have:
1. Crepes--sweet and savory--had both.
2. Any type of "Louie" salad--just had that little one above. I could certainly have handled a big one!
3. French onion soup--I had this at least 4 times--it was always delicious.
4. Quiche--didn't see this on any menu--maybe it's not even French.
5. Champagne--many, many, many glasses.
6. French toast--I'm proud of my self that I only had a half slice! It was so good! After making it, they dip it in to cinnamon and sugar. I didn't even need butter or syrup. That took willpower not to go back and get another slice.
7. French bread--at every meal--as reported.
8. Nicoise salad--never saw this anywhere either. I do love a good salad.
9. Monte Cristo sandwich--didn't see this anywhere, but the ham and cheese above might have been better anyway!
10. French Fries--I could have had these, but instead, I just "snitched" a few from Butch's plate.

Okay, so I went with a plan about my eating. That pretty much went out the window the very first day. After that, it was a free for all. When I got home, I was a bit scared to weigh. I didn't want to know the damage. So instead, I got right back on plan for 3 days. I weighed before we left town for Sandy's and the beach. I was so happy to find that I was exactly the same weight as when I'd gone on the trip. So I guess those three days were all I needed to get back on track! 

Honestly, I'm pretty happy where I am right now--weight-wise. Still, I'm about 8 lbs. from the goal I set for myself. I'm trying to be cocky here, because, believe me, it's not a pretty sight! I'm a little saggy and wrinkled, but I'll take it in exchange for better health. After all that's what it's all about! 70 is just right around the corner!

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Our 50th Anniversary

By the time you are reading this, we will have been married 50 years and exactly one week! On our anniversary, we were at Sandy and Greg's in Atlanta. 

Let me back up for a minute. When the whole family was together for Butch's 70th birthday in June, Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy told us to block out Labor Day weekend because they had a surprise trip planned for us. They said that we would be told things on a "need to know basis." Hmmm, so they didn't really tell us anything at all. I tried to get something out of Stephanie on our France trip. She said, "Mom, my sister's would kill me if I told you anything!" So she didn't. 

I considered calling Mindy because if the shoe was on the other foot, that girl would hound me to death until I told her something! But, I didn't. I decided to let things unfold naturally.

Sooo, back to the fact that we were in Atlanta with Sandy. Mid afternoon, Stephanie and Mindy called in so they could unveil the plans. Well, not exactly unveil the plans, but just tell us where we were going. They said that they decided to encompass all the things we love: traveling, geo-caching, hiking, seeing and doing unusual things and kitschy stuff. They are taking us to Helen, Georgia. It's a little Bavarian town with really good German food. I have resisted the urge to "google" it. Yay me for showing such restraint!

That's all they told us. They said that each person was responsible for some aspect of the trip and that we would receive a packing list soon. So we still don't know any details. But knowing this family, it's going to be fun. Heck all we need to do is just be together sitting around and that's fun enough!! We're really excited!

Sandy and Greg picked a really good restaurant called Ray's--to take us for our anniversary dinner. Before leaving, we got a few pictures.

We had a delicious dinner. Of course, I had to get the French Onion Soup. It was amazing!! Everyone enjoyed their dinner. We definitely want to go back again.
Later, after we got home, Sandy surprised us with sparklers--they were in the shape of a 5 and a 0. And yes, we've had 50 years full of sparks and surprises.
We are excited for the adventures still ahead!

Our anniversary surprise from the girls is just one week away. We can't wait!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

What I Buy Wednesday

As you read this, we are relaxing at the beach. Honestly, I've completely forgotten about my blog! I usually try to get a few posts ready to go. But not this time. Just a bit too busy. Definitely more to come. But for now--here is what I bought in France:
Of course I bought my Starbucks mug for my collection. The plates, napkins, Eiffel Tower pasta and if you look real close--the Eiffel Tower Pandora charm on my travel bracelet were surprises from Stephanie. The candy bar and rose' wine were for Mindy (she asked me to bring her something--as if she's still 5! Oh wait, maybe she is). The jams are from the baker who did the pastry demonstration on the boat. I bought the macaroons for our family happy hour last Friday. I did a charcuterie board with a French flair. I bargained with the street vendors for the metal Eiffel Tower (that's going in to the new guest bath) and hat. And lastly, I just had to buy the book when we were at Monet's Garden! That will go in the newly remodeled bedroom too.

That's it for me. But, Stephanie came away with some awesome new shoes! She loves shoes. She planned to buy shoes in Paris prior to the trip. They were a treat to herself for her hard work and recent promotion. 
They are so darn cute. All sparkly with rhinestones. I told her the only way I would splurge on something like this is if I made up my mind that I would really wear them a lot. A. Lot. A pair of shoes like this deserve it! Even with jeans--they need to be worn!
You know what that red sole means--the ultimate shoe! I really hope she enjoys them and doesn't "save" them for just special occasions!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Some Things for Sunday

1. This is my favorite picture of Stephanie from our trip to France.
This was taken at the Ambois Chateau in the Loire Valley.

2. This is just one of the magnificent flowers in Monet's garden.
It looks like some sort of sunflower. I would love to have this in my garden. The blooms are about 4 inches wide. So striking. 

3. After our walk through Monet's garden, we walked on down the lane, through Giverny to his grave site.
It seems appropriate that it would be full of flowers.
When we visited the grave site, we discovered this. It is a memorial for some British men from the RAF whose plane went down in Giverny. I love discovering things like this. Very special.

4. I thought this wall was so pretty and unusual.
What a great way to use up a lot of random tile and brick.

5. Scrabble in France.
I love Scrabble. I have no idea what any of these words mean. But I'm pretty sure that 12 letter word wouldn't fly in a real game. Well, unless it's a compound word--then I guess it would be possible.

I hope you are not tired of hearing about our France trip because I still have a few things I want to report. Later...

Saturday, August 21, 2021

50 Years!

How is that even possible! We're celebrating our 50th anniversary! I swear, it's gone by so darn fast! 

We started here--just babes! I'm 19, he's 20!
Here's a little trip down memory lane--of course my photos are not cooperating--so they are a bit jumbled:
This is about 20 years in.

Could I be more white?? Tanning was never my "thing!"
I really liked my '80's hair! My hair is very fine and flat. I wish perms were back in style.
We took this photo last year on our 49th anniversary. We have our initials on the top of our wedding bands. Butch's are just about worn off. When Butch asked me to marry him, we picked out these bands and did "90 days same as cash" to pay for them!
This picture is the most recent from our trip to France.
Me with my freakish "man" hand! 
This was taken at our 25th anniversary surprise party that our friends threw for us.
We had this picture made for our 25th anniversary before the Swan Ball--the biggest social event of the year in Nashville. It's a fundraiser for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. We did not have a wedding photographer, so I wanted a professional picture for the 25th.

Aside from the photos from France, I'm considering this one our most recent. This was taken on Butch's 70th birthday when I hired a photographer to take our family pictures.

And here are the results of our 50 years:
Three beautiful daughters--from left: Sandy, Butch, Stephanie, me and Mindy.
Five fabulous grand-kids--all grown up! Clockwise from top left: Victoria (#4), 
Jordan (#1), Elizabeth (#5), Mitchell (#3) and Morgan (#2).

The whole gang! The 3 sons-in-law are from top: Nicky, Justin and Greg in front.

Fifty years has been a fun ride. I just wish this train would slow down!!