Bring On The Nutcrackers!

My guys are coming up out of storage today along with all of my other outside decorations. It is a little early for me as we usually wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I’m opting to take advantage of the nice weather today to work outside.

I’m standing firm that there are no indoor decorations yet, because I have my santa curtain tradition that is important to me and I really need that this year.

Doing this part now also gives us the chance to organize that under stair storage space for the contractors to be able to close it off when they come to work on my craft room.  Since they are supposed to start any day now, this really needs to get done.

Getting these out is making me want to work on another project, which I can’t yet. My cabinets are going to be my next project. But these were SO much fun to do! I’ve tossed around the idea of trying to do some much smaller than life sized versions, but what I want to do requires even more tools that I don’t currently have. And I’m SO not going to buy anything for like 10 years after my craft room is finished!

But… if anyone else out there is feeling extremely ambitious and wants instructions, feel free to steal or use as a guide for your own version… https://tjfox.net/2018/11/26/repost-giant-nutcrackers-how-to/.

 

Annual Holiday Lights Tour

Tonight we are going to do our annual tour of driving around and looking at all the holiday lights. We have been doing this since our kids were little and even now that they are both teenagers, this is still an activity they love and look forward to every year.

We start with grabbing dinner that we can eat while driving around. I make hot chocolate and the kids have been known to get their PJs on or grab a blanket to ensure the mood is perfectly cozy. There will be nothing but Christmas songs on the radio and more than half the time we will all be singing along or, just as often, making up our own lyrics that have us all laughing.

I’m really a little surprised that both MC and BG still really want to do this again this year. I love that we have this tradition that they both look forward to and get so excited about, especially knowing how few teenagers would be caught dead having fun hanging out with their parents. I have no clue if this will be MC’s last year to do this with us since he will be doing the whole college thing next year, so I’m going to savor this one as much as I can.

This is just one of the sights we get to see while we are out doing our rounds. Twice actually. And every single day of the season because it lives next door. It is kind of crazy and has sparked all kinds of jokes over the years, but it is also fun. We see so many cars coming to look and it’s fun to see how amazed all the little kids get at the decoration overload.

Decoration Overload House
Decoration Overload House
Decoration Overload House - Santa's Workshop
Decoration Overload House – Santa’s Workshop
Decoration Overload House
Decoration Overload House

Can I Sit Down Now?

I spent the entire day getting all of my indoor decorations up. I love it when it is all done, but my poor body really doesn’t. Doing this every year the day after I spent the previous two days on my feet in the kitchen really doesn’t help. At least we had all the outdoor stuff up and done before Thanksgiving, so I didn’t have that to do this weekend as well, giving me a full two days with nothing to do before we jump back into our normal routines. I will be spending those two days being as lazy as I can possibly get and still be considered human.

Did You Say Pie?

My pies are done! And… They look like they turned out really well. I’m kind of shocked.

BG insisted we do an open lattice apple pie, though I’m pretty much the only one besides BG that actually likes apple and I’ve never done a covered pie before, but… sure! No problem. Let’s do something new because we don’t already have enough to do today!

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie

My pumpkin also turned out really nice. I think this is only the second time I’ve ever made one, so… go me! I need to dig into a couple of different recipes for crust baking references for this, because it is a little darker than I’d prefer.

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie

Pecan has always kind of been my pain. I love pecan, but I always manage to do something that keeps it from looking great. It usually still always tastes really good, but it doesn’t always look really good. This is better than most, but my recipe really should be for an 8 inch pan, not a 9, so it doesn’t come up as high as it should, leaving too much crust showing around the edge. I’ve made a note and will be modifying my grandmother’s recipe (the only one I’m willing to use) to make it work for my pan. Otherwise, I managed to bake it and keep both the crust and the top from getting too dark for once. Still not the prettiest pie ever made, but I’m taking this one as big win.

I couldn’t have gotten it all done without some major help from BG. I’m so incredibly grateful that my girl not only wants to do these things with me, but that she has as much fun with it as I do. We spent most of our time laughing our butts off. I love that almost more than the holiday itself.

I was forced to take a tiny break in the middle of all the baking to take some impromptu senior photos of MC. He picked up the suit he needed for for his scholarship interview and did a little sneak preview for us after he got home. My hoodie and jeans lovin’ boy looks frickin’ amazing in a suit. I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity to grab a few (50 or so) shots while he had it on. I’ve never been so tempted to break my “no kid pics” rule than I am right now because he is so worth showing off. Sadly, I’m not allowed to show his handsome face. Just picture a super cute nerd in a slim fitting dark charcoal suit (stylin’ pocket square and all) and you might get close.

I’ll be busy with family tomorrow so I’ll wish you all a happy Thanksgiving now for those of you in the US. Or “Happy Eat Until You Cry” day!

 

Today’s Project: Outdoor Decorations

I’m breaking a bit with my normal tradition, which is to put up decorations the day after the US Thanksgiving. I decided I didn’t want to risk trying to do this in sub-zero temps when I have a nice, mid 50s day to work on them now. Nothing will get turned on until the normal day and the inside is going to happen as usual, but it will at least be up and ready before it gets too miserable. This also breaks it up a little so that I don’t have as much to do all at once, which is nice.

We aren’t the only ones with this idea as most of the people along my street are outside working, taking advantage of the small warm break we are getting. Now, I’m off to work my butt of.

Oh! I’m also going to get to see BG’s pointe costume for this year, which I’m insanely excited about because they are doing a piece from Swan Lake. I’ve seen glimpses of a stunning black and white piece, but I get to see it in person today, so I’m over the moon excited, even if it means I have to stop in the middle of my work to go watch them unveil it.

It’s going to be a good day.

Happy Halloween

For the first time since my kids were tiny, Halloween feels so different and I just don’t have the motivation to do everything I have for years. I’m not doing the garage this year. I’m not dressing up this year. I barely got up the energy to do a pumpkin (mine’s on the left), though it was only BG and I carving this year. The weather is so NOT helping. Upper 20s and snow do not put me in the mind of Halloween.

Snow on Maple Leaves
Snow on Maple Leaves

I’m still doing my best to make it fun for my kids, but they are teenagers so it just isn’t the same. Their idea of fun is for me to make a bunch of awesome finger foods and spend the night grazing, so that’s what I’m going to do. I think BG is going to dress up and answer the door. She was a little disappointed we weren’t doing the garage, but she understands. It is a lot of work to put in when kids aren’t going to show up. The new construction has changed how kids go through the neighborhood and we got skipped last year even though kids know we put on a great show. She did say last night that it was probably a good idea we didn’t do it when she saw that we were going to be lucky to hit 30 today.

Like so many things, our Halloween tradition is changing to fit how we are changing. I hate it from the standpoint that I have always adored Halloween and have always gone all out. I’m also really kind of glad to not have a crap ton of stuff to do. I can just sit back and relax for once.

Cold Restart

My house is back to quiet today. Hubby almost always takes the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day off, but not quite the same days as the kids are on their winter break. He normally goes back to work a day or two before the kids so I get a gradual return to normal. This year, they all went back the same day and it is a bit of a shock.

Continue reading “Cold Restart”

This Year’s Nutcracker

I have been getting at least one nutcracker a year since I was 16. When Hubby and I got together, he took over the tradition. A few years back, he started giving them to me on the day we decorate instead of on Christmas so that I’d be able to have it out for the whole season. He always tries to theme them, using something we have done over the year to create that theme. The year we fixed our chimney (finally), I got a chimney sweep. The year we took a vacation to the mountains, I got a hiker. This year, he used the massive home improvements with the windows and the new HVAC and went with a Cozy Santa, bringing my count up to 41 if you count the two giant ones I made last year. I have such a huge variety, in both size and style. They range from uber traditional to kinda insanely wacky. I absolutely adore my nutcrackers and my kids love seeing them get unpacked every year. BG is even talking about wanting to start her own tradition and collection. It is a tradition I’m seriously considering starting for her.

Frosty Leaf

Today is decorating day. Normally that means both inside and out, but we got the out done early because they were predicting crappy weather. It is kinda funny how insane my kids are about this tradition. They have been talking about it for weeks and bounced off the walls when they got up this morning. So much so, you would have thought it was actually Christmas morning instead. Time to get my sparkle on!

Aftermath

Today is insane. I had a nearly 3 hour call with my editor (notes on that to come). Now I have to deal with the aftermath of having a haunted garage for Halloween and still wanting to put the cars in after it is all over (and that is only a small portion of what I still have to pack up). Having spent 2 days going in and out, then up and down on a ladder, my body is trying to revolt, but I still have to get everything packed up. So… I’m off to get busy. Then crash.

We’ve Got Pumpkins!

Normally, I’m so far ahead of the game that I already have the idea for both my pumpkin and my costume by the beginning of October at the very latest. This year I had neither and was even very seriously considering skipping the garage set up and not dressing up at all. I was just too stressed and overwhelmed and every bit of my creative energy seemed to be focused on the book and edits with nothing left for Halloween.

Continue reading “We’ve Got Pumpkins!”

Picking Pumpkins

We went over the weekend to get our pumpkins. It was kind of a perfect day for it. Even though the kids are in their teens, they both still love doing this, which makes me incredibly happy. Hell, I’m in my 40’s and I STILL love doing this. Sadly, I have zero clue what I’m carving this year.

It is going to be an insane next couple of weeks as Hubby’s annual bake sale is coming up, so I’ll be baking for that. The kids have things going on. I have a B-Day dinner to fix and then we have to carve those pumpkins followed by Halloween. Oh, and those edits are supposed to show up at any time. So, yeah, bring on the crazy times!

Evolving Traditions

From the time my kids were old enough to do puzzles and play games, Hubby and I have tortured our kids on Easter by forcing them to do a scavenger hunt to find their baskets. It took a time or two for them to get the hang of things, but they absolutely fell in love with the tradition.

Continue reading “Evolving Traditions”

Let The Fun Begin!

So, today will be our Christmas Eve with my in-laws. Not because this is when we normally do it, but because there MIGHT be a SLIGHT chance of the white stuff on Christmas Eve. Since we can’t have that (no seriously, things get stupid crazy with the in-laws when weather of any kind other than perfectly dry and sunny is involved), I’ll be doing all my Christmas Eve stuff today instead. Hopefully, that doesn’t include watching for weather updates every other minute.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!