Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great Ice Storm of 2009

Like everywhere else in DFW, our daily routine came to a screeching halt yesterday with the Great Ice Storm of 2009. Of the other ice days we've had over the past few years, I think this is the first time I didn't drive into work for at least part of the day. But by 10 am, my work meetings had been converted to conference calls, and I realized that I wasted a day of actually doing my hair (when a pony tail would have sufficed.) Oh well. But hey, I got the laundry done, so that was a bonus.

By the end of the day, I had a little cabin fever, so we loaded up for dinner at that fine American dining establishment dotting the landscape of every major interstate--Waffle House. I'm trying out a new app on my iPhone called "Camera Bag" that you use to apply different effects to your iPhone photos. It's pretty much awesome. This is the 1970 effect.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Table for 10, Please

Saturday night we met up with the the Faulkners, Lees, Seabourns, and Smiths for dinner at Los Vaqueros out near Aledo. This group of people are some of the very first we met when we joined the Newlyweds' Sunday school class at our church, so it is always fun to meet up and visit about how life has changed since then.

(Sidenote: I think I had the best tortilla soup ever that night, and let me tell you I have sampled tortilla soups both near and far around Texas, so with my highly distinguished palate, I feel certain Los Vaqueros should feel very honored by this declaration.)

After dinner, we headed back to our house for red velvet cake from the Swiss Pastry Shop and more visiting, one of my favorite activities. It was the perfect ending to a chilly January Saturday night.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My First Sewing Project

So here's what I started with...

...and here's what I ended with.

You can't really see the floral backing on the pillows that well, but it's a cute black and white floral pattern. I cut out the bird and stitched it on before sewing the pillow together. Even if no one else likes it, I ♥ my birdy pillow!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crafting Bee

Today we had a crafting bee at my house. Several of the girls came over and brought their craft projects to work on, like scrapbooking or sewing stuff. We spread out over the kitchen table to work on our stuff and have a good long visit. I think that's probably the most fun way I've ever gotten my projects done.

We ate a few of these (from Swiss Pastry Shop.)

Kylene worked on her scrapbook.

Beth was a scrapbooker too.

And Leigh worked on some sewing

Last fall, my mother-in-law sent me home with her sewing machine to let me borrow it indefinitely. Leigh (who is a master furniture refinisher/seamstress extraordinaire) taught me how to use it today. My very first project ever was accent pillows for my dining window seat, which had the opportunity to be really disappointing (to myself.) Thankfully, they turned out exactly as I had hoped (so I will probably be making tons more since that is all I know how to do.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Things To Do: Take More Friday Road Trips

Today I took the day off from work to go on an adventure with Brad. It started on the open road westward-ho (but mostly northward.)

This was our destination.

We ventured to Archer City (near Wichita Falls) to visit Larry McMurtry's bookstore, Booked Up. (In case you're not familiar, Larry McMurtry penned the novel Lonesome Dove, on which the mini-series is based.) He has since opened up a large rare and used bookstore in his hometown. When I say a large bookstore, I mean TEXAS-SIZED. The business is comprised of 4 separate buildings on the square in this small town. It took us 2 and a half hours to go through all the stacks, but we were rushing to make it through them that fast. I was amazed at the number of books that I've never even heard of, much less read. There are easily over a million books. Here's a peek at Booked Up #4--one aisle of about 8 in this particular building.

Mr. McMurtry is at his bookstore a lot, and we saw him today but didn't ask for a pic. He doesn't sign autographs or even sell copies of his own books in his store. But of course, we didn't go all that way to come home without a souvenir. I found an old volume comprised of 3 or 4 of Jane Austen's works which will now be at home on my bookshelf, and Brad picked up one about Texas history.

We rounded out our road trip with a loop through Denton to meet Drew for dinner. Now I'm ready for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Furry Friends

I've never been much of a Dr. Doolittle. I mean, I think puppies are cute and all, but they're just not my thing. (Probably has to do with my dislike of nature or other situations that would involve such substances as dirt or grime.)

I make an exception for these guys though. Biscuit is a big ol' faithful lump of a friend. One day, he fell asleep under my dad's deer stand and didn't wake when my dad climbed down. When he wasn't home as the sun went down, Dad went back to the deer stand, and there was Biscuit, sitting there waiting on him because he thought he was still up in the tree. Good boy.

Penny lives on the edge. She is a wild woman. If the back door opens even a little bit, she's like a rocket in the house, running back to our bedroom and grabbing one of my pink slippers. In less than a minute, we are chasing her around the house trying to recover one of my favorite house shoes and attempting to capture her and put her back outside. It takes both of us. Sometimes we are ready to wave a white flag and surrender. Then we remember that she is a less than 20 lb. PUPPY, and we resolve that she will not win. But I have to say, she's a little furball of fun when she is asleep most of the time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

AFC Championship

Tonight we had some friends over to watch the AFC Championship and eat taco soup. I just got a new camera, so of course, I was little Miss Party Pics throughout the evening. After the game (which I am currently not sure who won because I was too busy visiting,) we ended up watching the last episodes of last season's LOST. Can you believe it's almost back on? It's been forever, and we are ready to go back!

My cutie husband laughing at something.

Whitney & Laura

Laura reading Breaking Dawn. She's hooked!

Leigh & Blake

A game of Golf around the kitchen table

All the Girls!

Girls' Night

I looked forward to this past Friday night for two weeks! I met up with a group of my friends for a Girls' Night downtown. We started the evening with dinner at Le Madeleine (which is unfortunately closing in Sundance Square today), then headed over from there to a 7:50 showing of Bride Wars. It was really fun, and Kate Hudson is just too cute!

After the movie, we decided we weren't done for the night, so we walked on across the Square to Simply Fondue for dessert. We had two different pots of chocolate--one white and dark and the other Reese's peanut butter cup. I think a couple of the ladies decided hands down they were definitely coming back there for V-Day.

Thanks for a fun night, ladies!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Visiting Friends

This past week I had the chance to go visit an old friend from college who recently had a new baby! Alisia and I headed north to see Kalli and baby Alyssa. Alyssa is just beautiful, and Kalli looks like an old pro at the mom thing. We had a fun evening catching up with Kalli, holding baby girl, and checking out Alyssa's awesome room! I don't understand why Brad won't let me paint our bedroom pink. I really think it would add a lot to the master bedroom, but he is just not convinced.

Along with dinner, Alisia whipped up the famous sugar cookies that her mom always made and shipped to College Station while we were in school. YUM!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

After such a busy fall and holiday season, it's really nice to have some weekends with very little planned other than sleeping late or gathering with friends. We did just that all weekend long.

Earlier in the week, my dear friend Mikalah e-mailed to say that she would be coming into town and wanted us to meet up for dinner. It worked out just perfectly so the Clemens, Mikalah, and I all met up at Cube Libre for a great Friday evening of catching up. Little Chloe was a little angel despite all the noise and the time of day. She is so cute! We talked some Twilight along with every thing else going on in life. It was wonderful to spend a little time with my friends that I don't get to see very much.

Saturday, we slept in! I pretty much deep cleaned the house all weekend, including but not limited to: lime-awaying the lime, polishing furniture, dusting some cobwebs, and sweeping the front porch. I de-cluttered, packed some things up to haul away to Goodwill, and otherwise organized my home. I am convinced that the laundry basket is my worst enemy. But I'm pleased to report that I will go to bed tonight with it completely empty. (Don't remind me that tomorrow will roll around, and it will be half-full once again.)

Saturday evening we dined with the Lees and played Seinfeld Scene-It. Neither Beth nor I have watched Seinfeld, so that was an interesting game, but the guys had fun! Delicious soup and salad and great company.

Sunday was church, a good Sunday school lesson on how to consider and study Revelation, and lunch with friends. On our way out to do some grocery shopping, we were watching a plane fly over our house (there is always at least one in the sky), and Brad noticed that it was Fat Albert. Fat Albert is a C-130 that travels with the Blue Angels to accommodate their maintenance and other support needs as they travel around for air shows. One of the cool things about it is that it's a turbo-prop with jet-assisted take-off capability. So I guess Fat Albert was hybrid when hybrid wasn't cool.

One thing you might not know about us is that we are sort of plane enthusiasts--partly stemming from what we do for a living, I suppose. This being said, we decided to chase it down to see if we could get a better look. We managed to catch it as it was doing approaches, and I got a pretty decent picture.

All in all--a nice friend-ful and productive weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Required Reading 2009

Being the listmaker that I am, I've created my own personal reading list for 2009. I'm slowly (keyword here: slowly) working through this list of 1,001 books to read before you die, so I took the titles from there. I decided I would set a goal of one per month, with one to grow on. Looking over the titles of the many classics I haven't read makes me sad, so I must face reality: I need to step away from Jane A. This is the year I will finally read Anna Karenina. I'm sure I'll do plenty of non-self-required reading in 2009 too, so I'm keeping my options open for some good chick-lit, and I always have a copy of P&P bookmarked at my favorite spot for a pick-me-up!

Emily's Required Reading for 2009 (in no certain order)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Winifred Watson
Billy Budd Herman Melville
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
Treasure Island Robert Lewis Stevenson
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The Mysteries of Udolpho Ann Radcliff
Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott
Agnes Grey Anne Bronte
The Mill on the Floss George Eliot
The End of the Affair Graham Greene
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

In case you're wondering, I've kicked it off with Vanity Fair. Here's to a year of literacy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

iTunes Giveaway Winner!

First of all, thank you ALL for reading my blog. I have a feeling this won't be the last giveaway on here, so make sure you visit often and say hi!

Now, onto the goods. After consulting the Random Number Generator, I am pleased to announce the winner of the iTunes gift card is...

Allison was comment number 6! Allison is also a fellow blogger. She is endeavoring to read all the Pulitzer Prize winning books, which is quite an undertaking. She is blogging her thoughts and summaries on each of them. You should check it out--you'll find a new book to read!

(Allison, I sent you an e-mail asking for your address and such!)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

iTunes Giveaway!

I will draw the winner at 10 PM Central,
so keep the comments coming until then!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Power of Love

Last night was the night. The awaited for, exciting, thrilling evening when Celine Dion's tour came through Dallas. Even Emmitt Smith was there!

First of all, some history. I've seen Celine Dion in concert three times. The first time she was the opening act for Michael Bolton. (Yes, that would imply that I, in fact, have seen Michael Bolton in concert--actually, TWICE. In case you were wondering, it was before he cut his hair.) I saw her again during The Today Show's Summer concert series at Rockefeller Center on an NYC trip with Alisia and Amanda. And now, concert numero three last night at the AAC with my mom.

It was so fun! I can't remember the last time I went to a concert where I knew all the words to all the songs. Some of them took me WAY back to 1996 and my first taste of freedom called a driver's license. Some of them just made me laugh when I thought of how many times I sung those power ballads about finding true love (in the car, at the top of my lungs) coming from the heart of a girl looking for just that. And there I was so many years later, going to a concert on some tickets given to me by my very own love. The thought feels like a great big hug.

Celine kicked it off with "I Drove All Night." I can't remember the order but she played all the hits: "The Power of Love," "Because You Loved Me," "I'm Your Angel," "Waiting For You," "The Prayer" (with Bocelli via video--beautiful!), and many, many more. She did a cover of "How Do I Get You Alone" originally performed by Heart. Of course, the big finale was "My Heart Will Go On." I wonder if she is sick of singing that song.

I may or may not have some video that may or may not have me singing loudly in the background while at the same time a random man of great fabulosity 5 rows behind us screams to Celine, "Get it girl! That is my favorite song!" during "The Power of Love."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Adventures in Cowtown: Fort Worth Nature Center

This past Saturday morning we got ourselves out of bed and drove out to the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. If you know me at all, you are as shocked as I am that I ventured out on such an excursion, and you will be mystified by the fact that it was my idea. (Brad is still scratching his head trying to figure it out.) But it seemed an appropriate use of an 80 degree January day.

The FWNC has over 20 miles of hiking trails, organized canoe trips, and other such outdoorsy activities to suit your outdoorsy-type selves. We decided to take the longest trail--one that is 3.25 miles one way. Initially Brad thought this would be a cakewalk, however, this particular trail marched us up one canyon side then declined back down to the valley. Up and down. Then back up and back down. And just when we thought it was over, up and down once more. In total, we walked almost 6 miles. (We decided to walk the road back. Our dog was wanting to be carried!)

But you know what? I actually enjoyed all the nature.

Brad & Penny the Adventure Dog

Taking a short rest

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Musings

This post is going to be a bit disjointed. Brace yourself.

Today I went back to work. After sleeping in everyday since the 23rd, I drove the whole way wishing I had stayed in bed. It was a quiet day, with many people prolonging coming back until Monday. I could have, but ultimately I will use the extra vacation day later in the year when I have had less than 9 days off in row. And on that day, I will be thankful that I went to work this day. (At least this is the story I've been trying to convince myself to believe.)

This weekend I have a goal. I am declaring it boldly on the world wide web so that I will hold myself accountable to it. Over the Christmas holidays, I started reading 1984 by George Orwell, simply because I had never read it. I wish I had been able to leave 1984 in 2008. I have found it to be the most boring book I've ever picked up. (And I even liked Silas Marner!) I guess I am more interested in utopian societies than dystopian (hello, happily ever after), but unfortunately I am not finished with it, so I am proclaiming this weekend to be "Down with Big Brother Weekend." I won't go to work again without this book checked off my list.

I will also be watching quite a bit of Planet Earth, taking down all the Christmas, and maybe going hiking. Shocking, I know. Best of all, I'm going to take a big nap, because I have started the year off TIRED.

Have a great first weekend of 2009!

Brunch Casserole

This casserole has been making the baby shower and work potluck breakfast circuit for a couple of years now. Recently, it showed up at our New Year's breakfast, so I thought I would post the recipe. I made it from the trial and error of combining other casseroles and just plain ol' personal preference, but I'm sure there are many recipes similar to it out there on the information super highway or your mom's church cookbook. I've given it a creative name for your enjoyment. (I have no excuse other than I am tired.)

Breakfast Casserole
2 1/2 cups of seasoned croutons
1 lb. pork sausage
6 eggs
1 pint half and half
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can Rotel
2 cups shredded monterrey & colby jack cheese

First, let's butter or grease your 9x13 casserole dish. Spread the croutons in the bottom of the dish. Brown the sausage, drain, and layer on top of the croutons. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and pour in the half and half. Combine the cream of mushroom soup, rotel, and cheese with the egg mixture. Finally, stir the drained spinach into the eggs & co. and pour it over the sausage in your casserole dish. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour, once the egg mixture is set and browned on top. It serves best if you let it sit for 5 minutes before dishing it up.

A personal note on this dish: I'm not a huge fan of spinach, so that's why the measurement is 3/4 of the bag. I was afraid all of it would be a little too spinachy for me, so feel free to dump it all in there if you prefer. The color goes so well with the happy Rotel tomatoes. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

NYE 2008

What a fun and memorable New Year's Eve! For the past few years, I feel like we have thrown something together last minute for NYE. Not this year. In early November we started talking about ideas for the night, and we ended up with a cabin at Riverbend just outside of Glen Rose.

The New Year's Team

We split up the meals for the duration of our stay (dinner, breakfast, and lunch), and everyone brought a snack. Brandi's rice krispy treats were a hit, along with some kind of chex/m&m/goldfish/sugary-deliciousness that Ashley brought. (We need the recipe!) Dinner was homemade enchiladas, King Ranch chicken, and tamales. Muy delicioso!

After a couple of games of knockout and a marathon volleyball tournament at the gym (I was a spectator, thankyouverymuch), we headed back to the house for Battle of the Sexes. I am still blaming myself because I should have known that Sony Playstation debuted in 1995. I was off by a year! After that, we were ready for the count down.

Happy New Year! We are so thankful that the Lord has blessed us with a great group of friends to do life with. Onward to 2009!

Here are the pics I caught!
Ashley & Chris (with Robbie in the back left)
They coordinated the event. A Great BIG Thank You to y'all!

Aaron & Brandi


Whitney & Bryan

Brad & Me

Troy & Aimee

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