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Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you have a wonderful day today!

I got up early Christmas Eve and made our 7 layer salad for dinner. And you will laugh, but for this salad I prefer the bacon bits that are the imitation ones. The salad is a mix of iceberg and spring mix, celery, chives, green peas, mayo, a sprinkle of sugar on the mayo, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits. It’s so good. It’s been a tradition for me to make this for the holidays. Often I made it at Thanksgiving. I rarely think to make it other times of the year, but I should. I usually have enough ingredients to make an extra little salad. So I made one just for me for lunch later.

I also made ahead the breakfast casserole. In a skillet I browned 1 lb of sausage, added some red bell pepper and sweet onion and cooked it til meat done, pepper wilted down and onions turned transluscent and then added the spinach and cooked it down and the rest of the ingredients were in the other bowl. Which I believe was 10 eggs and a cup or so of cheddar cheese. You whisk that up and then mix all of it together and then pour into a casserole dish. At that point you bake it for about 30- 35 min on 350 until the eggs are set.

Katy and Little Roo came over to spend the morning with us so I stopped cooking for a bit to play. And then I made a double batch of sausage balls. And began setting the table for our big Christmas Eve dinner.

I hear George up now, so I am off to get started on our Christmas Day and do our stockings.

I’ll be back tomorrow with pics from Christmas Eve, decor, food, and lots more.

Merry Christmas!

Special Quality Time with Family this Christmas Season

Well here we are. A happy bunch just enjoying a great breakfast at Nadine’s in Hermitage. We are so happy to have Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken in town for a while. I have to laugh at George and I leaning to get in the picture. lol We always enjoy breakfast there. It was so good. It’s filling enough to last many hours!

I had this view from my seat that kept intriguing me. I was able to zoom in and catch it. This iPhone 13 camera is awesome! This was completely on the other side of the restaurant and through the window!

Studying the menu

Here’s our little spread for the afternoon for Cody and Katy and River’s arrival- just a little snack session as they had a dinner to go to. Everyone loved the pumpkin bread. The baking session this year was inspired by two people: my neighbor who Brought over snicker doodle things, and also a coworker who brought a bag full of various goodies and “made my week” as I munched all last week in the new office – not really having a lot of food handy yet as we hadn’t quite settled in. So thanks to everyone who baked and shared and now I’m paying it forward. I normally don’t get time to Christmas bake so thankful also to have extra time to do this especially in an already extra busy season.

I can feel the pressure releasing some and the to do’s letting up some and the festivities are coming on and coming on strong. I’m thankful for Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken taking care of Mom for these two weeks and getting Fancy to and from spa (the timing would have horribly impacted our time with River arriving). They have also agreed to take her to the eye appointment in Hendersonville this week so I don’t have to miss work and so I don’t really have to go in early any more this month on Tuesday to work toward missing work. Of course now most of the month is over. lol But it means a lot tomorrow to get that hour back personally.

We are “birthdaying” with Katy and Cody and everyone tonight including Susan and Sarah (big party) and we may never get seated, lol, and we are “steaking out” with Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken tomorrow night (if they will confirm my reservations). And then we are going to the store on Wednesday night for our Christmas groceries. We need to make our grocery lists (somehow) and also figure out when I will have time to make my 7 layer salad and also sausage balls. I think we are off Christmas Eve. So I guess I will make everything that morning since we work on the 23rd. George and I will be crawling all over each other in the kitchen unless we assign times. That leaves us with no time to do anything much on Christmas Eve ::sigh:: but cook until that evening. I’m not sure we have decided on what we are having Christmas morning for breakfast. We need to decide that. I can make a breakfast casserole Christmas Eve and it all be ready to go and of course will be making 2 batches of sausage balls. I might make cinnamon pinwheels as I have some pillsbury dough. Who knows.

George is working from home today as the dishwasher repair man is coming. It’s been fine washing the dishes. But it’s annoying that the dishwasher is new and not working.

Here’s our pics with Little Roo yesterday. He was so much fun, so easy to entertain, and he is so good.

He was shy at first as we rushed up to him so fast and animatedly began talking and hugging. But he quickly warmed to us when he realized we were entertaining, laughing, and can be fun. I know he is used to hearing our voices on face time too. And we love to eat too so we speak THAT language. He loved my pumpkin bread! And he loved the Christmas mouse that danced and sang and especially loved it when he turned the music on and discovered that Nana (my Mom) would dance too. We were all impressed. Here’s the video.

This was entertaining to all of us. He would look at the mouse and then look at Momma.

He can give “high 5’s”!

And he loves to play guitar!

Last but not least, lol, Fancy in her new spa trim and Mom’s socks. Someone actually stopped her at the restaurant and told her they liked her socks! lol

OK so we had a great day yesterday and had pot pie (frozen that had been made at thanksgiving) for dinner and began watching Imposters on Netflix. Sleep was good!

Also last night before dinner I was able to finish my video file projects up to the present time. All camera footage transferred and files merged from phone and camera photos/videos into the project files which are in order as I have a way of dating them first so I know which video to do next. And I will be doing the Nashville Zoo trip which takes us back to June. I think it’ll be a quick and easy video. I have filmed a lot lately and I think I have about 10 video project files lined up. I need to get cranking! I would love to just be a month or two behind instead six! I feel like people are not interested to see that far back. But it’s the best I can do working full time, keeping up the blog, and taking care of Mom too.

I will update my Mac’s software which has an update to Monterey and I’ll do that before starting the next video just in case.

So, I will probably be popping in on Wednesday and will work on Mac and video editing tomorrow in my one spare hour of the day.

Ya’ll have a good week before Christmas. Is everything coming together at your house?

A Much Needed Day Off and Asheville NC’s Shopping and Restaurants

Asheville, NC

Oh ya’ll! We are all packed up in our offices at work. Everyone furiously packing around 2 yesterday to finish off the remaining desk and work items for the move. All in boxes and labeled with our Level and Office number. Since it’s difficult to do most of my stuff at home – no printing capabilities – and no office set up – it’s just really hard for me to work at home. I did not have a planned day and wouldn’t have taken today if our offices were not closed. So I’m kinda forced to take a day off. I am not sure I have the extra PTO and may get phone calls anyway. I’ll probably be expected to take it as PTO and that is fine if they want me to do that. I just think the Lord Himself planned the timing because I REALLY needed this day.

Last night we took Mom out to eat at Gondola House in Lebanon, TN and it was really good. It’s a family like atmosphere. We only had to wait about 5 minutes even though it was mostly full. The food and service was good and George and I ate off the salad bar which was fantastic. They made you sanitize your hands before using the utensils and the glass seemed to come further down around the salad bar, fresh ingredients (I always took food from the furtherest section away from the glass (lol).

Mom seemed to be in a pretty good mood. She said she got a lot done and the place did look a lot more put together and things off the counter. She wanted to put the dry ingredients up from the grocery trip. And said she could do that tomorrow so we honored that. She also wanted to put the sheets on the bed in the guest room so I left those for her.

We took her to Aldi to get her spiral ham for her to fix when Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken get there. And we took her to Kroger and she uses the buggy as a walker. I told her people were going to think we were rude “making” her use the cart buggy instead of us taking it. She said “well if they are my age they will understand”. It especially looked weird when she pushed the cart out piled full and George and I walked hands free but she wanted to use it for balance.

It took a long while to get through the store as she cannot walk far without being winded so she walks slow. We came home and unloaded groceries. Fancy had been so upset at her being gone at night that she pooped in all the carpeted rooms. Yes – every one of them. I guess she was marking her territory to protect herself. Mom had forgotten to close the doors because she had been so good always to use the paper.

Even though it was almost 10:00 p.m. at that point I tried to hang her shower curtain rod. I’m just as invalid as Mom when it comes to doing things though – my shoulder and arm does not cooperate. Already sore from having to move and tape boxes I had took it to its limit this week (couldn’t sleep night before last for the pain). So when I tried to put the rod up my arm just went limp and filled with pain. George watched me and ended up having to put it up.

I took River’s package home to be wrapped. I tried to carry it along with a roll of Christmas paper. Holding a box and a big roll of Christmas paper is not something a body was meant to do at the same time. I failed at being able to carry it and it fell and then I “gently” pushed it out the door with my foot but George thought I was trying to kick it. All the while he stood there watching me struggle while empty handed. I was tired so I kept my mouth shut. Finally he did the right thing and came to rescue again.

(No one needs to be around me at 10 p.m. at night. I turn into a pumpkin (jack-o-lantern) at 9 p.m. Knowing that about myself, I tried to clamp my mouth shut, aside from defending myself. Anyway we were out way past my bedtime.

Sleep was divine. And I sit here this morning relieved as I type this to have a much needed and very rare day all to myself. I’ve not had that since mid summer once when I went shopping by myself. I don’t think. I can do what I want pretty much. I can blog til my heart is content. I can upload and schedule the next video. I can see what all Christmas we have bought and update my list and do some wrapping and maybe even some last minute shopping. I can leisurely shower and eat lunch. I can watch a show. I am going to pick what we are having for dinner and fix that. I’ll clean up a bit. I’m sooooo excited to have this unplanned day to try and glue my life back together. I will also be planning the list of where we will shop after we go to a reception tomorrow. We will try to knock out the rest of the shopping.

God has blessed us this week in many ways and we are grateful. I wore my Grateful shirt yesterday. I was truly Grateful to have this day. It’s saving me. Well, God is saving me in more ways than one. He gets the glory.

Sunny Point Cafe, Asheville, NC

This is a popular spot in Asheville. Also Biscuit Head as been mentioned so next time we will try it. This place is over the top for breakfast dishes. Beautifully and enormously presented, and breakfast drinks such as Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s with bacon also available. Parking can be challenging, usually a line. Best advice is “go early”. While we were there, a privately owned company came on site and tried to sell us hats that had stuffed animals sewed onto the top for a project to help women in Afghanistan. A good cause. Asheville is also an artsy town. I was little uncomfortable with the direct contact of the sales folks coming directly up to you to do their sales pitch that lingered a bit. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it. Had it been something we could use, I might have bought one but I guess I’m not particularly wanting to be hit up for money while in line to eat. The cause was fine and the operation they were doing. It just didn’t seem to be the right place and time for it. So that I didn’t like so much, but the food was good. Also very limited seating and mostly outside on patio with plastic all about as winter is setting in, but it was warm enough with heaters etc. At least in our section which was partially indoors. I did not see where reservations could be made.

So all that to sum up and say – it’s worth going but….parking, seating, and sales pitches may have to be endured as part of your experience.

Random Asheville Pics

I did throw some money to this guy playing in the streets. He was playing some pleasant songs. And seemed pretty talented. While George went to the Moogseum (Moog Museum, a synthesizer museum), I went shopping around the Grove Arcade which had lots of shops and restaurants. It seemed like I had an “afternoon in Paris” with the restaurants flowing out into the street sidewalks with table and chairs and beautiful boutiques all around. George was within walking distance and we caught up around the old Woolworth’s which housed local art work for sale. And also some artsy vendors were set up on the street here.

There was a chocolate shop there. I wasn’t sure about the chocolate pasta, lol. I didn’t buy any. It might have been good. I wonder. I just can’t bring myself to even think of it. But, we do put cocoa powder in our chili.

So there is something you need to know about Asheville. There are nice sections and then there are some not so nice sections, as with any town. But I did see a lot of graffiti in this “artsy” community. I took a pic of this street while driving through as an example. I also saw some homeless in tents in a variety of areas that reminded me of Portland, Oregon. Portland’s homeless area seemed a little more aggressive with tent camps even along the interstate. It was more subdued in Asheville but definitely present. You can see the graffiti on the third building down from the right in the medium blue looking building. However, there were lots of painted scenes on buildings just like the building on the right. Just periodic places you pass that have grifitti and run down, but there might be a nice place next door. Kinda weird. But that is the vibe. I have no idea about the crime in the area. We did some walking about at night but stayed in areas that were crowded with others.

French Restaurant Experience at Bouchon’s in Asheville

Ok I’m going to end the blog here today. I have Little Bit in the house with me and he’s unsettled so I need to probably go let him out or see what he needs. So you guys have a great day. I will try and get this video uploaded for either tomorrow or Sunday. I will pop back in and let you know. I’m going to try and glue myself and our lives together and get Christmas under control and my own house in some sort of control. Yeeeee Ha! And rain and storms are supposed to come today and maybe tomorrow. I pray it’s not while we are out tomorrow as we have a lot to do. But I guess if we see a tornado we’ll just take cover the best we can wherever we are. The weather is often nasty severe with storms here in Dec and Jan as the cold weather fights it out with the warm for the drastic changeovers. Only a day or two here and there but it’s like spring at times since the weather extremes fight it out in the atmosphere.

Over and Out!