Tag Archives: Christmas

Ryder’s First Christmas

I was so impressed with our critters this year.  Three cats and Ryder had their first Christmas tree this year.  I expected carnage and mayhem with that many firsties.  I have, in the past, found cats staring out at me from high up in the tree and have had ornaments chewed to bits by my canine pals.

But these guys behaved themselves very well.  Yes, a bulb or two got slapped off the tree and some branches were nibbled on, but I have no horror stories to tell.

The cats were not overly impressed with the fuss and would only come out if we dangled a string or ribbon for them to chase.  Ryder, however, was thrilled with the mounds of paper to shred and destroy.  Please forgive the blurriness, he just never quit moving. 😀

Tradition dictates that as wrapping paper comes off the packages it is to be thrown into play for the dog.

A bow!

A bow!

Mine!

Mine!

I know this comes apart!

I know this comes apart!

Success!

Success!  In fact, he was so good at pulling bows apart and enjoyed it soooo much, we had to hide the packages of bows that I bought after Christmas.  He was stealing them out of the grocery bags and ripping open the bow bags to get at the bows. 😀

I can catch sliders too!

I can catch sliders too!

Stomp,

Stomp, rip!

Shred!

Shred!

I'm having the best day EVER!

I’m having the best day EVER!

Of course, guess who got to clean up the mess afterwards

Of course, guess who got to clean up the mess afterwards?  It wasn’t the dog!

Hope you all had a warm and wonderful holiday!

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Christmas Tea Things (A Late But Very Short Post!) :)

Christmas was a rushed and bittersweet holiday this year.  November and December were spent dealing with two dying animals as well as all the holiday shtuff.  I had very little Christmas spirit this year.  The one real bright spot was the fact that Saver of Bugs managed to make it home for two days.  It was really nice to have her underfoot this year.

Because of my lack of spunk, I didn’t get the camera out and get pictures like I normally do.  So you’re not going to get the usual Christmas show.  However, as I was putting Christmas away (before February!) I managed to grab teapot pics. My Christmas teapots have never made the show before.  So here ya go!

Christmas mugs!  Yes, they've been here before.  But you need mugs for tea, right?

Christmas mugs! Yes, they’ve been here before. But you need mugs for tea, right?

Cheerful Christmas teapots!

Cheerful Christmas teapots!

And I got a new teapot as a gift!  It's even prettier in person.

And I got a new teapot as a gift! It’s even prettier in person.

That’s it!  Now all I have to do is get the lights out of the windows and get my January Box out!

Yes, We Had Christmas

Happy Holidays to All!

This Christmas ranks down in the ‘not fun’ category.  I’m still angry to a certain extent and feel a need to let some of this out.  And I could bitch and moan a book’s worth, but I’m just going to give you the ‘highlights’ and then move on to the positive stuff.

The ‘not fun’ started a couple of weeks out from Christmas when I was stupid and invited my mother to go with me to pick up fish and snails from Saver since Saver was going to be gone for Christmas to meet her SO’s mother.  The short version of the trip is that I got to hear all the ways in which I am a failure and a waste of space.  Again.  Yes, my fault.  I should have known she wouldn’t pass up the opportunity with me a captive audience.  Then a week out from Christmas my mother announced she wasn’t going to come to Christmas at my house since Saver wouldn’t be home.  Why should she make the drive from my brother’s house if Saver wasn’t there?  I guess my husband, I, and my son just don’t rank.  She then announced she had been talking to my BFF, who is the daughter of her BFF (deceased).  Since my BFF had the 29th off, “We believe you should not have Christmas and just wait for Saver to come back.” Not a suggestion.  However, my BFF would never so presume without discussing things with me first.  And unfortunately for my mother, I had just spoken with my BFF and she hadn’t said ‘boo!’ about cancelling Christmas.  She wanted to know when she should show up (i.e. How early does she have to get up. 🙂 )  I get sooooo tired of my mother’s bullshit.  (Again, this is the short version.)  Also during this time, up to and through Christmas, I’ve been dealing with sick and dying critters and expensive vet bills.  So lots of sad here. (I’ll do a critter update in another post.)  I’m very attached to my critters, so this killed my mood way more than my mother’s crap.  However, Christmas wasn’t going to wait until the critter crisis passed.  So the last-minute rush was on.

Christmas!

With Saver MIA this year, Spider Bait became my primary Christmas slave Elf.  A-shopping we did go and many gifts were purchased.  The kitchen and livingroom were cleared and cleaned and some decorations put out.  Lights were hung by my husband in the cleaned windows.  I have to have my lighted windows!  Christmas gifts were wrapped.  A tree was purchased and decorated.  At roughly 3 a.m.(on Christmas), Christmas was as “here” as it was going to get.

I love this Nativity set.  I enjoy setting this up every year.  And so far, over the years, it has survived 2 dogs, 6 cats, our children and cousins and visiting children.

I love this Nativity set. I enjoy setting this up every year. And so far, over the years, it has survived 2 dogs, 6 cats, our children and cousins and visiting children.

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Our usual Christmas setup minus the wreath. It’s not that I didn’t get a wreath (on sale), it’s just that when I soaked it overnight it poofed sooo much it smothered the candles. Setting my kitchen on fire for Christmas was not on my list. So it was relegated to the wall. Briefly. Two days later the wreath decided it was ‘done’ and began shedding needles by the handful every couple of hours. Spider Bait took it outside with plans to burn it, but the wind was too high. So it now sits on the brush pile.

First of all, my walls are white, not yellow.  But this is how I hang lights in my windows.  The lamp is a golden brown and a gift from a friend.  The little oil can used to belong to my Great Grandfather and the color is very close to the color of the lamp.  I grabbed the wee rooster one year with Christmas cheer because he was such a cheerful little fellow and I see him every morning.  And I was sooo 'awake' when I was taking this picture I only just noticed that one of the lights is hanging loose at the top. *shakes head*

First of all, my walls are white, not yellow. *sigh* This is how I hang lights in my windows. The lamp is a golden brown and a gift from a friend. The little oil can used to belong to my Great Grandfather and the color is very close to the color of the lamp. I grabbed the wee rooster one year with Christmas cheer because he was such a cheerful little fellow and I see him every morning. And I was sooo ‘awake’ when I was taking this picture I only just noticed that one of the lights is hanging loose at the top. *shakes head*

I guess I should note at this point – please ignore the blur in some of the pictures.  Lack of sleep makes me shake more than normal!

Our $80 tree purchased for $20 two days before Christmas.  This tree was finished being decorated at about 2 a.m. after a generally sleepless week.  The ribbon garland looks like a drunk put it on (that would be me).  And the next day it took me awhile to figure out what was missing on it.  My red bulbs didn't make it out of the basement.  Lack of sleep can be a bear.  But, lack of sleep be damned.  It still looks cheerful and bright and smells absolutely wonderful.

Our $80 tree purchased for $20 two days before Christmas. This tree was finished being decorated at about 2 a.m. after a generally sleepless week. The ribbon garland looks like a drunk put it on (that would be me). And the next day it took me awhile to figure out what was missing on it. My red bulbs didn’t make it out of the basement. Lack of sleep can be a bear. But, lack of sleep be damned. It still looks cheerful and bright and smells absolutely wonderful.

It always amazes me how many ornaments and lights and stuff just don’t show up on film!!! The tree looks naked in the picture, but it’s not!

My favorite Angel!

My favorite Angel!

Follow that Star!

Follow that Star!

Decorating the tree!

Decorating the tree!

Have to have our Christmas Poinsettias!

Have to have our Christmas Poinsettias!

Sooo, Christmas day my BFF knocked on our door at 10 a.m.  I was still in bed thinking I had at least another hour!  Oops!  She looked at me and said, “Should I ask how late you were up this year?”  I growled at her.  We ate ham, vegetable pizza, different cheeses, olives, and fresh veggies and dip.  Hmm, and foccaccia, marinated mushrooms, cookies, and Hot Sweet Cider.

We debated casually whether we should go see “The Hobbit” since Saver was going to see it while she was in Texas.  We don’t normally leave the house on Christmas.  We were watching a movie at home when we realized that if we were going to go we were going to have to get a move on.  Could we clean up fast enough to make it?  With three cats and a dog in the house, you do not leave a table full of food sitting there.  Not to mention spoilage.  So there we were, the four of us in our small kitchen trying to stuff everything either in the fridge or out in the garage.  Alas, the cider did not survive my elbow and what was left in the pot landed, thankfully, in the sink and not on the floor.  It stopped everyone in the kitchen for a moment of silence.  We love our Hot Sweet Cider.

Well, we did make it to the theatre in time.  Unfortunately, SURPRISE!, it was sold out.  Turns out Christmas is a big movie day!  Who knew?  Certainly not us!  So we settled for “Saving Mr. Banks”.  There were 9 seats left.  (Another day I’m going to rant about buying tickets online.)  It wasn’t bad.  I was glad to see they didn’t totally doctor the real story.  And thus ended Christmas Day.

Saver came home on the 28th and we had our Christmas with her.  On the 29th my BFF met us at the theatre for “The Hobbit” (Yes, I bought tickets online, grrr).  Saver came along and watched it again.  It was AWESOME!  And, of course, they had to end it on a cliffhanger.  Annoying!  In the evening, my mother showed up with the gifts from my brother’s family and we did Christmas again.

New Year’s is when we have Christmas with my in-laws, so today we again stuffed ourselves silly and did gifts and threw wrapping paper balls at one another.  I think there should be a law against your kids zapping you in the face with wads of wrapping paper.  They enjoy it too much.

While we did get Gift Certificates and Christmas Cheer, a couple of big-ticket items led the way this year.  Here are Saver’s and my headliners:

The better for to sew LARPing costumes!

Saver’s – The better for to sew LARPing costumes!

I now have a blow-up kayak so that I can go out on the lake without paying by the hour.  And I have to get my butt out of the door and to the lake.  I deserve it and have to remind myself of that.

I now have a blow-up kayak so that I can go out on the lake at the State Park without paying by the hour.  I just have to quit making excuses why I don’t have time to do it.  Make “Me Time” a priority.

Hot Sweet Cider was to be had all Christmas functions at our house!

Hot Sweet Cider was to be had at all Christmas functions at our house!

So that was Christmas for us.  I’ll leave you with a picture of me trying to get pictures.  *sigh*

This is a share from our attempts to get a 'good' tree picture.  Why Saver took a shot of me growling I do not know.  But the flash wasn't working on my son's camera, I've got too much of a flash on my camera and we were just 'annoyed'.

This is a share from our attempts to get a ‘good’ tree picture. Why Saver took a shot of me growling I do not know. But the flash wasn’t working on my son’s camera, I’ve got too much of a flash on my camera and it was just annoying.  I am not a technologically savvy person.

And The Christmas Rush Begins

So…. I have 2 whole weeks till Christmas.  And I haven’t even started shopping.  This is me:

From

From The Best Things in Life . . . Aren’t Things 2013 Calendar by Mary Engelbreit

Aside from Christmasy crap, I also need to do critter crap that is way behind.  I don’t want to do it after Christmas when we’re enjoying the holiday (kids home).  And then we have our second Christmas with the In-laws on New Year’s.  Today was a bust ’cause I’m having sleep issues again.  So I’m making a schedule.  Again.  But a few Christmas themed jobs did get done this weekend.

First, The Husband got the screens down off the windows and washed them.  I would love to have 5 minutes with whatever idiot came up with window screens on the inside of the house.  OMG, the mess and the bugs.  Now we’ll need to wash the windows so I can get the lights up.

Second,  the Christmas dishes got washed and put away.  Christmas at every meal.

I can't even remember how old these dishes are.

I can’t even remember how old these dishes are.

Third, the mugs were brought up and now hang on the mug rack.

Running out of room...

Running out of room…

My mother showed up to drop off a plant she said had my name on it.

Christmas Cactus!

Christmas Cactus!

And I am now sitting here drinking Hot Sweet Cider out of one of my Christmas mugs!  Hopefully, I will get more done tomorrow!

Go Santa, Go!

Go Santa, Go!

Miserable Little Thief

Soooooooo, I had the munchies.  A batch of Anadama muffins got thrown into the oven.  They’re faster than cookies.

Boy, did these smell good while they were cooking!

Boy, did these smell good while they were cooking!

Unfortunately, someone else thought they smelled good, too.  And she decided to help herself right off the kitchen counter.

Yep, that's Annie with one of my muffins.  Espe's going to see if she wants some, too.

Yep, that’s Annie with one of my muffins. Espe’s going to see if she wants some, too.

Annie starts chowing down.  Notice Jake in the crate waiting for his nightly bone.  I'm a mean mommy so they did not get to finish that entire muffin!

Annie starts chowing down. Notice Jake in the crate waiting for his nightly bone. I’m a mean mommy so they did not get to finish that entire muffin!

Little Brat.

Little Brat.

Life At Our House

I have managed to get one thing done for Christmas.  I got my holiday towels out!

Holiday Pot Holders!

Holiday Pot Holders!

And the first of about 12ish? Holiday Towels!

And the first of about 12ish? Holiday Towels!

Yes, I know I’m running out of time till Christmas.  I’m running late as usual anymore.  Is this really a surprise?  But I do swear that Once-Upon-A-Time I actually did get started at Thanksgiving.  And the tree would go up BEFORE Christmas Eve.  Maybe, again, someday….

So, Did You Have A Good Holiday? We Did.

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Happy Holidays to all, whatever Holiday you celebrate!

Unfortunately, we did our “OMG it’s Christmas already!” last-minute rush – again.  I swear, Once Upon A Time, we were done before Christmas and had a fully decorated house AND went to bed before midnight.  (Of course, we used to have a ‘clean and organized’ house too…Once Upon A Time)  Alas, this was not one of those years.

However, we did at least get the minimum done besides the shopping.  Lights up in the windows, fresh-cut tree in the house, table cleared and set up with Christmas stuff, and Hot Sweet Cider to get us through the rush of clearing piles of crap out-of-the-way to “get Christmas up”.

So here is our tree.  We get it from the same tree farm every year.  This year was a little unusual as instead of freezing our heinies off we were slogging through the mud.  We take a tractor hay ride to the tree lot of our choice and roam the trees looking for ‘the tree’ and then cut it down and drag it to our pick up point.  Unfortunately, the tree we got was wimpy.  We do usually get a white pine cause we like the look, but this one had such skinny limp branches, that we could only hang the lightest of our ornaments on it.  We got some heavy ones on in close to the trunk.  Take a look at our poor Angel that is light as a feather drooping forward on her branch.  (My son played “Who Put the Stump” while I was trying to find a branch to put the Angel on.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWsrypTqus8 )

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This is kind of a crappy picture but I wanted you to see that we have lots of lights on the tree that the camera isn’t showing!

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And here are my feet stuck out towards the tree as I sit on the couch.  There is less than a foot between us.  We get large trees!

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This Nativity set was given to us by my family for our first Christmas.  It is one of my favorites.  It’s a popular molding, you probably know someone who has some version of this.  My best friend’s mother bought an antiqued white version that was set up in an old radio housing.  Mine was painted by a woman I had worked with at one point and is full of color, which I love.

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I even cleaned all the paper crap and misc junk off my end table leaving just my favorite stuff.

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Jake was looking for his share of wrapping paper, but we were still waiting for company to show up to start the fun.

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And here’s Saver lounging around waiting for the fun to begin.

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There won’t be any group pictures here as this blog isn’t common knowledge within the extended family and not everyone who knows wants their face on the blog.  And for the first year in memory I forgot to take a trash picture!  How could I forget?  We always take trash pictures after all the gifts are opened!  😦

We loved all our gifts.  Well, okay, I wasn’t thrilled with the Minnie Mouse, bright pink pj’s with feet and a hood with ears that was my mother’s gag gift to me.  That sucker’s definitely going back to JC Penny’s.  But everything else was good.  I especially liked this teapot, from my mother, no less.

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Saver was enamoured of these three:

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Here is a close up of Saver’s mini-skirt.  I soooo wish I could have gotten and shown you a picture of her father’s face when Saver modeled it for us.  I thought he was going to burst a blood vessel.  His little girl should not be wearing such things!  So, of course, Grandma, Mom, and Auntie began discussing the pros and cons of if and when underwear should be worn with the skirt. 🙂

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Now for food.  We are not a make a huge meal sit down on Christmas Day kinda family.  We graze.  All day.  We usually fix whatever my husband gets from work, turkey or ham, and then fill in around the edges.  Some years are better than others with homemade foccacio and multiple types of Christmas cookies and sometimes little dishes of potatoes or such.  This year everyone was running around so we just did basics.  Which includes a lot of veggies as Auntie (my best friend/sister by choice) is a vegetarian and her yearly request for vegetable pizza is always honored.  She won’t make one just for herself.  And do note the cookies in the fancy bags.  This alone could be her only gift to us.  It is her grandmother’s recipe for pfeffernusse cookies.  They are to die for.

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And did I mention Hot Sweet Cider?  This is the only thing that makes winter acceptable.  I usually don’t make my first batch till Christmas.  Christmas isn’t Christmas without Hot Sweet Cider.  I would probably get stoned and tossed to the curb if I didn’t have a batch of this simmering on the stove all Christmas day.

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Hot Sweet Cider

  • 1/3  cup white Karo syrup
  • 12 oz. Apricot Nectar  (The odd measurement for this came about because they used to sell this by the 12 oz. can.  That’s how my mother used to buy it.)
  • 3 cups Apple Cider
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 3 tbls lemon juice

Bring everything but the lemon juice to a boil.  Add the lemon juice and turn heat down so it simmers.

Tips:

  • Places like Shop ‘n Save and Giant Eagle carry Apricot Nectar.  Shop ‘n Save is cheaper.  Giant Eagle only carries it in the organic foods section.
  • This recipe is always good; but it is much better if you use real cider.  The kind that is cloudy with apple stuff, the darker the better.
  • I usually double the recipe.  One is never enough.  The cinnamon and cloves I do NOT double.  I just make sure it simmers for 30 minutes after the boil before I declare it ready to drink.
  • If this is going to sit simmering for long, I recommend removing the cinnamon and cloves to keep them from overpowering the cider.  Unless of course, you like it that strong.  I have little bags I bought for loose tea that I stuff the cinnamon and cloves into.  It makes removing them much easier.  You can use the cinnamon and cloves 2 or 3 times before you need to replace them.
  • I halve the lemon juice.  I think it puts too much tart in the recipe.  But this is a subjective taste issue.  Try the recipe as written first and see what you think.
  • If for some reason you have left overs, just refrigerate them.  You can reheat this in the microwave if you want it hot again.  My kids drink it cold and say it’s just as good cold as warm.

We played Tribond and got trounced by Auntie and finished the day off watching the  last episode of Sherlock “Reichenbach Falls” (with Benedict Cumberbatch) which my daughter, Auntie, and mother hadn’t seen yet.  It was a good day.

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