Monday, November 26, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Now that it's officially less than a month until Christmas, I suppose I should start getting myself organized. Every year, by late August or early September, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I'm giving everyone for Christmas and I think I'm "ahead of the game". The problem would be that every year I procrastinate on starting all the homemade gifts (of which there are always several-to-many!) and round about now I start to get that panicky feeling.

[Warning: If you're on my Christmas list, stop reading this NOW please as major gift spoilers are coming up!]

I thought I would share my homemade gift plans thus far in case anyone out there is looking for ideas.

In the knitting department:
-mini-purses for 2 of my nieces
-a lacy mohair scarf for my Nan (grandma)
-cute little snowflake ornaments for assorted people (pattern here) - I'm knitting them in crochet cotton so they'll be quite a bit smaller than the ones shown
-I also want to make a pair of socks for each of my boys and hubby but I have a feeling this might become a post-Christmas project!

In the gifts from the kitchen department:
-herb vinegars are brewing down in my basement
-I have zucchini relish and pear chutney ready to go
-I need to make some cran-raspberry jam as my neighbour adores it (she always watches our animals for us when we go away and she won't let us pay her for it, so I always make her some yummy treats at Christmas)
-pumpkin spice loaves (still a lot of pumpkin in the freezer!)
-candied peanuts
-chocolate truffles
-Butter Toffee Crunch (this is basically my recipe, but they call it something else) I have yet to find someone who doesn't totally adore this stuff!

In the bath & body department:
(I'm doing a rosemary/mint theme this year so everything below will have that scent)
-drawer sachets (okay, these need to be knitted too!)
-olive oil & beeswax hand balm (I'm going to use the recipe from You Grow Girl)
-molded soaps (I know I printed off the instructions from one of the Make It From Scratch carnivals, but I can't remember which one!)

That's all I can think of for now, I'm sure I've missed a few but if so I'll post them later. This list doesn't look SO bad. I do have quite a slew of babies coming up in my life (friends due in December, January, March, April and 2 in July!) so I have to get a lot of baby knitting done too!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Santa Claus Parade

Today was the Santa Claus Parade here in the Hammer. Every year I think it's far too early to think about Christmas in mid-November, but by the end of the parade I've totally got the "holiday spirit". This year the temperature dropped several degrees during the course of the parade, and the snow started to fall - our first real snow of the season! Very festive.

Drinking hot chocolate while waiting for the parade to start!

One of several local dance troupes

Spiderman! Very important when you have 3 boys age 10 and under in tow :)
Lots of marching bands....

A Chinese Dragon (I just love those things!)

Clydesdales - very important! It's not a parade without some decent horses :)

Finally - the Big Guy himself!

By the time Santa made his appearance, my hands and feet were pretty well numb. Thankfully, my backside did not suffer the same fate as we are now smart enough to bring our Therm-a-rests along whenever we're going to be sitting on cold, hard ground. They work like a charm! A big thermos full of hot chocolate also helps to stave off the cold (well, provided you get some before the kids drink it all...)

Of course, the kids were so busy scrambling after goodies being tossed by parade participants that they barely had time to feel cold. Thank goodness I had an extra shopping bag on me! We dragged home 21 mini candy canes, 7 (full size) packs of gum, a couple of full-size chocolate bars, 1 bag of chips, 7 lollipops, 1 orange, 2 toothbrushes, 3 pieces of sidewalk chalk, a pencil, a CFL lightbulb, 2 balloons, and a coupon for 1 free admission to the local drive-in movies. That's not even counting all the stuff they tucked away during the parade!

It was a lot of fun, but I was definitely happy to come home and thaw out. Good thing I'm in a festive mood now, we're doing Christmas shopping tomorrow...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Noah is officially TEN today!

Ten years ago today, I became a mom. I don't think I had the first inkling of a clue as to how much motherhood was going to rock my world in just about every way. I have changed and grown so much by being a mom. My life has been incredibly enriched by having my sweet boy Noah along for the ride with me.

A "just arrived" Noah! He's less than a day old here. No, I was *not* a teen mom, although I look incredibly young in this photo!
Noah, age 1, with my Nan (his great-grandma!)

Noah, age 2

One of many photos of Noah in a tree (here at age 3)

Hey, it's Noah in a tree again, age 4!

Playing "Dress Up" has been a popular activity for many years (age 5)

Kids in a box (Noah is far left, age 6, Nathan is beside him age 4)

Noah at 7, enjoying some computer time (still one of his favourite activities!)

Up in yet another tree, age 8

Canada Day festivities, age 9

Enjoying his 10th birthday party!

Oh, and a cool little surprise for me - I was sifting through some old photos and one of me (somewhere around age 8-10, it's not labelled so I'm not sure) where I am wearing a look I recognize from Noah's face.

Hah! He does look like me,. after all!

After all these years of saying he looks exactly like Joe :)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Birthday Visit with Paige

My friend Jenn's little girl turned one today! We were lucky enough to get to see her on her big day. She treated us by walking 4 steps for the first time ever at our house.
This was kind of a duel-purpose visit, as Noah's birthday is tomorrow. So we got to watch both of the birthday kids open their presents. Noah got a second dog dictionary - do you think he has a reputation as "dog boy" or anything?
Paige is more interested in the dog than her gift.


Noah's 10th Birthday Party!

Last night was the big party! We had a large friends-and-family potluck dinner party, including the families of Noah's friends (could that sound more cryptic?) I'm not sure how many people that turned out to be, but our house was pretty full.

There were glow sticks and sparklers (a big hit with the kids!) and lots of good food. Noah also got some neat presents, including a dog breed encyclopedia and a foam-dart bow and arrow style thingy. Lots to keep him occupied for a while.

I think the kids and the adults alike enjoyed themselves. The birthday boy definitely had a great time! Noah is not "officially" 10 until tomorrow, and I'll post some more then about my sweet boy.

Harried Halloween Week

I know, I know, it's already 3 days after Halloween and I haven't yet posted the photos. What kind of blogger am I, anyway? The answer to that would be: a very busy one! The irony of blogging is that when life is most interesting you don't have enough time to post about it .

Not only was it Halloween, but Noah's 10th birthday party this week as well (yesterday). That's more than enough for me in one week, thanks! I love the actual celebrations but all that prep work is a bit much for this mama!

The boys were rather ghoulish again this year, this seems to be a several-years-running theme:
This was the first year that they went out trick-or-treating for a bit without either Joe or I. They went with an older friend along both sides of our block, then came back and got Joe for a second trip out further afield. When they returned home again, to my surprise they wanted to go out yet *again* with me! This is definitely the most trick-or-treating they've ever done (and they have the loot to prove it!)
The cutest trick-or-treater award goes to an adorable little Nemo-boy. He was so little that his fish tail-ensconced backside wiggled as he walked :) His mom said he was 17 months old. Too cute!
More details on Noah's party coming in the next post.