Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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About My Blog

I signed up for a blog growing party several weeks ago. BUT I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do. 😦

GrowYourBlog2013

I believe I’m supposed to tell about my blog and have a give away. (That’s at the end–so you have to read all the way.)

I’ve been blogging a while (longer than I care to remember.) I’ve read you should blog whatever your passion is. Naturally, I blog about LIFE, the small town world I live in, the small town business I work in and the things I stumble across.

Back in the fall, we took a family vacation which, due to illness and prior commitments  dwindled to a half-family vacation in Eureka Springs. On the way there, we went to one of my favorite arts and crafts shows, War Eagle.

I shared some of the pictures I took there when I told you about Fall Tripping. But I didn’t show you this.

window-into-life

This was for sale at War Eagle, but I didn’t have enough room for it in my car. Isn’t it adorable, though? I can see lots of family pics in those frames. 🙂

After War Eagle, we went on to Eureka Springs and checked into our hotel.

Artist's-Studio

Before long, we drove out of town, and happened onto this man’s artist studio. The man and his wife were so talented. They did all the work, including building their house and sidewalk and everything else around the place. (Except some of the tools.)

artist's-ideaIsn’t this beautiful? The artist had a beautiful image of a unicorn, didn’t he?

artist's-glassesThis fanciful pair of glasses were taller than I am. Aren’t they great?

artist-mail-boxThis was the artist’s mailbox. And yes, he built it himself. I’m thinking I need one just like that!

Tree-Loving-DILIn Eureka we found trees to love. 🙂 (That’s my tree hugging DIL, Nikki.)

And we saw this beautiful church. We didn’t go in, but it was pretty to see from where we were.

Catholic-ChurchIt’s a Catholic Church. You enter through the belfry. I was there once when I was in college. That was the first time I’d ever seen the stations of the cross.

I’m a member of a Christian Church and we don’t go into the cross’s stations, but they were beautiful. I followed them around the entire church, so I could see each one.

So that’s pretty much what my blog is about. Small town life, family, trips and crafts–mine and the crafts other people make.

GIVE AWAY: Three ways to win!

  1. Make a comment and I’ll enter you to win one of my books. (Your choice.)
  2. Make a comment and sign up to follow me and I’ll enter you twice.
  3. Comment, follow me here and friend me on Facebook, and I’ll enter you three times.

Ps: Email me (smalltownworldcont@yahoo.com)  and let me know you’ve done all three so I don’t miss it. Or forget. 🙂

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A Day That Will Live

cropped-merry-ornament.jpgA long, long time ago in a land far, far away (at least it seems that way now) I had a very good friend named Mary. (Yes, that’s her real name.)  Mary was dating a guy she really liked (a bunch!) and he had a friend she thought I’d like.

“Want me to fix you up?”

No. No! I don’t like blind dates. I had one once, and he turned out to be a kindergartener.

But she assured me that this guy not only wasn’t a kindergartener, he’d finished college and had a real job.

Ooookay. Let’s do it! (I tried not to act too thrilled, but she probably noticed how excited I was when I didn’t stop jumping up and down.)

Now I’d had a few less than stellar dates in my time. I had one where the guy took me to Denny’s, looked at the menu and said, “I had no idea it would be this expensive!” so we got up and left.

Another guy took me out and asked me to marry him on the first date. (Uh, no. But thanks.)

And yet another guy, who had a key chain with a girl’s name on it. When I asked who Tara was (not really her name) he said, “Have I been talking about her a lot? We just broke up . . . ”

See ya.

Anyway, I knew better than to place any big expectations on this date. But at least I figured I’d be safe, since my friend, Mary, and her guy, Sam, would be with us.

December 7th, a day that will live in infamy. It was cold and windy night (for real) and I was running late. (As usual.) My apartment had only one door and it was a sliding glass patio-type door. When G-Man and his buddy got there, I didn’t have my dress on yet, so I couldn’t even invite them in.

“Hurry up! It’s cold out here.” Sigh.

I hurried, so they didn’t turn into a pair of popsicles They were just a little blue from the cold when I let them in. As soon as the ice melted off their noses and ears, we bundled up and went to pick up Mary.

I remember that Christmas season as one of the best in my memory. Why? Probably because I didn’t have a lot of stress over gifts or decorating, and I wasn’t responsible for making anyone else’s Christmas “perfect.” (And I didn’t have a kid pointing to someone else’s gifts and saying, “I didn’t get as much as him.)

All I had was a really nice guy to talk to, spend time with, get to know, and fall in love with. Great way to spend Christmas, if you ask me. 🙂

We were married five months and twelve days later.

Pretty nice Christmas present Mary gave me, wasn’t it?


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Keep the One

Even Santa knows that Jesus IS the reason for the season.

Even Santa knows that Jesus IS the reason for the season.

I posted this last year on Christmas Eve. A friend asked me to repost today.

Enjoy . . .

A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the   year—overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, get that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, make sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and stated, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.”

From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, “Don’t worry. We already crucified him.”    

For the rest of the trip down the elevator it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Don’t forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think how different this whole world would be.

Celebrating The Reason For The Season, all year ’round!


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Thanksgiving Smiles

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Were you grateful yesterday? I was so thankful, I nearly exploded to prove it!

Oh, my stars. The food the Shay/Spess family can cook! YUM. And it’s not just the women who have talent in the kitchen. Our guys are super handy at the stove/oven/sterno/campfire, whatever!

I remembered this morning that we forgot to sing our Thanksgiving songs. G-Man’s answer? “I don’t know any.”

My answer? “Pfffft. You do, too. What about, Over the River and Through the Woods? What about, We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing? What about, A Turkey Sat on a Backyard Fence?

He tuned up, and we sang our way through the rest of breakfast.

Not! (LOL.)

Smile 1:

So, Thanksgiving memories? My favorites are the ones when Mom and the Grands were alive. Those ladies could cook! They were so good, they put Rachel Ray and Paula Deen in the shade. Grandmother made a Pineapple Chiffon pie that made your tongue lap your brains out. (I thought I’d posted that recipe. Sorry.) Grandma made hot rolls to die for. Here’s her recipe.

Everything Mama made was delicious! (And I have the ongoing weight problem to prove it.) Many years on Turkey Day, all Mama’s side of the family would come for dinner. She had six brothers and sisters and they all had at least one or two kids, so it made for a full house!

Sometimes Grandmother would have the Spess side at her house while Mama had the Reeves side, and since they lived next door to each other, that made for a huge crew! We had a ton of fun with all those cousins coming and going.

I know churches that don’t have as many members as I have close family. By close family I mean brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. What a crew.

One memorable Thanksgiving, a cousin’s son even tried to walk on Mom’s pool cover. (That kid still can’t walk on water. LOL!)

Smile 2:

I don’t know about Mr. T here, but I was certainly stuffed yesterday afternoon.

So you won’t be disappointed, I’ll share Grandmother’s Pineapple Chiffon Pie recipe here:

1 1/2 C milk

2 T flour

3/4 C drained crushed pineapple

3/4 C sugar

2 eggs, separated.

Put milk on to heat. Mix sugar and flour. To the hot milk, stir in sugar mixture. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Boil until real thick (7-8 minutes.)

Remove from heat and add drained pineapple. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into baked pie crust.

Refrigerate until cool. Before serving, top with HOMEMADE whipped cream. (Not Cool Whip.) (I added that last part, but it makes a big difference.)

If you make this pie, let me know how it turns out. It was always one of my favorites. 🙂


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Trick or Treat on Main Street

Don’t you love a Small Town World? Every year for a long time here in C-Town, merchants, churches, insurance companies and whoever wants to line up on Broadway so the can kids have a SAFE Halloween.  (It’s really called  Trick or treat on Broadway, but I like the rhythm of Main Street better. 🙂

Did you have a happy Halloween?

I did! I happened to have my camera with me when the kiddos started gathering for the annual candy free-for-all, so I took a little walk. (Doctor’s orders. Right?)

I decided to go see Brother Jeffrey and his wife, Little Red Riding Hood–er–Julie.

I only planned to stay a moment, but I had too much fun to take off right away.

I can’t even tell you which was my favorite costume. There were so many cute ones.

I loved this one.

She’s wearing an Indian Ribbon Dancer’s costume. Beautiful!

These girls are the Rockford Peaches! (I got a high five for getting it right.)  Aren’t they adorable?

I loved that movie!

Scarlett was there. (Love that movie, too.)

BTW: If you notice the kids aren’t smiling for the birdie, blame it on Wolf Boy. Most of the little ones were busy keeping an eye on Big Bad. LOL!

 A box of popcorn.

Isn’t this little pumpkin a sweetheart? What a doll.

From the very young to the not so young, C-Town comes out to play on Broadway. I’m just glad I don’t have to decide who has the best costume. The were all adorable!

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Pinned

Remember when being pinned meant you were engaged to be engaged? (Or at least going steady.) Never happened to me, but I saw it on the movies. 🙂

Not anymore. Now, being pinned means Pinterest.

Of course, you’re on Pinterest. EVERYONE (even #4) is there these days. And I have to tell you, it’s addictive.

Go there, and it’ll take you about three days to surface. You can find anything and everything you want to know about there. If you can think of it and there’s been a picture taken of it, it’s most liked been pinned.

Recipes, arts, crafts, gardening, baby things, nail ideas, decorating, vacationing, house designing, boots, Hodge Podge, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, showers, birthdays, shopping and on and on and on.

The trouble I have with Pinterest is getting lost. I get so involved with it, I can’t turn it off. Or I click on a Pin, then click again to follow it to the web page where it came from. Then follow that and wander on until I’m not really sure where I started. Or when it was.

BUT there are some beautiful ideas. Such as this cute ideaI saw  for Christmas nails but can’t find again. The nail is painted red, and a white ribbon and simple bow painted on it. In the center of the bow is a rhinestone. Simple and gorgeous!

Delicious soups, such as the broccoli cheese soup crock pot soup I pinned (thanks to DIL Nikki) this morning.

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and green pepper in butter.
  2. Combine all ingredients on low in crockpot for 3-4 hours. Do not add salt.
I’m not a big Velveeta fan, but this looks really good.
To be honest, I’m not really sure how Pinterest works. If I pin something, I can’t always find where it went. (If I don’t pin it and want to see it again, it’s gone, for sure.) But when I can make it work, I love it!
Is this great or what?
Of course, I’d have to change BROTHER to SISTER, but that’s okay.
And I love this–
Now if I can find it again, I’ll follow to the post and learn HOW to make it.
Do you pin? If you do, come on over and follow me so I can follow you back. Then maybe you can tell me how it works. 🙂


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Yard Shoot

While we were in Arkansas last weekend, I took a lot of pretty-leaves-from-a-distance pictures. I never thought about what closeups would look like. Then I read a blog where a woman said taking random closeup shots of fall leaves was good for her soul.

I loved her pictures and wanted to try it. Our leaves aren’t that gorgeous this year. And I don’t have a ton of time for going out to find them.

When I came home yesterday, I decided to try it anyway, and stay in my own backyard. I kind of like the results.

See what you think.

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I also took pictures of my one remaining tomato plant.

I had two plants here, back in the spring. After they’d grown a while, they looked like this–

Then one of the plants ate the other one, and now he looks like this.

I keep my fingers crossed that he won’t eat Molly when she’s out playing in the yard. So much plant, so little fruit. 🙂