Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Said And Done

On Christmas day, after all of Santa's gifts were opened, we loaded the boys into the van and made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Pine Bluff (Arkansas) to visit with WD's family. I think it is safe to say that finally, after 11 years of marriage, WD and I have nothing more to talk about.

We have exhausted topics relating to religion, politics, and extraterrestrial life. And I have patiently listened to WD wax poetic on his love for taco trucks. But I think we are done. Aside from his accusation that I ate all the cashews from his Christmas can of nuts, all we could muster was a 30 minute discussion on the common cold. His argument was that the worst part of a cold was the congestion. While I agree that not being able to breathe is frustrating, I think the worst part of a cold is a sore throat. So help us get over this conversation hump. What is the worst part of a cold?

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Jennifer Aniston vs. Me

Wow, that was some holiday, huh? A good time was had by all and I've sent the boys to their grandparent's house for the rest of the year so I can clean up. AND so I can enjoy Reese's Peanut Butter Trees all by myself. I picked them up after Christmas while searching for my favorite peppermint hot chocolate. The hot chocolate had already sold out so I had to settle for Reese's. I know. Poor me.

While I was standing in the check out line, the cover of a magazine caught my eye.
It was the current issue of People magazine with Jennifer Aniston and Marley the dog hoisted on her shoulders. I immediately thought of a similar picture of 'Lexie & Me' taken about 8 years ago.

So...who wears it better?

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas II

Luke 2:1-14

Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem, King David's ancient home--journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant by this time. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Saviour--a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger--has been born tonight in Bethlehem!"

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!"

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm Not Here! Or Am I?

I'm not here today--I'm over at LeAnn's blog! Go, read, enjoy. I talk about lattes, con pannas, mochas, Ginsberg, Dickinson, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. You won't be disappointed!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paula Deen's Cookie Dough Truffles

When I saw this recipe on Paula Deen's show earlier last month, I though it would be a great dessert for Thanksgiving. So I made them and then...I promptly hid them. There was no way it could compete with my mother's pumpkin roll. This recipe needed some tweaking. Bad. I didn't want to just scrap the whole thing. I mean, cookie dough that won't send you to the hospital with high fever and severe abdominal cramps? This was a recipe worth salvaging!

First, I went out and got a cookie scoop. Paula suggests using your hands, coated in flour, to roll the dough into balls. That turned out to be a big, sticky, floury mess. Get a cookie scoop. Trust me. Second, use salted butter. And third, use a container of dipping chocolate to coat the truffles. I originally used almond bark but I thought it was way to thick and masked the flavor of the dough. Actually, I made half of them with just a little drizzle of white chocolate on top and they were my favorite. Look out, pumpkin roll!

Cookie Dough Truffles (Paula Deen's unaltered recipe can be found here.)

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
2 containers of Baker's dipping chocolate (1 milk chocolate and 1 white chocolate)

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate chips and mix well. Using a cookie scoop, place balls of cookie dough onto waxed paper. Place in freezer.

After 2 hours, shape into more round balls with your hands. Using 2 forks, dip into melted chocolate and place onto wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour to set.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't Look. Really.

I told you not to look! Kat from Sassy Irish Lassie tagged me for a game of Gottcha! where the victim takes a picture of him/herself right this second and post it with no editing. And so I did. And I'm sorry. On a positive note, look how clean my desk is! On a more baffling note, why do I need 8 phone books?

I also want to take this opportunity to show off a couple of awards I have gotten recently.
Maggie from Life with Boys gave me this award. "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers." Thanks Maggie!

Piera from Jolly Mom thinks my blog is fabulous and the feeling is mutual! Thank you Piera!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Save The Trees!...Or Not

Did you know that if you google 'real christmas tree vs. fake christmas tree' you get a list of 298,000 websites? Well, make that 298,001 after I hit publish on this post. I had no idea it was such an issue. Pro-real tree people make the argument that by buying a real tree, you are giving your money to local tree farmers instead of manufacturers in China. Pro-artificial tree people argue that fake trees can last for 15 years while real ones last only for a short amount of time before it's thrown into a landfill.

When I bought my artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree 8 years ago, I promise I wasn't taking a stance. I was just being lazy, that's all. Drudging from farm to farm trying to find the perfect tree, stringing lights, watering it, vacuuming up pine needles, it's just too much for me. But what about you? Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Christmas Tree Lots by Chris Green

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Egg Nog Pound Cake

Okay, hold on to your Santa hats, I have a confession.

I don't like egg nog. I don't know why because cream AND sugar? Together? What's not to like about that? Maybe it's the texture. It's like a milkshake that's been left out for awhile. Or maybe the idea of drinking raw eggs gives me the willies. I just don't like it.

My husband, WD, on the other hand, LOVES it. So I knew just what kind of cake to fix for his birthday earlier this week. An Egg Nog Pound Cake. The whole family enjoyed this cake. Even my 6 year old, the pickiest eater in the world. WD thought that the cake itself didn't have a very strong egg nog flavor so I made an egg nog glaze to pour over it. And the birthday boy was happy. Despite the 'Over the Hill' candle I put on top of the cake.

Egg Nog Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup egg nog
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup powdered sugar (for glaze)
1/4-1/2 cup egg nog (for glaze)

Combine first 4 ingredients; mix on low speed in mixer until moistened. Add eggs and nutmeg. Beat for 4 minutes on high speed. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan or tube pan. Bake at 350 F. for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick insterted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with an egg nog glaze.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Day Late

Yesterday, I was so caught up in talking about my poor, pitiful, suffering finger I forgot to mention that it was WD's birthday. So today I'd like to honor his 32nd birthday by sharing a story about, well, me. And my poor, pitiful, suffering mental health.

One day last week, I had just started to prepare dinner when WD came home from work. And on his way into to bedroom he walked by the kitchen and asked, "What's for dinner?" Now, on the surface, that question sounds innocent enough but in plain view the carrots, rice and wheat rolls were all sitting out on the counter along with a package of chicken breasts by the sink.

CLEARLY, he's trying to drive me insane.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Workplace Injury

You know how when it's 7:40 a.m. and you're struggling to get the kids in the van and it's cold and you were supposed to have left the house 10 minutes ago and you're trying to hurry to make it to school by 8 but it's freezing outside and you quickly get your 4 year old buckled into his carseat so you think, finally, you can get in where it's warm and get on the road but not so fast, your 6 year old is wearing a bulky coat and needs help with his seat belt so instead of standing outside the van to buckle him in you climb in and hastily pull the door shut behind you, slamming it right on your hand?

I HATE it when that happens.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Talking Goats? If Only.

There's a youth group here in the county where I live called Goats Gone Wild. It's a part of the 4-H club. The kids spray painted their goats red, white and blue for the Veteran's Day Parade last month. I didn't go to the parade but I did see pictures from the event. I believe there was stenciling involved.

I just wanted to let you know.

Here's Lost in the Forest by Amy Gerstler. It's another Grimm fairy tale inspired poem for Poetry Friday.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

We Are Definitely Related

A couple of days ago I was driving the boys home from school and somehow we got on the subject of air bags. I'm almost certain the line of questioning went like this:

"Is a B plus better than a B minus?"
"What percent is a D?"
"Did you get lots of A's when you were in the first grade?"
"What's an air bag?"

Kids really aren't that good at segues.

So I did my best explaining what an air bag is, its purpose, how it works, that sort of thing. And Little pup says, "Mommy? What if the air bag was a pie and it was filled with jelly?"

I must say, aside from the safety issues, I like the way this kid thinks.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Virginia Is For Lovers

Diana from Diana's Daily Ramblings tagged me for a photo meme recently. It's fun and easy. Right up my alley. The rules are simple. Pick the 4th photo in the 4th folder and post it.

This picture is from a folder labeled Atlanta '06. WD went to a NASCAR race in Atlanta and stopped off at the Talladega Superspeedway. This car was at the museum there and was driven by Hermie Sadler in the early '90's.

I didn't make the trip that year. I stayed home tending to the young'uns, darning socks and churning butter. Wait...2006? Oh, okay, that was the year we were living with my parents while our dream home was under construction. Yeah, forget about that whole darning socks and churning butter thing. More likely, I was on the couch looking through home design magazines and gaining 10 pounds while my parents chased after their grandchildren.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


Isn't that such a pretty Bookworm Award? It came from LeAnn and Chris but it comes with some rules: Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the closest book to you at the moment and turn to page 56. Write the 5th sentence, as well as 2-5 sentences following that.

Oh, LeAnn and Chris, you have no idea what you have asked me to do. Can't I mosey on over to my bookshelf and grab The Complete Works of Shakespeare instead? Or maybe Lives of the Saints? How about one of Lillian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who blah, blah, blah books? No? Okay. Grab a cup of coffee. You'll need caffeine for this.

"To prevent flareout of the wire during cutting, place a piece of masking tape around the hose cutoff point; then cut the hose squarely. Figure 1-39 shows the socket, sleeve, and nipple assembly that make up the end fitting for Teflon hose assemblies. To assemble these, place the two sockets in a vise skirt-to-skirt as shown on figure 1-40. Then, work the hose through the sockets with a pushing, twisting motion. Using the 'neck down' end (fig. 1-41) will make installation easier."

Nope. That's not Danielle Steele. That's from WD's Aircraft Hydraulic Systems Journeyman course textbook that he left sitting on the desk.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Stop And Go

Do you know how many traffic lights I encounter on a daily basis? Zero. I can take Big pup to school, stop in at the post office, fill up at the gas station, take the huskies to the vet and grab a gallon of milk at the Dollar General store and never have to deal with traffic lights. On the days when I need more than just milk I head to Walmart--passing through only 2 lights.

Yesterday, I traveled to Little Rock to see my sister and OH MY WORD do you know how many traffic lights there are in Little Rock? One million. I'm not even kidding.

This weeks Poetry Friday selection is How to Enter a Big City by Thomas James Merton

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Toscana Soup

Have you been to Olive Garden lately? I haven't. The nearest one is over an hour away. And although gas prices have dropped considerably ($1.55!) that's still way too far to drive to eat. Even if it's for WD's favorite soup--Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. So a couple of weeks ago when WD was craving this hearty sausage and potato soup, I bravely opened up my messy cookbook and found my own recipe.

3 Italian sausage links
3 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBS salt
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Remove casings from sausage and brown in skillet. Add onion, potatoes, broth, water, garlic and salt to a large pot. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add sausage, bacon, kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Never Saw It Coming

See that boy in the middle? That's my dad back in the early 1950's. If you would've told him that he would grow up to be a teacher, it probably wouldn't have surprised him. If you told him back then that he would spend over 30 years teaching high school, I'm sure he would have been impressed. If you told him that upon retirement, he would drive the bus for that same school, he would've nodded his head. No shock there.

But if you would've told his 1952 self that not only would he drive 75 kids on a field trip to watch a movie about a vampire, but also have to sit through that movie with lovesick teenagers oooohing and ahhhhing and sighing every couple of minutes, he would've told you that you're crazy. Nope. No way. Never gonna happen.

Except it did. Last week.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

More Than Like

Several weeks ago when Janet gave me the 'I'm Lovin' Your Blog' award, I was supposed to have posted 5 things that I love. But I didn't. Because I'm a rebellious rule breaker, remember? Oh, and I'm lazy. That may have had something to do with it too. So without further ado, here is a list of 5 things that I love.

I don't drink much soda but when I do it's a Dr. Pepper. But make it caffeine free please otherwise I will be up until 2 a.m.

When I'm not reading novels set in Afghanistan or China or Forks, WA (yes, I've hopped on the Twilight bandwagon), I love reading a good bodice ripper.

I can't start my day without a hot cup of Tazo's Zen tea. It's green tea with a hint of lemon and mint and actually, I end up drinking about 4 cups throughout the day.

I love watching whole seasons of tv shows on dvd. I recently watched 3 years worth of Arrested Development in just one month. Right now, WD and I are making our way through The Shield.

(photo from imdb)
I loved watching Josh Bernstein on the History channel's Digging For The Truth. I love watching Josh Bernstein on the Discovery channel's Into The Unknown. I would even love watching Josh Bernstein read the minutes from the subcommittee hearing on how offshore entities dodge taxes on U.S. stock dividends.

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