Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tablescape Thursday and The Run for the Roses

I'm not a huge sports fan. I don't care if I ever get tickets to the Super Bowl. I won't be disappointed if I never attend the World Series. Wimbledon doesn't inspire envy in me. And as much as I'd enjoy it, I have no hope of ever getting to the Masters. But oh, oh, oh I REALLY want to go to the Kentucky Derby! Now I truly like horse races. But even more than that I like the traditions that go with the derby. This Saturday marks the 135th Run for the Roses and though I won't be there, I've prepared a little tablescape for while I watch and dream of mint juleps and picture hats.

I set the small sideboard in the breakfast room with mint juleps and cheese straws, two southern favorites and "must-haves" for the Kentucky Derby. I have had these monogrammed silver julep cups since I married. They are one of my favorite entertaining accessories. I've used them for bloody mary's, fruited tea, mimosas and flower arrangements. They keep the drink so ice cold that they form tiny little water droplets on the outside! They are sitting on a silver gallery tray. Did you know red roses are the official flower for the derby winner's garland. I treat myself to fresh flowers almost every week---from the 1/2 price container at my Kroger's florist! And of course, paper napkins won't do for this event. These are cutwork linen luncheon napkins perfect for a snack while watching on tv.

If you want to sip on a mint julep while cheering on your favorite horse, this is the recipe we use: Put two sprigs of fresh mint in the bottom of a glass. Add one rounded teaspoon of powdered sugar and a few drops of water. Use a wood spoon or muddler and thoroughly "bruise" mint, sugar, and water. Add a jigger of your favorite bourbon. Pack the glass to the rim with finely crushed ice. Add another jigger of whiskey and let it trickle to the bottom of the glass. Top with a sprig of fresh mint.
Now if you decide to make these, hold on to your hat and while you're at it visit Susan and all the other tablescapers at See you at the derby!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Dixie over at is hosting a plate-themed wordless Wednesday!
Please join her for the fun!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Three or More Tuesday and Thoughts on Weddings

Tam at The Gypsy's Corner graciously hosts Three or More Tuesday each week. Many of you share things you collect...plates, family heirlooms, plants, and sometimes even children or pets. My offering today is a little nontraditional. If you have read my blog more than once you probably know that I am dead in the middle of planning a wedding for our one and only daughter. Not only that, but, having three children in their twenties, Beloved and I are invited to a lot of weddings....I mean A LOT of weddings. What started this whole idea was cutting these three roses to put on a bedside table. The red rose, so perfect and beautiful, has long been the symbol of love. These three roses got me to thinking about some things I've learned and some observations I've made during the whole planning and attending process. If you are like me and have been involved recently in planning or attending weddings, you may have noticed some of the same things!

There was a time when the only requirement for a successful wedding reception was that the punch and the mints matched the exact shade of the bridesmaids' gowns. Life was simple-- pink gowns, pink punch. Green gowns, lime sherbet punch. This is definitely no longer the case! The trend is stations--carving, pasta, and seafood. Then there are ethnic stations--Mexican with margaritas, Italian with wine, sushi with Saki, barbecue with beer, you name it! And my favorite are sendoff stations--milk and cookies, Advil and bottled water, or jelly beans and chocolates.

  1. There should be a law requiring anyone, especially vendors, who receives a telephone call containing the words "my daughter" and "wedding" be required to return that call within a twenty four hour time period.

  2. Mother of the bride dresses can be very tricky. In my search I found that unless I was very careful, the dresses often fell into one of three categories: 1. old 2. trampy 3. old tramp. Somebody should tell these designer we mothers don't have any desire to upstage the bride, but neither do we wish to look as if we have never watched the red carpet arrivals!

  3. The nicety of replying to invitations is an almost dead tradition. RSVP has become a meaningless addition to invitations in most cases.

  4. Tissue paper in formal wedding invitations has outlived its original use and is now used only to torment the poor person left to assemble the invitation--me! It does not slide easily and will wrinkle, crease, and tear at the drop of a hat!

  5. We have a new dirty word our house--favor. Beloved who has been a real trooper throughout this entire process went temporarily insane when we were pondering what favor we should buy for the guests as a memento of the event. I can't really repeat what he said, but we got the impression he thought they were unnecessary. We're still having them; we just renamed them.

  6. Finally, this is probably one of the best and most exciting times of our lives and if we're lucky, we'll live to tell about it!

Now head over to Tam's at and see a some great collections of three or more!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hound Dogs and Strawberry Pie

I suppose you're wondering what this Basset Hound could possibly have to do with Gollum's Spring Fling for Foodie Friday. Well, it's simple. She's part of the reason I made this strawberry pie. Hannah is my granddog. She belongs to my oldest son and is an answer to my prayer that one day he have a child who acts just like him. I got my wish-- just in dog form. The entire family is leaving town for the weekend to critique (I mean attend) a wedding. Between us and three kids that means five dogs need to be babysat and not a one of them has ever been boarded. They've been in some nice hotels, but NEVER boarded. So, I talked one of my single friends into spending the weekend at my house! I've left goodies to make her stay more enjoyable.

The strawberries in the grocery store have been relatively inexpensive and very good lately, so they seemed like a good way to start my bribe. To make this pie combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/4 cup cornstarch and pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is almost clear and thickened. Add a 3 ounce package of stawberry Jello and a couple of drops of red food coloring. Mix with about a quart of sliced fresh strawberries. Pour into a prebaked and cooled pie shell. "Store-bought" pie shells are something that I can't improve on so I just flute the edges and accept the compliments graciously. Top with whipped cream or canned whipped topping.

I hope my friend won't miss this one little piece. She can have all the rest---except for what she has to share with Hannah!

Click on the Foodie Friday button. Gollum is serving up dessert and there's lots more to tempt your tastebuds. Click on over and enjoy the feast for your eyes!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tribute to Erma

Tucked away in one of my Bibles are some treasured keepsakes--bookmarks from friends, a card from my son, copies of prayers I particularly liked and a yellow and tattered copy of a 1986 newspaper column titled "Detrimming the Christmas Tree, the Loneliest Job in the World". It must have struck a chord with me. Erma Bombeck did that a lot. She made us laugh and usually taught us a lesson without our even being aware of it. She seemed to have a way of putting into words just what we had been thinking. She wrote about marriage, and housework and raising children. She wrote about septic tanks, and driving lessons, and taking down Christmas trees. Finally, she wrote about living with a life-threatening disease and what she had learned from it. Erma Bombeck is famous for many quotes. I have a favorite one: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have one single bit of talent left and could say I used everything you gave me".

Erma Bombeck
February 21, 1927-April 22, 1996

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Metamorphosis and Blue Monday

I've been working on a one week project for three months now. Little things like wedding planning, trips out of town, a bad cold, indecision, and an occasional case of apathy have gotten in the way. But I'm getting close. The end is in sight! So, I couldn't wait to show you just a small part of my transformation. I think it qualifies for Susan's Metamorphosis Monday and for Sally's Blue Monday. I went from this:

To this:

To this:

Okay, so you got me. I did not transform that ugly blue recliner into this last chair. BUT I made it happen. Beloved brought the recliner home from his mother's house. Ever-hopeful and an optimist at heart, he thought I might let him put it in a guest room so he would have a recliner to call his own. Now we've been married a long time and I know when to bide my time and how to pick my battles. Sweetly, I "allowed" it into the house. A year later, he's never sat in it, has gotten over his need to keep it, and it's "outta here"! I have had this antique recliner sitting in my attic for many years. I used it at one time, but it has just been collecting dust for quite a while. I got it down, dusted it off, and went on a fabric hunt. I knew the exact shade of blue and exactly what I wanted which sometimes makes the search even harder! Five fabric stores, two months, and a great upholsterer later this is what the chair looks like now. I love it! The blue stripes fit into my guest bedroom rennovation perfectly. And yes, that is blue painter's tape you see in the background! I hope by next Monday I can unveil the entire bedroom, but for now head over to Susan's at for Metamorphosis Monday and give Sally a visit at for Blue Monday. And,oh yes, be sure to keep your husband off of Craigslist. I gave the recliner to my son and he posted it for sale!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Legally Blonde

I am so happy to be joining Bevery for Pink Saturday for the first time. I recently got the opportunity to see "Legally Blonde the Musical". Many of you may remember the movie by the same name starring Reese Witherspoon. The musical follows the same storyline and everything about it from costumes to set design just screams pink!

Becky Gulvig plays Elle Woods whose only desire is to become Mrs. Warner Huntington III. After being dumped for a more suitable, serious (read stuffy, dull) type, Elle heads off to Harvard to prove herself worthy. The music is entertaining, but not memorable. The choreography is another story!! I don't know when I've enjoyed anything any more! And yes, Bruiser, the chihuahua plays a key role in his little pink wardrobe . It's a fun story of triumph for blondes and all women everywhere. If you get the chance to see it, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Now head over to see what Beverly at has waiting to share with you. She and a lots of your friend have lots of PINK going on!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Target Birds Invite You

Did you get your invitation? I really hope so, but Susan has been pretty busy planning that other wedding. She may have missed you. I hope not, because we've got a surprise. The Target birds are LOVE birds!!! The wedding is going to be a glorious event. Savannah Grace has a designer gown and will be resplendent in her matching veil. The groom is in full tails and a top hat of course. It's going to be the event of the season!

After the ceremony we'll be off for a few more days. We love birds deserve a honeymoon! We work so hard gracing all those tables! So we are off to the Canary Islands. We love you but we're leaving you with one final message:

Lots of other Target birds have been out on adventure this week. You can find out what they've been doing with Susan at

Monday, April 13, 2009

Three or More..What's on Your Bedside Table?

I've had a lifelong love affair with books. I began my fascination at a young age with an appetite for biographies about anyone in any time period. I love mysteries, whodunits, and true crime. I read the Bible, devotionals, and the occasional self-help book (although I can't say that self-help books help). I buy and read cookbooks the way other people read paperback novels. I like historical fiction, chick lit, and the classics. My favorites are legal thrillers; my least favorite is the Harlequin romance. I refer to Harlequin romance novels as "milky white bosom" books! Did you ever read one in which the heroine didn't "heave her milky white bosom" at least once? So this is what's on my bedside table, when I shouldn't be reading at all (except the devotional). Now, when I should be planning a wedding.

The devotional is Experiencing God Day by Day by Richard and Henry Blackaby. I am beginning my third year in a row with this book . Like the Bible, I find something new in it each time I read and appropriate for different times and circumstances in my life. True Evil is a novel by an author I love, Greg Iles. Iles grew up in Natchez Mississippi and writes about people I understand and places I know. The Bride's Book of Etiquette is my working manual now that we are planning my daughter's wedding. It's helpful, but not much has really changed since Amy Vanderbuilt advised me almost thirty two years ago. Bunny Williams's An Affair with a House is providing me with much needed time to daydream and bask in beauty created by others. That's my collection of Three or More things sitting on my bedside table. Join our hostess Tam at and see some other collections and let me know: What's on your bedside table?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He is Risen

Wishing you and yours a happy, joyous Easter-Susan

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pear Bunny Salad

I 'm at an awkward age. I thought I was over those, but it seems once again I'm a "tweener". My children are young adults--too busy to want to decorate sugar cookies with me, too old to dye eggs, and too diet conscious for Easter baskets. I don't have grandchildren, those adorable cherubs that look out me from everyone else's wallets. It seems I'm "between" children, the way some people are between husbands or between jobs. But I do have a three year old niece and several children who refer to me as SuSu--specifically their SuSu. I remembered this salad and made it for my niece who visited this week. It's cute and easy as can be. The body is a canned pear with the smaller end serving as the face. The eyes are raisins and the nose is a cherry. Push whole almonds in for the ears. I used chocolate covered pretzel sticks for the whiskers, but you can use licorice. The fluffy bunny tail is just a squirt of whipped topping. I put it all on frilly green lettuce and added a baby carrot with parsley. They may not eat it, but they will love looking at it! I certainly enjoyed creating it--I don't want to lose my touch. One day I may need these skills again! Click on the Foodie Friday button to visit our hostess Gollum and see what she and every one else has cooked up! Happy, Blessed Easter and Passover to all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All "Set" for Easter

Our friend Susan is our gracious hostess for the Tablescape Thursday Event. This ought to be a fun and beautiful event with many people preparing to celebrate Easter and Passover and pulling out their finest. I know I did and had a wonderful time doing it. I'm not one of those people who endorses saving the fine china and crystal for later. I think our "stuff" is only as precious as the memories it represents. So I have set the table in preparation for family and friends with love and in anticipation of making more memories.

We'll be eating in the dining room on Sunday around one or two in the afternoon. The children (who, of course, aren't really children at all), a couple of friends, and the son-in-law -to- be will join us.

The centerpiece is one of my favorite bunnies in an antique foot bath surrounded by eggs. I have given the children an egg with their name and the year on it every Easter since they were born. Some are wooden; some are china. Some were pricey and some came from Walgreens (those years I forgot until the last minute!) But we love them and and like Christmas ornaments they bring back memories. I surrounded the candles in the large stemmed containers with pastel malted milk balls. I think originally the milk balls were a little deeper, but Beloved has been disappearing into the dining room mysteriously after dinner for a couple of nights :)! I found these small stemmed votive holders at the dollar store and they also hold milk balls.
This is the china I picked out as a young bride and I love it as much now as I did then. It is Rosalinde by Haviland. The very center has a white background while the outer portion of the plate has a cream background. That is helpful when mixing patterns and choosing linens. The silver is Burgundy by Reed and Barton. It is not as ornate as some patterns, but still dainty and elegant. The final touch is Waterford Crystal. The pattern is Lismore, one that seems to be timeless. I finally relented this year and started using napkins that are not all cutwork linen--I hate ironing! I bought these In Virgin Gorda and they look almost as nice with a tenth of the effort. I am so happy to share this with you. I am looking forward to visiting with you at
Happy Easter from our house to yours!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Met Monday and Digging in the Dirt

I am moving slowly into Susan's Metamorphosis Monday...just getting my feet wet a little bit. Or in this case, my hands dirty. Okay, so I'm not digging in dirt. I'm digging in potting soil, but oh it makes me so happy! It's still a little early for bedding plants at my house. My dad always told me never to plant before Good Friday. Good girl that I am, I listen and rarely plant before. It turns out, according to Dave the weatherman, we are having one (hopefully!) last cold snap tonight. But I just couldn't wait. Those bedding plants are like sirens calling me. So, I compromised. I decided to redo my window boxes. They were a ragged, empty, pitiful sight While I was at Big Lots, I spotted these heavy metal window boxes with a liner for only $10!--a steal! So off to my local hardware. It's a small local one and usually the first to have great plants--not so practical and budget-friendly for buying in bulk, but just right for the "digging-in-the-dirt" fix I needed. I've experimented over the years with different plants and slowly have come up with good combinations that work well together and in this spot. Today I planted red geraniums, white and purple verbena, and pink impatiens. I love the mixture of colors, textures and heighths. I added some ivy in one corner and will probably add trailing miniature petunias on the other side when I find them.

One more little thing I wanted to show you. This is a hellebores, commonly called a Lenten rose because of the time of year it blooms. Although mine is green, others bloom pink, mauve, and yellow. Another variety, the Christmas rose, blooms in December. Our hostess Susan is using power tools! Join her now at and see what she and every one else is up to for Met Monday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mississippi Mud Cake

If you visited my table scape yesterday you already know that we entertained real people for dinner this week. Real people require real food. Beloved cooked a pork loin on the grill. I made a hash brown casserole and whipped up a salad with baby greens, strawberries, and orange slices. The true star of the event, however was dessert-Mississippi Mud Cake. Not good for you, just plain good, for you! I cut it into bars and served it on a crystal cake stand. This was my grandmother's cake stand and I use it every chance I get. I think she would like that! I decorated with a few pansies that hadn't been beaten to death by wind and rain. The outcome was divine!

Mississippi Mud Cake

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted 1 cup butter, 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour ,1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 4 large eggs ,1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 bag miniature marshmallows , and chocolate Frosting

Microwave butter and semisweet chocolate in a large glass bowl on high for one minute or until the chocolate is melted. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Whisk sugar and next five ingredients into chocolate mixture. Pour batter and spread in a greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for twenty minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle marshmallows evenly over the cake. Return to oven and bake 8-10 minutes more or until the marshmallows are lightly browned. Drizzle warm cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa ,1/3 or more cup of milk, 1 (16 oz.) package confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix and melt first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened (about two minutes). Remove from heat and beat in confectioner's sugar. You may add more milk if the frosting is too thick. The leftover icing is great on ice cream! I know you'll want to join our host Gollum for Foodie Friday and see what else is cooking. Click on the button and join in the fun!