Cleaning Up From Christmas

It’s been so long since I have posted, I have probably lost most of my regular visitors. Anyway, I am sure I don’t need to tell you how busy I have been lately, as it seems most everyone else is in the same situation. This holiday has been full of fun times for our family and we have done most of the entertaining at our house, since it is the biggest house in both my family and Sam’s. We love it though. It’s fun having everyone here. Although…there is so much to clean up! Not so much from the company…but from my kids, who have seemingly developed some very short attention spans…going from one toy to another and each place they play is left a mess. Today, we started cracking down on cleaning stuff up and organizing our stuff. The kids got far too much, but it was so fun to give them their gifts. It’s the best part of Christmas…outside of why we celebrate it in the first place. Sam bought me an ipod shuffle – that clips on. Awesome. I hadn’t even thought about having one, but I had asked him for my old shuffle back – he used it with the octopus show this summer. Anyway, the one he bought me, he got engraved with my name on it. That was pretty cool. I also got some cool art stuff. We got a bunch of fiestaware, too. Two entire placesettings in Scarlet and Peacock and some other miscellaneous dishes to add to our collection. When we got married, Sam’s mom gave us a bunch of Fiestaware to start us off. We also had a cheap set of Correl dishes, but those have pretty much been depleated due to breaking and chipping. Our Fiestaware dishes are great. I love that they are great in the microwave and dishwasher, and they could even go in the oven! The set we started with was 4 soup bowls (old ivory) and probably 8 plates in Cobalt, Green, Yellow, Old Ivory and Turquoise (all old colors) and 3 serving bowls and a giant round platter. Now we have dishes in about 15 colors. We have one of those open plate racks in our kitchen and the dishes look so pretty displayed in there. (see picture, left) I know they don’t go too well with our “Tea Rose” wallpaper and pink countertop…but one day we will have a kitchen that coordinates with our colorful dishes. It just isn’t very high on the priority of things to fix in our house. Sam’s dad got us a Pinball machine and it is a lot of fun. But it’s old and needs a little work. It’s called TRIDENT and Sam says he remembers it being in their pizzaria when they had it. It actually was released on his birthday when he was 10…and right now it is sitting in our living room, although I hope eventually to find another place for it. Speaking of our living room, probably the biggest thing we got this season was new curtains and shades for our living room. (You can see the old ones in the background of the picture at the left. Our living room is the largest room in our home, 23 foot long I think. It has 2 sets of 3 windows all together at each end and 2 on either side of the fireplace. Getting new curtains for this room was a huge investment, and although I hated what we had, it stayed up there for the past 3 years because I couldn’t find anything else I loved. When the JCPenney’s fall catalog came, I found them. I kept the catalog out and would look at them, trying to decide if I loved them enough to buy them. At Thanksgiving, I looked them up on line to show my mom, because I couldn’t find the catalog, and discovered they were almost half off! I ordered them that weekend. But then there was a problem with the online order…I called to check the status and found out it had been canceled – but not by me – I never did get an answer as to why…but I was assured the order was placed over the phone and they all showed up a couple of days later. I didn’t think it would be a big deal to get the new curtains up…but it seems that the people who lived here before us, perhaps from sheer laziness, just put new drapery hardware up over the old. So when I went to take it all down, I had to remove hardware from 2 sets of draperies and 1 set of curtain. That was a lot of screws, I’ll tell you! But I finally just got them up before our cookie making party last weekend…and WOW! did they change the look of that room. It is so comfy now, and I can’t believe how they just pulled everything together. And I also installed shades in every window…which is so nice. We can actually block out that bright morning sun that comes in the window behind TV and actually be able to see the screen in the morning now.
The last thing I wanted to tell you about was the awesome gift my mom and dad gave the kids. They built 2 puppet theaters. One for our family and one for my sister’s kids. These things are totally cool. They are about 5 feet high and 5 feet across. The bottom is a chalkboard where they can write stuff about their puppet shows. The kids also got a huge box of all different kinds of puppets. I will have to post a picture…maybe tomorrow, if they will put on another puppet show for us. I did do a small drawing in my journal, but it really isn’t all that great. It looks much better in real life. Today we attended our first puppet show. Savannah and Max made us tickets and when we came into the living room, they had made us a comfy place to sit on the floor with pillows and blankets. Savannah was the voice of the lamb…and the whole time she talked she talked in a shaky kind of voice like a lamb. I assume she learned that from her Christmas musical at church where one song was sung by the “animals” and the sheep sang with that kind of voice. Anyway it was so cute…as she drew our attention to the “Roles” (rules) that were written and numbered neatly on Max’s CARS magna-doodle: #1. Don’t cik the cushins #2 Don’t tuch the pupit theatr #2 Don’t tuch the pupits. Then we were introduced to the frog and the monkey and the lamb told us a story, that I can’t remember, and then Santa came out and it was over. We had a blast, and it was so funny. I can’t wait till the next one!

A Family Christmas Tradition

This drawing I did in my journal tonight is of Savannah’s gingerbread house that she made at church last week. It is made with graham crackers instead of Gingerbread, but it’s still so cute. Very colorful. I was going to paint it, but it took too long to draw, so maybe another time. Oh, and the Santa is a chocolate Santa wrapped in foil printed to look like a Santa.

Tonight we had planned to do our annual ornament shopping and take the kids to see santa and the Christmas light display at the fairgrounds. We started our evening at Applebee’s…and that is where it also ended. The boys wouldn’t eat, had bad attitudes and were being naughty…so we came home, disciplined them and they went to bed. Savannah was great, though, and we felt bad that she was missing out on the fun we had planned just because of the boys…so after they went to bed, her and I went back out and we bought ornaments for everyone. It was fun picking them out. Usually they get to pick their ornament each year. I write the date and their name or initials on it. When they move out, they will have at least 18 ornaments to take along with them…and a lot of fun memories. When we get the ornaments out each year, we talk about them and tell our favorites. Last year I thought of the idea of making an album of our Christmas ornaments. I actually took pictures of most of our ornaments…but I never did anything with them yet. I still think it is a great idea and something I would love to try. I also think it would be a great conversation piece for holiday guests. My idea is one ornament per page. Write who it belongs to, when it was purchased, made or received as a gift, and any special story behind it. If I bound it with rings, I could take the kids pages out eventually and give them to them one day, so they could do the same thing. Have you ever done anything with recording stuff about your ornaments? What kind of holiday traditions do you share with your families?

In the Midst of Decorating for the Holidays

Yesterday we were blessed with an extra day of school. We had a bad storm go through Michigan on Thursday night and it knocked down some trees which in turn made a lot of people lose their power…including our schools. So I stayed home with the kids. My sister and her kids came over and she helped with decorating our house (hers was already done – mostly) and I took a few pictures of Ava. This one is my favorite.We made her really mad after that though, because we were trying to take pictures of just her hand and just her foot…and she did not like that at all! So Cyndi finally got her quieted down and back to sleep and then we worked on the tree. My tree is up, only half the lights on it though. We ran out of time and lights. I have them now, but still haven’t put them on. Today I put up some outdoors decorations. Savannah and I did some pointsetta floral arrangements with some odds and ends of christmas looking fake flowers in some little urns I got on clearance a while ago. We set them on our front steps. I saw this the other day and have been wanting to try it. I also saw the same kind of thing in Country Home magazine. I looked at the patterns they provided, but then I just made up my own. I wanted to do the Christmas cards, but I didn’t have any because last year I threw them all out be cause I had so many and never had done anything with them! Ha. Isn’t that the way it goes. As soon as you decide to de-clutter and get rid of stuff you think off all kinds of things you could do with the things you threw away! I ended up going up to Family Dollar and buying two boxes for a dollar each. Kind of defeats the whole recycling thing, but anyway…here are mine. I only got three done tonight. Savannah and Caroline (my niece) decorated the stained glass windows on the church for me. They look really cool with lights inside them. I plan to make a few more and set them on my buffet…but I don’t know how I will light them, because there is no outlet there. ( I had to run an extension cord to take the picture)