Category Archives: Holidays

Holly Jollies

Welp, I am back to the ol’ grind this week. The holidays were very busy and I do wish I snuck in a bit more leisuring, but I am thankful to have had a week and a half off. Actually, in every job I’ve had the office has shut down for at least a week and a half over Christmas, and I don’t think that is super common so I might be spoiled.

On Friday I was actually thinking  I wasn’t feeling as gross as I usually am after Christmas and I was proud of myself for keeping my eating mostly in check. Big meals, for sure, but my snacking wasn’t outrageous and I didn’t really have seconds of holiday dinners, so I think that helped. This was up until Friday night. And then we ordered Pizza Hut and I snacked on all the chocolate and cookies we had lying around, and generally ate like a glutton the rest of the weekend. So, that feeling went away. Come Monday I was ready to get back into a routine of my lunchtime work walks and not eating all day. Well okay, still a Girl Guide cookie or two.

Wednesday last week was the first time I had nothing going on so my plan was to do nothing but catch up on TV all day. That’s it. Well, and a bit of laundry and present-organizing. But that’s it! Evan was working, so it was just this little minx and I on the couch.

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I watched the entire second season of The Affair, which I am just loving. I think it is the best show on TV right now. It’s funny because I really don’t like any of the characters, except for Cole, and maybe Helen, but I can’t get enough of it. I love the subtle differences between the perspectives and it is the first show in a while where I want to watch the next episode immediately because I need to know what happens. I can’t wait for the third season. Also, Alison’s mouth is distracting.

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Also, Noah is gross.

I also caught up on Downton Abbey since I haven’t been watching since season 3. I miss the costumes before the roaring 20s but I am still loving the story. I even got Evan to watch the fourth season with me. He said he just wanted to watch it so he could spend time with his “lover” but I know the truth. He likes it. And we started Making a Murderer — like everyone else in the world apparently. I feel like if I don’t watch it I am going to be left out of pop culture. I already have all the feels about it but I don’t know what to think. Lighting the cat on fire really tainted my opinion of Steven and I think he should be in jail for that alone.

On New Year’s Eve we headed to Dawn and Mark’s for an old fashioned house party!

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I love that Evan wore that shirt. It kills me. It is quite the New Year’s shirt. I picked it up for him in Vegas, you may remember ($9.99 down from $50! Bargain!).

We played a ton of games and I can’t even explain them to you because we made them dirty. Everything we played was NSFW and therefore NSFB (not safe for blog). They had us laughing hard and that is most important.

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I meant to mention in my last post that Winnie’s present to Evan (from me) was Exploding Kittens and I meant to bring it to the party but completely forgot. We played it alone in our hotel room when we were in Huntsville and I have to say it is a pretty fun game. And quite…interesting.

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Judging by the amount of crumbs I find in my bra at the end of the day I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a boob wizard living in there.

Anyway, NYE. Most of our gals and their lads were in attendance and we had a really fun time!

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I loved the entire night. I was especially excited that for the first time in about six years I rang in the new year with Lisa. As the countdown was happening I was regaling her with the story of the time my Nana tried on a new shirt, patted her boobs and said in a sad and wistful voice “Empty.” So, Lisa entered the new year crying with laughter. When the new year starts and you are gasping for breath because you are laughing too hard, it’s gonna be a good year.

In the morning we all went out for breakfast (Wally’s World in Oshawa, it’s an old standby) and I started off by getting myself rehydrated.

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All the drinks. I spent the rest of the day marathoning Downton Abbey and taking down the Christmas decorations.

On Saturday I headed to Emily and Corey’s — they were having a gender reveal party!

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Which means they did not know the sex of the baby and found out at the same time as their close family and friends. I have never been to one of these parties but I am a blogger who has Pinterest so I am well aware they are increasing in popularity. Any excuse for a party, I say!

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I was team boy and I wore my clothes peg proudly.

And any excuse to be eating!

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Emily had pulled pork in that spread and it was amazing.

I just want to show you this picture of Emily and Corey’s baby announcement to their family, because I think Ace just looks so dapper.

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What a proud young man. A true guard dog.

And then it was time for the big reveal!

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Our group was pretty split on whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. But in the end…

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Boy! They were both excited, but Corey was beyond. I am so happy for the lovebirds.

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Evan and I spent Sunday cleaning and organizing the condo, sort of like a mini spring cleaning, but winter. In the evening we ate the world with Emily, Corey, Dawn and Mark — Peru! But more on that later. Afterwards we hit up Casa Loma.

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Because we were doing the escape series there, Escape Casa Loma, King of the Bootleggers! This is already so long though and I am waiting on our group photo, so I will save the recap of that for another post.

So the holidays were a busy time, but a really good time!

 

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Experiences of 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Evan and I partied at our friends Dawn and Mark’s last night with many of our best pals. It was the perfect way to ring in the new year!

Last year I mentioned that 2014 was my year best traveled and I really loved doing a recap post at the end of the year of all the activities I got up to. It made me appreciate my life. I didn’t think my 2015 could possibly be any better, but after looking back, somehow I think it was. In keeping with my New Year recapping theme, here are my favourite experiences of 2015!

The wedding of my oldest friend Emily to her lover Corey!

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My trip to Vegas with the most fun group of people ever. Ever!

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My axe throwing birthday party!

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Cayo Coco Cuba trip with Evan.

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Some highlights from our #cayococo vacation on my blog today! (happyorhungry.com) It was a goooood time.

It was a time.

Adventures with the girls in Nashville!

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Paula and Fabian come to visit!

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We are on a spelunking adventure!

Not a bad way to finish off their Canadian adventure.

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And we did all the things.

Camping in the mountains over Canada Day.

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This was my dream weekend.

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Man, that was the best time ever.

And then visiting Eric and my Mom on that same trip.

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My Nana turned the big 101!

Oh this Nana ❤️

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I had the most fun beach day on Hanlan’s Point with most of our Vegas crew.

Toronto isn't so bad at all.

Living the dream at Evan’s cottage.

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And not just that specific occasion, we had so many great cottage weekends this year.

Eric came to visit!

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Camping (well, yurting) with Evan at Silent Lake.

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Even our 15km hike.

Melissa’s wedding in Muskoka.

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And of course, our murder mystery dinner party.

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Once again, I did not realize how great my year was until I went looking back through my blog to write this. And once again I am reminded of why I love blogging. I love having a record of my adventures and I love to share them with you! So thank you so much for reading! I am so lucky to have a great audience to share my shenanigans with. Here’s to 2016 being awesome!

And if your 2015 wasn’t great, may your 2016 be a million times better. We’ve all been there with the crap years. I still don’t even want to talk about 2012.

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Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation

Ah Christmas. I can’t believe it’s already over. I hope you had a great one! I’m late with the recapping but yesterday was my first day home since like the 23rd. It’s been a whirlwind of eating, family, friends, and more eating.

My Christmas was really busy but really good! I worked until about lunchtime on Christmas Eve and then left straight from there to meet Evan, Brotherman and his wife Kelly (and their baby son Landon) so we could drive to Belleville together to Evan and Brotherman’s nana’s place. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there with their mom and nana, as has become tradition. It was so awesome having Landon with us for his first Christmas this year. He was so happy the entire time and he loved being held by everyone. I do not think I saw a single tear in the nearly three days we were with him. Happy babies are the best. Also, babies have the life, I would just like to say. I would love for people to pass me around to snuggle with me and make me laugh. And feed me.

Evan and I seem to take a selfie every year on his nana’s couch, so here is 2015:

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And 2014:

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Annnnd 2013:

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Less festive this year apparently.

We arrived and caught up with Evan’s fam and then ate a few boxes of Oriental Party Pack for dinner, as you do. We started this last year and I am hoping it becomes an annual tradition as well!

On Christmas Day we did the present thing. Evan and I saved ours for later when we went on a mini getaway this week, so we just exchanged with Evan’s fam. Evan’s mom got us a Coleman stove for camping! I am pretty pumped about that. We don’t have a legit one and have borrowed someone else’s the last few times we’ve been camping, so I am excited to cook on that thing. Or I should say, excited for Evan to cook me things.

For the rest of the day we played with Landon and watched marathons of House Hunters. We usually watch that or all the true crime shows at nana’s. I look forward to being lazy there and catching up on trashy tv.

Christmas dinner was fantastic.

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Evan’s nana made her famous meatball curry along with turkey and stuffing, as is tradition over there. It is so, so good and I always get so disappointed when I’m full because I want to keep eating it forever.

It was incredibly mild this year, so after dinner Evan and I went on a walk to take advantage. And to walk off our dinner. His nana lives in the older part of the city and there are a lot of really neat (and huge) century homes in her neighbourhood. Including the Glamore House, which is now a museum.

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The moon was so crazy bright! It totally looked haunted and like something out of the Adams Family. Or Downton Abbey.

On Boxing Day we had breakfast with Evan’s mom and nana, and then we hit the road to Evan’s dad and Loulou’s. You know, the place with all the animals. Remember this chicken?!

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Who is somehow sort of like a cat?

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That’s Panda Bear, and he has grown up. Into a rooster.

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Don’t be jealous of my jacket. I am aware of how attractive it is.

He looks so different. I can’t believe he’s the same animal.

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He was still really nice, and quite snuggly though.

The newest addition to the farm (there is always one) was baby rescue pigeon that had been kicked out of his nest and left to fend for himself.

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They are hand feeding him until he’s big enough to hang out with the other birds. Just like one big happy family.

Sasha was quite festive for the occasion.

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Much collar. Such Christmas. She is such a lovely muffin.

Dinner was once again amazing.

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This turkey dinner also included pork, sausage and sauerkraut! I love how everyone has their own traditions. It was delicious. I am having turkey withdrawal now. I want to eat it all the time.

On Boxing Day night I headed over to my Bestie Lisa’s parents’ place, as she is visiting from Calgary. Dawn and Emily came over as well so it was quite the old fashioned slumber party.

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Of course we had to get a picture with some of the Santas. There are five new ones this year so I think that now makes 107 Santas in total. Lisa had texted me earlier and told me about the new Santas and her mom said I had to guess which ones were new. I told Evan this so when I texted him that photo later he responded with “Are those new Santas?” which made me laugh.

Oh, and now seems to be a good time to tell you that Emily is pregnant! She told us all in Ottawa when we went to visit Lisa, who was there for work. That sneaky minx Emily was also pregnant at Evan’s cottage in the summer. She was tricky with her non-alcoholic beer and I had no idea at all. I also had no idea when we went out for Ethiopian food with her and Corey and she ordered a virgin Caesar. Who orders a virgin Caesar? Looking back now there were so many signs. I should have known. I am so happy for her and Corey!!! I also love pregnant Emily. She is the most laid back but also energetic pregnant person I have ever known.

Anyway, Dawn’s Santa was quite flexible had his leg in the air, and coincidentally Dawn also has a crazy talent for putting her leg in the air (useful!). So, we all tried to get in on it.

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Dawn wins. I don’t know how she does it so well, that flexible minx!

It was such a good time with Evan’s family and then with the girls. My pants are snug, but it was worth it, as it always is. The only thing that could have made this Christmas better was snow! Next year.

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Merry Christmas Eve!

It’s my favourite day of the year!

The weather has been so incredibly mild lately that it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. Today is supposed to be something like 14C (57F) and sunny! That is not common Christmas Eve weather. I have actually only had to bust out the winter coat twice so far this year, other than that I’ve been chilling in spring/fall jackets. I think this is purely because of where I live though, because it’s not truly winter to me unless the temperature is below 3C (37F). Any higher than that, spring coat.

However, I definitely remember the same thing happening last year. I was outside in a long sleeved shirt and a scarf on Boxing Day and I have the blog evidence to back that up.

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It was balmy. Evan and I tried to do our winter getaway last year and we were all pumped for tobogganing and cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and instead we got muddy nature walks. Well okay, on the last day a bit of skating.

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And then it was freezing until like, July. So I know winter is coming. It’s just taking its sweet time. I do not have any hope for a white Christmas though.

I am working until about 1pm today and then I am off until the 4th! So I am obviously pretty excited about that. Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year but I am ready. All the wrapping is done and packed to be toted around with us. Actually, I saw a present for me under the tree from “The Soobz” (my car, the Subaru). What a thoughtful car I have. I just got my brakes done and it was not cheap so it’s nice to see my car paying me back. I also see a few presents to Evan from Winnie that I did not buy. What a thoughtful cat we have also.

Anyway, we are off to Evan’s Nana’s this afternoon, until Boxing Day, which we will spend with Evan’s dad and Loulou (and Brotherman and Kelly and their new baby). From there I am heading to my Bestie Lisa’s parents, as she is home for the holidays, and then Evan and I are doing our annual petite getaway to Huntsville for a couple of days. There’s no place like everywhere else but home for the holidays. It is pretty busy around here and I won’t be blogging until mid next week, but I wanted to pop in with a few updates!

The most notable thing – my Macbook Pro is about three years old now and it is noticeably slowing down. It was starting to take a long time to close and open programs and editing photos for a blog post was taking ridiculously long because my Photoshop was being a jerk and freezing all the time. I always thought that MacBooks had about a three year shelf life so I was thinking maybe it was time I got a new computer, but they are so expensive I was trying to hold off.

And then along came Evan. We got a new solid state hard drive for my Mac, and two sticks of ram at 4g each (my Mac had two sticks at 2g each). Evan opened up my MacBook, took out my current hard drive and put it into an external enclosure (so I can hook up to it with a USB and bring my files back on), put in the new hard drive and switched to my new 4g memory sticks, so now I have an extra 8g instead of 4g.

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I guess if you’re handy with tile and floors and renovating things and rebuilding boat motors it translates to computers also? I don’t know. That man can do anything. But it’s like I have a whole new computer! I can’t believe it! When I open or close a program it happens instantly. Everything is so fast. Before Evan switched everything I timed how long it took to start my computer and it was two minutes and 30 seconds. I actually didn’t think that was bad. But now, since he upgraded, it turns on in 13 seconds! THIRTEEN SECONDS. It is insane to me. It cost me less than $200 for all the parts, compared to $1500 (at least, if I were to get a new computer) and the difference is just crazy. I can’t get over it. So if you have an older MacBook that is getting slower, take note! Seriously, it’s like new.

In other news, I went out for lunch with my team at work the other day and we went to a Japanese restaurant on Yonge Street, I Zu. I was feeling sushi but I noticed they had ramen on the menu and I have never tried it before (aside from Mr. Noodles), so I felt like it was time. I don’t know where ramen has been all my life.

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Holy crap. It was so good. I want to eat it all the time. And those eggs may look weird but they are poached in the soup and insanely delicious.

I’ve been pretty busy this week so I haven’t done a Christmas post this year. So here’s a couple I’ve done over the last few years to make up for it.

The Christmas Presents I Always Wanted (and never received)

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My Favourite Childhood Christmas Presents

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Kid vs. Adult Christmas Morning

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Santa’s Village

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And that’s it. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I hope Santa is good to you all, and you get a thoughtful gift from your car!

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Early Christmas and Christmas with Nana

Christmas came early again this year! We had family Christmas at my dad and Mona’s on Saturday — we used to celebrate with them on Christmas Eve but last year we started celebrating with them the weekend before, since everyone is so busy around actual Christmas. It works out well, and I really like that it splits up the Christmas dinners! Otherwise we’d have three in three days, which is fine and I would bring my all to the eating in all three, but it’s not ideal. I like to take advantage of each dinner and it’s difficult when I am still recovering from overeating at the last one, ya know? Plus, early presents. No complaints about that.

I spent Friday night and most of Saturday making the Nana cookies.

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I made about 100 because I wanted them for my dad’s Christmas, to bring to my Nana on Sunday, some for work, some for Evan’s families, and 50 for me. I’ve seen Brotherman eat five of them in one sitting, so, best to have more. It took me about six hours total (mainly because I am very particular with how they are iced) but maaan those cookies are worth it. So good.

When we arrived at my dad and Mona’s on Saturday, my dad had set up a sweet Caesar bar.

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Can you spot Ritson’s snout?

Americans, I am telling you, you need to get on the Clamato juice. Forget Bloody Mary’s, Caesars are where it’s at!

Once everyone arrived–we do Christmas with Mona’s kids and their partners and their kids as well–we did the dinner thing.

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Oh God. So good. I have been looking forward to this since Thanksgiving. This year all the kids did a veggie dish while my dad and Mona handled the turkey, stuffing and ham. Evan and I brought green beans and also his Nana’s lentils and coconut rice. It was a nice addition.

Between dinner and dessert we always do PRESENTS.

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Ritson was pretty excited to be in on the present action.

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It’s a good thing he’s just a tiny lapdog and not a GIANT GOLDEN RETRIEVER or anything. I have a really similar picture from last year.

Saturday with the stepfam.

A photo posted by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

Evan and I scored some pretty awesome gifts, like this Cranky Kitties calendar, which will 100% be adorning the walls of my cubicle…

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And this sweet Superman onesie.

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My dad and Mona are always really thoughtful when it comes to buying things for Evan, so that makes me happy. Evan and my step bro Rusty usually end up with some sort of twin article of clothing, and this year it was hats from Mona’s granddaughter.

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Cute.

My dad got a hat this year too, it lights up under the brim so you can use it as a flashlight!

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This is a better picture for showing off the flashlight:

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Pretty cool. I actually think it will be super handy for him.

Leslie and I took our second annual picture in front of the tree.

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Last year’s!

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No oranges this time.

It was a good time all around. I love Christmas!

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Evan couldn’t wait to get into his onesie when we got home.

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On Sunday Evan and I were going to visit my Nana, so we met my dad at her nursing home. She isn’t the most mobile anymore and it’s difficult to bring her out for activities, so she hasn’t been at family Christmas for a few years. It sucks, but she gets it and is still super positive about it.

I could not believe how great she looked. She was positively glowing!

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I think she looks about 80, not 101 (and a half!). And I still can’t believe how sharp her mind is. She may be nearly deaf but she knows what’s what!

Since she has always been about the care packages for me, I decided to make one for her.

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I included things I know she uses frequently or needs, like Q-tips, Vaseline, cough drops, fuzzy warm socks, etc. And also a little notebook with pens so we don’t have to go searching for paper when we’re visiting and want to communicate with her. She can’t hear really at all anymore, so we will write things down. And since she can’t her herself talking anymore either, she writes notes back to us.

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I also brought her cookies!

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She is the most wonderful. Just a muffin.

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What a nana. I left there with a fully and happy heart.

Hope you’re having a great holiday week! If you celebrate. And if you don’t I hope you’re having a great regular week (and hopefully still a short one for you!)

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Nana’s Shortbread Christmas Cookies

I posted this recipe on my blog about four years ago, but it was kind of buried with other things that were happening in that time of my life, so I have decided to redo it.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that my beautiful Nana is 101 years old and still going strong!

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You may also know that my Nana is famous in our family for her cooking and baking, most notably her shortbread Christmas cookies.

She made these every year when I was growing up, and I couldn’t get enough of them. I still can’t get enough of them. These cookies taste like childhood to me.  I use her exact recipe, use the same cookie cutters she used to — well, the stockings and the gingerbread men are new, she used this weird Santa cutter and no one could ever tell what it was — and I try to ice them exactly how she used to.

I have also made them for Easter, so they are quite versatile.

They are seriously the best cookies I have ever tasted. Everyone who eats them also says they are the best cookies they have ever tasted. They just melt in your mouth.

They are a bit of work, but so, so worth it. I hope to make them every Christmas for the rest of my life, and hopefully one day my grandchildren will rave on about my Christmas cookies (or my cats, if I don’t have grandchildren, because there is so much butter in them that my 22-year-old cat likes them too. Yeah, my Nana and my cat are basically the same).

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Here we go!

NANA’S SHORTBREAD CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch (secret weapon)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla (Nana says this is very important for flavour)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1  Whip butter with an electric mixer.

2  Slowly stir in icing sugar, cornstarch, (sifted) flour and vanilla.

3  Mix until dough “sqeaks” (Nana is very adamant that the dough must squeak!) Once I get to this point I usually use my hands to get the dough squeaking.

4  Roll out dough in 1 cup (ish) increments. This is very important: roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment paper. If you do not do this, your dough will stick to EVERYTHING. It will just be a big annoying mess. I was so frustrated the first time I made these, and then I found the beauty that is parchment paper, and all is well.

5  Once your dough is rolled flat (not too thin), put it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. I always find it’s easier to work with chilled dough than warm dough, because warm dough, again, sticks to everything. It’s hard to get it out of the cookie-cutters when it’s too warm.

6  Bring a slab of dough out from the freezer and go to town with the cookie cutters!

(I usually put the scraps in a bowl and repeat the process so it doesn’t go to waste.)

7  Place each cookie on a baking sheet. I like to prick my cookies a few times with a fork, because my Nana used to, but I don’t know if that actually does anything. Bake for about 9 minutes, but you should watch them after 7 minutes or so because they will brown really quickly and you do not want brown cookies.

8  Remove cookies from oven. Allow to cool.

While your cookies are cooling, you can make your icing! It is a very important part of the cookie.

I use my Nana’s recipe for this also:

BUTTERCREAM ICING

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (do not melt your butter, the icing will be too runny)
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • splash of milk. I do not measure this, but I would estimate maybe 1/4 cup. You don’t want to use a lot [I used too much in my above Easter cookies pic, and notice the icing looks a little runny), so I typically just use enough to get things moving).

Directions

  1. Just mix until you have beautiful looking, delicious tasting icing.

Yes oh yes.

Once your cookies are cooled, ice them!

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I usually keep one white icing and then use food colouring to do red, yellow and green.

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And then you eat them.

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I’ll be taking these cookies to my Nana on Sunday. She better appreciate (just kidding).

If you’re looking to make a holiday cookie, these are IT! Enjoy! And let me know if you try them!

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