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Friday, November 30, 2018

How Do You Pick Your Christmas Presents?

How do you choose who gets what present for Christmas?
I hate asking, What would you like for Christmas? It takes the surprise out of it.

Here's what my children Diane and Molly used to do to me.

Kids: Mom, we never know what to get you for Christmas. This year, make a list of everything you would like to have and put the one thing you want at the top of your list.

 Me: It will take all of the surprises out of Christmas morning.
Kids: If you don't cooperate you'll end up with socks, glove, and a scarf again this year. Oh, yeah, and we never forget the chocolate covered cherries. You don't have to put those on the list.

Me: When do you want this list?

Kids: Two weeks. In two weeks we'll give you and Dad our lists and you guys can give us yours.

Two weeks past and we are all at the kitchen table having dinner.

Kids: We have our lists do you have yours? (They look from me to their Dad and give us huge smiles)

Jump forward to Christmas morning. Five-thirty a.m. actually. Molly could never wait. ( Sometime
 I'll tell you how excited she was to go swimming on vacation and jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool before she could swim.)

The kids could never remember who helped clean the kitchen last or took out the trash, but they took turns giving out presents each year. They never forgot whose turn it was.

Everyone gets their first present and we wait our turn to open them so we could ooh and aww at the gifts we each received.

The first present wasn't on my list.
The second wasn't on my list, nor was the third, or the fourth.
As a matter of fact, I did not get one of the presents I put on my list.

I didn't want to act ungrateful or embarrass them so I let it go.
Next year-repeat of the year before.
So I asked, "why do you ask for a list when you never by anything I write down
Answer: If we bought you the gifts on your wish list you wouldn't be surprised.     99 cents until Christmas Eve

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Thanksgiving sneaked up on me this year. I began a new project, a cozy mystery series and my goal is to write it in 30 writing days. 
 Notice I didn't say thirty days. I took two days off for Grandparents day and to see the kids. I've gone to meetings, played, written blogs, and read.  Yesterday I wrote day 21, I have 32 thousand words. To keep my promise to myself I'd have to write 28 thousand words in 10 days.

It isn't going to happen so let's talk about Thanksgiving. What's your favorite menu for this particular holiday. Mine is turkey-mashed potatoes and gravy- dressing/stuffing-sweet potato casserole with marshmallows- green bean casserole with onion rings on top- and cranberries. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream and pecan pie rounds it out for me.

I know some facts about Thanksgiving you might find interesting. You probably don't know them because most people aren't research nuts like I am.
Over 260 million turkeys are raised each year for Thanksgiving dinners.
It takes around 800 million pounds of cranberries to feed us.
And over 3.2 billion pounds sweet potatoes.

It isn't tryptophan that makes us so sleepy after dinner, WE GET SLEEPY
They didn't serve only turkey at the first Thanksgiving, they had deer, geese, ducks, and wild turkey.

President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863.
The Detroit Lions have played in every game on the holiday since 1934. They did stop during WWII.
Don't forget the Macy's Parade or Black Friday.
By the way, our Canadian friends have a celebration like Thanksgiving the second Monday in October.

No matter how you spend your Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope it is the best one you have ever had. 
Be grateful for what you have, not what is missing in your life.
 Send a blessing to others who have less than you or who are worse off than you. There is always someone who thinks your life is charmed compared to yours.  Say a prayer for a gentler, kinder world. 
Love to all, Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

ARKANSAS BLACK APPLES with great apple crisp recipe


A seven-acre orchard with about 240 trees doesn't make me an expert, but I know a little something about fruit.
Coyotes, turtles, birds, deer, and raccoons love it, and they will all eat the  Arkansas Black if there is nothing else around.

Seems you don't pick Blacks until it frosts. The longer you have them around the blacker and sweeter they become.
Last night I picked a bushel off of one tree, and it's not your typical apple tree. They are gnarly, skinny, and as atypical as can be. There is only one out there I would consider an apple tree

The main reason so many folks have never tasted them is that they are not marketed in your local grocery store, where the number one apple is a Red Delicious. It is red, sweet, and delicious. Clever name, huh?
My favorite apples are Gala or

Fuji. If you've never tasted different apples, branch out. Open a bag and put one of each kind in and see which you like best. It probably won't be Red Delicious.

An Arkansas Black Apple is a cross between a Winesap and a Pipkin, or so they think. Someone in Bentonville, Arkansas grafted trees together and came up with the apple. No one heard of an Arkansas Black before 1840 which takes Johnny Appleseed out of the picture. He was born in 1774 and would have been seventy-five by then.

Everything has a bright side. The bright side of blacks is that we will be eating the last of them in late February or early March.
My method of storage is rather simple. I don't wash them. I wrap each one in a square of newspaper and stack them in a cooler. 
The coolers (sometimes it takes several) ae stored in the barn. 
When we run out of apples in the house, I take a basket out and refill it.
As they age, they get a waxy feel to them. I wash them off because I don't know what might have touched them while they were on the trees.
We don't use pesticides or commercial fertilizers here. Poisons destroy the good nutrition apples provide.
Now that I am familiar with the apple I realize they are used in advertisements regularly. Before they sit in storage they are dark red with an almost lime green top.
I've added a great recipe I think all of you apple lovers will like. This recipe can be made with any variety of apple.
Apple Crisp Recipe

10 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest  (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
Topping Mixture:
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oats
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Vegetable oil or cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2.  Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
  3. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the
  4. sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
  5. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer
  6.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
  7. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.