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Dec 30, 2010

OH GEORGE!!!

HAPPY NEW YEARS


This is a re-post from last year but hey, it all still applies. What are your traditions?

The stroke of midnight comes earliest to Tonga in the South Pacific but Auckland, New Zealand which is just west of the International Date Line is the first major city to welcome in the New Year.
This means Lou @ The Quiet Life will probably have the first hangover of 2010.
In Brazil they refer to the New Year (ano novo) by the French word Reveillon. This marks the beginning of summer holidays for them. One custom is to dress in white to bring good luck.
Here in Canada we throw big parties with lots of music, food, beverages and fireworks. In Quebec it is common to go ice fishing through the night. At the home of one of my sisters, where it is much colder than where I live, they have cleared the snow from the lake and they have a big ice rink at the ready for their party-goers and guests. The popular New Years Day Polar Bear Swims are growing every year with a dash into the frigid oceans and lakes. Me? Not on your life.
In Denmark it is called nytarsaften. It is often celebrated with a 3 course meal culminating with a Marzipan ring cake. The clock on Copenhagen City Hall chimes in the New Year and the fireworks and champagne add to the party. The national television station will broadcast Dinner for One.
Ecuador created elaborate effigies which they burn at midnight. These represent people and events that have been a problem to you in the past year. They make them out of straw, newspaper and old clothes. They make paper mache masks for them and stuff them with firecrackers. They also eat 12 grapes each before midnight and they make a wish with each grape. They wear yellow underwear to attract positive energy for the coming year and they walk around the block with a suitcase to bring them the journey of their dreams. These would seem to be very superstitious people.
Mexico  and Venezuela follow some of these same traditions as Ecuador such as the grapes and the luggage and the underwear.
la Saint Sylvestre is celebrated in France with a feast that customarily includes Foie gras and champagne. On le Jour de l'An (New Years Day) they exchange gifts and resolutions and eat heart shaped desserts. This holiday period ends on January 6th. on Epiphany.
Germany calls it Silvester and the celebration in Berlin is attended by over a million people. They have a lot of fireworks and also broadcast Dinner for One. A catchphrase from the show "same procedure as every year" is often repeated.
Goa, India has a party culture and is the filled with tourists from all over the world to celebrate New Years Eve. The Bollywood stars entertain with concerts and large crowds gather along the coastline celebrating more with friends than with family.
Capodanno or Notte di San Silvestro is when people from Italy put on red underwear. Now we can check with Lola @ Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino and see if she has her red undies on. Lentils and a spiced Italian sausage are often served at dinner and the President of the Republic gives a televised greeting.
Toshigami is a New Year's god celebrated in Japan. Tradition has people cleaning their homes in anticipation of his welcome. Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight. Each bell represents 108 elements of defilements. The bells are rung to repent.
Turkey finds its homes lit up with glittering lights. They exchange small gifts and have large dinners with family and friends. Many of the municipalities around the country organize fund-raising events for the poor.
To wind up the evening celebrations you will end up in Samoa, also a nation in the South Pacific. They wait 24 hours after the party that started it all off in Tonga even though they are less than 600 miles away because they are on the other side of the International Date Line.
Well whatever you do to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in 2011 I wish you all the very best for the New Year.
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WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR

Dec 27, 2010

BOXING DAY FUN

In Canada we have  what is called Boxing Day on December 26th. Traditionally this day is when many stand in freezing lineups outside of stores waiting for the crazy sales markdowns. The electronics stores only let so many in at a time. People swarm the counters of all the stores trying to grab something at half price or less. 
I wouldn't be caught dead in the stores on Boxing Day. 

I prefer something a little more relaxed. Something like having 28 people over for a little food and fun. We have a traditional Boxing Day open house where the food flows all day and evening and everyone is welcome. 


Now previous to this year I would have a lot of time to organize everything as I was at home. Not this year. Working full time really changes the way you do things. 
I have to admit there wasn't a home made cookie in the house. Not a single one. But don't feel too bad for us because there was plenty on the tables. 

The house was full of friends and family. They brought such lovely wines and elegant chocolates. Candles, cookies and dark rich coffee too. Oh yes and a lovely bottle of brandy to get me through a certain set of circumstances coming up soon. Lol. I will tell you all about that at a later date. 

We ate and we ate:
a big spiral cut ham
chicken wings (2 types)
appetizer meat balls in a yummy sauce (Note to self - big hit and one of the only homemade items. Double the amount next year)
cheese platter with goat cheeses, brie, havarti, edam, cheddar, marinated bocconcini. 
jalepeno artichoke dip 
black olive tapenade
green olive and almond tapenade
hummous dip
deviled eggs
pate
assortment of Italian salamis
brownies
fruit cake
chocolate filled wafer cookies
caramel filled rice krispy squares (oh ya you can't imagine how good these are - thanks Maryanne) 
So much food that I forgot to put out the sausage rolls and the guacamole. I don't think anyone noticed. Do you ever do that? Forget something in the fridge or cupboard because there is twice as much food as you need out there already. 
People came and went throughout the day and we just had a lovely time catching up. Lots of designated drivers. Lots of leftovers too. Lucky me. Boxing Day is a statutory holiday in Canada so because it fell on the weekend this year we also have today off work. Score. I won't have to cook for a week and that is good because I have a few dishes to do still.
Wish you all could have been here.  

Dec 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS GREETING

Merry Christmas to all of you. 
Do you know how special you all are to me? 
Very special!  
Yup, I mean you! 
S P E C I A L
 

Dec 16, 2010

A CHRISTMAS QUIZ ABOUT ME


 THIS IS A REPEAT POST FROM LAST YEAR: 

I got this from MBKAT @ Emptynester LAST YEAR who got it from Sue @ Our really empty nest. I don't know where she got it but I think she made it up herself. If you decide to do this on your blog PLEASE let Sue know you are doing it so she can see the responses to her meme.

(1) What is your favorite Christmas movie?

The original Scrooge of course and secondly One Magic Christmas which doesn't count in the next question because it is such a good one.

(2) What is your LEAST favorite Christmas movie?

Any of those low budget sappy ones that they have churned out over the last 20 years. They always end with the girl realizing how much she loves the guy or how the workaholic needs their family.

(3) What is your favorite Christmas Song?

What Child is This.


(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy?

I agree with MBKAT - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus or All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink?

Champagne

 
(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory?

None from my childhood but I love every memory when my kids were little.

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas?

Though it wasn't really a Christmas gift it was given to me Christmas Eve. It was an opal necklace and you can read about it here. Oh wait I remember one year I got a full size (kid size) beauty parlor set. Fake dryer etc. Pretty cool.

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas?


I can't think of anything awful. Just clothes that don't fit I guess.

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays?

I love that everyone (almost)  tries to make the time of year special. I love the visitors and guests, the food and celebrations.

(10) What annoys you about the holidays?

That some people are told not to say Merry Christmas or that they can't have a Christmas tree or manger. I am not a religious person at all but let's face it...it is Christmas. If you don't want to celebrate it don't.

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else?

We have an angel but a star would also be fine with me. I suggested to another blogger today that she might put a bird's nest with an elegant feathered bird on top of hers. I think next year I might do that.

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas?

A big bowl of trifle made from the recipe I learned from an ex-boyfriend's Scottish mother over 35 years ago. My brother in law always told me I wasn't allowed through the door when we would go to their home for Christmas, unless I had that bowl of trifle with me. I never vary it. I am big on tradition.

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime?

Always a Who

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them?

I love the Christmas lights, sorry world. I hate the new LED lights, especially the plain white. They look like an old fluorescent light tube. The soft white LED is only slightly better. Yuck. Old school white twinkle lights please. 

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no?


Almost always. I missed one year and everyone was soooo worried about me.

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion?

I think it is the spirit of giving. It should happen all year but I guess once a year is better than none. Also I love traditions and know that they are extremely important for kids. It helps them to feel grounded in this crazy world.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas?

Packing it all away...see next question.

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down?

I put it up as early as possible in December or even late November. I am in Canada so our Thanksgiving is in early October. I take it down sometime in the first week of January but not too soon.

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your truelove to give to you?

Five Gold Rings....duh. All the others either poop or create laundry.

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer?

Because she drank too much eggnog. (actually I am editing this answer...it was because of Antoine...see next question)

(22) Who is your favorite reindeer?

Antoine. No one ever hears about him but he was there for years. Oh yes he was. Had a little problem with drugs and had to leave. He was a great reindeer while he lasted though.

(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus?

People who don't believe get underwear for Christmas. And not the nice underwear.

(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime?

Evergreen cuttings.

(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year?

To have my brother back in the family. No one knows where he is. His choice. 

Dec 14, 2010

PLANNING YOUR VACATION

You had better call your travel agent now to get in on this trip of a lifetime. 
Coming up next year you will be able to go on a tour of an area that was closed off for some time. Yup, next year you can go to visit the Chernobyl site in the Ukraine where in 1986 a nuclear reactor blew up and and spewed radiation all over the land. 
There will be group tours and they don't recommend that you stray from the group....uh, ya think? 
Is is just me or would you rather be worried about applying sun screen instead of a lead suit? 

Dec 10, 2010

I HAVE BEEN ANCESTOR APPROVED

I am very pleased to get this award from Donna Jane at Hanging From the Family Tree. 
I have this award on my genealogy blog so I cheated and copied my post from there (HAVE YOU EVER SEEN MY OTHER BLOG? NO? CLICK HERE)
Now I need to tell you about things about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me. Oh my what to choose? Here we go.
  1. I was surprised to find out that my 11th Great Grandparents were the first official family to settle in New France. (Quebec) Louis Hebert and Marie Rollet both have statues erected in their honour in Quebec. 
  2. I was really surprised when one of my sisters was sent a photo randomly from her sister in law of a trip she was on back in the 60's. There is my sister on her way to Nova Scotia and she is sitting on the edge of Louis Hebert's statue. This was 40 years before I did our family history and we had no idea we were related to him. 
  3. I am humbled by the sacrifice of all my ancestors but most of all by my Metis ancestors who fought so bravely to try and save their land and their homes during the Louis Riel Rebellion.
  4. I was humbled by my Grandmother who had given birth a minimum of 12 times. How did you survive something like that? How do you care for  them all? Feed them? Oh and the many that didn't survive. How do you bury so many like some of my ancestors had to do. 
  5. I have been enlightened by all my ancestors. I had no interest in history before I started researching but now find many things to interest me about the past. A storm or drought from the past now has real meaning to me. 
I will have to end at 5 due to time constraints or I will never get this posted.
I keep my awards in a post that you can access on my sidebar on the left hand side. 

Dec 8, 2010

I COULD JUST PINCH HIM

So every year it is the same thing. What to get for the BB Guy for Christmas. Every year I come up with a great idea, knowing what he may need or want. 
Shortly before Christmas he comes home with something that caught his eye while out shopping.........something that was on my list to get for him. Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh. Don't shop for yourself at Christmas time people.
This year I knew what to get him because he always wants to take my IPod full of great music to the cabin with him. I was going to give him an IPod loaded with tunes. 
So away he goes, out of town on business, when his stinkin' cell phone packs it in and he happily walks out of the phone store with a new IPhone, which of course will hold all those great tunes I was talking about.  
I guess he is getting underwear for Christmas. And not the nice kind!!!

Dec 7, 2010

I PAINTED THIS ONE TOO

Thank you for all of your kind words about that last painted Santa. Here I go again with another of my favorites. I look back and see all the areas that are not done correctly but I don't care because I think he is beautiful too. (just don't look at his feet....no....stop looking at his tiny little feet)

Dec 4, 2010

A SANTA I PAINTED

Click on photo to enlarge. 
I started tole painting when I turned 40. I am self taught and just follow the instructions given for each piece. I could never draw something like this but for some reason I can follow the instructions and paint it. This is one of my favorites. It is on a wooden oval about 13 inches tall.

Dec 1, 2010

I GOT, GOT, GOT NO TIME

One of my Santa postcards early 1900's

I love Christmas as you can probably tell by all the Santas I collect. I keep things very traditional and my family knows what to expect. There is no swapping out a turkey for a ham or making bread pudding instead of trifle. Tradition. There are no black Christmas trees or purple lights. Tradition. 


This past year I have gone back to work full time after being at home for over 20 years. Now I did work some of that time but it was for myself and on my terms and schedule.

Now I find myself working 40 hours per week and wondering how I will ever find the time to get things done for Christmas. Don't worry, I won't stress myself out as I am pretty laid back about life but I really don't want to give up on our traditions. 

The decorating of the house is a major undertaking as you all know. The shopping can also be daunting but I refuse to go anywhere near a mall on the weekends. I will have to manage with evening shopping. 

The biggest challenge is to prepare all the appetizers for what we in Canada call Boxing Day. It is on December 26th. and it is usually an open house get together that lasts all afternoon and evening. We host one every year and friends and family look forward to it. 

This year I will be tackling the food from a different angle. Last year I had cooked a corned beef brisket and made individual appetizer corned beef sandwiches on a panini grill throughout the day. This year will be a spiral ham and lots of lovely mustards, cheeses and buns. Help yourself. 

Last year there were many homemade phyllo appetizers but this year some will be store bought. Home made spicy chicken wings? Hello Costco. 

There will be lots more but it will all be easy peasy and less intricate and labour intensive. I know there is a lot to choose from. 

So I will be continuing with the traditions here but they will be tweaked a little to keep my sanity. I will enjoy the season and that means our guests will feel welcome and relaxed too. 

And that is what it is all about.  (Now if I could just find the time to make my list)
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