Monday, November 26, 2012


Well it appears that the beautiful fall season has finally arrived here in south Georgia.  Husband suggested I grab my camera and snap a couple of pictures of our crepe myrtles whose leaves had turned delightful autumnal shades.  So I did!  Here are a couple of my shots.  Don't you just love the fall colors!?

Despite the chilly weather, my hydrangeas are still holding on, and blooming like crazy!
Ope!  And look, it's Bing!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


For a period of time while I was growing up, from around the ages of 10 to 18, my family experienced more loss than any family should ever have to experience.  During this time, it was middle of the night phone calls that we each dredded so much.  I discintly remember several times between those ages, being woken up by the house phone ringing in the middle of the night.  I remember the tight chested, "oh please not another" feeling that accompanied those horrible rings.  My sister and I would meet at my parents door, take a deep breath, and walk in their room to receive the news.  It was never good.  Never. 
But for the past several years, there was a small respite.  We had several close calls, but thankfully the seemingly constant flow of funerals and used tissues and 2AM phone calls were not as frequent anymore.  It was a blessing.  But the past couple of weeks, it seems as though our cycle is returning.  You see, we lost my great aunt Barbara two weeks ago.  Her husband was one we lost during those bad years.  I am glad she is with him now, but it hurts that she's no longer with us.  She was such a loving woman, who you always knew was thinking about you and praying for you.  I hurt for my grandfather having to bury his sister that he loved so much.  I hurt for our family that is spread across several states.  We joked during those 8 years that funerals had become our family reunions.  I heard that her funeral was like that, a reunion of family members who hadn't seen each other in a while.  I'm sad that I missed it.  I'm even sadder that they had to see each other on those terms. 
And then yesterday I got a call that our dear family friend, Sandy, was killed in a car accident.  Someone ran a stop sign and hit her, it was instantaneous.  I'm glad she felt nothing, I'm glad she's with her loved ones she had lost.  I'm not glad that she's gone from this world though.  You see, Sandy was one of those people that always made you smile.  She was so positive and unwavering.  I used the word steadfast to describe her to someone yesterday, and I think that's a pretty great word for her.  She was steadfast in her faith, in her life, and in her friendships.  She always had my family's back, during hard times and good.  I will always be grateful for that, and for the wonderful friend she was to my mother.  In a world where true friends are hard to come by, she was a true gem, and will be so incredibly missed.
My sister said on facebook yesterday, that during these times it is a wonderful thing to say "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus."  And while the pain of their loss is still very real, and while we may not understand why the Lord let them be taken from us, we can rest in the fact that we don't have to understand, we don't have to feel that pain alone.  It might be hard to trust in the Lord during times of sorrow, but friend, I can tell you it is much easier to trust Him than to handle it alone. 
Please pray for my family, for Mr. John who is Mrs. Sandy's husband and for their family.  And give your loved ones an extra hug today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vanilla Sugar Tutorial

Sorry for that extended little break I took this week!  Trying to get back in the swing of things, so here's a little tutorial for you guys!  I heard the other day about Vanilla Sugar.  Quite a simple concept, and even simpler to execute.  So I looked up a little information about it and made some for some hostesses at a dinner party I was attending.  I had some left over that I have been putting in my weekend coffee, and it adds an extra bit of goodness!  So, without further ado, the embarrassingly simple tutorial on making your own Vanilla Sugar:

1.  Buy vanilla beans.  You'll pay a ridiculous amount of money for these if you buy them from the local grocery store.  I know, because I procrastinated and that's what I had to do.  So do yourself a favor and order them online.

2.  Cut one vanilla bean in half.  Next, slice the vanilla bean very carefully with a very sharp knife, sort of like bean surgery.  Don't cut all the way through, just halfway so that you can spread it open.  

3.  Next, scrape the little caviar-esque beans from the bean pod with the tip of your knife.  I didn't get a picture of this because I have a good reason I just didn't, ok?!  Oh, and don't throw away these pods!  They will be reunited with their offspring shortly.

4.  Put 2 cups of sugar in a food processor.  Don't have a food processor?  No worries!  I'll address that in a minute.

5.  Add the beans which you just scraped out of the pod into the processor with your sugar.  

6.  Turn that sucker on!  Just let it go for a couple of minutes until it looks all blended.  Alright, if you don't have a food processor, just use your fingers to mash and mix the beans into the sugar.  You want a little bit of the bean oil to mix in with the sugar, so really give it a stirring.  

7.  Once it's all mixed, pour your Vanilla Sugar into a jar, container, plastic bag, whatever you can find to put it in!  That's clean, I mean.  

8.  Take those little bean pods which you sliced open, apologize for your vivisection (don't Google that word, you'll get some gross pictures of dissected frogs and stuff), and nestle them down in the sugar.  The bean pods give it a little extra flavor.  

9.  Enjoy in your favorite coffee or use in baked goods.  Or give it as a gift!  But be sure to tell the receiver what it is, lest they think you gave them sugar with bugs in it.

Notes:  The longer the sugar sits, the better it tastes.  (Two weeks is recommended).  Once the sugar gets low, just toss some more sugar in the container and shake.  The oil from the beans makes the sugar turn into clumps sometimes, so give it a stir every now and then.

Told you it was simple!  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day!

Hope you guys voted today!  I did early voting last week, and thankfully didn't have to go to the busy polls today.  Eager to see the results!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mule Day 2012!

Yesterday Timothy, myself, and Mr. Tim (my father-in-law) went to Mule Day one town over in Calvary.  Mule Day is a huge one day festival, with hundreds of vendors and food trucks.  Thousands of people from all over the south travel to this festival each year.  It's a huge deal down here, and always proves to be an interesting day.  Below are some highlights of this year's Mule Day.
The Parade.  The Mule Day parade usually includes several local school marching bands, men on huge tractors, and hundreds of people on horses.  These horses' "deposits" make traversing that road after the parade quite a smelly affair. 
You can kind of see the marching band trumpets in the middle of this picture.
The Chicken Show.  Yes, there are performing chickens at Mule Day.  They even had a chicken who played the piano. 
 The crowd.  Ok, so this is not exactly a positive.  Especially when it is really really hot and some people don't understand the necessity of deodorant.  Also, hellloooo passive aggressive mothers with strollers.  I about lost all of my toes thanks to you.
Freshly ground Mule Day cornmeal.  I see some yummy cornbread in our future.
Delicious apple butter.  Just had some of this on some biscuits.  Yum!
The cane syrup making.  Cannot imagine how much literal sweat went into the 
making of this syrup. 
And that was Mule Day 2012!  You guys should come next year!