Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December Days - Dec 25

So many things I could have focused on for today's entry, so after thinking about it for a while, I decided that I would make it about the newest addition to our Christmas Day, the boys that are now a big part of our lives, and our family. And I got to buy presents for boys this year, no like I do for Tim, or did for my dad, but for young men, and boy did I have fun doing so. I loved having them hear as part of our Christmas Eve last night, and again today to celebrate Christmas day and to exchange gifts with.

Jeff showing off all his gifts from our family :)

Daniel and all his goodies...I'm disappointed that this photo didn't turn out better.

I hope we have many, many years of celebrating with these two each Christmas. We love you guys.

December Days - Day 24

Today is Christmas Eve, and since I ended up baking on day and night last night, today is my delivery day to friends and family for their baskets of Christmas joy (baking). And since it is also our family day, I was only able to drop off the goodies without the usual visit with my friend Nancy, so I will have to make up for that in the New Year.

I love nothing more then baking, and giving it away...I feel it shows those I love how much I care and value them in my life. I also love to be able to wrap things up pretty in cellophane and ribbon.

So many bundles of joy...baking joy that is. 

December Days - Day 23

Baking...for me, that means a full day and then some. I usually just take one day to do all my baking for Christmas and I usually start early in the day and work until late in the evening. This year was no different, as I baked pretty much for 12 hours straight. And I had to admit to myself a little defeat, as I didn't get everything I wanted to bake, done. I honestly ran out of time, and energy, to get to making the bars I had on my baking list. That being said, I am happy with all the cookies I did bake, along with my mincemeat tarts, and the banana and pumpkin spice loaves.

Here's a collage photo of all the baking I got done today...I know it's lots, but I love to give family and friends baking at Christmas time, and this allows for me to give lots away.

December Days - Day 22

Knowing that Sunday would be an extremely busy day with all I had planned to bake, I was unable to fall asleep the night before as I couldn't stop my mind from thinking about time, and whether I'd get all my baking done. So after trying to fall asleep for hours, I got up and decided to get my chocolate spoons and pretzels done. And good thing I did, because it took me over 2 hours to do them, which I would not have had time to do the nest day.

I can't even remember how far back it was that we started the tradition for making
pretzels and spoons at Christmas time, but now, it just wouldn't be Christmas now
without them to snack on. And besides them being time consuming, they are so
simple to make. You just buy those bulk baking wafers, melt them in the
microwave and then dip the pretzel and spoons into the melted chocolate.
Sprinkles added, or mini marshmellows and melted swirly chocolate, and
you are done. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December Days - Day 21

Stockings are not hung by the chimney with care, nor filled by Santa anymore, but by me, mom!!!

Yup, I miss those magical days, where I would sneak into my room, late on Christmas Eve, and get those stockings stuffed for Santa to put under the tree, to see their eyes light up in the morning, when they saw full stockings laying beside all those presents left by the Jolly Old St, Nick. I miss the innocence, the magic, the belief in Santa. But as our children get older, and turn into adults themselves, I still try to hold onto some of that Christmas magic, and I'm so glad that they play along too. Sometimes, its the beliefs in family, love and tradition, that go a long time after they stop believing, that make memories of Christmas past so much more precious.

Today I got all my stocking gifts wrapped, and overstuffed into two stockings almost bursting at the seems.

I took photos of the goodies, and the stuffed stockings afterwards, but will include them in my album after Christmas, but not now, not here, where, should they actually check out my blog, see what goodies lie under that wrapping paper.

I was so sad this year, that I didn't have a full enough roll of paper left
to wrap each girl's stuff in one kind of paper.

I made the girls these stocking so long ago, that I don't really
know how long its been now, nor do I remember which color is
who's, but I do know that they know these were made with
love from me, their mom, and will hopefully still be
in use for many more years to come.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December Days - Day 20

Most of you know how much I truly love Instagram, for the joy of sharing pictures, sharing my life, and yes, mostly with complete strangers, but funny thing is, those strangers slowly become friends, even if from afar, and as they watch your life through photos, and you watch theirs, the ties between you get stronger, and then, like today, wonderful things happen from these friendships....

today I opened up the mailbox, to find a bubble mailer, sent all the way from Hungary, yes, half way around the world from here, and it was full of Christmas happiness...what a generous offering from new friend.

So today, this is what I'm sharing in my December Daily...the generousity, and giving spirit the holidays invoke.

I love the hand written note on the back of the Christmas Card

I tried to capture all that was in the package, so full of wonderful goodies.
And all my style of things too, which will be included in my Dec Daily Album.
So a big thank you to Instagram, and to new friends, near and far. And Monika, you are truly a wonderful women to have sent me and some of the other IG girls some Christmas goodies.

PS I also love the stamps from the envelop, so I will be carefully taking them off to include on my page in my December Daily album.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Days - Day 19

Today I hosted my 2nd cookie swap in as many years. And it was with the same girls as last year, and with just as much fun, talking, tea drinking and cookie eating as last time. Nice when you can catch up so easily with friends you haven't seen is such a long time, reconnect and share a fun evening with laughs, warmth and love.

Getting to the cookie swap was pretty easy for me this year, especially since last year my oven was on the fritz and I had a heck of a time not burning cookies, and spent a good portion of prep day in tears...thankfully this year was a lot smoother, and my cookies turned out perfect, and that's with trying new recipe as well. Yay me!!!

I also had found pretty boxes and cellophane bags a few weeks ago when Amy and I had gone to Essential Packaging for a looksie, and both ended up leaving with exactly what we needed, and without overspending.

Loving the snowflake theme and satin ribbon.
Making cookies, I love that i have my silt pats and that it makes baking a breeze and not sticking cookies. This year, I once again made my White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies, which are always a hit, and tried a new recipe, thanks to finding the Andes Creme de Menthe chips when we visited the states last week.

Here is the links to both cookie recipes if you are interested in trying either of them:

Currently, the site for the Andes Creme de Menthe cookies is down, I will upload the link when it is back and running. For now, you can get the recipe by searching the above wording.

They cookies both baked up really nicely, and I doubled the Cranberry batch to get over 4 dozen, and the Andes recipe allowed for more the 4 dozen as well, perfect for a cookie swap or gift giving during the holiday.

White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies.

Andes Creme de Menthe Cookies.

After the cookies cooled, I bagged the cookies, by the dozen into the cellophane bags, tied with the ribbon, then put on of each kind of cookies into the gift boxes, which I then tied with ribbon and added my homemade gift tags. Ready for swapping.

I hand stamped the snowflakes onto the front of the tags, and then,
with my own handwriting, shock there, since I hate it, I added greetings
and names to the tags for each girl.

Just before the ladies arrived, I put out the gift boxed on the table, put out a platter for the sampling cookies, and got the tea out and ready for sipping. Lite some candles, and then waited somewhat patiently for the evening to begin.

My dear friend Erika, and her selection of cookies to bring home. Love all the
packaging that we had this year.

Alyssa is Erika's best friend, and someone I've had the pleasure of getting to
know over the years through her Stampin up clubs and with Erika.

I've known Alison just as long as Alyssa, and they are actually sister
in laws, but friends as well, and I'm thankful that we at least have once
a year to gather and stay connected. 

Me and all my wonderful cookies from my friends.

I am so thankful for this small, but good group of ladies, and their awesome homemade cookies and for
their company for one evening during the holidays. Once again, I think our evening was a great success.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Days - Day 18

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow........and we did wake up to snow this morning, just a bit, and so, by mid day, when it still hadn't turned to rain, I asked Amy to come outside with me and make a snowman with the little bit of snow on our front yard. We have had this snowman kit for about 10 years now, and it always helps to bring our balls of snow to life and become a new, wonderful, soulful being...yes, I do believe they come "alive"

Between Tim and I we captured the coming to life of our new friend. I love
making snowmen, especially with my family. Welcome new friend.

December Days - Day 17

One of my favorite things as Christmas gets closer is getting my mom's parcel of gifts in the mail. I wasn't home to get the package, but it was waiting for me when I got home, and since I'm the one who always opens the box, it's the one and only time each Christmas season where I actually snoop and take a close up look at the wrappings and try to figure out what they are.

Love opening up the box, to see all the wonderfully wrapped gifts.
And to see how many have my name on them... :P

All the gifts under the tree, and our cards as well.

This year, my mom got us each our own cards, filled with loving sentiments.

December Days - Day 16

We had a gingerbread house competition here tonight....between both the girls and their boyfriends, and each had their own kits to work with. It's quite amazing to see how both my girls differ so much in certain aspects especially in the execution and decorating of a gingerbread house.

Amy and Daniel, through the whole process. They got the village kit, so had a lot
more little details to deal with. I think they did an amazing job, each little house
individual from the next. And Amy's snowmen were such a great touch.

Jordyn and Jeff got the big house kit, so they had a bit more trouble getting
the house to actually stick together at the beginning, causing a bit of
frustration, but after it set up, they had a fun time decorating it, and
making it their own. I love that while they were decorating it, they were
talking about moving into it because it was perfect for them. 
I told both teams that I would post the photos onto Instagram and see how many likes they each got as to who won the contest, but as of this posting, they are tied for likes, so I may have to get both teams a prize.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Days - Day 15

On Saturday night, Jordyn got home late from work, but wanted to get all her presents wrapped, so we sat on the living room floor, surrounded in wrapping paper, tissue, boxes, gifts and ribbons and bows, and between the two of us, we got it all wrapped up in no time.

December Days - Day 14

Linda, my mother in law, came over today to celebrate Christmas early since she will be away during the holidays. After we picked her up from the ferry terminal, we headed into downtown Vancouver to take in some of the Christmas things going on. After visiting Canada Place to see the Christmas tree display, we headed over to the Vancouver Christmas Market, it's third year, and enjoyed walking around a German Themed market, taking in all the smells, sounds and sights. The handmade goodies, the homemade foods, the cooking smells of sausages, baked apples, German pancakes, and the all around smell of the cups of apple cider as people carried those cute little cups filled with the intoxicating beverage.

Welcome to the market, if you haven't visited it yet, you must at least once.

What there is to see inside.

The big tree in the center of the market.

This sign says it all/

Tim and his mom

Me and my mother in law.

The nutcracker and the Santa are seen throughout the market.

The mug that you carry your apple cider in while in the market. If you want
to keep the mug for yourself, you already have left a deposit on it when
you purchased your drink, so you just not need to return it,
It was a fun hour or so and not too busy since it was mid afternoon on a work day. If you are in the Vancouver area during the holidays, it really should be somewhere you put on your must see list.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Days - Day 13

I have wanted to cross the border to get some shopping done for a while now, but since Tim isn't a fan of going to Bellingham, we put it off...luckily I convinced him to got with me today to get some groceries and some Christmas shopping done....and I think he even had a decent time shopping, imagine that.

Knowing we would be going down to the States, I had the girls give me stocking stuffer
ideas that may be good for me to grab while I was down there, as some of the things
they like makeup wise is only available at either Target or Fred Meyer. 

The cute Santa photo area in Beliisfair Mall in Bellingham WA. I am a big lover
of snowmen, and this one is just a little big for me to get home... :)

After almost 5 hours of shopping, driving, and dealing with all the traffic, our
last stop before heading back to Canada was at our favorite coffee shop in
the area, near Blaine, is Woods Coffee, where I went in to get Tim his
reward for cross border shopping days like today. 

Hey, it all can't be for Christmas you and green M&M's, both
in milk chocolate and peanut form.....peanuts are my favorite.

And yes, I will admit this, because of an earlier IG post by one
of my IG friends, I knew I needed to get to Target ASAP as
to not miss out on these wonderful little marshmallow bits.
And bonus to find some great coffee creamer flavors.

December Days - Day 12

So this is the first year I have boyfriends to buy Christmas gifts for :) no, I don't have multiple boyfriends, but am speaking of the two young men that are now a part of our family and have been for almost a full year now. I had fun shopping for boys this year, not something I ever get to do.

I am only posting a brief blurb about this now, but will be more in depth when I put it in my actual album, as for now, because this is online, I will only put photos of the wrapped gifts, and homemade tags, but will save the photos of the gifts and the stories behind them for after Christmas peeking after all.

I so love this Bah humbug wrapping paper I got last year on Boxing $3 roll of paper ever!!!!