The 3 Wise Men

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Who likes my smores christmas ornaments?? I’ve always admired this collection, and picked up two earlier this fall at a church rummage sale.

Here is Angel S. More

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And his friend, Nudist the S’more (I don’t really know what this one is called)

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And our newest addition to the collection, thanks to Kathy for sending it for my Christmas gift! Surprise S. More!

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They’re too heavy to put on the tree, so they sit up on the mantle, above the fireplace, so they can supervise any real s’more production :)

I just saw this one online and must add it to my collection!!

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Everyone wants a sock monkey friend, even the s’mores.

Hope you’re all having a good night and staying safe. Our forecast has snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain all in the next 12 hours. Should be yucky out there on the roads, but luckily I’ll be safe in here with NBC’s The Sing Off and my next cross stitch sampler to keep me busy.

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Back at the farm

Here we are!

So Sheff and I made it back to the farm safe and sound. He was actually a perfect travel companion and slept in the back without making a peep. We stopped every 3 hours / 200 miles, at most of the state line welcome centers for bathroom/water breaks. Without any extensive stops, I was so excited to be able to make it back in 15 hours…. that is until we got to the top of Georgia/Tennessee border and sat in backed up traffic for one hour. Yup. The area just west of Chattanooga always seems to be accident-prone. I let Sheff get some fresh air at this point – he stuck his head out the window and loudly cried, showing his disappointment to our fellow drivers. haha

All by ourselves :(

So long to the weekend visitors and long-staying relatives. 2010 could be a long lonely year for Sheff and I. I just need to find some way to make some friends in East Tennessee and get out of the house, other than work. When you go the whole day and the only people you speak to are psych patients…. it’s a little sad. The Boy gave me a good pep talk yesterday and perked me back up. Thanks dear!

Looking forward to New Year’s!

Road trip on Thursday to Nashville to have New Year’s with The Boy. Sheff and I are very excited. And not only because we’re missing out on the potential high winds and snow that the farm will be dealing with. haha. I had planned a 4 mile walk this Saturday (since my half-marathon training official begins this weekend) but with Nashville’s weather not getting much above freezing the whole weekend, it is going to be hard to stay motivated to go! Too bad The Boy isn’t much for long walks. When I told him of my plan, his response was “Well you better get up early and do that while I’m still sleeping!”. Boo. Sheff is an excellent walking partner. Too bad he doesn’t have a sweater or fleece. haha

And the Christmas Decorations are Still Up….

I walked back into a house full of Christmas decor. My family spent a lot of time getting everything decorated here in the last few weeks while I worked. So I have no idea where things came from, and yet I’m the only one here to deal with it. Boo. I have no intention of cleaning it up before my new year’s trip… so that will be on next week’s to-do list ;)

In random /quick news bites:

  • Yay for Georgia’s win last night in the Independence Bowl
  • Boo for the tiny, miniscule mouse living in my pantry that I can’t seem to trap
  • Yay for cleaning out the fridge from all the relatives’ random food
  • Yay for the shortest day of the year being behind us, and longer days on their way!

Christmas Menu

Due to popular demand, I’m sharing our menu for Christmas Day. We don’t have any particular traditional foods that we always serve for Christmas. Each year is different (up to the creative mind of yours truly). I know the experts (ha!) say not to use the holidays as a time to try new recipes, and yet I always seem to. Here’s what I came up with for this year.

Breakfast:

Cheese and Oven Dried Tomato Strata

  • I’m leaving out the ham (surprise surprise). Not sure if I’m making the entire size – 12 eggs seems excessive, and I don’t know if you want breakfast leftovers since there will undoubtedly be leftovers from our larger meal.

Christmas Dunch: (Late Lunch / Early Dinner)

Spiral Sliced Ham

Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Stuffin’ Muffins

Brussels Sprouts – KERF style :)

Sister Schubert’s Yeast Rolls

Mixed Green Salad with Pecans, Feta, and Pomegranate – modified from this base recipe

 

Choosing a Holiday Menu

Greetings readers!

This Monday has been a pretty low-key day. I started off this morning with a nice 4 mile walk with Sheff. I was definitely overdressed, as it quickly warmed up after about mile 1, but we made it back with no problems.

I also edited some Christmas photos with Google’s new editing tool Picnik. It’s amazing!!! It’s similar to Picasa, but with more features, and the whole program is online. I really enjoyed using it. I sent a few prints off to Walgreens and picked them up this afternoon.

While at Walgreens, Jenna decided she wanted to be brave and get the H1N1 shot, being a high-risk college student with asthma and all. Well… after waiting 45 minutes – she finally was seen by the pharmacist who gave her a very painful injection. She’s spent the rest of the afternoon moping around the house, in a make-shift sling. Poor girl. She tried to take tylenol, but has difficulty swallowing pills – so they ended up projecting across the room from the back of her throat. I tried to be sympathetic, but it’s kinda funny.

While she was waiting to be seen at Walgreens, I spent some time researching in the vitamins/supplements aisle. It’s truly amazing how many vitamin/mineral products are now on the market. Chewable vitamins must have been the last big thing… now we have:

  • Multivitamin packets that you pour in your water bottle?? Seems like a nice thing (especially for those plagued with pill-swallowing-inability like my dear sister), except they’re really expensive. Two doses were 99 cents. No thanks.
  • Centrum One-A-Day for Teens (his and her varieties). I was curious to see what they pumped up for teenagers – looks like it’s more vitamin C and all the B vitamins. Not really sure why that’s necessary, but a marketing ploy I’m sure.
  • Phytosterols being shoved in as many supplements as they can to lower cholesterol.
  • Flintstones. The beloved chewable multivitamins of our youth. I’ve had some patients taking them, and I had no idea that there were more than one kind! How ignorant of me. There are Flintstones with Iron, Flintstones Complete (adult formula), Flintstones Gummies, Flintstones with Immune or Bone Building Support. whew.

So now that my sister is paralyzed from the H1N1 vaccine, we’ve had to postpone our annual gingerbread house building adventure. I guess we can put that on tomorrow’s list.

Meanwhile… I’m trying to plan the menu for our Christmas Eve Movie & Munchies night (it’s our tradition to watch a movie and eat appetizers on Christmas Eve), as well as the menu for Christmas Day. Yes, probably a little behind, but it’s OK. I’ll get it done :)

Back in Texas!

Finally drove into the driveway around 9pm last night. Good lord that’s a long day! By the end, Sheff was freaking out and insisting on standing in the console of the car – thereby blocking all view in my mirrors, so I was driving through East Texas in the dark with no vision of other vehicles. Not very safe. But we made it!

It’s so good to be back home. Haven’t been here since July! My sister and dad were so proud of their cleaning and decorating efforts in the house. It all looks so nice!

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We always have our snowmen parading up the stairs. This year Jenna hung some stockings up at the top – looks good!

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Here’s our front yard decorations. Notice the Texas flag hanging proudly! I know some of my friends are astounded that I won’t be supporting the SEC during the National Championships… but I have no connection to Alabama, and with my sister at UT I feel I should support the Longhorns. Plus – my family is going to the Independence Bowl (Georgia vs Texas A&M) after I leave to go back to work (sniff sniff) but they are all supporting the Georgia Bulldogs! yay :)

OK, better get going. We have some shopping and errands to do today, followed by a dinner at a new wood-fired pizza place tonight to celebrate my sister’s 4.0 semester! Sounds good to me!

Christmas time is here!

Christmas Eve has arrived. And, being in Houston, it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside, perfect for last-minute shopping, yard work, or time in the kitchen. 

Me being me, I have spent most of the afternoon with sticky hands and dirty dishes. First up was the challenge of gingerbread houses. My sister and I ‘cheated’ and made them with graham crackers, instead of baking actual gingerbread. The control freak that I am, I had printed out recipes for our ‘royal icing’ and directions for assembly of the miniature architural masterpieces. My sister, however, did not enjoy my helpful directions. 15 minutes into building, the yelling started, because “you didn’t cut the gables correctly!” and “now there will be a gap in the roof!” which means that “this is a waste of my time, you can’t do anything right!”. In her fit of rage, she demolished one of the houses, which I carefully tried to put back together. And it looks just fine. I mean, I wouldn’t want to live in it because yes, there is a gap in the roof, but it’s cute. It’s fitting for Houston, like a hurricane survivor gingerbead house. Here are a few pictures:
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Aren’t they precious? I’m trying not to think of the amount of raw egg that I ingested from the royal icing that was all over our table, hands and clothing. I didn’t want to bother with pasteurized eggs, because I don’t think anyone will be eating these buildings. We have a much better dessert to look forward to tomorrow on Christmas day…. that is if I can find the blasted recipe! I’m trying to recreate the tiramisu masterpiece that I made earlier this year for my sister’s Prom group. I never even got to taste it, but it received rave reviews from all the hungry teenagers and parents. Apparently, it’s better than Olive Garden’s (which pleases me much because I have personal issues with that place), and even had me mistaken as a professional caterer. Now, if only I could remember where the recipe was from! You see, this is the problem with being able to find hundreds of recipes so easily online now, I never keep track of recipes that I use. I rarely even print them out; my laptop just sits on the kitchen counter as a little electronic sous chef ;)

For Christmas morning, the breakfast strata is already made and chilling in the fridge. Originally I was going to make monkey bread, but I decided I should really make something a little less artery-clogging and hyperglycemia-inducing, so I went with a lovely asparagus and leek strata. 

As for tonight on Christmas Eve, our family has a tradition of watching a movie and eating a selection of appetizers. The first year we did this we watched “Little Miss Sunshine” and ate these little mini quiches my sister whipped up. We  enjoyed it so much we have continued it every year. This year, the chosen movie is “Wall-E”. I wanted to be clever and tie the food into the movie’s theme, but we couldn’t come up with anything to go along with the environmental message of the movie. So instead, we’ll have my sister’s usual quiches (an easy pillsbury recipe), along with raw veggies with ranch and hummus, pesto and mozarella panini bites, and cauliflower popcorn (see, the dietitian in me comes out sometimes!). 

The kitchen is beckoning me back… there are things to prep. Oh yeah, and the tiramisu recipe to find….

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!