Tag Archives: Grandchildren

Edible Art


Several weeks ago when our grandsons were here, Liam created a beautiful bowl of edible art. It was a very creative project for an 8 year old to think up and execute.

Lately Pinterest has had lots of edible art projects and Liam’s fits in beautifully.

We were/are very proud of him.

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Kitchen Tables

our house, 1967

Houses were much smaller when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Even new houses in Tulsa were small. I grew up in Mingo, just north of the city, a tiny community where none of the houses were new.

Nearly everyone in Mingo ate their meals at the kitchen table. There were almost no dining rooms in my neighborhood. I can only remember 2. Every night families gathered together after their day to share the evening meal. Late afternoon activities that would interfere with a meal were unheard of. Kids in my neighborhood didn’t have dance lessons, and very rarely piano lessons. I had heard there was a boys Little League team but in those days it would not have interfered with the evening meal.

It was a working class neighborhood. After school (and maybe a little television), weather permitting, children played outside: little kids played with dolls or cars, yard games like Hopscotch, Hide and Seek, Statues, Red Light-Green Light, or dress-up and make believe; bigger kids rode their bikes, played driveway basketball, or impromptu softball. Mothers prepared the evening meal. Dads came home from work.

Families sat down together and ate dinner. Webster defines ‘dinner’ as the principal meal of the day. My mother always referred to our evening meal as supper, because when she was a girl, the noon meal was the big one and her mother called it dinner. But unlike her growing up years when her father operated a country store a hundred yards from her house, my father worked at Douglas Aircraft or on a construction job and was too far away at noon to come home and eat. But old habits die hard, and even though she cooked every night, she still called it supper.

So, kitchens were an integral part of our homes.

The kitchen table was where my mother cut out the fabric for the clothes she made for us, where we did our homework, played cards or dominoes on Saturday night and met again each evening over home cooked food. I can remember the table covered with waxed paper and freshly glazed yeast doughnuts that my mother made. And how it felt to sit on my dad’s lap and learn how to play dominoes and Hearts; I don’t remember ever being told to go away while the grown-ups played cards. It was where I sat while my mother helped me practice my spelling words. At Christmas, I made marshmallow snowmen and helped my mother put stamps on Christmas cards. I must have been pretty young the first time because I remember 4 cent stamps – this was a penny less than normal postage for envelopes that weren’t sealed.

Our kitchen, 1966

Our kitchen, 1966


Somehow my mother was able to cook the holiday meals – from scratch – in the same room we ate in and kept it looking nice for the meal. My dad was a John Wayne type but he helped her cook Christmas dinner. However, on Thanksgiving morning, he and my brother were always out hunting. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were always at noon, and I can remember that I used to worry that they wouldn’t be back from hunting so that we could eat on time. They nearly always were.

My family was not able to pass down many family mementos. In 1937, my maternal grandparents home and store were covered with flood water for 2 weeks, ruining nearly everything they had. A few photographs survived and a Bible that still has the silt from the Ohio River dried in its pages. My father’s family had to leave everything at a friend’s house when they left Oklahoma when my grandmother died in the mid-1920’s. They were never able to retrieve their possessions. Oddly enough, only my grandfather’s blacksmithing anvil remains. It weighed about 100 pounds.

So, I didn’t inherit really old family treasures, but I do have several things from my childhood and one of them is our kitchen table. Not the first one I remember – 1950’s chrome and gray formica topped. The one they bought in 1964 – brown, wood grain formica with painted scenes in two opposite corners. It’s the one you can see in the background of some of my recipe and craft posts.

It’s not valuable or even particularly lovely to anyone else. Our home isn’t big enough to have a dining room, so our old table sits in the middle of our kitchen. It’s the one that my dad sat at to feed our sons, and it’s the one we sit around with our grandsons and share meals when they come to visit.

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Filed under 1950s, 1960's, Childhood pastimes, Family, Kitchens, Mingo, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Using What You Have

Ah, November

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Red Oak - the Liam tree

I just love it.

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Cooler days.  Evening fires in the wood stove.   Not too hot to have a bonfire and wiener roast with the grandsons.

VintageThanksgiving

And Thanksgiving –  one of the most wonderful of holidays – at the end of the month.

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A Year Without Television

Our first television, me and my sister, about 1959

Our first television, me and my sister, about 1959

It’s been a whole year now. Last October I was so fed up with the extremely biased election coverage that I decided to end my lifetime love affair/obsession with TV.

1952 Sears Televison receipt

My parents bought their first one shortly before I was born in 1954, so I was the first in my family to watch television my whole life.  I’m not sure exactly how to compare current prices to those in 1952 because everything has not gone up at the same rate. Milk was .96 per gallon, but the price range for a new Ford was only $1,526 – $2,384 and gas was only .20 per gallon, and postage stamps were 3 cents. So let’s say that generally things now are about 9 times higher. The average income was $3,515, now it’s $31,410. That would make that 1952 Sears model, $2,659.77 which is a lot more than I would pay now.

Carla Edens April 1967, first color set

Carla Edens April 1967, first color set

Growing up, I was a walking TV Guide. I could tell you what was on any channel at any time. Of course, we only had 3 channels then.  PBS didn’t count; it was only broadcast part time; besides, NO ONE I knew watched it.

The really old cartoons (from the 1930s and 40s) before school. The 3 Stooges after school. Play outside. My dad came home and watched the news. Eat dinner. Then Ozzie and Harriet or Have Gun Will Travel or Maverick or Wyatt Earp. Gunsmoke was on at 9 o’clock on Saturday night.  Watching Matt Dillion and Chester was a family event, and always accompanied by popcorn and Pepsi. Then my parents watched the news again while we got ready for bed.

Warner Brothers Cowboys

Warner Brothers Cowboys

Saturday mornings it was Bugs Bunny, Jonny Quest, Top Cat and Hucklberry Hound.  Saturday afternoon television was a wasteland, and my friends and I played outside.   But if it was rainy or my friends were all gone to visit their grandmothers, if I didn’t have a new Nancy Drew book to read, it was back to TV. The local stations must not have had much in their budget for daytime movies because they rarely showed anything good. I mean, anything that girls wanted to watch. Sometimes there’d be the beloved Ma & Pa Kettle or Abbott & Costello feature, but mostly it was stuff that boys liked. For instance, Tarzan or I Killed Hitler’s Brain or something like that. Then my dad would come home from fishing or hunting (depending on the season) and he had first choice. For him it was always wrestling followed by Porter Wagoner, etc.

If Daddy was off on a business trip or hunting, my mother and I would watch NBC Saturday Night at the Movies.  That was the first time I saw Rebecca and Rear Window.  Once we even watched the Laurence Olivier version of Hamlet.  The Shakespearean dialogue was lost on me, but Mama enjoyed it.

I didn’t watch much on Sundays because my mother and I were 3-services-a-week Baptists and there just wasn’t time, and even if there was, it was all sports.

Sunday was her day off, sort of.  Mama always had dinner in the oven before we left for Sunday School.  When we got back home, all she had to do was heat the vegetables. I honestly don’t know how she did everything – she must’ve been tired all the time.  She took very good care of our family and the house, sewed our clothes, ironed them, cooked from scratch and taught Sunday School. For years we had a washing machine, but no dryer.  Sometimes my sister and I would hang things out on the line for her or bring them in, but truthfully, it was mostly my mother doing it.

After Sunday dinner and the dishes were done,  we went visiting. My dad was the youngest of 7 children, so it was off to one of my aunts & uncles house, or a cousin’s or occasionally to family friends. If we were at my Uncle Johnnie’s, he’d let me watch his watch his black and white set – with a remote control!  He was the only person I knew who had one.  True, it was wired to the tv, and it only had one button, but it was so modern!

Then, it was back to our house and get ready for evening services. After church, we watched What’s My Line and Candid Camera.

whats-my-line

When Joe and I married, he didn’t want to have a television but I insisted. I couldn’t imagine life without it. We just had rabbit ears to get reception and then when we lived very far from Tulsa, the picture could be really bad. In the late 1970s, for a short time we lived in an apartment that provided basic cable at no extra charge (or we wouldn’t have had it.) But even so, we only used it for Star Trek and westerns reruns.

The Big Valley

The Big Valley

Our older son pleaded with us to get cable in the mid-80’s and we tried it for a short period of time.   And in 2004, that son and his family were living with us and he couldn’t stand it not having “cable” So we had satellite installed but only had it for about a year until he was posted to Ft. Drum and they moved to NY; we sent the equipment with them.

We were watching less and less, but I still wasn’t ready to give it up completely. How could I live without I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Andy Griffith and especially Leave It To Beaver? Sadly, one of the local UHF stations had already abandoned classic westerns (Rawhide, the Rifleman, etc.) for Spanish programming. So, for years we watched very little in prime time. Mystery on PBS, Antiques Road Show, Foyle’s War and a few others. But programming and ads just got worse and worse.

It took the absolutely outrageous biased election coverage from the American media during the 2008 election for me to quit cold turkey.   That was it. I couldn’t get away from the news coverage because of station break news, etc.  It was always there in my face.  I realized that for my own peace of mind I had to stop.  So we did.  Cold turkey.  We didn’t even unhook the antenna.  We just quit watching. When the signal changed from analog to digital it finalized our decision.   Our set was old and not compatible with the digital platform; we didn’t get the conversion box.

Television is very demanding. Have you ever been somewhere with a program running, that you dislike but you have no power to change it or turn it off (like at a friend’s or in a waiting room)? It takes sheer force of will to not look at it – even when you don’t want to!

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It’s been a lot quieter around here and that’s a good thing. I listen to music a lot more, preferably my husband’s piano playing, but  I have music folders to fit almost any mood, too.

For news I listen to the radio or read it online. I prefer reading news on the internet rather  viewing it on television, anyway. The scope is much broader – Liberty Daily has a huge list of top stories every day.  The Gateway Pundit and Breitbart update several times daily and have mostly quick overviews on what’s happening.  Frontpage Magazine is excellent for more in-depth coverage.

We use the television set for watching DVDs and our old VHS tapes. I read a lot and when we go to the library for books every week, we often check out movies or old television programs to watch. They have a very good selection. There are a few programs that we don’t have or can’t check out, and most of them can be found somewhere online.  My favorite movies are the classics and so many of them are online. Garage sales and thrift stores are good resources for cheap copies.  I honestly don’t feel entertainment deprived.

Piano Man and Piano Grandson

Piano Man and Piano Grandson

So, this year has been The Year of Living Peacefully. Not merely quieter; we live out in the country, and it’s very quiet anyway. Our lives are more peaceful. We aren’t worried about filthy commercials in front of our grandchildren. It’s embarrassing that it didn’t occur to me before, but my husband must have felt that I didn’t want him to be playing the piano, because the TV was on so often when he came home from work. Now he plays daily, I read a lot, we play board games, dominoes, cards and Scrabble. We have more time to do what we want, what’s important to us. And thank the Lord, television is no longer very important to me.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom.

Update and links cleaned up:  July 15, 2021.

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Filed under Current Events, Family, Free, Internet links, Movies, Thrift, Using What You Have, YouTube

Boy Stuff

After a trip to the hardware store with Grandpa.

After a trip to the hardware store with Grandpa.

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A Wonderful Day

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“As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:21

Last Friday, I had a good day. A really good day. Our daughter-in-law had sent us a message that it would be Grandparents Day at the boys’ schools. The first event was scheduled for 7:45, the second at 11:30. We live about an hour away and I was not only thinking about having to leave at 6:45 a.m., but what I would do to occupy myself at that time of the morning until I met my husband for the second one. (He had to work until 10:30 and couldn’t make it to the kindergarten event.) I shouldn’t have been concerned about the details. The Lord orders our steps and I couldn’t have planned the day any better.

First of all, I’d forgotten how much I love being out in the early morning. My dad was an early riser and when our family left on a trip, it was at 4:30 a.m. And that has remained a part of me. You just can’t beat watching the sun come up for a sense of ….. well, I don’t know, but I love it.

So the drive up was pleasant. And getting to be with Liam as he started his school day was really wonderful. He showed me a picture he’d drawn in his notebook of our home. He is fascinated that our mobile home used to have wheels under it, so he drew a picture of it with me driving it. It’s not a motor home, but I guess that’s how a 6 year old processes a house on wheels. His teacher was looking at me kind of funny. I really hope it was something else and not that old trailer house/white trash stigma. But if it was, it was. As William F. Buckley liked to say, “Well, there you are.”

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The celebration at Liam’s school was for each of the attending grandparents to read a story to the class. I asked Liam to choose one and he picked “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut” by Dr. Seuss. I’ve read a lot of Dr. Seuss books but I’d never seen this one. It was a great choice because it was about reading and Liam knows how I love to read. In fact, you could say that my decorating style is Books.

It was a nice little story and the children were so attentive and still. There had been 4 other readers and I was the last; they had been quietly sitting in their places for about 30 minutes by that time. I was very impressed at how well-behaved they were. Then hugs and it was time to go.

Parking at that school is very inadequate and I had parked across the street in front of a house, blocking the mailbox. I know, I know; that’s bad – but I knew that I wouldn’t be in there long enough to cause a problem for the mailman. Remember it started at 7:45 a.m. When I went out to the car, the homeowner was sitting out in her yard and said “hello” to me. I replied and apologized for parking there and she said it was okay, she knew there was an event at the school that morning and I wouldn’t be there all day.

Sweet and Spicy Pecans
She’s a widow and seemed lonely and we ended up talking for 45 minutes and it was very interesting. When I left I decided to go to a local bakery and get some coffee and pastry for breakfast. I took my treasures (because that’s just how they tasted) downtown and parked in front of the courthouse to eat and read my book. Must not have been much legal business going on, because there were lots of empty parking spaces.

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About an hour before I was to meet Joe, I went to the Dillard’s to get some new sandals. With fall here, I figured they would be on sale, which they were and I was able to get 3 good pairs. My feet have been bad all my life (even when I was very thin) and I need good shoes. They last me a long time. The pair I wore into the store I had bought 10 years ago in Windsor, England. But with fall coming on, I wanted some black ones, too. A very nice young man waited on me and that is always nice. A pleasant clerk greatly affects whether I return to shop at a store.

Then it was time to meet Joe and we drove to Elliot’s school. Their celebration was an ice cream social. We retrieved Elliot from his classroom and went back up to the room by the office for the party. It was fun being there with all the other grandparents and kids, but boy, is that school PC (politically correct)! It fairly oozed out of the staff. I didn’t notice it as much at the other school (my PC antenna is finely tuned).

Elliot didn’t seem to be paying any attention to it and I hope he never does. He was a lot more interested in being with his Grandpa. Now, I know that Elliot loves me, but he LOVES his Grandpa.

We returned him to his classroom and then went to lunch.

It was a really good day.

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