Friday, November 30, 2018

Time's Up!!

I have been working as hard as I could to get the house dressed up for Christmas before I leave for Galveston. I've come down to the wire and time's up!

The den is done!

I'm liking it.....

For over a week this was next to being the scariest room in the house!
The sewing room was the very scariest!

I was glad to move on!

I think I skipped showing the laundry room.

This was done right before moving on to the den.

Yesterday I worked on the sewing room and again today so that by 10:00 tonight it was as good as it's going to get.

Only room in the house without a Christmas tree!

After the holidays this room is going to get some hefty repair work!

Today I made a batch of Fruitcake Cookies......

and I used Peach Flavored Whiskey because I was out of rum!
I didn't even think about borrowing some from Stephanie next door!

I used real butter in this batch. Sometimes I use butter flavored Crisco.

And I baked a Chocolate Fudge Crack Cake!
I don't usually eat a lot of sweets but this cake was delicious!
I sliced it and took a tin up to the staff at the home where Reaoma was.

Tonight Pam and I went to the monthly Family Social Evening.
I met Agnes's son and daughter in law and visited a minute with them and with Helen who lives in the room next to where Reaoma lived.

The lady in red playing the guitar is a 92 year old resident here and did the entertainment for us tonight. It was a bittersweet visit....

The Dallas Cowboys played tonight and WON against the New Orleans Saints!
Even Louis Dean was excited! He's a fair weather fan!

Now my time is really up!
Summer will be here to pick me up at 5:00 in the morning and I still need to pack.
I'm gonna have to sleep fast tonight!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tuesday's Treasures!

Monday was a work day from start to finish!
I tackled the den and the laundry. Both were overwhelming.
Finished the laundry and half of the den.
I was so tired I was in bed shortly after 9:30!
Isn't it absolutely amazing how a good night's sleep can restore your strength and enthusiasm for whatever it is you're doing?
I hopped out of bed and made it up instead of lolling around this morning.
I was ready to go and get on with things!

27 days until Christmas!
26 now......
Louis Dean was telling me to slow down, take it easy, you're going to make yourself sick and other such sayings. You know what I told him?? 
"Me and my home is like you and your music. It's what I do."
That made perfect sense to him and he totally gets it now.
All this decorating and cleaning and constant tweaking is my passion. I do it because I love it and I would be miserable to NOT do it.
Yesterday I stayed home all day.......but today was our 'day out.'

The first place we went was to Lovely Nails on Beltline.
Our timing was perfect. We walked right in and sat right down.
That's Trang posing with Louis Dean. She is so cute and sweet. Louis Dean only wants a lady to do his pedicures. Once he said he'd changed his mind about getting one but that was only because they were going to let a guy do his.

It was a fun day and getting our feet taken care of was a great way to start off our Tuesday.

We shopped Texas Thrift Store and Goodwill next - both are on Beltline.
I bought a set of four Pfaltzgraff Winterberry Christmas glasses - which go with the set of goblets I bought last year. A brand new small make up bag for my upcoming trip to Galveston and a Vera Wang bag that I will use instead of my purse and billfold.

I think it will be perfect!

Plus I got this cook top - tunic length with tassel like trim around the hem.
Around 2:00 we stopped at Whataburger for a quick bit of lunch.
We laughed as we talked about the summer nights we used to sit up late on the driveway watering everything. We would get the notion to go to Whataburger and it would be 2:00 in the morning!
I don't think we did that even one this past summer!

From there we drove to Dallas to Dirt Cheap. I wanted to buy a tree for the sewing room but they were all out. We did buy a decorated lamp post light and I'll put that in the gazebo by Louis Dean's chair. It will make a perfect photo prop for when he sings Christmas songs out there for my Tea Party.

I stopped at Aldi and loaded up with lots of tea party things.
Then we came back to Irving to Walmart to get the rest.
Louis Dean is a funny guy about the Dollar stores and Aldi.
For some odd reason he thinks their stuff isn't as good as the regular stores.
But since it's my budget we're working with I get to shop where I want to and he stayed in the car and watched the birds on the parking lot while I was in Aldi. We both went in at Walmart - and filled up two shopping carts! Christmas groceries nearly all bought!

I'm down to the last two rooms in the house + the gazebo and time is running out!
 I said I was one Hallmark Christmas movie away from finishing the den.
And I was! 

Den done and a fire lit to celebrate!

Tomorrow is going to be a tough day - the sewing room!
You can barely even walk through to the French doors and I moved my laptop out to the secretary in the den last week! Louis Dean is going to take all his working debris out so I can sort, organize and put everything back before I clean and decorate. Thing is - I don't have a tree for that room.
We threw out some old ones and used parts of others.
However, I'm not using the big tree anywhere this year so I'm thinking Louis Dean can take the top two parts of and fashion a small tree of of those!
We will see. 
My goal is have the house entirely dressed for Christmas by midnight on Thursday night!

I glazed Santa and have had him in the oven with the light on for a few days now and he is bone dry!
I'm proud of the way he turned out.
There's a tiny bit of sparkle on the tree due to the glitter bows I had on the table while I was painting.
I'll wrap him up good and send him on his way to Donna's house Thursday.
Louis Dean is going to help me package him so he arrives intact.

It's quiet in here in the den as I write.
The fire has burned down and is making gentle sighing sounds much as I am. It's time to go to bed.
Louis Dean retired well over and hour ago.
He was sleepy and thought he'd better get in bed before he woke up good.
Christmas music is playing and everywhere I look from my place here in the den is all pretty and decorated. I'll pick up where I left off tomorrow.

Jutta arrived last night and loves her room and the view as well as the friendly people she's met at Krogers where she went to get some fresh food for the mini kitchen. She's staying at Casa Del Mar which is my favorite on the whole island.
She will have a few days to herself before Summer and I arrive.
She needs these days to breathe and be all to herself.
We all need that from time to time.
So goodnight to all - signing off here!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Friday's Thanksgiving Gathering and a Weekend of Christmas Decorating

Friday was another wonderful Thanksgiving Gathering - this time hosted by Amber and Mike.
We are making the most of the time Sabrina and Rayne are here in Texas since they won't be here Christmas. Amber and Mike are laid back and relaxed and the party was the same.
We arrived a bit later than some but earlier than others.

Sabrina brought sugar cookies and all the fixings for decorating them.
The kids were at the table when we got there.

Rayne's creation!

Look at that Kailey!!
So beautiful!

Harrison was proud of his cookie!

And so was Logan!
I was still working on mine.....

This is Warren - son of Amber's good friend since they were college room mates.
Lisa is a dear friend of  all our family now and one of Louis Dean's very favorite people!

My Turkey cookie!
It looks more like me with a bad hair day.

There was so much food!
Appetizers here and a full dinner table later.
I didn't get many pictures so Summer shared some of hers with me.
It was a relaxed afternoon and evening and I truly needed that time.
For some reason I have been feeling rather fragile.....on the verge of tears and a bit numb.
The longer the visit on Friday, the better I felt.

After dinner we gathered in the living room to watch this movie and we all enjoyed it!

I love Amber's parties!
Children and a few adults were in the playroom with the football games on TV while others were visiting together quietly in the living room and the cooks and some guests were sipping wine in the kitchen and a few of the  children lingered over their projects at the table.

For the meal Mike created a centerpiece with pheasant feathers from his recent hunting trip and corn from the fields. He put two tables together and all the adults sat in the dining room while all the kids were in the kitchen.

You want to know my very favorite moment of the entire day?
It was toward the end of the meal......Mike's parents were sitting at the far end of the table with Mark (Mike's younger brother) and Lisa (Amber's friend since college) and Benjamin.
Sabrina sat next to Summer who sat next to me and Amber and Mike sat across from us with Pam on my right and Louis Dean at the end. Everyone was talking with each other. I could catch a bit of each conversation......
Lisa was telling Mike's parents about the years she lived in Malaysia and Mark was talking to Sabrina and Benjamin about something I can't remember now. Amber and Mike were murmuring about the food and how everything was going so well and Summer and I were chatting. Pam and Louis Dean were discussing something and I could hear the children all laughing and talking around their table.....a miniature version of what was happening at the adult table.
Then I sat and took in that moment when family and friends were all gathered at a table with food and of stress or conflict.
Hearing that beautiful hum of voices - that was my moment.
I told Amber to listen.....that's the sound of happiness and contentment.

Reminds me of Neil Diamond's song....

I've always loved that song and I truly love 'beautiful noises!'
Children laughing.
Wind blowing leaves.
Murmurs of voices in conversation.
Dog barking in the distance.
A car door shutting.
A train whistle.

I left that night with a lighter heart than when I arrived.

Saturday was a Home Day - meaning I did not wear pretty clothes or make up and barely brushed my hair. Not even ear rings but I always wear fragrance. I woke up earlier than Louis Dean and took my coffee to the clean and decorated living room.

While I'm not a morning person, I do love the first hour I'm up all alone with my coffee and prayer journal.

I am grateful for my home and all the blessings I've been given.
And it's an honor to be able to pray for the people God has brought into my life.
And I am profoundly grateful for the prayers of my friends and family.

Louis Dean had a busy day on Saturday!
The leaves decided to fall that morning.....every last one of them!
It was crazy. At first it was sprinkling leaves as I stepped out on the front porch with a last cup of coffee. Then it started raining leaves. By the time Louis Dean came out - it was a real blizzard of them! He got his blower and piled up a huge mound, mowed them under which provides good mulch for the yard, and an hour later came out and it was like he had not done any of that!
So he did it again. And again.
He got up on the roof and blew all the leaves off  as well as all the gutters.
He was a busy man.

Me? Not so much.
I did some things. Hung colored net lights over the den windows outside.
Tweaked this and that.
Took a nap.
Played my word games while propped up in the guest room room bed.
I meant to clean and decorate the kitchen but that didn't happen.
I cooked a big pot of pinto beans and baked two big batches of cornbread.
We watched a Christmas movie.....okay! TWO!
I wasn't sure if I was coming down with something or not quite back to myself just yet.
My lymph nodes are swollen under my jaws but not as much as they were a few days ago.
I could be fighting infection - or maybe a bit of depression. It happens. It will pass.
We went to bed last night at 10:30! A perfectly respectful time for two elderly people!
But totally out of character for us.

This morning I woke up feeling more like my normal self than I have in over a week.

Louis Dean and I went on a walk in the neighborhood to pick up the Sunday paper from my friend around the corner - who was flying out to visit her traveling husband who is on a music tour.
He's kind of famous. The leaves are gorgeous here......

..... and there are some trees in our neighborhood that are spectacular!

I finally felt energetic enough to tackle the kitchen!
It took all day.

As I go from one room to another, the plan seems to appear.
Not much is as I normally do.
I have things in places they have never been before.
And I like it.
Not shown is the village of snowmen on top of the refrigerator.
Never did that before!

I had fun decorating today.
While we meant to go to church.....I simply couldn't get the humph to get dressed and ready.
And Louis Dean didn't sleep well last night so he was late to wake up this morning.

I love my kitchen at Christmas more than any other season.

So many memories with all the needle works from years past.

I have a new one for this year but I still have another week to work on it before hanging.

As a bonus today, I made croutons from the leftover Thanksgiving rolls.
Cut up in cubes (or whacked up in pieces!) and tossed with olive oil and garlic salt + seasonings.....
bake at 350 for 15 minutes - easy peasy and oh, so GOOD!

I have a plan for this week and I need to hit the floor running in the morning.....
like THAT'S going to happen but you know what I mean.
I didn't get to the utility room so I will start there and then go on to the den.
Tuesday will be a shopping day for tea party food, manicures and pedicures for Louis Dean and myself and then putting that sewing room back together!
Wednesday will be decorating sewing room and gazebo.
Thursday for winding everything up and packing and Summer and I leave on Friday morning for Houston to visit my cousin, Shanna, and on to Galveston to meet up with Jutta.

She is en route as I write - on her way from Helsinki to Munich and then change planes.
It's more trouble to come to Texas than to Florida due to not being able to fly non stop.
This will be our second visit together although we communicate together daily.
Someday I will making the trip to Finland.

This is an exciting time of the year and I am looking forward to all the activities of this season and celebrating many of them with Jutta!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Faces of Thanksgiving.....

Thanksgiving in Fort Worth is a tradition for our family. 
For many years Deanie and Charlie hosted and then Nita and Mike took the baton several years ago.
The food is always delicious and there are lots of hugs and smiles.
I missed a few people....I was a little off my game and thought I had pictures of everyone.

Some years there are more faces than other years.....these are the faces of Thanksgiving 2018.

I am especially grateful that Summer is feeling as good as she looks.
She has always sucked it up and smiled but a mother knows the difference.

Nita, Deanie, Leah and me......

Both are beauties.

Leah and Patrick.......they make me smile.
They are as much in love today as the day they wed. 
Perhaps even more so.

We had a special wine for a special day.
Bev and Brian gifted us these when we were visiting them in British Columbia in September.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

That's our Leah!!

Isn't Trish beautiful??

Five strong women right here!

Lots of hugging going on today!
This is my son Ben as soon as he walked in.

He and Nita have a special bond.

It's always so good to be with family.

Nita, Deanie, and Trish.

Charlie and Deanie's grandchildren.....Nathan, Tyler and Andie.
Bailey and Jordon were there, too, as were their parents. Oops on not getting their pics!

It was especially wonderful to have Sabrina with us.
She does a good job of keeping up with family even as she lives in Puerto Rico.

I love this photo!
My first born - daughter of my youth - and my last born - son of my old age.
55 and 30 years old.

Mike is the calmest guy I know.
I don't think I have ever seen him ruffled!

Okay! I did get some pics of Kim and Allan and David and Charity.
They belong to Deanie and Charlie but we all claim them!

It was a leisurely afternoon with appetizers and drinks followed by a big Thanksgiving Feast and then desserts all around! Charity brought a big sack of plastic bowls with lids and everyone helped themselves to leftovers to take home!

I fixed plates for Mother and Lillian and Benjamin followed us over to the nursing home.
Lillian was just leaving with her grandson who was taking her to the hospital to visit her daughter. 
Ann is on the liver transplant list and I know Lillian was so happy to get to go see her. She is in the hospital in Weatherford.

Mother was asleep when we got there but she woke up and recognized Benjamin.
It was a good visit. I read the 23rd Psalm and had prayer with her before we left.

I think of all the photos taken today, that this is my favorite one.
Benjamin holding his Grandma's hand and telling her what a good Grandma she's been to him.

My heart is full as I write this journal entry tonight.
My oldest son and his family are in a cabin up in the mountains of New Mexico.
He called me this evening for a little phone chat and to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.
Dean and Sherry called right after we got home this afternoon as they were on their way to Roy and Ruth Ann's farm. They asked, "When will we see you again?" 
I whispered my answer to them saying if I don't say it loudly maybe it will really happen this time!

And then this happened.....