Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread

3/4 cup butter, softened

8 oz softened cream cheese

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (4 medium bananas)

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy.  We used the hand-mixer.

2. Gradually add sugar and stir until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time until just blended.

4. In another bowl, combine the flour and the next 3 ingredients. Gradually add the flour mixture just until blended.

5. Stir in bananas, pecans, and vanilla.

6. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8 x 4 loaf pans.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Put aluminum foil over it for the last 15 minutes if it is browning too quickly.

8. Cool the bread in the loaf pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.

9. Remove the bread and place on wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.

Muffins:  24 paper lined muffin cups regular size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Daily Thoughts

I was thinking how much I love living in Tennessee.

Jeff feels the same way.  We need to count our blessings.

I have a house now that I can go to every room easily.  Our old house was a split foyer house and it was hard for me to do things that I needed to do. I couldn’t go up and down the stairs when I had my knees replaced.

I am close to my sister and that is very important to me-we have a very, very small family.  I am near my 4 beautiful grandchildren.  What a difference between seeing them 2/3 times a year or seeing them maybe once a week.  They can come down and spend the night easily and I’m ready to “spoil” them.  I guess I better say that I am also glad to be around Kathryn and Mitch.  Your little girl is always your little girl.  Several weeks ago, the family came down to see us and to help us with the den.  When they pulled in our driveway, Mitch asked Maggie if she was his little girl.  She replied “No! I’m grandpa’s girl!”

Jeff  has always hunted and fished since he was small.  He absolutely loves it out here.  He can walk to the creek and fish when he wants.  He loves seeing the wildlife constantly. You never know what we will see in the field behind us. He has binoculars near the door.  He has a  “green thumb” and loves to work in the yard.  (Our yard had not been taken care of in years and Jeff is working on getting it back into shape.)  He loves it.  I watch him mow the yard on the riding lawnmower and he is always smiling.  He promised me last year when we moved into the house that I could put my car in the garage this year.  He’s worked on it and I think that my car can be driven in soon.  There is a Goodwill truck now in Kingston Springs at the high school.  Jeff made a “big run” there yesterday.

Our cat is named Christina.  She even loves it here.  She has turned into a mouser!  She’s quite proud of herself.  She’s funny-she doesn’t like children (we think that they are too loud for her) and she runs under beds and won’t come out unless it is at night when they are asleep.

We are learning where we can go to shop for things, where we want to eat out, and we organize our trips according to what direction we are going.  We are about 20 minutes from downtown Kingston Springs, 20 minutes from Fairview, 35-40 minutes from Dickson, 35 minutes from a shopping center on highway 100, and 45/50 minutes from Franklin.  Exits #199 and #201 off of I40 aren’t very far away.  I must say, we still miss Pizza delivery.

We enjoy worshiping at the Kingston Springs Church and also being able to participate at Oak Avenue.  (It helps to know the preacher there!)

We are singing with the South Cheatham Choral Society.  Our concert is December 7th at 3m at the Charlotte Road Baptist Church on Highway 70.  We’ve never sang with a group before-we are learning so much.  We plan on continuing to sing with the group.

We hope to be more active.

Daily Thoughts

HOME

What does home mean? Is it just an abode?

“Home, home on the range..”

“There’s no place like home..”

“Take me home, country roads..”

Home is where the heart is..”

“I wanna go home, oh how I wanna go home..”

“This world is not my home..”

Home sweet home..”

“My Old Kentucky Home.”

“Keep the home fires burning..”

A house is not a home..”

Home is:

comfort        family       security

A home can be any size, any shape, any location,and it is what you make it.  A home can be quiet, loud, busy, crowded, sparse, close by or far away.  In our homes, we have special places that we put things that are important to us.  We are creatures of habit-there is a chair/sofa that we usually sit in/on. Home is where you want to be when you are sick.  Most of us like to go places and do things but we love home.  Home is where we can say what we think.  Home is where we eat and sleep.  You can be yourself and dress the way you want.  Home is a place to be during bad weather.  Home is a place to worship together. A home is a place to come back to.  A home is where memories are made.

Daily Thoughts

We are enjoying eating, playing spades, shopping, watching movies, visiting with each other, and the gorgeous views.

The theme of the area is black bears.  You see black bear things everywhere you go.  This reminded me of a story about a bear.

There is a main east/west road in Charlotte NC that had a great deal of traffic.  We took that road regularly to get to and from Church.  There was a million dollar house built on that road and it was set back on the road but you could see it easily.  There was a bear statue (I mean a large statue that was carved out of a big tree with a chainsaw from the NC mountains) that was out in the front yard.  We didn’t know why but it was there.  The bear would have clothes/costumes on it according to the season or a theme.  You never knew what would be on the bear. This went on for years.  At Christmas time it could be an angel, elf, Santa etc.. The bear had jerseys from the Charlotte ball teams.  During October it could be a witch or a ghost.  It was so interesting to see what the bear would be and thousands(probably lots more) of people also watched that bear.  One day the bear was gone.  We wondered what had happened to the “now Charlotte icon”.

Several months later, an article came out in the Charlotte Observer about the bear.  Evidently, everyone that traveled that road, wondered about what happened to the bear.  “The rest of the story” emerged.  A couple owned the house and they went to the NC mountain area and the man wanted to buy the big bear statue.  The wife did not want the bear and absolutely did not want in the front yard of the expensive house.  Needless to say, the man got his way, and the bear came home with them.  The wife wasn’t happy but she decided to make the best of it.  She started dressing up the bear.  I’m sure after a while she was really enjoying what she was doing.  The man died and she decided to move to the NC mountains and took the bear with her.  The bear was missed!  We were so glad that the article was published in the paper so that we knew what happened.

Sometimes, small things, cheer up people!

Daily Thoughts

My sister and I were talking about the past.  She is my “Baby sister and I’m 8 years older than her.  I got married when she was 12 and Jeff became her big brother.  She remembers different things than I do. She’ll say, do you remember a certain vacation and I’ll say no- I didn’t go-I was already married and teaching.  She is a teacher also. (My dad, mom, and my dad’s grandmother were teachers.)

Jeff has been thinning out the “bad” trees in our back yard.  Some were dead, some were damaged, and some were ones that decided to grow under another tree.  He then has been cutting up the wood and putting it on our woodpile.  We won’t have to buy firewood this year.  In fact, when I commented on all the firewood, he said that he had started stacking wood behind the pile and we had much more than I thought.  There wasn’t any firewood when we moved in last year.  It started to get cold in November/December and we realized that we would need firewood in case we lost power sometime.  I got the KS phone book and looked up firewood.  I decided to call about firewood one afternoon around 3pm.  The first company I talked to said  “Oh yes, we have firewood.”  I asked the price of a rick of wood and it was reasonable.  When I explained that we did not have any firewood and we wanted to buy some soon, the lady said  “We are loading our truck right now for 2 deliveries and we have room for another load.”  She told us they could be at our house around 6pm and they would unload the wood for us and stack it.  They arrived around 6pm and it was pitch black.  They drove into our backyard and left their headlights on and started unloading wood.  We turned on the back porch lights and Jeff moved his truck to where his headlights would give them more light.  They said that they had loaded a little too much wood and did we want to buy the little bit that was left for a discounted price so that they wouldn’t have to take it back with them.  We bought it.  Talk about speedy!  Footnote-We did lose power some time after that and the firewood kept us warm.  We love Kingston Springs!

There are 2 big trees in our front yard close to our driveway.  Last spring, Jeff started digging around under the trees and discovered that there were slate stones there.  He swept them off and they made an oval area.  It was a surprise.  We put some lawn furniture there.  It was so nice to go outside and sit there until summer came (bugs and heat).

People go fishing and kayaking down at the creek beside our neighbors house (really the old golf club building).  The people park on the little road in front of our house.  Jeff will go out ask them how the fishing is and have discussions on fishing.  He loves our house-he can get his fly rod and go down to the creek and fish.

While driving to Dickson one day, 3 turkeys flew across the road in front of us.  We were afraid that they were going to hit the car because they were flying that low.  Turkeys are everywhere around KS.

Daily Thoughts

Kathryn and Mitch (Eleanor too) are hiking Mount LeConte today.  We are keeping the other 3 grandchildren. We’re sleeping here and then taking the boys to school in Dickson and staying in Dickson for a while.  I loaded up with kid friendly snacks and lunches.

Kathryn and Mitch have hiked LeConte for several years now with Church friends from Memphis.  They are staying at an old Motor Inn (built in the 30’s I believe) that has been remodeled.  You rent the entire Inn.  There are 10 rooms with bathrooms, a large community kitchen and dining room along with lounging areas with a TV.  I’m sure that I will get an assessment.

Henry doesn’t go to PreSchool on Fridays so that will make it a little easier.

We had twin beds that we put in the kids bedroom.  When Eleanor arrived, she took over the Pack-N-Play that Maggie was sleeping in.  We couldn’t decide what kind of bed to buy Maggie.  Finally we found an ottoman that folds out to be a bed.  It is perfect for the kids room.  When we need the bed for Maggie, we just unfold the bed.  Maggie just loves it-she says “My new bed”. It isn’t very high off the floor and we bought her new sheets.  She loves sleeping on it.  It could be also that her bed is between her brothers beds.

Maggie and Henry slept until 8:30 and they are eating their cereal now.

Daily Thoughts

Coffee

I never used to drink coffee.  I guess about 15 years ago I started drinking coffee in the morning.  Kathryn says that I have a little bit of coffee with my sugar and creamer. To each their own!

Coffee has become a big business.  Did Seattle start all this?

A long time ago, coffee was very simple-drink it with milk/sugar or without.  It could be brewed over a campfire.  Now days you can get coffee anyway you want.  Dark roast, medium roast, or light roast.  Different coffees come from all over the world for different prices.  Coffee shops make all varieties and flavors.  In the movie  “You’ve Got Mail” Tom Hanks comments that what type of coffee you order defines you.  Jeff and I refuse to buy coffee from places like Starbucks.  Too expensive!  I have watched teachers stop by a coffee place every morning and purchase coffee.  (The cost is $3.00 or more. That adds up daily.)  Don’t get me wrong, Jeff and I drink coffee every morning and have nothing against it.  We would rather buy a good coffee maker, good coffee, and a variety of creamers.  We can “define” ourselves at home.  Jeff even buys whole coffee beans at Sam’s club and he grinds his own coffee daily.  I prefer flavored coffees and Jeff will not drink that kind of coffee.  Needless to say, we make our own coffee around here.  Kerig came out with a very good coffee maker for people who also like variety.  I noticed that Kerig has also come out with a coffee maker with a pot.  I can’t begin to list the different ways to make coffee or the different brands that make coffee makers.

I’m going to be honest, we will spend money on Sonic’s Mocha Java Chillers! YUM!

Daily Thoughts

We are still going to the South Cheatham Choral Society singing practice on Monday nights.  We are enjoying it but it is different than how we sing at Church.  At Church we just sing and at the practice we have a director.  She is very nice but she tells us when we can breath, how fast and how slow to sing, we must hit notes just right and not “slide up” to a note, and she makes adjustments to the songs constantly.  We don’t mind but there’s so much to remember while you are singing.  It does get easier but one song is in Latin.  You have to think of how to correctly pronounce the Latin words and how to sing the song at the same time.  We still like it!

Jeff walked down our driveway Saturday morning and he noticed a large hornets nest hanging on a low branch of a tree on the edge of our yard. The tree is really on our neighbors lot but the branches hang over in our yard.  Jeff and our neighbor mow that area of the yard.  Both of them had mowed a week before and there wasn’t a nest there.  They would have known that it was there because it was hanging so low.  Other branches were hiding the nest.  Jeff called our neighbor and told him to not mow because the nest would hit him on the head.  Last night when we got home from singing, Jeff sprayed the nest.  He checked on it later and there was still some hornet activity.  He went back again later and sprayed it again.  This morning there didn’t seem to be any activity and he cut the nest down. He walked up on the back deck with it and showed me how large it was.  Jeff the “Hornet Killer”!

We are keeping 3 of our grandchildren this week for 5 days.  We will be going back and forth to Dickson to take the boys to school.  We love our grandchildren!

We moved into our house on November 9th last year and the leaves were off the trees.  We are watching the leaves begin to change colors-so beautiful. This is our favorite season!

The birds are starting to come back.  We have been seeing bluebirds on our deck.  Jeff also said he saw an eagle flying down to the creek again.  We realized that it is close to time to go buy birdseed  and suet again.  Jeff refused to feed the birds all spring and summer.  Not a good landlord is he?

Daily Thoughts

Talking about Hurricane Hugo in yesterday’s blog, I started thinking about inventions.   Most inventions were “invented” because of a need. Technology changes constantly.

We would study about inventions in 4th grade.  We would have big discussions about them.  A 10 year old had only ever known the latest technology-cell phones, computers etc..  The kids didn’t know what a typewriter was.  I explained that when I went to College I had to type all my papers.  You had to use carbon paper (I had to explain that also) and if you came to the end of the paper and made a mistake, you had to totally retype the paper. Boy-don’t we love computers now and spell check.  The dictionary was the spell check of my day.  Who has a dictionary now (book)?

Telephones were all connected to the wall.  Recently we watched a show that was made when there were no cell phones.  The policemen had to go to a house or find a public phone booth.  We did not get a microwave until Kathryn was 3 years old.  I remember when I rented a VHS player from Kroger and rented a VHS tape when Kathryn was 7 years old.  That was the first time we could watch a movie like that at home.  It was amazing!  Later we purchased a VHS player.  Who has a VHS player now?

I’m not complaining about technology and inventions.  We get so used to them that when something doesn’t work it makes a big difference in our lives.  How have things changed just in your lifetime?

Daily Thoughts

Sometimes you see things that you’ve never seen before.

Many years ago, we were on a major road in Charlotte (NC).  We were stopped at a stoplight and we were about the 4th car back.  The car behind us became impatient and decided to do something about it.  The driver (I thought was a young person) drove off the road to the right and went on the sidewalk  He proceeded to drive on the sidewalk until he came to the gas station on the corner and then he turned right and sped off.  Our mouths dropped open!  We were glad that there weren’t people walking on the sidewalk at that time.

Hurricane Hugo hit Charlotte (NC) around 1987 in the fall.  The weather reports warned that the hurricane was coming and they told the coastal areas of South and North Carolina to prepare.  It was going to be a “bad” one.  The hurricane decided to change paths that night and it hit Charlotte (for those of you who don’t know where Charlotte is-it is not by the coast-250 miles from the coast).  We went to bed & Kathryn and I woke up when outside sounded like a huge, very loud train was coming through our house. We were scared. Jeff slept on!!   Kathryn and I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night.  We woke up and there was no power.  We could not see outside to tell what kind of damage was done to our house/yard.  Finally the sun came up and we looked out in the yard-there were at least 20 tall pine trees down in our yard.  Everyone else in the neighbor had many trees down also. The house was not damaged but several trees hit our fence.  Hurricane Hugo hit Charlotte hard.  There were trees of all sizes and shapes down everywhere-in yards, on cars/houses, and on the streets. We did have a radio and listened to the directions etc.. for the emergency. The city of Charlotte was totally shut down because of trees everywhere and no power.  Jeff’s mom and dad lived in Mobile AL and they were used to having hurricanes and knew how to prepare for them. (We could have asked them what to do to prepare.)  No one in Charlotte knew that the hurricane was going to veer there.  It’s very hard to understand how bad things can get when there isn’t any power anywhere!  No gas station could open because you need electricity to pump the gas up from the tanks.  For the first few days, no one could drive anywhere anyway because of all the trees on the roads.  Even emergency vehicles couldn’t get through.  After the sun came up,  you could hear only one thing-the sound of chainsaws.  Everyone that had one was out trying to clear the roads.  Jeff had one and thank goodness he had some gas. He cut all our trees into logs and stacked them up in a row in front of our house.  You couldn’t go to the grocery for food/water because the doors were electric and all the cash registers are electric.  People wanted to buy chainsaws etc.. and they couldn’t.  Finally some managers opened the grocery stores and let one family in at a time and used handheld calculators to add up the groceries. All stores made calls to other towns not hit by the hurricane to bring water, food, and supplies like chainsaws to Charlotte.   We opened our big freezer and took every thing out.  We were lucky that we had gas hot water and an in-ground gas grill.  We grilled all the food that we could.  At least we could take hot showers.  All schools were cancelled for more than a week.  We called our families and told them that we were OK.  We had a burner on our gas grill and at least we could heat up soup and things like that.  Our power was only out for 3 days-we were lucky ones.  Some people didn’t have power for one week or even 2 weeks.  We had candles and flashlights but many people did not.  The way society is now electricity is essential to everything.