Monday, December 7, 2009

My Balls Are Shiny

A few nights ago, while enjoying temperatures in the 40s, Mikayla and I decided to put some lights up outside.  I think it's a given that there will be no lights up on the house this year.  Jimmy is not a lover of heights so if I wanted it done I'd have to drag my neighbor, Tom, down here to do it.  Being that he's already put lights on at least 3 houses on our block I think I should cut the guy a break, don't you think?

I usually go hog-wild with the lights but as I've previously stated, I've kind of lost my Christmas jingle so we're keeping it more low-key this year.  Mikayla did all the shrubs and two Chinese fan palm tree trunks and I concentrated on the Canary date palm in the middle of the lawn.

Have you ever gotten a splinter from a Canary date palm?  No?  Well neither had I, until the other night.  Holy crap, is there some kind of poison in these things?  That sucker hurt!  And I don't even know exactly what got me because it wasn't one of the 3" long thorns that cover the stalks of the fronds.

Anyway, here are some lousy pictures of our work in progress.  If anyone has any tips for me on getting decent night shots with a digital camera, please share, 'cause I'm desperate!


I hung some shiny and glittery balls from the fronds.


There were many many inappropriate ball references going on this night, and I had Mikayla cracking up.  Below is an example of things I was saying and in my very odd, Cartman-ish voice. I decided I'd make you a sample video of what I sounded like while hanging my balls.  I was looking disgusting at the time so I just pointed the camera at my computer.  Turn up the volume if you dare.

While Mikayla and I were working our little elf fingers to the bone with lights, Madison and Jimmy were at her Snow Ball at school.  For those of you that remember last year's pictures, yes, she's wearing the same dress!

That's just my little kitchen tree that I got on clearance last year at Target.  Cute though, right?  Oh, and that fugly garland on the railing?  It's coming down, baby!  Blech!

Hey Elizabeth, did you notice what's on Madison's wrist???

I think Strudel was feeling a little left out.

Doesn't she look sad?

Anyway, yesterday I took a couple of pictures while it was still light out.  Ya know, of my shiny balls.

And just once in a while when it's cold (or I'm sick) I crave a cup of strong tea.  Ahhhhh... it hit the spot!

Last night I bought some red lights to add to the white on the shrubs, so if either Mikayla or I get around to putting them out, I'll show you guys updated pictures.  I also bought nearly all my required baking supplies to prepare for Christmas Eve.  Yikes!  I have to somehow get motivated to start whipping up my desserts!

So far on my list is my famous, extra rich cheesecake, this year with blackberry topping; the ever present rainbow petit fours; butter nut cookies; an Italian cream cake; sand cookies from a recipe in the Dorothea Benton Frank book, A Christmas Pearl, and sugar cookies.  Jill will be very pissed to know that I'm not making my also famous chocolate cake with white chocolate-peppermint mousse and chocolate ganache.  I'm tired of making it!  But, Mikayla found a fudge cake recipe she wants to try and she will be making the white chocolate peppermint mousse to layer it with.  Go Mikayla!

I'll try to take pictures as we go along!

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

20 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • Shelia

    Morning, Justiney! Oh, I see your shiny balls, you little booger! :) You know, most all of my night shots are blurry, not matter what I do. I even have a button to push for shaky hands...Psst! I guess one of zillion dollar cameras might work. I'll just stick to my little cheap, um, inexpensive one.
    Justine, Madison and Hub look so cute. Madison is just a beautiful little girl and she has your pretty eyes!
    Strudel is adorable. She is really growing! Hope she doesn't chew on any Christmas lights cords! Ouch!
    Thanks for popping in.
    Oh, I just love you...lost a little weight? I don't know if I have. I know these stupid shingles have hurt like the dickens. I mean very painful. Maybe I didn't eat as much, I don't know. Anywya, I love you for saying it.
    I have the precious little Note Songs ornament on my tree you sent me last year. You're just a darling, you little stinker you!
    Love ya,
    Shelia ;)

  • Amy

    Pretty! 40's huh? We have snow today. You asked for some tips in a comment. Well.... I do not use a flash. You have to stand absolutely still. Any shaking of the camera will blur the lights. A tripod is best if you have one. Also, it's best to take pictures of lights starting at dusk. You get just enough background "sky light" to help instead of using a flash. You also want to find one object to focus on. For instance, in the picture with the big brown ball, you want to find your focus on that ball, make it absolutely clear, then the white lights in the back ground will look like bokuh. Now I'm thinking your gonna want to know what bokuh is.. google it... HA! Also.. chickie.. If non of my suggestions are working.. google your type of camera, then look for how to take clear christmas light shots. Hope that helps.

  • HeatherF1

    Even though you have not been "in the Christmas Spirit" you at least got up lights, and you guys were able to do them yourselves!
    And baking? That doesn't usually happen at my house unless it is the kind you buy at a store and roll out, so you are WAY ahead of me on the that one!

  • Anonymous

    Well.I see you are getting the decorations up and it's looking good. I wish I lived closer, Norm would be there putting your lights up, he does about 6 houses in our neighborhood, plus, my daughters, the clubhouse and his Moms. He loves Christmas and anything that goes with it. He keeps my damn calendar full of parties, dinners and anything else he hears about. My favorite thing to do for Christmas is my party for my family, baking and decorating my home. So,by New Year's Eve, I'm half dead. :) Your dessert list sounds so good, I remember last year how you worked so much getting it all together for Christmas. That is so sweet that Mikayla is going to help you bake. If she likes chocolate cake I have a great recipe that she can make sometime. It's really easy,but oh so good. I'm going to make it for my party this year.

    Love ya,

  • squawmama

    Hey girlfriend I knew you had balls but I didn't know they were shiny...☺☺☺ Decorations are really pretty and I think you did a great job! I can't take night pictures without a tripod because I shake enough that the shutter being open longer blurs them a little.... Strudel is so darn cute and you know she is just waiting to get into something... Have a fun day and keep that Christmas spirit going...

    Love & Hugs

  • Cole

    Oh, look at the shiny shiny balls!

    You and Mikayla did a fabulous job. And WOOHOO Mikayla for starting to step into the kitchen!

    Madison looks adorable in her dress.

    Poor Stru did look a smidge lonely....

  • bj

    O you silly silly girl you!
    Your lights look fantastic...and there's so MANY !!
    J. looks so nice and both your girls are beautiful. Hope Madison and J had a good time at the party.
    Ya'll are really getting in the Christmas, too..
    hugs, bj

  • Rachelle

    Your balls look great Justine! You and Mikayla did a fantastic job with your decorations! I hope your splinter owie is better! I also hope Madison and Jimmy had a good time at the snowball!

    Boy - I would kill for temps in the 40's right now! Not even gonna reach 20 here today and supposedly a big snowstorm on the way tonight. Brrrrrr - I hate being cold! I will have to mail you some snow! lol

  • Ginger

    I think the decorating that you've done looks pretty darn good. Much better than anything I've done so far.
    I can't seem to get with it. Bah Humbug!!

  • Sara's Sweet Surprise

    J~ Madison is growing up so fast. Pretty soon she'll catch up to Mikayla. "Go team estrogen"!!
    Hmmm, shinny balls are much better than Schweddy Balls.
    You don't need to tear down that garland on the stairwell, it just needs some plumping. A few floral bows and maybe an additional garland, shinny balls and lights. Think of it as a Charlie Brown tree/garland in progress.

    Sweet holiday wishes,

  • Grand Pooba

    Freal? You really make ALL those desserts? I'm still waiting for my plane ticket to arrive in the mail so I can come to your place for Christmas...I did send you the right address didn't I?

    (I love that you decorate your palm trees! Personally I prefer non-shiny balls because of what that implies, but your balls look great shiny!)

  • blueviolet

    I didn't know you were a baker extraordinaire! YUM, those desserts sound so good!!!

    I think you did a great job out there with the lights, but I can't get the pictures to ever come out either. :(

  • Swirl Girl

    I always loved living in FL during the holidays. But somehow, Xmas lights on a palm tree just doesn't say 'north pole' to me!

    love your balls!

  • Sophia

    hahaha...crack me up, girl. Are you sure you don't want to pay Tom to come down and put lights on just one more house?! :D hee hee

    And I have never, in my life, seen Christmas baubles on a palm tree.

  • Elizabeth

    I see she's wearing her bracelet; hope her Christmas wish is gonna come true, Santa!
    Check your digital camera book for shooting at night. Mine has a special setting and one for fireworks, too.

  • Sue

    I think your house is beautifully decorated for someone not in the Christmas spirit!!!

    Your husband and Madison look dashing! I hope they had fun dancing the night away!

    I love that Mikayla loves shiny ball jokes as much as you and I do.

    I would try Amy's suggestions on shooting at night. Don't use the flash would have been my suggestion.

    Your Cartman impression was very funny.


  • Sassy Pants Freckle Face

    I like ur balls!!! ;)

  • Stephanie

    Your shiny balls are HAWT.

  • Bird Shit and Baby Caca

    You seriously had me at the!

  • angie

    Those pictures of Jimmy and M are SO cute. Love it when your kids fit into the same dress for 2 years!

    I think your lights look great. Nice shiny balls. :)

    Merry SITsmas!