On The 25th Day of Blogmas: And to All, A Goodnight

Blogmas

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & if you don’t celebrate, I hope you at least got a day off ๐Ÿ˜Š It was a quiet day here with some cookie baking, two virtual gift unwrappings, cleaning & spiced wine ๐ŸŽ… Being one of those individuals who experiences a lot of anxiety over expressing enough appreciation, it’s somehow even more stressful over video ๐Ÿ˜‚ Am I smiling enough? Am I overdoing it? Probably…it was fun though, gift giving is my favorite part of Christmas.

This will be the final Blogmas post, taking it all the way to the new year sounds exhausting but I hope you enjoyed the festive content. I certainly had a lot of fun & will be getting back to my regularly scheduled Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts.

Let me know what you were up to today. Did you get everything you wanted? Are you planning any after Christmas shopping? I’m debating a LUSH order but simply cannot endure another Candle Day debacle ๐Ÿ˜‚ However you spent the day, I hope it was wonderful โค

On The 24th Day of Blogmas: Merry Christmas Eve ๐ŸŽ…

Blogmas

Merry Christmas Eve, I hope this blog finds you well & safe at home. The recent weather event always reminds me how lucky I am to have a warm home & roof over my head. The temperatures have plummeted & there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on my couch, watching holiday specials. This time of year tends to make me a little melancholy, when the lights come down, the tinsel is packed away & the tree at the curbside – the world looks a little sad. I leave my decor up through my birthday but the holiday feeling markedly dissipates after Christmas.

Anyway, I have two hours until mass & am watching my favorite holiday specials which of course begins with A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) an all around classic. A jaded Charlie Brown is on a mission to discover the true meaning of Christmas which he feels has been hijacked by consumerism.

Next, A Garfield Christmas Special (1987) with Garfield & Odie headed to the Arbuckle family farm for a good ol’ fashioned Christmas. I love Garfield, the old cartoons especially for the dry humor. This one is very sweet & endearing, another true meaning of Christmas trope but I still enjoy it.

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without watching a bitter Grinch breaking & entering then committing grand larceny ๐Ÿ˜‚ Honestly though, when one stops to really consider the plot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) it is a bit nutty. How were the Whos just so chill when the Grinch admitted to robbing them?!

Occasionally, I will watch the old clay animation specials that we watched as kids but those make me a little sad too. It’s such an odd time of year, while it’s wonderful to reminisce, it always makes me blue. Also, I cannot do another Zoom anything. I was telling my sister that I’m not sad about being alone on Christmas because I’m a homebody but it’s hard for me to see the strain & sadness in other people’s faces. We’re unwrapping a few gifts tomorrow via Zoom but I’m Zoomed out.

I hope that you’re happy, healthy & just doing the best you can. Merry Christmas Eve โ„

On The 23rd Day of Blogmas: A Christmas Eve, Eve Snowstorm โ„

Blogmas

Dear Santa, I specifically requested an idyllic dusting, not a blizzard…

It’s a real barn burner out there; ice, snow, wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, no visibility. Lucky for me, I made it home just as the temperatures dropped & everything was coated in ice. I’m delighted to have a white Christmas but it’s a mess out there. Barring any unforeseen emergencies, I don’t have to be anywhere until Saturday & that is just fine by me. I have books to read, cabinets to organize & skincare to indulge in ๐Ÿ˜Š

First, I’ve ordered a number of airtight plastic bins to put all of my grains, bulk items & kitchen staples in. My kitchen cabinets aren’t terrible but I’ve been wanting to do this for some time & can finally get started.

Next, I have three books that I’d like to read before I go back to work. I’m about half way through Wundersmith, the second Morrigan Crow book & it’s good but I keep falling asleep reading. Nothing against the book, I’m just tired all of the time ๐Ÿ˜‚ I also have The Deep by Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger which was one of my favorite reads last year. It was sci-fi/horror meets the Donner Party. Her newest book is another twist on a historical event, this time the sinking of the Titanic. Lastly, Ghosts of the Tsunami is on my list, this chronicles the tragic aftermath of the 2011 tsunami.

Finally to the skincare indulgence, though I said I would not be purchasing any new skincare I did pick up some new products ๐Ÿ˜‚ In my defense, I had a coupon.

I’m sure there will be too much coffee drinking & junk television as well. If you have travel plans this weekend, be careful โ„

On The 21st Day of Blogmas: Least Favorite Holiday Things

Blogmas

I post something along these lines each year and most of it is hyperbole, I know and love that the holidays mean something different to everyone!

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

I know that it’s not raw eggs but I can’t with the texture of eggnog, the flavor or the smell. Why does it always taste and smell like there is booze in it when there isn’t? It’s milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs, I can’t even. Also, booze doesn’t make it better.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

I think that popcorn garland looks lovely but stringing it is a nightmare. I was terrible at stringing popcorn when I was a kid and repeatedly stabbed myself with the needle, I would never subject myself or others to this activity.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

It’s creepy & everyone knows it, lets all collectively stop doing it.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

I’m probably overthinking this but it’s odd to me that children everywhere are excited about their homes being invaded. I much prefer the kindly, charitable Saint Nicholas as opposed to the modern day, breaking & entering Santa. Who, by the way, doesn’t even eat the cookies that are left for him.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

The milk and cookies thing – what a waste.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

When I was a kid, it literally took my mom like 16 hours to cook a turkey. I have no idea why but it was Christmas Eve tradition that she would be up all night basting this stupid turkey. In my adulthood, I have found out that it does not take that long to cook a turkey – even a big one. I’ll never know why she cooked that thing so long.

Forgiven๎€˜ Script

Have you ever really listened to some of the lyrics to popular Christmas songs? Some are really bizarre, Winter Wonderland comes to mind. First of all, who is Parson Brown? Second, that whole are you married bit and the part time husband thing. Again, probably overthinking it but can someone write some new Christmas songs for the love of Parson Brown?!

Let me know what holiday traditions you could do without & thanks for stopping by๐ŸŽ„

On The 20th Day of Blogmas: Winter Wonderland Tag

Blogmas

Another tag you say? Listen, I’m tired & lazy. Enjoy ๐Ÿ˜‚

Amilya Regular

The snow! I love snow, it makes the world so crisp and clean and quiet. I hate driving in the snow but I’m that person who will head out right after a storm when the roads are mostly clear but not clear enough for the city slickers and enjoy the mostly deserted city. I do get stressed out living in such a densely populated area, I much prefer cruising around small towns or country roads in the snow because there are less SUV driving jackasses. I love snowboarding, snowshoeing, running on snowy trails – I think you get the point.

Amilya Regular

Definitely scarves, I think they work more as an accessory than a hat. A hat means business, I’m probably going to be outside for a prolonged period of time and don’t care what I look like. But a scarf can be dressed up or down while still serving a practical purpose. Also, I have a huge head and most hats squeeze my forehead which is stressful.

Amilya Regular

Just one?! If I had to pick, it would definitely be Home Alone because it’s a classic. It’s one movie from my childhood that I distinctly recall watching with my family and it always puts me in a Christmas mood when I watch it. Hell, if I am feeling down or homesick in the dead of July I will put it on ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the house, the setting, the very plausible 90’s plot line – it’s just so good.

Amilya Regular

Probably red or gold sparkle or both.

Amilya Regular

I hate them all! None of them taste like they have an ounce of coffee, they are all sugar and syrup – yuck. Back in my early 20’s they had a drink that I really enjoyed but I don’t think they make it and I can’t recall what was in it. I like black coffee with a shot of cinnamon and splash of coconut whipped cream as my festive drink. The Starbucks holiday blend is very good too…I usually buy about ten bags so I have it year round.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees lip balm, it’s the only lip product that keeps the sides of my mouth from splitting. My snowflake coffee mug that makes all coffee taste 100 times better and I swear keeps it hotter. My black lounging cardigan that’s actually just a regular cardigan that I wore so often that the elbows wore out and I can’t wear it in public anymore. It’s so thin and worn and soft, I am going to be totally bummed when it just disintegrates ๐Ÿ˜€

Amilya Regular

A robot vacuum!

Amilya Regular

Otis Redding’s White Christmas โ„

Amilya Regular

Nope – never do, never will.

Amilya Regular

Burt’s Bees Original lip balm for day time and the Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask at night. Can we talk about lip fillers though? I have these little lines that look like smoker lines but I’ve never smoked, they are from pursing my lips when I am reading or writing or driving – I don’t know why I do it but you know how your granny would tell you that if you made ugly faces that it would get stuck that way? Wrinkles, she was talking about wrinkles and she was right. So, I’ve been doing some research on lip filler and did you know that a risk of this procedure is that the filler can be injected into a blood vessel and your lip will literally fall off? If you know of any potent lip line products, let me know.

Amilya Regular

Not really, I have a festive turtleneck that doesn’t really look that idiotic. I just can’t purchase something with such a specific purpose that I can only wear once a year and don’t actually need.

Amilya Regular

Most every year and I cannot imagine living somewhere that doesn’t get snow. Also, update, still no snow here.

Amilya Regular

Tree Farm but really, pine scented anything ๐ŸŽ„

Amilya Regular

Same as usual, snowboarding – if South Dakota pulls through with some snow!

I hope you are having a beautiful day and if you do this tag, be sure to let me know โ„

On The 19th Day of Blogmas: A Vintage Recipe

Blogmas

A little background here, my parents were a lot older than most other kids’ parents in my age group. Growing up, we ate a lot of stuff that was seemingly from the Great Depression era, I don’t know why. Ham salad, aspic, chicken a la king, clam dip and the topic of today’s post, ambrosia salad or marshmallow salad since the kids wouldn’t eat whatever the hell ambrosia was. I have not eaten this in years and probably won’t be any time soon but here’s everything you’ll need to make this unique holiday treat.

Amilya Regular
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 cups grapes, halved, green work best
  • 1 small jar of maraschino cherries, drained
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 8 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 chopped fresh bananas
  • 1 standard size bag of mini marshmallows
  • Chopped walnuts for topping, optional

I’m sure that using pre-whipped cream is also fine but my mom always used heavy whipping cream. She would beat the entire pint but only folded in enough to evenly coat all of the ingredients. The leftover would be set aside for pie topping, the heavy cream is probably the hardest part. All of the other ingredients can just be put into a big mixing bowl and folded together as you add the whipped cream. The acid in the pineapple doesn’t play well with the marshmallows so this salad requires eating almost immediately – it’s not a dessert, just slap it on the plate with everything else. In fact, by the time you get to dessert, the leftover fruits and nuts will just be floating in a pool of melted marshmallows and wilted whipping cream. I really liked walnuts as a kid but none of my siblings did so my mom only added a little bit to the salad and then had some additional for topping, I would just throw all of the walnuts right into the salad if you like them. It wasn’t Christmas without marshmallow salad and I think some of the kids even still make it for posterity’s sake but I can’t say that anyone really likes it. It’s a difficult flavor to describe and the texture is bizarre, definitely worth trying at least once in your lifetime though ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me know what recipes you remember from your childhood. Do you still make them ๐ŸŽ…

On The 18th Day of Blogmas: Office Christmas Dรฉcor โ„

Blogmas

That’s it’s it, that’s the post ๐Ÿ˜› Those little gelatinous window decals are the extent of the holiday dรฉcor in almost the entire building. Another admin at the opposite of the building has a lone Santa on her window. Usually, we all decorate our windows with lights & garlands but with so few people being in the building, it felt kind of pointless this year. I spotted these little decals for a $1 at the grocery store & figured they were better than nothing. The pack actually came with two snowmen but I wasn’t being careful & decapitated the other one when I was peeling it off the backing. That pretty much sums up how I feel about it ๐Ÿ˜› But couldn’t let the holiday pass without doing something.

It does make me little sad to not see any lights twinkling throughout the hallway or a grand tree in the lobby. I think it’s actually about a 10 year old tree that was donated by a former employee but it does look lovely when it’s all decked out. Ah well, next year’s display will just have to be twice as good!

People keep commenting on how clean my desk is, I’m only here three days a week & I wipe it down every time. But also I am very particular about my work area, it’s easier to focus. Did you decorate your workspace? I think retailers knew we all had plexi-glass to work with so they churned out all of these jelly stickers. Obviously, I had about another 10-feet to work with but I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I will get a few more snowflakes for January, or I will just get back from vacation and rip them all down. Bring on Valentine’s Day! Could we possible be out of quarantine for the single worst day of the year? Wouldn’t that just make complete sense, finally, restaurants are fully open for you & your non-existent partner to enjoy a romantic dinner. I jest, I love Valentine’s day & am actually looking forward to it.

Do you decorate at work? I promise, we usually do a better job than this โ„

On The 17th Day of Blogmas: 5 Favorite Christmas Things

Blogmas

Quite literally every state around Minnesota has received a significant amount of snow, it’s as though we are living in a weather phenomena that is opposite of the lake effect. This is not what I signed up for when I moved here, in fact I thought that it would be winter all of the time. Nobody ever talks about the miserably hot, humid summers. It is quite cold & overcast but not even a flake in the next 10 days – no snow for Christmas. I’m bitter, I might even take the Christmas dรฉcor down ๐Ÿ˜› I have all next week off, I was supposed to go snowboarding but I think at this point it would be a trip to South Dakota to make it happen. I was going to post the 5 things about Christmas that I loathe but am posting 5 things that love to feel a little more festive instead ๐Ÿ™‚

Baby Chipmunk

Shout out to all of the homeowners in my neck of the woods who really showed out this year with the outdoor dรฉcor! I about drove off the road looking at a stunning tree display on my way home last night. Almost nobody decorated for Halloween & I was expecting Christmas to be the same but I have just been delighted by all of the light displays. Oh, except one, there is this old farm house on my way to work & they just have this 6-foot plastic snowman at the end of their driveway. It must be vintage because it’s face is crazy, appreciate the effort though ๐Ÿ˜€

Baby Chipmunk

One could probably enjoy a glass of mulled wine at any time of they year but I’m not sure that it would be quite the same. I love the smell of mulled wine, it smells like Christmas. Honestly, I only drink wine at the holidays so just wine in general is a holiday favorite in my book.

Baby Chipmunk

I started a tradition a few years back of going to a play or concert on Christmas Eve in downtown St. Paul. There is just something magical about St. Paul at Christmas time. The old homes & buildings all decorated up. Sadly, not only will I not be seeing a show this year, I probably won’t venture into downtown for a number of reasons in addition to the pandemic.

Baby Chipmunk

Old movies, new ones, old holiday specials – I love having the television on while I am cooking or cleaning. I didn’t realize how much I would miss this when I got rid of my television a few years ago. However, my tablet does just fine & it’s portable.

Baby Chipmunk

I don’t go to mass very often anymore but I love midnight mass. There is something beautifully calm about walking into an old Catholic church in the middle of the night. The Cathedral of St. Paul is stunning & I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few services there but there are plenty of smaller churches in the Twin Cities as well that hold beautiful Christmas Day services. I suppose I could attend my pick of services this year assuming they are all online.

What are your favorite things about Christmas? Anyone on the east coast here?! I hope you are surviving the storm โค

On The 15th Day of Blogmas: S is for Santa…?

Blogmas

Can you believe that Christmas is only ten days away?! It never ceases to amaze me how the first half of the year feels like an eternity & the latter half like two weeks. Not even just this year either with all of the COVID stuff going on, the holidays just fly by. Kids around the world are eagerly awaiting a visit from Santa, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Papa Noel, Babbo Natale or whatever holiday entity they believe in. But what about the kids who don’t celebrate Santa – we get to hang out in the gymnasium with the Jehova’s Witness kids ๐Ÿ˜›

It’s true, my siblings & I didn’t grow up believing in Santa. I think I was in first or second grade when I heard talk of this mysterious character & asked my mom about him to which her response was; It’s how non-believers celebrate Christmas. She also made it abundantly clear that I should not tell the other kids that Santa wasn’t real. This didn’t answer all of my questions but I did come to the conclusion that all of my friends were going straight to hell which was a bummer. After this discussion my mother penned a note to my teacher stating that I could not participate in any Santa related activities because we didn’t do the whole Santa thing. In fact, I could not participate in any Christmas activities that weren’t religious. My school was fairly diverse but even with numerous other ethnicities & races, most everyone celebrated Christmas. Except the Jehova’s Witness kids & a handful of Native American kids.

Back in the 90’s especially in rural communities, there probably weren’t a lot of discussions around diversity happening. There weren’t separate activities organized for the non-Christmas kids because like I said, most everyone celebrated your traditional Christmas & there wasn’t a need to recognize anything else. As kids, I don’t recall this being a big deal – I mean, we thought that the Jehova’s kids were a little unique but we all got along. Instead of practicing for the holiday pageant, we played kickball & made reading forts under the library tables. We didn’t feel left out because we had our little anti-Christmas gang ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t remember Christmas being any less magical without Santa, didn’t everyone find out that he didn’t exist anyway?

This experience definitely shaped how I handled Christmas in my classroom, it still amazes me that many teachers forget that a Santa-centric Christmas or any Christmas isn’t celebrated by all students. In all honesty, given the religious overtones of the the holiday, I think that it should be phased out along with Halloween but nobody consulted me. My mom had very black & white beliefs, you were Catholic or you were wrong ๐Ÿ˜› But, she also raised me to respect other people’s beliefs because they were just as important as our beliefs were to us. I guess my point is that the holidays can be a wonderful time for everyone no matter what you celebrate!

Were you a Santa kid? Or, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas? I’m curious to know, thanks for stopping by!

On The 14th Day of Blogmas: How to Not Suck at Secret Santa ๐ŸŽ…

Blogmas

I am not the biggest fan of Secret Santa, giving gifts is the best part of Christmas for me however, I find the Secret Santa gift exchange quite stressful. This year, I am being a total Grinch & sitting the office gift exchange out – also, I won’t be here for it anyway so I don’t think that anyone will notice. It’s tricky to do Secret Santa with people that you don’t know really well, it takes some reconnaissance. I always want to give something I know they will be sure to like but also not make it seem like I know too much about them. I once received a very nice tea steeping mug because my Secret Santa saw me making tea, it’s personal enough but not in a creepy way. Is this making sense? Does anyone else worry about this? Anyway, if you are not a fan of Secret Santa but also don’t want to suck at it, here are some of my tried & true tips.

Dreameyes Regular

Some people say that gift cards are lazy, I say that gift cards are one size fits all & the perfect gift if you do it right. First, make sure that the gift card is from a merchant that you know they will like or use. Target gift cards, gas cards, coffee shop gift cards are ones that I enjoy giving/receiving. Listen, my boss gave me a gas card a couple of years ago & it was amazing not having to spend money on gas for a few months. I like to pair the gift card with something else like a hand cream, candle or mug just to let them know that some thought did go into the gift. If the limit is $10 or so, then a gift card will do the trick, in my opinion.

Dreameyes Regular

Stick to the agreed upon spend limit but don’t go for the cheapest thing you can find. If you forget, someone will notice if you gift something you found on your desk. If you don’t have a lot to spend, DIY something thoughtful or get creative with gift wrapping. Don’t overspend either, it makes everyone uncomfortable. Nobody wants to be the Michael Scott of the office.

Dreameyes Regular

Humor, yes. Gag gifts, no. I have given Poo-Pourri at least twice at different gift exchanges, it’s a hit. Everyone can use it & it’s a bit funny. Toilet paper, isn’t funny – not even in 2020. This is a totally unrelated PSA but if anyone gives me a mask this year…I swear to God. A funny calendar or cheeky set of sticky notes – all useful but funny. Whoopee cushions, not funny & not useful.

Dreameyes Regular

Everyone may not agree with this one but I once received some cat toys & I thought it was awesome. It showed that they knew something about me & we still have the toys. Or, use treats/toys as a supplementary gift to add a little something extra.

I am of two minds about giving food, if you struggle with disordered eating like yours truly – food can be tricky. If it’s something that can be shared, then I will bust it out for everyone to enjoy. Baked goods tend to be crowd pleasers for most people & do require quite a bit of time & effort to put together. To me, it’s definitely the thought that counts just don’t get too intimate & you’ll be fine. Also, if we never found out the identity of our Santa, that would be just fine with me – I never know if I am acting grateful enough or overdoing it.

Honestly, just give it your best shot & I think it most cases that will be perfect. Are you into the Secret Santa thing, let me know what your tips are for making it a success โ„