Ho Ho The Great Big Ho….

Over the years here at the Smith house, we have developed traditions that help us celebrate the joys of the Christmas season…

Singing Christmas carols is my daughter’s favorite holiday tradition…Right now she wows us with her rendition of the Overstock.com commercial…”Ho, Ho, the Great Big Ho”….(yep, we know it’s really “O, O, the Great Big O”, which btw is seriously just as hilarious to me…)  She loves to belt this out in public…all…the…time….

We also play “Twas the Night Before Christmas”  (which is really just Monopoly dressed up for the holidays…)  Of course, being the generous mother that I am, I make sure I win every time by gobbling up every property I can and charging exorbitant rent prices as soon as possible.  This tradition usually ends with Irish Dancer Girl storming off to her room because she has been rendered financially destitute and Teen Caveboy shaking his head in disappointment at me for my greed.  

We also love making gingerbread!  Gingerbread houses, gingerbread people…if we can gingerbread it, we will!  Last year, our gingerbread house was surrounded by zombies that were taken down by a group of angry princesses.  This year we made a giant gingerbread girl.  Allow me to introduce Ginger….

So I’m just going to go ahead and say what you’re thinking anyway….what’s with the candy cane boobs?  Yeah, I know…really not appropriate for a child’s gingerbread creation…My intention was to add a bit of holiday style to Ginger’s dress.  Originally, there was one candy cane heart…when I returned from the kitchen, I discovered a “matching” one had been added by my sweet daughter.  (I won’t even tell you what happened when I found gumdrops had been strategically placed in the center of the hearts…what is wrong with my family????)  Anyway, I’m loving this idea for my next gingerbread creation….

Another fun holiday tradition is playing the Christmas Tree game over at noradsanta.org.

The goal is to light up the tree and ornaments by connecting all of the lines.  This game will suck you in for HOURS.  I have been known to disappear for days in Santa’s Village completely mesmerized by this horrible and life-force sucking enjoyable holiday game.  (If you decide to wander on over to check it out…pack a lunch and a sleeping bag…)  You can also track Santa’s trip around the world starting on Christmas Eve over there too.

We also do daily letters to Santa, Auntie Claus, Holly Claus and Mrs. Claus.

We’ve made cookie dough ornaments (my “Saw” movie inspired ornament for Teen Caveboy was brilliant, I must say…), made sugar cookies (YuMmY) and read tons of Christmas stories.  We have gotten our Christmas on around here, yo!

One of my new favorite traditions, is sipping my hot mexi-cocoa (hot chocolate with cinnamon) and reading this book…

This book will make you giggle long after you’ve finished reading it.  It’s brilliant!  The recounting of his days as a holiday elf is hilarious!  Definitely a tradition that will continue around here.

We are always looking for new traditions to add around here….what are some of yours?

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Whippin’ Up Some Holiday Fun!

Tis the season to be…assaulting your family with real cream whipped topping!  That’s right!  When you live in the desert, you make your own “snow” day fun!  I wish I had photos to show you the devastation I showered upon my family yesterday with just one can of this creamy goodness. However, I was too busy chasing everyone around the house and spraying them down in Reddi~wip.(only the best for my family!)  By the way, Connor…nice move using your sister as a human shield…that was brilliant!  All I’m sayin’ is “don’t mess with Mama” at Christmas because there’s more Reddi-wippin’ that will come your way.

In other holiday news, we went to visit Santa last week. (different Santa from last year…)  Catherine was so excited to tell Santa thank you for making her last year’s Christmas wish come true.  (You can read about that here…)  Of course, she made Santa cry again(and Mrs. Claus…and the elves…and me…and my mom, but I digress…)

You see, last year, the prognosis for her dad’s health was very, very poor.  (He is diagnosed as “terminal.”)  The doctors really didn’t expect his kidneys to hold up for more than about 6 months then.  Catherine asked Santa if he could help her daddy be here for more Christmas holidays.  Well, smack my reindeer and call me Mrs. Claus…it worked!  Chilly is still here to celebrate another Christmas (fingers crossed…we’re almost there!)  

The doctors are amazed and shake their heads in disbelief every time they see him.  He is in Stage 4 Renal (kidney) Failure and that compounded with his stroke damage and massive heart damage makes for very fragile health.  It also decreases his life expectancy dramatically.  Now with this loss of health insurance, things are looking bleak.  (more on that later…)

So back to Catherine’s Christmas Miracle…She thanked Santa for keeping her dad around to see another holiday season and went right to requesting Polly Pocket’s Fashion Stage and Rapunzel’s Tower play set.  Once she and Santa finished their visit, Santa wanted clued in on the details.  I shared what happened when we visited “him” last year at the other mall. He and Mrs. Claus were verklempt.  They hugged me and Santa told me to not to give up on miracles.  Catherine’s faith in Santa and his “gift” to give her dad another Christmas helped me remember to trust in God’s timing…not the doctors timing.  Thank you, my sweet girl, for reminding me that faith and love are the best gifts of Christmas.

Wishing you all a very joyful Monday…

Smith Family Festival of Trees!

We’ve been busy bees with our holiday preparations here at the Smith household!  We have 7 trees…yep, it’s the “Festival of Trees” at our house!  (This drives Chilly absolutely bonkers!)  I’m sure Santa will be completely confused when he arrives!  He’ll probably try to find a liquor cabinet from the stress of it all! (sorry Santa…no liquor cabinet here!)

Here is the Smith Family Festival of Trees rundown…

The FAMILY TREE ~ covered in heirloom ornaments, family photos, hand~crafted ornies from the kiddos and crocheted snowflakes from my grandma, Gigi….

(taken while we were still in the process of decorating it…)

Irish Dancer Girl’s Tree ~ a six foot white tree filled with fairy finery, fashionistas, princesses and pretty things…

Teen Caveboy’s Tree ~ covered in his favorite cartoon characters and Nightmare Before Christmas pals with a big Jack Skellington sitting at the top…(I was forbidden to photograph it by TC…ugh…teenagers…)

S’mores Tree ~ we have a tree devoted entirely to S’mores…I have no idea why I let my kids drag me down this marshmallow road…(our S’mores kept getting washed out by my flash…these are imposters posing as our s’mores…)

The Kitchen Tree ~ filled with cookies and candies…


(apparently, zombies love this tree…they keep showing up here in groups…I know that dreadful moaning I heard coming from the kitchen must have been zombie caroling…they left this behind…)

Petite Pink Princess Tree with Tiara Topper ~ in Irish Dancer Girl’s room….

Black Tree ~ in Teen Caveboy’s bunker….covered in Coca Cola ornaments, red lights, and black & red plaid ribbon…I love this tree!

I even have a teeny tiny Charlie Brown tree on my desk…

So, there you have it!  We are tree decorating fools around here!  My goal is to find a vintage aluminum tree for next year!

And speaking of zombies…

Zombie, I tried to warn you…I’m sure being skewered by a unicorn and surrounded by jeering princesses is your idea of a fabulous time…(scroll down to the post below if you’re confused…)

Wishing you all a very happy Tuesday!  


ps…for those who’ve inquired about Chilly…We received some difficult news this past Friday…Chilly’s kidneys appear to be failing rapidly.  This is putting more stress on his already very damaged heart.  They are watching him very closely for another stroke as well.  His eyesight is starting to deteriorate again due to the extensive vascular damage in his body.  We are just grateful that he is home with us and that we can be together this Christmas. 

Your very kind words and prayers are deeply appreciated.  It really does make a difference in our lives knowing so many people send their love.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Dear So and So…Right Down Santa Claus Lane

Dear So and So...

Happy Monday!

I will be bending the rules a bit and post my Friday’s “Dear So and So” post today!  “Dear So and So” is brought to you by the lovely Kat over at 3 Bedroom Bungalow!

Let us begin…

Dear Zombie Who Showed Up at Cat’s Gingerbread Cottage Last Night….

I can appreciate that you are “undead” and may still enjoy some holiday cheer. However, you may find that a six year old girl, who’s gingerbread cottage has been defiled by the likes of you, can be a very dangerous enemy. It’s probably best to drag your half eaten limbs and exposed brain off to the mall or some other favorite zombie haunt.  Seriously, you don’t want to mess with Irish Dancer Girl.  She has moves that can put even the most fearsome zombie to shame. Last year, we had a monster with weird shoes show up and this is what happened….

That’s right…a monster homicide…Irish Dancer Girl was busted in the back yard with a shovel and a fresh pile of dirt…you better watch out, Zombie….

Wishing You “Season’s Eatings”,

p.s. Zombie, don’t think I don’t know who you are working for…this has Teen Caveboy’s prints all over it…Your hint for L4D2 is noted, Teen Caveboy.

Dear Cheeseballs, Chex Party Mix and Other Assorted Christmas Yummies,

I will miss you terribly this year since my mom will be in Ohio for the holidays and will not be slaving away in the kitchen to make you for my eating pleasure. Oh, I know…she gave me that fantastic binder with all of your delectable recipes in it so that I can make them myself….but it just isn’t the same without my Mommy’s love.

Hoping that Mom Reads This and Feels Horribly Guilty,

Dear Friends and Family in Blogland…

Your loving support, emails and awesome comments have really kept my family’s spirits up.  I am so blessed to have you all in my life (cyber or otherwise!)  I promise to be visiting you all more often now that things are slowing down. You have truly changed my world, and I am forever grateful! 

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Yes, Mrs. Smith…there is a Santa Claus..

Party Girl Returns!

I’ve been missing from Blogland for a few weeks because I’ve been at this huge party. Family and friends will tell you that I have a talent for throwing awesome parties. This party was a doozy! I was the only guest (hooray for me!) Maybe you’ve even been to one of these fabulous special occasions…It’s called the Pity Party.

I really threw myself into the festivities. I dressed up in my special Pity Party attire of sweats and tees. I ate Frownies. I played sad music. I grumbled and griped at everyone I know. I even let my nerve endings blow out into a full bout of shingles! I know how to throw a good party!

I honestly thought this party was going to last forever…that is, until my daughter made Santa Claus cry. Yep, nothing like Santa’s tears to put the smack-down on a good Pity Party.

It started at the mall last week. I figured it was still too early for Santa to be hanging out at his usual spot in the center court area. Boy howdy, was I wrong! Not only was Santa there, but he brought lots of elves, a postal center for North Pole mailings, a naughty/nice meter and paparrazi! Irish Dancer Girl was in holiday heaven!

She starts tugging on my Pity Party clothes and dragging me toward Santa. “But you aren’t wearing your Christmas outfit!” I whined. “Let’s come back when you have it on.”

“Mommy, Santa will like my rockstar dress…trust me, it’s fine.” She continues dragging me toward the elfin paparrazi. I just sighed, and we hit the red carpet toward Santa.

Irish Dancer Girl climbed on Santa’s lap and very intently began to give him “the list.” She was so serious that the elf photographer took an extra photo and didn’t even charge me for it. “That’s a keeper!” said the elf. Finally, she and Santa smiled for the elf and “pop” went the flash. We wandered over to where the photos were printed to wait.

Suddenly, Santa appeared and knelt down next to Irish Dancer Girl. “You have the purest heart of any child I’ve ever met. I hope all of your Christmas wishes comes true.” He gave her a big hug. Then he stood and I saw tears in his eyes. He grasped my hands and said, “I’ve been doing this for many years. I really felt like this was my last year. Children seem so caught up in the material world and some can be pretty demanding.” He smiled and continued..”Your daughter didn’t ask me for toys. She asked that this NOT be her Daddy’s last Christmas with her. She told me he was sick. She asked if I could give her more Christmas seasons with her Dad.”

Of course, my Pity Party ended right there on the spot. I became a blubbery mess all over Santa and his red suit. I scooped up Irish Dancer Girl and smothered her with hugs and smoochies.

Santa patted my shoulder. “I think I’m going to stick around the North Pole a while longer now,” he smiled and started back toward his chair. Irish Dancer Girl ran up to him and gently tugged on his jacket. He bent down and she whispered (really loudly), “Oh, and can you bring me the Powerpuff Girls dolls?” He winked at her and looked at me. I gave him the thumbs up. “I’ll see what I can do!” he smiled, hugged her again and went back to greet the other children.

I am deeply saddened that this most likely will be our last Christmas with Chilly. This realization is what started my big old Pity Party a few weeks ago. My daughter has never been told anything about this. She just intuitively sensed that time is of the essence. She helped me to remember that we must celebrate this season…fill it with happy memories…give each other all of our love with joy, not fill ourselves up with the sadness of what might have been. She also reminded me of the magic of the season…where hope lives and faith abounds.

As we move into the holiday season, I wish you all days filled with laughter, shared happy memories and the creation of new traditions while honoring old ones.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving too!


Can I Elf You?

(Don’t forget to visit Shannon and her Week-end Wordles over at Last Shreds of Sanity!)

Once upon a time this morning, I wandered into the family room in my usual morning stupor. I threw back the curtains to find I had a visitor outside in the form of an elf.

Well, hello there, hottie! He was leaning against the tree holding a scroll. I went to open the door to invite him in.

“What are you doing here?” I purred in my sexy morning voice. (What? Don’t you have one of those?)

He winked at me (swoon) and nodded toward the St. Patty’s Day tree. “What do you think I’m doing here?”

I blushed. “Um…yeah…Is there a problem with the tree, Legolas?” I was feeling all tingly now. He came really close to me. Really close. “For you, my lady.” He handed me the scroll. “I come bearing glad tidings.” He brushed by me and bowed.

Be still my fluttery heart! I looked at the scroll closely. Oh jinkies…I had gotten one of these in mid January. I knew exactly who it was from.

I sighed, unrolled it and began to read.

Dearest Dawn,

While your white Christmas tree looks lovely covered in shamrocks, leprechauns, pots of gold, and the flags of Ireland, don’t you feel that this charade has gone on long enough? (Props to you for taking down the other 4 trees that you had up. At least you had enough sense to take those down in January.)

And even though Catherine was delighted to have it covered with hearts for Valentine’s Day, shouldn’t you just come to terms that you are just too stinkin’ lazy to take down the tree?

I know you’re planning on doing a shabby spring Easter theme on that tree in a few days. I KNOW. It’s time to take down the tree, dear. Put it in that nice tree bag you picked up at Target at 90% off. (Yes, the magic snowglobe shows us everything…)

Now, get along with the tree removal. It won’t be long until July when all the stores will be filled with Christmas décor and you can start all over again!

Mrs. Claus

p.s. Hope you enjoyed the special delivery elf! If you ask him to, he can just snap his fingers and become a naughty pirate for you too!

Mrs. Claus sure knows how to get a girl’s attention.

Well, that’s just fantastic. Another spanking by scroll from the holiday hostess with the most-est.

Doesn’t she understand I am busy blogging? Doesn’t she know that I am horribly behind in my comment lovin’? Can’t she see that I am exhausted this week and can’t come up with a blog post that makes sense? DOESN’T SHE CARE? Mrs. Claus!

I glance at Legolas. He is staring at me with intensity. I feel flush. I plop down on the sofa. Heck, I was just trying to get my money’s worth out of that tree.

“Can’t you conjure up some more of your elf friends to come and help me, Legolas?” I plead batting my lashes at him.

“Alas, I cannot. I can become a pirate for you though, and be your eye candy while you take down the tree.”

Bow-chicka-bow-wow…buh-bye White Christmas St. Patty’s Day Tree…Hello, Eye Candy!

Have a fabulous weekend! I’ve got some eye candy to ogle, me hearties!

p.s. Don’t get your panties in a wad, Chilly. I know how you are about certain female actresses!

Letter from Mrs. Claus

I woke up this morning and headed out to write my morning post for the family. I stopped short when I saw twinkling lights in my family room. They grew bigger each moment until they formed a tiny man with strange ears. I noticed he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. “Hey,” he nodded at me. “Hey…”, I replied a bit cautiously. He handed me a letter. “Here,” he grumbled. “Wait a minute..I know you…you’re Grumpy…Snow White’s friend!” I clapped my hands excitedly. He snorted, “No, I’m Sebastian, on special assignment from the North Pole. Are you gonna read this or what?” “Geez, I’ll read it…Simmer down there, Sebastian!” I opened the letter slowly. Was I in trouble with the guy in the red suit? Golly, it wasn’t even a month past Christmas! He must be watching me awfully close! I take a deep breath and begin to read….

Dear Dawn;
We have been watching you through our special snowglobe.
(oops…I thought I cleverly had made that up to make my kids behave…gulp…) We realize you are a very busy woman raising 2 kids, homeschooling, working from home, blogging, taking care of Chilly and his health. However, when glancing into the snowglobe this morning, we see that all 5 Christmas trees are still up. It appears that there was a toy explosion in the family room as well. In the spirit of kindness, we won’t even mention the mess in your kitchen. (Oh really? Cause it sounds like you just did, Mrs. Claus!) We are concerned that your children are going to become confused by this. It’s possible that they will think Christmas happens everyday. (well, it should….) Please, for the sake of your children’s well being, take down the decorations, clean up the toys and then have a nice cup of hot cocoa. You’ll feel much better, my dear. Then you can get on to the business of Catherine’s Fancy Nancy birthday party, Valentine’s Day, Chilly’s birthday, St. Patricks Day and Easter. I will kindly refrain from bringing up the whole month of May thing. (Gee, thanks Mrs. C…since that is the month of financial doom for our family….) And yes, Santa knows that you want a new Sony Cybershot digital camera with a 10x zoom, new photo editing software, etc. Keep up the jolly good behavior and you may be the lucky recipient of such lovely gifts.

With warm blessings from the North Pole,
Mrs. Claus

Ouch! Getting the smackdown from the holiday “hostess with the mostest” wasn’t on my agenda for the day. I look at Sebastian who is smirking at me. “Look little dude, I’ve got a brunch to prepare. I’ve got stuff to do.” His smirk is getting smirkier. “Oh, all right! I need to put away Christmas. There! Are you happy now?” I realize I am growling at one of Santa’s elves…probably not such a good idea since he is probably taking mental notes of my very unpleasant disposition. “No sweat off my back, lady. I’m on my way to Hawaii for a little post Christmas R&R. You do what you gotta do,” he smirked some more. Then in a flash he was gone.

Ugh! The nerve of that rotten little %*@#! Wait a second…the secret snowglobe could still be checking me out. I smile sweetly. “How kind of the lovely little gentleman in his colorful shirt of tropical flowers to bring me such glad tidings. Better get to putting my darling decorations away! La la la la!”

So now you know what I’ll be doing all day. Finally, saying goodbye to Christmas until the end of this year. I’m a bit sad because the house looks so festive (yes, in a Christmas party gone bad kind of way) but I do enjoy the pretty decorations. However, Mrs. Claus is right. I’ve got lots of other occasions to plan. On to the ‘nother holiday! (that was for you, Aunt Oooo)

Bits and Pieces