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Tag Archives: Christmas

No-Bake Baking Day

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I feel like I accomplished so much today!

I got to sleep in….sort of…..until 7:00 am, when the pups decided they had waited long enough and wanted to go out. Puppy paws in the face can be very helpful in convincing you to drag your butt out of bed and let them out. I think they thought we were up for the day but I was not quite ready for that.  As soon as she came in Cody stood at her dish looking from it to me, back to her dish, then to me hoping I would take the hint and give her some breakfast and I’m sure she was very disappointed when I looked  at her and said, “Bedtime, let’s go,” and back to bed we went. About an hour later we actually got up for the day, this time I fed the poor starving pups.

My husband and I did our usual Saturday morning breakfast out, and feeling very ambitious, we decided to walk to the restaurant. Breakfast was delicious and full of calories (which is what makes it so delicious), so it’s a good thing we walked there and back in an attempt to burn off one or two of those yummy calories.

After breakfast I had to pop in to work for a bit and while we were there we grabbed a couple of Christmas gifts that I had stored in my office and brought them home to move them to our other secret storage place….which is not in our house, with the snoopers in it. Oh wait, there is only one kid living here now so it would be just one snooper we are hiding things from.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I needed to do a little Christmas baking. I  usually do my baking at the Zehrs bakery because I don’t seem to find the time to do it myself, since I generally end up spending so much time at work this time of year, but I really wanted to make something myself just to say I baked. I say it was baking, but there really wasn’t much actual baking involved.

I managed to get a large batch of Peanut Butter Balls made…..no oven involved there, just the stove top and freezer.

My Peanut Butter Balls

My Peanut Butter Balls

I made a batch of what I call “Frogs” other people call them things like Haystack cookies, but it doesn’t really matter what you call them….they are yummerific, but again, no oven needed,  just the stove top.

My Frogs....or whatever you want to call them....delicious will do.

My Frogs….or whatever you want to call them….delicious will do.

The only thing I used the oven for was to make the Holiday Pretzel Treats….and that was for a whopping 6 minutes….long enough to soften the Hershey kisses so I could smoosh the M&M into it.

Holiday Pretzel Treats....my Pinterest Recipe.

Holiday Pretzel Treats….my Pinterest Recipe.

So I guess it was more of a no-bake bake day but I still feel like I accomplished much in the baking department. Maybe I will get to shortbread and sugar cookies next Saturday but not likely. My mom arrives from N.B. that day (which by the way we are all very excited about) so I may not feel like being very productive and I just might want to visit. 🙂

After my long hard day of baking no-baking, my husband and I went to see a movie at the brand new theatre that just opened this weekend near our house. We watched Skyfall and we were quite surprised at how busy it was since the movie has been out for a while now. We wondered if that many people really wanted to watch the movie or just wanted to go to the new theatre. We wanted to do both, watch the movie and see the new theatre.

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I have to say I really enjoyed the movie, it is my favorite James Bond movie now. I liked everything about it including the sound track. I must admit I feel a special “Bond” with  James  since we are both 50 this year.

bond-50-collection-artwork

It was a great day and now I need to call it a day and hit the hay. Good night all!!

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Buy a shovel please….

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I got up to take my dogs out for their early morning walk this morning and decided wearing my sneakers would be a good idea. Why did I think that would be a good idea?……Because the sidewalk in front of my house was bare….dry even.

Example of a shovelled driveway.

Little did I know that once I turned off my street it would be a completely different story. About 1/2 a kilometer in to the walk I was getting annoyed with home owners. If I had a pen and paper with me every vehicle parked in the driveways would have had a note on it….. “Buy a shovel and learn how to use it!! You are responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of your house clear of snow and ice!!”

Nice shovelling job on your driveway.

Where I live the biggest driveway holds 4 cars, 2 wide and 2 long (and most are barely 1 car length ), how hard is it to shovel your driveway and your tiny bit of sidewalk in front of your house. I realize some people have a lot more sidewalk to shovel because the sidewalk also runs along the side of their house, but come on people, you knew how much sidewalk you had when you bought your house.

Hmmmmm......3 inches of wet slush.

My driveway and sidewalk were bare this morning because my husband shovelled it right after it snowed, as he always does…..he “loves” shovelling (when it’s only a couple of inches I don’t help because I wouldn’t want to take away his enjoyment). 🙂

At least it was shovelled once here.

I finished my 4 km walk anyway even though my feet were completely soaked by the time I got home, and now I’m just annoyed at the non-shovellers in my neighborhood.

Slippery and wet.

Yes I should have worn my boots anyway….after all it is winter.

Christmas…..Come and Gone……

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Another Christmas has come and gone…..

My son Nick came home on Friday to spend Christmas with us and will be staying until Monday. We picked him up at the bus station around supper time, grabbed a bite to eat and then waited for Erika to get off work and go pick her up.

Christmas Eve was busy but it was the first one in a while that I didn’t work…..I did pop into work to see how everyone was doing and it wasn’t nearly as busy as I thought it would be……which was good and bad. Erika had to work until 5pm and her store wasn’t too busy either.

My husband and I spent the day getting last minute odds and ends at the grocery store, doing our traditional gift wrapping at his work, getting the car washed, walking the dogs, searching the city for an onion (after the stores were all closed), ending up borrowing one from my husband’s brother and his wife which resulted in having an unplanned but great Christmas Eve visit with them and their puppies. After our visit we came home and I cut my husbands hair, (and tried to fix mine from the haircut I had gotten earlier in the day)…….and then we waited for Santa.

The kids watched “Elf” while waiting…..

Shana and Erika snuggled up on one couch……Emma watched a bit with them, and Nick had the love seat.

Waiting for Santa used to be much easier when the kids went to bed before I did, now I’m in bed long before they are. I know they all “know about Santa” but I still didn’t want them to see their filled stockings before morning, I’m weird like that. The great thing about going to bed before the kids is I also wake up before them……mostly due to the dogs wanting out, but I’m still awake first so stockings got filled at 4:30 this morning. I did manage to go back to bed for a little while.

The first one up this morning……besides me……was Nick. Some things never change. It was killing him to have to wait for the girls to wake up to start opening presents. He also had to sit through them opening everything in their stockings before any presents could be opened (everything in their stockings gets wrapped, so it can be a bit time consuming). Emma was a little bored waiting too.

Erika finally got up around 8:30 am followed by Shana shortly afterwards.

Present time…..much to Nick’s delight.

My son Ryan and his girlfriend Whitney came over in the afternoon and we opened more presents.

Our turkey seemed to take forever to cook but it was worth the wait……best tasting turkey and stuffing we have ever had……just my own humble opinion. We chased it down with raspberry cheese cake…….mmmmmm.

After a scrumptious dinner Nick and Shana went out to visit friends of theirs……not the same friends, Ryan and Whitney went home shortly after 7pm and poor Erika is just waiting for us to go to bed so she can play her new Sims game on the Xbox.

 

Having all of my family home for Christmas is what I enjoyed most about today, the food and the presents were nice but my husband and kids are what make it special for me……..just 365 more days now until next Christmas!! 🙂

Three of my Favorites……

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A couple of days ago my husband and I were in the car listening to Christmas music on the radio and he asked me what my favorite contemporary Christmas song is. I decided that Silver Bells would have to be my favorite:

My favorite Religious Christmas song is O Holy Night:

And my favorite general Christmas song is It Could Happen Again:

I really love listening to all Christmas songs but those of my top 3 favorites…..What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Some Favorites…..

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These are just a few of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments……

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Christmas Family Traditions…..

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When I was a kid Christmas morning was organized……we were allowed to get our stockings and take them back to bed with us while we waited for Mom and Dad to wake up so we could get to the presents. I remember that we only stayed in our beds for so long before we ended up in their bed waking them up so we could tell them all about the wonderful things we just got in our stockings. They always acted very interested…….as if they didn’t already know what was in them.

Once everyone was up we all had to get dressed and eat breakfast before present opening, talk about drawing out the process. After breakfast we could get to the presents……in an organized fashion. Presents were handed out one at a time and you couldn’t open a present until the last present was opened by whoever was opening it and the gift tag was attached so you could remember who it came from to be able to thank the gift giver later.

For a few years my mom decided to record Christmas morning festivities, audio, not video. After everything was opened we would play the tape and listen to the organized chaos. I remember the one recording where my younger brother was clearly concerned about the Christmas tree lights. No one noticed at the time but the playback was very entertaining…… “Do you want the tree lights on? Do you want the tree lights on or off? Do you want the tree lights left on? Do you want me to turn the tree lights off? Do you want to leave the tree lights on or off? Do you want the tree lights on or off?” Finally, “I’m just going to leave the tree lights on.” That was probably 35 years or so ago and I still remember how funny I thought it was that not one of us was paying any attention to what my brother was saying.

Once all the presents were opened they had to go back under the tree for display. We were allowed to play with any toys and wear any clothes we got as long as we put them back under the tree afterwards. The presents had to stay there until it was time for the tree to be taken down which was generally New Years Day.

I tried to keep some of these traditions with my own family but it didn’t really work out so well, we do a few things differently from the way my parents did.

My kids are allowed to get up and get their stockings but no present touching (haha…..I’m sure there is present touching), just like when we were kids, but everything in their stockings is individually wrapped to make opening the stockings take longer.

Once my husband and I get up the present opening can begin. We don’t need to get dressed or eat breakfast because I need to make sure we are opening presents while it is still dark out to get the full effect of the “tree lights being on”. One at a time each person grabs a present from under the tree, gives it to the person it is for and we all are supposed to politely watch while they open it…..that works for a bit until presents just start getting handed out too quickly. Once all the presents are opened everyone just takes their stuff to their rooms and the tree stands there as if there was never a gift underneath it. I did try to have everyone keep their stuff under the tree but with 2 dogs it wasn’t a good idea.

When our kids were younger they never saw a single present in our house until Christmas morning. All gifts were taken to my husbands work as soon as they were purchased and he and I would go there one evening before Christmas Eve and just blast the Christmas tunes and wrap all the presents. It is a fun tradition for us and a chance to spend some time alone together…..with 4 kids you take your alone time when and where you can get it. After the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve we would drive out to my husbands work and pack the car with all the presents and put them under the tree to get the full shock and awe effect from the kids when they got up in the morning. Now we still keep the gifts at my husband work but we don’t have to wait until they are asleep anymore before we bring the presents home.

I have to say, one of the reasons we don’t keep any presents in our house is due to the “snoop factor”. It’s a possibility that my kids might be just like me…….when I was a kid I found presents hidden in the house and opened them and re-wrapped them again thinking no one would ever notice. My sister once suggested that I was ruining my Christmas by being such a snoop, but she was wrong……I loved everything I opened and couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to open them again. :). Ok so it’s not really because of snoopy kids that we keep the gifts at my husbands work…..it’s more because of me. I would totally still snoop if given the opportunity.

As our kids grow up and leave the nest…..some have already left…..they will develop their own family Christmas traditions. What are some of your family Christmas traditions?

Real or Artificial?……

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I have an artificial Christmas tree…..something I thought I would never have.

Up until Christmas of 2006 I have always had a “real” Christmas tree and I felt sorry for people who had artificial trees because they couldn’t enjoy the wonderful “Christmas Tree” smell everyday.

When I lived in New Brunswick it was always an adventure to go looking for the Christmas Tree. Sometimes we would walk out back cut one down and try to get it home without damaging it. If there was enough snow we would take the snowmobile out back, pick out the perfect tree and drag it home in the snow. Sometimes we would go to a tree lot and pick a tree, pay for it and strap it on to the roof of the car and try to get it home without losing it off the car.

After moving to Ontario there were no more trips out back to get the tree, it was a matter of finding a lot and picking out what would be the perfect tree. We got our tree from a different place every year. After a few years of inspecting trees trying to decide what size and shape we wanted, my husband and I decided to buy our trees on faith……pick one out that was still wrapped and hope it had a good side to it. Thus many odd shaped Charlie Brown “real” trees.

Having a real tree is actually a lot of work. We would stand it in the garage for a few days to let the snow melt off it and then have to saw the trunk off and try to make it fit into the tree stand (no matter what kind of tree stand we had the tree never stood secure in it). Then we would have to bring it in to the house, fill the stand with water (which needed to be checked and filled everyday) and let it stand in the warmth to allow the branches to “drop” before we could decorate it. By the time the tree was in place there was a pile of needles that needed to be vacuumed up…..and everyday after that as the needles dropped off. By the time the tree came down, there was another pile of needles to try to get out of the carpet, not to mention that the price of a 7 foot Christmas had gotten ridiculous.

So, in 2006 we made the decision to go artificial. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it but I have to say, putting up the tree has gotten a lot easier since our purchase, and it has paid for itself twice over. So the whole idea of an artificial tree has grown on me and I’m not sure I would go back to real.

I was talking to my mom on Friday, (it was her birthday call) and mentioned that I was putting up our tree on the weekend, and she asked if it was a real one this year (despite all the work involved my mom still puts up a real tree)…..For one moment I did regret that I didn’t have a real tree but I got over it quick enough. 🙂

Last year for a real tree.....2005

First year for the artificial tree.....2006

I guess I would have to say that I miss the smell of the real tree but not the work involved. So what do you put up in your house?…….Real or artificial?