March 2017

March 2017

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brick-and-Mortar vs. Online Shopping

Sometimes I forget about the brick-and-mortar stores.  Online shopping is just too convenient and often offers the best bargains.  Plus, even if I end up spending more, I still save because I don't do any impulse buying.  Today, however, I was reminded it's sometimes still worth leaving the house.

This year, in addition to hosting the staff holiday lunch and Christmas Eve lunch and dinner, we're also serving a meal on Christmas Day.  Therefore, I decided it was time to get a Christmas tablecloth.  In the past, we used the same white tablecloth for all gatherings throughout the year.

After searching online for weeks, I settled on a Williams-Sonoma red plaid tablecloth.  It wasn't cheap, but they were offering free shipping and I don't plan to do this every year. So today I decided to place my order.  Unfortunately, the size I needed had sold out.

That's when I remembered Home Goods.  I used to shop there often, but haven't for a long time now.  Our home is finally getting to the point where I'm happy with most of the decor.  Home Goods offers great bargains, but it's hit-or-miss, so I wasn't too hopeful as I headed there this afternoon.

To my surprise, it was a successful trip.  I got two tablecloths and 24 napkins for half the cost of the Williams-Sonoma tablecloth.  Originally, I had planned to get just one tablecloth that would cover our table when fully extended.  But now I also have a shorter one that will fit better when no extensions are used.

This was one time when it definitely was worth leaving the house.  And I only made one impulse buy, a $5 bag of gourmet bubblegum balls!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hello Winter!

Temperatures have finally dropped.  Yesterday morning we actually had a few snow flurries.  It definitely feels more like winter now, which makes me happy.

The only downside is the extra effort it takes to get out the door with the boys.  Elliott is already complaining about having to wear his winter coat, and he hates sweaters. Fortunately, he has no problem wearing a hat.  Again today, Elliott wore his Santa Mickey Mouse hat to school.

Jonah, so far, is not fighting the winter coat, but it makes him a lot bulkier to haul around. He refuses to wear a hat, however, so we'll be facing that battle when temperatures drop further.

But I imagine life gets monotonous in places that don't have four seasons.  I just wish ours were more equal in length.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Embarrass Me, Grandma

Elliott arrived at grandma's this morning without his backpack, which he accidentally left at home.  Fortunately, I was showered and dressed, so we immediately jumped in the car and drove to Elliott's house.  After retrieving the backpack, we headed to school.

Before we got too close, however, Elliott tells me, "people are going to think you're crazy with those things in your hair."  With all the scurrying, I had forgotten about the five small curlers in my hair!

I understood Elliott's point and quickly removed the curlers.  But I couldn't help thinking it wasn't that long ago it didn't matter how grandma looked.  We seem to have arrived at the "don't embarrass me stage" overnight.  My nostalgia quickly vanished, however, as I watched Elliott walk into school wearing his Santa hat with Mickey Mouse ears.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Closeness Among Generations

Long gone are the days when, basically, there were only three television channels.  Now, with our cable service, we can choose from at least 50.  As a result, we easily miss a show or even a series.

Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods
That's what happened recently.  I caught an ad for the second season of Blue Bloods and realized I'd missed a complete season.  In fact, I didn't know the series existed and I'm a Tom Selleck fan.

As a long-time Netflix subscriber, I immediately did a search on their website.  There it was, the entire first season of Blue Bloods in six discs. Last night I finished disc four.  Unfortunately, because Blue Bloods is not a Netflix "Instant Watch," I now have to wait for snail mail.

I'm looking forward to watching discs five and six and catching up with season two.  What I like best about Blue Bloods is the interaction of four generations of Reagans.  That's also why I like Parenthood, which is about three generations of Bravermans.  The closeness among family members in both shows is what I pray we're building with Elliott and Jonah. The hope that they'll always enjoy being with grandma and papa, no matter how old they get, is why we make time sacrifices now.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Improvements in Holiday Decorations

For a person who hates clutter, decorating for Christmas is a mental struggle.  I want the house to look festive, but I can tolerate only so much.  Every year it's a matter of fine tuning.

Fortunately, over the years holiday decorations have really improved.  One of my favorite purchases last year were battery-operated sensor window "candles."  With two C batteries and the sensor facing the window, the "candle" comes on automatically when it gets dark. No more running around every night plugging in four "candles."  Best of all, no more ugly cords.

And hail the inventor of pre-lit trees!  As a kid, I always felt badly for my dad whose job it was to string the lights.  No matter how carefully he placed each bulb, it was never good enough for mom.  So, every year, the holidays began with a row.  Fun times.

Now if someone could invent a way for decorations to come up from the basement without me having to run the stairs dozens of times, that would definitely be cool!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Preparing for Christmas

Both grandsons were fantastic yesterday.  Jonah was entertaining as he repeated everything he heard and wanted more and more pumpkin pie.  Our picky eater, Elliott, ate his meal nicely, and was extremely patient while waiting for grandma and papa to finish clean-up.  That's when we all get involved putting together the annual Lego advent calendar.  This year's calendar has a Star Wars theme, so you can imagine Elliott's excitement.

Now it's time to focus on Christmas.  Today I started decorating.  I had hoped to be further along by now, but can't get fully motivated.  It's just too hot!  It seems wrong putting out winter-themed items when it's in the 70s.  I definitely would have trouble during the holidays if we ever moved south.

But tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to be rainy and cooler, which sounds a lot better for the job at hand.  In the meantime, to help me get in the mood, I'll be blasting Christmas carols when I'm not watching cheesy Hallmark holiday movies.  Yep, that should do the trick!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dysfunctional Family

My name is Dianne and I'm part of a dysfunctional family.

Although I think all families have some degree of dysfunction, I now believe mine is extreme.  Over the last 3-5 years in particular, it's become obvious to me that there's a lot of pent up anger and animosity.  And as cliche as it sounds, I blame my mother.

Growing up I remember dad telling us often not to "upset mom."  She could throw hateful barbs without hesitation, but we were never allowed to defend ourselves.  And, whenever I asked dad for help, I would get, "I'm not getting in the middle," even when he clearly knew mom was wrong.

As a result, each of us kids learned to swallow feelings.  Of course, sometimes they rise to the boiling point and there's an ugly spilling over.  But nothing's ever completely resolved.

Is it just a coincidence that I've come to this revelation on a holiday, another cliche? Probably, since the latest altercation has nothing to do with Thanksgiving.  I'm just hoping a step to healing is recognition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Changing Taste Buds

I've noticed lately that my taste buds have changed.  For example, I no longer like soda in any form.  I used to be a big Diet Pepsi drinker.  When that started tasting bad, I infrequently would get a regular Coke Cola.  Now even the real stuff tastes bad to me.  I would much rather have water or unsweetened iced tea.

About a month ago, I had lunch at Pasta House, which I only do once or twice a year.  I remember loving their salad.  No more.  In fact, I was so disappointed in the taste, I didn't finish it.  Then a few weeks ago, I treated myself to a breakfast lunch at First Watch.  I had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and an English muffin.  Nothing tasted good.

I seriously think my changed taste buds are a result of my better cooking.  I now can make creamy scrambled eggs and yummy maple syrup bacon.  I also can toss a mean salad with very little dressing as long as I have fresh ingredients.

I guess that's the down side to improved culinary skills.  Most of the time it'll be better to just stay home and cook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holidays Already?

Jim took Elliott to school today because it was raining.  And Mike took the day off, so I only had Jonah for a couple hours this afternoon while daddy was at Elliott's Thanksgiving celebration.  I'm glad for the break.  And there's no school tomorrow, so it'll be a completely kid-free day.

I made pies this morning in between visiting mom with dad.  Tomorrow I'll cook the main Thanksgiving meal, which will be fun.  But somehow I'll also have to motivate myself to clean the house.

I can't believe the holidays are here, again, and I'll be decorating for Christmas in three days.  At least, this year, the Christmas decorations will be up for over four weeks.  It's always a lot of work, but I love it when it's done.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Exiting Chaos

Today I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards.  It all started with swapping out our old dishes for the new ones I bought last Saturday.  However, I've wanted to do an annual cupboard cleaning for months.  And, as usual, a number of pieces didn't make the cut.

Now I have a pile of dishes downstairs to pack up and take to Goodwill.  And, before today, the basement was already in disarray because Jim steam-cleaned the playroom carpet yesterday.

But that's the way it always seems to go.  Clean and organize one thing or area only to end up with chaos somewhere else.  At least the no-longer needed items purged out of the kitchen cabinets today are now closer to the exit door.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep

I woke up today with post-nasal drip, slight nausea, and a headache.  Jim's been fighting it for a month, so I suppose I should have expected it.  I'll be popping Zicam tablets and taking regular doses of AirBorne for at least the next few days.  I simply have too much I want to do.  No time or patience for being sick.

This morning I set the dining room table for Thanksgiving.  After mass and lunch, I (hopefully) made my last trip to the grocery store for the week.  Tomorrow I'll make Cranberry Conserve and do more house cleaning.  Tuesday I'll bake pumpkin pies.  And Wednesday I'll make mashed sweet potatoes and creamed corn, blanch haricot verts, roast the turkey, and make the gravy.  Then, on the big day, all I have to do is brown the rolls, toss the haricot verts with shallots cooked in olive oil, heat the dishes that need to be served warm, and eat.

I've been using this routine for several years now.  I used to get so anxious about getting everything done on time when I did all the cooking Thanksgiving Day.  This system has removed a lot of stress and makes clean-up on Thanksgiving Day so much easier.  Best of all it allows me to enjoy the holiday and my family.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is Anybody Listening?

Nearly every time I go to St. Louis Bread Company, I end up telling the cashier several times that I'm eating in.  Clearly, they are not listening.

Tonight, Jim and I ate at California Pizza Kitchen.  Jim ordered a full BBQ Chicken Salad. I ordered a half Peach Spinach Salad.  But, when our food arrived, both salads appeared to be the same size.  When questioned, the waitress apologized saying she thought we both ordered half salads.  This time, it was two against one.  The waitress clearly did not listen.

After dinner, we went to Pottery Barn to buy the dishes I've been eyeing for a year that were finally on sale.  We got two sets of four place settings with soup bowls plus four cereal bowls.  The cashier verbally confirmed our purchase several times.  Nevertheless, after she rang up the order, the bill was $24 higher than expected because she had charged us for eight cereal bowls.  Another case of not listening.

If today's economy can't improve America's customer service, what will?  The least a customer should expect is the full attention of the person taking their money.  Is anybody listening?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Phone Books

Does anyone still use a phone book?  I can't remember the last time I dug one out to find an address or phone number.  Instead, when I need that type of information, I just grab my laptop or iPhone.

Nevertheless, every year several yellow pages books and one white book are delivered to my door.  For years, I kept them in a kitchen drawer.  When I started cooking more, however, I needed the space for new tools, so I moved the books to a laundry room cabinet.  But soon I needed that space for cleaning supplies I used to keep in the kitchen, again making room for more cooking tools.  So, for the last couple of years, I've been shoving phone books into the coat closet.

Today I cleaned the coat closet and now have six books to recycle.  Because a phone book's spine cannot be recycled, it used to be a pain to find somewhere to take them, which is why I have so many.  After a little research, however, I discovered our curbside recycling service now takes phone books.  Great!

Now I'm tempted to send all our phone books to the curb, including the most recent versions.  In fact, I'm also thinking new ones may never make it into the house.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Anxious versus Eager

On Monday, Elliott's school is having a "Pumpkin Run."  The winner wins a pumpkin pie.  (Sounds weird to me, too.)  Elliott told his mom he's "anxious" about the run because he really wants his own pumpkin pie.  However, when his class runs during gym, he never comes in first.

Now, if a five-year-old can use the word "anxious" properly, why do so many adults get it wrong?  It's a major pet-peeve of mine.  It especially annoys me when I hear well-educated news commentators use "anxious" when they clearly mean "eager."

Both "anxious" and "eager" mean "desirous," but "anxious" also implies fear or concern. 
--Writing.LifeTips.com "Commonly Confused Words Tips"

As a grandma, I'll eagerly continue to teach Elliott and Jonah the difference.  I am anxious, however, about the general improper use of the English language in America.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Darn Good Home Cook

Today I did the bulk of my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving.  I easily qualified for the $0.67-per-pound turkey, which required an additional $50 purchase.  I plan to grab another turkey at that price for Christmas, but will have to make a second trip before Thanksgiving to qualify.

As I hunted through the grocery store today, I began to suspect I must be a more accomplished cook now.  I easily passed by all the holiday displays of packaged and canned foods, searching primarily for fresh, frozen, and pure items.  These days, I mostly cook from scratch.  For example, no more canned creamed corn.  (However, I do continue to use canned pumpkin.  Seriously, who wouldn't!)

I feel my suspicions were confirmed when I asked for help finding the shallots.  After one employee was baffled, another said, "you know, it's those things chefs use."  Well, I'm certainly not a chef, but I do believe I've become a pretty darn good home cook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Launch of Cricut Mini

Today HSN is presenting the world launch of the newest Cricut, the Cricut Mini.  A Cricut is a home electronic die-cutting machine.  It's a great tool for making a variety of paper crafts such as cards, gift bags and tags, signs, decorations, and much more.

Two years ago, I got my first Cricut, the small Personal model.  I absolutely love playing with my Cricut.  It allows me to add a professional touch to anything I'm making.  But, after watching today's presentation, I decided to upgrade.

The beauty of the Cricut Mini is it works through an online program, the Cricut Craft Room. The older Cricut models use cartridges.  And the only way to know what's on the cartridge is to flip through the accompanying book.  Now I'll still be able to use my old cartridges, but I'll upload them to my online Cricut Craft Room where I'll be able to easily see, resize, and position images.  And any Cricut images I purchase in the future will be through the online program, freeing up space in my hobby room.

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.  But, lucky for me, my Christmas will be here in just 7-10 days :-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let the Holiday Cleaning Begin

Over the weekend, I started my holiday cleaning with the family room.  I moved the couch and love seat, which I only do once or twice a year, for a thorough vacuuming.  I also removed the bumpers that have been on the hearth since Elliott started walking. Because Jonah's never in the family room without a number of adults blocking the fireplace, I'm comfortable getting rid of that eyesore.  Of course, now I'm fighting the sticky residue on the bricks.  Goo Gone is doing the trick, but it'll take a few applications.

Today the carpets, couch, and love seat are being professionally cleaned.  And since it's in the 70s, I'm washing windows.

For me, one of the biggest benefits of the holidays is a thoroughly cleaned house.  Few things make me happier.  I just love being in a clutter-free clean environment.  Let the holiday cleaning begin!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Feeling Better About Myself

Two things happened recently that made me feel better about myself.

For approximately three years, I've been wearing baked mineral foundation.  I'll never go back to liquid foundation again.  Mineral foundation feels so much lighter and is easier to apply.  However, for the past 4-6 weeks, I've felt my face was looking darker, like one of those Florida seniors who's spent way too much time in the sun.  I have no idea what happened.  But last week, I finally decided to get professional help.

While I was at the mall, I went to Sephora.  When I told the make-up artist I thought my foundation was too dark, she immediately agreed and quickly went to work finding a better match for my current skin tone.  She did a great job.  Now my face seems brighter and I think I look five years younger.

The second thing that happened was an "aha" moment.  Over the last five years, I've done some research on breast reduction.  I doubt I'll ever do it because of the cost and pain. But I have learned that my DDDs weight approximately 15 pounds.  And that explains why I don't look as overall round as other women with B or C cups who weigh the same, or a little less, than me.  Duh!

Seriously, it was driving me crazy.  Often while watching The Biggest Loser, I would think, "do I look that fat, because she now weights nearly the same as me?"  Then, sometime last week, the "light bulb" went on in my head.  The answer is "no" because 15 of my pounds are on my chest and not around my middle or on my hips.  Plus, if I subtract 15 pounds from my current number, I'm much closer to my ideal weight.

It's nice to feel good about myself for a change, at least for a little while.  Like most people, I spend way too much time feeling bad about my aging body.  And, really, what's the point? In ten years, I'll wish I looked as good as I do now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Focus, Focus, Focus

Media long ago declared the Friday after Thanksgiving Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.  The hype escalates every year, but it's gotten especially bad the last several years with the failing economy.  This year some retailers are even calling the entire month of November "Black Friday Month."

Truth is, however, even if a person doesn't hit the stores Thanksgiving weekend, once-a-year sales abound from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.  And it's not only in stores. For me, its the online specials that are the hardest to resist.  Already I'm being bombarded with amazing offers via email everyday.

Nevertheless, I must stay strong.  My gift shopping is complete and my budget is spent. At this point, the only offer I'm interested in is a great deal on a 32" HD television for the exercise room.  I just need to keep telling myself what I seem to always be saying to Elliott, "focus, focus, focus."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reaching Limits

This morning I took Emily and Jonah to see the pediatrician.  Last night and this morning, Jonah was still spewing from both ends.  Daddy's been gone all week on a business trip, so Emily's been nursing a sick toddler and taking care of a 5-year-old all on her own.  This morning she reached her limit and I came to the rescue.

Turns out Jonah's diarrhea and vomiting were side effects of the antibiotic he was taking for pneumonia.  Since he'll no longer be taking the antibiotic, all should be well within 24 hours. However, he'll still be on a bland diet until Sunday, which means no milk.  It's going to be a rough weekend.

It's times like these I wonder why some people consciously have more than two children.  I suppose if you can afford help, or have relatives or friends willing to lend a hand, it might not be too tough.  But, for us, we always knew two was our limit physically, emotionally, and financially.  And, thank God, that's just what we got.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Day

Jonah was diagnosed with pneumonia late Tuesday afternoon.  Then, yesterday, it was determined he was also battling the stomach virus that's going around.  Emily's been home with him for two days now and, needless to say, has had a number of messes to clean up. Jonah, however, is taking it all in stride.  That kid is a trooper with a high tolerance for pain. Unlike his brother who thinks he's going to die when he gets a paper cut!

So today I ended up with a free day.  Emily even took Elliott to school and picked him up after.  I decided to use the time to tackle the last of my Christmas shopping.  I don't know why, but I can walk all day around Dublin with little pain yet, after just three hours at the mall, I'm sore and exhausted.  I sincerely hope I don't have to return until well after Christmas.

I should be good because, primarily thanks to Amazon and QVC, I'm now finished with my Christmas gift shopping.  My next project is to finish my holiday cards so they're ready to be mailed right after Thanksgiving.  That way, in December, I can concentrate on planning menus, preparing and freezing dishes and cookies, decorating the house, and wrapping presents.  Is my list getting longer?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not Feeling the ToysRUs Love

A couple months ago, I went to ToysRus for their exclusive Harry Potter Lego mini set.  It was nowhere to be found.  Worse yet, none of the employees knew anything about it even after I showed them the ad.

Today I returned in search of the ToysRus exclusive Ninjago DVD.  This time I did find someone who knew about the promotion, but only to have her tell me, "oh, those flew out of here!"

Exasperated, I then just proceeded to check out the few items I did find.  And that's when my frustration with ToysRus hit the boiling point.  When the cashier scanned the Lego mini-figure case, she got a message to call a manager because the item couldn't be sold until November 13.  The manager did arrive quickly, but only to confirm the sell date.  Amazed, I told her there were half a dozen on the shelf.  Her response, "they'll all have to be pulled."

Are you kidding me!  In today's economy, how can a brick-and-mortar store not let a customer pay full price for an item on display?  It wasn't even a toy on the season's "hot" list!

I am not feeling the ToysRus love.  But, boy, do I ever feel more justified in doing my holiday shopping primarily online.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Living Hell

This morning Jonah and I met dad at Bethesda to visit mom.  Every time I see mom lately, I'm amazed at the resilience of some human bodies despite chronic illnesses.

Mom is now on a floor with residents who are all going through slow deaths.  Every one of them have cheated death at least once.  Most do not talk, have to be fed and bathed, and spend most of the day sleeping either in wheelchairs or beds.  All of them are wearing adult diapers and have food stains all over their clothes.

Mom still talks, but very little.  Most of what she says makes no sense.  She hasn't recognized me for months.  And, every week now, she's thinner, frailer, and paler.

Approximately 15 years ago, mom had emergency quadruple bypass surgery.  After the operation, the surgeon predicted she would live no more than eight years.  Indeed, mom's body is extremely resilient.  I often wonder, however, if she would have preferred a fatal heart attack over the life she's been living the past ten years.

It's a depressing and hopeless situation.  At this point, all I can do is continue to pray I don't put my family through this living hell.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Photo Books

For years, I made scrapbooks of special occasions and trips.  It took days and the books ended up large and heavy.  Then three years ago, after our Paris trip, I created a photo book through Snapfish.com and have never looked back.

I now complete books in just a few hours while watching television.  And, when it's finished, there's no mess of glue, scissors, stickers, and paper scraps to clean up.

This morning I completed and ordered our Ireland book.  With all I have to do these days, I'm glad I was able to preserve those memories so easily and quickly while they were still fresh in my mind.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Heart My iPad

On our recent trip to Ireland, I decided to bring my iPad instead of hauling my laptop.  It worked beautifully!

I watched movies, read books and magazines, and played scrabble with the iPad on the long flights to and from Dublin.  It was also super simple to access the hotel's free WiFi, allowing us to send and receive email, keep up with the World Series, and talk with our son, using the iPad Skype app.

I also used the iPad when reading late at night while I was fighting jet-lag and Jim was sleeping.  With the iPad Kindle app instead of the Kindle, I read without turning on the lamp by using the iPad's backlighting, which I dimmed.  My Kindle isn't backlit and I don't have a reading light.  Next trip, I'll leave the Kindle and its charger at home.

We never did figure out why we couldn't access the hotel's WiFi with our iPhones.  But it was easy and fun to use free WiFi in cafes and restaurants with our phones, which were lighter to carry on tours than our iPad.  And since the iPad easily fit in our room safe, which the laptop wouldn't have, I had no worries about leaving it.

In summary, turns out the iPad is a great travel accessory even when going overseas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lego Chaos

My grandson, Elliott, slept over last night.  For his bedtime book, he requested the Lego Harry Potter Building The Magical World book.  Before we were finished, he was teary about how all his Lego Harry Potter sets are in pieces.

In fact, all of Elliott's Lego sets are in pieces.  He's just too creative to not take them apart, combine several sets, and build something unique.  He even takes apart his mini-figures, swapping hands, legs, heads, and anything else that can be removed.

For months, Elliott's been begging me to help him rebuild his Lego Harry Potter sets.  But there's no way to do that without first organizing all of his Legos.  Today I finally decided we would start tackling the chaos.

We began with a trip to my favorite store, JoAnn's, in search of a storage system. Lucky for us, the one we liked was 40% off.  Plus I had a coupon for 25% off my entire order.  We then hauled the system to Elliott's room and began sorting Legos.  Before we stopped for the day, mom and dad were helping, happy to finally see Elliott's floor again.

We got a lot done but, to finish the job, we need a second unit.  Nevertheless, we already know the system works.  Before I left, Elliott wanted to complete a previously started project.  He immediately pulled the red brick drawer where he quickly found the two pieces he needed.

How well Elliott sticks to the system remains to be seen.  I do know when he's told to pick up his Legos, he'll know exactly what to do.  And that's a big accomplishment.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Special Christmas

This year we will have a full house for Christmas.  My son, Daniel, and his wife, Kate, moved from Daejeon, South Korea, to Long Island, NY, last month.  In December, Kate's father will travel from South Korea to visit them.  (It will be his first trip to the United States.)  During his stay, all three will fly to St. Louis for a long Christmas weekend with family.

We are extremely excited about seeing Daniel and Kate soon.  It's been three years since Kate's last visit and a little over a year since Daniel's.  We are also looking forward to seeing Kate's dad, again, and having him meet other family members.  The first and last time we saw him was at Daniel and Kate's wedding, August 2009, in Daejeon.

And that's why I'm now in major prep mode for the holidays.  Yesterday I ordered Kate's stocking holder and checked a couple more people off my gift list.  (Thank God for online shopping and Jonah's three-hour nap!)  This morning Jonah and I took advantage of Dierberg's meat sale.

I want to do as much as I can as early as possible to allow time out for illness or bad weather.  Last year Jim and I had the stomach virus over Christmas.  I pray nothing like that happens to any of us this year, so we all can enjoy our special Christmas.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making a List; Checking it Twice

I've spent the morning making my holiday gift list and going through all my gift hiding places.  Turns out I'm further ahead than I thought.  Especially since I also placed two more online orders this morning.

Yesterday I was a little freaked out because I remembered I also needed Thanksgiving and St. Nick's gifts for both grandsons.  In addition, Mike and Emily's tenth wedding anniversary is November 17.  But I was able to take care of all those additional gifts this morning.

I'm now 80-90 percent finished with my holiday gift shopping.  Soon I'll be able to just concentrate on setting up cleaning and decorating schedules, finalizing menus for Thanksgiving, the staff lunch, Christmas Eve, and Christmas, and keeping up with the bookkeeping during all the holiday madness.  Plus, somewhere in there, I need to take time to fully enjoy all my blessings.

I know it's crazy what I put myself through during the holidays.  But, truth is, as long as I'm able I won't do it any differently.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Race

We had great weather for Trick-or-Treating last night.  It was dry and in the 50s.  Elliott was Jack Sparrow.  Jonah was Captain Hook without a hat because he refused to wear it.  I just have to say, my grandsons are cuties!  And my husband's not too bad looking either.

Now it's full speed ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas. My goal is to have all my gift shopping finished by Thanksgiving.  I did manage to get a couple of things at Target yesterday and placed an online order.  I absolutely love online shopping, especially if I get free shipping.  So super convenient.

Let the holiday race begin!