Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Henry David Thoreau

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at the Cedars

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I have finally found some time to take some pictures
of the very first Christmas
here at the Cedars.

It looks like
everything old is new again...

I made these Nativity figures years ago
from a set that was featured in Better Homes and Gardens,
I enlarged the pattern and Jim cut them out for me to paint.
I had delusions of making the entire set, 
but this is far as I got.
It's enough.

They are the first thing you see when you come up the drive,
and I have little blue lights in the trees above them.
Sorry all you blue light haters,
but I love them...
it looks so quiet and serene to me,
I can just imagine that cold manger,
so long ago.


I love living in a place
where I can run out into the woods
and cut greens and berries to decorate my home with~

This is an old wreath with some sprigs
from the Dollar Tree
and fresh greens from the woods.

I already had that lantern 
and it needed a home.

A crock that Jim bought at a sale,
filled with more cedar boughs,

the sled that Jim and his siblings played with
ages ago.

another garden pot filled with 
I found this thorn tree back where Jim parks the tractor
and am so glad to know it's a berry tree!

The snowflakes are from Dollar Tree.

Come in out of the cold~!

Jim bought me this Nativity set several years ago.
It's really big, but I love the soft colors 
and the details.

It's on a sideboard that I found at the fleamarket last spring.
I love it here in the entry hall.

The little scrolls you see
are ornaments that I made a few years ago.

Each one has one of the many names of Jesus.

Lord of All.
King of Kings.

Just to the left of the entry
is the Dining Room.

I loved setting up my little village this year...
The buildings are log cabin style,
and it has a country town feel
that I love.

I will leave this up all winter.

This is my mom's secretary.

I always dress it up with simple

this year the garland is decorated
with bits of lace that Kellie found for me
at a flea market in Birmingham AL.
I love this piece of furniture...

It is such a nostalgic piece for me.
There's my mom and dad...

I love those quilted stockings!
I would love to find more of them...
they make me smile from ear to ear!

Here is the little "Kitchen Tree"
in the library.

I love these little 
kitchen ornaments!

Here's the great room...

Little bears wanted to help decorate the landing...

This special bear helped out in the guest room downstairs.
Lovely job,
little quilted bear!

This little tree 
is covered with ornaments
from General Motors
that Jim received every year
at the dealership.
They are beautiful laser cut brass.

My little helper 
learning how to turn the lights
off and on...
she got really good at it too!

It was so much fun dressing our Cedar Home for

It's quiet now,
time for baking and watching some movies,

More family in tonight,
late night services to celebrate the birth

Lord of All.
King of Kings.

Let Him in.
He was born for you.
He died for you.
He loves you! 

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For Grammie!

A Letter to my Grammie

Dear Grammie,

I've just had the best nighty night time 
with Nana and Grandpa...

We discovered that it is a lot more fun
when Mommie and Daddy go out on dates
and leave me here alone with them!

It has been a busy, busy day!
Mommie and Daddy talked at church this morning 
and after church we went to the deli again.

I hope you have some fun plans for Sundays after church,
because they go to the deli 
every stinkin Sunday,
and I'm getting kind of bored with it.

Today, to entertain myself
while all the grownups visited,

I practiced flopping my head back
in kind of a lounging position,
and looking at things upside down.

Tonight, Mommie and Daddy went to a concert
with Kimberly and Kevin
and left me home with the Grands.

Grandpa fed me my supper while
Nana fiddled with the Christmas lights.
Then we played on the floor for a long time.
I banged my head on the end table,
so I let Nana snuggle with me for a long time,
then we played some more.

Oops , let me check my lipstick..

Then Grandpa let me climb 
up and down the stairs 
while Nana fiddled with the Christmas lights.
While I was downstairs,
I pulled an entire series of children's history books
off the shelves.

Then Nana put me in my jammies and 
I let Grandpa snuggle with me for a long time.
He wanted to hold me while a drifted off to sleep,
but Nana wouldn't let him do it...
She thinks things have to be done just like Mommie and Daddy do it.
I wanted to sleep on Grandpa's lap.
But she put me to bed and I went right to sleep.
I am sleeping right now.

I want to tell you now
that you need to plan as many of these "dates" 
for Mommie and Daddy
as you possible can
because it is a lot more fun when they are not here.

more lipstick.

I am not whiney and fussy
when they go on dates,
and I love to snuggle. 
They do not need to know this...
let's just keep it to ourselves, ok?
Can you please just figure out some fun places for them to go 
without me,
so I can hang out with you and PawPaw?

I forgot to tell you that today
I also learned to pitch my head
from side to side in time to music
and am working on shaking my bootie at the same time.

This is something we can work on together
while Mommie and Daddy are gone out together.

See you soon... zzzzzzz
Nighty Night!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Rush Me!

I think I am the only one on the planet
who is not ready to
move on...

into Christmas, that is.

I had such a lovely Thanksgiving weekend,
I am not ready to move on just yet.
What's the rush, everyone?

My Cinderella pumpkins
still look glorious!

My house is really dirty
There is a day's worth of laundry to do...

And so,
 I am just moving slowly through this
quiet fall day...

Enjoying my memories of these things...

Beautiful Anniversary roses from my
husband of 37 years...

A fun family photo shoot.
We had hoped to get some great pictures outdoors,
but it rained cats and dogs just as the photographers arrived,
so we shoved the furniture away
and they did the magic here in the great room.

It is hard work getting 11 people to smile and look forward
all at the same time!

My favorite son-in-law cleaning out the gas grill
whose insides have rotted out.
He and hubs rigged up a way to use it as a charcoal grill
for our anniversary dinner

Here they are building a new thing-a-ling
for the grill...
I have no idea what that was,
but they did a great job!

Here is the steak mister at work!
Man those were some honkin big steaks and
mmmmmmmm good!

Kellie and her assistants decorated the table
with black and silver,
pretty framed pictures of us and the family
from years gone by...
rose and candlelight,
so romantic!

in the kitchen,
these two hooligans
decided to wash their feet in the kitchen sink.

I have no idea why this became necessary,
but that's how we roll around here....

These two are Trouble, I tell you!

Kimberly and Olivia working together
on the ultimate surprise...

Tiramisu Cake!
This was Heaven on a plate folks!

There is none left.

This makes me very sad!

A moment of rest inside
Annalie and Olivia's fort.

I had no idea how tired I was
until I layed down in there!

Everyone loves to take a turn with this little bug...

And then there was the food.
Glorious thanksgiving food.
Favorite foods.
Pretty foods.
Rich foods.

My whole family
around the table
at once.


Yes, we did shop on Black Friday,
it's a girl thing with us...
it's more of a lark for some of us than others,
but some of us had lists and
did knock down some great buys.

 We did manage to stimulate the economy.
We like to do our part.

On Saturday we all went to our favorite breakfast haunt,


It's a ma and pa place downtown
where hubs and I eat together
almost every Saturday morning.

It's the best breakfast food in town.
Hands down.
They are celebrating their 65th anniversary in business.
That ought to tell ya something!

I got my first guitar lesson from Matt...
I have always wanted to learn,
and we have two guitars just sitting around here,
gathering dust.

It's on my bucket list.
And I am doing it.
So there.

He is not yelling at me to
get my hand in the right position.
He is a very patient man.

Look out Janis Joplin!

I am also working on the hair thing...
I am hoping he can teach me to strum and do the splits at the same time.

I'll get back with you on reports on that!

It was a very lovely weekend,
and I am in no hurry to move on....
just yet!

I am enjoying the Christmas decorating you all are doing,
all over blogland...

I promise I will get my rear in gear very soon.

but for now,

I am remembering.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why This Is Not A Food Blog...

Thanksgiving is right around the corner
and I am in the mood for Pie.
It's really when all the great pie recipes come forth
to tempt us .

Doesn't this look tempting???

I get together with a bunch of young moms twice a month
for fun, fellowship and food.
I am not a young mom any more,
but I cook breakfast for them now and then,
so the let me be in the group.
My friend Lezlie and I 
 got our heads together and decided
that it would be fun to practice making pie dough together.
Lezlie is a great cook and likes to make things from scratch,
so I figured that at least one of us would know what to do!

I have been curious about the shortening vs.lard vs.butter debate,
and decided to bring along some lard to see what would happen.
Time always seems to get away from us at these gatherings,
and I didn't get to actually bake the batch I made,

so when I got home I whipped up two more batches,
one using lard and the other using shortening.

I had no recipe that told me what temperature to bake the 
single, empty crusts,
so I just went with 375 and waited.
And waited, 
and waited.
I finally took them out after about 1/2 an hour
and was not a happy camper.

As you can see, they are not pretty. 
They shrank.
They are pale
and unappealing.

Apparently, the planets were not even remotely
 lined up that day,


I even managed to scorch my favorite chocolate filling,
aka Betty Crocker red cookbook!

I asked my youngest son Kevin to do a taste test for me
and let me know which dough tasted better.

Note to self: ask somebody less honest!

The next day, 

Kevin: Yeah, about those crusts...what exactly happened?
Me: I baked them too long at too low a temp.
Kevin: Yeah, they both sucked.
Me: Right.

Note to self: make sure he knows never, never, never to say those words
to his wife, fiance, casual date, or even his sisters!

As you can see from this pathetic picture,
there are many many problems with these crusts
which tended to distract me from the original question,
which was "which is better, lard or shortening?"

I felt compelled to do some research and 
settle these other issues for my own peace of  mind.
And also world peace.

Note to self: Next time do online research BEFORE you try to demonstrate 
something you havn't done in years!

There is a lot of info about pie crusts on the internet.
Unfortunately there is a lot of disagreement about pie crusts too.
Some of the ladies swear by lard.
Some of the ladies swear by shortening.
Some of the ladies swear by BUTTER.
Some of the ladies say No No No do not use Butter!
Some of the ladies swear by Butter AND lard!

Also there are many blogs that failed to tell me what temperature to bake
the single crust (officially known as a "blind crust")
(Now don't you feel culinary?)
and for how long
I still don't feel real confident about that question!

after hours and hours of studying and searching various food blogs,
I feel ashamed that I went into this whole pie crust gig
with so little knowledge!
There is so much to know!

Let's look at my pathetic pies again, shall we?

Do not bother to comment about the lack of topping here,
I was so disappointed with the crust,
I didn't want to mess with it,
and really, my family knows where the Cool Whip is!

That whole shrinking down to half it's size really irked me!
Just look at them...so puny and small!
That's not a pie,
that's a tartlet!
That's a chocolate pizzalet!

I learned that the key to avoiding that is THIS:

once you have placed your dough in the pan and crimped it all up nice and pretty,

I also learned that it's a good idea to chill the dough in the fridge about an hour
before you even roll it out.
Almost everyone said to do this,
so it must be pretty important.

The experts also stressed the importance of 
chilling the shortening
chilling the butter,
chilling the lard...
one lady even said to chill the flour.

This must be all about the chilling!

They also said to work fast.
Keep plenty of flour on your work surface so the dough won't stick
Add the liquids a little at a time and if your dough
doesn't hang together when you roll it out, add more liquid a T at a time...
I just globbed mine back together and rolled it out a second time and it looked great...
maybe not a good idea,
but I wasn't about to pitch it at that point!

They also suggested using weights to keep a single crust from shrinking.
Lay some parchment paper in the crust,
fill with beans, or pie weights
(one lady uses pennies)
bake for 20 minutes, then take the paper and weights out
poke a bunch of holes in the crust
and bake for 10 minutes more.

Another thing that I didn't like was
the pale, pasty color of my crust.
I think when I try my experiment using butter,
it will have a better look.
The foodies also said that 
you can brush the crust with milk
or a beaten egg and water combo,
to give it that lovely golden glow 
that we have all seen in pictures.
Just not my pictures!
Even after I had baked my sorry  crusts for 1/2 hour,
they were still pale,
even though I almost scorched the bottom of one!

I have learned a lot about pie crusts
and the internet,
and woman's quest for perfection.
Just Google "flaky pie crust" 
and a whole new world of
opportunity lies at your fingertips.

I am eager to try the butter/lard option.
I'm pretty convinced it will actually taste good.
My daughter keeps sending me pictures of Pioneer Woman pie recipes
that she wants us to bake for Thanksgiving Dinner.
And I want to!
I want beautiful, golden, tasty, flaky, tall, proud pie crusts!
Pie crust that would make the Pilgrims proud!

Me:  If at first you don't succeed.....
Kevin: Pie, Pie again!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!
I hope you get PIE!

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." Ralph Waldo Emerson

About Me

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Welcome to my happy place. A place where I can share ideas, projects, and dreams. I am a nester, a crafter, a creator and a dreamer I hope you will find inspiration and encouragement for the journey you are on. I am a Jesus follower, wife, mother and nana. Blessed beyond measure, just trying to live my life gracefully and make a difference in my small world. Join me!