Monday, December 20, 2010

What Defines Christmas to You

Just thinking. And wondering. From tonight until Christmas, I'm going to be focusing on the beauty of Christmas. I want to try and do things that mean Christmas to me. But what? What really defines Christmas to me. I'm being brutally honest here. These are the things that bring me joy and make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Hmmmm. As my lists always are, in no particular order.

1. Listening to Christmas carols. I love the old, old ones. I like to listen to the ones that were popular in the '40, '50s and '60s. I try to imagine what Christmas was like back then.

2. Watching Christmas TV shows and movies. I love Christmas television shows. And once again, I like the old ones. Betwitched, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Andy Griffith, The Brady Bunch (now there's a classic), Good Times, All in the Family. Well, you get the picture. And we've watched National Lampoon Christmas Vacation at least twice all the way through. We play it in pieces the entire Christmas season. Charlie Brown's Christmas is my most favorite. Next on my schedule is It's a Wonderful Life. I'm hoping my DVR is going to catch all the old sitcoms that will be on.

3. Snow globes. I will post a picture soon of my Christmas snow globes that I've been collecting since Jeff and I were married. I don't know how many I have. I've never thought to count. I love each and every one of them and they are my favorite Christmas decoration. My great-grandmother had one of the little blue plastic ones and I remember shaking it and watching the flakes inside. I couldn't have been more than about 5 or 6. You might say I've liked them awhile. For the next few days, I think I'll wind a few up and watch the snowflakes fall.

4. My MaMa Kimball's Not Like a Fruitcake Fruitcake. I made it again this year. It seemed dry at first, but I reached in my bag of tips and remembered that MaMa always put an apple slice or two with hers and it stayed moist and wonderful. This isn't your average, dried out, crumbly, full-of-who-knows-what. No, this is one that has 8 cups of pecans. Oh, yeah, it's divine. I'm blowing my diet from now until Christmas. MaMa Kimball's Not Like a Fruitcake Fruitcake comes but once a year. I'm eating it. I'll just have to spin that much harder in January.

5. And coincidentally, this one came last. Maybe it's because it's the one I'm focusing on the most. This year I'm going to really soak Christmas in. I'm going to enjoy every single second that I spend with every single person that I'm with this holiday. I'm going to make pictures to remember with, both on my camera and in my heart. I'm going to celebrate the birth of my Lord. I'm going to enjoy the smiles and expressions on my sweet boys. They'll always be boys, to me. I'm going to sleep with my Christmas snowflakes lighting my bedroom so beautifully. I'm going to enjoy the chaos that is Christmas Eve with my precious nephews, niece and my sweet sisters! I'm going to be thankful for what I have. I'm going to pray for others. The people that I know and people that I don't. There are children hurting and there are grown-ups hurting. I'm going to remember them all.

What about you? What's defines Christmas to you?

Till next time. Live. Love. Laugh. And do it with all your heart!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Working, Shopping, Wrapping & Baking

Do you ever wonder how in the world you get it all done? Today I've worked. I shopped. I wrapped. And now I'm baking.

And the funny thing about this is that I DON'T LIKE TO COOK! It's taken me a little while to publicly admit that I just don't like cooking. It's not natural. It's not womanly. It's not maternal.
I'm making Pioneer Woman's Christmas Rum Cake. I had not quite half a cup of rum. I needed more. So I just poured the rum that I did have in an ice cold glass of Diet Coke. Wow. It was so good. Even after the Diet Coke and rum, guess what? I still don't like to cook.
I'm also making a big pasta salad to take to our South Georgia Christmas tomorrow. We're gathering at my cousin Rick and his wife, Jackie's house. They live in Alpharetta, which is about an hour away. Even before I started to drink the rum, I had mishap after mishap in the kitchen. For example:
1. Spilled an entire, FULL CUP OF CHOPPED NUTS. (Yes, Bandit was quite happy.) Maybe that was what caused her to poop in the house. (Yes, I was SO NOT HAPPY!)
2. Burned my fingers on the pan with the boiling water and pasta.
3. Dropped half the noodles down the drain after burning my fingers on the pan with the boiling water and pasta.
4. Thought I bought olives with no pits. Bit into one. Guess what? Picked up the wrong jar.
5. Removed the pits from exactly 12 olives. Didn't take me long to decide that a machine needs to do that job. This pasta salad will have 12 olives only.
Those things have happened and I have not yet mixed up my cake yet. Jeff had to stop on his way home from work and get me some more rum. I may have to have another Diet Coke to make it through the rest of this cooking project.
Hope y'all are getting all of your Christmas chores done, and that you're enjoying every minute of it. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Till next time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lifesaver Storybook

Around here tomorrow is the last day of school before the Christmas holidays begin. I've been reminiscing tonight about what that last day was like when I was a little girl.

We always had big class parties. We had a room mom who would bring refreshments for us. I don't remember making very many Christmas ornaments or crafts, but there is one craft in particular that I made that my mom and dad still have. I don't even remember making it really. It was a baby food jar, filled with water -- I guess it was water, but it's still crystal
clear -- and it had plastic holly inside. I always loved it when she brought out that jar.

I also remember these.

My friends and I would exchange gifts. I'm sure you know how that goes. Some girls would start telling you in November that they were going to give you a gift, so naturally, you would make sure to get them something. Sometimes they gave you something; sometimes not. But that didn't matter. My mom always bought several of those Lifesaver books for me to give my friends. And usually a friend gave me a Lifesaver book, too.

Sometimes we would leave our house after school and head to south Georgia to celebrate Christmas with my grandparents and my uncles in Twin City. It was a three-hour drive and I can remember sitting in the backseat of the car with my sisters looking at the wonderful little gifts we had gotten at school that day. The thing I remember the most is those Lifesaver books. And the occasional LipSmacker.

Santa brings my boys a Lifesaver book each and every year. I don't know if they like them or not, but nevertheless, they get one. Sometimes I curse Santa for bringing them because the silver wrappers are everywhere, but Santa knows what he's doing. He knows that one day my boys may remember, with the same fond memory as I, the Lifesaver Sweet Storybook.

Till next time. Be a blessing to someone this holiday season. You don't have to look far to find someone who needs one. Maybe you can share a Lifesaver Storybook.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tybee Lost a Great One

If you've been reading my blog a while, you know we always vacation on Tybee Island and have been for many years. It's my favorite place on earth.

We're lucky enough to make the trip several times a year. One of them being in February when we go down to celebrate Ms. Sylvia's birthday and Jeff's too. This year Ms. Sylvia turned 101 and Jeff turned 48.

Ms. Sylvia passed away peacefully yesterday. Her wishes were to be cremated and her ashes spread out over the water.

We were lucky to have hand the acquaintance of such a special and unique person. She lived life to its fullest and was an inspiration to me. Even though the numbers say you're old, and sometimes you might not feel the best, you need to get out there and enjoy your life, whether it's shaking a maraca or anything else that you love to do. Ms. Sylvia did and she really enriched the lives of the visitors of Doc's Bar.

She was the epitome of Living, Loving and Laughing.

Rest in peace, sweet Ms. Sylvia. We'll miss seeing you in your own little corner of Doc's.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Carol

I have been cleaning out my closet and listening to some Halloween music. It made me think about all the different Halloween songs there are. This one comes to my mind as probably the most popular.
Although really, what is scary about that image? Um. Nothing. Definitely not my favorite, although, I do remember the fun surrounding the movie and song.

Maybe I'm more of a I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me kind of girl.

No, thankfully, paranoia is one thing I don't have. So that one's not gonna get it either. Not my favorite.

How about Witchy Woman? That title could be about me. And I do like the song and the lyrics, but no, it's not my favorite Halloween carol.

One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple Eater. There is nothing to like about that song. Definitely not my favorite, and definitely my least favorite.

Do children even like that song?

To Lurch was fun. It was a new one that I had never heard before. I liked it, especially the voice of Lurch. Wasn't he so funny on the Adams Family?

Lurch would be such an awesome costume and you never see one. I think he's even better than Frankenstein. Lurch could be real, but Frankenstein, err uh, no. Great song, but not my favorite.

So that may lead you wonder what my favorite Halloween carol is. Or maybe you couldn't care less. Either way, here it is. It's the best Halloween song EVER!

How could you not love that fun song? Everyone was there. The zombies, the WolfMan, Dracula, Igor, The Coffin Bangers, and a vocal group "The Crypt-Kicker Five. Hands down, best Halloween song ever.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Halloween song? Let me know about it. Maybe it's one I've never heard and might be my new favorite. Nah, Monster Mash Forever!!!!

Till next time, Happy Halloween to all you readers of A Girl Named Kelly Kelly!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Outside My Window

Happy Fall, y'all! I made some pictures of the views outside my window a couple of days ago and tried for the longest time to post them. Blogger was having one of its fits and wouldn't let me. I decided I'd share them today because they're just too darned pretty not to remember.

The dogwood. Can you believe the color of those leaves? As I've said so many times about other colors in nature, you just don't find those colors in the box. Those come directly from God's hand.
Don't want to forget what my scarecrow looked like this year. Thank heaven Halloween is this weekend, although I could leave her up longer I guess. Her pom pom has fallen out and she looks like she'd like a break from the weather.

Speaking of the weather. This fall has had the weirdest weather I can remember. It seems like it's never going to get cool. Yesterday according to my car it was 87 degrees outside. That's too hot for fall. When it's over, it's over. Summer 2010 is over, so it's time she move on and let Autumn 2010 move in.
I don't know what kind of tree this beauty is, but it's one of my favorites. I can see it out of my bathroom window and I always look forward to its color every year.

And with the warm temps, even some of my summer flowers are hanging on to their beauty. This hibiscus out by the pool braved the scorching summer and continues to hang on, still bringing on new blooms.

I made this wreath out of some of my hydrangeas. I think dried hydrangeas are so pretty. And they are so durable too. The flowers on the wreath have not dropped their petals and still look so pretty to me.

This is outside the door coming into my house. And I mean it, too!

With two boys and a hubby who just won't take his shoes off before coming inside, I have to be witchy sometimes.
Hope you've got lots of fall beauty outside your window, too!
Till next time...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mountain Girl or Beach Babe

Which one are you? Do you like the mountains or the beach better? I don't wanna hear that you like the beach in summer, the mountains in fall! That answer is way too easy.

Jeff and I are here in the mountains and it seriously feels springtime outside. Last night we had pizza and we ordered enough for the entire town of Blue Ridge, Georgia to eat. Blue Jeans Pizza is very, very generous with their pizza. And oh, BTW, did I mention that it was awesome too? Leftovers are gonna be lunch today and maybe tonight we'll try another place for dinner.

I ate like a pig yesterday. Hands down. Suz had left some of her World's Best Cupcakes -- don't y'all wish I'd post the
recipe -- at my house after the wienie roast. I brought them along and yesterday, I think I ate four.

Speaking of recipes, because I love all of you so much, I'm posting my Mom's Pumpkin Bread recipe. And honestly, I can't wait to get home to make it myself!

Makes two loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon of each of these spices:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking SODA
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER

Mix the wet ingredients, then slowly add the dry. Pour into loaf pans and bake it 350 degree oven for one hour. Let the bread cool to warm, then drizzle with this wonderful glaze:

1 cup milk mixed with 1 cup sugar. Thicken to desired consistency, then slowly drizzle over the warm bread.

Do you have a pumpkin recipe to share? I'd LOVE to hear about them. I want to make some different things over the holidays.

Till next time...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Wienee Roast

Last Tuesday was my 45th birthday. Around here, we celebrate birthdays for at least a week. In some cases, maybe even a little longer.

Sunday night supper was at my house and we had my annual birthday wienie roast. My birthday wienie roast has a long history. Mama used to have one for me every year as my birthday party. We'd invite my grandparents, all my aunts and uncles and cousins. I remember them like yesterday. Mama always did us girls big birthday parties. She made them special, that's for sure.

Now that I'm all grown up, Mama just comes as a guest. Someone else does all the work. This is the someone else who did all the work.

My sweet, sweet hubby worked so hard to make everything perfect. And it was.

You know you're loved when you have three birthday cakes. You also realize that there was a little lack of communication because you have three birthday cakes. But really, can you ever have too many?

Suz made me the world's best cupcakes. My Mama made pumpkin bread with the sweetest glaze. And Jeff bought me a pretty birthday cake, complete with a 4 and a 5!

These are the world's best cupcakes that Suz made. She found these cute ghost tins at Target and they worked perfectly because the icing for the cupcake is white and the cupcake is the most wonderful chocolate! I will get the recipe for y'all because they are definitely the world's best.

I wanted to post a few random pictures of the night. As I was posting these, I realized that hardly anyone was smiling. What's up with that? It looked like everyone was having fun. Guess everyone just left their smiles at home.

Except me. I was opening my gifts, so naturally I had a big smile on my face. We've been doing some redecorating and most of my gifts were for my house. My family was so sweet and gave me WAY too much! But I loved all of it and before the night was over, I had found places for everything.

Here's me and the wonderful woman who gave me life. Love her so much.

And my dear daddy, who also had a hand in giving me life. Thanks mom and pop! I really love my life!!!!

Here's my boy Ross. He has such a great sense of humor and rarely has his picture made without making some sort of face. With that beard, he looks so intelligent in this picture, don't you think? Sweet thing. Oh, and did I mention that this handsome thing gave his mama Coco Chanel body cream for her birthday? Yes, he did! He went to the store and bought it himself. As I found out later, he got to enjoy a little eye candy himself while he was there, as the girl working the counter was, as he put it, hot.

I always make goodie bags for birthday parties, even my own. After 10 months without any bubble gum, he put five big gumballs in his mouth.

Also put some funny teeth in the bags. Here's Ethan with his teeth.

Reid being serious. He hurt his hand playing football Saturday. If you look closely, you can see his left hand is swollen and bruised. He's on his way to the orthopedist right now to see if it's broken. Joseph and Kelsey looking like Joseph's truck broke down on the way to my house. I guess they're looking like that because it really did happen. Poor thing has had the hardest time with his truck.
Alayna was in charge of the hot chocolate. We didn't drink nearly as much this year because it wasn't as cold as last year. But she stirred and stirred and stirred. Then she drank so much she got a tummy ache!

When you're around a campfire and you don't like smoke, you must have safety goggles. So here's Eli with his hot dog roasting and goggles accounted for.

The campfire. It was perfect weather for a campfire. No wind, so therefore not much smoke.

And here I am blowing out my 45 candles and making a wish. What could I possibly wish for when I have everything I need. And on this night, I had most all of it in one place.

Till next time when I'll share with you about my birthday trip to the North Georgia mountains, have a lovely Tuesday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some Things Change; Some Don't

Last week I was lucky enough to go to the Henry County Fair with one of my favorite nephews for his birthday.

Ethan turned 11 and instead of going out for his birthday supper somewhere like Outback or Longhorn, he wanted to go to the fair.

Ethan and Nick October 6, 2010

I don't know how long it's been since any of you have been to a county fair. My sweet friend, Dena, in Iowa goes every year. I haven't been in many, many years. And after reading all about the fun that Dena and her family have at their fairs, I wanted to go check my local one out.

After going to the fair, I realized that some things change and some things definitely don't. That was especially true for the fair!

When we were kids, every October the fair came to McDonough. We'd always beg mom to take us and most of the time she did. Back in those days, the fairgrounds were dirt. Now, the fair is held on nice -- although busted up in places -- pavement.

Ethan and Nick on the slide

They still have some of the same rides. Like the slide. I think that fair rides are mostly for young folks. I mean, if I come flying down that slide on a tow sack like the boys did, as soon as my bootie hits that last bump, I'm heading to my local medical center. But not kids. They ride and ride and ride.

Ahhhhh, the funnel cake. Who knows what it is or how to make them. And more importantly, who even cares. Crystal said she saw a funnel cake maker at some store that you could take home and make your own. For me, that would be a very bad idea. I would probably eat them every single meal. That greasy, sweet, powdery sugar goodness would clog my arteries and probably send me to an early grave. But wow, would it be a heck of a way to go.

Crystal bought the boys $20 armbands, which allowed them to ride as many rides as many times as they wanted to. It allowed them to play the games exactly zero times. What was the thing they wanted to do first? Play the games.

The games were pretty much the same. Fill your balloon up with water first, win a prize. Shoot a basketball so filled with air it's most likely gonna bounce off the rim, win a prize. Pick a duck out of the water, you know, all the same ones.

But the thing that was different was the prizes. Sure you could always win a Teddy Bear, BUT not one with a Department of Corrections jumpsuit on. Is this supposed to be endearing? I guess if you had a loved one locked up, you could snuggle up with your DOC Teddy Bear and feel closer to that person.

Another all-time favorite of mine. The sticky, gooey, delicious caramel apple. But with these teeth of mine, if I had even one bite every tooth in my mouth would likely be crunched up with the apple. Sadly, I had to pass on that one.

Crystal and James have been working out really hard. Don't they look great?

Maybe fairs are in cahoots with cardiologists because some of the things they have to eat there are crazy. Deep fried candy bars! That's scary!

Gone are the days of thinking ahead and getting your cash before you go to the fair. Now, if you don't have cash or if you spend all you brought and you just can't resist that deep friend candy bar, just walk over to the ATM.

I love Ferris wheels. I love Nicholas Sparks, who also loves Ferris wheels. I think they are so pretty with the lights against the night sky. Haven't ridden one in years.

I have to be honest here. I love corndogs. Love them. So of course, no trip to the fair would have been complete without one. Nowadays in America, we have supersized everything. Including the corn dog.
Also keeping it real, I tried something called chicken on a stick.

And honestly, it was the best chicken tender I've ever eaten. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can fry food like the fair people can.
We took a look at the animals. Unfortunately, it was a Wednesday when we went and the only ones left were the cows. They had been shown the day before and the day we went was the day of the sale.
I've been around cows plenty of times. My PaPa Kimball raised them and we saw them lots of times. They used to mess up our fishing in PaPa's pond by taking a swim in it. But PaPa's cows were just cows. They weren't brushed and petted and massaged.
The ones at the fair were so pretty. Their hair was nicely combed and they didn't have any slime hanging out of their mouths or flies flying around their eyes like the ones I had seen in South Georgia at PaPa's farm.
I pet one and fell in love. He was so soft and warm. I decided then and there that I wouldn't be eating any more beef. Alas, though, it was not to be. I have craved nothing but a steak and roast beef since that moment.
So for the best fried food around, people watching at its absolute best, may I suggest your county or state fair. It was the most fun I had had in a while. To be there with my sweet nephew celebrating his 11th birthday was just the powdered sugar on the funnel cake.

Till next time...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Birthday Fairy

The birthday fairy stopped by and gave me another birthday. This one is the 45th one she's given me. Wow, 45. How blessed I've been in my 45 years of living.

Every October 12th, I feel so melancholy. I know some people feel nothing but joy on their birthday, but I'm not that type person. I start feeling all nostalgic and sentimental and then before you know it, I'm downright sad.

I don't mind getting older. I mean, I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bother me even one little bit because it does. I have wrinkles around my eyes. Wrinkles around my mouth. My back hurts. My legs and feet hurt. Sometimes my mind doesn't feel as sharp as it once did. But for the most part, my body has been better to me than I've been to it.

It's not the wrinkles or the aches that I don't like about getting older. It's that all of the people around me are getting older, too. My grandparents did. My parents are. My sisters are. My niece and nephews are. My aunts and uncles, who were -- and will always be -- in my mind's eye, young and lively! It seems like they should be 45, not me! Jeff's getting older, my kids are getting older. We're all getting older and it makes me blue. Can't time just slow down a little bit, please.

Sometimes just for kicks and giggles I stand in front of the mirror and pull my face this way and that, gently tugging on the wrinkles. And sometimes, just for a minute, I see a way younger Girl Named Kelly Kelly. All the face cream in the world just can't stop what age and gravity does to you.

Today I'm celebrating another trip around the sun, and I'm thankful the birthday fairy stopped by once again. I'll look forward to seeing her next year.

Till next time...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just a Gliding

Tonight Nan and I took a new class at the gym. It's called Gliding.

To give you an idea what it was like... imagine standing on a Frisbee on an ice skating rink. It was pretty tricky. I felt like I was going to be forced into doing the only split I've ever done in my entire life. I'm definitely going to give it another try because I think it's a great concept and it's supposed to be a great workout for your thighs and bum. Lord knows, I need all the help I can get with mine.

I had lunch today with a friend that I have not seen or spoken to in over 14 years. I worked with her when I worked for an eye doctor in Snellville. I left there to begin my court reporting career. She's still there and will be celebrating 25 years there in February. She was like a big sister to me, partly because she's 10 years older than me, but mostly because she was just that kind of friend. In fact, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding.

Somehow, we lost touch. I never called her and she never called me. I thought of her often and wondered if she still worked in the same office. Monday, while I wasn't laboring, I thought of her and decided to track her down. After looking at about 100 girls with her same name, I realized she wasn't on Facebook. So I decided to Google the doctor we worked for and see if he perhaps had a web page. Lucky for me he did. And even luckier for me, she still works there and her e-mail address was on the site.

I e-mailed her that minute and she replied to me first thing Tuesday morning. We scheduled lunch and went to have Chinese. That was always our favorite lunch. I can't tell you how good it was to see her. So much had changed in her life since I had last talked with her. She got divorced, became a grandmother and lost her parents. It was if we just picked up where we left off in our friendship. I'm so excited to have reconnected to such a special friend. This time I'm not going to lose touch with her. She's a keeper.

Eli had his first ever cavity filled this morning. Suz sent me this picture of him. Look at that preciousness sitting so still and straight while getting his little cavity filled. It's so sweet that I can hardly stand it!

And tonight, she sent me this picture. I think it might be Eli's first ever love note.

All I can say about that is that Becca is one lucky little girl!

Hope everyone had a great day! I sure did.

Till next time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Laborless Labor Day Weekend

We took it easy over the Labor Day Weekend. I really can't say that I took a lick at a snake. It was wonderful.

Friday night, Jeff and I went to our new favorite Mexican cantina.

We got there about 8:45 and it was still crowded, with lots of people still coming. It's a small place and the bar only seats about eight. If you have to wait, you have to wait outside. It was a lovely night and we waited on the patio for about 45 minutes. The people watching was great, so the time passed quickly. The food, as always, was the best. Since it was such a nice night, we took the top down on the convertible. The lights through downtown were so pretty. It was a great night!

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and went to spin class at the gym. I've gotten totally addicted to that class. The feeling of pouring sweat and working so hard feels wonderful. I got home and showered and got ready to watch the bulldogs whoop up on the Ragin' Cajuns from Louisiana.

Jeff is coaching football again this year. He's coaching 11-year-old boys. His second game of the season was on Saturday night.
So because, I'm such a good wife, and because it wasn't 9 million degrees outside, I went to his game. It wasn't much of a game, as they won 60-0. Crazy.
Ronnie, Nan and some other friends were all at Three Dollar Cafe to watch the rest of the college football games, so we headed there after Jeff's game.
Went to a wonderful Sunday morning church service with my mom, my aunts and some other family members. Sunday night, Nan had several folks over for a little cookout. She made some roasted vegetables that were out of this world delish. That girl can cook!
Suz and I are going to a cocktail party for one of our coworkers this Friday night. I've got a few things to choose from to wear, but I need a new top to wear with one of the things. So surprisingly, Jeff agreed to go with me to do a little shopping yesterday. I bought exactly nothing. It wasn't because he was with me either. He found a nice little sofa and rested his yes a bit while I was browsing around Macy's. There just isn't much to choose from right now.
After leaving the mall, we went here.

And it was a wonderful visit!
It was the best Laborless weekend I've had in a while. I hope yours was too!
Till next time.