December 31

2008 was such an amazing ride.

January found me taking all sorts of new photos with my brand new camera.


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Dad helped the boy wire electricity to my island.

February the boy went skiing.

March brought me a new cat, which we later found out was pregnant.

Lucky us.

And I said good by to my sweet Grams.

April brought new life into the house.

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And I was totally smitten.

May found us visiting the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

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The little ones finding new homes.

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And 2 days later,  we were surrogates to 3 little ones who’s mama had died.

In June, the boy graduated, and found me frustrated in trying to take his senior pictures.

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July saw my first TWD.

Apple Cheddar Scones.

Ball games were attended.

We started school early.

The neighbors thought that orange would be a better color than maroon.

And the boy went to Panama.

August was fairly uneventful, except that Superman hit a deer,

and bloggie buddies came for a visit.

In September, we took a day for fun.

My camera went to the doctor.

The boy started his first day of college.

And the girl won a ribbon at the fair.

In October, my camera came back from the doctor, broken, and had to be sent back.

And I shot a cross bow for the first time.

November found me knitting.

Games were won and lost.

And we gave thanks for all we have.

December found us shivering.

Baking.

Decorating.

And counting blessings.

Tomorrow as we begin a new year, may God grant each and every one of us the strength for a the new day, the courage to face what we must, and the grace to deal with what comes our way.

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Jul


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December 30

(this is what I got for Christmas from Superman.   He did a great job!)

It is January or Feburary of 1981.

In a small middle school in St. Mary’s, Ohio there sits a girl in the library.

Her note book is sprawled on the desk and she is scribbling fast and furious in it, completely oblivious to her surroundings.

Is it because she is brilliant?

Is it because she loves to write?

Or is it because 4 weeks prior, her 7th grade English teacher assigned her entire class a project to write a childrens story and it was due to be handed in in 20 minutes?

I’ll let you decide.

But here’s a hint.

I barely got it turned in on time.

Barely.

I got an A on my book.    Not because it was brilliantly written, but because Mother illustrated it for me, and her illustrations far exceeded anything else in the entire class.

Being Queen of DeNile is easy because I am also Princess of Procrastination.

Which is also why I spent yesterday afternoon furiously making today’s TWD.

Anne of Anne Strawberry picked today’s recipe of Tall and Creamy Cheesecake.

When I saw this recipe just a brief 4 weeks ago, I thought ‘yippee…….cheesecake.   A chance to show Chefboy that I can make cheesecake too.’

Then Christmas happened, and the glut of presents and baking and wrapping, and bows and family and parties…well, I just put it off.

I mean, why do something today, when tomorrow is just as good?

Because of all the yummy, but heavy desserts, treats, etc. of the season, I decided to make this a bit lighter.

I used shortbread cookies to make the crust, and I added the zest of an orange, and the juice of that orange in the filling.  It is light and just barely citrusy.   Kind of like an orange creamcicle.

The texture of this cheesecake is light, airy and silky.   The best cheesecake recipe I have ever tasted.

Perfect for the after Christmas parties, before Christmas parties, or just parties in general.

Go check out Anne’s blog.   She has the recipe.

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December 29

Yesterday, I spent almost the entire day with my family.

I have 45 tons of pictures to prove it.

After I got home last night, I spent about an hour and a half photoshopping, and now I have ‘mouse hand’.

We had such a great time.

Superman and Chefboy got GPS’s for their vehicles.

Did you know that a GPS will keep track of your speed?

And then it has the audacity to make noises at you when you go over a set limit?

Both men had them out, playing with them as I drove the 40 minutes home.

Two GPS’s make for a very interesting ride.

Superman:   I set my speed to go off at 55.

Chefboy: Me too.      Oh.   Look, we’ve got 7 satellites tracking us.

Stupid GPS: (noise sounding because I have exceeded 55 mph)

CB: Mom your over the speed limit.

CC: I have the cruise set at 60.

SM: Nope now we have 10.

CB: Hey look you can see the strength of the satellites.

SM: Where?

Stupid GPS:  (more noise)

CB: go to options…blah…blah…blah…

GPS : (noise)  and CC wanting to smash either or both GPS’s.

Then there was a bunch of noises because the testosterone twins decided to play with the voices and the different noises it would sound when I exceeded 55mph.

Oh,  I tell you it was such a joy to ride home.

CB: It says we will arrive home at 7:49pm

CC: (snorting) No way.   We will get home at 7:30.

SM: But this says….

GPS:  (making awful noise again)

CB: It calculates it from your speed mom, we will get home at…oh, it is saying 7:46pm now.

CC: Nope…7:30.

GPS:  (more awful noises)

GPS: After 700 more yards, make a left

CC: (rolls eyes)

CB: Ooooh Mom, go straight up here.   I wanna see what she will do if we mess with her.

CC: (more eye rolling, and drives straight instead of turning like I am supposed to)

GPS:  Turn right.

CC: (eyes are beginning to ache from the rolling)

CB: Wow, it didn’t take her long to recalculate.

CC: (oh, my eyes)

Guess what time we arrived home?

Anyone???

7:30pm on the dot, and I didn’t need a GPS to tell me that!

Here is one shot from yesterday.    Isn’t Sister just the prettiest thing ya ever did see?

The boy just walked in from outside.   Just now.

Just so you know, “we can get seven satellites just from the back deck”.

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December 28

Sister is here!!!


Sister is here!!!

Internet, we are having some seriously freaky weather.

Free-key!

Sister is here!!


Sister is here!!

Just a couple of days ago, it was 10º and the wind chill was -15.

Yesterday it was a balmy 65º.

This morning we have rain and thunder.


Sister is here!!!



Sister is here!!

What happened to winter??

 

PS.   It is 11:53, and let me just say that Sister’s give the best hugs!!!

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December 27

Every year since the chips were born, we would get up on Christmas morning, open gifts, grab a really quick bite to eat, and go to my parents house for the rest of the day.

This year was the very first year that we stayed home all day.

Opening gifties was a leisurely affair.

Breakfast was a leisurely affair.

Lunch was a leisurely affair.

Supper was….you know.

I really thought that the chips would not be happy about it at all, but at supper when I asked them was the best part of the day was for them, they all agreed that it was staying home.

Next year, we are staying put.

That means the dishes fairy is going to have to visit again.

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December 25

For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas, Interent.

I pray that you will find peace and joy that only He can give.

Enjoy your family, friends and love and laughter this day.

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December 24

It just isn’t smart to tempt Mr. Murphy so soon after he has messed with your life.

Just not smart at all.

Should you do so, your last egg yolk just might drop in the trash can.

So, you will send Chefboy to the store to get more eggs.

Your home made favorite pie dough just might end up in a puddle.

Chefboy, get a store bought pie crust, too.

This is what  you’ll get for using store bought pie crust.

Applie, will you ever forgive me?

Because of all the difficulties I had, It was rather late when I finished with it.

I chilled it outside because the outside temperature of 10º chilled it much faster than the fridge.

I was so looking forward to this Butterscotch pudding that Donna of Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases picked for us for yesterday’s today’s TWD, because I heart butterscotch.

My favorite candy is butterscotch, and I make this fabulous Amish butterscotch pie, so I was hoping that it would be comparable.

Sadly, this butterscotch paled in comparison.

The only redeeming thing about this entire recipe was the buttered pecans, and I didn’t even touch them.

Chefboy made them for me.

Tomorrow is Christmas, and I am sending Mr. Murphy packin’!!

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December 23

“The best laid plans of Chocolatechic mice and men, oft go awry.”

~~Robert Burns

Who knew that Mr. Murphy(‘s Law) lived back then?

It all started back in 19??.

Someone who once lived in the house I now occupy decided to enclose the back porch et voila!  a mudroom was born.   Complete with washer/dryer hookup a sink and toilet.

That someone forgot one essential element.

In.sul.a.tion.

Fast forward to this past Sunday afternoon.

I asked Chefboy what he wanted for supper.   He said that he would like baked pasta, so I said sure…but your making it I’ll get right on that.

So down to the pantry (underneath said mudroom) I went to get the items to make baked pasta.

I noticed that it was much colder down there than usual.

Early Monday morning, 5:30ish to be exact, I was laying in bed thinking about the day.    I remembered that it was colder down in the pantry, and I knew I was going to have to do something about it.

Got up….blah, blah, blah…did my stuff, yadda, yadda, yadda, I took the refrigerator thermometer down to the pantry to see just how cold it was down there.

Came upstairs, started laundry, blah..blah…etc…

An hour later I checked, and Internet, it was 25º.

It is colder down there than inside my fridge.

Action must be taken.

I measured the window so that I could glue wood around it,  plastic it, thus keep a lot of cold air from blowing in.

Problem solved.

Kinda.

We didn’t have enough board to go around the window, no glue, and no spray foam insulation, and I kinda think we are out of plastic.

Sigh.

Back upstairs to finish laundry.

But because the room directly below the washing machine is a balmy 25º, the drain pipe froze and water began spewing out of said pipe.

And because the person in 19?? didn’t bother with insulation, or leveling the floor, the water all drained down into the pantry, and froze to the wall in rivulets, but not before soaking everything on the shelf underneath.

And the clean-up began.

Everything had to be removed from the mudroom, the half full washing machine muscled around the floor so that I could mop up all that water, and oh yeah, sweep up all the nasty gunk that gets stuck underneath appliances.

ewwwwwwww!

Since there is no INSULATION, the floor is a toasty 30ish degrees.

Do you know what happens to year old linoleum when it is 30ish degrees???

It gets brittle, that’s what.

And when half full washing machines are muscled around on it, it cracks, and rips and does all manner of things that make Chocolate want to cry and go back to bed.

When that mess was cleaned up, I decided that there was no way in the world I was going to attempt to make Butterscotch pudding for today’s TWD.

No.  way.

I’ll be doing it today, when Mr. Murphy seeks warmer habitation.

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December 22

Growing up, and being a preacher’s kid is kind of  lonely.

Not only do you move around A LOT,  but many times the church’s don’t have kids your age, or because your the preacher’s kid, you are kind of just left alone.

Sister and I have always been there for each other.

Except for that brief year and a half stint in Houston, but we aren’t counting that.

We have been through good times, bad times, and ugly times.

We have huddled under blankets together in a hurricane, we have eaten candy bars during a tornado, and played Barbies in an earth quake.

Yep, we know how to have fun in disasters.

I haven’t seen Sister since August of 2007 and let me just say that, that is just way. to. long. to be away from Sister.

I do, however, have great news!!!

Sister is coming for Christmas!!! and I am B.E.Y.O.N.D excited.

Beyond!

Not only do I get so spend Christmas with Sister, but she is bringing her kiddos, and I have never spent Christmas with them.

EXCITED!

The day after Christmas, we always ask each other what that persons favorite Christmas gift was.

I already know.

Sister.

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December 21

Internet, you are not going to believe what I am about to type, but try.

Ok?

Ok.

I am jealous of all those people who are getting blizzards right now.

I know!   I know!

I can’t stand snow, but all my Christmas shopping is done.

All my grocery shopping is done.

It is cold outside.

Christmas is 4 days away, and there is no snow on the ground.

There is something seriously wrong with that.

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December 20

Every so often I like to look and see how some people arrive at my blog.

Sometimes people search for the strangest things.

Like..

Moonshine girl

Just because I have a couple of pictures of liquor bottles on my blog, doesn’t mean I make the stuff.

But I should.

I could make tons of money.

The other day, I went shopping for some single malt scotch for an upcoming TWD recipe.

$50 for a bottle, and I only need 2 tablespoons.

I didn’t get any.

Anyone have 2 tablespoons of a single malt scotch I could have???

fall cleaning windex

Obviously this person doesn’t read my blog.   If they did, they would realize that I’m a slacker and don’t do fall cleaning.

Ammonia blech

That’s what I say.   blech!

Man doing dishes

Yeah, I wanna see that too.

can you decorate cut out cookies later?

Well, you could, but cookies in this house don’t last very long, so if you wait to much later, you won’t have anything to decorate.

dr. hubert morquette

hmmmmmmmm

“patty hall” “just be glad”

I’m not “patty hall”, but I’ll be glad anyway.

Thanks!

nasty thing

I have 2 of those…dirty toilets.

ewwwww

Why in the world would someone search for ‘ewwwwwwww’?

and last but certainly not least…

pink cordless drills

None here.

If I had one, then I’d have to do all the fixing, so I make sure that  we have standard manly black cordless drills.  Somehow, though they all have dead batteries.

New batteries all around for Christmas!

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December 19

Christmas is less than a week away, Internet, and I don’t have a single giftie wrapped.

Do you?

Are you finished shopping?

My mother is the best gift wrapper that I have ever seen.   I love getting gifties from her, because she always puts a special touch to her presents.

Do you like to wrap?

Do you prefer wrapping or gift bags?

Tell me all about your wrapping adventures.

I need to know.

I need the oomph to get busy wrapping my gifties.

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December 18

I love taking candid shots of people.

Not to embarrass them, but because I love capturing the ‘essence’ of who they are.

Nothing does that better than candid shots.

For instance, the other day before we began to make cookies.

The girl was eating some melon.

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And she realized that I was taking her picture instead of Chefboy’s.

Chefboy can not stand to have his picture taken.

He never has liked it.

We have him on video when he was about 4 or 5, running away from my dad  saying “Pawpaw…stop picturing me!”

And when I began to take Chefboy’s picture, he says something like…

“Mom!  Please don’t take my picture.”

“Seriously mom, please stop!”

So I just go into the other room and do it from there.

I can’t stop.

I think it is an addition.

And I don’t want an intervention.

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December 17

I love live Christmas trees.

They are so fragrant.

They are so beautiful.

Every year, Superman and the chips go out and pick out a Christmas tree, and this year was no different.

The only down fall to a real tree,  is the mess they make.

But I have slaves chips to help with the clean up.

Last year if you recall,the tree was gigantic.   I told them the tree was way to big, and please, please, please pick out a smaller tree this year.

Why do people not listen???

Lights were strung, and ornaments were in the process of being placed on the tree.

But the weight of about 5 ornaments toppled the poor thing and it began to fall.

It is  now it is being held up with black military issue 550 cord and a  nail in the wall.

‘Cause were classy people.

It dwarfs the entire downstairs.

Don’t believe me?

The girl is the only one that can walk through the room and NOT knock off ornaments.

Next year, will be the year of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

I insist on it.

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December 16

I just can. not. stand.  fruit in my cookies or cake.

I can’t.

With the exception of the granola grabbers we made in August, but those don’t count ’cause they had chocolate in them.

To me, there is just something unAmerican about fruit in cake or cookies.

I refuse to make oatmeal raisin cookies.   I use butterscotch chips instead.

I refuse to put raisins in carrot cake….ewwwwww!

Fruit cake….oh…gag!

Mince meat pie…I don’t even want to go there.

When I saw that today’s TWD was Buttery Jam cookies (picked out by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl ), I was wracking my brain (which wasn’t hard considering the condition my brain is in) trying to figure out how in the world I was going to make these cookies without putting jam in them.

I really fiddled with this recipe.

Instead of ginger, I put in cinnamon.

Instead of milk, I put in some Hazelnut coffee creamer.

Let us just pause here for a moment while I say that this dough is absolutely fabulous.

I ate some.

Then I ate some more.

The boy ate some.

And he ate some more.

I had to quickly make these cookies before the dough was gone!

Truly, I could have left them just like  that, but then I wouldn’t be able to call them Butter ‘Jam’ cookies could I?, so I put some strawberry jam on them.

These little bite size cookies are wonderful.

Dorie says they are great with tea.

Chocolatechic says they are great  standing beside your island in your kitchen while the girl washes the dishes, or walking through your living room to watch TV, or sitting down at your computer to read your email, or after everyone has gone to bed and you are watching DVR’d Survivor.

Just sayin’.

Go check out Heather’s blog.

The recipe is there.

YUM!

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December 15

Traditions.

They are important.

And we have a lot of them.

Every year since the chips were old enough to stand, we started making decorated cut-out sugar cookies a week or so before Christmas.

Every year.

It’s tradition.

This year was no different.

Cookie dough was mixed.

Friends came over.

The girl mixed up some gluten/egg/soy/corn/sugar/casein(dairy) free  chocolate biscotti for herself.

They shared the only rolling pin, and rolled the dough  out in powdered sugar not flour.

Then they got busy.

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I love to watch them decorate.

You can tell a lot about a person from how they decorate iced cut out cookies.

His~~practical, lots of icing, and you can tell exactly what they are by how he decorated them.

Hers~~colorful, not quite so much icing, and very much out of the box.

Traditions.

I have found that traditions are not only a comfort, but even in the hardest of times, they make the season seem more special.

What are some of the traditions you do with your family around this time of year?

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December 14

I saw this video on another blog I read.

It is very important that you watch it.

Very.

I showed it to my husband yesterday morning.

About an hour later, he broke the wood cutting board that the Chefboy made for me.

He is now folding.

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December 13

Dear Pink shirted woman who was standing behind me at Aldi yesterday,

You and my girl are about the same height, and have about the same color of hair.

Out of the corner of my eye, I assumed that you were her.

And when I leaned back toward you and said in a hushed tone,  “I really have to pee.   Before we do any shopping at Buehler’s, I HAVE to go to the bathroom”, it wasn’t meant for you.

It was meant for my girls ears only.

A thousand apologies for making you turn as pink as your lovely shirt.

Sincerely,

The classy woman in front of you

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December 12

I went to a ladies get together last night, and I had the most fabulous grape salad.   (plan on blogging it later)

My nosy question for the day is, when you go to a get together, what is the thing that you most want to see on the buffet table?

I really want to see chicken salad sandwiches, and some sort of cheesy queso dip and tortilla chips.

Oh….and something to do with chocolate.

Couldn’t do without the chocolate.

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