Christmas flu bug

This Christmas I gave you the flu, the very next day, you gave it away….this song, sung to the tune of Last Christmas is the theme this week.  My whole family has been sick with a flu bug, starting with my grandson on Christmas Eve.  He then passed it on to his sister, then his mom and dad, then his two uncles and other set of grandparents.  My husband and I have not come down with it….yet.  I did get the flu shot early November, so I may or may not be proof that it does work.

For the children, Pedialyte freezies (with electrolytes) helped to keep them hydrated and children’s Tylenol, borrowed from my neighbour, helped with the fever.  My youngest son favored Gatorade and ginger ale.   I have since stocked up on all of these products…

 

 

Sorry Carter, but I think I like Andrew Waines’ version of Last Christmas better!   Because this was your very first Christmas and you are soooo adorable, you are forgiven, but next year we would prefer something different!!

 

 

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The ghost of Christmas past

Every year I try to simplify things and reduce the commercialism in our family Christmas.  That’s because every year it seems to get worse.  The stores are crowded, people spend money because they feel they have to, everyone seems anxious and stressed, and then it’s over.  Until next year.

Christmas, when I was young, was about visiting family and friends, delicious baked goods and candy, homes full of cheer and love and excitement.  This picture describes one of my fondest memories of past Christmases.

 

Christmas

 

 

With grandchildren part of my family now, I really wanted to bring the special back to the holiday season.  I started off with good intentions and actually made (with my own hands!) some presents this year, but am still running around buying things as the big day gets closer.

So why do we do it?  The commercialized, overcomplicated part I mean.  I’m sure my parents, with six children, spent money buying us each something special to go under the tree.  And, I’m sure they felt the pinch financially in January.  But it seemed worth it then, and not just because I was not paying the bills.  The excitement built for months beforehand and lasted for months afterward.

Then there is the whole politically correct thing.  Not saying “Merry Christmas” because it might offend someone.  Have you ever heard of anyone actually being offended when strangers wish each other Merry Christmas?  No one is forcing anyone to celebrate Christmas by wishing them a Merry Christmas.  The greeting is simply to spread the joy and spirit of what Christmas is supposed to mean.  To me having  Christmas spirit means being kind(er) and (more) tolerant and generous towards others.  It does (should) not matter what God you believe in or pray to, what color your skin is, where in the world you live, or how much money you have (spend).

 

Christmas

 

If the Grinch can get it, why can’t we humans?

Shop online with Ebates

Have you tried Ebates yet for online shopping?  It is a free website that actually pays you cash to shop.  Instead of points, you get a specific percentage of cash back with each purchase.  Different stores offer different percentages of cash back.   Unlike many other online shopping sites, included stores ship to Canada as well as to the USA.  Participating stores include Old Navy, Amazon, Forever 21, Microsoft, Dyson, Lululemon and many more. Over 750 stores to choose from, with many of your favourites included.

What are you waiting for?  Try it today, to finish (or start) your Christmas shopping.  Membership is free and easy to set up.

ebates

Last Christmas by Andrew Waines

Last Christmas by ANDREW WAINES is now my favourite Christmas song.  I have always loved the original by the late George Michaels, but Andrew’s new live cover is special (pun intended).   Watch and listen to his voice and guitar skills in this live cover of Last Christmas…

 

Stay tuned there for his other live covers.  While you are at it, check out an Andrew Waines original called Loving Carefully.

Andrew is the same age as my youngest son; they were good friends back in their earliest school days here in Kanata.  It is wonderful to see (and hear) his success in the music industry.

If you love Andrew’s Last Christmas cover as much as I do phone, tweet or email your local radio station to request it!  Majic 100 here in Ottawa has it in their Christmas lineup…

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Christmas shopping

This year I started my Christmas shopping early.  Most years I wait until the week before Christmas to do the actual shopping using a list I prepare months in advance.  I start this list early in the year, jotting down items people mention or good ideas for gifts as they surface.  By the time mid-December arrives, I just have to fill in a few blanks and do the actual shopping.  One of the reasons I started late over the years is because my eldest son was born December 12th so I did not decorate or shop for Christmas until his birthday was over.  At least that’s what I told myself, seems kind of silly now.

My biggest problem with starting the Christmas shopping early is that I end up spending too much money.  By the time Christmas arrives, I have strayed from my plan to buy one thing from “Mom and Dad” and one more thing from  “Santa” for everyone on my list.  When I start shopping early, I easily end up with at least three gifts in each category.  Of course, it doesn’t help when I buy an extra item for one person on the list, then have to balance out the list with one more for everyone else.  This was especially true when my children were young and knew exactly how many gifts each of them received.  Or perhaps it was my own obsession to keep things fair and even.

This year I purchased many gifts online.  This was successful in most cases, although there were a few disappointments.  My most successful online purchases were an Ottawa Senators onesie that I saw an advertisement for by SPORTSEDO on Facebook:

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and a vanity for my son’s girlfriend’s daughter:

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The greatest advantage to online shopping is that you do not have to deal with crowded stores and parking lots or hordes of rushing, grumpy people.  It seems like I saw a lot of that this year as I visited the local stores for stocking stuffers this past week.  The greatest drawback of online shopping is the possibility of getting ripped off.  I heard this year that many people looking to buy cheap

The greatest drawback of online shopping is the possibility of getting ripped off.  I heard this year that many people looking to buy cheap HATCHIMALS  got scammed.   I was fortunate; I got the quality I paid for, the delivery service was great, and the gifts were a hit with their recipients.

Vote for my outdoor Christmas lights display

 

Our outdoor Christmas lights display has been nominated for a prize in our community here in Ottawa.  You can vote  for “Bulmer” at

http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/whatson-story/7022495-holiday-lights-voting

How much snow?

How much snow do you have in your area?  Here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada we have received quite a bit in the past few weeks, pretty sure it is more than we usually have this time of year.  In fact, Continue reading

Christmas trees and cats

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My son and his girlfriend have a cat, so I have been warning them what cats will do to Christmas trees and ornaments.  I remember how my husband’s parents’ cat used to knock their Christmas trees over at least three times a season.

This video is hilarious too…

What to do with your amaryllis when it stops blooming

If you have ever purchased or been given an amaryllis plant, you know how beautiful they are.  Amaryllis make spectacular houseplants, especially at Christmas time.  I like to plant several each year to give as Christmas and hostess gifts.  After they finish blooming, you can save the bulbs for a similar display next year.  Just follow the simple steps below…

Once the blooms have all faded, cut off the flower stem just above where it comes out of the bulb. You might notice that the bulb is slightly softer or smaller than when you first planted (or received) it.  That’s because it has used up a lot of the material inside the bulb to make the flowers and stems you’ve just witnessed.  To bloom again, it must begin the process of restoring that material and fattening the bulb to its former state.

To do this, you should treat your amaryllis bulb like a houseplant. If it is in a pot without drainage holes (many of my Christmas planters use inexpensive pots without drainage) transplant it to one with holes.  As it grows more leaves, water it sparingly, only when the soil looks very dry. Once a month, add fertilizer to the water to keep the supply of nutrients available.  Give it as much bright light as you can during the winter months.  In summer, take it outside, and put it in bright or filtered, but not direct sunlight.

By the end of the summer, the bulb should feel much plumper and fuller.  At the end of September let the amaryllis bulb go dormant.  Bring it inside, and stop watering it. Once the soil has dried out, the leaves will begin to die. When they have all turned yellow and then brown, the bulb is dormant. You can cut off all the leaves just above the neck and pull the whole bulb and root ball out of the pot. Shake off the soil and trim the roots back to about two inches. The bulb will look just like it was when you first got it.

Leave the bulb somewhere cool and dry until the beginning of November (if you want blooms for Christmas), when you can plant it in a pot of fresh soil and start the flowering process all over again. Plant the bulb so the top third of the bulb is exposed.  Mine take about seven weeks after they are planted to bloom.  November 6th is my plant day for a Christmas bloom time, you can adjust accordingly.  Add a stake to attach to the growing plant in your container since many of the stalks get top heavy.  If you’re careful, you can keep this flowering-and-replenishing cycle going for years. The bulb will grow larger each year and gradually start producing second and sometimes even third flower stalks.

If you try this method, please be sure to let me know how it works for you!

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW