Monday, December 30, 2013

Penny For Your Thoughts....Cookbook Style!

From a very special lady.....Virginia Albrecht - aka Grandma GinGin!
Grandma Gin Gin gave me this cookbook many many years ago and I used it often, as you can tell.  When the binding finally died, I was determined to keep it together in hopes of finding a way of putting it back together. 

Enter two neices and one sister to bring it back to life.....with humor!

Kathy, Bailey & Jenna not only safely displayed each page in a pretty cool 3-ring binder, but they added comments throughout the book and gave it to me as a Christmas present.  I finally sat down tonight to read each page and laughed out loud.  Bare with me as I share them with you......

Sponge Bob Square Pants!

Brady Bunch fan?

One tuna dip is too many!

Peas? Green beans?  Butter beans?

I really don't you?

It's not just Banana Bread!  It's 'A Loaf' of Banana Bread!

Next family dinner!

She didn't just say please.....she said PALEASE!

If the water is 86 degrees - you're pizza is ruined!

I guess that's what happens when the fat is hot!

I guess that's a hint!

Make this! Oh wait....make this one, it's easy!
I couldn't show each page but trust me, they are all just as funny!  And, I don't know if they realized it or not but when I opened the book...the red marker was still in the book.  Do you think they want me to add my own comments?  I couldn't possibly come close to the witty notes they've added.

Because this is a local cookbook put together by the staff (and family of staff) from Williamsburg Community Hospital, you might even recognize some of the names.  And, because I was focusing more on the comments vs the entire recipe, if I cut off any part of a recipe you'd like to have.....message me and I'll send it to you.

I absolutely love my cookbook remake and just when you least expect it....I'll bring Mayonnaise Biscuits to our next family function! 

Kathy, Bailey & Jenna......Much love is sent your way!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Get out the chapstick's mistletoe time!

Day 24 of Countdown to Mistletoe started @ 5:45 am!  I was up and fixing a cup of coffee bright and early.  I couldn't do anything too loud quite yet because the boys were still sleeping.

However, I did wrap a few last minute presents, put the finishing touches on a few handcrafted items, prepared the guest room for our overnight guest (Nannie!) and then around 8:00 am - I started cooking and cleaning! 

It's a Bailey family tradition to get together on Christmas Eve and this year we invited everyone to share it with us in our new home!  We had a house full (~21 people), good food and lots of laughter and reflections on memories past.

To start....Kathy made this bacon that was just.......amazingly fantabulous!  Even if you don't eat bacon, you'd love this!  The only ingredients were...bacon (of course) topped with a mixture of brown sugar, pepper and crushed nuts.  Very yummy Sister Kathy!!

THAT was some seriously good bacon!

Between the zesty sweet bacon, Cindy's fab mac and cheese and this delicious blueberry pie.....we did NOT go hungry!  My Aunt Nancy was the creator of such deliciousness and it was just as wonderful as I remembered.  In fact, I have the leftovers in my refrigerator.....mmmmmmmm!
We had our traditional Chinese gift exchange that was followed by some silliness, as usual.  We brought a few photo props and hoped everyone would join in and take some funny and festive family photos.  As it all played out, only the girls were silly and you can see where we get it from....Nannie made sure she was included with the silliness too!  Love your spunk Nan!

Stephen and I would like to personally thank all those that came last night.....Nannie, Mom, Nancy, Chip, Cindy, Kenny, Griffin, Taylor, Britt, Kathy, Paul, Bailey, Jenna, Rob, Haylee, Avery, Andrew, Robert, Raynell, Joyce and Henry.  And of course, Skype conversations with Ashley, Tim, Peyton, Levi, Thom and Laura. Miss you guys terribly!

Nan quite often says she has the best family and she is absolutely right!  The world deals us situations that aren't exactly favorable but at the end of the day, I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful family that I can talk to, laugh with, cry with and well.....just be silly with.  Life is good when you are with family!

Now...let's get down to this mistletoe thing.....honey get out your chap stick!

I love this sign!  Being 'Merry' at Christmas time is expected, but why does it have to stop there?  It doesn't!  Grab your honey and give them a big ol' smooch and be merry for the remaining 364 days of the year too. 

OK - Stephen just returned from picking up the top from our wedding cake we shared one year ago today!  Mom kept it safe in her freezer all year and it might be a mouthful of pure sugar when we have the traditional piece to celebrate.....but I've been counting down to Mistletoe anyway and as Nannie would say......If you stand under the mistletoe, somebody will get your sugar......Pucker up Babe!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe.....Day 23....Thrift Store Goddess!

THRIFT STORES are a girl's best friend!  In fact, there are days when I'm walking back to my car, with bargains in hand thinking.... I hit the mother load and today I AM the Thrift Store Goddess! (There is a certain strut that one has when this happens!)

What do I look for?  Rarely am I looking for one certain thing.  And don't usually find it if you go JUST for that one item.  However, there are a few items that I look for every time I go.....
  • silverware (silver or plated)
  • cool picture frames
  • paintings on canvas
  • fabric
  • unique and unusual furniture pieces (Gotta look for my girl at The Forgotten Pearl!)
Silverware.....Love to create jewelry using these pieces!  The more unique the better!  I once slipped in to the Habitat for Humanity store and bought 4 sterling forks for 10 cents a piece.....(yep....a strut worthy day!) and couldn't get them into my basket quick enough.

Cool picture frames and paintings on canvas.....Most of the time, it's the older frames that grab my attention.  They don't have to be perfect, in fact if they have a flaw or two, I look at it as 'character' and in the basket it goes! 

With the paintings on canvas, I have to share this story......I look for the colors just as much as I do the subject in the painting.  I recycle them too by applying a few stickers and paint of my own.  A-n-y-w-a-y....I found this really cool painting of a pear.  Yep, I'm guessing it was supposed to be a pear on a table, but cool colors.  I thought that Cindy might want this for her shop and for the 99 cent price tag, I'm sure she will!

I get to the register to pay and the cashier starts scanning my items, making note of each item and then she picked up the canvas (about 16x20) and she stopped.  She flipped it over a few times and had this bewildered look on her face......she finally spoke......"Do you know this is an original?"  "An original what I asked?"  Was I missing something here?  Is this a rare find that they've marked at 99 cents?

She spoke as if excited beyond words....."You can always tell when it's an original because of the canvas it's painted on vs a copy of a painting."  I couldn't bare to tell her that I've purchased many 'originals' from their store and painted over them!  My response, "Well, the next time Antique Road Show comes to town, I'll have to take this over and see what the value is!"  (OK, I was being a smarty pants, but it just tickled me).

I gave the painting to Cindy and I'm sure she'll do something lovely with it for her shop!  That 99 cents made my day!

Anything unique or unusual.....I recently found these cool little boxes and brand new muslin bags at my local DAV Thrift Store.  One can NEVER have enough bags!

I've wanted to try this painting technique and these were the perfect items to try it on....

This treasure is perfect for a little boy to store his Hot Wheels cars in!

I personally love the white on white or ivory on white look!

Are you scratching your head wondering how in the world does she paint those perfect circles on there?

I'm certain you have this tool on hand!
Yep - a toilet paper or paper towel roll.  I used a scrap piece of cardboard to put the paint on and then it's just a matter of dipping it in the paint and putting it on the box, bag or whatever items you choose.  If fabric is your item of choice, I do recommend running a quick iron over it to seal the paint (and it makes it soft to the touch too).

It will be hard, but I'll need to avoid the thrift stores today because I cannot take on any new projects right now!  My problem is I get these cool items and neat ideas to go along with them and want to jump in right away!  Oh my LuLu!

Bottom line...don't be afraid to think outside of the box and whatever you do....Have Fun.  You Thrift Store Goddess you!

Countdown to Misletoe....Day 22....Let's Go Fishin'

Weather report for Virginia....Sunny and warm......79 degrees!

As Andrew and I rode through town trying to conquer last minute shopping, it was unusual to see folks wearing short sleeves and their windows down. 

I'm certain people dug into the back of their closets to find their favorite pair of flip-flops because they were plentiful too.  Crazy weather.

If I weren't so slam busy.....(and I guess the occasional downpours would have been a damper too), I would have loved to be on the rivah  doing a little Christmas fishin'!

Hmmmmm.....I wonder if I can get all my baking done in time to wet a line?  What do you think Babe?

Speaking of Stephen.....I made this Christmas decoration for him about 4 years ago after seeing one at Bass Pro.  I had to sneak and take a picture of it so I'd remember what it looked like.  Oh, he never suspected a thing because when we are in that store....he's easily distracted! 
It actually started out as a display for my jewelry creations, but as soon as I saw the one at BP, I knew exactly what I'd use as my base.

I had to repaint it of course, and the oval "North Pole/Fishing Poles" board is just a piece of leftover plywood that was cut, sanded, painted, sanded again and then Dad helped me with the mounting process (Well, he instructed from the comforts of his recliner and I made frequent trips to his shop to get the supplies required).  Mom never said a word but I did make sure any wood remnants, etc. were cleaned up after we finished (smile!).

We used a hefty helping of Gorilla glue, or as Dad called it, "Gorilla snot" and some sturdy wood screws.  As you can see she is still standing pretty and guarded 24/7 by a fierce, but festive nutcracker (No Tim - you can't have it!)

Anyway....that's my post for the day (Shhhhh...actually yesterday!).  I'm off to finish some last minute creations, do a little baking and yep....I do need to visit a store or two as well.

Merry Christmas......and when you are out there today, don't forget to smile!  It's a happy occasion and a joyous event we are celebrating...the birth of Jesus Christ!  Renew your worship and SMILE!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe.....Days 20 & 21....Crafty Corner

As if I have EXTRA time to start a new project!  I not only made one, but two!  Reason being I wanted one for myself too!

I'll call this Pretty Paper Tree Garland.....
End to end....25 Christmas trees!
  • Old sheet music (or paper of your choice....recycled Christmas cards would be cool too!)
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Scrapbook paper scraps (for trunk of the tree)
  • Metal grommets
  • yarn and small crochet hook
Let's rock and roll....

I bought several old books of sheet music last year when I made another version of mini Christmas trees (compliments to Laura in Laguna!) and of course saved them for a rainy day.

It's not raining today, but they sure came in handy!
I used the lid from a Cool-Whip container to make my circles.  With this size circle, the trees are about 3 inches tall.

Cut out the circle inside the line, so the lines don't show on your finished Christmas tree.

Fold the circle in half and cut the circle in two equal pieces.  Yep, you'll get TWO trees out of one circle!

With the straight edge to the left, fold the circle to the left.  It took me a few tries to find exactly how to fold it to get the perfect tree.  I eyeballed the bottom and it was a little more than 3 fingers wide.

Fold the top of the circle back to the right and make sure you keep the point of the tree at the top.  And this helps you know where to make your crease too.

Again, making sure to keep the point of the tree, fold the remaining circle back to the left and your folding is finished.
It took me a few tries to find out what worked best to create the perfect tree.  I recommend making a template and fold it a couple of times to get in the groove.  From there it will be a piece of cake.

I didn't glue down the entire piece.  However I did run the glue stick under each section and it provided a little stability too. 

I found this lovely piece of paper in my scraps and used it as the 'trunk'.  I cut strips about 1 inch wide and then cut each strip about 3 inches long.  Applied just one swipe of the glue stick and folded the paper in half. 

Apply the 'trunk' to the back of the tree (folded edge down),

Back view.  I don't have a picture of it, but I decided I didn't like the unfinished look of the back, so I put some snowflake stickers at the top of the paper and that was the perfect finishing piece. (Stickers were purchased at The Dollar Tree)

Of course, you don't have to use these little grommets, but because the trees are paper, I do recommend it.  Otherwise, you take the chance of the top tearing once you feed the string in.

I decided to crochet a single chain as the string of my garland.  So simple.  I fed each tree onto the yarn (two strands: 1  white fun fur and 1 of a light-weight twine) and made a slip knot at the end and started the a simple chain stitch. 
Crochet 40 stitches and feed the first tree all the way up to meet with your chain stitches.  Continue crocheting, but make the next chain a little looser.  That stitch is the first of 10 more chains and repeat by sliding up the next tree - 10 more chains and so on.  Once all the trees are crocheted on, finish off the garland with 40 chain stitches to match the opposite side.

I like the extra stability the crocheted chain gives the garland and can't wait to hang it! 
Merry Christmas to me......and another secret someone will get the other one!
If I had the time (THAT is the funniest thing I've heard all day!) I'd make more and try different versions of paper.  But, because there is still shopping to do, baking to finish and lots to wrap....This might have to be a New Year project!

Happy Crafting and send me pictures if you make one of your own!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe.....Days 18 & 19....World's Ugliest Snowman

Many years ago when Andrew was just a little whipper-snapper.....

He was helping me decorate the tree and came across a snowman/key chain amongst the ornaments.

     "Mom, this has to be the world's ugliest snowman!"

From that point and for many years to come, each time that ornament is placed on the tree, someone points out that the "world's ugliest snowman" is going on the tree!

He's not ugly at all.  A little green, but not ugly!
This year a new ornament has joined in on all the fun.  I don't want to say it's 'ugly' because I think the only way something or someone becomes 'ugly' is by what comes out of their mouth....a-n-y-w-a-y (that's an entirely different blog!). 

I pulled out a box of ornaments purchased last year at an After-Christmas Sale and as soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be a cousin to the snowman.  What do you think?

Is this supposed to be a Santa or an elf?
Either way, they are permanent fixtures on our Christmas tree and in my opinion make it extra bee-u-ti-ful!

Just for kicks, I thought I'd include a few of personal favorites.......
I don't remember the story with this ornament other than the original ball ornament broke and I replaced it with this ornament purchased in Wilmington, NC last year.

I just love everything about this little guy.  He's crocheted.  He's funky.  He's sparkly and fluffy.
What I love about our tree is the number of ornaments that have been collected since childhood.  And because of my knack for finding the gems after Christmas, I found that I had enough gold, silver, crystal and white ornaments to put them on a totally separate tree this year. 

I love ornaments and when someone gives an ornament as a gift, thought went into that purchase because that ornament reminded them of you! 

Enjoy your tree this year and ALL the spectacular ornaments!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe....Day 17....Shopping, Sleeping and Hardly Stopping!

I've been waiting to post this cute idea, but had to wait because I'll be handing them out as gifts tomorrow.  I couldn't wait any longer!

I found the idea on Pinterest and it lead me to a  So I must give credit where it belongs and thank "Krista" for her very cute idea.

What do you give co-workers? Teachers? Mailperson? Sunday School teacher?  You know them and see them on a regular basis, but what in the world do you give them for Christmas?  I think this is a super cute idea AND it's affordable too!  

Here we go....

  • Christmas wrapping paper (one roll for each person)
  • New rolls of tape (one roll for each person)
  • Christmas ribbon - cut to about 24 inches per gift
  • Printed tag (see below)

The tag reads (just in case you want to cut & paste):

Since November you've been shopping
Barely sleeping and hardly stopping

Now it's late and you're starting to scrape.
You're out of paper and out of tape!

Hope this bundle will help save the day
And have a Happy Christmas Holiday!!

I printed mine at home and just set up the page according to the dimensions of the paper.  Of course, it doesn't have to be printed. You can also handwrite the poem/message inside of Christmas card or on your favorite scrapbooking paper. And, I just happened to have some leftover snowflake stickers too. 

I used a hole-punch to put a hole at the top of the card/tag and fed the piece of ribbon through the card and role of tape. 

Double it around the top of the roll of gift wrap once before securing the ribbon and make sure your tape is flat or flush against the card.  It just looks nicer that way.  Tie it in a snug square knot and it's finished!

It is very simple to do and YES you can do it! can do this!  However, if you have any questions, please message me.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe....Day 16....Deliciousness!


A friend from high school contacted me today looking for a recipe I've cherished for many years.....York County Schools-Peanut Butter Brownies!

I've tried to think of a clever name for them, but when describing them it always comes back to their original name.

I guess because I only remember them from Bruton High School, they could be called BHS-Peanut Butter Brownies!  Call them what you want.  I call them delicious!

Former classmates, do you remember these?  I just remember hoping I'd get a corner section because the crust is actually the cookie and by having the corner - double stuff!

I don't have any pictures to post - sorry!  I'm sure after Stephen reads this, he'll put in his order for some and then I'll post photos.  Maybe even make a batch for Christmas Eve!

For now, here is the recipe.....(thanks for the inspiration Juanita!)

York County Schools - Peanut Butter Brownies

  • 2 1/2 sticks softened butter or margarine
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups sugar (I usually cut it to 2-2 1/2)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon water
Cream the softened butter, peanut butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture a little at a time.  Mix well.  Add water and stir again.

Spoon batter (it will be thick) into two 13x9 inch pans (sprayed with Pam). (I have a large jelly roll type pan and that one pan works great).

Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cooking time is correct.  When you remove the brownies from the oven, they should still be a little shaky in the pan.

Cool completely.  Frost with chocolate icing.
Brownies keep well when stored in an air tight container.

I dare you to eat just one!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe....Day 15....Finding Christmas!

After having lunch with my honey, I took him home and off I went to cross a few items off my Christmas list.  I took my camera with the intentions of 'finding Christmas' throughout Williamsburg.  Needless to say, that didn't happen. 

Town was just too crowded to look for photo opportunities.  Instead I had to carefully watch traffic.  Craziness...I say craziness! 

When I finally sat down at home, I flipped the TV to a more light hearted channel....The Hallmark channel.  The loss the Cowboys experienced just put a damper on the tube and Stephen went back to the shredder mumbling something about a sorry no-good quarterback that needs to be fired (hehe), so I thought I'd lighten the mood.

Enter one Hallmark commercial when there isn't a tissue in sight!  You may have seen it....The parents are moving and the Dad is saying how his wife keeps everything.  The daughters find a box and inside the box is every card he's ever received.  Every card! forward....they hug him, Mom says something about only moving across town....end of commercial. And of course, it got me thinking.....

This time of year Dad would try to sneak around Mom to make sure she had everything on her Christmas list. This list was accompanied by every advertisement or catalog page with exact photos he'd clipped so we'd get the right size, color, etc.  Because he couldn't get out to shop, Kathy and I were his elves.

We'd start early December and of course she'd catch on. I'd call and ask for Dad, she'd say "Do you need me to leave the room?"  If I asked Dad a question that was a simple yes or no answer, he'd say something like...."Yeah, I guess I would go ahead and change your oil now." -or-  "Hmmmm....No, if you already painted it once, you don't need to paint it again."

Call by call and trying to wrap each gift as if he did them (using completely unexpected containers such as one of Grandma Susie's old hats) and sneak them under the tree....we did it!

During a time when we should all be happy and enjoying the beautiful lights and colors that shower our homes and is still hard.  We have beautiful memories of past Christmas festivities where we laughed so hard we couldn't breathe and those memories are still there...tattooed on my heart and mind. 

Hallmark, you did it again and you've pulled at my heart strings.  And between your commercial and my brilliant idea to follow it up with this blog post...tissues, tissues, tissues.  (Why can't women cry 'pretty'?)

I guess I really didn't need my camera after all to 'find Christmas'.  I found it in my own living room with my feet propped up on the coffee table ....and using the sleeve of my hoodie as a tissue.  Love ya Dad!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Countdown to're it!...Day 14're it!

I don't know about you, but I have a problem spending almost $5.00 for a pack of tags for Christmas gifts.  Don't get me wrong, I do want all my gifts to look lovely, but tags are something I've just always made myself.

Maybe it comes from Grandma Susie and Mom recycling their Christmas cards as tags.  Or because I always seem to have an abundant amount of paper on hand (fabric & paper...Oh my!)

Thanks to my love for Pinterest, I saw an idea to use copies of your photos to make your gift tags.  Love it!

I also love the look of just brown kraft paper, these black & white tags and a red ribbon.  Nice.

All I did was cut and paste copies of the photos onto a word document.  Printed them as black and white copies and when I cut them out, I notched the ends to make them look a little more a tag.
Andrew has no hair!

Once the tags are cut out, you can just write on the back who the gift is from and tape it to your package (on just one edge).  Or, punch a hole and feed a piece of string or ribbon through the hole and tie it to your bag.

Photos of Christmas decorations recycled as tags!
With the tags above, instead of using photographs of people, I used some of the photos I took of Mom & Kathy's Christmas decorations in years past.  With Word Art, I added the "Merry Christmas" message but you can also add "To & From" as well.  Oh, and I used card stock paper vs regular copy paper.

Have fun!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Countdown to Mistletoe....Day 13....Stink! Stank! Stunk!

This morning I didn't have to get up any earlier....5:45 am is early enough!  But, I did have to leave earlier to deliver a box of pretties for Rob & Haylee's new home.....and Hardee's biscuits!  And, of course Miss Avery was awake and all dressed up for moving day in her red outfit and tutu!  So cute.

TGIF and as I was driving along reflecting on my week....what a week....I said out loud ...."A Grinch I will not be this Christmas back off....Mr. Grinch!"  I changed the radio station from Bluegrass Junction to the Christmas station and you guessed it......playing loud and clear....

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel,
You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart's an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,
I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch,
Given a choice between the two of you I'd take the seasick crocodile!

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You're the king of sinful sots,
Your heart's a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
You're a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch,
With a nauseous super "naus"!,
You're a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch,
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful
Assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You're a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch,
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
"Stink, stank, stunk"!
I looked up the lyrics and after reading them, thought I'd be able to come up with a favorite....I can't!  But I do know that my heart is NOT full of unwashed socks and my soul's not full of gunk, Mr. Grrrrriinch!

If you have a seasick crocodile that keeps naggin' at your good mood or you are feeling a little like a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss......listen to the words next time and sing along as loud as you can.  Who cares if anyone is listening, their mood might need lifting too!

Stink! Stank! Stunk!
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