Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- December 2013

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, December 2013!

Ten days until Christmas!

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I wish I could say that I have more, but this poinsettia is my only bloom.

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It’s a beautiful color. I love a pink poinsettia.


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It lives on the tippy top of our big organizing cabinet in the foyer, far from our cats’ reach.

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Here’s the garden this morning. We had about five inches of snow overnight, which turned to rain and slush and is now in the process of re-freezing. Yay! Not really.

IMG_4476If only ice could be considered a bloom.

Click here to read all of the warmer climate posts on May Dreams Gardens and some creative northern climate posts as well.  It’s amazing what a difference a few degrees if warmth makes, along with a positive outlook.

Enjoying everything (even the ice)…

Michele

Resolutions by Pioneer Woman, and Me!

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, written by Ree Drummond, is probably the first  blog that I ever read and it remains my very favorite to this day.  My oldest daughter and I met Ree when she was in Boston at a book signing last year and I can honestly say that  she is as nice in person as she is on-line, in print and on tv. If I need a little break in the action  I just pop over to see what’s going on out at the ranch. There’s always something that makes me smile.

Yesterday Ree wrote about her resolutions for 2013. She used the letters of the word resolution and came up with not one, but two lists. I barely made it through one, but here it is, as it appeared in the Pioneer Woman’s comments:

Rest more, I’m on the run (if not actually running) a LOT!

Eat healthier snacks (yesterday my 18 year old son said “stop making cookies mom!”)

Sleep soundly

Own every decision

Live in the present

Use my camera everywhere

Take my kids to the beach once a week (even in winter)

Increase my blogging skills

Owe no one

Next fall, plant some hellebores, I keep wanting to do that!

That’s it! I’m not a huge “resolutions” person, but maybe I’ll accomplish some of this, especially if I share it here on my blog.

Okay, your turn, go ahead and give it a try! What are your resolutions for 2013?

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Recent Holiday Moments

Hello out there! I miss you!!  Just like everyone else, I’ve been so busy with Christmas and lots and lots of people in my house that I haven’t had a chance to post anything. Where did a week go?  It’s still the holidays around here… Michael is home from work, the kids are  home from school, we’re eating and visiting and avoiding most of the every day routine.  I thought I’d just check in and post a few photos from the past few weeks.

Uncle Mark was here a few weeks ago… he’s a fun uncle. My kids think he’s part jungle gym. I’m always a little bit worried for his back and my lamps when he’s around.

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These two were dancing angels on Sunday morning then became soldiers, gumdrops and polichinelles in the afternoon. They are busy, busy girls!

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My Magi’s Assistant (I love the hat)…

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Prepping for the Christmas pageant… our church has a wonderful collection of costumes, so much glitter and gold.

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Our beautiful church during the pageant. I love this place.

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Winter at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We had never been there and really enjoyed a walk one day.  I suspect that you’ll be seeing more Arboretum photos in the future.

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Is this not the most patient sixteen year old sister in the world? Really. I think she was trying to read something.

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Probably the biggest gift hit this year… he loves it!!

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Yes, that is the computer and I in the sunroom/office! It still needs furniture and shades and decorations, but it’s almost there. I love, love, love it!!

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I won this, along with a basket of other baking goodies from Amy at A Healthy Life for Me. We kind of like to bake around here so it was a great surprise!

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We made Linzer cookies for the first time (very fun and surprisingly easy)… along with Gingerbread and Christmas Tree sugar cookies…

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Life has been sweet…

Hope it’s been for you too.

Love,  Michele

Gingerbread

There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread. Yesterday one of my friends came home to the  scent of gingerbread baking and posted a thank you note to her husband on facebook. I thought that was so cute! It really does welcome you in.  We love to make gingerbread in our house and my oldest daughter has taken our gingerbread recipe to new heights.

Here she is baking a batch last Christmas.

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These days she uses a very simple confectioners sugar and water icing and pipes designs on each cookie. If we make them this weekend I’ll try to share some photos. They are simple and delicious!

Here they are a few years ago with lots and lots of buttercream frosting…the younger the kids the more frosting and sprinkles.

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This is last weekend’s creation….

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Piping is big right now, Buddy Valestro does lots of this…
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We love this gingerbread!  Here’s the recipe:

Gingerbread Boys

4 Cups flour

1 Teaspoon ginger

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 Teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon allspice

1 Cup molasses (or 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup honey, that’s my preference)

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup margarine, softened (we often substitute butter)

2/3 Cup boiling water

1 Teaspoon cream of tarter

1 Tablespoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the flour with the spices, set aside. Blend the molasses, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Add the boiling water, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture gradually, mixing well after each addition. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; do not overbake.

Remove carefully from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

Combine powdered (confectioners) sugar with a few drops of water to make icing. Then use a plastic bag with a pinhole to pipe decorations if you’d like to. Or eat without icing, or you can go crazy like my younger kids did in the photo above and embellish away!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Terrariums, the White House and Santa!

Today is catch up day for me. I’m trying to house clean before we start the holiday baking and cooking, and before the Grandmas start arriving next weekend. I just handed the bulk of my Christmas cards to the mailman. I have pulled pork in the crock pot, and I really, really need to fold and put away a ton (literally) of laundry! If I can do these few things, all will be well with the world… It’s coming along, that’s all I can say. Of course, over coffee this morning I did a little bit of blog reading and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.

First off, Amy-Sue at a Healthy Life for Me blogged about how to make these adorable terrarium ornaments. They would make a wonderful gift, but I can also see them hanging in the windows of our new office.   Here’s the link  for you to check out.

Then I thoroughly enjoyed this post  that my friend Eunice at Living and Lovin had re-blogged from a new-to-me  blog called The Garden Diaries. It describes the blogger’s adventures as a volunteer decorator at the White House last year. “Decorating the White House for Christmas” has now been added to my bucket list. What a great story and wonderful  photos!

Lastly, I loved this post shared by my dear friend Joy at Diary of a Crazed Housewife.

Joy is fortunate to be related to Santa and she shares that privilege with special children in her life… very, very cute!

So, that was my early morning reading… I hope it makes you smile 🙂

 I’m off to dust, vacuum, fold and take kids places and I have two hours and twenty seven minutes before the little kids get off of the bus!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele