A Merry Grinchmas Celebration

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Merry Grinchmas Celebration.

As I sit by the fire late Christmas evening – basking in the warmth and glow of a wonderful Christmas holiday spent over the past week or so with many of those I love most, I feel so grateful.  The house is quiet, except for the dishwasher running, the fire crackling, and a holiday movie playing in the background.

I’m feeling peaceful and content.

There is nothing like the excitement leading up to Christmas, and I loved hosting three dinner parties three days in a row (and that’s not counting one the weekend before).  But there is also something very special too about the days that follow Christmas….

The calm afterglow…  The snuggling in…  The nesting…  Looking at pictures… Smiling at the memories.

Movies, books, leftovers, jammies…

Today, I want to share a fun party we had this past Saturday, the eve of Christmas eve, with our McHendy family.

My bestie, Jill and I decided we wanted to surprise our families with a theme, so we created a McHendy Grinchmas Celebration.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Happy Whoville feast –

complete with Roast Beast (Beef Tenderloin),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comWho Mash (Mashed Potatoes),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Greens (Sauteed Fresh Green Beans with garlic),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand Cindy Lou Who Salad (Crisp Greens, Tart Pomegranate Seeds, Crunchy Pecans, and Creamy Goat Cheese).

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThis feast was preceded by some fun appetizers earlier in the day, including Grinchy Green Deviled Eggs,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Santa Hats,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand a Tortilla Wrap Christmas Tree.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd it was followed by a tiered tray of Grinchmas Cookies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand plenty of other sweet treats.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comEach guest received a little favor bucket that included a green ornament with a tiny red heart and lime green and red candies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comas well as a Grinch beanie hat (which we all wore for a fun family photo – with the exception of hubby who wore a full furry Grinch onesie!)

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThe games planned took a different twist than intended, but ended up being just as fun!

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThere were sleigh rides and races,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comI Spy the Who Hash,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand boxed games around the cleared dinner table.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGuests of honor

adorned the powder room and office doors.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd as we ate and played and talked and laughed and cried, we celebrated being family in every true, authentic sense of the word.  And we reminded ourselves that “Merry Christmas doesn’t come from the store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps is a little bit more.”

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comCheers & Hugs,

Blue Ball: A Charlie Guest Post

Charlie blue ball

Woohoo!  It’s Ball Season!

Some of you love baseball.
My family cheers for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

We love football too – if it is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Right now – our Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs,
and though they use a puck instead of a ball, it is still very exciting.

There is also basketball, softball, tennis, golf, volleyball, soccer, wiffle ball, ping pong, bowling, pool, and probably a million other ball games,

but my favorite ball game
(if you don’t count eating meatballs) 

is Blue Ball!

My mom brought out the bucket of blue balls the other day, and boy oh boy did we have fun!

It’s a simple game, but such a BLAST!

Here is how you play it.

Step 1:  Mom throws the ball in the grass.

Step 2:  I run and get it, and then I run back.

Step 3:  Now here is the FUN part….

Sometimes I bring the blue ball back to Mom,
but other times…..  I ZOOOOOOOM right by her and trick her!

Sometimes I bring it to her and drop it….  but (get ready for this!) right when she goes to pick it up,
I grab it first!

And then – (are you ready for this one?)
other times I bring it back – but don’t let go of it, and I make her beg for it.
Sometimes Mom pretends to cry – – –  like I can’t see a fake a mile away!

Other times I let her yank at it for a while and I ferociously (fake of course – but she doesn’t know!) GROWL!

Blue Ball is most fun when you play it by varying up the way you play Step 3 every time.

Isn’t that a great game?!

Hope you have some fun playing whatever kind of ball you like this weekend!

Woofs & Wags,

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: https://lifeinbetween.me/.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.



Smart Ass

We have been having a lot of fun playing board games again lately.

I have such fond memories of board games growing up.  I was a kid before video games and personal computers and cell phones, so when we weren’t playing outside or watching The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or My Three Sons or Hazel or The Waltons (who’s with me here?!) :), we played board games.  I loved Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry O, Trouble, Operation, Battleship, Life, Monopoly….

operation giphy

Anyone else remember this commercial?

Playing board games waned as I got older and life got crazier (and when I thought I was too cool).

Then when I started dating Marty, I loved going over to his house, because his Mom loved playing games.  We played Trivial Pursuit weekly for years it seems.  (Oh – and often while sipping Bourbon Slushes!)  And hey – I learned important “stuff” – like how six shakes equals a “dash” of salt.

And when the boys were young, we played all the good ole’ favorites again.

We now usually play a few board games at our family New Year’s party with The Hendy family.  But for the most part, the games remain in the cupboard below the bookshelf – resting – and waiting…

Lately we’ve started playing Scrabble again.  Cold weather…. warm fires….  it all kind of works together – right?

scrabble liz fire(Pssssstt – Don’t tell anyone my letters, because Liz ROCKS at this game, and I need all the help I can get!)

scrabble nick hand(and do you notice that every stinkin’ letter is worth a whopping 1 point on my tile rack?)

And then we recently dug out Smart Ass…

It’s like a modern-day, fast-paced Trivial Pursuit in which “even if you’re a dumb ass, you can win!

smart ass

The goal is to be the first to shout out the answer as another players reads clues from more vague to more specific.  BUT – if you get it wrong  – you are out.  If you hang on until the end (when the last clue often gives initials to to the answer), you can almost always get it, but it’s usually too late because some other Smart Ass already shouted out the answer.  So you have to think fast, but balance it with knowing you are right and risking whether to shout it out or not.

So try your hand at this one in the “What am I?” (my favorite the easy peasiest) category.

  1. I was invented in 1904
  2. I am usually found in the kitchen
  3. I’m used in a cup or mug
  4. Ceylon is particularly famous for my contents
  5. I make a nice beverage
  6. I work with boiling water
  7. I’m a specific type of container
  8. I have dried leaves inside me
  9. I compete with metal strainers
  10. What am I, with the initials T.B.?

I’ll post the answer tomorrow if you haven’t already figured it out by #10.

Here’s a “Where am I?” (my least favorite the category I am least likely to get correct) question:

  1. I am a river
  2. My Celtic name probably means “dark river”
  3. I flow from the Cotswold Hills
  4. Charles Dickens wrote about me
  5. I am the main source of London’s water supply
  6. Upstream I have locks; downstream I have docks
  7. I flow past the Tower of London and Greenwich
  8. Oxford and Cambridge rowing teams meet on me annually
  9. London Bridge crosses me
  10. Where am I, with the initials R.T.?

What number did you get the answer on?  Would you have spouted it out or waited?  Are you a Smart Ass?  That is the challenge!

Timing is everything for the true Smart Ass.”  🙂


What’s your favorite board game?  I try to always buy a new game for our annual New Year’s get together – so looking for fun suggestions.

My other “son” Jake (Hendy) and I are total champs at Cranium and Pictionary.  Julie typically kicks our asses butts at ImagineIFF.   And PLEASE don’t ask me about Awkward Family Photos!!  Oh I do stink at that game!  I always feel so sorry for all the awkward ones….  🙂  And we have beat Cards Against Humanity to death.  (right Oh Rob?!)

So other than that….. we’re just makin’ memories of smart asses and dumb asses ’round these parts these days.

That’s what’s happening here at Life in Between….

Cheers & Hugs,





Dear Kitchen Table

kitchen table

My Dear Ole’ Kitchen Table –

I know you are growing old and tired and worn (and as I look at this photo I took of you just yesterday, I realize it even more!)  There are days I think I want to replace you – or at least refinish your surface.  Many a discussion has been had about you!

But then I remember all the things we’ve been through together… The memories you’ve been a part of…  The people that have sat around you…    the food and festivities you have held…    the activities that you supported….   the different homes you have moved to with us through the years….  and I have a hard time parting with you.

Remember all those Christmas cards we colored on you?  Hours and hours over the years of markers and ink accidentally sliding off the paper onto you, which you gracefully accepted.

Remember how many times milk was spilled on you?  It often slithered through the cracks and off the edge onto the floor, but you never complained while we all scampered to gather clothes to wipe you off and rearrange dinner.

Remember homework, filling out school papers, permission slips, sick notes….?

Remember science projects and art projects?

Remember gift wrapping sessions with paper and scissors and tape and boxes and bags and tags?

Remember daily family dinner time conversations?   Arguments?   Laughter?   Prayers?   Tears?

Remember games of Chutes and Ladders, Old Maid, Monopoly, Life, Trouble, Five Crowns, Rummy, Yahtzee, Set, Operation, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, and the hardest of all on you – Jenga!?

Remember breakfasts with friends with strips of sizzling bacon, stacks of pancakes, bowls of eggs, and cups and cups and cups of coffee?

Remember when the boys were in high school and we hosted weekly Thursday night flag football games for 5 or 10 or 15 at a time – and then served pots of spaghetti or chili or whole hams or turkeys or roasts to all for dinner – always with a cake or pie or plates of cookies for dessert for hungry growing boys (and girls!)?

Remember vacation-planning sessions discussed around you – like our trip to Hawaii with Jill & Todd – or reminiscing about favorite vacations like our Caribbean Cruise where we met our wonderful Bubby and Glenn or our ultimate excursion to Alaska with our sweet Janet?

Remember our first Christmas reunited with Dad and Carole and Aunt Gwen and Uncle Frank and John and Jeff and Dawn and Jen and the whole gang?

Remember bantering and jokes between Pap and Ron?

Remember shower and wedding planning discussions for Jake and Colleen?

Remember meeting Liz and seeing how happy she makes Nick?

You’ve cooled cookies and cakes and pies on warm summer days and cold winter evenings.

You’ve held fresh flowers and birthday cakes and candles.

Each scratch and fade and mark is a reminder of all of these times….

Thank you for being with our family and helping to keep us in touch with each other.  You were often the center of important deep and meaningful conversations.  Other times you were pounded on as we laughed until we cried…..   or cried until we laughed.

You may not be as beautiful as you were 24 years ago when we bought you from the quaint shop that sells handmade Amish-built oak furniture, but neither am I?

And I’m ok with you if you’re ok with me.

What we have together goes much deeper than superficial “looks.”

Thank you, my dear ole’ kitchen table, for all you have given to our family.

With love,


*This post was inspired by Thursday’s Daily Prompt at The Daily Post, entitled:   Literate for a Day:   Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?