Tag Archives: tradition

this is the way we do thanksgiving

…and longtime readers, you already know of my family’s (un)usual thanksgiving traditions as seen in the 2010 and 2011 celebration recaps!

to kick off the afternoon, i took my usual thanks giving walk. yesterday, i almost got rained upon!

these beautiful pots are aligning my street right now. thanks, city of waterloo!

gorgeous red tones, here…

brrr….glad i was wearing my mittens and winter jacket!

around 4pm, we all gathered at mom and dad’s. i walked next door!


dad and mom/our host and hostess!

sharon and paul (mom’s brother), the empty-nesters!

cousin kate! (who is embarking on more exotic world travel in the new year!)

cousin joel! (who is now back from korea and in teacher’s college!)

cousin alex! (who is in first year university, studying civil engineering!)

yours truly!

sil ana and cutie c! (who is ready with her xmas list!)

the brother and little e (who is in her favourite chair at g’ma and g’pa’s!)

the first order of business: CHRISTMAS LISTS!!!! we all go around, youngest to oldest, and pass out copies/share/explain our prepared xmas lists of gift ideas:

my copies!

[i did promise the family that my 100 item list from last year was a once-in-a-lifetime happening!]. i am excited to get out shopping!!!

pretty soon thereafter…food time! here’s our traditional menu (and i neglected to photo the chips and homemade cream cheese salsa dish):

pizza!! (waterloo-ites, these pies were from “gourmet pizza” in uptown)

chicken wings (from “the huether”)

this is the best menu – no fuss, minimal dishes, maximum enjoyment for all ages.


mom’s homemade apple pie…

…and mom’s homemade apple crisp ->both rate an A+!

and no blog post would be complete without the traditional family-around-the-table pic!

let’s enjoy our feast!

we had such a fun time! everyone in my family has a really good sense of humour, and the wisecracks and jokes that get tossed about during christmas list time really make me laugh. this year, we also seemed to have lots of time for relaxed visiting and conversation…it was a really great get-together!

(i missed seeing grandma from her usual spots, smiling on from the couch and at the table).

i always am thankful for being with my family at thanksgiving. my third year of university, when i was in chicoutimi, i was away from home for the first time over a holiday. four of us girls went out to st hubert (the quebec version of swiss chalet) for our “thanksgiving dinner,” and while we had a good time, i was quite homesick for my family that year (giving your xmas list over the phone just does not cut it). it really is family togetherness that makes a holiday extra special.

happy thanksgiving monday! if you are going to the parade, my local friends, bundle up!!

it’s tradition

on the thirty-first day of december...

thursday, we gathered at mom and dad’s for an immediate-family christmas celebration. after all, to go all dr seuss on you, christmas is not a date on the calendar, it’s a feeling in your (two sizes too big) heart, right?!

we trooped in to mom and dad’s late afternoon-ish. i worked til mid-afternoon, and cutie c had time for a nap before the toronto family trekked up the 401. happily, a few centimetres of snow falling did not hinder our plans!

family christmas, for us, is all about favourite traditions:

it’s tradition that we start off by opening our stockings:

santa gives stockings to kids little AND big!

it’s tradition that we chant, “one, two, three, pull!” and withdraw a surprise:

ohhh! ahhh!

then we all compare picks.

[santa sure did his homework! he obviously scrutinized my 100 item christmas list as my stocking included such wishes as…

  • #15 – nail polish in bright colours
  • #32 – brightly coloured sticky notes
  • #34 – puffins cereal
  • #57 – black eyeliner pencil
  • #59 – the burlap recyclable tote from “ruby eats”
  • #64 – fluffy warm socks
  • #81 – wrapping paper (tissue paper in many hues!)

and i have to show you…

knitting socks!

THANK YOU, santa!]

it’s tradition that after stockings, we convene to the table:

we'll get to the menu in a minute...

it’s tradition that we open a “table gift” before eating!

it’s tradition that we feast on ribs and pigtails; kfc chicken; chips and dip; rootbeer.

the chips and dip MUST be served in mom's vintage bowl set!

the traditional seated-at-the-table pic!

it’s tradition that mom uses her good poinsettia china to add to our festive cheer:

mom started collecting these place settings and serving pieces when i was little!

after dinner, it is time for traditional photos!

aunti and the girls!

four generations!

the parents!

and my very favourite traditional shot…

the brother and i each holding a gift and being cheesy

it’ become tradition over the last few years that i wrap the brother’s gift…*uniquely.* this year, my theme was vector (since he is a fan, too)!!

it’s tradition that it’s now time to open presents!

mom and i found the yarn winder for sil ana way back in sept!

little e receives her very first barbie! aunti had fun choosing which one to get!

much joy with toys!

yippee! i will enjoy cosy toes!

suggestion #50!

it’s tradition that at least one gift will make me squeal! my biggest dance of joy came when i received MY STINKY TOFU TSHIRT!!! (list item #3). three years of dreaming finally realized!

and - bonus! a cute bubble tea tee!

AND…some people may covet an italian wine. but me? direct from italy…

italian cereal!! "kellogs's" is the only english word on the box!

for a cereal afficiando, what a treat! i may have to frame that box!

thoughtfulness and expressions of love – that is what present exchanges are all about.

it’s tradition that we end our evening with dessert – our traditional cookie  and squares selection!

it's tradition that i arrange the squares and cookies plates!

it’s tradition that our christmas celebration is a time to share, visit, and enjoy being together.

and this blog post marks the end of all christmas all the time – except that glow in the heart may stay for a while!

happy new year’s eve! how are you marking the end of 2011 and welcoming 2012? i think a movie is on the agenda…and i have been in bed before midnight for umpteen years, now. i’d rather be gung-ho for new year’s day!

new experience #38: decorate two g’bread houses with two nieces!

on the twenty-third day of december...

little e and i have decorated a gingerbread house together every year since she was one. i can’t believe i don’t have photo documentation of each of our projects – slacker aunti! but, here’s a look back at the last two years!

2009: this year, i had purchased a ready-made kit, but you had to assemble the walls and roof. our roof ended up caving in!

a pensive look!

…so that year the gingerbread house became the gingerbread stable.

fun wow!

2010: we made a house and also decorated gingerbread cookie people! i believe cutie c was napping at the time (i see the baby monitor in the bottom of this photo!).

busy bees! i mean ELVES!

nice work!

2011: i’ve been excited about continuing the gingerbread house tradition for weeks! the last aunti-visit wednesday before the hols would be a good day for house decorating – save the most exciting tradition for close to christmas!

this was the first year, then, that cutie c joined in on the gingerbread fun. i thought it best to provide TWO gingerbread kits for TWO nieces. that way, there’d be no fighting, no biting over the execution of artistic ideas.

it was meant to be: i got the last two kits on the shelf at valumart, and they were on sale! talk about the stars being in alignment.

yup - a PRE-FAB house - no wall-building necessary!

we set up operations on the dining room table: the houses were unearthed from their plastic wrap, and the girls helped pour the candies into little plastic bowls, for easy access:

someone is pleased as punch already!

the great thing about these kits is that you don’t even have to mix icing. you just squoosh the icing baggie to warm it up a little, then you’re ready to go!

squish squish!

so just like that, we were ready to d e c o r a t e

nicely done, cutie c!

it was interesting to see the difference between a 2.5 year old and 5 year old in terms of creative ideas and advancement in fine-motor skills:

little e thought to dip her bead candies into the icing and then apply them

fingers as "glue" applicators!

cutie c got super-involved with pouring the candies from one bowl to another, back and forth – i think she liked the sound?!


our house decorating party went a lot more smoothly than i had anticipated! to be honest, i was not sure how much mess and cacophony might arise with this project (two frustrated children? one frazzled aunti?) but the girls were awesome little decorators – they were really focussed and interested in our project. they also did not need much assistance – i helped with squeezing out the icing, but they handled the candy applications pretty much on their own. we each had a ton of fun!

someone is pleased with her finished product!

...as is someone else!

a view of the back door!

and at the end of the day…

a couple more christmas decorations for the dining room table

let’s pose for a final photo!

take one!

take two!

take three! oops, we lost someone!

what a good party. the girls agree that we need to decorate gingerbread houses every year!

is gingerbread house decorating a tradition with you? we didn’t do this activity as kids – there were no kits for sale back in the 70’s – but we did decorate sugar cookies.

i think it’d be fun to do a mini-village of houses – get everyone in the family to do their own house!

when two friends go a-walking…

on the nineteenth day of december...

…they sure do a lot of talking!

yesterday, just after it got dark (so we’re talking 5:30 p.m.) bff debbie (and bailey!) and i met up for our annual walk to see christmas lights. i was trying to remember how long we have had this tradition…after discussion with debbie, we believe it’s a good 10 years, if not more!

ever since i moved to waterloo, we have chosen to walk through the westmount neighbourhood. we’ve had every type of weather conditions, over the years. yesterday, we really lucked out – it was about 0 degrees celsius, and there was a light dusting of snow – just enough to add seasonal festivity to our walk!

i wanted to snap photos of our tour…but ever since thursday eve’s walk through the park, my camera has been taking fuzzy photos. luckily, bff debbie had her blackberry with her, and played photographer for me. that’s what friends are for! [wouldn’t you know it, when i got back home, i played with my camera, just randomly clicking buttons, and i got it to reset to “clear photo taking.” at least it’s back to normal, i think!].

one of our very favourite houses on our annual route

it’s tradition that our walk must include a pass-by of a mansion up by the golf course – every year, the home owners display the hugest tree you can imagine in the all-glass foyer of their home. debbie and i always pause and gaze in wonderment.

objects in window are MUCH larger than they appear!

the time goes so fast on a walk ‘n’ talk! ah – bump up my christmas spirit-meter another notch…holiday lights + time with my dear friend – it all does the heart good!

this photo took skill! a self-portrait with the blackberry camera!

bailey in the condo lobby...

...and back at his home!

our walk was not the last of my day’s festivities! but, we’ll talk about that tomorrow!


my favourite christmas story this year:

on friday, listening to the radio at theOTHERstore, the radio host shared a very touching, true story. immediately after hearing it, i thought that i had to re-tell it on the blog – it just epitomizes the meaning of the holiday season. then, saturday morning when i was catching up on some blog reading, i found a link to the exact story on gina, the fitnessista‘s blog! it’s much better reading it yourself than having me paraphrase for you. just to get you started, here’s the part of the story that i heard on the radio:

“the young father stood in line at the kmart layaway counter, wearing dirty clothes and worn-out boots. with him were three small children. he asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn’t be able to afford it all before christmas. then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter. she told him, ‘no, i’m paying for it.’ … he just stood there and looked at her…and asked if it was a joke. it wasn’t…and he just burst out in tears.”

i encourage you to click this link, and read on. do you not just get the biggest lump in your throat when you hear stories like this? wow.


my presents are wrapped! friday evening, i had a present wrapping party. this is one of my favourite christmas traditions! i spread out all my papers, tags, presents…

watch where you step!

…and went to town. the christmas cd’s were blaring, and i spent over two joy-filled hours wrapping gifts. you know how most people put christmas gifts under the christmas tree?

can you even see my trees?!

well, my tiny tree display is dwarfed by, and practically under the gift pile! and with the present-wrapping accomplished, i am ready for christmas!


i finished the time traveler’s wife over the weekend! it was good but not great. i gave it **1/2 stars in my reading log book. the positives: it wasn’t too science-fiction-y – > imaginative, yes, but completely other-worldly, no. i loved the way the author constructed this novel: each chapter title indicates the date and how old claire and henry are in the chapter. i needed those pointers – otherwise, the book would have been very confusing. the story is wrapped up in a satisfying manner. i liked both claire and henry, and the supporting characters were interesting, too. i would be keen to see the movie, now – i’ve heard good things about it – just to see how the film version deals with the time travel leaps, and the dramatic events in the book.

i think it’s the busy time of year, but my reading brain is tired and wants some fluff. so, i borrowed a book from our recycling room lending library:

good ol' danielle steel

i haven’t read a danielle steel in ages! like, twenty years ago, i used to read each of her new releases. then, she started churning them out too fast for me to keep up (plus, i diversified my reading interests) and i can’t remember the last time i read one of these ez-read love stories. typically, the first chapter introduced the flawless, gorgeous heroine…we’ll see what befalls her in the coming pages.

what percentage are you at today, in terms of christmas readiness? me = 100%!

ever read danielle steel? i classify her stuff as “beach reads” – and not that great ones, at that!

lessons and carols

on the thirteenth day of december...

on sunday evening, i got to fulfill my december wish to attend a program of christmas music:

the program for the evening

the christmas program was at the mennonite church that mom and dad attend – also the church that i grew up in. i’ve only ever attended one church, my entire life. i no longer go, but i still consider this church to be my “home church.”

advent candles at the front of the church

ah…this evening was just what my heart needed this christmas season! there was a mix of carol singing, readings from the bible, and special music groups. my favourite was when the sunday school children sang – so cute! and watching them brought back fond memories of when gina and i used to be up there!

candles along the side windows

we mennonites are known for singing in four part harmony:

soprano, alto, tenor, bass, with piano accompaniment

my vocal chords were a bit rusty – it’s been a while since i’ve sung! music is the best part of going to church, for me. and i never realized, growing up, how awesome our singing is – until i visited other churches where the organ overpowers the congregation, or where everyone sings the same tune. nobody can match the mennonites for cooking and baking singing!

a cute christmas tree to welcome you!

i enjoyed every aspect of this evening out: the program itself (it was briskly paced, and i loved the mix of readings and music). also, i thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances. many of the church people have known me since i was born, or at least since i was quite young. it was a warm and cosy evening all around: festive decorations in the sanctuary, meaningful songs and bible passages, and delightful connections with old friends.

where do you find “the meaning of christmas?” dad commented that the church program really gave him the christmas spirit. this year, my home decorations and making + writing my christmas cards have given me a lot of joy.


i’m throwing in the towel!

i concede defeat! nicole is the merriest of christmas elves on the face of this earth, no question about it.

look what she has co-ordinated at theOTHERstore!

a drop off box for our local food bank!

we're official participants!

i really appreciate that nicole thought to organize the food drive to help spread some holiday joy in our community. it’s really fun to do secret santas, wear festive clothing…but also heartwarming to spread goodwill, and to think of others for whom this time of year is a challenge.

i bet we are able to gather a good collection! runners know from hearty, healthy, filling food!

there is no more i can do!!!

perseverance pays off!

as you know, i love me a goooood many christmas traditions! and one of them is ADVENT CALENDARS.

this particular love dates back to childhood. every year, the brother and i each had our own cardboard advent calendar. boy, did we love the month of december when every morning we would open the window of the day, before breakfast. the countdown was on as we anticipated december 24th – the date of the birth of baby jesus always had the biggest window of all. and revealing the hidden picture in that box meant that it was finally christmas [insert dance of joy and clapping and squealing, here!].

now: our family never, ever had the chocolate advent calendars. my parents did give us treats as kids, but chocolates for breakfast for a month was not the means by which we enjoyed sweets. and i can’t say that the brother and i ever wanted the chocolate advent calendars – the traditional cardboard ones were what we were used to and what we enjoyed.

fast forward to the year that little e was born. i decided that a nice aunti tradition to establish would be to give little e her own cardboard advent calendar. that first christmas, i was so excited, i do believe she had two calendars! and yes, two months old is an appropriate age at which to begin opening advent calendar windows.

every year since, i’ve had advent calendars at the ready for little e and then for cutie c, after she joined the family. what i like to do is purchase them during boxing week sales, and i put them aside for the year.

i’m not sure how this happened but two years ago, i bought three advent calendars. i gave two of them to little e and cutie c last christmas. [one was a super-extraordinary eric carle 3-d extravaganza!]. as per usual, i noted what i had on hand for this year’s christmas:

i will forget over the course of twelve months if i don't write down the christmas inventory!

so, anyway, to move this story along…this year, i knew i had to buy one advent calendar.

here is the advent calendar i got last year at write impressions for 50% off

do you know how hard it is to find JUST cardboard advent calendars, these days?? well, let me tell you!

over the past month, i have searched high and low in every grocery store, drug store, dollar store, card store, specialty store, and book store that i know of, both in waterloo and toronto, looking for a non-chocolate-y calendar. i have found tons of calendars that open to reveal a chocolate – they’re plentiful at all of the types of stores mentioned above (at every price range from $1.99 for no-name milk chocolate to over $10 for a lindt calendar).

yes, i know i could break with tradition and get a chocolate advent calendar. but i just can’t. it’s not what we had as children, and i also personally don’t agree with the chocolate-a-day sweet for the girls – if i was a parent, i wouldn’t go that route (if you as a parent do, i totally respect your position – every family enjoys different christmas practices).

so: sunday afternoon, i popped into words worth books because their shipment of calendars was due to arrive this past week, i had been told. and i found my calendar!

...and this was the last one in this design!

i almost did a song and dance right there in the children’s section.

now, the calendar was $8.95 which is an outrageous price for decorated cardboard. however! i have accumulated points through the store’s rewards/loyalty program, so i cashed some in (and still have some left over) -> free calendar!

yippee!! aunti will triumphantly present little e and baby c with their advent calendars on my wednesday, november 30th visit. i would love to find TWO calendars during boxing week sales this year so that next year, there is no advent calendar wild goose chase!

did you have an advent calendar, growing up? chocolates: yea or nay? i have my wooden one…

i will take down all the pieces prior to december 1st and put up the proper number each day!

…that i very much enjoy using every year!


november thankfulness:

(for tuesday november 22): yesterday i was thankful that it is now less than one month to the shortest day of the year!

new experience #33: decorate for christmas before remembrance day!

at no other time during the year am i as anal hyped about maintaining tradition as i am at christmas. when to decorate, when to send out cards, the way we hand out and open presents at family celebration time, the cookies we mom bakes, putting up window art with the girls, going for a festive walk with bff debbie – you get the picture. i’m pretty hardcore about keeping things the same.

this past weekend, when the jail got a clean-out, a brilliant thought struck me for a new experience…i could decorate for christmas before it’s even remembrance day!! yes! i DO agree with you that it is zany and wayyyy early to put up the red and green…but, after all, if starbucks can do it…

i think s'bux decorated the day after hallowe'en!

and write impressions is ready to go…

the tree got its finishing touches last week...

why not join in the festive fun that is already out in full force?

besides, i  ♥ love ♥ my christmas decorations. and it’s truly sad that they can only be on display for such a short period of time each year.

over many years now, my established tradition (you can read about last year’s decorating extravaganza here) has been to deck my halls the last weekend of november. this year, that weekend is going to be a busy one, though, because dad will be celebrating a special birthday number, and we have a couple of family things already on the schedule.

[i had the great idea all planned out to do a before and after sequence of photos, today…then, in linking back to last year’s post, i see i kinda did the same idea, then…so either don’t read last year’s post, or just humour me with my repetitiveness!].

yesterday morning, i fa-la-la’d around the condo casa. as always, puttering around with my decorating was a time of pure happiness – every year, i am filled with the same gleeful feelings as i go about this favourite tradition.

first, i ran around and took my before photos. as you will see in the series below, i like a clean, minimalist look. but at christmas?? i do a complete 180 – there cannot be too much of a good (christmas) thing!

follow along and we’ll do the before and after tour:


main room windows

ikea couch

dining room table

kitchen (i tidied up a little, haha!)

foyer/front hall

front hall closet

downstairs washroom

stairs going upstairs

that’s the grand tour! i don’t do any xmas decorating upstairs, except for festive towels in the master bath – they’re in last year’s post, if you really want to see ’em!

and now….AFTERS!

the stained glass angel is very special - it was my grandpa c's. i keep it low because it fell off one year! it cracked but did not break!

ceramic tree ('twas grandma c's!) + manger scene + advent calendar - all long-time favourites

cream couch - perfect backdrop for festive colour! i knit the blanket many, many years ago

only the candle is on the table as that is where christmas cards get displayed!

a cookie cutter copy of last year, i do believe!

grandma c gave me that fold out card of the christmas story in 1973!

please don't actually use the hand towels, ok?!

traditional spot for my braided wreath!

not artistic at all, but the jingle bell MUST hang from that door knob!

et c’est tout!

[sidenote: my christmas décor will never make the pages of a stylish home magazine…but sentimental value and fond memories trump grandiosity, in my book].

condo rules dictate that front door wreaths may only be put up after december 1st. so, this photo is a demonstration only!

it's a homespun look for the front door!

is it too early to break out the holiday music?

my christmas cd's - a mix of everything from traditional choral music to a starbucks holiday collection

mom made these felt wiseman when i was a toddler – i want to put them out, but don’t know how to hang them – help!

mom, you were so crafty!

so, i can check “decorate for christmas” off the seasonal to do list! i hope to do another new experience related to the holidays – if time permits!


november thankfulness:

(for tuesday november 8): yesterday i was thankful for a flexible work schedule. i started work at 4 pm which left me oodles of time to indulge in putting out my christmas cheer when i was really in the mood to do so.

when do you decorate for the holidays? while i always get everything up by the end of november, i am adamant about putting everything away again on boxing day. i will stick with that tradition this year!

new experience #31: compose a 100 item xmas list

happy thanksgiving monday (or happy plain ol’ monday, as the case may be)!

yesterday, we gathered at mom and dad’s for our annual family thanksgiving celebration extravaganza. you can read about last year’s party here!

mom's fall touches for our table centrepiece!

we follow the same formula tradition for each thanksgiving: visiting, christmas lists, pizza ‘n’ wings party!

this year, cousin joel and andrea are in australia – we skyped!

it was 7 a.m. australia-time; andrea was just flying out the door...

...and joel just got up!

<3! miss you both! happy you will be home by christmas!

mid-pizza party!

my favourite part of the whole family get-together – heck, a highlight of the year – is when we exchange our christmas lists.

we all come prepared with computer print-outs!

this is the premise: you brainstorm a bunch of ideas of gifts that you would like to receive at christmas. just because you include an item on your list does not mean you will get it! the xmas list is simply a guide for family members to consult when they do their shopping [with our relatively – punny! – small family, we all give presents to each other – there’s no name exchange or anything].

i never have a hard time pulling together a list. there’s a set of staples that i pretty much include annually: gift cards (although the brother is vehemently opposed, i still provide this option as i truly enjoy receiving gc’s!); workout wear; a selection of fiction, quirky tshirts. my list is typically 10-20 suggestions long.

back in the spring, i knew i wanted to write a 100 item christmas list as a funny new experience. so, on labour day weekend, i started my list. i had 50 items on it by the end of that first brainstorming session. over the next five weeks, i’d add ideas as they popped into my head. the list came together a lot quicker and more easily than i anticipated, actually! i thought i’d have to fall back on more book titles and gift card stores…i’ve got a few, but not a ton.

here, then, for documentation purposes, is my 100 item christmas list (and it can be joel and andrea’s copy!). items appear in the order in which they flashed into my brain [more or less – i actually came up with MORE than 100 ideas, and had to make some cuts and substitutions]. and there is nothing on the list that i genuinely would not appreciate receiving.


  1. the people puzzler: box set (xword puzzle books from people magazine)
  2. quirky tshirts with a 1960-1970’s vibe
  3. stinky tofu tshirt
  4. milk and cookies tshirt that is in the window of delirium (king street, waterloo)
  5. two owls + skunk tshirt from atomic toybot on queen street east
  6. silver hoop earrings
  7. “for men maca root shave cream” from the body shop
  8. lancome: bi-facil double action eye make-up remover
  9. lancome: crème mousse confort
  10. lancome: tonique clarte toner
  11. lancome: star bronzer natural glow(face powder) in shade 02 “solaire”
  12. reebok zigtech shoes, size 7
  13. a “wallflower” from bath & body works, in pewter; wallflower refills in “salty caramel,” “cinnamon stick,” “mint chocolate” etc (ie non-floral scents, baked goods are a good bet!)
  14. incense sticks
  15. nail polish in bright colours, no pastels
  16. crackle nail polish
  17. “then came you” by jennifer weiner (**for all books, “used” condition is fine!)
  18. “prep” by curtis sittenfeld
  19. “when you were mine” by elizabeth noble
  20. “the romantics” by galt niederhoffer
  21. “i’m so happy for you” by lucinda rosenfeld
  22. “something borrowed” or “something blue,” both by emily giffin
  23. gift certificate: conestoga mall
  24. gift certificate: lululemon
  25. gift certificate: loblaws (so I can get joe fresh clothes! not groceries!)
  26. gift certificate: shoppers drug mart (so I can get cosmetics! not toilet paper!)
  27. gift certificate: iTunes
  28. gift certificate: running room!
  29. brightly coloured knitting needles, metal, sizes 3.00 mm – > 6 .00 mm
  30. set of sharpie magic markers
  31. set of white board markers, lotsa colours
  32. brightly coloured stickie notes
  33. flipflops, size 7
  34. puffins cereal: cinnamon, original, or peanut butter
  35. maranatha peanut butter, crunchy
  36. expensive carbonated water – like from Europe
  37. expensive dark chocolate chips
  38. journal notebook: 8×10”, lined paper, coil bound, cute/bright cover
  39. flannel bed sheets – for queen size bed; cute
  40. yoga blocks (2)
  41. oprah magazine
  42. charm bracelet (can be cheap)
  43. wooden hoop earrings from earthwinds, uptown waterloo (have a straight stick that goes thru your ear, and thru the hoop earring)
  44. tea towels and/or dish cloths from bon mot (uptown waterloo)
  45. 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, bright colours
  46. gift certificate: tora tattoo (I’m ready for tat #3)
  47. brightly coloured 8×10” – NOT legal size – file folders (available at write impressions, for example)
  48. converse “chucks” sneakers, size 7, hi or low cut, any colour
  49. nike free shoes, size 7 (the lime with hot pink laces ones at running room)
  50. moccasins: low style, with fringe and with beads, size 7
  51. MAC eye shadow, pink tones
  52. thong underwear, bright colours, no itchy lace, size sm/med
  53. fleece pullover: ½ zip or full zip – any colour
  54. cute/kitschy/unique/retro bobby pins or hair barrettes
  55. sun warrior protein powder, vanilla – available at eating well organically, individual pacs
  56. set of queen bed sheets: high thread count, no florals
  57. black eyeliner pencil
  58. spools of sewing thread in all different colours/shades (box set??)
  59. recyclable tote bag from “ruby eats” (queen street east, Toronto) – the burlap sack/brown one
  60. retro/kitschy dishes from the 70s – NO SETS, ONE ITEM OF A DESIGN only
  61. lunchbox – retro design ie cartoon characters, tv shows from a bygone era
  62. blog makeover: by you or hire someone to do it for me
  63. armwarmers for running in a crazy, bright pattern/design
  64. fluffy, warm socks, crazy bright colours
  65. ballet flats (slippers/shoes) – size 7
  66. year membership to CAA (Canadian automobile association)
  67. Saucony kinvara running shoes, size 7, ONLY the special edition Canadian version (running room)
  68. “last night at chateau marmont” – by lauren weisberger
  69. moo cow key chain (write impressions)
  70. smartwool socks, size small, funky colours/design
  71. madonna tshirt –preferably the singer, but interpret as you wish
  72. teeth whitening strips
  73. laughing Buddha statue
  74. ipod shuffle, not silver
  75. crabtree & evelyn goats milk soap/body wash (available at the bay)
  76. a crew neck, college sweatshirt, size medium
  77. clogs, size 7 – I’m open-minded as to style
  78. pinking shears
  79. set of bath brian gluckstein bath towels (available at the bay): two bath sheets; one bath towel; one bath mat (not with rubber on the back); one hand towel; one face cloth; any colour
  80. tube of traumeel cream (available at shoppers)
  81. wrapping paper: any colours, any themes, sheets not rolls
  82. adidas “reaction pullover,” size medium, $64.99 at running room; style #V10931
  83. variegated yarn: bright colours (sock yarn weight is good), enough to make a baby blanket
  84. a lava lamp
  85. “emily the Strange” long sleeve tshirt, size medium or large
  86. peach Berserk long sleeve tshirt, size medium or large
  87. hoodie from the futon shop on king street in waterloo, size large
  88. u of w sweatpants, size medium, any colour
  89. long sleeve running top, plain crew neck, size medium
  90. silver lame shorts from American apparel, size medium (that would be lam-eh, not LAME!)
  91. membership card to the princess cinema
  92. drakkar noir – cologne or aftershave
  93. canada/olympic mittens, size small/medium (the line available at the bay)
  94. lifa brand long sleeve top, size small, crew neck
  95. vibrams, size 38, any model (available at adventure guide)
  96. toronto maple leafs baseball cap
  97. plaid work jacket from mark’s work wearhouse, size men’s small
  98. “relentless forward progress” by bryon powell
  99. a ladle
  100. ugg boots, size 7, must look like this:

our lists are fantastic this year! they’ll go into my knapsack for easy reference whenever i’m out and about – never know when you’ll see the perfect gift. i intend to start shopping asap!

how does the christmas gift exchange work for your family? do you make a wish list at all? the christmas list tradition started in my family even before i was born! i love the idea: you know you will like what you receive, and it’s easy to know what to buy others!

three months today is christmas day!…

happy sunday!

i had to throw in that title today. when i worked at the local insurance company, my colleague penny and i had a long-standing joke: on the 25th of EACH month we would remind each other of how many months it was ’til christmas. mom and i do that, as well! so now YOU know, too! done your shopping, yet???!! 🙂

it’s all about the t-shirt

look at what i received this week at theOTHERstore. i jumped for joy, i am telling you.

a promo for the special canadian edition saucony kinvara 2's

this is a really nice t: made of tech fabric, it’s light and fits well. red is not my favourite colour, but the inspiring slogan > the red colour. i do love tshirts. it is entirely possible that a future kiki project could be “wear a different tshirt every day for a year.” i doubt i would get through my collection!

coffee in my cup

i drank two mugs of coffee this past week.


they were ok. i drank them more because i was curious to see what exactly my reaction would be. conclusion: not enamoured.

local news

coincidence? right after i wrote about not knowing anything about the upcoming provincial election, i received my voting notice from elections canada. ok! i will be at the polling station on thursday, october 6th!

secondly…the strike at the local post-secondary educational institute is now over. i’m very relieved for everyone involved.

more mail

also this week, i found out that if i want to contribute the knitted blanket for the mcc relief sale, i will need to have it completed by march 23rd. at this time, that sounds like loads of time. but, as we all know, time flies! i better get started by november, at the latest, if i wish to meet the 2012 deadline.

…with a side of yogurt

in the weekly flyers a couple weeks back, there was a coupon for the glenridge zehrs. if you spent over $50, you got $5 off your grocery bill. ever since my may grocery challenge, i’ve had a sharp eye for deals! i took advantage of the zehrs coupon, and massively stocked up on items i eat all the time. however, i was a little overzealous with my yogurt stashing:

this p.c. blue menu brand is really creamy

multiply that container by three. and i neglected to look at the expiry date: september 25th. i do eat a lot of yogurt, but in the last few days, it’s been a story of “let’s have x for a meal…and dollop on some yogurt!” dessert? frozen yogurt with choco chips! now, if only puffins had an expiry date!…

have a great day, friends!


Friday evening was one of my favourite annual outings of the entire year. Mom, Dad and I drove to the nearby town of New Hamburg. Every year on the last weekend in May, New Hamburg plays host to the MCC Relief Sale. Every year, we go on the Friday evening to the “Preview” events.

The weather this year: it was freaking cold! Seriously, I was thisclose to wearing my mitts. I DID wear fleece and my winter-weight jacket.

this is NOT really may 27th, is it?!!

Brrrr…at least we didn’t have rain, but dark clouds were looming!

In the 2010 report, I talk about five of our traditions for this evening event – let’s compare last year to this year…

Tradition #1 – Dad’s Parking Spot

Every year, Erv magically finds a parking spot insanely close to the entrance, given the throngs of people and hordes of vehicles cramming the surrounding fields and grounds.

three feet from the entrance - nice work, dad!

The tradition continues…Dad even had a lot of space with which to work this year! Although Mom did have step out into a mud puddle…

Tradition #2 – Meat ‘n’ Pie

the food lineups were gi-normous this year...

The tradition continues…This year, Dad got his sausage meat and his pie (cherry with ice cream) but no fries…too many people lined up!

Tradition #3 – Mom Buys Apple Butter and Jams

the mennonite jam lady + mom with her bread and butter pickles

The tradition continues…Mom walked away with FIVE jars this year, which may very well be a new record. With this selection…

mom debates her choices...

…can you really blame her?!

Tradition #4 – The Viewing of the Quilts

one of my favourites this year

The tradition continues…wow. The quilts up for auction were once again incredible.

look at the cross stitch and needlepoint - now imagine this multiplied over the size of a bedspread

They had a “Viewer’s Choice” award this year – everyone received one ballot with which to vote. I picked the quilt, above, because I can only imagine the acres of time required to hand stitch each and every flower on that quilt. Remarkable.

one of the more traditional designs...

Many of the quilts would appeal to the little folk. I would bid on…

ballerinas for little e...

...and kittie cats for baby c!

And, as always, Mom and I hit the wall before we finished our quilt tour. At a certain point, we can’t absorb and appreciate any more creativity and beauty. So much awesomeness.

Tradition # 5 – Catching Up

The tradition continues…but I have no photographic proof. [I’m not yet at the point, as a blogger, where I feel comfortable asking acquaintances for a photo so I can put them on my blog]. This year, I met:

  • a girl I taught when she was in high school…and she was at the Preview Evening with her 4.5 month old daughter!
  • a girl I went to high school with. I didn’t actually talk to her…but I heard her very loud voice from across the room
  • my parents’ neighbour
  • a favourite couple who are customers from the store
  • and a few more!

As with every other year, this year was a really fun outing. I always walk away feeling so creatively inspired by the quilts. At this time, I’m not sure if my 2011 Goal of starting a knitted contribution for next year will happen or not. Too bad I don’t get inspired by the baked goods to learn how to make pies – haha!

On my Life Bucket List is to purchase one of these amazing quilts, and hang it as wall art in the Condo Casa. I have no idea how I will make this happen, as I don’t anticipate ever going to the Saturday morning Quilt Auction myself [the crowds are enormous and the auction lasts hours, neither of which entice me at all]; maybe I can send Gina some year, in my place?? Pay her in apple fritters (or pay her plane flight, haha!)? Let me know, G!

Are there any fairs/festivals/auctions that you attend annually? The MCC Relief Sale enjoys a huge following, and draws enormous numbers of visitors every year. The best part? All money raised goes to support MCC‘s work around the world.

Happy Sunday and Happy Birthday, Mom! ❤