Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The scent of Christmas

This is a very easy potpourri to throw together in a bowl. I have my hubby save his orange peels from breakfast for a few days, I just tear the peels into pieces and let them dry overnight. Then I throw in a few tablespoons of whole allspice, whole cloves, whole star anise, a few chopped up (with a hammer) whole nutmegs, several cinnamon sticks and a vanilla bean chopped up. I added a few cranberries to add some color. I put it in a bowl...it looks and smells pretty as a potpourri.

You can also bag up some scoops to give away as a gift. You can buy those cute cellophane bags...this is just a baggie, but it works. My favorite way of using this is to simmer it. You can put a few scoops in a pan of water on the stove or put the pan in the oven at 200 degrees. Keep adding water to the pan. After several days of brewing this, it's best to throw away the used spices, clean up the pan and start over.

I have a small electric thing like a mini crockpot that I use for this. I keep it on my countertop and keep adding water...poor little crock needs some now, I think. I usually try to keep water to the top of it. I have done this for years, I usually start the simmering right after Thanksgiving. Boy, it sure makes my house smell like Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The halls...

...are officially decked! At least from the decorating aspect.

Brenda made me this wreath...she makes a lot of them to give away as Christmas gifts. Love it!

This is our tree. The only thing missing is the popcorn garlands, which Kayden brought to my attention right away, but it just didn't happen this year. If you look closely, you'll see the Polar Express train around the tree...more on that later!

This is the manger scene we had at our house when I was growing up. I did buy a new stable a couple of years ago, but all the other pieces are still there. I do have a Fisher Price one in the sitting room by the tree for the boys to play with and act out the nativity story.

I did this little Christmas craft with the boys the other night. We used to make these in school too, when I was teaching. I did it to work on patterns. It's just putting bead things on a pipe cleaner. When we did it, I did two red, two white, etc. on mine. Kayden wanted to do red, white, red, white etc. and he really took his time. This is Perrin's. He started out doing one like mine, then suddenly didn't care...but I think it still looks cute!

I have these gingerbread cookies on all my windows. I made them many years ago, real gingerbread dough, raisins and cinnamon buttons. Then I dipped them in wax and they have been preserved ever since. Except when Kayden was two, he took a bit out of one, thinking it was a cookie of course. He spit it out pretty quickly!

My fireplace. I made the stockings when my kids were little. The little boys stockings are in a different place, hanging on a cupboard. The wreath above the tree has lights on it. I didn't get it in the picture.

This is just a large tin with fresh pine, berries and lights by the fireplace.

I got this idea last weekend when I went on a local Christmas tour of homes. (Thank you Karlene for the idea!) So I came right home and did it. The bottom "snow" is Epsom salts, then cranberries and a candle. I have two holly bushes outside so I keep cutting fresh holly every week. The holly berries look so pretty! The little stars are cinnamon/applesauce ornaments I made and dried. It makes the house smell good and I just sprinkle them around wherever.

These are just some old graters I have and I put a candle under each and they're just on a wooden cutting board. Nice little glow when they're lit in the evening! This table is in the middle of my kitchen.

I have several Christmas cookbooks in a basket on my Hoosier cupboard in the kitchen. This cupboard has a gingerbread/holly theme.

This is the first shelf on the Hoosier.

A closeup of the ginger guys.

The little tree has applesauce/cinnamon ginger boy ornaments that I made with the stars.

This little Who house (you know, the Grinch movie and Whoville) I have on my window shelf over my sink. I bought it at Walmart for a few dollars after Christmas last year. I kept it in the box and wrappings and I think it's adorable. It was like one of those kits you put together, only it was already together. I love how the windows are all recessed.

Obviously jars of candy on my counter...

A small tree in the corner of our dining room table.

And my friend Audrey stopped in with this BLUE poinsetta a couple of days ago. I had never seen blue ones before...so pretty!

This is in our mudroom off of our garage, where we hang our coats and take off our shoes. I made the tree picture several years ago.

This is hanging in our hallway...I made this too when I did the tree.

And now we are back to the Polar Express. It really is a fun thing! We just got it last week. We've read the book and now they want to see the movie.

They've been going a good job sharing...so far. They're having lots of fun with it! I love Christmas! Fa la la la la la la la la

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Adventure

Last Saturday evening, we took the boys to this local event called Journey to the Inn. The weather wasn't too cold but there was a lot of walking and different stops. I knew it would be tiring for me, but also fun! The first stop was where we had to register...like Mary and Joseph did. At each stop, the people were dressed up like Bible times. Next, we moved on to see King Herod. We went in a room in small groups and we were told to say we are looking for the newborn king. Well, King Herod yelled that HE was the only king...and nobody will replace him! Oh dear...Perrin instantly started crying! It was realistic and scary. I hadn't expected that! We rushed them out of there to calm him down and explain it. Kayden didn't cry, but said his hands turned into claws because he was angry at King Herod. Oh boy, traumatic! Our next stop was the Inn in town. The innkeeper said there is no room, but we can warm ourselves by the fire for a bit, which we did. When we left there, we soon came upon some shepherds, their sheep and angels. On the other side of the road were the wisemen, who showed us their gifts for baby Jesus. Kayden said we'd better hurry up and find him before that bad king does...he aaid we need a shortcut. We ended up driving to the Amish Farm where they were taking "census" of people and there was a star above the large barn. We parked in the parking lot and then got on a horse drawn wagon, which took us to the barn. Inside was a live nativity set, with animals and angels in the loft. There was a choir singing. It was nicely set up and the kids could pet the animals. When we were finished there, we walked a candlelit path to the house, where there were cookies, cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. Then back to the wagon, car and home. I had read the nativity story to them and we acted it out with our little Fisher Price set when we got home. They got into that and relived the whole King Herod trauma again. All in all, a fun Christmas adventure! I only took a couple of pictures...I forgot I even had my camera along and my memory card was nearly full, so this is all I took.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I just began a new drug 4 days ago called Aztreonam or Cayston. It is a fairly new drug that is inhaled through a special inhaler. It targets the pseudomonas in lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. The little bottle has to be diluted with the liquid stuff...doesn't take long.It is WAY quicker to do the treatment than the TOBI inhaled med was, plus that caused some hearing nerve damage on me, one of the side effects. This takes barely 90 seconds to do. It has to be done three times a day for 28 days, then off 28, then back on, etc. It is only available in four pharmacies in the US and it's very unbelievably expensive! Thank God for good insurance!! It comes with a NUK baby bottle sterilizer and after each use, the mouth piece has to be taken apart, washed and sterilized. So yes, that is much more time consuming than the actual treatment!! I hope this helps keep those pseudos outa my lungs for awhile. I haven't been feeling great the last couple of weeks, although my pft's only dropped a few points. I've been on a prednisone burst of which I'm starting to taper off of now. It has been helping somewhat. I'm hoping to make it through the Christmas season without having to do IV's. I'm getting my port flushed tomorrow also. I'm very thankful to be able to try this new drug, it's been great seeing new things being developed for this disease!