Miscellaneous Monday (With A Give-Away!!!!!)

OK guys, I know posting has been a little light around here lately… I’m sorry, I’ll do better. We had a good Thanksgiving, all 6 of mom and dad’s kids were home which is always a party. Here’s a few pictures:

**Whaddya know– somebody actually got us all in one place at the same time! And Russ has a cup of coffee, go figure.

**We always try to get some pictures of all 6 kids together, which rarely works because we all inherited the smart-ass gene and EVERY SINGLE PHOTO is ruined by at least one of us acting like an idiot. Case in point– this one was promising until I decided to give my brother Joel the stink-eye. And also growl at him, apparently. (He started it.):

(By the way– in order from L to R: Jonathan, Carolyn, Matt, Liz, Joel, me, and Dad and Mom.)

**Even the in-laws get in on the act– here’s Joel’s wife Kri totally photo-bombing this shot! (on the right)

**And here’s Leah’s (my niece) husband Craig in the left corner photo-bombing this sweetly awkward sister-moment between Madi and Char:

**Daddy can’t figure out why his offspring are so dang weird, but he enjoys watching us.

And now, since I have been such a bad, bad blogger this week I decided to suck up to you/make amends by giving away…


That’s right, kids– all you have to do is leave a comment telling me your FAVORITE thing about the holiday season, and in one week I will use that random number generator thing to pick a lucky winner. Then I’ll make Russ sign it for you, and I’ll mail that sucker off! OK??

(What are you waiting for? Go leave a comment!)

53 Responses

  1. delightedabroad

    Tori, I’m glad you had such a good time with your family! Thanks for sharing. Your dad looks as if he enjoyed his family too – with a good deal of serenity and humor.
    Were you talking about holiday season in general or Christmas holidays? I assume you mean the last one… well, my favorite things are that there’s no alarm-clock ringing :-), I can relax with my husband on the sofa reading and watching the fire in the heater (some sort of fireplace behind a fire proof glass door) and being ready for spontaneous actions.

  2. jonny

    Well, first off: Happy Finnish Indepedance Day !!

    This year my favorite thing has been the theme song to Charlie Brown’s Christmas special; Lucy and Linus. I’ve also been enjoying clips from it on YouTube. I also like How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I’ll probably read the book again soon.

  3. TexasEbeth

    My favorite thing about Christmas and the holidays is the music. I love all of it! I have been known to play Christmas music “out of season” much to my Hubby’s chagrin.

  4. MostlySunny

    **cue music and Julie Andrews** “These are a few of my fav-o-rite thing” ** :

    -lights under the snow
    -church sanctuary decorations
    -kids dressed in “bath robe” costumes
    -the whole reason for it all – the awesomeness of God coming to save me! I’m humbled by it again and again…

  5. Busymom

    Favorite thing? Food.

    OK, OK…music and decorations.

  6. Heidi-Beth

    Spending time with the family that lives far away that I only get to see a few times a year

  7. itsvikki2u

    My favorite thing about Christmas? Hmmm, so many things. Love, love, love the music. I love the special shows on TV, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is my favorite. Love the smells of the season, the Christmas trees.. the baking. I even love the whole Santa thing and I’d have to say the best part is when my beautiful grandkids get so excited about coming over to “Nana’s” and yes, opening all the presents!
    Thankful for being Tori’s friend, Vicki

  8. Shella

    My favorite thing about the holidays?
    I really couldn’t say –
    Because there are so many things
    to enjoy as I ready for Christmas Day.

    I like lefse and rosettes and krumkaka,
    And fudge made with marshmallow fluff,
    I like brittle, chocolate dipped cherries
    And (unfortunately) all that sweet stuff.

    I like poinsettias, and wreaths,
    And, of course, decorating the tree,
    I like Christmas pageants, caroling,
    And kids sitting on Santa’s knee.

    I like Christmas Eve, and candles,
    And, of course, singing “Silent Night”
    (Even though anyone who is listening
    might not think it sounds quite right.)

    I like church bells and manager scenes,
    And sitting in a pew with those I love,
    I like hearing again the timeless story
    About Jesus, the baby, sent from above.

  9. Phyllis S

    Love the pictures, there is no word to describe family, the good, the bad, the ugly….we love them all.

    My favorite thing about the holidays is ‘WHEN IT IS OVER”! I love the reason for the season, just not what we have made out of the reason.
    But if I have to pick one thing I really love, it is my NEW FAVORITE Russ Taff song and it is on his Christmas album, OH THE CROONING of “Go Tell It On The Mountain”…you go Russ! I know that MamaLloyd and I just about single handily cleaned his table in Myrtle Beach, but I got stocking suffers early and love them.

    Tori, Russ, Madi and Char, may you have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Much Love from cold south Louisiana.

  10. auburn60

    Your Mom and Dad both look really good ! And Matt is starting to look like your father.

    I guess the first thing that pops in my head about Christmas is that I like the look on my sons face Christmas morning. Somehow we always manage to pull off at least one huge surprise for him that he doesn’t see coming. Last year we gave him his letterman jacket that we had told him could not be made until the Spring. Even though he’s 15 y.o. it is fun to see his reactions to things that make him that happy.

    And you know if anyone deserves a signed CD it’s me…just in case you stoop to being biased in the ‘random ‘ selection process…
    JK…knowing you and Russ are in my corner is worth more than a CD. :)

  11. bettyrwoodward

    Glad you had a good time with your family. They are so special.
    The best part is probably the Christmas morning service with all the family. So much fun and joy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Would love to listen to Russ on Christmas morning too.!!!

  12. whitneypendell

    My favorite thing about Christmas THIS year…I am getting married on December 17!!! I will be a very NEWlywed for Christmas. =)

  13. Gramma Jac

    Music is a biggie for me,….I’m “sharing” a Christmas song every day up until Christmas on my Facebook page so I’ve been searching all over YouTube and have found some great songs I didn’t know and rediscovered some old favorites!!!
    And this year, my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons will be here (WI) from CA!!
    As a person of Norwegian descent, Shella, I know rosettes, lefse, and Krumkake,..the latter are my FAVORITE!!!!

  14. Gramma Jac

    Oh, and Happy St. Nicholas’ Day!

  15. Shella

    Sigh! I just realized, much to my dismay, that the post I made earlier says that one of my favorite Christmas things is “manager scenes.” In fact, I don’t like manager scenes at all. I even go out of my way to avoid manager scenes as I find them very stressful. (Almost as stressful as having to correct embarrassing typographical errors!) I do, however, love manger scenes – whether elaborate or simple, large or small, carved or “live” on Christmas Eve. Just sayin’.

  16. chillybean

    Cookies. My favorite thing about the holidays are the cookies.

    (The pictures look great. Poor Nathan was stuck here with my family instead of in LR with his own. We were waiting to see some family photos!)


  17. babygirl

    Other than the obvious true meaning of the season, I LOVE Christmas music. We have a station that plays it 24 hours a day (starting before Thanksgiving) and I leave the kitchen radio on 24/7! Takes a few days before my husband and son get used to hearing voices in the kitchen as they come down the hall first thing in the morning– the first few mornings, they think there’s a cheerful burglar in the house :)
    God bless you all– Happy Christmas!

  18. pj

    Love the photos! Thanks for sharing them with us/me. Yes, there is a mouse in my pocket, thankyouverymuch.

    I love everything about Christmas… but my favorite thing is the music… I’m a big David Phelps fan (phan) and I start listening to his Christmas music in October which leads to all of the other Christmas music I have … and I don’t ever get tired of it! :)

  19. pj

    …and, yes, I do need to add Russ’s new CD to my collection! One way or another! :)

  20. drobin99

    Loved the pictures!

    My favorite part of Christmas is having all our children and grandchildren over for dinner and playing Charades for hours!

  21. rockin robyn

    Glad you had a wonderful time with your family, Tori. Thanks for sharing the pics with us.

    The holiday of Christmas does take a beating a bit… criticism for the shopping and going way over board for gifts and decorating. Not keeping Christ in Christmas?!?! I personally feel that it is with love that all the gift giving and receiving is all about… What a celebration and remembrance of the birth of Christ. Every time I see a house decorated in red and green lights, my upbringing reminds me that those lights represents that the green stands for eternal life, the evergreen trees and how it survives even harsh cold winters and the red stands for Christ’s blood that He shed for my sins… gold lights are beautiful reminders of the stars in the sky that helped light the way to a birth place for baby Jesus… We can’t give gifts to Jesus Christ himself – to show Him what His birth meant to us. So, we celebrate this wonderous occasion by showing love to all who are special to us and make this life here on earth worth living, until we can see Him face to face. All He wants is us to love one another and this is what this joyous holiday means to me.

    So even though I don’t do any outside decorating and not much indoor – boy I sure love seeing it and taking drives to see all the beautiful lights in the dark of the night.

  22. mamabear

    #1, definitely time with family! Followed closely by music. Oh, and FOOD! Absolute best is all three combined. =)

  23. revronrarden

    Christmas is the time of year that I think about those that are doing without, the homeless and the near homeless. It is a wonderful time of year to celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth but we need to share that with others by showing his love!!!

  24. Vicki

    My favorite thing above all else about thse season? Its a celebration of my Lord and Savior’s birthday! Happy Birthday Jesus!

  25. ChristinaCD

    Love the photos, even if Russ has a cup of coffee(gotta love me some coffee too)

    Favourite thing about Christmas(besides celebrating Jesus Birth) seeing the kids eyes on Christmas morning, and the joy of giving to other, OH and spending time with family!


  26. smartin956

    The best part and my favorite thing about the Christmas holiday, now that I am a grandmother, is watching those grandbabies believe in Santa and see their eyes light up when they see their gifts. It was fun when my kids were little too but it’s so much better now that it’s the grandbabies!! I LOVE being a grandma!! You will too, Tori. I promise!

  27. DPphanGP

    LOL PJ! I was going to say that! :)

    Tori – I think you summed it up best with your pictures. Being with family and sharing the laughter and love!

  28. Chick Voice

    My favorite things about Christmas is Christmas Eve. There is something so wonderful about that night. From childhood memories of communion service at church……..to the many single adult years I spent all alone…….each Christmas is a deeply spiritual experience for me. Alone or with family, now with My Hubby,tht night is always special.

  29. Gramma Jac

    Smartin956–Being a Gramma ROCKS!!!! My Grandsons are 2 and 4, and, of course, are perfect!!!!

    In LaCrosse, along the Mississippi,, we have the Rotary Lights with over a million lights,…I can hardly wait to see those million lights reflected in Cole and Morgen’s eyes!!!

    Check out the photo galleries!

  30. LindaB

    I loved the pictures, Tori! It was nice to see all you “kids” together with Mom and Dad! Those pictures are a treasure!

    Rockin’ Robyn—–AMEN! Whenever I hear someone say Christmas is too commercial and too much about gifts and not about Christ, I want to say, “How could it be more about Christ, and love, and giving?” God calls His own Son and His salvation “a GIFT”, He recorded that the wise men brought GIFTS! I’m afraid my grandmother’s old saying applies here: “You just can’t please some folks, even if you poked sugar in both ends”!

    My favorite thing about Christmas: I think it’s cool that even folks who don’t love God, or believe He exists, come face to face with His Story in all the festivities of Christmas—–carols, nativity scenes, gift giving, charities, etc. Even though some are trying to snuff out everything Christian in Christmas, they are failing, so far.

    I love going to Mom’s and seeing rows and rows of buckeyes that she’s lovingly made. I love that we still have our Mom here to enjoy for another Christmas season! I know each Christmas with her is precious and to be treasured.

    I love seeing little ones opening gifts and getting so excited about it all!!! And from growing up with three little brothers, I love seeing happy giggling little boys assembling toy train tracks and Hot Wheel racetracks and having the time of their lives!

    I love the Christmas music that invokes all the sweet memories of Christmas’s past. Though we’ve heard them a thousand times, they still make me feel good about life and the awesome gift God has given us in His Son. And they make me look forward to the day when we will indeed have “peace on earth, good will toward men”! And when we sing “Silent Night, Holy Night”, I feel like I am standing on holy ground in that ancient town of Bethlehem, and a manger bed of hay which holds the hope of all mankind.

  31. VA-Cathy

    I’ve always loved the Christmas season, and still do, but I work in Church music now so it’s even more stressful. Still, I love the anticipation of Christmas with my family. With all the running around everyone has to do, Christmas morning is the 4 of us at home. They’re 21 and 17 so I may not have that much longer.

  32. Barbara M. Lloyd

    It’s the spirit of Christmas that fills everyone’s hearts because He was born and we received the greatest gift of all. It’s listening to my children talk and laugh as they remember all of the years growing up. It is the joy that is contageous as we meet friends in church, in homes or on the streets. It is the glorious music sung especially at this time of year….but that I often listen to throughout the year, for the message never changes.

    And, speaking of music…..bless her sweet heart, Phyllis is right about she and I buying a hearty supply of Russ’ new Christmas cd while we were at GaitherFest. But I couldn’t stand waiting until Christmas to give my children their cd’s…..so they each got an early present. Folks, it is terrific! If you don’t win the drawing here, you can hurry to Russ’ website and order your’s from there. Your Christmas won’t be complete wthout it. (okay, so I may be stretching it a bit….but only a tiny bit)

    Loved those family pictures, Tori, and the one of Madi and Char is so cute! And, that one of my (I’m writing it so I may make any claim I wish) ‘lil ‘ole Taff family is a real keeper.

    Merry Christmas, Everyone!

  33. meb

    What I love about Christmas and the entire season – The anticipation I see in my daughter. She loves giving gifts and can hardly contain herself when she has one to give. She brings them home or makes them, wraps them, and then wants to immediately give them. Amazingly this year she is being more patient. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    Crafty picture coming your way too. Not of pumpkins, but a cute Christmas project. Saw a display at Ben Franklin and came home and created our own version.

  34. marybeth

    What fun pictures. Would love to have the CD! My favorite thing is spending time with friends and family.

  35. rachelbaker

    What great pictures of a great family. I wish we had thanksgiving over here.

    Christmas? I love it. Family, music, food (especially Christmas tea – cold meats, cheeses, salad, dips, etc etc), church, family, presents, children, family.

    If, perchance, my number was chosen at random would you ship to the UK? I’ve bought this CD for a number of people for Christmas but neglected to get myself a copy. I’ll wait to see if I win before I download it from itunes!

  36. jonny

    Hey gang ! I just found out I may be a few weeks in the states for Christmas and New Year’s. How Do-Able do you think a Bloomr Hook-Up, or Get-To-Gether with some of us could be ?? Just thinking out loud here …

  37. calisweetheart03

    Christmas break – I’m a teacher! :)

    Also, I am from Farmersville, though I now live in the big city of Visalia:)

  38. LindaB

    jonny, where are you going to be here in the States?

  39. auburn60

    Oh yeah!…Linda,jonny…I’m in for hooking up…at least as in as I can be without a time frame or destination.

  40. jonny

    I would be in California. I’d have to work out a flight, transportation and a place to crash wherever this could take place. So far, if this works out, Christmas eve is booked and around the 8th of Janaury is when I’m not available anymore and then head back to Finland.

  41. ravendave

    I love being together with the family and my dad reading the Christmas story at his house. I love the traveling. My wife, child and I travel from Mississippi to Virginia to see my parents and then to West Virginia to see both sides of my parents’ family. I love getting to see family I don’t see all year. I love starting new traditions with my little girl. She will learn about the nativity scene and love the story and the Christmas carols like her dad hopefully. She already loves music at 13 months. I love just thinking back at all God’s blessings. First and foremost it would be remembering Jesus birth. God bless everyone! Merry Christmas!

  42. LindaB

    It sounds like a lot of fun to me too, Alyson! Of course, I have to work it around my babysitting, but maybe it would work out! Anyone else interested? We’re not talking about a meeting in California, are we, jonny? That’s a bit too far for me! You are willing to fly to a central spot on this side of the Mississippi? Tori, are you game? I’ll bring you some pumpkin stems!

  43. jonny

    No, I’d fly out to wherever’s best for everyone. Lord willing.

  44. bgann62

    Hi Tori, I really enjoy your blog. You have such an exiting life. Now, what do I like best about Christmas? I love the excitement in the air, I love the smells of Christmas, the smell of ginger-bread-men cooking in the oven, the smell of pine trees and wreaths, I love Christmas plays at church and Christmas music. My favorite song is “Mary Did You Know?” written by Mark Lowry I think. So touching. The most important thing I like about Christmas is the real reason for the season, to honor our blessed Savior’s birth, who gave His life that we might be saved. Oh, what a reason.

  45. neverland

    Family is my favorite thing about the holidays. I love seeing the photos of your folks. Pray for them daily. Every day is a holiday for me as I play Christmas musica all year long. Fruit Cake, well that is a favorite too. I just made some fruitcake using things I found under my couch cushions. Want some? The least thing I like about the holiday is tinsel. Though it is good to floss your teeth with. Oh yeah and candles that drip. Broken candy canes are not fun either!

    LOVE YOU TORI TAFF and love our chats!
    David Knowling

  46. neverland

    music not musica though that sounds fun too.

  47. dferrell

    Love seeing the pictures of your family. It always looks like everyone is having such a good time! My favorite things about the season are taking the grandchildren out to a Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut our special tree, listening to Christmas music, and watching the kids at work (director of a preschool) becoming more and more excited about the season as we get closer to Christmas. It has been a very long time since I have had an “autographed” Russ Taff CD–would sure like to win this one!

  48. DonnaMariePatterson

    Hi Tori!

    I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing! What I like most about the holidays is that everyone is singing CHRISTmas songs. On all the stations, in the stores, no matter what their religion, or where they live – it seems like everyone is singing about Jesus! And, He is so worth it!

    I also like that people are in a ‘giving’ spirit at Christmas. Warms my heart.

    Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and your dear, sweet family.


  49. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, this is going back a blog or two but I must tell you about my experence yesterday with the “pass it along” thang. My son and I were on the way to my oldest great-grand’s piano recital andwe were passing that coffee place (can’t remember the name). Anyway we stopped in and got a pumpin spice and an eggnog….then I remembered Tori’sblog and her experience at the coffee place….so I decided to do the very same thing,but first I asked my son to check and see how many were in the car behind us (my momma didn’t raise no dummy) and there were only two. So, when we paid for our’s and picked up our order I asked the lady how much the couple behind us were going to have to pay…..then I gave her the money and asked her to tell them “Merry Christmas.” Doggone,I messed it up right there because I should have said “Pass it on.” Anyway, it was fun until just as we were pulling away my son said he needed to pull over and g iknside to use the bathroom. Well! tjat kist cpi;dm
    t be. sp I quickly nsisted we drive to the other side of a tall building nearby and wait for a few minutes before returning for him to go inside. I could just picture that couple pulling over to thank us and then the fun would have been gone. So, we went over and around the tall building for a few minutes and then returned formy son to go inside to the bathroom. The whole thing has made me smile ever since. I’ve even thought that perhaps the Lord brought it to mind because that couple behind me needed a little blessing right at that time. I know it blessed me. And my great-grand was the star of the recital, according to her proud great-grandmother. Today she played in her church for the congregation which she does once monthly and then she played a special, too. This afternoon she will be singing a solo in her church contata. Oh dear, I am shamefully bragging.

  50. MostlySunny

    Barbara M. Lloyd – …and that bragging looks good on you! Thanks for sharing that wonderful story about the coffee place (Starbucks?) and your great grand’s recital. Sounds like a fun, fun day! Merry Christmas!!!

    Isn’t it fun to be a blessing…and only the Lord knows about it…and that’s really all that matters?

  51. LindaB

    So Barb……the moral of that story is: if you are going to do a good deed, make sure your bladder is empty. LOL Your story cracked me up!!! I can just hear your son pleading, “But Mom! I’ve gotta go NOW!!!”

    Your granddaughter must be a very good musician!!! Do you think she inherited some of her great grandmother’s love of music? I bet she did! Good for her!

  52. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Dear sweet Linda, thank you for that opening to talk about my great-granddaughter, Taylor, again. She is 9 years old and the music she played at the end of the recital was Handel’s “The Hallelujah Chorus” on a keyboard that played both piano and organ. She amazes me but she has her grandfather’s long slim fingers.

    My only weakness in that good deed is I asked how much the couple had spent before deciding to pay their bill. I could just envision saying I was going to pay for their’s and then finding out they were picking up an order for their entire office party. I guess if my son had just gone ahead and pulled over, parked and gone to the bathroom and that couple had stopped by our car to thank us…..I would have had eo admi that they owedd it all to a lady named Tori Taff. But then they would have had to listen to me give them a ten minute update on Mrs. Taff’s husband’s new Christmas cd and how their Christmas wouldn’t be complete without it. Come to think about it, I messed up. I could have had a captive audience and sold cd’s. My next goal will be the Canadian border where I can hand out cookies while I sell that cd. I remember when you got so excited when you stopped Russ from going back up on stage that you spit cookie crumbs all over him. Or was it you had a sudden attack of the vapors and he had to step over your body in order to get back on stage? Either way, I bet he had a story to tell his wife that weekend.

  53. LindaB

    Oh Barb, don’t remind me of that incident! I’m so embarrassed by it yet. Can’t believe I actually told people about it! My first mistake was telling YOU!!! LOL

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