29 December 2009

Goals for the New Year

The week between Christmas and New Years always has me thinking and reflecting. I go over in my mind what worked and what didn't, what I learned and what I still need to learn, what I did and what I still need to do.

Last year seemed to be a transitional year for me. Actually the last four years have been. I am still trying to find my way here. Each year I seem to be closer to having the life I want. Baby steps they say.

I'm not big on making New Years resolutions in the 'traditional' sense. I do however make a list of goals for the year.

My 2010 list includes...

-I will set aside more time to read.
-Make one new recipe each week and record that recipe and a photo and any notes in a notebook.
-Learn to make cheese.
-Expand our home grown veggies and herbs.
-Learn to can tomatoes, my salsa and spaghetti sauce for myself and Christmas gifts. For some reason canning tomato products scares me.
-Make more strawberry jam and pickles for myself and for Christmas gifts.
-Learn to knit scarves for myself and for Christmas gifts.
-Dust off my sewing machine and get re-acquainted with it, for myself and Christmas gifts.
-Have a 100% home made Christmas.
-Pay off all remaining debt. We are SO close. WOOHOO!!
-Take a 30 minute walk every morning before work to focus on my day and to get more exercise.
-Find a place to buy local eggs and dairy.
-Find a place to buy fish that is raised closer than Indonesia or Honduras.
-Find more people ( on line and in my community) that are trying to live a simple sustainable life also.
-Continue to purge and organize our home.
-Take my camera with me everywhere I go.
-Enjoy the journey, smell the herbs and take in the sunsets.

27 December 2009

Weekend Reading...

I am so behind on my reading that I'm sure most have read this book. Just in case you haven't though I highly recommend...Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm almost half way through and have really enjoyed it. I will post more about this book when I am finished.

20 December 2009

The Thrill of Accomplishment

My husband has a Tae Kwon Do School. These are some of his younger students doing spinning side kicks for the first time. Their faces are so cute when they break a board for the first time with a new kick.

19 December 2009

It's time for a Party!

Going to a Christmas Party tonight. The tin of sweets above is what I'm taking as a hostess gift. Hope she likes it. The invitation for the party said "Cocktails and Heavy Hors d'oeuvres". Sounds like my kind of party.

I will fill you in tomorrow.

This is Otis...

15 December 2009

Christmas is 10 days away...oh my.

My favorite store inside of Mills Mall that we went to this past weekend was a store called Missouri Mercantile. http://www.missourimercantile.com/
Everything it sells is made there in the state. They had a nice selection of wines, dips, sauces, pickles, soup mixes, even soaps, lotions...you name it.

I bought myself and my Mom a soy candle that smells delish.
For my step dad who we call "the grill master", I bought him a jar of BBQ rub and a jar of Rib rub.

I really wish we had something like this here. It is so hard to find local items. The convenience of having so much of it in one location would be awesome. At least with this store, even though it is in another state, it is under the 100 mile range that I have been shooting for.

Last night I made my contribution to the cookie boxes our office is putting together for the different departments at the hospital that I work at. I am really happy with the choices we made in the office this year as far as our holiday celebrating. Instead of drawing names for a 10-20 dollar gift that no one usually needs or likes we each picked a name off of the tree at the hospital and purchased gifts for those children.

The cookie bars I made are supper easy, freeze well, make a lot and are to die for.

1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 package chocolate chips ( or you can use butterscotch, white choc...whatever)
1 1/3 cut shredded coconut
1 can (14 ounces ) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in 9x14 inch baking pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over melted butter, drizzle sweetened condensed milk, sprinkle with choc. chips and coconut. Sprinkle with the chipped nuts.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and then cut into squares.

13 December 2009

Scenes from the Weekend

We had a great weekend.

Yesterday my husband and I went to Mills Mall over in St Louis to do our Christmas shopping. What a huge place. One million square foot of shopping two weeks before Christmas. It really wasn't that bad though as far as the crowds or traffic goes.

Inside the mall is the St. Louis Blues Hockey team practice rink and it was fun watching the skaters.

We have never gone too far overboard for the holidays and this year is not any different. I do wish I could have been a little more organized to have more 'home crafted' items. Right now though I'm a little over 50/50 but I plan to improve that number next year. What we bought though is either educational or clothing so...not bad.

Today I made some Christmas cards to try to use up some of my Christmas stash from previous years, and this week I will be baking most evenings for my tins that are going to be gifts.

How is everyone's Christmas season going?

09 December 2009

17 degrees plus 50 mile an hour winds equals COLD!!!

Today was a brutally cold day. We missed out on all of the accumulating snow but got all of the winds and temperature drops. Right now we are at 17 and it is continuing to drop. Puts you in the mood for Christmas.

I am drinking hot chocolate, baking banana bread and doing laundry to heat up the house. So far we have not had to turn on the heat and it hasn't been below 60. We like it cool and we can't stand the central heat. It just sucks the air out of you. Go figure we had a fireplace in South Florida but here...Nooooo. Thank goodness for flannel sheets and grandma's quilts.

Stay warm everyone!!

07 December 2009

MIA Update and the Holiday Season

Sorry I have been MIA for so long. About a week after I got over the flu/virus/cold...whatever that was that I had for two weeks in October...I ended up with pleurisy. I had never even heard of it. Trust me, I have a very high tolerance for pain and that stuff had me in tears more than once. It is gone now and I am all better luckily in time for the holidays.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving. My best friend of 25 years came from Birmingham to celebrate the holiday with us. We had a lot of fun and good food. It was a good opening for this years Holiday Season.

When she left that Sunday we kicked it into Christmas. I pulled out the Christmas music, the Christmas socks, the Christmas dishes and the decorations.

One of my favorite things to indulge myself in this time of year is Holiday movies. I love them and they actually are the only DVD's that I collect. I love to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine and watch these movies.

My favorites (in no particular order)
A Christmas Story, The Family Stone, Love Actually, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, The Perfect Holiday, Christmas Vacation, Scrooge, The Preachers Wife, This Christmas...just to name a few.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?