Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Countdown













Well, it's all looking very festive around here now, as you can see. These next three weeks will be jam-packed with activities, performances and other events as we head toward Christmas. I'm not overwhelmed yet, and I'm going to do my best to stay that way. It happens most years, though. It's not any one thing, and I don't think I put undue pressure on myself, it's just all the stuff going on, the places to be, the things you must remember to do. I make a lot of lists. Do you make lists? Here's a list of things I feel like saying today...

12. Have you ever tried chopped herbs in a tube? I recently bought a basil tube (I was craving basil but the fresh packs were pitiful). It was surprisingly good! You just squirt out the amount you want to use and stir it in. I used it in a pasta sauce and it tasted just like I'd made it with fresh basil. I feel like apologizing to my tube for all the times I've looked askance at them in the grocery store.

11. I'm losing my grip on blogs and Instagram these days. I really want to be able to keep up with it all, but it's getting more difficult. I love to blog, though, and I'm not going anywhere. I was sad to learn that more blogs have been disappearing lately. I've also been seeing that old bugbear of mine again lately, where bloggers lament the lack of "good" blogs to read. I can't understand this. It makes me feel like blogging isn't for the blogger as much as it's for everyone else. And I know for a fact that there are still good blogs all over.

10. I crocheted a dress for the GB's doll, Nellie, this past weekend. We'd been discussing a Christmas dress for months, ever since I crocheted a summery dress for her around Easter time. I totally winged the design, but I think it came out pretty cute. It turns out that once you know the "formula" for making a crocheted yoke, you can make dresses, tops, cardigans - it's easy! I also winged the holly embellishment on the dress. It was trickier to make than the dress.

9. I'm finished with Christmas shopping, bar stocking-stuffers. Those I'll get in the next couple of weeks (they'll require some tooling around to different stores). I even finished shopping for myself (there are always a few surprises too, but this way I get exactly what I want).

8. My children have been playing checkers a lot lately. They each know about half the rules, so together it's like one knowledgeable person playing by himself.

7. We have bought our first jug of eggnog and have been busy mixing it with various spirits. I recommend amaretto, it's like eating a Good Humor Toasted Almond ice cream on a stick. Do you remember those? I wonder if you can still get them.

6. Why are cranberries so expensive? Are they difficult to harvest, maybe? Perhaps it's the short growing season. In any case, stock up now ("Buy two bags, freeze one!", say the good people at Ocean Spray).

5. This is one of my favorite times of the year, this stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bustle and anticipation are fun, yes, but I also just really like the weather. I love when it's cold and sunny. We've had two perfect days like that in a row and I've been enjoying it a lot. I like to be just a little cold, inside or outside. I like to wear scarves and hats, and I like to need a hot drink when I come inside.

4. Do you feel better about humanity after you've kept to yourself for a while? I do.

3. Netflix has provided handsomely for us lately. I've seen some documentaries I liked, including Happy Valley, about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal; My Brother's Bomber, about the terrorist bombing of a plane over Lockerbie, Scotland; Talhotblond, about why you should never believe people you meet in an internet chatroom; and The Flat, about potential Nazi involvement in one family's history. We also watched River, which was really good but kind of reminded me of The Sixth Sense, and what would happen if that little boy grew up and could still see dead people. Anyway, good TV around here lately, even if I did just make it look like all we do is watch TV.

2. I'm eating Ferrero Rocher chocolates daily since my birthday. The Bear gave me a huge plastic box of them. I think he found it at Costco. When I opened the package, the LB got a glimpse of them and shouted, "Mmm, I love Feral Roachers!" We asked him to repeat himself and sure enough, that's what he actually thought they were called. Yum. Hasn't stopped me from eating them, though.

1. It's December first and I'm already D-O-N-E with Christmas music. We have a radio station that plays nothing but starting in November. The children adore it. They get two hours per day right now, which I will consider increasing in a couple of weeks. I don't mind the songs themselves, it's the versions they play on this station. It's the torched kind of singing, for the most past, very overdone and shrieky. It's like Christmas on helium, or maybe speed.

36 comments:

  1. Your home looks so cosy and welcoming, and I love the first photo with its luminescent colours. Blogging is a funny old business, I definitely get the feeling that it is on the wain for many people, but I do wish that they would not vanish without so much as a 'goodbye'. My mind works overtime and I feel concerned as to what may have happened to them.

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  2. Your house is looking very festive :). I love the wee dress how wonderful to make up your own pattern. I hear you on the Christmas music, I worked in shops over Christmas for a couple of years when I was in my early 20s listening to the same songs hour after hour, day after day for weeks was enough to make you never want to listen the music again, I still can't!

    Blogs, yep I have read that too. There are lots of great blogs there but I have to limit the number I read or I couldn't keep up, and if you have a few days off from reading it can be impossible to catch up. I know I wouldn't if I was trying to do Instagram too ;)

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  3. You did a beautiful job on the dolly dress!

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  4. Oh gosh, you are so organised, I've not even started!

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  5. I liked the picture of your husband and daughter playing together. I wish I'd learned an instrument as a child. You sound so prepared for Christmas, I'm still crocheting and hoping to get things done by this Christmas.

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  6. It is looking very festive in your home, and I love it!!! Blogging is definitely changing, but I have no plans on going anywhere, I still enjoy blogging, and I enjoy popping into to visit with friends. Enjoy that Christmas music ;)

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  7. Your house, as always, looks so cosy and inviting Jennifer, especially with the addition of a pretty Christmas tree. Your first photo is beautiful, and I love the father/daughter making music together. I too am disappointed when some special blogs disappear - I find blogging so rewarding and enjoyable. Like you, though, I have trouble keeping up at times, and have to drop out of the scene for a few days. You are so organised - I have scarcely begun the gift shopping, but I will get there in the end!

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  8. Oh so festive. I am also falling behind on all things blogging... Such is the order of things.

    Xoxo. Andrea @ This Knitted Life

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  9. I so enjoyed reading this blog today Jennifer. Your Christmas decorations are beautiful. The pictures of your family playing music together and playing games together with daddy righty here, part of it all. So precious. You did a great job on Nellies dress. I'm sure it will be a prized possession of the girl bear and her baby doll. I feel the same way you do about blogs. Some of my favorite ones have disappeared and I don't know what's happened. I'm so grateful for the ones that are here though. I truly feel that you have all becomemy friends here.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. I'm laughing out loud...figuring out how to pronounce words can lead to some comical exchanges. My youngest son when about 8 mis-heard the word "theses" which caused him to have an alarming visualization for what had been said and I laughed so hard I could barely explain to him what had actually been said. I have found the tube herbs to be very good...mainly used basil and garlic so far. This is my favorite time of the year for both weather and activities, also. I am trying to pace myself and make reasonable lists, although I went shopping today without a list. Horrors $$$. I hope I can crochet some doll clothes for the girls' dolls. You inspire me! While you are watching intellectually stimulating programs, I have been overdosing on HGTV and Hallmark movies. I am realizing my limits in following blogs I enjoy, but never lack for finding interesting reading! I have been enjoying listening to the Pandora channel Michael W. Smith Holiday. Happy December, Jennifer, and thanks for posting :) xx

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  11. I love all of your festive-ness in your home, it looks so cozy. This is the first year that I finished Christmas shopping (mostly) before December, and it feels sooo good. And I agree, time away makes humanity look a little better. Glad your month is off to a good start.

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  12. Lovely festive scenes. I often use the tubes of crushed ginger & garlic purely for laziness & the need for a quick supper. I don't think I've tried the tubes of herbs yet perhaps I should. It's hard keeping up with everything though at times isn't it, oh for an extra hour or two each day xx

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  13. Your home is looking beautiful, a real festive buzz. Loved the photo playing musical instruments together, it reminded me of my girls when they were growing up. I have never come across the tubes of herbs I must look out for them when I go shopping. Take care.

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  14. Pretty much organised here too. I wrapped most of the presents up yesterday leaving a few to do on Christmas Eve with carols and mince pie consumption :-). I like your point number 4. Made me ponder. X

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  15. Crumbs, Jennifer, you are well organised. I'm a list maker too and, at the top of today's list is "check what I've got to see what else I need to get ... and order it!!!!!". If I do that I'll be very pleased with myself!! (And surprised! LOL)

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  16. I loved these glimpses Jennifer. I know I've said this a dozen times but your children remind me so much of mine at the same age. My daughter phoned yesterday to ask if I'd made any mince pies yet. No! I'm really missing my children but they are both coming home in just over two weeks and I can hardly wait. Now Advent is here I may break open the box of Christmas decorations and start my Christmas shopping although patchwork piecing while listening to Zola and Gloomsbury on the radio is much more appealing.

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  17. How beautifully cosy is looks at yours. I love how you describe the chequers game, you made me laugh. My littlest boy likes to play games on his own if he can't find anyone to join in. I'm glad to hear your blog won't be going anywhere. I don't look at other things, just blogs really, so it's good that there are lots of excellent ones to read. I'm wishing you a lovely December. I know what you mean about how busy it will all get. I always have lots of lists here too, and loads of things squished on to the calendar. Enjoy those Feral Roachers. CJ xx

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  18. I can't believe you're just about done with the gift buying, I've barely even started. In fact, I've barely even started thinking about Christmas yet, I think it will get to the end of this week and then I'll start panicking. I'm sure everything will get done in the end though and what doesn't, doesn't. I love the little dress you've made for Nellie.

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  19. Your tree is lovely and that little dress for the doll is adorable. Not sure what some people are looking for in blogs. I've made some really great friends over the years and enjoy keeping up with everyone. Instagram I love the for the ease of it. I figure you get out of the experience whatever you put into it, without comparison or expectations. Some people are so caught up in numbers and perfection and start to feel like they don't measure up. I don't quite get it. And I don't blame your boy for getting the name of the chocolates wrong. It's a tricky one. Ha! :) Happy holidays!

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  20. 'Feral Roachers' - brilliant! Such lovely festive photos, Jennifer. I have done absolutely nothing towards Christmas other than buy the children advent calendars. This time of year wouldn't be the same without that little bit of adrenalin – will she pull it off ?? won't she?? One year I'll come a cropper! I am late to the party re blogging, so I'm just getting to my limit of blogs to follow. I love each one though and am amazed at the wealth of creativity, imagination, spirit and fun in blog-land. I try to keep up-to-date but also don't pressure myself to do so (or indeed to write posts). I would feel sad if one disappeared forever without saying goodbye, though. I'm glad you're sticking around. Sam x

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  21. It looks very inviting at yours Jennifer. It is so funny to read about the game playing in your house, it made me smile. Feral Roachers are in the top ten best chocolate list of mine :-) There are so many blogs I love that I don't have time to read them all... I wonder what makes a blog 'good' and what doesn't? I don't think of blogs in that way. I find so much enjoyment from other people's writing and for me that's the most important part. I am glad you are here to stay. Have a wonderful December. xx

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  22. It's always fun to visit your blog, Jennifer. You keep things so real and down-to-earth. It's so nice to see children doing things that aren't "electronic-related." Oh boy, don't even get me started on that subject! Your tree is beautiful, and I adore that cute little Christmas dress you made. I'm getting a better handle on crocheting.....still need lots of practice, but I've actually been making some chemo caps to donate to the cancer center.

    I agree with you, Jennifer, it's sad to see some bloggers completely drop out and others lament the lack of good blog content. I'm not quite sure how so many bloggers actually make money with their blogs, especially with so much competition. It really does look like it would be stressful to have one of those blogs and have to be constantly coming up with new ideas to blog about, or painting and repainting something so you have a new blog post. Sometimes it's just exhausting to read some of the posts. Well, more power to them if it actually works for them, and I wish them all the best.

    I hope you can stay "stress-free" for the rest of the season and just enjoy each moment!

    Warm hugs,
    Carol

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  23. Loved your post today, such honest fun and wit. you are definitely on my good bloggers list.We used to tell our children that those chocolates (that I can't spell) were sprouts in chocolate so they never bugged us for them! Then they kind of grew up and realised we had been selfish chocolate scoffing parents. Hey ho! Don't get stressed Jen be your normal lovely self. Jo x

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  24. I'm a big fan of Feral Roachers too! I'm still holding out against the Christmas decorations, apart from the advent candle and calendar. Your tree looks lovely though and I love the photo of your family playing draughts; so cosy. Enjoy that Christmas music! xx

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  25. Christmas done by the 1st! Well done, wish I was. Beautiful photos and a lovely round up. I too am struggling to keep up with blogs but really want to keep going with it. Xxx

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  26. What lovely photo's ... and yes, such a great Christmassy feel too.

    Enjoy this special time of year

    All the best Jan

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  27. Feral Roacher reminds me of when my daughter came home from school all excited because she had won an award for "epidemic excellence" ......

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  28. Okay, I started to type a comment and Blogger ate it. The main point was going to be that you should have issued a warning about the Feral Roachers. I was drinking my tea and almost choked on it I was laughing so hard. :-)

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  29. I'm nearing the finish line with the shopping, too---allows more time to enjoy the season (and knit like a whirling dervish). About the only thing left to buy is the aquarium for a grandson. I'm not telling his mom. (am I going to get in trouble?) This kid LOVES animals so much, but mom and dad have said NO to another dog after their 16 yo lab had to be put down last year. He won a couple goldfish at the school carnival this fall and has transferred his animal-love to these fish. They live in a little bowl. I think we need to expand. That's what grandmas are for, right?

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  30. I love this post, fee like I am chatting on the phone with you abut lots of little things. I feel bad that so many bloggers are not blogging, and I am not on Instagram, I just don't have the time to do it all. I am staying put, right here.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  31. Love your random thoughts - and yes, I'm list maker, too! I have not tried the herbs in a tube. Glad to hear a review and that it's a positive one. I just may try them sometime.
    Love the doll dress - so pretty.
    Cranberries aren't expensive here - only $2/pkg!
    Not familiar with any of the Netflix shows you mentioned, though I rarely watch TV. Recently saw an article on Facebook about the newest best upcoming shows on Netflix and I have to admit, some of them did peak my interest. I made a list (!) of the ones that sounded interesting to me.
    Feral Roachers - too funny!
    Oh, I'm always done with Christmas music. Not a big fan. Perhaps because the songs are overplayed. They're there every time you turn on the radio and in every store and restaurant you go into.
    Hope you have a good weekend!

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  32. Nellie looks suitably festive and ready to enjoy Christmas in her new dress. It is really fantastic, I love it. Love the Feral Roachers too and won't mind getting a big box of those for Christmas. We haven't started on Christmas music yet. I still have to look for our Christmas CD' s. They do play them on Radio 2 but not very often which is fine with me. We also enjoyed 'River'. It was a great series.
    I wonder what a 'good blog' is and if mine is one. I think it all depends on what you like and what you're interested in. Anyway I always enjoy reading yours and I'm glad you're here to stay.

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  33. Ah, such a lovely, cosy, festive post! . I feel like I want to get our tree up and decorated now after seeing your photos. The dress is fantastic, good job. I think I am the only person not to like Feral Roachers so if you're ever with me for Christmas you can eat my share too. :-) xx

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  34. Holidays do that.. sometimes blogging has got to take a backseat.
    that little doll dress is so cute.
    someone just gifted us a big box of FR and they turned out to be super old and stale.. it broke our chocolate loving heart to have to throw them away!

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  35. christmas is everywhere now :) i see you've more documentaries and films on netflix than us... but i must admit i'm waiting for more christmas films :(

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  36. love your 12 things of Christmas, I feel like it is hurtling towards me at speed and I am truly ill prepared....

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