The Eating Holidays are Coming!!!!

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It's that time of year again when I want to completely redo everything to get ready for the holidays.  I just get into the thought process that people are coming so I need to be ready.  LOL!  Not like people aren't always visiting year 'round mind you.  Year 'round is okay for what it looks like...but when them SAME people come for the holidays it has to be mo'betta.  Don't ask for a rationale behind this way of thinking because there is none.  Seriously.  None.

But I know you probably feel me and are looking around your dining room to see what you need to do too.  LOL!  Cuz that's how we roll.

This starts with me bringing home this piece.  It was soooooooo heavy and we just loaded that sucker up any way we could.  Just slid it all cross the back of the truck.  We got it home and maneuvered it to the garage where it stayed while I worked on it.  It was a challenge because whenever I needed to move it, I couldn't without The Robinator and his schedule made that hard to be consistent.  But I finally finished it.

I stripped the top layer of the finish off and then lightly sanded it.  Then I put two coats of Minwax weathered grey stain on the top of it.  For the base, I painted it with Dixie Belle's Haint Blue.    It's the loveliest neutral color with just the tiniest bit of blue in it.  So much so that you only see it as blue in perfect lighting conditions.  LOL!  I'm talking blinds closed and ceiling light on.  Any other times it looks white.

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Because I'm going for a rustic farmhouse look in there, I distressed it lightly.  I only did that after we decided to keep it because it was too heavy to take it to my shop.  I mean...this thing is crazy heavy and we're just not built for moving stuff that can't get scratched up.  We're more of the college students you find on Craigslist kinda movers where we just pray for the best and get the worst possible outcome.  Who knew I needed so much additional storage though?  I certainly didn't and now, I have much more.  I have a whole drawer dedicated to linen napkins so I'm not scrambling looking for 8 that match and end up having to use two sets of 4.  *sigh*  And who knew I had enough small placecard holders and napkin rings to fill an entire drawer?  Not me that's for sure!  But I do.  LOL!  So yeah...next thing is to find a rug I can live with, get some cushions made for those two barrel back chairs and some kinda window treatments which don't make the room feel stuffy and I'll be ready for the eating holidays!

Merry Christmas from the Gulf Coast!

From our home to yours, we hope you're having a magical time with family, framily and friends!  Eat, drink and be merry, merry, MERRY!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Christmas Grief...Does it ever get better?

The other day I was in Target picking up a few things for stocking stuffers.  I was thinking about our dinner guests and considering putting together stockings for each of them if I could find the right size stockings.  The stocking couldn't be traditional stocking size because it would take too much to fill up for that many people and the only other size I could find were stockings to fit gift cards which were way too small.

So then I started thinking about maybe just doing stockings for the kids and I was roaming around Target slowly with a basket trying to figure out what would be the best options.  I was trying to think of what I knew about each kid specifically so I could put something personal just for them in their stockings.

I stopped at the nail polish section and saw several gift sets of polish and grabbed the Essie Holiday Mini Gift Set and then picked up a few emery boards making my way down the aisle.  I saw some other stuff too and kept moving down the store aisles until I got to the stocking stuffer section and my eyes fell on a Slinky.  I smiled and grabbed a couple and then, of course, some new Pez dispensers because Christmas stockings are never complete without a Pez dispenser according to my mommy.

And that lump that always starts in my heart started it's slow ascent up to the top of my chest right under my throat and I started trying to swallow it back and swallowing and swallowing and swallowing.  I didn't want it to rise in Target because I knew what would happen if it did.

My phone rang and I answered it.  It was one of my dearest framily members.  She asked me what I was doing and, still swallowing, I told her I was shopping for stocking stuffers.  Then she started talking and I was so grateful that she called right at that moment because listening to her and swallowing...pushed that lump back down to where it lives.  Constantly.

When she finished talking I thanked for calling when she did and told her she stopped me from completely losing it in Target.  She understood because she has the gift of empathy and understanding.  

She's a good egg.

We talked about how my mommy loved putting together our stockings and how she always seemed to find just the right little trinkets to put in it no matter what.  I'm talking little things no more than $1 or so that just really brought you joy because it was just for you.  I try to do the same and take my time picking out things I put in the stockings I make for people I love.

Because it's the way my mommy did it.

My framily and I continued talking until I was well out of the store and, even though my sadness didn't leave, I felt a bit better.

Later that night, The Robinator and I were talking and I told him about it.  He then asked me does it ever get "better" and I told him that...no...it never does.  The passing of time dulls the ache for extended periods but that sometimes the suddenness of that lump rising is outside of your control.

No matter what.

It's never NOT hit me during the holidays.  I suspect that will remain true for a lifetime.

What about you?  Those of you who've been left behind by someone you loved with all of you...has it ever NOT hit you during the holidays?  Have you learned how to push through it?  What are your coping mechanisms?  

 

Southern Comfort Cake Recipe!

18-1/2 oz. yellow cake mix
3-1/4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup Southern Comfort
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I prefer walnuts.)

Glaze: 
4 T. Butter 
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Southern Comfort

This is a super easy one bowl cake recipe that I've been making since I was tall enough to use the hand mixer and see into the bowl.  LOL!  It's truly delicious.  I've used both regular yellow cake mix and gluten-free yellow cake mix and it's delicious either way.  

Combine cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat at a medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube or 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 325ºF for 1 hour. Carefully invert on rack and cool for about 30 minutes.  Place a plate under cake and cooling rack and prick top repeatedly with toothpick.  

To make glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Southern Comfort.

Brush with glaze.  If you lose a lot of glaze and it drips to the plate, remove that plate and add another plate.  Use the glaze from the first plate to continue coating the cake. 

IF YOU WANT TO...sift 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar over cake.  For Christmas time it's really pretty.  You can use cookie cutters to make snowflake designs if you'd like.  Just set the cutter on the cake lightly and hit the sifter once or twice over cutter and repeat.

I send these to Robby's office in Plain Cake Boxes which I buy from Michael's (Remember...never, ever, EVER go to Michael's without visiting their website first for a coupon.  They usually have one of those FABULOUS 40% off coupons and you can just show it to them on your phone!).  I also buy the 10 inch cake rounds to put the cake on before putting it in the box.  I think I get 10 in a pack for like $4.  I also print recipe cards with the recipe printed on them for him to put next to the cake in the event anyone wants to make it at home.  It's usually a MAJOR hit! 

Decorating Your Mantle for Christmas!

I've started doing a bit of Christmas decorating.  Since this is my first time doing Christmas someplace other than 13700, it took me a while to figure out how to do what to where.  I still haven't figured out where I'll put a tree yet and, honestly, I'm considering doing a much smaller version of the tree we normally get so as to not overwhelm the living room.  I'll probably have that figured out come Sunday.

I started doing the mantle the other day and ran into a major snaffoo.  Once I'd removed everything that was on the mantle, I accidentally hit the mirror ripped out the hanger on one side.

JOY.

So I had to wait for Robby to help me redo that because I couldn't rehang the mirror solo.

Aiight.  Now, I didn't want to add too much because again, the room is kinda small.  I wanted to go simple and, I wanted to use stuff I already had.  Well, yall know me, I was in Michael's and found a gold 'M' for $3 and then I was over at TJMaxx and ran up on a yet another tree that I had to have.  Hey...I justified it by saying it matched the color scheme I wanted to go with this year.  And it was different.  

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Other than that...that's all I really needed to get.  Except for some ribbon.  And these three cheap ornaments that I hung UNDER the mantle.  

But I digress.

As always.

So...the first thing I had to do was hang the wreath on the mirror.  After several tries using different things, I finally got the look I wanted using two 12 pound Command velcro strips on either side.  I love Command strips because they can be removed easily and without damage.  I tried using 4 pound ones initially but that ended the way you're thinking it ended.  Yup...wreath all over the floor and glitter everywhere.

Prior to attaching the wreath to the mirror, I looped a piece of ribbon around the top and simply tucked it behind the mirror to make it seem like it was used to hang the mirror.  I thought that would give it a nice look.  I'm sitting here now looking at it and I think I'm going to flip the back ends of the ribbon over to the front and cut a 'V' in them to give it even more of a tailored look if that makes sense.

Once the wreath was hung, I placed two berry trees on opposite ends to balance it (and to hide that goodness awful antennae cord as much as possible).  Then I added a faux pine garland.  

Next, I wove a string of battery operated lights to the garland, our JOY stocking hangers, my 'M' and my new tree.  Then...it looked like I wanted it to look so I didn't add another nuttin' above the mantle.

Under the mantle I simply hung three cheapo ornaments using Command mini hooks.  They are so small that I might just leave them there.  All together, it looks really simple and nice if you ask me.  (TIP:  You can pretty much buy Command hooks and strips anywhere but keep in mind that Michael's sells them too and you can ALWAYS find a 40% off coupon for Michael's full priced items.  GO ME!)

Me likey.

What do you think?  Do I need to add anything?  Have you started decorating yet?  Do you have a mantle in the room you spend the most time in?  Do you decorate it for Christmas?  Have you ever hung a wreath on a mirror?  How'd you do it?