Monday, December 14, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is decorated and the Christmas decor is in place and except for a few additions of cedar swags and such in front of the house, I am done with the decorating.  I've only one or two more little things to pick up and I'll be finished with the shopping, too.  Of course there's the wrapping to do and I haven't gotten the cards ready to mail yet.

Here's a peek at a few of my Christmas touches...the above pic is of my centerpiece on the kitchen table.

I have a collection of snowmen and Santas...I love these.
I wish the quality of the pic was better.  Have asked Santa for a new camera!

As you know, I'm new to blogging and I can't seem to find my photos that have been cropped for showing.  Maybe when I figure out what I did with them, I'll post a few least one of the tree.  That is if the tree is still standing.  Little Stormy, the kitten, is really fascinated by all the new things to "play" with, especially the ornaments on the tree.  We have to watch her very carefully.  She's been put in "time out" downstairs several times already, and we'll have to forego decorating and putting up the tree down there this year.

Time for me to get busy.  There's so much to do and so little time.  Hope you are ready or almost ready for Christmas too. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside!

Here's a favorite recipe that always helps me get through a winter day or night.  This is one of my mother's recipes that I have always loved and still make often.

Blond Brownies

1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

1/3 cup Crisco (you could probably use butter)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Sift first 4 ingredients into large bowl and add 1/2 cup nuts.  Set

aside.  Melt shortening and add the brown sugar.  Mix well and

cool slightly.   Then mix in the egg and vanilla.  Lastly, mix into

the flour mixture, mixing well.

Spread into a greased (I use cooking spray) 9 x 9 baking dish

and then sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy!

This is a very sweet, chewy, delicious brownie.  I always double the
ingredients and bake in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Can't quite believe it.  A week gone already and I still have to get the house decorated for Christmas.  It's going to be difficult trying to decorate around our newest family member who just happens to be into everything.  I'm talking about Stormy, the kitten my hubby found wondering around alone one night.  Hub is a lineman and was called out to work one stormy night this past June.  When he returned to the building to park the bucket truck after the job was done and was walking to his vehicle to return home, he saw this little kitten walking toward him meowing.  He looked around and didn't see any other kittens or their momma, so he picked her up and brought her home!  He didn't think she would have wondered off by herself so far from the closest homes and decided she must have been dumped out there.  He woke me up around 2 am when he got home and said to get up and look down the hall...and there she was.  My first thought was "but she isn't a Calico" but we all fell in love with her anyway.  Our son happened to be visiting that weekend and he chose the name Stormy for her.  We watched the local newspaper for a couple of weeks in case someone reported her missing, all the while hoping no one did.

Here is the source of our Christmas decorating dilemma.  The photo was taken as our daughter placed a punch bowl she had borrowed on my table.  She had taken it somewhere and had it wrapped in a bath towel to keep it from getting broken.  Stormy, the always curious kitten, had to investigate and climbed in.  And, no, we don't like her jumping on the table, but this was too cute not to take a picture of.

She is so sweet, but also a lot of work at the moment.  She is into everything and has been known to climb my sheers in the living room window!  My husband isn't any help at all...he just laughs at her antics and lets her get away with anything.  And this is from a man who was previously not a big fan of cats and had said no to having one in the house again!  He has really enjoyed her and gets a little testy when I am aggravated after hauling her out of trouble for the umpteenth time and tell him that I'm going to give her away.  It is fair to say that he is totally smitten.  Now if we can just figure out how we're going to put up a tree without her climbing into it and knocking it over or destroying all the ornaments!!

Until next time...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pics from Branson

Thought I'd share a few photos.  I didn't take very many, just wanted to enjoy the Thanksgiving vacation without a camera in my hand.  Here's a few at the condo:

The living area:

The kitchen:

And the deck:


The view from the deck:

 And a little Christmas decor:

And a few pix of the beautiful Silver Dollar City:

Remember to click on photos to enlarge


Now that I've been to SDC and saw all the wonderful Christmas lights you'd think I would be ready to decorate my own home, right?  Not really.  I just took down the fall stuff today and hopefully will be ready to start by the weekend.  Have you got your home all decked out in all its Christmas finery, yet?  These next few weeks will literally fly by.  I better get busy now!

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our Thanksgiving trip

We got back from our wonderful trip to Branson for Thanksgiving Sunday evening.  Had a great time...the weather was perfect, altho my son was wishing for colder weather we still lit the fireplace almost every night.   We just enjoyed relaxing at the condo on Thursday after a turkey dinner and played a few games of cards. My daughter and I did make a quick trip down to the Landing and watched a brief water show and drove up the strip to look at all the Christmas lights.  On Friday we went to Silver Dollar City and it was beautiful as always, especially after dark all the Christmas lights are just breathtaking.  Saturday was a another lazy day around the condo with more card games...that new game we learned was fun!   We headed out in the late afternoon to explore.  Our children went downtown and Hub and I went to the Imax and looked around, then stopped by Danna's BBQ for takeout.  I did get by the Grand Village and stopped into one of my favorite shops there, the Mulberry Mill, for some dip mixes.  We have been going to Branson for Thanksgiving for a few years now and have seen all this before, but it never gets old for me.  This is the best way I know to get into the Christmas spirit!

Here is a favorite recipe that I got years ago from my mother.  You can use some of your leftover turkey (or a roasted deli chicken) for this and make some broth with just water and chicken base to cook your spaghetti in.  This is probably my favorite casserole. 


1 large chicken, cooked
1 quart chicken broth
12 oz spaghetti
large onion, chopped
large green bell pepper, chopped
1 stick butter or margarine
1 small can mushrooms, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can milk
1 lb Velveeta
salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken until done.  Remove chicken and when it is cool, take meat off bones.  Saute the chopped onion and green pepper in the butter or oleo.  Cook spaghetti in the broth and when done, stir in the cheese (which I cut up in pieces first), a soup can of milk, salt and pepper while the spaghetti and broth is still hot.  Stir gently a few times while the cheese is melting.  Add the mushrooms and the sauted onion and pepper, and lastly the small pieces of chicken.  Mix well and pour into a large (9 x 13) casserole.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.   (You might want to divide this into 2 smaller casseroles so you have one to freeze.) 

Until next time...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A trip coming up

How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty uneventful.  We did go to see my father-in-law who is in a nursing facility.   Then we stopped at a little place for a sandwich.  Hub had a burger and fries, I had a roast beef/mashed potato plate.  It was just okay.  Today was pretty lazy, I didn't get everything done this weekend I should have.  And I have to work Monday and Tuesday.   We are leaving Wednesday for my favorite place in Missouri.  This is where we'll be staying:

Our children will be with us again this year.  We always have a wonderful time.  We will see places like the following:

Forgive the blurry photo, but I've yet to master taking pix of Christmas lights that turn out really good.  The park we are in has over 4 million lights decorating the buildings and trees.  Absolutely beautiful and our favorite place to begin the Christmas season.   



This is the majestic musical tree you see when walking into Silver Dollar City.  It is five stories tall and it is one of the highlights of the park.  And for those who live in Missouri, you know that I'm talking about SDC in Branson.  The tree plays Christmas music with the lights flashing in different colors and patterns in time to the music. 

Another SDC photo.  Don't forget you can click on the pix to make them larger.

We can't go to SDC without riding the train.  Young and old alike enjoy the ride with a stop along the way to hear the Christmas story.  After dark is our preferred time to ride as you can see a lot of the fabulous lights of the park. 

This is a huge park and we like to go before dark to see where everything is and then after dark we kind of know which way to go.  It's easy to get turned around even with a map, at least for me, no matter how many years we've been going.  Oh, I don't have any pictures of the food!  Something we like to do is sample different foods around the park.  The apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream, funnel cakes, chili in a bread bowl, the food they cook in huge skillets and so much more...yum, yum.  Oh, and in the winter you have to have their hot chocolate...delicious!  There are restaurants in the park, but I like to try different things so we just kind of  graze our way around at the food stands.  We're usually there several hours and all that walking gives you an appetite! 

This is another stop for us in Branson, the Grand Village on Hwy 76, otherwise known as the strip.  Just driving down the strip (with all the traffic) this time of year is an adventure.  At night all the music theaters and businesses are decked out in all their Christmas lights and are just beautiful.  Of course, we go down to the Landing and make a stop in the old downtown area and stop in at the famous Dick's Five and Ten.  The Grand Village pictured above has several shops and the well known Mel's Hard Luck Diner where all the waiters and waitresses sing.  They are really good and one of the waiters was on American Idol a few years ago.  There is much more to tell about Branson and I'm not a travel agent, but I just love this place!  In fact, I am trying to talk Hubs into moving here when he retires.  Well, just a few more days, and we're on our way! I'll tell you all about it when we get back and this time I'll try to remember to take some pics of the food, too! 

Until next time...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hello Deer (or Hello Dear)

It's Missouri's firearm season for deer starting on November 14-24.  My hubby and son have gone many times in the past, but not this year.  My son lives and works out of state and wasn't able to come in for it this year.  They have gotten some doe and a small buck or two in years past, but the buck with the huge rack has remained elusive.  We don't believe in killing animals just for sport, so we have always taken the meat in to be processed.   We enjoy the steaks and sausage.

I took the picture above last winter of a few down by our pond.  They especially like to show up in summer after our garden starts growing!  I used to think they were pretty neat to watch, but not so much after last December.

"Hello Dear!  Well, um, uh...I don't know how to tell you this but I'm sitting on the side of the road and my car is smoking.  A deer just ran out in front of me...he was running fast and I just didn't have time to stop."  That was the message I gave my hubby that night.  I was driving home from work on a drizzly, cold and dark  night and this huge buck with that huge rack everyone wants comes barreling onto the highway from the right.
It happened so quickly, I really didn't have much time to react except to think..."I hope he doesn't come through the windshield."  He did several thousand dollars worth of damage to my car, but I wasn't hurt and that is the main thing.  Here is the picture of my car:

We've all heard of these accidents happening with the deer population being as heavy as it is, at least in my part of the world.  Some of these accidents are very serious, even deadly and not just for the deer.

Please be careful driving during this season while the deer are moving more.  

Until next time...        

Monday, November 16, 2009


Did you have a good day?   I had a tooth extracted today and decided to stay home from work as I didn't get much sleep last night due to the tooth and our kitten Stormy waking me up a few times.  I only work part-time Monday through Wednesday but the hours are from 3-11:30 pm, so if I don't get my quota of sleep it's hard to stay awake!  So, here I am after having a nap and taking plenty of Advil and with my glass of iced tea ready to work on my very first post. 

It's rainy here in my part of Missouri again today.  While working in the kitchen, I've always enjoyed watching the changing of the seasons out of my window.  It's a tossup, but I think I like the fall season the best with spring being a close second.  But now, sadly, all the pretty leaves have mostly fallen and the trees are bare having gone to sleep for the winter. 

My hubby and I went on a day trip to the Lake of the Ozarks just a few weeks ago and stopped at a little town along the way.  Look at the next pictures and see if any fellow Missourians know where we are.

And then down the road a couple of miles, we stopped here for some country ham and summer sausage.




For those of you who don't know, the pictures of the small lake are in California, Missouri at Proctor's Park Lake.  I happened upon this park a few years ago when my daughter had business in the town and asked me to ride along.  It was a lovely place to stop for an hour or two while waiting on her.  The lake has a paved trail all around for those who enjoy walking.  And, of course, almost everyone in Missouri is familiar with Burger products.  I grew up eating country fried ham sandwiches...of course way back when, on the farm, my parents raised hogs as well as cattle and cured their own hams. 

Then traveling on down Highway 5 we stopped at the Dutch Bakery Bulk Food Store, operated by the Amish/Mennonites, in Tipton for some shopping there.   I could have bought more than I did.   Then on to Lehman's near Versailles for lunch. The Mennonites are fabulous cooks.  Bought a loaf of their cinnamon bread.  And snickerdoodles.  Once again, I could have bought more but I restrained was hard. 

We finally made it to the Lake of the Ozarks.  The trees there were a disappointment for the most part, as they looked even more brown than ours are further north.  Here is a picture of the lake near Bagnell Dam.

The antique shop (pictured above) at the Victorian themed Main Street Poverty Flats is always a must stop for me.  I enjoy browsing there, they always have something I like!  The Main Street Music Hall is located nearby and they have excellent music but we didn't go this trip.  Of course, I stopped in at the Factory Outlet Mall, too. 

All too soon it was time to head for home.  We enjoyed the day but it's always good to get home.  And see pictures like this out of our back window to remind us of work we could have been doing on a nice weekend...but what fun it that?  This is our pond on our 6 acres I can see from our kitchen window.   This is the "before" picture, so to speak.  Hope to post back sometime with a spruced up "after" shot.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

 Until next time...