Holiday

Family: The Tradition of Having Chinese Take-Out on New Year’s Eve

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve evening and I just placed our annual phone order with Golden China. My husband will pick it up on the way home from work, along with a stop at the grocery store for Martinelli’s sparkling cider for the kids.

Yes, we’re creatures of habit but let’s put a more positive spin on that, shall we? We love to create and uphold our own little family traditions. It’s fun, we look forward to it, and – perhaps after some fits and starts – it’s predictable each year.

I heard online today that having Chinese food on New Years Eve is a “thing” on the East Coast, so much so that you have to order your food by the day before if you hope to get any. Wow, that’s kinda’ cool!

I’m on the West Coast and I don’t think it’s a “thing” here. Is it? Is it a “thing”, fellow West Coasters? I mean, there was snow in San Diego today so anything is possible πŸ˜€

Photo by:  Ali Inay
*Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

We came about this tradition in a round-about way. It started out many years ago, maybe 15, with Christmas Eve. My husband’s grandparents always invited us to Christmas Eve service at their church. The first year, the service was done, we were all in a happy mood, and HUNGRY! Where could we go at the last minute, without reservations, that could seat 20 people, without too much of a wait? (Some of us had long drives home).

We enjoyed it so much, we kept this tradition of Christmas Eve service, then a Chinese food sit-down dinner for many years. I have great memories of those nights! Everyone was dressed up, the kids shot straw wrappers at each other across the table from their Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers’, the grown-ups talked and laughed, and the food was colorful and delicious.

Sadly, my husband’s granddad passed away and not long after, his bride took on health problems that kept her from church. That tradition died as well πŸ™ However, my own family decided to keep it going in our way, to honor and remember our grandparents/great-grandparents and relive those memories each year. For maybe 2 years, we ordered Chinese take-out that we ate at home after attending Christmas Eve service at our local church.

The downside of this arrangement was that, when our Christmas Day dinner tradition arrived the next day, we still had tons of leftovers and, honestly, no one was ready for another big meal quite yet anyway. So the next year we decided, let’s just move the Chinese take-out dinner tradition to New Years Eve! We’re always home anyway, watching movies and staying off the icy/wet roads with drunk drivers.

And that’s how our New Year’s Eve Chinese Food Take-Out Tradition began and, I hope, shall continue for many years to come.

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family enjoy your own traditions in 2015 – and maybe even create some new ones. God Bless.

PS: One of the best parts of ordering Chinese food take-out is . . . leftovers on New Years Day! And, hence, why I seem to have another tradition of my very own: Starting a diet on January 2. I shall be upholding that tradition this year. Please stay tuned if you’d like to join me in the journey πŸ™‚

Christmas 2014: Beach Time, Internet Detox, and Home Organization

It’s been a while since I posted but I consciously did a bit of a “internet detox” this holiday season. My family was off school and work and I, miraculously, was off work for 10 days! I have several jobs but the main one is typing charts for a busy doctor’s office, so time off is very hard to come by. I’m so grateful to have steady work and to be able to work from home – between playing kid taxi, ya’ feel me? – so I’m not complainin’ just explainin’. Ha! I’m usually on the computer pretty much around the clock for work and family stuff, even entertainment, so it was nice to just step away for a while. Have you done an internet detox?

We spent some glorious time at the beach with extended family and I really recharged my batteries. There’s nothing like sea air, crashing waves, great food, and family that loves you unconditionally <3. I took loads of photos but here is my favorite: IMG_5596

The rest of the time was filled with typical Christmas break stuff: Last minute shopping and wrapping, making our traditional Italian dinner for Christmas, opening presents, visiting nearby family, going to movies (“Wild” awesome! “Unbroken” disappointing, boo hoo), reading books by the fire, and lazing around with my family. {We’re binge watching “Blue Bloods”, an awesome show for families to watch together}. Needless to say, it was the best of times πŸ˜€

I also got the organizing bug and managed to clean out 2 bedrooms, 3 closets, a cabinet, and the kitchen pantry. My bookshelf sorely needed attention – here, see for yourself:

IMG_5636

Yes, that’s a lot of books! But believe or not, this is the “purged” version πŸ™‚ About once a year, I go through it to make sure I still want all these lovelies. I adore having my own little library – in addition to the one inside my Kindle – and often re-read and loan books out. In the end, I removed 6 hardcover books which, ironically, were none of my own books but ones I had borrowed and forgotten to return. So there’s something else for the To Do List 2015: Try to remember who loaned me what and return them!

Here is the final result:

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Eh, at least it’s an improvement, sagging shelves and all, LOL. It’s mostly fiction but some non-fiction, too. I mainly organize alphabetically by author. This time, I also grouped together all books that have to do with Italy/Europe whether fiction or non. Sometimes I get “in the Italy mood” and this will make it easier to find a good read. I also grouped together weight loss/motivation books, both fiction and non-fiction, for the same reason. Anyway, I’m happy with the results and predict that at the end of 2015, I’ll be doing it all again!

Also on the organizing front, I got my 2015 Dayplanner refill and penciled in all of 2015 with school calendars, birthdays, sports events, and business things; now that feels good! I also found a pretty little journal at Ross while I was Christmas shopping. I can’t find it online but it’s similar to THIS ONE on Amazon . . .

Amazing Grace journal

. . . except the flowers are more like pink roses and it says, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound.” Inside are lined pages with a Bible verse at the bottom of each one. I’m hoping to start a new habit of daily journaling – just real basic “what’s the haps”. Also, I’d like a place to keep random notes and perhaps cut down on my Post It Note addiction πŸ˜‰

So, what was your favorite part of Christmas vacation 2014? Did you get any home projects done or just enjoy your family, friends, and down time? I hope it was a little of both and I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Coffee: Starbucks BOGO Holiday Drinks 11/12-16/14

Attn: Fellow Starbucks Luvahs!

November 12-16, 2014 from 2-5pm – be there or be square. Truth be told, when Starbucks has these BOGO’s, I get 2 for myself, heh. One for now, one for tomorrow. And Rewards members (who, me?) get an extra hour – until 6pm.

Did you know Starbucks has a new holiday drink this year? It’s called the CHESTNUT PRALINE LATTE and sounds yum!

Alas, I cannot enjoy this particular promo because on MY DIET I can only have sugar-free coffee drinks – but thought I’d share anyway!

#30DaysOfThankful: What Is it and What’s the Plan?

To go along with one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place – paying more attention to gratitude and the GOOD things in life when there is so much to bring us down – I’ve decided to participate for the first time in “30 Days of Thankful” (#30DaysOfThankful). With Thanksgiving coming in the US, it’s the time of year we tend to be more thoughtful anyway.


*Image via TheTomKatStudio.com

If you’re a scrapbooker like me me, you may have heard of CATHY Z’s VERSION {I just love that tiny 4×4 WRMK album, don’t you?}. A message board I’m on is doing this as a challenge for a prize – which would be lovely to win but that’s not what’s motivating me πŸ˜‰

The challenge is to post something we’re grateful for on each of the 30 days in November. With your list of gratitudes, you can do many things, such as:

– Make a mini album
– Share on social media
– Make a scrapbook layout
– Share the list with your family
– Write a daily PROJECT LIFE CARD & pair with a photo for a quick album

Or anything else you’d like to do!

I have 2 other journaling-heavy memorykeeping projects going on right now so I’m not going to attempt a mini album or anything intensive. I think I’ll make my daily post on the message board, then compile those into a weekly post here on my blog. I think a daily post here would overwhelm the blog, LOL.

I’ll share my daily posts on Twitter – because gratitude begets gratitude (hopefully), right? I also created a PINTEREST BOARD to gather inspiration for this project. Stuff like this, from Cathy Z, who I mentioned above:

I’d love to have you join in – it’s a Pinterest group board! Just email me your first name/last name or the email address you use with Pinterest, and I’ll add you – send to: erika(at)blessednotlucky(dot)com.

Have you participated in “30 Days of Thankful” before? What form did you use and what was the experience like? Will you do it this year? I’d love to hear your plans!

Mother’s Day 2014: Finding Meaning in an Unusual Place

I had visions of breakfast in bed followed by a family day in the sunshine at the beach.

Then I heard whispers of a college game that “everyone else” was going to except us. But it was on Mother’s Day so no one wanted to ask me if it was okay for them to go πŸ™‚

I surprised them with tickets bought online – because that’s what mothers do, right? If they’re happy, I’m happy.

I sent them off, determined to enjoy a rare day of (non-work) quiet at home. As I drank my coffee, I got sucked into a movie called “Honeymoon for One” with the ever-terrible Nicolette Sheridan. But, hey, it was set in Ireland with all that pretty green scenery. And the love interest was a masculine Irishman with crinkly eyes.

So I put up with Nicolette.

Then “The Impossible” came on. I’d been afraid to watch it at the show. I heard it was very hard to watch. And it was.

There are heart-wrenching scenes of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It’s really brutal to watch, actually. Kind of a strange way to spend Mother’s Day, I suppose.

But I came away with a reminder of – and deep sense of awe about – the power of family. Without exception, every person in the movie didn’t care about their things and all they had lost. They just wanted their family members.

The mother (the main character) is a doctor so I think it must’ve been the scariest for her. She knew how serious her injuries were and what was happening to her. She made huge sacrifices for her son. Β And for a total stranger’s son.

I kept coming back to one of the opening lines of the movie. The resort porter is showing the family into their room. He asks where they are from (they’re British but living in Singapore for the husband’s job).

The porter looks to Maria (Naomi Watts) and says, “And do you work?” She shyly says, “I’m a doctor, not practicing right now. I’m taking care of the kids.”

He says, “Ah, I see you got promoted.”

And that’s exactly how I feel. There is no job on earth more important, or to be more proud of, than being a mother. And I am very blessed to be one.

Well, my family just called. They’re on the way home from the game, stopping to buy supplies to make me a spaghetti dinner. Can’t wait to hear about the game, see the smiles and sun-pinked noses, and get my hugs.

Happy Mother’s Day, my loves.