Friday, December 29, 2006

Annual Ugly Ornament Contest

The holiday is just not complete without participating in our annual Ugly Ornament Contest. This is Keith's family's tradition, but has been adopted by my family when we host the holiday celebration. The funnest part of this is actually shopping for the ugly ornament. Keith and I will go browsing through the ornament displays at the store making comments like "Oh check out how nasty this one is!" and "Oh that ones definitely ugly... a real winner." Usually there is someone near by that thinks we are nuts. It's when we actually check out that we get the real looks. I'm sure you can just imagine the store clerk thinking "They are paying money for this?! WOW!"

Anyway, here's how it goes:

1. Entrees must be purchased/cannot be home-made.
2. Entree fee $2.00 per ornament
3. Everyone present may cast votes:

1 vote for "ugliest"

1 vote for "prettiest"

The winner of the Ugliest takes the money, may choose to keep his/her ornament with free entry in the following year's contest.

The winner of the Prettiest must display all the other ugly ornaments on his/her tree for the remainder of the holiday season.

We had 7 entries this year. Keith and I entered 3 ourselves just to boost the pot. Funny thing is... we won both categories.

I thought it would be fun to invite our blogger friends to cast a vote too. Leave a comment and tell me which one is the ugliest and prettiest... as a matter of fact, cast your vote today and on New Years Day I'll reveal the winners -- both the winners from Christmas Day and the winner's from the online poll.

Thanks for participating! Happy Holidays!

Entry #1


Entry #2


Entry #3

Feathered Santa

Entry #4


Entry #5


Entry #6


Entry #7


Friday Morning Coffee With Keith

I didn't want to get out from under the covers this morning. Once I did, I was already running behind. Then, as I was picking out my jewelry to wear, Keith began to stir in such a way that suggested that he would not be sleeping in much longer. (although he would have liked to because he's closing tonight) Anyway, he got up and made me a breve latte. I love to share coffee with him in the morning. Having something more than the ho-hum plain old coffee is such a treat! Thanks Keith! I love it!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Looking Back On The Celebration

Hello fellow bloggers. I hope you all had a splendid Christmas. Our's was as merry as they come. What a grand way to celebrate Christ's birth!
It started out with my having FIVE days off work. (including the weekend) Oh how nice that was to just get out and not think about it for a while.

One of my doctor friends gave me a very generous gift card for the mall, so I headed up there on Friday. Isn't it just like me to re-gift something? Well, I re-gifted only half of the gift card amount. I splurged on something special for Keith! I bought myself a new outfit. I bought some stocking stuffers. But as I was wondering around Boscovs, my eye caught an espresso machine... and it was ON SALE!!!! And since I had this gift card, oh how proud I was to take it home!!! It was a sure surprise for Keith, especially since he bought himself a rather expensive grinder a few weeks back and proclaimed that it was his gift. If it wasn't for this gift card, he would have been getting something cheesy... like the universal remote, the alarm clock, and the flannel pants I had already got for him. What can I say? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to my good pal, Dr. S, who always remembers me at Christmas time. He gets more and more generous every year. Keith was WAY surprised and quite impressed with his new toy.

We attended the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church. The message was quite meaningful. We sang an abundance of Christmas hymns and what was called "The Festival of Carols" ending with Silent Night by candlelight. (My candle had an unusually long wick and was like holding a torch. YIKES.) This was my very first "candlelight" service. It was very pretty.

Keith volunteered to work on Christmas day, so we had a quaint little Christmas Eve celebration after the church service. We exchanged our gifts and enjoyed each other's company a bit before turning in for the night. Keith got me a custom made pearl necklace with a daisy-like pendant. He is so thoughtful! I regret to report that I broke the pretty necklace on Christmas day. Ooops. His friend at work made it. She creates custom jewelrey as art. She will fix it.

On Christmas Day I hung out alone while he was working. I cleaned a little and moved some furniture around for our game night with the family. Mom, Dad, Amanda, John, Aunt Jane, Paul, Amy, Joyce, Paul III, Daniel, & David all came to our house for the festivities. Everyone brought their favorite snack and I cooked up some warms ones. We had SO MUCH to eat!!! We had warm artichoke dip, warm reuben dip, mini reubens, cheese & pepperoni & crackers, pepperoni roll, fresh fruit and veggies, mini cream puffs, homemade cookies, olives, shrimp cocktail, candy, mini hotdogs, and more! It was all so yummy and irresistable! YUM - O!!!!

We gave each of the kiddos a game for Christmas. We thought that would be appropriate being that we were having "game night." Mom and Dad also had very thoughtful gifts for the kiddos, but the Zombecks out-did us all with the General Lee remote control cars!!!! Oh the drama!!!! There was no room to run them in our house with so many guests and it was dark outside. It wasn't long before they asked "Can we go home now?!" Oh they were SO excited about this gift.

I was surprised to get my very favorite scented candle from Mom. Thank you very much! It's "Pure Cotton"... I love it!! And there was a very special gift from Joyce. It was this hand-painted bud vase. What was even more precious was the comment that followed, "I tried to get you one with daisies, but they didn't have that." Awwww.... how significant that she knows how much I love daisies. Thanks Joycie. I love it!

Christmas was great. We got packages from Keith's family. We need to send a very special thank you to Grandma Lehmkuhl and the Watkins for the Home Depot spending money. We need it! And to Mom and Jim for the delicious Harry and David tower... which didn't last but a day or two. YUMMY!!! And to Dad and Rach for a lovely new stocking, bracelet, and Keith's flannel pants. You are all so very thoughtful!!!


Hey.. I can post on your blog! Can you do that on mine??

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Tour

We started decorating a couple of weeks ago. It's finally time to share some of it... Come with me on a simple tour of our decor... As I was posting these pictures, I realized that the majority of our holiday decorations are things that have been given to us over the years... things that we treasure.

This is our tiny tree. Despite the desire for a gigantic live tree, we opted for small and simple. This tree is just that. Lovely isn't it?

If you were to splurge on Christmas decorations, (which we have never been able to do) what would it include? I'd like to have lights on the outside of our house. I'd like to have festive tea towels, table clothes, runners, napkins, placemats, etc. I'd like a festive soap dispenser for the bathroom. I'd like a great big live tree with lots of white lights and pretty sparkling ornaments and a really cool tree skirt. Dream Dream Dream...

This Santa sign was a gift from Rene'e just after we were married. So cute, isn't it!?

Can anyone guess who gave this to me?

Homemade Treasures

Rudolph was made by Keith's Grandma and was given to us as a gift several years ago. Somewhere I have a picture of Isaac riding it. It was hysterical!

This special Santa was made by Valarie several years ago. She gave it to us at Christmas time. It's another one of our favorites.

These tiny friends were a gift from Dad & Rach Vulhop in years past.
This lovely musical moose was a gift from a co-worker from last Christmas.

A youth from our old church gave us this musical nativity a couple of years ago.

We don't have a mantle, so we hung the stockings off of the buffet. As you can see, we have a display of lovely Christmas cards that have been arriving for the past couple of weeks.

New Door

This wreath decorates the inside of our front door.

Just prior to Thanksgiving we got a new front door. Thanks to Cory and Keith! We have this lovely live wreath for a simple holiday decoration. Thanks to Rene'e.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Slow Moving Monday

This morning I feel like I'm moving slow. I should be leaving for work in about 5 minutes. Ugh. My back and shoulders are sore. I need to move! I'll get into the groove eventually. I NEED coffee!!!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Is Coming

Yes, my friends, Christmas Is Coming! Yippie! We were affectionately reminded in church today... the third Sunday of Advent... that Christ not only brings us Joy and Hope, but Peace. How true that is!

Have you decorated? I've been decorating little by little over the past couple of weeks. It started with stockings being hung, and a big beautiful wreath on our door... some garland on the banister... some festive this's and that's here and there. Today I decorated a tiny tree. The last 2 years we had NO tree. Our apartment in Wilmore had no room for such an item and last year we were in the midst of a move for the holiday season. I wanted to get a great big live tree this year, but we are unsure of how our feline friends will take to it. Instead, we settled on a small artificial tree. I accidentally picked up the one that came with pre-lit "colored" lights. That is NOT my preference. I like white lights. Oops. Oh well, far be it from me to return such an item when Walmart is already a zoo. We shall enjoy the colors this year. Perhaps next year I'll swap bulbs? Who knows?

It's fun to buy gifts at Christmas time, but it's hard to do it on a budget. I need to get better with budgeting early in the year to make way for more at the end. We cheerfully and carefully select one special present for each of our eight nieces and nephews. This year is a "game" year, but shhhhh don't tell them! They are all surprises! Actually, the youngest nephew is too little for games, so he gets an age appropriate toy. We really wish that we could shower them all with lots of presents, but we are committed to keeping a budget at the Vulhop household and thus we are limited. I think I shall go spend some time with my hubby... who is likely watching football. Any time with him is cherished... sports or no sports! I'll post pictures another time. Have a splendid afternoon!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Morning After...

Credentials... YIPPIE... YEH... This is the day I pretend to work! Does someone actually think that I am working at the moment?! HA! Ok Ok, maybe I'll do some work, but not like the past week. I did some OT last week, so today I'm compensating for it. Ahhhhhhhh... feels good to relax. I love the morning after Credentials. And... I think the office is going OUT for lunch today. We love to do that!

Keith is off today. He's doing some more work on his friends house. It is a really beautiful day, sunny and quite unseasonably warm. I love it. What a blessing! If only I could go to Rene'e's tonight -- that would make for a perfect day. BUT - as it goes, I think that today it is not happening. I have a doctor appointment this afternoon and then some duties to tend to at home. Tomorrow??? (I can't believe I'm letting such a wonderful day for riding pass by!) I hope this weather holds out for a while longer.

I'm shopping for plane tickets! We are going to Palm Springs! I can't wait! While all my friends and family are suffering through what will likely be one of the coldest times of the year... Keith and I will be soakin' up the rays in sunny California! Actually, I will be spending a day and a half in a seminar while Keith hangs out with his sister & brother in law. I'll have about a day and a half of extra time for visiting as well. Since I'm going for work, my travel expenses will be covered. We only need to cover Keith's expenses. This was too good to be true!

Okay... so maybe I should actually do something before lunch? Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What Did You Do This Weekend?

I spent the majority of this weekend with my better half. He was off work, so we actually go to spend time together.

Saturday morning we did some Christmas shopping. We got a really cool toy for our newest nephew, Hayden, who lives in Kentucky. We hope he doesn't already have this one. We also got another cool toy for a 1 year old boy that we will donate through our church who supports The Lighthouse. There was a year or two that we weren't able to participate as a Secret Santa, so we are delighted that we are able to do so this year. There were some other odds and ends and much needed items in our cart as well. Luckily, we already shopped for the other nieces and nephews earlier in the week.

Pretty much the rest of the day on Saturday we spent doing some construction at the home of one of his coworkers. She is a divorced mother of 3 boys. We did some grout work, some spackling, and Keith is working on replacing a few door jams. He is so handy! She made us a spectacular dinner of chicken and rice. It was very yummy! It seemed like a long day for us, but it was well worth it to help this family out. There are still some things left to do that Keith will work on in the week to come. Hopefully he'll have it all done in time for the holiday.

Today I left Keith home to watch the football game on tv while I went to a baby shower. It was a delightful time. The guests were all interesting and inviting. There were plenty of really cutsie outfits for baby Emma... and a really proud big brother showing them all off. What an exciting time. I'm so glad that I was invited to be part of it. Thanks Amy.

So here I sit... Keith is still watching football. How much longer? Ugh. I did make us dinner, which we both enjoyed. More chicken and rice, but it's what I had planned to make before I knew that we were having it again tomorrow. We had salad too. I think I will put some thought into my To-Do list for tomorrow and then snuggle into the couch with Keith and enjoy his company for the remainder of the evening.

G'night all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Ramblings Of A Monday Morning

Brrr... it's cold outside! Thank God for a furnace that still works! I slept pretty good last night. Thanks for the cool new pillow from the Valentines. Keith wants one now. Geez.

We had a busy weekend. We went to the Andy Warhol museum. I didn't so much care for it. The walk was good though. I'm doing better with driving into the city too. Keith seems to be pretty well versed in finding his way down there.

We also worked on the hallway upstairs. We spackled and sanded and primed. Boy it looks good. It has a very pristine clean look to it. I wonder when we will actually paint it though? I'll have to keep pushing. Keith did some spackling patchwork on one of the walls in the upstairs bathroom. It looks so much better.

I mostly worked on laundry this weekend. Then I went out to the farm yesterday for a few hours. That was refreshing. I like that when Duke sees me he thinks "Ah, she's got carrots! Let me at her!"

Well, I best get this day on the road. Have a great Monday!