Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Eve of the New Year

It's almost 2015!?!  Where did this year go???

It's a nice cold one here today. They had wind chill warnings earlier but it did finally creep above zero so they dismissed them. However, the wind is howling like crazy and it's a good day to snuggle in with something warm to drink. 

I decided to make a little cocoa bar by our keurig. I knew the kiddos would love it...especially for the remainder of Christmas break and with their friends hanging out over here.

I thought we had some candy canes left from Christmas but they seem to have disappeared. Hhmmmm...

Otherwise the usual goodies are present.  Keurig cocoa cups for the machine or good 'ol packets to put in hot water. A container of marshmallows, some candy cane kisses on a snow man plate(they'll work in a pinch since no candy canes) and some cookies to munch. I just dug around in my cabinets and used what I had on hand.

And of course a couple of mugs at the ready to do their job!


We're off to my bro & sis-in-law's home soon for a festive gathering with a bunch of our friends (who also have kiddos) as it's a chance to eat drink and be merry all together while the kiddos run around. We still get to have a fun night out to ring in the new year.

We order a bunch of pizzas and pot luck all the rest. Everyone brings their own fun beverage of choice and there's always lots of munchies and desserts.  I know I mentioned I'm bringing Sandra's homemade twix bars but I'm also bringing apples and this CARAMEL TOFFEE APPLE DIP that is so good and I've made often in the past and it gets gobbled up!

The part where it says put pecans on the top - I actually put those little toffee candy bits on instead and boy is that yummy! I like to serve this dip in a really pretty dish with red and green apples as it makes it look extra festive. I learned a great tip long ago - that if you toss the cut up apple slices in some pineapple juice it doesn't affect the taste but they'll keep from browning all night long! Go give it a try, you'll be amazed at how well it works!!

So how will you be ringing in the New Year? I hope wherever you are and whatever you're doing it's safe and lots of fun. 

See you in 2015!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stained Glass Solution

I have such a love for stained glass. It just speaks to my soul!

 If you have seen in some of my other posts like this one I have many stained glass accents in our cottage home, as that post shows some of my stained glass lamps and my stained glass panels along the patio doors in the dining room.

Well we recently did a bathroom remodel and we redid just about everything in there, but the one thing we kept was our stained glass window.

The above photo shows the main part of the bathroom. We redid all the cabinetry, sinks, granite countertops.  To the immediate left is our tub and next to that our newly tiled shower and around the corner to the right the toilet and walk-in closet. We were thrilled with the results! However, above our tub in the original bathroom was a large glass block window. We didn't care for the look of glass block, so I was able to find this stained glass window online that was actually supposed to hang vertically - but I thought why not hang it horizontally? It would be perfect to disguise the glass block, yet still let natural light into the room.  My hubby indulged me and framed it in and we had an electrical strip of lighting put in with it. It was a perfect solution for the original bathroom and we still love it in the new one too.

 So in the evenings if we want we can light it up (as once it gets dark it doesn't show up much)

And during the day sunlight just gleams through it!
So that has been my go-to solution for many things in our home - from using a stained glass lamp to fill a corner to using it as an accent alongside our doors.  And in this case a stained glass window to cover up an ugly glass block window.  I think repurposed places are often recycling stained glass and could be a good option for finding just the right piece. In most situations I have found it's not much more of an expense than to use other materials... and in my opinion it's so much prettier.

I'm joining Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday


Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday to All! I hope you've been recovering well from a truly beautiful Christmas time. Everything was wonderful here, other than it was kind of a weirdly mild and not very white Christmas (strange for where I live)...but I'm not complaining!  Wonderful time with family and friends that flew by too fast - I feel blessed.
The weather outside is...
It's still pretty bare and patchy as far as snow goes but the mild has worn off and it's COLD. It was below zero earlier this AM and I think we have forecast of high of 10 degrees today. Back to bundling up!!
On the breakfast plate this morning...
Having fun being a kid with my daughter (kiddos home from school on break) and we had cherry pop tarts. I had some coffee too with rum cake creamer. Still in holiday treat mode I guess.
As I look outside my window...
Sunny and bright but I know it's CoLD!!!!

 Right now I am...

Listening to my daughter and her friend play. She had a buddy sleep over last night. That's part of the fun on Christmas break right?
As I look around the house...
Lots of picking up for my daughter and friend to do before her friend goes home. Lol Some daily chores - laundry and a few dishes, but in pretty good shape. We super cleaned before all the relatives came for Christmas. Going to wait until this next weekend to take down the trees, so I get to enjoy their twinkly goodness a little bit longer.
On today's to do list...
We really need some groceries. So going to go pick those up this afternoon and run a few errands with my daughter. Will make dinner early so I can run something to my in-laws before my son's indoor soccer game.
Currently reading...
I kind of set Outlander to the side for now (although determined to read it before the Starz show starts back up on April) as I'm eyeing up a few Nora Roberts books I'd like to read. And of course my subscription mags keep coming and they're all about losing weight and organization - I guess that's all we get to think about for January!! haha

On the t.v.

Not a whole lot at the moment. My daughter and I had taped the Sound of Music sing-a-long that was on a few weeks ago and still have not watched the whole thing. So I see some watching and singing in our future.

On the menu this week...
Going to make something easy for tonight, maybe spaghetti hot dish and salad and also pick up some pasties and gravy for my in-laws for another night. I also need to get some items for goodies I'll make for New Year's Eve party we'll be going to at my bro & sis-in-law's house with a bunch of our friends. We have fun letting all of our kiddos run around while we play games and have drinks and lots of laughs and toast the new year in right. I know one thing I'm going to make is Sandra's homemade twix bars to bring! I know they'll be a hit!! Look on her full bellies happy kids site for the recipe. MMmmmmm
What I'm creating at the moment...
I've been going through my scrapping stuff and I'm really thinking about doing an etsy shop in the future for some pre-made scrapbooking pages for folks and mini albums that I would have done up with my special touch of interactive pockets or letters as I showed one in this post from Saturday. I have several pre-made pages already done and would work in the future on some mini albums and I have even also made some scrapbook related jewelry. Stay tuned and I'll show items in the future and see what you all think about it as I love feedback of my blogging friends.
Favorite photo from camera this week...
Isn't he cute?

So young. Sigh. My bouquet was red velvet roses, white lilies and holly.

I need to share some pics out of my wedding scrapbook as today me & hubby celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.  On a snowy night right after Christmas time, those many years ago, I married my best friend and love of my life in a beautiful church all decorated for Christmas. It was an evening service with all the candles glowing. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sigh. We've been married for 19 years and together for almost 27! I wouldn't change one second.
Prayer, inspirational quote or devotional
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2Corinthians 5:17
(fitting as we head into a new year)
Blessings for a great week! I'm linking for Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dreaming on the Fairies

My daughter is a firm believer, and lover of fairies.  I will be the first to admit I may have encouraged this love a bit. Or maybe I should just say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
I bring this up as my daughter received some special gifts for Christmas from not only me...but also a special fairy friend that started visiting her last year.  First of all, here's some photos of a few of the fun fairy gifts she received:
 I want to move into this teapot house!!

just love her sweet watering can of flowers

My daughter received a special note from Rose (that's the name of her own special garden fairy) and it said that Santa dropped off goodies for her on behalf of Rose. You see Rose has left for the winter as all good garden fairies do. 
My daughter has a lovely little garden right outside her bedroom window.  We have toad homes to attract frogs & toads, fairy houses, and pots filled with flowers & fairy folk. We started this several years ago all in my daughter's hopes to seek, catch,or make friends with a fairy.
Well last year Rose showed up and started leaving my daughter notes and tokens. My daughter has been in heaven ever since and has loved sending notes back and forth to sweet Rose.  My daughter even swears she's caught a glimpse of Rose before.
Here's the note Rose left last Fall letting my daughter know she had to leave for the Winter. 
So my daughter was positively thrilled that Rose remembered her for Christmas and sent goodies via Santa.
So we've been dreaming on fairies ever since...even though we have a LONG winter ahead to get through before we're back to fun flower pots full of fairies. Here's some peeks from last summer in case you'd like to dream along with us:

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Scraptastic Saturday: Interactive Scrapbook Pocket

I thought I would start doing something "scrapbook Saturday" and found that Scrapality blog has a linky party on Saturday's! Yay! So I'm excited to join them as a weekly scrapbooking outlet for me (however they have other wonderful DIY projects they share - so check them out!)
Today I wanted to share something fun I enjoy doing so much on my scrapbooking pages. I guess you could almost call it an added love letter...that's the romantic version of thinking of it I guess. But basically it's a "pocket" of any sort on a page. In this case in the form of an envelope I usually tie with some ribbon.
Here are the 2 pages together. However, the light was playing havoc with my camera so let's get a better look:
Here is each page individually. So I would put this together in my album as one layout. But I really want to point out the page on the right. I have added my envelope "pocket" on the lower right corner. I love doing this as a way to add a personal letter to someone, or write your thoughts on the subject of the layout, or even have your child write something that you want to keep for posterity.

First you untie the ribbon. I love the interactive aspect of it this way! In this case you can see that I set up the letter in the envelope to be a wish list. Maybe a wish for the fun you have planned for the winter? Maybe a wish list for your New Year's resolutions? Or maybe to save for a wish list for next Christmas?  The possibilities are up to you and I love that! You could also decorate the note with more stickers or embellishments too.
One of the best parts of scrapbooking is using endless creativity and the chance to preserve it in an album for your loved ones.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Making Merry

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Christmas these past couple of days! All that time and preparation and it's over so quickly.  We had a busy and beautiful Christmas. Christmas Eve mass was lovely and Santa visited while we were gone so we came home to lots of fun for the kiddos.
The kids each got a new bike from Santa! Here we are posing before heading to the in-laws for early Christmas morning gift opening with them and my bro & sis-in-law and their kiddos. It's been our Xmas day tradition for many years.  My daughter & I were wearing matching pj's (a gift she loved this year) and my hubby is dressed funny as this was a joke gift he was given by his brother last year - so he had to wear it by their rules. Lol Trust me he's as far from dressing like this in everyday life as you get!
Christmas Day has always been traditionally spent at my in-law's house. However, due to my mom-in-law's deteriorating condition and abilities we have now taken over the duties of hosting for the holiday. We had my Mom and then all of my hubby's relatives over. We had our wonderful ham dinner and then played the goofy door prize game I talked about earlier in the month.  The tables were set with my mom-in-law's china she always used. Even though it's hard and things need to change - some traditions we can carry along the way with us...and there's comfort in that I think.
The door prize game was so fun and goofy as always - here's a little peek!
As I said - there's comfort in how some traditions (even goofy ones) stay the same.
We're actually off to another Christmas gathering today.  We're getting together with my Dad later this year, so I guess it's nice it didn't have to end so early yet.  We get to enjoy a little longer.  Hope you all are as well!
**PS: Here's a link to my pinterest and my breakfast tab on there where you can find the omelet breakfast muffins I made to bring to my in-law's for Xmas morning gift opening.  I used sausage instead of ham and they were really good!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Well I've come to that point in the holidays where things are getting awfully busy and family gatherings have begun on a regular basis and continue through Christmas. 
I wasn't very good at planning ahead for Blogmas and I don't think I'll be able to finish participating in it, and I probably won't even be blogging until after Christmas now. But thanks again Sandra - blogmas was SO fun!!
I want to wish everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and want to share a few things.
Christmas past:

I hadn't shared a scrapping page in a while.  Here's one from my daughter's first Christmas.  Some of these photos were used in our Christmas card that year. Such sweet memories and how the time flies so fast!! I love the simple red and green paper I used on the white backdrop.  Their expressions are priceless. My son is a teenager now but the expression on the upper left photo is him all the way! Lol
Now Christmas present:

Fast forward to this year's Christmas card. See what I mean about the time going so fast??
I also wanted to share another fun recipe with you. This is a wonderful one for an appetizer before Christmas dinner or to bring to a holiday party.
In a small bowl mix one pkg cream cheese with 2 tbsp. mayo, 1 tbsp Worcestershire, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tbsp dried minced onion.

Spread in 8x8 or small pan


Cover with cocktail sauce

Top with canned crab meat that's been drained. (You could use small cooked shrimp as well). Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour or longer to blend flavors.

Serve with a buttery kind of cracker.
Now for Christmas Future:
Another fun recipe. This one good for future leftovers is a recipe for Chicken & Rice Soup. However, if you have leftover turkey from Christmas it would be great in there too. (Recipe from Land 'O Lakes - see below)
Chop your veggies and fresh parsley

Melt butter in soup pot and cook vegetables 3-5 mins. Add chicken broth, water and seasonings and cook for a while longer.

then add chicken (or turkey) and cooked rice of your choice & parsley

 Cook until heated through.
Here's the recipe (off of my phone obviously) Lol:

 I added a little turmeric too as I like that in my chicken (or turkey) soup.
If I get any time before Christmas I will try to come around and check in and say hello. I appreciate your visits and comments so much - especially when I know everyone is busy too! My first Christmas blogging (yay) and it's been so fun! I plan to be back blogging by the weekend after Christmas and be back to HHM Monday on the 29th.  Again have a wonderful Christmas and God bless.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Day 21: Favorite Christmas Poem or Picture (& Holiday luncheon and a recipe!)

Well I'd have to say my favorite Christmas poem is the tried and true "T'was the Night Before Christmas" poem.
I know it's probably cliché and overdone, but it's still one of my favorites and I never tire of hearing it each year. I am 7 years old all over again.
I do also love to hear the Christmas story of Jesus's birth each year as church (&  from Linus on A Charlie Brown Christmas!) Lol
I'll throw in a favorite picture too - which would be the photo I used for our
Christmas card this year:
Any photo with all of my "babies" in it is my favorite.
I would also love to share some other photos filled with holiday spirit.  I had a luncheon for some relatives the other day and I snapped some shots to share so you could be part of it as well.
 If you look closely you can see it started snowing soft big flakes so pretty - just right for the occasion!

 Please come in - the table is all set.

The tree is on and candles are lit.
Come sit down and let me know what you would like to drink so we can make a toast.
On the menu:
A holiday salad of romaine, chopped veggies, red apple, cheddar cheese and of course some sugared pecans on top! All with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
A fruit platter & dip
Holiday ham & cheese sliders (recipe to follow)
Dessert will be a variety of cookie and faux turtles from all of my baking the other day.
Served along with coffee and tea.
HOLIDAY HAM & CHEESE SLIDERS RECIPE (from Midwest Living magazine)
1/4 cup of butter, melted
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup pineapple-apricot or pineapple preserves/jam
24 silver dollar or smaller size dinner rolls
1&1/2 lbs cooked and thinly sliced ham
12 ounces cheddar cheese thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tsps. yellow mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 - 1&1/2 tsp poppy seeds
In a small bowl mix flour, melted butter and jam/preserves and set aside.
Cut rolls in half and lay bottom halves in  two 13x9 pans lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spread each roll with jam mixture. Divide ham and cheese among all the roll bottoms. Add roll tops.
For the topping - melt 1/2 cup of  butter in small sauce pan on the stove over medium heat. Remove from heat when melted and stir in brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Using a pastry brush coat all of the tops of rolls with the butter mixture.  Sprinkle poppyseeds over all.
Bake in 350* oven for around 20 minute or until cheese is nicely melted and everything is heated through.
Linking for Blogmas Day 21 with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM