Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making decorations tonight

We noticed in the putting up of our tree that we are running low on decorations. Shel and I have had a lot of decorations over the years but some have been broken in all of our moves and some have been eaten by our dogs and some are just darn old. Now that we are kick A*# parents and Christmas is ALL about the boy's we have decided to start making decorations with them so that we can build up our decoration stash again.

I got this idea from a parent crafting newsletter and it was quick and easy and the boys loved it. I cut the pattern of a tree into a scouring pad and then the boys pushed these little crafting thingys into them wherever they wanted to. ("Crafting thingy" is the proper name for them I am sure! LOL)I just have to put strings on and then we will have the first new decorations of 2011.

 Max didn't want to hold his up for the photo, he wanted me to hold it up in front of him. I have no idea why all of a sudden this boy does not want to be in pictures. Silly kid.

CJ is holding up his finished product for mom to take a photo of in front of the tree. Apparently for him tonight "less is more".

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 of 12

This is the last month that Chad Darnell is hosting 12 of 12.
I love it and now that I have a computer at home again I plan on doing 12 of 12 again monthly - even though (unfortunately) Chad will no longer be hosting.
Check out other participants by linking to Chads site HERE.

And here are 12 photos to take you through my day on the 12th of December.

1. First thing this morning at about 7 am I went out to warm up the vehicle.
This is frost on the boys toys outside overnight.

 2. I was trying to get a photo of the frost on the trees in the driveway, but my breath and the car exhaust were causing problems for my i-phone. This is the best of the three pictures I took.

 3. I went for lunch in the cafeteria today at 1pm. They make really good soup. They have all these new signs and this is the sign over the water dispenser. I think it is funny.

 4. At the same cafeteria. I had to take a photo of this. The lunch menu today was perogies with sausage. Perhaps I am confused, but no-where in what I understand to be perogies is there any type of noodle and yet this was on the line. They weren't even good looking noodles! Oh well. I am sure they will show up in the Chef's choice soup by Friday. (One of the only soups I don't even try!)

5. This is scratched into one of the stall doors in the ladies washroom right by my office. I have worked here since 2003 and the same scratches are still there. 

6. SKYPE!!!!! Boo Yah I love Skype. Here is my little sister multi tasking. She is talking to me AND working at the same time. She has mad skills. 

7. My desk. I spent a stupid amount of time cleaning my desk because then I have a
reason not to be working on my thesis. Those are actually thesis papers on the desk right there as proof that I have at least printed off some material.

8. 5pm and I am home.
This is my boy greeting me as I arrive in the driveway.

9. This is my other boy greeting me and evidence of the sun setting at 5, yes, 5 pm.

 10. I blogged about this earlier. This is the hole which the mouse made in my vehicle. The mouse which I intend on finding and destroying. Yup I said it. Destroying.

11. 6pm He let me take this photo because I told him it was a photo of his toque head. For some reason he is not impressed with being the object of my photographs any more. I have to bribe him to get a picture any more.

12. I always think this flower is dead and it blooms every year and surprises me. This is likely the happiest thing that has happened in my life recently!

13. And a bonus photo . Our tree.
I have not touched ANYTHING but allowed the boys to decorate as they want to. The only thing I have done is "re-hung" things that have fallen off. 

It's been quite the week ...

The week started out with a hissing and some smoke from the front of the new vehicle.

Turns out we need a new radiator.

I took the Boxee Box back to the store.

Turns out the "great deals" we were offered when we bought a computer, a tv, a boxee box, a sattelite receiver and a sony tablet miraculously were ALL given on the boxee box so when I went to return it they said they owed me a bit fat ZERO. What a fiasco.

While taking the garbage out to the dumpster on Saturday I slipped on the ice and cracked my head HARD. I think I have whiplash because my neck is exceedingly sore and I can't move my head from side to side.

When I picked up the vehicle from the dealer, after being told the repairs are NOT covered by warranty, I lifted up the back seat which was laying down for some reason, only to find a MOUSE HAS CHEWED A HOLE IN MY LEATHER SEATS and made a nice little home for himself. That mouse is gonna die. I have no sympathy whatsoever I feel no guilt about it at all.

I'm ready for this week to be over. I'm ready for 2011 to be over. I have in fact decided I am not writing a Christmas letter this year because I have nothing nice to say about the year from beginning to end.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen of my favourite Christmas tree decorations

1.  This is a gift from a very dear friend. It is our family in 2010.

2. The very first Christmas tree decoration from Max. He is Three.

3. I made a number of these for Shel. They are glass and painted on both sides to resemble snowflakes.

4. Max brought this home this week and put it on the three. It is apparently a gingerbread man.

5. Maxie made this star last year in school.

6. I love snowmen and cross stitch. This is one I made a few years ago now.

7. Another creation by Max from last year.

8. This is from home. It is made out of banana leaves. I used to have another one but Mukiwa ate it. Now that I know it attracts the dogs it hangs very high up in the tree.

9. Our Angel.

10. More of my cross stitch decorations. I love them and I love making them.

11. Another.

12. Our friend L made this for us a few years ago. She is extremely crafty and I love her dearly. I love that she is a part of our Christmas each year because of this amazing tree skirt. That's what Christmas is about for me  - family, friends, traditions and making new memories.

13. Max put this on the tree. Apparently this horse got excited rocking and rocked himself upside down!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Meme

Egg nog or hot chocolate? 
Hot Chocolate. I have never had eggnog. The name alone makes me gag.

Letter to Santa?
Absolutely. Last year Santa replied to the boys and I have to say the letters were a bit of a bust. I need to dig them out and post them.

Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
Santa wraps presents and Mrs. Claus provides each member of our family with new pajamas on Christmas Eve. My mom one year gave us a gift of sewn Christmas "bags" which I love to use for presents. Christmas wrapping paper is insanely expensive.

Colored lights on your tree/house or white?
Coloured. Unfortunately the colours available now are not the ones I like. I don't consider "orange" a Christmas colour. I have to get over it though, since what I want is no longer on the market. Does that officially make me old?

Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but it doesn't put a damper on the kissing.

When do you put your decorations up?
I have been terrible over the years at getting the decorations up. I would LIKE to have them up by December first and because Canadian Thanksgiving is in October once we are past Halloween there is rally nothing to stop us decorating for Christmas. This year the tree was up on December 4th.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
I like Christmas Dinner. Ham, Roast Potatoes.

Favorite holiday memory as a child:
Christmas has always been a HUGE part of my memories of my childhood. My family has a lot of traditions. One of the things we always did we called the 12 days of Christmas. We would pick a family or families and thn each day leading up to Christmas we would make something and leave it on the doorstep, knock and run away. I have MANY memories over the years of things that happened when we "knocked and ran".

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't remember.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
The gift from Mrs. Claus.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
This year the boys really helped for the first time.
Max is all about the lights so he helped me put the lights on first. IN all the moves Shel and I have been through we have lost a lot of our tree decorations or they have been destroyed. We realized this year how few we have. We will be making a lot more with the boys so the tree with be all about them :)
We don't have any balls anymore and we don't use tinsel because of the cats, so it is unique in that way.

Can you ice skate?
You know I think I might be able to lace a pair of skates on. Beyond that there are no guarantees.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
One year I got a bike from my grand parents when we lived in Gweru, Zimbabwe.
My favorite recent gift was a flip video camera.

What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? 
My sons, my family.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I really like Terry Chocolate Oranges which we seem to only get a Christmas but they aren't really a dessert... I don't know of a uniquely Christmas dessert I "love".

 What is your favorite holiday tradition?
The fact that we are making new traditions with our boys is my favorite. Growing up my favorite was the advent calendar we had that my mom made. Putting the star on the advent on Christmas eve was a special treat - with five kids all wanting to do it the opportunities were rare!

What tops your tree?
We have a metal angel. which tops the tree.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Absolutely giving. Especially to my sons.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
This is an impossible question to answer.
Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby and David Bowie
My favorite Christmas Album is Boney M Christmas Album.
I absolutely love Christmas music, so choosing one song was difficult.
When I sang my favorite Christmas song to perform was Shine for me Again, Star of Bethlehem. Here is a link from youtube. I think it is nicer with a womans voice.
My favorite contemporary Christmas song is "There's Still My Joy" by the Indigo Girls.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? 
Peppermint Candy Canes but not the other flavoured ones.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why I hate the Boxee Box

This is a boxee box.

It is a d-link TV connected device. What it is SUPPOSED to do(among other things), and I have to be honest, what it MAY do for some people, is deliver content from internet sources to the television.

I liked the idea of it a lot. I wanted something primarily to watch netflix, but I was drawn to the Boxee because it supports flash and so it meant (theoretically) that I could watch more shows through the internet than I could using the apple tv device.

I had problems right from installation. I could not access netflix. I had to install an upgrade and it seemed to take care of the netflix problem for a day. I could not access any movies. The wifi signal kept dropping, which is still a problem and I see is also a problem for other users.

According to the information on screen, I have access to over 1000 movies. When I tried to watch the first movie, I needed to create an online account with MUBI. I did. I tried again to access a movie only to discover that the movie I wanted actually cost $3 on MUBI and I needed to put money onto my MUBI account. Honestly, If I wanted to pay for movies I would pay for pay-per view movies or rent a DVD from the video store. So I have access to SOME movies, but there is no information on screen about which movies cost money so you have to go one by one to find the movies that are free, or in most cases, not free.
Many of the movies say "Not available in your area" which I thought might be our rural area, but turns out is Canada!

Then there are the television shows. Scrolling through the shows that are available was fun. I had visions like sugar plums dancing through my head of all the shows I was going to watch. Then I tried it. The connection is TERRIBLE which I originally blamed on my home internet connection until I read some other reviews. apparently I am not the only person who has had trouble with shows buffering and CONTINUALLY stopping as I am trying to watch. This is so annoying and has happened on EVERY show I have tried to watch that it is simply a feature I will not use again.

The remote control is something reviewers have raved about. To be honest I find it annoying for two reasons.
#1. It is so easy to get turned around and impossible and so everything you are trying to do on the screen is happening backwards.
#2. I watch television and movies in the dark and so having this QWERTY keyboard on the back of it is useless for me because I cannot see it. And I cannot type in the dark- although someone else may be able to (or may watch tv with the lights on).

With all the hassles with movies and tv shows streaming I basically decided I would use it for watching netflix only. With that in mind there is no reason to have a boxee instead of an apple tv device and the apples are cheaper by about 90 bucks.

So last night I went home and got comfortable, or "Come -see" as CJ says, and turned on the boxee to watch some netflix. For the second time since I have had the boxee (two days), I cannot access netflix. I went online to contact boxee support and I cannot find ANYWHERE on the website a contact number to phone. There is a place online where you have access to forums, none of the information on the forums was helpful. There was a place on the site where I could register a problem with my boxee for customer support. I entered my problem and sent it off and so far - in 24 hours - I have not had a response from customer support.

I would NOT recommend this product and will be returning mine. What a complete waste.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Tree Time

Maxie has a lot of allergies and so we have had a fake tree for the past few years. This year our fake tree kinda died a horrible death and so we needed to replace it.
We checked out  few places but we are partial to trees that are not pre lit so we can do our own lights and fake trees are pricey!
We decided that although we will likely return to the world of fake trees (much to my chagrin) this year we will buy a real tree - it is less expensive this month than the $200 plus we would have to fork out for a decent fake one.
Tree is purchased. ( I believe it is a white pine - it is not one that I have ever had before and the needles are super soft but a little hard to hang decorations on).  Tree is set up, and now ... TREE IS DECORATED! It smells DIVINE.

We have some decorations that I love but a lot of the decorations that Shel and I had collected in the first few years of our relationship have been broken or lost in the many moves we have made. Our dear friend Loralee made us a Christmas tree skirt which you can see under the tree. I prefer the other side of the skirt which has a cool quilted design to the Santa side, but Max chose the Santa side and since Christmas is all about the kids - Santa it is!

Max hung this decoration upside down. I am in the "non-correcting" mode of parenting. I will not change the things he does! I have to be honest though, He and I strung the lights and they leave a LOT to be desired. We have a whole complete dark patch in the tree. I have debated taking the lights off and restringing them, but I REALLY want these holidays to be about the boys, and not about my need for things to be a certain way. So I am leaving the black hole also.

When I walked into the house today from work and opened the back door the first thing I smelled was the pine. It was AMAZING. It feels like Christmas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Well it's finally happened.
We have a computer.
It is out of the box.
It is connected to the internet.
It is an I-mac.

I have never used a Mac before so this is the beginning of a new journey for me, but I am absolutely THRILLED to have a computer at home.
I can FINALLY blog to my hearts content!

Santa came early to our house and so far I am liking it!