Monday, November 22, 2010


Every year I make my own Christmas cards. Not because I like Christmas, I don't, but because I like making cards. If you get a card from me it's 100% made by me. I have a scrapbooking room, it's filled to the brim with an ungawdly amount of crafting things and an ungawdly expensive sewing machine because I quilt too. On rare occasion. The hubby makes fun of me because I have all these hobbies I've put time, energy, and a stupid amount of money into but they lay idle for a year or two at a time. No, really just a year mostly. Every year, at the very least, I unbury my scrapping table (I tend to pile stuff on it throughout the year) and get to the Making of the Christmas cards. I don't have to make many. I don't like a lot of people so my card list is limited to those I like. And those who ask for one. I post up on FB for people to send me their address if they want a card from me. I always get a few takers. Must be an 'in the holiday season mood' thing. The process of making the cards is what I love. Each year is different but that year only has 1 variation. That way I can assembly line the process. One year I had a card that was no less than 12 different steps. It was a nice card. One has to keep in mind though that if it goes past a certain thickness or weight you have to pay extra for postage so I avoid ribbons or fat embellishments.

Every year I go to a card/scrapbooking forum (Split Coast Stampers) to mooch ideas from others. I call it 'gaining inspiration'. Sometimes I totally copy the idea, other times I modify it for the particular stamps I own. There are pages and pages of card examples in their gallery. Some of these things wouldn't even fit into an envelope and were obviously made for the sake of making, not mailing. Others are so detailed and involved I'd need an art degree to re-create it. Lovely, just not practical. This year I was at Michael's getting some figurines for the kid's yearly project and I found a stamp set on sale that I just could not pass up. I went to look at the gallery on Split Coast Stampers to get 'inspired' with the intention of starting, if not finishing (whoa), my cards for this year. For the first time ever I did not see a single one that caught my eye. Not one. I mean there were dozens of beautiful cards, just none I wanted to re-create. Normally there's at least a few that I will want to re-create bad enough to even buy the stamp set/embossing panel/shape cutter that I'd need to make it. This time, not so much. Odd too since most of the stamp manufacturers have a new holiday stamps set out that is to die for. At least one! Not this time. At least nothing that caught my eye. So sad...

Regardless the stamp set I had found inspired me enough so that I'm pretty sure I can come up with something all on my lonesome. Not my ideal but you know, I can be creative too! I think. We'll see huh?

On that note if you'd like to get one of my super special handmade Christmas cards then email me/pm me your address and I'll put you on the list.

The basics

If you haven't figured it out by now the holiday season is my least favorite time of year. It shouldn't be, I have a school aged kid (they always love Christmas) and the vicious grip of summer has been released by this time of year. Well kinda, this week (Thanksgiving week) it'll be in the 80's all week long. For us that isn't bad though and we consider that the beginning of winter (no real fall). It's a Texas thing, move here and you'll understand. Still, I hate this season. Oddly it's not even really dealing with family or making the food. We don't live near family except for my mom and we avoid each other for the most part. What bothers me the most is other people's behavior. The holiday season brings out the asshole in everyone. Driving in this state is scary enough as it is. Texas is by far the most horrid state for drivers in the nation. I've driven on both coasts, in the middle and even New York city, which wasn't bad at all. Texas drivers suck balls. It's astounding to see the kinds of moronic mistakes they make. Add the holidays in the mix and that's it, nightmares-r-us.

Shopping at something as basic as the grocery store during the season? REDUNCULOUS. I tried to get everything I needed for Thursday's dinner purchased by this past Saturday. I was almost successful. I forgot the gravy. No I do not make my own gravy, it's too easy to buy it in a jar and I can't tell the difference in taste. Yes, I do the whole turkey dinner thing all by myself for just me, the hubby, and the kid. Yes, it's a lot of food but when I got the turkey I called the hubby to let him know that some how (miraculously) the thing fit in our freezer. He then asked, just to make sure, if I bought one big enough that we'd have left overs. Let's think about this for a moment. The average small turkey is at least 10lbs right? Maybe? Close? There's 3 of us and one of us is 9 years old. How much of that bird do you think we're going to eat? Yeah, not all of it at once.

We have a thing for turkey leftovers in our household. A week out, when everyone else is sick and tired of them we're getting sad because we don't have anymore. I make a turkey noodle soup with matzoh balls (basically the same as my chicken noodle soup with matzoh balls) which is always a hit with the homestead. Yes, it's made from scratch, no it's not hard at all. I can even whip it together after coming home from work for dinner that night. Seriously easy as long as the chicken or turkey is already cooked. That's what I use those roasted chickens at the grocery store for. I also make left over mini turkey pot pies using a muffin pan, pie crust (pre-made, I don't have the patience to make pie crust), green bean bake (the Campbell's soup version), and turkey. There's a more fancy version here : Second day turkey and string bean pot pies
But you can change it up of course, I don't bother with the milk or chicken broth. We also have a thing for the basic turkey sandwich with just mayo salt pepper bread and turkey. You know, the old standby right?

For the dinner I do the most basic turkey day dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes (yes, I leave lumps in and I don't mash them into some semblance of soup), gravy (from a jar), green bean bake (Campbells soup version), stuffing (no cranberries or walnuts, I use olives, celery and water chesnuts), and a dessert. The turkey is not brined. I tried that one year and we all hated it, too salty. I do mine in a bag and I've always had awesome success with it. I grow my own rosemary and do a rosemary butter rub with it and it's divine. Ahh turkey...
The dessert we've tried different things with. The hubby doesn't like cakes or pies for the most part so I've got to get creative. I tried a pumpkin cheesecake one year but the damn crust wouldn't come out of the pan. Rock freaking solid. I personally love pumpkin pie from Costco but it's HUGE and the hubby doesn't like pumpkin pies. Last year he finally tried pecan pie (yes, homemade, soo easy!) and he fell in love with it. I'm sooo glad too since I love it. I decided my adventure this year will be a small twist the Pioneer Woman did on her throwdown with Bobby Flay, I'm making the whiskey maple cream sauce to go over the pie. Whiskey on pie...just can't go wrong with that huh?

This prompted an alcohol purchase and of course I didn't have my hubby with me so I had to wing it. Lucky me they had a taste testing at the Costco alcohol section I was shopping at last Saturday. FYI I don't drink alcohol. Never learned to like the taste so I am not a good judge of alcohol. I went with the one that didn't make me cough. Sound about right? Yeah well it's going into a sauce anyway.

So yeah, with the exception of the whiskey cream sauce going over the pie my turkey day dinner is super basic. Might I also add I don't know why people spend so much time on these dinners. Turkeys are just big ass chickens and as long as you follow the instructions normally on the package somewhere (lbs and minutes to be cooked) you're golden. Everything else is just as easy. So not a big deal and it doesn't take all day! Well peeling potatoes can take awhile but really that's it. Even if you make your own cranberry sauce, it's easy peasy! I don't. The kid LOVES the kind that comes in a can. Works for me...

So how about you guys, do you make your own dinner so you can get left overs? I swear even if it was just me and the hubby I'd still make my own dinner. I hated going to see family and listen to their bs just so we could eat. Yes, the holidays are so not my fav time of year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Since it's been awhile for pictures...

I have a camera, a really lovely one at that. I posted about getting it way back when but sadly y'all don't get to see pictures from me all that often. That's because I suck about actually using said camera. So pathetic. But I have used it a few times these past few months. Only a few times though. And for those of you not into reptiles this will hold no entertainment value.

You see I had a few new happenings in the vivariums in my house. The monster big ass Vietnamese mossy frogs (T.corticale) that were the size of a man's thumb finally popped all 4 legs, sucked up their tails, and came out of the water. Finally, real frogs!
The first one to come out of the water, notice the small tail remanent

You see there are 2 mossy frogs here if you look close. They're the 2 blobs that look just like...moss...

But wait, there's more! First weekend of November NARBC came to Houston for the first time. They didn't advertise it worth a damn though so while there were a lot of vendors there weren't a lot of people buying. Sad because this means they probably won't come back again. BTW, NARBC is one of the biggest reptile shows going. It's awesome. So I was getting into the whole gargoyle gecko thing already. I bought 3 6 month old clutch mates the week before going to the show so when I saw they had some there I ended up buying one. Shocking? No I didn't think so. The new one is 13 months old and no, I can't tell the sex of any of these guys yet. They have to get bigger. I've taken to naming them after orange sodas since they are all considered to be of the orange variety (they come in red, orange, and black and white but the colors are not always all over them, mostly just hints). Their colors change depending on levels of aggitation or day and night. "Fired up" is when they are darkest, normally at night. "Fired down" is when they sleep during the day, yes they are nocturnal. So now we have the orange sodas...

Fired up

and fired down sleeping all funky like they are aught to do

Then my smallest Orange Crush semi fired up while sleeping

Then there's Fanta, totally unfired and looking like whitey

And lastly Sunkist, my scardy cat who is getting more and more used to me. He's semi fired up.

For reference that water dish Sunkist is next to is one of those 2oz containers you get dipping sauces in. The 3 youngest ones (not Nehi) are 3-4 grams each. Nehi is a whopping 8 grams. They'll get much bigger 40-60 grams, at about 2 years of age. I got these guys because they are VERY easy keepers (unlike the dart frogs) and the kid wanted something she could hold. She asked for a bearded dragon and I don't like their toes. The geckos have cute toes. And there you have it, obviously Michelle has some strange reptilian toe fetish. Again, surprised? No? I thought not.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter, love it or hate it?

Well I'm bored at work with a brief amount of time on the internet. This always results in some random brain blop of thoughts for you. My deepest apologies.
Texas has almost been released from the tenacious grip of summer. It's only going to have a high of 82 today, woot! Please note that the opinions that follow are from a woman stuck with her husband's Jeep. The one that has broken a/c. Again. We've had it 'fixed' 5 times in the last 1.5 yrs of ownership. Fucking Jeeps.

I know people who absolutely dread the coming of winter months. I find that if you live in the sunbelt the dread is not so intense. My minion at work is really into tropical so he loathes winter. Which down here in hot land is not so bad. Really. It's not like San Diego but hey, I can own a house here so there's a trade off right? My minion would be happiest in Florida. Or maybe Hawaii. I could pass on Florida but Hawaii I'm sure I'd be game for.

My hubby and daughter love it when it ices, they think it's cool. As long as I don't have to drive in it I like it. I think those 2 wouldn't mind living in the snow though (freaks) so I don't count their opinions. Well, that and neither of them have actually lived in a snow city before. They just don't know....
I was living in the Washington DC area for 6 years. No thanks, not my thing. Mainly because people don't know how to drive in the snow worth a dick. And those snow plough drivers are psychotic. Scary as shit.

So hows about y'all? Winter, love it or hate it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peppermint ice cream

After Halloween I believe the year goes down hill. Fast. I'm a Scrooge, I think I've told you guys this before, yes? Thanksgiving is ok because it has that food thing going for it. The kid doesn't like it so much though because I had that aneurysm that one Thanksgiving. I can understand her misgivings. Christmas just bites. It's only redeeming quality is Christmas music. That I can do. The commercialism disgusts me as do all the frantic people who suddenly lose the ability to function during the months of November and December.

The big thing I love about the holiday season, and might I add that I share this delight with my mother in law (let it never be said that we don't share some commonalities), is the seasonal peppermint ice cream. It rocks. I'm not a huge ice cream fan, I can go long stretches of time without it, but this stuff. Oh yeah, it's the stuff.