Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.  
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Monday, December 30, 2013

Meaplan Monday #91 and being frugal in the New Year!

It's a good thing that people here love a bowl of beans made in the crock pot, with a little smoked meat leftover from the weekend BBQ and garnished with onions or jalapenos, served with a chunk of cornbread.  It's a simple and filling dish and quite frugal! And starting next week, after I clean out the freezer, it will start becoming a regular menu item.
Monday - Leftover Buffalo Chicken Pasta from the freezer, corn
Tuesday - Scalloped potatoes with broccoli and leftover grilled pork from freezer, salad
Wednesday - Swedish Ham Balls, cabbage, black-eyed peas, rolls
Thursday - Mom and boys to Waco to see the Girl
Friday - Italian Beef Pot Pie, salad
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Porcupine Meatballs, garlic toast, broccoli
Dessert this week is Apple Pie! (the last two pie crusts will be used up this week)
I have quite a busy work week ahead that started Saturday - 48 hours! - so we will wait until Thursday to food shop before we go to Waco.  The tree comes down Friday, the boys return to school Tuesday, and the holidays will come to a close at Camp Rustown. 
Quite a whirlwind of a holiday, it seemed to me!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Birthday wishes for our Christmas boy

Happy Birthday to our favorite Christmas gift!
 Bubbie, age 15

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.

Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scenes from our Christmas

I didn't take a lot of photos on Christmas Day - I left that up to Hubby, and I've yet to get his SD card and import those.  I tried not to obsess over posed pics, so I mostly have candids.  It was good not to stress it.
By lunchtime on Christmas Eve, the house was smelling good and some Christmas gifts had migrated over to the tree. 
White wine Sangria was made - so good - I think this will be a tradition here!
Kitchen appetizer bar/island ready for noshing.
 Scrabble games were played...
 gingerbread house made...
 People kicked back and relaxed
The dinner table wasn't fussy and the menu was simple and delish.
In low light with candles on, it's hard to photograph - it was a sweet dinner with my favorite people.  We didn't make it to church this year, and no one was bothered by that.
Hubby's post gift-opening job is to take care of "tech support"
More relaxing by the fire, and more games!  
I'm always ready for Christmas to come to a close and move forward into a New Year.  But it was so nice to have all of my dear ones together under the same roof for a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

There IS a Santa!

When I was in 7th grade, I memorized this poem by one of my favorite poets - yeah, I was all brainy like that.  I wish I could still recite it to my kids - they'll just have to read it themselves to enjoy it - just like you!
Our Santa hats are ready, and so are we!

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus

In Baltimore there lived a boy,
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued. He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked No Admittance.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying "Boo!" at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
"There isn't any Santa Claus!"
Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.
Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
"Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!"
Slunk like a weasel or a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
"There isn't any, no there's not!"
The children wept all Christmas Eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared to hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of "Don't," and "Pretty please."
He howled, "I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!"
"Jabez," replied the angry saint,
"It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!"
Said Jabez with impudent vim,
"Oh, yes there is; and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't"---
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.
All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donder and Blitzen licked off his paint.

                                                                                -Ogden Nash

******Merry Christmas, Everyone!******

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mealplan Monday #90 and Broken Dishes

My mother makes the most beautiful things - quilts, and crochet, and embroidery.  If she had some kind of way to sell them, she would make a fortune.  But she does it for the sheer pleasure of creating something pretty.  And recently, she decided that her quilts closet is too full.  So guess who got to take a quilt of her choosing home?  Me!
I chose Broken Dishes, made in February of 2010.
So cheerful and feminine.  Like something out of the 30's.
It matches nothing in my house and I don't care.
I'm not putting it on a bed or quilt rack.  It's got some antique fabrics in it, so it's more fragile than some of the others.  It will be my own personal quilt for cuddling up in The Lounge.
I envision many happy hours here with my books.
What a great Christmas gift!
Monday - Stuffed Pasta Shells, salad, garlic bread
Tuesday - Spiral Sliced Glazed Ham, Crack Potatoes, Haricot Vert, rolls, Cinnamon Apple Pie, and the rest of these cookies
Wednesday - Chicken Taco Soup, tortilla chips, grated cheese, etc., Birthday Cake!
Thursday - Brisket (from smoking on Thanksgiving Day), Bourbon Baked Beans, coleslaw
Friday - Pork and Peppers Crock Pot, garlic toast
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Curry Chicken, mashed potatoes, peas
*For the cake, I am tinting a white cake mix green, adding mint extract, frosting it with fluffy white meringue, and adding crushed candy canes as sprinkles.  Bubbie's request!
My mother is searching her crochet basket to show me something she made.  On the quilt frame is a Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt for a future great grandchild.  Or great-great.  She will likely see one of those in her lifetime.
The doily at top is an antique - the white one below is her "copy" - pretty much an exact replica, that she figured out without a pattern.  Sometimes she is so smart, even at 84, that I am amazed.  I could learn a lot from my mother's methodical and careful approach to creating beautiful things. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Last minute decor, and a mini tour

I've been wanting to spiff up the backs of the chairs in the dining room.  I want to make Christmas Eve dinner something special and memorable - why not make is beautiful, too?
I made these chair tie-on's completely out of stuff I already had.  My goal was to spend Sunday IN MY HOME and relax.  I think I did good!
I used the rest of the natural burlap ribbon from Michael's that I already had, some jingle bells (from Webelos Woods), and some snips of garland and florist wire from my stash. 
Each chair got a little swag and I have some green woven chargers and sweet napkins for under the clear dinner plates.  The house also got tidied up.  Wanna see?  Here's a mini-tour:
The tree this year is so pretty - just now stopped sucking water, which means I can leave it up til Friday, Jan. 3rd.  That's when my mother and a sister will visit - may as well enjoy it at least until then.
Such a cozy place to hang out.  
This is where we sip coffee and open gifts on Christmas morning.
This is one of the ornaments I ordered this year - the Peace sign in mosaic mirror glass.  It's like a mash-up of 60's and 70's - love it.  So me.
A new "ornament" - one I will treasure for years. 
Pinecones.  'nuff said.  Plus, I just love crochet doilies!
The kids' tree!  Pretty soon, my kids will ALL be adults.  One more kid at our house...and his birthday is Christmas Day!
The creepy Mr. and Mrs. Claus that we never plug in...
in a clean and cozy kitchen, with the best decoration of all:
A full crock pot, and a pan of Cranberry Oatmeal bars.
I'm not 100% done shopping, but I will be ready to share the joy of the season with my family!  So, are you ready?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Hot Chocolate station is ready for action!

School is out for Winter Break!  And hopefully, the weather will soon go back to feeling wintry.  With that in mind, I set up the hot chocolate station right next to the coffee pots in the kitchen.  This was an idea I got from Angie at Echoes of Laughter.
I gathered my supplies: a serving tray from Academy (about $2), Snapware from Dollar Tree, mini marshmallows, packets of hot chocolate and apple cider, cinnamon, and those melty candy canes - great in a hot mug of coffee or cocoa!
The small snap jar will be perfect for cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top of hot drinks.  I mixed about a cup of sugar with a tablespoon or so of cinnamon.   *Be sure you wash your containers first in hot soapy water, then dry**
These candy canes can also be found at Wal-mart sometimes - I got these at Dollar Tree.  They had a bunch of them at the registers and were pushing them - I figure three packs will last approximately three weeks with my peeps drinking cocoa every day!
 Everything fit nicely on the tray, and I even had room for some extra stirrers and mugs.
 The marshmallows will stay fresh and look festive, plus you could pour them.  Win!
 Ditto for storing the peppermint sticks, and this container was the perfect size.  These mint sticks get melty and chewy in hot drinks.  Yum.
 A small metal pail holds the instant packs.
I spent about $8 on it and have lots of marshmallows and cinnamon left to use, plus, we can set this up again next year. Such a cheery addition to the kitchen counter!  
Santa, bring us some cold weather next week!

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