Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back on 2014

On this last day of the year, I look back and remember all the changes we had this past year. Some of our goals were not met, which are top priority for the coming year. New oil tank and new windows on our mobile home. Much needed to help keep us warm in the very cold winters here in NH.

We had a few failures in the garden as well. Garden peas and potatoes failed for the second year in a row. No idea what is going on with the potatoes, but grubs and slugs kept eating all the pea plants. Not going to attempt to grow either this coming year. I'll buy them at the farm down the street from me. Maybe I can ask them how they grow their potatoes and peas.

Corn was another failure too. We tried a new kind (to us anyway), Golden Bantam, but it was a bad experience. The stalks didn't grow very high, maybe about 5 feet tall for a couple. No matter how much I added to the soil to help them, it didn't seem to make a difference. I also only saw like maybe 8 ears of corn, which were small and didn't really produce kernels. I gave them to the squirrels to eat, which made them very happy.

Finally, garlic was our last failure. Planted a ton of cloves in the fall, enough for both me and my sister to share. We both use a ton of garlic in our cooking. It grew okay, or so I thought. I read all I could on how the garlic should grow and when to harvest it. So when the time to harvest it came, I followed all the instructions on howto cure it and such. I still ended up with small bulbs and hardly any of the cloves grew. Oh well. I am trying again this year with some Elephant garlic. I have two cloves (it is all that I got for 10.00! Kinda upset about that one) all planted and covered in plenty of straw to keep them warm.

Goodness, let's not forget how the grass and weeds overtook the garden. I wasn't the only one that had this issue. Figures, the one year I decided to not mulch the whole garden in straw. Not making that mistake next year. Going to cover the garden in nice thick layers and make the pathways with cardboard to keep the weeds away from the paths.

We did have a lot of thriving crops as well. As usual our snap peas and beans went nuts. We had our first couple of strawberries. They were soo sweet and so much better than the ones I get at the farm up the street. But because I had just planted them that spring, not many berries grew. Dad told me to snip all the flowers off so the plants could focus on growing. I didn't listen. The plants went bonkers growing anyway. The squirrels and birds planted pumpkins for us that produced 5 pumpkins.

I can't wait till next year. We have so many plans and goals for the new year. Have a few new seeds to try out in the garden. Plans to expand the garden (again) but only a little bit. For flowers, not veggies though, to bring in some bees, butterflies and humming birds to the garden.

Hope you all had a good 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekly Menu 12/29 ~ 1/4

Monday ~ Turkey Rice Soup

Tuesday ~ Leftover Soup

Wednesday ~ Turkey Cottage Pie

Thursday ~ Turkey Stuffing Casserole with Mashed Potatoes

Friday ~ Turkey Croquettes, French Fries, Carrots

Saturday ~ Baked Mac & Cheese

Sunday ~ Beans & Franks

Desert of the Week ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Linked to Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas

This past week has been crazy busy. Baking, cleaning, spending time with family. Worth it, but so tiring.

We went to a ugly Christmas sweater party last weekend where my hubby took first place. He had a whole outfit going on. That's our niece with him.

I cooked up some blueberry bread for my mom and sister. It was more like pound cake than bread though. It was also a recipe I never tried before. Still was good. I also made some almond flavored butter cookies for my mom. Some Hershey kiss/M&M/pretzel candy things as well as some Rolo/ toasted pecan/pretzel turtles that I gave to everyone. The turtles were sooo good. I have some Rolo and pecans left over so I will be making me up some later on. Pretty much everyone got some of my strawberry and blueberry jam.

I got some cool nutcrackers from my sister, daughter and hubby. My sister gave me the skeleton one, my daughter got me the penguin one (I love penguins) and the hubby got me the elf one that is from the Hallmark Channel movie Northpole. I have a large collection of nutcrackers that get bigger every year. I try to buy one every year but never got around to it this year. As you can see, everyone else got me one LOL.

My sister also made me some pretty sweet dish cloths that I am afraid to ruin. Perfect for any Dr. Who fan. A Tardis and Dalek.

My mom got me some books, one I wanted, The Women of Christmas and another one by Melody Carlson that is now out of print. The women of the Bible fascinate me. My daughter made me some soap and sugar scrub. She also got me some lotion (I love my lotion) a Tomas Kincade mug with some English Breakfast tea. Her boyfriend got me a Tomas Kincade serving plate with some apple cinnamon muffin mix.

It was raining all Christmas Eve, so we kinda skipped driving around to look at the lights. We didn't leave my sisters until a little after 8 pm and didn't get home till after 9 pm. Our tradition is to open up jammies to wear Christmas Eve. This year I got all of us matching jammies. Hubby and Matt rolled their eyes, but still humored me. As you can tell, both the cats were happy to help Matt unwrap the gift they helped to wrap.

We didn't go crazy this year with gifts like we usually did. Matt is getting older and his gifts are getting more expensive. He had about 10 gifts or so, trust me, this is very little compared to what he usually gets from us. Abby had to check out all the new gifts under the tree. She did make a path through the gifts so she could get under the tree.

Once "Santa" came and all the gifts were inspected by Abby, I gave her one of the gifts that Chantelle gave both the cats. A catnip filled fish. She played around with it for a bit then Max took it over.

Christmas morning came way to fast. The hubby and I went to bed around midnight. I figured Matt would be like his normal teen self and sleep until ten or so, but nope, he was up really early. Hubby woke me up at 7:30. We unwrapped our gifts and I made our traditional cinnamon rolls. My sister gave me some, but I made my own up because I don't go nuts with the sugar so the hubby (who is diabetic) could have some too.

Matt took this picture of me (bad picture of me, ignore the mess) opening up the camera case to my new camera. As you can see, the hubby and I are wearing our matching jammies.

My new camera has all sorts of buttons and settings and such to use. The one thing that I love about it is that it has a rechargeable battery. That was my number one requirement for a new camera. I hate to use regular AA batteries. I would go through a ton. This is just the top, but the backside has a ton of buttons and a large viewing screen.

Matt had an idea he was getting the Xbox One, so he was recording a video of himself unwrapping it with his cell phone. I wish he left the sweatshirt and hat off though. He lives in them.

The big gift that he has been glued to all day today. Look how long his hair is getting! I wish his sideburns would grow longer because they are at an annoying length.

Abby enjoying the mess of paper and boxes. Max was hiding most of the time while Abby had to be in the middle of everything.

Matt woke up at 2 am, finally got out of bed at 4 am. Hubby got up at 6:30 am and came out to the living room to find Matt playing on the PS3. Matt was out cold on the sofa at 10 am while he was waiting for the Xbox One to update and download the two games it came with.

We left around noon to pick up my brother in law and headed out to our nieces house to celebrate with the hubby's side of the family. It was a long day. Fun, but long. I took the next two pictures with my new camera.

Matt was playing games on my Kindle and messing around on his phone most of the day. He is the oldest nephew and the only boy on the hubby's side of the family, so he tends to hang out alone at these family things. At my sisters house he is always playing with his cousins.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We did.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wrapping gifts with pets

Everyone who has pets understands how much our beloved pets tries to help us out. Abby is one of those pets. She has to know everything about everything. She has to be part of everything. I love it!

The other day, while wrapping up my nieces and nephews gifts, Abby decided it would be the perfect time to play with the wrapping paper and scissors. I set up on the living room floor because it is big enough to fit the large roll of paper I was working with. Abby started out by laying down on the paper.

She was keeping an eye on the scissors to see what they were doing to the paper. She then set up for the attack, butt wiggle and all.

Then she realized the paper started to roll back up itself.

So she decided to help flatten out the paper by laying all stretched out on it.

I eventually kicked her off so I could get some wrapping done. She started to eat some of the wrapped boxes. Again, it was a gift for Chantelle, sorry. Or was it the gift for Alex, I don't remember. I just remember seeing her nom on the corner so if anyone sees teeth marks on it, Abby sends her love.

The hubby suggested I wrap the gifts in the bedroom on the bed with the door closed. Ya right. Abby sat outside the door, eating it (yes eating the door), until I let her in. We can never keep a bedroom door closed because she will find a way in. So, I started to wrap the gifts again when I turned and saw this.

Perfect bed for Abby apparently. *sigh* I gave up wrapping for the time being and waited until Matt was around to entertain her so she would not be up my butt all the time.

Do you have pets that like to "help" wrap the gifts as well?

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We put up our tree this past Sunday. It always goes up the first weekend of December. I like to be able to look at it and relax every night. Something about the lights on it that soothes me. I sit in the dark every night and look at the lights and relax, pray, meditate. Anything to help me relax and get ready for bed. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

Believe it or not, but this picture was taken at like 2 in the afternoon. I keep the shades open all day and had one light on in the room, but it is still dark at times. Abby keeps playing with the ornaments. I find at least one or two on the ground every morning. We had one casualty so far, but it is an easy fix since I found the head to the poor penguin. One of my kids made this years ago. I am thinking it was Chantelle back in like kindergarten, but not sure honestly.

My little Rudolph reindeer that I have had since I was a child sits under the tree. It use to walk and play music while his nose lit u, but not anymore. I still like to keep him around though. brings back so many memories of when I was growing up.

This year, instead of putting up the count down to Christmas activity cards on the garland like I did last year,I just decided to pretty it up with lights, ornaments and extra candy canes. We have dubbed this garland "Abby's garland".

When I turned it on the first time, she ran into the basket (it's in the lower left hand corner of the picture) and started to check it out. She will lay in the basket and just stare up at it. When I turned it off the first night, she started to cry meow for a long time.

When I turn it on in the mornings, she runs up to me and then starts cooing at the garland. She doesn't have this kind of reaction to the tree, just the garland. It's kind of funny. Of course she has tried to play with the ornaments and the candy canes, but I just call out her name and she leaves it alone.

For the most part, the cats are good around the tree. Max just sleeps under it and will not let Abby stay under there for long, if at all. About time he stood up for himself and stopped letting Abby have her way all the time. Abby likes to nibble on the branches, eat the popcorn garland and of course, play with the ornaments. She loves these ones that my sister made for me. She took some ordinary blue ornaments and crocheted around them in different patterns.They are so pretty. I think Abby likes them so much because she can get her claws on them and pull them off. Most of the other ornaments are either shatter proof or too heavy for her. I do have stuffed animal ones around the bottom that I am okay with her playing with. They are all penguins too. I have a thing for penguins and the hubby gets me one penguin thing a year in my stocking.

This is pretty much all I am going to do for Christmas this year. I usually put out so much stuff that my sister says it looks like Christmas puked in my house. I am not even putting out my tons of nutcrackers. I have one that stays out year round, he looks like a pirate. My two foot one was out all year this past year because I forgot to put him away. I decorated him for Halloween too. I put a white pillowcase over him and made some eyes and a mouth out off felt to turn him into a ghost. LOL. It was the hubby's idea. I am thinking I should put him away this year, maybe make some room for him in our bedroom closet. We will see.

How goes the Christmas decorating in your house?

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