Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 2011 Round Up

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What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Still chipping away at A Mystery of Errors by Simon Hawke. I'm about half way done now (which means I've had too many doctor's appointments recently). Really want to finish it in January, if possible.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: With most major network shows in reruns for December, I spent a lot of time watching movies this month, but I did do *some* television watching. Caught the excellent San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker (from 2008) on PBS (though I can't hear the Chinese dance without seeing dancing mushrooms). TNT shows were back briefly, so we did watch The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles. Finished up The Next Iron Chef, though I was disappointed with the end result (even of the two finalists, I would have chosen the other one). Plus there were some standard Christmas shows: Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Prep & Landing, and the new Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice (not as good as the original, but Luke likes it).
* New Films: I saw 10 new movies this month! (I know, that seems like a lot, even to me.) They were:
  • Twilight: Eclipse (they're not really getting any better, but clearly they aren't so bad that I've stopped watching)
  • Pirate Radio (not typically my kind of movie, but it was very interesting; loved Kenneth Branagh and Jack Davenport!)
  • Burlesque (completely predictable, but good heavens, does Christina have some pipes!)
  • Cinema Verite (quite interesting)
  • White Christmas (yes, the original; no, I'd never seen it; have to say, I didn't love it, prefer Holiday Inn)
  • Dorian Gray (the 2009 with Colin Firth; it was just okay, not really my thing)
  • The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (this was very sweet and charming)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (yes, the original; no, I'd never seen it, and I'm not at all sure how. I mean, come on - Ian Flemming, Albert Broccoli, screen play by Roald Dahl! it was okay, with some good spots, but I didn't love it)
  • Lost in Translation (I clearly did not get it; I mean, it was fine, it was just sort of there; I don't see how/why it was nominated for Oscars)
  • That Lady in Ermine (1948 Betty Grable and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; quite disappointing, actually)
* Old Favorites: Hello, Dolly!, The Princess Bride, That Thing You Do!, The Incredibles, WALL-E, The Dark Crystal, Ocean's Eleven (Clooney/Pitt), Three Men and a Baby, The Three Musketeers (1993), Somewhere in Time, Housesitter, Grinch Stole Christmas, Gladiator, The Replacement Killers, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Little Women, The Young Victoria, Speechless, An America Tail, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Sommersby, Inception, Tarzan, Ice Age, Toy Story 3, Jurassic Park

What special days did I celebrate and how?

Spent the days before Christmas with DH's family. Spent Christmas Eve with my grandfather and mother in law. Spent Christmas with my parents and brother. Spent New Year's with my mom's family. Can't really ask for more than that!

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
You know I always feel really awkward covering all of my Christmas gifts, so let's just say I got a bunch of stuff that I absolutely love (including new kitchen tools, woohoo!), and leave it there. I'm sure you will see/hear about quite a few of them as the year progresses (like the two LEGO Wii games!). I also made a temari for my friend Melissa.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Luke being sick (again!) was no fun, but the bacterial conjunctivitis from getting poked in the eye was the worst! Actually, Luke *still* has a runny nose. Feel like it's been running for months now. Really getting old! Also, for me, my ENT follow up showed that my ear is simply not getting any better. We'll give it to March to see if it will get with the program and start healing itself, but the doctor didn't seem hopeful.

However, for the first time in several years, I managed to *not* be dead dog sick on either Christmas or New Year's. Such a nice change! However, we also have not yet had our "movie day out" yet either. Apparently, I have to wait until then to be sick.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Cooking and eating and chatting with my family is always fun!

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
A whole bunch! We made all kinds of new things over the Christmas holidays, most of which I profiled here (with recipe links). Peanut Butter Creme Cookie Cups, Tree Breadsticks, Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup, Creamy Chicken Marsala Pizza, and the most excellent Swedish Meatballs (yes, I keep talking about them; yes, they were that good!). I think there was a new squash recipe and two new broccoli recipes, but I didn't try those.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
I made up a basket of gourmet type items for my mom and brother for Christmas, and I couldn't just let them have all the fun, so several of the items I also got for me! Examples: black lava salt, pink Himalayan sea salt, balsamic vinegar, vanilla beans (both Madagascar and Tahitian), and saffron. Can't wait to start playing with them!

What were this month's disappointments or frustrations?
I also got a bit frustrated with myself. It took me forever to figure out a gift for my mom and brother. To compensate, we overspent on Luke by, well, a bunch. ::sigh:: The CD calendars I ordered that should have arrived within a week took 11 days to come in. I was already out of town by the time they showed up. I was NOT happy!

What were my accomplishments this month?
Finding the Swedish Meatball recipe! (I know, I'll try to stop, I promise.) Getting acceptable gifts finally rounded up for the rest of the family was a last minute accomplishment, but accomplished nonetheless. I also spent the last few days of the month writing over 30 blog posts to try and get caught up on November and December blogging that never got done. I knocked off a few 101 Things items.

- 33. Acquire 5 new kitchen tools. Must be "new to me" tools, not just replacing tools I already have. - Knocked off all 5 of these at Christmas. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
- 74. Have family portraits made with parents and brother. - My friend Christi took our portraits on Christmas Eve! (Really need to get some prints ordered.)
- 77. Visit Trader Joe's. - I know, it's about time, though I will say that I didn't see the fascination. Maybe this one was just super small and had a more limited selection? It was not large at all inside! Still, it was interesting, and they did have some specialty items I can't find elsewhere.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Luke received a certificate at Winter 2011 Awards Day for being on the Principal's Honor Roll (all A's and S's). He's already leveled up one of his Skylanders to maximum levels! LOL He was *extremely* well behaved for the entire Christmas break, which was very nice. He definitely enjoyed the Christmas break. I think he really needed the break from school, though I hope it won't cause trouble getting back in the swing of things in January.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Not really.

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: rounded up for the year

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