Monday, December 19, 2011

Thrift Store Break

I have come to the realization that thrifting is the key to my sanity.  I had not been in a couple of weeks and I needed to slow down and enjoy a little thrifting.  

Saturday morning was a much needed day to thrift.  Hannah and I headed to a couple of thrift stores here before we went to Walmart to do some grocery shopping.  Which in itself is very stressful!!  I was ready to see what these stores had to offer during the holiday season.  Do people donate during this time?  Oh yes they do!

I was able to pick up several things.  

Remember this find at our local Goodwill a week before Thanksgiving?  Pumpkin salt and pepper shakers!!

 Goodwill did not fail me.  I found these adorable Christmas salt and pepper shakers.  The 3 piece set was $1.99!

We then traveled over to a local thrift store here that always has wonderful treasures in it.  This day was no exception.  I found this for $2!  I decorated with a ribbon I had...I know! the ribbon should be red and my mind is spinning about it, but for's the find!
 This will be a permanent decoration on my fireplace.  (for now!)  I'm thinking of tackling some red ribbon in the middle of this ribbon.  I'll play around with it today.  For $2...had to have it!!  This store also had a box of ornaments...12 for $1.00 and oh yes I did.  They were all mostly handmade...the egg style with colorful pins and ribbons.  I can't wait to share them with you!

So...if you need a break from the Christmas race....check out your local thrift store!!  I found much more...but I can't share right now!  Later...taters! 


I couldn't stand it any longer...

It'll have to do for now!  ;)

I changed it....hated this.....left it without anything on it....yes, I am delirious!!

I'm joining these parties!!
Coastal Charm
At Home with K 
 Creating A House of Grace
The Thrifty Home 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Whatcha Cooking??

There's been so many blogs about the Christmas decor, I haven't really seen much about meal planning.  I have my menu's done for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  My grocery list is ready.  I have 4 more gifts to buy, which will be pretty easy because I know exactly what I'm buying.  I have a few gifts that arrived by mail this week that must be wrapped.  I'm tying up loose ends, as they would say.

I'm hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my house.  My sister in law and I swap Christmas Eve with my in laws every year.  We usually plan an afternoon of celebration with the in laws every Christmas Eve.

I try to come up with different things on the year I host Christmas Eve.  I remember one year having a brunch and I just about cooked every single brunch food imaginable.  This year I've decided to keep it simple.  Since everyone is coming over mid-afternoon, I thought that snacks would be appropriate.  I like to call it "grazing food".  There will be 19 of us gathered together.

Here's what I'll be serving.....

Pigs in the Blanket

Layered Mexican Dip & Chips  Recipe Here

Dessert-Sister in Law
Hummus & Crackers-Mom

Spinach and Artichoke Dip w/crackers

Kasari Cheese
French Bread Load
Pinwheels-Mom   Recipe Here
Olives and Cheddar Cheese (toothpicked)
Hot Apple Cider

Easy enough, right?!  I'm excited to try the crockpot Autumn cake.  A friend gave me the recipe and said that it was always a hit at their office.  If you can put crockpot and cake in the same sentence?! I'm going for it!!

Here's the recipe for the Autumn Cake.
Easy Autumn Cake

makes: 8 servings
prep time: 15 min.
cooking time: 3-5 hrs
ideal slow cooker size: 3 1/2 - 4 quart

2 16-oz. cans sliced apples, undrained (not pie filling)
18 1/4-oz. pkg. spice cake mix
1 stick butter melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.  Spray interior of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray
2.  Spoon apples and their juice into slow cooker, spreading evenly over the bottom.
3.  Sprinkle with dry spice cake mix.
4.  Pour melted butter over dry mix. Top with chopped pecans.
5.  Cook on low 3-5 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into topping comes out dry.
6.  Serve warm from cooker.

Mine cooked for 5 hours.  I also put a paper towel between the lid and cooker so the moisture would not fall into the cake.  I also think this recipe will serve more than 8.
Since I'm serving Christmas dinner at 4pm, I'll need to have some sort of breakfast here for all of us.  I found this crockpot breakfast casserole on line and I hope it doesn't fail me!!  It sounds really easy and delicious and to be able to mix this up the night before and let the crockpot take care of breakfast had me before I read the complete recipe.

Here's the recipe!
Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

The site is called Moms Who Think.  Exactly what I needed!!

Christmas Day dinner is served at 4pm this year.  I love this time.  It gives me all day to relax.   For years I would alternate a Standing Rib Roast with the next year being Cornish HensFor the last few years, the children have asked for the Cornish Hens.  They are so easy to prepare and can be done the night before!
 These little tasty birds never fail me.  This year I am changing up the recipe!  I hope no one minds.  It's time for a flavor change though.  Here's the link to the recipe - Apricot-Glazed Cornish Hens

Here's my Christmas Day Menu!  I'll be serving 10 with 2 grandchildren!!  I have a feeling Ryder is going to be happy with some frozen chicken nuggets and Sophia will gum down her bottle!!

Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens
Wild Rice
Bacon Wrapped Beans
Cranberry Pineapple Gelatin Salad

Red Velvet Cake

 I have to give you the link to Paula Deen's Cranberry Pineapple Gelatin Salad.  I promise you it is by far the best gelatin salad I have every put in my mouth!!  Cranberry Pineapple Salad

The bacon wrapped beans are a must have at Christmas.  You can't even imagine how festive they look on the plate.  Someone gave me this recipe years ago and it has always been a hit at meals here.  

Here's my recipe:

Fresh green beans
French Catalina Dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and cut the ends off the beans.  I usually take a good handful of beans and stack together and take one slice of bacon and wrapped around the beans and tie a pretty knot in the front.  Once you have all these bundles on your baking sheet, take the Catalina dressing and drizzle all over the beans.  The more the tastier!  You bake on 375 until the beans are not soft, but not hard.  You want your bacon to be done.  You can use 1/2 slice of bacon if you like, it would probably cook faster.  I always use a full piece because I like the big knot on the front of my bundle. just gotta know when to stop!!  

I hope you can take something from this post!  It's going to be a busy weekend this coming week!!  I always say...the kitchen seems to be the hub of our home and I like it that way.  I can't wait to have all of our family around the table Christmas Day!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY Christmas Wreath

I've had my front door Christmas wreath since the early 80's.  Talk about never tossing anything away!!  I actually purchased the wreath at a Home Interior party way back when.  It was adorned with pinecones.  One year I added apples to it.....a couple of years ago, I splurged and added ornaments to it.  The bow has changed throughout the years.....but this is what it is for now.  Who knows what it will be next year!

I do decorate somewhat on my front porch.  Garland, ribbon and lights are around the door.  I have 2 small lit trees on either side of the door and the banister is wrapped with garland and bows.

This is the countdown!!!  This time next week I will be patiently awaiting the arrival of our granddaughter, Sophia from Tennessee!!

I'm Linking Up To These Parties!
Handy Man Crafty Woman

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Tree 2011

 At last the decorations are complete.  I was thinking about traditions the other night and begin to think about our family and what traditions we have.  It always seemed to come back to food!  Traditionally...the last several years we have had cornish hens for Christmas dinner.  Then I began to think...what other traditions do we have....and then I remembered....I have always put the children's first baby shoes on our Christmas tree.  The first picture shows Christina's  little black patten shoes.  Since I met Christina when she was 9, I can remember finding these shoes stored in the attic and they promptly went on our tree.  I'm not certain they were her "first" shoes, but they certainly were very small.  The second picture is of Hannah's first baby shoes.  Black patten mary jane's.  Oh how I remember these shoes!  Tyler's were high top white shoes.  This was the in thing way back when.  It brings back such wonderful memories of the children every year that I put these shoe's on our tree.


 A very long time ago I found these beautiful Santa's.  I took a few pictures to show you.  I have these all over my tree.  I guess this could be considered a tradition as no one is allowed to place these Santa's on the tree but me!  Each and every one of them are different in their own way.  Here's just a few of them.....

I also have these bows on my tree every year.  I was a bow making crazy lady over 10 years ago.  The ribbon is gold and has musical notes on it.  This is also a no-no for anyone to put on the tree but me!

Here's most of the gifts wrapped and ready to go.  I rarely do bows.  I know!  What could I be thinking??  Well...honestly, I have found that it is easier to transport and stack under the tree without bows.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Hannah managed to place some bows on a few packages...but for the most part...NO BOWS!  My Scrooge tradition!
Here's some shots of the tree. 

Again, sorry about the grainy pictures.  I KNOW!  The new camera is horrible.  Hopefully, I can find a really good camera at the after Christmas sales.....for now.....choke 'em down please....mmmm'kay?!

Linking to  these parties!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rocking the Decor Around the House

Beware....lots of pictures! 

This little Victorian boy has been in my Christmas decor for many years.  My mother in law gave me 2 of these.  A girl and a boy.  They are both battery operated.  They are both just full of cuteness and when turned on, all eyes are fixated on their every move.   This year I moved them to the family room.  I normally have them on a table together in the formal living room, but I thought we might could enjoy them a bit more in the room where we are the most.

These items are also in my family room.  I changed out the Fall decor in my glass container (from Goodwill) and added some potpourri and a Christmas candle.  I tied a velvet ribbon with a couple of charms around the container for that little extra touch.  I kept the cross (from Goodwill) in the mix and changed out the bowl Fall decor to some random ornaments.

 The Angel and the snowman have been around for a while.  The Angel actually has a candle in it and glows perfectly when lit.

Remember these Santa's I picked up this summer in Nashville at a Thrift Store??  What a lovely trio they are.  I've used them in my family room on a shelf with 2 plates on each side.  These plates were purchased last year at a Goodwill Store.

I changed out the plates on my plate rack in the family room.  I decided to use a cream colored plate behind the Christmas plates I had.

 Another plate I found at Goodwill.  This one sits between 2 poinsettia's.  All 3of these items were found at Goodwill last year.  The Snowman was a Big Lots find several years ago.

Now we're in the formal living/dining room.  We all know what Christmas is all about.  The celebration of Jesus' birth.  The manger scene is always a must have at my house.  I found this Angel at Big Lots several years ago after Christmas.  You will be surprised how much they want to get rid of all their Christmas decor after Christmas.  The prices are amazing!
These are some random pictures of more decor throughout the living/dining room.   This Santa balloon ride was another find several years ago at Big Lots.  Santa spins and it's musical.  
 The angel is also battery operated and the candle lights up that is in her hands when turned on.
 How can we not have Mickey and Minnie in the house at Christmas??  This was Hannah's find several years ago and we splurged on this one for her.  When turned on it is musical and snow blows throughout the inside!  Ryder has finally learned how to turn this on and off and I can tell you he will stand there all day long if you let him!
 This Angel is a tree topper that I use on a table.  I filled the silver basket with red colored balls.  Red and Silver just seem to be a perfect color selection for this Angel.
 This arrangement use to be my centerpiece on my dining room table.  I have since moved it to the bottom shelf on this table.
 I have 2 of these angels and candle holders on each end of my sofa table.  You can see my very large snowman standing next to the sofa table. 
 This glass votive arrangement was found several years ago at Brylane Homes.  You have to check out their website.  They have amazing prices and I've ordered many things from them in the past.  As you can see, I had to open the front door to get enough light in the room to take these pictures.  You can see underneath the table was my wrapping station.  I can say that they are all wrapped and under the tree today!

I hope you've enjoyed this random tour of Christmas decor throughout my house.  

I have just a few more gifts to buy and some stocking stuffers.  I've made my grocery list and I seem all set for the big weekend ahead of us all.  

I am trying to stay focused and not let the madness of the holidays stress me out.  Christmas is almost here!  Take the time to breath deeply and enjoy!!

I'm linking to these parties!

Handy Man Crafty Woman
DIY by Design  
Savvy Southern Style 
Delightful Order
From My Front Porch to Yours  
Stuff and Nonsense 
A Stroll Thru Life 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Thing at a Time!

I've been spinning around this entire week.  Thursday was my grandson, Ryder's birthday.  So...with the Christmas decorating and shopping, I had to stop to focus in on birthday gifts and helping his dad (my son)throw him a family birthday party on Saturday.  Since I'm always cha-chinging around here with deals, it was left up to me to find the Swing Set deal of the century for his birthday.  This was something my son really wanted to give him and I shopped until I dropped to find that deal.  Thing is....the real deal happened only 2 weeks before his birthday and we had to have the swing set shipped to his local Walmart.  They gave us about a 10 day delivery date with the last date being on Monday.  AFTER. HIS. BIRTHDAY.!  Panic...but we held on tight and every single second daily I would check the Walmart site to see if there was any movement with this swing set coming down South.  Finally on Thursday, I found (probably another Grandmother that has been in my situation), a very nice customer service lady that checked and assured me the swing set would be in by Friday.  A huge sigh of relief for sure.  We were all happy campers.  I ended up at my son's at 9am Saturday morning for him to begin the process of putting the swing set together before his 2pm birthday party.  I was the designated babysitter....but with Aunt Hannah in tow, I had time to do some decorating at my son's house.  He was "tied up"....what can I say?!   So...I searched and searched through all his closets and found some very beautiful Christmas decorations.  They are now displayed throughout his house and after a huge eye roll from my manly man son....he knew there was nothing to do but "go with it".  Dad's can have their home decorated, right?!   He's a very tidy person, so no real cleaning to do before the party....but I certainly had fun decorating.  The laundry room was a blur when I looked in....guys just don't do laundry well you, I kicked in and did as much laundry as the day allowed.  He owes me BIG TIME!

The only camera that we had...well, of course the batteries died as soon as it was turned on.  ALWAYS. HAPPENS. TO. ME.  But....I had him a little mini party at lunch on Friday with the daycare kids and he was in rare form.

Here's some pics....

This was the ONLY boy cake Walmart had to offer (at the last minute...ahem).  It was a Toy Story cake with a Woody figurine on top.  Doesn't Walmart know that Ryder likes CARS?!  So....I yanked Woody off the cake...yep, sorry about that Woody....bought a firetruck and turned this very interesting cake into a Matchbox car cake....what?  A firetruck can't ride through the desert??

Did Ryder care?  Oh no he didn't!!  He wanted that firetruck off that cake!!  Poor blurred up Allie (the dog) in the background was just hoping that Ryder would make a critical mistake and knock this cake over.  Allie is a cake lover...and has proved herself time and time again that she will get to a cake if it's on a table ANYWHERE!
Before the cake was served...Ryder knew he had to eat his lunch!
Really Nana?  Clean my plate?  Seriously?
Which turned from really silly!
FINALLY....he could blow out the candles...the first candle went down really fast....the second candle...well, it took a few spits blows, but he finally got it blown out.

All the kids enjoyed the little party and the treat of eating SUGAR before nap time.  I can't believe Ryder is two.  He has brought so much joy into all of our lives these past two years. 

So...with that behind me, I can focus now on shopping.  I have just a few more gifts to take care of.  I have a lot of wrapping to do.  I hope to finish wrapping the gifts today.  My Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu's are written up with a grocery list attached.  I've found this great recipe for Christmas morning for breakfast.  A Crockpot Breakfast Casserole.  I'll be sharing this recipe with you soon.  Our precious Sophia will be arriving December 23rd and we are excited to see her....oh...and her parents too!  They'll be spending 5 days with us.

What do you think I'm going to do with THIS face??

Friday, December 9, 2011

Slim Fast After The Holidays!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was recently asked to try out the Slim Fast Shake.  I've heard of Slim Fast for many years and I know people have lost weight following their plan.  When Slim Fast contacted me about  trying  this shake out, I went directly to their website and was surprised at all the different items they have to offer and particularly noticed the flavors of the shakes!!!  My eye immediately caught Cappuccino Delight....sounds oh so yummy!  BUT....since I'm diabetic, I was particularly pleased to see the low carb shakes!  The flavors for the low carb were Creamy Chocolate and Vanilla Cream!  This is huge for people with diabetes!!  We need to watch our carbs and for Slim Fast to offer a low carb shake, I was very impressed.

Slim Fast was nice enough to send me a coupon for a free shake.  I waited patiently for the mail to arrive, so I could check out what was available in the stores in our area.  I was surprised that my coupon was valued at $8.99 and I was able to get the 8 pack.  This is a great start to the beginning of this diet.  Thank you so much Slim Fast!  I'm excited!

On their website Slim-Fast  , they have complete instructions on how to start their 3-2-1 plan.  You have 2 shakes or meal bars and one 500 calorie balanced meal each day.  Easy, right?   They also have an on line progress report to track your weight, water intake and activity level.  If you go to their facebook page and "like" their page, you will find a printable coupon at this link  Slim-Fast.

Here's what I chose!  and can I just say YUMMY!  Rich, Chocolate Royale.  Seriously?  The name alone says it all.  It was indeed rich and creamy and very filling. My daughter and I both enjoyed this shake for breakfast this morning.  

Since I'm diabetic and I do need to lose weight, I'll certainly be purchasing  the low carb shakes.  This will also help with my sweet tooth when I use the Creamy Chocolate flavor!  I'm so glad Slim Fast contacted me.  I think my diabetic fairy told them I needed some help!   I would encourage all of you to try at least one and let me know what you think!  I think with the upcoming holidays that a New Year's Resolution is in order!  I need to lose weight and I'm excited to see what Slim Fast can do to curb my appetite and help me reach my goal of weight loss.  I need all the help I can get!

So, here's the challenge!  Print your coupon from their facebook page and go to the store and try a shake and tell me what you think.  Jump on this bandwagon of weight loss with me and let's see how fast we can shed these holiday pounds!

You can find Slim Fast products at Walmart, Publix and any of your local grocery stores in the diet section!

Here are the links again!

Slim-Fast on their facebook page

Slim-Fast on their website

Visit Sponsor's Site