Monthly Archives: December 2011

Marathon Christmas Eve

Even before this day starts I know it’s going to be hectic.  I’ll be up early to get ready for the long day ahead.

First stop will be Weight Watchers.  I’ve been working hard all week and I’m hoping for a positive result.  I’ll be glad to see all of my friends there and share our hopes for the Holiday. 

And then the marathon will start.  For the past few years, Christmas Eve really has become a marathon of sorts…the eating sort!

Right after WW, Gail, Alice, Ralph and I will be off to breakfast.  That’s been a tradition for quite a few years.  Our trouble this year will be the diner where we usually go.  Another nearby diner is closed for renovations.  Last Saturday, on a regular day, it was almost impossible to get a parking place and a table.  I can only imagine what it will be like on Christmas Eve.  We may have to discuss an alternative.

At about 3pm, we’ll be meeting Ralph’s son, Bill and his sons Alex and Patrick for a late lunch.  This has also become a tradition and it’s one that we enjoy very much.  Now that I think about it, Christmas Eve has become a diner tour because we’ll be at another diner for lunch!  I’ll be doing my best to be on track with the choices I make at both meals.

Then at about 7pm, we travel the long distance (around the corner…just kidding!) to my sister Ele’s house.  That’s were all of the presents and food will really happen.  I should have all of the wrapping done by then.  I’m looking forward to it and I think I may even have a little wine since Ralph and I don’t have to worry about driving very far.  An assortment of family and friends assemble there and it is usually great fun.

Finally, I want to share with all of you what I’ve been taunting you all with the last week or so.  Without further fanfare, here is our 2011 Christmas Card.

I posted this larger than I usually post photos so that you could see the detail.  Ralph really is amazing with his artwork.  He always says I’m prejudiced, but I really don’t think so.  I think this is pretty fantastic.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas Eve and I’ll catch up with all of you on Christmas morning to let you know how I did surviving the marathon.

Happy Christmas Eve!!


Christmas Eve~~Eve…

Well, that’s what it is today, isn’t it?!?  I’m feeling so much better regarding Christmas and getting everything ready and finished on time.  I think we can pull this whole Christmas thing off! 🙂

I am a bit frustrated with the fact that I can’t do my post today exactly as I’d planned.  The old scanner/printer issue is stumping even Alice who is the Queen of All Computers.  So I had to photograph the photographs I wanted to use today.  Work with me, Cookies, it will all turn out.

First, I must say that food was an afterthought on Thursday and I even forgot to photograph my dinner salad, but I did get very arts-y and crafts-y to show off my lunch…

Sunflower butter on rice cakes…I like the cool Twilight Zone effect that I got from the gift bag that I used as background!  My palms are starting to sweat.  The Trader Joe’s sunflower butter jar is “almost” empty.  That will be great for overnight oats next week, but that means I’m OUT of sunflower butter!!  I’m going to have to see if I can convince Gail and Alice to take a pilgrimage with me to TJ’s next week.  I’ll feel better then.

I wanted to share some old family photos with you.  Scanned would have been better, but…Here Goes…

This is sister, Ele and Me on our first Christmas card…really…the first.  Signed in my Mom’s handwriting it says “The Benson’s “50” ” which means I was about 2 1/2 months old and Ele about 2 1/2 years.

Here’s a bit of a closeup.  This was actually taken in the living room of the house where I live now.  This is where we lived when I was born.  Love the Wallpaper!  You should have seen some of the wallpaper in my grandparents house…Grandmom loved to do the wallpapering herself.  Kind of cool.

This is Me on the left with the slightly goofy look and Ele on the right looking as if she was posed…thinking deeply about what she wants to ask Santa to bring her.  I love this one because of that look.  It’s not dated, but I’d say I was about 3 years and she was about 5 years.  It may have been taken at Macy’s in NYC.  Our parents took us to New York a number of times to see all of the automated window displays.  It is a wonderful memory that Ele and I share.

The final photo is a little more recent, although I can’t exactly tell you when, I’d guess somewhere mid to late 1990’s…

Me with Santa Ralph!!  For a number of years, Ralph’s family would have a big Christmas party.  It was usually at a hotel or catering hall.  Santa was usually there and Ralph’s sister Kathy always dressed as Mrs. Santa.  On this particular year, the usual Santa was unavailable and Ralph got talked into being Santa.  Of course, I couldn’t resist getting my picture taken on “Santa’s” lap! 😉  Wonder what ever happened to that dress?  I really liked it. Do you Love the eyeglasses that are Bigger Than My Head?!?!  I like to think I’ve improved with age!

That will be it for today.  Ralph is fortunately on-track with getting all of his artwork finished.  He finishes, I wrap…it works well that way.  I have a few things to get together other than the art wrapping and I’m Finished!!  Never thought I’d be able to say that!.

Saturday will be Weight Watchers first thing in the morning…then it will be a food free for all the rest of the day.  Boy, do I have my work cut out for me to “try” to stay on track!!

Happy Friday!  Happy Christmas Eve~~EVE!!

Vegging Out With Spirit

As the days get a little closer to Christmas, I am getting the spirit.  What I Ate Wednesday was great, thanks to everyone for your comments! I always get confused though with what I’ve shown you in the area of food.  I think I have this straight.

Tuesday night I was very hungry and didn’t feel like waiting for any kind of grain, even bulgur to cook.  I took the Veggie way out.  All veggies, all the time.

Started with garlic in olive oil, zucchini, yellow squash, garbanzo beans, edamame, veggie broth and spinach.  All sautéed up in the skillet.  Looked like this when it was done…

Topped with shredded cheese and sriracha sauce, it was delicious and filling.  I don’t always need to add a grain I guess, just up the veggie factor.  I can certainly save on Points that way, especially with the new Weight Watchers program lowering my daily Points.  Enough veggies and I’m satisfied anyway!

On Wednesday, Ralph and I had to run some errands and he decided we needed to eat as well.  I felt like breakfast and in deference to thrift, I suggested Dunkin’ Donuts.

I had their veggie egg white omelette flat bread and regular coffee.  The sandwich only counts for 7 points which was great.  Since it was basically breakfast and lunch, I thought it was a good use of my Points AND it was good! We both had a breakfast sandwich and medium coffee for under $10…Ok by me!

I had to stop at my sister, Ele’s later in the afternoon.  I went home with these…

Unwrapped because they were hot from the oven.  They smell wonderful and are made with Andes candies instead of chocolate chips.  I am Hugely proud of myself because I did not eat any even when I transferred them to a zip lock bag.  These were for Ralph.  I told her to save me some and I’ll eat them on Saturday after weigh in.  She said she’d save me some!

While out on my errands, I had gotten Ralph a hoagie so he was set for dinner.  I went with a salad…What A Surprise!! 😉

Romaine,  bell pepper, the biggest Roma tomato I’ve ever seen (!), canned black beans, shredded jack cheese and homemade dressing.  Made the same as before with garlic powder for some added zip. 

It was very good and filling too.

I did get a lot of my wrapping done throughout the day.  Only actual wrapping left is Ralph’s artwork, but I have to do that as he finishes it!

I hope to share our Christmas card with you all tomorrow.  Still a few people who haven’t gotten theirs and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. 

I’m feeling pretty Christmas Cheery today…How about you?!?

Happy Thursday!!  Three days to Christmas…Three Days to Christmas…

We Need A Little Spirit…WIAW!!

How do you not feel in the spirit on the most fun day of the week…What I Ate Wednesday!  Of course, by now you should all know that this fun is all under the direction of the ever lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons!  You know that with Christmas coming up on the weekend, this week’s offerings are going to be unique.  Either fabulous party food or on the run ideas.  Either way…take a look, tell everyone how wonderful things are or how clever they are for thinking of that on the run.  We love your comments, so quick…get over there and spread some around!

Peas and Crayons

I’ve been bemoaning my lack of Christmas spirit.  It has come and gone and come back again.  Brought back by a strange thing, but first…The Eats!

I’m one of the on the run people.  I am dazed and confused and have had No fun foodie events to attend yet.  Mine will all come over the weekend and during the week next week.  You better know you’ll need to check out my food goodies Next Wednesday!

Oatmeal with cinnamon and home frozen blueberries.  My Favorite!  Added some almond milk and it was scrumptious!  So good that I had a repeat performance of it this morning!

Definitely on the run…

My favorite quick “I’m starving and I don’t have time or energy or a Clue” lunch/snack.  Gala apple with almond butter (fill in the nut butter.)  So yummy!  I’m so glad that the Gala apples I got at the produce market were good.  Sometimes the apples there are not the best, but these were Great!

Fixin’s for a wonderful salad in my Big Purple Bowl of course!  Romaine, tomato, bell pepper, garbanzo beans, bulgur (last of 😦  ) and shredded jack cheese combo.

I’ve decided I’m going to try to stay away from bottled dressings and make my own.  No mystery ingredients and it’s probably less expensive too.  I combined 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp of cranberry honey.  I added a little ground black pepper and Wow was that delicious.  It made just enough for this big salad without leaving a lot of left over in the bottom of the bowl.  I’m going to continue making my own.  Some variations will be fun to figure out.

Now on to what brought back my Christmas spirit.  Sounds crazy, but shopping!  I hate crowds especially this time of year.  I had 2 stops to make…first Kohl’s where I was excited to find something that I wanted for a particular person that I had given up on finding (although Kohl’s is where I found it before.)  That made me very happy. 

Then I went to my Happy Place…

Yes…Barnes & Noble!  I had to go there for gift cards.  I decided that I was going to enjoy the visit.  I got myself a sugar-free, fat-free latte which was made wrong but I enjoyed it never the less.  Just strolling around the store made me feel better.  I did some Nook Looking.  I’ve been saving and may decide to get one.  The young lady there explained a lot of things to me which really helped.  I’m still thinking about it.

I don’t know why, but it has turned my mood around.  I think I can do this.  I sound like Bill Murray at the end of “Scrooged.”  That is a wonderful Christmas movie…if you’ve never seen it…Get It!!  One last fun thing to share with you.

My friend Stephanie from Love Life Project is a big Zombiefile.  This is for you Steph!!

Zombies 2012!!  I love it.  I really need to start thinking about getting into Zombies…it seems everyone else is!  Maybe it will be my new thing for 2012!

Anyway…remember to visit all of the festivities over at Peas & Crayons…You know you want to!

Happy WIAW!!!  Catch the Spirit!!

My Eyes Are Spinning In My Head

No, really…that’s what it feels like.  I think I just need to Focus (Where have you all heard that before?!?!) and I’ll get this accomplished.

Up early on Monday and doing a few things around the house. Posted on BCDC and poked around reading a few blogs, realizing I have gotten hopelessly behind on that front with reading my favorites.  I will get back to you, I promise!!

I got the majority of Christmas cards in the mail…isn’t it about time.  I just got a couple more addresses that were missing, but they’re for local people so they should get there in time. 

Went out with sister, Ele to pick up a few gifts, mostly gift cards.  I have No ideas for Anyone this year.   So we’re going to Plan B…the Gift Card…the Gift that shops for itself!  Not totally, but close to it.  I’m feeling a bit frustrated today.

I can’t even share any photos…Alice borrowed by memory card to make copies of the photos of the Maine trip for Gail to take to school with her tomorrow.  Unless I can think of something I have in the computer…no photos for you!

Gail is pretty excited.  She has to work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday…then she’s officially retired!!  She’s worked long and hard.  She is a Special Ed teacher and she is terrific.  I’m so proud of her for all that she’s accomplished.  So the Holiday weekend will be for more celebration than just Christmas.

I don’t want to share our 2011 Christmas card yet.  I want everyone to get them first. But just for fun, I found that I had a copy of our 2010 card in the computer, so here you are…

I thought it was pretty cute!  Stay tuned and later in the week I’ll share the 2011 version.  I think Ralph is so talented.  If I had my scanner (which Alice also has…she’s working on getting the printer portion up and working again…) I could show you all a beautiful Santa that Ralph drew last night.  That will have to come later in the week too.

So I’m off to start my day.  I’m trying to get to the busy places early so as not to have to commit suicide…I Don’t Like Crowds…not even a little bit.  I’m hoping to accomplish today’s “To Do” list before everyone else is out and around.  We’ll see how that works.

Happy Tuesday!

The Good News Is…

The lights on the Christmas tree are still working!!  I’m back to feeling like a slug about all of Christmas again.  I will work on getting that turned around. 

I started the day by making pancakes for Ralph!  He was thrilled.

Nothing fancy and the first batch looked a little sickly pale, but I got the hang of it. I haven’t made them in a long time.  Next time they’ll be prettier, I promise! 😉

I ran out for a few errands with Gail and Alice, then came home to finish my project for the day…

Finishing up the Christmas cards.  I spent the afternoon in the bedroom watching shows On Demand while Ralph watched football and worked on art projects.  I’m so excited that we have On Demand now.  Since I tend to fall asleep waiting to watch the shows I want to see and end up just watching things I’ve seen before waiting for them to come on, this is perfect.  I can watch things when I want to!  One episode of Body of Proof and two Blue Bloods.  Excellent!

Late in the day, Ralph realized that we hadn’t eaten since pancakes in the AM.  He said he knew what to get for me…

My favorite pepper and egg sandwich with sharp provolone from Picasso’s.  Especially hungry equals especially tasty.  Filled me for the night!

I wanted to share a beautiful sight I was able to capture Sunday morning.  The moon on its way to setting…

I’m not usually able to capture it with my camera, but this was the morning of the miracle of the Christmas lights, so I guess it fits in.

SO much to do today.  I’ve got to get on track with this whole Christmas thing.  Yikes!  Wish me luck, Gang!!

Happy Monday before Christmas!!!


Waiting For Santa

In a way, by writing this post, I feel I’ve come full circle.  Last year when BCDC was only 5 days old, I wrote a post regarding this same subject.  In re-reading that post, seems like I was in a similar funk regarding getting ready for Christmas.  Hmmm…I’ve got to work on that!

However, there’s one thing that’s sure to get us out of a funk.  Waiting For Santa.  I don’t remember how many years ago it was that our little town started this tradition.  It is usually the weekend before Christmas and the town fire department escorts Santa all over town.  His “elves” in their big fireman coats give out candy canes.  You can hear the sirens and the music from Santa’s sleigh all over town as they make their progress.

I was feeling a little more festive, I made us both a cup of tea as Ralph was hard at work on art projects for Christmas gifts, I was hard at work finishing up the Christmas cards to get them out while watching Saturday PBS cooking shows. I came out of the bedroom and decided it was time to turn on the lights on the tree.  They wouldn’t turn on.  😦  I unplugged and re-plugged.  Nothing…I was sad.  Ralph said he would check the bulbs when he had a chance but he had to keep working on his projects.

I went glumly back to my project, but we could hear the sirens in the distance.  We knew what was in store for us.  Not long after this Ralph called to me from the other room saying Santa was on his way.   We bundled up and went outside and waited…No Santa, no sirens, no music.  They must have turned in another direction.

This happened at least 3 times, bundling, running out, disappointment.  Finally, we went out…trucks, lights, sirens, music, we could see them from the back yard, on the next street…

He was so close…THEY TURNED THE OTHER DIRECTION!! I was going crazy! Back inside, I KNEW they had to come down our street when they came back down the main street again. 

Now I don’t know when he did it, but Ralph decided he needed to commemorate the occasion.  During one of trips back inside, he gave me this…

The caption says “Some kids still wait for Santa!!”  I Love it!

Finally, Finally, FINALLY! Santa decided to turn down our street.

Almost Here!!

HE’S HERE!!  With the sirens wailing and the music playing, Santa visited us and with him he brought the Christmas spirit to both of us.

Cold but Happy!  That’s Us!

And the really good news this morning is…I thought I’d just give the Christmas tree a try…The Lights Came On!  Not sure what the issue was.  I may not turn them off, just so that doesn’t happen again!!   

Happy Sunday!!! 🙂