GGma: The End of an Era

Words cannot describe the sadness throughout my family today. Our matriarch, GGma, passed away today just 7 1/2 weeks away from her 100th birthday. Today has been a day of steel magnolias. Of wondering why God took her when I wasn’t ready, and yet rejoicing that she went quickly, which is just how she wanted it. Of weeping at the idea that we won’t get to tease each other anymore, and keeping it together to sign the medical examiner’s paperwork and release to remove her from her apartment. Accepting condolences of many, many friends, and feeling terrible for not getting there in time to say goodbye.

What can I say about GGma? I loved her a lot. She was the very definition of “Steel Magnolia” … continue on, dear reader!

Hope You Had a Merry Little Christmas!

Wow – I’ve been gone a while, haven’t I? Sorry about that! Things were hectic and crazy in December, and it all came to a head when two days before Christmas I hadn’t wrapped a single present and wasn’t sure if I’d have the energy to even do it!

Alas, I buckled down, locked myself in the guest room, and didn’t come out again until everything was wrapped. I still have stuff that needs to be shipped out though. I’ll probably do that this weekend and let my extended family experience Second Christmas this year.

Ours was a quiet holiday – we didn’t travel anywhere, and had my grandmother come over on Christmas Eve and spend the night. We attended our church’s Christmas Eve service, … continue on, dear reader!

Another White Elephant Party Over!

It’s 11:55 a.m. on Sunday morning, and looking around my house right now you’d never guess we had 35 people hanging out at some point last night, enjoying good food, great conversation and a really raucous White Elephant game.

To be honest, at 3:15 p.m. yesterday when I dropped a Fiestaware bowl filled with melted butter onto my hardwood floors, I had a moment of panic, thinking we weren’t going to make it. At 4:30 p.m. Denis felt we were in good shape to finish food prep by 5:30 p.m. But at 4:31 p.m. he dropped an entire tray of freshly-made bruschetta on the garage floor as he was putting it into the fridge. His calm demeanor and “yeah, we can be done by 5:30” … continue on, dear reader!

T-Minus Two Days and Counting

Our 14th annual Christmas party is in two days. Today we’re really gearing up on the preparations – specifically the food. This past weekend we concentrated on the cookies we always make. Tonight begins the hors d’oeurve prepwork.

We also had the housecleaner come today to do a full deep-clean of the entire main floor of the house, as well as our guest bathroom upstairs since we are having company come from out of town. We had hoped to have her come tomorrow so that there’s less time for the house to get messy, but she was unable to move her two Friday clients to another day for us. So we’ll just have to keep Cooper The Dog relatively cooped up (pun intended) for the … continue on, dear reader!

Words are Cheap, Rebuilding After Sandy is Not

I’ve avoided posting here this past month because it seems shallow to post about parties and shiny new kitchens and celebrities and funny kid anecdotes when there are people I know personally who were severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. I want to help, but struggle to figure out how.

I feel completely ineffectual being here in South Carolina, watching the headlines disappear about the ravages left behind in Sandy’s wake. It seems like post-election all talk of victims from Hurricane Sandy are pretty much gone from the news landscape. If we were still in NJ I feel like I could load up my car with supplies and drive them to her house. I could offer a place for them to stay. I could loan them … continue on, dear reader!

Garbage Dumps Aren’t All That Bad, or, Here Comes a Bullet Point Post

1) We are still obtaining bids for the replacement of our air conditioners. One is totally dead, the other just needed freon. We’ve decided to replace only the broken one even though the low-on-freon unit is just as old as the broken one. We’re hoping it lasts a couple more summers before we have to replace it. Fortunately, the dead unit is the one that cools the downstairs, which we’re remodeling, so we’ll be getting a unit properly sized for the new addition, which is perfect timing, really.

2) Speaking of the addition, we’re also in the process of obtaining bids for that particular project. We’ve met with two contractors thus far and hope to meet at least two more. One contractor I contacted has … continue on, dear reader!

It’s Nice When Friendship Comes on Instantly

A week or so ago I got an email from an old friend of mine. How old? Well, we’ve known each other since we were toddlers. Well, I was three, and she was four. That’s toddler aged, right? Maybe a bit older? Anyway, she and her family recently moved to Charlotte and she was interested in getting together.

It turned out that our neighborhood pool was opening the very weekend that worked for us, so I invited her over for the day. She came over this morning with her daughter who is close in age to Cootiegirl and Cootieboy. I was worried how they would all interact with each other since these kids didn’t know each other AT ALL and were being forced to spend … continue on, dear reader!

2011 White Elephant Party Recap – It Was A Success!

It has been almost a week since our White Elephant party, and I have yet to report on it! All in all, it was a great success. We had about 25 people in attendance – a nice mix of folks that have been almost every year since we moved here, and newcomers. The food was plentiful and seemed to go over well. In the end, this is what we made:

1. Mac and cheese bites (some with bacon) – always a hit here in the South.
2. Lobster puffs – this were the big hit last year but didn’t go over as well this year.
3. Moroccan meatballs – another big hit last year, we forgot the most important part of this one: the dipping … continue on, dear reader!

Gearing Up For The Annual White Elephant Party

Okay, Thanksgiving is officially over and that means it’s time to gear up for our next big event: our 13th annual White Elephant party. The party of the year is set for the second weekend in December and is hopefully going to be just as successful as all prior years (well, 2006 was rough – we only had 8 people come, but to be fair we’d only been in SC for 5 months, so that’s not bad for 5 months).

The menu has been finalized, and we’ve started stocking up on ingredients to begin prepping the food. This year we opted NOT to make 12,000 cookies to give away to guests, but will be giving away something else instead. We’re quite excited about that one … continue on, dear reader!

The Final Push

So we officially have one more week to go before our annual White Elephant party. For our cookie takeaway we have 9 of 10 cookies made – I’ll be making the last one today. I just can’t decide what to make, which is why I’m waiting to the last minute to bake something.

As for our food menu, we’re still making changes. Denis has opted not to make his fried mushrooms, so he’s on the hunt for a new recipe. I’ve opted not to make shrimp cerviche, so I’m trying to find something to replace that. This will be a week of prep – which means making the huge grocery list for the items we need to make the dishes we’ve selected. And then figuring … continue on, dear reader!

Success!

It’s the day after the big event that was five months in the making, and it was an unqualified success! We (as usual) had plenty of food and everyone seemed to like what we made. Today Denis and I enjoyed leftovers but I’m happy to report that I managed to give away three plates of food last night so we have a little less than we might have had!

In the end we had 19 guests come out of the 27 that said they could make it. They came with plenty of appetite, great conversation and AMAZINGLY BAD White Elephant gifts! We had several return gifts show up, and LOTS of stealing – in fact, our friend Ted had to go to the tree at … continue on, dear reader!

The Final Countdown…

This is it. One day until the party. We’ve had a few cancellations over the past couple of days, which saddens us. We’re down to 25 people (not including me and Denis). We joked last night that we may be down to our 2006 number soon (we only had 8 people attend that party because it was our first year in SC).

Since I just started the new job, Denis is home alone today to get stuff done. We have a housecleaner coming to do a DEEP cleaning of the main floor of the house today. It needs it! BADLY! She’ll be getting here around 8:30 a.m.

It’s hard to believe, but I haven’t made a single list for the countdown phase. No list of … continue on, dear reader!

Temporary Two Dog House

Last night one of the guys in our church small group dropped off his dog to stay with us for about a week. His family has been up in Maine visiting with extended family, and it was finally time for Dan to join them for a week. He had been asking about kennel services and I said, “We’ll take her for free – since I’m not working and am home all day, it’ll be a piece of cake!”

He took me up on the offer and she arrived last night. It’s a 7-year-old black labrador. Cooper (who isn’t a small dog) looks small next to Kahli!! *lol* But Kahli is a sweet dog and was even gentle when the cats came out to see what … continue on, dear reader!

Back Home, Back In The Groove

We got home yesterday at a decent hour – around 6 p.m. The kids were happy to be home, and I was happy to see that my fish survived the five days with no food and a borderline ammonia spike in the tank. Cooper the Dog was also happy to see us (the person that kept him for the trip had dropped him off earlier in the afternoon), as were the cats.

We put most of our things away and then I commenced to typing. I had two messages left from my sermon project – despite the help I got last week, I ran behind. Fortunately, I got it finished up today and got paid. The man was very nice about my delay, which made … continue on, dear reader!

Today’s The Day!

Today is the day that my sister, Jen has her second child, via c-section! They just found out a few weeks ago that she’s having a girl, and they’ve decided to name her Molly Ann.

My kids are excited about our trip next week to go see Baby Molly and have been slowly training themselves to stop calling Jen’s son “Baby Jesse” but just “Jesse.” Seeing as he won’t be the baby anymore. 🙂

Update: Baby Molly was born at 9:22 a.m. this morning and weighed 10 pounds, 1 ounce. Yep, you read that right! BIG baby!!! She also measured 21.75. We can’t wait to go visit next week and see her with our own eyes… Welcome, Molly!