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Archive for December, 2016

Decorating on a Budget

December 27th, 2016 at 10:51 pm



As the holidays were approaching, I was amazed at the decorating some folks were doing. Of course the merchants aren't helping much with all the advertising and how important it is to have your home holiday perfect.

I set the table for supper the other night and decided to get a few things out. Everything on the table other than the flatware was bought used. Some of it I have had for a few years. The green tablecloth was purchased last summer. It was still in the package, but bought at a flea market for $5. I say you don't have to spend a fortunate to have nice things.

A furniture company has a commercial running that the couple didn't realize their home had no style until they took down the Christmas decorations and how you should buy all new stuff to liven up the place. Yep, I bet that will fix everything, right? Maybe that mentality is what has got so many in trouble financially.

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Hope everyone in the SA family is having a lovely Christmas. We attended Christmas Eve candlelight service last night and again I was amazed at having the lights turned down low and everyone with a candle, how special it was during the last hymn. Funny how the simple things can make the biggest impact.

We had regular worship service today and then DH and I came home and I finished Christmas dinner. DH has been fighting a sinus infection and it doesn't appear he is getting much better although he has been taking some antibiotics. With the cool, damp weather, my breathing is becoming a problem so after our lunch, we both napped. I will pay for that luxury tonight when I won't be able to sleep, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Hope all of you had a happy time and feel valued and loved.

Merry Christmas!

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

December 18th, 2016 at 09:57 pm

Here in Central Illinois it is 9 degrees with a wind chill of -6 and we have both ice on the ground and a little snow on top of it. The only good thing is it has been sunny today. I went outside to take out the garbage and it was not fun. It hurt to breathe, was slick as snot, and looking at our steep driveway made me worry how we could get out even if we wanted to.

Church was cancelled today because of the ice. Seems the ice we received Friday night has been a force many people cannot deal with. Apparently the elders decided the parking lot was too slick. I know there are those who think you should go to church even in bad weather, but sometimes you need to look at the safety issue. It is worth asking people to drive on slick streets and walk on treacherous parking lots? My one complaint is this...Food Network had been running new episodes of Barefoot Contessa at 9:30 Sunday mornings when we were in church and I had to miss it. The one Sunday I can watch, it wasn't being shown. Shoot!

One advantage of being holed up is I have gotten a lot of cleaning done. I know I have driven my husband nuts with dragging the vacuum here and there, but I want things tidy. I also balanced the check book this afternoon and didn't feel like it was taking too long. Heck, where would I go.

A disadvantage for my town is it seems like every weekend before Christmas in the past few years we have bad weather which cuts down on shopping. My shopping was done so that wasn't a problem for me, but the last weekend around here is usually a busy shopping time in my hometown. I imagine folks ordered stuff online since they were being told not to get out.

DH cannot complain he hasn't eaten well. We normally eat Friday night supper out, but we stayed in since the freezing rain was supposed to start around 3 p.m. Friday. I have to say it was probably more nutritious...i fixed fish. Last night we had pork loin roast and I'm going to use the leftover roast to make pulled pork for supper sandwiches tonight. I don't know if we have saved money because our heat is running a lot, but as far as eating out we have.

Hope you are safe and comfortable where you are tonight.

Million Dollar House

December 11th, 2016 at 10:30 pm

I live in Central Illinois. In our city of around 73,000, a decent house can be purchased for around $150K. Some more, some less. Of course this isn't high end finishes and such, but a decent home in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to preface what I'm going to describe by telling you these facts.

Yesterday, my husband's brother and sister-in-law took us through the house they are staying at that belongs to their friend. It is a million dollar house. It is a few miles from our house, but it is in a small community just outside of city, like a suburb, and the taxes are high, high, high. As is the water bills. This house has huge timber beams, quarter sawn oak trim, cabinets, and even doors. No hollow core doors here. The kitchen has a six burner gas cooktop that I drooled over. Many of the floors are hardwood, and the steps going into the lower level are slate. The floor in the lower level is tile. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, but the two second level bedrooms each have a vanity in them. The lot is fairly large and backs up to the woods. It has a fancy screened in porch with windows as well. The garage which isn't attached, is two car and the garage doors cost $10,000 each. It really was a show place. And part of me was just a little jealous.

Then, I thought how much the taxes have to be. And how much it would cost to heat, cool, water, and maintain this property. My little 3 bedroom ranch is just fine. But, it is just funny to see such an expensive house with all high end finishes. Except for one thing...the two shower stalls didn't have glass or doors. She had cheap vinyl liners. No curtain over them. So maybe life isn't perfect after all. But I'm still coveting those six burners! Smile

Our town has Millikin University. James Millikin is a big name in our town and there is a manse called the Millikin Homestead that has been preserved. Each Christmas they have tea and you can walk through the house and look at the furnishings and decorations, and enjoy either a cup of hot punch (rum if you want it added), coffee, and some cookies. A few blocks over there is the former governor Richard Oglesby mansion that also has a Christmas tea. Oglesby was a buddy of Abraham Lincoln so it is always cool to go through his house and see the furnishings. We were teasing one of the guides that Mrs. Oglesby truly had a master suite because in the bedroom was a washstand and a chamber pot. For its time, it was a "suite." Both of these houses really put on quite a spread and you can donate if you wish, but basically they are free. It was a nice way to spend some time on a raw, rainy afternoon.

The first photo is at the James Millikin Homestead Christmas tea. The other two are at the Oglesby Mansion and I thought the punch bowl was unique.






Another Cookie Recipe - Gingersnaps

December 1st, 2016 at 09:13 pm

A friend gave me a pile of cooking magazines and I saw this recipe. I like Gingersnaps and hoped it would be good. I made a batch and the cookies turned out picture perfect!

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps

3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses, beat well. Sift together dry ingredients, gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill the dough. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls and dip in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungraded cookie sheets or on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until set and surface cracks. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 4 dozen.


Just an update: I baked 16 dozen cookies total for the church bazaar as well as 8 medium sized loaves of sweet bread. I need a break from baking before I start on the things I bake for gifts.