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 d├ęcor.  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.