Sunday, November 30, 2008

I DID IT!!!!



Well here it is the last day of NaBloPoMo and I was successful. It was really a personal challenge to myself to see if I could do it. I have to admit it was tough, especially on the weekends as I am not usually one who posts regularly on weekends. I am usually busy doing all the stuff I can't do during the work week. But it's been a lot of fun!

I thought I'd share pictures of the exterior of the house decorated with you for the last post, plus a bonus of Oliver in his new Christmas present(he got it a bit early due to the winter weather. We're putting it on him every time he needs to go outside and he's getting more used to it all the time.

So here is our house from the outside. You can see our tree lit up in the living room. DH found more lights yesterday so he was able to run them along the bottom and up the side of the house. Don't forget to enter the Christmas Decor Contest - I already have some entries and I'd love to have some more. I wanted to keep this contest open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike so you can even email me the pictures, just read the contest post for the details.














Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Shopping


Well I am posting much later than before - I almost forgot, but I'm not going to give up now with only 2 days to go!

DH and I left early to finish up the .5% shopping that we needed to do. This included of course shopping for Mr. Oliver so I thought I`d post his mug. He`s my sweetie pie. I never thought I`d have or want a dog and now I am truly a dog person.

Anyway - we left bright and early, to beat the rush of course. Well the first thing we encountered was a major traffic delay. It seems there was a terrible traffic accident and a major artery in our end of town was down to one lane of traffic and being detoured around the scene. As we drove around the detour on a service road, we went right by and OMG, I have never seen anything that horrible. The car was mangled! I hoped and prayed that they were ok and that no one died. I checked when I got home on the news and it seems the accident happened just after midnight and the driver has charges pending, both are injured and the passenger near death. What is with drinking and driving - sheesh!

Ok - enough of a rant - I picked up some new things, a new toilet seat. I will not show that for a photo...lol! Suffice it to say that when we bought the house we put in all new toilet seats and the one in our half bath has been wiggly almost every since. Why is it that something like that gets put off so gosh darn long? Anyway today was the day I made a shopping list and it actually had 'toilet seat' on it - so I couldn't forget or put it off any longer.

We finally made our way to the pet store to get some gifts for the furry friends. Oliver will be sporting a new coat(of course he got his present early) - it's snowing here again today and I think he might find it cozy for his walks - and a ton of chews, his favorite. There wasn't anything there for our cat Ginger at all. Poor thing she rarely likes anything besides her food. She won't even eat wet cat food for a treat or the little cat treats. I was looking for the 'cat milk' you can get that is lactose free as she likes milk. You can't eat ice cream without having to put up with her wanting to crawl all over you for a taste. They didn't have any so I'll have to keep looking.

So there just a post about the goings on of our day - oh and we put up our tree last night. Maybe my last post will be of the house decorated - just maybe!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oliver meets Mushu

Now Mama has done it now - I overheard her talking of sending treats to Mushu for his birthday. Then after supper I caught her looking at cute pictures of him on her computer! I thought I was the cute one - me and only me! Boy if I even see a dog walking near my house I let them have it. So as you can imagine I was not impressed when I saw Mushu's face on the computer.

video

See this is me showing Mushu my powerful bark! I have a very powerful bark, don't you think?


Here I am looking for Mushu - I know he's got to be here somewhere, I just saw him! Gosh Mom why are there so many cords back here and your desk is such mess!

If I can just get this desk to move he's got to be here - do you see him?

I'll teach mom to show me pictures of other cute dogs - I'm going to try to find him all night, running in and around her desk, let's see how much she gets done with me harassing her!

Oliver(aka The Jealous One)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Help Martha is at it Again - A work of Fiction

From time to time I feel like Martha is back at her old tricks - yes she is my stalker! Honest, how else can you explain these bizarre phenomenon?

All my books and cd's have been not only alphabetized but sorted according to their genre.

There is a bowl of fresh pancake batter in my fridge along with blueberries picked just this morning - is she hinting for an invite to breakfast perhaps?

The dust bunnies are outside with picket signs - quite creative I might add! Of course they are saying 'Martha Go' and other such gibberish that only a dust bunny could think of with its itty bitty brain.

The dog and cat bowl has been replaced with a beautiful hand thrown pottery, purchased from an exotic location - the tupperware one is nowhere to be seen.

My napkins are constantly folded into shapes of swans, crowns and much more!

Wait a minute - we have napkins - oh now she's done it!!!

The linens are perfectly ironed and smell like lavender.

The cupboards have all been organized. The spices all have a new container, every type of dried staple food is in a jar and the canned goods are alphabetized and categorized.

The dog is wearing booties - no more wet paw messes and the cat has been to a pet groomer, poor girl - did she really have to give her a poodle cut?

Not only is the toilet paper always filled, the rolls are always folded into a nice v tip - I'll give her that I am impressed that I no longer have to search the house for new rolls - a real Godsend, maybe I'll get her leaving me a chocolate on my pillow next.

So if any of these things happen at your house you'll know who the culprit is - you may find some of it annoying but the odd thing she may do will be really helpful. For those of us who aren't 'Martha's this is for you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Slow start


Normally I would have posted by now - I am rather surprised that I haven't missed a day yet. I thought in the beginning there would be no way I could post for 30 days straight. Previously I have never done much in the way of weekend posts and posting from home.

I was going to think of what to write last night but I was busy trying to figure out how to get my Sansa E25o mp3 player to work. Recently it lost it's ability to store 'playlists' which is the all-time great reason to use an mp3 player. I love that I can click on a list and it will shuffle through whatever genre I am in the mood for. I recently added a ton of Christmas music and other than select one album at a time I couldn't figure out how else to just have Christmas music play.

There are times when we get invited to places and they love us to bring our players as we have all our music on one little device and it's perfect for the Christmas party season.

When I got home last night not only did it not have playlists at all but it was no longer showing any music in my mp3 player when it was connected to Windows Media Player. I was getting more frustrated by the moment. The next step was to view the device in Windows - even there the music was missing. The confusing part was that Media Player was allowing me to add music to the device and it wouldn't add anymore and told me it was full - yet as I said not showing the files as being on the device.

Thankfully DH was able to do a bit of searching it turns out the mp3 player I have from SanDisk hides the 'music' folder so you have to tell your computer to 'show hidden files' to actually see the folder. From there I was able to take out some of my summer music and finally get all the new Christmas music on the device.

He also found some freeware that is supposed to help with my particular player to make playlists. It isn't working either. I think the problem is with my player. Everything else works fine when I use it, just no playlists and just recently a problem when it's connected to windows media player.

So instead of some other post - I thought I'd post about my evening of frustration - wow only 4 more days to go!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Month to Christmas - time to get festive!

Well I have officially began to play Christmas music - I think enjoying a month of it is just the right amount. I knew it was time when DH mentioned he had it on his mp3 player when he walked Oliver.

I got my computer all decked out thanks to Mary Engelbreit she has Christmas desktop backgrounds as well as a really neat Queensaver (screensaver) that counts down the days to Christmas.

I'm getting excited to put up the tree on Saturday - for now I'll have to be happy with putting out our new tree sculptures that I bought and I want to get some window clings as well. I usually have them in the bathroom mirrors and any other mirrors in the house. It's a great way to bring the decorating into all rooms. I've also found that they stay on the mirrors better than the windows.

Christmas Baking List:
Sugar Cookies
White Macadamia Nut(give Joy some love for sharing this recipe)
Jam Jams
Shortbread(trying to decide - I use the recipe on the box of Canada brand cornstarch]
Butter Tarts(I'll post the recipe in December)
Muskrat Houses(very easy and quick to make as they are no-bake, something kids can easily do with a little assistance)

Now it's time to get the list of all the ingredients that I need and get ready to bake. I want to have two things made for the weekend for our tree trimming. I always have hot cocoa or some other festive beverage and homemade cookies. It puts everyone in a good mood to enjoy a Christmas cookie or two.

Don't forget to enter the contest for best Christmas decor - I already have a few entries and I'd love to have some more. We added our new tree sculptures to our yard and it looks so nice, I'll have to get some pictures up this week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spritz It


I saw this when I was at Michael`s yesterday. It`s a cookie press. I`ve never had one before but I am intrigued about it. Look at all cookies you can make with it.

They had three models, a basic one(but it didn`t have Christmas templates) and the big one is cordless.

Apparently you can make a ton of cookies super fast with one of these babies.

One more thing to add to my wish list. For now I`ll work with my regular cookie cutters that I bought yesterday, but this looks like so much fun!

Has anyone tried one of these before?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Busy Beaver

Well I've been a busy beaver this weekend. I am nearly finished one of my big Christmas knitting projects. I sat and knit for 3 hours straight yesterday and two more hours this morning.

Then it was off to the store to pick up some lotion and tissues to take to my Granny. She is in a nursing home and I wanted to pick up some of the Christmas themed boxes. I thought they'd pretty up her room a bit.

We had a nice visit. She had a dream of the house she used to live in so I thought it would be fun to pull out the photo albums and show her pictures. She had a lot of fun remembering.

Then it was off to Michael's to pick up a set of Christmas cookie cutters, they were on sale and I have never had a full set. While I was there I saw a set of two Christmas tree light up sculptures. They were on sale for 40% off so I picked up a set to add to our outside decor. Next year I must get some snowmen. They had them at Michael`s too, but the price was a little more steep than I wanted to go.

Next stop - grocery store. Two things I learned from that. 1. Don`t go to the store when you`re hungry and 2. Don`t go on the afternoon of Grey Cup Sunday. Enough said. So I picked up a couple of things. I want to make dessert tonight so I needed 3% milk for homemade rice pudding and I just had to have some Christmas oranges.

Everywhere you go it`s starting to feel like Christmas is coming - so exciting!

Now I think it`s time for me - before I get to dessert that is.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spread a little Kindess Around

Have you ever been behind the line in the checkout and overheard a very rude customer? I think some people really thrive on making others miserable.

I know when I am at work and I have to deal with someone who is miserable it really makes me feel horrible.

This horrible feeling can be contagious and if I am not careful I can easily take the frustration I felt at home with me and share it with my family.

I know it's not always easy to be kind after spending several minutes waiting in line or if someone else has already shared some rudeness with you.

Soon Christmas will be upon us and what better time of year to spread some cheer and kindness around. Next time you're in a situation where you feel you could just snap at the next person you come in contact - do the opposite.

I think in the end you'll feel better sooner and the person who would have felt your wrath will go home happier and that will trickle into their families etc.

It's too easy to not think of the people behind the wheel of cars as people or feel that it's ok to be upset with the waiter for your food not being hot, etc.

This year take the time to spread a little kindness around - you'll be amazed at how good you feel.

Friday, November 21, 2008

13 Reasons To Enter the Christmas Decor Concert


Dawn from Colours of Dawn was kind enough to post a Thursday Thirteen that posts all 13 cloths I made for her in the last contest. Just a taste to give you an idea of what you could win if you enter the contest today.

Enter soon - it's open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Besides winning cloths we'll even throw in a $10 Starbucks gift card so you can get a nice cup of your favorite hot beverage in the Christmas themed cups!

Everyone has photos of their houses decorated for Christmas - dig them out and either post on your blog or email them to me at mrs_tea_mouse at hotmail dot com.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ten More Days to Go!!!!

Just ten days, ok - maybe I can finish after all.

Yesterday it started to snow and it was gorgeous! Nice big fluffy flakes. It really puts me in the mood for the Christmas season. I started up Media Player and searched through my albums for one of my instrumental Christmas albums. I love listening to instrumental Christmas music.

So there are 34 days to Christmas. It's time to plan the baking list. I know I'm going to make the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies that Joy posted on her blog, they are amazing. I also want to try a recipe for St. Nicholas Cake that my sister included in a recipe book that she gave me last year for my birthday. A nice book of some of her favorite recipes. Of course I always have to make jam jam's and butter tarts. I'm not sure if I'll add anything else or not.

We are having my SIL ane BIL over on Christmas Eve and probably my MIL and FIL as well so I'd like to have some baking to put out along with the appetizers. I am going to make Trifle for dessert on Christmas, it's to die for. I have recently been elected to make it for our staff Christmas party. It's so good I don't mind.

Having all the shopping done does help quite a bit. Now it's time to think of wrapping and decorating the house. We had to go to Home Depot on Sunday and buy all new outdoor lights. We picked up multi-colour LED lights and it looks really good. I would like to get some snowman for out front. I currently have a polar bear and he is lonely.

Don't forget to enter the 'Christmas Decor' Contest - it is open to all bloggers and non-bloggers. Click on the 'Christmas Decor' badge to be directed to the post that has all the details or click here. Contest ends on December 12 so make sure to get entered to win.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Diary of a Pessimistic Dieter - A work of Fiction

November 25

Dear Diary,

I have been watching all the diet ads on t.v. And I am thinking I can easily drop 25 lbs.by New Year's. My friend recommended a great program the cost is quite steep at $500 a month but if I can lose the weight it must be worth it. I will stop off after work and see about signing up. I am so excited.

Well I went there after work and they weighed me – yowch! I know losing 25 lbs by New Year's was my original goal, but I have much more to lose and I'm not sure if this program will be feasible. I'd hate to spend that kind of money and not succeed :(!

November 29:

Dear Diary,

I checked into that program and it seemed quite strict. I tried to rationalize the cost, but with that kind of money we could go on a holiday when the weight is off. I'd love to go somewhere tropical. I've decided to an alternate program that my mother-in-law gave to me. I just have to eat different foods in a different order. I like the price, more money for shopping.

December 1:

Dear Diary,

I dug my scale out from under the bead and dusted it off – achoo! Wow that is a good reminder that I really need to vacuum under there more regularly. Well I weighed myself and there is no change yet. I felt quite upset, unfortunately the Christmas chocolate gifts were nearby and I indulged.

December 5:

Dear Diary,

Our daughter had her Christmas pageant tonight. I had been asked to bring a dozen cookies. I couldn't make just a dozen so I have a few extra for the kids. They had to be 'nut free' so I made shortbread, mmmmmmmm I do so love shortbread, will power I need you.

December 9:

Dear Diary,

Darn it if I didn't have some of those shortbread after all. I don't know how I'll get 25 lbs off in time. . I've decided to try to get 15 off instead. I am getting a little tired of bacon, there is only so much you can do with it. I am craving vegetables and fruit.

December 14:

Dear Diary,

I haven't been writing in the last few days. I really had nothing good to report. I couldn't take the diet anymore and I've just tried to keep snacks to a minimum and eat my regular meals. My friend told me that she is walking each day at 5:00 AM, for 5km, that's just CRAZY!!! I'll try to fit walks into my day when it's possible, but life is crazy busy now - so much baking, so many parties - oy!

December 16:

Dear Diary,

I've found myself baking more again – I just wanted a couple more things to have for when company comes over during Christmas. Did you know that white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are to die for? Well I had to try them, I can't serve something to company that might be terrible. Ok – you got me I tried them a few times, but they were teensy. I saw the cutest dress ever, I'm hoping I can fit into it in time. I'm not taking any chances though - I'll shop for my dress right before New Year's!

December 18:

Dear Diary,

I decided to get the scale out again, it's a week until Christmas and I am not feeling like I've lost any weight. I was right the scale shows me up by 1 lb. I guess those cookies were more than I thought. I drowned my sorrows in a pint of ice cream and some good chocolate! :(

December 20:

Dear Diary,

We had our office party yesterday and I had a hard time. There was so much good food. I tried to take just small bits of each. I had a smaller dinner when I got home and managed to go for a 30 minute walk. I was excited to see all the decorated houses.

December 23:

Dear Diary,

Well I did get on the scale and it wasn't good – I managed to lose 1 lb. I am not sure if I really did or not, I weighed myself a few times and I chose the lowest reading. I'm feeling so bummed out about it. What on earth was I thinking!!!!

December 26:

Dear Diary,

Well that's it I jumped right off the band wagon. I haven't seen any major progress even though I've had some walks and have been trying to watch what I eat. I've had a few cookies here and there but I have really been good – losing 2.5 lbs. Is such a slap in the face.

December 30:

Dear Diary,

Well there is no way I will make my goal – that's pretty obvious. I'm throwing my hands in the air and going out for a fabulous lunch – there is no point in trying now.

December 31:

Dear Diary,

Well here it is New Year's Eve and I only managed to lose 2.5 lbs all month. I don't know why I bothered trying to lose weight during Christmas it's the worst time ever. Thankfully I didn't get a new dress, I've got one tucked in the back of the closet that should do. “Don't get rid of the fat clothes' that's my motto. I'm off to the store to get some good undergarments, thank God for Spandex!!!! Bring on the New Year's Buffet and Champagne!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Diary of an Optimistic Dieter - A work of Fiction


November 15: Dear Diary, I am so excited about this new diet program. The fee is very reasonable after I calculated how much I do spend on stuff that's bad for me and how good I'll feel afterward. I know the extra $500 a month seems steep but it will be soooooooo worth it when I see myself all dressed up for the annual New Year's Eve Gala. Tomorrow it's off to get the groceries I need for the new eating plan, yay!

November 18: I've had nothing to eat but bananas and some vegetable soup so far, soon I will work myself up to a real meal. I can't wait to enjoy milk in my tea in a few days. Oh did I mention I am on caffeine free tea? Well my 'mentor' told me that it would really impact my loss.

November 23: I have been kind of bad about reporting here. I didn't want to write down anything negative. I had a few slip ups in the last few days. First I just had to have caffeine and I was craving some Haagen Dazs. My mentor told me to not worry about it and to keep moving forward. I am happy to say I've been on track since then. The milkless tea isn't as bad as I thought, if I plug my nose when I drink it :)!

November 25: Well it's one month to Christmas now and I am down 2 lbs. only 38 more to go until New Years. I went online to my favorite store and ordered my perfect dress for New Year's in 3 sizes smaller - here's to losing it all!

December 4: Down 3.8 lbs now - woo hoo!

December 8: Went to our first outing where 'regular' food was served. Used all my restraint and ate only the celery and carrots with no dip -oh and that one brownie. Thankfully I did enjoy my wine, I don't think that will hurt.

December 11: Went to see my 'mentor' today and I was up .3 lbs. I discussed my eating and darn it if it wasn't that wine - so scratch off wine for now. I'll have to be the life of the party oops I meant the chauffeur for the night. I have to behave this year :>)!

December 13: I've been really trying hard these last few days. I've been watching my whole family enjoy Christmas cookies, not that I've made any but all of our relatives have wanted to make sure the kids and hubby don't go without - thanks guys - just a good testamnet to my will power.

December 16: Well I have officially lost 7 lbs now. My 'mentor' has me getting up at 5:00 a.m. every day now and going for a 5km walk. Did you know that no one is up at that time of day - it was very peaceful and quiet. I would have loved to come home to a cup of steaming tea - with milk. Keeping my eye on the prize though :)!

December 19: It's getting tough to stay focused - the walks are boring as heck. I finally figured out why no one is up - it's 5:00 AM for pete's sake! Thankfully my 'mentor' has helped me with this, she told me to buy some walking tapes. I'm off to get some after work today. Oh and I packed my own lunch as I don't want to get tempted by the staff party luncheon today. I think I'll reward myself by ordering that new skirt I want, of course in 3 sizes smaller - if I can stay away from the wine and the amazing cream puffs.

December 20: Managed to not eat any cream puffs - however I did partake of a bit of wine, just one wee glass and some small pastries. I chose the tiniest ones. I don't think I broke the rule so I went ahead and ordered the skirt - I can't wait to see it on.

December 22: Scales were not in my favor today my friend - that's ok we still have 9 more days left. I can do it I'm sure of it! I'm thinking of increasing my water intake to 3 litres a day and eating only vegetable soup and one hard boiled egg each day until then.

December 24: Ok - the plan to only eat hardboiled eggs and soup might not work today. My mother-in-law makes the best cheesecake in the world and not to mention her appetizers. I'll only eat one cup of soup and drink water until tonight.

December 25: Change to plans - today is Christmas I can't not 'Not eat' Christmas dinner. I'll try to fill up more on the vegetables than anything else. Hopefully I'll be full by then and I can avoid the delicious trifle. Now to make sure my in-law's don't keep re-filling my glass of Egg Nog all evening.

December 26: Boxing Day - they should call this 'Bloated Day' I can't believe how much I consumed. I feel like I could not eat for a week and still feel full. I'm going to have to almost take that route if I want to make my new goal of having lost 10 lbs. by New Year's. I'm not worried about the other clothes I ordered, I'm sure I can lose the weight after Christmas.

December 30: Went to my weigh in today and my 'mentor' tried to keep things really positive. The scale wasn't as angry as I thought it might after my indulging on Christmas - I lost a total of 7.5 lbs. Ok, so I went up a bit and down a bit - the main thing is I lost, right? Sure it wasn't the 40 that I needed but it was a loss none the less. Besides isn't that what January is for, losing weight. I know I'll take my Christmas bonus and get a gym membership.

December 31: Had to go out this morning and buy a last minute outfit, Sure it's not 3 sizes down but as I mentioned yesterday I am going to join that gym and I'll get there every day and by Easater the new dress will fit. I think I'll buy one more just for encouragement.

Coming Tomorrow - Diary of the Pessimistic Dieter, stay tuned!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Life, it's a Growth Experience

I think as you get older you realize that you are constantly growing and changing. From the self-absorbed teens to the twenties when life becomes all about becoming successful and raising a family. Somehow there are moments where it's easy to get lost or caught up in the 'busyness' of one's own life and not put oneself out there more.

I realized recently that I'm being called to do even more than just go to work, do housework and be a mom. Despite how busy my life gets there are other people that need to be considered. I'm being called to share myself even more.

I don't know if it's the feeling of Christmas that is approaching or not - but I am definitely feeling a lot more 'open' to making myself available to be there and enjoy moments that I have previously grouched about.

I think becoming aware of what keeps you from putting yourself out there and being open to new experiences and friendships is the key to changing. I have a bit of the 'they wouldn't want me around' complex. It's easy to turn that into a firewall around yourself to protect yourself from hurts and by doing so you also prevent yourself from all the loving and wonderful experiences that are gained by letting your guard down and truly enjoying the moments in life that God has placed before you.

It's just how I'm feeling at the moment - God is good!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Typhoo Commercials, too funny!

These Brits have good humor and great tea! Of course I am on their decaf version - but it is still the better way to wake up.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas Decor Contest


Christmas is my favorite time of year - I don't know if it's because I was born a couple days prior or not but it's my all time favorite. I love the Christmas music, houses trimmed with lights and of course decorating the house as much as possible. It is an absolute joy. I even picked up a fireplace dvd - sad but true - we don't own a fireplace and even watching it on t.v. is cozy.

I also love contests - last year I did a Dishcloth For a Year give-a-way and Dawn won. I had a lot of fun knitting her cloths all year. I am excited to announce this contest. Not only will you win the lovely badge for your blog, giving you bragging rights as the best Christmas Decorator but you will also win a $10 Starbucks card(for you to purchase a nice cup of cocoa or coffee of your choice) as well as 3 Christmas dishcloths in Christmas colours.

All you need to do is email me a picture of your Christmas decor to mrs_tea_mouse at hotmail dot com. Don't worry if you decorate late you can submit a picture of last years decor if you like. You can also do a post on your blog, if you're a blogger with your Christmas photo. I will be asking a guest judge to judge the entries. If you get bitten by the Christmas bug and want a chance to win this 'Christmas Prize' - please submit a photo to my email or let me know about your blog post by December 12, 2008. I will announce the winner on December 15, 2008. Entries can be submitted until Midnight Central Standard Time.

***Note this post will stay at at the top until December 13, 2008 - scroll down for current posts****

Friday, November 14, 2008

And the Best Christmas decorating Award goes to...

I am craaaaaaaaazy for Christmas. It started when I met my DH and saw how his family did Christmas. I remember the first time I walked into his mom and dad's house and it was all decorated for Christmas. It looked like tinsel exploded - it was awesome. His dad really did it up well. There were big tinsel ornaments hanging from the ceiling, tinsel ropes and his mom had all sorts of Christmas ornaments decorating every square inch. I truly felt like I had stepped into a Christmas Wonderland.

This was my first experience with such a joy for decorating. I remember growing up my mom's fake tree was always done up with red and gold ornaments and we might have a bit of tinsel rope around a door frame and she quite often did the fake snow on the window using electrical tape to make the windows looke like they were old fashioned - too cute! But, as I said this was my first glimpse of the kind of 'over the top' decorating that could make even the Grinch say Merry Christmas!

When we got married we continued the tradition. DH's dad gave him some of his 'personal tinsel stash' and we slowly collected some of our own. We did Christmas up really good. I remember one time we had my granny over and she said to me it's like being in Christmas Wonderland. Even at her 80+ age she felt like a little kid again. There is something magical about all the shiny ornaments and lights twinkling.

We've since moved away from all the 'tinsel town' decor and we have moved on to the pine bough and more country style of decorating - think Log Cabin. Well if I had my one Christmas wish it would be to have our Christmas in a nice log cabin nestled in the country side. All our family would be there and we'd be singing Christmas carols by the fire sipping mugs of hot cocoa or wassail(for DH) and just enjoying being together.

I still can't wait to decorate, we'll be putting up our tree on November 30 and I feel like a little kid at the thought of breaking out all the Christmas decor I've collected over the years and making the whole house feel like Christms. Even the washrooms get done up attacked with Christmas cheer.

So for me the 'Best Christmas Decorating' award will go for now to my FIL for all his years of magical decorating. I am however going to post an award for you to put on your sidebar with all the bragging rights of your own. Check back in the coming days as I'll announce the contest and all it's info such as deadline, prizes etc. Do you feel you are on par with my Father-in-Law's magical decorating? If so make sure to take the time to visit and enter. I look forward to seeing all the great decorating pictures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Thursday Thirteen 4 Me

When I first discovered Thursday Thirteen I was excited to be a part of a group. It was a way to post each week on random facts. I generally put a lot of effort into my Thursday posts. I thought the idea was to find new blogs to read. I was a new blogger and meeting people who posted similar posts was exciting.

I was looking to have comments and find good blogs from that. What I found was the people who did comment left very generic comments for the most part(unless they were a regular blog readers & friend) - and they only visited on Thursday's. It didn't bring more traffic my way and it was becoming for me a lot of work to come up with a theme each week.

I tried to get to everyone who commented and comment back. Some of the posts had such a lack of content that I wondered why they even bothered. Sure there were times when my 13 wasn't as detailed but some only ever do a very basic list. That might be good for them, but as a reader I wasn't enjoying reading it and I had very little to even comment about it. I would feel bad for not commenting etc., I'm like that I get the 'guilts' very easily.

I found myself struggling each week to come up with a creative post. I didn't want to do short boring posts.

So combine that with my already mixed feelings over the visitors on Thursday's I felt for me it was time to retire from writing them all together. I thought I worked good with a theme but perhaps it was too regimented in my mind. Whatever the case is, I am over the Thursday Thirteen's, Wordless Wednesday's and the other such types of posting. In fact even posting for 30 days is a bit of a struggle, we're not quite half way through and I'm hoping my head doesn't explode or something before the end.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things that make me happy are...

-Four day long weekends.

-The sound of a summer storm.

-Good times with family.

-Christmas morning, the house is so still and it's dark outside. We always leave the Christmas music on all night and we wake up to hearing it playing in the upstairs living room.

-A big fluffy snowfall, especially as we leave church after midnight mass. I almost always love to watch the snow fall, except in late February and March.

-Knitting

-Random acts of kindness

-Popping bubble wrap

-Family breakfasts

-Surprises

-Road trips - the longer the better

-Walks in the winter when the smoke from fireplaces drifts into the air, it smells so nice. Makes me wish I had a fireplace.

-A good book that I can't put down.

-Sitting with my DH, poochie Oliver and my cat Ginger while we watch our favorite shows.

Well there is more than what I dislike - that's a good start.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We Remember

We Remember

Some links to read more about why we need to always Remember.

Why we remember

Whom do we remember

What should we remember

How do we remember


In Flander's Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flander's fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, tho poppies grow
In Flander's fields.

Liet. -Col. John McCrae

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some things that annoy me are...

-You go to put up the Christmas lights and 4 strands won't light and there doesn't appear to be any reason they won't.

-Someone drinks the last of the milk and puts an empty carton back in the fridge.

-On your one day to sleep in you wake up at 6:30 AM and can't get back to sleep.

-Someone tells you how your favorite show ended before you have had a chance to watch it on your DVR.

-Instead of a nice beautiful snowfall you get freezing rain.

-Having to dye my hair every 6 weeks to avoid looking like a grandma.

-Being passed from the parking lane in a school zone.


On Wednesday I'll do a what makes me happy - just to keep it even.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mosaic MEME

I was a bit bored on Saturday so I went through the randomizer and on a blog entitled New Normal - however everytime I tried to clicked on the blog to get it's address it kept bringing up ning's address instead. So I tried to search with google and a number of blogs turned up. Anyway I thought it a great Sunday type of post.






1. Melissa, 2. Pastries, 3. 1987, 4. red, 5. Johnny Depp, 6. Tea, 7. Blue, 8. Cheesecake, 9. Teacher, 10. Family, 11. Creative, 12. Pepsi

Here’s how it works:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. Choose 3 columns with 4 rows.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to? (or, What year did you graduate high school?)
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday is for errands & Chores

I've got a ton of errands and chores to do today.

I've got to get my sisters Christmas package on the bus. Yes I know it is early, but I want to do it before the rush, and besides everything is ready to go.

Then it's time to get the Christmas lights up on the house before it snows.

We also need to get out our shampooer and clean the carpets so the house is ready for Christmas - can you believe that? Well we always put up our tree on the first weekend in Advent and that is NOVEMBER 30 this year so we have to get stuff ready. I was thinking of adding another lighted character to the house and a mini tree for the basement. Last year I bought a new tree for upstairs from Micheal's and we set up the small one in the basement, but I just didn't like it anymore and we don't really need two big trees. They ahve these cute little tiny ones and you can buy little tree skirts and ornaments for them, too cute.

I'm on my last day of bladder infection medicine - yay! I am hoping it's all cleared up. It caught me by surprise on Monday and I was quite sick with it, thankfully the meds worked quick.

So that's what my Saturday is shaping up like. This has been my first 'I don't know what to write day', hopefully it doesn't last.

Happy Weekend

Friday, November 07, 2008

Fall Back Time a Real Inconvenience

I don't change my time, we are in a Central Time Zone and it's really an inconvenience when it switches. All our shows are at a different time, thankfully with a DVR it's not a huge issue. The thine that really bothers me is the time difference between my sister and I. I used to get a morning email from her but now that she is two hours behind me instead of one I don't. When I call my mom I have to think about the hour time difference and likewise when she calls me.

Now I don't want to start switching our clocks. It doesn't make sense for our geogrphical location - I'm just venting about it.

Soon it's going to be back to the days where it's dark when we get up and by the time we get home from work it will be dark again. It's such a depressing few months all this darkness. Many people try to find ways to make it bearable, pumping themselves full of B12 vitamins, going for a fake n' bake or if you're really lucky heading for a vacation to Miami or somewhere else sunny and warm.

I will probably end up hibernating through most of it. Nesting in at night with my tea, hubby and pooch while I knit and watch t.v. and wait for the signs of the days growing longer again!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Tea


I recently had to switch to decaf tea. Let me tell you this was not a fun decision at all. I love tea, I drink it daily a few times a day. I had recently discovered Typhoo brand tea when my sis who lives in B.C. told me about it. She actually sent me a box once as a surprise, she's so sweet!

Well I eventually found I could get it locally first at Safeway and then they discontinued it and then I found it at London Drugs so I was a happy camper. I had my favorite tea and I was set. Then I find out that I need to switch to decaf for health reasons. I tried buying some Twinnings and it was so weak and it left my mouth tasting like glue - don't even ask how I know what it tastes like! I tried Stash's Decaf Chai, not too bad but I did notice it was a bit weaker and I don't like to drink chai tea all the time.

Then my wonderful sis told me of the decaf version of Typhoo, she told of its great taste and full bodied flavor. The trouble though is that although I had been able to find regular Typhoo I hadn't been able to find decaf.

So I decided to contact London Drugs and see if they would consider carrying the decaf version. I told them how great it was, no other decaf tea like it. I put it all out there, cures cancer, depression and brings about world peace. I just HAD to get that tea! Then I get this lovely email back from on of the buyers saying that they currently have the tea on Manager Special, sounds great to me - then the other shoe dropped and I quote "Once something is on Manager Special it means we are no longer going to carry that item". WTF???? Have they not tasted this tea, I mean seriously! They import a lot of stuff for their import aisle, why can't they continue to bring in this tea and it's decaf counterpart? Good grief!

Then my sis once again came to the rescue - she can get it locally at a nearby British shoppe. So now she is my personal tea shopper. So I asked her to send me out 3 boxes of tea, there are 80 bags in a box, so I'm hoping it will last me until at least January as Canada Post is getting crazy with their rates.

When she went to buy the tea the owner relayed a story about someone buying tea for a loved one who isn't supposed to have caffeine so they purchase this decaf - cleverly hide the packaging and the loved one isn't any the wiser. It's that good! In fact my DH played a bit of his own sneakiness. You see, I was convinced I could have one cuppa of leaded regular in the morning and drink unleaded the rest of the day. I didn't realize that he had been giving me unleaded in the mornings as well. I had NO idea! So thanks to him I was able to give up the caffeine and not even notice, it's such a good full bodied tea - not weak at all!

So I will continue to have the tea shipped for me by my sis from B.C. and I even switched to caffeine free Pepsi, which was also hard to find. So far I can only find it in the cans. I am happy that I made the decision to become caffeine free, it wasn't easy but having a beverage that you normally enjoyed become enjoyable again without it has been such a huge help to me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Knitted Hanging Towel


When I cook I am always looking to wipe my hands and I love to have a kitchen towel hanging from the stove. I've designed a few before but this one is from Kraemer Yarns and I love how they designed the shaping. It's a nice relaxing knit and it goes by very quickly. I have given these as gifts before to my mother-in-law and she always puts in a request for one each year.

Now I didn't use their yarn as it isn't available in Canada, but I had a cone of Peaches n' Cream in Christmas Ombre so I made myself a festive hanging towel. I've already got it hanging up, mostly because it goes nice with my new red kettle(from yesterday's post).

I'm sure that I'll make a few more of these before Christmas arrives for last minute gifts. I've given knitted dishcloths etc. to my kids teachers and they are always so well received and they take relatively little time and are cost friendly.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

You know your old when....


you are thrilled with a new kettle. Seriously as soon as I saw this kettle in the Canadian Tire flyer I knew I was going to get it, nothing was going to come between me and this new kettle.

I mean look at it, isn't it a beaut? First of all it's red and I absolutely adore red, secondly it's by Kitchen Aid so it's good quality and finally it was on sale for a great price of $19.99!

Now keep in mind my old kettle was beginning to show signs of age. It wasn't like this one where the bottom is all smooth, no seams. Mine had a seam and after many good cups of tea it was beginning to leak a bit in the seam. You see we are very fortunate to have 'hard water' and it's a B***H on things like kettles, coffee makers etc.

But even if my kettle wasn't showing signs of needing to be replaced, I still would have bought this. You see I have what is called newapplianceitis - that is by definition a person who wants a new appliance as soon as the one they own starts to no longer look brand new from the store - or when said person sees a new one in the store and gets lost in the shininess of the item, convinced that the features deem paying another pile of money - in fact no matter what the price you just have to have it even though the one you have at home works great, no abnormal wear and tear. Yes, I have newapplianceitis so when I saw this there was no question in my mind that I'd be buying it.

I've been having a bit of an argument with myself. Lately since we have our digital projector hooked up when I turn the t.v. on it goes automatically to the shopping channel - CAUTION - this is a dangerous thing.

Well lately every time it's on, it is showing Wolfgang Puck showcasing his new 28 piece set of stainless steel pots and pans for a great price of $278 and they look freaking amazing. I have been slapping my hands and my DH's - although we do deserve it. I can't remember the last time we bought a new set of pots and pans - ok I do but I don't want to admit to you that it was before the dinosaur age a few years ago. I suppose if it wasn't Christmas just around the corner I might just say what the hell. So I'm winning the battle for now, but it's an awfully tempting indeed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still a Kid at Heart


Yes I guess I am, you see I still love to colour! Ok it's out in the open now and I can't take it back. I don't to it often but every now and again, usually in the Fall. Maybe it's from Christmases past. Mom would sometimes sit and draw a nice Christmas scene on a big sheet of bristol board and we'd sit and colour it together. It was a typical scene a fireplace all aglow, Christmas tree with presents all decorated. Those were good memories. She'd often sit and colour with us and I always wanted to be able to colour as nice as nice as she did.

I was talking to my sister the other day via email and she was coloring - it's actually part of her job. Her husband is an architect and she colours for work. I think she still enjoys it as she mentioned she has her own colouring books.

Now I am not happy to just colour in any old book. I'm a little fussier now and it's hard to find good books. She mentioned Amazon and Chapters so I'll have a look there. A few years ago while I was visiting we each picked up the Mary Engelbreit calendar that had a coloring page for each month. I was hooked again after not coloring for years. I have been a little disappointed that she hasn't made another one of those calendars as I really enjoyed it. I do have a coloring book that she put out and I dug it out and I'm all set to colour - oh well I need to pick up some really good pencil crayons as the pictures are quite detailed, probably a set of Staedtler.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mmmmm Mmmmm Buttermilk Dip

One of my dear friends/volunteers at work gave me her recipe for this dip and I have to say this is some good dip. You can make plenty to have for yourself and put some in smaller mason jars to give as Christmas gifts, that is if you can part with it.

Buttermilk Dip

Excellent with vegetables or baked potatoes

1 litre Buttermilk
1 jars 750 ml. Hellmans Mayonnaise or the ‘light' version
1 tsp. Pepper
1 Tbsp. or more of onion salt

Mix all together with electric mixer in large bowl using low speed. When well mixed, put into the Hellmans jars and refrigerate. A clear liquid will form at the bottom but that's normal, but do not mix it into the dip. Can be stored in the fridge for 6 - 8 weeks safely.

NOTE: The Hellman's light will not get the water liquid at the bottom of the jar and it is just as tasty.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Cheat Sheet

I found this over at Lovin Comfort Knits and thought I'd let it be my first post for November. I was surprised at how much I've done knitting wise - I should be more fearless.

I'm planning on designing some dog booties but I'll do that with crochet and a dog sweater that I want to knit for Oliver for Christmas, but it can't go through his paws, he hates that. I'll see what I can come up with.

The rules:


Bold the things you've done.


GREEN the things you are currently doing.


RED out the things you've abandoned or will never attempt.


Italicize the things you want to try




Afghan(baby only)


American/English Knitting (vs.Continental)


Baby Items


Bobbles

Buttonholes


Cable stitch patterns (including Aran)


Cardigan


Charity Knitting


Continental knitting

Cuffs, fingerless mitts, arm warmers

Darning


Designing Knitted Garments


Drop stitch patterns


Dyeing with plant dyes


Dyeing yarn


Entrelac


Fair Isle Knitting

Freeform knitting


felting


Graffiti knitting/knitting items on or to be left on the street


Gloves


Hair accessories


Hat


Holiday related knitting


Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies.....)


I-Cord

Intarsia


Jewelry


Kitchener Bind off


Knitting a gift


Knitting and purling backwards


Knitting for a living


Knitting for pets(about to attempt this for Christmas)


Knitting for preemies


Knitting in public


Knitting items for a wedding


Knitting socks(well I am signed up for a Christmas stocking class that begins at the end of November - that will be my first attempt)


Knitting to make money


Lace patterns


Longtail Cast On(it rocks)


Machine knitting


Mittens:


Cuff upMittens:


Top down


Moebius band knitting


Norwegian knitting


Olympic knitting


Participating in a Knit-a-long


Pillows


Publishing a knitting book


Purses/bags


Rug


Scarf


Shawl


Short rows


Shrug/bolero/poncho


Slip stitch patterns


Slippers


Socks:


toe up


Socks: top down


Steeks


Stockinette stitch


Stuffed toys


Swatching


Sweater


Teaching a child to knit


Teaching a male to knit


Thrumbed Knitting


Textured knitting


Toy or doll knitting


Tubular Cast On


Twisted stitch patterns


Two ended knitting


Writing a pattern