Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

New calendars, new journal, new pens and file folders. New Year.

Full of promise and rife with possibility.

The last couple days of 2012 are winding down and I'm looking towards 2013 with enthusiasm.  I think I'll forgo the usual resolutions and instead make a list of things to explore this year.  Books to read, new things to learn, experiences to try.

I've also chosen a phrase that I'm going to try to keep close to my heart this year.  It's from the Prayer of St. Francis . . . grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand.

That last part is something I've been pondering of late, amazed at the grace it has brought into my life.  It's interesting how a phrase can bring to light, something that should be so obvious.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry After Christmas

I really had intended to write a post before Christmas, and then a post for Christmas, to wish you all a Merry one.  Then, I thought, well, I'll write one the day after Christmas, which is one of my favorite days of the holiday season.

How about the day after, the day after?  We had a very nice Christmas, just wonderful in so many ways.  The being together, the way we simplified our gift giving, visiting with friends -- the day before Christmas Eve, Dan and I went together to deliver some treats to various friends, and ended up staying at one of their houses to watch part of a football game.  Just a really nice, relaxing time, the way the holidays were meant to be.

Today, I'm tidying up the house.  I put away all the wrapping paper and supplies, which covered the dining room table.  It was Gift Wrap Central and was still being used late on Christmas Eve.  I put away all of the baking supplies and combined a few treat baskets.  Some of the delicious loaves and coffee cakes we received went in the freezer.  They'll be yummy treats for tea time this winter.  Finally, I cleaned out the fridge and the freezer, finding enough food to plan a month's worth of menus.

We had one major mishap a couple of days before Christmas, when George got into a fight with a wire fence in the backyard.  George lost.  He is having surgery #2 as I type this, to repair his leg.  Greyhounds are extremely sweet dogs. . . and notoriously big babies.  After his first surgery as he was leaving the clinic, the vet gently admonished him to "Be tough, George."  He has been a very good sport and even looked quite festive for Christmas day.

Hope your Yuletide was quite festive as well!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Favorites

#1  On Monday night, my spiritual book club met at my house to discuss what we've been reading for Advent.  Our discussions usually center around a book that we're all reading together, but for Advent we decided to each read something on our own.  This is my choice, a collection of writings by some of my favorite theologians.  I'm loving it. . . .

#2  Packages!  Daily, there are one or two new ones on the front porch.  Just love those brown boxes with the familiar logo of my favorite online store -- the 2012 version of 'brown paper packages tied up with string'!

#3  Our local dairy has the best eggnog ever.  We always include a bottle or two in our weekly order.

#4  Spending time with someone I love doing ordinary things.  On Wednesday, I spent the day with my aunt.  We baked.  We cleaned some of the high spots in her apartment that she has a hard time reaching.  We went to lunch.  

#5  Simple traditions.  When I was a child, this candy dish was always filled with colorful hard Christmas candies.  It's something I continue to do and it reminds me of the year when my brother and I were little kids and bought the dish at a church bazaar for our mom.

I'm linking up with Susanne and friends for Friday Fave Five!  Join us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shrimp Dip Recipe

One of the ways I've learned to simplify my life a little bit is to find a recipe each season that can be my "go to" for occasions when I'm asked to bring a dish or even when I'm planning something myself.  How often do you find a recipe that calls for fresh herbs and you use a few tablespoons and the rest goes to waste?  Or you buy an entire bottle of a particular ingredient and use less than half of it?

This recipe for Shrimp Dip is one my friend Kathy gave me several years ago.  I now have most of the ingredients on hand, I even keep a couple of bags of shrimp in the freezer.  It's been a while since I've made it, so for most of my family and friends, they think I've come up with something brand new:)

It goes well with crackers or fresh veggies.  I like English cucumbers and sugar snap peas because the flavor of the dip can really dominate!

Shrimp Dip

2 lbs shrimp -- shelled and cooked
one clove of garlic, minced
one cup of mayo
1/4 c. olive oil
2 Tbs. chili sauce
2 Tbs. fresh dill
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped

Using a food processor, blend the garlic, mayo, olive oil, and chili sauce.  Add dill, celery seed and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Add celery and onion with shrimp, and mix in food process until shrimp is chopped.  Chill in fridge before serving.

I'm linking up with Cooking Thursday.  For more great recipes, check it out!

Another Christmas favorite

I think I lost a post.  Yesterday, I wrote about how much I love my new cookie press.  And now it's gone.  The post, that is.  I wouldn't put it past myself to have deleted it somehow.  But, for the record, I love these cookies and the now that I have my handy dandy cookie press, they're even  more fun to bake.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Favorite Thing

Today, I'm linking up with Claudia's "Favorite Things" party.

When we gave the kitchen a "face lift" my favorite thing was the changes we made to the island.  Originally there were two small drawers, and the lower half was a cabinet.  It was really hard to keep things organized and get at things that kept falling to the back.

So, my handy dandy hubby replaced the cabinet part with four deep drawers.  They're great for keeping tupperware, pot lids, large bowls and other assorted items.

On the other side, we put two towel racks.  I use these for my holiday towels and aprons, and a few vintage tablecloths that I've collected.

There are lots of great ideas linked up to Claudia's, "My Favorite Thing" party.  Head on over and take a peek:)