Friday, December 26, 2008

First, we had a lovely Christmas, thank you for asking. The children waited until daylight to wake us up. I mixed up a big batch of real Belgian waffle batter to rise while we opened presents. I got the new MP3 player I was hoping for. Both kids loved all their presents, and they were not big, gaudy plastic toys. My Studmuffin actually grinned at his gift (a garden gnome dressed in a Cubs uniform. He asked for socks and underwear...see why I had to get something fun?) I baked up some yummy waffles.
And then the Studmuffin got the tummy crud.
He's better today, but it's never a fun thing to deal with a sick husband. At least not my husband. I adore the man, but when he's sick, he is 5.
Anyway, I made a huge dinner, my mom, sister, brother and kids ate with copious "mmmm" sounds, and I ran up and down the steps, fetching water, soup, and buckets. Did I mention I made biscuits from scratch?
We were supposed to leave for Peoria today, but out of respect for the seats of our vehicles, we stayed home an extra day. Which gave me some time to do some laundry, put away presents, and relax a bit. I nursed a decadent cup of hot chocolate and finished Jane Brocket's lovely book, "The Gentle Art of Domesticity." This book, a collection of essays about the domestic arts, and the author's love for such activities, was so warm and richly written, I took my time, reading in little nips and nibbles, as if it were a Godiva truffle. Even if the idea of baking bread, knitting or gardening makes you break out in hives, I recommend "The Gentle Art of Domesticity," as well as Jane's beautiful blog...and while you're at it, check out Amanda Soule's book and blog (her link is in my list of favorite links.) Admittedly, I haven't mastered knitting or sewing, but I don't feel guilty or anti-feminist for wanting to learn how...and I appreciate these warm and intelligent women sharing their love and experience for all that is domestic and creative.
Now. I should feed the fam, check on the husband, pack...take some time out for yourselves this week, sweet readers. Buy yourself a present, eat something delicious, read a decadent book. We are fabulous, and we deserve it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays...

A Very Very Merry to all of you I love and cherish!

And in that spirit, I am going to share with you my very favorite Christmas cookie recipe, handed down from my late, beloved, Grandma S. These are the very easiest cookies you will ever make, but they are oh so tasty.

Nighty-Night Cookies

2 eggs, separated (discard the yolks, or use them for something else.)

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Beat the egg whites until foamy, slowly add sugar. Continue beating until stiff. Fold in chocolate chips (last night I used dark chocolate...heaven.) Drop by Tbsp (I use a T scoop) onto foil-lined cookie sheets. Place in oven, turn oven off. Leave in there overnight - at least 8 hours. DO NOT open oven until done.

Yum. You'll like them. Now go enjoy your family.

I am off to Peoria and Chicago for a week, and will likely not be back online until I get back. Have a fabulous New Years!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello hello

My, have we been busy here...we had our annual holiday celebration with my sweet friend A and her family (including adorable nephew), which was good fun. We baked a buttload of cookies, ate very tasty Mexican food, and opened presents. A and I decided to make each other gifts - I made her a pair of earrings and she made me these adorable little fabric ornaments. Super cute. Kiddles are off school and the StudMuffin took both weeks off work, so we are trying to do fun things. Yesterday they all went bowling because...oh yes...I got the stomach virus. Actually I had it all day Friday, all night, feeling better Saturday, fine Sunday, then back on the potty again all day yesterday. Super fab.
All the shopping is done, two more gifts to be made, and I should be getting two in the mail, hopefully today. Christmas dinner is planned, laundry is done in preparation for Illinois travel. Where it is, by the way, in the single digits, and covered in snow. Yes, Toad, I know, we should have done Dallas.
Ok, the kiddles are begging to go bowling, so I must be going. I hope to get back on here before Thursday, but if not, Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Night Updates:

I'm not feeling particularly "bloggy" this evening, but I know some of you get a little restless when I don't post here regularly (uhhuh, you know who you are...), so you get a list:

- Both of my children were up half the night vomiting. I am very lucky that it only lasted one night (knocking on the faux wood product my desk is made of...) Keep your fingers crossed that they both can go back to school tomorrow.
- I have finished all of my Christmas shopping. Go me!
- I have watched two more "good" movies since my post about "good" movies: "The Last King of Scotland" and "Into the Wild". I have to admit, I didn't much enjoy TLKoS. Don't get me wrong, Forest Whitaker was brilliant; but it certainly is not a movie I'll watch again. "Into the Wild", I might. First off, the lead actor, Emile Hirsch, is hot. Seriously. Second, the soundtrack is killer. Third, the story was true, and interesting. Kid graduates from college, gives away all his possessions and hitchhikes to Alaska. Along the way, he meets a lot of interesting people...but it seems he doesn't really appreciate the way they shape his life until he is alone. There is also a very important lesson: Do not give away everything and decide to live alone in a wilderness until you learn how to live in a wilderness. That's all I'll say, I don't want to spoil the ending. But I found myself wanting to kick him in the head, more than once.
- I am now really Needing to watch a dumb comedy.
- I have to make a batch of fudge for the girl's teacher.

My brain has just exhausted itself. I'll try to write more, interesting, things tomorrow.

edited to add: by the way, the lead of TLKoS (not Forest Whitaker), James McAvoy is pretty darn hot, as well. He was Mr. Tumnus in Lord of the Rings, and he was even hot then, with the hair and the extra legs and all. I do love me a Scottish man...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shows I Plan my Nights Around: yeah so, I'm an addict.

First off: if you tivo-ed it and haven't watched it yet, there are no spoilers here.

Dudes, did you see last night's CSI? I adore Laurence Fishburne anyway, and I am completely psyched to see him on the show - he was brilliant. Not that I'm not bummed that William Peterson is leaving and all...

I just started watching this show 6 months ago. It is just so freaking addictive. You learn so, cyanide smells like bitter almonds, but only a small percentage of the population can actually smell it. Blood can turn green - even if you're not an alien. (No, I do not believe everything I see on these shows, by the way. Obviously all crimes are not being solved by bizarrely attractive scientists with badges.)

Ok, now here's the fun fact of last night's episode: the serial killer featured in the show? Oh yeah, friends. It's Elmo's own Mr. Noodle.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Good" Movies

My younger brother is in town visiting, and has determined that I don't watch enough "good" movies. He's very likely right; I tend to watch movies merely as an escape, not really to think. Perhaps I need to change that viewpoint.
We watched Tropic Thunder the other night. I was looking forward to it; I enjoy several of the actors, the trailers were amusing. It was not a good movie. In fact, it was really just bad. It wasn't that I was offended or anything, it was just a stupid movie. That said, I did laugh once or twice (probably at whatever I laughed at during the trailer.) The movie ends, my brother expresses his displeasure with the movie, and makes fun of me for laughing. Then he asks, "what is the last "good" movie you watched? I know, you really liked IronMan, but I mean a "good" movie. Something that made you think." I had to think hard on that one - it's been awhile, but in the past 6 months Studmuffin and I watched "Hotel Rwanda" and "Juno", both excellent movies in their own way. So that's two. Two "good" movies in 6 months - maybe even the past year.
So brother has taken it upon himself to expose me to some of those "good" movies. Sunday night we watched "Stranger than Fiction", which I actually wanted to see, even rented at one time, but never watched. Excellent movie, I will watch that one again (and the soundtrack was fantastic.) Tonight we watched "Motorcycle Diaries", which describes the travels of Ernesto "Che" Guevera and his good friend Alberto Granado from Buenos Aires to Columbia in the 1950's, before Guevera became a revolutionary. It was based on books written by Guevera and Granado themselves, and describes the impact the hardships of travel and contact with indiginous peoples who have been displaced and mistreated by their governments, had on two priviliged and idealistic young men. The movie was thought-provoking; I will have to read further about Guevera and his ideals. This was definitely not my usual viewing pleasure, but maybe it's time I expand my movie horizons a bit. Oh, and the guy who plays Guevera? Seriously hot.