Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fantasy of Lights

So, yesterday I did a few things and learned some thing about myself. 

First, we went to the Flea Market in San Jose.  A complete waste of time.  I don't know if it might be better when it's not December 29th and really cold, but yesterday, not so good.  It was mostly a bunch of cheap kids' toys, cheap shoes, fake flowers, cheap underwear, and other cheap stuff.

Then we went to Christmas in the Park in San Jose to ride the ferris wheel.  I found out that I don't like ferris wheels.  I was terrified.  But Katie likes to ride ferris wheels and I thought it would be fun (that was before I realized that ferris wheels scare me).  I was afraid we were going to be blown off the wheel or that it was going to collapse.  Not so fun.  But I can laugh about it now.





Then we went to the World's largest Monopoly board (across the street from the office) and took a few pictures.  Maybe Katie will post some of the pictures ...

and then last night we went to the Fantasy of Lights (FOL) in Los Gatos.  Fortunately, someone from my office had given me the special 3D glasses (they ran out of these the first week and this is the final week).  Anyway, when you wear the glasses the lights become psychedelic, with rainbow colors -- that made it fun.  Here are Katie and Robin wearing the AMAZING glasses ..




Here's what my Christmas tree looks like with the glasses on -- really cool! Next year, we might just drive around the neighborhood wearing the glasses (we just have to make sure the driver isn't wearing the glasses).


Anyway, the glasses were the best thing about the light show.  They kind of forgot Christmas in the lights.  There were dinosaurs and a volcano, and some dancing veggies, a tooth, and a clipper ship, to mention a few of the items.  There was very little mention of Christmas (not even Santa) and no nativity scene at all. 



All in all it was a very good day (in spite of the flea market) -- we even had time to play Liar's Dice and Scrabble.  and guess who won the Scrabble game???

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas with the Wagners

Here are some Christmas pics from the Wagner house .. actually these are all the pictures I took, except for two of "Uncle Paul"* (where he was making funny faces) and one of Uncle Paul (where he was sleeping -- but it was very blurry).

Mark.
Kelly and Robin.
Mikey - all smiles (shirt #1 - Superman)

Mikey (with Gpa in the background)(shirt #2 Spiderman)

Mikey (with Andrew in the background)(shirt #3 - spiderman)

Robin and Gpa.

 Andrew and daddy (Michael)(with mommy (Brieanna) in the background)...

Andrew and Aunt Kelly.

Mikey, on stage.

The whole family (minus Grandpa).

Mark.

*Mikey's and Andrew's grandfather wants them to call him "Uncle Paul" because he seems to think he's not old enough to be called Grandpa -- but they already have an Uncle Paul, so he's going to have to learn to deal.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

My favorite thing this week is The Adventures of Tintin.





When we were kids, we used to go to my cousin’s house and read the books out loud together.  There were eight of us – four in my family and four in the Deshler family.  Each person would get to be a character in the book  - if you know the books, there’s Tintin, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, Thompson, and Thomson and various other characters.  Tintin has this little white dog, Snowy.  I used to get to be Snowy.  There weren’t many lines, just barking and thinking, but I thought it was the best part.  Of course, I was probably given the part because I was the youngest and couldn’t be counted on to be able to read all the words of the other characters.


My cousins had all of the Tintin books.  I don’t know if they discovered them when they were in Africa* but they started the collection and then we had them at home too.  My favorite of the books was either Destination Moon or Explorers on the Moon.  What I liked best about these two books were Thompson and Thomson (the twins) - they took some pills for motion sickness or something and their hair grew incredibly long and turned all sorts of different colors (like the “horse of a different color” in the Wizard of Oz).  (Funny what we like when we’re young.) 

At some point in time, I would like to collect all the Tintin books for my grandchildren to read and enjoy.

So that’s my second and final FTF for 2010.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


*My cousins lived in Africa for a while back in the early 60s because my uncle worked for the University of Maryland and was doing some work there.  You can google Walter Deshler and you might find something about what he was doing. (I honestly have no idea what he was doing there - perhaps I’ll google him, too.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial - Cinnamon Bread

Every year, I make cinnamon bread as gifts for friends and co-workers.  I think they like it.  I think it's really good ...

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 package yeast
1/4 c. sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. butter (softened)
2 eggs

filling:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon

I usually double the recipe and make three loaves of bread at a time.  The recipe was adapted from a Fannie Farmer cookbook.

First, you dissolve the yeast in a bowl with warm milk and wait for it to activate - about 5 minutes (this is activated yeast).


Then you add eggs, sugar, salt, and softened butter and mix.



then you add the flour, about a cup at a time





 and continue to mix until dough is no longer sticky and shapes into a ball, like this.



Cover with a damp towel and let rise 40 minutes in a warm spot.  I usually turn my oven on, and as soon as it starts to heat up I turn it off and put the bowl in the oven.  (My mother used to put her bread in her furnace room to rise.)  After 40 minutes of rising, the dough should be doubled in size.  Punch down dough, divide, knead each section separately.

Roll out each portion with a rolling pin until approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Spread with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll dough up like a jelly roll and put in buttered bread pan.  Do with each section.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled. (These have already doubled and are ready for the oven.)



Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

And then you have cinnamon bread to share!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

So, I caved and we got a cut tree instead of an artificial one.  Fortunately, my daughter decorated it so that part is done.
I just wish I felt like Christmas.  It looks like it .. and with the bread baking it smells like it.  I just need to get into the giving and all that.  We even have our Christmas party this Thursday night (actually it's called a "holiday party" but everyone knows it's a Christmas party).

I'm just not feeling very festive.  I feel like I knew this was coming but I just didn't try hard enough to get things done.  so my stockings aren't made.  I didn't make any gifts.  Okay, this is a downer, so I'll just end here.  Here are a few more pictures of the tree.

Kelly decorating the tree!
Lego hiding behind the tree.
The family room ...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

One of my favorite things is collecting.  I have to work hard at not collecting everything.  Right now I have a few collections -- jars (I only have a few because I don't want to pay more than $1-$2 for them), Judy Bolton books (like Nancy Drew but not nearly as popular), finger puppets, pitchers, and my favorite collection this time of year, The Night Before Christmas.  I have about 30 different copies of the Night Before Christmas. 



This is one of my favorites -- You can't tell by looking at it but it's a really cool pop-up!

(Another one of my favorite things is reading quilting blogs .. I got favorite things friday from here.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Carols


I love singing Christmas carols/songs.  They are my favorite. Although I can't carry a tune, I sing with all my heart -- much to the dismay of anyone who can hear!! :) Some of my favorites (not in any particular order) ...

Emmanuel (as sung by Amy Grant)
Angels We Have Heard on High
White Christmas (not really a carol though ...)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The Gift Goes On
Tennessee Christmas

I could go on and on.  The favorite Christmas album in our house is Amy Grant.  When I was growing up it was The Little Drummer Bo.

What are your favorites?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

more family pictures

It's taken me a couple of weeks to post these, sorry.  The following are pictures from my "trip" east in November.

Although the circumstances were lousy .. it was great to see all my cousins, especially Jeff and Jon whom I had not seen in about 15 years. I didn't take any pictures of Jon's family (what's up with that?). Also, I had nice conversations with both Jeff and Jon.  It'd be nice to see them again, sometime sooner than 15 years from now.

Jono
Rachel, Aunt Ila and Sara
 Grandpa Mack and JJ talking ...

 Three generations: Aunt Ila, JoAnn, Kaylie, and Jessie.

 Jono and Stephen.

 Anna & Katie -- sweet.

 Katie on the beach with JJ in the background.

 Anna, Sara, and Jessie.

 Jeff White and family -- Hannah, Beth, Jeff, and Zach.  You can see a film directed by Zach here.

 Jon White and Aunt Mearlene ... (Jon looks a lot like Uncle Dick).

Brothers :).  JJ and Jono.

Cody.
Jeff and Bruce.

 That's it for now. later.