Friday, December 19, 2014

Here Comes Christmas!

Ready or not...Christmas is now less than a week away!  


It is now or never today as I finish up the wrapping and cards.   I've had lots of help with these 2 projects as my herd of kitties all have a need to be in the middle of whatever project I'm working on.  Tomorrow I have a little day trip in mind that I'll share in my next post.  I'm trying to get as much finished today as I can.  The first part of next week will be spent cleaning the house and cooking and just enjoying the season! 



It's a challenge to get some jobs done with too many sweet furkids around.  When my back is turned, I might find Callie on top of the refrigerator watching the rest of the herd kitties chasing each other around or playing with a scrap of ribbon on the floor.  She is usually a pretty good girl, as are the rest of the kitties....when they are sleeping! 




Did you know that a wadded up ball of aluminum foil makes an excellent toy for kitties to play with?   I needed something quick to keep the kitten occupied yesterday and he loved it.   If I'm working at the kitchen table, he will leap upon to my lap and then on the table!  He wants to be close by, so I just let him nap.  At least he wasn't getting into trouble!


I bought a new slim 6 foot tree             
to put in the kitchen and retired the trio of aspen trees with the colored lights.  I will use them somewhere else another year.  It was time for something new in the dining area.  It looks good, but the kitten loves trying to bat the ornaments out of it.  I see lots of aluminum foil balls in his future.  lol!

 

See the help I have today?  I have the paper out to
finish wrapping and the youngest furkid goes from the
table to the tree in search of some fun and games.
My Christmas joy is being tested as I write this because
I just took this photo as few minutes ago!  lol!  


I was looking through some old photos and saw Stormy when she was a kitten.  That was 5 years ago!  How can that be?  And it really boggled my mind when I realized it was 15 years ago yesterday that my son graduated from college.

Time is marching on, but if I could just slow it down a little the last week before Christmas, I would!! 

                     
I made my favorite sugar cookies yesterday.  They are
       so good that they don't need icing, only a sprinkle or two of
colored sugar crystals, and best of all, they are quick and easy!  
I got this recipe one year from the hostess of a Christmas
tour I went to.  I think she used almond flavoring in her cookies
but I prefer vanilla.

 Home Tour Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Mix the butter and sugar together, then add the egg and vanilla.
  Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt.  
Roll into 1 inch balls and press down with a fork.
Sprinkle with colored sugar.
Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet
 in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

I'm going to have one or two along with my cappuccino 
because I love them to keep my energy levels up 
while I'm wrapping those presents!  I hope it goes
better than my posting did.  Blogger just doesn't want to
cooperate today...my photos and writing just won't 
go where I want them.

And that is what's happening at my house!
Hope you are having fun, too, getting ready for
Christmas.  I'll be back sometime next week.


PS  Send sunshine our way, we haven't seen much

of it the last couple of weeks.

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, December 12, 2014

Are You Ready?

Tree decorated......check

Gifts bought.........check

Gifts wrapped.......nope

Cards bought........check

Cards sent.............nope

Let's see.  What else needs to be done before Christmas?  We only have one full week left, you know.  Are you ready?  Do you get stressed out or do you just do what you can and forget the rest?  I tend to fall into the latter category.  Christmas should be a joyful time, not stressful.  The most important things always get done.   


I have always loved an old-fashioned Christmas.  The tree is filled with ornaments (and sometimes a kitty) we've collected over the years and have meaning to us.  The ornament with the cardinal in the first photo was one that belonged to my sweet grandmother and I think of her each year it is hung on the tree and how she, even tho she lived alone for many years, always decorated a small, tabletop tree and put out her gumdrop tree and Nativity scene each Christmas.  I am so happy to still have an ornament that belonged to her!   

  

We love to take a drive around the neighboring towns and look at the decorated yards and houses each Christmas.  When our children were little, that is what we did while Santa always came by the house when we were gone.  Mom, of course, always forgot something and had to go back into the house before we headed out for our drive to put out Santa's gifts.   


While shopping the other day, I spotted a kiosk in the mall that had calendars by the dozens and stopped by to ask if they might have a Susan Branch calendar.  They did and I happily took one home with me.   Do you buy yourself something while shopping for others?   I also spotted this little tree while shopping that looked pretty indestructible for the table.  You know, when Mom is away the kitties will play!  The tree is metal and I put flameless tealights in the candle holders.

I met my daughter after she got off work last night for a little shopping and we stopped for supper at the Golden Corral.  We hadn't eaten there in a while and, believe me, I didn't need to eat so much!   But it was good and what fun to see the Cotton Candy!  It was even more fun to eat it.  ;-)  Daughter found herself a new coat and I was pretty good and only bought a set of Pfaltzgraff Christmas dishes at the resale shop that was marked way down.  I think I'll give them to her for her new home, even though it won't be ready to move into by Christmas.  Work there has slowed down a bit...we've decided to take a long Christmas break.  

Our son just called to say he was back in KC from a few days business trip to sunny California.  I wish he could have brought some sunshine back with him!  We haven't seen the sun but once in many, many days.  While others may be wishing for snow for Christmas, I'm wanting sunshine! 

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Monday, December 8, 2014

Stormy At Breakfast



"Oh, oh.  Did I just hear Get Off The Table?"


"Maybe if I pretend I'm sleeping, I won't have to move."   


"I see she's getting out the place mats and using the Christmas mugs for the cappuccino.  This must mean a photo shoot at breakfast.  Guess I better scram before I get banished 
to the basement...again."


 "Do you think she'll mind if I take a quick peek before I go?  That pumpkin roll is really good.  I got to have a little taste yesterday.  But what I'd really like is some of that whipped topping on the cappuccino.  Yummy for my tummy."

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl 
(and Stormy who
got to have a wee bit of whipped 
topping at breakfast.  Spoiled brat.)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Here's What's Happening....

Such an original blog title, isn't it?  I have to say that coming up with a clever title these days is just taxing my poor brain too much.  I used to love to name things or come up with titles.  Not so much lately.  Can't say why that is....after all I'm supposed to be retired and just kicking back with my books and bonbons and blogging.  Right.  Life here at Pond Hollow just recently got a bit busier...not that it wasn't already.  
And why is that?  
Because he's baaack!!!  


The kitten we had found a home for was brought back to us.
It seems that the couple that had him said that he was too
afraid of their dog and hid all the time.  

We laughed...to each other...but to tell 
the truth, I don't see little Tuffy afraid of a dog 
or anything else.  I do believe he would go bear hunting 
with a stick....as the saying goes.  He will run up to 
our bigger cats and just jump
on their backs and chase them all over the house.  


He's also fascinated with the Christmas tree and it is a chore to
keep him out of it.  He likes to rearrange the tree skirt as well 
as batting the ornaments off.  Have I also mentioned how 
sharp his little claws and teeth are?  I know this because I 
often used to go barefoot and he loves to attack my toes 
when I'm least expecting it. 

 We hope to find a new forever home for Tuffy.   Soon.  Whoever gets him will need a lot of patience.  He's a sweet little boy and cute as a button, but very rambunctious!  When he runs out of steam, he will settle down by me if I'm in the recliner and snuggle up under my arm and sleep.   He gets locked in the bathroom where he can't get into too much trouble while I'm out of the house.  


So what else is happening?  So far this week, I've shopped for and found a razor edged scraper that will hopefully get the tightly stuck carpet backing off the floor in the spare room at The Project.  That stuff is stuck on like glue and is a real pain.  I also found some new window locks.  Remembered to get bulbs for our light fixture that hangs over our table.  Looked for something new to put atop our Christmas tree.  I got my hair cut which was badly needed.  The laundry is piling up but it will have to wait another day or so.  I'll be heading out to do a bit more shopping today.  This time for some Christmas gifts to wrap and put under the tree to hold the tree skirt in place.  lol!   The week is flying by as always and I hope you have had a good one.  I'll be by to visit as soon as I can!
  
Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday's Musings

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree....

Our tree is up and decorated. Thanks to our sweet daughter who hauled the boxes up from the storage room in the basement and put the tree up while I was fixing Thanksgiving dinner. 


Stormy is wondering if she can squeeze her plump self in between the branches to climb the tree this year.

Our Thanksgiving Day was very, very nice.  After spending the last several years in Branson eating turkey dinners bought at a grocery store, my family declared it to be the best Thanksgiving dinner they had eaten in a very long time.  Everything turned out yummy and the gravy, which is usually hit and miss with me, was excellent.  I made the salad dressing recipe that my sweet aunt always loved and I thought of her while making it.  Memories of my mother and grandmother, also excellent cooks, were there as I prepared the meal.  Our family is small now, but the love is huge between us and the memories of those loved ones who were once part of our lives are always with us.


We always start our morning on the weekends with a big breakfast.   Our favorite breakfast food is bacon and eggs with toast and some kind of fruit.  

Imagine my surprise when I cracked open an egg recently and a second tiny undeveloped egg popped out!  Of course, I had to grab the camera to record this rare sighting.  I've encountered double yolks several times, but this was a first!  Have you seen this before? 

In other news....

The work continues on The Project.  Slowly, but surely.  We have decided that being finished before Christmas is not going to happen.  There have been a few unexpected discoveries along the way which has created additional work.


The hardwood flooring in the long hallway had to be replaced after discovering the dogs the previous owners had must have been confined to that area.  You know what happens when dogs can't go outside when they need to!  We had tried bleaching and sanding, to no avail.  So, BG replaced all that area with new hardwood and also in the shorter hall where a grate that was no longer needed was taken out.  This was our first experience with hardwood flooring and he did a great job.  What did I do?  Well, I fetched the pieces, measured and marked them for him to saw and kept track of the nail set and hammer for him.  Oh, and picked up and cleaned up the mess. 

The house has an extra room that was enclosed on the upper deck but it doesn't have access to heat.  We weren't sure that the one heat vent in the room next to it would be enough to heat it so we had been looking for an additional heat source.  After researching online and reading reviews, I ordered the little electric stove shown here.  It arrived promptly and we plugged it in and found that it does a very good job heating the room.  The electric meter may be spinning but it will help keep the chill off until BG has time to wire for 220 baseboard electric heat.   It's a cute little stove and has a bulb that flickers giving the look of a real fire.  I have to give mention to Brenda of Cozy Little House for bringing my attention to this stove.  She ordered 2 of them for her home.  I love Brenda's decorating style and she is so helpful to many bloggers.

Another problem we have struggled with is the paint on the new front door.  On one of those warmer days, we painted the door black and that turned into one big mess!  I don't know if it was the roller or what, but there were all kinds of little fibers that made the paint job look like textured paint.  Not pretty!  So, we sanded and sanded and repainted.  Same thing happened.  We don't know what the problem is, but we will keep repainting until it looks right!  Only the weather will have to be warm, so it may have to wait a while.  



I'll be working on getting more Christmas things out this week, but I've already decided to cut back on the decor this year.  The front of the house will only see a wreath on the door this year. 
 


I'm hoping to get back to a more normal blogging routine, we'll see.  I haven't taken many photos lately, but I have a hair appointment to go to this morning so I'll take the Elph along and hope I can find something interesting to snap along the way.  Now, if you've made it this far in this wordy post, congratulations!  You deserve a box of chocolates!!  :-)  

Happy Monday to you!
xo Cheryl 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving




Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!  My family gathered around the table for our Thanksgiving dinner and we each gave thanks for many blessings.  We ate rather late in the day and then after the food was put away and the dishes done, naps were in order.  Now we're ready to play a few games and have that pie that we were too full to eat earlier.   

Comments are closed today.  See you soon!  

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Friday Randoms

 

I'm still around!  I told my daughter that I was going to blog about how much fun we are having at The Project and she laughed.  And laughed.  Then she said, "Where have you been hanging out?"  lol!  I could write a small novel about all the problems and delays we've encountered during this renovation/remodeling project.  

Our son was home over the long weekend and he helped BG put in one of the doors.  It didn't go very smoothly and they spent the biggest part of a day working on it.  The next door is supposed to be put in Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.  The bathroom window is in and a few other things have been done.  I've updated the list in my last post.

I have a suggestion to make to those who manage home centers.  Please spend a little more time in training your employees.  I have spent countless hours trying to find help with locating items we need for our Project and someone to answer questions I've had.  It's been amazing the number of employees I've encountered who don't know anything.

Our daughter is very fearful that her center, which is a non-profit child care center, may have to close due to severe funding cuts.  She has reached out to many potential funders only to be turned down.  They are doing everything they can to cut back on expenses, but it's going to be very hard to stay afloat without the funding they had been receiving.  It's scary times economically for many.

Now let's talk food!  Thanksgiving is just under 2 weeks away and I'm thinking about my menu since we won't be going to Branson this year in order to work on you-know-what.  That means I'll be cooking, of course.  We'll have a smoked turkey that BG gets from work.  We'll probably have the usual sides of mashed potatoes and dressing.  Salad, rolls and dessert.  Maybe another side or two.  What will be on your menu?  Do you always have turkey at Thanksgiving?  

Linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5

Happy Friday to you!
xo Cheryl

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My List...Yikes!

The Project.  That is how I refer to the house we recently bought and are fixing up.  The plan is for our daughter to move in as our first renter.
 

Most days I'm happy we got it, other days I want to slap up a For Sale sign.   I still think it was a bargain although it needs a lot of fixin'.  We've run into a few problems along the way.  Some we knew about beforehand, others have been discovered or maybe I should say uncovered as we began working.  I like to makes lists, so I've decided to make a list of what yet needs to be done and highlight it in red as it gets finished.

Bedroom No. 1:  

- this room is in pretty good shape, but needs painting.  (paint purchased)
- the spackling of nail holes, etc, has been DONE).  
- windows will eventually be replaced.
- floor is good


Bedroom No. 2:  

- spackle and paint (paint purchased)
- take down ceiling fan and hang new light fixture. (DONE)
- decide about flooring...carpet? 

Extra room:  (this is a room which is part of the deck and has a flat roof overhead)

- we discovered mold on the drywall in a closet which indicated a
water leak.  BG got on the flat roof above this room and did what he could to stop future water leaks until something else can be done in warmer weather.  This room and deck area has different roofing than the rest of the house.
- drywall to be taken out of closet and replaced.  (started on)

- new exterior door needs to be installed. (DONE)
- old carpet was in this room and a lot of the backing of the carpet is stuck to the flooring.  Backing has to be scraped off (started on) and a new underlayment will be put down prior to new floor covering.

Bathroom:  

- needs a new window and the bathtub, vanity and toilet will be replaced.  (items have been purchased) (window installed)
- walls will be cleaned, painted and beadboard put up on part of the walls.  

- a tub enclosure will go around the tub.  Flooring will be installed. (flooring purchased)
- the closet needs painting and some electric wiring will need to be redone.   
- a new light fixture (bought) and mirror (to be found, purchased) will be hung.

Living Room:   

- sanding of the trim has begun.
- spackling of walls DONE.  
- paint walls and closet.  (paint purchased) (closet painted)
- paint the fireplace.  

- decide about floor...probably carpet. (order carpet)
- install new ceiling fan.  (purchased)
- windows have been washed.   
- new exterior door needs to be installed.  (DONE)

Kitchen:  
- replace and repair drywall after washer/dryer hookups removed.  
- buy new light fixture to replace ceiling fan. (purchased)
- new faucet bought.  
- replace sink?
- dishwasher works, needs sanitizing.  

- floors to be cleaned...and painted or tiled?  
- patio door and window needs cleaning and screen replaced.  (DONE)
- stove and refrigerator are waiting to be moved in.
- blinds need to be special ordered.   

- threshold between kitchen and hallway to LR needs to be planed down.

Hallways:  

- walls need painting.  Spackling DONE.  
- floors need cleaning.  Possibly painted or replaced. (old hardwood floors torn out, new hardwood waiting to be installed -DONE)

Upper walkout deck:  

- light fixtures have been cleaned and bulbs replaced.
- new dusk to dawn light needs installing.  

- steps need repair.  
- railing tightened.  
- painting will be done next spring.  
- exterior door bought and will be replaced (see Extra Room above).  (DONE)

Basement:  

- mold removal and gutting of all sheetrock and ceiling has
been DONE. 
 

- new furnace has been installed.  Central air which is part of heating unit is in good shape.  
- ditto water heater.  
- gas lines repaired.
- some plumbing issues still to be done.  

- broken window has been replaced.
- sealing a crack where a small amount of water seeps in during heavy rain to be done. (DONE)

- wiring issues needs to be done at a later date.  
- flooring to be decided.  (carpet squares purchased for some rooms)
- walls will be finished at a future date.

- bathroom fixtures to be replaced.  (vanity and toilet purchased) 
- washer and dryer ready to be moved in and hooked up.  
- new exterior door to fit shorter opening to be found
and installed.  (order)

Garages:  

- new garage door bought and ready to be hung in No. 3 garage. (door didn't fit, returned.  Not a priority, will replace next spring.)
- No. 1 garage needs new door opener.  (purchased)

- cleaning has been done.

Other buildings:  

- cleaning out to be done next spring.  They aren't needed
at this time.

Barn:  

- cleaning has been done.  
- new opener for large door will be needed.

Outside: 

- house to be painted next spring.  
- some soffits need to be replaced. (DONE)
- missing shingles have been replaced and chimney inspected.  

- window well covers bought and will be installed. (DONE)
- yard cleanup is mostly completed. 
- purple martin house poles need painting.  (mostly done)
- patio area under deck needs repainting next spring.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  More will be added later, if necessary.  As you've no doubt concluded, this post is more for my benefit as I'll be referring back to it.  Feel free to check back, too, if you are interested in our progress.  We're beginning to think having this house ready before Christmas is impossible quite a stretch.    

Posting and commenting will be limited during at this busy time while I think about work on The Project.  Enjoy these days of November as we'll soon be preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Happy Wednesday to you!
xo Cheryl

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Friday Random Five


Is this not the most adorable kitten?  This one showed up (oh no, not again!) at our house and it is about half the size of its siblings.  We've been feeding it a milk supplement and kitten chow.  My daughter even made a little sweater for it to wear to watch the Royals lose play in the final game of the World Series.  KC will be going to a new home this afternoon.  Now, to get the other kittens tamed and find them homes.        



This little pumpkin is my lone fall decoration.  I usually have lots of fall touches here and there in the house and a display of pumpkins and mums by the front door. But, as much as I love fall, I haven't had much time or inclination to decorate.  The Project has been gotten all of my attention lately. 
 

This old house was shown in a post I did 4 years ago.  I had written about some mysterious happenings going on in our house and thought around Halloween would be a good time to share the stories.  Thankfully, we have not experienced any strange goings on lately.  If you are interested in reading the post about them, you can find it here.   The old house is no longer standing.  Someone set fire to it last year and it burned to the ground.  I wish whoever had done this dastardly deed had gotten caught!


We've had some gorgeous sunsets and nice weather this fall.  And now it sounds like we will soon be getting the frost that has eluded us thus far.  It is supposed to dip down into the 20's at night this weekend.  Brrrr!  It will be chilly this evening for the trick or treaters.  

And, finally, I must say that this next month will be extremely busy as we double down on the work at The Project.  We have so much to do and I know our daughter would like to be moved in by Christmas.  I'm not sure that will happen.  It's hard to find good help in this small town, so this is a real DIY project.  We're going to be working as hard as we can, so I may not be blogging much in the next month.  If you don't see me, picture this tired old woman helping (yes, I've done all this before...when I was younger!) with mudding drywall, sanding, cleaning, painting, and a hundred and one other things that need to be done.  BG is still working his normal job, but there are things I can do while he is at work.  As he said, we will be burning the midnight oil if we are to get enough done by Christmas so daughter can move in.  I won't forget to take photos!         
 
Linking to Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday 5

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween!
xo Cheryl

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Good Fences


This dead tree behind the fence has caught my eye each time I've driven past it.  Anyone know what kind it is?  Yesterday, I stopped and snapped a shot out of it out of my car window.  Most of the trees in the countryside have turned brown and are fast dropping their leaves, but now and then you can still find a bit of color.


We haven't had frost yet, so the flowers still look pretty good.  I think that is a Burning Bush in the upper left corner.  I love those.  The grass is still very green since we've had plenty of rain this fall.  

Linking to Theresa's Good Fences  

Happy Thursday to you!
xo Cheryl