Don't forget to visit my website! Jackie Coleman - Author

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve!

Today is the last day of 2013. Did anyone keep their resolutions? I did ... mostly!  But, I try to make realistic resolutions. If you set the bar too high, you're just setting yourself up for failure, right? So, I set goals I can realistically achieve with hard work ... and overall ... I'm pleased with 2013.

In 2013, I did not win a Pulitzer or Nobel Peace Prize, or rescue children from a burning home. I didn't set any records in swimming or on the track. I didn't fix the hole in the ozone layer ... I haven't heard anything about that hole in years ... do we still have a hole in the ozone layer? I didn't build a time machine or discover a cure for cancer.

Nonetheless, I'm pleased with 2013 ... a year that saw the release of my second novel, A Summer in Ocracoke, and the beginning of novel number three! My oldest daughter became engaged, and I got to take not one, but two amazing vacations in Georgia and South Carolina! I got to spend time, share meals, and play with family and friends. I grew some beautiful flowers, tasted delicious wine, saw some breathtaking scenery, swam in the ocean, and took naps in the sun.

As far as my New Years Eve festivities, they will be rather muted this year. My sweetie is on a mini-vacation, so sadly, I won't get a kiss a midnight. Don't worry ... he made sure I wouldn't be upset that he would be gone on New Years Eve before he made plans to go, and I'm not upset in the least. In fact, I encouraged him to go. He worked himself to exhaustion this year, and he deserves some time alone to work on his music. As a writer, I completely understand his desire to go away alone and work on his craft! It makes me smile that he can give this gift to himself :)

We usually spend New Years Eve with my best friend, her husband, and a few other couples, but this year they decided to forego their annual party. She and her husband are spending a "quiet" evening with their grandkids, and my kids all have their own festivities to attend.

So this year, I'm left to my own devices. I'm a solitary creature by nature, and the quintessential homebody. I've been off work for eleven days now, and have left the house exactly four times! Since I will be all alone this evening and can do anything I want to do ... I will do exactly that! I'll make sure the doors are locked and the alarm is set ... and I will spend the day and evening writing! That probably sounds pretty boring to most, but it's what I've spent the majority of these eleven days doing, and it thrills my heart that I get to do it again on New Years Eve!

I realize that most people would not consider my life exciting. The more adventurous folks might even say it's dull and empty, but I'm really quite satisfied. I will never be mentioned in history books, or publish articles in prestigious science and medical journals, and nothing will be named after me. But that's okay. Those aren't the goals I aspire to attain. I want happy, healthy, successful children (and someday grandchildren). I want to write books that touch peoples hearts. I want friends I can count on and to know the love of a good man. And I have all of those things, so I'd say I'm ahead of the game!

Professionally, goals for 2014 are simple ... I want to publish my third novel and blog more faithfully. Personally, I'd be happy with maintaining the status quo!

I hope everyone gets to spend this New Years Eve doing something they love ... with family, friends, or by themselves! If you plan to ring in the New Year with libations, remember ... PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! Stay safe, have a wonderful New Years Eve, and a very happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dinner For A Year


My boyfriend has so many amazing qualities. People who know me probably get sick of me singing his praises, but I can't help it! I know he's not perfect, but I can honestly say he comes closer than most, and I am a better person for having known him. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not just sleeping and have dreamed him up!

One of the qualities I admire most about him is his desire to give to others. He is one of the most generous people I have ever known. I'm not just talking about gifts to me, or to those close to him ... he faithfully gives to charities and people in need. I've gone with him to pick up a furnace he bought for a family whose furnace went out. He gave his spare refrigerator to a family he heard about who needed one. Granted, he didn't need it, but he was using it. He buys Christmas trees, ornaments, and presents for families who can't afford them. And he does so anonymously. I've seen him buy a huge bag of cheeseburgers and go looking for homeless camps to pass them out. He's not doing it for praise or adoration or even a thank you. He gives because there is a need. I have never met anyone who has a more generous spirit or had a kinder heart.

He loves to give ... he's just not very good at receiving. He doesn't really need anything, but I'm always able to find some pretty cool gifts for him. It doesn't matter what I get for him, he always thinks I spent too much.

This year, he told me not to buy him anything (fat chance!). He said "Don't get me anything ... just cook me dinner."

He HATES to cook. By the time he gets home from work, he's exhausted, and the thought of cooking seems monumental. He comes home from work and stands in front of his refrigerator or freezer and stares inside ... and you can literally see the energy drain out of him.

So I thought, "Okay, I will cook you dinner, but not just one dinner. I will cook you dinner for a year!"

And that's just what I did! I found some individual serving containers that can go from the freezer to the microwave. They have flat lids that sit on top of the food, so there is no "air gap" to cause freezer burn. Thus, the meals will be as tasty months from now as they were the day they were frozen!  And, being flat, they stack neatly in the freezer.

The week before Christmas I spent the evenings cooking and freezing thirty individual meals. As he works his way through those, I will replace them with others. And, so that he would have something to open, I made the coupon (above) for him. It makes my heart smile to know that he will never have to wonder what to cook ... his only decision will be what to eat!

That wasn't all I gave him, of course, but the other gifts were small. He appreciated everything he got, and as usual, thought it was too much. He would much rather give than receive, but I told him he's just going to have to figure out a way to enjoy receiving, because I'm never going to stop thinking of thoughtful gifts to give to him :)

He doesn't know it yet, but it's not just dinner for a year ... it's dinner for life ... because I plan on making sure his freezer is full of yummy, homemade meals for the rest of my life.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remember My Teapot?

I introduced you my teapot here Writing and Drinking.

I bought this teapot several years back, after my kids and I came back from one of our visits to Savannah. While there, the girls got hooked on tea parties and begged me to host tea parties when we got home. I agreed, and promptly started looking around for serving pieces for proper tea party ... and that's when I found this teapot. Sadly, even though I bought several items to host a proper tea party, we have yet to have one! I'll have to remedy that!

I really wasn't sure the teapot was really silver, but I figured I'd look online for how to clean silver and give it a try. I tried one, figuring I was wasting my time and the ingredients ... but it worked! And apparently, the little teapot I bought at that antique store was, indeed, silver!

Unfortunately, the handle broke off (just as I finished cleaning it!), so I guess I'll take it to a jeweler and have it soldered back on. Even broken, it looks pretty. What a difference! As soon as my teapot is fixed, I think I should finally have that long-awaited tea party!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why Grown Men Have No Business In Bouncey-Houses

My boyfriend brought a bouncey-house to Christmas to help his nieces and nephews get rid of some energy. And, getting rid of their kid's energy was also an added gift to his brothers and sister-in-laws!

He decided to get in with a couple of the kids, and well ... this is why grown men shouldn't get in bouncey-houses ...
video

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Bird Cage

If you don't have a teenage or young twenty-something daughter, you may not know who Megan & Liz are. They are two sisters who began posting YouTube videos of themselves singing other people's songs. They do have pretty voices, and before long, they had a big YouTube following and began recording their own music, and now have a recording contract and their own CD ... and my middle daughter is a huge fan.

In one of their video's they were showing their fans their bedrooms. One of the girls had a bird cage, and my daughter fell in love with it ... and she wanted a bird cage.

One day, home alone, I searched YouTube for the video of Megan & Liz showing off their bedrooms. I waited for the bird cage to come into view, froze the video, and did a screen shot ... then started looking for bird cages like Megan & Liz's.

The only ones I could find on a stand were ridiculously expensive. I finally found one, without a stand, and figured I would hang it from her ceiling ... and since it didn't have a stand, I wanted to wire it with Christmas lights.

Her favorite color is pink, so I wanted pink lights ... but the bird cage is black, so I needed lights on a black wire. The only "Christmas" lights with black wire are Halloween lights. They're technically purple, but they can pass for pink! I spent a long, long, loooong time snaking the lights through the cage and wiring them to stay in place.

Now ... all I need is an extension cord with a decorative chain.

Seems simple enough, but the only thing I could find was for chandelier's ... which would work just fine ... but the extension cord was brown and the chain was black. I didn't want a brown extension cord!

Okay, so on to Plan B. Plan B was to sew a cord cover. I bought two rolls of tulle, the ones that they sell for people to make wreathes and tutu's for little girls (45 feet of tulle on each spool). I didn't really think that through, because you can't sew tulle without sewing something in between them ... and, I discovered my sewing machine had a nervous breakdown.

Okay, on to Plan C.  I'd hand sew the cord cover. Two hours and ten feet later, I realized Plan C sucked.

Okay, onto Plan D. Plan D was to buy a black extension cord and black chain, and have my boyfriend cut the wires, feed the cord through, then splice the wires back. Plan D should have been Plan A, but hindsight is 20/20, right?!

The night we did Christmas, my daughter had to work until 9:00, so while she was at work and we were all sitting around waiting for her to get off, we hung her bird cage. It does look pretty cool!

Her present under the tree is in a very small box, with a rock in it for weight ...
Here's what is inside the box (with the rock) ...
And here's her bird cage ... and she LOVED it!



Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Consolidated My Two Blogs

When I originally began blogging, I was dedicated to posting humorous blogs. Then, I decided I wanted to write about more serious things, too, and it didn't seem appropriate to post them in the midst of my goofy musings ... so I created this blog.

I have now decided that I don't particularly care for having two different blogs! My original thinking that silly and serious don't belong on the same blog was, well, silly! So now, my blog is like my life ... sometimes silly, sometimes serious, sometimes melancholy, and sometimes just a glimpse of my thoughts, or a few simple moments of my life.

A Summer in Ocracoke Christmas

I should have posted this picture weeks ago, but it's been a pretty hectic December!

Here are a few of the copies of A Summer in Ocracoke, autographed and ready to be packaged and shipped a few weeks before Christmas. I love how pretty the silver bow looks against the blue. Tracking shows they were delivered promptly and will be under the Christmas tree for three lucky book lovers :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My PINK Nativity

There's nothing wrong with your screen ... or your eyes ... I have a pink nativity set. 

That's right ... I have a pink baby Jesus ... pink Mary, pink Joseph, pink wise men, camels, and assorted barnyard animals. Even the angel watching from the heavens is pink!
When my kids were young, my sister bought the above nativity set at a ceramic shop for the kids to paint for me for Christmas. Her idea was to paint them a light brown, then antique them to make the set look like wood. But NOOOOO ... my kids INSISTED the nativity needed to be pink. She did her best to talk them out of it, but they were adamant ..."It HAS to be pink ... that's Mama's favorite color!!"

I remember when they gave it to me. They all stood around when I opened it, so excited they could hardly stand still. I remember it took a moment for me to find my voice when I looked into the box and saw all the pink! But, I gushed about how wonderful it was as they all stared at me, beaming with pride.

"Look, Mama ... it's PINK!".

"Yes, I can see that it's pink. It's wonderful! Thank you!" I replied, wondering why I had a pink nativity.

Later, my sister pulled me aside and told me the story of how I came to own the only pink Holy Family. I loved my nativity and the thought that the kids put into picking its color, but a part of me wished my sister had been more resourceful, or thought more quickly and told kids, "Sorry, guys, but they were all out of pink paint."

For the record, I do like pink, but it is not my favorite color! I'm sad to say that I really don't have a favorite color. Growing up my favorite color was orange, but that's not my favorite anymore. I've tried many times to decide what my favorite color is, and have come to the conclusion that I honestly don't have one. I like different colors for different things. For instance, I like pink sweaters, red kitchens, and brown (wood) nativities!

So, every Christmas I drag out my pink nativity scene and set it up. I think it would look a whole lot better if it looked like it was made of wood, but I must admit ... I do smile every time I look at it!



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas With The Kiddo's

I always have Christmas with my kids a day or two early. We used to always open presents on Christmas Eve, but they have so many Christmas's to go to ... it makes it much less hectic to have our Christmas a day or two early. I've had to talk my kids into a lot of things over the years, but opening Christmas presents early is something they willingly do with very little coercion on my part!

This year we opened presents December 23rd. I made a giant pot of chicken and dumplings. Jesus must have approved of us having Christmas early, because my chicken and dumplings were the tastiest batch I've ever made. The proof is the fact that the kettle was all but licked clean by the time we were through!

It was just me, my kids, my boyfriend, the girls's boyfriends, and my nephew ... and it was very nice. I wrap all of my presents in red paper with gold ribbon, or gold paper with red ribbon. I consider the "prettiness" of the wrapping part of the present ... and I love how beautiful they look! Here are a few pics I snapped last week ...



Monday, December 23, 2013

See How They Grow

I was looking through pictures recently. My kids are all grown up ... how can that be?

Here's a snapshot of their lives. (I have no idea where their 2004 and 2008 "First Day of School" photo's are ... I know I took them, but I can't find them anywhere!)

1994 - When the girls met their new baby brother ...

1994 - Winter ...

1995 - Spring

1995 - Summer

1995 - Winter

2002 - First Day of School - 6th, 4th, 2nd

2003 - First Day of School - 7th, 5th, 3rd

2004 - Christmas - 8th, 6th, 4th

2005 - First Day of School - 9th, 7th, 5th

2006 - First Day of School - 10th, 8th, 6th

2007 - First Day of School - 11th, 9th, 7th

2008 - Summer Ocracoke, NC - 12th, 10th, 8th

2009 - First Day of School - 11th, 9th

2010 - First Day of School - 12th, 10th

2012 - Fall

2013 - Christmas (and don't the cousins look happy?!!)

I sure do love these kiddo's of mine :)


Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Lego Flower

Many Christmas's ago, I bought my son a giant bag of Lego's, and it came with plans for how to assemble a myriad of things ... trucks, helicopters, houses, flowers, etc. My son and my middle daughter spent many hours assembling the different designs included with the Lego's, as well as many of their own. Some were simple, while others were quite complicated. I loved looking at all the things they made.

After they made something, they would come to me to show me their handiwork ... and for the praise I would lavish on them! They put together some intricate designs, and the praise they received was heartfelt. I was proud of them! And, I loved the smile and look of satisfaction on their faces when they showed me what they had made.

My daughter made me a Lego flower (one of the designs included). I figured it was like all the other things they had made ... that she was showing it to me, only to pull it apart and make something else ... but she said no ... this was for me to keep!

I did keep it ... and I still have it.

With its red base, it seemed to be made to display in my kitchen. It has moved around from one spot to another over the years (always in the kitchen), and it now lives on top of the bead board molding.

My heart smiles every time I look at my pretty Lego flower :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snow

The average total accumulation of snow around here each winter is about 8". It usually doesn't come all at the same time and it typically doesn't stick around very long. It has snowed as early as November and as late as March, but those are rare occasions. We generally don't see any snow until late December, and rarely get snow past early February. And, since we don't typically stay below freezing very long, the snow doesn't usually stick around very long. (Good!!!)

We got around 8" of snow from winter storm Cleon in December (2013). It has since melted (yea!), and the temperature is supposed to be in the 60's by this weekend. Yea! But, after the 8" of snow from Cleon, school was out from Friday through Tuesday, with a 2-hour delay on Wednesday. Our mayor declared a State of Emergency, telling people to stay off the roads unless it was an absolute necessity. (I'm sure any northerner reading this is rolling their eyes, laughing at us, and calling us names!) 

Don't worry ... I'm not offended. I freely admit it ... when it comes to snow, we're hicks. It's safe to say that in these parts, we don't handle snow very well.

So you can imagine the chaos when we got 22.3" of snow on December 22nd and 23rd in 2004! The interstate that runs around the northern edge of the city was closed down, stranding motorists in their vehicles. Farmers took their tractors to the interstate and highways to ferry those stranded to safety. And, it was bitter cold ... it was -11º on Christmas Day that year. We don't generally dip that low. We might have a few days in the single digits, but temperatures below 0º are extremely rare here. (Good!!!)

The snow was frozen solid. I was basically trapped in my house. The snow plows came through and cleared what they could from the roads, but that didn't help me at all ... in fact, in made it considerably worse! My vehicle was trapped in my driveway, at the end of which stood a gigantic pile of snow the plow pushed there.

My oldest daughter and I braved the cold one day and managed to clear a path from the house to the driveway, but the snow/ice at the end of the drive was proving impossible to. Luckily a Good Samaritan came by with a snow plow attachment on his truck and cleared the drive in minutes. We were quite grateful, as there was really no way we were going to be able to bust through that snow/ice.

Here are a few pictures of the snow that year. I post these with a silent prayer that we don't ever see that kind of snow again in my lifetime!








Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mistletoe from Georgia

My sister and her husband brought everyone some mistletoe from a tree in their yard in Georgia. The packaging was very festive ... I couldn't tell what it was until I took it out of the package.

Isn't it pretty? I see some kisses in my future ... because I'm going to be holding it above my head the next time my boyfriend comes over!!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Coleman Family Christmas!

This year's gathering was so much fun! I don't know what made this Christmas so much fun, but it was! For the most part, we were either eating or laughing. We were missing quite a few Coleman's, but I come from a big family, so there was still a crowd. I have a very kooky family, but I love them all dearly. Everyone is married to really great people ... who, fortunately ... are as kooky as we are and fit right in with us weirdo's!

My sister-in-law made her super delicious ham, which is always a big hit! Everyone brought an appetizer, side dish, and dessert, and everything was very, very good. I didn't get a picture of all the food, but I did get a few pictures of the foods my daughter and I made. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

My oldest daughter made Santa Hat Cupcakes ... they were so cute!!

I made my Christmas Tea ...
and Christmas Buttons ...
My daughter also made deviled eggs (which didn't last long),
and I made a cheeseball ... yummy!!




Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Little Girl Is Getting Married!!!

A couple of nights ago my daughter's boyfriend stopped by to ask for my daughter's hand in marriage. He's a good guy. He treats my daughter like a princess, and she loves him completely ... so of course I gave him my blessing! She announced her engagement at the Coleman Family Christmas gathering. Isn't her ring gorgeous?!!  I got teary-eyed when Sam asked me for her hand, when I told a few close friends, and when they announced it at Christmas. If you think I cried a lot at her high school graduation, wait until her wedding!
She also made a lovely Christmas sweater vest to wear ... complete with flashing lights!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Love My House During Christmas!

Here are some of the "highlights" of my house all decorated for Christmas. I don't know why, but I don't have any photo's of the entryway ... I guess I got tired of taking pictures! I'd bore everyone silly if I included all the pictures of all the rooms, but here are some of my favorites. (Click on pictures to enlarge them.)

The Living Room ...





The Dining Room ...





The Family Room ...

 




The "Library" ...



The Downstairs Bath ...



The Kitchen ...





The Stairway/Landing ...



The Upstairs Hall Bath ...