Friday, December 31, 2021

Friday Funnies

Just one for today! 

Actually, if I wasn't in NYC, this would totally be me!! 

Happy New Year to all of y'all! (Southern plural of y'all!)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Beautiful Pictures

As you read this, we will be in New York. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing The Music Man after all. Hugh Jackman has tested positive for---well you know. We're disappointed, but at least we will be seeing Tina and MJ (Michael Jackson). We have a lot planned. Butch and I are touring Central Park. There's so much to see there and we're never really done all of it. The weather should be pretty mild, but a bit drizzly today and Saturday. We'll have fun for sure.

Anyway, I won't be blogging for the weekend, but thought I'd leave you with some beautiful pictures. I read an article called 50 beautiful pictures of 2021. I just picked my favorites to share.

This one is my favorite! Okay, both of these!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Little Christmas Recap

Just sharing a few photos from Christmas.

Here's the gang. We've been having the most beautiful weather--record breaking temperatures even to this day. We're all about being comfortable on Christmas Eve. We start with a big breakfast: bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, fried potatoes and fresh fruit salad. After breakfast, we clean up and then start the last minute cooking for Christmas Eve. We do pickup food and eat while we open gifts. The star of our menu is a beef tenderloin on Sister Shubert rolls with homemade horseradish cream. Justin is in charge of that. In addition, we have just a little of everything including boiled shrimp. I made deviled eggs because the boys like them. I always think of them as picnic/bbq food. When Nicky requested them about 10 years ago, I added them to the menu. 

Anyway, after food prep, we usually start with the games. But before that, I got a kick out of the fact that everyone was hovered around one of my scrapbooks. They were laughing and reading the stories. They were each adding their own memories. 
I started scrapbooking in 1999, so it's been over 20 years now. It makes me happy that they enjoy looking at them. I am a storyteller at heart and scrapbooking and this blog are my venues.

Jordan and Robbie introduced us to a new game this year called Code Names. It was so much fun--too hard for me to explain. Considering all of our games tend to be boisterous, it was nice to have a calmer and quieter one. 
There were only 7 of us for Christmas dinner. Setting the table is still my very favorite thing to do.  On Christmas Day, I get out my good Christmas china, Waterford crystal and silver flatware. I used to pull out the good stuff pretty regularly. But I don't entertain as much anymore, so have joined the ranks of only using it on holidays. When the girls were little, I took every opportunity to set a fancy table and made special dinners. We had family parties all the time. I do still enjoy it. I just need to use it more often. Otherwise, what's the point of having it? I always felt like that. I've just gotten away from it.

When dinner is over, we're pretty much ready for everyone to leave! I send everyone home with plenty of leftovers. Then, I want to take my time cleaning up. Of course, Butch helps. It takes about an hour. After that, I take a long nap---with my book. A really long nap....

I felt like this was a really fun and festive holiday season. Still, it goes by way too fast. 

Tomorrow we're off to New York for the ball drop. We're taking Sandy, Stephanie, Mindy and the hubs for the party! We're staying at the Marriott Marquis and have a room overlooking Times Square. That way we can be a part of the festivities without being cold!! 

We have reservations at one of our favorite restaurants and a couple others that are new to us. We are seeing Tina (Sandy, Greg, Butch and I) while Steph, Nicky, Mindy and Justin see MJ. On New Years we're seeing Hugh Jackman in The Music Man--the purpose of the trip. We were supposed to go in the spring of the lockdown, but it was postponed---well, you know why! Then postponed again and then once more. Looks like it's happening! Can't wait!

I hope we don't get caught up in the airline/airport fiasco. Fingers crossed that we don't have any problems! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Travel Tuesday

I'm already planning for next year's holiday season. Well, I should say, dreaming! One of these years, I really want to visit some of these places during the holidays. We've been to all of these places in Italy, but I would love to see them at Christmas.

And then there's England, Austria and Germany. So many places. I want to do the Christmas markets in Germany during the holiday season. Maybe I could find a few more of these:
I do love vintage Christmas!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monday Mystery

The mystery of the dress...

When we made the decision to go to New York for New Year's Eve, we knew we wanted to do it up right. We got rooms in the Marriott Marquis with Butch and I getting a suite overlooking Times Square. Our plan was to party and be able to watch the ball drop from the comfort of a warm room. The girls wanted to get dressed up---all dressed up. Okay, we're game.

Stephanie found her dress at Dillards. She got it home and put it on again and noticed a strange odor. She asked Nicky if he noticed it. She said he gagged! She smelled the armpits of the dress and said it was the most disgusting BO she'd ever smelled. The dress had all the tags, so it clearly was sold as "new." Since she really liked the dress, she went online and was able to find and order another one. Once that one was delivered, she took both dresses back to Dillard's to return the offensive one. She brought the new dress to prove that it wasn't her that wore and "fouled" the dress. She said that the store clerk didn't even look at her or acknowledge the problem, but she got it returned. 

Now the mystery is---who would do that? We've always heard of people hiding tags and wearing something, only to return it later. I'll bet that happens a lot with designer duds. Still, we've never known anyone to actually do it. So who are "those people"? 

I did know a girl who told us that she returned baby clothes after her baby out-grew them. I remember thinking that was terrible. She had used them, but not too much as babies do outgrow their clothes so fast. That's just wrong. I don't think I'm being too judgmental about this, do you?

Steph wore her cute, sparkly, silver dress to our party last Wednesday night. She said she wanted to get two wears out of it! Good idea!
All I've got to say is, I need to up my game. I can't let my girls out sparkle me!!! I'm the original sparkler!!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

I'm calling this a "copycat" kind of Christmas! 

It's been a crazy holiday season with the remodeling going on. Every single thing in this house was/is dust coated. The only thing I felt on top of was the gifts. For the most part, everything was purchased before Thanksgiving. I did the wrapping as soon as we got back from Disney. I can't stand a bare Christmas tree. A decorated tree requires gifts beneath it!!

I didn't decorate as much as I usually do. Don't get me wrong. I had the time. But I didn't want to decorate on top of dust only to have all the decor get dusty too. So, I just didn't. Still, I managed to get enough of the house cleaned to satisfy me. 
Decorating the mantle couldn't be simpler. A fancy mantle scarf just about does all the work. After that, just pile some stuff on it. 
The entry changed this year in that this table is all I decorated. No elaborate garland on the stairwell. I have to say, although I love that lighted, decorated garland, I didn't miss the work.

I lower the lights at night and turn on the little, lighted, bell garland.

Now for the copycat part. I copied quite a lot from Sandy this year starting with the red! She has always gone with traditional red in her holiday decor and Christmas wrapping. Me, I've been all over the place with color. Not this year. I took a page out of her book and love it!
We've had this flocked, artificial tree for---I don't know---8 years or so. I've alway put it in the living room. Last year, since it was a, well, you know, Covid kind of Christmas, we moved it to the family room and did not get a live tree. When we first got this tree, I realized that only red ornaments showed up on it. Hence all the red in the living room. Now that it's in the family room, it only made sense to continue the red. It also helps that we redecorated this year and went totally lighter with everything including the furniture. It makes a nice backdrop for red. This is it. We've enjoyed the tree here so much that we've decided that we will probably always use it and never get a live tree again. The only thing I miss is the smell. 

Next, Sandy introduced me to Cook's champagne. The story here is that I only seem to drink champagne at Christmas--well, except this summer on our France river cruise. The problem is that each year, I never remember what brand I like. Butch gets frustrated with me. Believe it or not, I've never had Cook's until Sandy served it to me.
I enjoyed my "bottle" on Thursday night. It was a quiet evening for us--sort of the "lull before the storm". We had leftover Imo's pizza from St. Louis that was in the freezer. I sipped my champagne all evening while we watched the Titan's game with a nice fire. All was calm and bright.

Now we're moving on to Christmas Eve. When at Sandy's, you might remember that she had these darling plates and napkins:
When I got home, I took one look at what I had gotten and winced. 
They just aren't all that cute. But, I did have cute napkins.
I used these napkins for our party with glass plates--not paper. I do like the ease of paper plates, but I have so many nice things for entertaining, that I just have to use them.

Anyway, when I got home on Sunday, I took one look at the plates I bought and thought, "nah, not good enough!" I went online and found that I still could get Sandy's plates from Walmart. They were delivered in two days! Supply problems? Hmmm, I don't think so!! The napkins were different, but I like the candy canes just as well.
Normally, for our Christmas Even breakfast, I use my everyday Christmas china. But, oh, my gosh--how cute is this? And they match perfectly with the aqua and red popcorn table favors. Then I realized that I needed some sort of bowl for the fruit salad. These vintage bowls are everyday use for us---yet they matched perfectly too! I'm loving it!
With the addition of my red chargers that I've had for 20 years or more, these plates make for a festive and colorful table. 

Lastly, there's this:
Sandy sent me pictures of her hot chocolate bar. 
She introduced us to the most fabulous hot chocolate several years ago. You make it in the crockpot! I made it too, but my bar isn't nearly as extensive as hers. And, I don't have the prefect red tray! Still, I managed to make it nice. I used my Starbucks mugs just so people don't have to bother with saucers. Thought I would share Sandy's recipe:

Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Place ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on low for 3 hours--stirring occasionally. Add any mix ins as desired--Bailey's (my favorite), Godiva or peppermint Schnapps. Garnish with marshmallows, chocolates, peppermint sticks and whipped cream. Enjoy!

Oh, and when the time came, the mini marshmallows I had were all stuck together and then I forgot to put out the peppermint sticks! Sheesh! Still the hot chocolate was amazing!  

Thanks Sandy, for sharing all your good ideas. After all of these years, I'm about out of ideas of my own!!

Until next Christmas....

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Five Things Thursday--Christmas Related

1. Last week, my brother, Matt went fishing. He sent me a few pictures:

It was a very good day! I forgot how many fish he caught (crappie) but you can see it's quite a haul! Then he sent me this:
Perfect sentiment from a fisherman!

2. Stephanie and Nicky went to a Christmas party a couple weeks ago. Everyone was supposed to dress us as their favorite toy from the '80's. I'd say they "nailed it."
Steph went as Strawberry Shortcake. She loved those little dolls---and still has them!
Nicky took advantage of the fact that he made a light saber at Disney and went as some character from Star Wars. Can you tell I've never seen a single Star Wars movie? I don't know the lingo at all. Maybe a Jedi?!?
Nicky sent me this picture of someone at the party. He knows I'm a Cardinals fan--even though I don't even watch baseball until the Cards make it in to the playoffs. I don't know who this guy is, but he must be from St. Louis to have collected this baseball card of "Stan the Man." Stan Musial was a huge star in the 60's---when I was a kid!

3. Last week, when I picked up Connie, Amanda and Analise for the ornament exchange, I was teasing Connie that I couldn't believe she already had her Christmas dinner table set. They don't even do their Christmas until the day after! I said that she's going to have to dust all the plates before dining!! Later that evening, she sent me this:
She said that after they got home, Analise did these fancy napkin folds. She's been doing some work for a caterer and learned how to do them. Just in time! Now the plates won't get quite as dusty!!

That reminded me of my December 10th post of 2018 where I had made these folds for my table.

As you can see, there are two ways to make this fold. Maybe I'll do a tutorial. Okay, next year. I'm a bit busy right now!

Anyway, I love that Analise is taking an interest is such things. It's so much fun seeing the next generation follow in our footsteps!!

4. On Tuesday night, we celebrated Jordan's 27th birthday.
How did this happen? I swear, I just blinked and now I have these adult grands!! Time is moving too fast. Please slow down!

5. Last night we had a Christmas party. It's been several years--actually many years since we've had one. I'd forgotten how much work it is AND how much I love it!! I'll be posting about the process when I'm looking for something to talk about! I wish I had more pictures to share, but my friend, who shall remain nameless (not Connie--seriously NOT her!), volunteered to take them. After the party I texted her to remind her to send me the pictures. She apologized profusely. She forgot!! Oh well, what can I say. We're getting old! This is the second time this holiday season that we didn't get any pictures. When our friend group got together for dinner, I wanted to get a picture. Someone said, "We'll get it at the restaurant." Well, we didn't. 

I did take a picture the other day at Susan's when she had us for lunch.
I'm so happy to have this, but do you see the problem? I'M NOT IN IT!!

As for last night, I took just a couple pictures before the party started.
The kitchen table was the beverage center. We served red or white wine, Christmosas (Sandy made these last weekend when we were there--so good with champagne, orange juice and cranberry juice), tea punch and water. 
I pulled out my fancy glasses.
The dining room was laden with goodies: bbq meatballs, spinach balls, green onion dip with veggies or chips, pate on toast, baked brie in a pastry with pecans, crab spread, chicken almond cheese ball, a charcuterie, Chex party mix and then the sweets: chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter blossoms, poppyseed cake and brownies. 
Butch did the charcuterie--how awesome is this? I told him where to place things, but he took it from there. I'd say he's "sealed the deal" that he will be our official charcuterie maker from now on. We have these just about every time we have a family happy hour.  

I am so excited this holiday season. I guess because we had to miss so much last year due to---I'm not even going to say it. You know....