A New Year is on its way….

Christmas is over and it was wonderful. This year was extra special for several reasons! Of course, our 2 precious grand-babies made it so fun. Mai was just so excited about Christmas and Jax was just learning the whole concept. Being with them and watching them experience the holidays was a blessing. Our daughter and son in law moved into a new home recently and we enjoyed spending part of the holidays with them in their lovely house! We are so proud of and for them!!

Mai and Jax in her new jeep...she was a little scared and thought it would be "loud."

Our son is so happy and we got to enjoy spending the holidays with the reason he is so happy….his girlfriend Kasey. She is an amazing girl and he is so in love and happy because of her.  She had a huge surprise for him this Christmas and we all were waiting anxiously to see his reaction. So on Wed, Dec 23 she couldn’t wait any longer and gave him his gift. She is taking him to Australia in March. Yes! Australia! He has dreamed of going there since he was a little boy. He is walking on air. He called at midnight after receiving the surprise! He was in shock and so very touched.  I have prayed for his future mate for years and years.

Yes, I think she is the one. Thank you Lord!!

Finally it was special because for the first time in years it SNOWED!!!

from our front window...

Now comes down the decorations and I always like the way the house feels.

It is almost empty feeling but so clean. I always wonder what I had on this table and on that shelf.

Now you all know what happens….

I want it to be spring!!!

There are several months of cold, wintry weather left (we are expecting more of the white stuff tonight)

so I will try to stop myself from thinking of planting flowers and of green, green grass.

Now I have a project and I need your help! A week before Christmas we had our old television taken down and a carpenter filled in the space.

The guys hung a new flat screen TV above the fireplace. Now there is no room for decor!! Help, I need ideas! It needs something BAD!!!! Ideas?

FYI: the mantle is very narrow (like 4 inches wide on each end!)

So boring..nothing fits below and it can't have a big base...whatever "it" is!

I was thinking it needs something tall like maybe a topiary….I found these today. Not really into fake ivy. It is still so empty looking.

Is less REALLY more???? Help!!!

Still so boring...don't you think?

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Christmas Decor on a dime~

A friend asked me the other day how I can afford to spend so much $$ on Christmas decor and buy gifts this time of year. I totally cracked up! I DO NOT spend big bucks, if hardly “any” bucks on Christmas decor. Most of my stuff I have had for years. I seriously have NEVER bought a centerpiece. I use what I have and then add inexpensive things to it. Walmart is a great place to buy balls etc if you are in need of a change. Never forget TJMaxx…..never! Back in an older post, I showed the picture of  ice skates in my tree……TJMAXX!

For example, I am really into the new green so I picked up a large box of balls at Walmart for $5. I mixed them in with some older items I have had for years, put in them in this case with a (empty) wine bottle and…..instant decor.

Pine cones, pine cones, pine cones….keep your pine cones. They are great way to decorate and are free or almost free. I can never have enough. You can use them everywhere. On your tree, in glass vases, on trays, in baskets……when you are in the mountians make time to load up!

Cranberries….you can pick them up fresh at the grocery store or buy artificial. However, they are a lot cheaper fresh. I use them everywhere.

These I poured into a little bird dish….simple!

These are mixed with dried magnolia pods....go to the park you will be surprised what you find!

Re-paint things or spray with snow. You know the $1 can of flock at Wally World can make all the difference in the world. I also am not afraid to re-paint anything. Give me a can of spray paint…watch out world!

Not only did I re-paint this old beverage holder, it is filled with green bottles of sparkling water....which you can actually drink!! It is so easy.

My tree has been basically the same now for several years. I like a really natural looking tree so I use pine cones, birds, cranberries, and spray with canned snow. These sweet little birds came from Hobby Lobby in the dried natural area (I got them half off…4 or more to a package.)  I love signs so I got these “Let it snow” signs several years ago for about $8 each.

Snow…you know the bagged snow. Put it in a glass apothecary jar or vase and top with flowers or ornaments…..look at this great idea!

Check out these thrifty decorating ideas from some very creative people!

…and finally, for me it is ALL about the gift wrapping paper. I search and search to find exactly the right look.

This year I went a little funky. Hobby Lobby 1/2 off……

Now, use what you have and even invite a friend over to help. Another person may see your old stuff in a new light!!

Remember….Jesus is the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas, ya’ll!

The Nutcracker

Saturday was such a special day for me, my daughter, and grand-daughter. This was Mai’s first time to go to the Nutcracker. She wore her prettiest dress, ate lunch with just us girls, and got 2 ballerina dolls! She never took her eyes off of all the pretty ballerinas and did pretty good with the Rat King (even though she covered her eyes when she saw him the first time.) Then she got her picture made with some of the ballerinas and Claire. The ballerina that played Claire was Summer’s flower girl….how time flies…and she is so talented! So begins another tradition….can’t wait to take my son’s little girl someday!!!! Of course I am just wishing here….he isn’t even married…..YET!!

~Only in Texas~

Today started with news of school closings and delays because of an ice storm overnight. Then as the ice began to melt, heavy clouds moved in and it began to rain. My daughter called and she said it was hailing or doing something like a hail storm at her house maybe even BIG sleet? Then the sun came out briefly and a brown haze drifted in…..and now folks we are having an old fashioned West Texas sandstorm! Winds are gusting to 60mph! So to sooth my soul, I am posting a picture of snow in Ruidoso, NM.

I’m dreaming of a brown…I mean white Christmas!

Yum-O!

Today was cold and snowy out so I wanted to make some warm comfort food for dinner. I tried a recipe from my favorite magazine (Southern Living) tonight and it was so great I thought I would share!!! Do you love lasagna but hate to make it because it is such a pain? Well, this is close and so easy. My husband said it was his new favorite meal. I just added a caesar salad (in the bag) and it was so good.  Let me know if you liked as much as we did!

Beef Lombardi

Southern Living

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1  (8-oz.) package medium egg noodles
  • 1  pound  lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried Italian seasoning
  • 1  (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1  (14 1/2-oz.) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1  (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  cup  sour cream
  • 4  green onions, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  (2 oz.) shredded Italian six-cheese blend

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare egg noodles according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle ground beef with 1 1/4 tsp. salt and Italian seasoning. Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink.

3. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes; stir in tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 minutes.

4. Microwave cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 20 seconds. Stir in sour cream and green onions. Stir cream cheese mixture into hot cooked noodles.

5. Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture; sprinkle with shredded Italian cheese.

6. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Note: To lighten, substitute low-fat or fat-free sour cream and 2% reduced-fat cheese.