Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

I have always been fond of collecting and sharing quotes, inspirational thoughts, poems, scriptures, and words of wisdom.  Over the years I have saved scraps of paper where I've written these meaningful expressions, stashed them in envelopes, tacked them to bulletin boards, and sometimes tucked them between the pages of my Bible.  Several years ago I decided I needed a little more organized method for my madness so I purchased a nice little leather journal.  It was very inexpensive but the words within its pages are priceless.  There are some days that I just need a lift so I pull out my journal and just read through some thoughts, and then there are days when a burdened friend needs a little encouragement and I've turned to my trusty "Reflections" journal to find the perfect quote.  Whatever the need may be I have found my collection to be the medicine for many wounds.  I have to share a quick story with you about how this all started, many years ago when I was in fifth grade.

I grew up in Atlanta and as most people know, Atlanta is the home of the Coca Cola Bottling Company.  Every year the Cola Cola Company would give all students a Coca Cola tablet and pencil, and every year I just couldn't wait to get mine because I always used it to "play school".  It was the perfect thing to use for my grade book!  Fifth grade was no different and the morning I walked into my classroom and saw that stack of tablets on Miss Davidson's desk was like winning the lottery.  My mind was churning as I thought about how I was going to create my new grade book!  It's hard to believe that a fifth grader loved to play school but, that was back in the good old days when children really knew how to be creative with their playtime.  Anyway, as I remember it, after we had our morning devotional (yes we had those back in the day too!), the pledge to the flag and sang "My County 'Tis of Thee" I saw Miss Davidson quietly pick up the stack of tablets.  A big smile came over my face.  She passed a tablet  to each student and then turned on her perfect 3 inch pumps (yes teachers actually use to wear heels...all . day . long!) and said, "Boys and girls, this year we will be using our Coca Cola tablets to collect "Thoughts for the Day".  Wait a minute, did I hear her correctly?  Certainly she wasn't telling me how I was suppose to use MY tablet?  Oh but she was!!  She gave us all an ink pen and said it was also time for fifth graders to learn to write properly, with perfect penmanship, in ink!  My day was ruined!  I wanted to cry.  But I didn't....I took my tablet an began to write.  Every morning there would be a thought for the day on the board that we would have to write and occasionally, even memorize.  All that being said you know what?  I still have my Coca Cola tablet and it is one of most prized possessions.  I keep it here in my room at school and I can't tell you how many times I've pulled it out just to read some words of wisdom, copy a verse, or more times than not....just to travel back to  my fifth grade classroom and reminisce about the teacher who inspired me more than any other teacher I have ever had.  The teacher who taught me more than readin', ritin' and rithmethic!  She taught me about citizenship, about giving to others, about being a good person.  Now that my friends, is a good teacher.

Now, to my Thoughtful Thursday . . . I share with you the quote above. I've had this one for some time and read it often.  Just like I thought I had plans for my Coca Cola tablet . . . there were other more important plans for it, and I do believe God had a hand in it, and I believe His plan was the best plan.  I enjoyed our visit today.  Ya'll come back soon!     
My Coca Cola table - 1965
My journal now.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Moon Pies . . .A Southern Treat!

Well, ya'll all know there is nothing like a moon pie and an RC Cola to take care of a little hunger pain and here is a cute way to decorate a plain old moon pie and make it something special for Halloween!  Unwrap your moon pies and insert a 9" wooden dowel into the side, up through the marshmallow middle.  I pushed my dowel through, almost to the top.  Now you are ready to decorate them.  I laid them all out on a sheet of wax paper and used melted chocolate as my glue. I used the back of a spoon as my spatula and applied the melted chocolate all around the outter edge, then sprinkled orange Halloween sprinkles while the chocolate was sticky.  It only takes a few minutes for it to harden.  After the melted chocolate was hard I turned the moon pies over and shook off the excess sprinkles.  I attached candy corn with more melted chocolate, let that harden, packaged them in cellophane bags from AC Moore and tied them with curling ribbon in Halloween colors!  These are the cutest little treats!  I can't wait to give these to the children that will be coming to have some Halloween fun with me at school on Friday!  They will be so surprised!  Just let your imagination run with the decorating!  I love the banana moon pies too and I think they would be so cute decorated with a monogram!  Now you know everyone needs a monogrammed moon pie!  Hope ya'll have as much fun making these fun treats as I did!  Trick or Treat!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall memories are all in the smell and taste!

When I was a little girl one of my fondest memories was coming in from school on a cool fall or cold winter day and having the smell of my mama's gingerbread or fresh apple cake baking in the oven drift by my nose.  It's funny how now, years later, just the smell of cinnamon, ginger or cooked apples takes me back to a precious time in my life and conjures up all sorts of wonderful memories.  My mama was the Martha Stewart of the 60's and 70's and even today her organization skills will put Martha's to shame!  She always knew just what we needed when we walked in the door from school.  So, when the cool temperatures of autumn knock on my door I can't help but get out the cook book and look for recipes that not only tantalize the taste buds but...take me back to my childhood with their fragrance.  This weekend's cool temperatures brought that urge to me so I decided to bake up a batch of Molasses Cookies.  These cookies have a bit of a nostalgic tradition tied to them as well.  This recipe was shared with me by my sweet friend Sara who tells the story of her grandmother baking them every year in the fall.  The story goes that her grandmother was a docent at the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, Indiana.  Each year during their Fall Festival Sara's grandmother would bake these cookies and serve them with tea on the back porch of the Coffin House for the visitors who came for a tour.  Of course, it would become a tradition for her grandmother to bake them every year and now Sara tells me that every fall she bakes these cookies because... they just taste like fall!  I can certainly vouch for that too because the first time she shared them with me I had to have the recipe.  Saturday I baked a batch and as soon as everyone in my family took a bite they all said, "This tastes like fall!"  So today I'd like to share the recipe with you in hopes that the smell and taste of these cookies will take you back to a sweet childhood memory of fall.

Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup shortening, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup sorghum molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt shortening in saucepan over low heat.  Remove and cool.  Add sugar, molasses and egg.  Beat well.  Sift dry ingredients.  Add to first mixture.  Mix well and chill.  Form into 1" balls.  Roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.  Gently press the top of each ball to slightly flatten.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-7 minutes.  You will think they are not fully cooked but they are ready!  The cookies will have soft centers.  If you would like a crispier cookie, let them bake about 9 minutes.  ~Enjoy!