Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas break with my dear ones...

The best thing about my blog is that it can be a place I express love and gratitude for my family and imperfectly beautiful life.  And, if you are reading this, I can wish for you peace and love this holiday season. And on that note, I think I will take a short break to spend time with my dear ones and reflect on the past year, and the one to come. 
So, see you in January...
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mealplan Monday #142 and another Mission Accomplished

 Saturday was an exciting day for the Cannary Family!  A Big Day -  The Girl's graduation from Baylor.  Four and a half years in the making.
I'm still going through all of the pictures, and I hardly know how to convey the sense of pride we feel in her.  But I can tell you that from the beginning she knew she wanted more from her college experience.  She didn't let the initial setback of not going to Coast Guard School hold her back.  She refocused her goals, applied to Baylor, and started making the impossible, possible.
Turns out it wasn't impossible - but it did involve a lot of hard work and sacrifice.  And yes, money.  But things worth having are worth the effort, time, and expense.  And she ended her last semester as strong as her first with excellent grades.  Of the 37 Accounting BBA's awarded, there were 8 that had double majors, and only 4 of those were secondary concentration in Finance.  The Girl was one of them. 
Monday - Chicken Cacciatore, spaghetti
Tuesday - Lentil Soup with smoked turkey, cornbread
Wednesday - Snackitizing Afternoon will include Pesto Dip with Crackers, Shrimp Ring, Layered Bean Dip with Fritos.  Dinner is Orange Chicken and Twice Baked Mashed Potatoes 
Thursday - Spiral Sliced Honey Ham, Steakhouse Mac and Cheese, broccoli, rolls and Blue Velvet Birthday Cupcakes - HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY, BUBBIE!
Friday - Turkey Bacon Crescent Pillows, tots
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Weeknight Lasagna Toss, peas
We are proud of all of our children - they each bring something unique and special to our group.  They are a success in their own right due to their hard work and persistence.  And they are full of love for their siblings and parents.
And behind every successful student is a supportive family!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Do what you don't know you can't...

Well, here we are.  
8 1/2 weeks post op for knee surgery.  And I still have the occasional panic attack about stepping up or down a stair step.  
For. No. Logical. Reason.
Hours after my surgery, with crutches that I barely knew how to use correctly, I managed to climb the steps leading to my front door and step over the doorway.   Days after surgery I climbed into our new baby trailer and back down again.  A couple of weeks after surgery I managed to navigate the step outside of our patio so I could cut my hubby's hair.  So why now, after two months do I have these panic attacks that paralyze me and cause me to make a scene?
I was walking very short distances in my house with one crutch.  I was carrying my cup of coffee to my desk by myself.  Getting a shower by myself.  But somewhere along the line I got it into my head that I couldn't do those things.  Someone told me to exercise caution.  That set off a chain reaction.  The mind is a powerful thing.  I became my own Helicopter Parent in my head, hovering and telling myself to be careful.  
And it has backfired against me. 
So now I have a new mantra - something I clearly need to practice more.  It takes a short time to develop a bad habit, but a long time to un-do it.  My new daily rule for myself is:  "If you've already done it once, you can do it again.  And try it at least once!"
Wish me luck.  I want tomorrow to be all about watching my beautiful girl graduate from Baylor.  Not how her mom had a hard time coping with her knee recovery.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why I love tacky homemade gifts

It might sound cliche or insincere - but I sure hope not.  
Homemade gifts, aka "tacky homemades" as my mother calls them, are the best gifts I receive.  It would be easier for the giftgiver to pick out something to spend big bucks on, especially at Christmastime when we're bombarded by sales and free shipping offers. The challenge of a homemade gift is giving something of yourself - and that is so much more valuable to me.
 Over the years I have received many from friends and family. 
They never cease to delight me.
Just setting them out reminds me of happy times.  Seeing them brings a smile to my face.  They range from the simple... the complex, and are a special gift from someone's hands and heart.  The gifts from my mother are especially treasured - she puts her all into creating a thing of beauty.  Not tacky in the least.  Things made of thought, care, and love.
For her, it is a sincere expression - easier for her to do with her hands than her voice.  A handmade gift is like wearing your heart on your sleeve.  It requires work, forethought, creativity, really thinking of someone else, and it includes a little bit of you.
{It rarely snows here, but isn't my beanbag snowman perfect as a paperweight on my desk?  I love him and his cute little hat.  He will live here until Spring!}
 As the years go by, they become like heirlooms to me, and I guard them by making sure they are out of harm's way!
Here are some tacky homemades from  me:
I love creating a special gift, and receiving one, too.  Nothing tacky about that.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mealplan Monday #141 and I miss crafting

 I really love doing crafty stuff at Christmastime, but I can't go shopping for schtuff, so I mainly make do with what I have. Case in point: I made another of those little "trees" out of a paperback.  Last year I used a Reader's Digest.  But I think I like the black and cream effect better with a paperback and there are more pages.
You can't quite fold it the same way you do the magazine, or it won't be tree-shaped.  My first attempt looked like a weird geometric object d'art.
So I added in a fold and it worked out better.
I topped it with a scrap of holiday ribbon and called it done.  Even with limping back and forth to my craft stash it was easy and helped me focus on doing something fun.
Monday - Meatballs in BBQ sauce, masheds, spinach
Tuesday -  Baked Chicken and Stuffing with gravy, fresh broccoli
Wednesday - Skillet Beef and Beans, salad
Thursday - Chicken Taco Soup
Friday - Fish filets, sweet potatoes, cabbage, rolls
Saturday - WACO!
Sunday - Turkey a la King on toast
Dessert will be - believe it or not, there is still birthday cake in the freezer!  I am trying to clean out the freezer this week and make the list much shorter for Hubby!
However, there are things you can order on-line to create a craft at home, if you are willing to pay postage or order the minimum amount.
All I needed for this pampering gift was grocery type items, and I had Hubby Pick those up.  This project was simple to do and it sounds like it will be very soothing! 
It includes this fabulous essential oil that smells of orange, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg - I might have gone a little heavy on the scent.  Oh, well!   {Go here for the project instructions} Creativity is a good boost to mental health - can't wait to get back to doing more of these projects.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

5 thing Friday: cards, decorating limbo, Charlie Brown, knees, hot kwafee

 This is the second time I have ordered cards from Shutterfly that do not turn out as planned.  You can't tell it from my photo of a photo, but the picture is overly red.  Not flattering.  Not gonna order cards from them again.
 Reprints and my own cards, from now on.
 Someone please halp me decorate the kids' tree.  Anyone?  Heller?
And, I can't reach my crutches!
For Hubby's office party we were treated to cocktails at Roaring Fork downtown, then this fabulous concert!  It was a real shot in the arm for me.  I no fally downy!  And I have always loved the music to the Charlie Brown specials.
 And Hubby got his fair share of stares with his sparkly red tie, Santa hat,  and battery operated Christmas lights.
Ok, but the point is I didn't fall down and we walked a city block to get from the restaurant to the theater, although I'm not gonna say the whole thing wasn't challenging.  You can't get tipsy if you have to crutch it.  Bummer for me.
Gratuitous photo of healing janky knee.  
I can bend it 102 degrees and can fully straighten it!
If you like to sit at your desk and drink coffee you need one of these plug in coffee cup hot pads.  Best thing ever.  No idea where we got it from, but Amazon has them.  
Go get one!  I have used mine every winter for years.
{Happy Birthday today, Kenneth and Tom}

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Men can decorate for Christmas, too

Since I was still on crutches the day after Thanksgiving, Hubby offered to help decorate - if I could tell him where everything went.  That was hard for me - I create as I go.  But I had three able bodied and willing male people here.  So we got 'er done.
In years past, I have put so much Christmas decor out that it was exhausting!  My family never seemed to mind, but then, they weren't the ones fussy over something as ridiculous as how something was arranged in a bowl.  It was high time we made this simpler - if only for a year.  It will be much easier taking it all down.
 And while we were at it, I realized that it meant so much more for all of us to participate in making our home merry.  Hubby bought some new red tapers when he picked up groceries, and  stuck some berry sprays up between items on a shelf.  I put some extra ornaments in a jar, and he stuck that up there, too.
 We hauled out about half of the holiday pillows we have - why do we need so many?  Note to self: get rid of some.  But that goes for a lot of the holiday decor we own...there's almost just too much of it.  It creates stress instead of beauty, you know?
We picked out all of the silver, gold, and red ornaments that we wanted on the tree and we didn't overdo it.  I might have bought a couple of new ones from Pottery Barn.  
My bad.
 Simple white lights.  Wish we could have had a shorter tree - that sucker is 8 1/2 feet tall.  But that's the one thing I get outvoted on so I guess it's good we have a million ornaments!
 But most of these we've had a loooong time.
 I love this red PB snowflake that hangs from the lamp:
 And the "magical tree" from last year - it lives in the china cabinet for safety!
 In my dough bowl, I pulled out all of the orange Fall stuff and added more pinecones and fake greenery with only one candle. 
 And Bubbie helped us arrange this tree collection over the mantle.
 Sure, I'd have liked to change it up a bit - I ended up doing some of the same things as last year.  But it was worth it to our sanity to keep it simple.  Trust me, though, I am pinning ideas for next year and I FULLY expect to be able to do it with help from the boys again!


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