Monday, October 31, 2016

"My Baby...Have You Seen My Baby?" Jim Terry

Growing up, and as mentioned in a blog post last year, we used to have an amazing spook alley at our home that would consist of ghouls, ghosts and of course goblins.  I always felt bad for the small children that would "have to" come to the famous Terry Spook alley, because it was always their parents that "FORCED" them to come. 

While the parents were being entertained while they took a quick flash back into their youth by going through our spook alley, the kids were having a much different experience. Have you ever seen a small child on Santa’s lap, screaming their head off because of their fear of a red suited man with a really, really big beard and a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly?  Their reaction to our small production on Halloween was just like that plus about twenty times more fear interlaced in their little eyes.  I mean what type of reaction would you expect of children who were being escorted by a 7’ grim reaper?  In their journey towards our home, they also would be noticing mummies  and zombies throughout the graveyard, witches on the roof of our home, bats flying about and finally reaching their destination only to be greeted by the great Dracula himself! I'm sure most kids probably thought, "I'll skip this treat Mom and Dad...please!" 

I look back on it now, and I know we, as kids, always complained a lot in setting up the spook alley. It really was about a month’s worth of work, but with the patience of our Mom and Dad, we always ended up with what was said to be, "the perfect Halloween activity” amongst all those that were brave enough to attend.  And for us? It really was a lot of fun!

Funny how time can change one's perception of things isn’t it?  I finally am realizing, in my mid-forties, how smart my Mom and Dad were. For instance, I now look at all the “work” we did, each and every year in preparation for Halloween, as a wonderful time to build some amazing memories which I can now share with people. I also now look at all the effort we put into our spook alley as a great way to teach young kids the meaning of work…to be responsible…to be meet deadlines…and finally in teaching us to grow and love each other as a family by creating situations for us to be together. So "kuddos" to my Dad and to my Mother in heaven for teaching us so many things in life, but most importantly how to love. Your dedication, devotion and perseverance to being such amazing examples has not gone unnoticed. 
I am keeping this short today because I wanted to share with you what was, and still is, a family tradition of our family. We used to listen to a “scary” story off of an album called "Halloween Horrors" –– each and every year, a night before Halloween. It helped get us in the mood for the holiday and set the stage for our spook alley on the following night.  

As we all sat around the stereo and heard the crackle of the needle hitting the vinyl record as it slowly spun around, we would listen intently and carefully.  The whistling wind intermingled with the distant sound of thunder would precede the apparition as she would cry into the empty and dimly lit halls of the old mansion, “my baby..have you seen my baby?”...Call me a "scaredy cat" but it still makes me a little unnerved and brings back such vivid memories from my childhood of being young, excited and scared all at the same time. Listen if you dare! 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  We hope you have a great holiday that is safe and fun!

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Pumpkin Pie and "The F-Bomb" Jim Terry

Isn’t this just a GREAT time of year?  After the long days and what feels like endless summer heat, there finally comes a reprieve we all need and known to the world as autumn or fall.  With the crisp coolness that one may experience each and every morning, the fall season officially becomes a period of time where warm drinks in the morning are once again needed and longed for. It also becomes a time for football games/jerseys, shorter days, harvesting the garden and of course the vibrant colors that Mother Nature begins to paint the surrounding landscapes.  I also notice that it becomes a time of year when everything you can think of is made of, or with, pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie has always been one of my favorite treats…even as a kid. I remember the sweet aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg filling the air as this wonderful scent traveled throughout and filled our entire home. Generally, in our household at least, pumpkin pie was baked only during the holidays.  It was a rare occasion that we would get pumpkin pie outside of the holiday season, so it was unquestionably a wonderful treat when we were able to eat a slice.

I thought I would start out this fall season properly, since everyone else and every business seems to be making everything out of pumpkin right now, and I took it upon myself to “try” and make a pumpkin pie.  I queried my friends and my family for their favorite recipe and what ingredients they used to make it just right.  I was a bit shocked to find out that one ingredient, I would have never thought of adding, was cream cheese.  Apparently, the cream cheese helps enhance the flavor and brings out a richer flavor.    

Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have one of those Kitchenaid mixers. You know the one? The one that has it’s own stand and is a heavy-duty mixer for those bigger jobs.  I do not have the time to cook often, so I figured I would double the ingredients so I could make two pies with one shot.  I would then freeze one pie to have a slice of pie for several weeks thereafter and then share the other pie with those that had helped me with putting the recipe together.   

I followed the recipe directions I received precisely and accurately.  I first put all of the dry ingredients into the stainless steel mixing bowl. This included the spices, the sugar, the salt and the baking soda and then sifted them together.  I then carefully added the sweetened condensed milk, the pumpkin, four large eggs and an entire brick of Philadelphia cream cheese.  I then turned the mixer on to about speed 3­­—For those of you who do not know, the mixing speed goes from 0-10 on these mixers…10 being the highest speed—As I watched the mixer work, I noticed that the brick of cream cheese wasn’t mixing too well with the rest of the ingredients and was creating a "thump, thump, thump." It reminded me of when you wash a pair of sneakers in a washing machine and then try and dry them in the dryer. You hear the "thump, thump thump" from the sneakers being tossed about inside the drum of the dryer.  Could this clatter and the cream cheese not mixing well been created because I had just pulled it from the refrigerator?  As the mixing continued, I noticed that the cream cheese was really sticking to the wire whip at this point and was certainly not mixing together in a trouble-free manner. 

“So what do I do?” I asked myself.  "If I can produce enough centrifugal force, that would then launch the cream cheese from the wire whip and allow it to be mixed properly...right?"  So what did I do? I reached over with my finger and turned the mixer up to speed 10 of course.

Ok, so a little off topic here, and DID YOU KNOW, that tornadoes have different classifications?  This bit of information listed below is brought to you by’s website…

Tornadoes are classified into five categories, F-0 through F-5. F-0 tornadoes are the mildest. F-5 tornadoes are the most dangerous (and the rarest). F-5 tornadoes are also known as the ‘Finger of God.’
  • F-0 40-72 mph, Light damage, chimney damage, tree branches broken
  • F-1 73-112 mph, Moderate damage, mobile homes pushed off foundation or flipped over
  • F-2 113-157 mph, Considerable damage, mobile homes demolished, trees uprooted
  • F-3 158-205 mph, Severe damage, roofs and walls torn down, trains overturned, cars thrown around
  • F-4 207-260 mph, Devastating damage, well-constructed walls leveled
  • F-5 261-318 mph, Violent damage, homes lifted off foundation and carried considerable distances, autos thrown as far as 100 meters.”
Have you ever seen, in real life, what a real tornado can do to a car, a home or even to an area and leave it in ruin?  I personally have only seen tornadoes in open areas where no one or nothing was destroyed or hurt.  I could only imagine what might happen with an F-5 or a “Finger of God” tornado.  That was...until this mishap.
Picture it…A mixer going NOT at 318 mph but rather 1000 mph.

Picture it…Pumpkin mix with bits of cream cheese covering every surface within, what seemed to be, as far as 1000 meters.

Picture it…A once clean counter and floor also now covered in white with the last bit of dried ingredients not yet mixed in with the pumpkin recipe that were strewn about giving those very same surfaces the appearance of a freshly fallen snow.

And Lastly…PICTURE IT…a grown man with a bewildered look on his face wondering what the heck just happened to what he thought was a full proof plan in making, what once was, his favorite dessert.

As I quickly reached over and turned off my mixer, once again with the same finger that started this whole mess, I noticed something not quite right. Not only did all the surrounding surfaces get hit hard but I reached up and felt I had a new mousse in my hair.  A once blue t-shirt with white insignia I was wearing, now had a vibrant and stunning new orange hew. And lastly, what I thought might be tears running down my cheek from the disaster I created was none other than remnants of what was once a great plan gone tears had become pumpkin mix. And anyone in earshot of this calamity, after an initial couple of choice words, would have just witnessed laughter...Someone once said, "If you can't laugh at yourself, you are missing the best joke of the day." 

In conclusion, and definitely two things to remember and learn from this experience…first, if my Christmas cards are late to you this year, you will know I am still cleaning up the mess.  

Secondly, there may be a new classification of tornadoes on the horizon.  I plan on contacting the National Weather Association to see if we can add one more known as the "F-Bomb" or otherwise known as, with no blasphemy or disrespect,  “The Finger of Jim.”

P.S. What does this thing do that comes with my mixer called a "splash guard?" 😂 

P.S.S. And does anyone know how to get pumpkin mix with cream cheese in it, out of the inside of a toaster? 😂😂

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