Friday, July 26, 2013

Merry Christmas in July

The good thing about CIJ is having fun blogging about it, the bad thing is...while having so much fun and planning for Christmas in July, I run out of time to blog about it. I have so many ideas running through my mind, but haven't sat down to blog about them. Tonight however, we celebrated with our annual Christmas in July dinner. Today is the 25th of July and in our house, that means family, friends, food and fun!  The tradition seems to be growing each year and we gather a few more guest. I love having friend over, but the bad thing is my house just doesn't accommodate everyone well. But we squeeze in and make the best of it. It really, doesn't leave us much room to spread apart, so when one of us laughs, we ALL laugh!

So my next topic...the new camera in our home. My daughters first big purchase after working this summer, was a fancy new SLR camera. She was offered a deal she couldn't refuse, by a fellow student from school. After using my camera for years and going through several of her own portable camera's, this new camera is her prized possession. Over the past year, she's been slowly taking over the photographer role in the house, so when we have family get together or go on trips, she's the one responsible for taking the pictures. That works great, until she's with her friends and forgets she's the "Photographer". Tonight my BFF surprised me with an awesome birthday cake he made and my daughter missed the whole thing, until I got her attention and by then she had missed them all singing happy birthday to me. You moms know how it is, you are always on the backside of the camera and getting you in the picture can be difficult. She finally joined in and here are a few photos of my cake. I'll have to come back and do another post on this cake alone. 

Just like Christmas, we exchange names and buy one gift for the person on our list. We all know each other pretty well obviously, so it can be a lot of fun and HYSTERICALLY funny. 

 The "Last" book Aunt Sandy will ever read....
But NOT because she's "Old"

We all decided that Lesley finally needed a planner. 
I mean, she only works 4 jobs! 

My nerdy husband got the Gumby and Pokey toy he wanted, along with some Gumby Gummies.

Ciara got some Monogrammed towels from Aunt Sandy for college and had another break down moments. Something about towels and totes, seem to set off those moments in our house right now. 

And when Mike gets a Nerf gun, watch out. All must take shelter!

We did it potluck style this year and that worked really well. It kept the cooking at a minimum for everyone and better yet, the house stayed cool. We also "enjoyed" of a new kind of meat tonight - Hamurkey
Let's just say, it was suppose to be a honey spiral cut Turkey, but tasted like Ham. Literally, it was the weirdest thing ever. Needless to say, I won't be buying that again at Costco.

When you tell people you are having a Christmas in July, the response is pretty black and white. You's kinda weird, but sounds fun or you hear...ARE YOU CRAZY. It's 6 months early and I hate doing it in December, why would you do it twice? Well my answer to this is family. You know, I married into a pretty big family, however my immediate family is an adopted family of friends. Often, they have other places they have to be and this is just one more excuse to gather then together for a night of fun. We could do it in August, but since I love Christmas, CIJ just sounds like a good excuse as any. It gives us one extra day a year to pull out the wrapping paper, wear a pair of Christmas earring and start day dreaming about how we wean to accomplish so much for the upcoming holiday season.

On that note, I"ll end with one final photo... 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Christmas with Norman Rockwell

I was reading an article today about a Norman Rockwell exhibit opening today, at the LDS Church history museum in Utah. It reminded me of a Christmas book my daughter bought for me a few years ago, that was titled with Norman Rockwell. My copy is dated 1977 and shows a bit of wear on the outer jacket.

It's not your typical Christmas book, with crafts and recipes, it's more like a compilation book of great stories, poems, music and photos from some great classics. It has writings from William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott and many more. In addition to all the writings, it has 95 Norman Rockwell pictures. When I pulled out the book, I realized, like many I've grown up seeing the photos of Norman Rockwell, but not really knowing the story or Norman Rockwell. So my goal tonight was to look up some history and research some of his Christmas paintings. I've come to the conclusion, I enjoy his silly side. I enjoy those silly moments in life he represents. Here are a few examples.


To me, these really represent the love and smiles that seem to flow at Christmas.

Some of my choices are repeated, but here's a wonderful slide show, that shows a large portion of his Christmas collection.

In Stockbridge, Massachusetts, his hometown, they even do a life like recreation every year of his famous painting "Stockbridge, Main Street at Christmas". You can also visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, where they house the largest collection of his work. 

If you'd like to learn more about "America's Painter", here's a LINK to a great video from the Bio channel. 

And last, but not least, of course in today's society, fans can find ANYTHING on Facebook. So if you'd like a daily dose of Norman, you can join the Fan Page

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Christmas Themed Movie Releases

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

Release Date: 12/13/13

 Tyler Perry’s most famous creation returns for the holiday, this time convinced to help a friend pay her daughter a surprise visit, and in turn providing all of the town a good sprinkling of Madea’s own unique brand of Christmas cheer.

Disney's FROZEN

Release Date: 11/27/13

When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, an amazing and comedic snowman named Olaf, Everest-like conditions and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.

Black Nativity

Release Date: 11/27/13

In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes' celebrated play, the holiday musical drama BLACK NATIVITY follows Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs' rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with his new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family.

The Best Man  Holiday

Release Date: 11/15/2013

When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.

Here are a few rumored releases for the year, but no detailed information has been released yet.

A Friggin Christmas Miracle:
A guy drives around on Christmas eve with his father looking for replacement gifts after realizing he left all of his son's presents at home.Stars: Robin Williams, Lauren Graham and Joel McHale.

A Christmas Candle: 
THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE is a timeless and inspirational story based on the novel by bestselling author, Max Lucado. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happens in the small village of Gladbury -- except at Christmas. Legend has it that every twenty-five years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights the Christmas Candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve But in 1890, at the dawn of the modern age, all that is about to change. With the arrival of David Richmond, a skeptical, young minister, Gladbury's humble candlemaker, Edward Haddington must fight to preserve his family's legacy. When the Christmas Candle goes missing, the miraculous and the human collide in the most astonishing Christmas the town of Gladbury has ever seen.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Planning Ahead-Have you bought your tickets?

Do you have a Christmas savings plan or have a stash of extra money you use for expenses during Christmas. Do you have a tradition of taking your family to a show every year? Maybe the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol? Did you know that most holiday tickets are already on sale? Did you know that usually in July you can get them on sale? I've even taken advantage of Buy One, Get One Free sales before in July. Buying your tickets now, is a great way to dedicate a date to your family, so you can get it on your calendar NOW! 

I've been lucky enough to see White Christmas, Mannheim Steamrollers, The Nutcracker, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, Jim Brickman and so many other great shows during the holidays. So this year, I think I'm going to go see Cirque Dream Holidaze. After all these years, I've still never see a cirque du soleil show, so what a better time then Christmas. 

So my suggestion, take a minute or two and search your local theater sites. See what's showing, talk to the family and mark your calendars!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Christmas with the Osmonds

First, I'd like to give a "shout-out" to my friend Tammy. She's the big Osmond fan around here, so slowly it's sorta rubbed off. Over the years, I've had a ton of fun celebrating her "appreciation" for Donny and Marie in various ways. In Salt Lake last week, while attending Man in the Moon, I crossed paths with David Osmond many times, so I kept texting to give her Osmond updates. Unfortunately, I never did have a Donny or Marie spotting...LOL

Added Note: (I was looking at a friends Man In The Moon photo album and found this picture of David. Apparently he was acting as a host during a couple of the smaller lectures I didn't attend. To bad for me!! )  

When I started thinking about it more last night, I was wondering, why he was around so much but not an "official" guest. When investigating, I ran across a couple Christmas songs of his that are very good, including one he sang for Glenn's show one day. For those of you who are "Beckies" he had a link to TheBlaze on his Facebook page, so that explains it..He's a fan!

David Osmond-Silent Night

David Osmond-Joy to the World

If you are a fan of the entire family, did you know you can watch entire episodes of their old Christmas specials on YouTube? What would the 70's been, without an Osmond Christmas Special?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CIJ Movies on Hallmark

Because I've been out of the TV loop for about a month,  I'm just finding out that this is the week the Hallmark Channel has it's Keepsake Christmas Event. Luckily, it's only Wednesday, so that means we've only missed two movies. We have plenty of time, to get our holiday fix on!  I've copied the complete list for the week, but if have Satellite TV, you can always do a Key Word search and find other movies I'm sure. I usually search Christmas, Holiday and Santa.

Keepsake Christmas Event: 
Watch holiday favorites every weeknight and all weekend long starting July 8!

Monday, July 8

8/7c: The Case for Christmas

Tuesday, July 9

8/7c: Hitched for the Holidays

Wednesday, July 10
8/7c: Christmas Song

Thursday, July 11
8/7c: Christmas Magic

Friday, July 12

6/5c: Naughty or Nice
8/7c: Matchmaker Santa
10/9c: The Case for Christmas

Saturday, July 13
12a/11c: Annie Claus is Coming to Town
2a/1c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
4a/3c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
6a/5c: The Case for Christmas
8a/7c: A Christmas Wish
10a/9c: Annie Claus is Coming to Town
12/1c: Naughty or Nice
2/1c: Matchmaker Santa
4/3c: Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle
6/5c: Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
8/7c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas
10/9c: A Christmas Wish

Sunday, July 14

12a/11c: A Princess for Christmas
2a/1c: Holiday Engagement
4a/3c: The Christmas Card
6a/5c: Lucky Christmas
8a/7c: Help for the Holidays
10a/9c: Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas
12/1c: Holiday Engagement
2/1c: A Bride for Christmas
4/3c: Hitched for the Holidays
6/5c: A Princess for Christmas
8/7c: The Christmas Card
10/9c: Help for the Holidays

For the past 2 or 3 years, Hallmark has sponsored this event to coincide with their Keepsake Ornament Premiere Event. This year, it takes place on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th. Each store varies, but most have several specials and sales. It's definitely worth stopping by, even if it's just to look at this years ornaments. If you aren't able to make it in person, here is a link to the online Dream Book.