Saturday, December 29, 2007


This little rosemary plant stayed in the 3" pot I bought it in. I don't know if it will make it thru the winter, but so far, so good. It is a nice surprise to have it bloom! When we lived in CA, we had some type of trailing rosemary that always bloomed, but I haven't had a rosemary bloom (or live) here in Utah before.
This is the view from our driveway, east towards the mountains. We have had snow fall almost every day since Christmas Eve, so there is quite a bit more, now. We are at 5, 000 feet on the 'bench', so if the valley gets 3 inches and the mountains get 2 feet, we get somewhere in between those two numbers. It is lovely. Maybe we'll go sledding today (I don't ski, unfortunately).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday - 'white' poinsettia

I don't really grow these, of course, but I do love poinsettias. This year I have a lovely white one. We all know they are more of a yellow-y cream color, but still, it is something beautiful and blooming at Christmastime. I like the red ones, the pink ones, and the striped ones are starting to grow on me, but who can deal with those crazy purple-and-glitter-sprayed ones at Wal-mart??? not me! bah humbug to them, I say!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas hoopla, Show and Tell

Edge tagged me for this. I've decided blogging is good for my family, because I can reminisce and tell stories to my heart's content, without boring them to death. I am also double tasking today, and have my first Show and Tell. You can see Anita's Show and Tell at There's No Place Like Home.
Here's the rules: List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

1. Having a ‘white’ Christmas is important to me. I really hate winter (I think it is the duration, changing winter to just one month would be fine with me), but snow on the ground makes it feel like Christmas.
2. I ‘believed’ in Santa (and the Easter Bunny) long past the time most kids give that up. It added a lot of magic to the holiday for me.
3. I got up one Christmas and slept under the Christmas tree (Santa had come by then), but my brother and sis and I were old enough (teenagers!) that I knew they’d all be mad if I came and woke them up, so I waited under the tree.
4. One of our family traditions has been to negotiate a wake-up time for Christmas (and I’ll get in the first proposal: 9:00 a.m.!! ) with the children. After that is agreed to, the children have to come wake us up by singing Christmas carols (hey, maybe they should be bringing us breakfast in bed!!). DH and I are usually awake, and snuggling and anticipating the day before the kids come in (don’t tell them) and we make quite a protest about getting up, and tell them to go back to bed. One year, we reset their alarm clocks. That didn’t work, though.

5. Another tradition is to head to the grocery store on Christmas Eve, so the children can pick out a sugary ‘Christmas cereal’. This started when we only bought the ‘healthy’ cold cereals, with less sugar in them, so anything at all was a big treat. They had to agree on one box, so they had to work that out between them. One year I videotaped them: I remember the oldest (Edge!) doing a bit of eye rolling (she was too sophisticated for this), and little alliances being made amongst the four of them (the youngest hadn’t been born yet). Now it is something that everyone has pretty much outgrown (everyone is an adult except for the youngest, who is 12), but she thinks this tradition is really fun, so whoever is around goes with her, and pretty much just lets her have her way. (No wonder she likes it).

6. A more traditional tradition we observe is to sing Silent Night in German on Christmas Eve. (It’s not all about cereal, y’know!) We act out the Christmas story from Luke 2, with Dad reading the story. We use simple costumes, and I love this part of the holidays, and then finish with Silent Night. My husband’s family is mostly from Germany, as is mine.

7. I was in 4-H as a child, and my grandmother was our club’s leader. She helped teach me to sew, and one year for Christmas (she made something for each of her 13 grandchildren every Christmas), she gave me a few yards of fabric, because she hadn’t finished sewing for all of us yet. I was ok with the gift, and flattered that she thought I could sew well enough to make something, but mom thought it was a pretty bad gift.

8. The 12 year old has major ‘gimmie-gimme’ syndrome this year, apparently. She says she doesn’t get enough gifts. All right, everyone; all together-Roll Eyes!

9. Baking is usually a fun part of the holidays for me. This year I found out my baking powder died. I guess I don’t bake much anymore. I’ll try and post a fave recipe later. So far this year we’ve made ginger cookies (when I discovered the baking powder problem), and 7 layer cookies, with a chocolate-crusted with red and white chips variation, chocolate dipped pretzels, and a super easy, yummy toffee I got from MsGreenThumbJean.

10. Twelve hooplas?????? Couldn’t we have gone with a shorter hoopla??? Oh, well, one of my favorite Christmas songs is Oh, Holy Night.
11. This ornament belonged to my great-grandparents, Charles and Josie Bruner. They had a large family of 11 children, and I loved going to their home for Christmas, and getting together with all my 'Bruner' cousins. I'm glad to have this little keepsake to remember them.

12. One great Christmas memory was the Christmas of 1995. My oldest was home from her first semester of college; the baby was two months old. Our youngest fell asleep mid-morning, through the hoopla of opening gifts.

Merry Christmas to all! I am tagging the 12 year old, Hailey, Jean at MsGreen"thumb"Jean, Kylee at MyLittleAcre, my old friend Jean. Maybe some others. Oh, and if you haven't had a chance to "Elf Yourself" yet, go do it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My 5 least favorite Christmas Songs

I know this is not an original idea, but I have been listening to Christmas music since the day after Halloween. (Insanity!!!!! I know … it is a combination of my 12 year old’s taste in music combined with a local radio station’s odd insistence on starting Christmas music on November 1st. I always react with a mixture of panic (oh no! it’s time to start gearing up for Christmas) and dismay (I’m putting away Halloween stuff, scrubbing face paint off my daughter’s face, and they are playing Christmas music on the radio, for heaven’s sake?). Of course, the fact that the retail stores are putting Christmas stuff out in September is freakish enough.

That makes 43 days of Christmas music listening, mostly from the ‘golden oldies’ station. I really like music, and I really like Christmas music, but there are a few that I could live quite happily without ever hearing again. And so, in no particular order, here are my five most despised, entirely insufferable, utterly loathe-able tunes:

A Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney. This is one of those ‘Beatles light’ songs that Sir Paul put out after the Beatles broke up. Too saccharine for even me.

Grown-Up Christmas List, which is sung by Amy Grant, probably other people, too. And I usually like Amy Grant, but this is just too contrived.

Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas – yeah, I know, everybody loves Elvis. Me, not so much. But this song is especially irksome because of the back up singers, who sound like they are on some kind of vocal sedative.

Jingle Bells by Barbra Streisand. Ok, this one is too Barbra: it always sounds too driven, too manic, too much Barbra.

Last and least, is
John Lennon’s And So This Is Christmas. More proof (if you needed any more) that when the Beatles broke up, their best days were behind them). We already knew John was One Cynical Guy, he doesn’t need to remind us with this off the scale bitter-fest of a song. And yes, if you were wondering, I also thoroughly dislike ‘Imagine’.

So, my top (or bottom) 5 Christmas songs. What holiday songs are you sick to death of? Any faves?

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I don't remember my violets blooming in December, before. I am glad I have this on line record so that next year I can start seeing if there is a pattern. I remember thinking African violets were an 'old lady' plant. Now that I am fast headed to that stage of life, I can appreciate the fact that, when there is snow on the ground outside, I have something to tend and enjoy inside.
I killed a great many of these little beauties in years past, then became friends with Dona, who knew how to raise them, and had glorious A. violets that bloomed all the time!
I haven't reached her level, yet, but I do enjoy my voilets. She taught me to water from the bottom, and only every ten days. (I mark my calendar to help me remember, and water all my indoor plants at that interval.) It's important to fertilize with a good A. violet fertilizer (she swore by Peter's African Violet Plant Food), and to let the water sit a few days to reach room temperature before you use it on your plants. My mother says doing that also gives the chlorine in the water time to dissipate, but I don't know about that.
How do you take care of your African violets?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday- a gift to enjoy

I have been wondering if Iwould have anything to post for GTS, and then thought I'd share the flowers my daughter and son-in-law gave me for Thanksgiving. I have enjoyed them every day. I love gerbera daisies, and the whole bunch makes me smile everytime I look at them. We'll see what next week brings. For now, I am loving the reds, whites and greens of this lovely gift.

Garden Blogger's Muse Day - December

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls picked them, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
by Pete Seeger

Everyone knows this song, sung by Peter, Paul and Mary, and it matches my sadness as the snow is flying and I know it is a 'long time' until I am back in my garden. It is a good thing Christmas is coming.

It is hard to believe that I have a few roses still hanging around on December first. They obviously need to be thrown on the compost pile, but I am hanging on to them as long as I can.