Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

It's two days post Christmas.  I hope that everyone had a nice holiday.  My holiday was fantastic, though there was almost a chance that it wouldn't happen.

Woke up last Tuesday with a terrible sore throat.  I could not believe I was having the same issues I had during the Thanksgiving holiday. Still I continued to get things ready for Christmas Eve.   Wednesday I had to go out and get the remaining groceries for dinner.  I was slowly falling apart and by Wednesday night, I was feeling so bad, all I could do was lay in bed, rest and get myself together.  I dranked a hot cup of Thera-flu which soothed my throat and relaxed me.  I didn't even feel myself doze off to sleep. 

Thursday morning when I woke up I felt a little better.  I was supposed to be preparing dishes that could be made ahead of time but I ended up going out with one of my best friends to finish gift shopping.  I didn't get to do it Wednesday because I felt so bad and didn't feel like going anywhere else after marketing. 

Oooooh, I've got to tell you what I found when I walked into a Dollar Tree.  I found Santa hats that fit over the top of your chairs. 

I was just browsing through the store while my friend was grabing some things she needed, and there was one hanging on the rack.  I asked a worker if this was all they had left and she said yes.  I was so devasted, but I didn't give up.  I searched high and low through the shelves hoping to find three more.  Just when I was about to give up, I found them, hiding under a bunch of tissue paper.  I had to laugh at myself for the way I was acting.  When I got up to the register the cashier said she was surprised there were any left.  She said they knew these would go fast so they just dumped them all in a shopping cart and left it at the front of the store instead of putting them on the shelves.  When my friend saw them she wanted two so I went back and found two more.  These will be used next year.

We got home from shopping just before the evening rush hour started.  When I got in I decided to take it easy. A hot bath, warm pajamas and a cup of Thera-flu and I just layed in bed and rested.  The food prepping would have to wait until Friday.

Friday morning, I was up early with no problem.  I got in the kitchen and got busy.  Just took my time and did not stress out about all the food I had to prepare.  Know what?  It worked.  Got everything done and still had time to relax before the guests arrived.  This was the menu.

cheese/ham spirals
crab-red pepper dip
caribbean style wingettes

Pork ribs
Bourbon glazed chicken
Steak with carmelized onions

roasted potatoes
macaroni & cheese
green beans
fresh garden salad
fresh baked dinner rolls

shrimp salad
deviled eggs

variety of homemade cookies
large punch bowl of eggnog with vanilla bean icecream

The ribs were a last minute thought. Just had a taste for some. The only thing I didn't get around to making were the cupcakes but it was okay.  Noone cared.  I tend to go overboard with the menu.  I just like to make sure that I have something that everyone would like.

The evening went off without a hitch.  I even got a nice surprise.  Some relatives came in from New York whom I hadn't seen in three or four years. 

After dinner we opened presents.  Everyone was very pleased with the gifts I got for them.  Especially the one who received the Washington Redskins car mats.  He completely lossed it. After I watched everyone open their gifts I opened mine.  I got a cute bath set (rug, shower curtain, hooks, towel set), a soft hooded robe with some soft slippers, 3 piece glass candle holders, another candle holder set that has some beautiful writing on them (will go nice with the new bath set), a bottle of Moscoto (my favorite wine), perfume, a 15 inch tall nutcracker (from my neighbor), a gift card for Lane Bryant, a lovely spa set, a digital photo frame (I've always wanted one) and the nicest gift of all - a new laptop computer.

Back in the summer my mom decided to buy herself a new laptop and she would give me her old one.  Well for months I had been waiting for her to give it to me but she kept saying that she was transferring information from the old laptop to the new laptop.  So on Christmas while we were opening gifts she surprised me with a brand new laptop.  When I tore off the wrapping paper I thought it was some glassware.  It wasn't until I turned the box around to open it that I realized it was a laptop.  I was so happy - like a kid.  I couldn't open the box fast enough.  Now I can sit in bed or on the sofa and use the computer instead of being stuck at my desk.  Ooooh, it's a nice one too.  It has a built-in web cam (Now I can chat with my newphew whose in college on Skype) and something called light-scribe.  Light-scribe adds designs to your cd/dvd.  No more do I have to buy the paper and waste the ink from my printer to make labels.  I'm still learning all the programs installed.  Yep, she got me good.

Christmas day for me was a day of rest.  I layed in bed most of the day and watched holiday movies.  My poor feet were hurting so bad.  I could barely stand when I got up to get something to drink.  Usually I am in a coma after partying with the family the night before, but I think because I made sure to get proper rest all week, I was feeling okay.

Well, let me stop boring you guys.  It's almost 8 in the evening and my Monday night line-up of shows are about to begin.  More tomorrow. Good night!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I spent some time today reading the blogs of my friends at MHH .  One of the ladies Leann was quite busy baking all kinds of goodies.  She had made 19 different kinds of cookies and 4 kinds of homemade candies.  Everything looked so scrumptous.  I know the receivers of those sweet treats are very happy campers.  And I thought the 10 I did was an achievement.   My hat goes off to Ms. Leann.

Last weekend I spent time in the kitchen baking away. I love baking.  I've only been doing it for about 4 years or so.  I think I'm getting better every year.  I hope to one day try some real fancy baking, especially decorating.  I filled 3 large cookie tins, handed out two at the office and one to my neighbor and her son.  They were well received which made me very happy. 

I have several cookie recipe books I've collected from BHG over the years.  I think I will take a look through them for some ideas for next year.

It's December 20th

Can you believe that in 5 days it will be Christmas.  I am starting to feel the excitement once again.  There have been a few moments when I felt let-down or lost.  Especially with the death of my uncle. 

Now I'm so gitty, I can barely contain myself.  I have made a to-do list of things to complete by Friday. 

Today I cleared the holiday dishes off the dining table and changed the table cloth from white to red and green checked pattern.  The only thing on the table is my candle centerpiece.  The dining table is where the food will be beautifully displayed on Christmas Eve. That's one less thing I will have to worry about. 

Also today I will clean off the balcony.  The heavy winds blew what looks like millions of pineneedles all over my deck.  Plus a bird  took the liberty of doing his business on one of the seat cushions.  Yuck!

Tuesday will be laundry day.  I have a few bags I need to get done plus some comforters.  Also I need to make room in the coat closet for guests.

Wednesday is grocery day.  I need to purchase the remaining items for Friday's dinner party.  While I'm out I have a couple of gifts to pick up (I completely missed) as well as a few gift cards.  Then that will definately be it as far as gifts go.  Whew!!!

Thursday is get cooking day.  From sunrise to sunset, that is all I will be doing.  Anything that can be prepared ahead of time will be done on this day.

Friday is party time.  I have my outfit all planned out:  red & white stripe knee-hi socks with the fur around the edge, red sweater, black skirt and tights, and a red fedora hat. 

I found these socks in my all-time favorite store, Dollar Tree.  I was walking up to the cash register to pay for my items and BAM!, there they were. I just couldn't resist picking them up.   I'm so silly. LOL  Wait til the family sees me Christmas Eve. 

Also Friday I need to cook the remaining dishes: the bird, the rolls, the mac & cheese.  If I can keep on this schedule (which I'm sure I will), I will have a chance to rest up before guests start to arrive.  It's going to be a good time had by all.

6 Days to Christmas

For me I have 5 days until my little palace is filled with all of my loved ones.  Yes, the long awaited Christmas Eve Family Dinner will soon be here.  People have been calling me for weeks checking to see if I'm getting everything ready for the party.  My response is always a resounding YES! I think they are more excited than I am.

Today has been a day of pampering and relaxation.  For Rudy Day today I listened to my Christmas music then started watching Christmas movies.  Right now Home Alone is in the dvd.  I've been eating Hershey Kiss chocolates.  These are my favorite things to eat during the holidays.  I washed my hair and touched-up my eyebrows.  Had a cup of hot chocolate and leftover pizza from last night.  Just enjoying myself.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Funny Story

My best friend called me the other day and told me the funniest story. She and her husband have been coming to my house on Christmas Eve since the tradition started years ago. Well my best friend, her husband, her mom and several other people were sitting in the house just talking and my name came up. The husband started going on and on about coming to my house. How he couldn't wait and how he really enjoys and looks forward to the food, exchanging gifts, talking and laughing. Someone then called the house and my friend said she heard her husband telling the caller that he wouldn't be able to make it to wherever he was invited to because he was coming to my house. My friend said that after he hung up with the caller he was still talking as if the caller was on the phone saying, "You got the game wrong. I'm going to Ms. Claus (that's what they call me) house." She said he had a straight attitude and was just a fussing.

Things settled down and my friend said probably 20 - 25 minutes later her husband had started up again. She said all anyone in the room could do was laugh because they couldn't believe how he literally got upset. My best friend said she laughed so hard that she was intears.  My friend's mother told her, "Leave him be." I was so tickled and happy that he enjoys coming my house for the holidays.

I know when I see him Christmas Eve he's going to make sure I hear about it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Decorated the Office

Been gone for a minute.  Family matters, you know.

I wanted to tell you what I did to the office this year.  I decorated my office in a gingerbread theme:

Snow at Christmas

Essential? A nice touch? or A pipe dream?

Funny I should post this today.  I just looked out the window and it is snowing.  We're not expected to get much, (only a couple of inches) but it is a nice touch. 

I love having snow at Christmas.  Not too much where it's difficult for folks to get around.  Just enough to make everything look pretty.  Last year my wish finally came true.  We got a lot of snow early in December and it stayed well into the holidays. It didn't melt  before Christmas as it normally does.  Usually we don't see much snow until January or February - sometimes March.   

If we could get a nice dusting like today for Christmas, I would be a very happy camper.


On Thursday, December 9, 2010 my family suffered a loss.  My aunt loss her husband to cancer.  They were such a close couple.  My aunt and uncle had such a great relationship.  They were like bossum buddies.  Wherever you saw on, you saw the other.    I hope the man I marry and I will have a relationship like that.  I only know of one other couple who has a relationship like that, my bestfriend's since childhood parents.

It has hit me in a way I didn't think it would.  I guess it was when I last saw him two weeks ago, lying in bed.  He looked so frail.  I had just been there two weeks prior and he had came downstaris to the kitchen where my aunt, my mom and I were, frying chicken and just chit-chatting.  He looked good.  But seeing him in bed,thoughts of my dad immediately came to mind (I loss my dad to cancer in 1995).  The scenerios were almost exact. 

My aunt for the most part is holding up quite well. It also helps that she has her sons and other family members and friends by her side for support.

Rest in Peace Uncle Jones.  You will truly be missed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Dinnerware

One of the things I look forward to during the Christmas season is pulling out my dishes. 

I bought my dishes from Dollar Tree about 7 or 8 years ago.  They are white with a holly design and gold ban around the edge. 

I had seen similar dish sets in department stores but did not want to pay those prices. Plus I did not want or need the saucers and cups. They wouldn't get used. Then one year I was in, of all places, Dollar Tree, and there these were.  I tell you I just can't stay out of that store.  And if you go there on the right day you can hit the jackpot, big

I originally bought 8, plus the matching spoon rest, napkin holder and salt & pepper shakers.  I wanted to get more but I really did not have the money.  I thought I would never find those dishes in Dollar Tree again.  Boy was I surprised when the following year I walks in to Dollar Tree and again, there they were. My money was a little better this time so I grabbed more.  I was so happy and I needed the dishes because my yearly Christmas Eve family dinner was growing in numbers.  They come out on the table as well as my pretty gold flatware. I treated myself to the flatware about 6 years ago.

You may notice on the photo above I have different dinnerware on the table.  My table is set in all red.  I have red charger plates, glass dinner plates and glass dessert plates. 

Guess where I found the dinner plates.  If you guessed Dollar Tree, you are correct.  That's why I love that store. (heeheehee)  The dessert plates I found on clearance in Target for 75 cents each.  I don't know if you can see but they both have a pretty pattern on the underside. 

Also on the table I have red wine glasses and holly drinking glasses.  More Dollar Tree finds.

I use to switch up the glasses each year but I really wanted to see them both on the table so that's what I've done.

When company stops buy and we sit down to eat they always look for the paper plates. I tell them, "We are using these plates." I wash them and put them on the table.   That's the purpose of having them. Huh, these dishes are not just for show. They are for eating off of.  I don't care if we are having pizza and salad.  We're going to sit at the table and have an enjoyable meal together.  That's my main purpose, being together - talking, laughing, having a good time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are You an Easy or Difficult Person To Buy Gifts For

I think I am the easiest person in the whole world to please.  I don't care what I get, I appreciate everything that I receive because for me, it's the thought that counts. 

Over the years my family and friends have come to know several sure things about me.  One is I love to decorate.  Two, I love to entertain and three, I am a big Dollar Tree and Walmart shopper.  I'm in those stores so much, they say I should have stock in the companies.  I do have a few other favorites, but they are definately #1 and #2 on the list. 

As a result of my hobbies/interest, I receive gifts that are very useful to me.  Serving pieces which I use quite often, home accessories, appliances, things of that nature.  I have collected so much from my love ones that now I have no more storage for anything.  So a few years ago I asked that if they choose to get me a gift that it be a gift card to my favorite stores.  I can always use them when I need to stock up on supplies for the house or something. 

Although with my microwave going up on me this year.  I wouldn't mind if someone got me a replacement. [ wink  ;-)  ]

Let The Baking Begin

As soon as I got home from work today, I chaned into something comfortable, then headed to the kitchen.  I have been trying to get my baking started for weeks but I was either too lazy or too sick.  Now that I'm feeling better and time is now of the essence, I needed to get started and this is the last week I can get them done. 

I am making several types of cookies:

  1. Christmas tree shaped butter cookies
  2. Chocolate gingerbread people cookies
  3. Old-fashioned Snickerdoodle cookies (a recipe I got from a friend, Jessica at Organized Christmas)
  4. Peanut butter cookies
  5. Cocolate chip cookies
  6. Oatmeal Raisin cookies
  7. Eggnog Sparkle Cookies (another recipe from a friend, Snowangel00)
  8. Santa's Thumbprint cookies
  9. Pecan shortbread cookies
  10. and finally, Candy cane sugar cookies
I'm only making up the dough.  I will bake everything this weekend. This weekend we are expecting snow.  Not a lot but enough to keep me in and to make the mood perfect for baking. As of tonight I have three kinds done (the first three listed above).  Tomorrow I will continue with the next group, and so on until they are all done. 

By the end of the weekend, everything will be baked, wrapped and ready to hand out as gifts. I always take treats to several of the departments on the job and give a tin full to my nice neighbor and her son who lives in my building.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Decorations are up.

Yes.  I feel much, much better and now all of my decorating is done.

Countdown Calendar

I don't know if you all remember this but last summer for CIJ I made a countdown calendar for my 11 year old niece.  This was year two and I stuffed it with lots of neat gifts.  Well she called me the other day to say that the dog got to it and you can guess what happened....

Here's what it looked like before the dog got to it.

  I can only imagine how it looks now.

What is Cloud Picker

I have been trying to upload my holiday pictures but I keep getting this message that I need to sign in to Google Cloud Picker.  Does anyone knows what this is and why it's not working.  I hate change without forwarning.  (Mad As Heck!!!!!!)