Yesterday my husband and I went and got a little taste of winter here in Texas. We found a local ice rink, rented skates, donned mittens and made slow laps on the ice dodging children. It was a fun afternoon, but we had to quit after 30 minutes because the rental skates were so painful. I even have a killer blister on the side of my foot to show for it. I do miss those wintery moments. Now I have to clean house to get ready for 2011. What are you up to?
Celebrating just isn't the same without party hats. People around me have figured this out and are always willing to be more festive and don spectacular hats at my parties. I have not yet thrown a hat-worthy celebration while living in Texas (all of those have been back in Seattle) so I've got to hunt down a celebratory hat to ring in the new year. Do you wear party hats willingly?
When searching for a holiday dessert we inadvertently struck gold. This spiced carrot cake was amazing and we had to give half of it away so that we wouldn't cave into temptation and eat the whole thing ourselves (we love Cooks Illustrated). This was moist, tasty and something that we'll be baking again. I'm so spoiled to have a husband who is a talented baker. We have the week off together so I'll be posting intermittently because it's not often that I get all of this vacation time together with my husband. Are you planning anything special to ring in the New Year?
Last year I used another, similar pattern to make some simple felt stockings for the holiday. I was pleased with how they turned out. Trevor's is forrest green with a white trim and mine is the opposite. For a splash of color I cut our initials from red felt and attached them simply with a red-tipped pin. I like this idea of the punched details in these stockings. This is something I could easily add to the cuffs on ours. I can't wait to stuff them, I have some goodies up my sleeve. Trevor should be surprised on Christmas morning. Do you still hang stockings?
My sweet mother sent me a care package that included a touch of home for my tree. I remember the straw ornaments hanging nice and high on my family's tree; delicate ornaments far away from children's hands. Now I have some for my very own tree. (Just out of reach of a certain bulldog's mouth). I like building off of my family's traditions over the holidays. What is a tradition you carry on?
Christmas - check. Gnomes - check. Letterpress - check. Perfect! I was so delighted when my little eye spied this card. Two of my good friends dressed up as garden gnomes for halloween and this had their names written all over it. Plus, the card totally fell into my lap and was on sale to boot. Those are just a few things I can't pass by - perfect letterpress printed cards and those same cards on sale. My Christmas cards all made it into the mail, now it's time to finish the New Year's cards (no, I don't send two cards to everyone). Are you a Christmas card person?
While pulling into my driveway the other day I couldn't help but notice that we're one of the houses on the block with nary a holiday decoration on display. When I saw how easy it would be to create this swag of ornaments I was inspired. Now that we have a tree in the living room it's starting to feel like the holidays, we may as well show our spirit to the neighbors too. Do you decorate your home for the holidays?
I've been lazy - I still have packages to wrap up and ship out, not to mention cards to put in the mail. I thought I would have time until the mail man showed up super early today with a package. Guess I'll have to add the post office to my list of errands to run today. I do love the fact that I slept in today, glorious. Do you get a vacation?
Today we brought home our Christmas tree. At first I felt bad for not having a tree up, let alone any holiday decorations. When we got to the tree lot and only paid $15 for a $40 tree, I didn't mind so much. Having never purchased a tree that I can remember less is more with me. I used to love trudging out into the snow and sawing down a tree from my own back yard (a ten acre back yard, mind you). This year, thanks to my mom, I have a bunch of beautiful straw ornaments to add to the tree. Now, it's time for lights. When did you put up your tree?
I couldn't wait until my friend at work opened this gift. I really wanted to play and make a haiku, but once we rolled out all of the dice it was too overwhelming for a Friday afternoon. The brain drain of actually teaching curriculum on the last day of school before a break, while your colleagues play, is tiresome. Haikus will happen, just not on the first day. I think this is more of a guided zen poetry experience than a game, but so much fun nonetheless. I am so glad I can start revealing the sweet gifts I've found now that some have been given! What are you giving this year?
These shoes look like they are ready for a party. Now that school is finally out for the holidays, I too am ready for a party. I have to dress for my husband's holiday work party on Sunday and I'm actually not dreading it this year. I'm having fun dressing up this year and have found some great fun accessories. Not that I couldn't see adding some fantastic shoe clips to my wardrobe. Do you remember shoe clips?
A friend of mine is on his way to Australia & New Zealand. I am pretty envious of the adventure he is embarking upon, but will be happy to read all about his trek. This is a dream destination and I cannot wait to cross it off of my own list of places to see. Where would you love to travel to?
One year my brother got some coal in his stocking with a warning note from Santa. Really, we just crumbled up some charcoal briquettes and made it look like it had ridden on a sleigh. Would you put coal in anyone's stocking? Have you been good this year?
Wrapping up packages this year is so much fun. I got my hands on some fun Japanese washi tape and some other fun wrapping accessories and have been playing around with combinations to put smiles on everyone's faces. Ribbons, wrap and gift tags are right up my alley. Now all we need is a tree for some of these packages to rest under. I love giving beautiful gifts. What is your favorite part about receiving a gift?
While killing time at my conference, I stumbled upon these fantastic glittery revolvers. I knew that I wanted one on our Christmas tree this year. I know that people usually think of cowboy boots and hats and stars when they think of Texas, but I think of gunslingers. The tricky part is getting a replica of a revolver home with you on an airplane, you must check it in your luggage - even if it is made of foam and covered in glitter. What is your favorite Christmas ornament?
So, I go out of town and attend a teaching conference. They make us stay at a hotel that on Friday night becomes infested with children running up and down the hallways, jumping off of their beds, and landing heavily on the floor (the room above ours). No wonder I got sick. Traveling, surrounded by strangers, more germy children than you can imagine... figures. Can you tell this made me grouchy? Thank goodness I have a husband who is now experimenting with soup making. That was nice to come home to. How was your weekend?
While visiting Dallas for the first time I am sleeping in what amounts to a theme park. Our lobby has stuffed wolves looking down at you when you check in and there is also a water park and all kinds of attractions for children. I guess this could be fun, if I was a kid and I wasn't here for a conference across the street in the super fancy adult-themed hotel... I'll get over it.
Yesterday my husband cooked his first ever vegetarian entree. We had chickpea patties with cucumber yogurt sauce and they were excellent. I am so glad that he had fun cooking and that he too enjoyed our dinner. I am excited to eat more vegetarian options, especially when my husband is behind the idea too (he formerly thought that it wasn't dinner if there wasn't meat). Exploring vegetarian options will make dinner so much more fun. Are there any recipes we should try?
Odin has a new job around the house that he loves, he brings in the mail for us every day. You should see how proud a mail-carrying bulldog is to run in with magazines and bills. He's even good about not really biting into everything. I wonder what other useful household tasks we could teach this bulldog?
My room is an explosion of laundry. I can tell where my husband stands when he gets home from work every day because there is evidence of him shedding, just a pile of shirts ties, socks and pants. I think that he actually wears about 3 outfits a day - one for work, one for work-out, and one for sitting around. I don't mean to complain, but I hate laundry and it always seems to sneak up on me. Our house has a cycle and it is dirty once again. We kept it tidy for a while and then then laundry monster started to sneak in. How do you manage your clean house?
Yesterday we lost our dear dancing Fr. Rog. He touched and influenced countless lives of students at Seattle U and people all over. In one of his last letters to us all he reminded us to love ourselves and one another. His light, love and passion for life along with his affinity for movies and pop culture will be missed. I think we're all speculating on what his first dance moves in heaven would be.
Ever since we bought a huge tub of vanilla ice cream for Thanksgiving I've been indulging in a little every evening after dinner. Not the best habit to start in the evenings. Especially not the best habit considering all of the other holiday eating I will be doing to celebrate this December. I guess I'll just have to run a little further and take the bulldog on more walks. I do see myself scooping some of this creamy goodness into some hot coco. Do you have an evening indulgence?
Today is World Aids Day. The theme this year is universal access & human rights. Having known people living with AIDS, I see the education of the public and the world and access to medical care as an achievable goal. I'm usually not one to use my blog as a soapbox, so you can decide for yourself. Check out the website, learn something, and possibly make a donation.