Santa stop here

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Just wanted to post a quick hello to wish everyone in the blogosphere a very Merry Christmas.  It was my intention to have my semi-sort-of-annual newsletter posted here and a cheery photo greeting card with the link printed across the bottom so I could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.  Alas, I haven't given much thought to a family newsletter or photo greeting card and Christmas is already here. *sigh* C'est la vie, my friends.  C'est la vie!
I thought I was doing a great job of being on top of shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. Still I found myself out in the streets for 5 hours this morning wandering about from one store to the next in the rain.  My list of things to finish for tomorrow's dinner at my brother's house is still quite extensive and I'm pooped!  I will probably bake a little then lay it down and get up and go to church and come home and bake a little more and call it a day!
For family gifts I baked cranberry orange bread, peppermint meringue cookies and made rum balls.  I still have spicy cheese straws and sugar cookies to add to the baskets.  I made a fudgy peppermint cake to take to my brother's and will probably do a potato salad as well (I know that's not the "usual" fair for Christmas, but he's "doing meat" so I'm assuming it will be smoked or barbecued.)
I'll be back to let you know how my baking turns out.  I'll even try to remember to take some photos since my internet explorer is back up and running.  What sweet treats did you leave for Santa?
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


One thing I LOVE about the blogosphere is the inspiration we gain from others' creativity and ideas.  Carol over at Knee Deep in Mommahood pens the most extraordinary letters to her husband and daughters.  I am always in awe of her talent as a writer and how well she expresses her feelings.  I know her family will treasure her words for years to come. Today my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, so I decided to try Carol's approach with a letter of my own.  Here's what I came up with...

Dear Michael,

Happy Anniversary.  How is it possible that 15 years have flown by so fast? Or was that fast at all?  Sometimes it seems like light years ago and sometimes it was only yesterday that I walked down that aisle on my father’s arm mesmerized by all of the guests who had come from near and far to celebrate our special day with us. We had our share of bloopers and blunders that day, but they were life lessons in and of themselves: our wedding day was not picture perfect but it was lots of fun, and we all survived.  Just like in life itself.
When Shawn escorted Aunt Martha to her seat, he took one look at the crepe paper draped across the pews, glanced around and ripped it off so Aunt Martha could enter the pew.  I guess he was supposed to escort her around to enter from the other side, but we didn’t go over that at the rehearsal the night before-I wouldn’t have know what to do either.  I remember my cousin easing out of her pew to get a shot of me gliding toward the altar.  She stepped on the train of my dress bringing me to a screeching halt.  John, our cupid and lector, fumbled a bit searching for his place and finally read the wrong reading and the show went on.  After all was said and done, as we collapsed, exhausted in the limousine, I looked at you and noticed for the first time that you were wearing your mother’s 3-rose corsage instead of your single rose boutonniere.  What did your mother have on? Then there was your dad who was in almost all of our wedding photos until Chermain pointed out that he was still standing there while everyone else was rotating in and out of the photos.  Ahh, the laughs!

I know I don’t tell you often, but you are my rock and I love you.

I sometimes complain that I have to do everything myself.  We often have difficulty synchronizing our productivity: I’m tired when you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.  You’re exhausted when I catch my second wind and feel productive. I realize you put in long hours to provide financially for your family.  I am grateful for every dish I don’t have to wash and every piece of clothing I don’t have to iron because you pick up my slack when I desperately need you to

I know I don’t tell you often, but you are my rock and I love you.

I once scolded that parenthood changes women much more than men (because we women do everything, of course).  Men would continue to work, eat and sleep whether they had a family or not.  I have come to realize that parenthood changes men, too.  You may not act all warm and fuzzy with the kids or wear your feelings on your sleeve as I do and get all crazy and emotional about things, but I can see how deeply you love us all.  It is evident when you quietly ask me if I thought I might have been a little rough on one of the kids when I snapped at them for one thing or another.  It is obvious how happy you make them when you surprise them by stopping by Wendy’s for an after school “snack” that mean old mom surely would have vetoed.  Your love for us is evident when you come home after working your shift plus someone else’s and tell us you had a good day and then get up 4 hours later and start all over again.

I know I don’t tell you often, but you are my rock and I love you.

You, my friend, are a lesson in patience from which I would do well to study and take notes.  Your ability to remain as cool as a cucumber no matter what is going on astounds me.  You are like an island in the midst of a storm.  The water and wind may swirl around you, but you are calm and laid back, steady and unchanging.  You balance out my excitability and quick temper.  You are the yin to my yang.

I know I don’t tell you often, but you are my rock and I love you.

We never chose “our song” or “our special place” but we have 15 years of memories of us as a family: the good, the bad, the happy, the sad.  I love you for eating whatever I put on the table without complaining.  I love you for holding your tongue when you come home to chaos after working long hours.  I love you for wanting me to be happy.  I love you for appreciating the things I do for you and our family.  I love being close to you at the end of the day.  I love your hearty laughter that can lighten a tense mood in an instant.

I know I don’t tell you often, but you are my rock and I love you. Happy Anniversary.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas parade

Every day seems like a busy day although for the life of me I cannot account for where my time goes.  My house is not tidy, so I'm not cleaning all day long. My meals aren't planned months in advance, so I'm not organizing daily/weekly/monthly meal plans and coordinating grocery shopping lists.  Neither my kids nor I are not well-dressed, so I'm definitely NOT spending my time shopping.  Where do my days go?
Anyway, yesterday was a usual busy day around here.  It started with a one-mile run at the park.  For all of you in-shape mamas out there, don't applaud me just yet.  I normally do not run, period.  I'll walk all over the neighborhood for over an hour, but I've never been much of a runner.  Yesterday's "circumstance" came about as the result of a fitness program to which our pediatrician referred my daughter.  Because she is overweight and we have a family history of high cholesterol and hypertension, etc. Alisa qualified for the program as "high risk" for health issues later in life.  Anyway, the one-mile "run" was to establish a baseline for Alisa's performance, and since I was there along with another mom, we decided to walk the mile to encourage our kids.  The other mom asked if I wanted give running a try, and I agreed to try and run one lap around the park (5 laps make one mile). We ended up doing a walk one lap, run one lap type thing, which wasn't so bad.
After that we returned home to scoop up my son and take him to All-Region band try-outs.  The school was literally down the street from the dealership where my BIL works, so I dropped off my son and then went to get my oil changed.  When we returned to the school, Alisa and I waited a bit longer for Aaron to finish up.  There were 44 trombones trying out for about 9 spots, so we'll see how Aaron faired tomorrow.  He doesn't think he made it, but there's always next year when we can afford for him to take the private lessons the school offers.
Later in the evening, my sister dropped off my nephew and we made our way downtown for the lighting of the Christmas tree and the Christmas parade.  The temperature had really dropped, and it was cold outside, but the parade didn't last too long, and it was a lot of fun to see the cars, trucks, trailers and Elvis impersonators riding mini-bikes all decked in holiday lights!  Sorry, I would've taken pics, but (1) I forgot my camera; and (2) ever since I've had to resort to logging on with googlechrome vs internet explorer, I can't upload images to my blog.  If anyone has any tips about how to resolve that I'd love to hear them!
When I returned home I was supposed to stop by my mom's to help her put together a craft for her Parent's Day Out students.  My sister and BIL were there so I delivered my nephew to them and ended up staying a bit longer than I expected to finish the craft.
Finally, after I returned home, I mushed together sausage, baking mix, shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion, garlic and celery and shaped them into balls for another "potluck" the hubs was having on his job. 'Tis the season!  I'll try and post some of the recipes I've tried recently as soon as I figure out the attaching a picture thing.
Speaking of recipes...back in August or September around the beginning of the school year, someone posted on their blog a recipe for homemade granola bars.  They wrapped them in wax paper, sealed them with a sticker and ribbon for their child to take to school (first day of school treat maybe?).  Anyway, my cousin asked me for a recipe for granola bars, and that one came to mind only I cannot remember who posted the recipe!  If you are that person or remember that post or just have a great granola bar recipe, please leave a link in the comment section if you'd be so kind.  Thank you! Until next time...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Happy Holidays, everyone.  I'm off off to brave the crowds at an outlet store with my mom.  Shopping is so hard to do when the "holiday spirit" hasn't hit you.  Well, the spirit has certainly hit (at least I've got my holiday blog up even if my tree isn't, right?), but the paycheck hasn't hit the bank yet!  Here's hoping all of you have your trees up and lit and  you're experiencing an extra helping of holiday cheer right about now. I'll let you know how I make out with the shopping!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Five Question Friday 12/03/10

I thought since it is now December and I don't ever want you to get bored visiting my blog on Five Question Friday, I'd woo you with my very own rendition of my favorite Christmas carol.  ::clearing throat::  Mi-mi-mi-mi. La-la-la-la.  Eh-hem.  That was just the warm up folks.  Here goes...What? You can't here what I'm singing?  Well, according to my cousin, maybe you're luckier for it. I will let you know that although I usually sing alto (or whatever the people next to me sing, really), I CAN hit that really high note at the end of  "O, Holy Night."
Anyway...moving right along to the real reason I'm sitting at my computer when dishes and dust are calling me by name: Five Question Friday blog hop hosted by Mama M over at My Little Life.  Please hop over to her blog to get the official rules and original questions to post on your very own blog. Don't forget to link up so others will know to check out your answers to this week's questions.

1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!
I try to encourage my family to write down on a wish list things that they want/need throughout the year.  This it to include mundane stuff like socks and underwear (obviously needs) and all of the extras.  It's like the ongoing grocery list stuck on the fridge, and everyone understands that these are suggestions only--some will be purchased some will not.  This way when birthdays, Mother's days, Father's days, etc. roll around or a little extra cash trickles in I have a clue as to what to get.  I started this tradition some years ago when my daughter fell hook, line and sinker for some "video now" electronic toy that she just had to have for Christmas.  She used it for about two weeks and you could no longer buy the little discs by the next time Christmas rolled around!  My idea doesn't work very well in my household b/c people take their lists off of the bulletin board in the kitchen to add something to them then they get lost in the mountain of bills, ads, mail and graded school papers that clutter my kitchen table never to be seen again!  Or, as is my husband's case, he just mentions things he wants at random times and expects me to remember 6 months later.  Anyway, I just put that idea out there for those of you organized folks that may benefit from such a system. Back to the original question, what's at the top of my holiday wish list?  I'd have to say as of a couple days ago, a food processor is at the top of my list.  Laura at "Home is where the heart is" posted a great recipe for Korean meatballs that involves chopping up chicken breasts in a food processor.  I've found so many recipes that require one.  I'm wondering how I've lived this long without one.  A new vacuum would be pretty close to the top, too.  My husband refuses to buy me "tools" as a gift.  I think it's just because he doesn't want to come off as a male chauvinist to his friends: "What'd you get your wife for Christmas?" "I got her a vacuum cleaner."  "Dude, you should have gone to Jared's!"
2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?
I'd have to say a Christmas wedding was probably my greatest past Christmas gift.  I don't usually ask for much (you can never go wrong with a Target or craft store gift certificate IMO), but I love the Christmas season and we had an absolute blast getting married in December.
3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?
I remember back in high school I considered going to medical school (ob/gyn).  I took 3 years of Latin for crying out loud!  In my not-so-infinite 18-year-old wisdom, I decided 8 more years of school was simply unreasonable.  I was also discouraged by malpractice insurance rates for ob/gyns and having to look "down there" when there wasn't a baby crowning (you know, the gynecology part of the business).  In other words, I completely talked myself out of becoming an ob/gyn. I still love all things labor and delivery, and would probably be a nurse-midwife when I grow up if I had to do it over again.  I've got the "nurse" part out of the way, so I may still be able to manage the "midwife" part.  I'll just have to change "when I grow up" to "when I grow old."
4. When do you put up your tree?
We don't have a set tradition for putting up the Christmas tree.  Now that the kids are 12 and 14 we should probably be better about stuff like this so they have a sense of tradition before the fly the coop!  It usually gets put up about 2 weeks before Christmas (and has been known to stay up past Spring Break--in my defense, I live in an older home when everything was built with walls and doors unlike today's homes where rooms blend together and are spacious and open.  The tree was in the dining room which has no dining room table or any other reason to go in there except to look at a Christmas tree, so it was kind of out of sight out of mind).  One year, I stopped by the grocery store the day before Christmas eve for a couple items and dragged home a real tree that was drastically reduced for obvious reasons.  You'll be glad to know we did not leave that one up until Spring Break!  Now, I feel a little guilty, so maybe we'll put up our tree this weekend.
5. What is your favorite Holiday?
Is this one of those questions where you ask several questions whose answer is "stop" and then you ask what do you do at a green light?  You asked about Christmas gifts and Christmas trees and then expect me to say "Christmas" for this question, right? Maybe not, but my favorite holiday is Christmas.  I love the lights and music and warm fuzzies derived from helping those in need, the giving spirit, the family time, the reunions with friends I haven't seen all year, the baking, etc.  I also love the Advent preparation (our hearts, our homes) that leads to Baby Jesus, the Word made flesh.  I love it all!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Thursday

It's been a while since I've joined Mama Hen over at Mama's Little Chick for Thanksgiving Thursday.  I didn't even post how thankful I am on Thanksgiving Day! (Shame on me.) This will be brief as I have "miles to go before I rest" and rest I must for a change.

  • I am thankful for this Advent season as we prepare our hearts and homes and families for the birth of Baby Jesus.
  • I am thankful that I have a little gas in my car, a little money in my checking account, food in my pantry and fridge (in particular the baking goods!), and  a roof over my head this holiday season when not everyone can say the same.
  • I am thankful that my FIL slipped away peacefully with family nearby and that he will be "home" for the holidays.
  • I am especially thankful for all of the blog love you all have shown me over the past few trying weeks. Thank you and I appreciate you.
  • I am thankful for my family, especially my hard-working husband and children who do their best in school. I don't tell them nearly enough how proud I am of them. Also, I am thankful for my two SILs upon whose shoulders the burden of making all of the final arrangements for my FIL fell.
  • I am thankful for a God who keeps blessing me over and over and over again until my cup overflows.

What are you thankful for as we delve into this holiday season?

My friend is hosting a give-away

I haven't done any giveaways yet...I'm just not that sophisticated.  However, I think it's always fun to enter and win something, so I wanted to let you know that my friend Cam over at "A Woman's Place" is hosting her Full of Grace Creations Monday morning giveaway.  The prize is a beautiful, hand-crafted fresh water pearl bracelet as shown here.  Please hop over to her blog (click here) hfor a chance to win.  The rules are quite simple and the deadline is 12 noon (California time) on Sunday, December 5.  The winner will be selected next Monday, December 6th, so it will probably arrive in time for Christmas.  Even if you're not into jewelry, this will make a nice gift for someone who is!  You can always visit Cam's Etsy store at Full of Grace Creations (click here) to check out more of her hand-made jewelry.

Have a great day, and may the "blessed" blogger win!