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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

January 2021

Wow, it’s been some start to 2021! I’m so worried for all you guys living in the States. Please stay safe and I pray this is all over soon and the United States can get back to itself.

Early January we had to take Colin’s Dad down to one of the hospitals in Ottawa to get a ‘thing’ removed from his eyelid. Ontario went into lockdown again on Boxing Day so we were worried about food and bathroom breaks. Luckily McDonalds and Tim Hortons are still allowing people inside (to order not eat) so it wasn’t a problem. We have to take him down again in February. My Mom had a health scare over the holidays but thank God that turned out to be nothing. As per usual though, the doctor didn’t call and tell her she was OK. Mom had to call the office and talk with the good nurse to get the information.

I just realized I didn’t share the elf mischief this year.

I made some new mice for Belinda’s cats -she only has 2 but these mice are addictive and I couldn’t stop. One morning we discovered Faith and Merry and Sheldon (looking festive this year) playing with the mice.

Christmas Eve morning we caught them with the phones. I’ll have to watch on my bill for any long distance calls!!

Auntie Belinda and Uncle Stefan came up on the 27th. It’s literally been a year since we saw them. Ella has missed them so much. Belinda is only going into the office (downtown Toronto) one day a week and Stefan is working from home. They wore masks and gloves and only stayed long enough to open presents. It was a good, safe visit but weird with no hugs.

Last weekend Colin and I went out to the usual B&B. It was one of my Christmas presents. They were allowed to be open under the rules at the time. I trust Carol had the place spotless. It was great. We didn’t see anyone the entire weekend and didn’t have to wear a mask any where.

As usual it was absolutely gorgeous up there. We should have booked our Christmas there, it would have been nice and white.

Since I started this post, we’ve received about 6 inches of snow. So now we look like a winter wonderland too.

Something happened in December for the first time in 32 years. Any guesses??

Colin went to the eye doctor -yep, first time in 32 years! Surprisingly his distance vision hasn’t changed much. But guess who needs glasses for reading now.

Some excitement for Ella, Colin taught Ella how to drive the snowmobile all by herself.

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Waiting for Daddy to come in from the barn.

Merry Christmas to everyone!! Hope you are having a great day surrounded by your loved ones.

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Christmas is quickly approaching.  I think I’m done (OK, to be honest I have a couple of presents to wrap for sister and BIL).  I boxed up all the cookie tins and they are ready for delivery.


I still have to clean up all the nonpareils that are coating my floor.  But I’m happy that I had Ella’s help with the cookies this year.

I’ve missed her help these last few years.

 

As usual, Ella did a great job on the tree.  It’s nice not to have to climb up and down on the chair any more.

And of course, with Merry here for her Christmas visit, we never know what we’re going to find.

The night before we got the tree, the elves thought Ella missed a spot when we moved the cubby.

Then hanging out with Ella’s new gnome decoration that we found at the Pakenham General Store on the way home from the tree farm.  By the way, if you watch the Halmark Christmas Scavenger Hunt movie, you’ll see ‘our’ tree farm a number of times (including their covered bridge).

Then last Saturday while Ella was at a sleepover with her girlfriends in Arnprior, the elves had a serious looking meeting with all the stuffies!

And finally, last week we FINALLY got some snow.  It looks like Christmas.  Everywhere looks like a Christmas card.  Though we didn’t need the sudden drop to -32C (-25F) windchill that we had the other day.

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Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!!  Belinda and Stefan have been here for a couple of days. They spoiled us as usual, as did Santa.  Having a nice and quiet Boxing Day.  Supper with Colin’s family tomorrow.  I love the Christmas season.

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The Christmas cookies are all done (as many as I’m doing this year anyway) and 3 of the tins are already delivered.  The kitchen is nearly put back in order (ran out of drying space).  I need to start wrapping this afternoon.  It looks like Mom’s sweater is not going to be finished on time (I hate doing sleeves).  Good thing she’s understanding.  I need to work out my cooking menus/schedule for the 24th and 25th.  I wish I had a bigger fridge.  Belinda and Stefan arrive on Sunday.

I thought I’d give you a tour around today…

Our tree just isn’t right until I find a nice strong branch for my Christmas house.  My best friend’s mom made it back in 1977 when we were 6 and had just met.   Hopefully, we’ll get to hang out when I’m back in Bowmanville during Christmas.

This is another one made by Charlynne’s mom, but for Belinda.  Yeah, I know, it should be on Belinda’s tree or Mom’s.  The first Christmas we were married I was feeling alone and missed seeing my sister’s ornaments on the tree. So Mom let me have a couple of these ones.  My sister’s not as sentimental as me, so it works out.

Dad gave us this one after Colin’s Mom died.  It’s an old tin ornament that once belonged to Ella’s great-great-Grandma Fletcher.

This is another one from Charlynne, but is rather special.  It’s made from the leftover candle stubs from our church in Bowmanville!  I thought that was really cool.

This is a new tradition I’ve started.  This is our ‘memory angel’.  I made her for Isobel.

The Advent tree continues to get more festive.

Our Little People nativity.  I think I will miss this once I get my knitted one finished (or started TBH).  Merry’s checking things out too.  What else has she and Faith been up to?

We caught them in the tree one morning.  Also checking out Ella’s stocking -maybe taking measurements?

This morning we found them nibbling on Ella’s gingerbread house.  Yesterday they were getting ready to use cookie cutters on the fruitcake!  Oh what mischief these elves get into when we’re asleep.

Ella’s funny, the older she gets the more shy she acts around Santa.  They had a good chat.  The mall lets you take your own pictures, which I appreciate.

This one is better, but I’m back on my darn inhalers, so it’s blurry  😦

Guess that’s about it.  Time to quit procrastinating and get back to work.  Hope your holiday preparations are going well.  Don’t forget to enjoy the last days of Advent.

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This is why farmers don’t make plans (Colin comes up with ideas, not plans).  Colin bought a ‘new to him’ cultivator and it was supposed to be delivered on Tuesday.  So we planned thought we’d go get our tree on Thursday, before the cold weather arrived on Friday.  We had decided to get our tree a little earlier this year.  The firs last so long and look so pretty, I hate to take them down after the Christmas holiday.  Some years our tree stays up well into January -even though it takes up valuable living room space.   Monday we still hadn’t had confirmation from the trucker so Colin called the salesman.  Well, it seems the trucker didn’t pick up the cultivator until last Friday.  There was no way it was getting to our house for Tuesday, ‘probably Thursday’.  So quick change of plans and we headed out for our tree on Tuesday.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.  The temperature was perfect (-1C) , just a nice bit of snow on the ground, and picture perfect flakes falling down.

This is a picture from our first time at Cedar Hill Tree Farm, back in 2012.  Look how young Ella looks!

And here’s the picture from this year!  Sigh…

The scenic route to the tree field.

Future Christmas trees.

Apparently it was exhausting finding the perfect tree.  That’s Ella on the sled.

Though, she found energy for tubing.

She’s still moving in this one.  She got a great distance.

And the long hike back up the hill.

Back inside for a hot lunch.

Ella had to be patted-down for bunnies before we left.  The one bunny was adorable.  It would hop over and reach up to Ella, just like a cat!  I’ve never seen one want to be picked up and snuggled.

 

As usual, it’s hard to get the whole tree in the picture because my living room is so small.  The trunk has a bit of a dip which makes the tree look like it’s leaning towards the corner a bit.  It’s not too noticeable in person.  I think we need more lights.  I also wish they wouldn’t trim the trees so much.  They are getting a bit thick for my taste.

Thursday was St. Nicholas’ day and Merry decided that would be a good day to finally arrive.  She brought a bag of ‘gold’ too.  So far there hasn’t been too much mischief.

 

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How is 2018 starting for you?  Things are fairly quiet around here.  Ella caught her tradition ‘I’ve been to Toronto’ cold and has had a miserable few days.  I really should buy stock in Royale.   We have basically been house-bound since we came home from Toronto and I’m starting to go stir-crazy.  I think today is the worst yet.  It’s 2pm and it’s -20C and -40C /F with the windchill and the wind is blowing like crazy!  I love winter but weeks of -20/-40 get tiring.  I need to get out to get January groceries but I’m certainly not going out in this weather.

I’ve tried a few new recipes lately that I thought I’d share with you.  I’ll share the links, if they stop working let me know.  I’ve got the recipes written in my cookbook too.  The first is a delicious way to use up the last of the turkey, turkey and biscuit casserole.  Found Colin’s new favourite pizza crust, pizza crust.

OK, apparently I’ve lost the link for the next recipe.  We had steak the other day and ended up with some leftover (they were huge).  Pinterest to the rescue again and I found Steak Soup.   It was good with fresh garlic buns.

Steak Soup

serves 6

2 Tbsp oil                               4 cloves garlic, minced                                  1 onion, minced

5 small potatoes, diced       2 large carrots, diced                                     2 cups steak, diced

1 tsp salt                                 1 tsp pepper                                                     1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce          4 cups beef broth

Saute onions and garlic.  Add the rest of the veg. for a couple of minutes.  Add everything else.  Boil, then simmer (covered) for an hour.

 

I used some home canned tomato sauce in the soup so I had to find something else to do with the leftover tomato sauce.  Enter home-made ‘condensed tomato soup‘ and chili mac.  I really liked the chili mac recipe because it only made 4 servings, we won’t have to eat leftover pasta for days.

So that’s how I’ve been spending my days, what have you been doing to stay warm?

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Christmas is Coming!!!

Well, Christmas is still a while away, but do you know what is fast approaching?  Stir-up Sunday!!  November 26 we’ll be busy chopping and mixing.  I’ve shared the Christmas pudding recipe before but a reader has pointed out that I didn’t share the Christmas cake one.

This is my Great Grandma’s recipe.  People love it, it’s a nice mix of cake and fruit and nuts.

Christmas Cake

1 cup butter                                                 1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup                                    2 1/4 cup flour

4 eggs, beaten                                             1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup strawberry jam                            1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon                                       1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp mace                                                1 cup currants

All the following need to be chopped fairly fine:

1 cup raisins                                                 1/4 cup candied lemon peel

1/2 cup citron                                              1/4 cup candied orange peel

1/2 cup glace cherries                              1/2 cup nuts (I usually use walnut)

* there was a time I could buy all the peel separately at Bulk Barn, but now they only seem to carry ‘mixed peel’ which ticks me off.  So now I buy 1 cup mixed peel.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add in the corn syrup and eggs and give it a good mix.  Stir in the jam.  Mix the dry ingredients (sprinkle a little of the flour on the chopped fruit to keep them from clumping) and add to the wet.  Stir in the chopped fruit/nuts.  Pour into a greased & lined 9×9″ cake pan.  Cover with brown paper after the first hour.

Bake 275F for 3 hours.

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yarnalong_gsheller_aqua

I got lots of knitting done during our Christmas down south.  First up on Yarn Along this week:

The Traveler’s Stocking socks.  I’m not that happy with the fit.  The tops are kind of snug.  I may see if Ella likes them.  If you have skinnier calves, they were a fun knit.

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A bit more work on my Clock Socks.  I’ve finished the lace so now it’s just plain knitting to the top.  The book was one of my presents from the Advent swap.  It was set in the pre-war South and was quite good.

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Finally looks like Christmas!  Luckily it waited until we got home from Bowmanville.  Ella was snowed in over at Grandma’s yesterday.  Daddy has gone over this morning to dig them out.

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We’ve got about a foot of snow, but it was really blowing around.  It was a couple of feet deep on the machine shed, so Colin was up there shoveling.  I hate when he has to shovel the tarp building -oval isn’t the best shape for standing on.

We had a great time with my family for Christmas:

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Santa found Auntie B’s house with no problems.  He was even able to find the Om Nom that Ella really, really wanted.  Mrs. Claus knitted Om Nom some candy for the trip since that’s what they eat.

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Ella was totally spoiled by Auntie Belinda and Uncle Stefan. I think her favourites were the Ever After High dolls. She got Ever After High Rosabella Beauty Doll, the daughter of Beauty and the Beast. And Ever After High First Chapter Cerise Hood Doll, the daughter of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.

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Ella loved the blanket Petra had on the bed at the B&B in Enniskillen. We’ve been staying with Martin and Petra for about 8 years now. They treat us like family and we look forward to seeing them every year.

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On the way home we stopped at Grandpa Jim and Grandma Linda’s in Peterborough where we got spoiled some more!

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More presents waiting for us at home.  Ella got Doll Travel: Trips to take and crafts to make!. Everything Olivia and Caroline need for their travels.

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Ella loved the doll bed from Momma and Daddy. I didn’t get the blanket finished, but that’s because of Ella’s cold just before Christmas. She was so stuffy she had a hard time sleeping so there was little stealth knitting time. I’ll get it finished soon. Only Caroline is in the picture, but it’s big enough for both girls. Also, it rolls under Ella’s bed like a trundle.

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Tim thinks it’s a pretty good place for a nap.

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I got a nice new stainless steel roasting pan (with lid) from Grandma. It will replace the one that I burnt this summer.

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And here’s my favourite present!!  If you had told me 14 years ago (while working at the stock brokerage in downtown Toronto) that my best present would come from Colin’s farm paper I would have told you you were crazy.  But here it is!  A sewing store in Woodstock had a bunch of machines they had ordered for a school’s home ec. class, but the order was cancelled.  From what I’ve seen online, the Janome HD-1000 is a real work horse.  It’s actually made of metal!!  I love that it’s run by knobs and not all computerized.  It doesn’t have all the fancy stitches, but I never use those any way.  One video I found online actually showed this machine sewing a wooden yard stick!

We’ve still got one more family party to round out our Christmas holiday.  I hope everyone is having a great Christmas with the people they love.

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Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas!

TashaTudorChristmas

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