Sunday, December 15, 2019

Christmas Happenings

You have to excuse the poor quality of this photo.  It was taken when I was working a night shift last week.  This is the enclosed courtyard at the nursing facility I work at.  Although it looks like it has a ceiling, it and the light are just a reflection in the window from inside.
I just wanted to show you how they decorated it this Christmas.  The thing in the center is a big fountain, which is turned off in the winter.  They put an eight foot tree in it and had a big tree lighting ceremony last week.  The big dining room borders it, so everyone could sit inside and see it get lit up.  They served Christmas cookies and punch and everyone had fun!

Alaina had a school Christmas program last week.

 Here's Ruby and Laura before the program started.  Ruby didn't have a program this year, but she was pretty excited about being at Alaina's.

The program was very cute, but we couldn't see Alaina because she was in the middle of the group of kids.  All we could see was her hair bow, so that was a bummer.

Here are Alaina and Ruby after the program.  Ruby told me that next year she will be in the program too, so we would have to come back then.  It's always fun going to these, so we'll look forward to it!

I've decided to take another blog break,  Several of my blog friends are taking a break, and it's such a busy time of the year.  I will pop in and see you occasionally, but otherwise will plan to be back next year!
Merry Christmas to each of you.  You are each a blessing to me!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cooking Thursday

Today I'm sharing a few recipes I've shared before, but they are easy Christmas treats, so I thought it was a good time to share again.

Peppermint Fudge

3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
crushed candy canes

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
Place chocolate chips and condensed milk in a bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and stir, then add peppermint extract and stir.
Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir and pour into 8x8 pan.
Smooth out fudge and sprinkle crushed candy canes over top, then use back of spoon to press them slightly into fudge.
Refrigerate for several hours, then remove and cut into small squares.

Best Ever Caramel Corn

2 bags Jays Corn Puffs
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour bags of corn puffs into a turkey roaster pan.
In a deep sauce pan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.
Bring mix to boil over medium heat. Once it begins boiling, boil for 2 minutes. (Don't over boil)
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda; the mix will become foamy.
Slowly pour half the mix over the corn puffs and stir gently. Then pour remaining mix over corn puffs and stir to coat fully.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Dump entire contents onto wax paper to cool completely. Break apart and store in airtight container.

Pretzel Candy
Square pretzels
Hershey kisses, hugs or Rolo candies
Christmas M&M's

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and lay out pretzels on it.
Place one Hug, Kiss or Rolo on each pretzel.
Place in oven for 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and press one M&M down into the center of each candy.
Cool in refrigerator until set.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Nativity Set

My daughter Laura made a nativity set for her family this year.  I think it's so sweet and I wanted to share it with you.

She made it with 25 pieces, so every day in December another piece gets put out, and on the 25th, baby Jesus is put in the manger.

 This picture was taken on the 6th, so there are 6 pieces out; the stable, Mary and Joseph, an angel, a donkey and a sheep.
Each piece is made from a wood peg, or a wooden ball with the features painted on.

She took out the other pieces so I could share them with you.

The angel

 more sheep

 there are even some chickens!

The wise men.  Can you see the camels behind them?
I forgot to get a pic of the shepherds...

a few more animals; a goat, a donkey, and a watusi cow!  And baby Jesus is in the manger.

Isn't it sweet?  I love how she painted everything, I love that a new piece comes every night and I love that it's kid friendly.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Making ornaments

Alaina, Ruby and I made some cute ornaments this weekend, a reindeer and a tree.  My friend Peggy has been sending me some cute ideas for things to do with the girls and this was one of them,  It was so easy, and they had great fun!

To make these you need:
cinnamon sticks
small buttons
a star sticker or button
small red jingle bell
wiggle eyes
decorative string for hanging
glue gun

For the reindeer ornament, lay out 3 cinnamon sticks in an upside down A shape, place the stick accross the center further from the point of the A, to make the reindeer face.
Glue the center stick to the outside sticks.

Then put glue on each side stick, and press a wiggly eye on each spot.  Put a dot of glue at the point and press a red jingle bell into the glue.
Last, cut a short piece of string and glue it to the back of the cross stick for hanging.

For the tree, cut cinnamon sticks into various lengths and glue across another cinnamon stick:

so it looks like this.

Glue small buttons to the end of each branch.  (The girls decided that there should be a button on the center of each branch too).
Then glue a star to the top of the tree, and glue a string for hanging to the back of the tree.

 Here they are; 2 trees and 2 reindeers!  They smell good too.

2 happy girls with their ornaments.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Lights, cookies and other fun things

We were finally able to have our girlies overnight this weekend.  It's been too long, because of sickness at their house, my on call schedule and other conflicts on the schedule.

When we got to their house, Ruby was excited to show us this:
She lost her first tooth!

When they got their coats on, Ruby wanted a picture with her princess headband and the family, so here's an impromptu family photo!

 On our way home, we stopped at a home near us that has a very cool light display.  It's set up to go with music that you can stream through an FM radio station.  The girls thought it was amazing, and Bob and I enjoyed it too.

When we got home, we made reindeer cookies!  I had picked up these Pillsbury cookies that just needed to be baked.

They said they were good!

On Saturday we did a cute craft which I will show you tomorrow.  We played a bit, and then went to my Dad's to get his meds set up and had lunch with him and my step mom.

I heard all kinds of laughing from the family room and went to check.  Alaina and Ruby had sat in Great Grandpa's chair and then called him in, so he pretended to sit on them.  They were having a blast.  It's so sweet to see them enjoying each other.

When we left my Dad's, I brought them to my daughter Heather and her husband Andrews house.  They were going to spend the afternoon decorating Christmas cookies.

I told Laura that she probably didn't want them home!  They would be tired, cranky and sugared up!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cooking Thursday

Today's recipe is from my sister Cheri.  She made this recently and thought you all would enjoy it.  This is a side dish that looks classy and tastes great!

Maple Bacon Carrots
12 medium carrots, peeled
12 strips bacon
1/4 maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper

Parboil carrots for 9 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap each carrot in one strip of bacon, and place bacon ends down on a large baking sheet. Brush all over with maple syrup and season with black pepper.
Bake 20 minutes, remove from oven, and brush with remaining maple syrup. Bake 30 minutes more, or until carrots are tender and bacon is crisp. Serve.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Day in my Life - December

December came in with a bang!  When I went to bed it was raining.  The prediction was for more rain during the night with a low of 34.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up and saw this:

Icy, slushy snow!  I soon found that our cable and internet was out, but we were getting ready to leave for church so that wasn't a problem.  We were thankful we had power!

On the way to church.  The snow was beautiful, the world looked like a black and white photo.  The roads weren't great though!

 We have Sunday School before church, which starts at 9am.  Bob is teaching a class on the Heidelberg Catechism, and I am going to a ladies study on this book.  It's a very good class. Our Sunday School gets done at 10 and church starts at 10:15.

This Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, and we started by singing some Christmas songs.  We also had communion and a very good message.

Church was done shortly before noon.  Driving home, we found the roads hadn't improved much and the sky was still pretty dark.

After we had lunch, Bob went out to shovel the drive.  He had just blown the leaves, but more came down on top of the snow making kind of a mess.

I got a roast prepared for a men's dinner Bob was going to on Monday.  This way I could pop it in the crockpot when I left for work the next morning.

The rest of the day was quiet and relaxing.  I read the paper, did a bit of my Bible study and did some meal planning.  Mid afternoon our internet came back on so I caught up on some blog reading.
After supper we watched our normal Sunday night show - Midsommer Murder.  We are both fans of this show, and tend to like a lot of British tv.

It was a nice, quiet and cozy evening.  A nice break before the busyness starts again in the morning.  Hope you all had a good start to the month too!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sometimes things don't go as planned!

 Hi!  Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.  I had to work 11-7 the night before, but was able to come home and sleep for a bit and have a nice day.  I also had a nice blog break and got some things accomplished.
The day after Thanksgiving, I had the day off and planned to put up our tree.  I had already put up the other decorations, but was waiting on the tree.  Our main tree is not very big - about 5 1/2 feet tall and last year we got a tree bag for it.  So the decorations stay on it, you bag it and store it.  Bob brought it upstairs on Thanksgiving night, and the plan was for me to get the bag off and move it into place on Friday.
Friday morning I was doing something in the kitchen when I heard a big noise in the living room.  You're right - the tree had fallen and was laying down on the floor.  My first mistake was to stand it back up.  I went back to finish what I was doing in the kitchen.  Shortly after, I heard a now familiar sound.  You guessed it - tree was back on the floor!  I left it there and finished some other tasks.

When I opened the tree bag, I found something similar to this - bent branches and lots of broken ornaments. There were many of them off their hooks and the tree as well.
I moved furniture, vacuumed and put the tree where it belonged.  I picked up broken ornaments and managed to cut a finger, then had to redo the tree, which seemed to have developed a bend.  (Bob says it's now a Charlie Brown Tree).  I then discovered that the extension cord and timer were missing...   I decided I'd had enough of that tree and went to set up the two little trees we put on our front porch.  They have no decorations, just lights. Unfortunately, only half of the lights were working and the timer and cord for them was also missing!  (Who put this stuff away last year?)  I don't know what I did with it - I always put it right in the box with the Christmas stuff.
On Saturday I had some errands to run, and was now going to pick up a few extension cords and lights too.  I made some cookies in the morning, and noticed the oven was not smelling good.  Something must have spilled and was burning.  I made plans to clean the oven, but headed out to do my errands first.
When I came home, I emptied the oven, started the self cleaner and went into the living room to get the lights going on the main tree, and put new ones on our porch trees.
It wasn't long, and a smoke detector went off.  I walked into the kitchen to see something like this:

Image result for smokie pouring out of oven vent"
Smoke was coming out of the oven vent and the kitchen was enveloped in a haze!  I turned off the smoke detector, opened some windows and turned on the microwave vent.  It didn't last long, but the lingering smoke lasted too long!  It was 34 degrees outside, so not a good time for open windows.  I lit candles to try to make things smell better.  The crazy thing is that I have no idea what spilled in that oven!
So, now you know what I was up to on Friday and Sat.  I did get the trees fixed, the oven is clean and has been used again with no smoke and everything is looking good.  Sometimes you just have to laugh, right?  But I think I need to go back to work.  I do less damage there!