Thursday, December 26, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 12/26/19

I thought last week would be my last post of the year, but I have a few more things to add.

Saturday, Ella turned 6!
She wanted a Paw Patrol party, and that's what she had along with some of her friends.
The party included a bounce house.
And a pinata. Yes, it is December and she is barefoot.
She is spunky, opinionated, stubborn, and we love her so very much.

Doesn't everyone have a suit like this for the office Christmas party??
A funny thing happened last week, although it is one of those things that is only funny in retrospect.
Mark is the executor/power of attorney for my aunt, who passed away the end of July. She had her accounts with Bank of America. Mark and I have had our VISA credit card with Bank of America since we were first married and they have always taken good care of it. However, having said that, we have not had good experiences with the banking aspect of BofA. All of my aunt's money was in Bank of America, and Mark has had nothing but trouble with them, beginning with getting on her accounts as power of attorney. They were incredibly hard to deal with--no one wanted to help him with the required paperwork and he has spent countless hours, both at the bank and on the phone. Anyway...a few weeks ago he was tired of dealing with them so all of her money was transferred to a trustee account in the bank where we have done all of our banking for the last 40 plus years. He was required, of course, to provide a death certificate to BofA. And I should mention that her last name is not the same as ours.

So last week I used my credit card to pay for a small purchase. It was declined. They ran it again. Declined again. So embarrassing! I came home and called customer service, thinking that, as happens with more frequency lately, some merchant had been compromised and I would soon be getting a new credit card. Nope. No fraud alerts on our account. So they transferred me to the fraud department. At which point I found out that the card had been blocked as "our records show that your husband recently passed away. Our condolences are with you." What??? I told them it was my aunt who had passed away and Mark was simply her trustee. And that they had been provided with her death certificate, not his!! They transferred me to the estate department. The estate department would not unblock the account until they actually spoke to Mark and could verify that indeed he was not deceased. When he called the estate department, he said, "Just so you know, you are talking to a dead guy." Click. They hung up on him. I guess they thought it was a prank call. He finally was able to return from the dead and we can once again use our credit card. But BofA, sorry, this did confirm our dislike of you.

I did some last-minute "3D" sewing. I made two little sewing/mending kits.

A super fun project was to make quilted and lined candy bag zipper pouches--from real candy bags! They are easy and fun. I can tell you that more of these are in my sewing future!

The other day, I taught Charlotte and Gabe to do a little bargello project. Bargello is similar to needlepoint but your yarn travels over more squares on the canvas. They both caught on very quickly. Bargello was one of my previous creative phases, back in the mid 1970s. It's making somewhat of a comeback and I was happy they each wanted to learn.
Charlotte's project so far...
Gabe's project so far...
Every year, if you are on Instagram, you can get a representation of the most prevalent colors in your feed throughout the year. These were the colors most often seen in my feed for 2019.
We started out Christmas day with breakfast at Denny's, as we do each year. #coffeephilosophy
I love setting the table for our Christmas dinner. So many special things, from the table runner and placemats made by a dear lady in our church, fun glassware, and beautiful dishes I bought years ago with some money I inherited when my grandmother passed away.

After dinner, and a scavenger hunt, it was time to open presents.

We tried for a family picture but it didn't turn out well (a variety of, distance). Oh well. Good memories.

These were better.
The crazy ones are always the best.

And at the end of the evening, all they wanted to do was work on their little bargello projects. Go figure...

Thanks for reading along in 2019. See you in the next decade!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 12/19/19

As wonderful as my trip was to the South, it is so good to be home. Most Christmas preparations were completed before I left, all except wrapping packages, which is my least favorite thing to do. What is your least favorite?
Close-up of tree in our Charleston hotel
When I returned home, this birthday card was waiting for me from my good friend, Dotty. It's perfect.
Every year I kind of balk at decorating the house. I'm a status quo person. But once things are up, I enjoy the decorations so much.

The Christmas stockings go up, so precious to me. A lady in our church when we lived in Enid, Oklahoma, made mine when I was probably in first grade. Then when we married, I made one for Mark. Each new addition to the family has gotten one over the years. While each stocking has different things on it, the one thing they all have in common is a Christmas tree.
We don't change things much from year to year, and I'm fine with that. I have a collection of snowmen that decorate the top of a bookshelf. Last year, my friend Janice sent me the cutest 3D snowglobe card. This year I got another one! I now have a collection. I wouldn't mind getting another one next year. Janice--hint, hint, if you are reading this. :)
Seen in a store in Charleston. Which list are you on?
Last Saturday was our annual Soup and Cookie day. I started this when Charlotte and Levi were little and we have done it every year except last year because I had surgery the middle of December. This year, Jason, Jill, Ruby and Amelia joined us. The idea is that we have soup, then the parents are given a kid-free afternoon to do whatever they want, and the kids stay and make cookies.

It's fun to decorate the table with red and green.
Another very precious holiday possession is a set of napkin rings made by my maternal grandmother. She used them for years, and then passed them down to my mother. I usually borrowed them every year, but when my parents moved into assisted living several years ago they were finally passed down to me. Each one is different, six red and six green. They are one of the most special things I have from my grandmother.

Jason joined us after pictures were taken so I don't have one of him.

Then the parents left, and cookie making began.

I thought Ella and Amelia would enjoy making Christmas "crack." Are you familiar with that recipe? It starts with a base of saltine crackers, then a layer of homemade caramel, and then melted white chocolate bark.

I messed up on making the caramel--I tried melting the two cubes of butter and then adding the brown sugar. I couldn't figure out why the butter was separating. Charlotte, who is a professional (seriously, she and her friend Grace often make amazing baked items for sale when they need money for things like camp), took over and made the caramel for me.
I thought this would be an easy recipe for 5-year-old girls. They carefully put the layer of saltine crackers on the cookie sheet.. Next came the caramel.
Then it was time for the white chocolate. Some of it had to be tinted pink and green.  Don't think that was an easy task--they both wanted to do the pink. Of course they did. We worked out a compromise. The one who tinted the pink chocolate got the green sprinkles, and vice versa.
Did I say sprinkles? Oh my goodness. When you are five, you sprinkle the whole bottle. I mean, two whole bottles, one green and one pink.
Then it was time for Ruby and Gabe to roll out the gingerbread.

Cookie decorating time. More sprinkles. At this point, I'm thinking of banning them next year. But when next year rolls around, I will probably relent.


Levi wasn't so interested in cookie decorating, although he did do one.
He and Gramps spent the time together.
Charlotte made these beautiful springerle cookies. If you have made them before, you know it requires some skill. The Christmas plate is one I did in the early 1980s during my china painting phase.

Close-up of our tree in the Savannah hotel
Sunday morning was our church choir's Christmas program. Mark joins the choir once a year for this performance. It's always nice to hear the traditional Christmas carols. People are always surprised to see him in a suit. :)
In the evening was the children's program. Levi was one of three emcees.
Ella, Amelia, Ruby and Gabe each played a piano solo.

Then came the story of Jesus' birth. Levi was the archangel Gabriel.

As part of our church's 50th celebration, pictures from the archives have been posted on the church's social media account. I think Aaron might have been second or third grade in this picture, where he played a "humble but colorful shepherd."
Speaking of social media...
We stopped by to see my dad yesterday, and there was a gingerbread house contest in the main lobby. Lots of pretty ones--these were my favorites.

Thanks for reading my posts this year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!