Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Gratitude

 Thinking about all that I have to be grateful for this holiday season takes me back to Thanksgiving and while I am grateful everyday for the things I expressed then, I would like to focus more on holiday gratitude!

For example....

Great nephew and niece circa 2006

I am grateful for Santa Claus.  More probably, I am grateful for the chance to believe in a fairy tale.  I know there are folks vehemently against Santa and the LIE they believe we are telling... but I believe we have a right to have a little fantasy in our lives, too.  I watched Santa's progress on NORAD and enjoyed the entire make believe process of it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

JYC 15


This year we are going to be visitors at my mom's and at my niece's house.  We are excited about visiting but we don't love the miles.  What about you?  Do you do a lot of visiting on the holidays?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JYC 14

Pass the gifts!

Ever since our daughter was old enough to read names, she was the one to pass the presents out to everyone.  She loved making a big pile of presents for everyone and got so excited when one was for her mom or for her dad. 

She's 25, and she's still like that!  Last year, she squealed, "oooO Mom, here's one for you!" 

I don't see anyone taking her place soon, although there is probably a good chance that when she has kids, they will get the job of passing out the gifts!

Monday, December 13, 2010

JYC Day 13

Hark, the Harold Angels sing...

When I was a little girl, I had all the lyrics to many songs confused.  This was just one of them!  I never knew any one named Harold and why I assumed this, I have no idea.

Just like the Lord's Prayer....

...and Howard be thy name.....  again, where did that come from?  I don't know anyone named Howard, either!

I think that all kids want to do is to make sense of their world.  For me, this is what I did, making lyrics have meaning.  

Do you fear what I fear?  Christmas songs!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

JYC Day 12

Tales of Christmas past...

I am the firstborn grandchild on both sides of my family.  I can't say I was spoiled because my sister came a long quite soon after me.  However, there are tons of movies on my first steps, my first words, and my first Christmas.  I was quite take with my Grandpa Oliver.  That was an attachment that lasted my entire life.  He was the one person who I felt believed in me no matter what. I don't think he ever believed I did anything wrong.  Because of that, he was the one person I could tell the complete and whole truth to, and totally knew that he'd believe me each and every time.

Grandpa Oliver died when he was in his 90s but right before he died I had a chance to hold his hand and tell him how much I loved him and how much I was going to miss him.  I believed he squeezed my hand right after I hugged him.

Here we are in happier times!  

circa 1958 (the black and white photo)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

JYC Day 11

O Christmas Tree...

I have always had a fascination with Christmas trees.  I think that this bit of strangeness comes straight from my Grandmother Oliver.  She loved to decorate for Christmas and I remember that she loved to have a real tree covered with silver tinsel.  I thought that tree was gorgeous.

Then my mom and dad brought home a silver tree with a color wheel My sister and I thought we had the best parents ever.  We loved seeing that tree change from green to red to gold to blue and the best part was when the wheel was between colors.  We could have watched it for hours.

I have had as many as 13 trees up but today I have 9.  I love each and every one of my trees and the ones I didn't put up this year I miss like crazy.

2010 Living Room Tree

Friday, December 10, 2010

JYC Day 10

Gift wrapping...

Our family makes a big deal of gift wrap.  When I say family, I am really talking about me.  Several years ago, when I first decided to have a tree in the living room that matched the decor there.  I decided that all the paper needed to be gold or silver, with berry colored ribbons.  Recently I decided I really didn't care what color the paper was going to be.. (is that age?) but the rest of the family threw a fit about it!  So here we are, in our eighth year of gold and silver paper and berry colored ribbons!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

JYC Day 9

Year after Year...

Our family likes to open the Santa Bag after mass on Christmas Eve.  In the Santa bag will be a holiday movie, holiday pajamas for everyone, a new game and some treats.  We change into our new warm pjs, plug in the movie and eat our treat.  Afterwards we play our new game until we are all tired and want to go to bed.  I am looking forward to the time when Ashley's children are a part of the Santa Bag tradition.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

JYC Day 8

Do you see what I see?

Today I am journaling through pictures the changes of light I see in our Christmas tree.  I will be adding photos to this post as the season goes on... trying to capture the tree in various shades of light.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

JYC Day 7

Organize!  This is a day I like!

What is left to do??


My great niece and nephew:  Clothing from Old Navy
Gift for both nephews
Gift exchange gift
More gifts (and ideas!) for my mom
Gift(s) for my sister


All the gifts mentioned above!

Party Planning! 

Our staff party is next week!  We still haven't planned this year's menu but we have held this party for 15 years so it is a bit of a no brainer.  Several people have their favorites so we make those goodies.  Here's the line up this year...

Shrimp cocktail with Souped Up Cocktail Sauce (with our home ground horseradish!)
Antipasto Tray
Sausage and Cheese Tray
Veggie Tray
Cocktail Meatballs
Mexican Mess
Artichoke Dip
Oreo Truffles
Tipsy Cherries
Wrap tray
Bailey Balls
Peppermint Meltaways
Pretzel rods
Champagne lemonade

Monday, December 6, 2010

JYC Day 6

 Christmas memories...

Christmas is a special time for Bob and me.  It was a time to make our little girl's dreams come true.  We liked surprising each other, even when times were hard.  I take great joy in the Christmases of the past, as it relates to our gifts for one another, the memories we made for our daughter and the joy we had in decorating our home.

circa 1958
 Last Christmas was a tough one.  I had just gone through a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy.   Bob's dad, Giles and his uncle Amos had passed away in August.  It was our first Christmas without them.  We missed their big voices at church.  We missed their jolly laughter.  We missed them.

I have recovered from cancer, and although we still miss Bob's dad, we still love our Christmas.  We helped Bob's mom put up a Christmas tree because we thought she needed the joy in her life.  We are working hard at restoring our life before cancer.

This Christmas has started out well!  I am back to going to my parties and fun.  We are hosting three events at our house.  The house is full of presents, trees, cheer and love. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

JYC Day 5

Adventkranz (liturgisch)Advent.

The countdown to Christmas.  I have owned several kinds of advent calendars, ones you buy from Hallmark with the little doors that open to reveal little verses or pictures, the ones that dispense chocolates and ones that you add  little candy canes to and then eat your way to Christmas.

Bob and I have advent candles and a wreath.  We love lighting the candles each week.  We love watching the candles get lit at church each week.  I have always had a cheap little wire advent candle holder.  One day I hope to find something nicer.

My friend Tammy sent me the cutest advent countdown I have ever seen.  It is a English village, and each time you click on it you see a different part of the village come to life.    On my computer screen it looks like a snow globe!  And, it won't let you cheat!

Check it out Digital Advent Calendar.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

JYC Day 4

Perfection is, especially at Christmas....

is being with friends who love the same things you do...

enjoying the holidays with your co-workers....

having time to enjoy your decorated house....

getting Christmas cards in the mail...

having hot chocolate for breakfast and not feeling guilty!

living within your means at Christmas, especially...

enjoying the special events of the season...

Photo technique called bokeh

being with the ones you love on Christmas day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

JYC Day 3

Writing Christmas cards is something I very much enjoy.  I create a ceremony of it... sitting at Aunt Francis' desk, using my Waterman fountain pen with green ink, dark, rich hot cocoa at my side, with a little Frank on the CD player.  Last year, and this year, I had my cards designed by an artist named Fifi.  I love her work and it makes me happy to send out cards that reflect my style.  Last year was a painting of my living room and this year it is a painting of my two dogs, Wilson and Truman, who give me great joy.

I also love receiving cards.  One of my traditions is to place my cards on a tree in the foyer.  I love walking by the tree and seeing cards sent to us from family and friends.  I love receiving photo cards.  For those friends who don't we don't see daily, we love being able to catch up on their lives.

2009 Card Tree

I hear that writing Christmas cards is becoming a lost art.  With Facebook, email and blogs, people no longer have the need to catch up at Christmas.  As long as I can, though, I will practice the art of sending cards and sending my holiday greetings to my family and friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

JYC Day 2

 Oh the weather outside is delightful...

I love the winter.  I like being cold.  I like being able to wear warm socks and boots.  Just now the weather is starting to chill, being in the 20s this week.  No sign of snow so far though.

So for fun, I made these cyber snowflakes.  I never understood how to cut, so I had to be satisfied with these creations.  It was fun and now I want to have a snowflake session with some of the students at my school!

Go to Cyber Snowflakes for your own fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Journal Your Christmas Day 1

I am participating in Journal Your Christmas this year at the request of my dear friend, Tammy.  Day 1 is about creating your manifesto, your promises to yourself during the holiday season.  For me, I'd like to enjoy myself at my home, taking in the decorations and music, enjoying each moment of the season.  I would like to not rush, feel pressured, or eat too much, but to enjoy the treats in moderation.  I want to smile, laugh, and sing.  I want to remember this Christmas forever.
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Neat idea for Candy Canes!

I have got to try this!  How fun!  I love peppermint hot chocolate!

Candy Cane Syrup

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Tree Idea

Had dinner out with the fam... the restaurant had this tree:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Must Try Recipe for Christmas!

I saw this on Facebook and I must give this a go for this holiday!  What new recipes are on your list?

1 (12-ounce) bottle Framboise Lambic beer (such as Lindemans)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

Bring beer to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, rind, and cranberries; bring to a simmer. Cook 18 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill. (Sauce will thicken as it chills.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Never Enough Inspiration!

Take a gander at this delightful shop... especially for those prim lovers out there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Cards

I love sending and receiving Christmas cards!  Do you think it is a lost art?  My mother-in-law was saying that she doesn't send out or receive as many as she used to years ago.  I love the photo cards the best.  Even so, the last two years I have opted to have my cards designed by Fifi Flowers.  Are you familiar with her work? 

Check her cards out at her Etsy shop!  Click here to see the card below and others of her work.  You won't be disappointed!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Antiques and more!

Started out the holiday season with a trip to a small town full of antique stores, then off to see the play Nuncrackers.  What a hoot!  Enjoy these scenes of antique Santas and more!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Buyer Beware

Assortment of gift cardsImage via WikipediaRegardless if you agree or disagree with giving gift cards at Christmas, read this interesting article.  It has great information on the new legislation surrounding gift cards.

My Merry Christmas Gift Card Article
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Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Christmas Everywhere!

Doesn't it just sing Christmas??  This is at the local flea market (sometimes called Flee Market because I need to GO!)