Friday, December 25, 2015

Seasons Greetings

Wishing you all the best this holiday season from all of us here on Dogwood Lane. May your days be merry and bright and may you count your blessings large and small. I'm counting all of you as some of mine.

Until next time,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Countdown to Christmas

Only four days left until Christmas and if you're anything like me (way behind in preparation) you could use some help around the house. Our eldest son and his family arrived from Southern California last night and the house instantly brightened up! Full of laughing, noisy children! It's slushy raining outside this morning threatening to snow so to keep the kids occupied we'll be baking cookies and continuously peeking out the windows praying for snow.
On days like this I like to start up the crock pot and have dinner all ready no matter what happens the rest of the day. I'll be baking with the kids, we may have snow and that means lots of outside fun and not much time to think about a meal for a crowd. I'm making Corn Chowder with sausage and garlic bread. It will be ready whenever we are and smells so delicious.

Patrica’s  Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
Serves 8-12

1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots – 2 med
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cups diced potatoes – about 6 small
2 15 oz cans cream corn
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb ready to eat smoked sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into bite size pieces.  (I use turkey kielbasa; you could leave this out for vegetarian chowder)
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
1 qt chicken broth
¼ tsp liquid smoke
1 cup half and half

NOTE: Do not add any salt as the sausage has plenty of salt.

Use a 6 qt slow cooker. Put everything but half and half and liquid smoke in cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Use a potato masher and gently break up potatoes, this also helps to thicken soup. Taste and add liquid smoke if it needs more smoky flavor. Add half and half before serving to add richness.

This is a great pot luck take along especially if you have one of those locking lid slow cookers which my DIL does and which I borrow from her all the time.

Hearty & Delicious!
Have a great countdown to Christmas!

Until next time,

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Stockings Are Hung Etc.

Not a lot of sewing/quilting or baking going on here on Dogwood Lane this week but as you can see the decorating has been fierce! My nutcracker collection has made it's annual appearance and my beloved family Christmas stockings have been hung on the mantle. It's just not holiday time at our house until these go up. It has given such a thrill to this evidence of our family's growth through the years, adding a new stocking with each new member to the clan.
The nut crackers began to appear more than 40 years ago. No new ones have joined the collection this year which is probably a good thing since I seem to be running out of room on the HUGE mantle. This pink and glittery guy with all his sparkle was acquired last year and never fails to make me smile whenever I glance his way. I call him Kinky Boots for obvious reasons.
The Needle Nellies held our annual Christmas party and gift exchange last week and just look at the wonderful little quilt/wallhanging my exchange partner gifted me! As you can see I lost no time hanging it in my living room and making it part of the festive decor.
It features hand embroidery, you all know I heart any kind of embroidery, and tiny crystals. The leaves and flowers are felt. The white background fabric has some sparkle too which I couldn't seem to get a decent picture of.
This provides a bright spot in our winter living space. Thank you so much Kathy I truly love my gift.

Today we'll be picking up a grandson from the train station welcoming him home for Christmas and Sunday our eldest son and his family will arrive. I'd better start that baking I keep talking about.

Until next time,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Tradition

You all know if I've been absent from this blog for any length of time it's because I've been busy with family. This time we were in Southern California to attend our family's traditional Christmas party held every year on the first weekend in December. My husband's next younger brother has held the party since the passing of his parents keeping up a tradition which has lasted for at least 70 years. Family and close friends travel from near and far to trim the Christmas tree, say hello to Santa Claus and catch up with aunts, uncles and cousins. It's a wonderful time to meet new and prospective members of the growing clan and to kiss those babies. There are always babies! This year we had a niece and her new husband and baby daughter travel from their home in Peru, his parents from Australia; a niece and her family from Bend, Oregon; and of course all the far flung California Dowells were well represented.
Chris and I even got dressed up for the occasion in our party clothes. A far cry from my last photo dressed for the 5K in freezing weather.
I tried to get some of the grands to hold still for a picture but you know what they say about hitting a moving target - try three!
Liam and Owen are goof balls!
My little snowflake Claire on her way to ballet class. At least she knows how to strike a pose for Mimi.

Now we're home and madly decorating because all these munchkins will be here next week for the holidays. Such a wonderful, family filled time of year.

Until next time,