Category Archives: christmas

Holiday doin’s

We had a great weekend around here! John and I hosted the annual Christmas Eve dinner. It was crazy warm, too.


We had Christmas cocktails this year for something fun. I rimmed the glasses with white chocolate and sugar crystals:




Since my niece photobombed, I made her take a picture with me:


Yummy dinner!


We opened presents and played games, of course!


It took me a bit, but I figured out what this was.


There was dessert with cookies:


These front ones are german chocolate cake cookies. Recipe here. My suggestion is to halve that recipe. It makes a lot. A lot.

Of course, we had The Cake, which my sister made this year to perfection:


On Christmas Day, we had our own morning gifting, including something for Pixie, which she proceeded to mangle right away:


You do not want to get your hand in there, let me tell you.  It was even warm enough to bike again. I can’t believe we biked on Christmas Day!


Then another first. We headed down to my sister’s house in the late afternoon and had a bonfire and leftover fireworks from the 4th of July!




Certainly 2105 was a memorable Christmas for how warm it was. Three firsts on Christmas – a bike ride, bonfire and fireworks. Plus some toasted marshmallows!  That weather will be changing this week, but it was fun while it lasted.


Making Merry!

We had a wonderful Christmasy couple of days! Christmas Eve and Christmas are real family days and we get together both days. John and I hosted the Christmas Eve dinner, which is tradition anymore it seems. Even though I worked most of the day on the eve, preparing dinner went really easily, which was both luck and choosing easy to prepare dishes. Turns out everything needed to be at the same temperature in the oven – how is that for lucky?



Great grandma’s dishes, like every year.


Here is a gorgeous centerpiece made by a friend of my sister and BIL.  They live closer to us, so dropped off the centerpiece here and we could enjoy it for our dinner and then my sister and her family would have it after that.


Family arriving!





Food on the side table for serving.  It just makes it so much easier to do it this way.




After dinner was present opening by the fire.  :mrgreen:


New house will have a real fireplace!


We played games after dinner, as per usual.


Much laughter ensued. Then it was dessert and cake time.


The Cake (aka Grampa’s cake).


Love this cake so much!



Christmas morning was nice and quiet.  John and I didn’t exchange too many gifts because we are moving next month and figured that would be less to move 😀

John did put some nail polish in my stocking. I can’t believe he bought nail polish LOL!


I had to try it out Christmas morning.

Then there were more games and music at my sister’s house.  They have a new Clumber Spaniel puppy – named Gryphon (aka Griffie).


He’s cute, but quite energetic. Very hard to get him to hold still for a picture.

More games!


And some music making:


Another fun family gathering this year!  The new table survived as well. Inaugurated with crumbs and spills, but it came out unscathed!

Merry Christmas Eve!

 I am working today on and off as we prep for Christmas Eve dinner.  One of the nice things about working from home is that I can get things started at various times during the day.

Pixie is ready:


She says, “I totally will not be messing with this stuff when you aren’t looking. I swear!”

I had to share a yummy treat I made for the nieces as a gift this year.  It’s Puppy Chow Christmas style:

3 ingredients:


  • 7 cups corn or rice chex
  • 1 package of white coating mix, one pound (if you use white chocolate chips, add about a tablespoon of oil when melting to get the same effect)
  • 10 ounces of starlight mints or candy canes.

Place the mints in a blender and pulverize.  They turn to dust pretty quick!  Place the ground mints in a gallon plastic zip bag.

Next, melt the white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or so until melted.  Put the Chex cereal in a large bowl  Pour the white chocolate over the cereal and fold gently to fully coat the cereal.  Pour this mixture into the gallon bag, zip up and shake really well to distribute the crushed mints.

Spread out on a cookie sheet to harden. 


Yummers!  This is really good 😀 If the nieces don’t like their bags – I will eat it!

I did up my nails for some holiday bling.  John said I had a lot going on with the nails, but it’s the holidays, right?


Here is our new table with the dinner service on it.  Dinner for this evening!


Have to get back to work before doing some cooking. Have a great holiday everyone!


Holiday Fun!

What a great holiday it was!  It starts at our house on Christmas Eve.  I worked some, but it was pretty slow, so we could prep for dinner pretty easily.

Table set up:



My great grandmother’s service, which I now have.


John did his specialty – the sugared pecans.


AKA crack nuts.  I love these so much.

Family arrived for dinner.  Me and my mama!

me and mom

We set up a side table for buffet as our ‘eating’ table is too  small to have dishes on it.

We had smoked ham, crockpot ziti (so easy and really good!), sweet potatoes, smashed potatoes, salad and a selection of beverages  :mrgreen:


After dinner we did present opening, music and a game.


John played Peanuts music and Christmas carols. I played one Christmas carol on guitar.  I only learned one LOL!

We had The Cake.  Grandpa’s birthday cake.


Christmas morning and John and I woke up to snow!  White Christmas!


Here are some of the gifts received this year:

The beginning of the bathroom upgrade, right here!  Guess what will be on the list of things to accomplish in 2013??


I love these little pins from my mom.  One is Pixie and the other is Chloe (my cat I had for 18 years).


I got John this as he drinks a lot of cans of seltzer and diet soda.

soda stream

He made some already and likes it!

Plus lots of other things that you will see at some point on the blog  :mrgreen:


Then it was heading down to my sister’s house for dessert and more games! Scruteneyes (hard!)



Plus Apples to Apples.



Even my dad joined that game, which is pretty rare!


We laughed *a lot*!!  I so love the games.

What a great time.  Food, family and fun.  The 3 F’s I love  😀

Today’s ornament.  Cupcake ornament number 3 in the series!




I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, however you spent it!

Christmas in the Country

Saturday was girl’s day out!!!

One of my favorite winter events is Christmas in the Country.  It is an open house tour where various rural artisans open up their houses to sell their wares.  It comes with a map that is so not to scale that it is laughable.

The houses are all decorated for Christmas and inviting.  We had a dusting of snow overnight, so it felt super Christmasy.

I have house envy of this place.  Here is a view outside from the living room.  All of these items in the photo were for sale, too.

There are all kinds of artists on the tour and farms.  Anything from country primitive items, tole painting, pottery (yay!!) , wine and cheese, baked goods, jewelry, iron sculptures, furniture, herbs and jams, knitted items and such.  It’s pretty neat.  I got some good Christmas shopping done, too.  Plus they serve refreshments!

There are 15 houses on the tour, but it is hard to make it to all 15 in one day.  I think we did about half.

I loved this farmhouse living room.  They were selling kitted items, food items, wooden bowls and cutting boards (which you can see in the chair), plus Petie the Elf dolls.

Shelley – you would have loved the hand spun wool yarn from this guy!

He was itching his back on this hay chute – so cute 😀

We stopped by a farm that made all their own cheeses.  Here was one of the babies that was very interested in my sister’s hand.

I got some herbed feta at this place that I can’t wait to try in an omelet!!

A festive feeling day.

I can’t show everything I got because some people who are being gifted might be reading, but here were a couple things.

Pottery ramekin for snacking!

I love putting my snacks in a ramekin so that I don’t eat out of a bag or box.

I also couldn’t resist getting a present for Pixie at Northeast Corner Herbs (love this place).  They grow premium catnip there and Pixie goes berserk for it (Billy is rather ‘meh’ about the catnip).  She actually smelled the bag when I walking in the house and was meowing and going crazy.  I got her a kitty toy that is stuffed with the nip.

Pixie doesn’t have front claws, but she does have the back ones still.  She is kicking the dickens out of the toy here. I wonder how long this toy will last…

What a nice day to spend with the family, too.

This is the first post for the month of December, so here is one of my tree ornaments:

Joe to the World, indeed!  This ornament is so me  :mrgreen:

Tomorrow I will do my December goal post since I wrapped up last month.  Gotta get a good eating plan going.  Are you in the holiday spirit yet?

Christmas Feast

Hope you all had a most wonderful holiday!

We actually had a nice quiet Christmas as we did the big dinner on Christmas Eve, as has become the tradition over the last few years.  Isn’t it funny how traditions just develop without thinking about them?

John and I did a lot of prepping and chose a fairly easy menu as we both ended up quite busy this last week.  I did manage a bike trainer ride in the morning, though.  Thank goodness to get a little sweat on before the cookie fest began  :mrgreen:

Got the table set up.

I know I mentioned this last year, but I love this china. It was my great grandmother’s.

We can never have more than 8 people for dinner, though – as that is how many place settings we have.  😀

John makes the sugared nuts that I so adore.

Like crack to me they are:

I baked off the shortbread and frosted them.

You know what is good? Mixing powdered sugar with eggnog.  Makes an awesome glaze.

Again behind with stuff.  I would normally have these baked before Christmas Eve.  This year felt really hectic.  Did it feel that way for anyone else? I finished my shopping way late, too.  Maybe I am becoming less organized (like I ever really was to begin with…)

Cookies waiting!

Since we have a folding table to use for more people, we move our small dining table to the side as the buffet station.  That way we aren’t trying to find space on a crowded table for dishes.

We had a goose, which my BIL raised (just like the Thanksgiving turkey), roasted potatoes, sausage stuffing, a small ham (in case we messed up the goose), brussel sprouts, drunken apples (apples cooked with a little sugar, water, bourbon, raisins, cinnamon and thickened with a bit of cornstarch), cranberry sauce and biscuits.

My food was touching here.  I was pretty okay with that  😉


Goose is interesting if you have never had it.

It is almost like red meat.  It is more like steak or venison than poultry, but not gamey.

After dinner, we had our other tradition, which is John playing Peanuts music.

And opened gifts.


Plus a cupcake ornament:

Does my family know me or what??

Then dessert and games!  We had The Cake, which is the cake that was made for my grandfather for his birthday.  It is a white cake with a praline icing.  This year my sister made The Cake.

It came out good, especially since I gave Colleen less than good directions … ooops!

Yay! Sugar high!

Then one of our favorite games:

My BIL played this game for the first time and it was hilarious.  If you want to laugh a lot, you need to get this game.

I ate so many cookies, too.  Oh my gosh, so many cookies.  I cannot eat another cookie.  We have a bunch left and they are going into the freezer.

John and I exchange our gifts to each other on Christmas Day, with some help:

She kept getting on this pile.  I took her off and she kept jumping back on.  Until I opened them 😀

No fireplace, no problem!

Thank you Roku and Netflix, with or without Christmas music  :mrgreen:

What a nice weekend!  I hope you all had a wonderful one as well!

Merry Christmas!

Thank you so much for listening to my guitar playing!  I was a bit nervous putting it out there, but really – doing a video is so much easier than a live performance 😀  I will do a couple others next week.

How about just a random Christmas countdown for the day? It’s been a bit of an odd week, so an odd post will be just fitting.

1. My morning workout today!

Exercise Set/rep/weight Muscle worked
Squat/Press 3 set of 10 with 10# DBs Full Body
Stiff-legged Dead Lifts 3 sets of 10 at 55# Hamstrings and low back
Dumbbell Pull Over 3 sets of 10 with 25# DB Back
Reverse crunch 3 sets of 12 Core
Dumbbell Chest Fly 3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs Chest
Front raise 3 sets of 10 with 8# DBs Shoulders
Triceps Kickbacks 3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs Triceps
Low Back Extension 3 sets of 10 at 80# Low Back

2. My post workout refuel.  Cookie dough truffles:

Not recommended as workout fuel, BTW.  Just for cookie eating.

3.  Husband baking cookies.

(His comment on this picture –  “Gut? Meet cookies.”)

4. Said cookies with afternoon latte:

Yeah, you can see where my eating went today.

5. A few of my favorite carols:

Carol of the Bells
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Es ist ein Rosensprungen (not really Christmas, but played a lot)

Feliz Navidad

6. Pixie’s wishes to everyone:


7.  Hosting the big dinner on Christmas Eve.  John and I have hosted this dinner for 5 years now?  We like to have the big dinner on the Eve rather than on Christmas itself.  John and I love to host and cook.  On the menu is goose (raised by my BIL), roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts with cranberries, sausage stuffing, drunken apples, and a platoon of cookies.

8.  A big thank you to everyone for stopping by my piece of the internets this year.  I really value all the blog friendships that I have made and feel very lucky to have virtually met all of you, which would never have happened without the blog world.

9.  Having to work late today to get in work when everyone else is getting all holiday on me.  Not so good, but thankful that I have full-time employment!

10.  Have a wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah or however you celebrate this time of year.  It all equals the same thing:  Family, friends, and love (and sometimes a lot of cookies)!


Food, family, and fun!

Well, here I sit taking a break from work on Sunday (back at the grind already).  I can’t believe how fast the last couple of days went.

We had a wonderful holiday.  Christmas eve and we had the spread set out.  We had a little snack table before dinner with cheese and crackers (snow flake-shaped, too), candied nuts, clementines, and a cookie plate.

We decided this year to have it buffet style instead of trying to pass things around the table and find room for everything.  Don’t you find that food ends up all piled at one end that way?

We used a smaller main table, so this worked out the best.

We had the pot roast from the pressure cooker (took 1 hour to cook), sweet potato casserole, regular carrots and potatoes from the roast, broccoli, green beans, fresh fruit

and John baked a circular french bread loaf.

My plates:

Quite tasty!

After dinner, we played a game, as per usual.  Tri-bond.

I think we don’t like this game so much.

Then it was time for the special cake!  This is the cake made for my grandfather every year since he was a little boy as he was born on Christmas and this was his birthday cake.  Even though he is no longer with us, we still make the cake on Christmas.  My mother made it this year.  The original cake tin as well, at least dating back to my great grandmother:

My slice of  “the cake”:

I didn’t take pictures of the cookies I nibbled on all night, but I am sure you get the idea.  A nice night was had by all!

I was up early and in the on Christmas morning.  You would think I was 5 or something. 

Pixie and I enjoyed the tree in the dark for a while and listened to music.

Present time for John and I!

Check out my new bike jersey!  Eeeeeeeee!!!!

Pixie had lots of wrapping paper to play with.

I was so happy to have a normal breakfast on Christmas.  I made gingerbread oats.

Not pictured is the tablespoon of eggnog I drizzled on this.  My body was really pleased at having oats.

John and I spent a relaxing day.  Nothing special for dinner as we had leftovers to eat from yesterday.

The family gathered again at night for the other gift exchange.  My sister had a giant, squaty tree – isn’t that funny?

Lots of room for presents under that tree! Plus all the stockings:

We had snacks and then it was time for more games.  We love playing this game on Christmas.

And yes, it does get even funnier with a little booze.

Basically, you are given a card with phonetic-sounding words and you have to guess what the phrase is.  For example:

Read the card out loud over and over until it makes sense.  (answer below).  The coach knows the answer and has to try to help you, although the coach does not know what you are looking at for words.

We always laugh and laugh over this game.

More cookies were consumed, although I stayed out of the pie.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, whatever method of celebration you did!  I am actually kind of glad to get back into normal food mode today.  All leftover cookies are packed in the freezer now out of sight.  The cupboards and fridge have our good normal food items stocked up.

We are also stocked up because we are in direct line of fire for a lot of snow overnight!  I may not be getting to the gym to lift tomorrow…

Mad Gab answer:  Dr. Doolittle (did you get it?)

Merry Christmas Eve and hot 100 update

Christmas Eve! This is the day I like the best because on Christmas it is all over. I love the festiveness and the lights and the feeling of anticipation on the eve.

One of my favorite things to do is late at night on Christmas eve is to turn on holiday music and sit in the living room with just the Christmas lights on. 😀

I am posting early because we have a dinner to host tonight! I wanted to get my hot 100 update in since I probably won’t post again until Sunday.

I was ready for a good sweat fest at the gym this morning. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill, then hit the iron.

Exercise Set/rep/weight Muscle worked
Seated lat row 1 set of 12 at 40#

1 set of 10 at 55#

1 set of 8 at 70#

1 set of 6 at 85#

Cable Squat to Row 3 sets of 10 at 60# Full Body
Flat chest fly 3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs (30# total) Chest
Horizontal Wood Chop 3 sets of 10 at 30# Core
Lying Leg Press 3 sets of 10 at 100# Lower Body
Face Pulls 3 sets of 10 at 40# Shoulders
Nosebreakers 3 sets of 12 with 25# bar Triceps
Good Mornings 3 sets of 10 at 55# Low back and hammies

Then I got on the hamster wheel for 1 more mile. That is tough running and lifting so close together. Takes me out of my comfort zone, but that’s a good thing, right?

I was hangry for breakfast and whipped up some protein waffles topped with apple/cranberry topping.

Yeah – good stuff!

Checked in for work.  Slow day.  Not that I mind too much.

Now for the Hot 100 weekly update!

  1. Maintain my weight. Oooops….
  2. No eggnog lattes until Thanksgiving day!   This goal is done.
  3. Do the duathlon and at least 1 more 5K race before the end of the year. This goal is also done for the year.
  4. Do stretching exercises 4 days a week at least.  Did 5 days.
  5. Visit one new blog each week that is participating in the Hot 100 Challenge and cheer them on.  Visited a bunch last weekend, will do so again this weekend.
  6. Do one no-added sugar day each week.  Success!

So, my weight is up, but that is really no surprise there with the holiday week.  I am going to enjoy this weekend and try not to go overboard.  We will freeze up cookies after Saturday.  We do a family cookie swap, so that is why we have all the cookies 😀  At least they freeze well.

Maybe my sister and I will get up to something like this as we have in the past:

Although we are out of bourbon…

We have the table set up and ready to go.

I love this table service.  It was my great grandmother’s and I adore the pattern on it.

We now have some cooking to do for dinner.  Doing a pot roast with veggies, a sweet potato/cranberry dish, broccoli (surprise!), fresh fruit and then the cookies and my grandfather’s cake.

The sexsay co-chef:

I will try to get lots of pictures.

Pixie wishes you all a meowy christmas!

Enjoy the time with your family and friends!

Trimming the tree!

The first real holiday weekend!  Well, I only had Saturday off, but who’s counting? :mrgreen:

On Saturday, my mother and I went to the Shirt Factory, which is a giant old building where they used to make shirts, oddly enough.  It now houses artists and their studios, along with a few other businesses.  It is really neat that such a small community really supports their local artists/craftspeople.  Each year, they host an open house and then also have other artists come and you can do holiday shopping!  It is 2 building with 4 floors and really hard to get through all in one day.


The tea shop, where I picked up some gingerbread tea and cinnamon plum tea.  Yum!

Zumba classes are held here

There was a new tenant of karate studio, and the owner was posing with his dragon he got in from China.  That was fun.

There was a person using a loom and selling knitted shawls.

A really big quilting store (thought of you Debby)

More pottery and some sculptures.

Plus a bazillion jewelers.  Such a neat place and I have a wish to someday have a soap shop in there.  It would fit in there so well.

Mom and I went for an uber late lunch/early dinner at Rock Hill.  This is a cinnamon raising bread ham and cheese sandwich with honey mustard grilled up.

It was delicious and it wasn’t turkey!  Yay!  There was a maple biscotti on the side which somehow didn’t get pictured, but I ate it 😀

We spent the evening in watching the African Queen.  Have you seen this movie? You should (Bogie’s only Oscar).

On Sunday, went to Panera and they have 2 holiday bagels now.  The gingerbread and the cranberry walnut.  Oh, which to choose now?? I went cranberry today.

Then I set to work today while John hung up the outside Christmas lights.

After work ran out, I made a BBQ turkey salad for lunch from the neverending turkey stash.

And it was time to decorate the tree!

While I would love a real tree again, there definitely are some advantages to having an artificial:  No watering, no drying out/fire hazard, you can put the tree up whenever, and the cat stays out of it.  So, I guess John’s allergies have some benefits.

Now I am biting my nails because I need the Colts to win tonight for me to win the football picks this weekend.  I do not want to lose 4 weeks in a row!

Question:  Does your area support local artists?