Monday, December 26, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

It's Monday and our family is celebrating Christmas today.  Our daughter and little Clancy did not arrive until last evening so we are running a day behind the calendar.  But, hey, that's alright, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.  So, for now, let's be random with Carissa. 

Christmas Eve........

We enjoyed Christmas Eve with my Dad and Step-Mom.  They came over mid-afternoon and Hubby grilled steaks.  Daddy felt good and seemed to really enjoy his time celebrating.  It makes my heart happy to see that big smile on his face.  And, doesn't he make a cute Santa?  
 Cake Balls............

Can I just tell you that these little fellas were mighty good.  My step-sister gave these to us the other day and oh, my goodness!  Some are chocolate, some are vanilla and some are strawberry.  I'm thinking that the creator of cake balls had a very good idea!

Christmas at The LeGrand.......

Daddy enjoying the Christmas program
 The name of the facility were my Dad resides is The LeGrand.  They had their Christmas party for the residents last Thursday and
a group of ladies that had performed in the Christmas show at our local theater came and sang to the residents.  In the play they were known as The Taffeta's. They are such fun and everyone enjoyed their program so much.  Aren't they the cutest!

My Sister.............

Well, I don't really have a sister, but this is my step sister. I don't like the word "step" but whatever, she is a swell gal and  
yes, she was one of the Taffeta's.  She can sing like a bird, make beautiful jewelry, grows a mean garden and is a great cook.  So, what's not to like about her?  And, don't you think we'd pass for "blood sisters?"

Extreme Couponer..........

I'm telling you that this gal, one of Hubby's office staff, knows how to use coupon's to the "inth" degree.  She filled a basket for each of the other 3 staff for Christmas and didn't pay a red cent for any item in them.  Now, let me tell you, there was some mighty fine "stuff" in those baskets and the staff was plum "tickled pink" over them.  We are all amazed at Jonette's coupon stories and we all admire her tenacity.  In our book, she is the "Couponing Queen."

I may miss visiting around this week, but I'll be busy making memories with my family.  Wishing you all a beautiful end to this year.  Love you girlies!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

   It is Christmas Eve and Hubby and I  are began our day by joining  our Princess and her Dad and Mom at their house for a pancake breakfast. Yummy! 

Mid-afternoon my Dad and Step-Mom will come over and we'll grill steaks, eat and then exchange our gifts.  I'm  so grateful that my Dad is feeling good enough to get out a while and come to our house.

Our Christmas with our children will not happen until Monday afternoon.  Our daughter and grandson will not arrive until tomorrow night, and we wanted to give them some time to catch their breath before the festivities begin.

Christmas Day will be rather quiet once we get home from church.  I'll spend the afternoon beginning my preparations for our Christmas meal and preparing for daughter's arrival.

May each of you have a Christmas filled with peace, joy and God's abundant love as we celebrate the greatest birth ever recorded - our Savior, Jesus Christ!


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Harsh Reality

I'm linking up with Rachel at Finding Joy today for Friday Favorites. The past few weeks  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on past Christmases and wanted to share a few of those reflections and some photos of Christmases past with you.

 For several years Christmas has evoked many emotions for me.  I think that, for me at least, until I was around 40 years old, I never thought too much about our parents, our children and the changes that were looming ahead. I took for granted that my sweet MIL and mother would always be preparing the Christmas meal and all "me and mine" would do is "show up."  I never thought about the fact  that my children would grow up, establish their own homes and I would have to share them at Christmas.  And, then the harsh reality HIT!

Our parents  would not always be with us and the kids would grow up. 

While reflecting upon the 41 Christmases that Hubby and I have shared , I have so many wonderful memories.  But, that same reflection brings about a certain sadness that so much has changed.  We only have one parent left out of the four and of course, we truly did not know if we would have my Dad around for this Christmas.

When the above picture was taken, little did we know that would be my Mom's last Christmas.  She would pass away the following December 1st.  

And, little did we know last Christmas that my Dad would be stricken with a dibilitating condition this past July that would cause him to have to have full time nursing care in a facility.

As much as I am looking forward to Christmas, there is a part of my heart that feels a certain sadness that will likely never go away.  But, it will not diminish the new and exciting memories we are in the process of making with our children, their spouses and grandchildren.  And, I can almost assuredly say that my children have not reached a point where they realize that things will not always be as they are now.  But, that's okay, the harsh reality will hit them soon enough and in the meantime we're going to stock up memories for them to cherish when things change.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday - Christmas Style

In the midst of all she has going on, Joyce still found time to come up with some great Christmas questions for Hodgepodge this week.  I don't think the woman ever stops. Thanks Joyce for always thinking up such fun questions.

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?
Yes, well, it will be the day after Christmas for us and it will be a mid-day meal.  There will be 7 of us and I will be serving up a real Louisiana Cajun meal of Shrimp and Crayfish Etouffee.  I'll throw in a tossed salad and some French Bread and we'll be good to go.  

2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?
We love cookies but I rarely make them at Christmas.  But, Hubby loves to get his hands on Oatmeal Cookies or Snickerdoodles.  He is fortunate that different business usually drop off such items at his office, so he gets his fill without me getting involved. ~smile~

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies. Do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim? almond? soy? full fat (Gasp!)
No, I'm not a milk drinker at all and you will find low fat milk in our refrigerator that is used for cooking or the occasional bowl of cereal we eat.

4. Time magazine recently named their 'Person of the Year' for 2011. This is the person the editors believe had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name Person of the Year for 2011?

Well, pardon my bluntness, but how idiotic to name The Protester as person of the year. 

Give me someone like Tim Tebow that truly has made and continues to make such a difference, not only in the sports arena but in every area of his life.  It is so inspiring to see such a giant sports figure take  a bold stand for his faith in Christ.  I love the motto of his foundation: Bringing faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. Yes, he deserves the title of Person of the Year!

5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day... when was the last time you needed a flashlight and did you know right where to find one? 
I had no clue there was such a day! How funny!  I ALWAYS know where my flashlight is, on my nightstand, and no one had better touch it!  I had a huge scare (I'll save the story for a blog entry sometime) several years back when I got up to go to the bathroom in the night.  From that time forth, I ALWAYS  carry my "turned on" flashlight with me even though our bed is probably only 15' from the bathroom. 

6. candy canes...yum or yuck?

Yum!  and I love the little peppermint chips you can find this time of year.  Their a bit like chocolate chips and I sprinkle them on vanilla ice cream.

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you?
I love all of the lyrics of "Mary Did You Know" but the last line that says, "The sleeping child you are holding is the great I AM."  WOW!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

On Christmas night at 7:05, American Airlines is suppose to be bringing this little man and his Momma to see his CiCi and Poppa.  Can I just tell you how excited we are to see him (and his Momma)!  Now, they are having a winter storm in Dodge City right now so we're praying that it will be gone and the skies will be clear and nothing will detain them.  There will be some terribly disappointed folks otherwise. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

Our last Monday before Christmas. W0W! doesn't seem possible.  But, as busy as we may be, we'll all stop and share our random thoughts because Carissa would surely be disappointed if we didn't.  We love our Carissa!

For no reason..........

Hubby enjoys bringing me flowers for no special reason or occasion.  This past Thursday was one of those days.  He comes waltzing through the door with these in his hands. What a good boy he is............or maybe it's what a good girl am I. ~wink~

And the menu was........

I had the Formidible Women over for a brunch last week and here's what I served up.  I do not claim to be the best cook, but I'm not the worst either and they seemed to enjoy the morsels placed before them. But the most enjoyment came from the fellowship around the table

A Southern Gentleman.....
For my "local" readers the gentleman pictured above is no stranger.  For those of you from "parts unknown" let me introduce you to Victor Cascio.  Victor is multi-talented to say the least, he's a writer, a fabulous decorator, a good cook, and a wonderful host to name a few.  We sat at the table next to he and his lovely wife yesterday for lunch and he brought this beautiful Christmas ornament to serve as their table decor.  I couldn't help but notice it when he pulled it out of a bag and I couldn't help but ask him if I might photograph it to share with you.  It is made of antique jewelry and it is just spectacular.  He told me that he had to almost beg the lady that made it to sell it to him.   So, ladies, now you know what to do with that jewelry that you no longer use. ~smile~

A Special Lady......

Forty years ago this special lady took me, a newlywed, under her wing and mentored me along life's way.  We met at church and it was the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship.  I have watched Martha weather some difficult storms in her life and have seen how the Lord has carried her through to the other side.  My precious friend is presently facing another difficult storm -- breast cancer. The diagnosis was made this past August and almost immediately she was at M.D.Anderson in Houston getting a treatment agenda lined out.  She is presently on her second type of chemo and will be another 2 1/2 months.  Following this will come radiation and then surgery, so she still has a ways to go.  Her newest chemo has left her with little energy to do anything and very short of breath. Martha is a high energy woman, cook extraordinaire, loves to entertain and does so with such style and flair and especially during the holidays.  I ask that you please remember my dear Martha and pray that she can win this tough battle and get back to the things that bring her so much enjoyment. To know her is to love her.

And, have you ever seen anyone as cute with a head scarf?  I think not!  I've always told her that I want to be just like her when I grow up. Yes, indeed, she is a very special lady!

And, remember gals..........

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrapping, Brunching & Receiving

It's been another good week, filled with fun and just enough busyness to be enjoyable.

I started out the week by wrapping gifts.  I have had them bought for some time, but didn't have any of them wrapped.  That was bothering me so I dedicated a day to getting it done.

I have a room at Hubby's office where I keep all my packaging and wrapping supplies and that is where I keep all my gifts until they are wrapped and ready to be brought to the house for our gift exchange.  It is so nice to have a place like this where it can be junky and messy and no one knows it except me. As you can see, it was in a state of disarray .

I started on my fudge deliveries this week as well.  I made a whopping 60 pounds this year.  Oh, my goodness, do you know how much stirring that is? But, it is such fun for me and I really can't imagine Christmas without my fudge making. I started the 2nd week of October and finished the last week of Nov.  Thank goodness it freezes extremely well.

My list of fudge recipient's changes every year, I don't seem to ever remove anyone (aren't you glad) but seem to always add a few more.  I have as much fun packaging and preparing it for delivery as I do making it.  I know, silly, but I have always enjoyed creative packaging. By the way, if you would like the recipe, click on the recipe tab above and look for Cotton Country Fudge.

*Before going any further, I need some help with how to remove the horrible flash reflections in my pictures.  I tried all the editing techniques I know and obviously they did not work.  So, you pros out there help me out!

The UPS truck came twice this week and you know, it doesn't really even matter what's in a package, it's just the fact that someone thought of you and sent you something.  There's always  excitement when opening a box.

One of the packages was this wooden box filled to the brim with every kind of peanut you can imagine. I can tell that I will have to increase the time I'm spending on the treadmill in the coming weeks.  These holiday treats can wreck havoc on a gal!

I hosted a brunch for the Formidible Women yesterday.  I have been doing this for several years, but can't remember exactly how many.  If you have not heard about our Formidible Women group, just trust me, we're a fun group.  Anyway, I needed to add a little "floral touch" to my holiday decor on the dining table.  

I started with some small votive candle cups, filled them with green floral rocks and then put some red roses, that I cut down to about 5 inches, in them and put greenery from the front shrubs around them.  I thought for an novice , they made a nice presence. The Formidible Women require that one has a floral "touch" to their table scape, so I certainly didn't want to disappoint them. ~wink~

I'm not sure why the roses look hot pink in this picture, but they were vivid red .

Daddy has had a good week and continues to get stronger, his pain is under control and he seems to be more at peace than he has been since getting sick on June 9th.  The Lord has been so faithful and continues to walk this journey with us and provide us with what we need just as we need it.  We pray that Daddy will continue to get stronger and  regain some independence but for now, we're rejoicing over the improvement thus far.

I've been able to regain my sleep habits in the past month.  I have never had sleep issues in my life.  My head hits the pillow, I fall asleep and the rest is history.  But, when Daddy got sick that all changed for the first time in my life.  I would usually go to sleep but would awaken shortly after midnight and my mind began to whirl and sleep might or might not come.  It was so frustrating and I was weary.  But, sleep has returned and I feel rested for the first time in months. 

friday favorite things | finding joy
I'm joining Rachel today for Friday Favorites.

Happy Friday my peeps!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. Do you put Christmas decorations in every room of your house? If not every room, what rooms do you decorate? No, I definitely do not put decorations in every room.  I decorate the kitchen, the family room and the dining room.  Those are the rooms that we are in the most and use for entertaining.  There was a time that I did lots and lots more decorating, but no more. 

2. If you could visit one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) which one would you choose and why? I'm really not interested in any, there's too many places right here in the US that I still want to see.

3. What does the word faith mean to you?  For me it is placing my trust and confidence in the Lord, plain and simple, but oh, so powerful!

4. You can go back to your childhood for one day...what day and age would you choose?  There are several but one would be in 1960 (I was 8 years old) when we took a family vacation from Arkansas to Washington, DC.  I am sure my parents sacrificed and saved for a long time to make this trip possible.  It was a wonderful trip and my Mom made us a couple of matching outfits to wear (shirts for my Dad and brother and skirts and tops for the two of us). 

5. When did you last have 'punch'? If it's not too much trouble share your favorite punch recipe.  Hubby and I attended a play at our local theater a couple of weeks ago and they served punch at intermission.  I'm not a big fan of punch but the following recipe is a good one and I especially like the lemon and orange slices floating around in the punch.



  • 2 lemons
  • 3 large oranges
  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 liter club soda
  • 2 (750 milliliter) bottles sparkling apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 trays ice cubes


Thinly slice the lemons and the oranges and place in a large punch bowl. Pour in the thawed lemonade. Gently stir in the club soda and the sparkling apple cider. Add sugar to taste. Add ice

6. Do you fill stockings at your house? Are stockings opened before or after the bigger gifts?

Oh, yes, we have stockings!  Well, might I say, we have buckets.  Several years ago the stocking stuffers would no longer fit in the stockings that I hung so I came up with another idea.  I found these cute Christmas buckets and they now serve as the kids stockings.  And, they will tell you in a hurry that they look forward to "the buckets" more than anything else.  I usually pick up items throughout the year for "the buckets" and of course, always add a few gift cards.  I pass them out at the end of opening gifts.

7. What takes your breath away?
A cold winter's wind - literally
Gorgeous music
Majestic view
Hubby in his pinstripe suit ~grin~
God's love

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
It seems that I have heard a lot of talk this year about Santa and the part HE plays in Christmas.  I, personally, cannot imagine Christmas without Santa.  My Dad, was a Minister, but we always had Santa. We were taught the true meaning of Christmas from the cradle and Santa never took priority over that but he was very much a part of our Christmases.  I think, given his proper place, Santa adds a fun to Christmas that I would never want to be without.  That's just my opinion! ~smile~

Monday, December 12, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

Wow! these Mondays roll around faster and faster and Carissa is always here with her Miscellany Mondays. 

The grease behind the wheel......

Having a little Christmas fun

Hubby has been an agent with State Farm Insurance for 37 years and his office staff has always been a vital part of his success.  Yes, these gals, along with our son, make up Hubby's office staff.  They often refer to me as "Momma Lea" and that is quite alright.  I could definitely be their Mother and as they would quickly tell you, I often act like their Mother in handing out advice. ~chuckle~  And, Hubby refers to them as "the grease behind the wheel."  They are a "fearsome threesome" for sure.

Full to overflowing.........

This is one happy African Violet!  I don't know if it's because it likes the location in front of the window or if the Mark Roberts Violet fairy does his magic over him or if it's the tender loving care that I give him.  Hey, it doesn't matter, I am just very proud of  it and my paternal Grandmother gets all the credit for my interest in growing African Violets.  Maybe I can pass along this interest to my Princess one day.

Quick and easy......

If you are looking for a quick and easy treat for the holidays, look no further.  These Pretzel Turtles are so yummy and are a hit whenever they are served.  Click on the Recipe Tab at the top of this blog and it will be the first recipe you see.

Too funny.....

  I was browsing through Pinterest the other evening and came across this quote and I laughed my head off.  I think we have all probably had times when we could have and wanted to say this to someone.  The smaller the town the more likely it is that you have found someone's nose in your business.  ~big grin~

Where is he........
 I'm thinking that Hubby and I need one of these guys.  I have given both of our Grans an Elf on the Shelf but they are still a tad bit young to really "get into" him.  But, I know of folks that do the absolute most creative things with their elves and it would have to be so much fun for the kiddos.  I would have  enjoyed something like this when our children were little.  Our neighbor's elf has a FB page and I have the biggest time keeping up with him and his whereabouts.  Okay, I know, it is an elf, but remember it is a magical season. ~giggle~

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Southern Plantations and Cookies

I'm linking up with Rachel today..............

friday favorite things | finding joy

Well, I cannot believe that two weeks from today will be Christmas Eve Eve. Wow! it seems it was just a month ago that we were celebrating Christmas 2010 style.
This has been the third week that I have felt like I am getting "back on track" since my Dad's illness began on June 9th.  That was six months ago today.  Daddy is still a very sick man, but I had to come to a place where I could go on with my life in spite of that.  And, Daddy is settling in to his condition and is trying to make the best of a very tough situation.  He is definitely stronger than he was and his pain is under much better control and he has many good days.  I am so thankful for the peace that the Lord has given me and continues to give me.

Hubby and I took a little overnight trip this week to the great southern town of Natchez, Ms.  Hubby had a business meeting there and I tagged along and enjoyed browsing the cute downtown shops while he was in his meeting.  It would have been a whole lot more fun if it had not been rainy and cold. ~smile~ 

The highlight of the trip was dinner at The Dunleith Plantation.  Oh, my, there is just nothing like these southern plantation homes.

The home was lavishly decorated for the holiday season and let me tell you, you will never see anything except fresh greenery used in these homes.  And, something else that you will never see, is lights on the Christmas trees.  You can see in the photo above that the tree was just beautiful, even without lights.  All decor in these homes is kept within the period that they were built and they did not have electricity and they sure didn't have silk greenery. ~smile~  It was a lovely evening to take a step back in time.

Yesterday I attended a Tasting Tea given by the ladies of our church.  There were cookies, cookies and more cookies.  We could have invited the city and still had plenty to spare.  It's just hard to make a few cookies.  

It was good to see and  visit with some ladies that are very dear to my heart.  I've missed that in recent months.  The picture above is me with a dear friend that has been such an encourager and support to me these past months.  And, she certainly knows what that can mean to someone going through a tough time.  She went through the loss of her husband to cancer about a year and a half ago and has been a real testimony  to God's faithfulness during tough times.  

It has been a good week and promises to be a fun weekend as we gather with friends from our Sunday School class on Saturday evening for a little holiday fun. It's feels so good to be finding a "new normal." Hoping your weekend is filled with some holiday fun too.