Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Comes To James Street - 2009

Well, again sleep was elusive. This time I just got out of bed at 5:30. Had a clementine (my addiction right now) and a some of my crappy fudge. Around 6:50, I heard B calling for me (OK, calling me so she could hug and kiss Charlie - in my belly. It has been 37 weeks of B hanging on, (now hanging off) my belly. I am tired of it.) I told her Santa came (this is called belly deflection) and asked if she wanted to go downstairs. "Oh yes!" she said. Mike went down to turn on the Christmas trees, while B made a potty stop. Then, Christmas started.

OK, I thought B would be a little more enthralled than she was. Did Santa not bring the right stuff? Of course, up until the 23rd she would mention something new. I mean, how can a Santa keep up - or "make" it all - he does have a limit on his resources.

Anyway, her "big" present was Spike, the Ultra Dinosaur. Which she wouldn't let us take out of the box! Seriously, we visited it at Target, about 50 times, then watched the Spike video about 30 times. I was a bit disappointed. The big hit, of course, were dinosaurs and a Fur Real Kitty.

On the TV is B's favorite show, PBS's
Dinosaur Train.

Again,B loved the dinos she received and lined them up with the others she has. (Lee also gave her some rad Playmobil dinosaur playsets. Which B played with all Christmas Eve night.) B then found a random box in the other room. Apparently, Santa dropped it on the way in the house (he wasn't allowed to come down the chimney right next to B's tree - he had to come in the front door). Santa was very tired Christmas Eve night.

Fur Real Kitty or as B calls her Izzy (after one of our cats) was a hit because each of our three cats is a vile, mean creature - at least to B, well, and anyone else that isn't Mike or me. Actually, one cat is pretty stand-offish to everyone. A couple of days ago, I was watching the show The Closer, and it showed a tiny kitty. B asked me if that kitty bites and would that kitty love her. My heart totally broke. But is mended a bit when I saw how much she liked the fake cat. Which by the way, is eerily life-like. I found when I held it, it was hard not to pet it. It purrs, and rolls over and meows to get attention if you ignore it for too long.

While B played, Mike set up his new Wii Grand Slam Tennis my sister gave him. (OK, he is still playing. He is obsessed!) We showered up and got ready for Mike's Dad to come over for (a mid-morning) breakfast. I made a Smitten Kitchen spinach and egg casserole and Mike made pancakes and bacon. It was a nice visit and B loved her Little Pet Shop, pet shop. Of course, the dinosaurs were the ones with the pets. Isn't a three year olds imagination a cool thing?

Mike's Dad puts together the coolest gift every year. He buys a giant tote (like a Rubbermaid) and fills it with odds and ends from the hardware store and/or Target. Bird food, Goop (a de-greaser), candy, little dinos and fish for B, a can of stuff that foams out and fills holes, dish towels, totally random, very useful stuff. All wrapped individually, of course. He also gave me another battery charger and a thing so I can play music from my iPhone over the car radio. Yeah!

We then hiked up to my sister's in the gently falling snow. There we had a nice, relaxing time - OK, relaxing because she and her husband did all the work. I just made a salad. Still, B loves her cousins. Those girls really play so well with B and just love her up.

She is probably eating a cookie. Nutrition doesn't
seem to be a part of Christmas.

Mike played Wii with the kids and I pretty much sat there half asleep. We had a great dinner. Oh, and my sister's house looked incredible!!!! She really knows how to decorate for Christmas. Everything looked so nice, her attention to detail was amazing. She had four big trees and a bunch of little ones too. Greenery on the lights and sconces, even her table looked great.

Mike and Jess playing Wii.

Mike and Skates. Aren't they cute?

We headed home a little before 9 and the snow was unbelievable by the time we got home. My little trooper tried her hardest not to fall asleep and she almost made it, but succumbed about 20 minutes from home. There was quite a bit on snow on the ground (and it still hasn't stopped snowing. Mike thinks it has snowed about a foot). B went to bed and Mike and I stayed up and watch The World's Fasted Indian with Anthony Hopkins.

Why didn't I go straight to sleep? Because I am an idiot. I went to bed around midnight, woke up a couple of times for the obvious, and didn't wake up until 9:45 this morning - along with B. So, I feel much better today. Still in my Pjs as I write this, but, oh well. Here are some pictures from today - including one with Spike out of the box. I was so excited!

I don't now who like him more, me or B.

Santa also brought B a baby (named Charlie of course)
that can go in the bathtub. I should mention, B loves
to take a bath, and always wants toys that can join her. The bonus?
It goes to the bathroom. That was good for a lot of laughs today.

My little bathing beauty. Early bath, early
to bed, I hope. And I mean me too!

So, now that Christmas is over, the baby can come anytime. Wait, let me clarify. After we get the house cleaned up a bit. Oh, and I get one more really good nights sleep.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve on James Street

First things first, I am glad Christmas Eve is over. Yes I know. Bah Humbug. But, in my defense, it is our big day. We have the festivities at our house. We open presents, so all the gifts have to be wrapped. We have food, so it all has to be bought and prepped (though this year, well and every year, my sister brought great stuff. This year, Ina Garten's stuffed mushrooms, twice baked potatoes and lobster soup - the latter two a tradition.) The house needs to be clean - which this year it already was. Mike has been on top of the dusting and vacuuming and I have been on top of the clutter (plus we cleaned the kitchen pretty well on Wednesday). And, I didn't sleep either. Up from 2 to 6. Yes, I was the living dead by 9 pm. (And no, I have not slept much last night either. I was up at four, and out of bed at 5:30 am. I got tired of lying there.)

Still, despite the angry elf in the house (that would be me), Christmas Eve turned out pretty well. Mike and I were ahead of schedule. I got to put my feet up for about a half hour before my family started to arrive. (Thanks to my husband who put all the hors d'oeuvres together so I could rest a bit.) B wore a dress and let Mike fix her hair. And my sister and her family made it safely despite the crappy weather. Lots of rain, wind and ice.

Homemade snicker bars. I made fudge too.
It didn't turn out. Every year, it doesn't turn out.
You would think I would finally learn my lesson.

Quite honestly, I didn't get as much accomplished this year as I would have liked. I wanted to give my friends and neighbors some of my homemade treats (I was too lazy to make more) and I didn't get Sandy's package mailed. Really, this year, I am just not in the Christmas spirit. I think that had a lot to do with my lack of accomplishments.

B opening a package from Sandy. It is a cool block
puzzle. B played with it all morning.

I got a gratin dish out of the basement and
found it was a grave this "little" guy. B was
instantly enthralled.

She wanted me to pet it. No f-ing way.

Three of my sister's kids. Excited to open presents.
I remember when they were B's age. I am old.

Jeana and Joe.

Lee gave B this cool dino hat and mitts set.
(Isn't B's dress cute? I can't believe she actually wore it.)

Jess, B and T-rex.

Grammy got B the dragon castle. Did he get any gifts
a girl would like, you ask? Some clothes and a Kai-Lan
set (which she wanted because it had a dragon boat).

Big Tony and Mike.


How huge am I? Really, if I knew I looked
this big, I would have worn a tent.

Joe, Jordan, Jessica, B and Jeana.

Having a good laugh.

B, Eileen, Ryan and Maggie.

Dragon Castle.


B took this photo of her new T-Rex.

This is right before we went up to bed. B loves her
new dragon.

All in all the day was fine. Food was good, Lee and Dorota helped immensely with the dishes and, important to me, B had a good time. Oh, also important to me, did not go into labor. I wanted a baby free holiday. Tune in next time for a Christmas Day review.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Visit to Santa

B as been talking about going to see Santa for about a week. We wanted to go last Friday, but were too late. So, tonight was the night. B was very excited. I didn't think she would have a problem at all. While we waited out in the cold (our Santa House is a little decorated trailer downtown) B chatted up the kids in front of us. When we went into the house, and her turn was a couple kids away, she started to get shy. B needed a little nudge, but she went up to Santa, and he hoisted her into his lap. She asked Santa for a dinosaur that puffs air out of his belly - could she mean Spike? The pictures aren't great, but it is a memory.

B is making sure I am still standing there.

Telling Santa what she wants.

B is almost smiling, but Santa is looking at me.

When we got back to the car - yes we drove, it is cold! - B wanted to know why Santa didn't give her the presents she wanted. The kid knows which dinosaur is an herbivore or carnivore, but cannot get the concept of waiting until Christmas morning for Santa presents. I reminded her she got a candy cane. Now she keeps asking me if she ate enough dinner so she can eat the candy cane. Aye, yi, yi!

Another Great Giveaway At Grosgrain!

This book looks great. Hope over to Grosgrain for your own chance to wine.

I Made These! A Crafty Christmas

I really love the idea of making things. I have great ideas, buy materials, good intentions. It is the execution where I fail. However, this year, I have lofty expectations and made good on some of them. And I apologize for my crappy photography.

My Christmas cards. Each part is either cut
with a punch (snowman and snowflakes) or by hand
(the trees). I painted and flocked the bottom.
I only made 30, which wasn't enough, but I ran
out of steam. I started about a month ago and did a
couple of steps of so at a time.

This inside - I am not crazy about it. This is the
part I feel is never right. They are stamped and embossed.

Homemade envelope liners. I used
a template from the Paper Source.

I made five in this lavender/purple
combination for each teacher. I used Versamark (clear ink) as
well as clear embossing powder (love this stuff).
Someone from the Paper Source (in Oak Park)
helped me choose the stamps.

I made five cards in grey for each teacher.
The color isn't reading well at all. They cards
were grey, and the envelopes cement.

I packaged the cards in homemade envelopes.
I also added a gift card for the local mall.
(to make up for any shortcomings with my homemade stuff)

This is a box of homemade peanut brittle for B's.
teachers. Usually I use tins, but got green (and a little
cheap) this year and ordered candy boxes. The
card is glittered, with punchouts. (There is a
snowflake that you can't see because of the flash.)

This is a finished envelope.

This is a coffee bag full of homemade
"moose munch." Caramel corn with cashews.
macadamias and almonds. Again for the teachers.

I really have more stuff to make, but again, I am running out of steam. Yesterday, I made the peanut brittle and also roll out sugar cookies and frosting for B's class party. And laundry, and wrapping and , and, and..... I don't know how everyone else gets so much done. Jenn, I am thinking about you.

I still need to wrap (I wrapped all the gifts my Mother gives) and make gift tags. I still want to make fudge and homemade snicker bars - and more peanut brittle and more moose munch. I am done with all the shopping (unless B decides she wants Spike, then I need to make a run to Target).

But I am done. I had to buy a new iPhone. Mine finally died. I dropped it at Pottery Barn (Sandy, are the green candles mossy or sage-y?) today and the "turn off the ringer" broke off and the phone went to a clear screen. OK, can you tell me why it cost a butt load to get a new phone? I don't mind paying for the phone, but why should I have to extend my contract and give them $18 to activate the phone. I do all the work! It is the same phone, same number etc. What a scam. Mike ordered me a case for it, so hopefully, when I drop the new one, it will stay safe in it's kevlar case.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

L Letterpress Giveaway

Here is a great giveaway! A home letterpress kit. Check out the Lifestyle Crafts Blog.

L Letterpress
Epic Six Letterpress and Die-cutting Tool
Clear Packing Mat with Grid
Paper Placement Guides
Ink Base
Ten A2 flat cards
Nine Printing Plates
Tube of Black Ink
Circle Cutting Dies


One Custom Printing Plate

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas is Coming to James Street

I have been seriously lax in the blog posting department. Trying to get all the Christmas stuff done as well as getting ready for Charlie to be born. I figure if everything is done, this kid will come when it is suppose to, January 4th or so. If not, it will come 4 days before Christmas while I am still shopping, baking and wrapping.

I thought I was all organized. Making lists, checking them twice. I still have stuff to accomplish. Tonight, I am baking an Ultimate Streusel Cake for our annual James Street Ladies Brunch tomorrow. God willing, it turns out. I haven't made one for a long time. Today, I worked on my Christmas cards and then we picked up a couple more things at our little outdoor mall.

I admit, this afternoon, I am a bit stressed about accomplishing everything I need to do versus the stuff I want to do, like make fudge and peanut brittle. I hate wrapping presents - it takes me forever. I want each package to be cool, so I have been hand stamping the paper and making gift tags. Mike is sick of the inordinate amount of glitter everywhere. I guess that part I like. The actual wrapping part no. Anything else? Yes, a quick story.

B and I were at Movable (our lunch place) and she started talking with a lady and her baby. B was asking the babies name. The lady then asked B, "what is your name?" B replied, "T-rex." I said to B, what do I call you. And she said, "T-rex Eliza." Eliza is B's middle name. I cracked up. My daughter the dinosaur. What is a mom to do?

One of our traditions, cutting down a tree
for Mike and one for B. My tree comes from a tree
lot a block away. We walk to pick it up, in the freezing
cold, while it is snowing and blowing madly.
(Yes, we are nuts, we put up three trees. But,
my sister may be worse, she puts up more than that.)

B's first ornament on her tree. A robot from
the Paper Source.

For me, this is the start of the Christmas Season,
making the first batch of Moose Munch.
That is caramel corn, with macadamias, almonds
and cashews.

B is my official kitchen helper. Here she is also
grooving to Feliz Navidad, her favorite
Christmas song.

This is just a cute tag I made for B's classmate's birthday.

I am also facing issues trying to take photos of B. I have to surprise her with the picture or she holds up her hand or makes a face and says no, No, NO. I will have more pictures of my wrapping and tags. Some turned out pretty good, some not so much.