Yesterday I attended our first High School Super Reunion, and  we had a pretty good turnout-- especially since it was about 110 degrees in the shade.   Man, it was HOT!  We had an awesome time visiting with friends and faculty and walking around and trying to figure out who this person was, and who that person was, and thank goodness for nametags....  We also exchanged memories and hugs while trying to pretend we didn't notice the sweat dripping off everyone's foreheads. :)  (Nothing like a summer afternoon in Arkansas in late July!) Boy, were we all glistening!  But, what I found most amazing was seeing all the teachers, and I will admit I am a bit perplexed by their appearance.  You see, while looking around at all of us students, I noticed that most of us, myself included, have really significantly aged in the last 25 years.  I really did not see one former student or classmate that I thought looked exactly like they did the day they graduated from high school all those years ago.  But here is the deal...the teachers looked YOUNGER than they did 25 years ago... HOW CAN THAT BE?  Not only did they look younger, fashionable, and more energetic that most of us, they could remember most everyone's name.  I personally could not tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday, and when I am calling one of my kids over to do something,  I have to go through the list of family names (including the dogs!) before I get to the right name! David,  Jared, Lucky, Dixie...I mean Tyler!   Seriously!  What is the deal?  Do they have special water pumped into the teacher's lounge or something?  Maybe those teacher work days were really teacher spa days.  Maybe they had a botox party at the teacher's only reunion on Friday night...that's why they wouldn't let us come! Aha!  That must be it!  I have always heard teachers had good benefits, I just thought they were talking about a retirement fund!  But, speaking of retirement...well, a lot of these extremely well preserved specimens were even retired!  So, maybe it's the retirement... Ok, let's think this through.  They aren't having to deal with sassy, back-talking students anymore...  Maybe WE had made them old, and now that we aren't in the picture anymore, they look great again!  (Not that they ever looked bad--I sooo don't want to get in trouble.)  But was it our fault?  In that case, does that mean when my teenagers go to college, I will look better?   Hmmm...I don't know about that.  But, that theory doesn't really pan out because several of them have grandchildren, and seem to really like them...  Okay, maybe...could it possibly be that we just thought they were old?  I mean, they ARE older, right? They WERE our teachers...  It's just really weird, though, because yesterday it felt like we were all...well...the SAME age.  Crazy, isn't it. I guess I am just going to have to roll this one around in my head for a bit...
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The boys are home!  Woohoo!  I couldn't hardly wait to get home from work to see them!  After I MADE them give me hugs, they immediately wanted to show me their new shoes.  You see, it is a tradition in the Henderson family for Nana to buy the boys shoes for their birthdays.  She lets them go to the shoe store and pick out their own shoes, and they love it!  I know you are thinking, "Wow, those kids are easy to please.  Most teenagers wouldn't be happy with shoes for their birthdays..."  But let me explain.... In our house, shoes are hard to come by...or at least a matching pair of shoes.  From the time my kids were old enough to wear shoes, losing a shoe has been a problem.  Let me repeat that...losing A shoe has been a problem.  My boys have lost one shoe out of so many pairs that I am sure someday I be searching for a missing pillowcase in a closet I haven't organized in years and find a secret tunnel that leads to a massive room filled with single shoes...lonely and lost shoes...abandoned shoes...crying out for their mate to find them and make them whole...  (Okay, maybe too dramatic.)  But seriously, we have shoe problems.   My first memory of this shoe problem was about 11 years ago when the boys were around three years old.  Their Poppa had come over to help me take them to the doctor for a check-up.  (Sometimes it takes two to wrangle two energetic 3 year old boys)  Anyway, it was time to go, and we could only find one shoe (both right foot shoes) per kid!  We looked everywhere!  We actually had to stop at Payless, and buy new shoes on the way to the doctor!   One night Jared lost a flip flop in a restaurant...while we were sitting in the booth.  Even the waiter was looking for it with us..and it was never found.  We left On the Border missing one shoe.  This problem still occurs quite frequently.  In fact, I have come accustomed to the fact that we usually never come home from a vacation with all the shoes we packed.  One of our friends even took a picture of a lonely flip flop at the beach and texted us, asking if we were missing a shoe. It is common knowledge. I tell you this so you can understand my dilemma when shoe shopping.  I really hate to buy them shoes that I know they may lose!  So, when I take them, I give them a fairly frugal budget for shoes.  I remember the first year they were pretty involved with picking out their own shoes--they were probably 12 or so.  Anyway, I gave them a budget of about 35 dollars for tennis shoes.  There were a couple pairs in that price range that I thought were just fine.  Jared finally said, "Mom, those are old man shoes!"  I totally disagreed of course, but did budge a bit and raise the price to 40.  The next week I was in a doctor's office in Little Rock when I saw an elderly man come in holding onto his walker...wearing those shoes!  Oh well, at least he still had the matching pair.  So when the boys held out their new treasured shoes that they were able to pick out without a budget, I did understand their joy.  Not only did they have one pair, but Nana had let them get two pairs! Oh how exciting!  Jared showed me his two pair of "beast-mode" shoes, and Tyler displayed his "box of awesomeness" that held new Nikes.  He then went on and on about how cool his new flip flops were, and that they even had a bottle opener on the bottom!  Wow!  When I asked to see them, he grinned and said..."Well, I only have one...."  Oh well, at least we can still use the bottle opener. :)
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The one really cool flip flop..and it does have a bottle opener on the bottom.
 
 
Wow! What a week it has been, and it is only Wednesday!  Plus, my kids aren't even here, so I should be so superbly rested that no one can stand me.  But, of course, that is not my way.  Here is the deal.  The Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe contest opened Monday, and of course I am going to enter.  They are giving away $500 for each winning recipe, and I could really use the cash since this blog/website thing doesn't actually pay anything! :)  Anyway, Monday evening I began revising an old appetizer recipe of mine-- to make it better, of course.  Well when I put the THIRD batch of them in the oven, I was totally frustrated.  They were good, but not fabulous, and I could not for the life of me make them pretty.
So about that time....I think it was about 10 pm....I knocked a vase off the counter....  Broken glass went EVERYWHERE, even into the next room,  and there was this glass "dust" that I swear probably went as far as the neighbor's, AND the timer on the oven started going off!  I was barefoot, of course,  (I can't wear tennis shoes in the house or my dog, Lucky, has a fit because he thinks we are going for a walk,)  and David rushed into see what kind of a mess I was in (or had made) and thankfully helped me clean it up and get the food out of the oven.  Wow, that was a long sentence....  Whew.  I then was able to resume my obsessive analysis of this appetizer.  Well at about midnight...I was cleaning up, and all of a sudden I felt a piece of glass stick in the bottom of my foot. I quickly jerked it up and by doing this, I raked the glass across my other foot, slashing my toe.  Well, it wasn't pretty.......  David was in bed, and it did take him awhile to hear my distress call.  By this time I could not move, because blood was going everywhere, and we were out of paper towels!!! AND all I could think about was this was going to mess up that pedicure that I was getting this week for my class reunion!  David groggily stumbled in with a roll of toilet tissue to save the day, and soon everything was back in order.  ...But, I still was not happy with the appetizer.   Tuesday was a pharmacy work day, and I marched in with a plate of my appetizers hoping they would eat them because the kids are gone.. so the refrigerator is full.  Of course they ate them. But I still was not happy.  About noon, ( I go to work at 10:30) there were actually still a few left on the plate.  Then I knew.  I was right, they weren't fabulous.  The heavens opened and the light came down, and a voice inside said "Give it up girl! Start over!"  (That was a bit dramatic, I suppose.)  Actually I realized at that point that I was not willing to settle for a "good" appetizer, and these weren't going to get any better, so they were officially history.   Then I felt better.  New ideas started rolling around in my head like "can't do a cheese ball, everyone has done a cheeseball..maybe a mini cheeseball...with nuts...oh, how about bacon, no, wait....coconut...oh oh oh toasted coconut and bacon and cream cheese, and hey how about some pineapple... and pecans, maybe...and yes definitely toast the coconut....and so it went on...all the way home...even in a discussion on the phone with my mom.  And after a quick stop at the grocery store, I made it home and immediately attacked this new idea.  And TADAAAA!!!!!  The Tropical Bacon Bites were born!  And I am very happy with them!  So, raise your right hand with me right now, and repeat after me,  "I solemnly swear to no longer just settle for "good" when I can have "fabulous"!  Thanks for listening!
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As you know, the boys are at nana's and I actually had a Saturday when I had nothing to do, so we had planned on going to the lake.  After wogging (mixture of jogging and walking) with my friend Pam yesterday morning, I stopped off at the farmer's market downtown.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I love a good farmer's market.  I mean, I even get that anxiously anticipating butterfly stomach as I am walking up to it! First of all, it is absolutely beautiful!  The colors of the fresh tomatoes, peppers, peaches--it's like the most awesome art show to me!  I am a totally obsessive  photographer and food has always been my favorite thing to photograph. (I used to love to take pics of my kids, but they aren't as cooperative lately.)  I took a few photography classes at the community college here about 10 years ago, maybe longer...I am too old to remember exactly...and I would come in most weeks with some food related  pics.  I took pictures of eggs, butter, silverware, coffee, etc.  I remember when we all got together to talk about forming a photography club, and Corbet Deary was kind of our spokesperson.  (He is great, by the way. Look him up on facebook...he also does a outdoor column for the Sentinel.)  He was talking about how we could look for avenues to sell our photographs, and then he looked at me and made the comment, "I'm not really sure how to sell a photo of eggs..I mean it's a great photo and all, but I am just not sure what to do with it!"   That is a great memory for me, and it still makes me laugh!  It was in no way offensive, just honest.  And that was okay with me, because as much as I would LOVE to make money doing it, it is a passion that drives me.  (Although my husband thinks it's more of an obsession.)  Anyway, I am losing focus on this blog topic, eek!  Where I was going was....trotting home with bags full of treasures from the farmer's market makes me feel like a kid leaving a toy store with all his favorites!  I came home and started playing immediately.  I spent at least 45 minutes on the deck with the watermelon, then I had to play around cutting, chopping, cooking, and taking more pictures, etc.. And at 6pm, David says, "I guess we aren't going to the lake today..."  Poor guy, he was so patient yesterday.  So, instead we went out to eat at Olive Garden (we had a gift card--woohoo!) and then stopped for gelato on the way home.  Now, I have to get off of here because we are headed to the lake.  I hope I catch a fish!!!  It would make a great picture!  Love you guys, and thanks for listening. :)
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Camp Nana

07/22/2011

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Today the boys left for Camp Nana.  They were up and showered and out of the house by 10 am...ish.  That is absolutely a miracle in itself.  They have a great week ahead of them with my mother-in-law in Mississippi.  The Texas cousins are coming in to stay at Camp Nana too, and they are going to have so much fun because Nana is anything but boring!  She'll have them swimming, riding horses, going out to eat, and lots of other activities because her motto is definitely "Keep them busy!"  And they love it!   So, tonight my husband and I are looking at each other wondering what we do now.  (Please no suggestions....)  And I guess we will go out to eat somewhere tonight...don't worry, I will tell you all about it in the "Meandering Minivan" section.  But I know that when we get home, and the house is quiet....I will miss them, and it just won't seem right...but again...thank goodness for the dog.
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 I need to confess something.  I am not proud of it, and honestly I am a bit embarrassed to talk about it.  But I do realize that when you hide things for long it can just tear you up inside.  Ok, here goes.... I like to watch the show Swamp People on the history channel.  There, it is out in the open. While you are probably thinking I have now hit an all time low, and that it is worse than those crazy housewives shows, I have got to tell you.. It is SO fun to watch!  Makes me want to go hunt a gator!!!  YeeHaw!  I mean it is like the ultimate fishing show!  And boy do I love to hear them talk... I mean, you have to really focus on this show just to understand what they are saying.  But I am not as bad a Swamp People junkie as my mom is..  She actually came and got me while I was in the kids rooms the other night and made me watch when the woman was catching a gator. Well, I gotta go now....the commercial is almost over.....Woohoo!  That's a big one!
 

Reunion

07/19/2011

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My 25th high school class reunion is 10 days away.   It occurs to me tonight that I should have started preparing some time ago for this, because I cannot possibly lose 30 pounds in 10 days!  It is also too late to have any kind of wrinkle treatment on my skin because I hear it takes awhile for all that burned skin to peel... I also feel sure that finally using that gym membership is pretty futile.  But don't worry...I do have a plan.  I have made Super Duper Reunion Cupcakes to bring to this event!  And I am sure everyone will be so busy oohing and ahhing over these wonderful school colored delights that they won't notice the width of the girth I walked in with!  And if they do, maybe they will think, "Well, she had to do a lot of tasting...."  I guess it will be fine.  I'll squeeze into something black with spandex, load up Lucy with cupcakes, and head off to see people that will wonder as I do, "How did everyone get so old?" 
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Almost twenty one years ago David and I received an electric skillet as a wedding gift.  It was a cute little one just perfect for two.  After the twin boys were born, I upgraded to standard size which easily made four servings.  Last December I had to buy the super jumbo "family with teenage boys" size.  Why am I talking about electric skillets today?  Well, because I am constantly amazed at the comments I get about my 'lectric skillet.  (the e is really silent if you live in Arkansas...)  It seems as if not everyone is familiar with the 'lectric skillet.  After my first video using it, one viewer commented,  "Someone bought me one of those electrical fry pans and I have never known how to use it.". And from another, "Where do you get those skllets that you plug in?.". And a friend of mine e-mailed me this morning asking where could she get one of those electrical contraptions that I am always cooking with?  You see, I thought everybody had a "lectric skillet!  So now I really need to know--do you have a 'lectric skillet?

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I am really not sure how it happened, but I blinked my eyes and my sweet little cuddly boys have turned into young men.  And while I am sure they do still need me, (especially to do their laundry and shuttle them around to the places they just HAVE to go to RIGHT NOW) they no longer need me to cut up their pancakes or kiss their scraped knees.  And that realization is hard on this mama sometimes.  I used to get hugs and kisses, and now I get blank stares and rolling eyes...  I mourn this loss sometimes when I am alone, but at times the change feels liberating.  It's a juxtaposition of emotion, really,  happy and sad all rolled up into one chaotic ball of love.  But, as all parents know, we have absolutely no time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves because we have to watch these teenagers like hawks watching their prey!  What saves me in this time of "I miss my babies" despair?  The dog.  Yes, my sweet dog Lucky pulls me out of this mama pity pot.  When I walk into a room, Lucky is glad I am there.  When I go somewhere, he wants to go, too.  AND he minds me.  He will get on his bed when I tell him too!  He will sit when I tell him to!  He basically is the only one in the house anymore that even listens to me!  And all I have to do to make him the happiest dog in the world is to take him for a walk! AND he has been neutered :)  There are times when I contemplate kicking all the pubescent testosterone out of this house and changing the locks!!!  But, the dog would get to stay.   So, thank goodness for the dog.  I think he keeps me sane. :)  
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My new dishes were delivered today!!!  I am so excited!  Ever since I was a child, I have loved dishes.  I like old dishes, new dishes, mismatched dishes...but I don't actually like to spend my money on them.  That does tend to pose a problem.  However, we were so desperate for dishes that my husband gave me a gift card for Mother's Day to buy new dishes.  Unfortunately, I could not find any I liked at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  That is really the problem I have had with dishes--I couldn't find the ones I liked for the price I wanted to pay.  It was getting bad.   Seriously, I had 4 CorelleWare plates, and that was all.  The Corelle set was a christmas gift from my mom about 12 years ago....  And by the way, they DO break when dropped on tile.  They shatter into a gazillion pieces! 
So a couple of weeks ago we had some friends over at the last minute,  I had to pull out the wedding china for the hotdogs!  After they left, I searched overstock.com and found some I liked with a price I could live with....   Now they are here, and I feel like a little girl with a new tea set!  Why did I wait so long?
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