Friday, December 31, 2010

Giving the boot to 2010

I am so ready to give 2010 the boot.  This has been a rough year.  When this year started I thought it would be a good year but that didn't last long.  My company was bought out by the end of January and we went through one more round of lay offs in February.   We still don't know how safe our jobs are or what we will be doing differently when they finish merging the two companies.  ugh!  That has made this year quite stressful.  I hope next year is better.
There were some happy moments in March.  R came to Memphis and went with me to see Eric Clapton.  What a great night that was.  And we also joined three other friends at the end of the month for a girls weekend in Natchez, MS.
May brought some happy moments.  I found out S was pregnant with G.  And I got to spend a long weekend with Beth and kiddos in Charlotte, NC.  It was sad to leave them not knowing how soon before we got to see each other again.
The fall brought a very bad season for my Rebels.  Not only did we suck on the field this year but the administration decided to rip away another beloved tradition.  They took Colonel Reb away as the official mascot and gave us some care bear looking thing.  My heart will always belong to Colonel Reb and I will not recognize any other mascot for Ole Miss.
I enjoyed a week exploring Hilton Head Island and Savannah with my grandmother.  That was a wonderful week of relaxation and so needed after the stressful year it has been.
November brought the arrival of sweet baby G.  And the knowledge that The Southern Blossoms would be spending Christmas in Mississippi instead of Tokyo.
December was spent with the usual crazy holiday happenings.  I got to spend a couple of my days off hanging out with S and the boys.  And time spent with family and friends home from far places.

I did accomplish a few things this year.  I decided to try two new recipes a month for the whole year.  And I accomplished that.  It feels good knowing I actually did it even if there was food put to waste because I couldn't eat all of a recipe.  I also wanted to do some traveling this year and I did that.  I put away a good bit of money and was able to do a few things around the house with that along with the traveling.   I might not have gotten back into my capris as I was so hoping to do in 2010 but I made a great start towards that goal.  I can actually now get in them but think they are still to tight to wear out in public.
I also got to meet a lot of new friends from around the world through their blogs.  I have enjoyed getting to know each of you and follow along with your lives.  I can't wait to see how things go for each of you in 2011.

2010 I am not sad to see you go.  You have the the toughest year in a long time.  I can only hope that 2011 will be much kinder to me.

Wishing everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Having a Christmas birthday means I am just happy to have people remember it.  So how shocked was I to have my mother hand me the phone about 8:30 Saturday morning and having my grandmother wish me a Happy Birthday.  She couldn't wait until she saw me not even 2 hours later, though the last thing she said was to hurry everyone up.   
Since we hit our teens both grandmothers give cash  instead of presents unless we really really want something.  The parents got me the steam mop I wanted and the brother gave me the Monopoly game for my Wii. 
Beth gave me a bracelet from my favorite store in Oxford that my sweetheart of a niece picked out.


She picked it out because they have blue stones on them.  I hope I get to hug her this week before they head back to Tokyo.

The cutest thing was that S let H decorate my gift bag that contained my college themed present.



And the college themed present.  Yep I broke out one of the martini mixes after they left.  I would say that S knows me well.  

And I got a coconut cake as predicted.  Thankfully mine only had one candle to blow out.  

I am gong to spend some time going to spend my gift cards and money over the long holiday weekend.  Yes they are burning a whole in my pocket.  And I want to pick up at least one thing from my list I didn't get.  

Thanks to all who wished me a Happy Birthday.  It helped to make this year quite special. 





Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Break

I left Christmas Eve to head to the family in Alabama.  This year we were with my father's side of the family.  But I got a good bit of time with Nanny since I stayed with her.  We did Christmas with her on Christmas Eve.  Saturday morning I got up and went to the parents and we did Christmas before leaving for Grandmother's.  And we did my birthday which threw me a bit as I am used to celebrating  my birthday during the halftime of the football game that afternoon.  Thankfully the parents, mainly Daddy, believed in separating the events for me even if within a couple weeks I forget what I got for what and just know I got it Christmas day.

I swapped presents with S and Beth Thursday night after dinner.  I got some fun things.  One of which was a storage tower for my Wii stuff (I didn't even think until I had it a week what am I going to do with all this and I am so glad she paid attention).  Beth gave me a beautiful set of chopsticks and now I need to learn how to use them.  


Excuse the dirty counters


The family gave me money and Ann Taylor gift cards.  The Dirty Santa went over well and I hope we do it again next year.  I ended up with one of the presents the parents brought.  A set of acrylic low ball glasses, which one of my uncles tried to get me to trade for a pitcher and glasses set because they had the rest of the items.

We put my cousin's new fiance to work taking pictures of the family.  I don't know the last time we had a picture with all of us in it, or at least close to the majority of us.  


My brother was MIA during the pics.  So not happy I ended up in the front row.  


My grandmother, uncles, daddy and the out-laws as the women were calling themselves.  My daddy is the one with the grey beard and mother is behind him.  


The guys discussing a hunting trip for some time this week.


Not sure what Debbie was up to but I am glad I got this shot as it makes me smile.


5 of the grand kids together, there are a total of 11 grand kids, 4 great-grand kids, and one great-great grand kid at this point. The boy in the middle is trying out for Julliard in the next month or two please say a little prayer for him.  Oh, and the two eldest guys in this shot are tall in the first place and are standing on the fireplace.  


Nanny proudly displaying her new door hanger.   

The plan was for me to come home Sunday but due to the weather I didn't get to leave until yesterday.  I was so hoping to get home on Sunday so I could spend the day undercoating and cleaning.  I love starting the new year off with a clean house, though I am not sure that it will happen this year.  

I hope Santa was good to everyone.  I will do another post about the birthday.  













Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


I hope this gent treats everyone well.  


And remember the reason for the season.





I will also be enjoying one of these tomorrow.  Grandmother usually makes a coconut cake though I am never sure what my birthday cake will be.  Thankfully I don't usually get even one candle, that is a lot of pressure to blow out to many at one time.  

My Christmas/birthday celebration started last night with my two favorite gals going to dinner and swapping gifts.


Beth, myself, and S at my house afterwards.  Many thanks to Beth's hubby for taking the pic.




the first 3 photos are from an msn search

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Marbled Chocolate Treats

I got this recipe from the 2007 Holiday issue of Kraft Food & Family magazine.  Oh, how I miss getting that freebie in my mailbox four times a year.   I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter so I gave them a try while the parents were at my house that year for Christmas.  My grandmother loved them so much I had to make several batches to have when the family gathered together after her 80th birthday party.

Marbled Chocolate Treats

8 1/2 Honey graham crackers broken in half
6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 squares white baking chocolate

Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan.  Arrange grahams on bottom of pan, cutting as needed to completely cover bottom of pan; set aside.

Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter in medium bowl on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted when stirred, stirring every 30 seconds.  Stir until well blended.  Pour over grahams; spread with spatula to cover completely.

Repeat microwave melting steps with the white chocolate.  Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate over chocolate covered grahams.  Immediately cut through the chocolate mixtures with knife several times for tire-stripe effect.


Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.  Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan.  Peel off foil.  Cut into bars.  Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

I always use crunchy peanut butter when I make these but you can use creamy if that is what you like.  I also don't bother to cut the pieces just break it apart.  


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Easy Cheese Garlic Biscuits

I talk about making these biscuits quite often and Daphne asked me last week for the recipe.  I had to go find it as I have made them enough I just eye ball it now.  They used to be on the back of the Bisquick box and might still be on the regular one but I buy the heart smart version.  

Easy Cheese Garlic Biscuits

2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450°.  In a medium bowl, stir Bisquick, milk and cheese with wire whisk or fork until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 30 seconds.  On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 10 to 12 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.  
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  In a small bowl, stir butter and garlic powder until well mixed; brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

I have used the Italian and Mexican blend cheese in place of the cheddar cheese and they have turned out wonderful too.  Last week I added two dashes of cilantro along with the garlic powder to the butter before putting it on the biscuits.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cards

Everyone has been sharing their beautiful Christmas cards.  I don't do the photo cards because who really wants one of Belle and myself.  So I picked up a couple from Wal-Mart this year.


On the inside it says:
My Santa's sleigh find its way to you on Christmas Day!

I rarely can decide on just one card.  


This one caught my eye because of the American flag.  
On the inside:
Peace and blessings to you and yours at Christmas always!

I am going to finally get these addressed and mailed today.   At least I hope I can get it done.  


Friday, December 17, 2010

Monday and Tuesday

I was off on Monday and Tuesday so I headed down to S and JF's house to hang out.  Okay so I spent most of my day playing with H, but I did get to hold G for a bit each day.  Boy do 2 year olds have some energy and I wish I could bottle up some of that energy to use.  We spent out days playing with trains and trucks.  And we got out several of the toys that he got for his birthday last weekend.  We worked Monday on learning to bowl (Yep, my gift)


We were using the bar and and stools as a tunnel.  H can be such a ham he caught me with the camera.  And that is Daisy sneaking into the shot too.  


Warming up by the fire with Mommy after lunch.  Yep anything to prolong a nap.  G is hanging out in his bouncy seat.  


Thanks for the Chocolate milk Aunt Ruthie.


G likes to sleep a lot.  it was a real treat to see him awake.

I was worn out after playing with H for two days but I had a blast and would do it again.  Though trying to fit in almost a weeks worth of work in the 2 days I was in the office this week probably added to the exhaustion.  This morning I got up and ran a few errands and met my workout buddy at the gym.  There is a new nutrition shop next door to the gym and we picked up some Oreo smoothies.  

I am going to spend the weekend catching up on every one's blogs.  And especially visiting everyone who came by from the Christmas tree blog hop.  





Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Home Tour Tuesday - Trimming the Tree



Today we are showing off our Christmas tress and talking about three special ornaments.  


This years tree.  I bought a new 9 foot tree this year.  I don't have a tree topper because I can't reach the top with my step stool.  


My grandmother made a set of 12 snowflake ornaments for me while my grandfather was in the hospital battling cancer.  She made a set for my father and my three uncles around the time they got married.  Well I should say two uncles because turns out I got my set before the youngest.  


This ZTA crest ornament was made by one of my pledge sisters the year we were initiated.  It is still one of my favorite ornaments.  


I bought this one last month.  Colonel Reb holding the American flag.  I have bought it for several friends too. The only mascot I will ever recognize for Ole Miss.  

It was so hard to come up with just three ornaments.  I started my collection with ones I got in college as my father won't let me have the ones I got as a kid.  




Monday, December 13, 2010

Crispy Praline Cookies

 I have been in the mood to bake.  And got some great suggestions from y'all.  But in going through my cookbook I found one to try.  I pulled this out of the June of Mississippi magazine.  It was the recipe contest winners addition.  The Crispy Praline Cookies were submitted by Lisa Grantham and was the winning Dessert Cookie recipe.  I love pralines so why not try out the cookie.

Crispy Praline Cookies

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients, blending well.  Drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 13 to 15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets 1 minute; remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  

Yields 2 dozen

They smelled heavenly while baking.  Though certainly didn't turn out as pretty as Lisa's did in the magazine.  But are yummy!  I never claimed to be a baker.  Yep I put to many on the sheet at once.  Oh well they tasted good and that is all that matters.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Easy Chicken Chili

It has gotten really cold here so I was wanting to make chili for dinner.  And as I never have made chicken chili I went searching for a recipe to make.  I found one at Better Homes and Garden website, Easy Chicken Chili.
I woke up to snow flurries that happened on and off until around 10:30.  I was worried that when I finally got ready to brave the cold the stores would be packed thanks to people seeing the snow flurries.  Thankfully Kroger was not packed.  

Easy Chicken Chili

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 c.)
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
2 c. diced rotisserie-cooked chicken
2 cans (15.5 oz) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles, undrained
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 c. sour cream, if desired
Chipped fresh cilantro, if desired.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and bell pepper.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.


Stir in soup, broth and water.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and well blended.
Stir in chicken, beans, chiles, oregano, and cumin,  Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low.


Cook uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.  
Top each serving with sour cream and cilantro.


The only bad part about my Christmas dishes is the small bowls.  I am not a huge fan of sour cream.  But I did top the chili with some cilantro and cheese.  Because what is chili without cheese.


I made garlic cheese biscuits to go with it.  Tonight I also threw in some cilantro in the butter.  They were great.  

I think next time I will add more chicken to the chili because I prefer chunkier chili.  I will make this more often in the winter months.  I also used green bell pepper instead of red.  Several dishes I have made recently have used bell peppers and they can get expensive so the last time Kroger put the frozen veggies on sale for $10/10 I bought a bag.  I also used the savory rotisserie chicken from Kroger.  








Birthday Celebrations

Yesterday we celebrated H's 2nd birthday.  Today is actually his birthday. 


The birthday boy playing during the party. 


Daddy helping open the gifts.  Along with some cute girls. 



Playing with his big gift.  Aunt Ruthie got a good arm workout after everyone left lifting H up to make a goal.  Though he didn't want to use the basketball that goes with it.  And I got a dose of what I am in for the next two days chasing him around. 

I totally forgot to get a picture of the cute cake that Mrs. P made for him.  And he was more interested in the Hot Wheels on the cake. 



Friday, December 10, 2010

Confession Time

I have talked about how I am not a big reality show watcher.  But I have one guilty pleasure when it comes to these shows.  Jerseylicious on Style Network.  It takes place in the Gatsby Salon.  It revolves around the lives of  6 stylist and make up artists lives.  I tried to watch Jersey Shore but couldn't handle it.  These ladies and gents are out of control.  But it keeps grabbing me back each week and they are now in the second season.

The other show I have some how gotten into is the Vanilla Ice Project.  I know how this happened.  Belle woke me up early one Saturday morning and I couldn't get back to sleep.  The Vanilla Ice Project was the only thing one that wasn't an infomerical.  I thought it would be a good laugh.  But he has a clue to what he is doing and some really good ideas.  So yes I have kept watching because I want to see how the house looks when completed.

 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Random Thoughts

  • I am off work until next Wednesday.  Today I spent the morning running errands.  And now am about to go get the house clean and start wrapping presents.  Yep, I finished my shopping Tuesday during my lunch.


  • When I was out finishing shopping this week I came across these really cute collectible guitars.  




  • I don't know where I would put them but they are cute.  


  • I don't know who ordered these cold temps in December but they need to unorder them.   It shouldn't be this cold until next month.  


  • I finally picked up my Christmas cards this morning.  Hopefully I can have them in the mail Saturday.

  • H's 2nd birthday party is on Saturday afternoon.  It will be a blast.  Aunt Ruthie needs to decide if he is getting 2 gifts for his birthday or Christmas.  I bought him three things.  

  • I took Belle to the vet this morning for her annual shots.  I came home covered in fur because she sheds 100% more when freaked out.  She has spent the whole time since coming home laying around looking pitiful.  


  • I am in the mood to bake but can't figure out what.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  

  • Holly over at www.paintedbyholly.com  is having free shipping on all orders until December 24th




the pics come from www.wildaboutmusic.com
  


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Decorations

Daphne over at Flip Flops and Pearls and Webbisodes are hosting a Home Tour Tuesday.  This week is Christmas Decorations.


I will be the first to admit I don't have a lot of decorations or the space in my house to store a whole lot.  This is a good thing because otherwise I think I would get out of control with the Christmas decorating.


Christmas tree.  And it wasn't until now I realized I don't have a picture of it decorated.  I don't have the tree topper on it this year because I can't reach the top of the new tree.


My Christmas card holder.  And my new red lamp.  I also have my Christmas story books sitting on the end table but don't have a picture.  Man loading these and doing the post makes me realize I didn't get everything.


My stockings on the mantle.  One for me and one for Belle.  I love snowmen to decorate with for Christmas.  


The only cookie jar I own.


My kitchen decorations.  


 A pillow and another snowman sitting in my over sized chair.  


My Christmas dishes.  I can't wait for Thanksgiving to be over with so I can bring them out each year.

I hope everyone is having a joyous Christmas season!









Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekend Update

It is so sad how fast weekends pass.  I spent mine getting my hair done Saturday morning.  And afterwards I hit the stores to work on finishing up my Christmas shopping.  I have two presents left to buy and I know exactly what and where to get them.  I will be done by lunch tomorrow.  I can't wait to be done the crowds are getting out of control.  
I even picked up my present to myself this morning.  I have had fun playing with it this afternoon.  I have played all the games but the boxing.  


I need to go back and clean up the cords a bit.  But I am glad I picked up the red one.  


I played for a hour this afternoon.  And then started playing when I got up from my nap.  I forgot how addicting Super Mario Brothers can be.  I played for 1 1/2 hours before I realized it.  I had to cut it off and go start laundry.  I also need to get up in the attic and bring down the rest of my decorations so I can put them up.
Any suggestions on what games I should get?

I also go my first Christmas card in the mail yesterday.  I was so excited.  I need to get mine addressed and mailed but that might be next weekends project.