creative silliness

Once the kids left, I popped into ‘think about Christmas mode’.  When the kids were all living at home, I’d never start the holiday process until after Thanksgiving…had to get through all that menu planning & cooking for Turkey day.  But once they all moved away, I had to build in  ‘shipping time’.  So while others think of the 25th as “the date to be ready”, I had to back that up a couple of weeks. Regarding Thanksgiving 2017, I wonderfully lucked out & we were invited to my nieces for Thanksgiving….only the 2nd time since we’ve been married I had ZERO cooking to do!  Yippee!  

But I LOVE Christmas!  I always have.  It’s sometimes rather a strained time in our household, because while I’m married to wonderful guy, when December rolls around, I could nickname him Scrooge or Grinch.  It’s just another thing we feel opposite about…that list is long, but this one’s been on it since we got married.

I was also still spending some time dealing with my Mother-in-laws health issues.  She’s seems to be fine….no pain or new problems, but she’s flunked a couple of tests that have turned two appointments into several more & a new physician.  But in-between those appointments & phone calls….I began Christmas.

Danny & I don’t exchange gifts, so it’s mostly our minimalistic kids & Claire.  We’ve tried to give more “experience” gifts over the past years to our kids than stuff….they are not ‘stuff’ people.  Sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn’t.  But the super fun gifts this year have been for Claire!  And this year we get to spend Christmas in Florida with Sara’s family!!!  The only thing better is if we were all together, but we’re so pumped to be spending it with them!

Can you keep a secret?  Since I’m posting this before Christmas, I’m letting the cats out of the bag, so to speak.  But we’re buying her a really cool play kitchen.  My friend Jill, who is the expert at being a Grandma, gave me the idea.  Yes, it huge, & yes it takes 3 hours to put together, but I think she’ll love it!  The idea also goes along with her birthday gifts, which is just a week later.  We will be celebrating it with her the Thursday after Christmas though, since we won’t get to be there for her actual party.

I detest plastic.  So, when I went to look for all the other stuff that Claire would need for her kitchen, the food was icky plastic.  I ordered a cool stainless steel pot, pan, cookie sheet & other miscellaneous kitchen tools, but I couldn’t find the food I liked.  So, with some ideas from Pinterest, I made it all.  It’s fun making things for Claire, because she likes it all & little kids have not learned to be critical or picky about homemade things.  I love how everything turned out—except the cupcakes— & I think she’ll like it too & more importantly, playing & using her imagination with it all.  So, the kitchen for Christmas with a fry pan filled with eggs & bacon & Christmas cookies in the oven on the cookie sheet & a tea towel on the counter.  Birthday gifts will include all the other food, pots & pans along with a tiny Pez (ode to Uncle Peter—a former zephead), a book or two & a pair of polka dot leggings.

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The cake is definitely my favorite!  I made three layers, so they can be stacked or separate.  But there are four different cake toppers that magnetically attach so they can be swapped from cake to cake!

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On her birthday, I’m going to layer them all & top it with three candles!  

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After it was all done, I had to figure out how to package everything (I hate giving things that have a million pieces & no way to contain them).   But I think everything turned out cute, appropriately contained & Claire will love it!

Since I was in “creative mode”, I made Jill—my camping—buddy a pillow for her new teardrop trailer she picks up next week!  We’re both so excited for her.  On Thanksgiving weekend, her son, his wife & three kids were in Kansas City & stopped by the house.  I asked Jill’s granddaughter, who is 5,  if she was excited about her Nana’s new trailer-camper…on the spot, Caleigh named it “Tramper”.  Jill loved the name!

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Every year in Lawrence, one of the local bars sponsors their version of SantaCon…a nationwide event of bar hopping Santas, elves, & reindeer.  I’ve gone for several years & always have a great time with my Santa friends (a lot of my friends go to this)  Scrooge always meets me later at a bar so he doesn’t feel obligated to even put on a Santa hat….whatever, he’s missing all the fun!  Having three Santa costumes, an elf & a snowman costume, & since I’m on a tight budget this year (when am I not?) & no job has managed to fit into my weird ass schedule (don’t even ask) I decided to just ‘perk up’ one of my old costumes.  I added better fur & blinky lights (I love blinky lights!) around the top of the chimney….it turned out great & is pretty comfortable (a must for a long winter day).  We all merrily made our way from the 1st bar to the second, some singing, some ‘HO HO HOing” & some of us passing out candy to people we passed.  There were several bars on the list, so walking up & down Mass street happens over & over.  It’s always sooooo muchhhhh fuuuunnnn!

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135 Santa’s ready for lots of fun!

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The other close to my heart project I finished, was the quilt for our new grand baby which should arrive around the end of January or beginning of February!  Yay!  I love this pattern & the fabric I chose & I cant wait for it to be snuggled around our new little grandbaby!

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Over all the years Danny & I have lived here, my across the road neighbor was so dear to me.  Our kids grew up together & we spent many, many hours visiting, laughing, sewing, & getting into a few crazy situations.  Sharon & I couldnt have been more different, but our hearts were the same.  She was patient, empathetic, kind, quiet & loving.  Her husband passed away several years ago, & her health began to decline.  She moved into a nursing home two years ago & slowly her body & speech deteriorated, but her mind was usually pretty sharp.  I tried to go see her every week when I was not traveling & take her outside weather permitting. She loved to reminisce about the past & wed always manage to fill some of our visits with laughter, even though, there were always tearsshe did not like living in the nursing home.  When the kids were young, our tradition was to bake Christmas cookies with three other Moms & their kids & it was a huge, sugar filled, laughter-fest, fun day…every time.  Sharon peacefully died last week.  I was able to go see her one last time, hug her & say goodbye.  I will miss her so much.  She had the best ‘giggle’ I’ve ever heard & remembering it will always make me smile.

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I hope all your holidays are what you wish them to be…Happy Christmas!


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