Sunday, December 30, 2018

Fire Station Field Trip

We had quite a few activities going on in December, one of them was seeing a fire station that has a real fire pole that firemen use. Ha ha!  The children gave a big cheer when one of the firemen demonstrated the use of the pole.  Another reason this particular station was so fascinating to tour was that it housed a museum as well with a couple of (refurbished) antique fire engines and a piece of the towers from 9/11.

The firemen were genuinely happy to have our little group tour.  It was informative, interactive, hands-on (they took us upstairs to their living quarters and let the kiddos eat cookies at their kitchen table!), and educational.

God bless all of our first responders!


Friday, December 28, 2018

Festive Appetizer Wreath

This was a hit over the Christmas holiday!  Miss Ester made it twice, once for a work party and then again on Christmas Day.

It's such a beautiful and festive recipe, isn't it?

She found the recipe here.

  • 2
    tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1
    package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2
    cup sour cream
  • 1
    teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/8
    teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2
    cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
  • 1
    cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2
    cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
  • Celery leaves

    Remove crescent dough from packaging (do not unroll). Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11 inch circle on an ungreased 14 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over wreath; top with broccoli, celery and red pepper. Form a bow garnish with celery leaves.
    Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cranberry Cobbler

I thought this recipe looked so pretty and festive for Christmas Day dessert.  Don't you?  And sugared cranberries are so beautiful!

I pinned this earlier in the fall and the family loved it, especially warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.

It's blog worthy ;)


  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted + more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup + 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
    2. In a small bowl, toss together the cranberries and 4 Tbsp of sugar. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
    4. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
    5. Scrape the batter into the prepared cast iron skillet. Scatter the sugared cranberries over the top of the batter evenly.
    6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Merry Christmas!


Jack Frost Cocktail


I made this festive and beautiful cocktail after pinning it on Pinterest for over a year ago.  I finally got around to making it.

I loved it!  I think it is definitely a girly-girl drink.  My hubby said it was like drinking suntan lotion - ha ha!


1/2 cup Blue Curacao
1/2 cup Vodka or light rum (I used light rum)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup cream of coconut
coconut flakes (just for the rim of glasses)
Light corn syrup or honey (for rimming glasses)
8 cups ice


1.  Rim the glasses: Pour a thin layer of corn syrup onto a plate and dip the rims into the corn syrup, then dip in coconut flakes.

2.  In a blender, blend ice, pineapple juice, blue curacao, rum, and cream of coconut until desired consistency is reached.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yields: About 6 cups

Cheers to Jack Frost!


Christmas Movie Collection

Okay.  So our family may or may not have a some Christmas movie addiction.

Ha ha!

And here is a link to our even bigger Christmas book collection in case you are ever in need of a suggestion. :)

Many of the movies have been delivered by St. Nicholas over the years.  Most of the books have come from St. Nicholas as well.  When my kids turn into teens or young adults, and it is harder for St. Nicholas to find a book for them, he brings a nice Christmas movie.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas Day 2018

Y'all!  Halfway between there and here, I was very ill.  I'm not sure if it was food poisoning or a stomach bug, but whatever the case, I was the only one affected and  so so so sick in the middle of the night.

It isn't right when Mom is sick on Christmas, and this is the second year in a row (last year was a terrible cold & fever).

When my littlest came into the room on Christmas morning, I was afraid to open my eyes, afraid to move, not knowing what the morning would bring.  You know that feeling?  But by the grace of God, I felt okay.  For just a short period of time, I was able to be with my family as they opened up their gifts.

And then I was back to lying down.

In the meantime, my amazing hubby helped in the kitchen and things went pretty smooth.  What a blessing!

For Christmas breakfast, I had prepared two new recipes the night before; cinnamon bun casserole (had egg in it), and a gluten-free cinnamon/raisin bread casserole.  The family ate them up with some fresh fruit, juice, and coffee.

Miss Ester prepared a beautiful wreath appetizer!

Then it was time for Christmas dinner!  David and Miss Mabel stepped up big time!

There was maple-glazed pork roast, garlicky green beans with pine nuts, carrot pecan wild rice, and Mascarpone mashed potatoes.

A new recipe was tried, Christmas Cranberry Cobbler (recipe to come).  Miss Sally made a new recipe as well, a GF chocolate pie with almond whip cream!  Then there was our beloved Blue Bell peppermint and vanilla ice cream.

I am so grateful that the family was able to enjoy a delicious and festive meal!

Honestly, it was my worst Christmas Day since I was eight years old and sick with the chicken pox.  I'm not sure what happened, but the others remained healthy (thank goodness) and enjoyed themselves, which I am grateful for.

Christmas season is still upon us, so I have been making an effort to celebrate it a little each day.  Another tradition :)  Just today we made cut out cookies!  Anytime is a good time for cookies as far as I am concerned.

As this beautiful time of year continues on, may it remain in your hearts and home throughout the year.  May you experience the joy and promises that come with His birth!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve 2018

One of the things I enjoy most about Christmas is hearing about all the family traditions out there.  It brings me great pleasure to hear the joy in others as they describe their own customs within their families.  And with customs, we sometimes get ourselves all worked up if a piece to the "perfect" puzzle is missing.  Am I right??  One thing I learned is that it's okay if something doesn't get done because Christmas comes no matter what.  As I read recently, Christmas is in your heart (not what's in your home) and not just for one day.  Isn't that a pretty sentiment?

Back to traditions, our Christmas Eve morning usually has the kids exchanging gifts with their gift exchange drawing (the name they picked out back on Thanksgiving day).  This year they did the same and then sat down to a bacon and egg, homemade bread toasted, and fruit breakfast.

Our Christmas table (no pic this year - and I survived - ha ha) is always set with an assortment of Christmas dishes.  Way back, when the kids were little and eventually outgrew their Christmas plates (from Target),  I would take them to pick out their own set of big-kid, Christmas dishes.  They loved looking forward to that, and I think they felt a little more grown up at the same time.  :)

With warmer temps this Christmas Eve, we headed outside for fresh air after breakfast.  David and I even enjoyed a nice walk by ourselves.  Oh man.  We need alone time during the holiday season! It can be a struggle to get it, people.

Christmas Eve lunch was lunchmeat sandwiches, chips, and left-over fruit.

For a special treat, I surprised my family with these adorable chocolates.

Maggie Louise Confections is out of Austin and all of her chocolates are hand-painted!!  You have to check out her website sometime.  Seriously.  These make such fun and unique gifts.

Next up was dinner.  The kids insist on having me serve homemade vegetable beef soup with homemade bread every Christmas Eve. :)

And for dessert, we had a smaller array of cookies this year; two of which were GF and DF.   Oh! and  Blue Bell peppermint ice cream.  We cannot forget our ice cream, folks.

Earlier on, we had decided to attend the 10pm Mass.  I was fine, but that was really hard on Miss Clementine.  The poor thing, between fighting to keep her eyes open and worrying that Santa would not stop in (since we were still up), remained a trooper.  I made a mental note to skip the late Christmas Mass time next year.

Stan the man had served (no pic again), and I could only squeeze out a kid photo.  No family photo, but at that late in the game, I was quite content with what I ended up getting!  Beggars cannot be choosers, am I right??

Eventually, everyone was home, the stockings were hung, and some little girl had visions of sugar plums in her head when Santa finally arrived.

Merry Christmas Eve ~ 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and pray that you experience the peace and joy that Christ's birth promises!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Peppermint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Earlier this week, Miss Clementine and I decided to try another new (to us), Christmas cookie recipe. I don't think ours looked as pretty as the ones on Pinterest, but they sure tasted delicious!


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp mint extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
28 unwrapped peppermint kisses (I used one package.)


1. Cream butter & both sugars with mixer.  Add eggs one at a time and mix just until incorporated.  Mix in mint extract.

2.  Combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Add a little dry mixture at a time to butter mixture, blending after each addition just until combined.  Scrape side of mixer bowl as needed.  Remove bowl from mixer, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

3.  Preheat oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

4.  Butter hands and roll dough into 1 inch ball.  (I sprayed my hands with a little bit of cooking spray.)  Space 2" apart on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

5.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 4 minutes only.  Press one peppermint kiss into the top of each cookie.  Move to cookie cooling racks being very careful not to touch the kiss.  Don't touch until the kisses have hardened.

*Makes 28 cookies



Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Stan the Man and I tried a new (to us) cookie recipe.  These Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies are delicious.  (I love butterscotch, a taste I had to acquire with age.)


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp  ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup mild molasses
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups (11-ounce package) butterscotch flavored morsels


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in small bowl.

3.  Beat sugar, butter, molasses, and egg in large mixer bowl until creamy.

4.  Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended.  Stir in morsels.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto uncreased baking sheets.

5.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*Makes 2 dozen cookies



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December Camping in the Piney Woods Region of Texas

We headed out for a two-night camp out on December 9.  Our trip was to the Piney Woods Region of Texas, (Huntsville State Park).  Oh my gosh!  It's SOOOO beautiful there.

The first day and night were pretty chilly since a cold front moved in, but it didn't hit below 33 degrees F.

Our little camper has a stereo with indoor/outdoor speakers, so we were able to sit by the camp fire and listen to Christmas songs on the radio.

This was what we woke up to!

No filters!

God is so amazing :)

Once the sun was up, the temp went up as well.  It was a perfect day for hiking.  And not to worry about the gators since they were in brumation from the cold temps (thank goodness)!

After an afternoon of hiking, Miss Clementine had some school work to do, but the playground was beckoning her.

We headed back home on the third day, back to reality.

Our goal this past year has been trying to camp once a month since last spring.  The only month we didn't camp was in October when the calendar just wouldn't allow it.  I absolutely love camping and so does this child.  The memories have been amazing, and we already have our January trip planned as long as it doesn't get below freezing.

Until the next time...


Friday, December 14, 2018

Advent Feast Days Galore!

In-between our celebration of the feast of St. Nicholas and the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, our Little Flowers group had a sweet and fun gingerbread house decorating party.

I love this spirited group (as another mom affectionately referred to them as)!


The Feast of The Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, had us packing for an upcoming camping trip.  I still wanted to do something special with Miss Clementine, so I found this perfect printable over at Teachers Pay Teachers website.

For $2, I purchased the file that contained 23 pages!  I printed off about half of them and gave the packet to Miss Clementine.  The website has so many amazing ideas for your little ones!


Then there's the feast day celebration of St. Juan Diego, Dec. 9.  I LOVE his story!

While camping, Miss Clementine wanted to make those yummy sombrero hats we always make.  The ingredients were easy enough to pack and bring along!


Home in time for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, we decided to have a tea party and read stories of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego and her big sisters were around to join in :)


Yesterday, we celebrated St. Lucy (Dec.13).  A local Catholic book store put on a little craft/snack activity hour for all children.  Miss Clementine was super excited when one of her best friends showed up.  Crafting with friends is the best :)

So sweet!

We usually go look at Christmas lights on this feast day, but due to many of us coming down with a cold and the weather being nasty outside, we decided to save it for another night.

I love our Catholic faith and how tangible it is, especially being able to celebrate the life of so many of God's friends!

May Our Blessed Mother, St. Juan Diego, and St. Lucy pray for us.

Praying your Advent is going smoothly and that you are able to sit quietly with your hearts open, waiting for Our Savior.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Celebrating Jolly Old St. Nicholas!

It started with an early celebration with our homeschool group.  There was a simple party with cupcake decorating, story corner (with books about St. Nicholas of course), a painting table, a Christmas card making table, and a coloring page table.

Many little ones came, but these four young ladies (pictured below) were instrumental in running the party!

(A few photo credits go to another mom, Elyse!)

The weather was gorgeous and the side yard provided a place for the little ones to run off all the sugar they ate :)

Then on the feast of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6, my family woke up to some new Christmas movies, books, candy canes, and gold coins.

My big kids have grown out of receiving Christmas books.  To remedy that, St. Nicholas puts out a beautiful, new Christmas movie for them.

There was a special snack of bananas and strawberries (I found over at and Uber-delicious hot cocoa with whip cream and peppermint sticks.  So good!!

At the end of the day, I put out a new Nativity set from  It is so precious!!  I didn't think I'd be buying anymore play Nativity sets, but I just could not pass on this cuteness overload.

(BTW, the chocolate coins are a product of Shining Light Dolls, too!)

I mentioned somewhere else how grateful I am for my Catholic faith and having it so ALIVE!  It's so much fun celebrating the lives of God's friends - who are more alive than us because they are in heaven, y'all! -  who have been such tremendous role models for the rest of us.

St. Nicholas, pray for us!


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Coolest S'mores Maker Around

I picked this up over the Thanksgiving break.  It is so snazzy!

It makes the perfect s'more which comes with four, metal roasting forks!  You can use it indoors or outdoors.  The brand is Sharper Image, and I purchased it at a Stein Mart.



Saturday, November 24, 2018

On the Feast of St. Cecilia

This year the feast of St. Cecilia landed on Thanksgiving day.  Since our Clementine is named after her, we celebrated quietly by adding a new Shining Light Dolls to our collection.

St. Cecelia, pray for us!

Thanksgiving 2018 & Another Camping Trip

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoyed any time you may have spent with family, friends, and other loved ones.  This year it was just the girls and I, and did we feast!

Tossed salad, turkey, praline sweet potatoes, stuffing, garlicky green beans with pine nuts, mashed potatoes, carrot pecan wild rice, rolls, and Miss Mabel's cream cheese filled pumpkin roll - it was all so scrumptious!!

My guys arrived home later that day from a week long fishing trip (what David wanted for his 50th birthday).  There were plenty of left-overs for those hungry men!

Speaking of fishing trip...

The Friday night prior, David and Stan the Man loaded up and headed to the seashore.

Early the next morning, the girls and I could watch him fish, (Stan was sleeping in the camper), while he face timed us.

The view though!

I was wishing I could have been their with a cup of coffee in hand :)

It's been a lovely week with so many things to be grateful for.  I'm so thankful for these people whom I love so dearly.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!



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