Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Belated Christmas from My Family to Yours!!
Hello, dear friends! I'm back from my blogging break, and eager to fill you in on my adventures!! I've missed our visits, but needed the time with my family :). Thanks SO much for continuing to check in on me, and "Thanks" to all of my new Followers! I'm still trying to make the rounds to visit you all!

I've gone shooting birds with my dad in Indiana (I know, can't quite "picture it" can ya?), and did well for only my 2nd time out, getting 4 pheasants, and multiple quail and partridge. My dad takes the meat, and I take the pheasant feathers to decorate with:)!! It's such a fun time, and I really enjoy the "hunt", and the time with my Dad!

I've had visits with family and friends, always a good thing! My daughter and I both had sinus infections...not fun, but we've survived. And we actually got a "White Christmas" when visiting Hubby's family in MI!!! It was so beautiful, and our girls were thrilled to play in the snow again, and to have Momma build a snowman with them!

I just realized that I'm using LOTS of exclamation points!!!!!!! :) LOL

Been working, and re-working the sunroom...you'll get to see pics eventually--hehe!

Eating tons and tons of mini-sized Heath bars, kissing my nephews all over their chubby little cheeks, and have become quite addicted to Starbucks' decaf mocha's...tall with whipped cream. Yum!

I've also been spending lots of time thinking about what constitutes "home" (y'all know I love the topic of Creating a Welcoming Home!), and what this means for our family. I'm in prayer about this and some big changes that hopefully I'll be able to share with you over the next few months. Part that I can share now involves paring down and that I'll be doing starting this week! Maybe we could work on it together??

Anyway, I know this is a hasty post, and not the most clever or well written (I hear pitter-patters upstairs, and it's supposed to be bedtime), but know from the bottom of my heart that I have truly loved our "visits" over these past months, and I love having new friends in you! Even though so many of us have never met, I've loved the relationships formed...sharing advise, praying for each other, listening, laughing, and learning along the way. Thank you all...it's blessed me more than you can know!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Everyone should go check out this garland party at Nesting Place for some fabulous Christmasy decorating inspiration! I used the garland that I showed you in this post!! Don't you wanna break out the cheap garland and fake stuff and make your very own fabulous garland?? Dont'cha??? :)

Forgive me for being away from my blog this week so far...I've been Christmas shopping, having Dr. appts, had my wonderful Cousin for a visit, putting up outside decorations, and decorating my sunroom!! Been just a little busy, y'all :)!

I have more Christmas decorating to show you soon, and the sunroom is coming along as well (can't wait for you guys to see it soon!). I have lots of things planned, and can't wait to share them all with you! So, thanks for being patient and checking my blog anyway :), and thanks for all of your lovely comments and those new "followers" as well -- I really appreciate it all and am so thankful for all of you :)!! It truly means more than you can know!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Gingerbread Houses on Parade!

I thought I'd show some pictures from our visit to the Grove Park Inn to see the Gingerbread Houses since so many of you were interested! It was such a wonderful "girls day"!! My girls, Mom, Sister & I all went shopping in the village by the Biltmore and then to the Grove Park Inn for tea and cake and seeing the Gingerbread Houses. We had a great time together :)!
The 1st pic above was taken on the lovely terrace out back. It was a cloudy day, but you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background -- what a view! The other pics are all of the Gingerbread House competition. These were incredible! Some are very different from the traditional gingerbread house that I would normally think of. But the creativity was amazing, and it was truly worth seeing!!
And just so y'all know, I am working on my sunroom makeover!!! Hopefully I'll have pics soon :)!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fun Christmas Meme!

Christy from Between Here and Home has tagged me for a fun Christmas Meme!!

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Definitely hot chocolate with marshmallows! Or a candy cane stirrer! Although, I honestly can't say I don't like egg nog since I've never tried it. But it makes me think of Rocky in training, and I'm sorry, but I just won't go there!

2) Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Sits them under the tree with a bow and a note! There seems to be differing opinions on Santa, and what we did/do is explain to our kids a few years ago the real reason we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Santa is based on someone who was real (Nicholas) and who gave to those in need, but Santa Claus is just pretend. But it's fun to pretend, and if they want to they still can. Neither kid was shocked (at age 4), and my youngest said "I thought it was Daddy anyway!". They believe in Jesus, they don't care there's not really a Santa, they like to hear that there was a good real person who gave to others, and they still want to have some Christmas fun with it anyway! So, "Santa" leaves one unwrapped gift with a bow and a note!! And that's how we roll! :)

3) Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White outside, and it varies inside! Most trees are white, but for years we did colored, cause that's what we grew up with! Now, the playroom tree is colored lights cause the girls like it better!

4) Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but I did kiss my sweetie under a kissing ball at the Biltmore last weekend, so we're covered! ;)

5) When do you put your decorations up?
The week before Thanksgiving -- we're never home for Thanksgiving anymore, so it cuts down on my stress level to do it before!

6) What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)??
This is a toughie, since someone different hosts all the time! I do love a good Christmas ham, though! Mmm!! With cheesy potatoes casserole, too! Or White Chicken Chili for a quick Christmas Eve meal! Ok, now my mouth is watering!

7) Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Being in our tiny church and the kids doing the Christmas Nativity "play"; driving around looking at lights after service; my sister and I clearly hearing jingley bells outside my bedroom window one Christmas eve (my room was smack next to the chimney), and seeing a reindeer hoof prints on the snowy roof outside; laying under the tree and looking up at all the twinkly lights......

8) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't remember, I think I always just "knew". But my best friend's little brother found out by accident Christmas morning, and he screamed "YOU LIED TO ME!!" and ran upstairs. Not fun! That's part of the reason I told my kids, (though they already "knew" too).

9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yup, just one and it's always new jammies to wear that night!!

10) How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
It's different every year! I should post pics on another post! This year there's one that's quite formal in the dining room with lots of real pheasant feathers, one in our family room that's simple and serene, one in the sunroom that's garden/vintage themed, and one in the playroom that's all red glittery stars! The family ornaments are on the sunroom tree right now. That might change, though! :)

11) Snow! Love it or dread it??
Love me a White Christmas!

12) Can you ice skate?
I used to be able to as a kid! Haven't done it in years. I just got my old skates though, but only to decorate with LOL!!!

13) Do you remember your favorite gift?
A few fav's: a wooden sled, a fancy doll and bed and high chair, ballet shoes and lessons, a Nintendo !, and as an adult: finding out my sis-in-law was expecting!

14) What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Celebrating the birth of my Saviour Jesus Christ, and being with those I love! As a mom, I also want my children to know the real reason for this season of JOY, and I want to create lovely memories for them as well!

15) What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Without a doubt, Christmas cookies. And my favorite is Cherry Sand Tarts! I'll have to post a recipe!! I feel I need to admit here that I also like fruit cake. But only my hubby's Grandma's version. Yummy! Sue me.

16) What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Going to Christmas Eve services. And having my Daddy read "The Night Before Christmas" every single year, just as he has since I was born! If we aren't together for Christmas that year, we schedule a multi-family conference call to hear "the reading", and listen to Daddy yawn throughout the story! :) That tradition is why I collect Santas! A fav new tradition we've started several years ago is to have a Jesus present. I'll do a post on that, too!

17) What tops your Christmas tree?
A bow or feathers or pretty branches.

18) Which do you prefer -- Giving or Receiving?
Well, it's fun to get gifts :), but I truly have a little wiggly happy dance watching others open their gifts -- way more fun!

19) What is your favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night is just lovely!

20) Candy canes? Yuck or Yum??
Oh, so good! Yummy indeed!! Although I had a nauseous aversion to them when pregnant with my first kid. Anything minty taste or smell made me sick. It only lasted for 5 YEARS! But now I'm back to my candy cane licking days!! :)

21) What do you want for Christmas?
A Longaberger market basket to hold stuff by my family room chair, and to use at the farmers market!

22) Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
Not here in NC, but we did every year in the Chicago area with our church class!

23) Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJ's?
It depends on which family we're with! We switch every year. My side, definitely PJ's for most of the day. His side, we get dressed in something casual but nicer. It's weird. But so is wearing jammies in front of your father-in-law! :)

24) Do you own a Santa hat?
Nope. And again, no way!!

25) Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Answered this in #23. Always family, though!

Now, that you know some crazy things about me, and my fingers are about to fall off cause I can never give a succinct answer to these things....I'd like to tag 5 of you lovelies for this meme!! Cause I'm curious what you would say! :)

Here goes:
Shannon at Bless Our Nest
Jenny at The Red Bulletin Board
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality
Kimba at A Soft Place to Land
Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Have a great day today!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Holiday Weekend

(My parents and us in front of the Biltmore House)

(The girls visit with Santa Claus!)

Wow! What a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend we had :)! Well, it was more like a Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Christmas weekend celebration for us!! My side of the family met at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC for an amazing time together.
This was our first time to the Biltmore, and it was so much fun! The girls and my nephew LOVED the barnyard where they could pet animals and play with old fashioned toys, and later met Santa! We shopped and did a wine tasting, ate delicious meals, and toured the Biltmore house during a candlelight Christmas evening tour -- Gorgeous!!
Another day was spent with the "girls" shopping the village and visiting the Grove Park Inn for tea and seeing the many gingerbread houses on display. We also had a "Christmas morning" where we gathered in my parents' hotel room by the 6ft. fake tree we brought with us :) and opened presents!!
I am so thankful for my family :)!
What did you do this past weekend???