Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Here's wishing each and everyone of you the Happiest New Year ever! Be safe, be happy and we'll see you next year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New enjoyments of old things

Many times I ponder about the amount of money I spend – the unnecessary items I tend to purchase, knowing that I don’t need them. Why do so many of us have the urge to drop money down on items that don’t enhance our lives or move us to some inner peace? After clearing away the Christmas ornaments, trees and lights and many other things too numerous to mention, I attempted to clean out an old wooden two door cupboard I purchased over thirty years ago. The piece was used in an old farm house in southern Tennessee and you can see several holes in the corners where mice made their entry to the cupboard – to sleep for the night or to wait out the wintry weather suddenly hurled onto them. I use the hole, worn with years of struggles perhaps, to run a lamp cord through and now I have a cozy and warm light on one of the shelves that houses many collections. One side holds about seventy five candles – many fragrances I have purchased and never had the occasion to light the candle and it sits idle, waiting for its turn to come out in the open spaces of my home, to be enjoyed by those who enter inside. There was a time when small votives were the “in thing” to purchase and I must have around fifty or more of these, in various shapes, sizes and fragrances. These too, are stored neatly in a pile, just waiting to be used. No sane person should have this many of any single item, but I have this bad habit of purchasing things in a quantity of more than one, because I just know I will need more than one. Who doesn’t? Last night while rearranging candles and votives and holders for each – I realized that I need to stop and really look at what I am doing. I don’t do resolutions very well, so I won’t resolve anything, but I promised myself and God to absolutely not purchase anything that has to be lit with a match or lighter until ALL, I mean ALL of these items I looked at last night have been used – totally UP. This I will do – I have to do this – it’s my way of staying in control of my purchases – my contribution to not be labeled a hoarder – frivolous spending of this nature, has got to stop and 2009 will be my year to do so. I shall be happy to report any inappropriate behavior that does not support my goal and objective to stick to this phase of purchasing. Who knows how much money I will have saved within a year? I look forward to being reminded of my commitment each time I look at the cupboard and especially the cute Believe greeting that meets me when I gaze at the shelf. I look forward to burning more candles in 2010; not to just burn them, but to give the items a chance to be enjoyed in my home.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pecan Pie Ice Cream

The same restaurant I posted about when I posted the soup recipe gets the credit for this Yummy recipe. I made a batch to take to my Mother's for Christmas Day and everyone loved it! If you love ice cream and pecan pie you will totally love this recipe. I guess you could make your own vanilla ice cream but I opted to buy a carton of Breyers...this is NOT the time for lowfat or sugar free my friends so let's keep it loaded with calories and sugar..

Pecan Pie Icecream
As I was finishing up this e-newsletter, my husband Michael called, asking if I could make some pecan pie filling to add to his ice cream recipe. Whether he admits it or not, the seasonal changes has entered his psyche as well.

Making pecan pie ice cream is quite easy to do. Of course, Michael makes his own delicious ice cream, but you can just use a high quality store bought carton of vanilla. Simply bake your pecan pie without the pie crust. Cool. Chop it up and mix in with the ice cream. Refreeze until firm. (If you like, you can add a few tablespoons of bourbon, just for kicks.)

Here is my pecan pie recipe if you don't have one of your own:

In a bowl, beat four eggs. Add 1/2 cup extra fine granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup brown corn syrup, 1;2 cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, pinch of salt, 1/4 stick melted butter. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 until done (35 - 50 minutes). Do not overcook. Toast 1 1/2 cups of pecans. Coarsely chop. Cool both filling and pecans before adding them to the ice cream.

**the last 10 minutes of baking I added my pan of pecans  to toast while the filling finished baking...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Was Santa Good to You?

Was Santa good to you yesterday? Our day started very early by opening gifts at my house with my immediate family, then we went to Mama's and opened gifts and had dinner. Jim's Dad came with us and we stayed ALL day...saw tons of relatives and enjoyed some good food. I got all kinds of goodies including giftcards from Coldwater Creek (one of my favorite stores). In case you're interested, the larger Santa is from the 40s and one I found in an old shed located on the property of a house I lived in back in the 80s...I didn't do much decorating in the formal LR this year as we still have some painting (notice the woodwork) to complete and I was trying to simplify where I could...Take  a moment and tell us whether you got coal or some goodies this year...Notice how Santa is winking!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas wishes for all from Australia!!!!

I am feeling so blessed to have my family and friends around me at this time of year!
I feel my 'kids' know the real meaning of Christmas (but still enjoy the excitement of Christmas morning and discovering their surprises)
No matter HOW old they are, they will always be kids......... and , you know, that is FINE with me!!!
I have enjoyed watching Erin (my 22 year old) shop for everyone and wrap her treasures. But what has really enthralled me are the cards. They speak VOLUMES to me! She has really put thought into what she has written. She is a treasure!!!!
Andrew (my almost 20 year old) is gorgeous, too. He thinks of others. And , in turn, is rewarded for his thoughtfulness. His father took him shopping this morning !!!!!
Patrick, my gorgeous 21 year old, is having money troubles. Don't they always????
And Lauren, my lovely 23 year old, is engrossed in new work adventures/decisions.
I am so lucky to have four such wonderful 'children'.
And I REALLY mean it!!!

Christmas Day will be busy in our home.
Our extended family will join us for a fun filled day.
I am stressing, a little, about the food.
But it will be fine.
Stressful, but fine.

Boxing Day is our 'friends day'.
We are having our close friends over for a LONG lunch.

So, for the next two days, I will be cooking.
And cleaning.
And planning.

..........and attending church with ALL my family.

As I said, I am truly blessed.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas full of love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tummy Warming Recipe

Snowy days like this are perfect for a delicious, tummy-warming soup and I thought I would share a quick and easy recipe with you. One of my favorite restaurants in my area, The Yancey House sends out a monthly newsletter; and the owner/chef Lucindy sent this Chicken Tortilla Soup for the month of December. To read more click here, YanceyHouse. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is my favorite snow-time soup. Not only is it easy and just wonderful . . . add extra garlic and no one will get a cold! Enjoy!

Saute 1-2 large onions, chopped, in a little olive oil. along with a chopped jalapeno pepper (seeded), a carrot or two sliced, 6 ribs of sliced celery, and as many minced garlic cloves as you can handle (let's say 6), and 1 - 2 lb. boned, diced, raw chicken thighs or breasts. After a couple of minutes (don't burn garlic), add 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 TB. chili powder, Tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. black pepper. Throw in a few shakes of hot pepper sauce, if you like, and 2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes and 40plus oz. of chicken broth. Bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Cut soft corn tortillas into strips and fry them. (I buy my chips instead of making my own) Once the soup is ready, top with tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro, and grated sharp cheddar cheese. YUM!.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's on Top of your Fridge?

Do you decorate the top of your refrigerator? Most people enter my house by the back door...and enter my kitchen so during the holidays I always decorate the top of the fridge...over the years I've done a variety of things and really was running out of ideas...this year Jim (my husband) suggested doing a tribute to the 50s kinda thing, the decade we both were born and my house was built in 1954 as well. I went hunting through my decorations and found my celluloid Santa that lights up (doesn't show up that well in the pics but looks really festive when the lights are at at night) and then my bubblegum tree....then found the red metal  pickup truck that normally sits on a shelf in the den... and the Jim said " put one of those village trees in the bed of the truck"...and then I placed a replica Coke drink machine bank that just screamed 50s to me among the other goodies...I think it turned out pretty cute and I used things I had for years...Tell us what you have on top of your fridge...we would love to hear.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Noel - such an tradition - let's not forget

Love the word "Noel" - it speaks to each of us - as we recall the words to the wonderful song "The First Noel". I hope the present generation of young people never forget the song, nor the words. Noel - even the word brings back such memories of Christmas long ago. As we are almost full swing into the Christmas season, let's each take a moment to reflect on traditional values and the true meaning of Christmas. Using a piece of discarded wood and printing out from the computer large fonts, I cut out Noel and placed it on the board with small finishing nails to hold the letters in place. Then I twisted red pepper berries on the nails to write out the word. Hanging it in a good spot will welcome your guests. Enjoy - and most of all project was made without spending a cent.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Love Affair with Gingerbread Men

I started collecting Gingerbread Men years ago...I can recall looking for pieces to add to my collection and being so annoyed when I could find not a thing some years...this was in the late 80s and back then, Santas and snowmen were the big boys on the holiday decorating block for the most part...I decorate my dining room in a combination Gingerbread Men and  Gingerbread Houses/Candyland theme...the last several years I've been collecting the Dept 56 Kindles as they blend perfectly with this theme.....Here's a few men in my life I'll share with you today:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Newest look in classy french doors

I love french doors. Who doesn't? It's wonderful to pass a room and be able to peer in without going in or perhaps maybe something lured you to come closer and then you go through the door and you're always glad you did. I'm sure most of us have used the old stand-by, wreath on the door - looks great in any room, but yesterday my sister Gayle and a friend toured in 34 degree weather, the 37th annual Holiday Tour of Homes in our home town. I saw french doors proudly displaying a garland hung in this manner. Simple, but chic, I thought and I came home and promptly changed mine out. I love them. Hope you do too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New lease on life for old window frames

I was inspired by viewing a recent post by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for a gorgeous winter wonderland scene, using old window panes. Imagine having some already on site; though getting my husband Carl on board to assemble them for holiday presentation was another chore. He did assist and the project turned out pretty good. Originally they were painted white, but some of the paint came off while I was hosing them down. They were pretty gross with spider webs, dust and grime - they had been stored outside for over a year. Well - 2009 thes window panes were put back into use and they sit proudly on my porch to welcome guests. Photo doesn't do it much justice; they shows off better at night; but then the photo would not be as good, so you'll just have to stop by my home in Danville, Virginia to see it in person and perhaps enjoy a cup of hot tea and a slice of my delicious pound cake. Merry Christmas to each of you and thank you for checking out our blog.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dressing the front door says "Welcome"

I saw this in an old publication from the 80's and thought about doing this project for the front of our house. We're fortunate to have an 8 pitch roof and the entrance looks grand with its greenery and simple wreath with a red bow. Plywood cutouts to form branches were cut and painted green for the left and right sides BOTH of the door. Small pieces were cut out and painted and all sides nailed into the mortar to secure the whole thing. I dismantled four old garlands I'm no longer using and stapled sections to keep the form of the branches. Hope you enjoy this and perhaps if time permits, you can dress up your front door. I love it and it really looks grand at night with our spotlight shining on it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The real Christmas spirit

As some of you know, I have four 'children'!
Lauren is 23
Erin is 22
Patrick is 21
and Andrew is almost 20
All four still live at home.
Lucky me!

Anyway, back to the Christmas spirit!

We were talking about what everyone wants for Christmas this year.
I had already decided to give my children $$$ since they enjoy shopping.
But I always put together a stocking for them.

And Andrew said he needed nothing this year.
Strange , because this isn't true!
But what he REALLY wanted was to sponsor a child from Africa.
So, that is his Christmas present.

And you know what??
He has truly given ME the BEST present.............................

After reading Kristen's response (THANK YOU XXXX) I just wanted to add I DID ask the others if THEY would like the same 'present'.
They refused.

Cookie Baking in 10 Minutes or Less...

Be sure and look for these cookie mixes on your grocery store shelves...they are super easy to make and very tasty...all they take is one egg, softened butter and some water...the package suggested dropping by teaspoons but I rolled mine into uniform balls to keep my cookies the same size. I also baked mine the minimum time suggested (8 minutes) because we like softer cookies. They have other flavors too such as Gingerbread. The package makes around 3 dozen and I would give the mixes a big thumb's Up for ease in baking and tasty factor........... I made these to take to my Mom's for a Thanksgiving Treat and everyone loved them.