Thursday, December 30, 2021

Christmas Recap

Well I had planned to share a Countdown to Christmas post a few days before Christmas, but obviously that never happened. I was swept up in the busy-ness of preparing for family and once they arrived on the 23rd, I never even opened the laptop. I had a houseful until yesterday when the Arizona contingent headed back home. The Oklahoma contingent left the day before and I soaked up every moment they were here.

We drove in to town on the 24th for Christmas Eve church services. There is a gentleman on the worship team that sings O Holy Night each year and it's a highlight of the season for us. He has such a gifted voice and he brings us to tears every year. Our girl says it's not Christmas until we hear Sean.

Christmas morning dawned bright and early:

It was such a blessing to have E here for her 1st Christmas

We were all captivated by this little biscuit:

So fun to watch her explore and discover

Lots of good memories were made:

As gifts were unwrapped

And stories were shared

And family was treasured


Our girl posted this:

Boys. 😂

I made our girl a flannel rag quilt that I will post about in a bit:

DH's parents joined us for Christmas dinner and we enjoyed a good visit:

And yes, we ate Christmas dinner on paper plates. With 6 people, for 6 days, I cooked a lot and we washed a lot of dishes. Dear Kenny even washed dishes. Do not judge. LOL. Our girl spoiled us with homemade Eggnog to accompany our traditional Cranberry Sour Cream Pound Cake


And our annual Christmas puzzle was moved into my little kitchen because the island is taller than the dining room table and it's easier on DH's back, but I laughed at our set-up - notice my sewing light set on the stove:

Cooking was quite the challenge during the two days of puzzle obsession. This is the only time we ever even do a puzzle, but it has become a family tradition. Even the newest member of the family is included:

We played Trivial Pursuit twice and were amazed at how dumb it made us feel - with the exception of Steph - she was a rock star! -but we all learned something new and laughed a lot.

 At one point Kenny trotted over to my new Echo Dot to ask Alexa to confirm an answer. 😂 

We neglected to get a group shot of everyone, but our girl asked Kenny to snap a quick shot of the 2 of us before they headed out:

And I'm so glad she did! 

Then I found this behind my pillow when I crawled into bed that evening:

It made me laugh because I always tuck a little something behind the kids' pillows when they come home for a visit. 

Yesterday I set the house back to order and today I am recuperating. I may need more than 1 day, but  our girl bought me a Robo vac so I'm feeling spoiled. Tomorrow is DH's birthday and then I'll take 2 days to pack Christmas away. Someone is going to ask about the fun apron I'm wearing below. It was a gift from a dear friend - I love it - here's the story

Wishing you all a season of treasured memories as we ring in the New Year from the end of the dirt road:

Monday, December 20, 2021

Back to Texas

 Last Thursday we loaded up and headed back to Texas. Our dear friend, Bob passed away unexpectedly the Friday after Thanksgiving. He and his wife, Sue, are so special to us. I posted about them here, when I recently gave them a quilt. Bob & Sue

He will be missed greatly. Bob's celebration of life was this past Thursday so we left the house at 3 a.m. in order to be there for the service. Our girl drove from Oklahoma. If our son would have been closer, he'd have been there as well. We would have liked to leave on Wednesday, but we shipped out 114 steer calves that morning:

I made cookies that morning for the buyer, who is a friend, another friend who came to help, and our North Camp man and I added a Whopper Reindeer for each:

I've been making these for so long and each year I claim I will never make them again because I have given them to everyone we know, but then new folks pop up and I end up making more. They are just a silly little gift, but they seem to bring a little joy every time I share them:

We've known the buyer for 34 years, he's a friend and lives just 10 miles down the road, but we don't see him often so he and DH enjoy a good visit when we do:

So shipping the steers out was what dictated that we couldn't leave for Texas until Thursday. After, the memorial service, we checked in to the hotel and drove a few miles up the road to Gruene:

It was so nice having our girl with us:

We ate at the Gristmill:

We were pleasantly surprised to find this taking place across the street

It was such a fun night

Live music? Yes please!

The band, Grumpy Like Riley 😂 was we walked up they were just finishing up Mr. Bojangles. A favorite of mine. And this shot is another favorite:

We browsed through a few stores

And did a little bit of shopping

We stayed one night and headed back home the next morning. I love to cook, but once in a while it's a real treat to not have to:

It's almost a 9 hour drive. There was a time when we could drive straight through and only stop for fuel, but those days are gone. Now we have to get out every 3 hours or so and trot around a little. I feel like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz when we fold ourselves out of the truck. LOL. Down the road we were craving some good catfish so I did a little research on my phone and we gambled on this place in San Angelo:

I guess it's kind of a sports bar, but it had great ambiance and it was quiet

And the food was so good! Our catfish was outstanding. I ordered a delicious sweet potato hash and DH had the best fries with his. Definitely a place we'll revisit!

One day down. One day back. Another speedy trip and one we wish we hadn't had to make, but I'm so glad we were able to hug Sue's neck. We have so many wonderful memories of these special friends. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

The 2nd Week in December

 On Thursday I made a trip to Lubbock to finish up some Christmas shopping. 

I left the house at 6:00 a.m. and pulled back into the ranch at 8:30 p.m. It's a 2 hr 45  minute drive to Lubbock and I made 12 stops during the day. Our family is growing and I needed 3 new Christmas stockings. 2 bank stops to close out my mom's accounts. A few stops searching for something to wear to another funeral. Sigh. A stop to pick up a few groceries. And then various stops to knock out the rest of my list. To say I was pooped is an understatement. When I got home, DH was putting on the last of the venison on the dehydrator for jerky 

so I helped him scrub the kitchen. We love the jerky he makes every year, but it makes a huge mess. In past years he's gotten some big deer, but he really hunts for the meat. Then it was all I could do to take a shower and fall into bed. I am not a shopper. It just wears me out. 

On Saturday night we had a Christmas party to attend, but we were home by 9. There were about 40 people and they were in other rooms when I snapped this picture. I love their kitchen - I told our friend it was a great dancing kitchen - perfect spot to waltz around that big island.

I love Christmas, but it was rough last year and I think I'm trying to compensate this year. I missed decorating last year and it felt good to dig through all the boxes in the shed the day after Thanksgiving. I made the little gingerbread valance 30 years ago and it, along with the ristra of chili ornaments I made, has graced every kitchen window  at Christmas since then. 

I only decorate 1 tree, but I add the tall, thin lighted trees from Hobby Lobby to all the other rooms. 

I started some Christmas baking:

And I finished a few more Lined Drawstring bags:

Nothing feels rushed this year, but 4 days are already spoken for this week, 3 of them unexpectedly, so I needed to shuffle a few things around. Nothing a little prayer over a hot mug of tea won't fix.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Spinach Dip

 We've been making this dip for probably 20 years. 

We usually make it over the holidays and I've taken it to potluck functions. It's just on the back of the Knorr Vegetable Mix package, but it's definitely a family favorite so I wanted to reference it here so it would be easily accessible for the kids. 


Spinach Dip

I package Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained, and squeezed dry)

1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

16 oz. sour cream

1 C mayo

*Combine the sour cream and mayo. Stir in the spinach. Mix in the Knorr vegetable mix, water chestnuts, and green onions. Chill. Serve with crackers and vegetables.

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