Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Re-cap and Damage Report

Our regular Christmas was interrupted this year due to Jordan's work schedule. We had to be flexible with the timing of everything. Christmas Eve started off with our "big" breakfast in the dining room---that's the only room that can hold all of us anyway. Jordan had to miss all of our regular daytime activities---breakfast, "santa of the sleigh", manis and pedis, food prep and games. Greg and Mitchell went to the Titan's game. When they got home, the family went down to see Mindy's new condo. I stayed behind to do a few things and slip in a little nap.

When the family got home, we started getting the room ready---we move all of the furniture against the wall so we have the room wide open. We "held" Christmas Eve until Jordan got here---7 p.m.---we usually start around 5 p.m.---we did go ahead and start eating at 6:30 because everyone was starving. I make the some things every year with a few new things: beef tenderloin on Sister Shubert rolls with home-made horseradish cream, boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, spinach balls, crab spread, chicken almond cheese ball, beef/cream cheese roll-ups, clam dip, party mix, Christmas cookies and petit fours. We like doing pick up foods so we can graze all night while opening gifts---we do them one-by-one, so it takes awhile.
Elizabeth checks out the presents. It wouldn't be Christmas if the kids didn't rattle and shake a few things.
Waiting to begin...from left---Nicky, Stephanie, Butch, Mindy, Elizabeth---everyone complains that the house is freezing, hence the blankets. But it seems to me, if you are wearing leggin's, no shoes or socks and short sleeved t-shirts in the middle of winter, you deserve to be cold! We didn't light a fire, because then it gets too hot. You can't please everybody---especially 12 people.
 Mindy, Elizabeth, Sandy, Greg, Mitchell and Victoria---flannel p.j.'s are the best bet.
Morgan sat next to me---I should have had someone take my picture.

Butch is all ready with the trash bag. He takes all the wrappings and checks to make sure nothing important is thrown away---directions, gift cards, etc. He's fanatical about this. I requested a trash bag on our side of the room and right away, he told me I was "doing it wrong." I was just cramming the wrappings in the bag without twisting it into the tiniest of wads---to conserve space---plus, I wasn't checking it properly. We went back to throwing it across the room to him. He was happier that way.

Everyone had a few surprises and thought this was the best Christmas ever---of course, we say that every year. I got a really good surprise---a Kindle. I didn't ask for it, but Butch knew I'd been "on the fence" about it for over a year now. Everyone I know that has one just loves it. I didn't know if I'd like it as I love books and the tactile experience of books. I'm excited to try it out and have already downloaded 2 free books and 5---99 cent ones. I'm thinking it could save me money in the long run as I would only purchase the "real" books that I want for my collection. This Kindle holds 1400 books and is so cute. On the other hand, it could be just one more thing I obsess about---purchasing more books than I could ever read.

I think we finished unwrapping gifts about 10 p.m. and put the room back together. Then the poker games began. We move back in to the dining room for that.
Mindy gave Mitchell this "game" called Reaction. It's a real shocker! Literally, 4 people take a handle. The object is to hit your button when the light flashes. The last person to "buzz" in gets shocked. I imagine this game was invented by a bunch of drunk, college, frat boys as a drinking game.
I lost the first 3 games in a row. There are different levels of "shock" you can do. We had it on the lowest setting. It felt like that shock you get when touching something electrical while barefooted on a concrete floor. Elizabeth was the only smart one and never tried it! Mindy thought Mitchell and his friends would get a kick out of it. I'm sure they will as these are the same boys who play "sting pong." If you lose at ping pong, you have to take off your shirt and let the other boys "zap" you with the ping pong balls---it hurts and leaves welts---something boys would think of.
This is where you will find me early in the morning, or just when I want a break from the craziness and noise---in front of the fireplace in the living room with a book or my computer.
This is what a "sexy" man looks like. Butch is always helpful around the house, but he really "kicks it up" a notch when the whole family is here. There is a constant mess, but everyone helps, so it's not so bad. There is just a lot to do with 12 people around.

And now for the damage report:
spills in the family room---too many to count---caused me to institute a new rule---no drinks unless you keep it in your hand at all times.

spills in the rec room---I have no idea as I didn't even go up there and the kids would not be mentioning that.

broken dishes---3---I dropped 2 of them filled with party mix---they shattered like a windshield and shot all over the kitchen---that brought the games to a halt while we got out the vacuum. The usual yelling ensued---"don't come in here, you're barefooted." "Stop, you have socks on." etc.

It all started innocently enough. We were watching a Muppet's Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve afternoon as the Lapps family had never seen it. Elizabeth was sitting in the recliner with Morgan when they suddenly jumped up and said that Jeannette had "gotten away." Jeannette is Victoria's hamster that they have to travel with. We didn't even realize that Elizabeth had gotten her out. We knew Jeannette had to be in the chair, so we carefully started to hunt and feel for her. Having no success, Sandy and I raised the chair to see if she would "shake" out. That's when we discovered that Jeannette didn't make it. Apparently, when Morgan and Elizabeth got out of the chair, Jeannette somehow got underneath it and didn't survive the chair "rebound." Butch came to the rescue while Elizabeth kept saying, "Victoria is going to kill me, Victoria is going to kill me." Victoria was napping. When she woke up, she was pretty upset. I guess it was good that it was Christmas Eve since there's nothing like a bunch of presents to distract you.

Yesterday, Greg took the girls to PetSmart. Butch totally "called it." He said they would come home with TWO new hamsters and they did. It was pretty close as the girls were now "vie-ing" for a dog. We just hope these two little hamsters are as gentle as Jeannette was. They held Jeannette's funeral later in the day.

Other than that, it was another great Christmas. The Lapps family leaves today and the "take-down" begins. Morgan is going to help me. I dread it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Minor Setback and the Craziness Begins!

I had a minor setback with my hives---and you won't believe what caused it. I've been on the prednisone for 12 years, December 1st. I was finally back down to 20MG but had to go back up to 30MG because of the heat seats in my car. My whole back was one massive hive. I also had a huge one on my stomach from my new jeans that are actually too big in the waist---just that little bit of rubbing set me off. Luckily, by now, I know my body and how it reacts, so I was able to "ward them off" and not descend to the flu-like, fever-running state that puts me to bed. Still, I keep hope that this will be over soon.

On to more fun stuff. Last night we had our annual trivia party. Butch and I started it 7 years ago. We invite all of our friends, their children and now the grandchildren. Each family brings an appetizer, a list of 10 questions and puts in $10. We all compete as families. The losing family has to host the next year. This year, we had 48 people. Each family gets a room in the house to discuss and answer their questions. We have the largest team with 12. Our grandkids say it's their favorite thing we do every year. We usually try to do something all alike to intimidate the rest of the teams. Last year we all had on red sweaters. This year it was the santa hats.
I had this idea on one of my Pinterest boards. I was happy with how it turned out. I also brought a huge pan of toasted ravioli, and a platter of crab roll-ups---an old recipe from Janet---one can of crab meat (drained), mixed with 8-oz. cream cheese and a small can of green chills. Spread on flour tortillas, roll-up, chill an slice. Easy and delish.
 Mitchell, Victoria and Morgan ready to answer questions. What is Ken's (of Ken and Barbie) last name? Morgan said she and her friends were just discussing it last week in art class, but she couldn't remember it. We got it wrong. The answer is "Carson." We all gave Morgan a hard time because her boyfriend is named Carson! How could she have forgotten that??!!
 Jordan, Butch and Elizabeth---who said it was the most boring party she's been to. This year, I had a set of questions just for the kids with a prize. She would probably have felt differently if she'd won. She wanted that box of chocolate covered cherries. Did you know they only put 10 in the box now? Can you spell "rip-off?"
Sandy was our official team captain. Mindy, Nicky, Steph and Greg in the background. Getting everyone to be quiet to answer the question is the hardest part. All of our friends think we have the advantage since our team is so big. But really, it's a hindrance because everyone is a "know-it-all." This year the arguing was kept at a minimum---I think because everyone was all "fought out" just coming up with our questions.
 The Sperrazza's hosted this year. Dennis has the house all decked out.
The best part of the night---Team Eads WON!!! I have to admit, type "A" personalities aside, we have some pretty smart cookies on our team! Everyone brings something to the table.

When we got home---around 10 p.m.---we decided to open a few family gifts. Sandy, Steph and Mindy handed out their gifts to everyone. We have to do things a little differently this year due to Jordan's work schedule. It's really messing things up. She works for a vet and has to work every day. To make matters worse, she works a split shift---7-1 and then back from 3-6:30 on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We're trying to be flexible, but it's hard to cram all of our family activities in to such a tight schedule.

We kick off Christmas Eve with a big breakfast. We do what I call "santa of the sleigh." I started that about  10 years ago. I put all the little (in size) gifts in a sleigh in the entry. Then, after breakfast, whichever kid has been appointed the "santa of the sleigh" dons a santa hat and hands them out. Afterwards, it's clean-up time. We started a new tradition last year---remember, in this family, if you do something one time, it becomes a tradition---all the girls go for manicures. After that, it's food prep time, nap and a Christmas movie. And did I mention the games? Constantly. Like I said, since we don't' get to be together that much, it's intense when we are.

Let the fun begin---or, I should say, continue...

I've Always Loved Donnie Osmond

I wish I could have seen him on Broadway in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. That would have been something. Instead, enjoy this beautiful holiday song.
Mary Did You Know

And it just wouldn't be Christmas without this:
White Christmas

Here's hoping that you all have the BEST Christmas, from our house to yours! I love you guys!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Lapps' family arrives today for the holidays. We're all pretty excited. Stephanie, Mindy and the girls will "move in" for the duration. It's wild and crazy---but tons of fun---around here. This might be my last post for a few days or even a week. We'll see. I might be able to slip something in during the "wee"hours.

I'm down to 20MG of prednisone which I'm really happy about. That's still a far from my maintenance level of 5MG, but a far cry from the more dangerous level of 80MG I've been on all fall. I'm feeling a lot better too. I'm sleeping normally again---5-6 hours---normal for me. I feel well rested. I'm still all bloated and don't know how long my face is going to feel so tight. I don't like that---it's bothersome and weird feeling. Hopefully that will go down a little soon.

Enough about me---oh wait, this whole blog is mostly about me! Really, though, I have some Christmas photos I want to share.
My day group met at Nancy's last week for our annual Christmas party. This is her "live" tree. I just love seeing everyone's trees and decorations during the holidays. I don't get to see too many as most people don't do things anymore. I can't really recall the last time we were invited to a Christmas party.

 I thought this was the coolest idea---just heap a bunch of stuff on a red tray---all glittery and sparkly.

Nancy even put a feather tree up in her scrapbook room. It is the cutest thing. I told her I'd leave it up all year round. I was so in love with this that I found a pink one on Ebay. Now, I have to figure out where I'm going to put it. I'll have to get rid of something---my scrapbook room is completely full. Believe me, I'll make room for it. I just think it's the cutest thing.
My friend, Sally invited me over for a glass of wine and to view her magnificent tree. Actually, I invited myself. We used to get together weekly. We went through the Master Gardener program together and spent a lot of time in each other's gardens. When the girls were little, we bored them with many a conversation using the latin names for all of our plants. They still joke about that.
Since I've known Sally, she's always had these 12 foot trees. About 3 years ago, she finally went to artificial due to the cost. It truly is the most incredible tree---her ornaments are really cool too---lots of handmade, designed by her. In their old house, the tree fell one year. That only had to happen once---she tied it to the ceiling after that.
This is Kim enjoying a laid back moment. It was the first time these girls got to experience Sally's tree. I sort of invited them.

Mary Jo, Susan and Sally on the far right. Sally and I have been friends for over 20 years. We started out in St. Matthew's Women's Club together. We worked on many fashion shows and other projects together. Actually, I've been friends with all of these girls for over 20 years. I was always the chair person of everything and they were my "committee chairs." They are quite a talented bunch. We worked well together and had a ball doing it all. If it weren't for A Year of Memories, I'd only see them a couple times a year for lunch. At least this way, I still see them every month. Mary Jo is in my book club and we meet for lunch now and then, so I see her a little more. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of Madelyn---she arrived a little late and I forgot. Her daughter, Alyson (Al) and Mindy are best friends. I see her regularly too.
This is probably the most unusual Christmas present I've ever received. Nancy gave me this old vegetable drawer. I love it! My cookbooks kept falling over, so I used this old potato masher as a book end. Worked perfect.
Here you can see the edge of the drawer that says "vegetables." I just put it up. I don't know if Butch has noticed, but if I call his attention to it, I'm sure he will think it's stupid---as he thinks about most of my junk. I just say back to him---"well, Mr. "let's recycle everything"---this is the ultimate in recycling---
re-purposting other people's junk."
Some of the cookies we made last Saturday on "family baking day." I haven't let anybody eat any of them, until yesterday when Mindy begged for 2 to put in her lunch and Steph's. I caved.
We're all set with a variety of coffees, teas and hot chocolate for the Kuerig machine.
"The Girl"must have needed a roll. But then she forgot to take it. No telling what she used instead.

And now I leave you with a blast from the past.
Mindy's two weeks old here. Reminds me of Randy from "A Christmas Story." When he had his snowsuit on, he couldn't put his arms down. Then when he fell, he couldn't get up.
I surprised the girls by having Santa stop by. Mindy wasn't too happy. I think this was 1986.
This time, they were really surprised. Sandy and Stephanie would rather forget this picture. They were dancing or something when Santa arrived. After all, it was the 80's when leg warmers were all the rage! This was 1987---Sandy was a sophomore at St. Cecilia Academy.

I hope everyone has the BEST holiday and that you get everything on your list!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Lazy and I'm Admitting It!

Yesterday, I had a few friends over to stitch, watch a movie ("A Muppet's Christmas Carol"---none of them had seen it) and have lunch. I made roast beef sandwiches that Sandy made for us while visiting in November. They are so good and so easy. The recipe will follow.

Anyway, while having lunch, we were talking---it was Connie, Nancy and Karolyn. Karolyn was telling us about Bruce being so organized that it sometimes drives her nuts. I said that I can relate to Bruce because my mind thinks that way too. He and I used to cross paths in the grocery store at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings back in the day.

I've had all of my holiday food planned for parties, including the grocery list for each thing since the car ride back from Sandy's in November. That makes it really easy each week to just pull out my lists. As I've said before, I live on a timeline with my spiral bound notebook. Is there any other way?

Then, Connie made the statement that she thought she was lazy. Nancy and Karolyn agreed that they might be lazy too. I said that I thought I was lazy too---to which a couple disagreed and asked me when/how I was lazy. I gave the example that sometimes (probably once a week), I don't make my bed. OMG! Talk about making me feel bad. All 3 of them JUMPED on that---"oh no, I couldn't function if my bed wasn't made." "Making my bed is the first thing I do." "There's no way I could get back in the bed if it wasn't made." Weeeellllll, exxxcuuuussseeee ME! I was just giving an example of how sometimes I can be lazy! I'm human! I realized after the fact, that none of them gave an example of how they are lazy. It's not like I said I didn't feed the baby or something. It's the bed, for crying out loud. Add to that, Butch is still IN it when I get up. Sometimes I don't even go back in to the bedroom until late in the day.

I guess that leads to another thing I'm lazy about---I don't always shower right away after working out. If I don't have to go anywhere for the day, it might be late afternoon before I take a shower. If it's early evening, I'll change straight in to my jammies. So SUE me!

Another thing---Connie doesn't even make her bed---Jack does (including putting on the decorative pillows)! So there!

Next time we're together, I'm going to find out how they are lazy and then "lord" it over them!
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, here's the recipe:

Roast Beef Sandwiches
1 lb. roast beef (deli or packaged)
provolone cheese
1 can Campbells' French onion soup
1 T. worcestershire sauce
rolls or buns (Sandy used Sister Shubert and so did I)

Heat undiluted soup with worcestershire sauce. Add meat to heat through. Pile meat on rolls and top with cheese. Bake at 400 until cheese melts. Top with additional sauce.

I didn't do this, but thought it would be really good with horseradish sauce too.

I'll leave you with this cutie from Starbucks:
Let's be Merry!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Bachelor

I know it's a trashy show. Even the promos have been ridiculous---just girls crying---no dialog---just the sobbing. I guess it's all about the drama. Still, I'll be watching it. Anyone want to join my "pool?" $5.00 gets you "in."

Moving on. Family baking day was a success---a mess, but a success. We have plenty of cookies and a quadruple batch of party mix. We're definitely set for food for the holidays---probably way too much.

I'm having a tea today---actually, it's my AYM/2012 kick-off. I'll be using my teas from England. I'm also going to serve tea punch---that traditional Southern favorite. I'm really excited about it. I'll post some pictures on the AYM blog afterwards.

All the gifts are wrapped and under the trees. The hostess gifts are ready too. But there's one thing---gift related---that I haven't mentioned. We all got quite a chuckle out of Mitchell's and Victoria's Christmas lists. Victoria put ginger ale on her list. Mitchell put protein bars and shakes on his. I don't think anyone has put food on their list before. I guess their mom doesn't buy that stuff for them. That's a good enough reason to put it on your Christmas list---to ask for things you don't ordinarily get.

Did you hear that they are making a movie out of my all time favorite play? Les Miserables is being cast and will start production in March. Already, they have Russell Crow (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Hugh Jackman (Valjean), and Geoffrey Rush (not sure of his part). They are still casting for Eponine. Lea Michelle has auditioned for the part. She made her Broadway debut at age 8 playing the young Cosette. Also auditioning for the part is Scarlett Johanssen, Rachel Wood and Taylor Swift. Really? I want Lea Michelle to get the part. She has such a strong voice and is perfect for the part. The movie is supposed to be out by next Christmas. I can't wait. I always wondered why they didn't make a movie out of it.

I'm looking forward to the week. Just one fun thing after another. I hope you have fun stuff to do too!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Storytelling Sunday---Cradle Catholic and Midnight Mass

I wish I could get a "do over." I was born and raised Catholic, but I wish I could do the "learning" part over. There is so much I've forgotten---and maybe never really learned well to begin with. We just memorized everything and lived it. At Mass today, I was thinking about that. When I was little, everything was in Latin. Vatican II changed all that---for the better. Now we've had some more changes that don't really make sense to me. Some of the prayers and responses have changed. I don't understand why---what's changed is so insignificant---the meaning is the same, just minor word changes. I guess it's to make you pay closer attention in church. I don't want to.

While reading the bulletin, I discovered that there isn't going to be an 8:30 a.m. Mass on Christmas---the one we planned to go to. That means Midnight Mass is the only one that could possibly work. That got me thinking about Midnight Masses we went to when we were kids. We lived close to church, so mom and dad let us go---by ourselves. Kind of unbelievable in this day and age. I'd say I was about 10, Ronnie 9, and the twins were 8 when we first started. Midnight Mass---there are a couple that stand out in my mind. First off, it was always bitter cold. One time, on our way home, a drunk driver ran us off the road. We all had to jump in the ditch which was filled with icy, slushy, freezing cold water. We were all crying by the time we got home---more afraid that we'd be in trouble for getting all wet.
We're a little bit younger in this picture. I think I'm about 8 here---not yet going to Midnight Mass by ourselves.

On another occasion, a guy stood too close to the votive candles---we think he was a little drunk. His coat caught on fire. It wasn't funny, but we kids thought it was. Some people started beating on him to put out his coat.

I loved the candles, smell, decorations and especially the music. "Oh Holy Night" was my favorite. But, the best part of Midnight Mass was being able to open our presents when we got home. That's how mom and dad got to sleep in a little bit in the morning.

Tonight, after Mass, I suggested to Butch that we look at Christmas lights. We did that from the time we were first married until the girls were grown. We haven't gone in years. I don't think he wanted to do it, but he humored me. That's why I didn't say anything as we sped through the neighborhoods. There were a couple of times I felt like I got whiplash. People aren't doing the lights like they used to. Still, it was fun.

Now I need to check the Mass schedule at a couple of other churches for Christmas. I don't really think we could do Midnight Mass anymore.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Showtunes---"O Holy Night"

Not exactly a showtune, but during this holiday season, I decided that I wanted to post my all time favorite Christmas song. And who could do it better than:

Josh Groban

Family baking day today. I'm sure there will be a story to tell...

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I just love this time of year. It's the only time I can really get away with being totally obnoxious! My friends love to hate me. I'm on top of it, have everything DONE---house decorated, all gifts, bought, wrapped and neatly stacked under the tree, all parties are planned, food in the freezer (double batch of spinach balls, 2 cheese balls, vegetable soup and enough stew for 4), holiday menus planned and all non-perishables in the pantry. I'm on top of it. I have nothing left to do but look forward to the fun. And that goes like this:

Today, meet with Christy to discuss window treatments for Mindy's condo, lunch at The Palm with my friends, do a little prep work for family baking day, then relax in front of the tv for the evening. I might even do a little needlepoint---haven't touched that since before Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow, family baking day starting at 8 a.m. and usually ending by noon. We'll make 4 or 5 varieties of cookies and a triple batch of Chex party mix. Butch oversees the decorating of the sugar cookies. I do the cookie dough mixing and cleaning up as we go along. Luckily, I have double ovens. Sometimes the timing of everything gets a little tricky. It's a lot of "pots" to watch.

After family baking, Mindy and I are going to look at tile for her backsplash.

If I get my way---which means, if Butch doesn't play golf in the p.m.---we'll go to 4:30 Mass. That's my favorite. That way, Sunday is a completely "free" day.

No evening plans. I'm thinking I might watch a Christmas movie or two. Haven't done that yet.

Sunday, aforementioned free day. Actually it won't be that free. I have some cooking to do for my tea on Monday. And I really need to get working on 6 layouts for all of my different clubs coming up in January. Plus I need to get kits and handouts written for AYM on January 4th. Still, all of that's fun---it's just working all of it in.

Monday, AYM/1 kickoff tea. I'm really looking forward to "unveiling" my plan for 2012. Exciting stuff! Plus, I'm sharing my teas from England. I'm a little disappointed that Mindy has to be out-of-town. She's been "in" most of the fall---and now right before Christmas her boss sends her out---go figure. She's excited because now she'll gain "platinum" status for the Hilton Honors Club.

At 5 p.m. I'm going to my friend, Sally's for wine and the viewing of her most magnificent tree. I'll definitely be taking pictures and posting them for you to see. She has a 16 ft. tree every year. It is so incredible. I just love to see everyone's house at Christmas and especially hers. This tree is just unbelievable. About 2 years ago, she went from "real" to artificial as the "real" ones were costing over $1000. The only "catch" is that now she has to rely on her hubby to get the tree out and up---and we know how that can go!

Tuesday, I'm having Connie, Nancy, Pam and Karolyn over to stitch and watch "A Muppet's Christmas Carol." They've not seen it. It will be a little crowded, but we'll "make do." I'm making Sandy's roast beef sandwiches for lunch---easy and really good.

Wednesday, the Dominican sisters come to visit. We have our annual ornament exchange that evening. I started it about 16 years ago and did it for 5 or 6 years. Then Connie hosted it for 7 or 8 years. Pam's doing it now for her 2nd year. Besides all of us, it includes our daughters and granddaughters. I do love it when traditions carry on generation after generation.

Thursday, the Lapps family arrives in the evening and the FUN really begins! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. How can it NOT be? Family and friends---nothing better!

I hope everyone can "kick back" and just enjoy the season! All it takes is a little pre-planning. How do you spell "obnoxious?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Random Things

1. This is what the girl does---drops by after work for 10 minutes---makes a half package of dip---eats a little---then goes home. What's up with that? She must have had a thought on the way home---"hmmm, I'm in the mood for dip. I think I'll stop by mom and dad's, make some and have it as an appetizer before going home to dinner. Yeah, that sounds like a plan!" I wasn't there at the time. If I had been, I would have stopped her. This dip is like "gold." And she didn't even make the best use of it---I use it for Fiesta Rotel Dip. We cannot get this in Nashville. I have family members in St. Louis pick it up for us. In exchange, I get them the good, green onion dip from Kroger's that they can't get there.

2. Kroger has beef tenderloin on sale this week. We have it on Christmas Eve with fresh horseradish cream on Sister Shubert yeast rolls. Yum! We "do" pick up foods and eat all night long while opening gifts. The reason I'm even showing the meat is because I discovered Kroger's best kept secret about 10 years ago. People think that when you get the whole tenderloin at the sale price, you have to trim it out and cut it yourself. Not so. Just pick out what you want and give it to the butcher. Ask him to trim it out for you. But here's the key---request that the trimmings be ground in to ground meat. Otherwise, you just get the trimmed out piece---while still paying for the trimmings. You could also have it cut into steaks. Anyway, by having them trim it out, you get everything at the good price. I'm thinking I should get another one for steaks.
3. Happiness is a pot of stew simmering on the stove. This is mom's recipe---really good. There's a secret ingredient that doesn't go with stew at all---that would be allspice---just a hint, but you can tell it's there. I made a pot of vegetable soup on Sunday, so we have both in the refrigerator. Same meat, two dishes. That is the extent of my cooking this week. I may even have to put some in the freezer as I'll be out every day for lunch and dinner for the rest of this week.
4. Oh, My, Gosh! Are these the cutest things? I got home on Monday to a big box. My sister-in-law, Chris, sent these to me. Nary a one was broken! She's been making them for at least 20 years. She also makes the most gorgeous gingerbread houses. Truly, I'm not exaggerating---they are the BEST I've ever seen. She made one for me years ago that I managed to keep for about 3 years until it deteriorated too badly. Anyway, she makes these little "guys" with her grandkids every year now. I was thrilled to get them. I'm trying to keep them until the Lapps family gets here on the 23rd so they can see them too. But as you can see, they are trying to escape.
5. Mindy and Stephanie had a "little" cookie exchange at work. Mindy dropped hers off here. Is this supposed to make up for the dip? 
6. Nothing like comfort food for dinner. But what I love most is the 2% milk. I haven't had it in probably 15 or 20 years when we "bought in" to the idea that skim is the way to go. Thank you Dr. Oz, for confirming the study that 2% is all around the best choice. Seems the skim milk has more sugar, that, in the long run, costs you more in terms of carbohydrates that converts to fat in the body. The extra fat in the 2% helps to fill you up better. I'm lovin' it! 
7. Morgan and Carson came over after school today and hung out for awhile. They helped to consume some of the cookies. I only let them have one of the little gingerbread boys!

8. I was watching a Biography that I had taped on Kate Middleton. I am and have always been, obsessed with The Royal Family. Actually, I'm obsessed with everything British. I should have been born there. From a young girl, I've loved English literature. In fact, my favorite book of all time is Wuthering Heights

Anyway, while in England this fall, one of our drivers told us that a favorite after school snack is baked beans over toast. That seemed really weird to us. Well, while watching the biography of Kate, they said that baked beans over toast is Prince William's favorite snack. I couldn't believe it. That just doesn't sound good at all. I guess for the Brits, it's like  peanut butter and jelly sandwiches here. For us, baked beans go with barbecue---and stand alone---no toast needed. I'll stick with PB&J for my snack.

9. Anybody watch the new Fear Factor? It's still pretty gross---I could never eat disgusting stuff. This week it was scorpions. But for some reason, I like seeing other people eat it. There was a mother/son team that was really "affectionate" with each other. The rest of the teams thought it was too "over the top" too. They were just too "huggy and kissy" for a mother and son. Very peculiar. The show was just so, so. I have another one taped, so I'll give it another try.

10. Kind of weird, but entertaining:
Gotye---very interesting!

All for now....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Few More Things, continued...

The tree with presents under it.
I even used coordinating paper that would look good under the tree. The only problem is that by the time I actually get the gifts wrapped, it's just about the time I have to give them. These presents were only under there for a day. Now it's bare again.

While at Loews on Saturday, we came very close to having a major argument over this light. It's an outside light, but I want to put it in Mindy's living room. She's all excited about it. The catch is that it needs to be bolted to the floor. Butch said, "no way." I say, "for crying out loud, it's a concrete floor. What's the big deal?" He was getting worked up. I then asked about just mounting the lamp to a square plate to provide the stability it needs. He calmed down and said that might work. He's going to check with the guy that is doing all the work at Mindy's place. I've come up with a few other questions myself, so it might not work. Plus, there could be some sort of codes issue with putting an outside light inside. We'll see. We just love the "New Orleans" look of it. Plus, how unique to have this type of lamp post in your living room---a good conversation piece. I hope it works out.
He's doing it again. Using the kitchen chairs as a coat rack. On the weekend, there will be a coat on each chair. I'll take a picture the next time to prove it.
Our most recent purchase. These coffee makers are all the rage now. I'm sort of surprised that "mr thrifty" would go for it. This one came from Target. It was on sale for $99. plus you got a $20. Target gift card---bringing the cost down to $79.00. A really good price.
It's the little coffees that cost so much. Butch has checked online, joined a club, gotten some for half price.  He's even made a spreadsheet so he can rate each flavor and variety to decide which ones he likes. Anyway, I think the cost is about 57 cents each. His point is that he only drinks one cup of coffee a day, so it's worth it. But the problem is that he's been drinking 2 cups a day. Kind of extravagant if you ask me. Oh well, it makes him happy and keeps him busy. Okay by me.

I'll leave you with a couple of lines from "Married With Children." Mindy was about 10 when she and I loved that show. It was totally inappropriate for her, so we "gave it up" for Lent one year and never watched it again. I bought the whole series a few months ago and have been enjoying it in my scrapbook room. Today, I laughed so hard, Butch must have thought I was crazy.

Peg as they were coming up from the basement: "Oh Al, take me again!"
Al: "I didn't know I was taking you then. I tripped over a box and thought the furnace fell on me."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Few More Things...

 What's wrong with this picture?
Maybe this will help. There's actually 2 things wrong here. First of all that orange bucket doesn't belong there. I don't understand why I'm the only one that notices---and that it bothers. I just want things to look nice. Instead, there's too much that looks "hoosier"---and I'm not referring to a person from Indiana---but a St. Louis term for white trash. Same goes for that crappy basket ball goal. I don't think anyone has ever played basketball here. The question? How do you get rid of something like this? I want it gone.
 Excellent book and a very fast read. I think you can read it in 3 hours start to finish. It's about a little boy that goes to Heaven while undergoing surgery for his burst appendix when he was just 3 years old. A reaffirming book for anyone that believes in Heaven. One of my friends doesn't quite believe it. I do---every bit. I just think it's exactly how a 3 year old would relate the incident---and so much he couldn't possible know.
I guess I'm on a rant about things that annoy me. This is another. I seem to be the only one who closes doors around here. The pantry door is always hanging open. Drives me nuts.
This has been an ongoing argument between Butch and I. He insists that he takes out the recycle stuff every day. He doesn't. But he'll argue to the "death" that he does. I decided to take pictures each day to prove my point. Then it hit me. Yes, he actually does take out the recycle stuff every day---just not ALL of it. He leaves something behind every day. Drives me totally nuts. 
There's so much here that you might wonder what he actually took out. He took out the cans and bottles from the counter. Now you might ask why I don't just take it out myself. Seriously? Surely you know the answer to that. If you do it just one time---it becomes your job. Believe me, it's happened too many times. I hate looking at this all day.

Found these cool things for my flocked tree at Cracker Barrel---40% off.

More things to come...