Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holiday Update...

Christmas was fun and not very stressful this year. Actually, I really loved the way we did Christmas this year. We started on Christmas Eve Eve (if you don't count the Christmas we did for my dad before he left for Texas!). Steve and I joined my sisters and brother-in-law and cousin at my parents' house. Susie made her lasagna (which I still want the recipe for her homemade sauce!) while my mom made everyone feel at home. She made Christmas cookies and lots of tea. We had dinner, then opened presents. The Livingstons came over too for dessert and more gifts. I'm still not sure how we fit everyone into the living room for gift opening, but it worked and it was fun! Then, Susie and Peter organized a family outing to Cubbie Bear North to see Pat McCurdy play. I think the highlight of the night was my mom singing and dancing to Sex and Beer. Of course Connie gave it a good run for the money by wearing granny panties outside of her jeans.

To balance out the 2 a.m. night with the Watts/Nustras, we had a very adult Christmas Eve. Actually, I prefer to call it the Moms Christmas Eve. During the day we went to Steve's Dad's house to celebrate with him, Anne, and the Mortensens. Shane was awesome. He opened a video game gift from Papa and Grandma Anne saying "I knew I wanted this for my whole life!" He was so excited about opening presents he was practically floating when Steve and I finally got there. After the Barrett Family Christmas, we headed back home for a quick nap before the Moms Christmas Eve. We had dinner reservations for Steve, me, Kathy B. and Sue W. at Franscescas in West Dundee. It was so nice to sit in a nice restaurant and enjoy just talking and eating with our Moms. This is a tradition I could see keeping in the future!

Christmas morning was very nice at the Barrett Family House. We woke up leisurely (well, as leisurely as Breyer would let us!). We had a nice Christmas lunch of Macaroni and Cheese and frozen pizza. While this may not seem like a big deal, this was the first time in about 4 years that either of us had these foods. I was pretty excited! We then headed out to McHenry to celebrate with the Unger Family. Steve and I got there first (which is pretty unusual since we are usually traveling around to lots of places) so we got a tour of the Carlson's new house (the location for Christmas 2007). It was great time in McHenry. We played lots of games (it turns out that I am not so good at Charades, thank goodness Vita is awesome!). It was just nice to hangout with everyone.

Of course, the holiday season is not complete without a little disappointment. Our disappointments were missing The Reilley Family Christmas and not seeing my Dad since he was in Texas with his mom and sister. However, as far as disappointments go, I think we got off lucky!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Why there are no pictures

For me, the whole reason blogs are fun is because I can post pictures and "show" everyone what's going on in our lives. However, my digital camera is currently "sick." I can't get any of the photos off of it. I've tried using the card reader, I've tried plugging the camera into the computer with the USB cable. Nothing seems to work. I'm a little concerned that something has been corrupted. While we were in Nashville, the camera acted goofy when I tried downloading some of the pics. A few of them were then corrupted and wouldn't open. Ever since then, I haven't been able to download anything like normal. Steve is trying to figure it out for me. Hopefully he'll be able to get it fixed. I'm feeling very empty without my camera. Today, I hosted Beth's baby shower and I didn't take any pictures because I didn't have my camera. In fact, no one had a camera, so there are no pictures of the shower today. That makes me sad.

Anywho, as soon as I have a working digital camera again, there will be photos on the blog again!


Just a quick update on my Memere. Memere is my Dad's mom (the name is French for grandmother). She lives in Bullard, Texas. A few weeks ago, we found out that she has pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to other areas of her body. Luckily, she is not in any pain. My dad is now in Bullard with her and my Aunt Jane and Uncle Dick. They are doing their best to keep her comfortable and get her everything she wants. This means running quick trips to church and shopping.

So, Memere is in our prayers.

We love you Memere!

Home Improvement

It's break time! Steve and I are both off for the next two weeks. I am so excited! Our big plan is to lay ceramic tile in the guest bathroom upstairs. We've been checking out tiles for a while. We even bought a how-to book from Home Depot a few weeks ago. Steve has already read through that.

Steve is getting pretty into this. Yesterday he went to a tile store in Schaumburg and found some inspiration. Now he wants to try retiling everything in the kitchen (and I mean everything: counters, backsplashes, the dog). He also found a class there for next Saturday morning. So before we go celebrate Christmas with my mom and sisters and brother-in-law, we will learn how to tile.

Of course, Steve likes to do projects, so right now he's working on creating a chalkboard wall in our kitchen. I'm pretty excited about this one too. I think it will be pretty cool looking, plus it will be fun to leave notes on the wall.

Baking Cookies

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I would write a few separate little posts to update.

First up... Christmas Cookies!
Last weekend, I baked 6 different kinds of Christmas cookies. It was so much fun! I made the old favorites: the Hershey Kiss cookies, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies (Auntie Jen's recipe), Grandma Unger's Christmas Cutouts. I also ventured out a little. I made the white chocolate coconut snowballs and gingerbread cookies from the RealSimple magazine recipe. These were a hit! Finally, I tried making another of Grandma Unger's recipes, the white snowballs, basically a butter cookie surrounding a Hershey Kiss. I'm not sure I made these correctly though. They were pretty flakey.

Anyway, I ended up with about 100 cookies in my house. Now, this would normally be very dangerous in the Barrett household. I don't have much will power for avoiding cookies, especially Christmas cookies. However, I had a plan. Most of the cookies went to school for parties and Spokesman student gifts. Another plateful went to my neighbor Karen who always brings us wonderful homemade goodies. Overall, I don't think I ate more than one batch myself (I'm not sure Steve even had any!).

Overall, a lot of fun!