Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Church Christmas Party

We had our annual church Christmas Party last Friday night.  We always have such a great time and this year was no different.
The church supplies the BBQ and the members bring all the side dishes and desserts.  We ended up with a ton of food with enough left over for a fellowship on Sunday night after church too!
Mom and I spent Friday morning doing the decorating.  Then I went home and made Pioneer Woman's skillet chocolate chip cookie as my contribution to the meal.  
We always take family and group pictures of everyone at some point during the evening.  This year we missed getting quite a few of them though.
After the meal, we have entertainment.  Several of the men told jokes and little funny stories that had everyone laughing.  
One of our ladies, aka Minnie Pearl, was the funniest thing!  She told all of the church 'gossip'...some might have been true and some not so much!  Anyway, she is just the cutest little lady.  Allan and a group sang several songs and they were very good!  They sang a barbershop style "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", and then ended with "Mary Lou".  It was great!  We had a first in the entertainment department this year-a baton twirling presentation!  She was really good and next year, I think she'll be bringing fire batons to add to the program...not really but it was suggested to her!  
After all of the other festivities and gift presentations, we took a lot of fun pictures with props I'd collected.  So. Much. Fun!
I'm glad so many joined in the silliness!  I don't think anyone can accuse us of being stuffy church folks!
Overall, it was just a fun evening with lots of good food, fellowship and of course, fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge #247

Welcome to this week's Hodgepodge! Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond  chose some really good questions for this week.  
1.  Many families have a story to tell every year around a holiday.  Does your family have one?  Are you the star of that story or does another family member take center stage?  Share your story if you want.
We don't have just one story that gets retold.  It seems that different family members just begin telling stories and most others have one to tell too.  The stories all seem to revolve around different ones of us and not just one person in particular.  I can't think of one at the moment to share though!  
2.  Are you afraid to speak your opinion?
I wouldn't say I'm afraid but I don't always speak up in certain situations.  I'm shy by nature and my speaking up depends on the situation and the crowd that I'm in.  I'm not confrontational and that sometimes causes me to keep my thoughts to myself.  
3.  Pantone  has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time, they've chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color?  You can read the thought behind their selection, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue.  So what do you think?  Are these colors I'd find in your home or your wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?
No, I did not know serenity was a color. That kinda makes me giggle!  It is a really pretty blend of colors though.  As of right now, I have nothing in my house or wardrobe that are those colors. I do have some pinks and blues in my closet but nothing quite those two shades.  I'd be more likely to add those colors to my clothing instead of decorating with it, I think. 
4.  If you could be in a Christmas Carol, which one would you choose?  Why?
That's a hard one.  I love so many of the Christmas songs!  I think a fun one would be "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"! How could that one not be a fun one? 
5.  December 9th is National Pastry Day.  Will you celebrate?  When did you last purchase something from a bakery?  What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry?  Did you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?  
Pastries!  What a great thing to celebrate! Now that I know today is National Pastry Day, I may just go by Daylight Donuts on my way to work to get a couple of donuts.  I love most pastries-donuts, apple fritters, bear claws!  They're all good.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I ran by the donut shop on my way to work and got a plain glazed donut and a chocolate glazed donut.
6.  When it comes to holiday decorating...
I'm always late!  We keep our decorations in a storage rental place and I have to rely on someone else to go get the stuff for me.  I have 5-6 huge rubbermaid tubs full of stuff.  After I get my decorations put out, it usually looks like snowmen threw up in the house!
7.  When did you laugh so much it hurt?  Explain.
Sunday night!  We were at a mexican restaurant with a group of church friends and got so tickled and laughed until we had tears and everyone was holding their stomach in pain!  It had something to do with the marble game, Wahoo and it was just so funny!  I can't remember all of the comments being said but I really expected to be sore on Monday from all of the laughing.

8.  Insert your own random thought.
Saturday was our town's Christmas Parade and it's one of my favorite things.  Our town is known as Circus City USA because we have 3 circuses that have their winter quarters here.  So, Santa always rides in the parade on an elephant!  I just love it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!

We had a busy, busy weekend but it was so much fun! I just love our little town's Christmas parade each year.  It's one of my favorite things.  We watch the parade (well, all parades) on our church lawn/steps with friends and church members.  I love that we do this, too!  This year, we had more church members than usual to show up to enjoy the parade.  The day was BEAUTIFUL for a parade!
The Choctaw Nation Honor Guard always leads most parades.  The high school band and color guard performed along the parade route.  There's always horses and buggies decorated up for Christmas.
And, horses and more horses.
Some old cars and some REALLY old cars!
A snowman and the high school  cheerleaders also showed up.
All of the area fire department trucks joined in the parade.
This is my FAVORITE thing of all! Since we are a circus town, Santa always rides in on an elephant!  This never, ever gets old for me.  I just love, love, love  it!
Saturday evening, we went to a Christmas Party/Ornament Exchange with our Bible Class and the youth from church.
We had a great time with some great people!  I didn't get pics of everyone because I got caught up in the Dirty Santa game and boy, did it get dirty there for a while!
Allan and I both ended up with some cute ornaments!  Allan had to 'steal' the snowman for me since I love snowmen so much.
We had a really fun time!  There was so much food that we were all just stuffed.  I'm so glad we have this group of friends that enjoy being together so much outside of church.  We also spent Sunday lunch and supper with most of these people!  Good times for sure!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge #246

I guess everybody survived Thanksgiving and Black Friday last week. I only participated in one of those activities and it had nothing to do with shopping but eating instead!  It's time for this week's Hodgepodge with Joyce and the other Hodgepodgers.
1.  Did you watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special Monday night?  Who is your favorite Peanuts character and why? No, I didn't watch but watched The Voice instead.  I don't think I've watched the Charlie Brown Christmas since my kids were little and were still interested in it.  If I had to pick a favorite character it would be Charlie Brown.  He is just so nice!  He gives his best effort at whatever he's doing even if he's not successful at it. 
 "Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."-Linus
Would you agree? Yes...but not that it HAS to be in a pumpkin patch but anywhere in nature that is away from the hustle and bustle of life.  A quiet place to just sit and think really is therapeutic.
2.  Describe a sound from your childhood.  What does that sound bring to mind?  It would have to be the music of the ice cream truck!  I think I could hear it miles away before it ever got close to our neighborhood.  Last summer here in our town, someone ran an ice cream truck around town and just hearing that little ditty playing reminded me of barefoot, carefree summer days roaming the neighborhood with my friends and rushing into the house to get a dime to buy an orange push-up when the truck FINALLY made it to our neighborhood.
3.  You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you?  Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least?) -see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone, or celebrate winter carnival in Quebec?
I'm sorry to say that NONE of them appeal to me!  I'm not a cold weather girl at all.  Since I have to choose, it would be the Aurora Borealis and maybe I could see it from a hotel room and not have to go outside! 
4.  Who or what keeps you humble? CHILDREN!  They are just so honest and will really tell you just how it is at times.  The little ones in my Bible Class frequently say things that bring me back down to earth pretty quickly!
5.  What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most?  Explain. I LOVE decorating the Christmas tree!  It's my favorite thing of the season besides getting together with family.  Taking out the ornaments and remembering who it's for and how old they were when we got that ornament is just so much fun.  It sometimes brings tears to my eyes also thinking about my kids being small and so excited for the Christmas season.  
6.  Gingerbread-yay or nay?  Is making a gingerbread house a part of your family holiday tradition?
I like gingerbread but haven't made it in years.  My kids always made gingerbread houses in their school classes so we never made another one at home as a tradition.  I usually was in their classes at school to help so we all got our 'fix' I guess.  
7.  What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into the new year?
Oh, this list could be so long!  I really need to clean out all of the closets and get rid of stuff.  I take donations to Goodwill several times a year and usually make one last trip there in December.  And, since we hope to be in our new house soon after the first of the year, I need all of the junk gone before we move. 
8.  Insert your own random thought.
We survived our first holiday without having Dad.  In a way, I was dreading the day not knowing how any of us would react.  I had a few sad moments in the days preceding Thanksgiving and then on the day itself it hit me again.  One thing that I loved, even though it made me teary, was finding this tree stump with Dad's initials carved in it.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and good food!  We sure did!  I have to admit that I was really dreading the holiday since we lost Dad just two months ago, but we made it through and managed to have a good time, even with moments of sadness.
Not long before Dad's death, they had some trees cut from the front yard.  I just noticed on Thanksgiving that the tree cutter carved Dad's initials in one of the tree stumps.  I don't know how I had missed this before now, but I loved finding it on Thanksgiving Day.

On Wednesday night, my mom's oven went out and we about panicked!  I was already cooking the turkey and several desserts and Mom was to cook the dressing.  Her dressing is the best and is really my favorite part of the meal...other than desserts of course!  So, it fell on ME to make the famous dressing.  I was SO  nervous to do it, especially following Mom's instructions..."don't let it be too soupy or too dry".  Evidently it's a fine line to get it just right!  And...I did it!  And it was great!
My niece made her first desserts for our dinner!  I usually make most, if not all of the desserts, so she was so excited to try to show me up!  She told her mom the night before, "Aunt  Cheryl is going to be jealous because she does all the desserts and crafty things."  That made me laugh!  Anyway, her leaf-shaped cookies and little acorns were very good and I was so impressed and maybe a little bit jealous!
After lunch, we all went outside for picture taking.
My brothers and their families all were here.  One of my sister-in-law's dad came too.  We missed having Ashley though.   Since she works in retail, she had a late work day on Wednesday and an EXTRA early morning on Friday so there was just not enough time to make such a trip.  The cousins saved a spot for her in the group picture!
We all had such a good time together and our rain let up most of the day which  we were SO thankful for.
You can't have Thanksgiving  without have a little football...on tv and also in the front yard.
I'm so thankful that we have a close family that really enjoys being together.  We always have lots of laughs.
Also, Allan and I celebrated our 33rd Anniversary on Friday!  33 years!  I'm so thankful for this man and all he does for me and our family!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's a mad dash to the Christmas season!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Everybody's Working For The Weekend!

The weekend went flying by wayyyyy to fast it seems!  Ashley came home on Friday for a short visit.  She had concert plans with her bestie to go see Leeann Rimes.  She got home so early that I hadn't even been up for too long!  We decided to have lunch with Mom at Roma's.  Mom had a beauty shop appointment soon after lunch and since we finished lunch rather quickly we decided to kill some time by sharing CHEESECAKE!  We chose black forest this time and it was amazing!
We didn't do much the rest of the afternoon...just waiting on Allan to get home before going out for supper.  Ashley and I took a bunch of selfies and since we tend to act goofy, it was hard to get a decent picture but this  really is our true selves I guess!
She went on to the concert after supper and Allan and I went home and waited for her to come home.  Even though she's grown, I still wait up for her when she's home visiting.
She had to leave mid-morning on Saturday to get back to work that afternoon. I ALWAYS hate to see my kids leave...ALWAYS!  Anyway, they'll both be home in a few weeks for Thanksgiving and I can hardly wait.
Allan was gone most of the day Saturday for a TKD tournament so I was left to watch Hallmark Christmas movies the rest of the day.
Pic courtesy of TKD mom Melissa

Sunday was church and then out to Roma's...again.  We have such few choices here in smalltown Oklahoma so we eat out multiple times a week at the same restaurants. The food is always great here so we really don't mind.  Today, Allan had Roma's Salad with grilled chicken and I had tortellini alla panna with grilled of my absolute favorites!
John & Tonee ate with us today they usually do.  I'm thankful for such good friends!
After church tonight, we went out for supper at El Pueblito with a more church friends.  We always have a good time with lots of laughs.  It's a great way to end a Sunday and get ready for the week ahead.
See!  We can do a normal picture, although those silly ones really reflect who we really are and how we act with each other!
Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge #243

Happy Wednesday!  It's time for this week's Hodgepodge with Joyce and the ladies of the link-up.

1.  In two or three sentences, tell us what Veteran's Day means to you.
First of all, my favorite veteran would be my Daddy!  Veteran's Day should be all about appreciating and recognizing what a sacrifice SO many have made for our country in years past and also in recent years.  War is a terrible thing but also a necessary thing at times in order to protect our freedom.  But with war, comes loss and changed lives for so many people.  Thank you to all who have served or are currently serving our great country!

2.  What's your favorite film with a patriotic theme woven into the storyline?
I have just drawn a blank on this one...sorry!

3.  Flu shot-yes or no?  If you answered no, do you plan to get a flu shot?  If not, why not?  Have you ever had the flu?  NO flu shot!  I'm terrified of needles and that is my main reason for not getting the flu shot.  I talk my doctor out of any kind of injection if there is a pill or something else I can do.  I have had the flu before and it's no fun but neither is that needle rammed in my arm! flu shot for me!

4.  I've seen lots of people posting pictures of their Christmas trees up and decorated.  Many stores have had Christmas on display since well before Halloween.  Red cups are back at Starbucks, sans the holiday decor and that has some people up in arms.  What are your thoughts on all the holiday ruckus this second week of November?
I do love Christmas and all the hoopla that goes along with it...BUT...why can't we let Thanksgiving have it's moment too?  I love Fall but it just seems to get rushed through to get  the Christmas shopping season rolling along.  I do recognize it's all about the dollar, but I would prefer a simpler, less materialistic approach to the Christmas season. 

5.  What 'critter' are you most afraid of encountering unexpectedly?  Why that one?
There are so many to choose from that I don't know that I can narrow it to just one!  I'm a wimp when it comes to most critters.  I guess the most obvious one is a snake...I have literally gone crazy when I've come upon one suddenly.  My life flashes before my eyes as I'm doing the scared-of-snake dance!

6.  Do you like building things?  What's the last thing you 'built'?
I do like building things!  We are building a house but lately I haven't been much help.  I did 'build' a birthday cake for my mom last weekend though!  That fat-free sweetened condensed milk totally make this a healthy cake!  And dark chocolate is good for you so there's that added health bonus! 

7.  In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude...what are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?
I'm so grateful for my beautiful family!  Even though I don't see my kids as often as I would like, they're never far from my heart.  My hubby is one of the hardest working men around and I'm so thankful for all he does for me.  

8.  Insert your own random thought.
My church is such a giving church!  We collect pantry items for two children's homes in the state.  Recently the Tipton Home truck came to pick up the food and supplies we had gathered for them.  They always comment about how much is contributed each time they come. 
I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekend Update

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  We did!  It was busier than normal  it seemed but busy in a good way.  Friday afternoon, we met up with a friend, Cathey, at a local restaurant, Angie's Circus City Diner.   Cathey does freelance journalism and was in town to do a story so we had a good little visit over a piece of Angie's chocolate pie.  Pie is ALWAYS good!
Afterwards, Allan and I went to Paris to get some things picked up for the new house. I always love going by the Eiffel Tower, too, when we're in Paris.  It was lit up so pretty!
Of course, we had to stay in town long enough to eat supper at Magel's, which is always great!
Saturday, we continued Mom's birthday celebration.  Both of my brothers and their families were able to come down for the afternoon and evening.
I always torture everybody with a little picture taking!
 Mom and the three youngest grands. 
 My kids weren't able to come home this weekend but we did miss having them.
Mom with me and my brothers.  
We went to eat at Roma's for supper and I took a cake that I'd made and we all had a great time.

Later than night, I was getting my Sunday School lesson prepared with the help of Precious & Abby.
It never fails that I have at least one kitty trying to 'help' me each time.  They're so cute, though, that it's hard to make them leave things alone!
Sunday was Bible Class and worship.  I had a full class of kiddos and we had a great time learning about being a light for Jesus.   We went to lunch with friends and then of course there is the standard Sunday afternoon nap!  We went to church again and then out for supper with more church friends!
I hope everyone had a great weekend and will have a great week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge #242

It's time for the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge!  I'm joining in with Joyce and the other ladies for this week's questions.
1. Besides Thanksgiving, something you're looking forward to on your November calendar?
Yesterday!  It was my mom's birthday and we had a little birthday celebration at our local Italian restaurant.  The best part?  There was cheesecake involved!! Oh, and the hubby and I will celebrate our anniversary at the end of the month! 

2.  If I gave you a Thank You card right now, who would you send it to and why?
It would definitely be my hubby!  I really haven't properly thanked him for all he did to keep our house and my parents house running while Mom and I were with Dad for a month in a Dallas hospital.  He had to take care of animals at both houses, pay bills and basically do everything I normally do to keep the house running smoothly.  And, he had so much patience by letting me stay gone all that time to be with Mom and Dad.
3.   Of the breads listed, which one is your favorite...bagel, cinnamon, sourdough, garlic, banana, biscuit, pita, Naan, or plain old fashioned white bread?
I love bread!  Of those listed, I'd have to choose banana bread, even though all of those others are great too.  Banana bread just gets better as it ages...moister and moister and so delicious!

4.  What's something you have in abundance?  Is that a good thing?
Ok, this is kind of embarrassing but I'm going to go ahead and say it...BEANIE BABIES!   I got in on the craze from almost the beginning of it, and I have so many!  When I think I'm going to get rid of them and just keep a few, the keep pile just gets bigger and bigger, so I guess I'll keep them all for now!  The good thing about it is, that I haven't added to the collection in years.  

5.  November 5th is National Love Your Red Hair Day.  Are there any redheads in your family?  Who is your favorite redhead?
We do have redheads in our family...a brother, nephew, and several cousins!  Other than family, my favorite redhead would have to be Lucille Ball.  She was just the best!

6. The travel website Busbud recently calculated the most Instagrammed spot in every state?  Go here to see what made the list where you live.  Are you happy with your state's #1?  If not, what do you think should be the most photographed spot in your state?  Have you snapped a photo there?  If you live outside the USA, answer as it relates to you city, state or province.
I live in Oklahoma and Busbud says The Tulsa Zoo is the most Instagrammed place.  I've never been there but I imagine you can get some great pics there.  There are so many neat places across the state that could have made the list, that it's hard to choose just one.  My hometown has a couple of tourist attractions that I always love to show people when they come to being our local cemetery! Being a circus town, there is a big section of the cemetery dedicated to circus people.  There are some very interesting monuments!  

7.  I'm going to try to have something related to gratitude in this spot each week during the month of November.  Here's this week's question- What's something you've learned about yourself this year that you're grateful for?
I've learned to truly rely on my faith to get through tough times.  Dealing with my Dad's illness and recent death has been the hardest thing to do in my life so far.  The last month of his life while he was in the hospital was really hard...hard seeing him decline, hard watching mom go through this with him, and hard being away from home for such an extended time. Prayer and faith is what I had to rely on.  I tell my hubby all the time, that I don't know how people that don't have a faith in God get through the hard times in life.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
We had such a fun Halloween last weekend!  The rain held off and we had a HUGE turn out for our Trunk or Treat at our church.  It was good that we could serve our community and provide a fun, safe environment for kids to come and have a good time.  And get candy!!  
Have a great rest of the week!