Saturday, December 24, 2011

Special Delivery from the North Pole

This morning when Carter woke up, he ran into a trail of paper scraps out of his room and into the dining room.  There was a note attached from Jolly, our elf, telling Carter that Jolly had left Momma all kinds of food for her to cook everyone for a special North Pole breakfast.  

The scraps led to the table where Carter saw this.  I really wish I had a picture of his face when he saw the table.  It was PRICELESS!!!!  The next note was found with Jolly telling Carter to call Gran and Grandad's house to get LB (who had spent the night) and everyone else over for breakfast.

Jolly left each kid a Santa mug for them to drink hot chocolate.  They thought this was great.  Damon and his brother had Santa mugs growing up, so I guess Jolly thought these Welch kids needed to continue the tradition!

Here's the table!!!  Jolly did a pretty good job decorating I thought.  He got my friend, Jennifer Hart, to make the paper decorations we used.  They included the notecards, napkin rings, cupcake wrappers and Ho Ho Ho signs that hung from the ceiling fan.

Jolly must love Pinterest because he left me instructions to make these chocolate reindeer . . .

and these snowmen (did not turn out as well as Jolly would have liked, but they worked) . . .

North Pole Breakfast Menu

chocolate reindeer doughnut holes

snowmen doughnut holes

North Pole blankets
(pigs in a blanket)

North Pole cupcakes
(chocolate chip and blueberry muffins)

snowmen bottled milk

hot chocolate with marshmallows

We had a great time and I hope this becomes a tradition in our family!!!

Christmas Spectacular!!!!!!

Every year when we get together with the Welch family, we try to do something special.  This year, we took the whole family to see the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.  We all dressed up in our finest and were ready to get in the Christmas spirit!
Doing the famous leg kicks outside the Opry House

These next pictures are not so good.  I used my instagram app on my phone, and, well . . . .
In the seats!!!

With my honey!

Addison and LB

My babies!

These two . . . they are always like this when they are together.

Carter and Johnathan
The show was a HUGE hit with the kids. They are still talking about it and what was their favorite part.  So glad we were able to experience a little New York City in Nashville!

Welch Family Christmas

We took off Monday morning to Nashville to spend Christmas with Damon's family.  His parents came in from Texas and we all had a great few days together.  The cousins, as always, had a wonderful time together . . .
Don't ask me WHY Carter is wearing that red wig . . .

Monday night, we went ahead and did Christmas with everyone.  Everyone loaded up on wonderful presents .  . .
Opening Wipeout!

Johanthan got lost AGAIN in Lego books we gave him.

Addison loved the penguin hat we gave her.

LB got the same book as Johnathan!!

Someone found a Kinsler jersey!!!
Whoo Hoo!!!

Carter and Papa John
We had a wonderful time celebrating the holiday season together eating, playing cards, and just being together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet Jolly, Our Elf (that is suppose to be) on the Shelf . . .

This year we had a special friend come to join our little family at Christmas - our own Elf on the Shelf!!  After much and much and much deliberation over what his name should be, Jolly was named and he has been a source of jolly since his arrival.  We have found in him each morning in the some of the most unusual places . . .  in Momma's CocaCola utensil bucket, riding our Rudolph stuffed reindeer (a common mistake, I am sure!) and countless others.  Here are a few peeks at where Jolly has been discovered . . . . 

taking Sharpay for a spin in the Barbie car . . .
LB said he must have thought Sharpay was HOT!!!!

Playing basketball . . .

Sleeping in the Kleenex box . . .

Jolly has some great adventures in store for the kids so I am sure we will be seeing more from him before the big day arrives and he has to go back to the North Pole.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fun at Cookie Swap 2011

We had a lovely day for the Cookie Swap this year.  After all the girls arrived, we gathered them around the table to make their goody bags that they would deliver later in the afternoon.  Thanks to my awesome sister in law who found an awesome end of the season sale, we had the most precious gingerbread house invites, gingerbread man recipe cards, and goody bags (along with the labels you see in the below post). The girls had a great time making sure their bag was "just right."

What a precious group of young ladies and their mothers that joined us for an afternoon of fun, fellowship and service!

After we made goody bags to deliver, we enjoyed our own treats of all kinds.  Many eyes were bigger than stomachs, but most platters with the cookies were practically empty, so any extras got to go home.  After we enjoyed our treats and talking, we broke into groups to deliver the cookie goody bags to special older friends who live around us.  It is sad to see that each year our list changes a bit with the passing on of some of our dear older friends.  I always think about them as we pass their houses . . . .  We had such a big group this year, we broke into 3 different groups to deliver.

Group 1 making their way down the road to deliver to the
Pevahouses, Swift sisters and Mr. Kirby.

Group #2 stopping at the Robinsons after seeing Mr. Cole
(who, by the way, ate some of the cookies before Mrs. Cole got a chance to have any!!)

Group 2 walking down the hill on their way back to Gran's house after delivering.

Group 3 stopping to sing and share with sweet Mrs. Hogan.
They also visited the Yates and the Gilliams.
This is one of my favorite days of the year! I am so glad that Laura Beth loves to cook and wants to spend time with me and her gran!!!  Can't wait till more fun next year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Cookies of Cookie Swap 2011

Saturday, Laura Beth's precious friends and their mothers gathered at Gran's house for the third annual Generational Cookie Swap!!!!  I can't believe it was three years ago (see last year's swap here) that we had the first one!  It has become a highlight of our holiday season.  Mom (aka Gran) found this cute idea for the centerpiece so we have more room on the table for the cookies - because that is so important!!!  She used fishing line (or white thread) to hand special ornaments from some foreign country (don't remember which one) from the chandelier. Everyone loved it!!!

Her wooden Dum Dum tree was the centerpiece for the goodie bag table again - always a hit with the kids!

The best thing about this party is you don't have to do a whole lot of more decorating if you have your house decorated for Christmas.  Laura Beth chose this cookie for our swap cookie this year.  It was cute, but not easily transportable!!!  We took sugar cookies, iced them and used all kinds of different candy to decorate them!

Find all the cookie recipes here.
I would say we ate VERY well!!!!  We also enjoyed non-sweets made by Pop and Gran.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Love Finds You . . . Literary Ladies

You might remember this post about how my friend, Kristen, and I fell in love with Melissa's book club ideas at her church.  We took the idea to the elders and they approved that we could begin one as well.  EXCITED, yes, we were!!!!  Thursday night was our second meeting.  We had read the book Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska and now it was time to come back together to read and discuss the book.

We had a great team that worked with us to get the commons area decorated for the night.  We took empty square Kleenex boxes and wrapped them up as presents.  We placed them on various cake stands which sat on red chargers.  I brought all of my glass vases and serving pieces which we filled with ornaments to add a little more to the tables.

Kristen chose our place setting for the night that brought out the Christmas (as well as snow) theme.

We had everyone bring their favorite Christmas treat and, boy, did we treat eat!!! It was fabulous!!! Kristen made these North Pole cupcakes (thank you, Pinterest) to go along with the book we read.  I made the flags for the cupcakes. (You can get the flags here and just add them to toothpicks.)

As the guests arrived, they were able to make a candy ornament to remember the night by.  I used my cricut and the Joys of the Season cartridge to make these.  The ladies glued the pieces together, punched a hole at the top and most wrote on there the date, Literary Ladies, etc.

I made Candy Cane Punch for us to enjoy throughout the night.  I had never made it before (again, thank you, Pinterest), but it was a HUGE hit!!!

Candy Cane Punch
(from Taste of Home)

2 quarts of Peppermint ice cream
2 jars of strawberry jelly
2 liter of lemon line soda
candy canes to garnish

Mix the jelly and 2 c. of soda together over the stove until the jelly becomes melted.
Chill jelly mixture and remaining soda.  Just before serving, place 6 cups of ice cream in a punch bowl. Gently stir in the jelly mixture.  Add remaining soda and ice cream.
Makes 3 1/2 quarts.

You can also do it the "Becky did not read the instructions until 30 minutes before" way which is melting the jelly and soda together but no chilling happened!!!!!  We just mixed everything together and it was still wonderful!!!!!

Our meeting was fabulous.  We had a short devotional that went along with the book as well as a time of prayer and singing.  We also enjoyed thinking about the book we had read, and many were trying to guess what the next book would be!!! We are already so excited about our March meeting.  We kicked it up a notch with the book selection.  Many ladies in our congregation already read this author and love her, so we are excited to announce that our next book will be from best selling author, Francine Rivers . . .

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