Our home here in Kansas is so small. I love it! When I was younger, I wanted a big house and we got it. Almost 3,000 square feet. It was wonderful when we had all the kids home, but when they became adults and moved out, the house was just too big. At our age and at this time of our lives, smaller is better. It only takes about 2 hours to clean and I think everything looks cozy. I like cozy. Here are some pictures of our house decorated for Christmas.
I think the garland looks nice over the double pocket doors that seperate the dining room from the living room.
The cute little reindeer was painted by my youngest daughter probably 15 years ago!
My dining room
When I was 5 my family moved to Anaheim Califoria where I met Jan Mitten. Her mom had eight chileren and she made them Christmas stockings like the one above. Well, one year she made them for my me and my brother. When I was married I made Hubby one and also made them for my three children. The stocking you see hanging was filled and sent to Melissa this year. If she returns it I will fill it again next year.
We lived in Lake Elsinore from 1985 to 1995. We had wonderful neighbors, Elmer and Ruth Black. One year Elmer made wooden ladders and wooden santas. I painted them. Every year Melissa picks a perfect place for them.
The Santa above was from my childhood. The snowman was a craft sale find.
Our pretty front door display. My mom painted the snowman and Melissa arranged the flowers.
I am trying to hook up every week to Kellyskorner blog on Fridays. She started a weekly " show us your life" and this last week it was going to be holiday traditions. She went out of town and didn't bring her computer so she is skipping holiday traditions and this Friday it will be holiday decorations. I will do a post with decorations, but I have been thinking of our families traditions and decided to go ahead and blog about what we do that is traditional with our family.
When you get married you had better realize that the person you are marrying probably has grown up with different traditions. Hopefully you have the same values and morals. This is something that is hopefully talked about before tying the knot. However, what, when and where you are going to spend the holidays might be something that has not been talked about. Surprise. Many people do things different during the holidays. What is important to one person might not be important to another. My family always opened the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. Santa then brought unwrapped gifts and left them near the tree. Separate piles for each child. Well, hubby's family did not do it that way. They opened all the presents Christmas morning. Lets just say we had many talks before I got my way.
Many years ago I started making "Baked french toast" on Christmas Morning. It is so easy because you make it up the night before and stick it in the oven in the morning. Easy peasy. I also like to make a casserole for dinner called "No Peeky". Here are the recipes:
Baked French Toast
1 loaf french bread sliced
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
Arrange slices of bread in a 9x13 casserole dish. In blender mix the remaining ingredients and pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning heat the oven to 350 and mix up the topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 stick butter
When you take the casserole out of the refrigerator turn the bread slices over to make sure they are all "wet". Then sprinkle the topping on the top. Bake 40 minutes until puffy. Let cool and enjoy with butter and syrup. If the middle is not puffy and baked through you can put the pieces and microwave for about 30 seconds to cook through. You do not want it wet in the middle after it has been cooked, you want it dry. I usually make homemade syrup. Yum Yum
2 lb. stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 12oz. lemon lime soda
Heat oven to 350. In a 9x13 place meat in casserole dish. Add mushroom soup over the meat and sprinkle with dry soup mix. Then pour the soda over the top. Cover with foil and bake 3 hours. Remember "no peeky". Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles.
I am linking up to Kelly's Korner this week to talk about appetizers. I don't have pictures to go with them, but they are so easy, I don't think that will be a problem. These are my go to appetizers that everyone seems to love and they are so, so easy. The first one is my youngest daughters favorite. All you need to do is mix a can of chili (any brand, beans or no beans) and a 8oz. block of cream cheese in a sauce pan until hot. Serve with tortilla chips. My other favorite appetizer is a pack of little smokey wienies, one jar of chili sauce and 1 jar of grape jelly. I usually double this and put it in a crock pot. Sometimes I will add sliced Kielbasa.
Today I made Oreo balls for a candy and cookie contest. The town of Sharon is about 10 miles away from us and they were having a Christmas Parade, cookie contest, auction and soup supper. We had a great time even though I didn't win the contest with my darling oreo balls!!
I put a bag of oreo's in a blender and blend until fine crumbs. Then mix in a can of cream cheese frosting. Roll into balls and put into freezer until frozen. I used to put them on a cookie sheet. Now I put them into a deviled egg container with a lid. It takes up less room.
I melt white bark that is found in the grocery store in the baking section. I use paper bowls and plastic spoons for an easy clean up. I dip the frozen oreo balls and place them on foil or parchment paper. They dry in a matter of minutes.
You can add sprinkles, oreo crumbs, or swipe colored chocolate over the balls.
I usually put a few of the balls in a bag and pop them back in the freezer. This way, I always have dessert almost ready if I have drop in guests.
These were for the judges. They judged on taste, appearance and presentation. We also donated a dozen of our candies or cookies for the auction. They put them all together on christmas platters that were wrapped beautifully.
Here in Medicine Lodge we have blood drives every two months. I have a very large vein in my right arm, so it is virtually pain free to give. However, I still can't watch any part of it. A few months ago I was unable to give (twice!!) because my iron count was too low. It needs to be 12.5 and if it is not that high, they will ask if they can have someone else check the other hand. This consists of a pin prick in the finger. Well, after I was denied because my count was too low the red cross worker told me to try to get my iron up a few days before they have a blood drive. They told me to eat cheeseburgers and oreos!! That works to get iron up. Of course one could eat spinach, but that is not nearly as fun. Well, today after a cheeseburger yesterday (no oreos) I had a count of 12.3. Bummer. Then they did a finger on the other hand and it was 12.6!!! Yeah, I was able to give.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I sure did. My youngest daughter, Melissa was here for the holiday. She flew in from Arizona and we spent 4 busy days together. We went to the farm for Thanksgiving. Hubby's mom and dad have two thousand acres, cows, wheat and kittens galore. The weather was just beautiful and Hubby's brother Jesse was there from California. Sister Linda and husband Jim were there. Linda's son and his wife were there from Texas and Hubby's brother Dennis, his son, girlfriend and two children were there from Oklahoma. Hubby's brother Dennis lives with mom and dad at the farm. The folks are both 83 and are as busy as ever. No sign of slowing down. Mom was a little under the weather for the last month or so, but she is much better now. Her doctors think it was her medication. They did a few adjustments and now she is feeling great.
I was up at 4:30 this morning. It was Hubbys turn to make breakfast for the men in his Tuesday morning bible study. Hubby kept telling everyone he was bringing Cherrios because that is about all he can make! Lucky for the men I like to cook because they certainly had a better breakfast than Cherrios. I set out everything I could the night before, so there was not such a rush this morning. The first thing I did was make a yummy coffee cake. I started with a box yellow cake and added 1 cup of sour cream, three eggs and 1/4 cup of water. Mixed it for 2 minutes and poured 1/2 the batter into a 9x13. Then I made a mixture of 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. I then sprinkled 1/2 of this mixture on the cake batter. Topped this with the rest of the cake batter and then sprinkled the remainder of the crumb mixture. Baked this for 40 minutes. Yum Yum. Then I baked large canned flake biscuits, split them open and placed 1 fried egg, ham, cheese and the top biscuit. Put a large pan of tater tots in the oven and that was the meal Hubby took to the men's breakfast. Much better than Cherrios.
I was out and about today and noticed large trucks delivering and setting up large Christmas decorations in the downtown area of Medicine Lodge. I just love the small town life and how they rally around any holiday and celebrate them all. The whole town is busy this Sunday starting with a chili cook off with the firemen. Then our church is having a craft fair along with cookies by the pound. I will be making 5 dozen cookies for that. All the stores will have open houses with discounts, and drawings and such. We will have a parade at 5:30 with decorated floats. My Pilots International Club will be entering a float. Pilots Club is an organization that supports funding for brain tramas and the prevention of brain injuries. Here are some pictures of the decorations going up.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 38 years. We have three grown children, Alisha, Wesley and Melissa. A son in law a daughter in law and 5 super grandchildren. After living in Southern California almost all our lives, we moved to Kansas. It has been a big change in our lives and we have handled all the challenges well. I have decided to get back into blogging and detailing all of our adventures in the midwest. I love the Lord, my husband, my family and my friends.