Our third annual Favorite Things party was such a great night! Steph and I have learned a few things along the way, so this year was about as stress-free as it comes. We ordered Mexican party trays from Amigos and each made an appetizer and dessert – Kelly’s pasta tacos, Steph’s famous 7 Layer Dip, brown butter sea salt chocolate chip cookies, and pot de creme. I already shared some of my favorite things from the year, but you can see what everybody bought and learn how to do such a party at Steph’s blog!
I have been working with our youth girls and children for the last two months preparing for our children’s Christmas program. We performed on December 14th, and it was outstanding! The youth girls and I opened with a rendition of Carol of the Bells, and the children performed a mini musical called “The Christmas Cross.” The entire congregation–including myself–was so blessed! This is always so much work, but once that performance comes, every late night and stressful moment is worth it! If you’re on Facebook, you can watch a bit of the girls singing on our Sierra Baptist Church page.
Growing up, we would spend Christmas Eve with all of the Vander Kooi’s at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the dairy. It is one of my favorite childhood memories. Now that we’re all older with families of our own, it’s difficult to get together on Christmas Eve. We started doing a celebration a week or two before Christmas, and it works out nicely…even though we all admit it’s not the same, especially without our grandparents and Aunt Sue. Still, it’s a treat to get together with my cousins, aunts, and uncles!
After the VK Christmas, I drove Chels home to SF and spent a couple of days with her. We had such a fun time! We visited Flora Grubb nursery, shopped a bit at 4th Street in Berkeley, checked out a couple of decked-out hotels, walked around Union Square, went to the market at the Ferry Building, and of course enjoyed plenty of yummy treats along the way. It was a fantastic time with my sista!
We wrapped our first semester of the 2014-2015 school year on Friday. I ended up with about 15 students, so the last week is always a bit crazy as I pull together their report cards and complete their semester paperwork. I had some sweet moments, though, like one boy who stopped by my office to tell me that I really helped him this year. Moments like that keep me going!
My hubby turned 33 this year! We started the celebration early (as we usually do) with some friends over our house on Friday night. Saturday my parents had us over for a nice dinner with them, and then Sunday (his actual birthday) was a full day of fun! The congregation sang Happy Birthday to him and presented him with gifts. We followed that up with pizza at the Planing Mill with our families, then ice cream cake and presents at our house afterward. That evening, he and I went out to PF Chang’s in Fresno for dinner, shopped, and looked at Christmas lights!
We crammed in one last show with Unfolded Designs and brought the last of our 2014 inventory over to Embellish & Restore. We have been stunned with how well things have sold this year! It’s awesome to have a creative outlet such as this, and a bonus to make a bit of money to put toward our adoption! Thank you for supporting us, friends, through your words and your dollars! ;)
The December issue of Enjoy Magazine is out, and I am honored once again to have two articles included! You won’t find me in the January issue – I was way too busy this month to be able to participate – but I’m working on a piece for February. If you’re local, you can pick this up free at a number of stores including Embellish & Restore and The Gardens (two of our favorites). You can also pay a subscription fee to have it delivered! Even if I wasn’t part of this magazine, I would still love it! It’s full of great stories, always has a seasonal recipe or two, and has a fantastic calendar of events.
This flower stopped me in my tracks! I’ve had my yuletide camellia for three years now, and it finally bloomed! Love it so!
We did not send out Christmas cards this year. I know – sad. If we had sent out cards, though, I would have probably sent this festive photo, taken at The Gardens. So if you really love us, you can just save the image and print it out! Ha! And know that even though we didn’t send you a greeting in the mail, we love you and wish you the merriest of Christmases!