Wednesday, December 17, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 17: Toys for Tots

Before I type anything here, I want to be clear that this is not meant as a brag or look-at-me-I'm-so-charitable. I'm just sharing 25 ways to celebrate the Christmas season, one of which is helping others.

Every year Capital One has a toy drop-off location for Toys for Tots, an organization that works with "local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, to distribute toys to the less fortunate children of the community" (link).

All you have to do is bring a new, unwrapped toy to a drop-off location, and the Marine Corps takes care of the rest. It doesn't get much easier than that, right? Here's a link to find a drop-off location near you. 

I went to Dollar Tree and picked up several gifts to donate and dropped them off this morning!

25 Days of Christmas - Day 16: Muppet Christmas Carol

Don't tell Maureen, but I had never seen Muppet Christmas Carol before this week.  I KNOW.

But, she and any other fan will be pleased to hear it shot right up to the list of favorite Christmas movies! It was so great! It was light-hearted while telling a sad story, the songs were amazing, and Michael Caine is adorable always.

Monday, December 15, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 15: The stockings were hung... the TV with care.

Last year Dave said it wasn't fair that my stocking was bigger than his. So this year I upped the ante. 

Left: mine. Right: his. 

#happybirthdayjesus #consumerism

Sunday, December 14, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 14: Stony Point Christmas tree

Today we went to see Mockingjay (FINALLY) with the Millers. It was, of course, fantastic although I'm sick of people saying it was boring. Read the books, people! It's half the story - the drama usually happens in the second half.

Anyway, after the movie we took some pics by the hugely awesome Christmas Tree at Stony Point. Then we spent an hour in the parking lot doing what BFF's do - making fun of people and laughing our asses off. #tistheseason

I think I'm getting too old for #nomakeup. Sad.

25 Days of Christmas - Day 13: #peppermintpinterestfail

I saw some cute ornaments on Pinterest the other day and wanted to try them because they were advertised as cheap and easy.

They delivered on the cheap promise. All I needed to buy was a bag of peppermint candies. If I was shameless I'd go to a restaurant that offers free mints after dinner and grab a couple handfuls. But I can't do that.

I suppose they were easy enough. I found some festive, holiday cookie cutters in my baking cabinet and put them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I sprayed the crap out of the inside of the cookie cutters with baking spray so the mints wouldn't stick to them. Then I dropped some mints inside each cutter - there will be some open spaces but as the mints melt in the oven they will spread out to fill the entire shape of the cookie cutter.

The blog I referenced said to bake them at 350 for 5-10 minutes, but that seemed like a long time range, so I pulled a chair over to the oven and watched them melt. I wanted them to melt but not disintegrate.

I noticed as they were cooking that the mints were seeping out of the cookie cutter at the bottom. So if anyone makes these, maybe put another cookie sheet on top to make sure the cutters are flat against the parchment paper and hard surface of the sheet?

After 10 minutes I took them out and they looked adorable! But see the seepage? While they're warm I poked a hole at the top with a skewer coated with baking spray.

This one was a total fail - should have put 2 mints standing up in there rather than 1 lying down:

I let them cool for about 20 minutes until they were hard to the touch. Then came the hard part. Taking them out of the cookie cutter. I'm not known for being gentle - and that trait hurt me in this process. I tried to separate the cookie cutter from the mints too fast and they shattered.

I lost 3 of them. RIP peppermint :(

But 1 turned out OK!

W00t! Although you'll notice that the hole at the top closed up. Andplusalso as soon as I tried to add a new hole it cracked in half. RIP 4th peppermint.

So I have no ornaments to show for this 20-ish minutes of my life. Oh well.

Friday, December 12, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 12: Bad Santa

I am crazy about movies. But you already know that. Dave is crazy about them too, but when it comes to Christmas movies his list of must-watch-in-December is much shorter than mine - it consists of 2 movies:

  • Bad Santa
  • Elf

Tonight we tackled Bad Santa. 

25 Days of Christmas - Day 11: Reed's Christmas pageant

My nephew's school held their annual Christmas pageant and it was so adorable to see the kids sing and dance!

One kid even did standup comedy with perfect, dry delivery. So dry that we all looked at each other for a second wondering who gave the kid a mic because it just sounded like he was complaining - here's his best joke:

"Christmas is weird - what's so fun about sitting in front of a dead tree eating candy out of a sock?"

Of course it was mostly chaos up on the stage, but adorable chaos.  My nephew's class sang Run Run Rudolph, with drumsticks to use as antlers and for some drum breaks in the song!
sorry for the creepy faces but, you know, other people's kids.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 10: Great Big Greenhouse

Every year, the Great Big Greenhouse transforms part of the garden center into a Christmas shop with trees, decorations, poinsettias, and general festiveness.
I walked around to see the displays, did some shopping, and almost brought home a poinsettia until I remember they are poisonous to cats (although Zoey's never been interested in eating plants). Also, I kill all things green, so there's no way it would have made it to Christmas anyway.

This year, they also had a huge train display set up by the River City 3 Railers - it was awesome! The pics don't do it justice. So realistic and I kinda want to live inside it.

I came home with 2 garden flags and a Christmas gift for my BFF. I almost bought this cute little pot, but how do you keep the dirt from falling out? Do you line it? Ha. Also, as I said before, I kill plants.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 9: Gifts for the kiddos

Since we don't have any little ones yet, I like to spoil other people's kids at Christmas. They were the first ones I shopped for this year and their gifts are all wrapped up and ready to go!

Merry Christmas Reed, Agnes, Charlotte, and Elliebelly!

Monday, December 8, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 8: Mickey's Christmas Carol

Everyone has a favorite Christmas movie from their childhood - this is mine!

I watch this every year and will continue to do so no matter how old I am or how much or little Christmas spirit I have!