Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Highlights 2009

It has been a great holiday - all things considering! A severe stomach flu or potentially food poisoning whipped through my office and hit me hard Tuesday night before Christmas. I was down and OUT Wednesday and so worried about hosting Christmas Eve the next day.

Fortunately, I felt better by Wednesday evening. I still have to be careful about what I eat since my stomach hasn't fully recovered, but the illness itself was pretty brief.

We cleaned really well and Keri was nice enough to help prepare all of the food. I couldn't imagine I was still contagious, but wanted to be safe! No holding babies for me! And boy, did I miss out. Check out Velvet's new little doll - Haley Dawn. She is so beautiful! (We didn't do very well with pictures this year, so I snagged this one from Facebook!)

Carson loved the Jungle Gym Learning Bicycle from Uncle Bill.

Grandma was very excited to get a Wusthof knife like ours!

Anthony was having a great time Christmas Eve!

Who was more excited that Carson got a Sounders jersey from Uncle Bill and Aunt Courtney? I think Daddy!

He couldn't wait to put it on!

Daddy was proud!

Later on... Bill and I exchanged gifts.

What Christmas is complete without a snuggie. A PINK snuggie. With pocket for a remote! (sorry cell phone photo)

Bill and his pineapple (for those who know the story behind this). It is not entirely blog-worthy, but if you ask we'll tell you. :-)

Christmas morning with the Magster. She was my buddy for the morning! She helped unwrap all my presents as well as her own.

Tanner and Jody in the "present fort." It was so sad. Bill and I got Tanner a Star Wars math game and his own Leapster. But, we accidentally got him the charger instead of the actual game. He was so sad, but somehow knew he shouldn't be disappointed, but couldn't help it! Fortunately, they had them at Target the day after!

The fam watching Return of the Jedi with Tanner.

Sunday after Christmas breakfast with Brad and family. (Darn, Casey didn't make the picture!!)

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Bill and Courtney

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stinky Candles

I was given these candles several years ago. They came in this cute little storybook box and there are four Santa candles inside. I keep them out as decoration, but whew - do they stink! Kids always love smelling the stinky candles. We were watching Carson for the night. He was into them when we he and his parents first arrived. He had all of us smelling them and Uncle Bill said it - P.U. that smells like potty. Oh yeah, don't think he missed that!

He had not had a good night. We had plans to attend a friend's Christmas party. As soon as he we mentioned the word "party" and went to get his jacket, he was NOT having it. Boy, was he ticked! He didn't want to go anywhere. We still went, but needless to say, we didn't stay long. Once we got home, we let him do his thing. Who'd have guess that stinky candles would be such entertainment for my little nephew.

Sorry, Mom and Dad! Bad Aunt and Uncle - I know!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finger Lickin' Holidays

Bill was off today and was kind enough to smoke ribs for several of my staff. We had a holiday potluck and had everything from Bill's famous ribs, kickin' creamed corn, succotash, couscous - you name it! There's just something about BBQ in December - so tasty!

So much food...

The Jeffs...

These guys make me laugh.

I love it.

The cookie exchange was amazing. Kahlua truffles. These chocolately marshmallow gobs of goodness. Strawberry jam print goodies. Oh my.

Of course - cranberry bliss bars. These things are coming out my ears these days.

Rosie and the Jeffs.

This is how we do it!

Fun time with a great group of people!

Thank you to Bill - we appreciate his work in making today happen!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

Oh, I wish I had a river, I could skate away on...

Do you know the song River by Joni Mitchell? That song is so painful, but beautiful. I love Christmas, I really do. But, it is hard too.

I was decorating the tree this morning, when I came across this ornament.

Here's what I wrote on the tag.

Then, there was this in the Christmas decorations.

And, here's what is inside.

As you can see by the tag, at least it was my turn in 2006. She got the last gift.

Man, I miss her.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How Lovely Are Your Branches

We got our Christmas tree last weekend. I swear by the Fraser Fir - I've had one every Christmas for at least the last ten years. I read years ago it is Martha's favorite. Sorry, did that ruin it for you? But, really, they truly are the best. They have sturdy branches like a noble, but are more full and drop less needles than the traditional Douglas. They hold up even your heaviest ornaments. They seem to be harder to come by in this area, but we found a family run tree farm about four years ago we go back to every year.

We're fast tree picker-outers. We find the fraser section and bam - there's our tree. No time wasted.

I got a really funny video of Bill sawing down the tree, but he won't let me post it. Bah humbug.

Sawing down the tree is hard and dirty work!

Here's my theory. The best Christmas tree farms have the shakers. Really, make sure you ask about this. This saves you from LOADS of needles being strewn about your house.

Secondly, the second most important thing is for the tree farm to provide netting. Don't turn down this option. Yes, it is $2.00 extra. But, again this saves you another million needles from falling when you pull it up the walk way, shove it through the front door and get it set up in the stand.

$2.00! That is it.

I watched people buy coffee and cider at the farm and turn down the $2 netting. I don't know, maybe they like finding pine needles in July. Me, not so much.

That netting makes me happy, I tell ya.

I wrote this entry last weekend and was waiting to post when I had it decorated. Planned on doing it Sunday night and the power went out. Then, we were busy, etc. etc. We just brought it inside last night. I finally went to do it tonight and the new lights I pulled out of the box had white cording. WHITE CORDING! What?! I went to THREE STORES on opposite parts of town to get new lights. Fred Meyer, Home Depot - you are lame! Out of Christmas lights on December 11. Shameful!

Needless to say, the tree still isn't decorated. To be continued...

Friday, November 27, 2009


On Thanksgiving Day I was thankful for many things...
  • my husband for going to the store for me when I burnt the entire first batch of croutons for the stuffing...
  • my Grandma for giving me so much Pampered Chef that I had an extra bar pan in the garage when I sat my hot pan of burnt croutons by the open window and it cracked the pan...
  • my cousin for helping Grandma chop fruit for her salad since she has a broken wrist...
  • my mother-in-law's homemade rolls...
  • sweet memories of my Mom since her absence is always heavy on my heart during the holidays...
  • my nephew for being so dang cute when he says my name I can't even stand it...
  • Martha Stewart cast iron cookware...
  • my sister-in-law for helping me during the chaos that always consumes the kitchen right before we eat...
  • the Traeger grill which allowed us to smoke the turkey and free up our oven...
  • my father-in-law for helping carve the turkey...
  • getting to use my Grannie's china allowing her love to entertain her family live on...
  • on-line recipes which make holiday recipe planning and sharing all the easier...
  • my Aunt for catching all the great photos...
  • my husband for doing all the kitchen clean-up AND sending everyone home with leftovers...
  • having a mixture of families together ... AND
  • my dining room table!
The night before Thanksgiving we went to Brad and Deana's. Jordan was in town so we had cake for his birthday. The boys posing for a picture - Bill, Casey (stepbrother), Jordan (brother) and Brad (biological father).

The boys and me.

It was a great dinner. I had more guests than I'd anticipated - which was a pleasant surprise.

Mmmmm... Turkey on the Traeger.

We couldn't find the whip attachment for the Kitchenaid and the whipping cream wouldn't "whip" without turning it up really high. That makes spray everywhere as you can imagine so we covered it with a towel. My nephew, Carson thought it was really funny that Auntie was making such a mess!

Serving up dinner - cousin Anthony, Uncle Robert and cousin Robbie.

Same as above, but with Robbie's kids (Shane and Peyton) at the bar and Uncle Scott and my brother, Corey.

My father-in-law, Fred, with Uncle Robert and Corey.

Some weirdo, mother-in-law Francie, Aunt Mary Ann and Grandma Jo.

More eating. That's what we do.

My honey.

Uncle Robert and Grandma Jo.

Grandma Jo, Uncle Robert and Robbie.

Silly Robbie - love it.


My sweet nephew, Carson.

Grandma Jo and me.

He's being camera-shy.

Cutie Peyton.

Daddy and daughter.

Scott and Anthony.

Aunt Sue and Robbie.

Little cheesers.

I always enjoy taking pictures of the aftermath in the kitchen.

Carson totally spied me in the kitchen getting him a pumpkin bar. He was so happy!

Now that he has it, he was checking it out.

It was all about the whipped cream.

The end... I stayed up until 12:30 Thanksgiving Eve making desserts and back up early Thanksgiving Day cooking and getting everything ready. I was zonked on the couch at 8:30 p.m.

It is always a lot of work, but very worth it. Somehow hosting these events makes me feel closer to my Mom. Thanks to everyone who helped make the evening so great. Love to you all. Happy Thanksgiving!


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