Thursday, December 24, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 12/24/20


Here we are, Christmas Eve. All holiday celebrations will be, or should be, unlike anything we have experienced before. Seeing family and friends from afar, on Zoom, or not at all. Thankfully, vaccinations have begun and there seems to be a glimmer of hope, at the same time that hospitals are devastated, operating at full or above-full capacity and often with reduced staff. 

This year, Mark and I have spent more time driving around and looking at Christmas lights than any year I can remember. Two reasons--we have more time, and we need some Christmas cheer.

Last Thursday night, we drove to the fairgrounds, which had set up a light show. We weren't expecting much, to be honest, and were pleasant surprised. It took longer to go through the lights than we anticipated and they were really pretty.

It was kind of weird to be driving through all the wide sidewalks that are normally teeming with people during the Big Fresno Fair. 

Last Thursday was the last day of classes here at Wienskler Academy West Campus. It was also just a few days before Ella's 7th birthday, so the cafeteria director (aka Mark) decided we should have a special lunch for her, and also to celebrate the upcoming Christmas break. Three glorious weeks without class!! But I digress.

While Monday is always Mac and Cheese Monday, on Thursdays Mark often opens up the lunch choice to the kids. They requested his special and yummy crepes.

I found some cute peppermint napkins at Hobby Lobby, although to be honest they were kind of weird and strangely ineffective.

Gabe likes to add toppings and then wrap his crepe up like a burrito.
Not sure how many this kid had. I lost track. As he keeps reminding me, he's a growing boy. No kidding. 

In the afternoon, Charlotte made hot chocolate bombs. Have you seen this trend? They are really cool! You coat a silicone mold with good quality chocolate, put hot chocolate mix and marshmallows in one half, "glue" the other half on top with melted chocolate and then decorate the top. When you are ready to serve them, you put one in a mug and pour hot milk on top.  They break apart, you stir it around and you have a yummy mug of hot cocoa. As a side note: she made a huge batch as party favors for Ella's birthday party. Since that time, she has gotten numerous requests and is now selling them for $5 each. Something to keep in mind if you have a kid who wants to earn some money. So many possibilities--they aren't just for Christmas.

In the afternoon, Ella and Gabe also made some glitter ornaments. I have made these with each of the kids. They are quick, potentially messy, but always cute. It just takes clear ornaments, swishing some Johnson liquid floor polish (it HAS to be the bottle with the blue lid) inside the ornament, dumping it out, and then pouring glitter inside and twirling it around. 


The other night, the doorbell rang and it was the delivery of a very oddly wrapped package, a strange shape and covered with neon pink and green duct tape. It was addressed to Mark.

Now anyone who knows him, knows he is a Minnesota boy through and through. Favorite potato chips? The ONLY choice is Old Dutch. I have to agree with him. A high school classmate, Tom Hanson, someone he really only sees every five years at their high school class reunion, had found this vintage metal Old Dutch tin and sent it to him. And yes, there were two bags of chips inside! It is quite large and really needs to be displayed somewhere in our house. We have kind of settled on my sewing room, where I will likely store fabric scraps in it. Old Dutch makes many different flavors. We got a large bag of the classic, and a smaller bag of  Buffalo Mac and Cheese. They were tasty but they sure had a "bite" to them. :)
Monday was Ella's 7th birthday. She is really into Mr. Beast, a popular You Tuber. Ever heard of him? Yeah, us either. Until Ella educated us. I was able to find this cute Mr. Beast t-shirt. 

In these days of COVID, you have to get creative when it comes to kids' birthday parties. They can't celebrate with their friends but they definitely need a celebration. Aaron and Christa had organized a light parade. About ten of her friends and their families decorated their vehicles with lights and slowly drove by Aaron and Christa's house. There was much honking and waving. It took her awhile to figure out that the light parade was actually for HER. That was the same night of the "Christmas Star" sighting, and that was the excuse they used for being outdoors.

Glow stick decorations.
Jason and Jill even had a Christmas tree on top of their truck. Yes, Amelia is a little blurry. She is a girl who is always on the move...

A few years ago, we found these battery operated lights that spelled out her name--they were perfect for this celebration.
On Tuesday, Ella came over for ice cream and a Christmas movie, to continue the celebration.

We also looked through the Christmas Look Alike book by Joan Steiner. One of my very favorites, where "the more you look, the more you see!" I highly recommend her books. And for some reason, Ella had never seen this Christmas version.

And Tuesday night, it was Charlotte's and Levi's turn to go down Christmas Tree Lane, with the top of Mark's Subaru open. I'll tell you it's a different experience with a 14-year-old and a nearly 13-year-old, compared to a 7-year-old and 9-year-old, but we had SO much fun with all of them.

Last night, Mark and I drove to another area of town that is known for the lights. The cars were backed up for a couple of miles but Mark knew a back way in. We only went down a couple of streets. There were just But the lights were beautiful.

I hope in these last days of the year 2020, you remain stay safe and healthy, and are able to see the light rather than the darkness.


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Charlotte M. said... #

Merry Christmas Cindy. I love seeing what your family is doing. Charlotte is really such a talented baker. I had heard about the cocoa bombs just a day before your posted to Instagram. My friend said they cost $6 each here in San Diego. So good pricing Charlotte! That girl is going places! Have a peaceful holiday.

Robby said... #

This is a very festive post! Those cocoa bombs were new to me until a week or two ago. I almost bought some molds and then decided I'd just enjoy the idea. I think you could do some fun things with them for Valentine's Day (hint, hint, Charlotte). Our church organized some members into a Christmas Light Drive About where each stop had a little surprise of some sort (a treat, a puzzle to figure out, something) and then it ended in our church's courtyard where they were gathering gifts for a local charity we support at Christmas and had cookies and hot chocolate. They ran it for a week and encouraged people to remember safe practices and patience so there weren't too many people at any one place. I think everyone needs some celebrating this year. There have been birthday celebrations for people of all ages around here. Here's hoping your school break is restful and fun, and that 2021 brings us all many things to celebrate.

Deb Cox said... #

Oh Cindy, thanks for such a sweet post. Happy holidays to your and your crew. It is a pleasure to enjoy your writings and all the photos. You do spread joy! Take care, enjoy and keep smilin' lovely lady.

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said... #

This was such a wonderful post to read and full of things I'd never heard of. Yes, I have clear plastic ornaments that I was going to use for a different project that didn't work out so I'll have to try that trick. And you're right. I've never heard of Mr. Beast. But what a cute shirt. All the photos of the different light displays are wonderful. And what a creative party for Ella. I've heard of drive-by parties but not at night and not with the cars all lighted up. So creative. Wishing you and yours a wonderful new year. Oh, and the calendar and the cards are just wonderful.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas even if it wasn't quite normal. We had a wonderful time with our kids and SIL. We both commented after that it was one of the best. Maybe because things were more casual than usual. Now I'm looking forward to 2021 and trying to set some realistic goals and plans. So many things/projects and never enough time will always be my greatest challenge. I absolutely love that type of book you mentioned. Haven't heard of that author and feel like looking it up at the library for my own pleasure of "I spy" Plus I have two new jigsaw puzzles to start! One of my favorite after Christmas activities is doing puzzles and last year with quarantine I went through all the ones I own. Wishing you a Happy and healthy 2021!!!