Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What's Up Wednesday, November 2022 Edition


I have been a total slacker on posting this month, but I didn't want to miss What's Up Wednesday with Sheaffer and Shay. I may not have a lot to say recently, but I figure some effort is better than none and the writing prompts from the link-up help me focus. I'm weird like that.

What I've Been Eating

Thanksgiving is the Olympics of the culinary world and I went all out again this year: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, creamed corn, rolls, pumpkin pie, and charcuterie for daaaays. I medaled in gluttony and it was a thing of glory. Then, because one cannot live on turkey leftovers alone; we hit the Chinese restaurant in Hooterville for my birthday dinner last night.

I have no regrets.

What I'm Reminiscing About

I'm not really reminiscing about anything currently. I'm making an effort to live in the moment.

What I'm Loving

The Man-Cub, Shanti, and I took the dogs to the local pet store for pictures with Santa. Boomer and Jade did such a good job! The pictures are priceless.

What I've Been Up To

Mom, the Newlyweds, and I took a charcuterie class this month. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon and we learned some new tips and tricks for creating a good looking board. We also got to sample some local cheese, meats, jams, and something called chow-chow, which I had never heard of before but of which I am now a fan.

What I've Been Working On

The day after Thanksgiving, I started decorating the house for Christmas. It seems to be taking a lot longer than in past years; I might be getting slow in my older age. At the moment, the tree is 3/4 of the way complete, the mantle is done, the village is up, and the fresh evergreen garland is in place on the porch. Still to do: holiday sheets and bedding on the guest room beds, lights on the exterior of the house, blow molds on the porch and lawn, and the rest of the porch decorations to do. It feels slightly overwhelming, truth be told. But, I'll manage it. I always do.

What I'm Dreading 

I have an eye exam scheduled next week. I haven't had one in years and I am dreading the dilation process and that thing they do when they blow a puff of air right into your cornea.

What I'm Excited About

We did our Christmas card photo on Thanksgiving day and ordered the cards that night. The theme for the card is something that I have dreamed of doing for years and the dream finally came to fruition. I cannot wait to get them!

What I'm Watching

Christmas shows have already featured heavily in my television watching rotation. I actually subscribed to HBO Max for a month just to watch A Christmas Story Christmas (excellent! Did not disappoint!). I started a three month trial of Apple TV just to watch Spirited (also excellent!). I made good use of Disney + to watch the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (awesome! Hilarious!), and I caught what is, without a doubt, the cutest Hallmark movie ever made: Three Wise Men and a Baby.

Reading/Listening To

I haven't been reading much lately, especially blogs, which are rife with gift guides this time of year (no judgement to the bloggers making a buck off the affiliate links, I am just easily influenced and don't need the temptation). 

As for what I am listening to; I tuned the Sirius radio station in the car to the Hallmark music channel the day after Thanksgiving. This is becoming a tradition for me and people who ride with me just have to suck it up and endure (I'm looking at you Hugh).

What I'm Wearing

Nothing exciting to report on this front. I am still a fan of anything comfortable, and, after the Thanksgiving Turkey Eating Marathon*, stretchy waistbands are high on my list of priorities. Perhaps you can relate.

*Turkey Eating Marathon not to be confused with a Turkey Trot, which is something that will never feature on my Thanksgiving Day. In fact, at the dinner table, my children agreed that, should they ever marry into a Turkey Trot family, they will voluntarily resign from the family. Thankfully, Shanti agreed wholeheartedly with this stance; her family is also anti-Turkey Trot. She's a keeper.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Hugh has a wrestling assignment in Utah, so I am going to take the seniors to our local community theater for a matinee presentation of Miracle on 34th Street. The classic movie is one of Emily's favorites, so I thought it would be fun to invite her and Oscar to go. It only made sense to invite Mom as well, so, it'll just be the four of us. We may hit Denny's after the play; we can take advantage of both the early bird special and their AARP cards.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

Obviously the correct answer to this is Christmas! Queen B will be home for two weeks, my niece, nephew, and great-niece will be here, and we have a lot of fun things planned. 

Favorite Amazon Find This Month

These battery-operated, remote controlled candles clip to the tree. They have a timer so I don't ever have to bother with turning them on and off. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Another Trip Around the Sun

Today is my birthday and I am celebrating by taking half the day off. I've already had a massage, been gifted a new wine fridge (Hugh) and a GINORMOUS basket of charcuterie accoutrement (thank you, awesome staff at Not So New Job!), and I have dinner at the Chinese restaurant in Hooterville to look forward to; this is exciting news because they haven't had in-room dinning since 2020 and I have missed enjoying a huge pupu platter served on a revolving lazy Susan. It's the little things in life that matter.

Speaking of the things that make life great; our Thanksgiving celebration was one for the books. Queen B flew in on Wednesday, we dined like kings on Thursday, decorated the house on Friday, whipped up a hell of a cocoa bar on Saturday, and kissed her goodbye at the airport on Sunday. It was a whirlwind visit, but, she'll be back for an extended stay closer to Christmas.

In addition to Queen B, we were blessed to have the Man-Cub, Shanti, Mom, Oscar, and Emily all around our table. We then forced them to participate in a photo shoot for our annual Christmas card, but that is a post for another day, suffice it to say: it's going to be epic and we could not have done it without all hands on deck...even the slightly less enthusiastic hands (Emily, I'm looking at you).

With the exception of that holiday shoot, I was completely remiss in the picture department. I did take a few of our table and a couple of Queen B, but otherwise, I sucked. In my defense, I was present and in the moment with my family, so I really can't complain.

Anyhoodle, I leave you with this paltry photographic offering; I am off to slap a bunch of magnetic reflective Christmas lights, antlers, a red nose, and a deer tail on my Tahoe.

Tis the season!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Weekend Wrap-up

 I just love it when I actually have something to write about, and; this weekend provided several fun events that are worthy of documentation.

Saturday morning, The Man-Cub, Shanti, and I took the dogs to a local pet store for pictures with Santa. I had seen the event advertised and knew that we would want to go as early as possible to avoid waiting in line with two inpatient canines, so, we made sure to be at the store just as the line was opening.

Both dogs did a great job, and, while we do have to wait until the 24th to actually download the photos; I have a feeling we got some winners. Since they were so well behaved, they each got a frosted cookie from The Barkery (ha! Love that play on words!).

On Sunday afternoon, Mom and I joined The Newlyweds at a charcuterie class in Pixler. We learned some new techniques, sipped on some wine, visited with the other students in the sold-out class, and got to take home the board that we each created. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and, while I already felt pretty good about my charcuterie talents; one is never too good to learn something new.

Also, I'm doing my best to make sure that Mom doesn't regret her decision to move to Hooterville. So far, so good!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Monthly Musings, November 2022 Edition


Back in the heyday of blogging, the OG bloggers challenged themselves to write a post a day for the entire month; they called it NaBloPoMo, which is short for National Blog Post Month. I never participated in the challenge, and, if this month is any indication, I could totally start a new trend, entitled NONaBloPoMo. Seriously. I am sucking air on the posting this month.

 Anyhoodle, I am posting today, and, I'm linking up with Holly and Patty to do so. Thank goodness for these ladies and their writing prompts or this space would remain blank again today. The topic up for discussion is Holiday Prep.

1. Our favorite holiday traditions have changed a bit over the years, as the kids grew up, but; we still try to keep some alive. For instance, we decorate a gingerbread house most years, we still open new pajamas on Christmas Eve, we decorate cookies and make my Dad's favorite popcorn balls most years, and we watch Christmas Vacation on repeat.

We did start what could become a new tradition last year, when we held a holiday cocktail contest. It was a hit, and we might try it again this year.

2. We celebrate Christmas exclusively. My husband was raised in a non-practicing Jewish family who always had a Christmas tree, so he was used to celebrating that way. When we got married, he took the classes required to wed in our family church and has been a non-practicing Catholic ever since.

3. I usually start shopping casually in October. As the kids have gotten older, gifts have become less of a priority around the holiday and time spent together has taken the top spot. I'm thinking that we will probably start planning a big trip in lieu of presents. At least until they get married and we start getting some grandbabies, anyway (no pressure, kids! Just sayin'!).

4. Depending on the year, I start decorating as early as the first of November; this has usually been when we were traveling out of town for Thanksgiving. On years that we were staying home, I would start the decorating on Thanksgiving evening, once the last of the dinner dishes were cleared and cleaned. 

We aren't traveling this year, but I did go ahead and put up my Christmas village already. It will be joined by a multitude of both indoor and outdoor decorations as the weeks go on, including displays of my beloved vintage blow molds and the amazing popcorn garland that Hugh made for me last year.

5. I do a lot of hosting during the holidays. This year, I will be hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. I might also throw a New Year's Eve party, depending on how many of our friends are available to attend this year.

6. I have a ton of recipes for holiday treats, so many, in fact, that I dedicated an entire month of this blog to them back in December of 2011. Feel free to visit those pages if you like.

7. I used to be fantastically well organized when it came to the holidays; with small kids, I think you have to be. I am less and less regimented these days, but, can echo numerous other posters who recommend making lists. It is also tremendously helpful to have a staging area for the holiday somewhere in your home, if you have the space. I utilize my office/craft room for this purpose, so, this time of year; it looks as though it was hit by a very festive tornado.

8. I do the majority of my gift wrapping in the office/craft room/tornado zone. This is part of the staging that I mentioned in the previous question. Having all of my paper, tape, tags, ribbons, and bows together in one dedicated space makes it much easier to wrap gifts as I purchase them. Does making it easier make me enjoy it more? Add a glass of wine and some Christmas tunes on the record player and, yes, yes it does.

9. I don't really have a favorite holiday coffee drink that I love, but, I wouldn't turn down a peppermint latte, so, no hard pass on this one, exactly.

10. Holiday baking runs in my blood (see December 2011 for proof).

Well, this has been fun! It's one of probably five posts I'll manage this month, so hopefully it wasn't a total bore to read.