Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Six Five

I've read on a couple of blogs now, the commitment to take a picture a day, every day, for 365 days. I'm in. I need to practice my photography skills anyway. In addition to regular posts, I'll have a photo a day, every day.

PS: Already making progress on my 30 by 30 list!

Snapshots: Series Three







Sunday, December 20, 2009

oh the weather outside is frightful . . .

Not really. Not here. Central New York is pretty famous for our snow storms, but as the rest of the country gets pounded, we get . . . nothing. nada. Maybe some snow (mixed with rain) coming our way on Christmas.

But, because of everywhere else in the country getting the snow I want, flights everywhere are canceled and delayed and non-existent. What's also non-existent are taxi's and hotel rooms in NYC, which is where my brother in law and his family just landed. So, The Husband and his sister have just left to go get them. They should be home in about 12 hours.

My sewing machine decided it hates me and wants to keep breaking thread and skipping stitches. Now, I admit I've neglected her and have never brought her in for a proper servicing, but she has been lovingly (and this week not so lovingly) cleaned and maintained by me. This week she has also had the needle changed several times, two different types of needles, several thread changes, several types of threads, 2 cleanings, one oiling, a lot of cursing and grumbling and threats to throw her out the window. She is now in my basement being ignored since I borrowed my mothers new machine yesterday.

So now I have, um, 5 days (while company is in town) to finish several napkins, a table runner, a dollhouse, a pair of pajama pants, 2 robes and felt food. I have a very good feeling that we'll end up with some store bought wooden food and no robes till new years.

I also somehow managed to get a very nasty virus on our family computer last week, that is going to result in us wiping our hard drive and reinstalling windows. Luckily we have our important documents on an external hard drive, but because of that getting online has been difficult, and will be difficult so my posts will be few and far between, I'll share some snapshots when I can.

Hope your week is calm, and wonderful and joyful!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deck the Halls

Like the tree farm mentioned previously, we're in "transition" too. Our first year in the new house. Figuring out the christmas decorations. There's so many more ideas I want to try, but we'll get there. We have many, many years to get it all together.

A sampling (and some not very good pictures) of what we've done this year

 All the pieces to that lamp were bought at thrift stores at separate times.
It's my holiday lamp, I just change out the insides with the seasons

 French doors to the backyard

A kind of better picture of the doors

Just some berry garland around the island light

 Took out the flower arrangement from our wedding and added a new one. Cost about 3 dollars!

Side porch door. Already had the milk jug thing and the wreath, just updated to flower/greenery

Front porch. Just got a few tree branches and added to what I already had


Oh, these curtains. What a story behind them . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

O' Christmas Tree

Last year was our first year cutting down our tree. I loved it. It was perfect winter weather, the tree farm was amazing, and only 20 dollars for a tree. We had a blast.

But, because we moved in the summer, we had to find a new place to get our tree.
It's been so busy this December. I keep wanting/trying to slow it down but it keeps speeding on by.

And because it's been so busy, we had to squeeze in tree cutting time. We decided last week that we'd pull the kids out of school an hour early on Friday and get our tree then spend the afternoon decorating.

Friday came. And it was cold. Like 20 degrees plus gusts of wind cold. But, we bundled up and went on our way. Because it was Friday, we could only find one tree farm open (the rest were weekends only or by prior appointment) It looked like a promising place. An animal petting area, free hot cider and several kinds of trees.

We were given a sled, a saw and a dog who decided to join us. We were warned that they were "in transition" this year.

I should have taken more pictures. Because apparently what "in transition" meant was no trees. I mean, there were some like 6 inch trees. Some 3 ft trees. And some 20 foot trees. But no good house trees.

I was disappointed. I so wanted this year to be as fun as last year. If we didn't get a tree that afternoon, it would be another week before we could. So we decided to check out the trees they had pre-cut. If you cut a tree yourself it was 35$ and if you bought a pre-cut tree it was . . . 35$ ?! Okay. So the wind is blowing, it's freezing and we walk along the fence to pick out our tree. We find one and while the young man helping us gets ready to make a fresh cut on the trunk he tells the kids there's hot cider in the barn. Well, the young man couldn't get his chainsaw started (chainsaw? There were a thousand saws all around.) We tell him not to worry, we'll make a fresh cut when we get home. I go in the barn to get the kids, they're trying to figure out how to work the hot cider carafe. Oh, it's empty. : /

We get the tree on the van - Kev tips him 10 dollars for helping us in the cold and we're on our way. With our 45 dollar tree we picked out from a fence. :sigh:

The tree is fine. It looks fine. It smells fine. But, we didn't hunt for the perfect tree and cut it down and haul it home and  . . . well.

It's ok. Last year was fun. And memorable. The whole season was. We baked a ton, made ornaments, had a blast, took it slow. Trying to recreate that just isn't happening. We're 12 days away and I've done barely any baking, our tree experience wasn't what I hoped, there's so much work and shopping to be done.

I know I'll look back on this year fondly too. I'll laugh about the tiny trees and the gusts of wind. You can't really force moments or memories. They just happen. And this year will just bring different kinds of memories than last year.

We did have fun getting the tree up and decorating it. My 11 year old is incapable of taking a normal picture.






Yeah, it was still a good time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Review

We spent some time this weekend kicking off holiday baking. It was lovely - the kids and I baking and singing along while The Husband played Christmas songs. We drank eggnog (nom!) and watched Frosty the Snowman.



Baking didn't go so well though. Some frustration. Some mistakes. Rock hard brownies. Oh well, there's always next weekend. 

We haven't gotten our tree yet, this weekend I think. And no snow, really. It's odd to not have snow yet. We've had a dusting once or twice and that's it. I don't even like snow and I'm itching to get a good storm. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without it.

Still working away at Christmas gifts. We picked up a kitchen set for Colin at a thrift store (this is a whole 'nother post, one I've been wanting to get at for a while and even have saved as a draft - thrift stores and gifting and things but . . .) we got a 5 piece solid wood set for 16 dollars. It's gorgeous. I couldn't believe the price on it. It needs just a little cleaning, maybe some sanding in a spot or two and I might paint just a bit. It's in really good condition over all though.

I remember I got Evan a kitchen, he wanted one so bad when he was a toddler. I was so, so broke back then but I found him one, pink and blue for Christmas one year and he loved it. I really like that they make gender neutral ones now. Colin is 6 so starting to get a little on the older side for the play set, he'll outgrow it in a year or two, but the price and condition were too good to pass it up. He'll love it for now, and we have plenty of friends to pass it on to when the time comes.

So I've been working on felt food. So far I have felt cut out for doughnuts and oranges and strawberries. Ravioli and lollipops. I also plan on doing pancakes, butter pats, cupcakes and pies. I cut out all the pieces yesterday and sat down to sew some before work.

My sewing machine was being highly uncooperative. After about 45 minutes I had sewn half a doughnut. Really, it should have taken about 10 seconds. I don't know if the problem is my machine or me. But I was doing all sorts of grumbling and cursing. So I stopped. I'll just handsew them over the next few days. These gifts are supposed to be made with love. Not with frustration and cursing.

 Still have 3 robes, one pair of pajama pants (no, two), and a dollhouse to make too. I can't believe it's the 7th already!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Santa Claus

This morning, I came across this post over at Clover Lane.
What timing.

I've been slightly struggling for a little while now. I remember debating in some online forums about telling your children about Santa. I've done Santa with both my kids, and while sometimes it does get a little tiring having a big jolly fictional man get all the credit for our hard work - I always believed that Santa added so much magic and excitement to the holidays. I loved believing in Santa, and after I figured it out (I was maybe 8 or so) the holidays did seem to sparkle just a little less. Some people believe that it's wrong to tell your children about Santa. That you're beginning their life with lies and that it sets up trust issues in your relationship. I never, ever believed that.

But, I also didn't want to flat out lie to my children when they asked. The first time I was asked was when my oldest, Evan was 5. He heard it from a neighbor. My responses over the years have been a general sort of "well, do you think there's a Santa?" and "I believe in Santa" and "Who do you think gets all your gifts" and things along that line.


About 2 months ago, Evan (who is now 11) made mention to it again. I honestly thought he had it figured out a couple of years ago, and just went along with it every year because of his younger brother and, well, just in case. But he asked me flat out not long ago and this time I didn't skirt around the issue. I didn't say No, I just didn't really give my usual answers. And wow, something in his face just shocked me. Made me sad. His words? "why did you lie to me? You lied to me."

Oh, no.

It's been a while since this conversation, and I've been meaning to sit down with him, with my husband and have the actual conversation - you know, where we admit to everything and let him in on the "secret". Where we really finalize and validate his suspicions. I mean, he is old enough to know. Most of his friends had the conversation years ago.

But I just haven't done it. There hasn't been a good time, or time away from his brother, or any time. But really, I just didn't know what to say. I've had all the answers ready, in my head I've had the conversation a thousand times since he was 5. But suddenly, I don't know how to handle it.

Earlier this week, Colin insisted, was certain there was no Santa. He's 6.

I'm not ready to lose this magic in our house.

So I was so glad to read that post this morning. What's so wrong with never really admitting to the whole scheme? Why can't I just keep on answering that I believe in Santa too? They won't believe in Santa forever, with or without us talking about it formally. They're going to grow up and grow out of Santa, just like they grew out of diapers and baby teeth and last years shoes.

So, you know, for now. I'm just going to keep on sprinkling the magic around our house. And just like when I was growing up, there will still be presents from Santa under the tree when my children are teens and even longer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

We awoke to our first real snow of the season this morning!

Breaking our 9 month (record!) streak of no snow. It wasn't much when you're used to getting feet at a time, but it sure was pretty flurrying down as the sun came up

I've been collecting lots and lots of Christmas decorating and gifting and baking inspirations over on A Ribbon at a Time

And . . .

kitty used the litterbox this morning!

Happy, indeed.