Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Royal Couple. Hop and Suri.

Before I get into today’s post, let me pass on a quick message from Nathan and Meagan, the Royal Couple, (Well, they’re royal to us at least.)

I talked with them on the phone last night and they said that they’ve gotten wedding gifts from several of you that they weren’t expecting; they were so excited about receiving them and are thankful to have their upcoming Big Day celebrated by the Smithellaneous Family! (And Steve and I are grateful to you, as well.)

They mentioned that a few of the gifts didn’t include a return address and since they would love to send you a personal thank you note, they asked me to request that anyone who sent a gift without an address, please email your address to me (Becky) at I’ll pass the info on to them.

Also, they said that for anyone who is still planning to send a gift, you can just include your address in the message area of the form, if you’re getting something from Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target—the two places where they are registered.

Once again, thanks for being so kind to “our kids.”


And speaking of “our kids” here’s the soon-to-married kid with the soon-to-be-a-bridesmaid kid. Is it just me, or does time go by way too fast?


Speaking of our Bridesmaid Gal, last week Sarah had a friend stay over who she met back in Smithfield three years ago. They have kept in touch with each other since we moved away and try to spend a few days together several times a year. (And by the way, their nicknames are Hop and Suri—don’t ask me why.)

Hope is a delightful and funny young lady who is home schooled, enjoys books, writing, and words and also loves Sarah’s favorite singer, Owl City. They always have so much fun together and I just love seeing their young friendship continue to thrive.

When I told them I wanted to take a few pictures, they sat very nicely by the tree for a few moments.



And then at some mysterious signal (that moms are obviously not privy to) they suddenly leapt up and began to fling themselves about the front yard. I was taken aback for one half of one second and then I thought, “Oh! Flinging around the yard pictures! I must capture some!”

And I did.

sarah hope

As it turns out, the reason for all the flinging was to accomplish this cute pose.



And all too soon, the visit was over and I drove Hop and Suri back to Smithfield so that we could meet up with Hope’s very sweet mom, Melody.

Hope, thanks for coming and being an honorary Smith for a week; we enjoyed you!


A Few Comments/Questions

Lisa said, “I don't do thrift stores, so I appreciated your thoughts on the dressing rooms. Makes me glad I don't shop in them. It's not a "Lovey, I don't DO thrift stores" thing. It's just that being a plus sized gal means there's not much there for me and it always turns out to be a waste of my time.”

Oh dear me! I feel like I have been disloyal to my beloved thrift stores and painted them in a bad light. Let me just say that the majority of thrift/consignment stores have adequate to lovely dressing rooms—I was just commenting on some of the “memorable ones” for dramatic effect.

Also, I am finding more and more of the stores that are carrying a good selection of plus sizes.

I don’t know there—there’s just something about the rush you get when you find something for next to nothing that you could never afford in real life. This past week, I found a darling blouse with the tags still on. It was $68 from Coldwater Creek, which is one of my favorite stores. I got it for $3.39 and I was a happy woman.

So please, please don’t give up!

(By the way, Lisa writes one of my favorite blogs, The Pennington Point. Whenever I see that she has a new post up, I always do my happiest of Happy Dances.)

Concerning my post on criticism, Denise said, “As a writer, this is one page I visit now and again. It has a collection of famous rejection letters. Reading them makes me remember that a critic is only one person, and that their opinion isn't the end-all.”

Denise, thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of that site; it’s wonderful. I now have it bookmarked.

Commenting on the fruit dessert I posted pictures of, Margie contributed a recipe of her own for making the same type of dessert.

She said, “I have a similar recipe that was featured at Publix last week. It was so good I made it twice.”

2 (5.3) containers nonfat Greek yogurt with honey
3 cups fresh mixed berries
1 prepared shortbread (used graham cracker second time) pie crust
1 big tablespoon confectioners sugar

Stir yogurt to blend honey, spread 1 container over crust place 1/2 berries over yogurt
Top with confectioners sugar

Thanks, Denise. It sounds wonderful!

Sue G said, “ What??? No photos of the two dresses??? You seriously aren't going to leave us out of the voting, are you????

And, as long as I'm already being bossy, please get the recipe for the fruit dessert. You know it's only a matter of minutes before everyone is begging you for it!

Okay, my work here is done. For now.”

Sue, as always your comments make me either think or smile. This time I’m smilin’.

First of all, I’m afraid the whole dresscapade thing is going to have to remain highly secret until the day of the wedding. Not even Snowy is allowed to see the finalists!

As for the fruit dessert, I actually do not have that exact recipe (it was purchased from Harris Teeter)but I’ve made a dessert in the past that’s similar and uses a sugar cookie crust. It looks similar to this.

9a Desserts Fruit Dessert Pizza

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to put my hands on that recipe. However, if anyone would enjoy making this type of dessert, you can Google sugar cookie crust+fruit dessert and follow some of the links that come up. It really is a fabulous dessert, especially in the summer.

Plus it’s really colorful and I’m all about color in cooking!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Of Dressing Rooms and Fruit Desserts

I meant to mention this in an earlier post but let me just say right here how much I appreciate all of you who left comments on my post last week about the not-so-kind song reviewer. Twenty-seven of you (including my own wonderful mom) took the time to leave a comment and encourage me and I just didn’t want any more time to go by before taking a moment to thank you for that. I also got several sweet e-mails on the subject.

I feel so blessed to have people (most of whom I’ve never met) take the time to send virtual hugs and encouraging words my way.

While I’m on that subject, I happened to come across the following paragraph about the great hymn, Amazing Grace, which has been translated into at least 80 languages. I just had to laugh when I read those words in bold:

Although it had its roots in England, "Amazing Grace" became an integral part of the Christian tapestry in the United States. More than 60 of Newton and Cowper's hymns were republished in other British hymnals and magazines, but "Amazing Grace" was not, appearing only once in a 1780 hymnal sponsored by the Countess of Huntingdon. Scholar John Julian commented in his 1892 A Dictionary of Hymnology that outside of the United States, the song was unknown and it was "far from being a good example of Newton's finest work".

How ironic is that? I’d say that the song has done pretty well, despite it not being “Newton’s finest work.” Just goes to show that song reviewers don’t always have the final say.

Also on the subject of criticism, I ran across this article which closed with some excellent thoughts:

Holding onto criticism is one of the most exhausting things you can do. Regardless of who it is from. Regardless of what it’s about. Regardless of the reasons why you think you’ve still got to wrestle with it or fix it, it’s something you need to let go of.

Carrying a wound forever will forever leave you wounded.

Let it go. Put it down. Give it up. Learn from it if there was a lesson in the criticism, but leave it behind. Empty your hands and your heart of the attacks. Working on your dream is a hard enough experience without thinking you have to carry the weight of criticism with you along the way.

In Other News . . .

I spent most of Friday in Chesapeake, Virginia on my Mother of the Groom Dress Quest. I actually bought a couple dresses home for Steve and Sarah to see but I’m not sure that either one of them is The Dress. Since I’m off work today due to the holiday, I am planning on taking one more shopping trip to see what else I can find.

I must say that it’s actually rather exciting to shop in real stores for a change. I was in one particular gorgeous store in a huge mall and when I went into the dressing room, I just had to stop for a moment and gaze around in amazed wonderment. There were large, solid woods doors with real locks on them! And multiple hooks on the wall! And cushy chairs! And large mirrors! And cleanliness and soft lighting and loveliness galore!

I felt like I was on another planet because--as my fellows thrift store shoppers will understand--you never know quite what a dressing room might be like in a thrift store. I have stumbled through dimly lit storage rooms into small bathrooms where there’s no lock on the door. The only available mirror shows only the head and shoulders and the only place to put one’s hangers is on the side of a garbage can. (Although I am happy to say that those kinds of rooms are the exception.)

But still, I’m perfectly fine with all that because to me, “interesting” dressing rooms are just part of the charm of thrift store shopping. And since 90% of my clothes come from thrift and consignment stores, I do know what I’m talkin’ about!

On the rare occasions though, when I get to take a brief step outside my usual life and walk into a real dressing room in a real store, well, it’s just fabulously exciting for me.

On my Friday trip, while I was glancing through a particular rack of dresses, a saleslady asked me what the occasion was. I said, “Oh, my son is getting married soon” and then I almost started crying over the joy and the excitement of it all. I’m sure she thought I was a very strange customer, getting teary-eyed over wedding announcements and getting starry-eyed over dressing rooms.

I guess I’m just an interesting person!


I just had to show you a few pictures of a dessert that was dropped off at our house late last week. I thought it was so lovely and colorful and I also figured that anything that is filled with much fruit has got to be calorie-free. Sort of.

Isn’t this utterly magnificent?




And Lastly . . .

I have a few comments and questions to answer.

Carrie B said, “By the way, do you know what snafu stands for? I ask because I, in fact, just learned myself and thought ... oooohh, okay I won't be using THAT term anymore. Just sayin'” :)

Carrie, very interesting point!

I did look the word up and found that it means, “A badly confused or ridiculously muddled situation.”

I also found its origin (which you were referring to), and I must sat that I was a bit taken aback by it. However, one word site said that its origin is many times changed to, “Situation Normal: Still Fouled Up,” in place of the “ugly F” word that was originally used in place of “fouled.”

Since so many online dictionaries just give the straight definition and don't go into any background, I feel like its usage has been mainlined and that it’s just a “normal” word. But I would be curious to hear from any other readers as to whether or not you were aware of the word's origin and whether or not you ever use the word. Because there’s nothing I love any more than a scintillating conversation about words!

Sharon said, “Becky, the quilt is beautiful. Question about the bedspread: the picture with the stain actually looks like it's a cream color (without stain) but stain out pictures, it looks white. What color is the spread?”

Well, that’s a good question. After I read what you wrote I went and stared at the quilt for a long time and I kind of hovered between beige-y, cream-esque, and white-ish. Does that help? I guess, though, if I had to pick a color I’d go with cream.

MN Mom said, “Hard to believe Nathan's wedding day will soon be here. Savor the moments! Will you and Steve be part of the ceremony?”

Happily, our only involvement in the wedding will be to sit in our assigned pews and take it all in. (Well, of course, Meagan’s dad will have a certain special assignment of walking the beautiful bride down the aisle.)

Since all four of the Hawley/Smith parents have Rev. before our names, we could certainly be involved on several levels. And yet on this particular occasion, I for one, am thankful for the chance to lay aside titles and usual duties and just get the chance to sit quietly and drink in the sweet experience of being Mother Of The Groom.