Thursday, June 27, 2013


Recently I had the privilege of visiting a charming little village in Kentucky called Grand Rivers.  It's right in the middle of a water-recreational-playground called Land Between the Lakes.  In the center of the village is a wonderful and well-known restaurant called Patti's 1800's Settlement.  Patti's is famous for their delicious 2" thick pork chop (and I can personally attest to the fact that it is mouth-watering G-O-O-D)!

However, pork chops are not all Patti's is famous for.  Their desserts are incredible!  They have graciously published one of their recipes, an old southern favorite called "Sawdust Pie", in their brochure.

This recipe, featuring ingredients like pecans, toasted coconut, and graham cracker crumbs;  served warm with sliced bananas and whipped cream, is a treat for your taste buds!  And did I mention how easy it is to make?  You simply mix all the ingredients together, pour into a pie crust and bake.  I usually bake mine during dinner, so that by the time we are ready for dessert, it's still warm and ready to enjoy!

Below is the recipe as printed in Patti's brochure:

7 egg whites, unbeaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups coconut
Mix all ingredients together and stir by hand.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake in preheated 325 degree oven until glossy and set (about 25-30 minutes).
DO NOT OVER BAKE!  Serve warm with sliced bananas and whipped cream.  Serves 8

Although I was born in the south and now live in the south. . .I was raised in Southern California, so many of the recipes that have been around this area for generations, are brand new to me.  My southern friends often roll their eyes as I extol the virtues of my "new" culinary discoveries (as if to say, "Here she goes again!")

I hope you will try making Patti's Sawdust Pie.  You too, will be singing it's praises!  Better yet, if you're in the area, make a point of planning a visit to Patti's 1800's Settlement to enjoy a slice there.  Just tell them ~Norma Jean~ sent you!

Thanks for stopping by!                              

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



People often wonder where creative people get  their ideas.  Some of them come from stealing seeing something someone else has done, but creative inspiration can come from anything, even pancakes! 

A few weeks ago, we were enjoying breakfast at a local restaurant with our seven-year-old granddaughter.  She ordered her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon.  When the pancakes were served, the waitress placed three miniature syrup bottles beside her plate. 

After she emptied the first one, I noticed that the bottle had a pretty pattern pressed into the glass.  Immediately, an idea began to form. . .with the caps and labels removed, wouldn't those little bottles make cute miniature vases? Wait!  Not just vases. . .but. . .vases secured to a wreath. .  . holding small single stems of flowers!

Thus, a creative idea was born.  The idea called for a few more visits to the restaurant and several more orders of pancakes, in order to acquire the number of bottles needed to complete the project!  

With the exception of a grapevine wreath, all the remaining supplies required, were in my well-stocked craft cabinets!

To make a wreath YOU will need:
           1.  7-10 small bottles
           2.  A grapevine wreath 
           3.  Wire
           4.  Wire cutters
           5.  Artificial greenery (2 or more varieties) 
           6.  Ribbon or other decorative items 
           7.  Fresh flowers
           8.  A glue gun (optional, but helpful) 

Step 1: Position greenery around the wreath, leaving some areas of the wreath exposed.  Once you are pleased with the results, secure the greenery with wire or hot glue.  (Note: using more than one variety of greenery gives a more interesting appearance).  

Step 2:   Hot glue each bottle to the wreath in an upright position (so that it will hold water). This is where a glue gun may be helpful to insure that the bottle remains in an upright position.

Space bottles evenly around the wreath. The number you use will depend on how large your wreath is and how close together you want your bottles. I like working with odd numbers, 3, 5, 7 etc.

Step 3.  At this point you may want to add a bow or other decorative items to the wreath.  If you hide a sticky-backed circle of Velcro in the greenery, you will be able to change the ribbon for different holidays, by  attaching an opposing circle of Velcro onto different bows. . .just a thought!

Step 4:  Hang the wreath where it will be displayed.

Step 5:  Using a small funnel, fill each bottle with water.  Since the bottles are small, you may have to add more water to them on a daily basis.

Step 6: You are now ready to add fresh flowers to your creation!

Wouldn't a fresh flower wreath make a cute and welcoming baby or wedding shower decoration?   Or Valentine's with a few heart pics here and there. . .or. . .Christmas. . .or. . . Birthday. . .you get the idea.  The ribbon is easily replaced because of the Velcro attachments, and the decorations on the bottles remove easily because they are hot-glued onto glass.  I filled my bottles with white petunias from my garden because they were handy, but any single bloom would look beautiful.

And now you know. . .how a simple pancake breakfast became the inspiration for a decorative door wreath!  If you decide to make one, let me know how it turned out, okay?

Thanks for stopping by!

                                    ~Norma Jean~

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's that time of year again. . .you know. . .when weeds threaten to overtake the world.

We have a large courtyard covered in stone.  Unfortunately, the stones were laid without mortar or cement.  I was hoping that over time, moss would grow between them, giving the stones an "old world, been there forever" appearance.  However, the only thing I have been able to grow (and grow in abundance!) is more weeds!  BIG weeds, little weeds, pretty weeds, ugly weeds. . . so many weeds. 

Initially, I would pull the weeds from between each and
every stone.  It involved several days of back-breaking work, aching muscles and cramped fingers.  Sadly, before I could claim victory, I would discover that the menacing little devils were growing back!

Then one day, I discovered Pinterest!  Pinterest has hundreds of ways to rid your yard of weeds.  I tried a few, but they didn't work very well.  Until. . .I discovered the answer to all my weed woes.  It was a simple formula that could be made in the average kitchen, by anyone. . .and the most amazing thing. . .it actually worked.  It killed those little weeds dead!

In the photos you see half of the courtyard a week after it had been sprayed with the magic formula, and the other half of the courtyard in it's natural un-sprayed state!

This magical Pinterest formula won't harm you. . .or your children
 . . .or your pets. . .but. . .the death bell will toll for all those nasty little weeds.

You will need:  1 gallon of cider vinegar
                            1/2 cup of table salt
                            1 T. of Dawn dish washing detergent

Mix well, pour into a spray bottle and SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY!  If you choose a warm, sunny day to try this, you will see the weeds withering and dying within a couple of hours.  I would avoid watering the area for a day or two so that none of the magic potion washes away.  I would also use caution around plants that you don't want to wither and die!

"L.B.P." (Life Before Pinterest) was so-o-o-o-o hard, wasn't it?

Thanks for stopping by!

                                                        ~Norma Jean~

Monday, June 3, 2013


For the next ten days I will be entertaining house guests.  Since I  want to spend as much time with them as possible, but also squeeze in a visit or two with you, I decided to keep this post short and sweet.

Last week I purchased a couple of wooden Birdcage cutouts from Michael's craft store ($3.99 each) and had my 7 year old granddaughter paint them for me. 

We used black chalkboard paint because it was handy, and because as silhouettes, we thought they would add a touch of whimsy to our front porch. 
Didn't she do a great job and don't they look sweet?      Thank you, Katie!

I've had this antique, child's ice cream set for years.  Last year I used it in the garden "as is."   However, this year I decided to give it a little pizazz and protect it from the elements, by painting it.  I used a couple of cans of Krylon spray paint.  It only took a few minutes to sand and paint and about an hour to dry!  I love the color, but now I have to search out the perfect spot for it in the garden.

Thanks for stopping by!

                                      ~Norma Jean~