Saturday, December 30, 2006

whew, what a week!

So Christmas has come and gone, and I'm still exhausted, but happy.

I managed to find a fabulous mac & cheese recipe for my family's Christmas Eve shindig, which I figured would help at least my kid find something she wanted to eat amongst the cornucopia of entrees usually presented for consumption at those things. And believe it or not, I found it on the back of the Creamette pasta box! I'd link it, but I just looked for it and it's not on their website. Poo. But trust me, it was yummy. Crap, I'd better cut that recipe from the box before I forget. [running to kitchen]

Christmas Day brought a whole slew of other tasks to accomplish. We got up around 6:30 to watch the kid open her gifts from Santa, us, and the dog (yes, the dog bought my kid presents, shut up), which all went over quite well. Considering the fact that she had a pretty specific list of things she wanted, it would've taken the village idiot to screw it up. And come 7:15, we were out the door to get her to her dad's house by 8:00. The kid scored, dudes - she had Christmas with my family, one with us, another one with her dad, and she'll get another one this weekend when she comes back home to another pile of gifts. In fact, she'll get two - we're headed to my mom's house for New Year's Eve, where she'll score on even more gifts! Sheesh. I miss being a kid.

And then....the moment I got home, it was time to start cooking. I had a full-blown Christmas luncheon to prepare. On the menu:
  • Prime rib au jus
  • Salad (brought by the grandparents, thankfully)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Creamed corn
  • Creamed spinach
  • Rolls & butter

Plus we had cheesecake and homemade cookies to offer up for dessert, with yummy coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. As I'd prayed earlier, the culinary gods blessed me with a perfect meal. Everything turned out just as I'd hoped, and I think I managed to cement myself into a nice cushy place in the family fo' sho'. Granted, they'd been treating me as one of the family for years, but I think this meal nudged me into a permanent spot.

As for gifts, I scored on some pretty nice stuff. I got a lot of supplies to feed my cardmaking/scrapbooking passion, a miniature sewing machine (yay!!), the Fergie CD (again, shut up), a copy of Talladega Nights on DVD, snacks in my stocking, gift cards to Target, Nordstrom, and Black Angus, Philosophy shower gel in my favorite flavor (powdered sugar cookie), some cash, and the biggest gift ever: a dishwasher. Sadly, we don't have room for it, so it's probably going to get traded for a cool laser printer, but it was very sweet of the ILs, don't you think? I constantly bitch and moan about BEING the dishwasher in this house, but we just can't find a spot for it. Poo again.

Tonight's our engagement-versary. SHUT UP! We celebrate it! I see steak & lobster in my immediate future. Mmmmmmm.....it's all about the food.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

it's almost over. yippee!

Don't get me wrong. I truly love Christmas, I really do. The cooler weather, the shopping, the spreading of good cheer, Christmas carols, the excitement at church as the holiday gets closer....it's all wonderful.

But I'm so tired of the prep work. I think it just multiplies every year - shopping, baking, parties, cleaning..... and I'm exhausted! I think I'm just getting old and crusty.

Oh, and I'm baking again to give more gifts. But I found mason jars that are about half the size of the ones I filled last week. Heh. I wish I'd have made this discovery a lot sooner!

And tomorrow, I need blessings from the culinary gods. I'm doing a full-on prime rib roast with all the side dishes - creamed corn, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, horseradish, au jus. It sounds so fabulous...I hope it turns out okay. What on earth possessed me to volunteer myself for this, anyway?? Do I look like Betty Crocker? [looking in mirror]

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy [insert other cultural holiday here], everybody!

Friday, December 22, 2006

i'm all rested up now.

I spent Wednesday evening/night in the kitchen. Not only did I make dinner, but I was a baking fool. I found out the hard way that mason jars require a crapload of cookies to fill!

And because I'm a nerd, I got bored with making the same kind of cookies. Therefore, I present to you the 2006 Cookie Parade:

Black & White Chocolate Chip



Snickerdoodles












Hawaiian wedding cookies












Chewy molasses spice











Eggnog spice (not as gross as it sounds -
it's really a nutmeg flavored cookie
topped with butter rum frosting)












The sampler platter I took to work as a parting gift:
And finally, the labels I put on top of the
jars to identify the cookie flavor:









Whoa, I really DO have Martha Stewart issues. Help me.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

cookies, cookies, and more cookies.

The Christmas cookie gift project has officially begun.
So far, I've got a whopping three mason jars full of snickerdoodles. And of course, even after I measured so carefully, the stupid cookies are probably about 1/2" smaller in diameter than I wanted. Martha Stewart, I ain't. But they taste good! That's a start, I suppose.
I'm sitting here typing as my first dozen eggnog tea cookies are baking. Please send me happy cookie vibes - I didn't do a test run of these and I'm a little frightened. They'll get icing with rum in it, though....when all else fails, ply 'em with likka.
And those three mason jars? Only a small dent in the TWELVE I have to fill. Not to mention the other tins I'll be filling with probably 3 different kinds of cookies. At least I don't have to do all of them by Christmas.....
[shaking fist at Martha for making me think homemade gifts were the way to go]
The timer's going off! *sigh*

Monday, December 18, 2006

knotties + food + presents

= more fun than you can possibly imagine!

Our ginormous group managed to pull it together for the first annual SFAMily Holiday Hoorah! It was held on Sunday at Firefly Bistro, in South Pasadena. There were so many fabulous elements to this gathering - really yummy food, a cute location (although I'm sure the other patrons were sorry they chose Firefly for a nice, quiet Sunday brunch), fun gift exchanges, and a surprise visit from our favorite pregnant Knottie! Sadly, there were two members of the SFAMily who were MIA, and we missed them a lot. But *tear* we managed to press on and have a good time anyway. ;)

Here's our "tree":
And we had a few party favors, too - yummy brownies with the cutest greeting, and two of my own offerings - candy and a calendar with everyone's birthdays and anniversary/wedding days. I'd post a photo, but I ate 'em before I realized it probably would have been cool to snap a pic. And of course, I managed to completely overlook printing a calendar for myself. Oh, well. I'm printing a couple extra anyway, for the two who couldn't make it. I guess I can throw one in there for me, too. Sweet!

Here's one of the highlights of the White Elephant Gift Exchange ($5 limit!):



This was K before I stole that Santa right out from under her! I like the slightly dumbfounded look on the random dude behind her, too. I'd "paint" him out, but what fun would that be?

All in all, it was probably one of the most fun gatherings we've had yet! And, here's a little something that was captured by the dude who volunteered to take our group picture. It's really fuzzy, but you get the picture. And I'm htmltarded, so I can't figure out how to get the whole screen in.
Dear nice man who so kindly offered to help us out: Um, you got stuck on the "video" mode, dude. But hey, thanks for playing. And a Merry Christmas to ya.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

too. busy. to. blog.

Say it ain't so! That's so sad!

[imagining people's reactions, and being optimistic]

I've been bogged down with testing cookie recipes. Taking the kid to activities. Shopping.

and not even the fun, Christmas-y kind of shopping. Ralph's, Michael's and the local scrapbooking store have become my haunts lately. But I'm not complaining - it's really fun! It's just keeping me from my blog. And that is a tragedy.

I'm finishing up an order of bridal shower invitations, and I think I managed to score myself another Knottie wedding invitation gig! I didn't even have to break any Knot rules to get it. So there, Knotzis! [shaking fist]

I'm really hoping to make up some fun favors for a special group of peeps that I'm going to see on Sunday. But I'm running out of time.

NOOOOO! THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME! I'M SO EXCITED! I'M SO EXCITED! I'M SO.......

Well, you know where I'm going with that.

Not to mention, I stupidly volunteered to do Christmas lunch with the hub's family - and said I'd do a prime rib with all the trimmings! What in the hell was I thinking?!? And so of course, invitations had to be designed and assembled. OF COURSE. I'll post a picture of the finished product later. They're pretty cute, if I do say so myself!

I know you'll be waiting with bated breath. Okay, maybe not, but humor me here, people. It's the holiday season.

Monday, December 11, 2006

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas!

Okay, okay, that was TOTALLY corny and cheesy, but I couldn't help it. I really love the holidays, and it was weird to think that it's actually that time of year without a tree.
So we got one.It was also one hell of a cookie weekend. I'm sticking to my word and doing cookie gifts for everyone this year, and I've been poring over every holiday magazine and cookie book I can get my hands on. So I picked out a handful of recipes that sounded good, cut 'em in half, and put the oven to work. I made:
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Cinnamon chip coins
  • Chewy molasses spice
  • Chocolate peppermint
I took a bunch of extra cookies to the office today. Made me look like a total rock starrr-ah!

And, here's one of my most favoritest photos of the year:

And because I am a true photo whore, I had to have this one:

I love my kid. And my dog.

Friday, December 8, 2006

best. day. ever.

The dream is alive, people!

I really tried not to look so excited as I did it, but I gave my boss my two-week notice yesterday.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!

In less than two weeks, I finally get to live my lifelong dream of stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). I can volunteer more at the kid's school, concentrate on the invite business, and make fabulous, creative, elaborate dinners on any given night. I can bake cookies for an after-school treat! I can take a pilates class at my yoga studio!

Oh, the possibilities are endless. Santa came early this year for this desperate-to-be-a-housewife. Life is good, very good indeed.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

they're done!! weeeeeeee!!!

I decided that I was going to create and produce our own family Christmas cards this year. Hallmark ain't got nothin' on my skillz, yo.

I checked out our wedding invitation guest list and thought, I can do this! I estimated having perhaps 75 cards to do. I was a little daunted at the idea, but I figured, maybe putting some of my work out there might generate some inquiries, right? There's family and friends and clients and co-workers on our addressee list. Someone's got to know someone who could use my help.

Well, it turned out to be more like 125 cards. 125!! I felt like I was gluing and assembling for days. But just now, I watched our mail lady take away the stacks of carefully addressed, sealed, and stamped cards. I also came to the realization that 125 is nothing - it could have been way more than that. And especially if I get any clients with ginormous wedding guest lists and such.

So I danced a little jig in my chair. Yippee! One holiday task down, and only 187389017 to go.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

recipe for a wan-derful evening:

Ingredients:

1 very dorky female
1 twice-worn (but oft-tried on) wedding gown
an extremely patient husband
the top tier of a wedding cake, half frozen
very sharp knife
one wedding video
wedding veil (optional, but helpful)
digital camera
comfy couch

Take the dorky female and add the wedding gown. Stir in a truckload of cheeseballness and mix well. Season generously with bridal twirling and squealing. Put the optional wedding veil on and use the digital camera to capture extreme nuttiness. Both video and still photography are highly recommended. Set aside for later use.

Place patient husband on the comfy couch. Sprinkle him with lots of extra patience and happiness, then set up wedding video. Take the very sharp knife and use it to carve a slice of half-frozen wedding cake (after taking photos of cake, of course).
Hit "play" on video and begin to eat cake. Top with a dollop of hilarious commentary on wedding video. Take more photos, and then call it a night. ;)

Monday, December 4, 2006

happy wan-niversary to us!

One year ago today, I was sitting in our suite at the Four Seasons Maui, bonding with my bridal party, having hair and nails done, and totally excited about marrying my fabulous fiance.

At this precise moment (allowing for Hawaiian time, of course), we were giggling up a storm, snacking on fun munchies from the club hospitality room, and just being girls (not to mention, I was writing my vows. Procrastinator, anyone?). I just can't believe it's been an entire year already! It seems so long ago, and yet it went by so fast.

I look back and realize how many things have happened over the last twelve months. It's just amazing! And my kid - she just looks so different now, just one year later.

So tonight, we'll head to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to celebrate. It ain't the one in Maui, but it'll do. It'll do just fine.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Rick Beswick, R.I.P.

I found out yesterday that my lawyer, Rick Beswick, passed away Monday morning of a heart attack. Thankfully, he went in his sleep and I hope that means he didn't feel any pain.
This man was an extremely talented lawyer and was very well known in the San Bernardino and Riverside courts. He'd been married to his wife, a former mayor of Redlands, for 44 years, and they had three children.
I didn't actually know Rick all that well aside from hiring him on two occasions, but he was such a great guy. He was wonderful to me, and remembered details about my situation that even I had forgotten! He'd walk into a courtroom and greet everyone from the bailiff to the law clerk, and inquire about their spouses/kids/dogs by name. People were drawn to his magnetic personality, although if you were on the opposite side, you had to watch your ass - because he'd getcha, and getcha good.
The world will be quite a different place without him in it. See ya, Mr. Beswick. We'll miss you.
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