Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree!


Today I wanted to go see the 'largest indoor tree' in the country. I went to the Galleria Mall to see what they were chatting about on the various stations (and work on this 'Christmas list). Sure enough, it's a four story tree in the middle of the ice skating rink decorated with gold and red balls. I imagine it is even more impressive from the rink. The mall has some classy decorations, a live band playing on one floor (along with a piano player in Nordstroms), but I think I ultimately prefer Northpark's decorations.

Black Friday Bass Pros Shop



Yup....I'm one of those people that gets up at 3:30 to hit the 4 am sales. This year I hit a 4 am sale, and then I woke my brother up because he had mentioned he wanted to go to the Bass Pro Shop sale, he probably didn't think I'd actually go, but....I was done with my shopping by 5:30, so I swung by and got him, and we headed out. I thought that Bass Pro Shop would be the last place most people visited the day after Thanksgiving (it was opening at 6 am though, which gave us 4 am shoppers time to get there). When we pulled up there was a serious lot full of trucks (some WITH their boats), and a line extending past the (very large store) and down the sidewalk that ran along the highway. There was even a five piece BAND playing Christmas music outside the store while we waited. My question was-what in the world were all these people HERE for? Jason wanted a hoodie and some jeans, but seriously, if I weren't already out, I wouldn't have been there. We made it into the store, shopped around some. My big purchase was fresh, hot, honey-glazed cashews (breakfast) from a stand with nuts and coffee brewing. Jason bought clothes, and some fishing 'stuff'....and as we stood in line (maybe 15 minutes, compared to the hour and a half lines I've been in before on Black Friday)....sure enough, all the people in line around us seemed to have come for the clothes. Maybe it's the only way most people could get their husbands to go shopping that early? So weird....it'll probably be my first and last Black Friday Bass Pro Shop experience, but still...it was interesting! I took a few pictures with my phone because it was just so strange. They even were 'preparing' for a visit from Santa who was going to be stationed in front of the large tank of catfish, along the windows facing the lake.

Brian's Birthday


...among other family oriented celebrations this break, I was able to attend my cousin, Brian's 19th birthday celebration.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

The whole gang.

Cutie Pies (Part Two)

Because they were frozen, the filling expanded and cracked the crust, so the filling spilled out, and messed up the 'heart holes,' but they tasted good. We put scoops of ice cream on top, and if your favorite part is the crust....this is the dessert for you.

T-U-R-K-E-Y

This year's winner was Jimmy,and he refused to show any M-E-R-C-Y...and if you have ever played a game with me, you'll know that's a quality I respect!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Language Lesson

(Unedited from the original 4th grade author's paper).
"unspeakabley, undescribable": I beleive this means a very beautiful location
I love the language students create to custom fit their life experiences!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Amber's Birthday Dinner

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kansas Kup Kakes


These are some cupcakes I made for my friend Amber's birthday party tomorrow night. I made them very quickly, so they are a little sloppy, and runny, but fun. She went to Kansas, so as a nod to that, she gets sunflowers (from Hello, Cupcakes--->of course).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake


Today I got this recipe in an email. I had bought some cute little mugs a few weeks back for small Christmas work gifts (not seen in this picture), and I was trying to decide what to fill them with to make them fun. I tried this recipe out tonight thinking it would be fun if it was good. I'm not sure what I think. It could be very cute, but the cake was a little dense, and bland. I added some powdered sugar, and that was better, and I'm thinking I might try topping them off with icing if I do decide to bake these in the mug. They also slip out of the mug really easily if you do decide to make these, and the recipe said not to worry if they overflow and puff up over the cup. I'm still deciding, and trying to work with the recipe and idea before it's time to put the gifts together.
Recipe:
Mix 4 T flour, 4 T sugar, 2 T cocoa
Stir in one egg
Add in 3 T milk, 3 T oil, 3 T Chocolate Chips (optional), and a small splash of vanilla in a mug, mix well.
Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Kate


Yesterday I got to visit with baby Kate for a little while, and hold her for the first time. Talk about a head of hair! She was very squishy, and cute, and Mom looks great!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Highway to Houston


I've made the drive to Houston a bunch, and I've never considered the fact that I don't have 'stops' along I-45, like I do along I-35. I definitely need my 'stops.' This time I tried to find a few. It looks like there will soon be a Buc-Ees in Madisonville, which I hear is supposed to be pretty fabulous (with great bathrooms :O)). Thanks for that tip, Jodi, I can't wait to implement it into my road trip, maybe on the way to The Woodlands. (I love gathering ideas from blogs). This time I very carefully read the signs to find the 'perfect' stops. I bypassed good ol' Sam Houston, though his statue is definitely a landmark along the trip. I tried out 'the jerky capital of the world' this time: Woody's, in Centerville....it was a lot of dead, dried meat....maybe not the place for me. They were very busy, and sure enough there was lots of meat, along with fudge, and pickled everything, pies, bread, butters, and jams, but it was no Czech stop. Sooooo...any hints on the highway to Houston?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Galveston Revisted Post Ike


Today as we left Houston we made an impromptu run by Galveston. It was about an hour away, but we had already traveled so far, tacking on another hour seemed worth it. We wanted to see the impact of Hurricane Ike two months later. I think people were only allowed on the island about a month ago, and we knew, via news reports how bad things would be, and I've known through first person accounts from Houston friends how much damaged was sustained throughout the city, I could only imagine seeing where the storm actually came ashore. Sure enough, rubble still lines the city, and most of the people on the island seemed to be a mix of long time residence who were fortunate to be back in their homes, and lots of workmen in trucks. There were still boats lining gas station parking lots, and roadsides where they were swept ashore during the storm. The beach front was completely bare of the marinas, shops, and restaurants that used to extend out over the water.

Many of the large rocks that broke the surf had been swept....somewhere, and the rails along the stairwells that lead to the beach from the ten foot drop down to the beach were completely crushed and crippled.
Even the marker that memorializes the last great Hurricane, and the wall that was built to lift the island to protect if from other storms had the huge stones moved about half a foot to suspend off center until repairs can be made. The Flagship, which we have stayed at many times (see April 2, 2007 for our last trip to the Island and a view of this hotel and shops) has a gapping hole where they used to be a ramp that led to the hotel, windows were stills shattered, and there was a large hole in the front where you could see into hotel rooms. There were some restaurants that had reopened, and some hotels, but the Strand area (which is maybe a mile across the island overlooking the Harbor) was a complete ghost town with nothing. It was really sad. I knew this is how the news reports had described the island, but it was so sad to see. I am looking forward to seeing them rebuild the island. I know it won't be the same, but I have no doubt I'll still be able to enjoy this spot in the future.

Marie and Travis' Wedding


It's important that you play this song when you read this blog, or you miss the whole wedding feel:O)
And now to my blog.....Marie and Travis' wedding was this weekend down in Houston. My Mom was sweet enough to drive me down, and I'm so glad I was able to make the trip because I can't imagine missing Marie's wedding! Everyone was surprised by a cold front this weekend, and for some reason I thought heading south the temperature would be warmer, but this was not the case (I think it didn't get 'warmer' than 50, and there was a cold breeze). After a chilly ceremony outside (with a beautiful bride, and very calm, happy groom), we headed in to the land of peacock feathers (very "Marie"):O) for some REALLY great carribean inspired food (a nod to Marie's family's 'old' home of Jamaica). Jerk chicken-yummmmm, briscuit, plantains, rice and beans, rum cake favors, fruit, and many other goodies. Marie and her dad's dance has to be the cutest dance I've seen at a wedding. No tears, all celebration to this great Reggae song (you should be listening to if you followed my instructions), "She's Royal." They boogied down, and then most of the wedding guest spent the rest of the night wearing a path along the floor. Speaking of catching up, I also got to spend time with Trina (BU roommate, freshmen year), and Terri (Big Sis to all the three BU girls, and great friend for many more years, and counting). Congratulations Marie and Travis! Your wedding was fantastic!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cutie Pies



I started some Thanksgiving holiday prep today...I saw this idea a few months ago from a link on Jo's blog, that had a link, that had a craft link, that had a craft link (I love the blogging world). It's called pies-in-a-jar. You get little half-pint canning jars for individual pies. The great thing is you can freeze them (which I am doing until the day of), then you just pop them out of the freezer, and bake them at 400 degrees. They suggested sticking baking twine on the jars (ready-to-bake) and giving them as gifts, but they are going on my table, with scoops of ice cream for this season. I used cherry and apple pie filling, and I was able to make about three pies (with some extra dough) out of every pie crust. It was easier to cut the top to the size of the lid, and then just takes chunks of dough and mold it to the bottom and sides of the jar. We will see how they bake...I anticipate some filling overflowing, but you will probably see them again in a few weeks on the blog.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Not-So-Sickbed Sewing

I haven't been surfing the net, or even watching tv, and I probably wouldn't even be typing out this blog now if I hadn't figured out how to hook this loaner up my wireless, which required 'thinking' about squatting down to look at the key for the last three days. Today, I thought about it...and did it because I'm almost done sleeping, but I'm not sure I'm ready to leave my squishy bed, but if I am ready to surf the net, I needed access, and thus-squat, groan (special effect), read, type, stand, problem solved for the next two days until I decide what to do with myself. I did have some fun during my 'vacation.' Kelly brought me a new 'craft' to try out, I've seen the finished products, but I never knew how it was done. It's called "Punch Out." You follow a pattern with a color of thread and literally punch it through with this sharp tool so it makes a million loops on the other side of the sheet that form a picture. It was fun. It is literally all I accomplished this week. I recommend it.

I'm done now, so I've pulled out project number two, which is a cross-stitch. This requires counting, and I've made one attempt pre-surgery that is so pathetic that I can't even take a picture of it, but I got a verbal 'class' from a friend for this one, so here's hoping on a better outcome, conveniently it's small enough to be a stocking stuffer, and it's just the thing only a Mom could love, so you know where that little gift is going.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Recovery

Back to blogging....today is my first day on the net, minus a peek last night. Believe it or not, I have not felt like blogging! I also thought it might be best to write a blog without pain medicine speaking for me. I don't want the Vicodin talking. Truth be told, I had a pill about two hours ago, so.....that won't happen. The surgery went 'well.' I still don't want to have surgery again...ever. I'd probably be no less of a basketcase because I did NOT have a fun time. I can say, I am completely confident in the fact that it needed to be done though, and that was one worry I had-should I even be having surgery? It's amazing who all comes out of the woodwork to tell you their story, and there are tons of people who have told me about their time in ICU b/c they let the galbladder thing go too long. I knew how sick it could make me, but I didn't want to add an extended hospital stay to that, so I'm glad it's 'gone'. I went in Tuesday morning, and they were running about an hour behind, which didn't surprise me too much. Once they did prep me the nurses were all very sweet. I had some nightmares the night before about waking up in the middle of surgery, and I had a cough and cold show up Monday morning that was concerning me, but the anethesiologist put my fears to rest. She took all my signs, assured me she would keep me asleep during the surgery, and would wake me up after the surgery. Next my doctor came in and chatted with me for a little bit, and then he asked if he could pray for me. What? Yes! I thought that was awesome, and it was such a God thing. He even prayed in Jesus' name, not knowing where my faith lies, it was a risk on his part in 'these times', but it meant the world to me, and I have so much respect for him. I have felt confident in the prayers of others, but I felt at peace knowing that even my doctor was praying for me and the team of surgeons. If you ever need a general surgeon (and I hope you don't)....I've got the name of a great one. They 'put me out' while I was still asking lots of questions, and I remember thinking they needed to refold a pile of sheets because it seemed like the pile was unmanageably high. The next thing I knew I was waking up. I remember telling the nurse many times that I was 'so happy to be awake.' Before going under the nurse had told me the pain afterwards would be no worse than a gallbladder attack, so that has stuck in my head and revisited me over these last few days, and helps when I'm hurting. I came straight home, and went to bed. I felt very sick to my stomach, and most of the pain the first day was from all the stitches. I have four sets of stitches, but the belly button is the most bothersome. I slept for most of those 24 hours, and then day two the numbing medicine on the inside wore off. I felt a little bit like I had a small class of kindergarteners playing monkey bars with misc organs (it helps to imagine something cute inside). So....I slept most of yesterday. I'm happy to say that I didn't feel like throwing up day two, now I'm just dizzy standing for any length of time. I think above all, maybe this will help me be a LOT more compassionate to others that are ill. I've not spent a lot of personal time at a hospital, or in recovery (for myself), but I now see the importance of a phone call, or a visit. They have meant the world to me, and it takes away my focus from feeling sorry for myself. I'm grateful to have found a great doctor, and great family, and friends to take care of me. :O) And now...it's nap time!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Control Freak

I am constantly working on becoming less of a Control Freak, and more of a 'Jesus
Freak.' God is constantly working on this with me. Oh how I wish I always held uppermost in my head that He loves me, and cares for me, and is completely in control of Me regardless of any outside influence. Yet....in my head for some reason I just can't even imagine my doctor could possibly begin to perform an hour long surgery on me without getting input before, during, and after surgery from me?! How in the world will he know which tools I would prefer he use, exactly what location I'd like him to cut...and not cut, and about the swarm of dainty butterflies I was thinking could gently lift my gallbladder from my body, as opposed to the shiny metal tools? ...and then I begin to suspect the 'going under part' has as much to do with not having to deal with patients like me for an hour, than the actual need for me to be unaware due to pain. I've been so thinking about my chapped lips....and what if the nurse forgets to ask me if I'm thirsty, and I forget to tell her I've been thinking about how thirsty I am going to be after the surgery three weeks prior to the surgery? Oh self, stop! Other than that, I'm at peace, and I plan to get some sleep, so I can wake up, and get some more sleep...and start my 'four day vacation.' :O) "Never be fearful of God’s love and plan for your life" Jer 29:11. Phil 4:6-7

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Day At The Races...




... The NASCAR races that is. My Mom, brother and I headed out to Texas Motor Speedway for the race (just another Texas family bonding moment). I've been working on my red neck sunburn all day ;). I don't really get all the rules of racing because I pretty much rely on Jason for the info and it's a little too loud to ask questions during the race. I definitely think it is a really intense sport, very different from the rest. I enjoy the novelty of the speed, and noise. It also feels like one big tailgate at the grounds. I don't own any of my own gear, but Jason has enough for me to borrow. I always enjoy being a part of something people follow so loyally. I'd say it's right up there with fishing for Jason.

My Cranium is Tired


Oh, what a day. I ran some errands Saturday morning, then drove across town for Maggie's birthday lunch with my old church group (I'm still looking for a 'new' church group, but we often get together with the old pack). Two pals announced their engagement, yeah for weddings! (Nobody from the group has my page address, so....I can announce it here, which also means anyone reading doesn't know the couple, but....just noting, the line of weddings...and shower continues for me. :O)It's fun to fill life with celebrations!). Then I ran across town to meet Sandye for coffee. She had decaf because she is currently expecting. :O) She finished announcing her pregnancy last night to the 'rest' of the crowd, so I can finally publically say I'm excited for her! She looks great (no pictures, so you will have to take my word for it), but I'm not such a Houston fan now, one more baby to travel to. :O( Fortunately, her family is in town, so I'll get to see them for holidays when she heads up. I'm also excited about throwing her a 'Dallas' shower in late spring, according to Jewish tradition, no showers can be thrown before a baby is born....so it'll be a rare shower where a baby is a guest as well (outside the womb)! After coffee I headed out to meet up with Kelly's family, and friends for her birthday dinner. Life is funny, we had call ahead reservations, but it still took them an hour to get us seated through a comedy of errors. To compensate for the wait, the restaurant provided a free appetizer. Kelly chose mussels. I did not partake. We ate a great dinner, then headed back to my house for a loud game of Cranium and cake. As everyone was leaving Kelly started complaining that she didn't feel very well, and then she made a dash for the door... It turns out she had a bad mussel and got food poisoning. Irony....compensation for an unpleasant experience leads to another unpleasant experience! I don't know yet how the rest of her evening went, but it was fun through that point!