Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Grandmother

I have been so blessed in my life to have the lady in the picture as my Grandmother. Here she is shown with my Dad as a newborn, she was 19. If ever there was a "perfect" grandmother, she is it. All my life she has been there for me. Grandmother lived about 2 1/2 hours away from me when I was growing up in the 1960's-1970's, so I only got to see her on weekends, until school was out. And then I would go "up in the country" and stay with her and my grandfather for two weeks! If every child in the world could have spent two weeks "up in the country" with my grandparents, this world would be a much better place!

To get to her house you had to either drive your car across the creek, if it was low enough, or walk through a narrow path on the side of a hill to get to the swinging bridge. I vividly remember my grandfather carrying me in one arm and a bag of groceries in the other and crossing that bridge that was probably 2 stories high and two planks wide. The original house was built in 1796 and was made of logs. The kitchen was the original part of the house and it was very large, and you entered the attic from a set of very narrow curved steps in the kitchen. Up in the attic you could see the original logs. I loved the kitchen! Grandmother cooked on a mint green and white Tennessee Brand wood cook stove. Every morning Granddad would build the fire in the stove on his way out to feed the livestock. I would always listen so I could be up with him so I could find the eggs.( even though I hated the chickens, they would peck my toes) When we came back in, Grandmother would have already made breakfast. Granddad and I would sit out on the back porch and talk of "mice and men" before he would go to work as a prison guard at the prison that adjoined their farm.

Then Grandmother and I would straighten the house a little, then head out to the garden to pick fresh vegetables or weed or whatever needed doing in the garden. Grandmother passed her love of gardening and being outside to me. It has to be really cold, for me not to go outside every day and do some kind of gardening.

We would walk down beside the creek and either swim in the "deep hole" or go fishing. We would always catch fish they called "red eyes". I'm not sure what exactly they were, but we would have them for dinner! The bad thing about swimming in the creek were the leeches. But we would just pick them off, like it was nothing! Wouldn't kids today freak out!

I never had many toys at my Grandmothers house. I played with old dishes that Grandmother would give me and I would sit under the tree and play "restaurant" all day long. My Granddad made me a swing in the tree as well. Once when their chuch replaced their pews, Granddad brought two of the old ones home and made a wooden sliding board from them!

But what I loved to do the most was play with my paper dolls. These were not the kind you bought and cut out, these were cut out of the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs. My Grandmother and I would sit for hours cutting out dolls and furniture for their houses (made out of shoe boxes). I could hardly wait for the new catalogs to come in the mail, because that meant I got the old one!

As you can tell with this epic length post, my Grandmother played a huge role in my life. When my mother died when I was 16, my Grandmother would call and check on us at least a couple times a week, and would come down to our house every other weekend. When my Granddad died 17 years ago, she moved out of the old house and moved to our town so that we could all be together and watch out for each other.

My Grandmother is now 96 years old and until a month ago, lived in her neat little ranch style house that had the prettiest yard and flowers on her street. Then she fell and broke her hip. The doctors did a complete hip replacement because she was very healthy and felt she would recover. But she hasn't. A blood clot has formed in her lungs and they have been working all week trying to get it to dissolve. She is having some trouble breathing. But the worst part is that she now has dementia. She doesn't always know who we are. She can't remember where she is. The images in her mind torment her.

She has never been a very large woman. She is only 5' tall and has weighed at the most 105 lbs.
Now she is so tiny. She will not eat. They are feeding her through her veins.

This is heartbreaking for me. She has always been my crutch. I go to the hospital every day and see her getting further away from reality. She is tired, she is tired of fighting. I hope that now, I am being a crutch for her.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Show and Tell!

This Friday for show and tell I would like to show you some photos of a favorite auction buy!

All these items were in one box lot along with several sets of sterling silver candle holders, a sterling silver tea strainer,( which I kept) and lots of broken sterling silver pieces that I have since scrapped for $120.00. I paid $15.00 for the lot!

This is my favorite items from the lot. This is a sterling silver ladies calling card case. I love all the filligree work on the case and the intials are ALS. They are for Alice Lee Shenk. How do I know that? Because this was inside the case.
Her actual calling card! I was so excited when I saw that card. I hadn't opened the calling card case or the purse before I bought them!
Inside the old leather purse was this old coin purse and
This tiny sterling silver thimble! It is a child sized thimble and it is also engraved with ALS. Also inside the purse was this:
A teeny tiny little silver spoon! I have no idea what such a small spoon would be used for. The lovely lavendar and white hanky belonged to my grandmother.
Hope you enjoyed my show and tell. Thanks for stopping by!
You can see more show and tell over at Kellis House.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday week end!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Apron Strings and Other Things

I'm still playing with my header, not exactly like I want it, but it's getting there.

Last week one of the ladies in my office mentioned that she had moved into a apartment that had a washer but no dryer and she was hanging her clothes out on the clothesline. She said she just stuck the clothes pins to her shirt, so I decided to make her a clothespin apron. My Grandmother had one very similar to the one I made her.

It was very fun to make and quick and easy! She didn't want her face on my blog, but that's her holding up her new apron!

My flowers are still continuing to just bloom away, even though I have neglected them this spring. I think this flower is called a Gloriosa Daisy. I am terrible about planting things then forgetting what they are.

And this rose is one that I dug up from an old abandoned house foundation many years ago. It is always so reliable, and is so disease free. It seems that the roses that I buy that claim to be disease free are always the ones that need so much attention!

My Grandmother is still not doing very good. We had to take her to the yesterday because she was having trouble breathing. Turns out she has a blood clot in her lungs. The doctor said blood clots are fairly common after surgery and that they would be trying to dissolve this before it starts moving. She also has a UTI and for someone 96 years old, that is miserable.

I am still making new recipes from my old cookbook. The photo below is one I made Sunday, simply called Peanut Butter Bread. Isn't it such a pretty loaf? Too bad it tasted YUCKY!!!! It was way too dry and bland. The recipe didn't call for any sugar, but it sure needed it. I guess I was expecting it to taste like a cake and not a bread.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please Ignore!

Please ignore the mess on my header! I am playing!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Deep Dish Cheese Apple Scallop and stuff!

Since all my cookbooks are now in a manageable order, (see a couple of posts down) I decided that I would try and cook at least one thing out of these old books called Fabulous Foods. Each one has 12 or 13 smaller books inside. So, today I decided I would make a recipe out of the first book called "The Casserole Cookbook" Deep Dish Cheese Apple Scallop:

Butter a 2 qt. casserole.

Thoroughly blend together:

3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

3 Tbls. flour

1 tea. cinnamon

1/2 tea. salt

1/4 tea. nutmeg

Cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is in coarse crumbs:

3 Tbls. butter or margarine

1 tea. grated orange peel

Grate and mix in :

3 oz. cheddar cheese (3/4 cup grated)

Wash, quarter and pare and cut into 1/8" slices:

6-7 medium size firm, tart cooking apple (I used Granny Smith)

Arrange one half on the apple slice in casserole. Sprinkle with one half of sugar-cheese misture; repeat. Sprinkle over the top:

1/4 cup orange juice

Cover surface with mixture of:

1 1/2 cups corn flakes, coarsely crushed

1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar

Bake at 375 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly and serve with heavy cream.

And this is what it will look like:

What! You mean you can't see anything in this dish? Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that when I thought to take a picture of it, 4 teenage boys had come in for lunch and devoured it. So I am assuming that it was quite tasty!

I tried to work out in the garden some today but the pollen was just too much for me. I have mostly outgrown my hayfever, but when the tulip poplars are blooming it really does me in. Here is what I got for Mothers Day! A pink hydrangea. I have one that is blue, one that is almost purple and one called a "lace cap" that is white with blue on the edges.

And this is one of my most favorite sights

Pears! My poor pear tree thinks its way bigger than it is! I have to prop up its limbs every year even after I have pulled some of the pears off so the branches don't break.

Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!



Friday, May 16, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

This week for show and tell I would like to show you a few things that I got at the thrift store this week. This lot of vintage patterns was $1.00! I really like the apron pattern that is 2nd to the left on the top. The pattern beside it is strange, the Advance pattern, it says view A and B are aprons. (a and b are the two smaller photos on the left) it says view c is a poncho! (view c is the red garment with the blue hat) does anyone get that? I also like the housecoat pattern with the heart shaped pockets. I will definitely use the apron pattern, the others I may sell.
When I pulled this garment out of my bag, my son said "Mom, please tell me you are not going to wear that anywhere!". I told him I might, but in reality I wouldn't I just bought this top for the trim that is on it. The picture doesn't do it justice but the braided gold trim with rhinestones is so pretty! This was also $1.00This last item was bought at a yard sale last weekend. I don't have very many primitives in my house but I loved this doll! She now sits on my petticoat mirror in the foyer. I have no idea what she would have cost retail but I paid $15.00 for her. I am calling her Elizabeth.
For more show and tell, head over to and join the fun.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


My roses are in full bloom right now! It smells heavenly walking along the walk toward the pool. The poolhouse is clean, the pool is clean, just one small problem. It's too cold to swim!

We have had a very cool spring and the water temperature hasn't risen over 71 degrees. Yngwie and I did get in weekend before last, but it was very chilly! Our solar cover dry rotted over the last few seasons and our new one isn't in yet. Boy do I miss it!

I planted this clematis last year and it didn't bloom, but this year it has a beautiful bloom and is still growing!

Grandmother is still not doing very good. Today is her 96th birthday and the entire family will be going to the nursing home this evening to celebrate with her. This morning she didn't believe us when we told her she would be 96.

Hope everyone has a blessed day


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Stress. We all have it at times. I have been very stressful for a couple of weeks. My Grandmother (who will be 96 years young tomorrow) fell and broke her hip two weeks ago. The doctors decided to go ahead with a hip replacement, because she was otherwise in good health. After three days in the hospital she was taken to a nursing home for rehab. She is not doing very well there. I think she has just given up. She is so confused and doesn't always even know us when we visit her. It's so hard to see her like this. My Dad is very little help in times like this. He just doesn't want to deal with it. (She's my Dad's mom). My son had all 4 wisdom teeth cut out Monday, and my neighbor (who is also my boss) has been having heart problems.

People do funny things when they are under alot of stress. Some people over eat, some people drink or use illegal drugs. I organize. I become obsessed with things being organized. Case in point. Sunday, Mothers Day, I woke up around 4:30 a.m. no matter how I tried, I couldn't go back to sleep, so I just got up. I decided I wanted to bake Mandarin Orange cake so I went up to my libray loft so I could find the cookbook with the recipe. After looking for about 20 minutes, the obsession set in. I pulled every single book off the shelves. This is what it looked like:

At that point I decided that I was going to alphabatize my cookbooks and also catalog them. I didn't even go to church that day. I didn't cook a meal, I didn't do anything but organize those cookbooks. In my mind they had to be done right now! I spent 15 hours organizing and cataloging. I have found that I have 892 cookbooks! This includes magazines as well. I put them into an Excel spreadsheet and as soon as I figure out how, I will put them on my blog. I guess I should have taken an "after" photo too.

Yngwie is having no problems after his dental work and will return to school tomorrow. My neighbor is on medication for his heart and is returning to good health rapidly. My Grandmother is still showing no signs of recovering from her fall. I have decided that I have done all I can do about her situation. I am now putting that in God's hands. I will stress about it no more.

p.s. I never found the Mandarin Orange cake recipe!



Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Show and Tell!

Kelli over at host Show and Tell each Friday. Click on over and join the fun.

This week I would like to show you my pond and my springtime "friends"! Sorry for the dark photo, I took this picture early this morning. My dear husband built this pond beside our front porch even though I was pretty skeptical of the idea. I was afraid it would draw mosquitos. But we have a very "green" and "organic" way to get rid of the mosquitos.
These guys are very effective against mosquitos and all flying insects and the best part about having them inhabit our pond is their mating call at night. That can lure me to sleep in about a minute. Almost every night I go out on the porch with my coffee or tea and sit in the dark and listen.
And I am so excited that my allium has bloomed! I first saw the allium on Anita's blog ( click on Anita on my blog roll) and was totally intrigued with it so I ordered some and planted them this past fall.
I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Watermelon Rind Preserves

This week as I was visiting with my Grandmother she got to telling me about how much she loved her mother's watermelon rind preserves and that she hadn't had any since her mom died. Grandma is unfortunately in a nursing home right now and is not eating very well, so I decided I would find her some preserves. I called all the local grocers only to find out that most of them had never even heard of watermelon rind preserves. So I started pulling out my recipe books and found one in a 1935 Ball Blue Book. I love the look of this book!

Watermelon Rind Preserves:

4 lbs watermelon rind- trim off the red and eat immediately with the juice running down your arms then trim the dark green off leaving only the white part.

Alum-dissolved (optional) I didn't use this because I couldn't find it in the store

2 Lemons- very thinly sliced

9 cups Sugar

Spices -(even though the recipe doesn't specify the spices here, further down it says add cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Use the whole spices not the ground. I took the spices and tied them in a cheese cloth bag because they will discolor the fruit if you leave them in. I used about a tablespoon of each.)

Cut melon rind into cubes. Soak in a salt solution (2 quarts of water to 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt) overnight.

Drain. Parboil in fresh water containing a pinch of dissolved allum if desired. (The recipe doesn't say how long so I boiled them for about 15 minutes). Drain again. Make a syrup of 9 cups of sugar and 8 cups of water. Add 2 lemons sliced thin. If desired add some ginger root. (I didn't have any). Put spice bag and rind in and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and boil slowly until tender. (Ok, this took almost 3 hours! When I told my aunt I was making them she told me they took forever to get tender and she wasn't kidding!)

When they are done they will be almost translucent and the syrup will be thick. Pack into clean, sterilized hot jars ( I used 1/2 pint) and seal. I put mine in a water bath for 20 minutes.

They really turned out pretty! The recipe made 8 half pint jars.
I am stopping at the grocery store on my way to the nursing home today and get a couple fresh, hot biscuits and taking a jar of these preserves to Grandma. Hopefully they will taste as good as her mothers.
Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This week as I was looking for an old newspaper clipping about Artists Trading Cards for a friend, I came across this old paper that I had in with my recipe clippings. I have no idea how old it is but judging from the pictures I would guess around 1910 or 1920ish. Maybe older.
(Nancy, I am still looking for that article!)

The recipes are very basic. This is exactly how this recipe reads for Sour-cream Cake

One cup sugar, one cup sour cream, one and one half cups flour and one half teaspoonful soda. Put in small pan and bake quickly.

The paper also goes on to tell how Mrs Gertrude Warner Scott was cured of her kidney trouble with Dr. Kilmers Swamp Root medication. Thats a photo of her above. There are other testimonials of how Dr. Kilmers Swamp Root was the miracle cure for their kidney problems. If you wish to purchase this cure please write to Dr. Kilmer and Co, Binghamton NY and send $1.00.
In the home helps section there is an ad from a Mrs G.H. Fretter from Detroit Michigan that will tell any suffering woman how she cured herself of female weakness at no charge!
But my favorite part of this clipping is the "For Exchange" section. Here is an example of what people wanted to trade:
Miss Florence Ross of Circleville Ohio will trade two braids of fine dark brown hair for dry goods or offers or a recipe to keep jellies from molding for two yards of good outing flannel, any color.
Mrs. M.E. Woodard of Wildrose Wisconsin would like to trade a recipe for reducing flesh for 10 yards of calico or 6 yards of worsted goods.
Ina Hicks of Exray West Virginia will trade a recipe for enlarging the bust and a recipe for making lily face wash, for three yards of good muslin or outing.
Mrs. M Booth of Fall River MA wants to trade one year each of Peoples Home Journal, The Mayflower, Fireside Gems, Golden Moments, and Nichols Monthly for two pairs of black cashmere stockings, size 8, for a child. (Note: I read this one through a couple times trying to decide if she wanted the stockings for the child or if whe would trade the stockings for the child)
Mrs G.W. McCalister of Murdockville PA would like to trade a side saddle for a singing bird.
Mattie Brown of Trenton NJ will trade a course in magnetic healing for any offer.
Mrs. Charles M Hawn of Leo Wyoming wants to trade a corset cover for anything useful.
Mrs Allie Gardner of Palmyra Iowa would like for the lady who suggested eating burnt sponge
for goitre to write to her.
And the list goes on and on.
Reading this clipping is like reading a history book. The history of everyday people, not the history of wars or government or explorers that you learn in school. And that's what interests me most.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Emergency Chocolate Chip Bars

I'm sure that all Moms out there with school age children have had a conversation that goes like this:

Child- I signed up to bring cookies to the teachers banquet.

Me: That's fine. Just remind me in time to buy the ingredients. When do you need them?

Child: Tomorrow!

This conversation took place last night at 8:00 p.m. We live pretty far away from a grocery store so I couldn't just run out and buy cookies, so I pulled out this recipe. It's quick and easy and most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry now.

Chocolate Chip Bars

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 egg slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 c. chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and brown sugar: cut in cold butter until crumbly. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips; press mixture on bottom of ungreased 9x13x2 baking pan.

Bake 15 minutes. Meanshite, in large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips and nuts. Spread evenly over baked crust.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 24 bars.



Monday, May 05, 2008

What's Bloomin' at my house!

I love all the colors on this Josephs Coat rose. Yellow, light pink, dark pink, and a hint of orange all on one rose! I don't remember what this rose is called, somehow the marker disappeared. It has such velvety looking petals.
And this one is called "Angel Face" but I call it Chanin's Angel Face, as my friend Chanin gave me this rose a couple of years ago knowing that purple is my favorite color.
I love, love, love this white Iris!
But this deep purple and white is my very favorite!
Isn't this Lantana pretty! I love the color but I wish I had never planted this! This plant spreads like mint! I have been pulling it up for two years now, and still have plenty! If I ever get it all pulled up I will be planting it henceforth in a pot!
Blessings and Blooms!