Friday Favorites: Tackling my Christmas Shopping

 We had another great week and I felt like I accomplished so much by tackling my Christmas shopping.  It feels great to see so much crossed off my to do list already. 

I drove Alec to school on Friday for his first official day as a culinary student.  The sunrise was just amazing!! 

The other two boys and I had quite a bit of schoolwork and we didn't finish up until lunchtime.  After lunch I cleaned my car and then it was time to pick up Alec.  It was so beautiful out with temps in the upper 60's.

I spent the rest of my afternoon working on my Christmas cards.  I made 5 different varieties all in the same style and will have a post up on the blog on Tuesday going over how I made them. 

We cooked up turkey burgers, burgers, and hot dogs for dinner to go with salad & fresh fruit.  Then my husband and I went grocery shopping.  

I spent my morning on Saturday making some gift card/money holders for Christmas (instructions here) before taking Alec to his karate class. They are in the new dojang and since it's still a fairly new business Alec ended up being the only student in his class.  We had a lovely private lesson with his favorite karate teacher.

After karate and lunch, Evan and I went for a talk to the state park and then I worked on some blogging. 

I cooked up a shrimp stir- fry for dinner with shrimp, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms and broccoli with both rice and cauliflower rice (and chicken breasts for the younger boys). 

Sunday was a runaround day.  We started our morning at my mother in law's house.  Her closing is coming up soon and there were some things she wanted us to take... Alec ended up with a new bed!  She was getting rid of her mattress & box spring but it was in much better shape than his so we brought that home too.  He loves it; even if it a good 8 inches higher off the ground than his old one!

After that we went to Lowe's, JC Penney for some returns, my husband's work, the hydro, the family cottage to help get the docks out of the water.  Then my husband and I stopped for an impromptu date and enjoyed milkshakes/ ice cream sundaes.  

I even found time to paint my nails and my toenails (while reading a really good book)!

This paragraph really resonated with me in light of how divided this whole election has been (The President is Missing by James Patterson & Bill Clinton)

After we got home we hopped in the Ranger and went to join a bunch of our family members off in the woods.  The kids were going off the jump while the adults sat around talking.  All was going well until my husband took a rather high speed corner and I almost fell out of the Ranger; I definitely felt like I pulled something trying to hold myself in and spent the rest of the night resting on the couch.

Alec cooked up some waffles and Ian made some bacon so the boys ended up eating brinner with some fresh fruit.  

I dropped Alec off at school on Monday and then did a quick morning of school with the other two boys before Ian headed off for another 2 hour driving lesson.  Evan and I ran a bunch of errands before lunch and then arrived home and watched a few episodes of Jeopardy.  He actually knew quite a few of the answers for the college tournament edition. 

We went for a quick walk to the state park and then Evan cooked me some chicken fingers for lunch.  

Alec came home with a whole bag of baking supplies including disposable pans and parchment paper just in cast they end up having to go all virtual.  I can't wait to see what they'll be making from home with a fairly list of supplies; though I hope it doesn't come to that I'm realistic enough to realize it's coming.  They had spent their day in the building making leaf shaped sugar cookies.  

For dinner I tried my hand at cooking up some Swedish meatballs; we thought the recipe we used was a bit salty but otherwise pretty tasty.  I served the meatballs with egg noodles and salad. 

Alec was working from home on Tuesday and Ian was heading to work with my husband.  Evan and I had a really short day of schoolwork before heading out in the morning for dentist appointments.  We could not get over how fast and how thick the fog rolled in over the lake. 

We both had a great cleaning and I had just enough time to drop him off at home before heading out for a hair appointment. 

I arrived home and made Alec and I some lunch while he attended his math class and passed another test with an A! When school was over I nudged the two boys out for a walk and to get some fresh air.  I keep reminding them we have to take advantage of this amazingly warm weather while we can get it.  

For dinner I cooked up some teriyaki chicken, rice pilaf, corn, and squash. 

With Veteran's Day on Wednesday we had hoped to get together with some friends of ours so I gave the boys the day off from school. We didn't end up seeing our friends but we did get quite a bit crossed off of our to do list.  I got all the laundry done, sewed new patches on Alec's karate uniform, found Ian some winter boots online and even finished up all my Christmas shopping (for everyone that doesn't live in this house).  

I needed to cook up some bacon for the loaded baked potato soup I was putting in the crock pot so I whipped up some pumpkin pancakes with maple glaze for the boys breakfast and let them each steal a piece of bacon or two.  

After breakfast we ran outside and I snapped three or 4 or maybe even 5 quick photos of each of the boys and the three boys together... can't believe I forgot all about taking their photos this fall with all the pretty foliage we had!  I made do with a forced perspective that blurred the background and I'm happy with how they turned out.. here's a sneak peek at some of our rejects.  Evan was willing to be my guinea pig while we tried out different backgrounds and lighting options.   

the sun was in his eyes in this location

The background felt too dark in this one.

This one felt just right.

Alec and Ian went to lunch with their grandmother and we all spent a quiet afternoon at home.  Alec tried his hand at making French baguettes to go with the soup.   The bread was amazing--- the soup; not so much!  It was much too garlicky and onion tasting for us so we threw away all the leftovers but at least we had lots of yummy fresh bread left. 

Still trying to get the hang of using my light box to take photos at night.. it's hard with reflective surfaces. 

Alec had a half day on Thursday so I planned a short day of schooling for Evan as well.  Ian headed off to work with my husband for the day and Alec and I had plans to go pick up his uniforms after school.  

They had been decorating their leaf sugar cookies the made on Monday and was able to bring home two of them to share with us.  The frosting got a bit messed up in transport but they tasted great. 

We got his uniform ordered and I can't wait to see him in his embroidered chef's jacket! 

For dinner I used Alec's leftover baguettes to make some fresh garlic bread and whipped up a Weight Watcher's pizza casserole to go with our salad.   (The casserole is just a box of pasta mixed with a jar of sauce and some browned ground turkey.  We sprinkle it with a handful of fat free mozzarella cheese and 6 pepperonis then bake it in the oven at 350 long enough for the cheese to melt).

Linking Up With: On the Edge, 


  1. Your cards are beautiful- what a special gift- you are so talented and thoughtful!

    1. Thank you! There was a year or two I didn't make them and I had quite a few family members tell me they missed my homemade ones. Now that the boys are older and I have so much free time it's really fun to get back into making my own.

  2. The Swedish meatballs look so good! And I love the pictures of the sunrise and the fog. So pretty. Have a great weekend!

  3. Replies
    1. It just kept getting brighter and more colorful.

  4. What breath-taking sunrises! How beautiful! I actually got around to finally painting my nails this week too! It’s really something I don’t do often, but I found time this week! I love the colors you chose for yours! Baking baguettes seems like lots of fun! I’m not sure how well mine would turn out if I tried it though! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I try to keep my nails painted as it does prevent mine from breaking so much but it can be tricky to find the time. I don't typically have patience to make homemade bread but my son just loves it.

  5. I always love seeing your handmade cards and scrapbook pages. You have made so many beautiful creations!

  6. Gorgeous pictures of the lake! Would love those sunrises! Also, your homemade cards are so beautiful! Have a great day!!

  7. I always love seeing what you're baking. I am trying to do more because it is getting colder here. I have done a lot of Christmas shopping online already, which feels nice to have done. This is the earliest I have done shopping but I figured it might be harder to get things shipped this year because of the pandemic.

    1. That's what I figured too plus there isn't much else going on so I have plenty of time to shop online and I figure as long as I'm spending money anyway it might as well be on stuff we'll actually need.

  8. It's been a while since I made french baguettes, thanks for the reminder, may have to make some this weekend!
    Loving your Christmas cards and gift card holders!

  9. Those baguettes look amazing. And so does the Swedish meatballs. I made one recently and it was a bit salty too. That picture where it is foggy out is sooo cool. Have a great weekend!

    1. Maybe it's just supposed to be a salty dish?!

  10. I want to learn to make bread so bad.
    I dont hear the word "Swedish"& start making the sounds from that dude from teh Muppets.
    What a good deal on getting that mattress. Win win for all of you.

    1. I used to love the Swedish chef! Bread making can be intimidating and we've had a few flops but mostly it's just giving it time to rest and rise that makes it time consuming.

  11. WOW! What an awesome week. The food that comes out of your home always looks so good. I think I gain wait just looking at it. Your Christmas cards are wonderful. YOu are so talented.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you! It's so hard not to gain weight.. I'm always trying not to eat it all.

  12. I love your handmade cards! Pre-kids I used to make/stamp cards too. I'm hoping to take our Christmas card pic this week. Yum to homemade French baguettes and pumpkin pancakes! Hope you had a great weekend!

  13. I have been slowly chipping away at Christmas shopping as well. I think I may actually get it all done long before the last minute this year! Your Swedish meatballs look amazing! That is one of my favorite dishes. I haven't made them in a while, but now you have inspired me. I think Swedish meatballs may be on our dinner menu this week! Thanks for linking.


    1. Thanks so much for hosting. Enjoy your Swedish meatballs. :)

  14. Seems like you have turned the corner and must be feeling better. Glad to see that big smile on your face. As always, lovely photos. And yummy food. Your nails sure look pretty, too.

    1. I think I have turned a corner; I have been feeling much better.


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