Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seems Like It's Been Christmas For a While

What with the move to Virginia and then the move to the new house my blogging has been sorely neglected. Also neglected has been some public acknowledgments and thank-you's to some very wonderful people.

I've gotten some great giftees lately and I apologize in advance if I forget anyone...

Way back when I won this wonderful pattern from Michelle at Nostalgic Cafe I had all kinds of plans to make some for Christmas ~ but ya'll know that never happened. Maybe if I start on them now I'll have some for next year. They are super cute! I might even have to buy some of those snow babies to go with them!

I also got to meet up with the wonderful Sandra from Sandra Sews We've been online buddies for a while now ~ she lives in Canada (brrr!) and I was in Florida (ahhh!) but recently she and her equally wonderful hubby drove down to Pennsylvania to visit with some friends and I took the opportunity to drive up from VA to meet her in Hershey, PA.
She made me this wonderful "panty" bag filled with lots of goodies including some embroidered flamingos. She makes the most wonderful zipped bags and book thongs. I'm lucky to call her my friend and so glad we finally got to meet.

Oh, and Hershey, PA ~ I'm definitely going back. Probably in the spring... hit the amusement park, the caverns and definitely the Hershey factory. It's an adorable little town and it really does smell like chocolate!

Also got this wonderful lawn fairy (Tinkerbell of course) from my amazing friend Ann. Someday I'll have to tell you the story of how we became friends.. we still kid each other about it... but anyway... always thinking of others she found this while she was living on the coast of Oregon. It made the move back to Florida with her and at the end of last summer she managed a trip up to VA to visit with her inlaws and brought it up to me. How's that for determined to get a gift to a friend! She has/had a blog but hasn't written in a while... hint hint. Still check it out. She's got some beautiful pics on there. It's called A Day in the Life.

As I mentioned we moved to another house in October... That's a blog all on it's own! ~ but we got some great moving gifts that were completely unexpected. My wonderful MIL sent us this box of amazing chocolate covered fruit. Those didn't last long here at all! Who knew chocolate covered oranges were so incredible?
Our realtor sent us a lovely basket from Starbucks and the most surprising of all was the plant and lovely note from the previous occupants of the house
wishing us well and telling us how wonderful the house and the neighborhood is. We completely agree with them. It's been so nice being here and hope to stay put for the long run. And for those of you that know me, you'll be amazed to hear that the plant is still alive! Mostly cause Richard is taking care of it. I have a notorious black thumb.

I participated in a pin cushion swap hosted by the very talented Jill of Life With Nature Girl. The swap actually has a blog of it's own called Crafty Bits Swap Spot. This is the second swap I've participated in and it's been so much fun.
Laura was my partner this time and she sent me a wonderful package including a calorie-less doughnut. So cute. I didn't take a picture of the complete package that I sent but here's the pincushion I made for Laura.
It's a miniature of the octopus I taught years ago with a stryofoam head for the pins. And if that wasn't fun enough our hostess Jill was sweet enough to make this little set for me
She is so talented and generous! There is no way I could put pins in this. It's too cute. They are siting on my sewing table and make me smile every time I see them.

My birthday this year was wonderful and I will post about the party weekend but wanted to include this great piece of fabric my best ever friend Mary Ann sent me. I'm not putting this into my stash. I'm actually going to make something just for me out of it. Not sure what yet but it sits patiently on my desk waiting. She also sent me the most amazing bracelet that she made. I didn't take a pic of it before sending it back to her to be resized. Silly women thought I had tiny wrists instead of the unusually large wrists that I actually have. Once it comes back though I'll get a pic to show you. It's BEAUTIFUL!

Well ~ I'm sure I've left something out ~ and for that I apologize. I've truly been blessed with some amazing and wonderful friends and for each of you, I am so grateful. On this New Year's Eve I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of times and look forward to many more adventures with all of you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas with Smooshy

We actually did two Christmas's this year. Jen, Jeremy & Charlie were here a week before Christmas for several days before heading down to Florida to celebrate with Jen's dad in Ft. Lauderdale, as well as Jeremy's family in Winter Haven. I do believe there will be a stop over in Orlando as well.

Since not all presents were going to be opened on our "first" Christmas I put presents under 2 different trees. I put our Florida tree in the formal living room and put the presents for 1st Christmas under that one and presents for the 2nd Christmas under the green tree in the family room.
It was so much fun watching Charlie open gifts. She's growing up so fast and really starting to get into tearing open the wrapping to see what's inside. Next year I do believe we will have to go back to "hiding" gifts until the night before though.
It was so hard limiting gifts for her ~ I just wanted to give her the world. I guess that's part of what being a Grammy is all about. Trust me when I tell you she got her share of toys and clothes and so many things Mickey Mouse, which is her favorite right now. Lots of toys that make fun noises. I'm sure Jen and Jeremy love those!
One of the things I got J&J was a popcorn tin which we broke into immediately and we all munched on popcorn as we opened gifts. I think this needs to be a new tradition and it certainly made Charlie very happy.
The tin itself was a great gift though because it was scene's from "A Christmas Story" which is a family favorite. We've been watching it at Christmastime for years now. I think we can all recite the lines by heart. Actually lines from that movie pop into our everyday conversations all year long! That's just how we roll.
We all got tons of great gifts but the best gift for me was being all together to celebrate and spend time with each other. There was last minute shopping, which also means a ride or two on the carousel in the mall for Charlie.
There were movies to be watched and games to be played. Apples to Apples is one of our favorites these days. I love Banana grams as well.... but all time favorite has to be Scatagories.

Instead of eating out quite so much we took turns preparing meals which turned out really well ~ with everyone pitching in with the clean up. It was fabulous family time.
They will be back up this way mid January before they start back to work at the University. I'm already looking forward to it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Christmas Tradition

Now that my kids are older and no longer believe in the Jolly Man in Red we put the presents under the tree as they are purchased and wrapped which I prefer rather than having to hide them and putting them out Christmas eve. This has caused some problems though. Curious kids want to touch the presents and try to figure out what's in the packages.

First of all I try to "disguise" their gifties. Video games fit nicely in clothes boxes stuffed with tissue paper and clothes are hiding in shoe boxes, etc. This didn't really stop them though, from shaking gifts and figuring out what's what.

I think I've may have written about this before but for the last few years I have given them all "code" names. The first year I did this they were all given potato names.... Curly fried, Tater Tots, Potato pancake, etc. It has worked like a charm. No one knows who's is who's AND there is no comparing who has more gifts under the tree. I think next year we may do names from "Clue." There is really no end to the names you could come up with. Maybe types of dogs or circus animals... See where I'm going with this?

This year I gave them all candy names. Tootie Roll, Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and Bit O' Honey. I also added a new element this year. I bought each of those candies and put them on the table. They had to pick which one they thought they were and then find all those presents labeled with their name. Once that was done I then handed out the candy to the correct recipient and it was a bit of musical chairs to find their proper pile of gifts. It added a bit more fun to opening gifts and I think I will do it again next year.

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday, which ever one you celebrate. I'd love to hear about your traditions. I may just have to steal some of them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From Our House To Yours

Wishing you the Merriest of Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2011

McKinley Ann

Yes, I'm back ~ hopefully for good ~ and here's my first big news....
I'm a great aunt once again. My niece Danielle and her husband Jason are proud parents of a beautiful little girl. McKinley was born yesterday at 3:10 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs 15oz and 21" long. Both Mom and baby are doing really well.

I think the one who is most excited is big sister Abbigale! Just look at the way she is looking at her new baby sister. And I know my sister Joey (Danielle's mom) is looking down and smiling on all of them.

Me, I'm excited and can't wait ... in just 3 weeks I will have these three wonderful girls at my house.
Anyway... Congrats and lots of love to Danielle, Jason, Abbigale and McKinley!