Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The fourth Thursday of November is not just a sit down, eat, and go home gathering.  It's the annual Kelley ThanksChristmasGiving.  This is the one holiday each year that the Kelley side of the family gathers together and tries to cram the two big holidays into one.  It's always so much fun.  

This year, we said we would host the holiday at our house.  Our family is growing and we need more room to spread out (especially since all the Kelley's seem to average 5'10" or taller-well almost).  Everyone brought a dish, or two or three, so we didn't have to do all the cooking.  (The youngest Kelley "kid" has been recently deployed for a 4th time.  We missed him and his family.)  Here's an excerpt of the most recent info I had sent to the family.

Festivities will start tomorrow about 1 pm. If you think you'll be late, leave earlier. If you think you'll be early, then you can help scrub toilets (Craig doesn't want to clean all 3 bathrooms by himself).
First, we'll eat, then drink, then be merry. Warren noted that we are to be merry AFTER we eat. It's too hard to multi-task. Then, after we've become gluttons of food, we'll become gluttons of presents and white elephants.
Our address is ******. The secret word is "Papa's got a brand new bag."
We'll have a great time celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. Who knows, maybe I'll play the Monster Mash and we can re-enact Easter while we're at it.
Don't forget to bring a gift for David. Don't forget to bring your food!

It's hard for me to be serious sometimes.  Thankfully, this family gets my sense of humor.  :)

We moved our pub height kitchen table into our formal area, next to the dining room table.  This allowed all of us to eat in the same room.  In the kitchen, we set up our drink bar with water, sodas, lemonade, sweet tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and coffee.

Crudites were set out as family started to arrive.

This yummy looking turkey...

...turned into this.  Craig did a great job!

 Here's just a sampling of the buffet.  By the time all the food was set out, this counter was covered.  


This was all that was left of the turkey.  There were only a few slices of ham leftover as well.  Notice the deviled egg tray was completely empty!  I completely forgot to get a picture of all the desserts.  That was set up on another counter.

Since we were celebrating Christmas too, we decorated for Christmas earlier in the week.  Even though we all drew names for gifts this year, there were still tons of gifts to pass out.

We also did a White Elephant gift exchange.  One of the gifts was a homemade "beard" that attaches to a hat.  It was a hit!

The whole family had a great time.

Of course, I had to proudly show off my craft room and had a craft set up for everyone to do.  We used alcohol ink and decorated ornaments (50% at Hobby Lobby), ceramic tiles ($.10 each at Home Depot), and ceramic plates (marked down to $.17 each at Kroger).  

Everyone is so artistic and creative!

Everyone was exhausted by the end of the night from all the fun.  Kaleigh came to visit us with her parents, Paul and Faynetta.  She was so well behaved.

Our Princess just wanted to sleep under the tree.

A new fiance and baby were added to the family and it was so fun having them join us.  It was an awesome ThanksChristmasGiving and we realized, once again, how incredibly blessed we are!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Bowling 2012

It's time for the annual Turkey Bowling at our church.  We started off watching Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special.

Then, it was time for a lunch of pizza and lemonade.

Next, time for bowling.

Preston tried to bowl with the huge turkey, but stuck to the cornish hen instead.

When the kids weren't bowling, there was a craft available.  They had to list what they were thankful for on a  food serve glove and then fill it up.

Put 5 candy corn in the fingertips (or M & M's)...

add some popped popcorn...

tie with a rubber band and then ribbon...

and you're done.  The kids immediately ate their "hands" once we got in the car.

Each kid got to pick a prize at the end.  Kaitlyn got a parachute man.

Preston picked out a football.  But since he knocked down the most pins in his age group, he got a big chocolate bar.

Another fun day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Colonial Day

It was Colonial Day for all the 1st graders and I was eager to help out Preston's class.  I remember this special day when Kaitlyn was in 1st grade and I knew Preston would have a blast as well.  As Preston went to the other classrooms for his rotations, I stayed in his class and made a ton of these little arms for the corn husk dolls.

I did manage to sneak away at one point to watch Preston make his totem pole.

He made lots of really cool things all while learning some history.  He weaved a placemat, made symbols on a "buffalo hide", decorated a totem pole, made God's eye (the craft sticks and yarn), and made a corn husk doll.  Preston also learned how to make butter.  So much fun!

I just love seeing that smile!!!

It is days like this when I love being a mommy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Halloween 2012

Is it just me or did Halloween sneak up on us this year?  Thankfully, the kids didn't want extravagant costumes.  Preston wanted to be Spiderman (w/ the muscles in the costume) and Kaitlyn wanted to be a Purple Spotted Leopard Pillow Pet.  Yes, you read that correctly.

It was actually pretty easy to make.  I got her some pink clothes, cut out some purple felt pieces, and pinned them to her clothes.  Done!

We  headed to the Fall Fest at our church.  Preston had to earn a Royal Rangers badge for doing a good deed at a community event.  He signed up to help with a game.  Craig and Kaitlyn helped out at the Sand Art table.

Preston was in charge of bowling.  He looks so excited, doesn't he?

Then, they played some games.

We all played Bingo together.

And went on a hayride.

We ended the night with a late dinner from Sonic and went to bed exhausted.  Next year, I promised the kids they could experience Trick or Treating.  Can't wait to share that experience!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

It was time for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  We decided to go on a Saturday after Craig walked in the Susan B. Komen Walk For The Cure and Preston's T-ball Game.  It also happened to be hot!  Here are a few pics showcasing our fun trip.

The kids always love going through the maze.

They posed on some of the wooden structures.

Preston can be such a ham!

We all poked our heads through the pumpkins.

At first, the kids said they were too old to pose with the cartoon characters.  It about broke my heart!  But I knew this day would come.  :(  Finally, Preston decided to stand with the Smurfs.  That made me happy.

We took some time to check out the few animals on the property.

We all went on the hayride, which is one of our favorite parts.  I love the view of the pumpkin patch when we're riding around.

The kids also rode on the little train.  They look completely bored in the picture, but I think they enjoyed it still.

Of course, we had to take our family picture in the same spot that we do every year.  Notice what we're wearing?  It felt like summer.

Craig and I had to sneak in a little picture too.

Fortunately, Craig's parents were able to join us for part of the trip.  We brought home some pie pumpkins and then took a nice nap.  Good times!