Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wrapping Up Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and what do you know?  I don't really have any pictures.  I'm awful with taking photos, but I swear I'm going to try to do better in 2011.

Before 2011, though, I'd like to tell you about my amazing Christmas.  

1st- We had Christmas with my mom's side of the family.  Every year we get together and celebrate and eat and are merry.  It's one of my favorite things.  And while this year I didn't have any gifts there, it was a lot of fun seeing so many of my family members and teaching my cousin to knit (in front of everyone... yikes).  Mom was wearing her new scarf that I had made her, and I got to show off my awesomeness.  I'm thinking about making several items and then starting up an Etsy shop.  We'll see.

2nd- My wonderful friends got together for a Christmas party!  It was wonderful.  I got to see so many friends, some that came all the way from the west coast!  We had a secret santa, and I have to say the gift I made was well loved.  I was given a book (big surprise there.  I love me some books).  We ate.  We drank.  We were most definitely merry.  Mike was given a gift card.  That just makes him happy.  And he played video games and made friends.  By the end of the night, he and his drunken buddies declared that there was exactly 1 black man in the room (there were in fact 2 bi-racial gentlemen including Mike).  It was entertaining.

3rd- I had a FIVE DAY WEEKEND!!!!  That's cinco dias my friend.  That's a lot.  I spent them well.  I helped my buddy prepare for the party, cleaned my house (and I mean super cleaned), enjoyed Christmas (after finishing the decorations and wrapping) and really just relaxed!!!!  It was amazing.

4th- Have I mentioned the cookies yet?  NO???  Ok, so I like to bake.  And I have to admit- I got some skills.  So every Christmas I try to make some sweets for Mike to take to work, and my work, and my brothers, and Mike's parents.  I really wanted to make quite as many as I wanted, but I got to bake the Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter cookies, Sugar cutouts, and Gingerbread Men.  While I didn't quite like all of my recipes, the ones that came out I attached the links for the recipes.  I need to find better ones for the chocolate chip and snickerdoodles.  But the sugar cookies?  The gingerbread men?  A-FREAKIN-MAZING!  LOVED THEM!!!  I froze some of the sugar cookie dough.  Never using another recipe for those.

And while I didn't get to them by Christmas I still plan on baking the pumpkin cookies sometime soon.  WARNING- I haven't tried the recipe yet.

5th- Christmas day was... ok.  Mike worked that morning, so I got up and made him Mike's parents came down for lunch and then we had dinner with the family I babysit for.  They are wonderful, and the father cooked his mother's recipe for pork loin.  The meal was Puerto Rican, and it was delicious!!!!!  And they really are a fun group.  We played games until the kids were falling asleep, and then finally left ourselves.

6th- Dec 26 we had our own Christmas dinner since we had eaten with friends on Christmas day.  I made a delicious glazed ham with mashed potatoes, dumplings, green beans, and rolls.  Someone requested the recipe for the ham. The link can be found here.  I did tweak it to my needs- my ham was only 3 lbs., but I used 10 oz of juice, most of a pineapple, and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.  This way I had more glaze.  :)  It was spectacular.

And then finally on Dec 27 I got to have dinner with my mom and brothers and their respective girlfriends (and my nephew).  We met half way at the Fuji Steakhouse.  It was delicious!  And we got to exchange gifts.  My brother was completely surprised that I could knit.  I was a little peeved, but oh well.  His girlfriend wants the same scarf I made for mom!  :)

So there was the rundown of my Christmas.   It was rather calm this year, but it's mainly because my nephew no longer believes in Santa, and my grandpa wasn't here this year.  Mike worked on Christmas as well.  It was nice, though.  It was our first real Christmas.  We were poor in college, and then last year we bought a house, so we didn't really do gifts.  But this year, we have beautiful decorations and a lovely house to decorate, and thankfully lots of people to celebrate with.

And really, that last part?  Right there?  Yeah, that's really what it's all about.  The family and the friends to share it all with.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Christmas! Merry New Year!

Hope you don't mind my absence.  I was slaving away enjoying my days off before Christmas and didn't put blogging very high on the priority list.

I'll do a post later about all that, but to get to current topics- MENU MONDAY!!!!

On a Tuesday.  Again.

Anyways, food this week?  There's a lot of it.  I mean, hello stuffing your face week!

Monday- Christmas dinner out with the Brudders!!!!  Both of my brothers work at a casino (in the restaurants) so they never get off for the holiday.  SO.  To deal with that and the fact that we live a sizeable distance apart, we met half way and ate at the Fuji Steakhouse.  It's like Benihana's, only a little cheaper (same great taste if you ask me!).  Boy was it yum.

Tuesday- Lasagna
Wednesday- Take your pick of leftovers- Christmas dinner or lasagna
Thursday- I'm thinking Taco Melts
Friday breakfast- Doughnuts!  We love us homemade doughnuts.
Friday dinner- Maple Glazed Chicken with rice and carrots.
Saturday breakfast- Breakfast burritos- if we like them I'll share the recipe.
Saturday dinner- Probably Chili or eating out- it's my cooking day
Sunday breakfast- Pancakes?
Sunday dinner- Beef stroganoff?  I think so...

As you can tell, this is all made up on the spot.  I have a menu, but we've drifted so far off the map that I don't remember what it says- just what's in the freezer.  The good thing is I have probably a week's worth of meals still in the freezer!  Yay for not needing to make so much this month!

PS- The Christmas ham (and apple dumplings) were delicious.  Recipes to follow... Probably tomorrow.  I will try, though!

PSS- Link up ya'll

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Friday!

What makes my Friday so happy?  You mean outside of my weekly pay day and Mike's double-bi-weekly pay day?

I have an adorable pup curled up with his head on my heart.

And we're staying in to cuddle.  By choice and much to the sadness of our friends (who are at shadowbox Live as we speak).

I have a cute and warm rice bag on my toes.

My Christmas cards are finished.

And my hubs is on his way home.

What more could a girl ask for?

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grown Up Christmas List

mostly grown up, anyway....

All I want for Christmas is........................


jigsaw blades, a carpenter square, a tool belt, clamps, drill bits, screws, a nail punch, a sander, a workbench, saw horses....


Brave New World, Atonement, Memoirs of a Geisha, Winnie the Pooh, Moby Dick, Five People you Meet in Heaven, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Three Muskateers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...

And gift cards

Jo Ann Fabrics, Home Depot, Restaurants...

But the motherload of all things?

Despicable Me.  For real.  I saw it, loved it, and it was amazing.  I want my own little set of minions one day, I swear.

I'm so excited about Christmas, but so not... I'm very excited about my list, but I'm really bummed about Mike's Christmas gift.  First, he got a super awesome birthday present just a few weeks ago (an Ipod Nano), but the condition was that I was spending twice as much as budgetted, so his Christmas gift would be (lots) smaller.  So it's sad already.  But then?  He tells me he wants this really nice thing from where he works that costs over my limit BUT if HE buys it, he can use his employee discount and it's NOT over budget... So he got that.  For himself.  So now I have a grand total of $15 to spend on him on something that will surprise him.  I'm at a loss.  Help?

Other than that, more things to come!  Including a beautiful hand-knit scarf that I just so happened to make for my mother.  For her birthday.  It's a nice and easy pattern that looks like it's not.

What's on your list this year?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wee Bit of Me- Just for fun!

{one} did you buy a christmas tree this year?
Nope.  Had our trusty fake one with lights and all!

{two} what is your favorite holiday tradition?
Decorating the tree and picking out our yearly ornament.
{three} do you open your gifts on christmas eve or christmas day?
It varies.  We open ours usually Christmas Day, but it's hard to tell when we'll see our family each year.

{four} at what age did you stop believing in santa claus?
I don't remember how old, but I remember when it happened... I would say 7 or 8?

{five} do you fill stockings?
No... We don't.  But we will when there are kids around. 

{six} handmade presents or store bought presents?
From friends or For friends: Handmade.  From mom/dad/hubs/etc: Store bought.  For mom/dad/hubs/etc: Can go either way- depends on what they want!

{seven} do you have a favorite christmas meal?
Mike and I are starting a new tradition- We are having Apple dumplings for breakfast, and maple glazed ham for dinner.  YUM

{eight} is your christmas tree real or artificial?
Fake.  It's easier, and safer for the pets.

{nine} what is your favorite christmas song?
I love Vince Gill and his daughter singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth"
I also like Christina Aguilera's "Silent Night"

{ten} did you send out christmas cards this year?
Working on it!  We have 20 in the mail with about 20 more to make, only half of which need mailed... Too many friends and family, I swear!

Link up, folks!

2 years

2 years ago today I was in Mexico.  We were in Celestun- in the Yucatan, close to Merida.  We spent the day doing 3 things- a tour of a factory...

a boat ride in a flamingo reserve...


and an evening at a slightly chilly beach. 

I was making new friends, and using my mad-Spanish skills (I was the one of 3 fluent speakers on the trip, so naturally I was popular), and we ended the day sitting on a beach drinking Corona and watching mine explode because the salt shaker lid broke right as I added some to my tasty drink.

We laughed about the alligator/crocodile on the rocks that scared Ben so badly.  We still never determined whether it was real or fake.  You decide.

We played in the water, and let the fishies nibble at our toes.  Afterwards we returned to our hotel with the beautiful patio in the middle and talked about how my first trip to the ocean went.

It was by far one of the most memorable days of my life.  Mexico, and the friendships forged there will never be forgotten.  But little to my knowledge, on that very special day while I was visiting the ocean for the first time...

This little guy was being born.  A bajillion miles away. 

I wouldn't meet him for almost 3 more months.  But that day?  December 15?  It was special without me knowing it.

I love that little guy.  Happy birthday, Romeo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 10 Signs You've Overdone Christmas

I saw an article online today that listed some pretty goofy ways to tell if you spent too much on your kids.

1- We don't have kids, so it obviously doesn't apply.
2- I never intend on spending the type of cash a lot of parents tend to spend apparently.  Seriously?  You people are just nuts.
3- The article was stupid.

BUT!  People over do the holidays ALL THE TIME!  Every year I hear all of this complaining, and griping, and general "I'm freaking out from so much to do!" ness.  I think people have lost the idea behind Christmas.

Am I the kettle calling the pot black?  Maybe.  I do believe my last post listed how behind I was.  BUT!  I don't feel obligated to do ANY of it.  Did I have to get my brothers Christmas AND birthday gifts?  No.  We don't care.  Did I have to hand make over 40 Christmas cards (20 left, people)?  NO.  Did I have to hand make 3 gifts?  Decorate so much?  Bake 4 batches of cookies (and counting)?  NO!!!  I do it because I love making things, I love baking desserts, I love the "oohs" and "aahs" of all the people I care about.  I love giving.  I do it because I enjoy it.  I don't cuss as I trim the tree, or develop Tourette Syndrome while baking (although the cat can change that...).

So here are my top 5 signs you've over done Christmas-

5. You are fighting with the hubs (wife) more than you are smiling.
4. You emptied your bank account (or maxed a credit card) to cover the expense.
3. You are having trouble sleeping because you are dreaming about things going wrong.
2.  You find Christmas music gives you a sudden urge to turn into the Hulk.
1.  You ended up giving someone a bloody nose in a fight for the last ZhuZhu pet (or thing of silly bandz, or Bratz doll). 

Merry Christmas, and please.  Remember that you are supposed to ENJOY the Holiday season!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Monday- Crunch week

Can you believe it's already Dec. 13?

I was doing so well this year, and now I feel lik I've fallen behind!  I can't believe it's already Dec. 13!!!!

Shopping- almost done, thankfully.  I still have to buy a few things, but I'm going out tomorrow with a friend to do just that, so hopefully I can check that off my list!

Baking- I have 4 batches of cookies on my table, 3 batches of dough in the fridge, and 3 more batches to make!  Plus the 2 batches of fudge.  I have a lot left!  And then to divide it all up.  I hope I have enough- I had to cut down on the snickerdoodles because I ran out of flour and cinnamon.  Crazy.

Homemade crafts/gifts- I still have 1 to finish and 1 to start AND finish!  This is where it's really getting down to the wire.  I'm a littler worried here.

Christmas cards- I still have TWENTY to finish!  That can probably be finished Wednesday, though, and I'm not mailing most of them, so I should be ok there.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to have a menu? Yeah... a menu.  It's crunch week.  It's really a good thing I freezer cook!!!!

Lunch- soup and sandwiches all week!!!!  This has become a fave.

Monday- Baked Potato Soup and salad
Tuesday- More baked potato soup and salad
Wednesday- Pineapple pork chops with rice and veggies
Thursday- Taco Melts
Friday- Maple Glazed Chicken with rice and veggies
Breakfast Saturday- Oatmeal
Dinner Saturday- Beef stroganoff with veggies and rolls
Breakfast Sunday- Waffles and smoothies!
Dinner Sunday- Christmas dinner with my family.  I can't believe it's already here.  I'm making Mashed Potatoes and possibly Apple dumplings if they ask for them.  If they don't I'm sure Mike will.  He asked for his own batch for Christmas.  I think he might want some.  LoL.

I love the Christmas season!  Maybe I'll get some Christmas photos taken soon and post them for you to see.  Including pictures of "the white death" (We don't like snow here in Cincy.)

Post edit- I forgot to link up!  Here you go.  I also forgot last week...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Putting the Happy in "Happy Friday!"

I love Fridays.  At least most of the time.  I don't often speak of my work on here (because let's face it- who wants to hear about an accountant's work?) but today I think I will share one aspect of my job that (sometimes) makes me happy.

I am an accountant.  I do the payroll, and as such, I'm in charge of the time monitoring system (the phone system we use to clock in and out).  It's a basic system, you call a number, you punch in your id (I say your name), you hit 1 to clock in or 2 to clock out (it verifies that you "clocked in" or "clocked out"), you hang up.

In the process, if you screw up (forget, clock out when you meant to clock in, etc etc) you will get an automated message telling you to call the office (ME!).  When you do, I fix the problem.  If you don't, there could be dire consequences, but that's not what I'm hear to discuss.

Sometimes I get cute calls like this:

"Hi Lynzie.  The lady" (an automated machine) "told me I screwed up this morning.  Can you tell me what I did wrong?"

Or sometimes, when I fix things I get

"Thanks.  You're the best."  I've also heard "awesome" "the wo-man", "amazing"

And then there are the guys that think they are all cute

"Thank you hun" or "Thank you baby"

Normally those would bother me, but... It's usually one guy, and he has a disability of some sort, and he's trying to be cute, and he is.

Other happy moments- We have a few workers who are from a country in Africa.  I don't know which country, but they have a REALLY HEAVY ACCENT.  Do you know who they like to talk to?  Me.  They call me all the time with questions- sometimes questions I don't have the answers to.  But you wanna know why they call me?  They like me.  They know I will help them without yelling at them or getting frustrated, and that makes me happy.

What makes you happy?

Happy Friday, y'all.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedded Wednesday- When Sickness Sinks In

Mike... Is sick.

You see, Saturday was the last home football game of the season.  If you remember, we always go.

Except Saturday it was snowing.  It snowed early, and snowed all day.  And it was freakin' cold.  I stayed home.

But Mike- he went.  He kind of has to.  It's kind of his job to record things, and the last game is Senior Night for the band.

And as a result- he's sick.  But not like normal sick.  Oh no, this time, he can't stay home, and he has 2 jobs.  I haven't been able to take care of him, because he works while I'm at home, and I work while he's at home.

It's kind of been a sort of torture.  I hate not being able to take care of him.  I hate that I sit there wondering how he's feeling, and hoping he doesn't feel guilty because he can't do things, or hoping that he's not doing things because he really shouldn't.

And the worst of all?  Mike never gets sick.  So if he was able to catch this, then I will most definitely catch this.  He never gets sick!  I do every year.  This just isn't looking good for me.

All I Want for Christmas- Cards!

So when you're less wealthy than you'd like to be, the best thing to do for the holidays are cards!!!!

But some can get kind of expensive.  Although I have a friend who bought 32 for $2, I have yet to find them... Sad. 

So as a childless woman who loves fun projects- I decided to make my own this year!

Items needed- All bought at Hobby Lobby

1 pack of cardstock- 5" x 6 1/2" (I bought ivory colored)
a stencil of some holiday design (I chose snowflakes)
paint (I bought light blue)
a foam brush

I used basic word to make my saying for the inside, used photoshop and the internet to come up with a few pictures to go with my saying, and printed them off.

I used the paint and stencils to create a very pretty front.  I wish I had a little bit of glitter, though, because the paint came out to be slightly less than what I wanted, but oh well.  Still very pretty.

Voile!  Pretty pretty Christmas cards.  I'll post a picture later, as I didn't take any and have already sealed up the first batch I made.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Monday- Freezer cooking!

This is the start of a wonderful relationship.  I love freezer cooking.  I went to the grocery on Saturday for a whole month!  I thought the lady at Meijer was going to blow a gasket or something!

It was fun though, and pushing the cart was a workout.  I had all my groceries, plus all the stuff for my Christmas baking, plus supplies to make a Christmas gift.  Which I will begin posting information on great gift ideas here soon.  I promise.  **NOTE** I don't want to post a lot of ideas on here now because I don't want certain people guessing what they will be getting!  That would just be silly.

Some of them I think I can post, though.  A few, at least.

Anyways, where was I?  Oh, Menu Monday.

Monday- Spaghetti with green beans, corn, and rolls
Tuesday- Leftover spaghetti
Wednesday- Dinner out (I'm Christmas shopping)
Thursday- Tuna Noodle Casserole
Friday- More casserole, cuz it's big.
Saturday breakfast- Oatmeal
Saturday dinner- Maple Glazed Chicken with rice and carrots
Sunday breakfast- Waffles and smoothies
Sunday dinner- Chicken Tortellini with broccoli and corn

Brown bag- Chicken Pot Pie
Breakfast all week- Muffins, bacon and egg whites

Enjoy your week, folks!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Wish- Fitting 96 hours into 48

Or at least trying?  Because I'm pretty sure I have well over 96 hours worth of stuff on my to do list this weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!  And by Happy I mean very happy, because tonight, my friends?  Tonight is a girl's night out!

I hope we can figure out a DD because I really would like to enjoy it, if you know what I mean.  Not to the point of piss-ass drunk or something, of course.  But not worrying about driving would definitely be nice.

And since it's girl's night out tonight, the boys are probably have a guy's night in (I think?).  Michael might not be attending, though, because our weekend has filled to the point of over-flowing, and he'll probably want to get some zzzz's before it starts.

Tomorrow?  Starts with a football game in what will shape up to be 1-3 inches of snow.  BOO!  I like snow, but not on my football games.  I like football, but usually with warmer weather than permitted for snow to fall.  And all in all, I don't foresee a very good game, so this whole day will kinda suck.  But I love my friends, even if we lose fingers or toes from frostbite

Then hopefully I will come home and Mike can go to sleep while I do some couponing, grocery list making, grocery shopping, and maybe some cleaning.  Because Mike's boss screwed up, and Sunday he works 1:30 am - 9:30 am, then 11 am to 6 pm (or something on those lines).  BOO!  He will sleep good that night!

Sunday I will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  I prep in the am for cooking day.  Then I'll probably take a break to do some laundry and clean some of the house.  Then I'll spend several chaotic a few organized hours cooking away in our kitchen.  Hopefully I will manage to finish the laundry and the cooking with enough time left to put up the Christmas decorations.  I have some excellent ideas, and if enough snow falls, Romeo and I will spend the evening outside making a snowman.  I don't think 1-3 inches will be enough, though.

And if I finish and I'm NOT ready to pass out on the spot?  I can design my Christmas cards.  That's right- we make our own around here.  I'm a modern version of Martha Stewart (only prettier, with lots less money, better trading ethics, and no stick up my butt (as I imagine...)).

How about I give you some of my awesome ideas for gifts/crafts for the holidays?  Interested?  I might just try that out.  Because I love the holidays.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wedded Wednesday (Thursday again)- Birthday time!

I did not post this last night because I was enjoying the evening with my husband instead.  It was his day after all.

My hubs hit 25 yesterday.  TWENTY FIVE!  Do we officially count as adults now?  Because seriously.  I could vent a HUGE ONE about all the "you're too young" problems I have.

Tangent aside, it was a great day, minus the present.  Last year we were in the process of buying a house.  So instead of a birthday gift, we said the house was the big gift and I made a cake and decorated the apartment with $1 ribbon and balloons.  It was sad, and I felt bad, but it's all we could do.

So this year I wanted to make up for it.  I spent $100 on his gift (which is twice the normal range).  I went out and splurged on a super awesome Oreo ice cream cake that I just KNEW he'd love.  I even planned to make his favorite dinner.

So yesterday showed up nice and cold on our front door step.  I sent him the Good Morning Happy Birthday text (because we don't see each other in the mornings).  And then I hoped that JUST MAYBE his gift would arrive today while I was at work.

Nature gave Michael a gift in the mean time- snow.  The first snow of the season.

2 pm comes and I realize that I forgot to start his crockpot dinner this morning... Well shit.

4:30 rolls around... No gift.  No email saying the guy I bought it from off of ebay has even shipped it yet.  Nada.

So I head home, and promptely cook what is normally a crockpot meal via stove.  It was actually pretty good, I must say.  Dinner was Chicken and Dumplings with broccoli and peaches.  Followed by amazing Oreo ice cream cake.  Michael was in heaven.  :)  And he got to open 2 birthday cards, so he at least had something.

I told him what his gift was, and he's super excited for it to arrive, but I'm honestly starting to worry that the guy scammed me.  He had an excellent rating from all the people who had bought from him, though.  Maybe it was all a hoax?  I'm worried, but I put it on paypal with my credit card, so to be honest, I still can complain and get my money back.  I'm just nervous and I really wanted that ipod.  I'm hoping he just shipped it instead of emailing me.  Only time will tell I guess.

Happy birthday, Michael!