Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Christmas Recap

Howdy Humble Readers...

First and foremost, isn't this the sweetest little angel you've ever seen?  She was the teeny tiniest angel at our congregation's Sunday School pageant.  And she did pretty good too, at least she didn't stretch out on the floor in front of the manger or anything. 

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!  Everyone in the hobbit hole was spoiled rotten by Santa Claus.  Tops on the wee-lings haul are a remote control car for Pippin (that moves when he shakes the driver figurine) and a doctor set for Ginny.  My Beloved really seemed to like new leather jacket.
Ginny with 'Madeline Taylor'

Eating a chocolate marshmallow snowman
(at 7:30 in the morning... ick)

It was a major 'kitchen' Christmas for me.  I got a new set of pots and pans, a pizza stone, an asparagus steamer, and a beautiful glass serving platter.  I also know that there is a new large frying pan on back order.  Spoiled, I tell ya. 
With his new crayons

A new storyboook

The hobbit-hole was full to capacity both Christmas day and Boxing day. My mom, her beau, my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids were all here for Christmas dinner.  It was great, albeit loud and crowded.  And on Boxing Day we had my Beloved's mom, her beau, and one of my Beloved's brothers and his wife over.  Not quite as loud, but still crowded in our wee little hobbit hole.

I'm very proud of how Christmas Dinner turned out.  I did turkey of course (two actually, so that I would be sure to have lots of leftovers to freeze), a small ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (a family recipe that is to die for... it has booze in it!), peas, and carrots.  New this year were stuffing muffins (rather than just in a casserole dish or stuffed in the bird) and I made what is quite possibly the best turkey gravy I've ever tasted... if I do say so myself.  It was a bit labour intensive, but it was soooo worth it! 

We took the tree and all the decorations down today.  I know, some people might feel that it's a bit soon, but I always really want to start the new year with a clean house, and having things back to normal.  Besides, the house really does feel so much bigger without all the extra clutter.  As much as I love it when we decorate, I do love taking it all down too.  Ginny was sad because she wanted more Christmas. 

Sadly, I have gained more than I would have liked over the holiday season.  Who am I kidding, I had hoped to at least maintain... that certainly didn't happen!  I'm going to have to get myself back in gear here right away, and get things going in the right direction again. 

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading... The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson.  I'm only a few chapters in, and I'm enjoying it very much.  I think it should be a relatively quick read.  Paris in the early 1900s has been a real trend in my reading the last four or five months. 

Watching... Right now, the Disney movie "Up" with Ginny.  She loves the balloons.  Later I'm going to make time to watch the finale to Downton Abbey season three, in preparation for the new season that starts next week. 

Listening to... My Beloved, as he tidies up the kitchen for me. 

Cooking/Baking...  Tonight was turkey shepherd's pie.  I did something a little different and put a layer of turkey stuffing in the casserole along with the turkey, gravy and veggies.  Managed to use up the last of the odds and ends of leftovers (like the mashed potatoes and the peas).  Yay!  Tomorrow, I'm going to make some sort of turkey soup, and then that's it for turkey for a while! 

Happy I Accomplished This Week...  That I not only survived, but actually managed to enjoy hosting Christmas and Boxing Day.  Usually I'm fairly stressed about the food and everything that I don't get to enjoy myself.  I'm also thankful for Boxing Week sales!  I got a bunch of stuff for the wee-lings at Old Navy, and a bunch of stuff for me at my favourite plus-size store.  I had been holding off on buying myself new clothes for a while now, and my size 20 jeans were incredibly loose and baggy on me.  I now have three pairs of size 16 jeans, and was able to get a couple of new tops too.  Yay!

Looking Forward To Next Week...  Getting back into a normal routine.  I have to go through the wee-lings' dressers again, and sort out which clothes still fit.  We are also going to be rearranging the nursery again next weekend.  Pippin's crib needs to be lowered another level (the stinker climbed out one day last week), and we need to figure out a better storage situation for their toys. 

Thankful For...  For safe travels for our family, who came from hither and yon.  For a happy holiday season, and for getting things back to normal. 

***Bonus Question*** What was the best gift you received this year? Well, I love the new pots, and I'm excited about the pizza stone, but I'm actually looking forward to the arrival of a couple of things that have been ordered but haven't arrived.  I'm getting a new big frying pan (because my old one is dying... all the Teflon is starting to come off) and Downton Abbey season 4 is on pre-order, but I won't be getting it until late January or early February. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over to join in on the conversation. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Christmas Approaches

Howdy Humble Readers...

Geez, I suck at blogging, don't I?  Again, I have a picture heavy post for you all, so please bear with me. 
Pippin wasn't so sure about Santa Claus
The Shire has been subjected to the most drastic of weather patterns in the last week and a bit.  At the end of last week we were sitting at -47C (that's in the -50s for you all who use Fahrenheit).  Alberta was the coldest place on the planet for more than 24 hours.  I ended up with a bit of frostbite on my cheeks and nose, because I was out in it for too long bringing in several loads of groceries.  Not very bright.  Today we actually hit 7C (yes, that's above freezing)... such a drastic change, thanks to a Chinook wind.  We'll be hanging out around the freezing mark for the next few days, thankfully. 
Us on the night of my Beloved's
office Christmas party
My Beloved's office Christmas party was... well, interesting.  The food was alright, but we only had appetizers all night.  If we would have known that, we would have eaten beforehand.  We sat with a nice couple, but the rest of the party was a lot of people taking extreme advantage of the open bar. 

Hermy, the Elf, has been a busy guy the last couple of weeks.  Here are a few highlights...
Reading a Christmas book

With new ornaments to add to the
wee-lings' collections.

He doodled on our portraits.

With our Angel Tree gift

Fishing for goldfish crackers

Riding a candy cane zipline

Cookies to bake for Sunday School.
Ginny has really loved the process of looking for him every morning to see what he's been up to.  I confess that there was one night when he simply didn't move at all, and a couple of nights it's been pretty simple stuff (like hiding in the stockings) but overall I'm happy with what we've done so far. 

I went to see the Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on Friday night, of course.  As someone who's read the book almost every year since I was twelve, I have to admit I was disappointed.  This is the first time in all of Peter Jackson's interpretations of Tolkien where I was left confused and a little sad.  He was so focussed on sticking as close to canon as possible during LotR, and even the first Hobbit movie was close, with the additions from the appendices.  I'm sure I'll come around eventually and be able to appreciate it, but on Friday I was just unhappy.  It didn't help that we got into the theater late and had to sit in the second row from the front.  I don't do so well with 3D movies anyway, and that close ended up making me dizzy and ill. 

Christmas preparations are almost complete for the hobbit hole.  I have one more batch of baking that I want to do, and I haven't started wrapping presents yet, but I'm feeling good about that.  We are going to be hosting on Christmas day and Boxing day, so I'm going to do some of my cooking this coming week... things that freeze and reheat well. 

Today was a special day for Ginny.  The Sunday School sang during the service today, and it was her first time joining them.  She is the littlest in our Sunday School, and it was obvious by how she handled being up in front of the congregation.  I'm intrigued to see what the Christmas pageant next week (in which she will be a teeny angel) will bring. 

Anyway, onto this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading... I'm embarrassed to say that I'm still reading Game of Thrones.  I'm beginning to think that I need to give up on it, but I've invested so much time in it.  Next up, even if I don't finish GoT in the next couple of days, I'm going to move on to a book I haven't read in the last couple of years.  It's called Tracks in the Straw, and it's an interesting collection of short stories surrounding the Nativity.  Each story is a different look at the birth of Christ, told through the eyes of peripheral figures, like the innkeeper's daughter. 

Watching...  The winter finale of Once Upon A Time.  I know that they'll fix it somehow, but this just sucks.  Lol... I get too into these shows. 

Listening to... nothing in particular.  Enjoying the relative quiet in the hobbit hole now that the wee-lings are asleep (Pippin has had a rough day with teething his molars and getting over a cold).

Cooking/Baking...  Tonight was a pot roast (with my best ever gravy), mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and yorkies.  I did manage to burn myself pretty badly when I took the roast out of the oven.  I'm self medicating with a glass of really good white zinfandel.  I'm going to be baking some shortbread later in the week. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week...  rearranged/reorganized/cleaned out both our fridge freezer and chest freezer to accommodate our Santa's Choice order.  Both freezers are now packed to the gills (I went with more meat products and less processed foods for the pantry), and I can safely say that we have enough frozen potato products to last us a full year. 

Looking Forward To Next Week... taking Pip for his vaccinations and getting to talk to the public health nurses about his communication issues and what our steps will be after his hearing test next month.  Oh, and I'm going to colour my hair in a couple of days. 

Thankful For...  that I was able to get in and out of Walmart today (for diapers and a couple of odds and ends) in less than 25 minutes, I was able to get a haircut today, and that Ginny only had two accidents this past week.  Oh, and I'm thankful for the points program at my grocery store.  By the end of this month I will have gotten more than $200 in free groceries.

***Bonus Question*** Are you done your Christmas shopping?  Yes.  Have been since the last week of November.  Just have a couple of things to pick up for stockings, but I can get them next week when I do my grocery shopping. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Please click over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: The Return Of Hermy The Elf

Hey Humble Readers...

We are hunkered down as a huge winter storm is just getting under way.  We are expecting upwards of 30 centimeters of snow over the next two days, followed by bitter cold for the rest of the week.  Seriously, our daytime high is forecasted to be -22C (that's below 0 for those of you who use Fahrenheit) on Thursday.  Yikes that is snappin' a$$holes cold, as my mom would say. 

It was a busy week, although not as productive as I had hoped it would be. 

Most importantly, the wee-lings had their regular check-ups with Dr. B.  Ginny is right on track where she's supposed to be.  Height and weight are both well above the 60th percentile for her age.  Dr. B was also very impressed with her vocabulary and how clearly she speaks.  Pip is also well over the expected for height and weight for his age (somewhere around the 70th percentile... he's only three pounds lighter than Ginny).  We discussed Pip's continuing battle with eczema, and then ultimately, his lack of talking.  We still have no intentional words from him.  He makes a lot of noises, babbling and such, but at almost 19 months with not a single word... it's time for some investigation.  The first step is going to be a hearing test.  The earliest we could get in is the end of January, but I did ask to be put on the cancelation list.  Pip also has his vaccinations coming up, so the public health nurses will be able to provide more direction. 

Lots of Christmas prep was going on, although I didn't get all the baking done that I wanted to.  Hopefully I'll finish tomorrow.  I did a bit of shopping this weekend.  Costco needed to be done as the freezer was practically empty, but it was a nightmare.  I also hit my favourite plus size store on Saturday morning, as they were having some good Black Friday sales (it's so funny that Canadian stores are taking on the whole idea of Black Friday).  I needed to get something decent to wear to my Beloved's office Christmas party next weekend, as all my clothes are baggy and frumpy these days.  I walked into the store in size 20 jeans, and I was able to leave with a pair of size 16 dress pants (and a beautiful sweater).  I was ecstatic. 

And of course, the hobbit hole is now bedecked and bedazzled with Christmas décor.  We decorated Friday night after the wee-lings went to bed, so that they could wake up to the wonders of a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. 

Hermy, our 'Elf on the Shelf' arrived Saturday morning in a specially wrapped package from Santa.  His coming warranted a bit of a celebration, so we had a North Pole breakfast.  My North Pole centerpiece is one of my craft projects this year, and I'm mostly happy with how it turned out.  It's just a dollar store solar light, a block of floral foam, and a lot of cotton balls and glue.  I found the snowman figure at the dollar store, and greenery is some leftovers from another project. 

North Pole Breakfast

Donut snowman (mini choc chips for face and buttons,
fruit by the foot for the scarf)

Since his return, Hermy has been up to some of his usual high-jinx.  He built a lego fort to hide in last night, and tonight he's created an indoor snow storm for the wee-lings to enjoy. 

Ok, enough.  On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Almost done with Memoirs of a Geisha.  I just love this book.  Then I'll be diving back into Game of Thrones.  Not sure what's up after that... any suggestions for me?

Watching - "Return To Downton Abbey" on PBS.  It's a nice refresher and teaser for the new season that starts in a month.  How will Mary survive without Matthew???

Listening To - My Beloved muttering as he studies for his upcoming final exam next week. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was Lemon Herb roasted chicken, mashed taters, and mixed veg.  I need to finish my Christmas baking tomorrow, so I'll be making some truffles, almond cranberry wedges, and snowdrop cookies. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - All of the above! The fact that I survived Thursday through Saturday (on only about 6 hours sleep total, while PMS-ing).  I know I had my moments of bear-dom, but we made it through. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Having the girls over later in the week for wine and nibbles.  My Beloved's Christmas party. 

Thankful For - A cozy hobbit hole that I don't need to leave for the next few days.  Yes, I get cabin fever when I don't get out, but knowing how miserable it's going to be this week, I'm happy to stay home and bake, and work on my Christmas cards. 

***Bonus Question*** (no bonus question over at Carla's corner of the blogosphere yet, so I'll make up my own)  What is your favourite thing to do on a snow day?  Or when you are confined by bad weather of any sort?  If I can, I like to just curl up and read, but lately my snow days have been busy days of work that I've been putting off.  Who knows, maybe I'll tackle reorganizing the wee-lings' room this week. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: The Birthday Girl

Howdy Humble Readers...

Another week has flown by, and here I am trying to figure out where the time went.  Just fair warning, this is a photo heavy post.  :)

This week was dominated primarily by our wee sweet girl's birthday party.  Can I just say that I am almost appalled at the amount of time and energy I expended on a birthday for a three year old?  Holy cow, all week was spent on making décor items, planning out the party, and prepping. 

Just a reminder, Ginny is my girl's name on the web.  :)
I had decided, ages ago, that Ginny's party would be Candyland themed.  I found some great invitations on Etsy, and then went to town on pinterest looking for ideas.  That's where most of this came from. 

Candies made from two backward paper plates
taped together, decorated to look like peppermints,
and wrapped with cellophane and ribbon. 
The cake was especially challenging, because I had a bit of a brain dead moment when I baked it.  I had never baked a 9x13 cake with the intention of taking it out of the pan to decorate it, so I was concerned that it wouldn't come out of the pan nicely.  My solution was to use baking parchment.  Not the best idea in the world, as the parchment made the cake do some wavy crazy stuff around the edges.  In hind sight, I should have just trimmed up the edges, but I wasn't really thinking.  All in all, it turned out ok... the kids really liked it, and that was the important thing
The end product, meant to look like the game board

blowing out the candles
The rest of the food turned out great, and went over very well.  I did a chocolate cream cheese dip with fruit, veggies and dip, and pizza dippers (crescent rolls with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese rolled up inside, with a pizza sauce dip). 

We played a couple of games (pin the gumdrop on the gingerbread man and a bubble gum toss) and did a craft (peppermint candy picture frames - dollar store frames with peppermint candies glued around the edges).  The kids also played a couple of rounds of Candyland. 

Another idea that I got from Pinterest was really cute.  In each of the kids' goodie bags (containing a gingerbread man, some tootsie rolls, a candy bar, and a few peppermints) was a new toothbrush.  I figured they'd need it after all the candy at the party.  Oh, and did I mention that we had candy cane ice cream with the cake?  Are your teeth aching yet? 
the goodie bags
Ginny got ridiculously spoiled, and her favourite gift was a chef's coat & hat costume from my mom.  Mr. Potato Head was a close second. 
I can't believe she's three!
In other news, Pippin went for a haircut, and oh my goodness did he come home looking like a big boy.  My Beloved took him on Saturday morning while I was doing the final prep for the party. 
Before - At breakfast on Saturday

After - just before the party started

Now that we are past Ginny's birthday, Christmas begins at the hobbit hole in earnest.  This next week is my baking week.  I'm baking five different treats for Christmas, including making homemade irish cream truffles.  Yum! 

Also up this week are check ups for both of the wee-lings.  I'm going to be pushing for a hearing test for Pippin, as we are still concerned about his lack of any words.  I'm also going to ask Dr. B about Ginny's latest potty training hurdle... she stays dry all day now, but she only pees or poops during naptime or at bedtime when she's wearing a diaper.  I don't want her to do any damage to herself in this process. 

Ok, so that was really long.  How about the chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I'm embarrassed to say that I had to return Game of Thrones to the library before I was finished it, so I am back on the hold list for it.  In the mean time, I wanted something comfortable, like a cozy blanket to slip into, so I picked up Memoirs of a Geisha again.  I just adore that book. 

Watching - The Grey Cup!!!  And yes, our Roughriders did indeed take the cup!!  Wahoo!!  It was a great game, and I'm so happy for the players (and for my Beloved... he's so excited). 

Listening To - My Beloved rejoicing about the win.  :)

Cooking/Baking - Tonight I made my Lazy Sausage Casserole... lots of great veggies roasted in the oven with olive oil, seasonings, and balsamic vinegar, topped with Italian sausages.  Very yummy.  As for baking... next week I'm making peppermint meltaways, butter tart bars, snowdrops, irish cream truffles, and cranberry almond wedges.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - All the prep for Ginny's b-day party, managing to keep my blood sugars relatively stable even with the candy binge yesterday, and I did some more crafting (made a groovy mistletoe bouquet, I'll show you next week). 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Baking, getting some forward momentum on what needs to happen with Pip, our North Pole Breakfast next Saturday morning (when our Elf on the Shelf, Hermy, returns), and decorating for Christmas. 

Thankful For - That my Christmas shopping is done!  I just need to do stocking stuffers, but that will come next month, and I have a boatload of points from my grocery store that I'm going to use for most of that stuff. 

***Bonus Question***  When do your Christmas/Holiday Decorations go up?  I have to wait until after Ginny's birthday, which is technically this coming Wednesday.  Just my own rule.  They'll go up on Friday night, after the kids go to bed.  There might be a few things left to do on Saturday, but because of our North Pole Breakfast, I really want the wee-lings to wake up to a fully decorated house. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Pop over and check out what others are chatting about tonight!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Ready, Set, Go!

Hey Humble Readers...

Ok, I have to get out of this one post a week rut... just stating the obvious. 

The Shire was blessed with four days of beautiful late fall weather earlier this week.  Almost all the snow was gone (Ginny's snowman was just a little mound of snow on the front lawn), and then Friday happened.  And Saturday.  Another 20cm of snow.  I know, I know... I live on the frozen flatland.  What should I expect?  And yet every year I am appalled at just how much snow we get and how soon we get it.  If only I could find that wonder I felt as a kid when faced with a pristine expanse of snow.

This upcoming week starts a very busy two week stretch for me.  I kind of feel like I'm on the starting line of a marathon.  I've got a few more crafting projects that I have to finish up, including several things for Ginny's Candyland birthday party.  I have the cooking and baking to do for her party, and of course all the usual housework.  The party is on Saturday, then Sunday is the Grey Cup (the CFL equivalent of the Super Bowl... and the Roughriders made it in!!!!  Yay!).  After that comes a week of baking and my final Christmas preparations.  In the midst of all that, there are check-ups for both wee-lings, an out of town work trip for my Beloved, and rearranging/reorganizing my pantry and cupboards in anticipation of our Santa's Choice delivery.   And I have an obscene number of Doctor Who episodes on the DVR that I want to get through before the Day of the Doctor next weekend (not likely going to happen). 

In other news, we have had a few major breakthrough moments with the wee-lings in the past week.

First up... Ginny has made some awesome progress on the potty training front.  We had another disappointing round of potty training earlier this month, so I had planned on waiting until after her birthday at the end of the month to try again.  On a whim, on Friday morning I put Ginny on the toilet (rather than her potty seat), and she actually went!  All this time, she just needed to be on the 'big potty' and a little privacy (I have to leave the bathroom for her to go).  So we started going to the bathroom every 10 minutes, and then every 15 minutes, then 20, and she did really well.  On Friday she had three little accidents, but only one was really her fault (one I on the phone and not paying attention, and the other was when she was playing with some toys/dishes in a sink of warm water).  No accidents yesterday in the time that she was wearing training pants (not during naptime or during an hour or so when we were out of the house).  Today, there was only one accident (a poopy one... urgh).  I think next week I'll buy a package of disposable training pants for her to wear when we leave the house. 
Ginny's new favourite thing to do... play in the sink,
with Mummy's cooking utensils

Second... Pippin is showing some increasing awareness of communication.  Early in the week, I asked him where his milk cup was, and he actually went over and picked it up (this has NEVER EVER happened before... he actually UNDERSTOOD what I said and RESPONDED!).  He's been using a lot more non-verbal communication too, like making his squawking noise to get my attention, then looking pointedly at whatever he wants that's out of reach (like when he's in his high chair and he drops his cup on the floor).  He did say 'Mumumum' directly at me a couple of weeks ago, too.  He's been expressing more affection lately, like walking up to me with his goofy grin and hugging my legs, and wanting to cuddle (he's never been a cuddler).  I'm hoping that this is a sign of good things to come.  I'm still going to push hard for a hearing exam when we go see Dr. B for Pip's 18 month check up.  Pip has also begun really trying to feed himself with utensils.  He does better with a fork than a spoon, but he wants to be in control of his food now.  And he's very proud of the fact that he has figured out how to climb up on the couch (also new this week). 
Enjoying some chicken fingers and fries at the mall. 

Ok, on to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Still reading Game of Thrones (which reminds me I need to renew it at the library).  I have made a lot more progress in it, and am enjoying getting to know the characters in a deeper way.  I truly do love Tyrion, even though he's such a self-serving little sh!t most of the time.  Next on deck is a re-read of Hunger Games and Catching Fire. 

Watching - My Beloved is watching a stand up comedy special.  I'm recording my usual Sunday stuff (Once Upon A Time and Masterpiece Classic) plus the new sci-fi/police drama "Almost Human" (starring what's-his-name from LotR and the new Star Trek movies). 

Listening To - the buckles on Pip's overalls bang around in the dryer. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a Dijon-brown sugar pork roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, and yorkies.  Very yummy.  I also need to make the marinade for the chicken that's on the menu for tomorrow... an Asian-inspired drumsticks with spicy peanut noodles and broccoli.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Finished my Christmas shopping for the wee-lings.  There was a great sale at that big toy store chain (you know the one) and I managed to save a boatload of money on their gifts.  Also ordered our Christmas cards... for free, from Shutterfly.  Awesome!

Looking Forward To Next Week - Lots of crafting, helping Ginny make more progress on potty training, Ginny's birthday party, the Grey Cup game. 

Thankful For - a warm hobbit hole, and having no need to go outside for the next couple of days. 

***Bonus Question*** Do you believe in good/bad luck or coincidences?  I definitely don't believe in luck, good or bad.  As for coincidence, I think there's something there, I just don't know how to define it.  My faith has never included the concept of predestination, but because I believe in an omnipotent God, I do believe that he can use any situation or circumstance for his glory and in our finite minds that translates as coincidence sometimes.  Does that make any sense? 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and check out what others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: A Crafty Hobbit

Hey Humble Readers...

Another week has flown by.  It seems to be going so fast these days. 

Winter is well and settled here in the Shire.  The weatherman is saying that it's supposed to warm up (above freezing... woohoo!) starting Tuesday, but by the weekend we are supposed to be thoroughly covered in snow again.  Ginny is sad because the snow is now dry and powdery, and no good for snowmen. 

A large portion of this past week was spent on finishing up some crafting projects for Christmas.  I finished up making the gifts for my mom and MIL.  I think they turned out pretty nicely, and were not terribly expensive.  I got the Scrabble games from the thrift store, and the frames and mats for a good sale price at the craft store.  I used some of the leftover Scrabble tiles to make a bunch of Christmas ornaments, some of which will go to my sister and BIL as a part of their gift.  Still have a lot of letters left, but I'm out of some pretty key tiles, so I'm not sure what I'll do with them. 

I still have a few projects to get to for this year, but only one is really pressing.  It's a special garland for the tree, a replica of one my bio-mom had on her tree when I was a little girl.  It was my favourite decoration.  I'm hoping to have it finished in the next couple of weeks to show you. 

My Beloved and I were able to get out for dinner and a movie on Friday.  We went to my new favourite restaurant (a pub where I can get parmesan truffle fries... YUM!) and to a movie.  We saw Ender's Game.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  Of course, they had to make some changes to the storyline to make it work in a two hour timeframe, but there were a few significant omissions that really affected the ending... for me, anyway.  My Beloved, who hasn't read the book, loved it, and said that it was the best movie he's seen in quite a while. 

Also on this week's to do list was to take our Christmas card pictures.  We tried yesterday, but neither of the wee-lings were inclined to cooperate.  Hopefully we'll manage to get things sorted out tomorrow. 
And speaking of tomorrow... Remembrance Day.  I am so thankful for those who have fought to keep our country safe and free.  I know I've told you all before, but one of my grandfathers drove an ambulance in France during WWII.  He's 90 this year (yes, he lied about his age to enlist), and he was on Juno beach on D-Day.  He has never talked about his experience much, but I am very thankful for and proud of his service, and for all our servicemen and women.  In Flanders fields the poppies blow...

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading... I'm struggling to get into Game Of Thrones.  Perhaps it's because I've already watched it, there's nothing terribly intriguing happening.  Of course, I'm less than one hundred pages in, so hopefully I'll get lost in it soon. 

Watching...  Nothing in particular right now, recording Once Upon A Time and Masterpiece Classic tonight.  I have season two of Sherlock from the library that I need to get to watching this week.  I'm experiencing a bit of Doctor Who overload, so I haven't watched any in the past few days.  The last episode for David Tennant was gut wrenching for me, and I haven't yet come to truly appreciate Matt Smith in the role, although I love how he came to be connected with Amy. 

Listening To...  The furnace roar (it's very loud).  My Beloved is watching a documentary about the JFK assassination, so that's my background noise.

Cooking/Baking... Tonight was Italian braised roast beef.  Lots of caramelized onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic, thyme, and oregano... cooked in a low oven for three hours.  It was a big roast, so there will be plenty for my soup for the week, and for a meal of roast beef risotto for the family later in the week.  I wanted to do a bit of baking for today, because it's Pippin's half-birthday today, but it just didn't happen.  We've had a lot of treats lately though, with all the Halloween candy in the house, so it wasn't missed. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week...  Finalized my plans for Ginny's birthday party, got Pip's appointment for his next vaccinations booked (I'm never this organized... it's not due for more than a month), all the crafting that I got done.  Found the wee-lings special ornaments for this year... they are wonderful (in my opinion) and the kids will get them from Hermy the Elf in December. 

Looking Forward To Next Week... Having an extra day with my Beloved (long weekend), finishing my Christmas shopping for the wee-lings, crafting night with the girls. 

Thankful For...  That the Roughriders won the Western Semi-final today... woohoo!!  It was a close one, and I'm so glad that they made it through.  Next week they're in the Western Final against the Calgary Stampeders, a team they've struggled against all season.  Crossing our fingers that they prevail because the Grey Cup game this year is being held in Regina, and it would be so awesome for the Roughriders to play in the championship in front of a home crowd. 

***Bonus Question*** Carla hasn't posted a Chit Chat post yet (she's at an awesome concert tonight), so I'll come up with my own... What is the last song you added to your mp3 player/phone?  I think it was Dean Brody's song "That's Your Cousin" or Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart".  I love Miranda Lambert's angry/break up songs, and Dean Brody is just so country it hurts.  :)