Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday Treasures!

Today has been full of treasures!
The first of which was my morning cup of coffee.

My son and his wife gifted us with a French press, a milk frother AND a jar of coffee beans roasted by my son! Coffee is to him as wine is to others. He is a connoisseur of coffee and has been known to fly across the country for the day just to roam around and visit local roaster shops.
This was my first cup! Delicious......and I loved the frothed milk!

I woke Louis Dean up at 6:30 so he could get to his 7:45 doctor appointment for his check up.
He goes every 6 months. He came back with a good report - so far. I always feel better after the blood work reports come in. When he got home I made him a cup of the French press coffee and he REALLY loved it! I may have to make him a cup every morning.

Since it was a cold chilly day - this last day of December - we enjoyed our coffee in the den by the fire. Then Louis Dean went back to bed and fell sound asleep for several hours!

Since I'm going to be laid up for awhile, I wanted to get my nails done this afternoon.

Guess who wanted to go with me??

His feet are so ticklish!

No more pictures!!!
Louis Dean is a real treasure and so much fun.
The lady said, "I'll do your eyebrows," and she cleaned him up nicely!!
This will be a regular thing now!

We hit up a couple of thrift stores since this is Tuesday and we get 30% off as seniors!
The toaster oven, toaster and large crock pot all go to the ranch.
The wastebasket is for Louis Dean and he chose the pink Santa! He was only $0.75!
The book is his, too, can you imagine??
I wonder if he has any idea what it's about??

I could NOT resist 5 bunches of faux sunflowers for $0.75 each!

Now for my other treasures!

A robe from Victoria's Secret!

One pocket needed to be mended and it was as good as new!
This will be perfect for the hospital.

The instructions say to arrive in comfortable clothing and when I found this soft dress I decided to get it! I'll wear a long white sweater with it and that will be perfect for checking into the hospital and coming home.

I love this white top and it will look great with skinny jeans.

I bought the cami under this and it's one of those strong ones that smooths one's bulges....

A brand new Chico red shirt!
I'll pair this with black leggings.....

I love nearly everything by Chico's!

A cool spring top to wear in just a few more weeks!

And finally - a comfy gown!
I'm washing it all and will be packing my bag!

This was the first time I've done Tuesday Treasures in months!

Now for my last treasure of the day......
Last weekend Louis Dean's granddaughter, Chandy, and her husband were in Dallas to celebrate their anniversary. They arrived on Thursday night and were staying with their best friends and had planned to come over to our house on Saturday and have a chili supper with us. (I still had chili in the freezer!) Alas, she sent me a text early Saturday morning to let us know she had just got back from the ER. Chris had rushed her to the hospital Friday night when she started hemorrhaging. She is still in the first trimester of a high risk pregnancy. The baby's heartbeat is still strong but she has a subchorionic hemorrhage so the doctor put her on bed rest. We told her to stay where she was and rest and just get home safely. They live in Big Spring. So they did and when she went to her doctor on Monday, he admitted her to the hospital in Odessa.

And that's where she is tonight.

We are hoping she won't have to stay there long.
Her last pregnancy with Bella, who is two years old now, was extremely high risk and she was in the hospital several times.

The fetal specialist will be in to see her in the morning and do another sonogram.
Then Thursday, the diabetic dietitian will be in to see her.
That's what happened when she was pregnant with Bella, she developed gestational diabetes.

Chandy has been cheering herself up looking at all the photos on her laptop.
She's been texting updates for me to read to her Granddad to keep him from worrying.
Chandy has the best attitude during all this.
We weren't in her life when she was ill and pregnant with Bella but we are now and we are praying hard. Chandy has been through a lot and she has done the work to get her life where it should be. She and Chris are both Christ followers and really great parents to the 'yours, nine and ours' children they have between them.
But this is a tough time for her and her family and Odessa is a good ways from Big Spring.
We are so proud of Chandy and will be praying for her, the baby she's carrying, Chris and the children......

Monday, December 30, 2019

Our Weekend and Monday....All Caught Up!!

It was a cold and rainy Saturday and perfect for staying in by the fireplace.
We've been watching a 'new' to us program from 2016 .....

Maigret - set in Paris in the 1950's.
Much like Inspector Morse which is set in England in 1955.

Before I went to bed I poured a glass of my favorite wine and read a few chapters while eating a couple of bites of the decadent pecan pie Brenda had sent home with us Friday night.
I had hidden it in a tin - to prevent Louis Dean from eating it all up.

Unfortunately, he found it Sunday afternoon and ate it ALL while I was taking a nap!
It was a good Sunday! Church and home for an afternoon of football - and my nap.
I spent some time organizing my new make up and toiletry bags and getting things ready for when I go to the hospital.

I spent several hours today (Monday) doing pre-op appointments.
First at the surgeon's office and found that surgery is scheduled for 12:45 next week.

I won't have to get up early, so that part's nice.
Not being able to drink so much as an ounce of water for over 12 hours, not so nice!

They gave me a white folder with the Rx for a handicap placard plus the hospital information and directions to go for a nasal swab and registration.
I went to the ladies restroom and accidentally left the white folder at the check out window.
Thankfully, I remembered it before leaving the office.
Then I drove to the hospital and registered for my surgery.
It's a small world - the lady at the desk turned out to be my neighbor - just across the street by the drainage ditch.
She and her family always come over on Halloween. I didn't even know her name before we got to talking and found out we live on the same street.
Well, I ended up leaving my white folder when I left the nurse who did my medical history.
I was at the post office when she called me to tell me I had left it. While she was talking, Gloria heard her and said she would be happy to drop it by on her way home.
 She had her little girl with her so they came in and we visited a few minutes.
So now I know another neighbor! Win! WIN!!

It's really dawning on me that I am about to be out of commission for several weeks so I went into full Christmas Take Down mode!

The living room tree is the one biggest job, so I did that first.
I took off all the ornaments and ribbons.....

Then Louis Dean took off all the lights and got the tree down.
If I use my time wisely, I think I can get most of it all done by next Monday.
At least, that's my plan!

Good night, Folks!
Sleep well......

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Boxing Day and the Day After......Thursday and Friday

Boxing Day.....Thursday

I spent a few hours Thursday afternoon shopping the after Christmas sales.

My first stop was Home Depot.......I use white lights all year round and Louis Dean requested I buy as many LED ones as I could. I also bought two new wreathes for the den. I'm not going to use them at Christmas but will hang them up when we take the red poinsettia ones down.

My next stop - Walmart!
That's where I scored on all the 100 count lights plus garland and a few other things.

My last stop was Hobby Lobby in Dallas!
The clearance prices here were the best of all.
I bought some new tablecloths and place mats to use this winter.
The black and white one will be for the dining room and the red and black ones will go to the ranch.

I went on over to Amber's and we met up with Benjamin to see a movie.
My timing was perfect!

After my fiasco with Ghost Peppers recently, I shocked myself when I ordered a spicy margarita!
Amber and I saw a movie last summer at The Cut - Cinamark's newest theater in the Dallas area - and I had a Ghost Margarita. It.was.so.good.
It uses ghost pepper infused tequila and I loved it.
Spicy but not hot hot.
I always order a glass of water as well so when I finished that margarita, I poured the water over the ice, lime and pepper slices. and PRESTO! I had another drink! I remember I took the cup home with me and made another drink with flavored water. I really got my money's worth out of that one!

So when I was ordering, Amber told them I really liked the one at The Cut.
While they couldn't make that - she did make one that had peppers and it was good.
Not AS good but good. I did the same thing with it as I had with the other one.
I guess I am a pepper lover! Who knew??

I love that my kids like for me to go to the movies with them.
Amber, Benjamin and I are all Daniel Craig fans.

It was nearly 9:00 when I got home that night.
Louis Dean had been busy while I was gone.
This time he cooked steak! And he partially cleaned up!

The Day After.....Friday

The holidays are winding down and I spent the day putting the house back together.
I'm not undecorating until Monday and when I do I'm going room by room starting with the living room. That big tree is overwhelming once Christmas is over. One year Stephanie came over and helped me. The next year I didn't even put it up!  I'm going to tackle that tree first this time!

We had plans for Friday night with Brenda and Billy so I stopped working in time to clean up.

I've worn this black velvet dress several times this season and it's so comfortable I could sleep in it!
Summer gave me the beautiful bee pin for Christmas and I hung it on a gold chain as a pendant.

We planned to arrive at their house no later than 7:00 but we were late.....
It was already dark when we left but I knew exactly where we were going.....
except it was dark and I got lost. I kept thinking I would recognize a street - and I did but they were not streets near where I needed to be - so after driving around for half an hour - I pulled over and called Brenda! I got her street # and put it in WAZE. We were less than 2 miles away! 

I was so glad to finally get there!
Brenda has such a lovely home but I have never seen it all dressed up for Christmas.

Brenda lost her mother 2 years ago and her father this year.
The tree beside us was her mom's and all the ornaments on it were hers.
Brenda decorated it in her honor this year not adding anything to it that was not her mom's.
At the upper left is a close up of one of the shirts she had made after her father died.
She gifted her sons and others with pillows made up from her dad's shirts and with a special poem.

This is Brenda's granddaughter's bedroom.
So pretty!

The master bedroom is beautiful and you can see the pillow over there on the chair.

What a special memory pillow!

Brenda has a tree in just about every room!

She even decorates her bathrooms.

I smiled when I saw the three Christmas cards all framed and displayed.
The blue sledding Santa hanging on that gorgeous wallpaper is one I painted for her birthday one year.

We all went out to dinner and then came back here for dessert - an Italian Cream Cake that was scrumptious! 

I just love her house! 
We were visiting and got to talking about TV programs and NCIS.....
and Billy says that the best episode was Season 2: Episode 7!
So he did his magic and we watched it!
We don't have Net Flicks or anything other than Direct TV and DVDs so I was impressed!
It was such a relaxing evening and it was late when we left.

I assured them I knew how to get home!
And I did!

It was an amazingly calm and peaceful evening spent with good friends and no stress or pressure.
Brenda and I have decided we need to do this every month! 
We already have lunch together once a month so now we will add the guys and have dinner.

Tomorrow night's journal entry should get me all caught up!

The New Year is COMING!!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day......

Catching up on the last few days is going to take more than one journal entry and I am going to try my best to not get behind in 2020!

I'll start with Christmas Eve.....
Before I went to bed on the Eve of Christmas Eve, I had browned 5 pounds of good ground beef and put together the biggest pot of chili I have ever made.

This is the new pot Louis Dean bought at HEB earlier this month - and then realized we didn't have a burner big enough to accommodate it! We only have a two burner hot plate at the ranch!
It worked great and I had it filled 3/4 full of chili that would go into large crock pots on Christmas Eve morning! Now, I'm going to confess to doing something really dumb. While I had a planned menu for the Christmas Eve Supper, I was cooking chili without a recipe. I thought, 'How hard could it be?'
Amber said she doesn't really use a recipe.......ground beef, beans, seasonings, diced tomatoes......sounds good to me. So I tried it! I  had a packet of chili seasonings I bought from a school fund raiser and a couple of chili starter packages from Chili's restaurant. I browned the beef with chopped onions and bell peppers.....adding the seasonings....and cans of pinto beans, Rotel tomatoes....and cans of diced petite tomatoes.....and then I added more seasonings. Chili pepper and cumin sounded about right. It started smelling good and I remembered a jar of salsa I bought recently at Aldi. Pam was over one day and we tried to eat it with chips and it was WAY too hot for us.
So.....I looked at the size of my huge pot.....and the size of my small jar of salsa. So I dumped the whole thing in there and stirred it up and put it in the fridge.....without tasting it.

Christmas Eve morning I was up early and divided the chili between two BIG crock pots, turned them on and went about my day. It smelled good and I was pretty proud of myself.
Cornbread muffins, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad, pitchers of tea, appetizer table.....all was ready!
It was just about 4:00 - time for the family to start arriving - when I put a sample of the chili in a small bowl and took it to Louis Dean to taste test. Oops. He took one tiny bite and said, "Whew!! This is really HOT!!!" Oh, no!! WHY hadn't I tested it first? Did I mention the jar of salsa was GHOST PEPPER?? Need I say more??

Summer and Sabrina and Rayne arrived first and thank goodness Sabrina knew what to do!
I had already separated one of the pots into two and added regular cans of chili to try and tone it down. That didn't work. Sabrina told me to brew up some really strong coffee and add it to the chili along with a jar of my good honey!! You can't taste the honey or the coffee in it! But it was still hot.
Louis Dean went to the store for more canned chili. 
Bottom line, we added more tomato sauce and a whole big container of ketchup to the one pot we were working with - thus turning that one into two pots! I had one pot of truly hot chili outside to deal with later. As it turned out, the HOT chili was not as bad as I thought it would be. Jesse, Sam, and Levi loved it! They went home with a gallon bag of it!
I have a bag of HOT HOT chili minus the coffee and honey so it's REALLY hot!
This is in the freezer and I will take it to the ranch next month and see if Dean and Sherry like it!
I was so thankful I hadn't totally ruined the meal for Christmas Eve!
AND I was so thankful for Sabrina!! I did not know about the coffee and honey trick!

We opened gifts with Summer and Sabrina while we waited for the rest of the family to arrive.

Look what Summer gave Louis Dean!!!!

This is one remote he won't easily lose!!
Summer is going to program it for him as part of her gift.

Jesse and his family arrived next and they brought my sweet Grand dog Max!

He is the best little dog! He came last year as a puppy. Now he's a big boy one year old.
AND he doesn't shed!

Levi, Sam and Uncle Ben!!

The younger grands gathered around the table and played a game.
I had purposely taken all the place settings off all the tables so we could do games and such before dinner.

A little video tour on Christmas Eve......

Benjamin and Amber - my youngest two children.

Levi took the youngsters on for a game of tag while the rest of us played NUTS!

It was so much fun!
Pam played for the first time and held her own. I think she had a good time!
So did Sam! 
He is so laid back that he moved slowly and this was absolutely  opposite to the way the rest of us played!
Everyone who wanted to play got a chance as we would give up our seat and change out players.
I actually left them all playing and went in the guest room to lie down and rest for awhile.

I could hear Louis Dean and Leigh Ann in his music room singing together.
He was on Cloud Nine!!!

After all the fun and games, it was time to roll sugarplums.

The dough was divided up and was rolled into balls and then in the sprinkles and sugars.
ALL the sugarplums were sent home with everyone.

Levi played the piano for us, as did Faith.
We had plenty of music and entertainment.

We did have our chili supper and it was pronounced good! 
Thanks to Sabrina and Mike for doing the majority of the clean up.
Then it was time for the tree and that was a lot of fun, too!

It was a very merry Christmas Eve!!!

Louis Dean and I sat for awhile in the afterglow of having all my children and all my grandchildren here together. I only regret I didn't get a picture of all of us.

We joined the family on Christmas morning at Nita and Mike's house.
I wasn't entirely sure Louis Dean was going because when I woke up at 3:30 am - he was still working on his music! I was surprised he insisted on going but he ended up napping sitting straight up on the couch while the rest of us partied on!

I love Nita and Mike's Christmas House!

 Christmas Breakfast Feast!

My handsome son, Benjamin......
Nita takes such joy in feeding him and sending him home with Care packages!

Sister Deanie......she is looking especially beautiful! 

Leah and Patrick......Nita's daughter and son in law.

Winston is Deanie's grand dog!

But Winston belongs to Andie.

It was a small group this year -
Nita and Mike, Deanie and Charlie, Tish and Andie, Lonnie and Michele, Summer, Sabrina and Rayne, Leah and Patrick, Benjamin, Louis Dean and me.....16 in all.
We spent a good while eating and visiting before we all gathered  in the living room to do the Chinese Christmas Tree.

Andie was having fun!

Deanie opened the Santa at the Manger painting and, although it was stolen once, she went home with it!

This is a photo she sent us later of her Christmas decorations.
She has kept three of my paintings.
She wants to keep the smaller painting instead of trading it for the 16x20.
When we came back from the ranch we accidentally left the painting I was working on - so I wil be finishing this year's painting in 2020!

 I think Leah went home with the very gift she brought - 
a pressure cooker/air fryer.
I am late to the party with these new machines.
Louis Dean loves pressure cookers but we couldn't figure out the insta pot.

Deanie and Lonnie.......and Winston.
Lonnie doesn't smile a lot and is in constant pain but he can still make us all laugh!

Leah and her Mama.
I love the name 'Mama!' Nita is blessed that she still gets to hear her daughter call her that.
All my children went from Mommy to Mama to MOM in short order!

Michele is Lonnie's beloved wife.
He still calls her his bride and the new has never worn off!

Nita and our Trish!!
She's another one with a great sense of humor!

Charlie and Deanie.
This time last year Charlie was recovering from open heart surgery.
I just love this photo of them together!

Everyone loves Louis Dean!!
From the first time they met him, he has been a family favorite!

I have been off my game this Christmas and didn't take many pictures.
Thanks to Leah and Nita for sharing theirs.
I can't believe I didn't get any pics of Summer or Sabrina or Rayne.

Charlie, Mike and Louis Dean relaxed in the den....

We all enjoyed our time together Christmas morning.....
and it lasted into the afternoon.
While Summer, Sabrina, and Benjamin had other family to celebrate Christmas with, 
the rest of us were not in a hurry to leave.
As a matter of fact, Louis Dean and I were the last to go.
We all treasure the times all four of us siblings get to be together and, quite frankly, I wanted to savor every single moment.

Lillian's granddaughter had picked her up on Christmas Eve and she wasn't going to be back at the nursing home until later on Christmas evening so Louis Dean and I came on home.
I hope we get to visit again before my surgery and stock up her fridge and put in a supply of her A&W Creme Sodas. I was happy for her to get to spend time with her granddaughter.
She has a granddaughter and great granddaughter and a grandson and his family.

We went home and took naps!
Perfect Christmas afternoon thing to do!

I had dressed up for Christmas in a black velvet dress, black tights (which did not make my black knee brace noticeable) and a gold shawl and jewelry. I took it all off and wore my nightgown to nap in so when I got up - I put it all back on to go to one last Christmas celebration.

Amber and Mike hosted both sets of parents and Mike's brother, Mark, for a traditional Christmas dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, green bean and broccoli rice casseroles.
Once again, I didn't take many pics and the ones I did take didn't turn out.
Louis Dean and I are older than the Parent Bells and I guess we played the 'old people' card and left before they watched Home Alone!
Amber has been watching Home Alone every Christmas since she was 5 years old and I don't believe she has ever missed a year! They were on to Home Alone 2 that night.

Louis Dean and I are trying to respect our ages.
That's easier said than done because you don't want to miss out on fun things - but you pay a price when you get too tired.
So we went home and went to bed!

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Evening!
I'm grateful for family and these special times we can celebrate together.