Dad

Today marks the eighth anniversary that my earthly father went home to our Heavenly Father.  My dad was a great father, a loving husband to my mother, and most importantly a faithful servant of the Lord.

Thanks for being my Dad!

 

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Thanksgiving


“They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.” Psalm 145:7

Thank you Lord for bringing me so much to be grateful for. And thank you for giving us this holiday to reflect on all those great and marvelous blessings.

Oh, family and our similarities…thank you.

My Bubba, with his Superman curl and silver hair, which are each named April…thank you.

My dogs who patiently wait for their walks while I try to find matching socks…thank you.

For my home, be it messy and dusty it shelters me from the cold and the rain…thank you.

Have a happy and grateful  Thanksgiving!

Blissful Brownies

So this past weekend, Bubba showed his love towards me in the most affectionate and romantic way. A way in which I couldn’t refuse, I was putty in his hands, he was the little red headed girl to my Charlie Brown, the Wesley to my Princess Bride, the Prince Eric to my Ariel (but minus the crabs, their pinchers scare me.) I think you get the picture, the Bubs had done something so extraordinary I just couldn’t resist.

He made me these…

My heart goes pitter-patter just looking at the picture of this long consumed brownie. The batch went so fast I had to snatch this photo of the last corner piece quickly, and then secretly snarf it down before Bubs found out.

The recipe came from our favorite vintage cookbook:

The dust jacket is worn, but the wealth of yummy goodness is still new to us. If you don’t know about the genius that was Helen Corbitt, then follow this wikipedia link. But if you are too lazy to click on the link here’s the run down, Ms. Corbitt was a Yankee who moved to Texas and fell in love with the Lone Star State. The LA Times has stated that Helen Corbitt is “the Julia Child-esque cooking celebrity with a Texas twang”. Which pretty much sums up her writing style and her cooking style. If you find a copy of her cookbook, I’d suggest snapping it up before anyone else does.  I  can guarantee it will be a good read, even if you don’t cook.

If I’ve gotten you so excited you can’t wait to get a hold of this wonderful book filled with many edible delights, here’s the recipe for these foot thumping, ecstasy inducing brownies:

Fudge Brownie Fingers

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
2 squares bitter chocolate, melted
3/4 c. AP flour, sifted
1/2 t. salt
1 c. finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans usual; black walnuts divine)
1 t. vanilla

Beat eggs slightly; add sugar and stir. Add melted butter and chocolate. Mix flour, salt and nutmeats and add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and stir until well blended, but do not beat.

Pour into a well-buttered 9″ pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and cut into 2″ fingers and roll in powdered sugar. Or grab a fork, dig in, and don’t share!! IT’S ALL MINE!!!

Leaves Keep Fallin’

Before fall turns into winter, how about a photo recap of my recent visit to the Rio Grande River?  Out here in the desert we don’t have many trees so we have to go to the nearest water source to see the fall changes. Most of these are Cottonwoods, that are sneezily delicious in the Spring, but bring lots of pretty golds in the fall. Almost makes that Spring runny nose worth it…

Happy Friday everyone!!!

Slim and Trim

Actually, nothing is slim and trim around these parts, except maybe my wallet and the done category of my to-do list. But thankfully,  this past weekend I was able to mark off something from my to-do list, FINALLY! It’s something that’s been festering since I bought the house back in August of 2008 (has it really been that long now?!).

Can you guess what it was?

Probably not, there are a lot of items that still need to be checked off the ol’ to-do list out here. Here’s a hint…

Need some more help? Well, here’s what things have been looking like out here that past 3 years…

And here’s the same view on Sunday…

Yep, I FINALLY painted the trim and porch. I still can’t believe I put it off for so long. It took my entire Saturday, but it was well worth the pride I feel when walking under my porch to enter our humble abode.

Here’s some before and after shots to give you a  better idea of why this little paint job made such a big difference…

The after from the same angle…

She could probably use some caulking to fill in some of the cracks, and a second coat in some spots. But she still looks much better than she did before. It’s amazing what a little lipstick can do for a girl.

The paint is, Wild Sage from Behr (I think), I used a Paint and Primer in one, with a semi-gloss finish. Quite an impressive product, I loved the consistency of the paint, not too runny that it practically drips from your brush or roller before hitting the desired surface but not too thick that it dries out in the tray. (That doesn’t mean that I didn’t end up wearing it.)

I started the process by chipping away the larger and looser chunks of paint. Not too much scrapping though, the wood on my trim is so old it started coming off with the old paint. So, I had to resort to a little bit of sanding to gently remove the debris and chipping paint. Someday we will install new wood trim, but for now the paint makes for a happy but temporary fix.

Ahhh….much better. Now, I can ignore all the other things I need to do to the exterior while I bask in the glow of a newly painted trim.

*Note: I have not been comped by Home Depot or Behr for mentioned their products here on the blog. End Note*

The Secret Garden…Day 3 of Charleston

Day 3 of our Charleston trip started out with our sights set on seeing a real plantation. Until we realized how pricey seeing these things were! One plantation charged a base price of $25 for one adult just to see the grounds, that didn’t include seeing the actual house! So, we went a little further down the road, to Middleton Place. They still charged to see the house and still charged $25 buck-a-roos to see the grounds. But seeing as how we weren’t too keen on driving around all day, and the admission did include a tour of the gardens and stable yards we bit the bullet and shelled over the $50. (The Bubs and I are a little cheapskate-y at times.)

The grounds were beautiful, I wouldn’t say they were worth the $25 each, but they were still enjoyed by all…

There were birds…

And pretty statues…

This one reminded me of the cherubs from Night at the Museum 2, I kept expecting them to break into boy band song. (mmmBop anyone?)

Aside from all the statues and monuments, they had a giant Great Oak…

The trunk was nearly as big as my livingroom, ok, maybe it wasn’t that big, but it was still pretty dang large. Here’s Bubba standing next to it for scale…

The branches were so heavy, they had to be supported to keep from falling over…

Since we didn’t pay the extra $12 a piece to see inside the house, I at least had to take a picture of the outside.

Of course, this isn’t the original plantation house that was first developed in the late 17th century. This house was occupied by Middleton decedents during the 1920’s, if I had taken the tour I could probably tell you more interesting tidbits. But if you are interested, please visit the Middleton Place website here.

Here is what remains of the original mansion…

Between being set on fire during the Civil War and an earthquake there really isn’t much of original house.

But boy did it have a nice view of the river…

There were a few out buildings we could enter, this one is where they processed rice. (The cash crop at Middleton Place was once rice, before it became tourism.)

I loved the old windows…

The grounds were so beautiful they deserve to be mentioned again…

I couldn’t believe the amount of butterflies that fluttered around the joint…

After marveling at the butterfly population we mosied on over to visit the farm animals…

Where we found this friendly goat who insisted that the grass really was greener on the other side.

And this happy duck who cheerfully quacked his way around the yard…

Check out this birdie apartment complex…

There was also an old house that used to house slaves and later former slaves.The last occupant lived there from her birth in 1891 until her death in 1986. The house is called Eliza’s House in her honor. In the house is an exhibit that includes nearly 2600 names of slaves that served at Middleton place in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was quite a compelling exhibit, and this seems to be the only photo I took.

After wandering around the plantation grounds a bit more, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed back downtown to ohh and ahh over some of the architecture of these old and historic buildings.

(Never mind the garbage can, it was a crowed busy street, I did the best I could.)

There were so many churches…

With old cemeteries…

(Maybe we should have named Annie-dog Mary-Annie Dog)

And this secret garden, I loved the stone work used for the driveway.

And finally, this shot of the restaurant where we had the yummy french toast.

After visiting busy downtown, we made one final visit to the beach at sunset. Said goodbye to the sandy shore and roaring ocean, watched a couple become engaged, and marveled at the starry night, as we searched for our car once again.

Our trip to Charleston was so much fun, I’d do it again in heartbeat. But next time I would stay a little closer to town. We ended up staying in North Charleston, which we thought was just the northern part of Old Charleston but turned out to be an entirely different town nearly 20 miles away from where we wanted to be. So, each day required a rather lengthy car ride just to get to the tourist spots. I would also, plan ahead. When we arrived in Charleston we thought we knew what we wanted to see, but once there we couldn’t find any of the attractions. Just poor planning on our part I suppose.

But all in all, a great trip. It was nice to come home though, isn’t that the best part of leaving, the coming back?

Put a ring on it…Day 2 of Charelston

In this post I showed you what the Bubs and I did on day 1 of our get-a-way to Charleston.  Today, let’s re-visit what happened on day 2…

We got a late start on day 2, so we only had the afternoon to tourist around Charleston. We started out at the Citadel, a military college right smack in the middle of town.

Apparently it was a big weekend for the cadets, as the ring ceremony was to be held the following day. There were parents and family of cadets milling about everywhere. Especially around this…

Yes, it’s a giant class ring. I’m not sure who donated it, but I do know that it was made out of the same materials as the actual rings that the cadets receive. The giant ring has a place of honor right at the entrance of the Citadel. See those empty spaces where a year would go? Those will be changed out whenever they have a graduation or a special former cadet pays a visit to his or her alma mater.

Around the parade grounds were displayed several flying objects that I found pretty cool…

Here’s Bubba to give you a better idea of how big these things were…

They also had a tank, for some reason it reminded me of my mom’s car…

Except her car isn’t painted green with white stars…

Aside from cool things that go boom, they also had a really pretty chapel. I couldn’t get enough of the stained glass.

Then we visited the museum on campus, after reading all the placards and looking at all the pictures, I took a photo of this fireplace. But isn’t the stone work pretty?

After grabbing  a couple of sandwiches and some sweet tea at the snack bar, we went to the beach again.

Here’s proof that not only my feet were there…

I still can’t believe I talked him into taking his shoes off in public! He refused to take them off at the car, but insisted on taking shoes and socks off once in the sand, hence the plastic bag.

We happened to be there at the perfect glowy-est time of day…

Being the house crazed gal I am I couldn’t resist capturing a few of the coastal houses as Bubba and I searched for the car. We later learned that each public beach access is numbered. So you must take note of which access you entered.

Check out the screened in porch on this sucker. I’ve never seen a bi-level porch before.

Upon finding the car, we got wonderfully lost again and came upon a sweet country road next to a marsh. There were lots of dog walkers, and everyone said hello. And may have looked at me funny for taking a picture of their road. But look, they have trees!

And a pretty marsh…

After finding our way back to town, we grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant downtown called Toast. It was by far the best meal we’d had since arriving in Charleston. If  I hadn’t been so hungry I would have stopped my noshing to take a picture of my steak sandwich and Bubba’s French Toast. But dinner was too good be bothered with putting my fork down to shoot a few foodie shots.

With our tummies full and our minds set on exploration, we walked around downtown. But again, I didn’t take one single shot of our night time exploring. It was nice to just sit back and enjoy the moment.  And enjoy I did, I didn’t realize how different the South would be compared to the SouthWEST. For instance we came across, a man playing the trumpet in front of a grand looking office building, it was quite romantic. We also came across some pretty awesome houses, I can’t believe they’ve been standing for so long. But you’ll see those later when I cover what we saw on day 3 of our trip to Charleston. Relax, we were only there for 3 full days, so the next installment of April’s virtual vacation slide show will be the last.

Hope you enjoy!!!

I’m Crabby…

In the midst of attempting do a 31 day series, the Bubba and I snuck off for a little getaway. This little getaway must have been the demise of my series  since upon my return I found it impossible to get back into the daily blogging habit.  Honestly, though it was a sacrifice I would be willing to make again, this trip was long awaited for and much needed.

Where did we go you ask? Here’s a few hints…

If you haven’t guessed, we went to the coast, the South Carolina coast, Charleston to be exact. It’s a beautiful place, full of smiling faces… 🙂

Our first day in Charleston we visited Fort Moultrie, where according to Wikipedia, the entire 171 year old US coastal defense can be traced…

I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say it’s really old and has tons and tons of stories to tell. So, if you are interested, visit this Wikipedia link.

I have a feeling when this fort was being used to defend Charleston, it wasn’t this well manicured.

I loved all the archways, even though this structure was built to be utilitarian the architecture is still beautiful.

But man, were those passageways small. We must be really big, or people back then must have been really small. Here’s Bubba inadvertently modeling how small this passageways really are…

This came out very blurry, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to document the amount of gun powder that was stored in this room. Wouldn’t want to let off Roman Candle near that stash!

Aside from things that go BOOM, there were lots of cool little details to capture too…

After visiting the Fort, we got some lunch at a not so great BBQ joint. Guess I’m a Texas BBQ girl, since I wasn’t a great fan of the thin sauce. Give me a nice thick tomato based BBQ sauce and brisket that’s been smoked for hours, and I’m a happy camper. Although, given time I may have grown accutomed to it. But I had the same reaction to something new as Annie dog would have…WOOF.

Aside from the BBQ I wasn’t too fond of, we finally got to see the beach…

And Bubba being the sweet man he is waited patiently as I snapped photos…

After the beach, we wandered over to a large park run by the county. At first we were slightly perturbed by the $1 per person entrance fee, but once we got in the fee made perfect sense. And by the way, it’s totally worth a $1!

See those holes in the sand there, well these guys were crawling out of them…

Don’t they look like roaches? Thankfully, the blue crabs that people were catching to eat were so much prettier. If I had thought to take a photo of someone’s catch you would see that here. Just in case you don’t know what a blue crab looks like, here’s one I found on the interwebs.

via Culinate

That pretty much sums up day 1 of our trip to Charleston. Aren’t you glad that’s over with? Well, if you didn’t enjoy today’s post then you probably won’t enjoy the recap of days 2-4! Stay tuned!

All Hallows Eve

Or three days after all hallows eve….

In our ‘hood we tend to get a lot of trick-or-treaters, it could drive one batty…

Forgive my 1/2 painted trim. It’s on the big to do list!

Doesn’t the shabby trim make it look even spookier? Maybe I won’t paint it just so our little casa and stay spook-tacular for next year!

The harvest pretties generally stay up from September till after Thanksgiving, so they are usually more substantial than poster board bats and fake cobwebs from last year.  But the bats go well with my wreath no?