Tag: Christmas

It’s the week of Christmas 2015!

Less than a week until Christmas means more baking, more cleaning, more, more, more …

I made a batch of Snickerdoodles yesterday. I also made up a double batch of Tollhouse Cookies, but didn’t bake them, my daughter did.

I want to make a chewy molasses cookie, snowballs (russian tea cakes), and so many more cookies.

An old favorite of mine, not a cookie, a savory snack, Olive Cheese Balls. A simple cheddar, flour, melted butter dough wrapped around a pimento stuffed olive, the small variety.  I really love this during the Christmas holiday, but no one else is a fan. Quite disappointing.

So this time I will make them, but ahead, freeze, and only bake enough at a time. Then I can enjoy them longer, or maybe someone else will end up liking Olive Cheese Balls.

That brings me to oh, I should make a Cheddar Cheese Ball too. Previously talking about the Olive variety, that is a flour, butter, and cheese dough, and baked, while a Cheddar ball is cheeses, and more, not baked. 🙂 Pimento Cheese is another idea to employ. I would highly prefer to make it, never buy it again. Super Grin at that.

Things that need to get done make it harder this year. We had an old piano sitting in the house, moved it out recently, and now the bare floor needs worked on. We have about 3 rows of hardwood to put in. We did one yesterday. Hopefully we can swing the rest of it today. That is where the Christmas tree, awaiting our beckon, is going to be. It’s in the garage for now.

Only so many days left, not that many, but I hope to get the feeling akin to “it’s working”, sense the magic.

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas was nice this year. It wasn’t awesome for photographs though, I didn’t take very many. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it just didn’t happen.

I got the (then) soon to be retired LEGO Red Cargo Train last Christmas, but didn’t build it until this month. It’s under the tree, which looks good enough, though I want to make it quite different next year.

This year it caused a room for presents … none, pretty much, issue. I had presents stacked on the old piano, all over the bench, on that little table piled high, high, high.

Because of that, I was all over the place looking for packages to distribute. Gone was the standard hubby sitting by the tree handing things out. It was fun, though somewhat chaotic.

We went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 3D that night. There was no Christmas Day Opening movie we wanted to see as a family.

That was our 2nd viewing of the movie as a family. We saw it in BigD 3D 1st, Opening Day. It looked dull in the normal 3D showing Christmas night.

My husband and I saw it in HFR 3D two days before Christmas. That was FANTASTIC! The BigD 3D was really nice and great and all that, but HFR 3D blew that away.

I’m spoiled now.

So I’ve seen the latest Hobbit movie three times. I am anxious for the Blu-ray version!

Before Christmas we got The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D Extended on Blu-ray at Best Buy. It doesn’t come with a non-3D disc, but it does come with a UV for the non-3D version. Lovely! We watched it from Vudu on PS4. We laughed so hard!

LoTR always makes sense around Christmas. It’s how the early 2000’s went, it’s a tradition, sort of, to watch more of that stuff in December, and it’s great to have The Hobbit added to it. I’m pretty addicted to it all. It’s more year round, it’s a Christmas feeling then, anytime during the year.

LEGO dominated gifts, an expected outcome.

LEGO is very popular in our house. It wasn’t always, but it’s something that has grown over the years. I got involved in 2011 personally. I have as much as my children do now, plus more (counting the Christmas sets which are mine, but for the whole family, if that makes sense.)

I didn’t like LEGO before all this. I liked the building idea, just wanted nothing to do with LEGO bricks all over the place. Ouch!

But somewhere, somehow, my boy got interested in Bionicles. The door was opened, just a crack, that became a Bionicle obsession, which bled into LEGO Star Wars which turned into a full blown LEGO habit for my children. My girl has only recently liked anything they offer. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and some of the Kingdom stuff. My personal addiction happened before LoTR LEGO was around. Alien Conquest hooked me. My first LEGO set was a polybag of a Toy Story Alien. Then the Alien Conquest theme was unveiled and I had every set available by the end of August. Sadly, that was all they gave us. No second wave. 🙁

Since then I love the buildings, cars, helicopters, and I’ve amassed some great sets. Cinema, Haunted House, other Monster Hunter sets, Chima sets, the annual Christmas set, I got the first two the year the 3rd one came out and ever since, the same year they are released.

I love the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit LEGO sets. I have very little of it though since I also LOVE MARVEL. So I have lots of Marvel sets, and the Chima sets are current, so take up some of that. Isn’t LoTR and Hobbit better than Chima? Yes! But Chima stuff is just something I like and I can’t explain and I have to have it. Sigh.

Everyone was pleased with their Christmas gifts, LEGO and non-Lego gifts. Christmas is over and life goes on. 🙂

Thanksgiving & Next Day Birthday Over

Thanksgiving Day went well. It was chilly but sunny in the morning, warmed up but not too much during the day, staying Sunny all day.

We had dinner later than I had wanted to. My hubby got me playing Warhawk in the morning and I quit when I realized it was 12:08pm and got going on getting things done.

Even with the turkey done ahead, and the stuffing … I had to make cheese sauce, white sauce, gravy (meant to do it ahead, but didn’t get to it) and cauliflower, green bean casserole, cook sweet potatoes, peel and cut into pieces and make a brown sugar syrup to candy them with. Also had potatoes to cook and mash. Then get out the turkey and stuffing and re-heat.

It was a big feast. We had cloverleaf rolls, my almost 13-year-old daughter got that done with my supervision. Getting all that done and ready to be served at the same time isn’t HARD just complex and tedious to a degree of, it takes kitchen talent to pull it off.

So I was pooped after all that. I made whipped cream to go with the pumpkin pie later that evening.

The next morning I had to get up and get things going for the birthday that day. I make banners for each child, put on the fireplace … they expect it now, and it has to be good 😉 I had one nearly ready, but I hadn’t connected all the pieces to hang yet. So I finally decided what to do, and struggled with it as the eyelets I was using just weren’t playing nice with me. Augh! I got it done, it wasn’t fully the best it could have been, but that’s more my own criticism of my own project more than anything.

I made a yellow layer cake with very chocolate buttercream frosting, with chocolate curls (from a container of drinking chocolate curls I have) all over the top and at the base of the cake all around. On the sides I put Pearls in an offset pattern. It was nice, not perfect, I wasn’t going for perfection, but it sure did look nice. I took time to put the pearls on, it was tedious feeling, but really didn’t take much time considering everything. It’d be worth it to put more oomph into it another time.

My daughter loved her presents and the cake was really good and the homemade ice cream (which I made the day before Thanksgiving Day.) It was a good day. We had turkey quesadillas for supper, and played Monopoly after that, with cake after that.

It was all fun, but I’m glad it’s all over for this year. It’s less than a month to Christmas Day, and I have MORE to do! At least it’s awhile until some of it, and some of it longer, but lots of it more necessary for sooner than later, just not all of it. Phew!

It’s a New Year, a week in already

The first week of the new year (2011) has gone quite fast, yet seems slow as well. The new year started with warmer weather, and that lasted a few days, then back to cold enough to start a fire in the fireplace again. It’s not terribly cold, just normal cold for The South where we live.

There is a weather system that is supposed to form over the The Gulf this weekend, and bring a winter storm to us through Tuesday. It isn’t our first, we actually had snow on Christmas Day, though it started late in the daylight hours and continued through the night into the next day. We had a few inches at least, over 2 for sure. The snow lasted that day then, the next, starting to melt, but on our property we had a lot of snow the day after still, then only in spots, then none at all. Then it was warm, early spring warm. We had fireworks to shoot off on New Years Eve. We were outside with barely light jackets at 9pm through to midnight when we shot our two cakes off.

We didn’t get enough wood to burn before the season, so we were glad for the warm-up some. We stocked up with more wood after 2011 started, and have enough for awhile, and will get more when we get paid again. We did get a nice wood rack to setup outside, an arched bridge sort, it needs to be assembled still. Once that is put together the wood will get stacked neatly behind the garage and really look NICE!

I haven’t written a lot on this blog, more on my other blog, but not much anywhere. I’m trying to do things to make myself do more, get more done, more creativity, which spawns more posts here and there.

I did make a Christmas Card this year. I had a hard time getting a picture for the inside, finally accomplished that quite late, and got them printed on my HP printer (got it new this past autumn, it’s awesome to have a color printer that can print great photos!) trimmed and removable glue dotted into the card (so the photo could be easily taken out by the end user if desired.) I only sent out 10 cards in the end. I was going to send more out, but then canceled ever getting ANY out when the photo shoots I took made for nothing good to use. I was not happy, but just couldn’t get any card out without the plan of the photo for inside. It was a totally handmade card, lots of effort put into making it. Anyhow, the radio was on when we were out doing some shopping one of the last days before Christmas, and they said “get your cards to the postoffice by Noon so they’ll arrive before Christmas!” and that sunk deep into my head and the next morning I had the 10 cards ready and off to the postoffice they went. So maybe a tad late, but not entirely, and at least they went out. That was a sucess, partially. I mean, I had so many others I could have sent cards to, and didn’t. FWIW.

Anyhow, I feel sort of stuck in some ways right now. Things are sort of tight, still not done enough (the house) and trying to work through getting some of that done sooner than later. We actually moved our kitchen back to the start of where it was in 1997. I hate it. It’s not permanent, thanks be to God for that. I can’t live with it like this and we will change it again, to where it works better, basically flipping it on end. It’s do-able, and we need to do a few extra things to make it work out to be permanent and done right, and get everything installed that is supposed to be installed. This all will work to make a better place to live, even though it’s still small and will always be smaller as my family is growing.

My eldest is now 14. He’s way bigger than me now. So in essence it’s like having 3 adults in the house now. Two years ago it wasn’t. Now it sure is.

Winter Begins

Winter has begun fully for us this week. It’s not “officially Winter” but the “season is here. Yesterday it snow flurried for hours, but no accumulation. Today it’s very cold, still below freezing, reaching that mark maybe, but probably not quite. It’s 31.6 degrees F. on my front porch digital temperature thing, it’s connected wirelessly to an inside panel (a cheap little gadget I got at Staples on clearance a couple of years ago.) It’s not necessarily correct, but close, I figure, usually. I really want a nice full system to collect data and see what’s going on entirely around me. It’s not a priority for my husband, just a nicety for me, not a necessity (Saize).

We got the fireplace going for the first time for this end of year cold season. Usually we have started in mid-November, and would have this year several times from then to now, but our ‘living room’ has been such a mess since we are living in the house and putting down new wood flooring in the living room. It’s a slow go, 3/4ths of it is done, but it now languishes away since the piano and device stuff for the TV are on that side, and there is no easy way to move the piano anywhere else except for the kitchen (no way!)

I am stuck with my christmas cards. I need a picture for inside and that is holding me up. I tried a few weeks ago to get one good one outside of my children, but over 70 photos, and nothing good enough, not even to photoshop something together.

I’m doing December Daily this year for the first time, but I’ve fallen off the cart. I have it in my head, but haven’t gotten the ideas down or pictures taken, daily. Time marches on and now it’s the 13th, so after 6 days I fell off, and am now that much behind. Ack!

I wish I could figure all this stuff out, but I feel stuck on all sides. I did get some video off of my Sony Handycam today, and uploaded a few things to YouTube. (I have so much to do with all my video too, I still do not have the software to do what I want to with it all.)

Anyhow,  I did get a new food processor this weekend. Finally able to replace my broken Kitchen Aid 11-cup UltraPower one. (Broken collar on post, cracked case here and there, bowl broken, small work bowl lost, post for discs lost … not very useful or nice to use for what it COULD do with my help.) The one we got is a Cuisinart 12-cup Elite, it is different, but solid, and has a wonderful case to hold all the pieces (my old KA had a case, long gone, not very good for what it held and how.) Now I can grate, shred, cut, mix, even better than ever before. I love this unit.

We also got two tall cabinets for the kitchen at Home Depot … they are the future for the kitchen, along with the sink cabinet that we already have. The other cabinets with slowly (but as fast as we can) be replaced until we are done replacing and ahead with finishing everything. The two new cabinets are a whole new world for me. Something I’ve wanted, places to put canned foods and such, never had anything but some lower and upper cabinets. Then I also have wanted a place to put my big things that I don’t always use, away, like my Nutrimill, crockpot, cake stand, etc. as well as a place for my cloth kitchen towels (for bread & baking) and for future things like tablecloths (which I love for holidays, but don’t have.) So I have a tall cabinet just for all that kind of stuff, with two wide but short drawers (for cloth) and lower and upper shelves behind two doors, that hold big things, with room to grow.

Crafting a Christmas Card

It’s already just a week before Christmas 2009. Time has flown. I still haven’t gotten my Christmas cards done. I know what I want to do. But haven’t gotten anything more than pro-types for cutting with my Cricut/Gypsy and putting that together and gluing things together & glitter … but no inside picture or writing done …

I wanted to get a family snapshot taken on Monday or Tuesday, but it didn’t happen, now hubby isn’t here until Friday night, so it’s a no-go … I could take a picture of just the children, but that’s not really what I wanted to do. Then on to printing it, I have an Epson picture printer, 4×6 size. It hasn’t worked well for me always, really wastes ink IMO and it’s only worth printing at all if you are printing a lot at once. I did have something installed on a computer once that allowed me to manually control “what it thought the ink levels were” but that’s long since gone since I mostly used it with my Epson All-in-One that was crazier than my Picture printer and I got sick of it and threw it away. Upgrading and new computers … it was either on my Desktop which is re-invented since, or my old laptop which was re-Clean-Installed since as well.

My picture printer has been sitting around for many, many months so I have no idea if it can be counted on or not. So not is my guess, since it’s a crap shoot as to how many photos it will print.

The other option is to print onto cardstock or vellum with my HP Laserjet … which does make a good looking black and white image on regular paper and such just fine, it’s just not “photo-ish” it’s more “newspaper photo-ish” which is good, but different than usually used in cards.

I used vellum to print a large photo for my youngest’s first baby scrapbook page with the HP Laserjet. It’s kind of cool, very, in fact. It’s just not a full fleshed image like is expected, it’s very subtle, soft, gentle. Therefore interesting, so now I have convinced myself it’s not so bad to use such for my Christmas card either, probably.

A 3rd option is to get a picture taken and upload it to Costco to have printed, or another place. Since it’s so late in the season though, it’s not a good idea necessarily, plus it’s something I’d best do at home since Friday night or Saturday late morning is the first time to get a full family picture taken, so it’s just something I need to figure out here, children or entire family, & then print it how.

Meantime I do have to come up with a Christmas list. I have no address book available. I’m Out-of-Touch with most everyone, not sending Christmas cards for a long time, though I have attempted, but I don’t know where a list is right now. As the years have gone by most people have stopped sending me Christmas cards, which makes it impossible for me to send THEM Christmas cards. I am still here where I’ve been since 1997. Actually, the cards coming to me dropped off before I stopped sending them. So it’s not fully my fault at how I feel about it. I don’t know what’s the what, guess my generation just doesn’t do much. I don’t write Christmas letters, feel weird doing so, like I have to have something spectacular happen to write one, like in 2007 I had a baby, but then I had trouble getting birth announcements out, finally did 3 months later, not in a mode with 3 other children & a baby again to do anything for a Christmas letter/card anyhow.

My sisters don’t always send something, my in-law relatives either. I mean cards or letters.

I have good intentions. I do, always have. I just haven’t functioned well enough to follow-through. It’s easier to make a blah card and send it out, or to make a great one custom for one person for no good reason any other time of the year.

I love my Cricut & new Gypsy. I have many ideas I can implement, but it’s really the thing about why: I don’t have a good place to work on these things. My scrap stuff is in my bedroom piled up, and also in an old computer armoire, all piled up. No desk or table for crafting available. It’s frustrating to use the kitchen table, can’t leave a project out. Worse to use the bed, way worse, but better in a way, but still NO PLACE TO LEAVE A PROJECT OUT, something that is in stages of putting together. No place in this house. This house is too small in regular living in fact. I’m stir crazy from that, and not productive therefore. I try, and fail. I’m trying, finding it hard to get anything done in this realm.

I did get a new thing at Costco this year, recently too, that makes wrapping presents much more pleasant. It’s a SnapWare Gift Wrapping station. It’s plastic with metal folding legs. It holds several rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, scissors, etc. Neat thing to hold stuff while working on wrapping, channels in surface to follow with scissors to cut paper. I wrapped daughters birthday presents this Nov. with a happy heart the whole time. It went smoothly. Christmas wrapping has been great too. I’ve wrapped a lot in the last few weeks, a ton, but it’s not as bad past years using the bed, the floor, or the kitchen table. None of them work because they aren’t like the new wrapping station I got. It’s wonderful.

The wrapping station is something that shows what a good crafting area, a dedicated area, would do for me. It’s a wonderful template to apply to life in every area, what works best is a good kitchen, good bathroom, good living room, good vehicle. The right size & tools for the job, the right space, all works together with a human to do their best and enjoy doing it more than if they had to do it with lesser.

So I hope I can manage to send something out. I am trying.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Day

November is well underway. Time is flying, does so all the time, but moreso now with Thanksgiving right around the corner, which always means even more for us since my girl has her birthday right before, on, or after Thanksgiving. She was born the evening before Thanksgiving. She likes that. Which is great. I was born 2 weeks after Independence Day. I like that. Which is great. I personally wouldn’t want my birthday literally a month before Christmas. 🙂 I like the mid-year spot I’m from. My hubby is right there with me, a week before me, and our youngest is another couple of weeks before that. Our two other boys are in Spring and the very end of Summer. FWIW.

Thanksgiving Day is two weeks from today. We haven’t yet found where we are getting a turkey from. I should make some bread to cube for stuffing, put it in the freezer. I love my Thanksgiving stuffing. I use walnuts & raisins & apples usually, with a basic bread, onion, celery, sage base (from my pantry, not from a box!)

I like using a couple types of bread cubes, usually something dark & something light. So in this case I’ll make a white spelt bread & a whole grain spelt bread, maybe put some organic blackstrap molasses in it.

Speaking of molasses, my eldest was speaking of flies, my third eldest said something then, and we got onto the topic of Shoe Fly Pie and what it was, which made both me and my eldest have mouthwatering thoughts about Shoe Fly Pie. Maybe I’ll have to take the tradition of Shoe Fly Pie in Summer & put it to Thanksgiving/Christmas in our house. As traditional in summer as it is, I haven’t made any for a long time, not this year or the last, or probably even the one before that.

For planning purposes I’ll put down what I’ll make for Thanksgiving this year:

    Thanksgiving Dinner 2009
  • Turkey w/stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Green Olives
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Baby Peas
  • Cauliflower w/cheese sauce
  • Sweet Potato Casserole w/marshmallow top
  • Pumpkin Pies
  • Shoe Fly Pie

To MI and Back

We were going to be on a trip to MI to see hubbies Dad after Christmas, and because of our usual tradition of “seeing a new movie” in the theatre on Christmas, and not having found one that we wanted to see, we decided at the last second to leave that very day, Christmas Day, instead of choosing a movie we DIDN’T want to see very much, and waiting until the next day to get ready, or staying home and waiting, or anything …

So we left by 5pm that day, and arrived there the next evening, having split the trip into two parts because of the distance (about 14 hrs straight through.) We were there until January 2nd, and arrived back home on January 4th, late.

I haven’t written anything or done much online being busy with Christmas on the way and then the trip. I’m trying to play catch up with all that, and also get photos gone through, uploaded to Flickr, and that alone is a big task. I have a bigger one now too, having received a lovely Sony Handycam for Christmas, finally I have a video camera. I have had two in the past, both 8mm tape versions, and they both broke on me, and I gave up and waited for better technology to come down in price. It has been down, but better keeps coming our way, so hubby went and got me something I’d like this Christmas. It’s a hard-drive version, with Memory Stick Pro ability as well, and records in SD or HD. I can also take photos with it. It’s a very wonderful camera and I look forward to getting good use out of it, and I hope it won’t force a huge editing time on me, so I have to do a lot more practicing with what I’ve shot and what I can shoot to make it all be avantageous to my available time.

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