Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Table Full of Sparkle for the New Year

It is certainly full of sparkle with all the silver and mirrored trees! 

This morning I found these glittered black and white spiral sprigs in the marked down Christmas aisle for just .75 each.  Nothing about them says "Christmas" to me. My immediate thought was to use them as napkin rings for this table.
They worked great atop my black linen napkins and I like the quirky touch on an otherwise formal table setting.

I want to send a heartfelt thanks to all of my faithful readers who continue to stop by to read my daily drivel (some of you have been around since the beginning -- 8 yrs ago). I wish I could invite you all to dinner in 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Took my Christmas Tree Down Today

Just as I expected it took less than 20 minutes to completely take down my small tree and get everything packed up and back to the basement. I had it done by 6:00 a.m. today. :)

Then I began a full day of heavy housework.  Some of you may remember that I have been trying to get DH to add a second picture on one side of my family room entertainment center to balance out the Thomas Kinkade artwork (I originally had two on one side and one on the other).  I have been asking him to do this for a few years.  He has never done it.  Don't ask me why.  It was simple to do.  After he left for work today, I grabbed a tape measure and a screwdriver and had it done in less than 20 minutes.
I added the picture where the red arrow is and moved the bottom pic down a few inches.   The kitchen peninsula in the foreground is where my gingerbread man Christmas tree was.  I replaced it with a quilted runner and a fruit display.

I also rearranged the family room furniture and then spent the majority of my day doing my usual quarterly heavy duty cleaning.

Once all the cleaning was done, I decided to get a jigsaw puzzle going on the table that I use for my seasonal displays in the living room.  I removed all the linen and added a lamp for nighttime puzzling.
This barn puzzle looked interesting.  I am not very good at doing jigsaw puzzles.  I never seem to have the time to really get into doing them.  I decided to try again since I can leave this up all winter if I need to.  Are any of you jigsaw puzzle fans?

I have a 14 lb turkey in the oven that is almost finished for tonight's dinner.  I love being home all day to do this stuff! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Wishes to All of You

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas.
The image above is from one of the towels I received from my sister.  She has an embroidery machine and made the holiday design on them.
I think they are beautiful!

I was up early (a bit before 5 am) as usual this morning. We did not have to go to our Christmas brunch until 11:30 a.m., so I had plenty of time to finish the green star quilt I have been working on for...e.v.e.r.
I am so thrilled to finally have it completely finished!  I spent an hour or so curled up in it late this afternoon reading those magazines.  Tomorrow I plan to relax in the same spot with that stack of cooking books. It's so nice and warm and cuddly.  In fact, I think I am going to finish this post and head right back under it for the rest of the evening!

For Christmas Eve I made a few dishes to take to my sister's party. One was these festive jello squares. The white is condensed milk with unflavored gelatin.
I have been meaning to try these for the past few years. DH is a jello lover and he really liked these.  They may become a new tradition.

I hope all of you enjoyed your holiday as much as we did this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Still No Fresh Christmas Arrangement in my Basket

Two weeks ago I said I was going to go outside and cut down some of these evergreen shrubs to make a holiday arrangement.

But as of today, the basket and candle holders sit empty.
I just have not had time.

After work today, I had a dentist appointment for a periodontal cleaning and an eye doctor appt. after the dentist appointment.  I got to work at 6:30 A.M. and back home at 6:30 P.M.  No time for anything but dinner, helping DH with the clean up, watching the news and making this blog post.  Maybe I will get it done this weekend.

To inspire me, I went back through my Christmas pictures to find out how this table looked for the past two years.  Here is last year: 

and 2010:

Either one looks better than it does right now. :)

I would like to use the "JOY" bunting again this year and maybe incorporate some snowmen (a "LET IT SNOW" bunting would be nice, but no time to make that).  With snowmen that do not necessarily scream Christmas, I can leave it up until Valentine's Day...then again it may be February before I ever get around to doing it!

I am definitely lacking in Christmas spirit this year and that is just fine.  Every now and then I like to take a year off and not do the incredible amount of work that it takes to deck the place out in holiday decor.

How about you? Are you overflowing in Christmas spirit this year or have you lost it all like me?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Had a GREAT 3-Day Birthday Weekend

It was so relaxing.  DH whisked me away for three nights in a two-room jacuzzi suite where the only stress I had was trying to figure out which of the two in-house restaurants to go to and what to order for dinner. 

On Saturday night we went to a Bee Gees tribute dinner show.  I did not think I would like this show, but we both loved it!

I think we danced four dances--probably a record for me as dancing is not something I usually enjoy.

 These tribute shows always serve buffet dinners, which I am not fond of.  I much prefer a plated meal.  But this time they had a new entree -- Tilapia -- which I enjoyed.  I discovered it a couple of years ago at the restaurant at our hotel.  Tilapia is a very mild fish--never tastes "fishy", which is probably the reason it's so popular.  It is nice and flaky with little flavor on it's own so it is usually dredged in a  seasoned bread crumb coating.  Most of the people at our table liked it. 

I also found a new cocktail - vodka mixed with cranberry juice and orange juice.   I had two of them and did not even taste (or feel the effects of) the vodka.  If you don't really like alcohol, this is the drink for you.  If you prefer  a bit of a buzz, go for the lemon drop I posted a few days ago. :) 

When making the reservation, DH alerted the main host that it was my birthday.  He came up and wrapped his huge hard weight-lifting enhanced biceps around me for a big birthday hug--twice over the time we were there.  :)  I may be getting up there in age, but I'm not dead yet.  I can still appreciate a good strong bicep.

We attend a lot of shows at this place, so we have many friend there.   I hated to leave today to come back to the daily grind.

But as the saying goes, all good things must end.

 We are planning to go back there for New Year's Eve (depending on the weather).

Thank you all for the appreciated birthday wishes!   I can only hope my next birthday is as wonderful!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Big Bold Bright Birthday Bouquet

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I am not a big birthday celebrator. I tend to do basically nothing.  No cake, definitely no's just another day to me.  My feeling is what's so special about a birthday?  Everybody has one.

 DH will usually plan a weekend getaway, which he had done for this weekend.  I love to get away with him after a hectic work week, so that is perfect.

My new friend M is exactly opposite.  She celebrates her birthday for the entire month!  She says she celebrates because she made it another year!  LOL.  I guess there is some merit to that.

Anyway M called me yesterday just before I left work.  She thought I sounded "down", so she decided to come and see me to cheer me up.  It's a 1.5 HOUR DRIVE for her to get to my town....I would not in a gazillion years even think of driving 1.5 hours in the dark ,after a long work day, to do ANYTHING!  All I want to do is get home, put my jammies on and read a few blogs before making dinner. 

Anyway she arrived at my home with this big, bright bouquet of flowers:
I ask you, who could feel "down" after receiving this?

Thank you M.  I will think of what a good friend you are throughout my birthay tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wow, I've Had a Busy Weekend

Today I was at Home Depot to check out some new counter tops and I spotted a 50% off sale on these allium:
All of our snow melted over the weekend and the ground is not frozen, so I bought these and came right home and planted them.  DH helped so it went fast.  I stuck the shovel in, held up the soil and he tossed the bulb in. I didn't care what direction the bulb ended up; I just wanted to get it done quickly as I had a ton of other tasks to do today.  I think we planted the 14 bulbs in less than 10 minutes. 

Allium only blooms nicely the first season in my garden.  But at half price, it's worth it just to enjoy them for a few weeks next summer.

I also bought some lemon oil to massage into my kitchen cupboards.  It's been way too long since I've done that. 

It's a big chore to do all of my cupboards, so it will take some time before they are all done, but at least it's a start.

DH also took down the kitchen lights so I could wash them all.  He gave up his nap to help with this chore.

 I must say it was so much easier to do with two people.  Neither of us had to go up and down the ladder six times just to remove the light shades and another six times to put them back up.  He just handed them to me, I washed and dried them and handed them back.

I did get to work on my quilt for about an hour this morning.  I had way more to do than I thought, so it's not finished yet, but I feel good that it is almost done.

Quilting it by machine is waaaay faster (MONTHS!) than if I hand quilted it. 

I have chicken wing dings, mac/cheese and baked pears in the oven right now. 

It's been a busy working weekend, but we love those every now and then.  It feels so good to get so much done!

Hope you have had a good weekend, too.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gingerbread Man/Candy Kitchen Christmas Tree

This morning I put up the only Christmas tree I am going to do this year.  It's a skinny 5 ft. tree on the edge of my kitchen counter looking toward the family room.
I put the ornaments on while it sat on the floor. I thought it would be fast and easy, but it took three attempts (with help from DH) to get it on top of the counter.

 Each time ornies fell to the floor, everything was a jumble and I had to redo it.  It ended up taking way more effort than I expected.  At least it will be easy to take down.  I only had to haul up one plastic bin.

It's all decorated with candy ornaments, gingerbread men and cookies (years ago I made all the gingerbread men & cookies).

 The top has a big candy cane with sprigs of red/white lollipops.  I think I bought the sprigs about four years ago and this is the first time I used them.

I put a big bow of the gingerbread man ribbon across the front of the box it sits in to cover the electrical cords.

The only other decorating I am planning to do is to cut down some fresh greens from this border in my yard to make a big arrangement of real greens. 

I may do that tomorrow.  Right now the bushes are covered with snow. Tomorrow it is supposed to be warm enough to melt all the snow.

Have you all been doing Christmas decorating?
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