Monday, November 24, 2008

happy thanksgiving

Good Morning All! I had a few posts planned for this week, but Josh borrowed my camera, (and memory card with my material), to take pictures of his senior school project. Which is probably a "blessing in disguise," because I really do need to dedicate my time over the next few days to cleaning and cooking for Thanksgiving! "smiles"

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~William Shakespeare

As Thanksgiving draws near, I have been reflecting on those things I am most thankful for, and have realized many are directly related to my family. It has been an "interesting" year for us. Many good times, but some difficult, confusing, and painful situations have been faced also. We have made it through them, a stronger unit, blessed to have each other to rely on.

Last week, I gathered pictures to be copied in black and white, to make a Memory Wall down the staircase. (I'll share project pics next week.) Memories I had somewhat forgotten came flooding back with each photo. It is good to remember. The kids, they grow so fast. And to remember the precious, good times is such a blessing! Ashley says, "SHE is the good kid." LOL! And she is! I'm proud of her. But they are all good kids. Oh, we have our moments. And David, ...Lord knows that child can talk...a lot! But, I love them dearly and am so thankful for them.

Kevin, I am so thankful for my husband. And unfortunately, just like in this post, it seems he has to follow behind the kids. ...getting the fragments of my time leftover from them. But we know that one day they will leave our nest, and it will be just the two of us. I am thankful that Kevin remains my best friend and that I am still IN love with him, after all these years together. I treasure our weekly breakfast dates at the local grill, just the two of us. And that we never lack for conversation. God truly blessed me with a wonderful mate.

And I am Thankful for my blogging friends. You make me laugh, and at times you touch my heart and make me cry, but it's all good! :) You encourage me and inspire me, and I am so Thankful for each one of you.

I wish you all a Wonderful Thanksgiving! I pray a hedge of protection around those traveling over the holiday, may God keep you safe! ...and bless you bountifully!

~Love, Rhonda :)

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving...

It's a chilly 38 degrees this morning. Yesterday we had teeny-tiny snow flurries, which are quite remarkable and unexpected on the coast of NC. From the excitement all over town, you would imagine several several feet of snow about, and snowmen gracing white-covered lawns. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to accumulate! I myself blinked and missed "the snow," so I will have to take everyone's word for it! :) The weather alone puts one in the Holiday spirit!

Guys (and girls), dressed in red vests, are already stationed in front of area businesses, ringing their bells with vigor. I wish that every time I walk by I could throw money in the kettles. But it does serve as a reminder of just how blessed so many of us are! ....tis the season to be Thankful!
...and tis the season for tasty Southern comfort foods. :) I would like to share a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. ....enjoy!
Quick and Easy Cheese Biscuits
~Make Ahead Mix~
(Aunt Bo's Recipe)
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup melted butter
1 cup sour cream
2 cups self-rising flour
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together cheese and melted butter. Cool 2 minutes. Add sour cream and mix well. Stir in flour. Spoon into greased mini-muffin pan. Bake 18-22 minutes.
*Batter can be stored overnight in refrigerator.


My family LOVES Party Mashed Potatoes, but they require a lot of preparation. I found the recipe below in a magazine last week. Hope that no one coming for dinner is reading this, but I may substitute this recipe this year! :)

Make-Ahead Party Mashed Potatoes
~Hungry Jack Recipe~
1 (15.3 oz.) box of Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes
6 cups water
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 tsps. each garlic salt and onion salt
2 cups milk
2 (8 oz.) packages softened cream cheese
16 oz. container sour cream
Crisco Original No-stick cooking spray
Chives (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with no stick cooking spray; set aside. Heat water, butter, garlic and onion salts to boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, milk, and sour cream, stirring until smooth.
2. Stir in potatoes, mixing until all ingredients are combined. Spread into baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with paprika and bake 1 hour until golden brown.
*Tip: Before adding paprika and baking, casserole can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Sprinkle with paprika and bake as directed. Can be garnished with chives.

Yummy Hash Browns
(These certainly live up to their name! So good!)
~Aunt Janet's Recipe~
2 lb. bag of frozen hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 sticks of margarine
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 pint of sour cream
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. season salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups of corn flakes
Mix everything except 1/2 stick of margarine and corn flakes. (Personal Note: I assemble the dish the night before, excluding the topping of corn flakes and 1/2 stick of margarine, then store in the refrigerator. Next day, top with corn flakes and bake.)
Place in well-greased 9x13 pan. Melt 1/2 stick of margarine and mix with corn flakes. Put on top of potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees (325 for glass dish) for 1 hour.

Fresh Apple-Walnut Cake

2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp each baking soda, cinnamon, and salt
(I use cinnamon/sugar)
1 1/2 cups oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Heat oven to 350. Grease, but don't flour, a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan.
2. Mix sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl until blended. Stir in oil, eggs and vanilla, then nuts and apples.
3. Bake 1 hour, or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack before inverting on rack to cool completely.

Pineapple Orange Cake
1 package yellow cake mix
1 - 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, undrained
4 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Topping: 1 - 20 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained
1 - 1 oz. instant pudding mix
1 - 8 oz. whipped topping
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, oranges, egg whites and applesauce on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a 13x9 baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. In a bowl, combine pineapple and pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping just until blended. Spread over cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

*Note: Sugar-free instant pudding mix and reduced fat whipped topping, may be substituted for reduced calories.

Watergate Salad

1 small pkg. instant pistachio pudding
1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 - 2 cups of miniature marshmallows
1 large Cool Whip
1 cup pecans

Mix all ingredients, blending well. Chill.

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" --Erma Bombeck

There are many great recipes popping up around blogland as we near Thanksgiving. Dot, at Pickets Place has listed several "make-ahead" recipes that sound delicious and are time saving.

Be sure to visit Kelli, also...for more Thanksgiving recipes, poems, quotes and inspiration.


I close with these "Encouraging Words for Wednesday".....

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cheap Treasures...

My Trash to Treasure contribution, today
is a project that I did this summer at the lakehouse.

~A table for the children's TV in the bedroom.~

I found a cute aqua metal table, (pictured in 2nd pic), at Pier One on Clearance,
but the color was really off.

Who would've imagined the MANY various shades of aqua? I found that there are quite a few! :)

My other dilemma, the cable box would not fit under the TV, so it was left on the floor.

I found the wood table below at the local thrift store, for around $8-$10.
Can't remember exact cost.
The rattan bottom shelf was a nice touch for a lakehouse furnishing.

Removed the glass top and spray painted the table white.

It was a perfect solution, especially with the little "shelf" at the bottom
to hold the cable box.
And the octagon shape was a nice fit in the space.

The wood dresser was a second-hand piece. Someone elses "trash." :)

Just another view of the bedroom. The bed and mattress were free, and I am hoping to "upgrade" with a better trash/treasure soon! :)

The picture over the bed was a freebie print in a "second-hand" frame...

~ CHEAP Treasures ~

Just to change gears a little...

I went to the Dollar Tree this morning
and wanted to share these canisters I found, and some of the ideas I had for them.

Three glass canister and three candles, all $1 each.
Throw in a few acorns...
(Will be glittered in a few days, scroll back for that previous project.)

Top the canister with one of the candles...

Add greenery and other "fall items,"

such as the Indian Corn bundles pictured below,
that were marked down to 25 cents at Wal-mart,
and you have a cheap Thanksgiving table arrangement.

(I will be using all three canisters together.)

After Thanksgiving, toss the fall, and add Christmas items to the versatile canisters to add a little Christmas cheer and sparkle to you decor....
Such as Candy canes....

How about sparkly package filler....

(Also from the Dollar Tree!)

Mix and use different items,
or use the same in each canister for a more uniform look.

...or add a festive bow!

M & M's would be super cute...

The possibilities are endless!

But the most important thing is, it is cheap and it can be fabulous! :)

Visit Diane, at A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, for more Trash to Treasure transformations.

"FOUR hours and counting"....WOOHOO!!!! "smiles" ~Rhonda

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dirty Job, But Somebody's Gotta Do It...

Just wanted to drop in to for a "Quick Hello!"

The carpenters have approximately 12 hours left, and then they are out of here!

Not complaining, they have done a wonderful job,
but the count~down to Thanksgiving is in full swing
and there is a lot of cleaning to do and things to put back in order!

Thought I'd leave you with a few cartoons to hopefully brighten your day!

I'll be back tomorrow with a more interesting post, (I hope! "smiles")
....and a few of my Thanksgiving Recipes on Wednesday!

Please excuse my lack of visits, ....I'll be around soon! ~Rhonda :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time To Clean This Old House...

One of my favorite Contemporary Christian Songs out today is, "Whatever You're Doing," by Sanctus Real. As I have been cleaning intensely from the remodeling, all the dust and mess, one line really strikes a chord with me, "...Time to clean this old house."

This is a song of encouragement. One about letting go of the past, and moving on. Purging the things that keep us prisoner to the past. There are times when we try, but can not clean "our houses" on our own. We need to surrender to God and allow Him to take us forward, give us peace.

I hope you have a few moments to listen to the Youtube video and follow the lyrics below. And I hope that this song blesses your heart as it did mine! ~Rhonda :)

Whatever You're Doing
~Sanctus Real

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...

Find More lyrics at

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Birds, One Stone....

I am excited to be participating today
in two weekly Tuesday events, ..."two birds,"
...with one Tablescape, ..."one stone."
Tablescape Tuesday, hosted by Susan, from Between Naps On The Porch...

~ AND ~

Trash to Treasure, hosted by Diane, at A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A couple of weeks ago, a friend called, needing my help.

For what I couldn't I imagine.

Her dilemma, she had to create a Holiday Tablescape for her Garden Club meeting in November.

She was one of six ladies, selected to make a single tablesetting representing either Christmas or Thanksgiving. Mrs. Jolene's only preference, ...Thanksgiving.

I gladly told her I would help, and she assured me that whatever I came up with would be wonderful and a lifesaver.

"Talk about pressure!" :)

Some of the items I gathered for the Tablescape are new.
But most come from my collection of treasures found at yard sales, thrift stores, and on eBay.

The amber glass above, is a thrift store find,
and usually holds monogrammed soaps in the guest bathroom.

The 8" candlewick plate is from a collection that was primarily purchased from eBay auctions.

The gold~rimmed dinner plate was a 50 cent find at a local thrift store.

The Tiffany candlesticks were bought during my first trip to NY at Tiffany & Co.

Remember the glittered acorns in the canister from a previous post?

The placemat was sewn from a remnant left over from my dining room valances.
I wanted to use rich Thanksgiving colors, without the traditional Turkey and such. ...something different. The fabric is printed with beautiful pheasants, butterflies, and florals.
The napkin was an idea I borrowed from Heidi, at Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly, initial stamped in permanent ink.

I stamped it with Mrs. Jolene's first initial, so that it could be used as "a placecard," and a memento for guests to take home.

Sterling Silver, Strasbourg by Gorham, an eBay find.

On the 21st, the Tablescape will be presented to the Garden Club.
I'll be sure to take pictures of the other contributions! :)

For more beautiful Tablescapes, visit Susan.
~ And ~
For more fabulous Trash to Treasure Transformations, visit Diane.
~Rhonda :)
Additional Note:
I had inquiries on the ceramic acorns. Found those at Pier One on clearance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blue Workshop...

This is my first Monday to participate in Blue Monday, hosted by Sally, over at Smiling Sally.

Saturday, David took part in the children's workshop offered every other week at Lowe's.
He made the "blue" semi-truck and car below, and really enjoyed the class.

It was free, and I would recommend the classes to anyone who has children and live close to a Lowe's Home Improvement Store.

He was even wearing a "blue" shirt....not planned, but what a coincidence! LOL!

Lowe's provided goggles, a work apron, kid's hammer, and a kit with LOTS of pieces and instructions. The children were to work independently with their parents.

I was intimidated and asked David if he would rather take it home and let his dad help him. But he assured me "he worked construction this summer, along side our carpenters, and this was way easier...."

He followed the instructions and did a great job assembling the truck.

Truck complete, ...time for stickers!

In two weeks, they will be making a football goal game. And I believe a fire truck is next, then a Gingerbread House on December 7th. He has invited his sister to join him for the Gingerbread House, and promised to "help" her with her project! :)

After the Lowe's Workshop,
Ashley and I, left David with his Dad, and headed to Lumberton.
It's a little town not far from us, that has just a few more shops than we do, (which is not saying much! LOL).

I missed the yard sales, but Ashley and I found a cute thrift store will we were out.

Below are my finds for the day. Not much, but I was pleased with the items nonetheless.

Ashley also found a few things.
(She is an avid thrifty too!)

A red and white zebra to match her zebra bedroom decor. Red Christmas ornaments for her tree, and another snow globe. She collects snow globes and has 14 Christmas ones.

In the background, on her table sits a picture of Ashley and her cousin Katie when they were around 4, playing dress up! Weren't they cute? :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! ~Rhonda :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hotel Cape Fear

My Pink Saturday post is very simple this week,
but features one of my favorite, and quite interesting pieces, to me....

I have long desired to start a collection of Hotel China.
I love the emblems and the weightiness of it. (Is that even a word? LOL)

Unfortunately, I only have one piece, but it has quite a significance.

Years ago, I bought a trash can or some kind of canister at an auction. When bidding on it, I assumed it was empty.
However, there were several nice items inside, this HOTEL CAPE FEAR plate being one of them.
Imagine my pleasant surprise! :)

I don't know near the history of Wilmington as Kevin does, he lived in the Historic District for years when he was young.

In 1974, when Kevin was around 6-7 years old, he sat on the sidewalk across from the HOTEL CAPE FEAR with his Grandaddy Coot, and watched it being demolished.
Now wasn't that a coincidence?

For more PINK Saturday, please visit Beverly, at How Sweet the Sound.

Hope you are all having a great weekend so far!
Thanks for the encouragement on the wallpaper removal project.
The chocolate brown isn't working too well, but I have a plan B, so stay tuned....
~Rhonda :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Send In the Cavalry...

...If I'm not out, say within 24 hours.
I'll be buried beneath mounds of wallpaper.

Amongst all of the other remodeling that has taken over the house
(and will hopefully to be finished by next Friday),
I decided to strip the wallpaper down in the Master Bedroom and repaint it light chocolate brown. I had the paint from another project I previously ditched, and have brown dupioni silk panels stored....somewhere....
So it was more of a project of labor than cost. Good thing at this point! LOL!

This room has always been a "thorn in my side." I've completely changed the bedding and curtains at least 3 times in the 3 years we have lived here, but the room is still cold and bland.

Kevin and I woke up Saturday morning, and he said...I hate this room. I agreed, yea, me too.

I don't know if it is the white striped wallpaper that was here from the previous owner, or just the way the room catches the outdoor light, but I am so hoping, with a new color scheme, it will be warm, cozy, and a sanctuary. ...and a little more romantic! :)

I realized after the first few sheets, that I may have bitten off more than I could chew, and the timing is not the best, (this close to Thanksgiving).

But when I am tired and sore, I think of my Grandma B., who built a shed and an outdoor storage building right by herself, ...and keep on stripping! LOL!

So, this is what my weekend looks like....

How about you?


Lisa at Stop 'n Smell the Chocolates, is hosting an event today,
Would you Like Dessert with That?
I leave you with an amazing recipe perfected by a lady in our community, Mrs. Diane.

....enjoy! ~Rhonda

Blonde Brownies

1 stick margarine
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour (self-rising)
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients in order given. Pour into 13x9 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stand by Me

"Thou who never lost a battle, STAND BY ME..."
Elvis Presley ~ Stand By Me
(Courtesy of Youtube)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just can't say No....

A couple of weekends ago, Ashley's school hosted the
JV & Varsity Volleyball and Soccer Tournament for their association.

Three (long) days of games....and concession stand duty!

As a parent, you've probably been there too! :)

The lady who was supervising the concession stand, called and asked what times I was available to work and if I could make a pot of chili.

I make chili during the winter often, but it is the thick chili with beans that serves as a meal, not chili for hotdogs and nachos.

I was shameless and suggested another mother who made chili last year, and it was wonderful.
But, I didn't get out of it....couldn't say NO!
Why can't I ever learn to use that magical word, NO?

My FIL always warned me! Especially when I complained non~stop about having to do something I either couldn't or didn't have time for, just because I couldn't say NO, but was now obligated to do so!

So what's a girl to do???
I went on the Internet and there are thousands of recipes for hot dog chili. Thinking this was not the time to "experiment," I headed to Food Lion. If you think God doesn't look after you on the small stuff....Armour Chili was half price that week, for $1.19 a can!
(I later found out that I had less cost in my pot than another mother who made hers from scratch!)

I figured I could just tweak it a little, and it would be semi-homemade! for Sandra Lee! LOL! She has made quite a career out of it.

So, I dumped nine cans of chili in the crock pot...

Browned 3#'s of hamburger meat and broke the chunks down into fine pieces...

Added a little Texas Pete, Worcester Sauce, ketchup, salt, and pepper. And, it turned out pretty good. It was so good, (or maybe they were so desperate because they were running out), they asked me to make another pot for the next day.

But guess what??? I said NO! Actually, I had a very good excuse....but still! LOL!

I was really proud of Ashley and the JV team. She was a starter this year and did really well!

She has an awesome serve!

The girls ended up 4th in the Tournament! For various reasons, they were unable to practice for a month before, only playing the regular games. But they played hard, and even went into overtime in the last game.

(accidently deleted the pic of the whole team....UGH!!!)

But they did place 2nd for the Season!!!
Ashley and a fellow team mate below....


Today is election day. I've prayed and I've voted, all I can do, as many of you have.
I ran across this verse last night, and thought it was so appropriate and a comfort....
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." Hebrews 12:28

The earth we live on today is unstable, but the kingdom of Heaven cannot be shaken!
~Rhonda :)