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Today was a Christmas-y feeling day. Perhaps it is because it is the first day of December, the month of holidays, family and friends. Or maybe it’s because we woke to another snow covering and it was snowing lightly most of the day. We decorated the outside of the house since it is officially December and now I feel like we can actually start to decorate and not be part of the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas rush. I refuse to be hurried or told what to do this year. I am very proud to say that I bought nothing on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Not-a-blessed-thing, despite the enormous amount of annoying and repetitive emails urging me to “take advantage of the lowest prices” and “get started early on my holiday shopping” and whatever other nonsense they insisted to throw my way in order to make me believe that I had to buy something or I was un-American or some other horrific type of species. Look, I survived! I made it in one end of Black Friday and out Cyber Monday without buying anything.

I am going to try to enjoy the holidays — the spirit, the family, the friends, the whole thing without the stress of the commercialism — because it has no place here.

May your December be equally filled with all the love and good things you associate with the holidays.




P1080391Just a little snow….a dusting of sorts is what we have been waking up to the past few mornings. Crisp, chilly air and a little snow. The sounds of the town plow truck as it makes its way up the hill to drop some sand. The symmetrical strips of sand that cover the roadway.

Tomorrow the calendar flips to December… the month of winter and holidays–and maybe snow?

Well I couldn’t take it anymore. Winter isn’t much of a winter here, sure there’s snow on the ground now, but according to my own personal meteorologist, we are supposed to be getting just rain for the next two days — I know, bummer, right? So, with the sad excuse of a winter around these parts, what’s a girl to do? Look forward to planting her garden.

I got out the bag of potting soil and repotted my Christmas cactus since it woefully needed more soil (don’t worry I used the cacti mix for the cacti) and then topped off the geraniums that came with the house. These geraniums are planted in milkboxes and came with the house. Talk about a guilt trip– the plants were like 15 years old when we bought the house and we have this deep seated obligation to keep them alive come hell or high water — so far neither of those have hit us here, so we’re lucky, we only need to fight snow, frost and the occasionally mean minded chipmunk.

Then, as long as we’re on the obligation route, there are the plants that came with Tyler. — Okay, so they didn’t really come with Tyler because that would just be weird, but we got them as a teeny tiny grouping of plants in a beautiful pot from one of our very dear friends Cathy and her parents when Tyler was born (for those of you who don’t know my middle son is now almost 16 years old) and I’ve been coddling those along through the years. I am sad — very sad — to report that one of the group has recently passed away but I still have it in dirt in the hopes of some type of plant resurrection. Somewhere in my deep sub conscious (once you push aside all the other scary stuff that lives there in the dark) is the fear that if something were to happen to all those plants that something bad would happen to Tyler (yes, I know I am weird and obviously psychologically damaged – but I just like to chalk it up to my Italian superstitious roots — makes me look less nutty that way).

This all probably stems back to the incredible loss of the ivy from my wedding bouquet, which my dear Dad rooted while we were on our honeymoon and proudly presented to me in a pot and then I killed a few months later. I don’t have the ivy and I don’t have my father (I know that those two are not related) I don’t know how the ivy died since I really tried hard to take care of it, but I also don’t think that I can ever get over it — hence my need to keep plants alive.

While I was at it, I planted some seeds — basil, snow peas and cilantro. We’ll see how that goes, some other green things growing around here would be nice.

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I truly love Christmas. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of my dad, who absolutely loved Christmas. He was by far the biggest kid in our house come Christmas time. Each year, we can’t celebrate Christmas without thinking about him and remembering how much I miss him.

Maybe it’s because I love the Christmas music and it’s one of my favorite times in church. At the end of tonight’s service, the lights were turned out, the candles lit and everyone sang “Silent Night”.

Maybe it’s just the company of family and friends — and looking back on how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful people and have them a part of my life. We are reminded this time of the year of those people that we might not see often, but remain near and dear to our hearts. We’re reminded of those with whom we’ve shared holiday memories during the years gone by. We’re lucky and blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

Maybe, it’s the music — traditional Christmas music reminds me of Christmas parties at my grandmother’s house — we kids got to choose the music and play it on her stereo turntable, which was one of those large consoles that was a chunk of furniture in and of itself. While the adults were in the other room talking and laughing, we were playing music, lots of Christmas music.

Maybe it’s because it reminds me of some of the best times I’ve spent with my husband in the years that he was selling Christmas trees including the final weeks leading up to just after Christmas almost 20 years ago, when we got married.

Maybe it is all of those things wrapped into one. Christmas and Christmas Eve were always a chaotic mix of family, friends, presents, food, music and love. I hope that it remains that way for my boys and they can one day look back and remember how special Christmas is.

I hope that it is just as special for you …. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

With love,


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Article first published as Track Santa on Christmas Eve While You’ve Traveling on Technorati.

Remember when you were little and anxiously listened for the sound of reindeer on the rooftop Christmas Eve? This year, Santa is going high-tech. Little ones will be able to get the up-to-the-minute location of Santa with the simple press of a blue button.

This year, OnStar is partnering with the team at the Northa American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD to bring live tracking of Santa right to your OnStar button. NORAD traditionally tracks Santa as he makes his way delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

Using satellites with infrared sensors and other technologies NORAD tracks Santa’s travels and has been doing so for generations of children beginning in 1955 when its predecessor, Continental Air Defense Command started the holiday tradition.

The information is available worldwide. The key however is that you needed to be near a computer or a telephone to see or hear the tracking information.

This year, little ones and their families who are traveling to spend the holiday with family or friends can be in the loop while on the road and know whether Santa is flying overhead.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Christmas Eve, December 24th OnStar subscribers and OnStar FMV owners can press the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to request a “Santa Update”.

OnStar advisers will play the part of Santa’s elves and deliver information as to Santa’s whereabouts until 5 a.m. EST Christmas Day.

According to OnStar’s vice president of Marketing and Business Development, Terry Inch “We see this holiday tradition as staying true to keeping subscribers connected in ways they never thought possible.”

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Here’s a fun and quick Christmas treat! Santa Hat Brownies.



If you live in New England and particularly in Vermont, you kind of expect a white Christmas. One of those Norman Rockwell type New England Christmases– and with good reason. According to information gathered from weather records from the period from 1961-1990 there was a very high probability that Vermont would have a white Christmas. The probability for at least 1 inch of snow on the ground for Christmas in Montpelier is 93% — 5 inches is 72% and 10 inches is 41%.

Unfortunately, warm weather last week killed the last of the snow on the ground and weather forecasts are not predicting any significant possibility for snow before Christmas Day.

Christmas magic, perhaps might be the only way to help things out a little.

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christmas tree lights

Image by swarna rajan - ஸ்வர்ணா ராஜன via Flickr

This week has been one of the best weeks. Nothing crazy to make it stand out, but there have been lots of little things that have made it really rather special. We’ve had a couple nice dinners at home together which hasn’t happened much lately with everyone running around, and some really nice conversations. The boys have been in good moods (maybe its Christmas) and we all loved Tim’s performance at the concert, and the concert itself, which was just fantastic.

This weekend, I baked…a lot… got to spend some quality time with some of the wonderful women in my life and exchanged lots of cookies. Today, after church and my MNO cookie exchange, we headed down to Albany for an afternoon of Christmas shopping. It was a good ride down and back, not too crazy at the mall (if you can believe it) and just a general really good time. It was reminiscent of our rides back and forth from New Jersey to Vermont. Some really good company, some really good conversation and some really adorable guys….a great way to spend a Sunday.

This week ahead, more baking and prepping for the holiday, some Christmas caroling, present wrapping, baccala soaking and general getting everything ready for next weekend. Now…if it would only snow (but not anytime around when my in-laws are driving up, though, we would like them to get here safely).

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Tonight was my first cookie exchange of the weekend, next door at a dear friend’s house. I’ve been attending her cookie exchange since its inception (I think) and even longer than I’ve been living here. Always a fun, enjoyable night with some awesome women.

So….here’s the cookies. A change from my normal chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday was ridiculously warm, well into the high 40s — it even touched 50 for a brief while. The snow is pretty much all gone and the roaring winds that we’ve had over the last 12 hours were the nail in the coffin for the snow. As I type this the sun is out and it looks more like spring than a little more than a week before Christmas here in Vermont.

Ironic since VAST’s snowmobile trails all open this weekend and so does Pico that we should have barely any snow. The forecast is not particularly helpful so far for thoughts of a white Christmas. But I am hoping. If there is one time of the year when there is supposed to be snow, it is Christmas. Damn, those Hollywood movies with their perfect Christmases — oh and their perfect people too, since I’m complaining.

Nonetheless, despite the lack of snow, it is cookie-making weekend as both cookie exchanges I am attending this year both fall this weekend. One is tonight and one is Sunday.

The butter is softening……and then….. off to make some delightful cookies.

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English: Half a dozen home-made cookies. Ingre...

Image via Wikipedia

Today marks 10 days until Christmas Eve. Oh, the pressure. This week involves a lot of baking — I volunteered to bake for the vocal concert tonight and a crumb cake is in the oven as I type this with two cookies exchanges coming up this weekend. I haven’t yet decided what cookies I will bake for either of the cookie exchanges. I’m guessing that it will be dictated by the time that I have to allot to the tasks when the time comes. I tend to default to chocolate chip cookies when I am pressed for time or too insecure to try something new and different. Besides, it’s the one cookie that I know that my family will eat if it makes a return trip. While there are  a lot of very delicious looking cookies out there, a lot of them involve nuts which eliminates at least one member of the family from enjoying them….which is my opinion is kind of mean, especially during Christmas.

Speaking of the concert, I’m anxiously looking forward to hearing Tim sing his solo this evening. It should indeed be fun.

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The lights are hung

the tree is decorated

Let the magic of the season begin!



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