Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Word of the Year


1. done with intention (an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result) or on purpose

This is my word for 2012. I want to live all areas of my life ... physical, spiritual, mental and social with purpose. I want to be intentional in my habits ... eating better, regular exercise, getting enough sleep. I need to focus more on my spiritual growth, spending time in the Word and work on being more balanced mentally and socially.
Last night I had the opportunity to spend time with the ladies from our REACH group sharing and praying for one another. It was a great way to focus on the new year, encourage and support one another in areas where we want to grow. I know these ladies will be checking on me and asking how I've been intentional in my daily walk. Keeping me accountable.
Here's to a new year ... a new page ... a new adventure. Looking forward to 2012!

Words With Friends

I started playing Words With Friends over the winter break and now I am addicted : ) I'm still getting the hang of it but as I play each game my losses aren't quite so steep. I was beat by 100-200 points while playing my first few games but now I am narrowly losing/winning.
It has been fun to connect with friends and spend a few days playing back and forth. I'm still a little shy about playing with the "pros" but I'm working at building my word skills.

A Reading Milestone

2011 was a great reading year. Thanks to my reading group I was able to finish 44 books and it wasn't only the number of books but they encouraged me to expand my reading taste. Our theme this year was the Northwest ... books or authors. We each picked four titles for the group to read (a total of 12 books). I read several books that I would have bypassed at the bookstore or library. They became some of my all-time favorites! An added bonus ... a monthly dinner to discuss our current read. Great insights and conversation. Thanks, ladies for sharing this fun adventure with me!
2012 has a new theme ... a mixture of humor, fiction, classic, non-fiction. From our list I know I will be challenged but I'm looking forward to getting lost in a good book in the coming year.
To view the list of books I read this year click the Libarything or Goodreads link on the right sidebar.
Have you read a good book this year? I would love to add a few new titles to my 2011 list!

Christmas Pizza Toss

Years ago we moved away from a formal Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. It felt like we'd just finish cleaning up breakfast dishes and it was time to prepare another big meal. Actually, we were still quite full from breakfast plus I really didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen ... I wanted to enjoy my family. We came up with the idea of "Build You Own ____." Over the years it has been sub sandwiches, burritos etc. but this year I thought it would be fun to try "Build Your Own Pizza." The grandkids love pizza and with two former Bellagio Pizza makers in the family it seemed like the perfect plan.
I tried to think of every possible pizza topping with the exception of anchovies!
The grandkids were a great help to the "Bellagio Bros." in rolling out the dough just right.
Preparing the pizzas for baking takes some time. So many choices!

Here's a fun clip from our pizza kitchen ...

The pizzas were delicious ... a great idea that also incorporates FUN in our day.
Good memories!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just What I Wanted!

We always enjoy Christmas morning brunch with the family. Seems like we start talking and storytelling, forgetting we have a tree full of presents. Last year I went all out with the 12 Months of Christmas but this year we decided on a Date Night theme and several of us received gift cards for dinner and a movie. We also received Italian cooking classes at Sur la Table and many nice, thoughtful gifts. Our best gift ... what was written in the cards, seeing the excitement on the grandkids' faces, love shared and time being together. This was our greatest gift!

This Was Not Planned!

Another Christmas surprise ... Brian and Walt are dressed alike : ) It was not planned but we had so much fun taking pictures and having a good laugh!!

A Special Christmas Surprise

What a wonderful surprise! A Christmas morning visit from the Weckerts. We finally got to meet baby Luke. He is such a cute baby boy ... full of smiles and laughter. Eric was always like a 4th son so it was nearly like holding another grandson.
What JOY to see those who "grew up" playing at our house, spending time with our family and now are parents with their new baby boy.
It was a perfect way to start our Christmas morning. Thanks Eric, Whitney and Luke for stopping by!

Christmas Eve ... Tradition

Our day began with breakfast at 9:00a.m. at Season's and Regions with Bryon and Heather. The food was excellent and it was fun eating on the heated patio. I highly recommend this restaurant and I'm thinking it would be a fun place to have a monthly Saturday breakfast.
After breakfast we drove downtown and met everyone at Pioneer Place.
A great stop for the grandkids to see Santa and have their picture taken. We also had the opportunity to shop for those last-minute Christmas gifts. The kids loved throwing coins in the fountain and making wishes.
Following tradition there is always a stop at Starbucks for our annual hot beverage. The weather was so mild and dry. The perfect day to hang out at Pioneer Square. We also shared the square with Syrian protesters ... a first. It was also a pleasure to run into Jeff Myers while getting coffee. We haven't seen him in years!
Our next stop was Rock Bottom for dinner. This has been an annual tradition for several years, especially now that Hi-Hat closed.
For those brave few ... an 8:00p.m. movie at Bridgeport. We enjoyed MI4 ... quite a bit of action to keep us going until midnight services at church. It was nice to see a full service at TCC. We always love this candlelight service and the focus on the reason for the season --the birth of Jesus. We got home after 1:00a.m. A long but lovely day!

Our Christmas Card to You

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

We Rule Still Rules

It has been six months and I am still playing We Rule. It continues to hold my interest and I have not gotten bored with it. I am now up to level 59 and enjoy "managing" my kingdom. The game is available on the iPad and iPhone. If you give it a try, my user name is kdgee. Did I also mention it's free?!?!
Come on ... you know it will be fun : )

Village People

In the early 90's I painted an entire ceramic Christmas village. It took hours but it has been fun to display each year over several decades. This year our little Village Elves had such fun rearranging the town, playing with the people and making it "snow." I never dreamed another generation would have such fun with it.
It's nice to have decorations the kids can play with and not have to worry about breakage etc. I remember how fun the decorations were at my Grandma's house ... especially the aluminum tree and color wheel. It was so fascinating!
Maybe someday our grandkids will inherit this little village and carry on the tradition in their homes.

Christmas Home Decor

We have so many lovely decorations but you may wonder about the story behind this one.
One Secretary's Day while I was on staff at Archer Glen a second-grader drew a picture of the three of us with big red lips so it was kind of a joke with the staff.
Our music teacher, Mr. Greiner was quite comical and used to stop by my desk several times a week and ask how my new album was coming along. If you know me, you know I do not possess the gift of carrying a tune so it was quite the tease. He even went as far as to put in his sub notes ..."ask Karen in the office about her new album." So, being that our secretarial team was very clever we decided to get him back. We made a CD of Christmas carols and created our own album cover. We made a tee shirt with our picture on the front and Sherwood concert dates on the back. It was hilarious! We presented it to him for Christmas and it was the first and only time he was totally speechless!
Those were golden years ... work was fun!
And that's the story behind this fun Christmas decoration!
P.S. Credit goes to Donna for providing a lifetime of wax lips!

Secret Shoppers

For the past few years we have taken the grandkids out for an evening of dinner and Christmas shopping. This year our little shoppers chose Sweet Tomatoes for dinner and boy, was there a crowd! After our meal we drove over to TCC to check out the Drive-Through Nativity. It was our first time attending this event. When we arrived we were greeted with a cup of hot cocoa ... the kids loved it. As we drove through the different stations, we read the verses and enjoyed the Christmas scenes with people from the church and live animals. When we got down to where the sheep were displayed Walt drove on the wrong side of the cones and hit a small concrete curb. He backed up and ran over a large cone dragging it down the parking lot. It not only made a loud scrapping sound but he had to stop to try and remove it. This required backing up, going forward, backing up etc. It was quite comical : ) I do not know how the shepherds or wise men kept a straight face during this comedic routine. I would have been full of giggles! As we neared the end of the display, there's a place to stop and drop off prayer requests and as we rolled down our window, we were told, "We already know what to pray about for you ..." hahaha I know it will be a great family Christmas "legend" to pass down for generations!
We were successful in purchasing and wrapping gifts for mom and dad. While driving them home, Calleigh leaned over to Colin and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Grandma and Grandpa had kids!" LOL! We love this annual tradition with the grandkids!

Gift Bags

Years ago I used to paint gift bags but as the years went by the project became too time consuming during the holidays.
This year I found a great idea on a blog. I downloaded the jpg but forgot to flag the post in my RSS feed so now I can't give credit where credit is due. Anyway, I opened this file in PSE9, ran white paper bags through my printer and you can see the pictured results.
I used them for my cookie exchange and gift giving at work. I loved how they turned out and I am now thinking of creating files for birthdays etc. I have a large stash of white lunch bags just waiting to be transformed into something fun!

A Little Bit of a White Christmas

On one of our many Christmas shopping outings we were amazed to see a beautiful winter scene in the Wilsonville area. It was limited to a small pocket surrounding the Costco area. It was so beautiful that we saw a family get out and take pictures in front of a treed area of the parking lot.
While it would have been nice to have a White Christmas I guess we need to find JOY in this small area of winter not far from our home!

Delivering ... Frustration

December 8th was our scheduled furniture delivery date. Walt had to take the morning off to accept delivery between 10:00 and 2:00. I had asked if they could come after 2:00 when I would be available ... the answer was a solid "NO!" So, I relieved Walt of his "shift" at 2:30 and they did not arrive until nearly 3:30 ... I started feeling a little frustrated : )
The delivery guys brought the sofa into the garage, analyzed the room, doorways etc. and said it would not fit through the door and wanted to return the sofa to the warehouse. Now I was not only frustrated but a little angry. I called the store and the clerk talked to the delivery guy. He told him to take the packaging off the sofa and move it in the room. The guy refused saying it would get damaged. The clerk got back on the phone with me and said the delivery guy wasn't even trying. I contacted Walt and he was very frustrated as he had just arrived at work and would now have to fight rush hour traffic to return home to deal with this.
The delivery guy wanted me to sign the delivery form stating I refused delivery. Now, I couldn't do that ... that would be a lie : ) because in actuality he was refusing to do his job and I would be stuck with the $80 delivery fee if he took it back. Finally he called his dispatcher and then sat in his truck. He couldn't leave until I signed the form. It was a battle of wills and I decided to make dinner and let them sit out in their cold truck!
When Walt arrived he told them to take it into the garage, unpackage it and he would help them get it in the family room. First the dispatcher said we had to sign a form stating that they would not be responsible for any woodwork or wall damage (really!?!?!) Well, with Walt's help they had it in the room within minutes. Such drama ... and frustration!
We love the new look and we are thankful to have that whole episode behind us. It's only now that we can laugh about the whole thing.

Well, it certainly has been awhile ...

Instead of going back to where my blog left off, I thought I would pick up around Black Friday and move forward from there. Seems like the speed of life picked up during the holidays. It took all my "reserves" to keep up with work, social events, food prep, shopping etc. but it has been so delightful to get the rest I need during the second half of my winter break in order to be ready to face the new year.
Black Friday is a fun tradition we share as a couple. We do get some shopping done but that's not our only goal. It's a taste of the season, enjoying friends and family and the beginning of the Christmas celebration.
We started our day at 5 a.m. We just can't miss the sock sale at Fred Meyer : ) and then grabbed a small, energizing breakfast. This year we were on the hunt for a new sofa for the family room. We decided to check out the sale at JC Penneys and after "test driving" each one ended up with our eye on a leather sofa ... which had not been on my consideration list. We wanted to make sure the color and size would work for that area. We then met friends for lunch at Red Robin. It was fun to see everyone after the busy Thanksgiving schedules. After running home, dropping off packages, taking measurements we drove over to meet the kids at Bridgeport for the tree lighting. It's always festive with "snow" blowing, live music and Santa's appearance. This year featured a group playing the oldies and Colin wanted to dance by the stage. He has some pretty good moves for a 7 year old ... and he's very brave to dance in front of such a large audience.
Since Penneys was open until 11pm we had just enough time to drive back over and write up the sale for the leather sofa. Well, 16 hours later ... we were ready to crash but what a fun day! Couldn't wait to see the new sofa in our family room. It has been more than 15 years with all plaid furniture.