Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turner Farm: In the Kentucky Tradition

Dad's office in the barn was the standard spare room mishmash of horse antibiotics, binoculars, magazines, fishing poles, deer antlers, and a whole host of other necessities. I was pilfering around in early October, looking specifically for a couple of blankets that Dad's favorite horse, Cotton's Last Hope, had won in the early 1980s, and I ended up stumbling across a file with information relating to one of his first horses, Go Red Jet. Inside I found pictures, a typed note from the previous owners, magazine write-ups, and most importantly, a hand-written description that Dad had apparently submitted to various publications. The above ad was based on this particular note (second page seen at right), which although had been chewed on by some office critter, was, for the most part, in tact. I love that it is printed and simply on 8X11 notebook paper, I love that he uses phrases like "superior disposition and confirmation," I love that he included Mom as "owner." Most importantly, I am thankful for the love of animals, farm, and family that we saw every day in Dad.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tater tots.

The editors of Real Simple recently asked readers to "share the little stuff that brings them joy," based on the assumption that "everyday moments and objects pack a powerful emotional punch."

Whereas Charles Schulz (the example provided by the magazine) defined happiness, nearly 50 years ago, "as a warm puppy, an umbrella, and a side dish of French fries," here are a few of my own explanations...

1. I love first getting to know someone and sensing that you would be friends. I do believe Fran Smith is one of the wittiest and most creative people I've met (or been reacquainted with) in a long time. Here are a few of the cards that she was thoughtful enough to make for me (personalized cards and stationary are a wonderful gift; if you're looking for handmade presents, always consider this a viable option).

2. Hearing the history of a dessert (the recipe creator, ingredients used, the baker) and then enjoying it without guilt. Ex. The sampling of peanut butter balls, death-by-chocolate cake, and cookie from Annie Ruby's today...Why I didn't feel guilty is beyond me.

3. Shaved or crushed ice. I love fountain drinks from Minit Mart for this very reason.

4. Watching Tucker (dog) and Sadie (cat) sleep in the living room chair together. And, watching Mom scoot over in fear she might crowd the two.

5. Tater tots.

6. Trying your homemade wine and realizing it's actually not too bad. Incredibly strong, but not bad.

7. Getting an unexpected email that simply has one, "just had you on my mind," clever or thoughtful sentence.

8. Realizing that someone really likes something that you enjoy (not a bit vague), but that you assumed few people knew about or would be interested in.

9. Being really happy with whatever you order at a restaurant (recommendation: Fish Tacos from Garcia's in Glasgow).

10. Having stamp options. I love it when I can pick between 3 or 4 designs.

11. Having someone cover you up, but first flicking the sheet or blanket a couple of times.

12. Those mornings when you put on mascara without getting it above or below your eye. Bonus: The lashes actually look perfectly separated.

13. Having lunch with your significant other.

14. When someone calls you by name, someone who you didn't imagine knew who you were.

15. Hoodies.
A great idea also in the newest Real Simple: Frame a pretty piece of fabric or paper, then write temporary to-dos on the glass with a dry-erase marker.
Semi-home made...
Start with hot cocoa mix of choice. Doctor it up...
1. Broil 3 marshmallows in the broiler or a toaster oven until just golden, about 30 seconds. Mix the hot cocoa with 3 tablespoons malted milk powder. Top with the marshmallows.
2. Top the hot cocoa with 1/4 cup mint chocolate chip ice cream and 1 spring fresh mint.
3. Mix the hot cocoa with one pinch ground chipotle chili pepper and one pinch of ground Cinnamon. Top with 2 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle an additional pinch of chili pepper and cinnamon on top.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chopping Cabbage and Smoking Cigarettes

Last night I actually used the phrase "chaps my ass." I'm not sure I have ever put those three words side-by-side in a sentence in my life.

What makes me giggle is that I honestly thought that there wouldn't be many people in Wal-Mart. Turns out, two weeks before Christmas, on a weekend night, and mere hours before possible snow, people shop. Go figure.

Just a reminder that shopping locally not only helps support community businesses, saves gas, and in my case, saves money, but ultimately, piddling around local shops makes patience and sanity a little easier to come by during the holidays.

Some more local finds...
Pat Ritter and Gary Cooper are both amazing artists. Check out their webpage for shots of Pat's paintings and Gary's woodworking projects: http://www.artmusic.net/index.html. I don't want to ruin the surprise; I'm keeping my order a secret.
Find a pretty ornament (this one picked up at Main 210) and do your own decorations. Nothing says sophistication like a big, puffy Santa and an assortment of yellow "ho ho ho"s.

Custom framing is always a good option. Stop by and see Charlotte and Danny Cash at The Square Corner on Hwy. 90 east. Mrs. Cash has some wonderful matted photos and drawings for sale as well (plus, it is just a beautiful home and farm).
I found this pocket photo album at the Dollar Store for an actual dollar (I love that nearly everything in there is more than $1) and had some photos developed and enlarged at Morgan's Medicine. Save one sleeve of the album for a favorite poem, song, or personal note.

Lucy and Willie are getting new dog beds from Fred's this year alongside some homemade treats from a dog cookbook a dear friend gave to us last year.
Since my boyfriend no longer reads Pillow Book, it won't hurt to show this. He loves to eat crap. He "is red." Hence, lots of balls of red sugar and sugar-coated nuts from Kountry Kitchen for his stocking.
A $1 tie and two, $3 shirts from the Methodist Opportunity Store.

*I am also getting something monogrammed at Country Peddler (I'll show pictures when it's finished), stopped by Grider Flea Market to check out cookie jars (Dad got me, Leigh Ann, and Mom all one several years ago and it remains one of my favorite Christmas presents of all time), explored Brown's Supply for stocking stuffers, listen to the Swap Shop every morning and write down numbers for people who have hens and roosters, and asked an incredibly creative local card designer to possibly do a few for me to include with a gift.

Let me know if you have other suggestions!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Sign Ain't Playin' - Cumberland Co. Really IS the Best Kept Secret in Kentucky

A few of my favorites from my Cumberland County Christmas shopping... (I still have several "colors" that need to be addressed; will likely be a Part II to this post)
Above: Methodist Opportunity Store - $3.00 for two tea cups and matching saucers; Below: Same store, $.25/tin (plan to do some trail mix, Christmas cookies, and various goodies dipped in chocolate)

Smith's Pharmacy has a wide selection of Christmas cards for 50-75% off. Save some money and go this route, but personalize with your favorite poem, lyric, family update, child's drawing, or joke on the inside. Call Caroline - bet she has some classic holiday jokes worked up.
For a $10 donation to the Cumberland County Public Library, get yourself one of these cute t-shirts. Black and olive tote bags (that simply say "Cumberland County Public Library") are also available (you could fill them with someone's favorite book, a candle, neck pillow, hot cocoa mix, magazine subscription card, etc.). Added bonus...You get a chance to check out new books, DVDs, and magazines. Plus, I hear the Director is really cool.
"Bella Baby" products are a good idea for girls of all ages.
The cutting boards/trivets, handcrafted by Sherman McCoy, are some of my favorites. I suggest giving one of these alongside the homemade wine you're making and some specialty cheese or homemade bread from Kountry Kitchen.
I found these ramekins at what used to be "J's Discount" for $1.00 a piece. I plan to include these in a gift box accompanied by recipe cards for individual desserts and a spice medley from Kountry Kitchen.
Above: Some of the neat things I found at Main Street 210. I paid $12 for the beautiful scarf, $8.00 for the baking dish, and .$20 for the ornaments (which Andy and I plan to paint designs and a message on). Below: This may not make it into a gift package...I love the stained glass I stumbled across at MS 210 (less than $10!).

I absolutely adore everything I found at the Yellow Ribbon Trading Post in Marrowbone. For $12, I got the vase, three incense holders, homemade pumpkin butter (made by a Cumb. Co. resident), homemade candle, and two coffee mugs (which may not make it into a gift either).

I also got a fantastic deal on a gift item I picked up at Anderson's Cowboy Store, I found another coffee mug at Smith's (red and orange with an initial on the front - plan to fill it with pumpkin pie biscotti for my "orange" recipient), and spulrged on a pair of jeans for myself at Millie's for $7.

While you're out and about, I suggest that you go to the news office to check out the paintings Billy Guffey will have on sale for the next couple of weeks and then cross the street and swing in Annie Ruby's for a chocolate chip cookie/buttercream icing sandwich. Finish your day with whimsical socks and Love Actually.

Happy shopping!