Tomorrow night is New Year's Eve ... and the time most of us start to think about New Year's Resolutions. And, nope, not gonna do it this year. Every year I make some resolution to do something new, make a specific change, etc. and it never happens. So this year I'm not even going to think about it.
Instead, I'm going to recommit myself to doing better at what I'm already doing. Number One: I want to work harder and keeping myself in-sync with the Lord's spirit. I want to work harder at hearing what He wants me to do and then doing it. When my spirit aligns with His things go better for me so I am going to keep on working at that.
Number Two: I'm going to continue to remember to let those that I love know that I love and appreciate them. Specifically, to make sure my family doesn't feel like I don't love them with all my heart. Sometimes I get caught up in things and take them for granted. Since this summer I've been working at making sure that doesn't happen so much. Of course I slip up, but I am rededicating myself to making sure that my husband and boys know and feel that I love them.
Number Three: Keep writing and publishing the things I like to write, and also the things I like to read. If I like to read certain types of stories, then others probably do too. I also want to make sure that I support and help other writers as well. I've received so much help I want to pay it back.
Number Four: This is the harder one; to get moving more. I've set up a walking and bicycling plan for the new year that I intend to keep up. My poor old joints are telling me that the life of a writer is a good one for my brain, but hard on my body. I need to shake things up, including my booty once in awhile. I'm also going to start incorporating some meatless meals into my menu plans along with more fish. I'm actually excited to make these changes.
And that's it. I'm going to continue doing the things that I have been doing, but be more dilligent and faithful in that regard. And to move more and improve some menu ideas for myself and my family. No big, earth shattering changes in my life, just quiet, small steps that make big changes in my heart and soul. We've gone through some big challenges this year, and 2012 looks like it's going to hold a few more major upheavals. If I follow the path I'm already on, we should sail through it all intact.
Happy New Year to you all, and many blessings on your heads!
Stan had to work on Christmas Eve, so we waited up until he got home a little after midnight. It was exciting to be up late and celebrate a little with him. After sleeping in a little we got up for some breakfast and presents under the tree. Stan is working Christmas Day as well so we stayed home to spend as much time with him as we could today.
It was a nice morning. So much love and peace; tons of good food and presents that had us all surprised and happy.
The boys found these baskets of goodies on our porch this morning!
Our neighbor, Betsy, never forgets the boys on Christmas.
What a grand surprise!
Christmas breakfast is a feast!
Lefse, bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon,
sour cream coffee cake
cookies, tangerines, egg nog and hot chocolate ....
AJ, in his Santa hat, is ready to get to the presents and see what's waiting!
Stan brought home an English cracker someone from work had given him.
Kevin loved the paper crown inside and models it
with the Dr. Who shirt we gave him for Christmas!
Kevin gave Captain Cool a tie-dyed hat to go with his outfit.
It's a very groovy holiday at the Mullis house!
Merry Christmas to all our family and friends both near and far. We hope this holiday finds you blessed, loved and happy. Wish we were near you and could give you all hugs. Enjoy your day as much as we'll be enjoying ours!
My Irish grandmother believed that on Christmas Eve the Christ child would walk again looking for a place to rest his head. He could come in many forms: your neighbor, a friend, someone from school or church stopping by. You never knew how He would come.
Therefore, she would insist that there be a light on to guide Him (our Christmas lights) and something to eat when he came into your home. In our case, we always had a plate of cookies at the ready, with hot cocoa, juice or milk available.
My grandmother has been gone for many years and I still carry on her old traditions. Our Christmas tree is lit, the lights on the house will turn on at dusk, and a platter of cookies awaits Him should he come to our house.
We went out last night to finish our tour of Christmas lights in the neighborhood. So much fun! We had snow Monday night, so Tuesday night had a very magical and Christmassy feel to it as we drove around, listening to holiday music and checking out the light displays. Here are some pictures!
Yup, the last one is my own little house! Not too flashy, but it's home sweet home! I love how the boys lit up the column on the porch. Wait till you see what we do next year!
Everyone has traditions they keep for the holidays. We have traditional music, decorations, activities and, of course, traditional foods we trot out just for the occassion.
In our house we have a traditional snack mix that we just love. The recipe is from the 1970s, and is devoid of any Chex cereal like most snack mixes use. My mother made it every Christmas and I do too. So, if you want something a little different you might just like this. We sure do!
NUTS & BOLTS
4 cups Cheerios
1-1/2 cups mixed nuts
1-1/2 cups croutons
1 cup pretzel sticks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (powder works just as well)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Heat oven to 275°.
In ungreased 13"x9"x2" pan, mix cereal, nuts, croutons and pretzel sticks. Blend remaining ingredients. Pour over ceral mixture; mix well.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occassionally.
We had Christmas Light Night on Saturday evening, but we didn't get far. After dinner, we went to a church in town that does a "Lights of Christmas" display in their parking lot. You drive through in your car, tune your radio to a special station and you are in for a treat! While you are waiting, and yes--there's always quite a crowd there, they have the trees a lit up and they "dance" in time to the music. Then you go through and see a girl ice skating, a gingerbread house with a dancing gingerbread man, snowmen, elves, and of course Santa Claus.
After all that fun, there are living scenes from the Christmas story, including the wise men, shepherds, the scene from the inn and then the stable with Mary, Joseph and the babe. It's a lovely time.
We're going to finish up Tuesday night, so I'll post pictures of that later!
Our poor van has given up the ghost. My purple mini-van, that we bought when we moved here in 2000, was supposed to go in for a new transmission, but the owner of the shop called and said that he couldn't in "good conscience" fix the transmission for us because so much else was going wrong with it. In total, between $7,000 and $10,000 worth of repairs, which included the transmission. So, after much scrambling about and fretting, we sold the car to a junk yard. Goodbye my sweet "Mom Mobile!"
Yesterday we went out and got a new family car. New to us that is! We found a lovely 2005 Chevrolet Impala that Kevin has dubbed White Lightning! It still feels odd to be driving in it, and it's not quite as comfortable as the van was for me, but it'll be a terrific car for the boys to use to go to school, on dates, etc.
Here are a couple of pictures of the newest addition to the Mullis household!
I finally baked my first batch of Christmas cookies this afternoon! Yay! AJ and I made gingerbread cookies, and he snapped a few pics as we did so. One of the cookie cutters we used was an old one he found from when he was little. It was a dolphin I used to make for their lunches when they were in elementary school, and now we have gingerbread dolphins!
To help usher in this wonderful holiday season, I am publishing here a poem my mother wrote. I think it depicts the warm, happy feelings of Christmas so well that I wanted to share it. My hope is, that at this festive time of year, we will recall all our blessings and those memories of friends and family we hold so dear.
I have made no secret of the fact that I am a full-blown chocolaholic. It's a serious addiction, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Now comes my dilema. Do I make fudge this Christmas?
Should be a no brainer, right? You like chocolate, fudge is chocolate, make the fudge! The problem is my loyalty tends to lie with my Grandmother Hillyard's recipe for Refridgerator Fudge. This fudge you must keep in the fridge. When it's out it gets all soft and squishy. It tastes wonderful, very creamy and luscious. However, you can't really have a small plate of fudge sitting out which, really, isn't that the point? You want it out so you can eat it.
When we were roommates, my friend Beth made some of the old-fashioned fudge and ruined the pot she was cooking it in when she burned it. I scrubbed and soaked the pot for days and finally got it cleaned, only to have her burn another batch of fudge. That time the pot went in the dumpster.
The marshmallow creme fudge is pretty easy to make and is tasty. I've made it before and it came out really well. Good enough to put on plates of Christmas cookies to give away to friends. That's right, I said I gave chocolate away to friends. That's how much I love my friends!
So, the question is to fudge or not to fudge this holiday season? I'm thinking I may just have to do it. My chin is wet with drool just thinking abou it.
We finally used up the last bit of turkey tonight. Stan made enchilladas! He mixed the last of the turkey with sour cream, cheese and cilantro to make turkey enchilladas in green sauce, and then he made cheese enchilladas in red sauce. What a way to say goodbye to our Thanksgiving turkey!
I've published a new Christmas story, and Kevin did the cover for it! I'm so proud of him and his talents. I like the cover a lot. It's charming and whimsical, and I hope it won't be the last one he does for me. Here it is:
Here's a brief synopsis of the story:
Eight-year-old Alexander Billingsworth is having a very bad year. His best friend’s brother told him there was no Santa Claus. Now he sees the holiday as one big lie. That is, until his Grandpa gives him a very special gift that will answer his questions once and for all.
Grandpa's Gift sells for $.99 and is only available right now on Amazon http://amzn.to/rSieHI and on Smashwords http://bit.ly/roRa79 but will soon be available on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo and other online e-book retailers.
We finally completed our indoor decorating! We had a blast. Christmas music, popcorn and boxes and boxes of decorations I've been collecting since I was in my twenties.
Our wreath will greet you when you come to our door!
The inside of our door has a big Santa stocking and jingle bells on the knob.
One of our mangers.
This one is special to me, because it was left on our doorstep a piece at a time.
The doorbell would ring, and we'd go out and find one of the pieces
along with a poem or scripture reference to it.
We never did find out who gave it to us, which also makes it more special.
We have a big selection of snowmen.
Kevin calls it the Snowman Forest!
There's also our rabbit who changes what he holds according to the season.
He's holding a wreath now.
Our other manger, given to us by our Secret Santa, when we were in Willow Glen Ward
in San Jose, California.
The boys were very little, and it was nice because it was wooden and they could play with it.
One of our Santas.
Yes, we have a collection of those as well!
This is supposed to be a tree topper.
I don't know what this is called. Stan's Aunt Barbara gave us this our first Christmas.
You put candles in at the bottom and it makes the paddles turn.
The Christmas sampler my sister Cheryl made
the Christmas after Kevin was born.
The newest addition to our Christmas collection!
I love this cute pillow made by my friends Liz and Claire.
So now you know how we spent our Sunday afternoon. Our house is ready for the holiday now. We still need to get the outside lights and decorations up as well. Then I just need to wrap some presents and get them under the tree and get some cookies baked. Can't wait to get started!
We put up our Christmas tree today. One of the most precious things to go on our tree is our Christmas Star. I love it dearly because my boys made it. They each decorated one side of the star. AJ was 7 and Kevin was 5 when they made it, and the memory of those little boys creating this lovely tree topper lies warm in my heart.
Here is AJ's side of the star!
He was 7 when he designed this!
Kevin was only 5 when he decorated this side of the star!
This star is the most beautiful Christmas Star in the world!
Since Stan and I have been married, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day we get our tree. When we lived in California, we would drive into the Santa Cruz mountains and go to a Christmas tree farm where we would cut our own. We've tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate this experience here in Colorado, and now we just treat ourselves to breakfast and get a tree at the store.
Stan is working a 12 hour shift this Saturday, so we moved Christmas Tree Day to today. We went to Einstein's for bagels and hot chocolate, and as a special bonus, Captain Cool accompanied us!
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? To surrender dreams--this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all--to see life as it is and not as it should be.
I have been married for over 27 years to my husband Stan. We have two sons, AJ (26) and Kevin (24). We have two crazy dogs named Jasper and Riley. I love my life, my family and have a strong faith that directs me.
Feel free to comment on my postings and let me know how you feel. I always like making new friends!