Fun in the sun


Having a pool can be a real pain sometimes, but days like today remind me of why we don’t fill it in and grow tomatoes. Cute kids show up and perch on the diving board. Even though the temperature of the water is about 65 degrees, they’re not cold. Not enough to quit swimming anyway.


They find splashing people great fun.


Splashing people with a friend is even MORE fun.


Okay, splashing your parents – the most fun EVER.

It was an impromptu gathering, just us hanging out with friends and all of the kids.  These are the kind of friends that when you say, “Hey, you want to stay and eat…then could you run to Walmart”, just smile and go. The kind of folks that overlook weeds in the flower beds, bare spots in the lawn, and patches in the pool. Or at least they pretend to. Either way is good for me.

People are creative

I was sitting in traffic last week when I noticed this –


I’m talking about the screen, made from two trees! Here’s a closer view –


Hmmm. Well, it’s two trees planted at right angles from each other to make a SCREEN. Okay, here’s another one –


Wasn’t it nice of them to take all of the leaves off so I could see better? They have some sort of fruit on them; JD says it’s a persimmon tree.


I don’t know, but I thought it was cool. Probably because I can’t find the time to give my plants water, much less mold them into interesting shapes. I’m a bad plant owner! And just as I was feeling that PERHAPS I could coax my Rose of Sharon into something less like a bush, I found THIS-

chair1 How would you like to be THEIR neighbors? Okay, I’m now going to do what I always do when faced with an interesting and provocative challenge – give up. If God had wanted trees to grow in chair shapes people, He would have made them that way. Besides, Rose of Sharon IS a bush. Geesh.

I may have a problem

I’ve been couponing seriously for about six weeks now. Here’s my stash of catalogued coupons –


All of those file folders are full of coupons, filed by date. The bag is full of loose coupons.

These are pictures of the big freezer in my garage I thought I’d never fill.



Here’s a shot of the new shelves we had to buy to hold the excess dry goods since every available spot in the pantry is taken.


I’ve turned into one of “those” people, you know, the lady in line with a huge shopping cart full of groceries and 142 coupons that takes forever for the cashier to ring up? The one that talks to everyone while she’s waiting in line, giving unsolicited advice on how to save money?  Today, a couple in front of me were buying MUSTARD. Two of them! I wanted to stop them and say DON’T YOU KNOW IT GOES ON SALE TOMORROW AND YOU CAN MATCH IT WITH A COUPON TO GET IT FREE?? Seriously!

Can you see my PROBLEM? Exactly. Where in the world am I going to put another six foot freezer and a couple of shelves? I’m going to have 14 bottles of mustard tomorrow and no place to put them! Sigh. At least I know what to do with the spare bedroom when Ashleigh leaves.

Bedtime Stories

I mentioned earlier that Rachel and I went to some yard sales over the weekend. We found a great one where the people REALLY wanted to get rid of stuff so they were selling it cheap. I got a cool, vintage train case WITH keys for 2.00 bucks.


The lady having the sale asked Rachel if she liked to read, and when she answered yes, gave her three small paperbacks for free. She casually mentioned that her friend had written them, and I promptly forgot all about it. So last night, Rachel asked JD to read her one of them called Black Rain.


Uh…here’s an excerpt: Then [they] met their friend , Momoko Takami. Her face was swollen and her hair was burnt. She wanted them to help get her trapped mother and baby brother out from under their crushed home.

Turns out that Black Rain is about the bombing of Hiroshima. WOW. Goodbye innocent childhood, hello nightmares!. The story follows Hanako, a young girl at school when the bomb hits, on her way home to find her parents. This is the feel good ending:

Mother was so disfigured Hanako could hardly recognize her. She was covered with bandages. She had suffered many burns. Hanako could not even hug her because touching was painful.

JD glossed over the story. A less creative person might have had trouble glossing over something like being burned beyond recognition, but I think his version was more of the the “We built a bomb that ended the war and saved lots of lives. U.S.A! U.S.A!”  variety.

Rachel was nonplussed about the whole thing, and I’ve checked the other books to make sure they’re not about more fun topics. Like the Holocaust, or the Spanish Inquisition. Moral of the story – take your kids to yard sales. She got books for FREE.

Moron Test Kitchen – Rum Cake

Motto: If I can do it, YOU can do it. And even if I can’t, you probably still can.

Why did I decide to do a Christmas Rum Cake in May?

A. I had plenty of Rum

B. I needed something to blog about

C. I bought a Bundt cake pan at a yard sale this weekend

D. All of the above


If you said D – you are correct! I found this recipe at my favorite blog -The Pioneer Woman, and it looked fairly easy. The fact that I’m on a diet and can’t actually EAT any of it is beside the point.


First mix together 1 box yellow cake mix, 1 small package of instant vanilla pudding, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup of cold water, 1/2 cup of canola oil, and 1/2 cup of rum. They say dark is best but I used light and it’s fine.


Once that’s mixed, grease and flour your Bundt cake pan. I use Baker’s Joy which is both a spray BUTTER and a spray Flour. Super easy. Then pour 1 cup of finely chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar over the nuts. Then pour the cake batter on top. Even it out with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s level and cook at 325 degrees for one hour. UNLESS the inside of your pan is black – then try 45 minutes, that worked for me. By the way, I MAY need to invest in a new rubber spatula.


While that’s cooking, clean your messy kitchen, unload the dishwasher, figure out that your dishwasher is useless, take out everything and wash by hand and forget all the plans you had for cleaning the REST of the house.

About 10 minutes before your cake is finished, make the glaze. Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a saucepan, then add 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Boil for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly. When done, turn off heat and add 3/4 cup of rum. Reheat and stir for 30 seconds.

Take out the cake and immediately drizzle 1/3 of the glaze on the bottom of the cake. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Then put the cake on a cake plate and stick it gently, all over, about 100 times with a fork. Slowly drizzle remaining rum glaze all over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. And all over your table.  Cool to room temperature to give it time to soak up all the glaze.

cakesPioneer Woman’s is on the left. It does look a bit glazier, but I’m happy with my result. PLUS my bridge partner told me that glaze can be affected by the weather and it was DAMP. A couple of tips I learned along the way – wipe the excess cake off the platter BEFORE applying the glaze so you’ll have a prettier presentation, and use a bigger cake platter. If you said, “well DUH” to that, this blog post is not for you Miss McSmarty Baker Pants.

Moron Test Grade – A+  This was EASY, looked fancy, had the high-falutin touch of a Rum Glaze, and was yummy – IF you like rum. Without the coke. To each his own.

Note- Mom, the rum was actually my brother’s, not mine. He left it here a while back. You might need to watch him. Just saying.

Duck Church

We had church at the park today. Well, technically we just had a picnic at the park but it was with all of the church people. Our sanctuary is being remodeled so we needed to find a alternative location for the day.

It suited Rachel just fine.


She had a great time chasing the ducks.


So did Ashleigh the Niece.


Yes, this is her “going to a church picnic in the rain” attire. Sigh. I TRIED to get her to wear real church clothes – you know, jeans and a t-shirt but she will only wear dresses. But it was fine; our church is a “rubber knee high boots accepted” kinda place.  Come as you are and all that.  No one threw rocks at her.


And she didn’t throw any at them. I think church is growing on her.

Feel better about your own purse


Rachel and I went yard-sale shopping this morning. In the process, she developed a stomach ache from reading her new books in the backseat. So I gave her a Coke. I don’t know where I heard that this works, but it’s found it’s way into my parental bag of tricks.  It’s a small bag that includes gems like using Sprite for nausea and cornstarch to remove Vaseline from hair. Anyway, she drank three sips then gave it to me to hold. And I put it in my purse. Upside down with the lid half off. Oh well, it forced me to clean out my purse. And I learned something new for my bag of tricks. It involves not putting drinks in my purse.

By the way, the best way to reach me for the next few days is via email.  Good-bye phone, it’s been nice knowing you.

.48 cents


10 bottles of dressing, 2 candy bars and 2 apples. Random I know, but 48 CENTS.

Because my mother always complains that the coupon posts do her no good – I’m putting in a link to all the sales Food Lion is supposed to be having this week. (Food Lion is the chain in Zollicoffer). Click Here. It lists Vitamin Water on sale for 1 dollar. And HERE is a coupon for 50 cents off. Now MOST stores around here double coupons – so if Food Lion does – it’s free.  I bought about 37 of these a while back. FREE. Ignore the “Ralphs” on the coupon – it’s just to get you to shop there. It’s a manufacturer’s coupon and good anywhere Vitamin Water is sold.You can print as many as you want, but it expires June 1.

This post is completly to help the 23 people that live in Zollicoffer. And all I could come up with in 2 minutes. Cause I’m going to the movies.

And YES I know there’s a strange widget thing on the right side, and that things don’t necessarily line up. But the comments are NOW working, so feel free to vent. All 23 of you.

Way back when

I love old photographs. I buy them sometimes at yard sales and flea markets. There’s just something about the look of them that you don’t get anymore. So when I had the opportunity to go through some of my old family photos – I was excited. The problem, of course, is that since my mom’s not here, I don’t have a clue what these people are doing. I don’t even know who half of them are! Several were torn, or stuck in the photo albums, most were missing names or descriptions. It’s torture!

Like this one –


Juanita and Jack is written on the back. I’m guessing this is my Great-Aunt Juanita – but where is she? Is this a party, a honeymoon, a USO dance? Is that a shot in front of her? What’s she drinking ? And what’s up with the look on HIS face? He’s like, “drink up baby!”  I need more INFO!

Or this –


This doesn’t say anything, but I believe that my Great-Aunt Thelma second from the left. I THINK I see her sister Janet, and maybe that’s Juanita again. I have no idea who the other chick is. Why are they dressed up, where are they going? They look like they’re having fun. Or suffering group scoliosis.

This is one of my favorites –


Thankfully, it has “Japanese Family” written on the back, otherwise I’d be TOTALLY confused.  It was in with a bunch of photos of my Uncle Paul during the war, so I’m giving him the credit.  I just love the father’s face.

You should sit down with your family and make them write down everything they know about all your old photographs. Some I understand, I can ALMOST figure out what is happening. And then others –


defy logic and reason.