Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Dreaming...of a white Christmas in Georgia?

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Yes blog fans... Georgia had a white Christmas this year! The last time I remember a semi white Christmas was December 1993... and flurries were all we had. That Christmas we brought a sweet little baby into the world and surprised the whole Holcombe clan with her unexpected early arrival.  The last time a recorded snow fall was in the 1800's...I don't remember this one! Needless to say our dreams have come true!

 It started snowing yesterday and we awoke this morning to this beautiful landscape of winter white! With all the gifts this year the snow probably has been the most unexpected gift. The white as a reminder of God's ability to wash us clean when we except His gift of eternal life. 

Christmas can be a mind boggling thing for a mom of many. Gift buying and extra meal preparing while juggling all that goes along with raising a large family.These extras can take me away from the most precious moments I could experience...time just sitting with my kids and listening to their hearts. Time of just laughing and reminiscing about their childhood memories and knowing it's because of all this that I do what I do. Time to be still and quiet and take in the beauty of the moment. Like sitting alone at night gazing at the Christmas lights and reminiscing of Christmas past of my own.The smells of the fresh cut trees that take me back to my childhood home and the feel of the heat from the wood stove. Missing my own siblings who live far away...wishing I could reminisce with them. Christmas is for remembering and making new memories!

As my children presented me with their gifts...

I thought of how special each and every gift was.
Each hand written note...each homemade gift...each dime earned to show me how much I meant to them. Each one I will treasure!

I know in my heart my father in heaven took as much time and effort to give me a special gift so very long ago...Jesus! It was me whom He had in whom He loved! 

As this year ends and a new one begins I pray you know how special you are to the father in heaven. How much He loves you and that the gift was a group we can share and reminisce together with. One that we can treasure forever!

Merry Christmas....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Free is always good!

Any idea what this...

and this....

and this ....


That is.... after I stopped at Home Depot and raided their FREE trim bin! I picked up enough to do two wreaths and decorate our mantle. In spite of the sap on my hands and the mess in my laundry room, the free part made it worth all the time and effort. The wire wreaths I bought several years ago and I just reuse them every year. At the end of the season I pull all the branches off the wire and store the wreath for the next season. The fresh smelling wreaths smell so good too!

Any ideas how to get the sap off my hands?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stairway to sore legs...

I have discovered something today...I don't like stairs! Especially these...

Yes...I know these are way too  long for attic steps! Why I decided to get down our Christmas decorations  today in these cold temperatures...I'll never know! Weren't we wearing flip flops last week? Flip Flops,tornadoes and now freezing temperatures...this is Georgia weather for you, all in the same week.

 I really need to get that man of mine to build real steps to my secret hide away our storage area. It would be a great place for my sewing room an extra room. I guess I take after my mama! Put an idea in our heads and we will have walls knocked out and  new rooms built in no time!

So, after climbling those evil stairs several thousand times...we have all our Christmas decorations down gracing our living room floor. These are the before pictures...see all the boxes? That's how many times I climbed and how many days of recovery it will take my legs. Who needs a gym membership?  After my many many trips up and down those stairs balancing boxes on my head while holding the rail with one hand, we are in the decorating mood !  I like the Christmas decor so much I might even leave it up way past ...Valentines Day? Can you tell I'm trying to get out of a good workout?  That's enough time to build those stairs...right?

The kids have been a great help today. I love watching their faces as they look through all our ornaments.  Talking about Christmas past and loved ones who have gone...anticipating our Christmas morning breakfast and that huge...really really huge Holcombe family Christmas. Outside paper ball fight!!!!!!!!!!! I guess I should check with my sister in law about that one? 

I'm off to make my Home Depot shopping list....

and the kids are making their Christmas list....

I guess I better get busy...I have plans to draw decorating to do!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Loaded Potato Soup....For my friends

With cooler weather comes huge pots of soup...well in my house that is! One of our favorites is Loaded Potato Soup. Potatoes,cheese,bacon and green onions....yummmmmmmmmmm! It's a simple meal served with a basket of rolls and a salad. So for your taste buds good pleasure here is the recipe...the great big family wow we have leftovers version.

Loaded Potato Soup:
Soup Base: Ingredients
Velvetta Cheese- 1...1lb loaf-The largest loaf (you can substitute this with shredded cheese...Velvetta just adds to the creaminess of the soup and I do both too) Cut into squares for easy melting
Chicken Stock or Broth- 2...  32 oz boxes
Heavy Cream or Half in Half- 1 ....2quart container/jug
Corn starch for thickening- I use about 1/2 cup whisked with water to form a thick liquid. I don't mix this until I'm ready to put in the soup base.
salt and pepper

Potatoes- 5 lbs washed and cut to a little larger than bite size pieces
I leave the skins on but peeling them is fine too.

Crumbled bacon
Chopped green onions
Shredded cheese

I start with two huge stock pots. The first pot I boil my prepared potatoes to almost(slightly) tender, drain the water and set aside . Over cooking will cause them to fall apart. In the second pot I add my chicken stock,heavy cream, and velvetta cheese. Cook on a medium heat and stir frequently to avoid scorching the milk. Cook until the cheese is melted. Sometimes I do add shredded cheese to the pot for a more cheesy base. Remember you will be adding cheese for a garnish too. I then add my cornstarch mixture and cook until the soup base thickens.You can add more cornstarch mixture if needed...add in 1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with water increments. Depending on how many are eating at our house I will sometimes add milk to increase the amount of the soup base. Sometimes I have to add more cornstarch too. The thickness of the soup base should resemble a thick pancake batter.
Add cooked potatoes to prepared soup base. Stir gently to avoid mashing the potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes and serve. Top with cheese,bacon and green onion. Freeze any leftovers....if you have any!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Journey to a thankful heart...Please and thank you!

Day 30....Manners are not just for kids!

If your a mom...You have probably had the pleasure of teaching your kiddos the glorious task of learning manners. Many times trying to get them to say thank you and you ending up saying it for them. Eventually they catch on and you are free to just smile with pride.

I have lived in the south most of my life. Nothing says manners better than a southern raised child...well most of them. Southerners have even gotten away from teaching their kids manners. As with anything you do, repetition is the key to learning. Same is true for manners...practice makes perfect!

This journey has taught me how lax I have been to show others my appreciation for the things they do to give of themselves. I have always loved to be recognized for my sacrifices...but have failed miserably at the return gesture. As I have been on this journey I have focused more on my please and thank yous. Because of that I have made a wonderful discovery...people are actually surprised to even get a thank you. Many times I have watched them get distracted from what they were doing ...almost as if they were saying "Did she actually tell me thank you?" It's really funny but sad to see their expressions! Have we gotten to the place in society where we feel we deserve to have others serve us? Yes, they may be getting paid for their services. But wouldn't they do a better job if they were encouraged by those two simple words? A little encouragement goes a long way!

 As I continue this venture to put a little smile on others faces and let them know what they do heart will continue to change and grow more thankful.

 Just like memorizing words from a page...manners practiced repetitively will come with age. Thank you Thank you Thank you.......

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. I hope you take something away from this blog and make someone smile!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Journey to a thankful heart...The whispers of my heart

Day 29...The journey is almost over...or is it?

I am thankful  for my God who always hears me.
I never have to shout.
 I never have to repeat myself.
 I never have to wave my hands in front of him...except to praise him!
 He loves me and patiently waits to listen to the whispers of my heart!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Journey To A Thankful Heart....Happy Birthday Lil Sis!

Day 27...I missed due to my need to clean house...I am still on the journey and thankful for what God is teaching me.

Day 28...I am thankful for my little sisters!

The one in the middle is our mama

Today is my little sister's birthday. I can still remember our parents telling us the good news of her expected arrival. I can still remember the waiting of her arrival. I can remember her dark hair and brown eyes...Did somebody make a mistake? My parent's older girls had blonde hair and blue/green eyes! How can they have a child so different from the two they already had? My dad was fair skinned, blonde hair and blue mom has olive skin,brown hair and brown eyes. And boy does she look like my mama!

My dad was hoping for a boy and Kathy is what he got! I don't think he even gave it a second thought once she arrived.  He was just as proud to have her as he would have had a boy. She was his buddy from day one! A true daddy's girl! Now this really caused a problem because Kelly,five years older and the second daughter, who had that she had to share the role!  A role that only lasted 5 years until the death of our dad. But all in all we were his 3 little girls! Sisters forever no matter how many miles apart we are!

Although our childhood was a difficult one...we all survived! Not what we would have planned...but all in God's plan. Learning to take one day at the time and rolling with the punches. Learning to be strong independent women...just like our mama.

Today I can say...I am proud of my little sister. She has grown to be a beautiful woman, loving wife and mama to four great kids! Although we live thousands of miles apart we manage to sneak in a skype or phone call every now and then. Sometimes staying on way too long and laughing until we cry. If only Honduras was closer to Georgia.

Happy Birthday lil sis!  I love and miss you! Maybe I should grab Kelly and fly down for some sister time!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Journey to a thankful heart...Cinderella

Day 26...I am thankful for a house full of daughters!

There's no ugly step-sister here. Just a mom who is throwing out orders faster than a drill Sergent. I have a list so long...yes that list of would make My hubby a grown man cry! I guess my girls might think they have been transported to a time of mean step-mothers and ugly step-sisters...praying their dad  prince charming would rescue them.

Today I bribed my girls to get some chores done...and it worked like a charm! I knew they could clean and get the job done. I guess it sounds really bad to bribe my children to clean our house. But I look at it like this...They are learning basic house keeping skills. So prince charming wherever you are you can thank me later! Now I'm off to the ATM...I have a bribe to pay!

Although we didn't get everything I wanted to get done, I discovered they can clean and do a great job!

Thank you girls...You did a great job!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Journey to a thankful heart...Take 1 and Take 2

Day 25....I'm full!

My day started bright and early to allow time for the bread to rise. I felt like the Dunkin Doughnuts Man... I've got to make the doughnuts bread ... I've got to make the doughnuts bread. I was so busy I didn't even have time to drink my coffee!

Because both our families live locally we always eat Thanksgiving twice within a 3 hour span! Yes I am full! I may never eat again...except I have a ton of left overs in our fridge...Maybe another Thanksgiving meal?

Below are a few pictures from today. I'll post more tomorrow...right now sleep is calling my name!

My man....

Grandaughters being silly....

Grandaughters looking through old photos...

My mama and youngest daughter...

Skyping with cousins in Honduras....

Today I am thankful for being able to share another Fabulous Thanksgiving with my great big family....Twice!

Journey to a thankful heart...The aromas of memories

Day 24...Reflections of Thanksgivings past.

As I read my sister's blog...Click here... this evening about a memory of our grandmother and her love of cooking for our family. I began to think back on what a wonderful grandmother she was and the
yummy food she always prepared. Her cakes were always the very best! I miss her so much! I thank God she was a part of my life!

I wish we had digital cameras when I was a kid. I would love to be able to sit and reminisce of family dinners and awful favorite recipes. Fun times with our cousins and so much food we thought we wouldn't eat for a year. As the years fade so do my memories. Even family traditions have been replaced with the business of the season. Again filling our days with long list of self inflicted expectations.

This evening I found myself baking in the kitchen with a few of our daughters. Some were baking...some were having spitball fights. The one at the helm of the fight...Kenzie the 3 year old! She was laughing so hard and loving shooting those wads of paper at her sisters. Tonight we were making memories and filling our home with the aromas of Thanksgiving present. Tomorrow...oops! I mean Today...We were too busy making spitballs memories to get this posted on time...So today we will enjoy the fruits of all our efforts. We will eat till we can't eat anymore...Our family has two places to go within a 4 hour time span!

As our family grows and our traditions change...I am very thankful for the technology of the digital camera!
Man...I forget to get that spitball fight!

To the women...and men.... who are staying up late and getting up early...Thank you! May you all have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!