Monday, December 31, 2012

A Month of Christmas Festivities

Wow, did I really go this whole month and not post anything??  Guess so.
We've had a great CHRISTmas season.  This month has been fabulous! 
I was blessed with several photo shoots.  Some for Christmas, but mostly for engaged couples.  What fun we've had!

Bradley and Bethany are getting married soon.  I believe they are 90+days away. 
Had fun shooting this family.  They're always ready for a good laugh and we had plenty during this shoot.
Hannah and Nathan B all tangled up in lights.  LOL
Rebecca and Matt will be tying the knot next year.  They are really fun to be around and I know they'll have a happy life together.
Ashley will be Gary's June bride.  Looking forward to this wedding.  Daddy would have loved to have seen this boy get married and he would have had fun getting to know Ashley.
And the last one this month was the Mongiello family.  They wanted to do a Happy new Year card at their Inn of the Patriots Bed and Breakfast in Grover, NC.  So we snapped some shots and their little girl was ever bit the two year old she is.  She was all over the place.  It was funny.  LOL  I had the opportunity to snap some shots around the inn and I'm excited about seeing all the pictures.
We celebrated our 22nd Anniversary.  We spent the day doing things we enjoy and having a good time together.  I sure do love that sweetheart of mine.
 Christmas Eve was spent at mom's house.  Josh was with us this year and read the story of Christ's birth before we opened our presents.  A tradition my daddy insisted on for as long as I can remember.  The story never gets old.
 Christmas Day we spent at my mother-in-law's house.  We had a great time with our family and always look forward to being together.
 Anyone who knows me personally, knows I like to carry a drink everywhere I go.  Hannah made me this super cool, on the go cup.  I LOVE it!  It has definitely made the top of my favorite things list.
 Our Sunday school class had a good time at our party.  We had some kickin' food, fun, and fellowship.  I love my class.
 One of the highlights of this month was when Hannah and I took mom and Marie (my mother in law) to see The Real Christmas Story at Narroway Productions in Rock Hill.  We took them to dinner and then the show and, even though I was suffering TERRIBLY with a kidney stone, we still had the BEST time. 
 Last Sunday I directed our Christmas play, From the Cradle to the Crown.  There were several saved and several getting things right with God.  The play was beautiful.  Some laughs and many tears.  The last time we did this play was nearly ten years ago and my dad was one of the people in the play.  The Holy Spirit was all over it!
 Sigma went to see the lights here in town, out to eat, and back to the fellowship building for games.  We had a blast that night.  Those Sigma kids are nuts.
I was happy to reveal myself as Anna's secret pal.  She was fun to buy for this year and I love her sweet spirit.
The churchwide Christmas party was a hoot!  And this table sure did sing their part of The Twelve Days of Christmas!  They had "..five golden rings" and they let it rip, I'm tellin' ya.  It was hilarious.
 And last but not least, we celebrated Bruce's birthday.  I won't mention how old he turned.  But there's a not-so-hidden clue in this picture. :D
 It has been a very busy month.  Pretty sure I've missed something.  But oh well.  Whatever.
We had a joyous and special Christmas and I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for 2013.
We'll be celebrating New Year's Eve at a friend's home, shooting guns before they're illegal and piggin' out on BBQ.  What will you be doing?
Please forgive any grammar or misspelled words.  It's late and I'm too tired to proof read.  I'm goin' sleepy-time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dinner With Friends and New Traditions

First of all, thank you for those who have prayed for mom.  She had her first doctor's appointment since she was in the hosptial and she received a very good report.  Lungs seem to be all clear and she doesn't have to go back until after the first of the year.  Praise the Lord for the good report!
Last night a friend of mine took me and another friend out to dinner for Christmas.  We had such a great time.  We sat and talked at the restaurant for a while, laughing and telling stories.  It was so FUN!  She also gave us each a Bath and Body Works wallflower...Frosted Cranberry.  I plugged it in as soon as I got home.  It smells sooooo good! 
When we left the restaurant she took us to a neighborhood where a couple of the houses had their lights set to a radio station.  So we listened to Christmas music and watched as the lights danced to the music.  It was so beautiful and I can't wait to take Bruce and the kids to see them.
We weren't ready for the night to end so we ended up sitting at Dairy Queen and laughing at more funny stories.  I always come home feeling refreshed after dinner with those two.  I love my buddies!
We put the tree up and decorated yesterday.  Everything looks festive now.  Our calendar is pretty well filled up until January 5th.  So yesterday really kicked off our season and we are now into the full swing of the holiday festivities.
Today began a new tradition for our family.  I found a recipe for Grinch cookies on Pinterest and decided we would have a "Grinch Day."  So for lunch I used my Christmas china and fixed a yumm-o-licious lunch and afterward, I served the Grinch cookies with Grinch punch and we watched the classic version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It was fun and the family liked it.  This will be one tradition we'll keep.  :)

Here's the recipe for the punch and cookies:

The punch is simple... I used the Hawaiian Green Berry Rush, 2lt Ginger Ale, and a can of Pineapple juice. You can stick those in the freezer until they're slushy or keep them in the fridge overnight so they'll be cold when you mix it. But you'll want to taste it as you mix to make sure you get all the flavors just the way you like it. And if you're feeling really Grinchy, you could add some lime sherbet floating on top. Oh yum, yes!

Under normal circumstances I don't like to use a premade cookie mix. Especially around the holidays. But since this was my first time making this I followed the directions and used one pouch of sugar cookie mix. However, I don't see why you couldn't use your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

*1 pouch of Sugar Cookie Mix
*1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
*1/4 to 1/2 tsp mint extract (My men do not like mint. So I did not add this.)
*6 to 8 drops of green food coloring.
*1 egg
*1 c creme de menthe baking chips. ( men. I made half a batch mint free, and half a batch with the Nestle's Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels.
*1 c semi sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350* In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food coloring and egg until softened dough forms.
Stir in baking chips and chocolate chunks.
Drop dough 2" apart on cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 min until set.
Cool 3 min on pan, transfer to wire rack for complete cooling.
Serve warm or cold. Store tightly at room temperature.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving and Pictures

For Thanksgiving, we spent the day with my Aunt at her home and most all of my mom's brothers and sisters.  Some of my cousins were able to make it and that was a true blessing for me. 

The picture above is of my mom and her twin brother, Jay. 

I don't get to see this side of our family as much as I'd like to.  Maybe once or twice a year.  If that.  So the turkey and dressing and oh-so-yummy yeast rolls were fantastic, but seeing my family was the icing on the cake, so to speak.  We had a fabulous time and there was a good crowd there.  We were even able to take our new son, Josh, with us.

Speaking of cake, I made a luscious, four layer pumpkin cake with caramel topping. 
I found the recipe on pinterest and it was a big hit.  Might make another one for our Sunday School Christmas party next week.
I was glad mom was able to spend Thanksgiving with all of us.  She had just gotten out of the hospital the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  She had a severe allergic reaction to her blood pressure medication which ended her up in the hospital.  While she was there, the doctors discovered she had pneumonia and that apparently, she had had it for a very long time.  Which would explain the cough and illness she has had for the last two years that has been continuously diagnosed.  The doctor said she was fortunate to be alive after taking those pills for so long.  If you are on medication that ends in "pril" and you have swelling off and on in your mouth, tongue, cheeks, or a persistent cough, have your doctor change that medicine right away.  The doctor said one more and it would have killed her.  She's been on them for several years.  Every once in a while she would call and tell me that she woke up with swelling in her mouth or jaw.  We couldn't figure out what it was.  Now we know!  She is currently home and recovering.  However, she is still a very sick lady and I am hoping that she will be much better by Christmas.  I'm thinking she has a good bit of recovery ahead of her.
I've also been busy with photography.  I've had the opportunity to get some beautiful pictures of beautiful people recently.  It's been nice to be busy with something I love doing.  Here are a few of my favorites from recent shoots...
The Brackett Family...
 Miss Madilyn...

John and Heather, newly engaged...
 The Rollins family...

Bradley and Bethany, newly engaged...
Cheyenne, sweet 16...
We've been fighting the stomach virus here at our home the last couple of days.  Hannah and Harry came down with it early Friday morning.  So far the rest of us are ok.  I'm hoping it passes through and doesn't hit the rest of us.  I'm not holding my breath, though.  Considering it's an airborne virus, I probably should be.  
We've been taking a home remedy of a tsp of apple cider vinegar every so often.  I hope it works.  I'd hate to be taking that nasty stuff for nothin'.  I chase it down with Ginger Ale.  LOL
I guess that's it for an update.  Hope y'all had a Happy Thanksgiving and that you begin to enjoy this beautiful season of Christmas.