Today is the first Sunday of Advent!  It is early this year (or it seems so), and I am happy to break out all my awesome Christmas music.  I know the Christmas season doesn't officially begin until, well, Christmas, but there is just too much beautiful music to cram into those twelve days, so I enjoy it now.

I will try to recommend a different Christmas album or collection every week this Advent, since my taste in music is a bit out of the mainstream and most people haven't heard of stuff I like.  My music recommendations for this first week are Celtic Celebration and Celtic Celebration 2 by the Night Heron Consort.  The arrangements are beautiful and prayerful and really do justice to the meaning of the season.

Don't you just hate it when the holiday music on the radio consists of all these people ridiculously oversinging every song?  I mean, seriously, people.  Chill out.  I always thought of Advent and Christmastime to be such a peaceful, hushed time.

A Child born in the still of the night, surrounded by gently cooing animals.

Angels in the darkened sky calling the news to lonely shepherds in the fields.

The three Magi traveling in the darkness, following the star to the stables, then stealing away into the night.

So let us enjoy the peace of the season and save your vocal chords (yes, Ms. Carey, I'm talking to you) for another day.

In conclusion, here is my favorite non-religious Christmas song, sung by the only person who should ever sing it.


Tripping, Turkeys, and Tires

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and hasn't yet gotten trampled in a Black Friday frenzy.  I can't even imagine going out shopping today.  I am running out of some really essential groceries like milk, bread, and Goldfish crackers, but I'm staying home and waiting until tomorrow to venture the streets.

Plus, my car has a flat tire.  Again.  But that story should end yesterday's narrative, so we'll come back to in a few minutes.

Yesterday morning, things were just peachy.  The cherry pie was finished and looked great.  See?  The house was clean, my outfit was ready, we all slept in, and life was good. 

Then, while I was taking pictures of important things, like this pie, Wee Ninja Girl tripped over my leg and totally face planted onto the (hardwood, of course) floor in the dining room.  She bit her bottom lip and scuffed her nose.  She now has a lovely purple mark on the inside of her lip, but she doesn't seem to be bothered by it.  I think it took me longer to recover.

Later, we packed up and went to my Awesome-in-laws for dinner.  We brought WNG's port-a-crib and all her bedtime gear in the hopes that she would take her nap there.

She didn't.  Not one wink.

Luckily, even when she is overtired, WNG is generally well-behaved, although she did hoark down what remained of a cranberry-walnut topping for brie and crackers and then refuse to eat any dinner other than about 3 green beans.  Needless to say, she has been eating an awful lot today!

Dinner itself was wonderful and we had a great time.  The turkey was perfection itself and all the trimmings and desserts were fantastic.

On the way home, in the cold and slight drizzle, we got a flat tire.  It is literally a two-mile drive from the A-i-L's house to our own, but we only made it halfway.  Of course, the trunk of my car was packed full, so we ended up having to put as much stuff as possible (including the tire!) in the backseat next to WNG, who wasn't as cranky as I was by then.

This stupid tire keeps going flat, even though we've had it checked out by tire pros and they all have said it's fine.  We tightened the little metal thingy in the valve thingy and it seemed to work for a while, but now we're going to replace the whole valve and hope for the best.  Or we could just buy a new tire.  Sigh.

Enjoy your leftovers!


So. Yeah.

Lest my faithful reader fear that I have succumbed in the Great Ladybug Invasion, I must put your mind at ease. 

It turned out that the "invasion" consisted of a grand total of five ladybugs.  Five.  I disposed of two all by myself, heroically and with minimal whining.  The others I trapped and waited for EP Dude to deal with as he saw fit.

I have my limits.

In the meantime, Wee Ninja Girl decided to cut three more teeth (including molars!) and is about to cut a fourth.  And as an added bonus, she is getting over another cold which, thankfully, wasn't as bad as her first.

I managed to rake the leaves from the neighbor's trees and create a compost pile in the backyard in between rainy days and might actually get the lawn mowed before it snows.  Except that the forecast has been hinting at snowfall tomorrow and I think it's safe to say that I will not be raking leaves on Thanksgiving morning.

I started to burn out on the knitting and crocheting after I made Wee Ninja Girl and my niece Sweetie-O square pink hats (not that the hats are "square" as in "L-7," but they are square shaped) so I've taken up sewing.  EP Dude gave me a lovely Husquevarna sewing machine for Christmas '06 and I'm finally using it consistently.  I've made myself a knit blouse and wool-blend skirt for tomorrow, and also this apron, which I haven't really used yet because I don't want to get it dirty.

Yes, I know that's the point of an apron.  But it's so pretty!

Tonight I kick off the holiday baking season with delicious (I hope!) homemade sour cherry pie with delicious (I hope!) homemade pate brisee crust.  Last year's was awesome, so I have a lot to live up to this time around.

Then it will be time for Christmas cookies and Figgy Pudding!

That's right, I said Figgy Pudding.  I found a recipe on the interwebs several years ago and managed to save it before the site took it down and I make it every year.  If you, dear reader, are very good and eat all your veggies, I promise I will post it for you in time for Christmas.

If you don't believe that it will be delicious, remember those enthusiastic carolers that not only demand that their audience bring them Figgy Pudding, but they refuse to leave the premises until they get some.

It is totally that good.  You'll see.