Wednesday, December 30, 2009

bring on twenty ten!

I am so over December and 2009.
I'm bored with holiday break and the never ending presence of my family. I love y'all, but you gotta go.
I'm tired of turkey and cookies and Christmas music.
I'm finished with 20 degree weather and my car being filthy.
I'm done with Santa hats and the Christmas tree.
I'm ready for the promise of a new year, a new decade!
I'm ready for 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 23-25

  • We celebrated Christmas with the Treibers' & the Johnstons' at our house on Wednesday.
  • Bart brined a turkey for dinner, and it was delicious! I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing, and I must say it turned out to be the moistest, tastiest bird ever. Too much good food all around, from appetizers to desserts.
  • Enjoyed our first ever 'nowhere to go' Christmas Eve. Ever since I can remember, the holidays have been split between my Dad & Mom; when we married, we just added another family into the mix. We try to divide the time equally on holidays...sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but we have never had a Christmas Eve where we weren't expected to be somewhere. It was really nice to just be able to hang out in our pj's most of the day and go at our own pace.
  • We attempted to shop in downtown Northville a little, but everything was closed! I thought by going early (2 ish), stores would still be open. Not so much. Oh well, we did get some coffee and fresh air!
  • Wrapped presents while the kids played upstairs. During the day. Awesome.
  • Watched 'Transformers 2' with the kids.
  • Hot tubbed! The tub was 105 degrees and a cold wind was blowing- in other words, perfection!
Ev patiently waiting to dig into the bounty
Evan and Papa Fred
Emma & Grammy Sandy
our festive holiday table
I guess we were pretty good this year!
Grammy Cozy, Papa Jim, Em & Ev
me & Evan in the tub
walking the deserted streets of Northville on Christmas Eve
...and Norman, 7th grade science turtle out and about

  • I caught Evan sneaking around the living room in the dark at 12:30. His excuse? "I'm getting a drink of water". Ha. And I was born yesterday.
  • Got a late start on Christmas morning! Emma was up at 6:30. but let the rest of us sleep while she texted friends. I got up before Evan at 8:30. Unheard of!
  • It poured rain all day, heavily. Melted all the snow and killed my ice candles.
  • Gifts opened in approximately 52.7 seconds. Best gift? I got a Kindle!!! It is the coolest thing. I've had so much fun playing with it. Unfortunately I had just started a new book from the library, so I want to finish it before i start another. I've downloaded 3 books and a blog to it so far, and my wish list is long :)
  • My Mom & Stepdad came over for ham dinner and to spend the day with us. More eating. Lots of bickering and refusals to nap. Then the kids spent 3 hours in the basement while we watched 'Star Trek'. It was quiet and peaceful and totally unlike them!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

brace yourself

Emma had an orthodontist appointment this morning. On January 19th, my baby is getting braces. We knew she would eventually need them, and in fact the last time we went to the ortho, I know she was a little disappointed to hear that she didn't need them yet. But the day has come. She would have begun the process today, but we are getting new insurance on the first of the year . Naturally.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that she's happy to get braces; most of her friends either have them or just got them off, so she won't feel like a weirdo. I know she's worried about pain, about how it will affect her french horn, about not chewing gum. You know, all the important things.
She wants to see if she can get purple braces.
My baby is growing up!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 18-22

  • Friday I went to see Avatar with my Dad at the first showing of the day. It was a great movie, and seeing it in 3D was awesome. Then by happenstance, Bart bought us tickets to go as a family on Friday night. So yes, I did see the same movie twice on the same day, but it was all good. Go see it,if you get a chance. You won't be sorry.
  • We celebrated Christmas with my Dad & Stepmom on Saturday. It was a great day. Carol made Bouf Bourginon ala Julia Child, and it was magnificent. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, hottubbing, chatting, laughing and in general being happy.
  • 99% of the gifts have been purchased.
  • The best thing about having a 12 year old daughter is that she likes to wrap gifts! Emma has wrapped nearly every gift so far. Too bad she can't wrap her brother's gifts.
  • Evan has worn pj's every day since school has been out.
  • My little Bakerella whipping up another batch of cookies. This particular batch is brown sugar icebox cookies.

  • Having Christmas cocktails before dinner.
  • finished another handknit gift and started one more.
  • Last night Bart & I went out for our anniversary dinner to Fleming's. It was superb. So now I'm becoming spoiled on 4 nights of gourmet cooking that I didn't have to prepare.
  • And I baked more cookies. My little helper delivered them to our neighbors :)
  • Watched several hours of the most entertaining show called "The World's Tackiest Christmas Lights". awesome. Laughed out butts off.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us!

Today is our sixteenth wedding anniversary.
It also happens to coincide with my 400th post. Weird!
This is my second blog-I used to have one over at Typepad but got tired of paying to have a space to write notes to myself. I don't remember what the count was over there, but I had it for about 2 years, so I'm sure it was in the hundreds.
Which is mind boggling; that I've had hundreds of things to talk about.

So back to the anniversary...
16 years is an eternity, and the blink of an eye. I don't feel old enough to say that I've done anything for 16 years, but I have. I've known Bart since I was 15. A kid. A few years older than Emma is now. THAT blows my mind. Could she already know the person she is destined to be with?
To celebrate, the four of us are going to see Avatar tonight. A 9:00 show. (Psssst. Don't tell anyone but I went to see it this morning with my Dad in 3D). It was so visually stunning, I really don't mind seeing it again. The show is over 2 1/2 hours though, so with previews and drive time, it'll be almost 1:00 am until we get home. Soooo glad that Evan's soccer game was moved to noon tomorrow!
Let the wild rumpus start!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 14-17

OKay, so I haven't really been into updating daily. At this time of year, there is a lot of stuff going on, and I am trying not to include non-Christmas related doings in my December daily. So therefore, some days are really dull and not worth posting anything!
  • finished another knitting related Christmas gift...this one for Evan. All of his hats have cartoon characters on them, so I thought I would make him a more 'teen' hat that matches his coat. I love it. I hope he likes it. I hope it's not too tight. I have 2 more gifts on the needles. Knit knit knit.
  • the big brown truck of joy has been by several times recently. I am worse than a kid when packages arrive. If I didn't actually enjoy going to the store from time to time, I could easily shop for everything online.
  • one of my new ornaments this year. Some of you may recognize it from Sharyn's blog. It's my third carved ornament, and I am hooked. HA! I really love them.
  • I am sitting here in front of the tree, enjoying the glow of the lights and the far-away voices of my kids down in the basement. You might notice that my cat Ben is under the tree. He takes up near permanent residence under there until we take it down. He is the main reason I can't put presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. Yeah sure, the kids would manhandle them and shake them and sort them into piles, but Ben is a ribbon destroyer and package sitter-onner. NO package is safe from him. One of these days when he is no longer with us (and I don't even want to think about it), I will have packages with lovely, elaborate bows that everyone oohs and ahhhs over.
  • Christmas cards are done and mailed. Horray!
  • Still no snow in Southeast Michigan, although it is very cold. Will we have a White Christmas?
  • Restarted my ice lanterns. Like Sharyn (see above link), this year I am putting cans and things in the center to create candle space. Last year I only did it in some, and I had to use hot water to make a candle space. And all my stinkin' buckets cracked. So I have gallon milk jugs going, and one bucket. I am going to find some other things that I can fill with water and make a bunch more. Last year wasn't cold enough to have any before Christmas. I am excited!
  • I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of school for the year. Truthfully, I have been laying low and taking advantage of all the 'me' time, because after tomorrow, it's pretty much gone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 11,12 & 13

  • Fat Squirrel has returned! After the frigid cold settled into just regular winter cold, the birdfeeders became the place to be. We have red finches, cardinals, blue jays (huge ones!) gold finches, chickadees, and a few other varities that I don't recognize. And then there is FS. This is actually FS friend, Chubby Squirrel. Many enjoyable hours were spent watching the two of them slide down the metal pole fireman style. Emma & I could hardly breathe we were laughing so hard.
  • On Sunday morning, I saw an almost 2 foot tall hawk sitting on top of the feeder. I've never seen one so close before. He didn't like it when I tried to take his photo and he flew away.
  • Our tree is fully decorated! I will take some pix later.
  • Went to the Johnston's house to celebrate Papa Fred & Uncle Greg's birthdays. We found out that Aunt Tracey is pregnant with a boy! The kids are estatic to have a new cousin, especially one that lives in Michigan!

  • Last soccer games of 2009! Evan was a sub for the U11 boys team, which he really liked doing. Gave him a taste for 8v8 and offsides play. I am so glad to get a break, even if only for a few weeks.
  • Wrote about 25% of our Christmas cards.
  • Finished my knitting special order :)
  • Watched a few Christmas specials. A few years ago we bought all of our favorite ones on DVD so we don't have to worry about missing them when they are on TV. It's great to be able to watch whenever we want to. This year we also watched Disney's Prep & Landing, which was totally cute and gave us our new favorite quote: "This is soooo tinsel!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 9 & 10

my favorite new Christmas cookie: Christmas bewbies! (story below)
I love that we left the grasses long this year. They sway ever nicely in the breeze, and when the sun is going down they look like feathers. Beautiful. Although I have been fooled at night when they move, thinking someone is sneaking up on our porch.

My brand new cookie cutter from Frankenmuth. It's ginormous!

  • The temperature has plummeted and it's absolutely freezing. Today's high was 16 degrees. Way too cold way too soon. I have not gone out willingly all day.
  • We got our first snow of the season, but with the 50 mile an hour winds, there's no way to know how much we got. Less than an inch, my guess. Some nice fluffy, light snow would be welcom right now.
  • Set up our winter outdoor entertainment system. i.e. 2 bird feeders. I have spooted a few cardinals today. I wonder how long it will be before fat squirrel discovers them??
  • Baked some regular shortbread and the candy cane thumbprints (above). The recipe calls for using a mellon baller or something similar to press into the warm dough to make the thumbprint. I don't have a mellon baller, so I used a cherry pitter. It left a little indent. Until I had them all cooling on the plate I didn't notice their resemblance to boobs. Of course I thought it was hilarious. When I add the frosting and the candy cane pieces, no one will ever see the 'nips'. They will be my little secret :)
  • Printed out the labels for Christmas cards & bought stamps. Just need to fill them out.
  • I started some colored ice luminaries outside the other day, and the wind carried them away. :(
  • Almost finished with my Christmas special order. I have decided to make a hat for Evan. Just need to go through my stash and find the right yarn...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

annual shopping rant v.09

Hello, friends! I hope you are all having a terrific holiday season. And if you're not, there is still plenty of time to turn it around. I spent the majority of the day today shopping, and all I have to say is THANK GOD Christmas isn't tomorrow, or the day after, or even the day after that, because I think I have used up all my accumulated good cheer.

It's that time where I rant and rave about shopping, driving, and whatever else about the holidays that bugs me. It'll be fun for all! Let's begin...

  • Mall operators of America: Thank you for the hard work you put in every year to get us to spend our hard earned money. I have rarely seen my local mall looking more festive, or cleaner than I have this year. I have just one tiny favor to ask of you:

It is not necessary to heat the mall above 70 degrees, ever. When the outside temperatures are around 30 degrees, you can rest assured knowing that the general population will plan ahead and wear the properly called for outdoor wear. Therefore, heating the mall to 85 degrees is ludicrous, unnecessary, and unhealthy. Are you trying to breed the flu? Is there a secret hothouse full of poinsettias in there that I don't know about? It's hot, and uncomfortable, and I don't like to be in a full on flop sweat while I shop. Not only did I NOT take time to window shop, I nearly took off my furry winter Uggs and walked barefoot back to my car.
  • ToysRus: I come to your store because you have a better selection of some toys than Target or Meijer's. Kudos to you for opening early! But I feel I must point out that you occasionally need to have more than 2 registers open. During peak business time and anytime in the two weeks preceeding Christmas, it is not acceptable to have lines snaking thru the store because you don't want to hire enough associates. NOT ACCEPTABLE!
  • Michael's/JoAnn's: You know I can't quit you, even though I would love to. You do a good job of getting those flyers with 40% off coupons to my door, and make me want to buy a little something extra. Why then do you feel the need to put every item in the store on sale so that I can't use any of the coupons?? No lie, I walked around the store for 20 minutes trying to find something that was worth buying that wasn't on sale. Literally everything was 10%, 20%, or 30% off, rendering the coupons useless and just aggrivating me. I like sales as much as the next person. I love finding out something is on sale when I didn't expect it to be. But I hate having that 40% off coupon in my hand and being unable to find one item worthy of using it on. And you can stand to open up some more lanes too. Seriously.
  • Apple store: I adore you. I find little fault with you. Just one tee-tiny request: If you are so kind as to allow me to schedule a genius bar appointment before the mall actually opens (thank you!), then can you just let me buy the stupid $30 item I need so that I don't have to wander around the scorching hot mall for 20 minutes, and wait until 'business hours'. You don't do business like other stores; making me wait is just poor customer service.
  • Person who parks next to my car every time no matter how far away I park in the lot: TAKE AN EXTRA 30 FLIPPIN' SECONDS AND STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR GODDAMN CAR! Everyone else will be eternally grateful!
  • random charities: I know you are having a rough go of it this year, with the economy and all. Times are tough and money is tight. But I feel like I have to point out that everywhere I turn, there is someone who wants me to hand over some cash. We donate frequently throughout the year, not just during the holidays. We donate regularly through programs at our kids' schools. I don't need you to ask me if I want to donate every time I swipe my credit card or pass through a check out line. It makes me feel guilty to say no. I am much more likely to give to someone who doesn't approach me than the sales clerk who askes every person in line if they want to donate money in a deadpan voice.

Okay, that's it for 2009. I feel much better having gotten these greivances off my chest. I may live to shop another day! (just not for the next few days...y'all are killing me)

December 6, 7 & 8

I was having computer issues for the last few days and didn't add to my December daily. Catching up...

  • Put up the Christmas palm tree & the car tree. In our house, we have 5 trees...our regular tree, the palm tree, the car tree, and each kid has a tree in their room. Every year I forget how small the palm tree actually is- I always remember it being much larger. It's cute and petite, and fits nicely into the corner. All nautical & beach themed ornaments go onto it. The car tree is in the foyer this year, right next to the front door. Bart has been collecting the Hallmark car & truck series since the first year they came out. A few years ago we bought them their own tree.
  • More baking! I made lemon shortbread, chocolate caramel thumbprints, candy cane thumbprints, and a tres leche cake.
  • I pulled out 4 or 5 crates worth of Christmas stuff, and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the house! We still have a lot more, but it's a great start.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 5

Bart & Emma assembling the tree. I love that she's old enough to help!
Putting up some last minute lights.
Candied almonds. 9 cups of them. Yummmmm.
Cute boy in a Santa cap.

  • Bart finally got a chance to run the electricity out to the lights he strung weeks ago, so we have Christmas lights now! While he was freezing his butt off, he decided to beef up the display and add a few more strings. Not as festive as previous years, but will do :)
  • Lightly snowing most of the day, but it doesn't amount to anything.
  • Made candied almonds with Emma.
  • Listened to Chirstmas music all day (unusual for me) on my computer.
  • Finished one special order (knitting). Am very happy with the results.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4

Taking a little liberty with pix today-this one is from yesterday. Emma was practicing her french horn before the concert, and I caught this one. Horn not actual size :)
My snowflake window, captured in the sunrise this morning.
  • Today I baked chocolate chip cookies, banana breads (mini loaves), chocolate peanut butter bars, & chocolate-caramel thumbprints. Then I ran out of butter.
  • Bought a wreath. It was bugging me that I didn't have one yet.
  • Put together my poinsettia pins. Available in my etsy store!
  • Received our first Christmas cards.
  • Emma & Bart put together the tree.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 2nd & 3rd

December 2nd:
The day was a total wash. I ran too many errands to get anything accomplished around the house. Evan had a last minute make-up soccer game, which threw the entire evening into a tailspin. Throw in the rain, and that just about did me in.
The only fun thing I did was take a road trip to Ann Arbor to go to Cost Plus. They closed many of them in the state last year, but I found out there is still one in AA, which made me very happy. They are my go-to store for awesome stocking stuffers, not to mention my best resource for Ghiradelli chocolate chips.

December 3rd:
  • Met Jan for coffee at B&N. Bought a few more gifts.
  • Purchased the rest of the supplies needed to begin some baking tomorrow. Of course, this was not accomplished in one trip :P. Apparently hazelnuts are not a common grocery store staple.
  • knitting, knitting & more knitting
  • Emma's Christmas concert tonight for band
  • decorate my 'snowflake' window. I forgot to take a picture while it was still light, so I will take one tomorrow and add it in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello, December v.09

Not quite sure how it's possible, but it's already December. This year has truly flown by!

I am going to keep a 'December daily' album going here. Maybe I'll get around to scrapping it, maybe I won't (I didn't last year), but at least I'll have a record of what was going on if I ever decide I do want to get it into an album!

December 1st:

  • while laying sleepless in bed last night, I had the idea of how I wanted to take a Christmas card photo of the kids. The weather was beautiful when they came home from school, and they were both in an uncharacteristically cooperative mood, so we did it. I call it "Sister's revenge". I like it.
  • bought 2 new cookie magazines at the store today. Sorting thru and finding all the things I want to make. Right now, I am at 18 different things. In one magazine. I will be paring down. I love to bake.
  • PW's beef & mushroom stew is bubbling on the stove for dinner. It smeels delicious. Just waiting for the noodles to cook so we can eat!
  • Emma made Palestinian cookies all by herself to take to school tomorrow. They are very yummy! They are sort of baklava-ish, but she left off the nuts (in case of allergies). Most importantly, she did all the cleanup herself!
  • cleaned up the basement enough to pull out the Christmas decorations. Trust me when I say this was necessary! Now maybe we can work on getting the tree up.
  • Got an order from an old friend who would like many knitted things for gifts. Trying to pull together all the supplies needed so that I can get them done in time.

Thanksgiving recap

  • It was a whirlwind trip...just about 24 hours total. We left both ways at 8 am.
  • Bart drove the entire trip because I was sick, naturally. Started the night before with the nasty bronchial stuff. I slept in the car quite a bit.
  • Border crossings were quick and painless. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get stamps in our new passports :(
  • Arrived @ the Anderson's/Dorsay's at 1:00, after taking a few wrong turns. Thanks OnStar!
  • spent the next 8 hours talking, eating, laughing, drinking, playing, & eating. The cousins hadn't seen each other in sooo long. And they all got along terrifically. Olivia kept leading Emma thru the house, holding her hand. She told her she looked like a princess (aww. It was so sweet.) Evan & Luke spent the majority of their time building Legos.
  • Shannon took Emma & I to her boutique. Em picked out some really pretty hairbands.
  • went to the hotel to pass out.
Beanie looks just like her momma!
The girls are having a heated game of 'Cooking Mama'
Evan & Livvy
I took 5 pix of them together, and this was the best one!
the big kids get goofy.

We had a great time. Too short a visit.
Thanks to Shannon & Carmen for a terrific day!