Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Fork in the Road...

 photo Fork-In-the-road_zpscpu4qdxg.jpg

I've come to the proverbial fork in the road. 

I love this blog. I've made this blog {and the location before it} my home on the web since 2008. I have shared my life, my family, my thoughts for 7 years here. 

But, my life has taken different turns since then. I went back to college. I got my bachelors degree in Psychology. I started grad school. And the childhood dream of mine to be an author keeps resurfacing. 

Between the things I have to do {take care of my family, home, etc} and the things I want to do {write a novel or two or three...}, my time is scarce. I enjoyed writing here for the last month on a more regular basis. 

But, this isn't where my heart is anymore. 

So, after a little thought, I have decided to leave writing here for awhile. There is no time frame on this. I will still complete my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me on this blog. I will be doing Wednesday Hodgepodge and Monthly Goals from my author blog. I will write here if I feel like I need to share something that I do not feel appropriate for my author blog. 

For those that wish to follow me over there, here is a brief run down of what I share over there. I share poems or writing prompts that I write. I share progress on my novel and other writing projects. I share some about myself through writing. I do not share much, if anything, about my kids. I do keep them out of my "author" life and may mention them in passing. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And, Another Christmas Tag...

 photo xmas_zpsnhcizviz.png

1. Holiday plans for this year?

    Same as every year. Nothing. We don't live near family. We don't travel to see them and vice versa. It's just us and our Christmas dinner.

2. What is your favorite Christmas color?

    I am really liking the new trend of blue, white and silver.

 photo holiday_mantel_ides_hsc_fabulous_k_1_zpsztxesxjd.jpg

3. Do you like to stay in your PJs or dress up for Christmas?

    Since we stay home all day, I can stay in my PJs all day if I want.

4. If you could only buy one person a present this year who would it be?

    My kids. I guess I could find something that could be a joint present.

5. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?

     Not from scratch but we did build one from a kit last year.

 photo Iphone Photos 101_zpsfss8m3wt.jpg
{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2014}

6. What do you like to do on your Christmas break?

     I don't have much of a Christmas Break, per say. But, I when I was younger, I liked to relax and read. Now, my holidays consist of shopping and cooking.

7. Any Christmas wishes?

    Health and happiness for my family. That's it. But, there are a few things that I wouldn't mind having...

8. Favorite Christmas smell?

    Baked goods like cookies.

9. Favorite holiday drink?

    I don't really have one. I don't like eggnog. What else qualifies as a holiday drink?

10. Candy cane or gingerbread men?

      Candy canes.

11.What is the weirdest gift you have ever received?

      Oh... I have no idea. I don't know if I have ever received a weird gift.

12. Have you ever made a snowman?

       Yes, I sure have. They weren't pretty but they were snowmen just the same.

13. What is most important to you about the holidays?

       Family and Jesus.

14. Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?
       Kind of. I make New Years Goals. These are usually things I want to work towards.

15. What makes the holidays special for you?

       My Kids. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our Christmas Traditions

{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 1999}

My family was never big on traditions when I was growing up. The only real "tradition" we had was that me and my mom would watch White Christmas together. Other than that there wasn't any real traditions. 

I always wanted to have traditions with my family but in all honesty, I sucked at starting traditions and keeping them. 

But lately I have been thinking of ways to change all that. 

When my oldest child was born, I had a Baby's First Christmas Ornament. I couldn't tell you where it is now because everything I used to own is still in storage in another state. I can't even remember if I had one when my second oldest was born. I have searched the internet and found sites where personalized ornaments from the past could be bought. I know it's really crappy of me to do it this late in the game, but hey, I want the personalized ornaments for my kids. When I move into a bigger place and get all my old stuff from storage, I plan to fix the fact that I didn't have ornaments for each of my kids' First Christmases. 

In 2013 we learned about a thing called Speedway Christmas held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We went once as a family and then again with my brother, the girl he was dating and her 3 kids. I really enjoyed the lights display. We missed 2014 because of vehicle problems. Then we went again this year. It has definitely changed a lot and wasn't worth the money we paid for it (here is my Yelp review; it's listed under Carolina Christmas). It is a tradition I want to keep but it depends on how the lights display is next year whether we continue or not. 

 photo IMG_2004_zpsktd8eaui.jpg

{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

I learned about the Christmas Eve Box on Pinterest. The idea is that the child gets a gift box on Christmas Eve with new pajamas, a movie, a book, popcorn, and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. Then the child puts on their new pajamas and the family sits around and reads the book and watches the movie while eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. We began this tradition last year. I bought each child a new pair of pajamas and then the book and movie were to share. I bought the mixed popcorn tins for us to share. This year we will be doing basically the same concept. I bought them all new pajamas and a Christmas Book to share. I also checked some Christmas books out from the library for us all to read. We will be getting movies off of Amazon Instant Video. We will still have popcorn. We are debating over hot chocolate or making chocolate/strawberry milk (It's supposed to be 70* over Christmas here!) 

This is really all of the traditions we have. I have wanted to add more but just haven't yet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Tag

 photo The-Christmas-Tag-1_zpsycuoqkxc.jpg

1. What is your favorite Christmas film?
     My favorite "Christmas" movie has always been White Christmas. That was a tradition I had with my mom where we would watch it together. I also love some of the classics like It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th Street. I like To Grandmother's House We Go starring the Olsen Twins as well as The Santa Clause. I like the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas and of course, Rudolph and Frosty. I also consider Home Alone 1 & 2 as Christmas movies so add them to the list as well. {Note: I did a post on Holiday Movies in 2009 on my old blog. It's hard to read because I lost access to it. I'm still mad, Google. I still haven't seen the two I said I wanted to see then. Doh!}

2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
    I probably did as a child. I really don't remember any as a teen or adult. But, I don't like snow so it would be a repressed memory anyway.

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?

     As a child, I went to either my maternal grandparents' or my uncle's for breakfast. This was a time just for eating and socializing; no presents. For lunch I went to my paternal grandparents'. Then for dinner we went back to my maternal grandparents'.

     When I had my oldest daughter, we had to change it up a little. At first, my in-law's would have us over for breakfast and then they changed it to in between lunch and dinner for a dessert type thing and presents. Now, we live out of state and don't travel back to our homestate for the holidays so it's just us alone on the holidays.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

     I'm not a fan of Christmas music. However, I like Carol of the Bells and Silver Bells.

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

    I allow the kids one present on Christmas Eve and that is the "Christmas Eve Box". It's a new set of pajamas for each kid as well as a Christmas movie (although this year we are getting the movie through Amazon Instant Video) and a Christmas book. Then we have hot chocolate and popcorn and watch Christmas movies.

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

    You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. And then Rudolph.

(I sang the intro to Rudolph when I typed that)

7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

     We already did the Speedway Christmas thing. We are doing the Christmas Eve Box.

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

    I had a real tree once. Never again.
9. What is your all – time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

    Reese's Peanut Butter Trees. And no, I have no complaint about the shape.

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

      I think we all like receiving gifts even just a little. But, I prefer to give better.

11. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

       I have pick just one? I loved my Polaroid Camera I got when I was about 7 or so. I thought it was the best thing ever. I have gotten several stereos during my pre-teen and teenage years. I loved the TV and VCR I got when I was 10. My Letterman's jacket when I was 14. My Hope Chest. I got a ring every year when I was a teenager. My own phone line when I was 12 or 13. See, it's really hard to choose a "best" gift.

12. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

      Hawaii?? Remember, I don't like snow. Or maybe, Disney World.

13. Are you a pro present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?
      I'm a perfectionist so I mastered gift wrapping before I could drive.

14. Most memorable Holiday moment?

       Probably my oldest daughter's first Christmas. That was the first time I truly understood Christmas as something other than being about me.

15. What made you realize the truth about Santa?

       I found a bunch of gifts in my mom's closet when I was around 8. I asked who they were for and she told me my cousin. I got them on Christmas morning from Santa. I figured it out then. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Man Behind the Blog {Vol. IV}

 photo themanbehindtheblog_zpsrzbgdvtk.jpg

Once a month, I {try to} participate in a monthly link up hosted by Heavens to Betsy and According to Laura Jean. In the Man Behind the Blog link up, Chris has a chance to answer questions so that others can get to know him as well.

1. What's on your Christmas list this year?

Really? Nothing. As I've gotten older, Christmas has become more about my kids than me. 
2. Did you believe in Santa as a child? Do you have any funny Santa stories?

I believed in Santa until I was about 8. I don't have any funny Santa stories. 
3. What is a Christmas tradition you hope to pass on someday?

I didn't have many traditions growing up. Crystal is the one starting the traditions for our little family, so I hope that they stick with our kids and they carry them on. 
4.  Do you open presents on Christmas morning or a different time?

The kids are allowed one gift on Christmas Eve. That is usually their new pajamas. Then we have hot chocolate and popcorn and watch Christmas movies. Any other presents are for Christmas morning. 
5.  What is your favorite Christmas song?  Movie? 

I despise Christmas music. Absolutely despise. My favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone 1 and 2. I have always liked them. 

And now some pictures of Chris from Christmases past. 
{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 1999}

{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 1999}
{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2005}
   photo DSCF0267-vi_zps1abhb9sf.jpg 
{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2010}