Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books that I read for fun in December

Last year, I spent the last half of the year documenting the books that I read for fun.  I have decided that I need to continue that as reading is important part of how I relax. Books that I read for fun are books that I have not been asked to review and that I have chosen to read, well because I like to read.

Here are the books that I read in December for fun. I read a lot of Christmas themed books...Tis the season! :) Out of the books that I read this month, I liked Starry Night the best! 

WOW, I read a lot in 2015! Reading is one of my hobbies, so it really shouldn't surprise me. In 2015 my grand total for books read for fun (not including books read for review, etc.) is.... 49!!!!
That is a lot! I think for 2016 I may make my goal to be 52 books for the number of weeks, but I am not 100% sure yet. Do you make reading for fun goals??

Here are the books I read for fun in:

November 2015
October 2015 
September 2015
August 2015 (didn't read any for fun!)
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015  
January 2015
Books from 2014

                                                 Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Day

We were blessed to be able to sleep in on Christmas Day. Truth be told, I was up at 7am, but the kids didn't get up until 8:30.

Santa came!

We headed downstairs to see if and what Santa brought. The kids were so excited.

Coming down the stairs....

Here comes Ben...

Benjamin headed straight for the presents wrapped in "choo-choos" paper and wanted to start opening. But, we had to open the stockings first. The kids opened their stockings from Santa.

Then they opened their presents from us (Mom and Dad). Rebecca's presents were wrapped in Charlie Brown paper. Jacob's presents were wrapped in super hero paper and Benjamin's was wrapped in Thomas the Train paper. (We do this every year to make it easier for the kids to see which presents are theirs.) We got each child a new outfit, some books, a toy, and a few little things that they needed (like Benjamin got cups and underwear, Jacob got new tennis shoes, and Rebecca got new boots).We also got all 3 kids a scooter. After opening gifts from us, then they opened gifts from each other.


Then they got to open their Santa gift. In our house, the kids each ask Santa for one thing and they get 1 present from Santa. This year, Benjamin got a tote full of Thomas the Train tracks and a few trains. Jacob got some new superhero toys that go with his set. And Rebecca got Beado's Gems (a craft kit with little beads). The kids all enjoyed their presents.

While the kids were playing with their new things, Bill and I opened our presents. "Santa" got Bill a Harry Potter Adult Coloring book and a box of crayons. "Santa" got me a large George Foreman grill. Bill also receieved the 6 Star Wars movies on blu-ray and Season 2 of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." on dvd, and a pair of slippers. I also received a waffle maker and a massager for my back.

The aftermath

Most of the morning and early afternoon, was spent just lounging around and relaxing. Around mid-afternoon, we got dressed and headed out to my parent's house for Christmas dinner.

Dressed in their new clothes to head to Nanny and Pappy's house

We had a lot of fun and laughs.

We opened and received many wonderful gifts, including new comforters and sheet sets for Rebecca and Jacob's beds, toys and books for the kids, new throw pillows and blankets for our couches, etc. My favorite gift though was a statue set that my sister made me. It is absolutely adorable and I love that she made it for me..

After opening gifts we had dinner...ham, meatballs, little smokies, potatoes, green beans, rolls, etc. It was all yummy.

After dinner, it was time for family pictures that my mother insisted on.....

My sister and I

My brother and his family

Me and my siblings

My mom and dad
Bill, the kids and I

Me and my one and only

Then my brother and his family left. My dad, brother, his girlfriend, Bill and I sat down to play Rummy. Needless to say, my dad was not having a good night with his cards and he ended up with -20. My brother beat me in the last round by 5 points.

While we were playing Rummy, the kids were laying on the couch watching cartoons and taking selfies with my mom! LOL

Overall, it was a fun way to end Christmas Day.

We left soon after to head home and head to bed, because Saturday was going to bring the last of the Christmas celebrations....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our family's Christmas Eve adventure

Ever since we were married, Bill and I (and later the kids) have spent Christmas Eve with one side of the family or the other. The last few years we have done Christmas Eve with Bill's side of the family and then Christmas Day with my side of the family. It works for our family. Well this year, Bill's mom asked if we could do Christmas with her and Bill's step-dad on December 26 instead. They would bring Christmas up to our house for the kids. We said okay that was fine. That meant that our Christmas Eve was suddenly free. Bill had to work until noon, but then he was off. So after talking it over, we decided that we would start a new tradition for our family by taking the kids out to eat and leaving the waiter a nice tip (as if someone has to work on Christmas Eve at least we can make it worthwhile for them), and then we would drive around looking at Christmas light displays in our town. 

When Bill was working in restaurant management, Steak-n-Shake decided to stay open their normal 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we decided to give them a call and see if that was still the case. Not really formal, but a good place to take the kids (and we had a gift card for there that we had had for 2 years to use). Bill called them on Tuesday and yes they were open all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Good. 

So after lounging around Christmas Eve afternoon, we packed the kids up and heading an hour away to Steak-n-Shake. We get there at 5:05. Go up to the doors...and they are locked! They closed at 5:00 and wouldn't reopen until 11 the next day. As we are sitting in the parking lot, Bill calls them and speaks to the manager who gives him excuse after excuse. Needless to say, Steak-n-Shake has lost our business forever. 

As Bill is on the phone with them, I decide to head about 15 minutes farther south as I had gotten an email earlier in the day from Applebee's saying they were open until 8 on Christmas Eve. This particular one was also near a mall so I figured they should be open. I was right. 


Well, not really. We were seated right away. However, it took our waiter over 10 minutes to get to our table. He only had 2 other tables. We ordered. He got the kids' drink orders wrong-- brought out 2 sierra mists and 1 lemonade. We don't let the boys drink pop....Then when the food came out, Rebecca and Jacob's orders were wrong (They had ordered cheese quesadillas and were brought out grilled chicken quesadillas--a more expensive dish and one my kids won't eat (they don't like grilled chicken)) Those were sent back. Manager brought out new, correct dishes. Food was good. Waiter never came back to refill drinks, etc. Brought bill to table and said we could pay at the electronic kiosk at the table. Looked at bill, he charged us for more expensive kid's meals. Called him over, he said he had to get manager to change it. 20 minutes later we are still waiting for the manager....AND as we are waiting a similar issue is going on at a table next to us with similar issues. Finally, I got the kids up to leave and to let Bill deal with it....We were there for over 2 hours!

Needless to say, our idea of leaving someone who was being forced to work on Christmas Eve was for naught. The service was beyond lousy...

After we left Applebees, we headed back to our town. About halfway there, Jacob really had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at my parent's house and said hi to them. My dad said it was a welcome distraction from wrapping gifts. LOL 

After we left their house, we finally made it back to our town and we drove around looking at Christmas lights. There were some really nice displays. I didn't take any pictures as I was the one driving. I did see one set that I would like to get in the future.

When we got home, it was discovered that Santa had come early and left something under the tree--- new pajamas for the family and the book, Twas the Night Before Christmas. 

After changing into pjs and reading the story, the kids went to bed and Bill and I set up Christmas for the next morning. We were in bed by 11, exhausted from the night's adventures and waiting to see what Christmas Day would bring. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The days leading up to Christmas-- Making cookies with Grandma

The days leading up to Christmas was full of fun and craziness.

On Wednesday, December 23, I picked my niece up and took her and my kids to my mom's house to make cookies with my sister and my mom. We have done this the last 2 years, but this year my niece, Lacie (age 11) is really getting into cooking so we included her. 

The kids had a blast-- Jacob and Benjamin helped make peanut butter cup cookies and sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles. Jacob spread the icing and Ben put the sprinkles on. 

Rebecca and Lacie helped my mom make snowman truffle cookies with oreos. They turned out so cute and were delicious.

The kids had a blast and they loved cooking with my mom.

Rebecca and Lacie were so proud of their snowman cookies and we learned that Benjamin LOVED sugar cookies. (The next day, he snuck and ate all the sugar cookies that we brought home!) It was a wonderful way to start our Christmas celebrations! 

2019 Christmas Parade

Sunday afternoon the kids walked in our town's annual Christmas parade. Usually it is held the Sunday following Thanksgiving, however th...