Monday, August 31, 2009

Stay True to Your School

ArkansasScorecopy College football kicks off this week, and with that in mind Alabama Bloggers is hosting a football carnival.  You can score points for your team by posting your team's button on your sidebar.  And you can score another point by making a post this week about college football, displaying your team's button in your post, and linking it back to Alabama Bloggers HERE.

When the idea for this link up was originally posted, it was to be an Alabama vs. Auburn thing (isn't that what it's always about around here?).  Oops!  Not all of us follow the Tide or Tigers, so the carnival has now been opened up to the rest of the college football world.

I saw nothing in the rules that says you have to live in Alabama to play, so I am challenging all Razorback bloggers to join me in participating.  We may not win, but we can certainly make some noise.  You can grab the Razorback logo here or get it from the Alabama Bloggers website.  And don't forget to put it on your sidebar for an extra point.  Then be sure to link your post back to THIS POST at Alabama Bloggers.

Once a Razorback, Always a Razorback

When I moved to Birmingham 20 years ago, I discovered that I was expected to choose sides.  Without fail whenever I met someone new, the next question after "What's your name?" would be "Are you an Alabama or an Auburn fan?"

I would always smile politely and respond, "None of the above."

2The Boys 1 In 20 years, I've never wavered.  In fact, although all three of my sons graduated from high school here, I am proud to say that all three have degrees from the University of Arkansas.

During my 20 years here, most people have finally learned that I follow the Hogs with a passion.  After all, they've had to listen to the "Arkansas Fight Song" as my cell phone ring tone, they've certainly seen the Razorback license plate and the red Razorback trailer hitch cover on my red Ford F-150, and some have even visited our Razorback tailgate parties.

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Since living in Birmingham, I've become actively involved with the Alabama Chapter of the  Arkansas Alumni Association, and I even served for six years on the Arkansas Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Auburn 004 Each year, we host a tailgate party at either Auburn or Alabama.  We cook hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings and welcome anyone who wants to join us.  All we ask is for a donation to our chapter scholarship fund which helps send a student from Alabama to the University of Arkansas.

So if you're going to be in Tuscaloosa this year on September 26, come on by.   We'll be near the corner of University Boulevard and Second Avenue Calling the Hogs!!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Tailgate Time With a Wedding Twist

Tailgate Final - Page 002 Over at Kelly's Korner they're showing off wedding shower ideas, so I decided to dust off this post from last October to show you the party some of my friends hosted for my son and his bride to be.

It seems that all we're doing these days is having parties for our friends' children. Earlier in the month we gave THIS SHOWER, and just yesterday I wrote THIS POST about a bridal tea we hosted at my house last Sunday.

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When friends put their heads together, magic happens. Magic did indeed happen Friday night when 12 of my friends and their spouses pooled their talents to host a wedding shower in honor of Ben and Claire.

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At Wanda's suggestion, they used a Tailgate Party theme.  After all, it's football season in Alabama, and we are all fans of one team or another.  Under Connie's direction, they pulled together decor from all of our favorite teams—Arkansas, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State, Louisville and North Carolina.  The serving table was all decked out in Razorback red, complete with pompoms, Hog hats, blankets, flags and balloons.  Guests sat at tables decorated to represent the other teams.
tailgate party 013tailgate party 012When we arrived we were greeted by the "Bride and Groom," dressed appropriately in Razorback attire.
Meanwhile, the hosts and hostesses had donned their favorite team colors.  Don tried to relive his college days at the University of Alabama by hiding a flask in his hip pocket.
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Even the food had a Razorback theme as we sipped Razor Ritas (frozen margaritas) and dined on everything from Pigtail Pasta and Sooiee Swirls to Razor Bites and Boar brownies.
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As favors for the hosts and hostesses, I made a Tailgate Party Cookbook. I asked each one to send me a favorite tailgate recipe and also to submit stories about their favorite tailgating or game day experiences. Here are a couple of pages.
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Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to head over to Kelly's Korner for more wedding shower ideas.

Counting My Chickens

Rooster Party Icon by Ron Barb over at Bella Vista is hosting a Rooster Party, and I've been invited. She's expecting a huge crowd, so be sure to go by and see what's been living in everybody's barnyard. The rumor is that she'll be serving chicken fingers and deviled eggs.

At my house, pigs definitely rule the roost, but I do have a fair amount of roosters as well. In fact, I have so many pigs and roosters that my boys once counted all of them, which led LBeau to declare "no more farm animals." I just ignored him.

So without further ado, or make that cock-a-doodle-doo, here's what I've brought to the party.

roosters 003 1. This colorful rug sits in front of my kitchen sink. It replaced the old rooster rug that finally got so stained and faded it was shipped to the porch to use for wiping feet.

roosters 004 2. My sister-in-law Susie gave me this bulletin board that hangs on the end of one of my kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, because of the shape of the bulletin board and the size of my cabinet, the poor roosters have to lie on their sides. I use it to keep track of party and wedding invitations and birth announcements. At Christmas time, it holds all of the photo cards we receive.

roosters 014 3. Susie also gave me this toile tablecloth. I think I saw the same tablecloth yesterday in one of the posts from Tablescape Thursday.

roosters 007 5. & 6. This colorful fellow is a pitcher, and sitting behind him is a deviled egg plate. No self-respecting Southern girl would be without at least one deviled egg plate. I keep these displayed in my cabinets behind glass doors. They're just too cute to hide away.

roosters 012 7. This ceramic tile hangs on the cabinet door. It serves as a daily reminder of where my priorities need to be.

roosters 0098. Across the way and also sitting behind a glass door is this rooster. He serves no purpose other than to look handsome.

roosters 010 9. I have several decorative dish towels that feature roosters, and I almost always have one hanging somewhere in my kitchen.

roosters 013 10. The kitchen isn't the only place where roosters live. I bought this painting by Euneda Otis at the River Market in Little Rock. It hangs in my laundry room.

roosters 001 11. I just fell in love with this fabric when I found it. So I bought some and had these two pillows made for my family room.

roosters12. Each Christmas I put up a French country tree. Many of the ornaments are roosters. They range from tin ornaments, like these, to ceramic roosters and roosters complete with real feathers.

By my count that makes an even dozen. Too bad these roosters aren't hens, and then maybe I could get some fresh eggs out of the deal.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Bridal Tea—A Birmingham Tradition

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tea 050The invitations went out a month ago, and on Sunday afternoon I hosted, along with nine others, a bridal tea for my friend Glenda's daughter Anna, who will be married in October.

In Birmingham the bridal tea is traditionally a gift giving occasion, but nowhere on the invitation do you see the word "shower." You have read the fine print at the bottom of the invitation where it says "Registered at…" and make the appropriate assumption. I learned this when I first moved to Birmingham. Those who have grown up here already know the rules.

tea 036tea 037When the guests arrived, I greeted them at the door and directed them to the guest book. At the same time Angel, Jamea, Debbie and Louisa took their gifts and whisked them back to the master bathroom where they unwrapped them while Janice recorded each gift in "the book." The gifts were then displayed on tables in the master bedroom for the guests to admire.

We did let Anna open her gift from the hostesses before the tea started, but for most of the two-hour party, she stood near the front door with her mother and mother-in-law-to-be, visiting with friends and family.

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Connie made the cloth for my table, and we used lots of silver for serving the food.

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Costco is a great place to buy fresh flowers. I had plenty of greenery in my yard, and Connie did a beautiful job arranging it all.

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Take a look at this clever arrangement for the coffee table—caladium petals swirled around the outside of a tall cylinder with roses tightly bunched in the center.

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Small bunches of flowers added a bit of color to the two heart-shaped wreaths on the front doors.

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tea 055We continued our color scheme by accenting the wreath of fresh greenery at the punch bowl with more of the pink roses. Karen made a gorgeous ice ring with colorful fruit that complimented the flowers.

Here's a hint. You can make your greenery wreath the day before and then put it in water in your bathtub. It stays fresh, and you can place it around the punch bowl and add the flowers at the last minute. My co-hostesses wanted you to be sure to notice the damp paper towel keeping the food from drying out. Click on the small picture to enlarge.

Every bridal tea offers both sweets and non-sweets, and for years the petit four was a staple in the sweet department. Recently cake bites have become popular at bridal teas in our area. Ours came from Moonlight Cakes.  We used a tall silver compote and a silver cake stand for a tiered look.tea 015

tea 022 Susie made her special linzer cookies for our other sweet. These delicious raspberry-filled cookies take two days to make, so it was a real labor of love. The dough has to be chilled, rolled out, cut, chilled again and then baked before the cookies are ready to sandwich together with raspberry preserves and dusted with powdered sugar. If they are not handled gently, they will break. They are definitely worth all of the hard work, and the heart shape makes them perfect for a bridal tea.

tea 017 We were fortunate to have Anna's Aunt Jean as one of our co-hostesses. Jean is a former foods editor for Southern Living and has also edited cookbooks for Oxmoor House, so she was bound to be a great cook. She offered to make the chicken salad for the phyllo cups, and we also served her homemade cheese wafers.

Jamea made pimiento cheese sandwiches on small pumpernickel bread slices. Hint: Jamea says you can't make pimiento cheese any better than Fresh Market.

Balancing all of these goodies was easy with these cute snack plates and matching glass cups.

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New_size_125_tall So that's your complete "How To" for a traditional Birmingham Bridal Tea. If you're still with me, be sure to head over to Between Naps on the Porch for more Tablescape ideas. As always Susan will have a beautiful tablescape to show you, and there will be plenty of others for your idea file.

Also, Life in the Slow Lane was one year old on Tuesday, and I'm having a give away. You can check it out HERE. BTW, this is my 200th post. Whew!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

365 Days and Counting—The Year in Review

Today marks the first anniversary of the day I began blogging. I started “Life in the Slow Lane” at the suggestion of my youngest son, Ben. You can read all about it HERE.

taziki tailgate 002taziki tailgate 002 Choosing a title was easy, since LBeau is notorious for driving in the slow lane. That first post was one of many I have done with LBeau as the main character. In fact, at first my three boys were so enthusiastic about writing LBeau stories that they promised to become contributors. It didn’t happen, so I’ve been going it alone.

Scott and Melissa 005DSC_0260cFor a long time my only readers were family members and a few friends. My niece Mandy was the first person to post a comment when she welcomed me to blogging on my very first post. My friend NICK was the first person to “officially” become a follower.

Picture2DSCF1197 One day my sister-in-law Susie passed on a link to her friend LAURIE’S BLOG. And there I discovered the world of Metamorphosis Monday, Outdoor Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, What’s on Your Wall Wednesday (Wednesday was a busy day), Tablescape Thursday, Foodie Friday, Pink Saturday and Sunday Favorites.

My very first meme was for Wordless Wednesday on February 18, 2009. All of a sudden I went from two or three comments to 11. Wow, there are people out there who will actually read what I have to say.

Along the way, I’ve written about friends and family, birthdays and weddings, growing up in a small town in a different era, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ve also picked up followers—77 of them in fact.

I thought I might reach 200 posts by the end of my first year. I didn’t quite make it. This is post number 199.

I’ve been trying to think of something I can give away as a thank you to my readers. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my blog is tweaking the look to make it unique. At some point I discovered the cute free backgrounds that are available on The Cutest Blog on the Block and other places. I tried one of those for a while, but then I decided I wanted to make my own background.

So if anyone out there is interested, I am giving away a new blog background just for you. Just let me know via your comment that you would be interested (you can comment anyway, even if you aren't interested). You don’t even have to promise to use it. And please keep in mind that I’m not a professional. After a week, I’ll randomly draw one blogger for the free background.

And thanks again for reading.

Monday, August 24, 2009

“Mother of Mothers We Sing Unto You”

Old Main Both Towers 2
That’s the last line of the University of Arkansas “Alma Mater,” and as we sing it, it has become a tradition to point to Old Main.

I was reminded that classes for the fall semester started at the UofA this week when one of the Arkansas Alumni Association employees posed a question on Facebook.  “Do you remember your first college class?” she asked.

While I don’t remember my first class, I do remember what classes I took—freshman English, biology, a four-hour honors math class, western civ and P.E.  I registered the last hour of the last day of registration.  That was back in the day when you had to stand in line for computer cards.  Often a class would be closed when you wanted it, so you would have to take it at a different time, which would then conflict with another class, so you had to start juggling class cards.

I had a terrible schedule.  The “highlight” was western civ at 7:30 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Yes, you read that right.  It was the only “C” I made in my entire college career.

I had a wonderful college experience—lived in Fulbright Hall with half the other freshmen women (no coed dorms in those days).  The other half lived in Hotz Hall, which was right next door, and we all ate in the same cafeteria.  I pledged Kappa my sophomore year (freshman girls couldn’t go through rush in those days) and lived in the Kappa house for three years.

That was 45 years ago.  Sometimes I wish I could do it all again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Going Postal

package I am beginning to have a real understanding of why an otherwise sane person might have a small melt down at the post office.

Several months ago my friend Glenda asked for suggestions for hostess gifts for the various parties honoring her daughter and fiance prior to their marriage this fall.  I always thought those round return address stamps were nice and suggested that we look for some at a good price on eBay.  Chris in Malaysia had just what we were looking for.

Knowing that shipment from Malaysia might take a while, we decided to order two for a test run.  Chris told us that shipment normally took 10 day to two weeks.  Sure enough, the first two arrived right on time, so about a month ago, we ordered 29 more for the different parties.

On Thursday, August 13, I received a notice in my mailbox that they had attempted delivery of a registered mail package containing rubber stamps.  I picked it up on Friday, and when we opened it, we found that Chris had shipped the order in two packages.

By Monday, when the second package had not arrived, I had Chris send me the tracking numbers.  I found at the USPS website that both packages had arrived in Los Angeles on August 5.  In fact, they were scanned within a minute of each other.  Armed with this information I trotted down to my local post office.

The gentleman I spoke to “went to the back” and came back empty handed saying, “We get the same information you do.  The tracking information on the second package stops in Los Angeles.”  And he gave me a number to call at the downtown post office.

Danny at the downtown post office explained that once foreign registered mail arrives in the U.S. it is treated just like domestic mail, so he was not very encouraging about tracking my package.  He asked me to call him the next day, and at that point he gave me an 800 number to call.  Let’s just say that they lady on the other end of that 800 number was not a nice person.

Skipping ahead to yesterday, when I went to the mailbox I found a slip telling me that they were sorry they missed me when they attempted to deliver my registered mail containing rubber stamps.  I was not happy.  I had been standing at the dining room window when I saw the mail person drive up to my mailbox, place my mail inside and drive off.

Still fuming, Glenda and I headed to the post office to see if we could get the package in time for today’s tea.  And just what do you think we discovered when we got there?  You would be correct if you guessed that the package had been sitting there all week.  Makes me wonder just what the post office guy really did when he “went to the back.”

Don't you sometimes just want to say, "Let me come look.  I'll bet I can find it."

Setting Priorities

This afternoon at 2 o’clock I am hosting a bridal tea for my friend Glenda’s daughter. I will be posting pictures on Tablescape Thursday.

Yesterday morning Connie came over to work on flowers and other things, and I gave LBeau his instructions for things I wanted him to take care of. It included stuff like getting rid of the stack of books on the floor of the bedroom where the gifts would be displayed, doing something about the piles of magazines in the living room, and moving the three or four books that he is currently reading so that someone can set a drink or plate on the end table beside his chair in the den. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Woman_Cleaning_Her_House_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_090529-013874-489053So where does he start? Why he insists that his first priority is to take everything out of his closet so that I can vacuum it out. I thought he had learned years ago that closets are where you stash all of that stuff you want to hide when it’s time for company.

Back when we were newly married and expecting our first overnight house guests, LBeau decided that it was a good time to clean out all of the closets. That was when we had our first lesson about priorities. I guess he’s forgotten that lesson over the past 38 years.

So now if any of the tea guests should mistake the door to his closet for the door to the powder room, they’ll find that it’s spic and span.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And the Answer Is…

weights 001 Earlier today in my Pink Saturday post I asked for the top three reasons women want to lose weight and get in shape.

I gave you one reason—a class reunion.  A number of you came up with the other two—a beach trip (swimsuit season) and a wedding.  I think my niece Mandy was the first one with the correct answer.

I offered my pink weights as a prize, but I don’t think Mandy needs them, since she has Noah to chase around all day.  So I guess they’ll just stay in my closet gathering dust.