Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing a little catchup

This past two weeks at home has been amazing, but incredibly busy. The busy life is why I haven't been on much lately, but I will try to make up for it. I couldn't even begin to descibe how happy it makes me to be home - not just for the holidays either. I don't dread going to work. I get to come home to Chris every night. I get to spend time with my parents. I wake up to puppy kisses. Life is just pretty amazing here.

Last week work was busy. I love staying busy though. It is nice to feel needed and appreicated too. It makes me so much happier when I leave work here every day.
Last Saturday I went to town with my mother to run a few errands. She had some shopping to finish us. I was mostly along for the ride. We had lunch with a family friend at the new Chinese resturant in town. It was really good. Definitely one I will be going to again. During the afternoon, we went to see my sister and her kids. We headed back to the house later afternoon and the boys (my dad and Chris) had just got done in the woods. They have been working a lot clearing brush. We had lunch and just visited at the house. I worked on my grocery list (I had tons to get to get ready for the week). I turned in early.

Then on Sunday, it was a pretty busy day too. We headed to town mid morning and did a few errands. We had to pick up the bibs for my dad's employees for Christmas and my mom had to pick up a pair of shoes. Then we headed to the dreaded Wal-Mart. It was a mess. I usually go to the store at like 7:00 a.m. so being there at 11 was horrible. We were there for at least 2 hours, but I had a cart full of stuff and spent over $200.00. I got back to the house and made a soup. It was soooo yummy. Once the soup was made up and cooking in the crock pot, I got started doing holiday baking. We were having a dessert exchange Monday at work. I made 2 desserts: Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mint wafers.

Here are a few recipes for your enjoyment:

Potato Cheddar Soup

2 pounds red-skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup coarsely cut carrots
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Place poatoes, carrots, ionion, broth and salt in crock pot. Cover; cook on Low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-3 1/2 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in half and half and peper. Cover; cok on high for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted.

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

The recipe doesn't call for it but I always add chocolate chips before baking. It makes a great combination and so far has been a big hit for me.

Mint Chocolate Wafers

1 c. butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar
2 c. unsifted flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
10 oz. chocolate semi sweet pieces, melted
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

Mix butter and sugar until well blended. Add flour, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon mint extract; mix well. Shape into a 9 x 3 inch log; wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon extract to 10 melted chocolate pieces. Dip cooled cookies halfway. Place on wax paper. Chill until set. Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

The rest of the girls all brought some amazing goodies to work on Monday too. I swear during the holidays I gain 10 pounds becuase of all the sweets tempting me. That is why I didn't make a plan to start shaping up for the wedding until after the holidays were over.
The rest of the week at work was about as normal. Busy. Sometimes I think things are worse around the holidays because we are trying to get custody arrangements set up for the holidays for our clients. We went out to lunch as an office on Tuesday. I love going to Hillbilly Junction. Wednesday, I sat in for depositions and then went to City Court.
Our office closed at noon on Thursday the 23rd. Just in time for me to head out to the quarry for the Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Those boys are onery for sure. You never know what they are going to say.
Friday started family Christmas functions for us. Since I was off on Friday, it was a great relief. I got to spend the day cleaning and cooking. I'll post separately on each Christmas function later.
But for now, you are caught up on my life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

11 down - 1 to go

Tuesday at 12:05, I was officially done with the semester. I cannot believe that I can say there is only one semester and the bar exam before I am an attorney. When I left WP in 2005, it seemed like such a far away dream. Graduation was so long off that I couldn't even picture it. Now, here I am just 5 short months away.

I left Columbia yesterday morning around 5:00 a.m. Yes, I realize that this makes me insane. But I couldn't sleep. I hadn't been sleeping well during finals time and would regularly wake up at 3:30 reciting cases and statutes. But yesterday, I figured I would sleep in a bit since I had been no sleep deprived. But no, my body said to get up and get on the road, so I did. I actually showed up at Chris's work before he got there. I visited with my dad for a bit while my brother changed a light in my car. Then I headed to my moms. I helped her with a little cleaning and then in the afternoon, I got started putting up Christmas decorations in the house. I got about half of it done. It was kinda a mess. I had all my mom's dogs at the house - so that meant 5 dogs running around the house and the boys were taking turns marking the Christmas tree. Good thing there aren't presents under there yet. Geez. I don't even know what to do about that.

It started freezing rain around 3 and it turned into a huge mess. Chris had been out delivering loads and was told not to go back to work so drove the dump truck home. That is really funny to see sitting in the driveway. There were tons of wrecks all over the highway last night too. My dad took over 2 hours to get home from work when it usually takes only 20 minutes. This morning, the highway was clear. Temps were supposed to be close to 40, so it was melting pretty fast. Behind work, the parking lot is a little slick.

I am back to work today and as expected, I had a list of things to get started on. So I am working on that now and eating homemade jerky! I love the clients who bring in food. Plus the jerky is sooooo good. I had been craving jerky since deer season.

Well, I better get back to work. Just wanted to briefly check in. I need to take some photos of the crown molding that Chris put up last week. I'll try to get those pictures taken and posted soon.

Hope the weather is treating you well and you are staying warm.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is Me!


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch.

When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch.

When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.

Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart.

It means I live my life MY way. It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch.

The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.

It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.

I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!

So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won't succeed.

And if that makes me a bitch , so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

1 Final Down - 3 to Go

Before starting on reviewing for my next exam, I thought I would take a small break for my blog.

Today, I just saw through a 4 hour take home exam for my conflict management class. This test was valuntary all week, but I wanted to get it out of the way to focus more on my substantive classes (i.e., the ones that I don't really understand). I got up bright and early, headed to the library to get a final glance over my outline and then picked up my exam. I turned in it with about 20 minutes to spare, but I was tired of looking at it so I had to get rid of it.

I'm just really ready for the semester to be over. I have a test this Friday in Estates and Trusts (our writing portion was last week). Then I have my Family Law exam on Monday and then Criminal Procedure (this is the bad one) on Tuesday. I'll work Tuesday afternoon, go out for my final dinner for the year with my department, then head to the house to pack. My goal is to be on the road by 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. Hope that I can make that goal. Finals time is so exhausting, but I know I will also be sooooo anxious to get home that I will easily get up Wednesday morning.

Right now I am sitting in the library. I have a review session at 1:30 for criminal procedure, then I'll be off to work. So excited for dinner tonight. We are going to Hu Hot. I love that place. It was my night to pick and I had been craving it. I thought it would be the perfect opprotunity to eat it before I left next week.

On a positive note, almost all the Christmas shopping is done. The only people we have left are Chris's step-dad. But I'll leave that one up to him. I don't know what to get him and I'm terrible about buying gifts for men who have interests that I know nothing about. I decided this year not to wrap presents until I get home. It is so much easier to pack the car without having to worry about messing up wrapping paper. My car is usually packed to the max anyway. It just reminds me that I need a bigger car.

Well, I better get going. Have some things to look over before my review. I have a few wedding things to update on. I'll try to do that tonight.

Friday, December 3, 2010

5 Question Friday

It has been a while since I have done one of these, so I thought I would again this week. It is time for 5 Question Friday. It is no surprise that this week is about holidays. The holiday spirit is all around us. It is that time of year. So, if interested head over to My Little Life to play along.

1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!
Nothing in particular on my list. We have asked mainly for things for the house. My mom always buys clothes and other things just for me, but with the wedding coming up and getting ready to finish other rooms in the house, we need things for the house. I feel so old. We are asking for practical gifts

2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?
Well, when I was a child, my favorite gift would have been my Barbie corvette. It was the highlight for years to come. We loved that car and were driving it around the living room before opening all the presents :)
But more recently, my favorite gift would have been the fake rose from Chris on our second Christmas. He had been buying huge and expensive vases of flowers for every occasion. For that Chrismas in 2004, I had asked not to get flowers because they are so expensive and always die. So in my box from him was a fake white rose (my favorite) with a tag attached saying "Like this rose, my love for you will never die"

3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?
I love where my career path is going. But I often joke that I could have easily been an event/wedding planner. My organization skills are way up there. I planned my mother's 25th vow renewal from 200 miles away and it was beautiful. I love wedding planning so far and wouldn't mind at all to be doing it all day, every day

4. When do you put up your tree?
When I move in with Chris, I would love to put our tree up shortly after thanksgiving. But for now, that just doesn't happen. Right after Thanksgiving (after the 3 dinners we usually have), I have to get ready to head back to school for finals. So the tree doens't get put up until I get home for Christmas break which is around December 15th. That is the first thing on my list when I get back this time too

5. What is your favorite Holiday?
I love Christmas. People are generally happier people. There is good spirit all around. There are more opportunities to help others out. Just yesterday, I turned in a gift for a 2 year old little girl whose father is in prison. It is such a great feeling to give to someone else. I love family togetherness too.

Back to the grind. Hope that you have a great weekend!!!