Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Continues

Yesterday George and I went shopping to see what we could see, and found a Christmas village. It helped that all the pieces were 50% off. I never really thought I would like a village, but here it is in my den, and it has little lights and is really charming. There is something to be said about decorating the house a day AFTER Christmas. Even though it sits in front of the window where the kitties sit, they aren't bothering it. They just neatly pick their way through the buildings and little trees on their way to their view. Nice kitties!

Tonight we are baking, getting ready for company tomorrow night. We are making gingerbread boys and girls, (and chickens and sheep) and these are George's Oatmeal raisin cranberry cookies. In the oven is a lemon bundt cake for a birthday guest tomorrow. Lots of yummy stuff going on here.

Have a great night.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Simba -- Through a looking glass....

Safari as a kitten

Simba in the platter

The Day After Christmas

My mother (who was 99 years old last month) always said that the day after Christmas was her favorite day of the year. I tend to agree. It is a day to savor the results of all the preparation we did to get ready for Christmas. This year, George's family is coming over on the Monday after Christmas, so that means we have more time to cook, more time to bake cookies, and more time to do what we want to before the festivities are over. I'm looking forward to making a big casserole dish of Jambalaya to share with them, and more opening of presents. A birthday cake for James will top it all off. We're going to make a lemon Bundt cake and frost it with white frosting and green holly leaves and red berries.

Today George decided to go to his office to work on a project that has a deadline, and I am frolicking around the house doing whatever I feel like doing. That includes straightening up shelves of books, cleaning our corners in the den, putting away yarn projects, doing even more finishing touches on the Christmas decorations...(Christmas is twelve days, right?) and just enjoying my day off.

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes and key lime dessert. My friends were wonderful hosts to George and I and we won't soon forget what a great Christmas Day we had. Christmas Eve was nice too. We ushered at church, and were delighted that the program that caught on fire when the acolyte accidentally dipped his candle-lighter too low, did no damage to anyone or anything, and pepped up the whole proceedings a bit. It was fun to see friends on Christmas Eve, and even fun to enjoy the 50 degrees outside that melted all the black ice.

The kitties have discovered Styrofoam pellets. They find them who knows where, and make this little crunching sound behind the sofa. Simba likes to eat yarn and beading wire, so I have to be especially careful not to leave bits of stuff around. Bits of stuff make wonderful cat toys!

Michael and Michelle gave me Sennheiser earphones for my Ipod, and my recorder that I use at work, and I'm thrilled to listen to my music with perfect sound. Mike has taught me the wonders of the Amazon gift list. It is pretty nice to get just what you asked for, I must say!

Have a great day after, and Merry Christmas all over again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kitty-proof Christmas Tree

This is my "kitten-proof" Christmas Tree. I found a garland made of felt mittens and little balls of yarn, straw ornaments, Scandanavian felt ornaments and balls made of unbreakable plastic strung with ribbon rather than wire. My goal was to have a tree that would not be dangerous to kitties in case they took an interest in it. For the first few days, they like to bat at things, but they only knocked off a ball twice, and both times, it just rolled across the floor. They have two new little beds tucked under the tree and enjoy spending time there. I wonder if they know that this Christmas Tree is just for them!

Christmas Eve Day

Today is Christmas Eve day. My company will be letting everyone go home at 3:00, which is very generous. Staying in an office building until after dark on Christmas Eve seems rather draconian. Still, the holiday of Christmas seems to have rushed up from behind. Everyone I talk to is amazed that it is already here. George and I will be stopping off at the grocery store after work to buy the ingredients for our Christmas Dinner offerings. We will come home, put the groceries away and head to Church for the 6 p.m. service. I am the lector and we are both ushers at that service. I have a new red sweater to wear. Christmas is here!

Christmas Day is going to be very different. George and I have usually traveled somewhere for Christmas, and this is the first time we will be at home alone. My friends have invited us over for dinner, so that will be fun, and I'm sure that being alone on Christmas morning will be just fine. We will have apple pancakes and make some Christmas cookies. I often bake sugar cookies on Christmas morning anyway. It is finally slow enough to really enjoy the process, and cutting them out in shapes and decorating them with piped frosting and colored sugar takes a slow morning to really enjoy the process.

Frankly, I am pretty excited about Christmas this year. In fact, I woke up early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. When I was a little child, I would lay awake on Christmas and wonder what "sugar plums" were. I always heard about them at Christmastime, but no store I ever saw ever sold "sugar plums". That is the way I feel today. Wondering about what Christmas will be like without Michael and Michelle here, and wondering where I can find the recipe for "sugar plums."

Have a great day. Enjoy each and every minute of Christmas. It only comes once a year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow pictures

Lap cats

It is a snowy Sunday evening, and we have a couple of lap cats here. Two laps, two cats. Nice.

Christmas is here

All big meetings at work are over for the season, and now we can concentrate on all the fun things of Christmas. Last night George and I went to a really nice restaurant in Waltham called Biaggios with his golf friends and their wives. It was a terrific evening, and the food was wonderful. Conversation flowed and I got to meet many people I had only heard about. It was Christmas and fun and the Cioppino was wonderful too. I had a salad with mesclun lettuce, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese that was really holiday-like, and roasted squash ravioli. George had the fresh fish stew - Cioppino and I was stealing little bits of scallops, shrimps and mussels from his plate. Yum! He had tiramisu and I had cannoli for dessert. Others enjoyed chocolate mousse with raspberries. That last time I had that I broke out in hives, so I don't have that anymore!!!

Today we are doing some last minute Christmas shopping. I still don't have George's gift yet, so I have to scurry with that and have him visit somewhere else while I am buying whatever it is I'm going to buy. Can you tell he is hard to buy for? I don't have a clue!

We are also making hermits today from one of the 20 or so recipes we have been researching, as well as a lemon Bundt cake to share with my office mates, and I'm looking up the recipe for Martha Stuart's chocolate crinkle-top cookies which are really pretty on a cookie tray. George's kids will be coming over, and I"m planning to make a nice box to mail away.

The tree is decorated with kitty proof decorations. I bought strands of felt mittens with little yarn balls, unbreakable red and green balls and little straw ornaments. This year we also have big felt Scandinavian ornaments that look at lot like cat toys. I figure if the cats think that the tree is one big cat toy...we'll we might as well join 'em.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home for the Holidays

I have one big wish for Christmas. I wish I had more time. George and I have decided to stay home by ourselves this Christmas, and I am looking forward to it. I am not going to think about the fact that I am working both on Dec. 24th and Dec. 26th. Christmas is going to be fun anyway!

This Saturday we will put up our big Southern style Christmas tree with beautiful flowers and beaded garlands. I'm looking forward to putting up a tree, and baking cookies and making roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner. It will also be nice to be home with our two new kittens, Simba and Safari. They love us and it was hard to leave them home alone for several days at Thanksgiving time. As they get older, they will be less lonely I think, but as 7 month old kittens, they love a good playtime and thrive on attention.

Most of my shopping is done, and I am making embossed Christmas cards this year. My Christmas card list is small, so it is fun to make hand-made cards. We are also planning to make a variety of cookies and get some in the mail to our family before the holidays. George and I have always enjoyed baking together, and we can't eat everything we make, so it will be into the mail with all those little caloric critters.

I'm excited about the holidays. The wreath on the doorway is lit up and cheerful and looks so inviting. For this year, anyway, I'm happy to be home for the holidays.

Have a great day.