Monday, December 30, 2019

A Joyful Chaos

Christmas has come and gone and this time last week our family was in the thick of our celebration.  It's hard to believe it was a week ago and yet, it seems it was even longer ago.  The pace was so fast and furious around here.  A lot of the time we had 8 adults and 5 children and about 4-5 different things going on.  I was so glad that I had done a LOT of advance food prepping as I still spent a whole lot of time in the kitchen.  But, I am pleased to report that everyone seemed pleased with our snacks, meals and desserts.

On Thursday, the 19th, I woke up with a scratchy throat and I knew that meant that a cold was likely on the horizon.  And, I was right, by Monday I was pretty miserable with a terrible head cold.  I can't remember the last time I had this kind of head congestion.  I managed to keep going but I can assure you that if we had not had house guests, I would have curled up in my recliner and stayed there the live long day.  I am still struggling with it and I'm on day 12.  I've been taking OTC meds and surely in the next couple of days I'm going to be OVER it.  

One of Tommy's sisters and her husband came for a part of the holidays.  They sort of take partial claim to our Grans and had never been with us at Christmas so it was a special time.  They came a couple of days before Bridget and her family and we enjoyed that time with them before our "joyful chaos" began. 

Bridget and her family arrived on Saturday and what you see in the picture above is pretty much what our house looked like during their visit.  We had a baby, 2 four year olds, a 10  and 11 year old a lot of the time.  Our son and his family live nearby so they were not here all of the time.

We were all waiting in line to get our hands on this sweet boy.  None of the family had ever even met him except for Poppa and me.  He handled all the passing around pretty well.

The cousins always enjoy being together.  Andi Kate was mostly interested in Baby Case this visit but she did give Coleman a little of her attention. ~chuckle~ And, Clancy and Hanna Beth are growing up and not really into the "little kid" stuff anymore.  They are both so precious and I have to say that the older the Grans get the more I enjoy them.  It's just such fun to talk with them, hear their thoughts and see them emerge into "big people."

When our kids were growing up and we had our family Christmas over at Tommy's parents house, Bridget and I would always do some kind of entertaining.  We had one of the first karaoke machines and would use that.  Well, I decided that we needed to do a bit of entertaining this year.  We have a nice karaoke machine out in Hubby's shop/man cave and that is where it all took place.  It was Sunday evening and my cold was very evident but I still had a voice, not a very good sounding voice, but the show had to go on.  We sang 3 songs and all of the Grans sang as well.  Even if I do so, it was an enjoyable time.  I thought I could figure out how to post a video of one of mine and Bridget's songs but I did not succeed, so.......  I guess it could have something to do with sending it from an Apple device to a non Apple laptop.  I'm sure sorry because I do think you would have enjoyed it. BTW, I found our cute dresses at our local Wal-Mart. 

After a bit of entertainment it was time to do some gift exchanges.  Susan and Steve had brought the kids some gifts and then the cousins did their gift exchange.  That way the kids were not bombarded with all their gifts at one time.  We did our family gift exchange on Monday evening and everyone was more than pleased. 

Susan and Steve left the "joyful choas" on Monday morning and headed home to Atlanta.  They carried with them a boatload of memories for sure. 

Clancy and his Daddy enjoyed several fun hours of fishing in our backyard pond.  They took the pontoon boat out and caught some really BIG fish.  The weather was unseasonably warm and just perfect for them to enjoy fishing.  

After our Christmas Eve dinner our son and his wife loaded up the kids and took them to a local church's candlelight service.  That gave me time to clean up the kitchen (once again) and get everything ready for our birthday party for Jesus when they returned.  

We have been doing this since  Clancy and Hanna Beth were about 2 and 3 years old.  Now, Clancy and Hanna Beth read the Christmas story.  It is such a sweet time and one that I hope the Grans will recall throughout their lives and will always remember "the real reason for the season."

Then, just like that, it was all over and all we had left were the memories.  Bridget and family left around 3:00AM Christmas morning bound for OKC.  I told them good bye before I went to bed Tuesday evening because I knew once my tired and sick body hit the bed that I was NOT getting up  to tell them good bye.  They were home by noon and then began preparing for Santa to visit them Christmas evening.  They told Coleman that Santa had made arrangements to leave their gifts at the neighbors house since they were here and he fell for it, hook, line and sinker. ~smile~

I wasn't good for much Christmas day and never got dressed or put on makeup and let me assure you that NEVER  happens.  I did manage to trudge through 8 loads of laundry after stripping the beds and gathering up the towels.  The house was very quiet and Hubby and I looked at each other and said, "is it wrong for us to enjoy our quiet lives?"  We both said, NO!  It's a part of growing older and it isn't all bad.  I have managed, with some help, to get our house back in order, all the Christmas down and now eagerly awaiting the new year.

And, that's the wrap of our "joyful chaos."

Image result for inspirational new year quotes

Friday, December 13, 2019

Lea's Favorites

I can't remember the last time I did a "favorites" post.  My Prime Purchases posts are similar  but not all of my favorite things are from Amazon. ~believe it or not~  So, I wanted to do a favorites for you and perhaps you will find something that you didn't know about.  And, perhaps you haven't finished your Christmas shopping and one of these items might be "just the gift."

Michael Kors Wedge Sneaker
Image result for michael kors wedge sneakers

Okay, ladies, these are some of the best looking, most comfortable shoes you could own.  I ran across these on one of our visits to see our daughter in Oklahoma City.  I can't find these with the silver glitter but I did find the solid black pair at Dillards and they are on sale right now.  So, click on the link above if you are interested.  I think these with the silver went like "hot cakes" but I did not check every possible outlet and, with the awesome internet, you just may be able to find them if you so desire. 

Image result for crock pot liners

Surely I have posted about these awesome jewels before.  I mean, if you are a crockpot user, then you MUST have these.  They are a game changer when it comes to cleaning up a crockpot.  I haven't gone over to the Insta-Pot just yet so I still use a cockpot a lot.  These are in the area where the ziploc bags are located.

This is a great bootie and comes in several colors.  I'm a big fan of Sam Edelman shoes.  These have just the right height heel and  are very comfortable.  I wear my black booties more than any other booties that I have.

FIX + by MAC

My niece introduced me to this wonderful stuff this past May and I've been using it ever since.  It is a setting spray for your makeup and also a moisturizing spray.  You close your eyes and spray it over your face after you have completely finished your makeup.  It dries quickly and you are "good to go."   It can be found at any Mac counter,  or Ulta and probably Amazon. ~smile~

KinHwa Makeup Remover Cloths

Surely I have told you about these awesome facial wash cloths.  They are the softest material and feel so good on your face.  I clean my face with them first before using my cleanser.  Then I use my cleanser and whip it off with these again.  I've had mine at least a year and they still look brand new. And, they make a great gift!


There are ALL kinds of cutting boards but I don't think there's any board as good as these cutting mats.  I use mine all the time when chopping or cutting up something.  Before I wash them I spray them with Clorox Cleanup, then wash and drain them.  As you can see they come 3 to a pack.


This is the cutest lipstick caddy.  I use LIpsense and it will hold 4 tubes of them.  It will hold 3-4 tubes of regular lipstick as well.  And, it has the nice mirror and fits nicely inside your purse.  Every time I take mine out, I get a compliment.  These make nice gifts as well.  

NOTE:  This will be my last post until after Christmas.  Family will begin arriving next Thursday and the last will leave Christmas morning.  We're going to make some great memories.  I'll look forward to sharing our fun with you afterwards. 

Wishing you many Christmas blessings!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

November Prime Purchases

It's the first Tuesday of December and besides meaning it's ONLY 22 days until Christmas, it means it's time for my November Prime Purchases.  I love when folks say that through this post they too, have found items that they "couldn't live without."  You can thank me later for being your "personal shopper."  ~chuckle~  Okay, it's quite a few items this time, so hang on............


I got these pretty 5x7 envelopes for our Christmas cards.  I mean, I just can't stand a plain white envelope when I can get these.  I know, white comes with pretty much ALL Christmas cards but, for the price we pay for the photo Christmas cards they should give us a choice of colors for the envelopes.  But, since they don't, I'll continue to use these.  And, they are self seal!  And, they come in several colors. 


If you are looking for a really good devotional book for the new year then I highly recommend this one.  Paul David Tripp writes an inspirational devotional for every day of the year and it is followed by scripture passage to read.  His writing is easily understood and very relevant.  The perfect start to your day.


I have no flower arranging ability whatsoever.  But, I can put flowers in a small vase like this and  they look nice as a part of a tablescape.    I use mercury glass candlesticks on our dining table during the holidays and wanted some mercury glass vases to mingle with them.  I found these and they are absolutely perfect.  They are about 6" tall and work well when having dinner guests, as you can see over them, even with flowers in them.  They are also very pretty.  


Skechers Women's Cozy Campfire Team Toasty Slippers
I am picky, picky about my slippers.  In fact, I generally just wear a slipper that covers my feet that I sure can't step outside in because there's nothing to them.  I ran across these and decided to take a chance and I hit a HOME RUN!!  They are well made, very comfortable, good looking and very affordable and I can walk to the mailbox in them without any issues.  They do come in other color combinations so if you or someone on your Christmas list needs slippers, I highly recommend these.


I wanted some small candle rings to use with a Christmas arrangement I am using.  Most candle rings are pretty big in diameter but I found these that worked perfectly and are as pretty as can be.  I have red glitter column, 3x6 candles in them and they look great!  


Okay, folks, if you are still trying to cram your Christmas tree back into the box it come in then you need to order one of these bags.  I'm here to tell you that they will make your life so much easier and putting your tree up won't be near so aggravating.  They come in various sizes, depending on the size of your tree.  You can spend a whole lot more on one but I'm not sure it would be a bit better than this one, but I can't speak to that.  I have one for our tree here at the house and one for Hubby's tree at the office. 


I love all things Avery!!!  When I found the Avery website a few years ago with all the wonderful templates for their labels, tags and cards, I was one happy gal.  These are a new item for them and I got so excited when I saw them.  I am using them for my Christmas goodies this year.  It's such a nice touch and so personal.  If you enjoy designing and you've never tried the Avery website then you need to rush right over and check it out.


I have a houseful of electric candles and I do love them.  But, ever so often it's just nice to have a "real" burning candle.  I am using these on my mercury glass candlesticks for the holidays and they are beautiful.  They come in a couple of other metallic colors as well.  


Image result for sidefeel christmas cardigan

Okay, don't laugh!  If you know me, you probably would not expect me to buy a cardigan like this.  Well, let me tell you, it is soooo cute and so fun!  I think it looks best with a white top or at least this one does, but that is just my opinion. ~smile~  They have about 5 different designs but this was my favorite.  It will be so fun to throw on with jeans, jeggings or black pants.  Tis' the season!!!


Image result for Gaberly boat neck
Okay, this is a repeat from last month but I felt like I should mention it again.  I have had at least 5 women tell me that they ordered not one, but two or more of these after my post last month.  It is the cutest sweater, looks great and washes wonderfully.  And, it's under $25!  I mentioned last month that it is a "one size" and I do not like that at all.  But, in this sweater it did not matter at all and it fits me perfectly.  It comes in 12+ colors so if you need a nice sweater then I suggest you go order one of these.  You can thank me later. ~wink~


And, there you have it, my November prime purchases.  Hope you saw something that "spoke" to you and have a great first week of December.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Christmas Touches

If you have been reading my blog during recent Christmases then you know that I call the decorating I do, "Christmas Touches."  That's right, I don't spend hours and hours dragging decor out anymore.  Over the years I have decorated almost every inch of our house, had several Christmas trees and enjoyed every minute of it.  But, I have streamlined my decorating over the past 8-10 years and I love it just as much as when I did far more.  I would  call my Christmas decor, elegant and simple and, except for the tree, was all placed in about 2 hours. And, the best part is that the "take down" is much, much quicker.  Yea! it's a "win win" for me. 

I want a warm and welcoming porch no matter the season.  I think an attractive entrance says so much about the people inside the house.  

Just inside our front door, in the foyer, sits our tree.  It is a tall slimline tree with the brightest lights I've ever seen on a tree.  In fact, their brightness makes seeing the ornaments almost impossible unless you are standing right next to the tree. I don't like that but not anything I can about it since the lights do not have a dimmer. ~grin~  This year I went with all Shiny Brite ornaments by Christopher Radko.  I've had a more formal tree in recent years but I wanted a colorful tree this year.  I purchased all these ornaments for 75% off last year after Christmas.  

Just across from the tree is the dining area and I used mercury glass candle sticks and lighted Christmas trees.  With the candles and trees lite, it gives off such a lovely glow.

This plate and Santa pitcher sit on the corner counter in the kitchen.

This Santa graces the top of a long counter in our eating area

along with this glitter pine cone arrangement. 

I always like to have live poinsettias on our informal dining table.  And, I found this cute table runner at Pier 1. 

And, last but not least, this big decorative lantern looks festive on our bar. 

And, there you have it, my "touches of Christmas."  As we enter this special season I pray that you will not be so overcome with busyness that you forget what the real reason of this season is all about. Now, let's all enjoy this Christmas season. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Unexpected Facts About Me

Saw these questions a few weeks back and, once again, thought they would make for a fun blog post.  Guess you can decide if they are "unexpected" or not. ~grin~

Unexpected facts about me that may surprise you:
 Favorite animal? 
I'm not really an animal lover but if I had a favorite, it would be a Goldendoodle.  And, if  I could just have one when I wanted it, I'd have one.  ~I'm not sure that made any sense~

 How old were you when you got married? 
We married on June 6th and I was 19 on July 29th.  That seems better than saying I was 18. ~chuckle~

 How many proms did you go to?
Believe it or not, I NEVER attended a prom and I am living proof that you can live over it and never even feel like you missed anything. 

 Did you make good grades in school?
I made average grades and again, I'm proof that you can thrive being average. ~grin~ 

 Do you like to read?
I do .  3 of my favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and John Grisham

 What was your first job?
Being a checker at the local Kroger grocery store when I was 16.

 What was your first car? 
Well, it was "our" car, a red Pontiac Firebird with a white vinyl top
 Where did you grow up? 
I spent my growing up years in Arkansas, Louisiana and Virginia

 Did you live in the city or the country? 
Except for one house, we always lived in the city

 Do you believe in ghosts? 
No, never had any reason to

 Do you make your bed everyday? 
Indeed, can't start my day without a made bed.  I might not fluff it with the decorative pillows every day, but it is made

 Are you messy? 
I may be a lot of things but messy is NOT one of them!  I'm neat to a fault!

 What’s your least favorite chore? 
Unloading the dishwasher, especially the glasses as they always hold water on the bottom of them.  Soooo aggravating!

 What's your favorite number? 
Hummm.....don't have one but I do prefer even numbers

 What is your dream job? 
Doing what I do......wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver and friend

 If you could, would you go back to school? 
I sure would, I've always regretted not finishing college

 Things people do that annoy you?
Not being punctual
Acting like their cell phone is the most important thing on earth
Not doing what they say they will do when they say they will do it
And, the list could go on but I'll stop here ~grin~

 Do you talk to yourself? 
On occasion, especially if I'm aggravated

 Do you like doing puzzles? 
Not particularly but I know they are good exercise for our brain

 Favorite restaurant?
Hummm........I have several favorites........Olive Garden, Outback, a couple of our local dives to name a few

 Favorite fast food? 
I guess I would have to say Sonic since it's about the only fast food I ever get.  I will run through and get a mini order of their popcorn chicken and a cherry/vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper and I'm "good to go."  I probably do this once a month.

 Have any health issues? 
Oh, I feel so fortunate that I can say NO at this point and I pray I can say that for a lot longer.

 Something you loved playing with growing up? 
Hula hoop, slinky and frisbee - guess that really ages me

 Have you been hunting? 
The first year that Hubby and I were married I decided that I would go hunting with him.  We went squirrel hunting.  He put me beside a tree and told me to just sit there, be very quiet and watch for a squirrel.  Well, it didn't take long for me to decide that it was NOT for me.  I mean, be quiet and sit and watch.  No, I don't think so and I've never gone again.

 Are you friends with people who don’t have the same views? 
Well, I don't base my friendship on a person having my same view for sure.  But, if we are polar opposites in our way of thinking, a close friendship will not likely develop anyway.

 Do you think there is more love or evil in this world? 
 I'm not sure but I do know that evil generally makes so much more noise than love that love often gets the backseat.  What a shame!

 Do you stand up for yourself?
I do and try to be very nice when I do but if you push my buttons just right I might not be so nice. ~just being truthful~
 Are you a parent? 
Yes of an awesome son and daughter who are 2 years and 9 months apart. Our son is 43 and our daughter is 40.

 (If yes) Whats the most annoying thing about being a parent? 
At this stage it's not really annoying, it's just a fact that "once a parent, always a parent" and you never stop being concerned about them.  And, always wanting the best for them, for them to make wise decisions and to always seek God's will for their lives.

 What’s the best part of being a parent? 
Sharing the special bond between parent and child. 

 Are you married? 
Yes, 48 years this past June

 (If yes) How did you and your spouse meet? 
At church a very, very long time ago.

 How many kids did you plan on having? 
I don't know if we ever discussed it but I knew after we had a boy and a girl that two was a big plenty. ~smile~

 Are you a procrastinator? 
NOT IN THE LEAST!  In fact, I try and want to be one step ahead of the game and take care of as much as I possibly can ahead of time.

 What’s a feature you get complimented on the most? 
My  hair and smile

 What are people’s first impression of you? 
That I enjoy people, have a big heart, love to laugh and have a big laugh to prove it.

 Are you a strong person?
Oh, indeed I am!  I have had to put on my "big girl panties" quite a few times in my 67 years and face the situation "head on."  The good Lord has always given me the strength I needed just as I needed it.  He never fails!

These were fun questions for me to answer and hopefully fun answers for you to read.

Monday, November 18, 2019

A Little Advance Prepping

It's hard to believe that Christmas is 5 weeks from this Wednesday.  I know we all say how fast time goes by, but it really does.  And, I think it's true that the older we get, the faster it goes.  Either way, it seems we just celebrated Christmas.

I have never in my life decorated before Thanksgiving but I have this year.  Well, everything is done except our tree.  My "tree fairy" is coming a week from today and our house will be decorated as much as it's going to be.  I have stream-lined my decorating in recent years and it is so less time consuming but, still very pretty and elegant.  Over the years I have decorated every inch of our house to somewhere in-between and now I do what I call "touches of Christmas."  I'll show you more of it after our tree goes up.

Aren't these pretty cookies and especially at Christmas.  These are Maraschino Cherry Almond Chocolate Cookies and you can find the recipe here.  I love to bake and really enjoy making and baking cookies.  Thankfully I have a lot of self control when it comes to eating them or I'd have a problem.  I have made lots of cookies in recent weeks.  I made these on Saturday and they are very good.  They have a shortbread base and I love shortbread.  And, the cherry and almond mix is perfect. 

These are Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies and you can find this recipe here. I love oatmeal cookies and this is a version I had not ever seen or tried.  And, again, I thought with the cranberries that they would be pretty at Christmas time. And, I'm a huge believer in baking ahead and freezing.  I do not want to have to be rushed or overwhelmed and "doing ahead" keeps the fun in it.

Image result for fudge

And, it would NOT be the holidays if I did not make what has come to be known as "Lea's Fudge."  The picture above is an internet picture, I make my fudge in different shaped small pans that hold about a pound each.  I have had so much fun over the years finding different molds and pans to pour it in.  It makes it so much neater and attractive than cut fudge.  A recipe makes 5 pounds, so I get about 5 containers out of each pan.  I have already made 25 pounds this year and am not finished.  And, the funny thing is I do not even like fudge.  So strange that I would enjoy making something that I do not even like.  If you are interested in this recipe, you can click on the recipe tab below my blog header and you will find it, along with lots of hints I have learned over the years.

Image result for wrapped christmas presents

I have been busy doing my Christmas shopping too.  If you can call sitting at my computer being busy.  I know there are some folks who want to "touch and feel" everything they buy but I am NOT one of those folks.  I have had such success in internet shopping over the years that it is the greatest thing since "sliced bread" for me.  My DIL and daughter send me lists for the Grans with links to where the gifts can be bought.  I mean it doesn't get much easier than that.  And, I love that I know the Grans want what we give them.  I have 75% of my shopping done and I spent this past Friday wrapping the gifts that I have.  

I am feeling very good at this point about a most relaxed season and that's my goal every year.  I do not do well being rushed or overwhelmed if I can help it.  I will start doing some advance meal cooking in a couple of weeks as it really helps when family arrives.

I have a fun week ahead.  We have some family coming in on Wed. for a couple of days, I have the Thanksgiving family meal with my Dad and I will be attending the Grandparents performance on Friday.  Yes, tis' the season and I'm in "prepping mode."