Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cousins who wish they were sisters...

My niece is staying with us tonight, possibly for a couple of days. The kiddos are so thrilled to all be together. And, they are determined to see the New Year in for the first time this year! We'll see if they can stay awake that late...I hope that everyone has a FUN & safe night!

Happy New Year's Eve!!

Family Gathering

What a challenge it was getting all those cousins to pose together! They get along great, but did NOT want to crowd close together for a photo!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Silverware Humor

There was a vendor at a local craft fair this fall, who was selling items that she had created - jewelry, wind-chimes, key-chains, etc. - out of pieces of antique silverware. It was all beautiful and very creative. When I saw this one, I got such a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek humor of it that I just had to buy it for my husband for Christmas. He thinks it's really funny and has put his keys on it, even though it's really too big to fit comfortably in his pocket, which I think is very sweet of him.

The Best Gifts are Homemade!

I cook A LOT, and I have an extensive collection of spices 'cause I never know what I'm going to need for a new recipe. I've never had a good place to put them, so they have always been a mess in a kitchen drawer. Not anymore! My husband made me a spice rack for Christmas!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boyz & Birdhouses

My husband helped the boys build me birdhouses for Christmas, while I was away on my business trip to New Orleans. I LOVE them!
This morning he mounted them each on a pole in our yard.
I can't wait to see who sets up housekeeping in them this summer!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


She couldn't believe that Auntie M would actually give her the lamp that she so admired! Yes, my oldest step-daughter loves everything 70's...she's a displaced hippie, born 30 years too late!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A New T-shirt for Everyone

In April, we are going to take a trip to Tennessee to visit my sister & her family! I had a friend draw an image of the 7 of us driving down the highway in our Suburban, and we surprised the kiddos with screen-printed t-shirts (made by Hot Colors in Norway, Maine) for Christmas. At this point, they are trying to figure out what the t-shirts say and what it means to them. Shortly after I took this picture, there was LOTS of jumping around and screams of excitement! We are all super excited about this trip!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

I do believe that I have created a monster...

Our younger son asked for, and received, a camera for Christmas. Immediately after opening it, he called for a pause in the festivities so that he could load it with batteries & a memory card. Then, he started calling out directions for poses, and every time someone opened another gift, he made them wait until he took a picture of it! It was too funny! My husband just shook his head and asked me if I knew who he was acting like? "" I replied, sheepishly.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'm not sure where to begin...

There are so many memories, so many stories, so many songs...I had no idea it would be this hard to lose my uncle today. I thought I was prepared. After all, he has been sick for a while now. Somehow, that doesn't seem to be helping.

As usual, I turned to my pictures, and I decided to cry over my photo albums. I found the first picture that I have of myself with him, and then the most recent one, taken at our wedding a few months ago.
As my step-daughter so eloquently put it, we are 'devastated' this evening. But, we also know that he is no longer in pain and is resting easy now. We will miss him very much.

Merry Christmas!

We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

He Really Was Here!

It looks like Santa enjoyed his snack...
He even left the kiddos a note, which my son read out loud for all of us to hear.
He was so proud to be able to claim that he was the one who made those yummy Chocolate Chip cookies. 'Course as far as he's concerned, there is no other type of cookie!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just Passing Thru!

Sometimes I think I should have been a gypsy...lately the road has been calling to me. I think it's because of our yucky weather and knowing that there are still several months of winter left to go. This isn't my camper, but I love the sentiment on it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

White Fuzz Balls

Lily & her little goat buddies, Heckel & Jeckel are enjoying our mild winter. They are still able to graze on the lawn in December!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rosebushes? What rosebushes?!

I caught our goat, Heckel, in my flower garden the other day. He was happily munching away...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Great Bumper Sticker

I try very hard to apply this slogan to my life. Obviously, it's not realistic to expect to have fun all the time, but if I'm not happy, I do try to do something about it. There have been times in my life when I didn't make changes, and I regret that. A few people have commented (With some jealousy, I might add.) on how could our business trip to New Orleans look like so much fun? Well, it's because I work with a wonderful group of people. When my job gets tough, I remember them and realize how lucky I am to work where I do. My work-family makes all the difference in the world to me. Thanks, guys!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good Ol' Andy

I apologize for the horrible picture, but I promised you a story about Good Ol' Andy, so here it is...

We were wandering around the French Market in New Orleans on Thursday afternoon, when we came upon a line-up of mule-drawn carriages, waiting to give tourists a spin around town. I, of course, had to stop and visit each of these critters and give them some loving.
One of them was a very noticeably elderly mule named Andy. I commented to his driver that he must have been working for more than a few years. The driver said that he had, but that Andy had plenty of years left in him! I agreed, but asked, out of curiosity, "Just how old is Andy?" "Sure, he's old, he's 14," replied the driver, acting offended. I just looked back at him with a raised eyebrow, thinking to myself, "14 isn't old. I do believe he's more like 40!"
One of my friends told me afterward that he was ready to get me out of the fight that was about to start - he was sure that I was going to open up that mule's mouth and prove the driver wrong! I'll tell you what, I was sure tempted! I hate it when someone assumes that I am stupid. But, I'm sure that he gets lots of comments from less knowledgable folks that might think that Andy is too old to be working. Quite honestly, steady work will keep an equine young! I hope that Andy stays healthy and keeps right on pulling a wagon 'til his final days.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I brought a little taste of New Orleans home with me. What a yummy breakfast we had this morning!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

These gingerbread houses were amazing - the attention to detail was incredible!

They were on display under ornate Christmas trees spread throughout the Marriott's lobby.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Working Girl

We saw lots of 'working girls' on Bourbon Street, but I think this one was the most nervous - she was trying to paw the shoe off her hoof! I spoke to her driver and he said that although she has been a driving mule for many years, this was one of her first days carting tourists around the city. She'll settle down once she gets used to her new job...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My View this Week

I am currently living on the 19th floor of the Marriott on Canal Street, enjoying a great view of the Mississippi River and part of The Big Easy!

In the center of the photo, you can see Harrah's. We spent a couple of evenings wandering around the casino. The building itself is beautiful, both inside & out. As a finishing touch to their Christmas theme, there is actually a snow-making machine above the door. We were walking in at the same time as some women from Waco, Texas and they were getting such a thrill out of the snow falling down on them. After watching for a while, I finally got up the courage to play a game of Blackjack. It didn't take me long to lose the little bit of money that I was playing with, but I had a great time doing it! Apparently, even though I have taught the kids simple math by playing Blackjack for pennies, I still don't know enough about strategy. Oh well!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This is why I am in New Orleans - a DOE (Department of Energy) conference on the benefits of weatherizing homes. There are over 3300 people here, representing each state in the Union, several US Territories and tribal nations. It is amazing! What a great people-watching opportunity for me, as well as a great way to learn how to do my job better.

Monday, December 12, 2011

36,000 Feet in the Air

Did someone actually do this? Is that why they had to post this warning on the wing of the airplane?!

Today my job is flying me & several of my colleagues to New Orleans, Louisiana, for a conference.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hanging the Wreath

This year we didn't make our own, but bought them (1 for the door & 1 for Lazy) from the Paris Elementary PTO, which held a Holiday Festival & Craft Fair yesterday morning. The girls & I really enjoyed checking out all the offerings of the local craft makers. I got the funniest gift for my husband and can't wait for him to open it on Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All Lit Up!

My husband finished putting up the Christmas lights this afternoon - the house looks awesome! I love it when it's all lit up, and will be very sad to take the lights back down in January.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Putting their heads together...

It's nice to have an older brother when you need help with your homework!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Best with chicken...

A few months ago I was looking for a quick and easy way to cook some chicken for dinner. I came across a recipe for Chicken Marsala and have been making it regularly every since. Even our pickiest kid loves it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Best when warm...

What do you do when you have over-ripe bananas? Make bread, of course. YUMMY!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Heart-Leaf Philodendron

I figure this must be one of my happiest, healthiest plants. It just keeps on growing, and has even started to climb up the ceiling. My husband figures that eventually it will take over our bedroom, like in the movie, Jumanji.

Starry Lights

We have been busy decorating our house for Christmas, both inside and out! The deck looks great with these starry lights strung all around it. It makes me smile!