The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Our Christmas and New Year Holidays

Hello friends! It has been a while since I published a blog post. My last blog post was published in October 29th. Did you miss me?

How were your end-of-year holidays?

Bob and I celebrated Christmas with Stacey and our granddaughters on Christmas Eve at their home.

Stacey prepared dinner. We had baked ham, accompanied with baked potatoes, broccoli and corn pudding.  Dinner was delicious.  After dinner we opened presents.  Everyone was pleased with their respective gifts. The last gift Harper and June opened was from Stacey, the game of Cards Against Humanity (the family edition).  We played several rounds of this game.  It is a fun game. There was much laughter from all of us.

Christmas Day was a quiet, low key day for Bob and me. Neither of us could sleep, so we got up at 4:00 am.  We had opened our Christmas gifts to each other by 5:00 am.  We buy from each others’ wish lists, although there are always surprises. We were happy with our respective gifts. We took a nap in the afternoon.  Bob slept on the reclining sofa.  I slept on top of the bed. We had Christmas dinner at 5:00 pm.  The main entree was spiral ham, warmed up from Thanksgiving  Day dinner.   We had divided the leftover ham into 8 ounce packages.  Christmas was the first time we have used the leftover ham for dinner.  Accompanying the ham was fried potatoes and onions and tossed salad.  Dinner was easy to prepare and delicious.

New Year’s Eve was a rainy, but mild, day.  We spent the day home.  We celebrated the end of 2022 by ordering pizza and chicken wings from The Cornerstone.  Bob picked up our order.  We watched several episodes of “Silent Witness” on BritBox and “Criminal Minds” on Paramount+.  We did not stay up to welcome the New Year.  We went to bed around 9:30 pm. We welcomed the new year at 6:00 am on New Year’s Day. We had plans to spend New Year’s Day with my brother and his family. Our plans were cancelled, however, because COVID found a couple members of my family. Thankfully, everyone has since recovered from COVID.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

There was a light dusting of snow on the ground on Christmas Eve morning. That was the extent of our White Christmas, as the temperature for both Christmas Eve and Christmas were well above freezing. It also rained on Christmas Eve for most of the day.

Our Christmas Tree

Sometime after I took this picture the pre-lit lights on the top half of our 4-foot Christmas tree stopped working. There didn’t appear to be any reason for the bulbs not to work. The fuse was good. Bob checked individual bulbs, as best as he could, for any bad bulbs or bulbs not seated properly. On Christmas Eve day we took off the ornaments on the top half of our Christmas tree, and Bob pulled the top half of the tree from the base.  He still wasn’t able to figure out why the bulbs wouldn’t light on the top half of the tree.  We removed the light string completely from the top of the tree.  He inserted a bulb contained in a plastic bag fastened to the string of lights. That bulb blew out immediately! It was then that Bob decided to remove the bottom string of lights as well.  Afterward we put the ornaments on the Christmas tree and placed it back on the end table in front of the living room windows.  So, on Christmas Eve, the only light on the Christmas tree was the star at the very top of the tree.  We will buy strings of lights, or possibly a new Christmas tree, next year.

We spent a few daytime hours on Christmas Eve with Stacey and our granddaughters at their home in Oil City, PA.  

Harper and Juniper had spent the previous night at “Big Grandma” Chris and Jay’s house.  We picked up the girls there at 1:00 pm.  The four of us arrived in Oil City around 2:00 pm.  We kept the visit casual.   For food we snacked on pizza, chicken wing dip and chips, breaded mozzarella cheese sticks, and beef franks in a blanket.   We exchanged gifts with each other.

Our granddaughters liked their Triceratops and Brontosaurus night lights. The soft silicone night lights change between a variety of colors
and giggle when they are touched.

Sometime after our gift exchange, Juniper asked if I wanted to go outside and watch her hit a ball. That activity allowed us to talk about sports. I asked Juniper if she would be interested in playing ball at school. Juniper said no, that she likes to come home from school immediately.

I LOVE this picture of our granddaughters and me!
Stacey, our granddaughters, Bob and I on Christmas Eve day

Stacey and the girls baked Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. We took home a dozen cookies, which we ate in their entirety before the end of the day. It is a good thing we opted to take only a dozen cookies! We left for home around 4:30 pm. We enjoyed our visit with Stacey and our granddaughters very much.

Bob and I spent Christmas, just the two of us. We liked the Christmas gifts that we got from each other.  I gave Bob a golf club and a gift card for a local golf course, baking utensils for his pizza oven, and a Type C Micro SD card reader.  Bob gave me a hardback copy of The Bowser Family History, a Ninja smoothie maker, USB flash drives with a carrying case, and a battery backup for my electronic devices.

For Christmas dinner Bob prepared a spatchcocked turkey that he grilled on the pellet grill. 

Bob splatcocked a turkey for our Christmas dinner.

The turkey was delicious!  Accompanying the turkey was mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli and cauliflower, and cranberry sauce. 

For dessert we each had a slice of the frozen peanut pie that
“Big Grandma” Chris had brought to us the other day.  

It was a quiet, but nice, Christmas. We didn’t mind spending the day just the two of us.

I hope all of my readers had as good a Christmas as we did.

Merry WHITE Christmas

In my last blog post I wrote that I was dreaming of a white Christmas.  It was Wednesday morning, and the sunrise glowed pink.  You know the saying “a pink sky in the morning…”.  Well, a Winter storm was brewing.  A Winter Storm Watch had been issued, that was changed later to a Winter Storm Warning.  It appeared likely that we would have a white Christmas.

On Thursday morning (Christmas Eve day) the snow from a week ago was almost gone.

I took this photograph on the morning of Christmas Eve. It was 46 degrees.

Most of the day on Christmas Eve it rained, until nighttime.  Then it started to snow.


We woke up to snow on the ground on Christmas Day.

Yes, we have a white Christmas!

Here’s a video that I took this morning.  Bob recorded himself playing ukulele and added the music to the video.  It is our way of wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2018

We celebrated Christmas three times.

Christmas celebration #1 was held on Sunday at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.  We left our home in Warren PA at 10:30 am en route Jim and Judy’s house. Jim and Judy live about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh. We arrived at Jim and Judy’s house at 1:00 pm.  We thought we were the last to arrive.  But that was not the case.  While we were filling our plates, Judy’s brother Donald and his wife Gina arrived.  Others who came to Christmas dinner, in addition to Jim and Judy, Donald and Gina and Bob and I, were our nephew Michael, his wife Kailey and their three children; our nephew Jared, his wife Sara and their two children; Sara’s parents; and Judy’s mother.  Our niece Emily and her husband Dan and their daughter, who live in Minnesota, were not able to join us this year.  Christmas dinner included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, sweet potatoes, pickled eggs, and corn.  Dessert included pumpkin pie, chocolate dream pie, cookies and a gingerbread cake.  We departed Jim and Judy’s house at 3:30 pm, as gifts were being opened.  Bob and I did not participate in the gift exchange; however, Judy made sure I didn’t leave empty handed. 

Judy made this wooden sign for me. Great job, Judy, and THANK YOU!

We returned home at 6:00 pm.  It was good to see my brother and his family and the others.  We had a very good visit with everyone.

Christmas celebration #2 was held on Monday at Stacey’s house.  We left home at 1:30 pm and arrived at Stacey’s house about 15 minutes later.  Chris (Stacey’s mother) and Jay arrived a short time later.  Our dinner included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and, for dessert, apple pie, ambrosia, and brownies.  Harper and Juniper received a surprise visit from Santa Claus.

Santa Claus is showing our granddaughters that their names are on his nice list.

Santa Claus brought the girls early Christmas presents.

Harper and Juniper with Santa Claus

Stacey, Chris, Jay and I knew Santa Claus would be stopping by.  Nevertheless Santa Claus took Stacey and me by surprise.  We expected Santa to come to the front door.  Instead he came to the back door.  We heard bells and “ho-ho-ho” a short while before he made an appearance.  At first we didn’t know what we were hearing.  To me the noise sounded like it was coming from a radio.  Stacey and I got up from the table (we were finishing up dinner) and walked into the kitchen.  We were looking out the kitchen window, when Santa’s face appeared.  He startled us!

After dinner we opened gifts.  Everyone was happy with their gifts.

I took a few pictures, after we opened our gifts.

“Big Grandma” Chris and her granddaughters

“Big Grandma” Chris, Grandma Linda, and our granddaughters

Stacey and her daughters

While we were at Stacey’s house, it snowed. 

Snow fell on Christmas Eve!

It stayed cold through Christmas Day, so we had a white Christmas.

Christmas celebration #3 was at our home on Christmas Day, with only Bob and I in attendance.  Bob and I opened our Christmas gifts to each other in the morning.  We are happy with our respective gifts.  I prepared Christmas dinner, which we ate around 2:00 pm.  Christmas dinner included baked ham, baked potato, whole berry cranberry sauce, cauliflower and broccoli medley and, for dessert, pumpkin pie.  The ham was a spiral ham.  We have lots of ham leftovers!

’Twas a very merry Christmas for Bob and me. We spent the Christmas holiday with the people who mean the most to us.  We are so blessed!





Our Christmas

Our Christmas began on Wednesday, December 23.  We celebrated Christmas with my stepdaughter and two granddaughters on that day.  Stacey and the girls arrived at 2:00 pm. We ate Christmas dinner: turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and for dessert pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies.  After dinner, and after the kitchen had been cleaned up, we exchanged Christmas gifts.  Our granddaughters left around 4:15 pm, when their paternal grandmother picked up the girls to take them to church.  Stacey left about an hour later.

It was just Bob and me for Christmas Day.   Bob and I decided not to exchange gifts this year, opting to make our Eureka Springs vacation in September our Christmas present to each other.  We didn’t have a white Christmas.  It wasn’t even a chilly Christmas, as the temperature rose into the 50s.  In the afternoon Bob and I went for a long walk at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Jamestown, NY.  We walked three trails.  The orange trail is 1 mile in length; the yellow trail is 2 miles in length; and the blue trail is .5 miles in length. We didn’t follow each trail individually, so we didn’t walk the entire 3 ½ miles in trail. It would be reasonable, though, to say we walked more than 2 miles, probably close to 3 miles!

Bob and I on one of the trails at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary

We ate Christmas dinner at Variety Buffet, a local Chinese restaurant that we have eaten at the past couple Christmases.

Bob and I celebrated Christmas with my brother and family at his house the day after Christmas.  We left Warren at 10:00 am and arrived in Cadogan around 12:30 pm. Our nephew, Jared, and his wife Sara and their daughter Kyla had arrived earlier in the day.  I had plenty of Kyla time (and time with Sara and Jared) before the arrival of Judy’s brother, Donald, and his wife Gina and Judy’s mother, Lois, and our nephew, Michael, and his wife Kailey and their children Kaleb and Anna.

We ate dinner at 3:00 pm.

Our Christmas dinner included ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, Amish noodles, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce. For dessert we had a choice of pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, and brownies. Dinner was served buffet style, with us taking our filled plates into the living room and den to eat. Dinner was delicious.

Gift opening commenced at 4:00 pm.

The last activity before we departed for home was a sock exchange, in which Judy, Gina, Lois, Sara, Kailey and I participated. Each of us filled a pair of fuzzy socks with stocking stuffers, the contents of which were not to exceed $20.00. We sat in a circle holding the socks that we brought. Jared read a Christmas story that I found on the Internet. Every time the word RIGHT was read, everyone passed her gift to the right. Every time the word LEFT was read, gifts were passed to the left. Each person kept the gift held at the end of the story. I give kudos to my sister-in-law, Judy, for suggesting the sock exchange.  We had the best time passing around our socks!

Bob and I left for home around 6:15 pm and returned home around 9:00 pm. It was an enjoyable day. Too bad that our niece, Emily, and her husband Dan and their daughter Elise couldn’t be there with us.  Emily, Dan and Elise live about a 1.000 miles away–a bit too far for a day’s drive!

I put together the following collage of some of the photographs that I took, while at my brother’s house.

 (top row) l-r: Lois and her great granddaughter; Michael and his family
(middle row) l-r: My brother and sister-in-law with their grandchildren; Donald and Gina
(bottom row) l-r: Emily and her family; Jared and his family

There is one picture included in the collage that I didn’t take. I downloaded one of Emily’s Facebook pictures. Dan, Emily and Elise were not with us in person. They were, though, with us in spirit!


It is now the last day of the year 2015.   Happy New Year to each and every one of you.  Here are my wishes for you in the new year:

“Great beginning for January…
Love for February…
Peace for March…
No worries for April…
Fun for May…
Joy for June and July…
Achievements for August…
Harmony for September…
Good fortune for October and November…
Happiness for December…”

~Author Unknown

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