Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Highlights, Part One

Holiday Highlights
Part One: Family

I'm currently enjoying my holiday vacation in snowy Colorado. I was lucky enough to get time off work to spend over 10 days here! My favorite part of coming home is seeing family and friends. While the holidays always go fast and feel frenzied, it's so nice to reconnect with loved ones.
I don't come from a large family and we are all spread across the country. My "Colorado family" consists of my mom, brother and myself. Like most families, over the years we've had quite a few Christmas traditions. As of late, the tradition is: dinner on Christmas Eve, then open presents and on Christmas day head to the ski slopes!
In keeping with tradition, on Christmas Eve we had a nice dinner, which was followed by the opening of presents! The next morning we woke up, packed the car and headed to Keystone.

Since there was little to no traffic, we made it to Keystone in no time. The closer we got, the more wind gusts we encountered. As we were pulling into the parking lot my mom and I exchanged the exact same look...BRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!
Since my brother has a ski pass (and is a TFBA) he was determined to take a few runs. My mom and I would have paid for a full day lift ticket so we opted not to waste money and hit Starbucks instead! It was warm, cozy and still really nice to be IN the mountains watching the snow fall.
It only took 6 very quick runs for my brothers toes and cheeks to freeze. After he downed a hot beverage and thawed out, we snapped a "we were here" photo and were on our way back to Denver!
While the day didn't turn out quite like we'd planned, we all had a great time just being together...even if it was in the car! The beauty of being part of a small family is having flexibility to do whatever we want on holidays. Most of the time we follow traditions and other times, we make up new skiing at Starbucks!
Our Christmas day concluded with a long standing tradition, dinner at the Armbruster family house. Since the last time I've been to their Christmas dinner a new baby (now 16 months old) has joined the group. The food is always delicious (turkey and ranch mashed potatoes) and it's fun to catch up with family friends we've known forever.
Last, but not least, it's been nice to see this furry face, Romy.

I am grateful for my wonderful little family, the traditions we continue and new ones we create every year! I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas as well!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sticky Situation

I usually try to steer clear of sticky situations. In this case, I can't get enough!! My cute, crafty friend Debbie introduced me to this glue a few months ago.

Not wanting to be wasteful, I worked on using up the rest of my 'other glue.' While it did the job, it tended to ripple the paper and take forever to dry.

In preparation for some homemade holiday gifts and cards, I decided it was time to try something new. I could not be happier with my purchase because this stuff is amazing. It's super adhesive AND it dries quickly. Even if you aren't an avid crafter, try this glue! I purchased mine at Target, but I'm sure you can find it at most craft and office supply stores.

Speaking of sticky situations, it's worth noting that you ALWAYS want to make sure to clear the tip of the glue before restarting a project. I apparently forgot this kindergarten tip last night when I squeezed and squeezed the bottle until the top popped off and glue was everywhere. On my hands, my pants, the floor, the table and drenched the tiny piece of paper I was trying to glue. Lesson (re)learned.

Lentil Soup

There's nothing better than walking in the door after a long day and being welcomed home by the smell of a delicious crock pot creation. Growing up I can remember my mom using the crock pot quite a bit. Since owning my own crock pot I've sadly only used it a handful of times. Well, that's going to change!

Last week, a particularly rainy and cold week, I thought it would be good to try making soup in my crock pot. Not only did I enjoy the smells as I walked in the door, I loved that dinner was already done! It was also nice to have plenty of healthy leftovers to take for lunch.

Since this was my first try at making soup, I wanted to do something fool proof. Turns out this was completely fool proof and actually really good. I chopped all the vegetables the night before. In the morning I added the seasonings and liquids. Turned on the crock pot as I walked out the door and vvwwaa laaaaa, Lentil Soup when I arrived home.

Try it for yourself...

Lentil Soup
1 c. dry lentils
1 c. chopped carrot
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 c. chicken broth or veggie broth
1 1/2 c. water1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes

Rinse lentils. In crock pot place lentils, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir in broth, water and undrained tomatoes. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 12 hours or on high heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Discard bay leaf. Makes 6 servings.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rachel's Mediterranean Tacos

Here is a tasty meal that was shared with me by my friend Rachel. She said it was easy and Biggest Loser-ish (aka healthy). She wasn't kidding! In the spirit of the Biggest Loser finale, thought I'd share the love. Please enjoy Rachel's healthy creation!

Rachel's Mediterranean Tacos
Red onion
Kalamata Olives
Feta Cheese

1. Prepare the chicken (grill or bake) with some simple seasonings.
2. Meanwhile, c
hop up the cilantro, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and olives. Place each ingredient in separate bowls or on a platter, including the feta cheese.
3. Once the chicken is cooked and slightly cooled, chop it up.
4. Take pitas and slice in half. Fill with humus and the med taco items!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Social Media Revolution

Check out this video on the Social Media Revolution. Catchy music and lots of statistics. Being a user of several media outlets, I found it very interesting.

The funniest part= what happens in Vegas.... so true!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do you want to go?

This is Rocky. He ALWAYS wants to go - outside, for a car ride, and even to the moon! He's pictured here on a ride in the car. Tough life, eh? He was so comfortable in the front seat that my brother and I opted for the back seats.

Growing up we had a Samoyed, just like Rocky. Her name was Schnee (German for snow). Samoyeds are known for their fluffy white fur, LOTS of energy and their ability to talk. The two in my life have always responded best to the question "do you want to go?" To egg them on my dad always adds "do you want to the moon?" To this day it still makes me laugh!

I really enjoyed spending time with Rocky (and my dad) on our recent trip to Florida. Rocky still has his spunky personality but his hips are a little shaky these days. I was looking forward to taking Rocky for walks but quickly realized Rocky is slowing down. He sniffs every blade of grass. It took me 20 minutes to get around a small block.

Rocky is 90 now (in dog years) which was the same age that Schnee left our lives. When I realized that, the sniffing every blade of grass made a lot more sense. Rocky is an old man. He's taking time to smell the (roses) dirt and grass. I was sure to give him extra love, just in case. When it is his time to go, I hope he goes to the moon!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

JNelly Designs

My dear friend Janelle (aka JNelly) has taken her artistic talent and turned it into a business, JNelly Designs! She encorporates her artist eye with her love of card making.

If you are looking for unique holiday cards, personalized stationary or card packs please check out her website or Etsy shop.

Here are some of my favorites:

I love...

my new boots!

I found out about these from my friend Jess. She got them in black but I LOVE mine in cognac. I wore them a few times in the last week, including two times with lots of walking and they're very comfortable. I also wore them with a dress for Thanksgiving - adorable. Now I want some skinny jeans to wear them with :)

Fashion + function + STEAL OF A DEAL! How can a girl resist? Check them out here.

But wait, there's shipping on orders over $35!