Friday, December 30, 2016

Now I've said my ABC's

I don't usually say this, but this is a long post and you might need a cup of hot tea or cocoa to help you meander through it!

It is almost New Year's Eve, and I am set to offer up the traditional set of goals, resolutions, and word of the year...  I have my cabbage and am on track of a harmless, little can of black-eyed peas for some good luck and prosperity. My son, Mom, and I had a wonderful Christmas. My son surprised me and stayed all night in the recliner here. We watched a ton of movies and generally had a great time!

 All subtitled but very Viking and we liked it...

A classic, but I slept through it after lunch...  Bill Murray was so young!

 Not very appropriate for Sunday Christmas, but...  we laughed anyway...

I loved this one...

I made a version of  Pioneer Woman's Cowboy Chili, which is very thick and has no beans.

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tbsp chili powder
2 lbs ground beef
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt 
I added: 2 T.  molasses

1. Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic.
2. Cook the beef until brown and drain off the excess fat.
3. Pour in the tomato sauce, followed by the spices and salt.
4. Stir together well, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add in 1/2 cup water at a time as needed

A friend came down to spend Christmas Day, and we had several little visits through the weekend from good friends and family.

I fixed a Pioneer Woman Cowboy Quiche for my sister/cousin on Saturday morning... We did our traditional exchange on the Eve of the day... just like always.

My other dear cousins also came by at different times and brought mom some delicious home made treats.

We had a roast and all the trimmings to celebrate our gift exchange with the Thelma, Louise, and Louise gang... (We have run around together so much, but now that I am a stay at home daughter, they come to me!)

Cowboy Quiche

Prep: 30 MinutesLevel: Easy
Cook: 1 HoursServes: 10


  • 1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (enough For A Deep Dish Pan)
  • 2 whole Yellow Onions, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 8 slices Bacon
  • 8 whole Large Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream Or Half-and-Half
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese


Fry the onions in the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes (maybe longer), stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Fry the bacon until chewy. Chop into large bite-sized pieces and set aside to cool. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie crust and press it into a large fluted deep tart pan (or a deep dish pie pan). 

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, bacon, and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. (The quiche will still seem slightly loose, but will continue to set once remove from the oven.)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. If using a tart pan, remove the quiche from the pan, cut into slices with a sharp serrated knife, and serve!

Two friends came down for supper, and we watched a particular favorite movie, The Christmas Tree, directed by Sally Field and extremely hard to find. It is available right now on YouTube HERE, but it may be pulled at any time. Julie Harris and Andrew McCarthy are wonderful!

Mom was able to stay home and out of the hospital in spite of some setbacks she has experienced. Most recently she has started sleeping a lot more, but she still does a lot of singing. She does the alphabet song to the somewhat tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star...and at the end she really belts out, "Now I've said my ABC's. Tell me what you think of me!"  and then if I don't tell her, I can listen carefully to her telling herself...  It varies, but she has said, "No. Don't tell me. I don't even care what you think."  and my favorite, "I think you are a wonderful woman, Norma, who has been through a very tough time." Talk about affirmations!

December 27th tiptoed right by us. I felt so very sad as I watched the clock that morning, thinking that one year ago... here. here......... here........... no, not ever again... would we have my dear mother as she was. It marked the anniversary of her massive stroke. I will say the later part of the day began to seep victorious through the timbres of our souls at the amount of living we have done in this wing-clipped year. I can see the negative doctor at Boone Hospital who shook his head that I would be able to bring her home... who set us up to wither and die from the get-go. Perhaps he might call what we have experienced a death of sorts, and it is... but there is more of life in our days by far...  even now as things have slowed to a crawl...

Back to the post-Christmas festivities... I put the Fontanini nativity set out on the 26th. It was so late, but at last I felt decorated for Christmas

I got my red sheets on my bed yesterday...  When is it Santa is coming?  I enjoyed the week so much, spending time cleaning out little fox holes of clutter and gunk. You can see in my banner my daddy's red lamp, which was in the downstairs room. It gave me a lot of pleasure to clean that lamp and add its deep, red glow to the corner of the living room.  I remember how excited he and my mother were to buy it at a favorite auction...

Yesterday we received quite an amazing gift! My dear friend and her husband brought us loads of gravel and used their bulldozer to fix our long and cantankerous lane...  !!!!!

It is time to get some sleep, so I will snuggle down in the scarlet softness of Amadora sheets from Amazon. I cannot speak to their longevity as I bought several colors to mark my way through the calendar... but they feel heavenly and wash wonderfully... You can check them out HERE on Amazon

Have yourselves a Happy New Year!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Merry Christmas....

Whimsy and Hugs! Oatmeal and Whimsy and I wish you a very sweet and precious Christmas. I have loved the feeling of being mostly caught up this Christmas. Mom is doing okay, despite a lot of calls and questions to health professionals. She is happy it is Christmas!

With love and kind wishes.....

... the very best of the season's blessings....

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

You'll Have to Sleep with Gramma if She Comes...

Supermoons fuel dreamers and perchance allow the older minds a playground through the night as they dream and awaken with yet more lyrics to the now well-loved tune, "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain." This morning's addition includes, "She'll have to sleep with Gramma... and Gramma's lost her mind, So it won't be very pleasant when she comes." Oh, my. Our day begins with song!

Add caption

Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas on the Porch

Leave it to Facebook or Pinterest to inspire? You betcha. A couple of weeks ago I was scrolling along and eyeing all the Christmas seasonal porches, and I just felt the urge to try just even a little with the front porch here. Of course, I texted my partner in all things festive, my sister/cousin, and she agreed it would be great to decorate on our front porch. I told her there was no hurry, and then went on a mental search of the house for fun things to go outside.

Well, true to her own personal flair, she showed up with reinforcements a few days later. She brought her husband and his leaf blower, and she was ready and able to decorate. I had only MENTALLY prepared, now mind you. So we began to search for little snippets to go outside. I had a tree and a skate... and a few things stored in the barn.

Filter in all this time, my mother was NOT deciding to cooperate and didn't want me out of her sight that day, so she just YELLED at me to get in the house, even though I was technically only about four feet from her bed. It was kind of a zoo, I'll tell you...

However, the results showed a very festive porch, especially after she returned with red ribbon, which I couldn't find in my attempts to delve through my treasures. I will find that holly ribbon right in time though.... FOR Easter!

The day moved on through a full blown argument with Mom and a little scrape with leaf burning and a little more that scared the fairies right out of their hollow (dead) locust tree home... But finally, all was well, and the very next day friends arrived to celebrate a birthday party here, and you should have heard them exclaim about the pretty porch.

I will add one final note. During the holiday decorating I continued into the early late evening...  I met up with a bonafide casualty. I lost my great gandmother's china head doll. As in...  "Call it, Doc. We've lost her." I decided to move my mother's collection of china heads to Daddy's bed for at least Christmas... except for this girl. She was huge. I have a picture of my great grandmother, Amanda Miller, as a very young child holding this china head, which endured a fire and was professionally repaired and refired. She was exquisitely dressed in a replica of my great grandmother's wedding dress, which was black of all things, and had been ceremoniously presented to my dad's dad at one of his last Christmas gatherings...  My dad had selected her as a choice when the family divided up the belongings in his mother's home..  Yep. I cleaned around and under her and went half way across the room when I heard a horrible crash. I turned around, and there she was...  that perfectly refurbished doll... with a scattering of porcelain that used to be that repaired head...

I gathered up shatters, the body (and it felt like I was disposing of a murdered body) and the forlorn little black and white  picture and put them in a double sack in the back of my closet. I worked up the courage to tell my sister/cousin (because it was her great grandmother's, too) and she was very calm and not at all angry...  I have three more cousins with the same relationship to tell, and I am sure they will be kind to me, as well...  I don't think I will tell Mom unless she mentions it because it will just bother here.... which, yeah, bothers me in the rebound... and technically, since I'm being an honest little doggie this morning, Mom just might not be so very kind about it.  haha...  She is what she is.

So...  I'm really okay with it because I have the memory. If I don't have the memory, I'm REALLY okay with it...  ya know? I was trying my best to protect her and it was just not in the cards. I have always tried really hard to save pieces of irony to teach the concept to my students. Now that I'm retired, this is a good example....

Have a super week. Tonight is advent night number three....

P.S. Oh, by the way. This is the inspiration from Pinterest. I know. Isn't it always the way? I wouldn't be able to do this anyway because...  um.... oh, well.... I wouldn't want to clean it all up after Christmas, that's for sure!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kitchen hello...

First course is, of course, salad. Love to serve salads in my bread pan for some reason!

Next some beef short ribs, Pioneer Woman style...

Oh, what a surprise to wake up to this on Sunday morning! I wasn't expecting to see the room in the blue glow reserved for snowy, reflective lighting...  We had about three inches, but it melted in a day...

I wonder if any of you might enjoy sharing your traditions that you or your family have created. We might just share them and be filled with traditions that truly make each season more special. I have one that I created myself that brightens one of the coldest days each year at random and relaxes the hottest day each summer with its promise... It features little emerald peas! These came from my sister/cousin's garden, and oh, were they ever tender and delicious! The note on the package said, "For the first snow. Packed June 23rd, 2016." I have celebrated this tradition for at least 27 years! It all began when I had my own garden, and I had a tiny crop of peas with only two packages to freeze. I "accidentally" took them out of the freezer on our first snow that year, and it just brought back the hot day I had put them away... The next year I was harvesting in June, and I thought about the icy snowy day the past winter... and I had a light bulb moment to begin this tradition. I penned a little reminder to save these until the first snowfall... I no longer garden so I have bought the peas from the Amish several times and been blessed with peas from my friend's gardens... A very few times I have simply repackaged store-bought, frozen peas on a hot summer's day with a note to my winter self! The smallest of pleasures, but it makes me incredibly happy as I think of my mother and two grandmothers who used to sit with five gallon buckets snapping peas each summer... "These will taste so good when the snow flies,,," I can hear them say it...

Mmm...   Banana nut muffins! I freeze these and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds... or gnaw around the edges of them while they are stone cold hard!

Beautiful plan books from Planner Perfect...  I love her stuff! by Jenny Penton.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Look Around!

Just a few more little peeks at the house! I have been trying to be completely done and just set for enjoying the season. Actually think I am done with shopping and close to finished with wrapping...  I love to just watch movies and visit with family and friends.

Someone is guarding Mama's oatmeal! Brown sugar maple and strawberry are top favorites! She always thanks me for cooking! So tough!

I did not get the gingerbread village out this year. Truthfully, that room is such a mess I can't get to the totes or the Christmas closet! I think Christmas will come anyway, according to Dr, Seuss!

Adding more teacups every day...  and this tree needs a skirt! Happy second Sunday of Advent!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Signs of Christmas!

As everything begins to speak the language of Christmas, our home is taking on a festive flair! Today is a little birthday party or a friend. Yesterday was the hanging of the greens, so to speak...  My sister/cousin and her hubby helped decorate the front porch. Mr. Weather has been cooperating...

These photos were taken as we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. Are you all ready for the    blessings of the season?

Since this photo, Mr. Fan has disappeared, and I put up a teacup tree, which is still in progress. Pardon my planner corner! I am into the lovely, fun, helpful, and therapeutic world of planners...  the journaling kind.

None of the main portion of the house is ever really dark. With my mother's fear of the dark, we leave on almost all the lights. My dining room turned bedroom is the only exception, and even it has much filtered light through the big double doors..

Mother has collected all the little house ornaments from Hallmark. She has them all, I believe, 36, maybe? I know I definitely tried anyway. These are the longest running series Hallmark has ever done. On a couple we have two because I used to be so frantic I'd forget or not be able to get one that my friends always helped me out. They are hanging on our buttercream tree...

I had really considered just doing the houses and maybe heart shaped ornaments, but when I got out the box, I heard all this oohing and ahhing...  M old favorites were so excited to see me, and I just know it would have broken their little hearts to be left in that ornament box another year while somebody else got to spend Christmas with us...  so I used them all...  I very well have a box or two of sad ornaments up at my old home...  Such memories cry out for attention in each little one. 

This little painted ornament came to life during my years in college. I bought those kits to paint by number and gave them to my family for Christmas gifts. Those and the decoupaged ornaments were done, sometimes, underneath the covers with flashlights because I didn't want to keep my roomie awake through the night, my favorite time to craft.

Today is December 1, and I  no longer feel much ahead of the game. I do think all my gifts are purchased and many are wrapped. The decorating is mostly done because despite the clamor, several totes are hushed in the closet. Too much daily to-do's is keeping my life simpler.

Take care and I'll be back soon!  Merry Christmas in the wings to you and yours.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It is what it is

Whimsy and Hugs!

I was hoping our sugar maple would not disappoint..  OH, honey. She did not. I love the branches of this tree so much. I remember my mother's excitement as Daddy planted it as a tiny, tiny little sapling she had brought home in a pork and bean can from her uncle's sugar maple grove in Indiana. It seems I caught her in her glory here today in the direct beams of the sunshine...  Gorgeous! It is my window to the world every morning as I get the mail. Sometimes I measure the wind, the rain, the ice, the frost...  or the heat by her little leaves so in my face and revealing of nature's moods and mysteries. She is about four years younger than I am...  so still a young sprout? haha..  you bet. And the maple syrup from this tree will feed my family for decades...  haha..  Not!

It's safe to say that I am not showing off any part of my home today...  I started to snap a few pictures, and in order not to capture just a lot of clutter and kind of mess, I would have had to really narrow down my focus to a few feet of goodness. I have no business writing a blog when I have so much to do and several parties in the wings before Thanksgiving....  But yet, here I am. I miss writing, just sitting down and chatting with my friends across the way. I decided to just visit as I most often have to do when dear friends come by. What do you see when you look through the open door below? My Mom is in her hospital bed, right by the front door. I know. That in itself seems odd. We debated many times putting her back into her bedroom where she loved to sleep. However, it is indeed BACK..  The far door goes around a crooked little hallway and then her bedroom is back there. I see the arched eyebrows of a good deal of people when they ask if she is still in the front room, right BY the door? Yes. She is. It is central to the home. I can hear her cough, choke, laugh, cry out, curse, or sing her perpetual little songs, no matter what I'm doing... I can hear her mutter, "Oh, my elbow hurts,"so I can slip a foam rubber pad under it so we don't get any pressure sores....  If I sleep, I can jolt my eyes awake and immediately hear her breathing. So it is. Would I like it if I were looking in? You know? I have no idea at this point. I'm not defending or giving a rebuttal. It is what it is....

What we see in the next couple of photos is the result of trying to make a dining room into a bedroom. I am in love with the view from this west window. I can see the moonset, the driveway, the sunsets, and the trees. I love to watch those gaily lit semi trailer trucks at night. I feel so aware and in control in this room plus the window vantage. I'm only about thirty feet from my Mom, although she cries through some nights because I am SOOOOO far away...  There is no headboard or footboard, I hope to remedy that by Christmas. I'm in search of the iron headboard from my childhood...  If it's not in a pile of rust.  I have an old stereo with all kinds of JUNK.  That is my new war cry... JUNK, Clutter...  and yet, I've mentioned it a few times, eh?

I have a wintry, Christmas comforter for this bed, and I am hoping to locate it before the New Year hits...  But, you know? The past few days have been filled with UTI tests, and the obvious rantings of some little Mama with one. She has been "on a toot." She believed I raised sheep, believed there was such a word as insanealism, which she was sure I had..  She promised to slap me to death and lay me out on the ironing board.  She has been singing "Come around the Mountain," "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," and "Dixie." not to mention a few others she just makes up to suit herself. My son calls it making her own sunshine, and I call it kinda dear...  But it is odd when company comes.

I am planning for Christmas with all my heart, hoping as my son said, we get to spend another Christmas with Granny... What an odd life I am living...  as if every day could be the last and as if some of this will never give me a break. I think that can be said for anyone with any kind of introspection...  I just have more "noise" at times to accentuate the trials. The Bug Man reported a six foot plus black snake that stood its ground, turned around to intimidate him, was stabbed repeatedly by a fence rod...  but got away...  in my basement. Oh, that makes me want to move. I suppose I would definitely take my Mom and my planners, and my computer.... I had to buy a new one this week, and after that the old one began to purr and work and just be wonderful again...  Go and figure, will ya?

I am searching through this new gift, the First Christian Church Cookbook, for something delicious to make for lunch tomorrow..  I am working my way through the indoor freezers, the pantry and all my things, pitching anything remotely near or past its due date. It's time for some ORDER.  Order... order in the court....  of which Mom is still Queen, and I am still the joker..

Love you all..  Now when you look at your home, you will feel so good about yourself!  Right? I would...

Signing off in Clutterville, US of A. Insanealism...  Insanealism...  yeah..  I have it.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Like a train roaring out of the heavens......

How beautiful but my photos are not!

Making my back yard surreal.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Get out and vote!!!

Crossing my fingers the good guys win! I made two big kettles of chili. My son's is Paleo, of course. I think mine is sweet enough to be counted as a dessert. I always add a little maple syrup and some molasses....  My gramma called it "sweetening the pot"!

Mom and I voted absentee, so our votes went in weeks ago.

Mama has another touch of UTI so we are hoping to stay home and take our meds. She is snoozing right now after a WILD night of falling off a cliff if I didn't hold on...  I think I finally convinced her she was in bed and the cliff was just sleep... but then she thought the whole house was going in... Hey. She was pretty convincing! Having a good day today with chili in the menu. It is a favorite. I have been known to crank up the AC so /I could make it in the summer. This gorgeous November day has the right chill without that.

It has been a long campaign. Time to look forward to Thanksgiving!

Whimsy and Hugs!