Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Holiday Continues!

Christmas Eve at my mother's house was and is always a fun-filled, lively, and yes - quite boisterous time! My mother (pictured here in the center) had a set of the 12 Days of Christmas glasses that she would put at various people's places and we were expected to sing the song before dinner. One year, the teasing and complaining got to be too much for her (I suppose!) and the glasses did not appear in subsequent years. This year I decided to revive the tradition and since I did not know where the glasses were, I printed pictures and assigned "parts" to everyone and surprised my mom!Sasha and Clara had dibs on "Five Golden Rings" and their little girl voices resonated throughout the house - such joy!
Becky and Emme claimed the the Twelfth Day!
Everyone did a great job of restoring the tradition.
As you can see, laughter abounded as lyrics were "altered" and the song came to a close.
I love Christmas for so many reasons. Children and now grandchildren make my heart sing! Emme was just seven months old last year and now she is into the Christmas spirit with everyone else!
Little (and I say that with a little sarcasm!) Jayce is 11 months old and is a gift to our family in so many ways!
Our evening ended with another tradition - Happy Birthday Jesus cake.
On Christmas morning I was the first up to put the brisket in to cook and turn on the lights. It appears that our cat Legend was fascinated by the Snowman stocking!
We had fun opening gifts and enjoying two different breakfast casseroles. Here are just a few gift pictures . . .
These are airguns, folks! The boys will be learning proper gun safety!
Barbie never goes out of style and Kari is anxious to do some "styling!"
Emme loves soft and cuddly toys and this little doggy moves and barks and snuggles.
Although you can't see it, Dixon loved his remote controlled truck. Trains, trucks, and fast cars and this little guy is happy!
Clara and Sasha love American girl dolls and a bag of clothes and accessories was a hit!
Sashsa is a little fashionista and got some great new outfits. I don't know where she gets her love of clothes and accessories!
Just had to share just a few of the Lego sets Aidan put together. He is known as "Lego-Man!" Amazing what he can do and so quickly.
Jayce loves whatever makes noise and he can manipulate with those big hands of his.
Lunchtime was a feats of brisket cooked with Tastefully Simple's Peach Brandy Glaze - melt in your mouth good - ham, fruited rice pilaf, sweet potatoes, Pioneer Woman's recipe for brussel sprouts, a few other sides and my holiday dessert - Red Velvet Peppermint Trifle!
I love this special time each year with my family. I hope that everyone, regardless of their faith, had a wonderful holiday! Until next year . . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Holidays Begin - Day 1

One of our holiday traditions is making placecards for Christmas dinner. Each year we try to find new embellishments for our placecards.
Ryan and Aidan stamped all the names on each card and chose the colors Holiday Red, Star Spangled Blue, and Ponderosa Pine ink.
Kari was in charge of adding the fun foam stickers on each card.
Voila! Our placecards are ready for Christmas Day! Tomorrow we go to my mother's home for Christmas Eve and some fun new surprises to add to our list of "traditions."

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I had such good intentions of blogging each week, but have gotten so far behind! Now, it is catch-up time! In early November, Becky and I took the train to New York City to see Chinglish. I won tickets on Backstage Barbie's blog and was excited to spend a day in the Big Apple!
We did some shopping at Sketchers, Swarovski, and American Girl, where Becky got Emme a Bitty Baby to give to her when Emme's little brother or sister is born in July!
We also had to go to Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas Tree was encased in scaffolding, ready for its unveiling. The ice skaters were having fun and it really made it feel like the holiday season!
At Rockefeller Center we made a stop at a wonderful chocolate shop.
The displays inside were gorgeous. The chocolate was pricey, so we settled for just a few goodies.
After the seeing Chinglish, which we really enjoyed, we hung out at the stage door and got the lead actor's autograph.
A trip to New York would not be complete without Crumbs cupcakes! We headed to the new shop in Times Square to see what kind of yummy goodies we would get!
What to choose! What to choose! I could have dived right into this tower of goodness!
Heavenly yumness!
Our day in New York came to an end - one last look at Times Square!
Off to Penn Station where we had an amazingly good meal at Kabooz's in the station concourse. For $14.00 we had melt-in-your-mouth ribs, homemade mashed potatoes and cornbread, green beans, and a huge salad. Obviously, we had to take most of it to-go to enjoy the next day! Delish!
Homeward bound . . .
Over Thanksgiving we celebrated a special birthday! Kari is now 5 years old! She is a little princess through and through! If the crown fits . . . .
Other special events involving my daughter were worthy of a celebration. Jennifer, Annisa, and Becky are all Tastefully Simple Consultants and each one is at different levels on the career ladder. Becky recently recruited her first two consultants, which earned her a promotion. Annisa also realized a goal that she has been working toward and was honored for promoting. She is the one on the far right!
Because her sisters and others on her team hit their promotion goals, Jennifer promoted to a level that less than 1 % of the company achieves. She has worked so hard to attain this goal and her wonderful team celebrated her success by presenting her with a very special bracelet. Company recognition for all these wonderful achievements will occur in January. Tastefully Simple enables my daughters to be stay-at-home moms and have a career! Congratulations!!!!! So proud!!!Over Thanksgiving break when we were all together, Annisa took our Christmas card pictures. She got some great shots of the gang! Jennifer and her family.
Had to get a fun shot in!
Annisa and her family!
Becky and her wee one! Another on the way!

And, Jim and me with all eight grand-kidlets!

Last, but not least, we started the holiday season with the Lion's Club annual Christmas party this week. It has been a tradition since my daughters were babies. It continues . . . We took Sasha and Clara and had a wonderful evening. Santa even made an appearance!
Looking forward to more Christmas and holiday delights! Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My oldest daughter Jennifer earned a one week trip to Tastefully Simple's Sunset River home in Austin, Texas for the second year in a row! This year I got to tag along for the week!
These photos were taken outside the beautiful home we called our own for the week.
Yesterday we went to the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, which is not like other zoos. It is a zoo that rescues animals that have been abandoned, neglected, or abused.
As Kari was feeding one of the animals, Toni, one of the zoo's staff, told her the story of how the zoo acquired the goat. For some reason, Toni took a liking to our little group and proceeded to give us a guided tour of the zoo for the next hour or so. She was amazing!
The zoo houses seven gorgeous tigers, all rescued from bad situations. These animals were magnificent. Luckily, this tiger decided to pay us a visit!
The story of Leroy was especially touching. He was literally rescued from a junkyard! He was in such bad shape that he permanently lost his mane. His lioness "wife" was shot by the junkyard owner in front of Leroy. He obviously loves his new home as he was sprawled in the sun "chillin."
Even the birds were rescued from abusive owners. This little guy was quite the talker! He loved saying "Hello!"
Jayce was mesmerized by all of the animals and in spite of having no nap, he had a blast! The zoo houses more than 300 animals from 100 species. I highly recommend a trip to the Austin Zoo !
Next we headed into Austin and found a gluten-free bakery. This is just one of the treats in store for us! The boys didn't know what to pick, but Aidan decided on these chocolate treats and Ryan had a strawberry filled cupcake with cream cheese frosting.
After dinner, we went on a boat cruise on Lady Bird Lake to see the bats fly out from under the Congress Street Bridge. In March 750,000 pregnant female free-tail bats arrive from Monteray, Mexico and nest under the bridge. A few months later, they give birth and the numbers of bats soar to over 1.5 million!
As we cruised the waters of the lake, our guide told us quite a bit about Austin history, especially the downtown area.
Then the bats came! As the sun set you could hear them and then see them soar by the hundreds of thousands out from under the bridge. We were literally right underneath them on the boat! It was an amazing sight!
The bats form columns and head for the hill country in search of food. The bats bring in more than $8 million in eco-tourism each year and save farmers millions of dollars as they provide natural pest control.
Today I think we will spend the day poolside and just relax and enjoy the beautiful Austin sunshine!