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Gigantic clouds beckoned me out the door and lured me to downtown Atlanta to meet two of my friends to see a movie. Clouds can do that, you know.


I met Terri and Gina at Cinebistro for dinner and a movie.z5

We went to see Central Intelligence.  Funny movie!   At Cinebistro, you must arrive early and then you get to order dinner to eat with your movie.  And it’s not Popcorn Casserole or Jr. Mint Surprise.  It’s real food cooked by a chef and served by an army of waiters.

Terri had the Hummus Platter.


Gina had the Chicken Cobb Salad.


And I had a Cheeseburger and Fries.


You eat mostly during the previews, however they don’t take your plate until after the show so you can nibble in the dark if you want to.  You can also spill things on your shirt in the dark, too.  It was very dark….but when the lights came up, my ketchup blob on my shirt provided quite the amusement for my friends.  Next time I’m bringing a spare shirt or a giant bib or I’ll just wear red and not worry about it. Looking forward to the next show.  Tarzan, anyone???

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Kate and Leopold

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Where I come from, the meal is the result of reflection and study, menus are prepared in advance, timed to perfection. It is said, without the culinary arts the crudeness of reality would be unbearable. – Leopold (Hugh Jackman)

I watched Kate and Leopold (2001) last night.  I still don’t get that movie.  I understand the time travel premise and I can follow the plot, but what I don’t buy into even after all these years is how crabby Meg Ryan’s character is and how hopelessly Hugh Jackman falls for her.  She wears man-clothes and couldn’t be more rude to everyone she encounters yet we are supposed to believe that a 100 year time travelling Duke becomes hopelessly in love with this curmudgeon.

I guess I should technically find issue with the plausibility of the time travel porthole off the bridge plotline, but really the issue that I can’t “suspend disbelief” for is the the fact that they portray Kate as rude, grouchy, and jaded and then zing us with a Hugh Jackman hottie falling for her.  Have I missed the relationship “boat” somewhere?  Being rude or crabby doesn’t exactly have people standing in line at my door (but then being cheerful and kind doesn’t have them standing inline either) so what are we supposed to take away from this movie?

I think the message of the movie is a little more dear to my heart and easier to grasp than you might imagine.  It is the message of toast.  Leopold loves his toast.  In fact, in the movie he rigs a toaster to cook at 1 1/2 settings to make it perfectly golden – not soggy and not burnt.  He then prepares toast with Mascarpone cheese and strawberries for Kate before she goes to work.

At Kate’s first bite we see a slight crack in her defensive facade, but it is fleeting.

Can you see the wonders of golden-brown crispy bread?  Forget that she is crabby and lacking in charm, the toast masks all of these imperfections.

I shall now eat this magical breakfast everyday.


Kate and Leopold Strawberry Toast

1 loaf brioche bread, thick sliced (or any bread you prefer)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 8-ounce container Mascarpone cheese

2 cups sliced strawberries

Toast bread to golden brown perfection.  Brush with melted butter and then spread with Mascarpone.  Top with strawberries.

Maybe just one more slice, please! Or two…

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Blackberry Coconut Bars

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Today was stinkin’ hot.  Super stinkin’ hot.  I simply do not do well in the heat.  It drains.  It discourages.  It makes me overly dramatic.  Insert long miserable sigh here.

I cleaned my tile shower today.  Deep cleaned.  Do you have any idea how not exciting that is??  Then I straightened the kitchen.  That didn’t raise the excitement meter even one degree.  I was having daydreams of a tropical paradise where I was most decidedly currently not at as I scraped my grout and filled my dishwasher.  I saw swaying palm trees in my mind’s eye, cool breezes and coconuts.  Lots of coconuts.  They are my segueway back to reality in my stinkin’ hot but clean kitchen.    I made some Blackberry Coconut Bars.  They are not as good as a trip to Bali but they will take your mind off your grout for a few minutes.


Blackberry Coconut Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick  (1/2 cup)  butter, softened

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup seedless blackberry jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Mix in butter until crumbly.  Add egg and milk.  Spread batter in 8 inch square baking dish.  Cover with jelly and then with topping.


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup frozen flaked coconut, thawed

Stir sugars and egg together.  Add butter and coconut.  Spread on top of jelly. Bake for 30 – 35  minutes.  Let cool slightly and then cut into squares.


With no end in sight to the heat, I’m already planning my next tropical treat.  It will be cold and refreshing and a pleasant distraction from the current conditions in Georgia. I’m ready for some cooler temperatures and less humid weather.  How about you?

*Bonus Chupa photo.  He’s an inquisitive and funny fellow.



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Check Out This Blog

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My cousin is starting a series of posts on her blog detailing the progress being made on building her new dream home.  She is building a modern farmhouse using the inspiration of our grandma’s house in Ohio.


Merry Anne is building her house in Austin, Texas.    Her blog is called Dandelion Roads.  You can visit through this link of pop in on your own.  I’m looking forward to seeing her creative ideas and decor for this new home.


This is her blog header so you’ll know you’re in the right place when you get there!

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Pet Condo

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I spent a long time today refurbishing our pet condo.  We have to leave the cat and the dog from time to time (shocking as it may seem that I don’t spend 24/7 with my pets) and I don’t want to crate the dog so we came up with the indoor kennel solution.  The first time I saw one was at my friend Gina’s house many years ago. Ours needed a bit of decorating pizzazz as I was feeling a bit dizzy from all the colors and patterns of the hand-me-down rugs, blankets and chair covers that had previously made their way into the condo.  Here is my newly renovated Murphy Pet Condo.


It is right off the door to the garage and Chupa scoots right in whenever we ask.  He seems to be quite fond of it. The cat has his tree and litter box in there, too. I’m going to go tomorrow to look for a tan litter box although the pop of color isn’t too bad.  (Isn’t that what decorators say?)


Chupa was all smiles.


And now… when the lights go down, it’s party time at the pet condo.  Eight function light switch for lots of disco action.


And that’s how I spent June 27, 2016.

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Blue Willow Inn

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To complete my birthday celebrations, we met my brother and nephew in Social Circle at the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant.  DSC_0543

We’ve been there quite a few times because the food is delicious and it is conveniently located between our house and my brother’s house in Madison. Today, there were bluebirds swooping overhead and finding a perch on the tops of the columns. A sure sign of good luck or happiness, or both!


We started with the soup and salad bar. I think everyone could get in their five servings of fruits of vegetables a day if all salad bars had banana pudding on them.


The hot food line is in the parlor of the mansion.  I have a cookbook from the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant but it is much tastier in person.


Here’s my plate with a variety of southern foods at their finest.


I think we all found foods we liked whether vegetarian, pescatarian, or carnivore.


Originally known as the John and Bertha Upshaw house, it is no longer a residence or an inn, but simply a restaurant.  The house was built in 1917 by the Upshaws and Margaret Mitchell was a frequent visitor there when she was courted by her first husband Redd Upshaw, a cousin,  who was the inspiration for  Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.

Here is my favorite mother and favorite brother strolling the grounds.


Speaking of brothers….the brother to John Upshaw, Sanders Upshaw, built his own house across the street.  It is now a funeral home. These houses are stunning and even more beautiful in person.  I do enjoy Greek revival architecture, or is that neoclassical?  Perhaps it’s best to say that I like big houses with Corinthian columns and porches and balconies.


We are missing a cousin and a sister-in-law as they are travelling to various places this summer.  We will catch them at the next birthday, I’m sure.


Now, I might just have to crack open that cookbook and see if I can find the recipe for that lemon pie I had today.  The memory of it lingers.


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Six Months till Christmas

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If it’s six months till Christmas that can only mean one thing.  Long layaway at KMart? Nope.  Catalog shopping at Montgomery Ward? Nope.  It can only mean that it’s my birthday!


I was awakened to the delicious aroma of breakfast made even more delicious by the fact that I wasn’t cooking it.  I thought maybe my mom was down there frying up the bacon but it was, in fact, Davis and Olivia (and friends) who cooked my birthday breakfast.


They stayed up most of the night, planning, shopping, and cooking.  They even made a cake that was baked, cooled, and frosted by 7 a.m.  They made  a revenge cake and made me come up with the story this time (see yesterday’s post.)  The nice part was that they let me be 25 again.  Everything was delicious!


I enjoyed my gifts and party in spite of the fact that we lost one of our chefs to exhaustion and lack of sleep.  Man down!


The birthday gang ate and sang and it was a birthday to remember.


Thanks for all the cards, gifts, phone calls, and texts for my birthday.  It’s been a fun one.



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Creative Krispies

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Last night I made the offspring some Rice Krispie Treats.  I used the new red, white, and blue Rice Krispies.  Look for them at Walmart!

Olivia told me that she wanted me to make them in a creative shape.  Are you kidding me?  After a long day of cleaning which I always end up doing all summer since I am off from teaching, I was not sculpting my dessert like a TV food show contestant.  She’s lucky to be getting a three-ingredient anything.  However, a little maternal guilt kicked in and I never want to back down from a challenge, so I blobbed them in a pan and dug out all of our old cake toppers and created a vignette.


Then, the kicker was that I made them tell me an extemporaneous creative story to describe the events in the pan before they could eat it.  Pretty sure I traumatized some of Davis’ more timid guests, however a few rose to the challenge and we had some interesting tales from time travel to treasure hunting as only a teen can describe.


I finally let them eat after exhausting their creative reserves.  As Patch the Pirate would say, “Stop running a rig and give me some grog and hardtack.”  or maybe he would just tell Dora to “shake a leg and get the tractor off me treats.”


All I know is to be careful what you wish for around here because you will get your heart’s desire but there might end up being little twist to the request.  You’ve been warned.

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Caramel Corn and a Happy Birthday Box

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I received a very happy box in the mail today.  My friend Nancy and her mom Dorothy sent me a box of goodies today.  What a wonderful surprise!  Inside was a couple of pie pan additions to my favorite pattern, Currier and Ives by Royal China.  Also in the box was a brush and ceramic tray with the Currier and Ives pattern.  I have collected a lot of pieces in this pattern but have never seen anything like it with the Currier and Ives image.  I LOVE IT!  THANK YOU!!!!


Then, in the bottom of the box was a bag of caramel corn.  In retrospect, I should have waited until everyone left the room to pull out this treat so I could have had it to myself.  Seriously not kidding.  It was delicious. (I use “was” because it is already gone.)  Nancy created this recipe from a similar one on the blog.  Nancy, however, used the hulless popcorn instead of regular popcorn.  Genius!


It was cooked to perfection, as you would expect from Nancy, not scorched, not sticky.  Just crunchy and delicious.


I put it in a Currier and Ives dish and had a mini Ohio vacation right here in Georgia.

Now I’m headed to the grocery store to get some hulless popcorn.  Must-have-more….

Caramel Corn 

Nancy Whinnery

10 cups Shearer’s hulless popcorn (They are called Butter Puffs but I’m sure there are other brands of this type of popcorn.)

2 cups nuts

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Measure and mix popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. Bring the next 4 ingredients to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir vanilla and soda into sugar mixture until just blended.  Pour over popcorn as you stir the popcorn to coat it as evenly as possible.  Pour into and spread evenly in an 11X17 baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 260 degree oven stirring at 10 minute intervals.  Remove from oven ans stir one more time.  Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack.  Break into smaller pieces if necessary and store in an airtight container.

Again, thanks for my goodie box!  What a treat!

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New Driver’s License

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Lucky me.  I got to spend the day at the DMV getting my license renewed. I drove 25 minutes to my friendly DMV office and got my number like you would get at the deli counter except here you don’t get roasted turkey samples or the promise of an Italian sub later.


I had spent the morning getting my documents ready – birth certificate, proof of social security number, old license, and two proofs of residency.  Additionally, I filled out my application online before I came.  I was READY for an easy breezy license.

I picked the magic seat that would get me up to the window the fastest and then I waited and waited. Someone had apparently already soaked up the magic from my chair. I’m thinking it was the yellow shirt guy. He seemed pretty chipper.


So I practice my license face while I waited.

z2 z3

I finally made it to the window and proudly submitted my documents. She smiled.  I smiled thinking, “I’m the king of the world.”  Then, the big question came.  “Do you have your marriage license?”   WHAT??????? My marriage license???? Are you kidding me?  She indicated I had to show my marriage license to show “how my name changed from my birth certificate.”   Seriously!  I have had a driver’s license for 40 years in Georgia and now they are asking for a marriage license??? So back home I went.  I searched high and low for that hallowed document, ate lunch, drove back to the DMV, got a new ticket, and sat in a different lucky seat because obviously the first one was very unlucky.

I finally got my license.  My photo looks much like the ones above and now I can drive for another 8 years.

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