Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Happy Eve of Christmas Eve everyone!! That magical time of year is finally upon us... I'm so excited I could BURST!!!

This morning, there is Bailey's in my coffee (courtesy of Rolly out in the shop, who always makes sure we have something "boozey" for our Christmas coffee!), and I have had fun running around delivering treats & gifts to my co-workers.  We'll have snacks here in the office before shutting 'er down at noon, hopefully have some drinks and music out at the shop before packing it up for the holidays.

The next few days are going to be abound with the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of the season.  I hope this Christmas finds you happy, healthy, and in the company of loved ones.  Soak up every moment... eat all the foods, drink all the drinks, open all the presents, pose for all the photos, sing all the carols, and BE HAPPY :)

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.  See you all in 2017!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Eve of the Eve of Christmas Eve Rambles

It's the Eve of the Eve of Christmas Eve and, surprise surprise, Jill is would up tighter than a bobbin.  I've been up two mornings in a row long before my alarm goes off, because... well...some things never change.

It's been a bit of a busy, buzzy week full of Christmassy excitement, just the way I like Christmas Week to be!  Here's a little snippet of what I've been up to:

  • Monday evening, I was sitting on the couch eating some of the fudge I brought home from the Cookie Exchange I attended last Friday and watching a Christmas movie when I heard a knock at my door.  And not just a little knock - a bangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbang relentless kind of knock that had me laughing and wondering which one of my friends was out there.  I went to the door with a huge grin on my face, threw it open expecting to find someone delivering an early present or a bunch of Carolers or something, and instead found a rough-looking woman smoking a cigarette.  It startled me.  She asked if I was the Reverend, and I told her sorry, that I'm not, I just rent the house.  (I live in our church's Manse, right next door to the church, so not unusual for someone to think the minister might live there.)  She proceeded to tell me she was looking for a family member's birth certificate and she'd been told to come see the Reverend who lived at my house.  I explained over and over that I just rent, that the reverend doesn't live here, but she was persistent, and kept trying to get in my door.  I asked her a few questions, and realized it was actually the Catholic church she was looking for, so I tried to direct her there, but she wouldn't budge.  She asked me to phone the priest for her, and when I said no, she then asked to come in and use my phone herself... I was a little bit nervous about the whole situation, and when she wouldn't give up and leave, I eventually had to close the door in her face.  Eight years I've lived in the Manse, at that's the first time anything like that has ever happened to me.  I've been making sure to lock the door ever since!
  • After that little episode, I headed to the kitchen - at the back of the house, where I couldn't hear anyone banging on my door even if the tried all night long - and proceeded to make peanut brittle for the first time in my life!  I had a borrowed candy thermometer, a recipe in my Betty Crocker cook book, all the ingredients, and yet, I was certain it was going to be a disaster.  I followed the steps precisely, and it seemed to take forever, but once I finally poured the peanutty goo out on the pans, I was still not convinced it had worked.  It didn't fill the pans like I expected it to, and it was hard to spread, it was hardening so fast... also, I burnt my finger trying to spread it when I accidentally grazed my finger on the stuff.  So needless to say, I was a wee bit surprised when an hour later I took it out of the fridge, snapped it into pieces, and had a taste test... and it was delicious!!  Success!!!
  • I'm feeling extremely ready for Christmas right now.  I got the last few odds and ends I needed yesterday (I think I've said that four times now, but I keep thinking of "more" that I need), so the gifts are completely wrapped, stocking stuffers all ready to go, snacks and fun Christmas food stocked up in the cupboards and fridge, beverages bought, games planned for Christmas Eve (and prizes bought & wrapped too!)... plus I've been able to watch pretty much all of my favourite movies/specials, and have plans made to watch the ones I haven't got to yet.  Feeling Christmas-accomplished!
  • Yesterday was our annual Mountainview "Hollying & Jollying" day, which has become a bit of a tradition.  I'm not sure when we started doing it, but one year the office girls headed off to hand out baskets to the post office and bank ladies, had a Christmassy lunch out, and did some last minute Christmas errands...and it is now an annual event!  We had lunch at the new spot in Shawville, Cartrite's, and did all of our hollying & jollying.  It was a great day!
  • Tonight is the Curling Christmas Party, and I'm looking forward to that as well...far more excited for it than I am for actual curling! haha!
  • Tomorrow is the Eve of Christmas Eve... it's going to be such a fun day!  Because it's the last day of work before Christmas, we're having some fun snacks in the office in the morning, then around lunchtime everyone will shut down and head out to the shop for some drinks and music.  I love the Christmas jam at MVT!  Late afternoon, I'll head to Ryan and Lindsay's for our annual Christmas supper & movie night.  I have Mickey's Christmas Carol set out to watch with Sam, then Linds and I will settle in for Its a Wonderful Life after he goes to bed.  And THEN I will head over to my cousin Kayla's, as she and her hubby are hosting the Eve of Christmas Eve at the Duquette's!  Like I said... a day packed with Christmassy fun!  Eeeeep!!
  • Christmas Eve feels like it's going to be different this year... first of all, it feels like the first time in history it falls on a Saturday for some reason.  That's good, though, because I'll have all day to recover from any hangover I might have (who knows), get everything ready to head up to Mom's later in the day, and hopefully have time to squeeze in my annual Christmas Eve viewing of Miracle on 34th Street.  Our Christmas Eve church service will also be different, as it is members of the congregation leading worship that night, and I am one of them.  We have a fun service planned with all the traditional important parts intact, and lots of carol singing planned too.  Then we'll go home, and I have a bunch of games planned for us so that we won't just be sitting around looking at each other.  
  • Have I mentioned that... I CAN'T WAIT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
I'm so excited for Christmas.  I always am, and this year is no different.  Also looking forward to having a little break next week, getting some down time with Netflix hopefully, some trips to the movies in the plans, and just spending quality time with fam & friends.  

Seriously dudes... can't wait. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Wishlist: Christmas 2016

Well, it's that time of year again... I'm ready to share my Wishlist for Christmas this year!  I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to handle it, since I don't need a bread maker anymore (what is a Jillian Christmas Wishlist without a BREADMAKER?!?!)

And here's the usual disclaimer:  Presents aren't a big deal anymore, and I know the love of family and friends is all the gift I need.  And for me to have finally reached this point in life is a bit of an accomplishment.  Maybe it's just laziness as I get older, but I'm quite content on Christmas morning to sit back with a cup of coffee and watch the kids tear into their presents.  It's nice to finally be at a stage in the game where my list has more "wants" than "needs" on it.  

That being said... I am still a kid at heart, so a list comes quickly and easily when I sit down and think about.  Here is what's on my Wishlist for 2016:

A Wireless Speaker (to hook up with my iPhone) 

I have tons of great music on my iPhone, and it's such a pain in the ass to hook it up to my laptop, transfer the music to my iTunes, and burn CD's.  Kind of an archaic form of listening to music nowadays.  I can put the volume up loud and listen to it straight from the phone, but I like my music louder than that, and if there's a gang around, I need better sound.  This is definitely the one thing I'm hoping Santa brings me the most!

A Josh Donaldson Blue Jays Shirt  

I have one Jays tee, which I bought at the Rogers Centre when we went to the ball game in TO  several years ago, and I remember at the time being reluctant to pay the $45 price tag.  But I have worn the shit out of that shirt.  It is one of my favourite tees.  It was definitely worth the $45 I paid for it at the time.  So I think I need a new one now... and I would love it to have my fave Sexy Josh's name and number on it!  


I'm running low on my perfume supply, so a new bottle of either CK One or Tommy Girl would be nice... I've had both those scents in the past and liked them.

Books for next year's book club

There's a few that I need for next year, and they include:
The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
Below Stairs by Margaret Powel
The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

iTunes Gift Cards

They need no explanation.  Since I've learned to be a grown-up this past year and purchase my music legally rather than stealing it from free downloading websites (that have inflicted my laptop with many viruses over the years), iTunes gift cards would never go astray.  I loooove discovering and downloading new music.

A Ceramic Travel Mug from Starbucks

My travel mug cupboard is jam-packed, and would lead you to believe no new mugs are necessary, but I just love the Starbucks ceramic travel mugs, and I don't have one of them yet.  I promise to throw out one of my stinky old ones if I get a new one, so there will be room. ;)


I seem to have lost a lot of earrings this year; my collection is growing pretty dismal.  They don't need to be anything special.  Even just a card of different ones from Walmart would be great.  I like to change 'em up daily, and I need some new ones to freshen things up.

A Rolling Pin

How often would I use a rolling pin?  Not very frigging often.  But I discovered this past fall that I kind of needed one when I tried making cinnamon rolls for the first time.  I had to use a wine bottle to roll out the dough.  Would also come in handy with pizza dough, and who knows what else I might get into.  Lately I've been thinking I might want to try my hand at making and decorating sugar cookies (thanks to Nicole for the inspiration! haha!)

A Nutcracker

No, not to actually crack nuts.  Just as a decoration.  I think it might be one of the very few traditional Christmas decorations that I don't have.  Ideally, I'd like a fairly large one, that could stand in the corner of a room and look significant.

So, what's on YOUR Christmas Wishlist this year??

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday Loves!

I'm loving that it's snowglobe-snowing out right now.  It might be an unpopular opinion amongst almost everyone I know, but snowglobe snow makes my heart sing!  We've had quite a bit of snow in the past week, so a White Christmas is looking very promising.  After last year's being abnormally green and HOT, I'm so happy to have the strong prospect of a white & fluffy one this year :)

I love that I'm going to a Sens game tonight!  It has been a loooong time since I've been to a game at the Canadian Tire Centre.  I didn't even make it there once last year.  It's a bonus that tonight they will be honouring Chris Neil tonight, as he played his 1000th game in a Sens uniform on the weekend when they were on the road.  Anyone else remember that time I met Chris Neil and shared the picture of him and I together repeatedly for weeks on end? ;)

Totally loving my Saturday plans:  wrapping presents and watching Christmas movies ALL DAY!!!  And it's supposed to snow, so that will just add to my "hunkering down and hibernating" mood.  It's literally my perfect day, doing some of my favourite Christmassy things, and a good chance to recharge my batteries before Christmas Week hits!!

I'm loving thinking back on a conversation I had with my friend Caryl's daughter, Leah, last night:  I mentioned that I hadn't wrapped anything yet for Christmas, and little Leah said, "Well you better hurry, you have to wrap gifts for your kids!"  I told her I didn't have kids, but I did have nieces and nephews to wrap presents for, and she said, "Well, don't forget us" - (meaning her and her sisters) - "We're your nephews too!"

I love that I heard two different radio stations playing the theme song of "Growing Pains" this morning.  While it marks a somber and sad time, with beloved Canadian actor Alan Thicke's untimely passing yesterday, it was fun to reminisce when that familiar tune played.  I used to love watching "Growing Pains", and it made me smile when I saw Thicke appear recently, both on an episode of "This Is Us" and just last weekend in an ep of "Fuller House".  He just seemed like such a genuinely great guy - both on and off the TV screen.

I'm loving the two new Christmassy albums I downloaded off iTunes this past weekend - She & Him Christmas Party, and Country Heat Christmas.  As much as I love my Bieber, Elvis, Blake Shelton, and Meaghan Smith Christmas albums, and my Christmas iTunes playlist, I needed something fresh.  They were starting to get a little over-played...a little stale.  These new ones have livened my Christmas tune listening right back up again!  Now if only Santa remembers that wireless speaker I asked for, then I'll be so much happier listening to music off my iPhone!! ;)

I love that even though next week is Christmas Week, it's shaping up to be a little low-key for me, which is a good thing.  More time to watch more of those movies and specials (I'm still struggling to find the time to watch them all!), time to take care of last-minute odds and ends, time to just sit and reflect and enjoy my favourite season.  I would miss the hustle and bustle and many gatherings if I didn't have them, but I also like time to just sit and savour by the glow of my Christmas tree.  I should be able to get some of that quite time next week.

Oh, guys, I just LOVE this time of year.  So much!!!  I can't even contain how excited I am about it all.  :) :) :)

What are YOU loving this Wednesday??

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Looking Back on a Festive Weekend

The first few weekends of December are usually pretty jam-packed, with lots of holiday gatherings and festive events going on.  This past one was no exception!

The weekend started off Friday evening, with our book club's annual Christmas potluck meeting at my place.  Five lovely ladies gathered joined me around my dining room table where we enjoyed a delicious meal - everything from macaroni casserole to meatballs to egg rolls to quiche to sweets! - and once we were full, we moved into the living room for our book discussion.  I admit that I never got close to finishing the book - I'm still only about half-way through - but thanks to Lindsay giving me a quick run-down of what happens, I felt like I could keep up and understand the discussion.  Really, I didn't even care - I was just happy to kick back with the girls, drink in my hand, and have some girl talk!

Saturday morning, I slept in a little later than I usually do, then enjoyed coffee on the couch catching up with Jimmy Fallon.  While sitting there, I noticed a gift bag tucked under my tree that I hadn't even seen the night before.  I was curious, so I dove into it right away. The gift bag was full of wonderful Christmassy gifts - a new mug, an apron and matching pot holders, an adorable salt & pepper set, fuzzy Christmas socks, a candle holder, and a little Santa figurine - all from one of the ladies that had come to book club the night before.  It just started my day off with a smile on my face, which was much appreciated.  Saturday would have been my dad's 76th birthday, and I'm not sure why I get a little blue on that day, since Dad absolutely HATED his birthday, but I do.  I try not to think about it much, but I miss him a little extra on that day.  So yes... it was nice to have such a thoughtful gift to brighten my day up right out of the gate. :)

I got ready for the day, then watched a few episodes of Fuller House, and also whipped up the dough for the Cherry-Almond Shortbread cookies I wanted to make.  I was planning on baking them right away, but the directions said the dough had to chill for at least 4 hours, so that kind of put a kink in my plans! I had to put it in the fridge to make them another time, because the rest of my day was all filled up.

Early afternoon, my mom and a bunch of my friends arrived, as I have a prime main street location for watching the Santa Claus Parade!  The parade route goes right by my house, and it was so much fun to watch it with family and friends - especially having little Sam and Ariella there!  They were both so excited to see Santa.  Sam made snow angels while we waited, and every time he threw himself down in the snow, Ariella would say, "Oh! He fell again!"  It was adorable!  The Quyon Family Centre was also handing out stuffed animals along the parade route, and Sam managed to snag two by accident, so he gave one to me.  I love my new Christmas bear from Sammy :)

We chilled for a bit after the parade, then Sue, Sarah, Brenda and I headed across the road to Shannon's for our Christmas Paint Day.  We painted a birch tree snow scene, and while I got very frustrated during the process, I was happy with my end result.  We chatted, ate pizza, had a few drinks... another wonderful festive gathering with friends!  Unfortunately, Brenda was feeling under the weather, so she left early, but she was with us in spirit for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning was the Christmas Pageant and White Gift service at our church, always a bustling, fun morning.  The Sunday School kids re-enacted the Christmas story, as narrated by the Old Star Stacy, and the New Star Maddy.  It was super-cute, and everyone did a great job.

After church, we went for brunch, then headed to my sister's place to celebrate my niece Danica's upcoming 8th birthday.  We had a delicious lasagna supper, ice cream log for dessert, and the birthday girl opened her presents.  It was a great day spent with family!

The whole weekend was terrific, and I enjoyed every moment spent with some of my favourite people!  This week will be another busy one, as last night was the only night I will have at home - but each evening is going to be more festive fun, and I'm excited! Plans with friends, a Sens game, a cookie exchange... I can't wait!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Festive Fun Weekend Ahead!

Guys, there are flu germs swirling around me.  And as a germaphobe, this means that I have to wash my hands relentlessly and basically hold my breath all day.  I am not pleased.

My friend Sharon told me to "think positive thoughts", so that's what I'm trying to do, as I look ahead to a fun, festive weekend.  Here's what I have on tap (as long as I don't fall victim to the sickies):

Tonight is Book Club, and it as our annual Christmas potluck meeting.  There's been a last minute switch to have it at my place, so I'm playing host to my book lovin' pals tonight.  After work, I'll go home and do a quick cleaning and tidy-up, get my macaroni/tomato/cheese dish in the oven, and have the wine chilling.  I have to confess, I did not finish the book... in fact, I didn't even come close.  This is not normal for me; I usually go to great lengths to finish the book.  But for some reason, I just haven't been in the reading mood lately.  I try to read a few chapters in bed at night, but lately I've been falling asleep after only a few pages.  So yeah... I'm not done the book.  But Lindsay gave me a quick re-cap via text this morning so I'd be up to speed, and above all else, I'm just looking forward to enjoying good food, drinks, and the company of good friends.

Tomorrow morning, I'm hoping to be up to get a few things done around the house, including baking some more cookies.  I have a Cherry-Almond Shortbread recipe that I want to try out, as I continue to stock my freezer in anticipation of a cookie exchange coming up next weekend (and also to have enough for a few trays for family & friends over the holiday season).

Saturday afternoon is our little town's annual Santa Claus Parade, which I always look forward to, and I'm hoping that the switch-up this year to a daytime parade from the nighttime parade of lights we've had in recent years will breathe some fresh air into it.  Looking forward to seeing everyone on their floats, and of course waving to the Big Guy as he brings up the rear with his sleigh & reindeer!

After the parade, I'm having a little Christmas paint day & gathering with my friends Sue, Sarah, and Brenda.  We always try to get together before the holidays, and last year we did a Paint Day with Shannon which we all really enjoyed... so we're doing it again!  She has a nice birch tree/snow scene for us to paint, and I'm excited.  We're keeping it low-key and laid-back, with snacks, take-out pizza, and of course a few bevvies.  I can't wait!

Sunday is Christmas Pageant & White Gift at church, which is always a fun and bustling event.  I'm looking forward to watching the play, as the kids are always so cute.  I'll have to remember my camera!

And then Sunday afternoon, we'll be celebrating my niece Danica's 8th birthday.  I can't believe she's turning 8 years old.  The Christmas the year she was born is one of the most fond in my memories, I just loved sitting on Christmas morning with a newborn in my arms.  It was so peaceful and heart-warming.  It blows my mind that it was almost 8 years ago now... wow.

In between all of this, I do hope to squeeze in a few episodes of Season 2 of Fuller House, which hits Netflix TODAY!  I was a big Full House fan as a kid, and I did really enjoy the first season of Fuller House too.

So that's what I have on tap this weekend!  I hope you all have a wonderful one as well!!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The things in my brain today.

It's just one of those days when I need to have a random outpouring of thoughts.  Please enjoy.

  • So, last weekend I thought I was dying.  Do you remember back around Halloween time when  my tonsils were bleeding and I had to go to the hospital for penicillin?  And then had to go back four days later because I had an allergic reaction to said penicillin?  Well, both times the triage nurses told me I had high blood pressure.  With concerned looks on their faces.  And both times they recommended I see my doctor about that asap.  I have an appointment booked with my family doc in January, but in the meantime, I've been checking in with the google doctor, and he, of course, told me I was dying.  Awesome.
  • I've been thinking about this high blood pressure problem off and on for the past month, worrying about it a little here and there, but for some reason, on Friday night, it came to a head.  I had a bunch of friends in for our Crazy Christmas Sock party, and we had a blast, but at the back of my head all night, I kept thinking, "I might be dying right now, and no one even knows it."  I forced myself to try not to think about it, though, and instead enjoyed my new festive punch, which I call "Rudolph's Red Nose".  We also played a little game to exchange our socks, had lots of yummy snacks, and played a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity.  Overall, it was a great night with the ladies!

  •  After the party people left, I cleaned up a bit and went to bed, and proceeded to lay awake all night absolutely convinced that my heart was going to explode in my chest.  It was pounding so loudly it was all I could hear, and it seemed to be racing too.  I know I slept a bit eventually, but for most of the night, all I did was listen to my heart pound and gallop and fear that this was the end for me.
  • The next morning, I went back to Dr. Google and asked him if I should be concerned about a pounding, racing heart.  Turns out, the answer is no, you don't need to be concerned, it's usually nothing more than the indication of anxiety or a panic attack.  So I guess I'd worked myself into such a tizzy over this high blood pressure problem that I gave myself a panic attack.  Just super.
  • For the record, I don't think triage nurses should be pursing their lips with concerned looks on their faces and telling people they have high blood pressure.  Because usually, if you have high blood pressure, you want to try and lower it.  And I'm pretty sure I've done the opposite, stressing myself over it and convincing myself my heart was going to explode.  Not helpful, triage nurses.
  • Thankfully, my mom had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and she talked to the doc a bit about me and my high blood pressure and my panicking over it, and he told her to tell me to CHILL.  He's pretty sure I'm not going to die, at least not before I see him in January, and that having high blood pressure does not mean my heart will explode.  And he also told her to tell me to stop googling.  He knows me so well.
  • Now that I'm over my December Health Crisis, I feel like I can relax a bit.  I mean, yes, there are other things to stress over:  I have no money, and I still have a few odds and ends to get to finish off gifts, and I haven't started wrapping yet, and I have no time to watch movies, but at least my heart isn't going to explode.  It's the little things, y'know?
  • I had a goal, and that was to finish watching Scandal before Christmas so that when I'm off the week between Christmas and New Year's, I could hunker down and start the Gilmore Girls.  But because I was spending all my spare time trying to squeeze in episodes of Scandal, I was having no free time to watch my Christmas specials and movies that I love.  There's only a short window of time to get them all in, and I haven't hardly watched any of them.  And on top of it all, Fuller House Season 2 hits Netflix on Friday, and I know I'm going to want to watch it too because it appears there's a lot of Christmassy stuff going down this season.  So, I have made the difficult decision to press "pause" on Scandal until after the holidays.  It will be the show I hunker down on when I'm off for a week, and the Gilmore Girls will be waiting for me when I'm done.  I'm sure I'll still get lots of cozy winter hibernating time with them as well.  
  • So last night, I watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (original cartoon, because it's the best), and I started watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" but I fell asleep.  *sigh*
  • Last night, I also tried out a new Christmas cookie recipe that I ended up LOVING.  I had so many candied cherries left over that I didn't use with my shortbread, and I was trying to find recipes that used them, but apparently they are ONLY used in shortbread or fruitcake (blech).  I did find one for Chocolate Cherry Nut cookies, though, and I had all ingredients on hand, so I made them, and they were SO GOOD.  Not the prettiest cookies I've ever made, mind you, but the taste more than made up for the appearance!
  • My new favourite December thing to do is make popcorn in my new popcorn maker and hot chocolate in my new Starbucks mug that Shannon gifted me with, and cozy up on the couch to watch a movie.  OK, so I've only done it twice, and I always fall asleep as soon as the popcorn and hot chocolate is done, but whatever.
  • Did I tell you guys I got new boots?  I got new boots.  And I HATE them.  I had another pair ordered that I LOVED, but, son of a bitch, the damn things wouldn't zip up over my fat calves.  It was such a shame, because they were $225 boots on sale for $87 from Sears.  So I returned them and ordered this other pair (mainly because they also were on sale), and I didn't like them from the moment I laid eyes on them, but I basically kept them because I just didn't want to be bothered returning them again.  And they were only $60.  But I think they're a bit too small, and they rub on my heels and give me blisters, and I'm only wearing them because I have no other boots to wear.  If I ever get my head back above water financially after Christmas, I'll be on the hunt for another new pair of boots.  GOD I had buying boots.
  • The Christmas House Tour was on Monday night, and it was wonderful!  I forgot my camera, but trust me, the houses were beautiful, and all so different and unique.  We were a bit down in ticket sales this year, but I'm still calling it a big success, because everyone that came out seemed to have a great time and I've heard many positive reviews.  One of the highlights was the snowman in the tub at Mike & Bernice's, and I was lucky enough to have my photo snapped with him! HA!
Hope you're all having a GREAT week!!