December 16, 2014

Christmas Tour 2014 (Part 1)

Christmas is in full swing around blogland and while I don't have an "official" home blog tour I'd love to share with you some of the little touches I've done this year.

For the past few years we haven't even put up a tree! Now before you give me the ol' "stink eye" let me explain....we don't have anyone here for Christmas and we have a lot going on with family. We have our big family Christmas at the lake with my sister, all her kids and grandkids, and all our kids and grandkids. We go to my daughter's on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought the twins and then on the 26th we travel out of town to my son's to spend time with he and his family. Also, my in-laws are out of town and we have to find time to go there as well. Somewhere during all of this hustle and bustle, I visit with my mom just about every day at her nursing home. And I get the itch to take down everything on the 26th...sometimes on Christmas Day night! Just want a clean pallet to start the New Year...can anyone relate?! And of course, this year, we will be welcoming grandbaby #5 on December 30th! I plan on spending about 3 weeks at my daughter's after the baby comes home to help her and also chauffeur the twins back and forth to school and their activities since she won't be able to drive for a little while.

Okay, on with the tour. We'll start outside. 



This year I chose to use traditional colors of reds, greens and plaids both inside and outside.    I have always loved putting wreaths on my windows and this year I added a little strip of ribbon at the bottom of the wreath as well.




(Please excuse the cords under the bench...I should have hid them better...oh well....this is real life people)!

This was a quick and easy way to add holiday cheer to the outside.   The wreaths are el-cheapos and I used velvet bows you can find just about anywhere (bows are from last year).   Once I hung the wreath on the window I simply cut a piece of ribbon to cover the windowpane above the wreath and a separate one below the wreath....hope that makes sense.    Then I put tape on the back of the ribbon to attach it to the window.   Next year I might switch and use plaid ribbon and bows.



I ordered the black and white buffalo check throw on the bench....who doesn't love buffalo checks?   I added some pillows, and a garland.   







 The stamped jute banner on the wreath was another project from last year.   I stamped the words "Joyeux Noel" onto a piece of jute, punched holes in the ends and tied it onto the wreath.    
  

I bought two arborvitaes a while back to replace my Kimberly Queen ferns that stay on the porch from early spring until they die a natural death from the heat (plus I get tired of watering them)!   I placed faux wreaths around them and LOVE how this turned out!   I originally planned on putting the arborvitaes in my window box but liked the way this turned out much better. (Yes, that is a huge crack you see on my porch caused by some tree roots....the trees are going to be removed, the porch completely re-done and some much needed front yard landscaping added....all in good time)!


We have up lights highlighting the windows and door at night....it looks very pretty.   I'll try and get a picture of it and post that later.

Now let's go inside to the foyer.

This year I found myself drawn to a woodland theme....with lots of deer and plaid!   




I used this same log slice, book bundles and round bread board as part of my fall vignette so all I did was add the little deer and bottle brush tree and a burlap wrapped pre-lit tree from Wal Mart.   



The dining room is done very simply by adding faux branches, sugar pine cones and another deer to my dough bowl.    


Since taking over my mom's finances and applying for Medicaid for her, the table is usually full of paperwork, etc. that I've been working on since AUGUST (!) and you can see a checkbook in the background....again, just didn't want to commit myself to full out decorating this year....I was lucky to get this much done!

I'll be back later this week (hopefully) to share my den and kitchen.    I hope you'll join me then!

We had our annual family Christmas get together at the lake this past weekend and had such a good time being together with everyone.   

 My sister and I decorate the mantel and add a "skinny" Christmas tree.  


We bring little gifts for all the grandkids just so they will have something under the tree to play with that day.   


My brother-in-law had a warm fire going all day....the weather was gorgeous but it was cold outside!




Looking down toward the dock....my brother in law recently had over 20 trees cut down on the property!   Someone is coming to grind the stumps down later.







Its hard to believe when the water's up we can put 2 pontoon boats here!


This is the side where the kids swim.

Every year we do something different for the food.   This year we did bar-b-que, baked beans, cole slaw, marinated vegetable salad (recipe below), chips and all the fixins'.    I think last year we did spaghetti; another year we did 3 different soups and we've also done a traditional Christmas turkey and dressing.   

Here's Taylor holding her little cousin...practicing for her own baby brother that will be here on December 30th!


My daughter Shannon threatened me with bodily harm if I showed her face but here she is just a few weeks ago from giving birth to our grandbaby #5!    We are so excited and can hardly wait to see and love on this angel!

Here's a good recipe I got at a church dinner a few years ago.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

  • 1 - 11 oz. can white shoepeg corn
  • 1 - 16 oz. can French green beans
  • 1 - 16 oz. can green peas
  • 1 Medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup celery (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup diced pimento
Drain vegetables and mix all ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Mix all together and heat until sugar dissolves.  Pour over vegetable mixture and keep in refrigerator overnight.

At Publix I found this mixture of onion, celery and green peppers already chopped up....I think it's called the trinity mixture?   Anyway, that's what I used instead of chopping up everything (lazy).

I can't believe December is half-way over....Christmas will be here and gone before we know it!

























November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving

This is the week our nation pauses to gather with family and friends to give thanks for our many blessings.


In all honesty, we should count our blessings every single day.  

Our community suffered an unimaginable loss this past weekend.    Three 16 year olds and a sheriff's deputy tragically loss their lives Sunday night in an automobile accident.    I can hardly wrap my mind around the pain the families are going through and will continue to go through for a long time. 


As you sit around your Thanksgiving table on Thursday, please remember these families and the grief they are enduring at this time. 

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Thanksgiving Day.






November 4, 2014

This and That and How Did It Get To Be November?!

I think November snuck up on a lot of us....seems like summer just ended! The older I get the faster time seems to go. It will be Christmas in just a little over two months!

I spend a lot of time with my mom at her nursing home. She has really settled in there and has her schedule of "events" she attends every day. She marks off the days on her calendar and knows what activities are planned and of course, what time to eat! It does my heart good to see her in such good spirits and happy again. Her health and physical abilities have greatly improved in the two months she's been there....it confirms to me that I made the right decision to move her there. Last Friday the staff all dressed up in Halloween costumes and had a bake sale. Mama was right in the thick of everything! I love going to the activities room with her and have met some of the sweetest residents there...one of the gentlemen there, who is 90 years old, loves me because I tell him he doesn't look a day over 83! He saves a place for me at bingo! There is another man there, the husband of a resident who has Alzheimers who visits with her every day. He is so precious to her, sits with her and holds her hand, brushes her hair and you can tell he just loves her so much. Yesterday he told me the end is near as she hasn't eaten or drank anything in 3 days and the doctor says it wouldn't do any good to put her in the hospital....so sad for him, they've been married 44 years.

I've been patiently waiting all summer to have some things done around the house. Our hall bathroom and my daughter's old bedroom are getting a facelift. I've already got all the things for the bedroom makeover but just not quite sure what I'm going to do in the bathroom. I ordered a grey tufted headboard for the bedroom; the wall behind the headboard will be planked and the room painted out in a pretty white. I plan on doing an industrial look in there....similar to what Joanna Gaines does on Fixer Upper (which, by the way, I'm watching a marathon on HGTV right now)! The bathroom will be similar. My husband is not on board for planking any walls in the bathroom so I'm thinking of doing some beadboard wallpaper instead. Instead of getting big gifts for my birthday or Christmas, I always like to have things done around the house.

This past Sunday eight of my daughter's friends gave her a wonderful baby shower. If you don't already know, my daughter has 10 year old boy/girl twins. The week they turned 10 (May 21st) she found out she was expecting again!


 This was taken at 10 weeks

 
"Big sister" Taylor is thrilled!

 In August she had a gender reveal party and she's having another boy! 







The due date is January 3rd but the plan is to induce her the 30th or 31st of December...the doctor says that shouldn't be a problem but by the looks of her, I'm not sure she'll even make it that long!


Here is the group of friends that put together such a sweet baby shower....these ladies and their husbands are all friends of my daughter and her husband and all the kids are about the same ages...they go to school and church together....I love all these "ladies"! 


My granddaughters wanted to pose like "teenagers"....look at the height difference between Taylor and McKinley and they are only a year apart!   They didn't plan their outfits either...most of the girls had on some kind of chevron print and boots!





 Can you tell which team "most" of us are for?   My SIL is a huge Alabama fan and I think Taylor wrote this on the diaper....not sure how he'll react to the little Auburn onsie but Shannon said she's going to put it on the baby anyway!


I just had to take this one of these girls....daughter in the middle, cousin Christie on the floor and long time good friend Shana on the chair arm.   Of course, Christie and Shannon grew up together and Shana and Shannon have been friends since 4th grade!   It's so funny for me to see these "girls" all grown up with children of their own since I still think of them as little girls themselves.

Well, my washing machine just died!   Guess we'll be buying a new one tonight....hate it when that happens!



October 21, 2014

Fall In The Foyer

I quickly threw together a little vignette in the foyer Sunday afternoon when I was on a cleaning spree. A while back our handy man friend made me some log slices (I think that's what they're called) and when I was vacuuming in the sun room I found one under the loveseat!

I took some book bundles I made and placed them on the "log" and topped the books with some faux pumpkins that I painted last year. It needed a little something else so I grabbed my large round cutting board from the kitchen and placed it behind everything....and called it a day!


 
 I love my oversized cutting board that I ordered from Decor Steals
 

Last year I spray painted a bunch of Dollar Tree pumpkins white since I couldn't find any baby boo pumpkins and this was the next best thing (and they last a lot longer too)!


 I'm also working on a little porch project that I'll share with ya'll soon.....


The weather here is simply gorgeous....not much humidity during the day and down in the 40's at night!   How's the weather in your "neck of the woods"?







October 10, 2014

Happy Anniversary To Us!

This Sunday, October 12th, will mark our 11th anniversary. If you had told me that I would be where I am today about 15 years ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Without going into a lot of detail, I had a very messy, ugly divorce in 1996. I worked for a very successful divorce attorney and while my divorce turned out financially to my benefit, emotionally I was a total wreck. But that was then, and this is now!

If you would like to read my "love story" and how we met and came to be, you can read about it  here.   Our marriage has sometimes been a wild ride but I know my husband was a God send and I thank God for him every single day of my life. We had beach pictures made just prior to our wedding in Fairhope, Alabama. My two children and their spouses were included as it was a very intimate affair.

Here is one of my favorite photos from that day:


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Oh, and did I mention I am 12 years older than he is?!   That really bothered me at first, but no one thinks there is that much of an age difference between us....I tell him I married him so he can take care of me in my old age!

We have a big weekend planned (not really)!  Lots of football watching and maybe we'll sneak off for a special dinner.    We plan on taking a little get away in the near future as we always do around this time of year.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend....and War Eagle!


October 4, 2014

Spiced Apple Cider and Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather here is perfect! Finally some fall temps here in the South. All my windows are raised up and I actually had to close a few since it got too cold for me! This morning my husband put together our new fire pit and I want to sit outside and enjoy it tonight while watching the Auburn-LSU game but I don't think my husband will go for it....he likes the comfort of his chair and the big TV in the den. As soon as we have our first "cold snap" (all your north of the Mason-Dixon line can stop laughing) I make my first batch of spiced cider. A few years ago we took the "big kids" and grandkids to Calloway Gardens for the Fantasy of Lights Show.


 
We stayed at The Lodge (can't recommend that place enough) and they served the most delicious spiced cider in a silver urn in the lobby all day and night. When I got home I tried my hand at copying that recipe and came up with one that is a winner! Few ingredients and easy to make in the crock pot. I'm sipping on my first cup right now! 

HOT SPICED CIDER
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (the original recipe called for 1 gallon but I have a small crock pot and since it’s just the two of us, I didn’t need to make a huge amount)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, or more to taste (I used about 2 cups since I like my cider sweet!)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange slice
Pour apple cider in crock pot.    Add sugar and stir.    Put the cloves in a tea ball and add to pot.    Layer the cinnamon sticks and orange slices on top.    Cover and simmer on high, stirring occasionally.    Once hot, turn on low to keep warm.    


 One of my all time favorite things to have in the winter is Chicken Tortilla Soup.   I'm sure there are many ways to make it but I like this recipe as it is easy and soooo good!
 
Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 6-8 chicken tenders
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can cream style corn* (undrained)
  • chicken stock
  • 1 block Velveeta Mexican cheese (cut into cubes)
Cook chicken until tender.     After cooking, cool and then chop in blender.      Put chopped chicken and Velveeta cheese in large pot, add chicken stock and cook until the cheese is completely melted.  (I used almost one box of chicken stock).    Then add in the can of corn and Rotel tomatoes.  
Use the same method if cooking in crockpot….just remember to add the cream style corn just prior to serving!    Of course, if you use the crockpot, you don’t have to pre-cook your chicken.
Enjoy!

 

 I always serve my soup in this pretty little tureen I found a few years ago in a flea market...I think I paid around $12 for it!

 

Here's a tablescape from last year. 

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

October 1, 2014

September 29, 2014

A Little Pregnancy Update

In case you're new to my blog, I'm not pregnant...my daughter is! Gotta clear that up right away! As some of you may recall, my daughter has boy/girl twins that turned 10 on May 21st. A few days after that, they announced they were pregnant with baby #3.   To say I was shocked would be an understatement but once the shock wore off, I quickly got busy helping her plan and doing a lot little shopping for the new baby.    Right now my dining room is the holding area for all things baby....furniture, clothes, pictures, etc. until they get the room ready for the baby.

In August she had a gender reveal party where we found out we'll have another grandson! We are so excited to meet him!
 It's a Boy!

 I really wanted to document her pregnancy so she would have something to look back on but as usual, with all I've had going on this past summer with my mom's situation, it's been hard to do that. While I do see my daughter on a regular basis (going by her office a couple of times a week) I just haven't taken the time to take photos, etc.

Here she is at 10 weeks

And of course Taylor wanted in on the action (she's going to be such a good little helper)

(10 weeks)


So we had all our children and grandchildren here for lunch on Sunday and I took a couple of pictures of her now at 26 weeks.


 And, once again, Taylor wanted to strike the same pose as before.....


 Shannon and her family are leaving this week for Disney World and when they get back, we are going to start getting the nursery ready.    The nursery is the old play room and they have had a time getting it cleaned out.   There is some furniture in there that will have to go into storage and some toy donations but I can't wait to help her make this room come together.

I can't believe October is just around the corner....of course that means Thanksgiving and Christmas won't be far behind either!   

Have a great week!

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