Idyll 344- Countdown to Christmas

lmcilhargieDecember 15, 2007

Only 10 more days to go! Carry on Idylls...

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Christmas past! I was going through looking at other years since all I have this year are window lights (see illegal post on last thread. Whoops!)

I like tiny tiny trees :)


And Christmas really really past:


Left to right, Linda who died when she was 40 (cancer), Jean, and me.

Please pull out your oldest Christmas photos and share! I really enjoy memories especially at this time of year.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:17PM
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I'm not able to share mine because they're still at Mum's home (most in slide format) and I don't have a scanner anyway. But I love the 3 of you, Cynthia... they evoke images from my past, too. Thanks for sharing, AND lighting fire under my a-- to get busy with the archives. (Like I need more work). ;)

Thanks also for your assessment of the "idiot-proof" lights. I'm not an idiot, thank you, just a Luddite. I decide when the lights go on and off, thanks! I cut our electric bill in HALF by installing "strips" and shutting off the vampires when we weren't using them. Just something to think about, you guys...

I really DO wanna see the "zipper girl". Sending your shorn brindle gal a virtual chicken back... if I could, I'd whip up a few fleece "housecoats" for her, too. Really.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We were a very odd family and Christmas was celebrated differently...and not particularly happily. It was not a time when photos were taken. That all changed by the time I was married though. I don't know how to scan, but here's DD's first Christmas, some 30 years ago:

Chelone, you seem to be sneaking in a few gifties for DH. We picked up a few too this morning: Mexican cocoa, 2 tree decorations for DD, pot holders for DSIL, a bib with a frog on it, and so on... I told DH that our trip westward and a new puppy are plenty of gifts as far as I'm concerned and he felt fine about that. I just hope that a new furnace isn't another Christmas "gift"!

Eden, I too was wondering about your painting project and if it includes new wall creativity or retaining the old. If I had a choice, I'd grow up in YOUR house! It has everything important in it- imagination, pets, books, yummy food, fairy garden, music, laughter & colour!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 3:43PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

waiting for the storm to hit here....

Christmas 1961:

Dog Cookie Santa was doing deliveries yesterday afternoon:

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 4:03PM
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I GUESS they could be called "gifts", 'bug, but mostly I see them as necessities. To me, "gifts" are more luxurious, more "FUN". I did tell him I'd done some shopping, but emphasized the importance of available time; his is minimal these days. I suggested regluing the soundboard for Grospapa's clock and installing it so the chimes may FINALLY be heard in our home after 17 yrs. would be a great gift. I also managed to unearth a length of electric blue flannel that I hope to turn into a shirt next weekend. I love making clothing for him; it's my way of letting him know how much I respect him and appreciate all his hard work, day in and day out. I know, everyday he puts on one of "my" garments he understands and appreciates the way our hard work has built a home and a family. And making his clothes reminds me of my very great skill level, even when my daily work can be rote and unfulfilling. Maybe I should learn to knit... ;)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 4:10PM
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EEEEEEEEK. Got lost in the pics and posted a whole thing about the Park on the 'other' Perennial Forum. Take a look!

See you later!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 4:28PM
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LOL, Martie, if anything will shake out the Lurkers your shots probably will!

Oh wow! I am amazed at how snowfall and enforced idyllness gives a different perspective to our individual "realms". Great shots; capturing the serenity that only an enveloping snowstorm can deliver nowadays.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 4:34PM
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Oh I just love the old pictures! So, so special! I've spent the last hour searching for the cable for my scanner and I CAN'T FIND IT. Somehow I suspect David is involved but he's at work and I can't ask him. So moving on...Cynthia I like tiny trees too, maybe because I have a tiny house. I have a tree in an urn, like Michelle, in the lr. But have a tiny tree in every other room of the house this year.

Chelone, LOL on the Patty Play Pals come to life. Bella and Kenzie are the same size as Patty. Brad and I aren't big on giving gifts to each other on Christmas day. We usually choose something we both want together and get that sometime during the Christmas season. Receiving gifts is really my least favorite part of Christmas. There's nothing we need and pretty much whatever we really want we go out and get within reason. I did do some shopping for my kids today. Just a few more things to go. I don't mind shopping if I know what I'm after and I can just go get it but I don't like wandering around stores trying to figure out something to get someone just because I'm obligated to get them a gift. If I see something I think someone will like thoughout the year I'll usually get it and give it to them then. That's the fun of gift giving for me.

Oh, wanted to comment on Rachel Ray. Funny, I always tease Brad that he has a thing for her too. She's going to be at Borders near here for a book signing on Dec 20 and I keep kidding him that I think he'll skip out on work and go see her. Now I'll be watching the food channel with the helpmeets insight in mind:)

Woody, any dog is lucky to have you guys for friends. What an adorable way to pack up the cookies. Too cute!

As far as the wall words go I don't know what I'll do. I'll be painting over them but don't know if I'll replace them or not. Maybe with a different quote or phrase?

This afternoon Bella and I have played Candyland a few times and then started reading Charlotte's Web. It's her first chapter book but this version doesn't have long chapters. She discovered it on the shelf and asked me to read it to her. Not many pictures, and the ones it has are sketches, so I explained to her she would have to really listen to the words. I asked her a few questions after ch.1 and she answered them so she must have been comprehending the story. I picked up a prebaked gingerbread house kit to do with her this morning and then decided I'd send it home so she and Megan could do it together. Meg doesn't have money for buying many extras like that so I think it'll be fun for the two of them.

Enough rambling from me. I've enjoyed Idylls so much today. It's been like the old days in the beginning when everyone dropped in a few times during the day to chat. I miss that but know things change and many of us have gotten busier. It's been a good day though!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 5:42PM
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Saturday morning's parachute into idylland. Cynthia's alphabetical call-out to lurkers brought a big smile. (And Martie's recruitment tactics too!) "Beeze" (Beezelbub) is an "affectionate" nickname for DH at times...He phoned the garden office from the main house early this morning, leaving a msg that "Denise M has just won a breakfast to..." mispronouncing our last name, just like a phone solicitor. I'm thinking what kind of scam..oh, just Beeze is up early and frisky after a night shift. He's gotta work Christmas Day and New Year's Day this year, doubly whammy.

After breakfast we liberated this guy:

A local museum landscaped with aloes and agaves, and this imperfect specimen was left over and shunted to the end of a parking lot in a tiny plastic pot. I watched him for weeks and pointed him out to DH as we passed by today. DH doesn't need much encouragement, wheeled the VW into the pkg lot, and quick and dirty it was done. There was also a huge one, splended shape, but somehow it seemed less felonious to take the smaller beat up one. If the big one is neglected for a few more months, there just might be another raiding party. Thank goodness there's no local idyllers to egg me on, lol. I immediately got him out of the dinky plastic pot and into the big clay one.

The silly cat Joe's confinement over his injury has become a constant reminder of what winter confinement must be like for the snow-bound idyllers. He's going nuts, pure and simple. He's been lord of the garden and rooftops, feels fit, and wants OUT. Doc says not for a week tho. Ein & Joe are mortal enemies, so there's much finessing of doors and a couple outright rhino charges by Ein, who's losing patience by the minute.

For Kathy, Ein is pronounced like "fine" and was named by the boys after this Ein from the Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop.

The holiday decoration photos have been a treat, esp. the "holidays past" photos. What wonderful creativity is unleased during your snow-filled months. This may be the weekend we bring home a tree, along with some cookie baking for the neighborhood shindig tomorrow. Got to get out my Charlie Brown/Vince Guaraldi LP. Amazing that he was an obscure jazz sessions musician, dying before the Charlie Brown tv show aired. It's my favorite holiday baking music. We won't be exchanging presents, tho I dropped a big hint for a Haws watering can. The big excitement is a local source (friend of a friend, etc) for lobsters, in season til Feb. or so. We had about 3 huge lobbies a few nights ago and they were sublime. We're hoping to bring about six to Christmas Eve dinner at my BIL's as a surprise, so we'll see if the source can still produce them.

The DS in NYC has been through myriad dramas as only 20-somethings can, fell into the arms of an old flame and is staying into January now. A photography hero Ethan Hill returned his call and they had a 3-hr mtg on Thurs. They have a photog mentor in common so bonded immediately and there was tentative talk of possibly some photo assistant work end of Jan. DS will probably spend Christmas with my Mass. clan.

I've had lengthy if unposted idyll chats over the city/town tug of war after reading 'bugs interesting trip to town, discussed job change issues with Jerri, and also pondered Chelone's freedom (and my own) to explore on bike vs. limited freedom for kids to explore and how that may be impacting their initiative such as in school in subtle ways, and so on, but must end and take care of bidness.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vince Guaraldi & Charlie Brown

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 6:51PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Eden, I know what you mean about us being chatty today. Such fun! I also love, love, love the old pics.

Cynthia, I love your beautiful photo of your small tree. what a gorgeous pic. That should be a card.

So here is Christmas 1955 Deanne, Denise and Debbie in our new wagon. That wagon was in our family for as long as I can remember.

Left to right, Denise, Deanne and Debbie

Deanne with her Christmas 'loot'. I LOL at this photo when I realized that there is a tea set strewn between my legs but I've got a gun and holster strapped to my waist. I have NO idea what I'm holding up that I'm so in love with but what a pose.

OK Doug and I are going to enjoy an even apres dinner beverage so I'm out of here for now.


PS we sold the behemoth tree on Ebay and the lady picked it up today. Horray!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 7:03PM
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I have enjoyed everything! I'm a bit overwhelmed here as Sarah's teacher put a call out to families for Christmas Cookie recipes and we've never baked them....

I'm a good cook and understand what NOT to do when baking cookies....but I'm a bit harried at making the first annual batch :)

Wish us luck tomorrow when we roll out the dough during the upcoming snow storm.

I spent an hour looking for pics and then another hour trying to scan to no avail...Dear Santa.....LOL...Eden, I was so frustrated I considered calling a friend to see if she would scan for me :)

I love seeing all the pictures and the wallpaper at Deanne's childhood home has finally disappeared from my house :)

I still have lots to comment on....maybe while the snow's a flying tomorrow? OH....snow reminds me that I heard a term: Pineapple Express....that's when a front moves up from Hawaii and dumps snow in Cali :) Similar to the Nor'Easter, I guess, which has nothing to do with November or Easter :)


    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:26PM
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What a fun day on the Idylls-Ive checked in about 10 times this morning between chores and now IÂm settled down with a glass of Sauv Blanc and the music turned moderately loud, ÂLola (Kinks) playing right now. Laundry done, kitchen clean , wine fridge in the garage cleaned out and prepped for pick up by PG&EÂs recycling program ..and the wine safely moved to the indoor wine closet. And another box prepared to ship off to Portland on Monday. It only got up to 48 today (which I know probably seems like the tropics to everyone but Denise) and we are expecting rain to come in tomorrow so it may warm up a bit more. Marties pics over yonder on the other forum gave me the shivers !

Cynthia, brilliant of you to suggest the Christmas past postings ! Like you , I am forgoing the tree this year- I am pretty absorbed in the house clean-up and moving prep, and since we will be out of town at this point there is no need to stretch my resources too thin ! IÂm going to go over to Trader Joes tomorrow am and spend 20 bucks on mixed bouquets which I will place around the house for some festive atmosphere. We fly out in a week. I just love your "window room" reminds me of Deannes dining room ! Is that headboard in the sisters-pic still in your family ? It looks rather nice.

Âbug, DD looks very intent on her toy. Soon weÂll have pics to view of her own childs 1st Christmas (IÂm certain there will be pics, right?) By the way, I enjoyed the saga of Ms ÂBug Goes To Town. I grew up in Los Angeles , but live in a small city now by choice. The city I am moving too is even smaller than this one, but I still can feel very comfortable negotiating LA Âalways glad to get back home though !

Chelone has the gift thing just right- getting the family heirloom clock up and running or crafting a special garment out of love and respect are gifts that really mean something. ItÂs always very important to me to give presents that will be used and enjoyed.

I liked reading about BellaÂs enjoyment of verbal storytelling  I feel a bit simpatico with that- I have always loved listening to radio drama even tough itÂs heyday was a bit before my time. In Los Angeles you could often find radio stations that would play old radio shows and I would listen to them at night. Listening to the words and voices and then envisioning out of ones own imagination can be very compelling. I hope it does not become a lost art .

Denise, lol, I guess you are now officially a plant rustler ! Unfortunately you have confessed your sin on the internet , and have even posted evidence in the form of a photo, and we can only hope that you wonÂt be found out. I have always wanted a Haws watering can. Perhaps only to place it strategically amongst the various containers and feel the connection with the Mother Country  breeding ground of the serious gardener . I should just go buy one. VinceÂs Chuck Brown Christmas CD has been a staple around here for a few years.

Deanne how sweet those pics of the sisters are , all in their jammies, and Dad in his bathrobe ! I wonder what color they were ? All those big smiles Âlol the 6-shooter and the tea set. I think this is an extension of the rocks in the dolly stroller incident.

The best I can do is last years tree ! ItÂs the only pic I can access with ease. It was rather a nice one.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:48PM
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Beautiful tree, Kathy. Deanne, further evidence of your divided nature, brandishing pistols, tea cups -- me too!

Saucy, I made these last year. I remember they're fairly labor intensive but everyone that tasted them pronounced them up there with the best of cookies:

NPR World Peace Cookies aka Korova Cookies Chocolate Sables
One and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespooons unsalted butter at room temp. (11 tablespoons)
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped into chips or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Makes about 36 cookies
Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek -- if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the cough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough -- for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs thate are one and 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least three hours. (the dough can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to twomonths. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking -- just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies one minute longer.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them -- don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes -- they won't look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.
Serving: the cookes can be eaten when they are warm or at room temp. Storing: packed airtight, the cookies will keep at room temp for up to three days; they can be frozen for up to two months.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:02PM
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Who ever took my fleu de sil made off with the parchment at the same time.

Saucy, alternate recipe for short attention spans:

Ritz crackers & Dark Chocolate.

Ingredients: See title.

Melt chocolate and dip crackers in one at a time coating completely. Put the dipped crackers on waxed paper (or the parchment if you're stocked) until the chocolate hardens. They're even crispier if you put them in the freezer. Somthing about a cold cracker cookie - yum. Don't forget to clean the bowl with your finger.

I kid you not, these are the BEST Christmas cracker/cookies. A bit like the Cadbury dark chocolate cookie fingers, but better.

I had a nice day. Got the shippables to the post office, stocked up on groceries - not realizing every one else was our gathering pre-storm provisions. Too tired to hit the liquor store and that's needed to finish off some gift bags. Did two washer loads of stuffies (and threw out a dozen dead ones first). Cleaned the 'dump' section of my office. Gave Katie a pedicure. She doesn't walk outside so I'm doing her nails at least twice a week to catch up.

Deanne, look at your face in that last pic. Wall eye. You're saying - "I have no idea what this is, what did I do wrong." And the photog is saying 'smile damn it' your Aunt Josie put a lot of thought into that flying nun doll.

My dogs want to be friends with Misty. I like the photo on front of the bags.

Kathy, that's my 'old' sunroom. Original to the house - 1925. I have a 'new' sunroom that's circa 1940. My house is full of dirty windows because there are too many, but gardeners need the light right? Love your tree, smart to skip it this year, it's one less thing to do.

Denise, darn that agave is a stunner! I can't believe you gathered that up from a parking lot. (Go get the big one tomorrow. 'K? It's lonely, needs a home for Xmas.)

Eden & Saucy, no scanner needed, just take a photo of the photos. It's sort of like Anise's screensaver of her office.

Forgot to mention, I really like the ribbonesque trees Eden.

I'm cold. Need to go find a robe...if I didn't throw them all out.

'gnight, Cynthia

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 10:00PM
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Ok, I'm going to see if my memory is a bad as I think it is.

Eden, Bella in her designer dress and curled toes is precious. I agree she is looking more little girl than toddler.
I wish your mom the best with her new round of treatment.
All your decorations are an inspiration. I can just imagine all the memories you are making for Bella and the ones your kids have too.
I have just never really been into seasonal decorating. My one DIL is and I admire it. I guess I am just to lazy.

Cynthia, it is so good to see pictures of Katie. Even though I know she is suffering it gives me some reassurance that she will be ok. I'm guessing the other dogs are not allowed near her? We could use some glimpses of them too. hint hint.

Woody,I'm sure all your dog pals will love those cute and tasty gifts. Have your guests arrived yet?

Marian, Wow you sure do get the wildlife in your yard. You get some pretty neat shots even without a telephoto lens. We did get snow here. but nothing like the other Idylls.

Wendy your trek from work had to be a bit nervewracking. Glad you made it safely. How nice that you gals are planning another lunch. It will a nice break for all.

Deanne, your tree and snow picture just look so inviting. I'm not crazy about snow for long periods but it sure does lend some atmosphere at this time of year. I was looking out the window several times today. The small pond in the front has a small waterfall and with the falling snow it was intriguing. Good to hear Doug finally made it home. I bet you are in such good shape you won't even be to sore from all the shoveling. But be careful of your back.
I did note the gun and holster and that would have been my choice over a tea set anyday.
The winter / summer comparison is amazing.
I was looking at some shots of my gardens from four years ago, when we were getting sufficent rains, and they looked so much nicer then.

Denise, I like the colors in you photo of the rescued plant. I'm sure it will be much happier in your care and turn into a swan.

Martie I've not yet looked at your pictures but will shortly. Something to look forward to.

Mary good to have an update from you. You are doing all the things I imagined you would be doing.

Michelle, Kenzies cards and pictures are so cute. She looks like she could just ask all kinds of questions. Thanks for explaining the OWI. Here it is DWI.

V, how nice that DD is helping with the cooking. I don't think any of my GDs have any interest in cooking. Could be hereditary :o

Jerri, I thnk if you want a change you should go for it.

Kathy, I hope your house sells quickly once you get it listed. I'm looking forward to the journey you will hopefully take us on in search of a new garden.

Hi Sue, we miss your posts . I hope the health issues have smoothed out a bit for you. How are the pups?

Ei, don't drop out on us again. We don't have to have long posts. Just enjoy hearing from everyone.

Welcome Anita. and hey to everyone I've missed. I've run out of steam. Norma

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 10:00PM
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We just got home from the city and the last of the shopping. We purchased a new video camera for "our" gift this year. We don't buy for each other anymore but find something we would like to have. Our old one doesn't have a good battery any more and we decided we wanted one that would have better picture quality. I missed taping my garden and Kenzie this past summer. Kenzie is really into Care Bears right now so the ornament I bought her this year is a pink Care Bear. I saw it and knew it was perfect.

I am loving the past Christmas pictures and seeing so many young Idylls. Here are a couple from my past.

Christmas 1967, Michelle, Denice and David. I laughed at my style sense with the striped top and plaid pants.

I would say this was about 4 or 5 years later as my littlest sister was born in 1967. Thats me putting on the tree topper with the groovy pants. At least in this picture my outfit is somewhat more coordinated. Notice the carpet. I actually wish we had kept it, I would love it or a piece at least in my garden shed.

I'll try to get back tomorrow for a few comments but its after 11:00 and I'm beat.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:14AM
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Two more Denise/Denices. What's that about? Funny how names have their heyday. "Denise" did have a minor demographic boost in popularity when I was growing up -- one of my best high school friends was also a Denise.

Nice to elicit a "chirp" from Cynthia, lol. I posted that recipe then rushed off to the movies and failed to mention that my kitchen also lacks what Cynthia's does, and they turned out OK. It was one of those NPR "driveway" moments where you stay fixed to your seat in the driveway thinking, Ah, this is the answer. This year I may opt for the chocolate-covered Ritz, tho, they sound great. Dark chocolate and saltines is a favorite snack, so it makes total sense.

Next installment in labor-intensive cookies, lol, another refrigerator cookie. Let me know if anyone has heard of something similar, because I never have. They taste nothing like their ingredients. I've been making them nearly every holiday for 30 yrs, the recipe given to me by my childhood best friend's mother, a South Dakotan farm woman, transplanted like my family to the Los Angeles postwar suburbs. Maynard her husband looked like an elongated Ingmar Bergman, an incredibly kind, gentle guy who worked like a navvie, as did Phyllis, whose cookies these are:

Swedish Tea Cookies (Phyllis Lokken)
One pound butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut
1/2 crushed walnuts (or pecans)
1/2 cup candied cherries (1/4 cup green, 1/4 cup red)
Using food processor, finely mince coconut walnuts and cherries. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Blend dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Fold in nuts, coconut and cherries. Green and red cherries should be carefully handled separately so they don't become grey sludge, but should retain their colors. Roll dough into balls. Using flat-based glass or cup, first dipped in dough, dip flat object in flour and then sugar and flatten dough balls. Bake at 350 for approx 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be very flat, about 3 inches round, crispy and slighty chewy.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 8:41AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good snowy morning here,

Doug and I are sitting in our favorite comfy chairs in the dining room and watching the snow fall. We are supposed to get another nine inches of snow today before it turns to sleet and freezing rain later in the afternoon. WE are also supposed to get winds gusting up to 50MPH a real Noreaster. Im just loving all these images of Christmas past!!! What fun, what fun. Michelle, those pants are just soooo stylish! Fantastic! And youre right that carpet would be perfect in your shed. ~~ Neat youve gotten a new video camera. Thats great, youll have a great time with that.

Denise wonderful that you rescued that agave. What a beauty! LOL you hit the nail on the head about the dual personality thing. I do love girly stuff but also have always loved having my hands in the dirt. As an adult I love bling, high-heeled shoes, nice clothes, candlelight dinners but I love a good comfy pair of blue jeans and a new sack of potting soil better!

Cynthia, you are toooo.funny. I almost wet my pants laughing over your description of that Christmas pic.

Norma, Ill bet your pond and waterfall is lovely with snow falling. Did you happen to get any pictures for us?

Kathy, what a lovely tree! Im intrigued by the artwork on your walls. What is the painting with the light over it? Love your decorating. Your home feels comfy and so interesting.

So Saucy, what kind of Christmas cookies did you bake? Im thinking I might just do some sugar cookies for Christmas Day. Ive not made any in years. ~~ Do you think you can join us for lunch the day after Christmas or the following week?

I did some time in my blind yesterday and will post the visitors photos on a separate thread.

Have a great day and stay toasty warm everyone,

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:09AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oakie are mine(pics of pics..) my sister Evelyn's house, with brother Donald, and niece Brenda. ( Susan, this is the niece who now has cochlear implants).My first husband was based in Germany at this time.

Second....Tim..1960. His third xmas. On the ranch in Nevada where we lived.

Third...Nolon and Timothy...1961. In the bigger house on the Nevada ranch where we lived.

( How many of you can sit like either of them?? I can't )

Forth and fifth...more of the 1961 xmas...

Sorry about the blurryness, but it is the best I can do with out a scanner.

My mother apparently never took pictures of us at christmas.

We did hang stockings but had no fireplace, so they were behind the wood stove in the livingroom. Like some others here, we got an orange, nuts and candy in the stockings. I do not remember a tree in our house...but then, there is a lot I don't remember...:-(

Our grade school always had a program. and we were usually participants in it. I remember one program where I was making a 'cake', only the ingredients were not food items. Another time I was chosen to sing Silent Night, and was accompanied by another girl who was off scene.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 10:49AM
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Good Snowy Morning from SE MI,

We got about 6 in. over night and are supposed to get more snow throughout the day. Right now we seem to be in a lull though. I'm hoping the weather guys called it wrong and we're done with the worst of it. Brad's out there shoveling us out and David just left for work. Brad has to leave to go into work around 2pm. I have the next three days pretty much to myself and will do some cleaning and start some baking. Baking is my second favorite holiday thing after decorating.

Michelle, I have to say you were quite the fashion diva in your youth:) I think we're the same age and I remember having similar pants to those in your last picture.

Deanne, your pictures are priceless too. You have to love those 1950s shots.

Kathy, your tree is so bright and colorful. It's very pretty. Just think next year you'll be settled into a new place to decorate for Christmas. I can't wait to see it too!

Denise, great score on the very cool agave.

Hi Norma, good to see you pop in.

Cynthia I will try taking a photo of the photos since the scanner cable is still MIA.

If we're sharing recipes, here's one I'm going to try today. Everyone over on the Cooking Forum gave it great reviews. The notes at the bottom of the recipe are from the person who posted the recipe over there.

"Santa's Helpers."

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Add 1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat until smooth
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Beat until smooth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Stir until smooth and then add:
1 cup chopped walnuts

Divide dough into quarters. Form each quarter into 6 balls. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. With finger, make a wide deep depression in each cookie, clear to the edge. Fill with topping. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, (or in a convection oven, about 9 minutes)
If you undercook these, the filling is so heavy that it will break through when you pick them up, so I make them crunchy. You could also not make the depression in them as deep and there would be more dough to suport the filling so that it did not break through. These are my family's favorite cookies, and we have never ever seen them anywhere else. (They were my secret weapon)

Lastly Bella's Christmas photo...

And a couple other of my favorite shots from that same day


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 10:58AM
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Marian, What great Christmas pictures! Is that you on the left in the first one? And is that Nolon in the last one with the guitar. Beautiful Christmas trees and I really like all the decorations in #4. This is so great seeing all of these old pictures from everyone. I'm enjoying them so much.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:11AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Eden, I am the one with the little girl on my lap, and yes, that is Nolon playing the guitar. He was a very good guitarist and singer.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:24AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good snowy morning!

It is certainly a winter wonderland out there today, tra la! DH and I went out a while ago and did some cardio shoveling. I discovered that I am more of a sprinter while he is a marathon man. By the end of the driveway, my glasses were so fogged up I could barely see. We wanted to get the bulk of the snow out of the way before it starts to rain - the extra water will increase the weight of the snow substantially. DH actually had us leave the snow on the cars so that there will be some fluff underneath the coming icy crust that will encase everything by nightfall.

Cookie baking, just love it! My plan for later on is to surround myself with cookbooks and select the cookie recipes to make for the in-laws party next Saturday, and for us. My kids love the big cookie-cutter cookies that my mother always makes; they get to frost and sprinkle them like my brother and I did when we were kids. My father loves coconut macaroons, and I like molasses cookies, or of course, anything with chocolate.

Chelone, DH was intrigued by your helpmeet's thoughts on cooking shows. He is definitely on to something. Maybe we can watch the Food Network today instead of the Patriots game!

DH just looked out the window and pointed out our neighbor across the street, an older gentleman, running the snow blower. He is jauntily attired in a brown fedora with a large feather stuck in the brim! Might as well be cold in style!

I love looking at all the old pictures. What fun! Deanne, my kids had a wagon like that, only with wooden sides. Michelle, those pants are totally groovy! Is that tree one of the silver ones at which you point the twirling, colored spotlight?

I've been in this chair long enough I suppose, off to throw in another load of laundry.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:53AM
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Here's my contribution from Christmas past. The first one is me in 1958. I still have the little rocking chair. I put it under my Christmas tree every year with both my mom's and Jenni's old teddy bears sitting in it.

This is me and my younger sister Kathy in probably 1961. Deanne, I thought you and she resembled each other in these old pictures. That's my dad in the background. I can't believe how much he looks like David in this picture.

This is Jenni's first visit to Santa in 1979. She's 8 months old here.

And this is Jennifer and Megan in their Christmas dresses that my mom made them, in 1983.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:09PM
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Good morning Idylls

We're under the threat of a huge snow storm today but so far there has been nothing more than a few inches. Everyone is seriously rooting for a snow day from school tomorrow which would suit me to a tee with so much still to do. The children have assured me that putting ice in the toilet at night will make it happen. I guess I'll be making new ice Monday which isn't a bad thing with a party coming up.

I'm still woefully behind on reading but absolutely love all the photos and one day hope to have time to respond. I've decided that at this time of year I have too much going on to stress about not getting things done. Instead I'm taking pleasure in each task at hand as with the exception of cleaning these are all things I love to do.

Here is my current project - beaded dragonfly pins with origami boxes to put them in.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:31PM
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What absolutely adorable pictures from Christmas' past. I have pics, but no scanner. So I can't share any pictures, but put a different face on Michele's clothes...the plaid and stripes outfit...and it could be me. LOL. I think that was the standard outfit in the 60's.

Eden, how precious that you still have that rocking chair from your youth. I love things that last from generation to generation...they're priceless.

I need some lessons on accepted protocol here, I think. Are you not to answer a thread after 100 posts? I know it has to stop sometime...I noticed most only go to 100.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 1:03PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Anita, the limit of 100 posts per thread was started because those who have dial-up have a hard time opening a longer one...espacially if there are lots of pics. At least that is the way I remember it.

Can you take pictures of your old pictures like I do? I know...mine aren't very clear, but better than nothing.

Mary, I LOVE that dragonfly! Would like to have one/some as pins. That color is extra pretty. The origami box is lovely too.

I envy those who still have childhood things. Much of mine and Tim's was lost when we moved from Idaho. A lot just did not make it in to the moving vehicles( van, trailer, car etc.) :-(
I do still have both of our teddybears, and one of my dolls.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 1:28PM
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A morning post from me today , I only read about half of the Sunday paper before I decided to check in at the Idylls and see what pics have been put up since last night not the mention the plethora of cookie recipes .Its dreary out this morning with rain coming in later much needed I might add . Today Im going to gather up another batch of stuff for my next Salvation Army run.

Michelle , those pants are just priceless ! I had a pair of bell-bottoms that had a similar pattern but were orange and yellow. Very loud ! Your siblings look quite subdued by comparison.

Cynthia, I want a sun room too(pouting and stamping my foot)especially needed in upper NorCal and Oregon where the sun vanishes for long periods of time . Think of all the plants one could move in there for the winter. So once a year , in late spring maybe, one treats oneself to a professional window washer ! A friend at work did that this year. He said they vacuumed out all the tracks and nooks and crannies, cleaned all the screens , windows inside and out . Dont remember what he paid but I do recall thinking it was well worth it.

Deanne, lol, the painting with the light over is is none other than one of my forgeries that I have done over the years..this happens to be a fake Monet one of the haystack works. I chose that one because it required little or no drawing skills ! I have always wanted to do a couple others in that series-maybe when I move to Oregon and become a lady of leisure for a few months Ill have some time to drag out my paints again- but Ill need a sunroom for that too !

Marian we call that that the frog sit , I have a friend who can do it, and one kid. I think its like curling your tongue ..some have it and some dont , lol ! I love the pic of Nolon with his guitar ! Does he ever play anymore ?

Eden Im jealous of Bellas Beatles t-shirt. The room behind you in the 58 photo looks very 50s stylish-love the lamp. Is the wall behind it done with that grassy style of wallpaper?

Mary , about 15 of those dragonflies would make a great addition to the Christmas tree..wonderful !

All of the talk about snow shoveling from Wendy, Eden, Deanne etc ..I guess you have to arrange your schedules to leave extra time to actually exit the driveway in the morning .

Ok, got to go to TJs. Wish me luck, Itll probably be a zoo in there today !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 1:55PM
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Cynthia, you're the best....I was able to take pictures! Now I know I have some awesome photos of Christmas from when I was little (my mama is/was the BEST santa ever!) but these are all I've come up with so far.

My cousin Tammy and Me on the right - Uncle Clyde in the background Christmas 1974

Nick's first mugshot! LOL! Why the numbers? He was 16 mo. old 1971:

And my Jake 1995 - 10mo. old - Oh he was H*LL on wheels, hence the pet gate:

LOL about the food network....I thought Nick liked Italian food, but it was explained that Giada is easy on the eyes :) He can't stand Rachel though, only because she's everywhere! It's Yummo Overload.

I'll be back for a better post with cookies and comments, but I've gotta get back to the kitchen.

Other New England Idyllettes seem to be having a picturesque snowy time....if you want to know how my family is handling it, think Jack Nicholson in the Shining :) REDRUM :)


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 2:13PM
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The men are all off to work. The wind's really blowing here now but not much snow falling. Kathy, yes, clearing the driveway must be figured into the mix at this time of the year. Also thawing out the car, warming it up and scrapping the windows. It's all part of our winter fun!

Mary, that dragonfly is just beautiful and what a nice touch the origami box is. Is it a difficult project? It looks like it would take time and patience. Last night I was reading a list of thing to do to declutter your mind your method of handling so much during the holidays was spot on.

Kathy, I think that listening to books on tape is the closest I've ever come to what you describe on radio. I've always enjoyed them but find that the car is the only place where I'm not too distracted to enjoy listening. Brad got that shirt for Bella. He's a huge Beatles fan.

Anita, what you said at the end of the last Idyll about the rocking horse being such a great toy is what bothers me about Butterscotch. I'd much rather she'd have wanted an old fashioned rocking horse. I fear that expensive, overpriced Butterscotch will be out of commission before much time goes by and I'd much rather have Bella using her imagination while riding off on adventures on a good old rocking horse. So why'd I buy it? Good question!

Saucy, great pictures! So that must have been Nick's first sailor suit? What a cutey you married!

Back to the vacuum....


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 2:38PM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

This has nothing to do with Christmas, just a pic of my brother's dog Skipper - doesn't he look like he is smiling?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:32PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Doggies have plenty to do with Christmas I think. I'm counting the days until Baby Bouvier is born...About 7 days.

Here is how things look so far today:

Outdoors on the verandah:

Crabapple tree:

Indoors: What's in the box?

Twelve Days of Christmas decorations!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:43PM
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GB, your snow photos are wonderful! The first one brought to mind 'Elbpark' (Thaulow) which I have in my hallway:

No time to comment further, but keep those fashion statements coming (Michelle!), And Mary, that dragonfly, wow!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 4:04PM
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How wonderful, more decorations, recipes, old Christmas photos, snowy scenes and a smiling dog! It's very festive here and I've had fun visualizing each Idyller in the midst of their preparations.

Eden, the bead work is fun but very time consuming as the beads are teeny tiny and the wire almost invisible to my middle aged eyes. But I've loved making them and have reduced the time to 2 1/2 hours each. I'd be happy to scan the pattern if anyone is interested. The origmai boxes are a piece of cake by comparison but equally satisfying to make. I love the mind decluttering.

Kathy - each year my DH insists on a contract for unlimited ploughing from a local guy so that he doesn't have to worry about us getting out of the driveway on snowy mornings when he is gone. This year I've been very thankful. DH is in LA right now and enjoying a gorgeous day in the 60's. He's away till the 21st and somehow escapes all of the holiday prep. However, today he is making a run to Trader Joes for me for dried fruit for Panforte so I can't complain.

Saucy - I can see the eye appeal for Giada's show and sometimes think it should be called Everyday Cleavage rather than Everyday Italian LOL!

GB - we spent yesterday evening having supper with a friend who has seven 3 week old lab puppies. One of them fell asleep when I was holding him - I fell totally in love. Will you get puppy pics after the BB's (baby Bouviers) are born?

Still snowing heavily - I might be wearing my Pj's inside out too.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 4:11PM
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Mary, based on my experience earlier today at Trader Joes , this is a brave and bold move for your DH in your behalf. He is truly a hero. What a zoo that place was ! (Note to self: never again visit TJ's mid day the weekend before Christmas )
Interested in the dragonfly pattern here ...

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 4:41PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

Well weve had a lovely day of burrowing in and kicking back. Doug worked on some computer stuff he was interested in figuring out and is also learning Java in his spare time and I spent a satisfying day with the downstairs plants under the lights. Turned out I had aphids in those plants as well grrrrr but I inspected, washed and sprayed with a Garden Safe product for indoor plants EVERY SINGLE PLANT. Well that took the better part of five hours but the task is done and perhaps now I wont have a nasty epidemic. Dratted bugs Wouldnt gardening be a total dream if we didnt have insects and mites? And as long as Im wishing for the moon a world without black spot and powdery mildew would be divine. I also did a quick check of the dormant plants in the shop and all is looking OK there. That silly Red Abysinnian Banana is growing in the dark in a garbage bag! I couldnt believe it when I saw that plant with a leaf bent over on the rafters of the basement. What a hoot.

I made some beef soup with lots of veggies and red kidney beans, kind of like my own version of a minestrone, for dinner and the house smells divine at the moment. Doug also put on a loaf of nine grain bread and that will be ready about the same time the soup is. I cant think of a better meal on a snowy, wintry day.

Kathy, that painting looks lovely and I wish I could see it in person. Well if you NW ladies would like to host the next IU then I could!!!! LOL So Doug found a really lovely, new to us, Old Vines Zinfandel have you ever heard of Gnarly Head? Doug found some yesterday at our local wine shop and Im enjoying a glass even as I write this and its quite nice. Probably my favorite red is Old Vines Zin Its so robust. Ennywhoo. Nice wine and its not very expensive. I think were going to go out and pick up a couple cases tomorrow.

Hi Mary, marvelous dragon flies! Theyre beautiful. One of my painting students would give her right arm for that. She loves them. Shes been trying to get me to paint a dragon fly in one of my floral pieces for a while now. I told her that if I ever do a painting of a water lily Ill put a dragon fly in it. Shed be over the moon.

Cynthia, what a lovely painting! Watercolor?

Bug marvelous snow scenes. Looks a lot like around here. ~~ So only seven days until your new Bouv comes into this world. How soon will you be able to see the puppies?

Wendy, that pic is a hoot. Did you doctor that up?

Eden, its amazing how many of us are dealing with a snow storm today. Id love it if you get pics of your cookie making? Maybe it will inspire me to do a bit of baking tomorrow. ~~ That pic of Megan and Jennifer in their Christmas dresses is precious. Your Mom is a talented seamstress. I love the one in your rocking chair. How fun!~~ As always those pics of Bella are precious. I love the string of ornaments on the sash of her Christmas dress.

Saucy, Id have picked you out of that pic in a second. How fun!

Wendy, did you see that there is a potential for another snow event next Wednesday? Maybe we should schedule our lunch for the week after New Years.

Marian, I love the pics, especially the one of Tim on his phone and the one of Nolan playing guitar.

Denise, I have a sister named Denise. Shes 54. She is no longer Denise though, she always hated her name ( I have no idea why) and legally changed her first name to D. about fifteen years ago. A friend of mine said maybe she wanted to be The Ultimate D. LOL (all my siblings names start with a D)

OK I just heard the beeper signal that the bread is finished and Doug is done snow-blowing the driveway so Im going to get the soup on the table.

Have a great evening all,

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 6:20PM
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Very frosty here today. I took a walk in winter wonderland sporting my new Yaktrax which did seem to help with the ice under foot.

I made owls eyes and mixed nut clusters this afternoon and that may be the extent of the holiday baking. Wendy, I always did the frosted cut outs with my kids too. They loved it.

My sister had pants just like mine because my mom sewed many of our clothes and since we are only 15 months apart, we usually looked like twins. We also had Coca Cola pants too. Wendy the tree is a real tree with flocking, but I do remember having a silver tree with blue shiny balls and the revolving light. I think we had that more from about 1960 to 1965.

My DD asked for all kitchen items for Christmas so theres hope yet ;o)

I have the auto on/off lights up stairs and love them. We dont use our upstairs a lot so they work well there.

Books on tape Ive listened to many during my commute.

Mary the dragonfly is fabu fabu!

Eden, your decorating is so clever and fun, Im sure Bella loves it.

Cynthia, Im jealous of your 2 sunrooms. Thats another thing that makes me sad about my parents moving is they had a sunroom original to the house. I'm not sure I mentioned it, but I enjoyed see Katie again.

bug, my DD wore those same corrective shoes. Did your DD have casts as well?

I hope cookie baking as Saucys is going well.

Woody, the doggie bags are adorable.

Anita, we love grandkids pictures here as much as garden and pet pictures. Wed love to see yours. 9 kids in 11 years were there any multiples?

I love the picture of Deanne with the tea set and the gun strapped on.

A few shots from my walk.

A more wild area of the farm. There must have been 30 pheasants that flew out of the trees as I approached.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 6:28PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Michelle! Gorgeous! I just love the photo of the pink shed door through the frosty spruce branches. Fantastic! Your farm definitely is looking like a winter wonderland.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 7:20PM
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I accomplished some of what I wanted to, never do I seem to cross everything off the list though. The snow seems to be outa here now and I say good riddance to it.

Wendy, that's quite a set of choppers Skipper has:)

Deanne, you're in luck. I didn't bake the cookies today. I made a pan of lasagna and had enough of cooking by then. I'll do the cookies tomorrow and take pictures for you.

Marie, the mourning doves? look cold and it looks like we got more snow than you. NOT FAIR, lol! Those ornaments and box look very Mary Engelbriet-ish. Love them!

Kathy, there's a Trader Joe's that I go by almost daily and you know I've never been inside.

Michelle, I really like the picture of the arbor. It looks plenty snowy there on your farm. I got my girls mostly cooking related gifts from me. I got a really good deal at Linens n Things on a set of Farberware cookware for both of them. Regular price $90, used a 20% off coupon and then there was a $30 rebate on top of that. I was pretty proud of myself on that one.

Where's Chelone today?

'Til Tomorrow, Eden

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 8:03PM
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Wow, this is my third post today..I hope that doesnt mean I lack productivity . Maybe it just means I took multiple breaks. Its been fun with so many Idylls dashing in and out to post all during the day. DS and I fly to Portland a week from today , and I looked at my calendar for for the next couple of months and think I will go back in Feb, either drive or fly and rent a car , and spend a week in Corvallis studying the lay of the land. Im starting to feel a bit impatient-I guess thats the best way to describe it. Ive made this decision and want to just get going , know what I mean ? Sigh. I need to relax and just let things unfold.

Michelle, its just so remarkable to see your snow pics after seeing all the views of the same spots during summer. I love the glimpse of the pink door through the tees. Do you use the garden shed during winter or is it too cold ?

I can almost smell that soup Deanne. I really do need to make some soup. I guess the damn bugs are looking for greenery wherever its to be found , including your basement.
Id host IU in a hot minute if I knew where I was going to be living ! Ill have to be content with attending this year-which I am determined to do. The only thing that would deter me is if I had an escrow closing at the same time. Maybe Ill take a pic of my fake Monet showing the whole thing for your viewing.. Not familiar with Gnarly Head is it Sonoma County ?

gb I love your 12 day decorations-very festive. And always such pretty shots of the snow. How is the name selection process for BB coming along ? Im starting to get virtually excited about the new canine arrival ! And speaking of canines, Wendy that photo you posted of Skipper is priceless ! And I would comment too on Woodys "Doggy Bags" too cute. Who is the lady partially hidden by the tree pointing her elegantly shod feet ? Looks like shes wearing high heel furry boots.

Saucy, I hope your cookie baking is a success..

Eden, our Target is carrying a bunch of Beatles themed sweat shirts and tees in their mens dept. I was sorely tempted to get myself an Abbey Road sweatshirt, but I resisted .

Ok, I think Ive blabbed enough for todayhi to everyone and yoo-hoo to the absentees, Brenda, Babs, Dremanite all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 8:18PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Got some house cleaning THAT SHOWS done for the first time in ages. I'll even show a photo.

Then I made sweet & sour pork for dinner which we ate by the fire. Then several games of Boggle...with our own crazy rules. I wish DH loved soups as much as I do.

Since we will be away when the puppies are born, I'm not sure what photos we'll receive...or when. But I have their email address, so will be in contact for sure. No one will actually visit while the pups are tiny...must wait 'til they are 6 weeks old. No firm name decision has been made. I think we'll wait until we meet it. The latest suggestion was Zabet, as in Elizabeth.

Michelle, super snow photos. When is Spring????? I know, it isn't even winter yet! Yes, Sarah wore foot casts for a year and even learned to walk with them. When one was removed, she cried and asked for two! The doctor enjoyed playing around and made pompoms on them:

True, Saucy can't be missed. Adorable photo! We have an uncle Clyde too.

Christmas with PJs and bathrobes on, guitar playing, stockings, wagons...what a fun thread! But simply studying the various wallpaper patterns is fun too. Brings out the anthropologist in me I guess.

Yes Eden, the mourning doves look very cold, but they're the ones that arrive in the worst of weather.

We had quite a bit of wind with our snow, so it's hard to determine how much we've had. PLENTY is the answer though.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:04PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I made soup today too, but mine was the remains of a pot of pinto beans with hamburger,onions,celery,green peppers, tomatoes and flavorings.Turned out pretty good. The beans had ham cubes and a smoked ham hock also, from the original cooking. We have enough left for 2-3 more meals.

We had too many drawbacks to make it out to AM worship, but went tonight. It is in the 20s, but feels nice since there is no wind. No fog either for a change.

The coyote is still hanging around. We heard it/them when we got home. It sure makes me nervous to let the cats out.I noticed one of them had used one of the litter boxes during the night. That is a rare occurance.

I am enjoying all the beautiful snowy pics, and the olden days xmas pics.

All this talk of cookies is making me think I need to do some baking. It will need to be something not too sweet and with no chocolate in it. Nolon is of the persuasion that he is having problems with chocolate.I am not convinced that that 'is' his problem, but once he gets on a kick like that he sticks with it.

Funny about all the Denises. Nolon's youngest sister's youngest daughter is Denise.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:26PM
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It must have been a soup kind of day, I made vegetable.

Our church had its Sunday School program tonight. I ended with a reading part and sitting on the step of the stage to keep my 3 and 4 year olds focused. It went well.

'bug, my DD had those same cast starting at 4 weeks old.

Kathy, the shed is unheated so I really don't use it. The snow tends to really drift thru there so sometimes I can't even get the door open.

Eden, it does sound like you scored on the pans. We ended up purchasing open stock. My mom bought some and so did I.

I think someone mentioned plants, oh dear I think mine are overdue for a watering.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 10:42PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Evening Idylls!

Loving all the old Christmas pics and *Michelle*...youre snow pictures our stunning! I especially love the close up with the pinecones and the one with the snowy evergreen framing your shed...*so* lovely! Also wanted to mention how much I enjoyed seeing your owl Norma! I have had a fascination with owls, ever since seeing some saw whets many years ago, recovering at a Wildlife Haven out here. I dont know what it is about an owl, but I find them fascinating & mysterious. Heres are just the owls from my porcelain bird collection:

In fact, I was so inspired by your visitor, Norma, that I *finally* figured out what I wanted for Christmas! Paul is going to make me a saw whet owl nesting box. The thing is, he has to have it finished by January, as they say owls begin nesting in late winter. From nest building to finish of child rearing takes approximately 3 months (according to what Ive read). Here are the plans in case anyone is interested:

Maybe next Ill ask him to build me a barn owl one (theyre endangered after all) :-)

And then maybe a screech owl one:

And then a ....LOL! Just kidding! Ill be thrilled if I ever get a saw whet to come live by me! :-) Theyre *adorable*! How I would love to spot an owl!

Speaking of which, Deanne, do you live anywhere near Westport, CT.? You have to see this link...omigosh...all the owls! Yes, LOL, the sneaky me is thinking maybe our great bird photographer Deanne will go there some day and take pics and post them here! :-) And also, just cause I think you would enjoy yourself there too! :-) Click on all the wont believe the beauty!

Chelone...thank you for all your thoughtful and supportive words. They are greatly appreciated. Yes, these arent the best times, but we are plugging along. I hope it doesnt sound awful of me, but I do pray every night that God will bless my mom and when her time comes that it will be quick and painless. Yes, I *do* wish that everyone and every creature could go in their sleep! :-( P.S. Your garage is *so* handsome and your windowboxes are just beautiful. Your window boxes show your skill with wonder you are such an amazing seamstress!'re gift bags are so sweet!

Marian! I *loved* your pictures! What a lovely young woman you were and I especially *love* the 1st pic from 1961. If that doesnt look like an absolutely warm and inviting home...I dont know what would! I especially am admiring the garland...what a lovely frame it makes for the pic. Thanks for sharing that.

We are in soup mode here too. I made split pea (cause its moms favorite) and she just raved about it, which tickled me no end. Personally, I love the taste of split pea, but not so much the look of it...LOL! Another day last week I made my ham & potato soup with cheddar cheese, really easy, really hearty, and really delicious! :-)

Anyway, I really have been enjoying all the Christmas past and present pics...Eden you are such an imaginative and creative person...I always love everything you do. And Kenzie & Bella are just two of the most beautiful little girls. Michelle, *I* think Kenzie looks a lot like you; do people tell you that? Loved all the pics of Bella too...I am especially drawn to black and white pics...there something gentle and fleeting about them...

So glad to see that other sweet little girl; Katie! :-)

Mary...your dragonflies are *beautiful* and I *love* the color especially on that one...the origami boxes are perfect. How lucky and how thrilled your friends will be to receive them...I can see it must be a lot of work, but they will certainly be cherished!

Hey Skipper...youre a cutie! I swear it looks like hes talking to the camera man.

Wow! Looks like everyone has had a visit from Suzy Snowflake...including me. :-) Beautiful pics all!

Okay, so here are my contributions:

I think I was about 3 in this picture. Santa is Ed Dillon, both Santa and an Angel all wrapped up in one. He was the sweetest man and the dearest friend to my parents. My dad met him while he was delivering milk to a restaurant where Ed was the chef. They hit it right off and I just *adored* Ed...he was always so kind & gentle.

This is kind of a bittersweet pic and I hesitated to post it, but since V andn others brought up their favorite Christmas present ever...for me it was Chatty Cathy pictured here. There were many years when times were tough financially for our family and a doll like Chatty Cathy was way beyond my parents means...but with the magic of Christmas she came to me. Dad told me years later, that that year was especially hard and they didnt have any money to get us kids Christmas presents, but when we got to Marian & Ed house Ed said "Hey, look kids...Santa left some of your presents here at our house! :-) I got my Chatty Cathy (and I'm holding onto her for dear life...LOL!), Tony got a Lionel train, Anita got a beautiful pendant (which she is wearing in the pic), and Skip (Al) got a portable record player. It was the best Christmas ever. Still, as I say, hurts a bit to look at the pic. I know how hard it must have been for my parents and my dad looks so gaunt in that pic...sigh! I wish I could have made life easier for them. I *still* miss Dad as much today as the day he passed. I know you go on, you have to, just hope someday Ill be able to think of dad without any sadness. Well I do *love* the smirk on my brother Tonys *so* captures him...LOL!:

Heres Paulys 1st real Christmas...studying the Christmas tree most intently... He was 1 year & 3 months in this pic:

And another (He was just the sweetest baby...just a joy and a real blessing in my life):

And here he is Christmas morning....apparently he had a rough night in anticipation of Santas visit...check out that hair...LOL! :-):

Okay just two more pics...

Heres my favorite winter gathering:

And I had to show you guys this...isnt it charming?Brigitte, my neighbor, went to visit family in Germany last month and brought this back for me. I just *love* it. Arent the colors wonderful? And the whole thing is cut by hand and when you light the candle the propeller on top really spins. How can something so tiny and delicate be so detailed?...Im totally charmed! :-):

And heres a snowy pic from when I was about 5 or 6! :-)

Today I dropped off some presents at our local fire department for Toys for Tots, as I heard on the radio that they were way down on contributions this year. I bought a Dora the Explorer doll with her puppy, an Elmo train set and the softest, sweetest, most huggable stuffed tiger (who I hope will bring some comfort and gentleness to a child who needs it). I hope it becomes his or her "bankie" in tough times. Anyway, it was fun doing "little one" shopping. I'm so out of touch, but I remembered Mary & Eden talking about Dora, so I figured I couldn't lose there and who doesn't love Elmo; right? :-)

P.S. The next time will be shorter...I promise! :-) And, I'll take these pics of tomorrow too so as not to clog the airwaves...

I hear the cottonwoods whispering above
Tammy Tammy Tammy's in love
The ole whootie owl whootie-hoo's to the dove
Tammy oh Tammy Tammy's in love

Sorry...I couldnt resist! :-) Good Night All! Ei

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 12:34AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Monday, Monday....

Cross the bridge...

Over the creek...

See the barn?

Ring the bell!

Come on in!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 10:52AM
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I believe it looks like a winter wonderland at bugs place too. The bridge picture and the creek picture are especially striking.

Ei, your amber glass arrangement is lovely. I loved your family pictures. I think Jeremy had that same fire truck. Did Pauls have sirens and engine noises? I believe they were born the same year. Ill have to look for a few pictures of my kids. The picture of you whispering in Santas ear is just precious.

As for Kenzie looking like me, people say she looks just like her mom and they say her mom looks like me.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 11:23AM
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Good Morning, Brad's got all the snow cleared and he's off to do some Christmas shopping. I'm staying in again today. I think I could hibernate all winter and not ever leave the house as long as I could have supplies brought in.

Marie, what a nice series of welcome shots to your home. It looks so warm and cozy even through all that snow.

Ei, glad you joined in on sharing your Christmas past memories. You were just the cutest little thing (still are). I really like the one with you and the snowman. And lucky you getting such a special gift from your neighbor. I'd love to have that.

Michelle, there is definitely a strong family resemblence between you, dd and Kenzie. I always notice what beautiful eyes you all have especially.

Deanne, I've got to tell you that you've spoiled us with your bird photography. I was looking around over on the birdwatching forum yesterday and they have many nice bird photos. But I didn't see anything that would compare with your work. The detail we see in your photos is beyond compare. And you've trained your birds to always pose so nicely for you too:)

On the subject of cookware. After Michelle and I posting a little about it yesterday I got to wondering what you all use. I have Farberware pots that my mil got for me when Brad and I married 30 years ago that I still use everyday. I purchased some new skillets last fall and still stuck with the Farberware brand. I guess that's why I went with it for the girls too. Moderately priced and long lasting. My sisters and I bought my mom a lot of the Le Creuset cookware pieces a few years ago. It's really heavy but I'd like to get the girls each a dutch oven from them maybe for their birthdays. There are so many choices out there from cheap to really expensive. Just wondering what you all like???

Off to get started on those cookies. Saucy how'd yours turn out?

Oh here's a couple pics my sister sent me. She and my bil went up and helped my mom and dad decorate a couple of weeks ago. I thought this first one was cute, my dad and my bil putting up the tree

and here's one of my mom and dad and their dog Georgie. Looks like Scott is putting the finishing touches on the tree.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 12:19PM
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The photos of the idylls' individual winter scenes are breathtaking, the tracery of frost and snow on tree branches like Japanese drawings. I'm really overwhelmed at the beauty and thrilled to experience it, even if only through images. I hope you don't get tired of posting them! It's been getting as low as 40 deg at night but no lower. Last year there was a freakish frost, so anything goes now, but right now the chartreuse sweet potato is still hanging on in a large pot and looking surprisingly well. For the first time ever, I may have sweet peas for Christmas, a single bloom anyway. I planted them in about 3 foot tall silver trash cans (brand-new!) up against the south wall of the house, and the added heat seems to make the difference. The sweet peas in the ground are struggling at about 3 in high.

After reading the comments, I can't count how many times I scroll back up to the pictures and check on the details I've missed, like ornaments on Bella's dress, corrective shoes, etc. (for flat feet?) What an eye for detail you guys have.

Ei, that's one doll I remember having, the "Chatty Kathy," so I finally feel I joined the "girls' club," lol. The curtains and lamp shade are amazing! As you say, the photos have so many layers now. Here's my two brothers, probably '61 or '62, in all their "battle rattle." Haven't spoken to each other in years, but look how happy they were:

Here's a snowy image hanging year-round in my bathroom, photog by Andre Kertesz. That hibiscus acet. in the vase was cut about a week ago.

Eden, what a beautiful photo of your mom and dad and Georgie. Saucepans here are Farberware, which is what my mom used. Quick wave to all, hoping you stay warm and as busy as you'd like.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 2:36PM
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Happy Monday! Thanks for those that mentioned the post on the Discussions forum. It wasn't a tactic, but a true accident!! Anyway, things look totally different now as we've gotten about 8" more snow and then about an inch of ice. Everything looks like fine fondant and the littles can walk on top of the snow.

Haven't had one minute to look for old pics but am loving all I see. "Groovy" must've been a midwest thing since on the east coast those pants were "mod" and only worn with a Peter Maxx sweatshirt. For a teeny town country girl, it was a leap and calls were even made to my parents wondering if I was becoming a hippie. Of Course!!

Pots and pans in-house stainless-bottomed Revereware. Some are hitting 30 years and don't owe me a darn thing.

Another quick cookie using pre-bought stuff:

Unroll an entire package of Pillsbury Crescant Rolls and gently sqeeze the holes together.

Cut the short length way into strips about 1.5" wide.

Spread with jelly of choice (jam makes them not puff).

Pop in the oven at 375degF for about 20 minutes until puffy and golden brown.

COOL BEFORE EATING - the jam burns little tongues.

I think it is great that your BIL is decorating the tree in shorts, Eden. Thank you for the Grinch pic!

There's so much I should respond to, but time is very short so I'll just wish you all a great next 8 days 'til Christmas!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Happy Monday to all of you. I'm really enjoying the pictures you are posting. Any one of the houses could be the one I grew up in. The fashions and hairdos, the wallpaper, curtains, and lamps all look very familiar.
I don't do a lot of decorating for Christmas, just as much as I want to put away after Christmas.My 13 year old GD comes over every year and does some decorating. I was happy to notice she has really developed some good taste. Some years it has been pretty bad as she was mostly interested in covering every surface and using every decoration I owned.

I capped off my weekend by having a horrific migraine headache. I hadn't had one in years and it was just as awful as I remembered. I usually get them after I get stressed over something and then the stress is relieved. For instance, when I had a job I didn't enjoy, I'd get a migraine every saturday morning. I stopped having them after I learned to talk to myself and kept myself from getting stressed out in the first place.

Chelone, I was pleased to see you speaking so well of home schooling. I agree with you, I've never met a home schooled child who wasn't superior in every way. I don't think it is for everyone but it sure is working well for my grandson and granddaughter who are slow learners to begin with. When they reached junior high with all it's added pressures, they just couldn't cope.

Cynthia, I bought Ritz crackers today and I'm going to try your recipe for dipping them in chocolate. It sounds like just the right combination of sweet and salty.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 3:35PM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good afternoon!

Just a quick drop-in here. The pic of Skipper is not doctored, he IS smiling! I needed to re-learn how to post a picture since my internet provider changed their format several months ago. I was so excited that I finally figured it out yesterday, I had to post something.

Denise, that is a riot that you have a snow pic in your house, I tend to have warm coastal type pics. I don't like the snow at all, don't like driving in it, walking in it, shoveling it...I want to be a snowbird when I grow up and move to a warmer climate for the winter. Michelle and 'bug do make it look awfully pretty though.

Eden, re: pans, I have a set from Simply Calphalon, got a good deal on Amazon a few years ago when we bought a glass top stove and had to get rid of all the old el-cheapo pans. I looked at Linens 'N Things and many other stores at the time and found no deals like the one you got! They are not the expensive commercial Calphalon, but a scaled-down version for home cooks. They have non-stick coating and glass lids. I've been pretty happy with them, a huge improvement over el-cheapo. My double boiler is Revere wear, had it for almost 14 years now, but it doesn't get used as often as other pans.

Re: old pics of me, my mother has them, probably stashed away somewhere. I was looking at pics of my kids when they were toddlers last week, DS needed pics for a school project. Such cute kids! Now they either run away from the camera (DD) or make weird faces and strange gestures (DS). Sigh. Digital has made organizing pictures so much easier - I was wading through boxes with the drugstore film envelopes in them, trying to judge by the date what was inside.

Ei, Paul is adorable in those pics. LOL on the rough nite; I can remember my DS waking up at 3am when he was around 5 or so, and we had to practically hold him down to get him to go back to sleep for a while, he was so excited. This year he is Mr. Know-It-All, he knows there is no Santa, and it kind of makes me sad. He admits now that he knew last year too, but still went along.

Deanne, sorry to hear about your aphid infestation. I haven't seen them this year yet (fingers & toes are crossed). I can give you pieces of the coleus you gave to me if you lose them. I wrote out the order for the datura seeds, will be sending it in soon! They can sometimes be tricky to germinate, I'll probably start them in mid to late January. Re: lunch, Jan. 2 is fine for me. I don't want to drive anywhere in the snow!!

Well, duty calls - got to finish out this work day and get out of here.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:35PM
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No Santa....where'd he get that idea, Wendy? LOL! Sarah is faking it with me, but I love it....she asked me if I believed in Santa, and I said I thought it was a nice idea and that I'd like to believe and she said she did too...

I'll bet he believes that dogs can smile...a closely held secret in the canine're a pretty special person if you get them to smile for you.

So many fun pictures! My picture of Tammy prompted a search for her on the internet as I've lost touch with that part of my family. I think I was about 8 the last time I saw her.

Winter wonderlands! Wow Michelle and GB. I don't know how to capture what I see...the "iced" trees were spectacular against the blue sky today.

Eden, your mom and dad look so happy. What a great tree and the perfect spot for it!

The cookies (too many to count!) came out great and are in a holding pattern waiting on icing. Sarah heard about the ritz crackers and we're making those, too! Thanks for all the well wishes and recipes....I think I feel brave enough to try some. We made simple sugar cookies from scratch....easy peasy lemon squeezy (ever heard that one?)

I'm rushed here and there is so much I want to say. Nick's mom's bday celebration is tonight and so I hope to check in later.



    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 6:02PM
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Jerri_OKC(z7 Ok)

Drive By - Hi all!

Deanne, please send me your email address. I've misplaced it.
Thank you!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 7:40PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Evening all,

Well, Doug is out on a mission to run errands and is probably picking up some last minute gifts. I checked all the plants and didnt see evidence of a single aphid. Whoopie! Im a pessimist though and dont expect that to last. Ill have to keep checking and see if they stay clean. It would be so much easier without the bugs. I really have to get my cards done tomorrow and then start wrapping. Ive still not gotten into the ribbon and paper thing yet but when I do get out of the way as you might wind up with a big bow on your head. LOL

Eden, love the pics of your Mom and Dad. Marvelous! What a fantastic room that is with all those windows! Gorgeous. ~~ RE cookware, Ive had the same set of Farberware pans for 30 years or so and they are still in great shape and I still love them. Im looking forward to cookie pics.

Denise how interesting you have a snow photo in your home. That hibiscus makes a lovely accent. ~~ How sad your DBs no longer speak to each other. I've lived with that myself. Ive had several sibs stop talking to me over the years for no apparent reason.

Bug BRAVO! Gorgeous photos of the farm in winter. That barn of yours is so beautiful in all seasons.

Eileen I just love all your photographs but especially love the antique glass vignette. Marvelous! Is that all yellow glass or do you have any amberina glass in that collection. Ive got some beautiful old amberina pieces from the late 1800s that I just love. ~~ Thanks for the link to the site with the raptor photographs. Ive never been there but will have to get myself and camera down there sometime. Stunning photos.

Kathy, Im putting a link to the Gnarly Head home page. The winery is in Manteca, CA. I dont know where that is located but they sure do make a good zin.

OK time to get my jammies on and get tucked in for the night.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:36PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Trying to keep up...and loving this thread so much! Eden, that picture of your Mom & Dad is wonderful! As is Ei's family photo that special year when Chatty Cathy magically appeared. The amber coloured glass display is special! Lots to take in here!

Tonight I made 'croque monsieur' for dinner. Basically they are cheese and ham sandwiches. I had to come up with quick & easy food as tomorrow is going to be crazy with fancy dinner prep for the ladies. Then Friday I'm supposed to come up with something for French Club's holiday party. Saturday we LEAVE! YEAH!

DH was thrilled to get his Christmas gift today: 2 pairs of jeans! LOL! I had to take him along to try them on. I was tired of him going to work at the university with a hole in one pant knee. The dress code there is something....

DD's foot casts were to straighten her feet. Essentially they were trying to 'put the shoes on the wrong feet' to do this. The legs were fine though. Her position before birth was the cause of it all. Never a problem for her, but for me it was tricky removing the casts every 2 weeks by soaking her legs in the sink and unwinding the messy bandages.

Excitement Countdown:
5 days until we see DD & family!
5 days until puppies are expected!
5 days until I MUST be packed and get my hair trimmed!
5 days until I can RELAX!

so tired....

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Only a slight slow down in postings today I see, as many of us returned to places of business where we actually had to do Work !

Eileen, what a nice variety of photos you shared with us seeing your owls and more 50s décor ,,I too had a Chatty Cathy she was my favorite ! I didnt care about the talking part so much as I liked the detail in her eyes and the freckles ..I guess she seemed to look more realistic than other dolls of that era .

bug your pics make that snow look downright inviting. (provided one has proper wardrobe selections-especially shoes !) The be-ribboned bell would make a lovely Christmas card photo .

Eden, what wonderful windows those are in your Mom and Dads house there a view ? Maybe we need to see some more pics of Georgie too ! Its good to see your Mom with a big smile . I have two Farberware saucepans that Ive had since the late 70s. I only use them for certain things , but they are used often. The rest of my cookware is Calphalon, from various series that I have picked up on sale. I love my Calphalon, but when I win Lotto Im going to buy a whole set of All-Clad !

Anise, I have never suffered from migraines , thank goodness, but how good that you have learned a method of control that works well for you. Its remarkable sometimes what power the mind has to turn around a negative situation. Lol with the décor-mad GD covering every surface. Ive sure edited the stuff I put out every year its kind of fun to skip a year with some things ;it makes them seem like new again the next time.

Deanne, makes sense that Gnarly Zin would come from Manteca- its hotter that h**l there in summer-just the ticket for Zin.

Ok, thats it for me tonightHi to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:22PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Good Morning Idylls! I'm in a rush, but just wanted to say to Eden how good it is to see your mom. I admire her greatly and am keeping her in my good thoughts. I hope each day finds her feeling just a little bit better. That's a sweet picture of your mom & dad. Love the tree too and the great window...what a lovely view it must be. As far as cookware, I don't even know what I have...LOL...I know it's stainless. I would like to get a nice caphalon set sometime. I do still have my mom's old "Guardian Service" dutch oven, which is great for making stews and casseroles in the oven, but is extremely heavy.

Denisez...I love that picture of your brothers, what charming young boys and the outfits are the best....maybe you should send them each a copy of that pic and they will remember too the fondness & happiness they shared with each other. I love those curtains too...wouldn't you love to have them now? If I remember correctly the curtains were a shimmery taupe color, the "squares" were turquoise and roses were pink...very pretty! Ed & Marion were always on the cutting edge of fashion. Everything in their house was beautiful...of course they didn't have kids! :-)

Bug I love your Country Christmas inviting! do you like your caphalon? Are they lighter weight since they are not the commercial ones? My wrists can't handle heavy pots and pans anymore.

So there were other Chatty Cathy lovers too I see. Your right Kathy, she did seem very realistic to me too. Was laughing to myself today, cause I was just thinking how ironic that I wanted a CC so bad. My brother use to call me motor mouth when I was a kid.and apparently I haven't quite grown out of it...LOL, but I do really have to go now....

Have a great day all! Ei

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:46AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Oops, also meant to say...

Deanne, I have seen amberina pieces and love them, but don't have any. Wow! You have some from the 1800's?...How neat...were they handed down in the family?

Okay really going now...Have a great day all! Ei

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Only one week left and still much to do. I really should get out and finish up the last of the shopping today, but I doubt that I will:) Then there's wrapping, grocery shopping for Christmas dinner (I'm helping out Jenni by making some of it), and I still haven't gotten to that pesky baking. Too many drop in visitors yesterday. I didn't get a thing done. Some days just seem to end up that way.

Seems to be lots of Farberware in this group. I agree Ei about the heavy pots, the Le Creuset we got my mom is really too heavy for her to handle.

Thanks for all your comments on the pic of my mom and dad. I really like that picture because my mom looks so happy. For those who asked, there is a view out the window. Lake Huron is about 60 ft. from the house. They live on Presque Isle Harbor. Lots of sailboats that drop anchor there for the night in the summer, beautiful sunrises, and even a lighthouse can be seen from their house.

Marie, I'm excited for you! Bet you can't wait to get that baby in your arms!

Denise, great picture of the brothers. And I'm jealous of that bathroom picture. The windows OPEN and it looks like summer outside. I see LEAVES on the trees.

Anise, the migraines sound awful. I've never known anyone who suffers from them. I think homeschooling would take much discipline on the parents part. We considered it but opted for private school instead. One drawback I think homeschooled kids can have is lack of socialization with other children unless the parents are really vigilant in getting them involved in outside activities. At least that's what I've observed with some of the homeschooled kids I know. I admire parents who are able to do it well.

I must get started on that baking today. Deanne maybe YOU should bake and post the pictures to motivate me, lol!

Leaving you with a few more decorations. This time in the kitchen.

Notice the pastry shoes on the elf in this next one.

Here's another Dr. Suess one for Martie

I love this last one. My kind of Santa!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 11:58AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Just a quick run past...
I saw this outside the kitchen door and thought of Sue right away! Doesn't it look like Dairy Queen to you?

Back to cooking....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

'big is more appropriate I guess, but that was supposed to be 'Bug of course.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:39PM
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LOL, I was wonderin' if that was intentional because of the cooking comment :) Whichever, it made me smile!

I miss Sue :( TGIF's just aren't enough...


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:57PM
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I believe the gifts are all wrapped. I have a long shopping list for all the food I plan to make. Ricks kids will be here this Sat. to celebrate.

As for pots and pans, I started with a fairly cheap set from Montgomery Ward. When I got my smooth top I decided I didnt really need that many, so I picked a few here and there. I have a Tools of the Trade (Macys brand) an Onieda for pans and for frying pans I have a Pampered Chef and a Wearever of which all seem quite nice. My DD will be getting Farberware.

Eden, your decorations are so fun. I love the cookbook holder and the toy stove with the yummy cake on it. I have to admit though the monkey is a little creepy. Is he related to the creepy guy? Where is he by the way? What a sweet picture of your parents and a lovely home to boot. What a nice area to live.

Kathy, I thought the coolest things about Chatty Cathy were the little records and the glasses.

bug, interesting that you removed the casts yourself. I took my DD to the Dr. office and they used a cast saw to get them off. The first set came off at about 6 weeks of age and I needed to be escorted from the room as I nearly fainted when they used that saw on my baby.

Denise you will need to post pictures of your sweet peas on Christmas, as Im sure we wont see that here. I love your bathroom!

Im glad Wendy relearned how to post pictures. Our Jaden tends to get that smiling look too.

Did someone mention Dairy Queen? Im getting hungry here.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 5:03PM
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At the neighborhood Christmas cookie party and today at work, all everyone wanted to talk about was the crashing real estate market/subprime loan debacle. Ho, ho, ho.

Ei, I really should send copies of that photo to my brothers, anonymously, no letter, just the photo. Knuckleheads.

I like it that all I need do to get a rise out of Eden is take a picture of an open window, lol. Marvelous details in your decorations, Eden, but the monkey man, lol, to be brutally honest, he's up there with creepy guy, like something out of Ray Bradbury. I wouldn't go near the kitchen after dark -- hmm, maybe I should get me a scary monkey man for my kitchen, lol, or start signing my name like 'bug/'big ;>) I got a little thrill to recognize a children's book author you mentioned, Jan Brett, from my own days bringing home stacks of books for the boys from the library. And the Snowman, too. Animated version narrated by David Bowie, right?

I have such affection for libraries. They are truly sanctuaries. Since I was working nearby, I stopped by the downtown LA library to check out their way cool gift shop. I bought a Harry the Dirty Dog book and stuffed Harry, 50th anniversary edition, from the shop a few months ago for my
2 yo niece.

'bugs photo looks like an enlargement of a gingerbread house detail. I was sure I spotted a Bouvier today and asked the owner about his dog, but he had no idea. Are they always pure black? This one was greyish.

Just refreshed to read Michelle's comment re monkey man! Glad it's not just me that gets creeped out by it. Michelle, too funny re the docs bringing out a saw near your tender baby. I bet your knees buckled at the sight, I know mine would've.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 5:33PM
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I KNEW I'd get a rise out of you guys with the monkey! His name is Klancy and he usually holds our bananas for us. I thought he might bring Chelone back in with a comment. As for Creepy Guy, he decided he wanted to wait until gardening season to travel, more photo ops for him that way. He'll eventually make it out of here.

Denise. it is David Bowie narrating The Snowman I believe. Just looked up Harry TDD. Bella would like him and what a cute stuffy. One of our favorite dog books, besides Clifford...

Maybe that'll get a comment out of Sue??? or Monique???

Michelle, I remember when Megan had to have a cast sawed off her arm in 5th grade. I told her she screamed louder than a woman in labor. She was scared to death they were going to saw her arm off. Not a good memory for her or me. I couldn't have watched them do it to a baby either.

Our Dairy Queen's still open here. It only closes Jan. and part of Feb. It has a drive thru though. It's the only one I know of that stays open that long.

I'm procrastinating. I hate cleaning bathrooms and that's the last thing on my list for today.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 5:59PM
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Marie, I keep meaning to share this website with you for Skyler, (and of course the other grandmas and moms too). Especially look at the holidays and toys sections.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 6:20PM
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Oops! I was moving things around in my picturetrail account and accidentally deleted the picture in my post above. Here it is again...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 8:21PM
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Creepy Guy=Angela Lansbury, Monkey Guy=Soupy Sales with bad teeth.

Denise, the pic of LA library takes me back. Right up there with City Hall, Pershing Square and the Broadway on (I think) 9th St.

We are in the midst of our predicted three days of rain. All good for thirsty Norcal, not the mention the ski resorts up in Tahoe they had a pretty puny time last year.
Since I run a purchasing department, you can imagine the parade of vendors who have been coming forth with boxes of candy , cookies etc. I told one of the buyers today that we should have asked the rep who brought the tin of home made almond roca today to bring a nice Caesar salad instead. We are starting to OD on sweets.

Eden your description of the view out your Mom and Dads window sounds so great. I could just pull up a chair and sit there for hours. I am hoping to have some sort of a view in my new home in Oregon. It wont be anything like that (I have seen nothing in my price range with a view of the Willamette River) but there are planty of homes on the market now that have views of the Cascades or the western hills in the area. Oh, and of course there will be the view of my very own fabu-fabu garden, lol !

Bug Dairy Queen to be sure !

OK , all for now, and where the heck is Chelone this week ?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 8:39PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The start of my downfall was Saturday afternoon, when I thought I was caught up on my idylls but completely missed the start of this one.

Then off to a wonderful gathering Saturday evening in the midst of a snowstorm, where I was tempted by an hors d'oeuvre that was harboring some hidden avocado. Revenge (avocado style) came Sunday afternoon. Dang it all - I can't even have a bite of avocado without suffering the most distressing consequences! I now know I have to ask if something even looks green...

Anyway, I still had a wonderful weekend and a great start to the work week. This idyll has been great reading and viewing this evening. The pictures have been just great.

A quick Chatty Cathy story that I may have shared before. I had a CC that I really loved and one day I took her in the car when we went to visit family friends. In a fit of pique, my brother grabbed her and flung her out of the window on a busy road, and she was run over by another car. I was heartbroken. At the time, there was a nationwide truckers strike going on, and my parents had both been laid off because the plant couldn't get goods in or out. Now I can appreciate the situation they were in, but back then I just wanted a new Chatty Cathy. Well, my mom finally came through with a new doll, but about every third time you pulled the string she slurred her words. Turns out she was defective but my mom got a great price on her because of that, and that's how she could afford to replace the doll for me. Chatty Cathy broke a lot of hearts in her day!

Time to make the coffee and figure out if I have anything to take for lunch tomorrow. I ended up having pizza at my MIL's which was nice but left me with no leftovers! TTFN,


    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:29PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

LOL, Eden, last year one of the partners in our outside CPA firm had to go in and read for one of his kid's classes. He chose Walter and borrowed my fart machine for Catholic school too-would have liked to have seen how well that would have gone over 30 years ago.

Marie, most of the DQs are closed for the season here now. Hate this snow and ice. It looks more like January or February out there than December. Only three more months til spring.

OK, gotta run to a staff meeeting. Later...


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 8:25AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

LOL Sue...I like to look at it as positively as possible too..Once we get past January, it's a breeze; February is a short month & and there are days in March that give us hints of spring! :-)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 8:53AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

Well it seems that the trip to the post office last week was an irritation in more ways that one. Ive come down with a nasty cold and that is the only place I could have picked this up. Im doing the Zicam/Nyquel-Dayquel thing and have hunkered down to ride this out. For some reason it isnt uncommon for me to catch cold at Christmas time. Dont know why it just is. I can remember one year I was in the Choir on Christmas Even and had the worst case of laryngitis going. I was heartbroken that I couldnt sing when wed been practicing for Midnight Mass for weeks.
I totally concur with Sue, it looks like January/February outside and is just a bit too winter like for me before winter even begins. But after the solstice the days will be getting longer again and at that will cheer me up.

The kitties are driving me crazy. They desperately want to go out but as soon as you put them out they desperately want to come in. And so it goes all day long. This morning Rahjii attacked the Christmas tree, yanked an ornament off and ran through the house with it with me chasing him to retrieve the bauble. Should have been recorded and on Americas funniest home videos. I wasnt thinking too clearly because of my stuffed up head but realized afterwards that Rahjii thought that was a very entertaining interlude and so Ive probably primed him to pull that stunt again. Youd think he was a kitten instead of a five year old cat. As Ive said previously, Im well trained by my felines.

Im enjoying all the Chatty Cathy stories. My one year younger sister (the one who used to be named Denise) had one and guarded her jealously. I forget what I was playing with at that time but it probably had to do with shovels and rocks. LOL

Eden thanks for the pics. I have to agree with everyone that the Monkey is a bit scary. I know they have all those teeth but hes really got a set of chompers on him. Hope you get to your cookies today. Im thinking I"ll be sitting in this chair blowin my nose and feeling sorry for myself most of the day.

OK Im going to see about taking a nap.

Have a great day everyone,

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:21AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

After my dinner event last night and DH being out late at his Christmas do, well, the ringing of the phone before 8AM was not amusing...Naturally, I didn't let on.

So I made my favourite vegetarian meal from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook: Domaca Gibanica. (I use low cal cheeses, otherwise my arteries would shut down.) It is basically a mix of vegetable, 3 cheeses, egg, dill etc. all wrapped in phyllo pastry. Fortunately there's enough left over for dinner tonight.;)

Took some photos: (Having a camera in the kitchen takes getting used to I am finding!)
Cooking the grated carrots, onions and currants-

Adding the vegetables to the cheeses and herbs for the filling-

Phyllo spread under and above the filling- brushed with butter

While this was baking, I managed to change clothes, set the serving area up , start a fire in the wood stove, open wine, etc...

We discussed our easy read book (Digging to America by Ann Tyler) then gossiped and laughed while eating dessert. May I heartily recommend President's Choice lemon tart once more? (Woody, it's quite tart, comes in a brown box from the freezer section.) I found lingonberry sauce to pour on top of it.
This is all that remained, but this morning the plate was empty. Funny how that happens!

It is gloomy and grey today, 35F. A bright male cardinal at the feeder certainly helps! This is a day to get going on laundry and packing! THREE more days!!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:55AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Received this message today...:)
Wisdom of the Jewish Buddhist

If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, Joy. With the second sip, satisfaction, With the third sip, peace, With the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy!

There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis!

The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.

Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Torah says, Love your neighbor as yourself. The Buddha says, There is no self. So, maybe we're off the hook.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:04AM
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Wow Eden, I love your kitchen! I especially love the icicles :) Monkey man just needs a little day at the spa and dentist, that's all :)

I am reading for Sarah's class in January....wonder if I can find a fart machine in time ?

Deanne, what a bummer about the cold. I try to always add alot of saline spray to the mix - seems to make my nose more comfy. I buy a bunch of bottles and throw them away after my cold is over. I hope you feel better - I'm sending good vibes your way :)

Busy here...yesterday was the Christmas pageant and as far as I could tell, I was the only one there with tears streaming down my face :) She had a solo on the microphone and I was so proud.

Finally met with the personal trainer and got the beating of my least that what it felt like the day after :)

Tried to do Christmas shopping...futile effort.

Wow, baby Reed and Baby Bouvier all on the same day....I'd burst with joy :) I showed the kids and think think your house looks frosted, too.

I had a rough snow storm. I didn't get the area in front of my street plowed and another guy plowed his snow down the street and plowed up my new grass - the same guy who plowed up my garden and my hedge two years ago. This town needs a new sherriff - it's gone lawless :) I was kept awake by snowmobiles last night and don't get my started on the ATVs....I live in the TOWN, not in the country.

Anyway, more snow is coming and I'm afraid I might blow my stack, soon.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:05AM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Check out the link Saucy.

Hi to everyone else!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:59PM
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Christmas shopping is finished for me! And I just ordered a fart machine. Hope it gets here for the festivities on Christmas day. After that Bella can use it for Walter sound effects while I read to her. I know Brad will love it too.

Hi Monique, how are you?

Poor Deanne! Hope the cold doesn't last long.

Saucy, My neighbors tease my that I'm the neighborhood police here. I keep an eye on things.

Marie, YUM!

The monkey must be cuter in person? Or maybe he just has a good personality :)

Nap time for Bella and ME...


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Buy a fart machine? Here's ours (no need to change batteries):

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 4:28PM
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6 Days 'til the Santa Slide

5 Days 'til we get to sing Silent Night by candlelight

4 Days 'til I pick up the roast beast

3 Days 'til Winter Solstice

2 Days 'til Kyle is Home

1 Day 'til no work until December 27

0 Days 'til I am no longer my brother's Conservator

I can't begin to tell you all how much the Idylls have kept me sane during the last week. It may sound smaltchy, but seeing the kids and pics and hearing the laughter in the writing has been just what I've needed.

Long story short: During a meeting with the Director of a restricted group home and his Social Worker, my brother decided he didn't want to be there. We didn't leave that second. He got aggitated, stood up, walked across the office and slapped me.

That was that. No more will I try and do what's good for someone too spoiled (no matter what the illness) to do something he didn't want to do for five more minutes. It was absolutely calculated and he admitted it with a lame "I couldn't get your attention."

The pros just stood there while I was holding off more swings. Me at 5'3" and 115lb and him at 6'2" and 240. My feeling at this point is they all fit each other.

The most horrid part? That was the second facility we visited. He really liked the first one, they liked him, and applications were made on the basis that there had been NO violence toward others for 18 months. We visited the second just to be sure. He knew that. He had a chance to get out of an institutional setting and in his way, decided that that's were he wanted to stay. What more can I possibly do???

It's always the family that takes the brunt. We all know that it's easiest to lash out and the people closest to you, but I don't need to be the one in his way.

So now I need to work with his Conservator of Succession to get his accounts transferred and the family is completely out of the loop in terms of where he goes. Even my parents are somewhat relieved. For the behavior, if he weren't ill he'd be in jail.

Just Incredibly Sad.

And so am I.

So, in three days it will start being lighter than darker in more ways than one!!!! We continue to deck the halls, Kyle survived his Paris/Amsterdam trip intact enough to make it to his morning classes today, there's enough snow for snowmen and a fort in the front yard over school vacation, and in some places, there's even Peace on Earth.

Bali worked, Marie!!

Best to all, and to all a good night.

(Eden's monkey is a spitting image of my sister's 'bananna man'. It's not as creepy in person as in a picture :-)


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 4:29PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Oh Martie! Big hugs from me.... I've dealt with my youngest brother's mental illness for a very long time. Doug and I used to always the the family people on call for every emergency that came up regarding him. One time after years of in and out of institutions, jail etc., etc., he'd gotten violent again and was threatening my mother. Doug and I went to help her out and DB assulted Douglas. Punched him in the face, knocked him out just because DB wasn't going to get his own way. (DB wanted money from my mother. BTW DB is also 6'2" and weighed in at 250 at that time.) Anyway, after that I had to take exactly the same step away from him and the situation that you are doing. It IS very sad, but you can't change him or the situation and you've given it your best. You need to take care of your life.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 5:11PM
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Martie, I'm so sorry to hear this. I know you've always went above and beyond in support of your brother. It is very sad but Deanne's right, you have to take care of you. You know that you've been the best sister you could be. I'm so glad you'll have Kyle home with you soon. Hang in there friend.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 5:50PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Hugs to Martie. Somehow in my heart I feel this is a similar battle to the one between aging parents and retirement institutions and medical care. We try so hard, want to make a difference...and then, maybe, have to face reality...or try to change reality...or something. UGH. My brother is trying to help 3 children with borderline personality disorder...a terrible and increasing problem these days. His attempts are blocked at every turn. It is so complicated and incredibly sad sad sad.
When we invest love, time, intelligence and more into wanting to help family, these responses are so cruel.
Big hugs to all families.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:19PM
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You have such a wonderful spririt Martie....I know this must be hard for you. I too am glad Kyle will be home soon. It'll be a good direction to focus your energy.

I hope that you are physically okay, too.

Forts in the front yard are my favorite....did they make it brick by brick? We always use those gladware containers for bricks.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:27PM
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What an awful time you've had, Martie. Your compassion comes through in all you write, and it must be so sad to know you've done as much as is humanly possible. That's a great countdown list, just keep checking 'em off!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 6:35PM
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Hi everyone. A very busy week for me and this is the first time I've been on line since Saturday.

It's snowing again (on top of the 10" that crusted over after it turned to freezing rain) and the guys are DELIVERING SHEETROCK in the dark. Better them than your's truly. They popped the front triple mullion out of the frame and the guy manning the arm is GENIOUS.

I have only quickly scanned the pictures (loved them!) and hope to persude Eden to put her's up again when I have more time to peruse carefully.

Marian! I had no I idea you are such a wicked "dish"! :) (oh, "wicked" is noHtheHn New England for "very"... "wicked fast"=very fast. "Wicked dish"=really pretty).

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 7:16PM
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There you go Chelone. I think I put them all back. I'd taken some down because there are so many pictures on this thread. I was afraid it was slowing down too much for some.

Glad you're back!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 7:30PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada

((Martie)) How sad for all of you!

gb - anything lemon that President's Choice makes, we can do better! (and with less bad fat etc. too I'll bet...) :-) The PC test kitchens used to be in the lab Randy worked for ages ago. I'm sure you'll be having a wonderful time out west - and I hope you have time to post pictures....

Things are a bit hectic here. Jasper and Blue arrived Monday morning - the pantry is now full of dog food! Three weeks supply of food for these two is a LOT of food! MIL+FIL arrived yesterday at supper time. MIL's slow decline continuing; FIL looking tired and stressed...

SIL and son arriving tomorrow (I think) but they're staying with BIL. Her plans got disrupted on the weekend - they were going to NY before coming here but got stuck in Toronto on Sunday with the snow storm so they were planning on staying one more day in NY to make up for the lost day in transit.

Several shortbread batches and a batch of gingerbread men completed on Tuesday. We delivered a bunch of them to our two buddies at the long term care facility this afternoon.

We've ordered new furniture for the smallest bedroom (which mainly is used for things like ironing and is where my exercise bike 'lives'. In 8 years, we've only needed to use it as a bedroom once! So we've ordered a day bed with storage drawers underneath and a new small dresser. That will give us more storage space. The room is one of the warmest in the house (directly over the furnace...) so it's a cozy spot to be on cold days. The day bed will make it more comfy for curling up there to read. The furniture is supposed to arrive Dec. 28 so we have to disassemble the current bed and move everything out right after Christmas.

Mild and melting here today but there's lots of snow around still - lots of wet feet when there's three dogs going in and out regularly!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 8:51PM
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Good evening Idylls

I've really got too much going on to be here but I wanted to pop in so give Martie a big hug ((((((Martie))))). I'm so glad Kyle will be home soon to add some light to your life. What a heatbreaking time you have had.

GB - how yummy!!

Deanne - miserable to have picked up a cold. I hope the Zicam does its magic. I'm so sorry Doug had such a terrible time getting back from Rochester. He is welcome to call anytime, and even if we are busy he might enjoy watching a Karate class or meeting up somewhere. I know those nights in a hotel can get very long. We'll definitely make a date for January.

I'm still laughing at the idea of reading Walter with Sound effects from the fart machine.

I'm having a mild panic attack at the thought of having 30 people over for a party on Saturday and not having the time to declutter or clean - yikes. I'm might need to pull a late night Friday in order to leave Saturday free to cook (I'm doing a full dinnner). I'm rather peeved at the people who didn't respond to the RSVP by the date I'd asked. I'm pretty sure they are all coming based on converstions with my friend whose birthday we are celebrating, but to not have the courtesy to make a simple call bugs me. Especially after I spent hours making handmade invitations - ACK!

Eden - your holiday pictures put me in such a festive mood! Seeing Green Eggs reminds me of my favorite Dr Zeus lines - so fitting for this week of the year:

"And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?" "It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!" "It came without packages, boxes or bags!" And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store." "Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

In that vien I'll leave you with the website where I just finshed purchasing gifts of the very best kind. Apart from homemade items and sometimes books we only buy presents for the children so it seemed the perfect opportunity to extend giving to those who really need it. It certainly beats battling things out at the mall.


PS Dragonfly pins were a big hit at work. I don't know how to post instructions but can email them to anyone who is interested. Kathy - can you send me your addy?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 9:06PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Lizzie has had 2 of her 7 puppies tonight! One at 8PM, one at 8:45. One male, one female. It's going to be a long night for friends Bruce and Diane! I asked Bruce to be sure and get lots of photos. ;-)
Now how am I going to get a good night's sleep?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 9:15PM
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I keep forgetting to bring up a comment Martie made regarding outdoor holiday decorations, where I was describing some of my neighbors' over-the-top and garish outdoor holiday decor, and Martie had mentioned some of her grand displays from years past, which sounded lovely and not garish at all. I love all the lights on houses. Martie had said they had a gigantic PEACE sign on the roof, and we were inspired by that to go with PACE, less letters, all in lights. Haven't done it yet but DH was very taken with the idea. It may go on the main pediment. We'll see. Kinda last minute around here. But the tree is up, not a photogenic tree at all but a kid's tree, full of pirates, robots and bugs, animals and fruit. I've been amassing a collection for years, mostly from after-Christmas sales of the old-fashioned glass ones. The youngest son decorated it this year by himself, finding the snail ornament I bought last year for a surprise and pronouncing it his favorite, and all the busy Internet elves are doing my bidding, delivering gifts to relatives scattered across the contiguous 48. I like having elves. g'night, all.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Martie, I'm so sorry you had to go through that indignity. I wish you peace. You have done as much as you can for him.
I know its hard but don't dwell on it.

Everyones pictures have been great. From snowy branches to pajamied and dressed up children spanning the generations.
Sorry that I missed Ei's pics.

I've been frazzleing around trying to do all the things I've put off for to long.

Our snow melted somewhat the last two afternoons.

Went to Wyatt's little program. It was really short and sweet. Eden I loved the description you gave of Bella at hers. I see some resemblence of Bella to Meg in that adorable picture of Meg and Jenni.

Wyatt's Mom and Dad took a detour on their way to the movies. No injuries but they missed the movie.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:19PM
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Most of you may remember this photo from last year of me and my brother.

Good Tidings to all and to all a goodnight. Norma

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 10:35PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Norma, I love looking at the photo of you and your brother with your gifts....with the nice old phone, the desk, fruit, packages from afar.
But oh dear, that will be a movie to remember! I assume the pickup is OK?

I've had a stiff neck and shoulder for almost 3 weeks now. Who me complain? Never. Tomorrow will be another busy day of packing and preparations for our trip...but I hope to hear more news of the puppies!

Denise, Bouviers are well known for being fart machines, though Charlotte wasn't bad thank goodness.

Bonne nuit!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 11:36PM
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I can feel the hugs coming from coast to coast! Thanks so much, my friends. For some bizarre reason it is only here that I feel folks "get it" more often than not.

Two puppies 45 minutes apart! Not only am I feeling for the humans involved, I'm feeling for the Momma :-) How does picking who gets what puppy work? My mom used to sit all the buyers in a circle with the pups in the middle. The pups generally decided who they liked within seconds and I thought that was really cool. Only once was there a mismatch. Dogs are smarter than us, sometimes.

The fort isn't built yet, Saucy. Rich will erect some cut plywood for a base so it doesn't collapse from the bottom, and the kids build from there. Then, my watering cans come into service and water is poured over the whole thing to freeze. In years past we've had the abode up until April. Rich has far more fun than the kids, and it keeps EVERYONE occupied for a full few days. Since Rich doesn't have a job starting until after the first of the year, I thoroughly expect a small village to be erected :-) A fellow cul-de-sac adult has offered to use his pickup to import snow if needed.

'bug - Sending you a cyber massage ...

Deanne: I forwarded the bird pics to my dad, again, to sends his WOWOWOWOWOW!!! I knew you had a brother in a similar situation to mine, and I so appreciate you sharing your story. It's good to feel not alone in the understanding.

Everyone who posted pics of Christmas's past -- So many smiles! As the Holiday should be, it looks like (aside from Chatty Cathy) that everyone just loved being there. My Chatty suffered a drowning when a different younger brother wanted to know if she could swim, too. Don't remember what placated me from drowning +him+ but since he's still here and talking with me it mustn't have been too bad.

Good to see you pop in, Monique!

Had the chance to go to the Suess garden yesterday, Eden. If you're ever in New England be sure to bring Bella. Fantasy at it's best.

I still have your DS's cell number, Denise, but things have been a bit hectic. Sounds as though he's otherwise occupied, anyway :-) Holyoke is only 30 minute's drive from me, so if he gets antsy there, he can come here! We need our portrait done .... When will he be in Mass?

Today is party day in the office and other "seasoned" career women and I would rather come home, but the youngers are all excited and it'll be like watching our kids in some way. No booze as per current custom, thank heavens. I remember way too many office parties where people barely made it home.

A light dusting of snow is coming down and it absolutely serene outside. Hoping it's the omen for the day, and yours, too!!

Stay Warm in all ways!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:07AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Martie Hugs to you...what an awful, frightening experience. You are such a compassionate, caring person and a wonderful, loving sister to your brother. I know this decision must have been heart rending for you. I wish there were something I could say to make you feel better. I too am glad that Kyle will be home for the holidays.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:18AM
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Just a quick pop in today. I've got a long list of things to do.

Norma, I'm glad no one was hurt. Driving on slippery roads is one of the things I hate most about winter. Great picture of you and your brother. I agree the children's Christmas programs are so sweet. Wyatt is getting so big. What a cute little guy he is. He looks like he's a really sweetie!

Marie, maybe you should name your new puppy Walter if it's a boy?

Deanne, are you feeling better today? Hope your cold's on it's way OUT!

Here's the scene I came upon when I walked into the kitchen yesterday evening. Guess Bud's more comfy than the chairs.

Have a great day everybody.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 9:17AM
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Will someone please write a children's book titled Bud & Bella? No need for illustrations, we'll just use photos of Eden's house.

Martie if you really want a portrait done, just call Mitch's cell and he can come to you. One of his uncles can drive him.

I'm looking at the truck in the ditch photo and substituting my mini for the truck. My mini thinks he's the star of his own cartoon, but that truck is for real life, lol.

Gotta run (Puppies!)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 10:06AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

So I still have the cold but it isnt any worse so the Zicam is definitely helping. Hopefully Ill shake this off in a couple more days. Cough, cough sniffle, sniffle. Well its flipping snowing out again and we have another four inches of snow on top of the 20 or so inches of snow we already had on the ground. I seriously dont remember the last time we had this much snow before Christmas. The gardens are totally buried so thats a very good thing. At least the perennials have a nice blanket on them for the winter. The kitties hate being snow bound though. Rahjii will only go in areas that are shoveled so his normal haunts are off limits to him right now. The other day I put him out the breezeway door and he trotted up the path to the compost heap but when he wanted to come in he couldnt make his way over to the dining room door. I kept hearing him calling but couldnt find him. He was on the hot tub looking in the window at me from the other side. That cat cracks me up. The snow cover is pretty deep and has an ice layer so I imagine that would be a bit difficult to negotiate for a house cat. Weve got lots and lots of birds lately and Ive been out a couple times and gotten a few more pics. Ill post another thread when I get them sorted out. When I was looking at garden 07 photographs the other day it all seemed like a dream now.

Martie I really and truly feel you pain with your DB situation. It is heart breaking. Mental illness is a horrible, terrible thing. My DB is now permanently on dialysis because the meds hes had to take his whole adult life have ruined his kidneys. But would he have been better left without meds as a dangerous and violent person? He probably would have killed somebody by now if he werent treated for his illness. There are no answers or solutions. It is only a matter of dealing with it as best we can. ~~ So glad you enjoyed the bird photos and sent the link along to your dad.

Oh Eden! That photo of Bud and Bella is priceless! Love it, thanks for sharing that.

Norma glad to hear no one was hurt in that accident. I hope the truck is OK too. What a bummer. ~~ I love the pic of you and DB with the small tree on the table. Ive got a pic of one of our earlier Christmases and my parents also used to put a small tree up on a table like that.

Bug how exciting about the puppies!

Denise, Im with you on the internet elves.

Mary, Ill tell Doug about your kind offer. Ill bet hed probably love to see a karate class or music lesson some time. Those long nights in the hotel can be pretty lonely. ~~ Wow, 30 for dinner Saturday night before Christmas! Im impressed! Dont worry about cleaning the house. Just polish up the bathrooms and sweep the debris into the corners and turn on the Christmas lights. No one will notice the whole house wasnt polished up. These early dark evenings are good for something.

Woody, how neat youve gotten some new furniture for your guest room. WE put a futon in my extra room and it makes the space more usable but the futon opens up into a queen sized bed should it be needed. I do have a guest room that stays set up as a bedroom but DD has been using is since Easter. Ill be glad when she gets her own place so I can have the guest room back. We actually do have overnight guests several times a year and its nice to have the room ready.

Chelone, sounds like the Salon is going to be ready fairly soon. You must be getting excited.

Marian, I hope your kitties are OK with that coyote hanging about. My cats have been using the litter box here as well which is also not normal for them. Ive been having to scoop the box every day since the ground is covered with 20 inches of snow.

Denise, I think thats a terrific idea to do a children's book called Bud and Bella.

OK I guess Im going to get off this computer and go do something productive. Have a great day everyone.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 10:27AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Holidays, folks -- it's weird, I have not been joining in (just started to look this week) because I've been down from family events that took place over the event of Dad's surgery a few weeks ago -- and I didnt want to be a downer for what is a lovely memory board, here. I confess it really knocked the starch literally and physically out of me -- so I dont have any Xmas spirit -- and never got a tree or decorations.

But as always, you folks make me realize so many folks have common experiences and problems. Martie -- hugs to you -- I had something somewht similar w/ the physical attack occur to me w/ my psycho sister a couple weeks ago -- & even had to phone police for assistance -- and I subsequently decided, as you did, Deanne, re your family situation - that it was over time and overdue for me to step out of the Family Caretaker Job for now. Events of the last four years have taken their toll on my health, physical and mental, and the rest of my life. So I decided there's nothing materially worth risking those things for the sake of family dysfunctions that can't be solved or changed. It was disheartening to discover parental/family dynamics seem to stay the same too no matter what the age...

So, it's really good to hear the same words echoed by others here -- and bolsters me a bit.

In any case, I also wanted to say hello to all -- I have gotten some giggles here today from the naturalistic and synthetic fart machines, Burt & Bella's of the world, and lovely holiday memories. And to learn that there are others who didnt get to that Xmas decorating or silly other things that help our spirits along.

Life is getting on and Im lucky to have some great friends -- here and locally, LOL -- Im looking forward to 2008 and gardens, gardens, gardens. I've got a terrific DD & her husband too and we are fortunate to live close enough to share our holidays together -- it will be interesting to have it in their little space of 750 sq foot apt, LOL -- very cosy!

Mary -- 30 before Xmas -- I think Deanne gave you great advice -- those holiday lites have to be good for something.

Denise - I've hired those same internet elves this year - they do good work -- and I even had already ordered from your website, Mary -- I love the uniqueness of it - altho I was recently told of Oxfam's website that does U.S. type and international as well. Maybe next year I'll give that one a shot.

Im looking foward to taking next week off too and getting more R&R from the ofc antics -- I think my pity party is over and Im feeling more the "thing" -- I feel blessed to have the spirit and capability to do so, as it's not always a person's "choice."

On the houseguest topic, she & doggie have finally moved out a couple weeks ago, altho unfortunately all her stuff is still in my guestroom - I may have to start charging storage rental to get it out .... I really, really want it out so I can help get that part of my life back too next week by cleaning, and restoring the room -- cross our fingers on that one!

Eeew, this ended up being all about moi -- well, that's enuf of that!

So, somehow, the Xmas spirit is contagious whether I try to be a grinch or not -- keep it coming!


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 1:05PM
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After your long absence, I think it's perfectly fair that this post be all about you :)

So sorry things have been rough - here's to the light at the end of the tunnel.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 1:36PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Cindy! It's so nice to have you here with us again.

Just a small bit of advice. Make sure that your guest's belongings are OUT FAST! You don't want her thinking that she could come back if the going got tough again.

Thinking of everyone, in both good and tough times.

(Back to work now...)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Oh my friends! I have had to the most excellent morning here, much of it thanks to YOU and the lively way you describe the little snippets of your lives. Such fun. It bouys my spirit to know there are so many, warm, gentle, and thoughtful people out there.

I am home today (duh)because there is nothing of great consequence going on in the shop, nothing that can't "keep" until tomorrow, at least. I assisted the helpmeet in hauling the remaining pieces of insulation up to the attic in the garage (fibreglass is nasty stuff). The drywallers are here and the installation is in progress (should go out and a "look-see"). The snow has stopped for now (more to come later on, I think), we have another 6" of very light powder. It's beautiful outdoors. And I'm particularly enjoying the snowfalls. It will be fun to mark the solstice and begin to watch the change in the morning sky until we monkey with the clocks again. ;)

Denise, your bathroom walls appear to be in the very color family I have in mind for the salon. I rather like Ben. Moore #619, "Copper Patina" on the card before me. :)

Another Chatty Kathy fan here! Mine had auburn hair and freckles over her nose (like me). Her dress was red and white and she arrived for my birthday. That was the same year my father presented me with a "party dress". It was apricot with a smocked bodice and a very delicate brown rosette with satin streamers at the waist. I grew up in a "neighborhood" and there were birthday parties around the block. The invitation would arrive in the mail and you either wrote back or called with your acceptance (Mary!). Girls wore dresses and "party shoes" and the boys got dressed up, too. Boys were ALWAYS on the guest list at that time. You played games, had cake and ice cream, the celebrant received small gifts, and then you played more games before going home afterwards. They were a TOTAL blast. Even though sometimes you had to write a thank you note. I can't top the drowning or Kathy being hurled out a car window. That's pretty funny stuff; was the "perp." the brother you just lost, V.?

The Christmas shots have made me grin and guffaw with regularity. I think Michelle must be about the same age as me... the "mod" slacks looks like something I'd have worn. Mum made most of my clothes, too and she was game to try anything... . I love Deanne with her sidearm defending the tea set against all comers, LOL. Tim "on the 'phone" is a good one, too. Count me as another observer of backgrounds and going back to "look again" and what some other shaHp eyed person has noted. Good, good fun.

Count me in as another who would move to Eden's house! You and Kathy and so many others share the same philosophy of giving that Mum and Dad did. Everyday was Christmas to them; if they spied something really special they'd just bring it home and present it, but there were only 2 kids at home, too! It was never about quantity anyway. I don't have Chatty Kathy any more but I do have some interesting toys from my childhood still (my Breyer model horses, Noah's Ark, Barbies, Ginny Dolls). I had big plans for Angela Lansbury! action shots with the snowblower, working on the Salon... you're wrecking it, Eden! :) And I howled over Soupy Sales with bad teeth... LOL.

Anita, "helpmeet" is a term for a spouse that dates from the middle ages. Sometimes you see it as "helpmate", but I like the other better. I like what it says to me: two people who help each other and meet each other half way. MOST of the time. I like that it makes people think for a split second, too. ;)

Homeschooling really does evoke connotations. To some it smacks of really, really fundamentalist religion and an effort to control the information a child receives. To others it is seen as a matter of practicality; liveaboards, for instance; homeschooling allows their families great freedom to do the sorts of things they want to do when they want to do them. My experience with homeschooled kids has been uniformly positive, but so much of how a kid relates to other kids is dependent upon other aspects of their home life and the social circles in which they and their parents move. (the drywallers left a bit ago because the foreman is going to his daughter's dance recital this afternoon. You should have seen him light up as he told me about her. He can't be much more than 24-25 yrs. old!).

BABY BOUVIERS... do we know how many there are yet? I think spring '08 is going to be a really "big" year, you guys.

Requisite cookware:
1.) good set of saucepans with snug lids a combination colander/steamer for a big soup/pasta pan.
2.) set of mixing bowls, measuring cups, and spoons, spatulas.
3.) cookie sheet, cake pans, pie plate, loaf pan, COOLING RACK.
4.) Pyrex casserole dishes and an oven thermometer.
5.) Roasting pan with rack.
6.) Potholders, oven mitts.

We bought our pots for our second anniversary, shortly after the yard sale special's handle fell off. They're by Meyer and have a thick, heavyish bottom. There are 3 saucepans, and the soup/pasta pan with the drain/colander/steamer thing that fits snugly inside it. It was under $100 and they work great (so I'm told). They're easy to wash, too. ;) I agree completely that they can't be too heavy. And large pots should have good, sturdy side handles for ease and safety.

I'm "big" on tools, anyway, you guys. Working doesn't HAVE to be drudgery if you have the right equipment to complete the "job" with relative ease.

The helpmeet dragged out the ladder on Tuesday and put some right angle hooks above the second floor windows. It was a complete "indulgence" for me. I made a few more decorations for the house last weekend. He was up on the ladder, predrilling for them. "You know, 'hon., I never thought I'd see the day when I cursed Colonial Williamsburg". He did tell me they looked nice, though.

What do you guys think about a "jabot" of roping for the sides of the windows next year? It really was a blast to make these and they didn't take too long once I decided what I wanted to do. I think this could be a fun project for an older child; good history and science lessons easily linked to it. As for "aesthetics", I've tried to stay away from using ribbon, though all the fruit is fake. I think it was Kathy who mentioned the need for red; I agree!, but I've had a dickens of time finding fake berries in bright red. I love the real ones (Ilex verticillata or Blue Princess) but they look terrible in a week (so does real fruit). I also do best with needled evergreens if the weather is really cold/dry; I do condition the greens for a day/3 before but broadleaf sprigs blanche out fast.

My new boots have proven a real hit. Foolishly, however, I overlooked the purchase of some Yaktrax.

My present cleats don't fit them, the driveway is a sheet of ice under the new snow, and the store is OUT OF THEM until January. Have to dig out a ski pole, I guess. :) But, walking carefully, I was able to get this shot:

these two shots are from in the Salon:

That is NOT my car out in the snow. This is the first time in my life I've not had to clean off a car after a snow. I missed all the hassle of the last ice storm and it was great. And, Wendy, I nodded in full agreement about removing the snow before it turns to cement, but leaving it on the cars because it's soft and easy to remove under the crust! A good brush and a couple of scrapers make it easier. The slush that remained here froze solid and the driveway is like a skating rink right now. I wonder what the rain for Sunday will do to it?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 3:46PM
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