Friday, December 31, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Another year bites the dust. Gone...just like that. Where did it go? Did I make it count? Do I need/want to make changes? What is in store for 2011? Am I ever going to do anything memorable? Anything worthwhile to make this life count? Have I had an impact on anyone this past year? Did I flounder? Did I share my faith? Did I spread joy and happiness to those I know and love, as well as to strangers? Was I generous? Was I mean or nasty to someone? Will I look back on the things I accomplished and the impact I've made with regret or with joy? Am I making memories?

I could go on and on with questions about my life (past, present, and future). Honestly I am still trying to figure it out. Still trying to grow into the person I want to be. Into the person God wants me to be. Do I want change in my life? Yes, I do! Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone and make positive changes in my life?

Time will tell...won't it!?!

Am I making New Years Resolutions? No. I am not. I will make a list of things I want to do and accomplish in the New Year though.

Here goes...not in any specific order:
  • Yard work (it should really go with out saying since we downed 35 ginormous trees and destroyed our yard as we knew it)
  • Have my Aunt Lois teach me how to crochet. They say it's easier than knitting. It doesn't seem that way to me.
  • Start a scrapbook I'm calling "Project 2011" Random pics and tidbits from each month of the coming year.
  • Read my bible the whole way through in one year.
  • Spend more time in Massachusetts with my guys.
  • Buy a new camera and learn how to use it.
  • And finally, work on this little blog. Learn more, share more and have fun with it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmastime

It's 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and I wanted to take a few moments to hop on here to wish you a Merry Christmas!I wish I could have you over for a cinnamon roll and some coffee.

Everything is ready (or at least as ready as it's going to be) and we are hanging around waiting until it's time to go to Grandma-Josh's house. I've baked and cooked until I can bake and cook no more. I've wrapped all the presents (with some help) but am seriously considering hiring that part of Christmas out to my niece's next year. We've shopped, decorated, and even stressed a little, but the time has come. It's time to relax, enjoy family and let the madness begin!

On a more serious note, it's also time to honor the real reason for this season...Jesus Christ!! Please don't forget Him in your celebrating. He's the best gift of all!!

My heart is so full of love and thankfulness! Make sure to take time to let it all soak in. To enjoy the little moments, for they are what make our memories sweet!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread Success!

**I have to apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. A new camera is on my list of needs/wants. It doesn't help that we took the pictures at night with poor lighting either. Sorry!**
I ♥ gingerbread!

Why do I love gingerbread ? Let me tell you a few reasons:
  • The word itself. Stop and say it...g*i*n*g*e*r*b*r*e*a*d. It's a cute word!
  • It smells amazing!
  • It tastes pretty good too.
  • Gingerbread men are adorable...truth be told, I'm mildly attracted to them. Weird I know, but I can't help it.
  • The possibilities when constructing a gingerbread house are endless. The candy choices, color choices, design choices just go on and on.
Years ago I made gingerbread houses with the boys. I think they were about 12 & 14 years old. They each made one. It was fun. We hadn't made one since. I've always wanted to, just never got around to it.
This year I promised myself it would be different. I had been saving the above pattern and instructions from a 2006 Country Home magazine for all these years and decided it was time to make it happen. I enlisted all three of my guys. Reluctantly at first, I might add.
The entire process took about 4 days. The first day we baked the pieces. The second day we did most of the decorating. On the third day we glued it together and finally yesterday we finished the roof and all the little extras. I LOVE how it turned out! But more than that, I love that my guys actually got interested in the whole process. So much that they are already talking about next years house. I feel like maybe a new tradition has been started.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mayhem and Chaos Have Taken Up Residence... our house!

I had plans to post something Christmasy every day for the month of December. Turns out my plans went a little haywire. We had been trying to get a timber guy to come and cut down about 35 large, old oak trees on our property. He came. Three weeks before Christmas and he decided he had nothing better to do than destroy my yard. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that the ginormous trees are gone. (No more worries about one thumping down on the house the next time we have a wind storm.) But three weeks before Christmas!?! Our yard is in a total shambles. Good thing we hadn't finished decorating outside yet.

For now, I'm in denial. I'm in denial about all the work that needs to be done to restore our yard to a useable space. I'm in denial that our yard could/will turn into a muddy mess as soon as the snow melts. I'm in denial that I'm actually going to have to do manual labor. I'm going to pretend (for now) that it's all going to magically get cleaned least until after Christmas.

As I do with everything else in my life, I made a list. A Pro and Con list.

  • The yard is destroyed!
  • Some of the large trees, when falling, took out some of the smaller trees I did not want to see go.
  • We have a lot of work to do.
  • I'll miss the cool shade in the dead of summer.
  • It's going to cost a fair amount of $'s to put our yard back together again.
  • I'm going to have to dress like a lumber jack and will probably get a few hundred splinters.


  • I can plant things other than "shade loving perennials"
  • My house will not stay damp all the time (this could be a plus for my allergies)
  • Natural sunlight
  • Actual grass and not moss
  • Peace of mind knowing that my house won't be smashed to pieces by a tree older than may grandma (rest her soul)
  • The trees that hold my hammock survived!!
  • And finally...I can have the vegetable garden I have always dreamed of. Raised beds with a white picket fence complete with a gate. Backyard farming here I come!!!!

Here are some before and after shots. Oh and just to clarify, we do still have a lot of trees so we won't be baking in the sun. It'll be a nice mixture of sun with some shady spots.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Picking Out Our Christmas Tree 2010

Yesterday we went to the tree farm and got our tree. It was a great day to bundle up and and go out searching for "the perfect tree". We loaded into the pick up, drove to the tree farm, got out and walked around, got back in the truck and drove to another field, walked around and searched. We finally found the perfect tree...but it was a tad too big.

So we got back in the truck, went to another field, walked around, found the perfect tree...but it was tagged...somebody else would get to enjoy that perfect tree. Oh well, to be quite honest, all trees pretty much look the same once they get decorated...don't they? We took the boys.

We took these boys too.

Would it be too much information if I told you that the boys peed on every tree they came close too!?! The furry boys that is. They had a field day! All that unmarked territory. It was almost too much for them.

It took a little while to find the right tree.
Do these guys look impatient? Because I think they look impatient! They said not.
Just down one more, okay maybe two or three more rows we ended up finding the right tree.
Homeward bound...for a hot cup of cocoa or coffee...which, come to think of, I never did get.

The tree is a Concolor (our favorite) and it's just the right size and shape. I cannot wait to set it up tonight and decorate it!!

If you've never had a Concolor before you should give it a try (if you're a real tree kind of person). They smell like oranges and have beautiful bluish long needles. Here's a link to the description if you're interested. Concolor Fir

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Christmas Dishes

Twas the night befor Christmas when all through the house...

I love that Poem! I love dishes! I love that our Christmas dishes have portions of that poem on them. Several years ago, I ran across the most lovely set of Christmas dishes on Dillards website. We've been collecting ever since. We don't have the full poem yet, but we are well on our way. It's fun getting a few new pieces each year and seeing which part of the poem is on them.

It doesn't matter if we're having a nice family dinner or if we're having soup and sandwiches...I really think everything tastes better on a pretty plate.

Here's the link if you'd like to take a peek. Twas the night before Christmas dishes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Christmas Wish List

Okay, so I have too much stuff. I am trying to downsize the amount of stuff I possess...but...everyone needs a Christmas wish list. It doesn't really matter if I get anything (or everything) on my list. I just like making lists. sweet, loving, generous traveling man reads my blog. I thought maybe I'd help him out a little and post a few things. :)

If I could only have one thing, I, I know I'd want this.
Here's the handy link sweetie... Le Creuset White Braiser Pan

I could be totally happy with it in the beautiful Caribbean color in the event they should be out of white...just saying.
Okay, moving on...If I could only have two things for Christmas, I think I'd ask for this ring. It's so me...and it's so pretty!
And just in case the link is needed...Rose Red Enamel Ring
I adore books. I read mostly non fiction. I can read a cookbook and be happy and content. I like some fiction from time to time. When it comes to fiction, I'll probably hold out for Pioneer Woman's new book in February. It's only available for pre order right now honey, so I can wait.
Anyway...books, here are a few, but honestly you should just tap into my Barnes and Noble wish list. Jared can show you how...right Jared!?!
Since the last book is titled "Keeping Chickens", maybe now would be a good time to mention that I might want to get some chickens. Really, I'm just kicking the idea around. It's good to be prepared though.

A few other misc. things I might desire would be:
  • A gift certificate for a pedicure
  • The 2011 Gooseberry Patch wall calendar
  • Some mini cast iron skillet (for skillet we'd all benefit from that purchase)
  • Gift certificates for Chick Fil A (yum!) Sheetz, Anthropologie, or Barnes and Noble.
  • A couple DVD's (Eat Pray Love or It's Complicated if you're asking)

Honestly, if I don't get anything (except the braiser pan) for Christmas I will still be content and happy cause I have you! ♥

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Merriment and an Advent House

Today is December 1st. The first official day in the countdown to Christmas (at least for me). The countdown to the day we celebrate Christ's birth. I adore the Christmas season! I love everything about it. I love celebrating the birth of my Savior as well as all the traditional merriment.

What do I love about this time of year!?! Let me list a few things:
  • The annual children's Christmas play at Church
  • Candlelight service and singing Silent Night
  • Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army
  • Caroling
  • Christmas music
  • Christmas movies ( Elf and Prancer happen to be my favorites)
  • Snow
  • Decorating and favorite decorations from years gone by
  • Shopping
  • Christmas cookies
  • Family traditions
  • Making a gingerbread house
  • Celebrations with family and friends
  • Puppy Christmas pictures
  • The magical glow of the lights on the Christmas tree
  • Opening the mailbox and finding Christmas cards
  • My Christmas dishes
  • The hussle and bussle felt in the air
  • The quiet times spent in prayer
  • Random acts of kindness
Oh my, I could go on and on. I'll have to come back and add to this list.

One of the decorations I love most is our Advent House. George bought it several years ago. I love that he bought it with our future grandkids in mind. How sweet is that!?! I love that it gets him as excited as a small child. I also love that it is a replica of the one from the famous movie "Christmas Vacation".
Tonight before dinner we will open the first door. It will be extra special since Jared will be here to share in this little tradition. He's been away at college for the last 5 years and isn't usually home that much. I'm so thankful that isn't the case this year!! Just one of many blessings to count.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whew have I been busy!

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. We made it home from Massachusetts just fine, but the mess that we brought along took days to sort through. We basically emptied our apartment's entire contents into the house. I'm glad to report that we've found a spot to store everything. Glad that can be checked off my to do list!!

After we got our house back under control, we had Thanksgiving to plan. Of course that was fun! We had 13 people and tons of food. Just finished the leftovers last night.

Tomorrow is December 1st. The house is (almost) decorated and my lists are all in place for shopping, activities, cooking, baking and fun. I am so excited! I have tons of holiday magazines stacked up just waiting for me. I cannot wait to see what inspiration is waiting in between their pages. Speaking of magazines, have you seen Where Women Cook? I am loving it!! Check it out if you get a chance.

Okay, I'm off and running onto the next thing on my list. See you back here tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heading North

I'm leaving in the morning for Massachusetts. It's the last trip of the year to my home away from home. I have so many things I want to cram into the week while I'm there. Dinner with some friends, shopping, cleaning and closing up the apartment, shopping, stocking up on Dunkin Donuts Coffee (I think it's cheaper up there because they have so many DD's), one last road trip to Boston, church on the Cape, and did I mention shopping!?!

I'm excited! I'm as excited (if not more) to be taking the train again. Have you ever traveled by train? If you are more about the process than making time, then it's definitely a good option to consider. It does take longer (about 12 hours start to finish as opposed to 8-9 by car) but it is 12 hours of bliss! 12 hours to do whatever you want...or maybe nothing at all. It's my last 12 hours of solitude before meeting up with the guys and then hunkering down to spend the winter with them...all of them...all the time. I'm not complaining...just saying. I'm packing books, magazines, knitting, comfy socks, a pillow, a cozy throw, a mini DVD player, chick flicks and anything else I can cram into my carry on bag. Hope I have enough room for some clothes...if not, I did mention shopping...wink...wink! I have a lay-over in Philly. Looks like I'll need to get a steak and cheese while I'm there. Other than that, I don't need to leave my seat...unless I need a cup of coffee or a potty break. I'm hoping that the scenery is still pretty. I also hope there are some interesting characters to watch...I love people watching!

When I get home the following weekend (other than showering my pugs with tons and tons of affection), I plan to kick our family holiday celebrations into full gear. See you when I get back!
Oh, and if you'd like to follow my tweets from the train, my user name for twitter is Gkrigo.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I just sent the guys back to Massachusetts. I am leaving on the train Friday to join them. I have four days to get things done around here. When I come home from Mass, they will be coming home with me...for the winter!! While that excites me more than I can express, it also freaks me out a little. It means change, good change, but change none the less. Do you do well with change? I don't. When you are married to a traveling man, you get used to being home alone. You get used to doing things your way. It seems normal to stay up late to watch Gilmore Girls for the millionth time. It's routine to make dinner one night and eat the leftovers for the rest of the week. It's perfectly okay to trash the house and wait until the night they are coming home to make it presentable. You can get away with it. Nobody cares. But that is all least until spring when the cycle starts over.

I've set myself a couple of goals for the preparation of their return...and the mayhem that will take place.
  • Clean the house and remove all the clutter
  • Work on the leaves so they are caught up till we get home.
  • Plan my thanksgiving menu and shoppping list.
  • Spend a few more nights staying up late watching Gilmore Girls :)
  • Pamper the Pugs since they will be staying behind with my uncle.
  • Work my one day and run all my errands
  • Keep up with my bible study (since I will be missing the next two weeks). Check in with some of the ladies.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spending Some Time with this Guy

This is Brantley. My youngest. My gentle giant. One of the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful people I know. Even though I am a tad partial, I can honestly say he is one special guy. He's home from Massachusetts for the week. I get him all to myself. We can have long conversations, I can cook for him, we can watch Expedition Wild together, I can get all the gossip about George and Jared, we can spend quality time together, just the two of us. Times like these are rare. I'm going to take full advantage of having my son all to myself!!

But there's someone else that's fighting me for his attention. She's actually trying to keep him all to herself. She loves him just as much as I do. Hello Meatball...okay...we can share.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Gobs

I made gobs over the weekend. Some refer to them as whoopie pies, but if you live in PA they are gobs. Yummy in the tummy gobs! I'm pretty traditional in the fact that I only use "cooked filling" unless I'm using a flavored icing like peanut butter. My favorite gobs are pumpkin. I love to add mini chocolate changes everything.

I made pumpkin with choc chip and chocolate. I filled some of the chocolate with my favorite peanut butter icing.

Here's the recipe for the pumpkin gobs...
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs until mixed. Add sugar and beat until thick and lemon colored. Add oil, beating constantly. Sift dry ingredients together. At low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin until mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto your favorite well seasoned baking stone. Bake @ 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. I always change racks half way through baking time. Cool on wire racks. Sandwich 2 cakes together with filling. Wrap in parchment or waxed paper.


  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat above ingredients to boiling, stirring constantly. Set aside to completely cool.

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup crisco
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Cream until fluffy. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and cooled mixture. Beat again until fluffy and then on low speed for 5 minutes.

A few notes for you...

  • I only bake on stoneware. I love the results. Remember it does take a little while for the stonware to heat thoroughly so the first batch may take a fewf extra minutes.
  • I always rotate my pans halfway through cooking.
  • Refrigerate your cooked icing to make sure it is completely cool.
  • I use a scoop for the batter. Sometimes I use a large one to make substantial gobs and other times I use a smaller scoop to make cute little gobs. The choice is yours, just adjust your baking time accordingly.
  • I always double the filling recipe. It is just too good! It's excellent on graham crackers in the rare case that there is any left over.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Miss Meatball

I adore pugs! I have a little collection of them. :) they make my ♥ go pitter-patter! But...there is someone else. Someone that has weasled her way into my life. Into my heart. She's my sons bulldog. Her name is Meatball. Don't get me started on the name. I could think of a hundred more appropriate names for her. A thousand cuter names for her. A million other options...but hey, she's not my dog.
Since Brantley still lives at home, so does Meatball. Since Brantley works with his dad, currently in Massachusetts and travels a good bit, so does Meatball. Not all the time. Sometimes she wants to stay home with her grammie. I don't mind.

She eats my chives! That I mind! Meatball loves her boy. She does a cute little wiggle whenever he comes home. She doesn't wiggle for me. She's quirky. I get that. The little cutie has had multiple surgeries on her eyes. About 4 grand worth. Glad it didn't come out of my bank account. She's okay. She needs another surgery. She has severe dry eye as a result. We deal with it.
She sleep...a lot! She loves to sleep on her back. It's goofy looking...don't you think!?!
Our house is small. Four dogs reside here. Is it crowded? Yes. Do we mind? No! Four dogs equals four times the love in my humble opinion. It wouldn't work for definitely works for us...and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

West Virginia Road Trip

Last Friday I took off to West Virginia with a friend to go to a Fiestaware tent sale. We were planning a trip there already, so when I called ahead to get info and she told me about the bargains, we decided wait. It was worth the wait. So worth it. The prices were a fraction of the cost that you would normally pay. The lines were long but that was okay...we met some really nice people. Nobody acted crazy (not even me). I think it went so well because everybody had a ticket and they only let so many people in at a time. It helped that there were plenty of dishes to go around too. Eww...disregard the way I look in the above picture. I am not photogenic!
I am a lover of dishes. I don't think you can ever have too many. I really like that fiestaware is made in the USA!! I love that you can mix and match colors or do whatever makes you happy. I only had a few pieces before Friday. Now I have a few more. I loved their little fiestaware dish garden. Too cute!!
We waited in line with the sweetest couple. She/they have collected Fiestaware for years. They've made many trips to the tent sale. While we were talking, they shared with us that they were going to go across the river into Ohio and get a hot dog. They said is was an awesome hot dog. Worth the trip. I checked online at the reviews of "The Hot Dog Shoppe" and one even stated that they had the best hot dogs on earth. We had to go. It was a hot dog. Not an earth shattering hot dog. Just a hot dog...with chili and onions...oh, and fries. I paid for it the rest of the night.

I bought my Mother in Law plates and a few accessories for Christmas. I hope she likes them. If she doesn't, I'll be happy to keep them.

I think that the tent sale is held bi-annually. I plan to go again. You can come along if you like. I love a road trip!!

A few tips for the next sale would be:
  • a dolly is a must (thankfully we knew about this) bungies too (didn't know that)

  • take several old socks to put over your hands to clean the dust and dirt off the dishes (we didn't know about that little piece of info) I used the sleeves of my sweatshirt...ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  • pack a healthy snack and a bottle of water for waiting in line.

  • get there early, get your ticket and then go have breakfast

  • make a wish list and check off after you find what you're looking for

  • look for a different restaurant for lunch