Sunday, December 28, 2008

Traditions . . .

Traditions. TRADITIONS! (are you singing with me yet?)

This year was the first time in 6 years that I've been with my parents on Christmas Eve. Since I've been married, we've just done our own thing, and then gone over Christmas Day to spend time with the family. But now that we're a couple of thousand miles away, when we come for Christmas, we spend the whole thing together.

Now, you have to understand, my family has a TON of Christmas traditions. As in like every thing is a tradition. From the special Christmas plates, to the story Mom always tells (that she can't ever really remember so she kind of just makes up, but still cries in all the same places), to the special Christmas Eve treat, it's like every moment is full of memories.

One of my favorite parts is when we turn off all the lights except for the tree. We snuggle up together on the couches, clutching our hot chocolate and toast, and sing Christmas carols. We all get to pick one at a time, and take turns until we can't think of any more. As I listened to the three part harmony we blended together, I realized there was no where else on earth I'd rather be.

So here's to family. Here' s to peace. Here's to the love that filled our place Wednesday night. I hope your night was as memorable as mine. (and since my sister is about the only one that reads this, I guess it was!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My favorite cookies

This year, we are traveling a couple thousand miles for Christmas. I love still having a private just my nuclear family Christmas, so we are celebrating early, and then again with the extended. Today was our Christmas eve, which we did complete with cookies for Santa. I thought I'd post my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe, along with the only home made frosting I actually enjoy.

The cookies are more labor intensive than other recipes, but they taste like those awesome bakery ones. I love it!

Alton Brown's Sugar cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Directions

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.


Wilton Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 tsp Vanilla (they say Wilton Clear Vanilla Extract)

4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Yield: 3 cups

Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerate leftover icing in airtight container up to 2 weeks; rewhip before using.



Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm an idiot . . .part 2

I probably haven't mentioned it before, but I love to read. As in "I could live without chocolate and oxygen easier than without good books" love to read. I always have a book or three that I'm reading. It's been difficult since moving to Texas to find good books. Too often just as I get into one, smut fills the pages and I have to stop. It's very frustrating.

I found a free e book today (check out http://www.marcialynnmcclure.com/kissingcousins.cfm, sign up for the free newsletter to download.) It's a romance, and a very cheesy romance at that, but it is clean. (ok, so there is a TON of WAY TOO MUCH KISSING, but it never steps over the line from kissing to anything else, and there is no language or anything in it either. It was a fun worthwhile read today for me). It's been rather cold out, and with the homey Christmas tree lights glowing, it was perfect weather for curling up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate.

Recently I've been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series. It's been a breath of fresh air. While I love a good Sci-fi, or fantasy, or mystery, there is something so refreshing to go back into time to when life was so simple. So easy, so carefree. I long to really mend clothes, churn my own butter, and memorize poems as a pastime.

So, to set the scene. It's a glorious crisp, bright day outside. The sun is shining merrily through the almost bare tree tops. The Christmas tree is lit up, casting a rosy glow around the room. Christmas carols are playing faintly in the apartment upstairs, adding just enough musical background to make it a truly homey sight. In my hands I hold Anne of the Island, and am down to the last 10 pages - where Anne finally realizes how much she loves Gilbert as he lays almost dying, and they have their beautiful talk and proposal and finally kiss. All is well in my little world as I read . . . .

Um, no. That would be the part where I'm and idiot. You see, I have a 4 year old and a toddler. While sometimes they play well together, often they don't, especially if they see mommy going for a book. They were playing so nicely together that I thought I could just finish up. Instead it took me 45 minutes to read those last 10 pages. In the mean time, I broke up 3 fights, made dinner, changed diapers, cleaned up spills, did 2 time outs, and got extremely frustrated that I couldn't just enjoy my book! But then again, what was I thinking, trying to read the most romantic, sweetest part of the whole book while my kiddos were awake. Really, you'd think I'd have learned by now to just wait until bedtimes.

I eventually finished the story, but it was NOT the same as when I read it as a 12 year old. It could have been close if I could have really gotten into it, but no one could having that many interruptions! Sigh. I'll just have to try again with the next book . . .

Give a ways #3

Today's offering from Momformation is a really fun set of board games. Go check it out (actually, don't because then I'll have a better chance of winning!)

http://blogs.parentcenter.babycenter.com/momformation/2008/12/05/toy-basket-giveaway-from-mattel%E2%80%A6its-family-time/#comment-218780

Will all the idiots please come forward . . .

(#@#%*$&*@*&DBC*&@#@G**@) - this would be the sound of me running to be first in line.

I am an idiot. Seriously. Look at the posting time for this. I should have gone to bed two hours ago, and yet here I am. Obviously not sleeping. Why? Because I AM AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I'm waiting for my hubby to come home. But that's just plain stupid, because he left for a trip today, and won't be home for another 36 hours. Obviously staying awake for 72 hours would not be conducive to mental well being, and yet, I still am not going to bed. I've tried, twice now, and just keep finding other things to do instead.

He's not coming home tonight, no matter how long I stay up for it. And yet, even though I know that, there is part of me that is waiting for it. I thought I was over it (when your hubby is a pilot, you have a lot of these nights to yourself!). Usually it's not this bad anymore. But usually he calls to wish me goodnight and to say prayers together. Which actually he did, but at 5:00. You see, tonight he's in Mexico, and we're too cheap to extend his cell phone coverage to out of country, so he can't call until the morning when he flys back to the US. But since it wasn't at the normal time, my stupid idiotic self is staying awake. I've been quite productive - folded two batches of laundry, done the dishes, almost finished crocheting another baby blanket, caught up on Fox News, . . . . yah. productive. And still, I find myself blogging, after midnight. Just go to bed already!

Nope, it didn't work. Maybe my internet will crash again and then I'll really go.



Crickets again as I sit here like an IDIOT. Ok, this time I'm really going to do it.

Goodnight!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Give a ways #2

I don't know if I need to do a separate entry for each day or not, but today's Momformation toy basket is for little boys, and there is some cool stuff there!

http://blogs.parentcenter.babycenter.com/momformation/2008/12/04/toy-basket-giveaway-from-mattel%E2%80%A6for-the-boys/#comment-218227

Please, someone tell me how to make my links cool!

Give a ways

Lindsay Weiss over at Momformation (babycenter!) is doing some give aways this week. The first one is for a basket of little girl toys. Go check it out - and I get another entry by telling you about it!

http://blogs.parentcenter.babycenter.com/momformation/2008/12/03/toy-basket-giveaway-from-mattel%E2%80%A6this-ones-for-the-girly-girls/#comment-218333

Man I wish I could do cool links!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why I'm a dork

So one of my favorite shows ever is called Psych. I adore this show. I think part of it is because I get so many of the references (they are both obsessed with the 80's). But there is just something about watching two grown men totally rock out when ever they do something cool. They just freely release their inner geek, and don't care who can see. So here's me doing the same (except no one can really see!)


Things I geek out over (ok, did you get the reference? Yes, it's incredibles. This is a line I completely did not understand, until I did something that could only be described as "geeking out over it" and now I get it).


Where I live, the roads instead of having printed dashes for lanes, most have these rather large reflective buttons (they look kind of like the "easy" button, but white) There will be like four close together, then a gap, then four more - just like the paint, but way bumpier. One of my goals, every time I drive somewhere, is to change lanes. just. right. so I slide between the bumps instead of going over them. My record: 3 in a row. And every time I succeed I totally wig out just like Shawn. I suppose you could call this an upgrade: I grew up in a fairly rural area. If no one else was on the road on a sunny day, I would follow the shadows the phone lines made on the road - swaying back and forth. I so thought this was cool, but of course, never did it if anyone could see. I mean, really, you look so drunk when you swerve like that!


Just this morning I saw another number on the scale I have't seen in more than 5 years. I was literally jumping up and down in the bathroom with excitement. I was dancing, and just geeking out - when I turned, and looked at myself in the mirror. Wow, that's a wake up call for you. Try it: do something stupid you've done before in front of a large mirror. Wow, we really are all dorks, aren't we!

I was recently invited to be in a test kitchen for a book, and yes, I totally geeked out over it (really, this was the first time I've ever geeked out over anything!) I wanted to tell the whole world, but had to wait until I had permission. - which was like a month ago, which was also when I first started writing this post and then forgot about it!

I sometimes pretend I'm British. Just for my family, but still . . .

I'm sure there are a million more (Leah, want to suggest any?), but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. So just know, I really am a dork. But I can pretend I'm cool, so I guess it all works out!
Blogging tips