Christmas 2013 Recap…

Christmas has come and gone, and soon a new year will be dawning.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time is passing!  I’ve spent the past few days doing nothing, except resting and recuperating, hence my absence from the internet.  Although I’m still tired and not feeling my best, I wanted to post a Christmas Recap before any more time passes.

Our 2013 Christmas can best be described as busy, noisy, happy, tiring, and fulfilling!  Although I was bone-weary tired by the end of the day, it was one of the best Christmases we’ve had in a long, long time!  All of our [grown] children were able to be with us for the entire day!  Nobody had anywhere else they needed to go.   For an older parent, it just doesn’t get any better than that!!!

I felt extremely blessed to have been able to share Christmas with all four of my grandchildren, too!  Little Evan and his parents spent Christmas Eve night with us, so Santa came to visit Evan [for the first time, ever] at our house.  There’s nothing better, on Christmas, than a visit from Santa!  Santa’s gifts were scattered all along the front of the fireplace, on Christmas morning!  I’m so grateful to Evan’s parents for sharing Evan’s first Santa experience with us.  We sure enjoyed it, even though Evan slept through most of the day.  From the looks of things, Evan must have been a very good boy!

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Little Evan sleeping among his Christmas gifts…

Early on Christmas morning, Ed and I were able to visit the homes of our three other grandchildren, who happen to live nearby, to see what each received for Christmas.  Nothing else can compare to witnessing the excitement and joy of a child on Christmas morning!

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Madison, at her house, on Christmas morning

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Watching Caden and Chase enjoying their new toys…

After short visits to everyone’s homes, Ed and I returned home and started cooking lunch.  I chose a simple menu so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time in the kitchen.  Soon we were feasting on a lunch of baked ham, with all of our family gathered around.  We finished in the kitchen around 2 o’clock, and were just about to take our traditional ‘crazy hat’ photo when our nephew, Jeremy, stopped by.  Jeremy received the ‘honor’ of taking our family photo, this year.

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Christmas 2013

Would you believe it was almost 3:30 before we actually got around to opening our Christmas gifts?  Would you, also, believe we had to take a  break in between opening the regular gifts and opening ‘Dirty Santa’ gifts?  By the time we finished opening all of the gifts and cleaning up the wrapping paper, it was almost time to eat again!  The last of our guests left shortly after 8 p.m., and Ed and I fell into bed, soon afterward!  We were pooped!!!  Yes, Christmas 2013 was a busy, busy day, from beginning to end–but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 10:35 am  Comments (8)  
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T’was The Last Monday Before Christmas…

T’was the last Monday before Christmas, when all through the house…came sweet aromas, originating from my kitchen!  That’s right, today I’ll be in the kitchen making some candy and cookies!  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!  Oh, if only I could eat what I’m going to be making…  Sigh.

First things first though.  It’s Monday, and before I put on my holiday apron and get started, I’ve gotta’ participate in “The Monday Quiz” over at Acting Balanced.   However, this will be my last blog post until sometime after Christmas.  By the way, this is my 1200th post!!!

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Here are today’s questions:

1. What is left on your holiday to do list?

The last thing left on my holiday ‘to do list’ is to make some ‘goodies’ for Christmas Eve, and make a couple of desserts for Christmas Day.  I’ll be spending the majority of today and tomorrow in the kitchen!

2. December 24th,along with being Christmas Eve, is National Egg Nog Day – will you partake?  Homemade? Store Bought?

No egg nog of any kind for me!  For some reason, I’ve never felt the need to even try Egg Nog.

3. Do you leave treats for Santa and his Reindeer?

We no longer leave treats for Santa or his reindeer, but there was a time, many years ago, when our children left Christmas cookies or candy for Santa.  I think, once or twice, we may have left a carrot for the reindeer, too.  I even had a special plate, designed just for holding Santa’s cookies!  Those were the days, and they were such fun 🙂

4. Elf on a Shelf, pro or con?

I’m definitely PRO  Elf on a Shelf!  In fact, I’ve given each of our grandchildren an ‘Elf on a Shelf’.  Sadly, two of our ‘grands’ don’t participate in ‘Santa’ or the ‘Elf’.  ( I bought the elf before their parents decided this.)  Now, their elf is simply used as a toy.  However, one of the highlights of my days, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, is hearing , from our granddaughter, Madison, what her elf, “Buddy”, has been up to.  Here’s a recent photo:

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Buddy’s hiding inside of the Rice Krispies box!

Madison will soon be out-growing the ‘Elf on a Shelf’ phase, but I’ve already given our newest grandbaby, Evan, an elf of his own!

I could have had so much fun, if only my own children would’ve had an ‘Elf on a Shelf’ back in the day…

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Weekend Wrap Up:

It was a very warm weekend here in our ‘neck of the woods’.  Temperatures were in the high seventies/low eighties!  The air conditioner has been running for the past two days…and here it is almost Christmas!  After today, our temperatures are supposed to drop significantly–down to the fifties for the high.  There will be no ‘white Christmas’ for us–only rain.

The unseasonably warm temperatures were perfect for our weekend activities.  Like grilling, cutting down trees, and walking around at night!

On Saturday, Tim the tree trimmer came to pay us another visit.  We had to call him to come back and cut our last two remaining pine trees. One had died, the other was on its way out–both victims of wood bores.  Bummer.  It cost us almost one-tenth as much to have just those two trees cut as it did to have 43 of them cut back in the summer!  I guess we should have made a ‘clean sweep’ back then, but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

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Tim in the bucket, trimming off the limbs before cutting down the trees

Both Friday and Saturday nights were spent viewing Christmas displays.  On Friday night we rode to a place called TMT Farms to see the most spectacular Christmas display that I’ve ever seen.  I can’t begin to describe everything that we saw!  There were dozens and dozens of inflatables, thousands of lights, and an entire ‘pretend’ western town–all stuck out in the middle of nowhere!  Several of the buildings were open for touring, and we enjoyed seeing the dozens of antiques displayed throughout the town.  It was a bit like stepping back in time…  I’m amazed that one family has done all of this, and they open it up to the public!  They only ask for a simple donation of some canned food or toys, for the ‘needy’.

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A very small portion of TMT Farms

On Saturday night, we began our Christmas journey by visiting a live nativity scene. We especially enjoyed seeing our youngest son and his family portraying Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.   I could only see the top of baby Evan’s head as we drove by the manger, because the manger was so deep.  Brad said that Evan was content to lay in that manger for about an hour, then decided he’d had enough.

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Brad, Jennifer, and Evan

After visiting the live nativity, we traveled about 30 minutes, to a place called ‘Guido Gardens’, former home of evangelist, Michael Guido.  Mr. Guido was commonly known, on radio and television, as “The Sower”, for many years.

We’ve been visiting Guido Gardens’ “Night of Lights” since 1997.  Reverend [Doctor]  Guido passed away in 2009, and, for me, visiting Guido Gardens, this year, was sad.  I still remember the years we’d visit ‘Guido Gardens’ when Dr. Guido was living.  Since his home was located in the middle of Guido Gardens, he was often out greeting visitors each night.  His presence is missed, but his ministry is alive and well, thanks to family members.

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Ed and granddaughter, Madison, touring ‘Guido Gardens’

Speaking of greeting visitors–this little fellow came by for a visit, on Sunday afternoon!  It had only been a week since we’d seen him, but he had changed so much!

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What a difference a few days can make!  This boy is growing like a weed!  I loved watching Evan and Ed talking with each other, during this visit. Such sweet smiles!

Evan’s gone home now, but he’ll be back on Christmas Eve.  I’m excited, ’cause Santa’s going to visit Evan at our house, this year!  It’s been a whole lot of years since Santa has visited our house.  Ho! Ho! Ho!  Perhaps we should leave out some milk and cookies!

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 10:04 am  Comments (7)  
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Memories On Branches (part one)…

I’ve been watching more than my share of Hallmark Christmas movies lately.  I just can’t seem to get enough of them, this year!  I have some old favorites, that I watch every year, but I’ve also been watching some new movies, such as The Christmas Ornament. In this movie, the main character refers to her Christmas ornaments as “memories on branches”, and that’s exactly how I feel about my Christmas ornaments, too!

Each ornament on my tree is special to me, and every ornament has a “memory” attached to it.  It was with a heavy heart, this year, that I had to leave many of my ornaments in their bags.  You see, we bought a new Christmas tree, and it’s smaller than our previous tree.  There’s no longer room for all of my favorites.  As a result, I had to pick and choose my memories on branches…

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“Rudy” is one of my oldest and most “deer” ornaments 🙂  Like me, he’s beginning to get a little ‘rough around the edges’, but this comes with age. Ed and I bought “Rudy”,( along with two other deer) the first Christmas we were married.  Fondly, I still remember the evening Ed and I went shopping for our first tree and all of its ornaments!  What fun we had choosing how to decorate our first Christmas tree!

“Rudy” and his brothers have hung on our trees for forty-one years. That’s a lot of Christmases! This year, I only hung “Rudy”.  Next year, I’ll give one of his brothers a turn.  “Rudy” (or his brothers) will always hold a place of honor, high upon our tree!

If you look closely, you will also notice a little gold ornament, to the right of “Rudy”.  This ornament belongs to our youngest son, Brad, who’s now 28.  The three little circles hanging down from the ‘angel baby’ contain Brad’s birth information, and yes, it says, 10 lbs, 9 oz.!  Ouch.

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Santa is another of my oldest ornaments.  He was purchased, along with Mrs. Claus, the first year Ed and I were married.  I purchased several of these Santas, which I’ve rotated through the years, so Santa doesn’t look quite as ‘rough’ as his friend “Rudy”.  For a while, these little ‘flocked’ ornaments and satin balls were quite popular.  Anybody else remember those days???

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This “Rudolph” technically belongs to our daughter. He was a gift from one of her teachers, when she was in elementary school– 30 years ago! “Rudolph” came bearing a Hershey’s kiss in his mouth, along with a little tag which read, “Squeeze my cheeks and I’ll give you a kiss!” Rudolph was always one of our children’s favorite ornaments when they were little.  They loved squeezing his cheeks to make his mouth pop open!

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This precious little bear is made from dough.  He’s only about 3 inches tall, and the tiny details on him are remarkable.  One Christmas, 23 years ago, a friend and co-worker of mine, made lots of these dough ornaments and sold them for extra Christmas money because she’d recently become a divorced mother of two. I bought this bear, an elf, and a baby Jesus in a manger, and I treasure each one of them.  

I think of Lynda every year when I hang her dough ornaments on the tree. I’m happy to say, Lynda’s now happily remarried, and is a retired teacher.

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I worked as a first grade paraprofessional for over fourteen years, and I love crafts! During the last of those fourteen years, I helped each my students make Christmas ornaments for their tree–not just paper ornaments, but ornaments that would stand the test of time. The elf in the above photo is one of those ornaments, and so is the angel below.

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I always enjoyed doing arts and crafts with our students, especially at Christmas!  These ornaments remind me of those happy times.  However, the Grinch ornament below reminds me of a not-so-happy time.

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Please notice the ’99’ on the bottom of the Grinch’s feet. This stands for the year 1999.

Ed had worked at our local, county hospital ( in Radiology) for twenty years, but due to poor management and tough economic times, the hospital had really been struggling the past few years.  It was just before the Christmas of ’99, when hospital administration announced they weren’t going to be able to make payroll.  Ouch!

Did I mention that our daughter worked at the hospital, too?   Well, she did!  Two members of our family were about to be without a paycheck–at Christmas!  Miracles do happen, and somehow, the hospital was able to borrow enough money to pay its employees at Christmas, and for a few more weeks afterward.

Shortly after Christmas, our daughter was able to find another job. In March of 2000, Ed  took another job, as well. This was a good move, because in April of 2000, the hospital closed its doors.

I’m happy to report, that this hospital has since been reopened, and is now doing well, after a second ‘near closure’.  (Many rural hospitals are struggling, these days, including the one where Ed is currently employed.)  

Every year, I hang the Grinch on our tree, as a reminder of the Christmas of 1999, when ‘the Grinch’ nearly stole our Christmas.

(to be continued…)

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 8:57 am  Comments (4)  
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Have Yourself A Merry Little Hodgepodge…

I’m knee-deep in Christmas preparations, but that’s no excuse to miss joining ‘The Wednesday Hodgepodge’!  ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?  So let’s jump right into the questions and answers, shall we?  As always, thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for providing the questions and for hosting ‘The Hodgepodge’.

1. Do you believe in miracles?

Yes, I definitely do believe in miracles!  Our newest  baby grandson, Evan, is a  precious, living miracle!  After a bout with cervical cancer, the odds of conceiving and carrying a baby were slim for Evan’s mom, since she no longer has a cervix, and only has one ovary and fallopian tube–yet, here Evan is!  Also, in spite of the fact that both of his parents turned out to be carriers of Cystic Fibrosis, Evan is perfectly healthy and is not even a carrier of this horrible disease!  Evan’s our ‘double miracle’.  Praise the Lord!

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2. What’s a recent fad you admit to trying?

Sorry, I can’t think of one.  Perhaps I’m getting too old for ‘fads’…

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what’s your favorite food or beverage containing peppermint?

I’m not really a fan of peppermint, but, occasionally, I’ll eat a piece of peppermint candy or a chocolate covered mint.

4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)…which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.

I’m going with ‘break the ice’ since I was recently at our grandsons’ birthday party, along with several other people that we only see once every year or two.

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else’s home? Still friends?

I’ve shared this story before, but this one particular ‘accident’ still stands out in my mind, above all others.  It happened forty-one years ago, when Ed and I were still practically newlyweds.  We were spending the night with his parents at Christmas, and we’d brought our cat, “B.B.” with us.  Early in the morning, “B.B.” decided to climb my mother-in-law’s artificial Christmas tree, and when she did, the tree turned over!  Ornaments went crashing to the floor, and everyone came running to see what had happened.  I was mortified, but Ed’s mom just laughed about the whole thing.  Yes, we were still friends, afterward!

6. ‘Tis the week before Christmas…are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or the Grinch before his heart grew?

My Christmas Spirit is alive and well, and I’ve been as busy as a bee…  I actually finished wrapping all of the Christmas presents, yesterday, and I’m feeling a bit like Buddy the Elf!

7. Share a favorite quote relating to Christmas.

At first, nothing came to mind, so I ‘Googled’ famous Christmas quotes where I found a quote that perfectly describes how I’m feeling–

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  ~Burton Hillis

Random:

I can’t believe it’s mid-December and we still have cherry tomatoes growing in our yard!  We cover the plant at night, then uncover it during the day, since our temps have dropped below freezing a few times.  The plant is a ‘volunteer’ and is now twice as big as when this picture was taken back in October!  It’s growing beside the chicken coop, so I suppose it receives plenty of fertilizer 🙂  It’s nice having fresh, home-grown tomatoes for our salad–in December!

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Published in: on December 18, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (11)  
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T’was Two Mondays Before Christmas…

T’was two Mondays before Christmas…and I’m still preparing, but more about that in a minute.  First, it’s time to join “The Monday Quiz” over at ActingBalanced.

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1. What song represents your last week?
“I’m In a Hurry” [to get things done] by Alabama.  No matter what I’m doing, I always feel like I’m in a hurry.
2. Have you made your list and checked it twice?
I haven’t actually written a list, yet, but I have a mental one, and I’m checking things off daily (in my head).  If all goes well, I’ll be ready for Christmas by the end of this week–I hope!
 
3. December 16th (Tuesday) is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day… what is your favorite thing to eat covered in chocolate?
My favorite thing to eat, covered in chocolate, is cake!  My next favorite thing, covered in chocolate, is a doughnut.  Neither is ‘legal’ on my diet, but I have been know to, occasionally, cheat.
 
4. Speaking of songs, what Christmas Carol is following you around this year?
I’ve already mentioned this in an earlier post, but I bought a new CD entitled “Duck the Halls”, recorded by the Robertson family, of “Duck Dynasty” fame.  That CD has been getting played a lot at my house, this year, because it helps put me in a holiday mood.  The first song on the cd, “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas” is a lively one, and usually gets me up and moving.  Even though we’re not from Louisiana, in our neck of the woods, we can identify with a ‘Redneck Christmas’!

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End of the week wrap up:

On Wednesday, Ed and I went out and did a little Christmas shopping–well, it was more like Christmas browsing, since we weren’t looking for gifts. I bought a ridiculous “Jolly John” snowman for the bathroom.  Jolly sits on the back of the toilet and talks whenever anyone enters the bathroom!  He spouts off one-liners like “You look a little ‘flushed’ and sings “Ho, Ho, Ho, Who’s Gotta’ Go?”  It was my one frivolous purchase for the season :).

Thursday and Friday were spent doing some cleaning, with some gift wrapping thrown in!  I didn’t get finished wrapping the gifts, but, at least, I got started! I also did a little babysitting duty, too.  Grandchildren, Madison and Chase, stayed with me on Friday morning, until after lunch.  The cousins had a good time together, while Chase’s brother, Caden, and his parents went on a field trip together.  Madison’s mom was busy making cookies for a birthday party.

Saturday morning, I woke up to clouds and drizzle. I had some grocery shopping to do, so Ed and I traveled to nearby Pembroke. They happened to be having their annual Christmas Festival and Parade, on Saturday.  I was hoping the rain would cease by 11 o’clock, and we could visit the festival while we were in town.

The closer we got to Pembroke, the harder it rained!  I finished my shopping about the time the parade was scheduled to begin.  By then, the rain had almost stopped, so we wandered downtown to the festival.  Luckily, we took our big umbrella!

Ed and I made it about half-way through the festival when the parade began, and the rain began to pour!   The parade continued on, even in the rain.  The poor vendors quickly covered their crafts!   We watched about fifteen minutes of the parade before we gave up and went to the car.  My feet were wet and cold, and I just wasn’t having fun!  However,  I’ll have to commend the people of Pembroke, they didn’t let a little rain ‘dampen’ their Christmas spirit!  Many were standing and walking in the rain without a raincoat or an umbrella!

After our soggy trip to Pembroke, Ed and I attended our oldest grandson’s birthday party, later in the afternoon.  Those two didn’t let the weather dampen their spirits either.  The weather was nasty, but the spirits were high inside the house!

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The brothers both have December birthdays, and they usually celebrate with a joint party sometime in between their birthdays.  Can you look at their birthday shirts and guess how old they are?

Brad, Jennifer, and Evan came to town to join the birthday festivities, and ended up spending the night with us.  Evan had grown so much in the nine days since we’d seen him!  He was much more alert on this visit, and I actually got a smile out of him, once or twice.  Speaking of smiles, I was full of them when Jennifer and Brad surprised us with an early Christmas gift… which I love!  Now to get Ed to hang it for me!

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It was busy, but all too soon, the weekend came to a close, and it was time for Brad and family to head back home.  Before they left, Ed got to feed Evan a bottle, and I captured the moment on film…the oldest and the youngest members of our family, sharing a sweet moment together.

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Ed and I found ourselves following  Brad, Jennifer, and Evan to the door, as they left,  just like our parents used to follow us when we’d leave.  Ha! I think that must be ‘an old person’ thing, or perhaps it just means we hated to see them go…  The good news is–they’ll be back in a few days for Christmas with Jennifer’s family.  We’ll enjoy these frequent visits while we can get them!

Happy Monday!  If anyone needs me, I’ll be resting today 🙂

Published in: on December 16, 2013 at 10:44 am  Comments (5)  

Five Years Ago…

I can hardly believe it, but our oldest grandson, Caden, turns five years old today!  As I reflect back on his first five years in this world, I suddenly find myself realizing how much things have changed in Caden’s world, and how different his life might have been had those changes not occurred.

Caden’s parents married each other, seven and a half years ago.  Both were in their early twenties back then.  By their second wedding anniversary, the couple found themselves moving back to the ‘family farm’, and they, also, found themselves expecting their first baby.  Unfortunately, around this same time, the couple also found their marriage in deep trouble.

As so often happens, these days, mistakes were made, by both parties, which resulted in a separation, eventually followed by the beginnings of divorce proceedings.  This was a very dark and troubling time for our family.  The couple remained separated throughout most of the pregnancy.

Fortunately, during this time, God was at work in Caden’s family, and when God spoke, they listened!  About a month before Caden’s birth, the couple decided to reconcile and try to work out their problems–and they have.  Praise the Lord!  Because of that one decision, life for them, and especially for Caden, is very different from what it could have been.  Because of that decision, Caden’s blessed with two parents, who love each other, and are committed–to the Lord, to each other, and to their children.  Caden, has a little brother now, too!

I know it hasn’t always been easy (marriage rarely is), but I’ve watched this couple evolve from a couple of troubled newlyweds into the loving family of four that they are today.  They continue to grow and change with each passing day!  This mama’s heart is happy for them–and for Caden.

This is not the birthday post I planned to write for Caden, but, for some reason,  it’s the post I felt compelled to write.  Perhaps God is speaking to me–or to others who may read this blog… because this post is a message of hope–and, after all,  ‘Hope’ is the reason for the season!

I’ll end this post by wishing grandson, Caden, the happiest birthday, ever!   I’ll also end it by reminding myself, and others, who may read this post…even when things seem ‘hopeless’–they’re not.   There’s always ‘Hope’! 

Amen.

Published in: on December 12, 2013 at 9:19 am  Comments (4)  
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A Ho Ho Ho Hodgepodge…

There’s only two more weeks until Christmas!  Are you ready for a little Ho Ho Ho ‘Hodgepodge’?  Time’s wasting, so let’s get right to the questions, shall we?  As always, thanks to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for providing such thought-provoking, interesting questions!  Here we go:

1. Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.

Ed and I kicked off the season by attending a professional performance of “The Nutcracker”, and we’re looking forward to visiting the local church’s live nativity, the weekend before Christmas.  Our son, Brad, his wife, Jennifer, and their new son, Evan, have been asked to portray Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in that nativity scene.  Also, “Buddy”, our granddaughter’s elf on a shelf, made his yearly appearance, on Thanksgiving night.  As always, I’ve been enjoying hearing Madison relate Buddy’s activities, as we count down the days until Christmas.

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2. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen…and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of all…so, which reindeer name best describes you this week?

I’m afraid I’m going to have to confess to being more like “Rudolph”, the red-nosed reindeer, this week.  It’s been an emotional week for me, and I’ve shed a few tears.  Holidays are a lot more difficult when you’ve recently lost a loved one.  So many holiday things remind me of  Ed’s mom, and it certainly didn’t help, last weekend, when Ed’s brothers confronted him about selling “the house.”  They’re ready to sell their mom’s house, we’re not.

3. What’s worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?

At this stage of my life,  “too loud”  sometimes seems worse than “too quiet” because I’m getting older and less tolerant.  However, those ‘loud’ times are some of the best times because ‘loud’  means our house is filled with family!  I’ll take family over quiet any day!  Our son, who now has two lively little boys of his own, usually laughs and says “Quiet time is over”, as they all walk through the door.  Within five minutes, he’s right, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

4. This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo!

When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they’ve committed to do? If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through?

I’ve always had trouble delegating tasks of any kind–and I still do.  I usually end up trying to do everything myself.  It disturbs me greatly when I ask someone to do something, and they don’t follow through, but I usually consider it a blessing if someone ‘volunteers’ to share my load.

‘5. What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?

My most dreaded holiday task is taking down the Christmas decorations!  I hate having to take down everything, after Christmas, and pack it all away for another whole year.  On the other hand, I always look forward to unpacking and putting up those same decorations the day after Thanksgiving!  I love my Christmas decorations and I’m always happy to see them again!

6. Facebook has released its list of the ‘most talked about’ topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot. Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was your most talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)

Our family’s most talked about topic was probably “our country and how it’s headed in the wrong direction.”  Enough said about that!  ‘Tis the season to be jolly…while we still can!

7. What’s something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?

Let’s just say I tend to get ‘excited’ if something goes wrong with my television or computer!  These days, both are ‘necessary’ to keep me happy 🙂

Random:

Forgive me, Joyce, I’m full of ‘randoms’ today!

 #1:  

Ed’s home with me today.  He had a huge cyst cut out of his shoulder, yesterday, and is now ‘sporting’ seven stitches and a pressure bandage.  What a way to end 2013!  Ed  hopes this will conclude his medical procedures for a while!

#2

Recently, I inherited some of my late mother-in-law’s Christmas decorations.  Among them is a mini snow village, that I’d given her for Christmas several years ago…

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I decided to display the village on a small table in the corner of the living room.  For some reason, this year, several of the houses are taking turns flashing off and on.  They’re not supposed to do this!  No bulbs are loose, the houses are on two different cords, so I have no idea what’s causing the houses to twinkle.  This year, I’m lovingly referring to my little snow village as “haunted”.

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I just have to share one of Evan’s recent Christmas pics.  Evan is our newest grandson, and he turns six weeks old today!

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Like the song says, “Thank God for kids.”

Published in: on December 11, 2013 at 8:22 am  Comments (6)  
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T’was Three Mondays Before Christmas…

T’was three Mondays before Christmas
When all through the house
I’m still not finished decorating…

For now, I’m taking a little ‘time out’, to catch up with a little blogging. I’m beginning with “The Monday Quiz” hosted by Heather and Wayne over at Acting Balanced.

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1. Today is National Christmas Card Day – do you send Christmas Cards?

Yes, I send a few Christmas cards every year, but only to our closest family and friends.  In fact, I should  be addressing them, right now, instead of blogging…

2. What item do you “always” buy when it goes on sale at the Grocery Store?

I buy LOTS of different items EVERY TIME they go on sale–like toilet paper, paper towels, sugar, flour, margarine, catsup, dish detergent, laundry detergent–just to name a few.  I store perishable items in my freezer, and I keep non-perishables in plastic storage totes.   By doing this, I save money, and I hardly ever run out of anything.

3. Certain flavors are associated with Christmas/December – what flavor do you most associate with the holiday season?

I associate the flavor of peppermint with Christmas–as in Candy Canes, even though I really don’t care much for them.  My second choice would have to be Chocolate Covered Cherries.  To me, it’s just not Christmas without a box of Chocolate Covered Cherries.  (Unfortunately, they’re loaded with sugar!)

4. Do you think gift cards are a good idea for Christmas or are they a cop-out?

Personally, I like giving and receiving gift cards.  I don’t think of them as a ‘cop-out’, but rather as an excellent gift choice.

Catching Up:

Since I last blogged,  Ed and I spent a day in the city,  celebrated our son-in-law’s 40th birthday at a party, had our son, Brad, and his family spend the night with us, and finished decorating the main Christmas tree–and all of that took place before the weekend ever began!

I didn’t feel well on Saturday, but Saturday night found Ed and me, along with most of our family, watching an evening Christmas Parade in a neighboring town.  The weather was unusually warm (80 degrees) and we were actually able to wear short sleeves while watching the parade!

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One of my favorite floats

 Unfortunately, about three-fourths of the way through the parade, it began to sprinkle, then it began to pour!   We didn’t stay for the rest of the parade.  Ed and I left the parade, got a bite to eat, then shopped until almost 10:30 in the evening!  Since Ed had his cataracts removed, we’ve turned into a couple of ‘night owls’ 🙂

The weather on Sunday continued to be rainy, but the temperatures cooled down to the mid-sixties.  It was an excellent day to laze around and watch Hallmark Christmas movies, which is exactly what we did!  I think we watched a total of four.  I’m a sucker for a good Christmas movie, and Ed’s a good sport, so he watches, too.

I’m hoping to finish decorating the, fourth and final, Christmas tree today!  After that, I can wrap the Christmas gifts and clean up the last of the clutter that’s scattered about.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get all of this accomplished by the end of the week!  Only then, will I be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the holidays.  I need to get busy, ’cause come Saturday, we’ll be celebrating more birthdays with our two oldest little grandsons.  December sure is a busy month, isn’t it?

Published in: on December 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm  Comments (7)  
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Taking Time For The Hodgepodge…

It’s still busy, busy, busy around here, but everything will just have to wait because it’s time for The Wednesday Hodgepodge!  As always, many thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for another great set of questions.  Speaking of questions, here they are:

1. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is ‘selfie’. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere? Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?

My thoughts are that I don’t particularly care for the word ‘selfie’ and I don’t particularly care for ‘selfie’ portraits either.  I’ve only taken one ‘selfie’, and it was for a joke.  I gave a framed ‘selfie’ to my son-in-law, for Christmas, a few years ago 🙂  Everyone got a huge laugh when he opened it!  (FYI: my selfie’ is so horrible I would never post it anywhere!)  I’ve always hated having my picture taken, so I’d definitely prefer to be behind the lens–and I usually am!

2. Will you send out Christmas cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?

I plan to send out about 20 Christmas to our closest family and friends.  Every year, I consider not sending cards anymore, but, so far, I haven’t missed a year.  I will be sad when I finally decide to leave the tradition behind.

3. Do you trust easily?

Yes, I trust easily.  I’m a naive person, and sometimes I get ‘fooled’ or taken advantage of.  However, once my trust is broken, it’s very hard for a person to gain it back.

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)…of those listed, which one is your favorite December scent?

My favorite December scent is pine, or to be more specific, Bath & Bodyworks’ Fresh Balsam.  I love the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, and Fresh Balsam is the closest thing to a fresh cut tree, that I’ve found.

5. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was that by choice or necessity?

I did more listening yesterday.  It was ‘one of those days’ for Ed, at work.  When he got home, he needed to talk, so I listened.

6. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head? Sorry if it’s back there now : )

The new Christmas song “Hairy Christmas” by Willie Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) and Luke Bryan has been stuck in my head ever since I bought the CD entitled Duck the Halls.  

The Robertson family CD is a really good one!  Who knew the Duck Dynasty clan could sing?!  Willie even  co-wrote the song “Hairy Christmas.  Here’s a clip below of Willie and Luke singing “Hairy Christmas”:

7. Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have traveled with, and why?

I’m sorry, but since I don’t enjoy traveling very much, I wouldn’t want to have traveled or explored with anyone!

Random:

I’m still stuck in Christmas decorating mode, but I’m slowly making progress!  I have one Christmas tree that’s finished–and it’s in the kitchen!   This tree is decorated with pretend Gingerbread and candy.  The sign on the front of the tree says, “Gingerbread brings love to the holidays”.  I’ve had this tree for a long time, and will be sad when I have to retire it.  I dread the hunt for a replacement tree!P1010148

I’ll finish the main tree (in the living room) next, but it looks like decorating will just have to wait until Thursday.  Wouldn’t you know, today, I have to travel to the city for a doctor’s appointment?!  It’s time for my yearly gynecologist appointment.  Yay!  Ed’s taken the day off from work to go along with me, so we’ll probably make a day of it.  I’ll try to visit as many of you as I can, tonight, after I get back home.

Published in: on December 4, 2013 at 7:56 am  Comments (9)  
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Up To My Eyeballs In Christmas Decorations, But Trying To Catch Up…

It’s hard to believe it’s been five days since I’ve been here on the old blog!  I’ve missed it, and hated to stay away any longer.  I’m going to attempt to recap the past few days, before they slip my mind, in as few words as possible!

Last Wednesday was spent in the kitchen, of course, as well as, last Thursday, but I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a Thanksgiving more.  Three things about this Thanksgiving stick out in my mind.  First of all, our granddaughter, Madison, asked to set the table, this year.  She recently learned the proper way to set a table, and wanted to show off her new skills.  She’s growing up!

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The next thing that sticks out in my mind is how our family read various scriptures concerning “thankfulness”, (which our daughter had printed on paper leaves) then went around and told one thing we were thankful for. There was some laughter and even a few tears. Great family memories!

Last of all, our first traditional family portrait, including  our newest family member, baby Evan, was taken. As our family has continued to grow, our portrait sessions have become more interesting. After several tries, we were finally successful!  By the time this picture was taken, Evan had lost his “turkey hat”, but Chase still had his green “frog lovey” 🙂

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Thanksgiving 2013

On Friday morning, with Thanksgiving safely behind us, Ed and I embarked on the beginning of our journey into the 2013 Christmas season.  We began by shampooing the living room carpet!  Unfortunately, my carpet shampooer decided not to cooperate, which made the task a lot more difficult than it should have been.  We had to spray the carpet shampoo solution on using a garden sprayer, then scrub and suck up the solution using the shampooer!  Fun times–not!  While the carpet dried, Ed and I decided to put up our outside decorations.  The weather was sunny and mild–perfect for decorating outside.  By the end of the day, the carpet was dry and the house and front yard was decorated and lit up!

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Outside Christmas decorations 2013

On Friday night we brought out that new artificial Christmas tree I had such a difficult time deciding upon.  Ed put it together and I began to shape the branches.  The tree came pre-lit with white lights, but I decided to add some colored lights, too, because Ed likes them.  (I do this from time to time.)  As I’m writing this, the tree still isn’t completely decorated.  So far, the new tree has lots of lights (550 white/200 colored), a tree topper, and some popcorn and candy garland on it!   I’ll get it finished…eventually.  When I do, I’ll share a picture.

On Saturday, Ed and I left our Christmas decorating behind and went to see “The Nutcracker”.  Nothing puts me in a holiday mood like watching “The Nutcracker”.  Our daughter and her family accompanied us to the show, and we had a very good time.  It was granddaughter, Madison’s, first time attending “The Nutcracker”.  When asked what she’d like for a souvenir of the show, she chose a tiara, and of course, we had to take a picture of her wearing it!  (She wore her tiara through the first half of the show.)

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 Madison (waiting for the show to begin)

In addition to shampooing the carpet, decorating outside, watching “The Nutcracker”, and getting the tree half decorated, Ed and I managed to finish up our Christmas shopping, this weekend!  We didn’t have much shopping left to do, but we finished on Sunday.  Now, if I can just get the gifts wrapped!

I still have lots of decorating to do, plus an out-of-town doctor’s appointment, this week.  I’ll blog and visit, whenever I can!  In the meantime, have a great week, everyone.

Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm  Comments (4)  
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