Super Hodgepodge

1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49's in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?
I'm pretty much a home-body.  We don't "do" events!

2.  Share something you're a fan of these days?
Carla Hall.  And LandShark Beer.  And Angry Orchard Hard Cider with a splash of Fireball.  And "The Taste".  And snow/ice days.  :)

3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind.  What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?   
There was a place in the town we lived in SC that had the BEST wings ever.  They were just amazing.  There is a place not too far from us now that has pretty good wings.  Not as good as "Wing King", but almost.
Garlic wings are the BOMB.

4.  As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?  
I'm pretty tired of the whole Lance Armstrong thing.    There are other more important things going on in the world.  

5.  What's a question you hate to be asked?  
I can't think of one right now.  

6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?  
Oh, NO!!!   (she says dripping with sarcasm!)  Being from a family of 10 kids, you have to be competitive.  You don't survive if you're not.  (Okay, that may be a little melodramatic!)  I think I've "reined" my competitiveness in a little as I've gotten older, but it's still there.

7.  What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?    
Tennis.  I LOVED playing tennis, unfortunately my knees and my body couldn't handle it any longer.  I played what I call "Old Lady Tennis" in SC before we moved, and then played for a few years after we moved.  I had to stop because I started getting heat headaches.  It's pretty weird, because I never got them in SC where it's hotter than here.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
Speaking of Carla Hall:  Look what I got in the mail from my SIL for Christmas:
I promptly tweeted the picture, and got this:
OH.MY.GOSH!!!  Oh, YES.SHE.DID!!!  I may have that framed!
I checked FB on my phone, and these 2 status updates showed up:

The top status is from a friend, and CH's status is just below it.  Pretty funny!

Weekend Wrap-up

Another long weekend is coming to an end.  I have a feeling this is going to be a really long week:  no snow is predicted.
Friday morning our outside table looked like this:
Later that afternoon it looked like this:
It was pretty icy, to say the least.  It was an extremely good decision on the part of the central office staff to call school off.

Saturday, YS had his first drumline/winterguard competition of the season.  The bad thing was that there were several winterguards who weren't able to attend because of the weather.  Instead of pushing everybody up, there were a lot of breaks.  The drumline's show is titled "Alcatraz".  CH & YS after the performance:
When CH saw some of the members just prior to the performance, he made the comment that the "jail school" was there.  I let him know it was us.  He was a little surprised!
After the performance, we rode down the street to a Firehouse Subs for a quick lunch.  This one had a very nice mural on the wall:
About 5 hours after the drumline performed, the winterguard had their performance:
CH & I left after the winterguard performance.  We had a quiet evening of laundry and watching tv.  Shortly after YS came in, some of his friends came to the house for a D&D session.

Sunday was a lazy day:  Finishing up laundry, light cleaning around the house, some flute-practicing, and a quick trip to Camping World for an adapter.  We saw a couple of things we'd like to have someday, but they aren't necessities right now.

Well, back to the old grind, starting off with a 7:15 meeting.  Yep, it's going to be an awfully long week!

CH shared this clip with me:

Gotta have something to help me start off the week with a smile!

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~ No school again today due to an ice storm. I could get used to these 2 & 3 day work weeks!

~  There was a tad bit of concern that school wouldn't be called off, we'd get to school, and then be stuck there with the kids.  Good call, powers that be!

~  After flute choir practice, I called CH to see if we needed anything from the grocery store.  He suggested I get another gallon of milk.  What is it with Southerners that we think we have to get bread and milk if there is any chance of snow or winter weather?  The chances of not being able to get out in the late afternoon, or the day after a winter storm are very slim.  This is what greeted me at Kroger:
Luckily I had bread, so I didn't even go down that aisle.

~  Wednesday at one of my schools, the Kindergarten classes had a little visitor:

Sweet Pea is 6-8 weeks old.  She was so incredibly cute, and the kids loved her.

~  Speaking of flute choir practice, I was all ready for the "sensitive" member.  I came home from work, got in the shower, and used unscented soap & shampoo, and unscented deodorant.  I had a set of clothes that had been washed in unscented detergent all ready to go:  pants, shirt, socks; even my bra & panties.  I was ready.  She drives a couple of hours every week to come to practice, so with the threat of bad weather, she didn't come.  Guess we'll find out next week if it works or not!

~  A couple of pictures from this morning:

It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but I guess anytime a salt truck has a wreck and is totaled, it's not a good thing!  This truck is down the road from my mountain school (thanks to a friend of a friend for posting on facebook!):

 My favorite meteorologist said that we're on an "hour by hour"  kind of thing.  They're watching the temperature to see if/when we get above freezing.  Of course, all of this will freeze overnight, but at least tomorrow is Saturday!

~  This morning, CH asked me if I was going to do anything productive for my day off.  I told him I was expanding my mind by playing Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends, and Scramble.  If you play any of these (especially Scramble...I'm looking for people to play with instead of playing with just random people!), my username is mpkcoop.

~  Is something going on with blogger, or do I need to fix my header?  Usually, you can click on the header and you will be redirected to the "front page" of my blog.  When I click on my header, nothing is happening.  Thanks in advance for any help on this!

Hope everyone is staying warm, unless you're in a warm climate.  In that case...lucky you!  

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The popular saying, 'All is fair in love and war' is originally credited to English writer John Lyly.  Is he right? 
I don't think "ALL" is fair.  I do believe in being moral and ethical.   There are lines that shouldn't be crossed in both love AND war.

2. Are you a cereal eater?  What's your favorite kind?
Not really.  It just doesn't stick with me.  I do like Honey Bunches of Oats.  And, if oatmeal counts as a cereal, then, yes!

3. A five year old in Pennsylvania was recently given a ten day school suspension for talking with a friend about shooting one another with a Hello Kitty Bubble gun (the gun blows bubbles).  She did not have the gun with her at school.

A psychological evaluation was also ordered and the incident was recorded on her permanent record.  The suspension was later reduced to two days and her parents are suing to have the incident removed from her file. Your thoughts?  (If you missed the story click here for details). 
This is absolutely ridiculous.  Maybe the incident should be kept on file for future reference, but a psych eval?  Really?  She's 5 years old, for Pete's sake!

4. Whatever happened to_____________________________?
Common sense.  See #3.

5.  January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, billed as a day to reacquaint yourself with a pen and pencil.  Do you like your handwriting? Do you prefer to print or write in cursive?  This date was chosen because its the birth date of John Hancock. What's the last thing you signed your name to?
 My handwriting is okay, especially if I take my time.  I'm left-handed, so it's slanted backwards, but it's okay.
The last thing I signed my name to?  An IEP, of course!

6. Speaking of John Hancock...ever been to Philadelphia? Do you have any desire to visit the city of Brotherly Love?  
Never been, and really haven't thought about going.  

7.  Share something funny you've heard a child say.  
Oh, my!  I hear things every day, but right now I'm at a loss!  The only thing that comes to mind is something that I shared a few weeks ago:  One of my students had been in the hospital with pneumonia, and when he came back he said to his classmates, "Doesn't anybody want to hug me and tell me they missed me?"  This student is in Kindergarten and is an absolutely doll.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Speaking of 5 year olds:  Yesterday I was walking down the hall, and one of the Kindergarten classes was in line to go to the gym.  As they were walking, I looked at the teacher and mouthed, "turn around". There were 2 little girls who were just skipping down the hall.  They looked so happy!  The teacher said, "We're 5, and happy to be alive!"  I just love being around those little ones.  So innocent and full of life!

Snow Covered Frags

Mommy's Idea

~  Another day off from school.  Not because of this:

But because of this:
We got out of school early yesterday in a torrential rain.  I took the first picture when I got home.  Luckily, the pipe draining the water from the gutter & away from the house did its job, so the basement was dry.

~  Every time I saw this I had to laugh:

I think YS got just a little aggravated with me.  We live in the "city", and I work for the county schools.  It's very rare when the city schools are called off.  BTW, he doesn't have to go to school today.  The rain switched to snow literally in a minute.  Very strange, indeed.
Even the university in the "big city" where MS attends is on a delay this morning.  The South doesn't do snow & ice, y'all!

~  Over 8000 lost power in the county just north of us.  The snow is really heavy:
~  Laika had her first romp in the snow...ever.  I waited to take her out until after CH got home so he could see her first snow romp.
And then she got a little more comfortable with it:

Please excuse the word that CH said near the end (right before I said, "Baby, please".).  I guess he didn't realize I had the camera on!

~  So, today will be a day of couch-sitting, blanket-wrapped, tea-sipping, reading a book kind of day.  Oh, and I have to watch last night's "Scandal".  I chose to watch "Suits" last night.  Tough decision!

~  Have a good weekend!

Blame It On The Rain

Whew!  I think the worst of it is over.  Yesterday was overcast and rainy at times, but nothing like it had been for the past 2 days.  Yesterday, CH & I just checked on the trouble spots about every hour.  I've heard of a lot of people with water in their basement.  The forecast for tomorrow:  rain in the morning, changing to snow in the afternoon with an accumulation of 1-3 inches here and 5-10 inches in the mountains.  Translated, that means it may or may not snow here.  I'll believe it when I see it.
(click on the pictures for a better view)
 The crack in the basement floor bubbling:  
(The Beverly Hillbillies' theme song ran through my mind, as well as the word "geyser"!)

This is a "creek" next to the elementary school.  Usually the water is no where near the bridge, and the creek is about 1/5th the width.  The ducks are enjoying it, though!
The next pictures I stole from a friend's FB  are courtesy of a friend's FB.  These are not far from my "mountain school".

We've been out of school for the past 2 days, and I hate to be greedy, but I sure would like 1 day when I can relax with mindless tv, reading, and maybe a nap or 2!

Soggy Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's's the list for 2013-

fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.

Fiscal Cliff.  I'm just tired of hearing the phrase.  And, while we're at it, "Make no mistake" is another one.

2.  When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?
Last Christmas for CH's company's party.  They switch out having adult-only parties and family parties.  Last year was the family one, and we rode an old steam train.  

3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite 'flavor'?  Favorite topping?
I love bagels!  Panera has a cinnamon bagel that is really good.  They also have a cheese one that's good, too.  And, you just have to have cream cheese to go with it, right?

4.  'Tis the season of awards shows...if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?
Oh, geez!  I would say "Last Holiday".  If nothing else, to see the scenery.

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months....what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if seperated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you're a parent, is this something you'd support in regard to your own children? 
I could see how it might be a good idea, but Lord have mercy on that teacher who has the male class!

6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?
Not having to worry about making the bed.  

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013?  What's the story behind your choice? 
Nope, no "word" for 2013.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This rain as GOT.TO.STOP.  Seriously.  I spent almost all day yesterday in the basement with the shop vac, trying to stay ahead of the water.  I had to stop to go to the oral surgeon, and when I came back, more water than before.  We even had water bubbling up through a crack.  It's a bit unsettling to listen to bubbling water in your house.  At one point, the word "geyser" came to mind.  
I called YS out of his winter guard practice so he could stop by my parents' house to get their shop vac, then come home to help me.  That was a huge help.  Then, one of my brothers texted me to see if we wanted to use theirs.  At one point, we had 3 shop vacs going in various places in the basement.  Water seemed to be seeping in from everywhere right before CH got home.  I haven't felt that overwhelmed in a long time.
We had to take my parents' shopvac back to their house after a few hours.  Their basement held out a lot longer than ours, but finally succumbed to the rain.  Anyone here whose basement isn't flooded is very, very lucky.
CH went out in the yard and cleared out a pipe that drains water from the gutter away from the house (thank you, Daddy!).  That seemed to help a whole lot.  Lesson learned:  make sure those leaves get blown away next year!  This is just a ridiculous amount of water.  When we moved into the house, we had water in the basement, but have had no problem in the past 8 years since we took action to steer the water away from the house.  Luckily, we don't 'think' anything is ruined:  the carpet in the man-cave doesn't appear to be wet anywhere, and the walls appear to be dry.  Let's just hope that when everything dries we don't get a surprise!
If you're in the rain, I really hope you're not having to deal with this.  I have a whole new appreciation for hurricane victims!
This was taken "at the beginning".  Gotta love an older home and a lot of rain!

Tuesday Post-It Notes

 I wrote this post last night, and went in this morning to edit, but something is going on with Superstickies.  School has been called off today due to flooding; it sounds like it's mostly in the mountain areas.  And, it's still raining.  It's a good thing, because today is also payday, and I've got bills to pay, household supplies to get, and groceries to buy!
If you're in the rain area, stay dry!

Weekend Wrap-up

I feel a little silly doing a wrap-up today.  We had a very low-key weekend.

Friday night CH & I watched "Bridesmaids".  I laughed through most of it; CH didn't think it was very funny.

Saturday morning, CH surprised me with a caramel macchiato (with soy...just the way I like it!) from Starbucks.  He took Laika for their weekly trek to PetSmart, and stopped by Starbucks on the way home.

There was an RV Show about 45 minutes away from us, so we decided to go and just look.  One of my sisters & her husband bought one of the smaller RVs the day before, so we were able to go in and look at theirs.  There are some really nice ones out there, but to me, it's not camping if you have one of those big ones.  I could see selling the house and just taking off in one of those, but definitely not weekend (or even week) camping.  Going to the show confirmed that we made the right decision with our little camper.

I get to sleep inside, off of the ground (with air conditioning and heat if needed!), but still spend a lot of time outside.
When we got home, CH blew out the camper with the leaf blower, we wiped down the counter, and I mopped out the floor.  It took about 30 minutes.  We still had everything from the camper in our garage, so we got the benches set back up and the cushions back on them.  I cleaned out our "kitchen totes" and reorganized them, so we'll be ready to go camping when we have another nice weekend.

Saturday football was a huge bust:  Peyton (who is like a god around these parts) and the Broncos lost a heartbreaker, and then the Packers (one of the players is from the Small Town) lost.  I don't really even care who plays in the Superbowl now.

Sunday was spent cleaning up the house and finishing up laundry.  We went to Mexican (our usual Sunday night dinner) and then went home & waited for Downton Abbey.  I managed to catch some  Real Housewives of Atlanta before DA came on.

With temps reaching 70 over the weekend, it looks like there are no chances of snow this week.  So, one full work week, then a Monday off!  One of the teachers mentioned that the Farmer's Almanac is predicting that we'll get snow in Feb.  Gosh, I hope they're right...we have no days off in Feb.  How in the world do you people with "real jobs" do it?

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~  It's Friday!  Can I get a "woot-woot"?

~  I completely forgot to mention what happened to me when I went to Crane Point when we were in the Keys.  Apparently not many people take the time to visit, because the place was just about empty when I was there.   I started walking along the trails (all alone, nobody was around me), and I heard something.  My first thought was that it was an iguana, so I bent down and took a look.  Nope, no iguana, but it was a raccoon.  I thought, "cool, a raccoon".  That thought was followed by, "Oh, no...a the middle of the day!"  I started walking away from it pretty quickly, until I came up on a couple.  I told them what happened, and stuck by them for a few minutes.  Then, I ran into another couple who were behind me.  The woman said they didn't see the raccoon, so I figured it had gone on its way.  She mentioned that the raccoon was on "Key Time", so it was probably okay.  As I walked through most of the trails, I was alone.  Which was fine until I imagined alligators in the mangroves.  Kind of spooky.

~  We had an incident at one of my schools yesterday.  Nothing major; just a stranger near the playground.  Our SRO wasn't at school, but another policeman was "Johnny on the spot" within minutes.  It was a harmless incident, but it's nice to know that it was taken care of quickly.  

~  Flute choir practice started back up last night.  Last semester we practiced every other week for 3 hours; this time we're practicing every week for 2 hours.  We are minus the high schooler this semester.  We really had a pretty good practice.  One of the ladies is highly allergic to perfumes, so I have to remember not to put on any lotion on Thursdays.  Apparently I'm going to have to get some fragrance-free detergent for my clothes.  I couldn't smell anything on my shirt, but she could. And, I had been wearing the shirt all day.  I feel bad, but I don't know what else to do.

~  I hadn't heard "Baby Got Back" in a loooong time, but we heard it at least a couple of times on New Year's Eve, and once on the trip back.  Then, I heard it again yesterday morning on the way to work.  When it comes on, I just have to start shaking my booty like Cameron Diaz in "Charlie's Angels":  (start around 25" and it lasts until 48")

~  I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend.  Hope everyone has a good one!

Reading Challenge 2012

Whew!  I made it!  I set a goal of 20 books for myself for last year, and I made it by the skin of my teeth.  That 17-18 hour ride down to The Keys definitely helped.

As I look over the books I read, I have a few favorites.

Angel on Board (EJ Thornton) was the most thought provoking book I read.  This book made sense to me; even now I will stop and thank my guardian angel for things I took for granted before I read it.  Coincidences?  I think not.

Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery):  What a classic!  I just happened to read it right before I saw a local group perform the play.  I can't believe I hadn't read this before.  I also read Anne of Avonlea, but I guess I forgot to add that book in the challenge.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) was recommended to me by YS.  He had to read it over the summer.  It was a dark book, but well worth the read.  A little boy's mother is sick with cancer, and the monster holds his real fear, one that he has to face in the end.  If you read it, make sure you have tissues for the ending.  The idea for the book was passed on to the author, since she was dying of cancer.  Even though the book was written for the middle school age child, it is well worth the read.  If you have most of a day to read, read this book.  It could easily be read in one day, if you don't have anything more pressing.

Wicked and Son of a Witch (Gregory Maguire):  I will never see "The Wizard of Oz" in the same way again.  It took me a while to get through Wicked, but it was a good read.  Dark and a bit depressing at times, that's probably why it took me a while to get through it.  I haven't seen the Musical...yet.

The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins):  I wanted to read these before the movies came out, and I'm glad I did.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the books.  I had an extremely hard time putting them down.  I definitely think it helped to read the first book before the movie; there were a few things they had to leave out, so it was good to have the background.

I've decided to up my goal for this year to 25 books.  I've already completed 1 (thanks to the drive home!), and have started 2 more.  I think I can, I think I can!

Do you have any books that you read that you can recommend?

2013 Wednesday Hodgepodge #1

Apparently the Hodgepodge went on without me last week.  Oh well; life goes on, right?
Here are the questions for this week:

1. What is ONE thing or area in your home or life you hope to report is completely organized when 2013 draws to a close?  Do you  have a plan to make it happen? 
I really need to go through the bins that are in the basement.  When we moved from SC, we put everything in bins (totes) instead of boxes.  I need to look through all of them and see what can be thrown out.  I have no idea if/when that will happen.  Maybe (fingers crossed!) if we have a few snow days in a row and I get bored it may happen, but don't hold your breath!

2. What's the worst uniform you've ever had to wear for a job?
Since the only uniform I've ever had to wear is an apron I wore when I was a cashier for a grocery store, right after CH & I got married.  I did have to wear a red shirt with khakis when I worked at Target, but that wasn't bad.

3. What was your last kitchen 'mishap'?  This question comes to you courtesy ofBetty who blogs over at A Glimpse Into Midlife...everyone go say hi to Betty!
I don't know if you'd actually call this a 'mishap', but my hand mixer bit the dust the other day.  One of the beaters must've bent, because now they make an awful sound and get stuck.

4. How do you protect yourself from other people's negativity?
I try to just stay away from them.  I've found that's the best thing for me to do.

5. Who in your family do you most resemble (physically)? If you have children, who do people say they favor? Do you agree? 
I have a lot of traits from my daddy's side of the family; probably more from his side than my mom's.  But, I don't really think I look a whole lot like either of them, or maybe a combination of the two.  You tell me:
As for my boys, I think they are all a pretty good mix of both of us.  We used to call YS CH's "mini-me", but his appearance has changed an awful lot in the past couple of years.

6. January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day...will you be celebrating?
I've never taken a bath in our bathtub in our current house.  So, no, I didn't celebrate it.

7.  Some of the 'world's best winter festivals' are - Mardi Gras (New Orleans),Quebec Winter Festival (Canada), Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah),  Rio Carnivale (Brazil), Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan), VeniceCarnival (Italy) and the Harbin Ice Festival (Northern China).  Of those listed (and if cost were not a factor) which would you most like to attend and why?
I would probably be most likely to go to Mardi Gras, just because it's closer than the others.  I'd like to give Quebec or Venice a go, though!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Did anybody watch the National Championship Game on Monday?  Why in the world do they have that game on a Monday night?  I was really glad it was a blow-out...I had stayed up on Sunday to watch "Downton Abbey", so I was pretty tired.  I ended up going to bed at halftime, but even that was around 10:30.  I figured it wasn't going to be much of a game:  Notre Dame just hadn't played anybody of any substance, which would explain why their defense (and offense) wasn't effective against Bama.  
I watched "The Bachelor" yesterday afternoon when I got home from work.  I was embarrassed for some of those girls.  I won't even call them "young ladies" or "young women", because some of them acted more like girls.  So now I have to keep watching to see who he ends up with.  

The Keys

In lieu of writing an extremely long post, I made the following movie for your viewing enjoyment:

This was probably our last family vacation, and it was the best.  MS wasn't going to go with us at first because he didn't think our timeline was going to work for him with work and a fraternity leadership conference.  It turned out that the timing was perfect for him, so he was able to go.  Having all of the boys (and OS' girlfriend with us) was the best Christmas present I could've ever received.

Two of the pies you see in the clip are Fried Key Lime Pie.  I didn't know there was such a thing, but there is.  And, they were sooo good!

In one of the night pictures, you can see 4 red lights.  Those are the Radio Free America Towers.  It was so neat to sit there at night and think about the history of that part of the country.

I went snorkeling for the first time, and it was great...right up until I got out of the water and got sick.  Several times.  The waves were about 3 ft. that day, so I think I can blame it on that.  The visibility was amazing.

We met a couple from New Jersey who frequent The Keys, sometimes sailing down.  They were very interesting to talk to, and, she's a blogger!  Bum's Rest

The funniest incident from the trip was something OS' GF told me happened:  They rented a tandem bike for the week, and almost every day they ended up riding over to the beach.  One day, they were riding down the road, and OS saw a car with tags from our county.  He started waving his arms and yelling:  _____ County!  The people in the car finally figured out what he was talking about, and yelled back, "It's a RENTAL"!

I could go on and on about the trip, but I'll spare you!  I hope you enjoyed the clip!

Christmas Wrap-Up

What a Christmas we had!  Honestly, I think I had the best break I've ever had in my whole life.  All of the boys were home.  OS got home a couple of days before, and someone was very happy to see him:
The white blur you see on his knee is Laika's tail.

We always have a big Christmas Eve Dinner around 8:00.  The only thing missing was OS & MS.  Dinner was ready, and they weren't home. CH & I thought they were downstairs, but it turns out they ran out to the store and were held up by an accident.  I didn't get upset; we went ahead and ate our dinner so it wouldn't be cold, then we sat around and talked while OS & MS ate their dinners.
After we ate, it was time for the Christmas Crackers.  This is a tradition that CH had (due to his Danish Mother) that we've carried on with our boys.  And, of course, everyone has to wear their crown:
Another tradition that we've passed on is the finding of the almond in the pudding.  The Danes use a rice pudding, but we've "Southernized" the tradition by using Pistachio Pudding and a pecan.
The prize is usually some sort of chocolate for the winner to share with the others.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that the boys always beg to open a present on Christmas Eve.  Well, this year was no different, except that we ended up opening all of the presents on Christmas Eve.  We thought OS was going to have to drive to get his girlfriend on Christmas Day, so we went ahead and opened the gifts.  The night was capped off by some roasting of marshmallows over my "little red campfire" that CH gave me:
The next morning, my parents came by for Christmas Brunch.
We always (well, except for last year!) have Holiday French Toast Casserole and Maple-Glazed Sausages.
We spent the rest of Christmas Day relaxing and getting ready for our big family vacation.  Come back tomorrow for the post!

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