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Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Top Books of 2015

My reading goal for 2015 was 100 books! I felt I could do it and I am happy to say that I met my goal on Good Reads. Good Reads has really helped me to keep up with books I have read and it has also introduced me to books I might be interested in reading.  If you are a reader, it is a site well worth looking into in 2016.

I have listed my favorites with number one being the best!

1. A Man Called Ove
2. Go Set a Watchman
3.The Round Ringford Series by Ann Purser
4.Just Show Up
5.Re Jane
6.The Girl on the Train( soon to be a movie!)
7.Desire Lines
8.Pioneer Girl
9.An Appetite for Violets
10.The Best Yes
11.The Death of Santini
12. What Color is Monday?
13.Wild
14. The Day the World Came to Town
15. Orphan Train

I just picked up my first book for 2016...The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. It is the story of the women of Masada, the Jewish fortress of the early Christian Era.  This book is being made into a mini series for television. I believe it will be shown in the spring. I saw a documentary about it on the history channel and it made me curious about the book. I have read the first chapter and it is a book that seems to pull me in so I have high hopes for it.

Enjoy your last hours of 2015...we will spend New Years Eve cheering on the Crimson Tide! Go Bama!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In A Galaxy Far Far Away

Back in 1977 Star Wars was released and like many others, Marvin and I took our younger selves to see this movie everyone was talking about and seeing multiple times.  I have to admit, I am just a semi nerd. I am a Doctor Who fan and I enjoyed the Hobbit but I am not a totally sold out Science Fiction nut.  But Star Wars, way back in the day, caught my imagination in a big way. Frankly, it was like no other movie I had ever seen. The special effects( for their time) were great and the battle between good and evil was well played.   Then I had children and I sort of remember seeing The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi but I could not give you the plot line for those movies. As for the prequels that came out later, I remember that Natalie Portman played Queen Amadala and Liam Neeson was Qui Gon Jin.  So when the news was out about movie number 7 in the Star Wars series I was rather ambivalent.  However after hearing the good reviews, Marvin and I made our way to Huntsville to watch this movie in the nice seats at the Monaco Theater at Bridgestreet.

Well all I can say is WOW...this movie did bring back all the memories I had of the original Star Wars movie. When Han Solo and Chewbaca showed up on the screen, it was like seeing old friends. Princess Leia is now General Organa and she is fighting against her old enemy, the Dark Side, now called The First Order.  The new younger characters, Poe, Finn and Rae are relative newcomers on screen. I had to look up the actors who played these parts on Internet Movie Database and frankly to me they were unknowns but that is how you make money in the movie industry. And I am sure they will be unknowns no longer after appearing in this movie. All three did a great job in their roles.

I will say that after pondering over the movie I did have one or two questions that the movie did not address. Marvin tells me that if they answered all my questions that the movie would have been four hours vs two hours and twenty minutes. And as my questions are not spoilers here they are...1. How did Rey learn to be a pilot? She is a scavenger when we first meet her. 2. How was Poe rescued after his crash early in the movie? So if you have any ideas, please share them with me!!

I am really enjoying this week of leisure at home with Marvin. We did not get up until nine am this morning. That is sleeping in for old people. I see this week as a dress rehearsal for retirement and I think I will like it.  Today I have several projects to work on. I finally caught up with printing all my pictures from October, November and December so I can add them to the grands photo albums. In this digital age, I am doing photo albums for the grands to have some day. The pictures can actually be held in their hands vs seen on a computer. Call me old fashioned but I love a picture book.  I plan to give them their own stack of photo albums when they turn 18.  I hope they will treasure them as a gift from a loving Nana.




Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One More Christmas Post

One last post with pictures from Christmas and I am moving on in to the New Year!!

Here is my big boy wearing his new farm boots. I think he will need them if we ever get out little farm house in Georgia.


Margaret was happy with all her gifts but this puppy was special. I love the sleepy tousel haired look of children on Christmas morning.


Elliott says for get the presents...I want candy out of my stocking.


Baylor got some drums. He loves playing on Uncle Todd's drums when he visits the Roberts fam here in Decatur. Baylor plays them very quietly..no banging but he enjoys them. They will go in his room.


The children also got a TeePee and Baylor takes a moment to enjoy some alone time.


Here is Amelia's crew working on Christmas Cookies.


Christmas morning at the Roberts home.


Kendall rocking some of her new Christmas Clothes.

I put away all my Christmas decorations yesterday. And while my house seems bigger I do miss all the colorful lights and bling. And I got 8000 steps just cleaning and putting away.  In January I try to go room by room and organize, deep clean and redecorate. Redecorating means moving things around, not necessarily purchasing new things. When Amelia was a little girl she loved to redecorate her room. That child would physically move her furniture. I had to finally tell her that she could move her possessions around but the furniture needed to stay in one place.:)

Marvin and I are off to have  a  DATE today. We are seeing Star Wars in Huntsville, eating lunch out and shopping at Bridge Street.  You are never too old to get excited about a DATE.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Back to Blogging

Even when I do not blog for just a few days I miss my routine of sharing with my blogging buddies.  We had a good Christmas but can you believe I did not take a single picture on Christmas afternoon with the kids were here? I am getting tired of using my phone for photos but I am hoping to pick up a battery for my DSL camera when we go to Huntsville tomorrow. We have plans to eat lunch, thanks to a gift card from Ben and Katy and then see Star Wars, thanks to Todd and Amelia.  I do have some pictures to share today thanks to others who were willing to get their cameras out and shoot!


The three Grimmlins on Christmas eve. Katy and Ben said it took many "takes" before getting this one.

Audrey with her great grandmother, Mrs Kim.  I love seeing the older and younger generations together.  I have some of Kendall and Landon on my phone so I will try to download them and post tomorrow.

And a few more from our weekend in Chatsworth...


It is seldom that we get all three of our Grimmlins together in one place.  Of course, I am squinting along with my mini me, Ben.  But this is a good Monet picture.( Looks better from far away!!).

And one of just me and Mar


Thanks to my sis for taking the last two.

So today I start putting things away. I hope to do a bit each day but once I get started I may just go for getting it all back in the attic. I am ready to have my house back in order.   I have some errands to run and there is supposed to be epic rain here again today. Christmas was a sad day for many in the Tennessee River Valley due to flooding.  El Nino has brought warmer temps but it has been wreaking havoc as well with this rain along with tornados.

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas. I am enjoying all the posts and pictures.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

One of my Facebook friends shared this the other day and it really spoke to my heart so I thought I would share it here.

I am going to take a mini blog break to enjoy the holidays with the family. I will be back on Monday with lots of Grands pictures I am sure!  I wish each of my sweet blog friends a very Merry Christmas. I cannot put into words how much you all mean to me. I am blessed by your friendship.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Family Photos

Oh the dreaded family photos...who enjoys having them made? However they are so precious to us as the years go by.  I told my children we were having pictures made, dress as you wish. We did not do matching outfits as Nana did not want to purchase matching clothing for all the grands.:)  I really like a mix of colors and styles. I think that looks more realistic.  So here we go...


This was the best we could do at getting everyone to look and no one's eyes were closed. Baylor is looking down the driveway because my aunt was coming up the driveway in her car just as Scott got ready to snap this one. This is the Marvin Grimm Family minus our two bonus grandsons, Hampton and Hudson.


This is the whole clan including my mom and sisters. I am going to tell Laura that she has to marry her boyfriend, Eron, as he is in the picture too.lol


Charles snapped this picture of our road going in to our farm house site. It was pretty muddy so Charles and Landon stopped here. You can see their shadows. They spent time throwing rocks in the pond while Marvin, Ben, Amelia and Todd walked on in.  Charles said he could hear Pa telling him, "Dont throw rocks in the pond. You will fill it up!"

And here is a close up picture of Audrey since she was not featured in the Okra patch pictures...


She just turned 7 months old! And she is a doll if I say so myself.

Only two more days til Christmas! I think I am ready. I have a few more treats to bake but all my gifts are ready for the Big Day.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Country Christmas

We had a nice weekend in North Georgia celebrating Christmas with my family. We also had some family pictures made by Cousin Scott of Scott Kuhn Photography.  I am going to share some of the children today.


Miss Kendall standing in the okra patch!


Landon


Margaret


Baylor

Elliott

Baby Audrey was too small for this setting but Scott is working on a photo that he can add to these so I can add all six grands to my Nana Wall.

We are blessed to have some good photographers in the family. Aunt Kristi took these two...


Kendall wearing her Matilda Jane outfit from Aunt Lanny.


This is a favorite of mine. Ben and Elliott...so sweet.

We had some group photos made as well. We had so many people in the photograph that it is going to be hard to choose a group shot. Kids are looking away from the camera, adults blinking etc..but as I told my sister, we were all together and we will take what we can get!!:)

One last picture that Kristi took..


Charles was getting his family's picture made when Kristi snapped this one. Amelia told Charles this was BC..Before Charles.  Good Times!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Seeking


My devotion for Advent this week has been about Seeking Jesus....the Risen Lord who came as a baby in a manger and is coming again in power and glory.  Today's devotion suggested spending some time in prayer, preparing our hearts for this holiday that should remind us that Jesus is coming again.

I am taking tomorrow off to be with my family but I will be back on Monday, the Lord willing, as many people used to say.  Now that I think of it, that is an expression that is dying out because our culture has chosen to ignore God. Could that be why our country is in the mess we have today? Something to think about and pray about!!

Have a blessed weekend Friends...the countdown to Christmas begins today!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

MOPs Ornament 2015

Every year our MOPs group makes a Christmas ornament. This year Tiffany came up with an ornament featuring a nativity scene. She used  wooden clothes pins for Mary and Joseph and the peg baby for Jesus. Well when I saw her idea, I asked if I could take home the star and peg baby to make an ornament using some peg people I had in my craft room.  With the permission of our MOPs craft lady, I put the star, twine and peg baby in my purse.

On Monday afternoon, I took some time to paint a peg Mary and Joseph. Baby Jesus is in his white swaddling clothes.  I took a round piece of wood and painted it yellow for a base for my ornament then added a white star. My thinking is the yellow piece is a halo around the blessed family.  I also added a bit of rafia to the bottom for hay and I was finished.  I just love the way it turned out.   I did learn that I should use my glue gun to glue the people to the base before painting their eyes. I had to re do Mary and Joseph's faces and eyes because a strand of glue smeared the black paint I used as their eyes. So if you do this project, paint everything and let it dry before gluing. I was impatient in my haste to get done so I had to lick my calf over as we say in North Georgia.

I think this is one of my favorite ornaments on the tree this year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Stream

Swimming down stream this morning...jump in and join me!!

1. I finally finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. Now I can relax and enjoy preparing all the sweet goodies for Christmas Day. This year we will gather at three in the afternoon on Christmas Day to celebrate. We decided no gifts for the adults this year. We will just enjoy watching the children open their presents. I am doing finger foods for us to nibble on as we visit. I was doing a big Christmas Dinner that no one ate because they had been to the in laws houses for a meal and the kiddos were just too excited to eat.  In stead, I will do a Christmas Eve meal for two and enjoy the left overs.  Traditions are good and I am definitely a traditionalist but sometimes those traditions can be tweaked.

2. One of my favorite places to shop is Tractor Supply. I did finish up some of my Christmas Shopping there yesterday. They really have some unique home decor items, clothes and calendars.  Marvin is a tall man and wears an extra large tall. In the past I have had to order shirts from LL Bean and Lands End to get the right fit for him. However, we have found some nice shirts at Tractor Supply for less than half of what I pay at the preppy stores. They are made of good material and hold up well. So if your budget is limited, check out Tractor Supply for a unique gift or two.

3. YETI...have you heard of these amazing hot/cold cups that are THE Christmas gift this year? I was able to snag one before they disappeared. Apparently they are the "Cabbage Patch Doll of the 80s" in the mania that surrounds them.  I was able to get  a Cabbage Patch Doll for my Amelia back in the day because Aunt Lanny was diligent in searching them out and allowed me to purchase one from her!! Then she gifted Charles one named Stanley. Believe it or not he still has Stanley and now he belongs to Audrey.

4. While I was in Hartselle yesterday I dropped off another Prairie Schooler Sampler to be framed. It is a Winter theme so I will display it on an easel in my kitchen when I put away my Christmas bling.  I am so thankful for Slate Framing and Gallery. They do a great job at a very reasonable price.

5. I wanted to tell some of you that I am having problems posting on your blogs. It seems to be those that are not part of Blogger. It just started last week and it is very frustrating. I am glad you all have Facebook pages so I will post there until I figure out the problem. If anyone has any ideas on solving this problem I would be glad for the advice. Google let me down on this one.

6. Today I will be cooking and cleaning as I am hosting Deborah and Susan for our Christmas lunch tomorrow.  When I count my blessings, I count these two friends twice!

Take some time in these busy days to pause and reflect on the true meaning of the Season. Bishop Robert Barron at Word on Fire has a good Advent Devotion today about the meaning of the Good News.  It blessed my heart and reminded me that the Good News came with a price. You cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Easter too! Have a blessed day Blog Buddies!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Inexpensive Christmas Decor

If you are like me, you sometimes become overwhelmed with all the December bling you see on social media.  Some people are just great at decorating. I copy other's work.( And believe me when I say I NEVER did this in school, just in decorating).  So today I am copying Kelly at Talk of the House, which you can find on my blog roll. I have always liked Kelly's style. She is a lover of RED as I am and she takes ordinary things and kicks them up a notch.  Here is a simple idea I saw on her blog and for about $8 I made it happen at my house.


I found the Santa Mug at Cracker Barrel for $5.99. I am sure they are probably on sale now as Cracker Barrel starts marking down Christmas Decor in the weeks before Christmas. I liked this Santa mug because he looked like an old fashioned Santa. Candy Canes were $1 a box at Walmart. I got Peppermint and Cherry Candy Canes as  the Grands are not peppermint fans. Santa is sitting on my secretary and it makes me smile every time I look at it. Thanks for the inspiration Kelly!!

I have added a new blog to my blog roll, Magnolia Homes.  If you are a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV, you will want to check out their blog. Joanna is my favorite designer on HGTV these days. I like her style and her thought that you should buy things you will have in your home for years.  One of my friends here in Decatur had a chance to visit the Gaines business in Waco and she posted some great photos on Facebook. Now I want to plan a road trip to Waco! Who's with me?

I am off to have breakfast with Deborah this morning.  Mr Henry's makes some good gravy and biscuits and if you are from the south, you know that is a delicacy here!! Then I have some errands to do in Hartselle so I have a full day. I am hoping to finish up my Christmas shopping today so I can enjoy the rest of the Season.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Thank you Autism Society of Alabama

 The Alabama Autism Society made it possible for families dealing with autism to spend Sunday afternoon at the McWane Center in Birmingham. And it was FREE. Katy said all three Grimmlins had a blast there and Ben and Katy were able to let Baylor just enjoy the center. In the past Katy went there with a friend and she found it hard to keep up with Baylor, not to mention the disapproving stares of those who thought Baylor was just misbehaving.   "He doesn't look like he has autism." is a phrase parents of autistic children get so tired of hearing. And when you first see Baylor, you see a cute four year old boy. However if you are around him long, you will note that he is autistic and he responds very differently to everyday situations.  It was so great to see Baylor at the center, playing in  the various areas with curiosity.

Enjoying a good fire...the smock is one he was wearing as he played in the water feature.

Happy Siblings!

Baylor was very interested in the water play. Hey, I think I would enjoy this one!!

One of my favorites of Elliott. This boy loves cars and trucks, so to drive the fire engine was epic.

Trians are fun too.

Let's milk a cow!!

Little brother actually got some milk to come out!!

I am so grateful to the people at the Autism Society for making this a fun afternoon that the whole Grimm family will remember for years to come.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Great Aunts Are GREAT

The other day we opened the front door to find a big package from Aunt Lanny. In it were several Matilda Jane outfits for Kendall, Margaret and Audrey. Kendall tried on her new clothes right away and told me that she wants to wear this dress for Christmas. She tried the dress on over her jeans and boots but hey, that look is cute too. Kendall said she would wear leggings under it. She is a fashionista like her mama. Nana needs Garanimals to make things match!! I am showing my age as Garanimals were clothes for toddlers and young children back when my kiddos were babes.  This line of clothing was made to match and mingle. Now days matchy matchy is so passe.

I look forward to giving Audrey and Margaret's clothes to them next weekend when we gather in Chatsworth for Christmas with the Tankersleys.

We love Aunt Lanny and we appreciate her thoughtfulness and her generosity. Kendall wrote a thank you note to Aunt Lanny right away. She used red and green markers for the note as it was a Christmas gift thank you note.  My grand girls are going to be styling this Christmas!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Saturday with the Sisters

That is the name of one branch of our Women's ministry at church. About every other month we have an event at the church for any lady who is interested in attending a meeting. We have learned about all kinds of things, crafts, organization and we have also done service projects.

For our Christmas Saturday with the Sisters, we enjoyed a presentation on Appetizers from the executive chef at a nice restaurant in Huntsville.




You can see me in the table at the back. My white hair stands out!!


Chef Merle Phillips was very entertaining as she taught us about making and presenting appetizers for holiday parties. Chef Merle was trained at the American Culinary Institute and she admits she is a chef snob. She reminded us that the hosts of many of the Food Network programs are cooks and not chefs.:) When she was trained at the Institute, they learned to use their knives blindfolded. Oh my, I would have been fingerless!!


This was my favorite...a shrimp cake on Asian Slaw. Heavenly!!


Southwestern Savory Cheesecake. As you can see, the Sisters were eating well Saturday morning.

I do not have a photograph of her presentation table. She used lemons, limes, a small rosemary tree and candles to make a lovely tablescape for displaying party foods. She reminded us to use risers to lift some of the dishes up higher for interest. She suggested old books, boxes etc, covered with a cloth of course. She said she likes to use lemons and limes because when she is done she can use the fruit in recipes. One thing I am going to try...she filled a cylinder glass container with dried green lentils then added clementines on top of the beans. I plan to use that in January to brighten up my kitchen.

Today is MOPs and then tonight is our Sunday School Class party. I am going to have to do lots of walking to keep off the pounds this December.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stitchin

Even with the busy ness of the season, I have been stitching along. I love my cross stitch because it calms my soul and it creates something that I can keep forever.

As you know Prairie Schooler is my favorite cross stitch designer but the ladies of PS are retiring. I am hoping that they will keep their old patterns in stock for us PS fans. This, their final year, they came out with some wonderful patterns. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try this design.


Titled, Santa's Ride, this is stitched on BLACK aida cloth.  Again, I am so thankful for my local cross stitch shop, The Cross Stitch Peddler.  Marlene, the owner,  really encouraged me to give it a try. She gave me some hints on stitching on black. Her advice? Take a white pillowcase, lay it on your lap and hold your stitching over it while you stitch. IT WORKS. The white background helps me to see the holes where my stitches go! Marlene told me that some people actually put a light in their lap and stitch but she feels that is not good for your eyes and this works just as well.  I will say that I am having more problems getting the threads to lay flat on the black cloth for some reason. I have to wonder if it is because I am used to linen and going back to Aida is a bit tricky. I am using Marlene's hint to "railroad" the stitches. For those of you who do not cross stitch, this is bringing your needle up between the two threads as you stitch. This helps the thread to lay flat. If I do another cross stitch on black I may do a stitch at a time rather than the normal row of stitching. Believe it or not this can make a difference too!


Here is my work in progress. I have done a bit more since I took this photo. I am calling this my "learning piece" on black so I finally had to just say, it is what it is.  I will frame it and hopefully display it next Christmas.  What are you doing to keep calm in this hectic holiday season?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Happies

With the holidays come Happies. Little gifts that friends give you to make you Happy! I have received several recently and I wanted to share them with you.

My friend, Deborah gave me a cute package of holiday themed cocktail napkins. Everyone can use those at this time of the year. Two of my Titus Lady friends came me crosses for my Cross Wall. I will share the whole wall later. It is growing. We had a party here last night and the young ladies loved my cross wall. I explained to them that I was not being disrespectful of the cross but that it means so much to me that my God died for me. And Can It Be is my favorite hymn and my Cross Wall reminds me of the sacrifice Jesus made for me.


My friend, Terry, brought me this when we had lunch last week. I just love it. It sits on my kitchen counter next to pictures of special people.


My friend, Kathleen, made me a set of Christmas Coasters. Don't they look festive?


She also made me this little stocking ornament made from a Granny Square.


Friend Susan got me this beautiful cedar star that she found at a craft fair. It smells so good.


This lovely purse ornament was a gift from Sharon, who calls me the Purse Snob. She thought this one would be good enough for me!!

I love this time of the year....happies, cards in the mail and just an overall feeling of good cheer!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holly Jolly Shopping Day

Every year my friend, Diane, and I take a day to go Christmas Shopping. Two years ago we went to the Galleria in Nashville, last year we visited Franklin, Tennessee and this year we decided to make a short trip down the road to Cullman, Alabama. Cullman is a town in Alabama that was settled by Germans and every fall they celebrate Oktoberfest. It is a cute town with several tourist sites that are popular including the Ava Maria Grotto. I have never seen it but it is on my Bucket List!! I always navigate Cullman by keeping in sight of the large Catholic Church in town. Its spires can be seen all over town. For example I knew that the restaurant where we planned to have lunch was behind the Catholic Church. The Warehouse District is in front of the church. Hey, it works for me. I think it is neat to have a church as my GPS.

The Warehouse District is where we did our shopping yesterday. Every store along this street was decorated beautifully.


I am a traditionalist. I love red and green at Christmas.


And Snowflakes. These are about the only kind we get at Christmas in Alabama.


This chandelier was very impressive in person with all the silver and pearls on display...this photograph does not do it justice. There was eye candy everywhere!!


Diane and I snapped a selfie in front of the Christmas Tree. We both wore red, totally unplanned. We are that kind of friends...we think alike.


We always get an ornament to remember our day out together. This one went on my travel tree as soon as I got home!!

Today it is back to the real life of laundry and chores. I am hosting a Christmas party here at my house this evening. So its off to mop I go!!