Thursday, December 29, 2011

A traditionally traditional Christmas recap

Posting my Christmas recap feels a little bit like asking people to come over to see my vacation photos, but what's a blog for if not to talk about yourself? Actually having Christmas pictures on my blog from the last two years came in handy when we were trying to remember how the garland wraps around the banisters and where we'd moved the green chair in order to accommodate the tree and where we needed to hang the outdoor wreaths.

Everybody gets in on the fun around here~

We have a tradition of spending every other Christmas with my family and every other Christmas with hubs family. In all the years we've been married this is how it's been with the exception of just two Christmases we decided to stay in England. We trekked to the states from the UK four Christmases in a row and decided that airport crowds and hassle and then shuffling from pillar to post once we got here made it hard to remember the meaning of the season.

And I'm sure one year in the not too distant future we'll create new traditions as my girls marry and start families of their own. But we won't talk about that today because this year both girlies were exactly where they should be-tucked sweetly in to their own beds upstairs. Well, tucked sweetly onto an air mattress on the floor upstairs because we had us a houseful.

Daughter1 has a grown up job now so she didn't get home until Friday evening. If you have kids living away from home you know exactly how wonderful it feels to have all your little chicks in the nest. There is nothing better. We all got busy Christmas Eve day with last minute meal preparations, wrapping, and tidying. My big sister, brother in law, and niece drove up with my mom later in the afternoon. I tried to keep dinner low key in the work department and had a roasted turkey breast and rolls, broccoli salad, and lots of snack type sides.

We made something called Grinch punch which was delicious and very Grinch-like in color. I have punch cups that match my bowl but at Christmas time we always drink punch out of the cups Daughter2 and I collected on our many trips to various German Christmas markets thru the years.

We went to a 9 PM candlelight church service and afterwards the girls opened one gift as tradition dictates and that gift is always pjs. I'm going to see how many times I can use the word 'tradition' in a post.

Here's another one...the picture on the steps. Seemingly patient on the outside but inside it's a whole 'nother story.

I think we may have started a brand new tradition. ahem.

Christmas morning we had stockings and our traditional sausage and egg casserole for breakfast before my brother and sister in law arrived to join the party. They were followed by my little sister, brother in law and five year old nephew.

He may have been a little bit excited.

Apparently Mrs. Claus was a very good girl this year because Santa surprised her with a brand new camera. Course I don't know how to use it but no worries...he also arranged for a lesson with a local photographer and soon I'll be tossing out words like aperture and shutter speed with the best of them. I'm going to try not to annoy my family too much with all my picture taking but I'm not making any promises.

We always do snacks and punch on Christmas afternoon and this year we added an outdoor fire to the festivities. I think when we host that will be a new tradition.

These girls got all crafty and made some fun Santa hors d'oeuvres. A little labor intensive but super cute and tasty. Dinner was ham with all the trimmings and literally dozens of cookies for dessert.

It was a good day.
There were stolen kisses-

a few surprises...

a little Christmas cracker silliness...

and a whole lot of smiles...

My favorite thing?
That's easy...

"It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. The humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart." ~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ringing in the Hodgepodge Vol 59

I'm currently (still?) drowning in a sea of sheets and towels which is what happens when thirteen people come to stay. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. I'm going to dive right into this week's Hodgepodge and save my Christmas recap for tomorrow's post.

Remember Christmas?

I still want to post some thoughts and pictures for posterity and I'm sure right now my girls are laughing at the word 'posterity'. We watched some old family videos over the holidays and apparently I uttered that phrase every time we pulled out the camera...'Now we have it saved for posterity.'

Who really dislikes seeing themselves on video?
Actually, it's not the seeing I mind so much as the hearing. Yowza.

A-ny-way...the are my answers. Add your link to the bottom of my post and then go say happy new year to others who are playing along today too.

1. Share something you loved about your Christmas day.

We spent Christmas with my family this year and I love to see the cousins all together. It doesn't happen nearly often enough so when it does it's special.

2. You get to put five items in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years, what items would you choose and why?
  • an ipad loaded with music and a few popular movies...I think its safe to say technology is only going to move faster.
  • a cell phone which I imagine will be viewed with mouths agape, much the same way my kids look at me when I tell them our phone used to be attached to the wall but had a cord that was 25 feet long. I guess you could say it was 'mobile'-ha! You had to actually dial it and if there was a 9 in the number you were calling that dial had to go allllll the way around. If the person you were trying to reach wasn't home the phone just rang and rang and rang and if they were talking to someone else you got a busy signal, sometimes for hours. Technology isn't all bad. Just sayin'.
  • my blog bound into a book for a look at everyday life in the year 2011. Hearth and home, faith, motherhood, leisure and world travel. My blog covers all of that, right?
  • a complete jeans, my suede boots with the cute heel, a sweater and scarf, a fun bag and some casual jewelry. We think these items look great now but I'm pretty sure that's what we thought when we were wearing scrunchies and shoulder pads back in 1980.
  • a Starbucks mug and menu...we are a culture obsessed with coffee and it would be remiss not to mention it.
3. What do you like on a cracker?

I have a favorite cheese ball recipe I like on a cracker. Daughter2 put it together this year for snacking on Christmas afternoon. I must add that this girl has been quite the cook since arriving home from uni for her winter break. I'm a little bit spoiled with her in the kitchen and am wondering if she really needs that last semester of college?

4. Do you make resolutions? How'd that work out for you this past year?

I do think about my life and what I want to accomplish or improve. Most years I do put some of my goals in writing.

Last year's goals? I guess I'd give myself a C+. That's what's so great about a new's another chance to get things right.

5. What's a song or song lyric you'll associate with 2011?

"...I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do..."

6. How will you ring in the new year?

We don't have any special plans at the moment. I think it will be just the three of us here on New Year's Eve since Daughter1 had to go back to work this week and will ring in the new year with her honey. We will likely keep it low key, maybe make fondue for dinner which is always fun and then watch movies and see the ball drop on tv.

7. What is something you look forward to in 2012?

Daughter2 will graduate from uni in May and that's pretty exciting. Mostly though my thoughts are completely focused on my niece and I look forward to the day she beats leukemia and her excellent health is restored.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My sister has a birthday the day after Christmas and even though we have no less than fifteen kinds of cookies in the house we still needed an extra special something to mark the day. Since my sister collects pigs daughter2 baked these cupcakes which are just too adorable.

We found the idea on Pinterest and the recipe suggested pink wafer cookies for the ears. We used pink bubble tape instead which was super easy to work with and could be cut with scissors.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Hodgepodge Questions Vol 59

I hope your holiday was grand. I've had a houseful of company and still need to write my Christmas recap, but in the meantime here are the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Come back tomorrow to link answers with the whole wide world.

1. Share something you loved about your Christmas Day.

2. You get to put five items in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years, what items would you choose and why?

3. What do you like on a cracker?

4. Do you make resolutions at the start of a new year? How'd that work out for you this past year?

5. What's a song or song lyric you'll associate with 2011?

6. How will you ring in the new year?

7. What is something you look forward to in 2012?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Five Things Friday on Christmas Eve Eve

Merry Christmas Eve Eve...we have been baking and wrapping and shopping and talking. Always lots of talking with Daughter2 in the house which makes my heart so happy. Tonite Daughter1 joins the party and my little family will be complete.

The weather has been ridiculously warm and un-December like around here. I'm not complaining, just reporting the facts. Its supposed to turn colder tomorrow, just in time for Christmas, but there's no snow in our forecast. That's okay with me since I have family that needs to get here.

Daughter2 got home a week ago and has been the queen of baking. So far she's made eight kinds of's a peek at some of them-

Last night for dinner she fixed The Pioneer Woman's recipe for spicy lemon garlic shrimp. Let's just say it might be a little bit hard to return her to university in January.

Finally, I'm posting our Christmas card picture here, without our names of course because this is the internet. I pray you feel the peace and joy this season brings and know the love God brought to earth in the gift of his very own Son.

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

The Gift

'To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Today is a big day for our family. Today my 17 year old niece will receive a stem cell transplant from a randomly matched donor we have never met and most likely never will. I haven't written a lot about my niece's story because its not mine to tell, but not writing about it doesn't mean it hasn't been on our minds every single minute of every single day.

Many of you have emailed that you are praying and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. The prayers of friends and family and those of perfect strangers from all corners of the globe have meant so much to all of us, but especially to my niece and her parents. Her strength and faith have inspired us all and if you knew her in person I'm sure you'd say the same. She is so dearly loved.

When my niece and her parents learned the donor was living in Europe they dubbed him 'Nigel' and the name stuck. Essentially all we know about 'Nigel' is that he is a healthy young man. A healthy young man willing to interrupt and rearrange his life the week before Christmas in order to have his cells harvested, placed on a flight across the sea, and given to a courageous young girl who has traveled a rough and rocky road to be ready for this day.

'Nigel' was identified as a potential match through the bone marrow donor registry a couple of months ago. Once it was determined he was healthy and willing, and that he met the specific medical requirements, a transplant date was set. Originally the procedure was scheduled for early December but my niece developed pneumonia and the transplant had to be postponed to a date just three days before Christmas. Today.

I don't know what 'Nigel's' normal week is like but I assume he probably has a job, friends and family, and like most people this time of year, a very full calendar. Being a donor meant he had to interrupt what I'm sure was a busy week before Christmas to have his stem cells harvested.

And so we wait some more. Our hearts are overflowing with love and gratitude for a stranger we call 'Nigel' and his extraordinary gift. We have prayed for 'Nigel' for many weeks now, for his own good health, for his employers to be understanding, for whatever in his life needed rearranging in order to make today happen. I wonder if 'Nigel' has felt the prayers of so many who have been lifting him up these past many weeks? I like to think so.

I pray God continues to bless the giver.
And I pray He blesses the sweet special girl to whom the gift is given.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Twas the Hodgpodge before Christmas

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I hope this week finds you enjoying time with friends and family as we celebrate the gift of God's only Son. Be sure to add your link to the bottom of my post and then go spread Christmas cheer to some of the other Hodgepodgers playing along today. Merry Christmas!

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?

I'm cooking Christmas dinner but will have lots of help from my girls. My sisters, niece, and my mom will pitch in too and we all like the kitchen. There will be 13 for dinner and we're having baked ham, cranberry salad, pineapple stuffing, scalloped potatoes, brussel sprouts with pancetta and garlic, marinated green beans, and an assortment of Christmas cookies for dessert. We usually have a big breakfast on Christmas morning, punch and hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon, and dinner around 6. I'm also cooking the Christmas Eve meal for eight and the day after Christmas meal too, since that happens to be my sister's birthday. She collects pigs and I've put daughter2 in charge of making some super cute pig cupcakes we saw on Pinterest.

2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?

In my house everyone has their one must-have which means we do a lot of baking. If I can only choose one I'm going to say buttercreams which are really more of a candy than a cookie.

They are deliciously rich and sweet...little balls of butter and sugar, each one carefully dipped in melted chocolate. My entire family would revolt if there were no buttercreams at Christmas.

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies-do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim, almond, soy, full fat (Gasp!)

In our house Santa drinks skim milk. So does Mrs. Claus.

4. Time magazine recently named its Person of the Year for 2011. This is the person the editors believe has had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name person of the year for 2011?

This was tough. My personal opinion is this-I think this distinction should only be given to the person/persons who have impacted the world for good. Let's not give any more media attention and recognition to those who have done the opposite. Don't they get enough publicity? I glanced at Time's list of candidates and all I can say is thank goodness they didn't select Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen.

How about our Navy Seals? Or Gabriel Giffords...a person who triumphed over tragedy, whose husband stood beside her and declared his love and support from outer space. Let's acknowledge people doing what is good and right in the face of overwhelming odds, not people making disasters of their lives or countries.

5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day...when was the last time you needed a flashlight? Did you know right where to find one?

Hubs needed a flashlight just the other evening...when it rains hard the fuse on our outdoor light blows and he has to climb behind some shrubs to reset it. We have a spot in one of our kitchen cabinets reserved for flashlights so I knew right where to find one. The bigger question around here is always-'Does it work?'

6. candy canes...yum or yuck?

I like candy canes crushed in a hot cocoa mix or used as a stirrer for a cup of cocoa but I'm not a fan of just eating one right out of the package.

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you?

As a stand alone lyric, a line from O Holy Night-

'He appeared and the soul felt its worth.'

Think about it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

We spent this past weekend in Chicago. A high school friend of daughter2's tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony on Sunday evening.

Since my girls both attended high school overseas they don't often have a chance to connect in person with friends from those special years. Several of Daughter2's high school pals were at the wedding.

They came from five different states and had not seen one another in a long, long while, yet there was not a single moment of awkwardness when they laid eyes on each other again. The bond kids form with one another in a shared ex pat experience is strong and life long and hard to explain.

When I see these 'kids' I picture them standing in the kitchen of my UK house, lounging on my sofa during a Thursday night Young Life club, or walking down the high street of a quaint English village.

Daughter2 and the bride played Adelaide and Sarah in their grade 8 production of Guys and Dolls. They sang a duet called 'Marry the Man Today'...

...and she did.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 58

I've more or less dropped the ball on the photo challenge but will hopefully get back in gear later this week. And I was going to post my Christmas card photo over at Kimberly's Korner yesterday, but my computer ran out of black ink just before we left town so I wasn't able to scan the card.

Left town?

Yes indeed we did go out of town the weekend before Christmas. You're not really surprised are you? What that means is I now (still?) have loads of catching up to do both here and in real life, but especially in real life so for now I'm going to post this week's questions and move along. Come back tomorrow to link answers with all of Santa's helpers-

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?

2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies. Do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim? almond? soy? full fat (Gasp!)

4. Time magazine recently named their 'Person of the Year' for 2011. This is the person the editors believe had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name Person of the Year for 2011?

5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day... when was the last time you needed a flashlight and did you know right where to find one?

6. candy canes...yum or yuck?

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home for the Holidays

I'm going to pass on Friday's photo challenge since the prompt is 'hippo' and I haven't a clue. It's also time for the annual Holiday Blog Tour of Homes hosted by Kelly's Korner and Nesting Place so I thought I'd join in there today instead. I love to see all the different ways people decorate their homes for Christmas. Grab a cuppa and come on in...

We had the idea that we might hire one of those lighting companies to do the outdoor lights this year since hubs back has been giving him fits. Ha- when he saw the quote it was his heart that nearly gave out. I'm not sure you'd believe me if I told you the estimate but it was ka-razy!

We don't do a lot of outdoor lighting plus we have a rather large gap in our landscaping thanks to losing a huge tree during that insane October snowstorm. fyi-If you've never visited my blog before you should know that I have trouble posting pictures without a lot of words to go with. ahem.

I posted this picture of my front staircase the other day-

Here's my Colonial Soldier all decked out for the holidays standing guard in the foyer. Ordinarily he's quite serious and doesn't wear a big red bow. He's one of my most favorite keepsakes from our years spent living in England-

My house has high ceilings and a somewhat open plan which makes taking pictures a little bit challenging. Or it might just be my lousy photography skills but whatever, it's hard to find an angle that isn't awkward.

This little snowman sits on a half wall between my foyer and family room...he says Willkommen. Allow me to translate-that means Welcome in German. My talent for languages is impressive, yes? A tea light sits in his back but I couldn't capture him lit. I bought him at a Christmas market in the old walled city of Nuremberg.

Our main tree is in the family room. I'm still tweaking my mantle but so far I like it-

I bought new brass stocking hangers this year and also new stockings from Pottery Barn-

They refuse to hang with their toes aligned which only bothers me a little bit. I'm thinking if I put something in them they'll straighten up. As much as I'd like to obsess about this I just don't have the time.

I like to take a picture of my family room from the upstairs bridge looking down. It's not really a bridge but I don't know what word to's the piece of hallway that connects our Master bedroom to the rest of the house. This portion of the hallway is open on both sides so you can look down into my family room or the main foyer.

If you look really closely you'll see my pup curled up in 'her' chair.

We have a second tree in our sunroom and because this is the front of the house you can see it from outside. I took this picture thru the glass doors looking in from the living room.

Our living room is not actually all that lived in but the sunroom is maybe my favorite room in the house.

I changed things up a little bit this year with my Snow Village. In the past I've had it on top of my kitchen cabinets but a. it's a pain to get it up there and b. hubs thinks it might be a small fire hazard with the way the chords are put together and c. you cannot see every adorable little detail in the buildings at that distance. Look at these little skis that sit in the ski rest at the Smokey Mountain Resort-

Normally I put my nativity set on the side table but since that's home now to my Snow Village I moved the nativity to the coffee table. I actually really like it here-front and center.

We've had this nativity set since our first married Christmas-1984. It has only suffered one casualty in all that time and that's Joseph. The original broke somehow and I found a replacement that kind of fits. Hubs says this Joseph has a bit of a pituitary problem but I don't think it's too noticeable.

Moving on (told you I like words)...I have three glass jars on my kitchen island year round and I like to change out the contents with the seasons. Right now I have red, green, and gold jingle bells and small ornaments in the two smaller jars and a candle surrounded by cinnamon scented pine cones in the bigger jar. I always have a lot of candles around here. I don't think a house can ever have too many candles, case in point, my kitchen table-

and one of my favorites in my family room-

I bought this basket filled with pine cones, gold beads, and blue fairy lights at our women's club auction one year-

My dining room is navy blue and white so it sits on my server beside my German pyramid. I know some people think a dining room is wasted space but I'm not one of them.

Thanks for stopping by today...since this post is kinda long I think I'll wrap it up with one of my favorite nativity scenes-

Wishing you a Christmas filled with JOY!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ring the Bells

I'm happy I joined in the December photo challenge over at Susan's blog. My brain is swimming these days and the photo prompt gives me a jumping off place for a blog post. Today's prompt is 'silver bells' and instead of a photograph I'm sharing a video. If you've never heard Casting Crowns version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day then you've missed something beautiful.

The words to this old hymn were originally a poem written by Longfellow following a serious injury to his son and the tragic death of his wife. As the story goes, the Civil War had started and that, combined with his personal tragedies, made him wonder if he'd ever know peace again. On Christmas Eve, 1863 he sat down to write a poem. As he listened to the bells ringing over and over again he recognized that God isn't dead, that as long as there is Christmas there is the promise of new life. You can read more about the history of the carol here.

I love the old hymns and in general don't like them messed with but this is one I think has been made better by a haunting melody and Casting Crowns beautiful clear sound.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dashing thru the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Volume 57

Welcome to the Wednesday glad you took the time to play along today. Be sure to add your link at the bottom of my post and in the spirit of Christmas go visit your neighbors and leave some comment love. Here are my answers-

1. Do you put Christmas decorations in every room of your house? If not, what rooms do you decorate?

We have some sort of decoration in most rooms of our house but I keep things pretty simple. The family room, dining room, kitchen, and sunroom are the main rooms decorated, and since I have a lot of house guests in December I usually add small touches to the bedrooms and bathrooms too.

2. If you could visit one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) which one would you choose and why?

All of the above. Okay, I know that's not a choice but these are all countries I want to visit. Hubs has been to all of them but Iceland and even went ice diving inside the Arctic circle on a trip to Finland. I stayed at home and prayed he didn't have a heart attack because someone had to.

You sit in a steamy sauna then walk out to the ice in your birthday suit and then drop down into frigid water through a hole cut into the ice.

I guess if I must choose I'm going with Sweden because we have friends who live there. Or Norway for its stunning scenery.

3. What does the word faith mean to you?

I think all of us exercise faith in a multitude of ways on a daily basis and have been doing so pretty much since the day we were born. I could insert examples such as air travel, the brakes on my car, or the surgeon preparing to operate. For me though, the heart of faith is best summed up by one verse in the book of Hebrews (1:11)

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

It's been a tough few months around here as we have watched my niece battle cancer. I cannot imagine walking that road without faith. Faith is what allows us to find joy amid life's trials. To know peace when there is suffering. To feel hope for tomorrow.

4. You can go back to your childhood for one day...what day and age would you choose?

I'm going to pick a day that my siblings and I all remember. I was in the fourth grade and my dad had come home that fall after spending a year+ in Vietnam. Sometime later in that school year my sisters and brother and I were picked up early from class (which never happened) and my parents took us to Philadelphia to see the Ringling Brothers circus.

I guess in today's world that doesn't sound like such a big deal but in 1969 it was huge. My dad didn't throw money around and one of the things that stands out to all of us about that day is the way my dad seemed to love buying us anything we wanted. Snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy...these were all big treats to us and he just kept them coming. I think we all remember this day though, not for what we got, but for how we felt. My dad was a Marine and kept his emotions close to the vest most of the time. On this day he wore his heart on his sleeve.

5. When did you last have 'punch'? If its not too much trouble share your favorite punch recipe.

Probably last Christmas although there was a punch served at the party we attended on Friday. I'm not sure what was in it but it had cranberries floating as a garnish and they were so pretty. We always have punch on Christmas afternoon while we're snacking on appetizers. It's so simple and delicious:

one large can of pineapple juice
one jar of cranberry juice
one 2-liter bottle of 7-up

Combine and serve. I usually make an ice ring to keep it cold but regular ole ice cubes work too.

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for something called Grinch punch that I want to try on Christmas looks so pretty and is the color of the Grinch. Click here to find the recipe.

6. Do you fill stockings at your house? Are stockings opened before or after the bigger gifts?

Everyone in my family would agree that stockings are our favorite part of Christmas morning. We fill them to overflowing and a few gifts always spill over into your chair too. There is always a tangerine (clementine) in the toe because there just is. Up until about 15 years ago my mom still filled stockings for her four grown married children and their spouses but in more recent years we each buy a stocking stuffer for our siblings and then the four siblings fill my mom's stocking.

As far as when they are opened, in our house it's definitely before the bigger gifts. We have our Christmas morning routine down pat and we do not deviate from that routine. Ever. I hope my future sons in law are reading this.

7. What takes your breath away?

When my daughters say something deep and wise, when they see a need and act on that need. I feel a rush of pride and amazement, not that they are smart and compassionate, but just that they are so grown up and thoughtful and see the world in a way that I admire.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm using this space today to post my picture for the December photo challenge. Today's prompt is 'decked hall'...

Fa la la la la.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dasher and Dancer and Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 57

I'm going to be clever and incorporate my picture for today's photo challenge into this week's Hodgepodge questions. Today's prompt is 'reindeer' and I had to search high and low to find one around here.

This pretty little Villeroy and Boch ceramic box was a hostess gift from a friend in the UK. At Christmas time I set it beside the sink in Daughter2's bathroom because its proportions fit there and its coloring matches my paint.

What does that have to do with this week's Hodgepodge? See question #1. And then answer question # 1 and all the rest of them too and don't forget to come back tomorrow so we can all link up for a holiday Hodgepodge party.

1. Do you put Christmas decorations in every room of your house? If not every room, what rooms do you decorate?

2. If you could visit one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) which one would you choose and why?

3. What does the word faith mean to you?

4. You can go back to your childhood for one day...what day and age would you choose?

5. When did you last have 'punch'? If it's not too much trouble share your favorite punch recipe.

6. Do you fill stockings at your house? Are stockings opened before or after the bigger gifts?

7. What takes your breath away?

8. Insert your own random thought here.