Friday, December 26, 2008

Chocolate Fountain of Love

We had a wonderful Christmas. There was a lot of laying around, watching mindless movies, and then partying with the family at my Aunt and Uncle's house in the evening. They had... a. chocolate. fountain. And not a rinky-dinky one either, but a beautiful one with cascades of chocolate loveliness flowing from its depths. I nearly burst into tears of joy when I saw it. And then proceeded to dip everything in my reach into its chocolaty curtains. So that you know, the following is very good dipped in chocolate:

homemade marshmellows that my uncle made
pecan pie (oh yeah)
sugar wafers (number one)
oreos (that I stole from the pantry)
chocolate chip cookies
cream puffs
crackers (I just wanted to see if it was good- it was)
nutter butters (chocolate and peanut butter? bliss)
animal crackers (for the heck of it)
brownies (can there be too much chocolate? I think not.)

Needless to say, I'm feeling a little bit ill.

We had a great Christmas and have been enjoying my time with my family. I love to laugh with them. It's fun.

Wiping a little chocolate off of the corner of my mouth and thinking of running an extra mile in the morning...
Good night!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Incarnation

So then we confess that God fulfilled the promise which He had made to the early fathers by the mouth of His holy prophets when He sent His only and eternal Son into the world at the time set by Him.
The Son took the "form of a servant" and was made in the likeness of man, truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, without male participation.
And He not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order that He might be a real human being. For since the soul had been lost as well as the body He had to assume them both to save them both together.

Article 18: The Incarnation
Belgic Confession

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're off again!

We have had a wonderful time in Birmingham. Lots of visiting, a little bit of shopping, and too much WHITE TRASH. Must cut myself off from this stuff. I just need to make a clean break of it. I can quit at any time. If I want to. Whenever I want to. No, of course I don't have any for the car ride tomorrow.

Ah, the car ride tomorrow.
Things I hope for:

No puking.
A stop at Starbucks.
No puking.
Quick stops that are decently spaced from one another.
No puking.
8 1/2 hour trip instead of 12 hours.
Which means, there must be NO PUKING.

Yeah, you can hope that for us.
Puking does make for interesting blogs though...

PS... Thanks to Scott and Melissa for housing us! We had a great time and I'm glad I got to break in your new front-loading washer and dryer that I'm so not coveting. Thanks again!

To Do List

Let's see...

I'm in Birmingham and have visited Jason and Michelle (family), have attended my lovely church (Community Presbyterian), ate lunch and dinner with dear friends, have enjoyed the hospitality of the Holmes (thank you so much for the white noise machine!), have done a little bit of laundry (because I'm neurotic), and have gotten to visit with my dear Rachel (surrogate child, who is now a grown-up).

Well, the only thing that is left, dear readers, is my obsession with Big Saver Thrift Store. Bargains, here I come.

Must go get ready now...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snacks, Tutus, and Bells

*** Spirit Fingers *** Go Productivity!

I've been up since 3:30am. My brain is too busy. I want my brain to STOP being too busy. It's driving me nuts. I cannot wait to be done. Being busy. But since my brain functions on hyper-activity, it's not looking too promising. Tonight, I foresee a Benadryll cocktail coming my way. Early.

I made the cutest thing this week. I'm going to be a millionaire because of it. No, do not mock me. It is a tutu for one of my nieces. And it. is. C-UUU-TE!
Well, I should say, I cut strips of tulle and Diane did the actual "putting together". I'm a good cutter. It took six yards of tulle to make one. SIX. But it is really cute and tulle is cheap. Love it.

I've cooked about a gazillion things this week, including this delightful yumminess:
Yes, folks. That is white trash. I need to be a tad bit more obsessed with running because of it. I discovered this week that if you put a whole bunch of white trash in a big bowl to be portioned into bags for teachers "later", the white trash will be eaten. By myself. And my husband. It is gooooood. Other things I've cooked: banana nut bread (for teachers), fudge (for my grandfather and for Corin's Christmas party), and Cornbread Dressing (for the "Christmas feast" at school today). Yes, the need to run is pressing on me. I'm about to go.

Corin performed in our church's bell choir on Sunday. They did a great job. But aren't they so cute in their robes?

It was a great experience for him. He was not happy about doing it, but he did stay committed (with just a bit of "encouragement" from Mom and Dad) and he did well with his part.

Well, it's time to get this Friday started (including forcing myself to run, so that I can stop feeling guilty about it). It's going to be a looooong day. Working, baking (seriously, more baking???), shipping packages, printing pictures, wrapping presents, laundry (forever and forever), packing, de-Christmasing my house before we leave for FL (which probably won't happen), and packing clothes makes for quite a day. And two Christmas parties to boot. Which means I have to look pretty.

Here goes...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dean and Company Christmas Special -- Toxic

This airs only in Birmingham. And only at Christmastime. Every Monday night. It is physically impossible to change the channel. The words "train wreck" come to mind.


Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
by His life he brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

He experienced the sadness of earth. There is insecurity here. What will happen in the future? How will He manifest His glory through me? How will I suffer? How is He making me? He knows. I do not know. There is a great deal of frustration in that. It's easy to despair. There is comfort knowing there is justice; there is satisfaction that this is not eternity. There is relief through tears; there is comraderie through grieving with believers. I am not content with this Hell on earth. I will be pleased when we are done.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trivial Pursuit

Did you know that I'm full of useless information? Yes, it's true. And I pass the savings on to you, folks. Of course, you may think "Wow, we should get her on our team to play Trivial Pursuit". Nope. I'm pretty bad at that, mostly because I do this: "What IS that called? I know the answer, I just can't THINK of it." And then my teammates say, "What good are you?" And then my feelings get hurt and then I REALLY can't remember my useless information. So don't ask me to play Trivial Pursuit. But on my own, and in conversations with people, I'm chock full of info that you don't really need to know. You may be asking, "Why Kim, how did you acquire such useless information?" Folks, let me tell you, it just happens. My brain attracts it, I decide it is interesting, and then when there is a lull in the conversation (don't like lulls), I spring something like, "Did you know that Japan's Santa is called Santa Kurousu?" And people are amazed (ish). My information benefits you. Remember and be the lull-stopper.

In Japan, celebrating Christmas is very similar to the way that Americans celebrate Valentine's Day. There is no day off for Christmas (with less than 1% of the country being Christian, it's really just not a big deal) and it's particularly important for single women to have a date. Single woman need to have a date with their sweetheart on Christmas Eve and the gift they receive is very significant of the way their sweetheart sees their future together. Store-bought Christmas cakes are purchased by every family (ordered weeks in advance) to be consumed on Christmas day, and the leftover Christmas cakes are compared to single women who couldn't get a date on Christmas Eve. Nobody wants a Christmas cake on Christmas day. It's a big joke. Doesn't it sound like a nice joke? Women who are 25 and older (and not married) are also compared to old, unsold Christmas cakes.

I've wondered since I was a little girl what the song "I saw three ships" was about. If you've never heard of it, it's a Christmas song that states:

I saw three ships come sailing in
on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
I saw three ships come sailing in
on Christmas Day, in the morning.

There are other verses, including a reference to "and all the bells on earth shall ring on Christmas Day". This song is an old Christmas carol from England. In days of olde, before there were telephones and such, the only way an island like England could receive news was from the ships that sailed in. If there was news, then they would ring the bells on top of the ship many times, so that people could rush to the harbor to hear of whatever news there was to be heard. On Christmas, the ships that would sail in would ring their bells because it was Christmas. Yes, very interesting.

The word "ujima" (oo-ji-ma) means "work together". It's an African word. Use it in a sentence today. I know I will.

Other important things I've learned this week from working at a public school:

1. Periodically check hallways for stragglers who have somehow escaped the classline and have chosen to stay in the hallway to play with the fire extinguisher.

2. Jewish dance for a song called "Joyous Chanukah". I've performed and taught this dance at least 24 times this week.

3. I've learned how to play the "Dreidl" game. Any takers?

4. Getting out at a half day because of bad weather is an absolute nightmare. Some children (because parents either cannot be reached or do not care) are left at school anyway. And somehow, Jackson, MS escaped all snow, even though there was 2-5 inches of snow within 30 minutes of us. But we DID get PLENTY of freezing rain.

Off to a fun-filled day of grown-up time. So exciting! The kids are visiting Grandma at the "Ponderosa" (as we affectionately call it) while Daddy hunts (him kill big deer- provide meat for winter). I'm going to turn on Pandora and clean (ooo, big fun) and then go shopping. By. My. Self. Well, with my friend Diane, but by myself means without kids. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

Have you seen this? Unbelievable and funny. Take a look!

White Trash Christmas

Yesterday was Silas' teacher's birthday. Since I'm a good room mother (ha), I decided to make her a lovely little homemade goody bag. Of course, since I have approximately 12 frozen (code: frozen rotten) bananas in my freezer, banana bread is an automatic (and will probably be in her Christmas homemade goody bag as well- look, the bananas are falling out of the freezer everytime I open it). Anyhoo, when I make banana bread (this recipe is the best), I make one big loaf and three mini loaves. Mini loaves are great for teacher gifts. And because there are three, I made some for Felix's teachers, too (yesterday was his last day at lab school- which I forgot, and then remembered on Tuesday night that I should probably put a little happy together for his teachers for Christmas- yeah, no stress). So, banana bread is done, wrapped, and placed in a gift bag yesterday morning at 7am. But so was this delicious tidbit: White Trash. Have you heard of this stuff? There are several variations (names vary as well) of it (some with white chocolate and some with dark chocolate and powdered sugar). Both are delicious, but my favorite is the dark chocolate (shocker) with powdered sugar. It is absolutely, sinfully, addictively delicious. It makes approximately 10 to 11 cups, so it makes a great gift for multiple teachers.

I shall share. First, as I said, there are several variations. You could really add ingredients how you like. I like raisins. Chocolate-covered raisins with powdered sugar. Mmmmm... To some of you (ahem, Ginger, who is probably shivering with disgust) um, don't add raisins. If you like the version with white chocolate, there are lots of different variations here, which is where I found the recipe I used, but I changed mine up a bit.

White Trash

1 12oz box rice chex
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of butter
1 to 2 cups of raisins (or Craisins)
2 to 3 cups of peanuts (or cashews or almonds, you get the picture)
1 1/2 cups of pecan halves
3 cups powdered sugar (a box and a half)

In a large container (really big), mix together cereal, raisins, peanuts, and pecan halves. In a saucepan, melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, pour chocolate mixture over cereal mixture, making sure all of it is covered with chocolate. Stir together to make sure all is covered. Using gallon bags (I used three), put approximately 4 to 5 cups of chocolate-covered cereal in each bag. Pour powdered sugar (a little over a cup for each bag) over chocolate mixture in bag. Seal bag and shake until mixture is covered with powdered sugar. Done! Put in containers as you like.

Warning: This product is completely addictive and I refuse to accept any responsibility for your inability to control yourself. As of yet, there are no 12-step programs for White Trash addiction. I'm working on it. My name is Kim and I'm a White Trashaholic.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gingerbread Folks

It's fun to make cookies with friends! Our friends Brad and Carrie came over this evening for supper (and Christmas pictures) and Carrie and I decided to make gingerbread for the kiddies.
I'm not a big gingerbread fan. I've made it before (because it's sounds like such a nice, Christmasy thing to do) and I've never cared for it much. However, I got the hankering this week to make some gingerbread men with the boys and let them decorate. So, I dug out my Southern Living cookbook and looked it up. As I was compiling ingredients, I noticed the recipe called for dark brown sugar (which I don't have, because I don't care for it) and molasses (bleah). I substituted light brown sugar (which I always have plenty of) for the dark brown and then I noticed I only had a tablespoon (or so) of molasses left. The recipe called for 2/3 cup, so I knew that I needed something to substitute. I used honey. And I loved it. They were the best gingerbread cookies ever! EVER, I say! Anyhoo, I decided to post the recipe so perhaps, if you didn't care for gingerbread, then you may try this one on for size. Two things: don't let the lemon juice scare you, it gives the cookies just a touch of tartness (but not too much), and if you don't have a gingerbread man cookie cutter, never fear! I don't have one either and balled up gingerbread dough and then used two balls for the head and belly and then divided two balls for the arms and legs. They turned out cute!

Gingerbread Folks
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 salt
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
assorted candies
white frosting

Using a big bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs, molasses, honey, and lemon juice, beating well.

Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Gradually add remaining flour, beating after each addition. Shape dough into 2 balls. Cover and chill for about an hour.

Roll one portion of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Either use your cookie cutters to cut out cookies, or use the ball technique I referred to earlier. We only made 8 gingerbread men, and then we ball up the rest and did criss-cross designs on the front (like for peanut butter cookies) and then iced them with the white frosting after they were done. Bake at '350 degrees for 9 minutes.

Let cool, and then decorate with white frosting and candies.

White Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup half and half (I used heavy whipping cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Comebine all ingredients in a bowl, beat a medium speed with an electric mixer until mixture is spreading consistency. Put in decorator bag with tip (or sandwich bag with corner snipped off) to pipe around the edges of the gingerbread.

The children had a great time and the kids (with their candy spread out all over the table- we used the frosting as a paste for the candy) were in heaven. And the hot, round ones straight from the oven with the frosting? Holy cow. They were good.

Give it a whirl!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Things I Thought I Had

...gumption to run after school (nope, I'm freezing in my house)

...more laundry detergent (screaming out loud, "MUST HAVE LAUNDRY DETERGENT! AUGH! WHAT WILL I DO? MUST FEED NEUROTIC BEHAVIOR!!!") wrinkles (hello, crow's feet, and other non-named wrinkles) more Snack-size Snickers

...more Tiramisu creamer (sigh)

...five less pounds (bought a big Snicker's yesterday because I ran out of snack-size. Why yes, I totally freak out when I don't have any chocolate and behave irrationally. I feel like I'm a monster. WHERE IS THE CHOCOLATE? Hmmm, I want some now. Luckily, for all involved, there's always-ALWAYS Ghirardelli chocolate chips in my freezer.)

...more energy (see lack of running because it is cold)

On a side note... I hear the ice cream truck going down my street. I just want to tell him that it is December. And that it is 45 degrees outside. Incidentally, he never drove down the street in the summer. He started in October. Strange man. And he looks creepy, too. No children, you cannot get ice cream from the crazy ice cream truck man who drives his truck in December. It's illogical.

I should try to run. I should. Maybe I'll just wear my running clothes and make people think I run. Yes, that's what I'll do. I'll just don my electric blue, spandex running pants and go places. Like the Mrs. In Ministry Christmas Celebration. And the grocery store. Gratification? Check. You know you want to come with me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tunin' Up

I've been listening to some great Christmas music this year. Over the Rhine has their newest Christmas CD (maybe 2 years old) playing for free on their website. I'm listening to it now. It's fantastic. Listen here. And I always have the Over the Rhine website connected to the blog (check to the right). Just click on the record player. And, of course, I have the Pandora station going all the time (except at work, where they block a WHOLE bunch of sites because they don't want employees to "abuse" it. As if!) Anyhoo, if you don't know Pandora, then I will not judge you (out loud), but simply let you know that you must register
here (registering is free, you only need an e-mail address) and then simply enter in some bands (at Christmas, I just enter in "Christmas" after my favorite band) and Voila! you've got Christmas music you love coming out your ears. BTW, the Carpenters are not on my Pandora list. I'm sorry. But the radio stations simply play them too much at Christmas. I used to really like Karen Carpenter. Really. Not so much anymore.

In other news (yes, music obsession is news):

Quinn is finishing up his semester and I'm glad. Greek and Hebrew on the back burner (for a few weeks anyway) and my hubby is back. There's a rumor of Pergo floors being laid, but that's just a rumor. Though I am crossing my fingers.

My house is clean. And has been since Sunday (including the Master Bedroom, which is the house dumping ground). I keep looking at it nervously like, "when EXACTLY is this going to fall apart?" Because it will.

I went running this afternoon in the hopes that I could ditch this extremely resilent headache I've held onto for two days. I left this afternoon around 4:45 (it was still light) wearing black running shorts and a black running jacket. And by 5:30 it was dark outside. And I'm running in black. Good thing my legs are so pale that they act as reflectors. Side note: I'm officially a snob about running clothes now. My friend Melanie works at a running store and has given me some running clothes that she didn't need and I'm in love. I used to scoff at people who bought expensive running clothes, but now I see why they like them so much. So now I look like an official runner when I run. I didn't before, you see.

Off to put the kiddies to bed. The natives are restless. And Mommy needs to sleep.