Monday, December 31, 2012

December 2012 Book Recap

What I read and started in December 2012

Books read to date: 37/40
I missed by goal by 3.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monthly savings: $2.17
Year-to-date savings: $355.85


Monday, December 17, 2012

37/40: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to wait to review this book and the movie together, but I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to see the movie before Christmas holidays begin. I imagine the movie will be awesome. Peter Jackson is a fabulous director and I can't wait to see how all these scenes play out. I read a lot of the key parts thinking "This is going to look unreal on screen". Don't disappoint me Jackson!

The story was a wonderful adventure. This is definitely one of those books that you have to just sit and read and enjoy the ride. For every situation they got into, they got out and into another one right away. It was never ending trouble and relief throughout this entire book. I loved how Bilbo figured out how to help in every situation. Reluctantly. He showed that friendship, wit and settling things with words was the best option and when words wouldn't do, he stepped up and was a brave hobbit. He showed that courage comes in many forms and is not always about being the hero.
The story was heartwarming and fun, illustrated that sometimes enemies can be friends and grudges can be set aside to fight for the common good. Loved it.

All around it was wonderful and I can't wait to see the movie now that I've read the book. J.R.R. Tolkien was an amazing story teller.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Traditions - Boxing Day

We do not go Boxing Day shopping. Never have and I can't say we ever will. We both despise crowds to the point where we do most of our Christmas shopping online. Besides that, Boxing Day is special on my side of the family. It's my nieces birthday!!

This year she will be 5 years old. 5! I can't believe it. I can still remember being woken up at 3:00 am by my sister telling us she was going to the hospital because her water broke. I was so out of it and confused why she was coming down the stairs to

We celebrate her birthday in it's entirety. Birthday wrapping on the gifts, birthday cake, birthday decorations. Yes there may still be a Christmas tree up but it's her birthday, not Christmas anymore. (at least for the day) I imagine this year we will be going, weather permitting, sledding and skating.

Other than the evening spent celebrating her birthday, we usually end up sleeping in, having a good breakfast and never missing the World Junior Hockey game. (GO CANADA GO!!)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Traditions - Christmas Day

Christmas morning is utter chaos and I love it. There is nothing better than waking up to someone squealing "SANTA CAME! SANTA CAME!!". I could do without the dogs and kids jumping on us to get up quick, but you can't help but smile and the wonder.

Christmas Day Traditions: 
Stockings are opened as soon as we all get up. When we get up is all dependent on kids.
Santa gifts come next.
Breakfast is always a full meal. Not sure what we will be making this year, but bacon is a must.
After breakfast we open up the rest of our gifts.
The last 2 years we have tried to save money around the holidays and my family has since decided that we would draw names for Secret Santa. Each adult in the family draws one name. That person gets roughly a $100 gift for the their SS. Rather than buying a bunch of $25 - $30 gifts for every person, we go all out for one. It's fun and has worked well. The children all get a gift from us, since Christmas is more about them now.
We are still working on his side of the family to get them to agree to this as well. Sadly, there are a few that don't want to buy gifts for those that aren't there. I get that. This year it seems to have worked out that way.
We have purchased gifts for his parents and his nephews and niece.
Christmas Dinner is always classic turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We have wine, music and end up playing with all the fun toys or board games that we get.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Traditions - Decorations

Time to get in the Christmas spirit. Do you decorate inside the house and out?
I love Christmas. Especially a white Christmas. The joy of living in Alberta means we have snow for Christmas. I can only remember one year being a brown Christmas.
I have yet to take pictures of the lights on our house outside, but the inside is so much warmer

The Tree

The Bookshelf

The Wreath

Center Piece
Fire place


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Traditions - Christmas Eve

Some people celebrate their big gift giving Christmas Eve, others Christmas Day. My side of the family has always celebrated Christmas morning. Since this year is on my side, these are the traditions we will be observing. Frenchie's side does things slightly different.

Christmas Eve Traditions:
We have a tradition of doing Chinese food on Christmas Eve. Why this became a tradition, I can't remember. I believe we all ordered in once when there were small babies and cooking seemed like too much work at that time. We used to get take out until Frenchie and I hosted and made our own. Now we make our own every year to carry on the tradition.

When I was a kid, we always got to open one gift from our Nanna (not our grandma, but she was as close). Every year she would give us a piano book and a hand made flannel nightgown. As we got older, it was chocolate and a piano book. My sisters have carried on this tradition a little. Each child gets one gift to open and they are always new pajamas. For the last couple years us older girls all got pj's too.

We also have the Milk and Cookie tradition. The kids help one of us make cookies and they take them to the fireplace and set them out for Santa. They disappear after they all go to bed leaving a few crumbs for the next morning. My dad always says Santa would prefer Rum & Coke or a Hot Rum Toddy.

I love seeing traditions from when I was a kid seeping into the next generation. It's nice to know that traditions stay as traditions should. Knowing that we get to teach our nieces/nephew and future children how Christmas was for us means a lot.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Traditions - December

Since December can feel like a long month at the same time Christmas arrives quickly, I want to do a series of traditions posts.

Christmas is about traditions. As a couple, Frenchie and I are still figuring ours out.
For the past 6 years we have been together, we have either been separate for Christmas, or did both families during the holidays. This got to be too much so we started to say one family got Dec 24, 25, 26 and the other got either before or after those dates depending on when they fell during the week.
Now we have decided it's time to alternate years completely. With out of town family saying they will be coming for Christmas in 2013 on his side, we have opted for my side this year. Works out perfect since it's in our city and we will be able to stay at our house! First time we'll wake up in our own home together!!
We have decided we will open our gifts and stockings to each other. Give Beta her gifts, have some coffee, go for a walk and then head over to my sisters where Christmas is being hosted. Hopefully we time it perfectly to arrive for breakfast.

Let's start with these.
December Traditions:
Setting up the tree (around) December 1.
Christmas lights go on (around) December 1.
Christmas music!! Much to Frenchie's dismay, I LOVE Christmas music. I start playing them on the piano and have a continuous stream going on the weekends. Favorite is by far Michael Buble. He has such an amazing voice.
Christmas Movie: Love Actually. We watch it every year.
The Nutcracker. I love the cartoon and watch it once every year. I used to go to the Alberta Ballet performance of it but haven't for a lot of years. This year I will be going with the girls in my family to a college performance instead.
Zoo Lights. This was Frenchie and my first date and we have since (only missed 2 years) gone on our dating anniversary or as close to. The Calgary zoo decorates with lights and they offer music, hot chocolate and bonfires while you walk around and enjoy the lights. They are stunning!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Recap - November 2012

What I read and started in November 2012

Books read to date: 36/40
Finally on target!

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monthly savings: $50.03
Year-to-date savings: $353.68


Saturday, December 1, 2012

36/40: Easy by Tammara Webber

EasyEasy by Tammara Webber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Lucas... Oh that boy is almost perfect. I definitely did a few big sighs with dreamy thoughts.

I picked up this book on recommendation from my sister who wouldn't stop gushing over Lucas. I procrastinated reading it until my other sister also started gushing. Ok ok! I'll read it! Glad I did. I had no idea what it was about other than the main male character was yummy. (isn't that enough sometimes?)

Quick read, very enjoyable. I was actually surprised by the content on the assault. Webber does a great job portraying just how quick and horrific that situation could be and the consequences after. Not physically, but the mental toll it can take on the victim. She didn't sugarcoat anything, got to the point and had a strong female character triumph. I loved it. Not knowing that the story was about that topic, I was a little shocked when the scene took place.

I love this sort of romance book because they don't go into massive detail during the sex scenes. It's all about  the love, burning looks, fingers brushing lightly on skin and hands smoothing out hair lovingly. It's romantic and leaves the rest to the imagination.

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