Sunday, December 28, 2008

That was fast!

I can't believe how fast Christmas came and went!! And it was one of my more happier Christmases that I can remember for a long time! It seemed past ones were filled with worries and stresses, and now it was just a foregone conclusion that we needed to be frugal and concentrate on the other aspects of Christmas like spending time as a family and enjoying the simplicity of the holiday with its spiritual nature...makes one really think.

My daughter Kara and I spent some quality time together during her short one week visit. She was home from San Jose State and brought home my Kitchenaid mixer so that we could do a little baking. We also did a little shopping at Forever 21, which is a very reasonable, yet fashionable clothing store, and we treated ourselves to cappucinos and macchiatos at our favorite coffee place It's A Grind. Above, she's wearing the Ribs & Ruffles scarf I knitted for her out of Lion Brand Jiffy.

I also finally received the Wii Fit!!! All the kids and my husband pitched in to get me this, and I think so far, it's pretty fun to use!! I just hope I can keep it up!! I really need to lose some pounds and get my energy up least it's my main New Year's resolution!!

Let's hope 2009 is a better year than being predicted...although in many ways, I think it's good to get a wake up call and realize that we're living beyond our means and that we can be happy and be appreciative with less. If we all learn this lesson, I think that would be a good thing in the coming New Year...I'll certainly try and learn it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Baking

What's a holiday without messing in the kitchen? Especially when you have a daughter who likes to bake and is a Nutritional Science Major! In one of her classes, she learned how to cook and bake many delicious items last semester, and came away, among other things, with a simple, yet mouth watering nut brittle recipe. So today, she made Pecan brittle and Cashew brittle. Also, on board were Old-Fashioned Sugar cookies, White Chocolate Ginger Blondies, and my contribution was Applesauce Mini Bundt Cakes & Caramel Drizzle from the latest Gooseberry Patch Christmas cookbook.

What a fun afternoon we had!! Almost too full from nibbling to enjoy our latkes with sour cream and apple sauce this evening. Ah, on those, admittedly, I cheated and made from a package, yet still pretty good and tasty. We love trying as many of the seasonal goodies that we can during this time of year.

Afterwards, Kara very creatively divided up the bounty amongst four platters so that our neighbors could also enjoy our treats, and celophaned them up with ribbons and candy canes. We just came back from delivering them in the crisp, night glad we did this. We sadly found out that one of our neighbors just lost their job. So I hope this brings them cheer. Another, we did the ding dong ditching technique since no one answered, but on our way back, we saw our neighbor's little boy picking up the treats which seemed so much bigger than his little head! I could have sworn I heard him say, "Look what Santa brought." So our hearts are big...another neighbor also had her pajama-ed children bring in the goodies, while with the 4th neighbor, I joked "Happy Hanukahmas!" since they celebrate both holidays.

So we had our fun...good memories...good baking...2008.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!! The Festival of Lights...I so enjoy the tradition behind Hanukkah as shared by my Jewish friends, in particular sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. I so enjoy hearing about their traditions, but I probably only absorb the tip of the iceberg as the tradition is so rich in its history. I admire the strength they've acquired through their faith as well as their positive energy which I feel whenever I'm around them.

So I'm borrowing the Menorah and lighting my own candles. I confess, I did need to google and find out how to light them again! But every year I learn and enjoy the candles in their brilliance again! May everyone out there enjoy their own traditions and derive strength and family unity through them. The true meaning of the season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Scarves!

I am so enjoying crocheting these Twister Scarves!! If you click on Wanna's World on my blog list, you can find this pattern too. Very easy and very quick...I do think the stiffness of the Malabrigo Merino wool does the best with the twisting, but I think almost any worsted weight would do...anyway, I have a couple more to do, so better get off this computer!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Senior Boy

Where does the time go?? My youngest son Peter is a Senior in high school which means he's graduating next June. My baby a Senior. Last night was a special night after a challenging Cross Country season marked with injuries and determination. His beautiful smile, proud coach and two awards are the crowning achievements...and a proud and happy mom too who was taking the picture.

Well, it ain't over yet!!! We have Track next season to enjoy and challenge us. You bet I'll be there along for the ride probably with knitting or crocheting in hand!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Simple Christmas

As many out there can relate, we plan to spend a very simple Christmas this year. We've pared down the gift list and sent fewer Christmas cards, yet to me it seems like a far more relaxing way to spend the holidays without shopping myself ragged at the dreaded mall. Instead, we're concentrating on family and old memories.

Some of those memories came rushing back today as I decorated the Christmas tree with mostly handmade ornaments created by friends when we participated in ornament exchanges. One in particular I have such a fondness for and I keep him in my curio cabinet so that each year, he can be the first one to adorn my tree: Vella's Nut Boy.

Vella was someone very special to me and a group of special ladies. We literally hung onto her pearls of wisdom and adored her positive attitude towards life. We were all so sad when she sudden passed away. You couldn't ask for a nicer person to be in your corner...she sent this darling little Nut Boy as part of an ornament exchange that we had, and I just cherish him. So simply made with felt, fluffy wool, and nestled in a half walnut shell.

Vella was also famous amongst us for her unusual way of celebrating the season with an upsidedown Christmas tree! She'd have her husband hang this thing from the ceiling by the trunk with heavy wire so that the top of the tree would be pointing towards the floor. She did this to save space in their tiny home...before it was the trendy thing to do.

The first Christmas after she passed away, I was thinking about her while I was Christmas shopping...we were window shopping when we came upon a pure white Christmas tree...hung upsidedown!!! "Now, who would do a silly thing like that?" said the person I was with. "Vella!" Chills ran down my back since I had just been thinking of her...I took this as a definite sign that she was doing ok wherever she was...

Merry Christmas, Vella...I still miss you.