I hope you guys all had a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
I have been crazy busy for these last three weeks with getting Christmas gifts, making gifts, the last regular season home game (we have a playoff game this Sunday). In the beginning of the month, I was busy with studying, and trying to keep up on the snow removal, that I feel a little out of sorts. This is my way of catching up for the past few weeks.
The weekend of December 14th the cold weather had kept me in the house for the most part, which is good because I had a lot of baking, crafting, more snow removal from my drive way and an exciting football game.
Friday night after running errands, grabbing some wings to go from a local establishment, I went to get started on making the chocolate centers for truffles, and I realized I was missing a few things. So out to the store I went. I don’t think I got started on truffles until late. Sunday, I ended up finishing the truffles I’m bringing to class on Wednesday for our last hurrah after our final exam. I’ll have more about those in a later post.
That Saturday baked, and baked and baked! Or at least that’s what it felt like. I made chocolate chip cookies like I do every year, and peanut butter cookies for my dad. He’s a lucky guy, he got about 4 (maybe 5) dozen cookies. I use my mom’s recipe for my chocolate chip cookies, she always added some orange zest and squeezed a bit of orange juice into her batter. This year I made mine with dark chocolate chips and used some orange baking emulsion instead of orange zest, because the oranges at the store didn’t look so good.
Saturday evening, I went on a hunt to track down some truffle molds. Friday I checked Joann’s, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby to no avail. I did not deter that easily. I went online Saturday and searched Joann’s website and luckily they have the too which allows you to see if your local store has the item in stock. Just my luck Joann’s had ONE of the Wilton molds I was looking for. So I bundled up and head out in the cold. I found the mold, shoved under stacks of other candy molds (I should have looked under there on Friday, I saw the pile of molds on Friday night). So I picked up 2 additional, other types of molds to make due. I have to say I as not prepared for the time commitment for these truffles. On the directions under time it should say “These will seem like they take forever. When you think they are done they are not!” I still have more than half of the filling left.
Sunday morning, I worked on more truffles and I made my Chex Mix. I like to make at least one version of Chex Mix Gluten-Free. It’s mostly Gluten-Free to begin with anyway. Since I only made one kind this year, I didn’t add the Wheat Chex and I substituted Snyder’s Gluten-Free pretzels. Last year I added Glutino pretzels, and I like them much better. They are light and crispy. They are about double the cost the Snyder’s version, but I think Glutino’s version is so much better.
Sunday afternoon, when I had finished up my baking, and straightening up of my house, I had a party to go to for the parkers and ushers at Lambeau. I stopped over at my dad’s so we could ride over together to a local bar where the party was happening. It was nice hanging out with co-workers outside of work. I even got some studying done. Leave it to me to bring my notes and note cards so I can make flashcards! While I was busy preparing for my Civil Lit final, the Packers had a HORRIBLE first half. Maybe it was a coincidence?
Wednesday, December 18th I took my Civil Lit final. I have to say I rocked it! I ended up scoring a 97 on the test and got a 98 in the class overall. I ended the program with a 4.0-something I’ve never done before.
The weekend of December 20th, I was originally going to drive down to Milwaukee for a party one of my college friend’s was having. I made it about 30 minutes out of Green Bay and the roads started getting bad and I kept losing traction if I went over 50 mph. So I turned around. I blew the snow from my drive way (remind me why I stay in Wisconsin for the winter) with help from Greg. Then I took him to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner as a thank you.
Saturday morning I went shopping with my dad for some gifts for Greg. I ran some errands and then started to work on the Christmas presents.
This year I decided I would make the major part of Christmas gifts. I picked up some cabinet doors from the Habitat For Humanity Restore. I got 6 for $12 and then went back for two more and paid $7 for two. I’ve been trying to get all of the Christmas presents made before Christmas. I had thought of making a decal for my dad’s and brother’s gifts but I waited too long. I did find this specialty paper to make rub-ons. So for my dad’s I used that instead of painting. I tried doing Greg’s but the color combination of green . I finished Betsey’s Saturday night while watching the Marquette Basketball game.
Once I was finished with Betsey’s gift I started working on my dad’s gift. I ran out of the paper I needed and went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some extra, which they only had one pack. Greg’s gift didn’t turn out very well. You couldn’t see the yellow letters against the green background. So I had to stencil them and paint them. I never realized how much time my mom spent on the signs and things she paintend!
Christmas Eve, I spent the day finishing up wrapping gifts and had to get my dad a last minute gift from TJMaxx before heading over to my dad’s sister’s house. This year was different than years past. My dad and his 5 siblings have been rotating hosting Christmas since the mid 70’s. This year, it was my dad’s oldest sibling Jim’s turn to host Christmas. He and my Aunt Mary moved to Florence, WI, about 8 years ago or so. Instead of having one of his kids host Christmas, they decided to have Christmas in July. A fun filled weekend in the North Wood is on the horizon for me! Really that means I’ll be sharing a pop up trailer with my dad, and brother both who are ridiculous snorers. So instead of having a big family shindig like years past, my Aunt Bonnie (my dad’s oldest sister) invited everyone over, come and go as you please. I ended up getting there about 4:30. By the time I got there it was my dad, Aunt Betty (my dad’s youngest sibling) her husband Bill, and son Ross. We got to Facetime with my cousin Kate and her husband Jim and their dog Lambeau who live in Colorado.
After I went to my Aunt Bonnie’s I stopped over to my friend Jenny’s family festivities-or as I like to call them my second family. Spent a few hours with them. I got to play with baby Abby, which always makes my day. Then I went to my dad’s house and waited for him for a bit. Greg and Betsey were already there, so we decided to stop over at my dad’s next door neighbor’s. Their son Scott, who is my brother’s age, and by brother have been friends from elementary school through college. They also have a daughter Lindsey who is 3 years younger. So we stopped over there for about an hour. Greg and Betsey went to another of his friend’s house to visit. while they were gone, my dad and I watched It’s a Wonderful Life. They got back around 11:30 and then it was time to open gifts. I forgot two of my brother’s gifts. I knew when I left home to go to my Aunts, something seemed off! Oops.
I was home shortly after 1 am. I went to bed around 2 and slept until 11, I’m not gonna lie, it was nice to sleep that long. I had to take care of snow removal, surprise, surprise! I went over to my dad’s around 3, we watched Scrooge-the 1951 version. We had pizza for dinner (really festive I know) and my dad’s brother Chuck and his wife Vicki stopped over.
Since my mom passed away, our Christmases and other celebrations have been very low key. I know that I thought about my mom a lot Christmas day, and I’m pretty sure that my dad did as well. We don’t spend much time with my mom’s family because they are spread out across the country. But we do spend Christmas Eve with my dad’s family, and Christmas Day is usually spent with my dad and brother hanging out and watching movies. We don’t go to Church, the last time that we went to Church together was for All Soul’s Day’s after my mom passed away. My dad was never one for Church and we always went with my mom’s parents growing up. When I do go to church, I go with Jenny’s family and that’s a Lutheran mass, which seems odd to me as I grew up a Catholic.
New Years Eve, I went to a hockey game with my friend Jenny and her boyfriend Pat. The game was between the Green Bay Gamblers and the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. It was a good game with a good fight. I’m not going to lie I like a good fight. The Gamblers won 2 to 1.
I honestly don’t know where I picked up these yahoos! I don’t get what they are doing…i guess Pat is trying to be Fierce and Jenny is posing for her Senior picture. Jenny gave me my Christmas present. She made me a Marquette wreath. I made her a sign, which I brought over New Years Day.
Today is my brother’s birthday. He turned 30 today. It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago my mom had gone into labor while we were out at my grandparent’s house Christmas Eve and had to be rushed to the hospital. When he was born he was only 2 lbs 10 ounces. He was in the NICU for almost 3 months. When we went to visit him, we had to wear the gowns and we could only touch him through the incubator.
That was my last few weeks leading up to Christmas and how I spent the Holidays. How did you guys spend the Holidays? Did you make any resolutions? How long do you usually keep them? Leave your comments below!