Christmas Cantata

Had a wonderful evening at Lois’ church this evening for their Christmas cantata. She, her boyfriend Jerry (that’s him in the red sweater below) and the rest of the choir have been rehearsing a lot for it. In addition to the choir and their multimedia program, two groups of little kids played the bells and their was a duet by some tweens and the organist did a couple of solos.

Afterwards of course there were goodies in the fellowship hall. I helped assemble six dozen ham biscuits while Lois made pumpkin dip- who knew that a can of pumpkin, vanilla pudding and cool whip could make a dip??? There were loads of tasty treats but the big seller was the pizza from Domino’s-it wasn’t even shaped like a Christmas tree. 😢

The Mazda is all packed (including country ham, Congo squares, and sun dried plum cake which Mike made today) and ready for Mike and me to start our Christmas road trip tomorrow which will get us to New Orleans to Mike’s brother and his family on the 22nd and to Charleston to see my family on the 27th. First stop is Richmond, Kentucky to see a former client and great friend, Jane. After that we will head to St. Louis, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Little Rock, and Jefferson, MS.

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Our afternoon’s work.

Making Christmas cookies is much more fun than shoveling snow. 😂 Especially with a glass of wine!

Mike made these cookies several years ago after finding a handwritten card in our recipe folder.

It was titled “Grandma J’s” so he tried to surprise me by making my grandmother’s cookies. But it was him who was surprised when I reminded him that both my Grandmothers were named Margaret!

So while we don’t know who she is/was or how her recipe got in our stuff, we do know she makes/made a really good cookie. The cookie is basically a shortbread dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked in a slow oven. They only spread a little and are crumbly and delicious. They have become tradition for us and for several friends who also bake.

Next up some new cookies George introduced us to….Forgotten Cookies. You mix them, put in the oven and cut it off. The next morning they are done!

Anyone want to bet that they are so forgotten that we preheat the oven tomorrow morning and burn them?😂

Snow!

Wow, woke up (in Danville Va at Mike’s Mom’s) at 8 am to a blanket…it was predicted to start at 5 am and to keep on until this afternoon. Looks like a great day to make Christmas cookies!

Budget Update.

WhooHoo, just reconciled our budget to reflect actuals for October and November and we are currently $10,045 UNDER!!!

So unless we really blow it in December it looks like we will have made it through the first year of retirement safely….only four more to go before we can stop worrying about it so much….at least according to most of the retirement cautionary tales I’ve read. Most of them advise on being financially careful the first five years so that you don’t reduce your savings so much that your investments can’t continue to grow. Even with the recent Trump downturn in the market, it appears that we will end the year with right at or slightly more than what we had guesstimated…which means if the other estimates remain true we won’t run out of money until Mike is 100!

And so it ends.

Somewhat of a change from our March 3rd departure picture (below) and our return last night in Raleigh (above) which ended the first part of our retirement adventure.

We just got back to Danville thanks to Lois (and her boytoy Jerry) who picked us up this morning.

We will be in Danville until December 17th when we will leave on a road trip through Kentucky and Arkansas headed to New Orleans for Christmas with Mike’s brother’s family followed by going to Charleston to visit with my brother and his family. We will be back in Raleigh for New Year’s Eve.

After that we don’t know what our next adventure is going to be but hopefully we will figure out our plans for 2019 during our Christmas road trip.

I intend to post some summary thoughts about our trip as well as a comparison review of our two transatlantic cruises in the coming days.

In the meantime, best wishes for a great Holiday season!