Monday, December 19, 2016

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Last night Danielle sent me a text to tell me that Chance's brother was in a rollover accident on his way home from work last night.  You see, Chance's dad was already on his way to Arizona from Montana and was about two hours away when they all got the calls.  Chance's brother called home to tell his Mom what had happened and she was there all alone dealing with that.  The brother had to work last night and then he and his Mom were suppose to drive to Arizona today in the car he was driving.  Well, the car was totalled and it took the firemen some time to get Chance's brother out of the car, BUT he is a okay!  That is the good news.  Needless to say, everyone was worried about the brother for fear something awful had happened, and Mom for having to deal with this tragedy alone.  I got a text from Danielle this morning saying Mom and brother were on their way and they were flying to Arizona instead of driving.  This afternoon I text Danielle to check on everyone and Mom and brother made it to Arizona and were there at Danielle and Chance's house now.  All are safe and well.  Talk about scary though!

I'm as ready as I'm going to be for the weekend. We still don't have lights on the house and the boxes of decorations are still put away in the garage untouched, and the Christmas village is still in boxes with the 4x8 wood base in our back room.  I don't have it in me to fight with anyone to get these things out and I don't have it in me to get them out myself.  So, we are doing things very simply this year.  We do have the tree up and that is huge...thanks to Lexi.  I'm so glad I let Kevin talk me into buying a new tree this year!  And I'm so glad we could order it online and have it delivered right to our doorstep.  The new tree is wonderful.  No extra lights were added.  The tree went together super easy and the branches didn't need to be arranged, they just fell into place perfectly!  The only thing Lexi needed any help with was putting the top piece on the tree, the star at the top, and how to do the bead garland.  Once I showed her that she was good to go.  LOVE THAT!  She did an amazing job!  I am still sick and will be taking myself to the doctor in the morning again.  I've been sick for over 5 days again now.  Not fun.  Although this morning was not quite as bad as last week or this past weekend.  I'll spare you all the gross details.  Basically I haven't had to do all the things I've had to do in the past this morning.  So, that is improvement!  Let's hope tomorrow the doctor can help me with the rest so I can get back to my normal life again.  (Crossing all fingers and toes.)   It's the week before Christmas and I have so much to do, but we are not going anywhere.  We are staying home where it's warm and just taking it easy on the couch in the family room with a nice fuzzy blanket.  I need to get to the grocery store eventually for a few things, but we will go later this week.  It can wait. We usually do Christmas Eve at our house with my family and that is still the plan.  My kids will have to help out a lot and these are the things I've decided on....

1) If the house isn't totally clean, I'll still be alive.  We can vacuum, dust, and pick-up the "company" areas of the house....entry way, the guest bathroom, the rooms we'll be celebrating Christmas Eve in, and the kitchen.  Then we can close the other doors.  They will still be waiting for us next Monday.  

2)  I'm not going to stress over things that didn't get done.  If on Christmas morning I realize that I forgot to purchase a gift, I'm just going to relax and say, "I forgot, but we'll pick one up next week."  Besides, I'll probably save myself some money anyway.

3)  I'll make a last minute run to the grocery store at the end of this week and pick up crackers, dips, maybe a cheese ball since I haven't gotten around to making one.  That way we will have a few simple things on hand so that I don't have to spend the weekend in the kitchen slaving away while everyone else is having fun.  Do. Not. Be. A. Martyr!  ENJOY!

4) If I get overwhelmed by my last minute gift wrapping that still needs to be completed, I will just run to the dollar store on Thursday or Friday and buy some fun gift bags.  OR Enlist the help of my children who can keep secrets.  OR I could hire my teen to wrap for me.  I'm sure they would love the extra cash.  I could also barter with them.  
5) I'm going to do a review of our menu and recipe plans for Saturday and Sunday before we go to the grocery store just to be safe that I've remembered everything we will need.  I also need to check the cupboards and make sure that what we already have hasn't been snitched by a hungry husband or teen!

6) My plan is to cook and prepare as much as I can on Christmas Eve Day so that I don't have to cook on Christmas Day!

7) I also plan to get a good nights sleep on Christmas Eve!  I want to be wide awake when Curtis calls on Christmas.  He's calling early in the morning that day.  That's a change.  AND take a nap on Christmas Day!  It's already set into the schedule.  

8) I haven't done ANY holiday baking this year at all and I don't plan to start any time soon.  I'd rather not spread my germs, if I am contagious, to anyone.  Instead, we have a couple odds and ends kind of gifts wrapped and under the tree.  That way, if a surprise gift-bearing someone stops by with a gift in hand, I've got one for them ready.  These gifts aren't expensive to purchase.  A family game, a DVD, a puzzle, a book, a box of chocolates.  It's the thought that counts.  Then if we don't give them out, I'm sure my children will eat the chocolates, play the games, do the puzzles, and watch the DVDs.

9) Literally, as I type this at 7:34PM, in in six days, the gifts will be opened, the breakfast will be eaten, Christmas music will be playing in the background, gift wrap will be stuffed into a big black garbage bag, and we will be watching some movie on the television or individually on our computers.  It's time to enjoy!  At least I will try once I get back from the doctor tomorrow.

GIFT IDEA:  This is a cute one, I think.  Alter one of those popular Metal Stars for a great last minute gift for grandparents.  Cut photographs of all the children/grandchildren in the family and collage them to cover the entire star with modpodge glue.  It's a no-brainer type project and can be a very nice but inexpensive gift that will be treasured for years to come.

Here are a couple samples.  Aren't they cute??!!  The top one is the collage styled star.

This one had to take some time and planning to get all the shapes and papers just right, but I like it!  This would also be a cute way to decorate for holidays like 4th of July too.  

This next item is a recipe that is super easy and very hearty!  Serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, and homemade rolls!  

RECIPE:  Pork Roast (you could also use a beef roast if you wanted), 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 can mushroom soup, 2 beef bouillon cubes, put it all in a crock pot for 8 hours and OH MY!  Doesn't that sound yummy???

I should get going.  But, before I go I'd like to leave you with this cute little story.  Hope you have a great day tomorrow.  Take care and we will talk again soon....

The Christmas Orange

I'd like to tell you a story my grandmother told me when I was six or seven years old. We had gone to her home for Thanksgiving dinner and the drive was rather a long one. I had filled the time with making a list of all the things that I wanted for Christmas that year.

Later that evening after I was ready for bed, I showed the list to my grandmother. After she read it, she said, "My goodness, that really is a long list!" Then she picked me up and set me on her lap in the big rocking chair and told me this story: 

"Once there was a little girl who came to live in an orphanage in Denmark" (Now my grandmother was from Denmark, so this story might even be true.) "As Christmas time grew near, all of the other children began telling the little girl about the beautiful Christmas tree that would appear in the huge downstairs hall on Christmas morning. After their usual, very plain breakfast, each child would be given their one and only Christmas gift; small, single orange."

At this point I looked up at my grandmother in disbelief, but she assured me that was all each child would receive for Christmas. 

"Now the headmaster of the orphanage was very stern and he thought Christmas to be a bother. So on Christmas Eve, when he caught the little girl creeping down the stairs to catch a peek at the much-heard-of Christmas tree, he sharply declared that the little girl would not receive her Christmas orange because she had been so curious as to disobey the rules. The little girl ran back to her room broken-hearted and crying at her terrible fate." 

"The next morning as the other children were going down to breakfast, the little girl stayed in her bed. She couldn't stand the thought of seeing the others receive their gift when there would be none for her." 

"Later, as the children came back upstairs, the little girl was surprised to be handed a napkin. As she carefully opened it, there to her disbelief was an orange all peeled and sectioned." 

"How could this be?" she asked.

"It was then that she found how each child had taken one section from their orange and given it to her so that she, too, would have a Christmas orange." 

How I loved this story! I would ask my grandmother to tell it to me over and over as I grew up. Every Christmas, as I pull a big, juicy orange from my stocking, I think of this story. What an example of the true meaning of Christmas those orphan children displayed that Christmas morning. How I wish the world, as a whole would display that same kind of Christ-like concern for others, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

--Author Unknown.
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