Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some times you get lucky!

 My day was super was the 17th of December, Sara's birthday,  a soccer game, lots of errands to run and last minute Christmas items to take care of....I got a phone call from my favorite knitting shop.  I thought I knew why they were calling ~ to let me know an  item I had ordered for a Christmas gift was ready...but when I answered the call the much to my surprise....

I was the big winner of this super nice basket, stuffed full of yarn, needles, knitting books and other goodies.  Even the  basket itself is handmade of rags by the shop owner.  It is comical that I won, as they have had this major contest running for the past three months and every time you made an item you dropped your name in the hat.  Well, some of the women had fifty entries and I had maybe - five!
I feel kind of guilty!

Isn't it awesome and I was so not expecting will probably be one of the nicest
 gifts I get for Christmas! 

On to Sara's birthday!  In keeping with our long standing tradition of "birthday hats", Ellen made Sara this cool birthday hat with seventeen birthday candles.

We had birthday dinner - and I made her a cake that my mother used to make me when I was young....Milky Way Cake.  The recipe is so old that it calls for 4 10c Milky Way Bars in the cookbook.  I called my mother to see what that was....and do you know ?  Ten cent Milky Way Bars!  

After winning my big basket of yarn, I was on cloud nine at the grocery store while looking for my ten cent (well lets try $1.00 Milky Way Bars) and when I got home I realized that I did not have my cookbook!  Now, I was completely distressed as it was a) an old and irrereplacable cookbook
 and b) I needed to make my cake!  So, I rushed back to the grocery store and Lady Luck was with me once again...they had it behind the counter!  

Here is the famous Milky Way Cake ~ the best cake in the world with yummy homemade icing.  What is PY DATY?  That is what happens when you have to scrape together candles because you forgot to get them at the store due to the fact you were high on yarn


Thursday, December 15, 2011

(This Moment)

Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by - Amanda Soule 
If you have a moment to share, please leave a comment with a link! 

:: Loving ::

:: Inspiration from blogs that I read..... all these items were tucked away behind closed doors, flowers in the yard and apples in the fridge......

 After noticing some beautiful arrangements on other blogs ~ ten minutes of collecting and arranging items I already had produced  a centerpiece that I love!

:: Hand blown glass balls made by my glad to  have enough to decorate 
not only my tree, but also around the house.
~ Her work is simply beautiful ~

 :: I fight to keep the jasmine in her proper home year-round except when I need it to decorate around Christmas time ~ then we become old friends.

 ::  Preparing for a special girl to come home from college for the holidays.

:: My new simplistic gift wrap

:: Our discovery that there are two artists in the family...move over Elizabeth!

This is Sara's final in Art ~ they could imitate any artist and she chose Van Gogh....
I am scoping out a space for it when it returns!

 :: our crazy ornaments that one particular friend gives

us every year

without fail!

Simple, useful decorations this year....

:: My gift idea for this year...

My favorite photos I have taken uploaded into note cards!

Twelve sets and each person will get twelve different cards.

:: Cozy corners clean for the holidays - children playing music

:: Steak dinner to welcome Elizabeth home!

:: Her, smiling, enthusiastic, happy personality - it completes our household

 :: Our park across the street from us - so festive for Christmas, I feel no need to ever put lights up when we can walk outside and see this every night! 

 :: After dinner stroll with Elizabeth checking it out - glad to have her home...

 ....and she is glad to be home. No more tests, papers or classes for a month....and if goes
as she anticipates a 3.75 for the semester!!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hats off to Hats

I am officially addicted to HATS...and I live in a climate that we have about ...oh three days a year that we can wear them!  Oh well - they make great gifts and they are improving my knitting skills!  I was determined to knit "Soule Mama's Rosa Hat" (tutorial is on her blog) and I did it....not without much gnashing of teeth and ripping out of stitches....OK, it wasn't quite that bad.  Actually, if you are a beginner, this is a fairly easy hat to sink your teeth into and when you are have CABLES!  In the knitting world...that is exciting!

I also knitted it in teal!  Once I knit something successfully, I have to do it again...immediately!  

Finally, I had enough of cables and needed some CHUNKY yarn and big needle and projects that would go fast.  This is the perfect project...CASCADE MAGNUM Hat on size 15 circular needles! 

Even for a novice like me, it goes fairly quickly. 

I liked it so much that I immediately cast on another hat in the exact same it is almost finished!

Finally, I decided that I would knit another hat but this time would switch color and I am going to add some stripes to it....boy is my life getting exciting! exciting! 


Sara on the other hand is NOT knitting....she is going to the WACKY, TACKY CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTY DANCE that her school is having!  Everyone dressed up in the craziest, zaniest, most hilarious Christmas sweaters they could find!  Sad to say...but we actually owned this sweater and I dressed the girls in it when they were younger.  A fact they never let me forget.  

However, this morning was quite exciting for me....let me give you a peek.  I didn't think to photograph so you will have to visualize.  My alarm clock went off late so I was already behind the eight ball...I rushed out and only had thirty minutes to get everyone up and out the door with lunches...the next discovery I made was that the microwave had decided to big deal; I can heat things up the old fashion way ~ on my stove! I poured my coffee in a pot...took the left over pesto pasta out of the fridge and threw it in a fry pan to heat up for the girl's lunch thermos and left to let the dogs out into the yard for their morning run.  Big mistake...As I opened the door to let the dogs out...I forgot to turn off the alarm and we set the alarm off to our house, the coffee started boiling over, the pasta was burning in the fry pan, the phone was ringing from the alarm company to see if someone was breaking in, ,  Can you say HECTIC MORNING three times fast! Whew - we made it but I am off to buy a new microwave ~ you do not realize how much you use that appliance!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finding the Spirit of the Season

There are lots of fun things about living in Louisiana that we get to enjoy - crawfish, shrimp, alligators.....but cutting down your own Christmas tree isn't really one of them.  It is pretty hard to find a decent Christmas tree to cut down so we made do with buying the trees that are shipped in.....

As more people get artificial trees, it is getting harder and harder to find pretty "real" trees.

However, this year, we happened upon the perfect tree right away!

It was a unanimous vote!

This one was the lucky one.

We also got a small tree for the girls up stair's room ~ it was a Douglas Fir and smelled divine.  I can only dream about what a fresh cut Christmas tree would smell like.  There are some farms in Mississippi and maybe one day we have that experience.  

When you think about it, it really is an odd tradition of ours...this cutting of a tree, bringing it indoors and decorating it all sorts of ways!

 Ellen learned to operate the drill .....

and Sara carried the little one upstairs!  Thank goodness for Sara - the comic relief of my blog! 
The other day I heard one of her friends ask her, "Sara, did you see the picture of you that your Mom put of you on the blog?".(basically they were in disbelief that Sara would tolerate the unflattering pics I tend to post of her! ....she responded....yes ~ when she needs something to write about, I just try to help her out and she laughed!  

 For the upstairs tree, a garland of popcorn and cranberrys was strung. 

It is time consuming but worth festive in the tree! 
 Hmmm - looks like I burned the popcorn a bit there! 

With Christmas in high gear, Ellen had some friends over to bake cookies
 and make ginger bread houses!

The cookies were delicious.

For the Gingerbread houses, they divided into two teams of three and decided to have a
 friendly competition! We had two kits which made it a bit easier, but not much.  If you have ever made a Gingerbread house, you know that it is difficult to get the pieces to stick together! Hats off to those who actually make the pieces from scratch and get them to stick together! 

Both teams were coming along very nicely - strategising , plotting and scheming ~ ideas just pouring out their heads about how their house would be the best! 

I, of course, could not judge with Ellen in the competition so I walked over to our neighbors and asked them to be the Grand Judge.

 This work requires steady hands!

Creative minds!

A mother that is not afraid of sugar and icing all over the place! 

Ideas that are hysterical! 

 Ideas that are serious!

Ideas that are adorable!

 Finally, after many hours of hard work, it was time to be judged!

However, it was just too hard for them to choose

Our neighbors really couldn't make the choice....which one would you pick?

This one???

"The Indian Teepee" Christmas House - when the house fell apart - they recovered quickly by creating an Indian Christmas! It was all in good fun; they just laughed, propped the two sides together, and wrote Indian Christmas in icing on back of the house....all the while giggling and laughing non-stop!

or this One???? (this was not the team Ellen was on - I don't think she will grow up to be a chef!)

Look at the attention to detail - they even thought of foot-prints on the roof, a cute little ladder, icicles on the roof and  a chimney with Santa going down it!
So which one - This One ..... or

This One - Whoops there goes the Teepee..... I know it is a tough question....with both houses being so evenly matched!!!!!
Think about it for a while...sleep on it and come back and leave me a comment to let me know what you decide!!!!!!!!! The girls are eagerly awaiting your decision as to who the winner should be!