Monday, December 12, 2011

According to a Toddler...

Verb conjugation:

"I cried her." (I made my sister cry)

"I squeeked her" (I stepped on the dog and she squeeked)

Other phrases:

"Look at my dressing!" (Look at my nice clothes!)

(I say something about students) "That's a bad word!"

Santa asked: "What would you like me to bring you for Christmas?"
Monkey replied: "Candy!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Ten

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today is the last day of the Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, and the topic is New Years Memories.

I've never gone to fancy parties on New Years, but I do have some fun memories.

A tradition we had when I was a kid was ordering Kentucky Fried Chicken (so mom didn't have to cook) and playing the board game Clue.
Every time I play that game I remember New Years with my family.

I remember in high school I threw a slumber party for a few of my close friends. Since my birthday is the first day of December, the party was kind of to celebrate that.
memories of that night include:
-my dad offering alcohol to my friends, and one of them being really upset because we were all underage
-staying up most of the night talking
-having BOYS sleep over at my parents house

One other memory is of the big deal that was made in 1999 about how technology was going to stop working when it turned midnight. I remember sitting by the TV waiting for all the power to go out and being so disappointed that nothing even happened.

Every year since we've been married, I always have a New Years kiss with my husband. My best memory of New Years since we've been married was our year in Sweden. Our flight got back on New Years Eve, and the runway was really slippery. We all applauded our pilot for landing safely. When we got back to our little flat, we were exhausted and had forgotten that what day it was, so when people started shooting off fireworks outside, we had to really think hard about what was going on.

This year we don't have any plans (which is normal) but I do hope we can have a cheese fondue, make some oliebollen (a dutch treat) and play Clue!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Nine

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today is day nine of the Blog Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, and it's all about our goals for 2012.

I don't normally have resolutions because I have a hard time sticking with them, but I think my problem is shooting a little too high.

Things like:
-lose (blank) number of pounds this year
-stop using our car and take public transportation and my bike everywhere!
-cut out caffeine and chocolate completely!
-do a picture/post/craft a day... or a week
-read the whole Bible cover to cover...
(and so on and so on...)
are not things I can really accomplish. I do want to lose weight, drive less, reduce my caffeine intake and take pictures of the kids regularly, but sticking with strict goals like those is not something I've found to work personally.

HOWEVER, there are a few things I really want to accomplish in 2012.

1. I want to actually celebrate my anniversary with my husband. It will be 5 years of marriage in August 2012, and we haven't taken a vacation together EVER. Not even a honeymoon (it got cancelled on account of the death of my uncle). I'm glad our anniversary is in the summer, because my mom is a teacher, and she has taken Monkey for a week each summer, so hopefully she can take both kids and Hubby and I can have a weekend together...

2. I want to make myself a priority. This does not mean I want to be the centre of the universe, just that I know I've been putting myself on the back burner and putting everyone (kids, friends, hubby, church obligations...) in front of myself. I realized that I spend HUGE amounts of time making sure the kids eat well, dress nicely and have fun things to enjoy each day, but I haven't watched what I eat, exercised, even showered daily, and FORGET about doing my hair or makeup... I need to take care of myself so I can continue to take care of others.

3. I want to get rid of the credit cards once and for all. Last year when we got our tax rebate, we paid off our credit cards completely. We then bought a bed (on credit and paid it off in 2 months), we bought a TV (on credit and paid it off in 3 months) and we made other purchases and didn't pay them off, so now we've got some not-so-nice balances on our cards (one is Hubby's, one is mine). I hate getting the bill each month and seeing that the interest is putting back on money that I just paid off! Credit cards are good for online purchases and for reserving hotels or flights... but since we almost never do either of those things, we should have NOTHING on the cards... this years rebate is going to eliminate them FOR GOOD! And then all we need to do is spend the next decade getting rid of our student debt....blah....

4. I want to work from home. I LOVE staying home with my kids. I never thought I would, but it is such a blessing to be present when Monkey learns something new, or says something that makes me wonder "what planet did you come from?!" So I want to keep staying home. I have an opportunity to teach cooking and crafting classes in my community, but since I've just had Annika, I haven't looked for any clients to teach. I love the idea of teaching these classes, but I have to do the hard work of networking. I also have been told that my cupcakes are great, so I'm hoping to have some people order cakes/cupcakes from me to bring in a few extra dollars a month. Every little bit helps us get out from the student debt monster, and towards the giant house-buying-mortgage monster...

5. I want to volunteer. There are so many places in the Kingston area that I would love to help with. Kingston Pregnancy Crisis Centre, the Salvation Army, Martha's Kitchen, Grow a Row, Big Sisters, my church nursery.... but I haven't made it a priority, so I haven't done it. This year I want to help. Even if it's once a month for only a couple hours, I want to be the hands and feet of Christ to someone other than my own family. I don't want credit, I just want to respond to the push I've been feeling for much too long.

These are my goals. I don't think they will change any time soon. These goals are the foundation of a life I want to live, and I want to start living it now. January 1, 2012 is just a date. It isn't more or less special than any other day of the year.
I want to make a change, and the calendar shouldn't determine when that change starts. Now that I've written these down, hopefully I'll look back often to keep myself accountable. And to remind myself of the goal. Not "size 4" or "book enthusiast" or "100 time blood donor" but that I want to be living each day passionately as an act of worship to the one who created me on this Earth.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Seven

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today with Amber and Neely, the challenge topic is How Do You Celebrate the Holidays (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa...)

My family celebrates Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and think that Christmas cannot exist without the Christ child.

We don't do Santa, and I've never believed in him, but I have told my son about him. Not the whole "He'll give you everything you ask for" Santa, but the story of St. Nicholas about giving gifts to the poor.

One story about Santa in my house growing up was that he always forgot our house so he had to come while we were in church. Of course we all knew that the person sneaking those presents under the tree was my mom, but I still joke that Santa came to our house after everyone else.

We always put up the tree, and put up the stockings (which were the only things in the house we could open on Christmas morning).
The past few years my siblings and husband and I have been drawing names to decide who buys gifts for who. The names start out as secrets, but they can never stay that way.

Hubby's family has three different parts:
1. Hubby's Mom celebrates Christmas with the great big French Catholic family, and since we live far away, we do that Christmas every other year. Lots of food, lots of drinking, lots of french.... it's loud and happy.
2. Hubby's dad and his wife live close to my parents (45 minutes away) so we visit them in their apartment and open gifts. It's a quiet get together with just Hubby, myself, and the kids.
3. Hubby's Aunt and Uncle live in the same town as Mother-in-Law, and we have gone over there for an afternoon (because their house is more geared for adults). They have taken us out for dinner before as well.

We have the tendency to stay the longest with my parents because their house is the most child-proof, and they have enough room for all of us to sleep.

I love the holidays, and I love my family. I can't wait to celebrate with them this year!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Recipe

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

My first married year (or 8 months) was spent in Sweden, and since returning to Canada, I've wanted to go back. I especially want to go back around the Christmas holidays.

When I was thinking of my favourite recipe for today's challenge with Amber and Neely, I immediately thought of any of the Swedish traditions that I miss.

There are the delicious Pepparkakor (or Ginger snaps) in their traditional shapes of pigs, stars, men and ladies. Eating lots of ginger cookies is said to give you a kind demeanor... plus they taste amazing.

And THEN there is Glogg. The name doesn't give any hint to the deliciousness of this mulled wine. This would easily be my favourite holiday recipe, and it is simple to prepare. I have a few recipes for either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic version. Hubby and I came home for the holidays, and we brought 3 bottles of the stuff home with us.

I've used an alcoholic version and a non-alcoholic version in the past. The portion sizes when you drink it are small, so it's not something you're meant to get drunk from.
Glogg was originally made by adding all kinds of spices to cover up the bad taste of the alcohol, but now there are many different variations of non-alcoholic and alcoholic glogg.

Non-alcoholic Glogg:
10 whole cloves
7 cardamom pods, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 inch piece of ginger root
2 gallons apple juice or cider
1/3 cup sugar
sliced almonds

Put cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and ginger into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it together.
Pour the juice or cider into a slow cooker, then add spices.
Cook on low for 4 hours, or high for 2 hours and serve with the sliced almonds.

I can't wait to make this again!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas DIY Overload

I'm not on Pinterest.

I waste too much time with facebook to find another website to get lost in.

However, I have managed to come accross enough ideas on my own to get overwhelmed with inspiration. So far, my list includes:

-Make your own Advent calendar (I'm a little behind, but I think I can make up lost time)
-Make Christmas ornaments
-Put together photo album/calendar for the grandparents
-Make Christmas cards (well on my way to completing this one)
-Make and send Birth announcements (EXTREMELY behind on this one)
-Make Christmas presents:
-scarf for mom is 90% done
-knight outfit for Monkey is 5% done
-scarf and hat for sister is completely done, but it turns out she doesn't like the colours...

Here are even more holiday ideas that I don't NEED, but my obsessive personality clung to when I saw the pictures.
-The Peaceful Mom. She has links for Candy Cane bath salt, Peppermint Cocoa, and other DIY gifts and links for a stress-free Christmas
-La Casa de Sweets amazing gingerbread cupcakes that I'm DROOLING to make...
-Confessions of a Homeschooler has a 12 Days of Christmas post, and these Monogram ornaments look simple and fun. I've got a jar of Mod Podge just waiting to get used up...

So even without Pinterest to fill my time, I've already overloaded my plate...

Any other exhausted crafters in the house?