northstory notes – Dec 13, 2013

Ginger Bread Cookies

So here is everything that I was supposed to get done this week.

– Bake cookies and mock Skor bars
– Finish buying presents, stocking stuffers and wine
– Wrap presents and stocking stuffers
– Finish handmade gifts
– Buy stamps
– Sign and mail out Christmas cards
– Finish making, writing, shooting and editing the remaining Christmas season blog posts
– Do laundry
– Make parts of Christmas play costume for my daughter

Here is what I got done:

– Baked cookies and mock Skor bars

*crickets chirping*

My week instead was spent in long lineups, with angry people, learning that everything I had driven through insane traffic to buy was sold out. Then while I was in the store with the angry people in the long lineups asking if they price match items from their other store because one item was on sale at Store A and the same item wasn’t on sale at Store B , I perused through endless Holiday Home Tours on Pinterest via my iPhone. Ones with fluffy pillows, perfectly staged Sorel boots by the crisp white mudroom (oxymoron) and the casual nothing fancy cocoa bars nonchalantly waiting for the unexpected holiday guest to stop in for a visit in front of the fireplace of my dreams.

Do you want to know what my cocoa bar is? The no name brand hot chocolate container in my cupboard above my oven vent so my kids don’t have access to it and a spoon.

Not that I have any issues with cocoa bars in one’s home. In fact I love you people who do, feel free to invite me over. I’ll bring the Bailey’s. It’s the same adoration I have for people who have kids and cream carpets that stay clean, those who can bake cakes with homemade butter cream icing and make squash soup from scratch without slicing off one’s own finger. Why? Because I can’t do it here. There is also no way I can do an indoor home tour at this point in my life. My kids will find my shadow with the vacuum and mock it as they leave a trail of goldfish crackers behind the spots I just vacuumed.

This point in December is what I like to call “Pinterest Holiday Burnout”. Aside from the Home Tours (my own front porch is decorated and has been for over a month and I still haven’t had the proper time to photograph it for on here) I think I have seen the same mason jar craft and burlap wreath 100x. So instead of “Less pinning, more making” I’ve been doing the opposite. Fail, fail, fail. I had to unfollow half my food boards because really there is only so much gym time I can do to burn off all the damn treats.

And I am running out of clean clothing.

I know it may seem like every blogger has their shit together at this time of year and is covered in fairy snowflake dust that permeates into their completely staged for the internet home photographs, trust me, it’s not the case. In honour of keeping it real, if you think for one second bloggers don’t have 7 piles of crap hidden behind some closet door and neglected children wondering why mommy is so pissed at the flash not bouncing off the white board in daylight savings time lighting while they’re running out of underwear, they’re lying. And they also probably screwed up their first batch of skor bars. Or attempt at this 12 layer Christmas cake (I mean look at that – I want a slice!)

But all was not lost in this completely behind schedule of a chaotic week that my weekend will now pay for dearly.

The power of social media, in this case Instagram, did some good. While rushing home from the 3rd trip to Costco this week due to forgetting something the day before, I noticed driving by Value Village that they were having their 50% off sale. So I walked in to do a quick 15 minute run through and came across these babies:

Carboy Jugs

So after I carried one of them over my head like the Stanley Cup in a crowd of shoppers (Cart? What cart? It’s 50% off day, you won’t move if you have a cart.), I posted the picture on my Instagram and mentioned there were 3 of them left and where they were knowing these were too good to pass up for someone.  I would have tried to carry two but it was already a battle to get out of the furniture section around the sweater aisle. And as fate would have it Thalita from The Learner Observer saw the pic and got herself over there after work and picked one up for herself.

I wonder who got the other two. If it’s you let us know.

But that’s where I think social media does a lot of good in terms of connecting bloggers with the same passions and design tastes. We can do things like that without having to email or text everyone on our message list. Completely random Pay It Forwards with visuals, helping out friends and virtual strangers. I mean for $6.99 each. Come on.

This is probably the reason I haven’t gotten anything done this week. I’m easily distracted. It’s the hamster wheel in my head, I apologize. Oh look You Tube…

In this week’s northstory notes:

All you gold loving bloggers are killing me. I am platinum and silver girl. You’re really not helping me commit to the dark side.

One of the most genius DIY wrapping paper ideas I have seen in ages.

Speaking of hot cocoa…

The teacher gift round up on AT is just as good as the comments.

Stacey’s annual chalkboard tree.

My kids would love this felt craft!

If you blog and you’re a parent, read this post. It will make you think twice.

Honesty and blogging. A sweet post.

I need to make one of these trees. Thanks to the Sweetest Occasion for the slideshow intro.

Why this isn’t on my front porch yet in red version is beyond me.

This whole mantle just makes me smile.

A wooden wreath I wish I had thought of.

And for all those who asked, the magical recipe for my favourite gingerbread cookies that are devoured comes from a classic recipe from Kraft. And the secret ingredient is pudding.

Happy Friday the 13th Weekend!


  • Reply
    Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
    December 13, 2013 at 7:03 am

    I’m a silver and platinum gal too. I have done almost nothing to move ahead the holidays around here. A real slouch this year. And not apologizing! I will live vicariously through your amazing elfery. 🙂

    • Reply
      December 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

      My problem for some reason these days is time. It feels like no matter how many hours in the day there are, I just can’t get ahead of my To Do List. I even tried doing the social media blackout thing where you keep yourself off of the computer and that failed. I think Christmas season everything takes longer when you’re running errands b/c the crowds are bigger. I need to start online shopping more or doing wrapping paper with stuff around this house.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I need to spend an entire day with you… I’m sure I would have a blast!! haha I would have to make sure to have you speak out everything you think so that I can giggle. 🙂

    Thanks for being so wonderful Alex!!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

      That day at Link wasn’t enough! Hopefully next year we get more time. I am 10x worse after a couple of glasses of wine. 🙂 I love love love your wrapping paper!!

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    December 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I am so with you on the holiday burnout. I keep telling myself – just 2 more posts. By the time Christmas actually gets here, I will be Scrooge.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2013 at 9:45 am

      I DID NOT!! Omg. James got me 2 bottles and as he opened the car door they fell out of the truck and smashed into a million pieces on the driveway. I think he was more upset than I was. And that’s strange.

      I said the same thing. I have 3 more posts that I have to get in pre-Christmas and then I think nobody is online the week before Christmas b/c everyone is running around scrambling to get everything done. Remember how we lamented over this year last year? It happened around this mid-point too where it was like Yeah that handmade gift seemed like such a great idea and then wound up at the liquor store with 5 gift cards in our hands.

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Storefront Life
    December 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I have a bottle of Baileys and an Aeroccino, you can come over and we can drink drunken hot chocolates and get nothing done together.

    Have I mentioned I don’t have a single tree up (and you have, what FOUR?) and I haven’t started Christmas shopping. Oh, and I am hosting Christmas dinner (and cooking a whole pig) AND we’ve got 30+ people coming for New Years Eve.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Ha ha Alex you’re awesome…should I post photos of the life-sized dust bunnies I’m living with? and the gazillion empty pizza boxes in the recycling from this week? And all my Christmas baking has already been eaten! Tomorrow I’m hosting a crowd of teenagers for a Christmas brunch event…what??!! they want to eat food??!!

  • Reply
    Lynne Knowlton
    December 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    OH MY GAWDddd, you crack me up. You might like my blog post today 🙂 … I think we are living parallel lives xx

    PS. there is a homemade baileys recipe in there. I know you will want it (aka need it). hahaha.

    Merry HoHo, my friend xxoxoxxo

  • Reply
    December 13, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I think you did great with your accomplishments! Lets face it… all the other things on your list will be much easier with cookies and skor bars. Fold towel, eat cookie. Buy stamps, eat skor bar. Address cards, eat cookie (sip Baileys). You have your priorities straight! And you made all of us laugh and shake our heads while muttering “I get that, me too”! Merry, Happy, and all that. love ya!

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    December 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Well said my friend…. well said. I recently felt myself starting to hyperventilate with all the pulled together blog posts pouring into my reader reminding me what a slacker I am. Pinterest Holiday Burnout indeed!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I love Skor, and I have always wanted to try the mock recipe but I never seem to have saltines…guess I’d better get some!
    Oh, I am always behind on laundry, who isn’t?!
    Thanks for the honest post.

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