Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last post for 2009 ...

Here's hoping 2010 treats us better than this last year.

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New Year's Eve Day

Spent the day tubing at Pando ...

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What do you think?

How do you like the new design?*

*You better say you love it because it cost me money. Money I could have spent on other things like vanilla NF/SF lattes from Starbucks or a new book from Amazon. But it is all about making you -- the reader (note use of singular pronoun) -- happy. Your welcome.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Free is good.

Just because ...

Sign up and you can get a free bottle of One A Day gummi vitamins to try.—Be Heard. Be Happy.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

The aftermath ...

All that time preparing and it is over in minutes ...

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

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'Twas the ...

'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, the creatures were stirring and ... Mommy already needs a drink.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A musical interlude ...

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

I did not offer to watch my neighbor's dog only to have her poop on my carpet the second she got into my house. Nope, didn't happen to me! (Truthfully, the dog doesn't bother me at all. She is 14 years old and these things happen. One day I will be 98 years old and I might have bowel issues too.)

I did not have a relative spend a great deal of time making it clear he or she likes me about as much as the above mentioned dog poop. Nope, not me! All my relatives think I am sweeter than sugar and nicer than pie.

I am not dreading the next two weeks of Christmas vacation. I am sure the kids and I will have a lovely time together. (If not, I have several bottles of wine to help me through it.)

So what about you? What are you NOT doing today?

P.S. Four days to Christmas! Yikes.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Season

This picture pretty much sums up the Christmas season - a flurry of activity. By January 2, it all seems like a blur.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Food, that's what I want!

The funny thing about being on Weight Watchers is that I obsess over food even more than I did when I ate whatever I wanted. I think it brings out my obsessive nature. I am way more excited about tabulating and recording every morsel than I probably should be. Red wine = two points. Five glasses of red wine = 10 points and a massive headache the next morning.

So, you ask, what is the point of the above paragraph. Nothing. I just needed a little segue way into posting the following recipe. ;)

There are many Polish treats that I love but unfortunately don't make myself. Chrusciki is one of my absolute favorite sweet treats but I can't remember the last time I had them. I know it is hard to get them to just the right doneness -- slightly crispy and not overally greasy. But the end results are a simple but yummy treat.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vodka, whiskey or vinegar (I don't remember that ingredient!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable shortening or oil for deep frying
  • Enough powdered sugar to dust the cookies / pastries with
Place the flour in a large bowl: make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks and rub in with the fingers until combined (or pulse in the food processor until you get the same result. NB: if you're doing this in the processor, use the plastic blade, not the steel one). Add all the other ingredients except the confectioners' / powdered sugar, and blend well. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the mixture for a good long while into a smooth dough. You need to trap as much air in the dough as you can during this process. If kneading by hand, just keep repeating a pattern of folding the dough, flattening it, folding again, flattening it, for at least half an hour. If using a mixer with a dough hook, knead for at least fifteen minutes. You should be able to see at least some little air bubbles in the dough.

Wrap in plastic wrap / cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for twenty minutes / half an hour. (You can let it rest overnight if you like.)

When ready to fry, roll out 1/16th inch thick. Slice into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut the strips diagonally into 5-inch lengths. In each strip, cut a one-inch slit the long way, in the middle of the strip. Pull one end of the strip through the slit so that it looks kind of like a bowtie.

Heat the frying oil to 375F / 190C, or until a 1-inch bread cube turns golden brown in 50 seconds. Deep fry the strips in small batches until they turn light golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar. (Recipe courtesy of European Cuisines online.)

If you decide to make some, feel free to send some to me -- Weight Watchers be damned!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

French braids and ponies and pigtails ... oh my!

I was apprehensive about having a daughter for a host of reasons but one of the main ones was having to do her hair. I can barely make my mop look presentable and I was going to be expected to maintain another person's hair? Yikes. So that's why when I do something beyond the ordinary brushing out the snarls, it is picture worthy.

Behold ...

I did a good job, if I don't say so myself. Hopefully this makes up for the state of her hair the other 360 or so days.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Come on in!

I decided to take part in the Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes this year. If you want to participate, hop on over and visit the site. 

Welcome to our holiday home ...

Please warm yourself by the fire ...

I do think the tree looks rather festive ... the blue ornament is a new one.

This one is a special one -- sent by a friend to remember our angel ...

Molly has been asking for a nutcracker decoration so I found this one at Marshalls. It is dual purpose - it holds some of our extra special cards. 

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Stop by again soon.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why is it that?

If the pants fit my bottom, its inevitable the length is too long? I'd like to blame designers who make clothes for people who are 5'8 and 120 pounds. But reality tells me I need to blame potato chips and wine.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

People say dumb stuff ...

I was thisclose to having to write this post from a cold jail cell. Someone said something to me that was so utterly stupid and mean that I was actually dumbfounded. I know, hard to believe but sometimes I can't talk.* Had I not been frozen in both mind and mouth, I might have hurtled myself across the room and pummeled them. (Let's just say it is was something in the "Ten Things You Don't Say to People Who Have Had a Miscarriage".) 

* Unlike the unfortunate "Cornbread Incident" of 2001 in Nashville where I did in fact run my mouth. But that's a story for another day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Of course I am not already regretting getting a real Christmas tree for the first time in five years -- less than 24 hours after bringing it into our home. Not me! I am just SO happy about the thousands of needles already on the floor and the rash spreading across my hands. Nothing says Christmas cheer like a pine tree allergy!

Of course, I am also not kind of hoping for another snow day for the kids. Not me! They get on my ever-loving last nerve when we are stuck together all day. Its not at all nice to know we have no where to be and nothing to do but relax.

Of course, I didn't panic when standing on in front of Macy's on State Street at 8 p.m. in Chicago amidst a crowd of hundreds, I couldn't find Jacob. Not me! I knew he was standing behind me even though I yelled out "Jacob" several times and was already planning on running towards the police officers on the corner. I did hug and kiss him ... repeatedly.


What about you? What did you NOT do today?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chicago weekend

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

My final post ...

Dear Reader,

This is my final post. Perhaps this is my final moment of life. Because when my dear husband comes home to find I have broken the Christmas cookie jar lovingly purchased by his Grandma B all those years ago -- let's just say it won't be pretty.

So its been real and all. I appreciate you dropping by.

Soon to Be Gone

(Think he'll notice ...)

Monday, November 30, 2009

I am here.

Been out of town for over a week and I have nothing brilliant to say to you all. I am sure inspiration will strike soon and I will be back. Until then ... miss me. And enjoy a picture or two ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Riddle me this ...

I don't understand the concept of spending money to have someone tell you how to save money. A friend of mine is a big proponent of Savings Angel . And I am no way critiquing her use of it -- she really does seem to make it work for her. But I have looked at the website and I don't get it. I mean I get it but I don't know why I'd want to shell out $20 for someone to tell me where to get a coupon. Plus most of their "success" stories show piles upon piles pre-packaged crap. And while I love my Ho-Ho's as much as the next person, I want to know how to save money on stuff that's actually GOOD for my family.

On another tangent ... is there a new 11th Commandment that states: "All Christians shall follow Dave Ramsey"? I am going to pay money for his videos, books, lectures, etc. -- so he can tell me how to save money? Contradictory much? Meanwhile Ramsey is becoming a fat cat off of all the people Americans who can't figure out saving money is better than spending money. Here's some advice for free: STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE! There ya go. I just saved you from having to buy anything from Ramsey.

If you are looking for some good FREE advice on how to save money, here are a few websites I frequent:

Money Savings Mom
STL Mommy
Freebies 4 Mom

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jacob meets his favorite author ...

We traveled to Battle Creek on Thursday evening so Jacob could meet his favorite author and illustrator Mark Crilley. Jacob acted a little shy but he was really thrilled to meet him. (Even though the picture might have you thinking otherwise.)

Unlike a certain "author" (ahemkategosselinahem) I met last year, Mark was extremely gracious and personable. He knows how to hold the interest and attention of his audience regardless of their age. And he genuinely seems to appreciate that you want to read his books.

If you have a child who likes to read adventure stories -- especially humorous ones that take place in outer space -- check out Mark's Akiko series.  Jake is reading the series for the second time around - he liked it that much. And I find it just as entertaining as he does which makes it bedtime reading a lot easier. 

P.S. Mark also has a manga series called Miki Falls that might appeal to an older child or teen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life's lemons ...

are tomorrow's lemonade. Right?

Well frankly I am sick of lemons and I don't want to make any lemonade. Yes, my friends, this is another edition of Jen's Pity Party. I will be honest in saying I don't cling to God as tightly as I should in these moments.

I'm trying.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Morning person am not I

I am not fully human until I ingest at least one cup of coffee in the morning. It takes me close to an hour to finish that cup of coffee. (I am also very, very slow in the morning.) Until that point, I like to keep my human interaction down to the lowest level.

Really, in a perfect world, I would be left alone until at least 10:30 a.m. This not being a perfect world, I am forced to get two kids ready for the day. Two kids who when their feet hit the floor instantaneously turn into bouncing, talking and otherwise active little beings. How I produced such morning people will forever remain a mystery to me (I blame their father).

Monday, November 02, 2009

Land Shark ... A Monday giggle ...

One of my all time favorite Saturday Night Live skits ...

(No YouTube copy of it, sorry.)

(I admit to having an irrational fear of sharks. There have been no truly substantiated cases of sharks making their way into the Great Lakes BUT just in case, I will stick to pools.

In the immortal words of Cole Porter ... "Give me pool, lots of pool and the chlorinated waves! Don't make me swim (in a lake)!")

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Five years ago today ...

A little peanut came into the world  ...

She was due to arrive on Christmas Eve but decided that All Saints Day was a better option. She weighed four pounds, 8 ounces and was 18 inches long. From the start, Miss Molly has done things her way and in her time.

Happy Birthday sweet, beautiful girl!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Sometimes, out of nowhere, it creeps up on me ... like a sucker punch to the heart and soul.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gone ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slap a chef's hat on me ...

... and call me a cooker*!

I attempted my first batch on garlic naan bread and it was a success. I am a little worried because Dave said "see you can bake" so there might be expectations associated with such a statement. Though in my defense (or offense?) there was no baking, just dough making and then grilling. There were a lot more when I started but I gave some to the neighbor and we ate quite a few with dinner (Chicken Tikka Masala - no culinary excitement there except opening up a jar of Patak's Tikka Masala sauce).

I used the recipe found at All Recipes and I highly recommend reading the comments. There were a few really useful tips in them.

* Not to be confused with a hooker, this is Molly's term for a chef.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

I did not spend a good chunk of the morning and afternoon at the urgent care clinic with Molly. We did not have to get her an x-ray to rule out pneumonia. (It DID turn out to be (just) bronchitis. Phew!) I did not do a little happy dance at the idea of Robitussin with codeine possibly making Miss Moo a little sleepy -- 'cause I would never wish for a nap.

Not me. Nope.

I did not obsessively use antibacterial wash on our hands after seeing several people wearing masks in the waiting room (and one guy with blood all over his leg!?!). We also did not ask the nurse if we could see her x-rays just because -- and it did not freak Molly out a bit to see her insides.

I also did not break into the Halloween candy when we got home.

Nope, not me!

So what did you NOT do today?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


We took a family trip to Vander Mill Cider Mill and Winery this afternoon to get some pumpkins and other goodies. We got some tasty Apple Blueberry Hard Cider that is surprisingly not overly sweet. We got to sample their other hard ciders -- so fun! I have not gone wine tasting in years. Need to do that soon.

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