Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Enjoy your time celebrating, eat black eyed peas, and don't make too many resolutions!

Welcome, 2009!

{Edit: Thanks for telling me about my chickpea/black eyed pea mistake. The funny thing is that I actually googled the link to find the history of the tradition yesterday and had it wrong there too. I finally figured that out and didn't change the post! Silly me.}

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas with friends

Our Christmas with friends was so much fun. My four girlfriends from college came to my house for the celebration. Apparently the dress code was red? Here is the entire group, including husbands and boyfriends and dogs:
We had a great time eating (everybody brought appetizers to share) and playing Rob Your Neighbor. I am so sad that we don't live in the same city anymore (or for that matter, on the same campus). We always have so much fun together! Here is Colleen and her boyfriend, Brian, opening their white elephant gift, a lovely (and weird) picture frame from Julie:
David rocked Rob Your Neighbor and kept getting lots of presents. Lucky!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tool and pot pies

First of all, nobody guessed the tool that we received this year. This year, we got a useful (drum roll please?):


A LADDER! (Image found here.)
Thanks to Mrs. Haid, Kathy, and RO RO for commenting and guessing! Mrs. Haid---I would have LOVED a shop vac. Maybe we can put that on our list for next year? How handy would that be?

Secondly, Sarah commented and wondered how the pot pie recipe went. Overall, it was very, very tasty. I do have one complaint, though. There was a LOT of butter in the dish. And I mean a lot. I don't really enjoy the taste of butter (I never butter my rolls or anything), and while I could not really taste it last night (when it came right out of the oven), I can definitely taste the butter in the leftovers. However, if you actually like butter, I think that you will find the recipe delicious and satisfying. It really isn't that hard, and is very good. It is a wonderful alternative to the Banquet Pot Pies that I love (that are so bad for you!). Next time I think I will use less butter and use olive oil instead for the filling. The flour mixture is an integral part of the filling, however, and I am not sure how else to thicken the sauce. Perhaps I can just use half olive oil and half butter? Any ideas? Here is the recipe again in case you missed it: Smitten Kitchen Chicken Pot Pie.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Returning

These past few days have been a whirlwind! We left on Wednesday to go to my mom's house, where she and my dad had prepared prime rib and vegetables for a tasty Christmas Eve supper. After that, we opened gifts, which was a lot of fun. And for your amusement, I will have a little poll. Can anybody comment and guess what tool I got for Christmas? In years past, my parents have given us tools so that we have complete tools sets. If anybody guesses it correctly, I will write your name in big letters on my blog along with a congratulatory remark.

The next morning we headed to church, where again, I played the piano and David cantered. We ventured into the actual mass music this year, which was very lovely except for the parts where someone messed up (I'm not trying to be mean here; both me and David messed up during parts of the mass). After that, we went to my grandma's to celebrate Christmas and her birthday!

We received lots of lovely presents, ate too much food, played Trivial Pursuit, and enjoyed the company of family. That night we relaxed back at my parents' house, trying to recover from the immense amount of deliciousness we had consumed that day.

The next morning we woke up and headed to David's hometown, where we went to his parents' house and celebrated Christmas with his family. We had a lot of fun eating (again), opening presents (again!), and enjoying the company of family (again!!). The next morning we woke up and ran and then played Trivial Pursuit against David's family. David bought the game for me for Christmas.

Finally, that afternoon, we attended the baptism of our niece Allie, which was adorable. David and I are her godparents. Hopefully we will successfully guide her on her spiritual path. Today we woke up again and went to breakfast with the family and then drove home! Luckily the highway wasn't too crowded yet. This afternoon we went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was really great. I was in tears by the end of the movie. Tonight I made homemade chicken pot pies. It is almost time for bed!

Hopefully I will have pictures for you soon. If you have made it to the end of this long post, don't forget to comment with what tool you think we got for Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them,

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
- Luke 2:8-12


May your Christmas Day or other Holiday Season be filled with joy and laughter.

Image found here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Christmas 2008 by Abbie0317

Check out what I made! This website lets you make collages of clothes. How fun! I decided to check it out while I was "working" this morning. This collage represents what I will be bringing in my Christmas luggage.

I probably won't post much for the next few days. We're going to be celebrating Christmas! It will be a fun, busy time. David and I are again singing for Christmas morning at church. David is a little nervous, I think. I am too! We decided to try singing harder songs, including some for the actual mass. It should be interesting to say the least.

Have a happy, happy Christmas! Enjoy your time on Thursday. Thanks for being such great readers. I have been thankful to have another fun year with my blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shopping

Being in law school kind of stinks when you need to do some Christmas shopping. We don't get out of school until about a week before Christmas and before then the task seems so daunting that you don't want to spend time looking for the perfect gifts, so that leaves you with a week before Christmas to finish shopping.

This year we had bought a few things for our parents wayyyy before Christmas. Our nieces and nephew are super easy because we get them the same thing every year (a savings bond, which may be really boring to them now but hopefully will help them down the road sometime). David was a bit hard to shop for this year. He wants things like books (hello have you ever walked in our house, David? It is FULL OF BOOKS!), or an external hard drive (romantic). So that put me back at square one as far as he was concerned. Other people are really easy to shop for. For instance, I know that Cindy will love a bottle of wine. My mom likes anything pink. My dad loves peanuts. Easy.

So anyway, I braved the mall today and went shopping. First stop: Target, where I picked up a few items. Second stop: some sports stores to try to find some skiing equipment. Third stop: Petco.

Now, I have been home for about two minutes and the cats have already discovered their presents. Let's just say that they are super cute and involve feather boas. The dog is getting a new shirt to supplement his little doggie jacket from last year. They can't wait to open their presents tonight!

Finally, I have a few crafts up my sleeve. One may not be finished before Christmas, but I do not think that the recipient will care at all. I better get back to working and wrapping!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The weekend

We had the best weekend. On Friday all of my bestest college girlfriends came over with their significant others (now over half of us are married!) for a small holiday party. Everybody brought appetizers and we had fun eating too much, drinking fun holiday beer, and playing rob your neighbor. Every couple had to bring a holiday ornament and a white elephant gift. David and I received a beautiful ornament and baby clothes as our joke gift. Ha.

On Saturday we trekked to David's hometown and we to another friend's party, which was also very fun. We hadn't seen her in forever so it was fun to catch up and eat more yummy food! Then, on Sunday, we met up with my family and enjoyed seeing many of my mother's aunts and my cousins and aunts for Christmas on that side of the family. That was also a lot of fun. I love being able to see many of my family and friends during the holidays. Tonight we have another Christmas with my family and the commenter Golfer, a good family friend, and tomorrow is our family Christmas, which means that I need to hurry up and figure out what I am getting David for Christmas!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm back!

Thanks so much for being so gracious while I was away. David is such a wonderful writer and I really enjoyed his posts! I wish that he would start blogging again but I think that it becomes a source of stress for him...he loves writing and feels pressure to write amazing posts!

Yesterday I finished my final final exam for the semester. We have two weeks of finals and I had one the first Tuesday and then none until the next Monday, the next Tuesday, and then yesterday. It was a pretty hectic schedule. The chaos was compounded by the fact that the weather was horrible this week, which made getting to my finals a bit tricky since they were all at 8:30 a.m. and my school never cancels finals. David left on Sunday to go to the city so he didn't have to drive his two-hour commute in the bad weather. He stays with his sister who is nice enough to accept another addition to her family a once or twice a week.

After David left on Sunday, my parents came to my house so they could be closer to their jobs. However, their schools were both called off. That was actually lucky for me, though, because then my dad drove me to my final that day. It was icy and gross. The same thing happened on Tuesday. It was quite a crazy week!

Yesterday my final exam was eight hours long and a "take home", which basically means "we will distribute the final to all of the students and then they will stampede into the library where the librarians will have heart attacks due to the noise during the stampede". It took me 7.25 hours to complete the exam. Afterwards, my legs felt like noodles. Sitting down for that long is hard! Apparently, in years past, the proctors of this exam have had students actually collapse in their office from hunger, stress, and thirst after turning in their exam. I'm glad I'm not that crazy about stressing over my grade! Nothing could stop me from eating lunch. :)

Now we are starting our holiday festivities. I have a few fun post ideas for over the weekend and next week. We have holiday celebrations every night from last night until next Sunday. Hopefully I can squeeze in some good posts! Enjoy your Friday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

labels

My sister evidently had trouble identifying some of the items in our kitchen, so I have an updated, more easily interpreted picture. The kitchen table has been omitted from this artwork, and Arwen's exact coloration is not accurately depicted.

remodeling

Today I made the two hour trek to Kansas City because of the stormy weather. Luckily, even though I drove through a bit of rain and the temperature dropped rapidly, it was never freezing or slick before I arrived at my sister's house. Tonight, though, I could hear sleet and see snow frequently, so I am glad my commute tomorrow will be shorter than normal!

Today I took advantage of my free time by sprucing up the house a little bit. Before today, our kitchen sliding door blinds were in a sorry state. We had long vertical blinds that the cats frequently pulled to the ground and chewed, so the blinds have looked rather mangled. In case you're having trouble imagining, here is a photograph of them:

As you can see, it was not too charming. Now, our kitchen is bedecked with stylish curtains that are hopefully catproof. It looks sort of like this, only snazzier:

I wish we had made the change months ago, because it was rather easily accomplished and makes a huge difference.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

winter

Mother Nature is starting to be pretty rough lately. What with the inclement weather of earlier in the week, and the seemingly perpetual darkness, I can see how folks would dislike these winter months. But don't get discouraged! Just keep in mind these words by my good friend Oliver Herford:

I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December:
a magical song,
and sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to spring
than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December.

Monday, December 08, 2008

weekend

We have returned from a long and delightful weekend. I left work early on Friday so we could attend a rehearsal dinner for two dear friends of ours who married on Saturday. I don't have very many pictures just now, but this should give you an idea of how resplendent my favorite bridesmaid was:

After the ceremony, the wedding party gadded about town for several hours to take pictures. This was a frigid activity because the ladies all wore dresses and the wedding happened to take place in December. However, everyone forgot the cold rather quickly because a random unicycler showed up at one of our photo-shoots! The groom tried to unicycle, with very comic results.

I've always kind of wanted to learn how to do generally unuseful tricks like unicycle or do a backflip. It would be essential to perfect these skills in secret. Sure, a person would almost never has a good opportunity to show off these moves, but if he or she could, the payoff would be huge. Imagine the uproar if, when the groom hopped onto the unicycle, he had done a couple of laps around the wedding party without batting an eye. I'm sure that if I had a repertoire of about 20 completely useless yet visually impressive tricks, I would be able to perform about once a year and become the life of a party.

Sunday was wonderful because, once we were back home, Abbie and I did nothing but relax all day. Well, I relaxed, she studied. I am very content with my lack of studying in recent weeks, but I suppose it will have to end pretty soon. My next exam is only about five months away!

Enjoy the wintry weather tomorrow, and drive safely!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Paco

After having so many words on this blog devoted to our felines, I think it is only fitting to give our canine the spotlight for a while. Unfortunately for him, this post will likely not endear him to many of you readers.

As I mentioned earlier, we boarded Paco at the kennel over Thanksgiving. While he was there, he ate some food that didn't agree with him and became gravely ill.

After what we thought was one isolated accident, Paco awakened us at the crack of 4 a.m. with a horrible stench and a horrible mess. Poor Paco evidently had uncontrollable diarrhea.

We tried wrapping him in an old rag during the day to guard against accidents, but we quickly ran out of those. So, to protect our pristine carpets, I made a little purchase:


Pull-ups disposable training pants! And to help the now-stylish Paco retain his dignity, I got the Toy Story-themed pull-ups.

Luckily, in addition to the pull-ups, we've been giving him some medicine which appears to have returned him to his previous healthy state, so you do not need to worry about him anymore.

Tomorrow, Abbie and I are heading to the big city of St. Louis for a wedding this weekend, so you will probably not hear from me for a few days. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hello again

Hello, readers. I suppose it's been quite some time since you've heard from me, but now you're stuck with me for a while. Now that the tables have turned and Abbie is studying like mad while I relax to my heart's content, I'm happy to be at the helm here.

Things have been pretty sleepy here lately, but everything changed last Friday when we returned home from our Thanksgiving festivities. After retrieving Paco from his visit to the kennel, Abbie and I set up our Christmas decorations. These decorations include Thorina's and Arwen's favorite jungle gym: the Christmas tree. Now, about every six minutes, I hear a clinking sound, as if someone is unstealthily knocking two priceless glass ornaments together or tossing baby Jesus off of the TV, manger and all.

Our disciplinary plan involves a spray bottle capable of nailing a cat in the face with a jet of chastising water from two rooms away. Ah, if only one were allowed to use it....Somebody in this household thinks that this spray will only work if cats are directly in the act of vandalism; if they have not quite started or have taken a brief pause in the middle of their attacks, they are completely safe. Of course, the cats have discovered this and have mastered the art of developing a bland, innocent look at the first sound of a water bottle being cocked and aimed. And then when I ever do get to spray them, Abbie leaps in front of the punitive stream and shields the culprits with her body!

At least Paco is both blissfully unaware of any holiday goings-on and blissfully well-behaved.

Up for a breath of air

I am now in the full swing of finals season, and unfortunately I think it is best if I take a couple of weeks off of writing on my blog. For this I apologize, but I think that I should study Constitutional Law rather than thinking of posts to write.

However, you should be happy, because yet again I am having a guest blogger. My guest blogger used to write for the blog This is Only Palaver, which unfortunately ended in 2006. He is a highly qualified grammar nut, so don't worry about misspellings anymore. Furthermore, he is sure to have many fun stories to tell you. What can I say? I like him pretty much.

In case you have not guessed it yet, my guest blogger is the one and only David. You should anticipate his first post this evening!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tomato Soup


I love my recipe for tomato soup. I love tomatoes, so this soup gives me a great reason to eat a lot of them! I wanted to share this recipe since it is something that I actually adapted from a different recipe on my own. So here it is:

Homemade Tomato Soup
- chicken broth or stock (is there a difference?)
- tomato juice
- 2-4 fresh tomatoes
- onion
- kosher salt
- pepper
- milk (I use skim milk, but you may want to use heavy cream. I just like to keep it less fattening because I do not really care about the difference)
- red pepper, or paprika
- cumin
- sugar
- parsley
- bay leaf
- basil
- oregano
- olive oil

Start by chopping the onion and saute it in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a big pot on the stove. Next, slice the tomatoes thinly and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes or until roasted.

Pour about half a box (or about a can and a half) of chicken broth/stock into your pot. Then, pour the entire can of tomato juice into the pot. Stir.

Add your spices--season to your taste.

When the tomatoes are finished roasting, scrape them off the sheet and put them in the soup mixture. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add 2 cups of milk (or more if you prefer) and simmer for another 10 minutes (be sure to stir the soup in order to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot). I also sometimes add a bit of tomato paste to thicken the soup. After that, viola! You are finished.