Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 6

Another photoless day. You'll understand when I get to the topic. I'm pretty sure I'm ridiculously paranoid, but I offer no apologies. Today's topic:

Christmas Parties!

PARTAY! I've been to four parties so far this year. Hubster has been to zero. Erm, this would typically be a bit odd that the wife has been out running around partying, but all of mine have been work related. By work "related" I mean two were actually at the office and two were with the Chamber of Commerce. Not really the typical party circuit, but then again, our favorite Christmas party, isn't actually a "Christmas" party.

Sometime in the midst of growing up and growing "old" we started hosting a New Year's Eve party with all of our friends at our place. Oh, this was truly my favorite part of being old: hosting parties! FOOD! Cocktails! FOOD! Presents! FOOD! Fire! FOOD! Gift Exchanges! FOOD! And welcoming in the new year with our favorite people. When we moved to Ohio, this was the part of the season I missed the most. I think I lost my "festive" mood the day I realized that 2011 would be welcomed in without our traditional party. Bummer. (I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that we had an awesome time that New Year's Eve with Steve and Laurie in Chicago!)

This year we aren't exactly getting the party back, but we are getting together with our friends in late December and it makes me very happy. There are now two little ones in the group, three of us have moved away, one couple is expecting little one #3, and there are four married couples. Some are still chipping away at degrees and some are trying to make a career work. (That would be me...hello real world and student loans!) Never fail, we are all still friends - nay, family - and the holiday season isn't the same without "our" party.

So, no photos today because I don't post party photos (please see the paranoia mentioned above) and while a photo is worth 1,000 words it can't show the kind of crazy that happens when we're all together. I can't wait for our get together this year. It may not be on New Year's Eve, but it is with all of our favorite people and that's what matters most.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 5

Today's post will be short and sweet. I'm getting ready for a crazy busy day at work tomorrow filled with nomtastic food.The fifth topic is:

Christmas Cards

For the past three years I've been handmaking our cards. I am not good about sending out cards on time. Ever. Handmaking things just compounds the issue, but I think I'm smart enough to plan ahead...WRONG!
Every year, I start talking about making Christmas cards in August. Every year, I make one in the summer, feel stupid, and wait until December 12 to start my cards. This year, was almost different. I made a card in March and another in May. Then, I came up with a sketch and a plan for cards in August. That's where the difference stopped for 2012.
As of this moment: My cards are not mailed. I have made them though. See, that's where I fell into old habits...I made 2 on December 12 and then the other 48 of them on Sunday, December 16. I have printed photos of the Mr. and I ready to go. I just need to finish write our 2012 letter and address all of the cards. Hopefully, I'll get to give most of these cards to our friends and family in-person so I don't feel too bad about not mailing them yet. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. Better luck next year?

You will notice a distinct lack of card photos. I want to let my few friends who read my blog to see the cards in person first. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 4

Happy last work Monday of the year! I've been incredibly busy at work trying to get ahead so that I'm not too far behind when we get back to work in January. I'm certain that it's a losing battle, but I'm ok with that. Today, even though it's Monday, I'd like to talk to you about a very important issue:

Christmas Cookies

One year, RPG and I made 12 trajillion spritz cookies and gave them to my co-workers. I couldn't type right for a week.* Last year, I don't even remember making cookies. I'm sure I made something, but it wasn't a terribly festive year for us. This year, I'm going for the weird and wacky award. *Slight exaggeration. It was more like 54 dozen cookies and my hands hurt for at least a week but I could still type like a human.

I usually try to make something "traditional" like spritz cookies or fudge. I've decided to embrace my inner nut case and I'm going weird with my cookies this year. On the menu: White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies, Nanaimo Bars, and Chocolate Coconut Balls. Yes, I am aware that only one of the above listed treats is a cookie. Did I mention the emphasis on weird? I'll be preparing the Nanaimo Bars and Coconut Balls later this week to ensure freshness on Christmas Day in Montana. Tonight, I'm making the easy ones for our work cookie parties tomorrow. Here's the recipe and some photos, in case you want the most traditional part of my crazy. :)

White Chocolate Cranberry Macademia Nut Cookies (sort of adapted from this recipe
1 stick high quality unsalted butter, softened
.5 cups brown sugar
.5 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking soda 
1.25 cups chopped dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugar 
Add vanilla and egg
Combine flour and baking soda
Add flour+soda to creamed butter in thirds
Use wooden spoon to mix in cranberries, chips, and nuts
Roll into 1 teaspoon balls
Bake for 8 minutes - should be golden on top and set on the edges
Cool on sheet for 2-4 minutes
Completely cool on rack      
I changed the amount of mix-ins, baking time, and cookie size. What can I say, I'm a rebel. I'm done with chit-chat. It's time to sneak off with some of these beauties.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 3

Hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was full of Christmas card assembly, cocoa, lights, and planning our trips to Montana and Southern Washington. Most importantly, our weekend included a handed-down tradition. This brings us to our topic of:

Annual Hallmark Ornament

Yeah, I buy Hallmark ornaments. I used to look at them and think "What pretentious, self-absorbed, snob spends $15+ on a plastic ornament?" Well, I must admit, that I am that person now. At Christmas the year Mr. Man and I got married in 2007 his parents gave us an ornament and told us about their tradition of buying an ornament every year. Now, they have almost 35 different ornaments to put on their tree. One for every year. The years filled with the happiness of a new baby or the heartbreak of moving to Butte (HAHAHAHAHA! JUST KIDDING!!! Er, sort of!) the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Ryan and I loved this idea and we chose to go with a Hallmark Ornament every year. The only rule is that the current year be printed someplace on the ornament. We've been bummed before thanks to our own forgetfulness. (Note to future self - NOVEMBER is the time to hit up Hallmark.) This year, I remembered, and we selected a sweet snowman. Quite the ironic choice considering our new home is more likely to experience flooding than flurries on Christmas Day.
No matter the year, and no matter the selection, we know that we picked it out together. If we have it our way, we'll pick out our next 94 ornaments together too. I can't wait.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 2

It's day two. Here are the giveaway details: I have a pack of Studio Calico Wood Veneer, Studio Calico Spray Masks, Crate Paper Storyteller Christmas Paper, and an A*Muse Studio Stamp set to send to someone for Christmas. Add your name to the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and I'll draw on Christmas Day. How about we just go with comments on any of the 12 Days posts. Sound good? Cool. Okay, let's get down to business. Today's topic:

Christmas Lights

Penguin lights from the 2011 WildLights
Every year, we go in search of beautifully decorated lights. It all started in Butte one year. Mr. G wanted to impress me by sharing some shining lights and brought me to a friend's neighborhood to show off. (Mr. Smith, your parents have an impressive neighborhood of lights.)
 Before we could blink, our first holiday tradition was born. Our first year in Columbus revealed a synchronized light show that neither of us will ever forget. Last year, it was a very chilly trip to the WildLights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium - complete with bright white polar bears and gigantic caribou.

The Gruss Dorks and a blurry candy cane boat!
Boats! Boats! Boats! Boats!
This year, we continued the tradition in the only way we saw fit for our new "coastal" home - with boat lights. Cone dog, hubster, and I traveled to Silverdale Waterfront Park unnecessarily early to catch the boat show. He read me music trivia while I knitted for the hour and a half we had to wait, but it was worth it. We even left our dry, windless car to take photos by the water. You be the judge as to whether or not it was worth it to freeze on the shore.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Day 1

I haven't been blogging much since I started my new job. You don't care about excuses, and I don't want to bother typing them, so I'll just say that my new job is fun, challenging, and satisfying. Today, I want to start something fun, satisfying, and fulfilling in blogland - 12 Days of Christmas! I have a topic for each day up to and including Christmas. I also have something to give away, but I don't want to do the typical follow-my-blog-and-I'll randomly-draw-for-spare-stuff-in-my-studio gimmick. I'll explain later, just know that you don't need to be a follower and I won't ask you to do any extra posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flikr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, or another social media site (because that stuff annoys the bejesus out of me!!!!). Ok, here goes nothing! Today's topic:

Holiday Documentation

Homie G and me dining at Buchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.
While I was in Victoria, BC with the hubster last weekend I decided that I really do want to document this holiday season, but I do not want to do something overwhelming or excessive. My definition of overwhelming may be different than others, but I knew that I did not want to do a December Daily (not to mention I'm 14 days late for a DD!) and that I honestly don't have much to document. However, this will be the first year that Mr. G and I travel for Christmas and New Year celebrations (WHAT THE HECK AM I THINKING?!?!?!?!?!) and I can't pass up the opportunity to document this bizarre occasion. Long story short, I'm going to actually use my blog for something useful AND clear my stash. Here's the plan-o, Stan-o!

1) I have 11 topics that are important to me when it comes to Christmas and the holiday season in general - wouldn't ya know, I just think I might be writing about them in the next 11 days! Super convenient! (Especially helpful to know when you read item #4!)
Source: Shop SEI

2) I have a bunch of these 8x8 SEI albums, and I think I can actually do this sort of thing again next year, so I'm going to go with 8x8 in red albums. If I fail, 8x8 is not that hard to convert to 12x12 and put in a normal album. Not that I'm planning to fail, I just like to have a plan b. Think of this as my one-night stand with an almost December Daily album. I'm either going to need an exit strategy or I'll build a wonderful relationship. Yeah, because that's not creepy...
Source: Waltzingmouse Stamps

3) This year, I resisted the temptation of the Studio Calico DD kit. And the KP Kit. And Gossamer Blue. And EVERY OTHER MANUFACTURER ON THE PLANET! I did, however, give in to a Holiday card kit from Simon Says Stamp, the Kris Kringle Add-on from Studio Calico, and demonstrated my obsession with the Nordic trend from last year by pulling out all of my Basic Grey papers and Waltzingmouse Stamps. Needless to say, I've got plenty of schtuff to use in my mini album.
Source: Studio Calico

4) Assembly and design will be pretty standard across each page/topic I want BIG, cut-out, one word titles + collage photos + typed journaling. This will be a clean, content-focused book. (I think it will be perfect for leading me into PL next year.

5) I will have fun, dammit. Need I say more?

Thanks for reading my extremely long post and don't forget to come back tomorrow for day 2 and an explanation of the giveaway.