It’s weird that this is my second to last blog in my “25 Days of Christmas” project. I have been getting lots of sweet twitter messages from you all to keep it up after Christmas. I’m thinking about it…I’m figuring I will take a break for sure starting the 26th, and see if maybe Keely can give me a crash course on actually posting these things on my own. Maybe starting January the 1st. Any thoughts on what I could call it? I could just call it “25 Days of Christmas for the Rest of My Life”. And the everyday thing, that’s hard. What about every other day?
I like doing it. I figure it will be a cool scrapbook someday for Caroline, too. So, we’ll see. I’m twirling some stuff around in my head.
Today I have to wrap David’s presents and one for my mom from my dad. He doesn’t do wrapping. And tomorrow, I really want to take a picture of some of the gifts that David wrapped before they are opened to show ya’ll. I made him help me with some and they are HILARIOUS. Wrapping not his strong point either.
Last night we drove an hour to Hot Springs to this place called Garven Gardens to take the kids to look at some Christmas lights. This is us waiting in line. Long line. No VIP Priority Pass for Shelley Belly. This is Arkansas.
This is ARKANSAS!
Where is my VIP PASS???
I have a stone in the Hot Springs Walk of Fame for goodness sake.
So where was my PASS??
Instead I was downgraded to minion picture taker.
If I want to be in one, I must take it of myself.
Like my make-up?
No make up till Christmas Eve. Oh wait that’s tonight.
And only because I’m singing in church.
It was crazy crowded, and most people walk through the display, which takes an hour MINIMUM, probably longer…we had my nephews with us, one of which should have been in bed about the time we pulled in. He was actually really good, but we decided we would ask if we could do the tour on golf carts. All the signs said that golf carts were reserved for the elderly or people who had a hard time walking long distances.
We met both criteria, so we paid the extra five bucks a head and hopped on our golf carts.
My dad, David and my brother in law, Kyle rode on one…I called this the “Cart of a Million Sarcastic Comments”.
I couldn’t actually HEAR their commentary as we rode through the display, but I’m sure my cart description was right on target.
The lights were really pretty. The kids liked it a lot, and now we can check Garven Gardens off our bucket list.
Below is Caroline and I in the back of our cart. Robyn took this one. I made her take it three times because my nose kept looking big.
Maybe because it was bright red as it was 30 degrees.
Here is Grant and Robyn. She looked good on my first take because she weighs like 120 pounds. MAYBE.
Here is one of Caroline. I put it in because I thought she looked so cute…
So that was our trip last night chronicled for your enjoyment.
Two more things about what’s going on right at this minute, then I must go buy stocking stuffers pronto….
1.I feel like I’m at home because Caroline has two of our neighbors, Ben and Sarah, on speaker phone cranked as LOUD as it will go. See, since they NEVER see each other, they are playing Club Penguin together while simultaneously talking on the phone. True love.
2.My mom has our Christmas album cranked right now and it’s making me have the cold sweats because it reminds me of work and being exhausted….
Merry Christmas Eve to each and every one of you sweet people..
and Marcel, (one of my faithful readers) I WILL post that Red Velvet Brownie recipe….maybe tomorrow…for your Christmas present…
Christmas in Little Rock
After a loooooong day of travel yesterday, we finally made it to my parents house last night. We left our house in Nashville about 11:30 in the morning, and went straight to Sonic. Caroline didn’t eat breakfast, so we figured might as well get lunch out of the way.
I just love that dollar Junior Burger. It’s really a great value. My big diet coke costs more than the entire food portion of my meal… but worth it because of styro foam cup with long lasting ice!
About 2 hours down the road we hit a major traffic standstill, so my nerves were fried.
The only remedy I know on the road for fried nerves is a Dairy Queen stop.
Their holiday Blizzard “Reindeer Bites” will really calm you down. Put life back in perspective…
It has caramel, toasted coconut, chocolate chunks and pie pieces in it. Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuut?
Can you tell this post is going to be about food?
We finally made it to mom and dad’s house just in time for supper. I’m going to give you a recipe for this delicious casserole that my mom made and you are going to make it and then you are going to email me and thank me. It’s pretty basic, but anytime something mixes sour cream, egg noodles and ro-tel, it’s worth repeating…
Before that, though, I must give a BIG SHOUT OUT to Mrs. Genny Vaught!!!! This is my really close friend Marcia’s mother. She is forever giving me gifts for all occasions, and Tuesday night while we were at the Rockettes, Marcia delivered her mother’s gift to me and left it on my back porch.
It had lots of fun little napkins and “gifts that coordinate with my house” as Marcia said, but the best part was the MOST DELICIOUS cheeseball and YUMMY fudge. (I actually haven’t eaten the fudge yet, but it will be yummy no doubt.)
See, I have been CRAVING a cheeseball since the beginning of the month. Just ask the girls. Every night on the bus…”Ya’ll, I reaaaaaaaaaally wish we had a cheeseball. Waaaaaaaah!”
What says Christmas (in a savory way) more than a cheeseball? That someone would take extra time to mix all that goodness together, shape it into a ball, roll it in nuts, and send along coordinating crackers???? Seriously, Miss Genny. You are the nicest.
I want you to know that I packed that cheeseball and that fudge up in a little cooler bag with an ice pack and drove it all the way to Little Rock. (Well, David drove it all the way to Little Rock.)
The first thing I did when I walked in the door was set that sucker out and dive in…
I ate all that you see gone in this photo….in like 5 minutes.
Because of Miss Genny my Christmas was complete.
So here is the recipe for
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (14.5 oz )can chopped tomatoes
1 (10 oz can) Ro-tel (mom said she used mild)
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (6oz can tomato paste)
1 bay leaf
1 (6oz pkg) medium egg noodles
6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
COOK ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain.
STIR in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes.
COOK egg noodles according to package directions and drain.
STIR together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions and sour cream until blended.
PLACE noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
BAKE, covered with aluminum foil at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes.
This says it makes about six servings. That’s probably about right. Mom also made a spaghetti pie, so we actually had a little left over….
The cousins were reunited! This is Caroline and Grant acting crazy, which is all they do…
This is Davis and Boppa….Davis is chillin out and my dad is sporting his POG shirt…
And this was dessert…Red Velvet Brownies….
I love you mommy…
I must go now….time to take the kids to Aunt Rara’s house to make sugar cookies. Just what momma needs!
Full and happy,
While I should have been packing for Little Rock yesterday, I was still doing laundry, last minute Christmas shopping, getting my hair colored, AND preparing for our big night out as a family before leaving for Christmas today.
Caroline and I go every year together to see the Rockettes out at Opryland. I was thinking that maybe this year, since life was so crazy, that maybe we would save the money and not go.
“But mom, it’s a TRADITION.”
“OK, sweet only child that gets anything she wants, we’ll go.”
So I ordered three tickets, really great seats, and told Dave he was going too. Found out last night he had never seen them! It was such a great show. We really enjoyed it and Caroline has a Rockettes Commemorative Christmas Ornament to prove it.
So anywho, during the day yesterday, we went to get our nails done so they would look good for our big night out. Not Dave, just me and Caroline. (sidenote-Dad refuses to do anything nail related,but he should. I always see guys in there.)
This is my FAVORITE OPI Holiday color. It’s called Crimson Carol and it’s red with a little sparkle in it. I love it. It makes me happy.
We both got this color. Caroline also got snowflakes on her thumbs. I did not. Don’t want to be a copy cat.
We were talking on the way home from nails about what we would wear.
“A Christmas dress mom.”
“OK, cool. We have two.”
“Mom, I don’t like…what’s that called?”
“Yeah, I don’t LIKE plaid.”
“OK, I wasn’t aware of that.”
“Mom, that’s too short on me.”
“No, it’s really not.”
“Please can I just wear what I wore in the Christmas show?”
“I’m happy now.”
Dad and Caroline ready to go! I really miss our fiddle player Demitri, who did her hair every night she was out on the Christmas tour. Last night, we were back to the last minute ponytail.
But she still looks cute.
Well, since it’s 9am and I haven’t packed a single thing, I better get going…
Last night, we had a little Christmas dinner with our good friends Gabe and Keely. Without Keely, there would be no “25 Days of Christmas” blog. Seriously.
We became good friends when we were roommates several years ago on a Compassion trip to Ecuador…something about my first trip to a third world country, coupled with my hotel snobbiness, coupled with a lizard in her bed on our first night as roomies really bonded us.
I needed someone to talk too. Someone who wouldn’t judge me for my snobbiness…someone who understood that when I said I was in Stage 6 culture shock, I wasn’t kidding…
Back to Keely’s involvement in my blog. I now refer to her as “Her Blogness”, because she is about 15 years younger than me, and she knows stuff. About blogging.
And stuff about computers.
And cutting and pasting and dragging and downloading and uploading and photoshopping and screen shots and links and copying links….ugh,my pits are sweaty.
everyday since December the first, I have sent her an email and she has magically transformed it into my blog. And created the page. And made it snow on the page. Lord.
Kids these days.
So here is where we went to eat. It’s yummers…want to know something weird…I ordered deviled eggs with this sweet bacon sitting underneath them, and our men turned up their noses. And Her Blogness and I ate all six of them ourselves. They just don’t understand the delish-ness of a good deviled egg.
Weird that they offer deviled eggs as an appetizer, so I figured if they offered something so random, the were bound to be special.
This is Keely and Gabe. Gabe could care less about blogging, twittering, social networking, etc. which makes him cooler than the rest of us. The other thing that makes him cool is that he can play 97 different instruments. And does so for lots of famous people.
OK, 97 might be a stretch, but not by much.
Oh, and he’s cute as you can see. He doesn’t get paid for that, but it doesn’t hurt…
I got Keely an extra big present because she is my Blogness, and your Blogness,too, if you are reading this….a couple little fun things from Gilchrist Gilchrist, our common love, and a nice gift certificate, too! (Maybe she will spend it on me…)
I was so mad because my battery was broken on my camera, so we had to use the iphone camera, and in both the pics of me and Keely, our eyes look like demons and they are kind of blurry, so I’m putting in this one for good measure because it’s super cute and makes me happy…
This is us at the beach this summer. The girl in the hat is Jill. My best friends wear cowboy hats and have nose piercings.
Then there’s me.
We had a great time celebrating Christmas with our good friends, and I came home with a few nice gifts myself…a cute candle holder made of mercury glass, an awesome bracelet, and a few other fun things. You shouldn’t have!
The other weird thing is that for some reason long ago I started calling Keely, Keelzebub, because it rhymed with Beelzebub in the Bible. I think I thought that Beelzebub was some lady in the scriptures. But it’s not.
It means Satan.
So now I just call her Zabub. Or Bubs for short.
So now we have several options for you to call Keely if you ever meet her….
1.Her Royal Blogness
3.Keelzebub if you are mad at her
In closing, this blog today is really to say thanks to Keely since my 25 Days of Christmas is coming to a close. You can see her AMAZING photography and read about her fab life on her Blog.
Oh, and you can follow cowboy hat girl on twitter @jilltom. She’s really funny, but I take no responsibility nor do I endorse any of her comments. But she’s funny.
Have a great day and don’t forget to thank Keely Marie Scott….Her Royal Blogness…because she reads your comments…
We had our very last show of our Home for the Holidays tour last night in South Carolina. Thanks to all who came out to see the show. I hope we helped get you in the holiday spirit!
Last night we did something that was a first for us. For some reason we were all STARVING when we got on the bus around 11pm, so we told our driver to look for something that was open so we could stop and get some food.
It’s weird, because we never usually eat after a show. We all just brush our teeth and go straight to bed for a good night’s sleep. (detect sarcasm)
Mike our bus driver slows down…
Taco Bell. Drive thru open till 2am! Anderson, SC.
Doesn’t that look good even now…
anyway, we were a little nervous because our bus cannot fit through the drive thru, so we walked up to the window to order on foot. This usually doesn’t work. There is some kind of worldwide Taco Bell rule that you HAVE to be in a CAR to order in the drive thru. Redonk. We knew this would be a problem, depending on how “by the book” this location was.
We pleaded with the girl at the window, actually Denise did. Told her we were a hungry Christian singing group. Would she like a CD? Could we sing her a song? NOPE. Not having any of it.
“Let me call my manager.” wait two minutes. “She said no.”
Defeated, we walked back to the bus, heads hung low.
Suddenly, I had an idea.
“Denise, why don’t you offer the girl 20 bucks to borrow HER car and drive it thru the drive thru to order?” said Shelley.
“OK Shelley, you are the boss, so I will do it “, said Denise.
“Chris August, you go with Denise, to protect her.” said Shelley.
So the girl took the twenty bucks, handed Denise her keys, and thirty minutes later we all enjoyed a huge feast. (We ordered a lot, so it took a long time to cook it all. 83 dollars worth. That’s a lot of food at Taco Bell.)
Denise smelled a little like cigarettes after she got out of the car, but she really took one for the team. So we didn’t shun her.
Special thanks to Walt and Chris for accompanying Denise on her mission.
Two other things about today…
Come on over….
Today is the last day of our tour. We are in Greenwood, South Carolina and the sun is shining and it’s not near as cold as it has been everywhere else. I’m always a little sad to say good bye to all my bandmates, but this year I am more spent and tired than usual, so home is looking real good about now. It will be fast and furious the next couple of days getting ready for our family Christmas, but once we get to Little Rock, I’m fully expecting my mom and dad to wait on me hand and foot. Actually, it’ll pretty much be mom waiting on everybody, but I heard somewhere that’s what moms like to do…we’ll see.
One of the things I like to do in my “downtime” is watch all my favorite Christmas movies…
Here are my top three recommendations…
1.Number one of all time….Miracle on 34th Street
Here is the thing….they have a new really cute version with Dylan McDermott as the mom’s boyfriend, but I really like the old one best. And not the “colorized” old one. The black and white one. It’s the first one I ever watched with my mom years ago, and it’s perfect just like it is.
2.This is a brand new one that Caroline and I actually just watched yesterday. You can get it at Target and honestly I wasn’t expecting much, but we both LOVED it. You have to watch it with your “child eyes”, but it’s sweet and colorful, a little real life and a little fantasy. And the little girl Quinn is redonk cute.
The Search for Santa Paws
Caroline wanted me to tell you her favorite thing about the movie was the cute fluffy white dog. He talks. In fact, there are numerous talking dogs. So you will love this movie if you’re in to that kind of thing…
3. I feel like I should pick another older classic for number three, like White Christmas or something, but honestly, my other seasonal “must watch” is The Polar Express. I’m always completely amazed by the animation. It’s so good it’s a little creepy at times. But creepy good.
And Tom Hanks is awesome in it…his voice anyway….
Hey, by the way, have you seen our POG Christmas countdown widget?? It’s kinda cool…
** Check it out on the Right**
Click HERE to download it to your blog, website, twitter, facebook whatever you desire!
better late than never…