Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Wrap-Up!

Hi Friends -- time for a quick Christmas wrap-up!

We had the kids and the littles at our house this year 
and it was
so fun! 
Since Mr. Tennis was recovering from his latest ailment, we 
decided to keep it very casual.  
Ok, I admit it, also, I am not the best cook or very organized, so . . . 
we ordered pizza for our Christmas Eve celebration!
I did prepare my famous Mexican Dip - - which was gobbled
up by all during the short time I was out picking up the pizza!
Even little Janie loved it! :)

It was such a relaxing holiday.
Everyone enjoyed the time together
and seemed to love their gifts.
Maddy received a selfie-extender and it worked great
for the photo above! 
Am afraid it might have been the most popular gift and everyone wanted one!
Go figure! :)

We went to Christmas Eve mass at 5 PM and
enjoyed seeing the luminaries on our block glowing 
softly when we returned home.

On Christmas Day, our low-key celebration continued with Connor
joining us mid-morning for a Christmas lunch.
Hey, I actually did cook while watching the Frozen Celebration from Disney World,
and made chicken enchiladas - Feliz Navidad! 
Rainbow sherbet topped off the meal
and then everyone enjoyed movie and nap time!
It really was a super relaxing day -- just what the doctor ordered.
Hope your holiday was fun and relaxing too!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Birthday Report - Turning 13!

She's a teenager now!
Sweetest teen ever!

Since it was her birthday on the 20th, I wanted to share some of the special 
things about Miss Maddy!

She is thoughtful and kind. 
Maddy is a hard working student -- some subjects are really
difficult this year, but she tackles the homework and assignments
without delay immediately after school.

She LOVES chips -- almost every kind of chip -- 
the spicier the better!

While we're on the subject of food, she also
loves chicken strips and fries - always with ranch dressing.
Ketchup?  No thank you! Ranch is good for dipping almost
everything, even chips!

Maddy loves her family and has so much fun
spending time with Connor, Philip, Catherine and the littles.
She had the most fun this year shopping for the little ones!
The girl does love to shop!
But not always to buy something -- one of Maddy's regular stops
is Barnes & Noble where she will collect 5, 6, 10 books and sit and look through
them for hours if I had the patience for that! ;)
 She especially enjoys books on dogs and training dogs!

She is devoted to her faith and finds comfort and power in prayer.
Her Catholic education is very important to her, even if she doesn't
always appreciate wearing a uniform every day.

Turning 13 was not just a milestone birthday, it was
a bit difficult as Mr. Tennis was in the hospital again.
Deja vu, right?
That was hard to have him ill on her birthday.
We're so happy
to have him home again and feeling a bit better.

I think 13 is going to a fabulous year for her!
Happy Birthday to our sweet Maddy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Tree Decorating 101

Oh dear -- why, oh why am I not one of those 
people with gifts purchased and wrapped,
house cleaned and decorated??

But, let's just accept it, stop 
beating myself up
and have a few more Hershey kisses while I ponder that,
shall we??? :)

We finally got our tree up and mostly decorated!
Here's my extremely valid excuse!
Last April/May when we had the floors done,
the guys had to jackhammer out the
concrete subfloor!
A ton of that concrete dust and debris
floated down to the storage room below, covering
everything in a very thick layer of 
yucky, icky-sticky dust, bits of concrete, etc!
So, unless everything was totally covered (and it wasn't)
that crud got everywhere and messed up my decorations!
A lot of garland and wreaths had to be tossed -- there's no
way without the hose (and it's too cold for that)
to get that dust out!

So, this year, we went for a different look on the mantle!
Can you say white feather boas??
So floaty and soft -- Maddy says it reminds her of snow
(yes, she's praying for snow and lots of it!)!

Maddy and I love it and, after all, our opinions count the most!
We still have few a few more things to pull out and dust off.
One of these days
(maybe Dec. 24th), we'll be ready!  :)


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baking with Betty (or I should say Bettys)

Last Saturday, Maddy and I started what we plan to be an annual holiday tradition!

Baking with the littles!
 This year, only granddaughter Janie met the age requirement - 4 years old -- for baking fun!  
Next year, her brother Walt will meet the required age too!

After we picked her up, we took her out for lunch!  
She had a special meal of chicken tenders, french fries and chocolate milk.  
She followed her Aunt Maddy's lead and dipped her fries and her chicken 
in ranch dressing and washed it all down with that delicious chocolate milk. 

Jane was quite the little baker!  She turned the candy cane 
around so it was the letter "J."
After the cookies cooled and were frosted, she was in charge of sprinkles!
That girl knows how to put some sprinkles on cookies!

Almost time to test the cookies!
Betty Crocker always does a taste test!

Is that picture behind her crooked or is my picture-taking crooked??  It's driving me crazy!

Jane declared the cookies to be out of this world!
She made sure to take some home for her brothers and also for her friends!

We had such a fun time!
Bonus - Muffy enjoyed tasting a 
few sprinkles that fell on the floor and lots of playtime with Janie!
A tradition is born!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Visiting Santa!

Hello Friends!

Oh yes-- even though she is nearly 13,
Mads agreed to see Santa if the line wasn't too long last weekend!
Lo and behold . . .
the line wasn't long!

After the Santa people e-mailed me the photo,
I thought it would be fun (for me anyway)
to talk a walk down memory lane 
for some earlier Santa visits!

Santa 2008
(at our neighbor's annual Santa party)

Santa 2010 - a Santa visit at our local zoo - it was freezing that day!

Ahhh -- 2011 -- the year of the vest!
Loved that vest!

Maddy and her friend Janie at a Santa event!

And in 2013 -
a really sunny and warm day visit with Santa!

Hope you have a magical weekend and get all your shopping done!

Monday, December 8, 2014

When It Rains . . .

Have you ever had one of those weeks 
that you just want to erase from the calendar or at least your memory bank?
Kind of like "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?"
Last week was one of those!

The week started with Mr. Tennis not feeling well and 
ending up in the hospital for a couple days for tests.

Miss Maddy had a ton of homework!
Seriously -- what's with the math these days??
I thought all numbers were rational numbers -
I felt irrational and cranky after trying to decipher that homework.

Stress and anxiety made me wake up around 3 am every day
so I could worry in peace and quiet resulting
in a huge killer headache and neck ache.
Advil and some old muscle relaxers to the rescue!

On a better day for Muffy -- ignoring those pesky cats!

Even our pup Miss Muffy got ill and had to see the vet!
Still not sure what is the matter with her right front paw 
causing her to limp and cry. 
 Have you ever tried to soak a dog's paw???

No more pity party here.
This week is looking much better,
 the sun is shining, the temps are not freezing
and we all seem to be feeling pretty good!

A highlight from the week  --
while waiting in the hospital, the piped-in music changed from 
the usual Muzak to a Brahms lullaby!
So sweet - they play that whenever a new baby is born!
A little reminder - life is precious -- 
treasure every moment.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Gobble Gobble Report!

Hello December!

I've gotten a bit delayed reporting on our Thanksgiving -- so sorry!
(and I had to borrow Catherine's photos as couldn't find my photo cord connector thingy)

We had a fabulous time with family and so much fun!

The food was absolutely delicious,
the games we played were a blast
and the company and little kids -- divine!!

Philip and Catherine outdid themselves!
How do they make it look so easy and effortless and

I contributed my Mom's famous (in family circles)
strawberry strawberry jello, fruit salad and pumpkin pie.
Sadly all were inhaled so quickly, I have no photos
to prove my culinary prowess!

After dinner, we played a rousing game of
Thanksgiving Bingo (thanks Jodee for letting me be a total copycat).
Maddy and I had selected perfect prizes and the kids -- everyone
really -- had a blast playing BINGO!  :)
Little Walt got the first bingo!  Way to go W!

We also played (or I attempted) a round of Guesstures.
Basically charades with a timer.  

Girls against the boys and somehow we got the tougher
assignments, so the boys beat us.
Next time, we'll get them.

Such a wonderful holiday, giving thanks, chowing down
and playing games with family -- it doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Throwback Thursday on Wednesday!

Happy Thanksgiving All!!

Thought it would be fun to do a little Thanksgiving Throwback Thursday
on Wednesday!

Starting out with Thanksgiving 2008 -
we went to see the movie Bolt after dinner --
great movie --
I may or may not have caught a teensy nap during the movie! :)

Thanksgiving 2009
Unseasonably warm that year -- loved it!

Thanksgiving 2010

Mr. Tennis and Miss Maddy -- his tie matches her dress!

Thanksgiving 2011

We enjoyed raking some leaves at Thanksgiving in 2011!

Thanksgiving 2012

Fun little photo shoot around Thanksgiving 2012!

Thanksgiving 2013

Jumping for joy last Thanksgiving!!

Wishing you all the very best Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Constructing a Pot-Topper

Tis the Season . . . 
to start the holiday decorating!

It was warmish on Saturday, so Maddy and I cleaned up
the leaves and disgusting frozen pumpkins from the
front yard and trimmed branches.
We knew the cold would be back
and it was -- by late Saturday!

Soooooo, on Sunday, we headed
over to our local garden center, Earl May, to
put together some pot-toppers.

Earl and his workers had put the greenery together
on Styrofoam blocks.
Then, they had all kinds of goodies to add
to the greenery  -- acorns, ornaments, flocked branches,
colored leaves and berries!
Our job was to do add whatever the heck we wanted!

It was so much fun!
We wished we had arrived sooner so we could
put together more fun greenery!
Definitely marking our calendar to do this
every single year. 

They also provided some hooks so we could place the toppers
on a pot of dirt and secure it.
Last year, I purchased pot-toppers and they cost
at least $10 to $15 more each plus had less add-ons!

We had such a fun mother/daughter afternoon 
of holiday fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Polar Plunge

Baby it's cold outside!!

We went from 50 degrees to 10 degrees overnight last week!
That was a rude awakening!
There is just no easing into cold weather this year!

And then we had some snow . . . on Saturday!
Miss M was thoroughly disgusted!
While she likes the snow well enough, she really wished for a LOT
of snow and on a school day -- yes please!

However, Maddy and Muffy just had
to get outside and enjoy some
fun in the snow!
Scotties love to rub their faces in snow,
don't you know!

And we were happy to see that Muffy's favorite
bench for terrorizing squirrels that dare to walk
along the fence is still available.
Squirrels beware!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

That Elusive "Perfect" Photo for the Card!

Yes, we joined the throngs of
families attempting to get that "perfect" photo
for the annual Christmas card recently!

Even though she is getting older and has more patience with me,  
it can still be a bit of challenge as someone gets bored,
tired, wants to dance and/or do cartwheels. 
When I start to see 
the always attractive "eye-roll",  
 I know my time is up!

While I enjoy dragging her
out for photos, we might still be
trying for that perfect shot, however, the weather
has turned on us!
We knew it would happen and our lovely fall
couldn't last forever!
But . . . who expected ice and January-type
temperatures in November???
Not me! 
So, one of the photos recently taken will have to do!

And I jumped in and got a great sale on Shutterfly today
- so they said anyway.
I feel a bit ahead of schedule this year!
We'll see how long that lasts!
Making any headway on your holiday list yet?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mini Blueberry Pies for Mom

My sweet Mother's birthday was this past Sunday.
I have been thinking of her a lot lately and missing her so.

Maddy, Mom and me from 2009
Fall was her favorite time of year and one of her (and our favorite activities) was baking pies --
her specialty was apple pies!
Of course, she made the crust from scratch and baked each pie with the
perfect amount of juicy apples and love.

Once in a while my Dad would buy a frozen apple pie he found
on sale somewhere and would attempt to say it was as good as homemade.
She and I both turned up our noses at those!
There's just no beating one of her homemade apple pies.
You should have tasted her homemade dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls!

So, in honor of her birthday the other day,
I made . . . mini blueberry pies!
Although they looked a bit messy,
they were delicious and I know she would have loved them!

Recipe and directions from the Pioneer Woman.

My Mom would have loved her and her fun cooking show!

Thinking of you on your birthday and every single day Mom.
You are loved and missed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's Friday - TGIF

Yippee - it's Friday!

Just a few random thoughts and updates from me today.
Jane LOVED these very cool works of art in the bear area!
Last Friday - one of of the coldest days we've had
so far, Maddy and I headed to 
the Number 1 zoo in the country -
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo -
with Catherine and the little kids!

Even though it was cold and windy initially -
we had a great day!
The zoo has plenty of indoor exhibits and that saved
us!  The aquarium there is world-class!
First time that I've ever been in without a thousand other
people!  So cool!

We also saw some favorites  - the Big cats
and the bears!

It was a great outing! 
 Thanks for inviting us to 
tag along Catherine!

And, I leave you with this --
 Cboo at Halloween! :)

What you are doing this weekend?
Make it a fun one!