Archive for November, 2011


Nearing December

November 28, 2011

In late November, when down the lane

Autumn leaves heap on colors bright

Lo; golden foliage lay at my feet,

Sleepy months of restful days and nights.

Hues of fall, its end is nigh. So sparse, so cold

The barren winter-monat draws near.

Copyright 2011 © Dianne Marie Andre

Note:  The Saxons referred to the last month of the year as winter-monat.

December events are now posted. I hope you take advantage of these local happenings. Click on ‘Events’ on the sidebar, mark your calendar for family fun and holiday cheer.


Ten Black Friday Shopping Tips: You’re going to need them!

November 25, 2011

  1. Wear as little as possible so you can fly through the aisles like a feather on electric skates.
  2. Wear a belt with a hidden pocket for credit cards, etc. so your hands are free to grab, grab, grab.
  3. For easy gliding, spray the bottom of your shoes with Pam.
  4. Wear rubber-grip gloves for a superglue grip.
  5. Enlist a designated driver to have the car running and waiting at each store’s door so you can enter and exit like a bandit.
  6. Enlist a passenger to grab your purchased items and load them in the car as you exit each store.
  7. Use ‘hands free’ cell phones so driver and passenger are alert at all times.
  8. Wear war paint, a mow hawk, sleeves ripped at the shoulders. People will quickly move aside.
  9. Grunt aggressively. If necessary put an Alka Seltzer tablet under you tongue, let it foam, and watch the crowd move away.
  10. Don’t use a shopping cart. It will slow you down. For smaller items, use your body like you’ve never used it before. Fling items over your shoulders, arms, and head. But never, never, ever use your pockets or bra as you may land in jail with nothing. For larger boxed items, use hefty stretch garbage bags with drawstring handles.

If all this sounds too intense, stay home, save your energy, money, and sanity. Toast yourself for being smarter than the average person is!

Copyright ©  Dianne Marie Andre


Pilgrim Corn Salad – So Easy and So Tasty!

November 22, 2011 Registered & Protected

Folks, keep up the good work adding to the ”Thanksgiving Humor Week’ post. Meanwhile, here’s a wonderful side dish (and a little pilgrim history) for your feast. Thanks Bernadine for guest writing. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. May you be safe, smile much, and laugh even more.–Dianne Marie Andre

By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz

At Thanksgiving, thoughts turn to the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. Seeking religious freedom in an unfamiliar place, early life was filled with hardships, from battling the elements, to rampant disease, dwindling population and the unknown dangers associated with living in an unfamiliar land. Nonetheless, a God fearing people, the pilgrims were thankful.

During colonization, the pilgrims came to rely on the Indians, who were native to the area. The red man taught the white man how to live off the land, trap game and grow corn. After a successful harvest, the pilgrims decided to celebrate the wealth the land had to offer in a communal feast. Not only did the new settlers provide for their families and community, but extended an invitation to the Indian Chiefs with whom they had formed friendships.

When it came time for the celebration, food preparation was in full flurry and the pilgrim’s tables were laden with the rich abundance of the land. Wild duck, goose and deer, along with corn, other vegetables, cranberries and assorted fruits and nuts made for a hearty and tasty fare. It is interesting to note that the turkey, ubiquitous with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, may not have adorned the pilgrim’s table.

When it came time for the guests to arrive, the pilgrims expected the Indian Chiefs with whom they had become trusted friends, but were dismayed when entire villages accompanied their leaders to the feast. Even though astonished by the number of unexpected guests, the pilgrims welcomed all who came to their table and the traditional Thanksgiving dinner was born.

Thanksgiving is a time to welcome family and friends; to share a meal prepared with love; and to be thankful for our blessings, just like the pilgrims did so long ago. A delightful way to carry on this tradition is to include Pilgrim Corn Salad as part of your holiday menu. Happy Thanksgiving. Copyright 2011 Bernadine Chapman-Cruz

Pilgrim Corn Salad

In a medium size bowl combine:

2 cans kernel corn

¾ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped pecans.

Marinate with dressing consisting of:

2 Tablespoons each:  olive oil and balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon apricot jam

1 teaspoon each:  Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Yield 8 – ½ cup servings


Thanksgiving Humor Week Begins Now

November 20, 2011

This has been a difficult year for many people. For some families, goals have taken a backseat to necessities. Survival is foremost for others. Disrupted lifestyles, losses, hardships, and uncertainties continue to weigh heavily. Gratitude is hard to grasp during challenging times. Still, there are thousands of things for which to be thankful. Trust me I’m not being preachy or judgmental. This rotten economy has also affected my household. What I’m doing is pumping myself up, something I once heard Joyce Meyer suggest on television.

Joyce is right. It’s my responsibility to ‘get excited.’ This doesn’t mean I will be happy-happy-happy every second of every day or night. That would be exhausting, insane, and downright irritating to others. To pump up one’s emotional state is to feel a happy internal posture while carrying a sincere external smile . . . to experience laughter in the simple things. Therefore, Thanksgiving Day I’m going to eat a turkey (not my pet turkey in the photo above, she’s too loved to be eaten), crank up the music, and dance in and around the garden then laugh at myself.

Until then, I’m starting “Thanksgiving Humor Week.” Join the fun and let’s see how many laughable thanks we can create. Here’s how it works.

Email your humorous thanksgiving thoughts to me at or post them in the comment box. At the end of each day, I’ll add them to the list below. ‘Thanksgiving Humor Week’ will end November 23, midnight.

Feel free to copy and print the completed list. Cut into strips, fold in half, and place into a bowl to pass around the dinner table for each person to draw one then read aloud. Sit back; listen to the merriment of cohesive laughter among family and friends. What could be better?

Suggestions:  funny things your guests/kids have said, family jokes, old wise tales, dinner mishaps–you get the picture. Add to the list as often as you want and be sure to invite friends to join in on the fun.

What do you think? Can we reach 50, 100 humorous Thanksgiving thoughts? Let your imagination fly. I’ll start with five.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful . . . :

  1. For thong underwear: There’s plenty of room for expansion.
  2. Thanksgiving dinner is a win-lose situation:  I win some pounds and I lose the diet.
  3. I am not a turkey.
  4. For action words like EAT!
  5. For Prozac. My Thanksgiving dinner guests will also be grateful after they eat the gravy spiked with a dose or two.
  6. I have only gained back 15 pounds of the 17 that I lost. There is still two to go, oh, oh, Thanksgiving dinner.–Valerie
  7. Q:  What did the Turkey say to the turkey hunter? A:  “Quack, Quack, Quack”–Hannah
  8. As a newlywed, I inadvertently cooked the Thanksgiving turkey breast side down. When I opened the oven, I was amazed that my turkey didn’t have any legs! They were tucked underneath. All turned out well. The juices kept the breast meat tender and I have been cooking it that way ever since.–Bernadine

Holiday Giving

November 18, 2011

If you’re getting ready to give a holiday donation, please consider these worthwhile groups:

Little Sisters of the Poor

Since 1901, St Anne’s Home in San Francisco, California has cared for thousands of elderly poor of every ethnic background and religion.

Your donation would aid this giving home in providing meals, activities, spiritual support, medical care, and a way of living (as well as dying) in dignity through the loving kindness of the Little Sisters.

For more information on Little Sisters of the Poor and available ways to give go to:

Or mail your gift to:  St. Anne’s Home, 300 Lake Street, San Francisco, CA  94118

The Dinner Garden feeds hungry families by providing free fruit, vegetable seeds and gardening support to home and community gardeners across the United States. They have helped 65,000 hungry families grow gardens. Help them reach more!

For donation information and more go to:

Or mail your gift to:  The Dinner Garden, P.O. Box 700686 San Antonio, TX 78270

Please tell them inspired your generous gift!

Thank you and blessings to you and your family,



Mood-Changer: vibrant flowers

November 9, 2011

Flowers bring cheer to dull landscapes, gloomy rooms, and grey days like nothing else. A modest pot of vibrant blossoms is all it takes to make an impact. Set against an ordinary lawn and shrub in and around the garden, on a patio, front porch or indoors is an instant mood changer.

Even when the sun doesn’t shine, it’s difficult to be anything but cheery while looking at these brilliant flowers through my westerly windows. Except for the zinnias which I’ve enjoyed all summer, waiting for the mums and azaleas to bloom was well forth the anticipation.


It’s Country Folk Art Craft Show time, where one-stop shopping is made easy for holiday gift giving.

Sorry, the $1 off applies only if you have an original postcard.



November 2, 2011

It’s time for me to take a break, to mend an injured shoulder and arm. There’s no exotic travel in store or lifestyle change,  just a reprieve for physical healing.

Meanwhile, if you have the time during the busy holidays, there are archives to review or catch up on, monthly tasks for landscape and garden feats, and guest writer Bernadine Chapman-Cruz’s monthly contribution to read.

I’ll pop in on occasion to keep in touch and I hope you will do the same. I’m only an email away at

You can also leave comments here, on Facebook under In and Around the Garden, and

Wishing you a blessed season in and around your garden.


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