Food

National Pecan Pie Day

from http://texasbbqtreasurehunt.com

Today is National Pecan Pie Day- now that is something my taste buds are happy to celebrate!  

I love pecan pie and if it comes with chocolate chips (like Cracker Barrel’s version), I’ll eat that too.  I love how the sticky sweetness of the filling is tempered with the blander crunch of the pecans. 

My favorite pecan pie story is actually about one that we didn’t buy.  For several years my husband and I would travel from Houston to Kingsland, Texas to visit his sister.  We always took a scenic route on State Highway 71 that took us through Bastrop (beautiful little city!) and Austin.

There was a business we passed on these trips with a giant squirrel out front.  I mean giant as in 14 feet tall giant. Of course, we couldn’t ignore that, so we made time to stop and check it out.

The store is the Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company and it carries every imaginable pecan treat, both sweet and savory (and had lots of samples!).

The most unique part of the store, in my opinion, is the vending machine out front.  It’s not an average vending machine as it sells all kinds of pecan goodies to after hour shoppers, including entire pecan pies.  Yes, you can purchase a whole pie from this machine.

Sadly, we didn’t actually buy one.  Pie isn’t the best travel food, in my opinion, and there are all kinds of small town bakeries along this route that offer goodies that are more portable.  However, the concept (and the squirrel!) obviously made an impression on me.

http://www.berdollpecanfarm.com

Pets

All-American Pet Photo Day

Today is All-American Pet Photo Day!  Pet holidays are my second favorite type of holiday (behind tasty food ones, of course) and lucky for me there are bunches of them.

I’m including a couple of pictures of my cats to celebrate.  We adopted these from a rescue organization last winter and have just fallen in love with them.  

Max- and this is a true story!

We have had pets before, another set of cats and a dog, who lived long, very loved lives as part of our family before passing away, but I have never had pets that I doted on quite this much.  I hadn’t really been able to figure out why, but my son offered a great insight. He said that our other pets were like our children and now this set is like our grandchildren.

This is so true!  Our other pets were just worked into the fabric of all the crazy things that went on in our lives as part of raising our family.  And I feel busy now, but it’s a different kind of busy, not the frantic rush to get kids off to school, homework, and lunches made every day. 

I’m much more patient with these cats and go out of my way to indulge and pamper them.  Even though they are our own and not our kids’ pets, they do get treated like grand cats (and as you can see, they look totally spoiled).

I can’t wait to check out #allamericanpetphotoday and see everyone else’s fur babies!

Mia- and another true story!
Food · Holidays

National Graham Cracker Day

Today is National Graham Cracker Day, the date chosen (I am guessing) because of their importance in the creation of s’mores, a traditional summertime treat.  These crackers were first eaten by the followers of a Reverend Graham, an early vegetarian and temperance leader in the 1800s. I always thought he had created the food, but apparently not, according to Wikipedia.  Nevertheless, his name will always be tied to this sweet treat.

Photo by rasik on Pexels.com

I am not a camping fan as I prefer all my sleeping to take place in climate controlled, bug free places, so my experience with true campfire s’mores is very limited.  I did make microwave ones for Fourth of July one year, but I decided they were a little too rich for my tastes. However, graham crackers have such a mild flavor that they make a great base for many pies and cheesecakes, which is how I normally enjoy them.  My mom used to make homemade cookies out of graham crackers, spreading them with canned frosting, which made a yummy, cheap, treat.

I have made my own version of lazy girl s’mores by spreading one graham cracker with marshmallow creme and another with Nutella and pressing them together to make a sandwich.  They were incredibly tasty but I discovered that I can’t be trusted with a jar of Nutella, so they don’t make my menu often.

My favorite way to enjoy graham cracker flavor is eating Golden Grahams cereal.  I think part of my obsession with this cereal is because I could never convince my mom to buy it when I was a kid.  Sadly, this is another food that I can’t be trusted with, so I don’t buy it often either, however, I may need to pick up a box since it is a holiday after all.

clipart from http://digitalartsi.com

Holidays

Happy July 4th!

I thought I might have to work today at my second job, so I’m am so happy to have today off.  I will probably spend most of the day crafting as I am working on opening an Etsy store this month and want to finish the work on my initial inventory.

For many years our family would watch fireworks as part of our loose July 4th traditions, but we stopped doing even that a few years back.  But even though I won’t be barbecuing, picnicking, or going to the beach, I will still be thanking God for being blessed enough to live in such an amazing place where I enjoy so many benefits that I sadly often take for granted.  

A friend is a naturalized citizen and has shared some of what still happens in her country of origin.  I have always been grateful, but hearing about the experiences and situations that happen there has added a new level to my thankfulness.  

Clip art from http://digitalartsi.com

Holidays · Minimalism

National Splurge Day

Today is National Splurge Day, a holiday to celebrate a little indulgence.  After a lifetime of too much splurging, I began the slow process of downsizing, decluttering, and minimizing where I spend money several months ago.  So far, I’m really happy with this decision. Less clutter and chaos is much better for my mental state.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

However, there are two categories where I still allow myself some splurging.  I still treat myself with things that smell good, for both body and home. Many days I go without makeup and tennis shoes are my go-to footwear, but I rarely go anywhere without applying some body spray.  I may look super casual, but I am going to smell great. I also use candles and room air fresheners. My favorites are the wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. Today I was luxuriating in my office, enjoying the smell of white caramel cold brew.  Almost makes me happy to be at work.

My other splurge, which I am indulging much less these days, is craft supplies.  Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and the like are masters at separating me from my money and I have sadly wasted too many of my dollars on all the pretty things I find in their stores.  I’m working on some projects that I hope to eventually sell, but I am remaining focused on only buying the things I need when I need them. Of course, need in this context is not really a need, therefore craft supplies remain a splurge.

Since I’m currently well-stocked in fragrances and craft items, if I had to come up with something to splurge on today, it would be sleep.  An extra long afternoon nap would be such a treat. Maybe my boss would let me leave early if I told him it was a holiday?

Holidays

Happy Father’s Day!

I want to send a special shout out this morning to my own dad in Heaven and all the dads out there.  I think fathers are so important in the lives of their kids. I also want to say a special thanks to my husband.  He had two boys from a previous relationship who were two and five when we met and I told him in his card this morning that one of the first things I knew about him was how much he loved his kids.

Bryan and Joshua in 1997

Fast forward twenty-six years and I still know how much he loves his kids.  I see this demonstrated every day in his relationship with our son, Joshua. I generally don’t write about this, but Joshua is twenty-two and autistic.  Like many autistic young adults, he struggles with anxiety and depression. He is also highly functioning and I’m so proud of the young man he has become.  He is working part-time, has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for over a year, graduated from a vocational program last month, and will be taking community college courses for credit this fall.

More subdued, but still close. Joshua’s graduation from the STRIVE program at Alvin Community College- May 2019

I’ve thought about writing about my own struggles parenting an adult who still sometimes needs extra guidance and support. It’s sometimes hard to know when to step back and when to step in. My husband is disabled due to some issues with his neck and because of this and a horrible case of restless leg syndrome, he often doesn’t sleep well.  However, in spite of being in constant pain and extremely tired most of the time, Bryan is an amazing husband and father. He is firm when he needs to be, gives Joshua great advice and guidance, and is amazingly patient.  I can’t think of any other man who could be half the father to Joshua that Bryan has been. I am especially thankful this Father’s Day for the blessing of these two men in my life.

crafting

National Sewing Machine Day

Photo by FOX on Pexels.com

I’m always amazed at the odd holidays I can discover when I look.  Today is National Sewing Machine Day and I am especially grateful that isn’t food related as most of these lesser known holidays are.

I learned to sew in a class I took my freshman year of high school and I still remember my first project was a pink gingham pig pillow that turned out really cute.  I don’t remember doing any clothes in the class, but I kept practicing there and at home.

My skills eventually improved and I sewed many of my own clothes later in high school, including this prom dress (and yes, those sleeves and skirt definitely mark it as the 1980s).  It probably helped that my first real job was at the fabric store in the mall and I got a discount.

Not a great picture, but prom dress 1985. The lace bodice and bows were my own design choices.

Post high school I have had a hit and miss relationship with my sewing machine.  I made a couple of Halloween costumes which I think turned out well. Unfortunately I haven’t been as lucky when sewing clothes for myself, I just don’t understand enough about modifying the patterns to get the proper fit.

Joshua’s costume 1998

I’ve recently been inspired to sew crafty types of projects by a shop I follow on Instagram and it’s been a real joy to rediscover how relaxing sewing is to me.  Listening to the rhythm of the needle move up and down through the fabric and watching the design come together in my hands allows me to really unwind. I don’t have a lot of free time, but because it’s so good for my mental health, I’m making the effort to squeeze sewing time in my schedule.