Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Almost Gone

When does Christmas end for you? Does New Year's Day signal an end of the Holiday Season? Is that when you take down your decorations?

It's so hard to let go! I try to push it as long as I can.

We used more green and red in our house this year. It's grown on me, and I'm thinking of keeping red and green around a little while longer -- even after the Christmas tree is long gone!

This little bush from Trader Joe's is somewhat brighter than we usually see at Christmas time. It has a nice lemon scent to it too. 

I wish I had bought a few more of them as they were inexpensive, brighten up the spirits, and seem to last well indoors before they are set outside.

Here's my find this week. Four faux ironstone salad plates with scalloped edges that I found at a Vintage Mall the other day for just $3 a piece. 

For now they're mixed in with these little holiday plates that have barely survived over the last 15 years. There were 8 at one time, but now there's only 3 left. I'm a "saver of things" after all so I'll hold them close right up until the very last one breaks. 

We're calling these decorator cookies. Don't they look so good under the cloche? Who wouldn't love peanut butter chocolate chip?

That's what I thought the other day when I whipped them up real quick, but they turned out so dry I quit baking them after the first batch. No one will eat them past the first little nibble, so for now they're just for looks. 

We've got a family debate going on how to use them...One daughter suggested adding melted butter to them all crunched up to make a crust for cheesecake. 

I secretly chuckled! If I can't make a silly little cookie that's edible, how would I ever make a decent cheesecake?

Since it's really amazing how these cookies can look good, but be so bad, I'm taking these AMAZING cookies over to Dwellings-The Heart Of Your Home for the Amaze Me Monday party. Hope you'll join me HERE.

Thanks for dropping by!

See you next year...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Update On The Orphan Twins

Have you wondered what happened to those two scared little Chihuahuas our daughter and son-in-law are fostering over the holidays? If you missed the original post, it's here.

As you can see, they've become so socialized they are now loving on their foster mother, and poor Lucy (AKA Phat Taters) is finding it hard to keep her favorite spot right up next to mom.

Lucy Is Pissed As The Orphans Snuggle Right Up
After 9 Days Of Being Loved And Fed

The Orphan Twins have turned out to be the cutest little dogs with sweet personalities...that is, when they're awake and not peacefully sleeping cuddled up next to their foster mom.

A Newly Brave Molly Leaves Her Seat In The Back And
Tries To Ride Shotgun On The Way To Get Vaccinations

Our daughter made the whole family cry (by text) when she told us silent, scared little Max came right up to her a few days ago, looked her right in the eye...then made a soft little "half/whine - half/ruff" and put his head on her leg as if asking to be pet!

As you can see, Max no longer avoids eye contact, and he tries to give Mom kisses right back now that he knows what a kiss is.

All it took to change these two was learning to be pet and loved, and becoming secure in the fact that they would get more than enough to eat at regular mealtimes. 

When they first came to stay at their foster home, they stood just outside the kitchen when dog-meals were prepared, and they could hardly conceal their fear that they wouldn't get anything to eat!

Orphan Twins (Newly Arrived) Not Yet Use To A Getting A Good Meal

Over a week's time, the two grew comfortable with their foster family, and by Christmas Day they were brave enough to join the two family pets in the kitchen supervising "Dad" while he made everyone a nutritious doggie meal.

In fact, as you can see, the Orphans tend to get as close to the 'Family Chef' as they can get when meal prep is concerned!

For me, 2017 will always be The Christmas Of Molly And Max! Truthfully, if we didn't travel so much, Wild Bill and I would adopt the pair ourselves.

But the Orphans need a permanent home with someone who is at home most of the time. After the scary, neglected life they've lived (in a house with an animal-hoarder who had over 100 animals) we just couldn't put them in a boarding kennel when we traveled.  

If you're not aware, animal shelters and rescue organizations can always use donations of shabby towels and rugs, etc. Just call your local shelter for a list of household things they might need.

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Favorite Photos And Thoughts As The Year Ends

Wild Bill and I eloped 20 years ago in our 40's. We had a very small ceremony at a place called The Hitching Post

Someone snapped a Polaroid of us right after the Texan and I were "Hitched"...

Wild Bill's hair is not so dark anymore, neither is mine if I'm honest!

Last October, as we were leaving our middle daughter's house with two of our six grandkids for a ride in the countryside, I snapped this photo of a little older Wild Bill with the grandkids on the way out the door.

Our youngest granddaughter loaded her Grampy down like a pack mule! I love the dainty way he carried her baby doll and purse for her.

When it comes to choosing a Christmas present for each of the grandkids, I always step aside and let Wild Bill make the decisions. 

It seems he always knows just which ones to pick...

Littlest Grandson, Christmas 2017

He may not be their Grampy by blood, but he is their Grampy by heart.

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Chair-Bow Thingy

Here's a favorite piece of Christmas decor, which always makes me happy when I pull it out to decorate the house.

I bought this "chair-bow thingy" a few years ago at a small shop in Illinois. They had quite a few different styles that were related in colors and look. 

I wanted at least four of them for our bar stools but, even at the 40% off After-Christmas Sale, $35 each was more than I wanted to spend (4 x $35 = $140!)

If you think it's not that much to pay and you think I'm cheap...well, you're probably right! I always wonder, can I make this myself? 

And in this case, of course the answer was yes!  I'm mean, it's just a little 4-inch ribbon and a little crapola after all.

If I think I can make it, I only buy just one to copy...and that's why I have so many "one-of-a-kinds" because sometimes I just don't get around to getting it done!

So this year, at the After Christmas Sales, I'm going to be looking for the 4-inch wide burlap ribbon, faux greens, and other do-dads I'll need to try to make a few of these during the winter while we're all bundled up and staying in.

And by the way, here's a quick project from Christy over at Confessions Of A Serial DIYer...

It doesn't get any cuter than this! All you need is card stock, and her directions and links, to make these place cards of your family for your Christmas dinner table this year. 
Just click on over HERE

How about you? Do you have something you bought to use as a sample and never did get around to getting them done? 
Please share your ideas or links in "comments" so we can all get inspired.

Thanks for dropping by!

Join The Party Here:
Foodie Friday And Everything Else
Share Your Cup

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Two Orphan Dogs In A Christmas Tale

First off, let me tell you this is a story with a very happy ending! You may shed a tear along the way, so I want you to know there's joy at the end. After all, it is a Christmas story! 

Our Hero Answering A Call To Foster "The Leftovers"

Don't we all like a good Dickens Christmas story with a happy ending when it concerns cold, neglected, raggedy little orphans finding themselves torn from an over-crowded orphanage...a terrible place...but the only home they've ever known?

I'm changing the names to protect their identity. Let's call our orphans Molly and Max.

Molly and Max arrived in a crate and huddled together,
 too shy and scared for eye contact and refusing to come out

Our story starts in a rural area in an unnamed state, where an animal-hoarder was found to have over 100 dogs in her house, referred to here as The Orphanage. 

A call went out across the state asking larger towns to help shelter the dogs. Our daughter's city dispatched volunteers to pick up 8 dogs and bring them to the city's shelter. Right away they held an Adopt-A-Thon and a few were adopted, but not many.

The problem with rescues like this is that the dogs are often overwhelmed and unsocialized, sad and shy as was true in the case of Molly and Max. Not many people who come for a happy healthy puppy can see the wonderful soul hiding inside a raggedy older orphan, right?

So a call went out for "Fosters"... people willing to take in a traumatized dog or cat and help them learn to trust again -- to feed them, warm them, and eventually cuddle them when the animals are willing enough to accept a warm hand in friendship.

Sad Note: If a dog can't be socialized, or if there are too many excess dogs, the only alternative is euthanization, which most animal shelters avoid at all cost.

Our daughter and son-in-law already have two adopted dogs and two adopted cats, but still they were willing to spend their holiday time off fostering a dog until after New Year's when the shelter will be up and running again. 

When they arrived at the now closed Adopt-A-Thon, they were told to choose from the "leftovers" who had been passed by. A "bonded-pair" of chihuahuas -- shivering, shaking, and clinging to each other -- caught our daughter's eye. 

Bonded pairs (dogs that grew up together and are only adopted out together) are especially hard to find homes for since most people only want one dog. Daughter decided the bonded-pair were the most in need of a loving foster home, and our story picks up from there.

The first night Molly and Max huddled together, too shy to come out of the crate, so newspaper, water and food were placed outside the opened-door crate and the laundry room door was closed to give them some peace and quiet.

Next morning, the two were carried outside for a potty break. Chihuahuas are cold sensitive and poor Max had come from the shelter the night before without even a little sweater to keep him warm. 

Although they both shivered like crazy in the far reaches of the yard, they would not come near the back door or the two "foster" humans, so unfortunately a madcap chase ensued until the two were corralled and carried inside.

Hearts racing, the pair were placed in a blanket on the couch where they curled up and buried their heads into the blanket and avoided eye contact.

On Monday, the orphans were approached only with kindness by the family dogs and the humans until they all ended up within petting distance of foster mom. 

Our daughter's first attempt to pet the pair can be seen in a  video, but I need to work on the connection to get it to run. 

Here she shows us the size of the two and how close she managed to get to them without panicking them again.

It breaks my heart to see dogs try not to show any reaction when they're being stroked by a loving hand when most will turn right over and hope for a belly rub! If you look at the picture below you can see Molly stares straight ahead when being petted.

At the end of the video, Molly actually glances a little sideways to see if the hand is maybe coming back for another loving stroke. I think this is the place where the ice started to melt around that little pink heart!

Sorry! Working On Getting The Video To Run

On Monday afternoon, the first order of business was a trip to the store to buy Max a blue hoodie to warm him up, and to give him a little sense of protection. 

Molly's hand-me-down sweater someone found for her at the shelter was a little smelly, so she got a new bright pink one too!

At first, they just stiffened and stared straight ahead, but little by little they softened a bit.

Max has a loose snaggle tooth on the left here, it will have to be removed

With a new warm sweater to comfort him, Max allowed our granddaughter to hold him on her lap and pet him, but his stiff legs just couldn't relax. 

Sweet Lily accepted that Max just couldn't relax those front legs!

The two dogs are very skinny. Food in a crowd of 100 at the orphanage must've been hard to get at when you're as little as these two are!

That must be why, from the very start, whenever meals and snacks are served these two desperately shy little ones are the first to get right in the chow line as quickly as they can!

As they blossomed, these two bravely started out running even Lucy (affectionately known as Phat Taters) who is down to only 7 pounds overweight and has been on a "gentle diet" ever since she was adopted last year. 

Lucy, Who Has Been Reducing Since Her Adoption, Provides "Butt Warmth"

Errands had to be run on Tuesday afternoon, so with a blanket wrapped around them, the pair went on a trial run to determine how well they can handle a car ride.

Foster parents create an analysis sheet to help the shelters find the right homes for the fostered dogs. 

They're Loving The New Bed Bought For Them On Their Ride And Placed In Their Favorite Spot On The Couch...The Luxury Lifestyle Indeed!

Things foster parents often consider are how other animals are tolerated, how the dogs relate to kids, whether they need plenty of exercise, or (like these two) are they couch potatoes that might do well with a senior?

Waiting Outside The Kitchen Praying For Dinner To Be Served

As you can imagine, our whole extended family has fallen in love with these two by text messages and phone pictures all day long since they were brought home. One daughter was away from her phone and found 178 messages when she returned!

"I'd Like A Second Serving Please!"

Our daughter and granddaughter had to go out for 4 hours and when they returned, they found two lively dogs on the couch jumping up and down and whining because they were so very happy to see the humans return! 

They're still a little shy, but daughter feels they've made it over the hump so to speak...

We have a feeling that one of our homes might be a match, and they'll be part of our "fur-ever" family.  At any rate, even if they go to an unknown home, this will be the Christmas our family will remember as The One With Max And Molly!

Max Got A Second Sweater Too "Just In Case"

I'm posting this story to highlight the need for foster homes and to help spread an understanding of how fostering works for animals, the trials and rewards associated with fostering, and why foster homes are so badly needed.

Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Loved Ones Make Our Christmas Home

Just as many of you, our home reflects our family's past and the people of our lives, especially at Christmas. 

The family quilts my mother-in-law passed down to me warm up the living room with pattern and names of family and friends stitched long ago.

Most of the people whose names are stitched here were gone long before I joined the family 20-some years ago. 

I think Aunt Tilda would've been my favorite. I like her bold, dark blue letters and neatly sewn stitches. Her quilt square is right next to Wild Bill's Great-Grandma Savage's square, but she was only Grandma back then...

Here's a photo of Great-Grandma Savage's daughter, Mattie, on her wedding day in 1912. Mattie was my mother-in-law's mother and Wild Bill's grandmother.

Wedding Day, Will and Mattie near Whitesboro TX

Mattie's square says simply "Mother" in various shades of pink. Since Mattie had 12 children in all (10 daughters and 2 sons), I can only believe that Mother was a title she cherished when she chose to use it instead of her given name.

Out in the kitchen, on top of the cupboard, Wild Bill's old boots are again part of the decor among the chickens and Christmas lights. 

Those old sturdy boots are a reminder to me that sometimes when you least expect it, the right man can walk right into your life and fit right in with your family of girls.

1997 Wedding Day At The Hitching Post Chapel

Higher up, an antique mirror reminds me of the Nebraska relatives who patiently stored my grandparent's furniture for over 40 years. 

My grandparent's left Nebraska with their six children during the Great Depression, headed for a new life in Northern California.
Wedding Day, Harry and Sabra in Gresham Nebraska

They left their furniture in a relative's Nebraska barn, planning to return soon to pick it up once they were settled. The furniture stayed in the barn for over 40 years until my father got a call that the barn was going to be torn down. 

Dad drove back to Nebraska and picked up some of the furniture in the late 1970's. He chose the oldest pieces, ones that had been handed-down through Sabra's family to his parents. 

Another 40 years later, I still have my great-grandmother's childhood dresser and mirror, which are the family pieces he brought back for me.

I don't know how the furniture was stored, but it was well protected. The beveled mirror is still crystal clear and unmarked.

Thanksgiving morning 1978, Dad and I, with my two oldest girls

My father's well-worn baseball hat of his beloved "A's" always has a place on a shelf in our home year round, but during Christmas tiny twinkle lights remind me of my father's lively spirit. 

It's not a pretty hat, in fact it's worn and somewhat shabby, but it was Dad's last hat...the one he was wearing in January 1994, when he was taken ill and died just 2 weeks later. 

Dad's hat is a reminder to me, a list-making planner, to live like there's no tomorrow...because sometimes there isn't.

Here's some of our ornaments, which are reminders of when the kids were little or of family pets who have passed. 

One of my favorites...this masterpiece of a photo ornament, made with a cottage cheese lid and some yarn, when Oldest Daughter was in Kindergarten.

Her little hands also made a wonderful, sparkly ice cream cone ornament that same year. When she brought it home, we all admired it, then she hung it on a low branch of the Christmas tree. 

Perhaps it looked a little too real, or maybe it hung too low on the tree. The littlest sister took a bite out of the bottom of the cone 37 years ago, but it still gets unwrapped each year and hung for all to see.

In 1992, I lost my little dog Ginger. Her death was hard on all of us as she was an important member of the family. 

Ginger Dressed As A Bride, Halloween 1983

Ginger woke the girls up every morning for me, and she let me know the school bus was bringing her precious girls home 5 minutes before it even appeared. 

Ginger Loved Her Grandma Betty, 
Both Of Them Had Peach-Colored Hair

The girls and I found Ginger at an Adopt-A-Pet-In-The-Park event in 1983 when she was already 2 years old. Her elderly owner had to give her up to move into a nursing home, and poor Ginger sat in a crate under a table looking very sad and forlorn. 

1981 Middle Daughter Always Cried When It Was Someone Else's Birthday

Little did she know three little girls and their mama were on a mission that day to find a dog to love and that, from that day forward, she would have four people who would make sure she was loved and never lonely again.

In 2013, I found an ornament to remember Ginger by.  She looked just like this ornament when she came home from the groomer all fluffed up with a bow in her hair, but it's the big red heart on the chest that reminds me of her the most.

All three of our daughters lost their own pound pets within a 5-month period last year. Nine-year-old Sweet Dee was the first of the three to leave this earth. 

Dee was my pal, and I still miss her terribly whenever I visit her family.

This ornament on our tree reminds me of Dee's party animal spirit. If Dee had been a human, she would've been "that girl" at the party wearing too much lipstick and a lampshade on her head.

Dee had another side, a real mothering instinct. She loved her two babies the moment they came home from the hospital, and she made sure she was by their side no matter what (or who) was in the way!

Dee Helping Grammy Take Care Of New Baby Ben, 2010

Dee Comforting Her Sick Boy Ben

Dee's ornament is just below Ginger's on our Christmas tree this year...

The third dog ornament on the tree is a reminder of Youngest Daughter's two terriers. Both were adopted from shelters separately after being abandoned when they were a 2 or 3 years old. 

Bailey was a feisty girl, adopted after Youngest Daughter graduated college and thought all she needed in her life was a dog. 

Bailey was quite the handful, a dog so smart she could get herself out of the enclosed backyard and sit waiting for us at the front door after her gleeful romp through the neighborhood.

While Bailey was a bold one, her pal Wrigley was scared of his own shadow when he was adopted a few years later. In the picture below you see him snuggling with his mama for protection when I aimed a camera at him. 

Bailey lived a good long life. Long enough to settle down and help raise a new husband and two babies after her mama decided maybe a family was in their future after all.

Bailey and Her Mama On Our Last Visit Before She Passed

It was a sad day when 16 year-old Bailey left her family last year. Wrigs still carries on without her, but it won't be long before he joins up with his best pal again. 

I've been looking for quite a while, but haven't found an ornament for Einstein, Oldest Daughter's dog, who left this earth last Christmas Eve.
I've thought maybe of putting two fake eyeballs on a cotton ball and making my own ornament for him. But I'll keep searching and see if I can find something commercially made. 

So that's our Christmas home this year, filled with memories of all the family history and loved ones who shared our lives for a while.

Today I'm joining Dwellings for Amaze Me Monday and the link party Home For Christmas hosted by Debra from Common Ground and Amber from Follow The Yellow Brick Home. Hope you'll hop on over and join the parties too.

Thanks for dropping by!