Christian Life, Family, Holidays, Memories, Success!

Christmas, Part 2

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had our Christmas celebration at Mom and Dad’s on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas Day because an ice storm we had messed up schedules. I went over to their house on New Year’s Eve to make the dressing and do a couple of other things for meal prep. To make the dressing you first make the cornbread, then eat a bit of cornbread when it’s done with lots of butter. When the cornbread is cool you break it up into pieces, add white bread (in this case, hot dog buns) and add the chicken broth, onion, salt and pepper, and sage to taste. I mixed it all up and didn’t even really have to add anything except a little bit of pepper after I tasted it. Mom declared it a triumph, so we put in in the fridge to cook the next day.

Mom has the timing down exactly right for all the holiday foods, so I kept going to her to figure out what to put in the oven next. We had rolls (they go in the oven last); mashed potatoes with sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon (The Hubs made that); turkey breast (that goes in first since it isn’t cooked), ham (made the glaze the morning of, didn’t have any cornstarch to put in it the day before); a veggie dish with broccoli, cauliflower, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and other yums; chips and guacamole (always made first for an appetizer); and sweet potatoes with orange juice and marshmallows (put the sweet potatoes in under the broiler to brown the marshmallows — I didn’t do it quite right and the marshmallows melted into the sweet potatoes but they were still delicious). The we had chocolate pie and pumpkin pie for dessert, but everyone wanted chocolate pie so we left the pumpkin for Mom and Dad to eat later. It wasn’t the same as when Mom makes the dinner, but it tasted good and everyone enjoyed it as far as I know. The Girl and Her Fiancé weren’t able to join us because she wasn’t feeling well and he was scheduled to work.

The soft trivets were made by my Great Aunt Clara.

We had gift-opening time before we ate and that was fun as usual, I got some very nice gifts and I think everyone appreciated their goodies. I received this Garmin Venu smartwatch and I then modified it with a screen protector with a pink frame and a new black band with a lace design, because I enjoy making things my own, ha. It started out like this:

Original Venu Sq watch.

And now it looks like this:

Modified watch.

The screen protector just snaps over the whole front of the watch, and came in a set with many other colors. The band came in a set with many colors to choose from as well. I found both sets on Amazon. I also ordered a new RoadID with my pertinent information on it in case of emergency, it fits over the watchband. The one for my old Garmin watch was too large for this band.

Some other photos from our Christmas celebration:

Having dinner.

Another angle of the dinner eating.

Some of our goodies.

A nifty lantern snow globe Mom received from a friend.

I wish I had gotten more photos, but I was busy concentrating on the food.

We all had a great time visiting and I was sorry when we all had to go home. I went to Mom and Dad’s again this last Sunday and helped put away the Christmas decorations. They have been using a potted pine as a Christmas tree for the last three or so years and it is oddly doing well in its pot outdoors during the year. Dad says it is almost a bonsai tree at this point. Here he is taking it back outside to its place on the deck.

We had a great time together celebrating what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus. Amazing Grace, indeed!!

Adventures, Family, Holidays, Writing

Christmas and “Limbo Week”

(My Sis-in-Law calls this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day “Limbo Week” and I’ve decided to adopt that phrase, although if one spends the week finishing out the year strong and doing some planning for the next year, I guess it isn’t completely in limbo!)

Well, we didn’t have our Christmas at Mom and Dad’s after all on Christmas Day. Mom and Dad weren’t able to get her in to dialysis on Friday because of the ice storm, and Dad called me and suggested we postpone our Christmas celebration to New Year’s Day since he didn’t think Mom would be feeling very well after skipping her usual day of dialysis. They were able to get her in on Saturday because there was a cancellation, but we had already decided to postpone. But my Sis and Bro-in-Law will be able to come on New Year’s Day, so it will be nice that they can be there. We had a simple Christmas Day at home with The Girl and The Future Son-in-Law and watched quite a few popular holiday movies! Then I went out to Mom and Dad’s to visit and help decorate the tree and we had a Zoom meeting with the Sis and Bro-in-Law to say Merry Christmas.

I also didn’t have my breakfast with Marnie on Saturday because there was still a lot of ice in the morning, so we had our breakfast on Monday instead. Marnie changed out our usual hiking theme this year and gave me writing-themed gifts, and I thought that was awesome. I am fixing to start writing a book about our Pacific Crest Trail adventures, and identifying as an author is the first step! She gave me a doorknob hanger that says, “Go away, I’m writing (or thinking about writing)” that has a picture of a typewriter on it, which is very cute. She also gave me some crystals meant for writers, that are supposed to help with clarity and creativity, inspiration and ideas, concentration and focus, and imagination. I don’t know if crystals actually help, but I have them on my desk just in case, ha. I was so inspired by the things that she got on Etsy that I went to Etsy searching for more writing-themed items, and found a necklace and some earrings made of old typewriter keys that I immediately ordered. What better thing to wear if I go to some sort of writing conference? So fun!

Tumbled crystals for writing inspiration – labradorite, fluorite, sodalite, fossilized coral.
The saucer is pink Depression glass but the pink color doesn’t show up well in the photo.

Initial necklace made of old typewriter key. The earrings look similar but have symbols instead of letters.

So we are looking forward to our Christmas on New Year’s Day. I will go out on New Year’s Eve day and help get the food and everything else ready. Today Marnie and I are going on a hike to the “backcountry” of Silver Falls State Park. We didn’t invite Linda because much rain is forecast and Linda does not like hiking in the rain! We didn’t hike last Friday or Saturday because of the ice, or the week before that because Marnie wasn’t available, so I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of things with hiking. I’m sure next week we will start up our regular hiking schedule. Today it’s supposed to be in the high 30s/low 40s F so fairly chilly, but I got a cute new warm hat and I hope it will keep my ears cozy.

Cute new hat.
The bill will be handy to keep my rain jacket hood from falling in my face. Also, it has a ponytail hole.

Hope all of you have been having a happy holiday season! Have a wonderful and productive “Limbo Week” getting ready for 2023!

Bible, Christian Life, Holidays


TLDR: Holiday joy to all!!

On Monday I went to do the Christmas grocery shopping and get a few other things for Mom to give as gifts. Three of my cousins had babies and Mom wanted to get them each a blanket and a cute outfit. We will have Christmas at Mom and Dad’s and Mom will supervise The Hubs’ and my preparations of the dinner. Dad is feeling Grinchy about Christmas this year, but I’m sure he will come around and enjoy our time together.

I went to a store we have here called Fred Meyer, which has “one-stop shopping”, in that it has not only groceries but clothing, decor, jewelry, and many other items for sale. It has been Mom’s go-to for shopping since the 1970s. We have a small Fred Meyer near our home and The Girl and Her Fiancé both work there, but I decided to go to the store in east Salem because it is bigger and I needed to also go to Hobby Lobby, which is in the same general area.

Here is the list Mom gave me when she was in the hospital after a fall a couple of weeks ago (all tests confirmed she is okay, just has quite the shiner and a cut on her forehead from her glasses), with my additions and deletions. I decided to type up a list on the computer, double-spaced, so I would be sure not to miss anything! We will be having turkey and ham, cornbread dressing, bacon cheddar mashed potatoes, a veggie dish, rolls, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and pie for dessert. We will also have a lemon Jell-O salad with bananas and marshmallows. Mom got the recipe for that dish years ago when they were invited to a dinner where the hostess not only asked everyone to bring something, she assigned the dishes she wanted everyone to bring! It is a delicious dessert-like salad though, and has been a staple at holidays in our family ever since that assignment, ha.

I decided to go to the store at 8:00 in the morning to try to beat any rush that might happen due to it being so close to Christmas. I always like to get out early when it is not so “people-y” since I can get things done faster that way and get home at a reasonable time (ideally in time for lunch). Also, by the time I got done with the shopping at Fred Meyer the other stores would be open as well.

I had fun shopping for the baby clothes and blankets Mom wanted and found some of the cutest 3-piece baby outfits for 40% off! Practically all the baby things were on sale, hooray!

Adorable baby outfit — onesie, leggings, and jacket.

They didn’t have any of the Carter’s blankets Mom was interested in, so I got some fleece blankets with matching “loveys”. A lovey is a small blanket with an animal head for a little child to carry around for comfort. I had a “snuggle blankie” when I was a little one, and The Boy had a “Nuggy”. His Nuggy was a soft cotton blanket with silky edges. Both of our blankies were mended many times and don’t quite look like they did when they started out! They are in the cedar chest with the other keepsakes.

Matching blankie, very soft.

After shopping for the baby things, I went over to the grocery department and started in there. Since I usually don’t shop at Fred Meyer, I had a hard time finding things and had to go back and forth quite a bit when I realized the thing I wanted was at the other end! This Fred Meyer has what I call double aisles, where there is one aisle going one way with another aisle going perpendicular to it in the middle, if that makes sense. Anyway, it makes it hard to see the signs telling what is in each aisle. It is set up completely differently from Safeway, my usual store. I was able to get all the groceries, but for some reason Fred Meyer didn’t have buttermilk, Crisco in a small can or bricks, and turkey legs that could be bought separately from a turkey (most of us like white turkey meat, so Mom just buys a breast of turkey and not the whole bird, but Dad likes the legs). I was able to order the buttermilk from Safeway to pick up today, but didn’t find the Crisco or turkey legs. I had to go out south to Trader Joe’s yesterday so I went to the Winco grocery store to check, and they also didn’t have Crisco in a small can. They did have the butter flavor Crisco in bricks so I bought some of those for my pantry and will just take my small can of Crisco to Mom and Dad’s for the cornbread. I found no turkey legs either (although they had these — Paws! Baha! Ew. I mean, seriously. EW.).

When I got home I realized that one of the baby things I had bought still had the anti-theft device on it, so on Wednesday we went to the local Fred Meyer to get that taken off and to get a prescription for The Girl. Of course the device set off the alarm when we went into the store, but nobody seemed to notice! I had to wait in line for awhile at customer service and after a few minutes I wasn’t paying attention because I was listening to the jewelry saleswoman tell a customer she wasn’t a fan of screw-back earrings because “they give people a false sense of security”. I was sort of lost in that conversation and came to after everyone in the line kept saying, “Ma’am, Ma’am!” because another customer service employee had come in to open the second register and was ready to help me. I felt a bit silly then, I can tell you!

I went to Kohl’s department store yesterday to check on the Carter’s blankets Mom really wanted for the cousins. There was only one blanket there, and it was a sherpa one (too warm for the cousins in Texas) and looked like it had been returned, it was sort of all wadded up instead of folded. They were having a sale on baby clothes as well and have a very large selection of clothes for babies but hardly any other baby things. This is definitely the time of year to buy baby clothes! I did find a nice gift for the Mary Kay New Year’s gift exchange and it was on sale, so ended up being right at the gift exchange price suggestion. We are mailing the gifts to our gift recipients with no return address and will all open them at our virtual party at the beginning of January. Should be fun!

Today I am supposed to pick up my groceries at Safeway and go to the post office, but we are having a quick little ice storm and the streets are like a skating rink, so I will have to wait until at least this afternoon when it warms up a bit or go tomorrow to Safeway and Monday to the post office. It is supposed to stop raining and warm up around 3:00 p.m. today. I expect it will be rather a madhouse at the store since it’s so close to Christmas, but maybe everyone will have stayed home because of the ice, ha.

Tomorrow I go to breakfast with Marnie (postponed from today because of the ice), drop off some gifts, and go out to Mom and Dad’s to start prepping for Christmas dinner. It’s supposed to warm up into the 50s F tomorrow, so there shouldn’t be any problem getting out there on the freeway. Thankfully I have all the gifts bought and wrapped so I’m can concentrate on helping Mom and Dad!

I wish a very Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate, and many blessings this holiday season! I’m thankful for you!

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Baffled, Do Not Want, Holidays

Black Friiidaaayyy…


Ugh, the term “Black Friday” sounds so sinister.  It doesn’t sound like, “We’re having this awesome sale so you can afford super Christmas gifts for your loved ones!” or “Come on down, get great deals, and celebrate the start of the festive holiday season!”  It sounds like, “You have to come really early and there will be way too many people, and they will all get to the good stuff before you do, and then we will EAT YOOUUUU…<maniacal laugh>