Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

When I saw this photo of Sweet Pea's front door I instantly wanted to try it for myself.

Believe it or not, I could not find pinecones.  It was crazy!  I have pine trees all around.  Ironman said maybe they don't drop their cones until the spring.  Maybe.....

I did manage to find several small ones.  
They were so soft I did not need to use a drill to make a hole for the eye hook.  I just pushed the hook in and twisted it.  A couple of the pinecones couldn't take the pressure and crumbled in my hand. 
This wasn't going good!!

I had some baby blue ribbon, but not enough to tie all these pinecones. 
 I had some burnt orange - but that seemed to Autumn-ish.  
I had red - but that seemed to Christmasy.
I had white - but my front door is white.
I had black but........... nope.
So I settled for the yellow.  

I tied each pinecone and hung the decoration.
But the yellow ribbon seemed one dimensional against the white door.

 So I added the brown grosgrain.  It has tiny snowflakes printed on one side.  It helped add depth.   For a 20 minute project (not counting the time it took me to search for pinecones) it looks fine.

But I'm waiting for those large pinecones to fall.   This year I'll gather up a basketful and save them for the next project.

Happy New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Boxes and Boxes and Boxes!

Today twas the day.   The day my family dreads.  Today was the day the Christmas Decorations must be repacked and put away for another year.

Ready or not.  Here we go.

 Boxes and Boxes

 More Boxes

 Christmas Tree is looking sad and bare. 

 We interrupt this story of packing decorations to show this machine.  It lives in my kitchen.  All you have to do is load it with dishes, add a little square cube of soap, shut the door, push the button.  Half an hour later you have clean dishes.  It's almost magic.

But what do I see?  Dishes IN the machine.   You see, I had almost finished loading it.  I.T. girl was still eating a little lunch.  I asked her when she was finished eating,  to please drop her dish in the dishwasher, add soap, and START it.  "Sure" she said happily.  It's now 4:20pm.  I just happened to walk by the kitchen and you guessed it - all I see is the dishwasher left exactly the way, well, exactly the way I left it.  I just had to take a photo.  I couldn't resist.  And her dish?  It's in the sink.  It made me laugh.  Honestly, I actually laughed.  

If I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, I don't know what they would do.  :)

Late yesterday afternoon I did a quick craft project.  It is easy peasy.  Honestly, easy peasy.  And it cost me $0.  I already had all the materials. 
I found the tutorial here: Pottery Barn Knock Off Musical Candles

Dropped the candles in hurricane vases.  Added cinnamon sticks.  I only had 2 candles the color I wanted so the middle hurricane is filled with potpourri.  I used burlap for a runner.  

Love, love, love the display.  Can't wait to add a few more little things.  I'm thinking about those Mason Jar Snow Villages.  Hmmmmm  

A new Year filled with new projects.  YIPPEE

Thursday, December 29, 2011


There are a few specific parts of my life I keep private.  I never speak of certain events or people.  I keep these undercover because to speak of them would make me remember.  I don't want to remember.  I don't want to deal with it.  I don't want others to know because then they'll have to deal with a new part of me.  And I'd rather not pass that burden on to anyone.

Years ago I had a Shaggy Dog.  I heard from someone this week who reminded me of that Shaggy Dog.  The voice sounded the way I remembered, but the words being said were strangely confrontational.   Part of me wanted to say, "What's with the attitude?" but the protective part of me consciously removed myself from the conversation.  I have learned to practice the art of golden silence in these situations.  Stay polite, attentive but do not add fuel to the fire.  

When the voice faded I was left to remember.  I struggled to remember anything pleasant.  Anything good.  I realized I can only remember the bad days.  I can only remember the bad feelings.

I walked around my new house and I was amazed.  Who lives here?  Whose house is this?  It's beautiful.  The family that lives here is warm and friendly and pleasant.  They love each other.  They like each other.  THEY GET ALONG!!  Wait, this is my family!  This is the family I have always dreamed about.  This is the family I prayed for year after year.

I don't have to return to the ugly days.  I don't have to remember.  I can put my past behind me and move forward.  My Lord and Savior promised me He'd stay by my side and all thing would work together for good.  Wow.  I'm so glad I trusted Him  I am thankful I had adults around me who guided and accepted me.  And to the adults who pushed me aside, I have given up the wish that it could be different.  It is what it is.

Today a decision was made.  I was not part of that decision.  Ironman got a phone call.  Why wasn't I called?  I don't know.  I guess it was easier to call him.  I'm thankful he did the talking.  I'm glad that he has my back.

As I loaded yet another load of dirty clothes into the washer, I was thankful I have a family.  As I started some supper, I was thankful there are people here who will be eating dinner with me.  As I began packing away a few Christmas Decorations, I was thankful our holiday was so festive and bright.  I was thankful for my family.  Slowly I am healing.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where do I begin

I have so much to say I don't know where to begin.

I need to gather and organize my thoughts.

Let me start with this:  I have tonsillitis.  Again.  Yippee for me.  In fact, I don't think I have it "again".  I think it's the same strain of tonsillitis I had 3 weeks ago that never completely healed.  Yes, I finished a complete 10 day round of antibiotics.  I remember on Day 8 thinking that although I felt better, I didn't feel well.  Then with the whirlwind of Christmas and gifts and eating I just put my scratchy throat on the back burner.  Yesterday the headache returned.

Here's the story of my yesterday.  It started with my van.  I loaded all 3 teenagers in the van and headed to the dentist.  We had to stop to fill up the tank and as I turned the key to leave the battery was dead.  D.E.A.D.  How could that happen in less than 10 minutes?  I'm grateful I wasn't in the middle of nowhere.  Ironman drove over and we swapped cars. I managed to make it to the dentist only 3 minutes late.  The teenagers and I all had our teeth cleaned.  Don't you just hate to have your teeth cleaned?  I've suffered through many dental appointments in my life and I admit that the dentist we see now is the best.  Painless.  Honestly, he's painless.  The hygienists though are a different subject.  Dancer Girl and I were paired with one hygienist.  When she stepped out of the room I carefully searched for a dixie cup - anything I could fill with water to take 2 tylenol.  My headache was returning.  Can you believe I could not find ONE THING to fill with water?  NOTHING.  In the dental office!  News from the dental chair:  No cavities.  I have three children and only one of them has ever had a cavity.  One cavity among them.  Wow, fluoride changes everything.  Dentist Fred told me that I.T. girl's wisdom teeth are moving and she has another year before we need to have them extracted.  So he'll X-ray them again in 6 months.  Dancer Girl has braces on her teeth and everything is fine.  The Engineer had his wisdom teeth extracted over a year ago.  Everything was fine.  Then it was my turn - I have to return in 2 weeks to repair a cracked filling.  Oh yes, I had many, many cavities when I was a young girl.

By the time we left the dental office I was not feeling well.  We headed over to Grand Lady's house as I had arranged to take her to lunch while we were all out together.  Chinese.  I enjoy chinese as much as the next woman, but this particular chinese restaurant - Grand Lady's choice - seems to always upset my stomach.  Loverly.  Still we had a nice lunch.  The teens enjoy it.  It was nice to sit and talk and visit and let someone else do the dishes for a change.

I barely made it home with my headache.  Ironman had been home alone all this time.  I had visions of walking into a sparkling house smelling of lemon pledge and cascade.  Supper preparations beginning.  The dog washed and fed.  Clean towels in all the bathrooms.  Wow.  A girl can dream.  Or, as they say in junior high, "And then I woke up"  The house was just as I left it.  In fact, the trash was just where I had left it.  I had no strength to comment.  My head required it all.

Thus the blog got no attention last night.

Which brings us to today.

I feel a little better.  Enough to decide I'll wait one more day before I return to the doctor.  Besides, I had so much to do.   I didn't have time to sit in a waiting room.  And, in fact, by the afternoon I did feel better.

Because we were totally out of groceries, I knew I couldn't avoid Kroger another day.  I first went to Target and then to Kroger.

Can you say ANNOYING SHOPPERS?  Oh my.  I was elbowed, squeezed past, bumped into, leaned across and stepped in front of.  There were only a handful of shoppers looking through the Christmas markdowns at Target but these ladies were not playing games.  I finally gave up.  I do not need another silver ornament so badly that I am willing to risk a broken leg.

I did not see one exciting markdown at Target.  I looked for Holiday items in other parts of the store.  Santa Ziplocs and Frosty Napkins were all still full price.  The only thing I saw that was marked down were Glade Candles.  I did not buy any Glade Candles.

On to Kroger.

Armed with my handy dandy coupon binder filled with many coupons that are set to expire on 12/31, and the awareness that we have nothing to eat in my house , I was set for battle.  

 Love Louisiana Yams  
And is it just me or does this cabbage look lovely?  **it looked beautiful in person.  I took these food pix with my iPhone camera.  

Although the produce was beautiful, there were not  many deals at Kroger, either.
The only deal I did find was on orange juice.

Both the Minute Maid Pure Squeezed and the Tropicana 50 were on sale for $2.88.  I had 4 $1.00 coupons.  And as much orange juice as those people in my house drink, this was a deal.
Believe it or not, as I was leaving Kroger I texted I.T. girl to let her know I would be home soon and be prepared to help unload the car.  When I got home I realized I did not have my house key.  I rang the doorbell over and over and over until finally Dancer Girl let me in the house.

Just a typical day.

Have you ever had one of those days where just the most mundane things were so much trouble?  Are the shoppers in your area crazy after Christmas?  And what's with this weather?  It was in the 60s today!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After

 The gifts are unwrapped.
 The boxes are flattened, stacked and ready for the recycling truck.
 The refrigerator is full of leftovers.
 It's chilly and rainy.  In fact, it's been chilly and rainy for several days.  
 Things are relaxed and easy.
I only have one sweater to return.
We had a wonderful Christmas.

My teenagers put on a show for us on Christmas Eve.  I.T. girl had changed the lyrics to such classics as Lion King's Can You Hear the Love Tonight.  It was changed to "Can You See The Christmas Lights"  Silly and funny and remarkably creative.  I laughed until I cried.  

Remember my mentioning how different Christmas is when you have a houseful of teenagers?  Christmas Morning The Ironman and I were both up at 6:30.  We sat by the Christmas Tree with our morning coffee.  Talked and reminisced.  The house was quiet.  Oh how I remember those 3am mornings of excited gift opening.  I had already "warned" those teens that if they weren't up by 9am I was going to wake them up.  Sure enough, by 8:30am we heard movement and 3 sleepy teenagers headed down the stairs and straight to the kitchen.  As I stared in disbelief they ALL poured milk and juice and loaded up their breakfast plates with croissants and eggs that I had waiting for them.  BEFORE PRESENTS?  Ironman and I could only stare.  Wow!  

Opening presents in the past was a frenzy of flying paper and boxes and lasted 20 minutes from beginning to end.  It was like a whirlwind.  And I loved it.  This Christmas gift opening was slower and easier and each teen took the time to watch the gifts opened by others.  They laughed and commented.  They'd even stop for a while to get another croissant or more juice.  The Engineer even commented that "at this rate we'll still be opening gifts at noon".  

Everyone got a big surprise which is always so fun for Santa.  The Dancer Girl got boots that she was not expecting and never dreamed in a zillion years Santa would bring them to her.  I.T. girl received a camcorder for her budding film career.  The Engineer opened a surprise gift of ski boots.  Santa even managed to surprise The Ironman.  (with a GPS running gear thingie that goes in your shoes?  Don't ask me.  But he was excited and couldn't wait to go for a long run)

Can you guess what Santa brought me?  I wasn't expecting it. Oh sure, I had kidded around about buying one.  But all I really wanted for Christmas was family

A Canon Rebel!

More photos to come

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas.

We worshipped.

We celebrated.

We ate.

We opened gifts.

We laughed.

We ate some more.

It was a wonderful Christmas.

I am thankful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

It happens every year.

Right when I think I'm ready for Christmas, I get that inkling feeling.  That "are you sure you have everything?" feeling.  And this feeling usually results in a last minute shopping splurge.

So this morning Ironman were leaving the courthouse after paying our property taxes and  that feeling overcame me.

We headed straight to Best Buy.  I just didn't think I had everything.  I just felt like I needed one more gift for I.T. girl.  I listed the gifts I had wrapped and hidden for The Engineer and The Dancer Girl.  I told Ironman I just wanted to get I.T. girl one more gift.  Something she won't expect.  Just something.  I wasn't sure what.  He suggested a NOOK.  But no, that didn't sound right.  She does read so, so much but she has never mentioned wanting a NOOK or a KINDLE.  In fact, she's listed many reasons she was not interested in either one .
Her favorite store?  Best Buy.  So we headed through the traffic toward the strip mall.

Stepping into the store I couldn't help but notice the long, long line of customers waiting to check out.  I did a quick scan of the store - seeing as I've been inside this store maybe 5 times - to zero in on the department I was going to peruse.  If didn't take long for me to spot an item I know she'll enjoy and be surprised that Santa delivered.  The sales associates I spoke with were relaxed and helpful.  And everything was in stock.

In fact, standing in line to check out I noticed a woman behind me holding a Wii.  Wow!  I can remember when you couldn't find a Wii anytime past October 31.  And there she was purchasing one on December 23.

I also noticed the $4.99 bin of Cds.  I picked up a Lionel Richie CD.  "Poor Lionel.  You're in the cheap bin!"  I said laughing.  But then I picked up another - Aerosmith.  Another - Three Dog Night.  OH MY GOSH!  I picked up one CD after another from this bin and they were all bands and music we knew.  Harry Chapin, Bread, America - CDs thrown in the cheap bin right there next to Elvis sings Hawaiian.   I should have bought them all.  I think I'll go back next week and choose a couple of them.

Leaving the store it was noticeable that in just that short time the temperature outside had dropped and the wind had picked up.  I was glad to be going home to a warm house.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

             It is chilly and rainy.
The house is quiet because it's 6:30am.
I'm not going anywhere.
Nobody is coming over.
Ironman gets home today .
I'm in the mood to cook.
Imagine that.  

First Recipe:
Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
I once prepared this recipe and took it to work.  So many people stopped by my classroom or left notes in my box requesting the recipe, that I finally just made copies and left them on the table by the coke machine.  It continues to be a hit.  I almost always make it around Christmas because I have a pretty bowl to put it in.  

I took photos this morning as I prepared it.  It is easy peasy.
Shred 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts.  
I had chicken left over from P.W.'s chicken pot pie I prepared Tuesday night.
Chop 3 green onions.
                                          Put chicken and green onions in pretty bowl.
                                                 Add 2 tablespoons poppy seed.
 Let me take a break and give you time to admire my measuring spoons.  PRETTY!
I have a set of measuring spoons and a set of measuring cups.  Love them.  Here are a few of the measuring cups.

Oops.  One of them has cinnamon in it.  Or had cinnamon in it.  I should take better photos.  Sorry.

                                                  Back to the chicken salad recipe.
                                    Next add 2/3 cup chow main noodles to bowl.
                                                   Add 2/3 cup slivered almonds.
                            *I don't measure these.  I admit it.  I just pour a few noodles and
                          a few almonds and eye ball it.
                                                          Give everything a toss.
                                                For the dressing:  1 cup vegetable oil
                                                                                  1/2 cup sugar
                                                                                   1 Tablespoon vinegar
                                                                                  salt and pepper

                                      I mix mine in a Mason jar.  Give it a good shake.
                                           Chill in the refrigerator.  Chill the salad, too.
  Do you see that Kroger Brand plastic wrap?  I heart it.  I've always been a victim of plastic wrap.  It doesn't seal.  It doesn't tear out of the dang box.  I've thrown entire boxes away before because it was just so AGGRIVATING!  But this stuff - I bought it because it was so much cheaper.  Let's be honest about that.  Wow!  Cheaper and easier and seals consistently.  Thank you Kroger.

I chilled the dressing separately from the salad.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.  Give it a good toss.  Serve with crackers.  Or as a sandwich.  Or just plain.  It was gone in a flash at my house.

After the salad, I cleaned up the kitchen.  

I like to clean as I work. I like things organized and tidy.  I once had a teacher at school step into my classroom for some adult conversation.  She watched me tidying up and organizing and rearranging and wiping things with clorox wipes.  After a few minutes she said, "You know, my MIL used to tell me to clean up as I was cooking.  Clean as you go. But that doesn't make you a better cook.  It just gives you a clean kitchen."

I ignored the comment.  

After I cleaned up my chicken salad work area, I started on COOKIES!!

Oatmeal cookies
World Famous Butter Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Snowball Cookies

All the cookie recipes start with "1 cup of butter"

I won't add the step by step directions, etc.  But I must show you something lovely.
This Cuisinart Mini Chopper.  I've had it for 24 years.  Yes, yes I have.  It was a wedding gift from a cousin.  I'm sure it'll chop just about anything, but when it comes to chopping nuts - there is no other tool I'd choose.
                                                      Drop in the pecans.
                                              Plug it in.  Swirl the top.  Count to 5.
                                              Perfectly chopped nuts.
                       Oh sure, I have a food processor. In fact, I have 2.  But when I just
need a few nuts chopped for a recipe, I grab the mini chopper.
                        Here's my prepared cookie dough.  Wrapped in Kroger Plastic Wrap.
                                         Labeled with my handy dandy label maker.

                  After Christmas I'm going to really cut back on the butter and sugar.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Countdown

Today I was thinking how Christmas Celebrations have changed since I've had children.  And even more so now that those children are teenagers.  Wow.  What a difference.

I used to Christmas Toy shop at Target all summer long.  You know that end of summer toy clearance sale Target has?  Wow.  I'd stock up.  Lego building kits, anything Barbie, anything you can play with outside.  By the time the Christmas Countdown got down to the wire I had all the gifts bought, wrapped, labeled and hidden.

I was super Christmas Elf.

But in the last few years Christmas has gotten more complicated.  And it's because I'm buying for teenagers now.  And teenagers are very, very specific in what they want.  And the things they want are very expensive.  You can't buy that in the summer.  Because what is hot in July will be old news by December.  The latest and greatest will come on with a generation 2 just before Thanksgiving.  So save your cash.

Also, my teenagers are really into fashion.  Clothes.  Now I know, I know, the sales on clothes after Christmas will be fantastic.  But I have to put something for them under the tree.  I've bought boots, sweaters, pants, shirts, socks and even underwear this year.
I did luck out and hit a 30% off sale at JCrew in Dallas.  They had a large section of items already marked down.  So combine the mark downs with the 30% off with The Engineer's student 15% off............ I scored some pretty sweaters at a decent price.  Teenagers can be very designer conscious.  So the JCrew label will score points for me!

Don't tell I.T. girl, but one of her sweaters is wrapped in a JCrew box.  However it came from Gap.  I heart Gap.  I.T. Girl - not so much.  But what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

We decorated Gingerbread Houses last night.

Fun and they enjoyed it.

Here's how it looked when I woke up at 4:30 this morning.  Yes, I've been waking up that early this week.  It's a good thing I did because look what was waiting for me..

And this:

Wow.  What did I use to clean it up?  My handy dandy Donny Osmond Broom, of course.   I'm telling ya, that thing can clean it ALL.  I should do some research on this broom.  If anything ever happens to it I'll be up a creek without a............. BROOM!

Teenage Christmas is busier.  Teenage Christmas is more expensive.  Teenage Christmas requires a lot of FOOD.

Speaking of food, here is what was eaten today:
Biscuits, eggs, turkey meatballs with sauce, chips and salsa, crackers and cheese, rice krispie treats  (homemade by Dancer Girl) Christmas Cookies (homemade by I.T. girl)
catfish, shrimp, french fries, salad, oranges and pears (I cut up the fruit and put it in front of them. )  And the night is young!

I ran the dishwasher twice already today.  I'll start it again before I go to bed.

I had to make an emergency run to Kroger this afternoon for more food and toilet paper.  I forgot about needing extra toilet paper!

I love having these teenagers in the house.  I love that they are still interested in hanging out with Mom at home.  I love that they are excited about Christmas.  I love that they enjoy each other.
I love having extra food in the refrigerator and extra laundry by the washer.

Christmas is good this year

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Crafting and Cooking


The first weekend in December was busy.  Ironman, both girls, and I went to visit The Engineer at College.  We chose that weekend - or, should I say, that weekend chose us because Ironman and The Engineer were both running in a marathon.  And they did run.  In the rain and sleet.  The girls and I stayed in our warm hotel bed!  We supported them from the Comforter Area.

The day before the marathon was a Saturday.  And so the girls and I decided to explore a huge mall that was near our hotel.  I.T. girl enjoys Anthropology.  Walking through the store we noticed these paper Christmas Trees.  I.T. girl noticed the paper was actually sheet music.  The price?  A whopping $48 for the largest one.  We looked at the tree, discussed how it was made.  I know I took a quick photo of it with my phone but when I got home the photo wasn't in the library.  Maybe I didn't take a photo.  
Have you ever shopped with TWO TEENAGE GIRLS?  Oh my gosh.  It was a long, long day of patience and walking on a tight wire.  It wore me out! 

But more about that later.

Finally today I went to one of my favorite blogs.  (Is it a blog?  Or a website?)I found the directions here:
And there it was.  The sheet music Christmas Tree with complete how-to instructions.

The project began yesterday.  I didn't have a sheet music collection or even a hymnal that I wanted to cut apart.  I went to the G.W. (goodwill) and searched and searched for a hymnal.  Never found one.  However, I did find this song book.

I already had the round disc.  I don't know WHY I had the round disc.  I guess I was planning to use it for something.  I also already had the dowel.  At first I thought it would be too skinny seeing as it was 3/16" in diameter.  But it turns out that is the perfect size for a common hole puncher hole.  

You know what I mean.

I followed the instructions.   I did not use the entire songbook.  In fact, I only used 15 pages.  There are enough pages left to make a second and third tree.

The best part of the project?  POWER TOOLS

Drills, stapler guns, rotary sanders, power saws - I heart them all.  And the small hole I drilled in the center of the round disc fit the dowel perfectly.  I didn't even use glue.

I gave it a quick coat of white spray paint.  I didn't bother priming or even sanding.

I cut the sheet music per instructions.  And then just stacked them.  Easy Peasy.

Add a star at the top - that needs some glitter - and this tree cost me:
white disc:  free.  I already had it.  Probably $1 - $2 at Michaels
Dowel:  free. But they are 39 cents each at Michaels
White spray paint:  free.  Already had it
Songbook:  50 cents at Goodwill
Star for the top:  Pack of 4 were $1 in the Dollar Bins at Michaels.  

Anthropology version:  $48
Red Shoe Version:  $1.50 + some odd materials laying around my house.  

So that was fun.  

I'm already wondering how it would look if I used catalog paper.  Trust me, I have enough catalogs to make a FOREST of trees.  

Meanwhile I cooked and cleaned.  
Today the teenagers ate biscuits, bacon and eggs for breakfast, fast food take out for lunch (because I sent them on a few errands and gave them money to grab lunch)
Chicken Pot Pie ala The Pioneer Woman for supper.  
Dancer Girl just asked me "What's for dessert?"  
Ironman is out of town today.  
This morning as we were discussing our day and other little things that need to be done before Christmas, I mentioned to him that today is day #8 of my 10 day antibiotics and I'm just now feeling well.  (I went to the doctor last week for tonsillitis)  

Although I didn't mention this to Ironman, I was also thinking to myself how Mother Nature is so unpredictable as of late.  Will this be a short month or will she skip a couple of months?  She skipped November, showed up last Thursday.  65 days late.  And now I'm on day 6 and things are still cooking.  If you know what I mean.  

I was thinking to myself that this inconvenience was contributing to my feeling of being not well.  I was feeling wiped out.

Ironman sat there lazily staring at his iPad as he does every morning.  
Then he casually says to me with all seriousness:  "This is the longest I've ever had a cold. If I'm not feeling better by Thursday I'm going to make a doctor's appointment"


He has a cold.  A few sniffles.  A little congestion.  No fever.  No nausea.  No headache.  No body aches.  

Tomorrow's headline:  Sickest Man in the World Living in Our Neighborhood.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today is my first day of Christmas Vacation.  School resumes January 2nd. 
 I woke up at 3:45 am not feeling well.  It has been one week since I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with tonsillitis and although I feel better, I don't feel well.  I laid in bed for awhile but soon decided to get up and find something interesting to do.
I like the early mornings when the house is quiet.  It's prime time for me.  
I started with the laundry.  Not much to wash and dry, but oh so much to fold and hang and put away.  
I unloaded the dishwasher.  
Made a pot of coffee.
Read the newspaper.  
And then continued cleaning.
Ahhhhh, my Donny Osmond Broom.   I named the magic red broom that special name.  Years ago I went to see the Donster in Dallas.  He was the featured speaker at a Women's Symposium.  So exciting.  Afterwards the vendors opened their booths and my fellow Donny fans and I wandered around all afternoon, sampling  and shopping. There was a booth featuring this broom.  The salesman did some amazing demonstrations.  He showed how you could clean up sand, sugar, mud, anything wet or dry.  At the end of his performance he said the first 10 people could purchase one broom for $15 and get a second one free.  So Marsha and I jumped at the chance.  We each paid $7.50 and walked away happy owners of a new red broom.  It was funny watching these red brooms all over the showroom area.  And now, years later - could it be 10 years? - I'm still using this broom.  And it honestly does clean up  everything.  One of the best uses:  "raking" carpet under beds.  Grabbing dust bunnies. So in our house if I say, "please go get the Donny Broom" everyone knows what I'm talking about."  

This morning after cleaning the laundry room, I swept the kitchen and hallways.  

I soon grabbed some coffee and noticed on the calendar by my computer that I had a dental appointment at 11.  I decided to call and confirm and I'm glad I did.  My appointment is scheduled for NEXT week.  

Breakfast:  Monkey Bread
There have been a lot of sales on crescent rolls leading up to the holidays.  I'm overrun with them.
I took this photos after I grabbed 3 rolls to use for monkey bread.  
Crescent rolls, sugar, cinnamon, butter, maple syrup.  
I don't have any fancy smancy maple syrup straight from the maple tree.  My kids won't care.  And this syrup with be fine.
Laid out the dough.  Cut into equal parts.  Rolled into balls.  Dropped in cinnamon sugar mixture.
Drop 3 or 4 coated dough balls into muffin tins.  We like the individual servings for portion control and because they bake through and through.  Nothing like undercooked dough with a little cinnamon for breakfast.
I tried to take a photo of them baking.  The oven is directly across from the kitchen window that gets a lot of morning light.  Bake 15 minutes.  375 degrees.

Breakfast is served.  I have a house of teenagers now.  They will eat anything.  

Time to get some work done around here.  But first I have errands.  Ugh how they annoy me.  But I know I'm the only one who will take care of certain things........... I have 2 other drivers upstairs playing the Wii.  I could force them to drive around town but a few hours by myself in the car alone stuck in Christmas Traffic sounds appealing!  

UPS store:  to return The Engineer's Textbooks we rent from Chegg.  Easy enough

Next the G.W.  I was on the hunt for a hymnal and maybe a rectangular shaped tray.  More on that later.  I found a songbook that'll do.  No trays today.  

I went into Walgreens for scissors.  They were not on sale so I did not purchase them.
I went into the grocery store.  My vacation home.  I grabbed a few things for supper tonight and meals tomorrow.  Teenagers eat all the time.

Believe it or not, these few little errands took over 2 hours.  There is a LOT of Christmas Traffic.

When I walked in, my sparkly clean kitchen was hidden under a buffet of tortillas, french fries, sandwich items, dirty dishes.......... I mean what happened?  Ironman was home from work and trying to load the dishwasher.    I have got to remember to take a photo of his dish arrangement in the dishwasher.  It is definitely photo worthy.

I had some gifts to wrap.  
I have a craft room upstairs but the Wii is in that room and frankly, it's quieter in my bedroom.  So I keep the Christmas Gift Wrap supplies in there.  Paper and boxes in one long box.  Tape, ribbon, scissors, pens, tags divided in the smaller box.
Speaking of dividers, I LOVE these little cardboard dividers from Target.  You can find them in the Dollar Spot.  Love them.  
Wow, this photo is blurry.  Santa - I need a NEW CAMERA.  But back to the little Target boxes, I use them all over my house.

They corral my nail polish.
The hold pony tail holders by my blow dryer.
They corral extras in the bottom drawer.  Everything from tylenol, bandaids, to contact lens, toothpaste, and deodorant.  

I like to divide things.  Here's my top cosmetic drawer.
These acrylic dividers are not from Target.  I have had them since I was a teenager.  They fit perfectly inside a drawer.  I love, love drawer dividers.  
Just for fun, here's Ironman's Bathroom Drawer
Ha!  I asked him once if he'd like me to organize his drawer.   
"what for?"
I guess he's got a point.  
And yes, there are TWO poison ivy treatments.  Because he runs in the woods, and rides bikes in the woods, and digs in the yard he must scrub his skin if he even thinks he has come in contact with that plant.  The Zanfel is marvelous.  You have a poison ivy rash?  Zanfel scrub will wash away all the poison resin and within an hour your skin will be clear.  True Story!  (I have not been compensated for my opinion.  They have no idea who I am)

I started on my craft project but had to stop before I could finish.  I'll take more photos tomorrow.  But this is why I wanted a hymnal.  I cut all the pages from a songbook I found at Goodwill.  Punched holes in the center.  

Teenagers are hungry.  Again.  

Grabbed onions, bell peppers, celery (Cajun Trinity) one can of tomato paste and a tomato.  I don't know why there's a small box of vanilla.  I didn't need it for this recipe.

Made a roux.  Sauteed the chopped vegetables.  Added tomato paste and crawfish.  Steamed some rice.
Crawfish Étouffée.  Easy and filling.  Just what you want with hungry teenagers.
Sometimes it's difficult to find Louisiana crawfish.  We've been invaded by Chinese Crawfish.  I've never tried the foreign crustaceans.  I will pay more to buy local.  

The teenagers ate and disappeared.

I have a kitchen to clean.  Again.
A book to read.

5 days until Christmas.

*The font at the first part of this blog is crazy.  I don't know how to fix it.  I apologize.