Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Got bit by the bug...

The holiday bug seems to bite me earlier and earlier every year! ...probably because all stores are displaying holiday merchandise earlier, just to tease me. This year, I caved. I did something I never thought I would do. I bought an artificial tree.  I wasn't intending to, really.  The thought of hiking through the woods with my family to find 'the perfect tree' sounds so appealing...then bring it home...daddy cuts the tip off the trunk...we haul it in and get it set up 'just so.'  Perfect!
Well not really.  Ya see, that's NOT how it goes in my house.  I married Scrooge, in case you didn't know. He doesn't like Christmas lights. He doesn't like gifts. He HATES to shop (anytime, let alone at Christmas). The only thing he really likes are the holiday parties.  I love him dearly, but I do wish the holiday bug would BITE HIM HARD!!

MY holiday goes like this:  I go out by myself to get the tree.  I have Jim at the tree stand cut the trunk for me, because sawing it myself isn't fun (and neither is the thought of cutting off my thumb with a dull blade), he shoves it in my trunk.  I drive home slowly with the tree hanging out of my trunk, because 9 times out of 10, Chris has the van, and I PRAY TO THE LORD that the tree doesn't fall out on the road. Then, I drag that sucker inside myself, hoping I get it into the stand/water within the hour, because Jim says I have to.  Last year, Chris wasn't home to help me put it in the stand.  I called my neighbor, Paul, to come help.  I can't remember what happened honestly.  He might've helped.  I think he did. Yeah, he did. I held it straight while he screwed in the bolts. (I have alzheimers...but yep...pretty sure that's how it went).  Then the kids and I decorate, etc.  Chris comes home and says, "Hm!! Looks really nice!"  And then goes about reading the newspaper.  He DOES acknowledge the decorations a little at least!  One thing though, that I really don't get is how different people are about the holidays.  I mean really....who sits in a room with a Christmas tree and doesn't click the lights on??  To me, there's nothing better than sitting in my living room, in low light or in the dark, with my tree on!  I wish it could stay up all year long!  There's something calming about little white lights.
SOOOO......  this year, I was shopping in early November, saw artificial trees and thought it would be so much easier to just plop it up every year, and keep the lights on it, and plop it back into the basement (keeping it assembled) when I'm done with it. So that's exactly what I did.  It was Nov. 6th.  My birthday. Chris came home to me assembling the tree, blaring music, and I was playing the "fireside reflections" DVD (which is simply a video-taped fire...lol!!!!)  You can only imagine his grumble as he walked through the front door and said, "  "  ...well, I can't type what he said.  He wasn't thrilled. We'll leave it at that!!  My reasoning was that I at least wanted to make sure I LIKED this tree before the holidays started.  And I do. I like it.  But that's all.  I don't "love it."  I like that you can scooch a branch out of your way, if it's in the way of an ornament hanging perfectly.  I like that there are no needles dropping everyday.  I like that I can put it up whenever and I don't need to worry about "oh I want to get the tree Friday, but it's supposed to rain."  So yes, I'm keeping the tree.  But I will say, my neighbor has one of the most beautiful, REAL, fattest Christmas trees I've ever seen and I'm jealous. But again, I 'like' mine just fine.

So while Chris was at a race, the kids and I decorated...and decorated...and decorated!!!  I love it.  We definitely have more traditional holiday stuff.  I love some of the new colors and sparkly things out there this year though!  I incorporated a bit of sparkle last year and am glad I did.  I can't really say anything is "themed."  It's hodge-podge...but I like it that way.  I can tell you where every ornament on my tree came from...and I truly think there are about 872 on there!  It's loaded!

Here are some pics of my beautifully-lit home.  Now I just need some company that loves the holidays!!

                                                               "Nick, smile normal."

                                                        "COME ON NICK, smile NORmal!"

...I gave up...this is fine...

       Elise is putting up the first ornament.  This year she chose the clear glass bubble...

I love this part!  Popping the lid and just listening to the kids..."Aw! I remember this!...Oooh, this is my favorite!....Here Nick, this one's yours..."

Of course, this one is MY favorite.  Elise's last binky tied with a big silver ribbon.  She won't even touch it and is disgusted that it's on the tree. I always put it right in the front, to make her mad...but high enough so that she can't reach it to take it down!

                   They both did a perfect job this year (finally) spreading the ornaments out!

             1,000 lights on a 7.5' tree.  I wonder how many the Griswald's had on theirs??

                                      The kids' favorite decoration...the advent house...

                                      I might not have a fireplace, but at least I have a mantle!!

I had that horn hanging low last year. Everyone and their brother had their grubby little mouths on it. This year, that sucker's up high!  hahahahaha!!!!

Happy Holidays!!  And just for the record...I do love my Scrooge...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grease 'er up!

We were having company the other day...you know how that is, right?  You're preppin' and cookin' forever, wanting everything to be delicious.  It really bites when you forget one very important step!

                                               DON'T FORGET TO GREASE THE GRILL!!!

That, my friends, would be the remains of the grilled fish.  Thankfully, we were having fish tacos, so I usually "chunk up the fish" anyway, so it didn't matter.  Had they needed to stay in perfect fillets...I think we would've made a run to Sonic for a couple of corndogs!  :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Best Salad I Ever Made!

Aw man!  I made a GREAT dinner last night!  It was so good that 3 out of the 4 of us were "Mmmm'ing" the whole time!  (what can I say...I have a 7-yr. old that's not wild about his greens...that's okay though! ~ more for the rest of us!)

I made Salad with Roasted Pork topped with Honey Mustard Viniagrette dressing

To make:
1 yellow or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
8oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
8-10 asparagus spears, cut into 2" pieces
salad greens (romaine/spinach/etc...)
Pork loin (with salt & pepper)
1 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
viniagrette dressing
honey mustard

Cut pork into 1-1/2" thick medallions.  In olive oil, sear pork on all sides.  Place on baking sheet and roast pork medallions at 350degrees for about 20 minutes.  Do check them with a meat thermometer.  I HATE overcooked pork.  I like them at about a 140-150 degree reading. 
Meanwhile, saute veggies in 1-2 T. olive oil over medium heat.  Salt to your liking. 
Cut pork into bite-sized pieces.
Plate your salad greens.  Top with veggies, cheese, and pork. 
Whisk a bit of honey mustard into the viniagrette...I didn't measure...just squirt it. 
Drizzle on top of salads.  I like to let my salad sit for a few minutes to let the dressing drip down through the salad.  This would be fantastic with really good crusty, Panera bread... we didn't have any...just sayin'. 

Bon appetit!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cut a what with some what?

I've been looking at different blogs and youtube videos on wine bottle crafts.  I came across "how to cut a wine bottle using household items."  Hm?  How intrigueing! 
I decided to give it a shot, and it worked great!  (~the 3rd time~)

If you follow these simple steps, it SHOULD work!

1.  gather needed supplies: wine bottle, acetone nail polish remover (must be acetone!), 100% cotton string/yarn, lighter/matches, scissors, sink with ice cold water
Remove label from bottle. 

2. wrap string around the bottle, where you want it to be cut. If using thin string like I did, wrap it 10-12 times.  If using yarn, about 6 times will be fine.  (Youtube used yarn.  I used string). Tie in a knot.

3.  Slide the "rings of string" off of the bottle, but keep the shape of the ring of string.  It's easy to do this, don't worry. 

4.  Fill cap with acetone and soak string.  While this is soaking, fill your sink with ice water...with ice.

5. Remove string, again keeping the shape of the "ring of string" and slide this back onto the bottle.  If you did not remove your label, it will bleed....I recommend removing the label.

6.  Light the string on fire.  The flame will stay only on the string.  Again...no worries! 

7.  Rotate the bottle slowly until the flame goes out.  It's actually very pretty to watch the flame rotate around the bottle. **Please note:  This picture is NOT accurate!  You need to hold the bottle the OTHER WAY ~ so the bottom of the bottom is facing down ~ you want to trap the hot air inside the bottle ~ this is why I had to do mine THREE TIMES!!  (third time's a charm, right!) 

8.  After the flame goes out on it's own (about a full minute or so), submerge the bottle into the ice water.  The bottom of the bottle will just "POP" off! 

9.  What you will have, is 2 pieces with very smooth edges.  If they're a bit 'not smooth,' simple sand them gently. 

10.  Add a candle.  Or you can get really fancy and try to hang the bottle with a chain...and add some Christmas lights inside!  How beautiful would that look hanging on your fence in the summer?
For now, I think I'll just sit it on my end table in the living room.  It's a very small table without a ton of surface space, so it'll be perfect!
I hope you have good luck with this project! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

furniture painting tip!

I'm sitting here watching David Bromstad on HGTV (one of my favorites, as far as personality!!  I seriously WANT him to be my friend!) 

                              David?  You hear me? 

Anyway, when painting furniture:
1.  apply oil-based paint for the first coat
2.  thin the oil-based paint with a bit of kerosene for the second coat to avoid any brush strokes and to get a very smooth finish. 

They didn't mention the smell.  I can't IMAGINE it would be anything good...but at least it would look pretty, right??  LOL! 

elbow grease to the rescue!!!

When I first saw these lights at the warehouse, I really thought I was going to have to have them stripped and then repaint them... The rust looked to be a bit too much...I thought they were going to be lumpy and need tons of sanding as well...

Little did I know, it wasn't rust after all!! 

Just dirt!! 

...a little Dawn detergent and a LOT of elbow grease goes a LONG WAY!! 

I could totally be in a Dawn commercial after seeing the results!!  ...and now, to get this thing rewired...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a fantastic holiday!  So much went on in such a short period of time...we travel this week yet, but I can actually take a few minutes to sit, blog, and relax.  And I can't wait for the "round 2" of craziness!!  (aka...the in-laws...house in the woods in the middle of nowhere...21 people!!!!!)

Our vacation days began with visitors from N. Carolina, who surprised us with an unexpected furry house guest. 
 "Waffles" was the quietest house guest EVER!  She slept all night in a lidded basket.  ~never made a peep~ 
 Christmas Eve started with a bang!  We exchanged our "family gifts" with the kids. We did it early this year. That way, they had something to do, while waiting for the afternoon festivities to begin.  I never in my life saw a kid scream SO LOUD over an $8 video game!!  If I would've known that, that would've been all we bought him!  :)

                                   (check out Elise's face in that one~  She was crackinggggggggg up!!!)

The kids were truly in SHOCK that they BOTH got guitars from mommy and daddy.  Real guitars!!  Let the tuning and lessons begin!

    what a natural!!!!                                    

 Then came the party at Gramma's house. Needless to say, it was full of laughs and lotsa, lotsa music!! 
                                (check out Santa, Elfie, and little baby Rudolph!)

                                           (this picture CRACKS ME UPPPPPPPPP!!)

The prep for Santa was complete....

...and finally Christmas morning

                          the smiles...
                          the shock!...
                          a little crafting...
                         1 of 4 homemade tech deck ramps...

Overall, we had a fantastic Christmas!!  I can't wait 'til tomorrow...another 4 days of hype!!