Home      About Me      Contact      My Family       Travels       The Kitchen       The Bar

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Favorites

A lot of blog friends are compiling their favorite craft, decorating, and cooking projects for 2010.  Instead of those, I'm going to identify some of my other favorite things from 2010.  It was a fantastic year and I'm really looking forward to 2011.

1.  Favorite Book - this was a really tough call.  Once I left the corporate world I re-discovered a love of reading and have read 25+ books this year.  However, I think The Help was probably my favorite.

2.  Favorite Movie - The Young VictoriaFriends and I started a Chick Flick Movie Club this year.  We had 30+ people coming to check out at least one movie throughout the year.  We saw a lot of duds ("The Killers", "Bounty Hunters"...) but everyone who saw The Young Victoria loved it - me included.  I have always liked the two main actors and the story of Queen Victoria in her early years was really well told.

3.   Favorite Trip - California.  We took several great trips this year.  The boys and I had a great time touring all the way around Lake Michigan with my mom!  We visited several places during our tips south.  But California had to be my favorite for the year.  From Coronado Island to Balboa Park to San Juan Capistrano to Santa Monica - it was a fantastic week touring Southern California.

4.  Favorite TV Character - Wilson on House, MD.  Of course, House himself is also fantastic, but every line Wilson utters has me cracking up.  I could watch an hour of just those two actors reading a Chinese menu each week and be perfectly entertained.

5.  Favorite New Hobby - Piano.  I started practicing piano again this year.  I'm definitely a novice and don't read music that well (except the first octave from Middle C to the next C!) but I focused on persistence.  I made some gains, but am going to start true lessons in 2011.  I'm hoping to make more progress this year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Art

I saw these really cute frame projects at 1825's blog.  I had to try them out. 
While we're taking down all the Christmas stuff around the house, I still would like to leave up the items that represent winter (vs. Christmas). 
This project I thought would be a good one to try out for the New Year.

I started with these supplies:
4 inexpensive black frames from Wal-Mart
Wooden numbers from Hobby Lobby
Scrapbook paper

I trimmed the scrapbook paper to fit in the fames in front of the glass.  I then put the frames back together. 

Next up I painted the numbers and let them dry for a few minutes.  Then I sprinkled on glitter. 

Once I got the glitter on just right I glued the numbers to the scrapbook paper in the frames.  And voila! 

Here's a close up of the number. 

Now they sit on a living room shelf!   

Total cost for the project - $12 for the 4 frames and numbers. 
But I plan to reuse the frames over and over as the seasons change.


My mom made a wonderful treat for us over Christmas break.  The photo above is from Google Images because I was apparently too tired after our long drive south to even get out the camera.

Gluhwein is a warm red wine drink.  It comes from Germany and I remember my mom making it years ago when we lived there.  I don't remember having it before, but it had a nice, familiar flavor to it. 
It was really delicious and I plan to make it next year!

1 bottle red wine (an inexpensive full-bodied fruity wine is best like Gallo Ruby Cabernet, a red Zinfandel, or a Shiraz)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-2 inch pieces
16 whole cloves
1 orange
2 Tbsp honey
1 heaping teaspon of allspice, nutmeg, and coriander mixed together
1 wineglass full of water

Pour water in large pan and place over medium heat.
Add cinnamon, honey and spices.
While honey is dissolving, cut the orange into quarters lengthways, then cut them in half. 
Push two of the cloves into each of the 8 pieces and add to the pan.
Pour in the wine.
Bring the heat up, but turn the heat off before it starts boiling.
As soon as it's cool enough to taste check for sweetness.  Add a little sugar to taste and stir to dissolve.
Let the pan stand for an hour or more to let the flavors develop.
Warm gently before serving and pour into heat-proof glasses or mugs
Leave the oranges and spices in the pan.
Can garnish with a lemon slice or a cinnamon stick.  Not necessary though.

The alcohol doesn't all burn off so best not to serve to the kids.

Mississippi Christmas Part 2

Again, we had a wonderful time visiting all of our families in Mississippi over Christmas!
Below are photos from visits with my family.

Mamaw with the boys

Mamaw is patiently learning about some advanced math concept 

We were so excited to have cousin Audrey Beth with us this year!  She is just adorable! 

My boys loved her.  She is so good natured. 

My Aunt Rosemary is a very proud Grandma (Rosie)!

Rosie, Noah, and Audrey Beth 

Aunt Hilda and Audrey Beth 

Proud Mama & Daddy - Blair and Wade 

All the great-granchildren at Christmas this year (a few not present)
Audrey Beth (5 months), Thomas (10), Noah (6), Tanner (5), Brennan (8) 

Uncle Zach and David 

Grandma Nan and Brennan 

Then it was off to visit Shelly's family in Jackson.  They were just back from a week at Disney World! 

We were all so excited to have Grandpa with us! 

Of course, Brennan found a new science book and curled up to read 

Danielle and Uncle David 

Birthday Buddies (2 years apart)

Thomas (10), Danielle (4), Natalie (6), Brennan (8) 

We loved visiting with all of our relatives from Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana this year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mississippi Christmas Part 1

We had a wonderful time visiting our family in Mississippi over Christmas. 
Below are pictures of our times celebrating with David's family in Starkville and Canton.

The Cousins.
Brennan (almost 9), Thomas (10), Taylor (9) and Ellie (5)

Stan and Annie, Jeffrey's Mom 

The 9 year olds 

Mom & Thomas 

We had a White Christmas in Starkville! 

Taylor, Elizabeth, Thomas, Sara Brady, Ellie, and Brennan 

Carolyn and Don 

Cheerleader Pyramids 

Waaaayyyy too cold to get in the pool THIS year! 

The Haneys
Anne, Nancy, and Joe 

The Naugle Girls
Nina, Allison, and Nancy 

The Whole Gang
(I'm taking this photo) 

We had a wonderful time seeing our Mississippi & Virginia relatives!

Happy New Year!

Well... almost!  Here is the new blog header (for those of you who receive our blog through emails or a Reader).  This winter we get to celebrate Brennan's birthday, my birthday, Valentine's Day, and most likely a lot of opportunities to go sledding!

No big New Year's plans here but we are enjoying several days at home before everyone has to go back to work and school.  I'm going to a friend's restaurant tomorrow night for a special dinner planned by Chef Jeff.  Can't wait!  And of course, Mississippi State is playing in the Gator Bowl against Michigan - so that's our Saturday afternoon!

I hope you have a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We celebrated our family Christmas yesterday!  I won't bore you with all the photos I took of David and the boys!

Brennan was thrilled to receive his Criss Angel magic kit that he asked Santa for!  He's working on a levatating trick.

And look out world, Thomas has a cell phone!  Like most of the kids in his class who stay after school for programs and basketball games, we can now reach him.  He was soooo excited!

We're traveling the next several days.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Santa's coming to our house tonight so we can celebrate tomorrow
before heading to Mississippi on the 24th!


I mentioned a couple of months ago that David and I had decided to start a new form of "therapy" for Brennan when it comes to his social skills development.  I emailed a number of friends in town with children anywhere near Brennan's age.  I was overwhelmed with the response we got back, offering to help.  You can read about it here.

We officially started this form of therapy in November and started seeing great results immediately.  It's hard to even call it therapy, but it really is.  It's a chance for Brennan to pactice his social skills with friends he may not see that often or people that know him, but he really hasn't connected with much.  There seems to be quite a bit of that - kids who know him but he couldn't tell you their names!  All that's changing now and we're seeing great things come out of it!

I take pictures of the kids he plays with so we can use them like flashcards and he can tell me who they are, their school, what they like to do, etc.  He's doing beautifully.

I owe these kiddos a lot for being so great with Brennan.  And I am especially grateful for the moms who responded to my email with a big SURE!  These moms (and dads) are essentially saying to their kids that differences are no big deal.  In fact, let's look for the fun in every child.  I am so appreciative of families who are open and happy to be a part of Brennan's lives. 

Here are some of the faces of those awesome (new) friends.