/*from pinterest*/
Almost Christmas

Almost Christmas

The temperature is hovering around zero Celsius and it’s sunny. It snowed a few days ago and there’s still snow on the ground so, it looks like we will have a White Christmas.

Tonight the temperature will dip to minus 14 Celsius, but tomorrow, for “Christmas Eve Day”, we’ll have a high of minus 5. And sunny again.

The roads outside the city have mostly been cleared so those travelling should be okay, unless they’re trying to get through the mountains. Better to fly.

Closer to home, like in our back alley, the water main is broken. The city crew and heavy equipment are back there working as quickly as they can, trying to get the water back online. The good news is that the Emergency Water Supply is right in front of our house so we don’t have far to walk for potable water.

Emergency Water Supplu

The fridge is full. Tree lights are glowing and glitter is glittering. Santa’s sleigh is loaded and ready for takeoff. The main celebration is about to begin. In preparation for January, I’m trying to taper off my intake of Starbuck’s seasonal drinks. I love this stuff.

Starbuck's seasonal drinks

And so, it is almost Christmas. Are you ready? Or as ready as you are going to be? Of course, you are. It’s time to stop preparing and settle in for the holiday. Whatever does not get done can wait for another year. I’ll be happy to have water coming out of the tap. Kudos to those city workers who are out there in the cold fixing pipes! 

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

To all of you, far and wide, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or the Solstice or your own special brand of Winter Wonderful, I wish you the best of the season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and new decade.

For your enjoyment, here’s a video of the Christmas fairies checking out our neighbourhood. That’s me on the right, waving to you. 🙂

And to all a good night!

snowman and house from Depositphotos.com #8086284

Write Chicks

Write Chicks

Last Saturday, some of the “Write Chicks” had a Christmas party. It was hosted by the mega-creative Write Chick, Katie O’Connor. Katie is the Queen of Christmas decorations!

For this get-together, we had a potluck lunch and a Secret Santa gift exchange.

pot luck

pot luck

“Write Chicks” is a group of writers who meet to provide motivation and accountability for each other, and to get “words on the page”. At the party, we tallied up our word counts for the year, and guess what? As a group, these Write Chicks wrote about 900,000 words.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t contribute many words to that total—but I am definitely motivated for next year.

Christmas Cookies

I love Christmas cookies!

At the party, we also had two contests.

  • Best Holiday Outfit, and
  • Ugliest Sweater

Here are the sweaters and outfits.

Katie O'Connor

Katie O’Connor

Katie O’Connor writes contemporary romance, often steamy ones! Now, she’s also writing cozy mysteries. Find her here

Shelley Kassian

Shelley Kassian

Shelley Kassian writes Romantasy, a combination of Fantasy + Romance. Find her here.

Brenda Sinclair

Brenda Sinclair

Brenda Sinclair writes historical western romance and contemporary romance. She has published over twenty novels. Find her here.

Katie O’Connor, Shelley Kassian and Brenda Sinclair are part of the Women of Stampede series. You can read about the project here

Jenna Howard

Jenna Howard

Jenna Howard loves to write sexy, contemporary romance. Find her here. By the way, I love the Welcome page she has on her website.

Victoria Chatham

Victoria Chatham

Victoria Chatham writes “history, mystery and love”. You can find her here

A.M. Westerling

A.M. Westerling

A.M. Westerling writes historical romance “from Vikings to Viscounts” and she is the winner of the Best Holiday Outfit. I love the necklace with the flashing Christmas lights. You can find her here.

Both Victoria Chatham and A.M. Westerling are authors with Books We Love.

M.K. Stelmack

M.K. Stelmack

M.K. Stelmack is a contemporary and historical romance author who writes for Harlequin Heartwarming about “Home & Heart, Family & Friends”. You can find her here.

MK is the winner of the Ugliest Sweater contest. (Points also for the tinfoil hat and earrings.)

Suzanne Stengl

Suzanne Stengl

And this is me. The Sweet Romance author. I’m still hobbling around with my cane, but next year, I get a brand new hip.

Thank you, Santa!

The Christmas Chronicles

The Christmas Chronicles

This year, Netflix produced “The Christmas Chronicles” and it’s the best holiday movie I’ve seen in a long time.

There are nights when I can’t sleep and Netflix is my drug of choice. So, on one of my sleepless nights, I scrolled through the Netflix offerings and found this Christmas movie starring Kurt Russell as Santa. And what an excellent Santa he is! Cool and macho and I love that coat!

I’ve watched the movie twice more with Rolf and we are both hoping we’ll be able to buy this one on Blu-Ray and put it in our Christmas Collection.

The basic premise is this: two siblings are left alone on Christmas Eve because their mother has to work in the Emergency Department at the hospital and their firefighter dad died last year. Teddy, a teenager, is unimpressed with having to babysit his younger sister Katie, but she concocts a plan to catch Santa on video and Teddy helps out.

The two kids end up in the back of Santa’s sleigh and cause Santa to have a near crash with a Boeing. Santa loses his hat, his bag of toys and his reindeer. The rest of the film deals with finding those items and saving Christmas.

There’s a car theft, a car chase, a reindeer chase, and Santa ends up in jail where he performs a blues “Santa Claus is Back in Town” with a cell-full of accompaniment. The police get the Christmas spirit and release Santa. Eventually, all is put to rights, the good guys triumph and the bad guys get coal. And the ending has a surprising and charming cameo that I know you’ll love.

I’ve read some of the serious critic reviews and many of them like to diss the movie. But on sites like the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) the user reviews are mostly positive. When I looked this morning, the overall rating was for 7.3 out of 10.

For me, the movie was heartwarming and enjoyable, even without eggnog. Don’t pay a lot of attention to the naysayers. Watch “The Christmas Chronicles” yourself and make your own decision. Bah Humbug to the critics.

Have you seen “The Christmas Chronicles” yet? Do you like binge-watching Netflix movies? What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Image from imdb.com

Simple Gifts – Child’s Artwork

Simple Gifts – Child’s Artwork

A child’s artwork, particularly a very young child’s artwork, can make a great Christmas gift.

All you need is:

  • The masterpiece — or a section of it
  • A clip frame (see Michael’s or similar craft store)

The clip frame looks like this:

Put it together and you get this:

child’s artwork

This little artist is not yet two years old, and already So Talented!

(Yes, I know, I may be somewhat biased . . . )

When my kids were little, and all these colourful pieces of artwork came home, they ended up on the fridge and on various bulletin boards. After a month or so, new artwork showed up and replacements were made. Nowadays, many fridges no longer have a metal front. Hence, magnets on the fridge are no longer an option. That’s just sad.

Another use for these artwork pages would be as notepaper for a letter to be sent in the mail. The Mail, as opposed to E-mail or text. Mailing an actual physical letter is a cumbersome process. It involves finding an envelope and a stamp and finding a writing instrument such as a pen, pencil or crayon. It also necessitates a trip to the post office or a mailbox. And so, it’s not often done anymore.

I imagine at some point, they will invent transporter beams and these pieces of art could be sent using that technology. In fact, while they are developing the technology, artwork might be the thing to practice on.  If anything goes wrong with the transmission, there is always more artwork!

And in the meantime, I think it’s fun to preserve a few pieces with this simple framing method.

More ideas for Simple Gifts

  • A Bottle of Wine – find it here
  • Soup Mix in a Jar – find it here
  • Cookie Mix – find it here
  • Tea – find it here
  • Poppycock – find it here

I hope you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas. Happy crafting!

artwork by Bob

On Christmas Day in the morning

On Christmas Day in the morning

My sons and their families were at our house last night to celebrate Christmas Eve with our traditional “Deli Night” of Westphalian ham, tea sausage, zwiebel mettwurst, Appenzeller, Camembert, meat salad, herring salad, Caesar Salad, Tilsiter cheese, buns (especially “salt sticks”), various salamis and devilled eggs.

There was also a “Happy Birthday” cupcake and a blue candle for Bob’s first birthday. And Crave gingerbread cupcakes and lots of other desserts.
After the feast, we opened gifts. Bob needed help opening his tool set. He was more interested in practicing walking, exploring our house, and digging in the coffee tree. (Yay for dust busters!) I also gave him a book—Pride and Prejudice, a board book about counting—to introduce him to the classics.

This morning, we are all quietly celebrating our own Christmas Days.

Last night, Christmas Carol brought two kinds of homemade granola: Coconut Granola with  Fig,  Almonds & Rhubarb, and Crazy Town Granola made of oats, almonds, Heritage flakes, Chia and other stuff. There is also a jar of strawberry blueberry Cereal Topper.
So this morning’s quiet breakfast was the Crazy Town Granola and strawberry blueberry sauce in my Denman Island cereal bowl with a cup of Admiral Grey from Tea Traders.
Christmas morningAt the moment, there is light snow and it’s minus 15. The walks have been shovelled, at least for the first time today. All is calm.

I’m looking forward to some writing time before meeting Rolf for a lunch of leftover deli. Then maybe some jigsaw puzzle time and maybe a walk in the snow. Supper will just be the two of us and stuffed turkey breast, cranberries, baked spuds and veggies. And some of the Hornby Island Wild Blackberry Dessert Wine.

Tomorrow, on boxing day, the whole family will meet again for “Lasagna Night”.

I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful Christmas Day.

Canadian Winter

Canadian Winter

The weather office brings good news, telling us the extreme cold will let up on Sunday. I miss doing “buggy walks” in the park with Baby Bob and Makita, the Labradoodle.

I’m avoiding stores at this time of year. Often, after I swim at the Y, I like to go to Starbucks for a latte and I like to wander around Chapters, looking at all the books. But at this time, pre-Christmas, both places seem overwhelmed with rushing shoppers. And that is definitely not relaxing!

For the most part, my Christmas prep is done. But then, I don’t go overboard. We went to the forest on December 3rd and got our trees. And we had decent weather for that, hovering around freezing. We even had a picnic in the sunshine beside a frozen lake. The next day, it was minus 28 Celsius.

(Translation for my American friends: – 28 C = -18.4 F)

Meanwhile, three of my sisters are in Cabo in +28 Celsius. But they will soon be returning to the Canadian winter. Brrrrrrr!

The presents are bought. (Just little token things, nothing extravagant.) I still need to wrap them. Maybe I’ll get Rolf to do that. The menu is the usual Deli Night for Christmas Eve. It only involves going to the store and collecting once-a-year delicacies. Plus, I’ll probably make some salads. The whole family loves Deli Night.

The next day, my sons and their loved ones will each spend Christmas Day with their own traditions. Rolf and I will go for a walk, do jigsaw puzzles, relax and have a quiet no-fuss supper. Then the next day, the whole family will meet again, this time for lasagna and Caesar salad, and we’ll get to play with Baby Bob’s toys.

On my “home” tab this year, I have collected some of my favourite “Christmas posts” from other years. (If the home tab has changed, you can just click on the Categories list and choose Christmas.) I find it fun to go back and reread, and I hope you do too. 🙂

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

ornaments from bigstockphoto.com #109271081