Tuesday, September 23, 2014



     No one prepared me for this stage of parenting.  There are tons of books preparing you for having a baby,  potty training,  dealing with tantrums,  getting children safely through adolescence (on this one I think you can count no drug addictions, no lasting scars, and no arrests a win  ---  actually, even if these things happen and you are still standing you can count it a win)  and,  how to handle that first year of college.  But, there is absolutely  nothing that prepares a parent for the gut wrenching years of seeing your children through early adulthood.  This has been the hardest summer of my life and I am not ashamed to admit it.  One child  completed graduate school in a triumphant manner  ---  big celebration,  happy times,  lots of emotion and hoop-la followed by an even more emotional move to a far away city where I cannot get to her in under seven hours.  She is all alone.   I cannot be there to see her through.  She has to do this by herself.  I hope I have prepared her.

     Another child completed a graduate degree,  passed all the parts of an impossibly hard test and moved to a new city to begin a new job using the new degree.  It all sounded good.  Then there was a really bad break up which pretty much  brought us all to our knees and caused all kinds of turmoil and heartache followed by a rough adjustment to the new job.  Have I given him the skills he needs to navigate this road?

    Our daughter in law also began a new job this summer which has really been a challenge.   I wish so badly I could do this for her but I can't.  I hope I am the encourager and supporter she needs.     Am I doing my job?

     What brought on these dismal musings in this lightweight blog, you ask.  Well, our youngest child, the baby, turned 21 this weekend.  Of course, we had a fun celebration with friends and family at our home on Saturday night and  I want to share a few pictures from it with you.  
     You need to know that I like to use what I have on hand as much as possible.  If you could see my garden you would know that this year it was "slim pickins."   What it boiled down to was plenty of zinnias and a handful of ornamental peppers.  But, like the loaves and the fishes look at how it all turned out!

     I arranged the zinnias in martini glasses using some floral oasis and fern from my porch and the ornamental peppers looked great on an appetizer tray in a small silver pitcher.   Using surprising containers lifted my home-grown flowers to a new level!

     The table settings included pea shooters --- a huge hit,  paper pumpkins with surprises tucked inside and chalk table runners and buckets of chalk.  No, these were not four year olds, but, they loved it!

     The birthday girl loves art and I have discovered that the wonderful people at The Tulip Tree Wedding Chapel will tackle any cake.  Last year it was Van Gogh's Starry Night --- my very favorite painting, and this year I requested Van Gogh's Sunflowers.  Look at how well they turned out!!!


     I know all that techno stuff should not be in this picture but I do not know how to get rid of it.  I told you I am not good at technology.

    It would not be a party without friends.......

    So, to the birthday girl I would say that it is your time to sparkle and shine and even though this may seem like a rite of passage to you,  Dad and I know that it is really another milestone for us.  To all the parents of adult  children  I would say "Buck up!  Our job is never finished!"  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Punkins, Made on Acorn Hill

        I think I may need a pumpkin intervention.  Fall fever hits me pretty hard about this time every year and this year's cool weather has intensified the symptoms.  So far, I have visited the fruit stand (my Dad calls it the Peach Orchard) three times to load up on pumpkins.  They are my solution to a myriad of decorating issues in the fall.
        Need a table arrangement?  Pumpkins and squash, of course.
        Something by your front door?   A big, fat pumpkin would be perfect!
        A hostess gift?  Who wouldn"t love one of those small, warty ones?

      Vineyard's doesn't sell pumpkins but we are celebrating the first day of autumn on Tuesday, September 23.  We will be giving away a bar of  Made on Acorn Hill soap to customers spending over $25.00.   These soaps and other products are fabulous and made right here in Jackson, Tennessee of goat's milk and other natural ingredients.  ( We fondly think of them as the goat girls....).   Also, for that one day only our fall decorations will be 20% off.  Yes, this does include potpourri and candles!
      I hope to see you Tuesday to help celebrate the official beginning of my favorite season and just in case you are wondering --- Green Acres Pumpkin Patch in Milan says on their recording that they will probably open this Saturday, the 20th.   I know --- I have called!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

West Tennessee State Fair

     Remember when we used to get out of school an hour early to go to the fair?  Somehow, I have never outgrown that excitement.   One year when my kids were in high school I still managed to get everyone rounded up to go the fair with me because they were having a costume contest for cows!  I could hardly wait to get there.  Well, maybe  the costumes were a bit lackluster,  but cows never disappoint.  They are always calm and beautiful.  Have you ever seen prettier eyelashes?

    Last year we had to rush to the fairgrounds when I heard about the monkeys racing on dogs.   I simply had to see the Banana Race.  And, it was fun --- and cute --- and over pretty quickly!

     This year it was Kachunga, the alligator wrestler, that beckoned.   I mean, how often do we Jacksonians get to see a real alligator wrestler?  So, Friday after work John and I went to the fair.  He was only a week out of surgery so we took it kind of slow but we ate 4H chicken of course,  saw the Banana Race,  spent some time with the cows,  ( I remembered too late that my mother forbade me to ever wear open toed shoes to the fair ---  won't do that again), went to the tractor pull, viewed the exhibits and of course, attended Kachunga's show which proved to be informative and delightful!

    I am proud to say that Vineyard's own Denise Stuart was responsible for putting together the crop competition booth in the exhibit hall.  No, she is not a farmer, not even a native West Tennessean but she is fulfilling the requirements for her master gardener certification.  The booth looked great --- maybe too good.  I think the powers that be are lobbying Denise to participate next year!

     Why does the fair fascinate me so?  I don't know......It is just so hometown.  So unifying.   I mean gosh, sentimental..  How could you not get a lump in your throat when the giant Skytrak forkliftie thing held up a colossal American flag for the national anthem at the tractor pull?   Or, when the most adorable little boy you have ever seen manhandled his prize winning heifer around the cattle ring?  Or when very hardworking and polite teenagers waited on you at dinner?   So, next year I hope to see you at the fair.  A word of advice though --- be sure to wear thick socks and tennis shoes.
                    Sweet face.....                                  

Denise's booth.......

     A prize winning watermelon.  Be glad I did not show you the video I took of this guy.  I told you I am not good with technology!  Truly, a 20 second video!!!  Don't worry, you did not miss much!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peaches and Cream

Before all of the peaches get away from us I want to show you this cute table from a family dinner at my house this summer.  I used Caspari  plates and napkins and Skyros  peasant mats.  The gladiolas were quite inexpensive, the zebra grass was from my yard and the peaches were put to good use after the meal!

Sometimes things just work out well and when they do I like to share ideas.  Stop by the store soon to see new fall paper products!