It is only 11:00 pm here on the west coast so I can squeeze in one more December post before officially flipping my calendar to begin 2015! New Year's Eve always finds me wistfully remembering the week before, when the air was magic with the anticipation of Christmas morning. It is a bittersweet time of year to leave behind; a delicate dance to bring the fullness and rich, cozy feelings of the Christmas season into the January season of freshness, light, and simplicity. My mind is full right now with thoughts on the busy year just ending and dreams and plans for the year ahead. I hope to share some of them here as we go forward, but for now, just a few more pictures from our Christmas week.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were lovely here, and we were grateful to be together as a family. I finished cookie baking with the help of the big kids, after braving the grocery store for some special dinner fixings, including one of these guys:
Everyone out here insists that Dungeness crab is the best there is and after trying it, yes, we would agree. Amazing. We ate our finger food dinner in front of the fire and then opened the presents sent to us from family. It was such a sweet, relaxed, cozy evening.
Oh, and I should mention the lovely walk we took in the afternoon before settling in.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Well I was hoping to be a good blogger and share some highlights from our Christmas but my computer is being abysmally slow and frustrating, so I will leave it with these two for now - and a promise to return with more pictures when I have more patience. Merry Christmas to all!
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
I was a very busy baker today, churning out truffles (not pictured) walnut snowballs, chocolate spice cookies, macaroons, and anise drops. Still need to do the rolling cutting and baking for my favorite cookies, but otherwise I'm calling it all done. And I'm loving the cute airtight containers I found at Walmart.
To top off a day spent in the kitchen, we went out and bought a car for D! We've been one-car-ing it since moving out here, with D doing a most impressive job of biking to work but the increasingly treacherous weather worries me and it seemed like the time was right. Enter a nice little used Subaru for a very small sum and it was a done deal. Merry Christmas indeed!
Thursday, December 18, 2014
I had an excellent helper tonight, and together we got all her classmates' goody-bag presents assembled and teacher gifts finished for, well, nearly everyone at that school. Phew. Sometime in another life I'd love to tell about the handmade goodies we tried, with mixed results. But overall I'm pleased with what we wrapped up and I think I got off pretty well in the budget department, too.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
I know it is cliche, but I really can't believe this little puddle-stomping baby girl turned one whole year old on Thursday.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Today I decorated our kitchen Christmas tree. I've always wanted a tree in the kitchen, and this is the first house where that's been possible. Don might think I'm a little nuts, especially after my pitch to him about why we really needed to get the cute little fake tree with the colored lights and put it up in the living room weeks before Thanksgiving... ahem.
And I like that tree just fine, but frankly, I'm never in the living room to enjoy it during the day. The kitchen seems to be where I spend the most time in this house. Plus, you can't drive three blocks in this town without passing a Christmas tree stand, so I just couldn't resist.
It is such a cute little thing - just over five feet tall with a nice shape. We didn't have a "real" tree at all last year so I'm extra excited about this one. (We still have last year's humongous artificial tree in the garage - it was simply too big to put in this house the way we have things arranged.... but it was gorgeous (and expensive), so it'll be waiting for a repeat performance in years and houses to come).
And leave it to the iphone to be able to capture the elusive lit-tree picture.
Monday, December 8, 2014
I've got good help these days, in the baking department. Especially from my boy, who has always had a bit more interest in helping me bake than his big sister. Lately it has become one of our go-to activities when A is at school, just making small batches of cookies to keep the jar full.
These "gingerbread" cookies aren't gingerbread at all, but chocolate, and come with a funny story. I stumbled across the bag of mini M&M baking bits at Walmart and was terribly excited because they are so hard to find and I was explaining to W in the store about how yummy M&M cookies are, and pointed out the recipe on the back of the bag.
Once we were home he kept going on about "making gingerbread cookies" which was odd because I've never really made gingerbread cookies, and I kept explaining that I intended to make M&M cookies. "We will use them just like chocolate chips!" I proclaimed, stupidly, repeatedly. Finally, when it was clear we were not sharing the same vision, he showed me bag:
Oh, of course. Clearly, that is a gingerbread man on the M&M bag. Right. So guess what kind of cookies we made?
And he applied every single M&M himself (except for those sneaky few that jumped in his mouth, of course).
Yes, those are swim goggles at the end of the counter. Doesn't everybody keep a pair handy in the kitchen?
Friday, December 5, 2014
After completing homework this afternoon, Amy was on a mission - she wanted to make her own nativity scene. Thankfully she didn't ask for my help, because I could not have done nearly as good or clever a job as she did.
She wrote out the story, taped it to her display, made Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and a manger and that was that. Project complete. I so admire her earnestness and focus.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
If you will indulge me, I need to take a quick minute away from the joy of giving and talk a little about the joy of getting. After a hefty order of Christmas presents and much-needed cold-weather clothes from Kohl's I found myself with $40 of Kohl's Cash burning a hole in my virtual wallet.
All season I have kinda-sorta wanted a pair of riding boots. But I don't consider myself a terribly fashionable person, and at $80-100 for even fake leather boots, it just didn't quite rate as something I really needed (or wanted) to spend that kind of money on.
But, an Early-Black-Friday-Cyber-Email-Bombardment highlighted the very boots I've kinda-sorta wanted for the slim price of $29.99. Take 20% off of that with a coupon, toss in free shipping and my Kohl's cash and they were basically paying me to take these boots.
Oh, okay, if I must.
I thought I might wrap them and put them under the tree, from Santa, of course, but they arrived this morning and I tried them on... and they fit so perfectly and felt so warm and snug and good and I (for once) looked so cool that I just couldn't put them away.
So there, that's me and my new boots.
PS - I know you can hardly even see the boots in the skinny-mirror picture above... sorry. I can't stop looking at the chaos of the dress-up bin in the reflection, the sunken Frozen balloon left over from Amy's birthday... and the other random toy bits strewn all about the floor. If I got paid per item for things I pick up off the floor these days I'd be a rich lady.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
There were a whole bunch of little reasons to whip out the phone and snap a picture today, but I'll start with last night. I gave myself a big ole mommy pat on the back for carrying on a game of Battleship with Amy, cooking burgers on the Foreman grill, AND holding a sniffly, clingy baby. Go me.
Moving on to today. We had our chimney swept which was exciting, William and I made cookies, I made baked oatmeal and "opened up" our fourth pomegranate of the season, and finished up a couple of Christmas present paintings. Interject some box and cupboard hijinx and toss in a spontaneous post-school mall trip and that was our day.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
I'm hoping to spend the Christmas season popping by here once a day with at least a picture, if not a few brief words. Perhaps that is overly ambitious as I am already a day behind, but we will see.
Seems I have a little mouse in the house these days. Keeps getting into my pantry drawer, stepping on my pretzels, rooting through the tea bags and fruit snacks. But she's a cute mouse and this keeps her remarkably well-entertained so I try not to mind picking up everything off the floor. Again.