For the record, I am not dead.

Although, if I were, it would make me supremely happy to know that this little guy was hanging out with me. I know it has been two weeks since my last post, and for that I sincerely apologize. It wasn’t until a reader checked in on me that it really sunk in. I’ve been a terrible blogger this month. The good news is this – I am not dead. I’m not even sick. My allergies are bugging me a little, but it’s Houston in the fall and that’s completely normal. Annoying, but normal.

Fact is, I’ve just been a little too focused on other things. We were out so much for our long vacation and a week visiting family for Thanksgiving and a long weekend with the grandkids that I kind of got busy trying to make up for all that. We got our broken attic door fixed, so The Complete Package and I were finally able to drag all the Christmas decorations down. I spent 2 days unpacking it all, putting the tree up, and decorating the family room. Contrary to previous years’ decorations, I decided to focus all my Christmas cheer on one room instead of the entire downstairs. It has worked out pretty well, since it’s the room we spend most of our time in. Or at least that’s what I’m choosing to believe this year. One room is enough. Nothing beats sitting in a room at night with the lights from the tree casting a warm glow around the room, especially if there’s a fire going in the fireplace at the same time. I love our family room during the holidays.

See? When I said I finished my Christmas shopping, I wasn't lying.

I mixed up a ton of shortbread cookie dough for Cookie Week, which just happens to start Monday over at Kirsten’s Comfortably Domestic blog. It’s like Pie Week from November, but with cookies and a cause instead. Six bloggers are selecting six recipes from the Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook to feature on our blogs this week. My post will be up Tuesday, but please click here to check out Kirsten’s posts. She’s kicking it off Monday with a savory recipe and from what I understand, it was good enough to inspire snacking right out of the bowl – before they were even baked. Now that’s gotta be a good cracker. PS – I’m doing a giveaway with my cookie post and so is Kirsten. Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m giving away, so don’t forget to drop by Tuesday and enter. And visit Kirsten’s blog to enter her giveaway, too.

If you haven't tackled your holiday baking, you're going to want this.

Last week, The Complete Package and I spent two whole days sitting in a big tall building in downtown Houston for a retirement seminar. It’s hard to believe we’re attending stuff like this since he’s 54 and I’m 48, but the truth is this – you can never start planning for retirement too early. And frankly, even then it’s a crap shoot. But we enjoyed the seminar, and we learned some things we didn’t know and need to look into, and we feel like we’re better prepared to move forward. And that counts for something. Or at least it should.

We'll be THAT couple & TCP will probably honk and flip you the bird

The Complete Package made homemade pomegranate Turkish Delight last week. It was an experiment in recapturing his favorite sweet from our last vacation. It took one full week to ‘set up’ and the results were disappointing. Too soft – the texture just fell apart when you touched it instead of being the consistency of a soft gummy worm. But all is not lost. We have other recipes and techniques to try, and try again we will! As a bonus, we had leftover pistachios and we’re planning to try homemade pistachio ice cream soon. See? When God closes a door, he opens a window somewhere else.

Time to break out Christine again. She's evil; pure evil.

This weekend, TCP picked up one of his Christmas presents early. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but it’s black and shiny and produces grilled and smoke meats in an outdoor setting. Okay, so that’s not so subtle a hint. The upside is that we’ll be enjoying smokey meat for years to come. The downside is that it came in a huge box and looked like the assembly instructions for an entire Ikea living room set. He spent 2 days assembling the darn thing. It’s up, it’s seasoned, and it’s ready to roll. Now we just need 200 pounds of cow or pig to fill it. I’m not kidding – this thing is a beast, and TCP is determined to tame it.

TCP's smokey pork ribs. I'll have what he's having.

I’m hosting a day of cookie baking with friends next week. We’re going to bake holiday cookies all day, with each of us making a different cookie. While it’s all baking we going to hang out and play cards and visit. When it’s all done, we’re going to divide it all up a la cookie exchange so everyone goes home with a jumbo tray of mixed goodies. I can’t wait. Something about this Christmas just seems shinier and brighter. Maybe it’s the colder weather we’ve been having. Maybe it’s that our decorations and tree are finally up. Maybe it’s Cookie Week with my blogging friends and our cookiepalooza day next week. Whatever it is, I’m all in. I’m looking forward to this Christmas more than any other.

My favorite band of holiday misfits in finger puppet form

How about you? Are you looking forward to the holidays? Will you be traveling to see family and friends? Are you listening to that radio channel that plays nothing but holiday music in your hometown, or dragging out your holiday CD collection at home? Are there any favorite TV specials or holiday-themed movies you just HAVE to watch every year for the holidays? And lastly – and this is an important one – do you drink eggnog, and if so do you add booze or no booze? Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of eggnog, but I could be persuaded… with the right recipe. If you have one, feel free to share!

What's the story with eggnog? Booze or no booze?

Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks for checking on me. I’m well. Everything’s fine. And I hope you can say the same. -Jeanne



Filed under Family Stuff, Miscellaneous Thoughts

17 responses to “For the record, I am not dead.

  1. I am all about boozenog or rumnog. Although, when I worked at the grocery store, I saw a man with his t-shirt 1/2 off, belly hanging out, stained sweatpants, guzzle 1/2 a gallon of egg nog in the store. It was quite possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.
    I WANT CHRISTMAS AT YOUR HOUSE!!! Your living room reminds me of my parents’ house at the holidays. Cheer and joy spilling out of every corner. THAT is why my decorations seem so sad. Merry Christmas!

    • I’m digging the idea of rumnog, although your description of Eggnog Man makes me throw up a little. I think my problem with eggnog is the texture. It’s so thick. Maybe I can find a lighter version that won’t curl my toes, and then add in enough of a good rum that will curl my toes. {wink}

  2. Love it!! love the finger puppets, ESPECIALLY love the pic of ya’ll in the car!!

    • Well, technically we’re not the ones in the car. We’re not quite there in age… yet. But when we do get there, I hope we’re spunky and adventurous like those 2. I feel confident that we will be. I love those finger puppets, too. I’ve had them for years. They go on our mantle every Christmas. Hope you have a very happy holidays, Katie!

  3. Kat

    1. Your tree is 11/10.
    2. You actioned Turkish Delight? Seriously?!
    3. The Rudolph finger puppets killed me dead.
    4. I rather enjoyed the format of this post. Maybe The Message from Jeanne could be a monthly feature? It really works with your voice.

    • 1. Thanks, Kat! That’s a lifetime of collecting cool glass tree ornaments you’re looking at.
      2. Seriously. He actioned TD. Didn’t turn out right, but we promise to keep trying ’til it does.
      3. Me, too. I have such a crush on Yukon Cornelius, and I love the “Misfit” song from Rudolph.
      4. Not sure the world is ready for me to spread The Message. I might get power hungry and lead people astray. ;-)

  4. Hope yu have a wonderful Christmas and Im glad to see yu back and well and above ground :))

  5. There is a whole lot going on here and I am loving every minute of it!!
    And is it weird that I want to hug your tree? It’s so happy and beautimus, it must be loved.

  6. Your cookie day sounds really fun! I’ve never done that. With all the drinking, it’s probably best that I bake alone. Just NOT eggnog! Gross. (Gives me the trots. Just sayin’. TMI?)

    • The answer is yes. That was TMI, but I appreciate the check mark for the “reasons I shouldn’t try it” side of my eggnog list. Guess I’ll stick to the Weller’s Reserve. Why dilute a good thing, know what I’m sayin’? As for cookie day, I’m looking forward to it. If you can’t make it, will you send Dobbie? There is no snow to practice for his penmanship badge, but I do have a nice set of kitchen knives he can play with.

  7. Deb

    I don’t like eggnog, it’s just too thick for me!! Hubby loves it, so I let him drink it and I drink the booze for him! It’s a win/win!! (and I’m just a nice wife that way, always looking for ways to help him!)
    Love, love, love the finger puppets!!! They remind me of all the years of watching that cartoon every year with my daughter while she was growing up! Now, she watches it with her two kiddos!! *sobs* Man, time goes too fast!! But, I am blessed to get to see them enjoy it now each year!! Where did you find them? I would love to get some!
    I’m with you, Christmas cookies are the best!!!! Love this time of year!!!! Bring on the goodies!!!

    • I’ve only tried eggnog a few times and I had the same reaction – too thick. It’s a texture thing for me. Those Rudolph finger puppets came from Hallmark many, many moons ago. They came in a little red metal lunchbox. I haven’t seen them since, so I’m not sure they’re still available. I look forward to putting them out every year. As for cookies – tune in tomorrow for my shortbread cookies. They are super tasty. I also include all the blog links for the rest of our Cookie Week bloggers. There’s no telling how many new recipes you might acquire this week, Deb!

  8. Big Sis

    Well, I was begining to wonder. Thought I might have to send a rescue squad down south! Tree looks beautiful, glad someone has their shopping all done, and the cookie swap sounds fun. Hope you have a great Christmas!! love you!!

    • Thanks, Sis. And back atcha. When does Sean make it home from West Point for Christmas? Soon, I hope! We wish you guys a very Merry Christmas, too. Love you back – Jeanne

  9. Your room looks lovely. I change which end of the couch I sit/lie on during Christmas time so that I can see our tree.

    As for eggnog, none for me, thank you. I prefer hot chocolate/cocoa with a shot of Baileys or Peppermint Schnapps. Mmmmmm.

    I will pick up some of the cookie butter this week and let you know how it is.

    Have a great time with your cookie bake/exchange.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I’m looking forward to cookie day. Should be a blast. Love your comment about your tree and where you sit. I do the exact same thing. I sit on the end of the sofa this time of year so I can enjoy the tree in all its glory. Glad to know I’m not the only one. PS – Cocoa & peppermint Schnapps? Sounds delish!

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