Tuesday, December 30

Christmas in Iowa

Okay, so I should go to bed but my nose is stuffed up now so blogging is easier than sleeping. And anyway, it's about time I posted pics of that Christmas trip to Iowa that seemed more like a visit to the North Pole........so here goes..........

You may remember that I was a bit blue earlier in December thinking how this would be a sad Christmas with my dad gone. I figured out a way to have Christmas be a bit different, not so sad and something my mom would really enjoy. She's always talked about going to a hotel for Christmas and that's what we did! We went to the CountryInnAndSuites and it was very nice and very comfortable. It was a little nervewracking getting there through all the blowing snow but we made it. She was given a great room with a good view out her window (we had a view of a fence). That's her in the picture with Jacob, my grandson, and her great grandson. He's opening his card from her and it had money in it. He was very excited to get a twenty dollar bill. :-) And then he didn't want to part with it when we went shopping. :-)

To make things a little festive, I added some touches to her room with Dollar Store and Thrift Shop finds and a couple of things I made. I tucked ribbon candies in a fancy box, bought some little games for us all to play...........that's my husband trying to beat the Pyramid game. Several tries later and he succeeded.
I made a make-up bag for her and placed a pretty Christmas towel in the bath, set a mug and hot chocolate mixes out for her, and added a string of bells to the TV and so on. It was fun to do and she enjoyed it all.

We ventured out to do a little last minute shopping and then we all went to Hickory House, a really good place to eat in Fort Dodge. It was just a couple blocks from the motel so we didn't have far to go. Only one other couple was dining that night. The weather was just too cold and too snowy for anyone to venture out in!!
We had great food and enjoyed remembering that it was my dad's favorite place to eat. He loved their barbecued ribs!! Back at the motel, we had time to visit and look at photos and relax. It was so nice because someone else had cooked and there was no clean-up and someone else was going to be doing the laundry when we left!

Collette (our daughter) was putting the finishing touches on that cross stitch piece for my mom (it's the one she was working on at our retreat) and had worked on it all afternoon while we were out shopping. And she finished it and my mom/her grandma loved it!!!

We exchanged our gifts over hot chocolate, cookies and other goodies in the dining room of the motel. There were little gifts, things we found at the thrift shop or something special that was perfect for each person. I loved what Collette found for me - a boxed set of Christmas carols on parchment paper, really pretty and if I had been thinking, I would have taken a picture of it for this post. Here's the little cutie, I wrapped for my mom.......a snowman creamer by Pfaltzgraf that I was going to fill with some flowers from the local florist but the weather problems kept me from getting there. I found it at the thrift shop, of course (I will reveal my source - there are four great thrift shops in the Mankato area so if you live in Minnesota, check it out).

Sunday dawned with more blowing snow and even colder temps than Saturday but we could still smile by the warm fire at the Comfort Inn. We had a great time and my mom is looking forward to doing it again!!

Our drive back to Minnesota was slow going but we arrived safely, although tired. I had to get up the next morning and get going on mailing out my cards and finishing my goodie plates. If you recall, I felt they needed fudge, so I whipped up a batch.
Unfortunately, I forgot to add the last cup of sugar so the fudge was chocolatey and rich and also soft. So what do you do with fudge that is to soft to put on the plates. If you're lucky, you'll have little cupcake liners with holly on them that have been in the cupboard for at least ten years and when the fudge was cut into tiny pieces, it worked just great! I finished putting the plates together and delivered them all on Christmas Eve morning, much to the delight of several neighbors! (Hi, Kathy!)
That's all for now. Nose is less stuffy so think I can sleep. Family photos of Christmas Eve and Day coming Tuesday afternoon. :-)
Night all!

P.S. That's one of several trees in the picture that I kept meaning to take a picture of.......it's my "Cookie Cutter Tree" and has about a dozen small cookie cutters hanging from the branches all ready to use in cookie baking. :-)


Kritta22 said...

Oh my gosh! What great pictures and yummy food! Life is good!

Anonymous said...

I've always thought a family 'retreat' at a hotel around Christmas time would be fun so everyone could hang out together a lot. Hub's family does that for their annual summer reunion, it lasts a weekend and everyone has opportunities to visit lots of people. Mankato - never been there but heard of plenty of times on the "Little House" series. Back when I was watching it regularly I wanted to go to to Minnesota and look up the area where the Wilders lived but never did.
Sending happy new year wishes to you and your family.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

Sandi, your mom is a beautiful woman! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas and make it special for everyone! Good for you.

Hope you are feeling better.


W. Latane Barton said...

Christmases with Moms are just the best. Your Mom sure is a pretty lady

Spanish Princess said...

nds like your Family had a great holiday! I look forward to your adventures next year!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

What a lovely lady your mother is. How wonderful to spend quality time like that with her and as a family. Such wonderful memories. My dad always gave the kids $20.00 bills. Oh how they loved that!

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