nutcrackerWe made it! We really made it!!!

I hope that everyone had fun reading this year’s holiday adventures, and also that the big man in red treated you well under the tree this morning. Christmas is always a special time of year for me, so it’s a little something extra because I’ve been able to blog about everything that I love the most about this season for the last two years.

For your cordial review, this year’s full advent tally from day #1 all the way up to Christmas Eve, as best enjoyed with a plate of Christmas cookies and an extra-large glass of chocolate milk! 😉

  1. Scott’s Christmas Mix Tape, volume 2
  2. ‘Tis the Season to be Sharing, Fred…
  3. Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas
  4. Candlelight with Whoopi
  5. Lights! Well, sort of…
  6. a Holiday Home of Our New House
  7. Scott’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide
  8. Don’t Ask and Ye Shall Receive…
  9. My Issues with Snow
  10. 25 Holiday Favorites Worth Watching
  11. Oh, Christmas Tree…
  12. Lego Holiday Village, 2012 Expansion
  13. Random Acts of Kindness
  14. Merry Fishmas!!!
  15. Some Faith in Humanity for 2012
  16. “Gardening … electrical contracting …”
  17. Walking in a Partially-Lit Wonderland
  18. Cleo May Be Sweet, But She’s No Odie…
  19. Mom’s Awesome Santa Cookies
  20. For Scott and Cleo, From Sara…
  21. Christmas Cards, Scaled Back
  22. A Feast of Holiday Snackitude!
  23. Passing the Time with a Bit of Building…
  24. Christmas Eve at the Magic Kingdom

Merry Christmas, everyone!

:santa: :santa: :santa:

pink_castle

Today is a day that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time!

About six months, actually, to be precise!  😮

It was around then when we had recently splurged and upgraded our Disney World annual passes to the kind that no longer have black out periods (plus a bunch of other stuff), so we thought that we should do something a little extra special and thus made plans to go over and spend Christmas Eve – a day normally off-limits to Florida Resident Annual Passholders – at the Magic Kingdom.

Frankly, I guess it’s a bit of an experiment, to say the least! We really have no idea what to expect for crowds – the closest comparison I have are Thanksgiving, which was busy but somewhat tolerable, and Easter, which was absolutely insane – but even if we don’t set foot on a single attraction, it’s really more the atmosphere that we’re going for today. Rumor has it that a bunch of the special holiday features from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party become part of the park’s normal operating schedule now through the end of the year, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the Christmas parade, Holiday Wishes, and possibly even a little snow on Main Street USA!

Did I mention that to make our day even super-duper extra special, we’ve also got dinner reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the most in-demand restaurant in the park?!

Should make for a Christmas Eve to remember…

:santa:

xmas_legos

I spent a lot of Christmas mornings after gifts were unwrapped putting together whatever Lego sets I happened to find under the tree each year.

This weekend Sara and I have been kicking back around the house, watching whatever random Christmas movies we can find on TV and putting together some new sets – my wife, the Pet Shop modular building we got from my Mom for Christmas, and me, a veritable stockpile of the Alien Conquest sets that I’ve been saving for a rainy day!

Let’s see – her’s has 2,032 pieces, and mine all together have barely 1,100 … who do you think will finish first?! 😉

What can I say? From the endless desserts and cookies to the holiday ham, the food is a big part of what I love about this time of year! Growing up, one of the things that stands out in my memories is all of the great food that we always had around the house during the holidays.

HoneyBaked Ham was a luxury because the closest one was two hours away as opposed to right down the street from me as it is now, but we often got one to each with crackers and cheese either Christmas or New Years Eve. The crackers of choice – a holiday array of Better Cheddars, Chicken in a Biscuit, and Holiday Ritz; and the cookies, well, you’ve already seen a sampling of the many, many homemade confectioneries that we had to keep our dentist on our toes!

So after a second-to-last-minute trip around Target (and three other grocery stores to find my ice cream!), here’s what I put together to facilitate the next few days of holiday snacking around the Sevener household… 🙂

xmas_ham

xmas_crackers

xmas_brownies

xmas_pie

xmas_oreos

I just upgraded this blog to 3.5 on a whim as I was writing tonight and although the new Media Manager seems kinda cool, I hate that they removed the max embed size from the Settings menu and are now apparently just deriving the content dimensions for embeds from your theme directly. I mean, it sounds cool in theory, except that WordPress somehow came up with a 640 pixel width out of my theme, whereas I wanted the limit set to 575 px … I’m guessing that maybe it doesn’t take margins into account or something?

Anyways, in the meantime luckily I found a quick, little function that overrides the oEmbed settings and lets you set your own instead – here’s what I ended up throwing into my theme’s functions.php file to get things looking back to normal again…

function example_custom_oembed_dimensions($html, $url, $args) {
 
// Set the width of the video
 $width_pattern = "/width=\"[0-9]*\"/";
 $html = preg_replace($width_pattern, "width='575'", $html);
 
// Now return the updated markup
 return $html;
 
} // end example_custom_oembed_dimensions
add_filter('embed_oembed_html', 'example_custom_oembed_dimensions', 10, 3); 

What I learned about our moon tonight?

December 22, 2012 12:13am
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Well, for starters – we left poop on it when Neil Armstrong and his buddies walked on the moon back in 1969…

Also, apparently we left a bunch of other stuff, too, including some neat laser reflectors that are still used to this day to accurately calculate the distance from the earth to the moon!

I guess even when you’re out in space, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! 😉

xmas_cards

This year we didn’t end up going with a photo card like we have the last couple of years – we were just too busy to get a decent photo taken, life has been too busy in general, etc, etc… Well, as you can see it’s only four days until Christmas and we’re just now working on getting them scribbled out and tossed into the mailbox!  😯

We’re also not sending them to our full list like we have in years past. Normally we’d send out maybe 30-40 of them between both sides of our family and then a few friends, but this year? Meh … Sara only picked up one box of cards because she needed some for work and didn’t know that we’d end up using them for us, too … and then I only bought one book of stamps today and there’s no way in hell I’m going back for more after having to visit multiple post offices because the first one I went to closest to our house was completely out of first class stamps!

WTF?!

Anyways, in a way I feel kinda bad because it seems like sending out Christmas cards is somewhat of a dying concept and cutting down our list only helps to facilitate its ultimate death, but it does get kinda frustrating to send out three dozen cards and only get back half a dozen in return. I think Christmas cards are fun, and even despite being arguably even more embedded in the digital world than most, I still enjoy taking the time to fill them out and put a little note in them for friends that I don’t talk to nearly as often as I should. Besides, there’s always something special about getting something in the mail that isn’t bills or junk mail – most people probably only get such mail on birthdays and holidays, so why let that die off just because we’ve also got access to email???

Next year I promise that we’ll get our Christmas carding back on track, and hopefully we’ll have a little something extra special to share a la photo card, too! 😉

attempting to re-mount the horse…

December 20, 2012 11:45pm
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exercise2

Trying real hard to get back to exercise being a regular part of my life … it’s tough right now due to a (perpetual) lack of time … and also the weather is kinda crappy (it’s raining tonight!), but right now I’m just trying to take it one walk and/or elliptical session at a time.

2012: What Brought Us Together

December 20, 2012 10:16pm
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This is a great montage of the events that shaped 2012 – some devastating, some world-changing, and some just plain incredible.

Want something to do tomorrow at work while the rest of the office is already off on vacation for the holidays? Read up on some of the ones that spark an interest for you – 2012 really was a pretty amazing year after all.

🙂

xmas_ornaments

My wife and I try to keep up the holiday tradition where each year we buy a new ornament for our tree – some years we’ve gone in and picked a few out together (like those cutesy Just Married or First Christmas Together ones), and others we’ve gotten them for each other. I really haven’t had time to give much thought as to what I want to get for Sara’s this year, but tonight she gave me the ones that she made during a team exercise at work – the bone obviously for Cleo and the Mickey Mouse for me!

You can’t really tell from the picture, but both were hand-painted by her … she wanted to pick on the Mickey one, but I honestly think that it turned out pretty good! Gonna have to find something pretty sweet for her to be on par with these… 😉

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