Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful for you.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend. Ours was very nice, especially so since I had the opportunity to cook just what I wanted, while family and friends provided what I didn't have time to do.

There is a mongrel cur Dante dog curled up tightly next to my hip on the couch as I type. He has finally conked out after a very busy few days.

The celebration started with cinnamon rolls and sausage balls, along with coffee: one of my very favorite combinations.

Our good friend Cindy provided the turkey, and what a turkey it was! The smoky flavor was perfect and tasted divine with Mom's gravy and spinach madeline. For Thursday lunch we also had cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, Mom's cranberry salad, yeast rolls, and my favorite recipe of chiffon pumpkin pie.

Mom gave me new pie crust cutters. I am completely enamored.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The past few days have been a food extravaganza. Wednesday night we had Swedish chicken, rice, and green salad, Friday night Mike grilled a pair of pork tenderloins that we enjoyed with Mattie's mess of turnip greens and cornbread, last night we had Mike's grilled chicken wings with pasta and green salad, and throughout the weekend we had Judy's pecan tassies, clove brownies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, key lime pie, and of course leftovers available to anybody who wanted them.

We and the fridge are all stuffed. I hope Mike likes leftovers. I might never have the room in the icebox to cook again.

But it wasn't all about food. There were lots of naps taken in the sunshine.
Some handworks and planning:

New tricks to learn - Roy taught Dante how to bring the paper!

And new fashions to try on:

No, it's not a scarf on Dante. Somebody tied his favorite snaker squeaky toy around his neck. He didn't seem to mind: notice the blurred wagging tail.

And what Mississippi Thanksgiving would be complete without several different guns to shoot and football to watch? Mike was a dead-eye with the .22, but we weren't so fortunate with the GA Tech vs Georgia game. Mike is still pouting.
But that's not all. Mike and his mom and dad bought a Christmas tree while I went with a friend (whose identity will be withheld to protect the not-so-innocent) to see New Moon. It was embarrassingly bad. So bad we waited for the theater to empty afterward so no one would recognize us there. Parts made us both giggle and laugh out loud, garnering shushes from the crowd that included both tweens and grandmothers. The wolves often looked like Muppets, and the action was punctuated with awkward drawn-out intense conversations that made me uncomfortable for both the actors and characters. And what's even more embarrassing is that we both enjoy the books. But the most embarrassing part is that we were all varying degrees of that intense and corny at some point back in high school. Thank Heavens we grew up. Well, most of us anyway.

He looks so young in this photo, but I still have to say... Yum. There was great eye candy. Even though his teeth were so blindingly white they looked like Chiclets.

So it was a lovely fun-filled, food-filled, family-filled week. Not 30 minutes after Roy and Judy left, work called Mike, so we're back to the real world and the old grind. Laundry is running, and dishes are washing while he works in the office here at the house.

Unsurprisingly, Dante is still asleep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ode to a Tea Towel

I kind of didn't like cooking or working in the kitchen growing up. And I didn't know why. It was messy business. Seemed like every time I turned around, there was a spill, a splash, crumbs, dust, grime, gunk, what have you to clean up. Every time that happened, I reached for the paper towels. That's just what we always had in the house. I remember my grandmother singing the praises of paper towels. But I didn't like how wasteful it was. Those babies are expensive! So every time I spilled, splashed, or otherwise discovered the inevitable gunk of the kitchen, I would groan at how it represented $.10 of paper towels in the trash.

So I kind of didn't spend much time in the kitchen.

Mike showed me the light without even realizing it. When we married and I took over his kitchen, he had these towels, about 2x3 feet. Some were terrycloth, some linen, some other textures for other purposes. And I loved them. Over the years, I have used kitchen towels for everything - scrubbing countertops and appliances, cleaning up spilled drinks, disinfecting after chicken or other meat juice, picking up dropped and broken eggs, cleaning under the stovetop, wiping down cabinets, washing windows.

As soon as one is dirty, I put it in the laundry basket in the utility room. At the end of the week I stringently launder them, only to happily use them again. And again. And again.

They are heavily used and loved. Some have holes in them where Dante slept (and chewed) on them while away from home. One has permanent stains from where I use it to polish silver. But they are all routinely bleached and sanitized and are that much better for it.

I also like how each tells a story. There are the ones I bought for Mike to give me for our first Christmas because I loved the idea so much. The one my friend Billie gave me, the one that came under a casserole whose donor told me to keep, my favorite toile ones, the old ones that were around before I was part of Mike's life, the good "Sunday" ones that tend to stay in the drawer, the one we received on our honeymoon in St. Lucia in lieu of change.

Who needs Clorox disinfecitng wipes or other such nonsense when you can use something real that won't rip or tear, won't sit in a landfill forever, and won't put your budget in a crunch?

And the best part? You can use different countertop/window/cleaning sprays depending on your application. Currently my favorite is Iowa Pine by Mrs. Meyer's.

Photo courtesy of Pedlars.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where Have I Been?

My dearest, most darling readers. I do apologize for the impromptu hiatus from my normal blogging activities. To tell the truth, I've been busy: housewifery and CPA-ness isn't all calculators and bon-bons, you know. A good friend reminded me that it had been a long time since my last post with the gentle nudge of, "ARE YOU DEAD?"

I didn't know you cared.

Just a few of the things I've been doing of late. But I wasn't smiling goofily all the time. Don't you love how deviant she looks in the bottom left picture of cleaning the sink?

It hasn't been all the normal house and work tasks that have kept me so busy. Mike and I both had BIG birthdays in the past two weeks. And we had a great time celebrating them with family and friends. Hell, we're continuing the celebration with a dinner tonight with lovely friends.

Dante has passed his first level of what I like to call Puppy Class: How to Be A Puppy. Actually, it's a lot more involved than "Wag your tail!" "Give me kisses!" He has passed the first of three necessary stages to become a therapy dog, meaning that he and I are that much closer to being able to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and the like to bring some sunshine to others' lives. I used to do this a lot with my veterinarian grandfather in Canton, Mississippi, but regulations bave since become much more stringent. Meanwhile, Saylor down the street discovered that Dante very much likes leaves. Hold a dry one out as if you're going to feed it to him, and he barks and lunges at it while wagging all over.

Dante and I have also started going to watch Mike's soccer games on Sunday evenings. I take a lawn chair and some hot chocolate while Dante takes his little soccer squeaky ball. The SQUEAKY SQUEAKY SQUEAKY isn't so bad when he's outside, so he plays to his heart's content while I watch my hot man on the field.

I have been up to my elbows in dirt in the yard. Mom gave me 100 jonquil bulbs for my birthday, which I promptly put in the front flower beds while Mike washed and waxed vehicles last weekend. I have also almost completed the final harvest, pictured below, cleaned out the beds, and cleaned off the tomato cages to give so my good friend Laura so she can make Christmas trees out of them. It just doesn't get much more Southern than that. Next year I think I'll plant on the north side of the yard so my sasanquas don't get so choked out.

My chapter of the DAR kept me busy last week as a hostess for one of our coffee/tea meetings. I baked choclate pound cake with amaretto whipped cream and divinity while my other sisters brought nuts and cheese straws. The program was about Native American jewelry and featured the extensive collection of my friend Anna. My Little Rock grandmother would have been in heaven - she loves turquoise and pieces like that. There was even a squash blossom necklace made of buffalo nickels.

The house has been turned upside down for fall and winter. I have rotated dishes to my winter and Christmas sets, laundered and ironed tablecloths and corresponding linens, brought out the runner carpet in the back hall to warm it up, flipped mattresses, changed sheets, and pulled out and laundered the warm bed linens.

I have been making cinnamon rolls with buttermilk instead of regular milk for even more decadence, brownies with a teaspoon of nutmeg and ground cloves, oatmeal cookies with chocolate chunks instead of raisins, pot roast, chicken pot pie (thanks for the inspiration, Linda!), and other comfort foods that keep us warm.

Christmas cards and gifts have been ordered, celebrations have been planned, RSVPs sent, recipes dusted off, crystal and sterling polished, closets organized, and leaves picked up. Slowly but surely, we are getting ready.

Just call me Martha.

Housewife photo courtey of Laughing Yaffle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween... a little late

Can't believe I forgot to publish this post.


Made by Lena