Thursday, December 31, 2009

Celebrate the Season of Christmas! (read: Mayhem!)

Christmas around my house is just simply MAYHEM. That's all there is to it. Just MAYHEM. We have SO many Christmases to attend and the kids get so much.......this year though, because we went to Disney the weekend before Christmas, we missed one of our family Christmas gatherings. Don't worry, we still had FOUR others to attend!

Without a doubt, my children are SPOILED. ROTTEN. They have grandparents that absolutely spoil them. They're the only 2 grandchildren on Cecil's side of the family (his brother does not have children) and my in-laws take the opportunity every chance they get to let them spend the night, buy them this and that and generally just dote on the boys. Despite the fact that now when we say no to something my kids go straight to their grandparents, it's actually very nice that they love them to pieces!

For Christmas this year, my in-laws bought my kids a new go-kart. Yes, a go-kart. The boys got one a few years ago, but apparently (so says the father-in-law) this one is MUCH better.

Cecil, Edward, and Grandaddy getting the boys strapped in and ready to go!
Sort of looks like monkeys doing a math problem, huh?....
For the first few rounds, Edward followed the boys on the golf cart to make sure Nolan was shifting the gears right, etc. I'm not sure who had more fun here...the men or the boys! (oh-wait--isn't that the same thing? ha!)
After a while, Carter got tired of riding with Nolan and decided to try his hand at driving the old go-kart......
Cecil's parents do up a great Christmas for us! We get so spoiled every year!! Here's Cecil opening his stack.....
And Carter before the mayhem began!
A few other items from my in-laws (amongst the many) were footie pajamas for the boys....(my kids LOVE footie pajamas!)
New Gator sunglasses (for the riverhouse and for the Gator games).....

A CAT train for Carter......
A Kohl's gift card (one of my many!)
Christmas did come to our house this year too! Can you tell?
Carter begged and begged for some black, high-top, Converse shoes. So...I finally broke down and bought him some for Christmas..he LOVES them!

Nolan's big gift this year was a Wii. I won't go into what happened with this. Suffice to say it's already been shipped back to Nintendo for a new one. Yes, it broke the day after we got it. It stopped reading the discs. Yes, I was MAD. Yes, I called them. Yes, I got something for free! They are not only sending me a new one, they are also sending another remote. I'm all about customer service!
At Cecil's grandma's house, the kids got nice things too!

All in all, a GREAT Christmas! Hope yours was too!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gander Mountain - a bad experience made GOOD

I know I haven't finished posting all my Christmas shenanigans yet, but I needed to tell you the GREAT and WONDERFUL customer service I just got from this place......

Y'all know (cause I've told you before) about my dealings with customer service people. I expect what I pay for. Period. And when I don't get it, I either email or call the customer service line and make my case, errr....state my point.

Here's the story. I purchased a gift card for my brother-in-law for Christmas for a nice amount ($100) to Gander Mountain. Gift card came in. I wrapped it all nice and pretty (and by that I mean I stuck it in a bag with some tissue paper) and gave it to him for Christmas. Such a proud moment.

Then, the call came. Last night. As I was cleaning out my van (which I needed a bulldozer for, but that's beside the point). Edward (that's the brother-in-law) called and said that he was at the store trying to purchase some items and the gift card had NO MONEY on it. NO MONEY. Can you believe that? I WAS MORTIFIED and bless the Lord in heaven above, it was only my brother-in-law and not someone else....I could live with the fact that it was family. Sheesh.

So....I called last night to Gander Mountain and (in a sing-songy voice) got "due to the high call volume, you will need to leave your name and number, blah blah blah). Do you think I did that? You probably guessed right. Nope, I didn't. I did finally get to some woman who took down my name and number and said someone would get back to me in a few days, but I laughed and said that was simply unacceptable.

I called back this morning and after going through the front lines of battle (um, that would be the customer service guy) I asked him to transfer me to a supervisor. And I got a GOOD one. This guy KNOWS customer service!!!! He calmly and politely listened to my story and made it RIGHT. I'm getting what I paid for and MORE! I won't go all into what I'm getting, etc. except to say that I'll for sure be a DEDICATED and LOYAL Gander Mountain purchaser in the future!



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas--(party that is)

Each year, Cecil and I host a dinner party for a group of our friends. We've been doing this for about 7 years now. It's a great time for all of us, and we enjoy just sitting around and relaxing with one another, celebrating the season.

The party is ALWAYS the first Sunday night in December, unless the Gators go to the SEC Championship game, in which case the party is moved to the second Sunday night in December. The last several years, the party has been the second Sunday night (GO GATORS!) Most years, the party is at our house--once (or twice?) it has been at our friends, Mandi and Jim's house (once because she offered to have it there and the other time because I had given birth about 4 days before the party).

We split up the courses so that each couple is responsible for cooking a portion of the meal. For example, this year, Mandi was in charge of the main dish, and I did an appetizer and the grilled chicken, drinks, etc. Scarlett was in charge of bread and a dessert, and Brittany was in charge of a dessert and some grilled beef strips. Our menu changes every year, and so far, we've only duplicated one main dish through the years. We try to come up with something different every year and it has ranged from ham to steak to chicken fettuccine alfredo to cornish game hens.

This year, we had Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken strips and grilled beef strips, garlic bread, Caesar salad, and for dessert we had a peanut butter delight and some chocolate ooey gooey bars. Yeah, my goal is to maintain the weight loss during the holidays, not necessarily lose any more.....ha!

I LOVE my Christmas china and use it every year during this dinner party. That's really the only time each year I use that china, but I do love it! Since my mother purchased a set of everyday china for me before she passed away, I only needed to register for a good set of china when I got married. I thought it over and decided that I'd also register for Christmas china at the same time and received quite a bit of it! I've added to my collection over the years, as have my mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

Here's the tablescape......complete with my Christmas china, which is the Lenox Holiday Gold setting. I also have flatware to match, which is the Gorham Golden Ribbon Edge pattern. My good china has a gold rim on it, so the flatware and my stemware both have gold edges and I can mix and match! (good thinking, huh?)!

A work in progress...these were taken as I was getting the table ready.

We had an ornament exchange this year, rather than drawing names and buying for each other. We're all trying to save money, so we opted for a low-cost alternative this year! I displayed our ornaments in a glass pedestal bowl full of Christmas globes. Cute, huh?

Here's the girls and I before dinner snacking on an appetizer!

And my hubby, acting a fool.

All in all, a great night, with great friends.
Merry Christmas Y'all--From our Christmas party to yours!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas In The Country!

Y'all. This post needs NO words. See what I live with? I rest my case. And yes, those are "footie" Christmas pajamas. And boots.

Merry Christmas Y'all!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Decorations

I promised you all a look at all my Christmas decorations and until now, had only shown you our family Christmas tree....sorry 'bout that. I suppose a million different things got in the way. Here's a look at our house, dressed for the holidays. Mind you, this is only SOME of the decorations that I have.....We decided not to put up everything this year. Too much going on I suppose.

Here's a simple plate on my counter--I got the plate on sale at Pier 1, with a gift card that I won from Lemonade Makin' Mama and stuck some silver beads on it.
My Snow Village on top of the entertainment center. This is only 1/4 of my village....the rest is still in the shed. I decided we'd only put this much up this year and then next year, we'd go all out and do the whole thing with lights and everything.

Y'all know I love Christmas and have to have everything decorated. My office door has a small snowman wreath on the doorknob:

My baker's pantry door.....another small decoration:
In my foyer (or whatever you want to call it) I have an "old" table--I put this Christmas tree on it with some red tealights--it's really pretty in the evenings when we light it!
Also in our foyer next to the front door, is a large FROSTY that sings and dances when you walk past him--or when he senses motion. Let me tell you that poor FROSTY stays unplugged A LOT since I have 2 boys and they are NEVER without motion! ha!

This little "table" that I set up is a Partylite stand (which is OLD) with a plate on it that I just bought this year, only a few weeks ago at Cracker Barrel. I just kept walking past this plate and for some reason could NOT let it go. I really didn't need/want to spend 7.99 (I know, call me cheap) but every time I walked past it in the store, I just's just so simple and gorgeous. In case you can't read it, it says "Let Heaven and Nature Sing".......It's got holly berries on it, which match my Christmas china to a tee! I couple the plate with a gold plate stand and voila! A beautiful corner piece! I put a red candle melt next to it, along with some of my glass jar Christmas decorations (see picture below) and it's perfect (I think!) This set-up is in my formal dining room.
(the glass jar decoration referred to above. I have 2 of these on my bar and 2 more on the table above, which is housed in my formal dining room)
Speaking of formal dining room, I'll show you pictures in a few days of a dinner party we had, using all my good Christmas China, etc.'s a picture of a piece of the table runner in the formal dining room. You can see a few pieces of my Christmas china sticking out too....
This basket of pinecones, cinnamon scented I might add, sits in a Longaberger (ADORE!) basket on my kitchen bar. I bought the pinecones a few years ago during the holidays, then spray painted them silver, burgundy and forest green. I love them and it always gets the most compliments of all my decorations!
Last, but certainly not least, I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS! Here's our Christmas cards in a holder that I bought a few years ago after Christmas at the Christian bookstore.
I'm hoping to show you pictures of Nolan's Christmas program, our annual dinner party, and a few other things this week. We'll see how far I get--if I don't post until after Christmas......
MERRY CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!! And p.s. Thanks for touring our house!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Y'all questioning the title of this post? All my friends know I refer to Atlanta as "The A-T-L." I don't know why. I just do. My other choice of words for The ATL is Hotlanta. Don't ask.

(Note: this post should have been done last week but with all the goings on, I didn't have time to post it!) (Additional side note: This post is long with LOTS of pictures!)

The first weekend in December the Gators were headed to The ATL for the SEC Championship game. We were so excited to be going in hopes that we'd be heading to Pasadena for the National Championship game in January. My brother-in-law had so graciously agreed to fly the hubby and I, along with himself, FIRST-CLASS, to Pasadena for the big game, as a Christmas gift (if the Gators won the SEC game).

On the Friday before the game, I got up and went to work since we hadn't planned to leave until noon(ish). That was at least 4 hours of work for me since I'm at work by 6:30AM each day.

The brother-in-law and the in-laws were to meet us where I work and leave one vehicle there and combine us all into 2 vehicles. Yes, "us". There was my family of 4, plus a babysitter, my brother-in-law and the mother and father in-law; not to mention luggage, pillows, toys, snacks, etc. etc. etc. We looked like the Griswold's heading into the wild unknown.

In our vehicle was the hubby, me, the oldest boy, the babysitter, and my brother-in-law. In the other vehicle was my in-laws and the youngest boy (in hopes that he would take a nap on the way there in his car seat which did NOT happen because my kids have NEVER slept in the car).

About 2 or 3 hours into the trip, we had to take a break for snacks. Heaven forbid we eat what I packed us. It didn't contain near enough sugar. The hubby and the brother in law chose a 6 pack. Not that kind of 6-pack. A 6-pack of GooGoo Clusters. (insert ew, gross here). Not my favorite, but to each their own.

And I, I took the path less traveled, and that has made all the difference......OH, WAIT. That's from a book, sorry--I, I bought the best thing since sliced bread. Or hair paste. Whichever one you like best. I'm going with hair paste. I figure I live in a circus, so I need circus peanuts. Yes, I like them. And they're orange. It was a good sign (or so I thought at the time).

This little booger refused to be seen at all, much less seen with his snack.....

Another few hours and we were hitting The A-T-L. Right at 5:10. On a Friday. Great. sigh. Everyone get comfy. We'll be in the car a while!

Since my brother in law previously lived in Atlanta, and he was the only one that knew where we were heading as far as the hotel went, we decided to let him drive the last leg of the trip. Even though it was 5:00 on a Friday in ATL, we made EXCELLENT time.....he says it's because we were going in, not coming out. I don't care if we were going over, under or around--I was happy we made it through........
We got there in one piece (to the hotel that is) and then went to eat dinner, etc. etc. etc. After dinner, we walked around the mall that was directly next to the hotel we were staying at (which happened to be the hotel across the street from the Alabama band!) We saw Santa at the mall and I (of course) seized the opportunity to have the boys picture made with him! The lady told me I was allowed to take up to 3 pictures outside the gate--thank the Lord for a zoom lens! I think these turned out better and were WAY cheaper than the ones they would have taken!

The next day, the whole crew got up and ready for breakfast......Patricia, the babysitter, who has watched the boys since Nolan was born. They love her and she loves them. Works out "right nice". We took her along to watch the boys while we were at the game.

After breakfast, we had a little time to kill, so we rode around for a bit and went to some stores and just piddled around. My father in law wanted to look at the Chevrolet dealership at the new Camaro (sp?), so we stopped in there, and look who we saw!!!! SANTA! Supposedly, this picture will be in some sort of magazine in January.....we'll see.

Back to the hotel so the main crew (that's me and the hubby, the brother in law and the in-laws) could get ready to go to the game. Here's me and Carter before we left.....all I can think when I look at this picture is that I think I was about to bust out laughing hence the big smile and MAN! I sure was having a good hair day!

Y'all. We had to use public transportation. I'm taking a deep breath here, because I DO NOT DO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Not to say I'm too good for it, cause I had to use it that day, but I just don't like it. You know those people with shifty eyes, that was me--looking to be shot at any point on Marta. I shudder at the thought of that ride......ugh.

(a side insert here).......while we were at the game, Patricia, took the boys to the hotel restaurant for dinner and a mini-birthday party. I made cupcakes and we took candles, and the whole nine yards for them to have something to do while we were gone...she snapped this picture of cute!

We got to the game (finally) and look who we sat by....well, not exactly "by" them, but they were next to us. Can you tell who that is??? Any die hard Gator fan will know, right off the bat! It's Tim Tebow's parents. I resisted the urge to go over and tell them what a fantastic son they have and how much I think of him (blushing, hee-hee)'re surprised at that aren't you? (the me not going over to them part, not the blushing part)

Look who else was at the game to support his former team.......Emmett Smith.....
Getting ready for the game to begin.....

Well, you all know the outcome of the game by now (sniff, sniff). Even though it was a sad loss and a hard one, we had a great time, and I STILL LOVE ME SOME TIM TEBOW!!!