Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Orange you glad Christmas is coming!

Today when I walked into my home, the scent of pine from the Christmas tree gave me a great big hug. I love the scents of Christmas! The woodsy smoke of a fire burning, melted candle wax, cookies baking, mulled cider, cinnamon dusted on a fresh brewed cup of coffee...

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle of the season and miss all the beautiful scents of the holiday. If you find yourself rushing just to catch your breath...try this little activity...

Take an orange and some cloves and get lost in the heavenly scent of making a quick and easy...and wonderfully happy decoration. You'll have to slow down for this one! It will make you smile whenever you see and smell it!

The Tree...Before

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tree Shopping !

Saturday we went looking for a Christmas tree...

Tradition dictates that we find it at our familiar farm...

My son tagged one right away...

It had started to snow, so we went inside to look at all the beautiful poinsettia plants...

and take the traditional bench photo...

by the waterfall...

We needed the help of a strong, young farmhand to hoist it on top of the car...

This tree is huge!
Here it is before we opened up the rope...about 14 feet tall! We had to buy a new tree stand...and now I need a ladder to decorate it! Stay tuned!
A good day for soup!

The temperature has dropped below freezing! :(

Barley stew with leeks, mushrooms and greens

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks, white and pale green parts only)
1 8 ounce container sliced baby Bella mushrooms (crimini) or another favorite
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, (8 ounces) trimmed, center stalks removed, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in large pot. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until they soften.
Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary until mushrooms soften. Add tomatoes with juice.
Add barley and 4 cups broth; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until barley is almost tender. (about 20 min.)
Add kale, stir until wilted.
Cover and simmer until kale and barley are tender. Add more broth as needed for desired consistency.

How was your weekend?

I finally got the Christmas tree! That's an adventure for another post! I went to a local art/craft show...one my daughter used to dance at...found some cute stocking stuffers. It was rather strange watching the girls on stage and not looking for my daughter...a little more relaxing too. :)

It snowed on Saturday... a wet slushy snow that draped all the trees and came down in heavy flakes big enough to catch in your mouth! It teetered around freezing, forcing us to stay off the roads and hang out at home around the fireplace.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What hat are you wearing today?

It was still dark when I woke up today...rested. Do you feel like you're getting away with something when this happens? I do. Bonus hours!

In the stillness of the house, my thoughts were free to pop up all over the place like mushrooms...or maybe it had nothing to do with the quiet, and more to do with the the fact that the growing conditions were just right for such thoughts. Lots of manure perhaps, ha!


It's funky, musky business. Sometimes it stinks. Sometimes it's nutty and smooth and drenched in an intoxicating wine sauce.


Sometimes, we think we're on the right path until we look up and realize we have no idea where we are. Sometimes we know it's the wrong path, but can't figure out the directions or read the signs. We've listened to people we met along the journey who've told us who they think we should or shouldn't be...what we should eat, do, think, take, love, make... Who we should be!

We take their advice, trying it on like a hat. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it feels clownish...too big or small. We carry it with us on our walk until we come to a point where we realize it no longer fits us, and we drop it like a pebble...behind us. We try on different these "hats,"... searching for the right fit.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in the process... caught up in the fantasy of make-believe. It was fun while it lasted, but now we have to follow the bread crumbs back home. Sometimes in the dark, by ourselves. Sometimes arm in arm with those we love. Always changed in some important way.

You know when you get there, because every sense in your being says....ahhh, this feels like home. Why did I wait so long to come back!


Enjoy the journey, silly hats and all!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Decking the halls...

Have a great Friday night! (snow possible tomorrow)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Elijah Update

I sponsor Elijah, a little boy in China. It's hard to believe that he is 14 months old! Look how much he's grown! He's living with a foster family and doing very well.

The pups decked out for Christmas!

Catching up!

It's been a month since I've posted. I had a lot going on this month and took a little break. It's been a bit overwhelming, but I think I'm back on track now...just in time for the holiday season!
I've been busy with my son's school concerns, but they are all worked out now. I've also been doing a little introspective work...trying to figure out the big picture...ha,ha.
But anyway,
Christmas is coming!!!!! Are you excited!
You know I love the Christmas season, and hope to have a jam-packed schedule of fun!
I recently saw the 3-D version of scrooge...pretty cool...nothing like that movie to jump start the holiday!

I missed you all! I haven't checked a single blog in a month!!!

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. I cooked all day and everything was so yummy. My daughter came home from school for a few days. It was fabulous to spend some time with her. I miss her, but love hearing about all her adventures.

Thanksgiving ...

My beautiful daughter!

After dinner...

I'm excited to be getting ready for the holidays... the baking and decorating await!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dia De Los Muertos

My son is studying Spanish in school. In the Mexican and Latino cultures, Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1 and 2. We celebrated by decorating, making sugar skulls, eating special foods, decorating masks and creating an ofrenda.

Sugar Skulls


Pan de Meurtos



My son's nicho

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My daughter as Edgar Allan Poe!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat Night
Tonight was trick or treat night. I was so behind this year that things didn't get as organized as I would have liked.

Beemer was a vampire.

Bentley was a devil. I had a different devil costume for him, but Beemer wouldn't leave him alone. He kept biting him. All and all the costumes were a bust this year.

Can't you just hear them saying..."this sucks!"

The set up this year wasn't too elaborate. I was really disappointed, but I just didn't have the time.
Usually, my daughter helped hand out candy. We missed her this year.

Even the pumpkins this year were really basic.

There really wasn't a theme...

Nothing seemed to be working out this year. I had problems with my camera too.

I like the effect of these spooky, blurry shots. My camera wasn't cooperating and I couldn't capture the image I had in my mind....but, we had fun playing around with the fog machine.

Next year I'm going to do a better job!

Find a way

Find a way
a path will take you there...or make your own