Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

December Waiting

This was my first Christmas to do a personal Advent study on the days leading up to Christmas.  I grew up in a church that followed that tradition but we don’t follow that now.  I thought I’d try it this year on my own.

I used the book: For All by Becky Kiser.  HERE is a link for it on Amazon if you are interested.  I’m not an affiliate so no connection if you use my link.  It is workbook format and the Sunday/candle days are optional or could be used alone if desired.  They are in the front of the book and not mixed in with the other days.

I even made a cluster of candles from things I already had on our coffee table in the living room.  I love candles and on the nights I was sitting in the living room, would light the appropriate number of candles for the week.  Yes, as we got closer to the celebration of the Light of the World, the room got brighter as well!

In the past, our church has set up a photo area for family Christmas photos.  I was counting on it this year but they didn’t do it.  So a tree with an outlet in the wall…. and us!  (One of us still needs to find a selfie stick that will hold my big camera and case!)


We agreed after last Christmas that we were ready for a smaller Christmas tree and I got one from Ambrose Christmas Tree Store the first week of November.  I was hoping to beat the rush (and they had trees at 30% off) but my order got lost and I waited until the week after Thanksgiving and called.  I was nearby the next day and they said they’d have it ready and they did!  I was so pleased I got it there.  Lifetime guarantee to fix and/or replace the lights or anything that goes wrong with it.  Yeah!   I had chosen the tree star from there and they had that in place as well.

Thankfully, Miss K loves to do the ornaments (I don’t!) and she finished the decorating when she got here.  ♥

And… if a day had sunshine, about 3:30 p.m. it would make the sparkles on the star reflect onto the ceiling.  Delightful!

Also for the first time EVER, I bought an Advent calendar of sorts.  A chocolate one!  At Aldi.  It must have been the 1st day they were out as I never saw them again.  Glad to have The Nutcracker vs only santa.  I put it away in a spare bedroom closet as I bought it before Thanksgiving!

And then forgot about it until the middle of December! So I decided to do it on the days of January to make that month a bit more tolerable!  I forgot and started on the 4th of January!  Ha!  Then had a family interruption that included an unplanned trip to Ohio on the 7th so got off track again.  I resumed maybe by the 17th or so.

I forgot some nights and finished on Feb 7.  Once I shared with my farmer.  He doesn’t savor chocolate…. so I didn’t want to waste it.  It was all good!!  ♥

I will watch Aldi next November for a new one!

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We had a very relaxed Christmas Day of just the 4 of us.  We had brunch foods mostly late morning and then everyone is big and was able to find something to eat when they wanted it.  Waffles, yummy coconut flake & raspberry pancakes, Gpa’s fresh maple syrup, yogurt in my bowl, hash browns, bacon.

No one has been interested in family photos lately so I tried one with me & the dog.  She is fine with photos from my camera but really doesn’t like selfies with my phone!  How does she know it ends up on here?


So I worked on a selfie with me & the dog.  As good as it gets….
Miss K had mercy on me and sat near me…. ♥


P slightly allowed one….

All while the dog got special attention and play.

Later we played a new card game that JP had bought.  Exploding Cats.   It is fun and we enjoyed several rounds.  I was out first in this round.



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Christmas Food 2014

We were 4 on Christmas Day and thankful to have the day together.  We had all talked about ideas for dinner, simple is my mantra, and everyone helped out.  🙂

Garlic Butter Lemon Shrimp


Zucchini noodles — made with K’s tool and I soon bought my own!

marinated vegetable salad

mashed potatoes – because I love my husband and he loves mashed potatoes

Cheesecake with raspberries

The shrimp was so easy to make!  And the best ever!!  Best meal I’ve had in a long time!!  P helped me peel the shrimp and that took awhile… we had 3#.  JP cooked regular noodles and K cooked the zuke ones.  I had the mashed potatoes in the crockpot.


And seriously… you know I don’t spend extra time in the kitchen… and I made this cheesecake!!

And it is gluten-free.



JP suggested raspberries for the cheesecake topping.  I bought 3x the amount of frozen ones as we could have paid with buying “fresh as Illinois gets…” so all could have plenty!


There are no words for how good this was!  I think K & I were stuck on our chairs unable to move after all this.


via P’s cell phone….

There were leftovers of everything  — the kids had to-go boxes for a few more meals and P & I ate several more meals as well.  And seriously, what is better for supper on Christmas Day than a piece of cheesecake?


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I found this pattern and embroidery CD at the Des Moines, Iowa AQS show in October and really wanted to make this!  So much so, that I found fabric at the show for it AND pulled it out to make in December.  A new record?  The fabric and pattern were only in house for 2 months!  *snicker*

It is 12 sections that are sort of cone shaped and each are embroidered/appliqued separately in the mega hoop for my machine.

tree skirt sectionA

I had the top of the tree skirt done for Christmas.

tree up

I quilted it in early January.


In February, I added the binding.


P1010947APattern notes:

This is the large tree skirt.  Whereas, at this point, I vow to never make this pattern again, there is a tiny inclining in me to make the small tree skirt.  *sigh*  The pattern calls for 1/2 yard fabric for binding.  That is not enough for bias strips for 12 scallops and the back opening and circle.  I thankfully found the fabric online and could make longer strips.  I do continuous bias so used an extra large square and have miles of binding left!  🙂  But not a seam for every scallop as the 1/2 yd would have made.    The fabric for the background is *just* enough for the cones.  Premark before cutting, make sure you slide the cones up & down as you cut, and hold your breath you have enough at the end.  It was a tight squeeze for me.

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Cousins Christmas Dinners

It was fun to see a photo of Phil’s cousin and all his children & grands gathered for their Christmas (I think on 12/29) that I requested we have a photo shoot this time too when we gathered on 12/30.   Actually, Phil’s cousin is only a few years younger than Phil’s dad so we are closer in age to the 1st cousins, once-removed.


RM Christmas

Phil’s parents in the middle with our side on the far right and his sister and family on the far left.


LM Christmas

Phil’s cousin is on the far right of the couch, with his wife and their 2 children.  The daughter-in-law and son-in-law and the grandkids are in front & behind.


The curly hair comes from their grandmother and is most evident in our daughter and his daughter and her girls.  There is one other male cousin to carry the name between these 2 but I’ve only seen him twice as he lives in TX.  I think he just has a daughter.

(L will probably pick a fight with me the next time we see each other as he goes by “Mike”, not his given name that we all use.  🙂  He is funny.)

Phil’s dad and L’s dad and one other brother were all raised here on the family farm.  Only Phil’s dad stayed here to farm.

Both L & Phil had 1 son to carry the name and L’s son has 1 son.  L & his wife are only about 45 mins away but we sure don’t see them much with all of us having grown children that we hog over their holiday visits.  But it is always fun to gather for family parties or the random spotting of them while out shopping.

Sometimes I think not using all their names makes this more confusing.  Sorry!

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Our Christmas

Our Christmas was a treat!  A short treat, but maybe that made it more treasurable knowing it was only for hours even though this mom would love days with both kids here.    K worked both 12/24 and 12/26 but she was able to leave a bit after 2 on Monday.  Her goal was to make it for our church service at 5.  Instead with not much traffic she made it all the way to the house by 4:15 and then we all rode to church together.   (She & Phil drive more like Gpa R than the apple trees they fell nearest.)


After having help with getting the bacon-wrapped turkey into the oven, we opened gifts.  The kids decided to stop what could become a circus when they are 40 y/o and have families of their own so they made a new rule and went with a $10 gift to each other.  And  since they knew they’d just give each other gift cards, they took the funny route.  After having emails, phone calls, and texts from both of them that $10 wasn’t enough…. (argh!! from them & me!)…. I made a mom decision and told them they can increase to $20 next year.  The gifts were still fun & funny and better for their budgets.  🙂


We had quit stockings a few years ago for the kids but Phil had an itch so bought stocking stuffers for K, JP, and me, put them in paper grocery sacks and taped one of our socks to the bag.   I also have 2 new necklaces, the food processor that goes with my Bosch mixer, a new outfit, new couch pillows, and a powerful handheld vac.  🙂

I posted this first photo of my first wrapped gift on FB… all accomplished by 11:20 on Christmas Eve morning…. #rolleyes… and here is the rest of the story and the fun the box provided.   Seriously, boxes are the best gift!!  (In photo 3, K is standing up! … and maybe Phil thinks this is trouble waiting to happen?????)


It is a locking gun cabinet for JP’s room and for all our safety.   I think it is so appropriate that it sits beside his nursery cross-stitch with his birth info.  LOL!!  I will redo his room sometime but K’s is first in line for the paint brush.

Hardly ever do our dogs get Christmas presents… however, that birthday thing that happened to Phil this spring has made for lots of changes in him.  One was that he wanted to buy Nina a dog bed.  I INSISTED on less expensive and EASILY washable.  He relented and got what I chose.  Here is her day in photos.  Now she loves it and was on it this morning when she came in with Phil.  Her feet are covered in ice balls every morning now so she is off the bed waiting for it to dry out.  Again.


I did ask for a casual family photo.  This is what I got first…


But the good photo is above at the beginning of this post.  Amazingly, the dog knew to watch the blinking light on my timer.   So funny!   With the BIG dog in front, I about lost my husband in the photo.  That’s a first!  I love my fun family.

The peach-berry cobbler was much improved over the one I did at Thanksgiving, thanks to Sarah R & Sue Ellen.  Dinner menu stayed the same and is easy.  Tons of leftovers for my freezer and K has Christmas dinner for lunches every day the rest of the week.  P & JP will see it for suppers this week.


Throughout the day, JP had 3 movies for us to see.  Of course, the TV decided to be pesky so in lieu of the 4 of us watching TV on my bed #hairraising!, we put JP’s honkin’ big computer monitor on a card table and watched from the couch.  We, hard-working women, took naps during the afternoon showing.  🙂   (I’m still hoping I get a new TV out of this pesky mess.   JP has good electronics connections.  #bigcheesygrin)

Wanna see my new necklaces?  🙂  (I’m home alone and most importantly without my fashion daughter so this is the best you’ll get….)


The one on the left is from a friend and is all our family birthstones but in hearts.   (Order your own birthstone jewelry here.   But check out the rest of her offerings as well.  I ordered from her in CA on Friday and the package arrived on Monday in IL!!)   The right side, Phil chose all.by.himself. and is interlocking rings.   🙂   I love them both!!

I hope you had a day just like you wanted.  I did… my family. together.  Just us.  ♥

{The plan was for K to head back late afternoon on Christmas Day but being young and energetic, she stayed here last night and awakened at 4:40 to be out the door by 5:15 and was there in time to open the business at 7:30.  She did miss a chance to make a Starbucks drive-thru but I suggested sending a driver out to get one!!  🙂   The car was mostly packed last night and our roads are clean now.  I’m sure the trip back in wasn’t hard except early & fast.  But we did get to enjoy yesterday evening with her still here.}

p.s.   I am going to try to catch up but writing backwards so I think there will be 3 or 4 “new” posts coming with dates farther back than this one.  I hope you come back!  🙂

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New Years Weekend

Our weekend started on Friday evening with our Christmas dinner with Phil’s family.  His sister, BIL, & nephew came from Ohio on Thursday.

Phil & his sister

Every year their mom gives them an antique something and attaches the related story. This year - oil lamps.

Sorry this is a bit blurry but I loved that I caught all of them in such laughter!

I just have to show you the shirt K gave to JP for Christmas! He wore it for work this day and his boss loved showing customers as they were there to fix something. Quite appropriate!!

Part of my gifts included a big box of feedsack fabrics from MIL!!  WooHoo!!

Oh yes, 34 feedsacks.  Many are still sewn as sacks and most have at least 2 in the set.  You can see the pile of orange & blue stripes and turquoise stripes!  I think it was a family of boys!!  They are laiden with the fragrance of moth balls so I either need to wash or air out before I use them much.  First project is using some for a border on a bow-tie quilt made of what I think are feedsack fabrics.   And do you think every room in my house should have turquoise striped curtains?  hahaha!


I sure liked the Sunday holidays once I knew Miss K would get those Mondays off!  What fun to have her here 2 weekends in a row for 2 days.  🙂    (After having a female presence in the home all those years, except for 16 – 18 :wink:, it is hard just living with men all the time.  It is so delightful when she is home with me!)

On her way home Saturday night, we coordinated times for pizza ordering.  I called and ordered and she picked it up on her way.  🙂  After supper and letting her catch her breath as well as K getting to open her Christmas presents from Phil’s side, we went to Phil’s parents as his sister & family were leaving in the morning.  JP was at church drumming for the weekend.

We just chatted a bit; no more photos.  No one stayed up until midnight for the new year.  K was exhausted from work and her cold, JP had to be up early for church the next day, and Phil  & I just headed to bed before midnight as usual on any other night.

On Sunday, we headed to church for late service.  Afterwards, we met up with JP and all went to have dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.  It was good… until it processed on Monday.  But I’ll probably try it again.  Why can’t American restaurants address me “ma’am” as nicely as the Mexican restaurant addresses me as “senora”?

The kids rode home together and Phil & I drove through car lots as his work truck just rolled over and d i e d  the other day.  😦  No warning.  He was told by our 2 trusted mechanics to “go shopping”.

On Monday, after both kids got to sleep-in on their day off  🙂 , K  & I had cooking day again!!  It is fun to work together and she gets meals for the week (and more).   This week we made Chicken Tortilla Soup, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Stuffed Hamburgers, and Stuffed Mushrooms.   Nice theme there, K!  The mushrooms were an afternoon snack in lieu of New Year’s Eve snack since no one had the energy to cook that night.

After naps (or a nap attempt by me), we finished and packaged her food.  I embroidered a label quickly for one of her hats.  Thankfully, she isn’t picky and easily pleased in that realm.

She headed back just after 5 and I worked on loading a quilt and keeping the couch company.  :yawn:  I think I got a small nap in finally!

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