Monday, December 15, 2014

Oh, Christmas tree...

Today I thought I would share some of the special ornaments on our tree.

We have several of Bob's carved Santa's.  I enjoy them every year!

This little bell was made by one of my residents before she came to the nursing home.  It's got such fine details and is so pretty.

This ornament always makes us laugh.  The first time I met Bob's mom and sisters they were working on things for a charity sale.  They were making several of these ornaments and we all thought they were quite ugly.  They got the last laugh when they gave me one for Christmas.  That was about 35 years ago.  It still hangs on our tree (in the back) and brings back fun memories.

Laura made this in Sunday School when she was 6.  It's simple, but tells the real reason for the season!

These bells were on our wedding cake.  I had read a tip at the time to save them and hang them on your tree.  33 years later, we still do that!

 This little angel was made by Andy when he was 5.  It's getting a little worn with age, but I enjoy it.

This ornament was made by my sister-in-law.  She did one for each of the kids.  She passed away 9 years ago of breast cancer, so this is another treasure.

Thanks for looking at my special ornaments.  I'm going to take a little blogging break now.  Like many of you, I'm really busy right now and can use the extra time here.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas.  Remember what it's all about, and keep Christ in your Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas in our home

Welcome to our home! I thought I would show you some of the Christmas decorations at our place.
This sign sits in an old milk can next to our garage entry.  The milk can is an old one from the farm I grew up on,

 Here's our card holder.  I love this time of year when the mailbox holds more than bills and junk mail. :)

This kissing ball hangs over our dining room table.  It was a gift from a former resident who came in for rehabilitation and went back home. 

This is our dining room wall.  I have a big vase in the corner with branches in it.  I always hang these little silver balls on the branches at Christmas.

 I've shown this piece before.  It is always on my table, and I change it out for every season.

 I love snowmen!  My sister Terri painted this collection for me quite a few years ago and I enjoy them every year.

 This nativity set is another treasure.  Our daughter Laura made it when she was about 16.  I love the little animals she included.

This is one of Bob's carved Santa's sitting on the bookshelf.

 This little candy holder always makes me smile.  Not only is it cute, but it comes with good memories. The man who gave it to me was the husband of a resident that I really loved.  After she passed away, he also came to the nursing home.  He was a prankster and loved to tease me.  He passed away about 2 years ago,  but I think of him often.

My daughter Laura made this swag for me a few years ago.

Here's our tree.  This year I added the burlap garland to it.  I usually make a few changes every year.
We don't have a fireplace so our stockings hang on a shelf.  The stockings are all the same, but the initials  tell whose it is.

 This nativity set is in our downstairs family room.  It was new to us last year, but has been used by Bob's family since he was young.  When his Mom downsized and moved into an independent living place last year, we inherited it.   I love pieces like this with sentimental value.

This tree is in the family room downstairs.  It's just a simple, little tree but it adds some Christmas charm to the room.
That's it for today - hope you enjoyed the tour!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Traffic Stop

I've shared a few things before that were done by a guy named Rob Bliss.  He's a young man from Grand Rapids who started doing unusual things that generated a lot of publicity when he was in college. He is now the owner of a marketing firm and he's still doing fun things, like a giant water slide, a huge downtown pillow fight,a lip dub video about Grand Rapid...
His latest is one of my favorites.  He did this in a town near me about a week ago.  It involves a police officer pulling people over for traffic violations.  Watch this - I know you will enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cooking Thursday

This time of year, I often need to make goodies to bring to different gatherings.  I thought I would share a few easy, but good recipes with you.

The first is this fudge.  When I saw this recipe, it seemed too easy to be good, but I thought I might as well try it.  It worked, and is very good!

Microwave Fudge
3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place chocolate chips, condensed milk and butter into bowl and melt in microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute.  Do not overheat.
Once chocolate is smooth and melted, stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour into foil lined 9x9 pan and refrigerate.  Allow to harden, then turn out of pan, remove foil and cut.

This is another one that is very easy, makes quite a bit and is very good.

Cracker Toffee
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter
Ritz crackers
12 ounces chocolate chips
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lay crackers out next to each other in a well greased, rimmed cookie sheet.
Place butter and brown sugar into saucepan and bring to boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, then pour over crackers in pan. 
Place in oven for 6 minutes.  Remove, then pour chocolate chips over top.  Allow to soften and spread.
Place pan in refrigerator, once cooled you can break into pieces.

 Chewy Peanut Butter Bites
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
18 ounces peanut butter
6 cups corn flakes
3 ounces chocolate
Combine sugar and corn syrup in medium size saucepan and bring to full boil.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.
Place corn flakes in large bowl and pour peanut butter mix over top.  Stir to mix, making sure corn flakes are coated.
Scoop out onto wax paper, forming 1"-2" balls.  
Melt chocolate and drizzle over the peanut butter bites.
Allow to cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Alaina's Christmas program

Alaina goes to preschool - called Threeschool because she's in the three year old program. Tonight was her Christmas program. We weren't sure how she would do because she's quiet in front of people, but she did a great job. It was a little frustrating because they put the youngest kids on the bottom row, and we couldn't see her. I ended up going to the back of church and taking pictures down the middle aisle. I'm glad I have a good telephoto lens.

"Away in a manger"  - resting their heads.

"We three kings" - searching for the baby Jesus

Here she's a little irritated with the boy next to her.  He kept making his motions in front of her.  :)

The teachers were trying to keep lots of toddlers calm while others said parts...

This was a praise song and she was enjoying it!

This is the Jesus tree.  They were putting ornaments on it the showed different parts of His life, starting with a donkey and ending with a crown.  It was a very nice program and the kids did a good job.

Ruby slept through the whole thing.

A family shot afterwards. I love how Alaina is looking at Aaron.  :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Party time

We had several parties this weekend. The first was on Saturday night with my Dads' family. My Dad has a wonderful family that has stayed close over all these years. We always look forward to catching up with aunts, uncles and cousins at this gathering.

We have a potluck supper.

Here's Ruby with a group of admirers - Laura, Heather and Aaron.

My Dad had a family of 11.  One sister died as a young girl and his oldest sister passed away a few years ago.  Dad is standing, on the left.  This is a group of mischief makers and it wasn't easy to get them all seated for this picture.  Dad is 84 and there are 2 brothers older than him.

After supper and cleanup everyone watches the little kids open a gift and play.

Alaina was having fun just having lots of room to run and chase a ball.

Saturday night we had Bob's family party.

 It's always fun seeing kids open gifts.   There are 10 great grandchildren in the family.

 Here's Alaina showing Grandpa her gift.

We played some marshmallow games.  This one was about seeing how many marshmallows you could get into a cup using chopsticks.  The kids made some creations using marshmallows and toothpicks. 

Here's Bob's mom and stepdad, looking festive and enjoying time with family.  It was a nice evening!