Tuesday, November 22, 2022

10 On The 10th: November 2022

Welcome to "10 On The 10th" for November. November 10th was insane. I worked late so Dave and the kids picked me up at work on the way to dance. Rachel had two hours of dance class and it was parent viewing week.

First up was a bit of ballet in one studio...

Then some more ballet in a second studio. Rachel's dance bestie was watching while she waited for her turn at the barre.

Then there was some stretching for jazz...

And more stretching for jazz at the barre.

Sorry, I don't have more exciting photos from dance but I try not to show other kids on the blog, without their parents' permission. However, it was fun to watch what Rachel has been working on at the dance studio this year.

Dave and Sam left during the second hour of dance viewing to grab supper for all of us because half an hour after Rachel's dance ended, we had a high school visit for Sam on the other end of town. Yes, we are already at that point.
 
Sam enjoyed visiting this school and we'll see which one he ends up choosing. He is trying to decide  between three right now.
 
After being away from home for almost fourteen hours this day, I was very happy to crawl into bed at the end of it! Hopefully December 10th will be a little less insane :)

Monday, November 21, 2022

Hello Monday: The Weekend We Stayed Warm And Cozy

As has become my pattern in November, I'm once again linking up with Holly, who blogs at Pink Lady, and Sarah, who blogs at Sunshine And Books, for Hello Monday! Read on to hear all about the weekend we stayed warm and cozy (mostly!).

I got home on Friday afternoon and the fish we were supposed to cook for dinner was still frozen. So Dave and I walked (in a snow flurry) to get coffee, milk, and the cheese Advent calendar. Side note: The cheese Advent calendar I have discovered is this one and is it wrong to have a countdown to a countdown?!?!? I am so excited for the day I get to eat the first cheese from my Advent calendar!!!

Sadly our evening ran into a few snags when our favourite coffee shop only had coffee beans and not ground. Thankfully, the coffee bar attached to the shop was willing to grind all five of our bags for free. Dave also wiped out while we were walking home but thankfully the only thing he hurt was his pride. Yay winter.

I always feel so fancy when I put together a "meat and veggies" meal because we do it so rarely. We had broccoli, squash, and fried fish. Plus challah. Yum! Then we watched a Hallmark movie. We watched "Inventing The Christmas Prince" and the ending was so amazingly perfect that both Rachel and I were squealing with happiness! I really think you should watch it.
 
Saturday, I spent all day in my pajamas. Now I did have a shower in the middle of the day and changed into clean pajamas but it was a great day! I had a nap, watched a few more Hallmark movies (including "Christmas With The Darlings" which made me cry), did laundry, and ate chips with Sam on the couch.
 
Sam and I at various points this weekend. Notice the abundance of cozy blankets. Sam was fighting a cold most of the weekend, thus the sad face.

I asked Dave to get me flowers at the grocery store and he sent me pictures of options. Tulips were in abundance and I just about chose those but I decided those really need to be my post-holidays flower. So I chose alstromeria. Alstromerias might be my November flower, because clearly every month needs a flower!

After my complete and total laziness of Saturday, I decided to reintroduce myself to real clothes on Sunday and help with some shovelling.

Is it optimistic to hope that our above freezing temperatures later this week will melt our snow so I can do a final yard cleanup before our last yard waste day until spring on Friday?!?!? Don't answer that :) I need to get rid of the chrysanthemums and clean out the last flower bed. Hahaha!!!

Dave and I drove Rachel to dance and picked up her new dance sweater and some paint for her on the way.

Then we took in most of a local hockey game with our neighbourhood association. We left after the second period but our team was ahead 8-1.

Then I put my cozy outfit back on, watched a Hallmark movie ("Noel Next Door" -- surprisingly good and a little gritty for Hallmark, but in a good way), folded all the laundry, and made corn chowder for supper.

Rachel is still going strong on her CD painting endeavour, which she was inspired to embark on by an artist we met on the art walk a few months ago. I love Rachel's creativity.

Now that I've written this post, I'm going to continue to stay warm by crawling into bed. We put our flannel sheets on last week and reading in our warm, cozy, bed is an excellent way to end my evenings.

I hope you all had good weekends and feel ready for another week. I mean, I always wish I had an extra day or two every weekend but I definitely soaked up all the warm and cozy this past weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Monthly Musings: Holiday Prep

Since we're over halfway through November, I'm starting to get a little excited about the holiday season. Although December is going to be busy, I really do enjoy the traditions which I look forward to every year. And I love finding new things to do with my family. Today I'm linking up with Holly and Patty for their Monthly Musings and today it's all about Holiday Prep.

 

1) Favourite holiday traditions?

A new favourite tradition is drinking cranberry tea, eating Applesauce Jumbles, watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, and addressing our holiday cards.

If we are home for Christmas, and getting a live tree, I love picking it up at our neighbourhood Christmas party. Then on Christmas Eve, we've started celebrating Jólabókaflóð, the Icelandic tradition of getting a new book on Christmas Eve and reading until way too late. We also enjoy all the appetizers on Christmas Eve too, including fancy cheeses and meats.

For Channukah, ironically my favourite tradition is our church small group Channukah party. We weren't able to host it last year and I really hope we can make it work this year. Otherwise, I really enjoy lighting the candles on our two menorahs every night and finding ways to make each night special. Sometimes it's a big thing (like a present) and sometimes it's a small thing like drinking hot chocolate and reading Channukah stories. And I love that Dave fries the latkes outside on our griddle :) (This is may not be Dave's favourite Channukah tradition! Hahaha!)

I also love going to the lighting of the menorah in our public square.


2) What holidays do you celebrate?

Welcome to interfaith life -- we celebrate Channukah and Christmas!

3) How early do you shop?

It really depends. For the past few years I've taken a Friday off work and Dave and I try to get all our shopping done then. It's usually around the end of November. This year we bought some of our gifts as early as the first weekend in October. I'm not really sure when the rest of the shopping will happen... 

4) When do you decorate?

On the Thursday before the first Sunday of Advent our church has a midweek program where we have a chance to walk the labyrinth. After it's done, we help clean up the labyrinth and take home the greenery. I use it in my window boxes and to make our Advent wreath so I decorate outside that weekend. And then I usually finish the decorating around the first weekend in December. 

December 1 is also when I start playing Christmas carols and making my potpourri which simmers on our stove for most of December.  (See below for the potpourri recipe.)

Dave doesn't see the point in decorating for Channukah early so I usually decorate for that a few days before it begins. Since Channukah starts on Sunday, December 18th this year, I'll probably decorate the Friday before. Maybe the Thursday and maybe not until the Saturday...

  

5) Do you host any holiday festivities?

Normally we host our care group Channukah party every year. And we host my parents for Christmas some years.

6) Favourite holiday meals or recipes to share?

 

My favourite holiday recipe is the cranberry potpourri that simmers on our stove for most of December. I got this idea from a blog friend and it has been a December staple at our house ever since. It's basically a couple of orange slices, a handful of cranberries, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a sprinkling of whole cloves. Add water and simmer away, adding water as necessary. I mix up a new batch every couple of days.

7) Best holiday organization tips?

I don't have any. Hahaha!!!

 I guess I would say the real reason for the season (for Christmas, at least) is worth celebrating whether you have made all your holiday foods, participated in all of your holiday events, and decorated your house. In terms of Channukah, even if not every night is special, or the Channukah decorations are only half up, you can still light the candles every night and remember the miracle of the oil.

8) Gift wrapping? Love it or hate it?

Hate it with a passion. Dave does all the wrapping, or we use gift bags. Wrapping is the worst.

9) Holiday coffee drink? Yes please or hard pass?

 

That's a big yes, please!!! Last year my mom bought Kahlúa and it changed the way I drink coffee around the holidays. So yummy!!! The rest of you can have your Bailey's or whatever, I'm sticking with Kahlúa!

10) Are you a holiday baker? Recipes to share?

 

I love baking up a few batches of Jell-O cookies every year. I get brilliant colours with gel food colouring and make them yellow and blue for Channukah and a mix of red, green, and/or orange for Christmas. You can find the recipe here.

And of course, Holly's Applesauce Jumbles (recipe here) have become a staple of our holiday season. They're addictive!!!

 
So that's some of how we celebrate the holidays. This year is going to be especially crazy because Rachel has eight dance shows in eight days, Channukah is later this year (December 18 - 26), I work and the kids have school until December 23, and I'm super excited we're celebrating with my parents in Saskatchewan but that means getting ready to travel too. I'm off to read the other posts in the link up and soak up some more of the November calm before the December insanity hits :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Hello Monday (On A Tuesday)! The Weekend Winter Caught Us By Surprise

Hopefully it's okay that I'm linking up with Hello Monday! on a Tuesday. I was just too lazy on Sunday night to get this post written in time for yesterday morning. So now I'm writing it on my lunch break at work on Monday. As always, I'm linking up with Holly, who blogs at Pink Lady, and Sarah, who blogs at Sunshine And Books.

I actually got home a little early (like 5 minutes - ha!) on Friday afternoon. Dave was working out of town for the day and the kids stayed after school to play with friends. It felt so odd to have the house to myself. I baked the first Applesauce Jumbles of the season, made cranberry tea, and by the time the kids got home, we were ready to settle in to an evening of Hallmark movie watching and good eating! I also got all the laundry folded which is in itself a miracle :)


On Saturday morning we were supposed to have family photos taken, as well as get our flu shots. However, our photographer had to cancel last minute because she was sick. So we cancelled our flu shots too and had a lazy morning at home. I had a nap and finally put together my Lego set that I bought at The Lego House in Denmark this past summer.


Now I have tulips to last me all year round! Hahaha! 
 


Dave took Rachel to dance and then went grocery shopping. Sam and I walked to a little shopping area near us so he could spend some Bar Mitzvah gift cards. I bought a new mat for our back door. Slothy (pronounced "sloth-ie", and yes, Rachel named our door mat) was getting a little worn out. You can see Slothy when he was brand new here. And yes, we've named this mat "Beary." Also, yes, I've warned Dave that we've now entered the era of seasonal door mats! I also bought the spatula pictured above. I saw it on the store's Instagram account and instantly wanted it. I figure it will add some colour and fun to my baking until February, at least! Plus, it made me happy :)
 
In the realm of November bringing all the joy and comfort, I asked Dave to pick up some flowers at the grocery store. He got a beautiful bouquet and I especially love the lisianthus.


Flurries started falling on Saturday afternoon so I mixed up another batch of cranberry tea and this time I added a shot of Fireball Whiskey. Delicious!!! We watched another Hallmark movie ('tis the season!) and I went to bed early.

This is what we woke up to on Sunday morning. The snow was starting to stick.

Dave and I discovered that in our eagerness to clean out the garage over the summer, we somehow got rid of all our snow brushes. Thus, after using his gloves to brush off the car (NOT EFFICIENT NOR RECOMMENDED!!!), we made an emergency walk to Wal-Mart to get some more. We dropped the kids off at Sunday School and discovered a back way to walk to Wal-Mart from church. It was snowy, but also sunny, which is why we are squinting.

After church, Rachel had dance and a birthday party. I got another load of laundry folded and, once again, our laundry baskets are all empty. Whoooo hoooo!!!

And we got more snow. Where is it coming from??? Please note that three days ago, we were wearing t-shirts, which yes, is unusual for November, but I really wasn't prepared for this.

I had laundry folding music going and, even after I was done, I had the songs in my head so I was singing loudly and Rachel was attempting to eat a quick lunch in peace and quiet. Sam just sat on the couch and endured my loudness. My laundry folding songs were this one and this one

Since Rachel was gone for most of the afternoon, the house was very quiet (once I stopped singing, that is!) and Dave and I finally got some artwork hung! We hung the art from our trip this summer on our travel wall. You can see the bottom two paintings on the right.

We also hung the artwork we bought at the art walk in early October. I'd been admiring these paintings for a few years and I'm so happy to have them on our walls.

Supper was a bit of a hodgepodge as we wanted to use some things up. We had top a potato with beans on the side. The beans made it feel vaguely British for me. And I made up a hot drink using some leftover apple juice, some cranberry juice, and some cinnamon. It probably would have been tastier with Fireball! Hahaha!

So that was the weekend where winter (okay, snow) caught us off guard, and we had a lot of cozy time getting things done at home. And now I'm off to read the rest of the "Hello Monday!" posts. Happy Tuesday :)