Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Guest Tour

My friend Phyllis is a creative genius when it comes to decorating, and she really outdoes herself at Christmas. Honestly, I've visited stores that weren't as well decorated as Phyllis' house. When I visited her house last week, she graciously agreed to allow me to photograph and show her home, and in fact even sent me some additional pictures that she had taken. As pretty as the pictures are, just know that pictures do not do her house justice!

We'll begin our tour at the front door. So simple, but elegant and oh, so festive!


These are the French doors going into her sun room. She is a real estate agent, so she has collected house ornaments over the years. She has them displayed over the doorway in a beautiful, foofiied garland!
Isn't that tree grand?


This is the mantle in the sun room. She has two trees in there this year, all done up in shades of fuchsia, purple and silver. Gorgeous.
This is the top of her china cabinet in the dining area.


And her beautiful staircase treatment:


This is one of her whimsical trees...she also has quite the Santa collection.



Another picture of that gorgeous tree...sorry for the randomness of these pictures...I'm still not great at uploading stuff in the proper order!



This is the mirror in the powder room. The POWDER ROOM, people. It is absolutely beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed touring my sweet friend's home. I do have some more pictures that I will post later. Thanks so much, Phyllis!
Later!
Cathy







Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Open House

Today is the Holiday Open House hosted by Kimba at A Soft Place to Land.

The rules were pretty simple...just post anything holiday related and link it back to her blog! So, I thought and thought...what to do? what to do? Then, while thinking about holiday menus, I remembered how good and easy this is, and how it's become a Christmas Eve tradition for me to make this:



It's Cathy's Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding!


12 cinnamon rolls, chopped into bite-sized pieces and allowed to dry for about an hour

1/2 cup sugar

4 beaten eggs

4 cups milk, cream or half and half (or a combination)

1 stick melted butter

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves


Put the bread cubes into a buttered or sprayed large casserole dish or a 13x9x2 baking pan. Mix together the sugar, eggs, milk and butter and spices, pour over bread. Let it set for about 30 minutes. Place the baking pan into a larger baking pan, and carefully pour hot water in the larger pan, until the water reaches about half way up the sides of the smaller pan. Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I serve mine with whipped cream or a sauce of melted butter, powdered sugar and a little rum or rum extract, all whisked together and poured over the pudding while it's hot. Oh, so good!!


Variations:

*Use French bread, cubed, and allowed to dry for about an hour.

*Use flavored liquid coffee creamer in place of the about half of the milk. Hazelnut is yummy, and so is caramel vanilla.

*Use eggnog instead of about half the milk, and replace the cloves with nutmeg.

*Use croissants or donuts instead of most or all of the bread

*You could add any dried fruit you like-apricots, raisins, cranberries would all be good.

I love bread pudding, and it's one of the few desserts that I don't mind making. I love to cook, but desserts are not my thing! Isn't that weird?


Thanks for the opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer, Kimba!! Be sure to check out all the other blogs who are participating too!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home Tour tomorrow!

Don't forget to check out Pumpkins and Reindeer for the home tour! And then hop right back here Tuesday for the Holiday Open House!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oohh, A Holiday Open House

Kimba over at A Soft Place to Land is hosting a Holiday Open House next week, and I've signed up to participate. It'll be the day after the virtual Holiday Tour of Homes we are doing at Magical Holiday Home. I'm hosting that one, over at Pumpkins and Reindeer, but I've linked this blog to Kimba's, just to, you know, spread around the holiday cheer!

Now, what to post? Kimba said that it can be anything...a recipe...a picture...some decorating tips...hmmm....

Maybe a picture from last year of my hall tree...



Or maybe my festive Santa and snowflake mantle from last year...

Or my village display (please ignore the ugly showing of cords...I did fix that after I took this picture, but neglected to take a new picture) from last year.....


Or the centerpiece we created for a ladies' brunch at my sister in law's church....




....or, maybe, just maybe...something new from this year! Stay tuned to see what I come up with! I really do have a plan....this is just to tease you a little! I just love a Holiday Open House, don't you??
What are you up to today? Only 16 more days until the Big One!!
Later!
Cathy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Praise the Lord!

Jonah accepted Jesus as his Saviour last Sunday and is being baptized tonight! Now all three of my children are safe in the arms of God! Hallelujah!





Saturday, November 22, 2008

33 Days until Christmas



Did you know that it's only 33 days until Christmas? And if you didn't know that, you clearly do not watch tv, listen to the radio or go to Wal-Mart...they've been telling us for several weeks now that it's on the way!

We are firming up our Christmas plans around here. I am so excited. You know how I love Christmas and firming up plans. I'm just giddy with it all !

I am hoping that after I get my Christmas decorations up to have pictures up for you. And don't forget that on December 15 some Magical Holiday Home folks and I will be participating in a virtual Holiday Tour of Homes, similar to the fall tour. This one will be hosted on Pumpkins and Reindeer, my Rudolph Day planning blog. If you don't know what Rudolph Day is, it's the 25th of each month, used to do something (anything, really) to prepare for Christmas year round. It sure makes the load lighter in December, I'll tell you! And, if you want to participate in the home tour, you don't have to be a member over at MHH...just leave me a message on P&R and I'll add your link! I need everyone's link by about 6 pm central standard time on December 14 to get it all ready.

Today I've posted about SpyElves on P&R...if you don't know what SpyElves are, go check it out.

I am working on my shopping, just a little at a time. We're pretty sure we know what Santa has in mind to bring, and we'll be helping him get that secured soon, due to a little "outside" job that Lynn picked up this weekend...not "out of doors" outside, but "out of his regular job" outside. Maybe I should have just said "extra". But you know my motto-why use one word to describe something when you can use 10 or 11.

But, before the baubles, lights, garlands, wreaths, and other Christmas items come out, we must celebrate my all time favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I told all of my (client) kids yesterday not to eat too much turkey and pumpkin pie, and they all laughed and said that they probably would, anyway. I told them I probably would, too. I am off all next week (well, except for Tuesday, but I won't even go into that because I am aggravated about that), but my kids have to go to school Monday and Tuesday.

on Tuesday night, we have Thanksgiving at church. That is my favorite service of the whole year. We all gather in the fellowship hall and eat a lovely turkey and dressing dinner with all the trimmings, then we move into the sanctuary and have a song service. Everyone who wants to sing can...Lynn and the kids and I sang last year, and believe me that was a once in a lifetime event for me. Benjie and Jonah are going to sing with Makayla and Conner (my niece and nephew) this year. They are singing "Amazing Grace". I can't wait.

Then on Thursday we'll go to Mom's and eat again, along with about 40 of our family and friends. No, that's not a typo-there's actually 40+ at that gathering. Then on Saturday, it's another celebration with Lynn's family at our house. After we eat, Lynn's sisters and cousins head to the movie, along with our boys, and he and I collapse on the couch for a while. Sometimes I go shopping.
Then, Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, I'll start pulling out the Christmas decorations! Oh, boy! I can't wait to start!!
What are you up to on this Saturday? Is it cold where you are...it's 26 degrees here! Stay warm!
Later!
Cathy

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finally Friday!

I've been posting a few Thanksgiving type recipes over at Scarecrow Soup . Keep checking over there... I have a bunch more to share in the next week, then SS will go the way of Haunted Hamlet..still with us, just not the main focus!

I'm getting excited about the upcoming holidays. I know that money is so tight for everyone, and there will be lots of cutting back, but I honestly think that lots of people will be celebrating the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas much much more than they might normally do. Yes, it's so fun giving (and getting, if we're being honest) lots and lots of gifts, but really, the heart of the holiday is celebrating God's bounty in our lives and the greatest gift of all, the birth of Christ Jesus. What could be better than that?

I'm hoping to have a few minutes this weekend to put together another tablescape for Tablescape Tuesday. I think I'll practice the Thanksgiving tablescape I have in mind and see how it looks. If you are reading this and are coming to my house on Saturday after Thanksgiving, you might or might not see the same tablescape. Depends on my mood on Saturday-or actually, Friday night!

Some friends and I recently had a discussion about the use of paper plates, specifically the use of them for holidays. My position remains the same: I don't care one whit if you use them, more power to you if that works for you. However, God willing, I will never use them for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. I might consider using them for Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day, if the plates are pretty and we are eating outside...and we will continue to use the ugly Styrafoam plates for Halloween, because we usually have about 50 people for that, and even I don't have enough plates for that. Ok, I probably do, but we're still going to use the ugly paper ones.



See these dishes? These are the ones that Terri gave me, remember. Well, this is just a portion of the plates I have...so I have plenty and I have a new-to-me dishwasher, thanks to Lynn's sister Gail. Thanks Gail! So it's ok to use the good stuff...even if I have to hand wash them, it's still ok. Wow-that was quite the rant, now wasn't it?

And while I'm ranting and rambling, let me just say that you will almost always be presented a clean plate, be it paper or china, at my house for your dessert. So just take it and use it and quit protesting that you can just eat your pie on the same plate you ate your pork chops off of. It's not going to happen. It's gross and we have plenty of dessert plates, too. (See above!) Humor me. It's one of my (many) quirks that make me, Me. Shut up, Michael.


Ok, that's enough rambling for today-I have to go to work!!


Starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, the Hamlet will move full steam into...Christmas mode!! Whoo hoo!


Later!

Cathy


Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Musings...

Guess what! I met Jerusalem of My Little Life blog yesterday. She is adorable!! Mom and I attended the open house at her store, The Shoppes on Woodlawn, in Little Rock yesterday. It's in an old, charming house in an old, charming neighborhood. We even saw Santa riding in a horse drawn carriage, which is actually a trolley of sorts..it had several seats. We enjoyed a cup of warm spiced cider, and you know how much I love that! There are several "shops" within the "shoppes", so it was tons of fun! Plus they had 25% off of everything. We didn't buy anything yesterday, but I'm definitely going back to do some Christmas (or maybe some Cathy) shopping. Lovely, lovely, glittered stuff! And Jerusalem was the sweetest hostess. We immediately hugged each other when we met...and I was so glad to see her. I'll definitely be back!

Debbie at Ribbonwood Cottage has some great Christmas organizing tips on her blog today. Check it out.

Over at Scarecrow Soup I'll be sharing some recipes that I always make for Thanksgiving, and at Pumpkins and Reindeer I'll have some Christmas organizing tips of my own!

We had a busy weekend...Braylen's birthday party on Friday night-he was 2!! Happy belated birthday, Bray-Bray! We had the family breakfast Saturday...details are in the post below. After breakfast Lynn went and helped his sister move, then again on Sunday. And if you read the first paragraph, you know what I did! Then I did go and help Gail with her kitchen...not as much as I'd planned, but it was getting late when I got there.

I expect most weekends to be pretty busy between now and the holidays. Fun, isn't it?

Later!
Cathy

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November Family Breakfast

We had our monthly family breakfast this morning. It was a cold, crisp fall day, and it was a perfect day for gathering in a warm kitchen. And it was warm in my kitchen!

I set up a tray with glass mugs, apple slices and cinnamon sticks for those who chose a cup of warm spiced apple cider to warm up with. Here's the tray, minus the apple slices..they were still stashed in the fridge when I took this picture.



Here's my cup of spiced apple cider...it was really good.

This is the table before it was occupied. I used my new turkey gravy boat, my little pumpkin with a gold ribbon tied around the stem and the amber hurricane globe with wheat sheaves you've seen before. I put a little burlap under it all to make it feel a little rustic.
We had the usual menu-bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and sausage, with orange/cranberry and blueberry muffins available as well. I had coffee, tea, hot chocolate and of course the cider for beverages.
We had a really good time. Every left to go do fun stuff and we just chilled a while at the house.
We'll be getting together again in December...what do you think would be a good theme for the December breakfast?
Later!
Cathy



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three or More Thursday!


Tam over at The Gypsy's Corner has a fun little weekly event called "Three or More Thursday". I decided to start seeing what I have in threes...you know they say that three of anything makes a collection!

I have three books dedicated to autumn-two Gooseberry Patch books and one Susan Branch book; I have three little roosters and three wooden pumpkins!



What do you have three or more of??



Later!

Cathy




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday!

Welcome to Tablescape Tuesday! Sponsored by Susan at Between Naps on The Porch, it's a good way to get ideas for your own party tables or special events. This is only the second time I've been together enough to get one posted!

This is a fall tablescape, set up for a soup supper. The tablecloth is one I picked up several years ago from somewhere. It is sort of a muted fall design-the colors are not at all vibrant, just soft and subtle.


The dishes are the white dishes that my sweet friend Terri gave me.






The centerpiece is a bunch of wheat in an amber colored hurricane globe. The wheat is from Dollar Tree, as are the goblets and the hurricane globe is an after season find at Kirkland's last year.




Ideally I would use a more colorful napkin, but this is what I had, so it's what I used!!
Be sure to visit Susan't blog to see some beautiful tables! Enjoy!

Later!
Cathy





Monday, November 10, 2008

Holiday Prep

Well! How in the world did it get to be Monday again so soon?

The Hamlet is in full holiday planning mode...Thanksgiving is in TWO WEEKS which means that the beginning of the Christmas season is also in TWO WEEKS. I am so excited! Are you?

If you read this blog any at all, you know that I stay in holiday planning mode year round...but now is when I really hit my stride and pick up the pace. With money as tight as it is this year for everyone, I have to really wonder how many people will actually have a "big" Christmas this year...meaning lots of gifts.

We have pared down a lot in the past years, not so much because of money but because we want our kids to understand the real meaning of Christmas. Of course we go to church regularly, so they do understand the true meaning which is celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. But I want them to also understand things like sharing with others less fortunate, doing good just to do good, and that some people don't understand the meaning of Christmas so they should share it.

I am planning a lot of homemade stuff this year. I won't go into too many details because I know that SOME family members read this stuff. I will say that we need to draw names for our exchange, which we have not done yet. I am no longer in charge of that duty-I relinquished that chore to my brother, Michael, who seemed to think he can do it better-and he probably can. However, it is the 10th of November and we have not drawn names yet. I'm just saying....

If you want some good, quick and easy candy recipes, check out Pumpkins and Reindeer. I really shouldn't call them recipes-they are more "methods" than recipes, as Rachael Ray might say!

I hope you have a good, productive, safe and healthy Monday!

Later!
Cathy

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leaf Peeping!

Although we had fun and it was a good family day, we didn't see many pretty leaves on our leaf peeping trip yesterday. The peak was supposed to have been this weekend, but I think it was actually probably last weekend. We didn't even see anything pretty enough to take a picture of, except for these two:



The boys waiting for their breakfasts to be delivered at Cracker Barrel...



and this neat old car that we saw at the gas station. Several people got out of it, so I'm thinking that they were out riding around too. I'll bet it was fun riding around in this!!
How was your Saturday?
Later!
Cathy

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm a deer widow!

The Great White Hunter!

Lynn finally, finally got to go hunting on opening day of gun season! Bless his heart, he's wanted to do that for 10 years now, but something has always prevented it-usually having to work. But this year, he's there! Right now! And I encouraged it!


I think we may take a little fall foliage tour this weekend...we haven't been anywhere all summer, and this is one of the peak weekends in Arkansas for leaf peeping, so my plan is to head out for a few hours when Lynn gets home from the deer woods.


If we do so, I should have plenty of pretty pictures to share with you later.


In other news....


*I'm trying to get organized enough to have a Tuesday Tablescape contribution this week. I have those fabby new dishes that Terri gave me, and an idea blossoming in the recesses of my tiny little mind, so we'll see how that plays out. I really enjoy looking at everyone's pretty tables. If you enjoy that sort of thing, check out Susan's blog and see what I'm talking about.


*Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, which means that Black Friday is right behind it. You know Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when all the stores have these manic sales, trying to start their holiday shopping season in the black...are you a Black Friday shopper? I am if there are stupendous bargains, but honestly, these days, it had better be a biggie, or I'm staying nestled snug in my bed at 4 am!! Did you know that there are whole websites devoted to advertising these sales? Here's my favorite. Here's another one. Check it out and see if your stores are offering things good enough to get you out of bed.


*Yesterday while buying groceries I did pick up a few non-perishables for my Thanksgiving dinner. I like to start early so that the whole meal is not such a blow to my pocketbook, which honestly can't take many more blows!


*But, all is good...Lynn is starting work Monday at a local cabinet shop, finishing their cabinets. It's where he worked when we married, and it's a good thing. It's not quite as much money as he was making, but it should be stable. That is important..sometimes the amount coming in is not as crucial as the frequency!


I hope you have a good day and a great weekend. Get out and enjoy the fall weather!


Later!

Cathy

Friday, November 7, 2008

Way to go, Ann!!



Congratulations to my Bunco buddy, Ann for winning a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives! She's going to be a good one!! I'm so happy for you and proud of you, Ann! Good luck!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

49 days until the Big One!

Only 49 days until Christmas! Yay!!

I am home today with a sick kid-Benjie got up this morning throwing up. However, he seems to be much better now. Hmmm...oh, well, everyone needs a "mental health" day every now and then, and I know for a fact that he really was sick this morning.

We are going to be pretty low key around the Hamlet this weekend. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. Lynn is going to work at the church, and I'm going to clean out the freezers in preparation for the holiday stockup! I want to make some goodies and freeze them, and I like to keep a few things in the freezer for quick meals or impromptu get-togethers. Do you do that?
What sorts of things do you stock up on?

In the freezer, I like to keep flash-frozen chicken breasts (so that I can pull out 2 or 3 and make soup or chicken and dumplings, or 5 0r 6 and grill them...), frozen french fries, biscuits, and some bags of vegetables, especially purple hull peas and whole kernel corn. Most other veggies I used the canned version. I like to keep a couple of extra boxes of margarine sticks and a couple of rolls of sugar cookie dough, too! Around this time of year, I start stocking up on boxes of pie dough, bags of flour and shelled nuts to keep in the freezer, also.

In the pantry, I like to keep cans of beans, cream style corn, and lots of cans of tomatoes in various forms-sauce, pureed, crushed, diced and whole. I like to use either pureed or crushed in soup or chili. The sauce I add herbs like basil and oregano for spaghetti sauce. I pour the diced over chicken breasts with onions and peppers for my version of "Swiss Chicken".

I also usually have bags of dried beans, pasta and rice in the pantry most of the time. I almost always have a cake mix or two, some brownie mix and some chocolate chips, cans of frosting and ingredients for a few desserts. I like to use canned apple pie mix, we like it better than fresh. I also like to have peaches for a cobbler, cans of pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. I buy boxes of beef and chicken broth and store them in the bottom of the pantry. I also like to keep an extra bag or two of sugar on hand. And it's great to have bags of dried fruit-cranberries, bananas, raisins and apples are favorites around here. I like to put dried cranberries, apples, raisins and mixed nuts together for a healthy sweet-but-salty trail mix. YUM!

These three are getting where they eat so much, that I have to keep a few things stashed away!




Growing, aren't they? My three little blind mice! They unfortunately all three inherited their mother's eyes. Sad, really.
I hope you are having a good time getting ready for the upcoming holidays! I love this time of year more than any other...fall in all it's glory, with the holidays looming! What could be more fun??
Later!
Cathy

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Productive Weekend!

The fall leaves are getting really pretty here...it seems to me that they are a bit later than usual this year, but after looking at our family Thanksgiving picture from last year, I noticed that the leaves are quite green in the background, so maybe it's not that late, after all. Todd the Weather Guy says that they should peak in mid-November...we love to take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and drive around, just looking at leaves. And now that gas is a LITTLE bit cheaper we might get to do that this year! LOL!

Jacob and I did a little flea marketing this weekend. I found all kinds of wonderful things, but restrained myself from purchasing most of it. I really have been conscious of what I'm bringing into the house these days, and will only purchase an item if (1) I really NEED need...and I mean real need, such as groceries or clothing or a gift for someone; (2) I know exactly where I'll display/store it/give it to and (3) it's in my means financially. I could have really loaded up this weekend...I found a treasure trove of goodies! I found a fabulous French Provincial dining table, 6 (or maybe 8...can't really remember) chairs including two arm chairs and a gorgeous china cabinet, all for $800. It is so pretty, just what I want if I ever get a real dining room. Alas...I don't (1) REALLY need it; (2) Have a place to store it and (3) have the financial means right now to get it. But, hey-a girl can dream, can't she?

I did buy a few little things...actually, I have one person's Christmas gifts half way done! Sorry, no more details will be forthcoming on that...just in case that person is reading this! LOL!

But...I did find a couple of things that I did purchase...and here they are!!

Now, picture this huge, and I mean huge, basket painted white and dry brushed with gold, filled with logs for the fire, or with red, cream and brown towels for our bathroom, or, my favorite idea right now-a huge red bow tied around it and piled high with beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts, sitting under the Christmas tree, ready to hand out to our family and friends. You can see it, too, can't you? Oh, yeah, baby! Best part-it was $4!!


Now this little jewel I can totally justify! (1) I didn't have anything turkeyish; (2) it's going on top of the cabinet in the kitchen and (3) it only cost $4!
What do you think of my bargains?

Later!
Cathy

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Projects


This is Josh and Sarah, my niece and nephew, at the Boo!Bash2. Cuties, huh? They also have another brother, Wade, but since he didn't show up...I have no current photos of him. See what happens when you don't come to family events??


I think I'm finally settling down into a routine, what with this working nonsense and all. I am so blessed to be able to set my own schedule (to a degree) and since I don't get paid when I'm not actually seeing kids, it only makes sense to be at work only when I can do things to get paid for. I'm sorry if that only makes sense to me, but I know what I mean!


What that means is I have a little time to get things done at the house before I go to work after everyone else leaves, and then after work before everyone else gets home. See how nicely that works out for me? It may not always be this way, so I've learned to live in the moment and enjoy what I have. OK, maybe it's more correct (correcter?) to say that "I'm learning" rather than "I've learned"...


So today I'm making a list of things I'd like to get done in the house before Thanksgiving. Lynn and I host the Miller family on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the family gathering. We have around 20 or so usually...and maybe this year we might actually get around to having dessert on the back porch, as I've planned for the past 3 years but have never actually pulled off. Sigh.


I want to:


1. Paint the front porch. Gray porch, black rails, shutters and front door.


2. Paint the back and side porches. Same gray as front porch. Paint the back door black.


3. Paint the boys'/hallway bathroom. Cream colored.


4. New accessories for above mentioned bathroom. I have several items that I'll be repurposing to use in there, so it's not going to be too terribly expensive.


5. Re-purpose said items. This involves some painting and possibly a little glittering..oh, yes!


6. Move some furniture around to make things more functional. This will involve some help from the menfolk, so will likely be done on a weekend.


I already have an idea of what I'm going to do for the Thanksgiving table. That, however, is going to be a surprise! Stay tuned for progress notes...or lack of progress notes!


Did you notice how many items involve painting? Does anyone know a good painter? Thank the Sweet Lord, my painter is busy painting for people who pay him to paint! YAY!! So I may have to do the painting myself. Tee hee! My painter usually says he'd rather paint it himself than fix my mess ups. We'll see how this plays out...usually just the threat that I'm going to paint gets him going! That is a little sneaky, but hey-he is the one that created that little situation!


Now, if I can just get off this computer, I have time to unload/reload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry before I head to work. Oh, joy!


Later!

Cathy


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christmas Countdown Begins!!

All of you who know me personally or read my blog often know that I just LOVE to count down things! If someone else hasn't organized a countdown for an event, I just create my own. Fortunately, the creative CEO from Organized Christmas did the work for me on this one, and she did it 10 years ago! Check out the Christmas Countdown and see if it will work for you. It is a 6 week comprehensive plan to get organized and ready for the holidays, to allow a stress free celebration. I like how she breaks things down into weekly chores and allows plenty of time to deal with real life situations that we all know crop up here and there. I hope you can use it!

As you can tell by the name of this blog and the number of holiday planning blogs I have, I just love the holidays. I am big on celebrating and get teased often about it, but that's ok. I am a big girl and I can handle it! Bring it!

I am excited about the upcoming holidays. By necessity, we are going to have to have a simpler holiday than we've had in the past. But I am not sure that that's a bad thing. I want my kids to understand the true meaning of Christmas (and they do..but it never hurts to keep that the main focus!) and to understand the importance of doing things for others. They really are sweet, loving boys, and I want them to remain that way.

I do love to decorate for the holidays, but this year I've set a goal to keep it simple and festive, and to use what I have rather than purchasing new things. The one thing I am going to have to purchase is a new tree...the one that I've used in the past is long past it's prime and we had to wire it together the last time we used it. Last year we had a fresh tree and may do the same this year. If not, I'll have to purchase a faux one.

Are you thinking about the holidays yet? What do you have planned?

Later!
Cathy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sad News

I have sad news this morning...Anne Pressly died Saturday night from her injuries.

Channel 7 has a lot on their website about it and I won't go into details, but you can check out the entire story, a video montage and lots of other info on Anne.

This is so sad. And, if you check out the KATV website, you'll see that there's been another woman die during a home invasion in Little Rock and a shooting on a college campus in Conway.

I am so mad.

Later,
Cathy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Day!

Tomorrow is the big day here at the Hamlet....Boo!Bash2, our now annual Halloween party/fall festival kicks off at 6 p.m.

We are expecting 60 or so guests to roast hot dogs, drink warm yummy drinks and take a hayride...costumes are requested but not required! It's going to be a lot of fun.

And, I will have some pictures up on Haunted Hamlet Sunday afternoon, hopefully!! Right now, I have to go finish getting things ready!

Stay tuned...the Christmas Countdown starts Sunday! It's just one holiday after another around here!!

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Please Pray for Anne

Local news achor Anne Pressly was brutally attacked in her own home Monday night. You can read the whole story at her station's website, KATV, Channel 7. We watch her every morning. As silly as it sounds, we feel like we know her.



This kind of senseless violence makes me sick at my stomach. Please pray for Anne and her family, as well as her Channel 7 family.
Hang in there, Anne...God loves you and so do we.
Prayerfully,
Cathy

Friday, October 17, 2008

Look What I Found!

On my front porch when I got home from work yesterday! Three boxes of dishes! White dishes! My favorite!

A while back, my Bunco buddy Terri noticed my white dishes with a fruit border and mentioned that she had some pieces in her flea market booth that would match. She said she needed to move them and wondered if I wanted them. I of course said "yes", then promptly forgot about them. But sweet Terri didn't, and delivered them just in time for the 20th anniversay of my 29th birthday!! Along with the dishes was a sweet note acknowledging the day and wishing me a happy one. Aren't they glorious?


Here's the pitcher, filled with dried hydrangeas from Michael's yard...won't it be great for pouring juice at our family breakfasts?


There's service for six of these beauties! And, there's a set of extra large cups, just like the smaller ones...perfect for hot chocolate on a snowy day or sipping soup for lunch! Actually, I'm drinking my morning coffee from one right now!



And there's salt and pepper shakers, a gorgeous platter, a cream pitcher and sugar bowl and a gravy boat. I'll be setting a lovely Thanksgiving table this year, won't I? And, I'll be ready for Tablescape Tuesday next week! Check back and see what I have in mind....

Thanks so very much, Terri! I love them!

Later!

Cathy








Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fallifying the Hamlet

Today is the virtual Fall Tour of Homes over on Haunted Hamlet. I really appreciate everyone who participated in our first one, and look forward to next year...and Christmas!

Here's some pictures I didn't post over there...no particular reason why, I just chose other ones. So, I thought I'd post them here.

The picture below is what I call the "chicken coop". It's a yard sale piece from a couple of years ago...$10!! Oh, yes...that's not a misprint....I intend to paint it white and put chicken wire in the doors someday. I have already bought the paint and chicken wire. Someday....


This is the end of the mantle in the living room. These hydrangeas came from my brother Michael's yard. They are huge, and dried so pretty. I love this look...not a traditional fall look, but one that I really like. I added the pumpkins and gourds to "fallify" it. Oh, and the banner that you see doesn't say anything...just fall colored triangles on gold ribbon with fall chip wood pieces on it. Simple but cute. Kind of like some people I know....



When I discovered the beautiful hydrangeas in Michael's yard, I asked him if I could cut some of the blooms for a project I'm working on. His reply was "What's a hydrangea bush?" so I felt that it would be ok to cut the blooms...if he didn't even know what it was, he wasn't likely to miss a few blossoms, right?


And this is one of my absolute favorite things about fall-candy corn! I love the stuff...and this is about the third bowlful that has resided on the table this year....I really like the mellocreme pumpkins, too...hmmm...we haven't had any of those yet. Maybe I'll look for them tomorrow at the grocery store. Or not...I'm really trying to watch what I eat....baahaahaaa....I almost typed that with a straight face! I'm so looking for the pumpkins tomorrow!

I'll have some more fall stuff soon...our party is next Saturday, so I'll be decorating for that soon!

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Ginger over at Ginger's Journey has tagged me to share 7 random and/or weird facts about myself. I'll do my best to limit it to 7...

1. I love tomato soup, ketchup and spaghetti sauce, but I don't care for fresh tomatoes. Execpt those little bitty grape tomatoes that I grow sometimes in my garden...those taste like candy and I can eat them straight off the vine.

2. I start lots of projects, but I finish very few. I am big on planning, not so good with the follow through. I'm working on it...

3. I love a clean house but I absolutely hate to clean house. Hmmmm.....maybe I need a maid?

4. I love the holidays...all holidays, but Christmas and Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorites.

5. I am an October baby and was an October bride...and that was planned-well, the bride part was. I don't know about the baby part!

6. I love to entertain. I love to have family gatherings, friends over for dinner, kids' parties..whatever. However, I have never, ever thrown a party that I didn't comment at some point "I wish I'd never even started this...I don't want to have this stupid party..." It's not true, I do, but I get so caught up in the details that I stress myself out. Also working on this one....

7. I love going to flea markets and finding wonderful treasures, but I always feel kind of dirty when I leave there and have to immediately wash my hands. I even keep antibacterial gel in the car, just for this purpose.

Ok, that's it. Not too bad, huh?

If you have a blog and you want to participate, consider yourself tagged!!

Later!
Cathy

Saturday, October 11, 2008

October update

Since I've gotten so bad about posting (and have been taken to task about it more than once lately), I thought I'd take a minute this morning and do a catch up post! Then, I HAVE to do some housework...well, I SHOULD do some!

Everything is ok, just kind of crazy around here. I am working, Lynn is picking up stuff here and there to do and the boys are going to school. I know it doesn't sound like much, but after the laid-back summer we had, it seems like everything has exploded around here.

I am working on plans for the Boo!Bash2. Since our budget has tightened considerably lately (and I understand that everyones' has, too) we are making some minor changes to the party plans. Check out Haunted Hamlet for those details. I think it's going to be loads of fun, and I do think it's important to keep things as normal as possible for the kids in these crazy times. They have looked forward to this all summer, so we're doing it!

I'm already excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well. I think we may really get back to the true meaning of the holidays this year...there certainly won't be any big extravagant gifts or parties around here, but we will have a few gatherings with family and close friends. Again, I think it's important to remain bonded to our loved ones during times of uncertainty, don't you?

I am trying to decorate with what I have and not buy anything if I can avoid it. I'd rather put my limited funds toward the food. Hurricane Gustav washed away all the hay and pumpkins that I'd planned to use, so we'll just have to make due without them!

I'll be visiting flea markets and such for Christmas gift ideas in the next few weeks, and I'll TRY to post pictures of my finds...

Have a great Saturday. The weather here is sunny and warm, with cooler evenings. Just the way it should be in October in Arkansas!!

Later!
Cathy

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Glorious October!

On one of the message boards I visit every now and then, there is an autumn discussion. One of the the posters asked if anyone thought the reason they were such a fall fan is because they are autumn babies. Several people who responded are not autumn babies but still confess a love of autumn. Well, I'm going to tell you right now-I believe that there is a connection between the season you are born and the season you love the best. I am an autumn baby and was an autumn bride. No coincidence there-I planned my wedding around the fall leaves! Oddly enough, I didn't use fall colors in my wedding, but I wish now, 1o years later, that I had. Wouldn't this centerpiece be glorious on individual tables at a wedding reception?



And, I'm a sucker for vintage Halloween stuff. I just love it! I found this on the web at a site that offers free clipart...isn't it wonderful?


I am hoping for a vintage feel to the Halloween party this year...but real vintage stuff is so expensive, IF you can find it around here, so I'm having to vintagize (is that a real word or another Cathy-made-up word) some things...don't forget to check out the Haunted Hamlet on October 16 for the Magical Holiday Home's virtual Fall Tour of Homes for a tour of MHH members' holiday homes. You'll be able to (hopefully) see what vintage goodies I've come up with!! We're going to do it again in December for Christmas decorations!
Ok, I've got to go do some housework stuff...yucky but necessary!!
Later!
Cathy

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm a working girl...

...and I'm not sure how I feel about that...I really love staying at home, but in this economy, I'm not sure many of us will have that luxury any more. I don't mind working, it's just that I'm so spoiled after being home for so long. But, if you have to work, my job is not bad!

I will be working in the mental health field as a case manager, assigned to a specific school and working with a specific therapist. I'll be able to set my own schedule, and will be paid according to how much I work...so between now and Christmas, I plan to work quite a bit. That should make Christmas a little easier.

Lynn painted a house last week and we're sure more stuff will come up, we just don't know when. That's very scary when you have three kids and a mortgage! Right now he's painting the church, bringing it into the 21st century...it's been pink and blue (mauve and country blue, I believe is the correct terminology) for the past 20+ years. It is now a neutral but pretty off white, my new favorite color to paint everything! That's funny coming from a color loving girl like me!!

I am very excited about the Boo!Bash2! We are just a few weeks away, and plans are in full swing! Unfortunately, Hurricane Gustav took the pumpkins and most of the hay with him when his rains flooded the farm, so someone down river from us has a ton of fall decor, just waiting for them! We are having a yard sale this weekend, and the proceeds from that will be used for the party.

That's about all the exciting news here at the Hamlet. I am so ready for some cool, crisp weather...they are saying maybe next week. We got a little taste of it last week, then BAM-back to upper 80s!

Later!
Cathy

Saturday, September 20, 2008

National Stay at Home Week

Sorry I haven't blogged lately-I've been busy, and I just haven't been in a blogging mood!

For those who've asked, we are doing fine, thanks so much! I could feel all the prayers circling my family, and God answered them in a big way. Thanks so much!!

I'll share job details and all that jazz later, but today I just want a little fluffy post to get back into the swing of things!

So, I'm watching the Arkansas Razorbacks get slaughtered on tv by the Alabama Crimson Tide (roll on out of here, Tide, and leave us alone!), and one of the national commercials talked about "National Stay at Home Week", so I went to the ABC website to check it out. It's actually just a way to get everyone to watch tv next week, September 21-27, for their season premiere week. Ok, that's kind of cheesy, I guess, but the whole concept is actually very nice. So, I'm making plans to make it an all out holiday kind of week. I know there is massive eye rolling out there, so just cut it out. You are not forced to participate. However, you will miss a lot of good times with your own family if you choose not to!

Here are some little ideas I've come up with for a week long celebration:

*On Sunday, refrain from complaining and nagging the children to clean their rooms. Give them a break by taking a nap so that they don't have to hear you fuss at them.

*On Monday, have a little treat for the family when they come home from school or work. I'm thinking my guys would just LOVE to see my nails perfectly manicured!!

*On Tuesday, have their favorite dessert for after dinner. My family is easy to please when it comes to sweets and like a big variety, so I'm thinking we should just narrow it down to my favorite, bread pudding.

*On Wednesday, treat them to the sight of you enjoying your favorite Starbucks offering-mine is Pumpkin Spice Latte, and none of them care for it, so out of consideration for them, I won't get them one!

*On Thursday, let the kids have a fun time cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Teens especially enjoy this activity, although they will often act like they don't. Don't worry, it's just an act and they really LOVE for you to ask them to do it! So, ask often! Let them know how much you love them!!

*On Friday, take the day off and don't worry about housework, laundry or cooking. When they complain about not having any clean underwear, explain that it really doesn't matter...it's stay at home week and they aren't going anywhere anyway! Order pizza for dinner, and to include your hubby in the activity, let him pay for it when the pizza guy arrives. Just camp out in the bathroom until hubby pays and the pizza guy leaves. Hubby'll never figure it out and you'll be $25 ahead! That's 5 more Pumpkin Spice Lattes!!

*On Saturday, sleep in as late as you'd like. Then let hubby take you out for breakfast. Don't worry about breaking the rules about staying at home...all ABC cares about is that you are there for prime time tv viewing, and you'll be back well before Saturday Night College Football comes on!

I'm liking this Stay at Home Week idea. I'm not sure this is what ABC had in mind, but hey-whatever works!

Let me know what activities you choose!

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tablescapeless Tuesday

I forgot to email Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch, so I don't have a tablescape to show you today. Sorry...I've been busy the past few days. Maybe next week, Lord willing!

Without going into all the nitty gritty details, let me just briefly explain what's been happening here at the Hamlet. I do mean briefly-it's not a subject for debate or discussion, it just IS, so I'll just tell you the news and then we'll move on!

Last week my husband was let go from his job. We don't believe the reason he was given is the true reason, but honestly, it doesn't matter. God has and will take good care of us, and has already opened new doors that wouldn't have opened in the old position. Lynn has already gotten a new house to paint for a builder that he's worked for before, with a promise for more to come, and he has his application in several places for another type of job...painting is hard, physical work and his body is starting to complain, so it's probably time to move on...

And, if that isn't proof enough that God is good, I've been offered a full time position that appears to be the stuff that dreams are made of...flexible hours, good pay and still time to be home when the kids are. Can't ask for more than that.

So, big changes are happening at the Hamlet. Good, but different.

Please pray for us.

Later!
Cathy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Holiday Grand Plan

This is the official first week of the Holiday Grand Plan. I've mentioned this before-it's a comprehensive plan designed to get your house cleaned and sparkling for the holidays, as well as a holiday prep plan.

I've worked really hard this summer getting the house cleaned, so I'll mostly be working on holiday prep along with my regular routine cleaning chores. But, there are a few planned things that I need to do.

One of them is paint the front porch. This first week is dubbed "Front Porch and List Week", and my intention was to paint the porch and decorate for fall. Well, you know what they say about good intentions-Hurricane Gustav had other ideas! I can't even decorate much for fall inside because my fall decor is stored in the storage shed in the back yard and I'm not going to drag things out in the rain. So...yesterday we sat in the dark, and today I'm playing catch up on laundry and other house cleaning.

The porch is going to get painted...just not on "Porch Week". Sigh. You know this upsets me, but what's a girl gonna do?

But-never fear! The Lists are made!!

What's going on in your world? Leave me a message and let me know!

Later!
Cathy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav Hits!

We have been suffering through the "outer bands" of Gustav here in central Arkansas. We've had over 7 inches of rain in two days and when I got up this morning, an hour late, the power was off. I'm just thankful I woke up when I did! I got everyone up and ready by the time Uncle Michael got here to get them...and they went to school very reluctantly. I'm really not sure why they wanted to stay at home-we had no power, which means no tv, computer, radio, dvd player, lights, stove, hot water or AIR CONDITIONER, while at school they had all of that!

I even got three calls this afternoon cancelling church services tonight-no power there, either! And, it flooded the basement a little..fortunately the staff discovered it in time to deal with it before it got too bad, and they got it resolved without much damage.

Our power came back on about 4:30 pm-just as we had made plans for the evening by gathering up candles, lanterns and flashlights, deciding on a grilled-on-the-back-porch dinner of burgers and fries, and instructing the boys to get homework done while it was still light enough to see...but you know what? Nobody complained!

With predictions of a colder and wetter winter than usual for our area, this might have been a good check up for us..because we live directly across the highway from Wal-Mart and the county hospital, we just always have had good luck with power outages-we are almost alway lit up when others are dark! This makes me realize that I need to get our winter survival kit dusted off and replenished with candles, matches, a flashlight (with batteries this time) and maybe even some canned food...that sounds like a good autumn project!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday



Today is Tablescape Tuesday, according to Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch. She has a whole long list of pretties to look at today!





This might be a bit unusual tablescape, but it's one of my favorites. It's from my nephew Josh's wedding this past May...Mom and I decorated and cooked for the rehearsal dinner. It was an Italian styled affair, and we served lasagna, spaghetti and salad, the Groom's favorite meal! We also had a brochette appetizer, along with Arnold Palmers for appetizers, and homemade cheesecake for dessert, along with assorted other cakes. It was all so sweet and romantic. The wedding was gorgeous, as were the bridal couple!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Later!
Cathy


















































Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday Musings

It's Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, and I couldn't be happier! Those of you who know me well know that I am a FALL kind of girl...I don't like hot weather and I don't like to sweat. I don't like bugs or flies or mosquitoes or any of those flying things except maybe fireflies and butterflies...and I sure don't like walking out of the house into sauna conditions of 90% humidity. But I do like nice cool, crisp mornings, warm afternoons and and cool nights. I love pumpkins and pretty fall leaves, I'm a football freak and I just love the smells of woodsmoke in the air, apple cider in the crockpot and a good roast in the oven! Bring on the fall festivities!

But first we have to get through the effects of Hurricane Gustav...heavy rain and winds predicted for Arkansas this week. I hope everyone stays safe and dry. I'm praying for those folks in Louisiana who are predicted to get slammed again.

We have a busy fall coming up. Jonah is determined he's going to play soccer (note to self: get him signed up this week-last chance!!) and we like to attend as many BHS football games as we can. Jacob is a very social being these days and always has things going on, so that keeps us busy as well. You might not know this about me, but I love to entertain, and fall is my favorite time to throw open our home and invite friends and family in.

Here's a small update of September events at the Hamlet:
Sept 8-Big Jewels by Park Lane party here-my Grand Re-Opening event!
Sept 11-Bunco here
Sept 13 -Arkansas vs. Texas football game watch party (details coming soon!)
Sept 20-Monthly Family breakfast

I think that's everything on the calendar for September, but if I think of something else I can squeeze in, you'll be the first to know!!


Later!
Cathy

PS-don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Tablescape Tuesday!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Finally Friday!

Today is finally Friday. It's been a kind of busy week, so I'm glad it's over.

No Labor Day gathering for us at the Hamlet...Lynn is going to paint at the church tomorrow and at his regular job on Monday. So, I guess it's just me and the munchkins, hanging out at home and trying not to kill each other.

I took all three of them to Wal-Mart today (I know, I know, I deserve what I get) and it was AWFUL. I am not kidding you when I tell you that it was like trying to contain two little baboons in a banana factory. We went there with the intention of ordering three (gasp) pair of glasses. We'd already had the eye exams, but for some crazy reason the insurance wouldn't pay for them, so we had to re-order...it was a whole big thing. Anywho...while the sweet lady helping us was fitting Benjie for his glasses, Jonah was running around the store, trying on all the half priced sunglasses and asking in a very LOUD voice-"Why is this taking so LONG???" Then..."I smell a toot....who tooted??" Then..."Burrrppppp....hee, hee, hee...uh..excuse me". I wanted to throttle him. Then it was Jonah's turn to be fitted, and Benjie entertained the masses...with louder burps that Jonah, and announcing, again in a very LOUD voice, "Mom, I need to use the bathroom. I can't hold it any longer....my stomach hurts...MOM???? CAN I GO TO THE BATHROOM??"

Jacob took Benjie to the bathroom, and other than that was right by my side the entire time, like he was attached to me. He chatted about each of his brothers' glasses, he mentioned the party he was attending tonight about a dozen times and asked about 210 wildly assorted questions, really important stuff like "Are we going to have spaghetti for dinner any time soon?" and "Do you think Nanny will let me drive her truck when I learn how to drive" and "Did I tell you that the party starts at 7:00?" Then, it was his time to get his glasses fitted...and he was no where to be found. He was over by the little kids glasses, chatting up a very cute little girl. Turns out she's someone he knew from school, and clearly someone he'd like to know better. Boys are so funny at 15.

After leaving $400 of my money with the glasses lady, I had intended to buy some groceries for the weekend. After the dog and pony show, though, I just didn't have the heart, energy or desire to shop for groceries, with the baboon brothers in tow especially. I picked up Arby's on the way home...and it was Gooood!

Have a great Labor Day weekend if I don't talk to you again until next week!

Later!
Cathy

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday

Not a whole lot going on around here, just the usual laundry mountain climbing and raking a path through the house.

I'm kind of thinking about putting together a little gathering to celebrate Labor Day, but it'll have to be on Saturday, if I do. Lynn will be working on the actual day, and if we do something in the evening, it makes it hard for kids to get up for school the next day. I guess I could do it around 5 or so, though...now I'll need to get a list going for that!

I posted over at the Haunted Hamlet today about my list making compulsion and how my husband ridicules me over it...well, ridicules is a harsh word, but he does tease me a lot. Why can't men understand that list making is essential to good planning? I agree, I do go a bit over board, but you have to understand-I'm a list maker from way back, and old habits die hard. I do actually have lists of my lists. No kidding, and stop laughing. You'd think that someone that makes as many lists as I do would be better organized, wouldn't you? Not so!!

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I think I might do it if we do have a get together. I've been craving spinach dip lately for some weird reason, so this sounds really good. It's from Susan Branch's cookbook Vineyard Seasons, now out of print. I found mine on Amazon for a song, and have enjoyed it greatly.

Spinach Dip
(makes 2 cups)

1 10 oz package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. minced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Cover and chill.

Susan has a note on this saying she serves it with cut up fresh raw veggies and all kinds of crackers. Plain ol' Lays potato chips are also good with spinach dip! That's my note, not Susan's!

I'll let you know about the get together!

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tablescape Tuesday

Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch is hosting Tablescape Tuesdays, starting today. I just now read that-it's 10:00 pm-so I didn't get a chance to send her a link. But I'm going to try to remember to do so next Tuesday. In the meantime, since I didn't have time to set up a tablescape, here's one from last December...a ladies' church brunch I attended where each hostess was responsible for dressing her table, from cloth to centerpiece. We used my Nikko Christmas dishes and my Dept 56 Original Snow Village Wedding Chapel church. The church was a wedding gift and the dishes were my late mother-in-laws. Aren't they beautiful? I loved this tablescape!




Be sure to hop over to Susan's site..don't you just LOVE the name? How darling...and check out that magnificent wicker porch swing in her header picture..my dream come true!! Someday, I'll have one of those, as well. By the way, I found Susan's site by way of Cindy's fabulous blog, My Romantic Home. It's just beautiful and one of my favorite blog spots. Check it out, too!

Later!
Cathy

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Musings...better late than never!

As everyone knows, last Monday was the first day of school. It's a big year at our house for Jacob, he's a high schooler now! Even though it was a very long time ago, I do remember being a BHS sophomore! He is going to have a blast this year, I just know it. Benjie and Jonah are having fun being 3rd and 2nd graders, too.

Here they were on the first day of school:




On Saturday before school started we had our August family breakfast, even though over half of the family were doing other things. We had a small but fun crowd, and Braylen got to come, too! He's a big ham, as you can see in the picture below. He had his mouth full of bacon when I took this picture..he loves the stuff. Aren't they cuties?




They had a good time together that day.
I am working on some fall and Christmas crafts today in between loads of laundry and other house cleaning chores. Check out Haunted Hamlet and Scarecrow Soup for what I've been up to..and hopefully I'll get around to a Christmas post today, too, over at Pumpkins and Reindeer.
Later!
Cathy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Full Weekend

We've had a full weekend. It all started on Friday afternoon, when we left the boys with my mom and headed to Camp Ferncliff for a youth group leaders' retreat. We ate dinner with our youth pastor and his wife, Jonathan and Mandi, and another fun leader, Pam. Then we went to the conference room for some games, good conversation and hot tea! It was a cool (well, relatively speaking) evening, and we had a great view of the ducks on the pond outside the picture windows of the conference room. We stayed up late for us, and then headed to our room. It was a quaint little room with a twin bed and a double bed, a small attached bathroom and no tv!

Saturday morning other leaders joined us for breakfast and then we had a full morning of worshipping God, fellowship and planning for the 08-09 season of Chapter Two, our youth gatherings on Wednesday night. Our youth group is called 8/12 for the grades of students attending, and we have 11 leaders in all. We each take a grade and gender specific small group for discussions after Jonathan's presentations. It's a fun time of worship and fellowship, too!

After we ate lunch with the leaders, Lynn dropped me off at the Crowne Plaza in Little Rock for a Jewels by Park Lane fall line launch and fashion show. Yes, I modeled! I wore a gorgeous turquoise set. We had chocolate, coffee and new jewelry! What more could you ask for? We even had a bride in her beautiful gown modeling a stunning crystal and pearl ensemble. It was fun and girly, and lots of people showed up. It was a good ending to a good start on a weekend!

Saturday night we watched the Olympics again, cheering for all the Americans who were competing. Aren't they doing great?

Now it's Sunday afternoon, and we are all sort of doing our own things...retreating to our own corners, I call it. Lynn is napping, Jacob is doing homework and Benjie and Jonah are playing with their cousins Makayla and Conner. I am writing this post, then I plan to nap for a while before we go back to church.

That's the exciting details of our weekend! We rarely do anything, but it seems like when we do have things to do, it's all at the same time! Such is life!

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 2!

Yesterday I played, today I pay!

Yesterday as you recall, Mom and I shopped all day. We hit the craft stores and looked at all the Christmas decorations as well as the fall decor. Lovely, lovely day!

Today...another story! I have a mountain of laundry (Monday is my usual laundry day, but see above!) and a dirty house. So, I'll spend this lovely, lovely rainy day inside cleaning and folding laundry! And that's ok, too. I like rainy days, and with the kids gone, the house may actually stay clean, at least until 3:30 when they all get home!

I'm looking for some good crock pot recipes. Got any? Let me know if you do..I'm planning on doing some substitute teaching this year, so I need to have a few meal plans in place. Send me any goodies you have and I'll give you credit here!

I bought a pad of scrapbook paper yesterday that is so beautiful, I just can't wait to get started tearing out pages and cutting things out. It's Christmas paper, so it'll be seasonal projects..stay tuned for details and pictures! I know I'm going to do some altered drink carriers (for details on this, see Pumpkins and Reindeer) and possibly some pinwheels. I made a lot of those a few years ago, and they were big hits. I'll post directions if I decide to make them. I glittered them up and gave them as gifts that year, and i have to say, they were pretty cute ornaments. I even made some small ones and used them as place cards at Christmas Eve dinner!

I'm thinking that between loads of laundry I'm going to get creative with Christmas scrapbook paper! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Later!
Cathy

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

Today was the day I've waited all summer for-the first day of school! Oh, happy, happy day!

I dropped the three scholars off at their respective schools, did a little happy jig, then headed to Mom's to pick her up. We had breakfast and hit all the best craft stores in Little Rock. It was a good day.

Plans are in full swing for the October 25th Boo!Bash2. You can check out all the details as they unfold on Haunted Hamlet. I hope that if you are in our area, you stop by and have a hotdog and a hay ride with us!

All the stores are just full of autumn decorating things, faux leaves, pumpkins, gourds, etc. I just love the sight of them. I hope it gets cool soon, although the weather has been just delightful lately. It was only about 85 degrees today, with low humidity. Lovely, lovely day to keep little kids cooped up in a classroom. Even better for Moms and Nannys to shop!

How was your day?

Later!
Cathy

Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally Friday!

Well! It's Friday again, and the final one before school starts. This summer has gone so quickly that I can't even believe it. We have stayed pretty busy this summer, so it makes for a quick one.

Today is my niece Kourtney's 18th birthday! I can't believe she is 18! She's so much fun to be around and I'm going to miss her riding to school with me every morning! We had the best fun going to and coming home from school every day. Happy Birthday, Kortie!

It's a happy day in the Miller household-Donny and Marie (Osmond, for those who live under a rock and don't know that) are on Good Morning America this morning! I am a die-hard Osmond fan, have been for a long, long time! I actually got to see Donny (be still my heart!!) in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, when I was there for a convention. Really, a convention. Sent there by the city, where I was employed at the time. It was a tough job, but hey-I got to do it! It was the night before I left, and I went to the concert (and to Vegas) all by myself. I had a blast! I sang and screamed with the rest of the Donny nuts! It was fabulous! I scored an autographed cd and a t shirt for myself and one for my BFF Melissa. She was thrilled and so jealous, especially since I had asked her to go with me and she DECLINED! I also asked Lynn to go (asked him first, of course) and he DECLINED! Next time I'm going to ask Melissa's husband Eddie to go...he wouldn't DECLINE! He might not love the Donny show, though.

And, here's the sweet part-Donny and Marie just announced that they are going to Las Vegas to perform for a year....and I am going to Las Vegas in February for another convention-Jewels by Park Lane this time. I'm going to do my best to see them. Whoo hoo! By the way-they both look FABULOUS for old people! Donny is a couple of years older than me, but Marie is actually 3 days older than me. Sigh.

We are planning a quiet weekend for the last weekend before school starts-breakfast tomorrow morning with the fam, then just hanging out for the rest of the weekend. I usually make a special meal for the boys either the night before school starts or that night. They usually want either pizza or spaghetti or mac and cheese...easy kids' stuff.

By the way, I did manage to make it to Bunco last night, won 2nd! I got a sweet little reed diffuser thingy that will look great in my newly decorated bathroom! Thanks, Kathy! Next month Bunco is here!

Open houses went well. Lynn took Benjie and Jonah to their school, I took Jacob to the high school for sophomore orientation and open house, and I was at Kathy's house by 7:20! Just in time to eat! Oh, yeah, Bunco is all about eating. We had 50th birthday cake for Ann (happy late birthday, Ann), our resident brainiac and state representative candidate, and chocolate brownies and chocolate cake bites. Oh, my it was all so good!! The food, the fellowship and the conversations are always great! Glad I didn't miss it!

What's going on in your world this Friday?

Later!
Cathy

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Notes

Aren't the Olympics fun? I love watching them, and so do Jacob and Jonah...Benjie, not so much!

And that Phelps kid-isn't he something?! He's a swimming machine! He makes me proud to be an American all over again. And isn't his mother precious! You just know by looking at her that she is a hoot and a lot of fun to be around. I saw an interview with his sisters this morning, and when the interviewer asked them what they thought of their brother being called a "sex symbol", they were both laughing so hysterically that they couldn't even answer! I love that! That's what I'd do if someone asked me that question, too!

And, for my Aunt Peggy in Arizona's benefit, here's the other "news" of the day!''

Tonight is open house at both schools, and at the same time, and across town from each other. And us being "vehicle challenged" right now...I'm not really sure how that will play out. I also have Bunco tonight, but I may have to miss. I sure hope not, I don't like to miss, but what's a girl gonna do?

We are packed and ready for school. We bought supplies over the weekend, new shorts, shirts and shoes yesterday. We also sat down and sorted out supplies, named them and packed them into backpacks, ready to be transported to classes tonight at open house. We know Jonah's teacher, Mrs. Carper. She taught both Benjie and Jonah in kindergarten, before she regained her senses and moved to second grade. She and Jonah are old friends. We haven't met Mrs. Goff, Benjie's teacher yet, but I expect her to be as nice as all the other teachers we've had over the years. And since Jacob is moving to the high school, I don't know any of his teachers yet. I hope to meet them tonight.

Saturday is the August Family Breakfast with a back to school theme. I'll TRY to post pictures, but I usually get busy and forget to take any! I'll try this time, though!

More rain is predicted for the weekend (yay!!) so we'll try to enjoy the sunny, warm, low humidity day the Lord has given us today. It's supposed to be 90 degrees, but the humidity is very low, especially for August in Arkansas, so I'm not complaining! Todd the weather guy said we might not get to 80 this weekend with the rain. Works for this fat girl!

What's going on in your world on this Thursday?

Later!
Cathy

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

Although this picture was taken just before Benjie and Jacob departed for church camp last week, this is typical of the first day of school...notice how ecstatic Jacob looks!




Ok, no homemade candy corn for us! After I posted about making it, I went back and re-read the directions, reassessed the situation and gave it up as a really, really bad idea! Although it sounds great, it also sounds like something that would end up a disaster at my house. But, hey-if you are so inclined, here's the link to it...let me know how it turns out.


This is sort of a transitional week here at the Hamlet. School starts Monday, and we are trying to get into a sort of school routine...earlier bedtimes, earlier rising times, gathering school supplies, sorting out clothes, making sure we have enough socks and underwear...always a challenge around here! I think B and Jonah are set, except for a pair of shoes each and a new backpack. Jacob needs some shorts and a few t shirts, then he's set. And of course, we have to get new glasses all around...hopefully they'll be ready before school starts.


And, next Monday morning when the last one gets out of the car and heads into school for the first time in 3 months, if you are watching, you'll see the strangest sight....mothers, all over the city, county, state and country, doing the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" dance....all in unison...all with a blissful look on their (our!) faces! Oh, Happy Day!!


Later!
Cathy