I love that my family room lacks color, er...is so neutral. I can go crazy with holiday colors come Christmas time. I'm giving you just a little peek because this is only how far I've come! lol! I am just poking along even though I brought all of my decorations up Sunday night. What a mess that is.
As you can see it's slow going, I took this snap last night and it's all still sitting there. I think this holiday season will go down as The Year Of Procrastination. I was actually worried that all of you would be worried if I disappeared off the radar, but I wanted to make a dent in this before I posted. No dent in sight! I know, it's only December 11th. I think with seeing some of the blogs with Christmas decorations and trees up already, I just feel like I'm lagging behind. And I also think we want to get the hectic time over with so we can sit back with our cocoa and a Hallmark movie and chill for a few weeks. Well, I certainly know that life is not a Hallmark movie, don't you? Have you ever heard the phrase, "Hurry up and wait"? I think that's how I've been living since Thanksgiving. And now I'm tired. I'm going to move at a snail's pace and not think twice about it.
Oh, can you see that the top third of the tree is not lit? The Husband and Abby were stringing the lights last night and a string went "poof", I have to make a run for lights and attempt that although I've never strung them before, The Husband has a ritual of doing this with one of the children (which always leaves them in tears, if you know what I mean). I think I can manage if I want to get the ornaments on any time soon. Wish me luck. This is a beast of a tree. We have to move it into the corner instead of in front of the window as it juts out so far. As usual we overestimated the size of our living room. Sigh.
Some family time. These are my four girls at daughter in law, Mary Clare's baby shower last Saturday (the one given by her side of the family). From left to right; son Jeff's fiance, Deirdre, daughter Emily, Mary Clare, and daughter Abigail. The shower was held at a nice restaurant not too far from here. I've always loved the food there and I was equally impressed with the way they host events. We had several waiters walking around with bottles of wine refilling our glasses. They served the food so efficiently and swiped the dishes away without us having to take a pause in conversation. I just loved it and Mary Clare received so many sweet gifts. She looks beautiful. 2 more months to go!
On the wedding front (Jeff and Dierdre), they drove the 5 hours up north to Traverse City, Michigan, and chose a place to have their wedding...a vineyard that is just a stone's throw away from this beautiful harbor's downtown area. The date is August 15. My mind keeps jumping from one logistic to the other as this is sort of a "Destination Wedding" in my experience. The other day in a conversation with Emily and Abby about the wedding, I advised them that we would need to make appointments to get our hair done in this town, that we couldn't manage just going up there with nothing but a flat iron. Abby sat up, apparently on her last nerve and said, "Jeez, Mom, it's not like we're going to Africa!" Emily and I nearly wet out pants! I am getting old and cranky.
So I seem to be having my granddog, Tulo, here for days on end as the happy couple go here and there, Can you believe he is only eight months old? He clearly decided that if Milo can get on the furniture, he can. Like a typical grandchild, he's not allowed in the kitchen, upstairs or even on an area rug in Jeff's house, but here...no limits. I just love the big moose.
I finally found a few hours to get out for groceries the other day after not having gone since before Thanksgiving. That's a world record but other than fresh fruit and veggies, we had been doing well. For some reason I had a craving for clam chowder, which I have never made from scratch. I was amazed at how quickly it came together and I want to share it with you.
Heat 2 T of butter in a large pot over medium/low heat. Add 1 medium sized onion, finely diced, as well as a 2 stalks of chopped celery. Saute until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in 3 T. of flour and 2 c. chicken or vegetable stock. Whisk well, and then add the juice of 2 10 oz. cans of minced clams. I actually could only find the six ounce cans so I used three for a total of 18 oz. Just fiddle with this a bit. Reserve the clams until later. Add 1 c. of heavy cream, 2 bay leaves and 1 pound (about 3 large) Idaho potatoes, chopped in small cubes. Bring to a simmer while stirring, it will thicken, then reduce to medium low and cook another 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add the clams and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 2 minutes and serve. This recipe makes approximately 6 servings. I also lightly broiled slices of a baguette that I brushed with a combination of melted butter, olive oil and dry Italian herbs. Croutons work well also. Enjoy!
As I said earlier in this post, life is not a Hallmark movie and when we lose someone we love during the holiday season, it's a sharp jab in the heart that cruelly takes us away from the joy we are expecting. We lost our dear friend, Bob, Tuesday morning. I wrote about him at the end of September (this is the link if you want to read my post). He was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and with what I am sure, was immeasurable courage, carried on for 3 short months. It's hard to put my feelings into words. He was the man that built my house at the lake with just his own two hands. When I first met him I was a bit intimidated...big and gruff, he turned out to be a sweet, humble man that I so enjoyed being around. He loved his quiet lake life, returning home on weekends after driving a semi truck all week. He loved to play the piano at the many cocktail parties he and his wife, Sharon held. He would lift my kids in the air and scare them to pieces, he showed The Husband all the ropes at our home and gave him tips on lake living. And for me, well, I'll always remember his bright blue eyes lighting up, twinkling when he saw me, arms stretched out for a hug, "Good to see you, Blondie." Love you, Bob. We will be up at the lake for the memorial Saturday. Say a prayer for his family and friends if you can.
I'm going to focus on the joy as best I can and tackle this mess I have here. I hope to be back soon.