Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Ca. 1970, Our Firstborn's Bedroom


I don't remember if the orange walls were my idea or his but I do remember that his bedroom even then reflected his many interests: science, model airplanes, Lego masterpieces, hermit crabs and guinea pigs. At two he was taking apart his robots and putting them together again. 

Did he love orange or did I, which is a possibility as I still do. Here's a current picture of his old bedroom found on Zillow showing that the original Armstrong flooring I chose is still there on the floor over 50 years later. This was not a flat printed pattern; you could run your finger around each raised embossed circle. 

You're probably thinking "What was she thinking?" but I still think it was kind of cool and the homeowners did leave it all these years. Our little boy loved it.

He grew up to be my next-door neighbor at Valley View for sixteen years and repaired and mended anything I needed fixing and came down the hill for coffee almost every morning. You better believe I miss that!

Today his interests are still many and varied, from collecting and repairing vintage classic radios to his own geiger counter virtual museum channel on YouTube. Instead of hermit crabs, a passel of Chihuahuas share the home. 

Every year for his birthday he asked for a Hershey Bar Cake, a dense chocolate cake that needs no icing other than a little powdered sugar. 

The recipe is here, straight from Hershey land itself.

For some reason I made the cake this summer for him instead of waiting until his birthday and he came and picked it up.

This time I used a tube pan instead of my bundt pan.

Here's a family trivia note, over the years I collected vintage Hershey cocoa tins and one year I received a Hershey Christmas house from my dear neighbors that proudly was displayed each Christmas. When RH and I downsized and moved, we passed on all my Christmas houses to various family members and naturally all my Hershey collection went to my neighbors. We just don't have room for my Christmas villages here at Home Hill but I still miss arranging all of them.

When my firstborn's birthday came up this fall I wasn't in the mood to make another Hershey Bar Cake so I asked him what I could fix instead and the request was for Chicken Tetrazzini. I forgot to take a picture but I always make at least two from my old Southern Sideboard cookbook when I make it so here's a picture from another time.

And then the following week I decided I just had to bake some kind of cake for my boy and made a fall favorite, Mrs. Collins' Sweet Potato Cake from an old newspaper recipe. He generously shared half the cake with me and his dad.

No link for the delicious recipe but here's a picture of the recipe. I used my favorite Greek olive oil instead of the vegetable oil it called for and liked it even better.

I have to admit that even though the orange floor in our firstborn's bedroom remained through the years, the orange walls did not. I'll close by showing a picture of its change when he was a few years older.

It probably fitted in more with the current style then but looking back at it now it doesn't seem nearly as much fun as those orange walls. 

That boy though? Now he and our daughter-in-law have grandchildren themselves and he still scores two F's. 

Fun and Fascinating! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Goodbye October with a little bit of Halloween


My few Halloween touches will come down tomorrow. Always a dachshund and corgi family, this Halloween card from Zack years ago seemed to be the exact image of our dear Penelope who we lost not long after I started blogging in 2012. She comes out every October along with treasured hand-painted cards from daughter-in-law Wallace. 

Zack recently had a birthday and as always he requested his birthday pie, a peanut butter cream. I used to make a homemade graham cracker crust for it but lately just buy one from Keebler. This year it shattered but Zack still loved it.

He also asked for deviled eggs so I sent him some of those, using my old standby recipe from a Mary Emerling cookbook.

And from the freezer a tuna fish casserole I'd put away for him when I made one for our own supper one night.

Can you tell I'm a paprika kind of girl here? 

Here's another old Halloween card that comes out each year, one from our daughter Christy.

I meant to show a picture of a beautiful vase of flowers Christy brought us when she was here earlier.

I loved those gorgeous purples! And kept enjoying her flowers as time went by and I broke them up into little arrangements all over the house. Here's a little one I put in my bedroom.

And naturally I had to save the roses to dry.

In the morning I'll change that cute October page on the calendar my daughter gives me each Christmas. Even though I look forward to my favorite month of the year, November, I'll miss my cute pumpkin and bats on my bedside table. 

Down will also come the bat hanging in my kitchen, part of a Halloween card Christy sent us many years ago.

Can you spot him? 

Here's one new gift that will come out each autumn to be enjoyed, a Fresh Cut Paper bouquet from my sister Deb that arrived during supper of our 62nd wedding anniversary!

It was such a fun surprise and we have enjoyed it at every meal!

Halloween is a little tame at our house these years but I do take a childish pleasure in it. Maybe because I have so many memories of fun Halloweens growing up and then of those with our children when they were still at home. We even had two grandsons growing up next door to us at Valley View who visited us in their costumes.

I've enjoyed seeing pictures online of our two granddaughters in their costumes today, one as the Mouse Scout and her big sister as, of all things, a Starbucks drink created by their mother Wallace, including silky whipped cream on top!

I've needed these sweet tugs on my heart this week, in a time when hearts are so heavy with the news, in addition to having another daughter-in-law lose her father this week. She and her four sisters and their mother are grieving at this unexpected loss. 

So I'll take a little Halloween cuteness gladly and look forward to the holiday season coming up, every minute of it. And I'm very glad to report that I followed the advice of a blog friend and tried switching my browser to Chrome and like magic all my sign-in problems on my blogs were fixed! I can even comment on my own blogs now and imagine that I will be able to on others as well.

Please be well and safe! 

Love to all,

Friday, October 13, 2023

An Anniversary and Family News

 Hello dear family and friends,

On September 19th at our annual exam we learned that RH's heartbeat was irregular. After seeing his cardiologist we were told that he was in full-blown AFIB and a cardioversion was scheduled for October 2nd, with possible open heart surgery if the cardioversion failed due to the other serious heart condition RH has been treated for during the last 20 years.

This possibility turned our world upside down but we were immediately wrapped in the prayers and support of our family. All four of our kids were here the day before to be with us, our daughter flying in and stopping by Whole Foods on her way to our house to bring dinner.

Next our three sons arrived, one from out of town.

This picture of our kids means the world to us! 

RH doesn't look sick here but he had been a very tired guy lately.

After our delicious supper we cleared the table for some distracting hands of Texas Hold 'Em, accompanied by some sweet and hilarious memories of childhood, and a round of admissions to mom and dad of stories we'd never before heard. Groundings were immediately issued.

Everyone left by nine so the old folks could get to bed. It had been an anxious night made much easier by the presence of our precious daughter and sons.

Early the next morning our daughter came to pick up her dad, two of our sons met them at the hospital, and our youngest son came to stay with me as it was better for me to stay home. It wasn't an easy decision but I had my guy's promise..."I'll be back."

Although ten people were in the operating room in case of emergency open heart surgery, our daughter got the call to go to the recovery room where the doctor reported a perfect one shock only needed to restart RH's heart.

Here's our daughter with her brothers when they got the news, happiness showing on their faces.


RH kept his promise to me and indeed he came back!

It was simply amazing how soon they were able to bring our woozy guy home, mainly with instructions to guard against falling for the next 24 hours as the anesthesia wore off, and reasonable carefulness for the following week. He'd been put on Eliquis the week before but other than that his instructions were not to drive for 24 hours and to rest.

Of course we all pretty much spoiled him rotten but he seems no worse for that either. He's minded me pretty well since the kids left for home, in fact I have to say that the days since have been some of the happiest ever.

And, drum roll, today on Friday October 13, 2023 we're celebrating 62 years of marriage. (62 years ago was also a Friday the 13th.)

Although RH and I have been deeply saddened and horrified by the news this past week of the terror attacks on families in Israel, and our prayers remain with Israel, and much else seems trivial compared to that, I wanted to record here the precious gift our family received by RH being restored to us.

We are so grateful for the gift of life and our family.


  P.S. I'm not sure this post will publish as I can't seem to sign in to my blogs even though I've signed out and back in over and over. And I just tried publishing comments on other blogs and it won't let me, even when I try to anonymously. 

I can't even leave a comment here on an old post of mine! Help, does anyone have any advice?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Feeling Overwhelmed


I am feeling overwhelmed. Today is officially Autumn and I wanted very much to post something, anything, for the first day of my favorite season of the year. 

I know I had files on my desktop ready for Autumn in late September but in a spirit of creativeness a week ago I practically covered up my desktop with possible future files to post and my screen is wall to wall files.

Do you ever do that? It drives my son Daniel crazy when he sees Mama do this! 

It's been a busy and yes, stressful week, but also one that makes me feel that one of the roads back to normality and enjoying this special time I look forward to all year is NOT dropping out of the blog world this time. 

And so my way back and out of feeling overwhelmed is to at least post a fall picture and this one from Autumn at Valley View where my kitchen looked serene and simple was the one.

Maybe another day soon I'll be able to untangle my desktop files and find something to blog about. Meanwhile I wish peace and serenity to everyone in this beautiful season called Autumn.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

What is it?



Care to take a guess before reading further?


It was our supper one July night of 2022 that I never posted. July is past again but I'm posting it now as July of 2024 is too far away to risk waiting again.



We had this odd meal with french bread and smoked salmon leftover from the salmon RH usually smokes for Independence Day.


That's a tiny oil painting I did almost 50 years ago inspired by Childe Hassam's flag paintings. It comes out every July and goes back in the cupboard in September.

But what is in my glass soup bowl?


The soup is cucumber and the two red circles in it are Watermelon Gelée, both recipes by Greg Atkinson, chef and proprietor of Restaurant Marché on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

I couldn't find a recipe link for the typed copy I've had in my files for years and can't remember where I first found it. The Watermelon Gelée was delicious but the next time I make the cucumber soup I'll use Vincent Price's recipe as it really needs Vincent's cream, chicken broth, and a leek to enhance its flavor. 

The gelée--pronounced huh-ley--has 3 cups of watermelon chunks, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice pureed, strained, 1/2 cup of the liquid put in a saucepan and 1 envelop of gelatin sprinkled over it. Soften 5 minutes then put saucepan on high heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved and juice begins to boil. [I stirred in some Trader Joe's Chili Lime seasoning.]

Put a pinch of black sesame seeds in each of 4 paper cups [or foil cupcake liners] then stir the hot gelatin mixture into the remaining juice and distribute evenly between the four cups, over the sesame seeds. Chill till firmly set then tear the foil away from the gelée and put on top of the cold cucumber soup. 


This was a fun and pretty meal so I hope you'll understand why I didn't want to waste my year old pictures. My room in the picture above has had some small changes this summer when I began taking some things away from it. I moved all the Blue Delft and Royal Copenhagen out of the room and put it all into the 10 x 12 room outside our bedrooms that I call the antechamber where I have more blue and white china.

Two more pictures  to show. You can't have a light meal such as this without having a good dessert.


 This delicious thing was a Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed-Blueberry Sauce from Bon Appetit that I did find a link for. Here!

Be sure and notice the pretty vintage silver spoons I used. They're monogramed but I've never been able to figure out what the initial is. 


 Are you ever tempted to cook an odd recipe? I do it all the time even though sometimes they don't turn out well and RH says: "Why don't you just cook your old recipes that we know we like?"

I ask you, "Where's the fun in that?"


Saturday, September 2, 2023

"No Time Like the Pleasant"

 Once again I've been inattentive to my dear old Window, something that always seems to happen in the summer. 

While I had stacks of posts meant for June, July, and August, it's always difficult to know what to post when I do return.

And so this time, at the end of the summer months, here's a Kitchen Window picture that exemplifies sunshine at this favorite place in my home.


My large kitchen window is the view I try to picture when the 2 a.m. gremlins do their best to keep me awake after a bathroom trip. 

I know this window will be there waiting to welcome me when I get up in the morning to let BreeBree and James Mason out to go potty, where I stand drinking a glass of water while they're outside in the garden.

It will mark another day made exceptional by the sheer grace of being alive.

Take that, you nasty 2 a.m. gremlins!


I'll leave you with wishes that your summer has been full of pleasant days and with this quotation I love that I found in one of my vintage magazines:

There is no time like the pleasant.

I found this delightful sentence by Oliver Herbert in Ladies' Home Journal of August 1952. 

Mr. Herbert, a true gentleman author of the early 1900's, a gift from England to America, was known for his pithy bons mots, and Amen to this one.

Being completely absent to that talent I very much admire those who possess the talents of brain and tongue issuing a bon mot. After learning about Mr. Herbert's books that he both wrote and illustrated, I would like to become more acquainted with him.

My very best to my family and friends who visit here, all of whom are the pleasantest!   

There truly is "no time like the pleasant," right? 



Tuesday, June 6, 2023

What A Family!

Those dear faces! 

I love each and every one of them! 

All there recently to help celebrate my birthday.



It was a rare treat for me to go out to a nice restaurant. RH and I just don't get out nights much anymore and we stick pretty close to home instead of going downtown. 

The staff at The Optimist in Nashville served us the delicious seafood they're known for. I wish I had a picture of a granddaughter eating her first raw oyster, and then the second and third!

I felt as if I were Julia Child in her first French restaurant in the movie Julie & Julia as the browned butter pecan whole flounder was expertly deboned for me.

I think three of us ordered this dish while one ordered scallops with sweet corn and bacon vinaigrette, one ordered the New England lobster roll, and quite a few ordered the dry aged Kansas City strip with ramp butter.

The kitchen even fixed a chicken dish for this sweet young lady...

And soon we left with take home desserts, mine being a yummy chocolate pudding cake enjoyed before an early bedtime for a very tired birthday girl.

And the next day brought another gift when my granddaughter, above, and her mom and dad gifted me with this...

That's not a photo op, friends! This little one worked for hours with her dad scrubbing the siding and railing and floor on our front porch and across the front of the house as well as washing windows. 

And she claimed it was fun! She's always outside at home helping her dad and mom with yard care.


Tree limbs and holly bushes got trimmed away from the roof and hauled away.


I couldn't get a good picture of my daughter-in-law because she was bent over for hours weeding the front beds and planting seeds and pots of plants that RH hadn't got around to.


Even big sister helped out when she wasn't helping her Mimi inside!


I couldn't believe how much they all got done to help us with so much that needed doing. My front porch alone was an answered prayer and I'll try to do a post later on about that but here is one picture of my clean front porch that has been greatly decluttered now of my vintage primitive collection that had grown out of bounds until there was hardly any place to sit. 


But it was the back garden that everyone gathered in that late afternoon after more family arrived. 



I took this garden picture the next afternoon when I was in the kitchen and looked out and saw all the garden chairs pulled to the sunny patio and wished so much that I had taken one the day before of all the people who sat in the chairs.

We all talked for hours, laughing at old family stories, and going inside to the kitchen to sample food--I'd baked a double recipe of biscuits, roasted pork tenderloin, and made a green bean casserole, all thrown together while my helpers worked in the front yard.

RH had worked for days in the garden after we'd visited the family nursery down the street from our old house that was having a 25% off sale. I spent my Christmas money and some of my birthday money on pots of annuals in bloom for the added color I craved as well as herbs and pepper plants for the kitchen porch. 

Below is a picture of this garden spot when we moved here seven years ago when there was nothing but grass and trees and a few bushes. The sunflowers covered the old well.

RH has given me this gift of a garden to look out over while I'm working in my kitchen and a place for us to sit and talk and watch BreeBree and James Mason play. 

And I thank him continuously for that. 

I know this is far too long but it was my birthday and so I'll show you two more pictures taken inside my office where my daughter and grandson kept me company after granddaughters and their parents got back on the road to drive home, always an emotional time for me.

Here's a picture of my handsome first grandson and me, and my lack of smile is because I hadn't brushed my teeth yet after eating, not because I was as sad as I look.


They did coax a smile out of me for this one with my beautiful darling daughter.

We had an hour to visit some more before she and our son-in-law had to leave for the airport. And there was a special birthday gift from her that took me completely by surprise. I'll share that with you when the third part of her three-part birthday gift arrives soon by mail. 

A hint about what it is: it has to do with blogging. But no, you'd never guess it so you'll just have to wait.

I stretched out celebrating my birthday the whole month of May and now I'm stretching it out into June! 

Many thanks to my dear blog friends who left me birthday wishes in my last post. They blessed my heart!

And my thanks and love to my wonderful family, every one of you. You made it a birthday to remember!