Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We've had a great Christmas. The whole fam opened presents and had a yummy breakfast this morning. Then all day we played with our new toys, watched some movies, and did a lot more cooking for dinner tonight.

The fam just got back a little while ago from seeing Marley & Me. It was such a wonderful movie and we all wished we had a box and a half of tissues each. We laughed, we was a great movie. When we got home everyone was loving on the was pretty sweet. I mean who could resist these faces?

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Now the boys are upstairs playing Mario Cart on the Wii. I took a couple turns but couldn't keep my car under control. John and Jonathan had fun though.

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Today has been a fantastic Christmas Day. I hope everyone has enjoyed their time with their friends and family. I am so thankful for mine and have loved our time we've spent together then past several days.

And I only took a small chunk of skin out of my thumb while grating the Gruyere cheese. It's not Christmas til someone gets hurt, right?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White Christmas?

As I was looking at for the forecast for Christmas Day I saw a link that shows the probability of having a White Christmas. Althought I can't remember the last time Texas saw snow on Christmas Day, I was still curious to see what our chance was this year. With the high reaching nearly 60 degrees Christmas Day I don't think a White Christmas is in our forecast. Oh well, at least it won't be in the 70s.


This map shows the probability of having at least one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas morning...not gonna happen!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! To celebrate this wonderful night John, my sister, brother-in-law, mom and dad went to go see Australia and to dinner at Mi Cocina and a bit walking around at Watters Crossing in Allen. Ok, so we didn't go for Christmas Eve Eve, but we still had a very fun evening.

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First things first..the movie was incredible. My mom and I loved how the cinematography was very old fashioned looking and it was such an epic film. A little, no scratch that, very long, but still a great movie. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not seen it yet.

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Watters Crossing is so beautiful at night right now. The trees are absolutely gorgeous as they have wrapped the branches in Christmas lights and even some had some lighted Christmas ornaments. It was so beautiful and we had fun walking around for a little bit before dinner at Mi Cocina. It was pretty chilly so I'm glad we had our significant others to snuggle with!

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Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I hope you and yours are having a fabulous night. (You and yours..isn't that what you are supposed to say this time of year?) Oh and I'm also still in a bit of shock that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This season has completely flown by.

And I think I said "bit" a few too many times and for that I'm sorry. This is still my favorite time of year and I am enjoying this time with my family so much.

"Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer. Fun for all that children call their favorite time of the year."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a Christmas full house

This year for Christmas we are spending time with my family at my parents house. We've got a pretty full house this year including all the animals! It's my parents, my sister Whitney and her husband Jonathan, my brother Mark, John and me. Plus, we can't forget...

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Wrigley, Whitney and Jonathan's precious lab..I love how he's doing a little over the shoulder look. (really he's just staring at Jonathan who is waving treats at him)

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Huck, my parents sweet dog

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And Phoebe, well, she pretty much hates the world and is annoyed with the dogs.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Ya know, I thought NaBloPoMo would spur me on to post a lot more, but December is just too dad gum busy! But fun busy. I wouldn't change it. I love this time of year so much. It is my favorite time of year. I love the constant reminders of God's love, family, serving others, and spending lots of time with friends.

Friday my mom, sister and I packed up and headed to Austin/San Marcus for a girls weekend. It was such a fun weekend and so needed! My mom, sister and I have not spent time like that in a long time. Friday night we had a fabulous dinner at Serrano's in Austin and spent the night in Austin. Saturday morning we woke up semi-early, stopped at Starbucks, and headed to San Marcus. We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the PotteryBarn/Williams-Sonoma Outlet and then about 1 1/2 hours at the Banana Republic Outlet. We went to several other stores, but those were much faster trips! We got our Christmas shopping done (well mom was done a long time ago) and had such a great weekend. I have a few pictures and will post those later..and I haven't forgotten about my precious pictures with Ashley and Isabelle. I'll post those too!

Sunday was our church's annual Christmas cantata. It was a great night and the music was wonderful. However, the 78 degree weather just didn't quite say Christmas season, but hey..this is Texas we're talking about. Speaking of weather..Texas weather has gotten the best of us. I started feeling bad Sunday night as we were driving home. Yesterday didn't feel too well, and today..feel horrible! John started feeling bad over the weekend and he's not too good now either. But he's got finals to make it through. He's a trooper..studying, writing, taking tests. All that can get the best of someone, but not John. He finds ways to keep himself entertained (and me entertained) while at the library studying. Yesterday I got this in an email from him titled, "Fun in the Library."

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I'll leave you with that! Merry Christmas Friends and Happy Tuesday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

so embarrassing.



equal disaster waiting to happen!
You all know the routine (or at least I hope you know the routine or else I'm all alone) trip or fall when you are with a friend and it is pretty funny. You can laugh with someone and not feel so embarrassed and it actually can be humorous and not humiliating. But when you are ALL ALONE and you trip or fall it is terrible if someone sees you.

Today I was walking down the stairs of the SUB back to my office and the heel of my boots got caught in the cuff of my black pants. I tripped (luckily only 3 steps from the bottom) and 3 chamber guys saw me. Of course I blamed the "water" on the steps!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

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I've been making this recipe for a few years now. It is the perfect roasted chicken and vegetables and it is healthy. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts and tons of veggies. By searing the chicken first it creates a delicious crust and the vegetables that are roasted with the chicken make a complete meal. No need to use any other pots or pans. Just one pan! I've made this recipe a lot of different ways. Usually, I put some red new potatoes in there but we're doing the South Beach diet so I left those out and I added a lot of other veggies tonight. It's a beautiful, colorful dish. I usually make this for 2 so that's how I've posted the recipe, but it can be easily doubled!
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Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

1 red bell pepper chopped in big chunks
4 large shallots sliced
1 fennel bulb sliced
1/2 pound asparagus cut in 2 inch pieces
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2/3 cup chicken broth

Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and season both sides of chicken. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large skillet and sear chicken breasts about 2 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add vegetable mixture to pan and saute for about 1 minute. Add the chicken breasts back to the skillet, nestling them into the veggies. Bake uncovered (make sure it is an oven proof skillet) at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove chicken from skillet, stir veggies and scrap up any brown bits. Add the chicken back to the skillet and reduce the heat to 375 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from skillet. Add the chicken broth to the pan; bring to a boil and scrap up the brown bits. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce a little. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and veggies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"smiling's my favorite!" -Elf

There have been several things this week to help with getting me in the Christmas spirit such as holiday baking and the crazy cold weather, but one of the big ones is watching Christmas movies at work! Seriously, we've already watched Elf, The Polar Express, Christmas Vacation, and now Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. Yesterday one of my co-workers had the fabulous idea to project movies on one of our walls so we all brought our Christmas DVDs and have enjoyed Christmas all day. It is the best!

On another note: I'm on day 3 (of Phase 1) of The South Beach Diet and there are TONS of goodies and treats in our office and I was good and ate my sugar-free black cherry jello. *sigh*

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Fun

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry I sort of abandoned you. I promise to get back into regular blogging soon. After NaBloPoMo I felt sort of liberated that I didn't have to post everyday. Last week was a very busy week also so it was nice not to have to rush home and try and post.


But seriously, last week was a Christmas banquet at church, Christmas on 5th Street and then I spent the weekend in The Woodlands visiting my good friend Ashley and her precious new baby Isabelle. It was such a wonderful time and I have pictures of sweet Isabelle that I will post later. But in the is a fun Christmas questionnaire I got in an email.

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1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Now they are all wrapped, but as kids Santa left presents unwrapped.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white lights?
Always white!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but we don’t need it! ;)

5. When do you put your decorations up?
The weekend after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
My dad’s smoked or fried turkey. Or dessert potatoes. (mashed potatoes that are so good they could be dessert..we came up with the name when we were kids.)

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
When my sister, brother and I all tried to sleep together in the same bed and would wake up so early to see what Santa brought. My parents had a rule that we couldn’t get up until the sun was up. I was notorious for waking up my brother and sister way too early.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Well, I remember asking my mom about Santa in their bathroom one day. She said I might be disappointed if I knew the truth so she didn’t “tell” me the truth. But I sort of knew.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We used to open one on Christmas Eve. Now, Christmas Eve we usually travel so no.

10. How do you decorate your tree?
White lights, popcorn and cranberries, and all our fabulous ornaments. We get an ornament on every vacation we take.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
Love it! Want more of it here in Texas!

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, I used to love going to the Dallas Galleria to ice skate at Christmas around the huge tree!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
As a kid probably my play kitchen. Santa even left me a note on the note pad it came with!

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Being with family and celebrating the birth of our Lord.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Red velvet cake

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My parents have a nativity where baby Jesus is separate from his bed in the manger. We would put baby Jesus as far from the nativity as we could and each day he would get closer to the manger and on Christmas morning we would put him in the manger.

17. What tops your Christmas tree?
A red star.

18. Which do you prefer-giving or receiving?
I love them both.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Grown-Up Christmas List..ha! just kidding. Probably Chestnuts Roasting on a Open Fire.

20. Candy Canes-yum or yuck?
Ehh, I'd be fine without them but I don't hate them.

21. What do you want for Christmas?
A new camera lens.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
Yes, several.

23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?
Well, in the morning we are in our PJs, but we later get dressed..usually casual though.

24. Do you own a Santa hat?
Umm..I own a Santa chef’s hat..does that count?

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
We alternate families each year. This year we are with my parents.

How about you continue the fun. I tag YOU!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

coming up..

There is so much coming up in the next few weeks that I am beyond excited about. Here is a little peak at what is coming up..

December 4th - Christmas on 5th Street
December 5th - going to The Woodlands to meet this precious little girl and visit with Ashley of course!
December 12th - Student Life Division Christmas Party AND our girls weekend trip to Austin/San Marcos
December 14th - Christmas program at church
December 15th - Student Activities staff Christmas Party
December 18th - going to McKinney for Christmas break (and a rockin' good time with my family!)
December 25th - Christmas
December 31st - New Years Eve

PS: I'm off work December 18th through January 5th and I'm only taking 3 of my vacation days. Thank you Baylor!

I absolutely love this time of year. I am constantly reminded of all the wonderful blessings in my life and I am so thankful for all of them.

Turkey Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Soup

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Lady has been making this soup for a long time and I love it. It is such a delicious yet easy soup. The butter adds richness but this soup can also be altered to be a very healthy soup. Just leave out the butter.

Turkey Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Soup
8 oz. Italian turkey sausage (removed from casings)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use 1 teaspoon)
20 ounces fresh spinach
2 (15oz.) cans cannellini beans, NOT DRAINED
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Brown sausage in hot oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until cooked through. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute 2 minutes. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Add beans, broth and butter. Bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and add tomatoes and cheese before serving.
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