Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Our house feels naked. There are no signs of Christmas left. Growing up, my Dad instilled in me that "One should never enter the new year with the old year hanging around". Those are not his words exactly, but the idea is that you want to start the new year "fresh".

I can't believe that 2011 is coming to an end. I've been trying to catch up with all of my favorite Blogs today, and everyone is writing such beautiful, inspiration filled wishes for the new year. My mind is still in a Christmas blur, so I apologize for my lack of poetic genius.

I mentioned in my last post that Santa brought me a new camera, what I didn't mention is that my learning curve for new devices is pretty slow. Most all of the pictures that I have taken so far have come out either blurry, or extremely yellow. I admit that I have been playing with the settings. I probably should have just left everything set on auto. Needless to say I need more practice. My camera does have a special "food" setting, so maybe once I get the hang of it all of my "I love the taste of..." pictures will look even more yummy.

I was hoping to jot down a few resolutions or goals for the coming year, but the main ones seem to be the same as every other year. We do have plans this year to visit Grace in Spain and hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, so my usual goals of getting in shape and losing some weight seem a little more urgent. Not to mention that I'll be turning 50 this year and I've heard that after you reach that milestone, everything just gets a little harder, or softer depending on how you look at it.

What I'm really hoping for in 2012 is more time for all of the people, places and activities that I enjoy most. I do realize that it's mostly up to me to make that time and so that's what I am planing to do, make more time.

Best wishes to all of you for the New Year! Thank you for reading my little blog and encouraging me with your positive comments and ideas. Hope to see you all in 2012.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Morning

One last look at our beautiful Christmas tree overflowing with presents. The anticipation of Christmas morning is just too much for everyone including Grandpa and the dog.

The aftermath is also a little over whelming. Everyone was generous in their gift giving this year, but Grandpa always wins the award for being the most generous Santa Clause. If only he had a long white beard.

I think Christmas brunch is probably my most favorite meal of the Holidays. Everyone is relaxed and feeling gratefully blessed. I wish that feeling could last a little longer. I think I start loosing mine when it's about time to begin all of the dinner preparations. All of the cooking and cleaning up starts to wear on a girl. I suggested that next year we take a family cruise over the holidays and everyone voted me down. Apparently they like things just the way they are.


PS tomorrow you will be seeing pictures taken with my new camera. I know you are excited.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas EveTradition

We continued with our family tradition of having Fondue for dinner on Christmas eve. There is seriously something wrong with passing around a bowl full of raw meat, sticking it on skewers and then into boiling hot oil while sitting around your dining room table. Every year I ponder how this particular tradition got started. It's a mystery. I tend to want to blame my mother. I think she thought it would be "fun" for the kids way back when. It's still fun, especially the chocolate Fondue for dessert part. I'm not so sure about the rest of it, but it's tradition, so what are you going do?

I'm going to post some of the "special sauce" recipes under the I love the taste of... tab at the top of my blog in case you and your family want to give this tradition a try. I've found that it's best to open a window, or turn off your smoke alarm in advance. Just a suggestion mind you.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Blog Or Not To Blog...

I'm never quite sure what you call the week between Christmas and New Years. I know it's still "The Holiday Season", but considering that I had to work the Monday after Christmas while all of my people stayed home relaxing around the tree (and the TV) makes it feel a little more like a "regular" week to me. It is nice having my family around. The house is full to the rafters with bodies and stuff and food and more stuff. We did loose my Dad for a couple of days as he decided to escape the craziness here and drive down to Tennessee to visit with more family there. He will be back tomorrow. David will fly out Friday, my Dad will return to Greensboro and Grace will hang around until the beginning of February. I know once the house clears out, I will miss the chaos and clutter, so right now I'm spending as much time as I can just enjoying all of the goings on. As you can see from the picture, Santa did bring me a new camera and I have taken so many pictures that I'm sure you will be sick to death of viewing every detail of the Junkins Family Christmas. Sorry about that, but at least I'm giving you a heads up about what I'll be posting in the coming days.

I hope that your in between holidays week is going smoothly and that your preparations for the New Year are underway. I'm still working on my list of resolutions, but I can tell you that one of them includes a trip back to Weight Watchers. More on that to follow. Until then,


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let Sleeping Children Lie


Grace finally made it home!

We knew that her flight connections were going to be close, but we were not expecting to get a call from her asking us to pick her up in Indianapolis at 11:00 last night.

She missed the flight from Boston to New York so they routed her there instead. The only problem was that there was no way to get her all the way home to Louisville. The other option was to spend the night in Boston and fly in to Louisville tonight at 8:00. Since she had already been traveling for 48 hours it was a no brainer. We hopped in the car and two hours later we were hugging our baby girl. We thought she would sleep for at least 24 hours, but she surprised us all and made an appearance for breakfast. She wanted to be home by Christmas Eve and she made it just in time.

Not that my house is full, I am ready to get this Christmas show on the road. Merry Christmas to all of you.


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

Or as my Dad likes to say " If you have time to spare, go by air." Grace was supposed to arrive home last night around 10:30, as it turns out we are keeping our fingers crossed that she gets home tonight.

Due to a delayed flight from Granada, she missed her connection in Madrid. The earliest they could get her out of Spain was 24 hours later.

The good news is that Iberia Airlines put her up in a swanky hotel and fed her 3 very delicious meals. I guess it could have been worse.

The bad news is that today she will be flying through Boston and New York with a very short connection time between New York and Louisville. I guess if she gets stuck in New York we will be giving Uncle Elliot a call.

All I know is that I want her home. We have all of the stockings this year, but we are missing one very important family member. Hurry up and get home Grace!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Breakfast

My dad drove all the way here from Greensboro yesterday just to spend Christmas with us.

So this morning I decided to make him his favorite holiday breakfast. HOT sausage, with scrambled eggs and grits. Of course I also thought of this as a great excuse to use my cute little red and green pots.

My dad likes his grits plain with just a little pat of butter.

David likes his with cheese.

I like mine with a drizzle of honey (don't you just love the word drizzle?)

Anyway, you may be asking, "what makes it a holiday breakfast?"

A little cranberry juice, and cranberry swirl toast, that's what.

Now I have to figure out what's for lunch....


Monday, December 19, 2011

Less Than One Week To Go

I'm popping in this morning to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, just in case I don't have time to write another post this week.

Last weekend was filled with Holiday parties and David's arrival. His huge laugh is filling our quiet little house to the rafters. It makes me so happy.

My Dad will get here this afternoon and then Grace will be home Thursday night.

I still haven't baked a thing besides too many batches of Red Velvet Brownies. I got one of those jumbo boxes of brownie mix at Costco and
that's what we took to all of the parties we went to.

I'm loving my shawalette/scarf. I asked Alan to take a picture of it without actually getting me in the shot. See how well that worked. There are a couple of more up close pictures of it under the projects tab if you are interested. I wish I could wear it every day, but that would just be weird.

I got some great Christmas news this morning. Alan circled and starred the article in the paper so that I wouldn't miss it. The Louisville Public Library is now (finally) offering e-books. You can check out a book for your Kindle. It stays on the device for 2 weeks and then disappears. No overdue fees. How cool is that? I can't wait to try it out, but first I have to finish reading the Bronze Horseman Trilogy.

I'm off to do a little last minute shopping before I go to work. If you don't hear from me the rest of the week don't worry. I'll be taking lots of pictures so that you won't miss out on a thing that's going on around here :)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Treats for My Peeps

I wish I could take credit for this adorable little treat idea, but alas I have to thank Martha Stewart yet again. How does she come up with these ideas?

I found the cute bags at my local craft supply store and then just dipped peppermint sticks into white chocolate and sprinkled them with crushed candy canes. Couldn't have been easier.

I think they would have been just as cute and yummy dipped in dark chocolate too. I might keep that in mind for another year, because I really had a hard time finding white chocolate this year. I also needed it for the chocolate curls on top of the Red Velvet Brownies, so when I finally found some I bought quite a bit. Does anyone out there need any white chocolate?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Little Holiday Snack

I visited my two favorite grocery stores yesterday and found some tasty holiday treats. Imagine that? The tea was a new find, but the box of mini Gingerbread Men cookies was a repeat purchase. These little guys are very addicting and go perfectly with a cup of tea.

I actually bought 2 boxes, because they are so good I'm afraid Trader Joe's might just run out of them before Christmas. I was going to hide one of the boxes in a secret place, but decided to make Alan's day and let him take a box to snack on at work.

I'm sipping a cup of the tea right now while I type this. It's pretty good. I think I should have let it seep a little longer. It's just a tad weak.

I haven't started baking yet. I'm trying to decide what to make. I think I'm going to make fudge for sure, maybe some sugar cookies. David loves Mexican Wedding cookies and Grace likes the Peanut butter ones with the kisses on top. I think Alan would be happy with just having the little Gingerbread Men and my Dad loves them all. Where to start.....


Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little More Decorating

The problem with getting all of your holiday decorating done early is that you have more time left over to find other places in your house that could use a little something.

Grace's room is all holidayed-up and waiting for her return on the 22nd. We will get to enjoy her until the beginning of February when she will head back to Spain to finish her studies there.

Since the downstairs is all decked out I decided to move upstairs. I added a couple of wreaths to the bedroom doors and spruced up the bathroom with more red and green than a bathroom really needs.

I think I'm really finished now. I should probably start baking cookies, or making fudge. Everyone has a favorite holiday treat and they are all different. All that baking might keep my busy until Christmas.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bieber Fever

The wrapping is finished!

We decided to try something new this year and assign each member of the family their own special wrapping paper. Alan was with me at Target while I was shopping for gift wrap, and he thought it would just be the greatest thing ever if we wrapped all of David's gifts in Justin Bieber paper. At first I was totally against this idea. The Justin Bieber paper is just plain ugly, but he was laughing so hard I decided to go along with the idea.

Sorry David. Hopefully you can appreciate the humor. You know how your father is....

I'm making sure that all of this paper stays towards the back of the tree.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Breathing Easier

After a very unproductive morning of shopping but not shopping I finally had a little luck. Just when I think that I really don't like WalMart and I'm never going to shop there again, it comes through for me. Cranberry Ginger Ale and Holiday tortilla chips. What more could a girl ask for?

My Iowa Girls are having their annual Cookie Swap tonight with out me. I am starting to regret that I didn't bake 12 dozen cookies and drive 8 hours to join them. I know that they are going to have a lot of fun and probably drink a little too much wine and eat a little too much cheese. Cheers to all of you!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It's December and that means Chex Mix and Cranberry drinks. The problem is that my local Kroger is totally out of said Cranberry drinks. No Canada Dry, No Sierra Mist. None, just empty spaces on the shelves where they should be. I'm thinking that someone is having a really big party and they decided to stock up. I hate that I'm going to have to visit another store, but now I'm on a mission. Hopefully not a "mission impossible".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Dreary Tuesday

Why does the weather always seem to be nasty on my days off? Today is just yuck; Misty, rainy and cold. I did put some new flannel sheets on our bed and that makes me very happy.

I finally made it back to my favorite yoga class this morning. I fell off the wagon a bit when Grace left for Spain. Why get up so early? I decided that during the month of December I'm really going to make a effort. I love yoga, so I'm trying to think of it as a gift to me...

The rest of my day has been filled with the usual, a little grocery shopping, a little laundry and a very little house cleaning.

I think tonight might be a fire in the fireplace kind of night. I might even watch the Micheal Buble Christmas special. I can't decide what I think about him, but I do love a good Christmas special.

I'm updating the other sections of the blog today if your are interested. I'm also trying a strange new recipe tonight that I'll try and post for you tomorrow if it turns out to be as good as everyone around these parts seems to think it is.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feeling Content

Here it is December 4th and I'm happy to report that we are ready for Christmas. This is the first time in a long, long while that I've been able to say that. The house is decorated, the gifts are ready to be wrapped and the holiday music is playing on Pandora. I have no idea how it works, but listening to music through my TV is one of my new favorite things. Right now we are enjoying the Christmas Instrumental channel.

Alan and I spent most of Saturday in Deck the Halls mode. We bought our tree at Home Depot Friday night. I am not kidding you when I say we picked the first one we saw. It was the right height and even more importantly the right width. Due to limited space, a skinny tree works perfectly for us.

For the most part the house looks exactly like it did last Christmas. I added a few new things, the stockings, the quilts, this super fun candy holder from Pottery Barn, but my two new favorite things are...

this adorable print with a quote from the movie ELF

and this sweet little bird and nest idea that I saw in a magazine and totally borrowed. It's sitting on my kitchen counter and every time I see it I have to smile.

You have to admit that it's pretty cute.

The dog got me up before the sun this morning which is not usually how I like to start my Sunday's, but today I didn't mind so much. My Holiday Blend coffee from the Fresh Market was ready and the lights always look even better in the dark. If it had been a little bit colder I would have started a fire. We have the whole rest of the month to just relax and enjoy all that December has to offer. I can't wait!


Friday, December 2, 2011

A Big Pile Of Autumn

Even though I was reminded this morning that winter doesn't officially start until December 22nd, I'm pretty sure that Autumn is over.

I went around the house this morning collecting all things "fall".

I thought you might like to see what I ended up with.

When it's all in one place like this it's even a little much for me.

All of this "stuff" has crept into our house over the past 2o something years.

I can't possibly get rid of it.

I'll just pack it away and know that I'll be so happy to see it again next year.

I might need to run to the store and buy another plastic storage container.

The good news is that Christmas in still trickling in, bit by bit.

We have big holiday decorating plans for the weekend, so hopefully the next time you hear from me I'll be showing you pictures of more than just a swag hanging by the back door.

The weather is going to be beautiful here tomorrow, so we might even have time to finish (or start depending on how you look at it) getting rid of all of the fallen leaves that are currently covering every square inch of our yard and deck.

Alan ordered a fancy new bag thing for the lawn mower in hopes of chopping up all the leaves and adding the bits and pieces to our mulch pile.

Hopefully it makes the job easier, because we only have one rake....

Have a great weekend!