Friday, December 31, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're home now from our whirlwind trip to Missouri.  It was fun, had nice weather and got to see both family and friends.  Saw Oklahoma State cap off the football season with a record eleven wins.  I'm so glad we bought season tickets this year! 

But now, I'm glad to be home with nothing but cleaning to look forward to in the next few days.  My daughter and I took down the ornaments and lights on the tree and my husband helped me wrestle that thing into it's bag and out the door for storage in the barn.  I almost had a heart attack when something grey jumped out of the bag in the middle of the living room floor but then realized that my cat, Josie, had crawled into it while we were wrapping bungee cords around the tree.  I'm always afraid that something will move into the tree during the summer and I'll bring it into the house.  She sort of looks like a possum/lemur cross so she startled me quite a bit when she came jumping out of the bag!

Next, I'm doing the real cleaning.  Vacuuming up all the junk that has settled out of the tree over the last month.  Christmas trees, whether dead or alive are just really messy when you let them live in your house.  Although, I'll miss Christmas, I won't be missing the mess!  Now, I just have to contend with the woodstove.  It's messy but oh, so wonderful on those cold days! 

Since tonight's New Years Eve, my kids both have plans.  I'm not much of a late night person so my husband and I probably will just go to the movies and come home.  My daughter has a slumber party, my son is having a friend over for a night of video games and food.  Perfect boy stuff!  I'm making Chinese to eat.  The boys requested it. 

I haven't really given any thought to my new year's resolution yet.  I usually don't do much.  One year, I resolved to get the family to eat five fruits and veggies a day.  We usually now get that done.  One year, I resolved not to purchase anything for the house that I didn't want to dust the rest of my life.  That one still keeps me from buying cute little things.  This year, I think I need to resolve to not get all stressed out about the little things, to take ten minutes out of each day and just go outside with Kate and play.  I need to thank my family for the things they do that I generally don't notice or think they should be doing them anyway.  I need to laugh and dance more and frown less.  I need to realize that I'm no longer a parent of little kids, I'm the parent of two pretty great teenagers (one almost a teen). 

I think mostly I need to just lighten up a little more each day.  At the end of the day, I need to see more humor, love, patience and grace in my life directed to those I love the most.  I'm going to start everyday with prayer for my kids, not just on the days when I have time.  Everyday.  First thing in the morning I'm going to bath my family in prayer.....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Summertime Picture

My favorite picture of 2010.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Branson - Here We Come!

We're on our way to Branson today to visit Silver Dollar City with our kids, and my brother, sis-in-law and their two kids.  I'm really looking forward to seeing all the lights and riding rides! 

I'm a little kid at heart and I love big roller coasters.  SDC or as some our local friends call it "Steal Your Dollar City" has just enough roller coasters to make mama happy.  I usually have to ride by myself since the kids are too old to walk around with old mom and dad anymore.  This was the first year we let them go off together and I was really sad.  Luckily, my son gets a little sick before my daredevil daughter does so I end up riding with her after she's worn him out.

We'll probably spend a lot of time in the kiddy area with my nieces too.  I like the kiddy area because it's fun to watch them have such a great time riding all the rides. 

Best of all, no laundry, cooking or pesky pictures to download while your out of town.  Branson used to just be a little bitty nothing town until about 15 years ago.  I used to ride up with my parents and grandparents when I was little.  There was really nothing in Branson except SDC and a few music shows.  It is now a thriving little city with more family stuff to do than you can do in a week!  This summer, we spent four days
 lounging around the lake, going to shows and shopping and having a great family vacation close to home. 

We're going to get to see SDC all light up in the Christmas lights.  I'm looking forward to it........

Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Are Women Responsible For Pictures?

Dumb question....why is it that in every family I know, the woman is solely responsible for organizing the pictures of the family?  I guess I'm just cranky now that Christmas is over and I know I've got a week of taking down to do.  I don't like to organize pictures.  Never have.  I don't make cute little scrapbooks.  I called my kids baby books 'guilt in a box'. 

I like to look at pictures and I'm glad that over the years, I have always spent time to put each and every picture into an album.  Our entire married life is categorized in chronological order.  My daughter can pull out 1997 and look at her cute face.  She can pull the book titled 2008 and look at our family trip to Hawaii with my entire side of the family.  My husbands family doesn't do group trips.  They don't do much of anything together but we have pictures of birthday dinners and Christmas get-togethers.  My mother-in-law is really good about making the kids scrapbooks and she keeps adding to them each year.  I'm not.  I don't like it.

I'm spending time today, hours actually, downloading pictures, uploading pics onto a website and trying to order pics to place in the albums.  I know that my kids appreciate that I spend this time doing this.  I just wish that it was something someone else had to do.  I'd rather be plucking my eyebrows!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

All in All

All in all it was a very fine Chistmas.  We didn't get the blizzard like last year and for that, I am thankful.  My daughter got me up at seven in the morning, it was still dark but she just couldn't stand it anymore.  We had to drag the boy out of bed.  Since he's fourteen and a half, getting early is not as much fun as it once was on Christmas morning.

Last night, after my daughter went to bed, he just kept hanging around in the living room.  I finally got tired and took their stockings down and went to my room.  He followed his dad around and finally asked, 'is this about when Santa comes?  I want to see him!' My husband took him into our bedroom and sitting on my bed was Santa! She even had on a red hat!  He laughed and laughed and went to bed....if I'd have known it was that easy to get him to bed, I'd have done that years ago!

My in-laws came over this morning for our traditional breakfast.  It was relaxing to sit and just visit for a few hours.  They went off to pack for the trip they are leaving for in a few days.  We goofed off for several hours, playing with all the toys and picking up.  It's fun to see the kids play with the new things they get every year.  Now, it seems, that mostly it's electronics but that's the age they are now.

 When we sat down to eat our late lunch, it was baked ham with cherry sauce, twice-baked potato casserole and salad; we thanked God for allowing us to be together.  It was a quiet Christmas dinner at home.  We decided during the meal that after we'd cleaned up, we'd go into town to our church and help out a bit.  Some our church members host a Christmas dinner and give-a-way for those that need it in Claremore.  It's for people in our church who don't have a family close or those in the community that need a warm meal.  The church donates mostly kid stuff for people to 'shop' for after they eat. 

It does amaze me that there are needy within my community.  I tend to forget that not everyone has a warm home and as much 'stuff' as they can stuff into their surroundings.  It felt good to help out in the small way we did. 

All in all, it was a very good Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I'm posting this a little early so I can be with my family this morning.  As you read this, I'm probably opening presents and getting the traditional family breakfast ready.  We sit the table with the fancy china, crystal glasses, candles, tablecloth and advent wreath the night before.  After we open presents, we sit down to a really good breakfast of sausage-cranberry quiche, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, coffee and orange juice. 

As we are waiting for the food to finish baking, my husband reads the Christmas story, the family lights our advent candles and we sing some Christmas songs.  We sit around and talk and talk.  It's a great time to remember why we are doing something so special on this day.  When the kids were little, we sang 'happy birthday, baby Jesus'.  Oftentimes, we had a special cake for dessert.  Now, we talk about how blessed we are and how much we take for granted.

I truly believe that within my lifetime I will see Christians in the United States being persecuted for our beliefs.  We are already beginning to see the tide turn from not being a Christian nation, even our president has said so.  This makes me very sad.  God has blessed this country for many years and yet we are not willing to even acknowledge His presence. 

For today, I will celebrate Christ's birth with my husband and children.  I will celebrate being able to openly worship the God I serve.  I am truly blessed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve!

At last, it's finally here! Christmas Eve, that's when my daughter gets to open the present under our tree marked to her to open today!  She's so excited!  The truth is, she knows what it is and most people would think it was crazy!

You have to know the story......several years ago, some friends sent us a gift box with smoked sausage, cheese, mustard, crackers, etc.  You've all seen those gift boxes from Pepperidge Farms.  When I was a kid, my grandpa always got a big one from someone and he'd open it on Christmas Eve.  I loved all those little miniature food items.  Well, so does my daughter.  We ate it that year on Christmas Eve with soup I had made after we got home from the Christmas Eve service.

The next year, she asked Santa for one of the boxes with food in it.  Took me awhile to decipher that one!  But sure enough, there was one under the tree with her name on it a couple of days before Christmas.  The next year, her brother bought it for her and the last few years, I've purchased it for her to open up on Christmas Eve so we can eat it that night. 

Some years, we eat it at our house, some years at another family members but it's turned into a fun tradition that we all get to enjoy.  Sausage, cheese and crackers, who knew something so simple could bring so much excitement!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good Neighbors

We are blessed with good neighbors.  We always have been, wherever we have lived.  That's always the thing I miss most when we've moved, our neighbors.  Having a good relationship with the neighbors doesn't take much work but it is more than worth it! 

Now, I know, some people are just crazy and hard to get along with.  Some neighbors don't want to be good neighbors and there is nothing you can do about it.  We've always been blessed with people who feel as we do and I know that doesn't always happen.  Our neighbors range in age from our age to over seventy years old.  Some have grandkids that live close, some have taken our kids as their own.  My son has done chores for a few of them.  It benefits them both.  He learns about working for someone other than his dad and I and they get some help with something they may not be able to do anymore.  We watch each others homes when we travel and come to each others aid when we are needed.  We borrow from each other tools and eggs.

I always bake goodies for our neighbors at Christmastime.  Around here, we don't live in a 'normal' neighborhood.  We don't have an addition.  We live along a road and I consider the 5-6 people we live around our 'neighborhood'.  Even though it's not a traditional neighborhood, we all stick together closer than some people who can see in each others living rooms.  That may be the reason, we give each other our space!

This year, I baked two kinds of biscotti.  One was a shortbread biscotti with dried fruits, the other was a double chocolate.  I packed the biscotti with an assortment of tea and chocolates.  The son delivered them throughout the neighborhood a few weeks ago. 

I don't send the packages with hopes of getting something in return but it is fun over the last few weeks to see the neighbors and sample their holiday goodies.  One neighbor commented that they enjoy each year getting all the stuff because it's like a up-to-date cookie exchange.  We're all so busy, we can't commit to a single saturday to exchange so we all do it whenever we can.  About once a week, from thanksgiving to Christmas, someone shows up bearing gifts we can eat!  Yummy!

I got my last visit last night, kind of made me sad to think we're done for the year.  We've had homemade chocolate dipping sauce and cookies to dip, caramel popcorn, chex mix, apple bread, chocolate ice cream sauce and homemade salsa from the cooks garden.  We decided that next summer, when my blackberries come in that we're going to do a jelly making party.  And by the taste of this salsa, I'm hoping for a salsa making party also!

Get to know your neighbors.  Along with all the other benefits, it can be very tasty!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry-Sausage Quiche

Had this recipe for many, many years.  We've had it only for Christmas morning breakfast each year.  It's pretty, easy to make and tastes special on Christmas morning!

Christmas Morning Cranberry-Sausage Quiche

1 9 inch pie shell
1/2 lb sausage, mild or medium
1/2 C chopped onion
3/4 C dried cranberries
11/2 C monterry jack cheese, this can be a blend on mj and chedder
3 eggs, lightly beaten
11/2 C half and half
Preheat oven to 400F. Bake pie shell for 7 minutes. Don't prick the pie shell before cooking.  Reduce temp. to 375F.  Crumble and cook sausage and onion.  Drain.  stir in cranberries.  Sprinkle cheese on bottom of pie shell.  Top with sausage mixture.  combine eggs and half and half.  Pour over sausage mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.  You know it's done if you put a knife in the center and it comes out clean.

I bake the pie shell and make the sausage and eggs the day before.  I just put it all together Christmas morning and start baking.  Then we open presents!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to do today?

I'm sitting here trying to decide what to do today....should we make gingerbread cookies first or do the house cleaning?  Of course, I'd like to forget house cleaning altogether and just bake but someone has to clean....and that would be me!

A few years ago, when I started working outside of the home, I felt overwhelmed by Christmas duties.  I sat down the family and asked what they most needed at Christmas.  What did they absolutely need to have a Christmastime for it to be Christmas.  My daughter said 'gingerbread cookies and a gingerbread house.' My son said  'Christmas tree.' Typical boy, as if we'd not have a tree!  My husband said toffee.  I noticed no one said, 'house decorated from top to bottom inside and out.'  Everything they said seemed to center around food and being together.  For me, it was the sunday night advent meal that we have.  Some nights, it ends up being on Monday night or Saturday night because someone has to be somewhere on Sunday night but it's a once a week time when we sit down, light candles, read the bible and remember the Reason for this Season!

Puts it all into perspective for me.  Reminds me that it's ok not be completely ready for everything.  Mary and Joseph certainly weren't....they traveled to Bethlehem without a reservation at a hotel!  If they could do that, I can certainly trust God to take care of me and the family.  He's done a great job so far!

I don't get all bent out of shape when everything doesn't get put up at Christmas.  I don't get bent out of shape if the outside lights look like three reindeer and a camel.  I don't get bent out of shape if the gingerbread people look like people who have been through a nuclear meltdown.  It's not about perfection, it's about being together and making memories. 

Sure made Christmas more fun!  I'm going to bake gingerbread.....I'm hoping an elf will clean house!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Christmas is coming! I am busy making and baking goodies for all the get-togethers that are coming in the next week.  I've made oodles of chocolate dipped pretzels for my kid's youth group party and my husband's work guys.  I've made chicken salad, salsa, brushetta and cheese logs for the ladies at my husband's work.  They are so good to him all year, letting him 'forget' to  bring things on eating days but still eat.  I try a couple of times a year to send a full lunch so he can stay in their good graces! I remember how the men at my work always were.  They never brought anything but were always the first in line to eat!

I'm making chocolate candy canes and baking cake mix cookies for the kids party on Wednesday.  There will be about one hundred kids and they will all need SUGAR!  I'm sure there will be enough sugar to get the entire town on a rush that will last a few hours!

Yesterday, I had the entire family sit down and decide what our Christmas breakfast and dinner would include.  Usually, everyone has their favorite dishes.  I tend to overcook so I decided to let everyone tell me what they wanted.  Green bean casserole - good bye.  Oven french toast - you're toast this year.  One by one, they deleted from the menu extra stuff I always made that they really didn't care for.

The menu for breakfast will be; cranberry-sausage quiche, homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee.  The dinner menu will be: baked ham with cherry sauce, twice-baked potatoes, mixed veggies, strawberry-feta-lettuce salad and hot rolls.  A lot less than I usually make but since the family chose the menu, I decided that we'd just make what we wanted.  Of course, they'll be several desserts including a cherry pie.  We always have to have a cherry pie for my son.  It won't be Christmas without a cherry pie!  And gingerbread men and women.....and fudge.....and toffee.....and coffee! 

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I've got to go roll out some more cheese logs!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not Feeling it Yet!!!

I'm not feeling like Christmas yet....I'm still in school and my skin has started turning green, grinch-like green! It's a good thing that tomorrow is the last day for this year or I'm sure my heart would start shrinking and I'd have Kate, the big black dog, drag me around the brown yard in the wagon! 

Teachers all over the country and probably world get like this around this time of year.  From Thanksgiving till Christmas break, oops, I said Christmas break, teachers try, try, try to keep everybody on task at school.  This is like hearding cats.  Can't be done! Even the teenagers lose their focus.  I know, THAT'S A BIG SURPRISE!
Teenagers losing focus!  Well, teachers try to keep them focused and by this week, we're just worn down.  Then that kid, you know who you are, that hasn't done one thing all year comes up and asks, 'is there anything I can do over Christmas break (yeah, the kids call it Christmas break too!), that I can do to bring up my grade to a D?

This is the kid who has done nothing all semester! They have a 10% average! Are you kidding me?  I've called your parents fifteen times this semester!  Are you kidding me?  Really, Really, you are asking me this now? 

About now, the kid realizes that they have made a deadly mistake.  The teacher is laughing hysterically and suddenly runs out of the room and into the teachers lounge,  a few minutes pass and the teachers lounge erupts in loud laughter!  I wish teachers lounges had margarita machines in them.  We'd all have a better December!

The good thing about being a virtual school teacher is that I can take a break after an email like the one above and take a walk.  I can go outside and play with Kate before I come back in, make that call and say, 'Really, Really........'

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

I've been busily baking for every event under the sun lately!  I've still got a lot to do and a lot of parties and get-togethers that need my baked goods!  I've made these cookies for years, I got the recipe from a lady in Indiana.  She brought them to a teachers party and I had to have the recipe.  I was so surprised when I got it and it was easy!  I buy the cake mixes on sale in the fall and can easily whip up a batch of these in no time at all. 
They always get rave reviews from kids and grown-ups alike!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 cake mix (strawberry, lemon, german chocolate, chocolate, etc)
2 eggs
1/4 C vegetable cooking oil
Mix well and place in the fridge for about an hour.  Roll about a teaspoon of the dough into a ball.  Now the fun begins. 
Strawberry/lemon - roll in powdered sugar
German Chocolate - roll in coconut and chopped nuts
Chocolate, mix in mint chips and roll into balls
Slightly flatten on cookie sheet.
You get creative and make your own combinations! Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, do not overbake!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thinking of others......

We're in the process of coming up with little gifts for all the extra people in our lives.  The sunday school leaders, the piano teacher, the youth leaders who spend a little extra time helping my kids.  Now, we're not wealthy.  Most years, it's homemade gifts or little gifts I've picked up on sale over the year.  I've made soup mixes, bath salts, hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, etc. 

As someone who, over the years, has been the recipient of little gifts like these, I know how much they really mean to the person who gets them.  No, it doesn't have to be expensive.  But when someone actually spends a little money or a little time to make or purchase something with me in mind, it tells me that they noticed the things I did throughout the year.  I don't volunteer so I can get things back, I don't expect anything in return. That's what makes those little things even better.  It's nice to be noticed and thanked, even if it's just a card thanking me for my time. 

My challenge this season is to remember a person that maybe most people look over.  A person that isn't expecting anything as a gift.  Give them a little something, a baked good, a card thanking them, just something.  Something that lets them know you  noticed their service over the year.  You'll make their day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Geez mom, everybody knows your organized.....

In the paper today, there was an article about not getting stressed over the holidays.  I laughingly commented that I hardly ever felt stressed over the holidays....maybe every other thing, but honestly, not the holidays.  He said one word as he ate his leftover stew we were eating for lunch, ' organized'.....I just about choked on my stew, 'organized?!' I asked?  'Mom, you are so organized.  You have it all down so none of us ever feel stressed about Christmas and stuff.  We know what we're going to do every day.'  'Like what?', I asked.  'You know, Sunday night is advent night. Each week, we take turns reading and lighting the candles. We put the outside decorations up the week before Thanksgiving but don't turn them on until after Thanksgiving.  You put the tree up and all the inside decorations after Thanksgiving.  You've already bought the gingerbread house and all the stuff that we'll bake.  I've already delivered all the baked goods to the neighbors.  The week we're out of school, we'll decorate the gingerbread men.  We'll have soup and bread after church on Christmas eve, usually nanny and poppy come over.  Christmas eve, you'll set the fancy table for Christmas breakfast and we'll have that yummy french toast.'  He took a long sip of his soup as he looked over at me, 'Geez mom, everybody knows you're organized.' 

I was speechless for a full minute.  How in the world had my son, who can't even seem to find his shoes anymore by himself, list all the stuff in order that I do each year? It dawned on me that it was because each year I do things in the same order.  I guess I am pretty organized!  And golly, he had actually noticed! 

Maybe there is hope for him afterall!  He recognizes that being organized keeps the stress away! I'm hoping that some of that extra planning may be sinking into that teenage brain so when the smoke clears in a few years around that brain of his, he'll come out thinking a little extra planning is a good thing! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making Frugal Gifts....

I'm going to post this week some frugal gifts that we have made over the years.  We like to make gifts for just about everyone from grandmas down to sunday school teachers.  I think it's nice to be remembered, even if it's just a little something.  That little something shows that you appreciate them and thought of them.  It goes a long way......I've been there.

Here's a recipe for candy cane bath salts I've made many times.  I've used mason jars (you'll need the tall jelly jars) and gone to discount stores and found cheap, funky containers to put it in.  One year, at a glass manufacturers sale, I found a decorative jar that let me put miniature candy canes in the lid.  Usually, I just tie a candy cane on with a pretty ribbon.

Guaranteed to make your house smell wonderful!!!!

Candy Cane bath salts

2 4lb cartons Epsom Salts
4 pounds sea salt or kosher salt (buy this at the supermarket in a big bag)
1/2 teaspoon glycerin
12-15 drops peppermint essential oil (health food stores will carry this)
12-15 drops red food color

Empty one carton Epsom salts into a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 the salt and stir well.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon glycerin and 7 drops of the peppermint oil.  Mix well.

In a large plastic bag, mix the remaining epsom salt and sea salt. Add the remaining glycerin, oil and the food color.  Mix well, color should be even.  I put this is in a large plastic bag because it's easier to mix around the food coloring.   I use a trash bag and tie it closed.

Depending on the size of container you have, layer about one inch of the white then one inch of the pink until you reach the top.  Close tightly and decorate. 

I usually make a pretty handmade tag to tell the recipient what it is and how to use it:
  1/4 cup in a warm bath

Monday, December 6, 2010

Frugal Teachers Gifts

As you already know, I'm pretty frugal.  I like to get a deal and I really like to be able to pass it on.  Since I'm a teacher, I'm pretty confident in getting gifts for my kids teachers.  My son is easy, I'm his teacher! I'll find me some good chocolate!

Let me say this once.....MOST teachers do not want an apple themed gift! I'm sure out there somewhere in teacher land, there is this one teacher, who still wears jumper dresses, that adores apple gifts and has her house decorated in them.  She probably even dresses her cat, that's the only thing that will live with her, in apple costumes! OK, OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.  I've been told that I do that.  My husband and best friend used to call me the 'exaggerator' because I would make the number a bit bigger to make the story better.  Like instead of ten worms in the salad, I would say ten million worms! Hey, it wasn't a lie, it just made the story more exciting!

Anyway, I think I'm pretty good at teacher gifts.  I've given gift cards to coffee shops, sonic (teachers love happy hour) and even walmart.  Those are always appreciated, but since I'm also frugal, I like getting something I would love at a great price and gifting someone.  This year, I purchased expensive coffee travel mugs at a very discounted price.  They were only $1.50 each because they were father's day cups.  The bottom was removable to put a picture of you and your dad inside.  I took out the liner and replaced it with really cool black and white wrapping paper and 'presto' I have very expensive looking coffee mugs on the cheap.  Teachers do dig coffee travel mugs because they keep that morning coffee hot until you can make it back to the teachers lounge for a refill!  I filled each with hot cocoa, tea bags and chocolate bars.  Everything a teacher needs for a day on the job!

My husband made fun of me in August when I came up carrying an armload of father's day mugs and my daughter was they think they look great and my daughter is wanting to take them monday to give away!  Total cost for four teachers gifts,.....under $6, including the stuff inside. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hit at Thanksgiving!

This year, I was in charge of bringing salads to thanksgiving dinner.  I like to make different salads and they travel well so I could leave my house and they could sit in the back for a few hours while we drove over.  This salad was the hit and it is super easy to make! I like those two things in any dish I plan to bring.  This travels well, tastes great and is so easy but it is really a pretty dish.  I had to send the recipe to my mom and sister this week. 

Marinated Mushroom Salad

2 1/2 quarts water

3 T lemon juice
3 lbs fresh mushrooms ( used 2 boxes of fresh mushrooms)
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium red pepper (could use any color)
1 small onion chopped
1 T fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced stuffed green olives
1/2 cup sliced black olives


1/2 cup italian salad dressing
1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt

Bring water and lemon juice to a boil, add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Place mushrooms and the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. combine all dressing ingredients and pour over salad. cover and refridgerate overnight.

This would make a great make-and-take dish to potluck this season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Reindeer and a Camel!

Ok, I was telling you how I got the boys of the house to get the outside lights up one warm Saturday.  What I didn't mention is that I went Christmas shopping and was gone most of the day.  They like it that way.  Anything that keeps them from having to go to Tulsa and shop all day makes the two men of the house very, very happy!

When I got home, I realized that the two deer from last year didn't get put in the trash like I had planned.  They were almost ten years old and I had to wrap lights around them last year to get them to light up.  I think last year, I stayed in and put up decorations when they took them down....or maybe went shopping, I can't seem to remember!

Instead of two nice, new deer I purchased last year after Christmas, we had four deer standing in the yard.  Two nice, new deer and two things that looked like they had been mangled.  I managed to get one looking almost good but the other one...he'd lost his antlers over the summer and so I said he'd had a sex change operation and was now a doe.  He'd also somehow managed to get the lights I had carefully wrapped around him last year wadded up into a ball in the center of his body!  I just pulled them out around his/her body and called it good. 

The night of light up was a few days ago.  I was not pleased with my he/she deer.  I have finally made peace with it.  It's not a deer after all! It is actually a camel! That's what it looks like and I've just told the family that whenever someone comments on him/her to tell them I purchased a camel off the internet.....that actually sounds plausible if you know me! 

Now I kind of like my camel!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decorating for Christmas!

We are in the major throws of decorating at my house.  The outside lights got put up a few weeks ago on a really warm week-end.  I informed the men of the house that since it was going to start getting cold, that we'd put them up on the warm week-end.  I lose serious interest when I have to bundle up to string lights.  My fingers get too cold to work! 

The tree is up and decorated in the living room but the other trees will get put up as the week progresses.  It's a busy week because on saturday, our church youth group is in the Christmas parade downtown.  Guess who offered decorations and help?  Oh yeah, it's me!  It will be fun!

Saturday is also the Christmas home tour in our town.  A bunch of girlfriends and I take the morning off and become peeping toms throughout Claremore!  It's always a good time of gabbing, lunch and usually, I feel very blessed by my own home when I return.  My house may not be the biggest or fanciest, but I truly love my house! 

Gotta go!  My daughter is hauling up the trees from the garage!