Saturday, December 31, 2016

Gifts To Enjoy In The New Year-2017

It's New Year's Eve, and the last day of 2016.  As with any year, it has had it's share of ups and downs.  Hopefully the ups will continue into 2017 and the downs will not change life as we know it.  I thought, since I don't go out and party on New Year's Eve, I would write about three of the gifts I received for Christmas.  Baby Jesus isn't alone.  I got three awesome gifts too.

The first gift I got was from my sister and brother-in-law.  It was a pair of knitting needles.  They aren't just any round knitting needles, they are hexagon shape, like a pencil.   Apparently a woman named Pam Hoffman was in a knitting store.  She was going to buy her daughter some knitting supplies for a gift.  The proprietor showed her some square needles.  She explained that the square shape made it easier to knit.  The lady tried them but found them cumbersome and found a square needle didn't easily fit into a round stitch.  It was the square peg into the round hole effect.  Thinking about it, she noticed how easy a pencil is to write with.  She decided to cast some stitches on a pencil and that is how her company got started.  With the help of her husband, they created hexagon shaped needles made out of wood, sanded smooth and finished with beeswax.  The materials to make them are sourced from Michigan locations.  They are awesome.  They knit smoothy without as much hand fatigue.  I think they would be really good for a beginner knitter because they are smooth without being slippery.  My sister inherited my mom's ability to find the perfect gift.  I don't have that ability.  They got CHEESE.  The website is:

The next gift was from one of my daughters and her family.  She knew we were going to Michigan next summer for my niece's wedding.  Since Lake Michigan is in the way, she bought us tickets to take the SS Badger car ferry from Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI.  It is a fun trip unless the waves are high. The weather has to cooperate, or I get a little seasick if I have to go inside the boat.  I do best on the outside deck.  Even at that, it's better than traveling through Chicago.  At our age, that makes us a little nervous.  The other option is the northern route over the Mackinac Bridge.  That is a beautiful route, and we will probably go that way on the way home.

Map from their website:

The third gift was from my other daughter and family.   It was a DNA ancestry kit.  It will tell or confirm my heritage.  It comes in a box with instructions and a collection tube.  The hard part was spitting in the tube.  You can't eat or drink anything for at least a half hour so getting enough spit was a challenge.  It took a while.  Then a stabilizer liquid is added and the whole thing is sealed up and mailed in.  I have seen them advertised many times and it always intrigued me.  It will take a few weeks to get the results, but I will report to my relatives if anything wonky shows up.  I doubt if that will happen, but you never know.

So Happy New Year to everyone. 
 I hope 2017 is the best year ever for you and your family.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Our 2016 Christmas Day

Christmas Day 2016 is just a memory.  We host Christmas Day brunch for our daughters, son-in-laws and five grandchildren.  They spend Christmas Eve with our son-in-laws' families, then Santa comes overnight so they have a relaxed Christmas morning at home and then they all come to our house.  Some of the kids wear their pajama's or comfortable clothing.  It was another awesome day.  I need to learn to make less food because everyone is stuffed by the end of the day, but feeling happy and content.

We eat brunch first and then it is present time.  Last year we started a tradition.  Each member of the family buys a gift.  We use the same wrapping paper so all the gifts look similar.  There are eleven of us, so we stack up eleven gifts.

We start with the youngest person which happens to be Ewan.  He chooses a gift and opens it.  Next was Jack.  He chooses a gift and opens it and it continues down the line.  When all the gifts are open, we get a chance to steal.  This round we start with the oldest which is grandpa.  He chose to keep his gift which was wireless earphones, and he hoped no one would steal it.  This was a perfect gift for him because he spends a lot of time listening to books and won't have to plug his ipod into the earphone jack.  Next was myself.  I stole the gift our grandson Sam had opened.  It was a Steamer/Frother pot.  The good part is the two youngest were last, and they were able to steal the gift they wanted most so there were no sad faces.  Also, the secret is to buy a gift for yourself and if you're lucky (which I was) you can end up with it.

Next we got to open the Santa stockings.  Santa got a little mixed up this year with favorite candy and leaving prices on things, but hopefully that went unnoticed.  I got the "look" from my daughters a couple times when I forgot that Christmas stockings didn't need to have disclaimers.  I was reminded that Santa filled the stockings and not me.   I am famous for disclaiming anything I cook or do.  I want everyone to be happy.  Unlike today's generation who get a trophy for just showing up, I was taught to be responsible for my failures.  Although sometimes I should just shut up.

After the stockings, we exchanged the kids and family gifts.  I love it when the gifts are ripped open or in my case they open the drawstring on the fabric bag.

What a mess we make, but that is what our Christmas is about.   I am reminded of a Christmas we spent in Arizona when the girls were small.  My husband's step father was such a control freak, he picked up every piece of wrapping paper immediately after the present was open.  It took all the fun out of it.  Messes can always be cleaned up later.

I like to make things even for everyone even though no one really knows the difference.  I decided Dylan needed one more gift so I picked up a pair of Virtual Reality glasses.  Then knowing Sam would probably like them too, I went and bought two more pair so they would be the same.  I thought I could take back the first pair I bought because they were slightly different.  They were a big hit.

Melissa is 16 years old, and I didn't think she would be interested in them.  The boys were enjoying them so I asked if she would like my spare pair.  Surprisingly she said yes.  I brought them out.  Hopefully she won't read this blog because she did not want her picture taken.  Hopefully in a few years she will appreciate this moment being documented or she will never let me forget it.

Some of the exchange gifts were games.  Sarah, Heather, Dylan, Sam and Jack played a game called Telestrations.  It is based on the telephone game only sketched out.  They laughed so hard.  I love it when there is a lot of laughter in the house.

Then they went outside.  The kids played in the snow and my daughter and her husband went snowshoeing.  The snow was really wet and heavy. 

It is a good thing Christmas was yesterday because today it is sunny and the temperature is well above freezing.  It is in the middle 40's and the snow is melting quickly.  This is the same scene today.  The ice is covered with a layer of water.

It was a great day and a happy Christmas.  I only wish everyone could be so fortunate.  While snowshoeing our daughter saw two eagles flying over the marsh.  We think it was Grandma and Grandpa Dux wishing us a Merry Christmas.