Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas from Yankee-Belle!

It's crunch-time.

Or kick-back time.

I aim for the last week before Christmas to be quiet and prayerful, joyous and good.

I fail, utterly because I always think I can do one thing more.

 Me and 'Lijah showing off twin aprons Mom found at a garage sale this summer! Chic-on-a-dime, LOL!
 Dave and 'Lijah cracking eggs for the chocolate chip/peanut butter chip cookies they made... Dave's apron was made by my friend Becky Prophet, daughter-in-law Lacey's amazing mother. She made 8 aprons for us, in different styles. What a blessing she is!

 Yes, I keep my sugar in a garbage can!  It holds a twenty-five pound bag of sugar and keeps ants at bay... but not small children. :)

The Safety Board would fine us for letting kids bake on chairs.... silly safety board! What's a broken arm among friends?

 And here's the flour container, laugh out loud for real! Dave is modeling how strong it is... yes, it's an Igloo liquid container but holds a twenty pound sack of bread flour from Sam's Club and keeps out bugs... beetles, gray moths, etc. That's important in our hot (if short) summers. And durable, too, as modeled by Dave! (This is little Dave, not to be confused with my husband who is big Dave although neither one of us is very big... we are the runts of both litters!)

Not as cool as Edna, this is the Kitchen Aid that my beloved mothers at daycare gave me last year...

This baby (and its trusty still-working predecessor) are at work daily with my little crew.

The Chocolate Chip cookie dough. Dave wanted to make sure everyone saw it.

Sneak peak at Dave's dad, my son Matt... Note that he's searching for food.... He'd just run 10 miles and got back in time to shower and head to the Christmas train show at a great garden center near here.

But food was clutch to a successful afternoon!

So we're busy like everyone else, but that's okay. It all gets done, no one dies and we have a great time.

Most of the recipes I'm using this weekend are already on the blog.  We're making Ree Drummond's mother's apple dumplings that are now a family and crowd-pleasing favorite:  RECIPE HERE

We're having the stuffed mushrooms that were such a hit at Thanksgiving, and so simple. With a food processor, this stuffing takes minutes to make and my family devoured these babies...

For Christmas Eve, Dave's family comes to celebrate with us. Everybody brings something. I love that!

For our family celebration on Sunday, I do the cooking.... and then we're sending one family on the Polar Express train ride as part of our Make-a-Memory Day.

So we have Make-a-Memory Days and Bake-a-Memory Days because who needs more toys, right?

Then on Christmas, we have a small group this year because some are heading to other places. So that day will be easy: Mass in the morning,  Steak on the grill in the snow, baked potatoes, veggies, more mushrooms, pie and we might even do something we've never done before: Go to a movie. Les Mis opens that day... Or The Hobbit, maybe?

Don't know, we'll see how the day progresses! From my heart and house to yours, I wish you the peace, blessings and tidings of this holy season...

A baby, born in a manger.



Keep a Simple Christmas.


God bless you!

Ruthy (The Yank)


  1. whats a broken arm between friends! SORE!!!!!
    ok mine isn't broken latest dr 3 says muscular and in a half splint held in place with a bandage. but am pain free finally will take as long as broken arm.
    love the fun you all had. i have sugar cookies to ice but trying to mix it and ice them is a tad hard.

    have a blessed christmas

    1. Jenny, I hear you! That's why I love my Kitchen Aid from the gals.... it does the work for me. I measure (sometimes!!!) :) and then pour....

      You heal and buy cookies for a few weeks, okay? If I was there, I'd bring you cookies. And you'd smile and say, "Thank you, Roofie!" :)

  2. Heyyyyyy.... I never thought of putting the sacks in a garbage can! We get those giant flour and sugar sacks, too. But I stuff them in the cabinet, flat, and they usually are spilling all over.

    Sounds lovely. And busy. And fun. :) This little family of 8 is heading on over now because I don't think you'll mind a few more, right?

    And your son ran ten miles before that picture? That's a lie. I know this because once I ran a mile and I had to crawl up my own front steps, my quivering limbs unable to bear weight for the next five hours. He's vertical. Ergo, your assertion is false. (Didn't know I was so smart, didja??)

    1. Well, we photo shopped him.

      Stinkin' runners. They always look good.

    2. OH, yes, come over! We have lots of chairs!!!! And flour and sugar. It's all good. :)

  3. Jenny, praying for your wrist and so glad you're finally pain free!

    1. thanks its so much better now its got the right splint.

      We use an old bin for flour also.

      Virginia maybe he ran it in a truck? I do a couple of miles each morning but i walk!

    2. Yay for the right splint, Jenny! So glad you're feeling better while your arm heals!

    3. Heehee! My brother is a marathon runner. Weird people.

    4. Marathoners.... sheesh. Then I feel guilty for every piece of cake. Beth's husband Jon ran a marathon in Minnesota with his brothers...

      Family bonding?

      I can do that around a table with some mighty good eats.


  4. We have so many pictures of my kids with the grandmothers as they stand on chairs to reach the counter and make cookies. We are continuing the tradition with my daughter, the cookie maker in the family.

    Ah, steaks on the grill sounds lovely. We will be having a lot of soup here as my BIL and I both have acid reflux so our big meals will be at lunch. That leaves time before a nap so we don't fall asleep at the Duke Chapel 11PM service!

    Blessings to all.

    Peace, Julie

    1. Oh, love that Julie.

      And I bet that service will be just gorgeous.

    2. I missed the Duke Chapel when I was down there for a visit with my NC grandkids. Next summer on my way to RWA I'm hoping to stop in and see the kids, grandkids and the chapel. I think Dave is coming with me.

      Which means he won't stop the car often enough.

  5. Merry Christmas, Ruthy! And thanks for the glimpse into your kitchen -- the heart of a home! We're keeping it simple here too. Just the usual tofu veggie bake. :-)And lots of cookies!

    1. Tofu veggie bake is lovely, Kav! But the cookies out-rank that on a major scale!


      Bless you! Merry Christmas!

    2. Kav, my daughter is making a vegan nut roast for dinner. I've never had it. She says they're wonderful. Other daughter and husband requested ham though.

  6. I love a simple Christmas.

    While doing some last minute chocolate and Worcestershire sauce shopping at Walmart yesterday, I overheard some VERY stressed out people trying to come up with last minute gifts they couldn't afford, for people who didn't want them.

    So sad. I just wanted to tell them to buy the kid a coloring book and crayons. Just keep it simple.

    We're soaking in the joy of having our family together this year. Losing my father-in-law last winter and being so close to losing my mother has made the family times we have just that much more precious.

    So Christmas Eve will be special (more about that on Monday!), and Christmas Day will be all about eating, playing, eating, playing, eating......

    No steak on the grill, though (dagnabbit!). We've had so little moisture, and still no snow. Would you believe we're still under a fire ban?

    1. Jan, I heard one of those conversations a few days ago. Parents fighting over what their kid did and did not want.

      I can honestly say my husband and I have never fought over THAT. Cause wanting isn't really part of the equation. Unless hubby tried to buy the toddler a nail gun or something... We can usually find something small they'll like.

    2. Legos were our mainstay for years.

      Our children have just recently discovered they can receive presents other than Legos.

    3. We love Legos. My son Seth became a collector. They have created an insurgency in his basement rec room... tiny armies fighting for their right to be unboxed on a nightly basis, very Night at the Museum.

      He's selling some now. He buys on speculation then re-sells when the market is right for something Lord of the Rings or Vintage Castle or whatever. Legos were always such good, imaginative building blocks. Once Seth did an entire Greek manor setting from ancient times with a courtyard, a garden, battle rooms, armories, training yard, the main house, the kitchen house... I was amazed and thought he'd be an architect for sure.


      But he builds cool Lego stuff!

    4. Maybe we should bring the Legos out for a family build-fest on Christmas afternoon!

    5. Oh, Legos. We have bons of those. I started to pick them up at yard sales, not understand that one you start, there's NO GOING BACK. Like glitter in the carpet, you just have to move to get away from it.

      Our vaccuum prefers legos to all other toys, too.

  7. Love the photos! Thanks for sharing a bit of Ruthy World.

    Merry Christmas and much love to all of you!

  8. It's so nice to share this glimpse of your Christmas prep and your delightful little helpers. How else could they help mix 'n make if they didn't stand on chairs? Our little ones do the same.

    We're awaiting the arrival of a daughter and her family tonight. I'm making a big pot of soup and homemade bread today for an easy supper. Our DD is the pianist for the two Christmas Eve services so we'll be having another light supper that night... definitely keeping it simple. But it'll be turkey for Christmas day. We love roast turkey and all the usual trimmings, although I think its biggest appeal is the leftovers that provide easy meals for the following few days!

    I'm looking forward to just visiting with family during this next week, relaxing together and enjoying the grandchildren. We're not party animals, so it'll be low-key.

    Have a wonderful time with your family, too, Ruthy. Merry Christmas!

    1. Ah, turkey. I thought of that because I have some in the freezer and I was tempted, but everyone leaves the morning of the 26th....

      so then it's ME.

      And I can't eat that much in the way of leftovers. But Carol, I'll imagine your turkey!!!! :) With gravy... potatoes.... stuffing.....

      And then I'll make one in January to feast on when there are a few peeps around.

      Bless your daughter and her musical abilities. What a pleasure to play for Christ on Christmas!!!

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  10. Hey! We got spammed! Does that mean Yankee Belle is getting famous??? :D

    1. We are targeted.


      Man the defenses!!!!

  11. LOL, Yeah, I guess so, Virginia. :) The other day, I deleted about 20 that came in one day and got marked as spam.

  12. Oh, and I deleted 495 spam messages from Seekerville the other day as well!

  13. wow thats alot. i get them occasionally. it goes in spurts.

  14. Stupid spammers! Thank you for doing the housework, Missy!

  15. Ruthy, this post reminds me of my favorite "baking time" with my grandmother. She would get out the cookie cutters and slices of white bread. We'd cut our cookies from the bread and then slather them with colored cream cheese for icing.

    I loved those days!
    If you consider the memory is about 50 years old, that's some incentive to make memories!