Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Spring!

I found several patches of these in my front yard.  Today is a sunny, mild day, blue skies with white cumulus clouds.  I even saw a couple of people wearing shorts.  Think that may be a stretch.  But it is nice to have sunny, warmer weather.  It has been a long winter in New York State.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Zucchini with pizzazz

Here's a new idea to make zucchini more exciting.  Combine fresh chopped cherry tomatoes, crushed garlic, and olive oil.  Pour over cooked zucchini.  I tried this last night and it's delicious!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Busy weekend

Got a lot done this weekend.  Cleaned my guns, shoveled the backyard (dog owners will understand that one), ran the car through the car wash, laundry, a little house cleaning, had my appointment for getting my taxes prepared.  Still managed to watch a lot of March Madness.  Folks, if you don't like basketball, you don't know what you're missing.  There have been a lot of really close, exciting games.  And I had two whole days of not having to turn the alarm on!

Tomorrow is back to work for another work week.  Have a good week!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New picture of Morgan

Those who have been privileged to own a Labrador Retriever will appreciate my statement, "Here is the latest picture of Morgan.  Yes, it is not the best. . . but could you do any better with a Lab puppy that can't be still for more than a split second?"

I'll be the first to tell you that owning a Lab can be gut wrenching, frustrating, rewarding, life changing, and the best choice you ever made!  When you come home after a long day at work dealing with political correctness and office politics, and this hyperactive Lab just can't wait to jump on you and let you know you are the best thing that has happened to her. . . well, how can you go wrong?

Morgan is 7 months old right now and swings like a pendulum going from "aren't I cute and lovable" to "what can I do to screw up your day more?"  Kind of reminds me of raising twin boys. . . there were times I questioned my sanity at deciding to have children.  But a lot more times that I was glad I did!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Salsa recipe I can get excited about

For a long time, I didn't care for salsa.  This is most likely due to the fact that the only salsa I ever had came off a grocery store shelf.  Then I started poking around for homemade recipes.  Here is one I really like.

Fresh Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

4 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
2 cups dried black beans, cooked in salted water until tender, cooled
1 cup diced red onion
1 large fresh jalapeno, seed and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients.  Stir well.  Chill

Serve on corn tortilla chips

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cousins' Reunion pictures

This was truly a wonderful, fun-filled reunion.  I am grateful to all my cousins for making this reunion each year a priority on their schedule.  We all lead busy lives, with a lot of commitments.  But we manage to find one day on our calendars that we can put aside to get together.

Remember, you can click on each picture for a larger view.

This picture shows each of the cousins from oldest on the left (me!) to the youngest.  From left to right, me, Bruce, Pam, the space in the middle is in memory of our cousin, Paul, who died in 1961 at the age of 9, Kenny, Debbie, and Richard.

Some of us arrived in town on Thursday afternoon.  On Friday morning, we drove over to the property where we hold the reunion each year, only to be stunned by this huge hole where the road had washed out.  We had no choice but to carry our gear the next 100 yards or so to where we set up.  We arranged to have several wheel barrows on Saturday to carry the gear. . . made the task a LOT easier!

This shows the narrow walkway we had to get around the hole.  

Here I am with one of my favorite toys.  Did I mention I love target shooting?

Oh, my gosh.  A lot of memories here.  These are the "Morgans from Pensacola!" From left to right, Ashley (Bruce's daughter), then next, cousins Debbie, Richard, and Bruce.  On the end is Lindsey, Bruce's daughter.  When Bruce, Debbie, Richard and I were growing up in Pensacola, "way back in the day", it was hard to imagine that we would one day be old enough to have adult children.

The "Jacksonville-Area Contingent."  From left to right, Kenny, his wife, Bobbie, Aunt Ileen, Pam, and our adopted cousin, Sandy.  Can you believe it?  Pam is 60+ and look at her!  She could pass for 30 any day of the week.

How did I end up without a picture of Rita and Kip?  Rita is our second cousin and Kip is her husband.  They are, what is known in Alabama as, "a house divided."  Rita is an Alabama Crimson Tide fan, you know, the one that won the National Championship in football this year, and Kip owes allegiance to that other school, I think it's called Auburn.

Yes, it was really a great time.  Thanks, cousins, for being there.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cousin's Reunion, 5th edition, Ugh!

What a day!  Had an "adventure" this morning. . . going back in time to the 1950's!  I had gone to the local Walmart yesterday to try to buy ammo - those of you who are gun enthusiasts know that ammo is hard to come by now.  Walmart didn't have what I wanted so they gave me the name of a gun shop "way out yonder!"  So I called the owner and he did, indeed, have the calibers I wanted.  Writing down the directions he gave me told me I was going way out in a backwoods area.  Hhmm. . . need to get someone to go with me.  Aunt Ileen volunteered.  Not sure how much protection a 91 year old lady could offer, but anyway.  So off we went, carefully following the directions the man gave me.  When we arrived, well, I'm not sure what I expected. . . but this quaint little place was quite a sight.  It reminded me of my Aunt Dot and Uncle Millard's store from back in the 40's, 50's, and 60s.  A tiny, humble grocery store.  Three men were sitting around a small round table with a laptop.  Somehow, the laptop seemed out of place in this picture!

"Hi!  I just talked with you on the phone," I said.

"Come on in!" this Southern gentleman said.  "Let's go to the gun shop."  It was a small area off the grocery store.

"This is my Aunt Ileen," I began.  "She will be 91 this year!"  That was all the introduction Ileen needed.  She quickly found a captive audience for conversation!

So I made my purchase and we were on our way.  I would have loved to take a picture of the inside and outside of this little shop, but was afraid I may offend these nice gentleman.  It was truly like stepping back in time, out in the middle of no where!!!  The outside front of the building had a large cartoon cowboy with two guns in his hands with the caption, "We shoot."

We drove the 10 miles back into town and packed up to go over to the property where we hold our reunion every year.  "Oh, no!"  This can't really be happening.  About halfway back into the little trail that leads to where we set up, the road was washed out totally.  Just last year, we paid a man to replace the culvert under the road.

There was no other alternative than to carry the absolute necessities (guns, ammo, food) the rest of the way.  Man, am I beat right now.  Tomorrow is the big reunion.  We are expecting another 3 people than what we had today.  I left one of them a voice mail asking if they could bring a wheel barrow.

You just never know what will happen when you get the Morgan clan together!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cousins' reunion, edition 5, day 1

No pictures for this post.  Today was all about covering as many miles as I could. After 11+ hours on the road, I am in a Hampton Inn just south of Louisville, a little more than 600 miles.  I'm tired!

Tomorrow I will arrive in the small Alabama town where my father was born and raised and where my grandparents had a cotton farm.  This will be our fifth cousins' reunion.  We gather every Spring and just have a grand time "at the pond."  The property my grandparents owned had been in both their families since the 1800's when it was deeded from the government.  It has been passed down to each generation.

Most of us enjoy target shooting and trading stories that get bigger every year!  There will be Kenny and his wife, Bobbie, Aunt Ileen (she's 90 this year!), and Pam, all from the Jacksonville area.  From Pensacola, where I was born and raised, Debbie, Bruce, and Richard.  And from Andalusia, Rita and her husband Kip.

It is worth the long two day drive from upstate New York for the fun and laughs we share.  I find myself laughing along the way as I think of what lies ahead over the next few days.  It is a time to throw political correctness out the door and forget about the stress and trouble in our lives and in our nation.

I just hope Morgan doesn't run off the sitter before I get home.

See you soon, Cousins!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been using homemade laundry detergent for a little more than a week and the results have been very good.

I have a high efficiency washer so I have to be careful what I use in it.  This recipe is approved for he machines.  Laundry comes out of the dryer smelling clean and fresh.

  • a half bar of Fels Naphtha soap (one cup when grated)
  • 1/2 cup of Arm and Hammer washing soda (not baking soda)
  • 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax

Grate the soap and combine all the ingredients.  I made two batches of this in no time and it lasted me more than a week and I do a lot of laundry.

For small loads, use one tablespoon in the wash.
For medium loads, two tablespoons
For large or especially grimy laundry, three tablespoons

I use full strength vinegar for fabric softener and no, it does not leave a vinegar smell on your clothes!!!

All of these ingredients can be found in the laundry section at your grocery store.

It cost me literally pennies to do laundry for a week!

There are lots of recipes for this on the internet.  If you have used other recipes, I'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Way to go, Andrew!

My grandson, Andrew, placed third in the Cub Scouts District Pinewood Derby Race today!  In the Pinewood Derby, the Scout designs and builds his race car from a block of pine.  Winners in the troop level move on.

Gramma is proud of you, Andrew.