Sunday, December 16, 2007

What We've Been Doing With Our Time

Recently, I've been a slacker at posting to my blog. I've been around visiting you all, but I just haven't had time to write anything. Don't get me wrong. I'm not feeling stressed out over the holiday season. I'm thoroughly enjoying all the activities of the season.

First of all, L and I have been taking the time to strengthen our bond as a couple. Our relationship is improving daily! We are no longer forgetting each other in our daily routine of struggling through life.

I de-stressed Christmas shopping several years ago. I now shop year 'round for all the gift-giving occasions in our lives. If I find an item that I know my loved ones will enjoy, I buy it and squirrel it away. When a holiday approaches, I check my stash and fill in the holes.

Online shopping has also been a HUGE time saver! We try to support our local economy by buying what we can in town. However, small town choices are limited. We used to make an annual trek to Duluth to complete our shopping. Now, I shop in comfort, in our bedroom, with a cup of coffee.

With SME's family living in Canada, I've been forced to get their Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. If I don't mail their package by then, they won't get it in time for Christmas. I also include SME's and Demi's birthday gifts in this package.

This year we became honorary grandparents to Tweety's 2 girls. It was a joy shopping for little ones again!

We also eliminated stress by mutually agreeing with our in-laws to stop giving each other Christmas and birthday gifts. We've all reached the age where we don't need to be increasing the clutter in our lives. The only exception to this is L's mother. She is constantly bailing out the rest of the family with her small reserve of cash, which leaves her little for herself. We've found that the only thing she'll use is a WalMart gift card. She spends her card at Sam's Club, stocking up on groceries.

Christmas cards are a chore, and expense, that we also eliminated several years ago. I have learned to stay in touch with friends and family several times throughout the year instead. Why add stress to the Christmas season when greetings can be exchanged at Easter or Valentine's Day?

Once the shopping and mailing of gifts is complete, we're free to indulge in the Christmas activities we enjoy as a family. Last Saturday we made a double batch of sugar cookie cutouts. I bake the cookies and the guys decorate them. Last Sunday, L and I made 9 dozen lefse. During the week, I made a batch of fudge. and 2 batches of Peanut Blossoms(peanut butter cookies with a chocolate star in the middle). Yesterday, we made umpteen chocolate covered peanut butter Ritz cookies(Z's favorite). Today, I will make a double batch of Mexican Wedding Cakes(aka Russian Tea Cakes or snowballs), while L clears the rest of the snow from our roof.

For the first time in several years, we have received a normal amount of snow for the season. Wednesday, Z and spent the entire afternoon moving snow. I widened the driveway with the snowblower, while Z removed the snow from our small metal shed, camper, AC cover, and small generator shed. I then cleared the snow away from the vents on our roof, as the snow was starting to cover them. Normally, the snow slides off our metal roof. This year, our snowy days have been followed by -20F days, which prevents the snow from sliding. This is what I get for wishing for an old-fashioned, snowy Christmas.

This final week before Christmas, I will finish my gift-wrapping, shop for stocking stuffers, buy groceries for our Christmas Eve dinner, and indulge in my birthday dinner of prime rib at my parents' house.


At 12/16/2007 11:02 PM, Blogger SME said...

Glad you guys are spending some time together and enjoying the holidays!!
I miss Christmas baking...maybe I should try making some vegan cupcakes when Demi's here.

At 12/17/2007 11:18 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

I am so glad that you're having a good time! It looks like y'all got a lot of snow and I'm sure it's beautiful. We keep getting weather reports that we will be getting snow, but all we end up with is freezing rain - - and high winds.

The cookies look PERFECT! I'm going to do two more batches of cookies, then Christmas eve make the sweet dough and bake it for Christmas morning - that's it.

I love to shop online. Too easy.

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas from our family to all of you!

At 12/17/2007 11:22 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Your adopted granddaugters are liking there bible from Z and they just love showing off there little ornaments. I want some of those cookies.. LOL... Only picking on you. I miss all the cookies we used to get from a friend of the family. They quit after her mohter passed away a few years ago.

At 12/17/2007 11:22 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

PS Happy B-day tomorrow.

At 12/17/2007 3:27 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

Wonderful festive post! So fun to read - you are smart about Christmas. Again many of the things you listed are the same for me. Christmas cards - I do every other year or two, gift buying all year long and online, yep.

But what really got my attention is that except for lefse and Z's favorite, all the cookies you bake are the ones we like to bake! This is just ODD!

As for the snow, be careful what you wish for, huh.
Still, it sounds so gorgeous. I'd love to be outdoors moving snow around right now.

Prime rib - good thing Tom doesn't know where your folks live. He's crash your party!

Happy week before Christmas!

At 12/17/2007 4:49 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SME, there's a lot of our Christmas cookies you can make if you use margarine.

Monica, I thought you would surely have snow after I saw the weather reports this morning. Freezing rain with wind is my worst nightmare!

I wish I could have a gingerbread house turn out as great as yours did.

Tweets, you have no idea how happy that makes us! Now I can't wait to pick out ornaments again next year! ;)
Next year, you'll have to start a tradition of Christmas baking with the girls. Baking is a wonderful math lesson.

Cherie, you don't make lefse for your Norwegian? I'm appalled! ;)

I sounds like you and I wouldn't accomplish much at a cookie swap, huh? heehee
Don't you just love the feeling of accomplishment when your table is full of cooling cookies?

I never order prime rib at a restaurant, as it could never hold a candle to my Dad's. Tell Tom that I'd be happy to share my feast with him.

At 12/17/2007 5:16 PM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Tagged will have mine up tomorrow and then with instructions. just a heads up..

At 12/18/2007 9:22 AM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

I wish I was that organized. I am a last-minute shopper. Worse, I am a terrible shopper, and always second guess my choices. Maybe this will inspire me to change my ways ...

At 12/18/2007 10:14 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

I know I know....I should learn to make lefse. Maybe I'll give it go now that you've become appalled.

I'll tell Tom about the prime rib. If you see a strange lefse-less Norwegian on the doorstep, drooling over the prime rib, yeah, it'll be Tom!

At 12/18/2007 2:21 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

You're smart to learn how to de-stress the holidays. But I do love Christmas cards and that would be one of the last things I'd want to give up. But, maybe sending them reminds me of my mother. Not only did she send loads of Christmas cards, she wrote letters and sent cards all through the year.

Your cookies sound delicious. And quit wishing for the snow, okay? Because after it's done with your place it heads over to mine.

At 12/18/2007 2:22 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

And did Tweety say that the 17th is your birthday? Happy Belated Birthday, dear!

At 12/19/2007 8:18 AM, Blogger Gardenia said...

What an orderly person you are. I should print your post and put is away to consult once a month on how to do Christmas - sounds less stressful than the last few here!

Very nice cookies.

I LOVE shopping on line - the postage paid is worth it when it comes to gas and fighting the crowds and the choice to be made. I too try to shop locally, but this time of the year, I can't handle the crowds, and the department stores put out things they want to sell you, not necessarily things I want to buy!

At 12/19/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I was just telling "M" this morning that it doesn't feel like Christmas yet and that I needed to do some baking. She of course whole heartedly supported that! We did our Christmas cards Monday night and got them mailed on Tuesday. I still haven't done much decorating outside, but have done a little more inside. Still Christmas shopping to do, but I'm not stressing. I think a few people are getting pix of the items they will be receiving. Some of the stuff is coming in the mail and I didn't get it ordered early enough. Oh well, not stressing, I do enough of that the rest of the year. You guys have a Merry Christmas and you have a Happy Birthday. When is your birthday anyway?

At 12/19/2007 7:37 PM, Blogger SME said...

I'll make some cupcakes and cookies. Dilemna solved! :)

At 12/20/2007 9:49 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Squirl the 18th but still belated. LOL..

At 12/20/2007 5:18 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Getting rid of the whole Orgy Of Gifting is a key step in de-stressing.

At 12/20/2007 9:44 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZF, I should have L give you lessons. He's usually done shopping by Thanksgiving, and that includes shopping for my birthday.

Cherie, we'll have to send poor Tom some lefse next year. ;)

Squirl, sorry about that! I think we should both blame SME for the snow, since it's been coming from her direction. ;)

Gardenia, just about everything I ordered this year had free shipping. It doesn't get any better than that!

DC, we've always kept gift-giving pretty simple. Books and games are our favorite gifts. We also give a lot of homemade gifts.


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