Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa has it all over black Friday...

Santa certainly has it all over black Friday. That is the way it appears at Phipps Mall here in Atlanta, Ga. The holiday frenzy starts mid year with Mothers shopping for the perfect outfit for their little ones to wear for the annual photo with Santa. Here in Atlanta it is a tradition to come to Phipps and have your child photographed with the same Santa every year. The Santa area looks like a modern day movie set with a high price tag.

On Oct.8, 2009 precisely at 12:01 AM the online reservations begin. Weeks before you can find notices on iphones and taped to magnets on refrigerators to reminder Moms and Dads not to miss the opening day of Santa photo registration. Reservations sell out each and every year in record time. I refer to this as a Willy Wonka type of magic ticket lottery. This year my daughter stayed up until midnight along with most of the Moms in Atlanta for a reservation for our little "Mr. Vundervants". Personally I think this is nutty. I mean why just not go to another Mall and see another Santa for FREE?

Let me give you a little history here about little "Mr. Vundervants". For the past two years he has been all dressed in his finest. We blah blah blah about the nice man in the red suit for the entire week prior to our visit. We all take turns reading Santa books and talk the whole nine yards. He then takes one look at Santa and cries. So why would this year be any different? "Mr. Vundervants" has certainly showed off his muscle mass by holding onto his Mom with a death grip that could rival any weight lifter on steroids.

After prying him off of Moms black and blue arms he was placed gingerly upon Santa's knee. Instead of playing jingle bells they should have been playing Cry Me A River. The tears were flowing readily.

The offering of a candy cane from Santa did nothing to make the tears stop flowing. He was up and out of there faster then Prancer and Dancer.

Thank heavens Christmas only comes but once a year!
Do you have an Santa photo memories?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Color Carnival at the Atlanta zoo with the birds...

Click on each photo to view larger

If you would enjoy viewing more colorful photos please visit

Color Carnival HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crusts...are really easy as pie...foodie friday

I baked pies all week to give to my neighbors. I decided a few years ago that I would bake in the Fall for friends and neighbors which would give me more time to spend with my own family during December. So many people ask me my pie secrets and honestly I do not have any that are out of the norm. I thought I would share the following information with you from HERE concerning a perfect pie crust. I hope you find it helpful in baking your holiday pies.

Happy Thanksgiving

For more recipes please visit: designsbygollum.blogspot

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elephants don't forget but I sure do...

Do you find yourself forgetting things? It happens to me all the time. Lately my memory seems to have taken a hiatus. Honestly I do not remember where it went or when it is suppose to return.

I recently purchased a large and bright writstlet to help me find my keys. It has helped me save time trying to remember where I put those keys. Of course I am clueless as to what half these keys actually open.

Do you often write a list of items you need to purchase at the grocery store on those yellow Posty notes and then forget to take the list with you? I now staple the list to the handle of my purse.

I purchased eco green shopping bags to help save the environment. I arrive at the store and either leave the bags at home or in the car. I now hang the bags on the inside of my front door so I do not forget to take them. I drive away hopefully remembering which store has the sale that day.

The coupons I was to bring to the grocery store are usually sitting home all organized on my kitchen counter. I bet if the check out counter service people had a dollar for every time they hear me say I forgot my coupons they could probably retire by now.

Finding the car when I come out of the store is another issue entirely!

Birthday cards are written in time because I write the information down on my calender but I have no clue as to where I put the stamps.

I often forget what I ate for breakfast. When I remember that I am dieting I write it all down to keep track of my calories and dieting points. Some times it is good to forget especially if you eat a piece of cake for breakfast.

Often I forget if I have taken my pills or not. Problem solved. I purchased a little weekly pill box but just where in the world did I put that gizmo?

When someone has changed their blog header photo that just really throws me for a loop. This must be a brand new blogger, although the content sounds familiar. Hum? Don't worry I will never change my header photo as I forgot how to do that too.

Have you opened your pantry or fridge and wondered what in the world you were looking for?
Admit that you have done this more often then you would like to remember.

If you happen to see a lady in Wally World, wearing a dress with a million yellow posty papers stapled to her purse, carrying an eco friendly shopping bag, waiting in line at the pharmacy it is probably me. I am there to pick up my memory pills. Stop and introduce yourself. Don't expect me to remember your name because I am lucky if I can remember my own name these days!

What are some of the things you forget?
Inquiring senior moment minds want to know.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's your favorite movie...November Writers Challenge...

I came across Lori's blog family trees may contain nuts and her writers challenge. I enjoyed reading last months challenge and thought I would just jump in and participate in this months theme:
What's your favorite movie?

I fell in love with Cinama Paradiso. It captures the essence of the movie experience in a small Italian town. This is unlike so many small towns in the USA where the movie was the social event on the weekend after a long week of hard work. I hope that when you view this movie it will also bring back some fond memories for you.

My Dad would often share his movie experiences with me. As a young boy he looked forward to the movies with his two brothers. They were each given a nickle. I think the movie was a few pennies and they would have a penny left over for candy. They would line up early in the morning for a good seat. Upon arrival into the theater there would be a piano player playing and the audience was asked to sing along. My Dad said he mostly saw silent black and white cowboy and Indian movies accompanied by piano music. In later years sound was included with the films. Afterwards, everyone would discuss the movie and return home to look forward to the next weeks show.

My Dad use to take me to the movies and I remember the RKO in our town very vividly. The little ticket booth was on the side and you entered onto a long red carpet. The smell of popcorn would hit you as soon as you walked into the lobby. Talk about a Pavlov's dog experience. My mouth would water just waiting to bite into those buttery popped corn kernels. The candy case seemed to stretch on for miles with amazing treats. My Dad would always buy the ice cream bon bons and then give me the box. I use to blow into the end of the box which made a sound like a whistle. The stage in the movie theater was gilded with gold flowers and cherubs. Those long red velvet drapes magically slid open at the beginning of every movie and closed gracefully as the house lights came up. The seats were soft and squeaky. It was so magical to be transported to different countries and see lovely dressed ladies upon that big screen.

Gone are the days of the small town movie theaters. Today there are giant mega movie complexes selling mega sized sodas and chips and hot dogs. No matter what, when the lights go down and the big screen comes up it is still a magical moment.

*Movie contains subtitles
Please go to YouTube to listen to the amazing music score and view movie clips.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Apple Crumb Pie...Foodie Friday

This is my all time favorite baking pan to use in Autumn. I purchased this baking dish the first time I was visiting California many years ago. It was my first time ever shopping in a Crate & Barrel in the Stanford Mall. I remember being so impressed by an outside type of Mall with colorful flowers and trees and an outside escalator. Gosh I sound like I had been locked up for years. I was in my glory walking, well running really, up and down the aisles of Crate & Barrel. Pots and pans and kitchen gizmo's gadgets make me so happy. When I spotted this ceramic apple dish I was so excited. I could think of a dozen recipes to bake in this dish. My husband is the type of guy who if I like something he has to buy it for me on the spot. So we purchased the dish. It is quite heavy. We never thought to even have it shipped home. We toted the apple dish from hotel to hotel and from car to car and from airport to airport. Every Autumn I take this dish out of my cabinet and have the most fun baking in it. It brings back fun memories of California and also all the wonderful people who have shared a dessert with us.

Today I wanted to try a new recipe for apple crumb pie. You can find the recipe HERE at . My house smells wonderful and I bet there will not be any crumbs left on anyone's plate.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A salute to Snickerdoodles and our American Heroes...Transcending generations & oceans...foodie Friday...

Snickerdoodles seem to be one of the cookies that transcends generations. This little cookie has been around forever and is so versatile in taste and texture. It is crisp with just a hint of cinnamon. It appeals to both the elderly and the young. It will continue to delight the pallet long after trends in cookies have come and gone. A classic treat and one that I am sure delights the Cookie Monster in all of us.

Years ago Snickerdoodles were made with Crisco and now some recipes call for butter. Here is my little secret. I make mine with butter flavored Crisco sticks. Why? I need a cookie that I can ship to soldiers in Iraq that will not melt, turn rancid in the extreme heat of 100* weather or crumble. These cookies travel well across oceans in mail trucks, military planes, across a desert and reach the hands of many of US finest men and women who are keeping us safe each and every day.

Packages can average about 2 to 4 weeks depending upon where a military unit is stationed and some times even longer. There seems to be no rhyme or reason. So keeping a home baked good fresh is definitely a challenge. Holiday times can be longer due to the volume of mail. It is important that holiday mail be posted by mid-November.

For the above reasons , I have found that the soldiers have responded in a positive way to the Snickerdoodle cookie. I also add a little question and answer sheet with each box with a self addressed envelope (no return postage needed as military postage is free during deployment). I ask the soldier to check off answers to some of my questions to the condition of the box upon arrival. The overwhelming result is always to send more and 99% of the time they check the cookies arrived fresh and also intact. Recently one soldier wrote to me and said:

" I need your cookies to remind me of home and so that I personally do not crumble".

Perhaps you can find it in your heart to send a letter or a care package to a soldier. There are many wonderful sites out there for you to join during the entire year. I personally am a member of the following sites and have found them to be extremely helpful and supportive of our soldiers.

RECIPE can be found HERE

For more foodie recipes and facts please head on over to designsbygollum.blogspot