Jun 23, 2011

Buttery Biscuits--Specialty of the House

This week's scavenger hunt for ESN is Butter.

My thoughts on butter leads to homemade biscuits.  I think I've made a zillion biscuits in my life time. Biscuits were a staple, everyday item when my kids were growing up.  I still love to make biscuits and even better to eat biscuits-- and what better than one slathered with lots of butter--and maybe strawberry jam. 

Here's my biscuit recipe:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2 Cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 T baking powder
6 T. (or 1/3 cup) Crisco
1 Cup Milk
Note: For Buttermilk Biscuits, reduce baking powder to 2 tsp., add 1/2 tsp. Baking soda with dry ingredients and use buttermilk or soured milk.

Measure and sift together dry ingredients.  Cut in Crisco using fork or pastry blender until mealy.  Add milk and stir until flour is all mixed in. The softer and stickier the dough, the lighter the biscuits will be.  Turn onto floured board and press or roll out. I press mine rather thin then fold over and press out and fold over several times. This makes them open up if you do it once and I think makes them flakier if you do it several times. Get your dough about 1/2" thick. Cut out biscuits with glass, biscuit cutter, or empty Large vienna sausage can. (because it is aluminum),Place on ungreased baking sheet with space between each biscuit. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush tops with butter and enjoy.

For an excellent pancake batter, add 1 egg, a little more milk and a little sugar.  Also served with lots of creamy butter and syrup. 

I looked through ESN for kitchen items.  Here is what I found.  I like to think everything I cook is "Seasoned with Love" and this would be so appropriate in the kitchen.  Only wish my house had more walls....
Seasoned with love decal from Walls that Talk.
Others have featured this cookbook, as I am not the only one thinking of hot, buttered bread.but look through the stores at ESN. You can find any kind of cookbook you might be looking for.
The  Bread Machine Cookbook from Bargain Express
I have an old fashioned rolling pin like this and love it for making pies and biscuits. Everyone needs one if they are doing any "real" baking.
Wooden Rolling Pin at Eccentric Thrifter

And you have to have the right mixing bowl, right?  Look at this pretty and collectible one.
Beautiful, useful mixing bowl from Carolina Blue Lady.

Seems you can take any topic and find things to fit on the ESN  stores.  Whether you are thinking cooking,  collectibles,  apparel, whimsy, wedding plans, books, or whatever take a look at ESN

This and That--Happenings in our Parts

Don't have any pictures to share, but there have been lots of activities going on around here lately.
Saturday, almost two weeks ago now, we had an impromptu garage sale.  Like everyone else who has a garage sale, we would have liked to sold (read that: gotten rid of) more stuff. But we were please to sell as much as we did and watched some large storage items leave the premises.
Had a bit of excitement when Paul's mom, Mimi, came over a while with his bro and sis-in-law,who were visiting from Hawaii.  Mimi has been wanting to sit out under her carport and enjoy the outdoors these 100 + degree days. We have been telling her it is too hot for that.  Well, she sat under our canopy a little while and decided she didn't feel good and wanted to go home.  On the way to the car, she just wilted or crumpled, passed out from the heat.  We called 911, and the EMTs checked her out. She refused to go to the hospital then, But at the suggestion of the home health nurse, Bro, SIL, and her sister from Houston, ended up taking her to Urgent Care later to get an IV to re-hydrate her.   She is okay now and, seemingly,none the worse for wear. She had some bruises and sore ribs where they tried to keep her from hitting the ground.

Last Thursday, my daughter Sharon and her kids, Justin and Michaela, came to see us.  They spent the night and we went blueberry picking Friday morning.  The berry picking went pretty fast and we came home with over 13 lbs. of fresh blueberries.  As is the case a lot lately, we were glad for the breeze blowing while we were out there.  Also, glad to get through before it got too, too hot.
Other things we did: Sharon and I made a newspaper pattern off of a favorite vest.  That's rather difficult to do without taking the original garment apart.  I hope she can make another one she likes off the pattern.  I haven't done much in the sewing department in so long.  It was like old times.  Michaela wanted to do something fun. I told her that I thought we were having fun. Don't think she bought that line.
Michaela and I did play some on-line games that we found when looking for American Girl Dolls. a really neat site we found:http://www.americangirl.com/fun/games/chococourse/.  Justin had to finish the course for us at one point. He is really good at games and I figure this was a really simple one for him.
Michaela and I also made pinwheels and cut out paper dolls.  The old fashioned kind out of newspaper all in a row.  We had a book of crafts and she made a detailed list of which ones we should try.  Time didn't allow too many, so we will continue the list another time.  We also blew bubbles. Our bubble soap didn't seem too great. The wind was too strong, I think.
Justin told me all about his leopard gecko, Rex, and pulled up a UTube video of a gecko like Rex.  They are really cute creatures and I see how they can be good pets.  Here's the video we watched.  Isn't he cute? Justin is also into guns and war facts. He really gets engrossed in whatever subject he is studying at any given time.
Thursday evening, Sharon and the kids and I went out to Knupple Park--for those who don't live in this area, that is pronounced Kuh, nipple. I don't get it, but that's the way it is.  There is a nice play ground there and surprisingly, it did cool down as the sun went down. Also, I guess because of the lack of rain, there were no mosquitoes out.  We had an enjoyable time there.
Friday, while we were berry picking, Paul and Mimi drove up to Spurger, to Hatton Farms to pick up some Speckled ButterBeans.  They got a bushel between them. They were already shelled so all I had to do Saturday was wash them and seal them up to put in the freezer.  Mimi has the little sealer machine that is really nice for putting things in the freezer.  We even cooked a few for supper on Friday.
I also froze my blueberries.  We washed them and spread them on a baking pan to freeze, then put them in a gallon zip lock bag to store in the freezer.  That way they are clean and loose to take out what we want at any one time.  Made some blueberry muffins last night.
Sunday afternoon and evening I worked on hats.  This weekend is Trades Days coming up again already.  Need more hats done.  There is rain predicted for this week  Sure hope we get some. It won't hurt our feelings if the Trades Days is rained out this month.  We need the rain so desperately.
Since I started this we have had rain. Precious rain. We need and can use much, much more but it is so nice to see the grass greening up almost immediately.

Monday I gave blood.  I have always felt it was an ordeal to give.  I didn't want to be a baby about it but it seems so hard.  Last time I gave, the nurse told me that my veins are very small and that is why it hurts so. In fact the first one to look at me today said there was nothing there.  Not just anyone can find my vein, it seems.  But they did get me hooked up and took my blood.  Like every time I give, I am thinking now that maybe that should be the last time.

And life goes on here in East Texas day by day.....

Jun 14, 2011

Paper Items = Books, in my book

This week's ESN scavenger hunt is for paper items. Bookworm that I am, I just had to center my search on books. I have always loved to read and I hate to see the day that electronic devices take over completely and real paper and ink books become obsolete. 
You can find just about any kind of book in the ESN Scavenger Hunter Stores.
I love to cook, and there are all kinds of recipe books available.
Like this Mexican Cookbook from Eccentric Thrifter

I've always been one to "look it up" when I wanted to learn something new. I'd be willing to bet our encyclopedias got used more than most over the pre-internet years. And I can't quite get used to not having a "real" paper dictionary at hand.
Here's a good reference set for the home handyman.

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about home repair and maintenance
 from this Time Life 10 book set
available from Eccentric Thrifter
Who doesn't enjoy a good novel or romance or whodunit now and then?  I know I do.  Seeing a movie is just not the same as a good read.
One of many good books at Barb's Bargains Reading Corner

And didn't we all grow up reading "funny books" ?  What were some of your favorites?  I liked Archie, Little Lulu, and....so many more. Also, the "funny papers" in the daily and Sunday papers.

One of the collectible comics available at Comyc  Gyrl  Collectibles
And of course, there are the instruction books for crochet and all kinds of crafts.  We spent many hours making things using these printed instructions.
See this one of many crochet and crafting instruction books at  BB Addicted to Crafting

Like other categories there are always lots to choose from at ESN. Drop by and take a look around. Enjoy a good book of your choosing today.

Jun 11, 2011


The ESN scavenger hunt for this week has to do with Music. Well, hubby is the music- and plant-- person in this household.  He is a school band director, trumpet player, singer, band instrument repairman, song leader at church services, enjoys barbershop singing.....and has a super green thumb. Hmm, wonder if there is a connection.
Me?  I have a tin ear. I enjoy listening to music for a little while but not for long and have to hear a tune many times before I "know" it.  Hubby says I'm tone deaf-- but I can hear the difference in tunes just not individual notes. I'm sure I miss a lot of what most people hear in the subtleties of music. I certainly can't match a tone with my voice.  
All my kids and grands seem to have some musical ability, some are very talented. However, any talent in that area certainly skipped me. Have to say that their dad (grandpa) had a very good ear for music even though he did not play an instrument.  His family- especially on his mother's side-were very talented, artistic people.  And of course, the grand kids all get some good musical genes from their dads' sides of the family. 

The kids say that running a music store is the least likely thing they ever imagined me doing. But, I have learned the workings of the various instruments and the uses of different accessories and can serve my customers well.  In fact, many of them, from talking with me in the music store, would not even know that I don't play an instrument and, as the saying goes,"can't carry a tune in a bucket."
I have done a lot of study on dyslexia and worked with dyslexic students. Recently I came across something called auditory dyslexia. This is the inability to distinguish sounds. I think, it must be tone deafness to an even greater degree. Or tone deafness is a less severe form of auditory dyslexia.  Hmmm.  Since coming across this  disability, I have wondered how it could be remedied or compensated for.  Time for some more research.

Before undertaking that research though, I did some searching for musical items among the ESN scavenger hunter's stores.  Here are a few of the items I found:  And you don't have to be talented musically to appreciate these.

Bargain Express has a number of vinyl records in stock, such as this one.
Anyone have a record player around?  And no one would care if I sing along off key, right?
Here's Music to Everyone's ears: The Tinkle of this crystal dinner bell from Carolina Blue Lady's collection. Beautiful to look at as well.
One of many appropos quotes about music available from Walls that TalkWell, Maybe most of us understand it? A neat way to add to your decor.

Remember whether you are shopping for music, music memorabilia, decor, or whatever, you are likely to find something to fit your needs on  ESN.
I would also like to invite those of you in SE Texas to stop by Mr. Bandman Music in Silsbee for all your "music making needs."  We have horns, guitars, and accessories, and also do band instrument repairs. We also do repairs through on-line contacts. Mr. Bandman Music is on-line  and  at the corner of 4th and 327 in Silsbee. 

Jun 9, 2011

Graduations, Trades Days, New Friends, and more....

This has been a busy month or so.  We had two graduations in the family.
On May 6, Pops (Paul) and I traveled to the Kingwood area where my youngest granddaughter Michaela graduated from Kindergarten.  Honestly, of all the grands, this was the first kindergarten graduation we've been to.  That is, unless you count Michaela's brother, Justin.  Michaela and Justin are home schoolers.  When Justin completed his kindergarten year, the family had a medieval banquet which we attended. Justin was "knighted" by his dad after reciting a number of scriptures. It was a really neat thing and as guests we learned some things about medieval times. 
Dad presents Michaela's Diploma

Michaela's graduation was impressive also.  The 39 or so graduates wore the traditional caps and gowns and each child's dad presented the diploma to him or her. A brief bio was read for each one telling some of what they had learned in kindergarten, some of their extra curricular activities and what they want to be when they grow up.
The Graduate!

 Michaela is truly a budding homemaker. She has always loved dolls, housekeeping toys, and pretty clothes.  She is an outstanding chess player. She has been competing at chess since age 4. And it was announced that she wants to be a baby sitter when she grows up.  I have no doubt that she will be a good one and a good mommy also.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed pizza at Lil Ceasar's with Michaela's MawMaw and Papa and some family friends before heading home.

May 27, I took off to Nacogdoches to see my oldest grandson, Eric, graduate from Central Heights High School.  It was the same weekend as the Trades Days in Kountze, so I rented a car to drive, leaving Paul with the van and the trades days booth. I wish I could say the trip up was uneventful. Unfortunately, I swerved, over corrected, hit the brakes and fishtailed across the ditch.  Fortunately, I came to a halt with the front end of the car in a bush, backed up and was on my way again with what I thought were just some scratches in the paint.  The next morning at home we realized there was a minor dent in the front fender of the car. Just glad I was not hurt and there was no greater damage.  I hate to think of the possibilities of what could have happened. Just thankful it didn't.
When I got to Grandmother (Opal) McLemore's house in Nacogdoches, where the pre-graduation party was being held, my daughter, Laura, and her hubby, Brian were already there with Brian's mom from Dallas area. Grandmother is Eric's great-grandmother.  Brian's mom lived in Nacogdoches until recently and had a close relationship with Eric as he grew up.  I am so glad she was able to be there. Of course,  lots of other relatives from both sides of the family along with friends and neighbors soon joined us.  We even got to meet Eric's girlfriend. A very pretty young lady, I might say.
I wish I could have been there for the final choir concert the week before. From all accounts Eric (and all the others) did an outstanding job. Music is one of Eric's talents for sure.

Eric and Friends

"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow"
Congratulations! Eric!

As far as the party, we had some excellent steak, with potatoes and green beans.  The cake was pretty and everything was very nice. Dad and Mom did a bang up job of putting it all together.
The graduation was held on the SFA campus in a packed auditorium. Eric wore the gold cord on his gown as an honors student.
 I must say that for a small school, those graduates got their share of scholarships both large and small.
 Really proud of Eric and expect him to excel at whatever he decides to do in life. He is not as definite in his plans at this point as cousin Michaela.  Oh to be 6 again!?!

I crashed that night in Emily's (Eric's sister) room, woke up very early Saturday morning and headed home.  After we got the car turned in, we high-tailed it out to the Trades Days.
I hadn't been there too long when a fellow ESN member Gale arrived. She lives not too far away and we planned this chance to meet each other in person.  It was really neat! We visited for the longest time and really enjoyed getting to know each other.
Gale and I with sun hats at Kountze Trade Days
customers try out the guitars

Jun 7, 2011

Sea Fever

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


From SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, by John Masefield, published by the Maxmillan Co., NY, © 1913, p. 55; the poem was first published in SALT-WATER BALLADS, © 1902.

Copied from http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/14195-John-Masefield-Sea-Fever

It seems "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get."  A few weeks ago the ESN scavenger hunt was in honor of National Maritime Day. Needless to say, I am just now finishing my hunt for items reminiscent of the sea.
Truthfully, I found some items I liked, saved the pictures and several days later I couldn't find which store the item was in.   Just goes to show you shouldn't procrastinate.  If you see something you like, you better grab it "while the gittin's good", it might not be there tomorrow--especially, the OOAK items that so many of us have as collectibles. 
Here are a few things that I found in the ESN Blogger stores that remind me of the sea.

Beautiful, colorful rainbow fish keychain from Beach Cat's Bargains
For the fisherman in your life, here is everything you need from Barb's Bargains.
Nice book of Winslow Homer Watercolors from Carolina Blue Lady.

This adorable, collectible boat salt and pepper is one of the items I can't seem to relocate. If anyone still has it for sale, please let us know where to find it. ????
Claimed by Bargain Express  You can see it here.

For a quick "read", on these hot afternoon's try this audio book from Bargain Express.
These are just a few of the items that I found in the ESN stores that have to do with the sea. One was a scented candle. How much better can it get than to bring the scent of the sea into your home? Whatever you are looking for, you are likely to find it among the sellers on ESN.  Check out the latest member of the scavenger hunt bloggers, Twilight's Slumber. They have some neat whimsical items.