Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday

Biscuit is 2 today. In human years. Ken's not speaking to him because B. was up barking at 3:45 this morning, but Dean and I both believe there were coyotes in the yard. Seems like a good reason to bark, even if the timing was inconvenient.

He can be a pain, but he loves when Dean wraps him up in a blankie....

In other news, we managed yesterday to get a handful of Christmas lights up on 2 of the bushes in front of our house -- no blood was shed, and our marriage appears to have remained intact. No small feat. We're headed out to get the tree this afternoon. I've never done so much Christmas stuff in November, but we've got a crazy-busy month ahead of us and we'll have family coming for a visit in a few weeks. In the way-behind department, I'm just getting around today to switching out the summer clothes for the winter ones....

But that's in the moments I'm stealing from this year's polar bear production. Photos soon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So thankful

Although I did not have time to polish the silver this year and used the everyday stainless instead, I did make sure I took the time to make the butter molds (because Dean loves them so)...
and I did get the linens ironed...

and placecards made and the table set. My grandpa used to bring us foil-wrapped chocolate turkeys from Fannie Mays (a Chicago institution) so I make sure to find some kind of chocolate turkey for Dean every year (not as easy to do as it should be). Dean even read the blessing this year.

And so all-in it was a successful Thanksgiving. I've got the meal down to a science -- easy with the combination of 20+ years of experience and a husband who really loves exactly the same dishes every year. And I spent more time than usual thinking thoughts of thankfulness. Better that way.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally figured it out

Dean (who was kind enough to take this photo for me out of the car window as we drove home from school last week) is relieved, as am I, that all the wild turkeys in the neighborhood finally seem to have gotten the memo about Thanksgiving and are laying low. They'd been prancing around without care, right in broad daylight, right on front lawns. "Maybe we need to put out a little dish of gravy to wise 'em up," I said, but luckily it didn't come to that.

And, I, too, seem to have gotten with the program. "Hey, maybe if I stop complaining about the fact that I'm so far behind in the holiday department and use that energy instead to start doing things then I'll feel better!" And what do you know? It's working!

Tote bags that fold up and can be tucked into your regular bag so that you're never without your own reusable shopping bag have been high on my to-do list for a while now, and I finally got out fabric and sewing machine and got to work.

I even went so far as to modestly decoupage a nice tin and have placed one of these bags inside, and tied it with a ribbon -- all ready for the staff gift exchange at work. Gosh that feels good. I wish I'd thought about the tin option earlier in the year, only because I know we recycled a few of these. I'm liking the idea, though, of converting them as I go so that I have alternative wrapping solutions ready at hand.

So even though Thanksgiving will be here before I know it, and I'm not quite in the place I'd like to be yet (no ironing done, no silver polished, no butter pats made, no rolls nor appetizers made and in the freezer yet), I'll get there one way or another and I'll simplify as necessary to make it happen. Feels better just being able to say that.

OH -- and I keep forgetting: Ken told me last week that on a radio news report he heard that sales at Joann Fabrics are up 18% over this time last year, and that the company attributes it to more people making Christmas presents! I attribute it to blogland -- truly I do! How wonderful is that?

And I just now remembered one more thing I wanted to share. Dean needed a plain, flat bedsheet to bring to school for a project (it will get made, by him, into a costume suitable for depicting a person who lived in the Middle East during the middle ages -- back when the Arab world was thoughtfully, purposefully holding onto great ideas and recorded history, after Rome burned and the darkness took over Europe). There was no such thing as an extra plain sheet in the closet to give him but I had the brilliant idea of stopping at Salvation Army on the way home from his Saturday morning soccer game. Brilliant for me, anyway, because I don't usually have reasons to thrift but I could just picture unused sheets, in packages, waiting for us there. Yup! Not only did I score the sheet for him, but I also found a never-used, vintage muslin sheet and it's gorgeous -- great hand, so ready to be made into...something. All for $5.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sharing with you

I found a pretty incredible source for beautiful wooden toys and other delights and I hope you give yourself the gift of checking it out. Many of their things would make wonderful gifts for adults.

I recently discovered Anuna, and bought their Christmas Songs cd, thanks to Isabella online (another great source for cool gifts). Anuna has a bunch of stuff on YouTube, if you'd like to get a sense of what they are all about. I confess that I am playing it already -- the Christmas cd -- and find it soothing. I already have a sense of hopelessness about the season -- that there is no way I can ever possibly have my act together. But the cd is reminding me about the beauty of it.

Did you see Bethany's Thanksgiving banner tutorial? It's her Nov. 5 post -- can't get the link to go directly there. Sheer genius, as always.

What's your hand?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wasn't that long ago, right?

Somehow I'm making up a rule that says I can still post about a holiday as long as I'm less than a week away from it. Not sure why I think I need to get all rule-y or anything, but I guess I feel the need to justify being so far behind. But we did have a glorious Halloween!

Every year it seems the prospect of making the time to deal with the pumpkins is just overwhelming; buying them is easy, gutting and carving them on a week night after dinner always seems so hard. But then, once we just buckle down and do it we remember that it's not so bad and in fact we enjoy it. A lot. (Dean has gotten pretty good at gutting his own pumpkin, which does help.)

And this year Dean was Bond. James Bond. Daniel Craig as James Bond. Never had such an easy costume to make! I had the idea to check eBay for a kid's tux and found one brand new, in the wrapper, for less (um, more than one-third less) than I spent on fabric last year. Not that I don't absolutely love making his costumes for him because I do, but this did take a lot of stress and expense out of the whole enterprise, and he did look marvelous if I do say so myself.

He went trick or treating, as always, with his buddy Max who looked just exactly like the UPS man. They were a great pair. Came back with lots of loot, and Dean gave about 2/3's of his haul to his other friend who was too sick to go out that night. (H1N1, or I-L-I [influenza-like-illness], I'll be so glad when you are out of here.)

And I'm just too proud of his accomplishments not to say -- Dean's managed in his last two games to get the ball past the keeper and into the net. The upper photo was from a very tough game that they lost, and the bottom is from a game in which Dean's was the only goal so he did it for his team. He's having a wonderful time, getting more confident with each game. We open a new season of indoor soccer this Saturday at 7 a.m., and close out the current outdoor season in the afternoon. Not sure how two games in one day will go (or how I'll get his uniform clean in between) but hoping he continues to love the sport.