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Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend Happenings

We spent Thanksgiving at my son's house and had a wonderful time. We had the usual turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, rolls, mashed potatoes and, of course, dessert. We had pumpkin, apple and pecan pie.

When we got home, I found a bag on my front porch. It seems that my cousin, Vera, came to my house while I was gone. She left me some goodies she had picked up at yard sales this summer. She knows I love wheat dishes and brought me this wheat gravy boat. I love it. Thank you, Vera!
Isn't it beautiful?

We did not get up early and go shopping on Friday, but we were greeted with snow flurries when we got up. Our first snow of the season!

Saturday we went to Sissonville High School and watched the Hillbreed. I posted about them before, they are a great bluegrass band. They can play anything. I especially love the fiddle and banjo. The fiddle player is great!

They are a bunch of cut ups and are so fun to watch.

We also went to Town Center Mall on Saturday. Charley went to look at cameras. When we were there, I saw Borders express. I said, "Let's go see if Christmas Traditions is on their shelves." It was! It was exciting to actually see it in the bookstore. It's the second book from the left. For those of you who don't know, I have a short story in it.

I took down and put away my fall decorations today and Charley has just about finished putting up the outside Christmas lights.

So, what have you been doing since Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday - Turkey Platter

I'm participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday again, hosted by Colorado Lady. Go visit and see who else is posting their vintage thingies.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Since this is Thanksgiving day, I wanted to share with you my turkey platter. I got it at a friend's yard sale a couple of summer's ago. She was just putting it out when I pulled up. I went right to it. It was love at first sight. She said that it had been her grandmother's and that they didn't use it any more. I paid $5 for it.

Isn't it beautiful. . .

It is very large, it measures 18" x 14 1/4". I don't have anywhere to display it, it is too tall to fit on a shelf in my china cabinet, so I temporarily put it on this hanger where my rolling pin usually goes to take a picture of it. It is Royal Staffordshire.

I won't be using it today because we will be spending Thanksgiving at my son and daughter in law's house.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Being Thankful

Being thankful is something we should do every week and not just the week of Thanksgiving.

We are thankful for a lot of things, but unless we sit and think about it, we sometimes forget about all the things we have to be thankful for.

First of all, I am thankful I have God in my life and he is the first one I thank for the things we have and don't have.

Don't have? Yes, sometimes the things we should be thankful for the most are the things we don't have.

I'm glad I don't lead a "soap opera" life as my husband calls it. A life where each minute of the day is full of tension, not knowing what is going to happen next. Though things have happened in our life that had us asking why, I am thankful for having, most of the time, a "boring" life.

I just read an article that I will put a link to at the end of my post. It was a very good article with some great ideas.

One of the ideas I liked was about cutting a tree out of construction paper and attaching it to your refrigerator. Cut out leaves to write down what you are thankful for and attach them to the tree. This would be a good activity for children, it will help them think about the good things in their life and let them share them with the family. You will find out what things make you or your child happy.

A friend once told me that when she was at a store she always tried to smile at everyone. You'd be surprised at the smiles you'd get in return, she said. A smile is something we can give to someone that doesn't cost us a thing. When someone smiles at you, Pass It On!

Though we are thankful for big things, sometimes it's the little things or things we take for granted that brings a smile to our face, such as. . .

birds at our feeder, laughter of a child, a phone call or letter from a friend or family member you haven't seen for a long time, pets to love us no matter what, good neighbors, a squirrel scampering outside in our yard, the sun finally peeking through the clouds on a dreary day and the contented look on a baby's sleeping face.

What is a little thing that brings a smile to your face? Comment and share it with us, so we can smile, too.

If you have a minute go here and read this post at Reader's Digest about being thankful. It is a great article.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recording Our Past III. . .

Maybe I should call this post Recording Our Present for Our Future Generations, and an easy and fun way to do that is with our recipes.

Gather family recipes and make a family cook book. I've did this twice, once in 1996 and then again in 2005. I wish someone had did it many years sooner.

Sometimes it's hard to get everyone to cooperate, but then the ball starts rolling and you get lots coming in.

You can have them professionally printed, but I didn't. I simply typed them and printed them out on my computer. In addition to putting the name of the contributor of the recipe, I also wrote down their relationship to my grandparents. Such as:

by: Janet (Woods) Smart

In my 1996 cookbook, I typed the title page, a page with the pictures of my grandparents and gr grandparents and a page with our family tree printed on it. These recipes were gathered from the descendants of my maternal grandparents. The recipes from our first cookbook is on my genealogy page here.

In 2006, in addition to recipes from living family members, I asked everyone if they could remember recipes made by their parents, grandparents, aunts etc. They could submit them in memory of them. Such as:

by: Janet (Woods) Smart
Granddaughter (in memory of
Aunt Goldie)

I got a few older recipes that way. On those recipes, I also put a picture of the person it was in memory of.

This information kind of made it more personal. Also, throughout the book I typed in tidbits of food memories from our past.

I told about apple butter making down at grandma's when we were kids, how grandma used to teach people how to can, how we made homemade ice cream from new fallen snow, grandma's old time stack cake and other food related memories. I've been told by some family members that those written memories was one of their favorite parts of the cookbook.

Here is a sample page:

The front of the book has a picture of my grandparents in the middle:

I guess you could put them on a disc and distribute the disc to everyone, but I'm a little old fashioned and I like hard copies. I like to have a book to hold in my hands.

So whether you get them done professionally or do it on your own, consider making a book of your family recipes, you won't regret it. It will be a cookbook treasured and used forever that will become an heirloom passed down through the generations.

Do you have a family cookbook you would like to tell us about?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

FOOD FRIDAY - Sweet Potato Casserole

I've got a great recipe for you today to make on Thanksgiving Day.
In my family, it wouldn't by Thanksgiving without a Sweet Potato Casserole.

Since I won't be making this until next week, I don't have any pictures to share with you.

I'm posting it today in case you want to make it next week for your dinner.

It is soooo good!


4 LBS sweet potatoes

Cook sweet potatoes. Drain and mash with mixer and add the following ingredients:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix together and put in baking dish.

Mix the following ingredients for topping:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Spoon topping on and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I tell you it is so good, I could almost eat the whole thing. Now you know why I gain weight during the holidays. But, I will try to leave some for everyone else. My kids didn't like the idea of a sweet potato casserole until one time they helped me make it. When they saw all the good stuff going into it, they tried it, and they love it as much as I do.

Another good recipe for Thanksgiving Day is pecan pie muffins. Go here for that recipe.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving Day dish?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"First" Christmas Ornament

My son got married in January, so I thought I'd make them a "first Christmas" ornament.

Here are the supplies you will need:

wire (22 guage or thicker), wired ribbon, mod podge, glitter, beads, brush, wire cutter, punch
and of course a used flat canning lid (not pictured) I save my used canning lids and have a ice cream bucket full of them.

I spray painted my lid a gold color and my husband drilled a small hole in the top and bottom of the lid. You can file down the sharp edges or get a hammer and hit a punch on the hole and it will flatten any sharp edges. This is how I did it. Find pictures that you want on the ornament and print them off on your printer on regular paper (not photo or card stock). Use the canning lid as a template and draw a circle around your picture. When you cut it out, cut inside the line around 1/4" or so.

Brush Mod Podge on the lid.

Put on the cut out picture and smooth away any wrinkles.

Pick a pretty font and color and type out "First Christmas 2009" on it. Print it and tear around the words and put it on top of the photo and apply another coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface.

I put a picture of the wedding cake on the back. Wait until the Mod Podge has dried on the pictures and apply another coat around the edge and sprinkle the glitter around the edge on both sides.

Cut two lengths of gold wire. Put one into the hole on top for the hanger. Shape it pretty like. Fold the other length of wire in half and insert it into a wooden heart that you have painted gold,
slide glass beads onto the wire, put the wire into the bottom drilled hole, bend over and twist it around and around.

Tie an approximately 2 foot length of wired ribbon into a bow around the bottom of the hanger. Here is the front of the finished product. It looks much better than the picture shows, the lighting is not good and there's a glare on the picture.

Here is the back view with the wedding cake.

There are lots of possibilities with this ornament. You can make one for a baby's "First Christmas", you could put Victorian pictures on the ornament, pet pictures on the ornament, etc. etc. If you do one for a baby, you could use a combination of small ribbons for the bow, paint the lid either blue or pink and hang pretty little plastic baby items instead of the heart.

I wasn't too good on the instructions, but I think you get the idea. They are pretty easy to make.
Use your imagination and make lots of different ones. You could use silver or copper wire, different kinds of ribbons and beads, homespun ribbon etc., like I said before the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Recording Our Past II

Pictures! I love pictures of my ancestors. I don't have a lot, but the ones I have have been gathered from relatives. Some of mine are originals, but most are copies of the originals. If you have a printer/scanner you can scan the originals and save them to your computer and/or print them out. . . or

one thing I've done is make copies at Staples. They are very reasonable with their prices. I believe it is just a little over $1 for an 8x10 sheet on photo paper. What I do is loosely put tape on the back of the original photos and attach them to an 8x10 sheet of paper. That way you can get 4,5,6, etc. copies for the price of one sheet. Cut them out and put them in picture frames or photo albums.

a sample of a sheet of photos I had scanned at Staples

I like displaying mine in vintage looking frames. I've gotten a lot of them at yard sales for 25 or 50 cents each. Sometimes stores will discount their frames, go to that section of the store regularly and check it out for discounts. I like the one below which looks like a coffee pot, I am going to find a picture of my grandpa to put in that frame. Why not Grandma, you ask? Well my grandpa was known for something he always said. When working on something if it didn't come out just right he would say "that's all right, we'll set the coffee pot on it."

Here are some I already have in frames. I grouped all of these together to take a picture of them. You could have a special table in your house to display your pictures or place them throughout the house. My cousin had a special table set up to display her old pictures on and I loved the way she did that, it really looked nice.

Of course, I'm sure most of you have a shoe box or tin filled with pictures. Most of us older readers anyway. Now a days things are so different with digital cameras and all. Go through them and see what you've got. It would be a good idea to put them in photo albums so they would be easier to look at and enjoy. (looks like that's something I need to do). If your mother or grandmother has a box of photos, you could 'borrow' them and arrange them in a nice photo album for her. Put them in chronological order from oldest to newest and surprise her with the finished product.

You always hope when going through old pictures that the backs of them look like this. . . with information written on them telling who they are, the date and place. But unfortunately you will find a lot of pictures with no info on the back of them. If you do and you don't know who they are pictures of or when they were taken, ask other family members for information. . . before it's too late. As I said in my other post, people forget.

It's a good idea, even on more recent pictures, to put names and dates on them. My youngest and oldest son looked very much alike when they were babies. When looking at some of their pictures now, I sometimes find it difficult to tell who it is in the picture. And since the youngest wore the older boys' hand me downs that makes it even more difficult.

Visit relatives and look for pictures. You can borrow them to make copies. Share pictures that you have. If no information is written on them, find out the names, the dates etc. and write it down. If you don't want to write on the backs of the pictures, write down the information and attach it or store it with the pictures. You could take a picture of the photo with the information beside of it, print this in black and white on regular paper from your printer and put it in your family memory book for safe keeping.

I have told my children who the pictures are of, but that is no guarantee they will remember 20 or 30 years from now.

I hope I've given you ideas to inspire you in recording your past.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Food Friday

I have another Food Friday recipe. I baked a couple of those free pumpkins I picked up at Kroger's and made puree out of them. I was able to put 7 pkgs in the freezer for future use!

Out of one cup of the puree I made muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 T butter, cut into pieces
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts


cinnamon/sugar mixture

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins.

Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Cut in butter with pastry blender. In separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add nuts. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour filling into greased muffin pan 1/2 full. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove.

If you want you can top with a cream cheese icing. Make your own or buy a tub of it at the store.

mmm! mmm! They were good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day in Ripley

A few pictures in honor of Veteran's Day.

Our mayor Carolyn Rader, one of the most patriotic ladies in the county. She's the best.

21 Gun Salute. Enlarge and see a few shells going through the air.

I liked this picture with the little ones watching him sound taps.

A view of our Court House.

A statue erected in memory of Federal Soldiers on the grounds of the Court House.

My veteran, Charley.

Go to and until November 13th you can search their military records for free!

They have copies of draft cards from WWI, WWII, the old mans draft of WWII and lots more records you can search through. I have copies of my grandpa's draft card from WWI and from the old mans draft of WWII. You can find lots of info about them on these cards.

You only have a few days to do it for free. Type in names and see what comes up. Go check it out and good luck!

For those of you new to my site, go here and see last year's post on Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Recording Our Past

I have mementos of my family as I am sure all of you do. I have found a way for me to keep a record of them. It is important, because sometimes people forget if things are not written down.

I am in the process of taking pictures of my family items that I don't want my children or grandchildren (whenever they may come) to ever get rid of.

Things such as the old rolling pin, pie pan, mixing bowl and biscuit cutters that Mom gave me to use after I was married. . .

Charley's dad's aluminum lunch box that he used when he worked at Carbide a long time ago. . .

A lot of us are not fortunate enough to have items from our distant ancestors. Items you record can be mementos from your childhood days or your childrens' childhood days.

I am downloading the pictures to my desktop and then copying them into microsoft word and writing beneath each picture what they are, who they originally belonged to and any history I might know about each item.

When I am finished, I will print off the pages and put them into a notebook devoted to this project. I have titled mine, MEMORIES OF OUR PAST.

Here is the type of notebook that works very well for this project. It is a 3 ring binder that has a plastic sleeve on the front of it. You could run off the title page and slip it into the sleeve. You can buy these in all sizes.

Print your pages, punch holes and put them into the notebook.

You think you will always remember, but take my word for it. . . people forget!

Do this so items you want to keep, and are a part of your family, do not get accidentally donated, thrown away or sold at a yard sale in the future. If this information gets recorded along with the pictures, it can keep something like that from happening.

I hope maybe I have given you an idea as to what you can do to keep track of your family mementos.

This is the first of a series of posts I will be doing about Recording Our Past.

I have posted a poem here about growing up in Appalachia. If you want, go read about where I am From. . .

Friday, November 6, 2009

Food Friday



2 pkgs of cream cheese
2 pkgs crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture

Beat 2 pkgs of cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg with mixer.

Spray cake pan with cooking spray, lay out one pkg of crescent rolls on bottom of pan.

Spread cream cheese mixture on top . . .

and then lay out the other pkg of crescent rolls on top of the cream cheese mixture. . .

then shake cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. . .

Bake in oven according to the instructions on the crescent roll pkg. (I usually cook it a few minutes more than it says to)

It is very good. I have my niece, Tania, to thank for this recipe.
Try it, you're like it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cold Potatoes! Free Pumpkins! Nuts for Squirrels!

We went to the garden today and dug up some cold potatoes! We usually leave the potatoes in the ground as long a s we can, but try to get them out before the ground gets too cold and freezes them. Last year we lost a few because they were too close to the surface and froze. Thankfully our cold nights and mornings we've had lately hasn't hurt them yet.

After digging potatoes, we went to Kroger's. We were greeted by this sign outside the store.

Well you know me, if it's free, I'll take a few. If you enlarge the picture, you will notice it says "Free to a good home," I thought that was cute. I took three big ones and put them in the car before going in to do some shopping. I'm glad I got them before going inside, because when we came back out they were all gone! Someone else had the same idea as I did. In my opinion pumpkins can be used for outside decoration until Thanksgiving.

Before leaving Ripley, we stopped at Farmer's Feed and got 5 lbs of raw peanuts for the squirrels. They were $1 a pound, and we didn't think that was too bad of a deal. Now if I can just catch them in the act, I'll take some pictures to share with you.

I was good, though, and when we stopped at Fruth Pharmacy to get milk, I never bought any of the 90% off Halloween items. Nor, did I purchase any of the 75% off Fall items.

A person has to draw the line somewhere.

Have you got any good deals lately?