Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Best Chinese Buffet in the Ozarks

If you search the online yellow pages for "Chinese Buffet" in Springfield, you will find 184 businesses. We haven't tried all one hundred eighty four, but still believe that the best one is the Hong Kong Buffet in Branson. They have the best hot and sour soup AND sometimes they have fried okra on the buffet. Yum! It is the perfect anecdote for a long and challenging day. Even if we had to drive through pouring rain to get there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Giant Elephant Ear

This is the newest leaf of David's elephant ear plant. Each one is larger than the last and this guy is a monster!

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

Thanks to a combination of a recipe from Patty and a recipe from, I made a tasty Peach-Blueberry Cobbler today. I don't especially care for blueberries, but this was really good.

5 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons corn starch

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Cinnamon Sugar for very top:
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 tablespoons white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to coat and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. While the filling is baking, combine all topping ingredients except butter and water. Blend butter into the mix with finger tips or a pastry blender. Mixture should be chunky. Add 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir until just combined.
4. Remove filling from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over it. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until topping is golden - about 30 minutes.

Sharing the Sunshine

**Note from Henny - That's not fat - it's all fluff.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

British Car Show

Today we went to the British Car Show in Carthage. It was very hot, but better in the shade of the E-Z up. David's Discovery was one of only 2 Land Rovers in the show.

I really like the Minis. Wouldn't Tuley look cute in the backseat of one of these? While Todd and David looked at the cars, I snuck off to look at the antique stores around the square. What a great car show! A little something for everyone. My favorite store isn't an antique store, but they have some really neat stuff. If they'd set up a cot in there, I could live there. It's called Colonial House - you can check them out here.

The Fair is Coming!

Technically the fair isn't coming, it is here. I had meant to chronicle the progress of the set up last week, but only managed to snap a few sad pictures from my car window. But...the FAIR is here! Time for corn dogs and jugs of root beer! Yippee!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good-Bye Sophia

One of the stars of what might be my all-time favorite show passed away today at the age of 84. Estelle Getty played the part of Sophia Patrillo, a quick-witted Sicilian, on the Golden Girls. I remember that the Golden Girls were on Saturday nights, and we watched it while my mom rolled my hair on pink rollers for church the next morning. In high school, my friend Christy and I spent lots of time trying to determine which characters we and our friends were most like. I think I was Dorothy - dateless, but witty and sarcastic. Why a teenager identified so closely with the Florida retirees, I do not know. When I began teaching, the girls were on Lifetime in reruns at the time I got home from school. The first time I went to Orlando, one of my favorite parts of Epcot was the Backlot Tour. Do you know what is on the backlot tour? The facade of the Golden Girls' Miami home! Very exciting stuff!! I will see if I can find a picture of it to post.
Can you sing the theme song by heart? I can! Want to hear? No? Well okay then. Here it is in print:
"Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold
Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true. You're a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say
Thank you for being a friend
Photo from

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Quiet Weekend

This is post#190 - very close to 200! We should be planning something special for the big milestone. Stay tuned - maybe I'll think of something. We enjoyed a nice quiet weekend. Saturday morning, we went to the swap meet. There weren't many people set up to peddle their wares on the misty gray morning, but there was still lots to see. The swap meet is really more about people watching than finding some treasure. A thought to ponder: Where does one get two large cases of toothpaste to sell at the swap meet? And who buys toothpaste at a swap meet?

Saturday evening we polished ourselves up (well, just put on clean and fairly wrinkle-free clothes) to meet my parents for dinner in Republic. When we saw that our waitress was not-so-youngish, we were relieved. Glad, even. But, as soon as she told us all about her trip to Silver Dollar City the previous day, we realized that our first impression had been wildly incorrect.

Today has been almost too hot to move. There are some weekends that we do not make it north of Battlefield Road. Today I did not make it north (or south or east or west) of our yard. It was lovely. David mowed and weed-eated and I scrubbed a little on our shed. I watered our poor thirsty plants who have become accustomed to getting lots of rain. I waited until it cooled off this evening to water - a refreshing 87 degrees. At one point I looked down to see one mosquito on my left knee and four - FOUR - on my right leg. Apparently I am a feast!

That's the news from Lake Wobegon. Have a good week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu!

That's "Happy Birthday" in Japanese - at least I hope it is! It may say "Your donkey is in my bathtub" for all I know. On Friday, we celebrated my Aunt Connie's birthday with lunch at Fuji followed by a stroll through the Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathanael Greene Park. It was HOT but very beautiful!
The mini fans were great, but we all found out why most fans have a cage of some sort around them. Those tiny blades hurt!

Demolition Derby

It was another exciting demolition derby at the 70th Webster County Fair. I forgot to take my camera in though, so no pictures.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Aunt Connie!

Happy Belated Birthday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tiny Hernia Kitty

Three years ago, my friend Stephenie and I headed out to the Humane Society to look at kittens. As is the case most summers, the Humane Society was overrun by kittens needing homes, so they were offering a 2 for 1 special. There were so many cute kittens meowing and purring, but I just remember the one who reached through her cage toward me. She was also the only one who had anything written on the section of her little yellow card labeled "Special Medical Needs." The tiny little kitten had a hernia. I took her out of her cage while Steph looked around for her kitty. I had found the one. I looked at others, but I don't think I ever put the little gray and white kitten back in her cage. Who else would take a kitten that might need surgery? What would happen to her if I didn't take her? While we were filling out the paperwork, she fell asleep on my arm and the woman working said, "I can always tell when one of our animals has found their person." On the way home with the tiny kitten, I tried to decide on a name. Sadie? Gracie? Sybil? I wasn't especially prepared to bring the kitten home, so I didn't have a carrier with me. Tiny Kitty sat quietly on my lap all the way. David and I were meeting my parents for dinner, so I hurriedly set up Kaiser's old dog crate with a litter box, water, and kitten food. Tiny Kitty went in the crate, I closed the door to my office, and met David in the driveway. I tried to keep TK a secret, but we were only a few blocks away before I told.
After getting home and introducing TK, who became Gracie, to Henrietta, I began to wonder if I'd made a mistake. Henrietta hissed and was less than welcoming. She spent all of the next day on my bed and hissed every time I came into the room - with or without Gracie. Gracie stayed in her crate during the day and slept there at night while Henrietta adjusted to having a sister. Eventually, I decided Henrietta wasn't going to hurt Gracie, so they began to have more time together.
They even at together occasionally. Henrietta has never become Gracie's best friend, but she is slightly more tolerant of her than those first few days.
Looking at tiny little hernia kitty at 1.3 pounds, it is hard to believe it's been three years! Oh, and that sweet kitty who rode quietly home from the Humane Society? She suddenly came to life and has been hell on paws ever since. She runs, plays, bites, scratches, and is in charge of the dog. Don't be fooled by her sweet kitten face.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Turkey Chili

I was hoping this would be edible (and hoping to sneak a low-fat meal in) and was pleasantly surprised. It's low-fat, until you add the toppings, but ridiculously high in sodium. Can't have it all!

1 pound ground turkey, browned and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans mild Rotel with liquid (for a milder chili, use a can of diced tomatoes in place of one of the cans of Rotel)
1 small onion (I used purple, but any would do)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 cup water

Combine all in pot and simmer for 2 hours. If chili gets too thick, add a little more water. Serve over tortilla chips or cornbread and top with sour cream, shredded cheese, and chopped green onion. I think a can of corn might be a tasty addition next time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Weekend In Pictures

On Friday afternoon, Lorie, Braden, and I braved the summer heat to go to the zoo. Braden was most impressed by the elephants.
Yesterday, Todd and Emma came for a visit. Tuley and Emma played a little, and Tuley teased Emma by showing her how he can drink from the bird bath. Saturday evening, Jim and Patty came for dinner. We had a great time!

Today I cut back the expired lilies by Tuley's house. It looks much tidier. David's elephant ear is getting big!
Each evening around 8:00, the leaves of this redbud tree seem to light up. So pretty!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

They're Ba-ack...

As my mom predicted, the possums came back. Wednesday night at 10:30, I turned on the porch light. We hadn't left Tuley's bowl out, but there they were - having a drink from his water dish and eating the few morsels left on the patio.

I couldn't get a good picture. When I opened the door to try, they scurried off of course. Here's the best one:
I looked for them last night when we returned from Prairie Fire (formerly known as Foster Fall), but I didn't see them. Rob outdid himself this year. The fireworks were spectacular - especially the grand finale. With the falling ashes, it was like being in the fireworks. I didn't take any pictures - just enjoyed the show.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's In a Name?

I name things. Don't know why, but I do. I used to name my toys - dolls, in particular. There was Emily, Susie, Valerie, Tamara, and Kristina (Karrington and Krytal's baby on Dynasty). Sometimes after a trip to Petsmart on a Saturday morning, David and I will debate the virtues of various names for the dogs up for adoption. We can spend quite a while on this, though we have no plans of bringing the dog home. Henrietta talked a lot at first, so she was named after the chatty cat on Mr. Roger's neighborhood who lived in the Land of Make Believe. Gracie was either going to be Gracie, Sadie, or Sybil. Perhaps Sybil would have been more fitting since Gracie seems to have a variety of personalities. Tuley Mars was from a Jimmy Buffett book, although the original character was Tully Mars.

When I was in high school, a teacher drew us a diagram of her yard and told us what each of her trees were named. We thought she was crazy, and I am still not so sure that wasn't the case. But now...we have named our trees also - Amos, Clyde, and Sterling. I may be leaning toward the eccentric, but I haven't dressed up like a groundhog for Groundhog Day. Yet. Same teacher did that one year.

All this to say...

I bought a garden gnome at Target last night. He was on clearance for a mere $2.78. He lives in the hosta garden. His name is Wilbur. As in Mr. Ed's owner.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Starlings By Day, Possums By Night

Tuley seems to have recovered from his ailments for the most part. His vet is concerned about kidney issues based on his recent blood work and we are planning to find out more about that. One thing has changed since Tuley was sick. Before, he'd eat every morsel of food in his bowl, on the patio, and a few pine cones for good measure. Now he seems to have developed the ability to stop eating when he is full. So, sometimes there is food left in the bowl. If there is a lot, we put it in the refrigerator for later. If there's a little, I've just been leaving it. The starlings seems to find it during the day - fighting with each other and making a mess on the patio. Last night, he left a tiny bit - maybe an eighth of a cup. When he wanted to go out at 4:45 a.m., I turned on the outside light and was momentarily frozen. Two furry SOMETHINGS were at the back door. In my sleepy state, I could not identify them right away. Rats! No... Moles? No... Oh! I know - baby possums! I could not believe my eyes. There, sitting in Tuley's now empty food bowl, was a possum. Staring right back at me. I didn't want to send Tuley out to possibly have to deal with a mama possum, so I knocked on the door to scare them away. One waddled slowly off. The one in the food bowl just sat there. I got my camera and tried to take a picture with out opening the door, but of course it flashed against the glass and I got Gracie's reflection instead. By this point, Tuley is crossing his legs and dancing around. I opened the door and the fat baby mosied off. I was certain that they were just past the circle of light shed by the porch light. Tuley took care of business, but then decided maybe he didn't want to come back in quite yet. I had to tiptoe out to get him...certain that Mama Possum would jump out of the shadows at me. She didn't.

This morning, there wasn't any sign of them. Just an empty food bowl, which I washed because really - would you want to eat out of something that a possum had been sitting in?

Another day (night) at the Downing Animal Refuge.