Sunday, December 26, 2010

And the dust settles...

There once was a Christmas post that was brilliant in it's form and elocution right up until the Google deities ate it.  Now it is all gone.  I will give this another try but, be warned, I am not in nearly so good as mood as I was while typing it the first time.

Christmas here at Chez Serenity was simply wonderful.   It started Friday night when we had my brother & SIL over for a full eat until you burst holiday dinner.    It was one of those evenings when everything goes just right.   My back has been bothering me again, so I took a supervisory roll in the guest prep (i.e. cleaning & cooking).   I have to say that hubby and the boys really stepped up.   The house looked great and dinner was scrumptious.    I am impressed, pleased, & proud of my guys.

Christmas Day was a lovely, comfy, cozy, day.   We got up early to open presents (I got the boys up at 6am!  How is that for role reversal?).   We spent the day, playing with our new toys (Hubby & the boys got Kindles.  I got a new camera), watching Dr. Who, eating leftovers, and hanging out in our PJ’s.  

The ritual opening of presents was a blast.   Hubby & sons were thrilled to receive Kindles (I got mine last year).   My favorite part was watching my boys open their presents.   T1, who since he was little, shakes & smells his presents before announcing that they must be Legos, was stunned and pleased when he realized that for the first time in a long time, his Santa present actually was Legos (In my family only those who believe receive.  Consequently, we never admit to not believing).   Then, when T2 began crowing in delight at his new Kindle, T1 dropped what he was opening to search for the right size box, so that he could confirm that he got one too.   It was just too sweet watching my big guys momentarily revisit to their little guy days.   Actually the most fun item was sent to T1 by the ex.   It was a flying monkey (ala Wizard of Oz).   You shoot it from your fingers like a sling shot while it screams monkey noises.   What a hoot!   I think I played with it more than the boys did.

Hubby is somewhat less effusive than the boys and I (he is, after all, Scottish and a bit reserved) but he assures me that he loved his presents and enjoyed watching me “shriek” with delight at mine.

I can not remember when I have gotten so many perfect presents on a single holiday.   Nothing I received will be returned/exchanged.   Hubby got me a DKNY handbag & wallet that I had petted while we were Xmas shopping.   He went back one night after work so I never saw it coming and was thrilled with my surprise.   I was also shocked to get the Cannon PowerShot that was on my Xmas list.   That and a new sewing machine were my hoped for bit ticket items.   There were no sewing machine size boxes under the tree and T2 had said something that made me think I was not going to get the camera.   Imagine my delighted surprise when I unwrapped it after all.   I spent the rest of the day taking pictures of our tree, hubby and the boys.   Also, under the tree were earrings and a pendent from the Southern Christmas show (turns out there was not really a like for the men’s room), and the cutest goofy sheep from a local artist (“That’s okay honey.  I will wait for the man to wrap your mom’s gift.   You go chat with Jamie”), a lovely dolphin painting (created just for me by a family friend), and the sweetest angel tote bag courtesy of friend, Robin.    Again, I say, I LOVED every last one of my Christmas presents.

May all of your holidays bring you peace, love, & joy.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting there....


Right around Thanksgiving, I realized, to my horror, that Christmas was coming.   I am an early Christmas shopper, but an insane, last minute, scrambling, maker.   This year my plan was/is to make an ornament for everyone in Hubby's family along with a few for my friends and family.    Thanks to Wild Olive's inspiration, I did get an early start.   However, I quickly figured out that, at a couple of days each, the ornaments would take too long.   I chose another, this time simpler and of my own design.   Still, the going was slow.   Then, while working on my Chrismahanakwanzadan Wreath, I found the perfect solution.  

Peace & Goodwill

I am now making ornaments based on the peace dove that I made for the wreaths (found here).   Unfortunately, I dithered, started, stopped, and changed my mind so many times that once settled on a workable idea, I found myself with only seven days to finish the first twenty (assuming that we will mail out of town presents on the 15th).   Today is the 12th.  I have nine done with eleven to go.   Wish me luck.

It must seem that I don't knit anymore but, really, I am just doing a lot less of it.    The socks in my handbag are almost done (just the ribbed cuff to go), and I am about half way done with the bind off of my latest Shawl That Jazz (would be nice if I finished this in time for T2's performance tomorrow night).   I have lots of ideas for new cast ons but am trying to stay focused on those ornaments for the time being.

Enjoy the holidays even if the lead up makes you nutty.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Heart Peppermint Mocha Lattes

Like most converts, I have gone off the deep end.   It may have taken me longer to appreciate Starbucks than the rest of the country but now that I have found it, I am enjoying myself immensely.   Coffee monogamy, however, does not seem to be in my make-up.   Pumpkin Spice is just so last month.  My new sinful indulgence is Peppermint Mocha Latte's.   OMG, I am totally hooked on their chocolaty goodness.   The fact that I can get them decaf, non-fat, & very short, only makes them better (If you look at them that way, they are practically health food.).   As you can see, I am so enamored, that I had to embroider my devotion onto this cup cozy (Thank you Wild Olive for inspiring me.).

Sadly, as with the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, two or three a day (T2, T1, & me, my diet does not allow for more than one short one a day) was adding up fast.  So, once again, I experimented until I could create them at home.    This copy cat creation took longer then the last one and is no more or less diabetes friendly than the store bought ones.    However, after a few near misses, and at least two spectacular failures, I think we finally have it.    Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Lisa's Peppermint Mocha Latte

4 oz espresso or extra bold coffee
1 tsp Splenda Sugar Blend
3 Tbsp Starbucks Peppermint Syrup (I tried another brand but did not care for it)
2 Tbsp Ghiradelli Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
8 oz 1% Milk

Prepare coffee & set aside

In sauce pan, combine milk, Splenda Blend, peppermint syrup, cocoa.
Bring to a bubble, stirring often.
Remove from heat & add coffee
Stir & enjoy

NOTES:  For coffee I use either Keurig's Green Mountain Espresso Blend (made on the 4 oz setting), or one packet of Starbucks Via Decaf Italian Roast prepared as directed (use 4 oz per latte).   Also, I tried another brand of Peppermint Syrup because it came in a sugar-free.   It was vile.   At this time, Starbucks does not carry a sugar free peppermint syrup (I happily use their other s/f syrups).   As written, this drink kills a whopping 299 calories.   I am hoping that Starbucks will expand their selection or that I will happen upon anoher brand that tastes just as good.