Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Thanksgiving with family

 This is the grandkids on Thanksgiving... we have been wanting to take this picture for at LEAST 2 years, maybe more. But for one reason or another it hasn't worked out. So we were very excited to finally be able to get it made!
 These are the grandkids plus the two great grands.
20 in all! 
We are a loud, crazy bunch... but we truly like being together and we usually have a grand ole time! 
 Carlie Jean and Deacon Ridge 
 Every Thanksgiving I come up with a craft for us to make while we are together. This year it was a little last minute being that I feel like everything I do seems rushed and last minute lately. Ugh.

First I printed out pictures and sayings on HTV.
 I gathered scrap fabric. The fabric below used to be a skirt I had made myself. 
 We pressed the vinyl onto the cloth and then cut it out to fit into a canning ring. We placed a used seal behind it for stability and glued it all in place. 
 Then we added twine or ribbon for the finishing touches and to hang on the tree! They were simple and super fun! 

Have a happy day, friends! 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

See Rock City

 We had the opportunity to go to see Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights with our church family for a discounted price last week. We realized that the last time we went there, Cameo was our only child, so it DEFINITELY had been a while since we last visited. 
It was just as beautiful as I remembered though... probably even more so. 
 SO many, beautiful lights! And on top of the mountain so the air was crisp and cool and perfectly wonderful for a Christmastime adventure!
 The only drawback was it was CROWDED! Mercy!
(We don't get out a whole lot, so that's probably just me... ;) )
 Probably my favorite part besides the bluff, was the candy cane forest... I couldn't help but quote Buddy the Elf's words... "I traveled through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through a sea of swirly, twirly gumdrops!"

 This was my favorite tree in the whole place! The picture does not do it justice! 
It was GORGEOUS!!!

 The overlook and the star... it's amazing just how big that star really is!!! 
And then, I start thinking about the danger to get it there on the side of the mountain! Eek!

 The waterfall! 
 Abe was eager to look through the binoculars on the overlook deck.
 Carlie and Eli walked around with friends from church. All my kids are so big now. 
(excuse me while I go sob)

 This snowman was ADORABLE!!!!!!

 So thankful for a special night with my family. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thanksgiving in our home!

 In our home, you won't find anything traditional for Thanksgiving.
We have our Christmas decorations up, for one. When people ask "What about Thanksgiving??? Why do you have your Christmas decorations up already? Don't you celebrate Thanksgiving???"
I respond, "ABSOLUTELY! We LOVE Thanksgiving and we celebrate it HAPPILY, with Christmas decor!!! From November through the end of December, we are extremely busy with making gifts, decorating, practicing Christmas plays, Christmas cantata, and the rest of life in general, it makes TOTAL sense to decorate early for us."
Also, our meal for Thanksgiving is odd. We have so many family dinners (to which we are EXCEEDINGLY grateful) that feature the usual Thanksgiving fare of turkey, dressing, and sides of casseroles galore, that several years back, we started a new tradition. 
Thanksgiving Lasagna! 
I splurge a little and buy nicer cheeses and I start Wednesday, before Thanksgiving preparing. Early on Wednesday morning I fry up the beef and sweet italian sausage. I sauté the mushrooms, spinach, onions, and garlic. I add those together and then I add the spices, and the tomatoes. I bring it to a simmer and I let it cook on top of the stove, low and slow. I want that loose pan of ingredients to condense down to a thick, rich, exceedingly delicious sauce that bursts with flavor!

This year while the sauce was marrying on the stove, I had an idea. My husband LOVES his grandmothers Christmas cookies. When she was younger and more able, she would make up huge batches of them and have them all the time during the season. She would sometimes send home a bowl full with Shannon or she would send me some of the dough so I could make up a dozen or so for him, whenever he was eager for a sweet treat. 
I searched my recipe box and found the recipe in her hand. A treasure to me. 
This made up at least 5 lbs of dough I think. It's a HUGE batch!

After I got the cookie doughs made up and  in the fridge to chill, I mixed up all our cheeses, got the pasta ready and assembled the lasagnas. I say lasagnas because I make at least 2-3 pans. We have some big eaters around here. haha
After the lasagnas were assembled, I covered them and they were put in the fridge and all I have to do on Thanksgiving day is to get them in the oven. It helps so much for me to do this prep work so I can have a nice, relaxing day with my family! 

 I also made up some of our favorite ginger snap cookies. Another huge recipe, I have dough for both cookies still in my fridge! It makes enough for 11 dozen cookies! 

 This year is our first year with Cameo not home for the holidays. So we had to make plans to have them with us. We decided a lunch meal would be best because they had plans with Houston's side of the family too. It was a WONDERFUL day. I don't think it could have gone better... unless they were able to stay a bit longer. ;) 
We had fantastic food, games, and lively conversation. I love our Thanksgiving traditions. I love our family. Thank you Lord, giver of all good things for these incredible blessings.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmastime is here again!

You know I LOVE this time of year. 
We have been preparing and decorating and enjoying this wonderful time of year.
My sweet Shannon is my very own Clark Griswold. Thankfully he didn't fall off the ladder. ;) 
 He did a great job with our exterior illumination ;) 
 Happy Hogan is watching me while I work... she is SO adorable!
 We delivered shoeboxes that we gathered with our church. 

 Brown paper packages, tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things... 
 I considered not putting up my village because I had to remove everything from the top of our school shelves and our nature shelves, etc. it was a lot to do, but it was worth it because my eldest son LOVES the village. I think it's his favorite decoration.
 I'm pretty sure Happy's favorite is the tree. ;) 
 Bowls of candies and nuts remind me of my childhood. 
 I hope you are making merry. 

Monday, December 2, 2019


 I had another birthday in early November! I turned the big 44! I love birthdays! I think they are such a great opportunity to let people know how much they mean to you! And these beauties did just that! We spent the day together and it was wonderful!We went to one of our favorite places, Eddie's Christmas Shop! Where we looked at Christmas trees and decorations. Then we went to a new to me Mexican restaurant and it was SOOOO good!  Afterwards we went back to my Sister's for birthday cake (carrot!! YUM!) and coffee and conversation. And then finally we went Christmas shopping and had supper together. It was an amazing day and I am so blessed to have been able to be with these special ladies!