Friday, November 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

to pumpkins!

My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I were sooo lucky this year to have three of our five children, two daughters-in-law, our son-in-law, and four of our seven grandchildren at our home for Thanksgiving. We got to spend three nights/four days with them. It’s now an experience we’ll truly cherish forever. Lots of “Memory Lane.” Lots of silliness and laughter. Way too much food. And by food I mean SUGAR.

MSH and I moved to the country over twelve years ago. TLC was going to be a junior in high school. This year we celebrated our 13th Annual Pumpkin Chunkin’. Some years it’s been just MSH, me and TLC that have done the “chunkin’.” I can remember two years when it was just MSH and me. This year we had a Gang O’ Chunkers and the following pictures will be our last posting of November Pumpkins. (Yes, we do hear your sighs of relief. And, yes, the deer, raccoons, possums, birds, maybe even coyotes and bobcats have their own “Thanksgiving” feast on our chunked pumpkins. We think of it as “Recycling in the Country.”)

 Linin' 'em up!
(Can you spot TBBB?)

Our two oldest sons doing a "tandem chunk!" 

Our Thanksgiving Table!
(Gorgeous flowers compliments of one of our daughters-in-law.)

This BEAUTIFUL picture was taken by our precious, oldest granddaughter!
She is a very talented photographer.
(Can you tell we're proud?)
This is the tip-top of the hill that we live on.
We adore all of the pretty fall colours this year.

Our grandkiddos immersed in Halo (that's what they told me it was called)!
We delegated the guest bedroom as the official "Video Games Command Central."

Our Little Turkey!
(She didn't know what Halo was either.)

Little Turkey Leighton and her Uncle!

Even though Little Leighton won’t have a clue what this time of year is about, TLC and I are looking forward to our first Christmas with her! Christmas is TLC’s favourite holiday. Always has been. Suspect it always will be. We’ll do our best, during the next month, not to be too cliché or, even worse, boring.

We say au revoir to November with gratitude to Our Almighty God for His many blessings to and on us and our families. We are much obliged, Dearest Lord.

Hello December!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stuffed

That is us. From the tips of our pedi-ed toes to the tops of Our Big Texas Hairdos. We're still so full from our feasting on Thursday we can't even think. Much less write.

Jay Leno pretty much sums it up for The Leightons:

You can tell you
ate too much
for Thanksgiving
when you have to
let your bathrobe out.


The good news? Only 6 more November "Pumpkin Picture" days left.

We hear your grateful sighs of relief. Yes. Yes, we do.

smooches!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve Eve

Little Leighton and I came to ELC's and My Sweet Dad's hacienda to help prep for our Thursday GobbleFest. LL loves rocking on the front porch with her Pa-Dad and strolling in the fresh air with her Grammy. I believe a little country does all of us a lot of good.

Today we're spending the day cleaning. Two of my brothers and their gangs will be making the trek up north—from Houston—tomorrow. My Sweet Hubby and Henry will join us then, too. I already have LL's Turkey Day attire picked out. (You know I'll be staging a photo shoot. Pictures to follow.)

Tomorrow, the cooking commences! I'll be whipping up some delish Pumpkin Dessert Squares that ELC and I sampled at William-Sonoma when we took LL to the mall at the beginning of October. I thought I would share the recipe today. This would even be yummy for breakfast! (Don't judge. Remember—pumpkin is a veggie, after all.)

Pecan Pumpkin Butter Dessert Squares
  • 1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" pan. Mix the jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter with two eggs and milk. Pour this result over the cake mix. Stir the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into "2 squares. Serves 24.

In addition, I wanted to post these two pretty pictures I took from ELC's front porch on Monday. I love that you can see our tank in the background of the first one and the fabulous fall foliage in the next one.



Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve! (That always makes me think of Phoebe on Friends and how she would say: Merry Christmas Eve Eve!)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

There's Still Time . . .

. . . To get your PUMPKIN on!

Here's our pumpkin pic of the day:


This is ELC's centerpiece on her dining room table.  As you can clearly see, we believe the more pumpkins -- THE BETTER!

Five days and counting until Turkey Day.  Then, it will be time to get your GOBBLE on!

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frost On Our Pumpkins!

We’ve had a cold spell hit Central Texas! Texans—whether native or those that got here as fast as they could—all have different ideas of perfect weather. Some like the hellishly hot weather we get in July and August. (Since I used the term “hellishly,” would you guess I’m not one of those peeps?) Some like the bitter cold we get—including snow and ice—usually in January or February (that would be mostly the kids who want to stay home from school). We’ve been known to have freakish cold spells hit as early as October and as late as April. Whichever kind of weather we Texans prefer (TLC and I love, love, LOVE Fall—for the crispness that is so delightfully amazing you almost wish it could be October and November all year long!), we ALL agree on this:

WE NEED RAIN. STAT. Yesterday.

PLEASE, DEAR LORD GOD—PLEASE BLESS US WITH RAIN. Amen.

We realize the people in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and all other Northeastern states affected by Sandy wish they could have sent us some of their horrific rain. We’d all have been better off. We’re still praying for the victims of Sandy and for their recovery. We’re deeply sorry for their pain.

Yesterday morning, I was at TLC’s. I’d spent Saturday and Sunday nights. Little Leighton needed her Grammy Au Pair, you see. I headed out to my car, at 7:40a.m.-ish, with the intention of going to the Starbucks close to TLC’s home. Little Mama and I crave Tall Decaf Skinny Vanilla Lattes. YUMMO. We also adore their pumpkin muffins (as y’all know). This particular Starbucks has been out of those muffins for at least three weeks. We do not appreciate that. One bit. But, when required, we substitute one of their Breakfast Artisan Sandwiches which are also heavenly. I had to wait for frosty-ish ice to melt off my front and back windshields! I thought about how much I dread the severe cold comin’ down the road. I just don’t do COLD well. Honestly? I wear hunting/wool/fleecy socks all year long to bed. I purchase them at Cabela's. Or Bass Pro. Like I'm an outdoorsy kind o' gal. No. I clearly have circulation issues. I mean, if I have to wear them in July in Texas. Right? My hands are always cold, too. (I don't wear gloves in July or carry around those little hand warmer things hunters use. That'd be silly.) Wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, in the past several decades: “Wow. Your hands are freezing!” I’d have been able to fund every latte TLC and I have had for the past three years. With lots left over for muffins. And cupcakes. And Sonic Coke Zeroes with Vanilla, too.

Sooo…in honor of our nippy morns and TLC’s determination to have all of our November posts be about pumpkins, I’ve suggested she share a couple of pictures of her dining room. This year she chose a “frosty white” pumpkin theme. I love the simplicity of it.




Hope y’all are warm if it’s cold—cool if it’s hot—happy wherever you are!

smooches!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scorpion-Gate


On ELC's way home from her adventurous and solo trip to Houston, she stopped Sunday to pick me and Little Leighton up to chauffeur us down to her country casa for a couple of R&R days.

The beginning of the drive was typical: LL snoozed. Mom and I chatted, listened to the radio. Ate Peanut M&M's (Snack Size, of course). Right as we were waving goodbye to Fort Worth in our rearview mirror, LL woke up. She was quiet and content at first. Then all hell broke loose as we approached the west side of Weatherford. I was in the back seat with her. As always. She was mad. Wanted out of the carseat. NOW. The only thing we could do to calm this Baby (and our nerves) down was to pull over into a somewhat shady gas station off the Interstate. My attempt to hold her and give her a cold bottle (it was in my diaper bag for later—when it could be warmed) were futile. At that point, I believed the only thing that would stop her cries was to bre@stfeed her. Some of you may remember an earlier post about another of our trips to the country when I had to soothe her this way in a Walmart parking lot. On Sunday we upgraded that delightful experience to driving down a county road and parking outside of a locked and rusted gate that had a For Sale sign on it. Classy. We're pretty sure that's not considered trespassing.

Monday was seemingly uneventful. We staged a Christmas card photo shoot on ELC’s front porch, much to LL's dismay. Then we played. We rocked. She napped. And, we're positive, thrilled us with her first giggle! Priceless. On Tuesday morning, as LL lay on her activity mat in my old-now-it's the-Guest-room, I told Mom how much I loved coming home to the country. Not two hours later, IT happened. Something so spine-chilling to moi it made me rethink that statement.

We were packing up to head back North to my home. ELC was changing LL's diaper. I excused myself to use the powder room. As I was reaching for the toilet paper, I felt something crawling on my left thigh. My immediate reaction was to knock it off. I initially thought it was a spider. Which, in and of itself, made me shriek. But then I saw them: two, tiny "pinchers" and a long, curled tail. Running toward my bare feet. It was a SCORPION. My one shriek turned into thirty. I ran out of the bathroom, holding the toilet paper, and with my jeans around my ankles. LL didn't know what to think of her lunatic Mama. ELC came rushing over. I. WAS/AM. TRAUMATIZED. I don't do scorpions. ELC searched, in vain, for that evil devil. (She’s just informed me by text that their “Pest Man” came this afternoon. Praise The Lord.)

I’m not even going into the details of us trying to get out of my parents’ gate twenty minutes later. Except to say this: it wouldn’t open. My Dad had to come from 25 minutes away to help us. More drama. (And, apparently, more repairpersons.)

On a brighter note, here are two extra lovely and pumpkin-y pictures from my weekend at ELC’s:

Cute little sign hangin' outside the barn. 

Pretty little pumpkin perched on the bench My Sweet Dad made.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Warning!

TLC has made an editorial decision that the month of November shall be All About Pumpkins. One of her most very favourite things. (Don’t worry—I’ll try to keep her in check.)

Since I’ve deferred, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to share. I feel chatty this Fabulous Friday.

First, I'd like to offer up a prayer to our Lord God Almighty, on behalf of everyone in the Northeast, that has lost a loved one, or their home, or both, for your strength, courage, hope, faith and perseverance. God bless each of you. Today. And always. Amen.

I’ve been alone at my casa since Wednesday. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) has gone to what I like to call his Annual Men’s Slumber Party. This completely offends him. He’ll be mortified if he sees this post. He calls it  “Deer Camp.”

It began over thirty years ago when his best friend invited several guys out to his ranch for the first weekend of Deer Season. For several years, it began on Friday afternoon and ended Sunday after lunch. Now it begins on Wednesday (MSH actually starts cartin’ things/equipment/utensils out on Monday—begins the food shopping two weeks prior to that) and has turned into a card-playin’, barbeque’in, big screen (yes—in the pasture) football game watchin’ campout. (I don't think all the guys take guns. Wild hogs are the goal now. Not deer. The hogs can destroy ranch pasture land like bombs have dropped. It's incredible.) MSH is Head Chef. He has a special trailer full of his supplies that he begins inventory'in in September. Three weeks ago he started cleaning out our pantry shelves—taking spices, baking products, canned goods, etc. Sometimes the wives are invited to come have an evening meal.  That actually hasn’t occurred in about three years. Hmmm. I need to politely inquire about this before next year's event.

So he left Wednesday and I’ve been alone. Out in the country. With Teddy Buddy Boo Bear (who has been very depressed that his best friend is missing) and Morty (who doesn’t give a flip where MSH has gone).

I’ve been fine. Eating when and what I want. Thinking. Cleaning. Sleeping. Or not. I worked Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and evening. Came home both nights to my jammies and complete TV freedom.

Early this morning, I had to take TBBB to our Vet. For surgery. TBBB would be embarrassed if I shared what he has to have removed. That’s all I can say about it, at this time. Except our "Rescue Dog" has now become more expensive (after his neutering and heartworm treatments) than all the other dogs we’ve ever owned. Combined. You know what? We don’t even care. We adore him.

After dropping TBBB off and kissing him goodbye, I went to Wally World (Autumn calls it Hellmart—and that seems to be the perfect description of all Walmarts 97% of the time). We had no food in this house. Well, no snacks. Milk. Bread. Cookies. Oh, and fruit. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)

Two things that make me scream when at Wally World? The people stocking the shelves that are exactly where you need to be. (Have I complained about this before now?) And they don’t move. Or look at you. Or apologize. It’s like they’re glued to their spots. I normally decide I can wait on that product they're blocking. Sometimes I go back later to see if they’re still in block mode. They usually are.

Second, those people who get in your “space” at the checkout counter. You know who I mean, don’t you? You’re unloading your cart and they’re right up next to you. Pressuring you to hurry so they can unload theirs. Like you have any control over the people in front of you and the cashier checking them out. This morning, the lady ahead of me was purchasing eight (8) bags of candy corn. On sale from Halloween. They weren’t ringing up with the correct price. Of course. Because I was behind her. The couple behind me seemed to be about ten years older than me. A husband (or boyfriend) and wife (or girlfriend). The woman was the one who got up so close to me while I was unloading some things from the bottom of my cart I actually thought she was going to help me. Then, when I retrieved that separator (spelling?) stick from the front of the conveyor belt and put it behind my stuff, so they could start unloading their cart, the husband/boyfriend got right up next to me while I was using my debit card thingy. I’m pretty sure he saw my PIN. That’s how close he was. I was going to ask them if they’d heard of the word “boundaries,” but decided to be My Nice Self and just smile. It could have been that I smelled good. Since I can’t put on cologne when around Little Leighton, I really splash it on thick when I'm at home. Ha.

Tonight it’s just me and Mortimer. Again, he is oblivious and could care less. I’ll be packing for an exciting trip manana. I’m going, by myself, to Houston. To see our oldest grandchild in a play tomorrow evening. This is the second year he’s had a big role in his class production. MSH can’t attend, of course, because he’s at his Slumber Party. Y'all might find this difficult to believe, because I know I’ve always given y'all the impression I’m quite the Worldly Gal, but I’ve never driven to Houston by myself. Completely alone. In a car. Driving. This will be the first time in the forty-three years I’ve had a driver’s license that I’ve gone that far alone. No, wait. Once I drove my mother, TLC, and my brother’s three kids to Arkansas. In MSH’s suburban. To stay at a lake cabin and dig for diamonds. Llloooonnnnngggggg, cRaZy story. (For another post, perhaps. And I technically wasn't alone.) But all my trips to Houston in the past eighteen years our sons have lived there? I’ve been a passenger while MSH has been my chauffeur. I normally sleep four out of the five hours it takes to get there.

Is everyone a little nervous about me doing this? Yes. Yes, they are. MSH. TLC. Our son and daughter-in-law. Okay. And, yes. Yes, I am a teensy bit anxious. But I’m also very excited. It seems like an adventure to me. I’ve got it all planned out. The places I’ll stop to buy coffee and walk around for a few minutes. Meridian. Or Waco. Hearne or College Station. It’s all up to moi! Woo Hoo!!!

I can feel y’all wishing me luck and a Bon Voyage as I conclude this post...

Here’s the first pumpkin pic:

We hope y'all will "gather" back at our blog for more pumpkin-y-ness soon!

Happy Weekend, Dear Friends! (Watch your boundaries, please!)