Monday, November 29, 2010

A Hillcrest Cottage Thanksgiving

You know you are fully "grown up" when... and the blank can be filled in with various words. A few years back my husband said, "You are no fun on holidays. All you do is work."


It's true, but despite all the work, I still love Thanksgiving.

A peaceful walk before the wildness of preparation began.

Davis had a week-long vacation from school and was able to go duck hunting. I have been forbidden to show the very bad picture of him hold the following because duck hunting begins at 3 a.m. and his face looked like it. He came in the door holding what is in this picture, and I laughed because I thought it was a rubber duck ( like a rubber chicken), but it was real.

Don't hate. This is how boys in Arkansas roll.

Next came the many hours of preparation. Polishing the silver, cleaning the house, seating charts, setting the tables, cooking all day, guests arriving. Too busy for pictures, but you get the picture.

The menu: Oven roasted 25 pound turkey, cornbread dressing with giblet gravy, cranberries, sweet potato casserole, homemade buttery yeast rolls, corn casserole, fruit salad with pecans, green beans bundled in bacon followed by a choice of homemade pumpkin topped with whipped cream, pecan, or chocolate meringue pie coupled with fresh ground hazelnut coffee.

After the food, here are the cousins minus one.

This is the first Thanksgiving holiday we have had Clayton at home since his going to West Point.

My very silly guys all on big brother's back

I have learned if want to spend time with my college guys, I must keep college guy hours, so there were several nights when the chiminea fire lasted until 3 a.m. We watched the Hogs (our football team) beat LSU and are now ranked nationally #7. I managed to get in several rounds of a fast-paced Scrabble game. Lucy discovered she doesn't enjoy large crowds.

This morning Davis rattled out of the driveway in his Jeep, and the college guys are back at school. All I can hear is the peaceful napping of Lucy and Mac.

Today... the quiet in Hillcrest Cottage sounds like music to my tired, but happy, self.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughts from a Fall Walk

This, my fall- inspired knapsack, is perfect for holding my I-Phone tuned into Pandora Radio (Coldplay Station). I simply sling the pack onto my back and head out the door for a power walk. I know I have shown this knapsack before, but I recently added a new twist... the vintage 1952 "Paris in 4 Days" brochure and Paris Metropolitain map peeking from the pocket (iron on transfer method I have recently discovered... the possibilities become endless!)

On my walk I noticed how pretty the foliage is becoming.

Thoughts drifting through my head today went something like this:
Today is all I have right now; most days are simple, ordinary, and routine. Somehow,in the middle of doing all that calls my name, I am compelled to put an exclamation point on a sentence or two. There! I did it!

Even if I have to tell a funny story to my own self while pouring a cup of Tazo spearmint-flavored green tea from my owl tea pot...

... and while cleaning the plaque off my brain, I might raise my favorite Emma Bridgewater mug in a teatime toast.

Should I tell you about how my husband went to London, and I asked him to bring back this very, specific mug, and he had to walk into the shop asking for the "Blue Tit" mug? Maybe I shouldn't... but I just did... ha ha.

I will celebrate life, breathing, hot baths at night, puppy dogs who lick my ear, a family who lets me live with them, outdoor fires on cool nights...

... good oatmeal, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking, warm covers piled high on the bed, my rickety fence in need of repair, the ability to love myself and enjoy my own company...


P.S. I am looking forward to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, because of its simplicity: food, family, and a grateful heart.

I wish Christmas could take a cue.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Even More Estate Sale Fun

I'm thinking that autumn is the best time for estate sales in my neighborhood. The crisp fall air brings out the shoppers... including me! I would tell you how much (little) I paid for these new and awesome red pillows... but, then, you know what I would have to do to you, and we don't want that.

Mac the Labradoodle graciously volunteered to pose amidst my new additions. The pillows have down inserts and are matelasse. I don't speak French, so I had to look up how to pronounce this word which I was pronouncing incorrectly: Matelasse

Gotta run some freshly baked brownies (addressed to my off-campus college guy who cooks for himself and exists on Dollar Store food) to the post office.

I'll be on my purple cruiser, of course!

Eggplant Art

A friend gave to me these eggplants from her garden. They are so beautiful, I feel guilty eating them.

Soooo... if I am going to eat art, I need some suggestions on how to cook these lovely purple vegetables. Any recipes would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I LOVE my "new" old Coffee Hound mug for which I paid $1.00. Currently, I am really "into" kitschy dime store ceramics from the 1950's. Inside is a hound dog and the back reads: Coffee Hound, Half Cupper, Kid Stuff. Soooo... funny.