Wednesday, December 31, 2014


One last page from my little Christmas journal...

then it's time for us to switch over to Birthday Mode! Mr. Hubby was born 1/1/50 -- the first baby born in Kermit, TX that year, and recipient of a butt-load of swag! Know what that means? As of midnight tonight, you can start calling him The AARPster, or Medicare Man, if you prefer. We'll be over in Austin, celebrating with the kiddoes. Then, just a couple of weeks later, we'll be going back to celebrate Miss Lexi's birthday.

After that it will be time to get serious about phase one of Mr. Austin's wedding -- the part that will take place in Sudan! Time to find out about shots, and visas, and make travel arrangements. Yikes!

I have a feeling this year's gonna zoom by even faster than last, if that's even possible! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Son Austin and his sweetheart Areej made a wonderful garlic bean soup for us this Christmas, and as Austin was packing up to leave he asked me if I might have any use for the heavy cream that was left over. Why yes, I might!

Have you ever had shirred eggs? Paired with toasted asiago bread (also left from our Christmas dinner) smeared with a dab of local raw honey, they made for a scrumptious breakfast this morning. They also made a dang fine supper about once a week, when I moved here ahead of hubby and was on my own during the week. The recipe below is a simple one found in Sunset Magazine a while back, and to quote the author, "Something magical happens when you bake eggs with cream: They turn into a dense, silky custard, becoming much more than the sum of their parts." Ina Garten has a similar recipe in her Barefoot in Paris cookbook, called Herbed-Baked Eggs.

Sunset's Recipe for Shirred Eggs

For each serving: Use 1/4 tsp. butter to generously coat a 6-oz. ramekin. Pour 2 tsp. heavy whipping cream into bottom of ramekin. Crack 2 eggs into the dish and gently coax the yolks toward the center, using a spoon if necessary. Sprinkle with good salt and freshly ground pepper, then top with 1 tsp. minced chives and 1 Tbsp. grated hard cheese, such as parmesan. Bake at 375 F. until set around edges and still a bit jiggly in the center, about 12 minutes. (For firm yolks, bake an additional 3 minutes.) Let sit 2 to 3 minutes to set and serve immediately. Note: For easier oven transfer, set dishes on a large baking pan.

I should probably warn you though -- that mere 2 tsp. of cream makes a huge difference as to how rich and filling the eggs will be. And, if you happen to be using local free-range eggs, which are uber-rich to start with, well, two eggs was just too much! Only problem is, I just have that one size of ramekin, and if I put only one egg in it, it will probably turn into a rubbery hocky puck in nothing flat. May have to play with this a bit.

The good news is, I still have a good bit of that cream left, and it would be a crying shame to waste it! Got any suggestions?

Monday, December 29, 2014


When I was wandering around recently, trying to locate the new craft shop I'd heard about, I stumbled across more than I was expecting.  I found a neat little shop called Treasures on Twelve, dedicated to all things rescued. And right next to it? Another boot! 

A boot dedicated, appropriately enough, to the animal adoption group where Lex and Nate got their Izzy.

This might just be my favorite boot yet!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I was mulling over yesterday's post, wondering just how I would complete it today, when I came across a throw pillow or something which said "All is calm, all is bright." Suddenly I realized that those two phrases perfectly described the contrast in Hubby's and my Christmas styles, and that I simply had to go back and change the title of yesterday's post! To give you an example of what I'm talking about, this is what greeted us yesterday morning, before the sun was even up.

The two newest members of the family couldn't quite understand why they had to be dragged out of bed at such an early hour, but we had a whooooole lotta prezzies to open before we could even think about starting breakfast.

Austin may be used to the Christmas Morning Crazies, but he'd never manage it without coffee!

And, when I say "a lot"...

I mean a LOT.

Most of which were bought my Mr. Claus, who always begins shopping mid-summer.  But, before we can open prezzies, we have to do stockings!

This entire chair full is what he considers to be "a filled stocking."

The kids pretty much tear through their stuff, but I like to take my time, watching to see what each person opens.

It just ain't Christmas without goofy robes, right?
The Wedding "Tattoos" Become Full-Sized Art
Usually I'm barely getting started on my stocking when they're ready to hand out packages, and barely getting started on those when someone whines "Hurry up Mom, we're starving!"

This year, instead of the usual mass of bacon, eggs and sweetrolls cooked up by Big Daddy, Lex suggested a Bavarian-Style Brunch Buffet (assorted breads, cheeses, black forest ham, gourmet jams, honey, soft-boiled eggs served in egg cups, and a few pretty pastries from Sugar Shack). Quick to assemble, easy to clean up, and oh so yummy! But I was only halfway through that when hubby said "Time to get dressed, if we're gonna beat the crowds to see Into the Woods!"

The kids are accustomed to going to an afternoon movie on Christmas day, but what they didn't know was that a brand new movie theater opened recently in nearby Kyle -- one that also contains a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, and arcade! After the movie, when the kids thought we were headed out to our cars, Hubby paused at the entrance to the arcade and said "Oh yeah, hold on a minute, I forgot something." He then handed them each a ten dollar bill and told them to "go have fun." And they did!

Just like old times! Especially when it came time to cash in their tickets, and Lex was miffed because she didn't have enough for "anything good!" Hubby's still giggling about that.

Can you believe this is the same guy who used to go around saying "Bah, humbug!" when we first got married, and thought stockings were just for little kids?

Now comes the fun part -- deciding what to get rid of from our already chock-full closets and shelves, to make room for all the new stuff!

Friday, December 26, 2014


I can't tell you what a wonderful day we had on Christmas Eve. For starters, Lex surprised me by coming in the night before, and was therefore able to hang out with me the whole entire day. That hasn't happened since she was in college!

We began the day at Sugar Shack bakery, sharing an almond croissant in a sunny window, and picking up Nate's mandatory chocolate cupcakes. Then it was off to Wimberley Pie Co. to pick up our order, with a little side trip to our new craft store, right across the street.

I'd prepped my dressing the night before -- a new Southern Italian recipe that Outdoor Woman shared with me, made with both corn bread and white bread, to satisfy both northerners and southerners, plus Italian sausage, toasted pine nuts, and grated Mozzarella. Yum! And, since Hubby was in charge of picking up our smoked turkey and ham from Miss Mae's BBQ, that left us plenty of time for all of my favorite things, such as loving on puppies...

a bit of crafting...

selecting serving pieces...

setting the table...

and, of course, lighting candles!

After everything was cleared away, the boys adjourned to the man cave for their traditional terrible movie (the word "troma" was mentioned?) while we gals got to kick our feet up and have a good ol' gab fest!

Yep, it was a near perfect Christmas Eve...

well, at least as far as I'm concerned. You see, as much as we love each other, the hubby and I don't always agree on how things should be done. Simple? Relaxing? Clutter- and stress-free? Not really his thing. And, somehow, during those few short hours we slept, the Christmas reins slipped out of my hands, and into his...(to be continued)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Can you guess where we were yesterday?

Hint #1: A town where dining al fresco in December is not all that rare.

And where did we go once there?

Hint: an annual event which takes place in cities all around the country -- this one on the steps of the Texas State Capitol -- in which anyone with any kind of tuba can participate.

This cutie here was by far my favorite, out of more than 250 who participated this year.

Guess where we went after that?


It's on S. Congress.

It has a vintage cigarette machine stocked with candy cigarettes...

and a soda fountain...

unique wall art...

and is the best place in the world to shop for stocking stuffers!

If you've figured out the answers to these questions, then you'll know the answer to the bigger question -- why is Hill Country Hippie going AWOL from the internet for the next few days?

Answer Key:

1. Austin, TX
2. Merry Tuba Christmas
3. Big Top Candy Store
4. Cuz Christmas is finally here, and the kiddoes are a-comin'!

Monday, December 22, 2014


I finally had time to putter in the bedroodio this weekend, but was torn between doing a project from my Artsy Ornaments class, and working in my little Christmas journal. Then I thought, "Why not compromise?"

So did both at once! All those security envelopes my sister-in-law saved up for me are still coming in mighty handy -- this time as a snowy background. The little girl and bird were cut out of cardboard and glued on, to give the page more dimension.

Did I mention how much I love those chalky Christmas gift bags I found the other day?

Finally got to use some of my iridescent acrylic ink, too!

This was a background technique I wanted to play with. Not sure where it will go from here.

Last but not least, a work-in-progress that I was kind of excited about...

until the black gesso I used for the chalky pages seeped over the top and made a great big ol' mess!

Some days you're the windshield. Some days you're the bug, right?