Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One more day....

Only one more day til Christmas vacation. This week has been truly crazy:

  • Staff meeting - where I unexpectedly had to make 3 presentations, rather than just 1.

  • Revenue distribution - 1,000 checks generated, 1,500 pages of owner detail to print, fold, stuff and mail.

  • Board meeting - presentation of budget and constant tweaks and changes over the past two days to get the slides exactly perfect. Not unexpected, just a little stressful.

Now, I can relax a little and try to wrap up a few more loose ends tomorrow....then I'm off til January 2!! My parents are coming in tomorrow and we'll spend the next several days hanging out as a family - doing a lot of nothing much, but spending good quality time together. A quick trip thrown in to visit a good friend and some down time to un-decorate my house before heading back to work to start the true craziness....closing December and preparing for the audit!




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Another photo (in the sunshine!) of my new toy



















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And a
Fall Into Reading update - my original post here listed 18 books. My list has been somewhat rearranged as I've looked closer at the some of books. Several of them I tried to read, but just couldn't get into. I've also added several others along the way. So, here is the wrap up:

done:
The Last Disciple...Hank Hanegraaff/Sigmund Brouwer
Cocktails for Three...Madeleine Wickham
Emily Ever After...Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

done - not on the original list:
The Last Sacrifice...Hank Hanegraaff/Sigmund Brouwer
Finding the Love of your Life....Neil Clark Warren
Skin...Ted Dekker
Fast Women...Jennifer Crusie
Map of Bones...James Rollins
Cosmic Christmas...Max Lucado
Unafraid...Francine Rivers

started, couldn't get into it, abandoned:
The Historian...Elizabeth Kostova
Cold Sassy Tree...Olive Ann Burns
The Thief Lord...Cornelia Funke
The Navigator of New York...Wayne Johnston
Red House...Sarah Messer
Valley of the Dolls...Jacqueline Susann
Shopaholic & Baby...Sophie Kinsella
Bergdorf Blondes...Plum Sykes
Family Trust...Amanda Brown
Everyone Worth Knowing...Lauren Weisberger


still to go:
Over Her Head...Shelley Bates
Hope of Glory...Nicole Petrino-Salter
Tuesdays With Morrie...Mitch Albom
A Bend in the Road...Nicholas Sparks
Walden and other writings...Henry David Thoreau

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I may not make it to post much over the holidays, so from my home to yours, hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Welcome to My Home!

>Christmas Tour of Homes

BooMama is hosting a holiday tour of homes today......




























my living room:



















close-up of the snowmen on top of the TV:



















some favorite ornaments through the years:

























I'm more of a snowman girl, but I've got a collection of Santa's also - these are on the desk in my office. Several of these came from my grandma -- see the santa in green? The writing on his pedestal is 1908 Germany. Don't know if he is really that old (probably not) or a representation of Santa from the turn of the century.




















Some Christmas books I've enjoyed my whole life! Feel Santa's Beard is from my first or second Christmas and is falling apart because it has been "loved on" for so many years!


















my guest room - Santa's comin!



















my favorite Christmas blanket: a snuggly down snowflake throw from Target several years ago

























of course - the Texas flag stays in place....decorated with a metal snowflake/jingle bell garland




















This photo didn't turn out the best -- it reads "Flakey Friends Welcome" and hangs in my guest room. Thanks for visiting my home decked out in holiday style!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Party Pics + an early Christmas present

Sorry it's been so long.....crazy week. So, as promised....here are party pics.

at the beginning:






















and the leftovers:
































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my Phillip-in-law went with me today and I got myself an early Christmas present - a new Dodge Durango! I actually got a really good deal on a fully loaded 2007 -- the owner's wife had driven it a bit, so there are a few more miles than were on my Mazda 626 when I bought it in 2000, but it is still new (and did I mention fully loaded?) and I made a pretty good deal, so I'm happy.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Another success!

Another Christmas party come and gone....I'm too tired to try and upload photos tonight, so that will come tomorrow.....just wanted to give the headcount.....

To recap past years:

2001 = 5
2002 = 15
2003 = 29
2004 = 30
2005 = 43
2006 = 36

and drumroll, please......

2007 = 52

The crazy thing is that I can think of about 20 others who have come in recent years past who didn't make it this year and at least a handful of others who I expected but didn't make it. The numbers are getting crazy high (helped along by the 12 kids this year - whew, that was nuts), but it is sooo fun.

Dishes are washed and drying....the few leftovers are put away, and I'm headed to bed.

Today is the day!!

It's finally here!! Today is party day!! I'll post some photos later tonight.....


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Soup-Tacular

It's A Soup-Tacular!
BooMama asked for soup recipes....though I'm not that much of a soup eater, here are several of my favorites. If it would actually get COLD here, I might be more inclined to whip up a batch of one of these!




Black Eyed Pea and Sausage Soup (I don't like b-e peas as a general rule, but this is a way to get your Jan 1 good luck in!!)


1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups frozen black-eyed peas (about 1 ½ 16oz packages)
3 (14 ½ oz) cans beef broth
1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano (undrained)
1 (16 oz) jar chipotle flavored salsa
½ tsp salt


¼ tsp pepper

Cook sausage in oil in large Dutch oven, stirring until it browns. Remove sausage, reserving drippings in pan. Add onion, carrots, garlic, celery, bell pepper; sauté over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in sausage, peas, broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes. Stir in salsa, salt and pepper; simmer 10 more minutes. Yield 10 cups.


Chicken Noodle Soup (I know, there are 10 million CNS recipes out there - I pretty much hate them all....but I LOVE this one from my aunt)



4 large chicken breasts
4 T margarine
¾ C chopped onion
8 oz fettuccini
6 C chicken broth
2 small boxes chopped broccoli
1 t salt
1 lb Velveeta
6 C milk




Boil chicken in enough water to have 6 cups for soup. Sauté onion in margarine. Combine chopped onion, chicken, and broth. Bring to a boil. Add uncooked noodles. Cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook 4 minutes. Add salt.


Warm milk with cheese to melt. Add chicken mixture. Makes large pot of soup. Serve with crackers. Freezes well.





Skipperlabskovs (Danish Sailor's Stew)



4 T margarine
1 lb. ground meat
3 C chopped onions
6 C boiling water
6 peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 T salt
6 lg potatoes, diced
Parsley for garnish




Melt margarine in large pot. Add meat & onions; stirfry 10 minutes until meat is browned. Add water and spices (put bay leaf and peppercorns in a tea ball); cover and simmer 30 min. Add potatoes, cover, simmer very slowly 2 to 3 hours or until potatoes cook down to mush. (The Danish way is to keep the pot on the back of the stove most of the day.) Remove tea ball and serve.





Cheddar Chowder



2 C water
2 C diced carrots
1 t salt
2 C diced potatoes
3 C chopped onion
3 t pepper




Combine above in large kettle; boil 10-12 minutes. (Do not drain)



3 C margarine
2 C milk


3 C flour

2 C grated cheddar cheese



Melt margarine in microwave. Stir in flour; heat and stir until smooth. Add milk; cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add grated cheddar; stir till melted.



Then, stir cheese sauce into the boiled vegetables that have not been drained. Add 1 C cubed ham or bacon bits, if desired.



Enjoy!!





Better.....

Amazing what a little sleep will do for you.....yes, it is still the middle of the night, but I woke up calm and couldn't go back to sleep, so I thought I'd let you know that I'm doing much better.....thanks for the prayers!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Prayers

Normally I refrain from writing emails or blog posts when I am unusually emotional. Tonight, I think I might need your prayers just to make it through the night.

I don't really want to go into details for the whole internet, but suffice it to say, my tear ducts got going tonight and I can't make them stop.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Menu

So, looking back into my archives, I realized that it's been a while since I shared with you the menu for my annual holiday party. So, for you new readers, here it is (red indicates I've already made it for this year):

  1. party weenies
  2. sausage balls
  3. sausage dip
  4. crab dip
  5. corn dip
  6. homemade salsa
  7. veggies / ranch dip
  8. banana bread
  9. strawberry bread
  10. zucchini bread
  11. fudge
  12. peppermint bark
  13. puppy chow
  14. sugar crisp chex mix (see a funny post about this from last year)
  15. forgotten cookies
  16. missouri cookies
  17. haystacks
  18. almond tea
  19. apple cider
  20. coffee

Yes, I make everything myself and from scratch. Thank goodness for rubber gloves - as many times as I washed dishes this weekend, my hands could be in terrible shape!! It takes some skillful planning to get everything done, but it is so worth it!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Go Eagles!!!

Abilene High beat Southlake Carroll today!!!! Here is the link to the DMN article. And here is the link to the ARN article.

The Eagles are headed to the quarterfinals now!!

So exciting!!!!