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Nightmare at Gingerbread Corner

A preface to my photo essay:
I love my Mom. She dropped by one day to help me out with something, and when she came to the door she had a gingerbread house kit in her hands. I’m pretty sure she can read my mind. That very week, I had seen the exact same gingerbread house kit and wanted to buy it, but didn’t. Call it Mom ESP. I thanked her and gave her a giant hug, and told her that I would be posting photos of the build. This post is my documentation of that build.

Donation for cake

fruitcake
Fruitcake: GET IN MY BELLY!

Ever have trouble finding that perfect gift for someone? Or perhaps you like baking things for the holidays and giving that as a gift, but don’t always feel like your baking may be enough of a gift? A friend and I have come up with a solution!

Who likes fruit cake? There seems to be a clear divide between those that LOVE it and those that HATE it. I’m one of those people who LOVE it.

Recently, I posted a photo of a fruitcake on Facebook and commented “Fruitcake: GET IN MY BELLY!!” A host of comments came in:

  • Sam you might be the first person in the history of fruitcake or Xmas to like fruitcake lol
  • There should be a “Yum” button on here
  • My mon makes dattt but i hate fruits lol
  • Yuck.
  • That looks like a great fruitcake. I LOVE fruitcake.

And then there was one comment from my friend Aurora that stood out among the pro and con fruitcake vote:

Inbox me your address and I’ll mail you some of my great-grandmother’s Christmas cake and some of my Nonna’s struccolo when I make them this month!

First of all, what a generous offer! This particular friend of mine lives on the East Coast – so the generosity is stretching across the country! I was excited and floored by this offer. I replied with a private message:

NO WAY! OK – I can’t just ask for free fruitcake. Is there anything fun and/or exciting that only Toronto or the GTA has? Send me on a fun errand, and I’ll send you something fantastic in return!

I thought it was in the spirit of Christmas to have an exchange! How fun! But the response I got back was WAY better than I expected!!!

Well you didn’t ASK, I offered! But if you insist, I’m not sure! …
I don’t know. Make a donation to a local underfunded museum, animal shelter, David Suzuki, or whatever other charity moves you?

THUS was born DONATION FOR CAKE!

We had a brief chat about charities that we were thinking about. Supporting mental health was one idea, as well as animal welfare, human welfare, and the environment. Aurora left it up to me to choose something that was close to my heart. I looked around at many websites and read a lot of articles about different charities. I almost went with David Suzuki when I remembered seeing an article on another friend’s blog about supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada. So that’s what I settled on!

Aurora and I are thinking this might be a great thing for people to do this Christmas, and in future! We all know there are people out there who are amazing bakers, and there are those of us who just aren’t sure what to get for people. This is a great solution! One person gives a donation to a charity of their choice, and in return their gifting partner sends them some baked goods (FRUITCAKE!!!). Both people are giving to a worthy cause!

So this year – if you’re not sure what to get someone, send the gift of a donation in their honour. Maybe you’ll get some tasty fruitcake in return!!!

e-card

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas OrnamentsNope, not sick of the decorations yet! I love turning the lights on and seeing the glow fill the room. I’d also like to point out that on Monday night, when my girlfriend came home from work she asked me why I hadn’t turned the lights on yet. I think the Christmas spirit is spreading!!!

So… we put lights up on the balcony 🙂 I ended up standing on a chair and tying wire to existing screws in the cement at the top of our balcony so we could string one strand up along the edge. It wasn’t too cold out, so my hands didn’t freeze, and the job was done quickly. We had to run an extension cord out one of the windows, but it lets in minimal air, and we have a bar to lock it just in case 🙂

The one strand fits perfectly on the outer rim of the top of our balcony! But if you remember, we bought two strands… We’ll have to figure out what to do with the extra string of lights!

It’s perfect out on the balcony now, with the warm glow of classic frosted Christmas lights shining! I made a suggestion that we just keep them up, because it’s nice to have that extra light on the balcony when you’re out enjoying the view. I think it might fly! 😀 With the exception of that last strand of lights, the Christmas decorating is done. I have a few presents that I already purchased that I can wrap and slide under the tree. Then it will REALLY look festive!

Next up? I’m thinking of making a wreath for the door. And of course there’s always holiday cookies and baking to do!!! The holiday cheer continues!

Balcony christmas lights
The lighted balcony!

‘Tis the season! (Part 2)

In a previous post, a strand of Christmas lights went up. A suitable compromise between my girlfriend and I – I being of the Novmeber 1st decorating train of thought, and she being of the December somethingth train of thought. Last I left you, we had put up the lights, and were wondering if this small act of decorating would tide us over until our later-in-November-and-possibly-even-December slated Christmas decorating date.

The answer is NO. On Sunday, it happened. My lady came home from work around 2:30 and we had some time to kill before heading to a family dinner. Surprise, surprise – it wasn’t me that broke! I asked “What do you want to do?” and she replied (with no coaching, begging, or pleading from me) “Let’s put up the Christmas tree.”

YES!!!!!!!!!!!

With this decision came the great furniture shake-down. We had to make room in the living room for the tree – and decided to switch the large living room chair for a smaller one from the bedroom. This resulted in approximately 45 minutes of furniture re-arranging in the bedroom – and a completely new setup in there. Mission accomplished! With the living room appropriately cleared out, we happily began putting the tree up. The branches of the tree were carefully spread and we and settled it into place. Together, we wrapped the white garland around the tree and got things started. Soon, it was beautifully decorated with glass ornaments, silver bells, nut-crackers, and a few odd balls! Our white-themed tree turned out beautifully, topped by a white paper star! The only thing missing was Christmas music playing softly in the background, but I think that might have been pushing it…

Woodsy Christmas Ornament
A woodsy Christmas ornament. So cute!
Chubby little snowman
A chubby little snowman on skis! Old school glass with glitter!
Nutcracker soldier ornament
A classic-looking nutcracker soldier ornament. So handsome!
Modern wire Christmas ball
A modern wire Christmas ball, an amazing silver accent!
gold and white santa ornament
Another glass ornament. Santa in white and gold!
White owl ornament
To go with the white theme, we got a few glittery white owl ornaments!
glass horse ornament
Another glass ornament of a rocking horse with presents. Love the colours!

To finish things off, we hung up our stockings (and one for my girlfriend’s fantastic and bordering-on-famous sister) and lit some candles.

the stockings
The stockings were hung by the candles with care (we don’t have a chimney!)
The tree and the lights!
The tree and the lights! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ♫♪♪♫♫

Now it feels like Christmas! I love decorating 🙂 On the way to family dinner, we stopped at Canadian Tire to grab two more strands of frosty lights for the balcony…

‘Tis the season! (Part 1)

OK, so the cat is out of the bag… I’m a holiday FREAK. Not so much the Easter bunny and Four-leaf-clover kind of holiday (although I do love me some Lucky Charms!), but the Christmas variety (and also Halloween, as per my last post)! In the past few years, I haven’t really done Christmas right. Last year, I didn’t even have a Christmas tree up in the apartment (Blasphemy, I know. But it’s a long story involving a crappy landlord resulting in a space I hated to come home to – so why decorate?).

Anyhoodle, I’m psyched and excited this year! I get to start from SCRATCH and build a new Christmas inventory with my favourite girl. My lady is not as much of a Christmas freak as I am, so there are going to have to be compromises. First of all, I usually love decorating on the first of November. It’s only fair, since Halloween is over. Doesn’t it make sense, since I’m already taking down Halloween stuff and putting it away (OK, so this year it was just two soggy pumpkins I threw in the trash) to put up shiny, sparkly Christmas stuff in it’s place? It only seems logical to me. The love of my life disagrees, and made a strong argument that we might get sick of the Christmas decorations if we put them up too early. I listened patiently, all the while the Christmas conscience in my head screaming “WHO GETS SICK OF CHRISTMAS?!?” I’m willing to meet her half way, so I proposed decorating closer to the end of November – somewhere in the third week. I felt strongly that December 1st was much too late to decorate. Thankfully, we agreed and all seemed to be well in our future Christmas Wonderland!

Then we put up a string of lights…

OK, so we were in Canadian Tire and found our all-time-favourite lights (also, uber hard to find). Remember those super awesome old frosted C9 bulbs? Classic!!! We had to buy the strings and then get a bunch of boxes of lights, because they don’t come all together anymore (not that I’ve found). Who says money can’t buy nostalgia? It can! We also picked up some ornaments (those super cool old-school glass ones with glitter and creepy faces) and I managed to find some garland for the tree as well. My lady and I happily headed home with our much sought after lights, and couldn’t wait to put them up!

We carefully unboxed all the ornaments, the tree skirt, and the garlands, and packed them gingerly into a plastic bin so that we could be organized come tree-trimming day. But the lights just had to go up! It was just too exciting that we had found the perfect frosty lights. Assembly began, starting with a red bulb, and filling in the sockets with blue, then green, yellow, orange, and white and so on until the whole strand was full of awesomeness. Note: It’s important to follow a pattern of colours and stick with it – no randomness will be tolerated. It was just too much not to plug them in to see what they looked like and bask in their warm, Christmassy glow. We plugged them in. *AAAAAAAAHHHHHH* It was like pouring a shot of Christmas down your throat – instantly, my chest was warm with a fuzzy, Christmassy feeling!

After bathing in glow of the Christmas lights for a while, we packed bin carrying the new ornaments and garlands away with our recently purchased pre-lit Walmart Christmas tree (only $49 – a bargain!) for later decorating awesomeness. I was happy and decided that hanging the lights would be awesome enough to carry me through til our much-later-than-normal decorating date. It was nice to turn the lights on and feel the Christmas warmth flow through me… but would we be able to wait?…

To be continued!

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