Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I recently had a coffee at my house.  The things I look forward to when I plan a coffee....
1.  Creating the invitation
2.  Deciding what goodies to make
3.  Who will show - will anyone show?
And my husband's favorite...
4.  Having a clean home

Sometimes my husband will ask if I'm having a coffee any time soon because the house needs a good cleaning (I'm the first to admit, and my husband is the second, that I'm not the world's best cleaner.  Actually, I'm not the anything's best cleaner).  So, sometimes I decide to have a coffee just to get me to do some extra cleaning - and it always works.

I enjoy having a coffee get-together in December because the house is festive with Christmas decorations and there are so many dessert ideas to choose from.  This time I had shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate (some sprinkled with crushed candy cane) and seven layer bars.  My daughter loved the seven layer bars. 

This time I only had one person show and it was a sweet neighbor lady.  I don't know this woman very well, so it was a treat for me to have her all to myself for an hour and get to know her better.  This is what's so great about hosting the coffees.  I prepare for ten but expect none.  With these expectations, each coffee is always a success.  Refer back to the four items above.

I only have three or four coffees a year - I don't do any during the summer months.  I'll be planning another as Spring gets closer.  By then my house will need a good cleaning.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25th

Merry Christmas everyone! 
Enjoy your loved ones today.  I am so thankful for my family and the true reason for Christmas - my Jesus.  I pray each and every one of you know the love and saving grace of Jesus as your personal savior. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I hope your Christmas season has been filled with merriment, or at least the chance to attend a few parties.  To keep the festivities going even after the new year, here are a few ideas to use as excuses to host a party (like we ever need an excuse to have a party). 

One idea that stands out first and foremost, obviously, is to host a coffee.  Invite neighbors, friends, or co-workers and provide coffee and enjoy each other's company.  I like to send out the invitation and then I wait for the appointed hour with anticipation to see who shows.  It's always the perfect number and the exact people that should be there. 

Here are other ideas that are all "exchanges".  Each idea has a theme to it, a specific purpose for the get-together.  Of course, the main goal of the party is to have time with others, but sometimes it's fun to have a specific reason for the time together.  Some of these exchange parties I have attended, others are ideas that I would enjoy.  The idea is that each person who shows brings the theme item and all who show exchange their items with what the others brought. 

~ Book Exchange.  Everyone brings a book, or more, and takes home new ones to read.  Great way to recycle and enjoy a new read.

~ Christmas Ornaments.  Perfect for this time of year.  What a fun way to end the Christmas holiday.

~ Kid's Clothing or Toys.  Once your little one is tired of his/her toys or outgrown that cute outfit, share it with other moms who could use some new-again items.

~ Recipe Exchange.  You can leave this one open or choose what type of recipes (i.e. appetizers or dessert).  Have everyone bring enough recipes to share as well as the item so it can be sampled by all.  Yum.

~ Accessory Exchange.  Do you have necklaces, scarves, handbags, etc. that you just don't wear or use anymore?  Now this party is the perfect one to have to clean out the closet or dresser and then replenish with great items others will bring.

I saved one of my favorite parties I've gone to for last.  My friend that hosts this annual party (at Christmas time) puts on such a festive party.  Her home is impeccably decorated.  She makes the most delicious goodies.  But the reason I enjoy this party so much is because I enjoy her company.  She has the biggest heart and is just a joy to be around.  So her party is one of my favorites.

~ Mug Exchange.  This exchange is misleading.  The guests usually provide a gift basket filled with other goodies to go along with the mug.  Sweet treats, lotions, coffee or cocoa, and other festive items complete the mug exchange gifts.  We exchange via the white elephant system - each person picks a wrapped gift or "steals" an already opened gift.  Much fun and ruthless stealing ensues.  And all walk away with smiles.

So there you have it.  Ideas and excuses to host your own party.  Party on my dear friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toy Tree

After Christmas four or five years ago I found my 5 foot tree at Target for about $5.  How could I resist?  The tradition of bringing back a toy tree like the one I had growing up was now inevitable.  I now had the smaller, skinny tree.  I had my childhood ornaments.  I had the fun ornaments I had been given throughout the years and the ornaments I had for my kids.  The toy tree was back!

Here are a few of the ornaments I have on the tree. 

This first one is mine from my childhood that my Grandma made with my picture on it.  Grandma would make an ornament like this for all six of her grandkids.  What a woman.  The detail with sequins is amazing.

This other picture is an example of random ornaments that go on the tree.  Anything that doesn't fit with the "formal" blue, silver and purple tree gets its place on the toy tree.

I have started a tradition that every year my kids get an ornament (sorry Grandma, mine aren't home made).  Some years it is just a fun or nice ornament; other years it has meaning - a football helmet with my son's name and year on it or the matching ornament my daughter and her best friend both got.  Once the kids move out, I can box up their ornaments and at least they will have a few fun ones, hopefully with meaning from their childhood, to put on their own tree.  Or with any luck, they will eventually have their own toy tree to share with their kids and keep this tradition alive.

What traditions from your childhood do you carry on in your family? 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Our Toy Tree

I can't belive it's already December.  My daughter said she wanted all the Christmas decorations up this year.  Last year I cut back on what I put up so I promised I would do a better job this year.  Thanksgiving weekend I usually get the decorations up.  I did manage to decorate with the outside lights and get the living room decorated (this includes the tree).  Half way done. 

Today I finished the rest of the house, which includes our family room that has another, smaller "toy" tree (the small tree with all the kids ornaments) as well as the fireplace mantle with the stockings.  I actually found a new spot to decorate and new items to include this year.  The house is very festive and looks like Christmas, and Santa, are ready to come. 

The next item on the get done before Christmas list are the Christmas cards.  I send picture cards and actually have the cards on order.  I even have most of my shopping done.  No snow but it is getting cold, so I guess December really is here and I guess I really can believe it's December.

Hope your Christmas planning is going well and you don't get bogged down on the little details.  It's not the shopping or the tree trimming, or even the snow that makes Christmas so wonderful.  No, it's the birth of our Lord and everything else is just decoration.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thanksgiving.  One word says so much – Give thanks.  What a directive we have from this one word.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.  I am so grateful for all I have.  I am blessed.  Everything I have is a direct blessing from Christ.  Any good thing that has come to me starts as a praise and thanks to Jesus, first and foremost, every time.  This Thanksgiving I am reminiscent as to how blessed I am.

I have a wonderful family ~ a husband who loves me and works so hard to provide for his family and kids.  We both have jobs and enjoy what we do.  I have the wonderful privilege of working part time.  I have a home.  We are all healthy.  Really, what do I need? 

We eat early (I call it Linner…get it, lunch and dinner) so we can rest then walk around the block then start round two later in the evening.  I have to deliberately not eat too much so I can enjoy dessert and still have a second go-round.  This is one of our favorite meals of the entire year.  I have the same basic  items cooked the same way every year.  My husband would not be happy if I tried to switch up the meal.  This year I did add a couple new items (some Brussels sprouts (shredded and fried) and scalloped potatoes).  They weren’t well received.  I actually like the Brussels sprouts.  I think I’ll make them again with an Asian dish and use cabbage.  I also made a new dessert – a combo of pumpkin and pecan in a bar instead of a pie.  I’m still too full to try it.  The crust was good when I snuck a taste as I was making it.

Two football games down with one more pro game and one more college to go.  I am NOT going out at midnight to shop.  I will peruse Wal-Mart tomorrow for a few items-around 7:00 am.  I did hit JC Penney today, via website, and got some Black Friday deals already. 

I hope your day has been a blessed one and one you can be thankful for.

Gobble gobble.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Korean Beef

I promised to follow up on how the Korean Beef in the crockpot turned out.  To refresh...I had a busy day and evening so I tried this recipe in the crockpot.  My hubby loves a good Korean Beef and I was hoping this would come together for him.  The result.....YUM!  It turned out very good and the hubby liked it.  Thank goodness. 

Picture from Stephanie's blog

It was so easy.  Throw all ingredients into the pot and turn it on.  10 hours later you have amazingly tender beef with a great flavor.  The house smelled so good too. 
I copied this recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking.  Stephanie made this as tacos and has a slaw recipe that turned out great.

Here's her recipe:

3-4 pounds beef roast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic (peeled, but leave cloves intact--approx 10 cloves)
 1/2 onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 whole jalapeno, diced (be careful! use gloves!)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Okay. This truly can't be any easier. I didn't brown my meat, but I did trim off the visible fat. I can make these directions complicated and tell you to add this or that first,
but it honestly doesn't matter. This is going to cook on low all day long, and the ingredients will distribute just fine all on their own. Throw everything in however you'd like.

Cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat has fully shredded--- you can help it out by cutting the meat into pieces an hour or so before serving time. Serve in soft corn or flour tortillas (we are gluten free, and used tiny corn tortillas that are labeled gluten free) with shredded cabbage salad and white or brown rice.

this is how I made my shredded cabbage:

1 bag shredded coleslaw from the grocery store's produce section
1 tablespoon soy sauce (la choy or tamari wheat-free)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
toss together and serve immediately
Enjoy this one.  We sure did.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Life just doesn’t seem to slow down.  One set of activities end and a whole new set begins.  One child ends sports and the other begins a new season, hopefully.  We begin the horrible process of club volleyball tryouts.  This is a terribly competitive and grueling week.  Girls go to a variety of teams for two hours to showcase themselves with at least 30 others trying to prove themselves as well.  The all-stars show off beautifully.  The others, the ones that love the sport, understand the sport and are competitive but not the #1 player don’t have much of a chance to demonstrate their abilities.  When your daughter falls in the latter group it is very frustrating to see dreams potentially crushed.  What’s a mom to do?  Pray, support and encourage. 

I wrote the above Sunday night while sitting through our second tryout of the day.  We felt good after this 2nd one.  Next comes the wait.  Some teams call the night of the tryout.  You get to find out right away if you are "chosen" or not.  Is that a good thing to know so quickly?  Sometimes I'm not so sure.  But on the other hand, the wait is excruciating.  Some teams will call ONLY if you made it.  So you wait and after a couple of days come to realize you weren't the one.  Now do you understand a bit more why this is such an agonizing week?  The next night, off to another team's tryout. 

We got the call Monday that my daughter is an alternate.  This means she was good, but not good enough to be their top 10.  Odds are, a girl or two will end up deciding to go with another club so that opens a spot for the alternates.  We don't know where on the alternate list we are.  So we plan to attend more tryouts this week. 

Then at 9:45 pm another call came in from the Sunday morning tryout.  I see my daughter talking with the coach and then she hangs up.  I'm gearing up for my "so sorry honey" speech, but that never happened.  She made the first team she tried out for!  We are so excited!  Neither of us thought this was the team she would make.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I think I am more relieved to know she was "wanted" more than she.  I'm also thrilled I don't have to take her to more tryouts the rest of the week.

So we will be moving on to a new season after all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tid-Bits of Nothingness

I woke up to a skiff of snow this morning. 

Don't you just love that word - skiff.  I don't get a chance to use it often, but today was the day.  Skiff.  It's just a fun word to say.  Come on, say it with me, Skiff.  Ok, I'm moving on.

I've been fighting a head cold all week.  I hate it because my nose is red from blowing it so much and I'm in a bit of a fog.  Yeah, I know, what's the difference, right?  Ha ha.  The other day I took a Day-Quil (sp??) because I forgot to take a sinus med before work.  Oh my gosh!  I felt like I was on drugs and felt sick to my stomach.  Remind me to NEVER take that again.  I even turned down a free lunch because I felt so bad.  If I turn down food, you know I'm not feeling good.

Not only have I been fighting a cold, I've been fighting my computer at work.  Darn thing caught a virus too.  Hm, maybe that's were I got my cold from?  It's been quite frustrating because I'm no where near as productive as I'd like to be.  Love and hate this technology sometimes.  Speaking of work, I'm finishing my fourth year.  I am so blessed I work at a place where I enjoy the people, the work and my boss.  Just to have my job is a huge blessing in these economic times.  I don't take that lightly. 

Future post warnings:
1.  I have a busy day on Sunday, so I'm trying a new crockpot recipe, Shredded Korean Beef.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  If it's a winner, I'll post the recipe.  If not, I'll let you know it's not worth trying.  For family harmony it better turn out yummy. 

2.  I ordered a $20 DVD workout set that I'll get today.  It comes with 10 DVDs.  I figure for 20 bucks it's worth trying.  I'll try it out and see how it works.  Just like any workout video, I'm sure as long as you actually DO it, it has to help.  I'll let you know what I think of it and pass it along.

Well, there's my this and that's for the day.  Just a bunch of ramblings about nothingness.  This is what you'd get if you were sitting at my table today.  I've finished my coffee and paper, and now this post.  Off to turn on the college football games - one of my favorite Saturday activities. 

I hope your weekend is productive and family filled and relaxing all in one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall - What Fall?

What happened to Fall?  I love the change in seasons, but it seems like we barely had a summer then Fall came and went in just a couple of weeks.  No slow progression with the leaves slowly changing colors and meandering to the ground with multiple raking events to clear the yard.  In about two weeks everything changed and dropped and scraping windshields all came in one big whirlwind.  Alas, the trees are now bare and on to the next season - winter.

Winter.  It brings cozy nights in my flannels and slippers.  Thinking ahead to writing my Christmas cards and figuring out the annual picture.  Reminding my kids over and over to compile a gift list.  You'd think that would be an easy task, but after one or two items they seem to draw a blank.  Christmas decorations all over the house and lights outside.  I am also diligently working on winter NOT bringing extra body insulation - i.e. fat.  I'm trying to combat that now so when all the holiday eating begins, I will already have the mindset to just taste and not over indulge.  Because I love food.  I'll eat to the point where I'm uncomfortable.  Because I love food.

I have tried making a few new desserts with pumpkin puree.  I thought they turned out yummy.  I made pumpkin cookies and used the icing (I dipped them in to get a nice topping).  I thought they tasted better the next day after the pumpkin flavoring set in.  You can find the cookie recipe here, thanks Eat Yourself Skinny.  
This is her picture from the blog- much better than I could take

Next I made pumpkin and chocolate chip bars.  Pumpkin and chocolate, what's not to love?  To make this recipe even better, it's cooked all in a cast iron skillet.  Love that!  Here's the one pan pumpkin cookie, thanks to Created by Carol. 

Pumpkin one pan skillet cookie how-to pizookie-skookie
Carol's picture off her site.  Don't you just want to make them now?

So now that you have had a chance to see these yummy desserts I know you are going to go out and treat your family to pumpkin goodness.  Happy baking.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ah, the Weekend

What a busy week!  I don't know about you, but I am pooped.  All week I could not get to bed at a decent hour, many events to go to throughout the week, and chores...always so many chores.  At any given time, if you come to my home, you will most certainly see dishes in the sink.  I can't keep up with those pesky things. Our new dishwasher works great, but it is definitely smaller than the old one.  And the set up is different.  It just doesn't hold as much as our broken one.  If you are ever in the market for a new dishwasher, bring some of  your plates to make sure they fit properly and really look at the set up.  Live and learn.  At least I have a working one, because the manual one (my hands) aren't very reliable.

We love college football, so Saturdays we have the TV on all day.  We are busy throughout the day, but that box stays on so we can catch those lovely college games.  By the evening, we enjoy sitting as a family and watching the late games.  Good times.

I'm off to read the paper with my coffee (one of my favorite Saturday morning rituals), run some kids around, then tackle those dishes.  Oh, of course there is always laundry, vacuuming, toilet bowl scrubbing, the list is endless.  But I WILL get through some of it, and the others...isn't that what kids are for?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I still have one very large zucchini from my garden that I need to do something with.  Below is a great zucchini bread recipe that was passed on to me and I have to pass on to you.  It has chocolate - nuff said.  Actually, it is soooo good!  I have a dark chocolate fan at home (doesn't like sweet things much) who absolutely loved this bread.  You can also download it from allrecipes.com.

I also got the tip that you can grate your zucchini and freeze it.  I'll do that with the leftover zucchini after I make two batches of this bread.  Freeze in 2 cup batches (most recipes want 2 cups). 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
What you need:
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate     
3 eggs
2 C white sugar
1 C vegetable oil
2 C grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 C semisweet chocolate chips
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.  In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate squares until melted.  Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well.  Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheap Chicken

If you eat a lot of chicken breasts like we do you definitely want to register at this site here.

Unfortunately, the chicken sold out very fast, but if you register you will receive an email letting you know what events are coming up.  The chicken this time was only $1.49 per pound!  You have to buy in a minimum order of 40 pounds - baby it's worth it.

I've bought 7% fat hamburger for around $2.89/lb and bacon for about the same.  If you won't be able to use all the meat, go in with a friend.  That's what I did with the bacon. 

I wanted to make sure you were aware of this company and the great prices they offer.  I've been very happy with my purchases and I'm sure you will be too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A near miss - praise God!

How often do you start your dishwasher, laundry, or whatever, and leave to run errands, go to bed or just don't pay attention?  I do all the time.  We went away for the weekend and I started the dishwasher and we took off.  I usually run the dishwasher just before I go to bed. 

We got home from a weekend in the RV and after cleaning it out and putting everything away, I ran a load of dishes.  I was busy around the house and began to smell as though something plastic had landed on the heating element.  Checked and nothing there.  Closed door and went back to my tasks. 

A few minutes later the smell was getting stronger so I checked again.  Nothing.  Strange.  Closed the door.  Thankfully I didn't walk away because smoke began to billow out of the crack of the dishwasher door, and boy did it begin to smell electrical.  I opened the door to stop the cycle but water kept spewing from the wands for about 4 seconds.  The water finally stopped as I was reaching for the fire extinguisher.  The smoke finally stopped but our house smelled so bad - even with fans blowing and doors and windows open! 

I know by God's grace we were saved from a full blown electrical fire!  I am so thankful for what didn't happen - it didn't happen when we were gone.  It didn't happen when we were in bed.  It didn't happen to become a fire.  Thank you Lord, for again, as always, watching over my home and family.

The next day, we spent 4 hours shopping for a new dishwasher and were able to have it installed the following day.

I do love my modern conveniences.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The coffee is now poured

So I feel a need to be a bit creative, and decided to jump into the blogging world.  I enjoy reading a few blogs and thought I'd start one of my own.  So here goes....

A few times a year I invite women to my home for coffee.  No R.S.V.P. is asked - just show up if you can make it.  I've had anywhere from 0 - 10 women show and I love it! 

I'll continue to host coffees, but now you have the chance to show up any day, any time, no R.S.V.P. needed. 

My hope is to continue the fun and fellowship even if we aren't both sitting at my table.  This blog is my creative outlet to share fun things happening in my life, pass on a good deal I come across, a funny story...pretty much anything.  Just as if we were sitting across from each other, cup in hand, we can share a story.  Please feel free to post comments.  Then we really are having coffee together, sitting at my table chatting.

So, welcome and enjoy some Coffee At My Home.  I'm so glad you stopped by!