Native Texan Livin': December 2014

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

3rd Annual Mother-Daughter Ornament Party

I love having all girls that I can share a special celebration with.

Last weekend, we hosted our 3rd Annual Mother-Daughter Ornament Party.  I was originally introduced to a party like this when Becca was in elementary school.  Her little girlfriend & mom would host a mother-daughter ornament party & they were always so much fun.  Just mommy daughter time, chatting with other moms, no little boys around & the girls could just be girls.

I knew I wanted to start a tradition like this, so we hosted our first party when Izzy started Kindergarten.  Everyone who comes is asked to bring an appetizer or dessert to share with the group.  As the hostess, I normally make a few heartier dishes.  This year, I made meatballs in spaghetti sauce, a taco ring, tamales & turkey roll ups.  We were so thankful for all the rest of the deliciousness that everyone brought to the table!

Look at these super cute desserts!  Who knew my friends were so talented!!! :-)

Once everyone gets their fill of the food, it's time for the ornament exchange!  In the years past, we just had the kids sit in a circle & they passed their ornaments around & around until I turned the music off.  Whatever gift they had at that point is the one they kept.  This year, because they're older & know their lefts & rights, I read 'Twas the Night RIGHT Before Christmas.  Any time I say LEFT, they pass the gift to the left.  Any time I say RIGHT, they pass the gift to the right.  Once done, the gift they have is the one they keep.  The kids had fun listening to the story, sometimes messing up their direction...but in the end, they got their ornaments & were happy as they opened their finds!  (of course, some trading was done afterwards!) :-)

After the kids do their exchange, the adults get their turn!  We do the traditional White Elephant exchange (since we can keep our feelings in check if our ornament gets stolen!) ;-)  There were a few steals, but no blood was shed & everyone left happy. :-)

The night wrapped up & everyone grabbed their dishes & new ornaments to head home...
except for the few, the proud, the after party crew. ;-)  We had fun relaxing, chatting, drinking... & letting the kids be kids upstairs.

We're so blessed to have so many wonderful friends!  Can't wait to do it all again next year!

(Here is the link to my printable of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Feel free to print & enjoy!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Decking the halls...

♫♪♫♪  Deck the halls with boughs of holly...  ♪♫♪♫

"We're kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols." -Clark Griswold

Well, it's wasn't exactly a landscape of frosty majesty here on the day after Thanksgiving.....but after a 5 year hiatus, we picked up our past traditions & headed down to the Holiday Acres tree farm in Manvel to chop down our Christmas tree.  After checking out the grounds for a bit, we went to wait for our hay ride out to the trees.

Everyone look directly into the sun & say cheeeeese!

We walked around for a while & came across a few good trees, but Bec finally found THE tree in the north 40.

Everyone took their turn sawing the tree down

Izzy didn't want to miss any of the action. :-)

Bec held the tree steady while Bo finished off the job.  And Maggie decided this was the perfect moment for a photo op!

OK Izzy, stay riiiiiight there!  In case you're wondering, no, she did not catch the tree! ;-)

One last moment in the sun right before she fell...

And awaaaaaay we go...

What happens when a 17 year old girl asks if we can walk the tree all the way back instead of waiting for the trailer?  You guessed it!  She gets to lug it back herself.  Actually, we only went half way when we got to a trailer...she got lucky! ;-)

While Bo & Bec went to pay for our find, Maggie, Izzy & I played around on the grounds.  There's a horse swing, hills to sled down on, a couple ponies, etc.  They even had hot apple cider & hot chocolate!

These professionals tied down our tree perfectly so there was no wiggling as we drove home.

Someone wasn't happy about finishing their hot chocolate...but clearly had fun making a mess of themselves right before loading up.

Once we got home & Bo got the tree off the truck, it was brought to my attention that we didn't have any lights for the tree.  Oops!  That's what happens when you go 5 years with a fake pre-lit get lazy. ;-)  So, I ran to Hobby Lobby to get lights & hurried back to start the decorating.

They had the tree inside by the time I got home, so we got right to work.

Lotta sap in here!  Mmmm...looks great!  Little full, lotta sap!

This is what "everyone look at the camera" looks like in our house.

And now for the Pièce de résistance!  Once the star was on, Maggie & Izzy wanted to take pics in front of the completed tree...and this is what we got. :-)  Headless & half bodies.  Love it!