Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sweet Lady Jane

Clay and Krystal came out to dinner with us on this cold rainy day. We had them in for drinks first and I found this scrumptious offering...
1/2 oz Grand Marnier

1/2 oz orange juice

1/2 oz Cointreau

1/2 oz coconut cream

1 oz strawberry liqueur

1 oz cream

shake with ice and strain.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Turkey Pot Pie


1 1/2 to 2 c. leftover turkey chopped
1/2 c. diced baby carrots microwave steamed to soften
1/2 c. diced yellow onion
1/2 c. diced celery
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
1 regular jar of Alfredo Sauce
1 box of 2 9 in. pie crusts

Heat oven to 350.

Place one crust into the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Mix together all other ingredients and season to taste. Pierce bottom crust with tines of a fork to vent. Place mixture into the crust and top with remaining crust. Pat to let out air and seal and pinch edges with water. Trim off excess crust around the edge. Cut top cust to vent. Bake 45 min. to one hour until juices bubble out the top crust vents and crust is light golden brown. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 4

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009 With Treasured Friends

The kids were spending the holiday with their father in San Antonio. Bruce and I had done all of our Christmas- ing and I had spent the past 4 days on my backside recuperating. Poor Bruce is in the running for a Sainthood and I'm the first to vote in his favor, but let's face it... his cooking is... shall we call it "manly". We were lucky enough to have been invited to the home of our very good friends, Jacquie and Steve to have dinner on Christmas Day.

We got there at about noon and were greeted in the usual exhuberant fashion by Sandy, shown here sporting the new "sailor dog" collar we got her for Christmas. Sandy always does a great job of making us feel welcome! Bruce took the brunt to protect my tender nose from the onslaught. He's my hero. I did get to snuggle with Sandy a bit after she settled down.

Jacquie cooked a fabulous meal, including ham, vegies and crablegs. It was all so healthy, which was welcome at this point. It was also all home made, right down to the monkey bread, and of course, this grand apple pie.

We ate our fill and sat around the kitchen table in comfort and solved all of the problems of the world. It was a lively conversation flowing naturally from one thing to the next, lubricated by the wine and yummy cream liquours. We stayed so long, it was time to eat again! So Jacquie got out some leftover ham and crablegs, threw in some cheese and olives and we had another feast! Things wound down after that and I had to drive my toasty husband home. Thanks so much to J&S for making our day such an enjoyable and relaxed one. And thanks too for the doggie bag!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nose Job is Relative

My kids were here really to attend my surgery. I've been trying to feel better for a year and Dr.s have told me that I can't breathe. This is causing me to be unable to get good sleep, which affects all the rest of my life. So, they talked me into having my deviated septum repaired. I was not really looking forward to the kids seeing me in such a position, but they refused to discuss letting me do this without them. So Bruce and the kids lead me to slaughter on a bright clear Monday morning. HEY! People! This is about ME! Focus!

I had done a marvelous job of not thinking about this up until right up to the moment of surgery. I was assured by my Dr. that the surgery its self, would be trauma free. The worst part was the insertion of the IV. OK, now this is real. The nurse did a great job actually, it wasn't her fault that I nearly passed out.

We waited a short time, then I was taken into the OR where my Dr. awaited, chuckling at how funny I looked in my hair net and gown. I told him not to find it so funny as he was twice as silly looking as I was in his big ole cowboy boots. He pouted and I made sure he had eaten a nice breakfast and that none of the young people in the OR had irritated him recently, then my head began to spin and I was gone.

No sweat! I woke up after it was all over and had no nausea, no nothing. Just a really big schnoz! My family took me home to bed. Now I've not had to fill my pain meds but have made it thus far on Tylenol Extra Strength. I can really tell when it's wearing off however. The mess has been unpleasant, but the swelling has gone down and the internal packing is dissolving. I've been able to kind of start breathing. It's too soon yet to tell how good it will be. Sleeping is not great as I really can not breathe through my mouth, which is a must at present. I think my nose might even be a bit more straight, so I'm encouraged. Every day is a bit different... more lately, there has been some discomfort. All in all, not too bad but the jury's still out.

Round 2 Christmas with the Girls

We left Mark and Laura's house and came back to our place, got into our jammies and began round 2 of the gift opening extrava- ganza! Brittney and Melissa doled out the gifts.
We let Bruce open his first... age before beauty... He had been on a personal shopping spree and bought his own gifts, which he made me wrap so that the kids could see him open something. It's still fun for me because I can never remember what's in the boxes even though I wrap them myself.

Jezabelle is always in cat heaven when the paper starts to pile up on the floor. She's so funny.
Too bad all of my kids can't have this much fun so cheaply!

The only thing really on my gift list was Switch flops. Some of my BYC friends have them and are making their own ribbon covers for them. The girls got them for me in black and brown, and a bunch of ribbons too.

They go great with my festive poinsettia toes.
Next on my list was a new purse. Bruce did very well in going back to the store where I had seen a good one, and buying it. Unfortun- ately for him, I found out about it because he put it on our credit card. He's such an amateur but he's coming along.
I had the girl's big gifts shipped to their home as they wouldn't fit into Melissa's car. Mel got a jewelry armoire and Britt got a flat screen TV for her room.
Every year I swear not to go overboard again, and every year I do it anyway. But I love to see the kids open their gifts and I'm sure they aren't complaining.
Then there's the obligatory Christmas Cash! The way I figure it, Bruce and I have all we need and the kids don't. I get a great bonus each year from my employer and I won't be working forever. So, why not pass it along to my two favorite people. I can think of no more deserving people. It truly is better to give than to receive.
It was all over in a flash, the kids cleaned up the mess and stowed away all the loot. It was time for bed, as the morning was the beginning of a big day for me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas with Mark and Laura 2009

Melissa and Brittney came to town on Sunday before Christmas to be with me for my surgery. We all got together at Mark and Laura's house for dinner. They were good enough to host again this year as I have no Christmas Tree at my house, and what is a party without a light covered tree?

Mark was taking requests and high on my list was for another taste of those peppermint martinis like they had at their engagement party.

Ahhh... nectar of the gods and very festive! I've gotta get that recipe!

We all hung out at Mark's house while the spaghetti sauce bubbled on the stove. Nathan got his own holiday beverage... something very chocolaty!

Speaking of chocolate... Nate donned his chef's outfit and made a scrumptious batch of brownies. They made the whole house smell, even to the point of overpowering the combined efforts of the sauce and the wassail!

I got to spend some quality time with my new sis. She's alright, although I will say...

She's still pretty mushy! Ach! Newlyweds...

Next on the agenda was the feeding of the puffer and the crabs Mark keeps in his aquarium.

It's so cool to see that crab actually begging for food. He just climbs up on the glass and waves his little arms and legs until you drop some food to him. Then he gobbles it up and asks for more.

The puffer is cool too, although he will take off your finger if you let him. He's such a goofy yet sinister looking little creature. He follows the food jar around and grabs voraciously at the dried shrimp.

Finally the food was done and we all piled into the kitchen to get our plates. The smells were driving us wild and we were hungry!

Even Nathan, usually to excited about presents, was ready to eat. I've gotta say... Mark is a great cook!

Nate was finished first and was caught checking out the loot under the tree.

Melissa tried to distract him by checking out his room. Nate showed her his scout merits. Notice the picture of Mark in his scouting uniform on the floor at her feet. Very cool. Nate looks so much like Mark did at that age, and they have so many similar mannerisms... it's freaky sometimes.

Finally, everyone was done eating and we turned Nate loose on the presents. It was his job to pass out all of the gifts. He was a blur!

This year, he needed very little help in reading all of the tags and passing things out. He did a great job.

He was so serious about it and helped Carla get hers lined out to open.

We had really not planned to do gifts this year but I just couldn't resist. I had some personal coffee mugs made on Snapfish for the Groom...

And the Bride... with pics of the wedding.

I did some for the girls and Bruce to commem- orate the fabulous BVI vacation we had this past June with our motto...
"Here's to not being home eating mac & cheese with babies". The girls loved them and I was thrilled to see them open them up.

By this time, Nate already knew what was in that cube shaped box for him. But he didn't know what was on it. It was fun to watch him name all the fun things we did in Hawaii.

Nate was all wound up. We got him a Pirate Leggo set. He went nuts! He had seen it at the store and thought it cost $400. He just kept going on and on about the four hundred bucks with huge round eyes!

Carla did a great job with gifts this year... dinners for the adults and Melissa got this very cute little apron. It goes right along with some of the other things she's getting this year and Brittney already has one but Melissa didn't.

Next was Carla's turn to open. She is always so shy about it. It's nice to see her so pleased with her stuff. I shopped and shopped for just the right purse for her. I really hope she likes it.

Once it was all opened and done... Mark and Nate got to work on the pirate leggos. I had no idea it was full of so many little bitty pieces. Mark mentioned something about that and I told him that he had better be glad I stayed clear of the drum isle.

Oh, and yes, this is the Christmas of "no teeth" for Nate. How DOES that happen? Just like the song... All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!".

Last on the agenda, we all went out into the garage to see what was going on with the soap box derby cars. Mark had his old ones out and was working on a new one for Nate to use in Scouts. It was all so warm and fuzzy and made me miss Daddy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BYC Christmas Party 2009

This is our first BYC Christmas party! It was hosted by the Ex-officio Commodore, Walt Crawford and his lovely first lady, Judy. The order of the evening seemed to be to eat everything on the "Naughty List"!

We joined the crowd bearing gifts for this year's "Toys for Tots". We are always glad to contribute even though we know next to nothing about what tots like these days. The club collected quite a pile.

There was the usual mingling during hors' douvres. Here Bruce is chatting with Russ and Mary Lee. I am serving on the Dinner's Committee with ML this year and it seems that I have become the chairperson by default. I'm just glad to have a returning member in ML to give me advice as this being our first year as members, we are uneducated in the ways of the club. I think it will be fine. There are a number of new members and I've heard talk of things "changing" with all of the new blood.

One example of these changes, come with the injection of young blood. Amanda is one of our newest members. She's saturated in fashion sense. Here she is trying to instruct Bill in the ways of the successful vs. unsuccessful mixing plaids. I'm not sure I get it either!

Before too long, we got down to the business of the gift exchange. We drew tickets to determine the order and Bruce picked a gift. Of course, it was booze and it was very soon taken away from him.

I picked a nice big gift from underneath the Christmas Tree.

This strategy did not pay off for me. My gift was a Christmas decoration. Since the kids left home, I've not put out much in the way of holiday decor. Nobody look at it too closely as it may be regifted next year. I left the tags on it.

Our contributions to the gift exchange were a set of 4 stemless wine glasses and a vertical Houdini wine opener. These were both stolen after opening. A source of pride for us.

As I said before, Bruce got his chosen gift stolen several times and ended up with a "TEXAS" Snuggie. Nobody tried to steal this bad boy. Bruce was not too happy as he has a stigma attached to the wearing of garb in advertisement of a team or place he has no attachment to. The bringer of the gift said that she was sure it would be a hot item, but those who would have appreciated it were not present. Bruce ended up trading it to someone else the following morning and got a little tool set in exchange.

At the point where gifts under the tree were dwindling, the game got rough. I'm not sure exactly what was going on here, but you can know that if Bill is involved, here will be mischief.

People were swiping opened presents left and right. There were sharks trolling the aisle looking for the tastiest morsels.

These gleaming eyes are never good! No one is safe, nothing is sacred!

This game turns perfectly nice people into fiends! Here is a sweet wife, Julie, instructing her mild mannered husband, Mark as to which present to swipe in cold blood.

I am glad to say that these people do draw the line somewhere. This sweet little old man just wanted some Baileys! He got some, then it got taken, then he got some more, then it too was gone. (there were quite a few bottles of Baileys this year). Finally, he raised himself up on his rheumy knees and hobbled over to where there was a bottle on it's last steal. He GOT IT! The crowd cheered as he made his way back to his chair satisfied with his haul. These young bucks got nuthin' on the old codger!

Amanda was another one whose gift was repeatedly stolen from her, forcing her to go back to the tree and choose another. Here she is opening up her final gift, eyes formerly full of hope now show despair as she realizes that her gift is a card from West Marine. Goodie you say, but as the story goes, Ms. Amanda has somehow managed to get herself banned from ever setting foot across the threshold of a West Marine Store again. Oh Woe!

Finally, after what must have been over 2 hours of "exchange"... the gifts were all settled. We once again turned to chatting and drinking with friends. Mark and Brenda had only just arrived at the end of the evening. We barely even got to talk when it was time to hit the sack. It seems that no matter how late Bruce and I stay up, there are always those who out last us. We walked back to the boat to snuggle up in the cozy V-berth for the night with smiles still on our faces from all the fun.