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Merry Christmas!!!

25 Dec
Merry Christmas!
It has been so much fun writing this blog for you. I can’t believe it’s already December the 25th! What a month! I have LOVED reading your comments and promise to respond more in the new year…Like I said in the beginning, if I can keep up a blog during December, then I can do it anytime. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t read each of your comments with a huge smile on my face.
I hope each of you have had a wonderful Christmas Day and have experienced the peace of Christ this season.
From my family….
to yours…Have a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.   -Isaiah 9:2
Big love to you all and we’ll talk when the New Year comes!


PS any cute blog title thoughts?? anyone?? bueller?? bueller??

Christmas Lights

24 Dec

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.



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….

good times.

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…


Family Christmas Outing

22 Dec

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…

Next stop…Arkansas…

Her Royal Christmas Blogness

21 Dec

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.

So after my friend Spence got in my head about doing a blog, I decided to call on Keely for help…


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
2.Her 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…

Christmas Taco Finale

20 Dec

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…

Number One

Number Two

Come on over….

Christmas Movie Magic

19 Dec

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…

Top Three Christmas Albums of ALL TIME

18 Dec

My two favorite things about Christmas, in this order, are FOOD and MUSIC.

There are 3 records that are my absolute favorites to listen to at Christmas time. I don’t listen to our own Christmas records, mainly because they remind me of work, and when I listen to music I just want to chill out. Here are the absolute MOST AWESOMEST of ALL TIME Christmas records. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.

1. My MOST FAVORITE (as in, if I had to go to a desert island with only three things I would take this record) is Mindy Smith’s “My Holiday”. Our soundman Mark always played it before our Christmas concerts like four years ago, and we fell IN LOVE with it. He bought us each a copy for Christmas, and I have WORN IT OUT. I want to make a record just like it…someday I will do that. Just for myself. Except I can’t sing like her. But I really want to…

Buy this record now. It is melancholy and warm and fuzzy and arty all at the same time. What could be better?

2. I’m a SUCKER for this record. Carpenters. Best one. Nuff said. A must in any Christmas music lovers library.

3. I worship Vince Gill’s voice. LO-OVE. It doesn’t hurt that he is the nicest person in the world. Or at least in Nashville. Anyway, this is an older Christmas  record of his, and I got it a super long time ago when I first moved to Nashville. I distinctly remember listening to it in my condo on my little jam box and it always put me right in the Christmas spirit. And that’s what a Christmas record is supposed to do. He does a little duet with his daughter Jenny, who is all grown up now, but it is really sweet. You will love this record.

I love his green shirt with a red shirt over it. Classic.

I hope you enjoy me editing down the massive amount of Christmas music available to the 3 finest….

What are your favorites????

Meet The Family ( Part 2)

17 Dec

I am currently on the road to Baltimore as I type this. We are on our way to our next stop on our “Home for the Holidays” tour. I think this drive is about 13 hours from Chicago. I realized yesterday that I never did the second installment of Meet My Road Family. We only have 3 shows left and it has been a blast. I will really miss these hard working folks!!

This beautiful girl is DeMetri Moon. She goes to Trevecca Nazarene University and is an awesome fiddle player. She has been a blessing to us on this tour. Not only does she play the fiddle and study faithfully on the road to keep her grades up, but she also does Caroline’s and Darby’s hair every night. They LOVE her. And we do, too.

This is Chris August. I took his picture during soundcheck. He has been opening for us. His record is SO GOOD. He just had his first number one single, Starry Night. My husband is his agent and the first time he played me his record I said, “If this guy doesn’t make it in Christian music, then no one will…”  You should buy it, it’s called “No Far Away.” Super dee duper…and I get no kick back for saying that…He also makes me laugh, and that’s a bonus…

Darby and Caroline got to go with us on this last run. They sing every night and just love it! Honestly, I think they just love to show off whatever cool hair-do they have, compliments of DeMetri. They got these hats from somewhere in the church. I hope they left them there, but knowing them, they probably stole them…

This sweet smiley girl is Rebecca. She is the representative from American Bible Society that is traveling with us for the Christmas tour. You’ve never met a nicer, more positive person and I’m not kidding. I’m pretty sure that deep down inside she thinks we aren’t Christians. Actually, she’s probably too nice to think that…

I saved this guy for last. This is Dana. If you have seen us in the last 15 years, then you have seen him. He is our Mr. Everything. Guitar player, road manager, merch guy, and most importantly our biggest fan and encourager. He has so many jobs on this tour-I’m afraid we might just kill him. Pray he lasts for 3 more days! Big love to you, Dana!!!!!

On a serious note, which I don’t do often or well, I am blessed to love the people I travel with. It would be a long lonely road if I didn’t. We laugh a ton and encourage one another along the way. So a big thank you to all of my road family. You all are the best.

Stay tuned tomorrow, where I will share with you my all time favorite holiday music and movies….

Christmas Shopping

16 Dec

Hey, if you need a few more gifts that won’t break the bank, I was looking at the POG webstore a couple days ago and thought to myself, “some of this stuff would seriously be great little inexpensive Christmas gifts…”

I actually emailed my record label and asked them to send me these images separately so I could show ya’ll. I just picked out the four things I thought you might really like…

OK, so check out this cute t-shirt we have. Many of you are familiar with our “busy mom” song, Love and Laundry…I’m gonna show you the “retro” looking shirt first.

I love this chick on here showing off her guns. It’s 15 dollars. It comes in blue and green. It has a cute more fitted cut. Translation…shelley wears an XL.

I told you it was cute. She has an iphone in her hand. Just so you know, none of us in POG have an iphone. We are in a life imprisonment contract with Verizon.

This is our little home made “Love and Laundry” video. If you haven’t seen it you should watch it because it’s kinda cute. Lots of kid stuff in it…

OK, I know we have other Christmas records, but this is our BRAND SPANKING NEW ONE. “Home for the Holidays.” Little known fact-we recorded it live at Reba’s studio this summer in 3 days. You would think that would have saved us time, but we practiced for weeks in advance, so I’m not sure it did…but it was a great experience. This is 9.99 on the website.

OK, I swear this is really cute in person. We don’t have a “REAL” picture of it, and this one looks weird with the “bosom” drawn in like that. (I mean who really looks like that…)But Denise had one and it was really cute. I was going to take a picture of it and show you, but she just told me she lost it. She said it’s white with a chocolate brown logo and design.

This drawing cracks me up…I’ll leave it at that….
Oh, it’s 29.99….

This is our Holiday Collection from a couple of years back. It’s basically a “best of” our first two Christmas albums, with one new song-Tennesse Christmas…
I just like the cover, so I wanted to show it to ya’ll. Pretty sure it’s 9.99, too.

And last but not least, we have a little bargain bundle.

You get either a blue or green Laundry shirt, our new Christmas CD, our new cookbook, a little oven mit, and 7 new recipes that we gave especially for this package. They are recipes that aren’t in the cookbook! New ones. This pack is gonna run ya 44.99.

OK, so leave the traffic to someone else, and click on over to to finish your Christmas shoppin’!

Hurry. And buy a lot. Caroline will be in college before you know it.


15 Dec

Last night, before we got on the bus at 9pm to drive to Wisconsin, we had our official Framily Christmas Party with the neighbors. “Framily” is the word that Kirsten came up with-a relationship that lies somewhere between friends and family.  When you have kids, and live about 10 feet from another family that has kids, well, you better hope you like each other. If you don’t, moving is probably your best option. We have had some great times over the years with these people, and we probably will live in our house forever because they live next door. Unless they move, in which case we will follow them…because Caroline would sooner die than be separated from her brothers and sister. It’s really a great deal for Dave and I, our daughter has instant playmates at her beck and call, and we don’t have to send them to college, pay for their meals (well, sometimes we do), or discipline them (well, sometimes we do.)

So we met at our house at 5:45 to exchange gifts (in the long-standing tradition of the Howard’s it was 6:15 when they came), and David got a new remote helicopter.

That is Caroline, Dave, Kirsten and Ben. Isn’t he the cutest. HE LOVES CANDY. You really don’t understand how much. You never could. They try to monitor his intake, but I let him have as much as wants at my house. He loves me.

Below is Dave flying his new helicopter. Look at Bella at the bottom. She’s confused.

Here is Mister Rob opening his present. I also got him a hot dog bun steamer like 3 months ago, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m sure it’ll turn up. He works at Denise’s church. One of the big cheeses there… can follow him on twitter at @howardrm.

Here is me and Kirsten. She’s really tall and can eat anything she wants and never gain weight. It’s totally bogus. You can follow her on twitter at @kirstenhow. (if she accepts you)

OK, so I was SOOOOOOOOO excited when she walked in the door with bags from my FAVORITE STORE in Nashville. Gilchrist Gilchrist. Pretty much everything that I love in my house is from there, and everything that I don’t really like is from somewhere else. HA! If you live in Nashville, you have to go in there (and buy me something.)

So, on the left here is this really cool calendar that stands on an easel and all the months artwork are hand drawn with little beads or glitter. So cute. It will look great on my desk. Once you have the stand, which I do now, you just replace the calendar every year. On the right is this big glass jar that looks kind of old and antique-y. I’m either going to fill it with soaps and put it in my bathroom, or maybe red and white candy at Christmas…not sure yet. I love the versatile gift! I loved my presents!!

I wish you could see the jar better….it’s bigger than it looks and so cool.

After gifts we went to eat Mexican food, because that is truly the tie that binds. Chips and Salsa. Mexicali Grill. It’s kind of like “Cheers” to the neighbors. Where everybody knows your name. I got my usual number 43 chicken…..

Ben got a whale pillowpet, Sarah got a gift certificate for Young Chefs Academy, Caroline got an incredible “teacher’s kit” which she has not stopped talking about since last night, and Caleb-well he wanted what every 13 year old boy wants-cash. So that’s what he got.

Below is Caroline bothering Caleb, because his real sister doesn’t do it enough…

Here is Mr. SMU, I mean Mr. Rob, Caroline and Dave. At this point in the night I had to ask both guys to please fake a smile because they were OVER IT and ready to go home. I told them it was all for the sake of the blog. They just laughed at me and rolled their eyes. But I can guar-an-dang-tee you that they will both click on today to read about themselves. That’s just how guys are…

Alrighty then, so that was our framily Christmas. Do you have awesome neighbors?? Write and tell me about them!

PS You are welcome to use the term “framily”.  It has not yet been trademarked. But we are working on it….