Greetings from my cozy living room! Guess what I’ve been up to? I’m sure you were thinking I would never get to it.
It has been a lackluster year for me with blogging and I did skip a few months when it comes to designing blog banners…but guess what?! I pulled it out of my…well, nevermind. I pulled it out of my brain and I have completed the official 2015 Secret Agent Josephine printable calendar! Can you believe it?!!
I added all the holidays this year but then some of them were just weird. Should I add every single saint day and things like National Nut Day? So you’ll have to argue amongst yourselves and leave your vote in the comments about what holidays I should include which ones I shouldn’t and then I’ll take some kind of majority (of nice people) vote and fix it up for you.
So for now it’s FREE! Download your free printable rough draft calendar HERE, check it for typos and the usual idiocy that I somehow always manage to include and let me know either by email or in the comments what I need to fix. I know you editors love this part. Get out your red pens and go crazy! You won’t hurt my feelings.
I’m not so fond of January’s design. But that was in honor of going to Disneyland for Bug’s birthday. I think I was rushed on that one. I hope January goes by quick because I do not want to stare at this ugly illustration all month. But I’m kinda tapped out tonight so that’s what’s going to stay there for now. But guess what next year is going to be (or January’s banner coming in the next few days)? Roller skating! Bug has decided she wants a roller skating party this year and I’m pulling out my disco knee socks for the occasion. I’m thinking a Rapunzel Skating Redux is in the works. That was such a fun party.
Here’s a preview of all the months. I’m a little worried about April because all those little flower illustrations take up MASSIVE vector memory. Let me know if your printers have trouble on that page and maybe I’ll rastorize it.
Bug wanted to check in from her desk. Yes, you are seeing things correctly. I bought her a laptop for Christmas. Her very own. She is so spoiled. It’s the cheapest model I could buy and it doesn’t have a DVD player but it does let her play Club Penguin and do her school work. I’m very glad to have my own laptop back, as she was hogging it regularly.
*Don’t look now. It’s dusty in there.
Every year we buy an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s right around Thanksgiving. Not because we want to get a jump start on Christmas but because we’ve learned the hard way that Trader Joe’s sells out quickly on their advent calendars and it’s a big fat bummer not to have a little chocolates to eat for twenty-five days in December. This year Bug chose a calendar that has fun little Christmas activities illustrated on each door.
Guess what? I am a BIG FAT SUCKER when it comes to Christmas activity suggestions. I can not resist their power! Or the guilt trips on all the possible memories I might miss if I don’t follow their suggestion or something… How dare Trader Joe’s suggest that I decorate cookies or make snowflakes or decorate the tree on a certain day?!! Have you seen my schedule? I have no time for such foolery.
But apparently I find time for what I really want to do because we have been jam-packing these early days of December with all kinds of fun Christmas activities.
We made gingerbread houses, of course. (Also a kit from Trader Joe’s. What can I say? I drink the Kool-Aid.) These are actually pretty easy once you get over the fact that you have to break out the mixer to make the royal icing. I don’t do the baking kind. Since I’ve done these for three years in a row now I don’t even blink twice when the kids ask to make them. Fluffy egg whites? Coming right up! It’s totally worth it for all the fun the kids have squeezing globs of sticky sugar all over pre-made cookies and the hours and hours of uninterrupted fun with very minimal bickering. What to do with the houses afterwards is a little more challenging (eat them vs. keep them forever) but I chalk this activity up as a win because it’s all about the process.
We bought and decorated our very own tree without any help from dads, grandpas or boyfriends this year. I’m pretty proud of myself on that one. I am woman! I can totally lift a rain-drenched tree into my car (lined with waterproof picnic blanket of course) and then out and up the stairs all by myself! Piece o’ cake!
We made sugar cookies from a mix. What? You think I’m Martha Stewart and I can make them from scratch? Pshaw! I probably could but sugar cookie mix is hard enough with the dough constantly getting too soft and sticky to roll so I cut my corners when I can find them. I think I could write a whole poem on how much of a pain in the butt sugar cookie dough is. I have developed a mantra though. It goes like this: Chill for ten minutes.
I’m talking about the dough in the fridge and yourself somewhere else far far away from the dough, preferably in a comfy chair with a beverage of some sort. It’s a very zen-like process once you master the mantra.
I wish I had better photos of the whole messy process because we made A BIG FAT EPIC MESS but you know me. I hate taking photos without natural light and because it’s WINTER and the sun goes down at like three-o’clock or some such nonsense, I’ve got very little to show. The next day however…
Bug played hookie from school (it’s a long story I don’t really feel like going into right now) and we got theses beautiful shots:
How did we make that groovy, icing with-a-half-life you’re wondering? Two words: Neon Food Coloring. Correction, that’s three words. It’s magical stuff though. It’s actually completely non-toxic and a whole lot better for you than those natural, earthy-looking tie-dyed eggs I made ages ago from silk ties. Funny how that all works out. What you see glowing is not always bad for you. Although…I’m sure that’s up for debate. Anyway, we’re cool with the colors, obviously. These cookies are ART!
And today we made snowflakes! Well, Bug did. I’m actually supposed to be working today but you know I’ll be whipping out the micro-scissors later. I am a MASTER snowflake maker. Snip snip!
p.s. icing recipe here. It was a bit runny though so we added a ton more powdered sugar than it called for.