The following would've been much better spread out over two months! On top of it, we had dance and music for the first three weeks, and a full schedule of ringette right through the month. (Exactly why December is not my favourite.)
- Neil started The 4-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss (Christmas gift)
- G read *to me* from a Phonics Factory book :)
- End of Days by Eric Walters (Sophia)
2. WATCHED & LISTENED
- Phineas & Ferb Christmas show (G/M)
- Sophia, the First Once Upon a Princess (G/M)
- World Junior hockey (N)
- DVDs/Movies (all free on Max promo except Christmas Vacation, which we have on DVD)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days (girls)
- Men In Black 3 (N)
- The Dark Knight Rises (N)
- The Expendables 2 (N)
- Total Recall (2012) (N)
- Avatar (N)
- Christmas Vacation (Neil's Christmas tradition)
- Brave (all)
- Podcasts (K)
- Dishing Up Nutrition
- The Digi Show
- Paperclipping Roundtable
- 7 Sleeps Until Christmas book app on the iPad (G/M) - nicely done! we also have the book, from Shauna years ago
3. EVENTS & OUTINGS
- after Sophia's Nove 30-Dec 1 ringette tournament, we ate at Houston Pizza on Hill Ave (hooray for gift certificates!)
- we enjoyed Sophia's first band concert, in which she played trombone. The entire 2-hour concert was excellent with performances by the Grade 6, Grade 7-8, Junior, and Senior bands (students from four elementary schools and one high school)
- Neil and I enjoyed seeing Madeline's class play, Writers of the Bible, and then the presentation of a Good News bible to each student
- I attended 2 set-dancing classes - danced the Connemara, Clare Lancer, Antrim Square - we also had music performances and a snack potluck during our last session (I took Spiced Pecans)
- we all went to Phineas and Ferb "The Best Live Show Ever" at the Brandt Centre - the girls definitely enjoyed it! Georgia sat with her friend Jagger for the second half (for the cost of it, Neil and I thought the Globe might have been a better choice - next time!)
- I took a vacation day from work to participate in the Big Picture Classes' first live event on 12-12-12 - I watched hourly broadcasts live from Maui and worked on my album for 12 hours
- Georgia's class had a "Polar Express" day at school in which they wore PJs and watched the movie
- I went for lunch at Brown's Social House with Dana and Logan, my manager and coworker
- Neil and I enjoyed my work Christmas party - dinner and dance at the Italian Club with band, Wonderland (good food, music, and company, but we only stayed until midnight as we had to deliver papers in the morning) - Madeline and Georgia stayed overnight with L&B, while...
- Sophia enjoyed the EDGE Advent sleepover with many of her friends (she went with Meghan) - they did a fantastic scavenger hunt to collect food for Christmas hampers and her team won (they received donations of a frozen turkey, ham, and much more) - and they only slept for a couple of hours after 4 am!
- we all attended the Prairie Gael School of Irish Dance Christmas party on a Saturday afternoon (we took Spiced Pecans for the treat table)
- I went to Government House to take pictures with my Prairie Snappers group; due to a communication mix-up, I was the only one there but I took some pictures anyway
- Georgia's class went to Government House; Neil went, too
- Georgia and Sophia's school classes went skating; Neil tied skates
- Madeline's class went to the Nutcracker Ballet at Conexus Arts Centre
- all three girls had Christmas parties at school; Sophia's class had a pajama day and recycled gift exchange
- Neil and I attended the school's Christmas Spirit in Action program three times; we saw:
EVENTS & OUTINGS (continued)
- Sophia, and all band students in grades 6-8, performed for their school during a morning assembly; Neil attended
- we enjoyed G's first piano recital at Victoria Park Personal Care Community (except Sophia who was at her dance class)
- we had an excellent roast turkey lunch at work; the main dishes were catered and we brought the extras (I made Cranberry-Orange sauce)
- Sophia's ringette team had a full-ice practice in Lumsden that turned into a 5-hour outing for us, including an unexpected lunch
- we all went to a "Come & Go Skate" at Georgia's friend Elise's house (they have a rink in their backyard)
- playdates and sleepovers: Georgia went to Victoria's all afternoon and evening one day; Georgia went to Elise's for 2 sleepovers; Madeline went to Alex's for a sleepover; Sophia went to Alissa's for 3 sleepovers (and swimming at the Lawson one day); Sophia had Alissa over one afternoon and Meghan another afternoon
- we went to Rob & Robyn's for the afternoon and evening of Christmas Eve - before dinner, our girls and their cousins enjoyed a Christmas craft that Mom supplied - too bad Ethan was under the weather! Rob and Robyn made a wonderful turkey dinner. Also there: Mom and Dad, Grandma Mantay, Aunts Colleen and Bev, Richy, Melinda, Bailey, and Lexington. So nice to see everyone!
- we celebrated Christmas at home which is my favourite thing to do - we took our time opening gifts, enjoyed a hot breakfast, set up and played with our gifts through the day; and Neil made a nice dinner - baked bone-in ham, faux-tatoes, sweet potato fries (with his new fry cutter), and homemade chocolate ice cream - yum!
- we celebrated Neil's birthday - he watched World Junior hockey (his favourite birthday activity) and spent some time reading; I made him a chocolate birthday cake with chocolate glaze and whipped cream
- we ate lunch at Applebee's with my parents on the 27th, on their way home from Saskatoon
- we took the girls tobogganing briefly at Mount Pleasant - it was quite cold out
- we went to a Christmas party/potluck for Sophia's ringette team (Madeline and I missed most of it as she had a ringette game at the same time) - Neil made coleslaw and bacon-wrapped cauliflower
- we all went to Madeline's White Out team building event at the Northwest Leisure Centre: gym ringette (we all played except G), pizza lunch, craft (White Out flags), and swimming
- we had Laurel over for our holiday turkey dinner (on Dec 30) and a few games of Bananagrams; Sophia also played some Christmas songs on her trombone for Laurel and us
- Neil took the girls shopping to Urban Planet and Chapters where they spent some Christmas money
- on New Year's Eve, we watched a movie (Brave) and played board games (Cranium and Clue Carnival) - and we actually stayed up until midnight (I would have gone to bed sooner but we had to strain our turkey broth!)
- 12 Activities with Mom:
- Georgia and I went shopping at Dollarama and Walmart for her to buy Christmas gifts for her sisters
- Madeline and I went shopping at Zippity Zoom, Claire's, and Ardene for her to buy Christmas gifts for her sisters
- Sophia and I went shopping at Urban Planet where she spent some of her Christmas money on two t-shirts, a hoodie, and a cover/wallet for her iPod
4. RECIPES TO REMEMBER
- Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad (eaten with lettuce; not sandwiched in bread)
- Protein Shake (our version: 2 cups berries, 1 cup 6% plain yogurt, 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, 2 scoops plain whey protein powder, 2 Tbsp. unpasteurized honey, 1 tsp. vanilla) - I think it's quite delicious; the girls prefer it frozen into "ice cream"
- eggs scrambled in butter with leftover bison sausage, onions, and peppers. Yum!
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Leek Soup
- Baked Oatmeal
- Roast Pork Loin
- Alton Brown's Spiced Pecans - exceptional!
- Corn and Red Bell Pepper Chowder with Kielbasa (Big Book of Soups and Stews)
- Pomegranate Guacamole (Food Network Mag, 50 Easy Appetizers, #9)
- Super Moist Chocolate Spelt Cake - really good! we loved it
- Chocolate Glaze (6 oz dark chocolate and 1 cup heavy cream)
- Alton Brown's Coleslaw
- Bacon-wrapped Cauliflower (Food Network Mag, Nov 2012)
- Peanuty Turkey Salad Lettuce Wraps - pretty tasty, but I'd omit the mint next time
- German Lentil Soup (with the lentils soacked overnight - step 1 of this recipe: Lentil Stew, and we used our own ham stock instead of chicken stock)
See Rounding up "Recipes to Remember" for a list of recipes from the past year.
- a coworker of mine gave me $60 from a 50-50 prize he won at our Christmas party and I donated it to the girls' school for their Christmas hamper project
- we did a $5 "white elephant" gift exchange at work
- my manager gave each of the girls their own $5 Tim Hortons card "for time spent at the rink" - they loved it!
- Sophia made a gift for her friend Alissa: Minecraft characters in 3D
- Neil received a card and $20 from a Leader-Post customer on his part of our route
- all other Christmas gifts we received are recorded elsewhere
- for his birthday, Neil received some money from his parents, a pasta maker from his sisters, and a clock radio/iPod dock from us (Airmiles)
6. SPECIAL PURCHASES
- Neil upgraded his cell phone to an HTC One S - Roughrider Edition (first smartphone for him)
- Yummy Earth lollipops for the Advent calendar - probably no better than regular suckers (still just sugar) but the girls loved the flavours
- Collins Junior French Dictionary for Madeline
- I pre-ordered and bought two large containers of borsch soup from the Ukrainian National Federation - just for me (unfortunately, the rest of my family won't eat it) - delicious!
- Neil renewed his season tickets for the Roughriders
- ornaments for the girls, for Christmas 2013, at the Mackenzie Art Gallery gift shop
- special e-book for Madeline: The Little Mermaid and Other Tales by Hans Christian Anderson - each paragraph is displayed twice, in English and French, through the whole book
- started trying to take a teaspoon of coconut oil daily; also trying to take cod liver oil - neither happens consistently but I'm working on it
- Georgia had a sniffly nose for a couple days
- again, I had some mild cold symptoms for awhile but didn't even need (my usual) Advil Cold & Sinus
- Neil slipped and fell while delivering flyers, but wasn't hurt too badly
- Neil went to the chiropractor a couple of times
- I bought two supplements for myself: iodine (since I rarely use table salt) and magnesium bi-glycinate - took each of them once, mixed in plain water - must find a different method of getting these down!
- 24 hours after our turkey dinner, we had 6.5L of beautiful turkey bone broth - awesome!
- decorated and shopped for Christmas (on top of everything else!)
- took and posted photos every day this month - so glad I did!
- after being upset with her November results, Madeline worked hard on her French reading minutes and surpassed her goal of 320 minutes!
- finished gathering photos for my 2012 Yearbook
- we completed our Mojo ringette raffle (for a Cuisinart beverage fridge full of various refreshments) - it was a big success - we made over $1600 in profit!
- completed our huge year-long content review project at work!
- I wrapped all of our gifts on Dec 21 (except those the girls had already wrapped for each other)
- entered the second half ringette game and practice schedules into the calendar
- created and printed (or emailed) a photo Christmas card to some family members (note to self: next year, do this earlier than the morning of Christmas Eve!)
- took down and put away all Christmas decorations on Dec 28
- I had a meltdown before work on the 18th - so many friggin' things to do - yup, Christmas stress got the best of me (will I ever truly enjoy December?)
- I had taken my unfinished 2012 Yearbook album in my purse one day and some of the pages were ruined when tea dripped on it :(
- the van's ignition cylinder had to be repaired and it cost $200 (also, had to get it towed in for service, but at least that was covered with our CAA membership)
- our main floor toilet kept running and overflowed, flooding the bathroom and hallway, and started dripping in the basement by the time we realized it - at least it was just water!
- after 12-12-12, I had no time to work on my 2012 Yearbook album
- we were too busy the whole time I was off work (9 days); I had no time to accomplish anything extra (neither housework nor fun stuff like scrapbooking)
- cleared the collection basket once - it was a desperate situation
- processed November photos - unusually small number of pictures
- captured our 12th family photo of 2012 - hooray! I love this project; so glad I did it
- completed my Daily December photo project! you might think this would add to my December distress, but it was actually one of my favourite things about this month
- Sophia didn't help decorate the Christmas tree because she chose to stay at a friend's house instead
- started using a new roll-out garbage bin from the city (glad to get those nasty shared bins out of alley! we had neighbours who were always filling it with unflattened boxes, branches, etc.)
- the girls each emailed Santa, but instead of doing it one after the other, they all did it on different days (and Sophia was not nearly as eager to do it as in the past) - Madeline and Georgia's reactions to M's video from Santa was very cute! (Santa said he remembered when Madeline was a little and she liked the paper and boxes as much as the gift; she turned to me and said, "Did I?" I said, yes, and both girls were delighted that he knew that :))
- Mom and Buffy came to see one of Madeline's ringette games, while Dad was at a bison meeting
- Sophia had 2 goals and 5 assists in one game (and 1 penalty) - awesome!
- the amount of hoarfrost and snow-covered trees we had this month was remarkable - many picture-perfect days!
- at one point, all of our girls' ringette teams (Sophia, Madeline, and our niece Bronwyn) were in first place in their divisions - so I took a screenshot of the standings - no, it's not all about winning, but that's quite amazing; it may never happen again!
- as I used the ring road through the month, to and from work, I was constantly astonished by how many vehicles were in the ditch
- I started using Aperture (my Christmas gift) for photo management and editing instead of iPhoto and PSE - there's a lot to learn in this program and I'm enjoying many features I didn't have before
- dogsitting: we hosted Chloe during a few work days; and my brother's dogs, Charley and Miley, for a week between Christmas and New Years while they travelled to Seattle
- Boxing Day was the coldest day of our paper delivery so far (in 8 weeks): -30/-36 wind chill, but it wasn't too bad as we know how to dress for it
- Neil and I emergency subbed for a nearby paper route - 5 days from Dec 27 - Jan 2
- I won a cute little Paper Issues scrapbooking kit (Times Square) after commenting on Aimee Maddern's blog
- both Madeline and Georgia slept for 12 hours one night (very unusual!) and they were so cute cuddled up together
- signed up for Eat Your Books because I received a free 3-month trial - many of our cookbooks and over 18 months of Neil's Food Network Magazines are indexed! time saver! (already decided to subscribe after the free period)
- Georgia started reading in English! So proud of her. Now, all three of my kids can read in two languages - how amazing is that?! :)