Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Inconsistent Blogger

What's up with Ginger? She used to be such a good blogger, usually posting daily. Now it seems to be hit or miss with her. What has she been up to?

Oh, I see - she's been up to the top of a ladder, painting all the walls of the new house. Well, that explains it. Lovely hairdo, Ginger. teeheeheehee

Occasionally she can coerce her darling daughters to join her. (Morgan, have you been tasting the paint again?)

(Okay, the girls were strong-armed by Aunt Connie.) This day, with the help of the girls and Aunt Connie, the girls bedrooms and the guest room were all painted with the first coat. That was a big job. Many hands make for light work. Too bad there aren't "many hands" most days. :::hint, hint to the younger crowd:::

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Just Cattin' Around seems THIS should be the title of this blog lately. Loads of kitty pictures. It's time for some horses. Or not. I have another kitty picture. I was playing on the computer and Stewart jumped up behind me. One of the girls picked up the camera and I leaned back and made a goofy face.

But I LOVE Stewart's expression. He KNOWS he's the center of attention. So I made everything else black and white and kept him in color to show his amber eyes.

(Oh - and ignore the mess behind us. Just tell yourself "Ginger has an immaculate house" over and over. It's what I do.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Modeling New Clothes

The girls got quite a number of new outfits for Christmas. Brooke was eager to model them. Morgan a little less so.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And to All a Good Night!

After we had Christmas with Steve's family, then went to the barn and took care of the horses, we were able to come back home and have our own family Christmas. First the stockings.

Steve has traditionally done stockings. The kids EXPECT beef jerky. :^P Just the thought turns my stomach. I have pictures of Morgan eating beef jerky in her PJs at less than two years of age on Christmas morning. But they love it. I do PJs, Steve does BJ! They usually also get a chocolate orange and Hanukkah Gelt. What a Christmas Stocking combo! But this was what I got in MY stocking.....

YUM!!! Much better than beef jerky! Only Stewart didn't think so! He wants some of Morgan's jerky! Badly!

Okay, since I rarely EVER post pictures of myself, I decided I'd post the ones Joshua took this evening. I am in very few pictures and those I am in usually get deleted - by me. It was late, it had been a LOOOONG day, and I am exhausted. But I'll post them anyway. So now Steve can't tell me I post "bad" pictures of him and "only the good ones" of me. These aren't flattering. But, oh well.

I got some new cologne. It was really funny that when I opened the top to sniff it, ALL the poodles came to sniff, too!

Cosette sneezed right after this picture! I guess she didn't like that scent!

Delilah thought it smelled good enough to eat, though!

I was giving her kisses and asked her if she loved me. I could see her smile. See the corner of her mouth going up in a smile? She will do that on command, too! My sweet girl.

Brooke was excited about her new horse poster. I'll have it framed for her new room.

Libby the Christmas Kitty. Actually, she's on the prowl for a bag of beef jerky. When Brooke opened hers, Libby came running from the back of the house like a streak! All the beef jerky will be put in upper cabinets for safe keeping tonight. As for me, I'm hiding my Reeses Cups!

Family Christmas

Steve had to work today, but only an 8-hour shift. The kids and I ate lunch at my in-laws, then we passed the time until Steve got off at 3. Then we went back for gifts with the family.

Joshua and Connie are COVERED in gifts!

My nephew, Zachary, and his adorable girlfriend, Lina.

Cousins Morgan and Grant, waiting patiently for their gifts to be passed around.

Wow! What a bunch of paper and boxes on the floor! Connie and Greg's poor little puppy went into another part of the house before the opening started and she couldn't get through all the paper!

Another Painted Pony for Brooke's collection. I think she has five, so far. This one is Gingerbread Pony.

Brooke was quite funky for Christmas. Her best friend, Christina, gave her the pink hair. They are just clip in extensions, but Brooke loves them. Lina did her makeup. She was stylin' and profilin'. :^)

Joshua, looking all cool in his new hoodie from Nana.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Traditions

On Christmas Eve, as long as my children can remember, we have gone to Steve's sister, Connie's house. She has finger foods (the meatballs and Little Smoky sausages are favorites) and chocolate fondue and loads of other yummy things to eat. There is singing around the piano, one of those fancy digital pianos that can change your voice, so singing The Grinch is always fun. Connie always reads The Cajun Night Before Christmas, complete with fake Cajun accent. Then the kids get their gifts from Connie and Greg.

When we come home, our own little tradition starts. We get to open ONE gift each. And, surprise, it's always new pajamas. I know many families have this tradition, but it's one I didn't have growing up as a child. My bestest friend, Joy, always got pajamas on Christmas Eve and I thought that was the very neatest thing. So when I was pregnant with Joshua, I started the Christmas Eve Pajama Tradition.

This year, while Steve and I were shopping, I told him I needed to get the kids' pajamas. He said, "Look, I need to tell you that the only one who really likes this tradition is YOU. No one else wants pajamas on Christmas Eve."

First, I was shocked. But I didn't quite believe him. The kids always will mention the Pajama Gifts, starting way before December. It is also tradition for me to deny to the very opening of the boxes that I got them pajamas. And the MINUTE we got home from shopping, Morgan asked, "Did you get our Christmas Eve pajamas?" I told her that her Daddy said no one liked the Christmas Eve pajama tradition. Her mouth fell open and she turned on her heel to go find Steve. :^) I guess someone does like Christmas pajamas after all!

So tonight when we got home from Connie's, the kids (and Steve) opened their Christmas pajamas. The second part of this tradition entails pictures IN our new Christmas pajamas in front of the tree. We have no tree this year, and I didn't get Christmas pajamas because Steve's been working every single day for months, but we did take pictures.

No one was cooperating with me and the dogs were attacking Steve in his Grinch pajamas. with me, people.

You guys are getting there, but not quite. Joshua, quit making weird faces. Stewart, stop touching Morgan's face. POODLES, leave Daddy alone!

You're not listening!

Cute one! I unfortunately had to crop out Grinch Daddy. He was being eaten by a Poodle.

Aww....Brooke and Delilah are being so sweet! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crazy Family!!!

Today most of Steve's family went to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. This place has TERRIFIC food for very reasonable prices. And the portions are enormous! I love their shrimp curry (sorry, Cynthia). Brooke had the biggest bowl of soup I had ever seen!

We were missing two nephews, Joshua, and Steve's brother and his wife. Otherwise, all Steve's family (plus one friend - the dark haired girl next to Brooke) was there.

We're a crazy bunch. :^)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Concert

Tonight was the big Christmas Concert for the children's community choir to which Brooke belongs.

Brooke at Nana's before the concert. She looked beautiful, even though she absolutely hates this dress. *I* hate the hem work done on the dress. I paid $25 for it to be hemmed professionally and it started coming out the FIRST TIME she wore it. I've already re-hemmed it twice - one half while sitting on the floor of the girls' bathroom at the community college and the second half while sitting in this very kitchen while Brooke ate before a concert. :::sigh:::

It was held at a new, large church with wonderful acoustics. The choirs (there are three - apprentice, chorus, and chorale - Brooke's in the chorale) sounded beautiful. I forgot my camera at home, so these pictures are from Susie's camera. I didn't know how to turn off the flash, so I couldn't take any pictures during the concert. But here's Morgan and Susie while we were waiting for the concert to start.

And here's Brooke in the lobby of the church after the concert. She was so relieved it was over! The chorale had also just received word that they would be singing at Governor-Elect Bobby Jindal's inauguration in January! Wow! How exciting!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Decorations

My homeschool yahoo group had a "blog challenge" to post pictures of our Christmas decorations. Because of being so busy with the new house, we decided not to put up a tree this year. Brooke and Morgan did dig out our wreath for the door and found some pine garland that they draped over the entertainment center and decorated with a few ornaments. Here's a picture of the ornament I received from the SHS Ornament Exchange. Thanks, Mandy!!!

I've participated for a couple of years and LOVE this. I love receiving lovely ornaments from all over the country and it is fun to pull them out and remember the giver year after year.

I decided I'd take some pictures of my mother-in-law's decorations. She has three trees. I photographed two of them. This is the one in the living room.

It is decorated with Victorian dolls, old world Santas, roses, and other lovely Victorian ornaments.

Her kitchen is done all in gingerbread. There is a whole separate tree in the kitchen with ornaments that look good enough to eat! And the gingerbread theme doesn't stop with the tree - it goes all over the kitchen!

This is a very old buffet that my mother-in-law stripped and painted some years ago. It's a beautiful piece. It's right by the door that comes into the kitchen.

Here are the shelves across from the buffet. See all the gingerbread people and houses here? There are also strands of faux popcorn and cranberries spilling out of a tin.

My mother-in-law even made Christmassy valences a few years ago for the two large windows in the kitchen. They are adorable! She puts large mason jars along the window ledge and fills them with white lights and between each one is a gingerbread person.

Gingerbread is everywhere! I love that she has carried her theme to all the corners of her kitchen. It is so cute!

So these aren't MY decorations, but I get to enjoy them every time I walk next door! And my MIL has done such a better job than I'll ever do. :^)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Poodle Grooming

I used to groom my poodles myself. Then Joshua and the table I used for grooming had an accident. Supposedly Joshua "bumped" the table with the mower. Hmm....the table was wrought iron and the legs were welded to the top. The welds were completely broken. Just a bump with the mower? I think not. I'd be willing to be the table was run over by someone going really, really fast on the 4-wheeler. But I can't prove that and the table wasn't talking. Anyway....

Last year I started bringing the "girls" to groomer. Three standard poodles going to the groomer every four to six weeks = one small car payment each month. So when we drew up our house plans, it included a "grooming room. We call it "the poodle bathroom." It's a full bath with a very long counter, at a table height for grooming comfort. Lots of storage space for gallons of shampoo concentrate and grooming supplies. My first "poodle bathroom" purchase will be a professional dryer.

This month has been a little tight, financially, so I decided to just groom "the girls" myself. In my small bathroom. On the floor. Not optimal, but you do what you must. I started with Delilah and after she was finished thought, "I need to take pictures." Too late for D. Abrial was next in line. Here she is after her bath. She's really a good girl, but bathing doesn't make her ecstatic. Can you tell?

You need to start the grooming process with a clean, dry dog. Above is clean, but definitely NOT dry. She had actually been towel dried before that picture, using two big towels that were soaked when I finished. After an hour and a half of drying with a blow dryer on a medium setting (yes, you read that right - an hour and a half to dry her), this is what she looked like.

Did someone say "Tina Turner?"

As I dry, I also brush and comb. I have two different brushes and one large poodle comb. This is the hair simply after brushing and fluff-drying.

This was about 3/4 of the hair after grooming (I had already tossed the "brushed out" hair).

I didn't do a big clipping. Just face, topknot, feet, tummy, and tail stem. When I finish doing a summer cut and clipping the whole body down to about an inch, the hair will literally fill one of those large "lawn and leaf" bags.

Here's the after picture. See. She really DOES have eyes!

Much happier than the "wet" picture!

I'll have to do a step by step "how to" post another time. When I'm in the new house and can fit a "photographer" in the room with me and the dog!

Oh - and total time to groom her was three hours. I definitely realize that professional groomers make every penny of their money.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

December Hostess Club

This month's hostess club was a week early, because Brooke's choir concert is on 12/14. Here's the December layout:

It was a pretty simple layout, but the embellishments along the side have the outlines embossed, giving it a little "umph." The strip on the left page has the words to a Christmas carol. I give everyone a choice of carols.
These pictures are from a couple of years ago and are of the girls' Christmas piano recital.
Recipe: Paper - Garden Green, Real Red, Whisper White, and the red with stars from a retired Christmas Simply Scrappin' Kit. Stamp Set: Season's Sketches. Inks: Garden Green, Real Red, So Saffron Craft Inks. Accessories: Clear Embossing Powder, star-shaped eyelet.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Souper Supper!

Tonight we had French Onion Soup for supper. It was so warm and it quite hit the spot. I also made Emily's Cheese Biscuits (only I used Pioneer Baking Mix instead of Bisquick). These biscuits disappeared! They were delicious!!!

It may seem strange to make biscuits to go with French Onion Soup. Usually you put a baguette in the soup, top with cheese, and broil until the cheese melts. But I have this aversion to soggy bread, so I always order my French Onion Soup "sans bread" in restaurants. Then I hear the, "but the cheese will sink to the bottom." I don't care. I'll spoon it out. No bread. Yuck. If you like soggy bread, then have a ball. I'll take Emily's biscuits on the side. Thank you, very much.

French Onion Soup

6 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of beef stock
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
Salt and pepper
8 slices of toasted French bread (if you are the "soggy bread in the soup" type)
1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30 minutes. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. (I skip this part. I just ladle into bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.)