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's 26 degrees here! Stay warm!

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 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!



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 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?


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 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?

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 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??



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!


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!


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?

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!



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??

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Productive Weekend!

The fall leaves are getting really pretty 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?