December 31, 2010

The year in review

The older I get, the faster the years go by. I seriously cannot believe it's the last day of 2010. Everything past August is a blur. My babies are getting older and my body parts are moving south. The good news is my memory is getting worse so I don't remember stuff like poor choices I've made in the past. Nevermind that I don't remember where I put my coffee cup most mornings - I'm looking at the silver lining here.

I finished three grad courses this year. That seems like a lot. It probably isn't but humor me. I traveled to the Caribbean, NYC, the east coast and up north. I moved into an office at work and then I moved offices going from a 25 minute drive to an odyssey (I call it driving to Wyoming 'cause it feels that far away). I fired someone and hired someone. I didn't read three books I purchased (maybe I'll read them on vacation though let's be honest it's wishful thinking). I did not do one moment of scrapbooking. Good gravy that's a tough one. My laundry room got a hot makeover and today I did some major purging.

Some of my favorite TV shows faded away this year - 24 (Jack Bauer was the new McGyver), Guiding Light (I hadn't watched in years but started when I was little at my great-grandmother's house up north), Jon & Kate plus Eight (sad, sad tale), The Tudors (Henry, you dog) and Lost (I am lost without it). I am completely over Dancing with the Stars if anyone is interested. The only reason I'd watch is if Britney Spears was a contestant. Or Sean Connery (my star crush, though he's probably getting a little long in the tooth). Or Nigella Lawson (my girl crush). I found some new TV favorites - you may have heard me mention a little show called Glee. My friend MPB gave me the first season as a Christmas gift and my heart did a little happy dance when I opened it. That show has changed my life. I also can't resist The Real Housewives *any city but Atlanta* or Hot in Cleveland.

My resolution for 2011 is to live in the moment and be truly joyful. It should be to lose weight, but who am I kidding? Wait ... I did buy those popular shape-up sneakers today so there's hope yet!

Happy New Year!!!

December 30, 2010


We just found out the in-laws won't be able to join us for our annual winter getaway due to FIL's poor health. It makes me sad on so many levels, but especially for my cherubs. Sassy is very close with all her grandparents, but her Papa holds a special place in her heart as her only grandpa (my dad died when I was 25 - two years before Sassy was born). When I told her they weren't going with us, she just sat quietly sobbing. She doesn't like to be held or consoled until she's ready, just like when she was a baby (Chunky was my cuddlebug). Papa took Sassy and I home from the hospital after she was born (hubby had to work). Papa watched her when she had sick days and I had to work (watching Sleeping Beauty over and over, and over and over). Papa walked her to the bus stop every morning of first and second grades. And Papa plays bingo with her on vacation. We're in a bit of a funk wondering if the new year holds "lasts" for us. Only the good Lord knows what's ahead so we will have to live in the moment.

December 24, 2010

Feast for the eyes

The cherubs were bummed when they discovered I hadn't made their favorite cookie, peanut butter blossoms. So I pressed into action in pursuit of the ever elusive mother-of-the-year award. By the way, the fruitcake cookies have totally grown on me - they get better the longer they sit and marinate in their brandy lusciousness.
Since we didn't do a big, fresh Christmas tree this year, I set the gifts on a table in front of the dining room window for easy access. These are all for the kids, with a couple for hubby and I from my mom (thanks mom!).
Merry Christmas everyone!!!

December 23, 2010

Santa came early

The trucks - all three of them - arrived at 7:20 am and left at 3:20 pm.

Look at the size of those boxes!

At times it was very noisy - lots of drilling and welding and I don't know what else-ing involved with installation of HVAC stuff. I couldn't believe how big the new AC is - evidently everything is 95% efficient.

I sure hope this translates to lower utility bills. I can't wear or drive any of this stuff so it had better pay off somehow! Hubby says the pay off is in hot showers, clean clothes and not freezing to death. Killjoy.

December 21, 2010

Christmas morning

We have a tradition on Christmas morning - the in-laws come over to our house for breakfast and watch the cherubs open their two or three gifts from us. It isn't enough that we are all together Christmas Eve and then trek back to their house Christmas Day - MIL has to see the kids open every. single. gift. God bless her. My Christmas morning menu is similar every year - eggs of some kind, refrigerated overnight bread thing and fruit. This year I'm serving PDub's cinnamon rolls, a frittata and fruit. For the frittata, I'll either make this simple recipe with ham (I'll likely add roasted red peppers to make them festive) or this potato version (potatoes + eggs = breakfast heaven).

December 19, 2010

If satan had a sweater ...

it would look like this.

It sheds - all over the dryer as well as anything else it touches. I even found pink lint on the dog.

It is Sassy's - rather it belongs to a friend of Sassy and I think it should be returned pronto pup.
Satan be gone!

December 18, 2010

Bake off

The title should really be "I baked my ass off". If only that were really possible. Or alternately, "The furry kids ate my sugar/roast/cookies and lived to tell".

I made four types of cookies today and listened to Christmas music. I am slowly but surely becoming one with the holiday season.

I made two of my all time faves - Rugelach and Pistachio/Craisin with icing. The Pistachio/Craisin cookies are super simple and very festive with green & red. I chop pistachios and craisins, then press into sugar cookie dough (homemade or store bought). Bake according to directions and drizzle with melted white chocolate or almond bark (melt, cut off tip of plastic baggie and squeeze or melt in bowl and dip in half of cookie).

I tried two new cookie recipes - PDub's Festive Fruitcake and Giada's Lemon Ricotta. The fruitcake cookies are not my favorite - perhaps they'll grow on me. They have a lot of brandy in them so that could work in their favor. The Lemon cookies are keepers - light and lemony delicious.

When I came home from work yesterday Chunky was cleaning up the mess in the kitchen Sookie (cat) made after she'd gotten into a bag of powdered sugar. Hubby cleaned up tiny bits of a plastic bag which had been the safe haven for a thawing beef roast this morning. And I took a break from cookie baking to fold clothes and returned to find a batch of Rugelach missing from the cookie sheet cooling on the counter. The furry kids are getting coal for Christmas.

December 17, 2010

A is for Accounting

I got 102 points out of a possible 100! I don't know how I did it. Honestly. I procrastinated and obsessed to the point of being completely irrational. Somehow I pulled it off. I will enjoy the break until my next course, Finance, starts in early January. Right now I'm going to savor the "A" and not worry about having one thing ready for Christmas.

December 16, 2010

The Blondes

Sassy babysat our favorite blondie this weekend so her mommies could do their Christmas shopping. I wish I had gotten a photo of baby all snuggled up asleep in the crook of Sassy's arm 30 minutes later.

December 15, 2010

Hello Goodbye

I bought this amazing purse for hubby to give to me for Christmas. I adore it in a very unhealthy way. The first time I saw it I channeled Carrie Bradshaw - Hello Lover. Sadly it is going back. Santa is giving our family a new water softener, water heater, A/C and furnace for Christmas. Only Santa isn't footing the bill. Goodbye Lover.

December 11, 2010

15" of Fun

Don't worry, this isn't a naughty post. Well, not exactly.

You guessed it - yoga was canceled. On the bright side, I couldn't do a downward facing dog or sun salu-anything at the moment. Charming children and I cleared 15" of snow (PLUS if you count the mountain at the end of the driveway left by the city snowplow). My arms and back are killing me.

I gotta give a shout out to Sassy - she is a ROCK STAR! Hubby is (conveniently) out of town.

I hate our snowthrower. Santa may be bringing a new one. The tension line thingy on the right side that makes the snow be gone snapped off at one point. Not happy. When I finally got it hooked back up - my hands are freezing and the do-dad thing is not cooperating - it snapped again. So I had Sassy bring me something to tap it in there. The hook at the top promptly broke on the second tap. So I figure we will work with what we have and go to start it up again. It won't start. Did I mention Chunky was bossing me around and told me to turn off the snowthrower and so I did just so he would stop bossing me? Regret.

This is how far we'd gotten -

There's a lot left to do. See?

Oh what a lovely day. On second thought, maybe Santa will be giving our family snow removal service. I sent Sassy to the side neighbor's house to ask if we could use their snowthrower. Their's was broken too so we went to ask the neighbor across the street and he said yes! The side neighbor came over to see if he could fix ours and he did! Duct tape really is a cure-all!

The last time I was one with winter nature (four weeks ago), I wore my beloved Ugg boots and by the time I finished plowing/shoveling, my boots and feet were soaked. This time I had a stroke of genius - I wore my wellie-style boots. Not the best traction but my feet were dry! I only fell twice - once on my knees while pushing the snowthrower up hill from the backyard after it had run out of gas and another on my ass moving about the garage (at least the ass has padding, not so much the knees).

Sassy and I each ran a snowthrower. I'm not sure what was more fun - having the snow blow back in your face or doing the driveway three times in all?! Yes, I know I look like the a burnt stay-puffed marshmallow in my coat. I don't care. That is the best coat on God's green white earth. It was a Christmas gift (requested) from my MIL six years ago and it is worth its weight in gold. I lost the hood long ago or I'd be rockin' that too. Perhaps the best part was having to stop and wipe the ice/condensation/fog from my glasses so I could see what I was doing. Yes, that and falling on my ass were definitely the most fun parts.

From this -

To this -

It's still coming down. We will likely have to do it again tomorrow. I just turned the outside lights on and you can't even see a glimmer under all the snow.

And no, the paper isn't finished. Argh!

Canceled Saturday

Today is canceled due to weather. Which in one way is good because I still haven't finished my paper and the instructor sent an email yesterday saying it could be turned in by 4:30pm Monday. Score! Sassy and I were scheduled to attend a Nordstrom beauty trend show this morning. It was a risk on a good day as it began at 8am. That's a bit early even for me on a weekend, let alone a teenager. I quickly determined it was a no-go when I saw the snow depth and flurries as I let the dogs out at 5:30am. Chunky's basketball coach called last evening to say no game today. The PTA has been working on our annual book fair at Barnes & Noble for months and I just got word that it has been canceled. Fortunately we can participate in the book fair online. So the only originally planned event that may still be happening is the rescheduled beginner yoga class. Any bets? If yoga class is canceled for the second month due to weather I may never learn to do a downward facing dog pose properly and I definitely will not have the bod I dreamed of for vacation.

Here's the plan for today-
  1. Write the darn paper! I have 50%+ written as half is about leadership. It's the other half about Accounting that's challenging. Argh!
  2. Snow throw. Maybe.
  3. Order from Barnes & Noble. You can order too if you'd like - use code #10316925 at checkout and a percentage will be contributed to St. Peter's school.
  4. Purchase baking supplies to make cookies tomorrow. Only if #2 completed and as a "reward" for finishing that #@*& paper.
  5. Decorate. Sadly I have only added one more item in the last week - our old artificial "pencil" tree. It hasn't seen the light of day in a few years as we've always had a real tree and we haven't decorated downstairs since we moved to our new home. It definitely does not look like Christmas inside our home. Outside, that's another story.

Random note: Ever wondered if the correct spelling is 'canceled' or 'cancelled'? I have and finally decided to look it up on the trusty internet. Evidently it's spelled with one "l" in US and two in UK. Now you know. We can all sleep better tonight. You're welcome.

December 9, 2010


I am writing my Accounting term paper. Technically it's due tomorrow at 4:00pm. I have 12 pages of notes and one finished page. It's a 9-12 page paper. I have a theme song - listen to the title song from this album and replace it with "Procrastination".

December 5, 2010

Pizza genius

I recently picked up one of God's greatest creations at Trader Joe's - packaged pizza dough. I bought it at the same time as the Thanksgiving turkey because I couldn't just buy the turkey and get out of there, I HAD to walk around and see what wonderful things I was living without. The dough was about $1 and could be frozen. Genius! I got an urge to make the pizza yesterday but didn't know if I had everything needed. I found left over turkey sausage logs in the freezer and checked the fridge for cheese only to find I also had turkey pepperoni. Jackpot! I checked the pantry for spaghetti sauce but remembered I needed it for another meal this week. Then I had a revelation - I keep tomato paste around for who knows why and figured I could doctor that up. I was in business!

I cooked up the sausage then removed and put aside. I only cleared out any cakey chunks I didn't want in the sauce and added the paste, one can of water, seasonings (fennel, garlic, herbs) and a little olive oil and honey. This made enough for the pizza plus a little extra to add to the spaghetti later this week.
Can you say "clean your oven, girlfriend!"?
Voila - an amazing homecooked pizza!

December 3, 2010

Holiday rituals

We don't have a lot of holiday rituals now that the kids are older. We used to do a Santa breakfast and photos (when mom remembered the camera) at a beloved regional retailer, drive around viewing house lights, decorate upstairs and down, etc. Now it's pretty low-key. We don't have a tree yet and I have only one decoration inside the house because I came across it in a closet while looking for something else. Hubby does not do outside decoration. I believe he was tortured as a child. I managed to hang swags on the garage lights purchased from the Boy Scout selling door-to-door. I removed the fall garland from the evergreen tops in the planter outside the front door and replaced it with a holiday-themed garland and clip-on poinsettia at the tippy-top. Our Thanksgiving friends gave us a lovely Norway Pine and I tied a ribbon around it to give the aura of festivity. I am in the process of writing a paper for Accounting (I have procrastinated greatly) and as soon as that's done I'm sure I'll get my full Christmas on.

Continuing rituals
- School Concert - last year's was the best ever and I have high expectations for this year which may not be met given last year's was the best in ten years of attendance

- The annual production at Children's Theatre: A Christmas Story. Always a treat and Chunky's favorite activity.