Sunday, December 30, 2007


For some reason, the link wasn't included in the last post. It's

Dinner at the Hamlet

I'm working on a new blog entitled "Dinner at the Hamlet" My intention is share recipes, entertaining plans and ideas and decorating ideas for parties. Since Lynn and I host a monthly family breakfast, I'll have at least one chance each month to post something! My goal is to post recipes 2-3 times weekly, but don't hold me to that standard! Eventually, I'd like to get in the habit of posting a new recipe every day. However, that is going to require being organized,'s hoping! Just remember, this is still a work in progress!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flea Market Fun

Today, I discovered that a fellow flea market lover lives in my house! Jacob, my 15 year old son, and I hit a couple of local markets today, and he said the same thing I ALWAYS say when I go to one of those great places-"I have to come back when I have more money". We had a ball looking at all the cool stuff...vintage Christmas ornaments were in abundance, due I'm sure to the time of year, as well as other things that we drooled over. Jake bought 4 vintage VHS movies-he got a new VCR for his birthday a couple of weeks ago, remember. He found a whole booth of old comic books and vowed to go back and buy some as soon as he saves his allowance to do so.

I found a few things that I"m mulling over...a fabulous pair of red ceramic boots with gold "laces", a little kitten heel and high tops...very ooh, la la! I am going to pair them on top of the linen cabinet in our bathroom with a gold handbag and a sweet hat. Very, very cute in my mind...let's hope it works out that way in real life!! Also, I found my newest burning desire to collect...whimsical, vintage rabbits. I found a great Peter Rabbit sitting on an egg, a cute little brass bunny shelf sitter and a darling ceramic bunny planter, along with a momma and two babies cast in concrete. I just hope I can remember where they are when I get ready to purchase them. Today was a research trip!

I really am researching for an article I'm trying to write for Vintage Indie, a cool website that has great stuff. I hope to get it done in a couple of weeks or so. In the meantime, I see lots more "research" in my future! We only were able to hit two today, and didn't even get all the way through one of them! We'll be going back, soon!!

Gotta love a 15 year old that not only will spend an afternoon with his ancient mother, but will do it flea marketing!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catching up, Part II

I managed to wrestle the Christmas tree out the door this morning, and have almost everything down that screams "Christmas". However, I will leave the kitchen decorated through February, it's mostly just wintery, not Christmasey. I did manage to get some pictures downloaded this evening, so here goes:

This is "Big Red", the horse I received for Christmas. He is part of a series called "Trail of the Painted Ponies". I love him.

This is the hand-carved angel weathervane that my brother in law, Jimmy, made for me. She's a replica of one in a museum in Mercer, Pa. Ironically, my church sponsors a mission in Mercer. Hopefully one day soon I can visit the mission and the museum!

Here's a picture of a plate that my mom made for me for Christmas. She has made a ton of them, and is taking orders. She makes them with paper or fabric or photos...whatever you want on a plate she can likely do it...if you want to see more of her work, contact her at

One of my projects for 2008 is to redo my kitchen, especially the tops of the cabinets. I know that the plate above will be on the wall by the windows. Here's some other elements that I know I'll be using somehow...

This is my painted candlestick that I mentioned in one of the first posts. I added this Christmas ornament for the holidays, but I like it and think I'll leave it.

This is a sweet little teapot Mom got me for Christmas. I love it's curves and the great handle. I think it's so French looking! I'll certainly be using this!

This is the top of a great pedestal cake plate Mom got me for my birthday. It's lovely and Frenchy also...another piece that I will be using.

I'll post pictures when I get it done, but it will likely be a few weeks before I get it finished. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After...

We had a Christmas Fiesta for our dinner last night. Mom prepared a feast of our Mexican favorites. We had cheese dip, 7 layer dip (with beans, guacamole, cheese, sour cream and lettuce and tomatoes, scooped up with a tortilla chip), enchiladas-beef, chicken and cheese, tacos, burritos, tortilla soup, chili, rice and cheesecake for dessert. It was so good, Lynn and the boys and I went back up there for lunch today! Nothing like Christmas leftovers to make a great lunch.

I managed to get some laundry done, and a few decorations put away today. I leave the snowmen and snow village up until spring, but I'll take the trees down and put the Santas away. I put my Christmas dishes away and pulled out the snowman plates. It was sleeting while I was doing it, so it felt right! I only wish we would get some accumulation instead of everything melting on contact.

Santa was good to us, as usual. The boys got genuine carbine Red Ryder BB guns (I know, I know, they'll shoot their eyes out...thanks, "Christmas Story"), fishing gear and a bunch of John Deere stuff. I don't even know what all.

Jacob got an MP3 player, not the WII he wanted. Santa made a stand about that last year and told him he had to buy his own, and is not going to back down from that. I hope.

I'm planning lots of winter projects to keep me busy. I am planning to redecorate the kitchen, using the stuff I have, along with a few thrifted and gifted items. I love that phrase...thrifted and gifted. Mom gave me a beautiful black teapot for Christmas, and I have the hand-carved angel weather vane I already told you about. I know those two elements will be involved! I'll post pictures when I get some work done on this project! I also want to paint the bedroom and possibly the living room, but don't tell Lynn about that yet!!

I haven't forgotten about the pictures of the angel and the Christmas horse-just haven't taken the time to download them. I'll do that soon.

I hope you had a peaceful, happy, blessed holiday. What's up for New Year's Eve? I imagine we'll stay home, as usual...the Hogs have a 10:30 kickoff in the Cotton Bowl, so I need to be fresh and alert for that!! I think we'll have breakfast snacks for the game-breakfast sandwiches of bacon, ham and sausage on biscuits, hashbrown patties, and cinnamon rolls or coffeecake, along with juice, milk and coffee to drink. Take out that you don't have to go out for!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night!

It's 2:30 pm on Christmas Eve, and I have everything wrapped and waiting for Santa to put under the tree, my meatballs are done, waiting to gently warm in the spaghetti sauce simmering in the crockpot, the eggnog/donut bread pudding is steaming in a water bath in the oven and the floors are swept! I only have to toss the salad and bake the bread for dinner to be ready. I am about to set the table for dinner. I won't be posting again today or probably tomorrow, so I am taking this moment to wish you a a very blessed, peaceful, blissful and Merry Christmas along with a prosperous and happy new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wrapping up!

I'm almost done wrapping all of the gifts! That may not sound like much of a big deal to you, but it's HUGE in this house! Lynn and I have spent more Christmas Eves than I'd like to admit to wrapping gifts after the kids went to bed. Santa used to leave all the stuff he brought unwrapped, but Benjie commented that you'd think Santa could "wrap at least a few of these things". So, now he wraps most everything. However, this year I think he'll wrap "a few of these things" and leave the rest.

Our Christmas Eve dinner will be very non-traditional this year-at least for us. We are having spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, with a dessert buffet that will include marble layer cake with chocolate icing and bread pudding. I have left over donuts from my Sunday school class this morning, which will make yummy bread pudding. I'm not sure what else we'll have, because it's pot luck.

Remember the Wal-Mart gift card I got at the Dirty Santa exchange? We put it to good use tonight-we put $15 worth of gas in the van and drove the kids around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. It was the best $15 we've ever spent.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Road Trip!

We took a short road trip this weekend. We left Friday night and went to Lynn's sister, Linda's home to celebrate Christmas with them. We spent the night with them and got up this morning and opened gifts and had breakfast with them. It was so nice! Linda's home is so pretty with her holiday decorations, including a gorgeous Christmas breakfast table set for us. So festive.

Linda and her husband gave me a wonderful horse with Santa's on it. It's part of a collection called The Trail of Painted Ponies. It is beautiful! Also, Jimmy, her husband, made me an authentic angel weather vane from wood. It is so pretty. I'll post pictures of both tomorrow...I'm too pooped tonight!

We left Linda's house and went to Lynn's cousin Becki's farm house to have another celebration with the extended family! We had a fun game of Dirty Santa-I scored a $15 Wal-Mart gift card!! More importantly, we had a great time visiting with family that we don't see very often! Fun, fun!!

Tomorrow I plan to get as much done as possible between church services. I have a couple of quick (well....I hope they're quick) errands to do, then I'm home for a marathon wrapping session to get finished. I have everything wrapped except what I bought this weekend. I am so happy to have it all purchased and almost all wrapped!

If we don't talk again, have a great pre-Christmas weekend! See you tomorrow!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The wall tree in the hallway

This is the tree in our master bath.

My reading nook in our bedroom

This wreath is on our closet door in the bedroom

Be sure to jump over to Tracey's blog, She has some gorgeous houses on the tour, and it's so fun to look at everyone's decorations!

Thursday, Thursday...

I've been trying to post some more pictures, but for some reason I can't. So, here's a link to photobucket that has some more pictures.

Yesterday was Jacob's 15th birthday! Happy birthday a day late, Jake. And, he won first prize last night at the "Bad Christmas Sweater" party at church. Yes, he was wearing one of mine. The one with the snowmen and the wooden Christmas ornaments on the tree. The good thing is he got a Wal-Mart gift card as his prize. The bad thing is he traded it to a girl for a nerf basketball hoop. Gotta love 15 year old boys!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Home Tour

Here's a small glimpse of our holiday home! Hope you enjoy it! I like themes, and my overall Christmas theme this year is "Old Fashioned Country Christmas". Welcome to our home!

Thanks to Tracey for hosting this holiday home tour! What fun!

Soaking in the Season

It's hard to believe that Christmas is one week from today. Sometimes I wish I could slow down time, not to allow more hours in the day to get things done, but to enjoy the season more. I get so wrapped up in getting things done on a schedule that sometimes I forget to soak in the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of this wonderful time of year. So, for today, I'm soaking!

I am currently sitting on the couch eating popcorn for breakfast and watching a Christmas movie-"Last Holiday" with Queen Laitfah. I LOVE her! I love curvy women who aren't afraid to show our curves!! Yes, the house needs a going over, there are piles of laundry waiting on me, Braylen is coming in about two hours and the house needs to be Bray-proofed and the floors ALWAYS need to be swept. But, it will all get done. Right now, I'm watching Queen do her thing.

By the way, if you haven't seen that movie, you really should. Now that girl knows how to soak in the season!!

So, take a few minutes and slow down. Think about why we even have Christmas-because God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die for us. How amazing is it that He chose to send a baby.

Put some cloves and orange peels on the stove in a small pot of water to simmer, pop some popcorn or bake some Christmas cookies (the break and bake kind are fine), brew a pot of tea, or coffee or hot chocolate, and find a good Christmas movie to watch. You probably have your own favorite, but if you don't check out "Last Holiday" or my absolute favorite-"Miracle on 34th Street". Not one of the remakes, even though the newer one is pretty good. Get the original with Edwin Gwynn and Natalie Woods. It is stellar.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Virtual Holiday Home Tour

I will be participating in a virtual holiday home tour on Wednesday, December 19. I found a wonderful blog that is hosting it and signed up to participate. Now I have to get busy taking pictures to post. It's a simple concept, really. I'll post pictures of our holiday home here on Holiday Hamlet and it will be linked to the host blog, I hope to get lots of visitors to see how we've decorated our home for Christmas and the winter. The great thing about doing it virtually is that I only have to clean what I photograph!

Drop by on the 19th and have a virtual tour, cookies and tea!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's almost Christmas!!

I managed to get some shopping done this weekend. I need to do a little more to be finished, but I feel like I can breathe now. I hope you are done with your shopping and are able to enjoy your holiday.

We hosted the December family breakfast today. We had a small crowd, but it was fun. We ate bacon-peppered and regular-, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy, French toast, tea, coffee and juice, and citrus salad. Benjie discovered that he liked grapefruit!

Speaking of Benjie, he'll be baptised Sunday night! We are so proud of him. He is growing up so fast. I don't think Jonah will be far behind him.

I have finally finished decorating the house. It didn't turn out completely like I wanted it to, but it's ok. I have 14 trees this year, including the small ones and the outside one. It's a lot of work to get it all done, but it's so fun. My house is very small, but there's always room for another tree!!

I'll check in later with an update on the shopping! It'll get done, or it won't! Either way, Christmas is in 10 days!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas shopping

I am so far behind in my Christmas shopping! I am a finish by Thanksgiving girl, but this year...not so much! Here it is, a few days before Christmas and I'm still not anywhere near done. I'm about to begin to panic. Santa is in danger of being a Scrooge this year if I don't get going.

I plan to make some candy today or tomorrow, then shop on Friday. Saturday is our December family breakfast. I began a few months ago hosting breakfast one day a month for both sides of the family. I try to have a different theme each month. This month it's "Winter Welcome". I'll post some pictures of the festivities! My original idea was to have a different menu each month. However, Lynn has requested the same menu every time-bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy and pancakes. Since he works so that I can have parties, I've decided to go along with him! I think this month, though, we'll get a little wild and crazy and have French toast instead of pancakes. Hope we can stand the excitement.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ladies' Christmas Brunch

I attended the funnest thing yesterday-a Ladies' Christmas Brunch. I went with my sister in law Kim. It was at her church and it was really nice. All of the tables were decorated by the "hostess" at the table. Everyone used their Christmas dishes and pretty stemware and flatware. One lady used her wedding china-and she's been married 50 years. It was beautiful-silver and white china on a white tablecloth, with red chargers and napkins in the crystal glasses. So Christmasy!

We used my Christmas dishes on a green tablecloth, and put my wedding chapel from my Snow Village on a cake plate as a centerpiece. I thought it looked pretty. I love that piece of the village, and the Christmas dishes are a special treat to use. They belonged to my mother in law, and she gave them to me before she passed away. We use them from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, then we switch to snowmen, which we use until Valentines' Day.

The food at the brunch was yummy, especially the chocolate fountain! I dipped pretzel twists, cherries and strawberries. It was yummy! In addition to delicious food, we had pretty music and a great speaker.

It was just the thing to get me back in a Christmas mood and on the ball toward getting projects started and finished. I love Christmas, but I've had a hard time getting things done this year.

I hope I get invited back next year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Sweaters

I recently ran across a blog that was doing a poll on the internet, asking about Christmas sweaters. They seem to think that wearing a sweater, sweatshirt or tee-shirt with Christmas images is tacky. There were some very strong opinions. They used ugly language to describe these fashion choices-words like tacky, tasteless and dorky. I beg to differ.

I wait 11 months to wear my Christmas clothes. I have a sweater with snowmen that has actual wooden light bulb charms hanging on a Christmas tree; another wool jacket that has Santa and snowmen on it; I have a sweatshirt that Mom made that has holly leaves painted on it; and several button up blouses that have various holiday scenes. I don't care if they are tacky, tasteless or dorky. I think they show my Christmas spirit, and every time I wear one, someone comments on it in a positive way. I don't need some internet snob telling me I am tacky when I wear my holiday finery. I have a family for that.

And while I'm on the subject.....

Minimalist Christmas

Currently there is a trend in home decorating magazines, tv shows and newspaper articles toward minimalism at Christmas. They actually advocate barely decorating for Christmas, with a spindly little tree with about 7 ornaments on it, a single wreath with no embellishments at all save a small red bow (no glitter or sparkles anywhere on it) and using hot pink, purple and lime green as your Christmas colors. Excuse me???

Ok, first off, Christmas is no time to start reining in with your decorating. That's what Christmas is all about...ok, ok, I know Christmas is about the birth of our Saviour and being with family and all, but why not do it with a little style. What would Jesus do? He would put up a 9 foot tree, load it with lights, ornaments and glitter and have a killer party for all His friends. Well, maybe He wouldn't, but I don't think He minds it if I do.

Christmas houses need big fluffy trees loaded with multicolored lights. It's ok to use all white, as long as you don't have small children in the house. If you have children under 12, you need to use multicolored lights. White lights don't look like Christmas lights to children. Also, if you must have a designer tree, try to have another for the kids. Kids like bright colors, traditional Christmas colors of red, green, gold and silver. Blue is ok, if there is some red and green somewhere in the room. Have a tree that they can decorate with their homemade ornaments. It's best if it's the main tree, but if you can't stand the idea, let them have one in their room. My kids love having trees and lights in their rooms. Right now Jacob has green lights strung on his red bed. Benjie and Jonah have a string of multicolored lights around the window. There should be at least one nativity scene. I've started collecting them, and have two big ones-one I received as a wedding present, the other I received the same year as a Christmas gift from a coworker who was my secret Santa. I've picked up several more at discount stores, flea markets, antique stores and even the dollar store. They are all very pretty to me.

You need a collection of something-Santas, snowmen, reindeer, icicles, something. Three of anything is a collection-just group them together and point to them when you mention collections in conversations with friends. They'll get it.

You should also have stockings. They are critical and should reflect the person they belong to. Right now at our house we have multicolored chenille stockings with cranberry red cuffs. I think they reflect me more than anyone, but I have boys. They don't care what they look like, just that Santa loads them down with oranges, apples, nuts and candy on Christmas morning. Oh, and the occasional movie or video game doesn't hurt!

Outside, there should be lots of lights, a tree on the porch and a wreath on every window. Even the mailbox needs some decoration-evergreen wreaths and big red velvet bows.

I don't like minimalism in decorating any time, but if you must do it, please, don't do it at Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Parade

Tonight we went to our city's Christmas parade. It was the usual assortment of marching bands, ROTC, scouts, beauty queens, church floats, police cars, antique cars and horses. But, the big finale was the best-one of the best Santas I've ever seen, riding on top of the city's biggest fire truck-the one with the big, tall ladder that they use mostly for putting up and taking down Christmas decorations. But if we ever get a three story building in town, the fire department will be ready.

After the parade, we walked down to the courthouse and the kids looked at all the life-sized displays. They are so cute-the displays and the kids!! We had so much fun. We took thermos of hot chocolate, as we always do, and it was a welcome warmer upper tonight! It was cold! Benjie and Jonah went on a two man mission to drink as much hot chocolate as humanly possible. When we got to the courthouse lawn, some ladies had a booth set up with free cocoa and cookies, so we all had a sugar cookie, just in case we didn't have enough sugar in our systems!

Then we came home and did homework.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Midnight Musings...rambling insomniatic thoughts

This is such a busy time of the year for everyone. It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas again. I plan for it 12 months out of the wouldn't think that it would still surprise me when it gets here!

I walked into the church this morning, and it almost took my breath away. It has been decorated for Christmas to the hilt-there are so many lights and poinsettias that you'd swear I had something to do with it, but I didn't. I don't think I've ever seen the church look so beautiful, except when it was decorated for our wedding. It was pretty beautiful that night!!

Someone told Lynn that they had used 500 poinsettias in the decorations. I'm sure there's at least 10,000 lights-and I'm not exaggerating at all. It is just gorgeous. Good job, flower committee!!

Another beautiful sight is the courthouse downtown. I drove by there on my way home tonight, and it was so pretty that I had to stop and look for a minute. While I was looking, Bing Crosby started singing "White Christmas" on the radio. It was a true Kodak moment. It almost made the pain of putting several hundred dollars in the night deposit at the utility department less. Almost.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting Decorated!!

I'm almost finished with my Christmas decorating. I've finished the kitchen and just need to get the big tree up in the living room. We are having a fresh tree this year so we'll wait until next week to get it. I think we're going with a Douglas fir. So fragrant and Christmasy!

I'll try to get to the front porch tomorrow when the boys can help me drag garland out of the storage shed. Lynn will do the lights whenever he gets a few minutes. I love the look of our house with Christmas lights and garland and the candles that Dad made us lining the street. So festive! Our house is very small, so it reminds me of a little Christmas cottage when it's all decked out.

I'm planning to get our bedroom done either Sunday or Monday. We'll see how that goes!

Hope all of your decorating plans are on schedule. What a great time of the year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas countdown banner

Miller Holiday Goals

Here's a list of things we want to do this holiday season. Some of the things we do every year, and some are things we've always wanted to do and never seem to get around to doing.

1. Jingle bell journey-send the kids to bed at the regular time...then sneak into the kitchen and pack some snacks and thermos of hot chocolate to take with us...get the kids up and wrap them in warm blankets...hop in the van and tour the city looking at Christmas lights!
2. Ice skating at the outdoor (temporary) rink at Hot Springs-we'll try to do this on our way home from Becki's Christmas party on December 22.
3. Our town Christmas parade and visit Santa in the gazebo. I take a thermos of hot chocolate for the kids and coffee for Lynn and me and make everyone wear Santa hats and ring jingle bells.
4. Caroling party. I'll be posting details about this later. I think this would be great fun. Our family used to do this on Christmas Eve and it was lots of fun.
5. Shopping trips-I want to try to take the boys one at a time shopping for the other two, then out to lunch or ice cream. I don't really know when we'll fit this in our schedule, but I'd really like to do this again this year. We do it at school clothes buying time, and they seem to really like it. I already have gifts for Benjie and Jonah from Jacob, so maybe we'll just go to a movie instead of shopping on his day!!

That's all I can think of today, but I'll be adding to this and hopefully checking some things off as we go!!

Catching up!

I was scolded twice over the Thanksgiving holiday for not updating my blog more often. Nice to know that someone is reading it!! Ok, Michael and Becki, I'll try to do better!

We had a good, peaceful holiday. We had a wonderful start to the Christmas season-Benjie was saved on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and joined the church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving! Praise the Lord! I woke up Sunday with a pinched nerve (self-diagnosed) in my neck and was not able to attend church that day. I was sorry to miss it!

I am currently trying to get the house decorated for Christmas, but have been slowed considerably by my neck problems. I have managed to get one small tree put up in the kitchen, but had planned to be almost done by now. Today I'm putting the snow villages up, but not as I'd planned. I had planned to put the big village on top of the cabinets, but now I'll put them in the "chicken coop"-a small yard sale find that normally houses 6 or 8 chickens and roosters. I don't think I'm quite up to climbing on top of the counters to put it on top of the cabinets!

I love the tree I have managed to get put up. It's a 4' white tree with white lights, red and white balls and black satin ribbons. I'm adding in black and white checked bows and redbirds. I think it's coming together nicely.

Benjie and Jonah will each have their own trees this year. Benjie wants (here's a big shock) John Deere and Jonah has finally settled on a red and white football tree. That should be easy enough to put together.

Jacob has his Coca-Cola tree-small tree with white lights and Coke cans tied to it with red curling ribbons! It's really cute.

Our room is going romantic/Victorian/French Country! I'll post pictures here and on my Photobucket account as soon as it's all done.

We'll be using multicolored lights outside-but that's a job for Mr. Miller!! I'm not allowed to climb ladders-Lynn's rule!

I love this time of year. I hope to be able to do several things this year that we have always planned, but never got around to!! Tomorrow, I'll post a list of activities that we want to do this year! Maybe some of you will get some inspiration or have suggestions or advice on other things to do that we haven't thought of!

Until tomorrow!!

Monday, November 19, 2007


This is one of my favorite weeks in the year. Although I consider Labor Day the beginning of "Cathy's Holiday Season", things really kick into high gear this week!

My kids are out of school from Wednesday on. I've been trying to think of things to keep them busy while I prepare for two Thanksgivings. We'll eat with my family-all 50 or so of them-on Thursday, and then host Thanksgiving for Lynn's family on Saturday. I like both celebrations. We'll have similar menus at both parties-turkey and dressing of course, along with ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans (made southern style with bacon and onions and cooked all night long in the crockpot. Yummy!) and all kinds of other stuff. Desserts will be a close second to the turkey as the star of the day. I am making a pumpkin gooey butter cake to take to Mom's and a strawberry cobbler for our house. Benjie has commented that he loves strawberry shortcake any time of the year, so I guess we'll have one of those as well for one of the celebrations. Or maybe both.

I wish everyone could be with us on this holiday of gratitude. I miss my Arizona auntie and cousins, and my Florida and Georgia cousins. When I get rich, I'm going to have a huge Thanksgiving celebration and fly everyone in, and then have the parts that I don't like to make catered. I like to make pumpkin gooey cakes and strawberry cobblers!! And strawberry shortcake!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have much to be grateful for, and that you are suitably grateful!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Braylen!

Happy Birthday, Braylen! My great nephew is 1 year old today! He's exceptionally smart for 1-he can say "love you", point to himself when asked "Where's Bray-Bray?" and signal "touchdown" when prompted. He is such a blessing to our family! He has been great therapy for us since my dad died last spring. You just can't be in a bad mood around him very long...he's always got a little gap-toothed smile just when you need it most. His mom has always been the same way! Have a good day, Bray-Bray! Have a vanilla wafer and go crazy!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Making a Joyful Noise

It's only 16 days until Thanksgiving here in the US. I love this holiday. It is one of the few days of the year that has as it's focus God's blessings on us. Yes, there's lots of food, football and fellowship, but the bottom line is the day is to thank God for everything He's done for us in our lives. We should do this everyday, but I think we tend to forget sometimes.

At our church, we have a tradition that I especially enjoy. On Tuesday before the holiday, we have a church wide Thanksgiving service. Our kitchen crew prepares a full turkey day meal-ham, turkey and dressing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, salad and dessert, along with homemade yeast rolls. Oh, yeah! It' a wonderful time of being together with our church family and sharing God's bounty.

After dinner, my favorite part-even better than the pecan pie-begins. We move from the fellowship hall into the sanctuary, and the many, many talented people in our church take turns presenting musical praise. I love this part of Thanksgiving. The list is sometimes very long-30 or so people, or not so long, but it is always wonderful. Last year, my middle son, Benjie sang with my friend Melissa. They sang "Jesus Loves Me"-all 4 verses, and it was so sweet! Melissa has an amazing voice. I love to hear her sing, and she was so patient with Benjie. What a friend!!

This year, my entire family will be singing! Lynn (my husband) and Benjie can actually carry a tune...the rest of us will be warbling along! I absolutely cannot sing, but I promised them that I'd get on the stage with them IF I don't have to use a microphone! It's going to be scary for me, more so for those listening to me! It will be fun, though, and I'm trying to remember that God just expects us to "make a joyful noise!". Hope everyone else remembers that, as well! It will be joyful, just not on key!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Getting reacquainted with an old friend!

I recently stumbled across an old friend and have been delighted to get to know her again. It's Victoria magazine. I loved that magazine years ago when I was living a Victorian era house, and although my tastes have changed considerably, I still think it's one of the most beautiful magazines on the market. The pictures are exquisite, and the current issue is the November-December issue and has Victoria's trademark Christmas tree on the front. It is beautiful. The magazine is on newstands now, or you can check it out at

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Foliage Tours

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to take a foliage tour. That's just as simple as getting in the car, filling up with gas and heading out on a quest to find pretty colored fall leaves. Lynn said when he and I first married and I said I wanted to go look at the leaves he started wondering what in the world he'd gotten himself into. He couldn't imagine taking a trip just to look at leaves! But after 9 autumns and 9 fall foliage tours, he says he's anxious as I am to view God's paintbrush.

Last year we ventured up to Petit Jean Mountain. It was raining that day, a Sunday afternoon, but it was still pretty up there. We looked at all the leaves, toured the camping areas, and ended up at the lodge for dinner. The food was marginal, but the view was spectacular!

One year when Benjie and Jonah were little-it was raining then, too-we ended up in Eureka Springs. It must have been after daylight savings time ended, because when we got to Eureka, it was dark! Rather than drive home 3 hours in the dark and rain, we spent the night! It was so fun to do something so spontaneous!

The leaves are just beginning to change here. I don't know how practical an afternoon of aimlessly driving around is with gas approaching $3.00 per gallon, but I do know that it's cheap therapy! Seeing the gorgeous fall colors and sites makes you feel good, even if it is costing you an arm and a leg!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

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The Boo!Bash! was a success! We had 60 people here! Almost everyone was in costume, as well. We had a tractor and trailer loaded with hay for a hayride, a bonfire (well...a fire in the firepit), lots and lots of desserts and warm and cold drinks, hay, pumpkins and glorious weather! God blessed us with a huge orange harvest moon! It was so great!

Everyone's costumes were so creative...we had Sleeping mom in her robe, cold creamed face and slippers; Spiderman and the boys Benjie and Jonah; Burger brother Mark; a few bikers, cowboys, baseball players, assorted Star Wars characters, Bonnie and Clyde, a fireman and a doctor, a prom queen and Daisy Mae (from Little Abner fame) and the entire cast of Annie-Daddy Warbucks and all! That was my other brother Michael and his entire family plus a couple of orphans! Jacob, my oldest, was the most creative of all...he put on a hat! Not sure what he called himself...hmmm..

We are already making plans to do it again next year!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

What are you going to be for Halloween? When we were kids, that was the big question at our house!! We loved to plot and plan our costumes. I can remember being a hippie (this was the 70's!, a clown, a witch and a hobo. It was so fun. We had a great neighborhood for trick or treating-almost everyone was family, and the ones that weren't knew the family! We got great candy!

My kids start planning their costumes early too. Of course, Mom helps encourage that! This year, we have Spiderman ( my 6 year old son) the Rifleman (from a 1950's tv show)(my 7 year old son), Elwood from the Blues Brothers(my 14 year old son), and Mr. and Mrs. Zorro!! I am the only person I know that has an everyday wardrobe flashy enough to put together an outrageous costume from things I wear every day!! I really don't know that Mrs. Zorro dressed like I plan to, but it's my party and this is how I would dress if I really was Mrs. Zorro.

I plan to wear a white blouse with ruffled cuffs, black gauchos, a sparkly red cape, a silver cowboy hat with silver tulle veil, and my black riding boots. Yes, I own all of that! Scary, huh?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Flea Marketing

I love to go to flea markets and browse for treasure. For some reason, my favorite time to go is on a rainy day. I just love prowling through the treasures and potential treasures on a cool, rainy day. Nothing beats the joy of finding a gift for someone on my holiday gift list, just knowing that it's perfect for them and they will never believe it came from a flea market!

One of my favorite wedding gifts was a silver sugar shaker from my parents. I'd looked at it and drooled over it for months, but wouldn't buy it because I was buying only things for the wedding. Then, at one of my wedding showers-viola! There it was! It sits proudly in my china cabinet with some of my other flea market treasures!

Grab a girlfriend, head out to the local flea market and scoop up some treasures! Look beyond the obvious. Look for beautiful teacups and saucers to use at a Christmas tea. It doesn't matter if they match-it's more fun when the don't! Also, the teacups make wonderful candles-just melt some wax, drop in a wick and let it set up. A single teacup might be just the thing to round out a gift basket or to tuck into a stocking. A tea basket with several types of tea, a tea strainer and an antique teacup and saucer would be a glorious hostess gift. Add a jar of honey and a honey dipper and your friend is set for a relaxing solo tea time!

I once purchased for $3.00 a 5 arm brass candlestick that I loved, but curiously, never used. This fall, I spray painted it white and now use it all the time on my dinner table or on the back porch for dinners. I plan to hang chandielier crystals on it for Christmas and make it part of a display in my living room, along with some red and gold taper candles and greenery.

Think out of the box and see what you can find! Let me know what you come up with!! Have fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

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Here's some of my favorite holiday, entertaining and decorating blogs:
This is my friend Marge's blog:

And this is my buddy Aggy's blog:

And this is one of the coolest websites and message boards ever! This is my friend Ginger's site, and our new holiday planning home!

Check them out!!
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fall Party Planning

Fall party plans are in full swing. October is a great month to entertain. The air is cool and crisp, nature has done a great deal of the decorating for you, and pumpkins, hay bales and gourds, natural decorations for a fall party, are in abundance. Plus, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has not yet begun, so your guests are not as likely to have packed schedules. I love to entertain outside this time of year. Several years ago we added a back porch to our house, and it has become a prime spot for entertaining. We love to serve guests appetizers on the porch, and then move into the house for the main course. Eventually, we always end up back on the porch for dessert and coffee. If you don’t have a porch, a patio or a balcony will serve as well. Even if it’s just a spot on the lawn, being outside is a wonderful way to entertain in the fall.

Be sure to provide guests with an inexpensive fleece throw in a bright fall color-you can make them yourself from a yard of fleece, or purchase them at dollar and discount stores for under $5.00 each. Autumn nights can get chilly. Another great addition is a fire pit or chiminea. Now is a great time to pick one up at end of summer closeouts. And, of course, food is always the star of the show, no matter the season. Consider serving a cup of hot soup with some crackers or bread for an appetizer. Greet your guests with a mug filled with tomato, chicken or French onion soup. Have a pasta night and make spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and an apple cobbler for dessert. There are tons of recipes for all on the web. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, make a no cook appetizer, order a killer dessert from your favorite bakery, and call for pizza. What matters most is the camaraderie and the atmosphere. Make everyone feel at home and comfortable, and your fall party is bound to be a success, whether it’s inside or out, gourmet or takeout!

Friday, September 28, 2007


We are in the process of planning our first, hopefully annual, Boo!Bash fall festival type party. It will be held the Saturday before Halloween, in our back yard.

We are asking each family to bring their favorite fall dessert. I am making a pumpkin ooey gooey cake, a tray of brownie bites, a yellow sheet cake with chocolate icing, and an apple cobbler. I am sure we'll have a wonderful assortment of cookies, cakes, pies and cobblers, not to mention quick breads and muffins.

Drinks will include warm apple cider, cold lemon cider (a great mixture of apple juice, lemonade and ice. I slice up apples and lemons and add fresh mint from my herb garden to garnish. It's so good!), punch, iced tea and coffee with assorted stir ins. The coffee bar will include favored creamers, coffee syrups and toppings, such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

Games will be carnival type games that the kids can enjoy-bobbing for apples, clothespin drop (drop a clothespin from shoulder height into a quart canning jar sitting on the ground), horseshoes, and sack races.

Other activities will be pumpkin painting and/or carving and, the highlight of the evening-a costume contest for all ages. We'll have little goblins (under 12); teenage weirwolves (13-18); groan-ups (over 18) and mummies and daddies (couple costumes, although the wearers don't have to be "a couple"-the costume needs to be a couple)! Prizes will be awarded in each category.

I plan to decorate with mums, ferns, haybales and lots of pumpkins! Let's hope the weather cooperates!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's Fall, ya'll!

Fall is my favorite time of year. I imagine that's because I'm a fall baby--and a fall bride! Both my wedding anniversary and my birthday are in October. I have always loved the rich, vivid colors of fall. It still amazes me that the same leaves that were tiny little green nubs in March are the gorgeous red, yellow, orange and even purple of the fall. God is amazing! He is the best artist I know!

I love to have parties in the fall. I've always longed for a place to have a wonderful fall party. We are giving it a shot this year! We'll be hosting a fall/Halloween carnival type party the last Saturday in October. I'll provide more details on this in another entry.

It always seems like fall goes way too fast. Here in Arkansas, fall is usually slow to come, brilliant while it's here, then quickly gone. It stays hot well into September, sometimes even in October it's too warm to wear those great fall fashions! Then, it seems like it's great football weather-cool, crisp nights, when you need to wear a jacket to the hometown football game. The leaves take on the glorious colors, the sky is that impossibly blue color that you only see in fall, and then-BAM-a big windstorm comes through and all the leaves are gone, the trees are bare and it's winter! Seasons in Arkansas seem to rarely consult the calender about when they should appear-they just do!

Think about what you like best about fall. Is it the gorgeous colors, the wonderful smells of pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, and woodsmoke, or the cooler weather and fall activities. The pumpkin patch and apple orchard are fun fall destinations. So is the local hometown high school football games, especially homecoming. It doesn't matter that you don't know anyone playing on the field, in the band or cheering on the sidelines. It's about hometown pride, school spirit and getting outside in the crisp fall air! Get out and enjoy the'll be gone way too soon!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Welcome to the Holiday Hamlet!

Hey, everyone! I am glad you found your way here to the brand new Holiday Hamlet!!

Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE the holidays-any and all holidays!
This is a spot to meet and discuss the wonderful plans, menus, thoughts and ideas that go along with all holiday planning.

Please feel free to join in the discussion.