Harry's birthday, Caroling and Gingerbread Houses

Thursday, December 31, 2015
Our Mom's group at church carols every year to the local senior citizens.  Over the years, we have gone to convents, senior centers, home bound parishioners, and the fire station.  It varies.  This year was a sentimental one for me.  See, we split into groups and for the past several years, we have have gone with the same few families. These families are our very good friends, fellow parishioners and neighbors. My son, Will and his best friend, David have been doing this since they were toddlers.  We missed the years in VA but other than that we have done this about 16 years.  I knew this would be Will and David's last year as next year they will be away at college. Sniff, sniff.

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Will is not smiling in that first one...but my friend's eyes are closed in this one....

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 Here (below) we are caroling to the sisters in the convent.

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And at a senior center.

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After the singing, we all go out for pizza and salads are spend some time together.  I LOVE this tradition.  We always do it on a Sunday afternoon in December and sometimes it is hard for the kids because they are studying for midterm exams.  But we have always made it a priority. I love seeing the smiles on the seniors' faces.  They especially love the little children.

Another thing that happened this month is Harry turned 15!  WHAT?!  How did that happen?  He was only 5 when I started this blog!

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And he is so cute.  He is doing great his freshmen year in high school.  He is happy, earning awesome grades and making lots of new friends.  He also has a great little business or two going (he's my entrepreneur).  His birthday fell during the week and he was busy studying but I made his favorite meal (meatballs, sausage and pasta) and brownies (his request).  And he kind of has his permit.  Well, he took he classes and passed the test.  We just need to go pick it up from the DMV (not fun).  Yes, Harry will be on the roads!

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Another one of our Christmas traditions is making gingerbread houses.

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We have tried homemade gingerbread and various kits but the Trader Joe's ones never let us down.  They are solid.  In fact, Harry and Will tried to destroy them (see bottom of post) and they could not.

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The cast of characters: Harry, Amy, Will, Eden and Kate.  Will's girlfriend was supposed to come but could not at the last minute.  We missed her.

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He is really concentrating...

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The finished products.

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The adults judge the houses based on three categories: Creativity, neatness and something else I cannot remember.  Anyway, Eden won.

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I am thinking we should not judge them next year.

Will and Harry like to blow their houses up (or shoot them with air soft guns or run over them with RC cars--boys will be boys).  So they took them outside and tried to explode them with fireworks.

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The thing would not blow up!  It did decapitate a ginger woman though. Just saying these things are sturdy!

After the gingerbread houses, we took Kate and Eden to a dance performance.  Kate is taking contemporary dance and her teacher was in a show.  Kate enjoyed it and was so excited to give her teacher flowers after the show! I feel bad because Kate loves dance and would love to continue and be challenged with a good dance class but there simply is no more time with her gymnastics schedule.  She has been moved up to optionals and her practice time has increased again.



And here are a few photos of my Christmas decor.  I had a bookclub luncheon here in December and this was my table...

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The salad I made for the luncheon. Mixed greens, shrimp,  green apples, pomegranate seeds, crumbled goat cheese and candied pecans.  SO good! I also made Thai butternut squash soup and cannoli cake.

And here is some of my family room...

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I hope everyone has a lovely and safe NYE.  I will try to keep the posts going to finish out the year.  I still have to post about Christmas Day!  Happy New Year.

17 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Kim! What a sweet family you have--always love reading.

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  2. Beautiful pictures and traditions! I agree, I would discourage judging the gingerbread houses, keeps it more fun!! Happy NYEve!!

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  3. Beautiful pictures! I especially love the one of the one of the singing at the senior center. I can't believe you have been blogging 10 years!!! Where has the time gone?

    Gabriela has a very similar coat to Kate's in the dance performance photo!

    Happy new year to you all!

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    1. Much Ado! So nice to see a message from you. Yes where has the time gone? I guess I have been blogging 9 or 10 years. I know Harry was 5 and 1/2 when Kate came home and he is 15 now!!!! Hope you are all well.

      Happy New Year!

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  4. lovely photos...awesome memories

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  5. Wishing you and your family the very best for the new year! I love your blog for so many reasons. Happy new year across the miles from Alaska!

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    1. Thank you Monica. I appreciate the kind wishes from Alaska. We have friend that our moving there soon and we were just talking about what it might be like to live there:)

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  6. Your house is amazing! Truly beautiful! If they want you to judge the gingerbread houses... Maybe just award each house the "most creative", "most festive", "most likely to get blown up"... Lol! Love reading about your traditions:)

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    1. Thank you very much Michelle. And great idea about the judging.

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  7. I'd love to get that cannoli cake recipe!

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    1. http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2014/05/09/cannoli-poke-cake/

      It was good Sharyn but I should have used the whole can of milk in the cake as mine was not a moist as a poke cake should be. The flavors were fabulous though. It really had that cannoli taste/

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  8. I come back again and again to your blog for décor inspiration! Would you please share the source of the beautiful lantern hanging over your table in the kitchen. Thanks so much, Lynette

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    1. Thank you so much Lynette. I wish I could help you regarding that lantern. I found it in a store in PA probably 10 years ago. I purchased it for our sun room in VA but I loved it so much that we brought it with us to Texas when we moved. It sat in our garage for 5 years and we recently hung it over the kitchen table. I have no idea who makes it though and it does not say anywhere that I can see on it. I am sorry.

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  9. It's beautiful and I have been searching and searching. Thanks for replying and for checking. It really looks wonderful over your kitchen table. I'll keep searching :)

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Thank you for your kindness.