Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Beginnings

I was recently reading an interesting  blog post by Michelle over at "Emerald Cove," all about new beginnings and dealing with internal struggles, trusting yourself and finding your path.  It was interesting to me because she said out loud so many of the things that I think and feel about myself.

Then I was over at "Be Yourself.... everyone else is taken" and Beth did a post on finding your New Years word.  I have to admit that I've never heard of finding a word for the New Year.  Apparently this word thing has been around for awhile and I must live in a cave since I've never heard of it.  In fact, after I mentioned that to her, Beth sent me a little note and told me my new name is "cave woman."  That cracked me up!  But go ahead, Google "Pick a word 2012" to read more about it.  Kinda cool concept.

Ever since I was in high school I have been saying "What do I want to do with my life?"  And here I am 30 something years later and I still don't know.  I always feel like what I'm meant to be doing is just beyond my grasp....  and my sight.  I'm not artistic enough to paint or make jewelry or do crafts.  I despise math.  I hate to sit at a desk.  Unfortunately, I can't spend my entire day geocaching or sitting on a beach and playing with shells.  Even tho I give it a good try.......

And so I feel like I'm in constant motion, looking around the bend for just the right thing to hold my interest, light my fire, maybe earn me some extra money.  Something inspiring.  I never feel good enough, or smart enough or creative enough.  Everything is always such a struggle.  Someone else always gets the breaks, or has the luck, or comes out on top.

But then I stop to think and I hold fast to the thought that "Life is all about the journey and not the destination."  And I remember that I have what God wants me to have, I am exactly where He wants me to be and I am exactly who I am supposed to be.    Maybe part of my problem is that I'm not realizing that I already do the most important things I can be doing - Have faith in God and raise good kids.  We are blessed - My husband and I run a business, I married the love of my life and I have a great family.  We are all healthy.  Why am I always looking for more?

There's nothing wrong with wanting more.  Or better.  Or even different.  There's nothing wrong with trying to tweak things a bit.  But for 2012 I'm going to spend more time looking inward at what I already have, instead of outward at what I haven't got.  My word for 2012 is going to be listen.

The New Year always brings with it an element of hope and the promise of a new beginning. Wishing all of you a Happy New Year. What do you really want for the New Year?

So from my family to you and yours - Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Moving Maurie the TB

Last week I picked up a TB (travel bug) named "Superdawg Maurie" at a geocaching event.  According to Maurie's TB page  My mission is to travel the US (and abroad) from cache to cache, visiting your FAVORITE Hot Dog Joynts. Please take a picture of me in front of the sign or in the restaurant. PLEASE don't keep me - my secondary goal is to meet up again someday with my longtime love & partner, Flaurie!!

Superdawg is a world famous hot dog stand in Chicago.  I grew up not far from Superdawg and have eaten there more times than I can count or care to admit.  They have GREAT hot dogs.   Maurie and Flaurie were the original owners, so somebody made a pair of TB's out of their official softee figures in their honor.  Cute idea, huh?  Here's what the Maurie and Flaurie TB's look like....

In keeping with the mission of Maurie, we took him to Paradise Pup in Des Plaines, IL.  Paradise Pup has great hot dogs, and was actually featured on the Food Network TV show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives."

And since we were so close to the original McDonald's, also in Des Plaines, we stopped by for a photo there as well.  I know they don't sell sell hot dogs, but hey,  it's the original McDonalds.  There is also a multi stage geocache there, but we've already done it.  GCR2YT

We have several geocaching events coming up in the next few weeks, so Maurie will be passed along some time soon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mint Pastry Cookies

Gayle over at The White House Blog got me motivated tonight, and since I was home all by my lonesome, I decided to take down all the Christmas decorations and get my house back.  No, I'm not in a bah-humbug mood, it's just that our house isn't really very big, so after a couple of weeks of tripping over the tree and all the decorations, I'm ready to put everything away.  DONE!  Bring on New Years!

Anyway, Chablis and I wanted to share another really yummy cookie recipe with y'all.  I originally got the recipe from my sister, and we just modified it just a bit, but if you like sugary, flaky cookies stuffed with chocolate mint candy, then you will probably want to read this post....

2 cups flour
2 sticks UNSALTED butter
1/3 cup half and half OR whipping cream
Some sugar in a bowl
30 - 36 thin mint wafers  -   We use the Andes Candies......

In a large mixer bowl combine the flour, butter and half & half.  Beat at low speed for about 2 minutes.  Cover dough and chill for about 2 hours.

Then roll out your dough on a floured surface, to about 1/4" thickness and cut with 2" round cookie cutters.

Dip both sides of each 2" round in some sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet and lay 1 mint on each.  Fold in half and pinch the edges....

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 min. or until the edges are lightly browned....

Let them cool and then quickly hide them because I guarantee they are not going to lay around in your cookie jar for long.  These are ummm....uummmmm..... goood!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Caching on Christmas

I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful Christmas and got to enjoy some quality time with family and friends.  I know we did!

Since my kids are about grown, we have a little more free time on Christmas Day, so we went and picked up mom and dad at 7:00 am and ran out to do 3 quick and easy geocaches.  Yes, I  know we're crazy!!

All 3 caches were park and grabs, so it took us less than an hour to find all of them and drop mom and dad back off at their house.  We went back home and opened presents with the kids ....

and then we all went back by mom and dad's for Christmas Dinner.

Mom cooked.....

Dad carved the turkey.....

And we all ate until we couldn't eat any more....

And then we played a very fast paced dice/grab bag game....

Later in the evening my nephew stopped by for a visit....

So that was our day - how was yours?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful people who take time out of your busy day to stop by and read my ramblings.  Because of blogging, I've made some wonderful new friends.  Every day I look forward to your comments, as well as the information and inspiration I receive from so many of you.

Jesus is the reason for the season - Have a Blessed, Happy and Safe Holiday!  See you after Christmas.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Friendship Park Conservatory

The Mt. Prospect Park District maintains a beautiful park and conservatory.  Every year for Christmas they decorate the conservatory with hundreds of poinsettia plants in a variety of sizes and colors.  The first weekend of December they host an open house for the area kids and Santa Claus makes a special appearance.  The remainder of the month they are open for anyone to come and enjoy the conservatory.

Come stroll around the conservatory and check out the beautiful display...

The red ones with the white speckles are my absolute favorite!!

Adorable little elves are tucked here and there for the kids to find.  Now I want an elf!

A gentle stream of water was running down the wall behind us....

And Koi swim lazily around the little pond.....

After that we walked over to their cactus room.  Several years ago my dad donated one of his cactus (cacti?) and his jade plant to the park.  We stop every year to say hi.  I think the plants perk up when they hear us coming.

This is dads cactus.  He bought it when it was about 3" tall, over 25 years ago.  Dad has a real green thumb and nurtured it along for all those years.  He finally donated it a couple years ago when it got too large for him to move around.  Isn't it beautiful?

Here you can see it tucked way in the back by the window....

And here's his Jade plant....

I loved the little gazebo - too bad Santa wasn't there.  I have been a very good girl this year!

Christmas is almost here.  Jesus is the reason for the season.  I count my many blessings and give thanks.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

One of our favorite family traditions is to make Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas.  We've done it every single year since Chablis was 6 months old.  We pull out the cookie cutters that we've had for forever and the old wooden rolling pin that basically gets used once, maybe twice a year.  We put on Christmas music and lose ourselves in flour and dough.

When the kids were small I'd give them each a hunk of dough and let them mold it and play with it, while I did most of the work.  These days Chablis does most of the rolling and cookie cutting work....

Here they were screaming at each other because Chablis didn't like the way Tony was placing the dough on the cookie sheets.  I grabbed my camera and told them I'm taking a picture so 20 years from now I can pull it out and say "Hey, remember when we were making cookies and you 2 were fighting over where to place the dough?"  They both cracked up because they know I will remember this and they double know that I will produce the photo and remind them of it in 20 years! LOL!

This is what the cookies look like when they're done baking....

Then we start decorating them with frosting and candies.....

Each of them also makes one HUGE Santa gingerbread man for themselves.

Our gingerbread cookies will never win a prize for beauty or be sold in a bakery for $ 2.00 apiece.  We sprinkle candy or chocolate chips on them with a free hand.  I don't care if the multi-colored frosting is drizzled down the sides in a runny pool or if some cookies just receive a thin stripe of frosting.  Because for me the fun is in the making, and the music, the heat of the oven, the scent of baking cookies wafting through the kitchen, and the eating afterwards with a cup of hot chocolate.  After all, isn't that what family traditions are really all about?


5 to 5 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Ginger
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cloves
2 sticks softened Margarine
1 Cup Sugar
1 ¼ Cup Unsulphured Molasses
2 Eggs

Mix the softened margarine, sugar, molasses and the eggs.  Add 5 cups of the flour, baking soda, salt and all the spices.  Mix well using a wooden spoon, not a mixer.

Put mixture onto a floured surface and add the remaining flour until the dough is firm and not sticky.  Start rolling out some of the dough on a floured surface, to ¼” thickness. Cut with cookies cutters.

Bake 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.

After they cool, decorate with frosting….

1 stick margarine
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Use a mixer and add milk and additional powdered sugar until you have enough frosting.  Separate into bowls and add colored food drops.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...