Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whiteouts, Weekends, and Women

Wow. The weathermen really messed up the forecast on Thursday. That's a shocker.

We were supposed to get a couple of snow squalls, amounting to no more than 1/2" of snow all day.

Ha.

We got a snowstorm that lasted all day long and left us with about 4" of snow. This doesn't sound too bad except it seemed like it all came down right as I was driving home from work. The wind was whipping, the temperatures were freezing cold (it felt like minus one thousand degrees out there) and it was whiteout conditions as I was driving through some corn fields. The snow was blowing horizontally. Crazy.

I prayed the whole way home, since I couldn't see the road at all, and finally pulled into the garage. The pic above is what greeted me when I came out of the garage. The Man had all the snow shovels lined up like little soldiers on the back porch. Too cute. His army is ready to march.

*Don't let the 1/2" of snow on the picnic table fool you. I'm telling you, it was whiteout conditions about ten minutes before this photo was taken. And we got another 3" over the next two hours or so.

Boy, when I write this it makes me sound like a big baby. But I'm not. It was scary and dark and windy and blowy and snowy. I'm glad I made it home okay.
Right after dinner, I settled in with a cup of coffee, my cozy fur blankie, my Anthro inspired afghan (see above) and some oreos. Aaaaaaaah, the night just got much better.

I knitted while J., K., and the Man watched "The Office" all evening. We all kept warm, especially when the Man asked J. to go shovel the driveway. Then it got really warm. There was a lot of steam coming out of their ears by the time that discussion got settled. In the end, J. shoveled the drive and cleaned off Grandma's car as well. Phew.
Had lunch with some very old (er, I mean, long time) friends from high school. Actually we all knew each other in grammar school, too, but became friends in high school. What fantastic women these ladies are. We've been able to reconnect through crackbook facebook. I love it for that reason.

The middle woman, Beth, is CEO of a company and the woman on the left, Mary, is an attorney. Me? I'm a librarian working with teens.

Hmmmmm? Wonder who has the scariest job?

We spent lunch on Saturday reminiscing about the past, sharing a few secrets, and laughing, a lot. But next year we're heading somewhere warmer for our (now annual) get together.
This is what we ate for dessert on Saturday night, with friends, after having some yummy pizza from a new place. It's The Pioneer Woman's "The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." and it is. There's only a couple of pieces left. This was a whole jelly roll pan sized cake. And there's only a couple of pieces left. And that's only because we went to bed. Make this cake now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Six Word Memoirs

I ordered a book for the teen section at the library called I Can't Keep My Own Secrets : Six Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure. I know - it's a long title. But it's a great book. I couldn't stop reading these six word memoirs.

(The original idea surfaced from a challenge someone issued Ernest Hemingway to write his life story in just six words. He wrote, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn.")

Some of my favorites:

"Missed him. Must improve my aim."

"So deep in thought I'm drowning."

"I miss something I never had."

"I want to be little again."

It's harder to do this than I thought. I came up with a couple, "Finding myself while children are leaving," or "I was just 25. What happened?"

What six words would you write?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Shoe is on the Other Foot

This was taken a long time ago in kid years. Not so long ago in adult years. Pfffft. What's ten years when you're an adult?

But when you're a kid, ten years is forever.

Ten years ago, I was wanting to know where they were going, who they were going to be with (the rare times I wasn't chaperoning the trip) and giving them strict instructions on stranger danger and staying with the group. These kids got passed off like batons in a relay, between the Man and I, with one of us usually attending their various events.
But eventually they grew up, darn it.

They grew up and started going out with their friends, unchaperoned alone, and not wanting us to be around if there was the slightest, teensiest chance their friends might see us. We had no choice. We had to let them go. It was really hard the first few times. I didn't like it, not at all, not one little bit.
Gradually they got more freedom. More responsibility. And now? It's waaaaaay easier to let them go. Of course, they're not nine and six anymore. That makes a big difference. I'm pretty sure you can't let a nine year old drive a six year old to the mall or the movies, at least not yet.

Plus, the Man and I are off doing our own things now. We're very busy people, you know. And we do have a life. Sort of. I'm not waiting around for empty nest syndrome to happen. No sir, not me. I have things to do.
I found out that life has a way of turning around. I had the best message on my answering machine tonight when I got home from knitting.

"Uh, hi Mom and Dad. It's J....., uh, where are you guys? It'd be nice if someone answered the phone or let us know where you're going. I just dropped K. off at EMT class and she's gonna need a ride home, about 9:15-9:30 or so. You guys are gonna hafta go get her. Uh, maybe you could let me know...no, you need to call me when you get this message so I know she's got a ride home. Uh, okay, talk to you later. Bye."

He's worrying about K. I don't have to anymore.

Life is sweet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fabric Envelope

I'm working on some things for Valentine's Day and the fabric card/envelope is one of them. I love this project - it looks so darn cute. I found it here. I haven't finished it yet. This is just a sneak peek.

What are you working on?

Monday, January 25, 2010

That.Purple.Sweater.

Do you see that? That loop sticking out of the purple sweater? That, for all my non-knitting friends, is a dropped stitch. This sweater is going to kill me.

As you may remember, I've had some difficulty with this purple beast since I started the front cabled piece. You can read about the bad wandering cable here. I'm beginning to really hate this thing. I haven't picked it up in two weeks - I started an afghan that I absolutely am in love with. The afghan loves me. It keeps me warm when I'm knitting it. It doesn't make stitches all by itself, and it certainly doesn't let them jump off my needles and get left behind, only to become dropped stitches. No, this is a good afghan, a well behaved afghan. And that means I'd rather spend time with the afghan than with that stupid old purple sweater.

But this thing, this horrid purple thing, is so close to being done that I can't let it go. I have to finish it. Even if it kills me. And it might. When I last put it down, it measured 25" from top to bottom. It needs to be 26.5". I was so close, I could taste it. When I measured it this morning, it was 24.5" long. How could it lose 1/2"? What?

It hates me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Front Porch

I love my porches.

This is my front porch. It's a little dark because I turned off the porch light for just a few minutes. I was trying to get the view of the living room looking in the window straight ahead. As you climb the steps of my front porch, you can look into my living room. It's a very warm and welcoming view as you come up onto the porch. You can see my shadow on the left. Just so you know, shadows add about 25 pounds to your silhouette. In case you were wondering. Plus, I was bent over. Not my best angle. I look much better with only parts of me showing.
Eh, maybe not.

My MIL tells me that when they lived in their previous home, they used to leave their front porch light on until 11:00 pm, every night. Maybe some of you do this too, but we never did when I was growing up. That light went out at 8:00 pm. We didn't want anyone coming to the door any later than that. (One night, someone did come to the door much later than that, but she turned out to be inebriated and thought she lived in our house. The police had to come and help her find her way home.)

But my MIL and FIL left their light on every night until 11:00pm.

Huh.

What if someone came to the door that late? Would they have answered it?

I'll have to ask her, but I know what she'll say. "Of course we would," she'd say, "They might need help." That's the kind of people my in-laws are. And it turns out, she'd be right. Someone did need help. Only not in the way they thought.

She told me that a neighbor of their's had a husband who worked the overnight shift so she was home alone at night. When my in-laws were leaving that house and moving to the one we live in now, that neighbor came over to say goodbye. She said she would miss their front porch light the most. She told them that she would always look out her window to make sure the light was on. Seeing it, reassured her that she was not alone.

I want to be that kind of neighbor. The one that comforts someone when they're feeling a little scared or lonely.

So now my front porch light stays on until I go to bed. So far, so good.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Time's a-wasting

Well. I accomplished nothing today.

I had such high hopes for the day. I met a friend for breakfast at seven o'dark thirty in the morning and thought I would come home and whip through the house, cleaning and straightening until it was done. Then I would be free to sew.

Ha.

I came home. Decided I needed to go to Joann's to get some sewing supplies and more yarn for my afghan. Went shopping for HOURS, came home, checked crackbook facebook, helped the Man hang two pictures I bought for the newly painted kitchen and snacked.

I did manage to get upstairs and straighten up my sewing nook. I had felt thrown all over the place. It's pretty bad when your 18 year old son asks you to clean up your part of the upstairs spare room so he's not embarrassed to have anyone over. I could have used words like, "Listen, mister, what goes around, comes around," or "Excuse me, are you talkin' to me?" But I didn't. I cleaned it up and now I'm ready to sew tomorrow.

As soon as I clean my bedroom.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friends

I love knitting. Okay...really...I'm obsessed with knitting. I take a weekly class with ten other fantastically wonderful women and I help lead a knitting group at the library every other week. Right now, we're offering free knitting classes to entice beginners to give it a try. Our first class was last night and guess what? My friend, Rhonda, was in the class!

(I knew she would be since I was in charge of the registration for the class so it's not really as big a surprise as I made it sound.)

Rhonda is what you would call a smart aleck. She always has been and that's probably why we've been friends for so long. I'm a wee bit sassy myself.

She was into drama and theatre and artsy stuff in college. She's very dramatic, in other words. (She was an extra in an episode of "The Sopranos". That's my claim to fame. I know someone who was on "The Sopranos".)

I love talking to her. She's mouthy, smart, and always thinks outside the box. Plus, I know her husband from way back in the day (don't you just love that expression? I do, even though I have no idea where it came from or what it actually means) and he's a good egg. And I love her kids, too. Especially Stephen - he has the best smile.
But I have totally gone off subject.

Rhonda and I were chatting at knitting last night and she made the comment that she had to use me as a job reference and put down how long we had known each other.

Forty years.

Whoa.

I can't have friends for forty years. That's a big number. And it's a scary one. But she was right, darn her. Of course, we've been friends since kindergarten so we're not that old. It's not like we met in Lamaze class and have been friends for forty years, or met when our kids were in story hour together and have been friends for forty years. Still, forty years being friends makes us sound old. I don't like it.

But I do like Rhonda and we've gotten closer since we joined crackbook facebook. We chat a few times a week now and have had dinner with other friends from elementary school. Kind of a mini-reunion.

And tomorrow I get to have another one. Yay for me!!!

I re-connected with another friend on facebook and we're having breakfast tomorrow morning. I'm so excited to see Mary and catch up with her life and hear all about what her family is doing. She put a status update tonight that she was looking forward to having her first re-connection with an old friend tomorrow and that made me smile.

Nice way to end my twelve hour work day today.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dreaming of Summer

I want summer. This is as close as I'm getting right now. I love everything about summer: the heat, the garden, flowers, eating outside on my porch, and sangria. I love fresh fruit, barbecuing, fans whirring, and the smell of freshly mown lawn. I love going to the beach, or swimming in the pool, or just soaking up the sun.
There are some things I don't like about summer. I don't like bugs and I don't like wearing bathing suits. I don't like putting on sunscreen but my nose looks terrible when it gets sunburned. I don't like sticking to my car seat when I'm wearing shorts. That hurts.
Five months to go. We're almost there.

Ha.

I'm practicing positive thinking. Right now I'm positive we've got a long way to go until summer.
But these pictures help. And the thought of sitting on my porch, sipping sangria.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Felt Mum Brooch tutorial

A co-worker has a pin similar to this on her coat and I've been admiring it for a while. She won't give it to me (even though I asked very nicely - she's not a good sharer) so I finally decided to try and make one for myself. I am a good sharer so I'm sharing my tutorial with you.

You'll need three different colored felt pieces, each one cut to 3 inches by 3 inches. Fold each one in half and sew each of them with a 1/4" seam.
Cut two of the strips at 1/2" intervals, almost down to the seam but don't cut through the seam! You should have seven "petals" on each strip. Cut the third strip so that you create eight "petals". That one will be cut at a little less than 1/2" intervals.
Lay the two seven "petal" pieces together, overlapping in the middle.
Wrap the two ends around the overlapped center, as shown below.Take the third strip and butt it up against one of the ends (see below).Wrap the remaining end around, as pictured below.
Sew the three wrapped pieces together along the seam lines from the first step. If you have a heavy duty needle, you might want to use it for this part. I didn't have one so I had to use a regular weight needle and I broke two of them while doing this. I finally figured out to go slowly, hand turning the machine when the needle initially entered the fabric. I'm going to buy heavy weight needles for the next batch of brooches I make. That will simplify this step and keep me happy, not cranky over broken needles and wasted time.Fold the flower in half and hand stitch the two ends together. I used invisible thread and it worked just fine. Felt is very forgiving and hides the invisible thread rather nicely.
Hot glue a pin back onto the flat bottom of the flower.
Your finished felt mum pin.
And if anyone asks me for it, I'll share.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Road Home

This is what my life feels like right now, this road leading to wherever. I can't see what's coming around the bend. It looks brighter but there's some fog obscuring the way. There's a bit of darkness creeping in but the road is well lit and I can find my way.

Whew.

That was pretty deep for so late in the day.

Really, though, this picture is a fairly good summation of this stage of my life. My kids are growing grown up. One's in college and the other is in high school. But my high schooler is training to become an EMT. She's not a child anymore, but a serious, graceful, poised young woman who knows where she's going. Her picture doesn't look anything like mine. Her's would be a six lane freeway.

I see this road and I think it's leading my kids away from me. This road is taking them to the life they were meant to live. And it should. They're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

But you know what? It's also taking me somewhere too. I'm branching out into new interests, new hobbies and I love it. I welcome it. Especially when it leads me to the ice cream in the freezer.

As long as it leads me home in the end.

Monday, January 18, 2010

C'est La Vie

Has anyone ever been to a wedding reception at The Publick House? Very beautiful, especially at night. A pre-reception event was held in the barn. We had a cozy table in one of the stalls - lots of dark wood, candlelight, and flowing wine.

This was a picture perfect wedding. Beautiful bride, handsome groom, lovely church, and a historic setting for the reception. A good time was had by all, especially the younger, dancing people. The Man and I danced once, but it was starting to snow and we were anxious to head home. It was dark and slippery and we had a few hills to go over before we made it safely home.
The paparazzi were out in full force. I think everyone owns a small, hand held digital camera (myself included). I didn't bring the Nikon. I don't know why, other than the fact that we're not particularly close to the bride and groom and I knew I wouldn't be taking gobs of pictures. I missed it. Those small hand held cameras just don't do it for me anymore. I want my 50mm lens. I hate shooting with flash now. It's so harsh. And my 50mm lens lets me shoot sans flash almost all the time. Out of the 200 shots I took, I saved about 20 of them. Ten percent. The other 90 percent were blurry since the darn lens had to stay open so long. But I got a few decent pictures and I learned a bit about shooting with the camera tilted.
I get so weepy at weddings. Even when I don't really know the bride that well. This is the moment where I lose it. The father-daughter dance. Every father must dream of this moment, yet I'm sure every father dreads it. I know the Man does. We've talked about this. This letting our little girl go. Letting our little girl go off with some stranger.

Okay, that's a little dramatic.

I'm hoping we'll know her husband very well before they actually get married. And I'm sure we'll love him like our own. But he's still taking our little girl away. And that tends to lead to drama.

We have a few more years before that happens, but I bet it happens sooner than we're ready for. And I bet the dad dancing in the picture above is remembering when the woman in his arms was a little girl. Just yesterday.

That, my friends, is life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Books, books, books

Eeeeeeeeppp! I cannot wait until tomorrow. ALA (the American Library Association for all you non-bibliophiles) is having their midwinter meeting in Boston and I'm going THIS year! All kinds of vendors, publishers, authors, and anything else related to books will be there. The media specialist from the high school asked me if I wanted to go with her and her teen volunteers. Of course, I immediately asked my teen volunteers if they wanted to go too! We've got about 11 teens going with us and we're all quivering with excitement. It's going to be a great day. Stay tuned for pics tomorrow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Brave

We've had some turmoil at church the past few months. Our leadership seemed to be changing and it was proving to be very unsettling for us. I thought I was okay with change, but it seems I am not...when it comes to matters of worship.
I have no problem speaking my mind. Except in this matter. It's hard to tell someone you like that you don't like them doing the job they're doing. Does that make sense?
But we had to speak our minds. I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "Speak your mind even though your voice shakes." I love that. I'm not always brave. But I always try and do the right thing. Especially when I'm not feeling very brave. Especially when I just want someone else to do the hard thing.
So we spoke our minds, in truth, with love. And you know what? It worked out just fine. I have to trust God. He always has a plan.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Favorite Winter Meals

What are some of my favorite winter meals? The Man's homemade chicken and dumplings, white chili, pasta and meat sauce, roast pork tenderloins, homemade mac and cheese and chicken in the oven. Chicken in the oven has to be my favorite winter meal. We've been eating this since I was a young girl. Now the Man makes it and he does a FANTASTIC job. We serve it with smashed potatoes and steamed fresh carrots, making sure to pour the gravy from the pan over the potatoes on our plates. Mmmmmmm. I'm hungry just looking at the picture.

Chicken in the oven

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces
3 chicken bouillon cubes
12 oz package of mushrooms, sliced
Oregano
Sage
Rosemary
Marjoram
Parsley
Thyme
Garlic Powder
1 cup cooking wine, red or white
Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breast pieces in a 9x13 pan, add the bouillon cubes, and layer mushrooms over the chicken and in between the pieces. Sprinkle the oregano, sage, rosemary, marjoram, parsley, thyme, and garlic powder over the chicken until moderately covered. (Don't be afraid you'll sprinkle too much. I've never over sprinkled, no matter how much of each spice I've put on!) Pour in the wine and enough water to have about 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken juice runs clear. Baste the chicken every ten minutes or so to keep the tops from drying out.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Heart


I love the Man.

He's my rock. He's my port in a storm. He grounds me. He keeps me sane.

He cooks. He cleans the bathroom. He does laundry. He hangs curtains, twice, because I keep changing my mind. He's a great father. He's good to his mom. And he loves me.

He's really quite a catch.

And he's mine, all mine.

My heart is happy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frugality+Yarn+Lots of Time = Anthropologie Style Afghan

I heart Anthropologie. A lot. I should work for them. But then I wouldn't make any money because I would spend it all at work. It's better I don't work for them. At least now I get to keep some of my money and greedy old Anthropologie doesn't get it all.

Sissy and I were in there a couple of weeks ago and I saw an afghan that I have to have. It was marked down to $99.95, which sounds pricey but for a handmade afghan is actually quite reasonable. If you have $99.95 to spend. I didn't. So I walked away from it.

It keeps popping up in my head.

I have to have it.

Oh no, it's gone.

Drat.

Now I have to make one. So I started one this week. I've been working on a stupid purple sweater that I love hate and found out that I absolutely cannot knit this thing at knitting class. It's too fussy. I have to count stitches. I have to follow an intricate pattern. Which means NO TALKING.

Because I can't seem to follow that rule, I've frogged several rows, MANY times, and I hate it. But I'm almost done with the front piece so I have to finish the darn thing. I've got too much yarn invested in this project.

But in the meantime I need something to knit at knitting class. So I started a chevron afghan using a feather and fan pattern. I'm picking up yarn everywhere I find it, in shades of orange, cranberry, and brown. So far I've spent $34.00 on yarn and that will get me about a quarter way through it. But I can't wait to see it finished.

And it will probably cost me more than $99.95 by the time it's done.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Yummy (Sin)namon Rolls

Wow. These things are delicious, unbelievably tasty, phenomenal . We scarfed down two pans of them today. The recipe was on Heather Hale's blog here. She gives you an awesome tutorial on how to make these and they went together exactly like she said they would. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe, Heather. My family thanks you, too. Oh yeah, and one of my daughter's friends is also very thankful since she slept over last night and got to have these for breakfast this morning.
I've never baked with yeast before. Well, I used to have a bread machine but that doesn't count. All I had to do for that bread was throw all the ingredients in and hit start. This recipe made me mix the yeast in myself, let it rise (see above pic) and then add the flour and other stuff to make the dough. After I rolled it out and put the butter, cinnamon, and sugar on and then rolled it up, it had to rise some more. I felt just like Laura Ingalls Wilder, making homemade yeasty goodness in my kitchen this morning.
It didn't take very long to make these. The hardest part was waiting for them to rise. K. and her friend kept coming into the kitchen to find out if they were done yet. I started making them about 9:00 a.m and we ate them at about 10:30 a.m. Of course, I didn't expect the girls to be up that early. They shocked me when they strolled into the kitchen at about 9:15 a.m. K. usually gets up about noon. I figured I'd have hot cinnamon rolls waiting for them when they got up. That didn't work out. Oh well, they just had to wait and I bet it made them taste just a teensy bit better.
I crammed too many in the pan at first. After they rose for the second time in the pan, I decided to divide them up into two pans. I could picture the dough rising while it baked into some huge doughy mess, oozing all over my oven. The Man would not have been amused since he just cleaned the oven. Thus, time to move some rolls.
While they were rising in the oven, I made the frosting. Yum. How do I know it's yum? I tasted it, of course. One of the perks of being the baker.
Finally they were baked and frosted and we dove right in. 1.5 hours of work eaten in about 15 minutes.

The Great Curtain Hunt

The Man finished painting the kitchen. He had a deadline of New Year's but that came and went with only one wall painted. It would have been done sooner but we had to change colors. My MIL walked into the kitchen after we put the first color on and shrieked, "It's gray!" It wasn't really gray but once she put that thought in my head, it became gray. Obviously that color had to go so we made (yet another) trip to the paint store to find a similar but different color like the one we had just put on the wall. The Man has a lot of patience with me. I must have looked at about 50 bazillion samples and narrowed it down to two. We brought those home, dutifully painted our poster board and held it up all around the kitchen. That actually worked great, thanks to the advice of the paint store owner. But it's all behind us now, since he finished painting a couple days ago. Now on to the fun stuff, like buying new rugs, drawer pulls, switchplate covers, and curtains. [I skip happily off to the mall area to gather my goodies.]

Two days later....

Aaaaaargh! I cannot find curtains I like anywhere. They simply don't exist. I've been to every store in a three-town area, searched for hours online, and poured through gobs of catalogs. I cannot find anything I like. I didn't think I was a difficult person to please, but evidently I am. Is it too much to ask for a variety of 54" long curtains to choose from? It must be, because I can't find them anywhere. Did I say that already?

So, sum total after two days of shopping for kitchen update items....one clock and some switchplate covers on their way to me. No curtains, no drawer pulls, no rugs.
Aaaaaaargh.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Very Merry Season Indeed

Stopping by to say hello after a very long holiday break! Most of my family went to Florida for the Christmas holiday and I had very limited time on my son's Mac book. He's not a good sharer, despite what I taught him when he was much younger. I certainly didn't teach him to say things like, "No, Mom, it's mine!" I'm pretty sure I taught him to say, "Sure, you can have a turn using this toy now." I got to use the toy very few times, and mostly it was to check Facebook. Or my bank account. And this only after I told him there was no more money forthcoming until I knew the balance in my account.
Here's a few peeks at what our holiday looked like this year. My favorite rocking chair with my favorite pillow on it, and Santa snuggled up next to one of my Christmas trees. I have four in the house, not counting the one in K.'s room upstairs. One large tree and three smaller ones. I like themes on my trees so I have a tree with just red and silver ornaments, one with doll ornaments, one with felted ornaments, and one with a garland of polka dots.
The Man grumbles about all the decorating I do, but I find him looking around the house throughout the season with a small smile on his face.
The yummies in the glass pedestal are cookie dough truffles. One word. Yum.

Cookie Dough Truffles

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag (11 0z) milk chocolate chips
  • handful of white chocolate chips
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  • Over a double-boiler, melt milk chocolate chips. Dip balls in coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Melt white chocolate chips in small plastic baggie in microwave, taking care not to overheat. I do 15 seconds at a time, on low power, until they get soft enough to mix together. Then I keep kneading the bag to melt them all the way down. Cut a small piece off the tip of one corner and then drizzle white chocolate over the truffles. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.
I have tried melting the chocolate in the microwave with very little success. The first dozen balls are dipped okay, but then the chocolate starts to harden and they don't look very good. I had to eat those. Then I tried the double boiler method and that kept the chocolate nice and smooth. And also out of my mouth.
K. sketched a picture of Maggie for my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas. They lost Maggie in September when they had to have her put down very unexpectedly. So traumatic and sad for both of our families since our dog, Jack, was Maggie's brother. We got them from the same litter. Maggie was a great dog.
When my sister and brother-in-law opened the gift, they cried.
We flew down to Florida with my youngest sissy and her family on the 22nd to celebrate Christmas with my dad. He's a snowbird. He doesn't like to come North during the winter anymore, muttering something about "cold" and "snow". We tell him he's gotten soft.We spent the next day on the beach, collecting seashells and sea glass to take home. Our suitcases had not reached the 50lb limit so we figured we had some room to spare.
We drove down to Vero Beach on Christmas Eve day and had lunch at Waldo's. Great restaurant on the beach, very low key, Jimmy Buffet atmosphere. I could have sat there all day.
Except Santa was coming that night and my nieces made me move.
That's my brother-in-law above. He had a great time, too.
We went to a pig roast on Christmas Eve. Never done one of those before. Never going to do one again. I don't like seeing my meat on the animal. I want it packaged up, on a styrofoam tray, with plastic wrap and a price sticker on it, thank you very much.
But I loved the setting.
The party was in the courtyard, next to the pool, right on the beach.
It was a beautiful night. Deep blue sky, light breeze blowing off the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing right behind us. Absolutely perfect.
Christmas Day was at my dad's. My nana, aunt, and uncle came over and we had an old-fashioned family holiday. We haven't had a Christmas together in a lot of years. Lots of laughs, many memories, good food, and presents. That's the best part. Ask the kids.

My son, J., read the story of Jesus' birth before we started opening packages. That was perfect. Jesus gave us the best gift of all. Salvation.
Dad took us to a local pizza place, Petrillo's, on one of our last nights there. Best.Pizza.Ever. If you're in the Indialantic area, go get the Sicilian style pizza. Thick, chewy crust and loaded with sauce and cheese. Double yum.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The picture at the beginning of this post came from a very cool shop in old historic Melbourne called Yapa. The owner stocks all kinds of eclectic items. I found the prettiest woven purple scarf in there. When I tell people I bought it in Florida, I get some strange looks.