Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Musings

Just a few thoughts as I start the day.

I slept so well last night! It was a far cry from a 7 or 8 hour night of sleep, but I took a good nap yesterday afternoon. If I remember correctly, either for supper or when we put Susannah to bed, Daniel prayed that I would sleep well, which is a kind-of random thing for him to pray. I am thankful for a "yes" answer to that prayer!

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING beats homemade bread. At least when it comes to store-bought bread. This past Thursday I had planned to make bread in the evening. Those plans were pushed to the side - gladly! - as at the very last minute Daniel and I were able to scoot away for an evening date. (It had been October since we'd gone on a date!) Part of the date was going to Kroger :) Since we were out of bread we picked up two loaves of marked-down "bakery bread". They were inexpensive and looked good. Somehow I thought they were whole wheat at least in part, but they were actually white. They serve the purpose of bread, but wow, we both thought the bread tasted like dry cardboard. Last night I had the bread machine mix up a loaf of whole wheat dough which I baked in a regular loaf in the oven. It tastes delicious and the way good bread should taste :)

I am thankful for my husband. For the hard work he did last night helping to re-arrange Susannah's room. We needed to relocate the desk that was in there (putting it out into the addition was the only other option, so it will be covered with plastic as the construction goes on!), and instead of both of us moving it, he muscled it around on his own. Granted, we had taken all of the drawers out, but I'm sure it still wasn't light as a feather - it is solid wood.

This morning I took a prenatal vitamin for the first time in a very long time. I took them before I became pregnant and for a little while after, but once I realized they were the cause of my ever-lasting "morning sickness" I stopped taking them. Since then I have occasionally taken a vitamin of some sort (usually a packet of Emergen-C). This morning I was thinking that as there are only roughly 4 weeks left in the pregnancy, and that soon my body will be providing nourishment in a whole different way for our little baby, I figured I should start taking some vitamins again.

I am planning on a very productive day. One of my goals for January and before the baby comes is to clean the floor/bottom shelf of the pantry. Thinking about it last night, I realize there is a lot of stuff there that we are not using that can be store much more efficiently else-where. I am thinking I may just begin tackling that project this morning once I publish this post :) If I think energetic and positive thoughts for the day, I'll be energetic and it will be a good day, right??

I am so grateful to the Lord and praise Him for His provision and care for us. For the big things, like Daniel's job. For the little things, like the two potted flowers a lady gave to Daniel to give to me, because she was going away for a while and they require regular watering. They are a beautiful ray of yellow on my kitchen windowsill and I love watching their sunshiny buds grow and open into beautiful flowers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winner Announced!! :: Home Management Binder

And the winner of the Home Management Binder from Getting Freedom is...

#26: Julie With her comment:
"I would love to win this binder. I have a notebook all ready for the pages!"

Julie, Congratulations!!! Please email me at mhbrem (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your Home Management Binder.

:: Winner has 48 hours to contact me before a second winner is chosen. ::

:: Winner was selected using ::

Didn't win? Don't worry, you can still get a copy! The Home Management Binder is being offered to my readers for a reduced price of $5 (from $8.95) through the end of January. Use discount code CNTRYCUPBRD at checkout.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Home Management Binder Giveaway {ends tomorrow!}

{Giveaway Closed. Winner will be posted Thursday morning.}

Hi y'all! I just wanted to post a quick reminder that if you haven't scrolled down my blog lately, I have a great giveaway going on right now from Phoebe at Getting Freedom!! One person will win a copy of her new Home Management Binder!

Click on the image below for more information and to enter the giveaway.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another First for Susannah!!

A post dedicated to Susannah is long over-due. I feel badly for not recording more about this year of her life and all the little things she says, does and milestones reached. She is currently 22 months (and some days) old. It is hard to believe that it's been almost 2 years since she was born!

Her speaking vocabulary is increasing by leaps and bounds these days. She still uses one word at a time (though once she did say "Go bye!"), but she is learning new words probably on a weekly basis. Instead of signing "more" she now says "more" most of the time. She says it very slowly and drawn out: "mooooooore". She has also started saying "please" instead of signing it. I usually have to prompt her to verbalize it, but she can say it. Her S's are said at the back of her mouth, so more of the "sh" sound than "s" but it's a long step from not saying "s" at all :)

For Christmas we gave her two wooden puzzles, one is of the alphabet and one is the numbers 0 - 9. She LOVES her "puffle" and most days we spend some time on the couch together dumping them out and putting them together. I usually hand her the letters or numbers one at a time and have her find the right place for the piece to go. I also tell her the letter and ask her to say it. I think this has really helped her with learning how to make some of the consonant sounds, and I think she is also learning the alphabet even though she doesn't verbalize it yet.

One thing I especially want to remember is her translation of the letter "R". If you show her the letter R and ask her "what does R say?" or "can you say R?", she says "hop!" Everything for the letter R is "hop!" I think this comes from trying to get her to "say Rrrrr... like rrrrrabbit!" And if she sees a rabbit (stuffed or in a book), she refers to it as "hop!" She doesn't really say the R sound yet, which is why we are trying to get her to say "R". It is very cute, though, to hear her say that "R" says "hop!" I'm sure one day she will say "R" and not "hop!", and that specific cuteness will become a thing of the past.

Getting rides from my aunt
with her 2nd cousin.

She still enjoys reading and being read to. Her favorite books right now are "Go Dog. Go!" (P. D. Eastman) and "I'm A Big Sister". Her request to read is saying "wee?" or "book!" and she often asks for "Go!", the Go Dog. Go! book.

Singing :) She has always liked music. She still doesn't sing very much herself, but she sure does like us to sing to her! We have recently started singing before her bedtime, and now it is a must. Her current favorites are "This Little Light of Mine" ("Miiiee") and "The Wise Man (Built His House...)". Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man is not too far down on the list. Some others that she likes are Joy To The World, Jingle Bells, Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosannah, and usually not requested but one she enjoys is Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

It is very sweet to snuggle her in the rocking chair and sing to her. Some nights she doesn't want us to stop. If Daniel is holding her, it is very sweet for me to sit in the other chair and watch her snuggle on her Daddy. Upon request, she willingly gives us each a hug and kiss after we finish singing and before we put her in her bed. Sometimes we can get her to give the baby a kiss, too.

I think she is somewhat aware that there is a baby inside my belly. Lately if we are sitting together and the baby starts to move a lot, I help her feel the baby move. This afternoon I was putting her down for her nap and she wanted to sing a little bit first. While I was singing, the baby gave some big moves. Susannah was snuggled on me, and when that happened she sat upright and her eyes got big and she smiled :) I asked her if she felt the baby wiggle and her smile got bigger. She finally has the correct "bump" on the front me identified as the baby in my belly.

Recently I heard "hep! hep!" coming from the kitchen.
I found her stuck, sitting on the step-stool
that she had backed up against the cupboards :)

For the past couple months she has been thoroughly fascinated with the toilet. When her fascination first began, I thought maybe she was ready to potty-train. After doing some reading and observing, I realized that being fascinated with it was the only "indicator" and that she really wasn't ready yet. Lately her fascination has resumed, so on bath nights while I draw her bath water, she sits on the potty (with a reducer seat). This is the first time she'll sit there for more than 5 seconds, but she is still usually ready to get down long before her bath is ready :)
I am not pushing potty training at this point, especially being so close to the new baby being born, but I figure this exposure (no pun intended) to sitting on the potty certainly won't hurt anything, and if she figures out how to go potty, well, I won't mind that either!

Up until tonight, she had never done anything on the potty. But sometimes as soon as her feet hit the bathwater she would start to pee (and it would surprise her). That told me that she really wasn't controlling her bladder yet, so she wasn't sitting on the potty purposely not going. Tonight, though... tonight she PEED ON THE POTTY!! I hadn't even started the water yet, I was getting a towel out of the closet when I heard her going. I think my excitement and her surprise cut things short, though. After she finished, she wiped herself (I was going to, but she took the paper and did it herself!) and then we had an impromptu, short lesson on "no, we do not pick the toilet paper back out of the potty! That is eww!" Then we went to the kitchen to celebrate with a very special treat of a few mini-marshmallows. I also called Daniel in from the addition to help celebrate the special occasion.

I don't know if she made the connection between the "very special treat", all the happy cheering and hugs, and what she had just done on the potty, but it was fun :) After the marshmallows, we went back into the bathroom to get in the tub (I should move some of the marshmallows closer to the bathroom...), and as soon as her feet hit the water she went some more. My guess is that her going on the potty was more a random occurrence, but it's a start.

Before it gets much later, I need to wind this post up. I'll close by saying that this week Susannah has had the worst cold she's had in a long time. Usually our colds don't go beyond a day or two of sniffles, but the poor little dear had a full-blown, several miserable days, plenty of nose-running and lots of coughing cold. As she never ran a fever or showed any signs of being seriously ill, I just put on my Dr. Mama hat and helped her the best way I could. We realized she was sick Saturday night when she woke up several times coughing and crying, and Thursday morning was the first time she was acting somewhat like her usual bubbly self again. Yesterday and today she's acted and looked herself and has been sleeping much, much better (for which I am VERY grateful!!). But last night and this evening she has fussed about her one ear. Still no fever, so I'm guessing it's just an ear-ache and treating it with ear drops. She has had enough coughing and nose-running/blowing that it does not surprise me that her ears might be bothering her. I am hoping this clears up quickly and doesn't get worse.

Right now I am eager to be able to go to church again tomorrow after having to stay home last week! I know Susannah will be happy to see her friends again, too :)

Home Management Binder - GIVEAWAY!!! {CLOSED}

{Giveaway Closed. Winner will be posted Thursday morning.}

You all know I'm a fan of lists :) I have my goal list for this year. I have a folder on my desktop that contains my annual goal list, my monthly goal list, weekly goal lists, and my daily to-do list (which changes each day when I make out a new one). I like my lists neat and clean. If I write it by hand, I want it on a clean, neat piece of paper. I love the neatness of something printed.

I have long been tossing around the idea of a Home Management Binder. I've read so many positive things about them, but have never taken the time to sit down and create one. All that important and makes-life-easier information all in one place? Yes, please! Nice, neat forms to write out lists and menus? Yes, please! Clean calendar pages to see at a glance what is going on that month or week? Yes, yes, yes!

My friend Phoebe from Getting Freedom from Debt has recently published a wonderful and thorough Home Management Binder that contains everything you need to keep your home running smoothly and efficiently. I've seen her HMB, and she did not leave out anything! All the way from cleaning your gutters to menu planning to budget worksheets! I can't wait to get mine printed off and start using it. I know with the new baby coming my brain is going to go out the window for a while, so having everything I need to remember in one place is going to be a lifesaver.

The exciting news is that Phoebe has given me one copy of her Home Management Binder to GIVE to one of you!!!

So you can see a little taste of what her HMB is like, here is a free downloadable copy of the Weekly Menu Plan from the binder you can print off and start using right away.

Giveaway Details

You have TWO opportunities to enter the giveaway:
  • #1: Leave a comment on this post.
  • #2: Leave a comment on this post telling me what area of your home
    you would like or need to better manage this year.

  • Giveaway will close Wednesday, January 25th.
    I will post the winners' names, so be sure to check back!!

Phoebe is also offering her Home Management Binder for $8.95, but through the end of January my readers can get it for $5 if you use the code CNTRYCUPBRD at checkout. Remember, this code is only good through the end of January, so if you want to take advantage of the sale, do it soon :)

I am excited to do my first giveaway from another great site here on my blog!! Feel free to tell your friends about it, too :)

*This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {Big Sister Susannah}

Ahh, I can't really leave this wordless and not tell the story behind these pictures!

In doing some going-through and cleaning in Susannah's room, I unearthed the baby carrier. It has a bazillion buckles, which totally fascinate her. I told her how it is used to carry a baby, and helped her get it on with her dolly inside. She wore it for probably about 5 minutes, walking around feeling special, before she got frustrated with it's too-big-ness. Later in the day she wanted to wear it again, but didn't last as long that time.

The headband (mine) was another find that she wanted to wear for a while that day :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Monday, January 16, 2012

I am thinking... That last week was a very good week and I would love to have another one this week. Last week went smoothly and productively. I also need to think about "what do I want" for our anniversary (in March). Daniel asked me that late last night. Hmm, I'll have to think about it a bit. I told him it very well might be for HIM to feed the new baby all night and let me sleep ;) (But that wouldn't really happen since I plan to nurse the baby and probably won't have him or her on a bottle yet.)

I am thankful for... Being able to sleep really well lately. That so far I'm not having any of the swelling (feet, ankles, hands) like I had with my first pregnancy. That currently the aches and pains of pregnancy are pretty mild. I am very thankful for all of these :)

From my kitchen... I think I will make some waffles for Susannah's breakfast. I hope to enjoy a nice, hot mug of coffee with some hot cocoa mix stirred in a little later :)

I am reading... I am making myself read all the way through More Hours In My Day by Emilie Barnes. I've read it before so it's easy to speed read the high spots, but I don't want to miss anything new I might learn from it this time around.

I am hoping... That Susannah's cold is short-lived as our colds usually are. She came down with it Saturday night (she and I stayed home from church yesterday), and last evening she looked pretty miserable. I'm also hoping that I don't get it!

I am creating... If I run out of things to do this week (haha!) I think I might dig out the sewing machine and see if I can finish or almost finish the kitchen curtains.

I am hearing... I turned on a soft, quiet instrumental praise CD this morning. Very peaceful, and provides some "white noise" for Susannah to hopefully be sleeping by as I make some noise.

Around the house... Susannah's new plastic blocks (I can't think of what they are called right now!) are scattered on the kitchen floor; her new-to-us "Go Dog, Go!" book and "I'm A Big Sister" book are beside the couch where we read them last night. They are probably her favorite books right now :)

A few plans for the week... A few of the things on my goal list for this week: To finish wiping down the kitchen cabinets (I only have the bottom ones to do), that has been on the list for a while; to clean off the desk; to clean the bottom shelf - which is really the floor - in the pantry.

A picture... One I have shared before, my kitchen windowsill where I like to keep a candle burning in the mornings and evenings through the cool winter months. Days like today, when it was 18° at 7:30 this morning, I lit it right away. It makes the kitchen feel more cozy :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

On The Other Side of The Hump

Whew!! I wasn't sure what was going on yesterday and the worst part was not knowing when it would end. I called my mother-in-law briefly yesterday afternoon and she asked if I was in labor. I said "no, but if I was at least I'd know it was going to end soon!"

As it turned out, by late last night - while I was still worn out - I was getting my appetite back and getting hungry. I made an egg sandwich about 10:30 and Daniel said it smelled like breakfast :) I wasn't counting on feeling up to going to church this morning, since I had no idea how well the food was going to sit on my stomach or if I was going to be able to sleep, but lo and behold, everything was fine!

I didn't bounce out of bed, but I did rest pretty well and felt like it would be pure laziness to skip Sunday morning church... especially since my stomach was roaring hungry, which felt completely different than it had all of the previous 24 hours! By the time we arrived to church I just wanted to go back to sleep, but I yawned and sipped water and think I stayed awake the whole service :)

After a good lunch and a decent nap this afternoon, I felt rejuvenated. I even made up a list for tomorrow and put down a few goals for this coming week. Tomorrow morning is MOPS and I am really looking forward to this meeting and hearing the guest speaker.

I am just happy to be on the other side of yesterday so quickly. Since I was never officially (stomach) sick, I was afraid it was going to be a couple day ordeal of feeling bad and getting rested back up from apparent lack of sleep (which would be strange for me, anyway!). Since then I've heard of a few people having a 24 hour stomach bug, and since my misery lasted pretty much exactly 24 hours, I'm pretty sure it must've been the same thing just without the throwing up (which is OK by me!!).

So here's a "hip-hip, hooray" for feeling better and hopefully a splendid week ahead.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Crazy Week's Re-cap

Boy, oh boy, has this week been a humdinger! Nothing really huge, just several things that have piled up and eventually overwhelmed. Daniel had his official "New Years Day" day off of work on Monday and it was nice to use that to recover and get back into a normal swing of things here at home after a big week of mega busyness. I felt confidant about the week and had high ambitions of really grabbing the world by the tail and starting 2012 off with a bang of productivity, doing some needed cleaning and all that kind of "new year" stuff.

God allowed several kinks into my plans though. All of them relatively minor, but again when there are multiple kinks, it seems to turn into one enormous pile quickly.

Kink #1: Tuesday night I woke up at 4am and absolutely could not go back to sleep. Thank you, pregnancy insomnia! I used those almost 2 hours of being awake to pray, think, plan, and wish I could I eventually got up at 5:45, took a shower and drank some coffee to get me perked up and alive for the rest of the day.

Kink #2: Wednesday morning at 4:39pm, Daniel's pager (which was on our dresser) went off at top-notch volume (he is on call this week). Of course I woke up. He returned the call, the person didn't answer, he crawled back in bed. As soon as he crawled in bed the person called him back. Not knowing it was going to be a 15 minute conversation (at 4:30 in the morning!!) he stayed in bed to talk (which was fine... except it was a LOT longer than either of us anticipated!). Then it took me a bit to go back to sleep.

Kink #3: Wednesday morning our laptop decided it didn't want to start up. So we are crippling along with our pre-historic desktop which is horribly inconvenient as it's in Susannah's room, not hooked to the printer, doesn't have any of our regular documents on it, etc. I actually did our bookwork and budget update with paper and pen this week :P

Kink #4: Last night the dog barked and barked and barked and barked, non-stop from 11:30pm to almost 4am. Daniel sleeps through it, I can't. On top of the dog barking, from the time I ate supper until just late this afternoon I had a really bad stomach-ache that was worse any time I was moving. And I was/am just plain down right exhausted and feel like something the cat dragged in. I don't know if it's something I ate, a mild stomach bug (I sure felt like if I could just throw up I would feel better, but I never felt nauseated), or my guess is that my body just decided to take a time-out from not enough sleep, a busy Christmas & New Years, and just needed a break.

Needless to say, I spent 98% of today in bed wishing I felt better and could just SLEEP. I did rest, and did doze some, but most of the time I just laid there feeling yuck. Daniel is still on call, but thankfully his pager never went off and he was able to take care of Susannah while I took care of me. Finally around 5pm I didn't feel like throwing up and was able to eat a little, and as time went on felt better enough to eat a tiny bit for supper.

I am hoping to sleep really well tonight (I may even take some Tylenol PM if it's on the "OK List" from my Dr.) and feel much better tomorrow. Going to church is not at the top of my list of priorities for tomorrow unless I wake up so refreshed and energetic I can't help it! Haha!!

In the meantime, know that I'm still here :) The pregnancy is still going amazingly well. Other than some minor aches and pains (bones and muscles), I feel pretty good most of the time. This week was 32 weeks. I am getting really eager to meet our little baby who is very wiggly inside of my quite a bit lately :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December Goal Review {& new goals for this week}

Considering all that goes on in the month of December, I don't feel that I did too badly in trying to meet my December goals. I am really glad I made them and didn't say "December is crazy, I can't make a goal list!" Even though I didn't hit each target date right on, I was pretty close to most of them and it was helpful to have self-imposed "deadlines."

December Goals:
~Finish & mail Christmas cards by Dec. 15th (Remember that I started working on them in Nov.)
~Write Christmas letter (to go in some of the cards)
~Take Susannah's Christmas picture and get prints I do this myself and it took 2 "sittings" but I managed to get 1 good picture from each sitting.
Finish all Christmas shopping by Dec. 15th (includes ingredients for homemade gifts, excludes perishable food gifts). I can't remember for sure, but I think I was SO close to being finished by the 15th. I ordered 1 or 2 gifts online after that.
Wrap all non-food gifts by Dec. 20th. I think I had 3 wrapped by the 20th, and most of the others wrapped well before the different get-togethers. No crazy, last-minute wrapping here, which was my ultimate goal :)
Put 2+ meals in the freezer I put in exactly 2
Make donuts for neighbors We did it! Whew! It came right down to the wire because Daniel was so busy, but the evening before Christmas Eve I mixed up the dough and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. With Daniel's help they were all fried and glazed by early afternoon of Christmas Eve. We delivered most of them Sunday after lunch :)

Donuts rising in the oven.

~Clean out the refrigerator and refrigerator freezer
~Wipe down kitchen cabinets and clean out spice drawer
~Plan Christmas Day menu & grocery list
~Re-home the dog Still didn't happen*

I don't have goals down for January yet, but I do have a few things in mind. In the mean-time, here are my goals for the rest of this week:

Goals for Jan. 2 - 7:
~Clean out refrigerator freezer
~Wipe down kitchen cabinets
~Write 1 hand-written note
~Do bookwork
~Freeze 1 meal (still trying to thing what it will be!)
~Plan gifts for the last "Christmas" for this season (2 weeks away)
~Email a former co-worker who just became a SAHM with the New Year :)
~Start a list of things to do before the baby comes
~Re-pot my violet plant

A few of the goals for this week are keeping up with my goals for this year. I have to say that I'm pretty excited about (hopefully) keeping up with my goals this year by creating weekly and monthly goal lists. The past two years I have made an annual goal list, but honestly it is a piece of paper that hangs on the side of the refrigerator that I often forget about. Breaking it down each month/week and implementing it into my daily to-do list helps me stay focused on what my goals are, and working to meet them.

*We have tried pretty much every possible avenue for finding our dog a new home, all the way from our local advertising to regional rescues for his breed (that CLAIM to take "owner surrenders" but then tell me they rescue from shelters and humane societies first and are always full...). I am taking this off the goal list but it is still something we hope will happen soon.

A New Year's Goals {2012}

I am still working on a recap of last year's goals, but this morning I have finally put together a list of goals for this new year.

Keeping in mind that we will be welcoming a new baby to our family in a few months, I have kept it fairly simple (I think!). I didn't want to keep it TOO simple, though, and not have much to aim for. After our baby is born we will see how it goes.


Personal (the one I've kept the most simple)
7 - 8 hours of sleep at night regularly (I know that for a while this simply won't happen, but I do want to keep the habit going when I can!).
Be intentional about looking nice for Daniel, even if I'm staying home the entire day.
Intentionally exercise to lose baby weight (maybe another round of The Shred?).
Mail hand-written notes/letters regularly - I'm thinking weekly or monthly.
Visit my paternal grandmother more often.

Swimming lessons for Susannah.
Inexpensive family vacations (might translate into "stay-cations").
Monthly date-nights, in or out.
1 or 2 weekends of getaway, just Daniel and myself.

In the Kitchen
Purchase a meat slicer (hopefully with swagbucks).
Finish sewing and hang curtains.

Do bookwork weekly (updating checkbook/budget) along with a weekly business meeting.
Make and maintain a needs/wants list of things to save for.
Restart Baby Step #4 (retirement/investing) and maybe Baby Step #5 (kids savings/college fund).
Start saving for Baby #3 (for if/when we have a #3 :) )
Put $1,000 into the Emergency Fund
Start a Cow Fund

Clean out/purge bathroom closet.
Work on photo project(s) regularly.
Keep the bedrooms clean.
Paint the kitchen trim.


Looking over the list it doesn't look that simple, but I do like to have a target to aim for. Having these written down will help me remember things I need and want to work on. Towards the end of this past year when I started writing down my monthly and weekly goals, I was amazed at how much I was able to accomplish just by having a written, visual reminder of things I wanted to do.

If you're still looking for goal ideas, maybe this post will give you some. If you have a list already and are willing to share, I'd love to read it and maybe I'll get some inspiration, too :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I am painfully aware that I haven't posted here for... a while :) I had high hopes of doing a cute "Merry Christmas!" post on Christmas Day and all that fun stuff, but a relaxing day trumped that.

Then the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day was full of celebrating, relaxing, being away from home, and getting ready for my family's "Christmas" on New Year's Eve.

Here's some quick catch-up.

This picture would've been on my annual "Merry Christmas!" post on Christmas Day:

This picture would've been in my post about our Christmas Day:
Our Christmas Day was preceded by no less than two Christmas Eve services back to back. One at Daniel's parent's church where his family had been asked to sing, and then the one at our church where we had been asked to please be there if we at all could since many of the choir members were going to be out of town that evening. So we hurried and scurried and were able to be at both. We could have gone to our church Christmas Day (it was the service only, no Sunday School), but our general rule of thumb is to STAY HOME on the 25th. Plus after the day before, we were ready to spend some time as a family at home. So that's what we did. It was a wonderful, relaxing day.

Another "rule" for our Christmas Days is to have special munchy foods instead of cooking and baking. This year we added a shrimp ring to our simple menu - yum! Other than that, I had made ahead a quiche for breakfast and made some easy Monkey Bread that morning to go with it. I had also made 3 different pies - each of our "favorites" - Coconut Cream, Peanut Butter and Pumpkin. We also nibbled on a summer sausage with crackers and cheese.

We happily broke our "stay home" rule that evening and went to Daniel's parent's house to enjoy a casual but delicious dinner with his parents, grandma (Susannah's great-grandma), brother and his family. It was also a fun excuse to watch Daniel's Christmas gift, The Jungle Book, that for some reason doesn't play in our cheapy dvd player.

The following Monday was the official "Christmas" with Daniel's family, then it was back to work for Daniel on Tuesday. Tuesday evening we had dinner with his family again before his brother and his family headed back home on Wednesday. It was a fun few days of visiting, being together and some goofing off (that's what brothers do, right?) :)

Thursday Susannah and I ran some errands that included getting a few last-minute food gifts for my side of the family. I also finished cleaning the house for the week. Then Daniel and I packed up everything to head to my parent's for the weekend.

All day Friday I spent getting things (food-related) ready for Saturday for "Christmas" with my family. My oldest sister was able to come and help, and my mom finished doing some cleaning. Earlier in the week different ones of my sisters (who live locally to my parents) had gone up and done some prep-work, too, so it didn't all have to be done at once. Over the years we have discovered that the more detailed and organized the preparations are, the smoother the function goes. With my parents, grandma, siblings, sibling's spouses and the grandkids, it is a total of 26 people (I think...). This year we stream-lined things even better: we pre-cooked the turkey and ham, and picked or sliced them the day before. It was SO nice to be able to have more leisure time to visit Saturday morning instead of spending it bent over the turkey.

Susannah "helped" me a lot on Friday.
One thing she enjoyed doing was unwrapping
63 tea bags to make 8 gallons of tea :)
(I made the tea in 2 gallon batches, so
she didn't unwrap ALL 63 teabags at once.)

The day of our "Christmas" went off without too many hitches. After the noon meal (the big meal for the day) we did gifts. I didn't get a whole lot of pictures (I hope to get some from my sister who was taking several), but here are a few.

Susannah's uncles (my 2 brothers) gave her a grocery basket
of plastic fruit and vegetables. Here she is in her new pink chair
saying "Mmmm!" about the plastic grapes :)

Enjoying her very first lollipop :)

The day was full of food, fun, games and visiting with each other. Susannah had more "junk food" that day than she's probably had in her entire life, but that's what special days are for :)

One cute thing from the day that I want to remember is how Grandpa (my dad) shared his chips with Susannah. He had gotten a bag of potato chips as a gift, and she LOVES chips ("bip!" in her vocabulary). He opened the bag to sample them, and she noticed right away that he was eating "bip!" and went over to investigate. She spent probably 10 minutes at his side helping him taste-test his chips :) I think they both enjoyed it!