I just have to laugh. This is just one of those years! We are just not with it! But I will tell you what, we will get there before it is over no matter what! Something a little more like ‘coming in hot’ rather than ‘fake it till you make it’ I would say.
So, this is where we are at. Happy Christmas!
I forgot to give my friend (Thanks K!) her elf hat and necklaces back to her after we rode in a Christmas float parade this past weekend, so I naturally decided to put them to work getting Merle and the Dun Duo’s annual portraits before I left the farm this past weekend since I had yet to do anything about them. Like I said, coming in HOT. But, anything is better than nothing. I think the Dun Duo might have begged to differ this year.
Anyway, we have been getting a lot of rain and mud has been the name of the game around here. LOTS of mud. Riding has been at a minimal recently, which probably explains a lot! I did not even groom the horses is how last minute this very impromptu session was. Between their dirty coats and the looks they were giving me, I felt like they were sending me a message…and it was not an overly festive one!
Something tells me they were not enthused.
Cheetah tossed the hat more times than I could count! She would not really even look at me. When she would look in my general direction, she would either glare or close her eyes. I think she even rolled them a time or two. I also could not have taken a good photo that day for the life of me!
It is a little hard to call them Christmas ponies or Santa’s helpers. Lito was even ‘better.’
I think Lito learned his looks from his mother.
I am pretty sure he tossed the hat into the mud on purpose.
When I went to find Merle for his torture session, I discovered he had gotten into something bad. This dog, I swear. He has the worst kind of witching hour. Between the hours of 5 and 7 PM is when bad things happen. He found bees or wasps or a snake or something. His whole face started to swell. Always something! The good news is he seemed fine other than in appearances. I luckily or unluckily have some experience with snake bites in dogs and this did not appear to be a snake bite. I gave him a couple Benadryl and decided to try again another day. It was not working out for us!
Anyway, the work week started in earnest and I started looking at the Christmas weather forecast (possible spoiler alert, it may be very cold with stuff falling from the sky…which means I will likely be away from home at the farm taking care of the animals) and the thought creeped into my head that maybe I do not get a tree this year.
And. And. And.
Who am I!
I basically slapped myself this evening on my way home. Get with it, sister! Get into the spirit! Yikes!
So. I called around and then drove to find our little tree and turned up the festivity! A little late, but that never hurt anybody! I am now enjoying a glass of bubbley out of a chipped glass of my grandmother’s with my lit and decorated tree and house while the Christmas music plays.
And, yes, Merle will get some photos too, but we will all just have to wait for that.
This is where we are at. We are here and we are present. We are in the spirit! Join us!
Play some of this new Christmas music and turn your festivity up too! Keep scrolling if you need some of our past years’ photos to help you turn up your cheer! If you can you the word ‘festive’ and any of its derivatives as much as me, you get a special prize.
I am looking for some inspiration, my dear readers!
But real quick.
Is anyone else surprised that we are here halfway through November, staring and the holiday season coming in hot and heavy? Just me? Sometimes I stop and think and almost look around me and wonder how I got here! I am along for the ride though and would not change a thing.
Long time readers know I live for this time of year. The love and family time. The thanks and giving. The traditions. The cooking and baking. The lights and decorations. The festivity! I love it. We had a cold front blow in and the weather has now caught up to the season and is here to stay. Or as much as we have winter weather here in our part of the world. I am not really ready for the cold part though given how not fun winter 2020 was. I literally thought the big winter-pocalypse was winter 2021. I should be able to remember all of this given that last year I was able to go on a Hawaiian vacation, you know…balance things out, but alas, my time memory is still warped from 2020 covid time.
It is time to crank up the festive. Turn on the happy. Remember the reason for the season!
So here is the deal, I want to know!
I want to know what are your favorite traditions? What makes the holidays for you? Favorite food (sweet or savory). Favorite music. Favorite activity or decorations.
What makes it festive for you?
I specifically want to know what is your favorite cake!
I am looking to try something new!
Every year (one year I even participated in a blog event!) I have shared my favorite Christmas music, fun animal photo shoots, and of course the cooking and baking. Have no fear, you will get some of that this year of course, but I want to know yours.
Drop and comment and share with us! Or send me an email at email@example.com.
Well, not so much as a tale tale but a Merry Christmas everyone!
Just a few days late…
It has been rather hot down here in Texas and Christmas day was north of 80 degrees F I believe. My horses were sweating on Sunday just grazing. I think we are supposed to get a cold snap here this weekend, but it does not generally feel very winterey to me. I for one and perfectly OK with that after last year. I know there are many that feel the same and we are all praying that we do not have the same experience this coming year.
Even still, I attempted to create a little winter with my Christmas desserts. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or something like that?
I present to you a gilded Christmas, winter forest in the form of a chocolate cheesecake cake complete with decorated trees. Two rich, dark chocolate cake layers with a creamy and sinful cheesecake layer in the middle, all wrapped in cream cheese frosting.
This cake was actually for a party the weekend before Christmas. I figured, so long as the inside is good, it does not much matter what the outside looks like. Just do it! I think it turned out pretty well! It is abstract, OK?! If you don’t bid, you don’t win. I think I won.
Christmas morning brought a cookie for the Merley before completing my next cake.
The ultimate Christmas morning scene in the form of a cheesecake (my friend blamed me for the cream cheese shortage…). A spiced cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, glazed in white chocolate ganache, and decorated with homemade gingerbread cookies.
It was all worth it in the end, even if I was cursing myself by the time Christmas morning actually did roll around. I baked the cheesecake and prepared the gingerbread dough on Thursday evening. Merle and I danced and listened to music in the kitchen while I went about the mixing and baking.
Then on Friday, it was gingerbread cookie central. They are worth it, take my word for it, but man! Rolling and cutting cookies…and then decorating said cookies is so much work! It took all morning and then I had to wrap the presents! Luckily for me, it was not too many and I was able to get them all quite quickly. I do not often make cut out cookies for the simple reason that it takes so long. I forgot apparently when I saw the cover of Southern Living and came up with this plan. I remembered about the time I had two trays left to bake and realized how much decorating I needed to do. Anyhow, for a first time attempt at gingerbread cookies and royal icing, I think they turned out pretty great! I am glad I did it. It was fun and it all tasted delicious.
What is a dreamy Christmas morning without horses under the tree?
I really wanted to put an ice skater on top of that white chocolate ganache.
I hope you enjoyed! Did you make or do anything fun this year for Christmas??? Fun fact, I actually have a couple cakes to make for people because of these cakes!
We had to work for the Christmas tree this year. I tried to get my table top tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as is my tradition. Well, it turns out that I was not the only one hunting up a tree on that Sunday. I went to two different places, but the lots were almost empty. No worries, I will just wait a few days until they get some more trees. Wait a few days I did and the situation was not much different than it was before. I am not sure that I have ever seen it like this before, but hey, I am just glad that people are getting festive and into the spirit!
I decided that this past Sunday was going to be the day no matter what. I had to go to three different places. I really was not overly excited at the prospect of spending the price of a full size tree for a table top one, so going to all the different places to get a good price was well worth it to me (although, I would have absolutely gone back and spent through the nose just so I could have a tree). I think I found a good one! He stood out among the others and it was a quick in and out. It lists a little in one direction, but that gives it character. Maybe next year I will get a potted tree I can then plant after Christmas or make an event out of going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting one fresh. Something about that seems kind of funny down here in south central Texas though. Or maybe I will get a full size tree. The possibilities are endless!
Anyway, the finding of the tree is only part of the fun. Growing up I was always with my parents to pick out the tree every year, being sure to get cuttings to decorate the house with. We would listen to Christmas music on the way there and then there was normally a trip into a store to pick up some eggnog for Pops and maybe something special to cook for dinner that night. Then there was more Christmas music once we got the tree set up inside and worked on decorating the tree and the whole house. I have probably told you all of that before. I know I have told you about how all of us cousins would go to our Grandparents’ house together to help my Grandmother decorate her tree, listen to Christmas music streaming out of the study, drink hot chocolate, and play.
I finally got around to decorating my little table top tree late last night. Sunday evening I was at my Aunt M’s for dinner and Monday night I was visiting and having dinner with my Grandmothers. I had the Christmas music playing (with a Hallmark movie on mute in the background) and enjoyed a fun cocktail while I decorated and Merle supervised. Sadly it does not take long to decorate a little tree with not many ornaments, but every year or so I buy myself a new addition for the tree. This year I actually had two new ornaments. A gold, lacey aspen leaf with a moose on it from our trip to Wyoming and a carved wooden cross accented with chalky white. See if you can spot them!
A fun thing we used to do with my Pops’ side of the family was a ‘where’s Waldo’ with a certain ornament on my Aunt M’s tree. In my memory it was a green pickle. It was something funny and obscure like that. It was seemingly always hidden very well. The kid who spotted the ornament won some money I think it was. I remember always feeling duped when it was finally found. I should ask her where that tradition came from.
It has become a tradition now (how long does it take to make a tradition?) for me to benchmark Merle (and his mohawk) in a Christmas tree photo. It started with Darcy (you can see some of her pictures that I posted the other day). This is Merle’s third Christmas and this year we had to create the same photos. His mohawk is bigger and more obvious in person, I promise. Now, if only I could bring the horses inside! Just kidding, I think that is even beyond me. Maybe. Maybe one day I will have a Christmas tree in a barn. That would be so fun!
Click play and have a scroll! A little side note, I think my Grandfather would have quite loved this version of this song for the drum arrangement.
Do you see the drool starting???
It is a Merry Merley Christmas Tree!
I could not resist that last one! I am aware that most of these look exactly the same, but I just could not include all of them! You can never have too much cuteness.
Maybe next year we should do something like this. I know Merle would be game!
Walk in love, dear readers! Spread the joy! For those that need it and those that do not.
One of my favorite things about Christmas time is including my animals in it. Taking the time to get everyone groomed up and festive (or as groomed as possible anyhow. Merle makes it difficult.). Maybe take some pictures (duh). Do something fun and special as it is just as much for me as it is for them. This probably makes me weird. Oh well. Well, maybe not all that strange. If I had kids, this would look perfectly normal!
I remember as a kid I would make homemade Christmas stockings for the dogs and hang them around the fireplace next to ours. I would put special dog treats in the stockings for the dogs to enjoy Christmas morning. They would always have a blanket or a bed in the room where the tree was and they would be present and a part of our gifting on Christmas morning. I would also often get them a new toy. My mom and my friends often get my dogs a toy for Christmas too.
Christmas looks a little different now at 33 years of age, but I still like to celebrate with my animals and include them in as much as I can. Even if it is just something simple like ribbons and a bow tie. One, because that personality trait is no different now than any other time of year. It also feels like a way to celebrate them. To pay tribute and gratitude for the gifts that they are.
So, that is what I did Saturday morning. I spent a couple hours when I was not doing chores with my dun duo and the Merley Bob going back to my childhood. Grooming until my arms were tired using every brush in my box. And, yes, using THE GLITTER! I am thinking next year I might be that crazy lady that sends a Christmas card of her animals. Why not?
Enjoy the festivity! And the sheer talent it takes to get everyone to be still and pose. It did not last long! Hit play on the song and have a little scroll!
Merle had left at this point for something in a bush. He was whacking his tail on a broad leafed plant and Lito was sure it was a crouching tiger or a hidden dragon.
Walk in love, dear readers, and share the festivity and the joy!