Decking The Halls, At My House.

Huey is back! I know Zoe is too old for this guy now but I still love the whimsy!
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Zoe had her fill of tree trimming lol… Clarice was a big help lol. This cat wants to be a part of everything that I do, is it any wonder why I adore this creature?

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We trimmed the trees. I put up my candy villiage, decorated the table, hutch and a bookcase. More to come. We have a train and large village to construct still…. Outdoor house and yard decorations are on the agenda for today. We are behind this year! We usually do all of this Thanksgiving weekend.

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Our Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Concert Experience @ Wild Horse Pass!

My oldest, Brittany and I had some time together on Saturday. Time without kids and craziness! She took me to see her favorite band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy! She has loved this band since she was about 14. I have a real appreciation for this talented, awesome group of guys too. They rock the swing genre like no other band can. Also, rockabilly I suppose. They are without a doubt the best at what they do. This concert was part of their Christmas Tour. We heard a lot of Christmas music, covers and originals. The whole set was Christmas based. Although I enjoyed the full 90 minutes I had hoped to hear more Big Bad Voodoo Daddy originals! They have absolutely incredible originals that are really their trademark/ signature sound. I haven’t a clue how and why they do this Christmas Tour thing that has become an annual event.

They are definitely unique in that they stick around after the concert to sign autographs and meet and greet everyone that wants to stick around . Most concerts only a select few get to meet the band! It has been Britt’s dream to meet Scotty, the lead singer from the band. She actually got a hug from Scotty! I snapped a quick pic for Britt. Only goes to show that sometimes you really do get what you want! Britt was in awe of the opportunity!

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Check out this beautiful stage set!

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It was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that I had some time with Britt. Such a rare treat! I’m also thrilled that I was there to see a long time dream of hers come true! Artists probably don’t really realize how special it is for fans to actually make eye contact one on one with them. I get that it probably annoys bands to do the meet and greets but it means a whole lot to fans!

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Garlicy Mac and Cheese Casserole, My New Creation?

Garlicy Mac and Cheese Casserole… My New Creation?

I have found that these are a nice topping for a lot of things… French’s Fried Onions are so delicious on many dishes!

I was so excited to find this baking dish today. I bought it at Michael’s craft store. They had a 50% off sale on their harvest inventory. I bought this lovely orange baking dish for just $4.99! It is a lovely find, a new treasure that I’m excited to own. I love a good bargain! This cleaned up nicely and will be ready to use again on Thanksgiving for my candied yams.

This is a variation on traditional Mac and Cheese. I boiled a package of small elbow macaroni noodles until they were almost soft. About 7-8 min. After boiling them, I rinsed the noodles with cold water.

While the noodles were boiling, I minced probably 4 tablespoons of garlic. I satueed these in 2 teaspoons of butter. Set aside.

Grate 3 cups of your favorite cheese, I used medium cheddar. Sharp could have been more distinct in flavor.
I also assembled my béchamel sauce. This is really easy… In saucepan, heat 4 cups of milk to just a simmer and set aside-

*In heavy bottomed large pot, melt 1 stick of butter. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the melted butter and quickly wisk it together. This will make a smooth thick sauce. Add the hot milk and wisk it all together. This will thicken. I added 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper to the béchamel.

I sprayed my baking dish with cooking spray for easier cleanup later… I poured the noodles into the baking dish, sprinkled granulated garlic and some parsley into the noodles. I folded the sauteed garlic into the noodles to disperse them evenly. Pour your béchamel sauce on top of the noodles. Stir just a bit to incorporate the sauce…

Lastly, I poured about a 1 1/4 cup of these fried onions into a ziplock bag. I took my heavy rolling pin and rolled it over the bag to grind the onions into crumbs. Evenly sprinkle the onions on top of your casserole. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 23 min. Let your casserole rest about 15-20 min.

Enjoy! We loved this and I will make it again! I may make it again for my Christmas party. Good ole comfort food…

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Philosophical Pondering With Coffee Inspiration…

Philosophical Thoughts While Drinking Coffee…Yum!

It’s feast or famine with the creative process. Have you ever noticed that creativity seems to come in waves? When you’re hot you’re hot and when you’re not, you’re really NOT! I wish creativity was something that you could turn on and off on demand. As I sit here and ponder my next creative endeavor, I am reminded of something my wise mother used to say to me often…” Be careful of what you want, you might get it.” This piece of peculiar wisdom has been true too many times. Followed by my own thoughts of, “Oh damn, I zigged when I should have zagged! ” The notorious reprimand we give ourself after something we thought that we wanted to have happen simply isn’t what we thought it would be. The woulda, shoulda, could’ve epiphany we have when life doesn’t go according to plan. Especially when you have no real plan other than to make it through whatever you have fashioned for yourself lol.

I have had plenty of those types of experiences! We hope we learn and grow from them. We assume and have been told that experiences, (even bad ones), give us character. When you look upon your life and the choices that you have made, you see not only bad choices but the resolution of those choices. How exactly you dealt with adversity and overcame these difficulties. I’m not sure what the point of all of this testing of ourselves is but every person must choose and design their life experience.

Some of us are better than others at designing and creating their careers. They decide early on what role they want to play in society. They must understand themselves really well. They understand through interest, skillset and strengths just who they want to become professionally. They seem to be able to hone in on the right vibe/network in which to create, showcase and excel even flourish!

Others of us flounder around trying things, but never come to a finite conclusion where we fit in any one particular career. Kind of feeling like they are on the outside looking in. We work hard at everything we try to do…hard working within whatever undertaking we pursue. We just never feel as if we are getting anywhere. So much of this life on earth is about financial success and net worth. Aspiring to be the best, make the most money and have all of the finest toys. Work hard/play hard…

All of this is fine but at what cost to our families? I run by a liscensed daycare facility on my jogging route. What I see is heartbreaking…kids playing on the playground is a given. Without fail, their are always a few who come up to the gate, looking outward with a blanket or stuffed animal in tow. Tears and wails of sadness just pour from these kids that are missing Mom and Dad. Breaks my heart. I just want to scoop them up and hug them.

I am also reminded from my Mom’s passing this very poignant realization…we come into this world without a stich of anything…not even clothing…we leave this planet without even taking our lipstick… What happens in between that we choose for ourselves …important yes! All about making money? I’m thinking, not so important. The knowledge and information that we gain by having experienced life, living and adversity…Priceless!
I decided to record and post my poem entitled ” Where’s My PhD ” It is now on SoundCloud. Here is the link.
Where’s My PhD (School Of Hard Knocks) written by Tyna J. Metzner

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Highs In The Mid 80’s, Hard To Fathom In Mid November.

Roses Are Blooming With Temps Still In The Mid 80’s!

In ways you would never guess that the holidays are right around the corner. It seems strange that we still have 80+ degree temps. I see Christmas in every store but the weather is incredibly nice here in Phoenix. These flowers are from my planter in the front yard. I keep seeing news reports about people having to navigate in the snow. I guess we should be so greatful for this wonderful weather. I am enjoying the cooler nights and mornings. It does not however inspire or suggest that Christmas is coming…

I am however plugging along. I have a plan and some organization regarding gift giving. I am making progress with my goals for the holidays. I have gathered up my favorite few family recipes for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. I will probably post some pics along the way with recipes. It seems as if recipe posts and pics are more interesting to all of you than my music videos… Lol well with me you will get both.

Alma Mater written by Chicago
Alma Mater Written by Chicago

Here is a SoundCloud… This is my most played SoundCloud post this week…
Don’t Leave Me Now written by Roger Hodgson
Don’t Leave Me Now Written by Roger Hodgson
I wonder why this is getting so many plays? This is not a very popular song, not a well known hit. Sometimes, I just want like to play. I lose myself in playing my keyboard. It’s mindless sometimes… I don’t have to think, no stress just me doing my “thing”. What it is for me? Relaxing, rewarding and sometimes so gratifying! Spiritual even sometimes…

I’m Dreaming Tonight, Of A Place That I Love…

Wow, just wow. I have spent the last two days arranging I’ll Be Home For Christmas… It was difficult! Rewarding comes to mind now that I finished and posted it. It’s different, a twist on the original of so many years ago. Many people have covered this song throughout the years. I’m sure another virtual sea of cover videos of this song are posted on YouTube. Well here is my contribution to the sea. I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Here is the SoundCloud link:

http://soundcloud.com/tyna-j-phipps/ill-be-home-for-christmas-bing/s-xudiB

I hope this is well received. It is early or late considering how you view it… It was nice to have the time to focus on learning this! Fun!

I think I will work on another Christmas song before the season is over lol. Any suggestions for song choices?

Gram’s Choir, I Would Love To Do This!

Gram’s Choir, Boy I Would Love To Do This!

This makes me laugh. Awful hair … I want to redo this video lol. It is what it is. However, I do like the arrangement that I came up with. The old standard with some different chord progressions…
My arrangement of, The Christmas Song
I was working on this last year at this time. I was so excited about it. I am trying to put together a couple more Christmas songs to post on my channel after Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to get my 7 G-kids to sing a song or two with me. I asked them if they want to be part of Grammy’s choir. I am hoping that they will. I want them to sing the children’s accompaniment on John Lennon’s, So This Is Christmas. I can envision this. I want a YouTube video of me doing a Chistmas song with them! That would be so special to me!

They are not close enough in miles to me, to make this easy. Everybody has busy schedules, it would be difficult to find the time. Still, it is something I would love to work with them on. We have a big Christmas party and I think it would be fun to sing a few songs with the kids. They would have an auidence and people enjoy hearing kids sing at Christmas. It would sure make me happy to do this with them!