Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Absolutely Stunning

...a cardinal in our backyard, likely enjoying the new bird-feeder I bought.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Was Lovely

This Christmas was one of the best I have ever had.  It was mostly stress-free, pleasant happenings, happy memories.

Christmas Eve - I only had to work a half-shift, then came home to eat and rest before Mass. I sang with the choir.  We started before the Mass.  We sang a lot of different music, some very difficult, some familiar.  It was a lot of work learning it.  But we sang well.  The whole Mass was very beautiful.  Then home to finish up wrapping and do the stockings.  Julie outdid herself by baking tons of cookies for Santa.

Christmas Day Morning - Ty woke us up early, very excited.  We opened gifts.  I got a bottle of Jo Malone Orange Blossom (I have been wanting it for perhaps a year!).  It smells divine. The Little Boy was happy with his gifts.

Christmas Day Afternoon - Cooking!  Kristin made her usual lasagna.  I made the dark and soft restaurant rolls and seasoned the Tofurkey to bake.  Robert and Sierra made all of the sides, with me just helping here and there with chopping, and then minding everything while it baked.

Christmas Dinner - How beautiful.  It was candlelight and china, tasty wine and unusual beer provided by Sierra, and the food turned out great.  The conversation was pleasant, no fighting amongst the siblings, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

It was a blessed season.

Ty places the star.

The tree, all decorated.

Orange Blossom Deliciousness!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meez Meals

A while ago I blogged about trying the Hello Fresh meal service.  Although the food was of good quality, I wasn't delighted with the recipes - just not to my taste.  Plus there wasn't a big variety of choices.  My cousin suggested a local service called Meez Meals.  You may wonder about the name.  According to their website (www.meezmeals.com): "The name Meez Meals was inspired by the cooking philosophy of Mise En Place – French for having everything ready to go when you’re ready to cook. We love the idea, but our French is challenged. So we went phonetic: Meez."  

I like this service, because they provide a soft-sided caddy with reusable ice blocks when they deliver.  Once unpacked, the ice blocks go back in and the caddy can be right back on the front porch for the next week's delivery (except in January I suppose - it would get completely frozen to the porch and wouldn't move until spring).  Most importantly, the food has been really good.  They have much more variety, and can tailor many of their meals for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.  Tonight we had Yellow Curry (we had them leave out the mint yogurt) and Thai Peanut Carrots.  It was yummy, and we have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Organizing The Basement (Tales of the Icky)

I have a week off until I have to work a partial shift on Christmas Eve.  I have not had a chance to duff until yesterday.  Prior to that, Paul and I were madly finishing up projects before an appraiser came to our house (another attempt at refinance, let's hope it goes better than last time!).  Among the projects were:
  • Stain and polyurethane to wood
  • Paul finishing hanging the new front door (photos in a future post - this project was more involved than you might think)
  • Finishing up kitchen woodwork (almost done!), but in order to do that, Paul needed access to his table saw, which required.....
  • Cleaning and organizing the basement (the icky)
You see, we've been working so long on the kitchen, and the basement became this unorganized mess.  Prior to that it was slightly more organized, but still had lots of clutter we hadn't dealt with.  We started on Saturday; Kristin, Paul, and me.  Although I soon relegated Paul to the skilled labor needed upstairs (woodwork).  It was so bad.  We went through strata of wood, wallboard, plumbing parts, electrical supplies, and old paint.  We let go of much.  All of the stuff we put out in the backyard made our lot look like an episode of Sanford and Son.  All the keepers were sorted and put away.  The saw was extracted from the junk, and Paul was able to fashion the last door jamb, that goes near the new pantry.  We weren't able to finish all, but our house looked much better after, especially the front door and the basement.  We threw out half of the junk pile; next week we'll trash the rest.  

We're waiting to hear on the appraisal.

Before pictures - a nightmare (the table saw is in there somewhere):

Ahhhh, after pictures (table saw unburied):

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Found Objects - Kitchen Curtains

I had some lace curtains cluttering up my house, couldn't bear to throw them away.  It's a good thing I didn't.  I found a use for them in our new kitchen.  Although I like to have the windows bare because it lets in the maximum light in our north exposure windows, having the next door neighbors able to peer across at us was not pleasant (one can often find me in the kitchen in the morning still in my pajamas!).  So I hemmed these and hung them.  I actually prefer them at night, because all we would have were these two dark windows, rather stark with no light shining through.  This makes them inviting and homey, decreased sunlight notwithstanding.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent 2015

Ty lights the Advent Wreath (with Santa in the middle!).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Crisp New Linens

I have been looking for vintage-style bedsheets for years.  Ever since I saw the movie The Others with Nicole Kidman (one of my favorite movies!) and saw the beautiful sheets in the opening scene, I have been searching.  I finally found some at L. L. Bean - Sunwashed Pintuck Sheets.  Here they are, in their glory.

Wonderful to sleep in - so very elegant!

The Others.  You can sort of see the sheets.  
Watch the movie for a better view, and a thrill!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Squeal! A Vacation Is Planned At Last!

I can't believe it.  We are actually going on a vacation next spring!  We have not had a "real" vacation with the whole family since 2001.  We've gone on very nice weekend trips, always driving.  Poor Tyler has never been on a plane.  We will be going to Captiva Island in Florida.

I am beside myself.