Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the great white north

We made it; we pulled in at 2 am on Sunday, car and sanity intact! No major problems, either.(There was a period of time where we were FREEZING in the car and couldn't figure out why. Turns out you really need to use that little "recirc" button when you have the heater on and it's 10 degrees outside. Houston has made us cold weather novices all over again.) No one threw up, no one had a meltdown, no one even got irritable and snippy in the last 2 hours.
Super Q was very anxious to see snow. We had mentioned Illinois and Indiana as possible places to see it. When those states didn't deliver, Q was furious! ("But you SAID!") Anyway, by the time we got to Michigan, there was plenty of the stuff. And it's been snowing every day since we arrived. The boys are in heaven. They bundle up and go out there and swim around in it. And then come in a cry a little because their faces are frozen.
So it' Christmas Eve and we're so glad to have made it safely. We're having the best time with uncles aunts and cousins. Loving the beautiful snow. Trying to finish a little lap quilt and embroider names on stockings. Sneaking lots of sugar cookies. Looking into our boys' eyes and envying their excitement. Soaking up the Christmas feeling.

Friday, December 19, 2008

that's right!

Still waiting on the status of the car... hum dee dum... guess I'll pass on a link to this very funny article in the NYT about the link between Happy Mommies and Diet Coke. The author has a baby, I do not, yet I am fully ready to attribute the (mostly) calm march from breakfast table to teeth brushing to bus each morning to caffeine. I know! It's a vice! And one day I will get serious about switching to "Pep-up" and getting off the saccharine hooch.

hurry up! and wait!

Just a little update on our trek to the snowy North...
After shopping and cleaning and doing laundry and making hotel reservations and checking off lists and saying our goodbyes we are officially marooned, at least temporarily.

Last night we changed the fuse for the cigarette lighter outlet that powers the all-important DVD player; we went to move the car and it won't come out of park. We researched it and tried everything short of calling a witch doctor, then finally called a tow truck. The person who answered at VW Roadside Assistance was very cordial but didn't seem to be actually listening to much of what I said ("OK, ma'am, is there anything else I can help you with? ...Wait, what kind of car did you say you had?" "A Passat Wagon." "Oh, heh-heh, guess I should've written that down before, huh?" "Yeah.") Anyway, the tow truck comes and because the car can't shift into neutral to drag it up the ramp, we can't get it towed. It requires a special truck or something. So I'm waiting again for a different tow truck right now. (Hopefully the driver will be wearing a belt buckle like the one pictured above.)

But it gets better. dh goes out to start his car to run an errand and it won't start. AND broken car #1 is parked all crazy in the driveway, blocking any access to broken car #2 so we can't jumpstart it. I'm beginning to think that we're not meant to travel today, unless it's by Razor scooter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

the Christmas trek

So we're gearing up for our usual drawn-out Christmas festivities. Drawn-out because we're heading up north (WAY up north) for Christmas which means we'll open most of our presents here, before we go. We don't drive an Expedition so we can't possibly fit all of the gifts in the car AND bring home other stuff. And we usually have another round of gifts to open when we get back (mailed to us while we were gone). dh always wants a live tree also so we'll have to do something about that as well.I guess it's our unofficial advent celebration. A little here, a little there, not really in a logical sequence. Makes it hard to have solid traditions. No, I take that back. The last 2 hours of the road trip nearly always consist of 2 tired and possibly whiny boys, one stressed-out dh with a 2-liter of Pepsi between his knees, sipping at it with 3 straws connected together, and me, doling out goldfish, switching out the DVDs, and dreaming of a visit from the plane-ticket fairy for the trip home. That's our tradition!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sticky bun recipe for the dough dunce

Just saw this recipe on Good Morning America. I like to watch it and try to figure out Diane Sawyer's eyelashes (are they fake? what's going on there? they look cool).

This is from the Barefoot Contessa, and it's for sticky buns made without a yeast dough. Instead you use puff pastry. It's such a great idea, especially for me because I am not very good with dough.

Monday, December 08, 2008

today I...

* made a tiny pair of PJ pants for my nephew with an inseam of 12 inches. I kept on giggling as I sewed. 12 inches! The tiniest PJ pants.

* watched movies with Flash as I sewed. He has "fever barfolitis," as it has come to be known. It features horrible chills and fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. dh got it first and threw up for the first time in 20 years. And he can't stop talking about it. I'm jaded from a lifetime of throwing up (weak stomach) so it's pretty funny to hear a relative noobie talk about it. Anyway, the movies we watched were National Treasure (3 stars) and some hilarious movie about teenaged computer genius spies called Spy High (.5 stars). It's not that old, only 8 years or so but it was so dated. Any movie about computers should be taken out of circulation after about 2 years.

* baked Mexican Wedding Cakes, aka Russian Teacakes, aka Snowball Cookies. My Nana used to make them every year. I looooooove them. Way too much. I add crushed candy canes to the powdered sugar for the last step.

* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup shortening
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1/2 cup icing sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix together flour and salt in bowl. Cream shortening, butter, and icing sugar in separate bowl.
Blend in vanilla, almond extract, and nuts with the creamed mixture. Gradually stir creamed mixture into dry ingredients to form smooth dough. Shape into balls with 1 Tbsp dough.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly on the bottoms. (shaped like a flat-bottomed snowball).
Bake 20-25 minutes.
Roll cookies in icing sugar and cool on rack.

* finished a super top-secret gift for Linz. More later on that one if I remember.

* basically tried to keep my mind busy as we waited for news about layoffs at dh's company. We dodged a bullet this time, but it was a sobering experience nonetheless. Not much warning, either.

I'm not worthy!

My friend Meredith made me a QUILT for Christmas. A gorgeous quilt.

Some of the fabric reminds me of origami paper (which I love). Super Q has been putting it to good use as a sort of wooden-block-bocce-ball course.

And as a tortilla with himself as the filling.
Did I mention this quilt is amazingly beautiful? I wish I could find the cord to my camera so I could post a decent picture of it. (Although I did manage to get the cell phone camera out of yellowing 70s photo mode (aka "cloudy" mode)).

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

black Friday... on the rocks

It felt so good to not be at a store on this day. The tranquil little pond helped, too.

dare to compare

On the left, a gingerbread house from And up top, the fruits of our labors from Family Night (last night). Good thing dh is a structural engineer, or the house in the forefront would be rubble now.