I tackled lots of miscellaneous stuff yesterday in my Casual Friday post but here are a few more random tidbits about life lately because sometimes it’s fun to post spontaneously on a Saturday!
TODAY’S ACTIVITIES | Currently wrapping up a sleepover with one of Abby’s friends. We made mini pizzas on Naan bread for supper and then the kids retreated to the basement to watch a Christmas movie; low key…which is how I like it! Everyone slept well and the girls were inspired by episodes of Bake Squad this morning to whip up some festive treats of their own and are conspiring over a cookie cookbook in the kitchen right now. Later they’ll head to a small birthday party! Tonight is date night (takeout sushi is on the menu).
WATCHING | It’s a Wonderful Life. I got several comments about this being a staple in holiday movie lineups. So, when John asked me to pick a date-night movie last weekend, I didn’t have to ponder very long. I only remembered snippets, but it was great and so obviously destined to be a classic. The Grinch (2019 version) at the local theatre during their free holiday movie event last weekend. And as soon as I finished putting the lights on the tree (my least favourite part), I joined the kids in watching the traps segment of Home Alone 3. And we’ve almost finished the final episode of this season’s Great British Bake Off. Not sure who to cheer for this year? I always have a “favourite” by this point in the show but they have all been relatively consistent (though I was sad to see Jurgen go home).
READING | Christmas picture books. Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey + Managing Worry and Anxiety: Practical Tools to Help You Deal with Life’s Challenges by Jean Holthaus. Reading to the kiddos: The Boxcar Children (rereading for at least the 10th time). Next up will be A Christmas Carol. I really wanted to get through this before we went to see The Muppets Christmas Carol in the theatre (tomorrow), but should have it started at least.
LISTENING | Lots of Christmas music, mostly nostalgic stuff from my childhood like Julie Andrews and the Living Strings White Christmas album. Also, Sarah McLachlan just HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK with her two Christmas albums. Somehow I always forget how much I love her Christmas music, and every year I fall in love with it again.
EXERCISE | Continuing on with my 3x/week running challenge (finally managed to fit in an outside run in between rain/snow/ice storms). Other than that we’re walking to school as often as possible. Yesterday, after dropping the kids off, John and I walked home via snow-covered trails. It was beautiful and I wore my snow boots for the first time this year (see “Dreading” below).
CREATING | I’m completely up-to-date with our 2021 photobook. I have NEVER been ahead like this but really want to get it ordered through the New Year’s Eve sale at Blurb (just watch – this time they won’t have a year-end deal).
EATING | I made this Chicken and Wild Rice soup but I ended up having to sub jasmine rice since they were sold out of wild rice at the store. It tasted good, but think it would have been even better with the “bite” from wild rice. Meatballs (frozen leftovers from Levi’s birthday party) – always such a hit. I recreated one of the meals from our recent week of meal kits (a Tex-Mex casserole). So easy and the kids really enjoy it. Plus nothing says festive like a mug of kombucha in a Christmas mug, right?
BAKING | Last weekend we made a single batch of ginger cookies (no leftovers!) and distributed them to a few local neighbours and friends with Christmas cards. I’m cutting back even further on holiday baking this year, but did make a big batch of peanut butter balls (freezing almost all of them) yesterday! I dipped a few and then just gave up and poured a little drizzle of melted chocolate over each one. I think they still look fine…and it is significantly faster (and cleaner) than trying to dip them using forks or skewers. I made a note of this hack on my recipe for next year! Mom is bringing my favourite sweetened condensed milk squares, and I’ll make a cheesecake + cinnamon coffee cake for Christmas Day. I’ve got a few pecan pies in the freezer, but overall I’m hoping for less of a sugar high (and crash) this year. Plus, we inevitably get all sorts of treats passed our way and there’s no reason I can’t serve boxed chocolates or someone else’s special Linzer cookies around my table when company drops by spontaneously, right?
DREADING | Honestly? Winter. I’m feeling cold and tired of the grey weather already. It was such a beautiful fall, but the string of dark, dismal days in November just made it feel like winter came early? Also, January 2021 felt slightly optimistic in terms of the pandemic, but I’m trying not to think too far ahead now in terms of 2022 and the continued impacts from COVID.
LOOKING FORWARD TO | Christmas. It feels like a lot sometimes (mostly the food, logistics, and trying to keep the kids happy because that makes Christmas 1000x more pleasant and can be a delicate balance – i.e. not enough screens and I want to pull my hair out, but too much screentime and it backfires and they become miserable zombies). But really, I’m excited. It will be a relatively quiet Christmas, but we’re so blessed that three grandparents can join us and I’m really happy with the gifts I’m giving this year which I think strike a good balance of being practical, fun, and the right quantity (minimal but not stingy). We’ll see if the recipient agrees but the kids are generally pretty easy to please.
LOVING | The Christmas tree. It just makes the whole house feel like Christmas has arrived. It smells so good. It looks so cheery. It was also a painless process this year (smaller tree, better shape, we had them cut it to size/trim it at the tree stand, all the strings of lights worked first try, the kids were engaged and competent during the decorating process!).
LAUGHING | I woke up the other morning to see John had texted me this and I burst out laughing. Considering we have no real access to our front exterior right now, our front step is 2 feet away from the door and the front lights have yet to be connected…this sums up my thoughts on exterior decorating this year.
Over and out. Final treadmill run of the weeks is in the books (10 minutes of intervals felt sufficient for a Saturday), breakfast waffles have been made and consumed. The girls selected Chocolate Chip Cookies (classic) and are currently cleaning up the kitchen (we’ll see how that goes). I already mentioned date-night tonight (the last for a while because of Christmas festivities), prepping for Sunday events, and hopefully a full night sleep (my recent battle with early wakings continue; a plague since DST back in November – shouldn’t my body have adjusted by now?!).