Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pop! Bang! Shout! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This final post of 2011 features my final bread making attempts...actually I think it's the first attempt this year! I make a recipe handed down from Mom...Greek New Years Bread. Hidden inside those loaves is a coin (wrapped in foil)and when the bread is cut the person whose slice contains the coin will have good luck throughout the new year...if they don't swallow it of one ever has at my home anyway! I wish everyone a very healthy and happy new year and I can't believe I'm heading into my 5th blogging year! These sunset shots were taken a few seconds apart over the field across from our home...and I'm setting the sun on my blog for 2011...Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Greek To Me!

When I was at Mom's the week before Christmas I was trying out the video setting on my new camera. I tried many times to get this to post, but finally had to go to youtube and put it there. I thought I would share our silly conversation. I don't usually put videos on my blog because when I put my blog into book form it, of course, won't be useable...but it's fun sometimes to have a video...for those who were interested in having their blog put into book form, I use "thecutestblogontheblock" website to put it all together. They are having a special right now and the prices are pretty good. Go over and have a look!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yesterday we had the most beautiful day. I was home being lazy and enjoying the sunshine and the still green grass. We hadn't had any snow yet.....then...wham!
The driveway was a bit different today when I came home from work.
Yesterday the bright, clear, not a cloud in sight day was a nice contrast to the deep green of the pines and bright green of the grass.
Today: The dark green pines are being frosted by God's big white flakes!
Yesterday the green of the backyard was Eddy's playground.
Today Ed will do his "duty" quickly! As this year quickly draws to a close I'm getting ready to finish up my final posts for 2011. Then it all goes into a blog book. I've gone back and read some previous posts from January and on and I'm always surprised at what pops up and I'm always glad I have these journals to pass to my kids someday. Maybe they will remember many of the things that we did. The photos will help. I received a new camera this year from Jack to help me continue in my blogging and capturing of our simple little life. Just as the weather has changed in an instant I know life does too. I'm grateful for our blessings, I'm grateful for the trials we've had to overcome this year too. While reading my past posts I also reread the many nice comments from my family and from people I've never met, yet I'm always calling them "friends"...I guess that will always be the biggest surprise to me. The great people I've come to know through their blogs and from comments left on mine. I will miss my friend Bernie who passed away this September. Although we never met in person I feel like I knew her well. Life is contrasts of yesterday and today...enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, but do try to find the beauty in the black and white of winter.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Taking Time

Every year my Mother and Father in-law would give us a new ornament. I was playing around with my new camera and took a pic of an ornament on the tree. I didn't really look at which one I picked and when I saw this saying I thought it was very appropriate for today. We do need to take time for this special holiday. We took time this morning to attend Church and enjoyed a nice program with scripture readings and beautiful music by a tiny choir of adults and children with special numbers that brought tears to my eyes. I'm very grateful for the time we spent there this morning to remember the real reason for this season, our Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. Then we went home and spent time with family. Our children that live here in Ashland came in the afternoon to open gifts, eat and share fun times with each other. I was grateful for a loving family and the beautiful day we had.
Even Eddy was excited to open gifts today.
The tables were set with the Christmas china. When I looked closely at this pic I was surprised to look at the outside from the dining room looks like snow! It's been a very mild December and we haven't had any snow...yet...but this pic makes it look like we are having a white Christmas.
We set up a Children's table for the first time. It's the first time we haven't had any kiddos that needed a highchair or had to sit on a parent's lap!
Lexi and Addy came a little earlier than the other kids so I had Lexi help me make some appetizers. She's a good helper!
When our son Jack arrived with his family the first thing Driana was excited to show off were her new boots! Of course PawPaw had to comment that he thought she just forgot to shave her legs....what a kidder he is! I thought they were really cute!
Lexi was excited to show off her "super cool" feather in the hair look. Cute Lexi!
Addy was more interested in seeing what was behind all the pretty wrappings! After everyone arrived we snacked a bit then opened gifts. We had fun and I think everyone liked what they got. Tomorrow is a shopping day for the teens and I think if anything needs returned, they can have fun doing that! Me? I try and avoid any and all malls at this time of year....actually I don't enjoy shopping that much and I think staying away from all the crowds keeps me healthier. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it!
After gifts were opened, everyone was ready for the big feast. Ham and tons of fixings were put out on the island buffet style. Everything turned out great even if I did spill the green bean casserole all over the inside of the oven...
After the meal was over I took the kiddos that wanted to head outside for a nice walk. The weather was perfect...around 40de. and sunny. Felt like Easter instead of Christmas! It was also windy and I wished we had some kites to fly. Oh well, it was fun anyway.
The walk down our country road was perfect for "cousin follow the leader" game!
As the day ended, I thought I'd better snap a few shots before everyone left. Summer and Driana are the cutest sisters around! Well, all my Granddaughters are beautiful and I can't believe how fast everyone is growing up.
Then there's these two monkeys...I think they had a great Christmas day and now they're ready for a nice week off school to play with all the new video games they scored this year!
I made this little decoration years ago and I still like it even though it's got some very obvious flaws. But then, don't we all have very obvious flaws? And won't our Savior make them Ok if we just ask for His help and guidance? Merry Christmas everyone....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Little Angel

Last week Cameron's pre-school had a Christmas program. It was very cute with fun songs, the smiley, excited kiddos and the waves to family from the stage. Hmmm...can you guess which one is my Grandson? Hi little man!
He's so excited to get on stage and perform, he's clutching the seat with all his might!
I hope Santa brings you everything you ask for Cam-Man! Love the purple shirt and tie too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gathering

This weekend Jack and I headed out to Chicago for our annual Family Christmas get together with my clan. We had great weather going and coming home. Saturday we woke up to a surprise snow fall...just a few inches to bring on the Christmas mood. The party was being held at my Nephew Bill's new home. It has the perfect floor plan for a gathering of our size. They have the best toy room where most of the little ones spent time enjoying themselves. But before I get into the party mode, I just have to show you the delish surprise I received on Thursday from my friend Darlene...(Grandma Robbins Nest). She sent me a wonderful Danish pastry that she makes for her family. I was blown away that she would think of us and send it all the way from California. Bloggers are just the best people! When I opened the box it smelled so she had just baked it that morning and brought it personally to my home...I'm surprised the mailman didn't eat it! I took it with us to share with my Mom and Sis...they loved it too and were so surprised that she would do this. So here's a pic of Mom and I and Jack too, enjoying this for breakfast. We warmed it up and gobbled it down. Thanks again Darlene! On the way to Chicago Jack gave me my Christmas present early...a new camera! I was so surprised and excited! I really think he was tired of me chattering the whole way..I should say I was complaining about work..and he sprung it on me. So that kept me occupied for a long time. Now I just need to learn how to use it and all the knobs and gizmos...hopefully I'll get better pics soon. These are just a small example and I haven't truly gotten the hang of it yet.
Looks who gets the last piece...I think it was all that was left after we were done!
All gone! It was so yummy! Thanks so much are the best!
After breakfast we did a little running around and gathering all the last minute items for the party. We headed over to Bill's and the fun began! Before all the craziness begins, it's good to get some classic Jack, Me and Mommo.
Me and my Grandkiddo Sophie...
Me and Mom..
The party started at 3pm with appetizers first...everyone was to bring an appetizer and a dessert. The rest of the meal was taken care of. Here's our son Craig catching up with Jack.
My nephew has a heated garage that connects to the house and it was the perfect place to set up for dinner. My Sister helped to decorate and set up the tables. Nice job Midge! She also made most of the food...maybe all of it...she's incredible.
After dinner there was a visit from a special guest. The kids were so happy to see him!
This was the first time my #2 Son and his family were able to attend this annual get together. They move around the country because of his job and it just worked out great this year that they could be there. The kids enjoyed being with cousins they've only seen a few times and they really loved Santa!
One last group shot with the BIG MAN himself and it was off to the North Pole. My Grandson Taylor realized after Santa went upstairs to leave that this would be the perfect time to see the sleigh. He made a running start to the stairs yelling: "Hey, I want to see the sleigh!"...he was caught mid way up the stairs and told that Santa needed to really be on his way...some things just need to be kept a secret. I love that he believes so completely....just like me.
After Santa left we had the adults get together for the traditional "White Elephant" gift exchange. Every year we gather our "not so great" items we may have hanging around the house, or gifts that were not our favs, or just plain silly things and wrap them up for this fun gifting time. We pull numbers and take a gift in numerical order. If you like a previous gift you can steal it from that person and they have to repick one. I never knew how much bad taste we had in our family until this tradition was started. Here's my daughter-in-law Amy picking out her gift.
Zoom in on that shirt...if you dare.
Nice Katie.
After all the gifts are opened, fought over, traded...this is what you get.
We had a great time and really enjoyed seeing family again. I have more pics to share and a fun video I was trying to just would not download..but I'll try again and get it on the blog. Now the count down is on to truly finish all the preparation, final shopping, cooking, cleaning...whew..the race is on! But the fun can still continue! I'll be excited to capture every moment with the new camera...and my family will be so happy to keep posing and smiling I'm sure...maybe!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Winter is almost here...Christmas is almost here...I'm almost done getting ready...well, that is pushing it a bit. We have to have some stuff done because this weekend we have my family get together in Chicago and I've been baking, shopping, wrapping and staying up late! But I will still have shopping to finish for family that will gather here on Christmas day. I will have more baking and cooking to do to get ready for the day also..but we always get it done and then I can go from "almost" to "all done"...Here is Jack doing what he's good at...gathering....chain sawing...stacking....cutting...firewood. We have had a warm start to December (unlike last year) but we had to finally get the wood burner up and running. Today the temps were "almost" 60..but by tomorrow it will be back to being "almost" winter with colder temps.
My decorations are me...but I love them and I love the stories and memories they bring. Here are just a few of my oldest ones. I painted my shelf in the kitchen this past year and I wanted to see how all my decorations would look. It does make them stand out. I know I keep saying I didn't decorate as much this year, but you'd never guess that from looking at this picture!
Meet "Psycho" Santa...I did a blog a few years ago about my Santa collection and I don't recall if I featured him. My kids named him. He's about 20yrs. old I think. I got him from an LTD catalog. Do you know LTD commodities? I didn't notice his green gloved hands when I purchased it, but I still like him and I love his little work table with a tiny bag of groceries on it. When the kids saw the green hands for some reason they thought he looked like a they named him "Psycho"..and it stuck! What can I say? 4 boys and their crazy imaginations!
I bought this wreath in 1982. I have always loved it. I love the colors, the patterns and how it looks hanging over our kitchen fireplace.
I hang this greeting in my kitchen. Jack's parents always had it hanging over their fireplace at the farm. When they passed we were able to take it to our home. I've always liked it and it fits nicely right here.
The Grinch hovers in the corner....just reminds me to not let any craziness of this time of year dampen the holiday's taken me a little longer this year to get into the swing of celebrating, but I can say I'm "almost" there! The Grinch was a gift from a dear friend..Bryn..I got her one the same year! (we actually bought them together when we went to a craft show)It's also about 20yrs. old.
This cross stitch holiday greeting was done by Jack's Mom. I always hang it up every year. She made one for each of her kids and I love the colors and the picture. It's atleast 25yrs old. I think of her every time I take it out of Christmas storage.
Last, but not least is the tree. We put it up on Saturday..thanks to my son Phil!..and I decorated it on Sunday. The ornaments on it are also old. My inlaws would always give us a dated ornament every year. The kids got special ones of their own and have taken them to their own homes now. When I hang ours I always think of what we were doing on each year. It's been 11yrs. since Jack's parents have passed and this was Mom's favorite time of year. I can't help thinking of her and Dad and all they put into making it a special time down on the farm every Christmas day. They had a 20ft. ceiling in their living room and their tree was almost as high. This one isn't any where near as tall, but I think it's as pretty.
We got this Nativity set about 3yrs. into our marriage. That makes it 34yrs. old. I like it's simplicity. It helps me remember that with all the hustle and bustle and the fun, I'm very grateful for the real reason for this season. Keeping everything in perspective, taking time to enjoy family and friends and most of all being grateful to my Savior for all He has done for me. Uplifting, sustaining and never giving up on me even when I have felt like giving up on myself. Merry Christmas!