Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution Schmesolution

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!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

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 ....
Sooooo good!

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!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

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.

Is your home ready to receive Him tonight?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Light Night, Part 2

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!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Staple in the Mullis House!

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!

Snack Mix

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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Light Night, Part 1

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!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A New Car

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!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So Long and Thanks for All the Sprinkles!

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!

Our gingerbread dolphins!

Cut them out and get them ready for the oven!

Sprinkles!  LOTS of sprinkles!

Now on to the next batch!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Christmas Poem

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.


There's a feeling about Christmas
That happens every year.
Its a special sort of gladness
That steals softly through the air.
It wraps its arms about me,
Till I’m lost in its embrace,
And that gladness pulls my heartstrings
Back to a dear familiar place.
I think of all the Christmases
That I have ever known,
And I am but a child again
On Christmas Eve back home.
There's a smell of wax and polish
Throughout every room.
The window panes are gleaming
And the Christmas tree's a bloom
With colored lights and baubles.
And popcorn chains we made,
Underneath are all the presents
In wrappings bright and gay.
There's a wreath in every window
And on the door as well,
In the kitchen Mama's baking,
It makes a most delightful smell!
There's pumpkin pie and mincemeat,
And fattigmands to fry,
A Christmas cake, plum pudding,
And a turkey standing by
Ready for the stuffing
That's laced with spicy sage.
The cookie jars are bursting
With the goodies Mama made.
It's such a cozy kitchen
As darkness now descends.
The lights go on throughout the house
To guide the Christ Child in,

The cry goes out that "Daddy's home"
We meet him at the door.
He kisses Mama, then hugs us,
And shakes snow on the floor.
"There's more snow coming down,”
He says, and we all rush to see.
It's true! It's snowing! We all laugh
The house is filled with glee
For it is Christmas once again
And what a happy sight
To see the family gathered round
On this very special night.
Then Mama fixes supper,
The table's set by all.
And when the meal is ready,
We come running at her call.
But strangely, no one's hungry
For its just too hard to eat,
We've seen those pretty packages
All wrapped so gay and neat
But, soon the meal is ended,
The kitchen clean and bright.
And Bud has charge of seating
Telling each one where to sit that night.
And now our program's starting.
Kathleen will be first
She sings a song of Christmas
While Jeannette recites a verse.
The clarinet is played by Bud,
Barbara sings another song.
Then I play the piano, and
Daddy sings "O Tannenbaum"
The presents then are given out
Amid soft cries of pleasure.
There's never been a year like this
Its a Christmas we will treasure.


There's such a stack of presents
Beneath this tree of ours.
It takes a while to give them out
Sometimes it seems like hours!
There's bound to be a game for all
In fact there may be several.
We gather in the dining room
And start playing at the youngest level
So the little girls can play with us
Before they go to bed,
They hang their stockings, say their prayers,
And dream of that man in red.
Mama says the Christ Child
Is out walking on this night
To find a place to rest His Head,
And we pray that the light
From our windows will guide Him here,
Our door would open wide,
And from the cold and frosty air,
We'd usher Him inside.
Then we'd tell him how we loved Him
And how we hoped He'd stay.
But, alas, it never happened,
He never found the way
To our house in Nebraska
On those long ago cold days.
Daddy then would tell us
About the Christmas Star
Our thoughts are of the first time
The Wise Men saw it from afar
And how they rode their camels
O'er Judea's dusty plain
Until they reached the stable
Where the precious baby lay.

And this, to me, is Christmas,
The night, the star, the snow,
The Christmas tree, the music,
The songs we sang so long ago,
The preparations getting ready
For this very special Eve,
The shopping and the laughing,
And the packages we leave
Till the very final moment
To slip beneath the tree —
All these precious memories
Are Christmas Eve, back home, to me.

Mary Louise Hillyard

Saturday, December 3, 2011

To Fudge or Not to Fudge

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.

Isn't it beautiful??