Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More Christmas Moments....

On Saturday evening, we enjoyed a nice, quiet Christmas Eve at home, and there is no place I would have rather been. Cari and Amelia decorated our kitchen table while I worked on our meal ~ with some help from Madison.

For some reason, pasta always sounds good for a Christmas Eve dinner (for several years I made lasagna and then we went to chicken tetrazzini), so I tried a new recipe, and I'm pretty sure it's a keeper. *Bayou Chicken Pasta* (I added some shrimp left over from the appetizer.) I also tried a new appetizer recipe, and it's a keeper as well. *Shrimp Hushpuppies with Vidalia Onion Dip* (I added some imitation crab meat.) I also fixed mine and Brad's favorite salad - Craisin Salad.

After reading about the birth of Christ from Luke 2, we finally stopped torturing the children and let them open their gifts.

Then we watched another Christmas movie (I couldn't get enough of those this year!) and then off to bed to get up early the next morning.....

After playing with their new gifts for a while, we got ready and headed to church for our Christmas Day service. Next, we were off to my mom and dad's ~ always the highlight of Christmas Day.

I guess Christmas is officially over now as all the decorations have been taken down, boxed up, and are now stored away in the attic. But, all in all, I have to say that this Christmas season was amazing this year! Looking back, I feel so grateful and humbled by all that I have been blessed with. Most of all, I am so thankful that Heaven reached down to earth or none of this would be possible. Definitely blessed beyond measure!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making (Christmas) Memories

My children, especially Amelia, love these sugar cookies. I'm not sure what they enjoy more - rolling the dough and cutting them out or eating them! I'm pretty sure we'll be making more of these as soon as I get to the store to buy more butter.

Another Christmas tradition around here is decorating a gingerbread house. This year we went with the whole village. Cari helped but is at the age where she can't have her picture taken if she is not dressed and ready, but I did get a glimpse of her in this one. Madison wasn't home, and I told her we could wait on her, but she was fine with us going ahead without her. :(

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas with the Girls - 2011

Tina and Melissa enjoying Hors d'oeuvres.....

.....while Donna and Bonnie were in the kitchen.

It's not Christmas if I don't get a photo of Tina with her eyes closed. (with Anslea)

Rachel and Angie

The pretty Christmas table with our adorable ornaments from Bonnie waiting on us to sit down.

We enjoyed a delicious joint-effort Italian meal, and then it was time for the after-dinner conversations....



Then Dirty Santa. Tina was #1, so she got most of the gift opening action.

My daughter has already asked what we were drinking. LOL In case you're wondering, it was sparkling grape juice. Another tradition.

We tried out a new game this year called Quelf. It was quite interesting. Here's Angie taking a turn. The last few rounds of the game I had to wear aluminum foil on my hand, wear a scarf on my head that was supposed to be a make-believe snorkel, and I was not allowed to bend my arms or legs. There were some pictures made of this but not with my camera. :D

We ALMOST forgot to get a group picture, and that would have been a first. Rachel had to leave before we remembered, and this was taken close to midnight. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. At any rate, I'm glad to have these captured moments of another wonderful night with my dear friends.

The Misc. Post

One more picture of Amelia's Thanksgiving crafts

My boss sent me an early Christmas gift. It's a marinara sauce using his special recipe. He is hoping to start selling this to the public real soon. He's an authentic Italian with the name to prove it - Giovanni - so I'm looking forward to trying this with some spaghetti this week. The peppers he sent look yummy, too!

On Wednesday, I had made some cupcakes for Cari to take to school on Thursday. There really wasn't anything that she had to do at school on Thursday, so she ended up staying home. So, she and her friend Alle decorated the cupcakes instead and offered to take some to our older next door neighbors. They've been very gracious to us, and Cari wanted to do something for them first this year.

Matthew had to decorate a cupcake, too

Alle and Cari showing off their work

My cupcake

Amelia working hard on her cupcake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All I Know....

More about the title later....but first I must post pictures from the tea party that my sister had for me and my friends this past Saturday.

It's a busy time of year, but it was nice to sit down together and enjoy some yummy treats along with some very good tasting Christmas teas.

Me, Anslea, Tina, Rachel, and Angie (Bonnie, Melissa, and Donna were unable to attend. We sure did miss them!

My sister, the amazing hostess, along with my BFFs

My sister and I

My sister has written a book about tea rooms, and my friends purchased some copies. Here she is signing their books.

I caught a few snapshots of my friends as they were looking at the magazine my sister edits.

Later on in the evening, our family went to see the Christmas lights at Lake Lanier.

I have to say that we had amazing timing. We got there around 6:15 and didn't have to wait long at all. As we were leaving, the line had grown tremendously, so we were really glad we had arrived when we did since Cracker Barrel was calling our names!

It was fun, and the two little ones really enjoyed it. Matthew was asking to go back the next day, and Amelia was soooo excited to be doing something as a family. (Yep, it's been a while.)

I thought it was very similar to the Callaway lights, which is not a bad thing, and it was a little cheaper since you pay by the vehicle and not per person at Lake Lanier.

They had a big Christmas store at the end and what looked like a carnival with rides, but we didn't see anyone on the rides and really didn't want to get out since it was soooo cold, but I kind of wish we would have gotten out and looked around. But, like I said, it was getting way past supper time. LOL

It was nice to get away for the day and do some different things. The past couple of months for me have been a little haywire. And I do mean, for me. I'm sure there are people all over the world who would trade my problems for theirs in a heartbeat, and believe me, I'm quite certain I would not want to do that. But it seems I've had more drama and frustrations in my life in the past few weeks than I've had in years.

Yesterday, as I was feeling that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach that has been a regular occurrence here lately, I was thinking, "Lord, what is going on? Are you preparing me for something through all of this." Then this song came on the radio:

"All I know is I'm not home yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong."

And all of the sudden, I was like. Oh yeah! This is NOT where I belong! I'm really not supposed to be comfortable here. And it brought me back to a conversation that Anslea, Rachel, and I were having on the way back from the tea party on Saturday. In fact, I think Rachel was talking about this particular song. We were talking about the trials we go through, and Anslea said something like, "If life were perfect all of the time, we would never long for heaven." To which Rachel agreed with and I'm sure is longing for heaven even more now after the loss of a 16-year-old niece a few months ago to cancer. If my problems are ant sized, that one would be elephant sized.

I fully realize that my problems could be elephant sized, and I'm really hoping and praying as I seek the Lord through all of these issues that I would deal with them as He would have me, and most of all, bring Him glory in the process.

Last night as I was reading my Bible before I went to bed, I was drawn to Ecclesiastes 12.

vs. 7-8 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All [is] vanity."

vs. 13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

The things I experience or go through are not going to matter, but how I deal with them, react in the situations, or what I do or don't do, is. Am I trusting God to lead me and allowing Him to have full control of the situation or am I staying in a constant state of worry about it and trying to fix it myself? Is it making me bitter toward someone or am I praying for that person and praying for understanding for myself? I could go on and on.......

Where I Belong by Building 429 "So when the walls come falling down on me and when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea, I have this blessed assurance holding me. All I know is I'm not home yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong.........." Click HERE if you'd like to hear the whole song.


Here's the "more about that" I mentioned in the previous post... I was around 6 years old the first time I realized I nee...