Saturday, December 20, 2014

Finishing Touches

Well, the gifts are all wrapped and under the tree. I heard this morning that Grace finally received her Christmas package that I mailed the week before Thanksgiving. All the decorating that's going to happen is done. Still not a single cookie to speak of, but there's plenty of time for that. I say, "Let the festivities begin".
 David is driving home from an interview in Philadelphia today  and my Dad should arrive on Monday. Everything is falling into place and that's just the way I like it. I decided to display my nutcracker collection this year. The poor guys have been stuck down in the creepy basement since we moved to Louisville. I  know that some people think nutcrackers are stupid and scary looking, but I've had most of mine since David was a soldier in his third grade performance of the Nutcracker.  They remind me of the "good old days". I put most of them in the guest bedroom and bathroom upstairs. My brother in law Don stayed with us the other night and he didn't seem to be too bothered by them. We moved the spinning wheel out of the craft room/Grace's old room and moved in a wee little twin bed. David gets to sleep in there this year instead of on an air mattress in the piano room. I think the accommodations are lovey, but he's been staying in some pretty "fancy" hotels lately, so he might think otherwise. We found his favorite old stuffed polar bear from when he was about 3 years old. A good washing and he looks like new. Sweet and cozy. I wish that one of Santa's elves would come and clean my bathrooms and mop my floors, but I'm guessing that I'll be doing that tomorrow.  I hope you all are enjoying the season as much as I am.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Winter Walk

These darn FitBits. The other night Alan needed to get a few more steps in before plopping down in his favorite chair to watch TV. He's participating in a fitness challenge at work and didn't want to let his team down. We decided to walk over to the little park near our house and check out the Holiday Lights. It really is festive. I personally think the giant snowman is a little creepy, and I'm sure Maggie had no idea what to think of it. I wish I had a better camera, but you get the idea. Our understanding is that there is one man who sets them up every year. This year they went up before Halloween, which really made me crazy. They didn't actually turn them on until after Thanksgiving, but still... I guess if it's just one guy doing all the work he has to start early. Alan thinks they got put up early this year so that the guy to head on down to Florida for the winter. I'll let you know how long they stay up. If they are still there at Easter, he might just be right.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are You Ready?

Whether or not, here comes Christmas. I feel like I should use "weather" instead of "whether". The snow we had in November has come and gone and now it's just kind of chilly here in Louisville. Honestly, the lack of snow is just fine with me.  A light dusting around the 24th would be just lovely, but otherwise, I'm good.  Alan and I went down to Memphis for Thanksgiving to visit with his mother and some of his siblings. It was a great trip, but it  put me a bit behind with Christmas preparations. We got the house decorated last weekend and finished our shopping yesterday. I finally feel like I can just sit back and enjoy it all. Isn't that the best? Just snuggling up on the couch listening to carols, or watching favorite movies while your beautiful Christmas tree sparkles in the background. I love it. I hope you are able to relax and just enjoy the next week or so to the fullest. It's always the small things that make the season special. I'm trying extra hard this year to pay attention to them. What's making me smile right now is the too cute wrapping paper that I found at Target with adorable knitted hats, sweaters, scarves and mittens all over it. I'm also quite fond of the cardinal pillow also found at Target and the forest friends platter and mini bowls that I picked up at Kroger. See, the little things. I've been filling that platter with those little hotdog/bacon bites I gave you the recipe for a while back. That's what I'm taking to every holiday party I've been invited to this year. Everyone seems to enjoy them and no leftovers makes the clean up even faster. I haven't made any cookies yet, which feels a little weird. I guess I should bake some to take to our neighbors  and have on hand when David and my Dad arrive. I will have to get right on that...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Better Late Than Never

If you are wondering where I have been and why my blogging has become so irregular of late, all I can say is that it's been a crazy Autumn in my neck of the woods. I've made 3 trips to North Carolina, David was in Kentucky for 8 weeks and winter came before fall was finished. Really that's pretty much it, except that I've been having a bit of trouble uploading pictures from my computer to my blog. I'm not sure if the problem is with my very ancient computer, or with the blog, but it worked today, so I'm taking that as a positive sign. Last Monday was the first no school snow day for kids here in Louisville. Crazy right? It's not even Thanksgiving. At this rate the kids will be going to school until July. I'm sure most of you experienced the return of the Polar Vortex or what ever the weather people are calling it now. I've heard that the Farmer's Almanac says this winter will be colder with even more snow than last year. I'm stocking up on soup and knitting warm wooly things just as fast as I can. Makes me just a tiny bit envious of Grace and her 95 degree temperatures in Cambodia. Just a tiny bit... The good news is that my Dad's health seems to be improving every day. As of right now he's planning on coming to Kentucky for Christmas. He's been through a lot this year and continues to maintain the most positive outlook. He's confident that he will be playing golf again in the spring. I'm trying so hard not to jump the gun with Christmas preparations, but I must admit that the weather has kind of pushed me into the holiday mood earlier than expected. As you can see from the last picture I couldn't resist sticking a few special items into my grocery cart this week. I'm going to hide them in the basement along with the few other things I might have bought last week. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that your Thanksgiving plans include lots of fun, family, friends and yummy food.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Big Red Pot Time!

Don't you just love soup season? It's my favorite. I had this ginormous head of cauliflower in the refrigerator and needed to use it up. I decided to turn it into soup. I found this recipe from the Pioneer Woman and thought I'd give it a try. I don't know what I was expecting, it is cauliflower after all, but in my opinion this soup is just OK. Honestly I hate to even share it here with you because I'll probably never make it again. It just seemed like it was missing something. The sour cream she has you add at the end helps a little, I just put a spoonful in the bottom of my mug. What helped even more was the handful of shredded cheddar cheese that I sprinkled on my second cup. Some bacon bits would probably make it even better...
Do you have a favorite soup recipe? I'm always on the lookout for a new one to try.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

 It's a cold and gloomy day here in Louisville. The weather people are saying that it might even snow tonight. Poor Trick-or-Treaters. Seriously, I don't know about you, but I'm sure not ready for snow. I will tell you that the radio station that I listen to in the car has already started playing non-stop Christmas music. Now that's crazy. I had to just turn in off yesterday. I'm not finished with pumpkins yet. Have you seen or tried this Chai? I picked it up at Target the other day and I'm sipping on a mug of it right now. I love the  regular Tazo Chai, because I think it's spicier than that other brand you can buy. This is from Archer Farms the Target label. I wish I had picked up a couple more cause it's that good. It's especially good with a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread. See, I told you  I'm not done with pumpkins yet. The bread is just a box mix from Trader Joe's that I added some mini chocolate chips too. Nothing fancy at all. I hope you are having a Pumpkin filled Halloween . Stay warm where ever you are.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Little Fall Fate

Don't you just love it when things end up working out for the best? I am seeing two sweet friends today and wanted to take them a little something special. Last week at Kroger I found these nifty autumn looking paper baking pans. I decided to try them out yesterday to make sure that they were as awesome as they seemed. I'm so glad that I did, because I was so not impressed. I made two loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread and as you can see from the first picture there was no way that they were going to "pop" out of the pans. Definitely not a giftable outcome. Thank goodness for plan B. I  made some of my Great Aunt Mary's Granola over the weekend. Personally I think it's the best batch I've ever made, but Alan wouldn't eat it because of all the nuts and David wouldn't eat it because I added dried cranberries. I love granola, but there was no way I would be able to eat it all myself. So, I dug around in my supply cabinet and happened to find two leaf covered cellophane  bags and two already stamped tags leftover from a previous project. All I had to do was scoop in the granola and tie a bow. Perfect! Even more perfect, I get to eat the bread :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fun Fall Weekend

What a beautiful weekend. I hope it's not the last before winter sets in and it's too cold to leave the house. Alan ran his 1/2 marathon on Saturday morning while David and I walked at the zoo. I'm not sure who had the most fun. Alan earned a medal and beat his previous time, but David and I got to see all the Halloween decorations including the new pirate exhibit and the snowy owls at the zoo. We watched a lot of football. The Kentucky Wildcats almost beat Mississippi State and the LSU tigers totally beat Old Miss. T-I-G-E-R-S fight! fight! fight!. I'd sing the fight song for you if you were here. Today is David's last day in Louisville. We got up early and had breakfast at Wild Eggs and then walked across the Big 4 bridge. Don't you just love the sign above? It's good to know that Dates and Romance are allowed. I'm making granola and I guess we will probably watch some more football and maybe take a nap. Hope you are having a fun, fall weekend too.
Here's a little video Alan took of the new baby Bongo that we saw at the zoo last weekend. Watching him jump around just puts a smile on your face.