Monday, December 26, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I do love Christmas time! I don't know why it's so special to me...wait!
Yes, I do know! It's special because of a baby.
A baby who's birth changed everything in this world. A baby that came to save you and to save me from our sins. Yes, that's why Christmas is to be celebrated and enjoyed and I did thoroughly enjoy it this year but, differently than other years past.
I thought I would share some of our decorations.
I am sure at some point in my life I might forget and this will be a nice way to look back.
When you walk through our front door, the first decoration you see is our Nativity Scene.
I love this. It's not without it's charm from little chips and breakage over the years but, that just makes it more unique.

It looks very pretty at night with the candles lit around in it.
And now I present to you the Hanselman Family Good Ole Fashioned Christmas Mantel 2011! Each year I try to do something different on the mantel and this year it was a challenge as I am still recovering from my back surgery and I can't bend over, stretch or lift.
So, guess how this happened this year? Yes. My daughter did it all while I sat on the couch and gave directions and pointed and probably drove her nuts!
But, she did a good job. I like it!
Oh, and we had a few really cold days in December this year and Ray would get the fire going and well, all I liked to do and sit on the couch and stare at it!
Don't think too badly of me, I am still having to rest a lot.
Another angle for you to see and for me to remember, right?
I do love, love, these lanterns.
You could get some for your mantel if you like them at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.
I think they will get to stay up there for the winter mantel when the Christmas decorations come down.
Because there are seven of us, and the fireplace is stone and we aren't chiseling any nail holes in it...the stockings hang over here on the staircase banister.
It's a nice place to hang them.
I love the stocking tradition. Yesterday, I waited until night to open mine just to spread out the fun. Getting a new toothbrush really gets me excited. I know I could buy one at anytime but, I don't know, it's just more fun to open one from my stocking.
Thanks, Ray!
Here's the rest of the banister with the Living room tree.
It's just filled with colored balls this year. We usually put all our music ornaments on it.
When you play the piano, after many years, you start to collect a lot of things with musical instruments, etc. But, this year,
they rested.
Here's the dining room. We ate one meal in here this season.
It was our Christmas lunch. You may notice only 4 table-settings. We had a very small celebration but, it was fabulous to us!
Since I only had a green tablecloth that fits this table, I just went with green ornaments and touches of silver and gold.
I have never done the buffet like this but, I think it turned out just fine.
We bought nothing for any of this.
We just mixed and matched things we had.
Rachel learned this year how much work it is to decorate for Christmas. She was a trooper. I am thankful for her doing all the hard work for me.
My back is very thankful also.
We usually have these dishes somewhere else in the house but, they all came together nicely.
The cool thing is that some of these things I have had forever.
Some things I have found at the storage in the trash.
Some of the things have come from the dollar bin at Target.
I like.
This mirror underneath was the perfect place to put the centerpiece. I'l hang it back up later...err...I mean Rachel will. Ha!
For Christmas lunch this year we grilled steak and hamburgers.
We had salad, bread and baked potatoes and absolutely no desert.
It was great.
Just Ray, Rachel, Zac and I this year and we took it easy.
My Nikko Christmas China is my favorite!
I get them out usually the night of Thanksgiving and we do use them everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And look to the right....Rachel gave me new silverware...see the forks???
Oohhh, it's awesome and very heavy.
I have a thing for heavy silverware.
I do not know why.
Food just tastes better on it.
There were other things that made this year special.
We went to a ladies gift exchange party and look at us all dolled up.
Kissy had a beautiful, red, sparkly Christmas dress.
We had a couple of spend the night parties and made cookies and stuff.
And then my family helped me this year to overcome one of my biggest fears.
I haven't worn a turtleneck since the 5th grade. There is several very long stories that support my hatred of these kind of shirts. I will spare you. But, this year, we all just embraced it, put them on and took a Christmas card photo.
But, as you can see. I was miserable.
And I laughed so hard, it hurt.
The boys were cracking me up!

And to top it off, a dear friend gave me a turtlneck as a gift and I actually put it on just long enough for a photo.
I will have to say that it doesn't look that bad on me.
Hey, if it gets cold enough, you never know I just might show up in it somewhere.
I guess all this pain I've been in has totally confused my mind.
I probably will regret this photo.
I pray your Christmas made memories for you and your family that you will treasure in the years to come. And I pray you know that baby that was born on this day!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Will Survive

  • Well, this is not a post I ever thought I would be doing at anytime and especially near the closing of this year.

  • Yet, here I am and I pray none of you find yourself in the same place. If you do, possibly these tips will help you to survive.

I had back surgery about 2 and a half weeks ago. I have been suffering with lower back pain since May and it's just progressively gotten worse and then the pain started being so intense in my back and my right leg that I found myself face down on the floor begging the Lord for mercy many, many times!

The first thing I used almost everyday all day long was one of these gel packs that you heat up in the microwave. My Kiera gave it to me and I would heat it up in the morning, tuck it into my pajama pants and keep it there as long as I could. It seemed the heat was soothing. I did this for about 3 weeks until I found out that my disc was ruptured and I was going to have surgery.

But, it did offer some warm love and little relief.

My Mom got me some of this Blue Goo and also in those three weeks, I would rub this on my back. It was really cold but, then it would get hot and I have no idea if it helped with the pain but, it made me feel like I was doing something to help myself. I only used this before the surgery.
And this....this.....ummm...snake grabber I guess you call it has been a life saver. It belonged to my Maw Maw. She would be happy to see how much use it's getting. Not at grabbing snakes but, helping me ( I can't bend over at all) to pick up things I drop or things I need like my socks, pillows, crackers, and pillows I have knocked off the couch and the remote control, cell phone, etc. I mean, I have USED this grabber to the fullest. I shamefully admit I have used it to pinch a few hineys around here!
Hey, when you are housebound and not feeling get desparate for things to do.
Don't hate.
I Also, the IB's are necessary with this back issue as they keep the swelling down. I nearly puke thinking about how many of these I have taken and am still having to take.
II'm not proud. But, I will tell you that the pain medicine is very, very, important. If not, there would be no position EVER you can get into to rest at before the surgery or after the surgery.
I wish it wasn't necessary but, it is.
You HAVE to have the remote.
TV will become your window to the outside world.
I will say for me that having this happen during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays has enabled me to catch every Hoilday movie that is on the Lifetime, Hallmark, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc channels. Which makes you need a box of kleenexes near by.
Oh, this is not fun but, there is no other way.
Stretchy pants. It's all you can wear. My back has been swollen from the surgery so, no jeans or constricting pants just jammie pants all day, everyday, for about 6 weeks now. Yes, I am getting tired of them.
But, oh well.
You have to do what you have to do.
You will need a basket of thank you notes because your friends are going to do some awfully nice things for you! Like, bring you and your family warm and delish dinners and homemade pumpkin bread and fudge and cards and well, they have been way too kind to me!
I love them!
You know how we always feel like we never have enough time to read?
Not now, I have all the time in the world to read.
And these are my top 4.
My Bible,
Jon Coursons Commentary on the Bible,
A daily devotion, Streams in the Desert
and another daily devotion,Daily Hope for Hurting Hearts.
I strongly recommend all 4 of these and yes, my heart along with my back has been hurting.
Sorry if you're getting tired.
I am almost through.
This is a luxurious throw that Rachel bought at TJMaxx. It is the softest piece of fabric I have ever had the priviledge to rub up against and I keep it wrapped around me almost 12 hours a day.
Yes, right now as I type, it's on me.
I love it. I even take it when I do get out to take a short car ride.
I love this thing!
Well, since it has turned freezing down here, you need a warmer throw and this one my Mom made comes in a good strong 2nd place. It's so warm and I layer the soft one and then this one and then I can really get comfy on the couch.
One more thing you need is a daughter and daughter in law that you love to pieces and they love you like that back and they clean up the house for you so, you don't feel like a horrible homemaker while you recover.
I mean they made this place look GOOD!
I am so blessed and thankful!
Oh yes, the most important thing you need is a beautiful Grandaughter who gives you so much love and laughter and prays for you and your back. She never leaves without saying.."I hope your back gets better, Nay."
Ah....the heart of mine is melted.
And to survive something like this you pretty much have to still have a sense of humor intact or you could quite possibly lose your mind.
I thought a mustache-on-a-stick was funny for some reason and then I had Rachel take my photo so, the rest of my life I'll see what pain really really does to me!
I have to conclude by saying how thankful I am for the Doctors, the surgeons, the appointment people and friends who took such good care of me and my family cause when one is down, all the rest are down too! And my Jesus who knows all my weaknesses and is with me through every minute of every day and every tear.
I am going to survive and get better and then never ever pick up something heavy again. might need to remind me about that sometime in the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm In Better Hands Now

Todays blog post is bittersweet.
It is about my friend, MaryBeth Cowie Hanselman.
She became my friend in 1982 as she was dating one of the Hanselman Brothers and I was dating one of the Hanselman Brothers. I had no idea when I met her what path both of our lives would take over the next 20 years or so. She was my sister in law but, more than that, she was my friend. My friend that I loved. The kind of friend that I share anything with. The friend that you knew you could count on when you needed to. The kind of friend you share decorating ideas with, shopping trips and a lot of tears on the phone about life.
What happened to her, I wouldn't have chose for her for all the money in the whole world. At a very young age, after going through some other difficulties, she was diagnosed with Scleraderma. It was just so painful to watch it take over her physical body. The things she was used to doing, slowly were taken away from her.
I cry, even now, all these years later from watching her go from a life-loving gal to, just a shell laying in the bed day in and day out. In April of 2008, she lost the battle with the disease but, really she won. She was completely healed I know on the other side. There was a christian song out at the time, I"M IN BETTER HANDS NOW. I felt like that was her song. She wasn't here anymore, but, she was in the loving, strong hands of our God and all was healed and perfected for her.
She was a giver and so creative and talented. I still have things in my home, that she gave me, decorated for me, helped me pick out. She was a great cook, too.
So, in honor of her birthday today. I am sharing her Squash Casserole Recipe. I pretty much was a hater of squash until she made this one Thanksgiving. I make it a lot. We call it Mary Beth's Squash Casserole. I like to do things she did so, a part of her lives on and on here on earth. Enjoy the recipe.
You'll need 6 medium squash or 3 large ones.
Slice them and cook them until fork tender in a little water with a little salt.
Just like this. It doesn't take long. Then when they are fork tender, drain the water out.
The you add: 2 eggs, 1/2 stick butter, 10 crushed ritz crackers and about 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.
Just dump them all in and stir until butter is melted. Trust me at this point, it's already going to start smelling good.
It will kind of look like a thick squash soup.
Pour it into a greased casserole dish and pour a little milk just to set over the top. Then back at 325 for about 30 minutes or until it just is lightly browned and set.
This is the finished perfection. I tell you. People who don't like squash like this! I always make 2 for Thanksgiving and there usually is no leftovers. It's just yum and more yum. Thank you, MaryBeth for sharing this with me soooo long ago! I hope you all try it, too.
MaryBeth loved her dog, Goose, so much.
I miss her everyday and there's so much I would like to share with her. But, I am so thankful that she's with Jesus and I am thankful that the Lord allowed us to be friends for as long as He did. My life was better because I had MaryBeth has my friend. Happy 46th Birthday! We will meet again one day.
I hear this song and I think of you. I Love you, friend.

"In Better Hands"It's hard to stand, on shifting sand. It's hard to shine in the shadows of the night. You can't be free if you don't reach for help and you can't love if you don't love yourself. But there is hope when my faith runs out...Cuz I'm in better hands now...
It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pourin' down. It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground. So take this heart of mine there's no doubt I'm in better hands now.
I am strong all because of you. I stand in awe of every mountain that you move. I am changed yesterday is gone. I am safe from this moment on...And there's no fear when the night comes 'round I'm in better hands now.
It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pourin' down. It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground. It's like the world is silent though I know it isn't true. It's like the breath of Jesus is right here in this room. So take this heart of mine there's no doubt...I'm in better hands now...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Well, it's that Halloween time of year and I usually like to make something, some craft, some decoration to put around the house for festivity purposes.
So, I saw some cool bottles decorated at a store and thought....aha...we can do that!
And it turned out even cuter than I thought it would.
So, all you need are some empty wine bottles. And...if you don't have any, just go through our neighbors recycle bins on Sunday evenings.
They are full!
You'll need some spray paint.
I found that the glossy paints worked a lot better but, it did take quite a few coats on each bottle.
I used black and some orange I had leftover.
It was this Krylon type but, just orange not gold.
Take them out and give them some good coats and then we found some printables on the internet and printed them up and modge-podged them to the bottles.
How about these?
Just kind of creepy looking, right?
Which I think is part of the fun for Halloween decor.
We found this black bird at the local DT.
Also, the ping pong ball eye balls.
Aren't they quite convincing?
I just like that they look like they came like this and um...yes, we made them ourselves.
How about this one?
Zombie juice.
Just sitting on the shelf in the bathroom.
Just waiting for someone to drink and them turn into a zombie!
Oh, no, just joking. The bottles are empty.
And I like this one in the dining room.
He just fits right in with the other pumpkin decor.
We found the little skull at the DT and it was a perfect topper.
Now for another little Halloween project.
If you have some empty jars, don't recycle or toss! Make them into candle holders.
This jar had Walmart brand Lime Salsa in it.
Have you tried it? It's pretty good.
Any empty jar with the label taken off will do.
Then you need your modge podge.
This stuff is just fanstasic.
I mean. Truly fantastic.
You can do so many crafts with it.
Then cute some strips of white or orange tissue paper.
I happened to have both so, we made a ghost and a pumpkin candle holder.
Okay. I will be honest.
I did this with my three year old Grandprincess and we had modge podge everywhere.
I mean in our hair. On the table. Up our noses.
But, it cleans off well.
You just put the MP on the glass and use is as a glue to glue the strips of tissue paper all over it and then seal it with a another coat of MP.
It dries rather quickly.
Then get a sharpie and draw on some faces.
If you don't have a sharpie then shame on you!
They are the worlds most wonderful pens.....E V E R!
I am not being endorsed by them. I just pretty much LOVE sharpies!
And look!
How cute is this!
We made a couple for my Mom and then one for my Grandaughter to take home and then these little fellas sit in the window sill each night.
I just love them and how easy was that?
I think the song "Thriller" is the coolest scary song there is.
'Cause this is thriller, thriller night
There ain't no second chance against the thingwith forty eyes
You know it's thriller, thriller night
You're fighting for your life inside a killer,thriller tonight