Thursday, November 21, 2013

Caesar...the Big Dork Dog!

Caesar is truly a big dork!  He thinks he is a lap dog and we have yet to convince him that just because the kitties are allowed on the couches and in our laps, he is not.  He has his own toys and brings them to Jeff as soon as he wakes up in the afternoon so that they can play.  His favorite activity though is having Jeff scratch him under his collars.  As you can see, he really gets into it. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Grandsons Weekend

The grandsons came for a visit this weekend and Bradley even spent the night! :)  We had a wonderful time with them.  Isaiah was happiest when being cuddled and slept in my arms for a good part of the day.  Bradley got some special time when his baby brother went home with Mommy and Daddy and he got to spend the night.  He had a bath and then cuddled up in bed with Jeff and I to watch a dvd we just got him.  He was so funny, when he got tired, he told us and insisted G-pa put him to bed.  He slept from 8:30pm to 7:15 am.  :)  I love having those little guys with us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frugal Doings for the Past Few Days

Made some maple flavored syrup.

Bought a 6 foot prelit Christmas Tree at the thrift store for $14.98 that is skinnier than our old one and will fit in the living room leaving more space for people.

Picked up a nice pair of dress pants and a pair of snow bibs (not pictured) for Bradley and a nice ankle brace for Jeff at the thrift store.

More thrift store finds...bags of silver unbreakable ornaments for $1.89 each and 2 Christmas dvds for $1.89 each.  The Winter Wonderland dvd is for Bradley and Isaiah.

Made a batch of delicious homemade rolls which were quickly raided, thus a picture of only the 6 that are left and that we will be having with dinner tonight.

Homemade turkey and orzo soup thawing out that I previously made and froze.  We are having this, along with the rolls, for dinner on this rather damp and chilly night.

Still harvesting kale from the garden.  The leaves around it have given it some protection from the cold.

Jeff is rebuilding and waterproofing a big dog house for Caesar so he has someplace warm and dry to get out of the weather when he is outside whenever we go somewhere.  He will be adding a pitched metal roof to it also.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Holidays and Unrealistic Expectations

The holidays are quickly approaching once again.  Television and radio commercials have already started bombarding us with messages that we all have to create the "perfect" Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The house must be decorated to the nines for Thanksgiving and then once again decorated for Christmas, leaving no corner untouched.  The turkey and/or ham and all the fixings must be laid out on a table that is adorned with only the finest china, crystal glasses and of course the family silver, handed down from generation to generation.  Let's not forget the Christmas tree!  Oh no, it must be a live tree, perfectly symmetrical and "discovered" while hiking through the snow and then lovingly cut down and brought home where it will be decorated with brightly colored hand blown glass ornaments and organza ribbons that are woven throughout the tree. We must break the bank and show our loved ones how much we love them with expensive and perfectly wrapped gifts.  It doesn't matter if we have to go into debt and pay for them for the next few years or more.  But my favorite holiday "myth" of all times is that everyone will magically get along, no matter what.  It seems like a huge set up for failure to me. ;)

I admit, I would love to have the whole "fairy tale" holiday season.  Having a huge home and an unlimited budget to decorate it with would be grand!  Being able to give my loved ones expensive gifts that they want would bring me great pleasure.  Being able to hire a caterer to do all the cooking (while I was having a manicure and then "lunching" with the girls with a quick stop off at the jewelry store to buy diamond encrusted phone cases for my DILs, and a quick stop at the car dealership to make sure that my husband's brand new truck will be delivered, with a huge bow on it, on Christmas morning) would be a huge gift to myself!  Everyone would gather at our immaculately clean and professionally decorated  home, dressed in their finest holiday attire and toast to each other.  It would be grand...and then I wake up from my chocolate induced coma and realize that it was all a dream.

The reality of it is that we have a small but cozy home, that if decorated to the nines would just proved too tempting for the grandchildren and our pets.  It would be too crowded with things and not leave room for the people.  I don't want to have to worry about glass ornaments being broken by curious little hands or a huge dog wagging his equally huge tail.  This year we will once again scale back on the big tree and do a smaller one.  The ornaments will be non breakable and therefore create less stress.  The gifts are ones that we can afford and have been picked out with each person in mind.  And yes, the grandchildren will get more gifts than the rest of the family just because we are grandparents and it brings us great joy to spoil them! :D

We will once again gather with extended and loved family for some of the holiday meals and festivities.  We are blessed to have had our family grow with not only the addition of our daughter-in-laws, but also with their families as well.  Our grandchildren will be surrounded with grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family who all love them.  Does this mean all of the family gets along and will be gathered together?  Sadly no.  Some of our family cannot be together due to distance, work, finances or other commitments.  Others have chosen, for their own reasons, not to be a part our our family.  

This holiday season season I really hope  to try to stay focused on what is really important and not stress as much over things and situations that I have no control over.  I will enjoy gathering with our friends and family that genuinely love one another and are able to get together.  I will not overspend and then have huge regrets later.  I will try to eat as healthily as I can and not indulge too much in things that although delicious, cause my body problems. ;)  I will try to focus on the beauty that surrounds me, from the pretty lights, the soothing music, to the fun Christmas movies that we watch over and over again each year, and to sledding on the sparkling winter snow.  And lastly, I will be thankful...thankful for all that God has blessed me with in my life...the most important being my family.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Comfort Food for Cold Days

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Twice Baked and Loaded Potato Casserole

Homemade Scrapple with Apple and Pear Slices

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade Broccoli and Cheese Soup