30 November 2008

Some Favorite Ornaments

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Kat, Just a Beach Kat has inspired me to post about some of my favorite ornaments. That was like choosing a favorite child! But here are a few that sparked my interested this year...

We have a gold and white tree in our living room. My friend Zoe made ornaments like this one for Bob for the three of us. I love these ornaments because it reminds me of Zoe and our good times together!



Upstairs in the study we have a tree of ornaments that we have collected of all our travels. It is fun to decorate this tree and remember all the places we have been. This ornament is from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Summer Games.



Downstairs in the family room we have a tree that we put all our family ornaments on. This ornament came into my possession when a dear PEO member passed away and we were invited to take a souvenir from her home. I chose this little ornament and a little plate. The ornament came from Italy when she traveled there.



This is on the family room tree, too. I like it because it was made by the four neighbor boys across the street. They are little urchins but this ornament reminds me that they are just doing what comes naturally for boys...



This is it for now... later I will post ornaments from our dining room and the kitchen trees. Bob has just pulled out boxes and boxes of Christmas stuff I didn't use and told me I needed to go through these and pull what I don't want anymore...

29 November 2008

Black Friday

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What an experience!

Bob and I started off at Walmart. Our Walmart let people in way early so we did not have to stand in the cold. We wandered around and found what we were looking for and staked our claim. We were in "line" around 4:15. It was more like a pack. People were pushing up against the products. When 5 a.m. hit, people tore at the black plastic and started passing items out. Not Walmart people, but just regular people! I got what I wanted, went right to check out and was out of the store by 5:02, according to Bob's watch. Bob was one of the helpful people, being over 6 feet tall definitely helps.

We also went to Kohl's (long line), Kmart (even longer line), Office Depot (we watched a woman explode over not getting a computer), and Barnes and Noble. We went out to breakfast at HyVee which was fun.

Came home and I promptly took a nap but Bob went out and got all the outside decorations up! Yeah, Bob!

I was more ambitious after my nap. I got the LR and kitchen decorated. I put the tree in a new location, to be revealed on Thursday!

We ended our day with pizza and a movie. We saw Four Christmases, with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. Cute movie!

The Tigers play KU at 11:30 so we will settle in to watch the game on TV. They are in KC but we decided to save the money and not go to the game. GO TIGERS!


28 November 2008

Post Thanksgiving Day Ramblings

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We had a busy but very nice day yesterday celebrating with family and friends. My mom cooked up a feast for us and it was all wonderful. I tried to be good with what I chose and overall, I did an ok job!



Here is my sister, Tammi, do the carving on the bird. We did a brine and good heavens, does that make a difference! We couldn't keep our hands out of the turkey!



Doesn't my mom have a beautiful set of Frankoma dishes? She has three sets, wagon wheel, west winds and plainsman (brown) and lots of serving pieces to go with it. We have used it for Christmas and Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember!

Afterwards Bob and I drove to Macon to the Steffes/Fessler family feast! I will say that it was smaller than usual with 12 of our immediate family AWOL. Jake, Irene, Bob and I were the only representatives from our side of the Steffes crew.







Diane makes the mincemeat pie for the group. Bob, Ron, and several others vie for the slices of savory yet sweet pie made from hamburger, apples, raisins and other things that should not be put together. However, Diane gets rave reviews from her mincemeat pie fans. Here's Diane cutting into her pie, and Bob with his (first) piece. Bob managed to get a slice for Eric, who claims to love it too, but I personally think he is just sucking up to his father-in-law.

Diane had to make a new batch of mincemeat this year. She said she peeled 60 apples for the new batch. So even if I don't eat it, I do admire her obvious dedication to the craft of pie making.





Is it just me or does it look like Vicki is gagging just sitting by that pie???

This is it for the 2008 Thanksgiving feasts!


27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We are heading to our families to celebrate the most wonderful time.... giving thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father for another year of blessings and to ask that He continue to bless us in the upcoming year. Safe travels to all of you!

26 November 2008

Our "Family" Thanksgiving!

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Bob and I have always liked to have our own mini celebration with Ashley at each holiday. With her being an only child, we felt like she could easily feel that she didn't have family traditions if we always waited to do things with her extended family.

So here we are, doing our "family" Thanksgiving! We did have our meatloaf, three cheese macaroni and cheese, baked sweet potatoes, and hot rolls dinner, with individual cheesecakes for dessert.



Ashley served up our first course of tomato basil soup. I created my own recipe, since I didn't have on hand everything that the original recipe called for. Here is my recipe:

1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 26 oz can tomato soup
1 15 oz can chicken broth
1 c whole milk, half and half or heavy cream
1 T dried basil leaves

Saute the onions in olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes, cook until the juices seep out of the tomatoes. Add the tomato soup. Mix in the chicken broth. Heat til boiling, then reduce heat. Add in basil, crushing in palm to release oils. Right before serving, stir in milk.

It was a huge hit with Ashley, who loves tomato basil soup!



Our thanks to Chef Bob! I tried to get him to form the meatloaf into the shape of a turkey, but we were afraid that it would scar Ashley for the rest of her life!

Tomorrow we are traveling first to my mom's (Marceline) and then to Bob's family's gathering (Macon) so I will probably post late about our family Thanksgivings. We are shopping at the Black Friday sales, so I am sure a nap will be in order on Friday afternoon!

25 November 2008

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

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If you haven't checked out th Crock Pot Lady's blog, you are missing out. The girl does everything from food to crafts in her crockpot!

I decided to try a turkey breast for my school's snack day today. It was super easy, smelled fabulous in the kitchen and Bob said it was really good!



Crock Pot Turkey Breast

1 turkey breast, thawed
1 onion, quartered
2 c chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick of butter

Open turkey package, rinse meat and pat dry. Put a liner in your crockpot, pour in chicken broth, place in meat, put onion all around, salt and pepper, and place pats of butter all around. Cook on high 1 hour, then on low for six hours. Make sure internal temperature reaches 140 degrees in the first three hours. I checked with a meat probe.



Remove meat from crockpot and let rest for five minutes. Slice. (That's easier than it sounds, the meat is very tender, so use a serrated knife and go slow)


24 November 2008

Sweet Awards!

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Kat from Just a Beachkat passed these delights on to me. Thank you so much! I will be passing them on a bit later!

23 November 2008

Retro Family Room Redesign

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We recently had the family room painted. With the new paint and the carpets cleaned, our family room will look awesome for the holidays! We decorate in a retro style, as you saw in our Trim the Tree Thursday post.

Ashley got an unexpected surprise: she doesn't have to report to Ann Taylor today! She and Eric were our houseguests this weekend so now we can extend the fun to decorating. I put Eric and Bob to work moving the furniture out of the family room for the carpet cleaner on Monday. Ashley and I are cleaning and decorating the upstairs. We will post pictures tomorrow of what we accomplished.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

22 November 2008

Third birthday party???

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My mom and sister were in town last night while my mom recuperated from cataract surgery. They spent the night at our house so she could have her follow up appointment today without having to drive the 90 minutes back home.



So, Ashley, Eric, mom, Tammi, Bob and I went to celebrate my 50th birthday at a local 50's diner called Oscar's.



As usual, we all had a great time. The food was fabulous and the six of us ate for under $40 using a birthday coupon. My meal was an open faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and green beans. Such great comfort food!



21 November 2008

Grocery Challenge Recipe Swap

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It is time for the Recipe Swap Challenge at the Grocery Cart Recipe Swap. Go check out the great recipes!

I plan to make these cuties for my nieces and nephews for Thanksgiving. (I know my sis will like them, too!)

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 container (16 oz) chocolate creamy frosting
Candy corn
Orange decorating icing
Black decorating gel
Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits

Heat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies as directed on roll. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Spoon chocolate frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut small hole in bottom corner of bag. On each cookie, pipe frosting on outer edge of half of cookie. Arrange candy corn over frosting for feathers. Pipe orange icing onto each cookie to resemble turkey face and feet. Use orange icing to attach baking bits to turkey face for eyes. Pipe black gel on baking bits for centers of eyes

20 November 2008

Trim the Tree Thursday Part 2

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Click on pictures to enlarge!

Our Family Room is decorated in a retro (50s) style. When my sis and I were growing up, we heard all about the 50s as my mom and dad both graduated from HS during that time. Tammi and I had an aluminum tree and I thought it was beautiful, but I think I might have been the only one. My sister found this tree and a working color wheel and gave it to me for Christmas one year!



The santa on the heater was the Santa that was in our house while growing up. I bullied my mom into giving it to me. That was after one year that he didn't make it up in her house! I cannot imagine Christmas without him!



The tree in the background is decorated with colored lights and all the family ornaments. We have photographs of family members who are no longer with us on the tree. These ornaments go back to our childhood and most from our lives together. I think it might be my favorite tree in the house.



Bob's parents owned a grocery store while he was growing up. His family owned the store for more than 100 years! This coke machine was in the store when they decided to sell and retire. Bob asked for it and got it!



The tablecloth on our yellow formica table came from an auction. The work is hand done and is full of sequins. The table came from the parish where Bob served as altar boy! He had a few meals at this table!

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our Family Room!

(photos from 2007)




19 November 2008

A sweet award!

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I was just given a darling award by a special blogging friend... Becky (you should really check out her blog... she is a lovely woman with a deep passion for our Lord and her children...

The rules to this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool.

I am going to cheat a bit this time and award this to my family who are just starting out in the blogging world:

1. Ashley Ashley's site is really coming along and she is starting to post a lot more often! Ashley has a keen sense of design and style.
2. Jeanne Jeanne's site is really fun because she posts a lot about my darling niece and nephew and ok, David, too. She is a quirky personality and it really comes through on her blog!
3. Susan Susan's site is brand new! Her site has three posts! She will be a great blogger as she is a teacher (stories galore!) and her husband an RN.

I don't expect you girls to follow the rules but I wanted to let you know I am proud of you!

18 November 2008

The Big 5-0 Continues....

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The staff at my school know how to have a good time and my birthday was the perfect excuse to celebrate!


A bulletin board in the office annouces to all who enter that something is going on... and then all 600 students sing Happy Birthday to me in our Morning Assembly. It was TOO COOL.



The cake was awesome! The icing was pure black... it turned your teeth, tongue and lips black, too! It was great fun!


And, why not trash the principal's office while we're at it??? Balloons were in places that balloons shouldn't be. Can you see my sash hanging on the wall? I wore a sash all day that announced to the world that I was 50 today!



Although not planned, a special bonus was seeing my former assistant principal Jeff! He stopped by to see us on his way home from Columbia. He looks like he planned it, doesn't he, wearing black like the rest of the office and staff did today!

I couldn't have had more fun! The office staff made lunch for me and all came down to eat together and socialize a bit. It was nice to sit together and chat!