Tuesday, December 28, 2010

happy holidays

Last week Lulu was quietly (okay not exactly quietly...more like chattering to herself while colouring a picture) she looked up me and announced "You know mama, Christmas is really just in your heart."
"it's kind of a special feeling more than anything."
Um okay..

and "it's also the little Ord Jesus's birthday"

When I asked her what she wanted from Santa her answer after careful consideration was
"just a surprise...because I know Santa will just pick the right thing for me."
"he'll just know"
Really? wow..
"but do you think he might bring me the polly pocket splash set?"
I bet he will.

She was also very concerned that not just Santa would be hungry when he stopped by our house on Christmas eve and that we needed to leave a snack for his reindeer too.
Always the animal lover...

So all in all a very nice Christmas for us here at Casa PetiteGourmand.
Especially from the perspective of our sweet five year old.
She really never ceases to amaze and delight us with her observations and acute awareness about matters of the heart.
We are all enjoying spending time together without schedules and a ton of things to do.
Enjoying lazy mornings, late breakfasts, snuggling in bed, reading books (lulu included) going out for lunches, watching movies & catching up with friends.
I guess that's the best part about the holidays for me.
I guess it really is in your heart and not necessarily wrapped up under a tree.

I'm really not sure who (if anyone) really reads this blog anymore, but if you are out there, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you are having as nice a holiday season as we are.
xo pg.

Friday, December 17, 2010

memories of christmas past

This time of year often brings up memories from when I was a kid.
Some of them better than others.
I can't say that Christmas was one of my favourite holidays.
(I'm more of a Halloween girl myself)
It's not that I don't enjoy many of the traditions that surround Christmas, it's just that it was never really the happiest time of year at our house growing up.
Not that my parents didn't try their best- but there was always something missing.
that something being-Family.

All of our relatives live out east, so each Christmas was spent with just my parents and brother which always left my mom feeling especially melancholy.
Okay more than melancholy- she was often in tears come Christmas day after talking to all of her seven brothers and sisters on the phone.
Melancholy is a bit of an understatement.
It was kind of a lonely time for us and for some reason we never went out there during the holidays to join in on all that east coast holiday cheer.
(Otherwise known as a boozefest)

So Christmas around our house was usually pretty low key and relatively quiet.
Mind you, my brother and I were usually pretty thrilled with all of our Christmas loot and had plenty to distract us from the lack of comfort and joy around the house.
Bring on the new colecovision!
Nothing like playing a good solid eight hours of Donkey Kong and smurfs on Christmas day.
Gotta love the over abundant commercialism and mass consumption during the seventies and eighties.

Fast forward 30 years and oddly enough not much has changed.
(especially with regards to consumerism..)
Christmas is still really low key, we don't have to make our rounds and do dinner here or have dinner there.
It's just my mom & dad, big daddy, Lulu & I.
We usually just have a quiet dinner here and then that's about it.
Christmas is over for another year.

Only now it's not just my mom who gets kind of melancholy at this time of year, I find myself feeling a little the same.
But do I really want to go to Newfoundland for Christmas?
No, not particularly.
No offence to the rock.
But I would love it if Lulu was surrounded my her extended family.
All the cousins and crazy aunts & uncles and even her great grandmother.
I think that would be so fun for her.
When I hear about other people with so much family living nearby it does make me feel kind of lonely and a bit envious.
I know big daddy feels the same.
Wow what a bummer post.
Okay on the up side- we have each other.

So aside from me feeling a little sorry for myself that my last name isn't Brady, Osmond or most especially Oliver (anyone see Jamie's family Christmas on the food network?)
I have tried to muster up some of the more positive memories from my childhood.
and here they are.

Every Christmas eve we would order Chinese food.
Gosh, even that sounds depressing...
anyhow it was a real treat as we lived in a small town that only had one Chinese restaurant.
At the time I thought it was amazing.
I'm sure these days I would turn my nose up at how unauthentic it really is.
But back then I couldn't wait to sink my orthodontic enveloped teeth into Mr. Panda's cinnamon egg rolls.
They were THE best.
I can still remember the taste all these years later.
Cinnamon in an egg roll. who knew??

Denninger's pate by the fire at my bff's house.
Okay that and the mulled wine we used to sneak when her parents weren't looking.
I loved spending Christmas eve at her house.
Her parents were British and it was always a very English affair.
Right down to the tick tock of the huge old Grandfather clock across from the roaring fire.
Perhaps I have a twisted memory but I could swear everyone was decked out in tweed and plaid each year...

Sneaking frozen shortbread and brownies out of the trunk freezer in the basement with my brother.
We would eat them while they were still frozen solid in the dark.
My brother & I were co-cookie snatching conspirators.
I don't think I was ever as close to my brother then at that moment in time.

Mom's jelly roll trifle.
Actually it was kind of gross (still is) but I loved the jelly roll part.
This year I'm doing the trifle and it will most definitely not involve canned cocktail fruit and canned custard.
Instead I found a great recipe here.

Clove infused ham.
Is there a better smell on earth?
I'll never forget the year my brother (who enjoyed watching Kids In The Hall with me) said to my mom at the dining room table,
"This is F'ing good ham mom!!"
Anyhow my brother still says it every year which I guess you could say is a bit of a tradition.

Okay, so I'm seeing a bit of a theme here.
That being Food.
The best part about the holidays for me is hands down, the food.
It may not make up for the lack of having a big family to celebrate with, but it sure does make it a little easier to enjoy.

What about you, any amazing food associated Christmas memories or traditions you care to share?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

holiday hustle

I feel like I've been on a treadmill that is running on full speed these past several weeks.
I know I know, don't we all?
They don't call it Holiday Stress for nothing.
For some reason today I just felt overwhelmed with things "to do" before the 25th arrives.
But let me back up a bit.

My 40th birthday weekend was a blast.
We went to some friends for dinner and they had a special cake for me which I thought was super sweet.
Literally- the sweetest most amazing cake ever.
Big Daddy surprised me with some over-the-top new bling for my ears.
Not that I'm a blingy kinda gal, but I must say, he did great.
I hosted a little kickboxing party for all my favourite ladies at the gym and we kicked some 40 year old butt.
(or at least I did)
They all got me an extremely generous gift card from Lululemon, pedi & manicure gift certificates, some lovely wine and the most delicious cupcakes.
Not to mentioned they all came to a class on a Sunday!
Needless to say I was extremely touched.
I was on a bit of a high for the entire week actually.
Minus the nasty cold I was sporting at the time- but whatever, life is good.
So the past few weeks have been fun- to say the least.

They have also been very busy.
School plays and extra activities, some parties, getting ready for Christmas in general.
Big daddy was out of town for the past five days which was even more hectic flying solo for it all.
For some reason today I just kind of hit the wall.
I was so tired tonight I barely had enough energy to eat dinner.
When I finally sat down at the end of the night and put my feet up I barely moved for three hours.
I didn't even want to get up to go to bed- which is where I am now but my brain is still on that treadmill even though my body has fallen off.
So I'm yammering on about being tired and feeling slightly overwhelmed, but what I am feeling the most these days is GUILT.
I feel like the person paying the biggest price for all this rushing around is Lulu.
We are constantly on the go.
In and out all day long and seemingly always running a few minutes late (which is my pet peeve)
We rush through breakfast, lunch and lately even dinner- which is sad to me.
Meals should be enjoyed not scarfed down.
At least that's how they do things in France and I love that.
I'm constantly telling her to "hurry up, let's go, quickly get dressed, quickly get in the car, let's go, let's go, we are going to be late!"
Poor little thing.
I want Lulu to enjoy all the magic of the Christmas season and not feel as exhausted as I do.
Poor thing told me today she was so excited to have a break from all her activities and couldn't wait for some "extra snuggle time" with mama.
Broke my heart.
So that's how I'm feeling (well that and I have some wicked PMS this month) oh joy oh bliss.
I don't mean to sound all bah humbug- but that's what going on in my head today.
But I'm sure it's just a one day thing- it usually is.
This time of year can be crazy, yet exciting at the same time.
Tomorrow is a new day and if I can I'm going to make a concerted effort to just be in the moment and not worry so much about all the things I still have to do.
Because let's face it, what's more important than Christmas for a five year old?