Oh Christmas Trees – In Pink & Gold

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Pink Orange Gold Watercolor Christmas Trees 5×7

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves can be so changing;

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
They need not be unchanging;

Not only green like everyone;
But you can be whatever you want.

O Christmas Tree!  O Christmas Tree!
Pink and Orange and Gold look good on thee!

Embrace the magic!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#itsnotthistimeofyearwithout…

All is Calm – All is Bright

Christmas Tree Lights - Bokeh

Christmas Tree Lights – Bokeh

All is Calm…
All is Bright…

For now.

Relaxing by the twinkling lights of the tree
willing myself not to worry about gifts and wrapping and baking
and all of the “material” things that aren’t the things that make
the holiday season special.

All is Calm
All is Bright

I think that will be the theme this year!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#itsnotthistimeofyearwithout…

The Season of Magic

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Sammy the Elf – the Magic of Christmas

Long before the Official “Elf on the Shelf” was marketed (and got a bit out of control – but dang!  Why didn’t I think to market it!?!), our family had an heirloom elf who came to visit during the magical month of December.

Sammy (we knew his name because it was written on his shirt) came to visit and watch over our boys to assure they were being good and deserving of Christmas gifts from Santa.  He would move around the house every night, and the boys had so much fun waking up each morning trying to find him and see what he might have been up to the night before.

Sammy always left with Santa on his sleigh after Santa brought the boys’ gifts on Christmas eve, and he didn’t return until the following December 1st.

One important thing about Sammy was that he could not be touched by human hands – never – ever –  or he would lose his “magic.”   The boys never dared touch him.  (He came with a note from Santa the first year telling us so.)

Though our Christmas tree has become a smaller, themed, and artificial version of the live cut trees of years past loaded with sentimental and handmade ornaments, the one thing I still put on our tree is Sammy.

Our boys still often reminisce when they see him, laughing at how they believed so strongly in him and his magic – yet still almost afraid to touch him…

Sammy is an heirloom Christmas “decoration” that was my Grandma’s, so I especially cherish him.  She had what seemed like dozens of these tiny toy elves all over her home doing silly things at Christmas.   She was such a character and had a great sense of humor, so her elves would be hanging from curtain rods and peeking over picture frames and sitting cross armed and legged in the strangest of places.

And then, it seemed for many years, these elves were impossible to find (especially when friends’ kids wanted an elf like Sammy!) – until “Elf on a Shelf” became the rage.

Our sweet Sammy is worn and thread-bare in many places, but he will always have a place of honor on our tree and in our home in December.

He reminds me of the magic of the season.
The magic of Christmas.
The magic of children and believing.
The magic of family memories –
my children and my own childhood.

It is indeed
the season of Magic!

Happy December!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge:  It’s Not this Time of Year Without

The eARTh without ART is just…. “eh”

Acrylic Abstract Painting 16x20 Jodi McKinney

Acrylic Abstract Painting 16×20 Jodi McKinney

On a recent evening out with friends, we passed a little ‘hole-in-the-wall’ diner in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh that had a sign above it saying, “The earth without art is just ‘eh’.”  It caught our attention, and it has been in my mind ever since.

This crazy acrylic painting evolved over the course of several days.  While far from fine art, it was a fun, creative experiment.

It started out being blue and brown and white to match a recent bedroom redo.

The next day it became an ocean and sky scene… then back to an abstract the following day with drips of gold.

Around the fourth day, I decided it needed some red.  The red was too bold, so I added white to tone it down and “pink” it up a bit.

And on and on it went until I splattered white and tar gel with a toothbrush on and decided it was time to quit.

It has all kinds of crazy things going on over many layers, but there is something about it in the end that I kinda like.

Maybe because it reminds me that….
the earth without art is just “eh!”

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Sticks and Stones

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Sticks and Stones…
can break our bones.
But bones can heal.

Words…
can harm us deeply.
And they can be hard to heal from.

As I looked at this photo I took last week
of a charming old building made of stone
and covered with twisted, tangled sticks,

it reminded me of the old childhood adage
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me.”

And I realized how absurd that is…

I have suffered through
my share of broken bones in my life,
but they have healed.

There are words, however,
that have been spoken
that have changed my life forever.

Choose your words carefully…
Consider their power.
Words can seriously hurt.

But also know
words have the power
to love and heal.

They have the power
to build up
rather than tear down.

They have the power
to create positive change
now and forever.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Let’s Teach our Children

clara-10-days-old-2
Let’s teach our children…

to be kind to those who are not kind.
They need love the most.

to offer help to those who struggle.
It is in giving that we receive the most.

to be a friend to the lonely.
They are often the best friends.

to sit with those sitting alone.
They have much to share.

to look for the good in others.
That is when we learn the most about ourselves.

These are the ways we can teach our children
to change the world.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Best Ever Pecan Pie

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If you have it with coffee, it counts as breakfast.
Right??
Confession – I ate a slice of pecan pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving.

There.
It’s out!

And O M G – was it delicious!

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I made this pecan pie for Thanksgiving, and I have to admit,  I was too full of turkey and stuffing and much too busy holding my new granddaughter to even give a second thought to dessert that day.

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But the next morning (while decorating for Christmas😉  ), I decided to have my piece.

This recipe is simply divine.  If you’ve never tried making a pecan pie, you really should try this.  You won’t be sorry!  MMM MMM Good!

Best Ever Pecan Pie

Ingredients:pecan-pie-2

Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • Heaping 1/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cold water

Filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups whole pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare pie crust by blending flour, shortening and salt with pastry blender until fine crumbs form.  Add cold water and mix just until dough comes together and can be formed into a ball.  Do not overwork dough – this makes it tough.  Place ball on floured surface and roll out to fit into 9″ pie plate.  Fold dough in half and then in quarters.  Life and unfold in pie plate.  Pinch edges to flute.

Prepare filling by boiling brown sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan for 2-3 mins.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat eggs lightly.  Slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.  Stir in butter, vanilla and pecans, and pour into crust.

Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until set.  Cool completely.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi