Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Dad

I miss you, nothing more, nothing less. I just freaking miss you so much now it hurts. I'm trying to get into the spirit of Christmas for your Grandchildren but this year it's harder and I'm not sure why. I don't want to wrap their stocking stuffers, I don't want to remember what I was doing Christmas Eve 2003 when Chris called me to tell me you'd "gone". This year I hate stocking stuffers, I think Marc needs to take over the job of wrapping them up, wrapping them brings back memories of that phone call and I don't want to remember it. I want to remember Christmas Eves of years past when Chris and I were younger and you and Mum would take us to the sweet shop next to where you worked and we would go into that back room and just walk up and down the aisles looking at all the sweets, the chocolate Father Christmas's and chocolate baubles that you would buy us to hang on the tree, the mini Christmas crackers that we would put on the boughs and the sugar mice that we were always allowed to eat when we got home. I want to remember walking home, you pushing your bike, Mum pulling her trolley filled with all the goodies and then we would get to Harris's where we would choose our perfect tree, once we'd picked one out you'd load it up onto your bike and we'd take it home and get it decorated just in time for Father Christmas's visit in the night. Thank you for always letting me put the fairy on top. I want to remember the times of just you and I together taking the holly wreathes around to the cemetery to put on your parents grave, that time we spent just the 2 of us meant so much to me, I guess I never really thought about or wondered why that became our tradition. How come Mum and Chris never came too ?
I want to remember the letters that Father Christmas would write to us, always via a type writer and how his signature always looked so much like your handwriting.
How about when you played Father Christmas for Mum's Mother's group Christmas party ? Remember me sitting on your lap, looking down at your feet and exclaiming for the whole world to hear "You're wearing my Daddy's shoes" ? I always wondered why Mum would get a smooch from Father Christmas under the mistletoe at all the Christmas parties, it wasn't until years later that I found out it was you, damn you played the part well, Clement C Moore could have been talking about you in his book "Twas The Night Before Christmas" Your eyes twinkled, you had the dimples and rosy cheeks, the little round belly, you were chubby and plump, you were perfect for the part, thanks for being that Dad that all the other kids wanted,I was the lucky one, you were mine.
Well, after that little trip down memory lane I don't hurt quite so much you left a lot of good memories,you may not be with me physically but you are still very much alive in my memories, it's just working through what I want to house and what I want to discard, I'll keep Christmas, that was the best. From now on Marc gets to do the stocking stuffers and I'll write the Santa letters just like you used to.
I love you Dad, Merry Christmas !!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Starfish Story

Reading through the list of comments left below on my Giveaway post I learnt a lot about fellow bloggers and casual readers alike and just what this time of year means to so many and how everyone has some kind of tradition, it got me thinking about our traditions and boy, do we have a lot ?
One that I started a couple of years ago was to give Christmas ornaments to friends, I really enjoy making something special and symbolic. One year I started painting starfish in Santa designs, snow flake designs and snowmen (Didn't like the snowmen so much) I would wrap each one up and put in with it a copy of the Starfish story telling them what a difference they have made in my life. It's still a favorite for teachers and this year a very special neighbor will be receiving one.
Making these ornaments especially the star ones are so easy a little one can make them. Simply go to you craft supply store and pick up a starfish, white acrylic paint, sparkle glaze and some red ribbon.
Paint your starfish white, wait for it to dry and then glaze it, the more glaze the more sparkles. Wait for that to dry and then using a hot glue gun or white Elmer's glue attach the ribbon and voila a very pretty sentimental ornament.

Note: Some starfish may smell a little fishy still, if you have a cat keep it away from your ornaments or it may decide to eat it, see what happened to poor Santa's arm ?

Here's a copy of the story for you to print out and add, I generally make it a lot smaller and add it to the ribbon hanger

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Grandma's Cookies

AKA Swedish Cookies.
These cookies have become a new Christmas tradition around here. The kids love them, Marc gets all sentimental when he talks about them and I get all warm and fuzzy when he tells me "These are good, they taste just like Grandma's" Is there any better compliment ?
Unlike my Grandma, Marc's 'Mammoo' was not stingy with her recipes, she loved to share them with everyone, so I thought I'd share with you.

One little hint, unless you like to feel/taste bits of nut in your cookies throw the nuts into a blender and make them super fine, BUT, don't do what I did and walk away, you may end up w/ Walnut butter (gaggle)


1/2 Lb butter
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 Cup Cake flour
1 Cup chopped nuts, chopped very fine (I use walnuts or pecans,use what you like)
1 tsp Vanilla
Dash of salt

Mix together and put in a roll (wax paper). Chill overnight in fridge. (I was in a hurry one day and put the roll in the freezer until it got hard and that worked just fine)

Slice thin. Bake 12 mins at 350 degrees (I find 12 mins to be a bit too long, start off at 10 and see how they look)

Cool cookies, when completely cooled roll in powdered sugar.


The lighting was horrible today and I could not get them to look right for love nor money, but here's a glimpse

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time to start on those ornaments

If you haven't started making your Christmas ornaments yet you might want to start now before it gets too late.
This ornament has become one of my favorites and a favorite of my 6 y/o, in fact last year she gave one to each of her classmates, and guess what ? Her new classmates are getting one this year along with a coloring book of the Gingerbread Man.
I made one change from the tutorial and that was to add wiggly eyes instead of sewing or gluing on little felt eyes.
Thank you Elsie Marley for posting that tutorial and giving my 6 y/o her first little Christmas giving tradition.

Don't forget the Giveaway is open until Sunday, so if you haven't left a comment yet go on over and do so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway Day

Sew Mama Sew is sponsoring a Giveaway Day and today is the day it starts, go on over there and see the whole list of wonderful crafters who have some wonderful giveaways for you today.

I'm giving away this 'Whooville' inspired Christmas stocking.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite Christmas memory, a favorite tradition or what you like the most about this time of year.
Be sure to leave me an email address or a link as to how I can contact you and tell you "You're a winner"
This giveaway is open to ALL of you, yes if you live overseas I'll mail to you too, just be aware that I'm not the postal service and it may not arrive in time for Christmas, though fingers crossed it will.
Contest will close December 6th at midnight west coast time.
Good luck, have fun and go check out all the other crafters

The first day of Advent

What better way to start off the month of December than a super quick and easy recipe that you can have cooking in the crockpot all day and come home to after standing out in the cold, watching the first of many Christmas Parades.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

I made this over the Thanksgiving break. The last thing I wanted to do on Black Friday was cook. My BIL claimed it to be the best pulled pork he's ever eaten, so there you have it.

4lb pork roast
1 onion, sliced
12 oz root beer
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Place pork roast in your crock pot
Place onion rings on top of the pork
Pour root beer over the pork

Cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4 hrs

In the last hour drain off the root beer and add 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce

Pull pork, and serve in hamburger buns along with baked beans and coleslaw.

Doesn't get much easier than that.

Come back tomorrow for the 2nd day of Advent and a great list of Giveaways. Win something for yourself or jump start your Christmas gifting

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