Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blessings

I love getting packages in the mail. It feels like Christmas morning when I get one. Even when I know what it is, I still smile and feel surprised every time.

I had been doing quite a bit of Christmas shopping on Etsy and I was expecting packages to start arriving. I came home from work one day and found a few packages waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I took my time getting to them, certain they were all gifts for others. But one of the packages had a return address on it that I knew.

It was from dear, sweet Val over at Pretty Little Rough Patches. And it was full of the most delicious fudge we have ever eaten. She had made her grandma's chocolate walnut fudge for Thanksgiving and was so kind and thoughtful to send some to us. Totally unexpected. Totally surprised. And very thankful.

I have the most wonderful people in my life. And when I count my blessings, I count her as one of them. 

Hugs, Val, from a distance.
Oh yes, every day.

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We had a quiet Thanksgiving with Sissy and her family. They alternate between our family and her in-laws and this was our year. 

{Other Sissy visits her in-laws way, way, far away every year for  Thanksgiving, so we don't get to see them over the holiday. Ever. Pooh.}

Since this was our year with Sissy's family, Sissy and the girls came over the day before to help prepare the side dishes - most importantly, Nan's stuffing. The girls did most of the work this year. Sissy and I had to help stir the stuffing since it gets kind of thick and heavy once all the bread and water is in the bowl. We kept stirring and adding seasoning, then tasting to see what needed adjusting. We do it by taste. The best way to judge.

It was the best stuffing ever. Everyone said so. We have no idea what we did differently. 

This could be problematic for next year but I'll worry about that later. Tra-la-la.

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We played games, and ate pie, and played more games. Watched some football. Ate some sort of delicious Nutella cake that Sissy made. Ate chocolates. Remembered to save some for the next day when we were getting together to enjoy the leftovers.

Thanksgiving is all about the food. 

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And being thankful. 

For blessings beyond belief - loving family, good friends, warm homes, jobs, a wonderful church, our health. More blessings than we can count. 

Thank You, Father God, for all of those blessings.
The rest of the photos are from our annual gingerbread decorating night.

Sissy and I made the house parts earlier in the week and we got together Friday night to put them together and decorate.

And eat candy. Sometimes that's all I do. Oh, and take pictures. I do that, too.
The girls are getting very good at using the icing bags and tips. They only squeeze from the middle every now and then.

And they have very different decorating ideas. I love how their personalities show in the way they decorate.
The Man and J kept coming in to the kitchen to sneak pieces of candy.

It's a good thing we buy about eighteen pounds of candy between the two of us. Every year we think we are going to streamline and not buy the same things, but somehow we still end up with duplicates. Not that anybody's complaining. We never throw candy away.
K's house.

I love the swirly candy cane. 

Other Sissy, are you seeing this? The swirly thing reminded me of you.
D's house. 

She loved the swirly candy canes. She put them everywhere. I told her the house looked so fancy. Just like her. She was born fancy.

I just love her house. It makes me think of Dr. Seuss.
Can you see the swirly shadow on the table?

Even D's shadows are fancy.
The decorators and their creations.
The supervisors joined the photo.

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Love this tradition. Love these memories. I'll have to go digging for some photos from the past when my little ones were decorating.

Blessings. 

Yup, my life is full of them.