After a beautiful (but freeeeeeeezing) day yesterday I am in the mood to sit and think. To make lists and plan projects. To listen to the kids play while I sit with a good book. Nay, not a good book, for my attention span, it is too short for that today. A good magazine. To drink copious amounts of (herbal) tea and just BE.
But life doesn't work that way.
Today I must begin the cleaning extravaganza that truly signifies the holidays for me. Because I CANNOT DECORATE A MESSY HOUSE EVERYTHING YES EVERYTHING MUST SPARKLE AND SHINE IT IS MY SICKNESS OH FAMILY WHY CAN YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AND JUST WORK WITH ME!!!???!!!
Sorry. Had to get that out there. I love to go room by room and make the place all happy and clean and sparkly. Of course, my kids and husband love to go behind me, room by room, and undo all that nice clean goodness; which makes me less likely to do the room by room thing consistently. Because what's the point? <sob>
Anyway, I am feeling more and more of the Christmas spirit and want my home to reflect that, because just seeing it all clean and shiny makes me feel more of the Christmas spirit and so on and so forth, happiness multiplied and baked into sugary goodness (because when I'm happy I bake--which makes everyone happy).
I may even neglect the blog for a couple of days. <gasp>
In the meantime, other bloggers, bloggers with talent and wordsmithing skills, these bloggers can keep you very entertained.
Mad, Mad Housewife made me belly laugh today when I saw this post. You have to read it to the end. We understand her pain. While you're at it, the comments are equally funny. It seems we're never alone :)
Holidays have you stressed? Sue reminds us of the futility of fighting with our spouses here (for the record, in our house dh is always right. it's easier to just accept that. but i won't pretend i don't try to make my point like sue.)
But it's Veronica who takes home the bloggy prize of the day (gosh, I'll give her the prize of the week) for speeding on my contemplative mood with this INCREDIBLE post. Go read it. You'll be glad you did.
It says much, much more about Christmas than any clean house. I'll be striving to keep it in mind all season and making more room in my heart and life as I physically make room in my home.
A Saturday in December at the mall. OH THE HORROR!
Actually, it wasn't quite as bad as I had braced myself for. Most people were polite with smiles for all. Even the parking lot was not quite a nightmare. It seems that the Christmas spirit actually IS alive and well. Retailers were friendly; a couple of them even taking the time to joke with me. It was enjoyable all around.
Shopping was much less stressful this year. We decided to only worry about the kids, who we always have a short list for anyway. We're making our top secret thing to send to the extended family and that's it.
I also let go of the unrealistic expectation of sending out Christmas cards to everyone I've ever met. When we first got married I did. Even after the Princess was born I did. The following year I sent out New Year's cards with what should have been our Christmas letter. The year after that I BOUGHT cards but they never got sent and the GUILT! Year after year I've been meaning to send cards and planning the cards...and just not being able to fit them in. This year I've let go of the guilt and I'm feeling much better. I've also yet to receive a Christmas card, but you have to give to receive, right?
Overall, I'm already enjoying this year more than I can remember enjoying the last couple.
Tonight is our Christmas cantata. I'm so excited. I love this gathering of every flavour of Christians available in our little community, united in our celebration of Christ and his birth. THIS is the reason for Christmas that gets lost too often in the shopping and the card sending and everything else. I love starting the season with this so that we can talk about it and rejoice all season long.
We're getting ready for Christmas. The shopping is (mostly) done, the baking is being planned, the decorations are waiting impatiently for their turn...we're not quite ready, but we're getting there.
We're welcoming the season. We're welcoming joy and peace and love into our home and our hearts. We're welcoming the Saviour. We're not quite ready for all that He has asked of us....but we're getting there.
Fry bacon until crisp; remove from pan. Add onion and potatoes to bacon drippings and saute for about 5 minutes; drain well. Combine all ingredients in 2 quart Crock-Pot; stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours or high about 3 hours.
We like this one because the kids aren't big soup eaters and it's just right for the two of us (with some leftovers). Easily doubled or tripled for larger families. Also, it's fun to play around with the spices.
This next one I've never actually made, because I'm allergic to peppers. But it sounds SOOOOO good. I have it bookmarked in my Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes and really want to make it. If anyone tries it, come back and tell me if it's as good as I've been imagining all these years, ok?
Cheesy Mexican-Style Soup
2 cups chopped zucchini
3/4 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1/2 cup choppped onion (1 medium)
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 10-oz package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoe with green chiles
1 16-oz jar cheddar cheese pasta sauce
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Coarsely crushed tortilla chips
In a 3.5 to 4 quart slow cooker place zucchini, sweet pepper, onion, beans, and corn. Pour undrained tomatoes over vegetables and beans. Combine cheese sauce and broth; pour over all. Cover and cook on low (6-8 hours) or high (3-4 hours). Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips.
Enjoy! I'm off to find a great way to use up my leftover ham :)
I am currently immersed in a Christmasy brainstorm I had to cut down on Christmas costs this year. It was inspired by Lain's Christmas Countdown but not actually one of the projects from the countdown.
Of course, to do this great Christmas thing I needed to pick up a couple of things from the LSS.
I should know better.
Since I was there, I couldn't pass up the fabulous American Crafts letter stickers in all their glory. I kept seeing more and more that I KNEW I would use. I really thought I was restraining myself though and felt good when I talked the Princess out of the Love, Elsie stamps and SweetPea out of the pink album (even though I agreed--both would have been great). I picked up the couple things I had gone in for and went to the checkout.
I'm not going to say much more than that because my husband reads this blog and can just consider this my warning. Maybe I should wrap said alphabets and put them under the tree? (If I ever get it up?)
Anyway, I have part of the thing done, and it's looking too awesome. I took pictures but can't show them until after Christmas, lest I ruin the surprise. However, I'm having trouble figuring out how to do that other part of the thing, you know, that involves the computer and a program I've never used? It's much trickier than I imagined and I'm wondering why whenever I want to do something for someone it ends up involving me learning to do something I don't actually know how to do?
But if it gets too frustrating I can always call the door people again.
I'm really, really loving all of the great Advent and Christmas countdowns being posted in blog land right now. Being a not very with it mom who hasn't even started decorating yet (I've been telling the kids we'll decorate as soon as they clean their rooms. Still can't see the floor, so no decorations yet), I especially admire these moms who not only have a plan, but have creative crafty ideas. A couple of my favourites are Jeana's Advent Candle ideas and Jessica Sprague's totally cool Advent Box calender.
Today I discovered that even the awesome Stacy Julien is full of Christmas cheer and has an awesome gift countdown at her blog. There is a great list of awesome Christmas books, a Christmas eve gift idea that goes with a tradition I have nebulously trying to get going (now I KNOW what I've been trying to do! Thanks Stacy!) and this excessively awesome children's T-shirt. How awesome? Lookie:
People, it has a CHALKBOARD on the front and comes with chalk. On the chalkboard in small print it says "Today I feel..." and your child can draw their face of the day (or hour, or whatever). It's totally washable too. I just can't get over the coolness. I'm not sure if I ordered one now that it would arrive in time for Christmas, but Sweetpea has a birthday in March and I think I know what I want to get her. ;)
Also, as long as you're buying your T-shirt of awesomeness, check out the rest of the Acacia catalog. They're a totally cool company with lots of great products for "Body, Spirit, and Home". I defy you NOT to find something you love there.
Remember that protective bubble I said we were living in just yesterday?
Well, it burst.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong--and I'm glad!
Here's the view out the door
whoops! Look higher
The snow is about to our knees. I'm trying to find data on how many inches we got but am being defeated by the internets. Needless to say, today is a snow day.
I'm loving every second. Snow days are just as great as an adult as they were as a child--if not better. Not only is the world a beautiful, magical place, but I have my family all cuddled up together in the same house. I still have laundry to fold and floors to clean, but in between there are snow angels and snow people to admire, hot chocolate to savour, and snuggle time on the couch later this afternoon.
LOVE IT ALL!
If you'll excuse me, they're getting started without me. I don't want to miss the fun!
Yes, I know, the S&H, the pain, the horror. Except that I know from experience that I'll never find this great of a stamp set around here. I will use all of these stamps repeatedly (and will need to to justify the expense) and am already planning pages around them.
The title of this blog comes from my best friend's mom; who critiqued my high school English journal as "full of superfluous fluff". This is where I embrace all that fluff and share it with you in its pure, unedited, rambling glory.