Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adios 2009!

It's finally time to say goodbye to 2009 and hello to a new and hopefully brighter 2010. In fact, I know it will be brighter because I have some big plans for 2010 (let's just hope it all works out and that I didn't just jinx myself).

This year I plan to experience a lot of new beginnings. It will be the start of a new and improved me as well as a new start for our family. I want to continue working on the things I mentioned in last years resolutions as well as add to them.

I would like to become a happier and better person. I want to become more confident in who I am and what I do. I will try to be more appreciative and thankful for what I do have in my life. I will focus on the positive and try to make sure I change what's negative.

I will find something to do that I enjoy and am proud to do. I will be more proactive and less reactive. My patience will strengthen and my easy to frustrate self will be eliminated. I will learn to take things a little less seriously and a little less personal when it's necessary.

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and good luck on your own resolutions. I'd also like to thank everyone for continuing to read this little blog of mine. It has definitely benefited my life in many ways and I hope it provides some for of entertainment and enjoyment for you all as well. I consider it my own personal therapy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holy Crap! It's What's to Eat? Wednesday: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

With all this holiday hoopla I have been consistently forgetting what day it is. Maybe I'll be back on track next week. The new planner is on it's way to me and I will be back to being fully organized and on target.

Found here

It's a little bit different than the one I had last year with less appointment slots and more places for lists. I'm slowly figuring out what works best for me. Next year I may ask Santa for a whole new system and switch to the ring bound style because there are more options (including meal planning and grocery lists). I'm just too cheap to buy a new cover at the moment.

On to the tasty stuff...(Don't forget to read my other post today: The Irony of Last Year's Resolutions. I appreciate it!)

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

These 3 pictured above were the only ones left out of 32 oz worth of mushrooms I cooked for brunch Christmas morning. They are absolutely tasty and easy! They can be served either as appetizers or as part of a brunch so they are pretty versatile.


3 Italian hot sausages, casings removed (I use mild)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces) (Seriously, buy the block of much better!)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, room temperature

1 large egg yolk

Olive oil

24 large (about 2-inch diameter) mushrooms, stemmed

1/3 cup dry white wine


Saute sausage and oregano in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through and brown, breaking into small pieces with back of fork, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to a large bowl and cool. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, then cream cheese. Season filling with salt and pepper; mix in egg yolk.

Brush 15x10x2 inch glass baking dish with olive oil to coat. Brush cavity of each mushroom cap with white wine; fill with scant 1 tablespoon filling and sprinkle with some of remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange mushrooms, filling side up, in prepared dish (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and filling is brown on top, about 25 minutes.

Yields: 24

The Irony of Last Year's Resolution

It's that time of year where we find ourselves reflecting on what has happened over these last soon to be 365 day and what we want to happen in the next 365. I decided to read my resolutions from last year (here) to see how I did and oh did I do well!

  • "In 2009 I would like to find a more healthy balance between extended family time and me and Michael time." - This is both a check and fail. Due to some family issues I have spent less time with certain parts of it this year which freed up an enormous amount of me and Michael time. On the other hand, these last few months we've been living with dad (fail).

  • "I'd like to put less miles on my car and enjoy relaxing at home on the weekends a little more." - This one was easy since work consumed the first half of the year and we moved back the last half of the year!

  • "I want to enjoy more pajama days and realize that some things can be put off just a little while longer. I need to make sure I make time for just me during the day and not feel so bad if I just need to be by myself for a little while." - A husband working nights for the first part of the year and me quitting my job during the last half makes this a check. I'd even say I have a little too much alone time and too many pajama days! Who knew you could have too much of that?

  • "I will try to find happiness in everything that I do even if it requires me to make some changes." - The change ended up being me unemployed. The happiness is amazing!

  • "I will try to "go with the flow" a little bit better and realize some things don't always go as planned. I won't beat myself up when things don't turn out perfect." - I think I have successfully de-stressed now. Being unemployed and realizing you have pretty much lost all control of everything in your life eventually makes you come to this conclusion. It's been a good thing for really has. It was a lesson I desperately needed to learn.

  • "I will learn to let go." - This was my theme for this year and I think my readers have seen me go through with this. It's been a tough process and I'm still learning, but it's been for the best.

The irony of this is that a lot of not so good things happened this year, but the lessons I have learned have improved my life immensely. I guess you should always be careful what you wish for huh? I wonder what next year will bring!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sometimes It's Fun to Buy for Yourself

I feel like the best time to shop is directly after Christmas. It may not be as advertised as Black Friday, but you can still find some pretty good deals. Ok and let's face have the gift money that the good ole folks have given you too. That's really why it's the best.

I know. I should save it, but they always tell us to get what we want and I don't want to disappoint them!
So today was my completely guilt free shopping day all to myself and it was wonderful!

This is the part where I show you all my goods...

I have a dream of collecting cake stands and pitchers. There seems to be a wide variety and you can do so many things with them so why not. I don't have too many of either so today I added to said collection.

A cake plate with dome to show off my beloved cakes and keep them from drying out...

Found here

A pitcher perfect for serving up Appletini's (my favorite)....

Found here

Another pitcher which will beautifully display Sangria or Cucumber Water...

Found here

I've also been on a mission to start picking up new items to use around the house. I'm starting to learn that it's a little easier to pick things up that you love along the way than to go on a mad search for them all at once although this could prove to be monetarily dangerous considering that I'm now picking an item before I've found a place for it.

Maybe this could brighten up a bathroom...

Found in store here

And this (the smallest one) could go on a shelf or a table filled with seasonal items...

Found here

I rarely ever shop to this extent so it was a fun experience.

I will now be returning to a spending FREEZE!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Sentimental Christmas

One of the best things about Christmas is sitting in your pajamas all day as well as basking in the after glow of the mass destruction of it all.

We had a lovely Christmas and I hope you all did as well. Christmas was a little different this year for us. We had less family to see, less presents to give, and no traveling to do. With that being said, we had more time to see the family that was present and we were even able to squeeze in some friends.

We got some wonderful gifts (and hopefully gave some). Michael's parents gave him a much needed toolbox....

...and I got some very luxurious sheets!

Christmas at my dad's was a little different this year. Instead of the traditional purchased gifts, we received things he picked out for us from my grandparents house. After my grandmother passed away this past April all of the kids went over and divided up their stuff and decided they would pass down some of that to the grand kids as well.

I was extremely excited to receive this Victorian chair, along with a buffet table and my grandmothers silver tea set that she received for her 25th wedding anniversary. Now I just need a home to put it in!

My sister received one of my Grandmother's china sets....

...along with some more intriguing things that are a little bit more like her own eclectic style like these leather boots that were my granddaddy's when he was a small child.

These things are very sentimental to us and we are both happy to be able to carry the memories of our grandparents into our homes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What's to Eat? Wednesday: Mini Cinnamon Rolls

One of our food traditions Christmas morning is mini cinnamon rolls. This recipe was handed down to me from my mom, but I believe it was originally a Pampered Chef recipe. Not positive on that though. They are so yummy and bonus, they can be assembled ahead of time! Obviously I haven't made them just yet and for some reason have neglected to take a picture of them over the years so I apologize for not being able to tantalize your taste buds with a picture.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon Rolls

2 cans crescent rolls

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup golden raisins


1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cap almond flavoring

2 tablespoons cream


Separate rolls into rectangles, press perforations together. Spread with butter. Combine, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Sprinkle mixture over rectangles. Roll up each rectangle from the short end. Cut each roll into 5 slices.

Place slices cut side down in ungreased baking dish (I prefer a quiche dish or a cake pan because I think they are more delicious when baked with the sides touching). Bake 20-25 minutes. Mix glaze. Drizzle on top of hot rolls.


These can be prepared the day before and baked the next day. Also these can be frozen individually thawed and baked.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What's on the Menu?

I thought you all might want to know what we are going to eat over this Christmas do want to know, right? I thought so.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Prime Rib Roast with Red Wine Sauce

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Sauteed Mushrooms

Squash and Corn Casserole

Festive Curried Fruit

Tiramisu Toffee Trifle Pie

Christmas Breakfast

Overnight Artichoke-and-Ham Strata

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Stuffed Mushrooms

Orange Julius

Yum. Now I just need to get it all together. Any preferences on which recipe above I should share tomorrow for What's to Eat? Wednesday? Let me know!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cookies Galore!

The Christmas presents have been bought and wrapped....

the Christmas cards have been put on the mantel...

...and the cookies have been baked! Now it's time to share the recipes and surprise they are all from Cooking Light!

Molasses Cookies


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup molasses

1 large egg

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cooking spray


Combine brown sugar and shortening in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Cover and freeze 1 hour (can be frozen much longer if needed).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll dough balls in sugar. Place on baking sheets coated with cooking spray (smoosh flat with back of spoon). Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yield: 4 dozen

Cocoa Fudge Cookies


1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter

7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used black-cherry)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray (smoosh flat with the back of a spoon).

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 dozen

Pecan Tassies in Cream Cheese Pastry



1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Dash of salt

1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons fat-free milk

Cooking spray


1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 large egg white


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare pastry, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and dash of salt in a small bowl. Combine cream cheese, butter, and milk in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until blended (mixture will be crumbly). Press flour mixture into a ball.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 to 4 times. Divide dough into 24 portions. Place 1 dough portion into each of 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Press dough into bottom and up sides of cups, using lightly floured fingers.

To prepare filling, divide pecans evenly among muffin cups. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients; spoon about 2 teaspoons filling over pecans in each muffin cup.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and filling is puffy. Cook in cups for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around outside edge of each tassie; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Night I Let My Husband Dye My Hair

The title is scary isn't it. Yes, it is and in fact at times, the bathroom looked like a crime scene and I looked like a hot mess. For real.

There was dye on the toilet, dye all over the towel, dye and runny mascara streaking my face and of course the tub. It seemed like it was going to be a complete disaster at times.

Why did I submit myself and my lovely locks to this?

Well, I'll tell you.

$10 versus $80 every 6 weeks. A savings of around $610 a year not including tips (my new hair stylist takes the non monetary kind).

A few years ago I discovered some very unwanted greys located very near the part in my hair. They had to be dealt with. I loved my hair was basically the only thing I was okay with as far as my hair was concerned. It had nice natural highlights and I was totally okay with the dark brown color.

I didn't want any fancy highlights....I mean what options do you have with brown? But I didn't want to pick the wrong color by myself either so I decided to leave it to a professional. What I didn't know was how much it cost.

Prior to the discovery of my greys, I had decided to treat myself to a very nice salon with very trained stylists. My hair is difficult. No one knows how to deal with my curls and certainly no one wants to straighten them correctly. I was usually left to go home and redo my hair from scratch after spending an hour plus in the salon and it was annoying. So when I went to college I decided it was time to find someone who could deal with them correctly and for $40 a pop I found someone who could decently do just that.

When I talked to her about my newly discovered greys she assured me she could take care of them for only a mere $80 not including the $40 cut! My jaw dropped, of course, but what choice did I have?

It continued for awhile, until I started to feel really guilty. That's when I decided to go a little cheaper. I found someone who could do the whole kit and caboodle for around $50. Sold!

It was disastrous. It was the wrong color. The lady was a nut. She couldn't straighten my hair. And on top of that it didn't last.

Back to the professional I went.

She mentioned she hadn't seen me in awhile. I apologized and she left to get my color mixed. That's when the nosey assistant walked over to chat. He started looking at my hair and yelled over to my stylist. "Girl, I don't think this is 3G! Are you sure that's what you put on her last?" My stylist then came over to take a look.

I'd been caught.

She exclaimed "You've been cheating on me!"

My face was red. I swear I could feel everyone in the salon turn to look at me.

I lied. I tried to explain that I had been home over the holidays and had to resort to my hometown stylist. I professed my love to her and told her I would never cheat again.

I was totally caught. I could never leave. I was trapped by my good hair cuts.

Skip forward a few years.

The salon was growing and there were way too many clients. Assistants were doing my hair for the same ungodly prices and I wound up leaving 2.5 hours later with black dye smudged all over my face. It was the final straw. I switched completely. I found someone who could do cut and color for under $100. I was happy.

Then we moved.

Perfect timing to do some experimenting without having to make a commitment. I can try as many colors as I like without having to feel the least bit guilty. I'm tired of the long complicated relationships I can't seem to get out of. I'm just not ready to marry anything yet. Maybe one day I'll find the one, but for now I just want to fool around!

Which led to last night.

It was nerve wrecking, it was fun, it was different. Everything turned out okay. Lessons were learned and things will be better the next time. It's definitely not as good as a professional, but for now I'm okay with my cheap fix.

All photos's were engagement photo's (just because).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sugar and Spice

I'm heading to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make molasses cookies, cocoa cookies, and pecan tassies. I realize that I am going to bake more than the 3 of us can possibly eat. Let's face it...I'm the one that's really put the dent in the Chocolate Bark, but that's beside the point.

Baking makes it feel like Christmas. It gives me something to do. It gives me something to be proud of. Even if no one else eats it. That's okay.

Something else that's a little bittersweet is this particular song below. It will always remind me of Christmas and my mom. She would play The Carpenter's Christmas CD every year...I really need to get a copy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's to Eat? Wednesday: French Chocolate Bark

Today's recipe would be perfect as a gift this Christmas and it's super easy! It's pretty versatile as well. You could technically mix put any toppings you want on this as long as it goes with chocolate, but I do have to say that this particular combination is quite delicious.

Once again I have to thank the Barefoot Contessa for another masterpiece. Without further ado...

French Chocolate Bark
- 9.5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or a double boiler if you have it).
Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Pour the melted chocolate in the middle of the parchment paper and spread to form a rectangle measuring about 9x10 inches. Sprinkle the cashews, apricots, and cranberries over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 hours until firm or place in the refrigerator for faster results. Cut the bark in 1 by 3 inch pieces and serve at room temperature.
My Notes
She suggests using "very good" chocolate. I used a combo of Bakers and Ghirardelli and it worked just fine. My taste buds couldn't tell the difference, I've probably never even had "very good" chocolate. You can also use white chocolate if you want.
Mine didn't turn out as thick as the ones in the picture below which is just fine with me because in my opinion a little chocolate can go a long way, but do as you please.
Also I don't "cut" mine. I break mine up by hand so there can be a variety of tends to get eaten more that way! And just as a reminder, these aren't M&M's...they will melt in your hands so stick them back in the fridge if they start to melt while you are breaking them apart.
Total Cost for this recipe: $14.48

Want a Peppermint Bark instead? Click here for that recipe and my other favorite Christmas treats!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lola's One!

Today is Lola's 1st birthday! It has been a very interesting year filled with lots of trips outside, a lot of messes inside and some poop eating on the side. Lola is one crazy pup who will always keep us on our toes.

I really wanted to go all out for her birthday with a homemade cake and party hats but my husband thought I was crazy. So I settled on a gift of two toys and 3 purchased "homemade" treats.

These treats seriously smelled good enough to eat. This particular one is a puppy poptart. It smelled like cinnamon goodness to me. I was tempted to try a little piece...but I didn't.

We had a little trouble trying to get her to open her present. She wasn't too sure about the bag. She got one toy out and ran off afraid that we would take it away from her. It took a few minutes to get her back in the room to get the other toy out of the bag. She had a blast! There's nothing she loves more than to be the center of attention and today she definitely was!

Happy Birthday Day Lola!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a pretty good one. Friday night, my husband and I had a very much needed date night to ourselves. We went out to eat and did just a little shopping. The next day he got up early with my dad (and when I say early, I mean like 3AM) and went duck hunting in the absolutely frigid cold. They came out successful though with 3 ducks. Yum. Can't wait to eat them. Duck is fabulous, especially wrapped in bacon!

We also celebrated Michael's sister's birthday a little early. Jennifer and Lola actually share the same birthday which is tomorrow! My little Lola will be turning one, I can't believe it! We went out to eat at the Bell Buckle Cafe where I had the most awesome smoked pork chop with turnip greens, green beans, vinegar slaw, and a lemonade. Yes, that's a lot of food and I ate every bite! We then came home to a funfetti cake and ice cream. Michael's mom even (accidentally) gave Lola a scoop.

(You can see the big white blob in her mouth) We think she liked it, but we could tell that her mouth felt funny from the cold! Thankfully we got it out before she ate most of it. I really didn't want any nasty surprises later! Yuck!

After that we headed out on the farm to try out the new camera we got each other for Christmas. I think I'm finally figuring out the settings, but I still need some practice on getting it to do exactly what I want.

My photos were mostly of cows considering everything looks pretty dead around here since winter is officially here. They turned out fairly well though I think. We had a lot of fun just walking around the farm even though we were walking in mud past our ankles! Even Lola had a great time. She made sure to step in every puddle and even eat a little cow poo along the way.
She actually got two baths that day. She hated every minute of the baths, but I think she thought it was worth it......and so did I.

Friday, December 11, 2009

There's Nothing I Love More Than...

A big stack of mail...
Merry Christmas from My Thoughts - Uninterrupted!

Love, Laura

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trying to Be a Little More Colorful

I decided yesterday that I am officially in a make-up rut. Perhaps it's because I've turned snowy white, perhaps it's because my hair needs a fresh coat of color, or perhaps it's because I've been using the same colors on my face for so long. Either way, my face is blah, blah, blah.

It needs some excitement.

It needs to look alive.

Now for what to do? I need to expand my make-up horizons. My eyes don't really need a change. I can be pretty experimental with those, but I never wear blush, just bronzer and I'm really bad about actually putting color on my lips. I'm more of a fade in girl than a stand out girl at heart so my change is going to have to be somewhat subtle.

The blush shouldn't be too hard to pick out, but lip gloss on the other hand can be tricky. It can't be too sticky, or too dry. It can't rub off every 5 minutes, but I don't want it to permanently stain my lips.
I'm thinking I'm going to have to buy a set to be able to really try different colors out and see what can work on me. I'm sure it will take some time getting used to new lips!

What's your favorite brand of lip gloss and color?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Budget Discussion and What's to Eat? Wednesday: Chicken Tenders with Apricots

Oh my goodness! I can't believe how long it has been since I've done one of these. It's about time I get back on track, I guess. I do have something else I'd like to add to it as well though.

Since we are about to buy another home I've been focusing in on our budget and one of the things that eats most of our money aways is, well, us and the food we buy. Sometimes I'm completely shocked how much a trip to the grocery store is and I always look at the receipt and try to figure out where it went. We don't eat out much because I've always believed it to be cheaper (and healthier) to eat in, but these grocery receipts are really starting to make me wonder if I might be wrong.

From this week forward I will be keeping an excel sheet tallying up how much it cost to buy ingredients for all of my recipes. It will be an estimate of course since some things I will have on hand, but it will be a general idea.

Now....onto the yummy stuff!

Chicken Tender with Apricots

This recipe is actually for a full meal with sides included. It's absolutely delicious, quick and healthy. Don't be scared to try the spinach. It's got a lemony taste to it and perfectly compliments the meal. This meal serves 4 at $4 per serving with a total cost of $16 including the couscous. The only things I had on hand for this one was the olive oil, salt, and pepper.


5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 (16-ounce) can apricot halves in light syrup, undrained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach


Heat 1 tablespoon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place chicken and breadcrumbs in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal bag, and shake to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done.

Drain apricots in a colander over a bowl; reserve 1/2 cup liquid. Add apricot halves and 1/2 cup reserved liquid to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture from pan; keep warm.

Wipe pan with a paper towel. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and spinach; cook 3 minutes or until the spinach is slightly wilted. Serve spinach with chicken and apricots.

Tip: Serve over couscous or rice.

Photo and recipe from

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Little Christmas and a Little Snow

I feel like I have been in and out of the blogging world lately and it is time to get caught up. Mostly I'm just not in a routine and it doesn't help either that my dad's Internet is intermittent. He just went wireless and I very unsuccessfully set up the router. Five calls to India later and still no luck. It's off and on and if it's after 10:30 PM you are out of luck completely. Oh well. It will get day.

It's officially Christmastime! I'm having a little trouble getting into it this year. I believe it's because I'm out of my element. I do have most of my gifts bought thankfully as well as the wrapping paper and Christmas cards. I just need to do something with it all. I even bought Lola a little Christmas jacket. I love it...she hates it. Wrapping, baking and card writing are all overdue at this point. My mission this week.....GET ON IT!

My dad and I went to Home Depot and got him a fake tree that I absolutely love. I'm a real tree girl through and through. It's just not Christmas without the real tree smell, but if I ever need a second one, I believe this one would do just fine.

Isn't it lovely? It came complete with lights, pine cones, berries, and chenille tips. How about that for fancy? Anyways, it's a big upgrade for dad. He hasn't had a tree in his house since the Cedar Tree disaster. And by disaster I mean spiders hatching all over the house. From then on we went treeless at his house or settled on decorating his over sized peace lilly plant. So a big upgrade it is. Now if only I can keep my dog from destroying it.

We finally got our house on the market, which is a huge relief. The realtor sounded like it should sell pretty fast. I hope she's right. I went through the entire house making pictures of everything. I'm terrible at remembering things and wish I had done this with other places I have lived. Here is a picture of the master bedroom, which happens to be my favorite room of the house.

We did end up getting a bit of snow while we were in Knoxville and Lola couldn't wait to get out in it. It reminded me of last year when we first got her and it snowed for what seemed like an eternity. Nothing like taking a puppy the size of your hand out to pee every hour in snow taller than her. She never seemed to mind though. Apparently she is a snow dog at heart. This year she ran around like crazy making doggie angels and rooting around in it.

She came back in soaking wet with snow clumped to her fur. We ended up not having to give her the bath we had desperately needed to give her though so it worked in every one's benefit. (Notice the snow clumps on her front legs)

My goal is to get things back on track and to hop back into my normal routine. Tomorrow I will be starting back up my "What's to Eat? Wednesday" posts so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hello Home....Is That You?

I am back in Knoxville for the remainder of this week to get it ready to FINALLY be put on the market. It's absolutely crazy that it's taken this long, but that's just how everything had to go.

It's strange being back here. A lot of mixed emotions. This is the first and probably last house I have ever bought completely dependent on my own resources. I was very proud of that fact. This is the house that my husband and I first experienced the joys and dramas of home improvements together. It was my pet project and it's both with excitement and sadness that I can now say that it is completed.

It felt weird walking through my front door last night. I guess when I say "my" I'm really using that term loosely. It already doesn't feel like "mine" anymore. It was depersonalized a few weeks back and I honestly feel like I'm living in more of a magazine photo than a home.

It is nice to be surrounded by my own furnishings and have my own space for a few days. I'm thankful for our parents letting us live with them during this transition but I cannot express how much I miss having a space of my very own! A place where we can be ourselves. Shew. It's coming though. Slowly, but surely. And letting go of this house is one of the first big steps.

My hopes are that it sells quickly. It will be for the best. I can then start looking at potential new homes and finally feel as though we are moving forward instead of stalling out. I can't wait! In the mean time...I'll be busy making sure everything looks picture perfect here!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Lovely Little Thanksgiving

If you don't already know this...Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - mainly because all you have to do is maybe some cooking, a lot of eating, and spend time with family (three of my favorite things). This year was a little less crazy than in the past. We had a few less dinners to go to and didn't even have to travel. It was different, but good. My dad smoked a turkey and I made dressing for the first time. Michael's family came up from Louisiana and did some successful deer hunting.

I probably have over more than half of my Christmas shopping done for the season. I bought my wrapping paper and ribbon which all ended up matching my Christmas cards I bought before Halloween. I didn't do any "real" Black Friday shopping (by real I mean the 4AM kind), although I did end up getting some good deals. One of the best deals I got was actually on me and Michael's present to ourselves this year. We are upgrading our crappy camera to the Canon Rebel T1i. I can't be more excited. I actually had to order it from the store, but it will be on my doorstep via free shipping by Wednesday. The only problem is....I have no idea how to work it!

I've also been thinking about what all I have to be thankful for this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for my husband who loves me and works hard to provide for us. I'm thankful that we haven't had to make any major sacrifices even though I have been out of work for this last part of the year.

We are blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who give us wonderful advice and provide great company. I'm also thankful that we get to move closer to a majority of those great folks as well.

We are thankful for and forever indebted to our parents who have so eagerly provided us with a place to stay while we are trying to move even though I know it has turned their "normal" as upside down as it has turned ours.

Most of all, I'm thankful for life and just being blessed enough to experience it and everything it brings with it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Should Visit San Francisco!

We are back and had an amazing time in San Francisco. I just can't get over how much I really enjoyed the trip. The food was amazing and there was so much to do there that we didn't even get to it all. We needed at least one more day, but don't you say that with every good trip?
The first day we walked a million miles I swear. We walked through Chinatown and ate breakfast at Mama's (amazing) and then walked to Pier 33 to get on the ferry to Alcatraz. Alcatraz was very interesting and had some really great views. After we got back we went to Fisherman's Wharf and ate at Boudin which had the best Clam Chowder and stopped by to see the sea lions.
After that we headed over to Ghirardelli Square to have the biggest sundae I've ever seen! If you can't tell already, I'm in need of a diet from this trip. After an exhausting day on our feet we headed back to the hotel via the cable car and met up with my college roommate, Amy, for dinner at Osha to try Thai food for the first time.

The next day we rented a Dodge Charger and started our venture to Muir Woods. We crossed the Golden Gate bridge to take some pictures and then headed out to Sausalito for breakfast at Fred's Coffee Shop (also amazing). Finally we arrived at the woods after conquering some very curvy roads!

We were soaked from the wind and rain but continued on our journey to see more of the city with Amy as our tour guide. We saw the Painted Ladies aka the Full House house, Haight-Ashbury, an old bath house and some beautiful cliffs. After returning the car we did a little browsing around at Union Square and ate some great Mexican at Fronterra Grill.

Our last full day was booked with a wine tour. We had about 10 people in our group and went to 5 wineries (Homewood, Artesa, Milat, Cakebread, and Hopper Creek) in both Sonoma and Nappa. The views were wonderful and the wine was delicious. We ended the night by eating at another fabulous Mexican restaurant called Margarita's. Let's just say traveling back the next day was not a lot of fun!

Now I'm off to do some Thanksgiving cooking. I have a lot of blogs to catch up on, but first I need to get settled back in to our new routine (if you can even call it that).
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