Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I've been taking a break from the blogosphere this week and last, but I wanted to do one last post this year to wish everyone who reads this a Happy New Year. I hope that 2009 will be a fantastic year for you. I'll be back to reading blogs and posting on my own next week. I hope your new year gets off to a great start--fresh beginnings and the start of new things are the best!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Even though I'd like to write about our fun, snowed-in weekend in Boston a few days ago, there's no way I'm going to have enough time to do that today or in the following days, so this fun little Christmas tag that most of you have probably either seen or done will have to suffice for now! I sincerely wish you and your family the Merriest of Christmases during this special time of year. See you in a few weeks!

1.) Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper

2.) Real tree or artificial? Real

3.) When do you put up the tree? The first Saturday in December

4.) When do you take the tree down? By the weekend after New Year's

5.) Do you like eggnog? Mmmmm, yes!

6.) Favorite gift received as a child? This probably wasn't my very favorite, but my most memorable gift was when I got a desk for my room in 5th grade. It was much bigger than any of the other presents that Christmas morning, which made me feel totally triumphant over my siblings. : )

7.) Hardest person to buy for? My parents-in-law

8.) Easiest person to buy for? Peter. All he ever really wants are books and Lindt chocolate truffles.

9.) Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, four of them

10.) Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail

11.) Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A red knit classic "Christmas sweater," complete with a white pom-pom tail on the back of it.

12.) Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life

13.) When do you start shopping for Christmas? Late October/early November

14.) Have you ever recycled a Christmas gift? Possibly, when I was younger and poorer.

15.) Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Homemade cake truffles from Kate's Cakes in Granby, CT

16.) White Lights or Colored Lights on the tree? White

17.) Favorite Christmas song? I like most of the Christmas songs. One of my favorite religious songs is "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," and one of my favorite fun songs is "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas."

18.) Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home

19.) Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, usually, unless I'm having an early-onset senior moment.

20.) Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

21.) Open presents Christmas morning? Of course!

22.) Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Consumerism that becomes the focus rather than what should really be the focus.

23.) Favorite ornament, theme or color? I'm a traditionalist, so red, white, green, gold, and everything classic.

24.) Favorite part of Christmas dinner? Our tradition is to have a nice dinner for the two of us on Christmas Eve. Peter makes prime rib and delicious side dishes. It's wonderful!

25.) What do you want this Christmas? To see Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker." I got it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Funny Holiday Finds

I get a lot of e-mails and catalogs from companies and businesses that want to sell me their stuff. (Perhaps you're familiar with this daily fact of life?) One of the few perks of this is that it can be a riot to see the funny things that people have come up with. The following are a few of my recent amusing holiday-related finds...

These e-cards from Daily Candy are hilarious! These are my faves:

If you're looking for a unique, creative gift, how about a journal made from Elephant Poo? Yes, this is for real, and it's brought to you by the creative folks at Uncommon Goods. As it says on the website, "this is a stinkin' good idea." Click on the link to read the very funny description and to discover how the poo gets turned into paper. I like elephants and I support buying recycled products, but....if someone were to give me this my first thought would be that they must not like me very much.

And last but not least, here are some snappy little gift tags from Pretty Bitter.

It says: "Sorry, this is the best I could do."

"Sorry, but this is all I could afford. I hope you got me something better." Ha ha! If that's not what the true Christmas spirit is all about then I don't know what is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree (with a 3-year-old!)

1. First, find a good place to put your tree. This year we put the tree in the back of the living room instead of the front. Here it is the day we got it (Saturday, December 6th) after we set it up in the stand. Make sure you water it ASAP and keep watering it daily or it will get its revenge by dying an early death.

2. Trick your child into thinking that he is magic and can turn the lights on and off by blowing on them as if they were birthday candles. John totally thought he had this power. He had no idea that Peter was controlling it behind him. It was so funny!

3. Have your husband string up the lights. This year it's his turn to choose the color of the lights. Peter likes colored, and I like white. So here he is putting up his colored lights.

Trying to decide if the bear or the star should hold the place of honor on top of the tree. The star won, but only because it lights up and the bear doesn't.

4. Because the lights take awhile to string up, decorate with ornaments the next night. Try to get a cute, perfect picture of your kid in front of the tree, which proves to be impossible.

5. Enjoy the finished product:

I'm happy with the tree, although it isn't decorated as nicely as some of our past Christmas trees. I didn't bother putting on things like tinsel this year. I just don't feel as festive as usual. Plus it has those blasted colored lights instead of the elegant white ones.

To make up for my Scrooginess, here are some of my favorite ornaments.

My beloved childhood Strawberry Shortcake ornament from the '80s:

Our 1st Christmas, 2002

My mom got me this when I was pregnant with John in 2004. They were all out of blondes, so she got the brunette and had it personalized with his name and the year.

My dog needed her own ornament

Year-long loyal Red Sox fans show their love with things like this:

My seashell angel, bought at a shop in Hyannis, Massachusetts during one of our annual summer vacations to Cape Cod.

I hope you're all having a nice Christmas season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to Choose a Christmas Tree

1. Find a good place to get it. We go to our town's Volunteer Fire Department and buy a tree (and a wreath and poinsettias) from their sale, which benefits them directly. Plus, the guys who work there are pretty cute. Not that I'm paying any attention to that fact or anything!

2. When you find a tree that you like, size it up and envision the probability of it fitting well (or not) in your house.

3. Shake the tree to see if a lot of pine needles fall off. If they do, don't get it! (We didn't do this little test last year. It proved to be a big mistake. Our tree died about a week after we got it!) If not a lot of needles fall off, the tree is probably healthy and strong. The tree below passed the test and is the one we ended up choosing.

4. Let your kid "help out" (i.e., crawl in between the trees to hide, run around, and generally have a blast!).

5. Once the tree arrives at your house and is still laying horizontally on the ground, all netted up, let the above-mentioned child get a head start on the decorating.

Next in this continuing miniseries: How to Decorate a Christmas Tree. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fall Foliage Memories

Now that it looks like THIS outside:

...I figured it was a good time to post some of my favorite fall foliage pictures that I meant to put on my blog last month. Hey, it's not officially winter yet, so it's not too late! We had an amazing foliage season in New England this year. Everyone seemed a little stunned by just how beautiful it was. My humble pictures can't do it justice, but they give a little taste of what it was like around here in Connecticut for a few glorious weeks in October.

This was the view up ahead when turning into our neighborhood and driving up the street.

The flaming orange/red tree in the center of the picture caught my eye.

(This beautiful picture of John was taken and edited by my friend Alyson.)

A walk in the woods

At the playground near our house

Trees in our neighborhood

One downfall of fall (no pun intended): All of the raking

It was such a beautiful fall. I'm looking forward to another one next year. In the meantime, on to winter!