Friday, July 24, 2009

TGIF-Lake Lanier

Fabulous Friends

Wonderful Weather

Delicious Dinners

Simple Summers

Thursday, July 23, 2009


First introduced to this summer soup, I was a teenager and we didnt use air conditioning.

We ate later in the evenings, enjoying cold soups (cucumber or spinach) and other vegetarian fare, i.e. flat rocks.

Then in 1995, I made gazpacho for the first time myself. It's the perfect hot weather meal!

Start with 6 cups V-8 juice and 6 cups ordinary tomato juice in a very large stock pot. Add the following veggies. Chill well before serving. Top with croutons, if desired.

8 cloves garlic, crushed
8 Tbs olive oil
12 Tbs wine vinegar
4 tsp salt
4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper, ground
24 drops tabasco

10 tomatoes, peeled and diced
6 ribs celery, diced
3 cucumber, peeled and diced
6 spring onions, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
some chives, chopped
some parsley, chopped

Makes one gallon.

Store in glass container.

Keeps up to a week, refrigerated.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Thursday

Cousins' Week at Callaway is just not complete without a handwritten note to declare thanks for hosting such a wonderful week in the lives of our families.

There is added enjoyment to such gatherings for several reasons.

First, the anticipation is great as we all look forward to this gathering all.year.long.

Second, having plain, old-fashioned fun creates more and more memories to share not only with my own children, but with my siblings' children, and special cousins.

And last but not least, reflecting on the long-lasting ripple effects of building strong families this way inspires me.

Thank you for the bottom of my heart for continuing this terrific tradition.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Wednesday

Attendance was up this year.

In fact, I think it was our highest count to date. Here's the basic breakdown from our Family Calendar:

2 Parents
6 Children
5 Spouses
29 Grands

Nuclearly speaking, we're talking 42 people. While we didnt have quite that many when we first started years ago, the numbers have increased steadily to the point that we're adding to Gen Four aka great-grandchildren at a rapid rate.

So, add the spouses of grands (4) and two great-grands (2) and we're topping out at 48!!

It all started with the classic sofa picture.

This one was taken in the summer, 1985.

Click on the link for 23 years worth of snapshots.

Here's one of the earliest reunion photos, summer 1987.

We've always had close friends join us as well. From childhood family friends, schoolmates and colleagues, to the proverbial *special* friends, who end up marrying into the family, we enjoy increasing the size of our circle.

There were close to 60 at our Friday night Leftovers Picnic because we had an influx of cousins at the latter part of the week.

We just keep growing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Tuesday

Walking the 10-mile Discovery Bike Trail is one of my vacation goals while at Callaway. It takes me almost 3 1/2 hours, which calculates out to a rate of 3 mph - just the right pace to enjoy my surroundings and get my heartrate up into a fat-burning range.

It's a good thing I left early Tuesday morning or I would have missed this fine luncheon with my 83 yo aunt who came down from Atlanta for the day. Her son and husband are sitting around the table, too.

Starting with the blue shirt (grinning fella) and proceeding clockwise:

1st cousin=Dan
My father=Dan
Me=Dana - trend here?
Aunt=Mary (back of her head)

But this picture takes family photo albums to a new level.

My father, mother and aunt are identifying people on the computer screen.

My cousin, Dan, had scanned a bunch of old photos (late '50s, early 60s) and burned a disk for everyone. This is the new *scrapbooking* skill.

We had a fine time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Monday

Here's our home away from home while we're at Callaway Gardens. The cottages are very nice: especially spacious, and comfortably furnished.

When we're not eating at this large dining table, we're playing cards, reading, or planning our next outing.

Climbing back into bed and reading in the early morning is something I reserve for vacation. There's also a nice screened-in porch on the back of the cottage - perfect for these pasttimes of reading and playing cards.

In an time where most families dont own any land or have a large enough home to accomodate everyone for a week-long vacation, we're happy to claim Callaway Gardens as our *family farm*, if you will.

I think this is what the Callaway Family had in mind when they opened their land to others. Here's what Cason said:

Take nothing from the Gardens except
nourishment for the soul
consolation for the heart,
and inspiration for the mind.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

CWAC 2009 Recap:Sunday

After attending the interdenominational worship service at the Callaway Chapel, we headed back to Sparkleberry Lane for the all-important photo shoot. The pictures taken this morning are the basis for our family calendar which my parents produce and give to us for Christmas each year.

Family members need to be available for the better part of the morning because there are several obligatory sessions:

Individual head shots

Family portraits

Birthday months

With over 29 grandchildren, and now 2 great-grands, it's a challenge to make sure everyone's photos are taken.

My father helps keep track.

Usually we're finished with this process around noon, just in time to enjoy our first picnic of the week.

I'm all about fried chicken at Southern picnics. So, it should come as no surprise that Krispy's in Pine Mountain has become a tradition.

We serve our plates and head back outside to eat together, finishing the meal with a giant chocolate chip cookie cake.

Are you having a family reunion this summer?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Special Cakes

This past Sunday we celebrated DH's birthday with this fancy dessert.

I myself love to cook and bake. But this year I'd just returned from a week-long family reunion at Callaway Gardens and didn't have enough time to *do it all*. Thank goodness I believe that outsourcing is an integral part of being an efficient homemaker :)

That's how Jill's Cakes and Bakes comes into play.

While I was busy in the kitchen preparing this menu:

Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
Beet Salad (actually Sis-in-law prepared this family favorite)
Pickle Tray complete with peaches, okra, and olives
Garlic Bread

Plantation Tea

Jill had already done her part.

It just seemed *smart* take care of this detail before I left for vacation. The holiday weekend dictated the timetable and the shop was closed on Saturday. So, the cake had to be picked up on Thursday; sat boxed in the 'fridge for three days; and still was maximally moist for Sunday evening's party.

Jill also prepared the cake for DD#2's wedding last August.

I really hope her shop continues to grow.

If you live nearby, I highly recommend her cakes.

What about you?

Who helps you out in a pinch?

Is there a special bakery you recommend?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fashion on Fridays

Lime Green has surfaced as my fashion accent this summer.

I bought these inexpensive sandals on a whim at Target in late May, not really sure how they were going to fit into my wardrobe.

But low and behold, they were a perfect match for these green print capris that I wore for the family reunion photo.

That's me with my siblings (and spouses).

Then I remembered this green striped blouse from a few years ago and paired it with some stone colored capris.


This snapshot with my niece is more flattering, although I need lipstick.

Plus there's this mosaic scarf which I'm wearing today with a jean dress.

Last week I wore it as a belt with a white skirt and lime green T-shirt.

Wait! There's more!

See this light-weight summer dress?

It was already in the back of the closet.

And it blossomed with this sweater.

All on account of those lime green sandals.

What's keeping your wardrobe fresh this summer?