Tuesday, June 19, 2012

National Candy Month & Ode to the Best Candy Bar Ever

Retro Candy
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.nostalgiccandy.com

June is National Candy Month. Everyone loves a sweet treat, but too many of us feel guilt, instead of enjoyment, when we indulge. The Sweet Truth is, there are no "bad" foods, just poorly planned diets. When you are eating well-balanced meals and getting plenty of exercise, you can include some of your favorite treats in your daily diet.

This may come as a surprise to health-conscious Americans who aren’t sure of the exact nutrient content of candy. Some people believe candy is much higher in fat, cholesterol and caffeine than it actually is. For this reason, many of us may be needlessly denying ourselves foods we really enjoy. If you love sweets, keep this in mind: The number one goal for good nutrition is to eat a variety of foods each day to supply your body with the different nutrients it needs. You also need to control how much you eat to achieve a healthy balance in your diet and your weight. If you practice these nutrition guidelines and exercise regularly, there should be room for candy in your diet.
Source Site: FitCourse http://tinyurl.com/r4nzlv

My motto is: "Everything legal, moral and fattening in moderation!"

Some of my happiest childhood memories in a small town in Tennessee were at my Uncle Arlie's neighborhood grocery store. I loved the butcher counter with the gigantic meat slicer, the pot-bellied stove which was stoked to the max in the winter, the old cable spool used as a table around which sat mismatched chairs and upon which rested a checkerboard, and the wholesome family atmosphere generated by its homeyness. There were usually several older gentlemen sitting there playing checkers, talking about the weather and fishing, or just quietly contemplating their next checker move. But, my favorite place of all was the candy rack...rows and rows of candy, much of which could be purchased for a penny apiece. I mean there was everything a kid could possibly want on those racks. The hardest part of being there was deciding which candy I wanted to buy.

Candies have come and gone, some have been replaced by fancier, trendier varieties and, yet, many have stood the test of time...although, of those still standing, many have undergone a little "tweaking" that, in my opinion, they didn't need. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," my mother always said. Some fell out of fashion, the owners died and the candy went with them and some left...well, for no doggone good reason is what I say!  One such candy that went away, with no goodbye and no imitator trying to take its place, has remained in my inner child's memory as the BEST candy bar...ever. Yes, EVER. And I still mourn its demise to this day. I have been mourning its departure since the 70s and felt it went away for no good reason. Actually, I do know the reason and it's a greedy one...a corporate-decision-childhood-candy-dream-killer of a decision, but I shall explain later. 

Imagine buying one candy bar, but getting seven different candy bars in it...count 'em, SEVEN. Well this candy bar delivered, and it was not in my imagination...it was in my hungry little mouth. It filled me with enjoyment nearly my entire childhood...and then it was gone. The heavenly candy to which I am referring and to which I write this "Ode to the Best Candy Bar Ever" is the incomparable Seven Up Bar. 
Trudeau's Seven Up Bar
Circa 1930s-1970s
Photo Courtesy of: 

The Seven Up Bar began its seven-sectioned life in the 1930s, before the 7-Up Bottling Company began making its soft drink. Eventually the 7-Up company bought the bar and...and...retired it! Yes, they killed it off. It was MURDERED. Why, you ask, if it was so popular? Well, follow the money train. The 7-Up Bottling Company wanted exclusive rights to the name, no matter which way it was spelled: Seven Up or 7-Up. I don't care anything about that corporate crapola. I just want my candy bar back. I want my chocolate-covered-seven-sections-of-different-candy-centers candy bar back!

Image Courtesy of: http://tinyurl.com/7gjz6cw

The Seven Up Bar, itself, consisted of seven separate, filled sections connected by an outer chocolate shell. The shell was real milk chocolate, a bit thick on the edges but thinner over the fillings, and had a good snap to it, if bitten, and a smooth melt, if left upon your tongue. The seven fillings were: Orange Jelly, Maple, Caramel, Brazil Nut, Fudge, Coconut, and Cherry. Each section was so distinct and different that no two bites were remotely alike. 

I always ate my Seven Up Bar in order, starting with one end and moving to the other, trying to bite only one delectable section at a time without accidentally nipping off part of another. The order of the flavors was not a coin toss. Whomever placed each one in its location knew exactly what they were doing because each bite complimented the next one AND the previous one. Flippin' genius, if you ask me.
Site Information: http://candyaddict.com/blog

Seven Up Bar
Milk Chocolate & Dark Chocolate
Photo Courtesy of: http://candyaddict.com

I know for a fact that I'm not the only person who considered this awesome candy bar their favorite of all time...and I know for a fact that I'm not the only person who has been saddened by its departure. I guess I will never know exactly all the "why's" or understand why decisions were made to kill it off. I would have bought the recipe and operation, outright, from the Trudeau Family and incorporated it into the whole of 7-Up Bottling, maybe splashed a little 7-Up into the melted chocolate to make it contain real 7-Up or found some way to keep providing the world with this magnificent treat that needed no improvement. But, that's just me. I know I never liked the soda enough to write about it, expounding on its unique qualities or the joy it gave millions, or to think about it as a fond memory of my childhood, but now I never want to drink another 7-Up again...and I have an intense craving, brought on by the powerful memories of taste, site, smell, and pleasure, for a Seven Up Bar. 

Alas...Rest in Peace, Old Friend.

Seven Up Bar
The Wrapper I Remember!
Photo Courtesy of: http://candywrappermuseum.com/

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Train to Caroline...Greylan James Band

Every once in awhile you run across a young man who really impresses you with his talent and abilities, and you are even more impressed when you find out he hasn't even hit his 16th birthday yet. I'm talking about a young man from Knoxville, Tennessee named Greylan James...you need to remember that name because you are going to be seeing and hearing a lot more of him. Greylan had an exciting day today. Not only did he turn 16 (Happy Birthday, Greylan!), he did it on national TV where he and his band performed on Windy City LIVE in Chicago.

Ryan Chiaverini, co-host of ABC 7's new talk and entertainment show Windy City LIVE, which airs weekday mornings at 9am (CST), saw Greylan and his band performing at Four Farthings in Chicago and HAD to have him on the show. Greylan performed First Train to Caroline, his single, which drops TOMORROW, so check it out, people! Oh, by-the-way...there is a really cool dude playing guitar and singing harmony with Greylan in the band. His name is Blake Wrinn and he just happens to be my nephew. These young men are immensely talented in many ways...they play multiple musical instruments, sing and write songs and they are quick to give credit where credit is due...they know they have been blessed with gifts from God and aren't shy about sharing their love for Him. As a homeschooling Mom, I have to "throw it out there" that Greylan is homeschooled, so his natural creativity and self-starting demeanor have not been "boxed in" and have blossomed as a result. Just watch what unbridled talent can do!

Take a moment to sit back and listen to First Train to Caroline, available for purchase tomorrow!

Greylan James Band
First Train to Caroline
Click HERE to Listen!

Happy Father's Day & Happy Birthday!

Happy Father's Day to All You Fathers, Grandfathers, 
Great-Grandfathers and Stand-In Fathers!
Photo Courtesy of: http://tinyurl.com/cuwah63

Happy Father's Day, a day late! Fathers, please know you are appreciated ALL year long! My family and I were so busy from Friday, June 15th through Father's Day, that I didn't go near a computer, hence the late well-wishes. We spent the day in San Antonio, taking my newly 14-year-old child and my 84-year-old father out on the town to celebrate the amazing young lady she is and the wonderful man that is he. Rin couldn't wait to do what teenage girls love best...SHOP! And shop we did. We hit North Star Mall like two whirling dervishes, heading straight for the shops that teenage girls love...Forever 21, Love Culture, Hot Topic and Journeys. My father loves history and can remember more at 84 years old than I've already forgotten. We went to the Alamo, Riverwalk, San Antonio Zoo, Tower of the Americas and several of the beautiful old missions. We ate some great food, saw some lovely sights and enjoyed the weekend as a family.

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States. It contains so much culture and history and has so much fantastic food and so many fun things to do, you could visit every week for a year and never experience it all. We can't wait to go back because a weekend isn't nearly long enough to take in such a fabulous city!

Tower of the Americas 
Observation Deck View at Night...Beautiful!

View From Our Boat

San Antonio Zoo
Newborn Baby Warthog and Its Mother

Remember the Alamo!
Love the Two People (in foreground)
in "Mourning" Costumes

Mission Nuestra Señora 
de la Purisima Concepción de Acuña 
Founded in 1731, Mission Concepción
 is the oldest church in the United States 
that hasn't fallen to ruin.
 It is an active Parish, 
part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX

Sashimi at Kai Japanese & Asian Cuisine
Delectable Art!

Taco Cabana
Steak Bowl & Margarita

Yes...Everything IS Bigger in Texas!
Cowboy Boots in Front of
North Star Mall...Great Shopping

Rin's 14th Birthday Green Tea Ice Cream
(Yes, She Wanted This Instead of Cake!)

Happy Father's Day to My Two Guys!

Happy 14th Birthday, Beautiful Corinne!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Truck is My Kind of Pickup

From an Online Automotive Forum:

Dorothy: Do guys really like girls who drive pickup trucks?
Billy: Yes. And we like girls with trucks even better if they have a nice bass boat to go with it.


This Song Tickled My Funny Bone
Oh, and By the Way,
 I Love My Truck ♥

Pick Up Truck
by Bob Williams

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If You Were a Hydrangea, in What Kind of Soil Would You Grow?

Growing up in the South and being an avid gardener, I have always had a love and appreciation for flowers. Certain blooms and blossoms are just associated with the beautiful, genteel gardens of the South. One flower that has always been a favorite and fascination of mine is the hydrangea, that mop-headed, vibrant beauty that is a veritable showpiece on the lawn, against a picket fence or in the garden.  From their leaves to their showy blooms, everything about them is as sweet, bold and fearless as Southern women, pressing their heads together in quiet conversation, outfitted in pastel attire, enjoying a sunny day in the garden, waiting to shout a "Hello!" to passersby.

Hydrangeas are Diverse in Color from
White, Pink, Red, Lavender 
and Periwinkle, to Deep Purple

In researching and growing hydrangeas, I found that certain species are affected by the amount of acid in the soil. The effect of acid is so profound that it can, literally, change the color of the blossoms! The more acidic the soil, the deeper blue/purple the blossoms become. A neutral pH can yield a pink or red blossom. White blossoms need a more alkaline soil to maintain their snowy brilliance. Add aluminum sulfate to the soil for deep blue and purple flowers. For pink or red, add lime or superphosphate. A very important factor in the outcome is that the desired enhancer must be added long before the blooms appear.

The thinker, observer and writer in me could not help but notice that we could learn a lot from the hydrangea. We can bloom where we are planted, but what will the world see when our blossoms appear? We must cultivate ourselves and put desirable traits, thoughts and values into our beings before we bloom. Once we bloom, we must carefully tend, prune and feed ourselves on that which is nourishing so that we remain strong, brilliant additions to the garden. The soil in which we grow or fail can be found in the company we keep - those who will affect how we blossom. Some people are such amazing additions to our lives that their nurturing promotes blooms that are healthier, bigger and more vibrant, catching the attention of even the most casual passersby. Others can poison our fertile soil, stunt our growth and kill our roots so that we fail to flourish at all or allow our once-brilliant blossoms to become brittle leaves, dried stems and hollow, fragile anchors that leave us vulnerable to strong winds and storms. Add too much of the wrong elements and the blossom and its purpose can be destroyed. Add an abundance of the right elements and the flower, in turn, adds more beauty to the garden.

Be careful where you plant and how you tend to your hydrangea so that you are happy with the outcome. Growth takes time, patience and tender loving care. Appearance depends on what you choose to put into, or take out of, the soil in which you plant it. All colors are desirable and pleasing when healthy, vibrant and adding beauty to the world around them. It's okay if some are a little different from others, for uniqueness adds a beauty all its own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

We Drop Our G's and Sweeten Our T's

I recently found the cutest sign on the mega-popular shopping/crafting site, Etsy, that pretty much sums up the South, and when I went to purchase it, it was already sold. (Insert sad face here.) It did, however, make me stop and think about the fact that the cute saying does describe us Southerners quite well. I have a college education, I know the proper way to speak and just because I have a Southern drawl or speak slowly doesn't mean I'm slow or stupid. I know, have met, and am related to lots of people who don't enunciate their words perfectly and, as far as I know, it never killed anyone. The grammar "crime" to which I'm referring is dropping your g's. (No, I'm not referring to spending a grand - that's another type of "dropping your g." I'm talkin' about leavin' off the "g" of words endin' in "ing.") I know it drives some people batty and makes them think we Southerners are not very smart and others, well, they think it is downright charmin'.

The second part of the sign reminded me that, when on vacation in the North and various other places NOT in the South, I could only find unsweetened ice tea. If I did order it and got packets of sugar to go in it, I could just forget about that sugar dissolving enough to sweeten the tea, even by the end of the meal, no matter how much I stirred. This Southern Belle boils her sugar in her water so it creates a syrup that evenly distributes through the brewed tea, making it taste positively divine. Yes, I use real sugar. One reason is that sugar is what makes sweet tea, well, sweet. Another important reason is that I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners...so much so that, when I ingest them, they cause me so many side effects (horrific migraines, upset stomach, "bee sting" sensations all over my body, well, I won't go on with the list of ailments) that I cannot abide consuming them. In essence, they are chemicals and, more specifically, they are poison. It's true, but I digress. So, for those two important reasons, I make Southern sweet tea the real way.

Oh yes...the sign. I was just getting to that. Here is the sign that sparked this post. It's so cute I might have to contact the shop owner and see if she would make another one. It's just precious and SO Southern!

Yes, we DO!

Cute sign made (but sold) by: http://www.etsy.com/people/myflipflopz

We Love You, Too, Old Pickup

Old Pickup Sings I Love
by Tom T Hall

"Oh, Pa, don't play that one! 
It always makes me cry!" 
~~ Charlene Darling, The Andy Griffith Show

It brought a tear to my eye 
and a lump to my throat, too, Charlene.
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