Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Cookies 2008: All the Rest of the Days

Family always comes first. So since my mom and grandma arrived, my blog was abandoned. They returned to San Diego two days ago :( , so time for an update. Since I only got one day of cookies posted, I'll go ahead and post the rest of them now. I'll do a separate blog for Christmas, which was very nice, thank you for asking.
Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies
I made these last year, but this year I did a much better job. Practice makes perfect I guess.
Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Another repeat, but some classics just can't be left out.
Gingerbread Men
Another classic. These were better last year. I under baked these for some reason, and they were soft. Which is fine, but a couple lost their heads. Decapitated gingerbread men just don't look right in a Christmas Cookie tray.
Gingerbread Wreaths
The same dough as the men, but I followed the tutorial from here for the decoration. Not as pretty as hers, but the kids loved them.
Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcake Cookies
I'm not a fruitcake lover (it's the nuts), but these were actually pretty good. Very appropriate for the season, and the bonus is that there isn't a whole fruitcake sitting around, not being eaten.
Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Diamonds
These are made with the same dough as the cut out cookies, but with dried cherries mixed in the dough. The dough is spread into a thin layer in a cookie sheet then baked, topped with chocolate and chopped hazelnuts.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
Vince's favorite. And Annamaria was quite the little helper.

Another repeat. Also another favorite.

Rainbow Cookies
Now these have a story. I've been wanting to make these for years. I'm not exaggerating, years. But the recipe calls for three 9x13" cake pans. I only ever had one. By the time I got around to purchasing two more, they were packed up and we moved to Texas. Where, you guessed it, they were stolen. Since we will never replace everything that was stolen, I was back to just one 9x13" cake pan. So this year I decided to go on with the recipe anyway, and make due with my one lonely 9x13" pan. The cake layers are made with whipped egg whiles and marzipan. Apparently marzipan is not a hot seller out here in the boonies. I did find it, overpriced and hard as a rock, but I found it. So after breaking it down in the food processor so I could incorporate it into my egg whites and other ingredients, I thought all would be fine. I separate the batter into three bowls, one left as is, one colored green, and the last colored red. I decided to bake the uncolored batch first, popped it into the oven, and set the timer. My time was up, I pulled the layer out of the oven, let it set as told, then pulled it out of the cake pan so I could prep the pan for the next layer. But while transferring the white layer to the cooling rack I dropped it. Not the cooling rack, my finished white layer. Parchment paper side up, cookie layer side down. Of course. So I sat on the floor, but my head in my hands, and regrouped. These are now called The Cursed Rainbow Cookies from Hell in my house.

Nanimo Bars
It wouldn't be Christmas without them.

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas !

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cookies 2008 Day 1

It's that time of year again. Time to pack on the extra pounds and drive myself crazy with all there is to do. My mom and grandma arrive this Friday, Sophia's birthday is Saturday, I need to wrap up Harrison and Sophia's school work for the Christmas break, I started my cookie baking on Sunday, and I have three Christmas dresses to complete before Saturday morning when the photographer is scheduled to come over and take some family photos since we'll all be together for the holidays. (How's that for a rambling sentence?) On top of all that, I'm feeling like a single mother since Vince has been working late last week and this, since he's working on about six projects at work, and the most important has a deadline of "by year end". Not that I'm complaining, I'm more than grateful that he even has a job, unlike so many right now. He has been kind and helpful enough to run errands for me on his way home and on his lunch break though. So I haven't been completely without help.

So before I get going this morning, a couple of cookies, or candies . . .

Torrone. It's an Italian confection. A soft honey nougat studded with pistachios and almonds, sandwiched between edible rice paper. The rice paper is tasteless, but essential since the candy is so sticky.

Divinity. The classic southern treat. A white creamy fudge made with egg whites and pecans. I don't know why it's considered "fudge", but whatever. Vince requested this one, and while I usually make it in drop form, it wasn't setting up properly. I don't know if my candy thermometer was acting up (not unusual), or maybe the humidity was too high that day (I don't think so), but whatever the reason I decided to make it tray style, and it turned out just fine. As evidenced by the two missing pieces Vince has since snatched.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jaw Dropping

This morning on my quick run to the grocery store (They had boneless/skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.48 a pound, today only, how could I pass that up?), I noticed that the price of gasoline was $1.49 a gallon. A $1.49! I felt as if I should pull in and fill 'er up, but my tank was 3/4 full already. I don't know how long this is going to last, and I was annoyed to say the least to be charged over $3.00 a gallon last summer, (over $4.50 while in California), but I'm going to be extra, extra irked when is goes back up again, because now I know, I know, it's artificially inflated. So like all things in life, enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Colors of Fall

One of my regular blog reads is Cake Wrecks, which is always good for a laugh and helps me feel not too bad about my cake decorating skills. Through Cake Wrecks I found this other blog which has become one of my favorites. It's called Cake Journal, and it's by a woman named Louise in Denmark. Her skills are truly inspiring. And what's even better is that she posts tutorials, giving even the baking/decorating challenged some hope. So feeling all inspired and fired up I decided to do some baking the week before Thanksgiving. Louise posted a tutorial about Marshmallow Fondant and made it look so easy I just had to give it a try. So in honor of the season I tried my hand at a little bit of fall foliage.

The pumpkins were the babies favorites.

Green Maple leaves.

Oak leaves that were colored with cocoa which gave them a nice chocolate flavor.

And when I had just scraps left, I combined them all and rolled out multi colors for the remaining leaves.

To finish them off I gave them a dusting with gold Luster Dust. I only wish my camera could capture how nice they turned out. The pictures don't do them justice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Boo Boy is 6!

Another example of my fine parenting. Harrison turned six years old last Tuesday, and I'm just now getting around to posting about it. I would like to say my delay is because I've just been so busy spending quality time with my kids, giving them such an outstanding home school education, or that all this housekeeping I do takes up all my time. Or even that it's because I've started working outside the home and boy-howdy how to these working moms do it. But no, I just don't think it was that stellar of a birthday, so really, there is not much to report. Since his birthday fell on a Tuesday it was pretty much business as usual around here. I did give him the day off school, I was feeling generous I guess. Sophia promptly reminded me that I made her do her schoolwork on her birthday last year. So I told her she would get this year off. Then she figured out that her birthday falls on a Saturday this year anyway, and she was totally being jipped. So Harrison got to play all day, and when Vince got off work, we met him at the mall so daddy could take him to Build-A-Bear. Harrison has been wanting to go to Build-A-Bear for eleven months now, so it has been a long time coming. Build-A-Bear is what Sophia chose to do for her birthday last year, and ever since she came back with her kitty, Harrison has been chomping at the bit to go build himself a dinosaur. So he happily came home with Rexi the T-Rex. While he was gone I fixed up his bedroom with a new comforter, new drapes, and hung a couple of pictures in his room. So now at least one room in our house doesn't look like the person living there is living out of a box. His Grandma Dee Dee sent him the coolest zero gravity car that runs on the walls, and even on the ceiling. But there was a warning that if driving the car on the ceiling to be careful to not stand directly under it, in case is falls. Too funny. I think Vince had just as much fun with that toy as Harrison did. For dinner he requested pasta, so Spaghetti Bolognase it was with garlic bread and fresh baked ciabatta. That boy can put away the carbs. And since I still stink at decorating cakes, I made him Boston Cream Cupcakes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five Things meme Tag

I've been tagged by my friend Lena, so here I go . . .

Five Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago:
1. Waiting for Sophia to be born.
2. Getting our new home liveable.
3. Working for Garden Fresh.
4. Getting ready for Christmas.
5. Taking it one day at a time.

Five Things On My To Do List:
1. Return call from photographer regarding family portrait.
2. Make appointments for Sophia and Harrison's annual check-ups.
3. Cut down old tablecloth and sew into table runner for Thanksgiving.
4. Call in refills on my prescriptions.
5. Type up Sophia's 1st Quarter book report.

Five Things I Like To Snack On:
1. Tortilla Chips and Salsa
2. Cheese & Crackers
3. Potato Chips
4. Pita Chips & Hummus
5. Popcorn

Five Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire:
Buy acreage and build new house.
2. Pay off mortgage then rent this place out.
3. Buy new vehicles.
4. Tithe my 10%
5. Sock the rest away somewhere safe.

Five Places I Have Lived:
1. Gardena, California (Los Angeles)
2. Fairfax, Virginia (Northern VA, ~16 mi. SW of Washington DC)
3. Escondido, California (San Diego)
4. Frisco, Texas (North Dallas)
5. Azle, Texas (North Fort Worth)

Five Jobs I Have Had:
1. Store Manager for Godiva Chocolatier
2. Reservation agent for Pan American Airlines
3. Research Associate (Automated DNA sequencing)
4. Human Resource Manager (Travel & Event Planning)
5. Business Owner / Caterer

Five People I Am Tagging:
None, but if you'd like to do your own list, let me know so I can check it out.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I received these photos in an e-mail with a question whether the similarities were an omen of things to come.
I laughed out loud.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Great Muppet Conspiracy

A while back I was talking with my mom about my crazy cousin. Among various other examples, I was telling my mom that she didn't let her children watch television, not even Sesame Street. Now don't get me wrong, in my opinion, not letting your kids watch TV doesn't make you crazy, that was just one of many, many examples. My cousin told me that she thought Sesame Street was trying to brain wash her children. "What is the Cookie Monster about anyway?", she asked me. I asked her what she was talking about, and she said she didn't like the way Cookie Monster behaved. Like he was teaching her children how to be hyper and use bad table manners. Hmmn. I cocked one eyebrow, looked at her and said I never really put too much thought into it, I just thought kids thought he was funny. Then she lowered her eyes, mumbled something, and dropped the subject. So the other day I get this video e-mail from my mom with the comment, "Now I know why **** doesn't let her kids watch Sesame Street."

Now is it just me, or does The Count look like Jamie Farr (Klinger) from M*A*S*H to anyone else?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling Accomplished

Look at what I did yesterday . . .

Are you impressed? I am. I know it's not a good thing to be impressed with one's self, but honestly I didn't think I had it in me. I'm not exactly the outdoorsy type. I'm allergic to nature in general. But my beautiful new wood pile started out as two jumbled piles of lumber, and an empty space between two trees on the edge of our property. Francesca tried to help, but at two years of age, really, how much help could she be? She's a trooper though and I admire that. Annamaria was too concerned with the possibility of bugs to be of any help. I tell you, that one is all girl. But I enjoyed the physical labor, God knows I need it. I was concerned that I would be hating life today, unable to move, and would return to my normal sluggishness. Surprisingly I feel just fine today. So fine, that we got the kids school work done by noon. I cleaned up the kitchen after breakfast. And again after lunch. Did some general picking up around the house. Have a load of laundry going as I type this. And vacuumed the master bedroom and living/family room. Should all this housekeeping include dusting? Certainly. But hey, let's not get crazy here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just a Little Suspicious

I'm not a big conspiracy theory fan. I don't think "The Man" is out to get me, or even out to pull the wool over my eyes. I did enjoy the movie Wag The Dog very much, but mainly for it's humor and Dustin Hoffman, not because I thought it was real or anything resembling reality. But today a couple of things have made me wonder. Today I paid $1.98 per gallon for gas. A $1.98! I never thought I would ever see gasoline under $2.00 a gallon again. And the fact that I now think $1.98 a gallon is a bargain, makes me realize just how brainwashed I've become. Also, I've been hearing/reading about these terrible lines at the polls. Yahoo news was reporting lines at the polls being over five hours long, and that was even before the polls were open for five hours. Are they trying to discourage people from voting? And if they are, why? And where are they getting their information? Pulling it out of their @ss? Because when I went to vote . . . not a line in sight. Walked right in. Walked right out. Maybe those crazy paranoid conspiracy theorists aren't all that crazy after all.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from Oz

Trick or Treat!
From Dorothy, The Not-So-Cowardly Lion . . .

Glenda, and The Wicked Witch
Who, by the way, screamed like she was melting while daddy tried to wet wipe the green eye shadow off of her face.
And much cookie decorating fun was also had earlier in the day. . .

The Wicked One didn't want to wear her cute new Halloween apron, so she didn't get her picture taken. I'm so mean, I must be the one she gets her wickedness from.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dee Dee Treats! Dee Dee Treats!

Yesterday a package arrived for the kids. My mom sent little gift packs for each child from the Popcorn Factory. I put the package away until after dinner, smart me, but once everyone was done eating I asked the very stupid question, "Does anyone want their gift from Grandma Dee Dee?" Much shouting and squealing ensued, "Dee Dee Treats! Dee Dee Treats!" We just let them go at them, candy pumpkins, chocolate-caramel corn, carmel filled chocolates, etc. And to protect their clothing while eating all the sticky gooey treats were their Halloween aprons that Grandma Dee Dee sent last week. Too cute.

I'll have to get better pictures of the aprons, since some naughty children took theirs off.

And where have I been lately? Certainly not keeping up on my housekeeping. And also certainly not lying about eating bon bons. I've been at work at my thirty-five year old sewing machine for the past few weeks trying to get the kids Halloween costumes done in time. And while I'm partly complaining that my sewing machine is thirty-five years old, it obviously must be a good quality one since it is that old, and I can still turn out wearable items. Really, the problem isn't the machine, the problem is me. I only sew once a year, at Halloween. I'm not a good enough seamstress to make much of anything other than costumes, because I figure they're just costumes, they don't have to be perfect. But after over a month of sewing I'm now having illusions of grandeur, thinking maybe, just maybe, I could make the girls Christmas dresses. They could be all cute and matchy-matchy. Besides, everything in Sophia's size looks like it's for a twenty-one year old, not a ten year old. And while my old sewing machine would get the job done, I was given a demo on a new Husquevarna at the fabric store. Nice. Anyway, I'm sure I'll have official Halloween photos tomorrow, but here is a sneak peak of The Wicked Witch (please excuse her not being green).

She's looking wicked, isn't she?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trying To Make Sense Of It All

O-kay, I just spent a large portion of my day checking out (thank you Jessica), and (thank you dear husband), to review the latest from the 3rd debate, and try to get a sense of accuracy from all this nonsense. It makes me happy to see that both parties are equally guilty of throwing out inaccuracies, over exaggerations, and plain old lies. Well, "happy", may not be the right word, but I think you know what I mean. It really bothers me when I read/hear people say things to the effect of all Republicans being evil, all Democrats being bleeding-heart-liberals, or being scared to hell at the thought of any one candidate being in office. Honestly, I don't think I'm comfortable with any of our choices, but to take the stance that "your" candidate is going to save the world, and "my" candidate is evil incarnate is just small minded. None of them are perfect, they all manipulate the data to suit their needs, and I really don't think any one person can make or break this country. Screw it up? Yes. Completely destroy it? No. I mean of course, we want the right person in such a powerful position, but is one man going to cause the end of the world as we know it? Just seems so extreme. This is still a democracy, right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not Sure What To Think

Typically I stay out of political discussions. I've never been a History/Government/Politics buff in the first place, but really, I don't dig deep to find the real truths of all I hear and or see and therefore would find myself hypocritical to start going off about things I truly know very little about. So usually I just keep my opinions to myself, but ask a lot of questions to try to get an idea of why someone else feels so passionately for the way they believe.

I am conservative and pro-life, so of course, I have things I look for in choosing a candidate I can support. But when I get honest with myself, I don't think that any of them are truly honorable people. And then of course there is the media, and things get so slanted, twisted, and taken out of context, that really the candidate's voting record is really the only way to get an idea of the person. But again, that takes a little digging, and time is a luxury I don't always have.

I do find a few things quite amusing though:
  • When McCain chose Palin as his running mate, I wondered if that was a ploy to pull Hillary's supporters over to his side who really wanted to see a woman in the White House. Then the more I learned about Palin I realized that she is the anti-Hilary. Other than two x chromosomes, that's about all those women seem to have in common. No wonder the Hillary supporters are all so angry.
  • I also used to think that a vast number of people were Hillary supporters simple because she is a woman. I thought, who'd support a candidate solely based on her sex? How does being a woman make her any more qualified for the job? Just another advancement of the Feminist movement. Boy, was I wrong, because Palin certainly is a woman, and do they ever hate her.
  • And I've wondered, if Obama really wanted to cinch the Presidency, why didn't he choose Hillary as his running mate? The Democratic party was so split between the two, wouldn't having them on the same ticket unify them all? But it has been suggested to me that Hillary would never have accepted second to Obama. And Obama probably wanted to make it to see his next birthday, and the Clintons would have him "eliminated" if he was all that was standing in their way. Ouch.
  • I also find it curious when I hear those who complain about Palin's lack of experience and qualifications to be VP. Those same people who are Obama supporters, who are supporting a man with even less experience and qualifications for the main position, the presidency. I find that very strange.
  • My husband received an e-mail from a friend comparing Obama to the anti-Christ. When he told me this, I thought it was pretty funny. Ridiculous, but funny. In summary, it said something to the effect of, "According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA??" Hmm, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is it a duck? Or the anti-Christ? I don't know. I'd still rather check into his voting record to confirm my opinions of the man. He does have very little experience, is pro-choice (is in support of partial-birth abortions), has affiliations with some questionable people/organizations, and talks out of both sides of his mouth. Not a person I think I could trust. But then again, they're all politicians. I don't know that any of them can be trusted.
This morning I received this e-mail about an article Ken Blackwell wrote earlier this year. Not amusing, but very interesting.

Beyond Obama's Beauty
by Kenneth Blackwell
February 14, 2008

It's an amazing time to be alive in America. We're in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first front running freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first.

We won't truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won't arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gender.

Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics.

The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the front runner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him.

Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He's not. He's the next George McGovern. And it's time people learned the facts.

Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton.

Never in my life have I seen a presidential front runner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.

Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he's not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.

Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America. But let's look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial "beauty."

Start with national security, since the president's most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons; meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust; and Kim Jong Il, who is murdering and starving his people, but emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists — something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s. Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.

Next, consider economic policy. For all its faults, our health care system is the strongest in the world. And free trade agreements, created by Bill Clinton as well as President Bush, have made more goods more affordable so that even people of modest means can live a life that no one imagined a generation ago. Yet Mr. Obama promises to raise taxes on "the rich."

How to fix Social Security? Raise taxes. How to fix Medicare? Raise taxes. Prescription drugs? Raise taxes. Free college? Raise taxes. Socialize medicine? Raise taxes. His solution to everything is to have government take it over. Big Brother on steroids, funded by your paycheck.

Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying, "All praise and glory to God!" but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have "hijacked" — hijacked — Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that direction. In Illinois, he refused to vote against a statewide ban — ban — on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood, and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. But Mr. Obama could win if people don't start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches. His vision of "bringing America together" means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs.

But right now everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and — yes — they're talking about his race. Those should never be the factors on which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama's radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton.

It's time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let's first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilizational war.

Mr. Blackwell, a fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and the Family Research Council, is a columnist for The New York Sun, and a contributing editor for

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

I have a neighbor who is also new to the area, and she has decided to plan an activity once a month for those of us who are home with or without kids. Her husband is in the Air Force, and she has recently gotten out, so she is quite used to being in a new area and one of her goals is to familiarize herself with her new surroundings and find out what there is to do in the area. I admire her outgoing spirit, and so was very happy to be included along on these little "field trips". Last month was the Fort Worth Zoo, but I was unable to attend for a couple of reasons. Don't tell the kids we missed that trip, because I never told them we were supposed to go in the first place. But I've been looking forward to October's activity, because I love fall and Halloween, and it's been a couple of years since I've been to a pumpkin patch. She found one that has free entry, free parking, bounce houses for the kids, hay rides, hay bale mazes, etc., etc. The only down side was that it was about an hour away. Not a big deal in my book. So off to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch we go. The kids had a really good time. I kept loosing Harrison, he took off for the maze, and I had to keep calling him back to me. The girls had a good time in the bounce house, even Francesca. I tried to get some good pictures, but as soon as I whipped out my camera, Francesca would close her eyes. For some reason she thinks closing her eyes is how she smiles for a picture these days. I swear that child is just messing with me sometimes. Notice in the picture above that her eyes are closed. I thought the pumpkins were overpriced, ($0.75 a pound), but really wasn't sure what the going rate for pumpkins were these days, so I let the kids each pick out a little pumpkin, and we'll shop for the carving ones later.

Oh, look who decided to open her eyes for one photo.
O-kay, so make that two photos. The pumpkin patch had all these character cut outs, and she loves Nemo (or Me Mo as she calls him), so she was quite happy to sit with "Me Mo" and smile.

And yes, the sun was in their eyes, but again with the closed eyes.
This time I purposely faced them away from the sun, but look, closed eyes.

I tried again, but this time she wouldn't even face the camera.

And by time this picture was taken she was just done. Crabby Ass.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seven Years - No Itches

Yesterday Vince and I celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary. And have I mentioned lately how awesome my husband is? No? Well, let me just take this opportunity to inform you all, that my husband, is awesome. Very awesome. Just what makes him so awesome? Well, many things, really. His uncommon good looks. His winning personality. His easy sense of humor. The list could go on and on. But what really made his awesomeness stand out yesterday were these . . .
Those are just a couple of pieces of my brand new, fourteen piece, copper core All-Clad cookware. All-Clad did I say? Yes! All-Clad! And could I be happier? Probably not. They are almost just too pretty to use. I did say, "almost". I am excited beyond words.

So after recuperating from my stunned silence at such an awesome gift, which was given to me by my awesome husband. Oh, I already mentioned that didn't I? That my husband is awesome. And that he gave me the most awesome gift. Sorry. Anyway, he headed to downtown Fort Worth to Texas de Brazil for drinks and a very yummy dinner. This place has a different concept. There is no menu. It has a really nice salad/vegetable station and Gauchos roam the dining room serving all kinds of meat from big metal skewers. Unlimited amounts of meat? Bring it on. We were warned by friends to not eat all day before going to this restaurant so we were starving when we got there. It's fair to say that Ketel One Martini started out my evening nicely. We had never been to Texas de Brazil before, but would most certainly go back. I'm looking forward to it actually. And if you sign up on their website, they'll e-mail you coupons. Since it was our anniversary, they sent us a coupon and we only had to pay for one meal. Bonus! It was the cheapest we've ever gone out for our anniversary before, and every bit as good.

So after a lovely evening of good food and good company, we came home, thanked our new neighbors who so kindly volunteered to watch our kids, (another bonus, no babysitter to pay), and went into a deep - meat - sleep.
And since my system has had about all the meat it can take, tonight I'll be making in my new cookware a nice vegetable curry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

She's Two! Well, She Was, 10 Days Ago.

On September 13th, we celebrated Francesca's second birthday. I know, I know. What do you expect, the youngest of four. Poor thing, getting jipped on her birthday announcement. Honestly, I don't think she cares. She was very laid back about the whole birthday thing anyway.

I made a nice dinner of Teriyaki Chicken and Sesame Glazed Bok Choy. Everyone ate with gusto, so I considered it a successful dinner. It was pretty much a typical Saturday, except with cupcakes and a balloon. She even got jipped with the balloon though. I normally get our kids balloon bouquets for their birthdays, but since we're living in po'dunked, I have no idea where to go around here to get one. So I ended up picking out a Mylar Winnie the Pooh birthday balloon while at Albertsons getting confectioners sugar for the frosting for her cupcakes. Blueberry, with blueberry-cream cheese frosting, in case you were wondering. She didn't mind the lack of superfluous latex balloons. She loved her Winnie balloon. That is of course until Harrison popped it. How do you pop a Mylar balloon? I have no idea, I never got a straight answer out of Harrison how he did it. It's a gift I guess. Francesca had such a good time blowing out the candles on her cupcake that Vince had to relight the candles. Again. And again. And again. And she wouldn't even lean in to blow them out. She would just purse her lips just right, and blow, not even hard, and those candles would go out every time. We must be easy marks, because she amazed us every time she did it.

Earlier in the week she received a birthday card from Granny M with a savings bond. And on the day of her birthday arrived a nice package from her Grandma DeeDee, filled with new clothes and a stuffed puppy. Annamaria, the Diva, was very disappointed to learn the new clothes were not for her. But we held our ground, and she has yet to get her grubby little hands on her sister's new clothes.
So no big event, no fancy party. But I think she had a good day anyway.