Thursday, December 29, 2022

Simple, but lovely

What a nice Christmas it's been!

I decided early on to keep things simple and to keep the work I do to a minimum, and I'm so glad I did. I still have four days left of winter break, my house is clean, my obligations (few as they are) have been met, and I'm thoroughly satisfied with how everything went.

I kept cooking and baking to a minimum. This is normally the most time-consuming part of the holidays for me, and guess what? No one seemed to notice the difference. That should be a lesson to me. We had good food (I roasted a turkey breast, made mashed potatoes with leftover potatoes in the pantry, and opened a jar of gravy) and delicious desserts (one, just one, batch of homemade sugar cookies, store bought pie, and lots of chocolate candy given to us by friends) and plenty of good cheer in liquid form (vodka and cranberry juice, wine, and mimosas). Presents were minimal; I ordered some new clothes for work for me, a warm fleece hoodie for Gregg, and a nice, luxuriously warm new blanket for the house. The dogs got a lot of new toys that we hid in their toy box on Christmas Eve. I can't tell you how much fun it was to wake up on Christmas morning and to the delight of George and Poppy when they discovered all the new stuff they had to play with!

The haul: dad works a pet store, so Christmas means LOTS of new toys from Santa!

The first toy Poppy pulled out from her basket Christmas morning. She ran and jumped onto the bed with it, which is where I took this photo. 


Unfortunately, the two stuffed llamas didn't last 24 hours with two enthusiastic canines playing tug-of-war with them!

We had such a good time, at home with just the dogs for company. It was bitterly cold last week; we had lows as low as 15F and highs only around freezing. It was nice to be all together, with plenty of good food and a gas log fireplace ready to keep us warm as needed. 

Martina came over the night before Christmas Eve, after she got off work, and we had our second annual holiday book exchange. She got me three (!!) new books this year, and I got her two. I'm about halfway through one of them; as usual, she knows my taste in books very well.

On Tuesday, I went to see my parents and we had lunch together. It was nice to see them, and I was glad I got to visit with my dad for a few hours. His health is very poor, and I'll be surprised if he's still here next Christmas. I'm going to try to visit them more often in the new year and to spend more time with dad. 

Last night two of my friends from book club, Paulette and Karen, came over for wine and dessert (apple pie, store-bought) and coffee. Seeing them is always fun and last night was no exception. It was also the last social thing I have planned for the winter break. From now until Sunday I'm going to read, watch movies, catch up with blogging, walk the dogs, and enjoy my remaining time off for winter break. New Year's Eve is coming up, but we don't have any plans. And that's just fine by me!



28 comments:

  1. It sounds it looks like you had a wonderful Merry Christmas. There's two llama dog toys are adorable. Buster and my mother's dog Lilith both enjoy squeaky or soft toys and neither of them really murder them. Such cute photos Jennifer.

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    1. Thanks Maddie! Toys have to be pretty tough to survive in this house.

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  2. You know how to do it. We had a great Christmas Eve, but didn’t keep it simple. You’d think we would have learned by now. I adore those Christmas llamas. Just one look at Poppy and my day is happy.

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  3. This all sounds perfect! So glad you are having a relaxing time of it. Store it up like sunshine!

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    1. That's what I'm trying to do...store it up for the winter days at work still ahead of me.

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  4. Farewell to the llamas, but I know how good it feels to see your critters happy with new toys. Thanks for sharing your great photos. Happy New Year!

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. He got a new perch for his cage! This time of year, Marco can't have new toys. It's breeding season, and if we give him toys he'll continuously try to "feed" them by throwing up on them, as if they're his mate. Later on in the spring and summer he'll be able to have toys again!

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    2. Thank you for pointing out that I didn't mention Marco in this post. It certainly wasn't an intentional thing! We've spent years buying him toys at Christmas that he immediately pukes all over...over and over again. Sometimes by the time spring arrives he's lost weight, which worries us. Plus the mess...!! So now we save toys for the summer.

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  6. Lovely break time...I always enjoyed teaching in S. C. because the Christmas break was longer. Enjoy your reading.

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    1. I'm plowing through books on this break! Starting book #5 today. I love having the extra time to read!

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  7. Sounds like an ideal Christmas! Glad it was a good one!

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    1. Thank you for your friendship! Happy New Year to you!

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  8. Sounds like a terrific Christmas - fun but also relaxing! Glad you got to rest up.

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    1. It's been very quiet, but very, very nice. Thanks Ellen!

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  9. I remember the first Christmas I realized there is absolutely no need to work oneself into a tizzy and that no one is grading you on how you spend your Christmas. It was wonderful! I think it's one of those rites of passage of adulthood. Like realizing you really don't need to eat broccoli if you don't like it.

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    1. Usually I do extra work because if I don't, no one will. But this year I just didn't feel like it, and that was okay! A real revelation. :)

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  10. We had a quiet-ish Christmas, but the work load remained the same. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Cro! Happy New Year!

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  11. It is what Christmas should be, isn't it; a time of peace and joy, and it it up to us to make it that way. You did well, and can carry this relaxed feeling over into the New Year with you.
    I am glad you got to see your parents, too. Sorry to hear of your Dad's declining health. Yes, go and see him when you can; I know how much it meant to me that we were there almost every day for the last 5 1/2 weeks of his life (I know you can't go every day as you don't live in the same town).

    Happy New Year, Jennifer!
    Thank you for another year of friendship and mutual blog support.
    X

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    1. I meant to tell you...I loved the Christmas card you sent! Happy New Year my friend. May 2023 be a happier year for you.

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  12. I loved your description of a "simpler" Christmas. I've been working towards that goal myself. Each year I keep a donate box on the ready to put in those decorations I no longer want. The amount of gifts purchased has declined over the years as well. Christmas dinner is also less fussy, (or maybe that's because I'm getting better at orchestrating it.) Then my mother in law arrives on Christmas Day with her car load of gifts, trays of store bought treats, and other Christmas tchotchkes. My "Zen Christmas' is derailed temporarily until I have time to deal with the influx of "stuff". Sigh...
    Happy New Year, Jennifer!

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Melinda! Thank you for sharing this. I'd just sit back and let mother-in-law have her fun. If she's a good MIL, appreciate her while you have her...I miss mine very much. :)

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  13. It cheers me to see happy dogs at tug of war with a chew toy.

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    1. You'd enjoy our house, then. Our two go at it morning, noon, and night!

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  14. I am not sure how I missed this post, but a quiet house sounds like the perfect holiday.

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