Sunday, December 6, 2009


Evening everyone! I am both happy and disappointed to say my weekend is finally coming to a close. The weather was not kind to me again today... rain- which meant no sales. Lots and lots of rain and vicious winds. It tore my canopy tent up real bad and it started leaking everywhere. Luckily nothing got wet, so I let each of my kids come "shopping" for every teacher, friend, etc. they wanted to give a gift to this Christmas. As payment, they each have to perform a special chore for me of my choice... something they don't do everyday. Then I packed it up and backed the car under the tent, loaded the car and took everything to storage. I'm officially done for the year with sales. Now I can concentrate on the rest of the gifts I need to do and then various things I want to do. So I came in early, dried off (cause the rain got me REAL wet), and cooked for my family. Now I'm just working on my lists... remaining gifts, crafts, to do lists, etc.

I want to talk about something personal for a bit. Christmas traditions... do you have any? Well I do... and I've veered from them this year and it really upset my youngest. And let me tell you, I feel TERRIBLE! See my son Alex is autistic. Routine and familiarity is very important to him. Well he is used to us having the Christmas tree out the day after Thanksgiving. Well this year we haven't got it up yet (cause of the craft sale weekends, etc.) and Frank called me in saying he (Alex) was crying for some reason and wouldn't stop. So I had them watch the booth and I came in. He hugged me and I asked him what was wrong. He said "momma christmas stuff" and my heart sank. I wanted to cry too! So I reassured him that we would put it up by Monday and he stopped crying. I feel so bad cause I didn't realize that something I only do once a year became a routine to him. I won't ever veer from that ever again! Another tradition... "White Christmas". When I was growing up, my mother and I used to sit together and watch Irving Berlin's White Christmas together on TV and sing together. Well, I didn't get to do that with her this year and when I was watching it with MY daughter last night, I was trying to sing but started to cry. She wants me to watch it with her now every year, just like my mom and I used to. It was very touching. Take it from me kids... if you have a good family tradition (be it Christmas or otherwise), don't stop or forget it. It makes for some wonderful memories!

Ok, now down to at least one of the reasons you come here... good info! With a wide variety of crafts to pick from, its so hard to say which one to give you each day LOL. How about today I give you a good idea for a teacher gift (either for your child to give or for someone you know who may BE a teacher?

Craft Idea of the Day: Pencil Vase/Jar

This can be used as a vase for fresh cut flowers (or even an artificial bouquet) or even as a pencil/pen container. I found some straight sided glass jars as the thrift store for 15 cents each. I bought (2) 24 ct. packages of the 97 cent papermate wooden pencils at Wal-mart and hot glues them all around the jar. Then I attached a ribbon & bow (again with hot glue) and some miniature tree teacher/school ornaments (bought at Hobby Lobby during the 50% off sale) and voila! Pretty gifts for the teachers at around $5 each! You could use a different ribbon and decorations and it would also be nice for co-workers in an office setting!

Being outside all day made me very cold and chilled down to my bones. Rainy nights like these call for something warm in the belly. A nice hot chowder sounded good... so I made a big pot of corn chowder with some Mexican Shepherd's Pie. Oh was it a yummy combo! Just the thing for a dark and rainy cold night!

Corn Chowder


6 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
2 (14.75 ounce) cans cream-style corn
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste


1. Fry bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside.

2. Saute onion in reserved drippings until tender; add potatoes and water. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Stir in milk, corn, salt, and pepper to taste; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon to serve.

This recipe for corn chowder makes about 5 servings or so... now if you pair it with the Mexican Sheppard's pie, you have an awesome meal. My family loves it! You can also eat both of these separate as well for just as good a meal.

Mexican Shepherd's Pie


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes or rotel
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup hot water
1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn muffin mix
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives (optional)
1 can black beans, drained
Sour cream to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place the beef and onion in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until beef is evenly brown and onion is tender. Drain grease. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix in the tomatoes, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until thickened. Mix in black beans and corn. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

3. Prepare the corn muffin mix according to package directions. Spread evenly over the top in the baking dish.

4. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until puffed and golden. Garnish with olives, sour cream, and cheese.

So there ya go guys and gals... tons of ideas for the day. I'll have an earlier post for you tomorrow full of more great ideas for gifts and grub! I'm gonna go rest and finish my lists and stuff I was working. Until tomorrow... HUGS!!!

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