Weekend Update – From Chef Hats to Santa’s Lap

What a weekend! It was nonstop action around here.

On Friday, the Girl Scout troop descended on my house for a holiday party and sleepover. We turned my kitchen into an Italian Trattoria, complete with opera music (Russell Watson “The Voice” ) and red and white checked tablecloths. The girls donned homemade chef hats, then proceeded to whip up a batch of brownies, a green salad, garlic bread, and huge amounts of spaghetti. After pouring the sparkling cider, we all sat down to an awesome meal. I was amazed at how well these 10 year olds knew their way around the kitchen. They prepared everything with minimal supervision.

After cleaning up, the kids got into their pajamas and had their Secret Sister gift exchange. Later they watched Ratatouille and ate popcorn while the leaders (Sara and I) pumped up the air mattresses. The girls finally conked out around midnight. After a quick breakfast of cinnamon rolls and oj, the girl scouts were all picked up by 9am Saturday morning.

It took a while, but I am finally in a holiday mood. On Saturday, hubby, the girls and I hit the mall. I didn’t have a very detailed list, so my shopping was sort of haphazard. The big event was the visit to Santa. My kids are believers, pretty much (this may be the last year), and the Santa at the mall is very good. He picks up on the littlest things. For instance, he overhears me say their names, and then he uses them as if he knows them personally. My 8 yr old said, “Mom, I don’t think he’s a helper. I think he’s the real one. He knows my name!” Even my jaded 10 year old was impressed. After the obligatory photo, we did a little more shopping, and then left the mall in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

After a sunny afternoon, it started to rain lightly as we were leaving the mall. “Rain..just what you want as you traipse around looking for a tree,” my Grinchy mind thought. My plan of taking a picture at the tree lot to use on Christmas cards was looking like a soggy bust. I grumbled my displeasure to my husband as we drove to the lot near the mall, but then we turned a corner to see an enormous, brilliant, perfectly formed rainbow. Was this God’s way of telling me to put a sock in it??

It was cold (by California standards–56 degrees) and still raining lightly, so we quickly walked the lot. I wanted a 6-7 foot Noble, and they had scads of them, all beautiful. In past years, we’ve gone to 2, sometimes 3, lots before finding the right tree. This year, it couldn’t have been easier. We found a gorgeous tree, the rain stopped, we asked the man helping us to snap a picture, and we were in and out in 15 minutes.

Once we got home, hubby and I had a heated discussion about where to put the tree. Good sense won out (mine). We got the tree into the stand and put it in the room, but decided to leave the decorating for Sunday. That settled, we made dinner then snuggled up and watched The Grinch (not the classic cartoon, but the mildly creepy Jim Carey version. The kids liked it, but I read my book instead).

On Sunday, we played all the Christmas cds, everything from Elvis to Bing to Diana Krall, while decorating the tree. This is definitely the most beautiful tree we’ve ever had. It’s got a great shape, with lots of spaces for ornaments. The girls got bored halfway through, so they decided to play Santa and reindeer. L. dressed like Santa, K. dressed like Rudolph, and they recruited our neighbor to be an extra (lesser) reindeer. They gathered up some of their old toys that they no longer play with, put them in a sack, and off they went in the wagon taking toys to the 3 yr. old twins down the street. It was very cute.

Once the tree was done, I took the tree lot picture in to have cards made at the drugstore. 30 minutes later, cards in hand, I left to do some grocery shopping (so easy when I’m by myself). After shopping and dinner, I addressed 60 cards by hand while hubby and the kids set up the train around the tree.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Please consider sending a Holiday card or a Thank You card to a recovering soldier. It’s important for them to know they are remembered and appreciated. My Girl Scout troop sent a stack of them. Here is the address:

Recovering American Soldier
C/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 George Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307-5001

Holiday Survey- Just for Fun


Jolene over at Middling Monettes did this Christmas survey that I thought was fun so I’ll do the same. Play along on your own blog, if you like, and leave a link here.

Here goes……

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper, for under the tree. Bags for gifts to teachers, scout leaders, etc.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Real. I love the smell.

3. When do you put up the tree?

2nd weekend in December.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Early January (3rd or 4th)

5. Do you like egg nog?

Oh, YEAH!!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

I’m not sure. Nothing really stands out.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?


8. Hardest person to buy for?

Grandpa Jack. He doesn’t need or want anything!!

9. Easiest person to buy for?

My kids. They want everything and they make detailed lists.

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?

Mail. Guess I better get going on that.

11 .Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

There are so many!! I can’t possibly choose just one. Last year I got slippers that were 3 sizes too small because “that was the only size they had”. And then there was the “Lady Footlocker Christmas”… 3 pairs of shoes, a hat (why???), lip balm, sweat socks. This might make sense if I was an outdoor runner (I’m not). My husband is not very good at gift-giving. He shops on Christmas Eve, and likes to get everything done in one store, but he doesn’t much care which store that is. Why couldn’t it be a bookstore, or a jewelry store??

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

The Family Man with Nicholas Cage. I love it and watch it every year.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

November. I always vow to start earlier the next year and never do.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

I have not.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Honey Baked Ham on Christmas Eve. Christmas cookies. Almond Rocha.

16. Clear or colored Christmas lights?

Clear outside, colored on the tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley.  There’s also a Karen Carpenter song I love (can’t think of the name).  She has such a beautiful voice.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

We stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers?

Of course!!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Angel right now, but I am looking for a star. All the stars I have seen look too cheesy.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

We open one gift on Christmas Eve, and it’s always the same.. new jammies. We put them on and take a picture in front of the tree.

22 . Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Too much to do, not enough time.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

I have a bunch of Santa ornaments.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

Roast beef. scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, crescent rolls.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

A new camera, books (I have a long list), Peace on Earth


Happy Holidays!

Out of Print: Booking Through Thursday

OOP December 6, 2007

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 1:31 am
btt button

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)


I can’t think of a favorite novel, but there is a favorite cookbook I’d like to see become available again. Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Cookies Cookbook contains many of our family’s treasured Christmas cookie recipes.. the ones we make year after year.

I received the book as a gift from my mother in the 1970’s and used it a lot, making notes in the margins about which recipes we enjoyed most, or small changes that needed to be made. When I went away to college, the cookbook was left behind, and my mother confiscated it. It is now hers, even though I can prove it’s mine by my childish signature and the date on the inside cover. She admits it ‘was’ mine, but refuses to part with it.

I’ve copied down all the beloved recipes by hand from my “mom’s” book, so I do have them at least. Last year I was able to get my hands on a used copy and I gave it to my sister for Christmas. She recognized the book right off and was happy to have all the old recipes. But I need to find another copy for myself. Maybe I should get 3 copies, one to keep and the others for my kids to take when they grow up and leave the nest.



UPDATE – I found one on eBay and hopefully I will win the auction!