The Final Countdown Has Begun

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends.

5-4-3-2-1 That’s how many days we have left until Christmas!

Things are finally starting to fall into place. Good thing since I don’t have any more days off until Christmas Day!

I finished the majority of my shopping in a three hour spree today! My Mom tagged along, so I was not able to get her gift. I was kind of looking forward to shopping solo, but she had a couple things to get, and it was silly for us to go separately! I thought maybe she would slow me down, but I did pretty well! Luckily three of the stores that Tara wanted gifts from are almost right next to each other in the mall! I did not have to travel far! I still have one more family member to buy for, and if all else fails, cash will work!

Until a couple hours ago (just on Dec 20th), I had no idea what we were doing for Christmas Eve. It has been tradition since we returned from Florida for us to get together with my sister and her family (niece, nephew, spouses and great nephews). If you read my blog, you may know that there has been some family tension this year. So we were unsure as to what decisions had been made. I was not offering to host since I am working all week, and it is just too much for me to do alone. Mom is just not up to the extra work that is required around the house, it is just too stressful all around. We will be going to my nephew and his new wife’s house. Neutral grounds!

I still need to prepare and mail Christmas cards… maybe I will do a New Years card instead. Give everyone something to look forward to in January!

I have not yet baked one single cookie. I might be doing that on Christmas Day, which I am thinking will be a quiet day at home with just Mom, Tara and myself. I can’t wait! Some people thrive on busy holiday’s, I long for one on which I can stay in my jammies all day and watch movies!

I’m still having trouble getting in the holiday mood. I’m just ready for it to be over! That is terrible. I’ve heard from numerous retail folks that feel the same! That is probably why I have not baked or written one single Christmas card!

Today (#26) I am thankful for GIFT CARDS, the gift you can give when you have no clue what else to give!

I am also glad that I got the kinks worked out of my blog, so I could go back to the theme that I love!

We are having RAIN today. As much as I would love a white Christmas, would like for it to start about 7pm on Christmas Eve. Too much to do the rest of the week to have it falling now! The weather however looks like it is going to stay pretty “warm”. Do yo have snow where you live? Snow would definitely put me in the Christmas frame of mind.

Another year has gone by and I have not gotten myself to Philly during the holidays. I don’t have any extra time off between now and the New Year, so probably not much of a chance! I would love to see the Wanamakers (I mean Macy’s) Holiday Light Show. One of those Philly traditions that I’ve shamefully never seen!

I’m watching the TV show ‘Til Death from the beginning. I loved the first couple seasons of this show, with Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher! I like finding 30 minute comedies that I can watch on Netflix or Hulu on my lunch break at work!

I’m joining in Random Tuesday Thoughts and hopping on the Tuesday Train!

Stacy

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Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by!
Happy Holidays,

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The post that I should have posted last night but still can’t think of a title for!

Hello, how is every one doing this fine day? I hope those of you who are preparing for the holidays, are not going to crazy. I am finding that about 1 out of 10 people are CRANKY, when they are shopping. The rest are quite pleasant.
First, I wanted to take care of the business of those things for which I have been thankful for the past couple of days when I was too busy to blog!

#23 (Saturday) If you look back at #22, I was thankful for being able to order and pay for an item on line, that would then be waiting for me when I got to the store. This was great, until I found myself at another store in the same retail chain on Saturday, and found the same item (in great quantity) for $30 more. I now have to go and get them to cancel the other order and refund my money! Oh well, I tried, but I am thankful that I saved $30!!!!

#24 (Sunday) I was thankful on Sunday for Chinese Take Out. I really did not want to cook after working all day. I just wanted to come home and put my feet up!

#25 (Monday) – Since I didn’t get this posted earlier, I will get today’s cared for as well! Today, this evening, I am thankful for my BED. I am tired, and I have a big day of shopping ahead of me tomorrow! It’s not even 7pm and I’m sitting in bed watching TV, and plan on spending the entire evening (until I fall asleep) surfing the web, visiting blog friends, and playing some games! I deserve it!


Joining in on Meet Me On Monday with FIFTEEN questions to cover the next three weeks!

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both, this year it appears predominately wrapping, as Tara has been a wrapping maniac!

The fact that Tara LOVES wrapping so much is something I am THANKFUL for on this #26th day! I really don’t enjoy wrapping, and this is one day she can contribute to the holiday preparations

2.Real or artificial tree? Artificial. I would love a real tree, but they are really really heavy, and we are a house of women. In addition, we like to put it up right after Thanksgiving, and take it down around NYE.

3.When do you put your tree up? Answered above.

4.When do you take your tree down? Answered above.

5.Do you like eggnog? Yes I do and so does Tara. She LOVES it! We bought Silk (Soy) Nog that we still need to try. Tara is embracing tofu and soy these days!

6.Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a ceramic one that my mother painted by hand.


7.Favorite Christmas Movie? Classic – White Christmas, Newer – ELF


8.Favorite Christmas cookie? Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes)
9.Where will you eat Christmas dinner? Probably at home with just Tara and my mother.

10.Angel, bow or star on top of your tree? Angel
11.Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Commercialism. I work in retail now, and it starts so early. I really am having a hard time keeping up the holiday spirit.

12.Do you like Fruitcake? A good fruit cake yes. My friend’s John and Michael, sent me one they made a few years ago and it was heaven. If everyone had a chance to taste their fruitcake, there would be no more jokes about it!

13.What are you most excited about the holidays? Sadly, for them to be over or a week of Tara not having to get up to go to school. I’m just not all the excited for the actual holiday this year!

14.Do you open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Mostly Christmas morning. We have been getting together the past two years since we’ve been at home with my sister and her family, and we open those gifts Christmas Eve. This year, I still have no clue what we are doing and it is only 6 days away!

15.Will you still be wrapping presents on Christmas Eve? Maybe a couple. I hope to finish my shopping on Tuesday. Tara has been wrapping lots of stuff. Gifts she knows she’s getting and even things that really weren’t intended as gifts. She just wanted tons of packages under the tree.

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Jingle, Jingle, Jingle

Three weeks done, 49 more to go! Some days it really is hard to think of something I am thankful for, not that I don’t have many things that I am thankful, it is just some days they seem rather silly!

#20/365 – Wednesday I am thankful for KISS Glue on Nails! LOL! I needed a little pampering pick me up, so I decided to give them a try! I can no longer justify the expense of going to the salon for artificial nails, working as I do they would not hold up well. My natural nails never get the chance to grow, I am always breaking them at work. I do however like for my hands and nails to look nice. I decided since we had the nails on sale, I would give them a try! It feels nice to have longer nails!
I used these, I love the black tip and little design!

#21 – Thursday – I am thankful for my awesome co-workers. I’ve said before that I get along with everyone at the store, but there are several whose company I enjoy personally, not just professionally! I find it really funny that the one person who actually brought me to tears in my first week’s is now one of my favorite people!

#22 – Today I am thankful a certain retailer, who shall remain unnamed, has the option to order and pay for an item on line, for pick up at the store. I ordered a “big” item for someone (shh, don’t tell Tara), and it just seems way simpler to have it ready and waiting to be picked up than for me to have to go find it, schlep it to a register and pay for it! Check one thing off her Christmas list! I might actually be able to get there to pick it up tomorrow morning without her!

I started this post this morning, but realized I would not have enough time, it took me until 10:30pm, to get back to it!

Today was a very steady day at work. I had double the number of customers that I would normally check out. I can’t wait to go tomorrow to see how we did! I don’t work, but I have to run in for a bit to help one of the teenagers set up for a Walgreens special event.

People spend a crazy amount of money on “stocking stuffers”. I am beginning to believe that the decision on what to put in a stocking is harder for some than the actual gift!

Tara and I shopped at Whole Foods this afternoon. She was looking for a tofu dish off the “salad” bar that she has when we were in Philly a few weeks ago. Of course they did not have the same thing. She is experimenting with tofu, as she is not eating meat. I love Whole Foods, but would hate to see my grocery bill if I shopped there exclusively!

Since Tara has not been eating meat (she gets protein from other sources) I feel the pressure off to cook a meat & “potatoes” kind of meal every night. My mother and I have been enjoying soup and salad quite frequently! Bear Creek has some great soup mixes that are delicious and quick and easy to make!

My dog does not like tortilla chips unless there is something on them! Crazy how a dog can be so picky! What’s not to like about a tortilla chip? Can it really be worse than dog food?

I’ve got a few Christmas gifts purchased. The above said gift that shall remain a secret and a few things that were purchased in Tara’s presence. She was afraid if we waited, they would be gone! It is so much easier once Santa no longer comes to visit!

I could fall asleep right not! I was up at 3am on Thursday morning and 4am this morning. I am hoping to get in a few good hours of sleep tonight!

With that said, I think I will close!

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On the Twelfth Day BEFORE Christmas…..

Tuesday has come and almost gone. It was a good day off, but not a relaxing stay in my jammies all day kind of day! I guess I can’t ask for two of those in one week! After all Christmas is just TWELVE DAYS away!

I honestly am not stressing this year! The only thing I am concerned with is having a good selection of gifts that Tara has asked for under the tree! If cookies get baked, they get baked, if Christmas cards get mailed, they get mailed. I guess working in the midst of Christmas 40 hours a week kind of takes some of the festiveness out of the season! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still jamming to the Christmas music, and enjoying the Christmas decorations I see when I am out and about, but I just can’t stress about the baking and the decorating and such!

First, it has been really chilly, no really COLD in the morning when I have to go out and take Tara to school and myself to work. Now, I know for some areas 22°F is not cold, but we really did have a warm November, so I’m still forgetting about having to scrape the car windows before we head out on our way! Yesterday (and every cold day) (#18/365), I was thankful for the BUTT WARMERS in my car!  We bought the car in FL, when we were in the process of moving back to PA, and I just knew those seat warmers would come in handy once we were back north!

For today (#19), I was thankful for a few hours out with my mom.  We didn’t do any thing really exciting. It was just nice to be out of the house together. Many times we only get out together when we do grocery shopping. We dropped Christmas gifts off at the Golden Living Center that were put together by Mom’s church, it’s a lot of work for my mom, so helping her deliver them is the least I can do.

We then headed over to see the Wreath’s Across America at Valley Forge. The sun was shining brightly, it felt good to be outside.

We stopped at the Washington Cathedral as well. It is filled with beautiful stained glass windows. I had been there not too long ago, but it had been many years for my mom. If you live in the area, or ever visit Valley Forge National Park, be sure to stop in the chapel. George Washington and many other famous people have worshiped there, and they still hold weekly services.

The wreaths around the arch were set up a bit differently this year from last, and there were some construction trucks in my way of the pictures I wanted, so I got just this one from a distance. I did get my shot of the flag centered in the arch though!


I like the way the sun glare came through one of the openings in this window.

Let me see what other randomness I might have?

There is a house nearby that has a huge wooden reindeer in their front yard. Tara and I happened to drive by it one evening on our Christmas light adventures. I saw a “blurb” from the local paper on this earlier today but I can’t find it right  now! The dad built it and surprised the kids!


Speaking of lights, we saw the most awesome display on Sunday evening. I had heard about this the past two years, but we never visited. It is just a few minutes from our home. The traffic is crazy in the area, but amazingly at least on that night every one was courteous. I supposed even if you found yourself there by accident you would want to slow down and take it all in. Tara and I did park so we could get a closer look. You can actually walk around the yard, I think he takes donations, but I was not sure if it was required and I had no cash. We will probably stop by some other evening!
Light up a Life,is at the home of Jack Yoast, where over 100,000 Christmas lights delight passersby! This year donations from visitors will be going to help the Ambler Community Cupboard! If you are in the area, stop by, it is right off the 309 S exit for Butler Pike. You REALLY can’t miss it!


I hope to start my Christmas shopping after work tomorrow. If not my shopping, shopping that Tara wants to do for a friend. I hope to get mine done next Tuesday! I just realized I only have two days off between now and Christmas, Saturday and Tuesday! YIKES!

I had to change my WordPress template. After I updated to the latest version of WordPress, my blog was doing strange things. I love that template, hopefully when I have time I can figure it out!

Craziest Christmas novelty we have at work this year has to be…. The Pooping Penguin

I’ve been trying to update my Photo Blog more frequently. Stop over and take a peek!


Stacy

Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by,
Martha

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Hear ye, hear ye!

Today (#17/365), I am thankful for my sense of hearing.


I could not imagine being in total silence, never hearing the voice of a loved one, or the beautiful sounds of nature or the sweet notes of music.

How isolating it must be to not be able to hear the conversations of those around us. I know there is sign language but it just can’t be the same. There are days when I am listening to two or three conversations at once!

As I sit here typing this, I hear the voice of the newscaster on TV, the noise of the heater fan blowing, the footsteps of my neighbor upstairs, and the clicking of the computer keys. I don’t think I am ever in complete silence, I think it might drive me mad.

For your listening enjoyment my most loved Christmas hymn. I think Celine Dion does an amazing job!

The mind is for seeing, the heart is for hearing.”
Saudi Arabian Proverb Quotes.

Children don’t need much advice but they really do need to be listened to and not just with half an ear.
Emma Thompson

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Netflix and Noodles!

Christmas is just 15 days away!


#16 Today I am thankful for a quiet Saturday at home with Tara!

It feels good with Christmas just two weeks away that I am not stressing a bit.

Quite often when I’m off on a Saturday, Tara wants to be on the go, either the two of us, or I am the “Mom Cab” driving her friends around town!

Maybe it was the lunar eclipse, but everything has aligned, and we are both in the mood to chill. We are watching “How I Met Your Mother”, from episode #1 on Netflix. Hopefully later some Christmas movies will be involved!

I’m baking an apple pie, and I cooked the noodles for a pan of lasagna that I will assemble once the cheeses get here! (Mom’s out shopping for them now.)

This evening, we will head out and look at Christmas lights!

Two relaxing days in a row! Life is good!

What are you thankful for today?

Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by!

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I like to LAUGH!

Today I could be cliche and say I am THANKFUL that today is Friday, not only is it Friday, but I am off today! I might say I am thankful for our pets, but they conspired to wake me up on this day off at 4am, so being thankful for them will have to wait until another day!

A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
Hugh Sidey

Today I am thankful for LAUGHTER (#15/365). What would this world be like without laughter? Laughing is good for you by the way!
Did you know that:
1. Laughter reduces stress hormones and revs up your immune system.
2. Laughter relaxes you.
3. Laughter is good for your heart, it increases blood flow.
4. Laughter triggers the release of those feel good chemicals,endorphins.
I like to laugh, I like to find humor in things around me, and I like to be with funny people! One of my co-workers in particular makes me laugh all day long, about the silliest things. On the other hand, another co-worker is “Debby Downer” every single day! Which one do you think I prefer working with?

Mommy's Idea

I’m feeling much more “on top of things” this week, than I have in almost a month. Could it really have taken me this long to totally kick my cold to the curb, or maybe I am not adjusting to the early on set darkness this year. We are only 12 days away from winter, and the daylight hours being longer than the night time hours!

We are a couple months into the new TV season, and I am still liking FAR too many shows, My DVR is working to it’s full recording capacity almost every night. Do you have any new favorite shows? There are several that I enjoy. Ones that come to mind are Ringer, Last Man Standing, American Horror Story and I think I am going to like I Hate My Teenage Daughter. (If you are not the mother of a teenage daughter, don’t judge the title as being harsh!!!)

I’m not any closer to be done with my Christmas shopping this week than I was last week. I plan on working on that next week. Tara’s list is still evolving and not yet on paper. No use shopping until I have list in hand! Don’t fret, eleven shopping days is plenty for me, I don’t have many gifts aside from Tara to buy! Are you ready for the holidays?

I’ve been staying on top of blogging this week, so I really don’t have too many fragments to share!
Today is Stacy’s birthday over at Stacy Uncorked. Stop by and wish her a happy day! She’s going to be celebrating all weekend!

Time to go make Tara an omelet – Spinach and Mushrooms! I love that she gets a serving (or two) of veggies early in the day!

Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by, now go out and LAUGH!

Martha

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Water Water Everywhere!

Yesterday was a very rainy day, very rainy. The morning was quite balmy for December, but by evening the winds picked up, the rain was falling hard, and the temperatures were dropping. It was bone chilling COLD! I must admit, I was not too excited about water yesterday!

Standing in the shower this morning, I was contemplating on the many things I have in my life to be thankful for, trying to decide which one I would share for today. Then it hit me, really, the WATER hit me on the head!

For today, #14/365, I am thankful for WATER. Water for my shower to help wash the cobwebs out of the brain in the morning, water for my all important COFFEE that helps to wake me up the rest of the way.
Clean water, just by turning on the tap, or opening a bottle. (I am trying to eliminate plastic water bottles from my life, I do recycle, so please don’t judge!) We can drink water without having to walk miles or worry about it making us sick. I know I take that for granted!

There are many people in the world who do not have clean water. Did you know?
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.

A jug fills drop by drop.
Buddha

So with water on my mind today, I am making a donation to Charity:Water Won’t you join me?

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.

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Thank you Louis Daguerre!

Day#13/365
Today I am thankful for photography. Not only has it been a long time hobby of mine, but it is the thing that brought me to blogging, which has brought me to so many wonderful blogging friends. I am not artistic in any way that requires the use of a pencils, pens, or brushes, but when I am taking photographs I feel like I am creating works of personal art (well some of them!)

Living in Orlando, with almost weekly visits to Disney gave me many opportunities to practice my photography, not to mention the varied wildlife and bird life that is found there! Florida was where I learned to NEVER LEAVE home without my camera, which has been made much easier now that our smartphones generally have a pretty decent camera!

You can peruse some of my photography here. There is some good, some bad and some so-so. Now that some years have passed since our “Disney Era”, I need to go through and clean out some of the so-so pics!

Well, it is time again to run to work! I had a productive day off yesterday, and look forward to Friday and Saturday off!
The weather has continued to be unseasonably warm, but rainy. I hear that we are in for the return of colder weather and possibly even a wee bit of the white stuff tonight!

Thanks A-Latte for stopping by!

Martha

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Tuesday Tidbits!

I wanted to thank everyone for your beautiful comments yesterday in regards to my late brother Robin’s birthday. He was a special young man. It was coincidental, or maybe not, that the matriarch and one of the daughters from the Freddy Hill Farm family was in the store yesterday. I had to write her a rain check, and writing the date reminded me again of Robin’s birthday. We had a touching, brief conversation about Robin. She echoed my thoughts for the day, that Robin was a very very special young man. We wondered what he might have become had he the chance to return from the war.

So on to today! Tuesday, and it is my day off.
Today, day #12, I am thankful for my DAY OFF. Now, I have two days off every week, but in recent weeks, those days off were not all MINE! I love having time off when Tara is in school, and no one else has plans for my time. Once again, I will more than likely spend the day in my bedroom, once again trying to find the flat surfaces, which so quickly become cluttered! I have 12 Christmas movies recorded on the DVR to watch, so I am looking forward to the time! (It’s only 7am, and Tara is already throwing a twist in my schedule. I keep forgetting she needed an immunization for school this year, and she wants to get it today (she is MAD at her German teacher and does not want to go to the class today. She has decided getting an immunization is LESS painful than Frau Rudy!)

Now, on to some Randomness! Stacy @ Stacy Uncorked continues to host Random Tuesday Thoughts!

Stacy

I can’t believe the weather we have been having. So warm for December, but I am sure we will pay for this weather in some way later in the winter. The next ten days however are looking pretty good!

I have been meaning to share this simple recipe since I used it Thanksgiving week. We had a “pot luck” lunch at work, and I decided to make an old party favorite from our recipe box.

They go by many names – Grape Jelly & Chili Sauce Meatballs, Sweet & Sour Meatballs, etc. The first name pretty much sums up the recipe!
32 oz Grape Jelly
2 15 oz jars Chili Sauce
2 lb bag of Frozen Meatballs (or you can be daring and use cocktail sausages too!)
(I actually used 16 oz of jelly and 1 jar of chili sauce when I made them the other week, and they were plenty saucy!)
Mix the jelly and chili sauce together. Some folks heat it on the stove, but on the day I made it, I simply mixed everything together in the crock pot at work. I put the crock pot on high for about and hour and then turned on low.

The “boys” raved about how good the break room smelled during mid-morning breaks, and taste tested them for me! They thought they were AMAZING. When lunch time came around, the “boss” could not get enough of them! They were a huge hit. I think I will make them for our Christmas Eve pot luck too. This time, adding in the sausages! You can eat them as an appetizer, or make a meatball sandwich on a nice roll!

I have not really started my Christmas shopping. I don’t have too many gifts to buy, mostly for Tara. She keeps changing/adding things to her mental list. I told her the other day she needs to put them on paper. Telling me when we are in the car does not help me when I get to the store. We keep it pretty simple for the rest of the family. I actually would prefer to just buy gifts for the “kids”.

Hopefully some evening this week Tara and I can go out on a Christmas Lights adventure. We love driving around looking at all the lights. We still remember how much fun we had in Florida. We would get hot chocolate and turn the A/C in the car way up, put on Christmas music and drive around all the surrounding neighborhoods.

Last night we drove through town to see the “Lansdale Tree” light up. I love this years tree! I took this with my iPhone. I didn’t grab my camera before we ran out!

My dog goes crazy over squirrels, but on two recent mornings, there has been a rabbit less than 10 feet away from her, and it has not phased her? I can’t figure that one out!

Hopping on the Tuesday Train!
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I am going to set aside one hour of my DAY OFF, to do some blog visiting.

Thanks A-LATTE for stopping by!

Martha

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