Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas is about the memories

Driving home from my second (of three) church services today I started thinking about memories from Christmas.  I heard somebody say once, you aren’t planning a wedding, you’re planning the memory of a wedding.  I think many holidays and special events are like that.  Sure, live in the moment, all that jazz, but honestly, that’s for the day to day.  Holidays are for the memory making, right?  I turned down a Christmas Day gig because I wanted my Christmas Day memory to be of waking up next to my husband and hanging out with him all day long.  I can work any day.

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(I wanted this to be on our Christmas card, since it’s a Christmas themed photo, but somebody vetoes it.)

Memories from childhood

Singing around the piano

Loading up the car and driving to PA and OH. 

Grandma Miller trying to give us bags of sandwiches and Mom trying to get her to not bother.  Us eating those sandwiches in the car AND stopping for lunch.

Playing endless games—Acquire, Rook, Pit, Dutch Blitz, Monopoly

Playing violin duets with Leslie—for the family, for the church, for ourselves (Christmas Trio and the medley, need I say more?)

Eating so many cookies and candy in Ohio one year that I had to throw up…in the kitchen sink.  Gosh, I remember I felt better after that!

Ice skating, playing in the snow, having fun with siblings and cousins

Date pudding and 7 layer salad

Leslie crying over her presents when she didn’t like them (I probably did this too, but that’s not MY memory) 😉

Memories from a little bit older:

Coming home to see how much Carrie had grown

Dad joking (I think) that we should just keep all the presents wrapped and save them for next year

Cheese grits and cinnamon rolls

Being up late playing violin at various church services

Spending my first Christmas NOT with my immediate family.  That was really the point I realized I was an adult, and my siblings too—when we started spending Christmas elsewhere—like we are again this Christmas

Getting snowed in on Long Island and driving overnight from New York to St Louis in an overpacked Honda Fit with two of our best friends.

Losing my grandfather to pancreatic cancer (not all the memories here are happy ones, but I can be grateful for the happy memories of him from all the years before—I can’t think about past Christmases without thinking of him though.)

Interesting fact:  I never believed in Santa.  No one in our family ever did.  I was probably that kid who ruined it for the other kids…I didn’t realize until I was older that there were actually kids who believed in Santa—I assumed it was all a facade.

Anyway, thanks for reading my blog today, yesterday, in the past, and in the future!  Merry Christmas to you!

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Everybody needs a little Caturday

I have a busy day ahead, but I thought I’d pop in for a quick Caturday post, since it’s been awhile.

I know, I know.  Regular readers know that technically in my world, every day is Caturday.  Some people I meet in real life are surprised to learn I actually only “own” one cat.  (Does anyone really “own” a cat?)

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I love the “no arms and legs” look.  WHO SET THAT CAT DOWN HERE?

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This was a funny picture to me because I feel like she should take up more room on the chair than she does.  Odd, right?

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This is Albergo, my sister’s cat.  He is in a box. She sent that to me with the caption “First I had a box.  Then I had a cat.”

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And this is not a cat at all, but our Christmas Tree.  We decorated it last night.  I loved coming downstairs this morning and seeing it again!

I’ll leave you today with this picture that made me giggle.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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We went to Home Depot yesterday to get our tree! (This has become our tradition.)

From that blog post:

“Three years ago my sister Leslie was visiting and we decided to decorate the tree with her (Leslie and I enjoy it much more than Chris does.)  We went to Home Depot for the tree, and as the man finished loading it on top of the car, Chris tried to tip him.  He backed away, wildly, saying loudly, “no thank you, sir!  no thank you!”  We realized that it must be against store policy and he must not have wanted to get in trouble, but joked about it for awhile, ultimately having the story end with the man yelling, very politely, “SCREW YOU SIR!”

Well.  Yesterday for the first time since we’ve moved here, that dear man wasn’t working.  Home Depot was a bit understaffed (the staff was great and polite and helpful, there just weren’t very many of them so we had to wait.)  And the funniest/worst part was at the end, after tying our car on the tree, the man went to shake Chris’s hand, and I could tell he thought Chris was going to tip him.  And of course Chris WASN’T because of our previous experience—in fact, we had come from a three  mile run and neither of us even had any cash!  We felt bad.

So who knows the deal: do you tip Home Depot employees?  Or did I misinterpret the man’s actions yesterday and he wasn’t hoping for a tip?  Did we just get a particularly virtuous employee that first time?

Nonetheless, our tree looks wonderful.  It’s huge and smells terrific.  We are just letting it settle for now and we will decorate later today and tomorrow. 

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Since we now have a bit of railing to decorate, I picked up a nice “pre-lit” garland from Target.  Chris surprised me by putting it up while I was teaching the other day.

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Kitty loves the tree skirt.  “Finally you put a soft blanket down in this corner!”

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Have you been watching “Hobbit Week” on the Colbert Report?  We’ve been doing so obsessively.  In one week we will have already seen the movie (midnight showing, baby!).  I thought I’d reread it so I started the other night after I finished “Wings of the Divided.”  I’m more than a third way in so I’m ready for the first movie already 😉

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Another toe picture.  The other week I bought these amazing black running/workout capris at Target.  I absolutely love them and would wear them all the time, but I hate to rewear pants after a workout, so I really only wear them once or twice a week.  I finally figured, hey, it would be smart of me to get another pair.  Of course they didn’t have them, but they did have a very similar pair in grey, so I bought those (sorry, Tyra!).  I noticed that they matched my big toe.  Gross and awesome, right?  And that baby is still attached.  I tried to make Chris tell me if he thought it would come off but he didn’t want to humor me and look at my toe too closely.  I guess I should try to maintain more mystique in our relationship?

Last but not least:  Tomorrow is our hilarious and ridiculous Metro Link “Concert.”  There is a great write up in the Post-Dispatch about the show.

edited to add:  The St Louis Beacon had a nice article about Chamber Project St Louis as well.

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I promise I won’t use that graphic again, but not everybody reads everyday! 

So, should we have tried to tip at the Home Depot?  Personal experiences to share?

Holiday entertaining is delightful

The past few years I’ve been hosting a “Cookie Swap Party” but this year I figured, you know, I’ve got enough on my plate with Thanksgiving, I don’t think I’m going to host a party.  Plus I shouldn’t have all those cookies around the house anyway, what with my constant complaining of wanting to lose 10 (now 20) pounds. 

But yet…

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This was so much fun.

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And I love making these guys to snack on…

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Tri-color cookies.  I made these last year for Chris…I may make them again because I think I’m starting to love them as much as he does and my mouth is watering just looking at them.

I like making cookies.  And more to the point, Chris and I LOVE eating cookies.  I can also be fairly reasonable with cookies, and just because I’ll have some on hand this year, it doesn’t mean I have to eat a whole bunch of them everyday.  I am an adult and I have self control.

Besides, I’ve finally jumped on the “Pinterest” bandwagon, and I was pinning recipes and holiday party ideas like a madman last night (Come follow me!!!) 

That’s right, I’ve definitely decided to throw the Cookie Swap Party in about two weeks.  After all, it’s not hard to throw together (for someone awesome like me who really does love entertaining even with all the stress) and I know I’m going to make cookies ANYWAY so I might as well do the swap and get a bunch of great cookies from friends. 

After all, Thanksgiving is over, and I’ve finally caught up on my sleep. (I may have been having trouble sleeping for a few days due to the stress.) There’s four more weeks till Christmas (give or take) and that seems like a long time.  Plus this year I finally have a great house for entertaining and I want to show it off.

Here’s one of my favorite Christmas cookies recipes.  In case you didn’t get enough butter on Thanksgiving.  (Oh, and yes, of course, the fridge is still packed full of leftovers.)

Jam Filled Butter Cookies (from allrecipes.com, modified), pictured in the background behind the Hershey Kiss Cookies.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

4 egg yolks

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with ½ teaspoon of preserves (I usually use a ziploc bag and cut off the corner to make this easier).

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

(If you make these, you are welcome to send me a batch for Christmas.)

What’s your favorite cookie to make?

Did you enter my giveaway for a free book?  I think you’ll enjoy it—go sign up!

Christmas fails and wins

Fail: Remember my reservation I made for Eau Bistro?  Evidently they made it for Cafe Eau when I called.  We showed up at noon, and no record of our reservation.  I was flipping out, and they said, oh, did you make it for Cafe Eau by accident?  Well, I know that I didn’t…but that doesn’t mean that whatever idiot I spoke to on the phone didn’t.  Considering we are having our rehearsal dinner at Eau Bistro, I’m pretty sure I know the difference between the two restaurants.  Yup.  Luckily while we were making a fuss to the hostess (I hate doing this but I also knew I was in the right here) the manager happened to overhear (one hour wait, we were told, and then maybe we’d get a table…when we made a reservation weeks ago!) and we were squeezed in.  The food was great though, and we enjoyed the meal after our initial fiasco.  Lesson learned:  double check reservations!

Fail:  we decided to go see a 2:30 showing of Sherlock Holmes.  Oops.  Sold out right before we had a chance to buy tickets.  And then there wasn’t another decent movie showing for 2 more hours, so we just went home.  I don’t understand why a movie theater would have no showings between 2:30 and 4:30 when it has tons of screens.  Seems weird.

Win:  We did a ton of cleaning.  Went through a closet, found stuff we had totally forgotten even owning, and managed to make enough room to put some stuff in there we needed to store!  Now the middle room has LESS boxes of wedding gifts.  Sometimes I feel like we have too much stuff, but I think really we just need more cupboards.  Or need to get rid of the crappy stuff. 

Win:  Lots of good movies on television:  Home Alone, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and later, Elf.  We also got the Hangover II on demand for later tonight. 

Win:  Dinner will be salad and cookies!  Salad to feel healthy, and cookies because there are tons on hand.  Our next door neighbors gave us a plate of cookies this morning!  We might open up a bottle of wine too.

Win:  Not having to travel!  And getting a whole day to relax with Chris.  We ended up doing quite a bit of cleaning, but overall it has been fabulously relaxing. 

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Fail:  Not having anybody else around to take our picture!  Or asking anyone at the restaurant. 

Win:  We’ll have plenty of pictures taken of us next weekend.  In case you are new, I am getting married in ONE WEEK.  If you are not new, I’m sorry.  I’m just really excited (as I should be, so please don’t mind.)  We’ve been making lists of everything left to do!

Win:  Family and friends start arriving Thursday for the wedding.  I am so excited to see the out of town people!  Of course I’m excited to see the in town people as well, but I see them more often 😉

How has your Christmas been?

Here’s a "wordle" I made today from my blog.

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Merry Christmas!

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I hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones, no matter what you celebrate! 

We are going to a lovely brunch and then to see either Mission Impossible or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 

I’m writing this the night before, though.  It’s 8:23 pm and we are watching Forrest Gump, Rocky III and A Christmas Story (yes, all three, Chris keeps switching back and forth) while I am catching up on my blog reading.  In about an hour I’m off to work—11 pm service for Christmas Eve with 10:30 prelude.  I invited Chris to come but he is probably in for the night.  Hopefully we can relax on Christmas Day and not worry about wedding planning until Monday…hahahahahaha!