Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look At 2014

This year has gone by so fast it almost makes my head
spin!  All in all, it was a very good year, but there were some
sad times as well.  

What I've learned is to enjoy the sweet,
simple things in life and if my family is healthy and I'm
healthy, then I have much for which to be thankful. 

It is impossible to put a year in a few photos, 
but I've put together a few collages of some of my
favorite photos taken during the year.  
First up...more Christmas! 

We had a very nice Christmas.  We missed my
aunt and uncle who usually spent Christmas Day with us.
They both passed away in September, as most of my 
readers know.  

Our son came home last Tuesday night and was here until
Friday afternoon when he had to return to KC to see his new lady. 

Daughter and I were the champions this time at card games
so that was fun!  We are usually on the losing end.  lol!

We had lots of food and laughs.  BG and I don't normally
exchange gifts, but my son talked us into a new TV for the living room so 
he took his dad to the city where they found just the right 
one for us.  Now I need a new table for it and will have to do
some rearranging in the living room...later.  I plan
to read a few books and just relax for a while. 

I picked out a few favorite photos of my furred and 
feathered friends that I see out my kitchen window.  The
exception being the white-tailed squirrel that I saw one
day while driving down the street and the Bald Eagle that
I spotted not far from our town.  The deer was captured using my
zoom while he was getting a drink at our pond.

A few of my favorite sunsets of 2014. 

January saw the work begin on the foundation of our house.  I'm happy to report that nearly a year later, our basement has stayed dry.  Yay!

We had some snow, but all in all it was a pretty good winter.

I did spend part of the winter dreaming of flower gardens!

We planted strawberries in our new raised bed that BG built and hope for a good crop next June.  When the weather was nice, a lot of time was spent outside working with my flowers or trying to get a shot of the birds and sometimes even the moon.  I enjoy our patio which is filled with flower pots.  We do lots of grilling in warmer weather, too.

We put a bid in on a house that came on the market and the next thing you know...we are the proud owners of another house with a red barn included!  I always wanted a red barn.  The house will be rented to our daughter as soon as we get the bathroom remodeled and a few other things that need to be done.

We didn't get to take our trip out west in September as we were in the middle of house negotiations and also because of my aunt and uncle.  We did squeeze in a few trips to Branson during the year.  Also we went to St. Louis one weekend and made other short jaunts.  One of my favorite day trips is to the Amish country where I bought most of our Christmas candy last week.  I ended up putting a lot of it in the freezer!

The last photo of the grandfather clock is a reminder to me of a new goal (I don't like to make resolutions) that I'm setting for myself in the new year.  And that is to get to bed earlier and wake up before 8 am.  For one reason, so I can see more sunrises and capture the beauty of the early morning hours.  We'll see how that goes.  You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks!

My trees will stay up a few more days.  I'm really enjoying the new slim tree in the dining area that is decorated with cookie cutters.  I can see both trees from where I'm sitting in the recliner and they look so pretty at night.  

I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday and my wish for you is that you have a happy, healthy New Year filled with many blessings!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

My daughter and I went shopping Saturday.  She needed to finish her Christmas shopping and we both wanted to go to Clark, MO to the Amish community where we were looking for some Christmas candy and other goodies.  

We passed by a farm that had 7 corn shocks lined up by the fence.  I'm not sure why there were just the 7 or why they were by the fence.  I thought it made an interesting photo.  You can see that the day was overcast and a bit foggy.  

We started very early in hopes of getting to the bakeries before they were sold out.  The divinity I wanted was already snapped up, but we found plenty of other yummy candy.  I bought some fudge, ting-a-lings, chocolate covered peanuts, coated oreos, several fried pies (those are to die for!), a plate of assorted goodies, 2 loaves of bread, a pecan pie and a cherry pie.  Who counts calories at Christmas?  I also bought a bag of oranges and some eggs at the Amish store.   I put the pies and one loaf of bread in the freezer until Tuesday or Wednesday.

After we left the Amish country, we headed to the city (Columbia).  We stopped in at our favorite diner for lunch and an old-fashioned ice cream soda.  Yum, yum.  No, we hadn't touched the candy or fried pies yet, although we were tempted!  They made it home intact.  lol!

After a full day of shopping, in which we also had stopped in at the Candy Factory for some divinity, we decided to drive around and see a few Christmas light displays.  One we had heard about was a house called the Candy Cane Crib.  It is fantastic!  

This home which is beautifully decorated is called the Candy Cane Crib.  Folks are invited to get out of their cars and take photos.   My little camera doesn't quite do justice to the beautiful scene, but you get the idea.

As heaven and nature sings in celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, may this Christmas bring you much love and happiness and fill your hearts with joy and peace. 

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!!


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 a 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
or the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
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 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 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 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