Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Shopping, Arnold style

We aren't much for Black Friday shopping. We like to sleep a little too much. Especially the day after we got up before the crack of dawn to make sure the 23 lb turkey made it into the oven in time.

Here's our version of Black Friday shopping: Sleep until after 8. Have breakfast pancakes made from leftover mashed potatoes (yum!) Stroll on over to Main Street and check out the new Christmas decorations. Check out the antique malls: Remnants and Apple Dumplin Antiques We always, always find something we like at Apple Dumplings and the prices are always so good. If you're in the Upstate or just passing through, it's definitely worth your time to stop by - tell Kay that Chris and Lisa sent you!

We weren't looking for anything special. Maybe some things to help our holiday decorating since it's our first Christmas in this house. Here's what we found:

Three candle holders with new candles - still in the wrappers. I've been looking for some to go on our bedroom mantel with the new painting we got on our 20th anniversary trip to Charleston last month. $12.50 for all 3 candle holders AND the candles. Told you the prices are really good!

Nine dessert glasses, with etching. I thought these were really pretty and they fit right in our china cabinet. $15 for all 9.

A close-up view:

I've been looking for one of these: a large glass cannister with a wide mouth for my bread flour. $7.50

Not quite sure what the original intent of this was, but we're using it to hold a large red candle for Christmas. $5.99

I don't think my brother reads this blog, but on the off chance he does, I won't show a picture of what we happened to find for him for Christmas. But I hope he likes it. I've been known to give him a tulip bowl in the past, so you never know.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Safe in the pie safe?

This is my pie safe:

I'm not sure, but I believe this was my grandfather's sister's pie safe. I remember it from my grandparents' house on the farm when I was growing up. At some point in the late '60s or early '70s, my grandmother or one of my aunts or somebody who probably loved watching The Mod Squad and wearing orange paisley decided to 'antique' the pie safe using that lovely avocado green that was so popular at the time. The scary part is that we all that it was really beautiful when it was done.

Once my grandparents were gone, the pie safe became mine. I took it to my first little apartment in Rock Hill and de-antiqued it. It was a big job, but the results were worth it. I stained the outside, painted the inside blue, and left one little strip inside the door the lovely avocado green. Just so I wouldn't make THAT mistake again.

My grandmother didn't use the pie safe to keep pumpkin and sweet potato and apple pies cozy and ventilated. Instead, she stored her sewing supplies there. I kept my pie safe in our various kitchens over the years, storing our dishes. In this house, there's no room in the kitchen, so I'm following my grandmother's lead and storing my sewing/crafting supplies inside. As you can tell from the top shelf in this picture:

You can also see that I decided to try out the pie feature of the pie safe. On this day before Thanksgiving, I honor my ancestors by using the pie safe for its intended purpose. (Really, I was just trying to find a place where the golden retrievers couldn't retrieve any pies. Maybe the person who invented the pie safe had goldens, too.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


If we had the money, Chris and I would buy the house next door and open a Bed and Breakfast. Here's what your breakfast might look like at our B&B:

Of course, we'd probably give you something to drink! And I'd have a decent camera in this fantasy world that wouldn't care that it's a gloomy and dark day. On the menu: homefries with herbed sour cream, fresh fruit, and individual egg and cheese casseroles.

Now I've got an urge to go put a chocolate on my pillow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. You don't have to worry about new clothes or picking out the perfect gift, you just get to eat. In fairness, though, if you asked me in spring, I'd probably say that Easter is my favorite. Ask me in December and it's Christmas. I just love all the holidays and I'm sure that's because I come from a big family who loves any reason to celebrate. Lots of traditions, big and small. Even after my parents separated and eventually divorced, we kept up our traditions as best we could. Thanksgiving with my father's family. Christmas Eve with my mother's.

Every Thanksgiving was always a big family gathering on my grandparent's farm (formally known as "going to Granny's"). Even after my grandparents passed away in the '80s, we continued to get together. Lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then along came 1990. That year I added a Mrs. to my name and a whole bunch of miles between the farm and me. My husband Chris and I had barely been married a month and he had just reported to his duty station in DC, so we weren't able to go home for Thanksgiving. I was sad about that, but determined to make Thanksgiving special - even more so when my dad and my new father in law said they'd love to spend the day with us. The only problem was that I'd always gone to huge dinners where everyone brought tons of food. And I never, ever was responsible for the turkey. Yikes! Thank goodness for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. They had an entire Thanksgiving menu in their November issue that looked perfectly doable. It was, however, a Yankee menu - with a traditional stuffing recipe. (with my apologies to you Yankees, I use it as a term of endearment. Really.) I'd never in my life had stuffing. Only southern style dressing. Which, believe me, are two entirely different things. I don't care what any other bloggers say. They are.

So I did what any young bride who marries outside of her culture does: I made the stuffing for my new father in law, hunted down my family's dressing recipe for my father, and made homemade mashed potatoes for my husband. Along with my first turkey, cranberry apple relish, some veggies, and pumpkin pie. It was a success, if I do say so myself, with the possible exception of me getting a little carried away with the sage in the stuffing. My polite FIL's comment, "Oh, is that what that was?"

Over the two decades since then, our Thanksgivings have evolved. We tried very hard to go home to South Carolina in those early years. As the children arrived, and it became apparent that Chris would never be able to leave work before mid-afternoon the day before turkey day, we had to realize that getting stuck somewhere in North Carolina on I-85 around midnight was not ever going to be fun. We reluctantly began to spend Thanksgivings in Maryland. It made me sad to miss the big family gatherings, but we were determined to start our own traditions. I continued to make the same big meal I'd first made as a newlywed. My (Yankee) children learned to love stuffing. We rarely were alone on the 4th Thursday of November. Sometimes, family members would brave the interstate and join us. More than once, we had a table full of jarheads. Who could forget Wally and Pagan, sitting on the couch with pillows stuffed up their shirts to show their appreciation of the meal?

One year, five year old Jacob (the only Arnold child who had never been on an airplane) and I flew down to SC, were met at the airport by Buddy and Elaine, and he enjoyed a few days as an only child. In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, Chris and the other four children joined us, after the traditional extended parking lot stop on I-85. That was the year my uncle Aubrey was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and wasn't up to eating with us. But at least we were home.

In our last years in Maryland, we spent Thanksgiving in our own home. But always, throughout those years, through the '90s, the new millenium, and marching on toward retirement in 2010, one thing kept me going: The image in my mind of us hosting Thanksgiving in our own home back in South Carolina. No marathon driving, no getting stuck in traffic, surrounded by family like all those childhood and young adult memories. All of us, those who are still with us, together. Maybe even all of us eating stuffing. Maybe not.

This is the year! It's almost Thanksgiving 2010 and dinner plans are underway. I've invited my whole family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins. It's going to be great. I've pulled out those Better Homes and Gardens recipes that I've used through the past 2 decades, I've bought a new 120" table cloth (from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I got a great deal!) and my grocery list is complete. Twenty years of dreaming of this day, us back home in South Carolina, hosting Thanksgiving. I can't wait.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another sign that winter's on the way...

Here's a sure sign that winter is around the corner. (At least South Carolina's version of winter, which was pretty impressive last year.) We planted pansies today and one little viola. But since this IS the south, there are still a few petunias hanging around in the large planters by the front door. Hey, this is the place where we wear flip flops with our hoodies, what do you expect?