Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 York Family Year In Review

Our children got to enjoy snow the first winter that we were in our new home.  They even had their first ever horse drawn ride with our neighbor and his dog.

The brothers found a new place to call home and shoot guns.

Spring came and Josh went to the prom.  No, his date wasn't this cutie pie, but it was her sister.  By the way, this little girl still refers to Josh as hers.

Spring also brought us our first garden here in our new home.  By the way, it was probably the best garden that we have ever had.

The end of May brought Jacob graduating from middle school and heading into high school. 

Summer brought Missy posting herself on guard on the front porch.  She enjoyed watching the birds and the kids play.  She doesn't like the heat very much so she has become more of a porch dog as she gets older.

Summer also brought about a bad eye report for our youngest son.  This required us to patch his good eye.  We bought him a sword and a hook, and called him Captain Fatbaby.

Summer gave way to a new school year.  This school year rocked our world with me getting a job at our local high school as a teacher.  By the way, I am loving it!

The garden kept producing and I kept canning even though I was now working full time.  Michael also took his spot in the kitchen as the garden kept gifting us with beautiful treasures.

We celebrated our daughter's 13th birthday.  She also has been wearing braces for over a year now.

We watched our boys play football and our daughter play basketball.  We celebrated Joshua's football season as well as his 18th birthday.  With his birthday came the signing of papers for him to become a Marine. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with family this year.  We then came together to celebrate Christmas with just the 7 of us on Christmas day here in our home.  The end of the year has seen us resting, relaxing, traveling, studying, cleaning, hunting, and cooking. 

I hope you stick around to see what the new year brings for our family.  I fully expect animals to come to our property this year.  The only two things Jacob asked for this year for Christmas were sheep and a German Shepherd puppy.  He didn't get either this year, but I have a sneaky feeling that next year he will have some animals to enjoy.

 Happy New Year!!!!!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011 and Some News

Christmas came and went once again this year.  Here is a short recap of how our family celebrated the Christmas season.

Hope and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen fixing all the goodies. 

There was a lot of laughing and eating this year.

Our Christmas tree was decorated right after Thanksgiving while our college son was home.
We then loaded up the suburban with all 7 of us plus our son's girlfriend and headed to Kentucky to celebrate with our family there.  Missy stayed home alone this year.  Our neighbor came and checked on her while we were gone.

We had Christmas with Michael's side of the family.  The next day we celebrated with my side of the family.

Hope enjoyed her second cousin a lot.  I enjoyed him too!  I also got to spend time with my niece and nephew.
My brother and I even took time out for a photo.
We traveled back home and waited another week to celebrate our family Christmas here in our home.  Matthew came home again.
This was about the best I could do with our family Christmas photo.  These kids just aren't very cooperative first thing in the morning! 

 I enjoyed the last few weeks so much.  This Christmas was extra special to me this year.  First, it has been 7 years since all of our kids have been in Kentucky together to celebrate Christmas there.  This Christmas has the potential to be the last Christmas for awhile that all 5 of my kids will be home to celebrate.  Joshua enlisted in the Marines, and only the Lord knows where he will be next year.  I tried to savor each and every laugh, conversation, hug, and memory that was made this year.  While I am very proud of our son, the reality of him leaving home soon hits this mamma's heart hard.

Josh wanted a guitar and lessons this year for Christmas.  We were happy to comply with that request.  It has been awhile since he took piano lessons.  I look forward to hearing him learn to play guitar!  I don't look forward to August when he leaves for boot camp!

grace and peace,

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Bean Bag Chair and an English Mastiff

Seth and Missy have been enjoying a lazy afternoon.  Somebody left Hope's bean bag chair in the living room.  I guess Missy thought it was a large pillow so she helped herself.  Then along came Seth with a video game and decided to use both the bean bag chair and Missy.  They spent all afternoon in this position! 

grace and peace,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! 

grace and peace,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Crock Pot Peanut Clusters Recipe

I would have never tried this recipe if I hadn't eaten the peanut clusters first.  With one bite, I knew I had to have the recipe.  My sister-in-law was more than happy to share.  She is good like that.  This maybe the easiest candy recipe out there.  I know it is a bit on the expensive side to make, but it does make a lot of clusters.  My cake plate is almost empty, but there were a lot more on there just a few days before.  Hope you enjoy this one!

Peanut Clusters

12 oz can unsalted peanuts, dry roasted
12 oz can salted peanuts, dry roasted
1 bar German chocolate (green box found in the baking aisle)
1/3 bag of peanut butter chips  (found in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips)
1 bag chocolate chips
1 and a half block of white chocolate (this is the candy quick found in the baking aisle or almond bark)

Layer in crock pot as listed.  Cook on warm for 2 1/2 hours.  Stir together, then drop on wax paper in clusters and cool. 

grace and peace,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Simple Joy of a Gracious Southern Christmas

I saw a quote in a magazine the other day, and it touched my heart enough to share it with you. 

"May you enjoy the simple joy of a gracious southern Christmas." 

When I first read it, I was struck by two different thoughts.  The first thought was about the SIMPLE joy.  Too often, Christmas becomes crazy and anything but simple.  I like a simple Christmas.  Actually, I like a simple holiday season.   Your definition of simple and mine may be quite different.  I find it pleasurable and simple to putter in the kitchen making holiday candy with my daughter.  You may find that task deplorable and stressful.  You may enjoy knitting or sewing.  I would rather go to the dentist than to sew anything!  It is up to each of us to find the balance between a simple Christmas and the responsibilities that come with the holiday season. 

The second thing that caught my attention with the above quote was the "gracious southern Christmas."  I know what that looks like in the magazines.  I also know what that looks like on t.v.  But what does that look like for me in real life?  First, I want my house in order.  It doesn't have to be spotless, but it does have to be clean.  I enjoy burning candles in the evening and watching the Christmas lights twinkle.  I enjoy gathering with my kids and watching Christmas shows on t.v.  I enjoy cooking big meals and baking goodies.  I enjoy spending time with my kids and their friends around the dinner table.  I enjoy being with my husband.  A gracious southern Christmas isn't one of perfectionism, but one that enjoys each and every moment of the holiday season. 

grace and peace,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Broccoli

This has been the first year that I have harvested fall vegetables during the Christmas season.  Our broccoli is glorious this year.  We have enjoyed broccoli soup along with plenty of broccoli and cheese as a side dish.  I also harvested lots of romaine lettuce and buttercrunch lettuce.  Our collard greens have produced in abundance as well.  Our cabbage is the only thing that hasn't grown to completion yet. 

When you walk past our fall garden, it looks kind of sorry at this point.  However, it is still producing and we are still enjoying the goodies.  My rosemary, oregano, and mint are also still hanging in there from this summer's garden.  Next year I would like to add green peas to the fall garden. 

I know that Christmas isn't even here yet, but I am already thinking about my spring and summer garden.  In just a few short weeks, I will be planting my seeds for the beginning of the spring garden. 

grace and peace,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hot Cocoa Mix

Winter time in our home brings traditions for our family.  While I love the summer time and all the business of the garden and outside fun, I also treasure the slower winter months.  You might find me curled up on the couch reading a good book or our family huddled together on the couch watching a good movie.  Whatever the case may be, you can be certain to find hot cocoa mix sitting on our counter waiting to be enjoyed by one of the kids.  I LOVE this mix stirred into a cup of warm milk.  It is truly a decadent treat.  My children stir it into a mug of warm water, and my husband has been known to add it to his coffee for a mocha type treat.  If my hips would allow, I would partake of this cup of goodness every day.   I hope you enjoy!

Hot Cocoa Mix

1 Box Powder Milk
1 Regular size Coffee Mate Creamer
1 Regular size Nestle Quick Powder Mix
1 1/2 cups Powder Sugar

Mix all together and store in an airtight container.  To make a cup of cocoa, mix 1 mug of warm water or warm milk to 1/2 cup of mix.

grace and peace,

Help with Header Image, Please

Has anyone else had any problem with their header image?  One day everything was fine, and then the next day my picture had shrunk without me changing anything.  Now every time I try to add an image to my header it shrinks. Any help with this would be appreciated!

grace and peace,

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Husband Comes to My Rescue

I love my husband's Droid phone. He uses it to surf the web while he deer hunts.   Apparently he just found my latest post, which happened about 15 minutes ago, and decided to offer his help for my meal list.  I guess he panicked at the thought of eating fast food/pizza again this upcoming week.  Here are his ideas:

1.  Broccoli Soup and Sandwiches  (apparently broccoli soup by itself is an incomplete meal)
2.  Grilled Mushroom Swiss Burgers
3.  Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with a good tomato (Where in the world does one find a good tomato in December)?
4.  Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies 
5  Ravioli Casserole, Salad
6.  Chili Dogs
7.  Meatball Subs  (I am going to change that to Sausage and Peppers.  I just need a good bottle of wine to make this dish).
8. Grilled Pork Chops and Veggie Side Dishes
9. Chicken and Dumplings

Notice Michael's meal list.  What does almost every meal contain?  MEAT... He doesn't even take the time to spell out what veggies sound good to him!  My men are truly carnivores!  I am just thankful for the ideas.  Any ideas that you may want to contribute, please feel free.  I still have several slots left for dinner for two weeks!

grace and peace,

Help! I Need Meal Ideas

Our house is all decked out in its Christmas attire.  I am so thankful that we accomplished this task the Saturday/Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I ended up getting sick this past week, and I haven't been much good for anything.  I haven't cooked the last three days.  I think this is a personal record for me, but I just haven't felt up to making a meal.  Pizza Hut has come to our rescue as well as a few fast food joints.  I am hoping to put a list together today so my husband and I can go shopping.  I don't think I have enough energy to do it by myself.  This bug has really gotten me down.  I am even having a hard time coming up with something yummy to cook for the upcoming meals.  The only thing that sounds really good to me is broccoli soup.  Lucky for me, I cut our garden broccoli the other day before I got sick so I have plenty of fresh broccoli for my soup. 

As I have been curled up under a blanket on the couch, I have so enjoyed the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.  I can focus on the huge tree instead of all the mess that is piling up around me.  I did hear my husband and son up early this morning.  They were doing dishes and laundry before heading out to deer hunt this morning.  I bet Jacob needed underwear and Michael needed a cup for his coffee! Whatever the reason, it was music to my ears. 

What are you feeding your family this week?  I might just be a copycat since I can't come up with any of my own ideas!

grace and peace,