Finally Hydrangeas


finally hydrangeas


Finally, hydrangea.  Winter took it toll and I helped.  Yes, I broke of the sticks, a no-no.

I am hydrangea sad too like Karen here .  She gives pruning directions and I’ll remember next year.

I broke the sticks off. I wanted to make my front porch and the beds around it to look fresh and renewed. How can that happen with sticks sticking out?  I wish I had a picture of the sad, sad looking bunch of sticks with barely a green leaf showing.

I thought I was helping.  Pruning is supposed to be good, right?

Several weeks later Jim realized what had happened and told me “Don’t do that again”.  Could this be why the only gardening I do is to pinch dead blooms like my momma did every morning.

Weeks ago many were posting beautiful pictures of a spectrum of colorful blooms.




This morning sitting on the porch wrapped in a blanket, mind you, it was cold, I spied rich beautiful blooms nested deep in the foliage.  Hidden.  Finally!




I cut them.  And they look spectacular on the dining room table.  Nothing else is needs to supplement their splendor.


Perfect with the newly painted aqua walls.

No wonder these big full bloomed flowers are a favorite!





The colors are absolutely beautifully stunning and rich.

I am hydrangea happy!!



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Mama Influence: A Different Kind of Cheering for Adult Kids



With adult kids we parents have to learn a different kind of cheering.  For years there were games and performances.  We cheered.  We clapped. We encouraged and helped you.

Then suddenly, one day they need help moving.  OUT.  This is our third major move, not counting the college ones with our kids.

We helped our daughter move when she was so pregnant we thought it might not happen before baby.

Jim helped Robert move to his graduate school apartment.

Will put his things in his brother’s car and took off for a new city. New everything.

Now Robert moved from another apartment to a new house that needed lots of help.  Lots.

So we helped. That’s what parents do. Help, cheer and stand beside in case we are needed.  Or wanted.

Most of all we pray.   We never stopped.  And we pray for their future spouses.  I read in a Catherine Marshall book years ago about praying for our children’s spouses. We started right then and there.

Often we express how thankful we are for God’s answer for our daughter. She has a good man for a husband.

Cheering you onward Honey.

A small letter for you…


Dear Son,

It was a good time with Nancy, Will, Jessica and you working together in your new place.

Tag teaming with Daddy so one of us could be home with the girls is what we do.

This past weekend, the girls couldn’t wait to see you and Jessica. And the RING!

It is beauuu tiiii fullll !

Helping to pack and other moving kind of stuff.

This is what parents do when the days of driving to games and appointments are over. That is what family does, help.

Of course, you had to work those Saturdays. Then there was that pesky deadline to get out of the apartment last Sunday.

We haven’t stopped cheering you on. The praying over you never stops.

Those Iraq years, well, we prayed a whole lot. I’m pretty sure we held our breath just a little all the time back then.

And now…

A girl.  A woman.  She has been prayed for all of your life. Which means all of her life too.




Another daughter to love. She is a terrific woman. I think she’s got your number. She’s good for you. You’re good for her.







You’re going to be a great husband and some day, a great father too. You’ve had wonderful godly men surround you all your life starting with your dad and Grandpa. Examples worthy to be followed.

Many have loved and prayed for you since you were a baby.  Too many to name here.  Now Jessica too…because she is family.

We love you Son.

May the Lord continue to bless you and be gracious unto you and give you peace.



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Stylish Game Table for the Family


Game table chair details


The long search was finally over!

I could just see it in my mind’s eye but never found chairs that matched, were the right size and affordable.

Recently, this French style of chair has popped up at  bridal rentals and on blogs. If only I could find one. I came up empty handed on my forays into auctions, consignment shops and yard sales




The “library” table that has moved with us from home to home for years is the chairs I have always wanted since we first got it from Jim’s dad. It was part of Aunt Daisy’s library.

I’ll be really dating myself here…in TV and movie homes there was often a game table set under a window with side chairs, ready for chess or checkers. Bridge any one?



Library Table fit for Games



Surely Luckett’s would have some!  My daughter and I took the day to drive down.  It was beautiful weather meaning not hot yet.

The big rain storm left huge puddles bordering on pond status.  Vendors and organizers were rearranging.  The wait in line with the other early birds was pleasant.  Nancy and I were women on a mission.  She wanted a china cabinet.

We both found exactly what we wanted even though I didn’t know I wanted chairs with arms. I soon realized my big guys would never go for those tiny seated girly chairs.  Nancy and I sat and chatted in several pairs of chairs before deciding on these  charming linen covered one.





My dream for the “library” table was finally coming true.


PS. Yes, I’ll be painting the table.


Have you had a “dream” space come together?  What was it?  


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Retro Artichoke Dip & That Spinach One Too




Artichoke Dip started out as “California Dip”.  At least that is what my California born fellow military wives called it.  Magazines called it by that as well. Unsurprisingly, we first had at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. Mind you. I barely knew what an artichoke was before we moved there!  I bought fresh artichokes by the brown paper grocery bag full for a dollar!  The Artichoke Capital, Castroville was the next valley over.




Honestly,  we military wives have a large assortment of recipes from many regions and cultures.  Our self published cookbooks as fund-raisers was our method of passing them along.  Pre-internet days.  Pre-blogging.  Most of us were pretty good cooks. Having folks over or carrying a dish to a pot luck appetizer gathering or dinner was frequent and fun.




Often the food served was hot and cold appetizers and “finger” food.




If you need a quick appetizer that is SUPER easy that’s a bit cheaper but has big flavor, try this.  It has been so long since I’ve made it or been where it was served, it may just be a “new” dish for your family and guests.



Retro Artichoke Dip 

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 can artichoke hearts drained & broken up

sprinkle of garlic salt to taste

a shake or 2 of Tabasco sauce to taste

Mix.  Bake 15 -20 min at 350 degrees in 8×8 greased baking pan or similar size

Serve with butter or chicken flavored crackers






One friend scooped the dip into a large conch shell.  What a fabulous way to serve up delicious! If there were left overs, we had it for breakfast.

Let me tell you, we ate well.   The party food was so good!

Fast forward to our post retirement years living overseas.

We came home for 6 months with all of our kids including our two treasured younger daughters.

While visiting my dad we headed  to the revised renovated downtown of Chattanooga for some sight seeing and dinner.  A plug for Chattanooga.  Check out their website. There’s lots to do for couples and families.

Sticky Fingers Smokehouse was the dinner destination.  We ordered spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips.  It may have been our first time having it.

Meg, our youngest was around 18 months at the time. Grandpa feed her chips loaded with dip. If he was too slow, she began to cry.  There were 9 off us but soon the table appetizer became hers.  He was having a great time with her!

Dad ordered another one…”bring it fast” were the instructions.  Poor Meg was beside herself.  The dip was gone. We were amazed at how she loved this dish.  In her defence, it was a long day and she was most definitely hungry!

Meg ate the entire thing!  By herself.  She still will often order that for her meal.

I served it recently. See the rest of the menu here.


Here’s the recipe.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Hot flavoerful dip using fresh spinach and artichoke hearts. Included dairy.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: California
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup chopped sauted spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1½ cup (1 can) artichoke hearts
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp to taste red pepper flakes (or Tabasco sauce)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease baking dish appx 8 x8 or pie dish
  3. Saute fresh spinach in olive oil with garlic powder (if frozen squeeze out all liquid)
  4. Drain artichokes; squeeze to beak into small pieces
  5. Im medium pan, mix together over med low heat, cream cheese, sour cream, Paramesan cheese
  6. Remove from heat; stir in mayo, spinach and artichoke hearts
  7. Put in baking dish
  8. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown
  9. Serve with crispy French bread slices or tortilla chips


Happy 4th of July!! 


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Summer Morning Buffet




A little red. white and blue.  A prelude to 4th of July.  Fun delicious food served for a crowd. Simple to make.  Easy to handle on your lap with drink on the side table.

Summer is a great time for having friends over. The garden is full of fresh food like spinach.  Farm stands overflow with fresh summer berries.

Brilliant sunlight, flowers showing off against a green background.  There seems to be a little more time for conversation and yet another sip of coffee.

The mix of formal and country is one I am loving these days.  Blue ball jars with English Cauldon China from Great Aunt Daisy and Lenox Autumn.  I missed the simple bouquet of white hydrangea in a blue ball jar; perfect pairing with  my old red checked cloth.




Cauldon & Autumn China luncheon plates stacked, paper napkins
Mixed family silver mixed with flea marker finds in a wire holder


I swing my table over to the corner.  It opens up the kitchen making a better flow for this casual buffet. Hot drinks are on the counter.

Our group meets to plan and pray for a monthly luncheon regularly. We met to pray for the upcoming event and each person who will set up, greet, host and speak.  Our custom is to serve a light brunch type of food but we know there are just those times doughnuts are in order.  It’s really a low pressure group. We are busy women who go to their jobs, family or to other commitments and errands. We have teens, college aged children and adults. Some of us have been blessed with little treasures of grandchildren. 

My easy menu for a morning meet with a hot dip instead of an egg dish plus the timeless favorite of little smoke roll ups.  I made extra for our lunch later in the day.


Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tortilla chips

Summer Berry Bowl  

Little Smokies Roll Ups


Orange Juice, sparkling water, ice water, coffee and hot teas



5.0 from 2 reviews
Little Smokie Roll-Ups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Little Smokie Roll Ups
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 32 pieces
  • 1 package HIllshire all beef Little Smokies
  • 1 can 8 each Cressent rolls
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (175 C)
  2. Unroll crescent rolls.
  3. Cut each perferated piece into 4 triangular pieces (Less doughy)
  4. Roll one smokie in each cut piece beginning at the wide end
  5. Place on ungreaased cookie sheet (optional use parchement paper)
  6. Cook until golden brown appx 15 min depending on your oven
  7. Seve with a pot of mustard




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Showy Rich Oreo Cheesecake




Amy made yummy cold Oreo dessert while taking her mind of finals.  Great timing because we had some company coming!

Since I don’t often make a dessert it was a real treat for my family. Usually, we have fruit or ice cream.   I can’t eat these rich things due to diabetes. When we have sweets, it is usually the girls who make them.

She found this recipe & had her dad take her to the grocery store for all the making. We have a spring form pan which made this cheesecake a bit more showy for serving than a casserole pan would have.

The white cake pedestal  was a perfect paring.






Basic white dishes highlight the rich flavors just waiting to be indulged on.



5.0 from 2 reviews
Showy Oreo Cheesecake
Prep time
Total time
Oreo Cheesecake with six ingredients
Recipe type: Desert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-12
  • 36 Oreo cookie divided
  • ¼ c butter melted
  • 4 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz whipped cream or cool whip
  1. CHOP 15 cookies coarsely.
  2. Finely chop remaining cookies; mix with melted butter.
  3. Press finely chopped cookies and butter mixture into bottom of springform pan or 13x9 in pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  4. BEAT cream cheese, sugar & vanilla until blended. Gently stir in sweetened whipped cream or cool whip and reserved chopped cookies.
  5. REFRIDGERATE unitl firm, about 4 hours.


This is  a Kraft recipe. Face it, Kraft has some good ones and certainly give a basic recipe that are easy to tweak. Some reviewers said too much cream cheese, however  we did not find that to be true. We did really tasted the cool whip. Maybe that was because it is not a regular in our household. Next time, real whip cream.

The extra pieces not consumed after Sunday lunch were gone by the next evening.  Desserts don’t last long in our house!

Kudos to Amy for a wonderful Oreo Cheesecake for family and friends!


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Because It’s Summer!


First, let me just say this.

It is summer! 


Be prepared to ask WHY a lot regardless of your kids’ ages.  Be prepared for absolutely ridiculous answers.  Silly answers.  Because it is summer.  We lose our head jsut a little bit becasue it is summer.


This morning this greeted my husband who went down to make coffee.




He came up puzzled. “Why?,” the puzzled man asked, “Why would someone take all the meringue off a pie?”




“Oh,” I blithely replied, “They (meaning hungry teen-aged daughter and friend) probably just wanted to eat it.  Hungry teen girls do some crazy things for food.”

“No, no. The meringue is in the Tupperware in one big piece.  Why?




“Gee whiz, I don’t know. Drink your coffee Honey.”

So the summer begins.  


Why? will be our standard parental puzzled response to some cray cray teen request or actions.


Mind you these are not deep wonderings. Only puzzled ones over the teen actions.

He asked them.  They seemed amazed by the question!

All they wanted to do was to see if they could get it off in one piece. Really.




Why?” he wanted to know. “Why?

And they said, “Why not?

It is summer. 


They put the meringue back  on Daddy’s pie that he bought yesterday on the grocery store run.  All in one piece.

My question to him, “Why?”

Why did you buy a pie?”

“I wanted too. I went to the bakery section to see what was on sale so I could buy something sweet. And there it was! My favorite kind of pie!”

O  k  a  y.


It is summer at our house.

P.S.  One of the sweet pea granddaughters just  climbed up on the back of the couch and plucked berries of my living room wreath for their “hunt for potion ingredients”. Yep, it summer here and cloudy too! Don’t even ask me what the words are to the song blasting from the kitchen! 


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Sabbath Words…Harmony



Harmony Romans 12-5-6


Words written centuries ago.  Words of encouragement to the church.

Valid words today.  Words written to Y0u, graciously but no less directive.

Over the past few weeks, our pastors have been presenting a series on unity, essentials and distinctive of the Christian faith.  Today the topic was unity with diversity. These were the main verses, Romans 15:5-6.

Harmony was the eye-catching, mind provoking word for me. Through different churches, styles and denominations and non denominations I have heard many opinions.  Sometimes it was an honest conversation without disharmony. Other times, well, the words ungracious and hard-headed come to mind.

Sometimes in our home there have been conversations of the robust nature that did not promote harmony in our home or between each other.  Not good. Not Christ like. I left contemplating what does it mean to live in harmony, in accord with Jesus Christ.

What does it take? A lot of grace and listening. A lot of slow to speak.  And maybe gentle silence.  A lot of being self-control, kindness and my own peace…a lot of self-discipline and with

the God of endurance and encouragement granting to  me to

live in such  HARMONY

with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ.

A challenge for transformation into Christ likeness for today, everyday for me during this coming week.  
blessings linda
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 Faith Filled Friday

Mom’s Simple Spaghetti


Mom, known as Sister in her community was a good cook.  Her spaghetti was the best. We loved it.  Let’s be clear, my mom was a small town girl from the Arkansas Mississippi delta.  Her last name was Anderson.  I have no idea when she learned to make spaghetti. 




I make it just about the same way.  Simple.  Sure, I make variations on tomato sauces.  But this one makes a regular appearance at our table, in the packed lunches and for a quick easy Sunday dinner for family  gathering.   Don’t you love that we can finally go out into the yard!

Add crusty bread, butter and salad…it is a delicious satisfying meal for all ages.




It is a delicious satisfying meal for all ages.




What is the secret?  


Yes, in our hurried world this easy satisfying meal takes time.  

Your hamburger meat must be throughly browned.  Throughly. No crusty edges, no black charred pieces. Then smash it into little pieces. No lumps please.  If you do that, it will make a difference! It will.

The sauce needs to simmer melting those flavors into yumminess.

You may have noticed the casual table setting.  Jim’s mothers aluminium strainer full of pasta shells, pot full of sauce.  A tossed salad and dressing jars.  We carried everything out and there you have it!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Mom's Simple Spaghetti
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious meat sauce for a meal fit for family and company
Recipe type: Spaghetti
Cuisine: Italian American
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 lb 80 / 20 hamburger meat 1 large can of tomato sauce (or puree) 1 small can tomato paste 1 small can of water
  • 1 medium chopped onion garlic to taste, about 1-2 cloves 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning or basil and oregano Salt to taste a pinch of baking soda 1 scant teaspoon sugar
  1. Brown meat throughly. Drain any excess drippings. Put heat on medium. Add tomato sauce, paste and water. Stir throughly. Add seasonings. Stir throughly. Cook at a low simmer. Slow simmer for several hours, stirring frequently.
  2. Serve with noodles and crusty bread.


What do you serve for an impromptu gathering and little work?  


blessings linda

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Old House to Heart Home #1




back of the house


Sunday afternoon my 13 year struggle to love this old not perfect house came to an end.

It’s not the house I imagined as home in this phase of my life. I wanted a fireplace with open spaces and a spectacular kitchen. Yes, and would Sarah Richardson please decorate it?



our dog, Boomer & back porch that needs sprucing up

It is big; I’ll give it that!

Instead I have a big old house with challenges.

Did I mention it is a 216 year old house?

Oh, yes, there are challenges.

After retirement from the army and a life of moving, we moved our family again for a 2nd career back overseas.  Soon, we knew we needed a house in the states for our college kids to come home too and a place to live for the rest of us during our trips back.


summer fun

summer memory making


We needed an anchor home. Our TCK (third culture kids) children needed it. We all needed an anchor home.  A home for our hearts.  We hadn’t had one since my folks’s home sold.



swing for golf & fun


I call it a heart home for this side of heaven. 




setting up a simple dinner of leftovers!


Sunday was a magical day.  Lunch at Nancy and Nathan’s home then naps in our own homes.  Dinner in the yard.


focused on floats

focused on floats


Floats. Nothing says summer like floats!


getting simple settings ready

getting simple settings ready


As we carried out the table, blue ball jars with the colorful straws, leftovers and fixing, as the girls laughed and played, I knew. It had been creeping up on me with increased intensity for weeks.


front porch

front porch


Sunday, as I listened, I realized it had happened.

We had our heart home.

This old house full of memories in the making with

the tumbled mess of an attic                                                                                                                                                                                    five exterior doors for rousing games of hide and seek running in and out                                                                                                          brick walls, funky paneling

The “Avocado”, the girls’ special spot, an unexpected closet

Beckoning porches                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 creaky and creepy in the dead of night original wood floors                                                                                                                                    a slanted roof for star gazing                                                                                                                                                                                        tire swing


still swing

Sunday still swing at dusk


It’s not elegant or beautiful. It is creaky and old.  It is home.

There will still be design stuggles for me and maintance struggles for Jim.  It will never be “perfect” and Sarah will never darken my door.

It’s okay because…

we have our heart home.  


What makes your house a home?  


blessings linda


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