Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014 ... Hello 2015

I wish all of you and yours all the 
joy and happiness
 your hearts desire in 2015.

Hooray for the start of new year ~
Another chance for all things 
to become right!

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

At the market

At the farmer's market the other day ... one of the vendors was selling these ...

Wished I'd gotten a bunch for the house ...
next time.

Is there a favorite item at the market you like getting for your home?

Monday, December 29, 2014

most influential person ... thought-provoking

I found this on a dear friend's Pinterest page today ,,, I found it incredibly moving.
No matter your faith ~ or none at all ~ this could be part of anyone's life ...
and it isn't limited to only women of the world ... 
many men are belong as well ...

I realize how blessed I have been by so many people whose aid or help 
I took for granted ... how small of me ... and how great of them.
Doesn't matter your faith ... looking back, many of those who helped me
were of faiths vastly different from my own. 

Wishing all of you a Happy 2015!

Cat-sitting Harley

I'm kitty-sitting Harley again while his pet human is in Berlin with family for the weekend ...

He has grown a lot in the last few months ... 
Harley keeps wrapping and weaving himself around my legs ...

Love having a cat in the house again ... even though he keeps trying to run out the door every time it is open ...


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finished my other major organizing project -- Hurray!!

 Taking advantage of DH's deployment to get some projects done that are inconvenient to do while he is around ... so much easier to be able to pull apart a room or and and leave everything out for a day or two (or four ... snicker) while sorting, purging and re-arranging into a more user-friendly layout.

This is the after photographs of my latest project ... our pantry 
(still have to finish the bottle shelf) ...

                                         This is what I started with ... ick!

With a new year starting soon ~ is there a project you want to start on?    

Last year's Christmas gift from my son

Don't think I ever shared one of the great gifts my son gave me last Christmas ... 
Tried hanging it on the door ... 
but the adhesive hook we put on the door keeps pulling free and crashing to the floor ...

Since I don't want this damaged or destroyed ..we display it in our entryway ...
Isn't it terrific??  
I just love it!!
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful son!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fantastic, Delish, Wonderful Chicken Pot Pie

I've been experimenting a lot  in the kitchen ... trying out new recipes.
DH LOVED this one ... went back and had seconds ... and thirds!!
Will make a few changes the next time ... but for the most part, it was great!

4 Tablespoons butter
3 stalks celery, finely chopped (I used 4 ... we like it really veggie)
3 medium carrots, finely chopped (I don't peel them though you can)
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/2-cup flour (can use cornstarch or sauce thickener if you prefer)
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
1/2-cup frozen peas, thawed (think I used a full cup worth)
1 teaspoon thyme (will make it scant next time, a bit too much this time)
1 teaspoon salt (will omit this next time ... it was a bit too salty for us)
1/2-teaspoon pepper
biscuits for topping (original recipe uses a pie crust ... these were on hand)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.  Heat butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion and cook, stirring often until tender (about 8 minutes).  Add flour, stir until smooth (since I used a sauce thickener, I waited to add toward the end).  Add chicken broth and granules, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.   Reduce heat and stir in cream.  (This is where I added the sauce thickener) Cook stirring often until thickened.  Add chicken, thawed peas and seasonings.

Pour mixture into a 9x13-inch pan coated with cooking spray (original recipe suggested using a deep-dish pie pan).  Top with either the biscuits (I cut them in half, makes serving it easier) or the pie crust. 

Bake 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and filling is bubbling.  

Cool 10 minutes or so before eating ... we couldn't wait that long!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Snowy days ..

Recent weather ...

Our table and terrace ...

                              Enjoy!   Holly

Maybe this should be our tree ...   

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Success! Empty Spaces!

Look!  Open space!
Hooray!  Have got the armoire and the side boy purged out and re-arranged.  Have released so many things from our home ... and I have to wonder why I acquired many of them.  Feels great to have reduced a wee bit of my clutter ...
 it's almost a physical feeling of lightness ...

Now I want to find other things I can release from our lives ... and our home ...


 Check out all the open space!  Now to keep from re-filling it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cleaning and organizing

DH is deployed right now ... 
so I've been working on some 
long-overdue cleaning and 
purging.  Miss him bunches ... 
but when he's home, I can't empty
 cupboards and bins and leave 
the contents scattered about
while going through the piles 
to keep the items we want and donate or toss what no longer fits in our lives.

Over the last week, I've been going through the three main storage places in our home ... an armoire, a side buffet and a curtained off section of a dead-end hallway.  Should have taken pictures before I started ... but oh well... all three were PACKED TO THE GILLS!!


 Almost done with all the piles ... only a couple items left to deal with ... tomorrow I'll post what the armoire and side boy look like now.

DH will be so surprised (at least I think he will) when he comes home and sees there is actually some empty space in the three storage areas!  I sold a lot of it at fire-sale prices ... the space and having the unwanted items (most are still in like new condition) go away was more important than getting a lot of money for them.   What went away was my stuff ... I know better than to get rid of anything of DH's without his approval.

Are there any projects you have been working on lately?  I have several others I have been working on ... but this one has been a priority for me.   


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Caught by a cat ?! ?!

We cat-sat for our neighbor recently ...
it was nice having a cat in the house again ...

it's been a year since our Siamese passed away ...
Harley is only about 4 months old ...
he likes to play ... A LOT !!!

Wandered into the bathroom, half asleep ... nightlight on ...
only to see a pair of yellow, glowing eyeballs staring from the sink ... 

... kitty laughter fills the room ...
Could you live down being laughed at by a cat?? 
I can't .... (sigh) ....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Have you ever put Christmas trees outside your windows?

I've seen lots of trees that are placed so that they can easily be seen through the windows ... but I don't recall ever seeing trees hung outside a window.   DH and I saw this recently in a nearby town ... the owner was still hanging and decorating them while we were shopping in the street below.

The branches on the side closest to the window are trimmed off and used elsewhere.

So much fun to see how other people do things ... not just Christmas, but all through the year ...  

People are people ... and we can all learn from one another.    Holly


Thursday, December 4, 2014

first snow of the season

First snow of the year fell yesterday ...   

Winter is here ...


... the last of the Christmas gifts are ready to go out!

Christmas cards have all been mailed ... most of the gifts have also gone out.  
It's a nice benefit to DH's deployment ~ many things were done well ahead of schedule. 

Of course, I haven't decorated our home this year ... other than putting out the Advent calendar and our Moravian Star.  

These are the last two gifts to go out ... the two relatives these are going to don't read my blog (and my son already has his gift) ... so I can share this with you.   
It's my simple version of this pin:

Was hoping to get a box from the local pizza place ...
 but that's didn't work out (rats!).

Will express-mail them tomorrow when I go grocery shopping ... then I will be done!!

Now I can just relax and enjoy the season
     ... and watch the snow fall....


Getting a jump start on New Year projects

My dear husband is currently deployed ... so I am home, alone and while I am getting out a bit to enjoy the German Christmas season ... for the most part, I am working on projects and purging out my clutter (and I seem to still have quite a bit even with all the de-cluttering and purging I have done over the last two years).

While roaming around the web today, I ran across this link ...

A lot of times I don't know quite where to start .. or I have a limited amount of time (15 minutes, half-hour,  maybe even just five) and while I want to do something productive, am stymied how best to spend that time ... this link has a great list of things to toss, purge, donate or otherwise exile from my home so I don't have to try and come up with ideas (if I don't already have "stuff" screaming "let me GO!!").  
I will be adding this list into my Home "Flight Control" binder (that is a long-term work in progress ... but I hope it will be finalized by early next year so I can have it printed off.
Yes ... I am old-school enough to prefer a "printed on paper" list of routine, home maintenance tasks and suggestions.  Having a known maintenance cycle of projects and upkeep will let me take care of most things preventatively ... love that concept!!

Here's to chipping away at the clutter and my projects .... would love to hear your ideas for keeping your life in control.  Please share what works for you.

Back into the dimly, dark corners to see what I can find!!   

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fields of Gold from last summer

At the edge of our village, one farmer was growing sunflowers ... 
and hay of course ... lots of farmers grow hay here .....

DH and I walked past this on one of our longer walks ...

These sunflowers were only about 5-feet tall 
with flowers about six-inches petal tip to petal tip ...
Golden flowers basking in the sunny rays ...
Pretty sight ... one to treasure in my memory now that winter is nearly here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

gotta love it!!

A friend sent me this on Thanksgiving... just had to share 
(okay... didn't HAVE to ... but I'm going to anyhow)

Don't know who the creator is so I can give him/her credit for this ... 
he/she has a great sense of humor and imagination!

Smiles!!   Enjoy your day ~  Holly


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cool hair!!

St Wendel hosted a magician's fest recently ...
lots of magicians circling the church ...
some good, some not so good ...
This gentleman and his partner were fantastic!!
Could have watched the two of them all day long ...