A few Christmas 2013 memories

I know the time for Christmas blogging has come and gone once again, but I wanted to share a few pictures and notes from our holiday, if for nothing else than because I have a short memory and my memory-keeping has been reduced to only this blog in this season of life.

  • The girls and I attended a performance with some homeschooling buddies of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
  • For the third or fourth (?) year in a row we visited the Tennessee Valley Art Center for their annual Christmas tree exhibit.  These massive evergreens are imported from North Carolina, and not a branch is left bare.  Various community groups (and even families or individuals) volunteer to choose a theme and decorate the trees accordingly.  Two of my favorites this year were the international tree decorated by ornaments belonging to employees of the International Fertilizer Development Center and a bird-themed tree decorated by the local Master Gardeners’ group.
An ornament on the IFDC tree
An ornament on the IFDC tree
bird-themed Master Gardeners' tree
bird-themed Master Gardeners’ tree
IFDC tree
IFDC tree
I loved the variety of ornaments on this international tree!
I loved the variety of ornaments on this international tree!

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  • We had our usual cookie-baking and decorating extravaganza here at the House of Hope.  We started doing this before Steady Eddie and I had any children of our own and our little nephews were our “adopted” children on so many occasions.  Now our little nephews are our big nephews–the fifteen year old is right at six foot tall or so!–and they’ve begun to outgrow the tradition.  This year only the soon-to-be-fourteen-year-old wanted to participate, but it was still fun (and hectic!).  This year I used this recipe for the cookies, and though the dough was incredibly soft , I do think the cookies tasted a bit better to me than usual.  This recipe is a keeper!


  • This year we did something we’ve never done before–we attended my younger nephew’s band’s first “gig.”  He and four other eighth grade boys played and sang Christmas Carols at a nursing home.  Our girls played the piano during their intermission.  My nephew LOVES music, and if he continues on the path he’s in now (he actively plays in three bands–his own, the school band, and the praise band at his church), music will be his life!  I’m very proud of both of our “big boys”!
  • We also visited with Steady Eddie’s great aunt, who is a resident of the nursing home.  She turned 103 (or 104?) in October!
  • This year our family continued our tradition of having our Christmas Eve brunch and opening one gift–our new Christmas ornaments.  I failed to get a picture of the ornaments, but Steady Eddie and I made them this year–we put sand and tiny seashells from our Dauphin Island trip in glass balls and then I covered the metal tops of the ornaments with some twine and attached a tag inscribed with Dauphin Island 2013 and each child’s name.  (Steady Eddie stuck a whole bunch of seashells in an ornament for us, but alas, it has already broken.  He also surprised me with an ornament he purchased–birdwatching Snoopy–so all is well.)
  • This year for brunch in addition to our cinnamon rolls, we also had quiche and bacon.  Of course, Steady Eddie, Louise (my only adventurous eater), and I are the only ones who ate the quiche, but everyone enjoyed the cinnamon rolls.  (I also gave  half the batch to my sister, so they enjoyed some, too.)



  • This year we spent part of New Year’s Eve after brunch and after finishing our Jesse Tree devotion playing a new-to-us game–Yahtzee.  We let the children open this gift early just so we could do this, and I think it’s a mighty fine idea.  We’ve had a lot of fun playing Yahtzee whenever we have an hour or so, and this Christmas break we’ve even opened and begun to learn to play our two or three year old Settlers of Catan.  It has been a good holiday for game playing, and it’s a tradition I want to keep!



  • We saw Frozen on New Year’s Eve and absolutely LOVED it–all of us, except maybe the DLM (because it scared him a little bit).  I like the idea of sharing a movie on New Year’s Eve (when there’s a decent one playing, of course), but it will be a while before New Year’s Eve falls on Tuesdays when our theater offers its cheap shows in the early evening.
  • We’ve had a lot of together time, including a trip to Atlanta for me, Steady Eddie, Benny, and my sister, which involved the purchasing of a lot of furniture and hauling it home in a U-Haul behind a vehicle that didn’t have a passenger side mirror.  (Steady Eddie remedied that by purchasing a makeup mirror at IKEA and lashing it to the skeleton of the missing side mirror.)  It was quite an adventure.

As much as I enjoy a break, I LOVE January, with its routines and clean slates.  I’m ready!



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