Christmas Lights

I can not believe tomorrow is our last full day here and that it has been 4 days already. I have to go back to work on Monday after almost 5 days off. I am looking forward to getting our new bed though soon! Mom and Dad are supposed to be giving me the rest of the money as an early Christmas present for Cory and I next week and then we can either pick it up or have it delivered. It will be so nice to sleep on a new bed mattress. A pillow-top one at that.

Today we went to Bridgetown to visit my Mom’s foster brother Ray. When my mom was in the city after high school taking a secretarial course and then living there her Mom and Dad brought in 2 foster boys who were severely mentally handy capped. My Grandmother had worked in a children’s home in Digby and the boys were there. She ended up bringing them home to live and there were there almost 30 years. So they were both around when I was born until now.

Well actually, one of the boys, Jerry died 9 years ago. My grandparents had to give him up because they were getting older (mid to late 70’s) and he was getting aggressive so he was put into a residential care facility. He was there a few years and choked on Christmas Eve 9 years ago and went into a coma for a week. They eventually took him off life support (by this time both my grandparents had passed and my mom and her brothers and sisters had no say or anything) and he died.

Ray the oldest one is still in a residential home and we go seem him every few months, well my Mom and my Uncle who died a little over a year ago did anyways. I only get a chance every year or so. We had a great visit today with him. He even recognized me and though he can not really speak (just knows a few words for things) he could say my name and kept saying shoes. He taught me to tie my shoes when I was about 3. What an amazing memory he has!

After coming back from Bridgetown we all went into Digby to see the Christmas lights. I took a bunch of pictures which you can see on my facebook. I am putting my 5 favorite below. I was using my iPhone but decided to try the Camera Plus app to see if it helped with night-time photos. It was a little better.

I also decided to do a Christmas version of my theme. I may put the other one back up later.

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Christmas Tree Lighting

I have not been to a Christmas tree lighting in Digby since my last year of high school in 1997 so I was really happy when Mom told me we were going tonight! Cory and I traveled in a bit early, went to McDonalds for lunch and then for a drive to the Digby ferry. I did not get a picture as we didn’t get close enough. However we stopped on the way back at the Digby Pines which is a beautiful old wooden railway hotel built in 1905. I took the picture below from the road so it is not the greatest image but you can see it’s beauty and can see a better picture by clicking the link above.

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We then wet for a drive first down Lighthouse Road in Digby. I wanted to get a picture of the lighthouse in the snow but the road was too bad and I did not want to chance it in a car without winter tires on a very hilly and dangerous at the best of times road. After that we headed out of the snow and down Digby neck. I wanted to visit my Nanny and Grampy’s and my Uncle’s Denton and Mark’s graves in Centerville but I drove by saying we would stop on the way back and we never did.

We met Mom, Dad and Denton at Pizza Delight in town which is a Pizza chain restaurant down here much like Pizza Hut (only better). We all had the buffet and sadly I did not think to take pictures. We then headed downtown to the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. I only brought my cell so the pictures are not the greatest. It was snowing off and on but not super cold. Just perfect for a Christmas Tree Lighting.

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Santa showed up in the tricked out Fire Engine below. Much to the kids delight. It was actually really done up nicely. I had to take a few pictures to get that one. It’s a bit grainy but really pretty at the same time. There was even icicle lights on the windshield that sparkled. It was so pretty and we had a lot of fun.

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After they lit the tree they had a bunch of red and white fireworks. The picture below is really the only one on my phone that turned out okay. You can see the star at the top of the tree below.

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After that we got in the van as we had left our car at the Sobeys (Grocery store) and headed back to our car. Through the whole thing poor Cory was getting sick. I felt so bad but he really wanted to go. We saw the house below on the way through town and I managed to get a picture. However it had started to snow really bad and since neither Cory and I’s car or Mom and Dad’s van have snow tires we decided we would go looking at Christmas lights tomorrow night after going to Bridgewater for a fundraiser. So more pictures should follow tomorrow.

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To top the night off we sat outside when we got home around a propane heater in a large (really large) tent in the backyard and ate Candy Cane ice cream and candy cane bark in the snow with our next door neighbours and one of their kids (the other was at a sleepover for the night) and drank Candy Cane hot chocolate.

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Mom was talking about getting a Christmas tree tomorrow and decorating it before Cory and I leave. I am having so much fun and I think despite being sick Cory is having a fairly good time too. I can’t wait till tomorrow!

Holiday Cooking

Being home for 4 days before Christmas means lots (hopefully) of cooking and baking. Today Mom made my favorite Chocolate Rolled Oat Nuggets (Macaroons). They have always been a favorite of mine since I was a child. Mom makes them every year. I am hoping we get a lot of cooking and backing in in the next few days, Mom mentioned making perogies. Another of my favorites.

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Chocolate Rolled Oat Nuggets

• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup milk
• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/2 cup shortening or butter
• 4 tbs cocoa
• 1/2 cup coconut
• few grains salt

Directions

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil and then add other ingredients. When mixed drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet or waxed paper. Let stand until cool.

I love this time of year but it makes me miss home so much. Cory has been sick since last night so I am hoping he is feeling better tomorrow or we may be cutting our visit short. I really love being home though. Even my brother and I are getting along pretty well. He can be really annoying at times but I have to keep reminding myself that even though he is technically 23, mentally he is not. It’s hard to remember sometimes.

Mom bought Candy Cane Bark from Costco the other day as well. She was able to locate a recipe for it online. I love it. I love peppermint and I find that it reminds me of after eight mints which my Nanny always used to have and would sneak to me when my parents were not paying attention. It’s not that I was not allowed that kind of stuff but she always had it around Christmas time and I would eat it till I had a stomach ache!

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Candy Cane Bark

•  6  ounces chopped chocolate-flavor candy coating
•  
3  ounces chopped milk chocolate bar
•  
6   ounces chopped vanilla-flavor candy coating
•  
3   ounces chopped white chocolate baking squares
•  1/4  cup crushed pepperment candy canes

Directions

1. Line a large baking sheet with foil. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate-flavor candy coating and milk chocolate bar, stirring over low heat until smooth. Pour onto baking sheet and spread into a 10×8-inch rectangle; set aside.

2. In another small, heavy saucepan, melt vanilla-flavor candy coating and white chocolate baking squares, stirring over low heat until smooth.

3. Slowly pour white mixture over chocolate mixture on baking sheet. With a thin spatula, swirl white mixture into chocolate mixture. Shake baking sheet gently for even thickness.

4. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Use foil to lift candy from baking sheet; break candy into pieces. Makes 1-1/4 pounds.

I’m a little sad that I might not get to see my family again till after Christmas, this will only be my second year that I have been away from them over the holidays (first one was a few years ago). I wish they lived closer sometimes but I know they love it here and it is better for my brother in a way.

I am excited for Cory and I to start some of our own traditions and find some of our own favorite recipes and cook our first Christmas dinner ourselves (not this year but probably next). This Christmas we’ll be going to his sisters place for Christmas. Which is just a few blocks from us in the city.

Whats your favorite holiday recipes? Care to share?

More plans

We made it to Digby okay. I ended up getting VTO at work and was able to leave around 10:30 am. We were on the road by 11:30 am. It’s a good thing too, because a few hours ago it started to rain and has turned to freezing rain. Everything outside is covered in a layer of ice.

I found out at work today that they have purchased Rosetta Stone, so I am able to “borrow” it for any language that Rosetta Stone has. So I may just use it to brush up on my French and German so that I can get an international position at work. They are always hiring on my project.

In the meantime I am going to see about saving up about $500 for the first of the two ASL courses that are offered through Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). While taking that I can save up about the same for the next one. Hopefully in a year I should have enough to move on to the next stage and apply for the Deaf Studies program at NSCC.

I talked a bit about it with Mom before supper and she agreed it was a good idea and the ASL 1 & 2 courses will give me something to do over the next year or so while working. It’s 2 nights a week for 3 hours each night so it should not affect me being able to work at all. I would just have to take day shifts on the days I would have class.

I am excited to put my plan into action.

Going home for the weekend

We are heading home tomorrow to my parents for the weekend. It’s Thanksgiving in the US and we have 2 unpaid days off at work Thursday and Friday, so I will be getting a 4 day weekend.

Cory and I made plans to drive to Digby after work tomorrow since I am off at 5pm. I am excited since we are staying in Halifax for Christmas and spending Christmas here with his parents. However it looks now like we might get some snow.

I am scared to drive my car in the snow. It’ll be the first time driving it. I am a nervous driver as it is and hate driving in the snow. On top of that though I only have all season tires on it and I really really should have winters here. I can’t afford them though.

I thought I would be able to get extra hours at work to save up some money for winter tires before winter started. I didn’t take into account missing a month being sick or that we would not be busy enough for a lot of extra hours. I never really took that into consideration when trading my old car in.

The old car I still had 2 good winter tires and my parents had 2 that would fit that were in pretty decent shape, so I would have been all set. I have no idea why I didn’t think about that at the time!

Sometimes I can’t believe how careless I can be. My father says that my all seasons should be fine for one winter since they are brand new when I bought the car at the end of June. But I am nervous.