Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finished for Friday: 2009

Everyone gets to play along with this one! You've all finished 2009 - Congratulations!

Here is one last ornament I finished on Christmas Eve. It's backed and lined with velvet.

I found a link to a pattern online for a "Vintage Hedgehog Pincushion." If I have favorite words, three of them are definitely vintage! and hedgehog! and pincushion! So I made this on New Years Eve.

Now to begin my stack of projects for 2010!

Play along and link up with any end-of-year posts you've written, any finished projects you'd like to share, or just show us your calendar from last year - you've definitely finished it. Give yourself a pat on the back and make some goals for this year. Be sure to visit the other participants and cheer them on.

Thanks for playing and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Tears and Cheers of 2009

This was going to be the year that sucked. I knew last December that I faced a major surgery in 2009. I knew there would be some rehab. I knew I'd have some limitations. It turned out I really had no idea at all what I was in for.

I said goodbye to both of my old cats this Spring, and part of me is still crying. I think having them put down was the hardest thing I've ever done.

But months later, we adopted a couple of tiny scruffy kittens who filled our hearts with new love and gave the whole family something sweet to bond with.

Look how beautiful they are now!

My surgery took place in March, and I was completely laid up. Just getting up to make a sandwich was impossible, and I had to let everyone else run the household while I was stuck on my torture machine for weeks.

But lo and behold, my family rose to the occasion. Thank heavens my husband was willing to cook, even if he did blow up my stove just before Thanksgiving. And when I graduated from crutches to a cane and got redecorating delusions, my twins were right there to do the heavy lifting.

We couldn't take real vacations, since I couldn't walk, but we managed to have a lot of wonderful family time close to home.

I couldn't get to my sewing machine much this year, but I worked around that and ended up getting a lot of creative projects done, including my epic embroidered quilt "Hocuspocusville."

Drama Girl played a man in Fiddler on the Roof and perfected her skills at the bottle dance,

While Jungle Boy took his first professional bows with a ballet company in The Nutcracker.

Obviously we don't typecast around here.

Wasabi Girl continued on her path to becoming a great chef.

And our elf returned to supervise another Christmas season.

So while this has been a challenging, painful year, it has also been a completely wonderful year and I am grateful for my fabulous family and our collective sense of humor. I'm also grateful for every single comment that someone took the time to post on my blog. Your good thoughts and encouragement have meant the world to me.

2010 is going to be even better. Happy New Year to you and yours; I wish for you more literature and less laundry in the months ahead!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Mission Accomplished

It took months to get this amaryllis to bloom, just like it took many weeks to pull off another perfect Christmas. And just like Christmas, the flower will linger for a while and continue making me smile.

We had such a wonderful holiday, and I am so grateful for all we have. I'm a bit exhausted right now, but every little bit of work was worth it.

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year. Don't forget to join me on Friday for "Finished for Friday." Cross off that last day of the old calendar and take a picture of it! Let's move on to a wonderful 2010.

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Makes My Monday: Flash Mob

A beautiful day in San Francisco, about a week ago. The famous cable car turnaround at Market and Powell was crowded with Christmas shoppers. A seemingly lone street performer starts dancing. . .

Can anybody watch this and not smile? I wish I had seen it in person. This video makes my Monday.

Visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation for more happy Monday posts.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, I wish you a very very Merry Christmas. I will be back with Finished for Friday next week. If you have finishes, please leave a link in your comment.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The 12 Joys of Christmas

Today is my day to savor everything about the season. I love Christmas Eve - I think anticipating the day ahead is even more fun than the big day itself. I'll be cooking and enjoying the day while I reflect on my 12 favorite things about Christmas;

  1. Receiving cards. Whether they are religious or silly, have a long family letter or just pictures of the dog, I love them all. It's like getting presents in the mail every day.
  2. The music of Christmas. I have over 1000 Christmas songs on my ipod. Enough said.
  3. Seeing my kids perform. Whether it's The Nutcracker, School concerts, or just their silly re-enactments of Christmas movies, I love their contributions to the season.
  4. Giving gifts. This just seems to get more and more fun. I love it when handmade gifts I've made with love are well received. I love selecting the perfect item for each person on my list.
  5. The movies of Christmas. I could do a whole post on this. I love many many of them and watch them all season long.
  6. The Christmas Eve goose I cook every year. Even the cats get a little nibble. Really delicious feast.
  7. Crafting. I finish presents well ahead of time, so I can sit back and enjoy creativity for its own sake during December. As always, this year I'm starting on ornaments for next year's gifts.
  8. Reading old favorites. I read "A Christmas Carol" every year. If you've never read it, it may surprise you. Few screen or stage versions can really capture the story well.
  9. Playing music. Whether on the harp or the piano, I love to dust off my old favorites every year.
  10. Entertaining. Whether it's rowdy kids or elderly relatives, this is the season to open the doors and pass the cookies. I love the chaos of a good party.
  11. Visiting. Even better than entertaining, because there's less cleanup involved. Bring on the interesting appetizers!
  12. Church services. One of the most beautiful times of year.
I could go on and on I guess. There are probably 100 joys of Christmas for me, and I'm going to indulge in many of them today. I'm off now to drink my eggnog and watch "Miracle on 34th Street" while my goose cooks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The 12 Hurdles of Christmas

Every mom knows that the Christmas season is a marathon. A marathon with some milestones along the way that we can all celebrate passing. Here is my list of seasonal challenges. Would some of these be on your list too?

  1. Decorate the house and porch and yard
  2. Get the tree and decorate it
  3. Mail the Christmas cards
  4. Mail gifts that have to go out of town
  5. Gift for the husband
  6. Gifts for the kids
  7. Gifts for neighbors, friends, associates, godparents, relatives, music teachers, etc.
  8. Complete any handmade gifts
  9. Wrap all the gifts
  10. Bake Christmas cookies
  11. Throw a party
  12. Cook a fabulous feast
I'll admit right now that I "epic failed" on at least one of these this year. (Sorry out of town folks, hope you don't mind that I'm sending emailed gift certificates! ). Every year I vow it will be different, and every year I forget to read my notes to myself from previous years.

But on the other hand, looking back over this list today, I feel I can pat myself on the back for getting so much done. Maybe not as early as I'd like, but other than the mailing issues, it all was done well.

So while I could bake some more cookies and perhaps squeeze out another handmade ornament, I'm throwing in the towel and calling my Christmas to-do list done. The feast will be cooked on Christmas Eve, and then I'll just sit back and wait for Santa.

Tomorrow's post will be my 12 joys of Christmas. Another list that makes me smile as I check things off. Anything left on your lists?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Makes My Monday: Christmas cookies

This is what my kitchen looked like early Sunday morning. The first of many many batches of cookies was in the oven and I was ready to start the next.

Here are my twin helpers rolling molasses cookies and reminiscing about play-doh. It amazes me how much they remember from when they were really tiny. We all agreed those skills came in handy.

And here is what you get when you remind your offspring to make all the cookies uniform size and shape. What a smarty-pants!

Monday morning I will have 20 pre-teens and teens in my house decorating the hundreds of gingerbread cookies we baked, and exchanging cookies they all brought. We'll have a chocolate fountain with Drama Girls favorite marshmallows to dip.

Let's just think about that for a moment . . .20 pre-teens consuming huge amounts of sugar.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I didn't survive.

Baking cookies and anticipating a fun chaotic party makes my Monday. To see more joyful pictures, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Waiting for Santa.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finished for Friday: Ornament

I think this is the last ornament that will get done for this Christmas. It's a gift for someone special who likes bunnies.

What have you been up to this week? Join in and show us what you've checked off your list. Have you got your shopping done? All your wrapping? You're ahead of me! Link up and let us congratulate you.

Lit and Laundry

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Waiting for Christmas to Bloom

This is the amaryllis I planted many weeks ago. Odds are good that it will unfurl in time for Christmas.

The pair of them are so tall now. Hard to believe they came from the ugly lumps of bulbs. They are symbolic of the season to me; wait - have patience - have faith - and the beauty of the season will unfold.

It's a good message for me to remind myself today. I'm having a hard time getting my Christmas cards done. I'm starting to wonder if the people with names at the end of the alphabet will get one at all, I'm so slow getting through my list.

There are Christmas quilts that will not be finished, needlepoint ornaments that will not get done in time. I will not learn another 20 Christmas songs on the harp, as much as I'd like to. I will not create a perfect gingerbread house and read every Christmas story Dickens ever wrote. But I will see every performance of the Nutcracker that my children dance in, and I will go to their band concerts and jazz band concerts and help my daughter study for her Geometry final. I will get to Church and bake the hundreds of cookies for our cookie party, and somewhere along the way, I will pour some eggnog and sit down and watch "It's a Wonderful Life."

It will all get done somehow, and then like that Amaryllis, Christmas will bloom and be beautiful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Charms of Christmas

Some women have a Christmas sweater, or earrings for the season, or a favorite pin they wear. I'm the charm bracelet type, and once we push away from the table at Thanksgiving I begin my season of jingling everywhere I go.

From the top; a shopping bag, a teapot that opens, a fireside with stockings, a Christmas tree, carolers (we have a neighborhood caroling party every year), an elf on an reindeer and an elf with a stack of gifts (in honor of the elf who visits us), Santa, a cat in a Santa hat, a harp, and a gingerbread house.

Each one is dear to me for a different reason, and just having some of these symbols of the season nearby always makes me smile. Do you have some seasonal attire that you always wear?

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus. Be sure to visit her beautiful family and see the other photo offerings linked there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Take a Bow!

Of all the proud moments in my life, and my kids have given me many, this is somewhere near the top. Here with a cast of professional ballet dancers, my son is receiving applause for his role as Fritz in The Nutcracker.

Forgive the quality of the photo, I was pretty far back and there was some dust in my eyes, if you know what I mean. *

He did a great job as the obnoxious little brother who breaks his sister's beloved toy. You'd think he'd studied the part carefully or something. Drama Girl was also in the production this year as an extra, so she did not get to take a bow with the principals. She got great laughs as the mouse who gets shot in the butt though. I told her she'll have to put that on her resume.

Seeing my son in the big league makes my Monday. To see more happy visions to start the week, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

* i.e. I had a few tears in my eyes. I'm such a sap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Caturday Laundry

Our washing machine is down a flight of stairs, so the top of the stairs has somehow become a drop-off point for hampers not brave enough to go farther in their travels. Bad human habits have led to endless feline amusement.

You can either enjoy the full hamper of laundry, if you are inclined to lounge and nap:

Or how about an empty hamper for a game of hide and seek?

What are your cats up to? Link in and join the fun. Happy Caturday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finished for Friday: Top Secret Stuff

It's been a really busy week, and I can't blog about any of it, because it's all hush-hush. Lots of successful shopping. Doesn't it feel great to find gifts that you know the recipients are really going to love? Now I need to get busy and wrap it all.

I had nothing to do with it, but our elf Duncan has returned. I thought the kids weren't interested this year, but lo and behold, they finally wrote letters to Santa asking if their favorite elf could come visit for the season. He arrived with a gift - "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" for the Wii. It's loads of fun, especially the elf bowling - the elves are the bowling pins!

The kids set up Duncan with his little bed and tree and his old friends Meteor and Icicle. When we went to bed, the scene looked like this, complete with saltines for him to eat and "snow" to remind him of home.

Apparently Duncan wasn't satisfied with this setup however, because he left a trail of presents, crackers, and snowflakes across the floor and moved into the cat condo instead:

I almost felt bad making the kids clean up after him, but he is their elf after all.

What have you been up to this week? Got your shopping and decorating done? I hope you're having a fun holiday season. Link up and show us what you've checked off your to-do list.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teenage Nutrition

"Did you pack a lunch?"
"Yes mom, I packed a lunch."
"Let me see it."

*sigh* I packed her a lunch myself after I saw this. It had several actual food groups and a sandwich. Back in about 4th grade, everyone packed their own perfectly nutritious lunch. Where did that common sense go?

I'm linking this up with Wordful Wednesday, hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Makes My Monday: The Tree

Another Christmas time has come around, and I pack my camera everywhere we go in hopes of snapping that perfect shot that will make it on the Christmas card. Here are a few from our trip to get the Christmas tree. This was the best picture of all three kids. You don't even want to imagine what all the other pictures look like.

How about this one of the twins? What a couple of goofballs. Also proof that you can lead a boy to sweatshirts but you can't make him wear one, no matter how cold it is.

I love this next one. A picture tells a thousand words and the words that go with this photo involve some criticism of whoever put the lights away last year. Good thing I have a Boy Scout around to undo all the knots.

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation. Go visit her to find some more smiles.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Caturday Photos

As if eating the cornucopia at Thanksgiving wasn't enough, somebody has to begin the Christmas havoc as well!

Alls fair in love and cats, so we got him this lovely hat to wear. Doesn't he look happy?

His sister got a collar, and was not quite as patient for a picture. The kids call it the "Ruff of Shame." (A reference to the movie "UP")

Jump in if you want to post pictures of your kitties. You can also still post on yesterday's Finished for Friday. I love to come visit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finished for Friday: Outlander

This week I finished rereading the book "Outlander" on my Kindle. I first read it years ago in a single weekend, which is no small feat since the paperback copy runs 656 pages long. The book is that good - almost impossible to put down.

It has an interesting plot; a woman from the 20th century accidentally slips back through time to the 18th century. While there, she has to depend on her wits and leverage her knowledge of history to survive and help those around her. She is a caring, strong, sensible heroine who generates a lot of sympathy. I don't know if I would have always made the same choices she made, but it's fun to see how her situation plays out.

It is also a love story, a triangle of her husband left behind in the 20th century and a man she falls in love with in the 18th century. I love a good romantic story now and then and this one has legions of fans for good reason. It is the first in a series of equally lengthy books by Diana Gabaldon.

I get a few pennies if you click through the link above and end up buying something from Amazon. I want to thank everyone who has done this in the past. It's always a nice surprise to see people have clicked through and it helps finance my mp3 download habit.

What have you been up to this week? Finish any projects? Any books? Some Christmas decorating or shopping? Link up here and let us come and admire. Feel free to grab the button from my sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post. Thanks for playing along and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Christmas Shopping Confession

2009 has been a tough year for me physically. I've only really been able to walk the last few weeks, and still not very much at a time. Recovering from surgery has been a long slow process.

So imagine what it feels like to go into a department store for the first time in nearly a year.

It feels like hunger. Hunger to buy. Unfortunately, since I haven't been out much in so long, my focus isn't on gifts like it should be. My focus is on the things that really catch my eye.

Things for me.

I feel pretty guilty about spending money on myself, but what's the good of blogging if I can't bear my soul to my readers? I need a few things. And, okay, I want a bunch of few things too.

I'm trying to control it, and trying to remember to create a wishlist so my loved ones can get me exactly what I want, but it's just so much easier to pick it up when I see it.

Hopefully I'll get serious about gifts for other people next week. Does this ever happen to you?

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