Thursday, December 20, 2007

5 Days and Counting...

Christmas is really really close and I suddenly have this nasty bug that has slowed down my entire procrastinating process. I still have two little girl stockings to make, the law and in-law parents gifts to finish, Christmas letters, half the neighbor treats, besides other minor here's and there's that have waited till the last minute to get tied up. Instead, I have spent the day on the couch watching Karate Kid III and something else before that that I can't even remember (obviously very memorable). Hoping for a big ol' perk up tomorrow. Or maybe tonight even. The early hours of the new day are always a great time to get things done.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mysterious Women

I've heard it said that men think there is always something women are hiding, making them mysterious. I've also heard the advice given to women that they should hold something back so that men think they are more fascinating. I don't know that I've specifically done that, but it's funny to me when suddenly I learn something about myself that I really didn't know before. So I guess without realizing it I am still a mystery to myself. How very... alluring. (kidding)

Today for instance. Here is something, or maybe a few things, I learned about myself today. By the way, I found myself waxing way so eloquently, so sappily, that the letters were almost dripping off the page. So this is the Cliff Notes.

I was reading a friend's blog and she mentioned something that really disturbed me. I'm going to keep that a mystery (bwa-ha-ha!), but it bothered me so much that without realizing it I was really down in mind and spirit for quite a while. When I get like that my soul needs uplifting. Amazing classical music (like Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's 9th) does a wonderful job of this. Like the music helps my spirit cry for a while and release all the built up negative. Yes, that last part was still very sappy.

Very funny, though. When I am almost in tears explaining the Hallelujah Chorus to my children, they gaze back with a look so clear you can almost read it on their faces, "Wow Mom, you really DO need to be committed."

I also decided that this same great classical music is MY cleaning music. There are others I have tried, but although I like the music very much, I usually end up dancing and singing more than cleaning, which defeats the purpose. I got a lot done today, probably because I was so involved in the music that I could almost forget I was cleaning. Super bonus!

While I was cleaning I contemplated the kitchen garbage can. Thank goodness I'm tall enough to that I don't regularly view it eye-to-eye, but down cleaning the floor it is much easier to get a good look at. I knew the lid was in need of some serious bleach and scrubbing, but hello, the front and sides were just as nasty! Do people throw food AT the garbage? I am baffled. I vow to solve this mystery. We homemakers have so few truly intellectually stimulating diversions in the cleaning department, I think this should fit the bill.

And finally, Carolyn. She took a 1 1/2 hour bath today and was in pure heaven. She was calling me at one point so I went in to see what she needed. The plug was down, but almost no bathwater.

Me: Are you all done?
Carolyn: No.
Me: Theeeeennnnn... where's all the water?
Carolyn: I let it out.
Me: How come?
Carolyn: I ruined it.
Me: (Not sure what to say, thinking "Biiiiiig uh oh," then)
Carolyn: I got it too soapy.
Me: Oh!
Carolyn: Can you get me more water?

See, she's only 3 and already knows how to string me along.

Blog Brownies

I learned about these from Holly's blog. Reading the recipe alone had me drooling, so I made them a few weeks ago for a family Christmas party. After tasting them, I told Jamie we should stop and buy some cookies and just eat these all ourselves. Seeing as how I am so kind, not only did we take them to the party, I made more a couple nights ago to take to the neighbors for our yearly Merry Christmas treat.

ENJOY! Oh, and where the recipe was posted they were called Grasshopper Brownies, but I'm choosing to call them:

Absolutely Divine Mint Brownies

2 boxes brownie mix

Mint Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup soft butter
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring

Chocolate Topping:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used some of the really dark chocolate ones)
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp. peppermint extract

1) To make the Brownies follow the recipe for "cake-like" brownies. Or if there isn't one, add 3 more eggs. (The recipe I used called for 3 eggs per box for the "cake-like," but I did 5 total. Just couldn't entirely make the "cake-like" jump.) Pour into a LARGE (I used my 20ish x 12ish), greased cookie sheet, bake and let cool completely

2) To make the mint frosting, combine powdered sugar, butter, water, peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate until hard on top.

3) To make chocolate topping microwave chocolate chips and butter for 2 minutes. Stir until all chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Add 1-2 tsp. peppermint extract. As soon as this mixture thickens and is no longer hot, spread over mint topping on brownies. Put back into the refrigerator until hard.

4) Enjoy! This batch makes A LOT.

A Sweet Family Home Evening

I was given this idea by my wonderful visiting teacher Karen. Sammy's favorite scripture story is Samuel the Lamanite, so we totally had to try it out when it was his turn for the lesson this past Monday.

We first talked about Samuel, and how he tried to teach but they kicked him out of the city, so then he climbed up and preached from the wall. We built the wall using Rice Krispie Treats, and used a Lego guy for Samuel. Then we read Samuel's prophecy of Christ's birth. Then we threw marshmellows at Samuel, while Jamie protected Samuel by deflecting marshmellows with a DVD case.

A very fine, memorable lesson. Thank you Karen!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Jamie just wandered out from the bedroom (he went in to crash 1 1/2 hours ago) and asked me if I already went to bed. I glanced at the clock, 12:15am. "Already went to bed?" Like I have already slept, and am back in my clothes (the same I wore yesterday nonetheless), and working away? I'm so confused. He went back to bed. I know I talk in my sleep, but it's rare that I walk AND talk in my sleep. Love you, Jamie. Thanks for checking on me. Even if it was only in your dreams. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007


(First, refer to the last post...)

...and then your needle breaks, and you have the tip but then it goes FLYING to the floor, so then you look around a lot and can't see it, and fearing the baby will find it and eat it or that hubby will find it in his foot, you sweep the floor and do finally find it (whew!). Then you get a new needle and get back to work.

Yet, wow! Is this why they tell you to change needles every so often? This is going so smoothly, and even quieter.

I'm sure it would be quicker too, if I stopped turning around to the computer.


Isn't it funny how you put things off because you think they will take a long time or that they will be really hard, and then they don't and aren't?

Go figure.

(Don't ask questions at Christmas time.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Playing Around

While I was adding the list of blogs I like to read earlier (there are many more, but these are some I thought others might be interested in), I realized yet again how boring looking my blog is. I'm feeling kind of odd (sort of migrainish or something) though I'm okay just sitting here mostly still, so I decided to do a little jazzing. Nothing too amazing yet, but I had fun making the heading. Can you tell the thingies hanging off the "Still Swinging" are swings? I am so clever. It definitely needs more 'fun stuff,' but we all know that will take more playing.

This month has been supremely busy so far. I feel like every December I spend so much time getting everyone else's Christmas ready that I can't hardly get ours ready. For "fun" I just counted - I've mailed out 30 orders that involved 61 bracelets. Adding the last week of November, it makes it 37 orders and 78 bracelets. I've got 3 orders (12 bracelets) that need to get made and out the door, and 7 other orders (12 bracelets) still waiting for payment or sizing info. This should all be slowing up soon, since people start getting worried about things being mailed in time, as they should.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What's on YOUR Tree?

I could list off at least 37 things I should be doing right now, but being the avoider that I am, I'll do them later. Instead I took pictures of things on our Christmas tree and thought I would share them with the world. I love putting up the tree every year because it's so fun and so full of memories. As Melanie put it Saturday night while pulling out her ornaments, "It's like we're opening up a bunch of presents!" It's just cozy bringing out all those fun little things you only see once a year.

So here you have it, glimpses of the Hall Family Christmas Tree.

Starting at the top, a beautiful angel given to Melanie by her aunt. Melanie argues with me every year to put up the one we used to, one I made when I was probably 13 years old. Believe me, this is far FAR cuter.

Two things made from nuts - one, an adorable walnut baby carriage bought for Carolyn while my parents were in Germany...

...the other, made by my grandma for me a looooong time ago. She's holding a sign that says, "Happiness is a THUMB." Not to mention Scruffy the Tugboat and Yoda.

A boutonniere worn by Jamie's brother at our wedding, and...

...a decoration (I have two actually) from my parents' wedding.

A jar of Christmas Spirit

A really happy grill

Not only the shipping box from "A Christmas Story" (which talks by the way)...

...but the leg lamp as well.

A camel from Afghanistan right next to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.

And last, though certainly not least, not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Elvis ornaments. (Would that be four Elvisi?) Can you see them all? One is mine, the other three are Sammy's. Shhhh, but if I remember right from after-Christmas shopping last year, I believe in less than a month there will be a FIFTH Elvis!

Maybe I just don't 'get it,' but I can't even imagine that the people with the 'perfect' Christmas trees enjoy theirs nearly as much.