Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions & some randomness.

My 2010 planner came in!! I have to say... I've never spent so much on a planner before. I usually get mine for less than ten dollars at Barnes & Noble. & they have some great ones! But i saw this one by Erin Condren online & thought it was too cute!! I love it & couldn't stop thinking about it (despite it's price!). So i used some of my Christmas money for it. Considering how much i use my planner each year, i think it will be used well worth it's price! Check out her website for more cute things! These pics aren't the best, but isn't it cute!? I was very pleased!!

see my name?! it's personalized!

love the bright colors; it has stickers too!

These are the pages i will use up - the weekly planner divided into morning day & night,
plus goals & to do lists on the side!

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I can't believe in just a few hours it will be 2010! I am so excited about that! I just have a feeling 2010 is going to be a great year. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I have gotten used to saying "Twenty Ten". Is that what you say? Or do you say "two thousand ten"? Just curious! I normally come up with & write down New Year's Resolutions every year. I usually have them down pat by now. I know goals are good to make & pursue at any time, but the first of the year has always been such a fresh start for me; a clean slate. Nothing like starting over at the beginning, ya know? Anyway, this year i'm a bit unsure of what my resolutions should be. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement in my life - but i don't want a long list of resolutions! Last year i resolved to stop drinking coke & i succeeded in that! I caved & had maybe 5 this year - considering i could drink that many a DAY before, i'd consider that a success!! Anyway, the only thing i can think of for sure is making my healthy lifestyle my priority, but it kind of IS. I've been working on it gradually since June. There are some things regarding my walk with God that need to be on this year's list. I can't believe it's 4.5 hours till January 1st & i haven't figured this out yet! A new blog post on New Year's Resolutions coming soon! =)

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I got my own office at work! I am so happy i cannot even tell you! Let me explain something. They have wanted me out in the open because i answer the phones & should be the one people greet. Now. This makes ZERO since because #1 - for the most part (about 98% of the time) we deal with clients on the phone. Not in person. & #2 - Even if we did deal with client's in person, i would NOT be the first person they'd see!! There are ohhhh... 3 offices before mine, a conference room & kitchen, & then 2 offices right by my desk when they come & see me! But anyway. This is why i have not been offered a different area even though i have asked. Even though, when asked what would make my job better, i have told them "my own space". Even though i do answer the phones, i am not a receptionist. I am an administrative coordinator. I have a LOT of other work i am doing besides answering the phone. (A LOT!) And one of the main things i do over the phone is begin an application for them. I could really use my own space for all of this. Plus, being out in the open, my biggest complaint has been that i cannot HEAR the people on the phone because there are people sitting near me or passing by me or standing around me talking. They are talking about work stuff, yes. But they just do not realize how loud it is & how distracting & how frustrating it is for me, because they do not understand how loud they are. (They have been told but they just don't get it.) Even if they are talking quietly, i cannot hear the person over the phone when they are right over me. And i do not have a hearing problem but i am easily distracted. This is not including that i sit right between the 2 loudest ladies in the building!! So the not hearing thing has been a huge issue for me.

The plans were not to move me, but when they decided to hire someone (who starts Monday) without having ANY ROOM for them in our building....we had to do a little rearranging! The new girl would be sitting in the back with all the other girls who have the same job position. So after MUCH debate & discussion, they decided to move one lady who is in an office near my desk (but in a different department than i) up front to share an office with a lady that has a pretty big office. Then they needed to move ME in HER office! Granted. They weren't doing this for ME, but so that another lady could have the spot i'm currently in, so this guy could have HER office, so the new girl could have HIS desk. Got all that?! But the point is, that in the midst of all this madness, i got my own office!! It almost didn't happen. They kept changing their minds & deciding to do something different. But it ended up working out! i am psyched! For those of you who aren't able to see my statuses on facebook, you don't know that i have complained often there about my job. I am not able to get too specific, so it amazes me when people say they're tired of hearing how miserable i am at work or something. i think, WOW. You don't know the half of it. On FB, I say things like "man i wanna go home" or "OMG i wish these phones would stop ringing!" but really it has been about 100x more stressful & tear-filled & migraine-induced than that! I just can't get into all the [unbelievable, stupid, nonsensical, crazy] issues! But as hard as it is now, things are getting better - with 5 new hirees among other things that i think will help out the workplace! We shall see! [& i know i shouldn't blog about all this, but i am anyway. Just had to explain all that, i can delete it later! At least my boss knows how i feel anyway!]

Anyway i am SUPER excited about my own office! I really think it will help things tremendously! We shall see! It's tiny - but i don't care! I love it! =) I can't wait to make it a bit cuter! I will take pictures!

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Still here? I forgot to mention that my friend Abby & her sisters did the coolest thing! Ok. One of my best friends, Aimie, has 2 younger sisters & 2 younger brothers. Abby is the 3rd sister & she has this great photography biz going on! She takes beautiful pics! Anyway, all 5 girls (the original Chapman sisters plus their new sister-in-laws) got in their wedding dresses & put on colorful jewelry & heels, grabbed some beautiful colorful bouquets & did a photo shoot! It was to do some pics for their mom for Christmas. I thought it was such a cool idea! My old roomie aimie (who got married a month before me!) did a trash the dress too! Anyway, you should really check out those photos! =)

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I am so excited about tomorrow! We have not yet had our Christmas with my side of the family. My sister went to England for much of December, so we were waiting to do it with her when she got back. She lives about an hour & a half from here & we haven't seen her new place. So tomorrow, Brad & I will meet my parents at their house & ride with them to her house! And we will stay there all day opening gifts, playing games & eating. I can't wait! =) It'll be a fun way to bring in 2010! & i love to spend time with the fam!

I hope all of you have a very happy new year!

Love,


Girl's Night!

Last night, I went to dinner with some girlfriends of mine. If you know me well, you know i am not much into eating japanese, chinese or lebanese food! It's almost become a joke where if a group is deciding where to go eat, i'll usually say, "I don't care, as long as it's not one of the -ese's!" & they all know that means no japanese, chinese or lebanese! I recently branched out & realized that i do like chicken shawarma. I have always liked sesame chicken, but that's pretty much it when it comes to chinese! Sometimes i get a craving for chinese (like once a year!) & i always regret it later! HA! I haven't had much japanese, but i hate sushi! I tried it once (& it was not a raw kind) & i literally gagged. I haven't had any since! Gagging is not fun!

BUT one of my dear friends Amanda was coming in from California! When she comes in town, we try to get together for dinner & let her pick the place! She picked Ichiban's on the Hibachi. I agreed to go. And guess what? I LOVED IT!!! So delicious! Now...i did try a sushi & i didn't love it. Wasn't as bad as last time (years ago) & i did not gag (though i nearly did!). I only tried it because she said it had avocado & crabmeat in it & i like that. Some sauces i tasted weren't so good! And they insisted i put the entire thing in my mouth - i think that is more of what makes me want to gag than the actual taste of the sushi! Anyway - the sushi was not terrible, but i didn't love it.

Trying sushi for the 2nd time (1st time lots of years ago!)

HOWEVER!!! The Hibachi was DELICIOUS! They gave us salad & soup first. I loved the salad, hated the soup. I ordered the chicken & shrimp hibachi & it was good! I normally don't even like the fried rice but i loved this! And the shrimp & chicken was grilled - good for you - & SO GOOD. I think i could eat it everyday! The veggies they gave you were also grilled & they were DELISH! Perfect! MMMMMM! Brad is also not a big eater of these cuisines but i told him we'll have to go there sometime & he agreed. I know he'd like it too! Thank you, Amanda, for choosing Ichiban's! You know i never would have gone there in any other circumstance! =P

the hibachi dude.

Now, let me tell you about these wonderful girlfriends of mine. I just love them. & I miss them. Three of us (me, Ali & Amanda) were roomies at one time. At that time, we were also good friends with Amy & Becca. (& Jenn! But she couldn't come eat because she was in Disney! So saddy!). Most of us used to go to church together. We also were involved in Springhouse, a nearby home for troubled teen girls - we went there every other week (for YEARS) & did a Bible study with those girls. We also were just very good friends back then & hung out a lot. Years have passed. Ali's gotten married (& is now expecting her first baby! A boy!). I got married. Amanda moved to California!! etc etc! I do not see these girls all the time, but LOVE getting together with them & we make sure that happens as much as possible! So anyway - some pics of us from our hibachi night!


Amanda & Ali

Amanda, Ali & Amy

Me & Becca

All of us! =)

It was a great night! I can't wait to get together again!!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

sunday stealing

Time for Sunday Stealing! Read my answers, then copy the questions & answer them in your own blog! Be sure to add your link to the blog hop as well! By the way - at first glance these look like real "thinking" questions. And i'm really tired & ready for bed. I might have to come back to this later. We'll see. =P


1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Go to San Antonio for vacation. I'm sure quite a few other things, but that was the first thing I thought of!
 2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My last year's resolution was to quit drinking coca-cola & i did it! I slipped up & had one or two, but considering i used to drink 8 or so a day - i'd say i succeeded! I always make resolutions - you can do them any time of year, i just like the idea of doing it on the first day of the year. I have no idea what mine will be this year. It needs to be "focus on healthy lifestyle" but that has been the goal since june & i'm making progress. ;) Will give my New Year's Resolution more thought later!

3. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
I don't know yet. I imagine it will be with Brad's family or just the two of us. I told hubby when we get a house i want to host New Year's Eve parties because no one i know does this! So we could be the hosts! What we have now is too small. One day. ;)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Mrs. Helen Funderburk. I am friends with her daughter (for 11 years now) & because of this became close to her parents as well. It was unexpected & i was heartbroken. i still can't believe she's not with us.

5. What countries did you visit?
Stayed here this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A house!! Not sure if that will happen! We will see! =)

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
11-14-09 was our one year anniversary! 
 8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Sticking with my job no matter how stressful it got!

And losing 9 pounds! Not a lot but most years i gain. ;) Will lose more in 2010!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Um? What's that??? ;)
 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
It seemed we were constantly sick in early 2009. Staph infection was the WORST.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Everything seemed to go towards repairs! ACK! My car & house stuff kept breaking. I think we got it all working properly now!
 12. Where did most of your money go?
See last answer. Plus, debt.
 13. What song will always remind you of 2009?
I don't know.
 14. What do you wish you'd done more of?
exercise!
 15. What do you wish you'd done less of?
worrying.

16. What was your favorite TV program?
LOST!!
 17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate people.
18. What was the best book you read?
Oh, i read a TON this year. One book after another since 11/08! I would have to say my favorite was "In Search of Eden" by Linda Nichols.
 19. What was your greatest musical discovery?
huh. Who knows.

20. What was your favorite film of this year?
I loved The Proposal. Christmas Carol in 3D was also fantastic!

21. What did you do on your birthday?
Had dinner at La Carreta! As usual! ;)

22. What kept you sane?
the thought that no matter how much i hated my job - eventually i would go home to a sweet loving husband who thinks the world of me & would wrap his arms around me to shut out the horrible day.
 23. Who did you miss?
the graphias, rebecca in tennessee, my sister, mrs. helen
 24. Who was the best new person you met?
i could not possibly answer this! I meet awesome new people constantly! Wendy at work is pretty awesome. Eleanor & some other King & I cast members as well!
 25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Things are not as they seem!!!! Sounds simple, but some do not know this! (I shall blog about this one day!)


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day After Christmas

Today was a great day! LOVE having Thursday & Friday off because then Saturday & Sunday feels like a bonus weekend! I still can't believe tomorrow is not Monday! =) It's nice! Next week we're off Thursday & Friday again - New Years Eve & New Years Day! YES!!

This morning Brad & I got up at my parents - our last day of dogsitting. We worked on the puzzle for a few minutes this morning, then got dressed & cleaned up mom's house a bit & then went on our typical date... YEP, you guessed it! La Madeleine's & Barnes and Noble! This is becoming our typical date considering it's what we did the last 3 or 4 dates! I like it! ;) We went to La Madeleine's first & this time i did NOT get the Potato Soup (Brad did!). I got a Chicken Ceasar Salad & the small cup of Tomato Basil Soup. YUM! Then i dropped hubby off at the bookstore & ran to Hobby Lobby (he can easily spend 5 hours or so in B&N and would be miserable in a store like HL so this works well for us!). I went to Hobby Lobby to get some Christmas Ornaments on sale. I didn't like ANY of the Christmas stuff i saw. (Though i didn't see it all - some of those aisles were FULL of people & i didn't dare venture down them!) I ended up going around the rest of the store & got some stuff! I LOVE sales there - 50% off of almost everything i bought! I got a few cute things to hang on our walls, 2 picture frames to frame these pics that have been in my purse forEVER, a cookbook holder (it is so cool - i will post pics later) & a bread basket. Love it all!

Then i went back to Barnes & Noble. Brad & I both had gift cards there. I got another puzzle (because i was wanting another one for when we finish the one we're working on!), a bargain cookbook & the first Harry Potter book. Yeah. I can't believe i got that either! When the last movie came out - for some reason - i was like... I'm going to have to start reading that series! First time in ALL of those movies i have said anything like that! (Yes, i am a Christian. I know some Christians think Christians shouldn't be reading Harry Potter books. I disagree with this (& think it's a bit silly). But i'm still a born-again Jesus-Lovin Christian! And if anything in the book changes my mind, i'll quit reading at once!) ;)  We found it & i read the first page to see if i would like it & i did! Looking forward to getting started, I hope i love them!!

I am almost with my book by Linda Nichols, by the way. She is an amazing author, you must check out her books!! At the Scent of Water & In Search of Eden.

After our bookstore trip, we picked up dinner for us & my parents and went back to their house. They were back in town & we had to finish that puzzle. We have finished the entire puzzle except three parts - the christmas tree, garland on the mantle & wreath! It's about a zillion pieces that look exactly the same! AHHH! We ended up sliding the puzzle onto a board & bringing it home. I can't believe it didn't slide off on the way home! I drove verrrry carefully! HA

Oh, one more thing i have to mention. My friend Terri is pregnant with her first baby any day now - & she is having it at home!! You know what this means - no epidural! AHHH! Now, i know some people have their reservations about having babies at home but i know of 4 families that have done it & all of them say it's the greatest thing ever! Midwives are more popular these days than you'd guess! NOT that i will be brave enough to do this!! ESPECIALLY for my FIRST baby! HAHA! Anyway - all this to say - my friend Terri was due TODAY. 12/26. Baby Rachel did not come. Unless she is coming now & i haven't heard yet. ;) Sweet Terri is about to POP. I'm so excited & curious & wondering when she is coming!! (& i know that if ANYONE can birth a baby at home, it's this girl Terri! She is pretty awesome!) Anyway. Just had to share! Because i think she is super brave! 

OH one more thing!! KELSEY! Sweet Kelsey is still in the hospital. Do you know that she has not been awake all this time? She has no idea she's been in the hospital for 3 weeks now & has missed Christmas! Well, they were keeping her on sedation & they say that is why she has not come to yet. But Christmas Even (or around there) they took her off sedation! So her eyes have now started to open a little bit & shut again. She will be waking any day now. Also, the surgeon who was to repair the broken bones in her face (broken jaw is one) came in & looked & said they are healing properly on their own & she will not need the surgery. That's pretty cool. Her family had their family Chistmas in a conference room in the hospital this year. Can you imagine? But wow. I bet they are just SO THANKFUL that she is still here & is going to make it! Please continue to keep her in your prayers!

That's all for now! Hope your Christmases were merry! Heehee! =)



Friday, December 25, 2009

Feeling the Love

We have had such a wonderful Christmas! & it's not even over! As I've mentioned, Brad & I are staying at mom & dad's. My sister is in England for the month & my parent's have been dogsitting her beautiful cocker spaniel. But mom & dad had to go visit family for Christmas, so Brad & I are staying at mom & dad's to dogsit my sister's dog. Got all that?!

my dog Fievel & my sister's dog Bali.

We've had a great time together! I have been wanting a puzzle for months - i don't know why; i haven't done one in ages! But i just got it in my head that i wanted to do a puzzle. So we bought one to do over the holidays. We've been working on that a lot!


We're almost done now... & i'm wanting another one! HA! I've enjoyed this time together so much with my hubby. I can't believe it's only Friday - I feel like we should have work tomorrow! HAHA. We've really enjoyed working on this puzzle, reading, sipping hot chocolate & just enjoying each others company.

Last night, we went to Brad's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Annette's house to be with my mother-in-law's side of the family. It was a great time! Then we went to Brad's parents to open gifts between just the 5 of us. Brad, his parents, his sister, & i. I got some great things from Brad's parents - a beautiful gown, a cookbook, a journal, a $40 gift card to Barnes & Noble, and $100 cash! WOAH! How sweet is that?! Brad's sister, Jaimie, got me a BEAUTIFUL handpainted ornament. I am going to have to post a pic of it later! =)

Brad got some great things as well. Including these hilarious pj pants! Would you believe that's what they are?! We were cracking up at them!!



When we got back to my parent's that evening around 10 pm, Brad made some coffee & we started working on our puzzle again! Time flies when you are doing a puzzle, let me tell you! We worked away & were not tired at all. Finally, we looked at the clock & it said 2:10!! We said, "that cannot be right?!" But it was! We could not believe we stayed up that late! I still can't believe it! But what a great time we had together. =)

Christmas morning

 Today was a perfect day. I love spending time with Brad. I can't say it enough! I love spending time with his family also! They're wonderful!! Today, Christmas dinner was planned for 2 o'clock. Last year we did it at noon & the families with children had a harder time getting there by then. So we changed it to 2 today. This was MORE than okay with us! So we woke up this morning & exchanged gifts just between us. =) I got Brad a gift card to Barnes & Noble (trust me- this is what he wants more than anything! He would be disappointed if i got him anything else!) and he got me some beautiful jewelry! A cross necklace with matching ears & another beautiful pair of earrings. I loved it! He did a great job!  

We spent the morning drinking coffee, eating cinnamon rolls & working on that puzzle! Then i got to cooking! I made my mean Green Bean Casserole & a new recipe I hadn't tried before, Peanut Butter Blossoms. Both were delicious!! We headed to Brad's Uncle Cliff & Aunt Paula's. LOVE their house! We had a fabulous time! I am always laughing till my stomach hurts over there!! Not to mention the BEST food! Good thing it was my lunch AND dinner! =) We truly had a great time as we always do with this crazy fun family!! Here are some pics from the day...

Granny & Jaimie (my sister-in-law)

Cousin Whitney & her new PINK BB gun! How funny is that?!

Brad's Aunt Paula & her grandbabies Kiersten & Rylee. Are they not precious!? I love them.

The newest addition to the family - Baby Hayden!! (Kiersten & Rylee's baby sister!)

Cousin Megan & Sister-in-law Jaimie

Me & the man I love.

Today I have been a little overwhelmed with my love for my husband. I have a lot of days like that...they're more common than not. I told him tonight that i don't know what i will do when i have kids. Because i've heard moms say that they feel like their hearts will BURST with love for their kids... & they don't think their heart can contain any more love! But i already feel like that for my husband! I swear, i am not trying to be dramatic here, but sometimes I'm just overwhelmed by how GOOD God is & how much he blessed me with this husband. And i just don't know if my heart could stay intact with any more love! I know that made no sense. But i'm just saying. I'm feeling the love. To quite an alarming degree. ;) And it's him. And his family. And my family. And our friends. And our God. SO many people to be thankful for. So many blessings.

This is the verse that has repeated over & over in my head all day. The true reason for the season: "For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given... His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6

And aren't those names fitting for Him? He has definitely proved to be those things in my life time & time again! I hope He has been for you as well. Or that He WILL be in 2010. (Wow. Can you believe it? 2010?!)

I hope your Christmas is also merry & bright. =)


Peanut Butter Blossoms

Surely you've had these before. But maybe it's been years. It'd been years for me. This recipe came from the back of the Hershey Mini Kisses bag. They came out PERFECT.


Mine had 3 mini-kisses on top, instead of 1 regular-sized one.
Didn't get to take a pic of mine, but other than that, mine looks just like the above picture.



Peanut Butter Blossoms

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Additional granulated sugar
10 ounce package of Hershey's mini-kisses

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat together shortening & peanut butter. Beat in 1/3 cup sugar & brown sugar. Beat in egg, milk & vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda & salt; gradually blend into Peanut Butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place 3 chocolate mini-kisses on top (or 1 regular kiss) of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Cool cookies completely on wire rack. About 4 dozen cookies. r





Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

FINALLY! Christmas time is here!! =) I'm so happy & excited & ready to spend time with the family! This week has been okay. We were allowed to leave work at 2:30 today, so that was nice! I was so glad! I came home (well, to mom & dad's - we are dogsitting for them while they're in Mississippi visiting their families) & me and hubby took a nap. We were OUT. I set my alarm for 6:00 & when it rang, i thought i'd slept past rehearsal! My heart jumped in my throat! I was sleeping sooo good. I had rehearsal from 7:30 to 9:10. Shortest rehearsal ever! The director just wanted to run through the show once since we have so many days off. We did that, it went well, and then i had to run to Walmart to get a few things. I am making Green Bean Casserole for Christmas dinner & i had to go get the stuff, plus a few other things. I could NOT find those onion ring thingies that go on top of the casserole! I spent so much time looking for them! Anyway, i couldn't BELIEVE how crowded Wal-Mart was. I know it's Christmas Eve Eve, but still - 10 pm on a Wednesday is not usually their busiest time. BUT MAN. It was SO BUSY! Anyway, i finally made it home (I still say home. It's my parent's home! HAHA.).

I can't wait for tomorrow. And the next day. I gotta tell ya - i truly LOVE spending so much time with hubby! LOVE IT. Tomorrow we're going to relax & have fun together! I bought a puzzle because for the last 3 or 4 months, i've been wanting to do a puzzle! I don't know why! So we bought a cute Christmas one & we're going to start on it tomorrow! We also have several episodes of Moonlight to watch (Moonlight is a vampire series Brad wanted me to see... so we're watching the entire series! It's a pretty cool show!) So we're going to do that, too. It'll be a GREAT DAY! At 5 or 6, we'll be going to Brad's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Annette's for Christmas with Brad's mom's side of the family. And then we plan to go to Brad's parents to exchange gifts - just the 5 of us. So that will be fun!

Christmas day we're going to do more of the puzzle, more tv watching, more relaxing!! And then at 2, we're having Christmas with Brad's Dad's side of the family!! I can't wait!!!

My sister is in England visiting her best friend. So we are having Christmas with my family when she gets back. She gets back the 28th, but i don't think we're having our Christmas till New Year's Day! But that will be fun too! I love it!

Sad news - i hate to even mention it in the midst of all this Christmas cheer. But i have to. Today there was a shooting right here in Baton Rouge. Well, in Central (a suburb of BR) where my parents live. An ex-employee went into a local construction business & started shooting. Apparently it was about his unemployment benefits. I mean, really?! He shot three women & two of them were killed. They were secreteries there. It is SO horrible, terrible. All i can think about is the families of those 2 women. One was in her 40's & one in her 50's, if i remember right. So i'm thinking of their husbands & children. God, be with them. It just breaks my heart.

Anyway. Sorry for the sad news, but please say a prayer for the families of those two women & for the employees/owner there!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!! I can't wait to read all your blogs about it!!!

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Funday

It's Sunday Funday's Getting To Know You! Keely's Questions for today are one-word answer questions. I don't think you HAVE to answer with one-word, but you CAN! (That might prove impossible for me!) Anyway, go ahead & read mine, then answer them in your own blog & add your link to Keely's blog hop!

Or you can just answer them in my comments! I do love comments. =)


1. What is your middle name?
Raye


2. What do you think is your best physical asset?
My smile.

3. If you could eat only one type of cuisine for a year, what would you choose? (Mexican, American, Italian, etc)
You mean if calories didn't count? I would go with good ol' down home southern cookin. (i guess some would call that American.)

4. Walmart or Target? 
I like Target better but i shop at Walmart wayyyy more. This is because there is one Wal-Mart on my way home, another just 3 minutes from my house & another about 10 from my house. We have 2 Targets & they are both clear on the other side of town.

5. Favorite state besides the one you live in? 
Well, I don't know. Of the places I've been, I liked Florida (Destin), California (Santa Monica), & Tennessee (anywhere) the best! NYC was pretty cool too! But there are so many i'd like to visit! I really want to see the entire east coast!

6. What side of the bed do you sleep in, left or right?
When this question is asked, do people mean while you're sitting in the bed, or standing at the foot of the bed facing it? If they mean while i'm in it, i'm on the right. :P

7. King or Queen Size Bed?
We have a Queen. It is perfect to me. We did stay in a King at the hotel for our anniversary trip & it was NICE! But i don't mind a queen at all.


8. Beer or wine?
Wine. I haven't had beer in 2 years or so, & even then only a sip or two! I do have a small glass of wine at home every once in awhile.

9. Water - ice cold or room temp?
It must be ice cold or i won't drink it!

10. Christmas - love it or hate it?
I LOVE it. Can't wait!!

Penne & Sausage Casserole

This dish turned out SO good. A definite winner that will be repeated in our house! I found it in my 2010 Taste of Home Annual Recipes cookbook. It was delicious! Hubby loved it, too!


Penne & Sausage Casserole

1 1/2 pounds uncooked penne pasta (i used whole wheat pasta)
1 pound Italian Sausage (i used smoked sausage & I diced mine)
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (we don't normally eat mushrooms, but still wanted it for the flavor; i only used about 1/2 a pound).
1 large onion, chopped
3 T. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. dried oregano
1 1/2 cups dry red wine or beef broth, divided (i used the beef broth since i didn't have the other)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, cut up (i used the same amount of diced tomatoes & mine were the "italian" kind)
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
4 cups shredded part-skim mozzerella cheese
4 cups shredded fontina cheese (my store didn't have this but they did have a mix of a bunch of italian cheeses which included fontina. it was just as delicious!)
Minced fresh parsley, optional (didn't have this - didn't use it)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven, cook diced sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain & set aside.

In the same dutch oven, saute mushrooms & onions in oil until tender. Add garlic & oregano; cook one minute longer. Stir in 1 cup of the wine (or beef broth). Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, sausage & remaning wine/broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain the pasta. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in each of two greased 13X9 inch baking dishes. Divide half the pasta between the dishes; top each with 2 1/2 cups of sauce 1 cup each of the cheeses. Repeat layers. (I only wanted to do this in one dish - I used an 11X15 dish. It was almost too much food to put in one dish, but it did fit! I put the sauce at bottom, then half pasta, then cheese, then more sauce, the remaining pasta, more sauce & remaining cheese. Got all that!? It was perfect.)

Cover & bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly & the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with minced parsley if desired. (This is how i did mine; even with the 1 dish).

Happy Cooking!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Meme

Today is Sunday Stealing! Actually, it's tomorrow. But I'm gonna go ahead & do mine!
But first:

Today, Brad & I went to La Madeleine's for lunch & then Barnes & Noble. We hung around in there for awhile & then ran by a few shops to get some Christmas gifts. Thankfully we knew exactly what we had to get! After that it was Wal-Mart for groceries & 2 of the gifts we needed; one of which they were out of! Grr. Oh-well, we'll grab it later! I could not find the grocery list ANYWHERE (& it's not at home either. No clue where it went!) so i guessed on the groceries - & forgot 4 items. Blah.

ALSO - Brad fixed the master bath toilet today AND the kitchen sink's faucet. HOORAY! Cannot TELL YOU how HAPPY this makes me!! =)

Anyhoo. Time for Sunday Stealing. After you read mine, do your own & then go on to Sunday Stealing to add your link!


Sunday Stealing: Lola's Holiday Meme

1. What is your favorite holiday show/animated show?
I love the Grinch - the Jim Carrey one! & i love Charlie Brown's Christmas.
2. What holiday character do you think you're most like?
Erm? I have no idea.



3. What holiday character does your spouse think you're most like?
This isn't something we've talked about. Let me ask him... "What HOLIDAY CHARACTER are you most like?? What's a holiday character? Santa, Frosty, Rudolph?!" I nod. "Uhhhhh..." (he's still thinking. I'll let you know if he comes up with something)

OH! He just said Cindy Lou Hoo. HAHA. =D


4. Favorite Christmas/holiday song?
Oh Holy Night.


5. Most hated Christmas/holiday song?
Can't think of any right now... certain arrangements of certain songs.



6. If you have an all holiday music radio station when do you start listening to it?
96.1 - whenever they start playing "all christmas music". This year it was a bit early for me, but i always keep it on their station!



7. If you have an all holiday music radio station do you love it or hate it?
It's the station i listen to already - but at some point they start playing only Christmas music. I love it.




8. Have you ever wrapped yourself as a Christmas present?
Uh, no.



9. Who is Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer's father?
Um?



10. Do you drive your neighborhood or one near you at night to look at other people's holiday decorations?
Nah.



11. When you see a heavily decorated house do you think, 'oh that's lovely'? Or do you think, 'oh criminy, that looks like Christmas threw up all over their lawn'?
I think "oh wow. that's tacky." HAHA.



12. Are you counting the days to Christmas with excited anticipation or dread?
I'm so excited! Mainly about getting together with all the family on days when we'd all normally be at work!



13. When was the last time you had your photo taken with Santa? Did you sit on his lap?
I do not remember. It's been YEARS. Decades! Yes, i sat on his lap.


14. Do you make a Christmas list for your spouse or significant other or do you rely on them to pick your gift(s) without a clue from you?
I kind of hint.


15. When do you put up your tree?
The weekend after Thanksgiving.


16. Real or fake?
I think i'm going to be okay with FAKE.


17. When do you take your tree down?
Usually the week after Christmas. It's real hard for us, since we have a mini-tree & all. :)

18. Do you shop the day after Christmas sales? What do you shop for?
the DAY after??? No. Though i want to get a regular sized tree next year, so i might shop for ornaments & such for next year. Since they'll be on sale.


19. Is your work/office having a holiday party this year? Will you attend?
We called it a Christmas Party & we had it last Wednesday. We went to Don's Seafood. YUM!



20. Do you have your New Year's Eve Plans set yet?
No. One day when we have a HOUSE... i want to host New Year's Eve Parties. =)




Boots!


So, it's been raining so much lately... that i've decided it's time to invest in a pair of boots. Yes, i know, everyone has a pair already. Except me. I mostly wear flats.
And i love flats. 


But it's not like i wear them with socks or anything. So, the other day, here i am with my cute black flats & it's POURING.RAIN. So my feet get wet. And cold. And this happened the next day too. But i'm not really a tennis shoe kinda gal. I mean, i wear my Nike's for exercise. I would wear them when it's rainy, except i call mine "Clown Shoes". Yes, i ordered them online & they arrived a bit BRIGHTER than I'd expected. So, running shoes, yes. Going out shoes??? Eeeeeee...not so much.


Ok, well. I guess they're not THAT bad. (Google "bright nikes" & wow. Maybe mine aren't so "clownish" after all!) But still. I wouldn't wear them out with most of the shirts I have!

So, the point is. I need some boots. Or something. And i just have NO CLUE when it comes to boots. They look cute on everyone else. But where to begin?! I mean...


HA. Nope. Not gonna happen. (I would break my neck.)


UM, NO.


What the...?!!?

 This ones not too bad? Maybe? Neh.

Or maybe i should just get a cute pair of RAIN boots! Silly me! Why, these are PERFECT! Teehee!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happiness

Well, I make at least 3 people happy!! =)
Nicole @ Losing the 40


Thanks, you three, for this fabulous HAPPY award! And you know what? You all make me happy too! I love Laura's pics of her adorable kids & her total honesty about life & how she feels about it. She is my online BFF. Haha. Jenna is HILARIOUS! She has an interesting blog about life on a ranch & i always love to read it. Both Laura & Jenna love taking pictures & have Canon Rebels (i hope to have one of these soon & join in their picture-taking adventures!) Nicole is a newer blog friend. She has a weight loss blog & so do i. I love reading hers, she's fun-loving & cute & i am encouraged by reading her blog! Check them out!

These award things are so fun because you pass the award on & it always makes me curious about the other bloggers that got the award. Makes me wanna check them out!

They also can be difficult because, well, honestly, Jenna, Laura & Nicole's blogs are DEFINITELY blogs that make me happy! SO i would have passed it to them. But, i suppose i can't, since they all passed it to me! Luckily I have found some pretty awesome bloggers lately. =)

As usual, i'm rambling! Maybe i should start a "happiness - part 2" blog post, so you'll keep reading?! Heehee. Nah. Here we go. I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy & then pass this award along to 5 blogs that make me happy.

What Makes Melissa Happy!??

1. Holidays. Or should i say PAID holidays?! Nothing like spending time with family & friends and NOT with annoying callers & non-stop telephones. :) Seriously, a break from work is always welcome & a paid holiday, even better!! I am so happy that this week & next are only three-day workweeks (thanks to Christmas & New Year's!).

2. Time with hubby. I LOVE spending time with him. We're together a lot - in the same house - often me cleaning or cooking or blogging and him reading or doing his studio work or working on a new fix-it project (currently our kitchen faucet & master toilet are in need or repairs...one thing after another!). So we're together, but not really getting to focus on each other. My favorite times are spent just laughing & talking with each other or on date nights. I LOVE being with my husband!

3. BLOGGING. Do I really need to explain? I think y'all can understand this one!!

4. Curly Girl Designs. I may have blogged about her before, but i just LOVE.HER.STUFF. So cute & inventive & imaginative & charming! She has mugs, journals, calendars, prints, etc. Here are some of my favorites of hers:

I have this as a magnet on our fridge!

Another cute one!

How can those not make you happy?!!? And that's only 2 of her designs! There are about a zillion others on her website.

5. Theatre makes me happy. It's hard to explain. But once you're bit by the bug, it's incurable! I love being a part of every bit of it from casting to opening night! It's interesting & fun & it's a joy to be a part of it!

6. La Madeleine's Potato Soup. Or La Carreta's Tortilla Soup.
Either one will do.

7. Reading. I love to read! I love chic lit. But lately I'm LOVING Linda Nichols. First i read "In Search of Eden" & now i'm reading "At the Scent of Water". Soooo good. Her books make me happy.

8. A Nice Hot Bath. I love it. I always get in the tub right away if i have had a particularly terrible or stressful day. It relaxes me. I usually bring a novel with me. Usually Brad will bring me a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate. I dream of one day having one of these...

Ahhhhhhh!

9. Dogs! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dogs. 3 of my favorite doggies are Fani (a Rhodesian Ridgeback, my in-law's doggie), Bali (my sister's cocker spaniel) & Molly (my mom's shih tzu). My VERY favorite dog is my adorable Shih Tzu, Fievel.


10. Children. I love kids. LOVE them. They're funny & silly & cute & honest. I used to babysit & nanny & preschool teach constantly. I kinda miss it, sometimes. The kids i watched are all growing up now! Some of my preschool kids are seniors in high school now & the kids i nannied are almost teenagers - well, one of them IS - he just turned 13! Kind of scary! But seriously... I miss working with kids! One day we'll have a few of our own. =)

Ok. Now i am to pass this blog on to 5 bloggers that make me happy!

You simply MUST check her out - for her header, if nothing else, it's SO adorable!
Briana's blog definitely makes me happy! She is so cute & cheery & i love reading about her experiences in life! She hadn't been blogging as much as usual because she was in the hardest semester of her college career- but now that's over & I am so happy she's back! =) You won't regret stopping by her page!

2. Patti @ Emersyn Grace, Our Biggest Little Blessing
I found Patti's blog through one of my other favorite blogs, My Journey in Motherhood - Tiffany & Patti are actually good friends in real life! Anyway, i love reading Patti's blog about life with her hubby & CUTE little girl Emersyn! You should go by & say hi!!

3. Lynn @ My Personal Dare
This is a new blog i have been reading & i love it. Lynn is a new blogger & she joined to journal her own experiences with The Love Dare. If you've seen the movie Fireproof, you know what I'm talking about. (If you haven't seen it, you definitely should!). Lynn was having a hard time in her marriage, & decided to do something about it. I am LOVING this blog. It is completely real & honest & it sometimes makes me cry - not with sadness though - JOY! She's on Day 7 & there has already been a change in her marriage (for the better)! Stop by her blog to catch up & give her some encouragement along the way!! =)

4. Ashlee @ Blessed Chick
She is SO funny. This might be the 2nd award I've given her. I can't help it. She totally cracks me up. She is also a newlywed & i've known her in real life. We worked together back in my preschool teaching days! I love Ashlee. She's just a doll! & her blog definitely makes me happy! Check it out!

5. GInger @ The Neff Family
I love this family. They just seem like the sweetest people! This blog is about Ginger's life with husband Christian & daughter Lillian. I love the cute pics Ginger posts & stories about things Lillian loves to do & things she says! She's too cute! You'll definitely wanna stop by her blog! It will make you happy, too!

WHEW! Finally!! =)
Hope you have a happy weekend!