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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

 

Happy Thanksgiving week y’all! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday no matter what your plans.

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It’s almost Christmas and who has time to write a blog post? I sure don’t.

xmas-meme

Today I’m checking in to say Merry Christmas and to thank all of my followers, subscribers, groupies, lurkers or whatever you call yourselves. I appreciate you and wish you the very best this holiday season.

Here’s a little silliness courtesy Jimmy Kimmel and YouTube. Whatever you do this holiday season, please do NOT give the gift of Kleenex or Pull-ups, especially to a boy child.

upset-child

Enjoy. And may you all receive wonderful gifts – like toothpaste – this year.

Peace out!

Have you ever been pranked? At Christmas? Have you ever pranked anyone? Your child? What was your worst holiday gift?

Word of the day: Rennet

Fun fact about me: I’ve never given a prank gift (but I love white elephant gifting.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2016. Video courtesy YouTube (Jimmy Kimmel Live)

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A lot has happened this year. My family felt the pangs of a cross-country move. My life changed significantly for the better. Terrorism, radicalism, school shootings, disrespect for authority, hit all time highs. Daily news reports made us weep.

If you’re still struggling with gift ideas amid all of this chaos, I offer the following suggestions:

Image courtesy Google Images.

Image courtesy Google Images.

Merry Christmas loyal followers and best wishes for a peaceful new year. May god bless you and keep you safe in the months to come. Be kind; to yourself and others.

Word of the Day: Remarque

Fun fact about me: If I could find the right picture, I’d get a tattoo.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2015. Image courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

How many times have we shopped, found something extraordinary and thought, “This is perfect for so and so?” (Hand raised high.) When this happens to me, I usually make the purchase right then and there, depending on cost of course. More times than not, when Christmas rolls around, I already have a small stash of “perfect” gifts waiting to be wrapped and delivered.

On the other hand, how many times have you gone shopping for something specific only to be shut down, robbed of your shopping enjoyment because you can’t find the “perfect” thing you’re looking for. I know, I know, Murphy’s law and all that, but seriously, isn’t that such a let down? How hard can it be to find that one simple thing?

Christmas is an already stressed time of the year. Folks are strapped for cash, time flies by, your husband eats the cookies you baked for your boss’s holiday party. It’s stressful. Add to that the pressure of finding “the perfect gift,” and it’s down right painful.

Now finding the “perfect gift,” can be nothing short of euphoric when you see the happy smile on the face of the recipient you love. It’s a high that I personally find very satisfying. But hey, I’m a giver. I love giving, especially when it’s done right.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

But how often have we found ourselves – settling? Buying something, spur of the moment, running out of time because it’s four o’clock on Christmas Eve and we still haven’t gotten anything for cousin Bob and he and his sleezy new girlfriend are coming over at six for drinks and we just know he’s going to bring us a gift so we have to get him something – (breathe) – and then we do the grab and go, dash home, wrap it up, present it to him in his stupid Christmas hat and goofy grin only to be rewarded for all of our trouble, angst and money with this:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Don’t do the cousin Bob routine.

gift cardHere’s what I suggest – stop trying to find the “perfect” thing. Think about who you’re buying for and why. If you’re simply buying because it’s Christmas and the season dictates that you buy a gift – don’t do it. Nine times out of ten the recipient won’t want the thing you’ve settled for anyway. Just suck it up and get a gift card.

I know, gift cards are a cop out, but let’s face it, who doesn’t like gift cards? I like gift cards. Let’s me pick out something I really want or at the very least, something I need but no one will ever buy it for me because it’s a practical everyday thing that’s – well – not “perfect.”

Come on people – ease up on the pressure – enjoy the season. Stop trying for perfection and give from the heart. Sometimes a dozen cookies or a sweet bread wrapped in pretty paper are more appreciated than that bottle of bath gel you picked up from an end cap at the grocery store on your way to the check out line. I’ve often given the gift of my time and taken a harried and stressed out friend out for lunch in lieu of a gift. You can offer to clean someone’s house, or pick up their dry cleaning, or mow their lawn, or rake their leaves, or some other act of kindness instead of buying some silly and usually cheap thing. Time is money – spend it wisely. To some folks time is more precious than money. Who wouldn’t want more time? Well maybe a lifer in Folsom Prison wouldn’t want more time, but you all know what I mean. Right?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m not suggesting you stop giving gifts, I’m merely suggesting that if you can’t find that thing that’s “perfect” who whomever, try giving in another way. Make a home cooked meal and deliver it to your busiest friend on a busy weeknight so they can sit down and relax for a couple of hours with their family – maybe watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s A Wonderful Life. You’d be surprised how something so small and easy to do can go a long way.

Xmas quoteSo happy holidays my friends. Relax. Put some thought into your giving. Stay safe in your travels and kind in your hearts, words and deeds. That’s why I love you all.

What have you done to show your appreciation to a loved on in lieu of giving a gift? Have any giving tips to share? I’m always open to suggestions.

Fun fact about me: I love to bake, especially this time of the year.

Word of the Day: Qiviut

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I don’t know about you, but I like to start the new year with a clean house, free of holiday debris and quickly-getting-stale cookies. January 1st is like a clean slate to me, a time to create another year, hopefully better than the ones before.

I make efforts to de-Christmas my house starting New Year’s Eve, culminating in a final big rush of cleaning and laundry on New Year’s Day, so that on January 2, I’m ready to start putting new stuff on my clean slate.

How about you? Do you like to prolong Christmas into the new year or start the new year unadorned with holiday glitz? There’s no right answer, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I love to hear from my readers.

Word of the day and fun facts about me will return next year.

Happy New Year!!

Original post by Jansen Schmidt. Photo courtesy Google Images.

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Image courtesy Google

Image courtesy Google

Okay, I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen a post about my crazy life experiences, so here’s the final What Haven’t I for the year.

Country church. Photo courtesy Google Images

Country church. Photo courtesy Google Images

By now you should all know the rules, but just in case you’re new here – and if so welcome new friend – here’s the low down: Post your guesses in the comments section below. Three of the answers are things that I have actually done, one is something I have not done. Your job is to guess what I haven’t. It’s simple, but you can’t win if you don’t play so put on those guessing caps and get to work.

By way of reminder, the first person to post another comment on the 12th, regardless of how many guesses they got right, AND the best guesser (person with the most correct answers) will both be awarded prizes. If you got the most correct answers, but you fail to check back, your prize will be forfeited, so it’s important to check back.

Let’s just get right to it.

1 – What haven’t I made from scratch: a) doughnuts; b) lemon curd; c) Hollandaise sauce; or d) candy apples?

2 – What haven’t I built: a) a bookcase; b) a doll house; c) a snowman; or d) a gingerbread house?

3 – What malady haven’t I suffered: a) shingles; b) measles; c) mono; or d) chicken pox?

4 – What haven’t I lost money on: a) baccarat; b) poker; c) craps; or d) roulette?

5 – What church haven’t I visited for services: a) Mormon; b) Jehovah’s Witness; c) 7th Day Adventist; or d) Catholic?

The answers will be posted in the comments section on December 12, so mark your calendars and check back to see if you’re a winner. Remember, the fastest and the best guesser will both be awarded prizes.

Word of the day: Regosol

Fun fact about me: I have played a nun both on stage and on screen.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt December 2013. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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So autumn is finally in full swing in my neck of the woods. It was a long time coming, but finally the temperatures have dropped, the leaves are changing colors, the harvest is nearly over and we’ve had a fire in the woodstove. It is around this time of year that talk at my house turns to the holidays. Are the relatives visiting? Are we cooking or eating out? Are we exchanging gifts or buying something for the house?

I especially love this time of year because I love the seasonal foods associated with Fall and the rapidly approaching holidays. Most especially, I love me a good pot of yummy, hearty chili’s, stews and thick creamy soups. When I think soup, I think crockpot. Which in turn reminds me of a funny Christmas crock pot story.

Last year, my husband and I were discussing the annual exchange of holiday gifts and he said that he was going to get me a new crock pot. I frowned. Then I explained that girls want romantic personal gifts for the holidays, like perfume and diamond jewelry. He said that those things were very impractical, to which I responded, “Oh course they are! That’s what makes them special gifts.” The closer we got to Christmas the more I realized that the only thing I wanted was a new digital camera. So, when my husband asked me what I really wanted for Christmas, I told him, “I’d really like a new camera.”

About 2 weeks before Christmas my boss and I shared our annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Much to my surprise, she got me a digital camera. I was so excited! I’d gotten a gift that I really wanted and knew I’d use. At home that evening I joyously showed my hubby my new treasure and his face fell to the floor. (I think you see where this is going.) I immediately knew that he had already gotten me a camera and I told him not to take it back. I told him that I would return my boss’s gift instead, but he insisted that I keep her camera and he’d get me something else.

You guessed it. He got me a crockpot. He said he didn’t know what else to get me and since I had pitched such a fit about getting small kitchen appliances as holiday gifts, he decided I needed to be taught a lesson.

I’m gonna confess something – just between you and me – I LOVE my crockpot! I use it all the time, probably even more than the camera. So, in honor of the arrival of autumn and my love affair with my holiday crockpot, here’s one of my favorite recipes. I hope you like it as much as I do. It was my first experience using pumpkin for something other than pie.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 lb. ground turkey

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14.5 oz) can red kidney beans

2 cups ( 1 14.5 oz can) pumpkin puree

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Procedure

1. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2.  Saute the onion, bell peppers, green chiles and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Make room in the center of the skillet, add turkey, and brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and Cayenne. (It is at this point when I put the mixture into the crockpot on low for several hours.)

3.  Reduce heat and simmer at least 20 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro. If preferred, serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite autumn tradition? Do you decorate your house for Thanksgiving? Got a good soup recipe to share? Let me know in the comments.

When this blog posts, I shall be vacationing in one of my favorite places but I promise to acknowledge each of you who leaves a comment. There might even be a sweet surprise for one lucky person who leaves a comment! Check back often to see what others are saying about Fall.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Word of the Day:  Labdanum

Fun fact about me:  I didn’t learn to swim until I was 13.

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So the big turkey feast is behind us. The pilgrims and the pumpkins have gone back into their hiding place in the attic or garage and a new season of holiday mayhem, I mean, magic, is upon us.

So much to do! So much to see! So little time! Even less money! Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Shopping and wrapping and snacking, oh my!

That’s right my friends, it’s December, that frenzied, fantastical time of the year known as Christmas! There’s so much to love about Christmas. Who doesn’t love the corny classic movies, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Charlie Brown Christmas.? Or the tear-jerkers that still manage to make us laugh, Miracle on 34th Street and my personal favorite, It’s A Wonderful Life!

It’s a time for egg nog, cranberries, and pumpkin flavored everything. It’s the only time of the year mistletoe is a welcome site and real trees are allowed into the house without the intent of using them in the fireplace. It’s time for traditions, silly hats, ugly sweaters and pajamas that are never to be worn any other time of the year. What’s not to love about Christmas?

My favorite part of the Christmas process, and it is a process that starts even before Halloween these days, is selecting just the right tree and then, putting all of my precious ornaments on it. Selecting the tree is always a team effort at my house. I plough through the glistening snow-covered forest pointing and analyzing while my husband trails along behind with the saw. What? I can’t properly analyze with a saw in my hand! Then I hold the perfect specimen while my husband hunkers down on the wet frozen ground to hack the thing off. When victory is ours, he hauls the tree to the truck while I carry the saw and cheerfully point out any potential pitfalls he might encounter along the way.

Once we get the awesome evergreen home, I hold the door while my husband finagles the twelve foot monster across the railing, around the porch swing and through the opening. You see, still a team effort. Now comes the fun part, he tilts and twists and spins the behemoth conifer whilst I stand back and say, “a little to the left,” “a little to the right.” This still requires a team effort because one person cannot do both things at the same time. Try it.

Once we are victorious with stabilizing the tree, the decorating begins. My husband insists on doing the lights and I happily oblige. After all, someone has to taste the wine to make sure it’s the appropriate vintage for the decorating ceremony. After the lights are aglow, I begin the painstaking process of choosing which spot on the tree is the perfect spot for each individual ornament. Heads up, this process can take hours so much wine is needed. It is also the only time my husband allows Christmas music to be played while he is home. (Oh my gosh, I’ve just realized that I may have married Scrooge.)

But, I digress. The actual point of this post is that I love Christmas and all of the craziness that goes along with it. I am so blessed to live in a country where I can freely enjoy such traditions and that I have a wonderfully accommodating husband who allows me to indulge in my crazy, anal-retentive holiday weirdness. For me, it’s not necessarily about what’s under the tree, but the whole process of finding the right tree and watching it sparkle every night for about thirty days. It’s an annual tradition that shall always be near and dear to my heart.

Tell me what makes Christmas special in your house.

Word of the day: Balisage

Fun fact about me: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up.

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