Saturday, December 9, 2023

One of Those Rare Saturdays and Family Christmas Traditions

This is one of those rare Saturdays that I'm not at work. Today is Family Christmas!

(And I cannot wait to see the latest issue of The Family Christmas Chronicle that Patrick and Amber's family publishes each year as a gift for the whole family! YEAH!)

The tradition of having Family Christmas the second Saturday in December developed years ago when Amanda, was working for a state park north of Kansas City. It was the only weekend that she could get off during the Christmas season due to the park closing to host a managed deer hunt each year.

Even though Amanda no longer works for state parks, after doing it this way for over a decade and a half, we decided to just keep the tradition. This frees up each individual family within the clan to spend Christmas Day on their own with their children, out of town, with in-laws, or however they choose. It works well for all of us and my husband and I never minded deferring to our children and their in-laws on Christmas Day. 

John and I were so blessed when our own children were growing up. We were both only children and holidays weren't complicated.

My Mom and I - Christmas 1966

John Back in the Day in His Naruh Jacket
Still makes me giggle! 😄

When our children were young Christmas was celebrated at our house and we hosted his mom and my parents. Sometimes my mother-in-law would come over on Christmas Eve and spend the night with us. That always made Christmas even more special!

This is my third Christmas season without John. Even though I greatly look forward to sharing the afternoon and evening with my children and grands, I still feel the loss of my husband and, as I prepare to go, I am acutely aware of his absence. 

John - Christmas Eve 1987

Christmas was always so special to us! John proposed to me on Christmas Eve and we married on Valentine's Day. 

Christmas Eve 1987

John and I always celebrated Christmas Eve with homemade lasagna, homemade bread, and sparkling grape juice. 

When the kids were young, he and I would wait until they were asleep and then late into the night we would exchange gifts and have our own little celebration of sorts. 

After the children were grown and married, John and I continued to celebrate Christmas Eve with lasagna, homemade bread, and sparkling grape juice. Any of the children and their families that could join us was welcome to do so. 

Christmas Eve Lasagna With the Fam

Even without John here now I have tried to keep the Christmas Eve lasagna tradition going and plan to keep that tradition going for as long as possible. 

Well, I have much more that I would like to share with you, but time is running short and I need to get the last minute details of my food put together and get things loaded up for transport to Patrick and Amber's. 

Thank you for listening to my reminiscent ramblings. I pray that you and yours are having a lovely Saturday!

Until next time...

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Monday, December 4, 2023

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - December 4, 2023

It's the first Monday of December and the push is on! Family Christmas is THIS WEEKEND! Photos scattered throughout this post are from last year's gathering.

I've been working on a little gift idea for the grands, but ran out of supplies. I'm hoping that Sam's Club comes through for me and the supplies arrive in time to finish up the project before Saturday's event. I'll share about the finished project is in a later post.

This week's master to-do list...

- Clean house
- Do laundry
- Work on a couple of gift ideas
- Make food for two potluck dinners
- Send out Christmas cards to family and friends
- Present 'Birds of a Feather' program at work
- Celebrate 'Family Christmas' with the kids and grands

This week's menu plan...

Items that need used up right away this week include a carton of egg whites, cottage cheese, chicken broth, fresh spinach, and a bag of apples. 

I will use the egg whites, along with a few handfuls of spinach, in omelets and scrambles for breakfasts, the cottage cheese in cottage-berry whip (will freeze in small batches for snacks; tastes like ice cream!), turn the broth and remaining spinach into soup and make an apple pie or crisp with the apples.

Monday - Creamy Chicken Spinach Soup with Good Earth Rolls (Update - I dressed this soup up a bit more by adding some potatoes and a package of frozen mixed vegetables; I ended up serving crackers with it instead of rolls.)
Tuesday - Stuffed pepper casserole with corn on the cob (freezer)
Wednesday - Fish sandwich and oven fries
Thursday - Tuna and noodles with a vegetable
Friday - Breakfast sausage patty with potatoes, peppers, and onions
Saturday - Family Christmas (Potluck)
Sunday - Leftovers

Well, that's all for today! I hope your Monday is going well and that your week is off to a great start!

Until next time...

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Friday, December 1, 2023

My Christmas 2023 Bucket List

My Christmas 2023 Bucket List
1. Write my Christmas bucket list 
2. Focus on Christ and the true meaning of Christmas
3. Spend time with my children, grands, and great-grand
4. Decorate for Christmas inside and out 
5. Send and receive Christmas cards 
6. Listen to Christmas music 
7. Put up a Christmas tree
8. Wrap Christmas gifts 
9. Watch Christmas movies
10. Light a Christmas candle  
11. Do a daily Christmas countdown using the Flanders Family Advent Calendar Scripture Chain
13. Enjoy a cup of Christmas tea
14. Sing Christmas carols 
15. Bake Christmas cookies 
16. Try a Winterberry Hot Cocoa at Bearded Bee Coffee Company 
18. Visit the Country Club Plaza and enjoy the Plaza Lights
19. Explore Crown Center
20. Add a donation to a Salvation Army red kettle 
21. Visit a living nativity
22. Make and deliver special treats for friends and family
23. Drive around and look at Christmas lights 
24. Make Christmas Eve lasagna 
25. Read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 1:18-21) 🕮

That's what's on my Christmas Bucket List 2023. What's on yours?

Until next time,

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Celebrating the 'Reason for the Season' - Advent Scripture Chain

I found this terrific free printable for an 'Advent Scripture Chain' over at the Flanders Family Home Life blog.

I printed off several sets to give away and, of course, one for myself. I thought you might enjoy printing one off, too! 

There are two printing choices to choose print on one- or two-colors of paper or to print on three-colors. I chose to print on three, yellow, and green. I think blue and white would be pretty, too!

After printing, I pinned the cover sheet to the curtains next to the Christmas tree in the kitchen. That way it is handy, but up high enough that little hands can't reach the paper strips.

I coiled the end of the chain up on top of and around the top two levels of my three-tiered tea tray where I display my vintage cookie cutters. They won't be concealed for long, as the Christmas season will pass all too quickly. 

I hope you enjoy this pretty printable that helps us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus!

Until next time...

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Monday, November 27, 2023

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - November 27, 2023

It's the last Monday of November and, despite the fact that I just spent an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, I find that holiday depression is seeking hard to gain a foothold. It started as soon as the last of the company left yesterday afternoon.

The whole world is in a flux it seems and things can look pretty bleak sometimes in the natural. To combat it, I must puposefully remember the 'Reason for the Season' and keep my heart and mind centered on Jesus and His coming throughout the month of December.  

Despite loss and trials and all the other not-so-pleasant stuff that comes with life, I have so much to be thankful for and I know it. God is so incredibly good to me and I am blessed beyond measure! I praise the Lord and thank Him for everything!

Let's get on with to today's post...shall we?

This week's master 'to-do' list...

- clean house
- do laundry
- clean the fridge
- figure December budget and bills
- winterize last two windows on the inside
- get outside Christmas lights up
- figure out what I'm doing for Family Christmas (it's coming up in less than two weeks!)
- Wish granddaughter, Alysia, a Happy Birthday 
- Change the calendar pages
- work

This week's menu plan...

- Monday - Homemade pizza
- Tuesday - Turkey burger, cheesy rice, and brussel sprouts
- Wednesday - Broiled salmon, canned potatoes, beets, and biscuits
- Thursday - Stuffed pepper casserole
- Friday - Chili dog with chips
- Saturday - Vegetable soup with crackers
- Sunday - Leftovers

That's it for today! I hope your Monday is going well and that you have a great week ahead!

Until next time...

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Friday, November 24, 2023

Let The Christmas Season Officially Begin!

It's Friday night and I just got finished decorating for Christmas (indoors that is...I still have to put the outside lights up).

This year, I decided to do the tree in the kitchen in blue and silver.

The tree in my bedroom is the usual pink and white Victorian.

Additionally, I put a couple of tiny trees up in the livingroom and colored lights around the perimeter of the sunroom. 

I'm keeping things a bit simpler by not putting up the big tree in the Van Gogh room again this year, nor my mother's vintage tree that sometimes goes up in the livingroom. 

When does the Christmas season officially begin for you? When do you put up your Christmas decorations?

Have a lovely weekend!

Until next time...

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