Thursday, September 21

Mama Kat Thursday: Candy Memories

For Mama Kat today, I thought I'd journey down memory lane reminiscing about favorite candy from my childhood in the 60's and 70's. 

The Zero Bar
Whenever I see a Zero Bar, the first thing I remember is eating them at the public pool in Martinsville, Indiana. The snack bar there sold them and Mother splurged to buy us all one after swimming.
Zero bars area combo of peanut & almond nougat coated in white chocolate fudge. It has remained in production since then, though ownership of the brand has transitioned many times. It's currently produced by Hershey, Inc and are still on store shelves here and there.

100 Grand Bar
This classic bar (pronounced "hundred thousand dollar bar) is a fond memory. It was a caramel filled bar with a coating of crispies and milk chocolate. Originally introduced in 1966 by Nestle, it was on the store candy shelves until the mid-80's.
We had a local gas & grocery store with a cafe just a few miles from our house at  cross-roads called, "Wilbur."  Our Dad liked to buy his Colby cheese from the Deli there and he'd take us with him. I remember getting a 100 Grand Bar there as a treat.
Nestle still makes the bar, however, and they be purchased from a variety of vintage candy purveyors online.

Now this vintage bar is one I remember as a kid on grocery store candy shelves. It was introduced by the Clark Candy Company in the 1930's composed of peanut brittle with cocoa and toasted coconut. It was a crunchy coconut bar. Hershey makes it now and it can still be purchased via a vintage candy seller online.
I recall the bar and, since I like coconut, it's likely I had one or two.

Boston Baked Beans
Ever eat these? I've seen these at my local Dollar Tree store, which actually
sells a lot of vintage candy. I recall Boston Baked Beans showing up in my Halloween treat bag fairly often. They're candy coated peanuts that look like "baked beans."  (And peanuts are legumes!) Remarkably, this candy is made by an independent American candy manufacturer called, "Ferrara Candy."
They also make all Brachs candies, too, since merging with Brach in 2007.

Mars Bars
I recall particularly loving these! (I thought they were nougat filled with a couple whole almonds on top under the milk chocolate  in the 60's? Does anyone remember?)
Unfortunately, the U.S. version of the bar was discontinued some years ago.
But good news---Ethel M Chocolates, a gourmet chocolate subsidiary of Mars, Inc., has, just this month, Sept 2017, relaunched the "original American recipe" Mars bar for sale in their stores and on Amazon!
What classic candy do you remember from your youth?

Thanks for Visiting!

Wednesday, September 20

Garden Pic Wednesday: New Trellis & Benefits of Gardening!

The Old Trellis
It held up many years, but termites got the better of it and recent wind gusts simply toppled it flat, even snapping off the climbing rose's gnarled stem that was above soil level. It's on the table here, because I need to finish removing the coated rose wire from it.

The New Trellis:
Classic fan shape in black metal with nice large spaces to make tying rose stems easy. This view is the northwest corner of my house, which tends to get gusts from passing rain storms. The trellis has lines & stakes on front & back to assure it will stay upright.
The rose could use a fresh start.
It should spring fresh growth up over winter. I added rose fertilizer and some fresh soil to it.

I've read an article here and there on the health benefits of gardening, which includes all lawn care, flower beds, veggie gardens large or small and even container gardening on a balcony or patio, so here's a general list:

1)  It's an opportunity for creativity.
Since you choose colors and plants, decide where to plant them and how to arrange them in the bed or container in a eye-pleasing manner. You may even choose fun accents to add ranging from stones to ceramic figures to broken plates and teacups.

2)  Digging in the dirt, planting things and watching them grow is a form of healthy play. It also lowers stress & helps relieve anxiety.
That gardening or just being in the outdoors for 30 minutes has been tested and proven to significantly reduce the stress hormone "cortisol."

There is also a harmless, healthy, naturally-occurring bacteria dirt that actually increases the release of "feel good" hormones in our brains, so digging around in the dirt tends can make you literally feel happier.

3)  Watching something you've planted grow, bloom and even make a flower for your table or a fruit or vegetable to eat gives the satisfaction of a sense of accomplishment.
  Gardening is a mood lifter. Being outside in fresh air and sunshine, accomplishing something can drive away the blues. 
It's a fantastic feeling to say," I grew the Oregano we're eating in tonight's spaghetti sauce!"

4)  Gardening is great exercise.
It's low-key, yet has stretching, bending and strength building qualities you might not even notice. It's fun and easy to do at your own convenience.
 Raking, mowing, weeding, even digging a hole for a new flower plant with a trowel gets the blood moving. 
As a result, people who garden also tend to sleep better.

5)  Gardening has proven good for your Brain & Life.
In studies, people who garden have a lower risk for dementia and those with a lot of greenery surrounding them, whether outside or inside, live longer.
There is a harmless, healthy naturally-occurring bacteria in the lives in soil that increases the release of "feel good" hormones in our brains. 

6)  People who garden are more likely to enjoy eating a wide variety of veggies and fruits and, as a result, tend to eat healthier.
I do remember my Mom had a huge veggie garden and I ate all sorts of things, so I think that's true.

Really just about any activity that puts you outside in fresh air and nature will have similar benefits, though I think the "feel good," to be gotten from digging in the soil and that sense of accomplishment from growing something beautiful or edible is unique to gardening.

Friday, September 15

Friday Finds: My Holidayz Contest Collection

Zazzle has a Holiday Design contest going on for the month of Sept!
I had to create a thematically coordinated set of certain items.  
Below is my first entry: the Joy Hope Peace Collection!

The Collection banner above features the round
 Teal Joy Hope Peace Dove Sticker

Joy Hope Peace Holiday Card
 (with photo space option & dove accent inside)

(to compliment Joy Hope Peace shirt, but could be worn with anything!)


Thursday, September 14

Mama Kat Thursday: School Dayz

The Mama Kat writing challenge today was to share, "an elementary school memory."

For me, elementary school was 1st through 6th grade held in building in the middle of farm fields. It was rural Indiana. It was also the 1960's. There were no television in the classrooms. (Computers smaller then the size of a room didn't exist yet.)
So on days when it wasn't nice enough to play outside, we had to play games inside, so I remember games so old-fashioned, I wonder if modern kids have ever played them!

I recall in 3rd grade playing "Upset the Fruit Basket."
For this game, the teacher stopped at each desk, whispered a name of a fruit to each student, then one student stood by the teacher, the odd-man out, their desk unavailable for use, all waiting in eager readiness for their fruit to be called.
Indoors, the game worked very much like musical chairs.
After a potent pause, the teacher would suddenly call "grapes" and all the "grape" people would spring from their desks, trying to get to another desk-seat. This was the odd-student-out's opportunity to seize a seat, too--and whoever didn't end up in a desk-seat got to stand up by the teacher to wait the next round.
If the teacher called, "upset the fruit basket!" everyone spilled out of their seats all at once to grab a new seat and not be left out.

I recall in 5th grade we had some ready-made games, such as "Pick Up Sticks" or "Barrel of Monkeys."
Pick Up Stix, pictured above was my favorite!You just poured the 
 You just poured the stix out of the can onto the floor, then players take turns trying to pick them up without disturbing the pile. If the stix fall apart, the game is over. The person with the most sticks wins.

I do recall playing Old Maid.
In 3rd grade having a delightfully illustrated deck available, such as this one pictured, as pictured, and certainly no one wanted to end up with the Old Maid in their hands!

Then in my final year in elementary, in 6th grade, we had two teachers. Mrs. Dauglish and Mr. Denny, who was also the Principle. They split the day, sharing the teaching job.
The indoor game Mr. Denny let us play on rainy days was called "Eraser Tag."
For this game a student is chosen and they their name written on the blackboard. They they, in turn, write a name of another student on the board. That student comes forth, then both grab an eraser, balance it on top of their heads, then take off at a fast walk to do a complete circuit around the classroom and be the first to arrive back at the board and win by erasing their name. The eraser must not fall.That was an automatic lose if it did.
The loser then chose another students name to write on the board for a new round. 
I never was picked to play, but I really enjoyed watching the boys hurry around the room. They were very competitive. I recall one boy actually threw his eraser at the other boy who was beating him and, at that point, Mr. Denny called an end to the game for that day.

There was one notable group game we girls often played outside at recess called, "Colored Eggs." 
This involved one girl in charge of the game the job of giving the rest of the participants who were the "eggs" a color. Then all the "eggs" would stand against the school wall, while one girl would be the "Wolf" and stand to oneside, prepared to chase the fleeing "egg." When a egg color was called, that "egg" would run and the Wolf would give chase and try and tag them. It was basically a form of tag. If the "egg" got tagged, they then became the "Wolf" for the next round.


I wanted to include a picture of the sort of desks we sat in from 1st through 4th grade back in that era. They were iron with wood seating and desks with an ink-well. Part of my elementary school had been built in the early 20th century, so I'm sure that's where they came from. 
Then when the additional wing of classrooms was built in the 50's, they spread them throughout the new classrooms along with a mix of new seating that was a single metal chair with a wood seat & desk top, like the second picture.
By the time I reached 5th and 6th grade, we finally had modern metal desks with acrylic tops and individual chairs for everyone.

So, that's some things I remember from my elementary school experience.
(photos are from Pinterest)

Thanks for Visiting!
(That z in Dayz is on purpose, by the way.)

Wednesday, September 13

Garden Pic Wednesday: Giant Swallowtail

Just to let you know, Hurricane Irma had no effect on the whole western end of Florida Panhandle where I live.
 The weather was beautiful for the most part--and cold! Temps dropped to 62 F with a feel of 52 F!  It was chilly, but fantastic!
 On Monday, we only experienced light showers and gusts of wind.

Unless you live here, I suppose it's hard to grasp how big Florida is. The the north border runs under most of Alabama and all of Georgia. That's TWO states! That's a lot of square miles!
So, when the media said, "Irma was approaching the Panhandle," they really ought to have been more specific to say it was the Eastern Panhandle, at the curve point, that was being approached.
The media's lack of geographical clarity on this point certainly caused those living far away who love us unnecessary worry.
Today's photogenic garden moment is a Giant Swallowtail visiting one of my Zinnias!
I planted a Rue shrub on purpose for these, since all Swallowtails are reputed to like it. So far, no Giant Swallowtail caterpillars.
They're quite large and flashy, being all black with a double row of bright yellow spots!