Thursday, December 27, 2012

When do you take your tree down?

I've always heard that you should take your tree down before New Year's Day or it is bad luck. After searching the internet to see what the general rule is on the topic. Not once did that reason come up. I'm starting to think this was just something my mom made up so we wouldn't complain about her taking the tree down. "Mom, don't take the tree down we really enjoy the lights." She would respond, "I have to take it down or it's bad luck." Us, "Ok, you need any help?" Not that I'm superstitious but I do continue to take our tree down before New Year's. I think I do it because after Christmas, my house looks like a small explosion may have taken place and I'm just ready to get things back in order.

Here is what I found Catholics do: following Christian tradition, the Christmas tree should be put up and decorated Christmas Eve and stay up until Jan. 6th, the day of Epiphany. Epiphany is a feast day that celebrates God the son, as the human Jesus Christ.

Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the three king or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree comes down on Jan. 7th.

I certainly don't put my tree up on Christmas Eve. Does anyone do this?

So, I'm just wondering, when do you take down your tree? I have set up a poll. You should see it in the top left of the post. Let me know what you usually do.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Baking

If you're like me, hearing your kids bicker all day can make you as crazy as a soup sandwich. So before I started my holiday baking I thought it to be in everyone's interest to start off with a spot of wine. Let me set the scene. I had just finished clearing and cleaning the kitchen island and Ryan brings his paperwork in to pay bills or go through mail or whatever. To me, he might as well have plopped down kindling right there on my island to start a fire! Yeah, it was that kind of day. Ryan had some Christmas carols playing in the living room that sounded more like Thrash Metal to me. I have to confess, I don't really love Christmas music. I can handle Frosty or Rudolph but when you get into that Jazzy or Country stuff I feel like I'm gonna snap. So I think you get it. I was grouchy but it was not going to prohibit my Christmas baking. I just didn't want you to get the wrong idea from all my pretty pictures. I like to keep things real. 


3 Cans of chow mein noodles

2 Bags of Butterscotch chips

Put your morsels in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 minute and stir.

Put back in the microwave for 1 more minute and stir. You want it to be a smooth creamy consistency. 

Sir in your chow mien noodles a little at a time until well coated. 

Some people like to add peanuts or peanut butter but this is the way I like them best.

Then just spoon them out onto wax or parchment paper.
There you have your cute little haystacks. This recipe will yield about 36 dependent on how big are small you make your stacks.
Some call them bird's nest. That means a little more shaping and just drop some M & M's for your "eggs."

Oreo Balls

1 package plus 6 extra. You have to buy 2 packages because you need to account for all the Oreos that will be eaten while you try to make this recipe.

We crush them by hand because the kids like getting their hands dirty but you could also just give them a quick spin in a food processor.

1 Box of  softened cream cheese 

Mix together to form a well blended dough.

Roll into balls.

You'll need about 1 pound of vanilla flavored candy coating. I use almond bark. 

Melt it in the microwave for about two minutes stirring after one minute.

Dependent upon your mood, you may find it necessary to add more alcohol. 

I went with a little Vodka, Cran-Raspberry.
Dip your balls rolled Oreos in the melted candy coating and sprinkle (before coating dries)  with colored sugar if you would like to add a little color.
By the time I finished these I was in a much better mood. I'm sure it was the Christmas cheer and not the alcohol.

Forty and Flabulous

My 40th birthday was on a Sunday. Once a month my Sunday school class goes to a local assisted living home to do their service and the Sunday of my birthday was the Sunday we visited. I don't know why your fortieth birthday is such a reflective birthday, if you will but it was for me. I'm standing in the back of the room while some of the young girls sing Christmas carols. I'm looking around and I realize: 1. There is not a man in sight. Their husbands have all passed away. 2. These women are in their seventies, some older some younger. I'm forty, and time has really flow by, I don't feel like I should be forty! I am only thirty years away from the possibility of picking out a nursing home! I've heard people say life begins at forty but I have to admit I'm more than skeptical. Although I did take a look at nursing homes monthly schedule and they have a more active social life than I. They have bingo nights, trivia night, which I would just LOVE to be there on that night.  Walmart night, Jello week, something called Groundhog Day, which I imagine would be every day. If you've seen the movie you know what I mean. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. Wii Sports, OMGosh could you just imagine how the ski jump would look? I can. Muffin Mania week, China Lantern Festival, Humpback Whale Awareness as I'm typing this I realize the activity director has quite a sense of humor! You can't make this stuff up!

I had a low key birthday. Ryan wanted to have a party but I still don't have any chairs for my table. You simply cannot have a party if you don't have chairs. I just hung around the house with my family and my husband, while I still can. We usually go out to eat on our birthday but Ryan makes the best steaks so I chose that instead of going out. Ryan cooked and cleaned for me all day and that is just what I needed! Oh that, and the new laptop he got me.

My friend, Rachele sent me a certificate for wine which I promptly ordered. My other friend and neighbor, Anita brought over some homemade hot chocolate mix (looks like someone has been on Pinterest) and some butterscotch schnapps. That is my absolute favorite wintertime nightcap. If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it. If it's been an extremely stressful day throw in some vodka.

Well that sums up my fortieth. Not too exciting but just what I needed.

Apparently at forty, you can't open your eyes for pictures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Save the TaTas

Yep, it's that time again. Time for my boobs to be flattened like a pancake. Yikes! I will be forty, there I said it. I will be FORTY in just a few days. It is recommended that women get a yearly mammogram starting at age forty.

Here is what you can expect if you have never had one. After you get called back you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up. I recommend wearing some sweatpants. If you're like me, your jeans give you an unsightly muffin top. Honestly, nobody wants to see that. I wish I would have preplanned a little better and I would have had my sweats on. You are asked to remove any lotions, powder or deodorant on your underarms. They provide you with a half shirt style robe. It made me feel sort of nostalgic. Like it should have had Panama Jack on it or something. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Then the tech will take you to the room to do the mammogram. The machine looks like this:

She had me sit and answer a few questions, how many pregnancies and if I had ever breastfed. That sort of thing.

Then I just took one arm out of my mini robe and she perched my hooters, one at a time up on the black part and then she brought the top part down onto my breast and smushed it into a sad, flat breast.  The ladies of the old National Geographic had nothing on me. She took a couple of shots of each breast. It is uncomfortable but it really isn't all that bad.

The lady who did my mammogram was a cute little white-haired woman. I commented to her that I could never do her job. She replied that usually it's not that bad that most people clean up for their appointment. However, she said she could write a book about some of the things she had seen over the years.

She told me of a time she had gone to get an older lady to do her mammogram. The lady had tears in her eyes and that she seemed really nervous and uneasy. She asked her what was wrong and the older lady responded that when she was sent back to the waiting room they told her "Tex" would be right in to do her mammogram. She was so relieved to find out they said tech, not "Tex."

After the mammogram was finished I was able to get dressed and was on my way. They even provided a spray deodorant in the dressing room. I think I was in and out within an hour.

So for your own birthday I say give yourself the gift of a mammogram. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Tis the Season

I remember when I was a kid it seemed like time just stopped when the calendar hit Dec. 1st. Now it seems to pass you by in the blink of an eye. There is so much going on this time of year. I love it but quite honestly it stresses me out! Shopping, dragging out the Christmas tree and decorations. Remembering which kid has a party to attend and trying to remember if we're swapping cookies or ornaments. Trying to logistically plan being at both school Christmas parties because they are always on the same day! My kids go to schools across town from each other so this is especially challenging for me. Even finding the time to take the Christmas card picture causes me to stress. This year Ansley was being more difficult than usual about "dressing up" for the picture. The kid hates to shop, wonder where she gets that? She wears a uniform to school so her clothing selection is very limited. After one trip to Target looking for something for her to wear I decided it wasn't worth the drama. I couldn't even get her to embrace wearing a red long sleeved T. So here is what our card looks like. You'd never guess it was 70 degrees when I took the picture or that ChaChi was complaining the whole time! He hated the card idea and still hates the card. He says it doesn't even look like him! And yes, I washed the pole...three times.

Friday was our Sunday school Christmas party. I won the tacky sweater award for the women and the Ole Miss sweatshirt was the winner for the men.

I took twenty baked potatoes to the party and it seemed to be a good idea. It was very easy to throw together. I rubbed them down with olive oil, dashed them with kosher salt and baked them for 1.5 hours on 350. Took them out wrapped them in foil and threw them in a cooler. I took a plastic vegetable tray and filled it with butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits. I will be doing this again!

Saturday we were invited to another Christmas party. I suspect that we were on the "if enough people cancel we can invite them list." We didn't get invited until Friday. I can't say that I blame them, the last party we were invited to at their house we showed up on our four wheeler. We were asked to bring an appetizer so I just thought I'd take deviled eggs because I had everything on hand to make them. This is  a recipe I've been making for years. I believe I originally found it on

Deviled Eggs
  1. Hard boil your eggs. I put the desired amount of eggs in a pot and let them set for about 15 minutes before I turn them on.
  2. Bring to a super slow boil in salted water for about 25 minutes. 
  3. Turn them off and let them cool.
  4. Drain the hot water off.
  5. Add cold water and ice. I think the shock of the change in temp helps the shell come off.

You will need mayo, bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese.

I got creative and took and put on a rubber glove and rubbed a little food color on the outside of the egg. I let it set on the egg for a couple of minutes and then rinsed them off.

Cut the eggs in half. Put the yolks in a mixing bow and smush them up (that's official terminology). Then add the other ingredients. I never measure, I mean it's deviled eggs not rocket science, so just add ingredients to your taste.

Then just spoon the mixture back inside the egg.

And there you have the most delicious deviled egg. Way better than the original version. 

Well, we had a good time at both parties. I just hope they liked my eggs enough that we make the first party list of invitees next year. 

I doubt it though, I was obnoxious as usual. Speaking of, don't you agree it should be called George Washington Balls, not Martha?