This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How we rung in the new year...

Happy New Year to all of you! Blogger finally started working, so I was able to finish my post. This is how we celebrated our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve Eric and I drove into the big city for two important dates!
First we went to my mother-in-law's assisted living facility...
...where we found Jim and Alice watching the big Duck basketball game. We brought four crystal wine glasses and.....
....a bottle of champagne!
We had a little Happy New Year toast with them.
This was such a small little spontaneous thing we did, but it was fun and meant a lot to Alice.
It was cozy and sweet.
A year ago Alice was still walking on her own, albeit a little unsteady, and I would have never guessed that she would have declined so rapidly that in a year she would need to be living in an assisted living facility. The good news is, she has adjusted quite nicely here and it's only a few miles from their home where Jim is still living, so he can visit her every day, sometimes a couple of times a day. I like it that he was there watching the ballgame with her. It was fun to have a glass of bubbly with them for New Years!
After that we went to this cute little house and....
....this handsome guy greeted us!
It's Mackenzie and Brittany's house!
They invited us over for a New Year's Eve dinner!
Her father, Mo, was here visiting from California and he joined us.
Cameron joined us too! Grayson was out of town and Hayden was working, so they could not be with us.
Mo just bought a summer house on the Oregon coast and he's showing Eric some of the photos.  We are so happy that Brittany will have her Dad living in the same state! They will be able to see each other more often, which is so wonderful!
Brittany made a delicious dinner! She is such an amazing girl!
She made pulled pork sandwiches, homemade coleslaw, fruit salad and tater tots! It was marvelous!
This is their, uh hum, shall we say "stocky" cat! He's not overweight, he's under tall! hee hee! His name is Krammer and he such a sweetheart of a cat.
Their home is so pretty and cozy.
Mo brought Mackenzie these two cool miniature statues! There's a synthesizer guy and....
......a drummer. They are so cool! They are perfect in their music studio!
Here's Brittany holding their other kitty, Cosmo (They named their cats from the Seinfeld show after Cosmo Krammer). He's a bit shy, but he's sweet too. We had such a lovely meal and evening with these guys, but we didn't ring in the new year with them, we were headed over to a party with a group of friends of ours.
We drove back home to our little town and went over to our friends house where they have a New Year's party every year.
It was at Jerry and Teresa's house. I love her decorations!
They still had their tree up. Isn't it pretty!
I love their fireplace mantle and I love that big yellow dog laying in the back!
It's a tradition for them to have a piƱata for the kids.
They were all so darling!
This is Minnie! She's Teresa's grandmother and she's a doll! She's 97 years old and always comes to these parties. I can't believe she stays up until midnight with us! She's my role model. She's very active and bright and is still so active. Last year at the new year's party she was dancing!  I love the fact that she wants to do fun things like stay up until midnight to ring in the New Year!
Teresa and Minnie waiting until midnight!
We all gathered in the living room to watch the ball drop in Time's Square! 3, 2, 1.....Happy New Year everybody!
While we were celebrating last night, we got a phone call from Grayson. He told us that his Jeep broke down at the coast while he was 4-wheeling. He was stuck there and needed Eric's help bringing a trailer down and towing him home. My husband is a true hero. He doesn't even hesitate, he always helps our boys when they are in need. So, on New Year's day, he got up early, loaded up tools,  headed out to go get a trailer and then he went to the coast to pick up Grayson and his broken down Jeep.
I almost went with Eric, but then after much discussion and we realized that the truck would be full of guys on the way back home, I decided to stay home. I had things I wanted to do anyway, like cook blacked-eyed peas!!! A few days before New Year's I heard that it's a tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New year's day to have prosperity the whole next year. I am not superstitious, but I do think that traditions are fun, so I thought this sounded like a fun thing to try!
The dried peas were much cheaper than the canned, so I decided to try them. In order to use them though, you must soak them for six hours.
I placed them in a pot of water at 9:44 am. They need to soak for at least six hours.
The kids were all coming over for dinner, so I put a ham in the crock pot to slowly cook all day.
After that Hayden and I sat down and completed his FASFA application for financial aid for college. They open up the applications on 1/1/12 at midnight for the 2012-2013 college year. The sooner you turn in your application the better your chances are in receiving financial aid. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and I was soooo relieved to get it done! Hayden had to work at 2:00, so it was so nice to get this done in the morning!
I had a fun and relaxing day. I cleaned up the house and cooked a lot , all the while watching my new DVD series Murder She Wrote! The beans have been soaking for 6 hours, but they are still hard.
I think I will boil them for ten minutes and see if that speeds up the process.
I also made a spice cake for dessert!
Meanwhile, Eric was at the coast rescuing our son! Grayson sent this picture from his phone.
I boiled the beans and they did finally get soft.
The guys finally got home safe and sound.
What an ordeal! I'm glad that Eric got to have fun while he was over there though. He took a quad with him and they all went riding on the sand dunes for a few hours before they came back home.
After dropping Eric off, Grayson took the truck, trailer and Jeep back to his house. He will borrow our truck until he gets the Jeep repaired. I found out later that this really was a blessing in disguise. God is always watching over us! The Jeep's drive line broke and if this happened out on the freeway, he would have crashed, possibly getting seriously injured, injuring someone else and more than likely totally his Jeep. Because it broke down in the sand, it just stopped where it was, no damage to anybody or anything. Praise God!
Now, back to the black-eyed peas! I drained the beans and rinsed them. They made kind of a mess and they smell funny! I hope they will taste good!
I cut up some fresh veggies: carrots, celery, onion, red peppers, green peppers and yellow peppers and sauteed them in olive oil with some spices.
Then I added canned stewed tomatoes and green chillies and let it all simmer.
Once the veggies were softened, I mixed them with the black-eyed peas.
So far they are looking pretty good!
I covered them and placed them in the oven at 350 for an hour.
Stock photo, Sharon's homemade potatoes Au Gratin October 2010
In the meantime, I made potatoes Au Gratin, but cheated and made them from a box. For the record though, I did add fresh onion, garlic and shredded cheese and they tasted great! The family ate all of them up and kept saying how good they were! I tell ya, I've made them before from scratch and they are a lot of work and I would say that these boxed potatoes tasted almost the same! My secret is to soak them for 15-20 minutes in the boiling water before mixing them with the cheese mix and baking them. I think this soften the potatoes enough to taste homemade. Also, adding the onion, garlic and extra cheese helped too.
Stock photo April 2011
The kids all came over and we had a nice dinner together. I didn't get any pictures, so I'm using this old photo from April (we didn't sit around the table either like this photo, we ate in the family room while watching a movie). The dinner was great, but I gotta tell ya, the black-eyed peas were not that good; we did not really care for them. I will have to try more recipes for them until I get one that's really delicious.
Eric got this series of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry movies from Hayden for Christmas and we watched, "The Enforcer".  It's classic Clint, but it's pretty graphic with violence and nudity. I thought it was probably directed by someone different than the other Dirty Harry movies and I later goggled it and I was right. We thought it was okay, but not as good as some of the others; it certainly did not need the gratuitous nudity!
We had the cake for dessert and it was yummy.
We had a great New Years! I hope you did too and I hope that 2012 will be wonderful for all of you!

I know Christmas is over, but I am going to be publishing a few more Christmas posts the remainder of the week to wrap up our Christmas season here at Rose of Sharon Garden. Hope you have a terrific day! 

"Direct my footsteps according to Your word. Let no sin rule over me." Psalm 119:133

Hugs, Sharon


jen said...

I don't stop comment here as often as I should. I just want to thank you so much for being such a good role model as a mother, wife Dtr , Dtr in law mum in law !
I enjoy reading your blog so much and it is such bright read daily for me. I have a young son and love reading about your life with sons.

All the best to you and your family in the new year !
Jennifer in Canada

Stephanie said...

What a great way to spend NYW ! I love love love reading your blog, it always brings a smile to my face, thank you ! Happy New Year, New Life, New Health !

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