Tuesday, December 29

*Christmas, enjoyed

On the back is our oldest son, Robby and our niece Keirstyn who is my oldest sisters daughter. Then sitting in my dads lap is our nephew Austin, with his brother Skyler next to him - my youngest sisters boys and on the end with the bunny ears (that my 65 year old dad couldn't resist creating) is our Henry.

And once again the grands with their Meme (my mother).
~~Henry almost 15, Robby 23, Austin 12, Keirstyn 8, Skyler 14~~

This is a great pic of everyone except me... I was in the middle of talking..
Me, my baby sister- Bridgette, our Dad, Lori- my oldest sister

We drove down to Georgia a few days before Christmas, spent the first part of our trip with my family at my sisters' new house.  She and her husband wanted to have our family Christmas at her house last year but the builders missed the finish date.  She had a FULL house this Christmas!  There were twenty-three of us at the dinner table.  It was crazy, but good. We had our traditional spread, and when I say spread - I mean S-P-R-E-A-D.  My mother gardens each summer to harvest various beans, corn and more which show up on the Christmas dinner menu.  Her dressing is like none other that I have ever eaten, I always look forward to the savory taste of her dressing.  Our dessert table was, ahem, over flowing as well.  There was Red Velvet Cake, Carrot Cake, Pumpkin Pies, Pecan Pies, Banana Bread, Fudge, and several other dishes which I do not remember at the present.  Some time after dinner on Christmas Eve we opened presents with my side of the family.

Early on Christmas morning we woke up (to an alarm- ugh), packed, showered and headed over to Eric's parents' home to celebrate Christmas with them.  We had a lovely morning with them and slowly moved towards present opening with them as well.  At some time during our visit we played some UNO which was a howling good time!











*traditions of the food sort..

When mom(mil) and I made it back around to the driveway from a walk we took one afternoon,  my dear (fil) was using his cake platforms to send us signals to head home. I am so blessed to have such wonderful in laws (in-loves). I think because I have always known nothing but acceptance and love unconditionally, I may take it for granted. I mean, shouldn't everyone experience this? I am grateful.

By the looks of this fridge it seems like we were expecting a large number for Christmas dinner, however there were only eight of us present!  Thankful for the additional refridge that lives in the garage on days like this!  My dear father-in-love makes these delicacies each year during the Christmas season, which follow a tradition his mother started years ago.   Eric's dad usually makes at least two of these each year, sometimes more, this year being one of those times.  These cakes are well known among friends and family as you can imagine!  Friends show up from near and far for a cup of coffee and a slice of this traditional coconut cake.

Sunday, December 27

*lovin the low key meal days after Christmas

After eating like pigs for just shy of a week, we are really enjoying finger foods like cheese straws, meat balls and veggies & dips.  Isn't is great when you have been really busy for weeks to have much needed down time?  Time to just sit and blog. Time to just sit and play farmville on Facebook if I choose. Time to catch up on House.  Time to just be... to be.

Cheese Straws  (from The Christmas Pearl)
1 stick of room temp butter
1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 3/4 cups of plain flour
more cayenne pepper for garnish

Preheat over at 350 degrees.
Cream butter and cheese with salt and pepper.  Add sifted flour. Put in cookie press or chill.  We don't have a cookie press because I got rid of ours thinking I didn't need it.  So we used our potatoe masher, and it worked great!  Necessity is the mother of invention! Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown.  Sprinkle with cayenne to taste.  Remove from baking sheets to a cooling rack, transfer once cooled.

Sausage Cheese Balls (recipe give to me by Franziska)
2 lbs of Jimmy Dean sausage (or your favorite brand)
1 1/2 cups of Bisquit Mix
16 oz of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 tsp of garlic powder (or grate one garlic clove into the mix)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Mix all ingredients together. Form into 1 inch balls, place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Makes 6 dozen. 

Friday, December 25

*merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  While I have the privilege  of celebrating our regular traditions for the Christmas season with my immediate and extended family members, I realize that others are not afforded that opportunity  this year due to a service commitment.  I want to once again say thanks to all the service members for fighting for and preserving our freedoms in this great country!

May you all find peace, joy and happiness close at hand in the coming year and faith to believe for the unbelievable!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19

*happy shopping

While I did not want to be outside of the confines of our home today, I did agree to take Henry over to visit with a friend.  Since I was already out I decided to make a quick run to two stores that had specific things I wanted to pick up.  First of all, it was not quick.. what was I thinking? Second of all, my first stop did not have the items that was on my list, so I headed out to my next stop. I have always liked shopping at Target and today I really liked shopping there!  Take a look at what I got:

2 boxes of Cheez-its, 2 dozen large eggs, 4 blocks of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 4 Kodak Fun Saver Cameras (great stocking stuffer for the niece and nephews!) , 2 Nestle Toll House Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels, 1 container of Cranberry Juice--- all for just under $15.   I have recently taken an interest in coupon clipping, coupon printing and coupon stacking!

I have learned a wealth of information in the area of coupon savings from some fellow bloggers. Here are a few of the sites I frequent weekly to help me know how and where to shop for things I ALREADY use but how I can best save money for our family.

Its Hip 2 Save (temporarily located at www.hip2save.com)
Hey Its Free

Our local paper recently ran a 'special', Wed, Sat, Sun paper delivery only eleven dollars for eight weeks. So I have signed on in order to get the coupon fliers each week.  Since I was buying the Sunday paper each week I decided it was a good deal for our family, but we have to remember to cancel at the seventh week in order not to be charge the increased rate once the teaser rate expires!

Happy shopping to you all!  If you have any tips on saving money, couponing or the likes, PLEASE leave a comment or a link back to your blog!

Thursday, December 17

*happy birthday franZiska!

Days. Months. Years. It seems they pass by as fast as the image I captured on a drive to Gatlinburg last fall.   Time does not stand still for anyone does it?  So it seems, another year has come and another birthdate shall be celebrated!
Happy Birthday my dearest friend Franziska!

 This picture is precious to me.   Just Precious.

19 years ago, not too long after moving to North Carolina I met my best friend, Franziska.  You know, friends really are gifts from God.    They change us forever. One life has amazing effects on those around them.

I have a poor memory, but this is one of my first memories of the beginning of my friendship with Franziska:  My husband and I were going out on a date night, so we called on Franziska to help with our son, Robby, for the night. He was probably around 4 or so at that time (I am guessing).  I still remember that drive across the little bridge to the other side of the lake.  We drove up to the flashing caution light which is now a stop light, then there were several large street lights and shortly there after was our turn into her neighborhood.  I don't know why I remember that particular nights drive seemingly so clearly, but I do.  Really nothing significant, just an uneventful drive to her house.  A memory nonetheless.

Sometimes I marvel at how God puts together opposites.  The part I marvel about is the fact that the two don't throw in the towel.  Take for instance my sweet husband, who has some of the same things in common with Franziska. He ALWAYS put back whatever it is he used, he is orderly, he is a list maker, he is a perfectionist, he is in charge, he is mostly Type A personality ... you get the picture.  I am not these things.  So I often joke with him and ask him how he puts up with me? Doesn't it make him nutty to see my scissors laying on the side table in the living room, when I should have put them back in the sewing room? Or what about my shoes at the front door, all three pairs?  I often wonder the same about Franziska.  How does she put up with me?  You know how? She loves me. She adores me.   Isn't it so cool that God puts what we need  right smack in the middle of our faces?  For me, it was her orderliness, list making, heart of gold, timeliness and for her I suppose it was that I was to "show" her how to let loose a bit. You know, go to bed at least one night a year with dirty dishes in the sink, eat in the car , let the dusting go for two weeks and so many of my other flaws I am sure have helped her in some way. LOL.  Let them not be in vain, Lord!  (this pic is a few years old, we basically look the same - plus  or minus a few pounds and a hair color or two change)

She is not perfect, close though. She is perfect for me and God knew this.  We lived in the same town for almost 20 years and became friends in our young adult life.  How blessed am I? You know, I must share this: Franziska is one of those genuine ladies who put up no pretenses for anyone.  What you see is what you get.  Her heart and soul is bursting with a strong desire to be a Godly example but a real woman in the midst of that will always prevail.  You know, I have known many a woman and some fake it til they make it.   Some may not always know how to deal with a real woman, one who does not use christianeze, but to me, it is very refreshing to see a real woman who loves the Lord with all of their heart, do their very best to yield and still be real. 

Franziska, her sweet husband and their girls, now live in the Carolina mountains, as it should be.  How is it that one should dream to retire (or move early) to the mountains and it never be attained? Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prv 13:12   While the miles are between us, nothing shall ever separate us.  I am happy for F and her family who are now surrounded by the beauty of the mountainous terrain.  It is hard, but I can finally say after several years, I am very happy for them and I do not wish them to be anywhere else but where they are.

She... She's the best friend I e'vah had and I luv her (what movie is this from?)

The road between friends is never too far. (We will talk about this again in Fall of 2010) The sky may be shorter.

(I made myself stop here... supposed to be a simply birthday post..)

*ta dah..

OK.. well not quite but almost!  I have three blocks left to machine quilt , then on to the machine quilting the borders.  I am really loving the way it is finishing up.

 If you look to the far left top corner you can see the quilting, I love it!

 This little jewel has come in so handy with the tail end of this special project. It is a Seam Ripper Clipper.  My sweet mother-in-love sent it to me for my birthday just last week!  Just in time!

Thanks Mom!

She also sent this awesome mug.  Funny thing is, I have been trying to figure out how I can justify bringing home this adorable kitten that currently lives in Georgia with my mother. I keep hearing about the beautiful kittens' long white fur, her sweet personality and how she is generally wonderful!  I can do simple math....  if we only have 6 cats (yes I realize I just said "ONLY"), then I need to add 3 more to make 9, because ALL LIVES SHOULD HAVE 9 CATS!

*its hard...

It's hard to keep the Christmas tree hydrated when the silly cats use it as an alternate drinking bowl (especially when their bowl is fresh and full!).

Monday, December 14

*it's on its' way!

Finally!  After a year this quilt is about to be history, or rather the making of it will be history.  I will be so glad to have this one behind me.  I love quilting with all that is within me, and I love my daddy with all that is within me.  He is neither short of the work that I put into this quilt nor the laborious pains I have suffered during the constructing of this particular quilt.  Drunkards Path. Solomon's Puzzle. Whatever you call it.. you WILL NOT find this one on my cutting board ever again.  Perhaps I have a poor attitude towards this particular pattern.  A friend of mine, Amelia, loves this pattern.  I am thinking she is half-witted, for anyone with a bright mind would detest this pattern.  I am kidding of course.  Curves, small curves in a quilt pattern are just not for me.  Alas, I have finished the piecing, border, setting in and now getting ready to go to the machine to put some defining and finishing touches on this labor of  deep love that I will give to my Daddy on Christmas Day!  I am going to finish it up with a solid blue fabric  for the binding that matches the blue fabric in the piecework. I am sure you will see a finished picture with me and my glass of wine to celebrate the finishing so I don't have to  whine any longer.

I am so grateful for the tile floor in our kitchen!  The backing is taped down securely.

Layer one of batting.  I am using one layer of Bamboo batting.

 and.. one layer of Warm & Natural Cotton batting.  This should keep him warm!

Now for the top to be laid out and smoothed out before pinning in.  I am machine quilting this one so I am setting it in with pins.  I did not have enough of the preferred fabric, so I had to put borders on with a fabric I did not originally pick for this quilt. It works, but not my favorite. I am hoping the dark blue binding will put a 'stop' on it and finish it off nicely.  Either way.. I know my Daddy will love it. 

Now for the pinning.  My thumb will no doubt be looking a bit like cubed steak when I am done, but I will  be so happy to have this part finished. It means I am ALMOST there!

Pinning. And singing. And sweating. And removing clothing articles. 

All done pinning.  Ready to get it under the needle!!!!!

*animals get jealous too

Munchkin (whom I have not formally introduced to you all yet) was sitting by me this evening while I clipped coupons and Big Momma, aka Precious came over and practically sat on top of him. He tried to move a few times, but she literally had him pinned down. So he waited for her to shift or get up, which she did in her own good time. I had to keep checking to see if he was breathing.  You know when you weigh 10 lbs and a big momma of a cat weighing 21 lbs sits, no - flops on you, there could be some breathing problems.

I will introduce the other three members of our feline family real soon!