Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

Can you believe summer is just around the corner?! I know we can't believe it at Mama Henley's house. Before we know it, we'll be headed back to Camp Greystone! Oh, how we love that place! I love helping give first-time camp mamas some helpful hints. One thing I always try to remember to do on Opening Day is to carry a Sharpie black marker in my pocket or pocketbook. You never know when you'll need to put a name on a book, pillow case, or new pair of socks that you inadvertently forgot to mark. Plus,you may go to the Shoppe and buy your little darling a camp blanket or water bottle, and she'll need her name on those too! So, as you prepare to embark on your little one's camp journey, pack a Sharpie marker in your purse!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Carolina in My Mind

I have loved our new life here in Florida. It really is a wonderful place to raise a family. However, the last few months have been extremely challenging. That is an understatement. The last few months have just about robbed me of any gusto and joy. I haven't blogged because I don't like to be Debbie Downer. I have tried to glorify God in this blog and to keep a heavenly perspective during earthly trials. I still have that perspective and know that my life here on this earth is temporary. Tampa, Florida is not my final destination. Heaven is. That makes the hard days much sweeter. Knowing that I am loved by a God who is much bigger than me and my problems is what has saved me.

Nonetheless, after weeks of tough days, today has been a really tough one. In all honesty, I am sad today. I have tried to have an upbeat and happy blog. I am upbeat and happy but not right this minute. I hurt. I long to live in a place where I am related to someone in the state. I have no kin in Florida. I'm not sure "my people" every ventured this far south. Sometimes I feel like an island. Jesus is my rock, but I still can feel like I'm floating at times. He doesn't waver; my circumstances do. He is firm, steady, always here for me. I have been seeking Him and speaking to Him so much He's about to discontinue my service plan:).

I do love Tampa, and I'll be all Tampa-crazy tomorrow. But for today, Carolina is in my mind. I miss it. The lyrics below speak to me:

Carolina in my mind
(words and music by James Taylor)

In my mind, I'm gone to Carolina.
Can't you see the sunshine.
Can't you just feel the moon shinin'
Ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind.
Yes I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

Karen, she's a silver sun.
You best walk her way and watch it shinin'.
Watch her watch the morning come.
A silver tear appearing now, I'm crying - ain't I?
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

There ain't no doubt in no one's mind
that love's the finest thing around.
Whisper something soft and kind.
Hey, babe, the sky's on fire, I'm dying - ain't I?
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina.
Can't you see the sunshine.
Can't you just feel the moon shining
Ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind.
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

Dark and silent late last night I think I might have heard the highway call
Geese in flight and dogs that bite.
And signs that might be omens say I'm goin', goin'...
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

With a holy host of others standing around me,
still I'm on the dark side of the moon.
And it seems like it goes on like this forever.
you must forgive me.
If I'm up and gone to Carolina in my mind.

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina.
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't just you feel the moon shinin'
Ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind.
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind.

Gone to Carolina in my mind.
Gone to Carolina in my mind.
Gone to Carolina in my mind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

It's that time of the year of Mother's Day teas, end of the year parties, and luncheons with the ladies. In fact, there is always an occasion for finger sandwiches! I will share the BEST cucumber sandwiches. My Tuesday's Tip is at the bottom of the recipe. If you prepare your sandwiches in advance or are taking them to a party, it is important that you dampen a paper towel and put it over the sandwiches. You can do this on the tray by covering the sandwiches in the paper towel and then with tin foil. Another idea is to place the sandwiches in ziploc bags with the paper towels on either side of the sandwiches. This keeps your sandwiches from drying out before the party!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

1 seedless cucumber, sliced thin
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1T salt (divided)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 clove garlic, minced
6 green onions, roughly chopped
1T fresh lemon juice
1t lemon zest
½ t freshly ground pepper
1t fresh dill (or ¼ t dried), plus dill sprigs for garnish
1 loaf thinly sliced white bread

Place the cucumber slices in a colander set in the sink. Pour the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of the salt over them. Drain for 20 minutes, then remove the cucumber slices from the colander and pat dry.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the cream cheese, butter, garlic, green onions, lemon juice, zest, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and dill. Process until the mixture is smooth.

Cut into the bread slices with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Place the rounds in an airtight zip-top bag until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread slices. Top with cucumber slices and garnish with a little sprig of fresh dill. Serve immediately.

(This recipe makes “open faced” sandwiches. I used a smaller cookie cutter and topped the sandwiches with another piece of bread. Assemble either way! If you prepare them ahead of time, cover the sandwiches with a damp paper towel in a zip-top bag – this will keep them from drying out.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuesday's Tip!

This week's tip can be used for both sad and happy times. When a baby is born or there is a death in the family, it is often a time when loved ones send flowers. Many times one receives a plethora of beautiful arrangements. The occasion itself may overwhelm one enough that you cannot remember which flowers were given to you by which friend.

Therefore, Mama Henley has a system that helps. Years ago after a sudden hospitalization, I received flowers. I took a picture of each arrangement. It is helpful to either have a separate written log with a description of the flowers and who sent them, or to simply photograph the card and the flowers together. This way, when write your notes of appreciation, you can mention what made the flowers special or which flower in the arrangement was most fragrant or your favorite. In fact, you may want to include a picture of the arrangement in your envelope. It pleases the giver to be able to see that his or her arrangement was indeed as beautiful as he or she hoped!

When we lost my sweet father in law, I took pictures of every arrangement, including the casket spray. We were overcome with grief and were not able to fully enjoy the flowers at their finest. However, we have been able to look at the pictures to see the pretty flowers and to remember how loved we felt. Happy Tuesday's Tip!!!