Saturday, November 30, 2013

Before or After?

I have heard it questioned several times this past week whether it is better to decorate for Christmas before or after Thanksgiving. Ummmmmmmmmmmmm I'm thinking that perhaps I should have decorated after! As tonight's picture shows our tree came crashing down this morning before we had our family Thanksgiving. Elijah was looking at an ornament on the back of the tree and several others were on the floor in front of the tree playing slap jack when the tree tumbled over. I was in the family room asking Nathan and Wade to look at the tree sometime today as it seemed to be leaning and I wanted to make sure that it wasn't going to tumble over when we heard the crash! The main thing is that no children were hurt since they were so close. And, Elijah was looking at an ornament at the time of the crash, but Nathan and Wade discovered that the tree hadn't been put in the stand correctly so the cause of the fall lies with Woody and me...not Elijah! What a mess...but no where near as many ornaments were broken as I expected and not as many came off as I expected. I'm just untangling and making them hang straight once again. There are probably a hundred or more that need to be put back on the tree...that will happen another day! We had a great family day...all fourteen of us. Here is a funny...Woody came in when we were getting all the food lined up and ready so we could fill our plates...he had just been filling the water glasses. He said that I hadn't set enough places that we needed sixteen places...four Proctor's, eight neighbor Dorrell's, and four of us...oops looks like he counted Melany and Nathan in our family and in their own! Before the Proctor's arrived Graham came over and helped me peel potatoes and set the tables...a great help. We asked Elijah to come over and help Goosey (Woody) put the leaves in the kitchen table. After we ate, all the adults pitched in to clean up the kitchen mess. Talk about a LOT of dishes. Woody, Kathy, and Nathan took turns washing the dishes, Wade and I put food away, I put dishes away, Melany took all the meat off the turkey carcass,and I started the carcass simmering to make turkey broth for turkey soup. Wade, Melany, Erin and Alex decided not to stay for turkey leftovers. But the two Dorrell families spread out the food again and we enjoyed leftovers. I won't say that there weren't any electronic games/phones, etc. out and being used...but it was nice to see the children running around outside playing for part of the time (a beautiful day!) and they also played card and board games. Woody and I looked through Melany's Master of Art book that she has put together about her art show (her thesis). We both proofed it for her. Our family members aren't huge football fans, but towards the end of the day a football game was turned on but without the sound. Well, all is quiet here now. And, now I need to go down and finish taking bones, etc. out of the turkey broth...oh, boy! I would rather crash...but will be glad I did when we have turkey soup!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Baking Day!

Today I am running on not much sleep. It seemed last night that every time I fell asleep I was awakened due to coughing. I am ready for the cough to go away. I got up early as I figured that I might as well! I first did some cleaning and then got underway with my cooking. I started out with baking two pecan pies. I figured that heating up the oven would help heat up the kitchen so that rolls could rise. Everything that I did today seemed to take an extremely long time! I don't know how it is this time and I have no more done than I have! Sweet Abigail came over after lunch and offered to be my cooking assistant. She helped me shape the rolls and then make the pie crusts for the two pumpkin pies and stirred the pumpkin mixture as I added ingredients. After the pies were in the oven, she used the rest of the leftover pastry dough to make some tree and star pastry treats for her family to have after their supper. After those came out of the oven we put them on a pretty angel plate and I helped her carry them back to her house (it was dark by this time). I have put away a load of clothes and gotten the dish washer loaded and running and then washed the dishes that didn't fit in by hand as I need to get to the sink to let the turkey sit in a cold water "bath" to make sure that it is thawed the whole way for in the morning. I also still have the broccoli to prepare...I thought that it would be good not to have to cut up the broccoli tomorrow. Woody has worked on writing out Christmas letter today. He also went to the store to get more milk, butter, and eggs! It never ceases to amaze me how many eggs I use when making Thanksgiving dinner. And, this year we didn't count up as to how many we needed...I just put eggs on the grocery list and he got a dozen and I "thought" that would be sufficient with what we already had...well...not so! I often have a box of dry milk on hand, but don't at the moment so I have been going through the milk pretty fast too...especially with the pumpkin pies and the whole wheat rolls' liquid happens to be milk and we definitely need plenty of milk for the mashed potatoes tomorrow! By the end of the day we hardly have any left in the 1/2 gallon that we had so it was good that he went to the store. He helped with the pumpkin pies too...he opened up the evaporated milk when I went upstairs to help Kathy find some thread! He is still experiencing a lot of sciatica pain. So he sort of tries to stay put as much as he can. I came upstairs a little while ago to recoup. I sat in my recliner and dozed "slightly" so maybe it was a power nap?!? I surely hope so as I still have several things to do on my "to-do" list. I knew that today's list was going to be almost impossible to accomplish...but these tasks needed to be done today. My main problem today was remembering to start the timer! I would set it before the item went into the oven, but after I got it in the oven I forgot to start it! That happened with both sets of pies and the rolls...guess you could say I am on a roll. One batch of rolls got a bit overdone...and I just had to keep an eye on the pies. I have made these pies so many times that I know how they "shake" if they are done or not done! So nothing too drastic happened due to my forgetfulness...guess I was multitasking a bit too much! Well, off to see if I can accomplish another task or two or...I keep thinking that tomorrow at this time Thanksgiving festivities will probably be behind us for another year! It takes so long to prepare and is over in a blink of an eye! Time does fly when one is having fun!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gobble! Gobble!

I know that I woke up waaaaaaaaay too early...probably due to coughing! But it was too cold to get up and get busy around the house so I just stayed snug under my covers for quite a while and read. It got down to 17 in the night. Brrrrr! We have pretty much stayed inside today. I'm not sure if Woody went outside for any reason or not. I do know that he opened the front door long enough to toss a lady bug outside. Woody and the dishwasher have helped me keep up with cooking dishes. Today I sliced the bread that I made for the stuffing/dressing (whichever you prefer to call it!). Ours never gets stuffed into the bird...does that make it dressing?!? After slicing the bread, I put it in a slow oven for it to dry. When it was dried enough then I cubed it and stored it for Saturday morning when I make the dressing. I also sliced and chopped mushrooms, celery and onion and sauteed it so it would be ready when I stir all the ingredients together for the dressing on Saturday. I also made the brown sugar/pecan topping for our sweet potato casserole. The flour is out ready for me to make rolls tomorrow. The pumpkin is thawed for our pumpkin pies that I will make tomorrow along with pecan pies. Tomorrow is pie and roll day! At a point I had to go rest since I had awakened so early this morning, plus all the coughing that I am doing really wears me out. So I ended up taking a pretty good nap this afternoon. I am now getting ready to do a couple of cleaning jobs that need to be done before Saturday...trying to choose cleaning jobs that will stay clean and won't have to be done not vacuuming tonight...maybe dust since I don't have much area to dust when the Christmas decorations are that won't take me long. Woody has taken it easy icing his knee at intervals and watching football, etc. during the day and evening. Now if my cough would just go away before Saturday...but if it is the way it has been in years when my allergies hit me this way, the cough will linger. I feel sorry for Woody having to listen to my hacking. And, I am getting so sore from coughing that I really dread each time that a coughing "fit" comes on! My voice is mostly back...just sort of gravelly at this point. Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends! Hope that you have had a wonderful day! We are looking forward to our day of celebration on Saturday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twas The Night Before...

At least for some this is the night before Thanksgiving. But for us we still have several days till our Thanksgiving. Today has been a day of "borrowing" between neighbors (Nathan & Kathy and us). First I couldn't find the right sized dish that I wanted to make our Autumn Salad in. So I went next door and got one the size that I needed. Then a little later Abigail came over to our house and borrowed a cup of sugar. And, then a little later she came back for some more. Not long after that Joy showed up with a tear in one of her pairs of pants. After I got our supper casserole in the oven, she and I went upstairs and I did a quick fix on it. She said that they were going to have a Pilgrim play and that Pilgrim's wear black and white and this was her only pair of black pants!!! Then this evening Graham showed up needing to borrow the turkey roasting pan. They are having one of Kathy's sisters and her family for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I did a little more for our Saturday Thanksgiving feast this morning--made the gelatin salad. And, I made a casserole for our supper tonight. Woody helped me keep up with dishes in the kitchen...he has done the dishes that don't go in the dishwasher. I think that I am through in the kitchen for tonight. Woody did go to the chiropractor this morning. It is pretty brrrrrrrrrrrrry around here. It is 21 deg. at the moment and by morning it is supposed to be in the teens. I plan to stay in and try to stay warm. More tasks to make Saturday easier are planned for tomorrow. I still am croaky and coughing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ahead of the Game!

At least I am attempting to stay ahead of the game. Today I made two more things that need to be done before our Thanksgiving feast. I made a special herb bread that is for dressing (we do bread rather than cornbread dressing...New England heritage). I found this recipe on a cooking website a couple of weeks ago and thought that it would be a good idea to try it. We are going away from prepackaged items and my recipe for dressing calls for packaged herb flavored bread crumbs. Last year I used our whole wheat bread and went from there attempting to add the correct amounts of herbs. And, it did taste pretty good. So when I found this yeast herb bread that was specifically made for dressing, I decided that I needed to try it. So I made two loaves today. Time will tell how it does in our dressing...really I guess our taste buds will be the judge on Saturday! After I got the bread rising, I got busy making condensed cream of chicken soup (trying to no longer use canned soups). Our Holiday Broccoli recipe calls for cream of chicken soup. This recipe has worked great when used in some of our soups as a base. I'm not sure how it will do as a sauce over broccoli. There are still a couple of things to maybe then? For me it is a texture thing...not sure that I will like the texture of this by itself with not much more added. Guess we will find out unless I chicken out and end up using canned instead...a can still resides with our canned goods. Woody got the upstairs hallway all clear of all the Christmas boxes...what a job! I am very glad that it is done. This afternoon after they finished their school work till after Thanksgiving, the children came over and had a rousing game of Monopoly! Their cousin who is Abigail's age is visiting with them. I guess they are finding out what life will be like with seven! Their plumbing problem got solved this afternoon so they can once again have running water. I did run a load of dishes for them. Three meals was about the max they could go with nine people using dishes and not being able to wash them. I am still just croaking (and coughing). This evening I heard the door open and a voice say "hello." It was Graham, but I had to go downstairs in order for him to hear me. He had dragged our garbage can around to the front of the house and was coming in to help me empty our waste baskets. Woody had already left to walk to the church for his time in the prayer room. So I gladly gathered up our trash and let him take it out to our garbage can and then he rolled it to the curb. Now I am ready to rest for a while! Today I made a list dividing up the food preparations that need to be done between now and Saturday. Each day has at least one task...and as we get closer to Saturday the list gets longer!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Silence is Golden!

Silence is golden = Woody being the luckiest husband in Tullahoma = Lois has lost her voice! It started Saturday night and most of the day yesterday I couldn't even squeak, but today I can croak once in a while! Woody did our Thanksgiving week grocery shopping this morning. That means that we have quite a large bird in our refrigerator hopefully thawing! Yesterday I cleaned the fridge since it was fairly empty. is not empty...but still clean! Woody also blew leaves. The leaf truck is in the neighborhood so Woody, Nathan, Kathy and most of the children pitched in and really worked hard on getting leaves to the edge of our yards. Being littlest Isaac just watched all the work and wandered around. Several got rides to the road on the leaf tarp...lots of giggles and laughter! I took a "leave of absence" from teaching because of my voice and have begged off for tomorrow too. I went shopping with a friend this afternoon and we had fun despite my coughing and whispering! Our neighbors (Nathan and Kathy and crew) have a water leak so have had to turn off their water at the street till they can get the leak every so often we have several little ones come in to use our bathrooms! Several just left and said that they would be back to brush teeth in a little while! Well, off to dance with the stars! Oh, almost forgot...the tree is finished!!!! The decorating has been turned over to Woody. His job is to get all the boxes stored back into the Christmas closet...not an easy job...really a puzzle!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

So Close!

I came so close to having the tree completely decorated. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! I had so hoped that I could report tonight that I was finished...but alas...I still have the three boxes that you see on the cutting table and they are crammed full of ornaments. The other picture shows the boxes that I have emptied. Woody headed next door pretty early as Nathan and Graham had gone hunting and Kathy needed to head in another direction and could only take two of the children. I got up and headed down to the church to deliver the breakfast cookies that I had made for the Night In Bethlehem workers. After I got back home I made myself a cup of tea and toasted a slice of homemade bread. Then I got started on the tree and I have worked pretty steadily on it for most of the day. I did take several rests and once Elijah came over and said that he needed some mittens. So I stopped long enough to find a piece of fleece and traced his hand for a pattern and then headed to the serger and whipped them up pretty quickly. I had set several ornaments aside for him to put on the tree and he did that before heading home. The tree now has an official "Elijah branch!" He has one more that he remembers from last year that he wants to hang...a mitten ornament. I haven't unearthed that ornament yet, but told him that I would keep it off the tree so he could put it on. After babysitting, Woody headed out to run some errands. The rest of the day we have stayed in trying to keep warm. It is supposed to get really cold tonight--predicting 23. Brrrrrrrrrrr! It has also been rather windy today so that makes it feel even colder. Right now it is 36, but it feels like no telling what it will "feel like" when it is in the low 20's in the morning! Maybe the winds will have calmed down, but it will still be very cold as we head off to church for the early service.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Progress Report!

The first ornament on the tree (other than the tree topper that I put on as I was putting the tree together) was this little red bird. This little bird has resided for many years on our tree and always adds a bright spot! The picture of the tree is as it looks now after one large box of ornaments has been emptied. I had to stop decorating and make some breakfast cookies to take to the church in the morning. Tomorrow is another day of getting ready for The Night In Bethlehem/A Living Nativity. My Sunday School class was asked to help provide refreshments for the workers. After I got those done I was pretty tired so came upstairs to rest and wait for Woody to finish on the computer so I could blog. It wasn't long after I sat down that I dozed off for a bit of a "power nap!" Now maybe I'll have enough energy to hang a few more ornaments this evening! Woody got up this morning and went on a took him a bit longer than usual to walk that distance...he's slower in movement these days due to his sciatic pain, etc. He is trying to not let what ails him keep him from his exercise. Wonder what the tree will look like tomorrow night when it is time to blog!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Preparing for Thanksgiving & Christmas!

This morning I had school time with Isaac, Elijah, Graham, Abigail, and Esther. Before school, I did get the Christmas mugs out and put away the everyday more step towards being finished with decorating. Woody did a bit of raking...but it must have been sort of a "Tom Sawyer-type" job as before long he had lots of little helpers and it didn't take too long till he had big helpers, too. Once the "crew" took over, Woody retired to the front porch...he commented, while sitting on the porch, that his raking job was really tough! I put a turkey breast in the oven just before school started this morning. I had read a suggestion about making the gravy for Thanksgiving ahead of time and then freezing it. The recipe called for turkey wings, but none were to be found in the stores that Woody shopped in this past he got a turkey breast instead. After school was over, I made the gravy and it is all safely tucked away in the freezer. If it happens to not to be all that great after it is frozen, then I can always make gravy that day. I just know that when it comes time to make the gravy I am usually pretty tired and that it sort of holds up things for our dinner so thought that I would give this a try. After making gravy, I went upstairs and rested for a little while. Nathan and Graham came over and moved the Christmas tree box downstairs. I had a couple of other things to do before putting the tree together. But my goal was to have it together before I blogged tonight...and I met my goal as tonight's picture shows. It's together not to get underway hanging ALL the ornaments! One box is on the cutting table waiting to be explored and then ornaments hung. Over in the left hand corner of the picture you can see part of the array of boxes that I have that are filled with ornaments. Lots of tree trimming ahead...but at least that is the last decorating job other than putting the boxes back in the Christmas closet...and that job is Woody's! Woody went for a late afternoon four-mile-walk. He left in daylight but returned in darkness. Well, the really fun job of decorating is about to begin...I love to decorate the many memories as I hang each ornament! I'm not sure that I am up to getting into the ornaments tonight...think that I will at least rest in my chair for a little while before even thinking about starting...and, I may not start till morning. So today has been a bit of a mixture of getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Feel Just Like The Big Bad Wolf!

Because I have made so many trips up and down the stairs, I have been huffing and puffing about like The Big Bad Wolf. My goal was to have all the boxes back up in the hallway so I can get Nathan and perhaps Graham to bring down the big Christmas tree box. That goal is met...and the place for the tree has been emptied of furniture making way for the tree. I did just take one more box downstairs...the box of Christmas mugs...but I will wait till tomorrow to make the exchange of daily mugs for the Christmas ones...I'm about done in! Before school this morning, I worked in the kitchen trying to get it finished up...ended up doing more cleaning in there than I had planned. When it was time for school to begin, Isaac came over first. After Isaac finished with his lessons, Goosey (Woody) read to him for a few minutes and then walked him back home. Elijah had his art time this morning since I wasn't home to do it with him yesterday. He made an ornament out of a Christmas card...but not a card ball! Then Graham came over and read out loud to me for a while. Then it was Abigail's turn to come read. After Abigail, Joy had her sewing time with me. She finished her sewing project today--a pin cushion. She did a great job! Next she will be doing a secret sewing project (shhhhhhhh! present for Esther) during her sewing time. After Joy's sewing time, I ate a quick lunch and then headed to church to work in the library for a couple of hours. I got busy as soon as I got home and just finished up a little while ago...only taking a short break to eat supper. Woody continues to take it easy due to his various aches and pains. I am now going to head straight to my recliner and take it easy the rest of the night!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Friendly Tuesday!

I changed things up a bit with school this morning as I was meeting friends to go another friend's home for lunch. Abigail came first for her sewing lesson. Then Graham, Joy, and Esther joined her for art. After art Joy read a story to me and I read one to her. Then it was time for me to gather things together to go meet my friends at our designated spot (Lowe's' parking lot). Then we were off taking lunch to share with one of our friends who has MS and hasn't been doing very well lately. We hoped that we could brighten her day a bit. We had a good visit as we always do. When I got home I found out that I had just missed Abigail. She was looking for some fabric to make something for Esther. So we looked through my scraps and finally found something that appealed to Abigail and Abigail thought Esther would like. Then we worked on getting two rectangles of fabric cut with straight sides! While she was planning, she thought of something else that she wanted to do on this present so we got into planning for that. Now to find the time to execute the second "idea!" Time seems to definitely be of the essence lately! After a quick supper of leftovers, I got underway with getting the kitchen floor ready to mop. My sister sent us an early Christmas present, a snowman runner/rug to put on the floor in front of our kitchen sink...and, I couldn't put it down on our dirty kitchen floor. So I mopped the kitchen floor and then when it was dry I put our new rug down. It looks great...adds to the snowman/tree "theme" of the kitchen and family room. Putting the new rug down is about the only decorating I have done today...too busy to get back to it. I had hoped to have all the decorative items in boxes and ready to be stored away till after Christmas...but I think that will have to wait for another day as my back is telling me that I need to head to the recliner with my cup of tea as soon as I finish this blog! Woody left a while ago to walk to church for his time in the prayer room. He is still having a lot of pain from his sciatic nerve and whatever else might ail him!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Once Again!

Our Japanese maple is absolutely beautiful at the moment--such vivid colors--almost need sunglasses to look at it!!! This has been a very busy day. I had school with Isaac and Elijah. Then Esther followed by Joy came over and spent time reading out loud to me. Then Graham had his Grammy time when we do experiments, sew, or do whatever strikes our fancy! Graham finished his card ball for his Christmas tree.Here's a picture of a card ball that I made many years ago. It's a great use for old Christmas cards.
Card balls are going to be our art lesson tomorrow. Graham has had to use geometry to figure out how to divide the circle up into equal parts. Since he has completed his using a triangle in the center. He plans to make another tomorrow using a pentagon. We'll have to see how that ball turns out! Woody and I many, many years ago tried different shapes--some shapes work and others don't. Graham will have to figure that out. The three girls will be using triangles on their first attempt at card balls. After lunch, I sat down and made up a grocery list. A couple of friends and I are going to meet tomorrow and take lunch to friends. I'm making a salad and bread. The bread is rising as I type this. I am making Pilgrims' Bread. It uses several different grains--whole wheat, stone ground corn meal, rye flour and white bread flour. I thought that Pilgrims' Bread was an appropriate bread for the season! After I got my list completed, Abigail happened to come over so I invited her to accompany me to the store. We had fun and she was very helpful as I don't go to the store very often so really don't know where anything is! We came home and unloaded and put away the groceries and then Abigail headed home to do some chores at home and I got underway with cooking both our supper and my part of tomorrow's lunch. I still have the gelatin salad left to do, but that is easy. I will do that after the bread gets into the oven to bake. I did a bit more decorating yesterday afternoon after church. The kitchen is pretty much finished--Abigail and I bought the last decorative touch for the kitchen this afternoon--two boxes of candy canes to put in a tin snowman hat. This evening while I watch Dancing With the Stars, I plan to do the shadow box in the family room--I did do the one in the kitchen yesterday. I have been diligently putting away everyday decorative items--packing them away in boxes that Christmas decorative items have come out of. Once I have all decorative itmes that are on the sewing table cleared off/packed up, then I will be ready to have Nathan and Graham bring down the big tree box. Oh, boy...Well, I'll just say for the first time on the blog this year...'tis the season!I have one other job before going to bed tonight--do a little clearing in the sewing room as Abigail will be sewing first thing in the morning. Well, I'm off to check to see if the bread dough has risen enough to let rest and then shape into loaves.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mid-month Saturday

Up and down the step ladder=description of my day! But I can say that the mantel, shelves over the kitchen cabinets, and the top of the china cabinet are finished. The dining room's decorations are complete...oh, wait I haven't put up the Christmas cups and saucers on my cup and saucer display...that won't take long! The family room is finished except for the shadow box and the kitchen is finished except for the shadow box and the kitchen table decoration...can't do the latter due to all the tissue paper piled on it. Then in the living room I have to arrange bells on the bell shelf and add some holly in a couple of places. THEN all that will remain is the BIG tree in the living room. That is a major job but a fun one especially as I know that the children will enjoy helping me place ornaments. Woody went to the library and also did the rest of our weekly grocery shopping. About the time that I needed to head upstairs to rest for a while this afternoon, he headed out the door for a four-mile-walk. I read and dozed while Woody walked! Nathan called and invited us to eat with them this evening and then the children and their parents entertained us for a while...juggling, hula hooping, balancing acts, etc. They are quite the entertaining bunch...quite a circus! I came back home after the entertainment wound down and got back to work on finishing up the decorating in the kitchen. Then I had a couple of phone calls...thus I am blogging a bit later than usual. I will end with a question...Can you believe that we are already more than half-way through November?!?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Santa's Little Helpers?

I do believe that Santa must have sent me his very special helpers! We are just zipping right along with the decorating! We are opening one storage box after another and getting out what we are going to use this year. Graham got through with his school work and headed over to see what he could help with. I decided that he was old enough to be given the job of setting up our Precious Moments manger scene. He did a great job. A picture of that will be forth coming sometime during the holidays. Today's photo shows Graham's major job of the day--the corner Christmas tree. Ever since we got the corner tree several years back, Graham has put it together for us. So he was ready to do "his" job once again today. We had to move quite a few boxes to get to the tree box, but we managed to do it. He got the tree box downstairs just prior to getting called home for lunch. He and Joy came back as soon as they finished eating and got to work. Graham put the stand together and the boards placed under the tree and assigned Joy the job of sorting the branches according to colors. Then it was together in no time and the three of us "fluffed" the branches. At some point Joy headed home and Esther came over and assisted Graham in placing the ornaments on the tree. So one Christmas tree up and decorated thanks to our very helpful grandchildren. Esther and I got all the ornament boxes back in the storage box. Then Graham and Esther helped me get underway with supper...they peeled the potatoes for the mashed potatoes that I planned for tonight's meal to go along with other leftovers from last night's pot roast dinner. Once again they proved so helpful! It was so nice for me to not have to peel potatoes when it came time to fix out dinner tonight! After supper, I was just about played out so came upstairs to rest...and, yes, this rest included resting my eyes. I just woke up a few minutes before it was time to blog. I'm not worth much in the evenings after doing so much during the day. I "should" head back to do a few more things, but just don't have the energy...nap or no nap! That's one reason that I start decorating early...I can go at it as slowly as I need to! But at this point I'm feeling very good about the decorating...there are just little touches here and there that need to be done...THEN we will attack our BIG Christmas tree and ALL its ornaments. Woody had a chiropractor appointment this morning. After that he did part of our weekly grocery shopping. He took a 4-mile-walk that included stopping at the pharmacy to pick up one of his prescriptions. He also ran another errand that took him to two places. So he has been quite busy today, too. His leg/knee/etc. continue to hurt him. He has been spending a lot of time icing his knee the last few days. Well, I'm off to rest and give into my aches and pains. I have a good book that I started yesterday...I'm sure that I hear it calling from the arm of my recliner! I almost forgot about Elijah's special help this afternoon. He wanted to do some more decorating when he came over. So while the potatoes cooked, we got Christmas bells out. It was so cute how he organized them. He asked me the same question about each bell..."Is it breakable?" He place them according to my answer...all the breakable ones he put in a line waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back on the shelf and the ones that weren't breakable he placed in a line on the front of the shelf. He explained that was so Isaac couldn't get to the ones that were breakable! (Ummmmmmmmm...confession here...not sure that Grammy will leave them as he placed them but he had a very good reason for placing them as he did...wonder if I'll be sorry if I move them around a bit and bring those breakable ones a bit more forward on the shelf! So far Isaac has come over and only been interested in the Fisher Price manger scene! The children do enjoy that manger scene so much and each of them has their own idea as to how it should be displayed. It gets rearranged by each of them each time they are over. Joy arranges it differently than any of the others...she takes Baby Jesus out of the scene...since it isn't Christmas yet and He hasn't been born yet! What fun times we have ahead of us as we celebrate the real reason for Christmas!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Decorating = Science?!?

Christmas decorating got underway pretty soon after I got up this morning. About the time that I was attacking the first box of the day, a friendly little voice came in the door. It was Elijah and he told me he wanted to help decorate. All right! Not long after that Esther joined him. And the three of us really worked hard all morning opening up boxes and finding lots of snowmen, trees, etc. Lots of trips up and down the stairs getting boxes out of the Christmas closet. At one point in the morning, they did take a break and made some muffins with Goosey (compensation for all their work!). We really got a lot done including the little bookshelf at the top of the stairs that is designated children's decorations. Esther and Elijah had more fun putting the things just the way they wanted them. Then they helped put close to fifty tiny cross stitch ornaments on the little tree that I display the Beyer's Christmas Carolers with. They almost got that job finished, but got called home for lunch. After lunch Abigail joined me and we got all of the Beyer's Carolers out of their boxes and placed on their shelf, table, etc. Several still have to be arranged, but at least they are all out of their boxes. Not long after we got the carolers out, Graham, Joy, Esther, and Elijah joined us and they got out the Fisher Price Nativity (tonight's photo). Now for the explanation for the title of tonight's blog. Esther and Elijah had turned on one of the Christmas music boxes and the sound was rather faint. So I told them to put it on the desk and then the sound got louder. I then told them about the desk top acting like a sounding board. Then a little later, we found an ornament that is a prism. So we had to find a sunny window and then we made rainbows--and I did a simple explanation about the colors being separated out of the sunlight. Anyway...we had a fun productive day decorating and added in a bit of science along the way. Kathy came over and got the children so they could go outside and enjoy a pretty afternoon and do a bit of raking, unpacking their RV, etc. I then got underway with our supper. Not long after they left, Esther came in all excited and wanted me to come see her "new" bike (she explained that it was new to her...that it had been Joy's)...nice the way bikes can be handed down according to the size needed! Anyway, it is larger than the bike that she had learned on and she wanted to show me that she could ride it. I had to go find my camera and off I went to capture a moment! I ended up catching a couple of moments as while I was out there, Kathy got Elijah started off on the smaller bike that Esther had learned on and off he went on his own! It looks like he may be the youngest to learn to ride a two-wheeler. He did quite well considering that he really didn't know how to stop, etc. He ran into a couple of bushes, but managed to not run into the side of our house or our car! He was so excited! It's so fun to be able to share these special moments with the grandchildren! Nice to be in the kitchen and just have to walk out to the front yard and be a part of these firsts! Woody took a four-mile walk this afternoon, while I got our dinner into the oven. I made a pot roast in the oven...most of the time. when we infrequently have a pot roast, I make it in the crock pot. But, today, when I thought of doing it, it was too late to cook it for hours and hours in the crock pot so this took less time and it ended up being very good. I cooked carrots, potatoes and onions with it and then made gravy after the meat was done. Pretty good! I should probably do something for sit in the sewing room and sew out some Christmas ornaments...but, my steam has run out. About the only thing that I think that I have energy left to do is go sit in my recliner and perhaps read...that is unless I end up falling asleep (which I did after sitting down after supper before I came in to blog). Well, whatever, I think that I won't be accomplishing anything much towards Christmas the rest of the evening. As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How do YOU eat an elephant?

The way that I eat an elephant at this time of the year is "one box at a time!" Today a lot more Christmas decoration boxes were removed from the Christmas closet. Some of those remain in the upstairs hallway as I am not ready for them...yet, but others made their way downstairs and into their appropriate rooms. Some were even emptied and contents placed where they will reside during the Christmas festivities. Others items will "eventually" find a home for this year. I start out the day visualizing how very much I will get done that day...well, most of those visualizations evaporate before the end of the day. I worked on the house during the morning and then after lunch I headed to the church to work in the library for several hours. Then I came home and slowly took a few more things out of boxes...note that word slowly. As the day wears on, I get less done and make fewer trips up and down the stairs...and those trips are necessary in getting more out and in place. So when the legs say no more climbing up and down then the decorating comes to a standstill! And, a book or reading something on my iPad (or playing solitaire) while resting in my recliner looks very inviting! Woody says that he has been resting today...trying to not hurt in one place or another! Ahhhhhhhhh ain't getting old grand?!? He did do one of his Christmas decorating jobs for me today...replace our everyday cookie jar with our Christmas snowman cookie jar. Now if only one of us would find the time and/or the energy to fill it so the grandchildren could find treats in it (maybe a task for another day)! Oh, I must give him credit for making our lunch--tuna salad. It has been another cold brisk day here in Middle TN. I'm waiting for a warm-up so I can complete my window washing!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


A lot of the same today...undecorating, vacuuming, dusting, and a bit of Christmas decorating and I fit in a trip to get my hair cut. Woody blew a few more leaves--mainly a part of the driveway where the leaves were just about piled up to our knees. It has been a windy day...wind from the north...soooo a cold wind. Woody left a while ago all bundled up to walk to the prayer room at church.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I "told" myself that today would be the day that I would get underway with my decorating for Christmas. Yes, I know that it is early, but it takes me quite a while to do it and I don't want to be under pressure at the last minute to get it done. Plus, I really do love having the decorations around for a while so am happy to start seeing them in November and leave them up into January. I have sort of had to talk myself into decorating this times I just don't feel up to it and then Woody is still having a lot of sciatic nerve pain and he is needed to help put the boxes puzzle back into the Christmas closet. He said that he could do it so...I decided that I could do it too! Today was a preparation day. I needed to get a top and leggings cut out for Abigail so I could take all sewing items out of the living room...the living room acts as our cutting station when the kids and/or I are creating. The only piece of sewing equipment that didn't get removed this morning was my cutting table. That stays there for me to put things on till they can be put away till after the holidays. As the photo shows I now have some empty shelves, table tops, and book case. The little bookcase will be transported to the top of the stairs and will hold Christmas treasures that the children will arrange (when I find said items!). Part of the preliminaries is cleaning...this is the time that I really clean since I pretty much clear everything off and put Christmas items in their places. So I have unearthed a lot of far I have only sneezed once. I decided that windows needed washing before the tree gets placed...that meant taking curtains down...and, if curtains are down then they should be fluffed in the drier...and the jobs just pile up! I managed to get the two windows at the far end of the living room completed today...two more to go in the living room...then it will be on to the dining room and the kitchen. The windows are so easy to clean now that we have the new windows...I feel sort of guilty not cleaning them at least once in a while...but it does mean taking curtains down...not the easiest of tasks...but so far so good! Last year my back went out the first day that I started decorating...another reason that I sort of hesitate in taking on this daunting task...but, again, so far so good. I try to sit frequently and rest...which means that the job takes just that much longer! Today some Christmas pillows got placed and the "let it snow" fleece throw took its place on the family room couch. Over the weekend I got out Mr. Snowman (5 ft. stuffed snowman) and placed him on the hearth of the fireplace...he makes a good draft dodger during the cold months...he will stay there till Spring sets in. Anyway...things are underway! Woody got up enough energy to blow some leaves today. As friends found out today...hard to get into our yard from the curb! And, that leaf pile will only grow higher as the leaves continue to come down. They have come down so much that we have great "drifts" of leaves in the gardens and on the driveway. One needs to walk with care as there is no telling where acorn might be hiding and they are rough underfoot! Also this afternoon Woody made a cranapple crisp. So far I have had dessert for supper...the crisp is best eaten right out of the oven with a nice big scoop of ice cream melting into it! I think that I will head down and have some chili and maybe a piece of cornbread that I made yesterday and nibble on that while I dance with the stars!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our Window on the World!

We don't even have to leave home to see beautiful fall foliage! Our day has been pretty quiet and mostly a stay at home day. Woody did make his weekly trip to the library. I have done a little cleaning and a lot of resting today. I had planned to do some cooking today, but there's always another day to do that!

Friday, November 8, 2013

News Flash! Read All About It!

ESTHER CAN RIDE HER BIKE NOW! Esther came over all excited this afternoon asking us to come out and see her ride her bike. Tonight's picture shows her going the farthest distance she had gone so far--starting in front of her house and riding almost all the way over into our yard to our driveway. Good job, Esther! Woody got up early this morning and headed to Murfreesboro for a dermatologist appointment. A little while after he got home he headed off to the grocery store. I have poked around the house--doing a job here and there--then resting for a while before another task. It has been a rather chilly fall day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Little Fall Beauty and a Volcano!

This afternoon Goosey (Woody) took care of the kids while Kathy and Nathan went to Kathy's OB appointment. A little while after he went over there, Graham called over here asking for red food coloring and vinegar--he was making a volcano! And, he asked me to bring my camera. Before the experiment got underway, I snapped a couple of pictures of some of his siblings playing outside. I just happened to catch Joy in just the perfect place with the Fall trees behind her. So she added some extra beauty and color to a Fall photo! I took a movie of the volcano experiment so didn't have any stills, but I was able to capture a couple of stills from the movie footage--how great technology can be at times! After Graham's experiment (which was very well received by his siblings--lots of oooohs and aaaahs!),I went inside and sat down for a little while with the whole group and Goosey. After a while I headed back next door (home) to fix our supper--a new pasta sauce: Tomato-Cream Sauce. It was supposed to have heavy whipping cream in it, but I learned a trick somewhere a while back (once in a while an old dog can learn new tricks!)that you can substitute nonfat evaporated milk for cream and it will add richness without the fat. And, it definitely worked for this sauce. It was quite good. I served it over whole grain bow-tie pasta. This morning I had school with Isaac, Elijah, Graham, Abigail, and Esther. Today was Esther's time for sewing. She completed another color (yellow) on the cross stitch rainbow that she is making...just green, blue, indigo and violet to go! She is doing a very nice job. I read her a couple of fairy tales while she stitched. Speaking of stitching, I think that I will head to "my" recliner and do a bit of cross stitch myself to help me wind-down after a fairly busy day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How About You?

I miss little red cabooses on the backs of trains! How about you? I'm glad that Tullahoma has their very own permanent little red caboose! Today has been a pretty busy day...a typical Wednesday. I had school with Isaac, Elijah, Graham, Abigail and Joy. Today was Joy's sewing time. She is working on a pin cushion. Today she sewed the circle on the sewing machine and then stuffed it...on to the next steps at her next sewing time. After a quick bite for lunch, I headed off to the church to meet up with my partners in crime! Once again we got a lot accomplished. I was very ready to head home and flop in "my" recliner and cross stitch for a little while. Woody helped this morning with the children as they finished with me. Goosey (Woody) read to Isaac and then Elijah read some of his pink strips to Goosey. Goosey also did a pretty good job of handing out some of the brownies that he made early this morning. Right after lunch we had a parade of those who felt left out when they found out from Elijah that there were brownies over here (parents lead the parade, I do believe!). Graham, Elijah and Goosey all carried out cases, tubs, etc. of K'nex to store in the garage till after the holidays. Oh, hurdle cleared (at least in the living room) toward being able to start decorating. Again, I'll say "oh, my!" Getting closer to 'tis the season posts!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Little Boy Moments!

Tonight's pictures are ones that I took yesterday and today. I thought that it was so sweet the way that Elijah brought Isaac over yesterday morning for Isaac's school time. Elijah stayed and helped Goosey grind meat after that, while Isaac had his school time with me. Isaac is showing us a "yellow triangle" after he completed a shape puzzle. Then the fourth picture shows Elijah with his very first sewing project. As he was sitting there learning how to sew on the sewing card, he said that he could hardly wait till his second sewing project. He ran over to show his mommy as soon as he finished it. He came back and wanted to know what his second project would be and I told him that it would be one of the other sewing cards. He immediately said upon hearing that, "I'm going home, then!" Hmmmm wonder how sewing will go with him. He had been wanting to sew like his older siblings so I had finally decided that sewing cards would fill the bill for the moment for him...well, guess he only does one for it to be a project (projects are something different time for his siblings)...guess Grammy had better choose her words better! Joy and Esther each read to me for a while this morning. Then it was time for the four oldest to come over for art. We talked about different kinds of lines today and then they drew pictures of different kinds of weather situations depicting whether the weather was calm or stormy, etc. by the types of lines they used. After art, Abigail had her sewing time. She began cutting out her skirt. She has one more piece to cut out and then she can get started on sewing it together. Graham spent some time after he finished his school work and continued to organize his K'nex to be put away during Christmas. The boxes are ready to be taken to the garage to store for the holiday season. Graham has quite a shiner. Last night when he was emptying the compost from their house after supper, it was a bit darker than usual due to the time change and when he was running back to his yard, he came in contact with the guy wire that runs from the ground to the telephone pole. It knocked him flat and now he has a very "pretty" eye! Woody spent some time today blowing leaves...the big job of the season has begun!

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Monday

Such a pretty day as you can see from tonight's photo. I "risked" my life to get this picture. After my dentist appointment I walked across the street to get this tree with the pretty clouds behind it. Well, I couldn't believe all the cars that I had to wait on...perhaps it wasn't a risk but a test of my patience to get across and then back across! Woody got busy pretty early grinding two London Broil roasts into hamburger meat. We learned in AZ (where many senior citizens go to retire) that doctors recommend ground London Broil if you are going to eat/cook ground beef. It is very lean. So we try to buy London Broil for our ground beef. These days our grocery stores no longer grind meat on location so it has become a task to do here. It is not an easy task. Today he had some help from Elijah. As I think about his helper, the photo that I took of them should have been tonight's picture...oh, well, what's done is done! He was grinding the meat so we could make one of our favorite soups: Spicy Vegetable Beef. Woody ended up getting all the ingredients chopped and the meat browned, etc. while I was having school time with the children. So this soup was really an easy fix for me...Woody did it all! We had it for supper...very good! I had a dentist appointment this afternoon...just a cleaning this time and no problems were found so I am good for another six months...hopefully! Glad to have that dreaded event out of the way for a while! Late in the afternoon, Woody went on a four-mile walk. Now I'm off to watch Dancing With the Stars.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Back View!

Here's the view when we step out our back door. Not bad! Such a pretty day! Neither Woody nor I slept very well last night. So, at least for me, it has been a rather "in and out" day...napping here and there. Part of my reason for not sleeping was that I was reading a good book and was never at a good place to put it down! I'm about finished with it so the book shouldn't keep me awake tonight. Woody did the other part of our weekly grocery shopping this morning (WalMart, yesterday and Kroger, today). Mid-morning he walked to and from the library. I have done very little of this and very little of that. I do have the rest of Abigail's pattern pieces traced off and I did some laundry. And, I did a bit of napping! The children have been in and out today. Joy came over to plan something that she wants to make for Esther for Christmas. I think that what she wants to do will work so we will begin on that once she finishes the pin cushion that she is making for her school sewing project with me. Busy days ahead! Trying to motivate myself into Christmas spirit, I did listen to a little Christmas music this morning...not much...still having trouble realizing what month is here! Well, speaking about our house back view is a bit of a reminder that we need to set our clocks back an hour. Hooray...I move an hour closer to AZ tomorrow! I have fixed the clocks to look around the upstairs and see what needs to be reset up here. Time change is so confusing! I'll be confused for days!

Friday, November 1, 2013

First Day of November!

Yikes! When I turned the calendar pages up today it sort of made me want to run away! Just too close to Christmas! And, I shouldn't even be thinking about Christmas, but when November rolls around that is what I start thinking about it. Usually I have already started my Christmas shopping, but not this year. I did start making Christmas ornaments for gifts a couple of months ago...but other sewing took precedence. So that sewing isn't very far underway. Anyway...panic will probably start to settle in shortly! But today I have sort of had a laid back first day of November. Woody has been pretty busy. He had a chiropractor appointment then he did part of our weekly grocery shopping. After lunch he took a six-mile walk. Then mid-afternoon he had an appointment with his urologist and after that appointment he ran an errand for me. I stayed home and enjoyed the grandchildren filtering in and out. They had been away doing ministry gigs since Monday. Elijah was pleased with the t-shirt I had made him while they were gone. I started tracing off the patterns for Abigail's top and leggings (the part of her birthday present that I am making). I needed her here so we could check out sizes. She will get underway with sewing her skirt when she has sewing class with me next week. I foresee a busy November! (Is it time to start playing Christmas CD's? I'm thinking about it! Maybe that will get me motivated toward accomplishing some Christmas "things.")