Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The new years before that 2004/2005, we had been engaged for just over a month and we drove up to Washington DC to visit DH's sister. That new years party was great - it was at Jillian's, which is just like Dave and Busters. We were bowling in the new year. Fun times. Wish we had one of those places here in town. We're definitely going there when we go to San Diego next month. I was also in DC the new years before that, but that was before I had met DH.
We haven't decided what we're doing this year, but I know I'll have to take a nap before we go out. I'm used to going to bed around 9-10pm. Nap and Redbull here I come! Maybe we'll get to try the new Japanese steakhouse here in town - grand opening today or a different restaurant and a comedy club. We'll see...
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
The range that was in the house when we bought it was an older range, which did have smooth top but the broiler didn't work and it was white. DH and I got this range for a great price just before Thanksgiving 2007. The oven is convection and has a speed bake feature where you don't even have to preheat the oven. I can turn it on, put cookies in and 10 minutes later, they're perfect. The lower oven which is usually where the warming drawer is, is still a warming drawer (low to high setting), but is also a fully functioning oven (up to 450 deg). And expandable burners. This cames in handy when we have company over. Next to that is another 12 inch countertop area (cabinets on the top of both this and the other 12 incher).
Then our fridge (insert ahhhh's and celestial music here). The fridge we had before is here on the left. It worked just fine except when you tried to open the freezer door on the left, it hit into the wall and the pull-out freezer shelves were useless because they couldn't fully extend. We ended up giving it to a couple that really needed it. We found our new fridge through Craigslist for about 1/3 of the price it was at Home Depot. It's LG french door and I can open all of the doors and pull out all of the shelves. The only thing I first missed about the old fridge was how excited little puppy Rufus would get when he would hear the ice maker. He used to love to chase ice cubes around the house. The LG fridge has an ice maker, but it's in the freezer. Ruf isn't as interested in ice cubes now which is good because we have the hard wood floors and melting ice cubes aren't good for wood floors.
When we redo the cabinets, we'll get an over the range microwave - either one of these Frigidaire models. The microwave we have right now is amazing (something like 1200 watts!), it just doesn't fit the kitchen look. And the thing it's sitting in is a vent shelf sort of thing that is cool because it holds my cookie sheets and cutting boards too but it's just a pain to keep clean and kind of ackward looking. The one on the right is a newer style with the controls on the door (model PLBMV188HC, one on left is model PLMV178HC). It's about $100 more for that style and the only other difference is it's only 0.1 cu. ft. larger. I haven't seen the newer one in real life so I haven't decided on which one I like better. Hey, they may even come out with a new one by the time we're ready to get it.
That's 1 side of our kitchen. Who know about 12 ft. of a room could be such a chatter topic? Join me tomorrow for side 2!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
After breakfast and presents at our house, DH and I went over to my grandparents house for a visit. We brought them a photo of the 4 of us at our wedding. I just love this photo.
Then it was home for a Christmas nap. DH and I played a few rounds of our new wii games and took a nice long nap while it poured rain outside. I baked some white chocolate and cranberry cookies which came out pretty flat from all the moisture in the air. Then it was off to the inlaws houses. It was an exchange of gift cards at DH's moms. We got them Lowes and Woodys BBQ and they got us Home Depot (which went towards DH's grill) and Bed Bath and Beyond which went towards this new hobby -
Then it was off to DH's dads house for Christmas dinner. Ham, turkey, mashed, sweet, corn, peas, there was soo much food! And presents! DH got a cerftificate to play golf at LPGA course, we got some things for the house and I got lots of good smelling Bath and Body Works items, candles (Partylite Mango Tangerine Present Jar which smells WONDERFUL!), wine and more.
I called my parents after we had finished at the inlaws and they had cooked and taken dinner over to my grandparents house which I'm sure my grandparents really appreciated. It was getting late, so we ended up meeting up Saturday. My parents got DH a gift card to Publix so he could get some fresh steaks and they paid for me to get my car windows tinted which I had been putting off getting for so many years already. DH and I finally went Saturday morning and the guy was finished in less than 30 minutes! I'm really happy with how it turned out.
Saturday was a relax day to get ready for the UFC fight. DH smoked a brisket. I went out to BBB to meet my parents then ate at Tijuana Flats with them and brought DH dinner home. I managed to stay awake for some of the fight. I was awake to see Rashad Evans win over Forrest. Hopefully Forrest can take it back some time. I'm a Forrest fan. We ended up watching the fights again Sunday morning. I can't believe Frank Mir knocked out Nogueira! All of the fights were great. I just hope Brighthouse gets PPV HD for the next one. Sunday was another relaxing day - grocery shopping and laundry.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Then it was a couple big boxes for me. Weathertech Digital Fit floor liners and a cargo mat for my Explorer. Now I have very little excuse for not keeping my car clean. These mats are digitally cut for each make and model so that they fully fit every nook and cranny. The cargo mat sure beats the cardboard box I had been using! These are stock photos of the items, I'll get real ones later.Then it was a couple stocking stuffers for DH - jerky, fancy mixed nuts, hot sauces and steak sauces galore and some wii games - AMF Bowling Pinbusters which is either going back to the store or on craigslist (not good at all, stick with wii bowling), Game Party wich is great with darts, ski ball, beer pong and other games, and then an old school racing game Cruizin, yeah, like at the arcades. The later 2 games are great. I'd even like Game Party 2 (Bean Bags, Horseshoes, Lawn Darts, Puck Bowling, Quarterback Challenge, Trivia, Hoop Shoot, Ping Cup, Shuffleboard, Skillball, Darts) and maybe Hasbro's Family Game Night which is digital versions of old school board games like Boggle, Yahtzee, Battleship, Sorry, and Connect Four. That may be the only way to get DH to play boardgames. We've also got Carnival Games, Active Life Outdoor Challenge, My Fitness Coach and Cooking Mama Cookoff on our list of games to get.
DH is also going to get me a membership to one of our local gyms. We just got a new Planet Fitness which sounds very affordable but is a long drive away. Golds Gym is close, but intimidates me. It's up to the YMCA or 4-Ever Fitness which are both within walking distance. 4-Ever Fitness is smaller and has less people than the Y, but the Y has cardio classes. I'm hoping 4-Ever added cardio classes when we go to tour. So if we go with 4-Ever, this is what I'll be seeing most of for the next several months. http://www.4everfitness.net/
We spent most of Friday shopping for a grill for DH. If you know us, you'll know we already have 2 grills. 1 is a Fiesta which was from his Marine Corp days when he lived in CA and it's still working great. And the other he has was a hand me down from a family friend that he could use as a smoker until he got his actual smoker. The 2nd one is a small Kenmore grill which we'll probably keep for when we get a camper. It's small enough to transport easily. So, we now have a wall-o-cookers where our hot tub used to be. Left to right, Fiesta, Brinkman smoker, Kenmore. Don't forget there's still a turkey fryer out there too.
So after Port Orange Home Depot, Sears, HHGreggs, Daytona Home Depot we were back to PO Home Depot and got this Charmglow 5-Burner Stainless Steel with Rotisserie. Total grilling area of 926 square inches which is ridiculous for 2 people. Side burner, slid out drawer, sear feature, slide out trash bin, and more! We had hamburgers and turkeyburgers on it last night - tasty! This first photo shows how it fits in the place of where the other 2 grills were (they're behind it in this photo). And in the 2nd photo, the new grill in it's new home. The extra propane take (yes, we have 4!) is actually connected to a orange hose flame thrower which DH uses to quick start the coals in the smoker. I think it's actually supposed to be used for burning weeds or something I'm sure is equally dangerous.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Here's Rufus with some of his Christmas presents - the first basket is from Aunt Joyce and Beans. Ruf took an immediate liking to the stuffed Santa. I actually took a couple pics of the basket and then noticed Santa was missing. And Ruf's name is even on the bucket! The cute gift bucket came with furry stuffed Santa, country bacon flavored biscuits, a rope ball, 3 tennis balls and waste disposal baggies with dispenser! We haven't opened the tennis balls yet, but the Santa and rope ball have already been thrown all around the house! Thanks Aunt Joyce and Beans!
And here's Rufus with his gift package from Kelly and Kodi in Virginia. For those of you that know Rufus, you can appreciate these 2 photos seeing Rufus actually sort of posing. It took several takes! Kelly and Kodi sent Ruf a big toy rubber stick with ladybugs and another beetle on it - great for fetch, also a neat Frisbee with a hole in it that I think is one of Kodi's favorite toys, Ruf's all time fav rope tire, some treats - stuffed rawhide and a cute gingerbread man and a stuffed brown poodle from the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Thanks Kelly and Kodi!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tradition while I was growing up was to go to my grandparents house, or them come to or house here in Florida and open presents from the HUGE stockings my grandma has. She would shop for small stocking stuffers like hair bands and toothpaste, you know, the things you actually use, and wrap them all up. My parents and I had 1 stocking with gifts wrapped in 3 different types of wrapping paper to show which gift went to whom. My grandpa would dress up as Santa Claus and bring in a big bag of presents. We would bake traditional Italian Christmas cookies which always seemed to be more fun to bake than to eat. I still like pizzelles though. They're an Italian waffle like cookie, and according to Wikipedia, Pizzelle were originally made in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. The name comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze); this is also the meaning of the word pizza. We flavor ours with anise, but I'm sure vanilla or walnut would be great too. They're made from an egg based batter and poured on a pizzelle iron to cook. When warm, they can also be rolled and used as a cannoli shell. Some people even dust them with powdered sugar. We would also make Italian prune cookies which were not my favorite. Sort of tasted like fig newtons.
I wish I had a picture of my grandpa dressed up in that Santa suit. I'll have to search and scan one in if I find it. I remember the Christmas I found out Santa was my grandpa. I was 5 years old and we were having Christmas in my grandparents basement. My grandpa said he had to go upstairs to fix Aunt Dot's washing machine or dishwasher (their house is a Manor on the beach where they used to rent out rooms). I knew the only washing machine was in the basement with us and that she didn't have a dishwasher - something fishy was going on...Then Santa came and confirmed my suspicions - he was wearing my grandma's glasses! He had brought me a precious little kitten and my little cousins were there so I didn't say anything, but I knew. I don't know what age I was that I revealed to my parents what I had discovered that night. Santa still brings you presents as long as other people didn't know you knew, right? :) The kitten he brought me that year was Princey, the only cat I've had in my life. He was such a great kitty, a constant companion. He passed when he was 16 years old in 2003.
DH and I finished up our shopping for the family last night. We stopped at Andy's and picked up some beer for the weekend - Sierra Nevada regular and Christmas edition and also Hacker Pschorr. Had to stock up for Christmas and also the big UFC fight on Saturday. It's a big one Forrest Griffin defending his title against Rashad Evans, Nogueira v Frank Mir, Wanderlei Silva v Rampage Jackson. Andy is also going to check out availability on a special bottle of 30 year aged scotch for DH's 30th birthday next year. I picked up an extra few small things for DH today and Christmas is ready to start.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ikea's home furnishings are VERY reasonably priced, geared towards the do-it-yourselvers like us AND they have cool planning tools like Kitchen designer 3D which allows me to input our kitchen dimensions and appliances and choose different cabinets and layouts. In their store, they offer free consulting which we'll have to check out next time we're there and have our dimensions together.
I think I'm set on Adel Medium Brown cabinets with some type of stainless handle. These are real photos from others who have installed them in their kitchen. I'd love to have 2 cabinets with the clear glass for display and to add light with in cabinet and under cabinet lighting. And I love the simple stone-look backsplash and the black granite countertops and the beige walls - I love it all!
After all of my drooling at Ikea, DH and I drove home and I was off to baking for a Christmas party later that night. My friend Michelle, aka Susie Homemaker, had organized a Christmas cookie and ornament exchange. I signed up to make white chocolate and cranberry cookies, which I'd only made 1x before and that was several years ago. I made 2 dozen with dried cranberries (which tasted better warm) and 2 dozen with fresh cranberries (cooked to soften, these cookies tasted better cold to me). The party was great. I think there were nearly 20 people there! I got a cute little skiing snowman ornament which went right on the tree when I got home. And then we all exchanged cookies. There were soo many different cookies! Michelle made some really cute ones with her nifty cookie press (yeah, I was impressed!), and there were yummy oatmeal raisin with icing, peanut butter with kisses, pecan date, m&m, sugar, magic cookie bars, and probably a million more. My mom made Italian pizzelle cookies, which just remind me of Christmas time.
Monday, December 22, 2008
At designated areas throughout the park they offered complimentary refreshments which included apple juice, apple slices, sugar cookies with sprinkles and delicious hot coco with marshmallows. (who knew marshmellows were spelled with an A?).
We saw the 10:30 parade which started with Micky and Minnie and a big Christmas tree, and had all the beloved Disney Characters. My favorites were the gingerbread men adn the toy soldiers. (these 2 aren't my pics, most of mine didn't come out too well. These actually came from a website for Disneyland's parade http://www.family-vacation-getaways-at-los-angeles-theme-parks.com/Disney-Holiday-Parade.html)
And then came Santa! Jolly as ever.
Saturday we went to Ikea and then came home to Rufus! I baked cookies for a cookie party which I'll tell about in tomorrow's blog.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We went to Disney last year but missed this party because they were sold out, so we made sure to get our tickets well in advance and just as we expected, tomorrow night is sold out. The Magic Kingdom is open to the day-pass crowd until 7pm and the people with the Christmas Party tickets are allowed to enter the park at 4pm. I've heard mixed reviews on the enforcement issue for those that bought the extra ticket for the night event and those that were there for the day and sneak around to avoid being escorted out of the park after the regular day ticket hours. Between 20,000 and 25,000 is the max number of tickets sold for the party, so there will still be a lot of people there, but we're going to enjoy it! I don't know how much of the parades or shows we'll see, but we'll definitely ride the rides! Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Buzz Lightyear are on the top of the list. We'll be heading over around 1pm to check in to our hotel which is in Lake Buena Vista, just outside of Downtown Disney. From the looks of it, we'll grab dinner in Disney Marketplace, probably at Hooters then we'll head over to Magic Kingdom until midnight.
Saturday morning we may check out breakfast at our hotel, or if it's too packed with childrens, maybe stop somewhere close. Then hopefully, we'll stop at Ikea on our way home. Maybe we could have Ikea for breakfast too. I think breakfast starts at 9:30am there. If you haven't been to an Ikea yet, and love home decor, you MUST go to one. We went last year around this time and it was the highlight of the trip. Well, the ICE exhibit was cool last year too. We got these amazing bookshelves which reach floor to ceiling in our office. This is the pic from their website, one day I'll take an actual pic of our office. Oh yeah, I just found this on Ikea's site: December 20, 2008 - Breakfast with Santa @ 9am - 11:30am IKEA Restaurant
Last year we also visited Gaylord Palms ICE exhibit which was cool. Literally. It's a walk-through attraction hand-carved (carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China) from nearly TWO MILLION pounds of ice and they keep the temps at 9 degrees F! At the end there were slides made of ice that were FUN! I think I have a video of me on the slide somewhere. We won't be going this year, so here are a few pics from last year's trip. That whole candy land house was made out of ice and smelled like peppermint!
The beautiful natvitiy scene and angel and DH and I in the chilly exhibit with the supplied parkas.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
These videos cracked me up!! I tried to embed them but they wouldn't play for some reason, so here are the links that should work
Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
With Christmas fast approaching, I decided to take a couple pics of my favorite ornaments from our tree. This first one is from an ice cube looking snowman series. At my bridal shower, a friend loaded us up with different items for many of the holidays, especially Christmas ornaments and house decorations. I thought that was a wonderful idea! She got us several pieces from this series and they're all different. This guy used to be ice fishing with a fishing pole until Rufus got ahold of it when he was a baby and stretched out the snowman's wire arms. I guess he could use his long arms to reach into the ice hole and just grab the fish now. I still like to hang this one up because it makes me laugh every year.
These are 2 of our newer ornaments. I'll take some pics of the older, family ornaments later this week. The star at the right is a clear plastic material decorated with pretty silver glitter lines. I like it because it's elegant byt simple. And to the left of that is a silver metal 'S', for our last name, decorated with red swarovski crystals. Pretty and simple again. Our color scheme for the tree is red and silver.And here's a view of our house from the street. Our cars are parked in the driveway, so you can't see the other decorated trees, but this shows most of it. Icicles all over, net lighting on the bushes, lights wrapped around the columns, and twinkeling stars above the garage and in the windows. We've also got Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and a cow from the natvitity blow mold collection in the center of the flower bed.
This is our den with the stockings and tree and a fire in the fireplace. You wouldn't expect this to be in a house in central FL would you? I think it was around 50 that night - definitely fireplace weather for us :) Now we've just got to get some presents in those stockings and under the tree. And yes, one of the stockings is Rufus'!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday morning we went to our church's Christmas presentation at 10:45, lunch at Applebee's with MIL+FIL, then shopping for an ottoman. We found one at Target which was nice, bonus it was $10 off and we had a $20 GC, but I wasn't sold on it. We checked a few other places and decided to get the one from Target when I went grocery shopping later that night. We got it home and it looks good in the room, but I'll still keep my eye out for a little larger one. Maybe 25-28W x 36-42D rectangular brown leather storage ottoman. This one we have is 18Hx32Wx16D.