Monday, December 31, 2007

Favorite Things

I was sitting here trying to figure out what to blog about since it has been a few days since I posted. So what better than to post a few of my favorite things (on the In no particular order....

1. My favorite Quote:

"Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is just out of grasp... But if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." Nathaniel Hawthorne

How true this is. So many times we reach out and try and consume happiness but sometimes we need to let happiness come to us. Let it find its way in our heart.

2. One of my favorite blogs. This site makes me laugh every time.

I Can Has Cheezeburger

3. Can't choose just one song, but these are my recent favorites (they change

4. Favorite Comedy Video - If you've never seen Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Jeff Dunham your missing out. Have a look...

5. and all the wonderful friends I have met there! My life would not be the same without some of them!! Thank you!!

6. A place where secrets are sad, funny, real, where some come way to close for comfort, yet a site I visit every Sunday. I guess thats the nosy part of me coming out. ~~~~~> Post Secret

7. Need a quote? Some good ones here. ~~~> DB Quotes

8. Flickr. com is a great place for inspiration.

Ok, so thats just a few of the things that I frequent most days...maybe you will enjoy some of them too.

Until we meet again... Ciao =)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

T'was the Night Before Christmas

Every Christmas Eve, our family has a simple tradition before going to bed. First, of course, is the opening of a few small gifts. Every year we buy the kids a new Hallmark ornament to put on the tree so when they are older and are gone from the house, they can take their ornaments with them and start their own tree. We also, as a tradition, let them open a gift of pajamas to wear on the Eve of Christmas. Even though they know what they are getting, it is always exciting to them to be able to open a few gifts before Christmas morning.

Another thing we do is read one of my favorite Christmas stories, T'was the Night Before Christmas. We take turns reading the lines now that my son is an avid reader along with my daughter and when thats complete, we put on our new pj's, brush our teeth, lay out cookies and milk for Santa and off to bed they go.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all of you and yours. I leave you with the story T'was the Night Before Christmas courtesy of this website.

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Change is something that we all have to endure. It's inevitable. Some changes are good, some bad. Some will not really affect you, and some are just plain heart wrenching. Either way, we have to deal with it. We have to make a choice on how we are going to handle it. Sometimes, that in itself, is harder than what has changed or what needs to be changed.

In talking to a friend yesterday, I realized a lot of hard truths about myself. Things that I know are there and need to be dealt with. Things that I know I need to change or it will eventually eat at me until I can't handle it anymore. Or even worse, destroy those around me: my family, my friends. What struck me the most though, was the fact that without me saying what was going on, he knew. Like he was inside my head. It kind of scared me at first, that he knew so much about how I was feeling, because its not something that I freely say or admit to. It all came from observation. It hit me that if he could see it, how many others could see it too. That did not sit well with me.

I'm not going to sit here and list all that we discussed as that would just open me up to things that I, for one, am not ready for. Its not what is wrong that is important, its that i'm going to change it. I have to make the choice to step up to the plate and make a decision to make my life better, because no one else is going to do it for me, nor can they.

Change is almost always difficult, and the changes that I have to make are certainly not easy and will not happen overnight, yet I am willing to push on and move forward. What will help immensely is something that my friend said to me. After a great deal of time was spent, he said something to me that will always be in the forefront of my mind. Three little words that made me cry, not because I was sad, but because for once it actually felt like someone gave a damn. He said "you're worth it". He will never truly know how much those words meant to me. So for that I want to say Thank You! I really don't know what I would do without you!

So... heres to change *holds up invisible glass and "tinks" yours*.

Ciao. --- "thats the European dream.. to ride a moped and go. Chow.."

Monday, December 17, 2007

What color is YOUR brain?

Ok, so these things are a bit silly, but we all need a bit of silliness in our lives, hm? So, here are my results...

Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.


Kinda neat, I suppose, yet pretty close too. So, what color is YOUR brain? Go here to find out ~~~> QUIZ

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Ok, so I have been sick the last three days with the worst cold I have ever had! Fever. Chills. Ginormous headache - ok so i know that is not a word, but it was a biggen!! Body aches. Coughing. Sneezing - at one time, 15 in a bloody row. I had to actually catch my breath after that. I remained in my house for three days straight and barely moved my behind off the couch. Yeah, I know, poor me! NOT. I know I'm not the only one in the world to get sick so I'm not looking for a pity party, especially since I feel 80% better today. But no, this is just leading into today, my first day of work this week. My Monday.

I hate Mondays. Most people do. Mondays are always the busiest day for me at work and getting up after a good weekend is not fun, no matter how you stack the deck. So this week I got to skip Monday, kind of. Nuff said on Mondays =P

I got up on time today, well almost, got ready and took my normal drive into work. The drive today was nice though. The roads were clear from the ice storms we had had a few days previously, but the bare trees were still covered in the ice. There was a fog that was low but not so low to hinder your driving and it was just a sight that made me smile and actually enjoy the trip in. I realized that I don't pay much attention in either driving into work or driving home in the beauty that surrounds me every day. I'm usually trying to avoid the ones that can't drive. You know the ones: those that are looking at maps, putting on make-up, fighting with the kids in the back, cell phone users (texting included), those that drive with dogs on their laps (seriously - come ON), and those that just do not know how to use their mirrors and just change lanes at will. So, I suppose you can see why its difficult to take in the scenery. However, today I made a mental note to try and notice these kinds of things more. No, not the idiots on the road, but the natural beauty that surrounds us that is all to often missed.

Another thing that struck me today was an encounter with a co-worker that is also a very good friend of mine. Sometimes its hard to balance work with friends at work, especially those that you actually socialize with in the outside world. This particular friend/peer of mine is also a step up on the ladder from where I am, but fairly new in the position, so she trusts my knowledge and comes to me with questions. She is an amazing team player and one hell of a motivational woman. She is our teams biggest cheerleader and will be the first to say something nice about you or what a fantastic job you've done, and very rarely says anything bad about anyone. However, she cuts herself down so much it pains me. There are days, like today, I just want to ring her neck and shake her and say "V, lets look at the big picture here. You are not a screw up. You KNOW your job. You have got to ignore all the boobs that don't appreciate you and your hard work." She takes everything so personally, even if its not meant towards her. Our saying is that we have too many Chief's on our team and not enough Indians, which is true. We have so many people that think they know everything and them some, those that think their shit don't stink, and what they do is better than everyone else. God forbid if they make a mistake. So anyway, today she made a mistake. It wasn't a big mistake and it was able to be corrected, we just had to locate where it originated and go from there. The poor thing was almost in tears because she thought she let me down (I was the one she was trying to help since I had been out sick) and nothing I could say or do would change her mind. We went round and round for over an hour, not fighting, but discussing the matter at hand. In the end (after a much needed lunch break) we figured it out, set it all straight, and I got a hug out of the deal.

Today's happenings just made me realize that you CAN balance work and friendship. Work will always be work and you can always leave that behind, hopefully at 5 p.m. every day, and your friends will always be friends that you carry everywhere you go, and never leave them behind, even if work puts a few hiccups in it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Simple Pleasures

There are many things in life that bring us joy but sometimes its the simplest of things that bring the most pleasure.

One of these things, for me, is making home made bread. I don't always have time to do this, but I do try and make it every Saturday morning. I love doing this for several reasons...

  • Its easy, but time consuming
  • It makes the house smell absolutely wonderful
  • It tastes yummy
  • My kids like to help and I hope my daughter (and/or son will do so when they are grown)
  • My mother in law makes her own bread
  • My mother makes her own bread...well...she used to {sigh}
  • I feel its a tradition that has been lost in this time. Everyone is too busy so this is a way I make myself slow down and enjoy.
  • Everyone loves me and ooohhs and ahhhas after its done,so it feels good

So, because of the above I would like to share the recipe and instructions in hope that you'd at least give it a try. It really is easy, just need to have the time to do it.


White Bread

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups mils, scalded
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS butter (or shortening)
  • 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups flour

Take 1/4 tsp of the sugar and place in the measuring cup along with the water. Add the active yeast and stir slightly. Set aside. If your yeast is good, the mixture will start to rise and bubble. This is what you want it to do.

In your mixer bowl add remaining 1 3/4 tsp sugar, scalded milk, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. What I do here is add a few icecubes, melt them to bring the temp down. You don't want it too hot or it will ruin the yeast. Once lukewarm, stir in 2 cups of the flour and mix on low speed. Once mixed add in the yeast mixture and mix. Continue to add in the flour one cup at a time and mix well after each cup. I usually add 3 cups this way and then I start adding by the spoonful until the dough becomes moderately stiff and starts pulling away from the sides of your mixer.

*You do not have to have a mixer in order to do this. Mix as you would anything else until the dough starts to become tougher and slightly sticky.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed if it is still sticky. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Using a clean kitchen towel (lint free), run under hot water, ring out and place over the top of the bowl. This keeps it moist so it does not dry out during the rising process. Place in warm area until the dough is double in size.

Once risen, divide into two equal parts, knead a bit more to remove some of the air bubbles, shape into loaves. place in two greased bread pans. Re-warm the towels and place over the top of both pans. Let rise until double, or the size of a loaf of bread, ( It should fill the pan). The cooler it is the longer this will take to rise.

**TIP: What I do is fill a metal pan with piping hot water and place in the bottom of my oven, under the rack. Then place the pans with the dough just above that on the rack. This locks in the heat and moisture from the hot water and assists with rising. DO NOT turn the oven on when rising.

Bake in hot oven at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes or until done. (tops will be lightly browned) If tops brown too fast, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.


This seems lenghty, but I just explained how I do it. It seems to work the best for me doing this process.

Once you've tried it, you will see how easy this is and hopefully continue to make your own homemade bread. YUMMY!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I'm smiling even thinking about writing this post and even debating on whether or not I should even post this, but it made me laugh like crazy so maybe it will do the same for you. If you have children, you will appreciate this even more...LOL!

So, one night after shopping we were hungry and stopped in a place called Fazoli's. For those of you who are not familiar, its kind of like a fast food Italian place. Good food! Fast service and the best bread sticks EVER! Well, we decided to eat in so the kids got these paper place mats and crayons to keep them busy while waiting for the food and while waiting for the parental units to finish eating as well.

At first glance these place mats were completely harmless and little did I know the humor and questions that would arise from this simple sheet of activities. The theme for these worksheets was the Solar System. Innocent, right? HA!

My daughter started doing a crossword on this sheet and one of the questions (which I cannot remember) had the answer of Uranus. Ok, so being the immature adult that I am, her saying the name of that planet made me laugh, for obvious reasons. Oh, you should know, she is only 10 and my son is 6. My daughter asks me, "Mom, what's so funny about Uranus?". She has a complete straight face and I completely lose it. I started laughing even harder, tears streaming down my face, unable to breathe. Due to me laughing, and the situation, dad begins to laugh as well, then my daughter and son begin to giggle even though they have no idea why.

We all finally settle down from laughing, wiping our eyes, taking deep breaths. Again, my daughter asks me why that was so funny. Now, as a mom, I ponder whether or not I should even go there with her because I know she will understand and most likely tell her friends. She keeps on persisting and I cave, BUT giving her a disclaimer that she is not to utter a word about this to her friends and especially to her teacher. She agrees.

I begin to explain to her that it sounds like a body part. She starts giggling hysterically so I figure she understood. Nope. She thought it was the other end, the other "male" end. I start laughing all over again and she is getting frustrated because she thinks I am laughing at her. I tell her, "No, honey, the other end." She is giggling hysterically again.

In the meantime my 6 year old son is across the table listening intently and absorbing every bit of the conversation. It's quite amazing what a little one can take in and understand. He looks at me, straight faced and said, "Mom? It means 'your butt'?". Then HE starts laughing!!

OMG I am losing it now.

On the way home he starts talking about our trip to Arizona and the bus ride we were taking to get to the Chicago O'Hare Airport. Out of the blue he starts singing, "I'm going to shake my 'Uranus' on the bus to the airport"...over and over and over and over...!

Once I realized what he was singing (because we had the radio on, and turned up a bit) I honestly thought I was going to pee my pants!

The things kids say....gotta love it!