Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 25

"It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!"... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!  "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"  --Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Merry Christmas

&

Happy New Year!!


Thank you for traveling through the year with me!

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 24

"...A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle, 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
by Clement Clark Moore



Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 23

"A sprig of holly lay by each plate, and nothing would do but each little Ruggles must leave his seat and have it pinned on by Carol, and as each course was served, one of them pleaded to take something to her.
There was hurrying to and fro, I can assure you, for it is quite a difficult matter to serve a Christmas dinner on the third floor of a great city house; but if it had been necessary to carry every dish up a rope ladder the servants would gladly have done so.
There were turkey and chicken, with delicious gravy and stuffing, and there were half a dozen vegetables, with cranberry jelly, and celery, and pickles; and as for the way these delicacies were served, the Ruggleses never forgot it as long as they lived."
--The Birds' Christmas Carol, by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1887)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 22


From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other - Emily Matthews.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 21

Assuming that we're all still here and y'all haven't gone floating off into outer space, I present, for your viewing pleasure, Christmas Ornaments!

These are a few of my favorites...

We like to pick up unusual ornaments from places that we travel to, so a few years ago when we were on Grand Cayman I had to pick up this little guy.


This pic is a two-fer!  The little mouse eating cheese is a new ornament from a trip to the coast earlier this year.  Next to it is a Disney Cruise ornament from one of our trips.  It's a little plain, but brings back good memories!


This one is hard to see, but it's a lighthouse, from another of our trips to the Oregon Coast.
 

 And last but not least - Alaskan Lumberjack Mickey!!


Do you collect ornaments from your travels, or keep hand-made ones from previous years?  What are your favorites?  Share your thoughts below!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 20


It's almost time to hang our stockings!  Are you ready yet?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 19

Christmas Decorations - Part 3


Yet another Christmas decoration that has been in the family longer than I have.  What can I say, I like old things, and traditions!  The figurines are old and faded, and most of the angels have lost one or more wings each, but this Nativity set is one of my most precious Christmas decorations!





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 18


So pretty!  Anyone fancy a trip to London for Christmas?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

So I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and enjoyed it so much that I immediately downloaded the second book in the series, The Broken Kingdoms.  It takes place a while after the first book ends, and instead of dealing with the ruling high society, seems to be focused on the underclasses.  So far I'm really liking it!

The Tease:
"...Madding smiled sadly. "That's different. We can die.  You mortals, though...Nothing can stop you from dying.  All we can do is stand by and watch."
And die a little with you."
 -The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

What's your Tease?

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 17

"At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. ... We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices."
- A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 16

This year was the 80th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.  The tree is very pretty.


On a side note - I really don't think it is right for anyone to travel with Muppets, while wearing Muppet skin:


Somehow it just doesn't seem fair to the Muppets.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie News - Star Trek Into Darkness Poster

Last week, this happened:


Synopsis:
"When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew."

I'm very excited about this movie, as I've been a fan of the franchise for...well...just about forever.  However, this poster is a little too reminiscent of the movie poster for The Dark Knight Rises.  I like it, I just wish it was more original.

What do you think?

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 14


It's almost here! 11 more days!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 13

Christmas Decorations - Part 2


You know...for your viewing pleasure...



Here's two little guys that have been part of the family collection forever.  I have no idea where Mr. & Mrs. Santa Mouse came from, but again, I suspect that they are older than I am. And so cute!


This is one of my FAVORITES!!  He's The Christmas Dragon, and is a relatively new addition - a friend made him for me out of clay about 15 years ago.  He's actually a pin that could be worn, but I've always been afraid to wear him as he tend to be a bit fragile.  

I usually put him near my Nativity Scene so he can watch over the baby Jesus to make sure the Wise Men don't get out of control.  Plus that's where the best sheep are, in case he gets hungry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 12

Christmas Decorations, Part 1


We have a lot of Christmas decorations.  A lot.  Most are store bought, some are hand made, many are new-ish, and a few are older than me.  I'm sure everyone has a similar mix of beloved ornaments or decorations that make the holiday seem to be missing something if they aren't in place.  So I thought I'd share some with you guys.


So, for the moment, just ignore the Taco Bell Christmas Chihuahua and Frosty the Snowman.  These little Santas sliding down the candle to the chimney have been around longer than I have.  The one on the left get his leg broken one year, so now he's an amputee and slides further down the candle than his buddy, but he's still in it to win it!


I love these little guys and insist that they spend the holidays prominently displayed in the living or dining room somewhere every year.

What are your favorite Christmas decorations?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 11

Today, for your viewing pleasure, a Christmas Tabletop Decoration!


Other than the cords hanging down the wall I'm quite proud of this.  Bob helped with the decorating a lot this year, which was super fun.


We spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday decorating the house and the Christmas Tree while listening to Christmas music, and watching the movie White Christmas - a classic favorite in our house!


The final result...


King of the Lab?  Maybe?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

I started reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms last week and this week I've almost finished it.  It's very intriguing and I'm quite enjoying it!

The Tease:
""You should abstain from drinking more often, Cousin," I said softly.
Relad smiled, utterly without humor.  "It wasn't intentional, I assure you.  It's just that impending death tends to sour even the best wine."
I understood completely."
 -The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

What's your Tease?

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 10

For your viewing pleasure, I present, A Christmas Tree!!


It's a little smaller (width-wise) than what we usually get, but I think it's quite perfect.

Have a great day!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 9

Yesterday was the day of the great #ChristmasTreeHunt. 

Usually, this event takes several hours.  One cannot rush when hunting for the PERFECT tree.  But somehow, we found the perfect tree within five minutes, had it cut and loaded and were back home within 30 minutes. 

It was a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, y'all!

"It followed me home - Can I keep it?


This year we are going with a red, white, and silver theme.  Here's the tree with just the lights on it, which was as far as we got today.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 8


Today we are off to find the perfect Christmas Tree - wish us luck!!


Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 7

The White House National Christmas Tree was lit last night, and it marks the 90th year of the annual lighting ceremony.  The tree is covered with white LED lights and stars, and surrounded by 57 smaller trees representing each State and U.S. Territory.


The first National Christmas Tree was lit in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 6

So every year the same topic seems to come up and be discussed endlessly online and around the water cooler.

Many people prefer to say Merry Christmas as a greeting or upon leaving another person's presence.  Some prefer to say something slightly more generic, such as Happy Holidays, or perhaps Season's Greetings.  The arguments for and against any choice are many and varied.  Those who prefer Merry Christmas claim that anything else leaves Christ out of the season, while some feel that a more generic greeting like Happy Holidays is better because it covers all the holidays - Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and New Year's, etc - which is certainly faster than listing each individually, or covers all bases if one is speaking to a stranger.

A few years ago while working for a government agency, I had a boss who was very paranoid about saying Merry Christmas and accidentally offending someone, and I quickly learned to avoid saying Merry Christmas at work, so as not to risk a lecture, even though that is my preference.  Where I currently work isn't as customers service oriented, and the paranoid boss is long gone, but old habits die hard, and I still tend to not say Merry Christmas unless someone else says it first, instead opting for Happy Holidays.

So which do you prefer, or find yourself using most often?

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 5

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow   

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 4

Christmas Traditions - Mistletoe


Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens or Viscum album) is a parasitic plant that grows on trees, particularly hardwood trees like oak. As mistletoe grows on a tree it uses its roots to invade a tree's bark, which allows mistletoe to absorb the tree's nutrients. Sometimes, mistletoe can harm a tree and cause deformities in a tree's branches.

Mistletoe produces its own food by photosynthesis, and is able to live on its own, although it is mostly found in trees.

Mistletoe is easy to spot in the winter because its leaves stay green all year long. In the United States, it grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Mistletoe has pointy, green, leathery leaves, with waxy berries that are either red or white. The flowers can be a wide variety of colors, from bright red to yellow to green.

Ingesting mistletoe can cause severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, and in some cases can be fatal. If you have mistletoe in your house this holiday season, be sure that it is in a place where children and pets won't be able to get to it.

Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

The Christmas holiday has assimilated a wide range of customs and traditions from many cultures, and mistletoe is one of them. For example, one French tradition holds that the reason mistletoe is poisonous is because it was growing on a tree that was used to make the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Because of this, it was cursed and denied a place to live and grow on Earth, forever to be a parasite.

I personally don't like to decorate with Mistletoe, but I do find the various traditions and lore surrounding the plant to be fascinating.

Information gleaned from www.allthingschristmas.com and howstuffworks.com.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

I started reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms last week and so far I love it!

The Tease:
""What is it that an Arameri should know, Auntie?" I asked.
It was something I had wondered since our first meeting.
She paused, glanced back at me.
"How to be cruel," she said very softly.  "How to spend life like currency and wield death itself as a weapon."
She lowered her eyes.  "Your mother told me that, once.  I've never forgotten it.""
 -The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

What's your Tease?

Movie News - Another New Man of Steel poster!

So, THIS happened today:


I'll just say right off the bat, I don't like it much.  It's very bland and washed out, and the quality isn't nearly as good as some of the other movie posters we've seen lately.  But I'm still excited to see Man of Steel when it comes out.

What are your thoughts regarding this new Man of Steel movie poster?  Love it or Leave it?  Let me know in the comments.

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 3

I mentioned yesterday that we haven't gotten our Christmas Tree yet or even started decorating the inside of the house at all.  This is a photo of our tree from last year, and is a pretty good representation of what our tree generally look like.

We usually use multicolored lights of various sizes, and we have tons to different types of ornaments that have been collected over the years - so many that we usually have a difficult time finding homes for all of them on the tree!  Later this week when we start dragging out the decorations I think I might like to share some ornament stories with y'all, so stick around for that!

This year we won't be getting our tree until this coming weekend (we always get a live tree - one of the perks of living in the Northwest!), and this year I'm toying with the idea of decorating the tree in only one or two colors, like maybe blue and white.  Or perhaps purple and gold?  Maybe an all red tree? 

I can't decide...What do you think?  What do you like to do with your Christmas tree?  Multicolor Hodge-podge, or color themes?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 2


Have you started decorating your home for the holidays yet?  We haven't done any decorating at all yet, except for the lights outside.  But this desktop wallpaper from freechristmaswallpapers.net has given me some ideas... If only we had a massive fireplace like this!

2012 Christmas Advent Calendar - Day 1

So here we are again, and somehow we've already reached December 1st!  How did that happen so fast?  Where did the time go??

Last year I did a Christmas Advent Calendar by posting something every day about Christmas, because it is my favorite time of the year!  I really enjoyed doing it, and so decided to try it again this year, and I thought that I would start by posting a couple of links to other online Christmas Advent Calendars.

So the first link I'd like to share is to an Advent Calendar that I've enjoyed every year for the past two or three years.
The Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar!
This is a fabulous site which, each day, features a new photo of space taken by the Hubble Telescope.

The second link is a fun little calendar at santagames.net.
A Countdown to Christmas Day!

The third link is a new one to me:
The Museum of Liverpool Online Advent Calendar!
It looks like each day will feature a painting or piece of artwork relating to Christmas, and I can't wait to see what comes next!!

So, I apologize for the late start, but I hope you check back each day and countdown to Christmas with me!
Do you know of any other online Advent Calendars?  Feel free to share a link to your favorite in the comments below!

EDIT - Wait!!  Two more links that I almost forgot to list!!
~Ang at EasternSunset-Reads is sharing Christmas traditions involving stories and music, so be sure to check that out.

Also, Gilion at Rose City Reader does a Vintage Christmas Card Advent Calendar that is fantastic, so check out her blog as well!