Rain, glorious rain...

I was awakened at 2:15 this morning by an emergeny alert on my phone urging people in Sevier County to take cover as their was a tornado warning. Not a good way to wake up. We were having thunder & lightning and surrounding areas were showing some hail. But the best thing I ever heard in my life was the pouring rain. It was a torrential downpour.

From the way they talked on the news channel, it had not made it to Gatlinburg and several new fires had erupted so our firefighters were still battling these dangerous storms. 

We had about 3 or 4 bands of bad weather that is going to move through today and from what I understood, the 2nd or 3rd band would be going over Gatlinburg. I think that is the band moving through right now. I am hoping it is because it is absolutely pouring so hard it sounds like it is going to be a hole in our roof.

My Facebook was full of stories last night of people bonding together to help those who have been evacuated, those who continue to fight the fires and most importantly those who have lost their homes. The first three fatalities were reported yesterday so please keep those families in your prayers. Last I heard there are 14 injuries, but no report on if they are minor or major injuries. 

Even though the much needed rain should have arrived by now, we are also having high winds so this is not going to be a good day for the firefighters and men & women who are out assisting with this devastation.

Continued prayers are needed for our beloved mountains and surrounding areas.


A heavy heart....

Everyone in our beloved Great Smoky Mountains is waking up with a heavy heart this morning...if they ever went to sleep last night. I was up till around 2:00 a.m. and sheer exhaustion took over. Been back up since 4:00 a.m. worrying about what news will bring of our precious county.

The fire started six days ago in the Chimney's outside of Gatlinburg, TN once you start into the mountains. Overnight that first day it raged to cover 500 acres. They have been fight it every since. 

But yesterday, things took a devastating turn. We have been in a severe drought and as a band of rain was heading this way, it was preceded by winds up to 60 miles an hour. By late afternoon, the smoke was blowing down into Pigeon Forge and we were getting reports of fire spreading down into Gatlinburg and surrounding areas. We began to see a lot of smoke and soot. Our whole afternoon and evening was punctuated by sirens after sirens as new fire crews arrived to help fight off the fire in our sister city. By 8:00 when we closed, they had evacuated Gatlinburg. We had just received the news that the fire had jumped the tunnel and the spur (stretch of road between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge) was on fire. We are located about four miles from that fire. When I made it home, I heard that they had evacuated the stretch of Pigeon Forge that Dixie Stampede is located on. 

Throughout the night and into the early morning, reports kept coming in about new fires and more evacuations as it spread into the smaller communities surrounding us. Dollywood and Dolly's new resort DreamMore had fires all around them, but last I heard they were contained and no damage was done. Here is a picture of the fire around DreamMore.

My heart broke all night. Even though I wasn't born here, this has been my home for 28 years. My daughter-in-law was born and raised and attended high school in these very mountains and I know she has to be devastated to watch all this. Not to mention, I worried about them all night because fires were breaking out closer and closer to where she lived. She was home with the kids because my son works for the city and he was called into work to keep trees cut and roads cleared. He took some amazing videos as he was riding around on the job. I worried all night about him and about Jamie and my grandbabies. I haven't seen any updates since about 2 or 3 this morning so I am going on faith that no news is good news. I don't want to call and wake anyone in case they did manage to get any sleep last night.

CNN, USA Today and CBSnews.com are all reporting the fire and the evacuations. It is all over national news, but for those who haven't seen any of that, here are some of the pictures that have been posted on Facebook by those who are near the fire and got pictures before they got out. 


This is Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Gatlinburg. Downtown was surrounded, but by all reports the Aquarium and the strip survived without major damages. Not sure how accurate that is, but praying it is true. I do know that the Park Vista Hotel up on the hill overlooking Gatlinburg caught fire and for a while guests were trapped in there, but I have heard of no injuries or deaths so I believe they got out. It is also believed that all the animals in the Aquarium are safe.

We did get some rain last night and again at 2:00 this morning and it was raining when I woke up at 4:00. It's tapered off now but a large band of rain which would be very helpful should arrive tomorrow. We have many fire departments from other areas in the state heading this wait to assist. The National Guard has been sent in and Red Cross and many locals have set up shelters for those who lost their homes. There were 30 structure fires in and around Gatlinburg but it is not known if those were homes or businesses. Our mountains are full of rental cabins so I am sure it will be days before everything and everyone will be accounted for. One of my friends at work has received word her mother's house did burn down last night so prayers for them.


This is someone driving through the fire to evacuate.

 Please pray that God watches over the firefighters who are tirelessly devoted to making sure they get as much of this out as they can. And pray to God that he send rain and keeps these winds away. The winds were so bad that helicopters couldn't assist in dumping anything on the fires to try to get them out. Praying for a better day today.


Weekend wrap up...

It was a fantastic weekend. On Thursday, I did have to work that evening but we had a big Thanksgiving feast with lots of great food. I munched and ate most of the evening. I had some fantastic lemon creme pound cake and ate some of the chocolate chip cookies I took. But the highlight was the mashed potatoes Debbie Couch made. I couldn't get enough of those. Best mashed potatoes ever. I made myself a few slices of ham, some baked beans potato salad and deviled eggs. I had my own Thanksgiving dinner before heading out to work and it was delicious.

Friday, I went Black Friday shopping. I didn't see a lot in the ads that I wanted, but there were a few things that I did want and I was able to get everything I had on my list. But I can't show you because family reads my blog. I had a great lunch at Cracker Barrel with my daughter-in-law and we talked throughout the day comparing shopping notes and ended up together at Target before lunch. Saturday, I got up and heading out shopping again with my daughter and granddaughter. We mostly went to places to look for some Christmas decor she saw in the ads and then of course ended up at Walmart. 

Friday afternoon and Saturday evening I did most of my decorating. I will share those pics tomorrow, but today I wanted to show you the amazing tree transformation. First thing I got Friday was the $15 unlit tree from K-mart that I wanted. Wasn't sure how much room I had for a tree so I didn't want to go crazy with an expensive tree, get it set up and find out it didn't fit and have to take it back. So I just decided this year to get the cheapest I could find, buy a few packs of lights and see how it worked. I will get a better one on the after Christmas sales. 

I took it out of the box and put it together. Just three pieces to slip together. I knew I would have to fluff it to get some shape to it, but I was appalled when I saw what it looked like. A million thoughts ran through my head. I thought a Charlie Brown tree would be better. No amount of fluffing was going to fix this disaster. 

But it was Friday night and I had all evening with nothing to do so I decided to at least attempt to shape it and fluff it. The more I fluffed and shaped and worked with it, the better it started looking. I am the queen of fluffing trees. I did 6 of them at work this year and some were 7 and 8 feet tall. So I was up for the challenge. After the fluffing, it didn't look nearly as hideous. Then, I thought well I'll string the lights and see. Looked even better with the lights on so I added the tinsel. Looking better with each steps. Finally the ornaments and my favorite the old fashioned silver icicles (you can cover a multitude of flaws with icicles. When all was said and done, I just had to step back and admire the transformation. I am now in love with my little tree and don't plan to get a new one after all. It is the perfect size. Just goes to show you what a little love and a lot of patience can do.

Can you believe that's the same tree? I was so amazed. I'll take pics of everything else today and post them for your tomorrow. I still have a few areas to makes some last minute touches to, which I plan to finish today. Have a great Monday!


Sunday Songs

Now that we are past Thanksgiving, I can kick off my Sunday Songs with my favorite Christmas songs. Here are my favorites in order with #1 fave first.

This is one is amazing.


Pyrex Plans

I have put my Pyrex on hold these past 6 months or so. I sold off a lot of it during my downsizing move, but now I am ready to revamp. I've been looking at what I have and have created my wish list for what I want to start looking for when 2017 rolls around. The girls were washing my Pyrex that we used the other night and it reminded me of some pieces I am missing to complete a set or add to it. So here is my 2017 wish list so I don't forget what I'm looking for when the time comes.

This is the last piece I need to complete my Cinderella set. It's the Town & Country 443.

I am also searching for the 043 Town & Country. I hope to find it with the lid, but will take it without and then try to find a lid later.

I love the Town & Country Fridgie set. But my first piece I want in this is the 503 on the bottom.

I don't want to collect an entire Friendship set because I'm not a fan of the solid. But I do want the 401 and the 403 because I love the pattern. But I just want to find it in the mixing bowls, not the Cinderella.

This is like one of the hard to find sizes. The 404. Most people never parted with the big 404 size. But I would love to find one in the Colonial Mist. 

And this is on my wish list even though it is not the vintage. They took some vintage patterns and modernized them with a new look and new type material. They even come with lids in some cases. These will be easy to find because they have them in tons of patterns at my local Corelle store in Tanger Outlet. I've been debating for months on getting set and have decided it may very well be my first purchase in 2017.

That's my wish list for 2017. I will have fun on my days off hitting the antique stores and yard sales.


And I'm off....

Heading out to the sales this morning. People call me crazy and some even criticize me for going. But truth is I love the craziness of Black Friday. Love being among all the other nuts like myself. Love the holiday spirit and the Christmas music playing in the stores. Love catching up by phone with my daughter-in-law as we compare what we are finding and keeping our eyes open for ideas. 

I don't have a lot on my list today and nothing that is a "if I don't get it I'll be upset" item. If I only come home with nothing but a new Christmas tree, I will be a happy camper.


The Holiday Weekend...

Thanksgiving is upon us. I had my Thanksgiving with my family this past Saturday and it was wonderful. I have to work part of the day tomorrow, but it will be a short day compared to what I normally work. We are having a Thanksgiving dinner at work and there will be turkey and ham and tons of side dishes with desserts. I am bringing a cake. Thinking it will be a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

When I saw what all we were having for our gathering, I am rethinking what I want to fix for myself for the holiday weekend. I had ham left over from our family gathering so I have had a couple of ham sandwiches this week, not to mention I will eat ham tomorrow at work. So I think I may just make my baked beans and figure something out to go with them.But I do have the desserts figured out. I want a graham cracker pie and chocolate no bake cookies.

That is the ONLY pie I eat and I only make it at holidays. Not sure why, because I love it so I could make it whenever I want. It has just always been a holiday dessert. It's just vanilla pudding in graham cracker crust. But it is the meringue that makes it so good. I also want to make some peanut butter candy to have to munch on over the weekend. 

I have a few presents I want to pick up this weekend. But I am going to also pick up some wrapping paper and set up a table in my spare room to wrap on. Every year, I end up taking one day to wrap all my presents for the family and then wish I had done it as I went. The way I work this year, I am thinking I will be better off to wrap as I buy so I'm not overwhelmed by everything at one time.

I sat down last night and pulled out the Christmas DVD collection of my faves that I cannot miss during the holiday. I always start my Thanksgiving morning off by baking or making desserts while I have Miracle on 34th Street. That will never change. And I'm not the huge fan of the Hallmark Christmas movies. These are my go to movies every Christmas.

I no longer have a VCR so I need to find my other four favorites....Santa Claus The Movie, The Santa Claus, A Christmas Story and one that I am probably the only one who has ever watched it and I only bought it because of who stars in it. It was called Christmas Comes to Willow Creek. I just found it online at Walmart and ordered it in the DVD. I can't wait to get it.


My favorite time of year...

Today kicks off my favorite time of year. I have a busy work schedule the first few days of week so I have to squeeze a lot in during the early morning and late night. But I am up for the challenge. Thanksgiving day I will be watching the parade. It's just something I never miss.

I don't eat turkey so I will be having baked ham glazed with orange marmalade. It's my favorite way to have ham.

I always have baked beans. I just can't have ham without baked beans. It's not Thanksgiving otherwise. Still on the fence as whether I have mashed potatoes or potato salad. We will have to wait and see.

And I have Black Friday and Saturday off so there is some major Christmas shopping plans in my future. I have been searching the online ads, but I will do the major looking at the paper ads on Thursday.

I always love looking at the Walmart ads for jammies and fleece. Plus I love the snowman Christmas sweater they have this year for $9. I will be checking that out for sure.

I go by myself on Friday, but I always hook up by phone or in stores with my daughter-in-law and we usually have lunch somewhere near wherever we are at lunch time. Saturday I go with my daughter and granddaughter. We normally end up at Steak & Shake for lunch over near Turkey Creek shopping complex in Knoxville. I love those two days of shopping. Usually end up with most of my Christmas gifts bought those two days.

Then I start my decorating around Saturday evening and finish on Monday. This is my favorite Christmas display in my house. This picture is from last year, but I always try to recreate this every year in my kitchen. Love the aqua and blues together.  

This was my HUGE tree last year. I loved it but I had to sell it because when I downsized, it won't fit in my new living room.

But these 6.5 foot ones would from Target and they are on sell for $30. That will be my main thing to look for on Friday. If they are out, Walmart has some similar and the regular price at Walmart is $39. So either way, I'm getting a tree with the multi colored lights.

I see lots of list making over the next few days to make sure I know what I'm looking for.


Be Thanksful

As we move into the Thanksgiving week, please take a moment to remember all the wonderful things in your life that you have to be thankful for...