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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Friends, family, food and fireworks.  That makes for a pretty good 4th of July around here.

House and flag2We had it all, hot dogs and ribs on the smoker, too much other food, visiting with family and friends. We hosted the 4th at our house.  After dinner, neighbors and friends joined us for fireworks. The weather was iffy, sprinkling and drizzling rain a bit, so most of the watching was done from the porch.

This wasn’t nearly as dangerous as it looks from this picture!  The steps below Little Guy were wet, and that sparkler was really long :-).  He had a great time, and we’re already planning for next year…bigger and better!

Riv SparklerIn other news…

My antique booth got a name – Memories! After much, much, much…did I say ‘much’? deliberation that’s what we came up with. I did get a few things into the booth, and of course forgot to take pictures, but I’m pretty excited.  I’m also a little anxious now, I really need to get moving and get more in there.  Hopefully this week I will be doing some refinishing of sorts, and will be able to add a few more items.

Hubby’s business is thriving.  I will post this week about all the exciting stuff going on there.

We are crazy busy.  Life is good.

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Belated Christmas 2010 Update

Christmas was very different this year. I took off work Thursday, the day before Christmas Eve to have a great long weekend, and to prepare for family to come over on Christmas Eve. I woke up SO SICK that day. Still trying to kick a cold. So it was a low-key day the next day, with dad and a few other family members. The kids couldn’t come until Saturday, so we had a couple of days of Christmas, then Sunday we were snowed in.

A few pictures from the weekend of fun.

My brother

Dad and my sister

Scott and Court

Mike and his sister

Little one opening gifts

And, today is Wednesday, January 5, and this is what I see when I look around my living area.  And all the other decorations.

Still sick. I’ll be over it soon. The signs of Christmas should be gone before next week, however, I did have a tree up in February a few years ago. Hopefully that won’t happen this year!

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I started this blog a few years ago when we started our adventure of looking for land to buy.  Then we found the land, and started building our house.  There so was much exciting stuff going on, so much to share.  Our friends and family were interested and it was a great way to share the info.

I love going back and reading from the beginning, when we first found this little sloped piece of land and saw so many possibilities, all while most of the folks we knew thought we were  a little crazy.  An adventure indeed.

After the house was built, there were a lot of fun things to do and talk about…the gardening, the plans, etc.  Then, last year, I suddenly got to a point that I wasn’t sure why I was blogging anymore.  All that was going on was just our everyday life.  Fun and awesome to me, but I’m sure not very exciting to anyone else.  I’m not a teacher, don’t have cool skills to share, not very creative, not exciting…not really sure why I was doing this.

So I’m thinking about it.  I’m going to decide by the beginning of the year whether to continue, and what the focus will be. Or if there will be one, knowing me :-).

But for now, I have a lot of friends and family asking what we’ve been up to, asking me to blog the unexciting events of our very ordinary lives.

So here’s an update of a few things that went on this Fall.

My niece from Washington state came in for a visit, with her two little ones.  They came out and spent the day with some other family members on Halloween Eve…and we had a blast.  After eating (of course!) we all loaded up on the trailer and went for a ‘quilt ride’ (we didn’t put hay on the trailer, just a quilt) around the property.  Crazy uncle Steve drove us around once, so it was quite an adventure :-).

Courtney and Uncle Steve

Metha, Courtney and Scott on the ride

Little great nephew Ayden and his nana, my sister Kim

Ian drives uncle Steve's truck, while Ayden rides along in the back (actually Ian was in Uncle Steve's lap)

Grandpa, Ian and Ayden

We love the Fall out here, even when all the green gives way to brown.  We see more and more wildlife.  The deer abound, and it’s odd…they are all around us all year, but they never have gotten in our garden, which really surprises me. 

We have seen a few little piglets recently in front of the house, and we’re not sure where they are coming from.  One day maybe I”ll actually have my camera out while I’m paused in the car waiting for one of them to finish drinking out of a pot hole in the road.

Thanksgiving was awesome, but unbelievably I got very few pictures.  We had about 16 of us at our house, way too much food, and much celebrating.

We’re now shifting to Christmas.  The next post (yes, there WILL be another one, you skeptics!) will be about Christmas, and our little family traditions.

I hope you are all having a great holiday season.

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Oh what a weekend! A full, eating-like-there’s-no-tomorrow weekend.

I love the South, and love being a Southerner. True, I feel a bit like I’ve been eating at a salt lick for about a week, but oh, the luscious, yummy things I’ve had to eat the past few days.

Our traditional Christmas Day meal is potato soup, and not my low calorie version. This isn’t a true traditional Southern Christmas dinner, but after the week leading up to Christmas with all the work lunches and dinners with friends, we’ve come to like it. It seems a bit lighter. Mike’s sister came over for dinner and brought apple pie. Besides that, we had buffalo wing dip to snack on, so, all in all, not too bad.

Saturday was dad’s house. Turkey, home made cornbread dressing to die for, ham, baked beans, coconut cake, apple-walnut pie and honeybun cake. Now it’s getting semi-serious.

Sunday dinner was at my step-mother’s. After eating sausage balls and coconut cake for breakfast. We had a feast of turkey, home made cornbread dressing like only an 80 year old Southern grandma can make (the only other one that can even get close to rivaling dad’s), mashed potatoes shimmering with butter, green beans from the garden cooked to pieces in bacon grease, home made macaroni and cheese and the best pecan pie in southern Tennesee. Now it’s totally serious.

Most of yesterday evening was spent in the recliner. We did manage to bundle up and take a walk around the perimeter of our 5 1/2 acres, which probably saved me from totally crashing after all that food. I only managed a small piece of pecan pie for a late dinner (never too full for that).

How did you spend your post-Christmas weekend? Did anyone have a more food-filled, couch potato couple of days?

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Merry Christmas!

ralphie1

Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian

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We’re Still Here!

I”ll go ahead and say it again…I’m a bad blogger. I get easily carried away in all the things going on around me and before I know it weeks have passed. I’m working on a schedule to remedy that in the new year, we’ll see how it goes.

So here’s a hodge-podge of what’s been going on.

Mike got my mantle done and put up! I love it. It’s a piece of cedar that he worked on to give it a hand-hewn look.

New Mantle

We’ve been loving the fireplace. We’ve spent many evenings curled up in front of it since it’s decided to turn cold in the South.

Fireplace

Christmas really crept up on me this year, and I’m still playing catch up. Being the first year in the new house, I was excited, and intimidated, with the Christmas decorating, so in keeping with my usual way of handling that, I didn’t get much done at all. Maybe next year.

I did get wreaths on the front windows. We did get a tree up, although it’s not what we planned. We’ve always had a real tree. When Mike and I married, he brought an artificial tree with him, but it’s been in the attic for years (I didn’t remember we had it actually).  Since my son Adam turned 13 years old, he and I have had a tradition of going out and getting a real tree each year.  He cuts it down, we get hot chocolate (in recent years that changed to coffee) and then we take the tree home, where he and Mike get it in the stand, ready for Courtney and I to decorate while we listen to our favorite Christmas cds.

This year we broke tradition. Our new house is many miles from where we usually go tree hunting, so we decided to look in our new area. We waited until two weeks after Thanksgiving, so we were already very late and rushed. We couldn’t find anything to our liking, so Mike suggested that for this year we bring out the artificial tree and use it, and plan better next year. So we did. It’s pretty. BUT, it’s tiny. It’s six feet tall, and in this giant great room, it needs to be about 15 feet tall. Next year.

Little Christmas Tree

I have many, many Dept 56 North Pole Village pieces, but we haven’t figured out how to display them here, so that will be next year too.   I did manage one little table.

I collect Santas, so I put some of them on the mantle.  Planned to get greenery from our pines to weave amongst them…still haven’t done that (yes, I know what day it is).

Half-decorated mantle

Today is Christmas Eve, and Mike and I are lounging around in front of the fire napping, snacking, listening to the wind howling outside and waiting for the ‘Christmas Story’ marathon to start tonight.  We’ll make cookies this afternoon to deliver to our two neighbors on our little road.

Adam will come tomorrow and hang out in front of the fire, exchange gifts and watch the movie marathon with us.  Our traditional Christmas lunch is potato soup, so there will be a big pot of that, as well as too many snacks to last throughout the day.  Courtney is going to Birmingham with a friend, so if we don’t see her tonight, it will be the weekend.  That’s the thing about your kids being grown up, it doesn’t always work the way you would like on holidays, but she will be with people that she cares about and will have a great time, and we’ll catch up. 

We’ll go to dad’s on Saturday, where my siblings will join us and dad will have turkey and dressing, ham and too much other stuff.  My contribution is his favorite dessert…coconut cake.

So as I close this post, I want to wish you all the very merriest and happiest of Christmases for those of you that celebrate tomorrow, and a wonderful day off for those that don’t.  I’ll leave you with some of my favorite ornaments. 

Little Adam

Little Courtney

Home made angel

Little angel made by Jackie

Crochet star made by friend's grandmother

Antique store find about 25 years ago

One of my favorite Santas

Maui 2006 Festival of Canoes ornament

I do love a Santa ornament

Luke 2:11

The angel said unto them …. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

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I Do Love a Plan

I plan for everything. I have lists, notebooks, sticky notes everywhere. I do this all year round, but this time of year it is greatly increased, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, family get-togethers, holiday events.

I took off work today to rest from a week of not feeling great, and it’s good because I’ve been a bit anxious that all my Thanksgiving plans aren’t in place. Today I’ll spend a part of the day finalizing everything in my mind and in my handy little notebook, finalizing recipes and shopping lists, last minute invitations, making phone calls…all those things that are weighing on me. Then I’ll be a relaxed, happy camper for the weekend.

The plan this year is a bit different from past years. I always cook Thanksgiving dinner, and we always have 15 – 20 + people show up throughout the day. What happens though, is that some folks have other things to do that day also, or can’t be with us for a specific sit-down dinner time, so a lot of times there’s cold food by the time people arrive, or not enough just munchy food in case someone isn’t terribly hungry. This year I decided to remedy that by having a Thanksgiving Open House. Right now the plan is to have:

Turkey
Cornbread Dressing – Southern style of course
Side dishes including garlic smashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans which will be kept warm in crock pots.
Cranberry salad
Home made rolls

For the snackers who may have already had a meal, or will have one later:

Brie with apricots (crock pot)
Meat balls (crock pot)
Deviled eggs
Veg tray with dip (gherkins, carrots, peppers, olives, celery/cream cheese etc.)
Cream cheese topped with pepper jelly
Spinach balls

Caramel Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding – I saw this at Chickens in the Road and have to try it
Pecan Pie
Apple Cake
Assorted Cookies (samples I’ll be making in order to decide what to make for my holiday cookie swap this year)

Today my plan is to get my shopping list made, make rolls to freeze for Thursday, make at least one batch of cookies to freeze, get placemats, tablecloths, table decorations, etc. out. Then I’ll ready for a relaxing weekend.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Got none? Stop by the giant wooden house, there’s always room for one more.

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I hope everyone is getting a good start on the new year.  Here at the Smith Funny Farm we are torn between getting some much needed rest, and going gung-ho in a mad dash to the end of the house-building project.  The mad dash is winning out for the most part.

We had our annual New Year’s Eve poker game with friends for the last time in this old house.  It was a great time of fun, food and friends, as usual.   I ran across a recipe over at Valarie Lea’s website that I decided to try for the game.  It’s Buffalo Chicken Dip…OH MY GOSH.  It is delicious, quite a hit.  I’ll be adding this one to my list of favorites.   I didn’t think to get pictures of the process, but it’s easy to make.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2   8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1  cup Ranch dressing
3 and 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup of buffalo wing sauce
Shredded cheese ( I used cheddar, use whatever you like)…enough to cover, about 2 cups or so. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   
Mix softened cream cheese and Ranch dressing together, spread in to 9×13 baking dish.
Mix cooked chicken and buffalo wing sauce together, and spread on cream cheese mixture.
Cover with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until cheese is totally melted.

If you like buffalo wings you will love it.  If you don’t, you might just love it anyway.

We didn’t get in bed until the wee hours on Thursday morning, and didn’t really feel like jumping right up to head to the new house at daybreak like we (ok, like Mike) usually want to do.  We enjoyed a leisurely morning of hanging out and drinking coffee and napping in the recliners until about noon.  Absolutely heaven.  It’s been so long since we’ve done that.  We did then go to the house and loaded up the trailer with sheetrock and other stuff to be taken to the solid waste facility.  It took about 2 hours of the day, and we came home and rested some more.  Crazy.  We usually can’t drag ourselves away, but it was pretty easy, I think we’re just exhausted.

We got up early this morning and dropped the stuff off at the landfill.  The story here is that we didn’t rent a dumpster at the house site.  We just had the contractors dump everything in one place so we could go through it and make sure that there weren’t things being thrown away that we might want to keep, which happened a lot.  We recovered a lot of lumber that we’ll use for building things around the property, such as a potting shed for one.  We also saved over $4,000 by doing this.  That’s a great thing.

After the drop we headed up to the house and loaded up a last load.  We did some cleaning up, and grading of the yard.  It’s really starting to come together and look like a home rather than a construction site.  We’re looking at rain the next couple of days, so I don’t know how productive we’ll be, but we’ll be up there.

It will be nice to blog about something other than building the house, hopefully soon.  I hope to be writing about getting the garden area ready, what I’m going to plant, and the whole chicken raising debate (more to come). 

But for now…sleep.  There’s just not enough sleep lately.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays

I want to wish you all Happy Holidays full of joyful moments and happy memories.  I’m so thankful for your friendships, old and new, and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.  I wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year.

 

ralphie1

Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian

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Happy Turkey Day

1 Timothy 4:4, “Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks.”

I posted a couple of weeks ago a list of projects, things to do.  Number 4 on that list was to talk someone else into hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family.  Well, that didn’t happen.  We are up to 19 guests, and they will be converging on my house all during the morning tomorrow in time for a 1:00 dinner (that’s Southern for lunch :-)).  Mike will be cooking 2 turkeys in the smoker that he will be brining overnight, resulting in the most moist, tasty turkey I’ve ever had.  He’s been doing that for a few years now, and I can’t compete with my roasted turkey, which I thought was pretty good until I tasted his.

We’ll snack on Jezebel Sauce and crackers, mom’s Armadillo eggs, sausage balls, and whatever else shows up. The cooks (mom and I) will be sipping hot buttered rum as we prepare everything, just because that’s what we always do. For dinner mom will be bringing cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, ham, green beans, cauliflower casserole, cranberry salad, cherry pie.  Today I baked a pumpkin spice cake (with white chocolate chips…yum), an apple cake with cream cheese frosting, made a broccoli casserole and mashed potatoes that I will bake tomorrow, and will boil a ton of eggs to make deviled eggs.  I will also make corn casserole and home-made yeast rolls.  My brother will bring sweet tea (must have for a true Southern ‘dinner’).  He doesn’t know that yet, I need to call him.  I’ve never mastered making it, because I generally drink un-sweetened tea.  My aunt is bringing a chocolate cake, and Mike’s sister will also be bringing dessert.

Oh yeah, we like to eat. We make a huge production of it.  Everyone will leave around 4:00, and Mike and I will head over to my step-dad’s and do it all over again for supper.  We’ll take turkey and sides, he’ll have ham and dressing.

I love holidays, and love cooking for people.  I guess I didn’t really try all that hard to get someone else to do it :-).  I’m looking forward to next year, when we can set up tables on the porches at the giant wooden house and have everyone we know join us.

We are so blessed and so thankful.  We have a wonderful home, and another on the way, food in the pantry, good health, a wonderful family and true love and happiness.  We are blessed indeed.

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