Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Behold my kitchen linens drawer! On the left, my "old" dish towels and on the right my new ones! I asked the Mr. and my mom for new dish towels and I hit the jackpot. Aren't they pretty? Take my word for it, they are!
Next on the hit parade, my new clearance Christmas stockings. Over the years we somehow accumulated a hodge podge of stockings and the Mr. picked up new ones for daboyz, which I have never cared for. They are Victorian velvet, just too...Victorian. The T.J. Maxx has the best home goods, did you know that? I picked up a carton of Chai tea and 5 new stockings on clearance. The striped ones are corduroy and were $3 each, the knit ones were $6 each. Just mismatchy but matchy enough to suit
I have a set of green Indiana Whitehall tumbles en route from my good friends at E bay to match the gold ones from my mom. I also have a set of 4 vintage coffee cups on the way! I ordered a set of 5 vintage Melmac breakfast plates for Jay and the bidding on my cafeteria trays closes tomorrow.
In my Etsy cart is a set of mid century canisters (for flour, sugar, etc.) that I am thinking about but I do believe I shall order. If you are careful and not impulsive, you can do pretty well on E Bay and Etsy, especially if you watch for the free shipping offers. Pictures of all to follow as they arrive. I know you can't wait.
Finally, for breakfast today, bannock! If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it. Couldn't be easier and soooooo good!
3 cups flour
2 T. baking powder
1 1/5 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly then add water until dough forms into a ball.
Roll out on floured surface, drop into heated pan.
Fry on both sides for about 5 minutes each. I finish it in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes so it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Serve with butter, honey, cinnamon, jam...your favorite toppings. It'll be delicious even plain.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
After sleeping in until almost 9:00 this morning I have showered and thrown laundry in as well as running the dishwasher. Yes, I admit that I have visited E Bay and Etsy to check on the Melmac and....hold on to your hats...a bid I made on E bay. I hesitate to tell you about it as you will all be overcome with jealousy and rush to out bid me. I bid on a set of 16 mint green melmac cafeteria trays circa 1970s original used in a junior high in Michigan! That's right! Try to hold yourself back from rushing to outbid me! There was a moment when I showed the Mr. what I was up to and he may or may not have mentioned that perhaps, after all, I could find a less crazy way to spend my day. But I'm telling you, these trays are what I've been lacking and didn't even know it! I think they will be groovy for family dinners. I don't have a large enough dining room to seat the lot of us so we end up spreading out from kitchen table to eating on the sofa. They are perfect! And even if they aren't, I think they are funky fab. I'll keep you updated on the progress of the auction. Surprisingly, so far, there are only two bidders and I am the highest.
I do believe I will finish my cup of Starbucks and start Operation Clean This Gross House. Snow falling, housework calling. There's a song in there somewhere.
A Happy Homemaker in the Mitten aka The Lunch Tray Bandit
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
1. I have the opportunity to talk directly to the Creator of the universe about my smallest concerns.
2. Fear is abolished.
3. Joy comes every morning.
4. The impossible is possible.
5. I am prayed for by others who know the Creator as well.
6. My children will spend eternity in heaven.
7. My home is a sanctuary of peace.
8. Walls fall in front of me.
9. My kids know, "I'm praying for you" is the ultimate statement of love.
10. I dance.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
This Christmas season has been a quiet one for me. Extra hours at work have forced me to let the mega baking plans go so our home doesn't have trays of goodies on every surface. I've done all of my shopping online so I've not set foot inside of a mall. I don't like malls and shopping but at Christmas time there is a certain cheeriness to the decorations, piped in music and Santa seeing little kids in a corner somewhere.
Our Christmas decorations went up as usual and I've enjoyed every moment of sitting at the end of the day admiring the lights and sentimental ornaments. I finally found most of the Christmas movies I was hoping for and that has been a great stress-reducer at the end of the day, crawling under a blanket and watching the Bishop's Wife.
Every year we wear pajamas on Christmas and every year I buy a new pair for the occasion. Haven't done that. We'll see if that happens or not.
A quiet holiday season isn't a bad thing. Although the Mr. did mention the other day that, not to rush anyone, but he's pretty much ready for a house full of grandchildren on the holidays. :) But life comes in seasons and we've had holidays of rushing out on Christmas Eve with our last paycheck to shop (awful!) Busy running from house to house. Up early to unwrap gifts and then a big breakfast and nap before going to my parents' home. This year I work the holiday so the slow-paced Christmas morning will commence without me. Mac works Christmas Eve so the Mexican fiesta will commence without him.
We've had to do some persistent planning to keep this quiet season on track because the quietness can make you kind of let it slide by and get a little too watered down. After all, it's the day we celebrate the coming of Messiah! It's not just another day or week or month regardless of lack of little ones or changing work hours. First instincts were too simplify the festivities but then the simplification got dangerously close to making it not special enough. Conversations came and went very quickly such as, should we just eat out on Christmas Eve since Mac isn't going to be here? Should we just skip baking altogether? Do you want to put the stockings away this year? And so on.
So we've made sure that the traditions and memories and once-a-year specialness aren't lost even as we've recalculated to ensure that we aren't sliding into Christmas morning wrapped in tinsel with dark circles under our eyes and angry at everyone we've been shopping for. I'll bake a few somethings for us instead of enough for work and the neighbors. The stocking are indeed hung by the chimney with care because goodness, would the half hour saved by not filling them have contributed to anything useful? Dean will make our traditional Mexican Christmas Eve dinner and Mac will come home at around midnight as usual and eat. If I'm not awake, the Mr. and Jay will be waiting for him. On Christmas morning we'll open a few gifts and as I go off to work, Mac will be with his brother and dad to enjoy breakfast and a lazy morning. Not as we would prefer it but those who can will hold the fort for another season of celebration and wonderfulness.
There will be no frozen dinners in place of Christmas goodies and no "not-this-year" for traditions we've loved forever. No matter your particular situation this year, please don't let your mind take over where your heart should be for Christmas. Mary is said to have kept everything in her heart, cherishing and treasuring the miracle of Emanuel, Christ with us. Make it as loud and bright or quiet and serene as it should be in your home, but do not make it easy. Make it on purpose and simple and lovely. But not easy, there is nothing easy about the salvation of the world.
When my planning slipped from simple enough so that I can truly feel the beauty to easy so I can just get it over with, I had to stop and start over.
I, like Mary, will keep this time in my heart.
Monday, December 19, 2011
I bet I've also mentioned that this new position is wearing me out. Wearing. Me. Out. Not only because of the kids I work with but the unit itself has some challenges. So I'm working swing shifts and lots of pushing up my sleeves and trying to get to the root of the problems.
Unfortunately, some of those roots are people.
Those Root People sure don't like to be pruned.
But something kind of wonderful has been happening the last few days. Quiet people who rarely make a peep are coming into my office and telling me I'm doing a great job. Average people who do their jobs and go home are offering to do special projects and groups with the kids. People who work on the adult units and refuse to work with the kids are volunteering to take a turn on pediatrics.
It's almost like rubbing the dirt off of a diamond, it's getting sparklier and sparklier. And it's making me feel like all of my tiredness and frustration is a little less tiring and frustrating.
It also makes me think, those Root People are choking the spirits of the rest of the people. People with creative ideas and energy have hidden in corners trying to get by without rocking the boat. But now that I'm rocking the boat, they are coming out of their corners.
I said all of that to say this, Lord, please don't let me be a Root Person. A root of bitterness that spreads and poisons the ground so that nothing beautiful can grow around it. I don't think the Root People are evil awful people. I don't think they want to be Root People. I don't think they know that they are!
Root people are pessimistic and discouraging and always most excited when there's something awful to say.
If I am ever a Root Person, change me. Let me instead, bring a rain of refreshing to others.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
2. At least according to my plan. :)
3. I had to cancel a family day today that I was sooooo looking forward to.
4. I am learning flexibility.
5. I don't like being flexible.
6. However, all of those wonderful movies I was looking for? Yay! They are all on now!
7. I watched The Bishop's Wife with Carey Grant last night.
8. I lurv Carey Grant.
9. I DVR'd Christmas in Connecticut because I fell asleep.
10. If you haven't seen it, search your listing for The Man Who Came To Dinner.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
So today is my day off and I have much housework to do. Don't cry for me Argentina, I like being home with much housework. I could think of home projects forever and a day. Mac wants to make a gingerbread house. I need to get organized for my baking which I think will officially commence next weekend. Laundry awaits. Mac built Jay book cases for Christmas which are hidden in my bedroom so I think I'll try to wrap those suckers and get them out of there. All of the rest of my gift wrapping is done and I am waiting for only two more packages to be delivered, one of which has shipped from my good friends at LL Bean.
Daboyz spent several hours "rock climbing" on Saturday. They started off with lessons at some place in Pontiac and then spent the rest of the afternoon practicing. These two certainly spend a lot of time together, texting and talking on the phone for two people who can't stand one another. They invited their dad along. He declined. Smart, since it is almost the season when he falls on the exact same spot of ice on the driveway every morning. He needs to save his strength for that. They rock climb, he driveway falls. Similar hobbies.
The Mr. bought an air mattress this weekend at the Sear's outlet. $50 which is quite a good deal considering what they are listed for elsewhere. This is for Jay, who spends the night every Christmas Eve. We only have two bedrooms and despite their closeness, daboyz are not interested in sleeping in the same bed. So it was blown up and given a trial run and declared awesome. Of course, we were informed by both of the kids that eventually, we will need to be prepared for their future wives and children spending Christmas Eve as well. Frankly, I doubt their wives will be interested in the Christmas Eve Smith Family Camp Out but it's nice that daboyz think it's such a grand idea. I guess they plan on marrying orphans who have no families of their own to see on the holidays. You can't have that conversation with them, they cannot imagine being with "strangers" for the holidays. Ahh, how life will change for them!
Do you find a shortage of Christmas movies this year? Unless I'm missing something, other than Hallmark movies, the old classics are no where to be found. We watched A Christmas Carol (the 1980s version) and It's A Wonderful Life as well as Rudolph and Santa Clause is Coming To Town however, I cannot find Christmas In Connecticut, White Christmas, Holiday Inn and the like. If you live in the Mitten and know when these are showing, please let me know! I cannot bear to watch them on DVD. I need the special catching it when it's on experience.
Another cup of coffee is calling my name and the laundry does not fold itself (a fact which the Mr. has not grasped.) Stay warm and get your Christmas on, it only comes once a year!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Another development here in the Smith home, the Mr. is much less concerned with the number of presents under the tree. In the past, he's been one of those people who shops and shops until the last moment of the last dollar of the last closing store before Christmas. This generally means we sit knee deep in wrapping paper admiring lots of stuff we don't' need nor particularly want. It's all with the best intentions and reflects his childhood and the way his mom still feels about Christmas.
Although I don't have the one luxury I want, the holiday off of work, I feel particularly peaceful and I'm enjoying the season.
In order to fully express to you what our wish lists have come to, allow me to share Mac's.
One 5# bag of Dearborn brand hunter's sausage
A trailer hitch (in case Grandpa needs him to tow his trailer.)
His brother, having drawn his name for the family exchange and hoping to buy him a gift in addition to that, is rather frustrated. In a good way.
The only list I'm working on now is the goodie list: cookies and treats to share and enjoy.
What's on your list?
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
I really dislike shopping and this year I've done everything online so far. I just love getting those packages on the front porch! There are a few items I'll still need to go out and get but I am almost done. Now I am being smart and wrapping every day so I don't have to do a marathon all night wrapping frenzy. Plus, why not enjoy those pretty packages under the tree?
Well, it is late morning and I remain in my pajamas so I guess I need to do a little bit more than Donny & the Mr. if I'm going to get my list checked off. Days off are much shorter than work days :)
Whatever is on your list today, try to find a place to relax and enjoy the moment.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
In response to the great need for prayer and my own determination to discipline myself, I have started a prayer journal blog. If you go to my profile you will find the link to my new blog Better Things.
Please don't feel the need to visit or comment, I just wanted to share that it is there for whatever purpose the Lord might have.
Love & grace,
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Reindeer ornament, bought at Garden Ridge to decorate our second Christmas tree in the C.S. Lewis room.
Purchased on a anniversary trip and on this tree because it matches the bronze and golds of the decorations in this room.
Our second Christmas tree is found in the living room which I call the C.S. Lewis room. This room was a formal living room when my grandparents were alive. Since moving in, it has become a quiet place where I like to read or write or just be still. There's no television in here, just a comfy chair, computer and piano. It's the overflow room when the family is all here for those who want to converse without shouting over the television.
Monday, November 28, 2011
I believe this is a porcupine, a gift from Lisa
Our family room tree is decorated with only sentimental ornaments collected since daboyz were born. I've shared just a few here. Some were chosen by them, some were gifts, some are from my grandparent's trees and every year since 2006 we have purchased an ornament on our anniversary trip. There are no ornaments on this tree that are "fillers." Each has a story.
At his home, Jay has my gramma's little Christmas tree with my grampa's angel tree topper. Just yesterday, Mac was looking at our sentimental tree and said that when he has his own home, he is going to start with a very plain tree and add ornaments year by year until he, too, has a tree of memories.
Although it may not be the most sophisticated, this is my very favorite kind of Christmas tree.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Dining alcove/C.S. Lewis Room