Thursday, December 29, 2011

InstaFriday: Peace Out 2011

2011, it's been real.
Let's see what the last week has had in store....

We had Christmas.
Which included baking, crafting, wrapping, gifting, eating, and laughing....

Following Christmas was the Sharks game.
Pre-game, between periods, and time outs can be a little boring.
Christmas presents from your sister are way fun.
Also, Black North Face + Teal Scarf = Unofficial Sharks Fan Uniform.

Some Christmas gifts from friends...
And a garbage disposal repair (thanks Dad!).

A Cheesecake Factory Birthday Surprise...

And a few days of adventures....
(More to come on that).

Happy Last InstaFriday of the year!
Let's do this again in twenty-twelve!!

Linking up with Jeannett: 
life rearranged

Christmas Eve: A Snapshot

For Christmas this year, my parents gave me a fun new 35mm lens for my camera...
Which is awesome, since I dropped my camera with my 18-55mm lens about a week before, and it won't stay attached to the camera body any longer. (Major BOO, HISS).

It is also awesome because now I can take super fun pictures like this...

(Christmas light bokeh was all I ever dreamed of...)

And please check out the depth of field, while dad is checking out the iPad...

These girls were more than happy to model for my practice shots...
which clearly I need a lot more of....working on that whole focus thing....

This sweet fluff-nugget had spent two days straight with me baking, cleaning, wrapping, and visiting with friends. After a night of opening all our presents....let me rephrase, after a night where SHE opened all our presents for us....she lumped out under the Christmas tree. I am pretty sure that was a first...

Oh yes, I do need practice, but new lens = way fun.

Linking up over here:

Live, Love, TRAVEL

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hope San Mateo: Christmas 2011

You saw what happened before 10am HERE....

Praise God for what he did in and through our earthly families, an eight piece worship team, sweet children's voices, the story telling of a weird wise old shepherd in a bathrobe and slippers, and a clear Gospel message about the Savior that came to earth over two thousand years ago...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To Grandmother's House We Go (#grandmagifts2011)

Yeah, this week is gonna basically just be Christmas recap week.
Cause I have some good material.
Especially today.

I wish I could describe Christmas at my grandmother's house to you all.
It's somewhat one of those "you have to be there" kinds of things.
But also, "a picture is worth a thousand words" kinds of things.

Grandma's gifting style is eclectic, that is for sure.
In recent years, she has started gifting from catalogs.

Which means a ton of dog and cat blankets, jewelry, and figurines.
Two years ago, the best gift by far was a "cat for all seasons" figurine.
A life sized cat statue,
(which happened to be missing it's screw on tail)
With a costume for each month of the year.
My cousin Debbie was the lucky winner recipient.

Picture or it didn't happen?
You got it:

You see, in my family, everyone is divided into Dog People or Cat People.
And grandma gifts appropriately from there.
Obviously, me and my family are dog people.
Debbie and her family, are cat people.
And my cousin Janel and her family (next to Debbie above) used to be cat people - but got a giant german shepherd a few years ago, and now they are a wildcard. They could get cat dishes, or a dog calendar.
You never know!

Lined up on the dining room table for each of the ladies were two wrapped boxes. A long skinny one, and a more squarish shaped one.
Next to an old timey figurine.
At first I thought maybe each figurine was supposed to "look like" each of us.
But then realized there was no correlation.
(correlating would make too much sense, random is way more fun)
Grandma had us all line up for "matchies"
Which is exactly what it sounds like.

When a gift is declared matchies, you are NOT allowed to open the gift until everyone else in the "matchies" is ready.
And then GO is shouted.
If you're slow, you know what you are getting before you even get the paper ripped.
If you are fast, you get to give the first reaction.

This year, the ladies matchies were charm bracelets.
Dog or cat charm bracelets.
Mine had a dog, the word WOOF, a FIRE HYDRANT, a dog bone, and a dog house.
Putting them on immediately was mandatory.
I wore that sucker with pride.
It's cool if you're jeal.
I'll totally lend it to you, but you have to PROMISE to take good care of it.

After dining room table matchies were complete, we returned to our typical seats around the living room.

(Also, side note, my grandma has a living room and a family room - growing up all I had was a living room, so to me they are both living rooms - I always would still get....frustrated when grandma told me to get something in the living room...and ended up in the wrong place. The living room at her house is the fancy room, and as kids we weren't allowed in there much. It was all so confusing. Still is.)

And the rest of the gift opening commenced.
I don't think I could make this stuff up.

Brother-in-law is enjoying his third Christmas in the family, and I think he is slowly getting the hang of things.
Seashell bathroom accessories?
I mean, what more could the modern man want.

There were more matchies to be had.
Big, giant boxes in front of our gift piles showed that the four girl cousins needed to open at the same time.

EZ Glide Jewelry Box?
Totally can use that.
Kim, check.
Debbie, check.
Janel, check.
Laura....angel figurine.
Same sized box, different gift.
We can clearly see that she is the favorite here.

Purses are a gift staple as well.
I love the one I got, a dark teal color, and really cute.
Debbie....well she got a Chanel knock off.
Very cardboard-y.

Our conversation went like this...

CuppaKim: Hey me your purse....

(Debbie lifts it up slowly)

CuppaKim: Woooowww....That kinda looks like a Chanel!

Debbie: But not.

Debbie was also the lucky recipient of a "harf"
What? You have never heard of a harf?
Well that would be a hat scarf, obviously.
Leopard print.
And a cat blanket (Team Cat, remember)

But don't worry, I was not left out.
Leopard fleecy pj bottoms.
And a dog blanket, FTW.

Laura received a Dollar Tree best seller...

And Matt came home with the unanimously cousin voted best gift of Christmas 2011,
a gold lamé South Pole shirt. He's probably gonna wear it crossfit everyday this week.
Cause he's gangster like that.

And no, this is NOT a white elephant type gift exchange.
These are real gifts people!

Oh, but don't you worry.
Everyone makes sure grandma gets some goodies as well.
Including a framed picture of Mike Ditka.
She isn't exactly a fan of him.
20+ years ago she got an "autographed" poster from my uncle, which still hangs in her laundry room.
You can see how happy she is about this.

As presents began to wind down, the toys began to wind up.
No one in the room is younger than 17.
No, it was my own mother, and grandmother, who made sure all the noisemakers were going simultaneously.
Which basically caused everyone thirty and under to excuse themselves from the living family living room.

Somehow my aunt had escaped the madness, and I busted her in from of the TV in the....FAMILY room. Watching the NBA.
I think she is ecstatic that they are back.
Or just ecstatic to have a room to herself.

But don't worry, we all love our grandma more than anything.
She is a crazy amazing grandma to have.
Who spoils us rotten.
And gives us more cat and dog gear than any human could ever desire.
She takes us to dinner at iHop and refuses to let us pay. EVER.
She always had an open home, we were all babysat by her (and grandpa) for several years growing up.
There was always a hot meal ready to eat. And leftovers to take home.
A swimming pool to swim in.
And cartoons on the TV.

This was my 31st Christmas at Grandma's house - and even though the gifts get wilder and wilder, her giant heart and love for her family is always the same.

And if you have ever met my grandma, consider her family.
Because she considers YOU family.

To say we adore her would be an understatement.

You may not be jealous of the cat statues,
but you are more than welcome to be jealous that the lady who gives them isn't your grandma.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning: A Recap

This year, Christmas fell on a Sunday.
Which seems appropriate - celebrating Christ's birth, with the body of Christ.
But it can throw a wrench in the typical Christmas traditions for many families.
Thankfully, the Hope Family started an awesome tradition last year.
Serving breakfast to the men of Oakland.
Some homeless, some in recovery.
All needing the grace of God.
Just like the rest of us.

5:30am on Christmas Morning about eleven of us met at the "church parking lot"
(and by church, I mean school that we meet in - but on Sunday, it's a church)
grabbed a quick coffee at 7-11
(we may have a serious Starbucks obsession as a body, but coffee is coffee, and 7-11 is open)
And were Oakland bound.
Two more joined us on the road.
And by 6:15 we were at CTO doling out assignments.

My one goal was to not cook the bacon.
I love bacon, I mean, who doesn't? But I did not really want to smell like bacon on Christmas.
Last year, I cooked bacon street side Christmas morning, and for some reason my dog never left my side the rest of the day...weird.

I'll let you guess where I ended up.

Cause smelling like bacon is really not that big of a deal when you think about the grace of just having the opportunity to serve people in the name of Jesus.
Standing next to friends who are like family while you are doing it, is just icing on the cake.

Even Cindy & Ellen's mama Martha joined us. She cooked some mean scrambled eggs.
(Or pre-birds, or future birds, as I like to call them.)

After the bacon finally browned up, I got to head out of the kitchen and into the dining room, where a few of the girls were serving the men their breakfast.

Smiles and Merry Christmases abounded from both sides of the food trays.

The Snausage Sammy was invented. A sausage patty between two hashbrown patties. And was a total hit. It may not be healthy, but most definitely delicious if I do say so myself.

I don't have a big profound statement to wrap up this post with.
And I don't like over-spiritualizing something simple, but I do not want to forget this:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

The whatever part is crucial.
Anything. Everything.
For His Glory.

For me, sometimes I prefer doing things than being around people.
I am task oriented, if you will.
Which is okay. And it glorifies God.
But when the opportunity to serve people comes, and we just DO IT, without stopping to analyze, think, ponder IF we should (or how we can get out of it), the blessings that follow are usually simple, yet incredible.

There is a JOY in just being WITH the Hope Family, and also with a group of men we may never see again, at least in this life time.

There is JOY in slapping two sausages on an ugly brown tray, but making eye contact with someone, a child of God, and wishing them a Merry Christmas - or being wished a Merry Christmas before even getting the chance.

There is JOY sharing the celebration of CHRISTMAS, Christ's Birth with a room full of people - familiar and strangers - of knowing that the almighty God has taken on the form of a humble INFANT in a dirty stable, and everyone is stopping to remember that today.

THAT is the JOY that was exploding from my heart early on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

InstaFriday: Super Lazy Edition

My InstaFriday posts have had a lack of commentary of late...
I think I have a case of the lazies.
2011 is wrapping up, and I don't have much left to give it.
The week was another good one.
Whenever I look back on my week when I make these posts, I think "wow, that WAS a good week".
Funny how that works.

I'm off to recharge my life.
A day off.
With my dog.
The heater cranked up.
A fire in the fireplace.
Maybe a run. Maybe not.
Seventy five cups of tea.
And about six different cookie recipes.
Off the grid for a few hours.
Cause this girl needs a little human detox.
I promise it'll be worth it - I'll be a much better friend after some quality alone time.


Linking up with Jeannett:
life rearranged

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Jolly Holiday: Guest Post

Good Morning Friends!
Today I'm over at Scotty Boy & Katy Girl guest posting on Katy's Jolly Holiday Series.
Head on over and check it out.
And be sure take a peek around Katy's adorable blog (and say hello) while you're there!

And PS if you here by way of Katy, I'd love to say a giant hello, and welcome you to A Cuppa Kim.
Pour yourself a Cuppa Tea, pull up a comfy chair, put on your yoga pants and stick around for a bit.
I'm so happy you're here!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

InstaFriday: SkyParties and More (Plus the big winner!)

Kicked off the weekend going to see my girl Camilla in Scrooge. 
First best part was seeing her back stage
Second best part was hanging out by the giant poinsettia tree.
Third best part, taking a pic with Marley. #creepy

This time the sisters brought their moms.

What is a #skyparty you ask?
Well, back when InstaGram first started, some nights the sky would be,
 for lack of a better word, 
I'd snap a quick pick and upload ASAP.
By the time my pic would load, I'd notice all my friends were doing the same thing.
At the same moment.
The sky was having a party.
We were having a party.
#skyparty was born.
Join in, anytime. 
Hashtag it up. 
This week was a doozy.

Somebody adorable got a haircut.
She needed it.
It makes her look like she lost about 10lbs.
If only haircuts did that for the rest of us.

Thursday night was Future of Forestry's Christmas Concert.
Fifth year they have done it.
Fourth year in a row I have been able to go.
Their rendition of Little Drummer boy left me in total awe four years ago.
And every year since, it is the highlight of the show.
These are skilled musicians, singing a song of old,
about a humble little boy, who all he could bring as a gift to the King of Kings
was his song, on his meager drum. 
At FoF's Christmas Concert, these talented men (and women) give their very best offering
as they each pick up a set of drumsticks and worship.

And so much other miscellany throughout the week.

I had a superfun giveaway this week.
And posted pictures and a few stories from my time in Barcelona.
Are you ready for the big winner?
I entered the numbers 1-6 into Random Number Generator
(skipping 4 and 7 - cause they were just comments)
And the winner is.....

Congrats Linda - I'll email you ASAP with the 411!!!

Linking up with Jeannett:
life rearranged

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis The Season for Giving: A Giveaway and My Time in Barcelona!!

Remember when I went to Europe?
Remember how I didn't really tell you about it yet?

Partially, it's because I wanted to wait until I had time to "scrapbook" my pictures.
Two years ago, I converted.
From paper
to digital.
Best decision ever.
No longer picking up infinite scraps of paper off the floor
scraping double sided tape off the table tops
throwing away cellophane sticker wrappers.

So far I have one complete album, from my Ireland Trip in 2009,
and all of the pages complete from my Baltic Cruise in 2010.

My Memories Software contacted me, offering two a free copies of their program,
one for me, and one for you.
Uh, YEAH. 

Totally the motivation I needed to get started on my Mediterranean Cruise from this Summer.
I decided to whip up a few digital scrapbook pages from my time in Barcelona and share them with you!
I also wanted to share with you my thoughts on the program -
it's really easy, and pretty comprehensive.

I have used both Picnik and Photoshop Elements previously for creating my pages.
I would say this program does a ton more than Picnik,
and is a lot more user friendly than Photoshop Elements.

My favorite feature? 
I use Picnik almost solely for the collages and layouts,
but My Memories Software offers way more, and they are totally customizable.
Meaning you can add as many pictures as you want.
You can move them around
Make them different sizes and dimensions.

You follow?
You can make blog collages, HOLLER!

They also have a ton of fun fonts, papers, a few stickers and stamps, 
among other things - all built into the program.

Maybe digital scrapbooking is something you have been interested in getting started with
honestly, this might be a perfect place to start. 
A super simple program, with a lot of customizable options.

Here are a few things that I whipped up
quickstyle and everything!

I have to say, making these pages was a lot of fun - and super simple.
Not just telling you that. 
I whipped up the last two last night!

So, do you want your own copy?
Here's what you need to do - 
Mandatory for entry:
just head on over to 
and tell me your favorite digital paper pack or layout in a comment here,
and you are IN.

Anyone can enter, not just bloggers!

Do you want extra entries?
Tweet (including a link to this post) about this giveaway.
Leave me a comment for each for an extra entry.

You have until Thursday night, December 15th, at 10pm PST to enter.
I will announce the winner Friday!

Are you interested in purchasing the software?
My Memories has given me a $10 off coupon code to share with you.

Super cool, right?
Code: STMMMS31160 
(copy & paste!)

Feel free to share the code and the giveaway with anyone else as well!
It's good forever!

(This is my first sponsored giveaway, which means My Memories provided the software for me and the winner for free! All opinions are happily my own.)