Monday, August 31, 2009

Think Fall, Y'all

Today's the last day of August. Even though fall doesn't officially begin for a couple more weeks, and here in the great state of Georgia, we don't get very fallish weather until October. And even then it doesn't feel like fall every day.

Even though I LOVE summer, I also enjoy the changing of the seasons. And by this time every year, I'm always ready for some cooler weather with humidity less than a hundred percent. Summer and fall are my favorite seasons. Spring makes me anxious for summer and winter, well, it's just plain dull. Everything is dormant, including me. Yep, give me the summer and fall and I'm a happy girl.

When September rolls around, I'm always sick of my summer clothes. But it's way too early to bring out sweaters or long sleeves. I'm over all the hot pink and I'm ready for the warm colors of autumn. So if you see me in a plum-color sweater and I'm glistening, just know that I'm excited about fall.

Here's a little list of the things I LOVE about Fall: (in no particular order)

1. The gorgeous colors.
2. Shopping for Halloween costumes.
3. Georgia football. GO DAWGS!!!!
4. The smell of cinnamon and apples.
5. Having wienie roasts.
6. Not sweating so much.
7. Not having to feel guilty when my summer annuals look like crud.
8. Sleeping with the windows open and letting the cool, crisp air inside.
9. Being able to ride with the top down without sticking to the seats.
10. Scarecrows.
11. Pumpkins.
12. Buying candy corn. And eating candy corn.
13. Looking forward to the banana bread my mama makes my sisters and me for Halloween.
14. Sweaters. Nothing like a snuggly sweater.
15. Taking my annual birthday trip. Should we go to Tybee or the mountains?
16. Georgia football. GO DAWGS!!!
17. No smelly trash can outside.
18. Muscadines and scuppernongs! Yummy!
19. The Howell Family Reunion.
20. Letting my tan fade gracefully. (But my cellulite looks so much better tan.)
21. Wearing pants instead of shorts. (See parenthesis above.)
22. Sitting on my back deck.
23. And did I mention Georgia football? I really love that one!
24. Wearing dark nail polish.
25. The idea of just sitting by a fire and reading a good book.
26. Trick-or-treating and Halloween in general.
27. Thanksgiving.
28. My mama's sweet potato pie.

How about y'all? What do you love about fall?

The only bad thing about fall is that when it's done, it's wintertime. Ugh.

Till tomorrow, put on a sweater and think fall!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Show and Tell

Back in the spring, I posted about my heirloom flowers and the flowers that I bought at the nursery to plant. I thought it would be neat to give y'all an update on how they actually did over the course of the summer. Evidently, my thumb isn't as green as I wish it was.

This is what's left of Jeff's beautiful garden. How ugly is that? He's still picking tomatoes, but they're not much bigger than a golf ball. The garden did pretty good this year. We had lots of cucumbers and quite a few tomatoes, but they weren't very big. I must've eaten a thousand cucumbers.

I enjoyed walking around my yard barefoot late yesterday afternoon. It had rained earlier in the day and so the grass was wet. It felt so good to walk around in that wet grass. Reminded me of being a kid and getting my feet dirty.

This is my back deck. I'll be glad when it cools off some so we can sit out there more often. It's just too dang hot right now. I would like a chiminea to put out there. Once it cools off, of course. I want one that doesn't smoke like a campfire.

These are some of the flowers I bought at the nursery. The tags said they could take full sun. Well. . . I don't know what the growers consider full sun, but believe me, they can't take the full sun that my deck gets every day. I've had to water them and move them everywhere trying to keep them alive. They'll get all sad and weepy, give them a drink and they perk back up.
The containers they were in were white and they didn't really go with the furniture I have out there, so I spray painted them black. They turned out pretty good. Next year I'm going to go with different plants. I'm not crazy about the combinations in them. They're so leafy and not many blooms.

This little sweetie is something that I bought when my dad nearly died in 2003. He was in the hospital for almost two weeks with a one in a hundred chance of surviving for the first few days. Someone stayed there 24/7, so we had lots of time to go to the hospital gift shop. It was the best gift shop ever. And it was there, while spending lots and lots of times with my aunties, that I took Proverbs 17:22 as my favorite verse. This angel reminds me of that verse and that time.There are windchimes hanging off her dress. She's very sentimental to me. I dress her up for the holidays. I dress her with ribbon that goes with whatever holiday we're celebrating. I don't know if you can tell it much in this picture, but it was so humid yesterday that my windows were sweating. That's why some of the pictures look cloudy. My camera lens kept fogging up.

You may remember this rosebush. It's one I got from South Georgia from MaMa Kimball. I don't know how in the world it continues to live. It gets tons and tons of sun and NO attention. I thought it had a poke salad vine growing up through it. After looking closer, it's actually some sort of tree. Cutting that tree out of the rosebush is on Jeff's "Honey Do" List.

My hostas didn't fare very well this summer. Something (most likely deer) have eaten them up. I never got around to separating them either, so the ones that are still living look awful.
This is probably the ugliest place in my yard. It's where I have my day lillies. They were so pretty, but they don't last long at all. When they're done, you're left with an ugly stem.

I'm still loving my swing we painted. The yellow impatiens have done well there. I just have to diligently keep them watered. They also weep and cry when they're thirsty. This is my oak leaf hydrangea. It bloomed a little this year. Not as much as I would've liked. The prettiest thing about this hydrangea to me, though, is the color of the leaves. They're kind of a burnt orange. I think they're just gorgeous. Only God can make color like this. There is no crayon in the box to match these colors.

My other hydrangeas did awful. They probably had less than 20 blooms on them. The plant itself grew huge, but hardly any blooms. And now they're getting baked in the sun. I don't know why, but this year they're not taking the heat and sun well at all. And now it looks like they've got a disease or something and they are dying. Help!!! If any of you out there have any idea what those black dots on the leaves are, I'd sure love to know. I'm sad because they look so bad.

This one is huge. But look at the leaves. Sick. I'm going to move both of them this fall, if they survive, because they're getting way too much sun every day.
These are some of the flowers I got at the nursery and planted out by the pool. Again, too much sun, even though they supposedly liked "full sun." They haven't died, but they just don't bloom.

This turned out to be a good combination. Dragon leaf begonias and vinca. The vinca can take as much of the sun as Mother Nature can dish out. The begonias, not so much. I have to keep them watered or they wilt.

I painted this strawberry pot to match my swing. Then I planted the hens and bitties that Auntie Theresa gave me in it. It's out by the pool and they've grown a lot this summer. Auntie T, how do you separate the babies from the mamas?
When Jeff had to fix the pipe in the pool, he had to cut out a square of the concrete. He thought it would look cool to plant something in the hole rather than trying to put more concrete in the square. It wouldn't have matched and it would've been obvious that we'd had to cut it up. We decided to plant in the hole instead and it looks so good. The colors are so pretty and they take the heat well too. I think they like to get splashed! The lillies I got from MaMa Kimball so long ago continue to thrive and multiply like rabbits. They're done blooming for the most part. These are another plant that once they're done blooming, you're just left with a big ugly stalk. Look how hardy these vinca are. They just love it where they're at. I don't know if you can see it or not in the picture, but I found these yard stakes at Lowe's. They only had Live and Laugh. I've looked at every Lowe's around and no one had Love. Oh, well.
More dragon leaf begonias and vinca.

Poor little rose. It wants to live so bad. I have to keep it pruned because if I didn't, it'd be like Jack's Beanstalk. It gets so tall. If I'm lucky, it has about ten blooms a year. But when it does bloom, they're the prettiest and most fragrant rose ever. I guess that's why I don't dig it up because it really is u-g-l-y. I feel sorry for it.

My geraniums that are on my front porch steps didn't make it. I put some other trailing-type plant in there with them. I bet my Auntie Brenda is cringing to look at them now. She worked so hard watering them for me while we were on vacation. They just never really took off.
I threw them in the woods the other day.
My camelia cutting from MaMa and PaPa Howell's house has grown a lot this summer. It's so healthy. I may actually be able to plant it in the ground next year.
Every year at this time, all my flowers start looking awful. I'm tired of them and they're tired of me. They become so demanding. And the heat is so bad that they need watering at least once a day. Some days twice.
How did your flowers grow? Soon I'll be shopping for spring bulbs. Any tips out there?

With summer winding down, I get excited about this.
Georgia Bulldog football, baby! One week from today is kickoff. I can't wait. We always have so much fun watching the games. This year we've got a big TV to watch them on, so we're having a small get-together to watch the game next week.
That's it for my show and tell. As you could "tell", my springtime dreams for my flowers just didn't come to pass. Maybe once day they'll come up with a "full sun" plant that really is "full sun." Even hot Georgia sun!
Till tomorrow, hope you're blooming where you're planted!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Clean Up, Clean Up

If you've ever watched Barney, then you know that song well. You know, the one where everybody does their share. Well, here at the Kelly house, even though my kids loved Barney, they seem to have missed the part about sharing the cleaning up.

Every closet, every drawer and every cabinet in my house and in my garage and basement is overflowing with stuff! Some of it's junk and just needs to be thrown out. Some of it is in the wrong place and needs to be put back in its rightful home.

Last night I was bit by the clean out bug. I started with my pots and pans, which I seem to reorganize nearly every week. Jeff and I have a bit of a communication problem when it comes to the pots and pans. When he unloads the dishwasher, as he often does, he just sticks the pots and pans in the cabinet. Along with the glass mixing bowls and colanders. Now, does that sound like something you should do? Uh, no.

So I cleaned out the pots and pans and glassware and baking pans. When he got home from football practice, I gave him a guided tour of where everything goes. Well, rather than taking notes as I thought he should've, he simply said he'd let me unload the dishwasher all the time. Ugh.

Then it was time to move on to the junk drawer. Ah, the ominous junk drawer. Every house has one. Or two. Or three. I found in Junk Drawer Number 1 about 50 pens, most of which didn't write. Several lead pencils. With no lead. Pencils with no erasers. Super Glue that was squeezed empty. Single staples. You know you're desperate to staple something if you're going fishing around in a junk drawer for a single staple. Three rolls of tape. Which I can never find when I need a piece of tape. And buried back deep in the bowels of the drawer, I found several of these.

I don't know how it is at your house, but when I need scissors, they're nowhere to be found. In fact, I've bought two pair this week. One pair to cut paper and things and another pair to cut fabric. And I hid both pair.

Then when I moved to Junk Drawer Number 2, I discovered that we have way too many of these.

The fun card game of Uno. I had three or four boxes of Uno cards. Even though the only time we ever play them is when we go to Jason's hunting land in February. Obviously, when I'm packing for the trip I can't find my Uno cards so I buy another box. That's organization for ya.

Ross and Cam are 21 and 17. They haven't used these at home in, oh, about eight years. But have no fear, when the grandkids come I'll have two brand-new boxes for them.

When they get tired of coloring, why I'll just pull this out of the junk drawer.

Only the modeling clay that was in my junk drawer wasn't neat and new like the picture. Oh, no, mine was all squished up and thrown in a Zip-loc bag.

Here's a good one. Remember me telling you about having a hard time finding notebook paper. Two stores were sold out right before school started. And for Cam, I like to buy the kind with the reinforced holes because with him being a lefty, he always tears the holes out. I couldn't find a single sheet of that kind anywhere.

Should've looked in the junk drawer. There were two unopened packs.

And four of these.

But whenever anyone needs one, they go in my office and take mine! Go figure. Ha!

I found address books from when Jeff and I first got married. Why? Why do I keep that? No one except my mom and dad probably even still live at the same place with the same phone number as they did in 1987. And it's not like I'm going to forget where they live or their phone number. At least I hope not.

I had several bags of trash. Several bags of stuff for the Goodwill. Why would anyone need a gazillion coffee mugs? Especially since Jeff only uses one certain mug and I only like a few different ones.

I hope someone who shops Goodwill likes coffee mugs.

Enough about that. Let's move on. Today's my Auntie Barbara's -- I call her Barbo -- birthday! She's the oldest in her family. She and I have a special connection. Maybe because we both know what it's like being the oldest. We have certain birthrights for sure. I think she and my dad are about two years or less apart in age. She always looked out for him. I love to hear her stories about my dad when he was a little boy. And we have a lot in common too. For example: we both love pocketbooks. Big pocketbooks. With lots and lots of junk. We both have a fiery hot temper. We both have husbands who understand our fiery hot temper and love us anyway. We both love our family with every beat of our heart and would do anything for any one of them. She was always there for me when I was a little girl. I could call her and she'd be there. And I know if I called her today, she'd be here again. God broke the mold when he made my Aunt Barbo.

I love ya and I wish you many, many more birthdays! I hope your day is filled with lots of calls from your grandkids and greats, a yummy birthday cake, lots of family, a Craig's List with lots of goodies, beautiful sights out your breakfast room window, but most of all LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE. You deserve it!

Till tomorrow. TGoodnessIF!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doing as I'm Told

I'm normally the bossiest sister, but today Suz got kinda bossy with me. She wanted another blog. I've been kinda waiting to get some pictures because I don't like to post without a picture of some sort.

As I mentioned, Cam bought a camper from my dad to take to his hunting land. Daddy had done quite a few things to it before Cam brought it home. I think it's like a 1974 model. Maybe not something you'd take to Yellowstone Park, but for hunting it'll be perfect.

I never knew that Cam had a neat bone in his body. I mean, he is one of the biggest slobs I've ever seen. I say one of the biggest because only Ross might be a bigger one. I remember when they were little practically walking in behind them picking up their toys and messes. That was when my OCD began. When they were little.

Long ago I chose not to take on the battle of the rooms. I don't go in Cam's room unless I'm looking for something that I need RIGHT then and can't wait for him to get home and do it himself. And I NEVER, EVER, EVER go in Ross's room. His room is upstairs and I haven't been up there in over a year. Crazy I know. I just go nuts when I go in either of their rooms. I start screaming and throwing things and my head starts spinning around and green stuff starts oozing out of my mouth. Okay. I'm exaggerating, but you get the point, right?

Here is Cam's room this afternoon.

Lovely, huh?
Not knowing that he had a neat bone, I was shocked to see how he's taking care of his new camper. Everything is clean. Everything is hung up and in its place. I mean, it's like it's his mansion or something. And by the way, he informed me today that he'd be making a list of things he needs for his "housewarming." Ha! I don't think anything too extravagant will be on the list. He said something about plastic forks, knives and spoons. I can handle that.

So this is his bed in his camper. It doesn't have a comforter or sheets on it yet, but you can bet it will and I bet it will always be made. Notice the hats hanging up on the wall. Do you think he hangs them up in his room? Uh, no.

More hats, all nicely hung. That boy has got some hats let me tell ya.

I've never in all his 17 years of life known him to hang anything up without being forced. Yet in his camper, all of his clothes are nicely hung.
Oh, and when I went in it yesterday for a visit, he made ME take MY shoes off. He had put some carpet down and he and daddy had put new linoleum on the floor. I almost fell out. He's never given a second thought about wearing boots caked in three inches of mud in my house, but HE made ME take my flip flops off to come inside his camper.

He's got a few more things to do to it before he takes it to the hunting land. I'm thinking some nice lace curtains would go perfectly. What do y'all think?
Till tomorrow. Thank goodness it's ALMOST FRIDAY!
P.S. I'll let everyone know when the housewarming is going to be. HA!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

No News is Good News

Crystal told me last night that she had been afraid to ask me why I haven't blogged in a few days. She assumed I had been having more problems and just not in the mood. Well, the truth of the matter is that no news is good news. Life has been routine and humdrum. And I have embraced it with open arms.

I cooked for the fam last night. I guess to give Jeff the credit he deserves, he made the spaghetti and it was delish! He completely out did himself. It's amazing what you can do with ground chuck and Ragu. I made the strawberry salad that my mom loves and rolls. Suz made a yummy dessert fruit pizza drizzled with chocolate that was a huge hit.

I mean, just look at it. It's as pretty as it was good! I also baked a pound cake that was TO DIE FOR! My MaMa Kimball would've been so proud. It was almost as good as the ones she used to make.
Every time when the kids come swimming, they all want to use the masks and goggles and snorkels that I have. And, of course, they always have to be adjusted to fit their faces because everybody uses every else's mask and goggles. And snorkels. We keep germs in the family, you know.

The last time Eli was here for a swim, he wanted some flippers. I had a pair but they were broken (surprise I know!). I found this cute Sponge Bob swim set that included the mask, the snorkel and the flippers. I was so excited because he LOVES Sponge Bob. Naturally, I bought them and could hardly wait to give them to him last night.

When I gave them to him, he pretended to pass out from excitement. Literally. He dropped to the floor like he was fainting. He thought I was the best thing ever. The excitement was short lived. We spent 30 minutes trying to get the mask adjusted to his face. Even though the package said for ages four and up, the mask seemed to be made for a person with a giant head. The flippers also needed massive adjusting as they were made for a full-grown man with very large feet.

We finally had him suited up and ready to go. He was dressed for some serious snorkeling.

And then it happened. The mask leaked. The snorkel didn't work. The flippers kept sliding up his legs. He was ILL. He threw the mask. He threw the snorkel. He threw the flippers. He said they worked terrible and that I should take them back to the store to get another pair.

Why, oh, why, do they make that swim stuff out of crap? Don't these manufacturers know that little kids expect their things to work and to work right and they get very, very angry when they don't? Kids don't understand that perhaps they aren't going to be able to snorkel around like the cute little kid swimming on the package. Junk. All junk.

We ended up playing with the beach ball and football. Thank heaven you can't mess up a ball. I don't think Eli's nerves could've taken any more disappointment. And quite frankly, we were all tired of dodging the flying mask, snorkel and flippers that he was throwing in frustration.
My backyard is beginning to look like Fred Sanford's junkyard. Cam is now the proud owner of this camper.
HE bought it to use at his hunting land. HE bought it from my dad. HE used HIS birthday money and the rest of the money HE made while working at Food Depot. He paid for almost all of it and is going to work the rest of it off with my daddy.
It's not the prettiest thing to look at, but is pretty nice on the inside. I may actually go with him hunting a time or two. If he'll let me. I'm more of a hotel/resort-type girl, but I'll try anything once.

I'm making my mom's homemade veggie soup for supper. I don't know why because no one in my house eats it except me and I love it! I'll make it and eat it for lunch for a week. Veggie soup and cucumbers. I don't get tired of those two things. You want the recipe for my mama's soup? Okay. Here you go.

One onion, chopped
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (assuming you don't have any fresh homegrown or
frozen -- I'm using homegrown frozen ones)
2 16-ounce cans creamed corn -- or frozen homegrown corn or frozen rolls of corn
1 bag of frozen or fresh okra, sliced
1 bag of small green lima beans or butter beans
2 potatoes, chopped
1/2 stick butter
Salt and pepper

My recipe varies from my mom's a little. I don't like potatoes in my soup, so I leave them out. I love the okra, so I add a little more. Be sure to cook the beans about 10 minutes before adding them to the soup. Don't drain them, just add the beans and the juice to the pot of soup. When you've got all of your ingredients in the pot, add approximately 2 cups of water. The main thing is to keep it stirred so it doesn't stick. When it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and just let it cook. Mama says to cook it and cook it and cook it. Probably about a couple of hours. Might need a pinch of sugar, depending on the acidity of your tomatoes.

Make a pot of this soup and some good ol' cornbread and you've got a meal fit for a king. Or queen.

Guess that's all for today. Till tomorrow! Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Suza!

Today's Suz's birthday! Now, I'm not going to tell y'all her age, because like she and Crystal always say, it seems like she should permanently be 26; Crystal should always be 31 and I should always be 34. Add ten to those and you have the truth.

I nearly titled this post Happy Birthday to the Fun Girl! As I was looking through my pictures trying to decide on which ones to use, I have so many of us having fun. But then, every single time we're together we have fun. I don't just mean a little bit of fun. I mean a good, good time. We make each other laugh harder than anyone else can and we do it every day.
Like the day we went shoe shopping!

We had the most fun trying on all the ugly shoes and laughed hysterically when my foot fit in these little girl shoes.
Then there was the day my tooth fell out. We were both anxious and scared, but couldn't help giggling a little.

This is one of my favorite pictures of us. We were at Panama City Beach together with her family and my boys for a baseball tournament Reid was in.

Even though it's mostly fun and games with us, we can get in fusses now and then. You've never seen two girls with shorter fuses than us. And, honey, believe me, we can ignite quicker than any stick of dynamite ever seen! Thankfully, though, neither of us can stay mad very long. I think the longest ever might be a few hours.

She knows me better than anyone and I think I know her better than anyone. It only takes a millisecond when I answer the phone to know what kinda mood she's in. Among the zillion other things we share, we share our frustrations with our job and our frustrations with traffic. Every time we're on the phone with each other driving, you can hear us shouting, what the heck. Or, oh, no, he didn't. Or go on, you old fart. We can even turn traffic into a good laugh.

I've been there for the birth of all three of her kids and y'all know how much I love them. She can brag about them all she wants to me. I don't care. I love it. They give her plenty to brag about. And fuss about.
She juggles a crazy career, three kids, a husband and a house. And she does it without missing a beat. I tease her because she flies by the seat of her pants a lot of times. That's the only thing different about us. I'm a planner and she's not. All in all, I'd say her way works best.

This is Suz and Jason dressed for a fancy dinner.
Just kidding. It was last Halloween.
She's five years younger than Crystal and eight years younger than me, so she's always had two extra moms. By my nature, and my birthright, too, I might add, I'm by far the bossiest and the one in charge. And the first to defend her, look out for her and help her. She does the same for me.
Friends may come and go, but your family is forever. How blessed am I that my best friends are my sisters?
So today I wish a very happy birthday to my BFF. I hope your day will be filled with lots of chocolate, some great pics of Jillian and Ed, good reality TV, a hot cup of your favorite coffee and everything else makes you smile!
Only YOU know how much YOU mean to ME!
Till tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy 17th Birthday, Cameron

Seventeen years ago at 8:55 a.m., I became a mom for the second time. Alex Cameron Kelly came into the world at a whopping 9 pounds. He was 21 3/4 inches long. He was my honey bun baby. When I was pregnant with Cam, at least three mornings a week I would have a honey bun for breakfast. I remember thinking when he was born he had a honey bun in each cheek. No honey bun I've ever had was as sweet as those cheeks though.
We brought him home to a loud, busy house. Ross made sure of that. But Cam wasn't like Ross.
He was a quiet baby, always observing things going on around him. Much like he does today. He walked early, but talked late. He had his own special language. He still does. Today, though, we call them Cameronisms and they are hilarious.
As a little boy, he was sorta shy and really was happiest when no one was paying him any attention at all. The less you noticed Cam, the happier he was. Everyone that is, except for me.
Despite warnings from my mom that I would ruin him, I held him and snuggled him all the time. I think I always knew in my heart that Cam would be my last baby, so I never hesitated to spoil him. That is a fact that still holds true today. I can hardly stand to tell him no. So I rarely do.
He's not a mama's boy, or anybody's boy, for that matter. But I think that Cam and I have a very, very special bond. He pretty much pulls my heartstrings at will.
I homeschooled him the year he was in the third grade. It was one of my favorite times. I was actually learning along with him and we had way more fun than school should be. We did our P.E. by running up and down the driveway. It was during this time that I remember Jeff's dad, Ed, telling me, with tears in his eyes, that that boy sure loved his mama. Not nearly as much as his mama loved him.
We had a big first birthday party for him at the park in Stockbridge. All of the pictures I have of him on that day have him looking like, what's the big deal? Why is everyone looking at me?
Here is my niece, Carie, with Cam on his first birthday. He got a huge rockie horse for his birthday that year and he rode that horse with a devilish grin that I can still see.
Oh, if I could just go back in time for one hour and see that grin and kiss those cheeks. As it is, here's my baby today.
Still with a devilish grin. He's very thoughtful, likes to give cards and can be quite polite -- when I'm not looking. I can't wait to see what great things he's going to accomplish. When he sets his mind on something, look out. He has a stubborn diligence that will take him wherever he chooses to go.
I just hope it's not too far from me.
Happy 17th birthday, Cam! I know you'll read this, even though you may never let me know that you did. I love you and cherish you with every beat of my heart.
Till tomorrow. LLL.