Friday, December 28, 2012


I was more excited about Christmas this year than I have been in a long time.  The main reason was because of a couple of gifts I was giving to my kids and my husband's family.  I thought I would write about them here.

When my kids were little I decided to keep "baby journals" for each one of them.  I bought blank books and would write down funny things they said, or important times in their lives, when they broke their arm or leg, etc.  With some of my kids I was more diligent than others and I regret that, but what can you do?  As time went by and my kids grew up and these books got older, I realized that I should type them up so that they would be better preserved and also in case they couldn't read my handwriting.  My mother had made me and my brothers and sisters a journal from letters she had written to her mother which had been saved, so I also used that journal to add more things to their books.

Several years ago I began typing these books up, in order to give them to my kids some Christmas.  I have five children, so this was sort of a big job.  I got all 3 girls books done and half of my first son's book and then I went to Ireland for a year and a half.  I took the floppy disks with me to finish them there, not realizing that my laptop didn't have a floppy drive.  So after being home from Ireland for 2 years, I finally decided to get back to typing.  I took the floppy disk to Kinkos and had them transfer it to a cd.  Then about August or September I started typing them again.  I finished them about the first of November.  As I typed, I decided that instead of just giving each one their own book, that they each needed each other's books.  As I had typed, I realized that even though the story was in one person's book, the story was about their other brother's and sister's too.  So I put all their books together and made 6 copies -one for each of them and one for me.

Last March my husband's mother died.  She was one of the best cooks I have ever known.  While we were going through her things, my sisters-in-law and I decided that we needed to take her recipes and type up a cookbook of all her recipes for all of us and for all of her grandkids.  I volunteered to type it up, so in November after I finished typing the baby books, I started typing the cookbooks in earnest.  (I had typed up a few recipes earlier, before I realized that I really needed to be typing the baby books first.)  I typed almost every single night until my hands got tired.  I made 13 copies of that cookbook - one for each of my husband's sisters, one for me, one for each of my mother-in-law's 8 grandchildren and one for her best friend.

With both books, I put the pages in plastic sleeves and put them in 3-ring notebooks.  On my kid's baby book journals, I printed pictures of them and on the cookbook I put a picture of my mother-in-law (probably one of the last pictures taken of her) holding her coconut cream pie that had just come out of the oven.

Both of these projects were very satisfying to do - labors of love, so to speak.  I really enjoyed putting them together, but I enjoyed more the reactions of those receiving them.  It made it a great Christmas....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


You can say all you want about the postal service, but I had a great experience today there.  I went to mail a package for Christmas to my sister who lives in China.  Even though I had looked up International Shipping several times on the internet on the USPS site, and had written several things down, I was still not prepared when I got to the post office.  I didn't have a blue or black pen, only purple ink, I had no clue which customs form to fill out - so I got two and filled out both,(after borrowing the USPS pen)  and I didn't even know how to fill out certain parts of the customs form.  No problem.  When I got up to the counter, the postal service employee was more than happy to show me what to fill out, gave me suggestions of what to put down, gave me hints on how to simplify the information, and when I signed in the wrong place pointed out the right place and told me not to worry about it but cross out the other signature.  He even put tape all the way around the package so it wouldn't come open, since it was heavy.  When I left, I thanked him for his help - and - he even wished me a "Merry Christmas!"  Not "Happy Holidays".  Thanks USPS!!  Merry Christmas!!