Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Grandpa's Tree.....

Dated:  December 12, 2013

Do you know anyone who keeps their Christmas lights up year-round?  Or maybe their Christmas tree?    Well, I know someone.  And actually...after the hassle and depression of taking down the Christmas decorations every year...maybe it's not such a bad idea!  I know, I reality, I wouldn't be able to do that...but my Grandpa does there!

Every year, around the middle of December, my sisters and I head out to my Grandpa's house to help get him into the Christmas spirit.  Since my Nana passed away in 2001, we have definitely taken on the role of "Christmas decorators" at his house.  He has a sweet lady, Sally, in his life...and we consider her to be a Grandma to us, absolutely.  She is such a delight and we just love her to pieces.

This year, we hauled some Christmas decorations, including tinsel, garland, hand-painted stockings and some new ornaments out to my Grandpa's house.  Brady came with us, too and he was excited to help trim the tree and put up Grandpa's and Sally's new stockings.  Of course, the tree was already up when we got all we had to do was spiffy it up by adding some new ornaments and a fresh string of lights.

Sally was so sweet.  She had a spread of Christmas cookies, candy canes and fruit bread for us.  She also served hot cocoa and ginger ale.  It was so thoughtful of her and turned the night into a fun, holiday memory.  We finished decorating and then all sat around the kitchen table and enjoyed the goodies while my Grandpa told us Hawaiian folk tales and played Christmas songs on the harmonica.  :)

Silly Guys....

Date:  December 12, 2013

I met my sister at Target on my lunch hour this day and brought my nephews these cute, Christmas headbands.  They are the most adorable kids in the world!!  

My Annual Christmas Tea!

Date:  December 8, 2013

There's a day, every year, that I look forward to the most.  It's the day of my Christmas Tea.  To me, there's nothing more comforting than close family, delicious food....and hot tea. :)

This will be my third year hosting a Christmas Tea.  My guest list is always the same and the warmth of   their smiles and laughter makes me believe in unconditional love and happiness.   I invite my mom, my sisters, my Aunt (Terri), Mother-in-Law (Sonna) and my step-Grandma (Sally).  I only invite family, because the intimate atmosphere makes for such a splendid day.

I host the tea at my house and after it's been decorated for Christmas, of course.   I like to think of my house as a "cottage style" home, with warm colors and southern charm.  My Christmas decorations are mainly country style and my little house feels so homey and cozy inside.  I woke up really early and made myself some coffee to start the day.  I prepared homemade chicken salad with lots of fresh, white meat chicken, diced onion and celery to give it lots of crunch and flavor, sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  I mixed it all together with creamy mayonnaise and just a bit of tangy, sweet mustard.  I had lots of buttery croissants from the bakery to serve the chicken salad on...and an array of whole grain and rosemary crackers.  I also made lots of different dips, including spinach artichoke dip and cheesy garlic dip.  I set out crunchy, fresh veggies like baby carrots, mini bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, with a zesty ranch dip.  For dessert, I made pecan pie, a-la-mode (french vanilla ice cream) with caramel sauce, strawberry cupcakes and set out plenty of frosted sugar cookies and chocolate candy.  We indulged in our yummy spread and had our choice of cinnamon tea, peach tea, berry tea, white tea or black tea.  I also had other soothing beverages available, like peppermint fudge hot cocoa (with extra fluffy whip, of course), hot apple cider, caramel vanilla coffee and virgin mimosas (fresh squeezed orange juice topped off with a little sprite or gingerale)!  At every one's place setting was my party favor.  I handmade a party favor for each of my guests....and it's becoming a tradition that I absolutely love.  This year, I made tons of Christmas tags for each of my guests and packaged them up in a handmade bag.  They were a hit!  We ate, chatted and had a nice, relaxing afternoon.

Next came the fun part!  At my Christmas Tea every year, we have a "White Elephant" gift exchange.  It's so much fun and we always look forward to that portion of the day the most.  We each bring a gift that is either store bought or handmade.  It has to be $10 or under and wrapped.  We can steal from each other, all in fun, and it sure makes for a great time.  Everyone brings such fun gifts and it's just a delight to have this gift exchange every year.

I can't hardly wait for my Christmas Tea 2014!  I'm finding that I almost look forward to that day more than Christmas itself!  May every one's holiday season be as warm and comforting as a soothing cup of hot tea. :)

My lovely guests holding up their party favors. :)

Here's a close-up of the place settings with their gift! :)

My adorable sisters...

My mother-in-law, step-grandma and Aunt!

All of the "White Elephant" gifts!!

I got my husband to take this picture of all of us!

My step-grandma and my mom!

Here are pictures of all the different Christmas tags I made and then the last 
picture is of the packages I made for them to go in!