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Christmas | Christmas – A Grand Journey
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The Family Christmas Picture

Family By December 22, 2016 Tags: , , No Comments

How can taking a simple family photo be such an ordeal?  All I wanted was to snap a quick picture to include in my Christmas cards.  Of course, in order to do that you have to get everyone’s cooperation!

My oldest son has never liked (or been agreeable to) getting his picture taken.  As you can see, he is the one with his tongue sticking out.  You would think he was 6 years old, instead of a successful, well-respected manager and engineer with two children. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My oldest granddaughter also won’t cooperate getting her picture taken.  And, despite the fact that the youngest granddaughter has a great smile, she will only scowl in a staged setting. Sigh….it just shouldn’t be this hard!

After much coaxing and the promise of treats, my son got his tongue back in his mouth, the girls stop crying and agreed to face the camera.  However, I guess actual smiling comes at a higher price!  Next year I need to plan ahead…maybe the promise of a pony?!!!

Have a wonderful holiday!!!



The Fake Christmas Tree

Family By December 7, 2016 Tags: , 1 Comment

When my kids flew the coop…actually, when the first one went off the college, I decided to buy a FAKE Christmas tree.  I thought it was a reasonable purchase.  Real trees can be expensive AND the worst part is…they shed!  The shedding is annoying.  It doesn’t matter how fresh the tree is or how diligently you keep it in water, it just wants to drop spiky pine needles all over the floor.  Buying an artificial tree and then reusing it year after year sounded very budget friendly and “green” to me.  However, my teenage children (at the time) didn’t see it that way.  You might as well have called Mrs. Grinch. My youngest son was especially distraught and I heard about this betrayal of Christmas for the next few years.  They eventually got over it, declaring they would never, ever have a fake Christmas tree in their homes. Ever!

I have had this artificial tree for more than 10 years now. This proves my point about it being economical and green.  But I evidently, for some strange reason, had never assembled it by myself.  I had farmed that job out to whatever children were hanging out at the house at the time.  Now that everyone is busy, it falls on me to get it up and decorated. The tree is actually a colored coded puzzle, with many pieces.  Thankfully this year I knew what I was doing.  Last year was a different story.tree2-a

I put the tree up early this season, we were watching the grandkids on Black Friday and I wanted them to help decorate it.  That part went fine.  It wasn’t until the next evening when my husband and I were curled up on the couch, watching a movie that we heard the crash.  My decade old, fake Christmas tree had taken a nose dive in the living room.  Bummer.  Nothing broke, expect the tree stand, luckily I had only let the grandkids put on non-breakable ornaments.  But it was still a bummer.

I am hosting a big Christmas cookie decorated event in a few weeks so I needed (or felt like I needed) a Christmas tree . Otherwise, I probably would have waited until the after Christmas sales and looked for a new one.  The next afternoon, while I was pondering this, my youngest son, the one who years ago thought I was the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, showed up at my house with a brand new, easy to assemble, artificial Christmas tree.  I was shocked, surprised and touched.  He had a big grin on his face, shrugged and then put it together for me.   Long live my new, FAKE Christmas tree!tree-a


12 Days of Christmas Challenge

Family By November 30, 2015 Tags: , , , 12 Comments

I recently stumbled upon Allyson’s blog, All Our Days and her post 12 Days of Christmas: Blessing Your Husband.  I thought it was fun and cute, but I figured my husband would think it was cheesy.  Then I thought about it some more but dismissed it because obviously she hasn’t been married as long as I have.  Then I started thinking, what tokens could I give him that he would find fun and interesting?  As it rolled around in my mind for a day or two, I finally decided to do it.  I am sure I could find some inexpensive, but interesting items to fill the 12 days…cheesy or not. I started to get excited, as I let the creative juices flow.

I don’t think this has to be just for a husband.  You can choose anyone special in your life (a grandchild, parent or neighbor) and design a 12 Days of Christmas surprise for them.  I decided that I would start on December 13 and finish on December 24.  That is when our family celebrates Christmas together so that would be perfect. I am also going to wrap each gift with a tag that says “on the ___ day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” and then I will ‘try’ to find words to match the tempo of the song. I am not going to stress about rhyming! You might do “on the ___ day of Christmas my grandma (friend, daughter) gave to me…..”.

Here is the list I came up with:

Day 1 – a picture of him and his granddaughters in a magnetic frame for his office (so he can put it on the file cabinet or other metal surface)

Day 2 – 2 books I order for him from Amazon.  This book was recommended on the blog I bought the book AND the workbook.  Who doesn’t want to live strong, fit and sexy until your 80? Here is the link if you are interested. (I also bought the woman’s version for me – wink!)

Day 3 – A small cookie tin with 3 penguins on it and almond cookies inside-he likes penguins and he likes almond cookies –double score!

Day 4 –4 boot socks (2 pair) – he always needs socks and these are soft and functional.

Day 5 – a five meatball spaghetti dinner (I am sure he will love this one).

Day 6 –6 packages of peppermint hot chocolate mix to take to work.

Day 7 – The movie – The Magnificent Seven (the movie Fast and Furious 7 would also work)

Day 8 – 8 Hershey kisses (wrapped in a small box)

Day 9 – A list of what I love about you (I planned this for the day I had a hard time finding something for – explaining the choice of the number 9)

Day 10 – A favorite band’s music CD with 10 songs (found at Walmart for $5)

Day 11 – Movie – Ocean’s Eleven (obviously my husband likes movies!)

Day 12 – 12 colored pencils (along with a fun color page like a Celtic knot or something)

There you have it. My 12 days of Christmas gift list, for my hubby.  I am fairly excited.  He doesn’t know anything about it. It’s going to be fun!

Do you do anything special around the holidays?

This post linked to A Grand Social at, Blog Hop on, – Treasure Box Tuesday and Creative Muster at

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