Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Still sick. I think I have a sinus infection because my head feels like it's going to explode! Not the vacation I had in mind...

As we (meaning me, Bailey & Carson Daly) get ready to count down to the new year, I've started thinking about resolutions. This year, I'm keeping it simple - I resolve to cherish myself. This starts and ends with being healthy and happy.

May the new year be an amazing journey for us all...

Monday, December 29, 2008

vacation, day 3

sick. sick. sick.
Not sure what I have, but it feels an awful lot like a head cold/sinus infection. It totally caught me offguard, especially since I didn't get sick at all last winter. I guess it's a combination of not enough sleep, stress at work, the holidays and the absolutely frigid weather we've had for the last couple of weeks.
I spent the first two days of vacation in the house. Although I should have been resting, I just couldn't bring myself to waste the days. So, Saturday I took down all of the Christmas decor and hauled it out tot the garage. Then, I power-cleaned the whole house. (This was brought on by the fact that I noticed an awful lot of dust all over everything.) A couple of errands later and I was spent.
Sunday was a wasted day. I can't even remember what I did? I think a lot of my time was spent in front of the computer, mindlessly surfing the 'net...
Today was not much better. I went out to Sundown for awhile, but felt like crap and came home after about three hours. Then, I spent nearly 6 hours downloading music from Limewire and loading it onto my MP3 player... ;-) (Okay, another wasted day, sort of...)
Now, at 9:17 pm, I am exhausted and can only think about bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

1:24 pm - Eleven degrees below zero? Not a joke. We are experience blizzard-like conditions with blowing and drifting snow and a windchill factor of -37 degrees. No one in their right mind is going out today. What am I doing? Going to work, of course! More later...
9:00 pm - It's very windy. There are areas of blowing snow everywhere and there's a chance of flurries overnight with a near record low around 16 below. Wind chill readings to 39 below... Hope the car starts in the morning!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


After an incredibly full week, I am spent. Inventory at work came and went, and, although hugely stressful, everything came out great in the end and we met our goal and earned bonuses for everyone, including me! The only problem is that we have to wait until March for the check. :-(
Yesterday morning brought 12" of snow and I am very grateful that I did not have to go to work. In fact, I spent the entire day in bed, mostly due to the post-inventory celebration hangover from Thursday night... (Most of you know that I am not usually one to drink to excess, but things just got away from me and the empty stomach did not help.) But, hey, who doesn't deserve a day spent in bed napping and watching bad TV?
Today, much to my dismay, I have to go into work. There are a lot of things that got pushed aside due to inventory and I need to catch up. So, It will be a day spent in my office with the iPod headphones in, tuning out the world and plowing through paperwork...
Have a wonderful Saturday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

sunday afternoon

I spent the day at the scrapbook table catching up on pages that have been waiting to be completed. I finished three new layouts, and, although I'm not entirely happy with how they turned out, I know that there will never be a perfect page.
Here they are:

Now it's time to hit the shower and into bed early tonight. (It's inventory week at work and I have to be there by 5:30 am every day!) Can't wait for it to be over.

holiday baking, part 3

I just finished making the last of my holiday treats. These meringue cookies are super simple and taste delicious. There are three important things to remember - 1) you must line your cookie sheets with aluminum foil or cover with a silicone baking sheet, otherwise they will stick; 2) crush the candy canes up really good because a fine dust is much easier to sprinkle over the tops and looks a lot better; 3) do not over bake, because you will ruin them. Here's the recipe:
Teresa's Peppermint Kisses
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
6 candy canes - crushed into dust
Beat 3 egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar while beating until glossy. Continue beating until peaks form when beaters are lifted up. Place mixture in a large baggie and cut off a small corner. Pipe "kisses" onto a foil-lined or Silpat-covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle kisses with crushed candy canes. Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes in a 225 degree oven. (Time varies with humidity - check often after 1 hour.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

holiday baking, part 2

Today was another day of holiday baking. For the very first time, I attempted to make Grandma Pete's Date Pinwheels. I got the recipe last year, but ran out of time before I could make them. You have to cook the filling, make the dough and then roll it out, spread the filling on and roll it up like a jelly roll. After chilling the rolls for a couple of hours you just slice and bake them. It's a bit of a project. My cookies taste like Grandma's, but they do not look as perfect as hers did. I guess that was either from years of practice or the fact that she had Papa to slice the cookies with his electric knife. Here's the recipe:
Grandma Pete's Date Pinwheels
2 cups dates - cut fine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups flour
Make filling first - chop dates finely, add water and sugar and cook until thick. Set aside to cool.
Make dough - Mix shortening and sugars; add 3 beaten eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Flour hands and surface well. Roll 1/2 of the dough into a circle. Spread 1/2 of the filling onto dough. Roll up like a jelly roll and chill. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Chill both for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice and bake on cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes.

this guy

My nephew Jacob is an amazing kid. At thirteen, one minute he's a silly little boy and the next minute he's a maturing young man. He's smart, funny and incredibly talented. He plays the cello in the school orchestra and sings in the church choir, two choirs at school and was just cast as 'Rum Tum Tugger' in 'CATS', the school's spring musical, a character usually portrayed as the feline equivalent of Elvis Presley or Mick Jagger.
Here's a video clip of one of Tugger's songs from the Broadway production:
It's a huge part and we're all very excited. Jacob has a really 'big' personality and loves to perform, so I know that he can pull this off. Can't wait to see him in action!

Friday, December 12, 2008

holiday baking, part 1

Today started with laundry, some quick housecleaning and a couple of errands to get out of the way so I could move on to the big project for the day - making Grandma Pete's version of Pfeffernuesse - small, hard, round cookies that have been a family favorite since before I was born. (The name translates into pepper nuts in German, Danish and Dutch, describing their spicy blend of cinnamon, cloves and anise.) The process involves bringing the wet ingredients to a boil, then cooling it off before adding the spices and flour. The, you have to chill the dough for a couple more hours before rolling it out into ropes, cutting and baking them.
I finished making the dough at about 2:00 and started baking about 5:00, finishing right around 7:30. My family is pretty excited that I have revived this holiday tradition and I received a couple of phone calls this afternoon to check on my progress...
Grandma Pete's Peppernuts:

1 cup molasses
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon (not quite) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (a little more) cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground anise
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 T. vinegar
6 cups flour (more or less)
Heat 1st four ingredients to boiling point, then chill to cool. When cool, add spices, the soda dissolved in vinegar and finally the flour. Mix together to make a real stiff cookie dough. Chill.
Take pieces of the dough and roll into rope lengths. Slice ropes into 1/2 inch thick "peppernut" pieces. Spread pieces on cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

rock star

Tonight was (my niece) Shelby's Winter Band Concert. I am so proud of this girl! She plays the bass guitar in the Jazz Band, the flute in the Concert Band and she's learning keyboard in her spare time! (In addition to that, she sings in the church choir, two choirs at school and was just cast in one of the leading roles in 'CATS', the school's spring musical.)

Anyway, they apparently did the same concert four times yesterday - once in rehearsal, twice during the day at school assemblies and again last night for friends and family. By the time the night was over, my little guitar hero had blisters on the middle three fingers of her right hand from playing the bass all day! She toughed it out though. What a little trooper!

Monday, December 8, 2008

thought for the day...

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
- Lao Tzu

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Long weekend. Yesterday was my last real day off for awhile. We have inventory next week at work, so the next two weeks will be spent working, eating and sleeping. Can't wait for it to be over...

I spent yesterday making the last of my Christmas cards, addressing envelopes and getting about 50 cards ready to mail. Not sure why I always send so many because I never receive that many in return. Habit, I guess. Either that, or I just don't want to leave anyone out. Not sure.

Weather has been super cold for December. Feels more like January or February. I can't seem to get warm. We're expecting a major snowstorm tomorrow afternoon/evening, either 3-5 inches or 5-7 inches, depending on how the storm tracks.

I'm starting to get a bit of a runny nose and feel a little achy, probably a sign of a cold or something coming on. It figures, with two super stressfull weeks coming up. Plus, the cold weather has every bone I've ever broken and every injury I've ever sustained throbbing. How much Tylenol Arthritis can you take before you puke?

I should have gone grocery shopping yesterday. The fridge is looking pretty bare - not much in there to pack for a lunch, I'm almost out of coffee creamer and there's only a couple of dog treats left, a sure sign it's time to panic. By the way, Coffeemate's Peppermint Mocha creamer has to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. If there was ever anything that could motivate you to drink and entire pot of coffee in under two hours, this is it! They should make it all year long; I wonder if it freezes...
I'm worn out. Time for a how shower and a warm bed. Goodnight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

my family

FAMILY [fam-uh-lee, fam-lee] - noun
1.parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
2.the children of one person or one couple collectively
3.the spouse and children of one person
4.any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins
5.all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor.

front row: niece Marqui, nephew Jacob, Mom, niece Shelby, niece Mallory
back row: brother John, brother-in-law Jeff, sister Mary, Me, brother Jim, sister-in-law Eydie