Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We Are

  • We are a licensed driver.  Though this picture is after taking the pre-test.  The day he actually got his license he was with hubby and neither boy took a photo.  Come on boys!  Boo.
  • We are bakers who take our cookie duties seriously
  • We are super excited to see Santa.  We had a moment of worry when we were asked to step into the "Naughty or Nice" scanner - it was scary for a moment, hovering around naughty, before ticking upward into nice territory.
  • We are waiting for our turn to dish up - "Can they even see me?"
  • We are being quiet and patient during the traditional reciting of the Nativity Story
  • We are awake and ready to roll Christmas morning.
  • We are excited by the gift that is, "bigger than me!"
  • We are grateful for the boot-making elves
  • We are excited for the elves versed in electronics
  • We are kissing the feet of the elf who tucked a phone in Santa's bag despite his parents saying, "No way are you getting a phone."
  • We are set for reading in 2015 - including the final four in the Outlander series.  Is it bad that I've missed Claire and Jamie and haven't known what to do with myself?
  • We aren't sure they aren't texting each other.
  • We are wrapping up Christmas
  • We are celebrating the end of a particularly invasive, extremely uncomfortable - to put it mildly - (and probably inconclusive) medical test with the acquiring of several boxes of sugar
  • We are relaxing in the glow of post-Christmas activities
  • We are saying good-byes to traveling family members with dinner and two tables of games
  • We are four for four in acceptances.  This one, to dad's alma mater, came with a frame to put her future diploma in and a tempting (at least to her parents) monetary award.
Happy Wednesday - Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Zero - the high temp for today.
Zero - the amount of cookies that escaped by reach during the holiday melee
Zero - the number of sun's rays making it to earth at the moment, or any time today
Zero - the attempts made by me to approach my crafting table
Zero - the number of stores who carried the three remaining items on my gift-buying list
Zero - the number of unhappy faces around our tree Christmas morning
Zero - the number of pages and/or cards I completed in the last few days weeks
Zero - the number of times I wasn't grateful for my family this holiday season

Happy Tuesday,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pre-Christmas Prep

So it seems Christmas Eve is upon me.  Apparently, it's tomorrow.  I'm not sure who deleted a week or three off the calendar this year, but I think that's just rude.

As of Thursday, not that you'd know since my posting has been pretty sporadic, I had ordered a handful of gifts under the "should be there by Christmas Eve" promise.  I didn't have gifts for the 6 y.o.  Not a one!  And didn't have any ideas what to get him.  I had no clue what Christmas Eve dinner for 18 would look like.  I hadn't a present wrapped, not that there were any to wrap.  I had a Cookie Bake at my house in just days with nary a clue as to what my offerings would be. . .and the house was a disaster.

Now, we're down to it.  The Cookie Bake went off with at least 50 pounds of butter represented in 22 different recipes.  I have a menu for Christmas Even and a shopping list.  All that remains is to come up with a game plan, since we are attending the 3 pm Children's Mass and dinner will be at 6 pm.  If you've ever attended a Christmas Eve circus service, you'll know that not only are you unlikely to leave within the usual time-frame (which makes entertaining after really fun) but your Christmas Cheer is sorely tested on those around you who seem to have forgotten they are in a church and not in a sports stadium, concert venue or the local Starbucks.

I digress.  I'm still awaiting the arrival of several packages.  However, the 6 y.o. has been now shopped for.  The presents that were purchased over the weekend in spurts, rather than the marathon it will be today, are actually wrapped and under the tree.  I consider this my greatest accomplishment so far this season.

My home cleaning service, Children-on-Christmas-Break, Inc., should be happily finding, and completing their assigned duties for the day in prep for tomorrow's festivities.  I'm guess either a) they haven't found the list, because nobody is calling to complain that the other person isn't working, or b) will use their honed selective sight to not see the list and use that as the excuse for still being in their pajamas when I check in with them later.  Good staff is so hard to find!

I'm off, credit card in hand, credit limit not yet exceeded and a list of things to round up.

Happy Tuesday,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Are

I am well aware my blogging has fallen away the past couple weeks, and I am sorry for it.  However, it's hard to come up with interesting content when there isn't much interesting going on life-wise; or it's repetitive - how many times can you say, "Another doctor appointment with hubby?" (speaking of, what is up with one test spawning two more?  Especially when all we seem to be doing is crossing off things that AREN'T.  Which I suppose has its merits, but I'm pretty over those,) or "Nope, not crafting yet."

I could list off the things I haven't done and desperately need to do - but that would be about as interesting as watching needles fall off the Christmas tree.  Suffice it to say, when I finally grasp the enormity of my list, I expect my head will explode.

I think maybe doing December Daily this year - formally that is - might have helped.  But we had a few fun things this past week.

  • We are beyond excited.  Seriously, way beyond.  Not only was the 17 y.o. (and her "Fam") going to the game, but there was much laughing, huge grins, dancing and hand-sweating when she found out that her little group was invited to sit on the player's bench during the pre-game warm-ups.  She texted us with pride and great enthusiasm, and a lot of exclamation points, that she was "iced" and then almost sweated on by some of her fave players.  She was over the moon.  All you had to do was say "Saturday's game" to be greeted with a smile of pure joy.
  • We are delighted, though we try to cover it with dismay, that our elf continues to make mischief, found loudly by the 6 y.o. each morning.  Upon coming downstairs each morning, he's heard to exclaim, "Alright, where is he and what has he done now?"
  • We are recalling fond memories of my grandparents when this photo was posted by my sister on Facebook.
  • We are on a date.  Downtown.  Dressed up.  And you can't color on the table cloths.  
Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We Are

  • We are three for three in college acceptances - this one being her second top choice.
  • We are enjoying number four in the Outlander series as my constant companion for the next 800+ pages (though as of today, it's about 500-ish pages remaining.)
  • We are not sure Abbott is such a great helper to St. Nick, as much as he's a nuisance.
  • We are the Take Charge Crew. . .all their idea.  
  • We are two on the roof
  • We are not sure we wanted to see the 6 y.o. peeking in through a second floor window!
  • We are finally able to open St. Nick presents, who seems to be quite the RV fan.  Ironic that on a non-school-day celebration, it's still dark when gifts are opened.  This time in the evening, instead of before the crack of dawn.
  • We are taking a moment during the hanging of lights at the grandparent's house
  • We are done with the tree - 6 days, 3 boxes and 100's of ornaments later. Some day I'll count them.
  • We are playing Kings in the Corners for our "Family Game Night" decree from our advent calendar
  • We are thinking the player on the left might be checking out your cards or looking for cookies.  Hard to say.
  • We are raising money for World Vision with a Mismatch Out of Uniform day.

Happy Wednesday,

Friday, December 5, 2014

Get Going and Get Eating

I'm off to a start, a slow one, but a start nonetheless.  You know what's a good wake up. . .a blood draw.  Nothing like being stuck with a needle first thing in the morning, before coffee, to get you moving.  Fun stuff.  Stupid insurance.

I came home to survey the list of things to-do.  I should actually make a list, but all that needs doing is pretty much in front of me.  I did a little with the tree last night and have determined to do 15-30 minutes at a time today in the hopes that it's finished before St. Nick arrives tonight.  I've got linens rolling around in the washer.  I've sort of wrangled the Christmas things I don't want up here into a heap to take back downstairs later.  Before the first freeze a couple months ago, I hung up a bunch of herbs to dry and took those down and stored them away. 

Left to do:  wrap the Giving Tree stuff, clear the kitchen desk, deal with the jumble of shoes that seem to multiply in the hallway.  Find a good place to store the hall rug for the holidays.  Fold a basket of miscellaneous laundry.  In prep for the Christmas Eve gathering, I need to take down the toy basket and dog kennel from the dining room.  I've got dinner to deal with and I'm looking to make a Kuchen for dessert.  Maybe.

Speaking of food, I was oddly unmotivated to cook this week, but I managed to make this really good Cheesy Ham Chicken and Rice Casserole.  Gooey.  Cheesy.  That crunch of wild rice.  Yum.  I should have used fresh grated Parmesan, it would have melted much better.  I didn't use Cream of Whatever soup, opting to go with my usual substitute.  I also opted not to buy the Uncle Ben's or Rice A Roni Wild Rice, but instead found this Boxed Wild Rice Substitute.  A couple notes on the Wild Rice sub:  1) I didn't add any parboiled white rice - it was strictly wild rice.  It took longer to cook; for me it was almost double.  2) Because of the cook time, I might add the seasoning halfway through, instead of at the beginning.  It was pretty cooked out.  The recipe makes a bulk amount of the seasoning - I quartered it for this time around.

I made these Mexican Stuff Peppers on In-Law Dinner night.  They were okay.  The recipe had the option of pre-cooking the rice or adding it in the filling dry.  I debated, and went with the dry choice, but I knew once the filling was together there was no way the rice was going to cook.  And it didn't; there wasn't any liquid in the filling.  They had decent flavor, but the filling was a bit too dry for me.  I decided to delete the Pin.  If you want to give them a shot, I'd recommend using salsa (maybe a 1/2 to 1 cup) instead of just diced tomatoes in the filling, and definitely pre-cook the rice.  I'd also put the salsa in the pan instead of marinara sauce.

I have made these Sausage Sliders with Cran-Apple Slaw before.  The kids like them, which is always a plus. I used Colby Jack cheese and left off the lettuce since it has the slaw.  Instea of store-bought, I made these  40-minute Hamburger Buns to go with them.  It's a quick recipe, that for me, takes about a cup or more of flour than the recipe states.

The High School Hockey season kicked off earlier this week.  They are the two-time defending State Champs and won their first game.  Their second is tonight, so I guess we know where the 17 y.o. will be.  I've got one more for dinner tonight - hubby's brother.  The weekend, however, is fairly empty so there's the hope that I can conquer . . . well something.  Conquer something.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Prolific, Thou Isn't My Name

To say I'm accomplishing much would be a gross understatement; to say I'm accomplishing anything would be an outright lie.  My home is in shambles.  The clutter of everyday strewn around, filling corners and oozing across any horizontal surface it can find.  The mess of decorating, which isn't even 50% complete, lies on top of the everyday clutter, all glittery and sparkly, but those two adjectives don't make the clutter any prettier to look at.  Boxes are stacked next to the tree.  There's odd Christmas decorating paraphernalia laying about here and there that probably just needs to go back in storage because I'm not sure I want it up this year.

I have a cookie bake to plan.  I'm apparently hosting Christmas Eve again this year; it should be "we" are hosting, but let's be real.  St. Nick comes tomorrow night.  My brother-in-law is coming into town today for a job fair and I need to see if he'll be here for dinner tomorrow.  The same brother-in-law and his family will be moving back to Colorado next week - I don't expect that I'll have a part in that, but I suppose hubby will be helping them at some point.  It was my intent to wrangle the kids last night to deal with the tree, but I, instead, had to waste a couple hours doing totally inane surveys for our stupid insurance.  However, some take-charge child (I believe it was my 14 y.o.) started decorating the tree on their own - God love 'em, but now there's a drifting pile of ornament wrappers around the tree.  There's a stack of Giving Tree presents that need to be wrapped by Saturday - I still need to pick up two items.  And, oh, yeah. . .Christmas!  Do I have lists?  No.  Do I have ideas?  No.  Do I have a flippin' clue?  Ah, that would be a big fat NO!

Now you add where I find my peace, where I recharge - in the creative arts - and that hasn't happened in well over two months, which probably explains, at least in part, my general malaise.  But it's hard, isn't it, when you know the one thing that will help you regroup, recharge and regain control of yourself, you don't feel you can do because of all the other crap that has piled up (literally) around you.  Yes, I remember my ranting earlier this year about not making excuses, not making it a reward . . . something about it being a priority.  But priorities get shuffled no matter how hard you try to keep some things at the top of your list.  

I am participating in the December Daily project - though not quite with the same amount of vigor as in the past, but it is something.  I remembered yesterday my perpetual enrollment in Journal Your Christmas and realized I wasn't getting my emails, so I followed up with that.  And the December kits do bring a little tingle to my fingers.  Have you seen them?  Are you getting one?

I need a plan.  I need lists.  I need to find my groove (and quickly.)  I need a drink. 

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We Are

I am participating in December Daily again this year.  I post a few images to Instagram and will, eventually, put everything into a book.  Shhh...I still have last year's pics to deal with, and I even picked up album stuff when Archiver's closed their brick and mortars!  Hmmm . . .I see a quick project that might get the totally flat inspiration ball rolling again.  Oh, but hey, they are here on the blog, so that's something.

  • We are Thankful. . .so very thankful.
  • We are bowling with the "Fam."  School family, that is.
  • We are always up for a spectacular sunset.  This one colored everything pink.
  • We are girding up for Family Game Night.
  • We are having a bowl of "chicken flakes" for breakfast?  Then, as much as a 6 y.o. can, cursing the designer who thought using a rooster would be a good word-clue for a beginning reader.
  • We are laughing at the daughter who is still on an Av's game high from the night before, where she watched all her boys win, as she pours herself a "bowl" of cereal, and then realizes what she's done.
  • We are back!
  • We are past Thanksgiving, crank on the 24 Christmas Music channel.
  • We are excited to be asked to light the first week's Advent candle at school.
  • We are hardly able to contain ourselves. . .the Av's, the Canadian's, Corey Price, $20 tickets 10 rows off the ice.  That and four hockey games in the span of a week.  Could heaven be any better?
  • We are listening to this go on in the back seat and are seriously questioning what the high school boys might be teaching the 6 y.o.
  • We are concerned that Abbott has horked down all the cookies and there are none left for school lunches.
Happy Wednesday,