On Christmas Day we only got pictures of the adult siblings as a group-shame on us for fogetting to put all the cousinz together! We were kinda busy trying to fit everything in before the weather turned icy and made driving off mom's mountain treacherous. These pics were in Grammy's kitchen at the farm in Charles Town celebrating mom's 75th birthday. love ya, Mom!
Well, can't believe today is almost over. Some much anticipation, hard work, baking, shopping, silly secrets, drawing names, wish lists and on and on.
The funniest part of the past week or so was the kids wrapping items from their room or toy boxes for us using actual giftwrap and tags. I thought they were real gifts till Grace told me they were using things they were done with or tired of like old books or toys....omgosh-that cracked me up! Certainly helped fill out the base of the tree with these recycled gifts! John was actually quite serious about his gift giving and told me he DID NOT want his gifts back when I tried to return a toy plane that was sticking out of the top of my stocking (a week ago!!).
Another funny was last night before bed, Grace was helping me write hint tags for gifts which is a tradition from the Bohall-side of the family. So for a set of tennis balls for Dad, Grace thought up "you'll be making a racket with these!" and for a beautiful mug from a local potter Grace came up with "teaheehee-see you in the morning". Yep, she's a Bohall all right!
We have established a few traditions which work well, so far! Christmas morning Grace and John are allowed to open their stockings and any gifts on the fireplace ledge before Mom and Dad are up. Brian buys and wraps the biggest box of their fav cereal he can find (which of course way over-exceeds the family sugar limit) and adds these monster cereal boxes to the Open Now collection. John was up as his usual crack of dawn and Grace managed to struggle out of her room by 730. By 8am I had a fragrant cup of coffee in our bedroom and a little girl whispering Merry Christmas in my ear.....and away we went! Instead of the mass hysterical shredding of giftwrap we used to do when they were itty-bitty, now at age 8 and 3/4 we TRY to observe and enjoy each gift as it's opened. So we kind of do a round robin and everyone gets a turn. Extra-special gifts are wrapped in one certain patterened paper that we can easily identify. This year it was purple penguins in snow suits (thanks, Target) so the morning rule was you couldn't open 2 purple penguin gifts in a row (this was to stretch out the BIG gifts!)and it worked well. The kids didn't complain and we were really happy this worked! John's big gifts included an electric aquarium w/images of water and fish-about 2 ft long-really cool-looking and a Razor Scooter which shoots real sparks when you ride the brake. Grace got a camera-which we know she'll share with John-and of course tons of books. I love my watch from Brian and the huge stash of dark chocolate which is mine...All Mine! thanks, honey! I also got a beach chair I had been coveting for a few years-too bad it was delivered with a full description and actual picture of the chair on the outside of the box! heehee! I hate surprises so this was fine by me!
The afternoon was spent at my mom's farm in WV with all of my siblings and spouses and children 9 adults and 6 kids!! Celebrated Christmas and mom's 75th birthday-love you, mom! Lots of fun-our first soup and sandwich holiday meal and quite a success so I hope this becomes a tradition-so much less work and still so yummy! Another first was the adult gift exchange. Happy to say I got mom's name so I ordered her a beautiful hand made hoodie from a Close To My Heart consultant (thanks Nona!-ordered one for my m-i-l and me too!!). My brother Richard got my name and gifted me a very generous gift card to Costco-yay! May save this for Spring and see what comes up in their garden area. :) We all did stocking stuffers for each other, sister Susanna made cd's of family pics-many of which we had never seen from my parents stash of negs-lots of work to this gift-thanks Sissy! Finally home to a huge mess which everyone pitched in to hellp straighten out-some dinner and playtime with gifts and finally---bedtime for Brian and the kids.
Tomorrow evening Brian's brother Rob and wife and 4 kids arrive from Ohio to spend the night then we will all drive down to Fairfax Sunday morning after breakfast. Brian's parents are hosting a meal and get-together and his other brother Ken and wife and 2 girls are already there, so that will be one full house! 8 kids and 8 adults-woohoo! It is really special to have the gang from Ohio come back to VA for Christmas. We only see them in Aug at the beach, so it will be great for the cousins to hang out while the rest of us catch up!
THe house is quite again and I have a chance to breathe and realize how blessed I really am. Today is the anniversary of Jesus's birth and my mom's birth. My family is warm and safe in our home near the Blue Ridge Mtns. The only thing I am missing is my Dad - Roy Alexander Fry. He would have been the life of the party at the farm-great sense of humor and a wonderful family first kind of man. I know he was there in Spirit.
This card was fun to make because it highlights one of my favorite Christmas stamp sets from Close To My Heart - "Santa's Helpers" retired. I don't own a lot of cutsie stamps but I love this one because I use the CTMH waterbrush and inkpads to color in the images. All of the papers are CTMH and I used real sheet music as an embellishment along with some CTMH Prisma glitter. The punches are all SU except the biggest scallop. That is a new one from Marvy Uchida which I adore! The body of the punch is pale green, which I guess is their new size. Worked out perfectly for this card! Did some last minute shopping for DH with the twins today. Asked for their input, sent them around the corner for specific items and generally included them in the shopping experience instead of the usual dragging them along behind me. They were so busy with their assignments that there was little or no fussing-yay! Now to get some wrapping done. It's supposed to get down to 15 tonight which will help "firm up" the sledding trail for tomorrow's guests. Hot chocolate will help warm up frosty fingers and we may even light the fire pit -we'll see! night, all!
I had a lot of fun making cards this year. I didn't put any restrictions on myself (i.e. using certain products exclusively)and pulled out embellishments I hadn't seen in a long while. Then I realized how hard it would be to send some of the more flamboyant cards so I had to minimize embellies.......so sad! This card uses "Graphic 45" paper-love the weight of the paper and that it has different but complimenting patterns on both sides. The felt is Martha Stewart and the bird image is "Crafty Secrets" Heartwarming Vintage. The stamped message uses Close To My Heart letters which of course are my fav and SO easy to use-love acrylic!!!! So, simple card with a simple message - handmade from the heart. enjoy~L
We are in the middle of Blizzard 2009 in VA. It's gonna be a White Christmas!! Started last night around 9pm and hasn't stopped yet! We are at 16" approx and it's still STEADY coming down. We know this isn't unusual for our friends up North who live with lake effect snow, but this is real rare for Virginia!! The kids have been outside 3x today helping Daddy clear off the vehicles and do some shoveling and rescuing sleds from a previous snow. We are so excited about sledding around here cause we have awesome rolling hills out in the back field. The firepit is full and covered (if we can find it!) for hot chocolate and sledding friends tomorrow! In the meantime, I have been cooking and Grace was a big help getting our Crashed Taters in the oven for lunch. Found this recipe on www.thepioneerwoman.com -thanks Ree! and they are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! To me, the key is the olive oil. You just can't use too much! Wish I had some fresh herbs but Mrs Dash Spicy worked well plus lots of fresh ground Sea Salt-yummy!
Ingredients 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes) 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Kosher Salt To Taste Black Pepper To Taste Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste Preparation Instructions Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender. On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato. With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.) Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a good read. I feel like I can pick this book up 6 mo from now and reread each story again with the same interest and joy as my first read. Why has it taken so long for me to find Amy Bloom? It was certainly worth the wait.
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