Saturday, December 24, 2011

They know that Santa is on his way...


Christmas music...playing.
Dinner dishes...washing.
Mulberry citrus-scented candles...burning.
Cookies and milk for Santa...waiting.
Two kids...sleeping.
Two parents...cozying by the chestnuts roasting over an open fire (pretending?)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Everything is Merry

The 'warm fuzzies' as promised...

My Ten Pre-Christmas Faves of 2011:

1.  Even better than homemade sugar cookies is when somebody else makes them and brings them to your house. 
2.  Displaying our Christmas cards over my window makes me smile.
3.  I love our Christmas tree. And Hedwig. Like a nerd, I'm still waiting for my owl post.
4.  I got snagged into participating in a Christmas Boutique with a fine group of ladies. My contributions were homemade mug coasters and baby leg warmers. Hours spent creating this inventory is partly why blogging has been so pathetic lately.   

5.  Date night with Boy couldn't have been more eventful: the men congratulated themselves for their facial hair growing capabilities to honor Movember, I spent more than five minutes doing my hair, we he dared to try out the oysters--I think the shocker of the whole night was that we actually left the house without the children. We were home by 9:30 p.m. We party hard.
6. We've begun a new Christmas tradition with Percy the Elf. In case you were wondering, yes--Finner M'Gee named our new elf. And yes, the name is from one of his beloved trains from Thomas the Tank Engine.
7. Out here, I'm in a Trader Joe's drought. You know you've got a true friend when you get an unexpected package in the mail that contains a box of Peppermint Joe Joe's. Now, that's love. 
8.  She is one of my Christmas joys.
9.  And so is he.
10.  I love spending Christmas with this guy. He has lost his full head of hair, but doggonit, I love him. 


And Christmas isn't Christmas without the swaddled babe in the lowly manger. The King. The Son of God. The Promised Messiah. I especially love bedtime stories this time of year and hearing my two-year-old whisper reverently as he points to the picture, "That's baby Jesus." One day, he will know much more than that.

Merry Christmas.
Happy Hanukkah.
Happy Holidays.
Happy New Year.

It's should be snowing this weekend, which inspires me to find a copy of "White Christmas". Except, all I want to watch is the scene where the four of them are singing about snow and Christmas in Vermont.

"Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Anti-Holiday Cheer Post

Christmas is a season of loving, worshipping, giving, singing, and serving. But it is also one of buying and coveting. It's maddening.

I feel that in order to prepare for the holiness of Christmas Eve and the magic of Christmas morning, I need a little holiday catharsis: cough out the old, breathe in the new. I love how blogging can remind me how ridiculous and frivolous my personal vendettas are.

Making Me Mad--Dec. 2011 edition

Misleading Marketing Ploys:
I bought a bag of Popcorn, Indiana. It was identified with a picture of the state of Indiana and a tractor on the front, making me yearn for a little taste of our former home. Several fistfuls of popcorn later, I read the back label saying that our delicious cheddar popcorn was distributed in New Jersey--not Indiana. Almost instantaneously, my popcorn started tasting like the Jersey Shore.

Two Years without the Christmas Fizz:
Last year, I went to every single grocery store within the Indianapolis city limits and didn't find any evidence of Pomegranate 7Up. For me and my family, the lack of Pomegranate 7Up was a total Christmas ripoff--and the concoction I made with with regular 7Up and fresh pomegranate seeds was lackluster. I wasn't at all surprised that I couldn't find my favorite holiday drink here in rural New Hampshire. Word on the street is it's DISCONTINUED.  I had a little tear in my eye just typing that.

The Ever-Popular PJJ's:
We all know that my life was forever changed by Trader Joe's. It has some kind of mystical power over me; I can't put my finger on it. I get so irked reading about the latest blog post from some blogger out there who just posted an Instagram photo of themselves with their grocery cart loaded with boxes of Peppermint Joe Joe's. I hate that feeling of jealousy. Make it stop.

Daylight Savings:
Out here, the sun is setting after the 3 o'clock hour and it's completely dark by 4 p.m. I'm not used to this freak of nature. Enough said.

More Freaky Nature:
There's sunshine outside. Not a skiff of snow on the ground? This weather is really tripping me out.

Someone Out There Looks Good in My Jeans:
The first and only time I ever got anything for free was last year on November 5, 2010 when I walked into the Gap and was awarded a free pair of jeans. I called Boy up and squealed my good news into the receiver. I was shaking all over with excitement. After two hours in the dressing room, I took home a pair that fit and looked perfectly--and that's seriously saying something considering I had birthed a baby two months prior. Somewhere between Indiana and New England, they disappeared. They didn't surface out of my box of winter clothing. Devastation. Did I mistakenly put them in a pile for Goodwill? The thought makes me itch with madness.

And What Happened to My Second Favorite Pair of Jeans?:
Let it be known that when you've machine laundered and dried your jeans, they gradually wear down in the most inconspicuous places. You'll never know when that moment will come when you will lean down in public and feel a long tearing rip down your rear end. As you sit there, still crouched, your eyes bug out in horror, wondering how to escape. Miraculously, you'd be mighty glad that you were wearing a long sweater jacket, but as you walk outside with your two kids who yank your arms in opposite directions, you're doing the best you can to keep your heinie unexposed as gusts of freezing cold wind whip your sweater around in circles.
The famous bum pocket photo of 2007 can now preserve the memory of these great pair of jeans. They were a JC Penney purchase--the Bongo brand. (I hate JC Penney.) Surprised? Me too.

There's more....oh, there is so much more. Don't get me excited about it because I'm fighting the urge to continue. The Christmas spirit needs to take over now.

Tomorrow, I'll bring out the warm fuzzies.

Oh, and Mom? Don't be offended that after all these years, I hate JC Penney. Do you still love me? I do like their White Sales though.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Strut Your Stuff

Today's word of the day...

Galumph /guh LUMPH/, intransitive verb: 
to move in a clumsy manner or with a heavy tread
Anomaly /uh NOM uh lee/, noun:
a deviation from the common rule, type, arangement, or form.
someone or something anomalous: with his quiet nature, he was an anomaly in his exuberant family.
an odd, peculiar, or stranage condition, situation, quality, etc.

Both used in a sentence: 
Galumphing around the house in women's high heels is no easy feat for a man child, but I'm positively assured that one afternoon's anomaly is only a phase.


When he has outgrown Santa and elves, incentives for good behavior will never end in my household. This one's going into the blackmail photo file.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O, Tannenbaum

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we drove down to a cut-your-own Christmas Tree Farm and got ourselves a handsome Fraser fir.

In your face, Home Depot.

I am totally sold on the idea that a farm is where little boys are meant to play. Dirt, puddles, animals, tractors...I think my son hyperventilated with joy. The little M'Geezer stretched out his little paws to feed the farm animals and--my favorite--ruffled a few chicken feathers by chasing the two-legged brood in the barn. And the puddles? Although Huckster M'Gee was wearing puddle-jumping appropriate boots, he was crossly warned not to go tromping around the water and wade with the ducks. His mother didn't happen to be carrying a change of clothes for such activities. "And, the 'Bad Parent Award' goes to..."


We rode out to the Christmas trees on a little trolley pulled by an enormous tractor. Watching heavy duty machinery in action is like dazzling glitter to the eyes of my two-almost-three-year-old. He wouldn't take his baby blues off those muddy tractor wheels.

We left the farm with hot chocolate in our cups, a close encounter with Santa, muddy shoes, and a freshly cut Christmas tree.




And of course, I saved the best for last. There's nothing like the cuddly face of an alpaca that puts a little warm spot in my heart.

Santa, I want one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

King Arthur Flour Taught Me

Dear Mom,

I've made some new friends out here. Can you believe they invited me to take a pie-making class? I don't even need to bring along my kids in order for them to like me. I'm in good hands out here.

When you come visit New England, we're going to King Arthur Flour.
You. Me. Baking Class.
The men in our lives will be astounded at the mad skills we'll learn.

November2011 082

November2011 096

Dear King Arthur Flour,

I think I've finally got it. I can craft a perfect pie crust and I can't believe it's made WITH butter. After all these years, I'm no longer afraid to make pie. Blind-baking with beans? Genius. I'm never going to lay a fork on my pie crust ever again. I'll be singing your praises until the day I die.

Your new friend,

p.s. I was at first a little skeptical of the Lemon Chess pie, but since Thanksgiving, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. And the Fall Fruits Crostata? Best when served warm with vanilla bean ice cream. Whoa.

p.p.s. I'll be back. Conquering the perfect loaf of bread is next on my list.

November2011 090

[Have you seen the new Google Chrome commercial featuring King Arthur Flour? They are headquartered just down the road from my home. They freakin' rock. And have you flipped through a KAF catalogue? You can request one for free and I guarantee that you'll be drooling over it. ]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Pumpkin Cheesecake is Better Than Yours

Three things   you should know right now...
One.  Everybody is sick and tired of canned pumpkin by now, so why do I bother gloating about cheesecake? And who really cares about Thanksgiving anymore? That was so last month.
Two.  I didn't plan on a month-long blogging absence, but I gained about 5 new readers because of it.  I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. But who cares? Score! I love new friends.
Three.  I didn't disappear because I ran out of things to blog about. Or because my life is so bland and uneventful. That would be a load of bull honky.

Life out here in the twin states has been filled with long days. I have a whole slew of excuses up my sleeve, but I won't even bother trying to elaborate because there's only two that are truly valid. The month of November deserves to be recognized, so I'll do my best to recapitulate. Here come the bullet points...

  • Finally, at 15 months, Indy has teeth. Her first tooth appeared towards the end of October, and since then, more of those suckers have popped right in. She can now perform the monster face in its true character form. Fun fact: She likes to nibble and swallow the rinds of oranges. Yummo.
  •  The Finner M'Gee puts all the women and Fabio to shame with his long luscious mane. Do you think I've gone a little too far when I can turn him into a mystical unicorn? How about an upgraded Astro Boy hair swoosh? I literally can't hold the scissors up to his head. I think a little piece of me might die if someone decides to buzz it all off. By the way, if that does happen, I will kill. 


  • My cheesecake really is better that yours. I haven't found a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that is better-looking than mine. A layer of pumpkin...a layer of cheesecake...blobs of pumpkin swirled at the perfect and so naughty. I have no qualms admitting that my heart gets a little puffed up when I serve this baby up. This Thanksgiving tradition started in 2001, and although I want to take credit for its mind-blowing deliciousness, this cheesecake is from a guy I used to know who attended culinary school. Want the recipe? Leave me some comment love. Otherwise, it's lock and key. 
  • We signed up for a live turkey back in October. Our turkey was gobbling around on a Vermont farm until just a few days before Thanksgiving. It is said that free range turkeys have leaner meat, so maybe the 2nd and 3rd helpings of cheesecake were okay? Even better was that I didn't have to "really" cook my first turkey. Boy took charge and prepared the bird according to his grandmother's brown paper bag tradition. Not bad for a man who doesn't know how to bake a cake.
  • Boy's parents were the perfect Thanksgiving company. In the name of Thanksgiving leftovers, card games, and Rummikub--we partied hard all weekend long. Huckleberry Finn cried when they boarded the Dartmouth Coach headed to the airport.  
  • I made two lovely pies from scratch. Oh, yes, did I make pie. I've never made perfect pie in my life, and 2011 was the year. They smelled and looked deee-vine. ("No photos?" you ask? Hang tight.) 

December is here, Christmas is everywhere, and I'm still lagging behind in everything I can possibly thing of. Methinks I should wait until next month to write down all the highlights? Maybe I'll gain five more readers. 

Just kidding. More on the way.