* Lael and Alyssa participated in a lovely Christmas service at church yesterday. Alyssa sang Christmas carols with her Children's Church class and Lael was in a short musical. She had a little solo and was so nervous! But she did a beautiful job and we are immensely proud of both girls. I have video of the whole morning and am hoping to upload some later today. I might also try the DVD burner on my laptop - I've never used it!

* A friend from college contacted me on Facebook a few days ago. She read of my interest in PW {Have you never read PW's page?! Oh you should. It's quite funny and her recipes are amazing!} and how much I wanted her cookbook. This lovely friend - who I haven't spoken to in nearly 10 years since graduating - is sending me a copy of the PW cookbook!! I'm so flabbergasted but very excited. It looks like a great cookbook.

* The Card Homeschool Academy is officially on Christmas break. I am probably more excited about this than the girls. Well maybe. Right now they are still upstairs, pretending that they are catching a train to New York City. They are some funny girls.

* This week is all about preparations. Cinnamon buns, pierogi, sugar cookies, chocolate-dipped pretzels. Finalizing menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and my parents' visit starting the 26th. One last big cleaning of the house. Maybe some toy purging. Last minute shopping for stocking stuffers.

* I have a lot of wrapping to do. A really lot. Usually, I like to leave some for Christmas Eve but I'm going to have to do some of it before the big night. We decided to do a fancy family dinner for Christmas Eve this year - crab legs, beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, sparkling grape juice - yum. I'm thinking Christmas dishes, my favorite red tablecloth and candlelight. Then some reading and it's off to bed for our excited kiddos.

* On Christmas morning, no one is allowed downstairs until I go down and get the camcorder ready. The girls are allowed to look at their presents when they come down but no touching! We open our stockings first, while the coffee and cinnamon buns are warming in the kitchen. At the bottom of each stocking is an orange. Everyone goes through their stockings, taking time to enjoy each item and the takes their orange to the table. Breakfast of fresh cinnamon buns and oranges while Josh reads Luke chapter 2 awaits them. Then it begins! We open gifts one person at a time, slowly, happily celebrating our gifts to each other.

Enjoy your family and your traditions as the day approaches. It goes by so fast! All of the sudden we will be talking about getting schedules and eating habits back in line with normal. I aim to enjoy every second of it while Christmas is here.