Saturday, December 31, 2011

Around the world

Bill and I have spent most of today watching a marathon of "House Hunters: International" on HGTV. It appears that they are working their way around the globe showcasing a country where they are ringing in the new year, sort of. They may be a few hours off, but they've gone in order; through Asia (Vietnam is when we started watching) and Africa. They're currently in Europe. It's been fun, we're big fans of HHI.

The rest of the day has been spent playing Scrabble. We started on Facebook, then switched to the iPad to the Pass and Play version. It's easier and quicker to play that way.

I'm going to let you know that we actually own two Scrabble games. A deluxe version on the turntable and I believe the original Uebbing Scrabble board.

But why play on those when we can use this fancy iPad?

Here's to a new year full of games and fun!

Friday, December 30, 2011

what should have been

I am disappointed.

I was going to blog about my delicious, delectable rum cake from Shannon.

It didn't turn out.

I figured out, that even though I greased my pan, it didn't bake long enough. My oven/bakeware has a tendency to under-bake things. I should have known better. I should have tested it with a toothpick. But I didn't. So instead I have a pile of what should be rum cake.

(here's the cake, in the pan, looking pretty good! Until it was turned over...)

It tastes great, but it does not look good. I guess I can salvage it, pre-cut it and bring it to the New Year's party already plated. That will work. But I'm disappointed because I was looking forward to it. To a perfect rum cake.

That's life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

on blogging

In the BH&G January issue, they mention resolutions. One that they suggest is: blogging for a year...

Copy Cats.

Where's my credit?

You know you were reading my blog (for a whole year) before they ever thought of it...

I thank you.

You are amazing.

And I am a trend-setter!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

snowflake update!

If you'll recall (or click here if you don't), I'm waiting for snow... flakes. From our friends and their children.

We received our first batch yesterday! I was thrilled to see them. It was "some snow, from some flakes". Thanks Shannon, Greg, Jack and Cade (Quin had fun observing)!! Here are the "fruits" of their labor:I love how unique they are (although, honestly, I am surprised that Greg didn't figure out how to make the Steelers logo in his snowflake...). They are beautiful and I can't wait for more!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

grocery list

I thought I'd share what I made for Christmas:

For breakfast, we had a ham and cheese "casserole" aka one dish breakfast. For lunch, we noshed. For dinner; bacon-wrapped pork roast with a mustard glaze, roasted veggies and the bread.

Here are a few things I'll be making for New Year's Eve:

Rum Cake (thanks Shannon!!!)
Chex mix (the family/original recipe)

My grocery list was short today. The store was almost completely empty. It always is, after the holidays (I'm not being p.c., I'm talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas). It was surreal.

Despite my trip to the store, tonight's dinner is: leftovers!


Monday, December 26, 2011

are my eyes open?

People often come back to work from vacation and the first thing they say is, "I need a vacation after my vacation." Which equates to just being tired from all the fun they just had. It makes sense. You go away from home and the fun thing to do is stay up late, sleep in; do all kinds of crazy things you don't do at home. (You must be wondering how exciting we actually are... we did absolutely nothing yesterday, except watch movies and eat, how's that for fun?)

Bill and I enjoy sleeping in on occasion. Whether it's here at home or while we're on vacation. For the most part, we spend vacations (which are few and far between) on our normal schedule. It just makes more sense. Then when we return home, we aren't completely wiped out. It doesn't take us two months to get back into the swing of things.

Our schedule isn't that hectic on a normal day.

It's not difficult to keep it up while on vacation.

I mention all of this, because I had two nights of poor quality sleep (and because it was Christmas morning, when I woke up yesterday at 6:30am -remember we do not have children- I couldn't fall back asleep for my excitement) and then one decent night (last night). But boy, am I tired. My eyes have had a very difficult time staying open for most of the afternoon. I'm not even sure I'm awake as I type this.

I have to try and stay awake so I can make the grocery list after dinner. We'll see if I remember to blog about that tomorrow...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Peace on earth.

Goodwill to all men and women.

May you find and give both of these today and every day.
Together we can pray for these things and bring hope to this world once again. Amen.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

the day before Christmas

Yes, it is also known as Christmas Eve . Bill pointed that out this morning at 7:05 when we were standing in Wesley Hall waiting to serve breakfast. We were making small talk (only so many cooks in the kitchen, so we were being good Christians and chatting it up) and I said something that included those words. It was too early for my brain to think.

I am a morning person (they do not enjoy my enthusiasm at workcamp if you'll recall), but I hadn't been awake long enough this morning.

It's Christmas Eve.

'Twas the night before Christmas (see? I wonder where I got it from) and all through the house, the cats were snoring loud enough to wake a mouse.

Seriously. As I type this, the snoring that is emitting from our two precious cats is humorous. Have you ever heard a cat snore? If not, you are welcome to come over and witness it first hand.

I really should get up and go assemble the breakfast casserole, er one-dish breakfast.

Merry Christmas Eve and Merry day-before-Christmas, whichever you prefer!

Friday, December 23, 2011



It's just a photo.

Remember the other day when I mentioned the Bakery?

Well I stopped by today to pick up the loaf of Challah we need for the Christmas Breakfast casserole.

It was fresh out of their oven.

It smells heavenly.

My car smells heavenly.

But whenever I order Challah, I have to raise my arms and say, "Holla'!"

It is good enough to deserve it. No. I don't know the history of Challah. I could look it up, but I'm going to go clean and take my walk. Maybe I'll look it up later.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

oops, I did it again

I cut another finger. This time it is my index finger.

I cut it while trying to open the plastic tub of olives.


I had a band-aid on it yesterday. It made typing difficult.

I think I need to be wrapped up in bubble wrap. It will keep me safer.

Thank goodness the olives are worth it.

My new year's resolution is to be more careful... ha!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

picture post

Because my week of blogging has been a bit dull...

Because there's still no snow on the ground...

Because I promised you pictures...

Here's the symphony. You were allowed to take non-flash photography (of course it never turns out) and video! I was enamored enough to take this picture.

Then, here's one of the gifts I finished and can show you. I made it for Dave and Greg. I started giving them ornaments every year... I can't stop the tradition now!
(yes, it is hanging from their light switch for the photo. It was the best place to get the best lighting)And here's the new (old) bathroom door!
Yes. From the inside it is a different shade of white than the rest of the bathroom. That's just going to have to wait.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the door is hung

I'm not going to say, "with care"...

It's not like we literally threw it in place. Holy cow, it's a heavy door. There's no throwing it anywhere. It was all we could muster to carry it up from the basement (of course the occasional "pivot" was thrown in).

Let's just say I'm so very thankful for a handy husband.

And dowel rods.

And for a bathroom door that now closes without the special push it used to need.

I'll take pictures tomorrow when it's light out. Remind me to post them, please?

Monday, December 19, 2011

busy elves

I, er the elves, have made a few Christmas gifts. I took pictures. I plan on posting them after Christmas so that the recipients don't see what they're getting. Not that I'm sure the recipients read my blog, but just in case.

If only there were a smell button on the internet. One of the elves just ordered a loaf of bread from the Wealthy Street Bakery. I can only imagine how good their website would smell.

The elves are busy and there's more to do. No time for fun. But if you have time for fun, go to Google, type in "let it snow" and wait. If you wait a long time, it's even cooler...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

movie night

We've had our popcorn.

The Lions and the Colts won.

We've had our milk and cookies (or leftover birthday cake).

Now it's time for a movie.

Tonight we've chosen to watch, "A Christmas Carol" the 1984 version with George C. Scott.

It's one of our favorite versions (of course the Muppet Christmas Carol is also one of my favorite versions). We have watched many different version.

Which one is your favorite?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

a night at the symphony

We're going to hear the DSO tonight. It's the Christmas Pops series, Home for the Holidays.

Last year the DSO was on strike, so while we had planned to go, had tickets and dinner reservations, we did not get to enjoy the symphony.

We're having dinner at 24 Grille which is the inside Weston Book Cadillac.

It's going to be a fun night!

Friday, December 16, 2011

no snow

It's finally cold here, but America's high-five has yet to see any significant snowfall this season.

As I looked at my tree this morning while doing yoga, I pondered if it was my "snow" tree that did this.

Absurd. As if my tree decorating controlled the weather. I don't think so.

Bill scoffed at my thought (it was shared out loud) and I immediately did as well. But isn't it fun to think that the "butterfly effect" may have started by something you did or didn't do?

I'm sure the snow is coming. I am hoping for a white Christmas... It is the season for hope after all. And time to count your blessings instead of sheep.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the cookies

Here are all the different kinds of cookies I baked. It's not all the cookies. There were a couple dozen of each. They're all dispersed now. We have a few left.

There's not a huge variety, you may even notice a theme. Powdered sugar... twice. Candy canes crushed on two different kinds of cookies... Three kinds of cookies with chocolate... and what you don't see here are the frosted sugar cookies. Remember Mary? She got most of those. The neighbors got the rest.

What can I say? I'm generous.

And modest and humble.


I think I've decided to include a gingerbread cookie next year. I found a recipe and it sounds yummy (I happen to like gingersnaps, gingerbread, etc) and I discovered that where I lack in the decorating category, I make up for in the piping department! So some ginger cookies, piped with icing are in my future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I thought of this last year, and meant to to do this earlier. There's still time, so help me out!

This is a picture of the sliding glass door to our backyard.
Sad and lonely, right?

For those of you with children who are old enough to use scissors or color, I would LOVE snowflakes! I think it would be so cool if you could have them draw a snowman or cut out a snowflake. Then mail it to us and I'll hang them on the sliding glass door.

Can you help me out? Will you do it?

And for those of you who don't have kids, or your kids are older... if you want to make a snowflake too, I'll take 'em!

Just in case you didn't know, snowflakes are my favorite. In fact the other day when I was baking cookies I said to Bill, "I need a snowflake cookie cutter!". Yesterday, Pat (a fellow Quotarian) handed me a birthday present. Tied to the outside was a cookie cutter snowflake!!! I was so excited!!

I think it would just be super special to have something from each of your children and my friends. There is no deadline. But I figured it would help you keep the kids busy next week when they're home from school on break!

my birthday!

I was super busy yesterday, so I'm going to share the photos from my birthday with you. Then I'll blog again, because I have something to blog about for today!

I started by going to see the Cool Cats (no picture). They greeted my by singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Cindy, their teacher, made me a cake! It's such a wonderful way to start out the day!

Then, after stopping at home for a short time, I went to the DHHS lunch. I blogged about that on Quota's website. I picked Mary, who asks for homemade sugar cookies every year. I made her a batch of those and got her a gift card to McDonald's because she likes to stop and buy coffee.
Then, after delivering the plates of cookies to a few of our neighbors, Bill and I tried going to Jersey Junction for ice cream. Even though their sign says they close January 1st, they were already closed for the season.

That's okay. I have peppermint ice cream in our freezer!

Bill and I went to Meijer Gardens to see the Christmas Trees from Around the World and the Holiday train. They've added new buildings to the train scene this year. I did not realize that each building is made of natural materials! The shingles are eucalyptus leaves, they use hydrangea petals, and other plant particles. Here's how good they look...

The actual Greenhouse from outside.
The train model Greenhouse inside.
It's beautiful, magical and impressive, because hundreds of volunteer hours are spent making these models!

After dinner at Shiraz, we came home. I opened cards and presents!
Thank you for all the birthday wishes! It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed the many phone calls, cards, texts and wishes on facebook!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

several letters off

Typing with a band-aid on a finger isn't easy. It's really not easy when it's your index/pointer finger.

I sliced open my finger yesterday when I tried to remove a cobweb from the door frame in the kitchen. That's what I get for trying to clean! What I couldn't see (maybe because of the cobweb) was the huge splinter sticking out from the trim. It caused a pretty decent cut.

Don't worry. I'll be fine. No need to call the ambulance or get stitches. Eventually it stopped bleeding. Although it continues to hurt, I don't think I need an amputation.

I have discovered that having a band-aid on the top of this finger makes typing very difficult. I actually use the little raised bumps on the keys to find "F" and "H". I can't feel it through the band-aid. I've been several letters off all morning.

Fortunately for you, there's the backspace key. I may wear it out by the end of the day. Or this post.

Take my advice and next time you see a cobweb; don't try to wipe it away (at least in our house)!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

yup, I missed a day

Nope, I didn't blog yesterday. I was pretty busy. Here's how the day went:

I scraped the rest of the paint off the top of the bathroom door frame, while Bill worked on the door.

I started baking cookies, while Bill sanded the door frame.

I continued baking cookies, while Bill went back and worked on the door again (painting, sanding, repainting. Don't ask).

I was still baking cookies and Bill took his shower.

I finished baking, did the last of the dishes and showered.

We left for his company holiday party.

It was in St. Joe, we got home at midnight.

I have more cookies to bake today.

I could post-date my post, but I won't.

Anybody want some cookies?

Friday, December 9, 2011

the best in people

This story has been in our local news and it just keeps growing. It gives me goosebumps when I hear it. This story is why this time of year is so great. It brings out the best in people.

Then there's the story on our Quota blog, written by our President. What a gift! It always makes me think outside the box and try to find a new way to give a gift to someone.

What's the best gift (non-material) you've ever given? What's the best gift (non-material) you've ever received?

Even though yesterday's post suggested it's all about the material things, it most definitely is not. One of my favorite things is our Christmas Eve service. The darkness of the sanctuary, the stillness throughout, that is what makes it Christmas for me.

My wish for you this Christmas is that you are looking beyond the presents and will find hope and peace.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

making a list...

And I've checked it twice.

Actually, I have three lists.

I think of something and write it down, but not on the same piece of paper. That would be too easy.

Fortunately the lists are similar. There are some extra things here and there. But for the most part, I've got almost everything on the lists and then some.

Of course we went overboard, again. We do every year.

Bill was so sweet this year.

He called me into his "office" and had me sit down. "Let's keep it to $XX this year."

"Sure", I replied knowing that what we'd already shopped for we had blown that number out of the water. And then we went shopping again. At least I keep the family gifts in check. There was one year that they came to Jersey to visit us and I went overboard, and then I shopped some more. Literally half of the living room floor was covered in presents. There wasn't much room for anyone to sit.

We've done better scaling it back since then. Until this year. Well, it won't be that bad (if you really think that's bad). I did shop some good sales. And I've had coupons.

Now to turn the spare bedroom into "Wrapping Central".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day

Seventy years.

Let us honor and remember those who fought bravely at Pearl Harbor. Lest we not forget.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

planning my life

I own a planner.

My email account has a calendar that I use. It can even send me text/email reminders which I use often.

I still forget things.

I almost forgot that I was supposed to volunteer Monday morning for JFON. The first email I saw was my reminder. That was helpful.

Then this afternoon, Bill kept asking me if I was going anywhere. I kept telling him no. I'll be gone tomorrow night.

Then I got the reminder for the church conference. Oh right. I am going to that tonight.

Maybe my new year's resolution should be to not forget things. The sad part is that both of these events were not only written down in my planner which sits less than two feet from my face, open on my desk, but they were also in my email calendar. Thank goodness for those reminders. Without them, I might just forget to do everything.

Now, where are those post-its?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Casseroles vs. One-dish dinners

I have an aversion to casseroles. I don't like them. I never have. If you try to bring me a casserole, I will very kindly accept it and then make Bill eat it. All of it. If it doesn't have tuna in it, I may have a small bite. But that's it.

On the other hand, a one-dish dinner? I'll eat those by the mouthfuls. One-dish dinners are my bag, baby. I dig [into] them.

Casseroles? *blech!*

One-dish dinners? Yum!

Maybe if you just called the casserole a one-dish dinner you could get it past me. Maybe. Only if it doesn't have tuna in it.

One of my favorite one-dish dinners is this one. I add a smoked sausage, cut into pieces, just for fun. I've also added shrimp, but we like it best with the sausage.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Let the waiting begin

It's all done.

The decorating. I can't believe it. I even carried the last of the two thousand gallon totes up to the bedroom (yes, they still have to go to the attic, but they're half way there).

The tree is decorated in snowmen, snowflakes and a few other special ornaments. We have three trees in the dining room (all small). You could say, it's the tree-fecta.

One is full of the planes Bill has collected, one is just white with a few small colored glass balls (I think they're greens and blue), and the third tree has the miniature ornament collection.

The mantel is my favorite decorated surface. It has a lit garland and the church ornaments. I am going to have to try to take pictures. Warning, they never turn out because I don't want to use the flash. But I'll go charge the camera battery and perhaps on a sunny day I'll be able to snap a few pictures. Of course then I have to remember to post them here.

And the sun has to return before Christmas...

So the waiting has begun. The Advent season is in full swing. We are prepared (although if Christ shows up before next weekend, he's not getting any cookies. The cookie baking isn't happening until then). We will spend the rest of Advent waiting, anticipating. Being full of hope and wonder.

For now, I'm just waiting for Bill's big Sunday breakfast.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh Christmas tree...

In response to Bill's blog from yesterday, I would just like to point out that we have come upon an agreement for the outdoor lights/decorating that greatly reduces the amount of time needed to spend on the lighting/decorating (wow, that was a long sentence).

We purchase two wreaths from my high school band, which sells the wreaths as a fundraiser. They are made in Danville, Indiana so they started out local (please ignore the carbon footprint in which we made bigger by driving to get them). We hang one from the attic window and one in the porch gable, point two spot lights at them, and voila! The outside is done and it looks beautiful.

Here's a photo from last year.

Simple, right?

Beautiful, no?

So there, Mr. Scrooge. For all the decorating we do inside (which I continue to scale back), at least the outside is easy. And I hope your heart will grow each year just like the Grinch.

Friday, December 2, 2011

cards, cinnamon pumpkin rolls and snoring cats...

As I work on our Christmas cards, I'm not only listening to the radio, but also the dulcet tones of our snoring kitty.

Juliette is just so sweet. I love that she snores (even if it has woken us up in the middle of the night) and that she likes to be near me.

Last night was our Quota holiday party. We are asked to bring either an appetizer or dessert based on the first letter of our last name. Being a "U" that typically means dessert. I made these.

Cinnamon Pumpkin swirls. They were a big hit and they are delicious. It's the first time I'd ever made a rolled cake. Other than the filling being a little too runny, once it set in the fridge, it was perfect!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here we go again

It's time for the next chapter.

You spoke up, and I listened!

I could run for President...

Okay, I couldn't, but because six out of six votes were to keep blogging, I'll not let you down!

My dad pointed out it would be okay if I didn't have a post for everyday. I explained that if I get lazy and say, "oh I don't have anything to write about today." Then it might happen again the next day and the next... and I'll have fallen back out of the swing of things.

So, here's to another year. For all the good posts and bad, please keep reading!