Monday, November 29, 2010

The Holiday Season Has Begun!

Hi there, friends! I hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend and are pumped for the holidays. I know I am! I didn't go Black Friday shopping like I had intended, and I'm glad for it. I got to sleep in while everyone else was up all night, ha! It's been a surprisingly chilly weekend, and I say surprisingly because southwest Virginia has been notorious for some ridiculously warm Thanksgivings.

Here are some pictures from this past weekend:

My nephew helping his nana make sweet potato casserole.

The turkey and some of the lovely noms behind it. All three of my sister's LARGE kitchen counters were filled with food! Sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, baked mac & cheese, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, corn muffins, crescent rolls and brown & serve rolls, turkey, ham (for those in the family who dislike turkey), gravy, stuffing, and I don't even remember what else!! We also had appetizers beforehand; pepperoni and cheese on crackers plus cheesy salsa and tortilla chips. And of course there were the pies. I really went over my personal rules set for this day, but I didn't even care LOL

I was in the middle of marking my seat with a place marker next to my equally savvy niece...

And there's our VIP seats, LOL

What a pig! Oh wait, that's my plate. Hey, I forgot stuffing! What a dolt.

As I looked around at the joyful chaos around me, I realized that I was really going to miss these huge family gatherings once I return to Canada. I felt bittersweet, but only for a little while, because I didn't want to look back on my final Thanksgiving in Virginia with unhappiness. So I really enjoyed myself and had fun bonding with my nieces and nephews.

The next day, my mom and I made our own mini Thanksgiving feast at home. Because, you know, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without your own leftovers! :)

The next day, Mom and I began to decorate for Christmas. Mom wasn't going to do so since I'm leaving for Canada next month and because it's coming up on a year since Dad passed away, and she just wasn't into it, but somehow she got the holiday spirit.

The tree, almost finished.

The dove in the top of the tree...

Mom's Santa collection, most of which she poured from molds, fired in her own kiln, and painted back in the days when she owned a ceramic shop.

The tree finished and glowing cheerfully in the grey chill of the afternoon. That tree skirt was made by Mom for my very first Christmas and is still pretty much pristine!

Maybe it's just me, but I love seeing Christmas lights when the day is otherwise grey and dismal. It makes me happy!

Have a great week, everyone :) If you're into digital scrapbooking, don't forget to check out my digiscrapping blog tomorrow evening (you can find the button in my sidebar) for THREE free kits I've made for your holiday scrapping pleasure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ramblings of a Nervous Wreck!

I got my passport sent off today, woohoo! It will arrive in Buffalo by noon tomorrow. I hope they begin processing it before Thanksgiving and before the holiday slowing-down-to-a-sludge begins for them. My stupid anxiety and paranoia keep making me feel that I didn't do all the steps correctly, or send the little package off right, and the pessimism in me automatically turns the dial to Worst Case Scenario Thinking.

Getting tired of all that. The anxiety, paranoia, and pessimism have been dramatically warping my life since I was a child. Of course, I get told that I'm simply being stupid and to not think that way, but nobody seems to get that it's just not easy. Believe me, I've tried. I WISH it were that easy.

We started by going to Food Lion so my mother could cash in a container of coins that she had accumulated over time. Then we went to Walmart to pick up Thanksgiving food, check for legal-size print paper (which they didn't have, which means I have to traipse to the other side of Roanoke to the nearest Office Max), and to get photos done for Buffalo.

The guy at the photo lab was bemused when I showed him Appendix B of the region specific form section of Canadian immigrating. I asked him if he could adjust the crown-to-chin measurements to what Buffalo required, and he said he would try his best. He just kept staring at me as though I had asked him to take a picture of me nude. I guess he doesn't get immigrants very often, LOL!

The photos were done in fifteen minutes. I accidentally glanced at them. Can I just say ew? I looked drunk, with a beach ball face and a slight double chin that even stretching my face out a bit to lengthen my neck couldn't hide. Oh well, I'm sure Immigration has seen worse.


After we got all that we needed (and my mother saying she needed a tranquilizer to deal with my "stupid" anxiety), I sat in my niece's car and meticulously trimmed the photos to specification. They ended up a little crooked, which bothered me. I really don't know if Buffalo is going to accept them at all, but if they don't, they don't. I can't do anything about it right now.

Then we drove back to Food Lion to buy the turkey, which was supposed to be 39 cents a pound. The wild turkey chase (lol) and dreams of stuffing a cold carcass came to an end when a stocker informed us that they were sold out of everything but turkey breast. We didn't want to make a pilgrimage (lol) back to Walmart, so we bought a breast (now that just sounds weird).

Then it was off to the post office! At this point, I was so stressed, mushed in the back seat with my younger niece and my carseat-age nephew, trying to pore over my checklist and made last minute corrections to envelopes and stuff while the car was moving... well, my hands were shaking and I wanted to cry. Told you it was bad, LOL. And the guy in the post office was a total grump. I tried to be my usual cheerful self, and he wasn't having any of it. I just KNEW he was thinking "Bah, HUMBUG!" in his head the entire time. In the same bored drone that he used when speaking. I wondered if he had ever smiled in his whole life. Yikes.

So I think I got it all right. There's no use worrying about it. After so many months of worrying and the way my stomach has been acting up lately, I'm afraid that I might have an ulcer or gastritis (I was SO GENEROUSLY given gastritis around this time in 2008 and it was a horrible experience). Yeah, I worry too much. I worry needlessly, stress needlessly, lose sleep needlessly. I can't even summon up joy that I sent this stuff out, because I'm worried about jinxing myself and something going wrong, mainly with the photos.

Yeah, I'm a nervous wreck for no good reason!

But as long as everything goes well, this is the final wait. At this time next month, I'll either be back in Canada or getting ready to head up there. My husband is very excited and has been in an excellent mood lately. I can't wait to be home with him :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 Emotional Bits of News

I got a double whammy when it came to very emotional news today. One was bad, the other was good. I'll go ahead and share the bad.

Our eighteen-year-old cat, Zed, had to be put down today. He loved everyone. When I first arrived at the house in Thornhill in June of 2008, he greeted me at the door and meowed at me. I quickly became close with the old man and adored him.

I wish I had been able to say goodbye to him. Like everything else in Canada, I haven't physically seen him for eighteen months. But now he's without pain, and he finished his long, relatively healthy life in my husband's and mother in law's arms.

After I found out about Zed being put down, well, needless to say I was bawling my eyes out. Then, just minutes later, I received an email from Canadian Immigration.

Here's the good news.

I received my passport request!!! I need to get three recent photos made and mail off my passport to Buffalo, and within a few weeks I'll receive it back and I'm free to land as a Canadian resident!!!!

Talk about an emotional rollercoaster today.

While my heart is heavy because I'm sad that my old man cat is gone, I'm also rejoicing in the fact that I can return to Canada very soon. I've spent the last few hours bawling my eyes out. It's hard to realize just how emotional immigration is until it's over and the fear and the wait are almost completely over.

Sometimes I didn't ever believe that this would be over. It's kind of hard to believe right now! But I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me, and you can bet I'm hopping up and down thanking God right now for blessing me the way He has =)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vote for Kind Over Matter!

Okay guys and girls, I'll just say one thing right now. Kind Over Matter has been an endless source of inspiration for me ever since I became active on Blogger. From amazing printouts that I want to leave everywhere for people to see, to beautifully inspirational pictures and messages, this blog is all about promoting goodness and kindness in a world full of spite, hate, and snarkiness (is that even a word?).

Right now they're seeking more votes for their running in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Here's what Kind Over Matter is planning to do if they win:

"The Kind Over Matter Project is all about feeling good & promoting positivity. We want to help independent artists in the Handmade Community achieve their dreams by awarding them micro-grants to polish off their businesses. Our goal is to turn Kind Over Matter into a non-profit & start selling merchandise that promotes kindness & positivity. We will be using donations & a percentage of the proceeds to fund our grants. These grants will not be awarded by professional curators they will be appointed by YOU. After initiating website upgrades & design changes, we plan to use an interactive voting system so that members of the Handmade Community will be able to vote for their peers."

I think this is an amazing idea and a wonderful opportunity that deserves to come to fruition, which is why I'm sharing this with everyone that I possibly can.

Click here to check out the post and vote!

Have a great Monday, everyone! Yes, I realize that that was an oxymoron to most of you ;)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Blog Hopping

Sunday Strolling Blog Hop

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Not much has been going on this week, except that I've been very busy working on hand-made Christmas presents for my family. Since I've learned to crochet and there's such a clamouring for my open-work scarves and handwarmers, the gals of the family are getting those. I have just about everyone nailed down in terms of creating, and you know what? At first I felt really stressed out about not being able to buy anyone anything this year, but I realized how much I love to create for people. I'll be posting some pics soon!

And I've been scrapbooking. A LOT. I'll be posting a bunch of layouts over on my digiscrapping blog in a little while so you can check them out. I thought that I was starting to get burned out, but that's not so!

I'm so excited for Christmas already, and it's still autumn. Don't get me wrong, autumn is my favourite season and I fall in love with it more each passing year, but this year went right from hot to freezing and the foliage wasn't at all spectacular. It's left me feeling a tad disappointed, so I'm over it.

And besides, winter means that I'll be landing in Canada as a resident! I can't believe I'm saying this, but... HURRY UP, WINTER!

I discovered what is possibly the MOST sinfully easy dessert in the world. It's called a mug cake and you can find out how to make one here.

It takes just a few minutes to make, and it is HEAVENLY. A whole mug full of chocolatey goodness. What person doesn't love that? Well... maybe someone who doesn't like chocolate, but anyway ;)

Have a great week, everyone!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recipe - Creamed Chicken & Biscuits

Creamed Chicken & Biscuits

I absolutely love this recipe. It's perfect for cold weather evenings and is simple to make (and you can bet that I sure as HECK like simple).

1/2 large onion (that's too much onion for me, so I substituted with a generous sprinkling of dried onion flakes and the end result had a distinct onion flavour that wasn't overpowering)
1 1/2 tsp butter
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pimiento (I left this out entirely)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 frozen biscuits, thawed (I made some drop biscuits with Jiffy mix this time)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 11x7-inch baking dish.
Chop the onion. Heat butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high until melted. Stir in onion and saute until tender. (Since I was using dried onion flakes, I just nuked the butter in the microwave until it melted and stirred it together with the flakes.)
Combine onion, chicken, soup, sour cream, milk and pimiento in a medium bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
Sprinkle baked layer with 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Arrange biscuits in single layer over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar.
Bake until biscuits are golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 20 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

OPTIONAL: If you're a rice lover, cook up some minute rice and add it to the mix. Trust me, it's HEAVENLY!

I used more cheddar cheese than the recipe called for. I LOVE cheese, so I couldn't help it. The recipe called for mild cheddar, but I find that it's flavourless in things like this, so I used sharp. It's really all about preference, just like using Jiffy drop biscuits instead of frozen biscuits (I like either of those).


Monday, November 1, 2010

Enter to Win an Apple iPod Touch @ Living on Love and Giveaways!

You gotta follow this blog if you like giveaways!

Ohhhh, shinyy...

Visit Living on Love and Giveaways to enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch!! Yahoo!

1 winner will receive an 8gb Apple iPod Touch, and 3 winners will win a $10 iTunes gift card! How awesome is that?

I just entered and would love to win this to give to my husband (though he'll have to share... LOL).

Open to US only & ends on December 15th, so hurry and get your entries in!

Enter Here