Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

My favourite day of the year is here!!!  Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!!!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish you all the very best that this season can bring.  I hope you find yourselves surrounded by loved ones, warm (if you live in my neck of the woods, you might be TOO warm!!!), safe, and counting your blessings.  Every year brings its ups and downs, and this year has been no different.  All we can do is hope for the good days to outnumber the bad, and that is my wish for all of you going into 2016.

Oh, and snow.  I also wish for snow.  And while my White Christmas prayers will be unanswered, it's looking an awful lot like I just might get a "white" beginning to the New Year.  Bring on the 25-35 cm forecasted for next Tuesday!!!  :) :) :)

Merry Christmas to each & every one of you!  Much love from this little ol' blog of mine!! XOXO

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2 More Sleeps...

It is the Eve of Christmas Eve, and despite being a little glum about the lack of snow and the lack of the possibility of snow, I am doing my very very best to bring the Christmas cheer today!

OK, it's not that hard.  I have Christmas balls dangling from my ears, I'm buzzing from the double-double Timmie's Lindsay brought me this morning, and it is growing increasing difficult to focus on anything other than CHRISTMAS right now!!!

Snow or no snow... I'm PUMPED!!!!

Here are a few of the things I'm loving about Christmas today...
  • Last night was a wonderfully festive evening for me.  Right after work, I went to my mom's, because she's had my sister's kids staying with her all week.  We watched Elf, ate pizza and ginger snaps, and enjoyed sitting by the glow of the Christmas tree.  Then we headed down to the Library for a Carol Sing with Rolly, and we also got to hear a group of local elementary school students recite 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  It was great!

  • I love that I feel ever-so-prepared for the next couple of days.  Groceries = check!  Presents wrapped = check!  Christmas baking = check!  It's just a matter of last minute prep and assembling!
  • I'm kind of loving that Christmas Day is going to be low-key.  There will be the early morning excitement of the kids getting up, having our delicious traditional sticky bun breakfast and coffee, the kids opening presents from Santa... but then my sister and her family will go to her in-laws, and Mom and I have no plans to go anywhere.  There was a time in my life when this would have devastated me, but I'm OK with the thought of relaxing in comfy clothes (maybe even PJ's?) all day, napping, watching movies, munching on snacks... it's not a half-bad idea!
  • That said, I look forward to the excitement of Boxing Day, when we will do our family gift exchange and have our turkey dinner!!  Can't wait!!

  • I love that I've almost watched all of the Christmas movies I wanted to - even though I didn't think it was possible!  I have both Home Alones on deck for tonight, and I'm hoping to squeeze in Miracle on 34th Street tomorrow after work.  Then I'll have seen all of my faves!

  • Loving all of the Christmas tunes right now!!  It makes me sad to think that in a few days, it will all be over... so I'm trying not to let my mind go there.  Post-Christmas time is always a bit depressing for me, so I'm clinging to the here and now and enjoying every second of it!  It has been especially fun these past few days practicing my acapella version of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve/Sarajevo to sing to my cousin Chris on Christmas Eve. ;)  Man, I shoulda been on Glee!!

  • I'm lovin' all the festive bling my Aunt Marion has bestowed upon me, both this year and in years past.  I could wear different Christmas jewel combinations for a month - and I HAVE!!!  My favourite is still the candy cane ring she gave me a few years ago.  Every time I wear it, someone asks where I got it.  Everyone loves it!
  • I love that my niece and nephew take after me in that they are both still wishing for snow!!  Danica even told Stacy last night at the library that all she wants for Christmas is snow.  Stacy was like, "Oh, you really are Jilly's niece."  And at least I'm not alone in my sorrow. ;)
  • I love that I only work til noon tomorrow and then I'm off until January 5th!!!  I always take the week off between Christmas & New Year's, and I'm relishing the thoughts of lazy days, sleeping in a bit, maybe going shopping or to a movie... just enjoying some downtime.  It's something to look forward to in the post-Christmas let-down.
Hope you are all finding things to love on this wonderful Eve of Christmas Eve! ;)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

... but a dream it will have to remain, I guess.

This abnormal Tropical December is really depressing for a snow-loving kid like me.  If I'm being honest, though, I've been preparing myself.  Bracing myself.  Two weeks ago, when the long-range forecast showed a warmer-than-usual Christmas ahead, and not very much snow in sight, I started trying to come to terms with a Green Christmas.

And truly, I have.  I know there is nothing I can do about the weather.  I remember when I was a kid, watching the evening news faithfully from December 1st on, praying J.J. would give me the good word that a White Christmas was on the horizon.  And 9 times out of 10, it happened.  But that odd flukey year when  a Green Christmas was projected and I would end up in tears, my dad would say, "If there's one thing you can't control, it's the weather..."

Last year, we had snow in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but a few days before hand, the temp warmed up and it rained non-stop, and it ended up being a mostly-Green Christmas.  I was a little depressed, but thought, "Oh well... guaranteed a white one next year."

HA!  Yeah right.  Total opposite.  Greener than green.  Wet, muddy, BALMY.  I mean, it's supposed to be 16 degrees on Christmas Eve.  16 FREAKIN DEGREES.  That's like the temp we hit in the Spring when people start busting out their shorts and flip flops.  And that's what it's going to be on Christmas Eve?!?

Not impressed.  Not one little bit.

And yet, it's almost comical.  It's been a warm December.  There's been a lot of talk about El Nino.  It's not really a surprise that it's going to be a green one.  But +16?!?!  I don't think anyone could have predicted that.  People are talking about golfing on Christmas Day. We literally sold 20 rolls of sod today, on December 22nd.  I'm not kidding when I say I just might wear a bathing suit to Christmas Eve service in protest of this ridiculous weather.

Seriously, though.  What am I going to WEAR?!?!  I purchased a cozy Christmassy sweater and a nice warm sweater dress over a month ago from Old Navy and anticipated wearing them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  If I DO end up wearing them, we may have to turn the AC on so I don't sweat to death.

I know there are people who are clicking their heels right now (I can hear Lindsay's clicking right now as we speak, actually) and I know there are many who are enjoying this weather, thankful for stress-free holiday travelling, and those who just hate snow and winter and everything that comes with it.

But I'm not one of 'em.  This just doesn't feel like Christmas to me, and I'm going to keep on lamenting about it.  There is nothing magical about wet grass and mud and fog.  Nothing sparkles, nothing twinkles, nothing feels like it's radiating joy... don't EVEN get me started on how the hell Santa is supposed to land his sleigh when there is no frigging snow.

The forecast indicates there is no longer any point in wishing or hoping or praying.  There is no Hail Mary pass to throw, no last-minute deals I can make with the Snow Gods, no use in shaking the snowglobe extra hard.  It just ain't gonna happen.

Bah.  Humbug.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Wishlist: 2015 Edition

I never thought it would happen to me, but with each passing year, I'm realizing how less important the gifts are.  I remember several years ago when my family made the decision to cut back on gifts, do a Secret Santa name swap, set a spending cap.  And I was like... "Wha... whaaaat?  But I NEED STUFF!!!"

Slightly childish, I know.  But honestly... I had things that I really hoped for.  Things that I couldn't just afford to go out and buy myself on a whim, things that weren't exactly necessities but sure would be nice to have, and that I would set aside as "maybe I'll get that for Christmas".  The thoughts of cutting back, setting a spending cap, and limiting what I both bought and received... well... it kind of traumatized me.

But I'm OK now.  I realize it had gotten excessive at the time, and the changes were important.  I still buy for all the kids, and for one family member, and I have one family member who buys for me.  As it turns out, I've realized I kind of just like sitting back on Christmas morning with a steamy cup of coffee and watching the kids open their gifts.  It's relaxing and fun and I don't have to move if I don't want to.

Believe it or not... I think I've actually grown up.  Only took me 32 years.

This year, when it came to making my Wishlist, I felt especially grateful, because I realized most of my "wants" are quite frivolous.  I have one of the most fun Wishlists I've had in years, and that must mean it's because I'm doing alright for myself right now.  No major must-haves, no "I'll die if I don't get it" wishes... and that's a nice place to find one's self.  Mostly content with what I have, and just looking forward to family time and the excitement in the kids' eyes.

But still... The Wishlist exists, and as has become my tradition, I thought I'd share it.  Here we go!

A Breadmaker

Yes, I know this has been on my list, for, like, forever.  And even still, it's not something I REALLY need, nor do I have any clue where I would store it.  But I love the thoughts of being able to make my own bread on a regular basis, and trying different recipes.  Also I hear it's handy for making homemade pizza dough, which is something I love but cringe at the thoughts of making it from scratch.  Maybe this'll be the year of the Breadmaker.

Books - especially "Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things" by Jenny Lawson

I love reading, and I had quite a few books on my list, but this one tops it.  It is our first book club selection of 2016.  Furthermore, I adored the first book by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) - literally giggled my ass off as I read it in two days on the beach at the Draper Camp two summers ago - and have been wanting to read this one ever since I heard she was putting out another book.  Other books I asked for:  "The Kitchen House: A Novel" by Kathleen Grissom and "Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult.

A Tripod

I can't take pictures of the moon or Christmas lights or anything really outdoors because I don't have any way of stabilizing my camera for night shooting.  I also understand very little about nighttime photography, but I'd like to learn.  And apparently, a tripod is the first step.

An Adult Colouring Book & Pencil Crayons

I've been intrigued by this idea of adult colouring books that have taken the world by storm.  I loved colouring as a kid, and like the idea of the stress-relief it would provide now as an adult.  They are wildly popular right now (when you look up the Best-Selling Books on Amazon's website, most of them are adult colouring books) and I want in on the craze.

The Big Bang Theory: Season 8 on DVD

The Big Bang has become a bit of a Christmas tradition for me.  I have received all the seasons on DVD as past Christmas gifts each year, and I love spending winter mornings watching episodes as I curl up in cozy jammies, a blanket, and sip a hot cup of joe.  I just love me some Sheldon, Leonard & Penny!

Onesie PJ's

I don't really need new jammies, but I think having a pair of onesie PJ's sounds so cozy and warm for cold winter nights!  Of course, this is the warmest December in the history of the world and I would probably sweat my ass off in them, but they are fun.  I want.


Honestly, I still have half-bottles left from the past two Christmases, probably more than enough to get me through the year, but it's nice to get a fresh new bottle of perfume at Chirstmas.  Maybe a different scent this year than the CK One and Tommy Girl perfumes I have... As long as it's not too strong, I usually like different scents.

Magic Mike XXL on DVD

I don't think this one needs an explanation... am I right, ladies? ;)

A Blu-Ray Player

This is a "want" that I'm really on the fence about.  A year ago, I got a new HD TV, and I remember at the time someone telling me I would want to get a Blu-Ray player now too because the picture quality would be so much better.  But it has taken me years to grow my DVD collection, and the last thing I want to do is switch everything over to Blu-Ray now.  And I've never noticed my DVD's looking like "poor quality" on my TV - and I watch a lot of movies.  So I'm just kinda "meh" on this one.  Maybe someday.

Winter Boots

I didn't actually put this on my Christmas Wishlist because I know it's something I have to buy myself.  It took me forever to find a pair I liked several years ago, and I was so disappointed to discover my feet getting wet in them towards the end of last winter - holes in my beloved boots.  Frig. I have been dreading the thoughts of shopping for a new pair this year, and that's about the only good part I can think of with this stupid warm winter we're having thus far - I have not been forced to buy a pair yet.  But it will be a purchase I make over the holidays or in early 2016.  Hopefully before we get TOO much snow.

The Internet

Another thing that I didn't actually put on my Wishlist, but it is a goal for me in 2016. I've been slowly edging my way out of the Dark Ages, what with an HD satellite receiver, an HD TV, a PVR, and now a new phone coming in the near future... Now it's time for the Internet.  It's time for Netflix.  It's time for me to feel like I'm connected to the rest of the world when I'm in my own home. ;)  Once the Christmas bills are paid off, I will be looking into my options.

And I think that's about it for the 2015 Edition of the Wishlist!  See, pretty frivolous and fun, right?  I know that the best gift of all is to have loved ones close to me, with whom to enjoy the food, the drinks, the fun, and to make memories with them.  The presents really aren't all that important, and I will just be happy to soak up time with family and friends over this holiday season.

Like I said... I think I grew up.  Who know. ;)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday Loves!

Happy Wednesday, guys!  Just over one week until my favourite day of the year… any chance can we push a pause button though?  I need more TIME!  Still so much to do… wrapping presents, gingerbread house making, and SO many movies left to watch.  I need this pre-Christmas season to last just a wee bit longer!

Today, I thought I’d stick with that tried-and-true Wednesday tradition and run through a few of the things I’m loving right now:

I’m loving that I got the Christmas baking finished last night!  I had a few more treats to make, and I spent all evening finishing them up, assembling trays, and storing them in the freezer.  At least that much is done and off my shoulders!

As many of you know, I’ve become a big SNL fan over the past few years (I was a little late showing up for the party, but whatever) – and just this past weekend, it dawned on my that I’m kind of in love with Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost.  He’s just so… cute!!

Another current love of mine:  this kid named Zach who was on this past season of The Voice.  He didn’t make it to the finals, and he’s kinda creepy-too-young for me, but still… I find him darned attractive.  And last night when he returned to sing Forever and Ever Amen with finalist Barrett?  Well, sorry Barrett, but I think Zack was better than you!

Speaking of The Voice… I sort of slept through most of last night’s finale, but I did wake up in time to see Team Adam’s Jordan Smith crowned this year’s big winner, and I was so happy!  Of course I love Adam, that’s no surprise… and I pegged Jordan as a heavy favourite very early on.  I like seeing a humble, average joe kind of guy like that take home the title.

I love this post from The Daily Tay that went up yesterday.  It perfectly captures how I feel this time of year, and I swear, it almost felt like I could have written it myself.  I shared it on Facebook and it appears I’m not alone in that sentiment – it seemed to strike  a chord with many.
And because of that post, I loved sitting up a little later than usual last night, just gazing at the tree all by myself.

I love that I have one last purchase to make, and one more gift to come in the mail, and my Christmas shopping will be officially finished.  I have been “almost done” for 2 weeks now, and what’s left to come is not stressing me out in the least.  But it will be nice come Friday to finally be able to say, “I’m done.  Let’s wrap.”

I love that I have time this weekend.  A few last-minute holiday parties have cropped up, but if I don’t go anywhere on Saturday, I won’t be sad.  I want to wrap my gifts and decorate my gingerbread house and make hot chocolate and watch a million movies.  And then, just sit and bask in the glow of my Christmas tree.

What are YOU loving this Wednesday??

Hope you’re all enjoying the pre-Christmas festivities and fun!  Let’s make it last as long as we can!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More Christmas fun in photos

Last weekend was my busiest December weekend – there was SO much holiday fun and Christmassy events going on!  I admit, I was kind of happy to see Monday come, just to get back into a regular routine and enjoy some downtime in the evening!

Still, I wouldn’t trade these precious Christmas moments with family and friends for anything…

On Friday evening, we had our annual Christmas potluck at Book Club.  Caryl was the big winner of the bottle of wine – the only one there who couldn’t pop the cork right away! ;)

On Saturday, I was up early to get ready for my Christmas get-together with a group of my friends.  We had booked a Christmas Paint Day at Shannon’s across the road from my place – I think we were all pretty happy with our paintings!  We returned back to my place for a spaghetti supper afterwards and just enjoyed our Christmas visit with one another :)

A close-up of my painting

Oh, and we also paused to watch the Parade of Lights that travels right past my front door! Sue was excited! haha!  Here are a few of the snaps I took of the parade:

Then on Sunday after church, I hosted a Wine & Cheese at my place (the Manse, which I rent) – an opportunity to thank the volunteers who help out with church events all year long, as well as to show off the bathroom renovations that were completed in the house this year.

It was a fun festive weekend, to say the least!

And now it is the calm before the Christmas storm… I have very few events left between now and the big day.  Now is my chance to do the wrapping, finish up some of the baking, and finally watch all of those Christmas movies I haven’t had time to watch yet!  I’m going to soak up the next week and enjoy this quiet time of Christmas reflection… I think we all need that at this time of year.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Another busy, festive weekend in photos

December is chugging right along, and it’s going a wee bit too fast for my liking.  Every day when I eat my Advent chocolate and see the growing number of little doors open, I think to myself, This is going too quickly.  It can’t go this fast!!

Then I take a deep breath, remind myself to live in the present, enjoy all the festive fun, and soak it up.

I did just that this past weekend, which was another one filled with festive fun.

Here are some of the photos I snapped from Danica’s 7th birthday party on Saturday; from the Christmas Pageant at church on Sunday; and from the Christmas House Tour Monday night.

Dan's 7th Birthday 3

Danica with all her party pals

Dan's 7th Birthday 2

Dan's 7th Birthday 4

Dan's 7th Birthday 1

Dan's 7th Birthday 5

Dan's 7th Birthday 6

Dan's 7th Birthday 7

Xmas Pageant 2015 2

Claudine & Thomas, the Pageant narrators

Xmas Pageant 2015 1

This picture made me giggle – I didn’t even realize at the time that our Rev. Nancy matches the stained glass image of Jesus above her!

Xmas Pageant 2015 3

Joseph & Mary arriving at the Inn

Xmas Pageant 2015 4

(Danica was trying so hard not to smile for the picture lol)

Xmas Pageant 2015  5

Xmas Pageant 2015 6

Xmas Pageant 2015 7

Xmas Pageant 2015 8

Xmas Pageant 2015 9

Xmas Pageant 2015 10

Christmas House Tour 2015  3

This is Lindsay in the bell tower of the old Anglican Church that has been converted into a prime residence

Christmas House Tour 2015 2

Looking down on the main room from the balcony

Christmas House Tour 2015 1

A view of Kirk & Sara’s living room

Christmas House Tour 2015 5

One of Sara’s Christmas Trees

Christmas House Tour 2015 4

Sara’s Dinner Table

Christmas House Tour 2015 6

Leslie & Nathan’s Christmas Tree

Christmas House Tour 2015 7

I loved the mason jar candle holder idea at Leslie’s!

Christmas House Tour 2015 8

Another of my favourites – pink & white ornaments hanging from the ceiling in Leslie’s daughter’s room

Christmas House Tour 2015 10

The fireplace at Stephen & Jenna’s

Christmas House Tour 2015 11

One of Jenna’s Christmas Trees

Christmas House Tour 2015 12

The custom-built playroom under the stairs that Steve made for his kids was a BIG highlight – everyone was dying to get in and take a look!

Christmas House Tour 2015 9

An outdoor shot of Stephen & Jenna’s home

And that was just a small sample of the fun I had this past weekend!!  In the blink of an eye, it will be the weekend again, with even more Christmassy fun on tap… I can’t wait!!