Wednesday, December 31, 2008
1. I would like to lose 13 pounds. I admit that I'm up 4 pounds this month. Could it be all of the food that I have been consuming? Could it be mother nature at work? Certainly. I plan on not dieting, but rather adopting a different manner of eating.
2. We will eat better. During the last several months, my husband's choice of dinner and every other meal has been a Boca Burger and a bowl of rice. It has made it harder on me with K- and I began leaning on more convenience type foods. I will go back to shopping weekly so that I will be able to get our weekly lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. Not every meal will require meat, but we'll cover it with a protein of some sort. I will go back to my weekly dinner menu. That was an easier way to see. Hubs and I can look over and see what components of dinner that he can eat and he can compliment otherwise. We're not take out kind of people or even restaurant kind of people. Just good ole fashioned cooking and a crock pot please! We are also doing a sugar cleansing of the house. K- will choose healthier snacks if they are available to her. Not that we have tons of junk anyhow. She was doing great, then Halloween came. We haven't been able to pull her out of the sugars since then. Right now, she wants "'Whatever is the sugariest, Mommy." Um, yes baby. We'll break you of that.
3. We will keep a tidier house. We're not slobs. I do admit that I live a dump and run existence from M-W (when I work) and clean the house on Thursday. You see, we have all just planned on sticking together, keeping each other accountable so that we can work on the house together. I would love to not have to apologize for the "pile on the end of the table" everytime someone comes in.
4. I will unearth the studio and make work again. I ceased making my leaded glass photo frames a few years ago so that I could mother my daughter without liquoring her up with lead. She understands that the studio is not a place to be-- period. It is full of sheets upon sheets of glass. There are sharp things, hot things, chemical things, cleaner things and other things that aren't great for her. She now has the ability to work on things independently and that will allow me to be a true artist and get back into working again.
5. I will concentrate more on Mommy School with K-. She is doing well. We've been working on numbers and it just hasn't clicked yet. Like ABC's, she struggled but it just all came together in one fell swoop. I suspect that the same will happen with numbers. We're so close. K- likes to craft things and it helps her with gluing skills and cutting. She does well with her weekly book for school. They memorize it more, but she can still bring them out to me and "read" what it says. Even from the first week! The thought it that will turn to sight reading and I think that it is working!
6. I will be certain that we get that bedtime story in every night. We've been reading Amelia Bedelia. Hubs reads a Star Wars Clone Wars comic with her. We have shelves and shelves of books. Some nights I let time slip past and it gets late. I will stay on top of bedtime to be certain that our book gets in there.
7. I will begin devotional readings again. I admit that I typically do devotional readings in the winter, but am not as good in the summer. I've never been one to generally pick a book up and just read. I never found it entertaining. I do find the Women of Faith devotionals wonderful for me, though. Things are in bits and pieces. If I can't finish one whole chapter in a day, it's okay. I need to do that again.
8. That TV will be turned off even more. We aren't big TV watchers. Even still K- will ask, "Can I watch a short movie? Can I watch TV? Can I watch . . . ?" She will sit and watch the box if the box is on. If the box is off, she will find other things to do. She'll play in her play area in the basement for an hour or so straight just if there is music playing that she can sing along to. More music, less TV. Check.
9. We will do walking in the evenings again. We may need to cheat right now and use the treadmill. Hubs is great about exercise. We have a small trampoline in the house for K- and she'll bounce and bounce away. I'm the one bad about exercise. I've never been a fan. I've said before that I don't run unless I'm on fire and even then you aren't supposed to. I do find walking great exercise and entertaining, too. Hubs did hook up the "tiny TV" (AKA the portable DVD player) for us to use while on the treadmill. See, I have no excuse for exercise boring me to death.
10. It's not about me. Its not. It's something that all of us in our home struggle with. We're working on that in a collective manner. We're praying on that in a collective manner.
How about you? Any resolutions on your plate?
Edited to add: Join in the resolution carnival at 5 Minutes for Mom at http://www.5minutesformom.com/5289/new-years-2009-carnival/
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Edited to add:
I just sent the following e-mail to the furniture company. I've not heard from them. If I haven't heard from them by Monday, I'll be contacting the owner myself.
It is Friday, January 2, 2009 at 5:15 PM. I've heard nothing. As of Monday, January 5, I will have had this damaged couch in my home for 1 month. Please help me to get this flipped with a new couch of the same style and color. If you would like to pass this e-mail on to the owner, I would much appreciate it.
My in-law's are livid. I am in disbelief myself. I kind of feel like the ball has been dropped. A big ball in the form of a damaged couch in the middle of my livingroom. I have been kind. I have been understanding. However, I do admit that my kindness and understanding are running a hair thin. (Yes, I realize that it isn't your fault.)
Please help me to resolve this situation in a more timely manner. I feel like my other avenue has been exhausted. (AKA the service manager has still failed to contact me, even though she was to contact me well over a week ago.)
I'll keep you posted on the updates. I'm sure that you are waiting to hear the outcome of my couch. (Insert sarcasm here.)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Can you guess?
While yes, we went to A Christmas Story House! The house is in the Tremont area of Cleveland and since we live south, we decided to make the trip up.
See, I can be incredibly cheesy. How are you supposed to act while in front of the leg lamp?
Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine!
Seriously, we had a great time. We toured the house, climbed in the cabinet under the sink (yes, K- and I did at different times), K- played in the backyard with Hubs and we even went to the museum. The museum, located across the street (it's the white corner house on the movie just across the street from the actual house that the Parker's lived in), had some actual movie props. While there, we met the head elf (Patty Johnson-Lafontaine) and one of the guys who carried in the FRAGILE box. (You had to say FRA-Ge-Lay, didn't you?) The head elf was very cool. She explained to K- that while she wasn't nice in the movie that she is really nice in person. She had a pretty fun conversation with K- about Curious George, too. (K- brought her stuffed Curious George with her.) Jim, the delivery guy, was pushing this puppy like he was one of the main characters. We watched the movie when we got home and found out that good ole Jim had only been on the screen for 30 seconds or less and HAD NO SPEAKING PART. All we could do was to laugh. Boy, he was way pushing the 10.00 autograph and 10.00 Untold Story of A Christmas Story DVD. No, we didn't purchase either one.
But hey! You can visit, too! Allow me to give you the link so that you can have the low down of info for yourself. I think that you would have a grand time! We did!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
His boss came to dinner.
Now, in all fairness, Hubs has known his boss for years. When Hubs and I were first married, Hubs was doing an internship with the National Park. After his internship, the National Park picked him up seasonally. For our first few years of marriage, he bounced every six months between park districts. (Literally just down the road from each other.) Dan, Hubs' boss, was one of his co-workers back in the NPS days. Having Dan over for dinner was going to be a casual type of affair, but I still had tons of work ahead of me.
Hubs decided to make good on his promise to finish painting our hallway. We had started it a over a year ago and all painting halted. It was too cold, Hubs doesn't like the smell of paint . . . You know when something goes unfinished for so long that you don't even see it anymore? Well, we had hit that point. I told him that if he wanted his boss to come for dinner, the hallway needed to be dealt with.
Add Christmas into that equation, as well. Oh, and a birthday for a 5 year old. And a mama who worked far too much and was up far too late working on Christmas things. That spells into a giant neon sign-- OUR HOUSE WAS A WRECK! I reclaimed it, though. It was all with the help of sugar and caffeine. That conversation I had with God last night helped, too.
I decided to work from the back of the house to the front. I made my turkey tenderloin in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots. I had frozen rolls out rising. Hubs requested homemade cornbread stuffing (sorry BooMama), so I had that to make later on. His boss is a single guy. I refused to serve him the rotisserie chicken that Hubs suggested. Dan doesn't get home cooked meals and I was going to make him one if it killed me! Our room needed reclaimed from the piles of clean laundry that needed put away, the sweaters that needed hung and the furniture and pictures that needed to go back out to the hallway. K-'s room was cleaned this AM, but tidied about 4 more times as the day went on. As I moved through the house, I got hot and realized that on December 27 at 3 PM it was 62 degrees F outside. I turned the heat off and opened the windows and doors and turned the ceiling fans on. I like to get fresh air piped into the house when I can, so this gave me a great wintertime opportunity. (I didn't end up closing the windows until after 8!) I busted a move and got through the whole house. K- stayed downstairs in her play area for most of the day playing with her Polly Pockets, Legos and Play Doh. She did go out to the front step to play with her chalk.
At 5:30 PM, they arrived. I was just finishing wiping some surfaces in the kitchen. K- went to entertain as I continued cooking.
In the end, Hubs told me that it was the best meal that I ever made. He also told me that he has no idea how I got everything done that I did. He was convinced that I had to have a closet somewhere that was overflowing with crap. I admit having made one dump bag, but that I'll go back to tomorrow. Most of that is Christmas stuff that I had no time to put away.
Dan ended up staying until 10 PM. But I did it. I survived the test of the boss coming for dinner. I survived it, but I'm exhausted. Pardon me, as my pillow is calling me.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The box is certainly sufficient. At least in this case, the box for the luxury Barbie Bus with Hot Tub is sufficient enough for a fairly decent sized 5 year old to fit in. Should I add that Hubs turned it top side down and she was fully in it? Mum and Dad-in-law were having a heart attack over it. "She'll hurt her head!" Oh gee-- we've done much worse goofing with her. They don't recall that time that her turtle neck was so stuck that I was able to pick her up suspended from the turtle stuck on her head. Later that night, I went to wash her hair and found a completely purple ear. Her ear got stuck and I turned it a deep purple! UGH! But, that's not what I'm really here about.
We've had a lovely day. We got up early, read the Christmas story then opened gifts here. After that boatload was dispensed of, we loaded up and went to my in-law's for Christmas breakfast. We sat down, ate a lovely meal and enjoyed each other. We opened gifts and talked to my sister-in-law (she lives in Chicago but they are celebrating Christmas at their lake house about an hour north of Milwaukee.) Hubs and I drove separate, because I needed to go fetch my brother. My brother's car is still broken and he is just having a hard time getting it properly repaired. Add to that his bipolar bit and it can get a bit interesting. He, his family and I shuttled off to my family's house while Hubs and K- arrived a bit later. (Hubs was attempting to install my in-law's new printer.) We were able to hang there, open gifts together and eat-- again. I've eaten enough for a week! It was good to see my brother kicked back and relaxed. My mom wasn't feeling so well and was kind of ouchy. She apologized later. It's all good.
It was great for all of us to get together!
Now we are home. I'm taking a break from assembling Polly Pocket habitats and the Barbie luxury bus, which I'm certain has more square footage than my humble home.
Speaking of, it looks like a toy store blew up in here. I'll be making my annual trek to Target tomorrow to retrieve clear lidded containers. We must, must, must bundle these parts up into proper creature homes!
A very Merry Christmas to everyone!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Oh, I have a list of change for next year.
First, the annual Christmas cookie box will be changed to the theme of quality, not quantity. I'll pick a few sure-fire hits and bake those in mass. Doing three different cookies well, rather than a bunch to pull numbers is a more preferable way.
I need to go back to wrapping in October. I do this as a good hunk of my job for 2 months during the holiday season. I don't so much mind doing it at work, but I get home and fall flat like a cookie with conked out baking soda. (Yes I had that problem this year, too.)
I will be less rushed. I will purposely SCHEDULE family time in, instead of it happening on accident. We need to do this during the holiday season to make certain that we are all cruising along at a lovely speed with the love thing. I get scattered, K- gets scattered, Hubs gets really moody and we bicker. We don't normally, but stress will do that. I resolve to solve that problem.
I will take in everything that I do. I will take in the time that I'm involved in. I will stress less. I will plan more. My family will be happier.
In the meantime, the last day of Christmas retail awaits. I pray that we're all able to sit down and truly concentrate on the reason of why we celebrate Christmas anyhow. Santa is a cool guy, but Jesus is cooler. Take notice of your "Away in a Manger" (as K- calls it) and really look. Are you there? Are you adoring Him?
Merry Christmas, my friends.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Recently, we dealt with the great humidifier flood in your bedroom. When that happened, we had to pull half of your room apart. That left me to wade through your library of books. I found one that I thought that I would share with everyone in honor of your day. Sadly, I don't know who gave it to us for you. I would thank them again!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
By the way, this was one of the gifts that K- received for her birthday yesterday. My mother-in-law looked for Tinkerbell but couldn't find one. K- loves it!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I admit that K-'s party started out slightly rough. Oh, the kids were great except for that pesky whiney yucky crap that K- was dishing out. I scooped her up, carried her to the bathroom and finally told her that I didn't want to send her home with her daddy so that I could have fun with her friends myself. It took just a hair longer, but she found herself adjusted and doing fine. Right before arriving, she had fallen asleep and Hubs was having a tough time waking her. He bonked her in the head with the door, again. He also bonked her in the head with the trampoline. We also know for a fact that she does a bit of a social anxiety bit when in a group of people. She is like me. She can get overwhelmed by things like that and just overloads. Oh, I don't find it excuseable, but I do try to work her through it. We did triumph over the yuck and had a great time. Just look!
I started the party by having the kids sit for a few while I read them the book, Tinkering Tink. Aunt Kristin bought that for K- as a part of her birthday gift. The kids wanted to have free feet, so they ditched their shoes and made themselves at home.
Look! Natalie got a great picture of the kids. You know, I'm not a big face posting mama. I have several reasons, but was thrilled that there was a photo of all the kids that I could legally post.
After K's birthday party, we cleaned up the hall (with help from friends-- thank you!) and trotted on home with the loot. I did a quick gift inventory list so that we can write thank you's, had some queso and chips and went to visit the neighbor's around the corner. He is a doctor and each year, he and his wife sit out in the bitterly cold (tonight it was 25 degrees, cold enough!) to greet all the neighborhood children. He is very realistically dressed as Santa and his wife as Mrs. Claus. Their home is like that of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'm sure that we're on back up power just to make those lights run! He is so attentive. He asked about where she lived (not in a predator kind of way), asked about how old she was, if she behaved and what she wished for. He was very happy to sit for photos with her and even his wife joined in. We've decided that we must send a thank you along. What a wonderful Christmas/Birthday treat!
After we stopped by Dr. Santa's house, we traveled onto Alliance where they have the Winter Wonderland Light Display. We go every year for Happy Home Day, but decided to move it up to K-'s birthday since we had the evening free. My mother-in-law joined us and enjoyed it very much.
Baby girl had a good day. She enjoyed getting to hang with her friends. For her, it's not the presents. Sure, she likes them but she is more than thrilled just to have people show up! Let's hope that she always stays that way!
"Can I tell you sumpin? I like you. I love you to the sun, the moon, the stars and back." That's a lot of love, my friend. Daddy does, too. (You tell me this all the time, too.)
When you came to us, you were just a wee bit of a thing. You were 6 pounds 11 ounces and 19" long. That's not really big. Now? Well, you are 44" tall and about 46 pounds or so. You wear a 6x or 7/8 top because you are so long waisted. You are thinning out on your Buddha baby belly, but you still need a 6 for a hair bit of tummy space. You love leggins. You don't like "hard pants (jeans) because they aren't compie." Your foot. Sweet little thing, that foot is going to give you a tough road to go forever. You wear a size 11 1/2 right now, but you have a narrow foot, a narrow heel and a high arch. Finding shoes for you is no easy task. You will hate this more as you grow up. You have long brown hair. You want to grow it out like Rapunzel or Pocahontas. That's fine with Daddy and me. The deal is that as long as we can brush it and care for it. You don't like a lot of things in your hair. Mostly, you prefer "down hair." Occasionally, you'll want "small pigs, big pigs or horsey hair." That's pretty rare, though.
You are a pretty good little girl. You are a big helper and are good at cleaning up. You love to bake and help your daddy build things. You put your clothes down the laundry chute without being asked. You have chores and do them when I ask. Someday, they'll kick in automatically. In the past few days, you've been in a NO streak. It got you in trouble at school and at home just now, too. You've lost privileges and that's no fun. Soon enough you'll learn that the NO thing didn't work before and it ain't kicking it now, either.
You are having a Tinkerbell party. You have been telling people for months! I'm sad that your siblings aren't going to be there. We've talked about it and you understand now. We're honest with you about stuff. We tell you the truth, because we want you to always trust us. Sure, mommy and daddy don't always get to pass on sunshiny stuff, but we're as honest with you as we can be.
You are so caring. You run up and hug people and children all the time. We've had to tone this back a little. You've freaked a few kids out a bit. (I just told you to ask if it was okay.) A little girl was beating you up in school, but you didn't want to tell because you didn't "want to make her sad." I had to remind you that it isn't okay for people to hurt you. Friends have bad days and maybe C- was having a bad week, but that's still not okay.
You can color in the lines. You can do a great job. You are just worried that you are going to miss something and you scribble. You know all of your ABC's, can write your name in caps and lower case and have done a great job with your last name. We're working a bit harder on numbers, but just like the ABC's, it will all click.
You have so much energy. You can run in circles for hours and never tire. Your energy amazes people. So does your caring touch, your big smile, the one left dimple you have and those ever-changing green eyes.
Can you believe that you are going to go to Kindergarten next year? Oh baby, the places you'll go.
I love you. I love you so much that a mama can't even tell you. I love you so much that it makes me cry just to think about it.
Happy birthday, my big girl.
Friday, December 19, 2008
And the party, you ask? We will be doing the Tinkerbell theme this year. I figured out that I need a few more table cloths and plates for adults. I already have the treat bags made. (They'll be getting sparkly Moon Sand, a Tinkerbell pencil, stickers and green and purple gum balls. I, in very Virgoian fashion, dug through the bulk candy bin at the store until I got the number of green and purple gum balls that I needed. I swear that those people probably talked about me when I left!) I picked the key up to the building yesterday, so I've got all that figured out. Our church has a recreation building that is available for members to rent with a love gift. It is nice with access to basketball hoops, soccer nets, all the balls that you'd need and frankly, it is a nice place to just have the kids run. Hubs will be borrowing the tug o' war rope from work again this year. K- has already asked! She is ready to go.
The weather has been all over the place and at least this gives a place were they can run their babyson leggins off and I can send them home good and tired. Parents love us for that. Also, with my house being just a hair over 1000 sq ft, the recreation building is much larger. I'm sure you could fit my house in their a few times, anyhow.
I was baking until at least 12:30 AM last night. A friend from Milwaukee had called to say that they may or may not be making it in for K-'s party and we were talking for a bit. (I still baked as I talked!) I was still wired from Festival Choir dress rehearsal and know that I was up until at least 1:30 AM. I'm making my way through the Gilmore Girls DVD library I have. I've watched them a billion times and like to watch them when I can't sleep.
I have more baking to do. I need to bake the Heath bar/Chocolate Chip/Chocolate Chunk cookies today. (I swear that I think that there are more candy bits in there than there is dough.) I might toss the thumbprints together. Oh, and I must deal with the brownies. My chocolate/chocolate cookies came out tasting good, but they are pancake flat. I'm still putting them into the Christmas cookie boxes anyway. They are baked. They are good. They still qualify.
The couch guy is coming between 3-5 PM, so we'll find out whether he thinks that we should score a new couch or not. It's a cliff hanger. I know that your every holiday plan hinges on whether the home of Bailey's Leaf will be getting a replacement of the biffed couch that received earlier in the month. Ah, we do bring excitement to the blogosphere!
So, what's going on in your neck o' the woods today? Anything fun?
Have a great ice-free day!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I purchased three extra large raw wood trunks from the Flower Factory. They were about $6.80 each. I did an acrylic staining to the boxes (one each of pink, purple and green) with the 50 cent acrylic craft paint that I purchased from Pat Catan's. I decorated the front with some printed canvas type material that I traded a friend for. I know that she purchased it at Joann Fabrics on the clearance. The larger rectangle I left print side up. The smaller rectangle that I personalized with round type stickers was just the printed material reversed. I fringed the edges before I glued all of it down. I continued to decorate the front of the box with the pre-painted wood cut-outs that I scored at Walmart for 47 cents each and the clearance rack rhinestones that I purchased this summer. (Ignore the sticks. Just keeping K-'s name private.)
I also glued the rhinestones on top of the screws on the big ole latch on the side.
On the inside, I lined the back of the box with the print material. I used Aleene's Clear glue to adhere the fabric and all of the other items to the box. Hubs cut some shelves for me from particle board that we already had. I glued the tight fitting shelves in with little side slats. These flat little sticks came from Walmart craft department for 77 cents. (A big pack.) I used Tite Bond glue that we already had. It does not dry clear. I did not know. Oh well. I electric stapled the elastic in for both the accessory box and the hair brush. I had some Sticko's stickers that I used to decorate above the hairbrush. It was a blank spot. It needed something. They were 99 cents at Pat Catan's.
A little personalization on the back.
In the end, I figure that each box cost me about $11.50. That's a bargain! I admit that I used a lot of things that I already had on hand. I checked the American Girl website and their trunks start at $75.00. They are absolutely beautiful wardrobes, but none that I could afford. Making a handcrafted gift for my little girl meant a whole lot more to me. I hope that she enjoys it as much as I do!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I love Paul. Oh, not in a marital or cheating love kind of way. Hubs is understanding and appreciative of my love for Paul. I've been at the gallery for 8 Christmas' now and Paul has been the light at the end of the retail year tunnel. I'll come home with a smile on my face and Hubs will say, "You saw Paul today, didn't you?" Yup.
God bless Paul and his ability to fix things. He has fixed migraines, back pains, aching hands, tender tootsies and is presently working on the residual gunk left over from ye ole smooshing o' the vehicle from way back in March. I didn't get whip lash to the neck, but I did get it to the shoulder. Paul is trying to fix that. I told him that I should have come to see him sooner. I really wanted to.
To my bosses that don't read this but as I told them yesterday, thank you for Paul! Thank you for thinking of us!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Come on up. Peer into the window. Don't worry. We're all dressed. We were expecting you.
Ah, give that door a good hearty knock. We have an inoperable door bell (by choice), so you'll have to knock hard, please.
Hey! Glad that you are here. So, you want to take a look around? Let us show our tree to you. There she is. Hubs fixed the lights at the top. (The top quarter of the tree went out last weekend.) I didn't exactly get to fix the top back to the way I had it. No time! But, enjoy it anyhow. See if you can find the pickle!
Let me show you some of our favorite ornaments. I'll start with my girls. We have K-'s first Christmas ornament and Bailey's ornament is off to the left. I bought the metal flying pregnant mama with a tip that I received that Christmas season that I was pregnant. This is an ornament that my oldest and dearest friend gave to me when K- arrived. Had to put this one in there. Hubs fishes. We have many fishing ornaments on our tree. K- made this one. Of course, we have many handmade K- ornaments on our tree, but I picked this one. So simple but so darned cute!Here is our nativity. It lives under the tree. K- moves the pieces all around. This is how she has it arranged right now. Hubs has his Department 56 Dickens Village. He sets it up every year. This year the cat decided to jump up and try to look out the window. She took out one of the turtle doves on the clock tower. He was sad. So is the gentleman pulling the canal boat.Have you sent us a card? Well, certainly you have! Look on the wall above the couch and you'll find it hanging there!
Kick back and watch the people skate around the pond. They'll do it for hours and never tire. I would at least get winded. Not them. They must do Pilates or something when I'm not watching them.
When you are finished with the skaters, feel free to turn Santa's Workshop on. The little people inside are hard at work. They'll even play a tune for you.I have a love for Rudolph, specifically the doll. Hubs has bought me many of the Rudolph figures over the years, so I decided to share a few with you. Don't get too excited when you look behind them and see the bottom photo stamp of the Boston Marathon. I didn't run it. In fact, I don't run unless I'm on fire and even then I hear you aren't supposed to. Nah. Hubs ran his sister in for the last 3 miles or so. They kind of frown on running bandit and we were surprised that he managed to cross the finish line with her. Those are the feet that you see. They are not mine. I was happy for them though.
By the way, there isn't some evil silver bird getting ready to peck Dolly to death. That's just a pewter sculpture I have. Unfortunately, the flamingo sculpture looks like it is ready to take out Rudolph and his whole Island of Misfit Toys. Sorry about that!You haven't seen a chimney for Santa to come down? No worry! We have a Santa key. See? We hang it on the outside door for Santa. That's his magical key to get in. It only works for Santa.
Let's take a walk down the hall, shall we? We have our stockings hung by the coat closet with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon will be there. Yes, there are only three humans in the house, but Smudge (our Maine Coon cat) and Spike (our Green Iguana) have stockings, too.
Why don't we take a spin through K-'s room? She has her own little nativity on the top of her bed. Even the snowman snow globe is adoring Him.
We have a tree on the top of her dresser. We have two of them. One is in the bathroom, but we'll skip that. K- is in there right now. But in case you wondered, they were made by Sunapple and Company in Columbus. It is a great organization giving quality employment to those with developmental disabilities. Passionworks Studios in Athens OH is another great studio employing the same fine folks. Give 'em a look-see if you have time.
I should bring you to the kitchen to see all of the hard work that K- and her daddy were up to. See, last night I started on our gingerbread/graham cracker house. I was a bit over zealous, ignored common sense engineering and my house collapsed. It looked like a Katrina victim. Hubs took the helm, did a bit of wall and roof reinforcement and came up with this:
He and K- worked hard on decorating. Just look at those handies. She couldn't help but to "lick the frosting off" so look at that face!
Before you leave, feel free to take a cookie. We have gingerbread and lemon drop on the rack cooling.
Thanks for coming by! Do stop by again!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I haven't one cookie baked. AAAAAAAA!
So Tuesday, as we had a lull at work, I wrote out a schedule. It scared the young'ns (seasonals). The one said, "That's an awful lot you are writing down there." Yes, I'm a busy mommy. Let me give you my excuse note for breaking until Monday, December 15 and being a bit spotty in the blog until after Christmas.
Thurs. Dec 11-- K- has preschool in the AM. The new washer is to be delivered sometime in the convenient 2 hour window of 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM. I had to make arrangements for K- to be picked up from preschool and brought back home. In trade, I'll be watching my friend's daughter (K-'s friend) while she goes to a doctor's appointment. I have the Christmas tree to put up for my 91 year old grandmother. I need to begin the wardrobe boxes for the American Girl doll clothes that I have for gifts for K- and my nieces. They must be complete by Saturday. I also have festival choir practice from 7-10 PM. House cleaning day! Perhaps while K- is at school. Oh, and I have to fix up the top of the Christmas tree. We lost a set of lights and Hubs had to reconfigure and relight. Yes, it involved installing a new set of lights.
Fri. Dec 12-- We have Little Gym at 9 AM. I need to set my table that I am hosting for the church Christmas Tea. I need to finish the American Girl boxes and bake some cookies if I have any time left.
Sat. Dec 13-- K- goes to a friend while I host the tea table. I'll drop the American Girl boxes off with my mother-in-law to have my father-in-law UPS on Monday. I'll go home and bake cookies.
Sun. Dec 14-- Church in the AM. Dip chocolate pretzels in the afternoon. Choir in the PM.
Mon. Dec 15-- Boo Mama's Christmas Tour of Homes. Yes. I'll be participating. If only hubs can get the top of the tree lit again. I fear that I'll be resetting the top between now and then. Or, you'll have to ignore the lack of light. I forgot to mention that I work. 10AM - 6PM. Finish bits of gift wrapping. But y'all are more than welcome to come over. We're happy to have you. I'll pull out some basement cold bottled water and hopefully there will be some cheese doodles left in the bag for me to share with you. (I'm a better hostess than that!)
Tues. Dec 16 & Wed. Dec 17-- Work 10 AM - 6 PM. Wrap lids for cookie boxes.
Thurs. Dec 18-- K- last day of preschool before break. Send book for party and gifts for teachers. Prep for K-'s birthday party. Choir from 7 PM - 10 PM. Clean house.
Fri. Dec 19-- Little Gym at 9 AM. Make birthday cake. Couch tech coming sometime in a convenient 2 hour window. Remember my new couch? Um, they are going to try to figure out how to fix the damage that it came with. Ugh. Have I said that I see a new couch replacement in my future? I do believe so!
Sat. Dec 20-- K-'s 5th birthday! Party from 2PM - 4:30PM.
Sun. Dec 21-- Church AM. Festival Choir performance 6 PM. Assemble cookie boxes in afternoon.
Mon. Dec 22-- Work 10 AM - 6 PM. Slosh day for cookie box construction. HAPPY HOME DAY! Do something fun with K- to celebrate her coming into our lives. (Yes, most people call it Gotcha Day, but we're not most people. I was inspired to call it happy home day after the very first ornament that we bought for her commemorating her 1 year anniversary with us. Yes, I will take a picture and post it, but not now. I need to sweep the floor. The washer people are coming, the washer people are coming!)
Tues. Dec 23-- Work 10 AM - 6 PM. Sibling get-together at McD's for K-. Bring Christmas and Birthday gifts. 6 PM.
Wed. Dec 24-- Work 10 AM - 3 PM. Christmas Eve.
Breathe in . . . breathe out . . .
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
First, I'll tell you somethings that I can't live without.
1. A stand mixer. We were given a stand mixer for our wedding. I have since moved on to the lovely Kitchen Aid. My husband made me buy it. Even though I got it on a Black Friday deep discount early AM Target sale, I felt guilty. I called him from the parking lot and cried. Now I cry tears of joy. I was gifted two additional bowls for it. It makes cookie baking so much easier.
2. My Tupperware cookie roll out mat. It's really a pie roll out mat. I use it for cookies, though.
3. Parchment Paper
5. Mini chips. They make for better flavor dispersal.
6. Vanilla extract. I can't use the Imitation Vanilla Flavoring. Once you've gone real, you can't go back.
7. Butter. Christmas cookies weren't meant to be low fat.
8. My gigantic wire cooling rack. It holds many dozen cookies.
9. My Pampered Chef cookie scoop. I have the small one and when a recipe says it will make 36 cookies, the Pampered Chef small scoop will make exactly 36 cookies. Generic scoopers kick the bucket. This one was worth every single penny I paid for it.
Now onto the stuff that you are actually here for! I know that all of you have the basic recipes, which is why I skipped them. I passed on the different from the rest recipes that I have.
Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract (I always use more.)
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
2 1/2 c quick cooking oats (I use apple cinnamon breakfast oatmeal for at least half of this.)
1- 10 oz pkg Cinnamon Chips
1/4 c raisins or craisins (I use craisins.)
Heat oven to 350 F. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Combine flour and baking soda, then add to butter mixture. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips and c/raisins. (Batter will be stiff.) Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. About 4 dozen cookies. My favorite!
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/3 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c orange juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 c raspberry preserves for filling
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg YOLK and orange juice, mix in flour until just blended. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Press thumb into center of each cookie, making a deep indentation. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with raspberry preserves. Very little goes a long way. Use caution to not overfill. It just burbles over and makes a yummy, but messy looking cookie. Return to oven for 5 minutes, then immediately remove and cool cookies on a wire rack. Makes probably 6 dozen cookies or so. Mom's favorite!
Almost Candy Bar
1/2 c butter
1 pkg Devil's Food Cake Mix (NOT prepared.)
6 oz butterscotch chips*
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c coconut*
1 c chopped nuts*
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
* I admit that I use whatever I have or am in the mood for. I use many mini chocolate chips. I also use M&M's, heath bar bits and mini marshmallows. I'm not a fan of nuts or coconut.
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cut butter into the cake mix with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan. Press lightly. Sprinkle with candies of your choosing and pour sweetened condensed milk over all the ingredients. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, or until light and golden brown. Cool completely. Cut into small bars as these are VERY rich. I place the small bars onto cupcake papers to keep them all separate. They are kind of sticky. My best friend's husband loves these!
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Have I mentioned my love for chocolate?
2/3 c butter
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 T water
1 t vanilla OR peppermint extract (I always use more.)*
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1- 12 oz pkg chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 F. Cream butter, brown sugar, water and extract in a large bowl on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating on low speed until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 " apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 7-9 minutes or until cookies are set. Cookies will appear soft and moist. Do not over bake. Makes about 3 dozen.
* I accidentally grabbed the wrong extract once. I found that the peppermint was delicious!
Chocolate Covered Graham Cracker Pretzels
My apologies for not being able to give you an actual pretzel/chocolate ratio, but I can give you my tips.
1. I use a 50/50 combination of dark chocolate/milk chocolate merkens. (Melting chocolate wafers.) I love dark chocolate and most of the people I know love milk. I have found that by making the combo, everyone loves them and no one complains.
2. I'm excited! I've found chocolate graham pretzels to dip in chocolate. More chocolate can't be a bad thing, right?
3. I make my own double boiler with a pot and a metal bowl.
4. I use a tweezer to dip my pretzels. Don't worry, it is a tweezer specifically in the kitchen for this purpose. We'll call it a kitchen tweezer, even though it is from the HBA section of the grocery.
5. I like to sprinkle little non-pariels (the little colored round balls) on the tops of the pretzels.
6. Since we are in chilly NE Ohio, I place a TV tray table on my back step (Klassy, I know) so that I can cool these off faster than in the freezer. By the time I've finished a cookie sheet of them, the other sheet is ready to be pulled and used again! Yes, I just sling them in and out of the back door. No, no one has ever helped themselves, though it has snowed on them from time to time!
Just Like Thin Mints
A couple of pounds of mint flavored melting chocolate
A box of all purpose crackers AKA generic Ritz. (I buy Value Time for 1.00 a box.)
Dip the crackers in the chocolate. Sprinkle with non-pariels. Cool. Eat. Imagine that you are eating Thin Mints. The Girl Scouts can't care this time of year? They aren't peddling their goods until January, right? This is another one of my favorites!
Graham Cracker Brownies
This is one I haven't tried yet, but I found the recipe in the Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 7 that I borrowed from the library this week. I'm hoping to make them this weekend as my first Christmas cookie batch to freeze.
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Spread into a greased 8" x 8" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and cut into squares. Makes 1 1/2 dozen.
Apple Lemon Thyme/Pineapple Sage Jelly
Unfortunately, my recipe isn't currently in my recipe box-- I don't know why. However, if you follow a basic juice jelly recipe, that's all I use. You do need to do a 4 hour steeping of your juice beforehand. Add 10 sprigs of Lemon Thyme and 10 leaves of Pineapple Sage, heat to just boiling for a minute or so, turn the burner off, place a lid on the pot and leave it for 4 hours. Don't move it from the burner. Just let it sit and enjoy the herbs. Remove the herbs prior to making into jelly.
See, I anticipated your need. I knew that you would skip over all the cookie recipes that I had and would want the jelly recipe. As for the Pearsauce, I'm a taster. When it tastes good, I know that it is ready to can. I use a lot of cinnamon and brown sugar. It does get a good fresh grating of nutmeg, though. Yum.
Next week: I have no idea. It'll be surprise week here at WFMW! Ooo! Maybe I can be all organized and take photos of the American Girl wardrobe boxes that I'm making. Okay. Yep. That'll be it. Save yourself the hundred dollars or so! I'll show you what I did. Now, if I can just get those darned things started . . .
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Indecision puzzles me. Waffling folks wanting me to weigh in on their decision for a self purchase just confuses me more. Why do you care what I like? You should pick what you like best. I don't know you. I wished that I did, but I don't. What I like may be different from what you like. That is what I'll tell people.
We had a customer in today that is a prime example of what I'm talking about. She walked back and forth, exchanging fused glass window hangings for at least a half hour. She was having us wrap these 2 pieces for her "bestest friends" and had us take the artist tag off that talks about the piece and states that it was Made in the USA. She thought it made it look "cheesy." Hmm. (To the artist's credit, it was a small and very well done tag.) It took her another 20 minutes to choose 6 luggage tags that were 3.25 each. It was a painful process to watch.
It baffles me. I walk in a store and if I see something, I know that I like it. My mother-in-law will hem-haw over things for so long. She'll buy something and take it back a couple of times. She just has a tough time making a decision.
How are you with decision making? Do you borrow the public's opinion or do you fly on your own?
Monday, December 8, 2008
2. Went to wedding on Saturday. Misunderstood church secretary. Showed up 2 hours early. Put myself to work. Pinned flowers on guys, only beheading one rose. Oops. Thank goodness they had a spare flower. Old feather pen died. Searched mom's pen cup and fixed the pen. Returned it in time for use.
3. Went home after wedding. Hubs announces, "Washer died."
4. Went to Hubs' Christmas party. Roads not that great. Food not that great. It was an assigned pot luck, so no variety though there should have been. First time for Popeye's Chicken. It was gross. Sorry to those of you who are fans. I've always thought that it was hard to goof up fried chicken. Apparently, I'm wrong.
5. Picked K- back up from friend's house. Parents call. They are enroute to our house. Dad got a new vehicle (new to him) and wanted to spin by. Called neighbor, had him let them in.
6. Was standing in basement talking to parents when father unit asks, "Why do you have water on your basement floor?" Well yes, apparently the humidifier in K-'s room took a dump on her floor. Leaked water UNDER her desk and armoire, through the carpet, padding, subfloor and down to the basement floor. Had to move many things from her room. Armoire still up and tipped on it's side. Slight water damage to armoire and desk. Still drying carpet out. At least now my house doesn't smell like wet socks. My mom didn't want to tell me that my house stunk. Normally, it smells just fine. Thank goodness for the fan that has been running non-stop for 24 hours. It is resolving the stink/wet carpet problem quite nicely.
7. Plumber stopped by to get a materials list. Hubs stayed home from church so as to run a recovery on the house so that the plumber didn't think that we were pigs. Saturday nights strip and flip of K-'s room was a combo of panic and PM*S and whole house involvement happened. Plumber will be coming back in a few weeks to repair leaking washer feed valves, replace main line shut off and a few other plumbery items.
8. Went shopping for washer. Found one on sale at KMart. Normally not a KMart shopper, but they had a one day friends and family 20% off discount. Got the $500.00 Kenmore for $400.00 with free delivery and free haulaway. It's a bigger capacity with some different cycles that I don't have. It also has an up-down-and-around agitator. We were happy with that. In the meantime . . .
9. I went to my parents to tackle the laundry. Since Hubs had the basement all torn up this week, I held back on doing laundry until this weekend. Then the washer broke. Mom and I hung out, I had dinner that was good and I didn't have to cook. In exchange, I brought them one of our frozen loaves of homemade Amish bread and put their Christmas tree together for them.
10. Came home with clean laundry. Got K- to bed. Realized that the lights on the top of the Christmas tree are out. Hubs is working on resolving that. Still not fixed though. Poor guy.
11. Hubs and I got to watch the season finale of Storm Chasers. He's snoring now and I'm tired.
12. Will be dropping old VBS materials off at church tomorrow when I drop K- off for school then will shuttle off to the grocery for food. Mother Hubbard's Cupboards need a little help.
How was your weekend?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It's a kid CD! Pollywog in a Bog is my favorite! K- loves all the songs, but she's been talking about one with popcorn. I haven't figured it out yet, as I've been busy having things break, leak or otherwise funk out at our house. (The latest is the humidifier that leaked in K-'s room, through the rug, through the sub floor and into the basement. We had to pull 1/2 of her room apart, flip the armoire/dresser on it's side so that it can dry from the bottom and UGH! All of this at 11 PM at night AFTER we came back from Hubs' Christmas Party.) So, I've been listening to the CD with her, but my full attention hasn't been on it. She does like 7-8-9, though.
I'm tired. I've just noticed one more that I need to watch. Good night!
I asked Mom if I can come and flip some clothes into their washer tomorrow. She said it is fine. We'll borrow my dad's dolly and haul the washer carcass to the road. Thank goodness that I haven't called for the big haul pick-up yet. See, I told y'all that there would be more to come. The neighbors are really going to think we're moving out now.
Don't worry. We'll just be replacing it with a general top-load washer. I've heard too many stories of stinking front loaders (literally smelling bad) and I just don't have that kind of money to lay out for a purchase right now.
Ugh. Off to the appliance store we go.
Looking beyond our family of lit deer, there it is-- our tree lawn. My neighbor thought that I kicked Hubs out. His wife informed him that she was certain that I hadn't, that we were probably doing what they needed to be doing. Hubs decided to free the basement from 9 years of stackage from living here. Boy, we look so trashy right now. But hold on! I'm sure that there will be more.
I'm sorry-- you've seen the couch? Yes, well that fine piece of furniture was a reject from a rental property. It came with a baby black widow nestled into it. It took Hubs 3 days and an awful allergy attack, but he freed the couch from both the baby black widow and all of the funk that it beheld. My in-law's were mortified. They wanted us to buy a new couch. I could see why. This one was major ugly. It is brown plaid. We were engaged. I was still in college. Hubs was working for a plastics manufacturer while doing an internship at the National Park for a whopping 50 cents an hour. The couch was free and let's face it, it was all we could afford! That would be why I have kept a couch cover on it all of these years. But look! Almost 12 years later, it has a replacement!
Yes, it is a weird angle, but the lighting at night was kind of weird. We love it! It goes well with my Kilz Casual Colors of Papaya Smoothie (A12) and Sweet Potato (A10). No kidding, those are our wall and woodwork colors. I know that you are admiring the 1976 chocolate brown carpeting. One day we'll replace it, but for now we just keep it cleaned. Honestly, for carpet that old, the stuff has held up amazingly well.
But as with every Bailey's Leaf family story, there is always a glitch. The new car in the spring came with pock marks on the hood from rocks. The couch? Well, it came with this:
In the meantime, enjoy my new couch. Feel free to take a seat. Kick back and relax. Just know that I'll be having my friend recover those pillows as soon as this couch biff is fixed. They did come with that fabric that doesn't match anything in my livingroom. There were no other choices! So, be gentle with the pillows. We'll invite you back over to roughhouse with them later when they are in a more Papaya Smoothie friendly fabric.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Transcribed by: Juha Auvinen
Episode #904 Originally Aired: October 16, 1997
Jerry: Maybe instead of trying to satisfy two of your needs, how about satisfying one of somebody else's?
George: Hey, speaking of which, I found a great way to separate the skin from the top of the pudding without leaving any around the edges; Exacto knife.
Jerry: I told you George, no more pudding. I'm starting a purification program. Keep all that kind of food away from me.
George: Well, I guess these would be out of the question. [pulls out two pudding skins in plastic bags.]
Jerry: What - - is that?
George: Pudding skin singles.