Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Games

It's New Year's Eve and what are we doing?? Doing what a lot of people do on New Year's Eve...having people over and playing games. I thought I'd share a couple of our favorite board games just incase you want to rush out today and purchase it for your New Year's Eve get together!

The first game, we've had for over ten years. It's called Compatibility. In recent years, when my mom was looking for it, it was really hard to find, but it appears some online sites are now offering it again. It's a game where you randomly choose a topic and then select cards from your pack of expressions cards that you feel personally best represent the chosen topic. You don't reveal until everyone is ready and then you and your partner reveal at the same time. Based on if you had selected the same expression cards, and how you placed them in order of importance, you score more points. We played this game on Christmas and it's always a lot of fun!The other game, we learned of from a friend about a year ago. We played a make shift version at a birthday gathering of just a few couples. I found the game at Target and have had it for a while now and we just opened it on Christmas. This game was a lot of fun, and I think works best when you have six players. This game, you're asked a question and write the answer down, and then one person has to guess which answers were written by who. This game was a lot of fun!!!The next game is a game we were introduced to while camping with our church friends in July. It's called Mexican Train. I don't know how to play normal dominoes, but I think it's something like that. You basically match up the colored tiles, etc and play off each other's 'trains' etc. I bought ours at Walmart and it specifically is called "Mexican Train".Another fun game is SPOONS. You play with a deck of cards and plastic, or real, spoons, minus one for the amount of people playing. The goal is to collect four cards of the same suite - four 3's, four queens, etc. And as soon as you get it, discreet is best, grab a spoon in the middle of the table. Soon, other players will notice and they'll take a spoon. The person who does not get a spoon, gets a letter - for example if it's their first time not getting a spoon, they get "S". It's a fun, mindless game and is best played with at least 3 players.Anyone else have favorite games they like to play???

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Saddest Movie...EVER!

CAUTION!! CAUTION!! CAUTION!! This post contains Movie Spoilers about a new film that came out on Christmas Day.

Sadder than Steel Magnolias when Mama goes off in the cemetery following her daughters burial service.

Sadder than Beaches, when CC looses her best friend to heart disease and "Wind Beneath My Wings" starts playing.

Sadder than when Kate loosens the grip of Jack's hand and lets him sink to the ocean floor.

I'm talking about the new movie, Marley and Me.

My mom and I had talked last week about going and seeing it. And then decided not to see it. The dog ends up dying in the movie and it was going to hit WAY TOO close to home for us. We were especially concerned for Hannah because she had been so close to Wendy and took her death pretty hard. But we told her the dog ultimately dies and she decided she could do it. And then all of a sudden this morning, we decided to just do it, and try to make it to the 10:30 showing.

It was a good movie. The dog looked just like the dog my parents had, Wendy. The movie is a story of a newlywed couple who get a dog. Then start having kids. How the dog is so rambunctious and neurotic. Ultimately how the dog is a member of the family. And then, towards the end of the movie, the dog is getting older, and develops a complication, and despite the Veternarian trying to do her best, it's evident it's time to put him to sleep. The family says goodbye, the kids are crying, the Mom is crying. The scenes following are of of the doctor administering the medicine to put the dog down, the scene ending with the dog closing his eyes.

I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the theater.

The story was was to close to the same story of my parents dog that had to be put down 18 months ago. Looked like Wendy. Acted like Wendy. My mom and I both left emotionally drained and even now are still tired from the emotions of the movie. It was a good movie, but a very sad, sad ending.

So if you still decide to go and see it, even after my spoiler, be sure to take Kleenex. And lots of it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Twelve Random Things

1) Despite Christmas only being four days ago, any sign of it - decorations, tree, stockings - have all been packed up and put away as of this evening. The house looks so sad, but I am so relieved to have it all packed away and reorganized into new storage containers.

2) I started my Christmas shopping today for next year! Gotta love the after Christmas sales!!

3) Rachel was absolutely rotten today. R.O.T.T.E.N. Ask Gramma, she'll even admit it.

4) Today was the best I've felt in about a week. I've had this side pain for a week and I didn't have it today. Praise the Lord! My tooth hurts though. LOL. If it ain't one thing, it's another.

5) This time last week we were bundled up in jackets and scarves, today the thermometer at the bank said "80". It's no wonder my sinuses hurt.

6) The back of the van has stuff for the Salvation Army! I'm hoping to add to the pile after I get through with Rachel's room.

7) I really need new Tennis Shoes. I wear my tennis shoes practically everyday and the support is gone. But it's not easy finding shoes for these feet...that I like.

8) Why do kids misbehave just four days after getting practically everything on their lists?? I'm not just talking Rachel here. But both my spawn children.

9) I got an iTunes gift card for Christmas and I plan on buying the WICKED soundtrack. Anyone want to pay my way to see it again before it closes on the 11th??? Carolyn, what's the chances of Jack being sick that day?!?! LOL.

10) I really should go and fold laundry.

11) There is absolutely NOTHING on television these days. Perhaps we can watch a movie I got for Christmas "P.S. I Love You". I love a good chick flick.

12) Have I mentioned that this Christmas was the best in a long while?!?!

Signs of Bad Times

I was reading a news article on Drudge last week about the increase in shoplifting being a sign of bad times. And it got me thinking about how we know two people who've had things stolen from them just in recent weeks.

My sister-in-law had her wallet stolen two weeks ago, while working at the preschool. It was in a cupboard in the kitchen where she is in and out frequently as the snack lady. Someone walked in from off the street, found her purse, and took off with her wallet. Security at the local community collage a few blocks away found her wallet the next day in the trash of the men's restroom (ewww!). The hassle of putting security holds and closing accounts are a hassle this time of year. Thankfully, there was no damage to their accounts.

Our mechanic who we take our cars to for repairs had his car broken into a few Saturdays ago while he was at the Saturday evening church services at his church! I can't remember if anything was taken, but again, the hassle of repairing a window, the clean up, etc.

Both signs of the bad economic times when people start stealing. Word of caution to be careful with your purses when you're out shopping, be extra alert when you've turned your back and left it sitting in the shopping cart. Or be alert as to what you've left in the car, etc. You never know who's watching you.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas has come and gone and now that's left is the task of finding new homes for all the gifts we got, and then the task of taking down and putting away of Christmas. Christmas 2008 is now behind us.

Because we were going to the Christmas Eve service at our church, we would be missing out on dinner at my Grandmother's. And because of that, we thought it best to grab something before church. So we went to our favorite little Mexican fast food across the street from where our church meets and it was nice.

The Christmas Eve church service was really nice and our Pastor managed to keep it at an hours length. Once church was finished, it didn't take long for the place to clear out as people had places to go, people to see, and we were one of those.

Christmas Eve at Grandma's was different this year, especially since we weren't there for dinner. And we didn't stay as late as we have in past years. We had some things to do in preparation for Christmas morning. This is how our tree looked just prior to going to bed on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was one of the best ones I remember having in recent years.

We had a couple of hours to ourselves for opening stockings and the girls opening the presents we'd gotten them. We had some good laughs over Rachel's new dinosaur. It was around 9:30 that our family started showing up. Steven's Dad even made a trip down the hill to give us Christmas presents, although not staying long as he was sick and going back home to bed. But Gramma and Papa, Uncle Bart, Uncle Robbie and Auntie, and McKenzie, and Haylee were here for the day and and all it held.

We opened presents, played our new Wii game, Wii Music, and had a nice dinner. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well, and the dishes and clean up were left to Steven and to my Mom. Thank You! Once some motrin kicked in, I was good to go.

We woke to clouds and drizzle and several times throughout the day it rained pretty steadily. It was a welcomed change to our usual Southern California Christmas of being in the high 70's, some years even in the 80's. At one point in the afternoon, we discovered a rainbow! What a gift that was on Christmas Day!Late afternoon, we had more family and friends make their way to our home. An Aunt stopped by for an hour, a cousin came and stayed late into the evening, and then our good friends, Keith and Amy and two of their kids joined us as well. The evening was spent playing games. The boys were playing Guitar Hero in the family room and miscellaneous games were being played on the dinning room table. We had a such a great time and ended up playing games until just minutes before midnight!!! We'd literally been partying all day long. It was awesome.

When our last guests left, we put the girls to bed (because they managed to stay awake all night), turned off the lights, and fell into bed, leaving the mess of the day to be dealt with and cleaned up the next morning. Thank you to our family and friends for making Christmas a great one and one filled with memories.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in Southern California

Only in Southern California would you find that someone has pitched a Christmas tree in the sand. But I'm not complaining, it made for some beautiful pictures just days before Christmas!My mom, the girls, and I went to Encinitas yesterday to visit my Uncle Bart and see his decorated Christmas tree. We had a nice lunch out, stopped in at the best ever Home Goods, and then stopped off at the beach. The beach in which we stopped at is just South of the campground we stay at when we go camping at San Elijo. In fact, you could see the empty campground from the parking lot we parked in.

It's been a busy couple of weeks and taking the time to make the drive (80+ miles one way) was well worth it, especially for the few minutes spent on the beach. The ocean has such a calming and soothing effect on me and it's just what I needed as we head into another few days of holiday busyness.

Today I am making desserts to take this evening to my Grandmother's house, as well as getting the house in order for hosting Christmas Day tomorrow. I'm taking a break long enough to blog.

Years past on Christmas Eve, Steven has gone to church to fulfill ministry obligations and he's met me and the girls at my Grandmother's house for dinner and festivities. But this year, I decided I wanted to go to church with him. So we'll be skipping dinner at my Grandmother's, but getting there in time for presents and dessert. I *think there was one other time that our family went to church on Christmas Eve growing up, otherwise all my life I've been going to my Grandparents house for all of Christmas Eve. I'm excited about going to church on Christmas Eve and celebrating what Christmas is really about.

And with that, my break should come to an end and I need to get back to work! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

The Answers to the Christmas Quiz

I know a lot more people read yesterday's fun Christmas Quiz, but only one was brave enough to leave her answers. Here are the answers, see how you might have measured up, had you played. :)

1) True or False. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year.
FALSE. Black Friday is the fifth to tenth busiest day. The Friday and Saturday before Christmas are the two busiest shopping days of the year.

2) How many reindeer does Santa Claus have?
Santa has a whole heard, we only know the names of his favorite ones.

3) Where did the Grinch steal Christmas?
Whoville

4) Don't sing the song...what comes after "8 maids a milking?"
9 ladies dancing

5) The "12 Days of Christmas" are the 12 Days...
A) after Christmas B) before Christmas C) after the New Year
The answer is A) after Christmas

6) True or False: Female reindeer have antlers
True. Both the female and male reindeers have antlers.

7) In the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street", Kirs Kringle is hired to play Santa for what large department store?
Coles in the 1994 version and Macy's in the 1947 version

8) What unusual thing do the lyrics of these three Christmas songs have in common "Jingle Bells", "WInter Wonderland", and "Sleigh Ride"??
None of these 'Christmas' songs mentions Christmas.

9) Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?
To compete with a pagan celebration.


10) Which U.S. State was the first to recognize Christmas as an official holiday???
A) New York B) Florida C) Alabama D) Texas
C) Alabama was the first to make Christmas an official holiday in 1836.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Quiz

Here's a little Christmas Quiz just for fun. Leave your answers in the comment section and the answers will be reveled on Wednesday!

1) True or False. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year.

2) How many reindeer does Santa Claus have?

3) Where did the Grinch steal Christmas?

4) Don't sing the song...what comes after "8 maids a milking?"

5) The "12 Days of Christmas" are the 12 Days...
A) after Christmas B) before Christmas C) after the New Year

6) True or False: Female reindeer have antlers

7) In the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street", Kirs Kringle is hired to play Santa for what large department store?

8) What unusual thing do the lyrics of these three Christmas songs have in common "Jingle Bells", "WInter Wonderland", and "Sleigh Ride"??

9) Why was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

10) Which U.S. State was the first to recognize Christmas as an official holiday???
A) New York B) Florida C) Alabama D) Texas

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chocolate Cheesecake Candy Cane Bars

These are in my oven baking right now! I figure if I don't cut into them, I can make them last until Christmas Day!! Ingredients

Crust:
20 chocolate wafer cookies (my grocery store didn't have chocolate wafers today, so I just used 20 oreos)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coffee beans
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Filling:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature

Glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup crushed candy canes (see Cooks Note)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil.

For the crust: Process the chocolate wafers in a food processor with the butter, sugar, coffee, and salt until fine. Evenly press the crust into the prepared dish covering the bottom completely. Bake until the crust sets, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together in the food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and pulse until just incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the chocolate into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

For the Glaze: Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat glaze in the microwave at 75 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the ingredients together until smooth; add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cake and scatter the crushed candy canes over top. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight.

Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Store cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cook's Note: To crush the candy canes, remove wrappers and place in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to roll and break the candy up into small pieces, about 1/4 inch or so.

Christmas Cartoons

When we were kids, we had this VCR tape that we would watch every Christmas. It was a tape of Christmas cartoons - Christmas Comes to Pacland, Ziggy's Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas with the Smurfs, just to name a few. It was the 80's. The commercials alone are classic!

A few Christmases ago, a family friend took that VCR tape and transferred it onto DVD's. Now, I have my own set of those cartoons. And last night we sat down and watched Frosty the Snowman. I think the DVD might be going bad because the cartoon kept freezing. It was fun to watch and today I hope to put one of the DVD's in and watch other Christmas cartoons from my childhood.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Trip to the Snow!

We went to Steven's mom's house today to play in the snow. She got about six inches as a result of one of the storms that hit Southern California this week. It's unusual for her to get so much snow, so we took advantage of the free Saturday afternoon and went and played! The drive up to the high desert was absolutely beautiful. The white snow that blanketed all of the high desert actually made the usual ugly desert attractive. It's too bad the snow doesn't happen more often. On our drive through the 'back way', we saw a lot of houses with icicles formed on the eaves of houses. Some pretty big ones. We made a snow man in Gramie's backyard and after pictures of the 'normal' snowman. I felt he needed Mickey Ears. LOL. So I gave him Mickey Ears. They're a little too small, and the snowman kinda looks more a like a bear than a Snowman Mickey, but I knew how it was supposed to look. :)It was a fun afternoon. When we got in our car to head for home, the thermometer in the car said 34. At one point on the way home it said 28. And to think I've been complaining about being cold this week when it was so blazing warm in the 50's!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Big Bargain

Rachel wants a dinosaur for Christmas. Yes, a dinosaur. His name is Kota the Triceratops. She first saw it a couple months ago at Costco and has wanted it ever since...even told Santa about it when he came to her school last week.

We've been telling her she wasn't getting it because it was expensive and it's so big. We've been working on getting rid of all the big stuff, not acquiring more, especially indoor stuff.

But it's the one thing she continually asks for over and over again.

When we first saw it, it was $279 at Costco.

About 3 weeks ago, Costco marked it down to $139.

The other day I saw it at Target marked down to $99. I debated. But I had her with me, it was pouring down rain, and truthfully, I did not want such a big thing in my house. I stood there and thought about how excited she'd be if she got it. But I thought too long (or God decided for me! LOL) because when we saw someone put the one and only one in their cart, she said "There goes my dinosaur".

Today...on my Costco run, they had ONE for $139.

We then went to Sams Club for laundry soap and they had one for $149. But in the course of us walking around for 20 minutes, when we walked back by the stupid thing, they had marked it down to $94.81!!

So with the help of my mother who took Rachel to the car and preoccupied her, I was able to buy it, rearrange all the groceries so it'd fit into the back of our van, and then got it into my moms house to store for a few days without Rach seeing it. LOL. She is soooo totally going to flip out on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Thursday

This week has been a very busy one for me to say the least. And today was to be my busiest.

I dropped Hannah off at school and from there went straight to the preschool. I was subbing for my sister-in-law, as the snack lady today, so she could attend my nieces Kindergarten Christmas program. So my morning was spent helping out with odds and ends with 5 class Christmas parties, snack for one class who's party is tomorrow, and doing playground duty out in the freezing cold, or what felt like freezing cold. After preschool, Rachel and I rushed home to feed her lunch, throw all the makings for stew into my Dutch Oven and into the oven for dinner, and make a treat for Hannah's class tomorrow. After only an hour at home to do all that, it was back to Hannah's school to help the class make gingerbread houses. After school, my busyness just kept going with tying up loose ends for Hannah's final day of school and a major kitchen clean up! In the midst of all the craziness, I got a call from my friend, Amy...

Her Air 1 contact gave her tickets to tonight's Micheal W. Smith Christmas Tour Concert featuring Melinda Doolittle and she wanted me to with her.

To be honest, my first response was I was that I was too tired and I was very much looking forward to the evening home, all alone, as Steven and the girls were heading out Christmas shopping for me. But on the other hand, what a festive night. And to get to see Melinda Doolittle! Wow!

So I called Amy and said I was in.

Because we were with Air 1, our tickets included a 'Meet and Greet', or so we were told/thought. Instead we got to take part of a special answer/question reception with Micheal W. Smith. That was pretty exciting to listen to his answers, stories, and how it is he'd come to be very good friends with The Bush's.The concert was great, all Christmas songs, except for one. Micheal was accompanied by a full orchestra and that was amazing. I love hearing orchestras play live. Melinda Doolittle was even more amazing to see and hear in person as she was when she was a finalist on American Idol.After the concert, we got to meet Melinda Doolittle in the foyer of the church. Beautiful and very gracious woman. It was very exciting to get to meet her, for me personally, meeting her was better than if I'd gotten to meet MWS. It was a fun evening. A festive evening with lots of great Christmas songs and Christmas worship. And I'm glad I put my tiredness aside and went!

Exciting News!!!

Did anyone else catch this on the local news this morning?!?!?!? I'm so excited!!! If Only....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time is Running Out...

I love this time of the year. The Christmas season is my most favorite season of all and yet, while some people think it's too long, I personally wish this time of year lasted just a little bit longer.

There are so many things I'd like to do this time of year, but I'm running out of time.

The house is decorated. Packages to out of state nieces and nephews have been sent. I have just a couple of small things I need to pick up this afternoon, hopefully between my Christmas brunch and the time Hannah gets out of school. What I'd like to still have time to do is have friends and people over for dinner, games, fellowship.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just one week and a day away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Menu

I'm in the process of planning out what to make for Christmas dinner and am trying to come up with new ideas, new things to make, etc.

Our usual traditional Christmas menu consists of Ham, a potato of some sort, veggie side dishes, rolls, a cold salad of some sort, etc.

What foods do you traditionally have for Christmas dinner???

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tour of Our Home

The day is here, the day a lot of bloggers have been looking forward to for a while. The day in which hundreds of people will open up their homes and share a tour of their home all decked out for the holiday season.

I'm happy to be participating again.

Welcome to our Home.
May I offer you a cup of tea, or a whipped shortbread cookie?
Our stockings on the mantle.
And below is the manger scene that my Uncle made.
Our kitchen is done in Gingerbread. This is above my kitchen sink.
My little kitchen tree sits at the end of my counter bar.
The cookies in the jar are little gingerbread men.
First holiday baking season with my Kitchen Aid!
The candle is Cranberry Peppermint.
The two reindeer, the girls made their first years in preschool. Rachel's in on the left, and Hannah's is on the right. They are something I will display for many Christmases to come.
Our Christmas Tree.
Snowman countdown to Christmas. Complete with treats in the bag!
A miniature tree sits atop a table in between the girls' rooms. They call this 'their' Christmas tree.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of our home. There's plenty of more houses to tour, so grab something warm to drink and click on the Boomama button or click here ~~~> Christmas Tour of Homes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornament Party

I had planned to write about my ornament party at the beginning of the week, but with being down and out with food poisoning, I'm just now getting around to writing about the party.

The group of women invited to participate in this exchange made for a perfect group. I enjoy a lot of the women that were invited and yet, had a desire to get to know some of the others who were there I didn't quite know as well. It was a great afternoon of fun, fellowship, and festivities.

Kelly, the hostess, is a wonderful hostess when it comes to any event. We spent the 4th of July at their home and she was a great hostess then and it was no different for her Christmas ornament party. The party was done first class and with nice things and I for one really appreciated all the work she put into preparing.

All the ladies invited to participate did a great job at their ornaments. There were a few first timers and they did a great job at their ornaments. It'll be interesting to see what ornaments we get next year, now that we all know what to expect.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On Having Friends

I've shared before about the lumber company marquee on the way to Disneyland and how it often has funny sayings and quotes. This was a quote on one of our recent trips, and it's so true, so very true.

"The best vitamin for making friends is, B-1."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Earning Points, While Helping

The local mall has this incentive program for the areas schools, it's called School Cents. When you register your receipts at guest services, our school earns points. Last year, our elementary school won first place that won us a $2000 gift card for the mall. The gift card was used at the Sears to buy a storage shed, as well as some table umbrellas to shade our lunch tables outside.

The mall periodically also offers other incentives to help your school earn points. Sometimes they are drives collecting stuff for the soldiers overseas, food drives, etc, etc. Last night, there was an event going on that gave 1000 points for each volunteer that showed up. I met up with another mom and we rode together to the mall. There ended up only being four of us from our school, but that was 4000 points!

The event was wrapping presents that would later be given to women whom I believe are single moms or in shelters, I'm not clear on the exact details. In exchange for our time in wrapping presents, not only did we get the 1000 points for our school, but we were given a little gift bag with freebies and coupons inside, there were refreshments, makeovers, face painting, and massages compliments of the local massage school! I love wrapping presents so it seemed like a win, win situation! The event started at 6:00, but it must have started early, because by the time we arrived, there weren't many presents left to wrap. Once all the presents had been wrapped, we got refreshments, and then got in line for our massages.
After our massages, we walked the mall for a bit and then made our way back to the prize raffle, in which none of us won anything.

Mistletoe

The other day I was thinking about how in years past, before my Grandfather's death, my Grandmother always had a sprig of mistletoe hanging in the doorway leading from the family room into the formal living room. Everyone always commented when someone was caught standing under the mistletoe.

It got me thinking about how some things today, as silly as they may seem, may be becoming things tossed to the wayside. Does that make sense? I don't know that Hannah knows what mistletoe is and the fun silliness behind it. So it got me thinking that I wouldn't mind finding some mistletoe this season and hanging it.

Yesterday, as I was driving to pick up Rachel from preschool, stopped at a light where there are typically people on every corner holding signs asking for food, money, help, there was a man selling mistletoe!

Luckily I had a dollar. So I flagged the guy over to give me a bag. I was so excited to have some mistletoe!

Now I realize, he got it totally free out of a nearby tree. And he's making money off selling a weed, but at least he had a great idea and was 'in the season'.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flag Etiquette

Last week, when the girls and I were at Disneyland, we were in Town Square during the time in which the anthem is played and the American Flag is taken down for the night.

Looking around, the majority of people stopped in their tracks to watch and pay tribute, many putting their right hands over their hearts during the playing of our anthem. After the flag had been taken off it's pole, Hannah wanted to go and see them fold the flag, so we went closer to watch.

There are rules as to how to deal with the American flag - white gloves, folded just so, never dropped on the ground, but it's always done with such reverence and respect. It's always something to watch. Now take a look at how the California flag is treated... While the lady is still standing at attention, look at how our flag is all balled up and just draped over her arms. LOL. Makes ya wonder why States don't have rules about how to treat the State flag.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Great Crash of 2008

Steven broke the news to me on Monday during one of my appearances from quarantine, that the hard drive on my desktop iMac has crashed! Praise the Lord it's still under Apple Care, the warranty for Apple products, and thankfully, he had already made an appointment to take my 'puter in when he told me. We have to take my computer in this evening.

The other thing I am so thankful for is that a few months ago, Steven hooked up the external hard drive to include backing up files on my computer as well as his. So all 30,000+ pictures I have on my computer from the past six years of having a digital camera are still available. The bad news, is that the back up hadn't backed up in ten days for some reason, therefore I lost the pictures I'd taken in the last ten days. The good news is that was anything of real sentimental, extreme importance, ie, the very last preschool Christmas program, Christmas day, etc, etc.

Thankfully, we have a laptop, so I am still able to get online and blog, and read, and play scrabble! :) But it's a lot different than my 20 inch desktop!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Down and Out

It hit just before 5 am, and within an hour, I was certain it was food poisoning.

I had made a dip to take to my ornament party the afternoon before and when the party was over, I took the remains to my brother's house where the family had gathered to celebrate McKenzie's birthday. The dip had been out all afternoon and had mayonnaise in it and I was 100% certain that was the cause of my disposition.

I spent the entire day quarantined, just in case it wasn't food poisoning, in our room, laying in bed literally all day, catching up on Lifetime and Hallmark movies that had been stacking up on our TiVo. Towards the end of the day I was feeling better, just tired and sore from laying in bed all day.

My wonderful husband was so good to check in on me from time to time seeing if I needed anything, making sure I had water and pushing me to stay hydrated. He took Hannah to and from school and fed the girls dinner and did the dishes that had stacked up from our extremely busy weekend.

This morning, I got up before 5:30. I simply could no longer lay in bed. I am feeling more and more better as the morning goes on, just kinda foggy headed from not being as hydrated as I should. Steven has once again taken Hannah to school, and I think Rachel has talked him into taking her to school as well.

The goal for today is to take it easy. Not lay in bed all day, but to just take it easy. I have some things I need to get done and a grocery list is a very high priority on the list of things to do, as we are just about out of everything.

Once again a lesson has been learned, the hard way, not to eat food that's been out for any great length of time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Church Christmas Party

This evening was our church Christmas party. Despite meeting in a school auditorium our dinners and parties are always done up really nice. Everything was decorated nicely and they even had a couple small tables designated as the "kids tables" as kids were welcome to come. In addition to dinner, there was a white elephant/gift exchange among the 100+ people that attended. It's generally a huge stealing war for Starbucks gift cards, or any gift cards for that matter. We didn't end up with any gift cards, but I did steal this nice Disneyland mug, accompanied by a can of Almond Roca! I love my new mug! It's perfect for me!After helping tear down and getting things put away, we went to Starbucks for a warm drink and some more fellowship with friends. I always enjoy spending time with our friends from church. The Lord has truly blessed us with some really good friends in our church family.Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, for having our girls over for the night. Our girls were extremely excited about spending the night with their cousins! It's definitely something they always love to do and long to do more often!

Missing Candlelight

The next two nights is the annual Candlelight Processional at Disneyland. And for the first time in five years, we're not going.

Tonight is our church Christmas party and we had such a great time last year, that we wanted to go again this year. And tomorrow afternoon, I have an ornament party to go and didn't think I'd be done in time to get down to Disneyland and sit and save a spot.

As of Friday afternoon,
the stage is up and ready for the weekends festivities.

I'm a little bummed about not being able to go. It's been a great way to kick off the Christmas season the past few years. Sadly, our church doesn't sing Christmas songs and Christmas worship the weeks leading up to Christmas, typically we only sing them the one Sunday just prior to Christmas. So Candlelight is a nice evening that has such a spiritual emphasis, with the Christmas story right from the Bible and Christmas songs, and it's just an awesome thing to experience, and a great way to kick off the season.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Falling Price of Gas

It's amazing to see the price of gas going down so quickly!

I've been driving Steven's PT Cruiser the last week, as my van is having issues and is finally at our mechanic as of yesterday. I filled up his gas tank for $22.00!! I got gas for $1.75 a gallon. This morning as I drove past the same gas station, it was down to $1.69!

It's amazing to me to see the price of gas literally drop in a matter of hours. Sometimes the price of gas at the four gas stations I pass on my route back and forth to Hannah's school changes in just a matter of the hours of the school day! I read recently on Dudge that the price of gas may be as low as a dollar next year! And to think just 6 months ago, gas was just cents away from $5 a gallon!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First Gifts of the Season

We gave our first Christmas presents today. I sent the girls to school today with their teachers gifts.

A few months back I found some really nice Yankee Candle Pine Scent candles and I wanted to give them to the teachers now so that they can enjoy the candle through the season. Rachel's teacher was so appreciative because she has an artificial tree and misses the smell of pine. A perfect gift!

I'm also hoping to have the girls give their Sunday School teachers their little gifts next weekend.

Do you do gifts for your kids' teachers and/or Sunday School teachers?? If so, what are you doing this year for them?

For Your Enjoyment

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Christmas Survey

I received this fun Christmas survey via email from a friend last week, I thought I'd share the answers, here on my blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly wrapping paper. One present this year is in a bag because of it's awkwardness to wrap.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial for the last five Christmases. It's 9 1/2 feet tall with about 1200 white lights. I love my Christmas tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? The Friday after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? Some time during Christmas and New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog? NASTY!!!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The one that stands out in my mind is the year I got the big Barbie Dream House.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My husband. He doesn't collect things and isn't into any hobbies, or at least isn't into affordable hobbies (computers).

8. Easiest person to buy for? Usually my Mom.

9. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes. I have one that my Uncle made me that sits in front of the fireplace. And then I have the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set that the girls play with. I also have a table top wooden display of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus that my aunt made. I have a couple other little ones that sometimes I put out, but the one my Uncle made is always displayed.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Although last year, I had delivered a lot to our church family and friends when I saw them at church. This year I am seriously thinking about not sending out Christmas cards to people whom we'll see or spend the holidays with. At over .40 a stamp, that's a lot of money paid out in postage. I've also been looking at sending out Christmas postcards, postage is a little cheaper.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmm....Can't think of one right now.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I don't have favorites.

13. When do you start shopping? I shop all year long to spread out the expense. LOL.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Me?? Of course!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Homemade goodies!

16. Lights on the tree? 1200 White lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Again, I don't have favorites.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Christmas will more than likely be at our house this year. We have the most room, etc. Steven's family is all out of state and his parents usually travel and visit one of his siblings.

Edited to Add: After posting this answer, my sister-in-law informed me neither of her parents have traveled to her house in recent years for the holidays. LOL. I'm not sure where it is they are going, but they've always got plans when we ask them! We've always had in our minds they were traveling to Oregon or Georgia. LOL.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? I think so.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A gold star. I think it's a little small for our tree, but Steven likes it.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve is spent at my Grandmother's house with dinner and a gift exchange. So presents are opened there from that side of the family. Christmas morning the presents and stockings are opened and more presents opened when my parents and Uncle and brother and sister-in-law and nieces come.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? How everyone automatically assumes your children believe in Santa Claus. And ask them what they asked Santa Claus for.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Just about all the ornaments on the tree are homemade by someone. There are a few store bought ones, but they are special and not your typical 'ball' ornament or anything cheesy. LOL.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? There's that word again, 'Favorite'.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Well aside from having my Disneyland Annual Pass renewed on 1-1-09. :) All I really want is continued blessings from the Lord in the shape of a steady job, our good health, and a home. We really have more than we need and I am truly, truly thankful.

If you have a blog and want to play along, feel free to copy and paste the survey into a blog post, changing the answers of course! Be sure to leave a comment in the comment section letting me know you did the survey and I'll come check out your answers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to The Routine...

Hannah started back to school this morning after being off track for three weeks. On one hand, it seems like three weeks wasn't quite long enough, but on the other hand, it's good for her to go back before I get to the point of wishing she was back in school. LOL. So she's back in school, and we're back into getting up and out the door every morning by 7:30...at least for three weeks, and then she'll be off for Christmas break for two weeks.

Rachel also goes back to school this morning after having Thanksgiving week off. Her lunch box is packed and she'll stay for lunch bunch today. She's so excited. Her staying for lunch gives me five hours of no kids home today, but it'll be crunch time come the afternoon when Rachel will need to be picked up at 2:00 at one end of town and Hannah gets out at 2:15 in another town. LOL.

My goal this morning is to get Christmas shopping done on behalf of my Grandmother. Every year, my Grandmother so generously gives us money to do her Christmas shopping for our girls and then wrap it and bring it with us Christmas Eve. I already have a few things for each of the girls, but this morning, I am going to Toys R Us and I hope to get things off their lists and be done with it! I have an idea of what I want, so hopefully it won't take long and then I can get home and wrap them and be totally done.

The house is completely decorated. I'm glad to have it all up and done. My other goal this morning is to get the house vacuumed and things dusted and start taking pictures for BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. This will be the third year I've participated and it's always fun to show off how your house is decorated to internet friends.

It's that time, I best be gathering the lunch box and my purse and Christmas lists and heading out! Have a great morning!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To My Husband!!

November - The Thankful Month

November is now over and I wanted to post my thankful list that was in my sidebar into a post so I can look back at it next year!

1. My husbands job that allows me to be a SAHM.
2. My husbands unconditional love.
3. The cooler weather.
4. For the freedom and right to vote.
5. No matter what, God is in control.
6. My family's good health.
7. Hannah is officially off track for 3 weeks starting at 11:15. This Taxi Mom needs a break.
8. For good friends.
9. The freedom to openly go to church and worship the Lord.
10. Long Days at Disneyland!!
11. The men and women who serve in our U.S. Military to preserve our freedom.
12. The change in weather.
13. My entire family knowing the Lord.
14. Being able to spend time with my friend, Karen.
15. A house and all the things inside.
16. Church friends.
17. That the terrible winds are gone.
18. The good preschool Rachel goes to.
19. Spending time with family at The Happiest Place on Earth.
20. The price of gas going down! I filled up for about $35 today!
21. The weekend that is upon us.
22. An overnight getaway with my husband.
23. Church Family
24. My online friends!
25. For the nice change in the weather.
26. For working appliances.
27. For family and friends.
28. Awesome Black Friday deals.
29. For leftovers!
30. Beautiful days.