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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thank you for your service!


No matter where we are, when we see a service member, my children and I make a point to stop and thank them for their service. Most recently we were actually in line at a drive-thru. The tag in front indicated a disabled veteran, and there were service-related bumper stickers across the back. When the driver paid, I saw a prosthetic arm emerge from the window. As I pointed this out to my children and reminded them that the freedoms we enjoy were and are bought at a great sacrifice of brave men and women all around us, my eight-year-old asked permission to hop out of the car. Permission granted, she walked up to the passenger side and knocked on the window. When the driver rolled the window down, she simply said, "Thank you for your service. My family appreciates it." She got back in car and told us he smiled a huge smile and told her that her thanks had made his day. He waved at me from the driver's side and left with his food.


I am sure many of you have family members who have served. You might have served. Military service members and their families sacrifice a great deal for all of us. 

From our family to yours, thank you

Memorial Day is not just once a year in our house; we are reminded of the efforts of our military in the simple freedoms we enjoy in our everyday lives.


Military life can be really hard on families, but there are programs to help support them. Many can be found here: http://www.arfp.org/skins/ARFP/home.aspx. One initiative in particular is the the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program: http://www.army.mil/article/14011/army-reserve-yellow-ribbon-program-helping-soldiers-families-during-deployment-cycle/. The yellow ribbon symbol is often used to convey that an absent family member is welcomed home again, and yellow represents many different military divisions or corps.  For more information about the history of the yellow ribbon, click here: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/ribbons/ribbons.html. For a list of colors and divisions in the Army, click here: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%5Earmc.html


I have my fair share of red, white, and blue, but I really love these plates I found on eBay. They allow me to tie in the yellow theme of remembering our men and women in service.


I was lucky to find six, four from one dealer and two from another; they just happened to be listed simultaneously many months ago. I have never been able to find any others.


I love the detail of the servicemen, the Liberty Bell, and specific symbols which represent what their work is all about.



This image is particularly sentimental to me. It reminds me of the gates of the Old Capitol in Milledgeville, Georgia. I spent three years at the fantastic military prep school there before going to boarding school in Maryland.


My girls are walking ahead of me to the gate after the homecoming football game this past fall.


The old capitol building, a part of the Georgia Military College and Preparatory School now (http://prep.gmc.cc.ga.us/), this building was the seat of the state government of Georgia when Milledgeville was the state capital.



The cadets are in formation, honoring alumni.


At homecoming, it was wonderful seeing friends, many of whom went on to serve or become part of military families. We have had the good fortune to visit some of them here and abroad.



And when we are traveling, we are mindful to appreciate military history. We love to travel, experience other cultures and languages, but we are grateful to be American citizens. We have lived in one of the most remarkable nations ever created, and we appreciate it every day. And we always appreciate those who have protected it.


-Andrea




Saturday, May 28, 2011

To All Who Have Served...


“The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.”
From A Dirge for Two Veterans by Walt Whitman

On Memorial Day this year, I would like to give thanks to all of the soldiers who created and defended this great republic. I would, also, like to thank the people who stayed behind and kept the home fires burning, during times of wars and conflicts.
At the beginning of World War II, my father tried to enlist, but was refused. He had a blind spot in one eye and was not eligible. However, he more than did his part for the war effort. He was the local manager of a utility company in a small Georgia town and during the war, he was responsible for everything there. He sold appliances, repaired appliances, located trouble with any power lines and fixed them, when necessary. He and my mother ran the entire operation and my father’s health suffered from the strain. He, eventually, had to be hospitalized for exhaustion. To all of the people who helped with our wars at home and the ones who sacrificed in so many other ways, I say, “Thank you”.
I appreciate my husband’s uncle who was held captive by the Germans for most of the World War II. Many thanks to my brother who was a military advisor in Vietnam. I am grateful for the sacrifices made by two of my ancestors in the Revolutionary War and for the service of my husband's brother-in-law in Iraq with the National Guard. I would, also, like to thank my uncle, Jack, whom I never knew. He was a doughboy in World War I and lied about his age, so that he could enlist early. Today, I will close my blog with a poem written by an American doctor in France who treated my uncle, after he was wounded “over there”. Apologies for the mistakes in grammar and punctuation, but I am copying it just as it was written.



A World War I “Doughboy”

A celebration is in order to honor all of the brave men and women who have served in the military. Our family celebration will be a southern “fish fry”. We will fry tilapia and catfish - that most southern fish of all. Here is the table where we will dine:





Lots of flags for waving



Stars and stripes

Uncle Sam will pay a visit to join in the celebration.



Red, white and blue everywhere!



Hope you all have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day week-end!
Diane

WARD B COT NUMBER TWO
We placed him by the window cause
He was used to good fresh air
And was badly shrapenelled up and
broken boned for fair.
But he smiled right through the bandage as he eyed the Thomas Splint.
That is, he eyed it with one eye and
at that he had to squint.
He never asked for favors what was-was
good enough. Why he took the
Dakin treatment
As tho’ he liked the stuff
And when some sorely stricken
had gave way and raised a din,
He’d call out through his cotton
gauzes, “Don’t give up old man, dig in.
Don’t lose your nerve ole timer
Don’t let go of your grip
You can jump a dam a sight faster
Than you can climb on the ship
We’ve some hunting yet to do as soon
As we’re both well
So when the game gets rough old pal
Just stick in spite of hell.”
He’s been evacuated now but
I’ll say this for his cot
It never held a gamer boy
with a tougher up hell lot.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Week to Celebrate





This week has been a special one for our family. My son's baseball team advanced to playoffs for the first time since he played t-ball. My younger daughter has just qualified for gifted services. And Emma, my fellow blogger, has been declared officially well in the past week. And while she missed almost every day of school from November to May, she is recognized this week for making the all A honor roll. What an accomplishment for her! 


Other updates: Book Wars has begun for the summer in my house. It is a six-week contest that requires a certain number of pages to be read and summarized. There are pretty hefty rewards for making goals and especially beating me. My son is currently winning with nearly 1000 pages read in the last 7 days. Pretty good for a third grader!


And last, but not least, my husband and I have been married 15 years this week. What a 15 years! This is what our anniversary table would look like if we had time for a quiet dinner! 












China:
Lenox Tuxedo and Lenox Westport
Silver: 
Sir Christopher by Wallace
Crystal:
Lismore by Waterford




I am off to an awards ceremony for Emma tonight, a perfect place to spend my anniversary!


-Andrea


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Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Apple for the Teacher


It is Saturday morning, at 7:30am, and I have been awake for almost 4 hours. Does that every happen to you? I am on day three of waking too early to do much else but work on the computer. 


Now that the sun is up, and I am the only creature stirring, I am coming out to the porch for a breakfast by myself.  It's one of those mostly-carbohydrate meals because I don't want to wake anyone yet by banging around in the kitchen! I am making apple oatmeal, a half a bagel with cream cheese, grapes, and adding a glass of orange juice. 



I am excited to finally get to use one of my apple tureens. I found five at the Tuesday Morning near my house a few weeks ago. They are so cute!



The plant in the center of the table was begun when Emma was still sick. We started so many projects when we couldn't get out much, like this blog. Most of them are new hobbies for us together.



I also found a pile of linens on sale at TM the same day I bought the apples. The white dinner plates are from the Dollar Tree, and the green salad play was purchased on eBay. I see them often. The pattern is Emerald Leaf by Culinary Arts.





I am off to the kitchen to take my bagel out of the microwave and pop in the oatmeal. 


The recipe is really simple: 1 pack of instant maple or brown-sugar flavored oatmeal. Follow the directions to add water and to heat, except add one chopped up green apple and 1-2 extra teaspoons water. Heat an additional 15-30 seconds depending on how crunchy you like your apple. You may have to add a little water post heating if it is too dry. I like to add a teaspoon extra of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, but it is really good as is.


Hope you have a fantastic weekend!


-Andrea





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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dinner on the Porch


“How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!”
”Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses





When my husband and I built our house nineteen years ago, the first piece of furniture that was installed was the swing on our screened-in porch. This was even before the house was finished. The swing was built by a friend of ours and given to us as a house warming gift. Nothing in our home as ever been so well loved. Family members and friends always hurry to find seats there, when we are visiting on the porch. As babies, all three of our grandchildren have been lulled to sleep with the motion of that wonderful swing. The grandchildren love that Robert Louis Stevenson poem above and I eventually set it to music. We have sung that song a million times - when first I pushed them in the swing and now, when we swing together.
Our porch is a perfect place to entertain, but in the midst of a Georgia summer, the brutal temperatures can send us scurrying back inside, even with the fan going full force. Right now is the perfect time to have a nice dinner out there and I have decorated the table with china that I discovered at Tuesday morning.



First, I covered the table with a green tablecloth to blend with the beautiful outside.





Next, I placed on the table a dinner plate, which is the Savinio “Fleur de Rouge” pattern. The dinner plate is plain with just gold trim, which is wonderful to mix with other china patterns. The salad plates and bread and butter plates (I did not have room for those in this setting) are the stars in this pattern, however. They are decorated with four different sets of pink-to-red flowers.






What wonderful plates for an outside dinner!



The gorgeous dark red goblets were discovered at Tuesday Morning, also. The color blends so well with the flowers on the plates.



Rose’ wine from a Waterford carafe and water from a Gorham pitcher will be poured into the beautiful goblets. The rose’ is a perfect color for the table setting – my husband and I fell in love with the light taste of this wine, when we were in Provence. It is a favorite of the people who live in that region.



Flatware with a floral motif was added, along with ecru Vera Bradley napkins. I bought these napkins and two matching tablecloths at Dillard’s many years ago and still love them. They are easy to launder and are stain-resistant. My family has eaten dozens meals on the tablecloths and they have made it through many spills by the grandchildren and adults!



The centerpiece is a simple large hurricane with a candle inside.



Other candles were used on the porch, as well.



In this photograph, you can see how high we are above the lake on which we live. You can see the lake, if you really look hard among the trees. It is almost like dining in a tree house.


As daylight fades, you can appreciate the lights that my husband installed around the top of the porch. They cast an almost magical glow to the ambiance of an after dinner coffee or drink. This picture was taken without our porch light off, so that you could really see these little lights.
I hope that you have a special place in your home that truly embodies your family times together. Our porch is definitely ours!

















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