I don't really have time (who does?) for a real post, but I wanted to share a little of what's been going on around here.
At last writing, I was quickly stuffing the Christmas decor away and reassembling the Fall displays so that we could be hosts for an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner. Next was our Black Friday romantic get-away for about 2 days total. On Sunday, we (really, just me... my husband the pilot, doesn't mind a little bouncing around,) white-knuckled it back from our whirlwind trip to Southern California and spent the week that followed knee-deep in the Christmas spirit and a maze of Rubbermaid totes and half-lit light strings. More of those trip highlights in the next installment.
It was a mad rush to finish our Christmas decorating because on December 5, we participated in a Christmas Parade of Homes
with three other families in our church. The idea is that you visit for a bit in each home, enjoying a few refreshments, some Christmas music and a sampling of each family's traditions.
Our turnout was very light - only about 20 guests, and we're related to four of those and two guests were non-member friends. It seems that our church family isn't much for socializing (especially if they have to drive after dark - another perk of living in a retirement town
) unless it's at a bowel-churning potluck immediately after services. (Sorry, I've never been a fan of the potluck dinner... Never trust the mushroom soup gravy...) *** ETA: Please see my comments in the comments for clarification (without a blow by blow, literally, or Imodium reference) of my aversion to potlucks...***
But thankfully, we haven't had to forgo friendship along with the potlucks! The Lord has brought us the most wonderful friends you could ask for OUTSIDE our congregation and INSIDE our association of Homeschoolers. And it's been a blessing for us in immeasurable ways.
The REAL reason I even planned the church social was to force myself to bake, and clean and decorate my home early in the Christmas season. And it worked!! I even finished all my shopping. I finished my shopping so early I've been able to finish it two more times since then!
I got all the trees up (but the one in the office/school room - and we didn't have room for it this year with our four additional computers since last year...) nearly all the gifts wrapped and under the tree, lights on the outside of the house, and the house got mostly cleaned (except for the office/school room... we just closed the door... Genius needs no explanation.
Sorry - I'm lousy at taking photos during my own parties... I don't have photos of folks roasting hot-dogs over the fire pit outside, the dog warming himself on the hearth inside, the cute gallon sized S`more Snowman hot cocoa dispenser my kids made me buy, the table full of appetizers, or people doing our Christmas Ornament Scavenger Hunt. But I do have photos of the trees... If you click them, they should open larger for a little more detail.
The Living Room - a 7 1/2 foot, scrapbook sort of tree with a varied collection of ornaments showcasing all of our interests and memorable events in our lives.
The Dinning Room - 6 foot slim tree bedecked with gold ribbon (leftover from the 50th Anniversary party this past summer) and "sugared fruit" ornaments (which coordinate with the "sugared fruit" garland and fresh greens over the table.
The Kitchen Tree - A 4 foot tree that used to have a Holstein cow theme that evolved into a Texas/Cowboy tree when we moved to Texas 5 years ago. I especially enjoy the chili pepper lights, barbed "wire" garland, and burlap "skirt".
Our Daughter's Tree - New this year, (actually last year post-Christmas sale) a 6 1/2 foot white tree replacing her 3 foot tree that she had watered with hot cocoa... The theme is sort of Pepto Bismal... Pink, with the bulk of the ornaments being "baby's first" accompanied by a feminine and girly theme. The pink tu-tu around the bottom was her idea. I think it was a good one. Yes... she's occasionally doing her own hair now.
Our Sons' Tree - A 7 1/2 foot "realistic" rustic pine tree that usually resides in our office. Normally, this is my "Snowman" tree, but the Snowmen are taking a break this year. Instead, the boys have chosen a "fishing" theme to match their newly redecorated fishing bedroom. There are almost a dozen bass fish lights, fishing lures and a few snowmen with fishing poles too. They decorated it all by themselves... from the crooked and disproportionate rod and creel topper right down to the pillow case tree skirt.
Last, but not least...
The Master Bedroom Tree - This year in the form of a little 3 foot tree. The 6 foot tree is on vacation at a friends' house this year. This is the one that had been watered by hot cocoa... It smelled a bit of chocolate when Brian got the lights working, so I figured it would be most comfortable in my space. There's just a small sampling of my Victorian ornaments on this one.
That was Saturday night...
On Tuesday the 8th, we had our annual Homeschool Mom's Christmas Party. The highlight of the season - a real red carpet event.
Our Association officers set out to bless the moms with an evening of laughter that would replace a week at the gym doing sit-ups. I hope we were successful and their sides hurt for days following.
Again - I'm bad with photos at events I'm hosting or working - so I don't have many of the detail shots any good cub reporter would get for you. But just a few to give you an idea of what we did... not too many as to give away the details of our secret meetings. Shhh... don't tell the husbands isn't not all strictly business.
Some of us dressed in the traditional Christmas colors of hot pink and lime green.
Don't you love Grateful's
socks? They have red heels on them and she's so tiny that the red part is up on her Achilles heel. From the back it looks like she's been going through the grocery store with one of my kids pushing the cart behind her.
Please understand... these are unusual outfits for us... Except for Sharra.
She pretty much dresses like this every chance she gets...
There were 26 of us in this unique church sanctuary that also serves as their fellowship hall - the tables are at the back of the room on either side.
We catered our own dinner - I was in charge of that portion of the evening... it was a regular carb fest! It was fun to work in the big professional kitchen, though.
Our theme was "Game Show" homeschool mom style. There was a "guess how many math manipulatives are in this jar" game (see the jar above).
Next we had to whittle down the contestants - so we played a round of "are you smarter than a third grader?" Turns out, after a few glasses of teetotaler punch, they aren't. It took longer than expected to find 12 moms able to correctly correct a third grade math paper. (I'm SO glad I was not playing this game...)
This lovely lady in silver above was our grand prize winner for the evening.
Here is our fearless leader, Lisa
, waiting for us to get 12 contestants.
Those that didn't make the cut were given a lovely parting gift of Rice-a-Roni - yes... the San Francisco treat. It wasn't a year supply... more like a 10 minute supply. And for most of the families represented, one box wouldn't be a suitable side dish for even one meal.
The twelve qualifying contestants were divided into six teams of two. Together, they played a pricing game - they were given the correct prices to the seven or so items displayed and they had to match them up. It's tough to see here, but Lisa even has a Bob Barker style "microphone".
Sharra and I served as "Barker's Beauties" (right...) Actually - just the Lovely Sharra. I was the stand in for Rod Roddy... giving an off-the-cuff description of each item.
The final four contestants moved on to the final round - a sort of "What's My Line" (the game show version) and had to match up strange facts with the "conservative" homeschool mom they were attributed to. Take a look at the line-up below and guess the punk rocker, pilot, and mom escorted out of the country of Mexico by Mexican police in the dead of night...
The final activity of the evening (except for the clean up...) was the gift exchange game. There were lots of gifts that got moved around... in "Christian" love of course.
Now maybe you can understand the immeasurable blessings I'm talking about when I refer to my friends in the Homeschool Association. I love these ladies more than my luggage.
Thanks, Sharra, for the really good photos. I haven't yet learned how to use my early Christmas present camera. I'm going to play with the "skinny" mode a little more on that...