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?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I've Had a Materialistic Girl Week -- and I Deserve it!

I have been working 50-hr weeks for the past month.  I am not complaining--I am super busy and time goes by fast.  But I have no time during the week to do anything other than work.

So when I checked my email at 5:00 a.m. on Cyber Monday, I could not resist the 50% off + free shipping from my favorite clothing site and I clicked it just to see what was available (even though I just told you all that I was not going to buy any more clothing).  Sometimes I lie :)

Can you believe I found quite a  few items that I felt  would work great in my current wardrobe? I know you are probably shocked,but I did indeed find all of these items:
Lots of layering pieces and one necklace. 

I also decided early in the week  to get my nails done as DH wanted to give that to me for an early birthday gift.  It's been two years since I removed my acrylic nails and I am getting tired of short ugly I decided to have them put back on.

Here they are against my current machine-quilting project--kind of a two for one pic :).
It's a pain to go every 2 weeks to have them done, but I really feel so much better with longer nails. 

The quilt is one I pieced a few years ago and was going to hand quilt.  I started to hand quilt it two months ago, but never returned to it.  I finally decided to just use the machine for some simple straight line quilting.  I don't seem to have the ambition to spend months hand quilting any more.  I guess it's better just to get them done on the machine so I can use them. I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already.  I do have to work a bit on Saturday, but after that I intend to go home and stay for the rest of the weekend.  Maybe I can find a place to hang that wreath I made on Thanksgiving day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Asparagus Roll Ups

This is one of the veggie dishes I made for Thanksgiving.  They are impressive to serve, but quite simple to make.
You just open a sheet of unthawed puff pastry
spread it with any cream cheese flavor you like
Cut into strips (a pizza cutter works great for this)

Roll one stips around a trimmed asparagus stalk and place on a baking sheet.

Whip up an egg white with a fork and brush over the top of all the stalks. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake at  400°F  until pastry is lightly browned (15 -20 minutes)

Enjoy all the ohhs and ahhhs from your guests.  Only you know how easy they were to make! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Wreath with Bird's Nest

Since I only had to make two vegetable dishes for our family potluck Thanksgiving dinner, I had plenty of time to putz around during the day.

It was 60 degress outside, so I spent an hour cutting down Sedum Autumn Joy (3 wheelbarrows full).

Then  I decided to make a Christmas wreath.

I put an artifical wreath on an easel in the basement and set about rummaging through boxes to find items to add.  I began with this checkered ribbon and some pinecones.

I added a dried allium seed head to the center of the bow.

 I found some fruit picks and more dried money plant and poked them in a few areas.  One box yielded my real bird's nest that I have  been using on my tree for a number of years.  I am not planning to put up a large tree this year, so I stuck the nest on this wreath.
I don't even know yet where I will put this. But it's ready to hang when I decide.

I still need to add a few more sprigs of lime green foliage.  If I can ever find it!  I searched and searched, but have not yet found the contaniner I stored it in last year.  Hate when that happens...
In my next post I will give you the recipe for these asparagus spirals:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't Buy Calphalon

 A few years ago I purchased a Calphalon stock pot.  I loved this 12 -quart stock pot---until a few months ago when I noticed that the hard ionized finish was wearing off.

Hmmmmmmmm.....has what I presumed to be pepper, really been slivers of the finish from this cookware?  I thought this was not supposed to happen with Calphalon.  I only use wooden utensils in this pot.  I googled and found that others had the same problem when cooking with tomatoes in Calphalon.  I cook with tomatoes all the time in this pot.  Nothing was ever mentioned prior to my purchase about tomatoes.

So I have sworn off Calphalon.  I have read that if you contact them, write a letter, send pics, etc. etc. you may get a refund.  That is way more work than I want to do.  Instead I will just post this negative review in hopes that it will prevent at least a few people getting taken as I did with this cookware and I will never again buy this brand.  If a Calphalon representative should read this and want to make things right, just send me an email.  I may then change my opinion.

Right now I have decided to buy stainless steel like this Cuisinart 10-qt. stock pot that I just ordered. It has no black finish to wear off.

I hope I really like it. A good stockpot is a necessity in my kitchen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Pie Baked in the Apple

What a fun dessert and quite easy, too. 

All you do is hollow out the number of apples you want (I used 4).  Remove the core pieces, but keep the rest of the the innards.  I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over the apples to keep them from browning. Toss the apples with a bit of sugar, cinnamon and just a pinch of nutmeg. 

 Put a dab of butter on the bottom of the apple shell and then refill with the small apple pieces.
Just to make it look nice,  I used a flower cookie cutter to cut a piece of puff pastry.
I  put the pastry over the apple top, cut three air vents with a sharp knife and baked in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
 Did you see those little pieces of pastry around the flower cutter? Don't waste them!  Puff pastry is quite expensive, so I made sure to use every little piece.  I just piled the leftover edges on top of two apples
They won't be as pretty, but they will taste just fine.

A few weeks  ago I cooked a turkey breast.   Yesterday I made turkey and dumpling soup from the leftovers.
I won't be cooking for Thanksgiving, as we are invited to my SIL's for dinner.  So there won't be any turkey overload for us next weekend.

Yesterday DH and I cleaned two closets. It all started because I had to find a place to store the new floor sanitizer.  We ended up getting rid of two big bags of shoes, clothes and a few old coats.  One of the coats had a nice wool lining so I made myself a pair of wool mittens:

Before you start thinking what a frugal girl that Zoey is, I am going to share this with you:

While in the clothing closet, I was searching for a particular jacket that I thought I had ordered last spring.  I could not find it, so I went to my computer to look in my file where I save pics of most of the items I buy. Sometimes I can't remember if I bought an item or if I just thought about buying it.

 Yes, I do own every one of these items (all purchased at rock bottom outlet prices). I guess you can see why I have to clean out my closet fairly often.  Saying it is jam-packed is an under statement.

I did spot the jean jacket  I was looking for, so I knew I had indeed purchased it.  I found it stored in a bin in the basement.  I thought I had brought up all my long-sleeved items last month.  I don't plan to buy any more clothing for a while.  I think I have enough.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...