Tag Archives: Holiday Hub Bub

Truths, Transgressions and Treasures

In the time that I’ve been writing Broken Cookies Don’t Count I may have seemed like a bit of a humbug about Christmas.  At least that’s what I see when I re-read previous posts related to Christmas.  There are various reasons why that is, but I’m still not prepared to discuss it here.  Suffice it to say, I find the reasons valid.  However, I do my best to buck up and enjoy the season.

It finally happened this year.  I had the Spirit and it’s been wonderful!  There are various reasons for it.  The Truths…


My Best Friends… Gail and Alice…


My sister, Ele and my nephew, Little Michael…notice the orb by Ele’s left ear…hmmm…that’s all I’m going to say…


Ele’s beautiful little tree and our “fireplace!”


The sleeping Santa that has to be about 65 years old at least.  Ele and I both remember it from childhood.  She currently has custody.  He is just adorable.

And my own sleeping Santa…


Ralph…my best Christmas gift Ever!!  I’ll get to more gifts in a minute, but first…

The Transgressions… If you remember back in November I did a post titled “Every Day Is Not a Party…”  It talked about planning ahead and not allowing Holiday eating get the better of me.  I talked about marking my calendar so that I could clearly see the days when I would expect to indulge and that on the other days…well, it was just Wednesday…not the Day after Christmas and it didn’t come with a license to over eat.  I’m working hard on that.

First thing Wednesday morning, I headed to the produce market and here is my haul…


As we speak, I can barely close the fridge door due to all of the goodies.  Part of this became this…


Weight Watchers veggie soup.  It will get me through the next few days in proper WW style!  Hoping for a favorable outcome on Saturday!  It’s all in the attitude with which you approach things.  I like my WW attitude lately!

Now to the Treasures…

I’m not sure which of these made Ralph happier…


The old phone I found for him to replace the one he had but then “disappeared.”  I was so excited to find this back in October down in Mullica Hill.  I snuck it into the car right under his nose.  I love that he can be oblivious sometimes! 😉



His “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!”  I got this at Aldi of all places.  I brought it home and set it up on the kitchen counter for him, with the note that says “Merry Christmas” on it.  He was sleeping because he had been up all night doing art work.  When I got home, he had drawn a little Charlie Brown on the note (of course!) but I’m not sure you can see that in the photo.  He grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug.  It made him really happy.  I think it helped us both to get some of the Spirit we were missing.

My Treasures were…


This wonderful little Buddha to help me with my meditations.  This is from Ele and although I forgot to ask her this, I think this was the gift she had said made her the happiest when the package arrived.

And finally…The Big Deal…


Yes, my Cookies…I now have a real camera!!  I will be able to take wonderful pictures like my friend, Kristen.  She’ll be serving as my camera coach to help me figure things out.  Now if I could just work up the courage to open the box!   😉

It’s been a terrific Christmas for us here.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say  that, but I’m so happy that I can share it with all of you.

Now I have to get to work on my 2012 wrap ups and my 2013 Goals.  A blogger’s work is never done!   🙂

Happy Thursday!!  Make a List!

WIAW~I’m Recovering As You Read This…

Recovering?! No, nothing scary, just from the marathon that is always Christmas Eve for us.

Of course, though, Holiday or not, there’s always room for What I Ate Wednesday.  It is the wonderful foodie get together started and hosted each week by Jenn at Peas & Crayons.  Be sure to visit Jenn and all the fun kids over there when you are finished here and be sure to leave some comments!

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

I reported yesterday on breakfast with the Girls (and Ray!) which was the first installment of the marathon.

Second installment was lunch with…


Ralph, grandson Alex, son Bill, Heather-the boys’ Mom and Patrick!  We ended up back at the same diner.  I was working to be on my best behavior.


Not as good as I was hoping.  I ordered a spinach and feta omelette…I received a mushroom and cheese omelette.  The potatoes were cold and kind of greasy (one reason why I rarely order them anymore) and the toast was more like stale bread than toast.  I ate part of one piece but gave up on it.  It was just so much fun to be with everyone, that I didn’t really think about the food.  People are what really matter at Christmas.

Next and final stop for the night was Ele’s for Christmas Eve or as my niece Carrie likes to call it…Christmas Chaos.  Our ranks are smaller, but we still had a great, though less chaotic Christmas Eve.


Me, Ele and Michael.  Unfortunately, he could only stay a very short while because his Dad was sick, but we’ll get to see him later in the week for a few days.  Much fun will occur at that time!

On to the Food!


Ele makes the Best gingerbread!  No, I didn’t eat the missing piece, although I did eat one later…I was slicing and plating. Yum…


Cheese and cracker plate being filled.  I was proud, I controlled myself with these!


Veggies and veggie chips and dips.  Of course, I did Not eat the veggie chips although Ralph has a new favorite.  They’re from Aldi and apparently very tasty.  I’m getting close to 2 years with no chips.  I can’t believe it, but I think (most of the time 😉  ) it was a good idea.


Cookies, home-made Cracker Jacks and nuts…my toes also I notice now!  I tried the Cracker Jacks which were yummy, but got sucked in by the nuts.  I could have been worse.

As I go back through my photos, I did actually eat before Monday!  Several store-bought salads…


Mixed cheese from Picasso’s.


Wawa salad to which I added cottage cheese.  Both were tasty and leading into the marathon, I was being mindful by making these choices.


One slice of pizza after eating a salad.  I felt pretty much under control.

Funny, how being in and out of control can feel different depending on your overall frame of mind.  I’ve been so mindful and so in control lately, that Monday felt a little out of control.  But my mind is back in order.

I’ll be sharing on Thursday our (new) traditional Christmas dinner.  It’s fun and as I write this, I’m thinking about it and looking forward to it.

That’s WIAW for me for this week.  I will be back on track and I have a plan for that recovery I mentioned earlier.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas Day.  Be sure to check out  the other fun blogs at Peas & Crayons.  We always love it when you visit!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!  Recovery Day!!

One Down…Two to Go

For us, Christmas Eve is always an eating marathon.  I’m trying to think positive and eat responsibly.  I hope I can accomplish that!  We’ve already received 2 food gifts…Help me, Rhonda!!

We started with breakfast out with Gail, Alice and Gail’s brother Ray.  I should have gotten a picture of all of us, but I’m woefully under enthused for photos today for some reason.  I hope as the day continues, I will improve.

I was good for breakfast and will share.  We were at our favorite, the Gateway Diner and will be there for lunch again, later.  Well, we know what we like!



A big bowl of oatmeal with raisins. They were golden raisins which I don’t think I’ve ever had.  Cinnamon sugar instead of cinnamon, but it was all very tasty!



We took our traditional Christmas photo.  I should find a bunch of the old ones and do an entire post of them.  They’re fun and we’ve been doing this for a Very Long time!!

We’ll be heading out around 2:30 to meet up with Ralph’s son Bill and his grandsons Alex and Patrick and their mom, Heather.  It should be fun, it always is.

I caught some pretty photos Christmas Eve morning.





A beautiful Morning and a beautiful day so far.  I’ll catch you up on the rest of the day when I see you on the other side!

Merry Christmas to All!!  Eat Responsibly!

Down To The Wire

Have I said that my head is spinning?  If I have then I’m repeating myself.  If I haven’t said it then…”My Head Is Spinning!”  Not really in a bad way either.

I really do have everything under control.  I have 2 gifts left to wrap and they won’t take long.

I was really proud of myself on Sunday. I was up early and had my plan.  I had three stores to visit and I called each one to find out what time they opened.  I left my house at 8 am exactly and I was home by about 9:45.  I didn’t quite believe it myself.  I got everything I needed in spite of the fact that I left my list on the bed side table.  I was frustrated by that, but it didn’t get me down.

Our major function today was to get together with Heather, Brian and Colette who would ordinarily be coming to Ele’s house on Christmas Eve, but won’t be able to this year.

We don’t get to see them as often as we’d like so we were really glad we could get together with them.

As is with most babies, I take a ton of pictures.  As it is usually with my camera, the little devils are too quick for me to get decent pictures.  I did get a few good ones of Colette.



Princess Colette with Grummy Ele and Dad Brian.



Brian and the Princess!



Kept trying to get a smile…this was as close as I got.



Wish I could remember what Uncle Ralph was laughing at…Love this picture!



She really seemed to like what we got her…it was a talking Teapot and tea cups.  She laughed when it talked but of course, I didn’t catch it. 😦



Mom Heather with the Princess in her pretty pink owl hat!

And yes, I got to get my photo taken with the Princess…


This is the first photo I’ve seen of my new haircut…I Like it!!

So that was Sunday.  True confession insists that I mention that Ele put out a wonderful collection of cheese and crackers.  Characteristically, I did some damage with it.  However, I was very good the rest of the day.

As always happens on Christmas Eve for us, it is very much like an eating marathon.  Breakfast out, then early dinner out, then back to Ele’s for present opening.  That cheese will be there again, calling to me, but I think I’ll change my name…Call me Carmen Miranda.  Don’t tell the Cheese…

Happy Christmas Eve!!

Where Do I Begin?

Saturday seemed like one of those days that went on forever!  Some usual things, some frustrating things and several special guest appearances.  Let’s just dive in!

Weight Watchers as usual first thing in the morning with a tiny gain that could have been because I ate dinner late on Friday.  I’m not going to worry, just not do that again!  I feel that in so many ways, I’m being mindful of my eating and as a result feeling strong and confident.  That doesn’t happen all the time…I’m holding on to it!

Breakfast with Gail and Alice after the meeting, then quickly home to make sure that Ralph was up and moving because we had a date at my sister, Ele’s house to see some friends coming for a quick visit.  Our friend Ginny along with her mom-in-law Stephanie were coming to visit and they were bringing a visitor from a very cold place, very far away…No Not Santa!

Ginny was bringing along her daughter, Jeanne and grandson, 2-year-old, Teddy!  I was so excited because I’ve never met Jeanne or Teddy.  They live in Norway (cold place, far away…see?!)  They’re visiting for Christmas and here they are…



Jeanne is beautiful and Teddy couldn’t be cuter.  He was a bit sleepy at first but warmed up to everyone quickly.



Clearly a  fun little guy.  We had a great time.



All bundled to go home looking like…well, a little Norwegian boy!  It was a fun visit.

Spent most of the rest of the afternoon wrapping and kicking myself.  The wrapping went well, the kicking comes from the fact that something I ordered didn’t come in.  I still have to go out this morning for two things, but I did find the thing that didn’t come is available at a store nearby.  That has to be on today’s list also.  I’ll be out Very early.  In fact I’m about to try to find out how early these stores open so I can get in and get out.  One of my only talents when it comes to shopping.

But as I wrapped, I realized that I was hearing sirens.  At first I was worrying that someone would be dealing with a fire this time of year and then I realized… It was that visitor from a very cold place, very far away…No, not Teddy!  It was Santa Claus.

Each year, our town fire department brings Santa around all lit up on a beautiful sleigh with music playing and candy canes given out!  The anticipation is terrible, because you can hear him but you can’t see him.  Then you don’t see him and you think he’s not coming down your street, then you SEE him and he turns down another street!  Makes me crazy every year!

But then…






He’s getting closer…



He’s HERE!!  This is such a fun tradition and I wait for it every year.  Ralph and I run out like crazy little (Big) kids and wave and shout to Santa.  I just love it!

So, I’d better get my act together to head into the maelstrom (still love that word!)  If I’m out early, I’m hopefully back early.  We have another special guest coming to visit today.  You’ll find out tomorrow!!

Happy Sunday!  Happy Day before Christmas Eve!  Yikes!!!

Patience Is A Virtue

I don’t know if any of you believe in reincarnation.  I’m not sure if I do.  However, what I understand of reincarnation is this…In this life you work on issues until you have them worked out and then you don’t have to deal with That particular issue in your next life.  If that’s true, I’ve always said that I know what my issue is in this life.

My issue is Patience.  As I get older I think I have become more patient, I don’t get so riled if things don’t work out initially, or if something (traffic, service at a restaurant or store) is slow.  I’ve consciously worked on this over the years.  I’ve always known I was impatient and tried to correct it before I had my big reincarnation revelation.  Hmm…that sounds like a good title for a post! 😉

So…feeling very frustrated with myself for being behind again in my Christmas preparations, I was unsure what to talk about today.  I couldn’t say what a good job I was doing to be ready, or that I have all my gifts (almost) or that everything is wrapped (don’t ask…)  Ralph is doing a good job getting his artwork completed, so maybe I can take some credit for that!  No…don’t think I can piggy back there… 😦   I bought the frames…does that count?!

I do still have some Christmas spirit going in spite of what I said in the paragraph above, And the fact that the lights are Still out on the Christmas tree (have not been able to figure it out…I really just think they died of old age…)   I feel grateful for that considering my lack of spirit the last two Christmases.

So, getting back to patience.  I’m almost always up before the sun.  When I see the first light coming, I open my kitchen curtains to assess the sunrise in case there might be a photo-op.  Funny how sometimes I can just tell that what I see is what I get and it won’t improve so I’d better get out there if I want some color in the sky.

This is what I got…



A little color and nice enough.  What looks like magic orbs turned out to be dust on the lens.  No other worldly visitors…I’ve been watching too much Paranormal State…

I forgot about it and went about my other business.  All of a sudden I looked up and I knew I was in for a treat.  Grabbed the camera and ran outside…



I was so excited to look up in time.  There’s my old friend Gnarly Tree in the middle.  The sky was beautiful and I think it will help me start my day in a positive mood.

Have I learned all that I need to know about patience?  Certainly not yet, but this morning I’m glad that I’m at least a student who shows up for lessons.

Happy Thursday!!

WIAW~Happy 100th!!

This is a very exciting day.  Jenn at Peas & Crayons is celebrating the 100th What I Ate Wednesday!  I’m so happy for her for all of the fun she started and all of the fun that I get to share and enjoy each week.  What a terrific thing you started, Jenn…I for one say a big Thank You!

So Let’s get started!

What I Ate Wednesday Healthy Holiday Recipes

I’m playing along, but I must confess that I don’t have much to show this week.  That’s never kept me from participating before and it won’t this week.  It just means that next week when I have real Holiday treats to show you, it’ll look that much better! 😉  Not sure why pickin’s are so slim this week, but hey, that’s life some times!


My frequent favorite of late…rice cakes with cottage cheese and Mrs Dash.  Tasty and filling and quick which at this time of year is very important.


A new favorite featuring rice cakes again, this time caramel corn with peanut butter…the new part is the addition of cinnamon.  Amazing how much something like that can add.  So Delicious!  Both rice cake meals were lunches.

Now for breakfast…


So quick and easy…non fat lemon yogurt with a quarter cup of Fiber One.  I like this because it’s something I can take with me if need be.  That’s one of the things they’re trying to teach us in the 2013 version of Weight Watchers.  Take care of yourself by always traveling with a snack or a meal that will hold you over while you’re away from home.  This would work!


Not pretty, but delicious!  Morningstar Farms mushroom lover’s burgers. With American cheese on sandwich thins.  So good and so easy.  I was hungry so I had two which didn’t mess up my WW Points for the day.  So good!

Last but not least is one of my favorite, Couldn’t Be Quicker dinners.


Couscous cooked in the microwave with Aldi’s version of Mrs. Dash.  Crock pot lentils simply warmed in the microwave.  Topped with Locatelli cheese.  So quick and so good.  I’ve really been enjoying these lentils.  I Will be making them again!

So that’s it for me for WIAW.  Please be sure to visit Peas & Crayons when you’re finished here.  Wish Jenn a Happy 100th, read some posts by the other lovely bloggers  and be sure to leave some comments.  It’s the fun place to be!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!  Happy 100th, Jenn… Thank you for all the fun!!





Smiles and Frowns and TIDNTKE

Where to begin today?  I’ll start with the TIDNTKE which translates to Things I Didn’t Need to Know Existed…


I don’t think I need to say anymore about that!!

My Saturday morning Weight Watchers weigh in brought a Big Smile!  I have been talking in recent weeks about being mindful of what I’m eating, not allowing myself to get caught up in the Holiday snacks offered almost Everywhere and doing what I know is right for me on the Program.  Again, amazingly it paid off and I lost 1 pound! 🙂  I couldn’t believe it! That puts me a pound and a quarter from my personal goal.  Let’s see if I can do it.

After our WW meeting, lovely Kristen had invited a few of us to her apartment for a Holiday Brunch.  With a group of mostly WW members getting together, Kristen was very helpful, making sure we all knew what the Points values were for what was offered.



So adorable and So Tasty!!

The assembled group…


Kristen, Ele, Me, Pat and Debbie.  Kristen’s Mom, Cheryl served as photographer for this shot.  We had a wonderful time chatting and eating and acting goofy.  Kristen was very nervous because it was her first brunch in her apartment.  She gets an A+ from all of us!

I mentioned that I had finally gotten our Christmas tree up and I was so excited.  I wasn’t sure which photo I liked better.  With flash…


Or without…


Sadly, it hardly matters now.  The lights on the tree seem to have died.  😦  Now granted, they are probably 20 years old and I’m not exaggerating that.  At first I thought there was a problem with the extension cord or the power strip I was using. But the light on the power strip comes on so it can only be the lights themselves.  There’s too much on the tree to take them off, but I guess next year, I need to get a new set of lights.  Of course, my plan is that next year at this time we will be in New Mexico and we’ll have room for a Big Tree.  This one will be serving as an accent tree somewhere in the house.  I think I know the perfect spot for it. 😉  At least I got photos before the lights went out!

Sunday should be a busy day.  I am feeling a little behind at the moment, but there have been years when I’ve been further behind with less time to go.  Funny…I think I said that last Christmas also!  I’m nothing if not consistent!

Happy Sunday!   I’m going to a Christmas cantata this morning!

Take Two

Who would have thought two years ago, when I wrote my first post for Broken Cookies Don’t Count that two years later I would still be here doing it almost every day? Certainly not me but here I am and it’s my second anniversary, sometimes none as a blogiversary by bloggers in the know. 😉

It was fun to re-read that first post.  For a first try, I’d say it was pretty well written.  I did notice a couple of typos, but hey everyone starts somewhere.

The other humorous, or maybe not too humorous thing is my little faux pas with the photos.  I thought that after a few weeks, I could delete the photos in the attempt to save space in my WordPress allotment.  Note to self:  Don’t Do That Again!  I learned and I haven’t made that mistake again.

I feel that my photography skills have improved over the last two years and I hope that they will continue to improve.  I’m actually planning on taking some photography courses after the first of the year.  That should be  a lot of fun.

I worked at finding my way in the wonderful world of blogs.  I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers, gotten some ideas, shared some ideas.  The truly amazing thing to me is the collection of wondeful readers I have now…and not ALL of them are related to me.  But in truth, I feel like many of these bloggers are old friends.  I feel that I know them as well as people I know in real life.   I’ve said this before, maybe here maybe not:  You hear so many negative things about the people that are “on the internet.”  Some people make it sound like a dirty word.  I have found the people in the blog world are generous, enthusiastic, giving of their expertise, willing to help me not make the same mistakes they’ve made with their blogs and simply people I’m glad that I know.

There’s so much going on this time of year in real life.  In blog life, there are end of the year reviews, goals for 2013 for life and blog and a lot of looking to the future.  I don’t think I’ve ever considered what’s going on in my life or what I plan to do in my life as much as I do now.  I think I like it. I have exciting things about to happen in so many areas.  I like that.

I’m always talking about accomplishing things (or sometimes not, 😦  )  Today I got the Christmas tree up.  I was so excited.  Checked off the list and now on to other projects.

I’ll leave you with a thought that, yes I borrowed from someone else.  But I like the thought behind it.

Full moon-partial view

Keep your eyes open and see the Full View.  Happy Second Anniversary to me…I feel great things are on the horizon.

Happy Friday!  Tomorrow is another milestone!! Thank you to all of my wonderful Readers!  You keep me coming back every day!


Taking Hold of the Challenge

Near the end of November I talked about a tool I used to use as a Weight Watchers leader.  The tool is basically using your calendar, indicating all of the special occasions during the Holiday period in order to know what challenges you face.  I love this tool, and Wednesday was the first of my noted challenges.

It was Ralph’s family Christmas get together.  There were 15 of us and luckily we were put in the back section of the restaurant which gave us much more room to move around and mingle when we wanted to.  So much nicer than being in the main room.  I must admit that I should have done better with photos.  In that type of lighting…natural light, but not quite enough for no flash…artificial light, too much with flash…and a camera that for some reason has always had very slow reaction in those situations.  Heavy sigh…I do hope that Santa has heard my plea for a new camera.  😉  We’ll see.  If I get it, I think I may be doing something exciting with that.  More on that later.

So I have a few photos, food included.

First, the newest addition to our family…


Trevor with his lovely Mom, Ralph’s niece, Marie.  As you can see, it takes so long for the shutter to work, it gets blurry.


Trevor with Uncle Ralph.


Trevor’s big brother, Jesse with his balloon treasure.  They’re so adorable!

Time for some food!


Cream of broccoli soup…very tasty.


The Largest Greek Salad Ever!  I’ve had their Greek salads before, but this was absolutely Huge!  I’ve never had to take any of it home with me…this time I took at least half.  I’ve been craving salad lately and I certainly got my fill, tonight! 😉


One of my favorite pictures of the evening…Ralph with his Aunt Marie.  She’s so sweet!  He’s pretty cute, too!

So my apologies to the rest of the family.  I’m usually pretty good at getting photos of everyone, but it didn’t work out this time.

This has been one of those nights for me.  Woke up at 1am, tried to go back to sleep until about 2:10am and I’ve been up since!  Wonderful way to start the day.  I’ve got lots to do, and I plan to get a lot done, but this gives me license to take a nap later! 😉

Happy Thursday!! One Challenge handled successfully! On to the next!