Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Aftermath

I hope y'all had a good day yesterday! We did!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's a WRAP!

Finally. Here's our before-last-night picture:

And after working feverishly until almost midnight so that our child would be able to see presents under the tree:

No, not all of these are his. They are a good mix of mine, Sound Man's, and Kiddo's. With a few others thrown in. Which means I'm STILL not done with wrapping. Ugh. It will be another long night, with all the stuff I have to do today. So, since I'm up to my eyeballs in tasks for today, what else am I doing? Blogging, of course!

But Natalie at I Am Not is showing us her wrapped presents, and I wanted to, too, so here you go.

I love to decorate presents. Notice I didn't say wrap presents. I don't like the wrapping part. Just the pretty bows and stuff. Here's just a couple of the presents under our tree right now.I love big, honkin' bows.

And simple small ones.

And ones with fringe.

And all the ones in between.

I lurve presents under the tree. I told my husband when we were first married that I didn't care if he had to buy three pairs of socks and put one sock in six boxes, I wanted lots of presents under the tree. It's not that I want a bunch of stuff, but I do want lots of pretty boxes with my name on them. Is that insane? Probably, but I don't care. It makes me happy. So, even though there may not be a whole lot going on inside the presents, at least they have presence. Get it? Presence? Presents? I crack myself up.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What to make on a blustery day

Last Monday was was cold and yucky. Can I say again it was yucky? We were supposed to get an ice storm after having a high temperature at midnight of 60. The temperature plummeted from there and by about 4 p.m. it was about 28. Thankfully, no ice materialized for us, but the afternoon was still a yucky day.

So, what's a Mom and Kiddo to do on a yucky, blustery, frigid day? I have to preface the rest of what I'm going to say by this...Monday was my planned grocery day. We get paid twice a month, and I go to the store each payday. It's not my fault that this payday just happened to be the day after all the weather men in Memphis scared the living daylights out of the entire tri-state area. Who then proceeded to get to the store to stock up on a month's worth of food. Even though it's going to be back in the 50's by Wednesday. People from up north just laugh and laugh at us. We are truly insane people when it comes to snow. I've lived here my entire life and realize we are insane. I try to embrace it, but sometimes it just gets on my nerves. Particularly when all of said scared people end up at my Wal-mart.

Okay, that was jut the preface. On to the real post. The fun part. So, as I'm preparing my list, realizing that it's gonna get butt-stinkin' cold, and realizing that I'm going to be exhausted from dealing with the crazies, and realizing that I'm going to be trying not to worry over my huge oak tree's limbs that overhang my house, I wonder what would make the day all better. The light bulb lit over my head, just like in the cartoons, and I had the perfect idea...homemade hot chocolate! I haven't made this recipe in several years, but it just hit me Sunday night as I was preparing my list that I NEEDED to make it. So, after dragging in the groceries and sitting in the corner rocking back and forth sucking my thumb for just a minute (just kidding....I wasn't in the corner) to get over the trauma I had just experienced, Kiddo and I headed into the kitchen to stir up a big ol' batch of hot chocolate.

And you just heard "big ol' batch" and thought, "Yeah, this recipe probably makes about 4 cups...not worth the effort." But you'd be wrong. This recipe makes a bazillion cups and is weeeeellllll worth the little effort involved. Seriously, I hardly ever made it because I didn't have a mixing bowl big enough. I have since then acquired some mixing bowls which includes one that has a capacity of 24 cups. That's a gallon and a half. And it was just big enough. You will have enough for your family and plenty to spread the love with.

Here's the recipe:

1 (1 pound) container non-dairy powdered creamer
1 (8 to 10 quart size) box instant powdered milk
1 (1 pound) box confectioner's sugar
1 (21 ounces or so) container Nesquick powder

Mix it all in a very big mixing bowl. See how big mine is?

That's 24 cups, people. Anyhow, Kiddo and I started out with a whisk to start the process, but then I went to a wooden spoon to dig deep into the bottom. Here's Kiddo hard at work:

After you've mixed it, mix it some more. And then mix it some more. You want to make sure all the powders are all mixed uniformly. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

Then, boil you some water, get out your beautiful mug you got on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $.80, wish you had gotten more than one, and put about 1/4 of the mug full of the hot chocolate mix (more or less depending on your taste). Pour in the boiling (or just simmering, you decide how hot you want it) water and stir. And this is what you come up with:

Well, actually I came up with a little more than that, but I was really cold, so I had to take a drink just to take the chill off. And Kiddo reminded me we had some mini-marshmallows so we plopped them in for an added treat.


Can I tell you that it was (and has been every mug since then) soooooooo good! I might just have to go make me some right now. I wish you were all here with me to share it with!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Husband Rocks! Friday

How long has it been since I've done My Husband Rocks? Seems like forever! Well, Sound Man knows I love him, but it is time I get back into the swing of things.

This week Katy Lin challenged us (via Sarah Mae) to write a letter to our husbands telling them why you respect and love him. I loved this, because even though I tell my husband daily that I love him, I don't tell him nearly enough why I love him. So, that's what I did.

Now, I will have to say here that I cheated. I emailed him. Listen, if you've ever seen my handwriting you'd know it was for the best. Oh, I know, I know, it was the sentimental thing to do to write it down so he would have it in his hands. I will eventually do that, but I wanted him to read it tomorrow, and I didn't think I'd have time to write all of it by then.

Here's my challenge to you: even if you don't participate in MHR, you can still tell your husband why you respect him. If you've seen Fireproof you know how far that will go. He needs your affirmation. The world and our enemy does not want him to feel like he is a real man. They beat him down at every opportunity. It is our responsibility as wives to help build him back up. Notice I didn't say it was our responsibility to build him...we are to be his help-meet. The Father is the Builder. If you don't have a relationship with Him, I can't plead with you enough to turn to Him. Life is hard enough, but without the Hope we have in Christ, most marriages are doomed.

If you are not a Christ follower but would like to know Him or more about Him, please email me, I'd love to tell you about Him!

Wow. I didn't know that talking about my husband would lead me to talk about my Savior! But I'm all good with it! I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

People I love: My Kiddo

We celebrated Kiddo's birthday this past week. I can't believe how big he is now. His being old enough to hunt with a real gun was hard enough to swallow, but knowing he is just a few years shy of being a teenager just makes me wish I had cherished those baby and toddler moments more. I look at him today and see a mature, bright, little-boy-almost-young-man who is growing up before my eyes. I pray that I can look past the temper tantrums that still occur, the rebellious streak he has during math, and the a-little-too-often smart remarks and see that he is truly becoming a young man who loves Jesus and wants to please Him. I hope Sound Man and I can teach him to trust Him more and more as he gets older.

The older I get, the more I'm convinced that my pregnancy and his birth was a miracle. I hope in the coming years I will continue to see his life as the miracle God wanted for my husband and me.

Since I'm in a nostalgic mood, here are some pictures from when he was a baby, when he turned 4, and this past November when he got that buck.

Is this not the sweetest picture ever? Look at that little round head! Aaaaahhh! He had a teeny tiny scratch on his little head from where his mother didn't clip his fingernails enough. I'm such a bad Momma. Remind me to tell you about the bassinet incident. Or maybe not. Anyway, these were his first pictures taken, if you don't count the hospital ones. Look at his little moccasins! Those were his first shoes and I still have them. Okay, enough of all this "look at" stuff. I'm gonna start crying.

This picture just cracks me up. He's 8 flippin' weeks old, people! He's not supposed to be able to hold a bottle, much less a book! How she got him to pose like this is still beyond me. His legs are crossed, he's holding that book like he's been reading all his life, he's concentrated on the page. I think it's SO appropriate, though, that I show this because now, at 9 years old, the kid can almost out read me. I mean, right now he's reading Another Season by former Alabama Coach Gene Stallings. For the second time. His favorite book is The Tale of Despereaux, which, if you've watched t.v. any for the past couple of weeks, you know is coming out in theaters Friday. Which, on Saturday, we will all three be going to see. After which, we will be going to Kiddo's favorite restaurant in all the world, Outback Steakhouse. Where he will order the most splendid Mac-a-Roo and Cheese. Have you tasted it? No wonder it's his favorite!

Okay, got off subject there for a minute. Here he is with his best friend in the whole world, C.D. He told me just the other day that instead of his real name, he was going to start calling him C.D, which are his first and middle initials. Okay by me. C.D. looks like he's whispering conspiratorially (I think I just made that word up) in Kiddo's ear. I love this picture, even though J.W. (yes, that's really what he goes by) has his head all up in it. The kids just look like they're having so much fun. I guess they were since they were celebrating their 4th birthdays together. See, C.D. was born just 9 1/2 hours after Kiddo was, only the next morning. So Kiddo's birthday is one day, C.D.'s is the next. They have been in nursery together since they were born. So up until the past couple of years, we did their birthdays together. Then it just got to be so much that we kind of slacked up. But the boys are okay with that. It's not like they don't get to see each other. We all go to church together and their family is in our small group. So, yeah, they get plenty of Kiddo/C.D. time.

I can't believe my baby is going to be in double digits this time next year. He's NINE people! Wheeeeeere did the time goooooo???? I rack my brain trying to remember it all, but I just can't. I guess that's why God allowed someone to invent the camcorder. I'm very thankful for that thing!

Okay, thanks for allowing me to wax nostalgic today. I could have put SO many more pictures on here, but I thought I'd spare you. For now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Open House!

I love me some Kimba. She and I started our blogs about the same time and I've read hers almost since day one. She is such a sweetheart. I can't wait to meet her for realz one of these days. Anyway, the reason I'm gushing all about one of my favorite bloggers in the whole wide world is because she's hosting a Holiday Open House and is inviting ALL of us to join in! So today's post will be a little of how we've done our decorating this year, but you have to head over to her blog to see all of the fantabulous Open Houses!

Well, we have been so busy we haven't had much time to do any decorating but on one side of the house, so I'm going to concentrate on one little area, along with the tree a little later. I know that there will be so many much more beautiful homes than mine signed up. But I love Christmas, and I love my simple stuff. That's not to say that I wouldn't LOVE to have my home decked out like Kimba's, however!

This year, for some reason, I acquired a fixation on snowmen. I think it got started because my Step-mom, Margie, gave me just a few little snowman pieces that she didn't need anymore. And you know how it is. Well, you may not, but once I have a few things, I can't stop myself from collecting more and more. Remember those birds? Oh, and Kimba, I haven't done anything with them, yet. But I have my hopes set high that I WILL finish them and my entire mantel before Christmas!

So, here's my snowmen. Now, I've been making snowman ornaments for years now, but for some reason they just never appealed to me as a decorating object. No more. Sales at Hobby Lobby took care of that. First, let me show you my little homemade wreath I made a few years ago. It's kinda hokey, but I think it's cute with my little homemade snowmen. There's one for each of us; Kiddo, Sound Man, and Heathahlee. I ADORE making these little guys. Each one has their own personality and I truly put so much into each one that I do. The people I give them to don't get as big a kick out of them as I do! I made the bow, too, but it's several years old and about needs to be replaced. It's looking a little sad.

Below the wreath, here's the left side of the piano, with some of my loot from Margie's. I love that little plate sitting atop a Calvin Miller book called Snow. Quite appropriate! The white bucket was supposed to be filled with snowballs but I haven't had the chance to get to the craft section of Walmart to get some white pompoms yet. Won't that be cute?

In the middle of the piano is my little family. The three of us all nestled beside each other. I love this little trio. I got it at Old Time Pottery. Ooooh, that place is dangerous.
And on the far side is the rest of my little collection along with some other cute things. The plate came from Margie, too. Birds and snowmen. How much cuter can you get?
Okay, now that we've seen all the snowmen, I want to head to my tree. There are a few special ornaments I wanted to share with you, just because they mean so much to me.

First, here's one of two icicles that were my Mimmie's. She had one of those great aluminum trees with the color wheel that are so retro this year. I wish I still had her tree. She had the BEST ornaments. These icicles are all I have of her ornaments, and that makes me sad, but I'm glad to have at least these. I think about her every year when I put them on the tree.

Okay, I had to put this one on here because Kiddo gets a new ornament every year. You might have known he'd pick a buck. I'm glad he did, though. That was the most exciting thing to happen to him, getting his first deer ever. Not that I'm proud of him or anything.

This little basket has been on my tree every year since college. It's not all that special, except that for the past few years it's held much more meaning than in years past. One year we were going through some tough financial times, but were making it through the Christmas season with a smile on our faces and friends in our home. We had a party one night and after everyone had gone home I noticed something in the basket. When I looked closer I realized someone had put a $20 bill inside it! I asked Sound Man where it came from and he looked at me like I was crazy. He had no idea it was there! We still don't know to this day which one of our friends did that, but it sure blessed us, and this basket reminds us to follow that same example!

Just one more ornament to show you. The picture is kind of dark, but it's a wooden cutout of the nativity made from an olive tree. It was carved in Bethlehem. I just love that. It seems each year that passes I'm made more and more aware of the sacrifice that both our Father and His Son made when he gave up His glory to come to earth as a baby. To save us. Knowing He would have to die to accomplish it. I get teary just thinking about it now, and Lord help if I start thinking about it when I'm singing Christmas carols. I hope you are reminded through the hustle and bustle of this season to slow down and think about why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Well, thanks for stopping by! I wish we had some presents under the tree to show you, but none were wrapped when I took the pictures. Oh, wait, look! There IS one!

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cookie Recipe Exchange

Okay, while I wait to find out how in the world to download the songs I want to put on here, here's a sweet post. Literally! Katy Lin joined a cookie recipe exchange going on over at Jan and Toms Place, so I thought I'd join in, too. I love me some Christmas cookies. If you go to the exchange post, her Date Rolls recipe looks very much like my Date Balls recipe, and let me tell you, they are SOOOOO good! They are by far my favorite thing to make at Christmas. Anyway, click the little Gingerbread Man below to check out all the other recipes.

Here's my recipe for your taste bud pleasure.

Praline Graham Squares (my 2nd favorite thing to make at Christmas!)

1 sleeve graham crackers
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread crackers evenly (sides touching) in single layer on a lightly greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan (jelly roll pan). Melt butter in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat, adding sugar and pecans when almost melted. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over graham crackers. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely. Cut and serve.

These are SO easy. But let me say here, be careful. They are VERY addictive! One is just not enough. Or two. I'll just stop there so you'll think I have at least some self control.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's finally here!

Reach Out is finally here! I am so excited to share some of this with you! I am in the process of getting permission to put a couple of the songs on here, along with pictures of the CD cover. I'm especially excited about that, since I was privileged to write one of the panels. As soon as I get the necessary permission, you can bet I'll be posting some songs!

Meanwhile, here's what I've been up to. A little of what I've been up to, at least. I've been getting tassel help for one I'm making for my MIL. Who has been tutoring me? Why, the wonderful Susie Harris, of course! Okay, Susie, what do you think?

Is the fringe at the top too much? Is it too black? Should I have splashed some more red in there? It's not a very good picture, but I hope you all get the idea. I had so much fun making it that I'm doing several more.

So, tell me what you think of the tassel. I need to make sure I'm not giving something that looks like ick. Whatever ick looks like. Thanks in advance! And thank you, Susie, for your help!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving

Okay, so I'm a little late on the bandwagon. And these pictures are not the best in the world. But hey, at least I tried.

Here's a little project that you can have done in about an hour, depending on how many leaves you can catch before they all blow away. Now, this is best done with pressed leaves, but if you're only going to leave it up until after your Thanksgiving guests leave, flat leaves will be fine. It's a Fall/Harvest/Thanksgiving Wreath. About time, don'tcha think?

I was inspired by this picture:

It's in Better Homes and Gardens November issue (2008). I immediately made plans to hunt down some leaves. It wasn't that hard, since this year we've had a particularly spectacular color display for some reason. I heard or read somewhere that if you get a cold spell and then a warm spell (what we call Indian Summer, maybe?), you will get some really great colors. Well, that happened and we got 'em. So I was really excited about grabbing up some great colors.

My kiddo and I headed out to find some in our neighbors' yards since our poor oak tree is not the kind that changes to beautiful red...the leaves just turn dead and fall off. However, for the first time in the 12 years we've been here, our leaves did turn a shade of yellow, which made me very happy since I could use some of my very own leaves in my wreath.

Then I was just hit with a fever...finding all kinds of leaves in all different colors. There was no telling when or where I'd yank the van over to the side of the road (no easy task, I tell you) and hop out to grab a particularly striking leaf. I even crossed traffic to stretch out over a ditch to get a color I hadn't been able to find yet.

Then, when I had enough leaves to make my own forest, I took two really heavy books...

(I like the classics the best...they seem the heaviest) and put the leaves in between the pages and left them like that for a couple of days. Like I said, if you do this now, you can just find some flat leaves for this next step.

Then, take a plate, platter, or whatever you have a plate hanger big enough for, and begin hot gluing the leaves around the platter. I got a $1.25 platter from Old Time Pottery just for this project, but when I'm done, I can just peel all the leaves and glue off and use it for what it was intended for.

Note: make sure you put your plate hanger on your platter before you start gluing. You will end up ripping favorite leaves if you don't. Not that I have any experience in that area. None whatsoever. Nope. Not me.

Second Note: Make sure you have as much junk on your craft table as possible so that you barely have room for your glue gun, much less a whole platter:Recognize that bird, anyone?

Ahem...back to the project at hand...Start at the center (which you choose, by the way) and start gluing leaves up either side of the plate, layering as you go. Make sure you save your favorites for last ones you glue on, or they'll get covered up. Here's a couple of badly shot closeups of me with horrible fingernails gluing on top of an oak leaf for one of my favorite maple leaves:
and keep on going until you have enough to cover the outside rim of the platter. Then take your favorite of all favorite leaves and place it in the very center of where you started:Then, if you want it a little more frou-frou, hot glue a ribbon on the back under the plate rack until you get your desired look. Now, I have to leave a disclaimer here about this next picture. My husband, being the hunter that he is, took the camera to deer camp with him to make sure he had some way to document the massive 12-point he was sure to get. Hasn't happened yet, but he's still got the camera. That being said, I had to resort to my next fastest mode of cell phone. Sigh...please forgive the quality, but you get the idea...
And make sure when you hang it wherever you are going to hang it to have an $.80 clearance garland with the tag still on it underneath the wreath. That just screams HARVEST to me, doesn't it you?

Now, I have to confess that I do have pictures that are better quality than this in my external hard drive, but when I saw them I realized I reeeeeeeeally needed to paint my front door. So you will not get to see either the wreath in HD or my sadly painted door. I know you were just dying to, weren't you?

Anyway, it's really an easy, sweet project that I will repeat next year. And hang it on my freshly painted front door.

Okay, my sweet man just went out in the very c-c-c-old air and retrieved my camera for me just so I could take a couple of pictures. I love him. Anyway, here's a little better picture, albeit still with the "Minnie Pearl" garland (thanks Brandi, that made me LOL!).

And just for kicks, here's a turkey.