Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

I hope everyone is having a great New Year's Eve!!

We decided to go low key this year. We didn't really want to do anything. Friends invited us to go out to dinner, but we had already planned to stay in. We had a busy day with errands and chores. We decided that once we got home, we'd stay home. Does that make us OLD!!! I guess I don't care!

Turns out my plans went awry. Steph and Mindy's friends who were to be the drivers to a 1920's style gangster costume party flaked on them. I told them I'd drive. They're getting a cab home. Not only was the party in East Nashville, it was in East Timbuktoo Nashville. I bet it's going to cost them $100 for the cab back home. I'm no fool. I wasn't volunteering to go out and pick them up. That's not to say I'm not worried. I try not to think about the drunks on the road that do not plan their rides.

Due to the driving commitment, I had to "up" our dinner plans. I made king crab legs and mussels. I've never done mussels before and asked the seafood specialist for guidance. They were flown in fresh this morning. He told me how to remove the "beards." He then said that when we got home, I needed to open the plastic bag in the refrigerator so they could breathe. He said, "after all, they are alive, you know." Well, I didn't know. That kind of freaked me out. I said, "I didn't know I'd be killing them." If they weren't already measured and wrapped, I might have backed out.

When it came time to prepare them for cooking, I asked Butch if he wanted to clean the mussels or unload the dishwasher. He chose the dishwasher. I decided I had to be brave about it. I pictured the mussels snapping at me while I handled them. They were totally benign. I cooked them in butter, white wine and garlic---per the seafood guy's instructions.
You just cook them until they pop open. They were very good---and so cheap, only $3.99 a pound. As we were eating them (and the trick is to NOT look at them when you eat them), it occurred to me that they looked like those things stuck to the bottom of boats. Butch confirmed that they were. Now I'm not so sure I like them anymore.
After I got home from my taxi job, I settled in my chair with my bottle of champagne (by the glass, of course), in front of the fire. Add my new favorite series (I got season 1 and 2 for Christmas) Downton Abbey and I am one happy girl. Let my New Year's Eve begin!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12 Favorite Layouts in 2012

I've hooked up to a "link" party over at Stephanie Howell's blog. Check out other great layouts by clicking here: Favorite Layouts of 2012

Here are mine:
 "Out of the Closet" tells the story of an ugly robe from the 1970's. When my husband finally decided to get rid of it in 2011, the girls pulled it out of the good will pile and gave it back to him for Christmas. I loved using the old button cards.
 "Big Mistake" is about how I dislike my new car. I crossed it with my grandparent's driveway in the 1940's---I had no idea who the cars belonged to. It was a fun way to use photos that I had no information about. I just imagined that while I was complaining about my "fancy schmancy" car, the owners of those old cars would love our modern conveniences like power everything and air conditioning. I did some straight line embroidering to form the grid pattern.
 "they call me GRAMMY"---by any other name...a fun page about my "grands."
"the Hairclip bush" is about a funny little trick I played on the girls when they were little. They still remember it.
 "Grandma Pierson" is a page about my adopted grandma. I took the photos from an early album that I had cut in to crazy shapes (remember when we did that?) I turned them in to flowers to make sense out of them. "Holy Grail" is about how Scrabble and Words with Friends are really different. I love to print my journaling on post it notes. They are so easy to run through the printer.
 "My Boy Steve Jobs"---I mourned him and had to pay tribute with a layout. Hexagons are all the rage and I love using them. I used the sewing machine with a red zigzag to hold them down.
 More hexagons "On the Town." A pretty simple layout without too much embellishment.
 "In the country" tells of my crazy grandmother and the fun we had visiting her. "Jealous of these two" is about my twin sisters and the bike I got for Christmas but couldn't ride due to a broken arm. My dad made me let them ride it first! Totally unfair!
 "These 2 sleep together" is about my friend, Pam. We take a lot of ribbing for sharing beds on our girl's trips. We're compatible roommates. It was a fun way to acknowledge our friendship.
 "Someone Like You" is my favorite song for 2012 by Adele. I had to find a way to commemorate it. A layout about my guy of 41 years was "it"! I used the sewing machine to sew on the hearts.
 "A day with my Peeps" is about hot summer days floating in the pool. I embroidered "Peeps" on a sunny yellow tag with an aqua thread.
 "one covered bridge after another" follows our drive through New England in the fall of 2012. I got the brown and red inspiration with the old Raleigh cigarette coupons I found on that trip.
"all 7 of us" is my favorite color combination of the year. I plan to use more yellow and grey this year. This layout was inspired by a pre-made sketch.

Check out other great layouts here:
Layouts of 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Great Christmas!

We had the best Christmas and everyone was WELL! Not even a sniffle---I hope I didn't just jinx us.

Before I launch in to our Christmas, I'm going to take it day-by-day leading up to it. The Lapps family arrived on Friday, December 21st. We decided to celebrate Jordan's 18th birthday then so they could be here. Her birthday is on the 18th so she didn't have to wait too long.

Just in time for the party, we got her graduation picture. We all think they turned our really good.
I just can't believe she's 18. The years have truly gone by in a blink of the eye. That's why I do what I do. I want to save all of the important stories for her and my other "grands." The pearls belong to her mother.

This was the casual shot. There were so many to choose from---it was hard to narrow down. You could get as many poses as you want, but the cost was crazy, so we stuck with just two. 

And once again, a straight "A" report card. The teacher comments always surprise us. She tends to be on the quiet side. Apparently, she really participates in class. I have noticed, if you talk about a subject that she's interested in, she becomes quite animated.

When you have a December birthday, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle of the holidays. I was determined not to let that happen.
Notice I propped her picture up on the buffet. That way, we would be reminded that it was Jordan's day. With that in mind, I made all of her favorite foods---cheeseburgers with sweet potato fries, tater tots and fruit salad. For dessert, I made her a fudge pie that I served with peppermint ice cream.
After dinner, I had a family activity planned---just like any little kids birthday party. I got this idea from Pinterest. You make trees from ice cream cones and frosting. Add sprinkles and they turned out pretty cute. This is Spencer, Jordan's b-friend.
Right away, the kids wanted to know if it was a competition. I said, "no." But Butch jumped in and said "yes." He was to be the judge. The winner would get $5.00. He had to hide out in the kitchen while everyone worked. That worked for me---he cleaned up the whole thing! This is Carson, Morgan's b-friend sitting next to Stephanie.
Sandy trying to place her tree on the cookie sheet without getting it all messed up. That was the hardest part.
Here are some of the results. I couldn't get over how creative they were.
Ooops, where did that wine glass come from?
The boyfriends, Carson (in front) and Spencer (in back), really got in to it. Carson has a bit of an edge. He's an art student at Nashville School of Art. He comes from a very artistic family.
Butch doing the judging. It was tough. He could not choose just one.
He's trying to get a better look as Elizabeth, Victoria and Mitchell look on.
Greg and Nicky did not participate. I did a couple ahead of time to see if they would "dry." They did. I just used canned frosting and dyed some of it.
And the winners are---Carson, Jordan and Stephanie. Each person made two. Both of Carson's and Jordan's were picked. It ended up costing Butch $25.00. Next time he won't be so eager to turn a family activity into a competition!

The winners all in a row. They were each so creative in the techniques the kids used.
I ended up using some of the trees to decorate a cookie tray I took to the family trivia party on Saturday night. They looked so cute. There were two little girls (sisters---Mela and Gretchen) that ate several of them and licked the rest. I'm sure their mother, Merrill had a hard time getting them to bed after that suar high!!

When everybody left on Thursday, it made me sad to throw them away. They really were so cute and fun to make. File that away (or pin them) for next year.

More to come...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Miserables

All I've got to say is the only way they could make Les Mis any better would be for the film cast to play it on stage!!

Our original plan was to see it on Christmas day. We made the tactical error by not purchasing tickets online. We thought just getting there an hour ahead would be enough time. We were wrong. It was sold out. We found out that the tickets had actually gone on sale two weeks prior.

I had to take Jordan to get her wisdom teeth out yesterday. She didn't feel up to going today. I went with Morgan. I'll go again with the other girls whenever they want to go. I just couldn't wait---and besides, this was the only time Morgan could go. Now that she's a working girl, her time is limited. Plus, she leaves on Monday for a school trip to England, Ireland and Wales. Wish I was going!

The movie was incredible! Les Mis is my most favorite of all time. It was hard to keep myself from singing along---considering I know every lyric to every song. I cried several times. I will be happy to see it again on the big screen.

I have a lot to report about our holidays. I'm going to break it up in to several posts.

The sisters paid us their annual visit. Usually there are 3 or 4. This year, it was just two---the Administrator of the campus and the principal of St. Cecilia Academy.

This was my favorite Christmas card of the season---after my grandchildren, of course. Jackie and Greg did there own photo shoot. It turned out so darn cute. Jackie said that Evie discovered the paper inside the box and was happy to sit in it.

Another post to come over the weekend. In the meantime, click on this link and enjoy this little snippet about the Elephant Sanctuary in Hoenwald, TN---about an hour from Nashville. It is not open to the public. They take elephants from zoos and circuses and provide them with a serene environment to live out the rest of their lives.
Elephant Sanctuary

Tell me about your Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ornament Exchange

We had our annual Mother/Daughter ornament exchange on Thursday night. We've been doing this for 17 years now. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of everyone, but here's what I got.
Gretchen and Mela Egbert
Analise Gibbs and Parker Manning 
Paige, Nancy and Leigh Anderson
 Analise, Amanda and Connie.
 Connie and I.

 Gretchen and Nancy.
 Mindy and Morgan.
 This is such a fun party---and easy---everyone brings food.

 The kids always get a kick out of opening the ornaments and "stealing."
  Gretchen liked this ornament that I got so much. I just had to give it to her. 
Gretchen and Merrill.

Counting the kids, there were 25 of us this year. We look forward to our traditions. The next one comes Saturday night---Family Trivia. Each family is a team. We each bring food and 10 questions for the competition. I'll be sure to take some pictures to share.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

Everything's ready---23 lb. turkey defrosting and 2 fudge pies are cooling on the counter.
 Restaurant sized can of green beans, it takes large quantities of food.
A fully stocked pantry. We definitely have enough food for the week!! Lots of cookies, home baked breads, spinach balls, mushroom crustads and cheese balls.

Now I'm crying my way through Penny Serenade. It's an old black and white movie starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunn. I've seen it a dozen times. It's funny and a tear-jerker at the same time. I'm just relaxing with my stitching before the gang arrives later this afternoon. This will be my last opportunity for calm!! Let the fun begin....