Monday, December 11, 2023

December festivities, fruitcake and yard project

December is here and with it some cooler weather, beautiful sunny days and temps in the low to mid-60's. Just perfect weather for addressing a glaring issue with our xeriscape yard, particularly the side yard. 

After almost 10 years, and with minimal maintenance beyond pulling up a weed or 2 and picking up palm tree fronds/debris it's beginning to look a lot shabbier than I like. I need to take it all the way down to the landscape fabric, parse out the dirt and leaf litter then rinse the mud off the rocks before putting them back in place. Rinse & Repeat! I actually find it very soothing and zen-like sitting there (outside! 😊) picking out the rocks from the dirt - am I nutz? I'm sure some of my neighbors think so, although the finished product is causing them to re-evaluate the time I'm  spending. For my part, as a perfectionist, it's instant gratification, which leads to a dopamine hit or 10, Haha. I'm very thankful to have a handy "reheat" to serve for dinner after spending the day rocking it.

I'm making good headway and when finished, a leaf blower used
with some regularity should keep it looking neat and tidy for
another 10 years (or well into my dotage I hope).

One of my neighborhood ladies organized a Christmas Cookie Exchange for our small 100+ neighborhood. I had never participated in one and didn't know what to expect. What a great time, about 16+ ladies came laden with yummy baked goods to share. Our hostess provided us each with a pretty take-home tray and let us have at it. We each made a trip around the table and picked out a few from each plate, and then again etc until we were filled to the brim with tasty goodies to take home. She also had hot cider, decaf coffee and wine, plus a sumptuous charcuterie array. It was so nice to see everyone and get caught up on things.

The hostess with the "mostest" and her tray.

Next year the extra leaf goes in the table!

What a great group of lady neighbors I've got!

These treats have made our hot tea after dinner indulgence special. Put me down for attending next year, lol.

On the cooking front around here I perfected a recipe for Ginger Snaps that we both love. Super easy, both the raw dough and the baked cookies freeze well. Here's the link to the recipe on The only changes I made was to double the spices and add finely chopped candied ginger and chopped pecans. I think these are our new favorites. I also was under the gun to get the fruitcake made so it would have a few weeks to mellow.

 And on the puzzling front I finished up Pickle Lake, one of my favorites.

Thanks for stopping by and come back again soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Holiday season in all it's glory. A Savior is Born.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Final Fall Happenings, Craft Fair & Food

 Seems like I haven't been much in the mood to write a blog post lately - too busy for the most part.  What's been going on you ask?

My friend & neighbor invited me to share her booth at a Women's Club Christmas craft fair. Since I pretty much had booth set-up stuff and plenty of inventory I figured I'd stick a toe in, with the added benefit of actually attending a fair (it has been so long - covid and crowds 😥). This promised to be a smaller affair and as it was happening on Veteran's Day, with competition from parades and other activities, I figured it wouldn't be too big of a madhouse. It wasn't bad at all. Not a ton of traffic and most people wanted Christmas crafts and doodads, so my trivets and jewelry didn't stand much of a chance. I did sell a trivet - one, lol. Here's a few shots of some of the booths. Lots of impressive stuff.

This lady works on her stuff all year getting ready for show.

My "little corner" 😊

This lady has some beautiful Christmas florals in hand
made and hand painted wooden boxes. So neat!

Debby's offerings - she did pretty well

These pretties made me wish I got dressed-up still.

So that was a fun way to spend the day. And it was educational too, meaning I won't be doing craft fairs or bothering to put much effort into "selling" my goodies. I do get some business through word of mouth and that is enough. I've also read some not-so-good reports on some of the changes to the Etsy platform, so I'm not going to go there either. OK then.

We did a full-fledged Thanksgiving dinner cooking the 14# turkey I got for "free" from BJ's, and making a big pile of dressing & gravy. We have plenty of future dinners in the bag - including Christmas dinner. "Gasp! You're doing leftovers for Christmas??" You betcha!

Turkey from year to year look pretty much the same. so
since I forgot to take a pic this year...LOL!

Hey, I got into the pot pie mode the other day, and boy were we glad. So tasty and the other 3/4's of the pie makes for 3 easy re-heatable meals. This one was Tex-Mex chicken and it came out tasty.

Reheat covered, in a low oven (225°F)

I also got the burrito machine up an running - chicken, black bean and peppers for this first go round. Can you tell that chicken quarters have been on sale lately? 

Wrapped and ready to go into the freezer. Reheat in a covered
frying pan with salsa verde and sharp cheddar plus Mexican rice.

I had a great catch-up gabfest lunch at TGIF's with my friend Nancy. Our last lunch was back in the spring so we had a lot to say, haha. She's doing great and looks wonderful - staying busy too.

I'm working on a big outdoor project and that's taking up a lot of time. I won't cover that today but hopefully in the next post.

And I finally pulled out a puzzle and have started enjoying that pastime again.

Y'all have fun, Happy -belated- Thanksgiving, and thanks for stopping by.