Friday, December 11, 2009

The Christmas Card Tragedy of '09

Hello. My name is Morgan, and I am gaudy. I love anything that sparkles. I like things that shimmer and shine and I absolutely, without a doubt, 110% adore glitter. If they made glittery caskets, I would ask to be buried in one. I know…gaudy. I truly believe that Elvis and I were woven of the same thread. When I was little, my mother was a hairdresser. Maybe the appropriate term is beautician. Anyway, she did hair and nails and sometimes, we would visit her at work. My mom has told me, on more than one occasion, she had a customer that was just as gaudy as I am. She had long red finger nails and wore lots of make-up and enough jewelry for five people. I would sit next to her and was in complete awe of her. I would say to my mother “Mom isn’t she beautiful”. In other words, I like a little flash. With that being said, my Christmas tree is bathed in ornaments and baubles of glitter and gold. Sparkly and dangly. Shimmery and shiny. I search high and low for ornaments covered in glitter, and sequins. I love little glittery embellishments, etc. They just make my heart happy. I could sit and stare at a sparkly tree forever. Remember my tree from last year?

Well, it’s a baby tree. We have moved and traversed all over town and 3 different “homes” in the last 3 years and I was not at all prepared to put up a big tree. So, my mom ran and got a 4.5” tree from Hobby Lobby. It was cute, pre-lit and assembled in less than an hour. Per-fect! So, I ran all over town to get some new (smaller) ornaments to go on it and rushed home to decorate it and all was well with life. This year, unfortunately, I am not having the same luck. The tree is up but it resembles something closer to Charlie Brown’s Christmas than Elvis’. It makes me so sad! The ornaments that I bought especially for that tree have disappeared. I have no idea where they are. I have searched high and low and back again. I can’t find them anywhere and I refuse to go out and buy new ones. I can find all of the ornaments that go to the big tree, but I don’t feel comfortable putting them on this smaller tree because they really are larger than should go on this tree and they are all nice, expensive ornaments that my mother used on her trees and I don’t want to mess those up. So, we have a tree up with lights and a pretty red, glittery tree skirt with about 10 ornaments on it. It makes me upset, every time I look at it. To the Christmas card dilemma… I wanted to take Christmas pictures this year. I haven’t in two years and I really, really wanted to this year. I even bought Darren a red and green plaid Ralph Lauren shirt at Ross for $10 and I found a red shirt for $9 so I just knew our Christmas card mojo was all cranked up. Then, we could never find time to make it to JC Penney. We’ve had professional pictures done twice this year, so I was kind of yearning for the fake fire next to the leaning Christmas tree that makes all Christmas card pictures classic. So, although I was disappointed with our near miss – I came up with plan B. We would take them at home, next to a real fire and a leaning Christmas tree. I could make a little green bandana for Coco and we would be ready to rock ‘n roll. And this is where the Charlie Brown Christmas tree comes into play and thats just not the picture perfect Christmas tree, now is it? So, unhappily – I moved on to plan C. Which is to buy beautiful, glittery Christmas cards like I have done the last two years. So, off I went on a new mission. To Ross, and to Hobby Lobby and to Wal-Mart and to Marshall’s and to Tuesday Mornings and to Big Lots and guess what? Half of those places didn’t have a single Christmas card with glitter. A few of them had some that I didn’t like. Oh, the disappointment. So, I went back to Tuesday Mornings and bought 80 “cute” Christmas cards for $19. At least they were cheap. So, with all the enthusiasm I can muster – I am working on my “cute” Christmas cards and trying hard not to cry. So, if you get a glittery Christmas card in April with two fat kids and a dog sweating in red and green – go with it. It took a lot of work to pull it off!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Friday was so much fun! It was cold and windy and IT SNOWED right here in Houston, TX! It really felt like Christmas.

It was really hard to concentrate on work! So, we spent most of our time at the window watching the flurries!

Then, we ventured outside to get some pictures in the flurries!
Not long after this, it started coming down harder and so we decided we better head home since all of Houston would be a mad house of crazy drivers on the road!

I was stopped at a light, and looked over and this is what McDonald's looked like. Isn't it pretty?

Less than a mile past the McDonald's, stopped at another light - this is what everything looked like outside my window! Everything was covered in white!
I've never actually seen snow (other than this and a few flurries over the years) so this was really special. I passed a Christmas tree stand on my way home, and all of the trees were flocked. It was magical!
We spent 90% of the weekend inside, wrapped up in blankets, next to the Christmas tree and a roaring fire, eating soup. After all, we are used to wearing short sleeves and flip flops in December so this bit of cold was quite a change for us.
Friday night, I made Baked Potato Soup and Saturday I made Beef Stew. Both were delicious! I put the stew in my crockpot about 10am Saturday morning and we ate dinner about 7, so it had plenty of time for the flavors to blend and the meat to get really tender. You could cut it with a spoon! It made so much that my crock pot was full so we ate it again on Sunday! I just make it the way that my mom always did (except she just made it on the stove and let it cook all day).
Beef Stew
  • Beef Stew Meat (I use 2 pounds)
  • 4 or 5 Potatoes, chopped
  • 5 Carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks of Celery, chopped
  • ½ an Onion, chopped
  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 3 cups of Beef broth
  • garlic powder, salt and pepper

Turn your crockpot on and start warming it up. While its warming, clean your vegetables, wash and peel your potatoes and then chop everything up. Just a rough chop - its going to cook so long that if you dice everything, its just going to turn to mush. I season the meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder and then put it in the bottom of the crock pot. Then, I pour the beef broth over the top, pour in the tomatoes and then add all of the vegetables and potatoes. Season again and mix all together. I cook on low for 10 hours and just check on it every few hours. When the meat is cooked, you can check the broth and see if you need to add any more seasoning. About 30 minutes before its done, I make up some cornbread, which more times than not, consists of Jiffy Cornbread mix. It turns out wonderfully if you make it in a cast iron skillet, but the kids might like it if you make it in muffin pans.

All in all, its an easy and delicous meal for a cold night!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Well, it is officially snowing in Houston, TX. Now, if it would just stick - it might actually feel like Christmas. We have been preparing for our "Winter Wonderland" but having fires, eating lots of soup, snuggling on the couch and then snuggling in bed with sweaters and lots of blankets. Its hard to snuggle by yourself, so I recruited this cutie to snuggle with me.

Isn't she so cute? Her dad bought her a new sweater, for the cold weather.

You can tell that she was less than thrilled to ve having her picture made that early in the morning and she REALLY didn't want to get out of bed! She is a snuggle bug! Hope you all stay safe and warm today!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Post Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did! I had another camera/cord/uploader situation. Ha! Like I have said before, its the store of my life! Anyhow, we had a great time - lots of good food and drink, friends, family, games and fun! We are already looking forward to Christmas (kind of). In a "we love Christmas but not the rush to buy lots of presents no one really uses we wish we could just drink cocoa and snuggle and watch Christmas movies" kind of way! I don't have anything too exciting to post about, but I did want to show you a Fruiturkey I made on Thanksgiving for my nephew, Matthew. For the record, I don't think he was nearly as impressed as I was.

So, I totally bought strawberries to use too and forgot to use them. I'm pretty sure they are rotting in my refrigerator as I type this. I got flack for not using a pumpkin for his body - it being "fall" and all. I was too cheap to buy the red bell pepper I needed to make that little hangy thing off his beak but in my defense - red bell pepper is $2 EACH and seriously? I'm just not going that route. I mean, afterall, my mom made a pretty good hangy thing by cutting a red plastic solo cup that we ALREADY HAD. Resourcefulness - it's what I'm most thankful for! Because these two things TOTALLY go together, I decided to cut my hair. All of it. Off. Ok, I might have exxagerated just a bit, but my husband doesn't think so. We had a slight communication problem. For three hours. Apparently, my hair means a lot - to HIM. He was slightly upset that I chopped it all of, without mentioning it to him. And I use the word slightly as a gross understatement. Then, after I chopped it all off - I decided to change the color, because why not rock the boat after he is already upset. It's kind of how I roll. And not at all because I'm an instigator. I'm from the school where hair on my head is MINE and as long as it grows back - its gravy! So, it is now, chin length and "Dark Burgundy Brown". You read right folks - burgundy. And I love it, for now.

Ok, so as you can tell - I am really horrible at pictures. But you get the gist. Well, that just about sums up our exciting Thanksgiving. Or all of it that I want to write today because it's cold and Thursday and you know, stuff. Hope all is well with everyone!