Around The Bend
Around The Bend
We sold our dining table & chairs yesterday. We have tried several times to sell it, thinking we wanted a round table instead of the rectangle one which came with our house we bought back in 2001 when Randy’s job took us to California. So 17 years, family and friends have gathered around that table. So much food has been served and so many memories of different groups have sat around that sweet table. Isn’t it so strange that for some reason, I always thought I would be so glad when it sold, but as we sat there looking at the empty space last night in the dining room, so many memories came flooding back to me.
When we bought our home in California back in 2001, God was so gracious to us to provide so much furniture that had been left in the new house. Jodi and Jaden were coming to live with us and since it was a model home, they had left the nursery furniture, the dining room furniture and so much more. In fact, the builder left so much of the furniture, we had to sell some of ours as there wasn’t room for all of our things. We have told the story so many times of God’s blessings to us as we moved from Texas to CA and how He went before us and provided for all our needs, even a nursery.
When we moved back to Texas in 2003, of course that beautiful table went with us. A dear friend, Debbie, our Women’s Minister called one day with a question. Would I consider having teacher training in our home and cook for them to have lunch. Would I….wow, that was such an answer to prayer that I could have ladies in our home and cook for them. One of my favorite things to do. After a couple of years, she had another great idea. (Yep, thats Debbie, lots of great ideas that involve food). HA.She suggested that we have the minister wives meet together for a luncheon once a month, at our house. We lived right across the street from the church (which that is another story of how God closed the door to one house and opened the door for one right across the street from our church) This would allow them to get to know the other minister wives and just be loved on, as we would cook and serve them each month. We realized that sometimes minister’s wives have so much ask of them: lots of time away from their husbands always being called up to serve in different capacities, not many chances to get to know other ladies who have the same responsibility of always being on call and having to sometimes “be on” and feeling like they had to be perfect. So once again, it was a privilege and blessing to just cook and serve these precious ladies who have been such an influence in my life over the years.
The times of meals being cooked and served to family gathered around the table when their lives were so hectic and hurried, and yet, when they sat down to eat maybe a roast with mashed potatoes or turkey & dressing, ham at Easter, beans and tamales at Christmas….there was always a calm that presided over our time together. It was always such a treat when one of our kids and their spouses would call and ask if they could come over for dinner. Always gave me an excuse to bake and cook a lot of food. So much more fun to cook for more than two. One of my prayers for our kids and their families is that they relish their time around the table and realize that it isn’t the food being served that is important, but the laughter, and the time spent in conversations about what is going on in their lives at the time.
When I think about all the blessing that have been spoken, some unspoken, around that table the last 17 years, it brings tears to my eyes to think about all the ways God has truly blessed our families and the ones who have gathered around. There have been prayers which have been answered. Relationships mended,kids sharing stories of setbacks or awards. These are such gifts which we treasure to this day.
Today, both Randy and I paused and prayed for the family that will now be sitting around that table. May they feel the prayers that have been said. May the Lord shine His face upon them that they would sense His presence and come to know Him personally, if they do not already.
Yes, it didn’t bring me the joy that I had anticipated I would have selling it, but…may God grant us in His time, in His place where He takes us to begin a new season of once again, gathering around a table, whether it be round, square or rectangle, which will bring honor to His name.
Wives, pay attention! I have found the secret weapon to getting your husband to do all those little things done around the house without chasing him around with a rolling pin or withholding desserts for a week. You invite company which your husband knows that their house is always in tip top shape and seems to have everything in perfect working order.
For two years I have been yelling…opps, I mean graciously asking my sweet husband to either replace the bathroom faucets or have a whole new bathroom put in. Since yesterday, Mr. Honey Do has installed 3 new faucets, spot cleaned the carpet, patched holes in the sheetrock (and the holes were not made by me throwing things at him, but because I rearrange furniture so much, thus having to rehang pictures) cleaned ceiling fans, painted the front door and this is the best one yet….pulled out the stove and cleaned behind it. Yes, that’s right, my floor underneath the stove is, well, you could eat off of it if you really wanted to pull the stove out and do that. But I have a nice shiny clean table that you might rather eat from. Since grandkids won’t be here until Sunday night when we have a sleep over with the 8 yr old, the breakfast table will be fingerprint free. But after Sunday night, I can’t promise what the kitchen or bathroom will look like. Do all little boys take the opportunity to look around the bathroom when they are standing up peeing or is it just my little darlings? it is almost like, “why bother lifting the lid, hardly any of the pee goes into the toilet anyway!” But back to my story…
So after a few months when things are getting back to needing a little extra attention, I’m going to invite more company. He tells me that he will be cleaning the carpets on Monday, washing the car on Tuesday and then Wednesday, he will change the oil. All this because of a couple we haven’t seen in 2 years. Plus, the couple don’t even get on social media often, so probably won’t share what a beautiful clean house they arrived at. After all this, I would at least hope to get about 50 “likes” of all the cleaning and baking I have done for their arrival. There is now cream cheese pound cake and carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. (not so many cookies are left, as I had to reward Mr. HD for finishing the faucets in record time and not making me go in the backyard to use the hose to shower)
All I have left to do is clean the shutter’s, change the sheets in the guest room, find places for holiday decor that is hidden under the bed and in the guest closet and get a pedicure. I want to appear as if the house just stays like this and make them think that no matter when they would arrive, the house would look this clean and both Randy and I stay dressed in our best summer outfits. Which reminds me, I ironed this week. I do NOT like to iron. Actually that is putting it mildly. I HATE ironing. When Randy kept bringing me shirts to iron, I reminded him that there was a dry cleaners around the corner and that he didn’t marry me for my ironing skills. He spoke up and said as he was rounding the corner, “I’m still trying to find the skills I married you for” If I hadn’t been so tired from ironing his shirts, I would have thrown the iron at him, but then it might have made a hole in the wall and then we would have more chores of patching the hole and paint. We are running out of time before company arrives. He lucked out this time. So if you are needing some company to prod your husband into cleaning and doing house repairs, Randy and I are available to be hired as “company is a comin”. Oh my goodness, I think I just thought of a new career, Company For Hire, literally! Will bring our own baked goods!
Wednesday evening the kids came over for dinner. They said that they wanted some home made ice cream. I have one of the Hamilton Beach 1.5 qt Electric Ice Cream Makers that we use A LOT! So I decided to have vanilla ice cream and individual cherry fried pies( recipe is already on blog) for dessert that night. This recipe is EXTREMELY easy and tastes like the ice cream at Chick Fila.
Follow instructions as to allowing the container to sit in freezer compartment over night or at least 8 hours. (Read instructions that come with the Ice Cream Maker)!
1 can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 teas vanilla extract
Half & Half to fill container up to fill line.
Mix the 3 ingredients together and pour into container. Turn it on and allow it to get to ice cream consistency. It really is a great recipe for quick and easy ice cream.
You can add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, or crushed up candy bars as ice cream hardens.
This past week Randy and I had made our 3rd trip of the week to Walmart for the things we forgot the first two trips. On our way, I happened to mention that I wonder if the guys working the security camera have names picked out for us as we walk in the store. “Oh here comes the couple who must not have enough doctor visits on their calendar to keep them busy. They either both have alzheimers and cannot remember what they came for or they eat so much they don’t have room in their house or fridge to buy everything they need in one shopping day. We should give them a name like, “Triple Trips” or “Shopping Cart Sweeties”. Seriously, I can only imagine the conversations that go on in the camera room. “oh my gosh, look at what they are putting in the cart, and they wonder why their butts are bigger than our aisles.” or “do they really think they can put on that $3 t-shirt and look like they walked out of Target? Please lady, put back that sleeveless shirt and walk away, your arms are still moving from you stopping the basket 5 minutes ago. Just head on over to the sweaters and cover up those awful upper arms with as much material as you can stand in the heat.”
As we arrive at the store we do out best to find a parking space that will help us get to 3000 steps on our Fitbit. As we head down the frozen food aisle, there is the end of the rainbow. Randy does a double take and comes to a screeching halt. There, down in the middle of the aisle is a man who is unloading a pallet of Blue Bell ice cream. The look on Randy’s face told me that his dreams of finally having BB back in Phoenix has come true. He doesn’t have to wait any longer. We stroll over to the freezer trying not to act like our lives have had no meaning for the year we have lived here. There, in the freezer compartment just staring back at us is the ice cream that is like no other. I tell him to just take it all in. Look over all of the flavors and pick out his favorite flavor. He looks at me and informs me that “no, he doesn’t want to put it in the basket just yet.” Why? why is he not buying the thing that keeps him writing to Blue Bell once a month asking when are they coming back to Arizona. He told me that he will finish shopping, pay for our groceries then before we walk out the door, he will come back to the ice cream aisle and get his precious treasure, pay for it and then, we will leave. Truly I thought he was joking. It was at this point that I began to tell him that he didn’t take this much time picking out our wedding rings. Things began to escalate. Thinking that I could go ahead and grab some items while he stayed and drooled over the ice cream section, I walked away just shaking my head. Seriously, I began to remember us picking out rings 22 years ago and remembered that as I was trying to pick out just the perfect ring, he stood beside me and coaxed me to pick out the ring that didn’t make my butt look big. His sense of humor has always been a little off.
But here we were, finally completing our third trip of the week and all checked out. He pushed our cart to the part of the store where I usually stop on our way out and buy a huge bag of popcorn at the Subway counter before exiting the store. He told me to “take a load off” (man is he getting so romantic now that he has his Blue Bell back) and he would be right back. So I sat and wondered just how many half gallons of Blue Bell he would come back with. I watch him, as he goes to the self check out (which he will NEVER go to when I want to hurry) with his precious half gallon of The Great Divide, which for those of you who are not Blue Bell groupies, is half chocolate and half vanilla. He walks quickly toward me with his ice cream in hand and tells me to hurry and lets get the groceries loaded and get home before any of the ice cream melts. I told him I had not seen him move this fast since…well, actually ever! For those of you who know my sweet husband, you know how slow he walks. We speed home, yes, speed home, not even worrying about a possible ticket, and he grabs the ice cream from the back seat and as I’m hauling in the groceries, I walk in the kitchen to see him standing over the half gallon with the biggest spoon we have. His life is now complete. His Blue Bell is back and life is back to normal. He just took the whole container to the den and told me that he was not to be disturbed. I told him, I thought he was already disturbed.
Yes, life is good and I once again have a sweeter and more gentle husband. All it took was a gallon of ice cream and a flavor called The Great Divide. Maybe I’ll take him to look at new wedding rings. He might be in a little more of a shopping mood than he was years ago.
…Especially if you can watch it live from a warm house with plenty of food. Apparently, we are the most favorite relatives right now. Because we live on the street where the floats line up for the Rose Parade, we have discovered that we have cousins that we didn’t even know we had. This week cousins Frankie Joe and Emma Lou Cox from Arkansas realized that they had 4th cousins who lived in Pasadena, CA….Ha! Seriously, our kids are trying to make us think that they are coming to see us, but we know the truth. They are just wanting to come to the parade…for free. When we heard that they wanted to come, we thought, well, we can let one of the families stay here and get a hotel room for the other. When Frosty began calling around to get a room, we discovered that they are around $400 a night and since we felt we should be paying, since they are in fact, our guests, we decided to “make do” here and have some fun quality family time with 4 extra adults and 3 little wild hellions, oops, I mean darling grandchildren. Frosty says that we will have fun the minute we see them drive away. He is such a grouch sometimes. I can’t believe he doesn’t like a 4 yr old sleeping with us. So making room for an air mattress to be placed in the den, we had to do some arranging. I never mind arranging furniture, but in our quest to make room, and still have the house looking somewhat nice and orderly we had to put some of the den furniture someplace. The only place that had any wall space left was our bedroom in front of the patio door. So I lifted the wing back chair in the air and the side table and set them in front of the window. Actually it looked pretty good. I was proud that I had found a space. When Frosty walked in and saw this he growled, “and how am I suppose to get in bed, there is no room to even put my legs between the chair and the bed!” I told him I had it all figured out. All he had to do was climb up in the chair and swing his legs over onto the bed. He told me we are getting too old for this. I assured him it was only for a week and the extra exercise of climbing would do him good. He told me that he noticed that I had not put in on my side. I informed him that he needed the exercise more than I. Things began to get ugly from there. But I won’t go there today. We will just say that we have learned a few things this past year. Things that we hope we aren’t too old to remember come 2014.
1. If you don’t really want your home used for a bed & breakfast, don’t keep a stocked fridge or have an extra bedroom.
2. Do not answer phone calls when you don’t recognize the number, it will be a computer call or distant cousins from Arkansas.
3. Don’t live on a street that has a parade.
4. Do not, EVER, say, “oh stay as long as you like.”
5. Remember in spite of whatever anyone says, “your family are the ones who bless your heart and love you in spite of all your weirdness.” And that’s the truth.
Thank you for reading Chocolatecastles. and Happy New Year. God’s blessings upon each of you. Baking blessings, TKbakesalot
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