Sunday, November 30, 2008

Unique Thanksgiving Adventure

After my darling husband had given a toast to his parents, thanking them for their example and service to the Lord for having served a mission and currently hosting a portion of their posterity for dinner, we indulged in all the delicacies of Thanksgiving dinner, including conversation.  
I inquired, "What is something fun, unique, that we all can do?"  
(A few years ago, Perry had rented this double decker bus, imported from England, for the family to visit William Faulkner's home and drive around the town square and have a tour of Oxford.  It was great!)

At this years Thanksgiving table, I was sitting almost directly across from Rachel, a sophomore at Ole Miss, who exclaimed, "I know!  We can go to Graceland Too!!!"
I, a Northerner, asked, "What is that?"
"It's a knock off of Graceland."
"I said, "Surely it is not open Thanksgiving evening."
Rachel enthusiatically and determinedly replied, "He is open 24/7!"
I love an adventure so I declared, "Okay, let's go.  I'm in."
We then strategically went around the table, one by one, getting everyone on the Elvis Train.
So, after dinner, boogie leaf boarding and either napping or hide and seeking, it was time to go to Holly Springs, Mississippi.
No one had "Blue Suede Shoes" but cousins Ricky and Lydia had the coolest red chucks!

The moment we drove up, there was an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Mind you, I said I like an adventure, but a relatively safe one.  I was practically hiding behind the suburbans as I took this photo of the brave ones approaching the front door.  My husband was the one who actually rang the bell...the leader of the pack.  Oh, ye brave man. 
Upon entering, paying our $5.00 and wishing Paul MacLeod a "Happy Thanksgiving!" we were standing in Graceland Too.  (In hindsight, had I known how he must live, I so wish we had taken him a plate overflowing with Thanksgiving dinner.)  I myself am not an Elvis fan, but Paul sure is.  His entire life is devoted to Elvis.  

I think I can very safely declare that every square inch of space is filled with Elvis "stuff." Paul has spent an enormous amount of time and energy curating his space.  The above photo is of a ceiling. 
Here, wall-to-wall records and jackets.  
Here's part of the clan signing a shirt.  Rachel had signed it upon her first visit, so of course, we needed to join her in leaving a part of us in this collection.  (Yes, I admit, I signed it too.)  I feel badly writing this but it was part of the experience...oh, the smell.  And Paul's dentures...moving and slipping in and out as he spoke...and the breath.)  Enough!  Seka, are you still with me?  And he spoke so fast, like an auctioneer, with a Southern accent...I hardly could understand him.  I do remember something about Graceland Too "being more spectacular than the Vatican."
I recall thinking in this room, as I stood in the way, way back, that three short weeks ago, Perry and Frances had been missionaries, and now we had gotten them into this adventure.
After many rooms overstuffed with Paul's vast collection, including padlocked trunks stacked along the perimeter and in the center of each room, we were released into his backyard.
Just as scary.  But, oh, at least we could breathe!  It is a takeoff of "Jailhouse Rock" complete with a homemade electric chair and bob-wired fencing everywhere. We were all preTTy scared. Here are cousins Seth and Emily hanging on for dear life.  I will always remember, as we were standing, rooted to this spot, Lydia, almost hissing at her older sister Rachel, "What were you thinking bringing us here?!!" 
In this same spot, college Cousin Ricky boldly stated, "This is enough to make me start writing a journal!"  (Our car did stop on the return trip home and Uncle Steve and Cousin Seth purchased a notebook.  Seth and I (and someone else fun, I don't remember) went upstairs once back to the house and did a journal entry for him.  Seth and ? wrapped it and we all presented Ricky with his newly minted journal.) 
Another memorable quote was when Jessica really, truly was ready to burst in needing to use the facilities and I had told her in no uncertain terms was she even going to ask, none the less actually use the facilities, if there were was such a thing, Emily leaned in and said, "Zip it J."
Oh, it was unique, all right.  A one of a kind Thanksgiving that we will talk about for years!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving late afternoon...relaxation

Then we returned to the house from frolicking in the fall foliage.
Most collapsed in heaps, heads laying on cousin's limbs, watching a video. Quickly, the Sandman and the turkey dinner had taken over many a relatives eyelids.
In years past this little village was constructed.
Notice the smoke billowing from the blue roofed house and the tin foiled lake. So c-u-t-e!
After Moses drank his gigantic glass of chocolate milk, just like Uncle Steve, I joined the youngest cousins in hide and seek. They would hide and then take forever to find each other. Moses stood in the pantry for at least twenty minutes. (Maybe his name should be Job.) He kept peeking out the door. Soooo funny! It was a way good time!


We don't often travel over Thanksgiving . Now we know why...have you heard it is THE busiest travel holiday of the year? I believe we saw every automobile in the United States on the freeway system. We were at a complete stop in Cincinnati and again in Louisville. Not moving...for a l-o-o-o-n-g time. We very, very seriously considered turning around and returning home ...multiple times. This photo was taken somewhere along the way before sun down.
Tuesday evening, we went to pick up our annual holiday food order...the last baked batch of fresh, yeast rolls from Bob's. The Best! Thanksgiving would not be complete without them. We also purchased a pint of their delicious cranberry sauce.
We packed our "World Trade Center Turkey." In 2000, Emily's freshman year at New York University, we all landed in Manhattan for the Macy's Day Parade. Was that fun! Especially the night before the parade walking around the Upper West Side and watching the massive balloons being filled with helium. It was bitterly cold and the wind was whipping between the buildings. Brrrrr. We returned to our hotel, the Marriott World Trade Center, for wonderful hot chocolate. After a few short hours of sleep, we awoke at the crack of Thanksgiving dawn to secure great spots for the world's greatest parade. Later that afternoon, we sat down for Thanksgiving dinner at Tavern on the Green. Gorgeous! My fabulous sistah, Martha, brought these turkeys for decorations and we have each had one ever since. They are special birds from a special Thanksgiving!
So, back to this years excursion to the South, we also packed the card from my mother and our gratitude list. (Since we weren't gathered around our dining room table with our mini piles of corn to count our blessings.)
When we finally arrived at our hotel in Oxford, one daughter was sound asleep and one was eagerly awaiting us. Very quickly we were all awake, breaking out the surprise bag of yeast rolls when our girls shared their food surprise for us. Sweet cream salted butter, wrapped in parchment paper, from the Farmer's Market in New Orleans! We also had a jar of our homemade raspberry jam. Deliciousness abounded well past midnight, with our turkey watching over us.
Thanksgiving morn, well...noon, brought us to Grandma Frances and Grandpa Perry's home. Our girls had stayed in this home during their Hurricane Gustav evacuation. As we drove up to a driveway spewing cars, they exclaimed how different it was from when it was just the two of them. They much preferred all the cousins and relatives! What joy it was to see everyone again! What fun, uplifting, fun people. We were so very glad we had not turned our car around. It was a reminder lesson that at times we must endure (soooo much traffic) but by golly, it is worth it.
During our Hurricane Ike wind experience I had, of course, used coolers until we purchased our generator. I have never thought of using a cooler during the holidays for extended refrigerator space. Frances, what an ingenious idea! And I write so you may all be as blessed with further frig storage during the holidays. Frances took me into their garage where she had multiple coolers lined up and explained that some coolers now keep food chilled for up to two weeks. Um, we are behind the times.
When homemade pie time arrived, two big birthdays in the family were celebrated; Perry having turned 75 on their mission and Steve the big five-oh. What fun to have Frances join the birthday posse as she had turned 60 while serving in Ecuador.
Miss Miriam jumped in as she had recently turned 11, and that is special, too!
After dinner, Perry took us to the side of their home where all participated in Leaf Boogie boarding. Soooo fun! Not one tear was shed nor were there any injuries--a miracle.
Steve remembering boogie boarding this past Christmas on an 18 foot wave, in Maui, where we had climbed down a million steps and rocks to get to the the beach where the locals ride the waves. Insanity. No "Shakras" but still a lot of fun!
Emily with cousin Miriam whizzing by after a plethora of shoves from the top from a mini army of eager cousins.
They literally went flying past the board and sailed down the hill on their bums. It was hysterical. Besides wearing a few more layers of soil on their pants, smiles, tickles and giggles abounded as the board caught up to them at the bottom of the hill.
J showing us her barefoot form!
Cousins Jessica and Rachel having a leaf war. Uncle Steve raking to replace the leaves on the course.
Cousin Seth swooping in with current technology, blowing the leaves back onto the course.
Jessica and Miriam leading the "Let's roll down the hill!" Ah...something from our past is still good and current.
Here they all come!
Oh, it was a way good Thanksgiving day so far!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"Count your many blessings, see what God has done..."
"For the beauty of the earth..."
"Lord of harvest, grant that we,
Wholesome grain and pure may be."
And most of all...
"For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth, and friends above (Dad , Carol, Phoebe),
for all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise."
At our dining room table, each guest finds a few kernels (or a mini pile!) of dried corn. We count our blessings, we "name them one by one" depending upon the number of kernels at the place setting. May you and yours be blessed with piles of corn kernels and blessings.
May we all have hearts of gratitude and appreciation for a way good Thanksgiving!
Oh...the last photo of the three ladies? That shall be us, strolling around the fantastic town square shopping our hearts out, laughing and delighting in our blessings for a way good day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We are headed "down South" for Thanksgiving; we can't wait! We are having a family reunion, on my husbands side of the family, in Oxford Mississippi, celebrating the very recent return of his parents serving a church mission these last eighteen months.  They were in Ecuador, including the jungles, with monkeys!  How they came to love and serve the people there.
A few days ago, I went "shopping, shopping" to surprise our girls with decorations for their darling apartment in new Orleans. Think they'll like what's inside the bag?  Shhhhh.  Don't tell.  It will be a way fun day to share with them!

Monday, November 24, 2008


We currently have the Bourne trilogy for our viewing pleasure.

Drum roll......we all have a new film to look forward to as Matt Damon has signed on for the fourth installment in the series. That news made mine a way good day! 

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Sunday Stress.  Have you ever had it?  I had a two hour leadership meeting before church.  Then three hours of church, including one in which my dear hubbie and I taught Sunday School-Family Relations; then after church, I had an hour long Activities Committee meeting to finalize the details for our ward Christmas party in two weeks.  When I arrived home, seven hours after I left this morning, a High Councilor came to our home and set my husband apart for his new stake calling.  Then Mr. R went home teaching.  During his appointment I returned a call to a member of the Primary Presidency regarding the Primary's part of the party, the Nativity.  How I l-o-v-e when the children participate in the Nativity!  Thank you, Primary, for organizing this most important segment of the upcoming activity.  Now I am about to fall into bed.  Whew.  Who's overwhelmed?  It still was a way good day!


Mmmm...mmmm good,
that's what homemade whole wheat bread and homemade red raspberry jam are,
Mmmm, mmmmm, good!  Each and every slice was enjoyed for a way good Sunday snack!  (It's all gone.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

O Tannenbaum

As it was a cold, slightly snowy Friday evening, and high school football season has ended, at least for us, we went to Easton to poke around some of our favorite shops.  We joyfully stumbled upon the tree lighting ceremony.  If you are in the area, be sure to sneak a peek while shopping.  Especially beautiful in the evening.  Enjoy the lights, music and some hot chocolate for a way good holiday time!  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vibrant Red

As the description states: Red is always in style!  This gorgeous wreath from Smith and Hawken is created from wood curls, shaped to look like delicate roses.  Too bad I don't need a new wreath.  I drove all the way across town and looked at it, twice.  Stunning!
  And they did a perfect red dye job. (Sounds like hair).  The color is even and smooth.  (Now it sounds like a pedicure).  If you need a spectacular wreath, purchase this one.  Then please invite me over for hot chocolate so we can enjoy it together.  I will "ooh" and "ahhh."   I'll even bring the marshmallows or whipped cream topping for a way good wreath gazing party.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


On Saturday, at an Enrichment Day at church, I took a class in bread making.  The teacher ground all the flour from wheat and then used a Bosch to mix the dough.  I have always been a white (gasp) bread and roll baker.  I get such satisfaction kneading by hand; I thoroughly enjoy it.  But the class was fun and look what we made!   
Sliced with butter, all warmed in the microwave then topped with our homemade raspberry jam.  Yum! We are enjoying it for a way good snack on a snowy evening.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bond, James Bond

Tonight, for our viewing pleasure, we shall be seeing 007

It will be a way good Friday night at the movies!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free peppermint milkshake

Here is the cute, pink ad. Let me help you read the fine milkshake per person (per day); dining room only (yes, if you have little ones, you must unstrap them from their car seats and go in); person must be present to receive milkshake (I laughed at this but while I was in line a guy actually asked if he could get one for his daughter at home. Very thoughtful but come on; these are free. Go home, get your child and experience it together; or, if you must, get yours, enjoy it and dispose of all evidence before arriving home). Also notice the hours are between 3 and 5 pm. So, what do you get?
Delicious, candy crunching, peppermint ice cream,
blended with milk to make a delicious milkshake!
Get it here:
They even put whipped cream and a cherry on top!
Thanks Chick-fil-A! Mmmmmm...I already enjoyed mine for a way good day!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Count down to "Top Chef"

Top Chef in New York!  Season 5 premieres this Wednesday, November 12, 10 pm EST.  I cannot wait; 16 challenges!  What is a chef?  In Tom Colicchio (Top Chef judge) words, a chef is a boss; leadership.  How intriguing. I had thought of a chef as one scouting out the most fresh, ingredients, using them in new, unique (and old) ways; creating recipes and menus; and, preparing food with stunning presentation.  I had not thought of a top chef in context of running the whole kitchen and all that it entails.  Watch this video for the almost upon us season's contestants catch phrases.  I really like Daniel's "Wack-a!" and Patrick's enthusiastic, "I'm going to be cooking with the flames on high!" And,  I love Lauren's, "Everything we learned in college we are now putting into action in the real world, so it's CIA- College In Action."  I hope they have a blast chopping and dicing in Manhattan before they hear Padma's, "Pack your knives and go."  Every Wednesday will be a way good TV watching day!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kitchen Eye Candy

                                  Sugar sprinkles and....

                                    holiday sprinkles....
                  and a whole display of sprinkles.  Oh My!
Thanks to Bakerella for this delightful idea, I have ordered two sets of this rack for gifts. Will one of them have your name on the package under the Christmas tree?!  If so, I hope the colorful array in your kitchen will bring you flourish and delight  for way good baking days!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Last evening, at the end of a historical night, and wow, what a night it was, I so appreciated and teared up at Tom Brokav's tribute to his MSNBC buddy, the late Tim Russert.  Tom held up the mug that Tim had given to Tom, from Tim's father, Big Russ, who is still living, and said that he, Tom, was following up on a promise he had made at Tim's funeral in June, that he would raise a glass to his friend, Tim, on this momumental election night.  Mr. Brokaw did raise the mug to both Timmy and Big Russ and toasted them with Big Russ' favorite saying, "What a country." 
Hope for our future, supporting the president elect, whether he was our choice, or not, is what we can each do to make every day in our beautiful country a way good one!  Cheers!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day is upon us

                               Be sure to cast your vote!
voting is patriotic!
May it be a way good day at the polls!

Monday, November 3, 2008


As defined by  1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
On this, Election Eve, I hope tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4, we may we all cast our votes...
have a message similar to this pop on the screen, informing us that our votes have been recorded...
and leave with a sticker, knowing we have studied, pondered and participated in our great democracy.  
I also want to express my thanks to all candidates, in all states, running for all offices.  Bless you for your willingness to roll up your sleeves and serve our country.
Thank you to all the poll workers, who will work tirelessly on our behalf, including my mother, who then donates her "pay" for the day to an organization that clothes children, where she volunteers.
Thank you, America.  
Election day is a way good day!