Happy Christmas weekend!

I’ve decided that I like when Christmas and the eve fall on the weekend. The nice thing is that we can host our Christmas Eve dinner earlier in the day since no one is working.

This year we put a tablecloth on the table. And a real one at that, not a plastic one LOL!  I got these for doing my shows and thought they would look good for our dinner.  Set up with my great grandmother’s dishes.

img_2032b

This year was the turducken. Our local grocery store had these in the meat department.  I got a 3 pound roast, which ended up being about the perfect amount as it was all polished off.  It kind of fell apart while cutting it.

img_2037b

John made a cheese souffle. This is Alton Brown’s recipe and we made it once before.  He actually made 1-1/2 times the recipe and did a smaller dish on the side in case we needed more.  Check out how it came out!

img_2035b

The souffle was done before everyone got here, even though we planned for people being late, so it was a little deflated by the time we ate.

My plate:

img_2038b

Everyone seemed to like the turducken and every bit was eaten. Me? It was okay, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again.  I’m so used to brining turkey that I felt it was a little on the dry side. I would have brined it if there wasn’t stuffing already tucked inside.  The souffle was delicious!

We did our interfamily gift giving and a little music playing. Then it was time for dessert and games. This spread. Seriously.

img_2041b

The famous Cake is in the middle. My sister made it this year. We don’t go overboard or anything… We did make sure we got in a lot of exercise this weekend. Some cookies were also taken to the neighbors.

Game of choice this time? Telestrations!  If you don’t have this game, you need to get it.

One of my drawings:

img_2044b

It’s not too bad, I think. And if you guessed thumb tack – congratulations!  It didn’t travel well to others, though.  The next drawing:

img_2046b

Which was somehow interpreted as this:

img_2047b

She was thinking it was a wall picture and a candle. Of course, the next person had no idea it was supposed to be a thumb tack and drew the word.

img_2048b

I think the last guess was Holy Candy or something like that.  There were many that either weren’t drawn well or guessed well LOL!

We were laughing before it even started and then laughed so much during that my stomach hurt and my face hurt from laughing!

Christmas morning was quiet time for John and I with present opening. Here is Pixie’s little stocking:

img_2050b

She was fairly interested in her presents and batted them around, but seemed to love jumping around in the paper most of all.

img_2052b

She was kind of hyper LOL!

Later on, we all headed down to my sister’s house for games and dessert.

img_2057b

Game this time?  Ticket to Ride!

img_2055b

This is a fun strategy game.

It seems we cram a lot into a couple of days, that’s for sure.  The Broncos played Christmas night and I was hoping for another gift, but they lost and pretty much are done for the season. Oh well.

img_2059b

Now looking back at all that food, I have an urge to get on the treadmill again tonight…

How was your weekend?

Merry Christmas!

It’s festive time! Or Festivus time, right?  😀

On those days I have insomnia and am up too early, I like to put the tree lights on.

img_2006b

It’s so pretty. We have always had multicolored lights, but when we got this tree last year, we went with the all white and I really like it.

Last night we were out to dinner. John finally won a week for football picks and chose Sushi Aroydee.  It’s pretty close to our house, so we can walk there.  Good food, but they need proofreading on the menu:

img_2015b

I tried the panaeng curry with scallops.

img_2016b

Delicious! The broth is a coconut milk based broth with a nice bit of heat to it. The cool thing is that as we were leaving, we got to pick a numbered ball out of a basket and we won a $10 gift certificate!  Yay!  Early Christmas!

It’s definitely going to be a white Christmas this year.  More snow fell yesterday.  We bought some solar candy cane lights for outside and it looks like it’s wearing a little hat.

img_2012b

These are really cute, too. Picked them up at Home Depot.

The sun came out today and I took advantage to go walking. Most of the walks were clear, but some people were kind of lame about shoveling.  Here is our downtown park.

img_2024b

Pretty!

We got some cookie baking done today in between working and walking.  I tried my hand at some rugelach this year.

img_2025b

They came out pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.  I used this recipe, only I omitted the raisins and replaced half the white sugar with brown.

Saturday is the dinner at our house. Need to get cleaning LOL!

Ms Pixie is taking the night off.

img_2028b

Animals are so cute when they are sleeping.

Have a merry Christmas everyone and safe travels wherever you go!  

Trying a turducken

It’s almost Christmas!  As per usual, we are hosting dinner on the eve.  John is making cheese souffle for the vegetarian dish and I decided to try something I’ve always been curious about:

img_2002b

Turducken!  I wanted to make something that would fit in a roaster since the souffle will be in the oven and we won’t be opening and closing the oven during the cooking, so this fits the bill.  I hope it’s good. If not, at least Denny’s is open 😀

We grocery shop once a week. If we run out of something, we make do until the next weekend (unless it’s milk). This helps keep the grocery budget down because there is no impulse buying. Now that I just said that, I went out to pick up the turducken and a couple other things for baking and I couldn’t resist a gift for Pixie’s stocking:

img_2003b

She is  in my lap as I type this. I can talk and write all I want about her gift because she can’t read! LOL  Of course, she will likely want to play more with the ties that hold these to the package than the actual balls.  I’m a sucker.

Projects are happening finally. Painting the cabinets for my parents’ kitchen:

img_1996b

I decided to bring all the doors home with me so that I can paint them as I can rather than going over there multiple times for multiple coats. The paint is Valspar enamel for cupboards, so hopefully it will hold up.  Do you like my sophisticated numbering system ( 8 ). Scraps of post-it notes just so I can keep track of which door goes where.

I also fiddled with my new desk. The woman I bought it from said the drawers needed to be adjusted. A good look at it showed it’s not the drawers, but loose joints in the frame. Refastening and glue drying:

img_2005b

Now the drawers fit much better. You can see the veneer chips along the bottom better in this picture. I wonder if I can actually put veneer on this.  I probably won’t do much else with this for a while since my parents’ kitchen is the priority now. At least the desk is functional and I can use it.

Lots of stuff to cram into the next couple of days, that’s for sure!

Cranberry cake and new project!

What a cruddy weather weekend!  Lots of snow on Saturday and icy rain Sunday.

img_1970b

At least it was a good chance to get inside projects done. I did some work on Saturday as well. I will be glad to not be transcribing on weekends any more. I can count down the days left now!  I was saying to John that I am starting to taste the freedom of having more time!  Even though I will be running the business, it’s not the same as being tied to the computer all day.  One thing I’m looking forward to? Listening to music while working again. I obviously can’t have any on while I’m transcribing, and I miss it.

I’ve been wanting to make a cranberry cake recipe for a while now and a snow day was as good as any!  I used this recipe with a couple modifications:

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 cups flour (240 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I boosted because…cinnamon )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar (to make buttermilk if you don’t have it).
  • 3 cups frozen fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar and set aside. This makes buttermilk if you don’t have any. If you do, just use 1/2 cup of that.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon  and mix.  Remove about 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and put into another bowl and toss with the frozen cranberries.

In a mixing  bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the egg and the extracts and mix to combine.  Alternate adding the flour and the milk to the sugar/egg mixture until the batter just comes together.  Now add in the cranberries (and whatever flour is in the bowl) and fold in with a spatula. The batter is very thick, so you need some muscle.

Spread the batter evenly in a 10-inch cast iron skillet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

img_1971b

Yum!

Now make the glaze:

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of orange juice.

In a bowl, mix the sugar, extract and 3 tablespoons of the orange juice. You need a thicker glaze since the cake is hot. Add another tablespoon if you need to.  Spoon the glaze onto the warm cake in the center and let it slowly flow over the cake.

img_1976b

Now eat!  This was delicious!  It’s really good warm, but also good the next day. The cake is very moist and the sweet glaze compliments the tart cranberries.

img_1977b

I could eat it for breakfast. Or any time…

After an icy start to Sunday, the afternoon cleared up enough and I picked up my next project.  I’ve been looking for a desk so that I can set it up for my coloring and other things rather than using the dining room table 😀   It’s been a long search, but today on a vintage group someone posted what they called a buffet, but I think it is either a desk or was a vanity as it looks like something was attached to the back at some point – like a mirror.

img_1980b

Yay! $50, so not bad. I need to reinforce the top to the base (which will straighten out the drawers).  There are chips in the veneer, so I will repair those. The bottom will likely be painted because my veneer repair skills are fairly nonexistent. I’d like to refinish the top as the wood is very pretty. It’s going to go where the bookcase is currently behind it.

Like I need more projects!  I still have 2 trunks to finish up. Not to mention my parents’ kitchen!

 

Root canal number 2

As we wrap up 2016, I had to get in that last health expense with another root canal. That was on Thursday.

img_1962b

I cannot say enough about my dentist. It was a totally painless procedure. The only part that stung was getting the numbing shots.  Then I took pictures in the room while they left me to my own devices for the anesthesia to take effect 😀    The procedure is just long, though. It took about an hour.  I am glad I had this done. My tooth was feeling pretty good after the antibiotics and I was rethinking wanting to get it done; however when he drilled into the tooth, I could smell the necrotic tissue from the root. Ick. (sorry, TMI).  So, best to get that taken care of.

Now I can’t chew on that side for a couple days and then only soft food for a few days. In a week it should be good. I have to keep reminding myself not to chew on that side. If I forget, it really hurts!  I won’t get the crown until late January. The dentist is backed up because of breaking his ankle and the holidays.  That’s okay, though. I don’t mind putting off the $800 crown.   I will have spent over $3000 on my teeth in the span of 1 year. That hurts more than the actual root canal 🙁

We are part of that arctic blast coming through. It was bitterly cold and so windy yesterday!  And even colder last night.  This was at about 6:30 this morning

img_1964b

It’s funny because the temperature actually dropped a little more after that.  Definitely an indoor exercise day.

It was slower at work today, so I went over and started the work on my parents’ kitchen. The cabinets are going to get painted first, so I took the doors down on the uppers. I hope to get there next week to start painting.  After that – I met John for a latte. He was downtown donating blood.

img_1965b

Yay!  That’s soft food, right??

Soft food for dinner:

img_1969b

Eggs and toast.  It’s tasty, but now that I can’t have crunchy stuff, that’s what I want!

We are in for the night and most of the day tomorrow. More winter weather coming in — another 4-6 inches of snow.  At least we will have a white Christmas this year!

BurgerFi

The running has been continuing on. I’m up to 30 minute stretches. It’s been on the treadmill as of late because of the snow outside.  The walks actually are pretty clear, but it’s been a little chilly on scheduled run days. Go figure. Yesterday wasn’t a bad weather day and I walked with John to the post office to mail something (about 3 miles round trip).  I was playing Pokemon and look what I got!

img_1934b

Pikachu is wearing a santa hat, how cute!  I guess he is Santachu? As soon as I got home, I had to send this picture to my niece who loves Pokemon.

I’ve been on a roll with the football picks for a while. I don’t know how many weeks in a row I have won now. Maybe 5?  Anyway, it was back down to Saratoga for my dinner choice  to try again to go to BurgerFi.  This is a new addition to downtown.  It is a casual burger place along the lines of Five Guys, but maybe a bit more upscale.

img_1955b

Counter service. I got a single burger and John tried the veggie burger:

img_1957b

We split an order of fries because it was huge.  Doesn’t John’s veggie burger look more appealing?

My bun was branded!

img_1958b

It actually was a decent burger. The fries, however, were soooo good! Fresh cut fries. Yummers.

After showing my dinner, I will say that my weight has been pretty much the same all fall. Up and down about a pound, which is great. Of course, we haven’t hit prime cookie time yet. That would be next week LOL!  I’ll probably up the exercise a smidge to help counterbalance.

I actually had some time the other day to do a little playing. I’m working on some new products for the soap line.  This is a cream soap:

img_1951b

It’s so light and fluffy!  It looks very much like marshmallow fluff. It’s a cooked soap, which I’ve never done before. I still have a lot of tweaking and adjusting to do to  the recipe, but I now know the technique. In a couple weeks I’ll have more time to work on this stuff. I can’t wait to leave my job!

Shows done!

Whew!! The last show of the year finished this weekend. Yay!

This was the Shirt Factory open house. I know I’ve talked about the Shirt Factory before. It’s a great piece of local history. Way back in “the day” the factory employed hundreds of women sewing not just shirts, but other types of fashion clothes.  Here is a mural picture that was behind my spot this weekend.

img_1897b

Back when stuff was all made by hand. There were many jobs for women here.

Now the building houses artists and small businesses.  This one is relatively new, Victoria’s Corner.  The do the things I love like upcycling and painting furniture.

img_1899b

They sell chalk paint there and do classes as well.

This year there was a large gingerbread house created and on display in one of the shops:

img_1901b

When you walked into this room – it smelled so good!  I loves me some gingerbread.

All my soaps in a row:

img_1895b

Right after I took this picture and looked at it, I went over and straightened out all the bars evenly LOL!  Not that the straightening lasted long once people started picking them up, but it was momentarily aligned.

It was a good show. Best sellers were Sea Mist, Frankincense & Myrrh, Lavender. I did better this year than last year, which is always nice!  I have to say I was so ready to be done with the shows.  It was a *lot* of work this fall.

After getting packed up and done, we swung over to Moe’s for a quick dinner.  You know how when you see a commercial for a food and then get the actual meal, they never look as good as pictured? Well, this time Moe’s plated up the food great!  This was John’s smothered burrito (veggie)

img_1909b

Nice job Moe’s!!

We are settled in now as all that snow has been working its way east and is now falling here.

img_1903b

The forecast is for 3-6 inches, but who knows how much will come. Some schools have closed already for tomorrow. Time to get the shovels ready!

A bit of running

Wednesday is bagel day!  Gripe time: We went to our usual Wednesday spot, but they have been annoying me lately.  First, they stopped putting out milk for coffee – only cream. John and I don’t drink cream. We like milk,so then we have to ask for them to get milk out for us, which is a pain. Nothing like serving yourself milk from a gallon jug into your coffee cup.  And then I had 2 cups of coffee today with grounds in them. This is a premium coffee shop, too, that roasts it’s own. That shouldn’t be happening.  And a few other things that kind of add to that. I do so love their bagels, though.

img_1874b

So we might be going elsewhere for a while until I move them off my “list”.

I have started running again (or jogging). I know, I know – I keep saying I’m done. LOL I decided to try to train again, but doing it differently by starting to train at the end of bike season when my legs are in great shape and not late in winter when I’m bored. And, I’m keeping a slower pace. Or maybe a varying pace. With biking, I’m not going the same speed all the time, so why should my jogging be that way?

So I started the C25K program again and am in the middle of week 7, which is the 25 minute run segments and I’m doing okay! Dropping some weight earlier this year probably helped as well. My left leg feels fatigued the next day and the skin over my knee gets a little numb after the run, but I can deal with that… for now at any rate.  It’s at least a good change up from riding the trainer inside. I can run outside as long as it isn’t snowy or bitter cold.  I do have to say it’s kind of boring to me. It always has been. It’s not as fun as biking, but cross training is important.  I have had this bug to do another duathlon for years, but I couldn’t get the run going again consistently after hurting my back. Now that 5 years or so have passed since then, things are what they are.  It actually feels good to be doing it again.

Here is a picture of our lights so far this year:

img_1871b

Of course, you can’t see the little tree very well way on the right. And you can’t see our christmas tree in the window. I need to take a picture from across the street.  We are adding a little bit more lights each year as budget permits. I would love to have lights all around the roof and that – but there is no way we can get up there. We did buy a projection snowflake light to shine  on the upper story, but then it broke when we plugged it in, so that had to get returned. We might do lights on the inside of the 2nd story windows, though.

We have a brick house, which can make attaching things difficult, but John found a product called brick clips:

743e4fd2bffc40778c8330813f0da959

Aren’t these cool? No damage to the house and you can put them wherever to attach stuff. Plus they are removable. The only problem is that since the bricks in our house were hand made, they vary in size a bit, so finding just the right spot takes some maneuvering. Normal brick houses wouldn’t have that trouble, though. I have some that I’ve been using for my climbing roses and we used them for patio lights out back. You can get them online and also at Joann Fabrics, of all places.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

What a quick weekend. Saturday was trying to relax a little and Sunday was another show. It was very close to home and was decent, so that was good. One more to go.

On Saturday, the tree project was completed. John stapled a light string on the back after I had put some spar varethane on it for outdoor use.

img_1854b

I love how it came out and happy I actually got a project done LOL!  It’s about 4 feet tall. Now it’s outside with our other lights and I’m happy 😀

Regarding the title of the post, I put in official resignation notice at my job. My last day will be at the end of the month and I am leaving the MT field all together.  It’s no secret the company that I work for is not very organized and has caused me much frustration over the past 6 years. I worked very hard for them and the disappointing thing is, only one person commented on my notice – one of my direct account managers – to ask me to stay on part time. Uhmm…No. The office manager (who I deal with the most) and the owner didn’t respond at all when I turned in my notice. I gave them a month’s notice so they would have plenty of time to get my accounts covered, but after that, it’s not my problem.

What I will be doing is transitioning full time into the supply business John has been running and we’ve had for over 15 years..I had stepped away from it for a while, but it’s time to get back to it.  2017 will be an interesting year. In more ways that one, too.

Someone who doesn’t care about all this? Ms. Pixie. As long as she has a lap, she’s happy.

img_1843b

Although I am leaned over on my hip here and she couldn’t quite get on, so maybe not so happy LOL!

Friday Fun Day

I’ve been on a roll with my football picks lately after a pretty lame start to the year. For my winning dinner, I wanted to go to downtown Saratoga.  As we got close, the traffic was really backed up and we took a side route around and then figured out what was going on. It was the Victorian stroll where the downtown is blocked off to traffic and bunches of people gather. We went to it one year, but the crowds!  So, it was plan B, which was driving in the opposite direction LOL.  I saw a sign for a new restaurant called BWP and made a snap decision to go there.

Turns out BWP stands for Beer, Wine and Pizza!  It wasn’t crowded (since everyone was downtown).  The service was very friendly and the place was quite nice.  I decided on a hamburger. The Bleu burger:

img_1832b

Yum!!  It had bacon on it and a bleu cheese dressing of some kind. I definitely would come back here.  Maybe after I win this week’s picks, too.

I did some shopping at the mall. It was during the day, so not crowded.  Check these out:

img_1850b

I swear, we might have to host an ugly sweater party 😀

Then I stumbled on this:

img_1849b

All of this stuff – every single piece — is for the eyebrows.  ????  Are eyebrows such a thing? I will admit that I am au naturale with mine. No plucking, no penciling. Nothing.  Maybe that’s a good thing because how do you afford all this stuff just for eyebrows?

It’s getting a little cold for our traditional Friday night beer walks. We are thinking of turning them into Film Noir nights with the fireplace going — and maybe some nog. Speaking of the fireplace, John decorated the mantle:

img_1851b

I only moved one thing 😀  (The red vase).  The mirror is always there, not just for Christmas. Don’t you love Pixie’s tiny stocking? I’ll probably just roll up some paper balls and put them in there since that is her favorite toy. That or twist ties.

I have a show this Sunday to do. In the home stretch now! At least it’s only 2 miles from home.  Have a great weekend!