Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh, Christmas Cards, It Is You I Fear the Most

Time for the weekly Christmas check-in!

Last week's assignments on the 100 Days blog were met with mixed success.

One of my favorites was encouraging us to start a "Sunday Soup" tradition. Our former neighbors used to do this. They had a big family and just a standing invitation to all they knew: chili and something else would always be on for Sunday afternoons. Bring something that goes with soup and show up! It was a great tradition. Alas, my children will not touch soup for reasons I cannot quite figure out. I thought is was their desperate fear of anything hot (not unlike their mother, the boys let their hot chocolate come closer to the temperature of chocolate milk before drinking) but they didn't touch any of my summer soups either. Bummer. We did use that idea for the last several years for my father-in-law's January 1 birthday party. We fired up the crock pots and started a "soup-er" new year's party. Those were always hits.

My other favorite of the week was a reminder to observe Veterans' Day. Our county seat has an awesome parade, with veterans from World War II to Iraqi Freedom marching down the street, with serenades from just about every high school (and middle school!) marching band in our county. I love to go and always cry. Which is twisted, as I'm a committed pacifist. But I know somewhere in my peacenik soul that I can afford to be a peacenik because of the sacrifices of our armed services. So while I take brownies to the Women In Black, who have held a silent protest on Friday nights at the train station since the Iraqi invasion began, I also send emails to my friends who are veterans and find flags for my kids to wave at the parade. I know, I know the story of the guy who wore blue on top and gray on bottom during the Civil War. (One side shot him in the arm, the other in the @ss.)

With two weeks to Thanksgiving, it's time to get serious. We went to the supermarket to buy all kinds of things to push our totals up to $300 for the turkey. (I know, it's probably cheaper to just buy the turkey! But it was easy enough to switch my shopping to this place for a few weeks.) We are donating lots of cranberry sauce, stuffing, and other items for Thanksgiving at church this week. I'm doing my turkey-breast-dinner baking tomorrow to prepare meals to drop off next Sunday. And I have been storing up carrots as they go on sale for the big mousse de carrottes baking. And I loved the idea of the "thankful" exercise. We didn't do it last week but I'm hoping our Sunday dinner will give us the opportunity.

Then there was the (gulp) six weeks to Christmas gut check. We're actually in pretty good shape. I have to get out a list of what my kids want to the relatives. (Answer: is it in the T@rget catalog and does it have wheels?) I am just about done with things for the boys. My husband and I are not doing much for each other because we are spending on the house instead. (Ho ho ho...Santa is bringing us a new sewer line. And maybe, if there's anything left over, new closet doors!) Oh, and of course the TV is going to be good fodder for a few birthdays to come. And the theme gifts for the family just got "downsized" to $50 per family instead of $100, for which I am wildly grateful, and which means I'm pretty close to done. (Now I just need a good source for cheap, good, reusable water bottles.)

And, ah, yes, the Christmas cards. Well, Snapfish has been busy this week. (Beware the trap of teaming up with Oprah!) But I think we have the photos ready to go to make the cards, and then to order them. And I kinda skipped the "address the cards" part since our cards aren't made yet, but it did occur to me that I don't need the cards to make the labels. So that's a job for tomorrow, maybe. Of course, that's after the job of clearing out the laundry room so they can redig the sewer line, which, I'm sorry to say, has to come first.

So. With six weeks to go, I need to finish the group gifts; figure out teacher/babysitter gifts; wrap; oh, and of course decorate. But lots of that can wait.

Finally, we got baking this week. I didn't necessarily mean to, but my little guy wanted to make brownies. And cookies. And a cake. So we did. Alas, the cookies had to be tossed (literally) since I poured in the wheat germ without realizing it had gone rancid. (I have no idea what I was doing with wheat germ to begin with, but finally found a recipe to use it and it was too late. So--wait for it--yes, I bought more to make the recipes.) The backup was that we did have break-n-bake Christmas cookies, so that was a viable alternative. We'll go back to the wheat germ recipe soon. And I got a tray of sausage balls made and frozen; they'll just need baking.

That's it for us for now. But I must say, my WrapSack came and I adore it and am hoping to work something of it in to my group gifts for the year. The one I received zips around like a small wallet, but when unzipped, a shopping bag style tote comes out, and the "case" part of it becomes the bottom. It's a very clever design, a cute fabric, and a great way to tuck an extra bag in my purse since while I am pretty good about remembering my bags at the supermarket, I'm lousy at thinking about it at places like CVS or T@rget. Here's hoping this helps!

1 comment:

brandy101 said...

Are you absolutely committed in your heart to WRITE a signature or even a note with your Christmas cards?

It takes me a whopping 25 minutes to do my cards (once I have them.)

I dress my daughter up in something Holiday-ish, take some pics with the digital camera, come home, select my fave one, and upload it to wolf They make a card with a message and signature already printed on it. So all I do is print up address labels of the recipients (I maintain an MS-Word label template with all addresses on it) to stick on the envelopes.

Once the cards are ready (usually within a few hours of uploading) I run down the street to Wolf camera to pick them up, stuff them in the envelopes and stick return address labels, address labels and stamps on them and pop them in my mailbox for pickup.

I have thought about also including a holiday letter, but our list is small and most people already know what we have been up to over the year.