Monday, November 28, 2016

The End of November Life List


Today, as I look out my window, I am seeing the neighbor man setting up his yard Christmas tree. Today is a beautiful day to put up outside decorations. It is 55* here in Kansas. Just a slight breeze. Yesterday was so dreary. We had a bit of rain. But today the sun is shining!


As I ponder the chores I want to accomplish this week I am looking at a partially decorated Christmas tree. So that is my first goal of today. Finish decorating the tree!!


I'm learning that grief and the holidays are still partners. Maybe down the road a ways I will quit feeling sad and just start to feel joyous in the memories. But not yet!

Darian is holding my hand on Thanksgiving!


I am trying to create a festive Christmas home for my grandchildren. But I really wonder if they care. The girls helped a bit yesterday with the tree. And we enlisted Darian to place the star....(cause he's over 6 foot and can reach) but I don't think the girls really had their heart in it this year. Maybe they will get into it as the season progresses. Maybe I will too! 


I'm still struggling through Behind the Beautiful Forevers. I don't really mind the story but it seems so stalled. Like get on with it for whatever. I haven't yet found that I am in love with this book. But I am determined to finish it. And I am still listening to Everything We Keep.


The new season of Sister Wives started last night. I can't seem to tear myself away from this train-wreck of a show. Also a new season of Married by Mom and Dad started. Do you watch either of these shows? 


Right now I am listening to the news. Another shooting!! Will it ever stop??

Pictures I want to share...

Santa's helpers
Paige and her mom in Utah

Our Thanksgiving picture

The tree still needing decorations

What are we coloring...

I'm working on this picture
Harley finished this one!


This week's menu will be a lot of turkey and ham recipes. So instead of sharing my day to day recipes with you I am going to share a casserole I made for dinner last night! It was delicious and it uses leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner!! Win- Win! This recipe comes from Rock Recipes

Leftover Turkey Cottage Pie - two ways!

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Leftover Turkey Cottage Pie - two ways! - stretch whatever turkey dinner leftovers you have, or even make a couple of easy additions to them, to create another delicious meal.
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4 or more
  • Leftover turkey, cut in chunks
  • Leftover gravy
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Leftover vegetables (leftover roasted veggies are particularly good.)
  • Leftover mashed potato, warmed with a little milk added (or sliced potatoes as described in the instructions)
  • A few tbsp melted butter

  1. Cover the bottom of the dish with chunks of turkey in a double layer. Pour the gravy over the turkey to cover it. Don't add too much gravy to this pie or, if you are using mashed potatoes, the layers may not stay distinct. It's better to serve extra gravy on the side if you have a lot of it.
  2. Next add a layer of roasted carrots and parsnip or other leftover vegetables.
  3. If you have leftover stuffing, add that next. It provides a very good insulating layer between the gravy and potatoes, helping to keep the layers distinct but if you don't have any, it's not a deal breaker for this versatile recipe.
  4. Finally you can spread on the mashed potato layer. Run a fork lightly over the surface to create lines or a grid pattern to hold the melted butter, helping it brown better. If you want to be "fancy", transfer your mashed potato to a Ziplock bag and snip the corner off with a pair of sharp scissors and use the bag to pipe the mashed potato in little peaks or swirls all over the surface of the pie.
  5. Finally, drizzle the top of the mashed potatoes with a few tablespoons of melted butter. Pop the pie into a 350 degree oven and bake until the top is golden and the gravy starts to bubble.
  6. For the sliced potato top instead, use about 1 large potato per person. Peel and cut the potatoes into ¼ inch slices. Par boil the sliced potatoes in lightly salted water for about 4 minutes.
  7. Drain the potatoes and cool the slices on a cookie sheet until they are able to be handled.
  8. Overlap the potatoes all over the surface of the cottage pie and brush them with melted butter before popping the baking dish into a pre-heated 350 degree oven until the top begins to brown, the potatoes are fork tender and the gravy beneath is bubbling, about 40-50 minutes depending upon the size of your casserole dish. Smaller individual serving dishes will only need 20-30 minutes, again depending upon the size.

I made it with the sliced potatoes and served it with leftover gravy on the side. And we also had some of that wonderful canned cranberry sauce. Yes! We love it at this house! Not a pea was left in the dish. My family loved it!!


LOOK Who's visiting...

We are dog sitting for a friend who had a couple of back to back trips. We have kept Allowishus before. He is small and mighty. He likes to take walks, eat, burrow under the covers, lay in my lap, and play!
A friendly little guy. Unless you are trying to mess with granny and then he might snarl at you!!

A peek into my week...

This week I will be decorating for Christmas. I will continue to clean the house for guests who will be spending Christmas with us. And I will run Darian to work a couple of times. And take Harley to church a time or two. And probably a stop at the grocery store to pick up my groceries!! What are you doing this week??

A final thought...

We must remember that Christmas is not always the brightest time of the year for everyone. If you know someone who is struggling then give them a hand. We are helping fill Christmas baskets for needy families at a school district here in Hutchinson. These baskets will provide enough food for each family for the Christmas break. Many of these kids get meals at school and not much else. So we are taking this task on. Along with the church, of course. The teens have been given the job of providing 510 boxes of oatmeal. So we have been picking up these when we shop at Dollar Tree. That's a lot of oatmeal!!


  1. Such a great post and your photos are beautiful. The recipe looks delicious. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  2. I am going to wait another week before I start decorating. First I have to put away everything that is already out. I am finishing my leftovers for dinner tonight and whatever remains gets dumped. I made Apple pumpkin breads today and froze them so if anyone drops by they can go home with one. It's always such a busy time of year.

    1. I might be done by next week. LOL! I have a lot to put away as well. Your bread sounds delicious!

  3. I love your photos and the recipe sounds really good. I watched Married by Mom and Dad last season and probably will dvr the series this year. I watched one or two episodes of Sister Wives last season but didn't stick with it. I've seen the ads for it and am wondering what the heck all the drama is about so I may check it out.

    I agree about grief and the holidays. This will be the 2nd Holiday Season without my husband and it's very hard to stay smiling and not be a blubbering mess. Hugs to you!

    1. This will be my 3rd year without Richard. It is very hard. But we have to keep moving forward. Hugs to you, Vicki

  4. That dog!!! So dang cute and what a name it has. Loved your family pic and the one of Darian holding your hand. You are blessed to have a sweet loving family. My tree us up and now i'm working on rest of the house. I have so much christmas stuff! I donated a few boxes this weekend of old decorations. I need to do some more of that. I've never watched the shows you mentioned. I've heard of the Sisters wives but never heard of the other one.

    1. He is a cute dog. He is getting old. We like dog sitting him. I am blessed with this family. They aren't always perfect but they do always love me just as I am. I have way too many Christmas decorations too. I think I am done with the tree. Now on to the rest of the house.

  5. Oh, Tom would love that cottage pie. (Except for the peas; that man could sniff out a single pea at 100 yards and pronounce it evil!)

    Your tree reminds me of the last time we put ours up, what 3 years ago? I was so put out that 'someone' presumed I'd be doing the decorating, I just left it 'as is' with the little white lights. (Took him a while to notice, but personally I liked it that way.)

    Love the pix of Darian holding your hand. What a sensitive young man!

    1. You can use any kind of vegetable you might have. Doesn't have to be peas. I laughed to see your tree just with the twinkling lights. Maybe that's what I should do next year LOL

  6. No turkey leftovers; we ate what other prepared. Best Thanksgivings every.

    1. Those are great Thanksgivings when you don't have to cook. But I would miss the leftovers!

  7. I like your tree! It seems like a big tall one! I remember when my kids were in their teen years, they didn't seem to enjoy as much decorating as when they were little, but they still wanted the tree up, LOL :) That recipe you shared sounds delicious! No leftovers at our place, but maybe will have to ensure some after Christmas to make this. So sad about the shooting; you think it would be ending by now, but I guess it is "part of life" though a sad part of it.


    1. It is about 7 foot tall! Maybe not quite! That is how my teens seem to be. I suggested we not put one up and they nixed that idea real quick. I hate to think that daily announcements about shootings somewhere become normal. But I think they will.

  8. Gosh I always enjoy your posts. Yes I know how hard the Holidays can be. I was in grief-mode for almost 10 years when my son died back in 2003. I'm so much better now.

    That was a touching photo you shared of holding hands with your husband.

    The recipe sounds good, just that I am already sick of turkey. I'll save it for another time. Have a great day.

    1. Thank you Debby! That is my grandson that I am holding hands with in the picture! We will be finishing up our turkey today. Maybe tomorrow!

  9. Nice tree! How sweet that Darian still holds Grandmas hand!
    I am tired of Turkey...three days is about it for me.
    I have not begun to decorate yet, not sure when I will start. Little by little I suppose.
    I have Sister Wives on the DVR but have not watched it yet. Married by Mom and Dad I watch sometimes, I think a new season started. I have been enjoying the Food Channel shows the Holiday Challenges and the Cooking Grandmas:)

    1. We love the Food Channel too. Paige really gets into the cooking shows so we like to watch on the weekends. Our Turkey soup tonight was really good!!

  10. That is a lot of oatmeal. But a worthwhile task.

    I've been watching Dirk Gently on BBC America. A strange show. I tend to stay away from reality-type shows unless they're decorating shows. I never got into the whole reality thing.

    1. That is a lot of oatmeal!! I'm not sure how many families we are feeding but it is for 2 weeks worth of breakfasts. I like decorating shows too. The reality TV shows are just a hoot!

  11. Always enjoy these posts. We just had a turkey crown for the thanksgiving dinner we had in honour of our DIL but there was enough left to make a baked pasta dish the next day and turkey soup.

  12. After all these years I still tend to get a little melancholy during the holidays, but it doesn't last long as my large family keeps me busy and cheer me up. I am so very thankful for all of them. Our church collects food for the poor and gives out boxes of it for Christmas. As I was once on the receiving line after the death of my husband, I do know how much it is appreciated. I like that recipe you shared. Leftovers are wonderful! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. My grandkids have also been on the receiving end of these boxes of food. They know how important it was to them. They like paying it forward!

  13. That casserole looks so delicious! Wow! And, what a cute dog to have at your house. Lucky you! I'm loving your life list posts and doing them myself. Thanks a million for the great idea!

    1. I'm happy that you are doing the Life Lists!

  14. Hi Paula. I'm late to the party, as usual. Hopefully I will be on time next week. :)

    How did your tree decorating go? I bet it is beautiful.

    I agree with what you said about grief and the holidays. I think there will always be a part of us that longs for those that we've lost. The holidays, time meant for families, makes the grief all the louder. We aren't supposed to get over them. We just have to find our way through the grief. {{{Hugs}}}

    The kids may not seem to care right now, but there will come a time when they will look back on these times as precious memories and long to have them back again. We often don't realize what we have until we no longer have it.

    I don't watch either of the shows that you mentioned. I don't watch much at all lately. We still have It's a Wonderful Life queued up to play, but haven't had time to watch it yet.

    Your photos and coloring pages are great. :)

    Thanks for the recipe!

    What kind of dog is Allowishus? He's cute.

    Best wishes to you and the church on the food drive for the needy families.

    Here's my link: Currently...A Life List

    Have a blessed week!

    1. You can never be late to this party Suzanne! My tree is decorated. It might need a couple of tweeks. We'll see. I think it is beautiful. Richard and I used to say every year, "this is the most beautiful tree we have ever had". And it was true. Each year the tree got more beautiful. Or our eyesight got worse. Whichever! I hope the kids will have good memories of their childhood. Ones that will erase the early year memories for both of them. I think Allowishus is a rat terrier of some kind or other. She got him at the pound, so he was a rescue dog. Harley said tonight they only need 15 more boxes of oatmeal! The teens really came through! I knew they would. I'm off to see your list!

  15. That casserole sounds wonderful. I am going to print the recipe and place it in the Christmas Baskets that we pass out this year for the Food Pantry

    1. That is a great idea! Providing people with a recipe will help them use the leftovers for other meals!


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