Behind My Red Door

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is there ever enough time?

Here it is, the beginning of another week and this guy is still standing (or should I say sitting) guard over the front garden. He doesn't seem to mind that the trees are mostly bare and that there was frost on the grass this morning. He's staying there until Thanksgiving Day to greet the family. Poor guy is going to be confused when the Christmas decor goes up inside this week. Yes, it is very early, and I never put it up before Thanksgiving but I have my reasons. First of all I took of all of my fall down early because my magazine layout for Mercantile Gatherings was moved up to spring. Tiff (aka Twigs) asked me to help them out, and I was happy to oblige. So fall got packed away early this year. And I am decorating early for another reason (nope, not a magazine) and I'll share it with you as soon as I can. I am thankful that others enjoy my decorating and find it worthy to be featured. It makes my heart sing! Speaking of Mercantile Gatherings, my friend Kathy's Home on the Hill is in the current Holiday issue. I have heard her home looks gorgeous (and I am not surprised!) so I can't wait to pick up my copy later this week when I visit one of my favorites stores, Homestead Primitives in Fitchburg, MA. Here's a peak at her lovely home last Christmas.
I am thankful for all the get well wishes this weekend. Luckily my cold never really blossomed past some minor sniffles. That zinc really seems to do the trick. I was able tackle some of those things on my to do list. On Sunday it turned very cold and windy, so while DH watched the football games, and while I made cards and tags, I had a big batch of Swedish Meatball soup simmering in my smallest Nesco. (What's a Nesco? read about it HERE) It sure helped to chase any lingering sniffles away. This soup starts out very similar to chicken soup - with carrots, celery and onions. My DH's Swedish Nana's recipe called for 2 beef bouillon and 1 chicken bouillon cube for about 3 quarts of water. I don't use bouillon - I use beef and chicken base - I get it at BJ's. It is the same type of paste that pros use in their soups and it has real meat in it, unlike bouillon. I also add lots of pearl barley - we like our soups thick - more like a stew, so the more barely, the better. Not only does it thicken the soup, but it is good for you! Did you know that it has just about the same health benefits as oatmeal? Except for special occasions, I do cook as healthy as possible. Lots of whole grains, limiting red meat, extra veggies wherever possible and only the best dark chocolate! LOL A few red potatoes peeled and diced will round out the soup's starter. You let that simmer until everything is tender. Since I make it in my slow cooker, I let it simmer a few hours. About 20 minutes before you want to serve it, bring it almost to a boil, and slowly add your uncooked Swedish meatballs one at a time and cook until they are tender. Nana's meatball recipe calls for 1 egg, 2 slices of white bread ( I use whole grain) minced onion, black pepper and allspice to each pound of ground beef. I use ground turkey breast and add a little of the beef base and they are just as good as the beef meatballs and so much better for us. When I first started making the turkey breast substitution in this and other ground beef recipes, I also add some Gravy Master to darken the meat (it helped to fool DH.) Now, he has learned the recipes taste as good so I skip that step. We usually love a hearty whole grain bread with our soup, but this one doesn't need it so we just have a few crackers on the side. I always double or triple this and freeze it in batches. I am thankful I have it to pull out on a busy day when a bowl of steaming homemade soup is the only thing that will do. I am thankful my DH thinks it is a worthy meal too!

Those unfinished to do lists seem like a common theme among us bloggers. I see a lot of gals have their UFO listed on the side of their blogs. Mine is on my desk. I like those long narrow prim note pads meant for shopping lists - they are perfect for my to do lists. I have a pad for just about every holiday or season. I have always enjoyed nice paper and stationary and cards. Sometimes when I shop with a friend, the only thing I come home with is a cute note pad. Here are the ones in my stash right now. I often but 2 of each -I keep one in the kitchen for shopping lists and one on my desk for my to do list. It helps to make my chores just a little bit more fun.Getting around to other blogs and answering all the comments is always one of the things on my to do list that I never have enough time for. There are just so many blogs I love to visit and each time I make a post, more new bloggers find me and then I find their blogs. I just can't add any more blogs to my blog roll - but I wish I could spend all day reading both familiar and new blogs.

Karen over at My Yellow Farmhouse posted some an interesting questions about how to answer comments and whether or not to comment on every single post on everyone of your favorite blogs etc. It got me thinking and I wanted to mention it here. I find that I only answer comments when it is a blogger not on my blog roll because then I won't automatically see their next new post, or if someone asks me an actual question. Then I go to that person's blog and answer the question there so they don't have to take the time to come back here looking for the answer. I normally wouldn't think to go back to some one's blog and re-read comments to find an answer so I wouldn't expect my readers to come back here either. It's just too time consuming - it's like reading the same post twice. (Edited: I like how Janene from a Primitive Lifestyle put it - I like to contact them personally. Thanks Janene! )That is just my personal preference thought, and I know other bloggers do what works for them. And I don't comment on comments just for the sake of that. I usually watch my blogroll and then when my commenters update their blog roll, I make a comment then. It seems to be the most efficient way for me to blog. What do you do? Do you answer questions from bloggers in your own comment section or do you go to their blog to answer it? Do you comment on every comment (not question) that bloggers leave you? Do you comment on every post you read? I will admit, some times I don't comment on every post because of lack of time. If you post about a give away on another blog or a topic I am really not interested in, I might not leave a comment that particular time. But if your post really speaks to me, I might write a short story in your comment section - LOL. I guess it all boils down to too many great blogs and not enough time and trying to be as fair to everyone as I can be. And let's face it, some blogs are more our style than others. Since we can't possibly visit every blog as much as we'd like to, we each have to decide which ones we want to visit. I know that my style is not for everyone and I am not offended if every blogger I visit doesn't feel the need to visit me the same way. I hope that my system allows me to touch base with as many of my favorite bloggers as I can in the span of every few days. And like Karen said, after all, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing, right? And once again, it is all about leading a balanced life. So that said, I am thankful for everyone that takes the time to read my blog, and while I LOVE hearing from you, if you don't comment or don't comment every time, I understand and appreciate your visit any time.

After our soup dinner, we went to visit our son and DIL and this sweet guy - our grand doggy Brady. Brady and my DH truly have a special bond. When Brady sees that we are coming (he looks out the picture window) he waits at the top of the stairs and he prances back and forth until DH gets to the top step, then he hops up on the sofa and takes his place, waiting for his Grampy to snuggle with him. It's so cute to watch and I am thankful DH gets so much joy from Brady. When Jay and Ang take their delayed honeymoon in 2 weeks, DH and I will be Brady- sitting for the week. DH will actually sleep at Jay's house and I will spend a good part of each day there with Brady. You can bet the boys will get in plenty of snuggle time!

I wanted to share the picture of the wedding platter I ordered for Jay and Ang's wedding reception last May. Instead of having our guests sign a book that they would more than likely never look at again, we had the guests sign this platter. I ordered the platter and the special pens used for signing it from Say Anything Designs. They offer many different sizes and styles of plates and platters as well as other personalized gifts. I found their customer service to be top notch.

The kids picked out the design they wanted and the size and shape of the platter. After the reception, I baked the platter according to the enclosed directions, and now it can be used for serving food, if they choose. They decided to display it above their front door. They can be used for other special events - like anniversaries. How many of us know a couple celebrating a special anniversary and they have everything. I bet they don't have one of these and would enjoy the useful memento from their special celebration!! Just a thought.

That's all from Behind My Red Door. Thanks for stopping by and have a great Monday. It is time for me to get to my Monday chores and a little decorating - that is if I don't get distracted by even more blog fun. I hope to be back for Whatcha Working on Wednesday. Until next time - hugs, Linda