Friday, December 6, 2013

Cleon down and Dion to go

 I did a little decorating before the storm came.  Yes, decorating outside when it is 67 degrees is much nicer than 22 degrees which it is right now!
 I have some sleds I wanted to decorate and put out but I was in a hurry so this is it for right now.
 Remember that bench which used to be brown?  I painted it "Buttermilk" which I like better.  Same color as the door the wreath is on.  I made my own chalk paint for it and also painted another coat on the front door.
I made turkey carcass soup last night and boy it almost went over the edge of the pot and it's a big pot!  I'll post the recipe tomorrow.
 I did lose power sometime in the night but it must have come back on because it was nice and toasty warm this morning when I got up.  Thank you Lord!  It changed from freezing rain yesterday, to sleet last night and this morning and then at 6:00 this morning it changed to snow and it's been snowing ever since!
 The birds were all congregating in my Bradford pear tree and flapping their wings to keep the snow from accumulating on them. 
 Grace was pretty interested in all that bird action.............
 I think these are robins that were coming South for the Winter but boy did they get a surprise!

 I haven't gone out as there is ice under the snow and I haven't seen a car go by all day.

 I'd like to decorate this beauty for Christmas but it belongs to my neighbor! LOL!  What a perfect Christmas tree for the birds and animals.
 My decorations look so much prettier with a layer of snow on them don't you think?

 I took all these pictures through the windows...I was surprised they turned out as good as they did.  Some might be "card-worthy". 
 Before I forget!  There is a free beginner's quilting class on Craftsy today.  Not sure for how long but I signed up and got in.  I've quilted before but if I don't do it for awhile I forget some of the basics so this is nice to always have to refer to.  You might want to check it out.  They often have free and/or discounted classes in all kinds of crafts.  What I like is it's always available (like forever) and you can take it when you want to.  They have excellent and qualified instructors too and you can ask questions.  There's a Susan Anderson class on her knitted "itty-bitty" toys I'd like to take too and so much more!
Well, I'm off to make some oatmeal cookies which I didn't get done last night.  I hope the power stays on through the next storm too and I hope the thousand's that lost power get it back real soon!  It's cold out there!  I also pray everyone get's home safe and sound as the driving is treacherous. TTYL!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst

  In 2009 we had a terrible ice storm here.  I was without power for 8 days; some went longer.  Some died since no one could get to them and they were elderly .  Even after the storm there were so many downed trees and power lines you couldn't get out.  Once you got out you discovered the stores were empty because the trucks couldn't deliver.  I thought I was fine because I had a fireplace insert and plenty of wood and kindling.  Unfortunately, the wood was green and just smoked.  I got cold but the house never got below 40 degrees but it was one of the most miserable experiences I've ever had.  After it was all over I bought this book at Lowes.
I have good wood and kindling inside and in the garage so it doesn't get wet and I don't have to go out if I don't have to. 
These Coffeemate containers make good sprinklers for ice melt.
I have these ice grippers so if I have to go out I don't fall and break my neck!  I got these on QVC.  If it weren't for QVC I wouldn't even know things like this existed!

Water and plenty of it although our water seems to still run without power.  When I lived on the farm it did not run because the pump was electric.  I have city water now but I'm not taking any chances.  They say a gallon of water, per person, per day and I have the 3 girls too so it's not just me.  I have plenty of food as this time of year I ensure I have plenty on hand for all of us.

I'll be making turkey carcass soup tomorrow so I can heat it up on the wood stove easily.
Instant coffee since my Keurig won't be working if I lose power and I would be hurting big time without my coffee!
Lanterns, flashlights, batteries and candles; both real and battery operated.

Below is a "camping LED light".  I have 2 of these.  One in the basement for tornado season and one in the family room where the wood burner is.  They're inexpensive, the batteries last forever and they throw a lot of light.  I also have under the counter LED lights in the kitchen that I only use when there's a power outage. I also put up curtains on tension rods in the doorways to keep the heat in the family room.  

I have battery operated candles and a string of battery lights over the mirror and in the middle are real candles....even the big pumpkin is a candle.  I was just starting to decorate for Christmas but had to postpone because of the upcoming storm. Those are still my Fall decorations.  I did get some lights put up outside as it's been 70 here and today I even got some more windows washed but that's it as the rain starts tomorrow and by tomorrow night we will be in the 20's and the next night single digits!  I pray everyone stays safe, warm and dry as almost the entire country is having storms of one kind or another.
If I don't blog you'll know why!   Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Best Soup You'll Ever Have!

This recipe is from Penzie's Spice Company.  If you've never tried Penzie's spices they are top notch!  You cannot beat their hot cocoa mix either.....even better than Starbucks!  Anyway, this soup is so tasty and filling and good you won't regret the time you spend making it.
Servings 12
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 cup minced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup flour
1 pound potatoes peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 12 ounce bottle of beer
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black and red spice (I use 1/8 black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 bratwurst sausages, cooked and sliced
One of the tricks I use to make my meals is to prep the ingredients in the morning so that when I go to cook it later all the ingredients are ready and I just need to throw it together and cook it.
I also scrub all my vegetables in my dishpan with dish washing soap and rinse and dry when I get them home from the store so they're always clean and ready to use.  Notice, I did not peel my potatoes.  These were baby potatoes and I left the skin on.
I followed the directions on the package of bratwurst but they were not cooked when I went to slice them so after slicing I threw them back in the pan and cooked them some more.

I also used a pumpkin ale for the beer I added but I've used Corona in the past too.

Here's the directions for making it.

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrots.  Cook about 15 minutes until tender, stirring every so often to keep from sticking.  Stir in flour; cook about 1 minute.  Add potatoes, stock, and beer.  Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Add mustard powder, granulated garlic, salt, and black and red spice.  Combine milk and Worchestershire sauce in a small bowl.  Stir into soup.  Remove soup from heat.  Add cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and smooth.  (The following part I skip but you can certainly do it if you wish). Remove 2 cups of vegetables with some liquid and add to a blender or food processor.  Puree.  Stir back into the soup, to give it a nice body.  Return to low heat and add sliced, cooked bratwurst.  Cook until bratwurst is warm; 5 minutes should do it.


Monday, December 2, 2013

A Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Grandma!

     I had the best Thanksgiving ever!  Two of my sons came down with one of my grandchildren and we had a ball!  Not only was the dinner fantastic but I had bought a farm raised turkey...cage free, drug free and totally natural and it was the best turkey we have ever had!  Moist, flavorful and tender....I will never buy anything else from now on.
 I haven't laughed that hard since the boys were little and now the grand boy makes me laugh too.  I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving.  We lucked out with the weather for their travels and when they got here we had a warm the 60's every day so we took walks in the woods and down to the lake. 

 They brought me flowers and a box of Demett's Turtles and took me out to dinner too!  I could get spoiled.  When they were little I always got a box of turtles from the kids for Christmas but by the time I would go to have some they would all be gone! LOL!  It's a standing joke now. 
We had a "bucket list" for Thanksgiving.  1) Take a walk to the lake and over to Benjamin's Creek which is my son's name and my grandson's middle name.  2) Work on a school project of cutting out construction paper in the shape of a big gingerbread man and decorating it and 3) make chocolate chip cookies together.     The above picture was us making the cookies and we found a heart shaped one.  We got everything done on the list but many of the pictures were taken on my son's camera's and I didn't get a copy before they left.  They said they'll email them when they get them uploaded.
 This is the "baby" in the son Jim.

 and this is the grandboy breaking sticks for grandma's kindling while his Dad tries to wake up! LOL!  He usually works nights so it was hard for him to adjust to being "awake" during the day time but he managed. 

 I spent today catching up, stripping linens and doing laundry and smiling when I thought about the wonderful time we all had together.  TTYL!
P.S. Tomorrow I will be posting THE BEST SOUP RECIPE EVER!!!!  So stop by....I'll try and have it up earlier too.  Have a great evening.  Oh, and did you notice...I FINALLY got my winter banner up.  I had to learn to use Pic Monkey as my banners from Picasa wouldn't work.  It's always something!  Enjoy your evening!