More Holiday granola for gift giving
Very Important News. I did it. I actually got The Husband to watch The Holiday with me last night! Wow, what an accomplishment. I encouraged (threatened) him to watch Love Actually a week or so ago and next on my list is The Family Stone. These are hands down my favorite holiday movies, not counting the classics and you know... those overly touted movies I keep droning on about on Lifetime and Hallmark. I have to say, I ply him with wine, popcorn, whatever it takes, and last night it was a few Blue Moons. I joked that I was saving the bottle caps on the kitchen counter (all two of them), so if he was hungover this morning he'd know why. :) The best part of spending time with The Husband watching movies like these is that he is always so focused on the news, politics and documentaries. So when we are watching these happy love stories, I peek at him out of the corner of my eye and see him smiling and laughing and nodding his head. My little 'ol hearts swells.
I've been keeping myself busy after lying in bed coughing and sniffling for the first part of the week. Thanks to all of you for your get well wishes. I'm almost embarrassed by how much I've complained about this darn cold I can't seem to beat. I called my doctor on Monday and got on a new antibiotic and I think it's helping. And then on Wednesday I had had enough, I got myself dressed and out of the house, just a few errands but the hour out in the fresh air made me feel a little more alive.
I really wasn't feeling totally okay but Emily dragged me out again on Thursday. We hit Michael's for some gift wrap, ribbon and odds and ends. Then she wanted to go to the nearby mall for a few gifts. Well, guess who was the one to make a major dent in the gift buying? I love shopping online and I do have a little of that I need to get on to but shopping in stores doesn't bother me in the least. I remember my childhood years shopping in a small town miles from our little house. We took the bus most times, all of us little girls and my mom, who didn't drive. I remember only Sears, a Hallmark and Fannie May. And Woolworth's. That was the best part. Sitting on the stools at the snack bar having hot chocolate. I don't believe I ever stepped foot in a mall until my early teens. And now? I love shopping in downtown Chicago, admiring the window displays, and The Husband and I visit smaller towns with independently owned shops that are just as delightful. Yet still, I get so many ideas at the malls, beautiful gift sets for that hard to figure out person in your life, the incredible sales that you might not be aware of if they don't show up in your email or you don't read the newspapers. Sometimes it can be distracting and overwhelming but I really get into it. And I truly believe that the majority of people I'm around in stores are genuinely happy and courteous, merry and very obliged to hold that door open for you or smile as they make room for you and your 1000 shopping bags! Maybe we spend more time complaining about crowds and rude people. Yes, they exist, no doubt about it. I was ready to strangle a saleslady in a store who was treating me more like a nuisance than a customer. But then you round a corner and someone gives you a warm smile, or sales people (nicer ones!), ask you if you need help with your bags, do you want boxes? We need to chill, relax and most of all, get out of our cocoons and get into the spirit with others. Just my thoughts.
While I've only accomplished some shopping and today, getting The Husband to bring up some bins of holiday decor, my daughter Emily has been working her little bum off all week. She's clever, creative and most of all quick. She found these burlap reindeer at Menard's. They light up, too. I think they are darling even though they actually look somewhat like grazing goats to me. If you are reading this, Em, I'm sorry. I really do think they are cute. Her home looks so pretty and festive inside and out.
The Husband saw pictures she texted him of these little guys as well as her tree, etc. And he shook his head and said, "Well, Jane, the competition begins." He has this really unhealthy idea that Emily and I compete with our decorating, especially at holidays. Nothing can be further from the truth. What I really envy is that she has that energy to drag her bins up, decorate the tree and house, hang her lights in the windows by herself, all in about 2 hours on December 1st. Egad. I am the tortoise for sure. So after seeing the goats, I mean reindeer, The Husband texted her this morning: "Emily. You've made my life miserable. Mom has me off to Menard's for 4 reindeer." She was like, "Seriously?" Totally shell shocked. We had a good laugh! They are cute though.
I had a really sad moment this morning when The Husband and I were sorting through the Christmas stuff in a storage room. You might remember that we lost our sister in law this past July. We were very close and every Christmas we secretly exchanged gifts so that the other sister in laws wouldn't feel bad. Last year I came home on Christmas Eve to unwrap these 'books'. Maybe you've seen them, they are actually a little sort of craft where you fold the pages this way and that and you have a little 3 dimensional display. These books spell out Joy and Love as you can see from the covers. When I received these from Jean on Christmas Eve last year I put them away in the storage room to save for this Christmas, a nice way to relax and pass the time and enjoy the whole holiday season. When I saw them this morning I had tears in my eyes. I had forgotten about them. It was almost as if for that little moment I forgot she was gone. I'm going to get to work on them---this last gift of so many over the years, and I will treasure them, absolutely.
I had a great weekend cooking up a storm. Making granola for the girls to give as gifts. I'm not so hot at crafting so decorating the jars is a challenge but I'm loving the different ways you can change up the recipe. I made a sort of sweet version with holiday colored chocolate chips (red and green) that make it look so pretty and it tastes much better! The Husband is eating it faster than I can make it. I spent the better part of Saturday making pans of lasagna for my kids. Between having 9 to 5 jobs and my son and daughter in law with a small baby, they need a break and I need to do more, even if it's a meal here and there. I will say, lasagna goes a long way but I get so crazy going all out making it from scratch that I gag thinking of eating it myself. I promised The Husband salmon for dinner so you can just imagine the smells emanating from my kitchen yesterday. Major candle burning. lol! Tonight I made a stew, the first since we've gotten cold weather. I was liking the festive colors as it boiled away so I took a picture. I wanted to use up leftover veggies so it had onion, carrots, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. An odd concoction but it worked.
Tomorrow will be a laid back day. I'm going to do a little bit of Christmas fluffing in a few rooms and wrap a few gifts. I'll also start on Christmas cards and otherwise just stay in and relax. I'm feeling a little excited, too. Usually The Husband wants to wait until the very last minute to get our tree, he always thinks one year it will go up in flames if it dries out. Last year we bought a preservative sort of solution that you put in the water in the stand and our tree was as fresh when we took it down as it was when we put it up. So with the temps reaching a balmy 50 degrees this week, he suggested we go cut one down this week. Okay, I'm lying, we've never cut down a tree in our whole lives, but it sounded good, didn't it? Off to our local nursery where they tie it to your car roof top and you pay $10,000 for wreaths and pine branches.
Ho Ho Ho!