Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Memories Monday

It is bittersweet as we finish up our last week of Christmas Memories Monday and say goodbye to the year of 2008. Bitter because the fun, food and family of the Christmas season are gone for a little while again and sweet because, sorry but if like me, this year was a little on the hard side. So with no further ado...


1. If you open a gift on Christmas Eve what did you open this year?

Only our kids open a gift on Christmas Eve so my son opened a "Pablo" (from Backyardigans) stuffed animal and my daughter opened a Care Bear stuffed animal. We did however open our books for our book dinner and I got the next book in the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson a MUST READ!! the book I'm on right now is the 2nd book called, "The Guardian".

2. What time did you wake up on Christmas (or GET woken up)?

My kids are still too little to get up early. I truly thought this year would be the first for my son to wake earlier but I was wrong. They were up by about 8 AM and we slowly opened gifts until almost 11 AM! It was relaxing and fun - we played as we went!

3. What story or event will you remember from this Christmas in '08?

Honestly the one that sticks out was going to the Christmas Tree Farm. That is the first time we have ever done that and we had a BLAST! We went on a weekday because of Nick's work schedule and so we were the only ones there. It was a beautiful family outing! Not to mention the kids were SO excited and my son proudly declared after much searching - THIS is my tree I want this one. (Sadly we couldn't get that type of tree so we had to convince him otherwise but still so cute!)

4. What was the funniest thing that happened this Christmas?

This one is easy for me! I was SO excited to have my new book in this series that we all read almost all afternoon on Christmas Day. Well I got up to get something for my kids and while I was busy my mom took my book and hid it from me. I'm still distracted and she asks for a pen and paper. When I finally return to be once again engrossed by my book it is gone. When I ask my mom says I have a poem for you. A WHAT?! So she hands me this poem she had written about hiding my book with clues in the midst of the poem of course. Ah yes that's my mom - she said she hasn't been able to pester me in a LONG time and it just had built up! Oh it was NOT RIGHT!! So I searched all over until I finally found my book much to her disappointment that I did find it! Yep that's my mom and it was a good laugh for everyone that day.

5. What are you doing now - 4 days after Christmas?

We are getting ready to head to Brenham TX where we are going to take a tour of the Blue Bell Factory - and YES a sample is included at the end of the tour!! YUMMY!! We will head over, take the tour and then have some lunch and hit a few shops. On our way out there we are stopping by the church too to show my parents our new youth building. Then we will return for my mom and I to scrapbook for the third night in a row!! This has been SUCH a wonderful vacation!!

I hope yours has been too! Can't wait to hear about it and the NEW memories that were made!
Please copy and paste this into your own post, erase my answers and put your own in. And please leave a comment when you do so I may come read your memories!! Thank you to everyone who played this year!! I have so enjoyed it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Memories Monday

Families are arriving, yummy foods are being baked, and last minute gifts are being bought, wrapped and shipped! Are you ready? Who cares! Just celebrate Jesus this week and everything else doesn't matter THAT much anyway!!

It is the final Monday BEFORE Christmas - and we will have one more "Memories Monday" on the 29th for "after-Christmas" questions but this is the last set before the big day so enjoy!


1. Do you have your big meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

We have our big meal Christmas Eve. If you are a regular reader of my blog you now know this is our "Book Dinner"!

2. Is there a certain meal you always cook (with maybe changing a few sides now and then) or is it just a feast no matter what the menu?

We almost always have Cherry Glazed Ham. My mom cooked this for our meal one Christmas Eve when I was pretty little still and I loved it so much it was my young excitement that said, "THIS needs to be our Christmas meal every year!" And it has been ever since. We did make one exception last year because my sister-in-law was on a STRICT diet and exercise program and lost so much weight and was doing SO well so we didn't want to mess her up so we had Salmon for dinner - which was DELISH!! So no one minded that much!

3. Who will come, or you go see, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

My parents are arriving tomorrow sometime - they are driving as we speak and will stay throughout the Christmas holiday and New Year's. My brother was recently stationed to Fort Riley Kansas so no other family will be around. (Our family lives all over the darn U.S. continent!! lol...and none all that close to each other either!)

4. What time do your kids wake you up (or do YOU wake up if you do not have kids in the house with you)?

My kids aren't that old so they still wake up about normal time as they always do...7:30 am (or somewhere around there - it fluctuates a little) Although Tyler is finally understanding Christmas and everything so I'm nervous to see if he will wake up early for the first time...I'll let you know!

5. Do you do the Santa thing?

We really don't. We want our kids to focus on Christ - not Santa. However as they get older we will probably do similar to how my parents handled it: the first time we asked if Santa was real they told us the truth but added that is just a fun thing to do, so we still left cookies and would leave a note like: For Santa, hahaha mom and dad! And my parents always marked one package from Santa so we didn't have to ruin it for any other kids when they asked us what did you get from Santa? Lol...we could answer them but always with a grin behind our answer. We knew the truth but still had fun with it - which is how we will handle it with our kids. A fun lil thing but not to be focused on.

Okay time for you to copy this post delete my answers and add your own!! Please leave a comment if you post this on your blog so I can come visit and read your memories! Thanks for participating!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Silent Sundays

I got my camera (early) for Christmas and here are some shots with us trying out the new telephoto lens!! In order the pics are of: our dog Menina, our dog Precious, my daughter Gracious, and my son Tyler!

I better give credit where credit is due - I took the two pictures of the dogs but my husband snapped the two of the kids! He is a great photographer too!! Good job sweetie!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Send a Card to a Soldier!!

I was so thrilled to receive this email from a friend of mine about this opportunity! As most of you already know my brother is serving in the military and has already completed two tours of Iraq. I KNOW how important mail is to them and how much of an encouragement it can be to soldiers while they are overseas!! I have posted the email below along with the link to click on! PLEASE check it out and consider sending a warming card to one of our troops! Thank you!

If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to k now we are behind them. This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Memories Monday

Okay it is now the 3rd week of Christmas Memories Monday! Thank you to everyone who has been participating!! This week we officially have a week and a half before Christmas is actually here so I decided to ask about gifts as hopefully you have been wrapping them and sending them and the such within this week or maybe before (or after, hopefully not!)

1. What do you want for Christmas this year?
I only asked for one thing and one thing only from EVERYONE - a CAMERA! I love photography and scrap booking and family heritage and this year the last of our cameras finally took the blink and so I have been without a personal camera for over a year now and it is killing me!! So this Saturday (yes early so I can take my Christmas photos!!) I will be getting a Canon EOS Rebel!! with a telephoto lens may I add!!
2. Who's gift did you have the most fun making, buying or getting? (You may be discreet about "what" it is if identity would be revealed to receiver!)
I think I had the most fun coming up with my sister-in-laws gift this year. She is the person I have to always get creative with when I give her gifts so I like the challenge! Now she does blog stalk and may read this so I can't tell you what it is...but I can say I am making it myself and it will have a touch of her "favorite" in it! lol..I know that makes no sense so I'll have to blog about it after Christmas so you can see it for yourself!
3. Who is the hardest person to buy for?
Hands down my father-in-law!! I never know what he wants, he never wants anything, and he doesn't NEED anything! Seriously! We usually go with something his wife tells us to get or a gift card!
4. Who will you be opening gifts with this year?
My family - my hubby, my two kids - Tyler and Gracious (3 and 1), and my mom and dad!
5. How many gifts do you have left to even GET! (not ship or wrap)
Well I will admit I do these blogs early and put them on a timed posting so this is actually a couple days early but I have 13 people to get gifts for still. I will say I already know what a couple of them are I just haven't jumped online or gone to the store and GOTTEN them yet!
That's it for this week! Please post a comment letting me know you participated so I can stop by and read about your "gift" situation this year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Silent Sundays

This was actually last week so we HAVE had our tree up for a week and a half but still wanted to share the adorable pics from the Christmas Tree Farm! Which I want to add was interesting because we found out this farm suffered like 90% damage to their crops due to Hurricane Ike! We were glad to support them and help them get back to business!
Riding out to the fields...
Contemplating life...
Cutting down our 2008 Christmas Tree!!
Hauling it back to where the hay ride will pick us back up
Watch out baby driver!!!
Here is our tree! The kiddos and I are proud!
A beautiful little bridge with two beautiful lil kids

Don't these birds just say Christmas?!

Chug a chug a WOO WOO!

I think you get why it is called Red Caboose Farms now?

MERRY CHRISTMAS and enjoy your trees this season!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Eve Book Dinner

"Christmas Eve Book Dinner"

I do not recall what year this family tradition of ours officially started but since it has we have not missed one year. My parents were both educators and were the entire time I was growing up. My father was a high school teacher teaching several subjects including English, Poetry, American Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Enrichment, and yes the list does go on believe it or not. If you are wondering no, never play Trivial Pursuit with the man because you WILL lose. My sister-in-law while she was living with us for a short time challenged him every night for I think a month and still never beat him. Probably the closest anyone HAD come but still didn't happen. Anyways my mother was an elementary teacher teaching 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th. She taught 1st grade the longest and that was truly her favorite age. I say they did teach, as in past tense, because my mom is currently an elementary school principal and my dad is an Instructional Facilitator for the high school.

Okay on with the tradition...since our family was absorbed in education, every year for Christmas my parents would end up buying everyone a book. Somehow (I was too little so I don't remember exactly how) we ended up unwrapping these on Christmas Eve instead of waiting until Christmas morning. I think because we really wanted to open something and my dad usually wanted his book so he could stay up reading it Christmas Eve night waiting for us kids to go to bed so he could put out all our toys! However it happened, my mom would wrap up the books and place them on our plates for our Christmas Eve Dinner. This was a big deal - the good dishes, candlelight, the works! And before dinner we would open our books, ooh and ahh and flip through them reading the beginning to perk our interest, and then we would have to put them aside while my dad read from THE BOOK: the bible. My dad would read the Christmas story from one of the gospels (we would mix it up every year) while the rest of us took the Nativiti pieces and the first mention of the name of the character we had we would place them in the middle of the table in it's right spot! Once books were opened and THE Book was read then dinner would officially begin! My request was always Cherry Glazed Ham, yum yum!!

Even though both my brother and I are both grown and have families of our own we ALL still do the Christmas Eve Book Dinner!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Memories Monday

Here we are on the second Monday of December and only 17 days left until the big day is here! Since this is the time when everyone is scurrying to shop and get cards out and just hurry up and try to get everything done before it is too late this week's "Christmas Memories" will be on little traditions - and you will figure out what I mean by little versus big traditions...


1. Does your family do some type of countdown?

Yes - we actually have two. One is similar to advent calenders I suppose - it is a multi-fold painting of Bethlehem with all the hub-bub of the night Jesus Christ was born and there are windows all over that have the numbers of the day of December. In each window is one verse from the bible that tells the story of the birth of Jesus. So by the time Christmas is here we have read the Christmas Story from Luke! The second one is a simple decoration of a wooden tree with jingle bells on it and there are red snowflakes with all the numbers on them and you just switch the snowflakes around everyday for how many days are left!

2. Where are your stockings hung?

We do not have a fireplace (and since my kids are little and I have to have them up HIGH) they hang on stocking holders on the edge of our piano - it's an upright so it works!

3. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Yes - we always have our big family dinner - typically Cherry Glazed Ham - which we call our book dinner (I WILL be doing a separate post explaining this cool tradition and it also should be featured on the "Celebrating Christmas" blog!!). We all have a wrapped book on our plates before we eat so we open our books, then my dad or my husband whoever is the oldest male in the family present reads the story of the birth of Christ (usually from Luke) and then we have a candlelit dinner. Afterwards we all load up in the car and drive around to view the awesome work of lights that all our neighbors have put up! When I was a little girl in the town I grew up in it was like 90% Hispanic culture so there was this main street in town that on Christmas Eve would double line the entire street (sidewalks, walkways, rooftops, you name it) with Luminarias! It was gorgeous and you rolled your window down - yes even in the cold - because on one house there was a live band playing Christmas music all evening long! It was SO awesome! Anyways when we would get home we would then open ONE gift to contain our over excitement of tomorrow! Then off to bed and time for mom and dad to set out all the gifts and stocking stuffers!! I can't wait!

4. Is there a certain drink that you love that you only drink this time of year?

YES! My personal favorite is hot cocoa with a scoop of Candy Cane Ice-Cream! Minty hot cocoa YUMMY! I also love the traditional eggnog and have recently discovered a pumpkin spice eggnog that is DELICIOUS! Oh and of course there is cider too!

5. What do you do for Christmas Cards?

I always try to send a Christmas Photo Greeting along with a page long year in review Merry Christmas to friends and family! And being that I love photography and scrap booking I always have fun getting the picture and cards made!

Well that is all for this week - please copy and paste into your own post and then PLEASE leave a comment so I can come read about your Christmas Memories!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Memories Monday!!

I am finally back online and so excited to announce I will be having a "Christmas Memories Monday" every monday from now until Christmas! I would really like for anyone to join us and share their memories as well which would make it all the more fun!

Each week will have a new theme to share about: such as food, or traditions, or decorating. I won't tell you which week is what - you will just have to tune in to find out! I encourage you to copy and paste this into your own post and change the answers and then PLEASE leave a comment letting us know you did so we can SHARE in the memories! Thanks!! So with no further ado we will begin with what most people are beginning to do! (Yes I thought of proper order for my posts!)


1. When do you start decorating for Christmas?

I don't have a set start date but I usually get it done within a weak after Thanksgiving - the fall leaves and pumpkins have become too "last season" ya know? lol

2. Do you have a color scheme to your decorations?

I don't have particular colors I decorate with but I do stick with darker colors. I go for Forest Green and Deep Red so at least my house has some uniformity.

3. Do you have a particular collection or certain Christmas "symbol" that you favor?

I have only been married and had my own house for about 4 years but am beginning to get a nice collection of snowmen so I have adopted that as my "Christmas collection". I love the cute little snow creatures that smile at us all December long!

4. What is a decorating tradition of yours that perhaps your mom did and now you do too?

I have a quite a few actually but I will only share about a couple of them. One is that my grandma - my mom's mom - always used to hang an eucalyptus wreath up for the Christmas holidays. She loved the smell of it! I never met this grandmother of mine because she passed away shortly before I was born and I actually never knew about the tradition for years. My aunt once I was married and had my own place sent me an eucalyptus wreath for Christmas (but early of course so I could enjoy it). When I told my mom she told me the story of how they grew up with them. I loved having a connection to my grandmother - especially since I agreed the smell was wonderful! Every year my aunt (my mom's sister) has sent me and my brother eucalyptus wreaths and we hang them up - YEAR ROUND! They are so pretty and keep so good my sister-in-law and I post them with attention through December and then find another nice spot for them throughout the rest of the year! Okay that took awhile to explain so I will save the rest of my traditions (candle lights in the windows, luminarias, candy boxes in our tree etc...) for another time!

5. Where do you place your Christmas Tree?

Our tree goes in our living room, in a corner right in front of one of our windows - I leave the blinds cracked just slightly so you can see the tree and it's lights when you drive by our house! I love driving in and seeing the luminated Christmas Tree standing tall through our window!