About Me

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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Round 2

Each year we try and head down South to visit my extended family on my mom's side.  Dinner is always at my Uncle's and let me tell you...he knows how to entertain!  It is always such an elegant evening, but one filled with laughter and the hosts always make you feel so at home, even though you secretly shudder when you think about the cost of the Art Deco glass table that your 7 year old just plunked her glass down upon. Eek!
This is the table where we sat--breathtaking view of the river.  The other room had another table set for 10--gorgeous, no?!

The view from the third floor deck...

Each year it becomes more and more important for us to go, because, let's face it, no one is getting any younger.  My Nana is 88 and still kickin' it like a rock star so it is a great opportunity to gather the fam together and celebrate...life!  This year Uncle and Aunt C were able to be there too, which makes it even better (they rotate every other year with her family).

The whole family (we were only missing 2)
The grand (and great-grand) children

Sunday, December 29, 2013


The Noodle had made her (rather extensive) Christmas list and on it had included an Ivy Ling American Girl doll.  Now as a point of interest, the Noodle has never been super into dolls--especially the ones which eyes open and shut.  Quite honestly she thinks they are scary.  Always has--even when she was a toddler!  She'll go through phases where she'll play with her dolls (which have the eyes that remain open all the time), but certainly she has never been doll crazy.  She has, however, been really into reading all the American Girl books, hence the interest.

When J and I heard about this item on her list, we started asking her how she'd feel, especially because we knew about the eye issue.  She thought she'd be o.k., and was actually pretty excited about the possibility, so we made sure Santa was "in the know".
Fast-forward to Christmas morning.   Santa came through on the promise--it was actually one of the few toys that the Noodle received since it was such a BIG gift.  While she was initially excited about receiving it, once we laid the box down the eyes shut, she freaked.  It was too scary.  What to do?!?!?
Thankfully J was quick thinking on his feet and he encouraged the Noodle to write a letter to Santa explaining the situation with the hope that Santa could return the doll in exchange for something a bit less scary.

The letter says:
"Dear Santa Thank you for Ivy Ling, but the eyes kind of scare me.  Will you take her back and bring me something else centarion mega nerf gun, Starbeam my walking unicorn.  Please bring me both tomorrow."

Thankfully Santa "got it" and understood.  A few days later, he had brought a couple smaller exchange gifts and all was right with the world.

Can you say oops!?!?!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas started the way it does each year...with the tradition of going down to the Market, only this time we went with Lollie, Papa, Uncle and Aunt C.  Surprisingly it wasn't very crowded, which made it easier to snap a few photos.  Unfortunately, the new camera we got for China (a smaller, more compact point-n-shoot) ended up taking crummy pictures (of course we didn't realize until the end of Christmas day).  It is going back.  Boo!  But I digress.....we all split an apple fritter and had a fun time looking at all of the interesting food and then sloooowly made our way home because, surprise, we got a white Christmas!! Yeah!

 The day before Aunt C and I had gotten our craft magic on and made these cute pillows (inspiration from here).  So fun--C made an all-year-round pillow and I made a poinsettia one!
Then it was time to get ready for church.  The Noodle was singing in the choir at the 4:00 service so we had to be up there by 3:15.  After church we headed to Lollie and Papa's for Christmas tea.  All basic food groups were represented....champagne, carbs, chocolate, and fat.  Oof.   So tasty, but not so good for you!

Christmas morning we woke up and opened gifts.  The only disappointment was the big gift from Santa (will have to do a separate post on that) but the Noodle handled it with grace and a positive attitude (actually, probably better than J and I did, truth-be-told).  Then out to Grandma and Grandpa's for lunch before finishing it off at Lollie and Papa's again.

Such a fun day and so lovely to be able to be with family.  Definitely a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry, merry Christmas...

...from our home to your's!
"Joy to the world, the Lord has come!"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

You're one in a Minion!

The Noodle had her 7th birthday this past Saturday.  She decided that minions were the way to go, sooo after trolling through P*nterest for some cute ideas, I had a pretty good framework to build from and we sent out these invitations.
She had 6 little girls to the house for an hour and a half.  Let me tell you--perfect number of kiddos and exact right amount of time!  They came and started with a couple of coloring pages of minions before they moved onto a make-your-own-minion craft (idea here).
Next we played pin-the-goggles on the Minion.  Printable found here with the goggles found here, and then opened presents.
After presents, it was time for cake and ice-cream.  Now in all honesty, I've always struggled with cake decorating.  Cake B*ss I am not.  In fact, usually, the icing on my cakes looks pretty pathetic.  But....not this time!  Well, I'm still no Cake B*ss, but they turned out much better than I thought they would thanks to my speech therapist from school, VAK.  She gave me the little inside secret of freezing the cakes before icing. Revolutionary I tell ya!  So much easier to do.  Even if the black did end up dripping a bit so that one minion looks like his mascara ran.  Grrr.

Then we went and played a few rounds of mionion BINGO before the moms and dads starting picking everyone up.  Before each girl left, they got a goodie bag filled with a minion cake (found here) , a banana (obvs.), some little candies, some minion bandaids (again, thanks VAK), rainbow loom rubberbands, a pencil and an eraser.   Each girl also got their own minion hat--I pulled J. into the crafty goodness too!  Ha!!

The next day we had the grandparents over as well as Uncle and Aunt C who had driven up from VA the night before.  Yeah!  It was fun to celebrate and catch-up.
 Moose-ears.  All the rage with the first-grade crew I guess.
One of the gifts came in a huge bag.  While what was inside was cool, the bag itself was definitely a fun toy too.

As the day was winding down, I got an unexpected call from my best friend from college.  She and her family were driving through our town on their way down South to begin a new chapter in their lives and wondered if they could pop around for a quick visit.  Sure!!!
They are taking a huge step out in faith and have packed up their family of 5, sold 80% of their belongings, and are planning on living on a boat as they sail around the Caribbean doing mission work.  It has always been their dream and they decided it was time to push outside their comfort zone and go to where the magic happens.  Curious?  You can read more about their adventure here.

It was a fun but busy birthday weekend.  Next stop?  Christmas!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Decking the halls

Ho ho ho!  Deck the halls!  Jingle all the way! and Fa la la la laaaaaa!  Christmas is right around the corner. How about a little home tour?

Since our house is on a corner, this is what it looks like from both directions...
Come right on in!

Here's a little Christmas tree that my Grandma made...years ago.  It welcomes you when you walk into the mud room.  I love the vintage vibe it sends off.
Then it is up into the living room.  I finished the stocking for MeiMei and just picked it up from being monogrammed.  Yeah!  So nice to see 4 stockings hanging there.
I changed up our mantle this year.  We used to use greens and twinkle lights, but I was ready for something a bit different.  My parents left quite a bit of their silver (that was never used and covered in tarnish) squirreled up in the attic.  Seems like a waste, so I've been trying to incorporate it here and there.

The side table--J found that cute Asian nutcracker for me last year...love it!
Not too many uses for a champagne bucket (not that I don't love champagne!), so might as well fill it with Christmas greenery.
More silver making an appearance on the back of the "official" (read, hardly ever used) front door.  Here's how I made it.
Another change this year was that I didn't put up the swags over the doors like I've done in years past.  This is the doorway between the living room and the sun room and it is sporting some bunting.  Unfortunately you can't tell from the picture, but the dotty paper is glittery, as are the letters.  Bring on the bling!
Next room is the dining room.  I couldn't get a good picture of the sideboard that has our Advent wreath and some cute snowman candlesticks because it was (shocker) sunny out and the picture just was too dark.
I had seen placemats similar to these on Pinterest last year so decided to recreate them but with Christmas words.  The others say:  merry, joy, peace, jingle.
 Two snow divas that rest on the china cabinet.
Up in our bedroom we have a small little tree that just has photo ornaments on it.   It is so nice to wake up in the morning, turn on the lights and gaze at the tree.
Finally, in the upstairs hallway, we have some water-less snowglobes with bottle brush trees in them.  They are all over the internet and quite easy to make.
I just realized that I didn't put a picture of our "family" tree or the little tree in the Noodle's room.  Will definitely have to add that.
School's officially over so now we're out on Christmas vacation. The Noodle's birthday party was today (post on that soon) so we're really in full-on celebration mode here!!