The Night Before Christmas And The Day After

On Christmas Eve day, our doorbell rang, and a box was left at our door. We were not expecting anything so imagine our surprise when we opened the box and found inside this beautiful framed pictures of our son, Patrick, and daughter-in-law, Celina, and their precious children… I was so excited, I asked Bill/Bro to hang it right away and it looks perfect on our family wall of pictures… Thank-you Pat and Celina for this precious gift!

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There was also these Christmas towels, and pot holders… how adorable are these???

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And, there was a package for Shantel with chocolate covered cherries (she learned to love them when we spent Christmas in Colorado last Christmas.. ) And, tucked under the wrapping paper was some money… Shantel was beyond excited to have both the candy and the money…

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Later that evening Bill/Bro and I hosted Christmas dinner for Shantel (she actually decided to come home and spend the night…YEAH!), and our dear friends, and my sister and brother-in-law by choice, Holly and Chuck, and we were also honored to have a long-time friend, and former co-worker, Deb Huebner joined us. We enjoyed little mini beef meatballs with B-B-Q dipping sauce, along with all the usual chips and dips for before dinner treats..

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Then we moved on to our dinner of Honey Baked Ham with all the trimmings…

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Like Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

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And yeast dinner rolls…

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And, by all means it would not be Christmas without Shantel’s cookies and fudge..

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Then, on Christmas morning, Bill/Bro and I went to visit my mother at the Care Center. We arrived just as she was being seated at breakfast…. and much to our surprise… our friend, David was sitting at her table, reading some scripture phrases to her and her tablemate, Gloria, while pouring little medicine cups of wine for mom and himself, while they were waiting for their coffee to be served BEFORE they received their breakfast… OMG!!! I asked why they were having wine BEFORE breakfast and David said “we didn’t have time to get to it last night with all the Christmas Eve festivities…. so your mom said “we can have it tomorrow at breakfast…” He said at this point in our lives we take our joy where we can get it…” I so LOVE him… 🙂 🙂 I told my mother that she is a pretty tough gal because as much as I love my little happy hour in the afternoon…. I wouldn’t even think about having wine BEFORE breakfast… Gotta LOVE That!!

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It was a BEAUTIFUL Christmas Eve… And on Christmas day, Shantel, Bill, and I traveled to Buckeye Arizona, to share in Christmas day activities with our dear friends, Holly and Chuck, at their son and daughter-in-law’s house… They have four boys and a beautiful new baby girl… So much fun watching the boys play with their toys, and getting time to hold and love on their beautiful 10 day old baby girl…

But, today, it was all about getting back to normal… We decorate our house the day after Thanksgiving, and from then until Christmas day… it is all about celebrating Christmas… But today we took down all the Christmas decorations and our house is as back to normal as it ever is…

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Now we are turning our thoughts and prayers to a happy and blessed New Year…. and hoping we will be blessed to celebrate Christmas next year with our family from Colorado…

Stay tuned!

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Merry Christmas!

Yesterday I went to visit my mother at the Care Center again. I wanted to take her some of the Christmas cookies Shantel and Bill made. I also wanted to take up some bottled water for our friend, David, to help replace what he shares everyday with my mother. David’s room is next door to my mother’s. He has a little refrigerator in his room and every evening he gives my mother a bottle of real cold water and they sit in their doorways and chat. David said my mother is like a grandmother to him and he just loves her… I also took up a package of Christmas fudge and a Christmas card that I signed my mother’s name on so she could give it to David as a little thank-you for all he does to help her. I didn’t think it was all that big of a deal, but David was wiping tears from his eyes as he told us how much that meant to him. Merry Christmas David!

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I also took some Christmas fudge and a Christmas card for our friend, Bob. I signed mom’s name on that card so mom could give it to Bob from her. Bob was very happy to receive the gift and mom was happy to have something to give him. Merry Christmas Bob!

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The one thing that my mother asked me to bring to her for Christmas Eve was some wine! Her doctor said she could have a glass of wine from time to time so I got a bottle of wine and asked David if he would put it in his refrigerator and have some with her on Christmas Eve… David said he would be happy to make sure mom gets her wine tonight and he wouldn’t mind having a glass with her as well.. Merry Christmas mom!

I left the Care Center feeling good that Bob, David, and mom were happy and knew that at least David and mom would be even happier tonight! 🙂 🙂

On the way home I was thinking about all the things I needed to do to get ready for our Christmas Eve celebration at our house with our family and friends. But thinking about what I needed to do was as far as it went when I got home because as I was sitting in my chair telling my Bill/Bro how it went at the Care Center, I noticed our little princess, cat, Carmen, started running from one end of the house to the other crying and crying and crying… then she would stop and lick herself and start running and crying again…

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Then she jumped up on our bed and peed a little bit and cried some more… I had a feeling she might have a urinary track infection (UTI), and knowing the Vet would be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas, I told Bill we better get in right away. Lucky for us we have an animal clinic right around the corner from our house. So we captured Carmen (not an easy thing to do because she is NOT a cuddly lap cat) and got her in her cage. You can’t believe the growling/howling/hissing sounds she made all the way to the Vet…

We were told the clinic would have to work Carmen in and to have a seat. We sat in the lobby for about 45 minutes before being called  in to the exam room. Well, sure enough, after some tests and X-rays, the Vet said she has a UTI and asked if we wanted her treated? Well of course we wanted her treated, she has been part of our family for the past 10 years, and has never been outside of our house…If you are going to have a pet, you need to take care of them… So she got an antibiotic shot, some new food she has to have that keeps stones from forming that would require surgery, YIKES, and we got a bill to the tune of $394.51, then we were on our way home!!! Merry Christmas Carmen!

But we were not going to let that little bit of bad ruin our Christmas fun… No, after dinner I fixed some hot chocolate,  put it in take out cups, and Bill and I went for a drive to some other neighborhoods to see more Christmas lights! It was a real fun evening listening to Christmas music on the radio, sipping hot chocolate, and seeing all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.. Merry Christmas Virginia and Bill!

Today, I am happy to see that our Carmen is starting to feel a lot better. She isn’t running around the house crying and peeing on our bed. All is well again in our home!

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Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Stay Tuned!

Christmas Love

Today was the big father/daughter, and this year, Shantel’s BFF, and our family friend, Jaz, Christmas cookie bake-off!!! Of course, as you know if you know me, or follow my blog, I don’t like to bake and will make haste to get out of the house and leave all the baking fun to those that truly appreciate it…

But before I left the house, I did get a few pictures of the master mind of the assembly line, Bill/Bro and his diligent helpers measuring, mixing, shaping, and baking their Christmas cookie treasures…

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Many hands helped make these Christmas cookies special, which also made it happen in record time.

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All their efforts produced 6 dozen of the all-time favorite at our house, Neiman-Marcus cookies, and

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Three dozen of the second favorite for our family, ginger cookies…

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Plenty of cookies for Jaz to take some home, and of course Shantel wasn’t about to leave without some to take home as well. Then, we will have some for Christmas Eve at our house when we host dinner for our family and friends, and still have plenty to take on Christmas Day when we share dinner with our family friends in their home… Thanks Bill, Shantel, and Jaz for all your hard work making this Christmas baking season another BIG success!

While the bake-a-thon was going on at our house, I went to visit my mother at the Care Center. She received a Christmas card in the mail at our house from her sister, my Aunt Ellen. I read the card to mom and in the card was a beautiful Irish Shamrock necklace. Mom was very excited to receive it and asked me to put it on her immediately.

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What a beautiful necklace. It has little rhinestones on each clover leaf and a green rhinestone in the middle. Thank you Aunt Ellen for making my mother smile with your very thoughtful gift.

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Well, if all that Christmas love was not enough for one day…. look who came rushing around the corner and stopped to give me a BIG Christmas hug, just making my day!!! Yep, it’s David… he is out of the hospital and so grateful to be back with what he said is his “home and family” within the care center…P1030652

I can’t even begin to explain how good it felt to hug David, and he said I was the first person tall enough (not in a wheelchair) that has given him a hug since he has been back… He said it is difficult to reach down to hug with all the staples he has in him right now from his surgery.. I have to say that David looks better than I have ever seen him look…

I told David that my family, and many people throughout the country have been praying, sending positive thoughts and energy his way ever since we found out he was going into surgery…. Then he shared a little bit of his hospital ordeal with me. David told me he went into heart failure in the intensive care unit and had to be revived twice… he said he doesn’t know what all happened to him but he remembers he saw the most beautiful colors he had ever seen and said he can’t even find the words to explain how vivid those colors were because we don’t have colors like that here on earth… he said he saw his grandmother and other family members but he couldn’t go to them because there was an open divide between him and them.. then he said he heard a voice telling him he was being shown this because he has always treated others the way he would want to be treated…but it wasn’t his time yet so he needed to go back… David said the next thing he knew he was back in the hospital in his body that was on a ventilator and being told to try to start breathing on his own… he said all he could think about was trying to force himself to take a breath and eventually he did and was removed from the ventilator… the most remarkable thing David shared with me was that after he heard about what had happened to him, he looked at the paperwork that was sent with him to the hospital and discovered it was the wrong paperwork… David was supposed to be a DNR. But, because the wrong paperwork was sent to the hospital, he was revived, and survived the whole ordeal.

David told me now, he is glad the wrong paperwork was sent to the hospital because not only did he survive, but the leg that had the gangrene and was supposed to be amputated… and that he has not been able to put any weight on in seven years… he can now stand on!!! All the swelling is gone, and the doctors are so amazed that they ordered further test to see if the gangrene is gone and if in fact David might be able to use that leg and if so be fitted with a prostatic for his other leg.. and David might one day walk again…!!! OMG wouldn’t that be the ultimate Christmas Love?

Just goes to show… NEVER give up on your dreams… no matter how far-fetched they may be…

Merry Christmas LOVE to all…

Stay Tuned!

Walking In Our Winter Wonderland

One of the things my husband, Bill and I love to do at Christmas time is go around various neighborhoods and see all the beautiful Christmas lights displayed. Last night we decided to do a walk-about through our neighborhood to see how homes in our area are decorated for Christmas…

Now, I must confess, that I especially love to see homes that also have their front window blinds/curtains open so you can get a little look inside their homes as you are admiring the light display outside… Bill says that is being a “nib-nose”, and calls me the “nib city nibber…” I thought that was a bit harsh until I looked up what a nib-nose means… and found out it just means “an inquisitive person..” Yes, that sounds much better, and I am that… 🙂

Anyway, I put on my cozy ear cover headband that my sister by choice, Holly, made for me, Thank you Holly,

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and off we went to walk our neighborhood looking at all the beautiful Christmas decorations… and just look at what we found…

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All of these home were so adorable, and displayed the Christmas spirit with flair… but OMG, when we came upon this house, I was blown away… I stopped to take a picture of the front of this house, when a dream come true for a “nib city nibber happened… If you look closely at the front door of this house…it is open…, and just as I was about to snap a picture of the front of the house.., out came one of the ladies that lives there and said “if you like the front… come in and see the house and the backyard… there are even more lights there…! I was thinking to myself “be still my heart…. can this really be true? That a perfect stranger is going to ask us into their home to see their decorations in their house, and their backyard…? What more could a Christmas loving nib-nose ask for at Christmas??? Well she didn’t have to ask me twice… No, I was in that house in a “New York Minute…”, with Bill in tow… 🙂

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Oh my… what a beautiful home, and absolutely BEAUTIFULLY decorated for Christmas. Now, of special note… they were actually having a Christmas party inside… , but, the lady of the house was coming to close the front door and saw me taking a picture of their house and invited us in, so we went…

Remember, I’m in my ear cover headband, gloves, and cozy jacket, Bill in his jacket and jeans, and everyone in the house were all dressed up in their Christmas party best… but hey, they invited us in and even asked us to join them in the party! People were standing around eating what smelled like delicious food and looking at us just the tiniest bit strange… but the lady of the house said “look, we even have a full size woman mannequin! Not everyone can say that.” I looked in the corner and yes, a full-sized, beautifully dressed mannequin was laying on a very nice looking lounge chair, in a beautiful red cocktail dress, complete with gloves, hat, and high heel shoes… The lady of the house said she, the mannequin, lives with them and dresses for every occasion they celebrate in their home…

Well I didn’t want to be rude and start taking pictures inside their home… after all we had already been invited in to take a look at the lights out back, and I didn’t want to over step anything…. since I don’t know what the protocol is for one being invited into a stranger’s home at Christmas, while there is a Christmas party going on… So, I just made a mental note to talk about mannequin on my blog post…

After we made nice with the people in the house that were in the process of eating and enjoying the Christmas party they were invited to and we fell into, we followed the lady of the house to the back yard where she introduced us to her wife, and told us they both just retired, she from Hospice Of The Valley, and her wife from UPS, and she invited me to take pictures of the back yard… Well I didn’t want to take up too much more of their time so I snapped as many pictures as I could all the while thinking…. “does Christmas sightseeing get any better than this…? Take a look at their back yard. 🙂

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I am sorry to say that I only remember the name of the lady that invited us in.. her name was Jody, I really don’t remember the name of her wife… But as we were leaving their beautiful home, I noticed this Christmas mailbox that opens and shows a Christmas preset inside and closes… how cool is that?

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In closing…. I asked my husband, Bill, what he thought of our walk-about Christmas sight-seeing adventure this year and he said “all I can say is you got your Christmas wish to not only see all the Christmas lights displayed but actually got invited in to one of the most beautifully decorated homes… I couldn’t agree more!!!

Share Your Christmas Joy…, you never know who’s Christmas wish you will make come true!!! 🙂 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Stay Tuned!!!

Making Jambalaya

It’s no secrete that I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE to cook. So imagine my joy-filled heart when my dear friend, Megs, asked me to come over to her house and teach her how to make my jambalaya!

I left my house this morning at about 8:15 and drove up north to Scottsdale where Megs lives. Bonus, her beautiful sister, Sandy, is visiting from Michigan, so I got to meet and spend a few hours chatting with her too!!

I had a little surprise for Megs when I arrived. I gave her an apron I bought as a graduation gift from our first cooking class together. How cute does she look?

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Megs had everything all ready to start chopping and dropping it into the cooking pot. She was so excited to learn how to make this jambalaya, she even cried while she was chopping the onion… she is such an emotional gal.. 🙂

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Megs chopped all the veggies while I cut up the meats. Ham, kielbasa, and chicken. Then we started the step-by-step process of browning each meat separately in the same pot to help get the pot all nicely seasoned with the little bits of meat that is always left on the bottom of the pan. Then we cooked up the veggies, added the meats back into the pan and began adding the liquids that make the sauce.. lots of steps, but well worth the labor of love to achieve the end result!

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Next we began the taste, adjust, taste, adjust, process to ensure the seasonings were just right… Then we turned it down to a low simmer, and when Megs and her family are ready to eat it tonight, all she has to do is add in the shrimp that is seasoned and ready in the refrigerator, and the scallops about 10 minutes before serving over steamed rice. Of course you must also serve crusty bread to mop up all the delicious broth!!

I also showed Megs how to prepare shrimp, and garlic sauce, for garlic shrimp tacos… I can tell you they are ready for a feast!

I told Megs I have every confidence she can put the finishing touches on the meal (i.e. add the shrimp and scallops, crusty bread…) She said she was sure she could. I said well, if you screw anything up after I leave, it’s all on you… 🙂

Megs laughed and gave me one of her best heart-felt bear hugs that I so love to get from her. She hugs you like she means it, and I so love her for that…

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Thank  you Megs for inviting me into your home to cook with you. Nothing makes my Christmas more special than to spend quality time with family and friends and cooking special meals. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Stay Tuned!!

Christmas Date Night

Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Christmas… I love everything about the entire Christmas season… And it’s not about getting presents… Bill and I don’t even give each other presents for Christmas. The only gifts we give at Christmas are to our grandchildren who are under the age of eighteen.

For me, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. That is what gets me excited about Christmas, and the reason that I want to go all out in decorating our home , cooking special meals, and welcome family and friends into our home to help celebrate this joyous season. I also want to show joy and love for the beliefs, and traditions, of others, no matter what they believe, or even if they have no particular belief… I just think it’s a wonderful time of year to come together with family and friends and share peace, joy, and love together…

That said, there have been some years when I didn’t feel so much in the Christmas spirit, and I thought it would be easier to just not decorate or try to embrace the season at all… I would just let others do the decorating, cooking, and making their homes joyous… But what I found was, that when I did that, I not only let myself down, I let my family down as well. My family looks to me to make Christmas a special time of year in our home. So how do you rise to the occasion during those times you may not be that into it yourself…?

I don’t think the Christmas spirit just falls upon you every year… I think because of circumstances that may have taken place throughout the year…. you might have to make a choice to make the Christmas season joyous for yourself and others…. I’m sure you have all heard the old saying “fake it until you make it…” Well, I think that applies to Christmas too. I have found that if I think I’m not in the Christmas mood, because of unpleasant life events that took place throughout the year, or old memories of Christmas past, that I don’t want to revisit…, that is when I need to push through all that much more, and move past the negative and move forward even more with welcoming the season.

I don’t ever want my children or grandchildren to see me rejecting Christmas or this beautiful season because I’m not that into it this year…. I remember one year, years ago, I was so excited about Christmas, and someone said “I’m just not going to do anything this year… what is the use…? I thought to myself I hope I never get like that. I hope I never get to the point where I can’t find a reason to decorate, cook, help and/or welcome others, and celebrate this joyous time of year… no matter what..

Our house is decorated, and last night my husband, Bill and I attended the play “A Christmas Carol”, featuring Cory McCloskey as Ebenezer Scrooge at our local Hale Centre Theatre in downtown Gilbert. What made this play extra special for Bill and I is that Corry is the familiar weather guy for FOX 10 Arizona Morning, but formerly he made his living in the theater and on television. He performed on stages in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington in roles ranging from Josephine in Sugar, to Teen Angel in Grease and young Michael Hudson on NBC/s Another World. Cory also performs with America’s premiere “Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons” tribute group, December 63. This was his first debut at Hale Centre Theatre.

Also of special note, is that Cory’s wife, Mary Jane McCloskey (Charwoman/Narrator) was grateful to return to Hale for A Christmas Carol!  What a great Christmas present to be performing with her husband and daughter… Yes, Cory and Mary Jane’s daughter, Lydia McCloskey (Topper’s Girl/Ensemble) was thrilled to be acting at Hale Theatre again and excited to perform with her mom and dad in this show for the first time.

Bill and I both agreed that the performances were EXCELLENT by all the actors. But to know that our own weather guy, Cory, and his wife and daughter were all celebrating this joyous occasion together… well isn’t that what the season is about…?

Find a reason to be grateful, happy, and CELEBRATE…!!!

All are welcome in our home!

Stay Tuned!

 

 

What About Bob?

In the six years that I have been visiting my mother in the Care Center where she lives, I have made many new friends that I may not have met on my own…

I’ve talked about Bob in previous posts… He is the man in the light-colored shirt pushing his sister, Annie, in her wheelchair into the dining room.

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Bob is 87 yrs old himself, his wife died years ago and they never had any children. Bob’s sister has children, but they don’t come to visit their mother… Bob is devoted to his sister, and comes everyday, except Sunday, to visit his 88 yr old sister, Annie, at the Care Center. Bob has Parkinson’s himself, and has trouble walking, even with his cane… but he always manages to push his sister, Annie, to her table for lunch, and he feed her himself until just recently when she refused his efforts, so now he sits with her until one of the staff members come to feed her.

And, now, after Bob is sure his sister is settled, and going to be feed, he comes to the table where my mother has lunch. It started when our mutual friend, Joan, may she rest in peace, shared the table with my mother… Bob, Joan, and my mother would all sit at the same table for lunch, and became friends… Now Bob, my mother, and I have all become friends.

Well, I overheard Bob telling someone that today, Saturday, was his birthday. I was planning on visiting my mother on Sunday, but knowing today was Bob’s birthday, I decided to get some mini cupcakes to take to lunch today to celebrate Bob’s birthday….

OMG, I am so glad I did… he cried when I gave him those cupcakes… and shared them at lunch with my mother… At the end of lunch I asked him if I could give him a birthday hug… and he said “Yes, I would welcome that… ” So both my mother and I gave him a birthday hug and we left him smiling but with tears in his eyes… No telling how long it has been since Bob has had a warm, heartfelt hug…

 

Stay Tuned!

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