Monday, November 30, 2009

Too soon. Too soon. Too soon. Okay, now.

It feels like it was just last week that people were putting up and turning on their Christmas lights and I was saying, "Too soon!" But now, it's the last day of November already. Hubby and Little Mister have had their birthdays, the house is decorated, Santa parades have begun and ended, and December starts tomorrow.

Too soon!

I like the lingering lead up to Christmas. I don't like it to be too drawn out, but I like to take my time approaching it. And already we're into discount sales on Christmas decorations. Why so soon? Do they need the space for Valentine's Day already? Seriously.

I do have some Christmas shopping done. Hubby is partially bought for, as are his mother and one of my sisters. And our cards are done (thank you Vistaprint and half off photo cards and free shipping).

I guess I'm fine with the passage of time. Though the office Christmas party is this week already. That feels soon. But it's always in early December, so I suppose it's not.

I think I just need to spend some time focused on what is important. Advent isn't something I grew up with, but I really appreciate it. I need to spend time on it, though. Contemplation doesn't just happen, and it isn't my strong suit. Quiet reflection and meditation are something I aspire to, rather than accomplish, it seems.

The Little Miss always wants to go looking at Christmas lights, and thus far we've been a little disappointed. I guess we were early on that. I'm ready for them now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Need a Snow Day?

Yes, it's a mindless timesuck, but I've enjoyed making cyber snowflakes for years now. Fun fun fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cookie creation

I bought some flavoured oils a couple of weeks ago and have been wanting to play with them. Spearmint oil, cinnamon oil and orange oil (plus apple and amaretto flavourings). Today I was in the mood to make shortbread, and decided it would be a good time to play. Here is the result...

Orange Cinnamon Shortbread

1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp orange oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon oil
2 C all purpose flour

Cream together the butter, sugar and oils. Add the flour and mix to combine. If it's too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time to bring it almost together.

Form the dough into a ball with your hands and roll out to 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes (I used small Christmas ornament cookie cutters).

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, until the bottoms are light brown. Cool on racks.

Makes about 60 small cookies

~ I decorated mine by mixing some paste food colouring with a splash of cream and painting it on the unbaked cookies. Then I sprinkled them with some coloured sugar and baked them. ~

(I make no apologies for the quality of the picture. I'm a blogger, not a photographer. LOL)

Need more books

I was lamenting on a message board last week that our son, who will be 5 in just under a week, has been reading since he was 2 or so. Why lamenting? He's self taught and quite good at it. But he's young, and I was concerned that his ability to read and his maturity were not meshing. He could read longer books, but lacked the maturity to sit long enough to do so.

Fast forward to two nights ago. Hubby went out and the three of us sat down to read. The Little Mister went to the bookshelf and grabbed a level 3 reader (grades 2-4 chapter book with about 60 pages) and said that he was going to read it to us. And he did. He was so proud of himself that last night he read it again for Daddy and then grabbed another one and read it too. We only have a few at this level. I think a library trip is in order. It's like someone flipped a switch and suddenly he's able to sit read these books. I'm so proud of him!

Thankfully there is a book depot in town that has a huge half price sale right after Christmas. The books are already at wholesale prices, and last year we brought home so many! I foresee bringing home many more this year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More weather wonk

Okay, so summer was cooler than usual. And the peak of autumn colour has already passed us by. Usually we're just hitting it now. And today it's 16C at 9:30am. It should be around 6C or so (that's about 61 and 43 degrees American respectively). Very weird.

Though if I can find batteries for the camera, I hope the weather will afford me a chance to catch some great pics of the kids playing outside that I can use for our Christmas card this year. There's a great offer at for half price photo cards and free shipping. Definitely worth doing. If only I could find batteries.

Speaking of going outside with the kids, I think today we'll do a little nature walk. Collecting leaves and sticks and such and sticking them on some paper. Kind of a way to capture a little of the autumn before the snow flies.

Which I hope isn't too far off. It's harder to get into the Christmas mood when it's mild out. I like snow for Christmas time. Either way, though, it's coming. Hubby put the lights up on the house yesterday (again taking advantage of the mild weather). We won't turn them on until first Advent or so (last Sunday in November). Unlike about a dozen or so houses in the neighbourhood. Too soon. Then again, some stores are already playing Christmas music. Way too soon!

But, in the spirit of the (baking) season, I did buy some candied fruit last night. Not that hubby eats anything with it, but I do. I'm one of those who likes Christmas fruit cakes. Very much. Not the marzipan topped ones, mind you. Just the plain ones. Yum. I won't be making fruit cake (I don't think), but I do want to make some fruited yeast bread, and maybe some cannoli cookies. Mmmmm

Monday, November 2, 2009

Moving at the speed of...

I don't know what it is about this year, but everyone is saying the same thing - it's going by really quickly! The last time I checked, I was looking forward to the food festival and harvest festival. I was getting excited seeing October expiry dates on things. Now I'm seeing December! How is it November already? How are Thanksgiving and my gourmet night just memories (delicious memories)?

I feel like I need to be more deliberate about things, or else it will be Christmas before I'm ready for it. Maybe I should take the kids for a walk this afternoon and collect some leaves before they're all gone. Breathe in the autumn air while it's still just barely chilly, rather than cold. Enjoy the crinkle of leaves under my feet before we're all tromping through snow.

And while I'm being deliberate with my time, it's time to play Wii with my son while his sister naps.