Friday, December 26, 2008

Family pictures - Christmas 2008

Fletch - Bobby and Bridgette's dog- waiting for everything to start.
Jeff looking at some new bottles of wine
Bobby in an action shot - but I can't figure what he is doing.

Just getting starting with the unwrapping.

Bobby, Bridgette and Fletch - trying out their new quilt.
Bridgette, opening a lamp.
Christmas Eve - 9 of us went to Candlelight services, then came here for snacks and Mexican Train Dominoes. This is me, Nina, and Denise, John's mom.
Bobby, modeling a hat he got from Uncle Bert.

Clint and Amanda opening some baby clothes, their first baby should arrive around Feb. 12.
Nina, showing one of her new cupcake plates.- John looks thrilled about them.
Jimmy and Nina, Christmas eve.
The mess afterward
more mess
Jeff smoked a turkey and pork loins. While he sliced them, Fletch and Theo both hoped and waited for their taste test.
Theo wants to make sure Jeff knows he wants some of that smoked meat.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The sewing son-in-law

This is my favorite Son-in-law, John. He is also my only son-in-law so, of course, he is my favorite!
He wanted to make potholders for Nina for Christmas. He has never sewn but he was a great student. Because he is a math teacher, when I told him we had to add in a half inch seam allowance, he figured out the size really easy.
He used some fabric I already had and that I had picked out from my mom's supply. They are checks and polka dots one side and a brocade print on the other.
He wanted to use some of the fancy decorative stitches my machine makes, so he did a feather stitch on some and a star stitch on the other.
John did a great job. Nina thought I made them until he her otherwise.

Just in case you're wondering, John also gave Nina a GPS system and some other baking things she was wanting.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas cookies

Nina wanted to make lots of Christmas cookies so that is what we did this afternoon. We baked 5 kinds.
Jeff is taking the assorted tray to work tomorrow, I wanted to put them on the pretty red plate but he was afraid it might get broken so his work cookies are in a stainless steel baking pan.
Shaker Spice cookies are in the top left can.
Teresa Smith's Pecan Delights are in the lower right.
Betty Crockers Coconut Chew Bars
Mexican Wedding Cookies a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes a.k.a. Snowball cookies
Oatmeal coconut cookies

Sample shots on my new camera

These are some random pictures I have taken with my new camera. They don't have a theme, just shots around my home and neighborhood. I just wanted to see how they looked on the internet.
Theo is really good about posing when I have a camera out.
close up of the Christmas tree

In a backyard several blocks away, taken with the zoom.
Another neighbor's porch

My dad's favorite barn. I used the zoom for this one as it is across the highway from our addition.

Lunch at Nina and John's

Nina and John hosted a very nice birthday lunch for me. Jimmy helped them in the kitchen and they made a double batch of lasagna roll-ups filled with ricotta, spinach and mushrooms. Nina said it was their version of an Ellie Krieger recipe.

Jimmy's version of artistic photography - I was opening a gift.
Nina and her baby, Zerbie, the worlds largest Doberman.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday and I have enjoyed looking at some of my Retro-birthday pictures.
This first picture is right around my first birthday. We lived in a tiny west Texas town named Panhandle. Wasn't my mom glamorous? She looked like Mary Tyler Moore except she had red hair like Lucy then.
This is my 5th birthday. I am sure my mom made my dress, it even had an apron!
Every childhood birthday cake I can remember had a Santa theme because my birthday is so close to Christmas but this cake had a circus theme.
This is my 15th birthday and Santa is my brother Rex. He worked part time at Sears as Santa.

I have had a great birthday today. Besides the new camera from my husband and the wreath from my brother, my parents sent me a check and I ordered a Cricut with it.

Nina is cooking lunch for all of us tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Wreath 2008

My brother first surprised with me with a handmade Christmas wreath in 2007. He made me a second wreath for Thanksgiving. And now, here is my 3rd wreath from Professor Bert.
Isn't this a great tradition he has started?

Thanks, Bert!

and hopefully, my photography will soon be much better. My husband just gave me a much nicer digital camera for my birthday, a few days early.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas tour - 2008

In 2007 I put up 7 trees around our home and 2006, we had 4 trees. But this year, I am in a simpler mood. Besides the stockings on the mantel, this is all of the Christmas decorating this year. I am really happy with it, just the way it is.

Nativity set
embroidered "Merry Christmas" made by mom years ago as a gift for my grandparents

Santa's boot centerpiece,
I got it at my company party.
I don't think Santa really wears pink boots but this one looks great in our pink breakfast nook.
I'm not much of a florist but I think the flowers will be easy to trade out with grocery store flowers as the original ones wilt.

Entry hall
Candles on the dining table
Peppermint tree
I used 3 boxes of vintage red Shiny Brite balls that I found at a thrift store several years ago. I tied them on with peppermint ribbon.
and the presents are wrapped in peppermint paper too!

The peppermint ornaments are just red and white felt, like the stockings, and sewed up really fast and easy.

That's it!
my kids and coworkers can't believe I don't plan on putting up anymore decorations but I think I am done.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stockings tweaked

My kids thought since the new candy cane stockings are all the same, Santa would get mixed up and not put the right gifts in the right stockings. So I got some green felt and heat and bond and cut out and ironed on names for them all.
Everybody happy now?
I spray painted the stocking holders too, changed them from silver to white.

Company Christmas Party 2008

Jeff and I before we left, in our "Festive Christmas Attire" that the invitation specifies.

We went to my company Christmas party Saturday night. I work part time for a very big company headquartered in Oklahoma. Our owner hosts a very generous party every year with great food, entertainment and lots of gifts. The spouses all get debit cards, worth more as years of service increase. Every worker gets a certificate for a turkey and cash to pay for their Christmas meal.
The must exciting part of the party is the drawing for gifts. Everyone gets a gift and then bigger gifts are given out too.
The last 2 years, I got a Walmart gift card.
look at the prizes in the 2 pictures below and guess what I got?
Lots of cool stuff, huh?
see the red box in the lower right corner,
That is what I got,
a pair of really nice Craftsmen drills.
Jeff really likes them so I did not try to trade. There is usually lots of trading on after the prizes are given out.

Table full of Tiffany crystal bowls, awarded to individual offices.

The food was great this year. There was salad to start, then a buffet line with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus and carrots, prime rib and pork loin. The individual desserts were Italian Cream Cake and chocolate cake.

The entertainment was country Christmas songs sang by Brad England -
oops, his name is Ty England, Nina caught my typo- sorry Ty, he was really good too

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Peppermint Christmas

I am just getting starting on Christmas decorating at home. I know I want to do everything in a peppermint theme. So far, we've put up one tree with red and clear blinking lights - no decorations on it yet though.
And I made these stockings this week. I used white glittered felt bought at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. The red felt is from tree skirts we found last year at Target 90% off - I think they were about 50 cents each.
Felt is really easy to sew with, no seams to finish. I drew the pattern out free-hand on 2 sheets of paper taped together. I used a McCalls pattern
as my guide but I simplified it quite a bit.

My kids think the stockings are the most important part of our Christmas traditions. I sure wish Santa really would come fill them now!

switching to digital tv

We have been Directv satellite customers for 2 years, before that we had local cable and before that, we had Dish. When we lived in the country, we had a big antennae that was always needing adjusted when the wind blew.
We bought a new tv about a month ago and when Jeff was hooking it up, we looked at the channels we could receive just using the digital part that is in all new tvs. We were amazed at how good a picture we got.
Our Direct TV contract was for 2 years and we have been frustrated with not finding shows we want to watch and paying that big bill every month.
So, we canceled that contract on the 2 year anniversary.
Jeff spent part of Thanksgiving weekend switching over our tvs to digital.
The new tv was ready to go but our 2 older tvs needed converter boxes. They are small and easy to install. We bought ours at Walmart using the free digital coupons issued by the government (You all have seen the tv commercials on how to get them, right?) They cost about $48, so the OOP cost was about $10 each.
To get the best reception, we needed an antennae. Ours is small, about the size of a youth sized shoe box and cost about $30 at Walmart. These digital antennea also come in a rabbit-ear version if you don't want to install it on you roof.
Jeff mounted ours on the roof, and he used the bracket that that held the satellite.

Converter box on top of VCR unit
antenna box
that's our antennae, mounted on the tallest part of our roof

We get the major networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, 2 PBS, several independent channels and several Christian channels.
For now, we are happy with this set-up. And one less monthly bill will be great!