December 31, 2010

Ending 2010

I don't like to post about sad things but this has been a horrible week. One of our neighbors, a beautiful lady with a terrific husband and two great kids, passed away the day after Christmas after a year-long battle with cancer. As we were getting ready to attend her memorial service, my FIL called to let us know that Hubby's sister's husband had been killed in a head-on collision the night before. I have such a headache from crying.

All of this came after we had a very nice Christmas, which almost makes me feel guilty.

I hope all of you have a very warm, wonderful and safe New Year's Eve and head into 2011 with peace and love in your hearts.

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All ...

This is the first Christmas Eve I can remember when I'm not doing last minute wrapping. Now that's a Christmas miracle! I'm going to do a little baking today so we can deliver plates to a few of our favorite people. Maybe we'll watch a few holiday movies that we haven't had a chance to see yet and the puppies need baths.

I'm feeling the joy!

Here's our naked Christmas tree a few weeks ago; a 9-foot Noble Fir that smells so wonderful ...

And here is it all dressed up and ready for Christmas ...

Holiday teddy bears, a wind-up Santa and the beautiful Christmas patchwork basket my Mom made filled with chocolate treats ...

I am feeling the joy!

Luke 2:9-14

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

Wishing you and yours a safe, warm, joyous holiday!

December 18, 2010

Back Amongst the Living

We have had the most dreadful gomboo at our house for over a week now, which equates to a combination head and chest cold, the kind of coughing that turns you inside out, stomach flu, fever and (for Hubby) a sinus infection. We have been passing this mess back and forth like we're playing ping pong and it has left everyone feeling pretty much like this ...

I had to call in sick to my new job two days this week. Gaaaaah! And don't even get me started on how far behind I am on Christmas now. Just thinking about it makes me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. But, nope, I'll be blasting some Christmas music and making a To Do List. I have one week left to get everything checked off.

Before we got sick, we managed to get a few Christmas decorations up on the front porch ...

And the Granddaughter has always put up her own 4' tree, decorated with a lot of Ty Jingle Beanie ornaments ...

Yes, that is a PINK tree!

When we first bought our retail store nearly 10 years ago, the Granddaughter was 4 years old. She loved, loved, loved to spend time at the store and she had no problem chatting with customers. She'd walk up to anybody and everybody and say something along the lines of, "Let me show you what I like." Then she'd march them over to the section with Beanie Babies and plush toys. 

We did a lot of custom printing of stationery and holiday cards and wedding invitations and such, and had an area of tables in the back of the store where we'd sit with customers and take orders. Once when I was on a phone call with a vendor, an older gentleman came in to order note cards. Seeing that I was tied up on the phone, the Granddaughter climbed up onto a chair, grabbed an order pad and pencil and asked him, "How do you spell your name?" What makes that so cute is she really had no idea what she was writing down, but she proceeded to take his order. He was completely charmed!

The other thing in our store that she was extremely fascinated with was the cash register. She'd pull a step stool over to the check-out counter, climb up and start pushing buttons on the register. There were several nights when my totals were so off, I had to start from scratch to figure out what sales were like that day. So that first Christmas after we got the store, we bought her a Barbie Cash Register so she'd have her own to play with. This thing had all kinds of great bells and whistles, including a credit card swiper and a microphone with loud speaker. Hubby's parents were visiting that Christmas and we were all in the kitchen getting ready to eat when we heard my FIL in the living room calling over the loudspeaker, "Clean up on Aisle 4." Still cracks me up!!!

Hope you're having a Holly Jolly Christmas so far!

December 10, 2010

Christmas Time Out

That's right ... I'm going to give MYSELF a time out for Christmas. People, Christmas is THE SAME DAY EVERY YEAR so WHY am I always so far behind? Maybe I just perform better under stressful conditions.

Speaking of performing, if you have delicate sensibilities, stop reading now because I'm going to tell you something Hubby said the other day. I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off and he goes all biblical on me and says this stupid thing -- and I quote:

Thou shalt service thy husband and keep his pipes clean.

I probably should have simply told him he could pick up pipe cleaners at the craft store and I even have a coupon. However, what I said back to him is not in the Bible and wasn't particularly lady like either. Remember on "Everybody Loves Raymond" when Debra called Ray an idiot? Well, IDIOT!!! Actually, after 25 years of marriage, I am so glad that we still laugh together every day, even if that's all we're doing together. And some days we laugh a lot harder than others!

One of the reasons I'm so far behind is I started a new job in November doing part-time administrative work for a medical office and guess what? As Sally Field so sweetly put it in her Oscar acceptance speech, "... I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" They like me. They've already added more hours and given me a raise. Woo hoo!

Let me share with you a picture my baby sister sent me from her home in the great Northeast Northwest (depends on which way you're facing and I've always been directionally challenged) ...

Oh, *sigh* I do love that front door and her wreath is so beautiful! She actually cut the holly and hawthorne berries in her own yard and put this beauty together for only $2, which was the cost of the grapevine wreath from the Goodwill that she used as the base. She's been saving the ribbon since the 90s (oh yeah, another pack rat in the family) and since she used to work in floral design, she has the bow tying thing down. Great job, sis!!!

So back to my Christmas time out. I still have several gifts to knit and sew, packages to wrap, box and ship, baking to do and (thank you Jesus for just the right job) work to go to three days a week. We haven't even decorated the Christmas tree yet ... it currently sits, all gorgeous, fragrant and naked in the corner of the living room. I'm not a big fan of egg nog, so I think I'll just pull my chair into the time out corner and knock back a tequila shooter while I knit. I apologize in advance to anyone who gets something I knit while under the influence. It is the thought that counts ... right???

December 8, 2010

December 7, 2010

Setting the World on Fire

When the Granddaughter celebrated her second birthday, she got such a thrill blowing out her candles that we had to keep relighting them for her. She was so into the candles, she didn't even care about the Barney cake I lovingly baked and decorated for her. Do you have any idea how much purple icing it takes to make a Barney cake??? She and her mom (our Oldest Daughter) were living with us at the time.

A few months later, during the holiday season, Hubby and I hosted a sit down dinner party for a small group of friends. It was one of those beautiful December evenings in Phoenix - just chilly enough to feel Christmasy - and everything was decorated to the hilt. We served Chicken en Papillote, which is a seriously great and impressive dish if you haven't tried it yet. And, of course, we had candles everywhere.

You know how you're relaxed and everything is feeling sooooooooo good ... good company, good food, good times? We had just started eating dinner when we heard a loud thump from the back of the house. A few seconds later, the Granddaughter comes racing down the hallway toward the dining room in her jammies. She has a red mark on her forehead and her hair was crackling and smoking ... no kidding! She's in a panic hollering, "I booned my haiw, I booned my haiw!" (Translation: I burned my hair.) One of our guests, who is a nurse, jumped up, grabbed her and stuck her head in the kitchen sink to put her out.

Since our daughter and granddaughter did not want to be included in the dinner party, they had been hanging out in a bedroom watching TV. When OD went into the laundry room to switch wash over, the Granddaughter thought this would be a great time to go check out the lit candles in our master bathroom. She climbed up on my vanity bench and leaned over a candle to blow it out, catching her hair on fire. When she realized her bangs were sparking, she jumped down, smacking her forehead on the counter in the process.

Of course, during the uproar dinner got cold and let me tell you how good food tastes with the smell of burning hair hanging in the air. The Granddaughter is 14 now and she just loves it when I tell this story! She is, in her own sweet way, still setting the world on fire!

So let's go back a generation to when our two daughters were having a sleepover. I think they were in 6th and 8th grade at the time. It was summertime so they had friends over for the night, but we still had to get up early to go to work. They had been pretty loud, it was late and I was getting crabbier by the minute. They were all together in one bedroom and I ripped open the door and told them if they didn't pipe down, everyone was going home. If we heard one more peep out of them, the party was over!

I stomped back to our bedroom and crawled into bed thinking we could finally get some sleep. Pretty soon there was a quiet knock on our bedroom door and our youngest daughter says in this timid voice, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I think our bedroom is on fire."

They had been playing a board game and knocked a lamp over that sparked and caught the bedspread on fire. Hubby leaped out of bed and raced down the hall, grabbed the bedspread and took it out in the yard to lay it out on the grass and stomp on it. While nothing really bad happened, I can guarantee we didn't have any sleepovers for a while after that!

December 6, 2010

Everything's Rosy

Today it's all about rosy! Our beautiful niece, whose middle name just happens to be Rose, is having a birthday today. She is the amazing dancer in the family who has performed everything from ballet to hip hop on stage and taught classes to lucky kids for years so ...

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Dancer!

And if those dancing cowboy boots don't make you smile, how about Jello? I know Bill Cosby did Jello commercials for years - something about how everyone loves Jello - and I wanted to tell you exactly what he said so I looked him up on Wikiquote and this had me laughing so hard I forgot what I was looking for. Here is something Bill Cosby attributes to his mother:

My mother said to me: "When your father gets home, he's going to shoot you in the face with a bazooka! And I'm not going to stop him this time, either! You know, he's always wanted to kill you! The day you were born, he said, 'Kill it!' I stopped him from killing you for eleven years... {starts sobbing} ...and this is the thanks I get for saving your life!"

Oh, what a hoot! Then I found out that he actually did Jello PUDDING commercials, not regular Jello commercials so, um, never mind!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you a Jello salad recipe from my Mother-in-law that she has made for years on all the holidays and is a true family favorite. I just made it for Thanksgiving in my pretty new Emile Henry azur blue lasagna dish ...

Rosy Strawberry Salad

6 oz. Strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
20 oz. frozen sliced strawberries (thawed, but cold, with the juice)
20 oz. can crushed pineapple (drained, but drink the juice; it's really good with a splash of vodka)
3 large bananas, sliced
2 T. lemon juice
8 oz. sour cream (I use low fat sour cream and you can't tell the difference)

Dissolve Jello in the boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in the strawberries with juice, drained pineapple, bananas and lemon juice. Pour half of the mixture into a 9x13" cake pan or serving dish, then put in the refrigerator to set until firm. Leave the other half out on the counter - do not refrigerate.

Once the bottom half has set, cover it with the sour cream.

Then pour the other half of the Jello  mixture over it and refrigerate until set. This is one of those refreshingly tart desserts that tastes good all year long, although we usually make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When I pulled this dish out of the fridge on Thanksgiving, Hubby got a huge smile on his face and asked what I made for everyone else. Seriously, he could sit with the dish on his lap and a serving spoon and just dig in. And he wouldn't be the least bit ashamed either! Sometimes for Father's Day or his birthday, I'll make 2 pans so he can have one all to himself. It's one of those silly little things that makes for a good marriage!

Here's hoping your day is totally rosy!!!

December 4, 2010

Sports Schmorts!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I'm not a big sports fan. Hubby has been involved in sports all his life -- wrestling, football, golf -- he even went to college on a baseball scholarship. And now he loves nothing more than watching sports on TV, be it college or professional or even a peewee game. Do they televise those? Around the time we got married, I remember telling him that I was going to watch a movie one evening and he had a conniption. He's outraged, "Oh no, you can't watch a movie, I'm watching Monday night football!" Mind you, this was when we only had one television in the house, down in the family room. I was standing at the stove, probably stirring spaghetti sauce which we ate a lot back then. I asked him, "So who's playing?" And he kind of hollers, "I don't know!" Then we both laughed really hard. Because the point was he didn't know or even care who was playing as long as he was watching. Yikes!

But my sweet Hubby shares with me things in the newspaper that he finds amusing. Come on, ladies, don't you love to be read to? It may not be poetry ... okay, it's definitely not poetry. This article was in the Arizona Republic recently on the top rivalries in major college football. We were laughing about what these games have been nicknamed:

Alabama - Auburn: The Iron Bowl (these Bama fans mean serious business - I adore Lori's blog, The Foremans and her take on The Iron Bowl -
ASU - U of A: The Duel in the Desert
Michigan - Ohio State: The Game (far be it from me to criticize, but this could be more personal or original!)
Oklahoma - Texas: Red River Rivalry
California - Stanford: The Big Game (at least they've added the word Big)
BYU - Utah: The Holy War
Clemson - South Carolina: Palmetto Bowl
Kansas - Missouri: Border War
Pittsburgh - West Virginia: Backyard Brawl
Oregon - Oregon State: The Civil War

And my very favorite from the list ... drumroll, please ...

Florida - Georgia: The World's Largest Cocktail Party

Even I, crappy sports fan that I am, would attend a football game called The World's Largest Cocktail Party. I would even put on a cocktail dress and heels for it.

December 3, 2010

Singing in a Winter Wonderland

"color" photo taken in northern arizona the sunday after thanksgiving

So the Granddaughter and I were driving along singing at the top of our lungs to some Christmas CDs recently and she belts out ...

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Carson Brown

She didn't know what a Parson was. I had to explain it.

Made me think of some of the other disasterized lyrics we've been responsible for over the years. Our Oldest Daughter used to love the Billy Joel song "Keeping the Faith"

We were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith

Except she'd sing

 It's a kick in the face; yeah, yeah, yeah, a kick in the face.

One of my personal favorites that I sing wrong on purpose because it makes me laugh and makes the kids groan is "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John ...

Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway


Count the head lice on the highway.

Hubby's sister was in a Christmas program at parochial school as a child and as they sang "Jingle Bells," she would swing her bent arm and punch the air for emphasis as she sang with gusto

Oh what the fun it is to ride

I would have loved to see the looks on the in-laws faces as they cringed throughout this rendition.

I just heard Fay McKay singing "The 12 Days of Christmas" on the radio a few days ago for the first time. It is quite a hoot ...

My favorite part is when she sings Mine eyes have seen the glory!

Do you have any mangled lyrics you'd like to share?

December 2, 2010

55 and counting ...

It's the big

for me today. Grateful to be alive, healthy and still laughing at stuff like this. A dear friend gave me this battery-operated singing dancing birthday cake a few years ago. I cannot impress upon you enough how much Hubby seriously hates this thing. It's activated by touch and sound so any little noise sets it off. The Granddaughter will keep this thing going until the batteries have lost most of their juice and it sounds like it's been on a 3-day bender in a karaoke bar. Hubby has threatened to slit its throat and bury it in the trash can so I figured I'd better make a video recording of it just in case ... enjoy!