A Merry Christmas – What A Great Weekend

Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012

My daily posts have been delayed since my Thursday post because me and my little nest have been celebrating our Christmas together.  You may find this odd, but then my family is odd in a sense (or more than one sense) but it is odd in a good way.

For long before I entered this world, my mother’s family have been celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve so that the children could go to the “other” side of the family on Christmas Day.  In all my 41 Christmases I have only missed one, when I was 7 and we lived in New Mexico.  So, for my whole life I have spent Christmas with all my aunts, uncles, cousins and extras (our family is open and if you need a family to share, we have one).  This is a highlight of my children’s lives as well.  For all their lives, we have to my grandmother’s for the day then go to my parent’s house to spend the night and all wake up together on Christmas morning and eat breakfast.  Then we pack up all the kids and gifts and head to Tony’s (my fabulous husband) family.  As you might imagine, I am beat at the end of all this merriment, but I would not trade it for the world.  When I went to college, I realized how odd my family was in the fact that I knew more than one set of grand parents and great-grand parents, knew my cousins and aunts and uncles.  I had a very large safety net and support group.  In this day of most families being far flung and fragmented I had a great rock.  In that way, we are odd.  I am so glad.

The problem that arose was with Tony’s work schedule.  As a flight medic, he worked a 24 hour shift and the medical field knows no holidays.  If your schedule falls on a holiday too bad.  Then there was the issue that we wanted to make Christmas memories with our family at our home.  What to do?  There is only so much time in a day…  Well, we decided that with the population increase and all that Santa might just need to divide up the delivery days.  So, Santa began to  hit our house on Christmas Eve morning or which ever morning fell closest to Christmas Eve and Tony was off.  This has worked great for many years, but this year posed another hitch.  Cheyenne, our oldest, had moved out and now had adult responsibilities, she can’t just come home and stay for a week on end so that we can all celebrate.

So, this year we moved the celebration all together.  Really, it is not about the day specifically, it is about the celebration of Christ our Savior being born.  That our salvation entered this world- that is the point.  So, to honor God and His gift we celebrate with our family.  The Hobbit was also coming out this weekend and we thought this would be a fun part of the celebration as we were all looking so forward to this movie.  The movie did not disappoint, it was wonderful.

And what a wonderful weekend it was all the way around.  I spent Friday preparing and Saturday cooking.  Jonathan helped me with every dish I made.  I am so grateful for his help.  We ate by candlelight on the fancy dishes, gold-ware, gold- rimmed stem ware and Damask tablecloth.  Of course, there was a small quarrel about who would light the candles- guess you never get too old to light matches.  Food just tastes better on a finely set table.

Because I believe that my children are destined for greatness, I have made certain that they know table etiquette and will know what to do should they find themselves at a table with more than one fork.  My older two daughters have done their share of setting the table and serving dinner, but this night was Sierra’s turn.  Sierra is a bit different from my other children.  It is as if she were born knowing that she should have servants, since we don’t have any servants, her father and I will do.  It has been quite funny to watcher her.  We do, on occasion, have hired help working on the farm and in the nursery and it never has occurred to her that she was either too young or too short to give them orders.  One young man in particular was 6 foot 4 inches tall and I walked around the barn to see her at a whopping four foot 2 inches and 10 years old telling him what he needed to do (her chores of course) for the day.  It is hard to describe the air with witch she carries herself, it was not a bossy or bratty way, just one of authority- apparently because he went off to do her bidding.

So, because of this she was not so crazy about some aspects of being the hostess.  When Savannah asked her for more potatoes- the food was served in courses so this was not a family style meal with the food on the table- she looked at her with such a “you have got to be kidding me’  look, it cracked us up.  She then got up and took Savannah’s plate.  Just before she returned, Savannah said, “she had better not bring me just one potato”.  Well, these two might just know each other pretty well because just as she spoke Sierra returned with her plate with one lone slice of potato on it.  Sierra then proceeded to tell Savannah that she needed to go on a diet.  The whole family cracked up!  Of course, if you have ever seen Savannah you would know that last thing she needs is a diet.  Anyway, it was a great meal and we made some great memories.

Dinner 2012

Christmas Dinner 2012

Our Menu:

First Course: Mushroom Soup

Second Course:   Beef CarbonnadeGratin Dauphinois, and Sweet Peas

Third Course: Pistachio and Chocolate Delight

Recipes to follow…

Christmas Gifts All Around!
Christmas Gifts All Around!
Sierra learning to be a good hostess.
Sierra learning to be a good hostess.
Jonathan won out and lit the candles.
Jonathan won out and lit the candles.

Now, on to the rest of the Christmas celebrations.  I thank God for blessing me with so much.

All That Glitters…

Beautiful Bunch!
Beautiful Bunch!

All that glitters may not be gold, but it sure is pretty!  Which is good, because the floors in my house glitter, the table glitters, my laundry glitters, and the interior of the truck glitters. It seems that when you work with glitter it just gets everywhere, kind of like sand at the beach.  As we prepared for the Canton Christmas Parade, I made signs for Cheyenne and of course a beauty queen needs sparkle on her signs- which is the source of all the glitter!

Miss Van Zandt County signs were not the only thing we made for the float.  Tony built me a small stable with a cross attached to it.  I have been wanting one of these for several years and it turned out just a great as I imagined.  On the cross I wrote “My Redeemer Lives” after all, what would Christmas be without the celebration of the birth of our Savior?  All along the rails of the trailer we attached bows of pine, cedar, and nandina.  A new use for duck tape was found along the way.  In areas where I could not wrap wire, the duck tape worked just great for fastening the greenery to the trailer.  It really turned out really pretty.  A bale of hay was placed in the stable and Sierra & Jonathan rode along.  Katie and Rylie, my lovely nieces, accompanied Cheyenne and sat with her.  They were dressed in the cutest red outfits with tutus.  My sister, Windy, always has them decked out right.

Jesus is the reason for the Season!
Jesus is the reason for the Season!

This was our first Christmas parade and although at the beginning I was really nervous about such an undertaking, it was not hard a bit.  The only thing “new” was the stable and that was built from salvaged lumber.  Everything else came from the land or was borrowed from Windy.  She had these really large ornaments that looked fabulous wired in with the greenery.  No one fell off or even looked like they might.  All of the greenery stayed in place along the parade route that started at the Jr. High and looped around the square.  I did also purchase an adapter that plugged into the cigarette lighter.  This powered the lights via an extension cord that was run out of the back window.  This little contraption is wonderful and will be used a lot to charge phones and laptops as we travel.

Getting the float ready
Getting the float ready

So, at 6:30 all the floats and other entries powered up and the procession began.  What fun!!  There was a record 50 entries in the parades this year and more people than I have ever saw came out to watch.  It was just so much fun to wave to all and have lots of people shouting out “Merry Christmas”.  What a great memory.  One little boy imp-articular made me laugh.  As we rolled by, he figured out what the cross said and began to shout, “My Redeemer Lives!”  it was awesome and I certainly believe it made God smile.  Then he looks at his mom and asks, “What is that?”  I like to believe that a seed of faith got planted.

Having fun!
Having fun!

After all the festivities were wrapped up, all anyone local who came to the parade came by the house for soup and cornbread.  That was really nice, too.  Not surprisingly, the boys ended up outside burning things in the chimenea.  Next thing I knew, all the adults had made it out there, too.  Not that it was cold and a fire was needed.  I was grateful the cold weather held off another day, dressing warmly was one thing I did not have to worry about.  Another Christmas season is passing by and we are making some really great memories.

May your Christmas Season be filled with joy and love.  And remember- Our Redeemer Lives!

Beautiful
Beautiful
Sierra & Jonathan
Sierra & Jonathan

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Wall’s Family Farm- A Great Place for Family Fun

Our lovely tree for Christmas 2012
Our lovely tree for Christmas 2012

I am one of those who likes to give Thanksgiving its due.  I don’t take down the pumpkins or the garlands until Thanksgiving has arrived and we are stuffed full of good food.  But once that happens- we roll into Christmas with gusto.  First stop on the Christmas parade is the tree.

Each year it is a bit of a debate as what kind of tree and where it will come from- a pre-cut lot or a you cut it yourself farm.  Last year, due to the drought, I won out and got a Scotch Pine from up North.  We were concerned that a tree cut locally would dry out too quick considering the severe lack of rain and high heat we had during the summer.  I really enjoyed that tree.  Personally, I think the Scotch Pine is one of the prettiest trees for Christmas.

But this year, we all wanted to head out and cut down our own tree.  When we turned on the county road and the trees arched over the road with their golden and red leaves, I was smitten.  The beautiful drive ended at an old red barn with tractors coming and going taking families out to the fields on the hayrides.  The place is Wall’s Family Farm- run by the family.  We met several generations of the family.  We had a wonderful time.

My 4 Greatest Blessings

Riding the hayride back to the barn with our tree.

Not only did we get a lovely pine, but we also gathered pecans in the orchard.  This was a new thing for us and we had a ball.  The little two climbed trees to shake down the pecans- not that they were really effective but that was not the point.  There were smiles and laughter all around.  The weather was a bit warm but at least it wasn’t warm enough to break a sweat.   We have cut down Christmas trees in all kinds of weather even though that each year we get our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving

With the sun shinning and the leaves crunching beneath our feet we made some more memories.  Each memory adds up to what my children will remember of home and what I will remember of their childhoods.  On this day we made many more.  If you haven’t got your tree, this farm is a great place to get a tree and make a memory.

Life is Good!
Life is Good!