How to play Dirty Santa- the Gigi way

We have a relatively new tradition in our family.  The grown ups don’t buy gifts for each other, we just buy for the kids.  But Gigi still wanted the grown ups to be able to unwrap some presents so she decided we’d start playing Dirty Santa.  She collects all the gifts for us and draws up the numbered slips.  Here are her rules (they vary slightly from traditional Dirty Santa/White Elephant rules).

Everyone who plays draws a number.  If there are 10 people you have numbers 1-10 on slips.

Player 1 chooses a gift.

Player 2 can choose to steal Player 1’s gift or choose a gift from the pile.

Player 3 can choose to steal Player 1 or Player 2’s gift or choose a gift from the pile (and so on down the line).

If you draw a present that has a name on it you have to give that gift to the named person and choose another gift.

If you draw a child’s gift you have to gift that gift to a child then draw another gift.

There are 2 rounds.

If you drew #1  you get to choose 3 times.

If there are leftover presents in the dining room that Gigi didn’t see during the Dirty Santa game then there will be a competitive round of Dominos or Cranium, etc to determine the winner of the leftover gift.

Once the game is over you may trade your present with other players if they are willing to trade.

Everyone goes home with fun stocking stuffer type presents!

Shutterbug Giveaway!

Because I love y’all so much….here’s another giveaway!  For all you shutterbug photography fans out there, OnlinePosterPrinting.com is sponsoring this fabulous giveaway.  They do Digital Photo Enlargement and Digital Photos on Posters plus so much more.  So here’s the deal…

One winner will receive : an 18 x 24 Poster Print on high gloss or semi gloss paper stock.  Your poster will be completed in 1 business day from order and you’ll receive free UPS Ground Shipping.  This contest is limited to US residents only.

How to enter: leave a comment here telling me what you’d most like to photograph.  Winner will be chosen randomly on March 4th.  Good luck!

Gifts of the season

I thought I’d share some of my favorite gifts I received for Christmas.  We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives who know and love us so well.  The BEST part about Christmas was laughing so hard and having such a good time that I forgot to take as many pictures as I usually do.

I brought home some fabulous gifts as well.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to do a play by play of every single gift received, but I am going to highlight the favorites of Christmas 08. Continue reading

Christmas Day Recap

Christmas day I woke up at the Craaaack and started cooking. I had crock pot mac and cheese to make and cookies to bake. Christmas Eve day I had baked beer bread and lemon squares. I called over to Sara’s house to talk to her and the boys to see if Santa had come. He had! They were happily playing with their goodies.  After a while I went upstairs and dragged CSP out of bed.  We got ready and hit the road for Papa & Gigi’s house.  As soon as we got through the door Christmas Mayhem began!  First there were stockings to open.  CSP gets Anti Monkey Butt powder in his stocking! lol Then a flurry of wrapping paper as everyone opened their gifts.  Joey gets a magnifying glass Momo likes her new jacketJoey shows off his new toyPapa is so excited about his new hatThen it was time to eat.  After we ate we settled in to watch Mamma Mia, much to the dismay of the boys.  They disappeared pretty quickly to take naps and play outside.  Too quickly it was time to go!  CSP is a manager for a grocery store and we had to stop by the store on the way home to do a refrigeration check.  They have to make sure the coolers/freezers didn’t die while the store was closed.  CSP let me ride the mart cart around the store while he checked everything out. CSP let me ride around on the mart cart while he did his refrigeration check at work on Christmas So fun! Me riding around on the mart cart! I’ve never ridden one before.  When I had my knee surgery CSP wouldn’t let me.  He was worried I’d take out a display or something!   We were in and out the store pretty quickly, then made our way home.  The pugs were happy to see us after a long day.  We were so tired and were in bed, asleep by 8:30pm! More pics here.

Christmas Eve Re-cap

In-laws' Christmas tree Christmas Eve after CSP got home from work we loaded up our presents in the car and headed out for his parents’ house. The first picture is his parents’ ginormous tree- so pretty! Marsha & Larry were there too (our honorary aunt and uncle). We all had dinner (their traditional oyster stew) then opened presents. Note- I hate oysters and I hate oyster stew. So our tradition is to stop by Jack in the Box on the way to his parents’ house every Christmas Eve we spend with them. Then I can just take a couple sips and pass my bowl over to CSP! We had fun opening our presents. CSP got some new shades. CSP sports new shades for Christmas Next thing you know it was midnight! Time to go. We didn’t get home until almost 1 am! I could barely sleep knowing I was going to have to be up again at 7am to finish cooking for Christmas day!

Bustin out & quarantined

Today is Jacob’s 5th birthday. I am not at his party. Boo. But there are SO many kids there and my tendency to love up on the children it’s best that I am still in quarantine.

Although, yesterday I did bust out for the day. I went to Sara’s and caught a ride with her down to my Mom’s house. Jake & Joey were in the car with us. Papa babysat the boys while us girls went out for lunch and a movie to celebrate Morgan’s 18th bday. I can’t tell you how hard it was to be around my family and not give out hugs and kisses. We’re a huggy kissy family! But I kept to myself. On the way down I let Jake open up his presents from Uncle Jon & me. We gave him this cool led light up football Disco footballDisco football It turns all sorts of colors. V.v. cool. We also got him a new pair of Crocs Bayas Jacob's birthday Crocs from Aunt Shanny & Uncle Jon. He LOVES them. We got him a pair of Caymans last year and he has literally worn the tread completely smooth on the bottom. They are such great kids shoes. I got Joey a new little Jibbitz for his Crocs too.

So we dropped the kids off and piled into Morgan’s car and headed for lunch.  But we didn’t think to check business hours so our intended lunch destination didn’t work out.  We ended up having burritos at Moe’s.  I can’t believe it but I didn’t take a single picture all day.  So you can’t see the delight on Momo’s face as she opened her present.  We went big this year as it’s her 18th/Graduation present.  We thought we could buy 2 small presents or 1 big so we went big.  She was thrilled.  We got her a new digital camera.  I also found this super cute skin for the camera, and a wristlet on ebay as a carrying case.  So she’s all set.

After lunch we walked over to the movie theatre and saw 21.  It was cute.  I’m amazed at their mental abilities.  I can’t stay focused long enough to count enough cards in a suit much less a bunch of decks!

Go jumbo

Saturday was more than just a little outing for my mom & I . We were celebrating her birthday as it is the 12th and I was supposed to be in Baltimore and she will be out of town. I brought over her presents and we opened them before we got going. I made her a few pairs of earrings. Here’s one: Earrings for my Mom's birthdayAnd Jon and I gave her this:Photobucket

She loves it! Gigi with her new jumbo remote!

After presents we went out to lunch, browsed around a couple of stores, then met up with Mom’s friend Suzy at the light rail station. We rode the new light rail uptown to the Body Worlds exhibit. It’s a brand new light rail system and it was our first time on it so of course I took touristy pictures. Mom & Suzy on the light railMe on the new light rail Yep, we got some looks. We usually do!

Show and tell

Sunday Sara, Jake, Joey, and I went down to my Mom’s house for dinner. While there we went by the nursing home and visited with Gmommy. We took Lucy to meet her and she just loved her. How could you not? Look how sweet and teeny she is!! Lucy vs the shower poof.  She barked her first bark at the poof. After visiting with Gmommy we went back to Papa & Gigi’s. P&G gave the boys big wheel bikes for Christmas (we’re doing Christmas Eve at Sara’s and Christmas Day here so that’s why they got the bikes early). P&G wanted to have some big toys to keep at their house too. So we did some big wheel racing. It was fun. Jake speeding down the hill on his new ride
Look at this pic Sara took of Lucy with my camera: If this picture doesn't make you melt, you have no soul I just love Lucy’s little sweater! The rest of the pics from that day are here.

I made some jewelry this week for the first time in like a year. I haven’t made anything since before my carpal tunnel surgeries. But Lisa & Nikki wanted some earrings and things to give out as Christmas presents so I dusted off my pliers. I missed doing it. I was glad to see I haven’t forgotten how! Earrings for a Christmas order You can see the entire order here. I hope they like everything, and more importantly, I hope the people on their Christmas lists like everything!

In other news, Jorge (my car) had a close call this week.  He wouldn’t start for me until the 3rd crank and mashing on the gas, he’s been sluggish, and then the check engine light came on.  So he went into Toyota hospital.  Luckily everything was fixed with a tune up (and I talked the dude into giving me a free oil change).  Jorge and I have been together for 6 years and I still love him.  I’m not ready to give him up yet!  Not the most fun thing to deal with right at Christmas!

I’ve got all the presents wrapped except 2.  I’ve got to add some sealant to one and then wrap it, and the other is a growth chart for Jake & Joey that I have to finish painting.  I’ll post pics for sure.  I realize I’m down to the wire here, so it’s a good thing I work well under pressure!

BPOH Christmas is tomorrow!!!

You grow girl!

Emily's growth chart I’ve been dying to show y’all this project I was working on, but I couldn’t until I could finally give it to Shannon. I made a growth chart for her baby Emily. I’m really pleased with it. I bought a 6 foot piece of wood (a 1 x 12). Then CSP cut it down to 5 feet long for me. I also bought little blank wood ladybug, dragonfly, and bumble bee shapes. Plus wood letters. Emily's growth chart I painted everything then glued the 3d parts on, sprayed it all with sealant and voila! A growth chart that can move with the family if they move. Click on the photo to enlarge, and click here for close ups.

HO-lotta cheer to send

One of my best friends in this world is Susan. She has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. Susan is Olivia’s mom and Will’s wife. Will has already served one tour in Iraq and is up for redeployment again. Susan sent out the following request for Christmas cards for our troops today and I am doing all I can to help her make this a HUGE success. I’ve forwarded her message to everyone in my address book. I posted this on my mom’s forum. And now I’m coming to you, my dear bloggy friends. Please help me to help her to help our troops.

Check out the details from Susan below:

I know it’s only September but it’s not too early to starting thinking about Christmas cards! This is going to everyone in my address book so if you don’t want to participate, please delete the email and sorry for the trouble. If you would like to, please email me and let me know you’re a go for spreading a HO-lotta Christmas cheer.

You may or may not know that I’m on a NATIONWIDE request for letters for our troops. I have emailed every school system nationwide and am getting a lot of good feedback and commitments for letters. Well, when sending out my request, I did not specifically ask for Christmas cards due to possible religious issues. Some teachers have asked about it and I’ve told them yes, it’s fine. So, now I’m reaching out to all of you for some additional Christmas cheer. There are going to be approximately 150,000 troops deployed over the Christmas season PLUS those who are being treated at various VA hospitals throughout the country and overseas. If everyone I’ve sent this to will go to the dollar store and buy one box of 20 cards, sign them and send them to me, I will have received over 1600 cards! If you don’t want to sign any, that’s fine. You can still participate by sending me UNSIGNED cards to send to the soldiers for THEM to sign and mail back home. Better yet, do both 🙂

The note is simple: Thanking them for their service and wishing them a Merry Christmas. The best thing: You can put the same thing in every card.

I will challenge you…I have 250 Christmas cards on order for me to sign and mail. If everyone sends me 20 plus my 250 that will put us at over 1,900 cards! That’s 1,900 service members who will have a special note at Christmas time.

Buying the cards at the dollar store will cost you $1, maybe $2 for postage and 30 minutes of time…how can you say no?

For UNSIGNED cards, I need them no later than October 10. It takes 2-3 weeks to reach the soldiers and then probably 3 weeks to get them back to the U.S. due holiday mail slow downs.

SIGNED cards I will need no later than November 10 to sort and get mailed by the end of November. Don’t forget to have your kids draw pictures, too! If you include your address in the card, you may get a reply back! I can’t guarantee it but it’s a possibility. It’s fabulous to get a letter back from them. Makes my heart skip a beat every time.

*No postage necessary on the individual cards. These are going to be included in care packages or will be sent in a large envelope to different units.
*You can seal them or not – it doesn’t matter.
*You can address them to “Dear Hero” or something along those lines. I stray from “Dear Soldier” because they go to Marines, airmen and sailors, too.
*No need to put an address on the outside of the envelope, unless you want to put yours in the return address spot. Like I mentioned, they will be shipped to groups of individuals in one large envelope.

Let me know if anyone has any other questions.

I look forward to a HO-lotta “YES, COUNT ME IN” replies.

Thanks in advance –

Susan

****Now, I deleted her home address from this post because I don’t want crazies showing up at her house. But if you’d like to help just leave a comment or email me and I’ll hook you up. Thank you so much! Y’all ROCK!