Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here was a Man

No one can narrate a story like Johnny Cash. When he speaks, I listen. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Activities of the Season

I know how busy everyone is this time of year, but I wish you all many peaceful moments as well. Here is a glimpse of my Holiday season so far.

Christmas with my Mom and relatives on my side of the family-so fun.

My daughter has been working on crafts since her college semester has ended.

There was a major malfunction with my oven. I thought it was me, but it was the thermostat!
This is cornbread after 15 minutes!

It was too cold to grill outside, so we tried cooking steaks in the fireplace. We need a little more practice.

My soon to be daughter-in-law has the cutest little niece, and I love being with her.

We decided to turn the Children's Christmas Program at church into a dinner theater-very successful!

We had to use an artificial tree for the first time at church because of the drought. The children made the snowflakes to decorate it, no one minded the "fake" tree and now there is no rush to take it down.
It has been interesting, and challenging, but fun around here.
I hope it is the same for you!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Very Enjoyable Story


I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. I understand that it has been criticized on several levels but keep in mind that it is FICTION. The movie also comes out on DVD next Tuesday. I will be watching it.
I hope some of you will try this book. I expect you to enjoy it as much as I did!

From Widipedia:
The Help is set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi and told mainly from the perspective of three women: Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Aibileen is an African-American maid who cleans houses and cares for the young children of various white families. Her first job since her own 24-year-old son was killed on his job, is caring for toddler Mae Mobley Leefolt. Minny is Aibileen's confrontational friend who frequently tells her employers what she thinks of them. Her actions have led to her being fired from 19 jobs. Minny's most recent employer was Mrs. Walters, mother of Hilly Holbrook. Hilly is the social leader of the community, and head of the Junior League. She is the nemesis of all three main characters.

Miss Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is the daughter of a prominent white family whose cotton farm employs many African-Americans in the fields, as well as in the household. Skeeter has just finished college and comes home with big dreams of becoming a writer; her mother's big dream for her is to get her married, although Skeeter is not interested. What does interest her is that Constantine, the maid who raised her, is nowhere to be found: Skeeter's family tells her that Constantine abruptly quit and went to live with relatives in Chicago. Constantine had been writing to Skeeter the whole time she was away at college and the most recent letter had promised her a surprise upon her homecoming. Skeeter does not consider Constantine's unexplained absence a good surprise and wonders what happened, but nobody will discuss Constantine.

This discussion awakens Skeeter to the realization that her friends' maids are treated very differently from how white people are treated. She decides that she wants to reveal the truth to the world from the maids' perspectives by writing a book about it. Written in the first person from the perspective of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter, the struggles Skeeter experiences to communicate with the maids and gain their trust is revealed, as well as the issues of overcoming long-standing barriers in customs and laws by all of the characters. The daily lives of Southern homemakers and their maids during the early 1960s in Mississippi are explored. The dangers of undertaking writing a book about African-Americans speaking out in the South during the early '60s hover constantly over the three women.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A few things I loved about the Texas Renaissance Festival

My daughter (on the right) and two of her cousins enjoyed these adult sized swings.

I enjoyed the "magic garden" with these unicorn statues.

I loved watching the elephants. Thank you to this family (that we didn't even know) for letting me photograph them.

My daughter and I loved sharing this apple dumpling with ice cream.

Since my family's name is Griffin, I especially loved this majestic statue.

What I loved most of all: being there with my family. Here I am with my baby sister. Such a fun day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

not the sun!

No this is not the sun. It is the full moon rising over the trees in the same spot as the morning sun. So beautiful to step out into the cool evening yesterday and see this glorious yellow moon rising to take its place in the night sky.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Making my indoor garden

A few weeks ago, I started some plants outdoors. The weather has been very warm over all but we did get a few nights with temperatures in the 30's. I moved the plants inside and hope they will continue to produce.
I have mixed lettuces.



and spinach

I picked a variety of the greens. I got a surprising amount for the first picking.

I cooked some hot Italian sausage, onion, mushrooms and garlic together. Then I added the greens I picked and some crushed tomatoes. For supper, we had lentils topped with sausage and greens. It was wonderful-and fun to add the fresh greens that I grew myself. I still need to pick over half the lettuce and a lot of the spinach. That means we will have a fresh salad tonight.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet/Salty Butterscotch cookies

Well, it seems as if all I am doing lately is baking. That is probably the last thing I need to do, but.....I love it.
These cookies are basic butterscotch chip cookies with a little twist. I made them sweet and salty by rolling them in a mix of 1/3 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon salt before baking. You can do this with peanut butter cookies or chocolate chip-just about any kind would be good, I think. I just used the recipe on the back of the butterscotch chip package and added my little secret topping. They were so good!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Freshly Baked Bread

Thank you Kathy for this wonderful bread recipe. I made 2 loaves the day before yesterday and they are almost gone. Here's the link for the original recipe Grandmother Bread 

Nothing is better than the smell and taste of freshly baked bread. Try it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pecan Pie Cake

Our local volunteer Fire Department had their annual fundraiser and I made this cake for the auction. It is a Pecan Pie Cake from Southern Living. It is actually easy to make and really good.

Three layers of cake and 2 layers of filling

Pasty leaves made from refrigerated pie crust

Packaged and ready for the auction

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lee's new puppy

This is Cole. My son and a group of police officers found him and his 5 siblings on the road near the Law Enforcement Center. They were covered with fleas and hungry. My son brought this one home and added him to the 2 other dogs he adopted. Cole is growing, and he is fiesty, and he is one of the family now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time to Shred

It is day 3 for me...on the 30 day Shred. I wasn't as sore yesterday, so that is good news. I am going to do it every other day for now and while I'm exercising, I'll turn off the audio and listen to music instead.  I just have to get off of the computer and start. I'm going.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Am I too old?.....

Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred [DVD]

I did level one last week. Level one, modified version (easy). I had to modify it more, and stop and rest while the instructors continued. I was very sore for 2 days. This morning, I'm giving it another try. I really want to tone up and walking has been unappealing because of the heat. Level One is a 20 minute circuit of exercises that features cardio and strength training-wish me luck!
It is supposed to be 103 degrees this afternoon, and you know where I'll be....resting my sore muscles in a cool pool.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy, busy, busy.

I've been so busy...with wedding plans for my son.
I've been so busy...working at the church.
I've been so busy...working in my house.
I've been so......

okay, I have only been reading or relaxing in the pool.
It has been hot, and dry, and Texas is burning all around us.
I feel like I am just holding steady, waiting for the weather to cool, and waiting on some rain.
I am planning some things for the wedding though-in my head.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Official news

My son Lee and his girlfriend Peggi are now officially engaged. Congratulations to you both!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dire situation

Tuesday:  It was time to water the few planters I keep on my porch, just to have a spot of life and color to cheer us up. This malabar spinach climbed around an ornament and caught my attention. So pretty! But the background revealed the lack of green vegetation in my yard. Because of the extreme drought, there's plenty of brown dust and dirt, as well as leaves that are drying on the trees. Can you believe that 106-108 degrees is forcast for each day this week? It's kind of  "the nail in the coffin" for the last of our water and pasture. I decided to photograph the situation.

The tank has about 3 weeks of water left in it.

Lack of rain, 105 plus degrees, and the hot wind = dying catfish.

At first, I tried adding fresh water but soon figured out that it was a losing battle. So Mike got his big bait net and for the next 4 hours, we caught and cleaned as many fish as we could.

My freezer is full of fish and we are exhausted. I feel good that these fish were not wasted, but I'm really sad that today there are at least 20 dead fish in the tank. I'm afraid that's the last of them. Now I am worried about all the other animals finding a water source. Our tank was one of the last ones around here to have water. I'm thinking of buying some children's swimming pools and keeping them full of water in the edge of the woods. I pray that the heat breaks and the rains come. In the meantime, I will do what I can to feed and water the other living creatures.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mike's power muffins

We are trying to lower our cholesterol. That means an improvement in our diet. Mike has been making these muffins, he calls them "power muffins", and eating 2 every morning for breakfast. I have been eating 1 because I am afraid of what my stomach would feel like after 2. He doesn't use a recipe but some of the ingredients that he incorporates are: bananas, raisins, oat flour, oat bran, flax seed, spelt, wheat germ,  agave or stevia, sweet potatoes or carrots, apple, applesauce and spices. I like to have a spoon of organic, natural peanut butter and a tall glass of skim milk with mine. They are packed with fiber and are very delicious. In a couple of months, maybe we will see some results...lower cholesterol.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Easy, Delicious White Pizza

I made these to go with a spaghetti supper one night for everyone on our beach vacation. They were really delicious, so I made them again for movie night at church. Those were even better because a friend of mine gave me some of his homemade mozzarella to use. If you would like to have a supper quick and delicious you go.

White Pizza
1 refrigerated thin pizza crust (I used Pillsbury and it was wonderful)
garlic oil
3 cups grated mozzarella
8 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
grated parmesan cheese
chopped fresh oregano
chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

 Make garlic oil by placing 2 chopped cloves of garlic in 1/2 cup olive oil. Heat for 1 minute in the microwave. Let the garlic infuse the oil for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Place the crust on a parchment lined cookie sheet (oiled with the garlic oil). Spread garlic oil over the crust as well, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and prebake for 5 minutes. Layer the mozzarella cheese and fresh oregano (you could use dried). Dollop the ricotta cheese on top. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, then salt and pepper again. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is browned. Add chopped fresh basil and drizzle with the garlic oil. Cut into squares and serve. The plain cheese ones are our favorite but you can add any additional items you desire. I made one with fresh chopped tomatoes and one with pepperoni, so good!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

25 years

Happy Anniversary to my husband....25 years with you. It has been amazing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Helping Out

Peanut Butter Fudge balls.

In Bible School this year, we focused on helping others. We made 50 packages of this peanut butter fudge to give to the local Community Kitchen. We are a small, rural area but the need to feed the hungry is large. This community kitchen feeds 400 people twice a month and also distributes food boxes to them. I wanted the kids to feel like they helped in some way. Rest assured that we only sent the completely "clean" batches-those of you who cook with kids know what I mean. If you would like to try this with a group, here is the recipe I used:

1/2 stick softened butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar (you may not need all of it, add it a little at a time).

Mix all ingredients together and knead it with your hands when it becomes too thick to stir. Make into one inch balls or pat into a rectangle and cut into squares. For really little kids, it is fun to make the fudge ahead of time and let them use it for "play dough" before they eat it.
We made 4 batches and divided it into 50 packages of 3 balls. And they had some left to eat of course!

It was nice to focus on making something to give away.

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July-Celebrate!

I think this is one of the best celebrity performances of  "The Star Spangled Banner" that I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy it. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

South of Broad

Front Cover

This is the Pat Conroy book that I am reading and it is getting good!

Excerpt from Chapter One:
On June 16, 1969, a series of unrelated events occurred: I discovered that my mother once had been a Roman Catholic nun in the Sacred Heart order; an Atlas moving van backed into the driveway of a nineteenth- century Charleston single house across the street from ours; two orphans arrived at the gates of St. Jude’s Orphanage behind the cathedral on Broad Street; and the News and Courier recorded that a drug bust had taken place on East Bay Street at the Rutledge- Bennet house. I was eighteen, with a reputation as a slow starter, so I could not feel the tectonic shift in my fate as my history began to launch of its own volition. It would be many years before I learned that your fate could scuttle up behind you, touch you with its bloody claws, and when you turn to face the worst, you find it disguised in all innocence and camouflaged as a moving van, an orphanage, and a drug bust south of Broad. If I knew then what I have come to learn, I would never have made a batch of cookies for the new family across the street, never uttered a single word to the orphans, and never introduced myself to the two students who were kicked out of Porter- Gaud School and quickly enrolled at my own Peninsula High for their senior year.
But fate comes at you cat-footed, unavoidable, and bloodthirsty. The moment you are born your death is foretold by your newly minted cells as your mother holds you up, then hands you to your father, who gently tickles the stomach where......

I have to get back to the novel...the main character has been confronted by a psychotic stranger in an alley, who is apparently the father of the new girl next door. And...he has a knife.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Contemplating the full moon

June 13,  2011      Cooks Point Texas

“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.
Carl Sandburg

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”

George Carlin

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa

“The moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.”

William Shakespeare

“Don't tell me the sky is the limit, there are footprints on the moon!”

Dorothy Parker

“Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.”

John Lennon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wild, Native Sunflowers

These native sunflowers voluntarily came up in our Church garden. They are easily 6-7 feet tall. I'm glad we left them where they were. They are providing shade to some of the cucumbers and squash and we've tied some of the tomatoes to them for support. Now they have all bloomed and the seeds are ripening and will soon draw lots of birds to this area.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Albino Zucchini

One of our zucchini plants in the church garden yields albino zucchini. According to the internet, they are not all that rare but they are to us. They are really pretty, a creamy light green-another "wonder" to observe.