Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Things to Smile About December

It's my favorite time of the year but sadly I've had a lot of highs and lows hit me this month.  Nothing real extreme by any measures, just enough that at times I didn't feel like I was able to enjoy this time of the year.  But today's main focus is 10 Things to Smile About hosted by Emmymom so that's just what we're going to do.  Smile!  In no particular order:

3. Decorating our Christmas tree.  I absolutely love our Christmas Tree and so decorating it as a family is one of the best times of the year!

8. The Review Extravaganza which just so happens to be going on through the end of this week.  Make sure you check it out!!

1. This. What more can I say about this really?  I guess that I wish some of the other scenes would have been free but dang it was fun!

10. I had a helper helping me wrap Christmas presents.

2. The fact that I finally announced that we're expecting. I also announced to some friends via our Christmas card this year which sadly I mailed out a bit late because I was waiting for Peanuts photo to arrive!

6. Getting my boots shined.  What's better than that?!?!

9. We were able to attend the Futurity this year! I Love Ft. Worth and I Love attending the NCHA Futurity!

4. Baking cinnamon rolls!  Just love it!

7. Peanut even got presents at Christmas :)

5. Even though I was in a funk, Christmas soooo made me smile.  Especially when they pointed out I had Grandma's lipstick on my cheek.

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Bringing in 2014

According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than on any other holiday throughout the year.

The tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year was started around 600 B.C by the ancient Greeks, who at the start of a year would carry a baby around in a basket. The purpose of it was to honor Dionysus, the God of Fertility and symbolize his annual rebirth.

In Greece children leave their shoes by the fireside on New Year’s Day (also the Festival of Saint Basil in Greece) with the hope that Saint Basil, who was famous for his kindness, will come and fill their shoes with gifts.

In Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico, those with hopes of traveling in the New Year carry a suitcase around the house at midnight. Some even carry it around the block to ensure traveling at greater distances.  (Alrighty then – guess I better get my suitcase ready and head around the block)

In Spain people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight (one each time the clock chimes) on New Year’s Eve. This peculiar ritual originated in the twentieth century when freak weather conditions resulted in an unseasonable bumper harvest of grapes. Not able to decide what to do about so many grapes at Christmas time, the King of Spain and the grape growers came up with the idea of the New Year ritual.  (We could modify this tradition with wine…after all, it’s made from grapes)

The people in China believe that there are evil spirits that roam the earth. So on New Year they burn crackers to scare the evil spirits. The doors and windows of every home in china can be seen sealed with paper. This is to keep the evil demons out.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball came about as a result of a ban on fireworks. The first ball, in 1907, was an illuminated 700-pound iron and wood ball adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. Today, the round ball designed by Waterford Crystal weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is bedecked with 2,668 Waterford crystals.

Because of wartime restrictions, the New Year’s Eve ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943.
Throughout the year, visitors to Times Square in New York City write their New Year’s wishes on pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti. At the end of the year, the wishes are collected and added to the one ton of confetti that showers the crowd gathered in Times Square in celebration of the New Year.

It was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It is still held in some regions that special New Year foods are the harbingers of luck. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune.

Food plays a big role in New Year’s traditions. Eating black-eyed peas, ham or cabbage is thought to bring prosperity. However, stay away from bad luck foods like lobster (because lobsters move backwards) and chicken (because hens scratch in reverse). It is believed that eating these on New Year’s Day might cause a reversal of fortune.  I wonder if you can instigate good fortune by playing songs by the Black Eyed Peas?

In China, many people wear in the New Year in a new pair of slippers that are purchased before the New Year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.  (both Princess Nagger and I have our new slippers on right now.  Let’s see how it works.)

In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, families stuff a life-sized male doll called Mr. Old Year with memories of the outgoing year and dress him in old clothes from each family member. At midnight he is set on fire — thus burning away the bad memories of the year.

According to a survey, 40 to 45 percent of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. The top New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking and better money management. By the second week of January, 25 percent of people have abandoned their resolutions.

In Brazil most people wear white clothes on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck and peace for the year that will follow.  (what about the ‘no white after Labor Day rule?)

In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.  (I’m not even going to ask.)

2013 Books

Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School by Katherine Darling
A deliciously entertaining memoir about one woman’s adventures in the student kitchens of the legendary French Culinary Institute—flavored with celebrity chefs, eccentric characters, and mouthwatering recipes. To anyone who has ever dreamed of life in a French kitchen, Katherine Darling serves up a savory dose of reality in this funny, fascinating, and altogether delightful account of her time spent slaving over a hot stove, wrestling with veal calves, and cleaning fish heads at The French Culinary Institute. As she goes from clueless amateur to certified chef, Katherine and her quirky fellow students frequently find themselves the objects of scorn as their teachers wage psychological warfare over steaming pots of bisque. It’s a cutthroat world, and no one ever made a soufflé without breaking a few eggs—or cracking a few heads together. Filled with delicious food lore and trivia, and including dozens of classic and original French recipes, Under the Table takes readers deep into the trenches of one of the world’s most prestigious cooking schools—and shows what really goes on behind the doors of every great restaurant kitchen.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Callie has grown up keeping her feelings locked away from the outside world, and as her painful past threatens to consume her life, most days it's a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence has been the only way to survive, until one night when Callie and Kayden's worlds collide.

After that moment, Kayden can't stop thinking about Callie and when they end up at the same college, he does everything in his power to convince her that it isn't coincidence - it's fate.

A Beautiful Mess by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Ready to show your photos some love?

Whether it’s of your sister’s smile, your morning coffee, or your new puppy, photos are a way to connect on Facebook and Instagram, keep a visual diary of our lives, and create momentos for future generations. Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, creators of the mega-popular DIY style blog A Beautiful Mess, are in love with photographing everyday life. Here, they share that love with 95 all-new tips and photo challenges that will inspire you to style and snap better photos and then transform them into simple yet stunning projects and gifts. You’ll learn how to:
   • Take the most flattering self-portraits
   • Be your own stylist to turn dull, cluttered photos into pretty lifestyle photography
   • Capture adorable couple portraits
   • Turn everyday moments, hobbies, and rituals into amazing photos
   • Show off your favorite photos by turning them into handmade jewelry, home décor, and gifts

Packed with Elsie and Emma’s happy spirit and unique style, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book will inspire you to capture your days, your friends, and your dreams in beautiful photos!

The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology
Crossley-Holland--the widely acclaimed translator of Old English texts--introduces the Anglo-Saxons through their chronicles, laws, letters, charters, and poetry, with many of the greatest surviving poems printed in their entirety.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
 Written by an anonymous fourteenth-century poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is recognized as an equal to Chaucer’s masterworks and to the great Old English poems, Beowulf included. A green-skinned knight offers the Knights of the Round Table a simple but deadly challenge—a challenge taken on by the brave Sir Gawain. A challenge that will force him to choose between his honor and his life...

The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is out. Worse, he's facing charges for battery. The only way he stands a chance against the charges is if Callie speaks up, something he'll never ask her to do.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But saving him means admitting her secrets aloud. Callie and Kayden are stronger than they think, especially when they're together. Together they move forward, face their demons, and finally start to heal from their traumatic pasts.

Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
First in a series of Spenser's great work in five volumes. Each includes its own Introduction, annotation, notes on the text, bibliography, glossary, and index of characters; Spenser's "Letter to Raleigh" and a short Life of Edmund Spenser appear in every volume. Framed in Spenser's distinctive, opulent stanza and in some of the trappings of epic, Book One of Spenser's The Faerie Queene consists of a chivalric romance that has been made to a typical recipe—"fierce warres and faithfull loves"—but that has been Christianized in both overt and subtle ways. The physical and moral wanderings of the Redcrosse Knight dramatize his effort to find the proper proportion of human to divine contributions to salvation—a key issue between Protestants and Catholics. Fantastic elements like alien humans, humanoids, and monsters and their respective dwelling places are vividly described.

Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
 "I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart)
The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged.
Each volume features:
* Authoritative, reliable texts
* High quality introductions and notes
* New, more readable trade trim size
* An essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and essays on Shakespeare's life and the selection of texts

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Country Wife by William Wycherley
Wycherley's comedy of marriage and infidelity is accompanied by a new introduction which illuminates matters of language and of dramatic and theatrical artistry for readers, theatre-goers and play-makers. The Country Wife is shown to surpass much Restoration comedy in structural and thematic unity by counterpointing the principals' attitudes on sex and marriage. Although the plot is episodic and portrays multiple sets of lovers, Wycherley succeeds in evolving a 'clear dramatic line.

Essay on Man and Other Poems by Alexander Pope
Aside from the celebrated title poem — a survey of the nature of the universe and man's place in it — this collection  features "The Rape of the Lock," "Ode on Solitude," "The Dying Christian to His Soul," "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady,"  "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot" and more.

Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Westons, Sanditon by Jane Austin
The story's heroine, seventeen year old Catherine Morland, is invited by her neighbours, the Allens, to accompany them to visit Bath for a number of weeks. While, initially, the excitement of experiencing such a place was dampened by her lack of other acquaintances, she is soon introduced to an intriguing young gentleman named Henry Tilney, though her attention was quickly taken upon meeting a young lady named Isabella Thorpe. Isabella tries to make a match between Catherine and her brother John. John Thorpe continually tries to sabotage her relationship with the Tilneys, which leads to many misunderstandings.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

This year I decided to make Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls instead of our traditional cookies for our friends and families.  Hello yum is all I can say.  I made 2 different rounds of Cinnamon Rolls.

Sadly this is the only photo I took of our tree with presents under it.  Oy!  I was in the process of wrapping presents this day and one of my friends emailed a photo of her tree so this is the photo I sent her back of our tree.

In case you ever wondered.... I love this!!

Hubby and I did a special present for Dan, Carlene, Deb & Grady this year.  Here is Dan & Carlene's waiting to be opened.

And here is Grady taking advantage of his and Deb's.  I made a special point that after they were finished I washed them to get the extra threads off plus I added Downey Unstopables so that they would smell really good.  Pete walked up with his nose to the blanket and wouldn't move.  (Pete is the dog in case you didn't know).  I think Pete approved of the smell :).  It was especially cool this year because Grady got his Red Coat.

Dan said that he saw this and thought immediately of Deb, Brian (another photo enthusiast that we dive with) and me.  How cool is it?  A travel coffee mug in the shape of a camera lens.  Total love!  Dan said that Leo (another pooch in our friend clan) jumped up and hit his iPad and brought the photo up so Leo actually picked this out for us :).

AC wound up with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year but we didn't get Tbug until Christmas Day at noon.  Christmas Eve, AC, UB, Grandma, my parents, Memaw, hubby and I met at my parents and had dinner.  Hubby and I were in charge of the meal.  We had Grilled Ribeyes (which Peanut decided I didn't need to eat), rolls, bacon wrapped/cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, my grandma S's corn casserole, grilled squash, onions and mushrooms for the top of the steaks, garlic butter for the steaks (and rolls) and Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake for dessert.

Christmas morning we got up and headed to grandma's.  When we got there I walked into the kitchen to give grandma a Merry Christmas and hug/kiss and she kissed my cheek.  If you look just to the left of my lips I got lipsticked. ha!  While we were eating breakfast my dad asked if I didn't know how to put lipstick on.  Breakfast consisted of Cinnamon rolls made by AR, grandma made a breakfast casserole, OJ, coffee and grapefruit.

Then we went into the living room and started opening presents.  While I was passing them out they put Jakie's hat on.  I'm pretty sure that Jake loved that hat because he pranced around in it.

Peanut even got Christmas presents.

UJ likes to play games on me.  This year it was inside a baby food jar.  Apparently you can seal a baby food jar back up after you open it.  I guess the night that he and Grandma worked on this, grandma left a door open and some reason UJ came into the kitchen and grandma said he about gave himself a concussion when he walked into that cabinet door.  Woops!

Grandpa used to always give us these buckles.  I have them dating back to like 1989 or something like that.  So when grandpa passed away grandma decided to keep that tradition going.  I swear it's just like a present from my grandpa and made me smile.

Jakers is smart but I was ready to sit in front of the fire place.  Finally he got up and I was able to sit in front of the fire.

At noon we went and picked Tbug up and then headed to my parents house.  AC & UB showed up around 1:15 or so and we were watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation so we finished that and then went to opening presents.  Hubby and I really wanted to open our family presents at home but most of mine were at mom's so we just opened everything there.  Mom made dips for the lunch meal since we were all full anyway.

We rounded out Christmas at Sunday Night dinner with a gift exchange.  It was a white elephant exchange and the present I got was the only one that switched hands 3 times (which meant I got to keep it!).  Pokey decided to try out the headband from my gift.

And that, Boys and girls, was Christmas in a nutshell :).

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Saturday Post {29}

Top 5 Posts of the Week
1. Homemade Waffle Batter

2. No Good, Very Bad, Day

3. Merry Christmas

4. Review Extravaganza - October thru December
ReviewExtravaganza 2013FFF

5. Week 11

This Weeks Posts
No Good, Very Bad, Day
Merry Christmas
Review Extravaganza - October thru December
Ft. Worth Trip in a Nutshell

Blast from the Past
2012 - Review Extravaganza - October-December 2012
           The Shack: Christmas Party
2011 - Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night
2010 - Easily Entertained
2009 - None written on the 28th

Recipes made from the Blog This Week
Homemade Waffle Batter

Cashew Chicken {SW MO Style}

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Instagram Lately

Week's Happenings
++I made a couple batches of Cinnamon rolls
++I got to hear the babies heartbeat again because of another possible scare.  All is good.  Oy!
++I've had 5 Ultrasounds in 6 weeks... not so normal....
++Christmas Eve
++I still can't eat steaks :(
++Christmas Eve was spent at my parents with my hubby, parents, grandma, aunt, uncle & MIL.
++Christmas Day!
++Morning was spent at Grandma's
++Picked Tbug up at noon
++Christmas time at my parents house
++Tbug and I went and satisfied my craving for Jimmy Johns because of my momma!!
++Ate lunch with the family
++This was a busy week obviously :)
++P.S. this is the last weekend of 2013.  Bring on 2014!!

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