Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How I plan our Christmas party...

I love throwing holiday parties at my house! It’s a ton of work, but I find it really enjoyable, even if on the day of I want to cancel and wonder why I ever got myself into it in the first place. There is just something so fun and fulfilling about entertaining for my/my husband’s friends, that I continue to do it even through the complete exhaustion that has enveloped me during this pregnancy.
I thought I’d write up a little bit on my strategy for party planning and execution. My husband and I started talking about the best date for our Christmas party in September. It was too early to invite people, but we narrowed it down to 2 dates we knew would work for us. Of those, one was eliminated a little later since my parents found out they would be visiting. So, in the end there was one possible date, which made things easy because I didn’t feel like I should try to cater to people to make sure they could come. It was either you’re free on this day, or you’re not.
After picking a date, I didn’t think much more about it until October. That’s when I started loosely planning what I might like to serve at the party. Each year I try to serve at least one hot dish that is completely homemade. Last year we made two big batches of chili. This year I thought about doing wings, but eventually decided they’d be way to messy. I also thought about doing a couple kinds of quiche, but eventually ruled that out thinking it’d be way too much work (I make a great pie crust but I hate doing it!!!!). Finally, sometime in November, I settled on sweet and sour meatballs. Fried rice was a last minute addition since I have a vegan co-worker who would be coming and I wanted to make sure he could eat at least some of what I’d be serving.

 Starting in November I used weekends to build up my freezer stash of Christmas baked goods. I try to make one thing each weekend. In total I ended up with shortbreads, peanut butter balls, chocolate ball cookies, cupcakes, Fudgeo brownies, and cherry pound cake. I still need to blog most of those recipes, so stay tuned! Hopefully I can get to them before Christmas arrives :)
So, now that all of the food was basically planned, and the sweets were all baked, the next step was to actually invite people to the party. I waited until 3 weeks out and I went with the super easy email invite. I try to make it look a little festive by changing up the text colors and stuff, but it’s pretty basic. I asked everyone to RSVP, just so I could get an idea how much food I needed.
The days leading up to the party are spent tidying the house, and bringing up all of my serving dishes from the basement. Some of the grocery shopping happened the weekend before the party, but a lot of it had to be saved for the morning of, so that things like bread and dip would be fresh. We rolled all of the meatballs the morning of the party. That was a ton of work, I kind of wish we had done this the night before. Anyhow, all of the other prep couldn’t really happen until an hour or so before the party, this is super stressful!!!! I felt extremely tired by the time all of our guests started arriving, but this year I had a great excuse for sitting and not doing too much mingling. I let people come to me!
Here is a list of the food we served this year (homemade food shown with an *):
  • Sweet and sour meatballs*
  • Vegetable fried rice*
  • Baked brie with pear and rosemary preserve
  • Pepperoni, cheese, and crackers
  • Mini-quiches
  • Spinach dip in a pumpernickel bread bowl
  • Hummus and pita
  • Nacho dip and chips
  • Various homemade sweet treats, as mentioned above*!
  • Various bowls of nuts
As you can see, I didn’t go too overboard with the homemade food this year. I blame pregnancy. Either way all of it was delicious and everyone had a great time!
I hope this post was even a tiny bit helpful. Maybe next time any of you throw a party you’ll be a little more prepared!

Oh and Leroy was so good! He just chilled out :)

30 posts in 30 days is winding down...

I realized this morning that I didn't post yesterday, and since it's the last day of my challenge today, I was super bummed. I decided that I could make up for it by posting twice today, and maybe once tomorrow for good measure! Does that seem fair?

It has been extremely difficult trying to find something worth posting every day. I hope that you guys have enjoyed it, even the silly 2 or 3 line posts I made from my phone!!! Seriously, my life isn't interesting enough to have good material for 30 days. And even when it is (lots going on for Christmas!), it's hard to find the time to sit down and write it all out.

I still have a few Christmas cookie recipes to share, and I want to write a post about why I like to throw holiday parties, and how I prepare for them. Maybe I will work on that I one for tonight :)

It's only 3 working days until vacation for me and my hubby! Can't wait to have a week and a half off to catch up with friends and family, and also on sleep. Just gotta get that pesky 14 hour drive out of the way first!

Monday, December 17, 2012

24 Weeks!

This is a big week, at 24 weeks this little baby has a 30-70% chance of survival if for some crazy reason I went into labor this early! It's a big deal :)

This week we hosted a Christmas party for 30 people at our house. It was so much work, but so worth it because we had such a great time. I got dressed up (same dress as 2 weeks ago, limited maternity wardrobe!!), and we made a ton of yummy food. I'll post more about the food another day!

I can't believe Christmas is so close. We are headed on our 14 hour road trip on Saturday!! Can't wait to see my family and spend the holidays with them. There will also be a baby shower involved in the trip! I am hoping to take a ton of photos so I have a lot to blog about in the New Year.

Here's your weekly photo, and one of me and my hubby at our party!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas came early!

Since we are spending Christmas with my family this year, today we had our Christmas with my husbands family! We went over for a yummy brunch of pancakes and sausages, plus blueberry bran muffins (of which I ate 3... Shhhh!). Then we all sat around the tree and opened out presents.

My in-laws are extremely generous and we are super spoiled! Some of the highlights: a kitchenaid food processor, and the diaper bag from our registry! Oh, and these pretties... I wish it were anything other than the dead of winter so I could wear them!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Party prep!

Tomorrow is our big annual party at our house :). We are expecting around 30 people. Tonight we (my hubby is cleaner extraordinaire) are cleaning, and setting up. It's too bad all of the food prep has to happen tomorrow. It's going to be a busy day! I'm going to try to get a nap in the afternoon so I can make it past 10pm. Would it be unreasonable to kick people out then? Haha. Just kidding. Sorta.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Open bar: Score!!!

Well, in a past life anyhow. Every year since I've been in Ottawa I've attended my dad's work open house around Christmas time. It's at a bar downtown and there's a bunch of food and it's an open bar! That used to be appealing to me, but obviously it's not at the moment.

That's where I'm headed this evening! At least I know I'll be able to stuff myself pretty decently :)

I love holiday parties!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My favourite tree ornaments!

Our house is all decked out for Christmas so I thought I would share some of my favourite tree ornaments. The first one is brand new! My mom just brought this for me when they visited last weekend. I have always loved pigs since I was a little girl. I have quite a collection, a lot of which will make its way into our nursery :)
The next is also a sort of recent addition. It's the ornament we bought for our first Christmas together, however we're weird and cheap and we actually bought it on sale after our first Christmas married last year! Haha! We probably won't do that with the baby's first Christmas ornament though...
Ok, up next is a sentimental ornament. My dad cut a bunch of these snowmen from wood, my mom and I painted them, and then we sold them at craft fairs to raise money to buy some oars for me (for rowing!). I have one or two on my tree :)
Just one more for tonight. These don't have any special meaning to me, they're just really pretty! My mom had some on her tree and I looked for a couple of years before I found some for myself. I love glass ornaments, and the detail on these ones is just particularly awesome.
There you have it! Do you guys have any tree ornaments that are special to you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Pregnant Kate"...

Here comes another short post, but does it bother anyone else that the Duchess is now being referred to as only "pregnant Kate"? I find it rather weird and rude. It definitely rubs me the wrong way, it's like her pregnancy now defines her and she's no longer a real person, just a pregnant lady.

Monday, December 10, 2012

23 Weeks!

It was a whirlwind of a week and weekend! As you know from my other posts, my parents are in town visiting. Blogging while they're here has been difficult, but I've still managed to post every day! We have accomplished so much this weekend, the nursery is looking awesome but still isn't fully completed. You guys will have to wait a little while longer before I share :) My mom is superwoman though, I swear. She completed every sewing project we planned for the whole space, we never thought it would all get done this soon!
I am off work today but my husband had to go in. This is a typical scene once he leaves for work if I am still in bed. The white bit is my husband's pillow. Leroy and I had some major snuggles this morning! He's so spoiled... he's probably in for quite a rude awakening once baby arrives and he's no longer the complete centre of attention...

This coming week is going to be brutal. It's back to work tomorrow, and we're having a big Christmas party at our house on Saturday, and I am so behind on the baking and planning for that! Every evening this week will probably be very busy. On top of that, my dad is here all week for work, so I'll probably see him some evenings too! Yikes. Oh, and did I mention I am also behind on Christmas shopping??? I am a big ball of stress right now...

And in other pregnancy news, I finally weighed myself. At 23 weeks I am up about 22 pounds. That's higher than I initially planned, but I am feeling pretty good about it. It seems to be evening out too. My weight gain seems to come in spurts, I am in a slow one now, probably about 0.5 pounds/week. With 17 weeks left, my new goal is to stay under a 40 pound gain.

Here's your photographic evidence of my pregnancy for this week! 1 more week to viability!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Man mug...

Out to supper tonight, and my husband had to have the biggest beer I've ever seen... They call it a "man mug". I can't decide if that offends me as a woman or not!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My amazing parents...

My parents are home renovation/decor SUPERSTARS! Seriously, I feel like they should have their own show. It could be called: How to completely transform a room in 8 hours or less!

Today we managed the following: made a crib skirt, and a roman shade, hung sheer curtains, painted the entire nursery, hung a new chandelier, and put together some wall shelves. All of that in about 6 hours.

I love my parents. They are definitely the best and I am so lucky to have them! Can't wait to show you guys once it all comes together :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

A sneak peek!

My parents are here for the weekend so this whole blogging every day thing is tricky. There'll definitely be some super short posts for the next few days!

My mom and I just returned from the fabric store so I thought I'd give you all a sneak peek!!!! Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New favorite show?

We just started watching Homeland! We're on episode 3 of season 1 and are officially hooked. My parents are coming this weekend but if they weren't we would totally spend the whole weekend watching hours of this show.

I can't wait to get caught up!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We've finally crossed the Christmas decorating off of our to-do list!!! Yay. I love our tree. It's full of pretty glass ornaments and some sentimental things like wooden ornaments my mom and dad brought back from Germany, where they lived for a couple of years before I was born.

How do you decorate your tree? Do you have a theme?

P.S. Leroy totally photo bombed me!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bye bye wedding rings...

Well, I might be done wearing my rings until this little baby is done cooking. I'm sad! Maybe it'll be a day by day thing?

Monday, December 3, 2012

22 Weeks...

Well, I had a very busy week! I have been baking and trying to get things done in advance for Christmas. We also put up our Christmas tree and decor since my parents are visiting this weekend, and the following weekend we're having our big party at our house! All of these holiday things are getting a bit overwhelming.

Anyway, we also attended my husband's work holiday party. I bought myself a pretty dress to wear since I've been feeling less than awesome about myself, and I felt really pretty :). The $80 was WELL worth it, and I'm trying to think of some other occasions for me to wear the dress again! So far I think I could get 4 wears out of it.

In other news, I forgot to mention that I am feeling baby kicks these days! It probably started around 17 weeks, but I wasn't entirely sure it was baby until probably 2 weeks ago. At this point my husband can feel it, and sometimes we can actually see my belly move. It's actually so cool. I just love the feeling! I thought I might find it kind of creepy and alien-esque, because I'm weird like that, but I totally don't. It's just simply amazing. I'm still waiting for the kicking to become a little more consistent, right now it's just a few times a day.

I would update you on the weight gain, but I can't even bring myself to step on the scale... People tell me it's all belly though :)

Next week I should have the very first nursery update, as my parents are planning to do a bunch of work while they're here. I'm so excited to see it really come together! Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Apparently the Starbucks barista spells Simon way different than most people...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I did today...

Shortbread cookies!!!
Here's the recipe, it comes from the box of cornstarch :)

1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions) 
1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups flour 1/4 cup Corn Starch

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). 

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla thoroughly using an electric mixer. Gradually blend in flour and corn starch.

Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press down on each cookie to flatten using a fork. Place a small piece of cherry in the middle, I only had red but a mix of red and green would be awesome!

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

And voila! These are super simple!! And so buttery and yummy. It's hard to eat 10 at a time...

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