Archive for the ‘Festivity’ Category

Ever since I’ve lived in an apartment (more than ten years now), I’ve always wanted a real Christmas tree, but never had one. They just seemed too impractical or something, and besides, Josh and I were usually at our family’s homes for the holidays, so what was the point? So up went the little fake tree year after year, which I did happily decorate, year after year. But I missed that distinctive pine-y smell, and it was my Christmas wish to one day have a real tree again.

And this year I got my Christmas wish. We’re still in an apartment. We’re still going to be away for part of December at family’s homes.

But whatever. It was time for a real tree.

SQUEAL!!! (Thanks to Josh for these gorgeously twinkly, glowing photos!)

Okay, so it drops needles like the dickens, but it’s so very pretty! I made those dried-in-the-oven orange slices ornaments, and I’ve got a bunch of other ornaments courtesy of my mum, from our childhood family trees. (Very dear.)

I went a little crazy at the Vancouver Christmas Market’s glass ornament stand – I couldn’t help myself.

Who doesn’t want a sperm whale dangling from their tree? Seriously.

Okay, I’m going to stick my nose in the tree again and inhale deeply. Ahhhhhhh.

Listening to: A Very She & Him Christmas (beautiful!)


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Happy December 1st! I was a day ahead of myself and thought that yesterday was day 1 of the advent calendar, excitedly popping open the first day of my lovely new Beth Krommes Winter’s Night pop-up advent calendar and introducing Keaton to the wonders of the waxy chocolate advent calendar. I only realized it wasn’t in fact the official start of Christmas month after I sent my students an email saying “Happy December 1st! Blah blah blah…” and then one of them wrote back, “Um, it’s still November 30th on my calendar!” Whoops. Even now it’s barely the 1st, just past midnight, but I can’t help myself. Oh well – it just shows how much the Christmas spirit is already powerfully thrumming through my veins!

So far I’ve watched the Vicar of Dibley Christmas Lunch Incident epsiode (will save the other Christmas episodes for a later date), have put up all the decorations except for the tree (that’s tomorrow), consumed almost an entire box of chocolate-covered maraschino cherries (my weakness, what can I say), broken out the Frangelico for the coffee, plus the eggnog and the Roger Whittaker Christmas album. You know it’s Christmas when the Rog comes out. It’s all I can do to keep from watching Christmas Vacation – I’m going to wait to watch it this year with my best friend, who’s never seen it. Man, I can’t wait to introduce her to the Griswold magic.

I also hauled out my Christmas crafts that I meant to do last year but was so crazy-busy I had no time to do them:

…the ornaments kit I bought last year from Posie Gets Cozy….

…stocking pieces for Keaton (lovely vintage flannelette!)

…which I managed to finish and turn into an actual stocking during one of Keats’s naps this past weekend, and is now hanging on the mantle above our “fireplace” next to the vinyl stocking I made for Josh about 10 years ago (I think he needs an updated one – I’m thinking tweed), and my childhood stocking that my mum made me (as you can see, her crafting skills are slightly more advanced than mine). 

I also got out all my Christmas magazines, and Keats and I had some fun making pomader oranges. Since taking this photo several days ago, they have rotted. Luckily I have more cloves. You see, I think I’m making up for the lack of energy I had last year to have my usual holiday spirit (the new job was absolutely insane last year and I was a complete zombie) by doubling it this year.

So bring on the Vancouver Christmas Market, the holiday baking and the carols. There’s no stopping me now! I’m a dyed-in-the-wool, bona fide Christmas Geek.

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Sometimes, when life swirls around you in a crazy blur, isn’t it important to take a moment to think about a few “right now”-type things that make you smile with glee?

1.) This fabulous ring, gift from best friend for my birthday. It’s impossible to have a bad day with a teensy teacup atop your finger, no?

2.) Two fresh and lovely jars of my Auntie Helen’s apricot plum jam (that woman makes the best jam in all the world, seriously). Bread, butter, jam and a slice of cheese? Snack heaven, I tell you. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it.

3.) A stack of author copies of Farmed Out, ready and waiting to be inscribed for loved ones.

4.) Delicious, end-of-summer meals like grilled eggplant stacks (eggplant, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and pesto). Okay, so yes, my happy things often revolve around food.

5.) Beautiful wooden bowls made by my dearly departed Grandpa Goerzen, saved from a “ceremonial burning” in my father’s chimea. I can’t believe he was about to burn some of my grandpa’s famous bowls. Said stack has now been distributed amongst me and my sisters!

6.) Gorgeous owl vase from my sister Chay, also a birthday present. Look, his brain grew roses! Seventh happy thing? My fabulous friends and family, who know that giving me perfect gifts like tiny teacup rings and owl vases will make me a happy gal indeed!

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Keaton turned the big two  years old on Saturday, so of course we just had to have a little celebration at his favourite playground with family and close friends. The photo second from the top was taken at Joe’s Grill, our favourite West End greasy spoon. Yeah, as you can see we’re pretty regular customers, as evidenced by the gift made for Keats by the cook, K.P. And the photo second from the bottom has got to be one of my favourite photos, ever.

Can’t believe my little guy is two. As Josh said, he may be two, but he really is still so little! Happy birthday, Keats.

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Fabulous family friend Meredith helping to prepare just one of our amazing feasts over the holidays. Seriously, check out all that chicken!

I estimate that during the past month (and much of this has been over the past ten days) I have consumed approximately four litres of eggnog, one dozen hot buttered rums, two dozen glasses of red wine, fifty rums and cokes, three litres of ruby red grapefruit cider (my new favourite – not really festive, I know, but anyway), and 376 Lindor chocolates. And you?

Oh, and one magnificent slice of turducken from the local “happy meat” butcher. It’s hard to capture the unparalleled majesty of a turducken, but here you go. (A turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, all deboned and with stuffing in there, too, in case you’re not familiar.)

We also played about 85 games of Settlers of Catan, many of them consecutive. I was having total Catan withdrawal, and it’s still barely been satisfied. Fortunately there are more games to come this weekend.

Oh yes, Christmas is continuing in full force in my world. I still have two more Christmases to go, which I’m so looking forward to – we went to visit my husband’s family for actual Christmas this year (I’m 35, and this was my very first Christmas away from my family!), and so this weekend we’re having another Christmas at my mum’s, and then one at my dad’s. So this coming weekend, while the rest of the world is getting on with their lives, we’ll be watching ‘Christmas Vacation,’ singing along to the Roger Whittaker Christmas album (a beloved holiday staple in my family), exchanging presents, having a rockin’ good time with my sisters and eating more turkey. For this Christmas lover, the chance to extend the holidays a little further is incredibly exciting. (Let’s see, how many times can I write ‘Christmas’ in one paragraph. Ummm… nine.)

Can I also please add how amazing panettone French toast is? Just buy one of them cello-wrapped packages of the ubiquitous Italian Christmas bread from Safeway or where ever, slice it up in rounds, and make it as you would French toast. Yum.

Best photo of panettone ever, I thought. And, oddly, I found it on the blog of some guy who dislikes both panettone and Christmas. Well, hmpfh.

What an amazing holiday season it’s been so far with Josh’s family. As a born and bred coastal girl, I’m used to a whole lot of green Christmases. (For example, there was a snowblower at Josh’s dad’s house, and I had no idea what it was.) It was so cool, and so festive, to be in a place where snow and Christmastime go together. A few photos from our yuletide adventures (with a heavy emphasis on the cute baby shots):

Happy holidays, everyone! I’ll be back in the new year with renewed vim and vigour, more posts and some changes around here – stay tuned.

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Post-Hallowe’en Post

Once a majestic mini-pumpkin (carved beautifully as a jack-o-lantern for Sir Keats by his Auntie Tara), now a withered post-Hallowe’en pumpkin. *sigh*

Okay, so some White Spot coleslaw got in the way of my and Josh’s carefully orchestrated plans for Hallowe’en fun this year. Or at least, we think it was the coleslaw that did it. But poor Josh just wasn’t feeling so great on Saturday night. We had planned to drive Keaton out to Maple Ridge, where my mum was going to take care of him for the evening while Josh and I went to a grown-up party in North Vancouver. (To be honest, when the time came, going all that way and back did seem like a bit of a hassle. Perhaps all things happen for a reason.) So, Josh stayed home and Keaton and I went to my friend’s kid-friendly party downtown. Good times. My little devil flirted with a little girl dressed up like a cat.

But my point is, I love Hallowe’en. I love dressing up. I love costumes. I wish I could dress up every day. How ironic then, that my costume was so badly put together this year. It was like I spent more time on the idea than on the actual execution. I’m not going to reveal what it was, though, because I think I’ll just recycle it next year. Ha!

And now, I pack up my orange feather boa wreath on the door, and my spooky candle holders. So long, Hallowe’en. See you again next year.

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, of a simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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