Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
We had so much fun this weekend! One of our family traditions is to have our extended family gathering the Saturday before Christmas. This way we’re all able to get together and have a wonderful time while keeping the actual Christmas holiday more low-key.
My mom and sister-in-law Michele came to town and the three of us took Brooklyn and headed out to my cousin’s house for family fun. We loved on new babies, marveled at how the kids had all grown, ate wonderful food, exchanged gifts and sang carols. Really it was great.
When we got back to my house on Saturday night we found that grandpa had gotten the original cartoon Grinch movie for us to enjoy with Brooklyn. We ran out for sub sandwiches and set up in the living room to eat and watch a movie, which turned into a real treat. Brooklyn laughed and laughed at little Max, the dog in the movie. As soon as the movie ended she was bouncing up and down and wanted to see it again. Grandpa happily obliged.
On Sunday my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and the rest of the kids came over and we all had a fun lunch together. Little Bit, Brooklyn, was truly in her element having so much family here. Ah …. so blessed …
Knowing that my 3 year old granddaughter would be here this weekend I set out to find some fun crafts for us to do together. Since we were so busy with family and making memories we only got one craft done, which is quite ok as the others will wait until next time.
I had found a tutorial for a handprint snowman ornament on a blog and I just happen to be partial to any craft involving handprints.
These were so easy and so fun to do. I painted her palm (she did tell me that ‘paint goes on the paper, not on fingers’ so I’m assuming they hear that in school) and she said it tickled. She would wrap her palm around an ornament and when she opened her hand and saw her handprint she would grin and giggle each and every time.
They are the cutest ornaments ever! This is a great project to do with littles and the best part is that you have a handprint ornament afterwards to treasure. The full tutorial is at the link above, but my biggest hint if you decide to make these is to not spare the paint on their palm. The first couple we did just had a light coat of paint and those snowmen didn’t turn out nearly as cute as the snowmen that had a thicker coat of paint.
I put her name and year on the bottom of the ornament and we’ll be giving these gifts to all the relatives.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Last night was Mission Crafts Ministry night at church and since it was our last meeting before Christmas I wanted to do a little something to make it a bit more special.
I had gotten these little Coke tins at Walmart after Christmas last year at a super low price. I didn’t want to fill them with standard cookies or candy, so Keith and I put our thinking caps on to come up with something. We decided that along with your Coke you would want something salty, so I cooked up a batch of Chex Mix.
I lined the inside of the tin with some plastic wrap, filled it with Chex Mix, then folded the plastic wrap over the top to seal it.
In keeping with the Coke color theme I used red gift bags with white tissue paper. Each gift had a Coke tin with Chex Mix and a little bottle of Coke with the red curly ribbon. Very well received and it was a fun gift to make!
I also brought a tray of these Peppermint Brownies and sighs of delight were heard all around. This will now be my holiday go-to brownie.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Isn’t this beautiful? Keith and I did quite a bit of Christmas shopping this weekend and were happy to have stopped at 3 different malls. We thoroughly enjoy seeing all the decorations and seriously, watching the kids and families will always bring a smile to our faces.
This particular scene was inside Macy’s at one of the malls and housed their Christmas décor. The room was tucked into a corner of the crystal and china section and it was almost magical walking down the red carpet between all the gaily decorated trees.
Did you notice the 60% sign at the lower right of the screen? We managed to buy one new stocking:
…cause we’re proud of Texas y’all…. The only other thing we bought inside Holiday Lane was our Christmas Cards.
It really was a great weekend. We ended Saturday having our traditional dinner, well really we go for a particular appetizer and salad, at our favorite steak place. The last 3 or 4 years we’ve done this while out Christmas shopping and I suppose it might be kind of a gift to ourselves. We’re able to stop, regroup and focus on what’s important rather than get caught up in the wrong things. And for that I am so thankful.
“May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!” ~Author Unknown
Friday, December 10, 2010
This has been the fasted week EVER! There’s really something a bit exciting about the speed with which this time of year passes though. It becomes almost a game to see if we can get things done in time!
Now let’s look at some of the blessings of the top week. Thank you to Susanne for providing us with this opportunity to focus and share on a weekly basis – and it’s open to all, so join in!
1. Without a doubt the Christmas Tree has to be number 1. The amazing peace of sitting in the room lit only by the lights of the tree is beyond description.
2. Christmas Shopping with My Beloved – We enjoy this time together so much and try to go shopping at different malls or different parts of town just so that we can see the decorations. The hand holding, the smiles and laughter, the excitement of finding the perfect gift for somebody is absolute bliss.
3. Knitting Guild was Tuesday night and it’s so good to see friends. The knitting group that I used to play with now meets on a night that I have church, so I haven’t seen them in forever. Now I get to see them once a month at least and catch up on what’s going on. And the guild program that one friend was teaching came to an end this month and I learned so much from her. So glad to be a part of this group.
4. Brooklyn – Even the weeks that I don’t get to see or love on my granddaughter I love that I’m now able to talk to her and see her at the same time using iPhone’s Facetime. We chatted on the phone one night this week and in 3 year old fashion she was zooming around the room and gathering up things to show me. One that she came back to time and time again was an ornament she had made in school and it was darling to see how proud she was of her creation. I love that we’ll be able to craft together very soon. She also dug around under the Christmas tree until she found my present and ran over to show me. LOVE this age she’s at right now!
5. Worship Opportunities at our church are abundant this time of year! I love being with the ladies and lovin’ on them and getting to know some of the other people better as well. And the sermon series right now is spot on what I happen to need to hear. Don’t you just love when that happens?
“Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind”
Sunday, December 05, 2010
In the sermon today, called The Tree, our pastor started off by talking about some of the current “in” Christmas trees. Now I’m totally not passing judgment on these because truly beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, I can confirm after seeing these that not only do I need to get out more, but I really am a traditionalist at heart.
The Black Christmas Tree (this one seems sad to me somehow):
The Upside Down Christmas Tree (I’ll admit this one could be fun):
Beer Can Christmas Tree (not sure even what to say about this one!):
There’s not a photo of our tree in this post as we just started doing our decorations today. The tree is assembled, but no ornaments have been placed yet. I think this year I’m going to go back to a traditional tree and use all the ornaments that the kids made and that we’ve received as gifts through the years. Our tree the last two years was picture perfect, but it seemed rather cold somehow. I’m thinking the memories associated with this year’s ornaments will bring the warmth back.
I’m also looking forward to sharing ornament origin stories with my granddaughter. I know my kids will roll their eyes because I tell the same stories every year, but I’m going to look at it as me being dependable instead of me forgetting I’ve already told the story!
Tradition: sit with husband in a room lit only by tree lights and remember that our blessings outnumber the lights. Happy Christmas to all. ~ Betsy Cañas Garmon
** All photos found through Flickr Creative Commons
Friday, December 03, 2010
Even though it’s going to be 70 degrees where I live today I decided to change my FFF graphic to the snowflakes. I’ve been seeing all the snow pictures on our news and it’s kind of getting me into the spirit of winter.
Head over to Susanne’s for more Friday Faves and prepare to be blessed!
1. Peace Within the Holidays – Thanksgiving came and went without my usual panic this year and Christmas season is shaping up to be the same. I think what happened is that I finally “gave up perfect.” What I mean by that is that so many of the expectations of the holidays are thing we put on ourselves and when we let that go we can relax and enjoy ourselves and others. Although perhaps part of that peace is because I’ve done the holidays so many times now that things just happen as part of routine and doesn’t require as much effort as they did in the past. Who knows? But I do know that I am loving the peace and calm, comfort and joy.
2. Holiday Decorations – And we don’t even have ours out of the attic yet! Decorating our home is on the list for tomorrow and I am so excited about it. We also have gone to two shopping malls already with the sole purpose of just walking around and enjoying their decorations. The season is a much slower pace this year and walking along holding hands with my Beloved is such a joy.
3. Partially Remodeled Master Bedroom – We did get our bedroom painted the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ended up going with a greenish color (pictures to follow soon). I’m so happy we went with this color as it is so peaceful for a bedroom. My sister-in-law declared it to be “spa-like” and that’s a great description. Most evenings, and some mornings, will find me sitting on my chair and reading or knitting, a cup of coffee or hot tea close at hand.
4. Peppermint Hot Tea – My word I’m hooked on this stuff! I’m using Peppermint Tea by Timothy’s for my Keurig and it is so perfect and soothing at the end of a day.
5. Family and Friends – Nothing can make a person feel more content than getting a phone call, text or email from family and friends. Even a quick hello, how are you doing lets you know that you’re being thought of and loved. Tis the season!
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Even though Santa doesn’t visit our house anymore since the kids have grown up and moved out I still find myself thinking of cookies this time of year.
I keep thinking that I want to learn how to do cut-out cookies and the amazing icing that people are able to do. One of the most gorgeous examples I’ve seen is at The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle – look at the cookie cookbook she’s giving away and then scroll a little farther down and be thoroughly in awe of the platter of cookies.
I’m feeling a bit lazy this year though, so I’m hoping that Santa might like one of the following:
And I keep going back to that blog and looking at her cookies. Wonder how much weight I’d gain by trying to perfect my cookie making abilities???
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I’m still enjoying all the memories and things said over our Thanksgiving holiday. Really I think that Thanksgiving is one of my favorites as it’s a time to pause and give thanks and enjoy one another.
I’ll admit that our holiday had a lot of this little lady and every one of us enjoyed that. Even spending three days at our house we never once saw her pout or do any sort of meltdown. Truly she’s just fun to be with. I will admit though that one night when it was the two of us sharing a bed, well, I ended up sleeping at a diagonal because she’d moved quite a bit during the night. Wouldn’t have changed a thing about it though.
And we had a LOT of food! This picture is a little out of focus, I think because we were shaking with anticipation.
There was even time for some serious play in the leaves. I *love* the sound of a little one tromping and running through leaves. And she *loved* the sound as well and laughed a lot while she was doing it.
Now as we pack away the pumpkins and scarecrows, the orange and rust colored candlesticks and tablecloths, it’s time to look ahead and enjoy the next holiday!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I had the MOST FUN day with my daughter on Saturday! And you can thank me now for not showing pictures of my feet – LOL!
We met at a new to me”nail bar” in the morning for pedicures. This place was unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before as they do so much more than painting toenails.
Lynne’ and I sat in the pedi chairs and lowered our feet into the whirlpool bath. The ladies did the filing and such, then proceeded to do a foot massage! My lands that was the most wonderful thing EVER!
Then came the best part. Because I have dry skin they ordered up the milk and honey for me, which meant the lady mixed up a concoction of a milk, honey and oatmeal, then slathered on my legs up to my knees. Next she wrapped each leg in saran wrap, then wrapped a hot towel around them. Oh it was pure bliss I tell you! We sat like that for a bit, then they unwrapped us, washed it off, and did a foot and leg massage. The finishing touch was the polish – I chose OPI Red and Lynne’ chose OPI Catch Me In Your Net which turned out so fun and pretty!
We left the nail bar and went out to a new Pho restaurant for lunch. It was fun to look down at our toes and see the red and glittery green looking up – it made us smile.
There really is nothing like a Mother Daughter day. And I’m already looking forward to the next time we go there!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sometimes I get amazed at how slow we are to get things done. Really I think what it is is that we dearly love the talking it over process so much that we hate for it to end once we do whatever we’re talking over! <—Hope that made sense!
But finally we’re ready to paint the master bedroom. Most of the other rooms in the house that we’ve painted have gone from white to a bold color like barely gray or lightest brown. But this time we’re really stepping outside our comfort zone with an actual bold paint color.
I’m feeling good about it though because the paint companies have gotten so smart and now sell little sample bottles of paint. The color I chose is Glidden Spiced Gingerbread and for three dollars we got enough paint to cover about a two foot square. Took quite a little bit to get it painted though because we used the half inch paintbrush that came in the bottle.
We did the swatch on the wall on Monday night and have loved it more each day, so we figure it’s a go. Bright and early tomorrow we plan to get up and paint the day away!
Friday, November 12, 2010
We had the final night of our Mentorship Class at church this week and I know we’re going to miss it. When we walked into the classroom all the tables were decorated for fall and it looked so festive.
The main reason I wanted to post this is – look at the pumpkins/apples/fruits sitting at the base of the scarecrow. Y’all those are toilet paper rolls that have been covered with a square of fabric! The ‘stem’ was cardboard and they have green felt leaves and little green pipe cleaner curly-q’s on them. It’s really too late to get any done for this year, but they were so cute I’m thinking it might be a great thing to have next year.
So cute and so inexpensive. And the best part – you really wouldn’t have anything to store because all you’d have to do is uncover that roll and put it too good use!!!
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Last night the Mission Crafts Ministry met up at the church and of course we had a wonderful time. The more I meet with these ladies the more I fall in love with them. Their giving hearts and ready laughter can life a spirit better than anything.
Our project for Thanksgiving and Christmas is to knit dishcloths to include in our food baskets that will be distributed. The “guidelines” were to either knit or crochet any pattern, any color and any size – we like to stay loose with rules.
I’m happy to say that we’ve met the Thanksgiving number goal and are heading towards Christmas now! It was so much fun to look through the cloths that were brought last night and see all the different colors and textures. We have a card maker that is going to make a gift card to go along with each dishcloth as well. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures at all of the pile of dishcloths last night, but will try to remember to do so at Christmas.
We also started knitting Tribbles last night and that has turned out to be fun! One small ball of Sugar n Cream yarn will make a Grandmother’s Favorite dishcloth and a Tribble, thus making us able to really utilize all the yarn we have.
Speaking of yarn, if anybody is thinking about starting a similar ministry at their church I would encourage you to let the congregation, and your family, know that you will be needing yarn and needles. We put the call out to the congregation and people are cleaning out closets and bringing yarn to us. And the basket above came from my mother-in-law – she bought it and the package of needles at an estate sale. The yarn is two layers deep and I’ll bet there’s 50 or so knitting needles and crochet hooks in the package. What a great blessing to have supplies available to us!
Friday, November 05, 2010
Happy, happy Friday y’all! I have had such a wonderful, contented week and my heart is so full of joy. I love when we finally listen to the Lord and put stress and junk aside and just enjoy all there is. Head over to Susanne’s to see more Friday Faves and be blessed!
1. Keith and I have added Bible reading and a devotion time at our dinner table every night. There really is nothing as intimate as spending this time with your beloved. We take turns reading the Bible and the devotion aloud, then spend time talking about the readings. It is an amazing time together.
2. I celebrated a birthday on Wednesday! That night at our Mentorship Class at church they all sang Happy Birthday to me and that was the most touching thing ever. All those faces that I’ve come to love and cherish singing to me. A very special time.
3. Last night we went to dinner with all the kids to celebrate my birthday. Good times indeed! Little Bit was her excited 3 year old self and so happy to be with everybody. She got out of their truck when they arrived and ran over to me holding a card high in the air. “Grandma, grandma - this is for you!” What a delight. Looking around the table last night at these special faces – I felt so blessed.
4. Tuesday night was the monthly meeting for the Dallas Hand Knitters Guild and I got to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in some time. Another friend of ours is doing the program through next month – a knit along lace shawl. I’ve got the yarn to do a shawl for me, but knew I had several baby blankets to knit during this time, so to keep up I’m doing the doll sized version. My doll is going to be quite styling with her knitted lace with beads shawl when it’s all said and done. :)
5. I had said for a couple of weeks that this year we wouldn’t hand out candy on Halloween because I didn’t need the leftovers here to tempt me. At the very last minute we ran up to the store and bought a ginormous bag of candy and I am so glad we did! We didn’t have a lot of kids come to the door, but the ones we had were absolutely darling and I enjoyed seeing them and visiting with their moms. In between the doorbell rings Keith and I were watching the World Series on TV and I was knitting. Can an evening get any better than that?
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Just finished the last of the baby blankets that I’ve been knitting. Knitting a baby blanket is truly a soul satisfying project for me. Just thinking of the new life coming, praying for health and happiness, remembering what it what like waiting for the baby to arrive – it all adds up to a happy feeling.
This blanket was for the daughter of a dear friend of mine – her first baby! Obviously from the color they knew they were having a boy. :)
The yarn is Bernat Baby Sport in the Funny Prints colorway and I used exactly one skein (it’s one of the great big skeins). The pattern is from my mom – she used the Lace Shell Stitch and added the borders.
This is another baby blanket that I’m very pleased with. I washed the blanket before gifting – naturally – and the yarn softened up and is very cuddly. Can’t wait to receive a picture of Baby Sidney with the blanket!
** Linking to Get Your Craft On
Friday, October 29, 2010
A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener
Looking back on the 1971 Little League season, Zack Ross relives the summer that changed his life…
Gunning for the championship is all that matters until twelve-year-old Zack meets Rafer, a boy whose differences make him an outcast but whose abilities on the baseball field make him the key to victory.
Admired for his contribution to the team, Rafer turns everyone’s expectations upside down, bestowing a gift to Zack and his teammates that forces them to think—is there more to life than winning or losing? And what is this thing called grace?
Reading this book I think I expected a “typical” baseball or sports book about how young boys learn life lessons through sports. What I got instead turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year.
Interlaced with the baseball theme is a story about young boys and fathers and God. The neighborhood boys from the Robins Little League team meet to practice in a field one day and see another boy their age, Rafer, sitting with his back to a tree watching them. Rafer is “touched” and sees and processes the world differently than the other boys do. But interestingly enough Rafer is able to teach lessons to the boys and adults around him, even if unintended.
This book is small, only 269 pages, and what I thought would be a very fast read took a little longer than I anticipated because of the thoughts presented within. Sometimes I would come across the thoughts and stop and ponder them a while and savor some of the lessons to be had.
I honestly think this book can be enjoyed by anyone, whether a baseball fan or not. And fortunately for us all this book is in the preproduction stage of becoming a movie.
** Thank you to CFBA for sending me a copy of this book to review.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
When I knew that we would be meeting the kids at the pumpkin patch I decided to get my Grandma-ness in gear. You already saw the cookies, but I also had seen the Pumpkin Candy Bracelet Tutorial and since it was so darling I decided that Brooklyn needed one too.
This was seriously easy to make and took probably 10 minutes! I used 9 candy pumpkins on this bracelet just as the tutorial did.
It fit and looked darling on her! I really think she liked it.
You can ever so barely see it on her wrist through the window. This pumpkin patch had a really cute little house made of hay and Brooklyn had fun playing in it with her Daddy and Grandpa.
She fiddled with it a lot. And I think it looked so cute on her!
Everything is so much fun when you are 3 and have your parents and grandparents with you to be certain you’re having a grand time!
And you can look girly with your pumpkin bracelet even when riding a tractor!
When we finished enjoying the pumpkin patch we left to go have dinner at a nearby restaurant. Brooklyn got in her car seat with mom and dad and we got in our truck and met them there.
Loni got out of their truck and walked toward me saying “Grandma!” with her hands cupped. Uh oh…. In her hands she had all the candy pumpkins and little ribbon ties! She said Brooklyn was so upset when it fell apart.
I’m assuming it came undone at the knot and that my 4 or 5 knots in the dental floss were not enough. So my caution to anybody else planning to make this bracelet is – be certain to tie it very tight!
We reassured Brooklyn that Grandma would either fix it or make her another one. I’m not sure if she was dismayed that it broke or disappointed that she no longer had the bracelet. Either way… it was a grandma fail moment. Fortunately I had a bag of Soft Sugar Cookies to hand to her at that moment and redeem myself somewhat! :)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Being a grandma is one of the absolute best things in the world. Case in point, here it is Tuesday and we get to meet the kids at a pumpkin patch after work today. Seeing your granddaughter midweek like this truly is priceless.
So it got me to thinking – I truly believe that being together and doing things together are what memories are made of. Time spent with her and all my family absolutely warms my heart.
BUT…wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if I enhanced that time a bit? I mean, I AM a grandma after all.
So I decided she needed some fall sugar cookies to make the event even sweeter. I looked at the cookie recipes and ideas I had saved on my computer and decided I’m not quite ready to take the “serious decorated” cookie plunge yet.
The recipe I chose said on her blog that these are her husband’s favorite cookie. Good enough endorsement for me! They did turn out wonderful and reminded me very much of the pink frosted cookies you can buy at Walmart. I will say that I’ll continue looking at recipes though because using Crisco didn’t excite me. But the flavor sure did! :D
One word on the frosting – don’t make it too runny….ask me how I know. After this I added more powdered sugar. ;)
SOFT SUGAR COOKIES
recipe from Nursery Rhymes & Sweet Times
2/3 cup Crisco (I buy the sticks, so much easier – and use the butter flavor Crisco)
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
In a large bowl cream together Crisco, sugar and vanilla. Add egg and milk, beat until light and fluffy. In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to sugar mixture 1/3 at a time until mixed together.
Scoop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets using a small cookie scoop. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. I baked mine until the edges were ever so barely browned.
Let cool for a minute on the cookie sheet, then move to a wire cooling rack. Frost cookies when they have thoroughly cooled.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
Add just under 1/4 cup milk to the powdered sugar in a bowl. Beat until smooth, adding more milk or sugar to get desired consistency. Add food color and spoon on to the top of the cookies. Top with sprinkles while frosting is still wet, then leave on plates or wire cooling racks until frosting sets.
This recipe made 22 cookies using my cookie scoop.
** Linking to Tasty Tuesday