Sisters Forever

A couple of years ago we discovered the joy of Andrews Sisters Jing-a-Ling on a drive home from the school. Our daughters enjoy the song and love to sing with it. It has become a staple in our Christmas music playing.

Our two girls seem to always get along this time of year. Last week when we were decorating, the two of them were loving and caring. Hugs and silliness abound. Seeing them get along like this warms my heart.

I know that over the next few years life will change. Our teenagers will become adults. They will grow up and move on in their own ways. I don’t want to look towards the future with a heavy heart. Instead I am trying to enjoy the moments we have now because these will soon become a distant memory.

And just like when we discovered the Andrews Sisters, I will become pleasantly surprised when my memories resurface once more through music and photos of yesteryear.

Enjoy the now- it’s a gift of joy. I guess that’s why it’s called The Present.

Order Now!

We are coming up to the final days before Christmas. That means there’s going to be a big rush in the online shopping with hopes that items arrive in time. Ahhhhhhh!!!!

I remember my teenage years staying up late watching infomercials. Products I didn’t know I needed, but they had a way of trying to seduce you with how greatly your life would improve. Dehydrator, vacuum sealer, even spray on hair. That last one… maybe I’ll be needing it sooner than I would like to admit.

Back when tv was about twenty-thirty channels, my “surfing” would oftentimes end with boredom landing on The Weather Network or The Home Shopping Channel. And just like informercials- if I ordered NOW! it would only take 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Nowadays we can get items shipped next day Free of Charge. A huge improvement over the years long ago. But now we don’t have the ability to hem and haw over calculating shipping costs and time. The online marketplace inevitably pushes us to faster more convenient consumerism.

I want to go back to the days of K-Tel and the long list of songs they’d offer on record or cassette. Streaming Music is a whole other thing these days that I won’t get into again.

Keep on shopping people! Buy all the things!!!

First One Out

I thought I was doing so well this year. Last night at dinner my family and I were talking about Whamageddon and how many covers there are out there. How each time a cover came o the radio, we were sure that we lost the game.

I lost the game early this morning. I got into my car and drove to work. I turned on the radio and listened to the news station. For about twenty minutes I received updates on the world and my traffic commute. Since I was driving my daughter’s car I switched over to the FM stations in hopes to listen to some loud classic rock music.

As soon as I hit the FM button, I heard “Last Christmas” just begin. It was as if the universe knew that I was to lose the game today. A large sigh and acceptance that I now had nothing left to fear from Christmas music, I let the song play out it’s familiar theme.

I even sang along.

Are you playing along with Whamageddon? Have you lasted this far into the month without hearing the original Wham! Song? Let me know in the comments.

Thank You Carroll Spinney

At age 85, the world lost a great puppeteer-Caroll Spinney. A friend of mine shared an amazing photo on social media today. Caroll Spinney is performing Oscar the Grouch and still wearing Big Bird’s legs:

Everything about this image makes me happy and sad at the same time. It brings back memories of my childhood sitting in front of the television. As well as the magic behind those moments. This special person was able to bring to life two very different and iconic characters. They may have been puppets, but there’s a sense of life behind them, as well as a connection drawn between the audience and the actor.

As children, we could relate to these cartoony characters- our wonder and amazement were portrayed through Big Bird; our frustration and anger through Oscar the Grouch. How to cope and deal with life were shared through the Muppets, and Carroll made it feel like family.

Just like most families, we grow apart from those we care about and think they will always be there. Until one day they aren’t. All that’s left are memories.

But Carroll Spinney left behind a legacy. Years of puppetry immortalized in film and television. And for that, we thank you Carroll Spinney.

Natural Decorating

I love decorating our home for Christmas. One of my favorite styles is keeping it “Country Living”. I utilize nature as much as possible.

In the past I have used fallen branches as a part of our decor. Hanging them from under the skylight or adorning our main entryway. Using natural branches also means that every year the decorating changes.

I have even made tealight holders from the thicker branches. I finished them off with some red burlap string and modpodge glue in order to keep their sheen.

This year my wife suggested we use some holly branches. She loves the look of the red holly berries against the vibrant greenery. Holly, just like pine trees, keep their colours for quite some time. But once the season is over- they become brittle and dry.

I’m loving that each year we modify our decorating just a little bit and that I use nature to do it.

What do you make at Christmas?

The Family Saturday

Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

Raving Gamer

For my wife’s birthday, I took her out for lunch this afternoon at a place called The Raving Gamer Bistro in Langley, BC.

It’s the perfect style of place for my wife and I. It’s locally owned and operated. The menu serves locally-sourced ingredients from many of the places that I love to visit in Langley and nearby.

I enjoyed the Three’s Company Grilled Cheese: Golden Ears cheddar & gouda on Langley’s A Bread Affair’s Three’s Company bread.

My wife ate the Raving Water Buffalo Burger: a house-made patty of local water buffalo with bread and butter pickles, fresh tomatoes, red onion, gouda from Golden Ears Cheese Crafters, double smoked bacon and a house-made Russian dressing.

Both of us opted for the house-cut fries with “butta-shoyu” & Japanese spice; and a local beer to wash it all down.

During our lunch, we had a chance to enjoy some one on one time while playing board games. The selection of games to play was extensive. After our meal, we browsed through some of the games for sale. These aren’t your typical Monopoly variations or poker games. Many of the games I had never heard of. But when I asked the staff about games- they had knowledgeable answers.

We had a nice quiet lunch- we were the only two customers in there. It sounds like they are much busier in the evening time, especially on the weekends. I highly recommend visiting then Bistro. But be prepared to spend time and money! We were there for about an hour and a half and spent $100. But we also picked up a game that we have been wanting for some time now.

Baking Cake

I enjoy baking cookies. I think I’ve mastered the art of deliciousness in each and every batch. My family and coworkers enjoy sampling my treats. And I really enjoy sharing them.

Today I made ginger snaps. And just like every other cookie I bake- they turned out perfect. I also baked a cake for my wife’s birthday tomorrow. Cakes for me are easy. I only ever do the boxed cakes. Quick and easy. I usually have a variety of mixes on hand because we use them as a Waffle batter substitute. Best idea ever!

However, I am not talented at icing cakes. I understand the concept behind butter cream icing, crumb coats and piping tubes. I can just never express in physical form what my mind is trying to achieve.

Our son’s birthday cake earlier this year looked tasty. But it wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. It did the trick though. A a sweet dessert treat for a quick celebration. The same goes for my wife’s cake for tomorrow. My heart is in it, but my skills just aren’t there.

So I’ll just bake more cookies later this month. Those are always a hit.

More Painted Wood

About a month ago I Painted Wood with some winterscape images. I was happy with my first go around that I had to make some more.

What I liked with this one is the rainbow of colours in the sky. I enjoyed blending the colours to create the illusion of an early morning with a slight reflection below.

The other piece I did was of a pathway curving off with a couple of mountains in the faded background. The single tree stood silently with a hint of snow speckled throughout. I liked that I remembered the rule of lightning and the moon’s glow cast a faint shadow from the tree.

The thing about my paintings is that when painting snow, I wanted to portray a semblance of realism- that snow isn’t brilliant white. Snow has a tendency to reflect the light and colours of it’s surroundings. Hints of blue or grey, yellows and pinks make snow a tad more magical.

Using carvings from trees has added a natural wood frame around my paintings. These frames limit what I can paint, but also help the finalized landscapes come to life. I have a few more to finish up and share.

Now the question remains- do I keep them, sell them or give them away? A labour of love and a new found hobby has brought forth something from inside of me. I don’t want it to become commercial, so selling these isn’t likely.

Bad Christmas Jokes

We have a small winter chalkboard hung up in our kitchen. Every year we would write a countdown to Christmas Morning on it. After that would be salutations like “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Or “HAPPY NEW YEARS“. This year I started it off with a joke instead.

A classic style of dad joke. “The Christmas alphabet has Noel.” Not funny but worthy of a groan. It was up for about a week or so until someone changed it. Still no countdown though. Seems like I may have started a new tradition. Out came another joke.

Why does Santa have a big sack? He only comes once a year.

Oh my. This was written by our 17 year old daughter. I laughed pretty hard at it because it was unexpected. She doesn’t normally tell jokes of this caliber. However, the playing field has been set and the bar is raised. Time to share more Lewdmas humor. I wonder how far these jokes will get.