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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas: a week in review

Its been one busy week.  Did you all have yourselves a Merry little Christmas?

The Friday before Christmas I got to hang out with my beautiful friend Beth in Chicago for a day.  

We braved the yucky cold and drizzly weather and made our way around downtown Chicago.  We ate at the Walnut Room, shopped at some pretty great stores (you know who you are Crate and Barrel), and ran for our lives so we would not miss our train.  Picture me - arms full of shopping bags, booking it 0.6 miles through downtown Chicago.  But we made it and we laughed for a good while after that.

Oh and I finally got to see The Bean! 
I had never been there before, which is pretty surprising. So we had our obligatory Bean photo shoot.

The next day I made my way back home and my mom and I made Sea Foam candy.  Have you ever had it? It is a Christmas tradition around the Kercher household.  We always used to buy it from South Bend Chocolate Company until the price got pretty ridiculous.  $18.99 for one pound.  And our family needs a lot of pounds.  So a couple years ago I decided to find a recipe and see if we could make it ourselves.  We could and we did!  It was every bit as good as the stuff we were used to getting from SBCC. We made about 8 pounds this year.  And we spent maybe $30 on chocolate.  Are you calculating the savings?... they are pretty significant!  Here is the link for the recipe we used. It takes several hours - mainly because we double dip them in chocolate.  But you can use that as an opportunity to watch your favorite christmas movie. Or instead you can watch a war movie like we did, Red Dawn.  :-|

That is what happens when the men have control of the remote.  We asked for a Christmas movie and instead we got a North Korean invasion.  And the boys got a lot of  "What just happened?" and "Well, why did he do that?"  

There's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.  Oh well, at least I've got some Sea Foam!

Moving on.  Michael and I enjoyed Christmas services at our own church and with my family.  We had the Christmas service for our church the Sunday before Christmas.  I love how they do a time for family communion.  It is such a sweet tradition and one that has become special to me.  Then on Christmas Eve we went with my family to Midnight mass (at 10:30).  I always love this service.  The music is beautiful and they do a wonderful job decorating the church. 
Then it was Christmas and that meant presents in the morning with my family and with Michael's mom in the afternoon.  It was really good to be able to FaceTime with Michael's sister Jenelle and her boyfriend Jr who are living in Las Vegas and were not able to make it home for Christmas.  We missed having them here but are super thankful for technology that can shorten the distance a little.  Christmas night I made the first real meal in our home.  What a special way to spend our christmas evening - pork chops and Elf.  I can't think of anything better!  It was special to have Michael's mom there with us to share in such a milestone.

The next day we had our annual get together with some of our college friends that live in the area.  This has been the 5th year that we have congregated together for Christmas festivities.  Each year it has looked a little different but the constant aspect of it is that we gather at our friend's Grant's family's home.  It is a beautiful 3-story Victorian home.  Its so idyllic to spend time there around Christmas.  But this year we decided to do a progressive dinner. Drinks at Kara's, Appetizers at the Blough's, Salad at Lindsey's, and Soup and Dessert at Grant's.

It was a fun excuse to get our house put together since we had only been living there for about 5 days at that point.
During our party we had a "gift" exchange.  Instead of buy each other physical gifts, Lindsey suggested we should donate to a organization in each other's name.  We all were randomly assigned a name and we chose an organization/cause to donate to in that person's name.  Something that reflected the person's own heart and interests.  I loved this idea! Kara had our names and put money toward a housing project at an orphanage in Tanzania, knowing our heart for anything home.  She also donated toward Compassion International and leadership development, knowing of our love for discipleship.  Thanks Kara! You sure do get us!  It was a really sweet way to honor our friends and refocus during the busy holiday season.  

Michael and I did not exchange gifts this year.  We have already been given so much in 2013 with our home.  We are so thankful. I can't believe we are finally here! Living in our year long project! You've got a lot of living up to 2014!

How was your Christmas?  Receive any extra special meaningful gifts? I'd love to hear about it.