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Welcome to our house!

christmas-wagon

Why do we all love decorating for Christmas?! I suppose nostalgia has something to do with it. There is also the fact that our homes get a face-lift for free, unless you buy new decorations each year.

I pulled this little wagon out of a dumpster this summer! It is perfect filled with fake presents and a cookie jar on our porch coffee table.

christmas-porch-pillows

I was thrilled to find this fun Christmas ribbon on sale at The Paul Michael Company while on vacation this summer.

sled-and-skates

My husband’s childhood sled came to live with us! Oh, if that sled could talk! I’m sure there would be stories it could tell!

north-pole

I made this North Pole as decoration for the seasonal membership recruitment for my chorus. The flower-pot base worked well with the empty wrapping paper tube I got from a gift shop. A little paint and ribbon and voila! I couldn’t stand to just throw it away, so it found a home on my porch.

kitchen-wreath

Look what I made to go in my fancy new kitchen!!! Well, actually, I made three!

wreaths-on-cabinets

If you look closely…

scrap-wreath

you might recognize the fabric from another project! I love “free” stuff!

vintage-bottles-with-berries

top-of-refrigerator

vintage-kitchen-vignette

christmas-shelf

I love my new kitchen!

I enjoy the old things we have, too!

plaid-china

…like plaid Christmas plates

vintage-christmas-decorations

and vintage decorations!

joy-lamp

joy

joy-with-light

I picked up these “JOY” ornaments at last year’s after-Christmas-sale. I wish they had had all the right letters in the plaid. Oh, well. I like the was the light shines behind them at night.

german-crate

This great German crate (a hand-me-down from my in-laws) got relocated this year. Skeeter seems to approve.

slipcovered-couch

The gray and red from the kitchen came into the den. I picked up the snowflake pillows on sale last year. I guess that is where I got to thinking about the gray for the kitchen. The sweater pillows came from Goodwill. I couldn’t commit to cutting the pillows just yet. So, these are held together with safety pins.

gray-sweater-pillow

black-red-and-gray-sweater-pillow

red-and-white-sweater-pillow

I truly hope you all can find TRUE JOY this season-which is only found in Christ the LORD!

nativity

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, that will be to all people.” Luke 2:10

There is a new piece of artwork in our kitchen that I didn’t show you in the “big reveal”.

When we were originally discussing paint colors, I told Chip I wanted to paint the cabinets gray. He kinda looked at me like it was not a good idea. I told him it would be a “French Country” look. That idea he liked. The idea of a French Country kitchen got him to thinking about using some photos from our trip to France last summer. We finally agreed on a photo to use! I thought I would first share other photos related to our new artwork. We may even get some more printed!

Here is a map to show you where the Alsace region of France is located. As you can imagine, France and Germany argued and fought for many years to see who got to keep the area. So, while Alsace is in France, there are lots of German influences.

alsace-mape

We drove in to Alsace from Wittenberg, Germany. Wittenberg is about halfway between Leipzig and Berlin. Our car time was about 7 hours.  The scenery was breath-taking! Gorgeous vineyards and quaint little villages were everywhere.

french-countryside

french-vineyards

hillside-vineyards

Vineyards were not the only crops we saw. We came across a lovely cherry orchard. Alsace is crazy about cherries!
cherry-tree

 

I loved the flower boxes everywhere.

street-view

red-flowers

These trees looked like they were straight from a fairytale!

storybook-trees

Finally, we arrived at our bed and breakfast. Part of the home was built in the 1700s!!!!

bed-and-breakfast-alsace

bed-and-breakfast-alsace-full

window-with-flowers

The weather was lovely! Our hosts welcomed us with coffee and delicious coffee cake.

bed-and-breakfast

coffee-on-the-patio

coffee-cake

Here are a few pictures of the inside.

lace-curtains

view-from-loft

This is the view from our room.

view-from-bb

bed

dressing-area

shower

The girls stayed in the loft attached to our room.

stairs-to-loft

loft-bed

After a little time of resting and getting acclimated to our new digs, we headed out to find some dinner.

The first place we stopped was a little out of our price range. We had already taken this cute picture to remember where we had eaten! Then we didn’t eat there.

french-restaurant

We did not get the group shot at our actual restaurant. To tell you the truth, we looked pretty tired in most of the pictures.

We were actually lucky to get to eat. The folks at this restaurant only spoke French. Fortunately, Megan had worked with a French language app before our trip. She was able to order dinner for all of us. We were all very grateful and she felt pretty proud of herself.

glasses

We did learn to order water without “gas”. Carbonated water is apparently a big deal in Germany and France.

steak-dinner

pizza

chicken-and-gravy

pizza-with-egg

The food was very good. The fried egg on the pizza was a little weird. I ordered that for the local experience. I do not plan to repeat that experience any time soon, however.

We had our dinner outside. Right next to our table was a lovely patch of lavender. We noticed something buzzing around in the flowers. Katie is a bit scared of bees, so I went to check it out for her. It looked like a tiny hummingbird! I tried and tried to get a good  picture. Look closely at the picture below, just left of center.

hummingbird-moth-in-lavender

I did a little research on what I thought was a tiny hummingbird. It turns out that what I saw was a hummingbird moth! Here is some good old Wikipedia info for you. I thought it was cool and had fun trying to capture it in a picture.

When we got back to the B & B we decided to stroll around the little village a bit.

sutters-and-flower-boxes

village

french-barn

currants

The currants were beautiful!

We stayed in Alsace a little while and took day trips to the town of Riquewihr and the Haut Koenigsesbourg Castle. Hopefully, I will get around to sharing those pictures one day, too!

As we left our quaint little B & B to head to Paris, we stopped to snap a few more vineyard photos.

vineyard-sign

young-grapes

The grapes were far from ripe. I’d love to go back during harvest time.

vineyards-in-alsace

Oh, I almost forgot to share the artwork we had printed for the kitchen!

windowbox-art

custom-art

The canvas is actually a little larger than the actual window was! You can see the original photo above with the other photos of the bed and breakfast.

I liked this photo because it reminded me of all the window boxes we saw while in Europe! I loved them! This picture kinda felt like it was part of our kitchen. The wall in the photo kinda matches our cabinets. We ordered the print from a place called canvasdiscount.com. When we ordered it we had the option of ordering a hanging kit. We had not planned to order it originally. However, it was only a few bucks, and by ordering it, we were bumped into the category of getting free shipping. Ordering more saved us money!

Well, that is all for now. I’m ready to go back to Alsace!!

I guess you could say I am sentimental. Ha! Understatement of the year!

We lost our microwave this past February.

vintage microwave

It was good to us.

(Sorry about the messy kitchen in the reflection. Yikes! I guess I was too grief-stricken to notice at the time.)

This Hotpoint had been my mother’s first microwave.

hotpoint

It was passed on to me and my husband as we started our home as newlyweds in 1992.

This baby was with us and as our babies grew into teenagers, residing in three different states!

The microwave was always an unexpected conversation piece.

controls

The analog dial charmed all of our friends.

The size was much larger than modern microwaves.

inside microwave

Of course, by the looks of it, I am surprised we don’t glow from excess microwaves!

But, alas, life goes on, and microwaves must be replaced.

new microwave

The new one is sleek and fancy.

The buttons aren’t nearly as charming as the dial. The beeping, that never stops when your food is finished cooking, is annoying. Our old microwave had a lovely, one time “ding”.  You could forget your reheated coffee for hours.

replacement

I’m enjoying a little tea on this cold, rainy day. How about you?

IMG_2242

IMG_2243

 

When I was a kid, my grandmother gave me a set of Rook cards for my birthday. I never played. The cards looked weird. They were different from standard cards. I could never get anyone to play with me, probably because they didn’t know how. The instructions were long and confusing.

rook cards

Last weekend, we were invited to our friends’ house for dinner and a Rook tournament. Yikes!

Dinner I was excited about-but Rook?!

It did help to learn that none of the other folks attending knew how to play either. (At least that’s what they said! I think John and Leta had played a time or two!)

We knew, of course, that we would have fun regardless of the game.

I asked what I could bring (I took Carrot Cake) and didn’t bother to ask what we were having for dinner.

Boy, was I excited to find John in the kitchen making Petitzas! Leta has mentioned John’s Petitzas several times. Always saying “Oh, we’ll have to make them for you!” Finally that day had come!

chef in action

If I had known it was a Petitza Party, I would have brought the good camera! Thank goodness for smartphones!

John has been making Petitzas for YEARS! He learned from his brother when he was seeing this Italian girl.

frying pizza dough

The Petitzas don’t seem too hard, just a little time-consuming.

I’m sure you have to get a feel for exactly how long to leave the dough in the pan before flipping it.

Don’t those pizza shells look yummy?!

pizza shells

petitzas

Leta and John have the serving of Petitzas down pat!

Check out those crock pots! Homemade pizza sauce-Italian Sausage-Hamburger

crockpots

Leta also had a sectioned Tupperware dish for all the other toppings–ham, cheese, pineapple, olives, peppers, mushrooms-whatever you like!

This was how Leta showed us to assemble a Petitza. Sauce-Meat-Toppings-more sauce

Leta's Petitza

John goes a little more extreme with his toppings!

loaded pizza

Mine was rather conservative.

meat lovers

Nice air pockets!

air bubbles in pizza dough

John said the record Petitzas anyone had eaten at one of their Petitza Parties was seven. Ugh! I ate two.

We had a great time eating Petitzas AND playing Rook. Thanks, John and Leta!

By the way, the girls won!

Petitzas
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup water (warm)

Dissolve yeast in very warm water.  Stir in sugar, salt and oil and 2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out on lightly floured board.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl; brush top with oil.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. When doubled, punch down; divide in half.

Shape into hand-size shells and deep-fry.

Toppings include:

Your favorite marinara sauce
Cheeses
Onion
Sausage
Ground beef
Bell pepper
Pineapple
Mushrooms
Jalapeños

John’s Pizza Sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato paste for every 16 oz. can tomato sauce
Oregano, basil, garlic salt, onion flakes, salt, pepper, honey, Parmesan and Romano cheese.

 

Well, here we are at the beginning of 2015. The time when many bloggers roll the highlight reel from 2014. (Much like the paper your teachers used to make you write every year on the first day back from summer vacation.)

Okay, I’ll play along. WordPress is so nice to send all the “best of” stats at the end of the year.

Most of the posts that were popular this year were not even from this year. I guess that is a good thing.

#1-Christmas Party Food is a post from 2011. It features a Snowman Cheese Ball, a Christmas broccoli appetizer, and a Turkey Cranberry Ring.

#2-I Say it Every Year-an adorable Nutcracker gift box craft from 2012.

#3-Banana Pudding from 2013. If you haven’t tried this yet, put it on your things-to-do list for 2015!

#4-Apple Slaw (2011) Ironically, this was a dish that my crew was not super wild about. I guess the pictures grabbed some attention. Hey, that is why I tried it!

#5-DIY Placemats (2013) I love this craft tutorial. I have used this method several times. I have some candy corn fabric I plan to try at some point.

So, those were the overall top five posts here at Pork Chop Tuesday.

Curious about 2014?

The busiest day around here was the day I posted my Project 180 photography project. It was so gratifying to work on something for so long and see it to a successful completion. Please go check it out. I really enjoyed it!

Ecclesiasties3

I did a series of posts about my trip to P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. It was a lot of fun with lots of opportunities for photography practice. You can check out the series below. I think my favorite was the Rose Garden.

There was actually one more Moss Mountain post–a post-series post.

DIY Notecards

selection of notecards

Lasagna Cups was a fun, new recipe to try. We all liked these! I need to make them again–soon!

Lasagna Cups

We enjoyed trying out some new restaurants, well, new to us. Green Leaf Grill and The Root Cafe to name a couple.

Rounding out the year were Bananas Foster with friends and the Thanksgiving 101 series.

Most of the folks who visit Pork Chop Tuesday are from Pinterest or Facebook-along with folks who are subscribers.

To all of you, I say…

ThankYouNote

Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet.

Subscribing to Pork Chop Tuesday is easy. Click the home button at the top of the page or here. Go over to the right. You will see a box with “Email Subscription” on it. Just click on the “sign me up” button!

You can also follow along on social media. Sometimes I post things there that don’t get on the blog. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the social media outlets I use.

Thanks for all the comments and support in 2014. I hope to hear from you in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

I recently returned from my first-ever trip to Baltimore, MD.

WOW!

There is so much to see and do in downtown Baltimore!

I was there for the Sweet Adeline International Competition!

Baltimore Welcome

My chorus, Top of the Rock, was invited to compete in the Harmony Classic portion of the contest! For those of you unfamiliar with Sweet Adelines–it’s a BIG DEAL!

The entire week was full of activities and contests. However, I was unable to stay the whole week, so I had to do my touring FAST!

We arrived late Sunday night. Our first rehearsal wasn’t until Monday afternoon, so we had time for a little exploring!

breakfast sandwich

Breakfast was at Potbelly. We discovered Potbelly on a trip to Houston a couple of years ago. They have yummy breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal. They are very reasonably priced, which is a good thing!

I saved my little Potbelly bag just because it had a “P” stamped on it. Yes, I’m a nerd!

Camden Yards

Our hotel was right down the road from Camden Yards–where the Orioles play baseball! My husband is a big baseball fan, so I had to snap a couple of pictures for him!

Oriole Park

The Baltimore Inner Harbor was really cool! Tons of restaurants and shops. I would have loved to tour the Domino Sugar plant! Boat tours of the harbor were available. Some of my friends took the tour and said it was great! I just didn’t have time.

Domino Sugar

This was not their tour boat. I guess it could have been though!

paddle boats

Some other friends hit the National Aquarium later in the week. I picked up some t-shirts for the kids at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock Cafe

The McCormick World of Flavors shop was a fun little shop in the Inner Harbor, lots of Old Bay seasoning! Mom and I enjoyed the salt sampling we did there. Our favorite was the lime salt. I asked if they had any other samples we could try. One of the gals working there is a cupcake maker. She brought me some samples of her frosting. They weren’t bad. Here is a link to her Facebook page.

McCormick World of Spice

Off to rehearsal-the reason we came! Weeks prior to our trip, chorus members exchanged words of encouragement and small gifts with a Secret Sis. Look what my Sis gave me at the big reveal–a Baltimore scrapbook! What a unique and thoughtful gift! She included all kinds of scrappy Baltimore goodies in it. Thanks, Becky! You were a great Secret Sis.

secret sis

At one of our rehearsals several of us decided to dress alike–unintentionally.

black shirts

Later, we all dressed alike–on purpose this time!

with mom

Why do we girls always squish our faces together in pictures?

about to hit the stage

stage ready

friends

red costumes

in the lobby

Can you tell we are excited to hit the stage?!

bus ride

We did GREAT!

Guess what? We came in 3rd place–IN THE WORLD!!!!

Bronze medal

You can see for yourselves…

I have a couple more tidbits to share with you from my trip so stay tuned.  I can’t wait to go back to Baltimore one day when there is a little more time for exploring!

I did make it home in time for Senior Night with my girl! I even managed to make it though without tears.

senior night

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