Now This Is A Strange List

It’s been said “if only” I didn’t… But truth be told, I’d like to think that there is a time and place for all things.

What about going off the deep end? I could say the same for that. Dive in, but know what you’re getting into first.

Too much is too much…Perhaps it’s good to know when the party is over. But while the party lasts, enjoy it!

And the point? Well in the end of all the hoopla, festivities, Christmas and partying, my body reached rotten bottom.

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Would I do it all over again? Of course I would.

I had the idea of posting all of the sweet things I consumed during the nearly two weeks we were away. Just for kicks.

  • Biscoff – those yummy cookies on Delta – I will not disclose the amount eaten
  • Candy bars from the hotel vending machines – too many to count – but wonderful memories with the hubs as we had our sweet treats while playing the backgammon game we brought for late night tournaments.
  • Pumpkin Muffin – from Panera Bread – Enjoyed a nice date with the hubs and sweet treats to end our meal. The hubs had the pecan braid, his favorite PB treat.
  • Red Velvet Crinkle Cookie – from Panera Bread
  • Sweet treats at the wedding
  • Cold Stone Ice Cream – No way of knowing how many trips – Special memories – Especially after dinner with my bro and sis-in-law one evening.
  • Starbucks – a few times – Especially the night we visited with my bro and sis-in-law – after dinner AND Cold Stone, we visited Starbucks until closing.
  • Homemade Banana Bread – At mom’s house Christmas morning with coffee. The BEST!
  • And the sweet goodies consumed at mom’s during Christmas week.
  • Peanut Butter Fudge, mom makes the Best! It’s the #1 sweet thing I remember most during the holidays. Oh, she makes it with the crunchy peanut butter, my fav!
  • Little mini cherry tarts – From mom’s kitchen
  • German Chocolate Cake – Again this came from mom’s kitchen to my little bro for his Birthday. I consumed two (big) pieces alone.

So who makes a list of the sweet things they consumed? It’s a crazy list if you were to ask me. Anyone reading this probably thinks I’ve gone off the deep end. Allow me to confirm, I did!

And my system feels rotten. But I say all of that to say, these are a few of the sweet things I remember. The things that make a wedding, a wedding and Christmas, Christmas and special visits with family blended with coffee complete.

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And for those things, I’m thankful.

And I’m thankful for new beginnings, new starts and a fresh new me that is beginning to feel back to normal.

And I kinda like that too.

Blessings – Debbie

Christmas Eve

There is a certain element of joy when I know we’re going to be at mom and dad’s on Christmas Eve.

It’s the annual tradition of family, food and visiting that joined together makes for the perfect way to spend the holiday.

But before we could get to my parents house, we had to get on a plane and fly from St Louis *Shiver* – down to Sunny South Florida *Ahhh*

It was and early flight, but worth it! As we arrived at the parents house at around 3pm. YAY! My little brother and his family were right behind us.

We all arrived two hours before mom expected us, which was good all the way around. It took some of the work off of her and we all pitched in to help.

And let me tell you, the food that comes out of her kitchen is amazing!

My nephew jumping to give a helping hand.

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My little brother was on duty texting his baby girl (out doing her calling) who is out of the country. We missed her so much.

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The hubs and nephew on stand-by waiting on their next assignment.

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My pop starting a fire. My wish was to roast a marshmallow that evening, but my tummy was too full by the end of the night. P.S. My family does not burn/catch our marshmallows on fire. No, we slowly turn it until its  reached golden brown status and soft on the inside. Mmmm…I could go for one now!

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My sis-in-law preparing the annual goodie table.

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My niece cooking up some sausage for our homemade egg rolls.

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Her brother, my nephew – supervising…

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And that’s when I went off camera duty and on over to my post aka the kitchen sink. I was trying to keep up with all the dirty dishes flying into my sink…And things had started to pile up.

Then we all enjoyed the fruits of our labor by dining outdoors and visiting into the evening hours by candle light and the nice little fire…Did I mention how yummy everything was? And how good it was to spend time around the table once again with family? It was such a joyous occasion and once again, my mother outdid herself.

Blessings – Debbie

Taking a Load Off

Of all the things we cross off the list this time of year, taking a load off is when our Christmas newsletter is finally checked off the list of things to do.

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Cheers to another year of getting the newsletter in the mail before Christmas.

And cheers for being all set and ready for Christmas!

You may or may not see me for a while as I’m getting ready to spend some much-needed time with the hubs and family. In fact, I think I’m giving myself an official blog break until next year. Luckily next year is right around the corner so it won’t be long.

Blessings to all and here’s sending out a very special Merry Christmas Wish to you and your loved ones.

Blessings – Debbie

I’m A Nikon Girl

Why yes. Santa came early in this house. He thought it was necessary for me to get familiar with this guy before Christmas.

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I’m so excited I can hardly contain my joy! These shots were taken with my Sony a55 with the 50mm 1.4 lens. Shot this morning on our kitchen table.

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Night and day, that’s how I compare this camera upside my Sony. And I can’t wait to jump right in as I have so much to learn before I feel comfortable taking shots.

Sure, I’ve already taken shots, but just not the artsy fartsy manual setting type shots that I prefer.

So this guy arrived in the mail yesterday (late morning) and the hubs was adamant that I open it. However, I promised him that I would wait until he got home.

So to take my mind away from the gift (I knew what I was getting), I ran a few errands.

I was just 10 min. out when my cell phone rang.

It was the hubs inquiring what I was up to.

Turns out he rushed home from work to surprise me. He really wanted me to have it right away.

I was downhearted that I had just missed him.

But he assured me that he opened the ups box and that the camera was waiting for me to unwrap as soon as I got home.

Once I got back to the house, I didn’t have it in me to open. I just couldn’t do it without him. I wanted him to be here so that I could experience that joy with him. So I waited for him to come home before madly opening the box.

I still haven’t figured it all out, but I have until Christmas to get lots of practice.

And with that, I’m out of here such that I can learn how to adjust the settings.

Soon, it will be set up in manual mode and I’ll be snapping my heart out, no doubt.

More pix to come.

Blessings – Debbie

Who Cares

So I’ve been thinking…That’s nothing new.

This time change has really done me in. And why is it that this year feels worse than any other year?

Somebody break out the violin, because it’s one of those kind of posts that I’m going to need it.

I mean, keeping my eyes open much past 8:30 is a very big deal for me these days. BIG – HUGE! Every time I say that, I think of that line in Pretty Woman. Not that it has anything to do with this post, I just thought you would like to know.

And just a few nights ago, I was fast asleep by 6:30 pm. Don’t ask what time I’m waking (in the middle of the night) in the morning.

I believe this time change has everything to do with me wanting to spread Christmas cheer way before Thanksgiving. In fact, this cheer become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition years ago.

And I’ve already declared that next year I will put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. And I really don’t doubt that one bit.

Who cares? I didn’t think so, as I feel pretty alone in this. For those of you who picked up the violin, thank you, I needed the sympathy. Truly, I did.

But I’m feeling extra happy that the hubs enjoys this spirit with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings – Debbie

The Pictures are in the Mail

THE (family and Sr) PICTURES ARE IN THE MAIL!  Yes, I’m yelling!  Would love to yell this from the mountain top, I’m that happy!

I had a number of issues to deal with between Christmas and the 1st of April.  Issues with my computer, issues with running out of space on the computer (I have never done that before) and issues, oh the issues.  We also had a big move somewhere in the middle of all of that.  All the while, hubby continued to bail me out of trouble.

Finally, the pictures that were chosen, were compiled and DVD’s were burned over the weekend.

Hubby gathered the DVD labels and the stomper and suggested I make a nice graphic for them.

The graphics were made.

When it came time to print the labels Sunday evening, we hit yet another issue.  The printer flat-out, broke.  We agreed we would nail a new printer Monday evening and all would be right with the world and the pictures would be in the mail by Tuesday.

Turns out, we did go to buy our new printer, but hubby felt too rushed into making a decision on the spot.

The next plan was to drive back home, log on and e-mail the pix to hubby’s work.  Then drive over and print them out.

So that’s exactly what we did.  Hubby printed them out from work, made the postage purchase online and slapped that on the box of DVD’s.  To top it off, the box was dropped it in the mail Monday night sometime around 10:30 pm.

And that my friends makes me and hubby so very happy.

Blessings – Debbie

Family, Friends and Christmas

Is it really March?  And am I really trying to catch-up on the blog?  Yes and YES!  Lets get started, shall we?

Is there anything better than spending time with family and friends at Christmas?  I feel one of the greatest gifts we can give to family is spending time together.

This Christmas we flew to FL to spend time with my parents and my “Little Brother” and his family.  Good meaningful times were had.  And lots of good memories were made.

My family, minus my big brother and family.

I had the privilege of taking a few pictures of my Brother and his family…

…My pop with his best friend…

…Nieces and nephew being silly at Christmas…

…Nieces and nephew – sibling shot…

…and again…

One evening (while in town) on a whim, my little bro called to see if we would like to join them for dinner.  It turned out to be such a great event.  After dinner, we enjoyed a nice little stroll and visit on the boardwalk.

Hubby got to see his old buddy – We enjoyed an amazing little outdoor lunch.

I had the privilege of taking pictures of my beautiful twin nieces with their best friend of so many years.

And my nephew with the snake he’s raised.

But most of all, I will cherish the love we share, the precious time we carve out for each other and all the special memories we made.

Blessings – Debbie

Are You Ready For Christmas

When asked, are you ready for Christmas, I can finally sit back, relax and say a hearty yes.  I can’t tell you how good that feels.  But, allow me to say, it’s feels great!

Even down to a nice relaxing visit to the hair salon late afternoon.

This was my mid afternoon cup of coffee at the salon.

Taken with my cell and toyed with for a bit in one of my apps.

 So, I ask, are you ready for Christmas?

Tick Tock, it’s Christmas week already!

Blessings – Debbie

Hubby’s Bailiwick

Christmas is the time of year when cards and newsletters are added to the list of things to do. And in our household, hubby holds the reigns to that overwhelming task. If it were up to me, I’m not so sure family and friends would hear from us through snail mail each and every Christmas. But in a perfect setting they would all be mailed the day after Thanksgiving.

This Christmas is one of those years that I know that no one would hear a peep from us. No, not even the slightest peep of a signed Christmas card. It’s a year that I’ve asked hubby if we could just do a Happy New Year newsletter. After all, he’s so busy and I hate the thought of adding more to his plate, so I tried to make his load lighter. But he seems to have a built in Christmas clock and he can’t imagine letting one Christmas go by without putting our annual newsletter together. And this year made no exception.

He finished and presented me with all the copies last evening. That’s when his job ends and my little contribution to the newsletter kicks in. I love my job and feel I totally get the easy end of it.

This was my little set up this morning


Our 11th edition


LOVE those pull and seal envelopes – Many a thank you to the inventor of these guys


Hubby called to see how I was doing and I told him I was on a roll to get them in the mail.


As the envelopes pile up, the newsletter stack (to fold) goes down


By 11:30 the entire stack of newsletters were folded, stuffed, stamped and labeled and in a sack to deliver to the PO.

Indeed they were mailed today and should reach most destinations by Christmas!

So today I count our little Christmas Newsletter blessings. And thankful that hubby takes this job seriously each year. Because we now have quite a nice stash of memories from years past.

Our newsletters have become one of my favorite keepsakes ever. I brought them with me as I can’t imagine leaving them behind. They hold the news of our lives from the very beginning and it’s fun each year to go back and see all the places we’ve been together.

2006 was so much fun to put together. We had our picture taken that year especially for our Christmas card and newsletter. Little did we know (at the time) that that would be our last year in Texas.

The Christmas card of 2006


The Newsletter design


5 cents in the corner


In 2005 we used a picture of our home with snow. I added the little ornaments to the trees and did a few things to make the card.


Matching card and newsletter


2003 Christmas Card – Our first Texas Christmas


And inside the card


A Merry Christmas from Hawaii back in 2001


And the inside of the card – The newsletter was along the same lines as the card.


I’ll always be grateful to my husband for all the work he puts into making our memories special for family, friends and for me. This will be one of those folders that we will cherish forever.

Salt And Pepper

I’m not one to pay full price on certain things. So yesterday while I was out making my weekly grocery run, I couldn’t help but check out the after Christmas sales. I like waiting ‘til after the 1st on Christmas items because I like hitting the 75% off sales.

That is when I spied this darling little salt and pepper shaker set.

This little number stopped me right in my tracks while I carefully swooned over each piece.

The stocking so bright

O Christmas Tree

They look so good together

All together now – and this little want set only set me back 2 bucks and change.

After I brought them home I positioned them under the poinsettia plant for a photo shoot. It was such a sad day to wrap them up and put them away for next year but I’m here to announce that Christmas IS coming!

Christmas Memories

Christmas at my big brothers was a wonderful event this year.My parents from down south drove north and my hubby and I drove south to meet half way at my brother’s home.My parents, hubby and I arrived early evening the night of December 23rd to a wonderful meal around the table.My little brother and family flew north to spend this Christmas with my sis-in-law’s family and we missed them this year.

Christmas Eve dawned and Hubby and I slept in ‘til our hearts were content.By the time we were all up and at ‘em (we stayed at a very near by hotel) and arrived the rest of the family had already had breakfast.We already knew that would be the case so I fixed a nice little breakfast for me and my dearest. Hubby enjoying bacon, eggs, hash browns and homemade rolls (my sis-in-law made the rolls and the strawberry jam) with a glass of orange juice.

 

After we finished our breakfast I was giving Hubby some attention and my dad conveniently grabbed my camera to snap our picture. I have no idea what hubby’s doing here but I love his expression anyways.

Then Hubby wanted to take a pic of me and asked me to smile.

Christmas Eve Horderves is one of our family traditions as mom started this when my brothers and I were very small kids and we still carry on with this tradition.

We’re waiting to dive into the horderves.

After the hordervers our family tradition is to open ALL the gifts. Santa was good to us all this year but the fun part was watching the boys open their gifts with so much excitement.

My Brother and his wife – our amazing host and hostess!

After all the hoopla and gift opening we ventured out to my brother’s out building that he’s made into a great game area for the boys.Our nephews surprised as they walked in…

By this new “Bank Shot” Santa delivered.They were not even suspecting this as they had already received some amazing gifts already.

The boys having so much fun with their new toy!

Pops and my big bro enjoy some “hoops” as well.Actually we all played Bank Shot but I’ll spare all the pictures and move along…

A little later the “Boys” start a rousing game of poker…

Our nephew

While the boys play poker, the “girls” play the Wii Fit! Mom still holds the record on the ski jump – jumping a total of 369 meters – GO MOM!  Here she is on the slopes and there’s no stopping her!

After all the excitement on Christmas Eve, we wrapped up our games sometime after midnight and made our way back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.We did have to set the alarm for Christmas morning as we had a big family breakfast with my sister-in-law and all of her family.

After spending the morning with her family we went back to my brothers to prepare Christmas dinner and there were more games to be played.

Christmas dinner – our amazing hostess taking the picture.

My brother and me playing rummy – at any given time you would find family playing some sort of games from Rook, Texas Holdem’, 5 Card Draw, 7 Card Stud, Rummy, Wii, Bank Shot and Race Cars…

Pops checking out mom’s Rook hand

The boys set up a cool race track that occupies two tables and Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson cars were a big hit on the track!My hubby threatens to buy them Tony Stewart race cars but they’re NOT Stewart fans like us.

Pops and Hubby giving Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon a spin – Now Hubby wants a race track.

Pops walking the tight rope with an audience – It cracked me up to see him put his rally cap on. It was obvious he meant business and he made it to the other side – Way to go POPS!

We thoroughly enjoyed the game room with something for everyone and some great memories were made.

Our last evening was spent watching old family movies (from 20 years ago) and looking at pictures. I have no idea what’s so funny that I’m sharing with them but I’ll never forget all the fun times we shared together.

Hubby and I said our goodbyes to the family Saturday evening…

and got up early Sunday to head back home.

Hubby is home with me this week and I’m enjoying our time together so much. Monday we were able to sleep in and chill all day and did not even as much as lift a finger all day. It was wonderful and we will continue to enjoy the rest of this week. We may take in a movie or something but it will definitely be low key all week.

Greetings

Just a note to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

With Christmas rapidly approaching I doubt I’ll be posting much if anything at all ‘til after Christmas. We’re spending time with family and heading south first thing in the morning. I’m finally ready with gifts wrapped and the suitcase packed!

I’m Just Looking

I’m madly in love with my beautiful amazing grocery store; no matter the season, they’re ready. Yes they are, as they practically twist my arm each time I enter; you’d think I’d learn to go somewhere else or is it that I’m a glutton for punishment? Wait a minute here not so fast! They have a selection of olives unlike any other place and the cheese, oh the cheese and the… Come on, I love that place! So yesterday I needed to run out and pick up a few staples to get us through the rest of the week and these are the dishes that continue to twist my arm week after week.


I took that picture (thinking it would last longer and so that I don’t have to rush over to see what they look like – AGAIN) at the expense of getting gawked at by fellow shoppers. So I stood there patiently waiting for shoppers to pass bye so that I could get a nice clear pic of that setup.

But I have to get real; I don’t have the room in our little apartment to store these beauties. I think I’ll just keep looking this year. But then again, look at these babies up close, that green would look fabulous in my new kitchen next year! Stop it, you’re just looking, end of conversation! I really do have to talk to myself. Sometimes I carry on three way conversations between my “real” voice my head and my heart. Trust me, you don’t want to listen in long on these type conversations.


So I walk away and then I have to pass the beautiful Christmas displays, in the grocery store no less.


What’s a girl to do? Look, she looks… that’s what she does and when asked if she needs any help she replies “I’m just looking” *puppy dog eyes and all, sigh*. No Christmas decorations for us again this year, I’m just looking and basking in the beauty all around. (Tear) My traditional week to decorate is this week, the week before Thanksgiving and I think it’s really getting to me.

Hold on though because I do believe I’m going to positively BURST with Holiday Cheer next year! And can’t wait to do the “Just Looking” thing in our own home!

Favorite Purchase This Week

Swarovski – we had to learn how to pronounce it way back when, because we love it so much. It’s pronounced just like swore – off – ski. We’ve collected the Swarovski star ornaments since we’ve been together which includes the year we started dating in 1997. We totally missed getting our ornament last year due to being in the midst of our move and still living in a hotel.

We were having a nice visit this evening when my thoughts drifted and I exclaimed “honey! We never got our ornament last year”! So Bobby said “get it, you should be able to find a new one with the papers on e-bay”. I was quite pleased as I found a Buy It Now for $40.00 including shipping. These ornaments went for $70.00 in the store last year so we were pleased with the deal.

These ornaments continue to appreciate through the years. I just checked e-bay and our 1997 ornament is going for over $150 and the 1999 ornament is going for over $200. So you can see why I was so urgent to get our ornament sooner rather than later.

And now all is well and we will continue living happily ever after now that our favorite Christmas ornament collection is up to date.

A Merry Christmas In Florida

Christmas in Florida was such a very special treat this year for not just Bobby and me but my whole family. We were privileged as a family to all be home for Christmas and we were also blessed to have both of my grandmothers with us as well. My mom’s mom has been staying with my parents for a couple months and dad’s mom was able to fly down from Ohio. It truly was a very special Christmas and our days were filled with some very special times and wonderful memories were made. We were also blessed to have my Uncle Steve and his wife Sharon visit for our Christmas Eve Brunch.

I’m going to transition from here to my Christmas Album.

The next picture is of Grandma and Dave.

Here are Ash, Jen and Ry’ – Dave and Pam’s three children

Bryant and Brenton are Dan and Chris’ children

Mom prepared such a wonderful Christmas Eve Brunch and Dad and the boys got in on it too. Grandma made her famous sausage gravy and we had some yummy biscuits to accompany that. And before I get carried away with mom’s entire menu, let’s just say she had everything from coffee, orange juice and grape juice to cinnamon rolls and everything in between…

Ry’, Bryant and Brenton help with the brunch and Ash and Jen enjoy the great outdoors one evening.

Grandmothers enjoy sitting outside for brunch

Our Family Christmas Eve Brunch

After our brunch on Christmas Eve, Bobby, Dan, Dave, the kids and I headed to the park for a game of “Flag” football. We played – We, what we? They played and I took the pictures. I actually didn’t plan to go but when Bobby asked, I couldn’t resist and I had so much fun.

After the game of football we moved on over to the park area where the kids enjoyed more play time. I was a happy camper too as I took advantage of the swing set. Bobby even pushed me on the swing and I felt as young as a kid again. P.S. The swing is and always has been my absolute favorite on the play ground.

Ash and Jen Below

Brenton, Bryant and Ry’ climb to the top

Jen finished mom’s cheese ball by adding the nuts – Mom made two cheese balls one for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas day. By Christmas night, we had both of them polished off.

It seems snacks did abound 24 – 7. Chris making the chips and salsa plate while Pam replenishes the veggie and dip tray while Ash samples a cucumber and dip.

Opening gifts on Christmas Eve. It’s my family tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve and mom and dad still carry on with that tradition.

Bobby opening our ‘Ove’ Glove gift from Grandma. She gave us a pair of these and I just used them for the first time tonight. I love these gloves as they grip without the pan slipping away.

Mom and Dad – Pop opening a gift

Serious faces on our nieces and nephews

Dan and Dad help prepare Christmas Dinner. Dan slicing the ham and pop mashing the potatoes.

On any given evening you would find the table looking something like this. Cards have been a favorite family game weather it’s Rook or Poker. Below we have a family game of Texas Holdem Poker happening and it looks like it’s Dan’s turn to bluff, check, call, bet or fold.


Dave and Grandma were such fun at the card table.

The kids enjoy Rook while the adults are at another table playing cards.


Bobby fits like a glove in my family and I love that so much. I’m ever grateful he’s in my life providing love, support and undivided devotion each day.


Bobby Dave and Ash. Bobby and Me Christmas Eve night. Bobby and Uncle Steve outside on Christmas Eve morning visiting before brunch.