End of Year Post

This is my last post for 2018.
I’d like to thank you all for reading and/or following my blog from all over the world. 

Every comment I received, brought a smile to my face. 

I have made many new friends 
and look forward to making a lot more in the new year to come.

I have enjoyed all of your great stories, beautiful photos and interesting ideas.
I’d also like to thank all of the companies and brands that have given me the opportunity 
to share my honest reviews through my blog and social media.
I can not wait to continue into the next year with all of you at my fingertips.
I wish you all a safe and Happy New Years Eve.

Meet My Gnomies

I did not do a whole lot of crocheting for my Etsy shop this Christmas season. I wanted to take a break. During December, I am usually swamped with orders, so when I get off work, I hardly have time to do anything else but create and fill orders.
I worked on my own time this season. I still sold a lot of things out of my shop but no custom orders were made except one thing for my sister. It was nice not having any demands.

For fun I created some little crochet gnomes. They were easy and I was able to make them using scrap yarn that was not enough to make anything else. They only took a few hours to make so I crocheted while watching Hallmark movies. I picked up the crochet hook and began single stitching using my imagination.

I crocheted in rounds and increased until I got the width I wanted for the bottom. Then I continued crocheting around and around until I got the depth of the body and then began to decrease the stitches to close it up. Before closing it all the way, I filled the body with rice and finished it off.

For the hat, I also crocheted in the rounds but increased every couple rows to give it the cone shape until I reached the length I needed. But the fella needed a beard so I looped on strands of yarn to the crochet of the body and unraveled the yarn to created a puffy beard. Then I sewed the hat to the body covering the knots where the beard was attached. Oh and then I made a little nose.

If you do not crochet this just sounded Greek to you, but are they not the cutest little creatures? Gnomes were all over the stores this season and this gave me the idea to make a couple. I have one left in my shop and may make a few more when I get some free time.

My sister asked if I would make her a gnome.
This gnome is slightly smaller than the other ones as it too was made from scrap yarns. Once I completed it, I added some special touches to it.

My sister loves butterflies so I crocheted some tiny butterflies using crochet thread and sewed them on the nose and hat. 
She seemed to love it and named it Scrappy.

I did not follow any pattern but if you would like to make one of these for yourself. Below is a link that will lead you to the pattern that inspired me.

Family Photo Not Happening

I have to admit, I get a little jealous when I log on to social media pages such as Facebook or Instagram and see all the families together smiling for that perfect family photo. Especially around the holidays when that seems to be the perfect time with everyone there. Some even take it a step further and wear matching outfits.

I can not get my family to do one photo. In fact, It's hard to even get them in the same room together at the same time to even discuss it. It makes everyone uncomfortable when I want a picture taken of them.

This past Christmas, while at mom and dads house, I told everyone that I would like us all to gather close for a family photo. They looked at me like I was out of my mind. Then everyone started disappearing to other rooms. I was heartbroken and just let it go. My nephews and cousins are growing up and mom and dad are getting old.

I think it's selfish. I know there are people that really do not like to have their photos taken. I get it. but on the other hand it's selfish to loved ones. One of these days, a picture will be all we have left of someone. Even if it's just one picture of a parent, family member or friend, smiling or showing happiness while doing something they enjoy. You know those happy or memorable moments.
Do you know that I do not have a photo of my grandmothers? 

However, I finally got a family photo with Nicks side of the family. It was not my idea this time. It was the idea of my niece. It happened, but not without some grumbling and complaining. The kids were screaming because they were tired of being held down while we waited on everyone to come into view. The photo turned out ok but I sure would love to have one with my side of the family as well.

It's not gonna happen.

Christmas Goodies

This is the only time of year I will spend hours in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes, candy and fudge.

This is the first year I have made sugar cookies. For some reason I have always felt it was a hard task. (or maybe I thought I might like it). I have put it off long enough. I usually always make pecan butter cookies or Biscotti. Not this year. I tried all new recipes that I have never attempted.

Sorry no photo of the sugar cookies yet because technically it’s only 8:00 in the morning and I haven't made them yet. I wanted to get my post out before I start with all of my Christmas Eve festivities. 

I made a batch of Italian Canestrelli cookies. They turned out delicious! The slight taste of lemon and powder sugar, set these cookies away from the typical butter cookie.
Since I have an Italian husband, It's always fun to throw in a special Italian recipe in the mix.

I'll never be able to compete with my mom or the little Italian grandmother that once held this green handled rolling pin. But its always fun to take a shot at it.

I have been wanting to try out my extra large muffin pan so I made a dozen apple muffins. I did not have any large muffin cup liners so I made my own using parchment paper. They looked like they were right out of the bakery. Dontcha think? I ended up eating one and giving the rest away. I may make some more of these later. My dad has requested some. I can't say no to daddy.

I also made some shortbread cookies. These were the easiest ever! With just three ingredients they turned out great. Perfect with morning coffee. 
Did I say "only three ingredients"?

Then there was the Fudge. I have an easy fudge recipe, but when I saw the award winning peanut butter fudge recipe over at Andrea's blog, I had to give that one a try. I love peanut butter fudge and when she mentioned it could be made in the microwave, I was sold! Mine did not turn out as pretty as hers but it was still delicious! Thanks Andrea.

Today we will make a trip to a few neighbors and hand out boxes of homemade goodies. Later we will head over to mom and dads for some family time with dinner pickups and gifts for the kids. 

Before I close, I want to show you this darling Christmas ball that my favorite friend made me. The movie “Die Hard” is one of my favorite Christmas movies....Ok not really, but it is the most exciting Christmas movie....Ok maybe technically I should call it a Holiday Movie....
Anyway, she made me a Christmas ball that represents one of the main phrases in the movie. You have to see the movie to understand. 

I love it. Thank you Anne!!!

Yall please remember the true meaning of Christmas. 
Jesus is the best gift of all.



Hope everyone is ready for Christmas! It will be here in just four more days! I have to say that I am officially done with my shopping. I finished up two weeks early this year.

I have two brothers with kids and wives and a sister. Nick has two brothers with wives. We used to all exchange gifts. That was really hard. I love to give and wish I could give everyone something special but each year it would get more stressful trying to find the perfect gifts. Half of the gifts were left unneeded or unwanted. We finally decided to only buy for the kids and our parents and that made things a lot easier and more fun. The adults now enjoy time together sharing recipes and stories. It’s also more fun to sit back and watch the small kids open gifts. Teenagers, not so much. Haha.

Me and Nick do not swap gifts anymore. We spend it all on our daughter. It’s not much, but since our monies are usually tight, we would rather give her the things she needs and we enjoy doing something special together after the Christmas bustle.

Our daughter is twenty seven but at Christmas shes twelve. Haha. Ever since she moved out after college, at Christmas she will come home and spend about five days with us. She still has her own bedroom and walks in the door as if she still lives here full time. We will do some baking, and get our nails done for Christmas. On Christmas morning she will wake up to presents under the tree and gifts scattered from Santa. I told Nick that the first Christmas we have after she gets married (someday) will be sorta heartbreaking. I already made it through her driving away, going to college, and living out on her own. Now I have to go through her being someone else's joy on Christmas morning one of these days (soon I think). Meanwhile, I'm gonna enjoy it while I still can. 

Do you swap gifts among a big family or just buy for a few?
Do you and your spouse swap gifts or go out instead?

If you are alone this Christmas, my heart goes out to you. I pray you can find peace, joy and love in those around you and in yourself. 
If you know someone who is alone, I hope you will share the joys of Christmas with them. 

Merry (Almost) Christmas.

Welcome Frosty-Candle Review

The weather finally dropped last week and we had a day of snow. However, it's been in the 60’s again this week. That did not stop me from welcoming Frosty with my new candle from Goose Creek Candles.

Welcome Frosty quickly filled my home with a fresh Winter scent. The mix of vanilla, butter cream, fresh peach, sandalwood, and coconut with a hint of spice quickly filled the room with the aroma of fresh snow. Even my husband likes this candle and he is picky about fragrances I use in our home.

I am overwhelmed with how well these candles smell. The duel cotton wicks burn even so there are not holes or low spots in my candle. I can also breath a breath of fresh air knowing these candles burn clean without any chemicals getting into the air or on materials in my home. This also means I do not have to worry about my candle glass turning black. No one wants a dirty candle. 

After realizing how great the candles are, I decided to purchase a couple of the Goose Creek wax melts from the their wax melt collection. I use wax melts at work to keep my office fresh. I will usually get them from a local store and I thought those were fine, until I tried the ones from Goose Creek.

I chose “Cucumber Rain” and “Blooming Magnolia”. These are absolutely the best and I will never go back to any other brand. I get a lot of compliments on how great my office smells now and everyone that comes in, wants to stay and sit a while.

I will be getting more of these wax melts soon. The hardest part is trying to decide on a new aroma as they offer over 120 different fragrances. They also have rooms sprays, car scents, and tea lights along with other great products.

So if you want a fragrance in the air true to smell, visit Goose Creek Candles. They are made right here in the USA. With great prices and fast delivery, you can't go wrong.

Shop for your favorite candle and flameless scents at goosecreekcandle.com

*The large Jar candle was provided to me free of charge 
in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions are 100% my own.

Fine Dinning

Where I come from, fancy eating is dinner around the dinning room table instead of the kitchen table using cloth napkins instead of paper.

As a Christmas present from my daughters boyfriend. He insisted on taking us out of our comfort zone and into a fancy swanky restaurant in uptown.
We did not know where he was taking us but we trusted him and agreed to go. 

We met at his house and he drove us uptown where the buildings were tall and the town was full of lights and action.
This is the first time Nick had ever let anyone drive him. He never lets me drive him anywhere and if we go anywhere with a group, he will drive his own car. So this was a pretty big shock to me and my daughter. 

Upon arriving at the restaurant we were met with a valet driver at the front door of none other than Ruth Chris Steakhouse. I have always heard about this place, but knew I’d never go unless taken there by surprise. Ha.

Our table was waiting and we sat down to dinner. After the price shock from the menu, I ordered my meal. I chose the Salmon, while everyone else had steak or chicken. We snacked on calamari while we waited. I almost forgot where I was as I reached in using my fingers. Nick tapped my hand and pointed at one of the two forks. 

Sides were ordered separately so we ordered four to share. I also enjoyed a glass of wine and It was not the cheap stuff.
I leaned over to my daughter and asked “are you not concerned about where your car is or who has it?” She responded with “well yea, I’ve never used valet parking before”. 

The wait staff worked hard to make every ones dining a pleasurable one. They kept our glasses filled and clean silverware by the plates. If we put our fork down, they immediately would replace it with a clean one and wiped any crumbs off the table ( I was seriously waiting on a back rub). 

The food was delicious. I think that is the best fish I ever had and Nicks steak was so tender you could cut it with a fork. We finished the meal off with a couple desserts. They said they were sharable in size. (Maybe for an elf). 

After dinner the car was waiting for us at the door, unharmed. 
This was definitely a nice treat and something different for us. We are very thankful and blessed to have such a good boyfriend in the family. 
You may be laughing at my excitement of fine dinning but in my town, we usually will eat a meal for two under twenty bucks. 

Finding My Focus

I get my eyes examined each year. (It’s one of the free things I get by giving the insurance company a quarter of my check each month). My eye sight has pretty much stayed the same each year but is declining very slow. I definitely require reading glasses. If I buy them over the counter I’m somewhere between 1.75 and 2.0. I can see fine looking far away.

This year at my regular visit, the doctor wrote me a prescription for both seeing afar and reading. He said I do not really need both right now, but recommends it and that they make transitional glasses that I may want to look into. 

I took my prescription and sat on it for a couple months before deciding to go ahead and get prescription glasses. I went to a place called Americas Best Eye Care. I purchased two pair of frames for 99.00. I just got the "readers" part of the prescription. When I got home with my new glasses I seen online where if I take a photo wearing my glasses, I would have a chance at a $250.00 voucher from Americas Best. 

I entered and low and behold, I was the August Fridays Face and won the voucher! How cool was that? 

Now, I wondered what in the world am I going to do with that much money to spend at an eye center. I already had two pair of new frames that I loved. 
I held on to the voucher in case Nick wanted to use it on his next pair of glasses. December came and it was fixing to expire. He told me that he really did not want new glasses so for me to use the voucher on a nice pair. So I went back to the glasses store to look around.

I decided to go big and chose a pair of Ray-Ban frames and had them put my full prescription lenses in them. This meant transitional lenses. They warned me that it would take a while to get used to and made me promise to wear them for ten hours straight to get a feel of them.

Here I am heading out shopping with my new Ray-bans on looking like a nerd. But I did it. I made it all day wearing these things. 

I really like that I can read something then look up with out peeping over the frames or taking them off. This will make church services easier. Looking down at my Bible, them up at the pastor was uncomfortable with just the readers on.

But then the struggle hit me.

My problem now is trying to find my focus at work. I do a lot of reading, writing and computer work. I am having trouble getting a good reading sight from both eyes at the same time. While one is clear, the other is blurry so I tilt my head a little and it will switch to the other side. It’s annoying but I’m not giving up. They told I would have to get used to them when reading as I am now looking through a smaller space to read. Unfortunately I refused to pay the extra hundred dollars to have the wider vision transition.

Does anyone else use transitional lenses? Did you have this problem at first? I just feel like it’s a never ending battle. I will continue using them here at work and hopefully I will finally find my focus. Meanwhile, shopping in them is fun and perfect for looking down at a price for a second.
Now maybe I will come home with the right size clothes and no price surprises. Haha.

Sweater: Old Navy
Distressed Jeans: Indigo Rein from TJ Maxx
Glasses- Ray Ban from Americas Best
Cross body purse: Ross


Despite the warm weather we have been having, the temperatures finally dropped and we got our first snow. Here in my neck of the woods, we got about 3 inches of snow and about 2 inches of ice. That's pretty much par for us.

My work was closed on Monday due to the weather conditions. The main roads were being cleared but the neighborhoods and side roads were untouched. This made it hard for our employees to get to work and our carpet cleaning trucks to get to any customers homes. I stayed in and got caught up on cleaning and gift wrapping. I also made cookies and a snowmen.

Tuesday came and I was getting behind and needed to go into work. There was only so much I could do at home from my iPad. I threw on my britches, sweatshirt and clodhoppers and headed out the door. In case you don't know, Clodhoppers is a Southern word for large heavy shoes, britches are pants and that's just how I talk.

Here are my clodhoppers. They have had their day but are my favorite snow shoes.
This is also me standing on the ice that covers a couple inches of snow.

Before heading out, I got word that the parking lot was a sheet of ice so I may need to have Nick just bring me and drop me off at the bottom of the parking lot. That he did.

Here I am after the struggle of climbing the ice slick parking lot and still had quiet a few feet to go to get into the building.

Not sure why the owner never hires someone to scrape it for us but this is what I dread most about the snow. Climbing that hill into the office. This side is always shaded so the snow and ice will hang around for days.

I hope this is all the snow we get this year but I wont hold my breath. It's only December and we don't usually have our real Winter weather until February.

If you are fighting the snow and ice today, be sure to throw on those clodhoppers before you go out.

"My snowman Sue"

Snow Candy

We woke up Sunday morning to about an inch of snow. The weatherman got it right. Snow is something we do not see but maybe once or twice a year here. People will get into a panic and rush to the stores and close businesses with the slightest threat of the white stuff. We rarely get just plain snow, It’s usually mixed with sleet or freezing rain. In fact, it has been sleeting here for hours, laying a blanket of ice to seal the snow. Basically, we get our Winters in bundles. It can be 70 degrees one week and 30 the next. But I will not complain. Nothing is prettier than a snow in December.

I really miss my daughter being home on snow days. We used to rush out and build a snow man followed by making snow cream, then settle down inside to a warm cup of cocoa. Now we snap photos back a forth. 

The kid in me still likes to go outside when it snows. While I was having my breakfast and coffee, I came across a recipe for Maple Snow candy.  I could not wait to go outside and try it. Holy Moly it worked! 

I am 49 years old and have seen every Little House on the Prairie episode and still never knew about “snow candy” until today. I bet my mom knew about this, but with four kids I can see why she kept it a secret. 

Supposedly, Snow taffy or Snow candy is a traditional favorite in Canada. When maple syrup is boiled to the right temperature, it is poured onto a blanket of snow creating a taffy or hard candy. I guess it depends on the heat of the syrup. There is an art to making candy just like making peanut brittle. But ill save that one for another post. 

I did not have any Maple syrup so I used the optional recipe of honey and brown sugar. 

1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of brown sugar. 

Bring to a boil while constantly stirring. You want the temperature to reach about 235-240 degrees.
I did not have a thermometer so I let it boil for about 5 minutes. It will foam up but the foam will disappear as soon as you take it off the heat. 

When the syrup is ready, pour strips of the honey mixture into the snow. With straws (or wooden sticks) roll the candy to make pops. This has to be done rather fast because it quickly turns into a hard candy. If this happens its ok, the kids will have fun picking the pieces up to get a sugar fix. 

I’m sure the real Maple syrup would have tasted better than honey but a poor girl only has so much to work with. 

WARNING:  Use adult supervision at all times and be very careful. Boiling sugar can be the worst burn ever if it gets on you because it will stick while burning your skin off

Crochet Chapstick Cozy

I took a break from big crochet projects to do some small things. I have been busy Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts and tidying up the house for Christmas.

Speaking of wrapping gifts, every year I wrap up some little gifts for the girls.
“The girls” are my daughters friends. One is her roommate and one is her best friend from college. The three are inseparable. Every year they pick a night during Christmas to set out a little tree , pull out the Christmas movies and bake cookies. I make sure they have some little gifts under their tree to have fun opening. They are addressed "from Santa". 

This year I got each one of them a planner, some beauty accessories then added a chapstick to top it off. My daughter is always looking for her lost chapstick, so an idea hit me. I decide to crochet each of their chapsticks a little chapstick cozy (aka holder). 

I told Nick my plan and he gave me a funny look. “You just watch me” I said as I flipped open my iPad and searched for a pattern.

Bingo! I found several different patterns, so I had to decide which worked best for me.
After fiddling around with my yarn and crochet needle, three tiny chapstick cozies were born. 

I showed them to Nick and he was surprised. He thought they were rather cool.
I finished the cozies off by adding a key ring to the top and packed them neatly with each gift. 

My daughter texted me once they opened their gifts. They giggled and thought the crochet cozies were the best. 

It was just a little something fun to add to the mix. Now maybe my daughter can keep up with her chapstick and leave mine alone. 

Crochet Chapstick Cozy (free) pattern can be found HERE.

Crochet Holes

I enjoy wearing my holey distressed jeans. If you follow my blog, you may have read how I distressed my own jeans. I will go shopping for new jeans and can’t hardly find any that are not full of holes and look like they have been in a bull rink. I just refuse to pay high prices for ripped jeans. But then, again, they are my favorite. Go figure.

Last night as I was itching for something to crochet. I seen my jeans laying in the stack of clean clothes that my husband had just folded. Yes I have a wonderful husband that does the laundry a lot. He also washes dishes. We are good at sharing chores.

As I was looking at my worn out jeans, A thought crossed my mind of crocheting a patch on one of the bigger holes. When I get a thought, I have to attempt the process or it will drive me crazy. I found some instructions online then pulled out my yarn and hook and crocheted a hole. 
[Husband rolls eyes]. 

I like how they turned out and it gives them some unique character. Distressed and holey jeans are fun to wear when the weather is too warm for pants but too cool for shorts. 

I remember back in the day we would wear holes in the knees of our jeans and mom would sew patches on them. We did not go anywhere with holes in our pants. We also used to wear our jeans until they were too short, then mom cut them off to make shorts. The cut off part would go into the scrap barrel and used for more patches in the future. 
Clothes were not thrown out and wasted like they are today. 

Crochet pattern can be found HERE.

Don’t X out Christmas

Every year I see it. All over the internet and even on Christmas cards. The phrase “Merry Xmas”, or “It’s Xmas time”, etc. 
This abbreviation has become so common that it has been called “Christogram”. 

To me and many Christians, this is crossing out Christ in the word Christ-mas. If your not Christian, you may think this complaint is just silly. Most will argue and defend the reason behind the X and that is fine. They have a point and here is what they will say.

“Oh. It’s not an X, it’s a cross”
“The X” in the Greek alphabet is the symbol for the word “Chi” which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ”. 
Blah blah blah.....

Ok I get that but why are we only advertising this Greek shortcut during Christmas? Unless you speak and spell Greek, why not spell out our Saviors name when speaking of him? 

Most people that are crossing out the word Christ in Christmas with an X do not even know why they do it. I know most people do not mean any harm in it and do not realize how bad it looks to some folks. They simply think its an “abbreviation” or shortcut. Some may just like the way it looks. I do not grudge those that chose not to spell out “Christmas” but it gets under my skin a bit to see it. 

I personally think people will argue the Greek reasons behind it just to try to prove a point or relieve their conscience during the season, because they never have a problem using the word “Jesus Christ”, “gd” or “Oh my God!” in their other vocabulary during the year. 

This was my rant for today. 
This post was not directed at any particular person or persons and meant no harm. 
Now go on out and let me know if you find the X in Christmas Shopping.