Category Archives: Holidays

The Resolutions Post

Like most things in life, I’m late at this whole resolutions post. Nineteen days late to be exact.

 After a whirlwind of Christmas it was New Years.

Normally my favorite holiday of the whole entire year, this one felt remarkably, meh. (That description can only come from someone who graduated with a journalism degree.)

Yes, it was our first one as a married couple, yes it was our first one together as a married couple living in Milwaukee. Maybe there’s just been so much change in 2011 that secretly I was like, “Really? It’s only been one year? It’s felt like five…oh yeah, and I’m not getting any younger. And that whole ’30 sounds terrifying’ conversation that was funny at 22 is not so damn funny anymore. Because in one month I’ll be 27 and in three years I’ll be 30.”

But thanks to a visit from Rob’s sister, Laura, the night that I wasn’t all that pumped to have actually turned out to be really fun. Fast forward to a week-long work trip and I’m just now getting caught up with phone calls to friends, family and this very neglected blog.

So, without anymore delay, here is what I hope to improve on myself in 2012:

Cook, Bake Healthier Meals.

Thanks to Pinterest, I have an unlimited resource to seek out healthy recipes. Some of my favorite healthy habits so far are swapping white rice for Quinoa and using black beans as a substitute for flour in baked treats. I love to cook and I plan to share all my successes and failures in the kitchen right here.

Get Fit.

Just do it. ‘Nuff said.

Be A Better Wife.

You know, roll my eyes less, listen more, don’t be so quick to anger, compliment more, love harder. The easy stuff. Sigh. Marriage is hard. Anyone who said it isn’t is a liar but that doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing at the same time. I think with the wedding, move and new jobs behind us, Rob and I have a slightly less stressful environment so we are committing ourselves to be a kinder, gentler version of Erin and Rob. 

International Travel.

This has been on my list forever and finally this year it’s going to get checked off when we arrive in Mexico March 3. Can’t wait to write that post.

Read More Books.

2011 ended with the Hunger Games trilogy and 2012 has started with “Devil In The White City.” Not so much uplifting reads but really good. Thanks to my Kindle from my husband for Christmas, I think this one is going to stick.

Write The Beginning Of A Novel

How cliche, right? But I kind-of-sort-of have an idea. No, I will not tell you what it is. Someday, hopefully, you’ll be able to read about it though. Plus, I have the best writer I know helping me out – Rob.

Join A Club.

Cooking club, book club, young professionals club? Yes, please!

Work My Business

Most know by now that I’m a Mary Kay consultant. The last half of 2011 I had to put it on the farthest back back-burner of my life and I’m hoping in the spring I can devote more time to helping women look and feel fabulous.




Tagged , , , ,

Caution: amazingly-delicious christmas cookies ahead

Caution: Once you share these cookies at a holiday work party, family Christmas party or with your spouse you will never be allowed to bake any other cookie on/near Dec. 25.

They are also likely to add inches to your waistline.

And it’s totally worth it.

2 cups sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar
2 packages (10 or 12 ounces each) vanilla or white chips
1/4 cup shortening

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs. Stir in molasses. Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

2. Shape into 3/4-in. balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

The baking time is key to keeping them a bit soft, so don’t keep them in too long – until the cookie springs back when lightly touched, and has small cracks on the surface. Remove to wire racks to cool.

3. Combine chips and shortening and melt together. This can be done on the stove in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave. In the microwave, place shortening and chips in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, then microwave for additional 30 seconds and stir again. If needed, microwave for additional 15-30 seconds, until the chips are completely melted and smooth. Dip the cookies halfway into the melted chips; shake of excess. Place on wax paper and leave for 30-60 minutes until set.

Tagged , , ,

a christmas story

On Christmas morning, year after year, my mom lined up my brother, sister and I – in order of oldest to youngest – on the stairs. We were strategically positioned on the final three steps before the wall met the banister, so we were just out of view of the tree and the endless mound of presents we imagined were waiting for us.

Years later, my sister and I confessed that more often than not we knew what hid beneath the papered patterns of snowmen and ornaments much earlier than our mom thought. We mastered the art of unwrapping gifts using a safety pin to slice open the scotch-taped end – as well as acting surprised. Parents: Your bedroom closet is never a good hiding place.

Despite the Rockwellian image you conjure up at the thought of three children in pajamas waiting in anticipation at the top of the steps to see just what Santa had in store for them, Christmas wasn’t always perfect. One year it was necessary to use fishing wire to keep our tree from falling over. We tied one end to the top of the tree and the other through a hook drilled into the ceiling originally intended for a hanging planter.

My mom didn’t hang stockings with care, but I’m pretty sure she dropped a few f-bombs when she thought about how she was going to pay for three children’s Christmas presents on a Catholic school teacher’s salary. I was always missing someone that morning – mom or dad, whose ever turn it wasn’t.

This being my first Christmas as a married woman I expected it to feel different than others in recent years. Maybe I would if there was a single spec of snow on the ground – seriously Mother Nature, WTF?

That’s where Rob comes in. He’s been playing the Glee Christmas CD on repeat since Oct. 31 and I can’t even count the times Michael Buble’s version of “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas” has played through his headphones. It’s got to be at least 50…

He’s tried so hard, too. Our one-bedroom apartment isn’t exactly the place for superfluous decorations, but without any prompting I came home from a long night at work in early December to find our kitchen cabinets outlined in colored lights. A piece of artwork in the dining room was swapped out for an advent calendar. We slow-danced to “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” in our livingroom.

For him and his family it’s all about tradition this time of year. The family always travels to Naperville on Christmas Eve where his aunt and uncle host a smorgasbord. There’s a fish course, a meat course and a dessert course and don’t even try to use the same plate for two of the same courses – it’s a punishable offense.

After dinner there’s a Christmas program where everyone sings a selection of “Twelve Days Of Christmas,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Jingle Bells.” Christmas morning the family goes to church and brunch is held back at grandma’s.

I guess I’m still getting used to the fact that what’s his family is now our family. His traditions are now our traditions. When I really think about it, I’m glad that our kids will have a routine around the holidays. One that will most definitely include a picture on the stairs.

Tagged , , , ,