Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Well, last year I made some resolutions, and I didn't do too well on them.  I guess I kind of forgot about some of them as the year progressed. .

1. I will lose weight this year. No, not to be a size 8--that will never happen! But to lose the weight I have gained this year from my inactivity from having back problems has caused--and maybe a little more! I certainly didn't accomplish #1.  Yes, I lost some weight, but I promptly put it back on.

2. I will be more active. This is a MUST according to the docs at UIHC Spine Rehab. I am supposed to do Cardio 4-6 times a week, weight lifting 3-4 times a week, and stretching/aerobic 7 days a week. I did really well on #2 until, and this is really dumb---summer.  I wasn't in the routine of getting up early, doing my back exercises, and just went to CURVES.

3. I will lower my stress level. This also is a MUST according to the docs. The only way I have been able to do this so far is to lower my own standards on some things and "let it go". Actually "Let it go" is my new mantra!
 I think I did pretty well with #3.  I could do better, though.

4. I will relax more. We have had a year of work, work, work because of this addition. And, it really isn't in our blood to just sit around and relax. But we WILL learn to do this more.
We did some relaxing, but it seems we always have work to do.  We'll work on that too.  We did so so on this one.  

5. I will spend more time with my grandsons. I'd really like to spend time with the boys one on one. I'd like to start having them over or to do things one at a time so they can have more memories of good times with us!  I think we did pretty well on this one.

I think for this year I will keep all of these.  Hopefully at the end of 2010 I can report that I have done well on all of them!    

I wish you all well in 2010!


I have wanted to make a purse for a long time, so I decided to try it for Christmas.  I made four purses.  Three of them are the same pattern which is a little larger.  One is a small purse.
I showed the fabric for this one earlier on this post.
I made a small one for Tasha using the black and white---

And a larger one with pockets all around the outside, and of course some inside for Trina.

I showed the fabric for this one earlier on this post.  This one is for Trilby.  I adjusted the pattern to have longer straps for her.

And I showed this fabric earlier on this post.  This one is for Kerry.

I used a Simplicity pattern for the small purse and the pattern for the large purse came from the Moda Bake Shop here.  I enjoyed making these and plan to make one for ME next!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

GIFTS--Big and Small

We had a great gift on Christmas Day!  Tasha and Kyle gave us a photo book full of great pictures of them.  Kyle's mom took them in the fall.

That was nice, but the nicest thing was on the last page!

YUP!  That's an ultrasound picture!  They are expecting in July!  We are very happy for them and so excited.  Every new grandchild is a gift from God.

Our family is really growing.  We had ten adults and four little boys here on Christmas.  Even with the addition we didn't have any extra room.  We're talking about what we can do for next year.  I think finishing the basement is in order, so there's our next project!

I'll finish by showing you several gifts I made.

This table runner went to live with my mom in Texas.  I made it using a charm pack from Moda, Wiscasset, and some fabric for the backing and binding from JoAnne's.  

I also decorated a sweatshirt for her with a snowman on the front. 

This table runner went to live with my aunt in Texas.  I made it using ac charm pack from Moda--Portebello Market, and some fabric for the backing and binding from JoAnne's. 

I also decorated a sweatshirt for her with an embroidered snowman scene on the front.

I enjoy making gifts for others, and I hope they enjoy receiving them from me!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crazy Christmas!

We began celebrating Christmas Wednesday afternoon as some of my colleagues came out after school to socialize.  As the evening progressed I knew my throat was sore and my voice was getting crackly, but we visited until 11:00 p.m.  I awoke Christmas Eve morning hardly able to talk and with a very sore throat, so we spent the morning at the doctor and then the pharmacy instead of wrapping presents and finishing up last minute gifts!  Luckily Trina and Tanner came down and helped me finish wrapping. 

We went to Mass at seven and then home to eat.  I always make several kinds of soup and snacks, but this year I just made clam chowder along with meat/cheese, shrimp, bbq meatballs, cheeseball/crackers, and cookies.  After making breakfast casserole and french toast casserole I was in bed.

Christmas Day Tasha and Kyle joined the four of us for breakfast.

Travis, Kerry, and Chance showed up about noon.

Trilby, Mike, and boys arrived about an hour later. 

We enjoyed a meal of beef brisket, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli salad, and homemade bread.  Later we had a pumpkin dessert and an ice cream dessert.

A house full of  ten adults and four little boys can be crazy!  But it was crazy good.  The best part of our day was that we were all together enjoying each other's company.

Travis, Kerry, and Chance, and Trina and Tanner spent the night.  By noon yesterday our house was messy and quiet.  After cleaning up the top layer we napped, watched a movie, and napped some more.

Stay tuned for photos of some of the things I made for gifts.  You've seen some of the fabric and it will soon be time to show you what I made!  I also have a big announcement to post tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed Christmas as much as we did!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Slideshow

I took far too many photos to continue to post, so I put some of them into a slide show.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dining Room Decorations

The only place in my house not decorated for Christmas would be the basement!  Some rooms are a little more decorated than others, especially since I've gotten rid of a few things in the past couple of years, but I haven't added too much more.  In the dining room I have a pencil tree.  This is the only tree in the house with colored lights.  Bud really likes colored lights, so I have to give him a little say now and then!

In addition to the colored lights, the tree is decorated with cinnamon ornaments and tags with Christmas sayings on them.

I have my grandma's antique Singer sewing machine in the dining room, so I put a little display on there. The tree is decorated with white lights, fabric tied around the branches, and empty spools.

I've also added a few things to the dry sink.

Our nativity set, which was made by my grandmother many years ago, is on my cedar chest in this room.

I've decorated the t my hutch, although I'm not thrilled with it.  It's something to work on for next year!

I have several antique figurines on the hutch.  I'm especially partial to this set of angels. They were a gift from me to my grandparents when I was a baby, back in the late 50's!  So, yes, they're antique!

And finally, a view looking into the foyer and family room.  I made the fabric garland with lights MANY years ago, and happened to see it as a tutorial on someone's blog just this year.  Now, why didn't I make a pattern of it all those years ago when I thought of it!?  Anyway, I leave it up through the winter to dress up the room.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of our dining room.  I'll be back tomorrow with more.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crab Canapes & More Christmas Decorating

We love to snack and we love seafood.  This recipe for Crabmeat Canapes is yummy and easy to make.  We quarter them and have them as an appetizer and occasionally leave them whole and eat them as a meal.

1 jar Old English Cheese spread
1/2 c. real butter softened
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. mayo or salad dressing
1 can crab meat flaked and drained
6 English muffins

Beat cheese and butter until smooth.  Add seasoning and mayo.  Stir in crab meat.  Split untoasted muffins in half.  Spread with mixture.  Bake at 400 for ten minutes.  Cut into quarters to serve.  Can be made ahead and frozen until needed.

These canapes will be on our table for Christmas Eve as we have soups and appetizers for our meal.  Check out And Baby Makes Five for more yummy recipes.

In our family room we have shelves on both sides of the fireplace.  This is only the second year we've had this room as it is an addition.  Anyway, I am still struggling with decorating them.  On one shelf I have my Willow Tree Angels with some greenery, lights, candles and a star.

As an elementary teacher and lover of books I have quite a few picture books.  I pull the Christmas ones out this time of year.  If you have never seen a Robert Sobuda pop-up book you've got to take a look.  His Night Before Christmas book is beautiful!  We read it carefully several times when the boys are here.

Some other things on the shelves are a set of antique choir boys:

and some antique cheese boxes filled with greenery and candy canes.

Just off of the family room is the sunroom.  This room wasn't completed last year, so this is the first year for a tree in here.  This tree has silver and gold bells and garland and candy canes with an old quilt for the skirt.

Remember you can always click on the photos to enlarge them and get a closer view.  Stay tuned tomorrow for more trees and decorations!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas at My House

I hosted our Christmas gathering for my book club tonight, so I guess my house is as decorated as it is going to get.  I thought I would share a few photos.  I love the house all dressed up for Christmas!

This is our main, and only real, tree.  It is in the family room.  We always get a Frazier Fir.  The tree is decorated with an eclectic array of ornaments, berries, and raffia.  And this year it has The Holiday Express running around the base.
Some of the ornaments represent places we have visited, like this one of the Empire State Building in New York City.

Or they might represent a time in our life, like this
ceramic ornament that I painted way back in the day when we didn't have much money and only had one child.

The fireplace is also in the family room.  It is flanked by three small trees with lights that I have placed in crocks, a lighted wreath, greenery with lights and berries across the top, and several santas and a snowman.  Everyone has a stocking hanging above the fireplace.  I started with making these stockings for my four kids when they were young.  That's all we had for many years.  Mike was the first to join our family and he had to wait about eight years for  one!  I just made them for Bud and me last year!  But, right now everyone has one, even our newest addition, Chance.

I hope you've enjoyed this little peak of Christmas in our home.  Come back tomorrow for more!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chow Mein Noddle Cookies/Birthday Remembered

Over the last few days I have made several different Christmas cookies, but nothing too exciting.  One cookie that I always make, and it would be my favorite, is Chow Mein Noodle Cookies.  I don't often see these on other people's lists or trays, so I thought I would share.  My grandma always made them and the only time we have them is at Christmas.  I'm not exactly sure why we don't make them the rest of the year since they are so easy, but we don't.

Chow Mein Noodle Cookies


1 large or 2 small bags of chow mein noodles
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 bag chocolate chips
almonds (optional)

Pour the chocolate chips in a bowl along with the butterscotch chips.  Melt in microwave.  I usually put them in for about 2 minutes then stir and put in for 45 more seconds.  That will depend on the strength of your microwave.  

Add the cow mein noodles (and almonds)  and stir until well coated.  Drop onto waxed paper, foil, or a cookie sheet.  Cool and eat.  Simple and so yummy!


Now, head on over to And Baby Makes Five to find out what others are sharing!

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland

Today would be my dad's 75th birthday if he were still with us.  He was my age when he died--52--WAY TOO YOUNG!!  I miss positive attitude, his caring heart, and his ability to carry on a good debate!  I am so sorry I did not get to spend more time with him as an adult, and that my children and grandchildren didn't know and/or remember him.
Happy Birthday, Dad, we miss you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days--1, 2, & 3

Well, winter is upon us!  We started hearing about this storm last weekend.  It was predicted to be a big one, but you just never know.  Nevertheless, Bud stopped at the grocery store to stock up on some essentials and a few baking supplies--just in case.  When we went to bed Monday night we thought we'd go to school and then have an early out.  But Tuesday morning about 6:15 the call came that school was canceled.  I was thrilled! I can always use another day to work on Christmas gifts even if I do have to make it up later in the year.  And I got a LOT done.

I worked with this black and white fabric again to make another gift.

I made the santa to go on my wall hanging.

I made the first of our Christmas treats--peanut clusters.

I cut rectangles  out of old blue jeans to use in a quilt.

And I did some hand quilting on my quilt.  And of course I did the laundry.

I used my day well, and would have been happy to go back to school on Wednesday, but we knew that wasn't to be.  The phone call came Tuesday evening about 7:00 p.m.  Another snow day on Wednesday!
That was to be expected due to the weather.

So on Wednesday I cut out more quilt squares and batting.  Did some applique and made this quilt.  (It still needs to have the seams clipped and washed so they fray.  That explains all of the lint!)

I can show you this one as I know my grandsons don't read my blog! :)  It may look similar to this quilt that I made last Christmas.  But that quilt was a queen size and this one is a lap robe for watching tv.  Payton is a Case IH nut!

I also worked on a blog for my brother.

I wrote our Christmas letter and did some more laundry.  Now, I'm ready to go back to school,  and I am  feeling a little better about the things I have to make for Christmas.

With the 8" or so that we've had along with the blowing winds, we figured we would have a late start and go hard surfaces only on Thursday.  Well, we were WRONG!  The call came about 7:15 p.m.  NO SCHOOL THURSDAY.  Now, this is getting old!!

This is what we have been dealing with--

I guess this means we'll be going to school in June!