Monthly Archives: December 2009

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Gingerbread Houses 2009

Finally, I’ve managed to get the gingerbread houses together.  I’ve been a lazy bum this week — just hanging out and not doing much at all.  It seems like I’ve cleaned a lot, but you’d never know it by looking around here.

This year’s competition was pretty tough.  The top players came prepared with a theme in mind, which made it really fun.  The good news is that everyone kept it clean this year (no strip bars or frat houses!)  The bad news is that everyone kept it clean this year — which translates to:  not as funny.  Everyone topped the creativity scales and had a really good time though, so it was all worth it!

TheManoftheHouse and I were the defending champions from last year and we came in Dead. Last. Not one vote.  It was fixed!  We didn’t really have a plan, but when I saw the pretzels, I thought we should do a log cabin in honor of our pioneer ancestors.  And every log cabin has a clothesline outside, right?

Gingerbread

My nephew brought a guest to the competition (a girl! – she had fun, she’d never made a gingerbread house before) and they made the Tinsel Town Theater.  You’ll notice that Up is currently running on the marquis and there is plenty of popcorn and candy for all the people standing in the ticket line.

Gingerbread

Between the next two houses, I can’t remember who came in second and who came in third.  (I’m sure SweetiePie knows though!)   CrazyBIL and my youngest niece teamed together and created Santa’s Sleighwash.   Check out the cupcake liner door flaps and the dirty sleigh going into the sleighwash and the clean sleigh coming out of the sleighwash.  So Clever!

Gingerbread

TheFirstChild and SweetiePie always have a theme and this year was no different (we’ve decided next year that the honeymoon is over and we’re going to split them up.)  They made a Jump School to commemorate the fact that they went skydiving in August of this year (and lived to tell about it).  Oh So Cute!  Look at the little skydivers and the airplane.  And doesn’t SweetiePie have pretty icing-writing?

Gingerbread

And Tah-Dah!  The First Place winners this year were MyDadLovesMeBestSister, BigDaddy, my oldest niece and TheSecondChild. (Ha!  I’m thinking they won due to being the biggest team – I’m not bitter or anything LOL!)  MyDadLovesMeBestSister achieved her Master Gardener status this year, so to celebrate, they created a Garden Shed.   The flower pots and little candy trees on the front are enough to melt any voter.  Not to even mention the compost pile, butterflies on the left side of the house and the Koi Pond behind the house.   Congratulations Team Garden Shed!

Gingerbread

I’m so proud of my little family.  When we first started decorating gingerbread houses years ago, they used to slap the frosting on the houses and make a big mess.  I love seeing how much thought and creativity they put into the houses now!

So.  On to the New Year!  I’ve bemoaned the fact that November and December flew by.  And 2009 too.  But to heck with that.  What happened to the last decade?

R2000

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were partying at the turn of the millennium???  As I look forward to 2010, I just have one big wish — I want time to Slow. Down.  That one big wish would facilitate all the little ones (more family time, quilting, knitting, reading, yadda, yadda).

And one other big wish for all of you — a Happy and Healthy 2010.  Happy New Year!!!

XOXO,
Anna

Teddy Rose

Whew!  Can you believe it’s all over for another year?  Did all you Christmas peeps have a good holiday?  It went too fast — it’s all a blur.  If you’re really sad that it’s over, have no fear!  Angel Jem has you covered with a countdown to next Christmas in her sidebar.  (That cracked me up when I read it!)

As promised, Santa was very, very good to our family this year.  And my young nephew cashed in big with this little beauty (being prepped for his big debut):

Teddy Rose

Isn’t he adorable?  We all had so much fun playing with the new puppy on Christmas Day.  After much debate, he’s been named Teddy Rose.  It happened after someone suggested Theodore Roosevelt.  He’s eight weeks of soft and cuddly and even has puppy breath.  Too cute!

Teddy Rose

There’s just one little kink in the whole happy affair though — his big sisters, The Yappers.

Teddy Rose

The Yappers are none too happy about this new development.  MyDadLovesMeBestSister thinks they’re afraid of him.  There was lots of growling, yapping and shaking.  Teddy is oblivious to the whole fear thing — he just wants some playmates!

Teddy Rose

It cracks me up that they’re afraid of him — he’s really not much bigger than they are.  Good thing they’re meeting him now though — he’s a Goldendoodle, so he’s going to be big enough to sit on them if they get too yappy!

Teddy Rose

It briefly looked like there might be some sharing of toys, but it didn’t really last.  Yapper 1 was just  sniffing them for a minute, then she retreated.  Hopefully, they’ll soon be fast friends.

Teddy Rose

This is my favorite picture of the day.  Teddy was so funny — he’d play pretty hard and every hour or two, he’d just drop wherever he was and have a little snooze.  This picture was taken by my cute niece – Santa was very, very good to her this year too.

Teddy Rose

We’re going to have lots of fun playing with cameras.  We started by taking pictures of each other, taking pictures of each other (in very poor light!)

I hope you all had a good, happy Christmas like we did.  And hopefully I’ll be back soon with gingerbread competition pictures (it was a tough voting year) — there’s new computing power in the house, and once TheManoftheHouse starts changing things over…well, hopefully we won’t be off-line for long!  ;-)

XOXO,
Anna

Oh. My!

Whew! We’ve had a whirlwind of a day here in ThimbleannaLand! TheFirstChild and SweetiePie were here for a very short 10 hours (it’s their year to spend Christmas with her family, so they stopped by here early.) It was non-stop fun — we went bowling, held the gingerbread competition and had our little gift exchange. They left at 1 a.m. and hopefully they’re home safely by now.

In the middle of it all, there has been some serious — and I mean SERIOUS — hyperventilation going on around here.

Hyperventilate

OHMYGOSH!!! It’s Here. IT’S HERE!!!

It’sHereIt’sHereIt’sHereIt’sHere!!!!!!!  HERE it is!

Lilly Pilly

And Holy Cow — it’s absolutely gorgeous! I mean Really. Words can’t express how beautiful this quilt really is. And the pictures truly don’t do it justice.  (I had to take some snow pictures — Just for you Kellie!  It’s so amazing to me that in only five days, this quilt went from being in Hot Australia to landing in the cold snowy midwestern United States.  Poor shivering little quilt — it probably wishes it could go back home!)

Lilly Pilly

Oh. Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock you’re new to this blog or Kellie’s, several months ago I won this fabulous quilt from Kellie at Don’t Look Know. Shortly after I ripped open the package today, I took it to our family get-together where there was MUCH oooohing and aaaahing and quilt fondling. And fortunately, I came prepared with paper bags.

Hyperventilate

Because, there was MORE hyperventilating. I had BIG plans for this quilt. I reasoned that if I could only SEE Kellie’s fabulous machine quilting up close and personal, surely I’d be able to teach myself how to machine quilt the way Kellie does. Silly Me. There is No. Way. On. Earth. I could ever quilt as beautifully as Kellie does. She jokingly mentioned in her note “don’t look too close”. That just made me laugh. Seriously. Those quilted circles are perfect. PERRRRR-FECT! So, So Beautiful! (And look at the adorable bead eyes on those birds!)

Lilly Pilly

I feel so Very Honored to have this quilt.  And it means so much more to me than just a quilt.  The fact that quilters who live half a planet away from each other can become friends, never ceases to amaze me.  And then…to have such a beautiful piece of workmanship to remind me everyday — wouldn’t you hyperventilate too?  Look at this adorable quilt label that Kellie put on the quilt.  It tells the story of the quilt.

Lilly Pilly

Kellie. I wish I knew how to truly thank you. There just aren’t words — and words aren’t enough. Thank You. Thank You SO Very Much! I’ll treasure this quilt always, and I promise I’ll take very good care of it. Did I tell you thanks? Danke. Dank u. Merci. Grazie. Obrigado. Gracias. Thank You from the bottom of my heart. You. Are. Amazing!

And, (and for the rest of you too) a very heartfelt wish for a very Happy Holiday season. Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate.

Merry, Merry Christmas!
XOXO,
Anna

Christmas Cookies

Wow! Thanks for all the fun Christmas Top Ten lists. I had a great time reading through them all. I hope you are all enjoying your top ten and are well on your way to being ready for the big day!

It was a good weekend here in ThimbleannaLand. I had a good time in the kitchen and made my Christmas cookies. Here’s what the family will be snacking on this year:

Lemon Gems. Buttery and lemony — and cute!

Lemon Gems

Raisin Filled Pockets. I thought I was using the old family recipe this year, but it was different.  They’re good, but they flattened out an awful lot.

Raisin Filled

Chocolate Caramel Delights.  Chocolate and Caramel.  I have nothing else to say.

Chocolate Caramel

Chocolate Dipped Shorbread.  I used my fun little “cookie writer” that I previously blogged about here.

Christmas Shortbread

Grandma Hill’s Browned Butter Cookies.  We’ve had them every year since I was a little girl.  And we don’t always wait until Christmas to make them, ’cause we LOVE them.

Grandma Hill's Browned Butter

Angel Slices. Our number one Christmas cookie.  They go so fast, we have to make twice as many as the other cookies.

Angel Slices

January is going to be extra painful this year.  But, it will be SO worth it!

XOXO,
Anna

My Christmas Top Ten*

Christmas Collage

10.  Hot Chocolate.  Thanks to my sweet and fabulous friend Brigette, I can now make a great cup!

9.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  THE perfect Christmas movie.  I cry every time.  I hope they don’t make the Miracle on 34th Street mistake of trying a re-make – nothing can top Jimmy Stewart.

8.  BIG, old-fashioned Christmas lights.  Small and twinkly are pretty, but these are the real deal.

7.  Cute, kitchsy stocking stuffers.  Jingle bell bracelets were my favorite last year.

6.  The Christmas Eve family sleep over with Christmassy pillow cases.  All the characters in ThimbleannaLand over there on the sidebar (well, not the Quilty Peeps or Hester) celebrate our Christmas Eve by sleeping at whoever’s house is hosting Christmas (MeMum’s this year!) That way we all share the fun of Santa’s arrival (and rumor has it it’s going to be a good one this year.)

5.  The Annual Gingerbread competition.  I thought we wouldn’t be able to have it this year because it’s the in-law rotation for TheFirstChild and SweetiePie, but they’re going to pop in on the 23rd.  SweetiePie was here two days ago (poor thing had to have a root canal!) and she helped cut and bake all the house pieces, so bring on this year’s competition!  And just so you know, MyDadLovesMeBestSister told me last weekend (while I was slaving away on the ladder doing Christmas lights and she was lying around on her bum making fun of me) that SHE has a plan this year and SHE is going to win! (It’s not too late to make your own gingerbread houses — recipe and pattern can be found here.)

4.  Holiday music playing while I’m decorating/baking/wrapping.

3.  Grandma’s Christmas Bells.  A wonderful piece of childhood, now living at our house.

2.  Santa Claus.  Santa. Claus.  When I was a little girl, trying to sleep on Christmas Eve, I peeked out the window and saw his sleigh and reindeer on the neighbor’s roof.  Then I heard the bells on our roof.  And THEN, I had to squeeze my eyes shut and pretend to be sleeping because HE came to check on me — I saw that pretty white head of hair from my top bunk bed.  I DID!  Oh the magic!

and, my absolute, Numero Uno…

Christmas Cookies!  Bake ‘em!  Eat ‘em!  Love ‘em!  They deserve a post all their own!

Ok, let ‘er rip — give me YOUR top 10!

XOXO,
Anna

*Not counting family, joy filled hearts, the reason for the season and all that other mushy stuff.  ;-)