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Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back at 2010

Can you believe this is the last day of 2010?

Many years, I am ready to say good-bye to the outgoing year for whatever reason. This year, however, is different. The year 2010 has been very good to me. In part, due to the friendships I've made with so many of you.

I work day in and day out with numbers. It is fairly tedious and many of my conversations with clients are less than pleasant. Although I work with some of the best people I've ever known, I am left feeling unfulfilled.

This humble little blog has given me the opportunity to explore my more creative side. With that exploration, has come new found friendships, capabilities, and interests in everything around me.

I thank all of you who have been a part of this new awakening and I look forward to 2011 where we can continue this journey of exploration and sharing.

As I reflect on this year in blogging, I'm grateful for...

the places I was able to share with you...

the room makeover you helped inspire...

and the new friends I made.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fresh Winter Air

Hello Friends.

I hope all my friends in the blizzard zone are finally dug out and are able to move about freely. Stay warm and safe.

We have some snow on the ground, but not a lot. I think it will be gone by the weekend as the weatherman is calling for temperatures near 50* the next couple of days.

Bosco and I went out for a short time on Monday to get some fresh air....and to find the missing Christmas Tree. It was fairly cold, but the winds had diminished.

The sky was so blue that it
cast a blue reflection on the snow.

When Bosco's hair is long,

it's hard to tell if he is coming...

or going...

but a side view of his tell-tale tail
curled over his back gives him away.

We found the missing tree.
The wind had blown it up under our front shru

We played a bit longer in the field behind our house until we were scared inside by a giant snow monster who had eaten too many Christmas cookies.

Stop over to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor posts at Outdoor Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Hello Friends.

The year is slowly winding down to an end and we are faced with the wonderful possibilities a new year has to offer. With the new year, comes the ritual of making New Year's Resolutions.

This tradition dates back to Babylonian times. The Babyonians resolved to start the new year with a clean slate by returning borrowed items to their rightful owners.

Today, this tradition is carried on. Each year, millions of people resolve to lose weight, stop smoking, save more money, etc. However, most people fail to carry out their resolutions throughout the year.

How about you? I posted a survey on my sidebar asking about your resolution plans for 2011. Please take a moment to put your two-cents in.

I resolve to MAKE each day a good day
....even when it's not.


Stop over at Jenny Matlock's for more New Year's posts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Farewell Christmas 2010

Hello Friends!

I hope each of you had a wondrous Christmas and you spent the day with those you love. It was a whirlwind of a day here, as usual. Our house was bursting at the seams with loved ones. I was a bad blogger and didn't take the first picture.

Now, as I sit at the computer, I realize all the hustle and bustle of the past several weeks is now over...until next year. Frankly, I'm beat. I look around and see things that need to be done, but I'm too tired to get up and do it. My whole body hurts. Are any of you feeling this way?

I took down the decorations yesterday. Here's the thing. I love Christmas decorations. I put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving and I enjoy all the reds and greens, the glitter and sparkle. However, the day after Christmas, it looks gaudy and garish. It has to go!

Jordan took the tree to the curb yesterday afternoon. This morning, I looked out my window and there was NO TREE. Did I mention it was windy here yesterday? Hmmm. I think I'm going to have to go searching for it. Hopefully, I won't find it sticking out of a neighbors front window.

To all my friends enduring the blizzard on the east coast - I hope you are warm and safe and you don't lose power.

For now, here's a look back at Christmas 2010:

Jordan and Joel cut down the perfect tree

French Hen Barn Sale with Buckeye Bloggers

Enjoying the lights at the Columbus Zoo

I will be linking up to Blue Monday. Hop over for a visit.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stille Nacht - Silent Night

Silent Night is one of the most universally known of the Christmas carols. It was written by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr around 1818. This song has always been one of my favorites. It has such a lovely melody and the lyrics are moving.

There's another reason I like this song though. My last name is Gruber and I've often wondered if I am a descendant of Franz Gruber, especially since I have an uncle Francis. No one in the family seems to know and I have never taken the time to investigate...perhaps because I don't want to be disappointed.

Do you see any resemblance?

On the grounds of Bronners in Frankenmuth, Michigan, there is a Silent Night Chapel. The chapel is a replica of one that stands in Oberndorf, Austria. It includes plaques with the lyrics to Silent Night in more than 300 languages. We visited the chapel in Frankenmuth many years ago. These photos are from that visit (I apologize for the quality, I was shooting through glass.)

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!

Merry Christmas!
Frohe Weihnachten!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greatest Christmas Gift Ever: Jordan

Twenty-one years ago today, I was blessed with the very best Christmas gift ever. Jordan Thomas was born on December 23, 1989 at 8:53 AM. Weighing in it 6 pounds15 ½ ounces and measuring 20 inches, he was just an itty bitty. We came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve and this is how the nurses brought him to me. Santa has never filled my stocking so well.

Lamaze Coaches Melanie and Chelsea

Not only are we mother and son, we are also great friends. He has a wicked sense of humor and the best laugh I’ve ever heard.

Bosco and Jordan in matching Michigan hoodies

Now, he has grown into a magnificent man of whom I am very proud. He is very protective of his family and attentive to his mother.

Happy Birthday, Jordan! I love you very much. Mom

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

French Hen Farm Holiday Barn Sale Goodies

Earlier this month I told you here about the Buckeye Blogger outing at French Hen Farm's Holiday Barn Sale. Many of you asked me what I bought. With all the holiday preparations, I am just now getting around to showing you my new treasures. I have to say I am quite proud of my personal restraint. Had it not been Christmas time, I'd have done some real damage to my bank account.

Vintage Christmas Cards 4/$1

I love these fun Frenchy tags. Aren't they fun? The painted tin bucket was just $1; I filled it with greenery and some peppermint picks from Hobby Lobby. I think the Ho Ho Ho! sign is my favorite buy of the day. I added it to my dining room table centerpiece.

There you have it - short and sweet. I can't wait for the next barn sale.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Columbus Zoo Wildlights

How are your Christmas preparations going? I only have a few odds and ends to take care of and then I can finally sit back and enjoy the holiday.

Several weeks ago, I took Jordan, Ashlee, Austin and Haiden to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to enjoy the Holiday Wildlights. Jack Hanna was there that evening, but we did not see him. Here are some highlights of what we did see.

See the reflection in the lake?

Haiden and Austin with their polar bear friends.

Poor Frosty.

All four kids road the carousel. Can you see Haiden?

Austin and Haiden watch anxiously as
their hot cocoa is prepared.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Treat for Santa

Can you believe Christmas is week? The weeks since Thanksgiving have flown by, haven't they? I'm on vacation starting Thursday and will be off until January 3. I'm excited!

This weekend I have been baking and making candy. Because you are all so special to me, I am sharing this easy and yummy candy recipe my friend, Sam gave me years ago. I'm giving you a recipe; however, the amounts and the ingredients may be changed around to your liking, as I have from the original recipe.

Sammy's Christmas Candy

6 Cups Corn Chex

4 Cups Cheerios
1 Jar Dry Roasted Peanuts
6 Cups Small Pretzel Twists
1 Pound M&Ms

1 Package of Almond Bark (I prefer the white)

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a very large bowl. Melt the almond bark in a double boiler (I set a bowl over a sauce pan with boiling water). Pour the melted chocolate over the dry mix and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out on sheet pans or waxed paper and allow to cool and set. Once it has set, break the candy into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Don't forget to leave some out for Santa.

I will be joining Joni at Red Couch Recipes for her It's a Wonderful Life party.

Merry Christmas! La

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas from Me to You!

I love Christmas Carols, but I've never cared for the Twelve Days of Christmas because it was so long and seemed to drag for me. This year changed all that when I heard this version on the radio.

This version, by Straight No Chaser, actually has been around for quite some time, but I wasn't aware of it. Straight No Chaser is a male a cappella group that originated at Indiana Universality.

For those of you in the Florida area, they will be performing shows in Tampa, Melbourne, and Jacksonville next week.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Cheeseball: Cranberry and Gorgonzola

Do you ever see a recipe and you remember everything that is in it, but you don't remember the amounts? That's where I am on this cheeseball. Jordan asked for wings for dinner tonight and I thought this cheeseball would be a wonderful accompaniment instead of bleu cheese dressing. When I got home, I couldn't find the this is what I came up with.

As you can see, it has all the traditional Christmas colors.

Holiday Cheeseball

8 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Gorgonzola Crumbles
3 Tablespoons Red Bell Pepper, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Green Bell Pepper, finely minced
1/4 Cup Onion, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries, chopped

Mix all the ingredients, from into a ball and roll in chopped nuts.

This was really good on celery. I think next time I will add some salt and garlic to taste.

I'm sharing this recipe with my friends' holiday parties: Jerri at Simply Sweet Home's Holly Bloggy Christmas, and Linda at Coastal Charm's Christmas Open House.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

L is for Lamaze - Labor - and Lucy

Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy gives birth to Little Ricky and Ricky, Fred and Ethel all run around in circles when it is time to go to the hospital even though they practiced many times? Add to this scenario that it is three days before Christmas. When I look back at my childbirth experience, 21 years ago this month, some of the situations seem quite comical.

My cousin Melanie was my Lamaze coach. She was already the mother of a beautiful little girl, Chelsea, so she knew how valuable Lamaze was to the birthing experience. We practiced breathing and relaxation techniques regularly with Chelsea on the floor next to us mimicking our every move. We were confident we had everything under control…or did we?

First, my due date was in late January. We would be able to enjoy the Christmas and New Year holidays and still have time to take down the decorations and prepare for my little bundle of joy. No one was expecting me to go early, especially since I had an ultrasound earlier in the week and the technician verified my due date. Around mid-week, I experienced a lot of back pressure but figured it was just false labor pains. Regardless, I called Melanie and put her on notice. Unfortunately, she was down with a stomach virus.

By Friday, Melanie and I were both feeling better. I worked my shift, went shopping for last minute Christmas gifts, and went out to eat with Melanie and Chelsea. After dinner, we went to the bowling alley where the male family members were bowling and the female members were laughing and having fun. Before long, my back started aching again, but this time I noticed a pattern of frequency…hmmm. Within maybe an hour, my water broke. Yep! My water broke at the bowling alley.

When I told my mother I was in labor, her response was…I’m not ready. I informed her she better get ready pretty quickly because the baby was in charge of this holiday party.

Once home, Melanie and I started timing contractions, breathing, and wrapping gifts (It was three days before Christmas after all). Every time I had a contraction, my mother would get tense and nervous. I don’t think she liked witnessing her little girl enduring labor pains, but do you know how hard it is to relax when someone is noticeably tense.

Several hours later, it was time to go to the hospital. As we set out for the hospital in the middle of the night, we experienced freezing cold; high winds, which caused a very bitter wind chill factor; and tons of snow on the ground. We set off in my younger brother’s coupe because it was already warm. Melanie helped my mother into the backseat behind the driver. My dad took the wheel as Melanie ran around the car and helped me into the front passenger seat. Hmm…problem…Melanie still wasn’t in the car. There was only one way in….she squueeeezed in between the front seat I was in and the door frame. A similar scene unfolded at the hospital.

Wouldn’t you think a labor and delivery nurse would be …oh I don’t know …tactful. Not my nurse. Noooo. The first thing out of her mouth was, Boy, you gotta a big one in there! Seriously? You’re going to tell a first time mother something like that? Where’s the nearest exit?

She didn’t know what she was talking about. On Saturday, December 23, 1989 at 8:53 AM, I was blessed with a 6 pound 15 ½ ounce baby boy. He was just an itty bitty.

Poor Melanie; she was sick all night with me in labor and delivery while suffering from a return bout of a stomach virus. She ended up going to the doctor with me for Jordan’s first doctor’s visit a week later. Turns out the stomach virus that was plaguing her wasn’t a stomach virus at all; it was morning sickness. Nine months later Landry was born.

Please visit Jenny Matlocks' Alphabe-Thursday to read more L essays.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Away in a Manger

Please join Lynn to reflect on the Reason for the Season.

Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus,
Laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky,
Looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus,
Asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing,
The poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
No crying He makes.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky,
And stay by my side,
'Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever,
And love me I pray.

Bless all the dear children,
In Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven,
To live with Thee there.

Merry Christmas