Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cookie-making With Kids---Silly, Sassy and Sweet!

Christmas, for me, is first and foremost about celebrating a Savior who came quietly to a manger bed and ended up changing the world.  But it is also about spending time with family and making memories together.  
Today I was remembering a fun activity that I did with some of my grandchildren.  I went searching for the pictures to show you and was astonished to see that we did this four years ago!  The years are flying by!  I want to fill them with as many happy times as possible.
This is a quick and easy no-bake cookie---Nutter Butter Santa cookies.

You will need: 
  Nutter Butter sandwich cookies, melted white chocolate bark, red sprinkles, miniature marshmallows cut in half, miniature chocolate chips, and red cinnamon candies.
To assemble: 
  1.  Pour red sprinkles, red candies (for nose) and chocolate chips into cups or small bowls. Also snip miniature marshmallows in half and put in a small bowl.
  2. Melt the bark in microwave or on stove top (be careful not to burn it.)  This is a job for grown-ups or older children.
  3. Dip both ends of a Nutter Butter cookie into white bark.  Then dip one end of the cookie into the bowl of red sprinkles--do not completely cover the white chocolate bark but leave a little bit showing for Santa's "fur trim".  If you use a cup or small enough bowl, the sprinkles will be deep enough for you to simply plunge the cookie in to the right level.
  4. Working quickly, attach a half-marshmallow to the "hat" for a "pom-pom".  You may need to use a dab of bark on the marshmallow to help it adhere.  We had some leftover icing from another cookie project that we used for the "glue".
  5. Use a tiny dab of bark (or icing) to attach two chocolate chips for eyes and one cinnamon candy to make the nose.

This was an easy-for-kids activity that the grown-ups had fun with too!
Don't worry about perfection.  Just have fun.  Besides, it's the imperfections that give each cookie a personality!  Look at these guys--some are silly, some are sassy and some are sweet!
And one other fun thing---eating the cookies!
 Mmmm mmmmm.

Have you done anything easy and fun with kids at Christmas?  Care to share?  I can always use new ideas:)  Hope you're planning to make some fun memories this Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's A Cover-up!

Is there anything at your house that sort of grates on your nerves every time you walk past it?  Something that bugs you because it is an eyesore or needs a change?  Well that's how I felt about this water heater.  And I decided it needed to be covered up before Doc Holiday made its debut on the Holiday Tour of Homes at Tybee.

It wouldn't be so bad to have an exposed water heater except that this room opens up to to other parts of the house and it is in the path to the back door.  I don't like looking down the hall and seeing this...

It was supposed to be concealed in a closet in the original plan but somehow we ran out of space.  What are you gonna do in this situation?  You need to have hot water.

I've been thinking about how to solve the problem for a while and thought maybe I could buy a curtain rod that would bend to go around the water heater.  I was googling around to see if such a product exists and I came across this bendable shower curtain rod that you can bend to any configuration.  I ordered it right away.  Yaaay!

The shower curtain rod is a track that comes with hooks to hang the shower curtain. 

 I wanted a solid white shower curtain so it would blend into the background.  I found this white one with little ruffles and thought it would be perfect.  Once it arrived I saw that the fabric was very see-through (boo) but we solved the problem by using a white fabric (not plastic) liner.

I called on my go-to handy ladies at Tybee Girl Helpers to install everything.  Heather and Patricia took on what turned out to be a two-woman job and worked their magic.

And then...oh happy day!

At last things are covered up and pretty.

Sooo much better!

All weekend I felt a little smile cross my face whenever I walked into this room.  The saying is that "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  Well, Mama is happy :)

Have you ever had to come up with an unusual solution to solve a decorating dilemma?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Making A Joyful Noise!

Just a little something to lift your spirits and refocus your thoughts on the reason for the season...  These monks who have taken a vow of silence still manage to have a choir and to express the good news that is in their hearts!

Take a moment to watch their performance of The Hallelujah Chorus.  It will make you smile.  My favorite part is the big "hallelujah" at the end!

Have time for one more Christmas tune?  This is an a capella rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" performed by Pentatonix.

Sigh.  I wish I could sing beautifully.  But I am glad that God is happy when I make a 
"joyful noise"!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Colorful, Christmas-y Cottage Tour!

What a great day Saturday was!  Tybee Island put on one of it's most glorious winter days--think sunny with a high of 80 degrees!  It was downright balmy in December and a perfect day for Jane Coslick's 2nd Annual Holiday Tour of Homes featuring ten beach cottages.

I went down a few days early to try to make things "party perfect" by putting out some Christmas-y touches using beachy colors and mostly things I already had.   

Doc Holiday was Stop #1 on the map. 

  When guests stepped onto the front porch there were brightly colored furnishings and a cheery poinsettia to greet them.

Just inside the front door they were greeted by Rudolph, my ceramic deer head.  After putting his antlers made of twigs into the head, I decided he needed some additional fluffing sooo...I bought some colorful jingle bells and tied them on with ribbon.  I also found a small piece of slate at Michael's and had a little phrase painted on by Patricia from Tybee Girl Helpers--is there anything she can't do?

A couple of grocery store bouquets helped to brighten up several spots in the house. Some shells and ornaments were displayed in a shell-shaped dish on the coffee table.

My daughter Kristen and her little girls decorated the tree while I set the table for Christmas breakfast.  Henry put some sand in the bottom of a pretty jar wrapped with rope and added a candle and some shells for a simple centerpiece that is appropriate year-round.


 Kristen made cookies and we set out goodies for Santa in the kitchen.

It was a fun day with all of the tour patrons commenting on the pretty things they had seen and taking pictures for ideas to use at their own homes.  Next year I hope to be one of the patrons myself!  I ho-ho-hope you'll plan to come and join me!

For some more fun and easy Christmas ideas, click over to Home Stories A to Z where I shared my jingle bell reindeer idea :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Loading up the Sleigh for the Holiday Tour of Homes!

 I'm off to Tybee Island for the 2nd Annual Jane Coslick Holiday Tour of Homes which will be held this Saturday, December 7th!  Last year's tour was a big hit with locals and out-of-towners alike who were delighted by the creativity of talented designer Jane Coslick.   The Coral Cottage was on tour last year and this year Doc Holiday will be one of the 
ten cottages featured!  

Jane and I have been working to fluff up the front porch at Doc Holiday in preparation for the big day!  Here's a little taste of what's been happening...more later.

This morning I have been loading my "sleigh" with all kinds of goodies to deck the halls (and the other rooms) at Doc Holiday for Christmas.  (Can you tell I've been listening to 
Pandora Radio?)  

 If you need some relaxing Tybee Time (who doesn't at this busy time of the year?) then come on over and enjoy the tour this Saturday December 7th from 10 to 3.  

The weather is forecast to be warm and sunny this weekend and it will be loads of fun!  FYI the proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit the Humane Society for Greater Savannah. 

Here are some locations that will be selling tickets:    

Savannah Humane Society Thrift Shop, 7215 Sallie Mood Dr., Savannah; 
Seaside Sisters, 1207 U.S. Hwy. 80, Tybee Island; and 
Tybean Art and Coffee Bar, Tybee Oaks Shopping Center, 1213 US Highway 80 East. (912) 786-0786 

Hope to see you at Doc Holiday this weekend! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to You!

I hope you are spending this day considering all that you have to be thankful for and remembering Who you need to thank.

Josey ~ November 2013

 This photo from last year pictures some of my most cherished blessings.  Not all of my family will be able to celebrate with us but as we sit around our table and some are seated at other tables, I think we will all agree that we are thankful for one another--with all of our personalities, talents, and yes, quirks and differences.

Henry and I last year with two of our kids, Jonathan and Meghan, and their families ~ November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations."

~ excerpt from the Holy Bible, Psalm 100

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Talking Turkey About Thanksgiving Table Setting!

Getting ready to set your Thanksgiving table?  I'll bet you already own most or all of what you need to set a beautiful table without spending a fortune.  Let's talk turkey about how to pull this off!  This is what my daughter Meghan and I did last year using what was out in the yard and combining it with what I already had.
   It's easy to do--I'll show you how!

First we put a tablecloth on the table.  I have a golden yellow one that I picked up years ago from Linens n Things or Bed, Bath and Beyond.  This is a good time of year to get tablecloths if you need one--all the stores have a good supply and they are very inexpensive right now especially with coupons (Bed, Bath and Beyond will usually honor even expired coupons).  Or you could use a runner instead--I love the burlap ones I've seen and I think even brown kraft paper would look kinda cool.
Next we added plates...these are my "everyday" plates chosen because they are dishwasher-safe and my fine china is not.  I was trying to keep clean up easy.

Napkins.  I found these easy-care napkins on clearance a few years ago and liked the brown for their autumn feeling as well as their stain-hiding attributes.  Paper napkins can work too.  I put them on the plates to save space because I needed to squeeze lots of people around the table but you can also place them on the left to the outside of the fork.
 For some reason, we stopped with place settings and started working on the center piece next.  We took a glass container and put a pillar candle inside.  Then we added some cranberries--could also look good with popcorn or acorns or whatever says autumn to you--look around to see what you already have. I own some faux antlers that have candleholders on them.  If you have the real deal you could use them or  maybe some pictures of things you're thankful for and then add votives.  Just keep your arrangement low so you can easily see across the table (gotta keep your eye on that last Parkerhouse roll!)

The arrangement, at this point, is like a skeleton---it looks like something is missing so it's time to start filling it in.  I enjoy buying gourds and pumpkins in early October to display in my kitchen.  These "survivors" were placed around.  Don't obsess about everything matching--just try to get them to look balanced so there is an equal weight of things visually 
on each side of the table.

Still looked a little bare-bones so we picked some leaves from the yard.  Most of the prettiest colored ones had fallen already but there were a few left and they filled in beautifully.  They were just placed under the pumpkins and tucked in here and there.  And candles were added.  "The Rules" say candles should only be lit in the evening but I say "throw caution to the wind" and light them if you want to for a festive feeling!
Finally Meghan added glasses and silverware.

Remember the fork goes to the left of the plate.  The knife goes to the right--next to the plate with the blade facing the plate.  The spoon goes to the right of the knife.  I usually place the bottoms of the plate and silverware about an inch from the edge of the table.  I put the glass at the top right of the setting right above the knife.
Mine is just a simple informal table setting.  You can always add in more utensils and glasses--for example if you wanted to put dessert utensils on, they should be added at the top of the plate.  If you are serving wine, those glasses would also be placed on the table.  The rule of thumb is to place items for each course at the place setting in the order they will be used from the outside in. Here's a diagram to help you...
It doesn't matter whether you are seated at a formal or a casual table setting.  It doesn't matter whether or not you eat off of fine china, everyday china or paper plates.  Ultimately, what is important is that you gather together with those you love and those that need to be loved to consider and celebrate the blessings in your life...and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
How do you "do" Thanksgiving?  What are some of your cherished traditions?  What are you thankful for this year?  Please take a moment to share.   And have fun getting ready!

  We used my "everyday" dishes and glasses because we wanted to make clean-up easy on ourselves and they could go into the dishwasher.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Sign" Me Up For Some Beach Therapy!

Leonard Miller has been at it again!  Remember me telling you about the local Savannah artist who is known at Tybee for his wonderful name signs for the cottages?  
Source: Jane Coslick
Well he has been busy at Doc Holiday Cottage! 
 When most people hear the name of the cottage they think of the movie by that name or the Wild West character.  But actually  I named the cottage in honor of my hard-working husband with a wink towards his profession--he is a doctor that needs a holiday:) 

When it was time to plan the name sign, it seemed most appropriate to carry out that same theme.  I googled all the cliches having to do with healthcare and made a list of favorites.  Then Jane Coslick, my go-to designer when it comes to beach cottages, and I met to brainstorm.
She suggested the sign resemble a prescription pad.  Love!
So I drew a rough draft...

And here we have it!

Source: Jane Coslick

Leonard has worked his magic again...

Source: Patricia McCoury
 I guess you could say we've hung out our shingle!

We're open for business!  "Sign" me up!
By the way,  if you need some beach therapy our little cottage is for rent.  Here's a link to our reservations!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lovin' Me Some Bloglovin' !!

Recently my iGoogle page was discontinued by Google--so upsetting to me because I loved having my favorite blogs show up on my dashboard when I signed in.  Booo...I despise change when it comes to technology.

Then I read about Bloglovin', a new reader that allows me to put all of my favorite blogs into one reader and it emails me a link to their new feeds once a day.  There is also a way to search for new blogs in my areas of interest that I can follow (in my spare time--ha!)

Best of all, Bloglovin' is easy to use.  I've been trying it out for a few weeks now and so far, I'm very happy.  Did I mention it is easy to use? Yep!

So I've added the Bloglovin' button to Very Very Vicky and I hope you will use it or one of the other choices--Google Friend Connect or RSS to read along.  Thanks so much to those of you that do actually join and comment from time to time in the comment section of my blog!  It means a lot to me and helps me to keep going on those days when I'm racking my brain to figure out what to write:)  You're the best!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We Have A Plan!

It's time to landscape the yard at Doc Holiday cottage and thankfully I have a brother, Bill Griffin, a landscape architect in Savannah, who can help.  He and his crew from Griffin Landscape Design and Contracting did an amazing job at The Coral Cottage and it made a huge difference!  You can see the Before and Afters here.
Recently while I was at Doc Holiday Bill came by to measure the yard and begin working on a plan.  We talked over my wish list...
  •  Plant material that was drought resistant
  •  A privacy hedge on each side of the house to screen us from the park and the next door neighbor--something tall, thick, and fast-growing
  • Oleanders--they are so beachy and have a long-lasting blooming season.
  •  A brick patio
  • Paver walkway to the back door
  •  Bill's suggestion--make a place to hide the trashcans when they are not curbside for pick up.
This is the proposed plan Bill sent me....

The front of the house is facing left.
After looking up a few of the suggested plants to see what they look like and getting some questions answered...

We Have A Plan!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Yes Sir, That's My Baby!

Did I ever show you pictures of the exterior of Doc Holiday?  I don't think I did yet and I am so pleased with the result!

If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, my very first post showed our little old cottage that started it's life in the 1930's down the street at another location...

It's owners wanted to tear it down so they could build a lovely new house but the historical society at Tybee Island persuaded them to wait--to give them time to find somebody who would move the house to another location... 

 That somebody was us!  Me and my husband Henry!  We bought the cottage for a dollar!

We raised the cottage so it would be above the flood elevation...

Some very skilled carpenters and other trades applied themselves to fully restoring our 
little cottage inside and out...

Then voila!  Here is Doc Holiday today!

After all this effort and attention, it's almost like my baby!  And like any proud mama I have lots of pictures to show my baby off.  Please bear with me!

  The main part of the house is painted a Martha Stewart Living color called Hummingbird Blue 
MSL 135.  The shutters are Behr Citron 400B-4.  And the front door is Sherwin-Williams 
Coral Reef SW 6606.

Like the colors?  I wanted it to feel like a beach cottage with bright colors that are so perfect on coastal properties.  I'm thankful that I had a great color guru, designer Jane Coslick
to help me choose.
Next up--the landscaping!