Sun, Sea & Sand

The boys are here now, as is my sister Kathy and her daughter Krystyna.   The remodel on the beach house last year appears to have been a success as Kathy and Krysia (Krystyna’s nickname–her father’s from Poland, thus the spelling) love their little suite and are enjoying their visit very much.

I love having my sister here.  Never get to see her enough and my favorite vacations include her.  Two and a half years ago we took the kids to Europe for two weeks and five and a half years ago we took them on a Caribbean cruise after four days in Puerto Rico.  My sister and I grew up traveling quite a bit and it’s been important that we continue that tradition with our kids.  I’ve always said that I work to travel.  I’d rather spend my money on exploring the world than on fancy cars, clothes or jewelry.

Since Surfer Ty’s working a lot right now Kathy and I decided to take kids to Sandy’s Beach but I was worried about long hours in the sun for Mac, so we stopped off at City Mill, bought an Easy-Up tent, strapped it on the top of my little jeep, and headed to the beach with the kids, beach chairs and picnic lunch.  The great thing about my sister is that she’s fearless and strong.  Not afraid of anything.  I’ve always wanted a portable tent for the beach (I’m not a sun goddess…can’t read if I’m sweating…) but was always intimidated by the idea of actually lugging one onto the sand and trying to get it up.  Kathy says they do it for soccer games all the time so there we were, popping up our tent, burying the stakes in the sand and creating a perfect little oasis for our beach chairs and towels.  The only negative about our tent–a cool red one–is that it advertises City Mill in huge yellow letters on all four sides.  Not quite the image we were going for.

On the positive side, it was Mac’s first real outing to a proper beach and he loved the sand and hanging out on the beach towel playing with whatever objects he could find in my purse.   Kathy read her James Patterson novel on her Kindle and I was a tad envious of her Kindle and dropped a couple hints that a Kindle would be a great birthday present for me come February.  But in the meantime,  I was so happy with our patch of sand and our shade and the gorgeous sparkle of sun on the breaking surf.   I’m so lucky to have my family here.  It’s the best Christmas present I could hope for.

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?  Was there something not in your stocking that you hoped for?  Fill me in and you’re entered to win a big box of Hawaii treats—coffee, chocolates, Macadamia nuts and much  more.  I guarantee you’ll love this gift.  Contest runs through midnight the 29th and I’ll announce the winner Thursday morning. 

(Important info:  The winner will have one day to send me his/her info because I must mail box on Friday as I leave over the weekend to return to Seattle.   And by the way, my last two blog winners never sent me their addresses so if I don’t hear from them by Wednesday, I’ll add their amazing goodies to the pile and give their prizes away, too.  Please make sure you check to see you’ve won and if you do, it’s your job to email me.   With the kids, the travel, the writing and the blog updates I’ve found I can’t track down every winner, so please check back if you hope to win!! And get me your info.  Happy Holidays!!)


  1. It was a great Christmas. My husband and I decided not to give presents to each other because he has been laid off for so long. BUT…he surprised me with some things he made for me. He took shells and driftwood from our trip to Florence, OR and made a gorgeous holiday centerpiece for our table and well, lots of things. I cried a little because once again it shows that money is not necessary…

    Then it was our anniversary on the day after Christmas and we spent a lovely day together.

    AND now we have our 3-year-old granddaughter for a couple of days and that is too much fun!!!!!!

    So it has been great. Loved your Christmas card and had fun showing it around to my family. I talk about you, your books, your family all the time so it was nice showing pictures.

    Have a great day.

  2. I did get what I wanted…time with family. But if you want to know the whole truth, I would have loved a new ring, camera, boots, and purse.. but guess what? I don’t need any of that and am just fine without them.

  3. We had a wonderful Christmas, too. My Mom and one sister were traveling, but my other sisters, brother, Dad and various other relatives had a wonderful dinner.
    The biggest gift Santa brought me was Wii with the Fit attachment. It is still in the box, but I WILL use it and get in better shape this coming year.
    My 3 year olds got a big inflatable jumpy/slide from Santa. They are in heaven.
    Right now I’m watching Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel in Hawaii, was checking fares to HI online and then your tweet came through…hummm, Universe sending me a message that I should have gotten airline tickets in my stocking? 🙂

  4. Had a nice quiet Christmas with friends from Hawaii and family. However, the first year my daughter Keri was not home, was hard on the family but we’ll see her sometime in January.

  5. Christmas was wonderful… All I needed was my family and that is what I got. I do wish that my sister and her family were here though… hopefully they will move closer to us in the next few years.

    Have a great time with your familiy!

  6. We had a wonderful Christmas. If I could have had my wish, I would have loved to have ALL of my family together like we use to when my Grandparents were alive. There use to be about 80 people in their house…I really miss that. I was happy to spend Christmas with my family though. To see the kids’ faces light up as they opened gifts. To see my 5 year old get ticked off when she opened her training wheels. 🙂 Priceless memories, the best gift I could ask for!

  7. We had a lovely, quiet Christmas. My daughters got lots of games and crafts, and I have been happy to join them playing with their gifts! I got a snuggly blanket and “Wii Fit Plus” disc from husband, and Mom and in-laws also bought me nice sweaters and pjs, and a “learn-to-knit” book, which I’ve been wanting to do. I’m not wanting to send the kids back to school just yet, so I count the holiday as a success! 🙂

  8. My husband i didn’t exchange gifts this year. Money’s tight like it is for most people this year so we skipped on exchanging this year. I would’ve liked some books but the ones i’m after don’t come out til tomorrow. Julie Garwood’s new books Dazzle and Christine Feehan’s new book Street Game. Books are on my mind most days so they make the top of my list. lol

  9. Hi Jane,

    I had a nice quiet Christmas with my husband. We had lots of presents sent from Europe and we got a lot of nice things we had wished for.
    The best thing we got though was a nice skiing day together with perfect snow and weather.
    Enjoy Hawaii, have fun.
    I definitely remembers my trip to Kauai and thinks about it every morning while drink my Kauai Coffee 🙂

  10. Fantastic Christmas. I got everything I really wanted (warm slippers, new coat, books), and spent some wonderful time with friends and family.

  11. This was the best Christmas I can remember for years; everyone (adults) agreed in advance not to exchange gifts, so that stress was gone, and we carefully limited our engagements to only the ones we most wanted to attend. My health is coming back after several years of struggling, which is a marvelous gift in itself, and I even received a couple of surprises from friends!

    Glad you and Mac had such a great time at the beach and with family. Your posts are a bright spot in my day and it’s good to see you enjoying life again.

  12. It was a grand Christmas. Simple, low stress and fun.

    I did get dishes I didn’t know I wanted and am so glad to have them. That was a nice surprise.

  13. Merry Christmas Jane! It sounds like your family had a wonderful time even with Surfer Ty working a lot. I had a great Christmas. It was so nice and mellow with the kids. I am happy to have a few days off too and am enjoying the time away from work.

    I had hoped for a few cds and some yummy smelling soaps from Bath and Body Works but I must not have been “nice” this year. That’s ok, I love post Christmas sales!

    Enjoy Hawaii and the warm weather. This 30 degree temperature and snow on the ground makes me long for a ‘green’ Christmas…

  14. Sounds like you are having a great time! So glad you are relaxing.

    I did get what I wanted for Christmas. I wanted slippers. Sounds silly, I know, but I get very cold feet sitting at my computer and I hate socks. I wanted something that I could slip my feet into so that they were easy to get on and off and that were warm and cozy. I got them and am very, very happy.

  15. My phone is def not cooperating with my attempts to post here this morning… This is my 3rd try (3rd time’s a charm) and each attempt is shorter! Ha

    Your Christmas sounds great & mine was too. We got to visit with my husband’s mom, probably one final time. Sad definitely, but glad to be with her. Makes you even more thankful for family & good health & the things that really matter.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday & have a safe trip back to Seattle! Happy new year!

  16. I had an okay Christmas… We had to have an early one for my step-son because he had to go to his mom’s on the 21st, then we as (husband and wife)decided to spend our xmas $ on a family gift, we got a wii game console so when we are all together, we can have some family time, we were on a budget so there was nothing for us, but I wanted the other 3 kids to have a great xmas, we were able to get the main things they wanted, for my 22 month old I was not able to get a table with chairs, she loves to draw “circles” and color…that is okay, I can find it later..But in all I am thankful that my husband and I are closer to each other and to the lord, we are trying to teach our kids that, when money is tight Xmas is not about money, is about the Love God had for us all, that he gave his son to die for us for the forgiveness or our sins, It felt good giving gifts to the kids and friends, We also gave 4 shoe boxes for the Operation Xmas Child one per child and that felt awesome! Don’t get me wrong I would love to have gotten the cologne that I wanted and maybe give my husband the tool he wanted, but we had health,love and most of all we are together, my husband’s family live here in the USA,all my family lives in the country of Panama, I was able to call them and talk to everyone there for xmas, that always makes my Mom happy! I wish I could have been able to bring everyone here to visit and enjoy the awesome blizzard we had here in OK and the White Christmas!

  17. Speaking of Kindle…
    I was reading EASY ON THE EYES on my Kindle last weekend whilst getting my nails done… and got to certain parts (I won’t give anything away here!) that started me crying, right there in the middle of the nail salon! What a great book! :o)

  18. We had a wonderful Christmas. I am taking the week off. I have spent several hours trying to plan our first trip to Hawaii!!! We are planning on visiting mid-July. I am so excited.
    Hope your family had a great Christmas. Relax and enjoy!!

  19. I got to spend time with my daughters and grandkids so it was great. Got a new cordless phone to replace the old one that only seemed to work when it wanted to and I ordered some books for myself this morning. Life is good. Now if I could just get rid of my sore throat and head congestion I’d be in business. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  20. Hi Jane,
    Our holiday was a nice one and it is really nice when our whole family can get together like we did this year. I mostly got gift cards but did get some a cookbook and some gigantic mixing bowls which I love because it is so much easier to make bread in them.

  21. Jane,

    Your Christmas sounded wonderful, what with your family and Hawaiian setting!

    Ours had a rocky start, but it ended up being one of the best yet! We started it at 7 a.m., and present opening didn’t end until around 5:30 p.m. (the 2-year-old was having present overload, and to keep the crankies at bay, we would pause, play, put another casserole together, clean up the mess, start again).

    I wanted only two things: a Netbook and a particular book. The Netbook I opened last, since I had about six presents under the tree compared to the two-year-old’s fifty and the hubby’s twenty. It was nice to know it was under the tree–the anticipation of knowing it was there but still unopened at around 4 was lovely.

    The book? The husband forgot to wrap it, or put it under the tree–or where he hid it. I got it on Sunday, when he suddenly remembered his hiding place!

    Happy New Year!

  22. I had a sweet boys were all around me and music played softly in the background as we unwrapped our gifts. It was nice to have my son home from college. I got some great lighthouse gifts from calenders to clocks and also a lamp or rather nightlight.

  23. Christmas was good. I enjoyed spending time with family and friends.
    The beach sounds wonderful! I’m glad you are getting some good quality time in with your sister.

  24. I have had a very peaceful Christmas. I am almost through with the radiation treatments. I will be through on 12/31/09. That is the best New Years Present ever. I got my daughter an Ipod Touch and she was thrilled. I didn’t feel like shopping and so that was all she got.
    Thank you for being you!

  25. Hi Jane:

    Your Christmas sounds so lovely; how nice to see your sis and niece. I got a nice visual of your trip to the beach–baby Mac mouthing anything he can get his chubby fingers on. How cute!

    Our Christmas was lovely; it’s always a ton of work to cook and pull the house together. It is ALWAYS worth it when we sit down with wine, appetizers, Christmas music and all those we love around to open gifts and have fun.

    The kids got big gifts but my husband and I rarely exchange gifts. Money is tight and there are always big things looming (root canal on Wednesday among them) that take the chunks of $$ that big gifts require.

    Happy New Year to you!!
    Shannon in Tustin

  26. This year things were calmer, quieter for me. And I realized that change can mean less running around and truly taking in more of the spirit of Christmas. Enjoying the moments and taking time to be with people who you care about, rather than accomplishing and getting done. Not stressing and doing, but being in the moment and loving, cherishing those you surround yourself with. It was a great Christmas!

  27. We had a great Christmas visiting with extended family, and spent some great quality time at home with our kids!

    Christmas is so much more fun with kids, and I don’t care much about the gifts myself anymore (although I would just about kill for some Kona coffee and chocolate covered macadamia nuts!)…I just love watching the kids tearing into theirs!

    Christmas Eve was the best, with a story about the First Christmas, some presents, and the kids camping in their sleeping bags hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa!

  28. No matter what, my greatest gift is my children. We had a wonderful Christmas and weekend playing together with hubby as a family. Being able to make time all together is a rare treat, so it was very cherished.

  29. I also had a very nice Christmas. As a single mom and only working part-time for the past 10 years I was never able to give my kids the kinds of things they really wanted. I finally got back to working full-time this past year with lots of overtime in the past month so I was able to do it up just a little more this year and it was such a joy for me to see their smiles on Christmas morning. Thank you, also, for sharing pics of your Christmas with us.

  30. I had a nice Christmas with my family. I got a new chair for my computer. My girls gave me Bath and Body and some silver jewelery for Christmas. I guess I got what I wanted since I really didn’t ask for anything. This has been an expensive year with my surgery, my daughter in the hospital for a week and my youngest starting college. I am just glad everyone was healthy for Christmas. So ‘Yes’ I got what I wanted.
    I am so glad you had a wonderful holiday. I can really tell it in your post. Your writing is so uplifting.
    Here is to a grand 2010.

  31. Our Christmas was very quiet this year with just my husband and daughter but nicer in some ways as we could just enjoy each other. Saturday the 3 of us drove to visit my stepdaughter and her children. It was a beautiful day and a good visit.

    Now I’m ready for 2010 and hopefully getting back to work! Happy New Year to you and your family.

  32. We had a great Christmas this year! I actually went out shopping on Black Friday to make sure I got what I wanted this Christmas, A Cricut(scrapbook die cutting machine)My husband made me wait till Christmas to open it. My 3 kids really made this year the bestthough! Nothing beats watching little kids anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus! We put out cookies and reindeer food, read the story of Jesus’ birth and wrote letters to Santa.

    The weather here was absolutely crazy but we survived it.

  33. Well, a blizzard kept us from getting together with family for Christmas. My husband, daughter and I opened gifts after our church’s candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The only thing we were missing was our other family members. We will be getting together with them this weekend if the weather holds.

  34. Christmas was good, thanks… had all four kids (getting harder now that there is a boyfried and a girlfriend involved) for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Then my daughter headed off to Ottawa for Christmas dinner with her boyfriend’s family.

    Santa actually fixed my car… got a new thermostat, much needed as it has been well below freezing here. Lots of family and friends, and am hosting my eggnog and dessert party with friends and neighbours tomorrow evening.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, with lots of health and happiness!

  35. Hi Jane,
    I got an Itouch and speakers with it from my husband. I asked for the Itouch so I was happy that he listened and bought it for me. We have been on the go since last Wednesday and today was the first day we had at home to catch up with all the stuff here. You know, laundry to fold, garbage from gifts being opened, etc. When you are running from place to place, you just kind of drop things here and go so we had some major cleaning to do. When I had a moment (which when don’t we have time for a shoe shopping trip?), we took a trip to the shoe store and bought me a new pair of high heeled black boots that are just so hot! Those are for New Years 🙂 Then we hit up Kohls and made a return and bought sneakers for my little one and jeans for me. He insisted on Sketchers this time around and he picked out some neat ones…when did he get old enough to wear these? He’s only 5! Well, he will be 6 in Feb.

    Have a fabulous New Years, Jane, filled with love and happiness and good health all year through!! Travel safely back to Seattle!

  36. I got almost everything i wanted for christmas, slippers and a few books plus a gift card at a bookstore. Even though my husband I are on again and off, he finally got me what I wanted, a new comforter for my new bed since he took the one for his place. I had a quiet christmas, no cooking at our house, went to my friends with dessert and it was wonderful no stress or clean-up.Even though I helped at my friends. I wanted my dad to come visit so abit disappointed now I have send him his banana breads andcookies. Happy New Year!

  37. Christmas was great and I got more than what I wanted. We don’t do big things but a book, hair iron, exercise ball (i will blow it up on the weekend and t-shirt and lunch bag was great. I got some cute ear rings, too, but have already lost one but I hope I will find it. It has to be somewhere in the house or car or front yard, so there is hope.
    The real present of Christmas was a full house here on the 25th and seeing most of the in-laws after driving in pleasant weather on Saturday, with an easy drive home Sunday. Couldn’t have been better, except the folks who didn’t get to come being there, too.

  38. Jane,
    I’m so envious of you being in Hawaii right now. It sounds wonderful and so glad you get to spend it with your sister and kids. Christmas here was a little quiet but nice. Anytime I get to spend with my daughters is always a nice time since they both seem to be so busy with their lifes.

    Happy Holidays and safe travels.

  39. Hello again, Jane!
    Good luck getting all the things done that must be done and then trying to do the things you’d like to do too! It’s a difficult balancing act, I’m sure!
    We had great weather, my cooking turned out okay, and our visits with family turned out well, so I would say that my Christmas was “most excellent” and all that I hoped for, thank you for asking.
    We go tobogganing every New Year’s Eve, and the “kids” have GT sleds that I, as an overweight 50-year-old woman, find difficult to get down to, let alone scrunching up my legs till my knees hit my chin! This year I asked for a 6′ wooden toboggan, and my kids (22 & 24) went in on one for me! With my luck, all the snow will disappear the day before this year’s event, but I’m ready whenever we choose to go. I even pushed an old mattress pad and sheet down between the ropes so the wooden bars wouldn’t be so prominent. It doesn’t look great, but it should do the trick!

  40. We had a nice, quiet holiday at our house. The biggest “thing” missing was my extended family. They are in Michigan and I live in NY. It’s hard and we miss them, but my children and husband had a great day together opening presents, eating, and hanging around.

  41. I wanted a Louis Vuitton bag, a dog and a trip to California.

    I got the bag and will get the trip in February.

    Still working on that dog for my stocking!!

  42. I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and the only thing missing from my stocking were a couple of Jane Porter books I’ve been wanting to read. I told Santa that was okay. He didn’t miss a beat with the kids and that’s what matters most.

    Have a blessed New Year!

  43. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful holiday season. I got everything I wanted for Christmas (which wasn’t much). I prefer time spent with family & friends to receiving gifts and I was fortunate to have the week off from work to spend with family & friends.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays!

  44. Hola Jane,

    My holiday was great. I spent to with 34 of my closes family members. We dined on tamales, ham and 2 deep fried turkeys. Not to mention all the trimmings that went along with the main meals.

    The weather was great, a cool 52*, the kids cracked on a pinata that even the adults joined in and enjoyed the fun and treats. Since there was no rush to travel back into San Antonio, we all hung around late Friday night and enjoyed everyone’s company, listened to music (80’s rock) and laughed and listened to the older crowd tell stories. The whole day was just awesome, drama free!!!!!

    As far me getting what I asked for, just watching my 7 year old enjoy her gifts was enough for me. But my husband did surprised me with these cool, triple colored cowboy boots!

    Enjoy yourself and your family and have a Happy New Year…

  45. Had a really nice Christmas with family. And I did get everything I wanted: good food, family around the table, and books to read! Oh, and a pretty ring too!

  46. I received only one gift and it could not have been more perfect. It was a necklace from my daughter with two heart intertwined. I will cherish it forever.

    Beyond materialistic objects I had a week off with my children and we had the best time just spending time together. I could not have asked for more.

    Happy New Year to all!

  47. Hi Jane, hope you’re having a blast in Hawaii. Please bring the sunshine back with you – I hear we may get snow next week.

    This Christmas was nice and low-key – presents in the morning then a group dinner with friends in Kirkland. I really didn’t want or need anything so my poor husband had a challenge (though I’m not materialistic, I LOVE opening presents on my bday and Christmas). He surprised me with a bunch of little-ish things that I didnt really know I wanted but meant that he’d been listening to me these past months (go figure). A new wooden spoon set for when I make gumbo, a new pilot bag since I mentioned on our last trip that the wheels weren’t rolling right(gunked with sand from our trip to Kauai I think), drawer dividers for my armoire – little things like that. Everything he bought had a purpose or meaning from previous conversations we’d had. I really loved it all and meant more than had he bought me jewelry or spa services (though pedicures are quite nice).

    Have a great New Years!

  48. A couple of weeks ago my step-father was hospitalized to have his gall bladder removed. The surgeon told us he believed he had cancer and that he had a life expectancy of six months to a year, if that was the case. Well, fortunately the doctor was wrong – it wasn’t cancer and my step-father is going to be fine. So, yes, I got what I wanted for Christmas. 🙂

  49. We had a relaxing Christmas morning opening presents late and eating egg and cheese casserole. Dinner was at my boss’ house where we played Beatles Rock Band with the teenagers/college “kids”. Then Saturday we went to PA for the family thing where I made chocolate fondue for the first time. Very tasty! I didn’t have much that I wanted for Christmas, but got the idock I’d asked for so I can play (and charge!) my ipod at home w/out the buds in my ears.

    Looks like you had a lovely holiday. Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  50. I don’t celebrate Xmas but I did get some nice Hanukkah gifts from my parents and kids! I’m a single mom — so anything someone gives to me is special — because I’m the only one who usually does the giving.

  51. My Christmas was great. I got everything I wanted and then some. My best gifts were the ones made for me by my kids at school. Those are always my favorites. I did notice after the holiday was over that I forgot to ask for one thing…A housekeeper for a day. My house looks as if a Christmas bomb exploded all over it!

  52. My Christmas was wonderful, snowy, but wonderful. (I am quite jealous of your beach day!) We got a foot of snow on Christmas day. My favorite gift was being inside with my family watching movies and playing games.

  53. What a great way to spend your Christmas!I love that you travel with your kids. I have just started traveling with mine. We hope to make it to North Carolina this summer to visit my best friend and her family.

    My Christmas was great too. Almost all of my family was close and thats what I wanted most.

    P.S. I have Kindle envy too! ha ha

  54. Yes, overall… I did get what I wanted. My parents came and spent a lot of time with my kids and we baked and ate all of our favorite things. Christmas Day was wonderful- Santa really came and the kids loved every minute of it. We didn’t have to run around, just great stay-at-home family time. My husband got me a massage table, too… and we tried that out… nice.
    Happy holidays to you, Jane! Thanks for all you do!

  55. My christmas was wonderful and cozy. My mom, sister and me went to my brothers house, he lives at the other side of the country.
    I got an amazing cool t-shirt with Audrey Hepburns profile on it, and it also has a pink ribbon on it (very important cause!), we had a lovely christmas dinner and stayed at his girlfriends parents house for the night. It was just perfect! Hope your christmas was just as fun and lovely as mine was!

  56. Your beachtime with your sister and the kids sounds wonderful. That is unforgettable and important and the great scenery and fun is memorable. I had a lovely holiday with family and enjoyed this precious time together.

  57. We had a good Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve with my sister’s and Christmas day and my MIL’s house! I love spending time with my sisters, we don’t get together enough and its all the family that is left!

    My son got everything I think he wanted, which is the most important thing to me. My husband and I didn’t exchange gifts because money is kind of tight now since I am not working. Over all it was a good Christmas!

    Enjoy the beach because its cold here!

  58. My BEST present this year was being able to have my kids with me. Earlier this year, I had to move over 400 miles away from them, as my husband had been out of work all last winter. After being assured of a full year position, we moved. Then after working for the company for almost 7 months, he was laid off, with no assurance that he will be re-hired. This threw me into a tail-spin. So, the gift of having the kids here during this time of upheaval, has been a true blessing.

  59. I had a lovely Christmas. I would have liked my hubby to get a job since he has been out of work for 18 months! Maybe in January I pray. Love reading your blog!

  60. I would have loved to have my boys, grandkids and greatgrandkids with me but they are scattered all over the country. Thank goodness for the telephone!

  61. Your beach day sounds like fun! Glad you have your sister and niece there to share it with. I would love to see photos of Mac on the beach – our photos of the boys in Hawaii when they were little are priceless. We didn’t go this year, but hope we can still make it in April.

    Although I wasn’t ready for Christmas, I didn’t stress and my boys declared it their best Christmas ever. My older son has been saving his money for more than a year for a specific ham radio – we helped him get there as well as preordered it so that he actually had it in hand on Christmas morning. For my younger son, this was the year that Santa brought his laptop and I made him a new blanket – he had been saying that his old one was too small.

    I spent every spare minute over the last six weeks (besides making the blanket) trying to get all of our old family movies transferred from the old camera tapes (as well as all the VHS copies and anything saved on TIVO from my son on news broadcasts). I had time for very little else and in the end had not finished the project. The only thing my husband has been saying that he wanted was the family movies on DVDs… I did my best and he loved his gift (although not completed). He has been spending the past several days helping to work on finishing. 🙂

    My parents came for Christmas dinner, it’s always fun to have them for holiday meals – my boys love spending time with them!

    Happy New Years, it’s coming soon!

  62. Jane, we had fun together. It was a big splurge, but Eric bought me the purse I have been wanting for awhile now. He got a couple of nice things, too. We spent most of the day watching movies, eating way too much, and enjoying each other’s company.

    I hope the Kindle you’re wanting arrives soon!


  63. I got a great wide-angle lens for my camera for xmas and, best of all, got to spend time with my family and share a meal of the best dry-aged prime rib (my husband made it) with all the treats of the holidays.

    We have an easy-up canopy too and we LOVE it – it was one of the best investments ever when going to my son’s peewee football practices and games.

  64. I’m having a very nice Christmas; relatives from California, Florida, NC and Ilinois all came. I love Christmas because my family gets together and we spend fun times together and oh, yeah, lots and lots of food and we haven’t stopped yet. Hope you’re having fun in Hawaii. Enjoy your tent and the sand and sun and waves…

  65. I am just really glad Christmas is over. I had to work on Christmas day and it always seems a little sad. My family is in Alaska so they were far away.

  66. Oh Jane, you are so fortunate to have your sister/niece there with you in paradise. Plus you have your ‘boys’. What wonderful memories you are making right now.
    I got what I wanted and was very pleased.

  67. Christmas was great in Arizona. Lots of biking, swimming and walking.
    My husband gave me a Sype phone. Yes, now I can chat away without using the computer.
    Hope that you have a safe trip home.

  68. Christmas was a joy. I got a new wardrobe from my hubby for Christmas and it was much needed!! The most fun for me was being able to spoil my family with goodies that they all wanted 🙂 Hope you have a great rest of the trip and have a safe trip home!!

    Blessings to you!!

  69. Hi Jane!

    This was probably one of the best Christmas’ I have had in a long time!! I stayed over at Auntie Peaches’ on the 24th and received a nice surprise call from my sister that night. Christmas Day I had duty, but I heard from so many family members and friends!! I love that technology lets us stay in contact so much more easily.

    In the meantime I have been taste testing that “Holiday Hollywood Sidecar” recipe. Very tasty!! (Only took 3 tries in acquiring the ingredients, since I kept forgetting to bring the recipe card with me, lol)

    I’m truly glad I got to meet you and thank you for the gift you gave me of great new friends :0)

    Have a great New Year and safe trip home to Seattle!

  70. Hi Jane,
    Great to hear your having such a Wonderful Holiday Season. I have been reading your blog back to Dec 5 or 6, and haven’t had a chance to post, since I ‘ve been so busy with holidays and birthdays. I made myself sit down write a posting.

    I just love that you share so much with us. The ups and downs this past year. Thank you! I think you reminder us that not every day is easy, but there are great days too and hope for more days like those. So glad to hear you are Happy!

    You shared taking your children shopping for other children, the gift of giving!

    You really give us a gift!
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the last 2 years and hope to continue to enjoy your post. Thank you so much!

    We had a Great Christmas!
    We enjoyed the family time so much! My husband and tried to minimize the gifts a little bit this year but we say that every year with kids. Each year our larger family circle we draw names and decided that about four years ago. It sure is a lot fun, then we also bring elephant gift on christmas day to exchange. That gift exchange is too much fun since anyone can get that gift when music stops. Everyone is always laughing so much! Great Fun!!!

    Enjoying family over the holidays is really the greatest gift.

    As for the stocking Santa helpers gave my husband one week of camping in his stocking. He couldn’t be happier.
    My car ended up with some
    new tunes for Mom.
    Thanks Santa!

    Jane have Safe Trip and
    Wishing You & Yours a Healthy, Happy, Fantastic New Year!!

  71. Hi Jane glad you are having a great holiday season in Hawaii. Love the beach but can’t give up the mountains… Christmas was great here in Maple Valley Our grandson’s 2nd Christmas and he was actually trying to open the presents.. Love being a grandpa! He was the only gift I wanted. Hope all is well and a safe return to Seattle!

  72. Hi Jane~ We had a wonderful Christmas! We spoiled the Grandchildren, which is always fun and got some nice gifts ourselves! My husband and I decided to plan a trip to Mexico in Jan. so we are looking forward to some warm sunshine! Best to you in the New year!

  73. I mainly want to say thanks for sharing about your trips. I love hearing about them. It is so fun to live vicariously through other people’s lives! It is like getting more out of your life – you get to live your life and also live vicariously … glad you are enjoying Hawaii alot more now. You were due for the fun – you workded hard to get where you are and make it all happen- the family, the remodelled home… good for you! Yeah! Enjoy! timeanother such an en

  74. Good Morning everyone!

    It’s an absolutely gorgeous morning here on Oahu and I’m planning on taking the kids to Ty’s beach to go surfing with him before we have lunch in Waikiki and check out Ty’s new shop that’s opening in January across from the Halekulani Hotel. But before we pack up the car and put on sunscreeen, I have to announce the winners from my blog contest.

    There are a lot of you who won! I have a big stack of boxes with Hawaii goodies in them and some boxes have more than others but boxes will be labeled and shipped first come, first serve. The sooner you email me your mailing address, the sooner you get a box selected. Every box is full of good stuff, so never fear, there are no losers here!

    And the eight (8!!!) winners of Hawaii goodies are:

    #4 Marilyn

    #18 Pam Wendt

    #23 Gena

    #30 Cheryl S

    #41 Laney4

    #50 TJ

    #63 Dara

    #76 Dee

    Now, you eight winners have a day to get me the info or I can’t send your gift. So if you see your name above, please please send address right now!

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Hope those that won love their taste of Hawaii!!

  75. Yes, I forgot a winner. So sorry. It’s #30 Cheryl S. I went back and updated the winner list so Cheryl S please send me your info, too!!

    Thanks Morningstar for catching that, and Morningstar, for your help and save, please send me your address too so i can send you a little thank you as well!


  76. We went snowboarding in Flagstaff on Christmas Eve and Christmas. It was so cold that my unfinished cup of coffee froze in the car overnight. Going up the mountain to reach The Snowbowl, we watched the temperature go to -2 degrees. We froze in the snow but I was determined to get down the mountain at least once on a snowboard…my first time. I kept thinking of Jackie’s first time on a surfboard as I made my very ungraceful moves down the mountain…but I made it. My kids laughed and then we had hot chocolate in the lodge. Happy New Year 2010.

  77. Hi Jane! Happy New Year; great news about Surfer Ty’s shop ready to open. I hope you’ll post/send a photo. Sounds like fun; or a labor of love more likely.
    Have a safe trip back.
    Shannon in Tustin

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