Thursday, December 27, 2012

RAT COOKIES AKA: Christman Mice Cookies

These little cookies are always a huge hit at any function.  I have named them RAT COOKIES, but they probably were originally Christmas Mice Cookies.  They are rather easy to assemble.

Chocolate kisses (1 bag)
Chocolate chips (2 bags)
Almond slices (1 bag)
Chocolate covered graham crackers/cookies (2 bags)
Whole cherries with stems (2 jars)
                                                    Gel frosting (black, red & green)

This made approximately 52/54 mice cookies.  

 Drain the cherries well on a paper towel.  I used two jars of cherries, about 52 (there were actually 54 cherries, but two had been separated from the stems so I had to eat those since they couldn't be used).

 Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler.  I used one bag of milk chocolate chips and one bag of dark chocolate.  There was leftover melted chips, but in the past I have only used one bag of chips and it wasn't enough and the chocolate got too stiff before finishing the coating process.   I don't have a real double boiler so I used a 2 qt. sauce pan for the water and placed a 1 qt. sauce inside the larger pan.  It worked well.  Once the chips melted I stirred them well to mix the milk and dark chocolate.  The two bags of chips were sufficient to coat the two jars of cherries. 

While the chips are melting assemble the other parts.  Removing the foil from the kisses will be the most time consuming thing you do.  Pour out a pile of almond slices and line up all the cookies for the number of cherries you will coat.

 Dip each cherry into the melted chocolate.

 Immediately place the coated cherry onto the chocolate covered cookie.  I can no longer find Keebler chocolate covered graham crackers, so I resorted to using the small Great Value (Walmart brand) chocolate covered mint cookies.  There are also chocolate covered fudge and peanut butter cookies.  I could never find the chocolate covered graham crackers.  Make sure you use the small cookies.  I have a friend that made these but used a larger cookie.  She said it made the mouse look really small on that large cookie.

 Push the chocolate kiss onto the covered cherry while the chocolate is still soft.  When it cools it will stick together very nicely. 

Add two pieces of almond slices for the ears.  Push down between the head and body (kiss and cherry).  Set aside to cool.  After assembling several of the mice I place them in the refrigerator so the chocolate will harden faster.  I don't want the head to separate from the body or the ears to sag.

These are ready to be placed in the refrigerator.

After the mice have cooled and are firm, using BLACK frosting gel make dots for the eyes and nose.  Test the gel first on a paper towel so the gel will be firm and not runny.  You can use red gel for the nose, but I much prefer the black so it looks like a rat/mouse, it's more disgusting with the black.

They are taking shape looking like little mice.

With GREEN gel add a sprig of greenery (I know that green looks like a little worm) behind the ears (almond slices).

Be sure to test the gel on the paper towel to avoid putting clear runny gel on the mice.  

Using RED gel, place one dot at the center of the green gel.  You are trying to put a sprig of holly on the little guys.

You might have a problem finding the red and green gel around Christmas because of the demand for those colors.  I shop early.

Close up of the decorated mice.

Place in tightly covered container and store in the refrigerator for several hours.  This will allow the chocolate and gel frosting to harden properly.


This will be the hit of any party.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The man is excited about this!

I'm suppose to be really excited about this?  Hubby is really excited about this tractor and has been busy as a bee working on it, cleaning it up, painting, restoring it.  He wanted it because it is harder to use the manual tiller since he broke his back.  

This is the reason he is so excited.  

Winter Garden  

We both love having a garden, so the old tractor will make it easier for him.  Hubby also wants to be able to plow our neighbor's garden.  My only concern, he'll want to plow the front yard.

I suggested he plow up all the ivy in the back yard.  I hate that stuff because I just know there are some type of critter(s) hiding among all those vine.

Currently he is reading the manual that arrived in the mail today.   

Friday, November 16, 2012


My husband's only sibling, died suddenly Wednesday evening.  He had been fighting colon cancer the past two years.  His chemo treatments had been suspended about three weeks ago because it wasn't helping, but this past Monday the oncologist started him on a new medication just approved by the FDA.  The doctor seemed to think this would stop the cancer.  Only three days into the new treatment he lost his battle.  To say we are shocked and sad is an understatement.

His daughter talked with him Wednesday evening, he seemed to be fine, in good spirits and there was no indication of any problems.  Thursday she tried to call him all day long.  Finally, late Thursday afternoon she called one of his neighbors, asked them to see if they could get him to the door.  They could not.  They had a key to his condo, so they entered.  He was on the floor in his bedroom, in his pajamas.  It appeared he had been there for a while.  We suspect he died Wednesday evening.  We are thankful he did not linger for day, weeks or months, was not in the hospital or in hospice, he was in his own home all the days of his life

He was known as Denny, until he married, then it was Ken.  He was Kenneth Dennard, Jr.  (I'll omit the last name for obvious reasons.)  He was born in 1936 in East Point, Georgia.  He was seven years and seven days older that his little brother, my husband.  He was the studious type, always reading, into electronics and gadgets, a real indoors person, quiet and reserved, just the opposite of his brother, who is an outdoor person, always moving and working, a people person.  They didn't look alike, Denny had dark brown hair, brown eyes and very fair complexion, from lack of exposure to the sunshine.  His little brother has blonde hair (well was, it's gray now), blue eyes and fair, but obviously has been exposed to the sunshine.

They were so funny, like two old women, talked to each other every single day, constantly comparing ailments, talking electronics and theater equipment, whether or not to purchase a new vehicle,  about things that happened when they were growing up and life in general, his routine of eating out and grocery shopping at Kroger on Wednesdays, because that was senior citizens day.  They were a hoot.  My husband was constantly trying to talk his brother into flying to Virginia to visit Colonial Williamsburg.  Denny wouldn't fly.  Last year he talked him into going to Florida to visit their cousin only because we drove.  We are so glad we made that trip.

Needless to say, we are heartbroken and sad.  Denny will be greatly missed.  We must not grieve too much, he is with the Lord and his beloved wife, who lost her battle with breast cancer about ten years ago.  We know if he had a choice of returning whole and healed he would not.  He is finally home.   

We love you Denny.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Beautiful walking trails
We walk five days a week at the International Park, which was the venue for the Volleyball event during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  It is a really nice place, however, the place has been the movie industry.

 We have been watching the progress of all the construction that has been happening.  It started when they drained the swimming lake just after Labor Day.  Then a group of workers came in and took all the railing off the swimming dock, and started construction on something that looks like...I don't even know how to describe what they have constructed.  It's just weird looking.

A ReDUCKulous situation!
At first, we were allowed to walk our normal route, which was from the front gate, a mile along the walking path, across a huge parking lot around the back side of the swimming lake and then across another parking lot around by the sales office, back across the dam between the fishing lake and the swimming lake then back to the front gate.  But now, about half of our walking route is blocked off and barricades have been put in place and tarps put up so you can see the movie set.  It's just reduckulous.  You would think the Queen is the star of this movie. 

 Now, there are Hertz rent-a-cops posted at various locations to keep people from doing I don't know what, and they have added county police as well.  Since they have altered our walking route we are forced to walk from the front gate, across the dam between the fishing and swimming lakes to the side gate entrance, make a U-turn and back to the front gate.  They have erected these awful green tarps on poles to keep people from seeing the movie set.  Who cares what they are doing.  At one point in the tarps there is a place you can peep through to see what is happening in the lake where all the filming is going to occur.  The other morning we peeked to see what was happening and the police blew his fog horn at us.  Can you believe that?!  

Barrels before putting up major barricades

Beginning construction of the main set
When the construction first started we asked the workers what was going on and they freely told us they were going to be filming part of "Hunger Games II" out in the lake.  We asked one of the employees at the park and she wouldn't tell us because it was a BIG secret.  We finally told her we already knew.  We had never heard of the movie "Hunger Games", so Hubby Googled it and discovered the first movie grossed $364 million.

The sad part, our county is only making $80,000 for the use of the facility, not to mention the cost of all those Hertz rent-a-cops and the county police that are over there 24/7 with the engines on their vehicles running 24/7.  How much is that costing the taxpayers of our county?

Needless to say, we will be glad when the movie people have vacated the park and we can return to our normal route of our daily walk.  

We think they are going to put blinders on all the geese so they can't see what's happening on the movie set as they fly over on their way to the fishing lake.     
Tarps to keep eyes off the movie set

Movie set just before putting back in the lake

This is the area where you can peep through the tarps

A couple of weeks ago when we had high winds from Hurricane Sandy the wind blew some of the fencing over because the tarps were like great sails on a ship, except the fence moved.  Probably another expense for the taxpayers. 

I think I'll take my camera tomorrow to see if the police honks his horn at me again.

Scroll on down to see all the photos.    

I think they are on their way to be fitted for the blinders.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Margaux is a china pattern made by Mikasa, however it's... out of print, so to speak.  We bought a set of this china back in the 1980s.  I love this china and have never gotten tired of it.  I recently purchased a set of white Mikasa china that is lovely, but I just don't love it like I do the Margaux.

My Margaux is beginning to look it's age, chips on several of the dinner plates, a huge chip out of one of the cereal bowls and a chip of two on the salad plates.  A couple of years ago I found several of the cereal bowls on Craig's list at a very reasonable price.

Yesterday I was checking out Craig's List.  I always check for Mikasa china.  First thing listed was a set of Margaux for...are you ready...$35.00.  I gasped.  This was an eight-place setting.  I immediately ran down to the workshop, where Hubby spends most of his time lately working on a hutch.  I opened the door and said, "remember how we went to Marietta to purchase that gas grill you found on Craig's List?"  His answer was a reluctant, "yes."  I excitedly said, "Well, I've found a set of our dished in Marietta, do you want to go with me to look at them?"  Hubby said, "Sure."  So off we went.

Y'all I got that set of dishes for $35.00!  After we got home I checked Replacements, Ltd.  That same set is $829.95!   I love a good bargain.  This tops me finding a Whitney Point blanket for 50 cents at a yard sale. 

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to get another set of dishes in my kitchen cabinets.  This is going to be like trying to put ten pounds of lard in a five pound bucket.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


We went to the firing range.  Our friend kept badgering me to shoot his new .40 caliber pistol, so I did.    This is my target.  He can't hit the side of a barn with his own pistol.  I don't understand why, all you have to do is line those three little dots up on the pistol and fire away.   I've threatened to post it on the back door.  Do you think it would a deterrent to enter my home uninvited? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


This was the temperature on our porch late yesterday afternoon.  I was shocked!

We are staying inside and we are so very thankful for air conditioning.  We are also thankful our downstairs unit died several weeks ago when it wasn't so hot, rather than the last couple of days.

So for now we are right here in front of the fan just cooling it.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Recently, I have gotten involved with a group of ladies at my church that have been making dresses for girls around the world.  It is part of a nationwide movement, "Dress a Girl Around the World."  to make simple, colorful dresses for girls around the world.  The ladies that I've joined have already made hundreds of dresses and they have been taken to India, Guatemala, Germany and Russia.   The little dresses going to cooler climates require the addition of a tea shirt to wear under the dress.  As we make more dresses they will be taken to other countries when we have teams going on mission trips. 

There are groups of ladies all over the country sewing these little dresses.  They are so cute!  They are commonly called pillow case dresses.
Working on another dress.

Cute dresses to dress a little girl some where in the world.
They are simple to make with only one seam up the back with elastic across the front and back and double bias tape to bind the arm holes.   I was able to make five last week.  I have five more waiting in my sewing room calling my name and fabric for three or four more that must be cut out before I can get started on those.  

The ladies group at church meet every other Tuesday, we take our sewing machines, ironing boards, irons, surgers and sewing notions we know we will need and sew all day long.   Not all the ladies can sew, but they are out official pressing team and putting the elastic in the front and back casements before the arm holes are bound.   It is a lot of fun and a very worthwhile project.  Check out the link for more information about this project.  There is a button at this website for the patterns for the dresses.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Skyline of Atlanta
It's been eight weeks since we were ushered into the room, from the Emergency Room, with this view.  We spend two nights here after Hubby fell coming out of the attic of  his work shop and sustained a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra.  The injury has been very painful, but he was so fortunate that his injuries weren't worse, but it has been a l-o-n-g eight weeks, especially for some that is always moving and working and doing something.  Now the physical therapy starts, which should be lots of fun.  I call them physical terrorists.   

 We also had a bird's eye view of the landing pad for the medical helicopters.  We decided they must be delivering or picking up body parts (we were at a level 1 trauma center) for transplant purposes, because the helicopters were too small to be delivering patients with severe injuries.  Our friend, Jason, gave me a complete narrative of what was happening on the ground, when a helicopter flew in, during his visit.  

It is really scary when your beloved hubby has to be transported to the emergency room via ambulance.  I can't say enough good things about the EMTs that responded to my 911 call.  They were here in less than five minutes.  When they decided they were taking him to a level 1 trauma center I knew we might have some real problems.  They were so kind to me and allowed me to trail them down the interstate to the hospital.  When we arrived at the ER I was able to park and walk right in with them.  However, when we got inside my heart sank, there was a very long line of stretchers in the hallway.  I just knew we would be out there for hours.  Not so.  A nurse came up to us and said it would be a minute before a room was ready and in less than five minutes we were in a room and Hubby was receiving medical attention.  Oh yeah, our county sent us a bill for $790 for that ride.  I just pray our insurance will cover that cost.  

It's my prayer we never have to be in any hospital room again, even one with a view.  

Friday, March 2, 2012


L to R:

Mama Kate
Baby Kady

On February 22, 2012, my niece, Liz, gave birth to baby Kady. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. and was 21" long.

The great-grandmother, Mama Kate wanted to meet Kady, so we made a trip down to see my niece and baby. We were all thrilled to meet little Kady. She looks just like my niece when she was born.

This is the first girl born in our family in almost 28 years. We are excited. I don't why she is wearing blue, maybe she has already outgrown her small clothing.

Guess who was really interested in the new baby? Fat Kitty.

Oh yeah, the Great Dane has already put his seal of approval on the baby, a lick on the back of her head.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


MAMA (AKA: Mama Kate)!!!! This is unbelievable because she is legally blind.

My niece had a baby shower and one of the games was to estimate how big around she is at almost nine months pregnant.

Before the party began one of the ladies took a yellow roll of tape (without inches) and measured her. So, the tape was passed around and everyone measured off the distance they thought it was around Liz's belly. When it got my Mom I asked her how much tape she wanted measured off. She said, "give me the tape." She took the tape and measured a length from the tip of her nose to the end of her out-stretched arm and told me to add eight inches.

If you extend your arm out full-length it is approximately 36 inches from the tip of your nose to the end of your finger. My grandmother always measured fabric and string this way because she didn't have a yard stick.

Back to my point. So the lady started comparing every one's tape to the tape measured around Liz. Most people had over estimated the measurement by as much as a foot. When they got to my Mom, who is the great-grandmother, her tape was only 1/4 of an inch short of the actual measurement of my niece. She won the prize!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We love 18th century American history. This is the century in which our nation fought and won their independence from England. Since the early 1970s we have participated in Revolutionary War (Rev War) living history. We have managed to acquire (make) more than just a few pieces of period clothing to facilitate this unusual hobby. In the past we have participated in reenactments in some of the original colonies, to include the surrender at Yorktown, VA in 1982 which was the granddaddy of all reenactments. There were over 4,000 participants and was a really big deal. In addition, we have had the privilege of speaking to school groups, church groups, scouts and senior citizens about the role of the American soldier (and his wife) during the American Revolution. Along the way we have learned a great deal about our country's early history and the unbelievable odds and hardships that faced the men, and in some cases women, fighting for America's independence.

So. Hubby decided he wanted an all black hat. He has two hats trimmed in white, but decided he wanted the all black. I don't have a clue what uniform requires an all black hat. Anyway, these hat blanks are expensive and we are known for being frugal, so he had been shopping for a hat blank. We were in Target, of all places, and he found a black wool felt hat for under $20, so he bought it. It is a woman's hat, but it met all the requirements to be made into an 18th century military hat.

He had all these grand plans to turn that hat blank into a military style hat. Some how I managed to get involved in yet another one of his projects.

The first step he needed help with was putting wire around the edge of the hat so when it was cocked it would keep the desired shape. Then ribbon had to be hand sewn around the edge of the hat, a band placed inside to allow a perfect fit to his head and then a cockade made. All of this had to be done by hand, because using a modern sewing machine was just not appropriate for this particular project.

As I finished each phase of this hat project, I kept thinking he would complete the next step, but that didn't happen. I finally finished all the required hand work and he was ready to cock the hat, which I refused to do, because I didn't want to mess up the hat if I punched a hole in the wrong place, so I deferred that task to sweet Hubby. So he ties the hat in place and I thought the project was finished.

Oh no, now he wants a cockade to place under the cording on the hat. I didn't have a clue how to make a cockade, so Hubby Googles that subject and found instructions on the internet. He produces four pages of instructions consisting of mice type print with a few photos and expects me to follow the steps necessary to produce a cockade. It took me a couple of tries, but I did manage to made the cockade. It wasn't easy, but I did conquer that spool of black ribbon.

He now wants me to put one of my sewing tags in the hat, THEN the hat will be complete.