Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Christmas Den!

The den is done! My ONE clean room! Every year I tell myself I am going to be neat and tidy and decorate one room at a time without trashing the whole house while I'm at it! Oops....I did it again! It is HARD to be clean and creative at the same time!

I was up early this morning to finish up! I put the poinsettias in the big wreathes above the mirrors, cleaned the fireplace and built a fresh fire (it is cold in Texas! 40 degrees this morning!) poured my coffee and settled down to wait for Louis Dean to get up! He is normally up FIRST but this morning our roles were switched! That's OK. I took the time to sit back and enjoy my handiwork.

The Noel bell hanging in the top right photo has traditionally been the FIRST thing we would put up when we started our Christmas decorating. I bought this in 1965 and it has hung in my home every year. I have been in THIS home since 1967! I have done a little repair to it over the years but it remains my favorite decoration.
Summer and Jesse would jump up to ring the bells every Christmas season - year after year - until they were finally old enough to simply reach up and hang it. Then along came Amber and Benjamin - who did the same ritual. I miss having kids at home at Christmas!

Other keepsakes I will hang on to forever are these paper angels.
My friend and neighbor gave me one of these as I recall.
This started a tradition and for years and years Amber would give me a Christmas Angel. I have others displayed in different rooms but all have special meaning for me.

The red satin stockings go back years! I have given my children theirs to keep - except for Ben! I still have his! Years ago the family members wrote their names on the stockings and I then embroidered them. For some reason I have not added Louis Dean's name to a stocking but I am doing that SOON!
Opening our stockings on Christmas Morning at breakfast was a tradition we had when the kids were home.
Then for a year or two we did the stockings on Christmas Eve.
Now we tend to simply hang the stockings for display.

One room down......more to go!
The foyer and living room come next.
I bought a 25 foot live evergreen garland yesterday which I plan to use in the foyer.
I LOVE the fragrance of a Christmas tree as you come in the front door.
We plan to buy a real tree for the living room but that will have to wait until the decorating is done. That's the last thing I will it will still look good on Christmas!

So MUCH to do!! I best get busy!

I think I will take Lucy on a nice long walk FIRST!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gearing UP!!

All of my Christmas decorations are down from the attic and we are gearing up BIG TIME! I knew I had enough stuff to decorate more than a 'normal' person would - but even I didn't know just HOW much I have!

26 regular tubs, 7 SUPER size tubs, 11 white trash bags, 5 ornament boxes, 2 big black trash bags, 2 tin one of my friends said - a partridge in a pear tree!!

Louis Dean and I got it all DOWN last night but carried only a few tubs in.
I started on the den first (as I do every year!) and I hope to have that one room completely done by bedtime tonight!

So far I have my Santa Tree finished.....and a good bit of the rest of the room.
Just need to do some finishing touches.

Louis Dean is working on some NOT working lights!
I typically toss them in the trash but HE has the patience of Job and works on them until THEY are working!

THIS is what I have unpacked and put up so far!
It will take me a whole week to get it ALL done.
I have a tree in every room.

Since we worked so hard today, we splurged (calorie wise) on Whataburgers for lunch.
We ate SO late we probably won't eat much for supper....just snack.
I DO have the rest of that apricot pie in the freezer!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Wall of Santa Paintings!

While I have yet to bring down all the decorations from the attic - I DID begin hanging my Santa paintings a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.

Every year I add at least one new painting. This year I am doing two.
Actually THREE - two of the same one - so I have one to give at our family's
Chinese Christmas Tree.
Just between you and me - I am hoping my brother in law gets it since the Santa is painting a toy train. And my BIL LOVES and COLLECTS toy trains!

Can you see little Maggie asleep on the love seat?
Talk about having a GOOD life! She is adored and knows it!

This is a 'work in progress' which I sincerely hope to finish within the next two weeks!
Paintings do not HAVE to be finished to get a place on the wall around here!
It's as good a place as any to let them dry!

The Santa for 2010 was painted in July of last year!
It is USUALLY a tradition to paint 'Christmas in July!'
That didn't happen this time with all the work of redoing our bedroom.
I won an award for this one and it hung in North Park Mall last fall.

While NOT a Santa this does look Christmas COLD!

This is Louis Dean's favorite and the one that took the LONGEST to paint!

Painted in 2007 this was the EASIEST!
It was super simple.
Some years I need that!

Another of my all time favorites - and one of the LARGEST!

My LEAST favorite......but once painted the canvas becomes a part of me.
I love it anyway!

I painted this as an 8 X 10 and still regret I did not paint it larger.

Another small 8 X 10.
While not my favorite size to paint - the smaller ones do help fill in the wall arrangement!

While not Santa - it IS a Christmas painting!

Everyone needs a Christmas raccoon!
Or at least I do!
I painted one just like this LONG years ago.
I lost it in the house fire in 1983 so I painted another one last year.
I painted a LOT in 2010!
Not so much in 2011...
Perhaps I will start the 2012 Santa in JANUARY!
I already know which one it will be.....

You see, I CHEATED a bit in my gallery wall.
The 'painting' in the upper right -
next to the very FIRST Old World Santa I painted in 1994 -
and remains my most cherished one -
is a gift bag I found at the Dollar General Store.
I SO want to paint this next year and since I wanted to finish up a totally 'Santa' wall....
I simply framed it.

So my den wall is done!
I am happy with it.
Louis Dean is grateful I haven't hauled all the Christmas 'debris' down yet.
He has enjoyed a quiet day pf playing music and watching football.

I have cleaned house and walked around like I was looking at a blank canvas!

I hung some larger lights around the front door.
My white lights outside stay up year round.

The house is clean.
The stage is set!
Tomorrow morning.......

Let the decorating BEGIN!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Making Treasured Memories!

We have certainly enjoyed this Thanksgiving week and my heart is filled to the brim with happiness!

Thanksgiving was a lovely day! The weather was perfect and Nita's backyard made a perfect studio for snapping some family pictures.
Seldom do I have all my children together in one place at one time.
The last time it happened was last Christmas!
This year all but Amber and Mike were at my sister's and we did take a few photos!

My three oldest grandchildren.

My beautiful two grand daughters!

Thanksgiving was also my oldest son's birthday. He was born on a Thanksgiving Day just about lunch time.....1:30 PM!
I was so happy he and his family were able to spend time with what I call 'The Fort Worth Family' since that is where most of my family live!
And I was thrilled Ben - my youngest son - flew in from California to be here!

My mother was so happy to see him!!!
We ALL were!!

He could barely eat his meal because we kept taking pictures of him!!
This is my super sweet sister, Nita, who makes Thanksgiving happen every year!

Jesse, Ben, and Summer......and her little one!

I just had to include this pic! I have no idea what we were saying but all our expressions are really out there!!

It was a perfect day. The food was delicious. The weather beautiful. All the children enjoyed each other and played so well together. No trauma or drama. Just family enjoying being with family!

This is one of my favorite pics of the day.
'Mummers' and her baby!!

And I love this one of my son.
I am not known for my quality photos but I was using Louis Dean's fancy camera.
Perhaps I could get good at this is I tried hard enough!

Wish I was talented like my daughter, Amber!! I would 'photo shop' HER in!!!
Then I would have all four 'kids' in there!!

We ended our wonderful day by watching the Cowboys WIN their game against Miami!
I love the gentle peaceful 'QUIET' of the day's end.
Louis Dean and I built a fire in the fireplace and recounted the day.

I took Mother to the beauty shop Friday morning - ignoring BLACK Friday completely!! I came straight home afterwards so we could visit a former neighbor and dear friends of mine who were in town.

Doug and Reaoma lived next door to me for 17 years.
He is struggling with his health and we are certainly praying for him as he is undergoing some treatment. They mean so much to me and my children.......especially Amber and Ben. Doug would come home from work so very tired and just want to go inside his house and sit! But little three year old Amber would be sitting in her window sill watching for him. As he tried to slip in he would hear her say - in her sweet little girl voice! - "HI, Dooouuuuugggg!!!" So he would suck it up and let her come out and visit with him for a few minutes! There is not a nicer man to ever walk this earth than Doug! We have been blessed to know him.

After we came home later in the afternoon it was time to bake a Peach Cobbler and drive out to see Summer and Sabrina in their new home! It is BEAUTIFUL! It is HUGE!!! We enjoyed a visit and a chili supper and a few rousing hands of NUTS!!
Four people playing - four rounds - and we each won one!

We drove home tired but happy.
We made some more treasured memories.
I never for one minute take my life for granted.
Every morning and every evening and often in between I am thanking God for His blessings.
I am grateful for my tall dark handsome husband.
Who knew I would ever be so happy? God.

So it troubled my heart and sent a chill through me when LD came in from walking Lucy and went straight to the couch to lie down. He said his head hurt and his arms were aching and his chest felt tight. I gave him a nitroglycerin tablet and took his blood pressure. After having been through this twice with resulting trips to the ER - with surgery following - we take these angina attacks seriously. Thanks be to God Louis Dean is very much in tune with his body. He stops and rests when he needs to do so. After lying there for a good while he felt better. I kept taking his blood pressure and hovering over him! Sometimes I forget this big strong man has a heart problem. I am so very grateful life is moving along normally and we are having a routine Saturday.

I have UN decorated fall!! There are 12 tubs and 24 bags FULL and ready to store away in the attic. We are about to do just that! The weather has turned windy and cold. I will clean out the fireplace and prepare for a nice fire this evening.
We will have a mini Thanksgiving dinner tonight. I am baking chicken to go with the dressing and gravy my sister sent home with us. Sweet potatoes were twenty cents a pound at the HEB in Katy and I brought home a big bag from my visit with Amber. Add another vegetable and we will be eating well. Heart healthy and diabetic friendly at that!!!

Tomorrow will be a good day to take the Christmas decorations down from the shed attic. Louis Dean has asked me - politely - to use a little "restraint'  in my decorating this year. 

??? Who, ME??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Music and Jigsaw Puzzle......

Monday evening was cold and rainy here in the DFW area.
However, WE were all warm and cozy in the den!
Louis Dean and I had a great time with some of his family.
I had a new Christmas puzzle out and my sister in law and her beautiful daughter in law were kind enough to help me get the border started.  I LOVE puzzles! The border is sometimes the hardest part, though, and I was glad for the the two extra sets of hands and eyes!

 While Karina, Ruth Ann and I found straight edges...
Louis Dean and his niece played music!

AND his nephew. This is sure a talented musical family!
And they DID make beautiful music together!

By night's end we had laughed til we cried......literally!
I LOVE having family over!

Today - this Thanksgiving Eve - has been very quiet here in the Chapman Home.
That means we are going somewhere ELSE for the big dinner tomorrow.
My sister, Nita, is the very best hostess. She is laid back and unruffled.
The secret to her success is she plans ahead.
I often see a wrapped birthday gift sitting by the back door all ready for the party or occasion.......a week or two BEFORE said event!!
This usually acts as a reminder for ME to get in gear!
Mother is 86 and four of us siblings live in the DFW area. Makes for an easier time to get together. Every year we have with Mother - AND each other - is a special memory made. This year three of my four children will gather with us. If we ALL - siblings, spouses and children all could be at the same place at the same time it would make for a REALLY big crowd! I imagine Nita is secretly thankful this is not going to be one of those times!

Louis Dean has baked the rolls for the meal tomorrow and my cookies are in the oven as I write. My house is clean, the laundry done and I even managed to finish a lap quilt for a church project. Nothing left to do now but count my blessings.

"Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Whistle Stop Tea Room in Tom Ball, Texas

Last Friday I spent a lovely day with some friends!
We had lunch at this quaint little tea room in Tom Ball, Texas. Now Houston is HUGE! But when I got out to Carla's house in the country we stayed on lovely country roads the rest of the day.

I met Carla through my daughter, Amber. Carla's husband and Amber's husband work together.
Over the years Carla and I have visited at parties and cray fish boils....and Carla and Dave threw a huge farewell party for A and M when they left to live for a year in Aberdeen. Dave and Carla joined us to celebrate their return and a new home with a cozy dinner together last December.

Carla is an artist with a needle and creates true works of art with her quilts. She has a blog of her own called My Life: A Little of This and a Little of That!

Carla had taken a vacation day and we were further blessed by her daughter coming home that morning from college and going with us!! She has a LOVELY daughter who is just as much fun as her mother!! It was Pam's idea to lunch at the tea room!!

Lunch was delicious but - oh my goodness!! Those desserts!!!
This was Pam's choice....I forgot the name of it but it was delicious!
(She let me take a little bite!)

Carla and I split this bread pudding with rum sauce and it was out of this world!!!

The tea room is in a little shopping village with all sorts of little boutiques!

I love places like this!!

The windows were clever and the interiors of the shops even more so!

They have flowers down there year round......

Flowers and pumpkins! That's South Texas for you!

Then we drove - by scenic country roads - to Conroe, Texas and met up with Carla's mom! She knew where all the Goodwill's were so we were off for the thrill of the hunt!

I scored BIG TIME!! It wasn't easy but I managed to spend $112 in a Goodwill!!
In addition to some lovely 'debris'.......

I bought TEN pair of shoes!
This is just six of them!

Perfect for holiday parties this year!

I could NOT pass up these brand new perky Liz Claiborne ones!

I love this strappy little number!

All in all it was a great day out with friends!

I have 'met' such lovely ladies through the World of Blog!
Another sweet friend of mine is Kathy from Kathy's Trip Through Life.

She had a give-a-way and I WON!

My picture turned out dark but these are beautiful hand quilter pot holders....
made by Kathy's mom. I have already hung them for display in the kitchen and will think of Kathy every time I see them!!

Well, it is Tuesday of Thanksgiving week and everyone is as busy as a bee!
I am about to put in a few hours painting on some Santa's I hope to finish. I started them in October! By the time I get tired of painting it will be time to catch a movie at the Starplex this afternoon. The Help. Don't know how I missed seeing it before now!!
Tomorrow Louis Dean and I will spend the day in the kitchen.
But today.......I am off to 'play!'