Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Has Only Begun

I have a few minutes this Christmas evening and thought I'd blog about the first two parts of our Christmas celebration. Yes, Christmas has only begun at our house. We've had two celebrations and we have two more. My two brothers will arrive this weekend and then we will not have Christmas with our children until next Tuesday night.  It is going to be a very long Christmas celebration for sure!  So to avoid a lengthy recap I thought I'd share our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day events today. Note: this is my 700th post!  That's a whole lot of writing folks and I can honestly say I've enjoyed every minute of it!

On Christmas Eve our son, DIL and the Princess joined us in having Christmas with my Dad.

We had a nice dinner and then he opened his presents.  He was quite thrilled with his new razor and an array of cologne.

He thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I would say it is the best he has felt for Christmas since he got sick 3 years ago.  It was great to see him enjoying the celebration.

I had picked up a few outfits for our little sweetheart, to be born in mid-February, and thought it would be fun to give those to her Mom and Dad during our Christmas Eve celebration.  The little LSU smocked dress was quite a "hit" with her Daddy!  It was a fun Christmas Eve!

Yesterday we joined some dear friends for a mid-afternoon meal as we both were going to be by ourselves for the day.  You must know that this gal is extraordinaire in everything she does. Below is a picture of the dining table that we were privileged to sit down and eat at. I felt very queenly for sure!

Each place setting beautifully done.
A gorgeous tree graces one corner of the dining room.

The buffet was elegant with the three wise men and greenery.
A beautiful nativity on the foyer table.
And, another miniature nativity.
There was not anything in the house that did not have a touch of Christmas. (I could have filled page after page with more pictures of beautiful decorations)  Just a gorgeous statement of the season for sure.  I jokingly told my friend that I could not imagine putting all that many decorations up and I sure couldn't imagine taking them down. ~a whole lot of work~

It was fun to share a part of our Christmas day with dear friends.

And, changing gears just a tad for a quick house update....
Things are moving right along once again.  They started the trim work this week and a couple of the guys even worked a part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  The cabinets will start going in on Monday.  It's coming together and looking so good.  We've still got a long way to go, but we're definitely getting there.

I'll be back to share the rest of our Christmas sometime next week. ~I know you can hardly wait~

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday FUN and a Merry Christmas to YOU!

Well, only 3 more days until Christmas and I do hope that you are all ready and now have time to sit back and enjoy the season.   Christmas with our kids will not take place until Tuesday evening, the 30th.  It's just the way it worked out this year.  We will spend Christmas Eve celebrating Christmas with my Dad.  Then we have lots of family arriving on Saturday and Sunday and the first of next week promises to be full of some "once in a lifetime memories." A full post will follow on this.
But, lately, here's the holiday fun we've been enjoying...........
 Last Wednesday I hosted Hubby's staff for our annual Christmas lunch.  It's always such a fun time for us to show our appreciation for the work they do and they seem to look forward to it each year.  We have staff that have been with us 25 years down to just over a year.  We are most grateful for them! And, each year I get them matching Christmas shirts to enjoy during the Christmas season.  They certainly do make for some cute pictures! ~smile~

Last Thursday the "Formidible Women" came for our annual  brunch/lunch.  I can't remember how many years I've done this but I think this might have been my 10th year. ~shame on me for not keeping up with ~
We all bring a gift and then number them and exchange.  It's always a fun time for us to celebrate the season and our friendship.

 On Friday the Princess spent the morning with me and I let her decorate Gingerbread cookies.  And, there's nothing like the simplicity of buying these that are already baked, ready to decorate, with all the decorating supplies inside the box. Note: I found these at our local Wal-Mart in case you are interested.
 First things first!  She wanted to taste one of them but found that when she went to bite into it that it was one super crisp cookie.  I'm thinking they were made strictly for decorating and not eating. ~smile~  Hanna Beth has always enjoyed icing, sprinkles and the such.  And, she really does a good job.  She's very particular in her work and I thought her little men looked quite festive when she finished.  But, most of all, we made a holiday memory that neither of us will forget. 
And, lastly, a quick update on the new house construction.  Not really anything new to report.  The sheet rock finisher finished this past week and the walls are now ready for paint.  But, before paint, there's cabinetry and trim work.  The cabinets will begin going in this week and that's going to be very exciting.  And, the brick work continues.............there's very little left but I'm thinking it will likely be after Christmas.  And, I continue to wait to see the windows across the front with the soldiers and keystones.  I guess our brick layer thought he'd leave "the best for last." 

And from our family to yours..........a very 
Merry Christmas as we celebrate our 
Savior's birth! 
NOTE: I will be very "hit or miss" with blogging until after Jan. 1st.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Gaylord Christmas Family Weekend

Back in September Hubby and I made reservations for our children, their families and us at The Gaylord Texan for this past weekend.  We have been there 3-4 times at other times of the year but we had never been there for the Christmas festivities.  It worked out for all of them to take last Friday off and we could all meet there in the early afternoon.
What would a fun family weekend be without a "goodie box" in your hotel room?  Since packaging is something that I thoroughly enjoy, I'm always looking for opportunities to wrap and tie something.  I filled the tent boxes with snacks and beverages that I knew each family liked.  
  The decorations alone are breathtakingly beautiful.  The biggest issue was the crowd!  By 6:00PM last Friday the place was a mass of people.  And, lots and lots of them were NOT staying at the Gaylord but were "locals" coming to get in on the festivities.  We decided that the Gaylord should have some kind of control over how many outsiders can come in but as we know, the almighty $$$ is ruling their decisions.  And, the more folks that come through that place the more $$$ they make.  But, it just doesn't seem quite fair to me that those who pay to stay there have to fight such massive crowds.  The other times we have been to the Gaylord this has not been the case. The adults were the only ones bothered by the crowds, Hanna Beth and Clancy were too enthralled to be concerned. ~big grin~
On Saturday morning after breakfast we decided to go snow tubing.  Yes, it is all inside and they had this very well orchestrated and the lines moved very quickly.  Hubby and pregnant DIL did not participate but did get some really great photos of us. ~as you can see~   It was soooooo much fun and of course, squealing all the way down was half of the fun.  I was crossing my fingers that it did not get my back out of whack and it did not.  ~thankfully~
 After snow tubing we took off to go through the ICE exhibit.  This years theme was Frosty the Snowman and it is about a 30 walk thru in 9 degree ~yes, 9 degrees~ of ice sculptures.  There are thousands of pounds of ice that have been sculpted depicting scenes from Frosty.  The Gaylord flies artist from China to sculpt the ice.  All that sounds quite impressive until I tell you how long we had to wait in line to see this exhibit........1 hour and 45 minutes!!!!!  Do you know how long that is and it wasn't the two kiddos that got weary and worn, it was the 6 adults.  Truthfully, by the time we got in to take the tour we didn't want to do anything but get through it and go sit our "hiney's" down for a spell.  You can see that we were all bundled up for the tour and I stayed plenty warm except for my hands and they nearly froze.  I had on gloves and kept them in my pockets but they were still COLD!  Again, we felt like the Gaylord should give some sort of pass to those that stayed there so they would not have to wait in line as long as those that were not staying there. ~just sayin'~
It was a special time for our family and Clancy and Hanna Beth were definitely "the icing on the cake" for all of us.  They were captivated from the time we got there until the time we left.  Clancy told his Momma that "it had been the best day of his life."  I imagine it will remain in their memory for a lifetime and that made it all worth it.
Just before this photo was taken Hubby and I were out walking through the atrium of the hotel with the kiddos.  They saw the reindeer and immediately climbed upon him.  A young lady walking by looked at us and said, "now they are the cutest kids I've ever seen, y'all get over there with them and let me take your picture."  She was so nice and we took her up on her offer and it ended up being one of our best pictures. 
Indeed, family times are the best of times and we are so thankful for times such as this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

This is Joyce's Christmas Hodgepodge questions and she will be taking a much deserved break next week.  We'll see you all back here for the HP on the last day of the year.  Merry Christmas Joyce!

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? 
Well, since Ebola is such a deadly disease and highly contagious, I think these folks are very deserving of this selection. I think Dr. Ben Carson would also be a good choice. ~in my estimation~ He has such a heart for our nation and encourages all of us to take an active role in changing the course of our country. He's a definite winner!!!

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 

Something old:  I have a framed piece of tatting, and the shuttle used to make it, that my maternal Grandmother did over 100 years ago and it is a real treasure to me. 
Something new: I can't think of anything new for the house but last week I found the cutest Christmas sweater and I'm "proud as punch" of it.  I seldom see a Christmas sweater that I like but this one "fit the bill" for me.
Something borrowed:  Again, not something for the house, but I borrowed some ear muffs from a friend last week to wear on our family fun weekend and I need to return those to her.
Something blue: I have the most beautiful Andrea Bluejay on our coffee table.  He's been around a while and has survived both Grans and I do enjoy his presence. ~grin~

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without? 
The process I used to prepare my fudge for delivery over the past years.  To me, presentation is everything!!!
 Well, for someone that has probably made about 50-60 lbs. of fudge for each of the past 15 years, you would think I love it.  But, it's a nay for me.  Just not much into fudge except to lick the spoon after I've made it. *Note:  I have not made 1 lb. of fudge this year, just decided it had "run it's course."  I can't imagine any flavor fudge outside of chocolate but I do see all kinds of different flavors and it sounds plum yucky to me. ~chuckle~  And, I can't imagine fudge without nuts and lots of them!

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
I made my first flight when I was 18 years old.  I flew from Virginia to Louisiana to see my then fiancee. ~ yes, I was a mere child~ I do not enjoy the glitches that can and often do happen when you fly but I still think it's one of the best modes of transportation. I "think" I have been to the Outer Banks, it's just been a long time ago.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

Not really, but both Hubby and his sister and her husband worked for State Farm Insurance.  Hubby is still an agent with SF but his sister and her husband have been enjoying retirement for a little over 10 years.
6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

I have to prepare lunch for Hubby's office staff.  I didn't even completely decide on the menu until Monday and have had it in "high gear" ever since.  It will not be anything real fancy but hopefully very tasty and good.  It's always a time where Hubby and I try to make them feel very special and appreciated. They are the "grease in the wheel" for sure!
7. This Christmas I hope
that our family will have an extra special time together as this will be our last Christmas in this house.  The house that has been home to us for 33 years.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

As I mentioned above I am preparing lunch for the staff today.  Things are a bit in disarray around here and the dining room has pretty much been striped of all it's decor.  It's all been packed up and it now serves as a storage room for the empty boxes waiting to be packed.  So, I wanted to do some kind of table scape that might put a little festive look in the room.  I am a complete novice when it comes to flower arranging but I did put these together yesterday afternoon and I thought they looked pretty good on the mirrored runner.  And, the greenery smells very Christmasey! ~a real plus~


Friday, December 12, 2014

Fraggin' Friday

Half-Past Kissin' Time 
It's always fun to join with Mrs. 4444 for FF as it gives us a chance to share "bits and pieces" of our week without all the details.  I see it as a "win win" for everyone!
As I stated in an earlier post, the ONLY Christmas decorations in our house this year is a tree.  There is just too many boxes and packing going on to dig through and find all the other decor.  I figure as long as we have a tree then we are "good to go."  Hubby did bring to my attention that the tree is leaning a bit to the left but it was already decorated, so it will have to stay leaning to the left.  Other than that, it is a pretty tree.  I bought it last year for 75% off and it is what is called a "frosted tree."  Each limb has frost on the tips and it has pine cones nestled throughout. It will really look good next year when we have 11 foot ceilings to sit it under.
 ~can't wait!~
Well, I know that you have been waiting with baited breath to see our 830# door! ~big laugh~  I posted about the delivery of it last week and last Friday was "installation day."  We have had pretty much "smooth sailing" throughout the construction of our house but I'm pretty sure you can always expect something to go awry with an undertaking this big.  AND, it did!  Yep! the door is the wrong size!!!  Yes, that's right!  And, we have only waited on it for 10 weeks.  We ordered a 36" door and the one in the picture above is 30".  That will NOT work!  You can see in the pictures where the crew put wood jams in to make this one fit until the correct one arrives which will probably be mid-February. Ugh!!!!  Six inches may not sound like a big deal but it really is, so much so that we just simply cannot settle for this one.  So, our contractor assures us that it will not affect their work.  They have plenty to do that is in no way connected to the front door.  So, "it is what it is" and life does go on. ~thank goodness~
 The brick layer finally got one of the windows done.  I have been so anxious to see the keystone and the brickwork around the windows.  This is the high window in the bonus room over the garageNow, I can't wait for him to get the ones across the front of the house done.  I debated about adding the keystones but am so glad that we did.  I think they are a nice touch. 
  Can I just say that this little man is so excited about Christmas.  There is just nothing like Christmas through the eyes of a child.
And, where have the years gone? 
We have a super fun family weekend planned.  Stay tuned, details to follow next week!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Not sure how she's doing it, I mean, she's up to her eyeballs with the final details of her daughter's wedding and it's Christmas time.  But, somehow she always shows up with questions for us.  You are the bomb Joyce!!!  Here we go............

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?
Christmas 2013
I don't know of any others at this time that I would like to establish.  One of our favorite traditions is our birthday celebration for Jesus that we have before we open gifts.  We started this when the Grans were 2 and 3 years old.(they are 5 & 6 now)  We read the Christmas story and I always have a "real" birthday cake.  It is such a special, special time for our family that reminds us once again of what Christmas is truly all about. 

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?
No, haven't sipped any eggnog yet but have wrapped a whole bunch of gifts.  Haven't opened a gift just yet, have kissed someone, but not under the mistletoe. ~smile~ I've lit a candle and have eaten some Christmas cookies.  I haven't seen Santa in person just yet but likely that will happen this weekend.  I've watched 2 Hallmark Christmas movies but have not read any scripture relating to the birth of Jesus just yet.

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.
Hummm.........there's nothing like the excitement of a child in anticipation of Christmas and there's nothing like being an adult and enjoying the anticipation of that child.  I thoroughly enjoy being an adult at Christmas but I'm quite sure I thoroughly enjoyed being a child at Christmas "once upon a time" as well. 

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?
I do agree, God's timing is always perfect, and it may mean we have to wait much longer than we want to but it's always worth the wait. ~I know~

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?
Well, yesterday I baked cookies all afternoon long.  They were sort of a "glorified" Chocolate Chip cookie and the recipe made about 10 dozen and I thought I never would get through baking them.  I will definitely be sharing them, we would never eat this many cookies but 'tis the season to give "sweets to eat."

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"
I will generally speak when I get on an elevator but I usually do not have a full blown conversation.  It really bothers me when I am in a Drs. waiting area and there are folks making conversation with anyone that will listen to them.  I love to talk but am not into loud conversations with a room full of folks that I do not know from Adam. ~just sayin'~ 

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?
This might better be better answered by those that know me but I'm going to say nice, because I do try very hard to be nice.  So, surely I get points for at least trying. ~grin~  I try to make people feel special and do thoughtful things for others because I don't think there's enough thoughtfulness in the world.  Hopefully Santa agrees that I've been nice. ~wink~

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Can I just tell you that this little man made me cry crocodile tears this past Sunday night as he sang, "Happy Birthday Jesus" as a part of the Christmas program at his church.  He never waivered even though the church was filled past capacity, probably 250 people there.  And, when he finished the congregation broke out in the biggest applause you can imagine and I thought my heart might just burst.  His dress rehearsal is posted on my Facebook page and we did not video the "real deal" because none of us wanted to be distracted.  We wanted to be able to soak up every last word he sang and we did. ~precious moments~

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time
The first week of December has sailed right by and before we can say 2015, it will be staring us in the face.  But, for now, let's enjoy some fragments of this past week with our gracious host,
 Mrs. 4444
If you are like me you are always looking for some quick and simple goodies to make this time of year.  Well, these Texas Fruit Cake Cookies/Candy "fit the bill."  I saw the recipe on one of my friends FB page and knew I wanted to give them a try.  It calls for both candied cherries and candied pineapple but I just doubled the cherries and did without the pineapple and they are so chewy and delicious.  If you would like to make these, click on my recipe tab above and it will be the very first recipe. Added note........I put wax paper between the rows when I stored mine in a container due to their "stickiness."  

 As far as progress on the new house it's pretty much the "same ole, same ole."  They are still laying the brick and finishing sheetrock.  Both of those jobs seem to take forever and other things are on hold until they are finished.  But, we did pick out our mouldings this past week and I think we are going to be very happy with them once they are up and painted.
And, our long awaited front door was delivered yesterday.  It was ordered some 4 months ago but since it is made overseas and was a custom order, it just took time.  It is an iron door and it weighs 830 pounds.  Yep, that's right!  And, little did we know that 3 very small built men would be delivering it and it was expected that our builder would have men at the site prepared to unload the door.  I mean, really!!!  We paid a "pretty price" for this door and we assumed that unloading it at the site was a part of the price.  But, with a little guidance from Hubby and a whole lot of willingness on the part of the delivery guys they figured out a way to get it off the trailer, slide it on to the front porch and no one hurt their back. I can hardly wait to see it once it is installed and not to worry, I'll sure post pictures so you can see. ~like you really want to~
 In the process of packing and preparing for our move I have run across some "real" treasures.  Many years ago my Dad gave me some very old books that were given to him by a member of his church.  I used the books to decorate a top shelve in our house and they have been up there for literally years.  Well, when I began taking them down the other day I began looking at the titles and the dates and these two really caught my eye.  They were both published in 1912 and can I just tell you that we could use a hefty dose of the etiquette and social graces talked about in these books today.  They were written in the day when men were "true gentlemen" and women were "true ladies" in all respects. 

This Sunday evening Hubby and I will be sitting front and center at the church our daughter and family attend.  Clancy will be singing his first solo for the Christmas program.  He will be singing "Happy Birthday Jesus" and this CiCi will have plenty of Kleenex handy for sure.  He loves to sing and has the sweetest little voice and I'm quite sure it will be one of the best parts of the entire program. ~a bit biased for sure~ 

Happy Weekend!