Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Week Ago--Before and After!

Before all the unwrapping! (My place is on the far end of
the couch--note the cameras holding my place!)

Last gift is opened--quite a mess! Note my place has now
been covered up with gifts!  

This shows the pile of boxes and wrapping behind the
love seat where Nathan and Kathy are sitting.

It's hard to believe that a week ago today was our family some ways it seems much longer ago...and in other ways I can almost think:"did it really happen!"

Woody went to the local hospital to visit a church member, but found that he had already been released so he stopped at the Life Care Center to check on him.  Even though we are pretty cold today, Woody did take a four-mile walk.  Over the next few days it is supposed to get even colder.

I started out the day finalizing the Sunday School lesson for my ladies' class for tomorrow.  But as the day went on I started feeling not all that great so ended up going back over my notes for the lesson and condensed the notes into what the class can use on their own tomorrow...if they want to use them.  I think that I will be staying right here and not taking any chances on exposing anyone to anything.  I'm not sure exactly what I have...mainly a runny nose, some sneezing and a dry cough with a tickle at the base of my throat and the start of a feeling that I get when I have respiratory problems.  So I have taken it easy most of the day.  I'm glad that we have a nice big pot of gumbo!  I had wanted to make the enchiladas today, but they are put on hold for another day when I am feeling better.  I have done a little reading.  I did finish another book last night and am well underway with another book.

And, with that our year is slowly drawing to a close.  The next blog will see us in 2018.  So tonight I will end with a..."see" you next year!  'Tis the season!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Just One of Those Days!

It was a Chicken-Sausage-Shrimp-Gumbo-kind-of-day...but before getting to the pictured stage there is a not-so-fun story...or two! Woody went to the store this morning to do our weekly shopping.  While he was gone I began preparing the ingredients for the gumbo...chopping celery, onion, peppers, etc.  I couldn't go too far till he got home because he was getting a couple of ingredients that I lacked for the recipe.  This is the recipe that I chose to finish up the pulled barbecue chicken that we had for one of our Christmas dinner meat choices.  I had hoped to be able to do the dish that I plan to make with the leftover pulled pork (enchiladas)...but due to the happenings of the morning after Woody got back home...the enchilada making was put off for another day!  I decided that I wanted to make a real roux for today's gumbo...I usually make one that eliminates the fat...just browning the flour and then making the roux with chicken broth.  But today I decided that I wanted to make the "real thing."  That meant getting out our iron dutch oven which is waaaaaaaaaaaay back in one of the bottom cabinets.  I moved some things out of the way and reached way back and was pulling it out and it got caught on some other pans.  I tried to move them some so it could slide by...but didn't move them far enough and they all came tumbling out of the cabinet...wouldn't have been a "disaster" except that some of those pans have glass lids and one of the lids shattered when its pan hit the glass in all the pans (not the iron dutch oven since it was still on the shelf when all this happened) and all over the kitchen floor. It was safety broke into "pebbles" but still a mess!  Woody got me the vacuum and I sat where I was and attempted to vacuum up as much as possible...then I had to get the pots and pans off the floor.  I rinsed all of them out and put them in the drainer at the sink.  Then I vacuumed the whole kitchen floor.  At that point the vacuum was still picking up quite a bit of glass.  And, then I mopped the kitchen floor.  Finally I was ready to get back to my cooking!  It was time to make the roux...which gets very hot when it cooks and I was being very careful to use long handled utensils to stir the roux.  I hadn't found exactly the right one to stir with and was trying out several to see which I liked best.  Well...unbeknownst to me one of those utensils couldn't take extreme heat...but I didn't find out till I realized that black pieces that weren't pieces that had browned on the bottom of the pan started floating around in the roux and the celery, onion, pepper.  Oops...that utensil couldn't take the heat and now there were pieces of it in with the roux, celery, onion, and got it off the stove and plopped it into another pan so it could cool enough to be able to throw it away and...I was back at square one!  I wiped out the iron dutch oven and got it ready for the oil and flour (had just enough flour to make this a second time!) and eventually the onion, celery, and pepper pieces...that is after I had to chop two cups of each of those veggies again!  I got all that done and had to go sit with the heating pad on my back for a while before I could go back to the constant stirring that it takes to make the roux.  This time all went well (I used my long handled metal spoon so no more melting!) and from then on each step followed according to the recipe and we actually had Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo along with brown rice ready in time for our supper this evening.  Of course I started something like 10 this a long day of cooking for me.  But in the end the delicious flavor made it worth all the disasters...I "think!"   And, you would never recognize that one of the main ingredients started out being barbecue chicken.  Fun to have a totally different dish with the leftovers!  I'm really looking forward to enchiladas with some of the pulled pork least I hope that I don't have problems like I did with the gumbo!  Oh, and the gumbo used another leftover, too--the V-8 juice that I used when making the homemade Texas Barbecue Sauce for the beef brisket.  This gumbo was a new recipe (not our tried and true gumbo recipe), but I decided that it was "meant to be" when it called for the V-8.  This is a more tomato based gumbo than the one that I usually make.

I will end with a couple of pictures of the newest additions to our neighbors' (Nathan and Kathy's) family--Georgia and Peaches.  They seem to be adjusting well to their new home.  They had a fun time playing in the sun this afternoon and I slipped away from my cooking long enough to snap a couple of pictures.  Esther is holding Georgia and as I snapped this picture Esther told me that Georgia was purring and that Georgia liked to purr!  Esther is quite the protective mommy...trying to keep them out of trouble.  Georgia is the cat that Esther picked when she thought that she was only getting one.  Peaches, the adventurous one, is Georgia's sister and Esther couldn't stand the idea of separating the sisters!  I imagine that the kitties are much happier to have each other when it comes to time spent without the children playing with them.  They like to snuggle in their nice warm kitty house.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Today I have been thinking back over the last week+ and "trying" to remember things that we have done!  Sort of a blur! I have the pictures sorted for Christmas, but I never really have gone through them to see what I captured of the moments leading up to Christmas and our actual family Christmas celebration.  So I started looking through them and decided that I would feature the "Pickle Ornament Finder" for this year.  Joy found the pickle this year and got to open the gift/s that stay at Grammy and Goosey's house for any and all the grandchildren to use when they are here.  This year the gift was some new art supplies (two sets of markers and a really nice set of Crayons.  The girls went upstairs after we opened presents and had our Christmas lunch and did some art work using them.  Today Isaac used a couple of markers to draw a Christmas tree to put in his art folder.  It's nice to have sharp points (for a moment anyway) and markers that aren't beginning to dry out.  Today while Isaac and Joseph were over here, I worked at straightening up the school of my accomplished tasks was to throw away all the old markers.  While the boys were over here Joseph got to feeling bad.  Kathy ended up taking him to the doctor and he has strep and the flu! Most in their family has had the flu shot, but Joseph can't have it because he is allergic to eggs.  The doctor said earlier that Esther had the flu...but she never got to feeling really bad with it and we decided that perhaps she tested positive because she had taken the flu shot and had some of the virus in her?  Don't know!  But we are all washing hands diligently and praying that no one else comes down with either!  

The kitties fared well through the night.  Their heating pad in their kitty house did the trick in keeping them warm even with the temperature dropping down into the upper teens last night.  They have been out playing with Esther today.  I didn't go over to see them today.  I pretty much stayed in and kept warm.

Woody ran a couple of errands this afternoon...our city taxes are paid for another year and he found his wayward coat in the church prayer room and he also made a stop at the public library.  He found a couple of books about cats/kittens that he brought home for Esther to read.  One of the books is a cookbook for cat treats!  I'll bet Esther is REALLY interested in that one. After returning from his errands, Woody took a four-mile walk.  He has been enjoying a present that Nathan, Kathy and the children surprised us with last night...a new TV...boy does the picture look different than it did on our old one...and boy is this TV so much thinner than our old one!  Nice to have it take up less space and have such a good picture. 

I pretty much had a very lazy afternoon.  I spent most of it reading.  Last night I met my yearly goal of having read a book a week during other words I finished my 52nd book.  That is the minimum number of books that I try to read in a year.  Some times I read many more, but sometimes sewing and other things cut into my reading time.  The last couple of months I haven't read as much as I usually do.  I think that I will probably finish one more book before the end of the year as I am closing in on the final pages of another one.  I told myself that I was going to work on straightening up the sewing room and then do a little sewing, but never got to that point today...well, I did do a little just a little while ago.  When I finish blogging, I will take the little table back to the guest room and put it next to the children's sewing machine.  I had been using it for the overflow of machine embroidery thread.  That thread is all put away now so no need for the extra table in here crowding us between the laptop and the sewing machine cabinet.  I do plan to finish a machine embroidered angel that I started before Christmas.  She is to become our tree topper.  She might get to perch on the top of our tree for a short time this year...that way she will be ready for next year's Christmas tree...that is if I like her as a tree topper!  I'll let her audition this year! It continues to be 'tis the least for a few more days! I am enjoying the low-key part of 'tis the season that happens at this end of the holidays!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mystery Gift Revealed!


Goosey (Woody) gave Esther an itty-bitty kitty for Christmas.  The ones available weren't exactly itty bitty but they were fallen in love with itty bitty or not!  AND Esther talked her parents into not separating the two sister they are now a two cat family!  I'm not exactly sure if I have actually captured each of the kittens in Esther's arms (both pics are Peaches according to Esther!)...I haven't gotten a really good picture yet due to lighting and due to the kitties not exactly settling down yet.  Esther and her daddy took the instructions for building a cat house that Goosey gave Esther also...she had to have a cat house before she could get her kitty so Esther and her daddy set to work almost immediately!  She has named her cats Georgia and Peaches.  They are a pretty happy family having "real" pets.  Up to this time they had only had fish and turtles.  I think that the kittens will get plenty of attention.  They are supposed to be outside kitties due to their daddy being allergic to cats...though so far he hasn't sneezed since they got these nor when they were at the rescue shelter.  The cat house is carpeted and has blankets and burlap inside.  And, due to the fact that it is going to get pretty cold the next few nights, Nathan went to town and bought a kitty heating pad to go in their house!  Woody went over to check a little while ago and he said that it is toasty inside their house.  One of the kitties is more adventurous than the other.  Esther noticed that the wind blew the hair in that kitties ears when she was checking things out!  I think that the more adventurous one is Peaches...but not for sure!  I haven't gotten their names matched up to their markings yet! One has a bit longer hair than the other. One has white paws. I am sure that I will have more time to hone my kitty photography hopefully better photos of Esther and her new family will be forth coming!  Here are a few more pictures:
This picture shows that there are really two kitties! One under
Joy and Elijah's hands and one under Esther's!

Georgia and Peaches like their cat house quite well!
The cat house should keep them snuggly warm
now that they have their own cat heating pad!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Mystery

Here's Esther trying to figure out just what exactly Goosey (Woody) has given were the rest of us in the room!  He planned a really big surprise.  She and her family are now working on making Woody's gift a reality.  For a while today I thought that I would be able to reveal her gift here on the blog tonight...but alas that is not to be...Esther is hopeful that everything will come together tomorrow and then I will be able to take her picture with this special gift which she is VERY excited about...most of her siblings are also quite excited.  There is a clue in the pictures...see if you can guess before I post the picture with the actual gift!

We really had a nice family Christmas on Saturday.  At the moment it all seems like a dream...that is quite far in the past!  Woody and I have been working on getting cardboard boxes flattened so they can be picked up by our curbside recycling tomorrow.  I'm not sure what Woody was able to get into the trash can as it was already rather full from wrapping paper from Saturday.  Everyone has been occupied with their has been pretty quiet around here since the grandchildren have so many new items to enjoy.

I just met a major goal just a few minutes ago.  I always attempt to have all my pictures for the year sorted before the new year and that was accomplished today.  I still have some copying to do onto my second passport external drive...but they are all sorted...a major accomplishment. Pretty much all done...but the shouting! Usually I finish up that job on New Year's Eve!  Woody went to the prayer room at church late this afternoon.  He ended up driving to the prayer room tonight...the temperatures are pretty chilly and he had a couple of aches and pains that told him it would be better to drive. He is back home now and we are settling in for the evening.  Woody is reading, working crossword puzzles and watching TV (sometimes he can matter what he tells you!).  Now that I have my pictures sorted I think that I will spend the rest of the evening reading and trying to stay warm...definitely chilly out tonight and it feels chilly (at least to me) inside too...though the temperature is the same as when I felt comfortable a couple of days ago...I think that has something to do with what happens to a heat pump when it gets cold outside!  My recliner and a couple of fleece throws and a hot cup of tea sound pretty good to me at the moment!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Twas the Night Before... is the night before our family Christmas...I guess I am closing in on being ready.  I've done quite a bit of cooking today and some cleaning.  Woody did our grocery shopping this morning and made a stop at the library since he will be otherwise occupied in the morning when he usually goes to the library.  Abigail came over and helped with some of the cooking.  She came just as I put the last ingredient into my Christmas Wassail, but Woody needed her help in making his coleslaw.  Graham helped me carry over their crockpot and then stayed to help put the gifts under the tree.  Rather overwhelming...and Melany, Wade, Erin and Alex haven't brought theirs yet!  It will be quite a fun morning discovering what is in all of these!  The children are quite excited.  Elijah and Joy made several trips over to check on the tree and the gifts...which at that time were mostly on the couch. Woody has followed behind me once again and cleaned up what dishes wouldn't go in the dishwasher.  I still have one cooking chore to do...grate cheese for two casseroles that I will put together early in the morning.  I have pork and chicken barbecue thawing.  I made Texas style barbecue sauce this afternoon.  The wassail is a recipe from my Cottey College days.  After we caroled and hung wreathes on the various campus buildings and the college president's house, we all stopped at one of the dorms and had wassail and sang "Here We Come A-Wassailing."  I have been making the recipe that they shared with us that evening for many years now.  Kathy is excited that we are going to have it this year for our family party and have plenty of it and not just the leftovers after my Sunday School party!

I vacuumed most of the downstairs and then turned the vacuum over to Woody to do the family room. He is watching a DVD now and resting after a busy day.  He didn't walk today due to rain, but he got quite a bit of exercise in just running errands and "honey-do's" for me!  Guess it is time for me to get back to the last minute details. While I waited for the pictures to download...or is it upload...from my camera, I ironed the placemats for the children's table for tomorrow.  I have gotten the plates out for each of the tables.  The glasses for the dining room are in the dishwasher...getting refreshed after sitting in the cupboard for a while.  Mainly little things left to do.  I have even mopped the kitchen floor already...I'm glad I waited as the pineapple juice spilled (the can did it according to Woody) and we have been sticking to the floor all afternoon.  Hopefully there will be no more sticking when I go back down.  Busy! Busy!  And, will be till everyone arrives in the morning!  'Tis the season!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Welcome Winter!

Not a lot of time to sit down and sip Christmas tea today!  But I have sat in this spot a couple of times and enjoyed a couple moments of respite, a sip or two of tea, and a quickglance at the tree.  Packages need to be placed under the tree.  The neighbor grandkids have brought some gifts over and now they need to be distributed under and around the tree along with the ones that Woody and I have wrapped.  When I am upstairs, I have been trying to carry a gift or two down when I go back downstairs.

I have mainly cooked today.  I made the beef brisket (a new recipe) today...jury is still out on it...maybe it will be better after I make the Texas barbecue sauce and get some of that painted onto it!  I also made the potato salad.  So the fridge is filling up.  I think that the sick ones are doing better.  We don't think that Esther has the flu since she never felt bad after she went to the doctor.  She may have had a positive flu test due to the fact that she had had a flu shot.  We think that her problem was strep.  A couple of others are also being treated for strep.  If we can just keep everyone else well, Saturday should be a go.  Melany is feeling some better too and says that she will be able to come.  So onward and upward with our Christmas plans. I have done a little picking up...getting ready to run the vacuum.  I hope to go down and do that after I blog...but my back is protesting a bit.  I want to run the vacuum before I distribute all the gifts....and I would like the pile of gifts to leave our bedroom!

Woody did a little raking today since the leaf truck is back in our neighborhood.  It will probably get to our house tomorrow and it would be good to get rid of as many leaves as possible!  Kathy needed to go to WalMart and she still can't drive because she still has a boot on after her foot surgery.  So Woody took her so Nathan could continue on their 'remodel."  Nathan is getting very close to being finished...he is now working on the downstairs bathroom...potty is back is some work on the water heater which is in that bathroom or replace it.  They said that they would have to disconnect the water for a while so would be needing to use our bathrooms and anything else that needs water while he is doing that phase!  Never a dull moment.  I know that they will be so glad when it is completed! Woody has been helpful on clearing counter space for me by washing up the dirty dish trail that I have left all day.  I loaded up the dishwasher just before coming upstairs.  Between the two of us there should be space tomorrow for me to make more cooking messes.  Woody walked four miles late this afternoon on what is the shortest day of the year!  Good bye Fall...Hello Winter!  'Tis the season!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Heading into the Home Stretch?

Well, the countdown is on now...really getting close to our family gathering on Saturday.  Last night just before I came up here to write the blog, I put the beans on to soak for Boston Baked Beans and tonight just before I came upstairs to write tonight's blog, I put them in storage dishes and tucked them away in the fridge!  They turned out great once again...hopefully I am learning the secrets to cooking  beans and having them turn out right each has taken me a lot of years to learn.  I got my hair cut late this morning.  Came home after my hair cut and popped the beans in the oven for their 6-8 hours of cooking, ate a quick bite of lunch, and then headed out to finish up my shopping for this Christmas.  Last night I stayed up late and finished wrapping what I could wrap at that time and then today wrapped what I bought as soon as I got home.  We are still waiting on three things to arrive by mail...they are all supposed to arrive by Friday...cutting it close! There is a backup plan if they don't get here!

While I was shopping, Woody  walked four miles and only got rained on a little.  We have had quite a bit of rain since yesterday...not sure how much.  Woody's wireless rain gauge isn't working.  This evening Woody went to church for the Pastor's Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.

So far I feel calm about the upcoming family Christmas...probably the next two days...trying to get everything else that needs doing done will get my head to spinning but then after all...'tis the season!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

More Celebrating!

This morning, and on into the afternoon, I celebrated Christmas with two good friends.  We had such a good time enjoying each other's company, a yummy brunch, and thoughtful gifts.  Just what one needs to really get into the spirit of Christmas!

Before going to the brunch, I started getting my sewing mess cleaned up, as I can declare that Christmas gift sewing is finished.  I finished it yesterday.  I'm trying to get my sewing table cleared off so I can wrap gifts on it!  Just moving from mess to another!

Woody got up early and walked to the prayer room at church.  He wanted to walk and knew that it would be raining this evening. He was right about the rain.  I am listening to rain on the roof as I type the blog.  While I was gone for my party, Woody also walked to our pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions. So he has had two walks today.

Yesterday Melany let us know that she was having a Crohn's flareup and that her doctor was concerned that it might mean surgery. (She had surgery for her Crohn's 20 years ago this month.  She said that she would like to wait at least another 20 before more surgery!)  This morning she went for a CT scan.  She got word this afternoon that she just needs to start back on steroids to help settle down the inflammation.  That was good news!  Then just a little while ago, Kathy called to say that she had had to take Esther to the doctor this afternoon...Esther tested positive for strep AND flu...not good news!  Oh, my...the question now is: Will everyone be well enough to celebrate Christmas this Saturday?  I guess time will tell.  Woody suggests that we just "play it by ear!"  I am proceeding with things as planned.  I just put my beans on to soak over night.  I'm making my mother's recipe for Boston Baked Beans as part of our "barbecue/picnic foods" themed Christmas meal.

I think that I hear Christmas gifts calling my name and telling me that they need to be wrapped!  'Tis the season!

Monday, December 18, 2017


What else would one do one week from Christmas Eve (last night) and one week from Christmas (today)...except CELEBRATE...especially when it was the children's musical at church last night and Woody's birthday today!

Elijah sang a solo.

Esther played the part of Icelyn and also sang a solo.

Esther had to dress up like a snowman when her team's
snowman melted (their secret weapon in the singing contest).
Their choir did a great job as usual!

The Birthday "Boy" with his birthday apple pie.
We ate lunch with Nathan, Kathy and family
at their house.

Present time!

And, when you are 71 it's okay to take a little snooze after
a good lunch and all the excitement of opening presents!
Happy Birthday, Woody!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Busyness

Tonight's photo shows the start of my day...a cup of Christmas tea and busy at my sewing machine.  The thread behind my cup and saucer shows just part of the thread spools that I have out for making Christmas ornaments.  I don't want to put the thread away until I have all the ornaments finished because I KNOW that  if I put them away I will HAVE to get them back out! Trying to save myself any extra steps! So I am surrounded by beautiful color.  I finally brought a little table in to put next to my machine to put the thread on so I can do some regular sewing without knocking thread off with the item that I am sewing.  I did finish one of the quilted Christmas presents last night.  Down to one quilted Christmas present and three ornaments left to get finished.  After I got to a certain point in my newest sewing project, I decided that I would do some Christmas cooking.  I spent most of the afternoon downstairs making some barbecue pulled chicken for our Christmas meal.  We are having a "picnic-type meal for Christmas.  At first I was just going to make the pull pork that I made earlier in the week.  But when Woody brought home some chicken I decided that I would also make barbecue pulled chicken, too.  That is something that I have never made before.  But I think that it turned out quite good.  I sampled a piece when I was pulling it apart.  There may be one more barbecue meat entree as Woody bought a beef brisket.  I have never cooked a brisket except for corned beef brisket.  I decided that would be another good barbecue we will have choices!  Most of the recipes that I am making are tried and true recipes and at Christmas I often make a new recipe or adding these two different barbecued meats to the menu meets the new recipe category.  I'm going to do a little more sewing this evening...but not a lot as my recliner is calling my name!

Woody kept busy most of the day.  He has wrapped a gift or two, made a trip to the library, blown leaves, raked, and walked four miles, watched some basketball on has helped mein the kitchen...washing up greasy pots and pans that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher. I gave the neighbors their assignments for the Christmas dinner this afternoon when Kathy came over here for a few minutes.  I gave things that the children can do...make a fruit gelatin salad and deviled eggs.  Melany's assignment is birthday cakes for Jesus.  Our family has grown so she needs to make two cakes these days.  Planning for what a week from now will be over at this hour!  I guess the countdown till our family Christmas celebration is really on since it is less than a week now! Heading back to the sewing machine and a Christmas mug of tea.  'Tis the season!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Looking back on the day, I'm not exactly sure what we have done!  I know that Woody did our weekly grocery shopping which this time included our White Christmas items.  This Sunday Night our children's choir will present their Christmas musical program and after that we have an in gathering of food for those in need in our community. We bring nonperishable food items in white bags and carry them up to the front of the church at the end of the service.  There ends up being quite a mound of food that is taken to the back of the church where it is sorted.  Monday morning church members will come and pack boxes and then deliver the boxes to the families in need.  Woody always enjoys shopping for White Christmas.  So when I put away groceries after he got home, I separated our groceries from the White Christmas items.  Our groceries pretty much were items that I need to have to prepare our family Christmas dinner.

Most of the day I spent sewing...quilting to be exact.  I hope that what I have done works the way I want it to!  I don't do a lot of quilting and I am making up what I am doing as I go only time will tell if it is going to turn into what I want it to! Speaking of the sewing...I'd better get back to my machine! 'Tis the season!

Tonight's barn photo shows that some fall color was still hanging around on December 1 when we went on our barn photo excursion.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Depicting A Williamsburg Christmas

Colonial Williamsburg, VA is one of my favorite historical areas to visit.  It is one of those places that I just don't think that I could ever get tired of visiting.  Here are my Byer's Carolers that represent Williamsburg.  I have them on the top of the bookcase that has one of my photos of Williamsburg over it.  The narrow shelf has books and items that depict Williamsburg.  I enjoy sitting on the couch in the living room looking at this "scene" and reflecting on our trips to visit the historical area.  One of those trips included the Grand Illumination...this wasn't a trip that I took with Woody.  This time I went with the owner of the Montessori Preschool where I taught for 27 years.  Her daughter was attending William and Mary at the time and Pat and I always said that we would visit Williamsburg together before she graduated.  And, we did!  What a fun time we had despite it being rather rainy!  I got lots of pictures.  But it was before digital photos so I don't have access to them to be able to share all the wonderful natural wreaths, etc. that adorned the buildings in the historical area during the month of December.  Such a wonderful Christmas memory.  The shelf has an apple pyramid ornament, a pineapple, quite a few lady apples, bells, candlestick, a Willliamsburg snowman ornament, antique wire rim glasses, a large key like used in the days of yore, a candle snuffer, etc. along with three books that I have bought at Williamsburg on my various visits including a Williamsburg at Christmas book that I bought on the visit for the Grand Illumination.  Anyway...Williamsburg, of my favorite places!

This morning I had a fairly usual school day...Joseph and Isaac for their individual preschool times and then three came over to read with me. Woody has worked crossword puzzles, played the computer in several games of Scrabble, read, watched TV...pretty typical day for him too.  He did take a four-mile walk this afternoon.  After I finished up with school I got back to work on Christmas sewing.  I did accomplish one thing today.  I completed the ornaments for the neighbors (Nathan, Kathy and children) and got the childrens' labeled with their name and the year.  I had planned to take them over to them this afternoon, but I didn't have the energy.  Plus I was just so cold that I didn't want to go outside to get colder!  So I curled up under my fleece throw and took a nap.  I felt a little better when I awakened so had enough energy to go down and make chili for our supper.  Woody assisted me by opening cans of tomatoes, etc. and getting the hamburger out for me.  I took over the cooking of the chili and he began preparations to make our favorite cornbread to go with the chili.  I will say that the meal did help to warm me up!  Woody also cleaned up the kitchen.  And, that brings to this point of the evening when we as usual are settling in for a quiet rest of the evening.  I think that I will go back to doing some sewing...'tis the season!

Oops forgot to post the barn photos this they are:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Deck the Halls errrrrr Girls!

Tonight's photo shows Abigail and Joy all decked out for their Youth Sunday School Department Christmas party.  They were so excited and hoping that their outfits gets them voted the best spirit of Christmas!  It is hard to see, but Abigail has a holly candle ring around her bun.  She came up with the idea of pinning garland around the hem of her dress and as a belt.  She plans to hang candy canes from the belt and the hem once she gets to the party.  Joy has a Merry Christmas top with a garland belt and garland around one of her signature hats.  Graham chose not to dress up.  Goosey (Woody), one of the youth Sunday School teachers chose a red sweater and said that he thought he would win the most festive.  We all doubt that!  The kids brought him a headband with elf ears to help out his Christmas attire!

It has been a busy day...but when I look back on it, I'm not exactly sure what I have done!  I did get up and run the vacuum in the living room and dining room before school started.  Joseph and Isaac had their times and the rest had their reading time.  I did manage to take the pulled pork next door and have them put the containers in their freezer.  I listed the things that I'm planning at the moment to have for our Christmas family dinner.  Now I'm ready to get busy on the last sewing projects.  I made a pattern that I needed for two of the gifts.  My mind is trying to figure out just how I am going to make what I'm going to make!  While thinking, I have been getting two ornaments ready to sew into an ornament...the designs have been stitched for them I just have to make them into a finished ornament.  I also made what is my last planned order for Christmas presents. No working in the library this afternoon...we have given ourselves these Wednesdays off during the Christmas/New Year holidays.  I will probably be confused the rest of the week as to what day it is since I broke my routine for Wednesdays!

Woody has done a little of this and a little of that. He has been working on writing something on the laptop.  He has done his crossword puzzles.  He completed our Christmas cards.  Together we figured out our gift for Elijah.  He has worked with me on getting the kitchen back in order after the messy cooking day yesterday.  I couldn't tackle the kitchen after the pulled pork was finished...just too tired and my back was screaming "no more!"  I slept pretty soundly last night! He started on the kitchen last night and finished it this morning.  It helps so much when he comes behind me to do the clean-up!  Woody headed off a while ago with Graham, Abigail, and Joy for the Youth Sunday School party.  I'm sure he is enjoying the Christmas fare at the party.  He made Orange Pecans for his contributions to their party food.

I guess I will get back to my sewing planning and may actually turn the machine on to sew a seam or two. 'Tis the season!

Here's another barn from our last barn photography excursion:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Riding Into Christmas"

This Hummel is called "Riding into Christmas!" He was one of my mother's Christmas decorations. I feel like I am riding into Christmas at a very fast clip!  The days before our family Christmas seem to be flying by.

Today Joseph and Isaac each had their school time with me. I convinced Isaac that he could take one of the Dick and Jane books home and practice and that when he finished one, he could come back to the "Dick and Jane Library" and get another.  He loved the idea and headed home and proceeded to finish one very quickly and came back to the "Dick and Jane Library" for another.  Esther was laughing when she came over that he was over there reading and reading.  Isaac was very proud that he only had to ask his dad for help with just a few words. Elijah came to read after Isaac finished his time with me and then Esther read after Elijah.  As soon as the readers left, I got busy with our pulled pork recipe.  The Boston butts were larger than I thought so it was a lot of meat to cut off the bone before proceeding with the cooking.  Let's just say it took a looooooong time.  The weird shaped bone that these roasts have in them make them hard to get the bone out and the meat cut up.  But finally I managed and it is ever so much an easier task since I bought a boning knife...but still not an easy or fast task...or perhaps I'm just slow! Once I got that done, Woody and I headed off to get some things that we Worcestershire sauce that I needed for part of the liquid to cook the pork in.  Woody had used almost all of the Worcestershire sauce that we had in the Chex Mix that he made the other day (must be Christmas!).  We made a couple of stops including the Post Office where Woody mailed our Christmas cards that he had addressed and bought some more stamps to send the rest.  Last night he wrote our Christmas letter.  I proofed and made a couple of changes.  He ran them off this morning and then got busy signing and addressing the cards. Another Christmas task that it is good to have finished.  Our treat after the errands was a stop at the DQ to get Candy Cane Blast Blizzards.  I had another buy one, get one free coupon and it is hard to pass those up!  Plus needed a Christmas Blizzard.  I got back busy on the pulled pork once back home.  Then it was three hours of simmering, skimming and finally pulling the pulled pork.  I still have it simmering to reduce the liquid that it cooked in.  When I am finished with the blog I will go down and take it off the stove and prepare it to store it away.  I'm hoping that Nathan and Kathy have room in one of their freezers as ours is about filled to capacity!  I will check with them tomorrow.  It is good to have our main dish finished for our family Christmas meal on the 23rd.  But it was a LOT of BACK BREAKING work!  My back is protesting and really wants the heating pad and to rest in my recliner!  While I was in the midst of the pulled pork production, Woody walked to and from the prayer room at church.  It is rather cold out tonight...was already 28 when he walked home.  Brrrrrrrrrrrr!  'Tis the season!

Monday, December 11, 2017

"Do You See What I See?"

"Angels We Have Heard on High" are completed as is our "O Tannenbaum!" And, that completes the decorating in this Dorrell household for Christmas 2017.  Woody and I just carried the last boxes upstairs and added them to the rest in the upstairs hallway.  Now the job falls to Woody to repack the puzzle of boxes into our Christmas closet!  Now for me to get back to the last of the sewing that I need to do.  Four more ornaments and two presents.  I'm hoping that I can find moments each day to sit down and enjoy our Christmas tree and the rest of the decorations.  The tree is FILLED with many memories.  If any of you reading this contributed to our Christmas ornaments/decorations over our 49 Christmases...know that you have been thought of while I was decorating.  Lacking this year is the star that I usually put on...I have a handpainted star at the top that a dear friend's daughter painted for us many years ago.  I am planning to make a machine embroidered lace angel for the top...this may happen before our family Christmas celebration or perhaps after.  I always enjoy making a couple of Christmas things after the rush of the advent of Christmas is over.  Or the angel might not get sewn till next Christmas...and, then there is always the possibility that she will never get sewn!

I had only the little boys for school this morning as Kathy and children went to a Christmas party at friends mid morning.  I got busy on making soup from the turkey broth that I made yesterday.  I made Turkey Barley Soup again since we liked the new recipe so much when I made it right after Thanksgiving.  Today's soup was made from the leftover turkey breasts that Woody bought not long after Thanksgiving.  This soup finishes off the turkey for this year. While I was making the soup, Woody went to the Life Care Center this morning to have Bible study with Jeff and then visit a couple of friends who reside there.  A while after lunch, Woody suggested that we both go do a little shopping.  We still had several grandchildren who were without gifts from us. Now there are fewer who are presentless...but still a couple might need to be worried!  There is a growing pile of shipping boxes stacked in the bedroom packed with things in them awaiting to be wrapped.  We still need to write our Christmas letter and get that off in the mail.  And, I need to finalize the Christmas menu for the 23rd...leaning in the direction of picnic food...that will be a change...well, at least a change when it isn't The 4th of July or Memorial Day!  Woody got a couple of Boston Butt Pork Roasts and I plan to make pulled pork with that got me to thinking "picnic." We'll see where that leads me when the plans are finalized!  Everything subject to change...except probably the pulled pork! That's next on my list of "things to do" = make the pulled pork...a long day of cooking and skimming fat off and breaking up meat, etc.  But in the end the final product is well worth the effort! Now to talk myself into getting started with it! Woody went to Monday Night Prayer Meeting and is now home.  We are all settled in for a quiet end of the day. 'Tis the Season!

Not a barn...but one of the sights on our barn excursion
photography trip at the beginning of December.  We saw
lots of interesting critters!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"Angels on High!"

Angels on high means to me, at the moment, lots of climbing up and down the step ladder!  I decided today that I would finish up the dining room before I went back to decorating the tree.  And, to get angels out I needed to pack up things that were on the dining room table so I would have room to put my angels out so I could pick and choose which ones I wanted where!  The packing up took quite a bit of time and by the time I had that done my energy level had run down.  So I am not as far as I wanted to be.  I am determined that I will finish the "angels on high" before I sleep tonight!  This picture is rather crooked...I was trying to keep the reflection out of the glass on the doors so I guess to compensate I ended up tipping the camera more than I realized...and didn't want to take the time to try to straighten it in my software!

Woody went to the public library and then to the hospital.  The patient he was trying to visit had been dismissed...glad that he got to go home.  Later in the day he walked four miles.  It has been a pretty chilly day.  It never got out of the 30's.  Brrrrrrr!  I stayed in and kept warm.  I am trying to finish a book when I take my sometimes my breaks last longer because I want to keep reading!  I have been looking for some pictures for Melany today, too.  Yesterday Melany got contacted about the death of her best friend in grade school and high school.  She is planning to go to the funeral and I think wants these pictures to share with her friend's sister.  So sad to hear of deaths like this.  When the deaths occur amongst my generation, it's not as surprising...but hearing about deaths in my children's generation makes me really stop and think.  A sad time for that family and her friends.

Something keeps going through my mind today...two weeks from today is the day that we are having our family Christmas gathering.  Oh, my...the time is getting short...and there is still a lot to do!  I guess I had better head down and assist some more angels in their flight to the top of the china cabinet! 'Tis the season!

Here's tonight's barn photo:

Friday, December 8, 2017

He Shopped Till He Dropped!

Carolyn, Marie and I all agreed that all this barn needed was a Christmas tree in the back of the red truck and it would be the perfect Christmas barn!

Woody has been busy doing our weekly grocery shopping.  He stayed gone a long time might think that we were getting ready for Christmas!  While he was doing the grocery shopping, I managed to get the kitchen cleared of all non-Christmas items that needed to be packed away till after Christmas.  That way Woody had a clear table to pile his bags on when he got home.  He came in with lots of bags and I set to work putting the groceries away.  Woody headed to his recliner to rest after his long shopping trip.  He said that he saw lots of folk that he knew.  After he rested and ate a late lunch, he headed out again to mail something for me, pick up prescriptions for me, and buy the last items that he needs to make Chex Mix.

I continue to decorate.  I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...mainly Christmas tree in the living room and angels on top of the china cabinet in the dining room.  I finished the shadow box in the family family room complete.  I cleared the kitchen table and got the decorations that I wanted on the complete.  I have interspersed packing up everyday items and putting Christmas items out and putting ornaments on the tree. My head is sort of spinning!

Here's a picture of some of my helpers yesterday!  'Tis the Season!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Ewwwwwww! Naked Angels!"

Tonight's blog title is a direct quote of Isaac (5) when he was helping me decorate the Christmas tree today!  He was so funny.  I offered to leave them off the tree this year, but he didn't say that I had to!  I tucked them away on the side of the tree and put them up sort of high so he wouldn't be reminded about them every time he looks at the tree!  This morning during Elijah's long time, we got the tree downstairs and put together.  Elijah decided that Esther, Isaac and Joseph could help us.  I got branches out of the tree box and handed them to Esther, Isaac or Joseph and Elijah stayed downstairs and directed which pile to put the branches in (branches are color coded on the ends).  Elijah and Esther were my main helpers for putting the branches on the tree.  I fluffed the limbs and the two of them put them in the proper place.  We had all but the two top rows done when it was time for them to head home for lunch.  And, the top two rows had to be done by me as those branches were too much above the children's heads. After lunch, I have had various helpers hang ornaments on the tree...even Graham came over and hung a few.  Only Abigail hasn't helped so far.  She was at home baking.  Esther also helped her mother do some baking.  When Esther came over to the house, she had on her apron. I think that she is happy to have it finished and be able to use it!

Woody went for a four-mile walk while the children and I put ornaments on the tree.  He said he expected that it be all decorated when he got back from his walk.  Yeah...right!  But we have gotten a good start on the tree.  A little while ago some of the children and Kathy came over with a plate of Christmas cookies.  Yummy!  Late this afternoon we saw that there was activity in the neighbor's (Nathan and Kathy's) front yard.  The older children were putting up the yard nativity scene.

I'll add tonight's barn picture at the end.  We saw so many pretty farms on our trip.  I like this one and several others that have the Highland Rim as the horizon line.  Some of the trees still had some color on them.  And the clouds were pretty for part of our picture taking adventure.