Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Eve Lunch

We made our traditional trip to Whole Foods to buy last minute foods and specialty cheeses before heading to Gramma's for lunch and more gifts.

Before we head to the living room for Christmas presents we have some birthdays to celebrate.  Jake and Caroline are just a few days apart--Jake's birthday is December 14, Caroline's is December 26.

After the traditional Sneaky Santa Gift Swap, it is time for the group family picture---It can be challenging to get this group together, but we manage year after year!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Eve

All the girls are home for the holidays! We were up early on Christmas Eve for the girls traditional gift swap.  This year they had more laughs than gifts which is all the better. 

Sometimes the presents are too funny! 
Apparently this time Caroline couldn't keep from laughing.

Why was she laughing?  Katy gave her the gift below. The girls aren't know for their sentimentality-so this was over the top funny for Caroline!  Katy is on the lookout for one for Lainey for next Christmas!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Banana Bread for the Holiday

Lainey asked for Banana Bread over the holiday.  I have the most wonderful recipe.  I got it from the Perennials  Southern Celebration of Foods and Flavors cookbook.  The problem with cooking the banana bread is that it requires very ripe bananas--the kind of bananas no one wants to eat, the kind with the brown peel.  I usually toss these in the freezer to use later, but I was fresh out.  I asked the produce guy at Publix for some very ripe bananas.  He seemed perplexed that I would want these and did not think they had any in the back room.  I bought 4 --but these were not as ripe as I like.  When I got home, I asked my friend Google how to speed up the ripening of bananas.  Google advised that I place the bananas on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Now that I have ripe bananas, it's time to get out the rest of the ingredients.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 fully ripe)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in order listed; mixing after each additions.  Bake in greased & floured 9x5 inch loaf pan.  I used a 8 mini-loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for an hour in 1 loaf pan or at 350 for 30 minutes in the mini loaf pan.  


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Beginning to Smell Alot Like Christmas

Cooking & Eating are a big part of our family Christmas.  When the girls were home, we used to make many cookies, candies, cakes and goodies to take to friends and teachers at school.  We even have a preferred Christmas Day menu.  Now that they are not at home and we are not at home--we don't cook as much.   There are some things that we must have every year.  Our  first must have food this Christmas--Sausage Balls.  Caroline requested these for easy breakfasts and late night snacks.  

My recipe:

Combine 1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage--do not use the one with Maple flavoring-- with 4 cups of grated cheddar cheese and 3 cups of Bisquick.  I use my hands to combine all these ingredients.  I add 3-4 TBS of water which helps.  Pinch off a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Delicious!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Marvelous (not Amazing) Garden Lights-Holiday Nights

Yesterday I blogged about our evening at the Botanical Gardens.  I wrote that the event is impressive but not amazing.  I promised the back story on "Amazing".  Bill commented on our ride how he thinks the word Amazing is over used.  We all agreed and we are now trying to find other words other than amazing to describe our experiences. Now that I have let you in on our little pet peeve, I wonder  how often you hear the word amazing used to describe events that are not truly amazing.  We had a marvelous time visiting  the Garden Lights at the Botanical Gardens.  

Outstanding Orchestral Orbs

Beautiful Butterfly

Curious Cornstalks

Stupendous Shaggy Dog

Magical Unicorn

Stunning Sapphire 

Peaceful Prayer
If you know the name of the above display, please let me know.  I say it is Mary the mother of Jesus since it is Christmas time.  


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Home for Christmas

Christmas in Georgia-- it is good to be home.  When I think of Christmas here at home I think of A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theater, the lighting of the great Christmas tree at Macy's, riding the Pink Pig,  the magical night of lights at Lake Lanier and of course, the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker.  One of the top holiday events in Atlanta to enjoy family time and see Christmas lights is at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights/Holiday Nights.  Since this is one event we have never visited, Steve, Lainey and I picked up Janey and Bill in their new home in Lawrenceville and went into Atlanta to get Steve's mother Suzy to go with us.  

We were impressed (not amazed--more on that later) with the display of giant butterflies,  a unicorn, frogs and a row of corn and a monster sized Shaggy Dog.  The  most applause goes to the Orchestral Orbs display which changed colors and flashed to the rhythm of the music.  The volunteers were helpful to answer questions and guide us through the walkways and even offered to take our picture in front of the great poinsettia tree.  


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Lights at Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo is holding its 14th Annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens. We vised the gardens before heading home to see more than 750,000  twinkling  lights transform the gardens into a beautiful holiday  wonderland.  The Gardens have about 90 acres of wetland, pine flat woods, oak forests and scrubland.  Sixty of the ninety acres is set aside for a natural area.  Among the many specialty gardens one can visit are the patio garden, an herb garden, a tropical fruit garden, and a butterfly garden and a wedding garden.   The gardens and natural areas are home to much wildlife.  Alligator, roseated spoonbill, owl, armadillo, anhinga, bats, tree frogs, wood ducks, egrets, wood peckers, and eagles can be spotted throughout the ninety acres.  Signs near all of the small ponds warn of the dangers of feeding the alligator. Since it was night time, the only animals we saw were man made and well lighted.  

The shimmering lights and the holiday entertainment and the beautiful flora and warmth of the season in Florida made for a wonderful evening.   

What is your favorite place to visit to see  Christmas lights? 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on December 7, is to remember and honor all those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  We attended a ceremony on this day at Isla Del Sol at the marina.  Paul Margarone spoke about his remembrance of this day when he was a young child.  


Comments Please--This is a test.

The comments section of my blog has gone haywire and I need your help in diagnosing the problem.   I have re-set all the comments settings and need some of you to comment to see if I have repaired the problem.  For those of you who are new to commenting--read the steps below.  For those of you who know how to comment--please skip ahead and write your comment.  I should receive email notification that you have posted a comment.  

Step 1: Click on the Comments or No Comments words at the end of this post.  

Step 2:  A new screen opens that has a Post a Comment Section.  Please write your comments here.

Step 3:  After typing your comment, there is a drop down menu under "Comment As" from which you may choose from Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, Typepad, Aim, OpenID, Name/URL and Anonymous. Choose whichever of these you want.  Choose Anonymous if you do not have an account with any of the previous.

Step 4: Click Publish or Preview.  Preview gives you a chance to edit, Publish--does just that.

Step 5. A word verification screen will pop up before the comment is published.  Just type in whatever word you see.

Step 6.  The comment is posted.

Thank you so much for helping me.  Please email me at and let me know if any problems arose and you were not allowed to comment.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Feast

I have to agree with Marcy on Charlie Brown Thanksgiving when she says
 "But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown."