Thursday, December 31, 2009

Crops be damned

I have a moment to catch up. Christmas was wonderfully quiet and relaxing. MIL did not call to check on our plans until the 22. Hubby explained that he was working Christmas Eve and Christmas night and that Christmas day he would be sleeping. She came over with FIL to drop off presents to everyone Christmas Eve morning. Hubby said anytime after 8 was fine. Gee, thanks! The night before we took the kids to see Bright Nights in Springfield, MA. The light display was awesome. Now, I am an early riser but before company came I wanted to run the vacuum to pick up the tumble weeds left by the dog and clean the bathroom. I also thought it might be nice if I was showered and dressed prior to their arrival. With a nap in the afternoon I was all set for Christmas Eve.

The evening we spent at my girlfriends open house. She has ham for dinner and I bring my scalloped sweet potatoes. Plus we had pasta, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers and homemade cheesecake. We were home early so hubby could get ready for work. The kids went to bed with no problem and Santa was able to unload the presents under the tree.

Youngest crawled in at 4:45AM. She was wide awake and talking nonstop about how she thought Santa's evil twin brother (didn't know he had one) stole Christmas but it must have been a bad dream because she thought she saw presents under the tree. After the third time she asked what time it was and should she go back to sleep I suggested we get up and make the biscuits for breakfast. She sipped hot cocoa while I cooked. The only dilemma was I told her she could look but not touch and she had to wait until everyone was awake and Daddy was home (at 7:30). Daddy finally arrived and presents were open. Kids were happy. My parents came for breakfast - baked french toast, cheddar biscuits and sausage gravy. Then we were all off to my brothers. A few hours there and two swims in the indoor pool and we headed home. Daddy had set up the new wii before going to bed and game day began. We even had son playing with the family.

I received my wii fit and am now addicted. I even let my crops rot in Farmville to play the wii. Good thing I enjoy it because after all the measurements and calculations the wii fit gave youngest the body of a blue snap line and I look like a FAT umpa lumpa. OK, I know I have not been as regular as I should be on the treadmill and I am not as slim as I once was but really my character is almost round.

Last night was son's fifteenth birthday. He wanted stuffed bread for dinner. Instead of making it we took everyone out to dinner instead. We came home to double chocolate mocha trifle for his birthday "cake" of choice.

Tonight hubby goes back to work - on a full moon, New Year's Eve in a snow storm. Fun first night back for a cop. The kids voted for our traditional New Year's Eve appetizer party. They each picked a couple appetizers and I will soon be off cooking up a storm. We have deviled eggs, bacon wrapped scallops, steamed mussels, shrimp cocktail, pigs in a blanket, taco dip, buffalo wing dip and chips, meatballs, and mozzarella sticks. Oh, and their is a little trifle left over.

Blessed New Year's to you and your families.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shoes and Christmas

Last week when I brought oldest to get new jeans youngest said her shoes were a little tight. We looked for new shoes and she kept looking at sneakers. Do your sneakers fit? Yes, well then we can wait to buy new ones. So, in the midst of Saturday morning chores I had youngest pull out all of her shoes and try them on - all tight. Off to the "mall" (more like a shopping center) we went - coupons in hand. Almost forgetting that this is the week end before Christmas and a big snow was predicted that night. The girls and I laughed at the traffic that jammed the roads. We talked while waiting our turn. Well, youngest who was wearing a 6 1/2 turns out to be a size 8 now. Hello, a little tight? She now has new sneakers and a cool pair of black boots that can double as snow boots.

It was oldest's turn to cook last night. Steaks on the grill and homemade onion rings. Yum! It was a recipe from Barefoot Contessa. I'm thinking tonight is a chicken pot pie kind of night.

I'm thinking MIL is as miffed at me as I am at her. Other than a generic Christmas card we have not heard from her. Hubby says he is going to wait and see if she calls. He is predicting a phone call around the 23rd. I'm thinking he can field the phone call and I can go on my merry way.

Christmas Eve we will go to my girlfriends open house - casual enough to go in pj's if you want. She always makes a ham and I bring my scalloped sweet potatoes. Christmas morning we will open presents when hubby gets home from work then my parents will come over for breakfast. Baked french toast that has spent the night soaking in cream, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon and cheddar biscuits with sausage gravy will be the stars of the show. This will get my parents to my brothers house after 10. I could care less if my parents show up at 5. I'll take my shower when they are here but, my SIL would like some quiet family time opening presents and be showered and dressed before my parents arrive. She said if we could hold off until 10 she would be happy. After breakfast I'll tuck hubby into bed and we'll make our way to my brothers for a few. Of course, I am a morning person like my Dad and my best memories were of all my grandparents spending the night and being there when I woke up. They looked pretty funny - my brother and I were up at the crack of dawn and they had just gone to bed around 3 after playing cards most of the night. We didn't leave milk and cookies but a highball and cookies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mashed Potatoes

Yesterday was one of those long, long days at work. I didn't sleep well the night before and I had a lot to do and concentrate on. By the end of the day I was wondering out loud how much tequila I might have at home. On the way home hubby called and said to stop by my girlfriends house to pick up supper. Wohoo! She had col slaw, mashed potatoes and turkey & gravy. She was given the leftovers from where she works and had more than enough for her family. It was great and was about all the cooking I could handle. I settled for a glass of wine and going to bed early to recover. My son called the mashed potatoes institutional. What? They were real mashed potatoes. But, as hubby pointed out I never make plain mashed potatoes. That was the recipe I was asked for this Thanksgiving. A little tough as I never make them exactly the same way twice. Here is what I made for Thanksgiving.

10 lbs. red potatoes, cubed
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 oz. (or so) shredded smoked gouda
salt and pepper
1 can evaporated milk

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain. Put in bowl on top of butter and cheese. Let sit covered a few minutes. Add salt and pepper. Mash. Add milk until the consistency that you like.

I never peel my potatoes - who wants to and the skins are good for you.

I use whatever cheese I have on hand.

You can make mashed potatoes a head of time and put in a double boiler and cover or what worked great this year - add a little extra milk and put in the crock pot on low.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why is everybody stressed

Every December I chuckle to myself as everyone around me stresses out. Christmas comes the same time every year. You have an entire year to plan. There is such a thing as a budget and saying no. You do not have to do...... if it stesses you out.

The best present I bought this year - the one that gave me the most joy is for someone I may never meet. When I got my hair cut the salon donates money from each hair cut to the soup kitchen. They also had a giving tree. Tags were stuck to the tree with a name, age, and an item they would like. Some brought tears to your eyes as all the children wanted was a pair of shoes. I picked a tag for a young girl and bought what was on the tag and a few more things. I hope she enjoys it. Merry Christmas Thomasina!

I got a lot done today. I dropped off my present at the salon, I stopped at the health food store for odds and ends and oil for my lotion. I made toner, exfoliating scrub and lotion ( to replace the moldy batch). I paid the bills and went to the bank for the fire department. I stopped by my aunts new condo. It is really nice. She was ironing curtains while my dad hung the curtain rods. My uncle sat and smiled. We took a coffee break hence the reason I am up and awake at midnight. I forgot she uses real coffee - it was so good though. Grocery list is made and New Year's Eve planned.

Each year we skip dinner on New Year's Eve and I have an appetizer party in the living room for the kids. They wanted to "picnic" in the living room again this year. They each picked out two appetizers. They watch movies and eat and I cook. We all have fun. The cooking helps me stay awake until midnight. And at twelve we toast using my best champagne flutes and sparkling cider.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mold

I delivered four gift bags full of my products to a girl at work. She purchased them for her kids. We opened them up to look and it was a good thing - the moisturizer had mold growing on it. I've never had that happen before - though I have heard it could happen. I pulled the jars from all four bags and will be making a new batch this week end. Better today than on Christmas morning. Yuk! The weird thing is I'm using a jar from the same batch and it's fine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Good News

Hubby and I were actually home and awake at the same time. We were able to talk about Christmas. He said no matter if he takes the day off or not he wants to stick close to home and does not want to go to his parents. Yeah!

Big breakfast at home. Play with our gifts and our kids. Stop by and see my brother and his family. Nice dinner at home. Ahh!

My Christmas party for work was nice. Almost everyone in the office came. They had Young MC and two other hip hop rappers from the 80's as entertainment. Not my thing but I remember the first two groups. The third - ugh! But even after they switched to the DJ they continued with the rap. The young group from the warehouse enjoyed that. The rest of the people left. My hubby (and I) were disappointed that at no time was there a slow song we could dance to.

Hubby's Justin came for dinner last night. I taught him how to make meatballs. We had spaghetti with my homemade sauce, a hug toss salad, garlic bread and molten lava cakes for dessert.

My Justin called and we set a date for January.

I was so tired this morning that I went back to bed after making lunches. When it was time to get up and wake up youngest hubby said he would put her on the bus and I could go back to sleep. I slept until 9:30 which is totally unheard of. It felt good. Hubby had even put our laundry in the washer while I slept.

He really is the best.

Back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

holidays and clutter

I realized just how frustrated, annoyed I still was with my MIL when I talked to my girlfriend. I was like a dog with a bone and chewed that until very little was left. I realized that this Thanksgiving was the straw that broke the camels back. Each year she manipulates and causes stress and this year just really brought it to a head for me. And to top it off my dear hubby is petrified of rocking the boat with mommy dearest and says nothing. NOTHING! A little, hey mom do you know how much you .... hurt Kim's feelings, frustrate (the hell out of) her, make her feel incompetent. Something! I mean he doesn't have to tell her the down dirty swearing like a sailor rant she causes.

Youngest has been to the dentist. Christmas gifts are completely bought and wrapped. Well, my presents are still arriving. Hubby and I have turned into my parents. I have no idea what the electrical/paintball/tool stuff is that he wants. And he would spend full price on the books I want (the 1967 red corvette convertible and 6 burner viking range will have to wait until we hit powerball). So, when hubby said it would be easier for him to buy his own stuff I suggested we do just that. Now mind you I would be buying these books any way (and he his stuff) we just wrap it and hold it for a few weeks. We combine the Yule/Christmas celebration and have really, REALLY stuck to a budget this year. It has been way overboard in years past. Though I must admit mild compared to those around us.

Years ago my brother gave me Thanksgiving until death do us part, he took Christmas and Mom has Easter. He knows I love to cook, he has the small children and many Easters my parents are still in Florida. Since hubby and I were married (5 years ago) we have celebrated Christmas with my brother a week end before or a weekend after Christmas. With the kids visitations with bio and hubby working most Christmases it has worked out well. Many times I have gone to MIL alone (same for Thanksgiving too).

Not this year. Bio is nowhere to be seen. Yeah! My nephew and niece are 5 and 2. I am going to my brother's on Christmas. The kids are at the perfect Santa, magical age. Hubby is working Christmas Eve and Christmas night. He will arrive home and open presents with the kids and go to bed. MIL said we are more than welcome to come to their house. No, nope, nada, I don't freakin' think so, I thought. I said we'll see.

I went to my pagan group and talked about traditions. I love this group. Christmas held such warm fuzzy memories of family and friends for me growing up. With visitations, work and no consistency I have lost that feeling. My girlfriends Christmas Eve open house has become the highlight. Friends, food, casual, no pressure or expectations. I am taking that back this year. I have said no to the Christmas party that has lost its joy. I have excepted an invite to a Yule gathering on winter solstice. I am going to spend time with my kids and my family.

We also started talking about cleaning our houses. Removing the clutter and becoming clear. Ric, bless Ric, says he douches a room. He removes everything - washes from top to bottom and then puts back only the things that should be/need to be there. The rest finds a new home in the house, is tossed, recycled or given a way. Love it! I do that far less dramatically. I start with one wall, closet, shelf, etc at a time and do the same thing. Hubby and I just took a whole pile of items that have outlived their usefulness her to the tag sale room at the dump (transfer station). Maybe someone else can use it. It feels so good to eliminate stuff.

Friday morning my hubby finished work for the week. After the dump run he took me for breakfast. He then puttered around the house and I went for a massage. I also had my nails done for tonight's Holiday party for work. I'm usually not thrilled with manicure results but this was the best manicure ever. Yeah! And then hubby took all of us out to dinner.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vacation accomplishments

So, Monday I did a little shopping for myself. I baked a batch of cookies for the live burn drill at the firehouse. Tuesday I did a million (or three or more) batches of laundry, wrapped all of the holiday presents, decided I wasn't a scrooge after all and put up the Christmas tree. I was able to get a hair appointment and am so happy. The last hair cut was NOT working. My hair dresser is no longer cutting hair and I am trying to find a new one. This one may be it. She only charges $10.00 plus $1.00 for the food shelter. We had turkey soup for dinner and I made a batch of beer bread to go with it. Then I was off to the full moon dakini practice. What a wonderful end to the day. And the moon - she was beautiful!

This morning I finally (finally, finally) got hubby to help hang the picture frames. After he crawled into bed for his daily slumber I cleansed the entire house - white sage, rattle and singing bowl. I really concentrated on the kid's rooms and had a lovely chat with Spirit.
This afternoon I have to take youngest to the dentist and then I have a fire department meeting tonight.
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