Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Apron Love

I made an apron to give as a hostess gift at the New Years Eve Party we are attending. I want to keep it for myself. Really really badly! Its so fun and cute.

See my little toe peeping out there. Flip flops in December....Florida baby!

I am officially obsessed with making aprons. It's unnatural, but I am cool with it. Take a look at the baking post from a few weeks ago. I made the aprons in that post as well. I want to make another now, but its late and I have to work tomorrow. Oh well...there is always the weekend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This just in....

My husband is too sweet....

Just to tell me that he knew I was missing Ohio this Christmas but that he was enjoying the time with me.
Flowers just to cheer me up! And only two days before Christmas! Either a last ditch effort to get on the nice list or just a really nice husband.

And here they are in front of the sink. Definitely makes washing dishes easier.

Monday, December 22, 2008

PJ Day - My Holiday Hustle Reward and Carries version on the Night Before Christmas

Just a few days before Christmas
And there was much celebration
Carrie was taking a few days off
Finally, some much needed vacation

The day of nothing was planned
For days ahead she stayed up late
It had been such a long time
Since she had an unscheduled date

It was a day to relax
Nothing left on the list
Shopping - done, cleaning - done
Wrapping, well you get the gist

She could do what she pleased
For she had nothing else left to do
Read a book, take a nap
watch a movie or two

She had scurried and hurried
Giving herself deadlines to meet
Planning ahead to be sure
The holiday crowds she would beat

The packages were shipped
The menu was set
List upon list
So there was nothing to forget

In her PJ's she stayed
Comfy slippers on her feet
A cappuccino was drank
As a mid-morning treat

Seven days were still left
From work she would stay away
She was relaxed and calm
The way she hoped it would stay

For Tuesday again
Was a day to just chill
Get a pedicure, bake a pie
But in that she found thrill

Christmas Eve would come soon
And bring great elation
Jim and Carrie were planning
Gingerbread house creations

While they would miss the Christmas Eves
That had come in the past
Together they would celebrate while eating
Reubens and fries.... oh such class

Then Christmas Day would arrive
And they were hosting a brunch
Carrie had it all planned
There would be no time crunch

The friends would arrive
Great company on Christmas Day
It would help ease the sadness
Of missing friends and family far away

And now as for me
I am off to just sit
Another cappuccino? Perhaps
I think I deserve it

So as you scurry and scamper
And you are out and about
Remember to enjoy and be thankful
That's what it is all about

Take a moment or two
And remember the true reason
We hustle and plan
And celebrate this great season

*Update - Those are my favorite pjs (I love polka dots and I love pjs)
**Update #2 - The day got even better - I got a new crock pot and was taken out to dinner - Red Lobster in fact! Woo Hoo!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goodbye and Good luck Joey

Its back to Cleveland for Joe. And, yes in the middle of winter. It's like 14 degrees there right now.

Joe is a great friend and we will miss him a lot!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Totally Random - Eight Things

Jennifer did this, and I thought I would play

Here they are in no particular order

1 Blue colored foods creep me out. Candy, drinks, gum, frosting...anything edible and blue is odd and I won't eat it.

2 I can't stand Jello. I don't trust the way it moves (first person to tell what that is from, I'll send you a prize). Really though, I just don't like it. The taste, texture, any of it.

3 I can not stand folding laundry. I'll sort it, do it, put it away, but I dread folding it.

4 I love to chop onions and garlic. I never said I wasn't odd

5 If I sleep in past 7:30 on the weekends I feel like my whole day is wasted.

6 I was the " VFW Buddy Poppy Queen" in our towns parade when I was like 4.

7 I STILL have the dress I wore in the parade when I was the Poppy Queen.

8 I don't know how to swim. Yep, I live in Florida, 20 minutes from the ocean and I don't know how to swim. Jim keeps telling me I need to take lessons, but I just don't see myself in the little minnows class. I do have some pride.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Writers Workshop - Its all about Christmas

This weeks prompts should be easy enough, but I am struggling

1 A letter to Santa
2 Describe a favorite winter memory
3 You're snowed in with your family, what do you do all day
4 The best gift you have ever be given or gave
5 A Christmas tradition you have started with your own family

We only have to pick one, but its tough.
1 My letter to Santa would probably make me sound shallow because, while I am all about peace, love, and happiness, somewhere in there would be a request for a Coach Madeline Tote Purse. Then there would be me asking you to put Florida and Ohio a little closer, an afternoon with my mom, and oh yeah, a matching wallet for the purse.
You get the point
If you want some great letters, check out this post I did a while ago. Go here if you want to see them

2 Can a winter memory be from like three days ago. Here is what I remember, I was carrying about ten boxes into the post office to ship and I wasn't freezing, I didn't have on a hat, scarf, or gloves, and in fact was wearing flip flops. In other words 30 years of Ohio winter makes this winter cozy, just without the frostbite. Oh, the joys of Florida life. Did I mention I am wearing flip flops?

3 Jim and I are kind of boring. We would get up, have a yummy homemade breakfast (waffles or pancakes or a dutch baby), go back to bed, take a nap, watch a movie, I would sew or finally re-learn how to knit, he would play a video game. I should strike boring, because its fun and relaxing for us

4 That's a tough one. Really. I am very blessed and I know it. I can't name a best gift ever.

5 OK, I am kind of cheating on 5. It's just Jim and I. We long for the day when its "Us and the baby, or Us and the kids", but that is another story for another day. And I get that we are a family, but I guess I just always think of kids when I think of a family. The point is, I am trying to justify the fact that Jim and I don't really have our very own Christmas tradition. Are we horrible? We are making gingerbread houses together on Christmas Eve this year. Maybe that will start a tradition. Who knows? I do know this....My house is going to totally kicks his houses butt!
Our families do have traditions though, and I am going to share them (that's the cheating part)

My side of our family: My dad wears a Santa hat and passes out presents. Nothing too unusual there. However, before you receive each and every gift you have to say HO!~HO!~HO!
There are usually about 20 of us at the house and it's funny to watch as each person gets their gift. If you forget a HO!~HO!~HO! the present is snatched back from you. The little ones aren't even able to speak and can't say Mom or Dad, but they say HO!~HO!~HO!. I think Alyssa once snatched her sweet great-grandmas present back from her for not saying HO!~HO!~HO!
I don't know when or how it started, but it's fun!

Jims Mom: I could be wrong, but I think this one is thanks to my sister in laws husband Jon. Its the holiday cracker
These are so much fun. You pull them open and there is usually a joke or fortune, a toy, and a festive paper hat. They are now a must at every holiday gathering. As you can see here:
The holiday dinner with friends in 2006. Ummm...where are Jeff and Allison?
And a dinner I hosted with the family around the holidays, also in 2006.
The cracker king is the guy in the middle on the left
These also lead to an interesting encounter at World Market last week. We are having a few of our friends over for Brunch on Christmas Day ( I swear I am keeping it simple). Well, I can't have a holiday gathering without these, and I can usually count on World Market for them.
So I headed over to pick them up. I couldn't find them and started to panic. Finally I decide to just ask, and since I assumed everyone MUST know what holiday crackers were the conversation went like this:
ME(M): Hi, where are your Holiday Crackers
EMPLOYEE named Erin(E): Weeelll, we don't have a like special holiday cracker section, but there are all kinds of crackers back in the market section
M: No, I'm sorry, I mean Holiday Crackers that you break (demonstrating how they open)
and they have fun stuff in them
E: (puzzled look) What do you mean? What stuff in them, like a filling
M: Well, they kind of remind me of dynamite sticks and you pop them open and they have
toys and a paper hat in them. I should have been more clear. They aren't edible. Not like food crackers
E: They explode?
M: You know, I am probably not doing a good job explaining what they are (again, I am
demonstrating the pulling them apart action as if it is going to help at all). Is there someone
else we can ask, or maybe I can just keep looking.
E: Hey Lisa, do we have Holiday Crackers (I am STILL demonstrating as she yells over to
Lisa, don't ask me why)
Lisa: Sure do, behind you and to the left.

And there, not more than a few feet away is the display of Holiday Crackers. I am so excited and tell Erin that my brunch would not have been the same without them and try to show them to her. She is so over it and says simply "Can I take these to the counter for you while you shop"
Poor Erin.

Jon also brought Jaffa Cakes to the family and I am eternally grateful. I am a proud member of the Secret Order of the Smashing Orangey Bit. Actually, thats not true...I can't get the jaffa cake launch. And I spent a LOT of time on it. Trust me.

Jims Dad:
My special cd. I like country music. My secret is out. Every year Jims Dad makes me a cd with the top 20 country songs of that week (or weeks around Christmas). I love it, it's just for me and its personal. I was worried I wouldn't get one this year since we are staying in Florida. I should have know better. I got it. And I love it!!!!

Those are a few of our family traditions. I am sure Jim and I will start our own, but I will always look forward to these. And this year, I will dearly miss them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bake and bake and bake

Remember the post about the baking weekend?

Before I started, I got in all in order:

Apron? Check

Cappuccino? Check

Christmas Music? Check

My baking buddies? Sadly, no check.

I am here, they are there. I would have totally would have been the cool aunt and busted them out of school for it though. OK, probably not, but I would have taken them for the weekend and put them to work. I mean...look at them! They don't need me for too much, they can measure, wash and dry dishes, perfect specimens I tell you!

So, it all began Friday morning and was a full time doing until Sunday night. This was the result:
Sadly, I was not clearly thinking and didn't get any other pictures of the final results, but there were literally hundreds of cookies, and by Tuesday they were all gone.

By the way Mom, I totally get why Mini Nut Tortes were a once a year thing now. (but they are so worth it)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lucky girl, segment #2

I am blessed, touched, and yes...I cried.

Jim and I are not going to Ohio for Christmas this year. The decision was logical and thought out. We went up North for Thanksgiving and well, beyond the reasons we already have for staying here, airfare and a car rental wasn't happening for both holidays.

I have kept myself busier than normal (more on that to come), and surrounded myself with Christmasy fun and so far I am doing good. I do have my moments though. Some sadness is to be expected I would think.

We will not have Alyssa for crazy picture night or to keep us apprised on whats cool (like is it uncool to say cool). Kara won't be there to help me win at games and get super excited over every gift. (pencils to ponies she is excited. the queen of the gift recipients). And without Meredith who will administer CPR to Elmo? I'll definitely miss pretending to forget to get dads annual present. (a trick he never falls for).

The list goes on.

So, imagine my surprise when the doorbell rings and there before me is a box for me. And it just happened to be the day after the great eyelet debacle in my last post.
I nearly ripped into the presents inside, however, being the lady I am I looked for a card or note and found it
The darn picture WOULD.NOT.ROTATE. The letter says
On the first day of Christmas, my true friends sent to me....You are gonna have to wait to find out.
It then went on to say that this was one of FOUR boxes I would be receiving, each containing three gifts. The gifts were labeled with a date to open and began on Saturday the 13th.

My friends just wanted to make sure I knew I was thought of and wanted to send some holiday cheer to Florida. Jealous? Well, they're mine, all mine!
Jessica, Trish, Allison, and Ang...You rock, I love you and miss you all! I am so grateful I can't even say it. I will however, show my gratitude by not re-posting the picture you all hate. Blog readers can see it here and read about these awesome girls.

In case you were wondering:
Here is my day 1-3 loot

#1 12/13/08
Jim is equally excited over this because I can't find it ANYWHERE here in Florida and I threatened to move back to Ohio because of it. It is the key to component to Grandmas recipe for what I like to call little bits of caramel heaven. So, now we can stay AND he gets the yummy stuff.
#2 12/14/08
I love cute holiday socks. And look, he is the PERFECT Florida snowman. He is wearing sunglasses. I actually wore them today

#3 12/15/08
A hand towel. Its hanging on the little holder in the guest bathroom as we speak.

Nine more to go! I am loving this, and them!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It happened...like it always does

It happens every year. This time of year is always bittersweet for me. Usually its a whole lot more sweet than bitter, and that is a good thing. It doesn't matter because every year, I have my moment. The moment that I allow myself to give in to the bitter, the sad, and the painful. After years of fighting it, a few years ago I told myself to stop and let the emotion take over. The thing is, I can't plan it. Its not like I say "OK Carrie, cry, sob, get angry and move on." It just happens. And this years culprit were these:
Eyelets. What seemed like millions of them!
I spend most of this season like this guy....

However, after making A bajillion and three Christmas cards, I was tired, stressed and beginning to feel more like this:

It had been a long week. It don't think I stopped going going going for over a week at the point. I hadn't got to blog, my body ached and the Grinch was starting to creep up. I decided to call it a night and head for bed.
So, when I spilled the container of them all over the tile floor, I was done. I sat down on the floor of the dining room at 1:15 in the morning and sobbed. Like a baby. And the truth is...It had nothing to do with the four hundred and seventy thousands eyelets scattered around. I needed to do it. To grieve for the part of this season I long for every year. To feel the pain I think I am entitled to once in a while. To miss my mom and want her here. To miss the family and friends I still have that are not in Florida to celebrate with. To ask the questions I never ask. To let all that I hold in out. I let it out. And you know something? After a few minutes it did feel good. Then, I laughed because of how ridiculous that scene must play out in others minds. Now that that is over with....

The following day, I was still feeling a little homesick. Something arrived that would change that. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I am so over it (I think, probably)

I know, I know...I have been gone for two weeks and the two people that read (or at least comment) on my blog probably miss me. Later I will post all about what I have been doing, but right now, a quick post on this:

OK, I am pretty sure I am so over Greys Anatomy. You are all probably reading thinking I am so shallow for posting about a television show, but if that is the case, then come back tomorrow. : )

Really Seattle Grace, I am done. (I think)

First, there is the constant whining and complaining of the cast. Lets think about this shall we...
A You have a job
B Above job is in an industry that is very difficult to break into
C People who dream of acting would turn cartwheels for the opportunity you have
D You CAN get out of it if you are so unhappy
Get over yourselves and shush. I don't want to hear it anymore.

Second, and the prompting for my being over it. The Denny/Izzie saga
Denny is dead. Remember Izzie? Um, you were there. And trust me, I totally get talking to people that aren't alive. I even get crying and laughing to/with those people. I've done it, but heres the thing, I have never actually went shopping with or had coffee with the dead. I have merely received a few blank stares from people around at Starbucks when I giggle and don't realize I am using by outside giggle because I remembering a funny moment, or seeing something that I know my mom would think was funny. I totally grasp that she isn't sitting there with me in Starbucks. If she were however, I would totally make her pay for my latte. Are you following me here?
So yeah, looking for signs, believing certain things that happen are signs from the loved one you miss, chatting and laughing to/with the not alive loved one (I hate saying DEAD loved one) I totally get it. But really, doing that with him and allowing it to jeopardize the Karev relationship. Who is btw...HOT with a capital H. Its annoying!
She misses him (of course), she feels guilt over moving on (of course), but come on....
Can the writers allow just one story to be happy, can they let just one character have a successful, happy, loving relationship? Is that too much. And don't even mention Meredith and Derek. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop with them (and personally, find it an unhealthy annoying relationship anyhow).

So there you have it....
Alive Izzie + Dead Denny + Stuff that would make for a R movie rating = Carrie being pretty sure she is so over it

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baking without the stress

I am very excited for this weekend. I took Friday and Monday off work to bake cookies, and get all of our gifts shipped. I have just two things to pick up and I will be done done done with our shopping. I even have it all wrapped already! I am quite excited.

If you have read this from the start, you will know that I love to bake and cook, so taking off two days from work to bake is like a fun mini-vacation for me. While it may never be that way for others, I would like to offer some tips that can help get you through the baking stress free.
Remember...I am not an expert, but follow along and you can survive the holiday baking bonanza!

1 Repeat this phrase:
It's the thought that counts, and this should be fun. Seriously, if you hate to bake, then don't. Find a different way to spread the holiday cheer. Make fudge (eagle brand recipe is EASY), or try this cute, simple recipe. Instead of baking, make a cute simple craft, or tell your friends and family that instead of baking you are using the money you would have spent to make a donation to a local food bank or other charity.

2. Know your audience:
Are you sending these to family members? If so, maybe there is a cookie that is a family favorite, or has a fun memory associated with it. (like maybe one year when you were really little you added 1 C salt instead of 1 C sugar to the russian teacake dough on accident. just hypothetically speaking).
Are the cookies going to friends or family in college? They will be happy just to get a care package so don't worry too much about fancy cookies.
Are you shipping to a soldier overseas? Items like banana bread and muffins that are very moist can mold very quickly in the hot, humid climates. They may have buddies that don't get packages (its sad, but a reality), so larger quantities to share would probably be appreciated. You may be able to make a lot more chocolate chip cookies than the fancier cookie you were planning for.

3. When it comes to time, overestimate, and bake accordingly:
The recipe time is probably based on optimal time and lets face it, we don't have someone measuring, setting up and cleaning up for us. You also have to remember to allow time for cookies to cool before storing. If you only have a few hours to bake, go for easier recipes (like the ones in #1), and use your old standbys. You don't want to experiment with a new recipe when it may be the only chance you have to bake.

4. Beware of the fancy new recipe:
The magazine makes it look so simple, but it may not be. Judge yourself, but from personal experience, I am a little more critical of my baking when its going out to others. For this reason, I don't try new recipes for my holiday baking unless they are variations on recipes I am familiar with (this year I am trying a vanilla sugar cookie, instead of plain sugar cookies).

5. Look back on years past:
I think I made cut out gingerbread cookies for three years in a row before I stopped. I don't enjoy decorating cutout cookies. AT ALL. I get this grand idea in my head, and usually they don't work and by the third cookie I am bored. No more. I am baking and, as I stated, I should enjoy it. Therefore, if you get a plate of cookies from me for Christmas, it won't include decorated cut out cookies. Deal with it. : )

6. Read, re-read, and read again:
It's frustrating to make up your dough, be ready to bake and then see that it has to chill for 2 hours before baking. Read the entire recipe all the way through to make sure you are aware of all the steps.

If you have never had to run to the grocery in the middle of baking for 1/2 tsp of cinnamon then congratulations. However, things like flour, butter, and sugar add up quickly when you are making several recipes, especially if you are doubling recipes. I actually compile all of my recipes, and list out how much of each item I need in Excel. You can laugh at how crazy this is, but I will have the last laugh since I won't be running to the grocery for missed ingredients.

8. Helpful tools:
Parchment paper: You can re-use it until it gets pretty brown or starts to crack. Great for ensure cookies don't stick and saves cleanup time.
Cookie scoop: This one is pretty self explanatory, but they are great and you can get them almost anywhere (even the grocery) for pretty cheap
Extra timer: You may need to cool something for a certain amount of time before moving to cooling rack, while something else is baking. An extra timer is great during this times.
Stackable cooling racks: Really great if you have limited space

9. Did I mention this should be fun?
Put on some soothing music (I will be playing my Christmas CD's)
Wear comfy clothes
Invite friends, or don't if you are like me and like the kitchen to yourself
Treat yourself to a latte before you get started
Whatever you can do to enjoy, do it. Don't be afraid to skip it. Baking isn't what Christmas is ALL about. For me, its an enjoyable part of the season, but if it isn't fun for you then you should find another way to enjoy the season.

Whatever you do to get in the holiday spirit, have fun!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just for Aunt Kim

Since she specifically told me "No more posts that make me cry"

Send your own ElfYourself eCards