Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas cards 2011

We had a good 30 minutes of photo time in the back yard on Thanksgiving day...
 Mom and Dad
 It was a lot of fun, but not your normal portrait sitting!
 we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other's company...
 And sometimes I actually got the kids to pose sweetly...
 ...but only for one or two pics...
 ...don't they look innocent?
Oh, so pretty...
.....even though they didn't want to be serious at all.....
And somehow, out of all of the photos we took, we got a few for the Christmas card.  (:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lunch with Maggie

My sister and I met in Dripping Springs for lunch at a Mexican restaurant one day last week. 
The restaurant was so-so, but the company was fun!  She brought me a new Tervis Tumbler and treated me to lunch for my birthday.  Fun!  I brought her some wine for her Thanksgiving dinner, a jar of homemade Cranberry Sauce, and some Bacon Jam.
Maggie might be older than me, but she is young at heart, and we like a lot of the same things.
She helps me see things from a different point of view, so it's nice to talk to her about important stuff.
 She is fun to spend time with - I don't get to do that too often.  We have 7 kids and 4 sisters between us (not counting each other).  We live in the same part of the state, but she owns her own business and it's about to be the busiest time of the year for her, so I won't see her again unless I go there.  Which is not a bad idea, really.  Wimberley is a pretty little town out in the country.
The Hill Country is so pretty this time of year - wish I'd taken more pics.  
Guess I will have to visit her sooner, rather than later!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A prayer of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2011

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

 We thank you, Lord - amen!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kids bathroom update

 Before - orange peel texture and yellow paint.
After - "Spanish Moss" and knockdown texture.
I think the problem with the yellow was it's intensity.  And yes, the Fall clings went bye-bye, too!
I plan on adding one of those beautiful wall quotes to the mirror, and talk hubby into framing it out.
Everything looks so clean in here now.  I will change out these prints with the season - maybe add a couple more next time I visit IKEA for frames.
The Hunter green had run it's course...this shower curtain is as old as our house, built in 1993...
The new shower curtain is fabric, not plastic, and has a pretty grey stripe in it.  I love how it looks with the green.  One thing I learned is that the light bulb you choose can make a difference in how the paint color looks.  I'm not gonna get all crazy because it isn't exactly matchy-matchy;  I just want it to coordinate.
Another thing I have learned with bathrooms - white towels can be bleached so they are a very good choice for kids!  I re-framed the silhouette art from a while back - don't know if it will live here forever, but the newly painted wall was a blank and I wanted to pretty it up.  
The 'mat' for all the framed pictures is a sheet of cork, cut to fit.  I love the texture of cork!
I am OK with silk plants.  I will change this out for a small Christmas tree after Thanksgiving.
And maybe add tiny pine cones to this candle vase.
Looking at the before and afters I realize that what I was trying to do was get away from the harsh of the yellow against the Hunter green and create a softer look - still green because it's one of my favorite colors in the home - so calm and natural.  I kept the white instead of accentuating the cream on the shower curtain - it looks fresher and I wanted to stay within my very limited budget!   I scrubbed down the cabinets and doors and hubby added some new brushed nickle door stops. Just need to tweak a bit with decor.
Whatcha think?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The menu this year!

Planning the menu for Thanksgiving is a no-brainer here, as very little changes year to year.  The only thing missing will be my sister's stuffed jalapenos, but we are substituting chex mix that we will munch while we play dominoes and cards with soda and beer on the patio.  (:  And I am going to try my hand at a Bourbon Pecan Pie I found in Real Simple magazine.
I asked my family what one item they had to have that makes it Thanksgiving for them and a menu came together. Hubby and Firstborn love the turkey, The Girl is a green bean fan, Scout loves corn casserole, Bubbie loves Watergate Salad, and will eat anything with bacon, and me?  I love it all, but especially the cranberry orange sauce!   Eventually, I will write down the recipes so my kids can carry on the traditions with their own families, if they choose.  And I was even thinking of putting together a family cookbook.
What about you?  Got a holiday menu that's near and dear to you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Liquid gold

Time to take a break from painting and start planning the Thanksgiving dinner!  
I love all the planning and shopping and food prep and I try to make as many things from scratch as I can - including the gravy.  It's not like I'm a gravy professional, I'm sorta self-taught on that, but I'll have a great start with some homemade stock
I bought a couple of BIG turkey wings and plopped them into the crockpot with a little water, some garlic salt, and some rosemary.  Underneath them I tucked some odds and ends of celery and some carrots - but the wings are so big you can't see 'em.  Trust me, they're in there - they will add a nice flavor to it.
After they cooked most of the day I strained the liquid into my trusty Pyrex measuring cup and set it in the freezer to set up the fat that rose to the top.  I chopped the turkey and bagged it to make yummy turkey pot pie or turkey a la king for another meal.  Yum.
This cup of concentrated and seasoned stock is what I ended up with - about 1 1/4 cups for some tasty Thanksgiving gravy.  I just scraped the fat off - it comes off easily - and spooned it into a mason jar for storage in the freezer. 
Liquid gold!
It's jelly-like but will liquify when I heat it up to make gravy.  We like to brine our bird and sometimes it makes the drippings a bit  too salty to use.  So, just in case....I will pull out this secret weapon!  And if I don't use it for gravy, it makes an awesome base for delicious soup.
My mother made the best gravy, but I don't do so bad...
What about you - do you make homemade gravy?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bathroom walls

Before I could even think of spiffing and cleaning the kids bathroom 
I had to tackle the ugly truth about it's walls:
Oh, I can handle the truth...I admit it - I didn't have the knowledge or the follow-thru to do this right...
Let's just say that some places in the walls looked better than others...yikes
Enter a friend of mine who husband works with a subcontractor who does this sort of thing.  
He didn't poke fun at me, and even said it was a good effort..  Very diplomatic of him, I think!
The first evening, he worked 2 hours and took down all the towel bars and wallpapaer, 
and scraped the uneven areas of joint compound off the walls.
 Then the next two evenings he began taping off the door jambs and cabinets, etc.  This was the most time consuming part - six hours worth of work.  I don't think he realized how much a hassle that was going to be, or he would have charged me more...
And yes, this bathroom was out of commission for almost a week, no small thing with 
5 people sharing the master bathroom....
And after his last visit which lasted 5 1/2 hours, here's what we are left with...
Knockdown texture, perfectly done!  You can see the yellow paint peeking thru, soon to be a 
lovely shade of green!  Yes, I know it's hard to see, so here's a close up:
I wish I knew how to do this, but I don't, and it's good to know your limitations right?  Lovely knockdown texture, how I love it!  So much better than the nasty wallpaper and once I get it all done, the kids will have a beautiful, relaxing bathroom in green, cream, and gray.  I'm finishing up the painting today and hope to have it all put together by the time the boys get home from school.    
It's been a challenge - wish me luck on finishing it up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wreath of Thanksgiving

After I took down the Halloween wreath, I wanted to put up something different than this 
quickie wreath I made for 0 dollars:
Pretty, but I wanted something that really said it was the season of abundance and thankfulness!  I love all the burlap and monogram things I see in Bloggyland, so I combined the two (in my head!) and went to Hob Lob.
I already had a grapevine wreath, so I got a chipboard "C" and a couple of  Fall sprays.  
I figured I could pull the rest from my wreath making stash.
I love the colors, and the nuts and berries added in makes it even better - I've still got those huge acorns from last year and the tablecloth to match - love the simplicity of acorns and pine cones....I paid $4 for two of the sprays - and they will get used more than one, I'm sure!
The C was 1.99, and 40% off that.  I wrapped it in a long strip of frayed burlap 
and tied it on the wreath with more burlap.
I like how it looks natural, but so colorful and really full - it fills the front door.
Gosh, I am ready for cooler temps and Thanksgiving!


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