Thirteen Days…

is all we have left until Christmas?  How did that happen???  I didn’t even realize it until Jill Shalvis mentioned it on facebook yesterday, (thanks Jill!).  So, I did some last minute shopping (thanks Amazon.com!). I’m still not ready, though.  Who would think that the hardest one to buy for would be the 4-year-old?  Yup, she’s spoiled!

Kiddo and Me and Christmas

This my installment as part of Marg and Kailana’s Blog Advent tour. I’m pleased to share a few Christmas traditions/memories that Kiddo and I do.

Kiddo is my niece and we’ve always been close, since the day I caught her when she came into this world. I’ve been her second parent. My sister was a single mother, and so I stepped in ~ when DS worked, kiddo and I were together. Always. This is how are Christmas traditions started.

When Kiddo was 2, we started going to the holiday parade. We started early and went to Stella’s Bakery, which was always opened late for parade patrons. We’d have all you can eat spaghetti or ravioli for dinner and then found a prime spot to stand to see the parade. Sometimes the weather was good, sometimes it was nasty, but we always went. The parade lasted for hours and always ended with Santa riding in on a fire truck. I admit, the parade was more fun when kiddo was younger, because she’s tall and as the years went by the people handing out candy would assume she was older than she really was and would always bypass her when they handed out the treats. After the parade, we always went to JB’s for coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for kiddo) and just talked. We stopped going to the parade when she was 13 because she became a participant in it and still is to this day. But we still go to JB’s when the parade is over.

Another tradition of ours is looking at lights. Kiddo dresses in her warmest pj’s and a fuzzy blanket, we stop by a coffee kiosk for coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for kiddo) and we just drive. For hours, we drive around town and look at the Christmas light displays. Some we revisit every year, some are new displays that we stumble on just by taking a different route. I wish I had photos of the lanes we see. We visit Candy Cane Lane, Christmas Wreath Lane, Misfit Lane, Luminara Lane ~ all neighborhood displays which are breathtaking. Then, there are individual houses we have to see every year. The displays never change, but we look forward to seeing them anyway.

One final tradition I’ll share is the Christmas Tree display at Moss Mansion. Moss Mansion is a historical home that kiddo and I like to tour quite often. However, at Christmas time, it’s a magical place. Every room in the mansion is decorated with a different Christmas tree and a different theme to go with it. At the end of the tour we have hot cider or hot chocolate and cookies ~ it’s a tradition I hope to continue at least for a few more years and then perhaps kiddo and I can introduce her little sister to our Christmas traditions that I hope continue for years to come.

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….and a few recipes. Being a Norwegian, a holiday just isn’t a holiday without the following two items. The first is Krumkake, the second is Lefse.

Krumkake is a Scandinavian cookie. It’s a thin, crispy cookie made from an egg-based batter. What I love about them is not only that they are pretty, but when you take a bite into one, they crumble all over. We like to sprinkle powdered sugar on ours, but some families like to fill them with whipped cream, cream cheese, or lingonberry sauce.

Krumkake:

2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
*beat for about 5 minutes (until very thick)
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp cardamon
3/4 C heavy cream

Add flour mixture alternately with cream to the sugar mixture. Heat Krumkake iron to moderately hot. Drop about 1 Tbsp of batter on iron, cook about 30 seconds on each side. Peel cookie from the iron and roll with a wooden spoon. Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Lefse is a traditional soft flatbread made out of potato, cream, and flour; then cooked on a grill. My mom has a picture that I really wished right now I had ~~ when we were young, we went to North Dakota for Christmas. Grandma made the best lefse in the world. My sister and I were helping ourselves to pieces and pieces of it, but Grandpa wanted to take a picture. Instead of placing the lefse down, my sis and I hid it behind our backs. As Grandpa was adjusting his camera, my mom took a picture of us from behind standing up all straight and proper, with the lefse behind our back. It’s one of my favorite pictures.

Lefse:

5 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Stir and mash well. Put through ricer to get rid of lumps. Cool before adding 1 1/2 cups flour. Mix well.

Cut off small amount of dough and roll very thin with lefse rolling pin on your lefse board (use a lefse sock on your rolling pin). Heat lefse grill to 450 to 500 degrees. Use lefse stick for turning and taking off grill.

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……and a few songs. What’s Christmas without a few songs? I’ll post a few of my favorites.

Bing Crosby and David Bowie: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth

Nicholas Jonas: Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)

Bob Rivers: The Chimney Song

Gayla Peavey: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Be sure to visit the other participants in the Advent Tour:

19 December – Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December – Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December – Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December – Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December – Booklogged (A Reader’s Journal)
24 December – Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)

I’m Done!!! and Other Ramblings

Don’t hate me. I’m officially done Christmas shopping. Bought something for Baby J today, one final thing for my mom, and then picked up chew toys, jingle balls, and catnip for my canine/feline nephews and niece. I’m all done!!!! Of course, my house is now a mess of tags and paper while I try to get everything wrapped up.

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I’m making an appointment with a dermatologist. The winter dries my skin awful and my legs are one large red rash. It’s disgusting. Hopefully I can get some cream to take care of it.

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I ordered take out tonight ~ Thai Noodles and Tom Kha Chicken soup. Except, I dropped the soup. All over my kitchen floor. Dammit. The two bites I got of it were good.

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October Road is really disappointing tonight. No Eddie and Janet???? After last week? I’m feeling somewhat cheated and very let down.

Goings On

I’ve requested North and South from our library and should have it by 12/07. I can then join the ranks of everyone else in blogland who has watched it thanks to fangirl Kristie 🙂

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A group of us are going to see Enchanted tonight. I think it would be better to go a different weekend, but I’ve been outvoted. So, I’ll brave the crowds. We’re going to the 8pm show, so hopefully the crowds won’t be too bad.

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Finally, during Thanksgiving somehow the conversation turned to me getting new tires and I had said that I’d gotten some in October because my goal was to get my tires replaced before the snow flew. My sister then informed me that she and her hubby were going to get me tires for Christmas. So, I hinted none to subtly that they could go to ebookwise.com and get me the ebookwise 1500 instead. Wonder if I’ll get it? I hope I do. If not, I guess I’ll be saving my pennies to get one next year.

Checking In

So, I’m on page 179 of Promises Linger now. OMG. The horseback scene! Wow. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Asa and Elly are wonderful! I also love the lady who runs the boarding house/cafe ~ Millicent, maybe? Starts with an M, but can’t remember it off the top of my head. I also like Cougar (I think that’s his name) ~ the son of the doc. Is Promises Keep his story? It felt like SM was building for his story to be next.

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I’m on page 127 of The Raven Prince. Just finished the garden scene. When Anna and the Earl almost kiss. Wow, Elizabeth Hoyt is brilliant. She knows how to build a scene. Can’t wait to find out what happens when Anna gets to London.

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I’m very blessed to have such good things to read right now. Wish I was home doing just that. I hope to have both of these finished over the weekend.

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I’m going to sister’s house tomorrow to watch Shrek 3 with her and the kiddos. Will be a fun family night. Saturday, I have some alone time until 3, and then I’m on baby duty the rest of the day. So, hope to get some reading time in before and after that. Sunday, we’re all going to the Holiday Bazaar. Hope to pick up the rest of my Christmas gifts there….or at least the majority of them. I only have a few things left to get. And then I’ll be done ~~ maybe I can actually enjoy the season this year.

Holidays for the Troops

I initially got this information from Stacy’s blog and then more details from Laurie’s blog:

The third annual Holiays for the Troops project is underway. You can visit Laurie here for more information. Please read below for details about the project, and email Laurie at ljodamron@gmail.com for mailing info. or with any questions you may have.

Donations of either items to be sent to the troops or checks, money orders or gift cards to be used to shop for and ship items to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are being collected. Please visit Lori Foster’s website for a detailed listing of suggested items in the event you would like to do your own shopping for the troops. In addition to the items on this list, holiday items such as lights, decorations, ornaments, cards, etc. are much appreciated. In return for your donation, your name will be entered in a raffle for some exciting prizes. While the prize bundles haven’t been put together yet, they will be generous and will include books and other goodies donated by authors and various others in the romance community.

The deadline for troop donations will be Thanksgiving Day, and the prize drawings will take place on Saturday, November 24.

Please tell your author friends about this project; prize donations are being accepted through the first of November. Please note that there is absolutely nothing political about this project. It is simply a show of support for the men and women who serve our country.