Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to You

~ Merry Christmas to You ~

If, like me, you have been enjoying the seasonal treats a bit more than usual...
let's worry about that in the new year.

For now it will be our little secret.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Savoring the Season ~ The Joys of Toys

Yesterday I did some Christmas shopping for grandson, Jaxson.
It went something like this.
Grandma comfortable in her bathrobe (coffee at hand).
Links being sent via text from Jaxson's parents.
Grandma marveling at the toy's that appeal to 3 year old boys in 2016.
Grandma clicking a few buttons to order gifts which will arrive on her doorstep in a matter of days.
No need for getting dressed, fighting traffic or standing in long lines.
Grandma is reminded (once again) how the times they are a changin'.

So, while I'm making attempts at changing along with the times (would you believe I sent my first text just last week on the smart phone we finally caved in and bought), my sentimental side still surfaces now and then.  Perhaps especially at Christmastime.
During the big attic cleanout last month, a collection of my own childhood toys was unearthed.
Hello Barbie dolls and Raggedy Ann & Andy collection.

The collection was culled.
The pony tail Barbies had to go.
Was I the only little girl who just had to comb that long hair?
The resulting bald on top head was a bit disturbing and impossible to return them to their former beauty.
The bubble cuts, on the other hand, were still looking pretty good after all these years.
While I enjoyed the hair grooming aspect, I'm not sure the bathing ever happened.  After 45 years or so, it seemed like the right idea.
A spa night was in order.

While the gals enjoyed their spa time I did up their laundry.
Most of my Barbie clothes were handmade by the neighborhood moms for the Christmas bazaar (circa 1960 something).
Most of them went.
The few real authentic Barbie clothes were kept.
The sunglasses are missing one side, the shoes were a hodge podge and the rest was a wrinkled mess.
What can I say, we used to drag those Barbie cases all over the neighborhood and play with them all day long.
Well-loved, you might say.

My Raggedy & Andy collection extended well past my childhood.
That collection was greatly edited too.
These little ones aren't going anywhere.
Made by the Amish in Shipshewana, IN, they appeal to me as much now as they did the day I bought them.
Not only are they handmade, but they are tiny and nicely painted.
But, even better than that is the surprise they contain.

Tiny treasures for boys and girls.

For the girls:
A wee little blue house (swoon).
A teddy, a dolly with a bottle, a hobby horse and a teddy bear.

For the boys:
A truck
An airplane
Baseball and bat
Cowboy boot and pistol.

Like everything else, the toys have changed through the years.
Jaxson would, no doubt, be bored with Raggedy Andy and his hidden treasures in no time flat.
That Winnie the Pooh above was a Christmas gift given to me in elementary school.  He almost didn't make the cut.  But then I looked at him again and was transported to my own childhood and the hours and hours of fun I had playing with him.  He slept with me and was the finishing touch to my bed after I made it in the morning.  A trusted friend.  Nope, no way could I ditch him.
So there he sits under the tree all these years later.
A gentle reminder of the joy and excitement toys provide for children on Christmas morning.
This year my greatest joy of the season has been the FaceTime sessions with Jaxson walking from room to room showing us his Christmas decorations.  He then asks to see ours.  His wide-eyed wonder at each little ornament and decoration is a moment in time which I could pause and savor over and over again.

What joys are you savoring this season?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Happy Holiday Kitchen

Hello and Welcome to my Happy Holiday Kitchen.

The sun is streaming through the windows, but don't let that fool you as it's rather chilly outside today.
Might I interest you in a cup of coffee, tea, hot spiced cider or hot cocoa?

Decorating the Christmas kitchen allows the opportunity to retrieve holiday treasures both new and old to blend happily into a festive atmosphere for creating yearly sweets and special treats.
Man, was that a long sentence or what?

Before we know it will be time to set out cookies and milk for Dear Old Santa Claus.

Red is a color not normally found in my home.
That rule goes out the window at Christmastime when I say "bring it on."  For some reason during the month of December it seems cheerful to me. 

I have noticed that many of you are already well into your cookie baking.  I wish I could say the same.  Play baking is fun, but a bit disappointing to those looking forward to sinking their teeth into the real thing.

Cutest ornaments Hallmark ever made, in my humble opinion.

I know we are all busy at this time of year.
I thank you for taking the time to stop by today.
Maybe a little lunch is in order before you head out.
Pull up a chair.

After you leave, I'd better put my apron on and get serious about the baking... or at least get the grocery list started.

A Very Happy Weekend to You,


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Seasonal Spa Night and an Easy Gift Idea

At this busy time of year I think it's important to create calm within the chaos.  With so many demands on our time, it's nice to have a spot to get away from it all to relax and recharge.
I recently started a weekly "spa night" and have found it to be something I look forward to with great anticipation.
It usually involves a nice warm bath.  I haven't been much of a "bath person" until spa night began.
For the Christmas season I decorated the shelf above the bath tub with angels and wispy bine boughs.
It's important to create a relaxing atmosphere :D.

Since there is no electrical outlet nearby, I wove battery operated micro lights through the pine boughs. 

They provide just the right ambience for an evening bath.
Candles are also a nice addition.
For my spa time I like to do any or all of the following:

~ Use bath salts or bubbles in calming scents like lavender.
~ Prepare a cup of green tea.
~ Try out new products like face masks, foot scrubs, etc.
~ Listen to relaxing music.

I recently went to a favorite local shop and found this in my bag when I returned home.
A little gift from the shopkeeper to her customers.
The ornament is filled with bubble bath powder.
I thought it was such a cute idea.
Cute and fairly simple.

Perhaps you are in need of a small hostess gift or stocking stuffer.
I'm planning to make them for table favors for the young gals in the family.  I think I'll set them in a crystal goblet.

It looks like a few words in the last three lines are obscured by the bow.  They should read:

Into a tub of warm water, it's time for a break.
Lie back and relax, cast all your cares away.
Oh what a perfect ending to a long hard day.

In this instance they glued the poem to a pretty piece of scrapbook paper and tied it to the ornament with ribbon.  The ornament would be filled with the bath powder of your choice.

At the end of my spa night when the cares of the world float down the drain with the bath water I enjoy the small tree in my bedroom.
Peaceful and calming.
With luck pleasant dreams are soon to follow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 30

Day is done and so, too, is my month of Thankful Thoughts.
In my many years of blogging I have never blogged every day.
Heck, I'm doing good if I post once a week.
My Thankful Thoughts were a way to be mindful of the little things I am thankful for on a daily basis.  They were also a test of whether I could follow through with a daily post for one month.
Although a few days I had to play catch up, I was successful in covering each day in the month of November
for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 29

Thankful today for rain.
Our last rain here was on October 8th.
Since then we've had wildfires in the mountains of NC and now in TN.  We're a few hours from the NC mountains, but still close enough to experience several days of a smoky haze and smell in the air.
Our rain today was a most welcome sight.
I pray that it will bring relief to the areas affected by the wildfires.
It is heartbreaking to see the devastation the fires are causing in the Gatlinburg area.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Days 27 & 28

Thankful on day 27 to enjoy my morning coffee in front of the Christmas tree.

It seems every year I do my fair share of grumbling about all the work involved in creating Christmasland.
Once it's done it doesn't take long to realize that it was all worthwhile.

Day 28

Today ( and every day) I am thankful for kind people.
While out running errands today I paid particular attention to the little acts of kindness happening out there.
The man returning someone else's shopping cart to the store, the little boy holding the door open for me, the lady with an overflowing cart allowing the person with a few items to go ahead of her in line, etc.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 26

On day 2 of my Christmas decorating I am most thankful for the pictures I have taken for the past several years.

It sure does make it easier to remember how I decked the halls in the past when I can consult my blogging photos.  I'm not one to re-create all of the décor every year.  I make a few little tweaks each year and call it good. 

You'd think I would remember what I did last year.
I guess I do for the most part, but there are always those little details that come back to me quicker when I can see what happened last year or the year before.

Have you started your Christmas decorating yet?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 25

Just before heading out the door yesterday, I decided to take a quick picture of the dishes I was taking.
After our Thanksgiving feast I thought I might never eat again.
I was s.t.u.f.f.e.d!!

But then today came along and I packed up the fall décor.
After that I began decorating for Christmas and before you knew it, I was hungry once again.
Funny how that happens :D.

Which brings me to what I am thankful for today.


Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to polish off the last piece of pie.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 24


Yesterday I saw something on Facebook asking whether we were "hosting and roasting"
"baking and taking".
I fall into the latter category.
My apple pie, homemade rolls and butternut squash casserole are ready for the "taking" and my mouth is watering for that traditional once a year turkey dinner.
Before I head out the door I want to wish all who are celebrating a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Today I am thankful for each and every one of you who takes the time to visit and share with me on this little blog of mine.
You make it all worthwhile and I thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 23

~ Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall ~

Yes, it's true.
I love them all.

Thankful today to live where the seasons change and I can appreciate the unique beauty that each has to offer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Day 22

I have no photos to accompany my post today.
It was a busy day.
Chiropractor visit.
Grocery Shop.
A wee bit of Christmas shopping.
Dinner made.
Dishes done and now I'm ready to climb into bed and watch This is Us and then, hopefully, drift off to slumberland.
Last nite's sleep left a lot to be desired and I've been trying to stay awake all day.

However, no matter how tired I may be, I am still thankful and today I am particularly thankful for having all of the groceries bought so that tomorrow I can do the cooking and baking for Thanksgiving day.

Nite Nite,

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thankful Thoughts ~ Days 17-21

Making up for lost time here today.
While Jaxson was visiting last week, we met up with Brett's brother and his wife for dinner.
We spend most holidays together as the remainder of our extended family are out of state.
Amber is the photographer for the above photo so...

let me include her in the group too.
There, that's better.
My family is something I am thankful for every day.

On day 18 we had a simple supper of soup and salad.
The salad was made with greens from my garden.
The soup was homemade chicken noodle.  The final ingredient I added to the soup was finely minced parsley, also from the garden.
It made me smile when my son said the thing he likes best about my cooking is that everything tastes so fresh.  To me that was a very nice compliment and also easy to achieve when the garden is still producing fresh greens.
Thankful today for my wee vegetable garden.

Day 19 found me searching for a new muffin recipe.
I had some bananas that needed to be used up and I wanted something a little different than the recipes I usually make.
A little browsing on the internet led me to this recipe.
Exactly what I had in mind for a slightly different, yet super delicious muffin.  This is a definite keeper!
Thankful this day for the many good things the internet has to offer like finding recipes in an instant.

During Jaxson's visit my older son ventured into the attic looking for toys he might like to play with.
In the process he came across a dead mouse.  Eek!
Day 20 found Brett and I emptying the contents of this attic which contained toys, games and various mementoes from our boy's younger days.  Some of the boxes hadn't been opened since our move 17 years ago. 
We spent most of the day going through every single box.
In the process we discovered another dead mouse.  Thankfully they were in traps that were set years ago.
Once the boxes were gone through, we gave the attic a good vacuuming and returned the boxes of Legos and edited toys that Jaxson will likely use someday.  The rest were donated this morning.  Two full boxes of Beany Babies were just a portion of the donations. What a waste of money that craze was. 
Anyhow, it now feels incredibly good to have that attic clean and the load significantly lightened.
Very thankful for a clean attic.

You may remember that Brett and I have been working from home for the past two years.
At first I wasn't sure how I felt about "the business" being in my home.  Overhearing Brett talking business on the speaker phone as I went about my daily tasks seemed rather strange.  Maybe even a little intrusive.  But now we have fallen into a rhythm and I rather like it.
One of the boy's former bedrooms serves as our office.
It's a good thing we get along well because we sit at desks a few feet away from one another.
At one point this afternoon I looked towards Brett's desk to this view.
We're still enjoying the beauty of autumn here.

Thankful to be able to work from home today.