Resurfacing...well, almost

Ok, I know it seems like I say this every couple of weeks, but this time I really mean it: I really am trying to resurface to the blogging world and am determined to post, comment, and basically, you know, BLOG on a regular basis. But..and yes, there is a but, at least for the time being...a few things have stood and are still standing in my way (though it feels more like someone is grabbing me by the hair and yanking me away from my blogging and overall computer fun). And rather than engage in a super drawn-out rendition of what the heck's been going on with me (and you all know I'm long-winded, but I'll spare you), I'll simplify things:


I don't know about the rest of you, but Christmas done wiped me out (and I don't just mean my bank account)! I love, love, love everything about Christmas, it's just the day(s) after when I feel like I have the worst hangover, which stinks because I don't drink! So yes, recuperation is still in progress for me.


Oh, DO NOT let the "I'm such a cute little kitty!" face fool you! Roxy is 20 pounds o' crazy in a 1 pound bag! And instead of being able to sit at the computer and blog with all of you, I instead have been patrolling my house, or more like stalking about all sniper-like with a squirt bottle in hand, hoping to catch this little furry ball of trouble in the act. What does she do? Glad you asked! Let's see...she thinks my curtains are climbing ropes and the area rug is where she gives herself a mani-pedi; she is constantly kicking the dog out of the dog's bed; she thinks the Christmas tree needs her own personal trimming touch; there is the climbing of human legs, even when the human is wearing shorts; and of course, there's her version of fluffing the couch cushions. So if you're not happy with my recent absence, blame this little thing! 'Cause I do!


Hubby has jumped on the overtime wagon at work, which means that he's been working 16-hour shifts for the past few days, and will continue to work all the overtime he can while they're still offering it. How does this affect my blogging? Let's just say that not having hubby home as much puts me in a serious funk, thus inhibiting my ability to come up with witty and interesting things to say. I'm glad I have a man who works very hard so that I can stay home and homeschool our son, but it still bums me out when he leaves the house at 6am, and doesn't come home until 11pm.
*photo courtesty of the Washington Post

And my personal favorite (NOT!!), I'm having computer issues again. What kind of issues? The kind that involve part of my MacBook's power cord literally bursting into flame. Oh yea, it happened! Luckily, the house didn't burn down, my 'puter is perfectly fine, the wall outlet is perfectly fine, and I only burnt a small part of my finger while putting the flame out. Since the power cord is close to four years old, I'm willing to be a bit forgiving about it just spontaneously combusting. However this means that for now, I have to use hubby's laptop, which is nearly five years old, and it runs PAINFULLY slow. Luckily, I found a new powercord on eBay for 20 bucks (versus paying 80 bucks at the Apple store), and it's on its way to me. I should receive it next week, and I can once again use my trusty MacBook.

Hmmm, so much for not making this all drawn-out...oh well, what can I say, I've missed all of you and I just couldn't help myself! So if you've read this whole thing, THANK YOU for sticking around.

Who's awesome? YOU'RE AWESOME!

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Our Nativity: Days 3, 4, and 5

...sorry, the holidays are keeping me busy!

Gift Number 3: Joseph

God had a man named Joseph in mind;
He'd make a good husband, who's loving and kind.
So one night God sent an angel to speak
Instructions to Joseph while he lay asleep.

"Joseph! Take Mary. She'll be a good wife.
This marriage is still God's plan for your life.
God's Spirit has given her a baby within;
His name will be Jesus; He'll save you from sin."

Gift Number 4: Baby Jesus

So this couple set out to Bethlehem-town,
And when they arrived, they looked all around,
But the inns were too full - no room for two guests.
And Mary was tired; she needed to rest.

"No rooms are empty," the innkeeper said.
But then an idea popped into his head.
"My stable's not much, but there you can stay.
I'll give you this manger - a feed trough with hay."

Later on...there...in the quiet of night,...

God gave the first gift that first Christmas Day,
He gave us the Christ, the babe in the hay.
But that is not all - God wants something grand:
An offering to Him, the point of His plan.

Gift Number 5: Shepherd

Then finding a stable where they saw a light
Shine through the wallboards and into the night,
The shepherds looked in, and what did they see?
The manger! A baby! They fell to their knees.

"So this must be him! This is the sign!"
They had found Jesus - the Savior divine!
These shepherds joined in the first celebration
Of Christmas because of this grand revelation.

*poems from the book in the Nativity set.
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Our Nativity: Day 2

Gift 2: Mary

"...How can this be? For this isn't typical."
"Indeed, it's not! We call it a miracle.
God's Holy Spirit will help you give birth
To God-in-the-flesh. He'll live here on earth."

"God says to name this baby Jesus."
Mary said, "Yes! May God do as He pleases.
For I am his servant, and I will obey
So God can use me in this special way."

*poem from the book in the Nativity set.
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Our Nativity: Day 1

"What GOD wants for Christmas"

This is a very special family tradition that I'm happy to share with all of you. Nativity sets are very common during Christmas, and most families who celebrate the birth of Christ have one in their home. A few years ago I managed to find one that I thought was truly unique because not only does it display the beautiful, traditional Nativity scene, but it also serves as a great way to teach children about the TRUE meaning of Christmas, giving them a true hands-on approach to learning how important the birth of Jesus is. The set is called is "What GOD wants for Christmas"...

There is a pop-up manger scene, and seven gift boxes. Each box contains a representation of a VERY important part of the Nativity story, and every day for seven days, we open one, place it on the manger scene, and read the poem (in the included book) that corresponds with that particular "gift". So each day, my family and I will open a box, each day completing the story and scene...and each day I will share it with all of you. So without further ado, here's the first one:

Gift 1: The Angel Gabriel

"...For I stand in His presence. I'm Gabriel.
And God wants you to hear the story I tell.
For my words will offer His great gift to you.
And you'll know what He wants when the story is through."

*poem from the book in the Nativity set.


What family traditions do you celebrate with your loved ones?


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Snow, snow angels, and sledding..OH MY!

There's nothing quite like waking up, looking out your window, and seeing freshly fallen snow covering everything in sight. Weather reports have our area under a Blizzard Warning..or is it a Blizzard Watch?... either way, we're expected to get close to 48 inches of snow. I'm not exactly a stranger to snow, as I had lived in Alaska for over ten years. But Maryland is another story: because of the impending blizzard, the state has practically shut down, the roads are bare, and everyone was at the grocery store yesterday stocking up on enough food to feed an army for three weeks. Believe me, I know, I was there! I swear, I saw people hauling around three carts filled with canned food, bottled water, and toilet paper. Why do I find this a bit funny? Because it's supposed to stop snowing tonight. Until then, I have a 9-year-old kid who's been bouncing off the walls with excitement since last night when the snow started. And guess where he and Daddy are right now? They're on their way to the big hill across the field to get some wicked sledding in. Oh yea, Jer is uber excited, and my big kid, Daddy, is pretty stoked too. Here are some pics of my little guy enjoying the snow:

"Ok mom, I think I'm ready for the blizzard now."

"Hey, where did my boots go?"

"Making snow angels is awesome!"


"Ok dad, you keep shoveling while I play! He he!"

And you're all wondering where I am, right? Because you just care so very much? Well, I'm at home where it's nice and warm and dry and cozy, waiting for my guys to get back from their snowy adventures. I'm sure they'll both be pooped out from all the sledding, so I'll be sure to have a fresh pot of hot cocoa waiting for them.


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Worldess Wednesday: Roxy Edition

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! The pictures I post for this meme all have a story (usually a hiliarous one) to it, but instead of telling you that story, I'd love for you to tell me what you think would be a great caption for the photo(s). I know, it sounds like I'm asking you to do work. But hey, it'll be fun! And join me.... just grab the button on my sidebar and start your own Wordless Wednesday series!

What do you think this photo says?
Please, do tell!


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Let It Snow!

Recently, our part of the world had it's first day of snow. Though it wasn't much, Jer still managed to have a great time in it. He even made a buddy! See for yourself...

"Yummy! Fresh falling snow tastes great!"

Meet Snowey, Jer's new buddy. He has googly eyes, a carrot for a nose, popsicle-stick arms, and peppermint and M&M buttons. He's a bit short, but he's a great snow buddy!

Jer now hopes that the next time we get snow it will be enough to go sledding in. I told him hey, no problem, but it also means he and I will have lots more snow to shovel, he he! Somehow I think because he LOVES snow so much, he won't mind.

So tell me, is there snow in your part of the world?

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Tasty Thursdays: Wind Puffs

"Bunuelos de Viento"


It's been a while since I've come across a recipe that I wanted to share with you for Tasty Thursdays, but I do think this one was well worth the wait. I made these delicious treats for the kids and moms of our homeschool group's Geography Club meeting last month. Each time we meet the group focuses on a particular country, and for November the country was Spain. Also for each meeting each family is assigned to bring in certain parts and activities that center around a particular aspect of the culture we are studying. As luck would have it, Jer and I were assigned food, meaning I would need to find a Spanish recipe. My other 'food partner' for the month, Stephanie, said she would be bringing in Vegetable Paella, so I offered to bring in a sweet treat. Now mind you I knew I had to bring in the food for our club meeting well in advance, but guess who has a penchant for procrastination? This gal! Before I know it, it's the day before our club meeting, and I had nothing.

So as most of us do when we get stumped about a particular subject, I googled "Spanish dessert recipes". One particular recipe kept popping up on the different sites I visited, which was Bunueles de Viento, or Wind Puffs. And for some reason it kept bugging me because somehow it sounded so familiar. Where in the world had I heard of or seen that before? I kept thinking about it..*JEOPARDY music playing in my head*...and finally it hit me! Duh!! It was in one of the cookbooks I had at home called Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan. This is one of my most prized cookbooks as it showcases how wonderful Philippine cuisine is. And now your asking what the heck a Spanish dessert is doing in a Philippine food cookbook, right? Well, it makes total sense since the Spanish did occupy the Philippine islands for a VERY long time, and therefore had a huge influence on its cuisine. *Wow! A history lesson plus a recipe, aren't you lucky, he he!*

It looked easy enough to make, and plus it did look very yummy, so I figured, what the heck? I took a bit of a gamble by making these for the first time the day of the club meeting, and I'm so glad I did! It turned out very well, all the kids and mom's loved it, as did Jer and I. Wind Puffs are basically fried dough, but it is incredibly light on the inside, and it's like biting into a puff of air, and this is why it's named Wind Puffs. It's served warm with a traditional powdered sugar icing, and it is diving! I mean really, fried dough puffs drizzled in sugar? YUM! So if you wanna try it, here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
Canola oil for frying

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar and salt with water and bring to a boil, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Take the pan off the heat and add the flour all at once, beating continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Transfer to an electric mixer and bowl and let cool slightly. With a paddle attachment, beat in the eggs one at a time. Cool completely.



This is how is it will look when you transfer the hot 'dough' into your mixer bowl.

And this is after you've beat the eggs in.

While the batter is cooling, make your powdered sugar icing:

Place 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of orange juice on top and mix. Keep adding orange juice a teaspoon at a time until you've reached the desired consistency, which in this case, you want it thin enough that it will be easy to drizzle over the puffs (see the pics).

Fill up a large saucepan with about 3-4 inches of Canola oil. Place over medium-high heat and heat until the temperature reads 360 degrees Fahrenheit with a candy thermometer. (Ok, I'll admit that I didn't use a candy thermometer and I just somehow know when my oil is ready. If you're not comfortable doing that, than by all means use a thermometer)


Drop the batter by the tablespoon into the oil, making about 6 at a time, adjusting the heat as needed. Fry the bunuelos (puffs), turning to cook evenly on all sides, *they're gonna be bobbing around, just move around a bit and they should turn pretty easily*, until they've risen to the top and are nicely browned and puffed, about 6 to 7 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them warm with some of your icing drizzled on top.

Enjoy!!


**This recipe is courtesy of Memories of Philippine Kitchens, and is owned by its authors. I have not received any compensation for posting this...I'm just a Mom and foodie who loves all things fried and coated with sugar!**



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Christmas-i-fication all around!

Just in case you can't tell from my new blog makeover and the title of my post, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!! My blog is Christmas-i-fied, and so is my family's humble abode. Actually, we've had our house decorated since this past Saturday, but I wanted to wait until I had my little blog was all BLING-BLINGED out to match. And voila! Thanks to the following FABULOUS sites and blogs, I was able to pull it off:

THE CUTEST BLOG ON THE BLOCK...thanks for sharing such adorable and lovely, and best of all FREE, blog backgrounds and banners. Also, I would have never been able to pull off such a successful Christmas-a-fication without the plethora of knowledge within your FREE BLOGGING SECRETS. A thousand thanks to you my lovelies, your site is a goldmine for us bloggers!

KEVINANDMANDA.COM... thanks to this lovely site, I was able to procure some UBER-cute fonts and learn how to change the font of my blog post and sidebar titles. If you've never done, but have always wanted to, go check out their TUTORIAL. It's super-easy to follow. So c'mon, go for it! But not until you've spent some time with me here...

DigiScrapDepot.com... a great place to get some quality digital freebies, from digital papers to images. See the cute little bow next to my signature? Yup, that's where I got it!

Ok, now that I've given proper shout-outs to all who've helped me with my seasonal blog makeover, how 'bout I share some pics of my house all Christmas-a-fied? Without further ado...

Our tree before all the trimmings are hung...

...and after "some" trimmings are applied.

"Don't worry mom, one more won't make it topple over."

A cute ornament my mom-in-law made for hubby when he was just a wee little boy.

Jer's favorite: a Stitch ornament he brought back all the way from Disney World.

And one of my favorites: a Mickey Mouse ornament we brought back all the way from Disney World!

Placing the angel on top of the tree...

...isn't she beautiful?

This is a very special 'Christmas Tree', purchased at a local Dollar Store.
There's a story behind this piece, one I promise to share with all of you later.


My little Nutcracker dude, standing guard over my 'Winter Cottage', whose windows glow when I light the tea light candle within.


I hope you all enjoyed seeing just how much I enjoy this time of year..and I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season as well!

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Blogger Restlessness


I can't seem to sit still lately! I've been blog-hopping a lot this weekend, and I've seen so many FABULOUS themes, backgrounds, etc., and some even have Christmas themes! *GASP* I didn't even know those were available! So, in the spirit of my most favorite holiday, and because I have a serious case of Blogger Restlessness (yes, it's a true condition..I've read about it and I have ALL the symptoms), I've decided it's time to for a Blog Makeover. And with that, I'm here to announce that my little blog is now

CURRENTLY UNDERGOING RENOVATIONS

But not to worry, we will be open business once again very soon, so y'all come back soon, ya hear?