Monday, December 21, 2015

Bits and Pieces

I like doing bits and pieces of random thoughts from our life. This is one of the easiest ways for me to blog!

::We host Christmas Eve at our home for 20+ family and friends.  My dad's side of the family always gathered on Christmas Eve here on the farm. After the work load got to be too much for my grandma my Aunt and Uncle hosted.  One year they both had to work on Christmas Eve and asked me if I could host it.  We had already moved back here to the farm so it was easy to do. We have been hosting it ever since.  It is so much fun!

::Our Christmas shopping is done for the most part.  Jeremiah and I have a couple small items that we would still like to get for the kids but overall everything is done.  We made all of our exchange gifts this year. This has been a tradition for several years.  I think that it is harder for some of the extended family members who aren't necessarily crafty to come up with ideas.  I think it may change to make your gifts or purchase local, handmade gifts.

::Speaking of those gifts, they are also all wrapped.  Jeremiah and I have a custom of waiting to wrap all the gifts on Christmas Eve after everyone has gone home and the kids have gone to bed. We usually start around midnight after we have the kitchen cleaned up. We will have a couple items to wrap but not many.  We can't break the tradition!

::Today and tomorrow we will be doing most of our holiday cleaning. I would like keep Wednesday open to finish any last minute cleaning and to do food prep.  If I can get work done prior to Christmas Eve it makes the day less hectic and more enjoyable. 

::Ryder has been fighting off a sore throat and Madilynne has a runny nose/sinus crud thing going on. It isn't bad/severe but enough to keep them sidelined a little.  Hopefully after another good night of sleep they will be much better. 

::The school books have been put away for Christmas break. We will get back to school in January 2016!

::We will be going to our local nursing home to help the residents celebrate Christmas. The kids, along with another family, will be singing songs and playing instrumentals for the folks there.  We go visit them every month and the kids sing, do crafts or play games with them.  I think they bless us more than we bless them! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Rush!

December is such a busy month.  I think it ranks as number one for activities that happen.  I love the busyness of December. Sometimes it can feel too rushed but overall, I am totally loving December.  We are happily making gifts and writing cards.  The best part is we are not doing much shopping unless it is for food or online!

Friday we had our homeschool variety show. The kids played guitar, sang and performed with our black light squad.  It was so much fun. We are already coming up with ideas for our next production. The kids will be doing their show again for the church senior meal this week. 

I looked at the calendar for this month and we only have five days that we don't have something scheduled.*  We have helped family, visited with friends who came to our home, celebrated/will be celebrating friends and family birthdays, etc. Jeremiah's sister and her husband will be moving back to our area this weekend so we will be available to help them with that process too, if needed.

I even have my Christmas Eve menu planned.  Now, those who know me, know that I don't usually plan the meal until right before I need to go shopping for the food!  Normally my menu does not contain traditional foods like turkey or ham.  As a kid we had ham pot pie frequently for Christmas Eve. I tend to choose chicken, meatloaf or lasagna.  We have many meals to eat over Christmas so I tend to change up my menu for some variety. 

This year we will be having a chicken casserole, lasagna, salad, applesauce, red beets, rolls and my uncle decided that he is in the mood for ham so he is going to bring a small one.  It will be the first year for ham. Family will bring deserts and drinks.  I have some ideas for appetizers to hold us over until the meal but not certain which ones I want to make.  We will host about 25-ish friends and family this year.  Our smaller home will fill up fast and it will be great!  Mildly chaotic but still wonderful! 

I will be ready for the peace and calm of January when it arrives but until then we will be busy and celebrating each day God gives us.  My hope is that Madilynne and Ryder learn to help and serve others instead of focusing on material things or themselves. (not that I think they are selfish kids)  Gifts are certainly nice and I am not discrediting those but how we spend our time is also important. 

*Also just putting it out here... I do say no to things/activities that we don't want to do or would make life too hectic.  Our calendar isn't packed so full that we are getting burned out.  We are doing what makes us happy.  I hope that you can find your own peace and joy in this season. 

Jesus is the reason we celebrate!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.
I have a story about my grandpa that is told frequently. We were having Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparents house and we were sitting in the enclosed patio. My grandparents had the sliding glass door, to the kitchen, closed to keep their little poodle from coming out while we were opening our gifts. My grandpa didn't remember that the door was shut and he was coming out of the kitchen to the patio and ran right into the door.  It must have knocked him a bit silly because he straightened his glasses, backed up and walked into it again!  Oh, how we laughed.  He had such a good sense of humor and was laughing before the rest of us!   

There was also an ice storm one year when I was about 10.  It was pretty bad.  My grandparents and uncle always pretended to have Santa come. Well, this particular year the weather was nasty and my grandma forgot to get the gifts from Santa "planted" for us.  She went to the basement and grabbed some frozen candy bars and took them to the front porch and rang the doorbell.  While she was headed back to the basement the ice was so heavy that it broke a branch on a pine tree in the front yard. We heard the branch fall almost immediately after the doorbell rang.  Everyone was scurrying to the front door; especially the adults since they knew that grandma was taking our candy bars out.  They had quite the story to hear once the evening was over because the branch that fell barely missed her!  My brothers and I were amazed that Santa would bring us frozen candy bars.  My uncle told us that it was hard to keep the candy bars room temp with the severe weather he had to fly in!  

 2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

Not usually but I think you need to be kind when voicing your opinion.  Some people aren't very nice when they give theirs.

 3. Pantone has announced the
color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?
I like the colors but I dislike shopping so I will venture a guess that they will not make it to my wardrobe or my home. 

 4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

Probably the "Peanuts" Christmas song.  I like it simple.

 5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

I am not planning on celebrating this day.  I can't tell you the last time I purchased something from a bakery.  I honestly don't know if I ever did.  Do donuts from Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme count as a bakery?  LOL  I usually bake anything like that.

 6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.

...don't call me!  I am not a good decorator at all and I don't like it.  Ask my kids. 

 7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.

Last week.  I got together to celebrate a friend's birthday with another friend and all our kids.  We laughed the whole time!

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Madilynne and I have been making some new recipes lately.  Several of them have been on the bad side. That is the trouble with new recipes.  We have been able to tweak some and make them better.  I always feel bad to make something that is bad and have to pitch it out.  Such a waste of ingredients.  We try to make them into something edible but sometimes, it just isn't gonna happen.  An example recently was some couscous Madilynne went straight to the chickens!   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Here I am again with more random thoughts:

::I has my nails professionally manicured two weeks ago.  It was a gift for my birthday many moons ago.  I am impressed and can totally see why ladies go and have them done regularly!

::The kids and I have been helping my mother-in-law clean out her mom's house. Grandma L. passed away this summer and the time has come to clean out her things.  This job has been a lot of work. She kept so-much-stuff!!  We have to go through everything.  I made a decision that I wasn't going to keep so much stuff.  I have been trying to pitch or donate stuff since this summer but I am even more convinced to remove unnecessary items from our house now. 

::Madilynne and I have been testing out some new recipes for Christmas jar gifts.  I love, love, love Mason jars and would like to make them for our handmade Christmas gifts.  So far the recipes we have made are so-so.  I haven't found anything that is jumping out at me saying this is awesome; give me away!  LOL  Any suggestions?  :-)

::Jeremiah and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary recently.  I am very blessed.  We started dating when we were 16 years old! Amazing really!

::I really enjoy Christmas lights and Christmas music!  I forgot how much joy these bring to me.  We recently put up our lights outside.  It was time consuming but worth it.  Jeremiah found a radio station that was playing only Christmas music.  We had the music blasting from the garage while we decorated! 

::Our homeschool group classes have ended for the year. We will meet again until February.  The break is nice but we are always eager to start classes again.  Some of our best friends have come from meeting them through our homeschool support group.