December 31, 2013


Remember the credo of Walt Disney~
Think, Believe, Dream, Dare.

Basically, it's all about avoiding the winter blahs,
cabin fever and in general , the
"I've been cooped up inside too long blues!"
 I do this every year after Christmas,
clearing away the rubble and glitter of the season,
and going through all the closets and cupboards
so that everything has a place and everything is in its place. 
Remember that nothing important was ever achieved
without someone's taking a chance.

One of my goals is to create an herb garden

Remember that nobody who ever gave his best regretted it. 
~George Halas.

Today, which is bright and shiny, is still very cold, and
so indoor activities continue to rule my days. 

The sky last night was just lovely. A full moon
glittered the edges of the few clouds, all
silvery, slightly haunting , but still beautiful. 

When you see the sun rising in the morning,
and it makes the winter trees glow rose gold,
 give thanks for this perfect moment in time.

Never forget that regardless of where you are on life's journey,
something unexpected and amazing can lie just around the bend
Wishing you a very
 Happy and Healthy New Year

December 30, 2013


What can you say about the annual school Christmas pageant?
They are sweet, poignant and just plain adorable.....
somehow they always evoke that favorite emotion of laughter through tears!

 Joseph is certainly taking an interesting pose as he listens to the angel speak to Mary

It appears that we have a somewhat "bored" shepherd

The "Stars in the sky on Christmas Eve"  the way to Bethlehem.....
the five year olds.....singing O Holy Night....The Stars Were Brightly Shining....

Just spotted Mom and Dad in the audience....

Ah.....Jack David.....the kid can sing can't he?
I believe he was the one who puked at the end of the class party......
Until next year.......

December 29, 2013


 Friday night comes around and all of the hustle and bustle of the week winds down. School is out for a few days and families can reconnect. This was a Friday night out-to-dinner night in Atlanta. The Divine Miss M had been in a frenzy state of preparing for the Christmas holidays both at home and at Luke's school. From this picture, it looks like all of her dedication is worth while.

The Class Christmas Party 2013
How was the party?

Text Message from Atlanta
"It was like every awesome FRAT party!
Drinks were flowing, pizza was scarfed, music was blaring,
there was someone sitting in the corner crying
and at the end...
someone puked!"

Don't you just love the holidays?

December 28, 2013

Christmas Highlights

It's over! We celebrated Christmas 2013! The planning, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping.....all the preparation we worked tediously on was all worth it! Laughter and smiles were shared!
I love to document the highlights of the occasion! Here are a few of our holiday memories!
 Luke the Duke baking with The Divine Miss M

 Christmas Eve!
 I must say, Santa does a beautiful job in preparing for a little guy
to wake up Christmas morning,
 rub his little eyes, then jump out of bed and
 bound down the stairs with gleeful anticipation!

All is quiet....ready for company!
We simply must find out what happened to those lights!

The Christmas Eve Treasure Hunt! Five clues to find a Christmas Eve surprise! This was one of our family traditions which was started by my darling Daddy. We continued this tradition when our children were very young and they have wonderful memories of this! We have continued the treasure hunt with all of the grandchildren!

Miss Abbie looks pretty delighted with her new "Skookie!"

I was simply too busy to take pictures of the festivities!
Miss Jenn managed to help out and she snapped a few pictures of our party with her I-phone 5! Everything was delish!

The marinated shrimp!
Party Ryes, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Royal Beef Tenderloin with Royal Butter,
Hot Mexicorn Dip, and Darlings favorite cheddar cheese ball with Hot Pepper Jelly!
Nick made the most amazing stuffed jalapenos and Greg prepared the mushrooms!
These were amazingly yummy!
BoBo was spending time upstairs.....he was in "time-out" until he could settle down a bit!
Then it was MOVING DAY! Long awaited.....the new home!
We were so thankful for a warmer, sunny day!
The neighborhood is stunning! Huge acreage and woodland views!
They are going to be so happy here....let the fun times begin and make memories of joy!



I loved this picture!
I was trying to capture the beautiful Golden Retriever sitting on top of the
picnic table surveying his yard and enjoying the warmth of the sun!

The end of the day! Home at last!

December 23, 2013

Cranberry Orange Mimosa’s


Getting Ready to
Sparkle and Shine For 
Your Christmas Eve Gala

Cranberry Orange Mimosa’s
4 cups cranberry juice, chilled
4 cups orange juice
2 (750 ml.) bottles Champagne, chilled
12 slices fresh orange, for garnish
 Fill twelve 12-ounce glasses with ice;
pour 1/3 cup cranberry juice into each glass. Top each serving with 1/3 cup orange juice and about 1/2 cup Champagne.
Garnish with fresh orange slices!

My Christmas Wish For You

That You Keep and Share the Giving Spirit of Christmas in
Your Heart All Year Long

December 21, 2013


The True Meaning of Christmas


Christmas Gift! Christmas Gift Everybody!
~Ferrol Sams 
"Christmas morning did not begin at daybreak but at least two hours before. It began with the thump of children across the bare floors of a hundred year old farmhouse. No adult can sleep through that, no matter how accustomed to the regular night noises, the groans and creaks and sighs of such a house. At first we talked in whispers. "Did he come?" Finally a permissive mother would light a lamp and all Christmas would break loose."

"Sometime in the week before Christmas Miss Mildred bundled us all into her square Chevrolet with quilts to wrap around our legs against the cold and we careened merrily off to Atlanta. If it was bitterly cold, Papa Jim heated bricks on the hearth and gave all the children one as a foot warmer. This added to the excitement, the frenzy, the urgency."

"For my grandfather, I bought the same thing every year. He was such a favored friend that I had absolutely no doubt at all what he liked or how to please him; he got a pound box of chocolate-covered cherries. They cost a quarter and could be found at the Fayetteville drug store."

"Not a single menu for supper of Christmas Eve stands out in my memory. I remember everyone gathering in the parlor before the tree, from Mr. Jim and Miss Sis on down to the smallest child, while we listened to the first sixteen verses of the second chapter of Luke. Then we sang, our mother valiantly trying to keep us all on pitch. "All is Calm, All is Bright." There was a temporary moment of peace, of total tranquility. "Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child." We believed."

"In the daytime, light through the windows reflected the balls and tinsel with the chilling wink of winter. Night was the real time of the tree. That was when it lived completely within the room. For the week Before Christmas, we were allowed to build a fire in the parlor grate every night and at least knock the chill of refrigeration off the tall old room. The mystery of Christmas filled our hearts."

My memories cover six decades and again I am a little child at Christmas!

There are certain traditional recipes that can be served at every Christmas gathering in the South. Hot Fruit Casserole is one of those delicious side dishes that is perfect to serve at both breakfast, along with Sweet Potato Waffles or the holiday dinner along side the smoked ham! My mother-in-law would sometimes add a teaspoon of curry to this recipe to make it her own merry masterpiece. You will want to add this southern classic to your current favorite recipes!

Hot Fruit Casserole
1 (16 ounce) can pears, cut into chinks
1 (16 ounce) can pineapple chunks
1 (16 ounce) can sliced peaches
1 (16 ounce) can plums, whole
2 small bananas, sliced
1 small bottle Maraschino cherries
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 (16 ounce) can applesauce
3 t. brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

 Drain pears, pineapple, peaches, and plums and let stand. Cut bananas and add cherries and bananas to fruit mixture. Combine butter, brown sugar and applesauce. Melt in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a boil and stir constantly. Place drained fruit in a 2 quart casserole dish and pour the hot cooked sauce over the fruit. Sprinkle with the 3 t. of brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes at 300 degrees F.

Estelle’s wishes you all a
Very Merry Christmas and
Blessed New Year


December 20, 2013


Signs of Christmas

The first snow falls softly. Suddenly moonlit children spill across the sidewalks laughing. Give me your red mitten hand. We will join them. The moon will light our faces too. It is time that we learn again the play and the magic of peace in that first snow that falls. ~ Winter Homecoming, Eileen Spinelli

Carols singing, church bells ringing,
 It's Christmastime again.
Wind-a-blowing, hearth fires glowing.
Candles shine in windowpanes.
~Lucille King

She only knew, when morning dawned, that she was safe in bed.
 "It's Christmas! HO!" and merrily she raised her pretty head;
Then, wild with glee, she saw what "dear Old Santa Claus" had done 
And ran to tell the joyful news to each and every one!
 ~Mary Mapes Dodge

I love the Yuletide's radiant things,
The treetop angel's spun-glass wings,
Each scarlet ball and tinseled limb,
The tapers sputtering, soft and dim
~Sadie Stuart Hager

Christmas fills the senses In a most delicious way.
The sight and sound and taste of it
For one full month hold sway.
The smell of cookies baking,
The crunch of sparkling snow,
The eyes of little children
A-shine with hope and glow
~Elizabeth Collier

December gifts....customs, ceremony, celebration, consecration...
come to us wrapped up, not in tissue and ribbons,
but in cherished memories.
~Sarah Beth Breathnach
I LOVE this recipe! It features fresh seasonal cranberries, a packaged cake mix and a slow cooker! It smells heavenly and tastes incredible. I would say its a perfect holiday treat!
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (14 ounce) can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (12 ounce) package of fresh cranberries
1 (16 ounce) package pound cake mix
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
½ t. almond extract

 Lightly grease a 5 quart slow cooker. Stir together the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Pour this mixture into the greased slow cooker. Top with fresh cranberries.

Beat pound cake mix, milk and next two ingredients at low speed of an electric mixer until well blended, about 30 seconds. Beat on low for 2 minutes. Pour batter over cranberries. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours and 10 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker and let cake stand, covered for about 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter. Cut into wedge serving pieces and serve with whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!