Merry Christmas

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated…a few months at least.  I wish I could say those months have been uneventful, but that’s not so much the case.  We’ve been busy with life, with work, and with this house…so much so that nearly every free moment of mine has been sucked up in one way or another.

A recap since October:   our IVF cycle failed (nothing made it to transfer), one of our cats got sick (she’s doing better, but not “cured”), our work went through massive restructuring and laid off 2000 employees worldwide, and my brother died unexpectedly.  It’s been challenging, but I can honestly say I’ve never felt closer to J than after all of these unexpected happenings in our lives.  It really is true that there are hidden blessings in most of life’s problems.

But today is Christmas.  Today, I am warm and happy in my home, with the love of my life and our three fur-children.  We are happy and (relatively) healthy (stupid cold), and I couldn’t really ask for much more.  I realize that there are many out there that don’t have these blessings, which saddens me and makes me even more appreciative for what I do have.

I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or even just a great day.  I hope to make a more regular appearance in the coming weeks, so hopefully you all will be seeing more of me.

Much love,

Easter Vigil, One Year Later

While I don’t talk much about my faith journey on my blog, I was reminiscing the other day about how it has been a year since my baptism and conversion to Catholicism.  The year has been full of learning and growth, and I’m forever thankful for the change that has come to my life since joining my Parish.  The people there are amazing: loving and kind, supportive and helpful, and full of a heaping dose of reality if you get to be too big for your pants.  I adore them all, and love to help out wherever I can.

Which brings me to this post.  A few weeks back, right before we left for Alaska (which is a blog post all unto itself), the Adult Faith Formation leader, Kathy, shot out an email to the RCIA class from last year.  Apparently, each year, the RCIA class from the year prior helps stock the food for the following class’s Easter Vigil.  Always up for an excuse to cook, I quickly volunteered to help set up for the vigil, as well as provide a few dozen deviled eggs for the party.

Now, there’s a story to deviled eggs.  Growing up, it was the ONLY dish I was allowed to help with on the major holidays.  My mother ran her kitchen like a General runs his military unit.  Everything had a place and a place for everything, and God help you if it wandered under your watch.  Needless to say, deviled eggs became my speciality, and I was pleased to be able to share the with everyone this Easter!  However, I needed something with a bit more “oomph” than just regular old deviled eggs.  So, after a little bit of thought, a quick bit of research, and a short trip to the store, I had everything I needed.

DYED DEVILED EGGS.  That’s right…why serve any boring old, white deviled eggs?  This is the 21st century, folks…the land of Pinterest!  Why be inspired when you can be PINspired?!  (Lame, I know…feel free to express your groans)  I quickly set to work, hard boiling my eggs and peeling them to get started.  As a fair note, I have tried every trick under the sun to get my eggs to peel easily.  So far, hasn’t happened.  I’ve damn near given up and just accepted the fact that my eggs look like they escaped from a leper colony (no offense to any lepers reading).  But, nothing a little dye wouldn’t fix, right?

picstitch 2I peeled and cut up my eggs, disposing the yolk in a bowl, and set to dying.  I wanted the colors to be super vibrant, so I bought two dye packs and used 2 tablets per one dye cup, just so the colors would be ultra saturated.  I also used vinegar, though not as much as the packet said, because I didn’t want my deviled eggs to taste pickled.  Because that’s just gross, I don’t care who you are.

The eggs dyed up really well, and I let them dry over night in the fridge.  This morning, I whipped up the filling, and grabbed my icing piping bags to fill them.  I thought that I had some icing tips around here somewhere, but apparently they’ve disappeared (or I never bought them, either is entirely possible), but none the less I made do.  I left out the pickle relish in the filling, as I’ve recently been told that some people don’t like pickle in their deviled eggs (THE TRAVESTY!), and instead opted to cut a sliver of pickle and stuff it in the middle of the filling as a garnish on half the eggs.  Problem solved!

Here are my Easter Dyed Deviled Eggs!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them…it was a ton of fun!

Much love,

30 Days of Blogging: Favorite Seasons

fallI realize I’ve been a bit lax on my 30 Days of Blogging, and even though it’s 2015, I’m bound and determined to finish what I started!  I only have a few left, so everyone should just hang in there with me.

My favorite season is fall.  Part of that is because my birthday is in September, but also because it kicks off the trifecta of my favorite holidays:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!  Fall has amazing colors, great produce, awesome recipes, and three holidays where the whole point is dressing up, eating awesome food, drinking fabulous concoctions, and exchanging presents with friends and family.  What is there to hate about that?!

Much love,

Happy Birthday, My Love

10382541_10103737007459028_3722129767577957684_oToday is J’s 35th birthday.  As I’m sitting on the couch writing this, he’s in the shower getting ready for our day.  It’s good, because it gives me a chance to reflect on us, and how much he means to me.

I’ve been with J for over 8 years now, and in two short days will be the 8th anniversary of the day he proposed.  Ever since I’ve met him, J has been such a rock, a pillar of compassion and strength, intelligence and humor.  He loves me (and God knows, I don’t always deserve it) and cares for me and our family (yes, I’m including the cats on this, because he loves those fur beasts like they were his very own children).  He works so hard, ever day, in order for us to have the life we want, and he always pushes himself to be his very best in anything he does.

327473_10101782491724228_191384067_oI asked a question on a message board last week, wondering who their role model was.  I answered as well, and one of my role models (which probably won’t surprise you) was J.  He handles anything that comes at him with such poise and ease, and rarely does anything ruffle his feathers.  He’s 100% the calm to my storm, and I love that about him.  I’ve noticed, in the years we’ve been together, I’ve become more laid back to match him (though Lord knows, I’m nowhere near his level of calm…just calmer than I used to be).  Plus, his capacity to love and forgive is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

So, today, J enters a new year of his life.  I’m incredibly thankful that I get to share that year with him, and hopefully many more to come.  He’s the love of my life, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives together has to offer!

Much love,

J’s Birthday

J’s birthday is coming up next month, and it’s a bit of a big one.  He’s turning 35 this year, and I know it has him a bit down, as he feels like he’s getting older and things are falling apart (“they” always say wait until you’re 40, then it really goes downhill with your body, but I think J might be feeling it early).  So, I’d like to plan something fun for him, that will take his mind off the everyday stress, like work.  I know he enjoys outdoors things, and loves water parks, so I was trying to find something that would keep him entertained and busy, while still being fun and pseudo-relaxing.

Then, it came to me…we’re always talking about how a trip to Cincinnati (only a few hours away) would be a nice short weekend trip.  So, I booked it!  We’ll be taking Friday off work, and driving straight to King’s Island.  After a day spent riding the roller coasters and going to the water park, we’ll go back to Cincinnati and spend the night in a hotel.  Saturday morning we’ll wake up, then drive to Kentucky to see the Newport Aquarium and have lunch at the Hofbrauhaus (delicious German food!).  Saturday night we’ll stay in the city again, then Sunday we’ll explore Cincinnati a bit before driving home!  Maybe even a side trip to IKEA or Jungle Jim’s, if we want.

I hope he likes it…it’ll be hard keeping it a secret, but I think a surprise will do him some good!  Less than a month away, and I’m excited!

Much love,

A Father for all Days

When I was five years old, I thought my Daddy hung the moon in the night sky, just for me.  When I was ten, I thought he was the best baseball coach out there, always ready to pitch me another ball for practice.  At fifteen, I was convinced my Dad was out there to ruin my life, and I’d never be able to wear the clothes I wanted or see the boys I liked.  Twenty came and went, and Dad was always there…no real angst in our relationship, but nothing spectacular either.  When I was twenty-five, he was walking me down the aisle and giving me away to the man who would now become first in my life, the slot that Daddy used to hold.  A few years ago, when I turned thirty, I really came to terms with Dad’s mortality.  He’d just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he wasn’t around any more, so I had to make each moment count.

Today, I celebrated my Dad.  I went home to my parents’ place, spent time with them, and took my dad out for a good ol’ fashioned steak (lunch was his choice).  We talked and laughed, and I tried to ignore when he called me by my sister’s name, or when his hands shook too much to cut up his meat.  And on the way home, with J behind the wheel, a tear or two might have slipped down my face, hidden by my sunglasses.  Dad is still there, for the most part, but there are times when he’s just a shell of who he was.  I console myself with the fact that, overall, his quality of life isn’t terrible.  It’s nowhere near where it was, and I’m sure it kills him to have me help him out of the car like an invalid, but I think we could both agree that it would be worse.  A LOT worse.  And “worse” might be right around the corner, or it might never come…we really don’t know.

So…while today might be Father’s Day, and I wish the best to all the father’s out there, I am making a conscious decision to celebrate my father ALL days.  Because, sadly, we never know how many days we have left.  And I’d hate to look back on my time with him and have regrets that I didn’t do enough.  Didn’t tell him I loved him enough, didn’t hug him enough, or laugh with him enough.  So, starting today, I’m going to go into every day making sure that he knows that he’s always going to be my #1 Dad, no matter what.

Wedding 11-25-2008 7-03-37 PM

Much love,

Our Nation’s Birthday, at our Nation’s Capital!

Often, J and I try to plan our vacation around days where we get automatic holiday vacations at work.  The 4th of July is one of those “long weekend” type dates at work, depending on what day the 4th falls.  Since it’s on a Friday this year, we get the Friday off work, but that’s it.  That said, that’s what we get vacation days for, so we’re going to take an extra one and head out on Thursday for our 4th of July holiday!

I’ve always wanted to spend the 4th at Washington D.C.   Something about the Nation’s birthday, at the Nation’s capital…just seemed like so much fun!  Thankfully, J loves D.C. as much as I do, so it was an easy sell to get him to agree to this year’s 4th of July holiday in D.C.!  Last night, we booked our flights and hotel, and I’m currently looking at the various options for activities while we’re there.  Sadly, it’s a bit too late to schedule a tour of the White House or the U.S. Treasury, so we’ll have to leave that for our next trip over there, but that’s ok…more reason to go back!

Another good thing is that our good friend from the NL, also our Dutch teacher, now lives in D.C. with her husband, so we’ll get a chance to see them too!  Overall, it’s looking to be a fantastic trip, and I can’t wait to go and tell you all about it!  If any of you have any recommendations for D.C., I’d love to hear them…we’re always looking for something new and different!


Much love,