Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Rich and I sat here last night, just the two of us having finished the wrapping of gifts, and baking the pies for Christmas Dinner with friends.  We were sitting out on the lanai, just looking at the water and the Christmas lights across the canal on Phil and Doreen's house and we got to reminiscing about "Christmas Past."  We were remembering the time with family when we'd have 20 or 30 people at my parents house, or at an aunt and uncles house.  And the times when all my brothers and sisters (8 of them)  and their families would gather at my mother's house; she'd play the piano and we'd all sing Christmas Carols, the whiskey sours and venison meatballs...................the homemade fudge and ribbon candy!!!   Oh how things have changed!

But Christmas Day was really quite perfect.  I think this was the first year EVER that Rich was up before me.  It wasn't much past 7:30 am, when I heard him walking by the bedroom door saying....  "I think Santa Clause has been here!"   When I got up, the coffee was done.....the Christmas tree lights were turned on and the Christmas music was playing.   Santa was VERY good to both of us.   Besides those gifts that we get for each other, that are actually things we NEED.......we each got a pretty special surprise.  I got Rich two wall hangings for his office, the Wall Street Bear, and the Wall Street Bull.  He really liked them.  And I go a one hour massage and one hour facial at The Spa at Hammock Falls in Sebring.  Can't Wait!!!

We were invited for Christmas Day and Dinner at Nick and Tonyia's place in Sebring.  Before heading out I made my phone call to my brother Dave, but missed him and left a message I'd call later.  Wish we lived closer!!!!

So mid morning we headed from Sebring to spend the day with our friends.  Our son Dennis called to wish us Merry Xmas.  That's the call that Rich is always anxious to get so despite the fact that he was driving - he took the phone..... and they talked until the signal started to go!!! We love you Dennis and Crystal and Dalton and Chauna!!!!   And we miss you soooooooooo much!

   When we arrived....Tonyia had just taken fresh cinnamon buns from the oven and had a fresh pot of coffee waiting for us.  Delicious!  We took or treats to the sun room where we exchanged gifts.  Thank you Nick and Tonyia for the lovely set of mugs and the Olive Garden gift certificate.  We will truly enjoy them both!

Rich and Nick headed outside while Tonyia and  I started the first of two games of Mexican Train, interrupted periodically by trips to the kitchen to check the oven and finish the preparation of dinner, AND make up a batch of Eggnog and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey for everyone. 

Tonyia - dinner was fabulous!  The table festive and beautiful with the Holiday dinnerware, and the food was excellently prepared and delicious.  Dinner was Ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, green bean casserole, carrots and dinner rolls, and of course Rich's pumpkin pie!   Thanks for the leftovers!!!!

As usual - the guys headed back outside.  Why not?  The day was perfect for a campfire, which is where they spent most of the day.  After cleaning up and doing dishes we cut the pumpkin pie and joined them outside.  Nick has done a great job building the fire pit and fireplace and decorating...... and we sat and talked and enjoyed the fire until after dark and it was time to hug and say our goodbye's.  It was a perfect day!  Thank you again Nick and Tonyia.

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family!  God Bless you all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twas The Week Before Christmas

It's been a busy but fun week.  A little fishing, a little work, a little play, a little of our favorite holiday beverage, a little baking, a little party planning..........................

Earlier in the week Rich and our neighbor Phil did a little fishing from the doc.  That's Phil on his dock just across the canal from us.  Don't think he had much luck that day, but Rich did manage to bring in another decent large mouth bass.  Most of the bass he's been catching is between 2/1/2 - 3 lbs. Nothing real big.  And this one fell into that same category.

Rich got a little bit more done on the back deck.  He flipped the boards that were there, and several of them were good.  But there were quite a few that were either cracked badly or warped and they needed to be replaces.  One day during the week while out finishing his Christmas Shopping he stopped and picked up the lumber at Lowes.   We are still discussing our options on what exactly we want to do with the deck.  It's either going to be a Pergola, or a Sun Setter Awning with a decorative banister.  

And then it was Christmas Eve.............. The stock market closed at one - but Rich was able to get away around noon. Plans were to go to the Sebring Diner for breakfast ( best in the area!),  continue on into Sebring back to Lowes for a a couple more board for the deck and the deck paint.  The weather was looking a little threatening for rain, so we decided to make the trip to Lowes first.  With the wood, paint and painting supplies loaded in the car we made our way to the diner.  It was now after 1:00 - so we opted for lunch instead of breakfast.  Rich did the Bacon Cheese Burger and I enjoyed an excellent Reuben.  Back on the road we stopped and the local package store to pick up some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey ( which we enjoyed later that day mixed with Eggnog), then a quick stop at CVS and we were back home, making peanut butter fudge and Pumpkin Pies for Christmas Dinner.  It's now nearly 6:00 pm, the presents are all wrapped and under the tree and the stockings are ready for Santa to fill.  It was supposed to be Spaghetti and Meatballs for our Christmas Eve Dinner .................but it was a late/big lunch, so I don't think that's going to happen. 

We'll await Santa's visit tonight.  Tomorrow after we wake up, have our coffee, open our gifts and talk with family.........we'll head back to Sebring.  We been invited to Nick and Tonyia's for Christmas Dinner.  Can't wait!

God Bless and Merry Christmas to all.................

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Family That Bakes Together

Well, not REALLY TOGETHER........but close enough!

It's that time of year when everyone seems to prepare their favorite holiday treats.  Last night we thought it was about time to make the potato candy.  One of Rich's very favorite treats and simple  enough to  make.  ( We only do simple!)     Got this recipe from his Mom!

One boiled potato
Confectioners/Powered Sugar
Peanut Butter

Make small batches at a time, as the dough hardens very quickly.   Take about 1/3 of a potato in a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork.  Add ( and just keep adding a little bit at a time) until you can make a dough.  Knead and then roll out on waxed or parchment paper.  Spread the dough with your favorite peanut butter and roll it up!  Cut in desired size pieces.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat/serve!  This is very very sweet - but very good.  

 Meanwhile - out in the state of Iowa ..............The Donald family was "invaded by reindeer"!!
That was the message when our daughter-in-law, Crystal, sent us this picture.  She is so very creative!.  And I'll bet they taste even better than they look!

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Visiting Friends, Attending Seminars and Enjoying the Wildlife

As the holidays approach, it seems that the days go by faster and faster.  Probably because we keep procrastinating about shopping for gifts!  This week however  I did manage to get finish up the shopping for family and got everything mailed on Friday.

Last Saturday we were invited to Nick and Tonyia's for  a cookout.  Their new home and yard is really starting to look nice.  I'd been down there a few times helping Tonyia clean and sort and get ready for a yard sale  It was nice to visit and just relax and enjoy a meal together.  They did a full rack of ribs and grilled potatoes and veggies that were excellent.  It was so good - we all forgot about the gingerbread she had made for dessert!  Below is couple of pictures of the great job Nick has done on the fire pit/fireplace area of their yard.

On Tuesday or Wednesday I was ready to make a trip to Sebring to do some shopping when Tonyia called to say she was coming over to play some Mexican Train..........It seems like forever since we've played and she won two of the three games we played.  We took a few breaks to go out and see if Rich was catching any fish ( not today!).  And joining him in the backyard today were two beautiful wood storks, joined a little later by a couple of dozen White Ibis.  Rich fishing on the dock did not seem to matter to them.  They didn't even fly away when I walked right next to them going down to the dock.

Thursday was a trip to Sebring for a Seminar at Homers Restaurant.  The seminar was put on by the Lakeview Memorial Gardens and covered all the things you need to plan/do in preparation for your burial/cremation......I know sounds morbid, but it was very informative...........and lunch at Homers was great!  That was followed by some Christmas and Grocery Shopping.......

Rich was back out fishing again on Friday and caught this real nice 17 inch, 2 1/2 pound large mouth bass.  No fishing today...........the chicken barbecue (packaged/not home made) did not settle well with him and after a bad night he's still not feeling too good today.  He better get better soon!  I know he has not done any shopping for my Christmas gifts yet!!!!   Nice fish Rich!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Working and Baking and Decorating

This past week went by so fast!  

As you know by Saturday after Thanksgiving the pumpkin pies were gone .... devoured!

And of course the week was sure to include turkey sandwiches and  left over turkey and gravy  and just about turkey everything!   But what is all that Thanksgiving food without the pie?   Yes........I was sent to the store for more pumpkin!  And on Sunday afternoon Rich backed three more pies!  Today is Saturday, and you guessed it ...........they are long gone!!!!

With all that extra food, you have to find a way to work it off......So the project on the back deck was started.  The wood/boards were looking pretty bad from the weather and our original thought was that would either have to replace them all.  Paint was all we could do - the boards too old to try and stain.  Someone had mentioned pull the boards and flipping them.  Great idea!  So all but the front board is pulled and while there are one or two that will need to be replaced - it is looking good.  We have a pretty good size black snake that makes his home under this deck.....didn't see him at all this week, but we did find this little ceramic duck!!!

.All Work and No Play............well you know how it goes.
Still had some of those shiners left so Rich headed down to the dock a couple of times.  Had a couple nice Bass get away but did bring in this Garpike.    He was about 26 or 27 inches long.

As for me......... I've been getting my Christmas Cards ready for mailing, and starting to do some Holiday decorating.   The tree is up in the living room, and a little table tree in the family room, and a couple on the mantle, two little ones on the front porch and my red candle tree on the kitchen counter. 

And the sleigh and cornucopia and table center piece......

Now if the weather would cooperate.  It's winter for goodness sake!  This 80 degree weather is just not right.