Have a dressed up day!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beef Stew and Bread Bowls

I don't like winter.  Cold is my least favorite temperature.  Unless it's hot.  Then, I'm pretty sure, I'd be typing this differently.

But today I'm cold.  I'm not a sock fan.  With or without shoes, I'd rather leave the socks off.  And remember this post?  No Shots Allowed - I don't like fuzzy slippers, they're bad things.  So, I'm pretty sure my inability to warm up today is due to a lack of socks on my feet, my feet on cold tile floor, and the Smootie King Caribbean Way in my hand.

I'm sitting here, dreaming of hot cocoa and a night of cuddling on the sofa with He's Too Good To Me and an old Deborah Kerr/ Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, or William Holden movie.  Any or all of those leading men would do.

But I can't see that happening in the near future.  I failed to mention we would be alone for the evening - like I said - I'm dreaming.  Remember, I have four children, all of whom happen to think home is where the heart is.

Now I will shift my rambling to one of my favorite cold weather foods.  Beef Stew. 

I wish I had an old family recipe to pass on to you, but, shamefully - or not, I use the McCormick seasoning packet.  Nothing I have found can beat it.  I (you can substitute Shelby for most "I's" used in my sentences that refer to cooking) use two packets per recipe, the more seasoning the better.

I like to cook, but I'm not freakish about it, and after spending a day back and forth in the kitchen making these babies . . .

. . . a packet for the stew works just fine for me.

These bread bowls are as yummy as they look.

And when filled with steaming hot stew . . .

. . . they will warm the heart.

We (again, substitute Shelby) grind our own wheat around here.  We use the basic wheat dough recipe, but I'm sure any bread dough will work.

After the mixing and kneading and first rising, seperate dough (which makes two loaves) into six balls. Spray bowls.  Using a standard - but oven safe - cereal bowl shape the bowls over the bowls - get it?

Let them rise again.  Bake normally, 350 degrees till golden brown. 

Let cool completely before removing from bowls.  I know, I really could use some new baking sheets.  But these are antiques, pre-historic.  Irreplaceable?

Again . . .

Am I making you hungry?  Or, at least, warm?

John 6:35  " Jesus said, . . . I am the bread of life."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What the Word? Wednesday

Welcome back to  What the Word? Wednesday.

Maxster's new favorite color is red.  Alas, no more purple.

Sweet baby boy has a cold, so there is one strike against y'all before you even start - a stuffy nose which is resulting in a stuffy voice.

Good luck. 

Max is who?

Hint - this past What the Word? Wednesday's answer will help you get this week's Maxster lingo.

Post all guesses.

Max is saying, "I Buzz Lightyear.  I come in peace."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa Claus Buys a Gun

At 5:00 on Christmas Eve we headed to Bass Pro Shops to get a photo with Santa.

A little before five, while dressing Max, this conversation took place between him and me.

Remember, he's in purple.  Sorry again, Daddy.

"We've got to change your clothes so we can go to Bass Pro Shops to see Santa Claus."

"What Fanfa Caus dolin' at Bassss Pho Sopsss?"

"You'll sit in his lap and tell him a present you want for Christmas.  He and Rudolph will fly around tonight and leave your present under the Christmas tree."

Silence.  Some serious thinking going on.

"Tat not what Fanfa Caus is dolin' at Bassss Pho Sopsss."

"What is he dolin'?" (couldn't help it)

"Fanfa Caus buying a gun."

Moving on.

Due to someone advertising something they did not follow through with, there is no photo with Santa this year.

We did get one last year, and it is great, but I'm too tired to find it and scan it.

I will share this one, though.  I took it last year after the Santa photo.  It may be part of our problem.

Whacha think?

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Christmas Gift to Y'all

My Christmas gift to y'all is two-fold.

First, a Shelby Find, or recipe.

So many people say they have the best hot cocoa recipe.  I'm telling you to trust me - I have the best hot cocoa recipe.

Trust me and enjoy, or . . .

miss out on a milk chocolate, white chocolate combination that will make your toes curl.

I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I just happened on this recipe about three years ago on the web.  Just a general recipe.

Christmas Cocoa

Melt 1c. chocolate chips - 2/3 c. white and 1/3 c. semi-sweet - over medium heat

Stir in 1/2 c. sugar , 1/2 c. water, and pinch of salt

Cook all over medium heat until full boil.  Boil, stirring two minutes

Stir in 5 1/2 c. milk and 2 c. whipping cream

Heat until simmers.  Add 2 tsp. vanilla

Again, trust me.

My second gift to y'all is more important than the first. 

Trust me and enjoy, or . . .

Miss out on goodness that will change and rock your world.

Jesus is the goodness, my gift is prayer.

A prayer from me to you, wrapped up in love and tied with a bow of hope.

A prayer that if you do not know Him, Baby Jesus will not be left in the manger this Christmas, but He will find a home in your heart.

Again, trust me.

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
 Luke 2: 10-12

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."
Luke 2:52

"And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.'  And having said this, He breathed His last."
Luke 23:46

"And the angel answered and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as he said.  Come, see the place where He was lying.'"
Matthew 28:5-6

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
John 14:3

It is simple, but no one can do it for you, no one can talk you into it.  No one can save you except Jesus, and only then if you believe and accept.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:16

Merry Christmas from our lives, home, and hearts to you and yours. 


Thursday, December 24, 2009

From the Mouth of a Babe

From the mouth of a babe, my babe, on Christmas Eve.

Riding home tonight Max was looking at Christmas lights as usual.  We saw a beautiful manger scene and then, . . .

as we drove on, I heard my baby boy say,

"Baby Jesus gone gone."

Tears sprung to my eyes as I heard myself saying the words that He is not gone.

How's your Christmas going?  Has the Baby Jesus who became the man Jesus become your Savior Jesus?

And, if He has, is He gone gone from your Christmas?

Come back tomorrow - I have you a gift.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What the Word? Wednesday

Welcome back . . .

What the Word? Wednesday

Maxster wasn't too excited about participating today.  I had to bribe him with three oreos.  Then I tried to give him two, but he was on to me.

Here goes . . .

Comment your guess and check back to the bottom of this post Thursday for the answer.

See 'ya.

By the way, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  Are you and yours on the right track?

Maxster says, "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus"

His Aunt Janice called with the correct answer as soon as she heard.

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Extra, extra, read all about it.

It's not a secret, it's no longer a surprise, spread the word.

My sister is coming for Christmas.

I just found out, moments ago.  Actually, she's not coming Christmas Eve or Day, but Monday night - and only for one night.

They live eighteen hours away and were here several months ago for three weeks so that my neice, Rachel, could participate in Ballet Magnificant's summer camp.  Because of that recent trip, they were not coming back for Christmas.

But now, they will be here in forty-eight hours as I write this.

I love all my precious sisters, and I will spend Christmas with the other two and their families, with Penny traveling from Tennessee to be here.

But this joy I'm feeling now comes from thinking that I would not see Janice, and now knowing I will.

Janice took care of me.  Janice put up with me.  Janice has always been more than a sister. 

Fourteen months older than me, here we are one Christmas.

Remember decorating trees with angel hair?  I do.

Christmas Eve was always spent at Ma and Pa's house.  There was one heater in the front of the old house.  The back bedrooms were so cold we could not move under all the quilts Mama piled on us.  But we managed, somehow, to scoot to the window by the bed and write in the condensation on the glass, carefully keeping our eyes peeled for Santa.

We would whisper and laugh until Mama would tell us, "For the last time . . ." to get quiet or Santa would not come.


Hold the presses.  She's not coming.  He may be good to me, but He's Too Good To Me has bad timing.  I was trying to find time between rehearsals to finish and post this, it's only hours before I have to be silly for tonight's drama, only twenty-four before she and her family were to be here, and he relays the bad news from Mama. 

Plans have changed and my brother-in-law, who is on church staff, will not be able to get away.

So here I sit, typing this change to my blog, barely able to see through the tears.  I've only spent two Christmas' away from any of my sisters.  I'm forty-four and know that is a blessing - many, many families are apart at Christmas - but knowing does not make missing any easier.  Each sister is as precious to me as the next, but one is not able to take the place of another.

I'm a sister kinda gal, and My Lord knew what he was doing when he gave me three. 

Janice, I will love on your other two baby sisters extra for you this year. 

Here's kisses through cyberspace to you and all those that belong to you that have made our family better.

I miss you . . .


Friday, December 18, 2009

Come Watch Me Break A Leg

This will be short and sweet and the last post till Monday, or Tuesday, or 2011 - depending on how exhausted I am.

This is the fourth year He's Too Good To Me and I have participated in A Cricket County Christmas at our church.  It is a hillbilly comedy series about the true meaning of Christmas.

I am Glenda Mae and he is Fester.  Country cousins.  This year we go to the big city to spend Christmas with our city cousins.

Rehearsals this year have been sporatic to say the least.  We are all a little under-prepared.  The weekend of the performance is always very hectic but this year we are expecting a late night tonight, early morning tomorrow, and, as usual, all day Sunday.

Along with this we have family grandparent Christmas Saturday night and preparation for the cast party here Sunday night.

If you are in our neck of the woods hunker on over Sunday night at 6:00, McLaurin Heights Baptist Church.  Watch me and my big hunk of a country cousin break a leg.

"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.'"  Luke 2:10

Rich, poor, countrified or citified.  All nations - all people.

I Simply Remember My Favorite Things at Christmas

These are just a few favorite Christmas treasures in our home. 

All of them matter for different reasons.  Some are old and some are new. 

Ornaments that have significant meaning or hold sweet memories.

Decorations that are dear to me.

He's Too Good To Me bought me this at a flea market one of the first Christmas' of our marriage.

The angel that tops our tree with a handmade star.  The star is old and in need of repair but I like it that way.

In honor of a cockatoo named Magic that Shelby once had that died and took a piece of her heart with him.

Speaking of hearts, mine will always belong to Josie Girl, our beloved Bordie Collie mix who died this past summer.  A grand 'ole lady who is greatly missed.  There are no words.

An animated Santa that I can't turn on this year.  Max doesn't like him to move.  Santa's old and makes me smile.  Rudolf has always been Shelby's favorite Christmas character and the real Santa left this one on the roof of our house for her about eight years ago.  He sings and his nose lights up.  Max loves him.

My favorite ornament.

The sunflower has always been Delia's favorite flower.  She loves this simple ornament and there is no doubt that it belongs to her.  It calls her name.  So Delia.

Izzy is my animal lover and each year her ornament is an animal.  He's just adorable to her.

Nativity scene I love.

Max made this handprint this year.  A treasure.

Those in my life that know the painful hurt of a church loved and lost would never question why I love this ornament.

This little drummer boy belonged to my mother. The song is her favorite Christmas carol and I remember how she treasured him over the years. 

He really should go to one of my sister's homes next year.  Pass him around like the gift he is.

One day I will blog about Puppy, Izzy's closest friend for the past six years.  Stuffed with love.  This is a perfect likeness of him.

Woody.  He belongs to Shelby, or our Bluebird.  We brought him home from Gatlinburg for her when she was three.  His arm is broken and it hides in the branches.  The most expensive, by far, ornament on our tree.  Her favorite.

Our outside nativity scene.  He's Too Good To Me and I made this about fifteen years ago.  Very dear to me.

I could go on and on.  Over the years I have collected material items to go along with my Christmas memories.  These . . .

. . . velvet roses were given to me by He's Too Good To Me one time after we had a huge fight about thirteen years ago.  It wasn't even Christmas time.  He said they would not die, just like his love for me. 

I only get them out once a year.  They go on the most coveted spot, the mantle.  Then I pack them up carefully for another year, and in what seems like the blink of an eye, I unwrap them again and feel their softness and linger on that memory.

These things and more are precious - but this old song by Eddie Cantor from the 1920's speaks my heart.

Listen and be blessed.

Love to all,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Should Have Charged Admission

I was dead this morning.  I was lying in the bed, it was still dark outside, my eyes were unopened, I was unable to move. 

Three hours later, still in the bed, still dead.

 A friend called, "Whatcha doin'?"  She asked.

"I'm paralized - dead, I think."  I replied.

Muscles I didn't know I had wouldn't move.  They didn't even know they existed - until yesterday.

This is what the end of my driveway looked like yesterday morning. 

Under that cloggmation of leaves is supposedly a gutter, or dip, or whatever that thingy is called at the end of a driveway.

Mud.  Lots of mud.  See the tire tracks?  No way to enter or leave.  Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

To keep my anger in check this morning, which burst wide open yesterday morning, I will simply say a neighbor rerouted his water problem into our yard.  Seriously, a trench, onto our property to solve the run-off problem in his backyard. It has been a gradual process but my yard has slowly transferred itself to the street.  Grass is now growing in the street - my grass - in the street.

No one can come, no one can leave.  Help.  We are down to our last ounce of water and dry cracker.  Hallucinations have set in, the mailman won't run  . . .

I have been patient, I have been a good neighbor.  For three years I have watched my yard wash away - while keeping my mouth shut.  So, yesterday, armed with three slaves - otherwise known as my children - and looking like this . . .

. . . I set out to put my yard back in its place - at least until He's Too Good To Me can block off the trench this weekend and do a little building up - or another torrential rainfall, whichever comes first.

All that mud you see is just in one of the spots and is just some of what we shoveled back over the gutter, dippy, thingy.

I'm not sure why I did it in my jammie pants, spur of the moment anger, I guess.  Or, maybe it's because this is how I normally dress . . .

. . . but I didn't feel my pearls and heels were appropriate.  If you believe that I've got a swamp in a Mississippi street to sell you.

Remember the I Love Lucy (and I really do) episode in which Lucy was going to model in a fashion show but stayed out in the sun too long?  She was so sunburned she couldn't move.

Isn't she great?

That is what I felt like this morning.  Not sunburnt, but sore and unable to move.  Paralized, dead.  The muscles I used to shovel two tons of mud are not the same muscles I use on a daily basis.  Sad, but true.

Pedicures, manicures, facials, and spa treatments are what I'm used to.

You, my blog friends, should have been here.  Me, in all my glory, in the rain and cold, shoveling the street in my jammies.  Cars honking, men whistling, and neighbors gawking. 

Quite a show.  Should have charged admission.  Should have bought Ben-Gay. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What the Word? Wednesday

Welcome back to . . .

What the Word? Wednesday.

This week Maxster wants to make, or bake, a what?

This one's kinda hard, so if you get it you must be psychic, or a genie, or a gypsy, or a carnival fortune teller, or a fairy, or a fraud . . .

Put on your head wrap, or your turban, or whatever else baloney you got. Grab your magic ball . . .

and listen closely.

Post your guess below.  As always, I'll hide all comments till Thursday.
Good luck on this one.  Check this same post again on Thursday for the answer.

Ya'll are good.  So are the peanut butter balls he made.

Same time next week.  Y'all come back now, 'ya hear?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The "Other" Baby Boy

I've been hearing the word "kks" around here alot lately - "kks" lights, "kks" tree, "kks present".   Each and every time it makes me smile.  It's obvious to all of us that Max understands many things about Christmas this year.

What is not obvious to me is that he is "getting" it.  To be honest, he looks confused and he seems to lose focus when I talk about Jesus and Christmas together.  I think he is confusing birthday and Christmas. He doesn't quite connect the "baby" Jesus with the Jesus we normally teach him about.

He is almost three, and it is never too young to learn love.  I needed a new plan.

He's Too Good To Me and I were out doing a little Christmas shopping Friday evening when I found this at Lifeway. 

Their website - What God Wants for Christmas.  This is a storybook with a pop-up Nativity scene.  It comes with seven "presents" to open as you read the story.  There are Bible verses to read and questions to answer.

Their website has some great activity sheets and scavenger hunt ideas.

We included this with our dinner and a movie night last night with Isabela's friend- Emily, Shelby's guy- Joe, and Delia's hon- Ruben.

Shelby read the story while we all took turns with the Bible reading and the opening of the little "presents."

Box #7 contains a surprise.  It has what God really wants for Christmas.  When you open it there is a mirror inside.  God wants you.

Most of the time Max was listening, the story is geared to slightly older children but he seemed to be soaking it up.  His box contained baby Jesus and he liked the mirror.

It is a good way to help children focus on the meaning of Christmas.  I love to decorate and we love Santa, but teaching my children about the gift God gave us when He sent His son, Jesus, is my job - not only at Christmas, but all year.

It is not a cliche', there is a true meaning to Christmas.  The season flies by, and so do the teachable moments.

God's grace, Max is saying it here. 

And by that same grace he will grow to become a man that searches out his Father's will.  He will teach his babies one day, and they theirs.  It begins with his daddy and me - and the story of a baby. 

Merry Christmas baby boy.  May you intimately understand the birth of the other baby boy -who came just for you.

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12