Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I finally finished my tree!

I love hodge podge trees. 
This and that. 
Red and green.
Old and new.

Whenever I am home, I have my lights on.
Love it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Homemade potato soup

I have been wanting to make homemade potato soup for a while now, and I finally did it!  I remember watching my mother make potato soup, so I just started with that, then added my own touches.
I first sautéed celery and onions (blended) in butter.  I have one daughter who is not fond of onions, so I blended them in order to get the taste, but not the chunks of onions.  I peeled, diced, and boiled potatoes at the same time.  Once the celery was almost done, I added a can of chicken broth and brought it to a boil until the vegetables were tender.  I added mashed potatoes (from Costco), milk, and the cooked, diced potatoes.
I then seasoned with salt and pepper.  Once it was done, I added grated cheese just long enough to melt before serving.  I LOVED it.  Taking it for lunch tomorrow!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Moroccan Treasures

When in Morocco, both Pat and I purchased rugs.  They had such beautiful handmade rugs.  Too many to choose from, actually.  Pat sent me a picture of her rug which she placed in her den.  OMG!  It is absolutely beautiful - stunning!
I bought a runner to put on my table.  I wasn't sure how it would look or if I would like it on my table, but I think it looks nice.  I don't think I will let anyone eat on it, though.
The design makes me think of bowls.  I do have a large table, but these pictures and the runner make my table look really long.  This runner is woven out of wool.
When we were leaving Casa Blanca, we had time to kill at the airport, so of course, I went to the gift shop and shopped a little.  I found an ornament to put on my tree...
I had been looking for an ornament, but couldn't really find anything.  This worked out beautifully and it is a great little reminder of my trip to Morocco.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I love decorating my tree - it takes me back in time...

I can't remember every ornament, but I do remember almost every ornament.  They take me back in time.  Some I've made, some were gifts, some I picked out myself, some from vacations, some from my parents, some old, some new.  They make me happy.  And, of course, I love the ones my daughters made in school and the ones with photos on them.  I came across these two ornaments of Myah and Kylee...
 ... and hung them on my tree, of course.  In this first picture, Myah is 2 and Kylee is 9 months.  Such cute little peanuts!
These are their school pictures from last year, and now they are ages 9 and 11.  Wow!  I am still waiting for this year's pictures.  They are growing up, really growing up.  Such beautiful girls - not far from being young ladies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Putting up the tree

I Love Christmas, but as I age, I find that I don't have the patience I used to have in setting out all of the Christmas decorations.  However, I still make it a point to put up my tree - just the way I like it.  So, today is the day, I started digging out the Christmas lights and tree trimmings.
 Every year I try to do the tree a little different by changing the lights or in the past, 
I've put up a white tree. 
This year I am using red and green lights.
 I bought a new tree this year - I sold my old one in a my garage sale.  It needed to go.
The new one has white lights on it, but I like more - much more - so I started
wrapping additional strands of red and green lights around the tree.
Not sure I will get my ornaments on today, but you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to open one of the boxes and find some ornaments from my parents.  I wondered what happened to their ornaments and found that my sisters set aside this box for me.  
So excited and thankful!  
These ornaments will be some of the first to go on my tree.
Check back again - hopefully I will be finished with this task and on to the next!

Friday, December 5, 2014

I have taken an interest in Essential Oils

Both of my daughters have started using essential oils.  So... I have decided to join them and try to  take a healthier approach to some medical/sleeping issues.  In order to keep my oils organized, I decided to use the altered cigar box I made a while back.
 Remember this?
I LOVE this box - it turned out so pretty (if I do say so myself).
I bought a special foam insert that keeps each bottle upright.  
I am so excited with how this worked out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another reminder of my Mom

After my mother passed away and the house was being cleaned out, my sisters went through some of her things.  Since I was not able to be there for that, they set aside some things for me - I had several boxes of miscellaneous things that I unpacked after I moved.  I came across a small box with one of my mother's hats in it.  I do remember my mother wearing hats to church on Sunday - not every Sunday - and maybe for other occasions like weddings and Easter, but I don't specifically remember this one.
Kim thought it was great and had to put it on, which worked for me.  I loved having someone volunteer to model it for me.  Kim was surprised that my mother wore hats like this one.  I remember that most of her hats had some sort of netting on them and always matched the color of her dress.
Nice memories.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breakfast with Grandma

Because of Kimberly's work schedule, we weren't able to get to Grandma's on Thanksgiving Day.  So we went Saturday and took breakfast with us.
To make it easy, I made a crock pot recipe with tator tots, sausage, diced ham cheese, and eggs.
Here's what it looks like before cooking.  I have to say, it was not my favorite.  I think it cooked too long, even though I followed the directions.  I felt more like a breakfast hash. I think my first choice would be a breakfast casserole you make at night and bake in the morning.
I then made the bran muffin recipe - my favorite - that supposedly keeps in your frig for up to 6 weeks.  I never have it around that long, but it does keep a long time.  I used to make this a lot when my girls were at home and in school.  I could make them a hot muffin for the morning without any fuss.  We had a nice morning with Grandma and Dick - always nice to catch up.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Is there anything better than a leftover turkey sandwich?

White turkey on white bread with mayonnaise.
Mmmmmm!  Just like old times.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I really felt Mom on Thanksgiving Day

While I was cooking, getting ready for Thanksgiving Day, I realized that Mom was with me - in my memories anyway.
I started off with Banana Chocolate Chip Bread because I had been thinking of my mother's banana cake all week.
I decided to make an apple cranberry pie, but most of my cookbooks are still in a box.  I did, however, bring this cookbook back from Florida.  It was my mother's cookbook and they don't make it anymore.  So I used the recipe for apple pie.
I  realized that in this photo, I have her aluminum canisters on the counter.  I brought these back, and just set them on the counter, but I really like how they look with the granite countertops.  I also brought back her aluminum colander and used it for rinsing the sliced apples.  So you see, I had thoughts of my mother all day.  It really was a comforting feeling to know I was using the things she used when I was a child.
The picture above is the apple pie with cranberry sauce on it - BEFORE I placed the top on it.  This recipe was different than the other one I have.  They had you put half of the sugar mixture on the bottom of the pie shell, then the apples, and then sprinkle the other half of the sugar mixture.  I honestly don't remember doing that before.
On Thanksgiving morning, Kim had to go to work and wanted to take a treat for her co-workers, so she baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
They were good and they ate almost the entire batch - so I am guessing they were truly appreciated.
It was a busy day getting ready - as I am sure everyone had an equally busy day - but a truly nice day.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

It happened on the freeway

Yep, it did.  One night while driving home this week, I noticed...
 I had 8 miles before my car rolled over to 100,000 miles.
 So the next morning when I arrived at work, yep, it happened.
I rolled over, past 100,000.
I've never had a car this long, and I'm not ready to get rid of this one yet.
Over 8 years and not one problem with this car.
I'll definitely hang onto it for a while.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Ever had a persimmon?  persimmon pudding or cookies?
My mother made it many, many holidays and I really like it.
I saw they have them at Costco and I almost bought a box.  
I need to do a little more homework before I bring that home.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Big Heap in Scottsdale

I went to this event a few years ago, and since then, they have grown and moved locations.  Still, some of the items are the same.  I am always befuddled by the creativity seen here...
Plus... it is like taking a walk back in time. 
 These purses are made out of a pair of boots.  I have to say they really caught my eye - especially the green one, but they were definitely out of my price range.
 All kinds of metal objects...
 Metal sculptures (sorry, turn sideways)
 There was painted "repurposed" furniture...
 One of my favorite things is the sculptured flowers made out of plates and saucers.  
I just think they are so cool.
 We noticed that mink coats and stoles were really popular.
 There was Christmas stuff.
 And then I always love to try out the benches made from the tailgate of a truck.
Hey, that's MaryAnna!  
 A lot of homemade signage.
 This is a vest made from the top of a pair of overalls and an old tablecloth.  
I loved it.  Loved it!  So sweet.
 Not so much for me, but for a child or young woman.  
It would look cute with a little tee under it.
This picture makes it look like a dress, but it is a top.
  I am not sure if this is the fur of a coyote but it sure caught my eye.
MaryAnna is holding up the face for you to see.
So many things to see and it was gorgeous weather to hold this event outside!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turkey a little early

I decided this year to bake my turkey early.  It was a fresh turkey and I was just a little worried about having it around for very long, so I "baked" it in the roaster, on my counter.  My house smells AMAZING!
It looks a little "anemic" in the photo, but it is actually a beautiful golden  brown.  I placed it in a bowl sitting in its own chicken broth.  Whew hoo!  One less thing to take care of on Thursday!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tis the Season!

If you have followed my blog for very long, you will already know that my favorite coffee drink comes from Dutch Bros.  It is a Double Dirty Eggnog Chai with a fireball.  I like it iced or hot, depending on the weather.  The only thing is that you can only get it during the holidays.  So, yesterday, on my way to work, I stopped... and...
picked one up - even in a snazzy holiday cup.  Made my day.
Here's something else - today and ONLY today, Dutch Bros. is offering 10 single drink cards for $30.  That's about half price because you can get any drink they offer on the menu with one of these cards. They pointed out to me the most expensive drink is $7.25, so if you look at it that way, it is less than half price.  Gotta run - they are going to be great for Christmas gifts!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Unique Magazine Box

We have been celebrating Geri's birthday - just about every day this week.  Yesterday, Ruby brought her gift for Geri and it is the most unique...
 Magazine Box!
It is so colorful and sturdy.
It is not small, about 7" high and 6" across.
The sides and top are rolled magazine pages - I am guessing it is rolled around a light piece of cardboard, something flexible, maybe like a manilla file folder.  Of course, I don't know, but my "crafty" mind is trying to figure it out because I am curious as to how they made it.  
The rolls are uniform so there must be a base.  
Regardless, it is a one-of-a kind gift!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Countertops!

When I moved into my townhouse, the kitchen had totally been gutted and re-done:  new appliances, new granite, new sink, new tile, and new cabinets.  It is beautiful, but just not big enough.  You might remember I added some cabinets in the small eating area to extend the kitchen.  Here's a picture from that time frame:
This picture was taken right after the cabinets were put in.  No countertops were installed because I didn't want to spend the amount of money I was originally quoted.
Since then I went shopping at Floor and Decor, and I found a granite tile that is almost identical to the countertops already in place.  Since the counters are about 4 feet apart, I think it will work well.
So today, I had someone install the granite tile.
The only thing left to do is put in the grout.  I am REALLY looking forward to seeing it finished.  It already looks so different.  I love it!
I have a list of things I want to do around here - I think it will take at least 5 years to get it all done.  And then I start all over again, right?  (That's supposed to make you smile.)