Sunday, December 31, 2006

A little bit goofy, a little bit artistic?

So, on Christmas eve morning, I was helping my mom prepare food for Christmas dinner. I was in charge of the brussell sprouts and the cranberry and custard trifle. After chopping the brussell sprouts and preparing the trifle, I went to disposal the leftovers down the drain. There, sitting all along, was a cranberry nestled in a fallen brussell sprout leaf.

So, I decided to take its picture. Silly I know, but the picture I took of this little pair on the morning's Washington Post's Arts section sorta make Josephine Baker look a little like Carmen Miranda.

I had fun!

I can make dirt!

For Christmas this year, Joe got me a composter! I know, but before you jump to any "vacuum cleaner / washing machine / toaster oven - as gifts" comments, I asked for one! I want a place to put all our kitchen scraps without adding them to the ever-filling landfills. So, what better place to put them than a composter... and when I want compost for our garden, what better place to get it than FREE in our backyard!?

Compost, yay!

Our friend Carla would be proud!

Insects and dinosaurs and sloths!

More from our trip to the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

Outside the insect gallery - this exhibit was sponsored by Terminix!

Up in the box, a two-toed sloth slumbers

Part of the dinosaur exhibit

We have a sloth!

This past Friday, Richard, Joanna, Joe and I ventured into downtown Raleigh to explore more of the Natural Science museum. Unbeknownst to me, this museum has a sloth! We wandered through the Living Conservatory (where they had the sloth and lots of butterflies), an insect gallery (where they had... insects), and took in the dinosaur exhibit (recently renovated).

Outside the museum - can you see the dinosaur?

Outside the museum

Dale and Joe at the museum

A night at the museum

Each year on Christmas Eve, my family has a tradition where we go to a matinee movie and then eat take-out food. This started our first year in the US when we decided to spend our very first christmas away from home. We journeyed to Massanutten where we hoped for snow. Alas, there was no snow to be had (only fake snow to be made) and we were bored so we went to see a movie and had take-out. This year our movie was "A Night at the Museum" - how fitting that during our visits with family we took in two museums!

National Gallery of Art, DC

Christmas decorations

Candy canes and christmas ornaments

Wreaths for the backs of the dining room chairs

Arrangements made from fresh seasonal greens purchased at the Raleigh Farmers Market - 3 big arrangements like this and 3 smaller arrangements for $15!

Christmas tree

Living room mantle

From the ghost of Christmas past

Well, Joe and I had a wonderful Christmas visiting first with my family in Virginia, then spending a few days with Joe's parents who drove down to see us in NC. Up in Virginia, we visited the National Gallery of Art, followed by a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. I also am including some pictures of the decorations that graced our house for the bunco party that I hosted on December 15th and again two days later at a dessert party we decided to throw for our neighbors.

Christmas is all wrapped up now and in boxes ready to be packed back in the storage room. Before they're put away for another year, take a moment to enjoy Christmas for just a moment longer.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Indi loves Mr. Squirrel

Over Thanksgiving, Joe and I spent the weekend with his parents. Indi spent three weeks with them while Joe and I were in South Africa. During that time, she and Richard went on many neighborhood walks. And during those walks, Indi saw lots of squirrels...which she LOVED and wished she could chase.

When we arrived for Thanksgiving, Richard gave Indi a little squirrel toy he found while out shopping. She loves the squirrel. As you might see from the picture, she has certainly shown it a lot of love and affection - I believe the only stuffing it has left is in it's head, but it miraculously has all its legs, although on has folded itself inside out. Long live, Mr. Squirrel.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One last parade picture

And what parade would be complete without the jolly old man himself?

Christmas parade continued

Here are a few more pictures from the parade.

Downtown Clayton Christmas Parade

On Saturday afternoon, Liz, Collin and I ventured into downtown Clayton for their annual Christmas parade. Below are some photos from that. All the usual suspects were there: marching bands, groups of dancers, baton twirlers (with flaming batons, to boot!), and assorted politicians and "Junior Miss" winners being driven in fancy cars. There were lots of regular style floats with glitter and tinsel, and a few different ones: the Vietnam-era helicopter, a giant shopping cart (promoting NC agriculture / produce) and a white van advertising a funeral home (this van had no tinsel or glitter). And in tradition, Santa made his appearance in grand style, driving a fancy old red car. He was not, however, the last down the road. The highlight (of which I have no photos as the camera battery died) was a procession of 9 Caterpillar skid steer loaders sporting reindeer antlers, with a red-nosed Rudolph leading the way!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

New neighbors and friends

Since moving to North Carolina, Joe and I have been fortunate enough to meet some wonderful people on our street. The old saying, "You can pick your friends but not your family" should be said for neighbors. You can pick your friends but not your neighbors. We've had some bad luck in the past, but our neighbors on Nelson Lane have more than made up for that!

From left: Kim (expecting her first child, a son, in April), me (holding Charlie, Melisa's son), Rachel (my next-door-neighbor), Michelle (lives diagonally across the street, also expecting, a second daughter, in April) and Melisa (two houses down from Michelle)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy 24 days till Christmas!

This year, in the spirit of having more free time to be creative, I decided to make my own advent calendar. Granted, the idea was not entirely mine; I found the idea in a British magazine.... but all the hard work was definitely 100% mine!

And the best part: each little box is filled with chocolate goodies :)

Let the countdown begin!