Christmas Eve Gift!!

Christmas Eve Gift!!

Ha! I got you first! You owe me a gift!

And for those that are lost, I’ll explain!

The goal of this game is to be the first to yell “Christmas Eve Gift” to the other person.  Then, the person that lost and didn’t yell out “Christmas Eve Gift” owes the person that did yell it a gift.  And who doesn’t want an extra gift?!?

Christmas Eve Gift

Technically, you probably don’t have to yell.  I’m sure a normal speaking voice would be fine.  In our family, we are so obsessed with winning the game that we tend to yell.

Growing up, our Christmas Eve always started well before the sun came up with mom coming in the room and yelling “Christmas Eve gift!!” and then running out before we could respond.  (Which, bonus points).

As we moved out, the phone would ring at about 6 am.

Now this is tricky – you have to time it just right and you have to get that phone up to your mouth super fast because the caller has the advantage here!  They can hear when you pick up the phone and they can start yelling as you are bringing the phone up to your mouth.  And, at 6 am, I’m really not at my best – I tend to answer “Hello, crap, Christmas Eve Gift” and at that point the caller has usually won the game!

Wait, I’m not done.

If it was dad that called you at 6 am, you aren’t done!

During the drive over to their house, I keep repeating “Christmas Eve Gift, Christmas Eve Gift” and then I walk in the door and get distracted and mom jumps out of the dark bathroom yelling “Christmas Eve Gift!!!”

And that is why my Christmas gifts are always in a bag and never carried in by hand!

This gets repeated over and over until you and every other person you encounter has gone through this!

And some years, you get to be the one making the 6 am phone call!

Not all of your relatives will appreciate this gesture of good will.

Just a heads up there!

This year our family hit a new low record.

Christmas Eve Gift text

6:15 am Dad sent out a group text.

Which I promptly ignored.

Cause there was no way he could prove I had seen it or read it.  (And this is the exact reason why I don’t have a “read receipt” on my text messages!)

Then my sister got in the action – but added Mr. T and her Twins to the group!

Christmas Eve Gift response

By now, it’s an hour later and so I figure it’s safe to respond!

And the best part?

We don’t actually get each other gifts.

Winning the competition is the only gift we need!

I’ve never actually met anyone outside of our family that plays this game, so you’ll have to let me know if your family plays this game – but in the meantime…

Christmas Eve Gift!

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

My dog in my lap and the lights on the tree,

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The stockings hung up and presents just for me;

A single Dean Winchester tied up with string

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These are a few of my favorite things

When the police come, when the taser stings, when I’m feeling sad,

I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!

Down Payment for my Next Tattoo

photo storage boxI have a couple of these unassuming photo boxes in my armoire.  They are just plain photo storage boxes and I use them to store letters and cards that I receive.  Nothing special, but the perfect size to hold the cards that I can’t seem to make myself throw away.  So, yes, apparently there is a soft candy center under my hard shell!

Today I pulled these boxes out.  I’m looking for tattoo ideas.  Yes, I already have several tattoos, but they are like chips, you can’t have just one! All of my tattoos do have a reason, I selected them all with care – after all, it’s going to be on my body long after by body is no longer inhabited by me!

With Christmas coming up, my brother is on my mind.  It was hard to remove him from my Christmas spreadsheet, but it was even harder to see his name on there!

So, put two and two together… My brother is on my mind and I’m trying to find an idea for a tattoo… Yup, I’m looking for a memorial tattoo.  I’m actually really excited about this, as it will be extra special to me and I already have friends lined up to go with me and get a new one of their own!  I’ve found some nice quotes, but I just haven’t found “it” yet.  Then I remember all of those tattoos I’ve seen that were of a loved ones handwriting.  Eureka!

So, that’s when I jumped up and ran to my room and pulled out my photo boxes.  I started to flip through the cards and letters in an effort to find one from my brother.  I found one fairly quickly, from Mother’s Day a few years ago.  As always, he had signed it “Love, Lee” .  Well, that’s about perfect!  I kept looking because 1) I can’t help myself, it’s fun to trip down memory lane and 2) I wanted another signature for comparison, see if the size will work.

I ran across a birthday card from my sister, from probably 2003 or 2004, it’s not dated, but it’s in that range… and there I found:

twenty dollarsTwenty Dollars!!  Score!!!

Of course, this means that now I really have to go through my cards… what if there is more money or maybe a hidden gift card? I can’t not look!

Even if I don’t find any more money, that’s okay.  I went through the box and found a tattoo idea in honor of my brother and it will be paid for in part by my sister.  Yes, that totally just happened!!

Love Lee

Homemade Gifts for my Guys

A few months ago I showed you the gifts I made for my sister in my Martha Stewart took over my body post.  Today I want to share you the gifts I made for the guys in my life.

I started with rocks glasses that I picked up from the local dollar store and I make stencils of their last name initial and frosted the glass to give it a personalized touch, cause you know – that’s just what I do!

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While at the dollar store buying the glasses, look around and get distracted and end up finding some awesome camouflage duct tape to add to the gift! I mean, who doesn’t need more duct tape?!?

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Then swing by your friendly neighborhood liquor store and spend way too long browsing the miniature versions of whiskey before finally just going with the guy behind the counters suggestion.  Then run over to the cooler and breathe a sigh of relief that their sodas aren’t outrageously priced and grab a couple! Because yes, it’s easier to just buy what you need – plus, you are supporting a local small business and keeping your money here and not in the pockets of the big corporate CEO!

Okay, I’m stepping back down off my soap box now!

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Now, put all of these items neatly together in a box… wrap the whiskey in tissue paper and shove place it gently inside the personalized rocks glass. Grab the least “fancy” tissue paper you have to stuff the sides to keep everything in place.  Cause, you know, things need to stay in place, but they are guys and the pretty tissue paper would just be lost on them!  Save it for your grandmother and girlfriends!

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Then you need to rearrange everything half a dozen times before you give up because you realize that no matter how you try you cannot get the top of the box on and none of the boxes you have will work.

Now go grab a couple of gift bags.  Empty the box out, take the aforementioned tissue paper and transfer it to the gift bags.  Fill them up with all the goodies and place under the tree until you see the guys in your life!

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  • The glasses were $1
  • Camo duct tape $1
  • The etching cream I had left over from a previous project – so $Free
  • Soda $0.50
  • Whiskey on sale for $1

Gift bags and tissue paper I always have on hand, and never consider the cost of that, so for less than $4 I have a cute and personalized gift for the guys in my life.

All two of them.

So, Maybe I’m a Bit Sentimental

So, maybe I am a bit sentimental.  Or, maybe it’s just this time of the year.  I love the holidays, once we hit October 1st, I’m on a high the rest of the year (of course, some of that could be the candy and breads and other goodies!).

Halloween is super fun, Thanksgiving is a great time to renew my vow to live a life of gratitude, but Christmas, Christmas is all about the family life I’ve made.  Not just the nuclear and extended family, but my friends that have become family, too.

We put up our tree yesterday.  I know it seems early; however, Thanksgiving comes late and well, it’s a lot of work to put my tree up and I want to enjoy it as long as possible! I’m sitting here with a nice bowl of chili, watching the Cowboys and letting the glow of the lights on the tree take me away! (And, well, because doing three things isn’t enough, I’m writing this blog post, too!)

Tons of memories are made this time of year, and in our family, our traditions have traditions! Every year when we were growing up, mom and dad would let each of us kids pick out an ornament for the tree.  You could track our lives via the ornaments and year after year as we were putting our special ornaments on the tree, one of us would occasionally hold up an ornament and go “oh, I remember when…”

I’ve carried this tradition on with Mr. T, and yesterday was filled of moments “Oh, this was when you did this” or “I made this back when…”

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Our tree is nestled in the corner of the living room, out of the way but still visible from every angle.

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Here is the little stained glass church that was one of my childhood ornaments.  It is the first ornament to go on the tree, period.  Nothing goes on until I have placed this little guy.  I absolutely love this ornament.  I don’t remember when I got it, but it will always be my favorite!

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Look! It has my name!  All the way back from 4th grade!! Which also gives away my approximate age for those of you good at math!

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Merry Kissmas! I got this ornament when I was a teenager – and you know you’re as old as me if you recognize the character!

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Here is a new ornament!  My friend Kari sent this to me all the way from Alaska!  It’s entirely too awesome for words!

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I bought this for Mr. T’s first Christmas – isn’t it adorable? I did have a traditional baby’s first Christmas ornament that was a beautiful blue china rattle sent to me by my friend Melissa; however, one year we dropped it and no amount of glue was fixing that!

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First off, yes, there are candy canes all over our tree.  I load the tree up with peppermint and mint chocolate candy canes.  Everyone has gotten used to this and almost everyone who visits automatically grabs one off the tree to enjoy – including me and Mr. T!

Nestled among the branches and candy canes is Elmo, the first ornament that Mr. T picked out all by himself.

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Here we have a cloths pin reindeer that Mr. T made when he was little.

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Even Spongebob and Patrick get in on the action.  And, to be clear – those are two separate ornaments, I realize now that it looks like they are attached, but they aren’t.  We also have Shaggy and Scooby doo and on the other side of the tree in a perpetual battle you will find Spiderman and Dr. Octopus.

Putting up the ornaments gives me time to reflect on years past, think about the upcoming year and to spend 30 minutes with Mr. T where all we have to do is enjoy each other and sing along with Christmas carols playing in the background.  We laugh and joke, reminisce and make plans and let the stress of the world melt away.

And then I put up another one of my ornaments… it pretty much speaks for itself!

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On a slightly related note – I now have to go search for Supernatural ornaments – cause I think that I’d enjoying looking at this every year! Maybe when I write my letter to Santa I’ll ask if he can just wrap up Dean Winchester and leave him under my tree!

Seriously, who wouldn't want to be him?

I Am A Magnet

Okay, so, here is a rule of thumb.  Never give someone a gift you’ve already given them.

This is not as easy as it sounds.  Most people give so many gifts that they can’t remember what they’ve given and to whom they gave it! (I will make a confession: I have a spread sheet.  I only use it for Christmas , but I put down what I give everyone so that I have a record.  I don’t keep a record of BD gifts, but I may have to start!) (Okay, another confession:  I don’t exchange a lot of gifts with my friends.  I am up front and let them know that I’d much rather spend time with them than get trapped in the non-optional social convention.)

Moving on.  I must be a magnet for duplicate gifts.

This happened recently.  I was asked about ideas for my BD, and I told them “I need this cheap box from Hobby Lobby” and instead, I got a beautiful, glossy wooden box, with a hinged lid and a key with a tassel.  Just like the one that has been sitting on my dresser for years and is 2/3 full of items it totally wasn’t meant for!  I toss ticket stubs in it – so if you ever want to make a list of every movie I have ever seen – just go through that box.  I honestly don’t know why I keep them; but, I do!

One time doesn’t mean I’m a magnet, right?

So, not that long ago, I got a great Christmas gift – it was something I really wanted! I was very profuse in my Thanks and even months afterwards I called and told them how wonderful it was.  A few months after that – I got the same gift for my birthday.

It must have been on sale.

I have several more examples, okay, I have more than several; however, I think that I’ve proven my point!

Some times I speak up, but it’s just easier not to.  I just feign surprise and give them thanks – and the thanks are heartfelt, as I appreciate them thinking of me, I do!

Then I put the gift in my gift closet to pass along to someone who doesn’t already have it!  Unless, it’s really good, then this works out well for my sister – as at the first opportunity I pull her aside and go “uh, they’ve already given me this, do you want it?”

My sister has gone home with some great items over the years!

As for me – it really just cracks me and my friends up.  I’d like to attract things other than duplicate gifts though – so I’m opening myself up to being a magnet for $100 bills.  I think those things should just start randomly finding me.  I’m walking down the street and BOOM, there’s a hundred dollars.  I could totally handle that!

money magnet

I’m bloated…

We had a wonderful Christmas.  It was filled with fun, family and food – oh, and presents!  If you learn anything about me today, let me tell you that I love presents.  I’m not that materialistic, but I do love the fact that someone thought of me and got me a gift.  The anticipation, holding it in my hand and pulling out tissue paper or tearing off the wrapping paper to get down to the bones – it all sends a tingle up my spine!

We made sugar cookies.  They are my mom’s favorite.  I sprinkled white crystals on one of my cookies and said it looked like a pretty snowfall.  My dad said that it’s a good thing the snow wasn’t yellow…

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I wrote my initial in the snow!! I laughed so hard at myself I snorted!

This year I worked with Mr. T on the whole “if you’re going to give a gift, take the time to give it properly”.  He got that speech after he decided not to wrap my gift but to gift bag it… which would be fine, except he put it in a baby shower bag. Sigh.  He’s a guy, he’s a work in progress.  It’s the thought that counts.

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Here is the Magic 8 ball from my buddy BA. He and Mr. T worked together behind my back. 🙂 It’s perfect. I’d been dropping hints to BA for years about this, but again, he too is a guy. Hints don’t work!

This year we all created video message from Santa to our kids. We hooked the computer up to the TV and sat around and watched and giggled.  Apparently Santa said I was a good girl and knew that I was trying to not spend so much time on Facebook.  Santa told my niece that he was proud of her for working on her temper.  She kinda lost her temper over that one… apparently he was spot on! 🙂

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Isn’t this the coolest purse?? It was on my wish list and my sister Amy came through with it!

We have a saying in Texas, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes”.  Christmas Eve it was 70 degrees.  Christmas day I was rushing to get my grandmother home before the roads froze from the snow.  Yes, we had a white Christmas! It’s pretty cool, we don’t get them very often – and as pretty as it was, I’m glad we don’t get them often! Not a fan of the cold!

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Amazon gift card from my Grandmother so I can get the latest book in a series I read. I should have known she was getting me this a month ago, when she suddenly started reading the series.

All of the kids had a good time.  Mr. T texted me Christmas night and I told him I was getting our Thank You cards prepared, I was making the list of gifts and realizing how blessed we were.  He sent back that he was “very happy that we have been blessed to be able to have a wonderful holiday… and that we can spend time with family”. It really warmed my heart.  I know that as a mom, I won’t win mom of the year, but when I get a text like that, it makes me realize that I’m teaching him about the important things in life.

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Santa brought me this! As long as we are speaking of the important things in life!

Mr. T is off camping now.  Every year mom and dad take the grand-kids camping the week between Christmas and New Year.  They got off a couple of hours late today due to the inclement weather and iced over roads, but they made it to the camp site and got set up.

We had a great Christmas dinner, it was so yummy!  I actually brought home left-overs.  I ate them for dinner tonight.  Along with a slice of pumpkin pie and a slice of pecan pie.  That explains why I’m so bloated currently!  But it was too good to pass up!  I would show you a picture, but, well, I ate it.