Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013: The Year In Review

When I look back, I feel like 2013 fell into the “unlucky 13” category. Events from this year have felt more challenging than fun.

Highs from the year:

  • Vampire Boy turned 18 (where have the years gone?!)
  • For his birthday/high school graduation present, I took him on The Rock Boat (it was an awesome trip!)
  • He did graduate! (woot!)
  • I sent my first born off to college (holy crap, I’m getting old!)
  • OBX vacation with good friends! (thanks to Flawed Memory for taking me!)
  • I road tripped with friends to see Red Wanting Blue (seriously, I ❤ this band!)
  • Conference in New Orleans (I ❤ NOLA!)

Lows from the year:

  • Car issues, both mechanical and accident-related; tickets for expired inspection (totally my fault); and the car has been running like crap since the summer
  • Relationship issues (having a more ‘off’ than ‘on’ year)

Hmpft, how about that? When I sit down to think about all that happened over the year, the list of highs is longer than the list of lows (although both the car and relationship shit was a bit (::cough, understatement, cough::) overwhelming this year). They say “that which doesn’t not kill you makes you stronger,” right? At a few points in 2013, I wondered if I could keep my sanity while tasking my way through the challenges that life was throwing at me. And here it is, December 31, and I made it through the year!

So here’s wishing you a longer list of highs from 2013 and a happy and healthy 2014 filled with new fun and adventures!

Happy New Year!

A toast to the new year!

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Christmas Day

I slept in a bit this morning (7:30, yay!) but had enough time to turn on the coffee and put my breakfast casserole in the oven before grabbing a shower. Kids planned to wake by 10 AM so I could enjoy the peacefulness of the morning.

Once they both came downstairs around 10, it was time to pass out presents!

Presents!

Presents!

Presents for them and presents for me! In addition to the items in the picture, I also received a few gift cards (Amazon, Macy’s, and Starbucks!) and a nice gift check! I’m already researching ellipticals on Amazon and the gift check will get tucked away for my cruise in February. I’m looking forward to testing out the ice cream maker for my KitchenAid. Can you say Ice Cream Par-tay?!

I texted the ex to tell him that I’d like to watch Social Diva open her present since it was a joint gift. He was actually receptive to bringing it over here for her to open in front of both us. She was pleased (and I can’t wait to play with her new camera). Vampire Boy’s gift was an easy transfer of cash from my bank account to his. They also had a few things in their stockings as well.

After the kids left, I resumed my Christmas Day tradition of seeing a movie, American Hustle.  I made myself a nice Christmas dinner and have enjoyed a quiet house to myself.

There were no drinking plans for the evening, so it will be two Christmases in a row where I will wake up hangover free. I’m both happy and sad about this.

Now the question is do I want to go out shopping tomorrow morning? Hope you had an enjoyable day!

Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours:

Wishing you Love and Laughter, Happiness and Cheer.

Merry Christmas!

holiday card

Are You Fucking Kidding Me? The Family Christmas Edition

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

Thanks to the summer birthday card fiasco involving a missing birthday card mailed to my nephew and the shit storm that resulted afterwards, I wasn’t planning on driving to my mom’s on Christmas Eve. I had already asked the kids about it, and they said they were ok with not making the visit.

Over the weekend, I made sure to send a package to my mom’s address with Christmas cards for her, my step dad, and my two nephews. To avoid any “we didn’t get anything” fiasco like the birthday card, I made sure to send it Priority Mail with tracking.

Package was delivered today and I get an email from my mother asking if I’m not coming up for Christmas Eve. Immediately followed by a text from the sister asking the same question. And here’s where the “Are you fucking kidding me?” comes into play.

Mother and sister said some shitty things back in the summer, and now they’re expecting me to show up for Christmas Eve? I really don’t think so.

The Countdown to Christmas

There’s about a week left until Christmas. I’ve been a baking fool since Thanksgiving weekend!

In lieu of buying gifts for people at work, I spend the weekends leading up to Christmas baking cookies. I then make cookie platters for the physicians I support as well as a handful of co-workers. [They love my cookies so much, they pitched in and bought me a KitchenAid mixer last year!]

I learned a lesson last year. Don’t leave the time-consuming cookies for the weekend closest to Christmas! This year, I began early and baked the time-consuming cookies during my Thanksgiving break.

First up, butter cut outs!

Butter Cut Outs

Butter Cut Outs

I no longer bake and decorate these on the same day. I’ve been researching different icing recipes to decorate these over the past few years. Social Diva initially began decorating for me, but then received a better offer and off she went! It was fun to sit down and create these. I am so happy with how they came out!

Gingerbread truffles were easy to whip up. I threw the rolled balls into the freezer to dip on a different day. I made Social Diva help me with the dipping!

Naked Gingerbread Truffles

Naked Gingerbread Truffles

Next up, my Nana’s Nut Horns!

Nut Horns

Nut Horns

Followed by nut bread. I made two batches of bread over two days. This is the finished product from the first batch.

Nut Bread

Have I mentioned how much I love the KitchenAid mixer and it’s ability to produce bea-U-tiful dough?

Bread Dough

Bread Dough

This is the dough from today’s batch. I was able to make 9 various-sized loaves from this batch. I like to send a loaf of this and some nut horns to my Uncles from my dad’s side of the family. I used to always make these with my Nana and have continued to make them even though she’s no longer with us. I know they miss her and her baking so I like to remember them at the holidays.

Yesterday’s cookie was a tweaked recipe.

Brownie S'more

Brownie S’more

I had a recipe for a ‘chocolate/marshmallow’ cookie. To change it into a s’more-type cookie, I rolled the cookie dough in crushed graham crackers as well as sprinkled crushed graham crackers on top of the marshmallows. I also drizzled these with chocolate.

Also in my freezer (I forgot to take pictures) are red velvet peppermint cookies, rolo cookies, and buckeyes.

I’ve run out of #BakingMondays. I need to finish up a few minor details (like dipping the buckeyes, for example) and then I can start putting my trays together.  I’ll be packing up cookie trays all week to haul into work. Since everyone isn’t in our office on the same days, it’s helpful to take in a few trays each day.

If I can gather up the recipes, I’ll add the links later.