What do you mean, it’s already over????

Hi everyone….well, I heard that it is over already. Christmas. We work all year towards it and POOF!  it’s over!  Time to start all over again towards NEXT Christmas!  I hope everyone had a good one…ours was up and down, but ended up happy. Both boys are back to their own lives now and mom and dad are empty nesters once again.  Craig was home seven days which is a bit shorter than usual, but he had to get back to work —he timed his coming and going perfectly…slipping in and out between snowstorms.  He laughed at me as I was crying with happiness when he arrived, and crying in the car as we delivered him back to the airport.  Winking smile   That allowed me to give extra hugs before he left. I’ll never understand airlines…he flew from Cleveland to Newark NJ…then from New Jersey straight out to Seattle. What’s with that??  Anyway…he emailed that he had arrived safely as he usually does.  Brian left the day after Craig…anxious to get back into his routine of diet and working out.  Wish I had his willpower!

So we now start a New Year.   Hopefully it will be a bit happier for our little family than the last. I have already started back to work…it comforts me and keeps my mind on better things.  It also exhausts me which helps me get to sleep faster . There are glimmers of happiness that hopefully will work out this next year…we always need to think positively even if it is hard sometimes.

I once posted that life is a roller coaster…and it is….the low points are there to make us appreciate and value the good times even more.  So, even though my boys have gone back…I cherish the time we enjoyed with both of them and I know how much they love us .  They are the bright spots in our life.

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I hope each and every one of you have a blessed, happy, healthy, and love filled New Year!  ——Jan

“Twas the night before Christmas……

Hi everyone….just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and extend the same wish to all of your friends and family.  Cherish your time together and try to keep Christmas goodwill in your heart all year long.  Blessings, Jan

                                                            

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Merriment 25—-all is calm, all is bright….

Hi everyone!  At last our little family is together again under the same roof.  I am so proud of our sons and the lives they have created for themselves.  Craig moved across the country to Seattle two weeks after graduating from college. He was the first graduate ever going straight from Penn State to working at Microsoft. I don’t think I ever could have done what he did!  Brian earned two degrees and then took his first plane flight to start grad school in California!  How did either of them become so brave??  Both have stayed very close to us even when far away..and I am so grateful for that.  I can’t even describe the contentment I feel when they are both here with us.  I know they each have lives elsewhere, but they save time for us. 

Tonight as we all are together, we will watch favorite shows, remember good times, and hopefully create more memories.  Each holiday is an opportunity to pull together closer as a family.  The tree is glowing, it’s snowing outside but cozy inside, and  all is calm…all is bright.    Merry Christmas to you and yours.—–Jan

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Merriment 24—The eagle has landed!!

Hi everyone!   Today we left for the Cleveland airport, drove through torrential rain, (thank goodness it wasn’t snow ), to pick up our older son who lives in Seattle.

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It was a dark and stormy night…….please forgive me if I don’t stay to chat…….

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I think the eagle has landed…let my Merriment begin!!   ——-Jan

Merriment 23—Ho Ho Ho!! It’s Christmas Tree Lane!!

Hi everyone—it has always been a tradition around here to go visit Christmas Tree Lane.  Christmas just isn’t complete without a tour of the beautiful trees in so many themes.  Actually, these trees are for sale…complete with all the trimmings, or you can get a list of ornaments and trims to duplicate the look on your own tree.  It’s always a treat to follow the path through the Lane behind some little ones and watch their faces glow in excitement.   This is where a small Craig held a detailed conversation with the mechanical Santa, and where toddler Brian hid from the trapeze swinging mechanical monkey.  We still look for old favorite pieces like the growing…and then melting snowman. I remember baby Brian clapping with delight watching him.  Ahhh…sweet memories!  So here we go…keep in mind that happy Christmas music was playing until the later displays where religious Christmas carols played. Also…most of the display are animated .

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Loved the ice skating Minnie….. that’s Mickey skating on the back of the “pond”…..

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Sesame Street…..

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Hewey, Dewey, and Louie!!

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The polar bear section was so cute…..

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I just LOVED this one…notice the penguin stuck halfway into the ice…Loved the above water/ under water idea!

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Now we’re getting into the religious portion starting with Bethlehem……

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and the Holy Family…..

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There were many more scenes, but this gives you a good idea of how lovely it is….the lights are very low so it sparkles with the tree lights.  I hope you enjoyed the tour…it then empties into the greenhouses with hundreds of poinsettias , orchids, and houseplants. Then several other sections hold the tree ornaments and trims.  Every year it is such a Merriment!!   Please visit our Merriment hostess’…Misi and Robyn (links to the right )  and the other wonderful posts by the other participants of the Merriment Chain!   ——-Jan

Merriment 22—

Hi everyone. The clock is ticking down to Christmas. Things are about ready here—a few more goodies to make and the cleaning will be finished today. I still want to do all the bedding in the boys’ rooms so they are freshened up. We’ve been stocking up on painting supplies as the 50% coupons come in—except for brushes, I should be good to go until March.  My favorite stencil brushes for the signs have been discontinued and all we can find locally are the cheap ones made for kiddie crafts. They don’t work when you need to make hundreds of signs!  Al has been searching and has finally located a possible supplier…..what a relief!  Thursday we pick Craig up at the airport. Smile Smile Smile  It will be so good to see him again…I so wish we lived a bit closer and got to see him more often. Brian will be here on Friday. His most recent MRI was the same as the last, and I am so grateful the tumor hasn’t grown any. He is following his very strict healthy diet and working out every day to stay strong.

I can’t tell you how great the feeling is  when we are , once again, all under the same roof…..Smile  

The other day, when we were out and about, I turned the corner in the store and did a double take…

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This fella was as tall as me…I noticed quite a few people taking a second look….and the looks on the faces of the kids were priceless!  I heard one little girl, after watching this guy for a few minutes, wisely tell her mom….”I don’t think he’s real”.  Tomorrow I will post a longer Merriment post of the entire Christmas Tree Lane.  Enjoy the wonder in the eyes of your little ones this Christmas season…Oh, the Merriment!!  –Jan

Merriment 21—baking goodies

Hi everyone! I was so busy today….we started by taking the last batch of product I finished last week up to the store we sell in.  The store has been quite busy and will be really hopping from now until New Year’s Day.   We stopped at McD’s for lunch, then stopped at a store I find a lot of unusual spices at—no luck today at finding the one I wanted.  Al wasn’t feeling well…just run down….so we went home.  As he went upstairs to take a nap, I started baking. I try to make several kinds of dough one day, then bake them all the next.  I should finish up tomorrow. Today I baked triple fudge cookies, magic cookie bars, Chinese cookies, and my mom’s gingersnaps. YUM!

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The gingersnaps are soft , spicy, and have a sugar crust on them….so easy to make too…..here’s the very old recipe….

SOFT GINGERSNAPS

1 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup shortening  (Crisco…I use butter flavor )

1/2 teas. salt

1 large egg

4 Tab. molasses (spray your spoon with Pam first )

2 Cups flour

1 teas. each : baking soda, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon

extra sugar

……………………………………….

Mix first sugar (1 Cup ) with shortening until fluffy.

add everything else except extra sugar until well combined.

chill for 1 hour.

roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll in extra sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes until they start to crack on top. They will be soft.  Leave on cookie sheet for a few minutes until firm enough to remove.

 

Tomorrow I will bake the peanut butter cookies with Reese’s cups in them and with Hershey kisses…then Buckeyes and toffee.  I used to bake clothespin cookie, pecan tarts (Al’s favorite) and lots of sugar cookies.  The boys never liked sugar cookies so they were the first to go. We love the pecan tarts, but now that walnuts and pecans are worth their weight in gold, I don’t make them.  I love clothespin cookies but I would eat all of them (frozen ) if I made them …so I don’t!  In fact, if I don’t stop taste testing each of these cookies, I may break my doctor’s scale tomorrow!

I still have two rooms to tear apart and clean before the boys are home….then I’m ready to do NOTHING! And I will enjoy that. Smile  Have a Merry!!  —-Jan