Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

This evening, December 23rd, after a yummy supper of scrambled eggs, bacon and fried taters, we put up our Christmas Tree.

We really don't have a good place for a regular sized tree, so for the past several years we have used our tiny fake tree from WalMart. Of course they don't make a light-string that tiny, so we have the tree wrapped in lights and then a big wad that hangs down and is tied up on the floor :)

The little table that we put the tree on is part of Susannah's Christmas present, but we didn't put out the 2 chairs yet. We'll put those out when we put out the wrapped presents.

Last year one of her grandma's gave her a Little People Nativity Set for Christmas. She has played with the people and animals all year, but we had the stable and trees packed away. Tonight we got them out, found as many people and critters as we could, and put that up with the tree. She figured out really fast how to push the knob on top so it would play "Away In A Manger"... over and over :)

Before taking her bath tonight, she wanted to push the knob one last time. And the same right before going to bed :) I'm sure she will get every bit of life out of those batteries!

I am excited to experience Christmas through her eyes again this year. Last year was very special and fun, our first Christmas as parents, but this year she is a year older and of course much more aware and into the pretties and presents! She watched and "helped" me wrap some gifts the other evening and was very fascinated with the tape. We helped her put some tape on some of the gifts - some of it made it to the right place, and some of the gifts have random, wrinkled up tape stuck to them :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday {I...Love...YOU!}

Susannah continues to learn new words, which most of the time don't really sound like the actual word, but it's how she says it and we know what she's saying (most of the time!)

One of her words is "Paul." One day she was looking at her picture Bible, and was pointing to different things in pictures (and I would then tell her what/who it was). She pointed to a picture of Paul (who started out as Saul), and I told her it was "Paul." She immediately picked up on who "Paul" is in that book, and when she looks at it she often finds the pages with Paul on them, and says "Paul!" "Paul!" "Paul!" Of course she says it in a high, sing-song voice, so that makes it extra cute to hear. She also has a cousin, Paul, and this past weekend we were together. She finally figured out that his name is Paul, too, and I heard her calling him by name a few times.

In one of her toy boxes with 2 bears,
looking at her Bible (with "Paul!" in it).

Susannah continues to be bothered if there is a mess that she discovers. Now, her toys scattered all over the floor in a mess doesn't bother her, but other things out of order sure do! And she likes to fix them NOW! The other night it was raining a little bit when the cat came in for the evening. Susannah went to pet the cat, and was very bothered that she was wet (damp). She made her "uh! uh!" noise (which sounds likes something is a major disaster!) and right away went over to the drawer were I keep my kitchen towels. She pulled out a towel and attempted to dry kitty off!! I was glad my camera was right there on the counter so I could grab it quickly to get a picture. Needless to say, the cat didn't really appreciate Susannah's concern :)

And saving the best for last (for this time), Susannah started finishing "I love you!" for us when we say it. Of course we tell her "I love you!" many times a day. For a while now I've been asking her if she could say "I love you" or "I love you, Mama!" Most of the time I say it very slowly, separating the words so it's not just one long string of sounds for her to try and repeat. Yesterday I was doing that, and she started saying "you!" after I say "I... love..." This is another word she says in her high, sing-song voice, so all together it comes out as (me) "I... love..." (Susannah) "EEEEUUUU!!!" Of course now that she will finish the sentence for us, we say it even more often just to hear her :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Day Menu

I don't have any pictures to go with this post because Christmas Day is not yet here, and I don't feel like taking pictures think you want to see pictures of stuff scattered around in my freezer, fridge and cupboards :P

One of my goals for this month (to get done before Christmas, obviously) was to figure out the menu for Christmas Day and get any groceries that we needed for it. Done and done! Last week I did a huge shopping trip and aside from milk, orange juice and a few last-minute food gifts, I won't need to grocery shop again until next year! What a nice sense of "ahhh!"

First I want to share a little about our non-traditional Christmas Day food. Growing up, most years Mom and/or my older sisters slaved away in the kitchen making THE Christmas Dinner with the turkey, mashed potatoes and all the things that go with. Then one year we decided that no one (a) had time or (b) want to. No "want to" to fix the huge meal, and no "want to" to clean up from it! So that year we had special finger type foods and some special jello salad. We did start the day off with a REALLY special breakfast of bacon (a rare treat in a house of 12 people!), fried 'taters, gravy, biscuits (I think?), orange juice (another rare treat!), and a couple other things. That was the big meal for the day. After that it was fend for yourself with stuff like cheese, crackers, party mix, and so on.

I am typically all about making big days simple, so when Daniel and I got married we adopted that Christmas Day tradition for our own. It is one of our family "rules" to stay home all of Christmas Day, or most of it, and just enjoy the time together. (Our families get together later anyway.)

This year our menu consists mostly of special splurge foods. Many of them are way more processed than I would typically buy, but this is a very special day so we enjoy the treat of very special food :)

Monkey Bread
(both of these I will make)

Munchie Foods:
Li'l Smokies wrapped in homemade biscuit dough like tiny pigs-in-a-blanket
Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce
Summer Sausage, Cheese and Butter Crackers
Peaches and Cottage Cheese (I had to put something healthy and not salt-laden on the menu!)

Peanut Butter Pie (Daniel's)
Coconut Cream Pie (mine)
Pumpkin Pie with CoolWhip (Susannah's)

For the dessert, I am borrowing a Thanksgiving tradition from a friend of ours, where you make each person's favorite pie (or whatever pie they request). Susannah isn't old enough to have a favorite (or at least to tell us what it is if she has one!) and since we all like pumpkin pie and I don't make it often enough, that is the 3rd pie. Of course we will all share our pies with each other and I'm sure we'll be taking leftovers to share with Daniel's family!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome December and December Goals!

Isn't that a pretty picture? It's an old one, though. There hasn't been any snow here so far this winter. I'm hoping for some snow this December. Last year we had a white Christmas and I really liked that :)

I was pretty happy to get to the end of November with just one thing not crossed off my list. This past Saturday (Dec. 2nd) I put a good hurtin' on that last item, though, and only have a tiny bit left to do.

My November Goals:
~Get Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail Done!! They are not stamped yet, but they are all addressed, have return labels on them, and are ready to be finished up.
~Make a list of Christmas gifts to make or purchase and start shopping Daniel is responsible for shopping for "his guy" (the person whose name he has), but I've got a good start on the shopping for "my guy," and a good idea of what I need to make or purchase yet to be finished with all gifts.
~Pack up Susannah's too small clothes
~Pack up my clothes. The one I can't cross off :) So close I can smell it, though!
Mend Susannah's jumper that she will wear for her Christmas picture She and I did this Thanksgiving Day evening.

~Clean out kitchen ceiling light covers
~Dust ceiling fans
~Clean return vents Whew, they were so dusty! I think this needs to be a quarterly task. It only took a minute or two per vent to take the cover off, take it outside and wipe the dust off with a cloth.

Goals for December
~Write Christmas letter (to include in the cards for people whom I'm not in contact with regularly through internet communication)
~Take Susannah's annual Christmas picture and get it printed
~Mail Christmas cards by Dec. 15th (and get my overseas sister's card in the mail ASAP!)
~Finish all non-food gift purchasing by Dec. 15th, including purchasing any needed ingredients for homemade goodies that will be gifts
~Wrap all non-food gifts by Dec. 20th
~Don't wait till the very last second to make/assemble food-gifts :)
~Put 2+ meals in the freezer for when the baby comes (I have a few frozen already)
~Make donuts to take to the neighbors
~Thoroughly clean out refrigerator and refrigerator freezer
~Wipe down kitchen cabinet fronts, and wipe out spice/measuring spoon drawer
~Plan Christmas Day menu/grocery list
~Re-home the dog (This past month one of my weekly goals was to begin this process, and we did get started. We would really like to have him re-homed by the end of this month.)

Whew, that's a lot of bullet points on my list and for a typically busy month to boot! Hopefully many of these will keep the stress and chaos at bay and let me get some other things done besides running around like a headless chicken.