Wednesday, December 27, 2017

time off to recoup...

me with daughter and grand daughter

It's 2 days after Christmas and DH and I are taking time off to recoup. You might wonder why we need to take time off since we're retired, but that's the great part: We can! 

And it's a good system as while everyone else (meaning my kids and their spouses) have to hurry back to their respective homes in order to be at work the next day, we (of the older generation who have already put in all those years of work) can take as much time off as needed to recoup from weeks of cleaning, cooking, and Christmas shopping... which is all great fun and worth the effort to have the family home again for Christmas.

However, we do find that we now need at least a week to rest and recoup - sitting by the fire, reading, finishing up Christmas goodies, etc. before even thinking about 'putting away Christmas'. We will keep all our Christmas decor up with the candles and fires burning through New Year's day.  

We don't party on New Year's Eve. We used to go out to dinner that evening, but since the weather is almost always awful, we stopped doing that. Now we simply make my mother-in-law's wonderful home-made eggnog and either sit by the fire-place and/or watch the crystal ball on TV come down (and that's if we can stay awake that long). 

New Year's day I always cook the traditional pork roast, cabbage, and black eyed peas!  Then, once 2018 is officially here, we will start taking down Christmas.

I also have a cute little Christmas story to tell involving our outside feral cats. Actually, it's cute but tragic and magical all at the same time. We have a mama cat that brought her 2 kittens to our yard a few weeks ago. These kittens weren't tiny, but maybe about 8 weeks of age when they appeared with her. 

We were amazed at how good a mother she was as she watched these 2 rambunctious kittens like a hawk... went after them if they ever ventured too far from her and had them by her side each night under the heat lamp.

Well... about a week ago, we found her howling one morning and carrying on and no kittens in sight. She carried on this way for days, searching up and down the front, back, and sides of the house, even going off by the creek in the back. We felt so bad for her... worrying that the worst had happened (there are coyotes about).  But she continued to search. I secretly prayed that she would find them as it broke my heart to see her so distraught.

Well, lo and behold... but on Christmas morning she returned to our backyard with one in tow! We were amazed and overjoyed. She spent the day cleaning and caring for this precious kitten (whom we assume was one of hers... unless she found herself another while searching for her own???) Whatever the case, both mama and baby are extremely happy. DH and I call it our Christmas miracle.

That's my bit for the week. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (and most did from the blogs I've read).  I'm going to close now with a few pics of Christmas at our house.  There was so much going on that I forgot to take a family pic... but did get a few shots here and there.

Oldest grand daughter with DH

Youngest  grand daugher!

Wishing everyone a very Safe Happy 2018!

Friday, December 22, 2017

last post before Christmas...

Christmas baking

Sorting Christmas goodies (see cat in background?)

Last few days of baking Christmas goodies to sort and mail, etc. As you can see, Julie is off the counter and on the side table sulking as her place on the counter has been taken over... 

Family will be coming in tomorrow and hopefully all will be ready. There's still cooking to do for Christmas dinner, but I plan to do some of that today and freeze it. I've already a cheesecake and an apple pie in the freezer as well as rum cakes for everyone to take home.

We're very happy with the postal department this year as everyone has received the packages sent already... even those sent out just this week.

Grand daughter who just made 5 had her Christmas dance recital this past Sunday. She was a Christmas mouse.  It's difficult to see her on stage, but she's the little mouse directly in the middle.

The one in the front row looking up and leaning to the side... 3rd to the right of the lady's back

And lastly I need to show you the lovely vase and toothpick holder that Linda Starr from Blue Starr Gallery sent me. We did a swap for a bit of Christmas fun. Thank you, Linda. I love the pieces you sent.

New vase and toothpick holder in our chicken yard

I plan to find a more suitable place for these new pieces after Christmas, but for the moment this is the safe top shelf on my bookcase away from curious little fingers and playful cat paws.

Also found these cute wooden Christmas trees at Michael's yesterday (at 70% off!). They made a great addition to the fireplace mantel since we didn't get out in time to purchase a fresh garland this year. 

wood Christmas trees that light up with deer in front

Well, time is running out and there's a million things (maybe not a million...) to do in these last few days. So I want to wish all of you and your families a very very happy, safe, and  
Merry Christmas!

From the cats too!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

great soup and an adorable kitten...

African Chicken Peanut soup

This soup is so good and so easy to make that we make it every winter when we need a nice hearty soup with lots of chicken, sweet potatoes, and black beans... (and the secret ingredient is peanut butter).

Christmas is only a week away and while all shopping has pretty much been done, there are still last minute things that need doing. Today I finished the Christmas cookies and candies that need to be mailed tomorrow. Then I can start on the ones that will be needed here at home. 

And today DH and I went to Best Buy and updated our very old dinosaur (computer). Ours still works. It's a desktop that still uses Vista. But since many no longer support Vista, we decided it was time. However, moving from Vista to Windows 10 (and all that comes with that) is not easy. We're going from Word 2007 to Word 2016... and after going through the Tutorial - think I'd better go out and get "Word 2016 for dummies" or this could take forever.

You really can't let technology get too far ahead of you as it becomes almost impossible to catch up. We try to keep up and do use our computer and iPhones - but the truth is, they can probably do more than we'll ever know. It amazes me that even after using a cell phone for all these years, people (usually kids or grandkids) can still show me how to do something that I had no idea it could do.

But since they say 'continuing to learn something new' is good for our brains, I'm happy to keep learning.

Going to close with a picture of a kitten that someone posted on Facebook the other day.  They were asking for a caption and I submitted my own. But the picture is so touching, that it stands by itself.

my caption: "You're leaving...?? You're really leaving....??"

Have a great week and a wonderful safe holiday season!


Saturday, December 9, 2017

the wonder of grandchildren... and the magic of Christmas

painted  fingernails!

We spent yesterday evening with our 5 year old grand daughter so her parents could have a little time to themselves (to either have a quiet dinner or ... perhaps  to do a little Christmas shopping). Whatever the reason, it gave DH and I some alone time with this adorable precocious child.

painted toenails!

5 years old is such a great age... just on the cusp of understanding what things are all about. She works things out so well in her little mind that it amazes me. We may be talking about something and she will explain the concept to me.... and for the most part has it down pretty well.

I was reading to her at bedtime. She loves books and has tons. We were reading one I had given her recently called "The Kissing Hand"... and another called, "How to Babysit a Grandma". Well, she asked me if my grandma ever read to me... and I had to say that I never knew any of my grandmas. They all passed away before I was born. She looked all forlorn and said "That's so sad".... and I agreed it was. I would have liked to have known them.

Anyway, it was an interesting evening and although we probably spent too long laying in bed talking after reading... so much so that she wasn't asleep yet when her mom & dad came home (but she was in bed!). But since we don't get a lot of one on one quiet time to talk, it was nice.

She also taught me how to say "I love you" in sign language. 

Now we have 3 other grandchildren, ages 19, 16, and 10 and we love them all dearly, but  I now remember how much I enjoyed the older ones at this age. And IMO, although infants are precious and toddlers are adorable, 5 year olds... when they are becoming 'little people' who ask questions and come up with wonderful original answers are the most fun!

Hope all of you readers have a wonderful safe fun filled weekend!  As for myself, I intend to put on Christmas music, get a fire going in the fireplace, light my favorite scented candle (Marshmallow Fireside by Bath & Body Shop), and start on my Christmas cookie baking. The cats of course will help me... either by lying on my lap  by the fire or just plain supervising (they are very good at that).  

Thank you again for stopping by... to share a little of my life with me. I certainly enjoy sharing yours. 



Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas tree Poinsettia story... and some finished pottery

There is a story behind our Christmas Tree Poinsettia.  DH's mom passed away at 98 years of age in Louisiana 2 Christmases ago.  The Poinsettias that were used at the Service on the River Road were given to her 4 sons.  Each Christmas since we have added ours to the Christmas tree in her memory. 

This Christmas when I was adding it to the tree, I felt like she was telling me to 'add Mardi Gras beads' to the tree. Although we have drawers full of Mardi Gras beads, I had never thought to do this. So-oo I thought, 'sure, why not?' and I have to say that our tree has never looked so good.

tree not lit
tree lit

and here's a picture of the cats helping with the tree...

Tux and Julie helping with the trimming

Small wildlife tree in Hall (with Julie supervising)

 and last of all, here are a few finished pottery pieces...

my cup kitties (which you may notice look like Tux and Julie)

... and I sold a few more of my Cheeky Chickens this past week. A lady came up to me in the studio and said that she needed more chickens. I was surprised and said, "You have some of my chickens?" To which she replied, "Yes, bought them at last year's clay sale... and I'd like to have a few more".  So... luckily I had some there at the studio. But I have to admit, my stock is getting low and I have 2 more people that want them. Guess I know what I'll be doing over the holidays and next semester.




Hand-Made & One of a Kind

Lovable little critters that will sit on your shelf

and bring joy to your day!

Be Happy!


Also threw a few over-sized mugs:

done with 'spectacular' clay...

and a few new mama chickens...

It's only Monday and yet there's so much to do in the next few weeks; Christmas gift shopping, ordering, mailing, Christmas cards to write, decorating, cleaning, baking Christmas cookies, wrapping gifts, getting the house ready for guests, planning and cooking for Christmas dinner, etc.

And if you are like us... trying to get all those last minute doctors appointments in before the end of the year. It's a bit over-whelming, but I try to remember to just take it day by day.  I do love Christmas... 

and wish a wonderful Christmas season to all of you! 

Monday, November 27, 2017

post Thanksgiving post...

I had planned to put up a Thanksgiving post before we left... but alas, it didn't happen. So... this will be a post-Thanksgiving post.

Thanksgiving dinner

Our family get-together at my daughter's house was minus the boys and their families. Oldest son and his family celebrated Thanksgiving in Hawaii due to distance and youngest son and his celebrated at home due to an unexpected turn of events in his wife's family. 

But still, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (with lots and lots of leftovers due to the shortage of expected mouths).  But between us, we put a pretty good dent in the Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, cranberry sauce, etc... not to mention desserts. 

Our daughter graduated with an Interior Design degree and worked as  a designer for a few years after college.  But after moving from Dallas, she started working as a Closer for Title companies and has continued to do this. However... she is obviously a designer at heart as she is constantly changing things in her home. It is always a work in progress... painting and repainting, redoing the decor, etc. 

From Thursday's Thanksgiving decor with pumpkins and Fall leaves, etc. we moved on to Christmas decor by Friday night.

Thursday's Thanksgiving pumpkins

Christmas is infiltrating the room by Friday evening

By Friday evening, we had 4 woodland Christmas trees... 2 owl trees, one a dove tree, and one with the possibility of being an acorn and squirrel tree...

But the weather was beautiful... and one can't stay inside when the outdoors beacons.

pond in back of house

daughter and I in hammock by pond
front porch 
scenery in front of porch with dog, chickens, and horse
(hazy - have to look closely)

Later we watched grand daughter working one of the horses...


Then there's  Willow (who is getting up in age) as well as Coco - cat in picture below that is our Tux and Julie's sibling.

some chickens following us around

All in all, it was a very nice visit and even though the boys and their families weren't there with us, we did call, text, and send pictures to share. So thanks to the marvel of technology, we did get to visit virtually.

Needless to say, Tux, Julie, and Ghost were not happy to be left home alone for those few days, and although they were well taken care of by our neighbor, they were very happy to have us return. To make up for it, we went out and bought their Christmas tree Sunday afternoon. Our cats love having a real tree in the house and spend a good bit of the Christmas season under it, climbing it, etc. 
Hoping you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! Now that we're back home, I will catch up on reading the blogs I missed... 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday before Thanksgiving...

I've been seeing a lot of Black Friday ads lately. Don't know why they're starting so early in the holiday season, but not surprised. I hardly every participate in any of the shopping hype... but since we are going to our daughter's place in the hill country of Texas sometime soon and since she has horses, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. I thought I could use some boots.

Nothing fancy... my wellingtons would do if they hadn't already fallen apart. But I found these on a Penney's Black Friday site and with the sale they would be reduced from $80 to $35. Now that's a pretty good bargain. So I ordered them. Here's a picture:

I haven't had boots since my Animal Science days at LSUBR. (except for my wellies). But these look like they will fit my current need: rounded toe, low heel, and not too high up on my leg.... should protect against copperheads as well as other things one may step on while walking around acreage.

And I don't own that many shoes... not a shoe person. I own tennis shoes (white Reeboks) and some fur lined boots for winter. I do have some shoes left over from my work days, but never wear them anymore... probably need to pass them on.

At the moment I'm cooking a pot roast for our Sunday dinner. I've over-stuffed it with garlic, seasoned it with salt, pepper, parsley, and bay leaves, and cooking it along with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Later this evening  I'll make a gravy and serve all of it over brown rice. 

Oh, I don't know if you remember, but we have had a tiny little possum come by almost daily for several months now. Well, he is rounding out and looking really cute these days. I took this picture this morning as he drank out of the large red feral cats' bowl.

he's filling out nicely

older pic (when he was smaller)

Also we bought our inside cats (Tux, Julie, and Ghost) one of those canvas cubes... it's sort of an add-on type structure (like they have for gerbils). You can get another cube and add a long tube between them. Right now we just bought the cube and the 3 of them have been taking turns in it. Tux can be a bit of a bully when he wants to be. He will sit there and stare at either of the girls until they leave. 

Julie in cube

They will tire of it eventually and then the outside cats will inherit it. This is usually what happens with things we buy for them. But at least the purchases get double use.

Better close this for today. Tonight is the Durrells in Corfu and Poldark on PBS!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

a quick trip home...

Cousins at Mr. Ed's in New Orleans

Just spent a week down in New Orleans visiting family and friends.  I had a wonderful time with my cousins (we are the older generation now).

I basically ate my way through the week. Fantastic food! The two things I miss most about my home-town: family and the food. Let's see - while I was there, I had a fried catfish po-boy,  a roast beef po-boy, red beans and rice, blackened catfish with angel hair pasta and garlic cream sauce, cafe au'lait, beignets, and brought home Angelo Brocato's authentic sesame seed cookies! DH and I love these cookies!

Italian seed cookies

One of my cousins picked me up at the airport and three of us went out to lunch together the next day at a local restaurant that is very New Orleans... in a little neighborhood right off Canal St. and Carrollton Ave. The name of the restaurant is Katie's.... and the food was fantastic. This is where I had my fried catfish po-boy. 


From there we went down the street a bit to Angelo Brocato's Italian Bakery (which is also an icon - think that's the right word) in New Orleans. There we had delicious fresh cafe au'lait. I had an Italian sesame seed cookie with mine while my cousins had spumoni ice-cream. Perfect! 

Cousins Darnell and Barbara

The blackened catfish with angel hair pasta was at New Orleans Food and Spirits on the old Hammond Hwy close to the Lakefront. We've been there before and it's always good. Good gumbo too. And the roast beef po-boy and red beans was at Mr. Ed's - another local neighborhood find.... (which I will definitely return to). It was in Bucktown.

S-I-L and Cousin at New Orleans Food and Spirits on Old Hammond Hwy

DH loves real authentic roast beef po-boys. I'd never had one. I always go for oyster po-boy or fried catfish po-boys. So I thought I'd try one. It was great!! Messy, but great! Wonderful juicy tender roast beef with gravy and crispy delicious french bread. I will get it again. And of course I had to have red beans and rice. However, it's not easy to find red beans and rice in New Orleans unless it's a Monday. Tradition again. But if you google it, it will tell you where it's served only on Monday, and where you can get it on other days.

My college room-mate (at LSUBR 1964) and I spend Friday together... reminiscing... first at Angelo Brocata's for cafe au'lait, then off to City Park to walk. I love City Park... with it's old oak trees, moss, and lagoons. We walked and talked.

City park

Then we went to sit by the lakefront... (lake Ponchatrain)

my friend and the seagulls on the lakefront

We lived very close to the lakefront when I was growing up, so I miss the water... and love to drive or stop by whenever I'm in town.

So that was my week... family, food, and reminiscing!  Now I'm home again in Texas thinking that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both just around the corner. Am I ready? No... but I will be.

The cats were glad to see me. DH says that Tux walked around the house the first few days crying and looking for me. But I'm back 

and he's fine. 

sad Tux

I will also mention that when I fly, I only take an carry-on bag that goes on top and a large quilted bag that fits under the seat. I've always done this as I don't like to check bags. Anyway, what I've noticed lately (now that I'm getting 'up in age') is that picking up that carry-on bag and hoisting it over my head to the overhead luggage compartment is getting a little difficult. If there's a man around, I can always ask for help... but this trip... no one was around but the flight attendant and she was not young herself... and informed me that she had a bad shoulder. I was able to do it, but I know as time moves on, this might not be the case. Oh well, just one of those moments that give one pause...

Have a wonderful week and as always, thanks for visiting!


Monday, November 6, 2017

an after Halloween post...

Feral cats out front on Halloween

This will be a short post as I will be 'out of pocket' until next weekend. Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We had about 2 dozen kids come by for candy... not a lot, but better than last year. The weatherman predicted colder weather and rain... but we had none of it by our house. 

We removed the cat bed (and wind buffer) before the kids came, but the cats weren't too affected by the Halloween activity. They would move off as the kids ran for the door, then return in between trick or treating (we told the cats that they should go around to the backyard to stay safe, but they didn't seem too worried).

Oh, I did make some 'tea cakes' for Halloween that looked a bit like bats. But since I couldn't force myself to make cookies black, I called them my exotic white snow bats!

... Snowbats on left without powdered sugar. 

... Snowbats on right with powdered sugar


I also missed 2 Saturdays at the Studio due to a stomach bug, so I'm a bit behind on getting things glazed. But I did try spray glazing this past Saturday. It seemed to work well. My plan is to spray glaze some mugs one color, and then use a detail sprayer and very lightly spray glaze around the rim in another color. We'll see how that turns out. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the Studio will be closed that weekend, there aren't many workable classes left. It may be that I'll have to finish up next semester... which is fine with me.

Well, have a good week... Happy Veterans Day! and as always thanks for visiting!