Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

We started our evening by going to early service at church. Don't think we'll do that again next year... it's really hard on the little ones and they get tired out too quickly. We'll do all of our family stuff and anyone that's up to it can go to late service. Anyway, the second mistake came in my decision to not put the food in the oven before we left. It was decided that it might dry out and so we'd put it in when we got home. The little ones were hungry and it was hard waiting an hour before dinner was ready. So those two things will be easily remedied next year. Anyway, while we were waiting for dinner we got a few family pictures. Once again, if you have little ones you know how hard it is to get still pictures ;)

This first one is our daughter and her family.

Then we have our son and his family.

Couldn't resist this one of our son and Punkin. I just love it when she smiles.

While waiting for everyone to get downstairs to open gifts we got a couple of snapshots. This first one is at every Christmas with a little one. They just love to put the bows on their heads :) No exception here. Muffin was grabbing bows off the packages and having a ball.

Peanut got a Belle costume for Christmas from her Aunt and Uncle, complete with shoes, tiara and wand. She was stylin!

I'll spare you the videos of the girls riding me as their horsey. Big grins on their faces til they got thrown :(. At one point we had two horses going at once and lots of giggling.

I got a couple of American Girl Miniture Dolls from Peanut. We'll have fun playing with those. We were too busy tonight, but there's always tomorrow.

We were up late into the night learning the ins and outs of the blue ray player. Watched a couple of movies and then had to tackle the learning of programing the Pandora internet radio. The kids set it up before they left, but then we wanted to add stuff to it and since we were playing horsey during the original set up we were on our own. I was all for making a few phone calls, but MM said 'no' he could figure it out. Yup, he did! What a great feature. In case we're not the last people on the planet to get this I'll explain it a little. Using the blue ray device you can set up music according to your likes or dislikes. We set up 'Alabama' and it plays music by Alabama and other similar music. Today we added the Beach Boys and it has lots of artists from that era... The Beatles, Credence Clearwater... you get the picture.

I'll be cruising other blogs to check out your Christmas celebrations. What makes Christmas so special is spending it with our family. The laughter, giggles and cousins growing together is something I'll always remember.

Jiffy Corn Casserole

The girls at work suggested this recipe.... they've used it for years, but it's new to me. It's real quick, easy and delicious.

Jiffy Corn Casserole

1 can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained
1 can cream style yellow corn
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick butter, melted

Mix all together and pour into large, lightly oiled casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. What could be easier? I'll definitely be using this recipe again.

This was before baking.... was to busy to get an after photo :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dorky Homemade Christmas Gift

Don't know if I usually post it this way, but every year I like to make a handmade gift for my family. They are usually very nice, but some people would probably describe it as a "Dorky Homemade Christmas Gift" hence the title. Anyway, this year I've really enjoyed the potato bag that I bought at a craft show so I went home and made some up for this year's gift.

The directions are really quite easy. Everything has to be 100% cotton - muslin, fabric, batting and thread. Something to do with the heat of the microwave and chemicals in any polyester fabric or thread. Also everything I've read says that they are washable, but do not use fabric softner because of the chemicals.

You'll need exterior fabric 10" x 22" (100% cotton)
muslin 10" x 22" (100% cotton)
100% cotton batting 10" x 22"
100% cotton thread

I've seen some with a potato appliqued on for decoration, but I found a fabric that was great all by itself. If doing an applique position it on the exterior fabric so it will be on the front side of the bag.

Layer the muslin and fabric right sides together then place the batting on top of that. Stitch the top and bottom in a 1/2" seam (that would be the 10" edge). Turn right side out with the batting sandwiched in between and press. Next, with the muslin side down (the exterior fabric facing up) fold the top down about 3" and the bottom up to just overlap the top about 3/4". Using a zigzag stitch stitch the sides. Turn right side out and viola! You're done.

I also fashioned the following directions for use to go with the bag.

Baked Potato Bag

This bag creates a baked potato that is perfect in your
Microwave oven. The inside of the potato is well done,
yet moist, while the skin is tender. The bag will cook up
to 4 medium size potatoes at one time. Wash the potatoes,
DO NOT PRICK!! Wrap potatoes in paper towels and place
in potato bag. Place in oven. Microwave about 8 minutes.
When serving cut open potatoes with a fork. Potatoes
will be fluffy and so-o-o good! If necessary, let bag air dry.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

The best part of Christmas is visiting with family that you don't see all the time. Mom had a small gathering today with a few members of the family. She was there and me, my sister, my daughter and her daughter, my sister's daughter and her three daughters and my niece and her two sons and daughter. After a few had left my nephew came over with his wife... no kids with them. The pictures will say it all :)

This first of my Mom, my daughter and Peanut.

Three of the 25 cousins...

The three cousins lined up pretty well with their offspring :)

My sister and my other sister's daughter... they have the same name and their birthdays are a week apart. Happy Birthday!

The kids had a ball... of course they were perfectly behaved :)

A little later... three cousins of the 25.

So that's day one of the Christmas celebrations. Tomorrow is our immediate family... daughter her husband, son with his wife and the three granddaughters. It's gonna be fun :)!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Let us all count our blessings at this time of year, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 17, 2010

People and Their Dogs

I saw this on my neices facebook and thought I'd share it. Too funny!

It's especially poinant as I start to issue dog licenses for the 2011 year. Most of the people that I deal with really do care for their pets. Thankfully.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Lights

Winter has finally arrived!! I got up around 5:30 a.m. this morning (I was awake) and started addressing Christmas cards. It hadn't started snowing yet, but around 6:00 it started and hasn't stopped yet. Around 2:00 p.m. I had MM take this picture of our little bird house on the deck. The doorwall (where he stuck his head out) is only about 14' from the birdhouse and it was snowing so much you could hardly see it. Looking beyond you can barely see the brown door on the barn. Ended up with about 5".

After dark I took some pictures of our lights. I have decorations for two different trees, traditional with colored lights and this one of angels and white lights. I've done the traditional one for the last few years so it's kind of fun for a change to see my angels.

I wanted some pictures of the outside lights, but didn't want to go outside :) I got this first one just poking my head out the front door. Check out that snow!! Usually the snow doesn't come on the porch, but it was so windy that pretty much the whole porch is snow covered.

I trudged outside in the front yard to get the next few pictures.

As I walked up the driveway a view of the entrance to the porch.

A little different angle.

Safely warm back inside. I haven't gotten out a lot of decorations yet, but I did get out some of the musical ones. Santa on his stick pony.

Musical cowboy snowman leaning on his saddle.

Western Santa.... I'm seeing a little pattern here :)

I got these little snowmen last year from Hallmark. They bop up and down as they sing.

I made this snowman at a GLASS Rally that we attended a few years ago. When the second button is pressed it plays a tune. (the kids say this snowman has an evil look, I don't see it)

And finally, Santa on a fishing trip. I was a little disappointed this year when this one didn't work nor the snowman leaning on the saddle. :(

So that's it for now. Still have to get out a few more decorations and do something with the lower level. I've been cruising a few other blogs and enjoy the Christmas decorations. How are you coming on your decorations?

It was a very Christmasy day here today. Snowing all day, I was busy with Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, baking cookies and I even squeezed in a few loads of laundry. I feel good!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Won AGAIN!!!

Yeah me!! I just won a bag of Chicago Style Popcorn from The Great Foodini. You had to answer what Chicago popcorn was made of. I said Butter Corn, Carmel Corn and Cheesy Corn. She said that originally that is what it was, but people started asking them to hold the butter corn so it has morphed over the years to just carmel corn and cheesy corn. Whichever way you bag it up I love it. Think we have a movie to watch too. Happy me!

Be sure to check out Renee's site too. She is so funny and has lots of great recipes. She's a foodie, a Pampered Chef lady and just fun all around. I've taken several cooking classes with her over the years at the local schools. Someone you definitely want to get to know. Thanks for having the contest.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Project

Back in the early '90's I started making these little counted cross stitch stockings. Back then I hung them on the stairway going downstairs. Now that we have 5 more of them I wanted to more prominently display them. Last year I hung them on the white scarf on the mantle. They just didn't show up. I had an idea of putting them on a tree and the idea just grew. MM made a wire frame out of metal hangers and I just covered the frame with green christmas fabric and viola. A beautiful place to display our little family of stockings.

On Thanksgiving we decorated some little santa cookies I'd bought from Target. Peanut just wanted to eat them lol. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be... the frosting was a little too stiff, but because it was in little plastic bags that you just cut the tip off of it couldn't be fixed. We had fun though and that was the main idea. Didn't they turn out lovely?

There was a fourth cookie that used up the rest of the frosting.... it turned out black lol There wasn't any more white and when you put all the other colors together you get.... black lol.

Three generations of bakers :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah

On the surface, sisters Meghann Dontess and Claire Cavenaugh couldn't be more different. Forty-two-year-old Meghann, a high-powered Seattle divorce lawyer, is known as the "Bitch of Belltown." She lives alone in an expensive high rise and counters loneliness with one-night stands. Younger sister Claire, in contrast, is surrounded by love --- from her doting father, her five-year-old daughter Alison and the group of women friends, the Bluesers, she has had since high school. Small town life in Hayden (45 minutes north of Seattle) and looking after her father's campground suit her right down to the tee. Her relationship with her older sister is fraught with tension and innuendo, so she's never really been in love --- that's life, right?

That is until Claire meets Mr. Right on her annual summer vacation with the Bluesers. Bobby Austin takes the stage during a band break. At thirty-five, Claire falls in love for the first time. Luckily for her, Bobby is equally smitten and, back in Hayden, they quickly make plans to marry.

Meanwhile, Meghann's stress level has been raised to an unbearable pitch. A client's enraged ex-husband tries to shoot her and Meghann's partner forces her to take a vacation. She visits Hayden, not really having any place else to go. When she can't talk Claire out of getting married, she impulsively offers to plan her sister's wedding. As the pages turn, we learn that Meghann and Claire weren't always so distant. Megan was actually more of a mother than an older sister to Claire, due to the shenanigans of their oft-married, stripper/actress mother.

Then there's the seemingly unconnected Joe, a melancholy drifter who eventually goes home to Hayden to face his sister Gina (one of the Bluesers) and his ghosts.

All kinds of sparks fly in the small town of Hayden, between Meghann and her sister Claire, as well as between Joe and Meghann. Gradually the sisters break down the barriers between them. We get to meet their kooky, flighty mother, Claire gets married and it looks like everything will work out fine. Finally, a medical crisis forces the family to confront the realities of love. If you've gotten this far without crying, it won't be long now.

Kristin Hannah is very good at what she does. Her use of detail, from drink choices to clothing brands, creates vivid portraits of the characters. Seattle area readers may especially enjoy recognizing the numerous place references. The pace of the story is mostly excellent, although Joe's re-entry into his real life after his mysterious trauma seems a little slow to me. A nice twist comes when Meghann's best friend turns out to be Birdie, a.k.a. Elizabeth Shore, from DISTANT SHORES, one of Ms. Hannah's previous novels. BETWEEN SISTERS is a well crafted read, one that will not disappoint the growing legions of Kristin Hannah fans.

Another really good read from Kristin Hannah. I found it a little difficult to read, turn pages and wipe my eyes. If you have a sister, especially if you've lived through a life threatening medical condition, you'll really relate to this book. My real life story didn't have a happy ending, but this one does. I miss you Janet. Keep the tissue handy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How To Wrap a Cat for Christmas

I found this on my nieces site and thought it was adorable!! Thanks Wendy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween Pictures

We have a tradition in our family - as new babies come along we get them in a pumpkin at Halloween time. We didn't get to see Punkin in October, but I saved a large pumpkin for when we did get to see her this past weekend. Isn't she a beautiful smily baby? Just love her.

This is Muffin in 2009

And here we have Peanut in 2007.

The two older girls wouldn't get in any pumpkin this year, but they posed behind it. We're still having a lot of difficulty getting them to look and smile at the same time lol.

There is not a doubt in my mind how Muffin got a bruise on her cheek.... She is such a climber and jumper. Always in motion.

While I was holding Punkin I thought we might be able to get the other two in a photo too. What a joke. Peanut might have cooperated, but Muffin is just too active at 19 months. She just laughs and runs lol

So there you have our weekend in a nutshell. I love spending time with all the girls. Just a barrel of fun and energy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secrets & Sunsets

Risky Business
Liz Palmer had found home—and a refuge—in Cozumel for the past ten years. But everything changed when her employee and boarder was murdered and his twin brother stormed into Liz's well-ordered life with grief in his eyes and revenge in his heart. Liz refused to be sucked in by his quiet words and intense eyes. She had a life to lead, a business to run, a daughter to raise—and Jonas Sharpe was an unwanted intrusion. But soon Jonas had plunged them both into the shady world of drug smugglers… and the dangerous depths of passion.

Mind Over Matter

Aurora Fields protected her clients like a mother tigress—especially when one was her own mother! So it was going to take a lot more than charm to get her on side with David Brady's plans. Aurora could see he was a smooth operator, used to getting what he wanted, and she was usually immune. What was it about him that left her uncomfortably vulnerable? As for David, he'd always considered himself a good judge of people. So why did each moment with Aurora leave his head and heart reeling? She was an enigma, and he was determined to find the key.

Two great books. Nora Roberts is always an easy read. I started reading this book and realized I'd read it before, but couldn't remember the outcome. So I read them again. I always knew I had a problem with retention lol.