Christmas Recap

Christmas comes and goes so quickly in the Bradshaw household. Through the hustle and bustle of trying to finish Christmas shopping and starting a new job (post on that to come later), we just felt really busy. And not to mention it took a toll on our house. Talk about messy.

We also didn’t feel entirely in the Christmas spirit, well I didn’t, and there was so much going on that I just didn’t feel like putting up any decorations. Frankly, I hate to take them out, just to have to put them all away again. It wasn’t until our first snow fall, or dump, that made me feel a little bit more in the spirit of Christmas.



We decided that this year we would put up our pre-lit artificial tree, sans ornaments. Since we weren’t hosting Christmas this year we didn’t find it necessary to go through all the work. Talk about Scrooges! We did notice how sad it seemed and quickly added Candy Canes.



Right before Christmas we had my brothers over to celebrate my younger brother’s 25th birthday! We were supposed to celebrate with my parents but my Mom ended up coming down with a bad cold and had to cancel. We all enjoyed Butternut Squash Risotto, Parmesan Chicken and some Funfetti cake.

Younger brother Rick, with friend Kristin and boyfriend Hans.


Niece Lainey with Uncle Rick’s funny birthday present.

Next came Christmas Eve, which we always spend with my side of the family. My older brother Mark, and his wife, Georgia, hosted the get together. The menu consisted of buffalo chicken dip and shrimp for appetizers; a beef roast, cheesy potatoes, coleslaw, and other goodies for dinner; and lots of treats, including a double layer pumpkin pie for dessert. We were stuffed. And luckily, the beef pot roast Mark picked up happened to be an expensive prime rib roast. Needless to say we all benefitted from his error this Christmas. It was really good.

Hostess Georgia, SIL.
Lainey with Pop Pop, my Dad Jim.
Mark preparing the goods.
Sandahl Christmas Tree.

And we did go in reverse order because presents came before dinner this year. I will keep this part short and just highlight with some pictures. The best part of Christmas this year was it being Lainey’s first Christmas! Although she doesn’t understand what Christmas is, it was still a lot of fun. Worst part about Christmas was my Mom being too sick to attend. Luckily with technology we were able to FaceTime with her.

Justin with Christmas Ale. Shipped from Colorado from a friend of ours at the Brewery.


Helping his daughter with her first Christmas present.
Helping Mom watch Christmas.
Dad got his own DSLR.
Lainey loves Christmas.
No words.

IMG_0304 IMG_0307 IMG_0339And on Christmas Day we spent our time with Justin’s family. We took a lot less pictures, and really focused on playing with so many of our nieces and nephews. I hope you felt as blessed as we did this holiday season!



The Kitchen House

I have to admit, I am still not used to being in a book club yet. I am 2 for 3 for books that I have not finished before we met to discuss. I am struggling. There is something to be said about reading books at your own pace instead of having a deadline. However, I love being a part of a book club so I am going to keep trying.

For December’s book club we read The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom. We also decided to do a cookie exchange this month since we were approaching the holidays at a very rapid pace. Since I was not done with the book, but I was really enjoying it, I was hesitant about going to book club. I didn’t want the end to be discussed and blow it for me. However, my friend Kali was hosting, she lives the closest to me, and I had just spent the day before making a massive amount of cookies.

So, I frantically read as much as I could after work, was still over 150 pages from the end, but decided to suck it up and go. There had been a snow storm the day before so the roads weren’t great, but I was taking it slow. Half way there I realized my cookies were still sitting on my kitchen counter. Cripes. I had to decide…keep going on the slippery roads even though I am not done with the book, AND I forgot my cookies? I decided to throw in the towel and turn around.


Although I was disappointed I didn’t attend book club, especially after I found out wine and schnapps were served,  I really enjoyed getting to the end of the book without any spoilers.

So, what did I think?

Every time someone has mentioned the book to me they have compared it to The Help, a book that takes place during the civil rights movement and chronicles life as an African-American woman working for a white family. The Kitchen House, however, takes place in the late 1700s during slavery. A young, Irish girl who is an orphan ends up living on a tobacco plantation with the slaves. Her world becomes complicated as she enters the white people’s world, but she wants to remain with her “family” and doesn’t fully understand why the color of her skin prevents her from doing so.

As you can imagine the book definitely had some dark aspects to it. Slavery in general is a dark part of America’s history, and I am not particularly fond of “dark” literature, but that is life, and you can’t avoid that. The book was well written and continually kept me engaged and connected to the characters. If you are looking for a book to read, I would definitely recommend it. Especially since it does challenge you to think about our nation’s history (although it is a work of fiction) and humanity in general.

Next up…Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn! And I am happy to report I am already done with it!!! Yay! I won’t be doing a book review on it until after I meet with the book club in January. I would like to be able to include some of the clubs thoughts as well.

Let me know if you have or end up reading The Kitchen House. I’d love to hear what you thought about it.



Heavy Hearts

The whole country was stunned when they heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. There are so many unanswered questions, and I find myself constantly thinking about it. How could someone take so many innocent lives, so many innocent children? Unfortunately, we will never understand what happened. All we can do is keep the families affected in our thoughts and prayers.

As I drove to the mall today to finish up some Christmas shopping I felt a little selfish. I thought of the families who won’t be spending Christmas with their son, daughter, mother or father ever again.

So, as I shopped for my little nieces, nephews, and god children I felt grateful for having the opportunity to do so. Give extra hugs and kisses this holiday season and every day thereafter.