Tag Archives: christmas

The Sweater Party

Evan and I hosted our very first party in the condo on Saturday night. I have lived here for over a year and some of my friends have never seen my place before (most of my friends do not live in the city and are about an hour away). So that needed to be rectified. And finally our kitchen is ready to be shown off.

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No Christmas holiday is complete without a tacky sweater party, and I haven’t actually been invited to another one this year, so that was our party theme. Or Santa suit, as you can see Evan is wearing in the above photo…

Evan picked me up a sweater cookie-cutter a few weeks ago, so I switched up my usual shortbread cookies (my Nana’s recipe) this year and made little sweaters for the occasion.

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Totally got the decoration idea from Pinterest, I can’t take all the credit there. But yes I did make the buttercream icing (the icing is THE BEST) and then all the colours, and yes it sure was time consuming and that was my Friday night and a few hours on Saturday.

Brotherman had mentioned to Evan that these cookies were all he wanted for Christmas, so while I was doing the sweater thing I decided to make some special for Brotherman. He really loves his Toronto Maple Leafs so…

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Little Leafs’ jerseys! He was pretty excited when I gave him those.

A bunch of friends were bringing food to the party, but we started with a pretty decent spread.

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I love hanging my Christmas cards on a string – such an easy way to display them. My mom used to do this every year when I was a kid.

I don’t know how well you can see in the above picture, but we made ravioli pasta skewers like we first had on Canada Day at my brother’s girlfriend’s mom’s place. And Evan also made bacon-wrapped cheddar smokies.

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Meaty and delicious.

Not a bad dessert table either…

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Onto the sweaters…

I made mine with a hot glue gun (and Evan’s help), and I was pretty proud of it.

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And a bow with jingly bells on the back…

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My friends enjoyed it, as I knew they would.

Evan’s Santa suit cost a total of $3 from the Dollar Store.

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That was a good find right there.

Our guests looked pretty great as well.

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Nothing says Christmas like a captain’s hat and Daniel Boone’s cap.

Corey and Emily were gorgeous in their matching Christmas vests…

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Dawn and Mark had matching festive balls.

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You can’t tell in this picture, but Dawn’s apron said “How To Keep Your Husband” and included much helpful advice from the 1950s such as Don’t Nag, Have Dinner Ready, Don’t Gossip On The Phone, etc. Thanks for that.

My friend Hannah and her friend Francine in their ugly sweaters spruced up with bows.

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And Sarah, Joanna and Sherrie in their beautiful sweaters.

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And a photobomb from Dawn and Emily…

Sarah’s sweater was from Northern Reflections, which I had pegged immediately. I had a very similar one in Grade 7.

There were intense games of air hockey…

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And we did a Secret Santa gift exchange…

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But not your typical Secret Santa… I asked everyone to wrap something they already owned and didn’t want, then we drew numbers from 1-12 (for everyone there), number 12 (me) got to open a gift first, then number 11…but number 11 had the option to trade for my gift or keep the one they opened, and so on. So by the time number 1 opened their gift, they could steal whatever they wanted.

This is what I opened.

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Thank you Dawn and Mark. In case you are having a hard time making out my wonderful gifts, I received Depends, a cheesy poem about love, Pez, a 2nd place ribbon and an honourable mention ribbon, Mr Bean’s holiday, a teeth wind-up toy (which is broken), a generic Dion poster that isn’t even Maple Leafs branded, and informative pamphlets on elder abuse, drug facts for young people, and a teenage survival handbook. Very useful. No one stole this, so lucky me got to keep it all!

Here we have a Cosmo magazine from 2010 and expired (brown) Ketchup…

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So some pretty high quality gifts for sure.

Sherrie opened cranberry juice and a bottle of Grey Goose and we were all like “What?! Grey Goose! Fancy! That’s a good gift!”

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But then we noticed that the Grey Goose was less than half full.

The game was hilarious and the stealing really took it up a notch. We were all dying laughing. I think it might have to become a Christmas tradition. Party at our house! A bunch of people couldn’t make it, which was sad, but it was still such a good night.

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I can’t believe Christmas is in two days! I am officially on holidays until January 5th and I feel so thankful for such a break!!! I am lucky though and have always worked somewhere that gave employees two weeks off at Christmas. It is much appreciated. I could not be more excited for the holidays.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

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Christmas Came Early!

Hello and welcome to THE BUSIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR! In my opinion anyway. I always find this week to be the busiest every year. Trying to wrap up all the work things before the holidays, squeezing in the weeknight holiday parties (our condo’s Christmas party was last night and that was a hilarious evening filled with bad karaoke but good cheese), holiday baking, and trying to get your own house hostable for parties = busy times. And I don’t even have real responsibilities like children.

But Christmas really did come early this year. After the painting party on Saturday, Evan and I got ready and headed to my dad and Mona’s for our annual Christmas dinner. Just a week and a half early. My dad and Mona are going to Florida for the holidays so we decided to bump up our family celebration.

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It worked out well having it early. We also have Christmas dinners happening with Evan’s family on Christmas and Boxing Day, so I personally enjoy spreading out the turkey love. So do my pants. I have a bit of time to recover before round 2 and then round 3.

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My dad made us all drinks when we arrived. He had quite the Caesar bar going on.

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I love that vodka clamato deliciousness.

Ritson was in his festive gear…

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Santa wasn’t quite staying upright, but he looked like he was having a good ride.

And the kids made a fort in the mound of presents.

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I miss being a kid so much sometimes. And sometimes I feel like I would rather hang out with kids than adults.

The traditional order of activities at my family’s holiday gathering each year is drinks + catch-up – dinner – presents – dessert. Dinner was amazing.

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Yes, mashed potato volcano always.

And that was before I added a giant piece of ham that covered everything on my plate (and by the way Mona, Evan and I were talking afterwards how that might have been the best ham we’ve ever had). God I love Christmas dinner so much. I wonder if I would burn out on it if I ate it every day. I don’t know, but if I was on death row I’m pretty sure that’s what I would request as my last meal.

Mona is a big fan of me being safe while I am out at night, so last year she got me a sneaky siren that attached to my purse and I could pull if I was being harassed (never had to use it, touch wood). This year, she stepped it up:

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A megaphone. A real deal, loud megaphone, complete with a siren. Even better than that little one we were taking around with us in Boston. This may be the best gift I have ever received. I am very excited to try it out (I mean out somewhere, I have been trying it out at home on Evan and Winnie all week, they like it).

Speaking of Evan, he got some really fabulous gifts for the kitchen. His gifts were mostly related to cooking which is PERFECT for him and he genuinely loved them. But I thought it was funny that Evan gets all the kitchen gifts and I get fun things like megaphones. One of his awesome presents was this wonderful breakfast sandwich maker.

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I’m pretty sure everyone was jealous of it. We actually tried it out on Sunday morning…

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Perfect. It works better than expected. If you’re looking for a last minute gift for someone I recommend that thing for sure. Say goodbye to boring breakfasts!

But back to Christmas. Can you tell my dad’s favourite team?

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Is it the Maple Leafs?!

He’s pretty easy to buy for. I told him he needs to bust out that giant hand while he is watching the game alone in his basement. He loves his Habs.

My stepbrother’s girlfriend Leslie and I with our oranges…

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I do not know why…

And dessert:

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Evan’s grandma’s apple cake made by Evan, cupcakes made my Mona’s daughter, fudge made by Leslie, ice cream. All good things.

We had a such a great night. I am thankful that my dad and Mona are so welcoming to Evan, and I always really enjoy hanging with Mona’s family. Mona’s daughter’s husband (so my step brother in law I guess?) makes me laugh pretty hard with his straight-faced dry humour.

Sunday was Emily and Corey’s holiday open house, or the jingle and mingle. And here we have the best thing about the holidays:

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The food tables. Oh lord the food tables. Emily is notorious for her ridiculous food spreads, and I feel like she even stepped it up for the holidays. I planted myself in front of that table and went to town. And that picture was taken before the Oriental Party Pack from M&M’s made an appearance.

Emily and Corey’s doberman Ace was looking cute in his Christmas jammies…

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Onesies look good on everyone.

Evan did not come with me because that man is busy. Poor guy. I feel like the busiest bitch who ever busied this week, and he seems to have a million more things to do than I do. But after I got home from the party we headed out to the majestic forest, also known as the Ikea Christmas tree lot, to FINALLY get our Christmas tree!

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Finally! I feel like we are the last ones to get a tree! I really wanted to go out and cut our own as we did last year, but time was not on our side. The trees all looked the same at Ikea, but I feel like we picked a good one.

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And then we busted out the decorations and discovered that we were not very organized in putting them away last year…

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That was a bit of a tangled mess. Like iPhone headphones times a million. But we got it.

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All is well. And I finally feel ready for the holidays to happen.

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The Weekend of Girl Time (+ Joel time)

Ho hey! I am trying to take full advantage of the Christmas vacation, so Evan and I jetted off to sunny (not actually) Niagara Falls for a teensy anniversary trip yesterday morning. We’re back later today so nothing too crazy. Though I do plan to teach him how to ice skate, so you never know. Updates to come on that.

And the rest of the weekend was just grand. The weekend winter dreams are made of. Two of my bestest friends Lisa and Crystal are visiting from Calgary for the holidays (I suggest clicking over to this post for some light reading if you want to catch up on those two), so on Friday night we all got together for an impromptu Christmas dinner at our favourite pregnant pal Dawn’s.

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Crystal (far right end) looks beauty with her new rouge locks. She has been my longtime fellow blonde bombshell but recently decided to switch it up. Her bravery inspires me. I think it looks fabbity-fab and I told her she has mermaid hair. And actually, speaking of mermaids, in Grade 3 Crystal and I both were in our elementary school’s production of The Little Mermaid. Crystal played Ariel, and originally there was both a land and a sea Ariel, but the land Ariel didn’t want to hold hands with the prince so Crystal ended up playing both. And guess what character I played? Scully! The seagull.

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Pretty big part and I took my role very seriously. At least I wasn’t evil Ursula.

We were missing a few from our group of gals, and I am sad they missed out on this night, but it was really good to see all the ladies, and especially Lisa and Crystal, as I haven’t seen those minxy minxes in quite a while. The last time we were all together like this was Big Chief Island in the summer, so way too long! We sat down to a gourmet dinner of pizza and bagged Caesar salad.

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It was so much fun to hang out and talk with them. We always reminisce about old times and laugh our faces off. We had a lot of catching up to do.

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My beautiful bestie!

We drank some wine and beer…

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Bolt had too much…

We read feminist stories to each other…

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Bolt likes.

And we took family photos by the Christmas tree.

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I love Dawnald’s baby bump so much.

Sometimes you just need a little friend time, you know? Hanging with the girls left me feeling recharged and refreshed.

Friday was also our good friend Joel’s birthday, so we eventually headed over to his place for a good old fashioned house party. We were originally going to go around 9, but then we got to chatting, etc. and we didn’t actually make it there until about 11. His house was absolutely rammed with people so I think he was occupied.

We picked our big guy up in celebration of his dirty thirty.

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It wouldn’t be the first time.

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We like to pick him up.

The girls had a sleepover at Dawn’s after the party, and in the morning we all headed out for a trashy breakfast. If you are looking for a good breakfast spot in Oshawa, look no further than Wally’s World. It is the very best!

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My western omelette was amazing.

Afterwards, Lisa and I decided to have a best friend day like old times, so we left from there and drove up north to her parents lake house.

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Bit of a different view this time around…

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It was a perfect day of outdoor hot tubbing (soo nice with the lake view and the snow), turkey soup eating…

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Wine drinking, dog tummy rubbing…

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And general best friending around. It felt just like the winters of old times. I loved seeing her awesome parents (who I feel like are my second parents), and I especially loved that they ordered Chinese food for dinner.

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It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a chicken ball.

So a very good weekend all around. I have a big love burst for all my friends 🙂

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Three Christmases

Merry belated Christmas! Hope you had a great time with family and friends, Santa was good to you, and you ate lots of good food. I was working on a cartoon “present” for you guys (I know, lucky you), but I wasn’t able to finish it in time (I know, I suck). So if you feel like laughing head on over to last year’s cartoon. If you don’t feel like laughing, stay here. I don’t either. I’m still too full and laughing might split my pants.

I was very, very lucky this year to enjoy THREE Christmases (which means three Christmas dinners!!!). They were all really amazing times with family and I really do feel lucky. My Dad and stepmom Mona always celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, so that’s where Evan and I headed on Tuesday, along with my stepbro Rusty and his girlfriend Lesley. Each of us couples got each other a gift card to LCBO (the liquor store), so we all had a good laugh when we opened those.

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My Dad would like you to know that he is happy, honestly. He was just not smiling because he thought he had something in his teeth. But he is doing very well after his hip surgery!

The table was beautifully festive for Christmas.

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And traditional Christmas Eve dinner was delicious.

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Christmas Dinner #1

Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potato gravy volcanoes…all the good things. Pretty delicious dessert also.

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The tradition at my Dad’s is always the same for Christmas Eve. Dinner, then presents, then dessert. And some hangout time with the biggest housecat in the land.

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He’s like a lion.

My family made Evan feel very welcome and we both scored some great gifts. And gave some. We got my dad a digital weather station because he LOVES the weather. Now he will be able to tell not only the temperature, but the humidity percentage outside AND inside. I think it might be his dream.

After my dad’s, we drove to Evan’s Nana’s to spend Christmas Day with their family.

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His Nana was so happy to see the boys.

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She is such a sassy minx. She really makes me laugh hard.

Christmas dinner number two included all the traditional things, plus CURRY!!!

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Christmas Dinner #2

I LOVE Evan’s Nana’s curry. I was just dying over the chicken curry and coconut rice combo (the red curry on the left).

The company was pretty great too.

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On Boxing Day we left the Nana’s around noon and headed over to Evan’s dad and Loulou’s place. Which I love visiting because of all the fun animals. Like this girl:

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Peanut the little piggy, who is not quite so little anymore.

And Mango the rooster, who almost has all his feathers now.

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He is looking so good! When Evan’s dad and Loulou first rescued him, he looked like this:

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Poor little guy. What beautiful feathers he has now.

And dinner number three was just as awesome as the first two.

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Christmas Dinner #3

I have been on a really big roasted vegetable kick lately, so I was loving that. And the sausage and sauerkraut were an interesting addition that I really enjoyed. You would think I would be sick of turkey and stuffing by then, but NOPE! Still could not get enough. I was absolutely stuffed to the point of waddling after this dinner. It was amazing.

But I had room for dessert. Loulou also made vegan brownies, with black beans instead of flour!

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They were delicious. I think she may have to start her own healthy living blog.

It was a really great Christmas. Amazing family times all around. Evan and I arrived home around 11pm last night, had our own little Christmas, and then played with some of our presents…

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And then we passed out in bed.

And I guess that’s it! Have a great weekend!

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Nana, Cookies and #icestorm2013

Good morning and Happy Eve of Christmas Eve! I am especially excited for this glorious day because today is my last day of work until January 6th. Hurrah and also yippee. My entire office is shutting down for the holidays, so I am a very lucky ducky. I am so grateful. I have been looking forward to having some leisure time since October. Not that I will be getting much of it over the holidays either, as I seem to be booked with activities every day until New Year’s Day… But at least it’s fun festive times with family and friends.

Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true about the leisure time. Forced hibernation and therefore leisuring came unexpectedly this weekend when (HASHTAG!) icestorm2013 rolled in.

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Freezing rain literally all weekend long, the worst from Saturday night through Sunday morning, but pretty icy all around. My friend Sherrie was hosting a gathering full of Christmas cheer on Friday, and I had my glitter shirt all laid out and ready…but since it’s about an hour drive Evan and I opted to stay in since the storm was starting, the roads were not the most fabulous, and they were just supposed to get worse. Flash freezing at any time. And on Saturday it was my friend Julie’s 30th birthday party, but again. Ice. And by then the roads were even worse, so that was out also. I was bummed to not be able to see everyone, but I cannot lie, I was excited to stay in my pajamas and enjoy being forced inside with my lover and a rum and Coke (I tried rum and egg nog but I am not really a fan).

At least we have had power the whole time, as a couple hundred thousand people do not. My dad and Mona were powerless for nearly 24 hours and at one point my dad called me and was all “If the power doesn’t come back on, Christmas might be CANCELLED!” (they always host Christmas on Christmas Eve, and it’s expected that some people may be without power for 72 hours, and no power = no heat, so cancelling Christmas would not be completely unwarranted). But the power is back on for them, so there will be Christmas! It’s a Christmas miracle. We only lost cable and the internet last night, but most of our neighbourhood is without power (and it’s estimated they will be until Christmas Day!) so I cannot complain. I really, really cannot complain.

I remember the last time we had a crazy ice storm like this, when I still lived in the middle of nowhere, and it was SO insanely icy that we could skate right on the streets. I figure skated over to my friend Melissa’s house, picked her and her skates up, and skated all through the streets with her all day long. Winter in the country is the best. Winter in the city…I can’t say many good things about it.

Anyway, Evan and I spent the entire day on Saturday making my Nana’s famous Christmas cookies.

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And I am not exaggerating when I say all day… We finished decorating them at about 7pm. They are quite time consuming, and we also made three batches of them so we had enough to bring to our families this week for Christmas celebrations. The time is totally worth it though, they are so ridiculously good. And as they should be, as they mainly are just butter and sugar, which is one of the best combinations of all time (chocolate and peanut butter might top it).

Evan was Santa’s little helper, which was awesome. It was the first time I have ever had help making these.

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He also figured out how to make the parchment triangles that I accidentally bought last year into icing bags.

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So I was pretty impressed with that.

When all was said and done, and after I ate about a pound of butter during the icing process, we had 70 beautifully decorated cookies, just like my Nana used to make.

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Speaking of the Nanners, we did eventually venture out on Sunday afternoon to go and visit her. It was still lightly freezing rain, but the roads were salted and not too horrible. She really needed Q-Tips, paper towels, and Werther’s Original, so we had to make it there. But maaaaan was it an adventure. Her nursing home is north of the city and most of the way there, the power was out everywhere. All the streetlights were out, and of course no one knows how to deal with a street light if it isn’t working (four way stop!!!), a lot of cars didn’t stop at all. Trees were down all over the place. Gas stations were closed. But the streets were still really busy with people. It was chaos. I felt like it was the apocalypse.

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I don’t have any good pictures of all the trees down, but some of my Facebook friends sure had some crazy things happening. At least it was pretty. The trees are suffering, they’re all bent over and mangled under the weight of the ice, but they are suffering beautifully.

We eventually made it to the Nanners, and we gave her the Q-Tips and the paper towel and her Werther’s Original. And she was reunited with her Christmas cookies!

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I hope they remind her of family Christmases like they do for me.

She was telling us about a certain young man in her nursing home who gave her a stuffed “dog” (it was actually a stuffed tiger, but close enough), and who is obviously trying to woo her. She said she kissed his hand to thank him, because “I wasn’t going to kiss him on the face!” It was very cute. 99 and a half years of age and she’s still got it.

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What a MINX!

And she still wears her wedding band even though my Papa passed away over 30 years ago.

I still cannot believe how great she looks and how with it she is. She definitely has her rough days, but she’s still mobile, she’s happy, and does a surprising amount for herself in that home. At that age I think that’s all we can ask for.

I left there with my heart just full to the brim and a bag of cookies she saved from meals for me. I’m so glad we braved the icepocalypse and trekked over.

I guess that’s pretty much it. I am all ready for Christmas. Our stockings are hung by the fake chimney haphazardly…

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Winnie only gets hers if she continues to be a good cat.

And we’re basically done all the wrapping.

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So I am feeling pretty good. I’m still waiting on two online presents to be delivered, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without minor annoyances now would it?

Hope you all had a great weekend, with power and heat!

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The Christmas Tree Adventure

Hello and HAPPY DECEMBER! Ahh, the most wonderful time of the year.

I am feeling a little extra cheery this year. I’m not sure what’s come over me, because last year I felt a little extra humbug, but I am just having a big love burst for all things Christmas related right now. I want to embrace it all.

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Especially the advent calendars

I spent most of Saturday Christmas shopping, so nothing too exciting to report on there. Yesterday Evan and I had a triple date with my friends Dawn and Lisa and their lovers to see Catching Fire. And I LOVED it. Normally when I am watching movies after I’ve read the book I am all “But that’s not how it happened in the book,” and just disappointed in general. Movies are just never as good as the book (except, and I always use this as an example, The Notebook). But with Catching Fire I don’t know, I thought it was so well done. I don’t remember being disappointed at any point, and I never wanted it to end. Now I can’t wait for the third one, and TEAM PEETA!!! Go see it!

That being said, going to the movies these days is just nuts and I have no idea why anyone goes. Way, way too many people and way, way too much money.

After the big movie date, Evan and I went on a Christmas adventure. To find our Christmas tree!

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I haven’t had a real Christmas tree in years, but growing up my parents always did. I didn’t have a fake tree until I was in my 20s and I don’t think there is anything quite like a real tree one. I can’t get enough of how they smell. They smell like my childhood Christmases.

We went to Prestonvale Tree Farm in Courtice, which was absolutely huge and very well organized.

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There were so many beautiful trees.

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I knew our tree was out there waiting for us.

And it wasn’t even BYO-Saw. Saws were provided.
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Not a state-of-the-art saw or anything, but it worked. We did not get the tree that Evan is posing with above. Too skinny. I prefer my trees to be fat.

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I love a good fat tree. We found the winner and got to work chopping that bad boy down. Well I just took pictures. Evan did the chopping.

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Which did not go as smoothly as we anticipated and kind of took a long time. But Evan is Mr. Patient and eventually took that tree down. It was a very proud moment for him.

This is what success looks like.
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I was very helpful and took lots of pictures of Evan carrying the tree back to the truck all by himself. Just kidding, I helped carry that sucker and I have the cuts on my hand to prove it.

This tree farm also shakes your tree for you (so you don’t bring your tree home with a family of evil squirrels living in it, or worse, spiders) and then bales it so it is all nicely bound and easy to carry.

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And it only took us about an hour to get it up after it toppled over TWICE and got needles all over the place. Luckily Evan loves vacuuming!

But what a beaut.

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We’re not done decorating it yet. We need more lights before we go any further, so well be finishing that off this evening. But I love that little tree. Even though it was a bit more of a hassle than a fake tree, it was a lot of fun and definitely an experience. Just a tip for you. If you’re getting a real tree, don’t cheap out on tree stands. Pay more for a good one that will actually hold your tree up.

And then we ate chicken tortilla soup that had been cooking in the crockpot all day.

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Pretty perfect day. Hope you had a great weekend!

Is your Christmas tree up yet?
I think this is the earliest I have ever had mine up. I feel like everyone was early this year! Well, according to Facebook everyone was early.

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