Friday, December 30, 2011

Santa, You Spoil Me...


The best gifts come from the heart...
Hubby knows I am in love with Vintage Dress Forms, 
and they are nearly impossible to find.

Or, so I thought...
but Hubby surprised me with this little sweetie.

Maybe for my dresser, maybe for my bathroom vanity...
But I just know she'll be perfect, no matter where she sits.

From our daughters,
this luxurious ivory scarf...so elegant, so versatile.

(Might I point out that it is raining in South Dakota, in December...
...and that's unheard of!)

 Also from the girls, a beautiful set of stemware...
eight sparkling crystal wine glasses.

It seems the set we got for our wedding, 30 years ago,
is no longer a complete set.

 Velvet-covered hangers from my Sister in Law...

Glamorous bracelet from my Mother in Law...

And not one, but two magazine subscriptions.
I feel like royalty!

 In my stocking...
Lady Gaga CDs,
Lancome Juicy Tubes,
and Dunkin' Donuts Coffee.

It's the best tasting coffee, hands down.


This is from a co-teacher and friend...our classrooms are side by side...
we both understand that somedays, you just need instant dinner!


...And from my students...
I should remind you that, while elementary teachers always get gifts,
high school teachers, not so often.

This year I was remembered by some very thoughtful young adults.
Brooke, the chocolates may be gone in a month,
but the handwritten note will be with my keepsakes forever.

Lillie, your sweet note has a spot in my keepsake box too...
And check out these coffee mugs.
One for my car, and
the chalk board mug allows me to write a different message everyday.

Just kidding!

The biggest surprise of all came from my senior super study...
(that's just our name for home room)
I'm not so sure when they pulled this off,
as they are only together once a week.

A basket of spa products...
...a wonderful gift.
But there's more...

What a treat!

And their handwritten notes...
priceless!


It was a special Christmas, that's for sure.
Thank you, family, friends and students.

I hope Santa was good to you, too.

Take care,
~Natalie

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Was Santa Good to You? And a recipe for Elegant Wild Rice Soup...our Christmas Eve Tradition

Lucy loves to lay under the Christmas tree when the lights are on.
I think she looks a little disturbed that there is no longer a place for her there.

Oh, and do you notice how the tree is tilting to the left?
That would be Callie trying to climb up into the branches.
Some of you remember this scene from two years ago.
(Yes, those are new shatter-proof ornaments.)

My best Christmas gift was having our family around our dining room table.
(My mother can no longer travel, so we did miss her this Christmas eve.)

Every year we go to church together and return home for soup and appetizers.
This is our family's favorite.

Elegant Wild Rice Soup
1 cup wild rice
3 cups water

6 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. flour
3 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup minced ham,chicken or turkey
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup vermouth
1 cup half and half

Bring rice and water to boil. Simmer 45 minutes.
Melt butter, saute onion. Blend in flour, gradually stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Add remaining soup ingredients and heat through.

This year, due to a shortage on time, I purchased the cans of cooked wild rice...plus they were on sale and less expensive. Wow, is that a time saver!
Instead of using ham this year, I used left-over turkey from our noon meal.
Hubby said he liked it better...less salty...

While Emily was preparing the soup,
I prepared the TGIF Baked Potato Skins. I just have to make them every year, as the red and green look like Christmas...plus they are sooo yummy!


I received some very special gifts from my family and students.
I'm waiting for some sunshine to take photos.
(I can't wait to show you.)

What are your family traditions on Christmas eve?

Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas ~


Wishing you the joy of family,
The happiness of friends,
And the love of Christmas.

Take care,
~Natalie

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday Mail Call ~ Secret Sister Revealed

My Christmas package arrived... I could hardly stand the suspense...
My Secret Sister has been sending me goodies since last March.

Always packaged to prim perfection,
with tissue and twine!

Now... I know she is a busy mom...
but takes the time to make hand stitched goodies.

Prim Dollie, Snowman's Hat...

Even a handmade paper pouch for chocolates.
(With a reusable shopping bag...how does she know me so well?)

The highlight was this handmade snowman.
In his right hand a prim Christmas tree...

And in his left hand,
a prim Christmas stocking...

I think I am in love!

Thank you, Allison.

Isn't he just adorable?!


Take care,
~Natalie

Gallivanting & a Thought that makes me Sad

Friends, you are all so caring with your comments and emails to cheer me...
Also for your expressions of concern for my mom...I feel like I should offer a little more explanation...
Just two years ago, my mom was living on her own.
Taking care of herself and her little townhouse.
And yes, that included clearing the snow from her walkway.

She and her gentleman friend went out and about everyday.
She would say they were gallivanting.

Gallivanting to the St. Olaf Church activities...to the VFW events honoring WWII Vets...
and their favorite was to go to Mr. and Mrs. J's for a bowl of soup.

She went to the meetings for Senior Citizens, WELCA, and Eastern Star...
She loves family and is very proud of all of her nieces and nephews...
and was always pleased to be included in family gatherings.

And every. single. day (weather permitting) she went to visit the elderly.
At Heartland Care, at the Odd Fellows home, at Mercy Hospital...
sometimes she would travel out of town to visit her friends.
She was honored at the RSVP spring banquet for visiting with the elderly.
I asked her,"Mom, since you are 88, how old are the elderly?"

Then she would say.
"I shouldn't spend so much time gallivanting when I have work to do."

But now...she is elderly, she is a shut-in.
She doesn't see well, she doesn't hear well.
She is frustrated. She is confused.

She is lonesome.
And does she have visiters?
Few and far between.

This is the thought that makes me sad.

Mom, the days you spent gallivanting, were hours well spent.
I'm pretty sure you made someone's day.

Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bad Blogger Award...

Yes...I did nominate myself last week...
...for some reason, lately, nothing seems blog worthy.
I've posted very little...I've commented very little...
...And I don't like it very much.


I have always tried to keep my blog a friendly, positive place to visit...
and I'm not really feeling so positive right now.
Kinda down...pretty flat...sorta sad...
In fact, I cried on the way to work last week....twice...

Words can't express why I'm feeling this way...
it's a little bit of everything...a whole lot of nothing...

But, for starters,
1. I don't think my mom is doing very well right now...

2. We have implemented a new program at school, which has caused me much frustration...

3. My house is a mess and I can't seem to find the time or energy to do something about it...

4. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (which means Christmas is not). 
And yes, I feel guilty for saying that...

5.  Oh, and I'm going to need to go to the dentist, as a filling fell out and part of my tooth chipped away...

Anyway...

Thanks for listening to me, everyone.
Tomorrow is Monday...the start of a fresh new week.

And for me, 
I will be working on a fresh new attitude.

Take care,
~Natalie

Monday, December 5, 2011

Old Fashioned Holiday Open House in the Farmhouse...and Bad Blogger Award

The folks in the Old Farmhouse are hosting an
old Fashioned Holiday Open House
December 5 - 9

Visit my Tins and Treasures Etsy shop this week 
and receive 10% off your purchase with coupon code
OFGHOH
Plus, anyone who purchases an item this week from my shop, will have their name 
entered into a drawing for a door prize.

The special offers in each shop may vary
from price discounts to free shipping.

Happy Holidays!

Take care,
~Natalie

Celebrating our Youngest Grandchild ~This Little Princess is now Two

This little girl had family and friends around her to celebrate her special day. After swimming, a little naptime, and a nice dinner, she op...