Tag Archive for christmas gifts

It’s Finally Celine Weekend

Well ladies and gentlemen it’s the moment my daughters and I have been excitedly, yet anxiously awaiting.  As you are reading this post we are on the road driving to Las Vegas.  And I’m also happy to report that Travel Man is our chauffeur this weekend. I’m so glad he was able to make it home to join us. 

Now, mind you it is not my normal modus operandi to pre-blog about an event, but this trip is worth giving you a little sneak peek.  For Christmas last year my kids gave me tickets to see Celine in Vegas, in February, with my daughters.  This is a dream come true for me.  One of those items on my bucket list, as I have always followed Celine’s music, and love her singing.

In February the girls and I make a weekend of it.  We leave for Vegas on a Friday after the girls are off of work to stay for two nights, as the show was on Saturday night.  The girls do some zip-lining down Fremont Street (and no I did not join them, thank you very much), and we had a great time hanging out together Saturday morning.

Our sad Celine faces. Notice the billboard in the background.

As we are eating lunch on this particular Saturday, in February,  I decide to check on the internet to see how long the show would be so we could make plans for after the show.  And ugh!  I found out that Celine has had to cancel her shows due to a virus.  Boo-hoo!  We were soooo disappointed, but daughter, Hilary, got right on the phone and got the tickets re-scheduled to the June 9th show.  We ended up having a nice dinner Saturday night and made our way home on Sunday morning as originally planned.  

So, today is June 9th.  Celine’s return to the Colosseum at Caesar’s palace in Las Vegas.  We are hoping for a fabulous, fantastic show that will knock our socks off!  And if each of you could send us a little good juju (and if you’re a baseball fan you know what I’m talking about) we know that the show will go off without a hitch.  We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed, and will report on our triumph after the weekend, with pictures of course.

Finishing out the Holidays with our Family Calendar

There is nothing finer than being able to record the pictorial history of your family and friends.  Around 1997, my Mom had the idea to put together a family calendar using pictures from any and all family events during the year.  The actual calendar pages also showed everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries for the year.  It’s really amazing.  I actually had to consult with my Mom to get some history on how my parents have put the calendars over the years.  Thanks Mom!

The first generations of calendars  had just one picture per page, something like this:

These are the actual calendar pages from 1997.  I’m pretty sure one of my girls put the colorful stickers on the page on the left.  Maybe Hilary?

Then in 1999, we graduated to a few pictures on a page and the kids in the family were so funny.  The first thing they would do when they got to see the calendar, which for the  most part has been on Christmas Day, is count how many pictures they were in.  Then they would have some sort of meeting and compare notes to see who made the most appearances! 

According to my Mom for the first 3-4 years of the calendar process she put it together “manual” style.  Good old cutting out the actual pictures, creating a collage, and then off to the printers. For the calendar portion with dates, birthday’s and anniversary’s she uses Microsoft Publisher.

Then in 2000 or 200, she went digital and used Photoshop for the pictures.  At that time my parents were printing the entire calendar, with all of the copies for the family on their own.  That ink must have cost a pretty penny.  My Mom would create the picture portion of the calendar, and then Dad (the engineer) was responsible for the printing, getting everything double-sided in order,etc., and getting them done on time.

In 2006 or 2007, my Mom started using Picasa collages which makes the process so much easier, and allows for tons of creativity.  At this time, my parents were still doing the entire calendar on their own.  My Dad would announce around Thanksgiving time that they were collecting pictures from everyone, and give us a due date.  Yikes a deadline from Dad – don’t be late.

Then in 2008, my Mom decided to get help from all of us, because the Picasa collages are so easy to put together.  So, now my Mom puts out an announcement on our family page on Facebook, so everyone who wants to can take a month and create a collage from the pictures they have on hand.  And then she also selects someone to design the cover for the calendar.  A prestigious appointment.

Here’s a sample of one of the collage pages from this year’s calendar:

To view the entire calendar from this year just click on this link-  2012 Family Calendar.

The calendars are great conversation pieces when you are visiting with long distance relatives, and want to show off your family.  Over the past few years the photos that we are able to jam pack into each calendar page are tremendous.  For myself, I have all of the calendars from the past years put together in binders.  It’s such a treat to sit down and go through almost 15 years worth of calendars now, and reminisce.

Hats off to my Mom and Dad for keeping this tradition going over the years.  It’s a tremendous effort, and we all appreciate having the pictorial memories that will last a lifetime.

Our Christmas Power Outage

Christmas Day has come and gone, already, but I had to share our family story with you from The Day.  The Party House hosted Christmas Day for the entire family.  We are quite a group when all assembled.

This is our family picture from Christmas Day.  It was a balmy 75 outside, doesn’t really put you in the mood to wear your best sweater when you have a house full of people.

Let me introduce you to everyone:

Seated (from l-r): Evan, the grandson; My Parents Joan & Jim (who are also the grandparents, and great-grandparents – they wear a ton of hats!); Tom, my husband(The Travel Man), and our fearless dog, Clyde.

Standing (from l-r): Cassie, Zach’s girlfriend; Zach, #2 son; Mary, #1 niece: Hilary #2 daughter; my brother Jim, and his girlfriend, Elaine; #1 daughter, Naomi and her husband Brad; #1 son, Bryan, me of course, and our #1 nephew Jim.  Whew!  That was a mouthful!

After the picture-taking festivities, we nosh on some appetizers, have a few cookies, and then it’s time for opening presents, Evan was very, very excited.  At the suggestion of our nephew Jim, we opened the gifts by family.  So each family was giving their gifts to everyone and then we got to enjoy seeing all of the present opening.  I’m kind of a stickler with this, even though it takes awhile with such a big group I love seeing everyone opening their presents.  It’s a giving thing.

So we are at the point where we only have one or two rounds of gifts to go, and……the power completely goes out on our street.  What happened next will go down in the family history books under the “Remember When” section.  Everyone who had a cell phone handy brightened up the room with their screens, and some of the kids have a flashlight app, so those came on right away.    I remember hearing my brother asking the kids, “What’s the name of the flashlight app?”.  It felt like you were at a rock concert with the lighters waving in the air (am I dating myself?).  So hilarious, I cannot begin to explain how funny this was, and how funny it looked in our dark living room.

Now, we have a generator in our garage for an occasion like this, and Tom was at the helm getting the generator started, and a few lights on so we could finish opening presents.  The guys were rigging up extensions cords, and trying to figure out how to keep the oven going so the ham could stay warm.  And, of course,just as they were about to pull the stove out from the wall, voila the power comes back on.  All in all I think it was only out for about 10 minutes, and it was definitely and adventurous 10 minutes.

As soon as we could corral everyone back in the living room, we finished opening presents which ended with my  Mom passing out our family calendar.  This is an annual event for our family, and is a wonderful way to put together pictures of the years past happenings.  More on our family calendar in another post.  It deserves its’ own story.

Evan was the paper pick up master for this event.  I could not let this post go by without posting this sweet picture of him.  Such a cutie pie!

Picture credits in this post go out to my nephew, Jim, and Elaine.  Thanks for always keeping the shutters flying at our family events.

So we have marked another year of memories on our calendars. It is always such a treat to corral all of the kids in the family for a nice holiday dinner.  And of course we always miss our long distance relatives who cannot join us.  Thanks to all of you who contributed to our Christmas feast.  I’m thinking next year were just doing appetizers and desserts!!  Did anything wild and crazy happen at your Christmas Day festivities?

My Christmas Crafting – Phase 1 – The Sewing

This year I had the good fortune to have the time to make some gifts for family. It was so much fun to work on projects, have some cookies baking, the Christmas tunes blaring, and just get into the holiday spirit early, right after Thanksgiving.  Being the multi-tasker that I am, I had my hands in a few projects at one time. I was crocheting, and sewing for most of the presents that were homemade.

Here’s a sampling of what I completed:

  • Two stockings; one for Travel Man, and the other for my son Zach.  I never made Zach a stocking and he’s 20.  All the other kids had homemade stockings, had to get rid of the guilt’s.

  • Then I fashioned some little letter pillows that spelled out Evan for the grandson. I have had this pattern forever, and it’s funny whenever you make these for someone you get lots of compliments on how cool they are.

  • I had some extra fabric so I also made Evan a little personalized pillow. He thought they were all cool, and called them his safari pillows.

  • Next I made a computer/messenger bag for my son, Bryan’s, girlfriend, Erica.

Here’s a few pics of the process and the finished product. Erica bakes and sells cupcakes, so the minute I saw this fabric I knew I had to make a bag for her.  You can check out Erica’s custom cupcake creations at Everything Iced Cupcakes.

The last item on my sewing list was to make some kitschy little purses.  I had some funky little pieces of fleece in my closet, and found a pattern to make these for the rest of the twenty-somethings in the family.  They turned out really cool, and were enjoyed by all the recipients.  I put some fluffy pairs of socks to complete the gift.

I have had so much fun putting all of these gifts together.  It seems to make the giving just a little bit more “special”.  I am looking forward to sharing Phase 2 of my gift giving which will be my crocheting projects.  Lots of fun with those, and I have a story to share about Travel Man too.

Hoping you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday week with friends and family.  there’s no greater gift in the world than some extra-special family time.

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