Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Countdown - Wk 2

Seven weeks til the big day. Can you believe it??? Today threatens to be the last of our "unseasonal" weather.  It's been reaching the mid-to high 60's here in PA.  Heavenly!!! 

This week: Keep shopping! Check out church and community fairs for handmade decorations. Start picking up nonperishable items for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  Think about how you will be decorating this year - real tree? are you going with a theme? will you be making decorations?  Amanda and I are going to have a little workshop with the kiddies and have them make toilet paper Santa Clauses, reminiscent of one Amanda made me years ago, which I have and, much to her chagrin, pull out every year.  He is so faded and worn, but he's special!

I've been thinking about a centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table.  I was entertaining the idea of a cornucopia, but Mom and I made these adorable pumpkins for Halloween and I think if I line them up lengthwise down the table, it will be darling.
We had visited a cousin who had taken real pumpkins, scooped out the tops, filled them with dirt and planted mums. It was adorable.  We were going to recreate those, but upon entering the Dollar Store, we spotted these Styrofoam pumpkins, stopped at Michaels for a few flowers, and with wire cutters, shortened the stems and poked them into the tops of the pumpkins. Waalah!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Words Worth Repeating

A co-worker and I were commiserating this morning, you know the old, why not us??? Later I received a very timely e-mail from another friend enclosing this article.  I've read it before but this time I will be printing it out and hanging it on my fridge or the bathroom mirror... or both.

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me..
It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take 'no' for an answer

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

View around 7:45 a.m. this morning from the Smithfield Street Bridge. Stunning!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas Countdown

It's begun.  EIGHT weeks to Christmas.  If I countdown by paychecks . . .uh, let's not.  Here is my countdown to do list for Week 1:
1. Buy postage stamps
2. Create/update master gift list
3. Finalize plans for Thanksgiving (menu, guest list, place settings, centerpiece, shopping list, etc.)
4. If ordering by mail, do it now to allow plenty of time for shipping.
5. Check out Pittsburgh Events and enter those interested in on Holiday Calendar.

This is my favorite time of year and usually my poorest as the real estate taxes and refuse bill are due at this time.  Luckily, Mom and I were in many a right place this past summer/fall and found bargains galore! I have bags and bags piled in a corner of my family room.  The little kiddies are pretty much done. We just have to sort, wrap, and update our master gift list.  
Sunday, we sat down and finalized the Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve Open House menus.  That just leaves our Annual Ornament Exchange to think about.
Saturday, the kiddies came over for a little Halloween lunch.  Sadly, my camera was on night and the photos are poor.  DAGNABIT!  But a good time was had by all.  I mean it.  We really had great fun!

Brendan. He LOVES his dinosaurs!
Amanda, such a pretty ghost
Cammi as Monster High's Laguna Blue
Jade, on leave
Joey a/k/a Pumpkinhead
Kayla, came through WillKillYasBurg (not funny, I know)
The gang - playing Scattergories
Jake, was a dinosaur, too, but that didn't last too long
Caramel Apple Swamp
From the ground comes . . .
Amanda made yummy candy sticks

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
Zucchini Casserole
Mummy Dogs
Caramel Apples
Orange Punch
Ice Tea