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Christmas in the Rearview Mirror 2014

Ding dong merrily on high in heaven the bells are ringing.

Ding dong verily the Sky(e) is riv’n with everyone singing…..

Ding dong, Gloria…..“….How was your Christmas?”

Our Christmas was a blast. With all the planning and preparing and anticipation that go into Christmas time, ours went off without a hitch. We had my parents and Aunt Sue in to stay at our lil’ B&B and I have to tell you everything just fell in place. We could not have asked for a warmer, more festive Christmas.

Oh, and the smiles? There were lots of smiles for my girls and family.

Wanna see?

Christmas actually began for us on Christmas Eve as our girls got a surprise box delivered that day from a very special grandmother and her daughter.

Christmas came early from a very special Grandma and daughter...

The girl’s tore into it and loved everything they received!

Thank you!!

Thank you!!

 Including some reindeer food.

No, no, they did not eat the reindeer food sent to feed Santa’s team. They sprinkled it in the lawn later, a now annual event at our house thanks to this very special family.

The annual Reindeer feeding, leaving Reindeer food on the lawn in hopes they stay longer.

The annual Reindeer feeding, leaving Reindeer food on the lawn in hopes they stay longer.

It is always fun to see our girls caught up in the Christmas excitement, and Dylan left a trail of reindeer food right to our front door in anticipation for our midnight visitor. 

All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth

All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth

Santa did not disappoint this year either! Here is a glimpse of the load Santa left before gobbling up the Christmas cookies, egg nog, chocolate and even more egg nog… CIMG0099

And so our girls went to town dismantling the Christmas packages and seeing if Santa met their ever changing Christmas wish list…. 

Her new computer watch camera microphone game thingy that also tells time

Her new computer watch camera microphone game thingy that also tells time

It was a holiday created for the movie Frozen and the girls were not spared ANY Frozen paraphernalia what so ever. More on this later….

And Christmas begins with a Frozen bath towel. Meav, of Celtic Woman looks impressed!

And Christmas included a Frozen bath towel. Meav, of Celtic Woman looks impressed!

Afterwards the living room looked something like this…..

Santa Clause residue all over the living room...

Santa Clause residue all over the living room…

But somebody still wasn’t happy….


So Grandma and Grandpa and the great Aunt Sue brought out their Christmas offerings for our girls…

 skye thank you

I don’t think they were very disappointed!

Family practically out did Santa! PLUS Frozen wrapping paper.

Family practically out did Santa! PLUS Frozen wrapping paper.

I have a new board game!

I have a new board game!

"Hello Kitty ear muffs and Olaf talking snowman, oh yea"

“Hello Kitty ear muffs and Olaf talking snowman, oh yea!”

The Frozen update?

When Mom put all the clothes away (and they got some clothes!) she counted 18 tops for Skylar that had a Frozen princess on them, or somehow otherwise Frozen related. I am guessing Dylan had a similar tally… 

Princess Elsa hat with braids

Princess Elsa hat with braids


A Christmas bomb went off

A Christmas bomb went off

After all the Christmas present unwrapping we settled down for the traditional egg nog French Toast breakfast.

Egg nog  French toast breakfast with warm butter pecan syrup and assorted fruit toppings

Family French Toast breakfast with warm butter pecan syrup and assorted fruit toppings

Even Chumley enjoyed some egg nog Christmas morning! CIMG0128

…although he too stayed in his pajamas all morning

We hope you and yours had an enjoyable Christmas too! There are still plenty of cookies and chocolate kisses here for you, whenever you get a chance to drop by.

What was your best Christmas memory this year?

How many Frozen clothes did you get?

Use me. Abuse me…the Christmas way

It is time for a Use Me and Abuse Me post. This is the idea I wanted to steal from Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride. She is a very creative blogger and is always finding new and fun ways to interact with her readers.

So what is Use Me and Abuse Me Day?

This is a Christmasy way to share some of your favorite things and meet and / or pick up a few new friends and subscribers. Abuse me by bringing ONE link to your favorite Christmas post. If you bring two, you will end up in Spam Prison. Simply pick your fav Christmas post you think everyone will enjoy reading. You have some by now, don’t you? Everyone has a favorite. After pasting it, write a small introduction to entice  some readers to your blog.

If you have a favorite Christmas video or song, go for it!

Feel free to introduce yourself to others in my comment section. Say, “Hello!” You all seem pretty cool! I want stop by your place and check yours out. I think some others will too.

Subscribe to a few blogs and they may subscribe to yours. Tell them, “Susie and Andy sent you”.

I have already started this Christmas party off by sharing my two favorite Christmas posts, “Raise a Glass” and Kids Just Don’t Understand“.

Adding some favorite Christmas songs might be the orchestral version of Carol Of the Bells. If you enjoy that song here is a wonderful version of it:

That song always stops me in my tracks. A few of my non-traditional favorite Christmas songs might be the 80’s girl group, the Waitresses, and ‘Christmas Wrappings‘ about a young lady finding the Christmas Spirit in a busy A&P store. ..

Come on, you gotta like that one (my wife hates it too). Another, Silver Bells by the Roches, is found on Martha Stewart’s Christmas CD. I liked it so much I used it for the background music to Dylan’s second Christmas story:

They grow so fast! Finally, being the beach bum that I am, here is a Coastal Christmas fav. warming into my heart each year; Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas Island:

But now that is way too much about me. Howabout you?

Let the virtual Christmas party begin! Come on in.  Socialize! Mingle with the other guests! Every sumptuous entree and decadent dessert offered here is for your virtual pleasure. Indulge! The drinks are on the house, although they are at my house.  Everything is calorie and guilt free! Except for me, for shamelessly pirating Susie’s ‘Abuse Me’ post.

Thank you Susie! Be sure to check out the party at Susi’s blog. You may never leave! Have a Merry Christmas everyone and please drop off and unwrap some of your Christmas gifts for everyone below…

How to go to college for FREE!

FIRST, for some background seasonal music click on Ding Dong, a song with possibly the best carol collaboration of beautiful voices ever. My favorite!

So you have a gifted child and you wish the best for him or her. They are strides ahead of other toddlers their same age! How can you send your child to the best schools as cheaply as possible?

Play the lottery!

I am kidding of course. But there is one way to send your kids to college as close to free as could be.

What if you invest money for their education? This money is earmarked for tuition, books, room and board, even computer programs. Then what if every year, all the money you spent investing for their education you got back? Every dime of it! AND, if those contributions grew while it was invested (hopefully) you can use that growth tax free as well? Wouldn’t that be like going to college for free?

That is what state sponsored college saving 529 plans do. You can make regular contributions to the plan and then get the total amount of your yearly contributions off your state taxes at the end of the year. Earnings grow tax free as well.

Each state has a different 529 plan so you will have to look into the plan administered by your state. Here is a place to start to find the plan in your state. Want to know more about the details and benefits of college saving 529 plans look here.

There are several types of custodial accounts for minors. Bank custodial accounts and UGMA’s are a few others. Each has their own set of rules as to who controls the money and what it can be used for. But if you want to invest money specifically for an education (and it can be spent on private schools before college as well), state sponsored 529 plans are the best way to go.

Have two Baby Einsteins? (you both were geniuses, right?) The money that is not used by one child in one 529 account can be transferred to another child for educational purposes as well. Like I said each plan is different so do some research and get started. If you have any questions please ask!

Next week I will make suggestions on the best way to invest that money in the 529 plans.

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