Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sorry, it's been a while.

Just when I got back onto a blogging schedule life took some drastic and in many ways painful turns. Some I am not allowed to discuss in public - though I really want to - and involves family. I've lost my photo studio - through no fault of my own, and only due to said family. And my precious pug Yuka passed on while I was in Montana.

And, no, I don't want to talk about that last one. It's still too raw. I love that little girl. She was and still is my heart.

Needless to say, 2013 has been the worst on record - and I've had some doozies in the last few years. I have stopped the cooking countdown - though we THREE are still going to Walt Disney World in October. In fact, we just hit the double digits today. 99 Days until my break from reality! I am hoping that some healing can happen while we are down there.

Erin and Wess' wedding back in May was fantastic. I enjoyed getting to meet the man who stole my beastie from me (hee hee) and they were so great and understanding while I dealt with my not being there for my puggy girl at the end. I have so many stories I could share. The best one being the night that we three went to Missoula for the evening and while at dinner Erin went to use the restroom and our waiter (not knowing/realizing there were 3 of us total) thought Wess and I were on a date. No matter how much we hinted that we were not a couple he didn't get it. That is, he didn't get it until Erin came back. The look on his face was priceless.

It really broke the ice between Wess and me and I even suggested that Wess come with on our Disney trip next year. (Disneyland September of 2014!) It'll be his very first time to Disney. He has NO idea what he's getting into! *cue evil laugh*

I'm typing this on my laptop that is trying to die on me. I went and bought a used computer from the school district today and will be transferring all of my photo programs onto that system to hopefully give this laptop a break. I'll use this strictly for internet stuff. For the time being. I need to find someone who will take a look and hopefully fix whatever is going on with this thing.

So that's a brief update from the last few months. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things soon. If for no other reason than to help my sanity.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: The Great Mouse Detective

Cooking with oil I'm so brave!
We have hopefully finished our jaunt through the English recipes. The final Brit movie has been watched in the form of the Great Mouse Detective. For this I decided on Fish and Chips for Mom and Dad and Clucks and Fries for me. I didn't bake them, either, they were battered and fried. That's right I did the oil. Not mom, not dad, me! But I waited to cook with oil until after they were home. I still need my "spotter" incase something goes wrong.

Because of mom's gluten intolerance, I found a batter that could be used that would hopefully taste good and not involve a gluten flour. A quick internet search came up with a batter that is really quite tasty! We did both the chicken and fish (halibut) in the batter. Next time I will tweak it slightly for the chicken as dillweed was a little odd to have with ketchup and chicken. That could just be me, though.

Fish & Chips for dinner. Gluten free and yummy.
The fries were a recipe I've been wanting to try for several years now. When Olympic Champion Brian Boitano had his show on the Food Network, he did an episode with twice fried french fries. I've been wanting to try them ever since. I wasn't sure if they would go with the fish, so I tweeted Boitano and he answered with a "yes!" so I took that as a sign to make Brian's "Pimp My Fries".

Everything came together easily, but the oil kept cooling way down so it took longer to make dinner than I anticipated. We didn't sit down to dinner until 8pm! Yikes! But it was well worth it because the food was delish! I had made dad a spicy tartar sauce for his fish - and he practically licked the bowl clean.

There were no leftovers!

For desert, I made mini lemon pound cakes. Dad's request. No glaze or compote. Just cake for dad. He took the rest to his men's group at church on Saturday. They made short work of it all.

All in all another successful meal. I'm getting good at this! With the Iditarod this weekend, I'm busy but we're still doing a movie meal. But it's going to be gourmet hotdogs for Oliver & Company.

Next time, no dillweed for the chicken.
GF Batter for fish - http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1617,128187-252192,00.html
Spicy Tartar sauce - http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/sauce-spread/other-sauce-spread/spicy-tarter-sauce.html
Pimp My Fries - http://www.brianboitano.com/recipes-pimp-my-fries.shtml
Lemon Pound Cake - http://www.simply-gourmet.com/2012/08/187-lemon-pound-cake-with-cherries.html

Monday, February 25, 2013

#Iditarod 41 - Tonichelle's Top Ten

A member of Snowhook Kennel at the
start of the Tustumena 200 earlier this
year. They are running in the Iditarod.
I'm late to the game - not because I've lost interest, but because working for a top team makes life a little hectic these days (can't imagine why). Iditarod is just 5 days away. We're going up again to do the start and restart (volunteering on Saturday, and then I'm working Sunday for the boss).

Please note that this is just my personal opinion. This does not reflect on any team/musher. I do work for some of the top dawgs in the sport, but my admiration goes beyond that kennel. I have grown up adoring so many of these amazing mushers and teams that I am not biased by just one person who may or may not sign a check every month for me. ;)

Seriously, though, I work for a great family of mushing legends. I can't say I'm not biased towards them, but at the same time - I've always liked other mushers more. Since knowing and working for the Seavey family I have grown to admire them far more than I would have if I'd just continued as a spectator (though I was a fan of Dallas well before I started working for him).

All this ramble to say - I am doing my very best to remain objective. The top ten may not be my top 10 favorites (though a lot of them are). I am just hoping that I don't jinx anyone with my picks. I'm pretty good at jinxing folks, so I'm crossing my fingers this doesn't end up killing a lot of teams' runs for the win.

Tonichelle's Top 10

1. Aliy Zirkle - she has been steadily climbing the ranks as one of the big time contenders over the last few years. She nearly had it last season, Dallas beat her in the very last push. She barely lost the Yukon 300 a few weeks back, and Allen - her husband - won the Quest with their A team. The team she's running in the Iditarod. The loss last year was a bittersweet one. Aliy's not going to want that feeling again. She's hungry and she's got a great team going.

2. Dallas Seavey - in most sports they say the first time defending your title is always the hardest. Even the most prepared begin to doubt their abilities and chances. I am not doubting that Dallas will put in just as smart and effort as last year. Last year he had a band of misfits take him to the prize. This year he's got mainly a new team, his star dogs from the championship team have been retired. We haven't seen much of Dallas this season - he opted not to run in the other races, instead sending his handlers out to do a few races. His team just won the Jr. Iditarod at the hands of Jr. Iditarod rookie Noah Pereira. Pereira barely beat out Seavey's younger brother Conway for the win.

3. Mitch Seavey - Mitch is taking much of the same team as last year to Nome this year. The only reason the team didn't hit Nome first last year was due to Mitch being suckered in to push the team too early. They ran out of gas before the coast. Mitch's team is completely capable of taking it all the way. They just have to know when to go, take the opportune moment and go. Wait it out, and then... GO. It's not like Mitch doesn't know what it takes or how to win. He did it in 2004, and his team surprised him at the Tustumena200 this year. It can happen, and this year looks very good.

4. Ramey Smyth - He came out of nowhere and almost threw a wrench into Dallas and Aliy's run last year. His team was far back in the back due to a stomach illness, but once they were over that there was no stopping them. They made up for lost time in a hurry, but ran out of trail before they could catch the leaders. I remember being on the phone with Dallas' brother Danny when Smyth made his move. There was dead silence on the other end of the phone, and then an "Uh, oh.... well..." I expect him to do well again this year, too.

5. Cim Smyth - Let's face it, the Smyth brothers have the market for that final push speed. So many mushers lament that they wish they knew the secret on how to get those dogs to go into that final gear and go all out to the finish line. I've seen the magic first hand, and Cim is well capable of going and getting the title. It's about time someone in the Smyth family take the prize.

6. John Baker - Another former Iditarod Champion. A repeat just wasn't in the cards last year. Baker's advice he gives to all mushers is race to win. If you aren't running to win, you never will. John is one of those silent types. His persona reminds me of the addage "slow and steady wins the race." Not that Baker's slow, far from it, he's just totally calm in his approach.

7. Jake Berkowitz - He pulled a Mitch Seavey last year and cut his hand badly which ended the race early for him. He's had a fantastic race season this year, and placed 4th in this year's Quest. Berkowitz suffered a devastating loss when his dog General passed away suddenly during the race (but not because of it, according to Jake's blog it was an undetected issue that would have come to light no matter what). He'll be running in General's memory, no doubt.

8. Jeff King - After hanging it up several years ago, Jeff found his mojo again and returned to the sport he has dominated for most of his life. Jeff scratched several checkpoints from Nome after his incredibly young team quit on him. He stayed with them, shielding them from the brutal wind, until race officials went out to check on him. He officially scratched and they brought he and his team to safety. Jeff has let it be known he's here to be competitive, and his kennel is working hard to get him back into the top. I have high hopes for King this year.

9. Aaron Burmeister - Like Jeff, Aaron recently came out of retirement to race again. Burmeister gave his top team to Dallas a couple years back. The team Dallas took to Nome last year had a lot of Burmeister's dogs (and King's). Go figure. Aaron's team gave a valliant effort last year, I have no doubt he can pull off a top 10 again this year.

10. Jodi Bailey - I had to think long and hard on where and who my top ten, and this may be my most biased pick of the top ten, but Jodi gets a nod. Dew Claw Kennel is steadily rising in the ranks as a kennel to watch. Jodi's husband just had a Top Ten finish in the Quest, and she did very well in the Yukon 300. Last year she ran down Lance Mackey to beat him in the Iditarod. Not too shabby. I'm not saying she's a lock for the top 10 (to do that she'd have to jump 13 places from last year), but I have high hopes for this team.

You may wonder why I left off some of the big names - like DeeDee Jonrowe, Paul Gebhardt, Martin Buser, and Lance Mackey - and the reason is simple... I know they can make the top 10, but I'm just not sure of their chances this year. The field is so competitive. Any one of them could take Baker's place, or Bailey's, or Burmeisters. Ray Reddington, Jr. is also another spoiler for top 10. Travis Beals is one of the rookies that could blow the top ten wide open if his team so chooses to make that leap.

Overall this highly competitive field is going to be amazing to watch and I have a feeling it's going to be a nail biter to the end.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: The Rescuers

Not a fan of seafood, but mom and dad are. Yuck.
So Dad had to go up to Anchorage for training the week after Toy Story so we rescheduled the movie for the next week. This would not have been a big deal had it not been for the fact that my dad loves the rescuers movies (though I found out he likes the rescuers down under way more) and because the first movie happens in the Bayou and the menu I chose he was very excited for.

Thankfully the wait did not disappoint. My dad had several helpings of what I had to offer. Mom did too. It was very good, though for me I didn't like the proteins it called for. Oh well, this isn't *just* about me, right?! So I made two types of the sauce.

The menu was a pasta dish and garlic bread. I was too pooped to do a dessert and as rich as dinner was it wasn't missed. I made a cajun style alfredo with Shrimp and Andoulle sausage over fettacine. I did not make the pasta, but everything else was from scratch and fresh. I made a smaller batch without the shrimp, just the sausage, for myself, and served it with garlic bread.

It was delish. Dad couldn't stop talking about it! He ate his fair share and then some, and then he let it be known he was getting any leftovers for lunch. Except he didn't get my leftovers. I took those to Kassy's. She told me she thought it was better than any pasta dish at Paradisos (Kenai's Greek-Italian-Mexican restaurant that I love). So I have to say this has to be one of the most successful dishes I've made to date!

Without the seafood. So good! A little spicy but not bad.

Find the recipe here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cajun-shrimp-andouille-alfredo-sauce-over-pasta-10000001033054/

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Toy Story

Pizza, Cake, and a movie, what could be better?
January 31st marked Duane's 18th birthday. It also landed on a Thursday, so we mixed the two together. Duane's big party would happen that weekend, so we did a small deal with just us and his best friend. It worked out great because Toy Story was one of his favorites when he was small - and it has that "army man" element so we could still do the "Go Army" so it wasn't totally cheesey.

Well, there was cheese - I made homemade pizzas. Thanks to my awesome new KitchenAid pizza dough was so easy! I loved how simple it was, and for the first time of me making the dough I have to say it was excellent. I used a recipe a friend gave me, but didn't put in the total amount of yeast that it called for. It still rose well, and it didn't taste yeasty. A win-win for me as I hate the taste of yeast!

I forgot to save some white frosting for stars on the blue.
I also baked a cake from scratch - the first one I did the night before and it didn't go very well. I tried another recipe the day of and it came out better than the first, but I think I'm over mixing with the KitchenAid. I will have to keep working on it. However, I loved how the camo effect came out. That's right, I made a camo cake! The cake was green, brown, and black inside. It was frosted red white and blue and had toy army men in honor of both the movie and Duane's love of the Army.

The cake was two layers and had a chocolate mousse filling. It was pretty good and I'm not a cake fan.

You might be asking what my mom ate with all of this gluten loaded food - for the cake she had the mousse only (we had a lot more mousse than we did cake. It was not what we planned. Not sure what happened there. For the pizza we tried the pinterest craze of the cauliflower crust. It really works and it tastes great -and I hate cauliflower! Mom was happy enough with it - she still misses the regular crust, but at least she's found something that she not only can stomach but likes! Just a tip - use a ricer not a grater. The ricer looks to give you more cauli-meal for the crust.

With two 18 year old boys plus the three adults, we ate all but a couple of slices of pizza (we made four plus moms!) and ate half a cake. All in all a success even with the cake issues.

Very proud of how the camo came out! AWESOME!
Pizza Crust recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/basic-pizza-dough-recipe/index.html
Cauliflower crust recipe: http://whatsfordinner-momwhatsfordinner.blogspot.com/2012/06/cheesy-garlic-cauliflower-bread-sticks.html

Oh! The week of Toy Story also brought our first bit of DISNEY MAIL! We all know how much I LOVE Disney Mail. And it was Toy Story themed mail at that! How awesome!

Disney Mail is almost as good as being there!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Jungle Book

Not sure how authentic it is, but it was good.
Well, I'm becoming pretty consistent and quicker in making dinner. Surprising that I say this after making the meal that I did last night. The movie was Jungle Book which meant we travelled to India with our meal. I planned a menu of "Indian Chicken on white rice with naan" followed by a dessert of rabri.

I started off with the bread and the dessert. The naan dough was easy enough, but the rabri was disgusting. I had a "quick" recipe for it that called for use of powdered milk. Add to that a cup of heavy whipping cream and it smelled like curdled milk. Disgusting. I was really rethinking the idea of dessert!

I learned the hard way I do not multi-task well. I was kneading bread, shelling pistachios (for the dessert), and doing work on the computer. All the while the milk mixture was on the stove. I forgot about it and in under a minute it was burned. Just so you know: powdered sugar+powdered milk+whipping cream=the most disgusting smell ever when burnt. YUCK! Upset and discouraged, I had just enough cream to try again. If that went badly I would make banana splits and dad would just deal with it (by not eating the banana lol).

Not authentic, but just as good, naan. Dad ate all 3 pieces.
So, while I got the second batch on the burner - a much lower heat than before - I finished rolling out the naan and getting it ready to bake. The recipe said that it needed to be served warm, so I planned to bake it beforehand, and then broil it (as the recipe called for) right before serving. The bread came out awesome! The dessert took longer than what the recipe said - but I'm not sure if I did something wrong, or if they were off on their time. I may have cooked it on too low a setting, but I didn't want to screw up the whole thing again. First world problems, I know.

Once the milk stuff - mixed with the pistachios and almonds - was ready to cool I started on the main dish. A lot of interesting flavors mixed together for this. Curry powder, onions, garlic, honey, soy sauce, jalepeno, ginger - and it smelled good. Though, for a while, I thought it smelled more like the cup of noodles I ate in school. Ha ha! Once the flavors melded together the smell did, too. I put the stuff over the chicken and put it in the oven to bake.

Hot and ready to serve!
An hour later we were sitting down to the movie with a very flavorful and fragrant meal. I wasn't too keen on it - I found out I don't like curry flavors - but both mom and dad went back for seconds! Dad ate all three pieces of naan (it's good but too yeasty for me). The dessert was also a hit with the parents - though I still think it looks and smells disgusting - and they're still raving about it. The house still smells like dinner and it's been over 24 hours! Crazy!

Next week is Duane's birthday - we're going to do Toy Story with homemade pizza and camo birthday cake. Should be good!

Speaking of birthdays, mine was Monday and instead of watching the second term inaugeration's second ceremony (tell me why we need two for a second term when we're STILL in a recession?!) I spent the day working and then lunch and a movie with Kassy. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE LINCOLN! I may do a post about what I thouht of the film. I want to see it again! It was good.

My parents got me a blu-ray player with wifi so I've been watching netflix in my room a lot. This is something I was hinting about a lot in the last few weeks, so I was very happy to get it! So happy that I set it up the night of my bday before going to bed! Using it right now to watch old school Law & Order. Love me some Lenny Briscoe!

And then today I got something I honestly didn't think I'd own until I became a married woman - if then. I GOT A KITCHENAID Mixer from my aunt and uncle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so surprised to get it - when my aunt hinted that it was something she KNEW I'd like and that she had a similar one I honestly thought it was going to be something decorative with pugs on it! LOL I can't wait to start mixing with it. I know it will help out with my baking big time! Thank you Judy & Gaylord!

I'm thinking I'll name it "Hondo"!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Mary Poppins

Shepherd's Pie - everyone likes it but me!
Well it was a Jolly Holiday in the kitchen tonight with our Mary Poppins themed dinner tonight. We went with a very British main course of Shepherd's Pie (during the viewing of the movie I decided that Fish and Chips would've been better considering they plan on doing just that in the film, oh well, live and learn). The dessert was a raspberry tart and raspberry ice.

The shepherd's pie was the easiest thing on the menu after all was said and done. Not much excitement there. I've learned I don't like it very much, ha ha. Yup the picky eater is still a picky eater, however it wasn't bad. Just not my thing. Dad and mom gave it two big thumbs up, though. Mom went back for seconds!

Dessert proved more challenging. What I thought would be simple turned out not to be. I started with the raspberry ice, but that took more work than expected. It was simple enough to make the syrup and puree it with the berries, but when it came time to pour the mixture through the strainer the seeds kept clogging up the little holes! So I spent almost an hour stirring the stuff in the strainer to get the liquid into the dish to put in the freezer! ACK!

At least it looked good when it came out of the oven.
Then for the tart I used the same recipe for the crust as I did a few weeks ago for the peach tart. It is gluten free and has chocolate - what could go wrong. I tried to make it work better than the last time, but the problem was the raspberries melted when I put them in with the sugar to make the syrup. The extra berries I planned to bake on top melted into the syrup when I mixed the two. So I ended up with several cups of syrup on top of this already wet dough. The crust on the bottom didn't bake, and the filling didn't set up. Not my best baking experience.

Parents didn't mind though, and said it was good. Duane loved the raspberry ice judging by how he ate it when he got home from youth group. So still successful even if it wasn't "practically perfect in every way."

Anyone want a snow cone??
The funniest part of the night was when mom came home from the store. She went to put the ice cream in the freezer. Not knowing what was in the pan on the shelf she when to fling it somewhere else and ended up with not so chilled raspberry stuff all over the freezer. It looks like a bloody mess in there now. But at least if we need a snack in a pinch we can make raspberry snow cones! I'll admit I was ticked when it happened - I worked hard on that stuff! - but everytime we open the freezer door and you see the bright red going all the way down the shelves it's too hard not to laugh!

Next week is Jungle Book. I have to work on finalizing it - and finding a dessert.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: The 3 Cabelleros Double Feature

Taco Salad - simple, easy and awesome.
On the eve of another themed dinner, I'm writing a post about last weeks very yummy - and somewhat simple - dinner. I finally got my hands on a copy of Donald's feature films "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Cabelleros". It is a double feature DVD that I got on Amazon as they are both considered Classics. In my quest to have all 50+ classics I HAD to have them, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered them after getting my monthly paycheck.

But I digress, the meal was simple in that it was one of my favorites: Taco Salad. I am not a big Mexican food fan, but I LOVE tacos the way we make them. And if I can't have that, then I go for taco salad. Problem is - I don't like frying in oil (after setting the kitchen on fire - unknowingly - with oil on the stove - again, unknowingly - I just won't touch it!) so I decided to try to bake the shells like they have shown on pinterest. Problem is mom is gluten intolerant so she can't have the traditional flour tortilla, so I had to bake a larger corn tortilla. They don't make them as big, and they didn't turn out quite how I hoped.

If you're going to bake the shells, make sure to follow the instructions. And find one that gives the tip that you need to warm the tortillas up for about 15 seconds in the microwave before trying to put them in the bowl or you will end up tearing every single one. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but the shells were not crispy everywhere and were extremely tough where they didn't crisp. I'm thinking it had to do with how much oil was used on them - either not enough or too much, I can't be sure without experimenting more.

I'm not a fan, but I'm told they be "delish"!
With such a "simple" dish for the main course, I decided to tackle a traditional Mexican dessert of Soppapilas. Mainly because my best friend Kassy said she would come to dinner if I did. She lied, but I made enough for a small army anyway so that she could have some the next day.

What's that you say? You thought I was afraid to cook with oil? I AM! I still am, even after all the fun I had frying my (homemade all the way) dessert. I had mom be my "spotter" as if flames started up I would've once again been out the door and letting her deal with it (as opposed to when I caught the kitchen on fire - for that I called 911!). With that done it was down to watch the double feature.

Not to be negative, but I've found that the movies - that I'd never seen all the way through - were not my favorites. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Donald Duck - favorite character, just ask my neice, she will tell you! - but the movies are dull compared to some of the other classics. No fear, though, because they still will hold a special place in my collection. I have to both Walt and Donald are in them!

I made more the day after for a Church function, and Kassy
took the rest home. I think she ate them all herself.

Next week (as in tomorrow) we're jumping to Mary Poppins. Going to do a Shepherd's Pie and rasberry tart with rasberry ice. Should be good!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Tasteful Countdown: Sleeping Beauty

A meal fit for royally hungry people.
We are 271 days away from Disney World! After taking a couple weeks off from the whole dinner themed stuff we were back to it for this week.

The movie is my favorite of all time: Sleeping Beauty. I can't think of a time when I wasn't in love with this story and movie. I love everything about it - even the pink element, if you can believe that - the characters, the animation, the music. It's the perfect "Fairytale Come True." So it was alarming that I couldn't figure out a menu right away. In fact, I didn't come up with a full menu until the day of, so it was a menu based on stuff we already had in the house.

This was a big night for me because it meant I had to use the grill. I hate the grill, not because it doesn't cook the food or anything (it does a great job at that) but it uses fire and they can go BOOM and I don't like that. I'm very very scared of cooking after the fire when I was 16. Aunt Judy got me over the fear of the stove, but a BBQ is a whole new realm of scary for me. Dad said he would help me on that one, so it was set. Why the grill you ask? Well, mainly because of the Dragon element of the movie. Everyone knows I LOVE Maleficent's Dragon (you should see me during those scenes, or the ones during the Park show Fantasmic! LOL), so it should be no surprise that this is the route I ultimately took in theming the menu.

So the menu consisted of Honey Brined Grilled Chicken with a roasted red pepper, tomato, almond, and garlic relish (they call it a romesco in the recipe, all done on the grill). For our side it was herb roasted (in the oven) potatos and carrots. The whole house and outdoors smelled divine while it cooked! For dessert I went super simple with Vanilla Ice Cream (admittedly not homemade, maybe next time!) with a mixed berry syrup (which I did make from scratch - remember Briar Rose goes into the woods to collect berries - lots of berries - even though she picked berries the day before because her aunts - the good faries - told her to).

We did manage to have left overs, but it was a definite hit with dad - he immediately informed us of what he was taking for lunch at work Friday. He told all of his coworkers about it - it smelled great in the lunch room - and now I have several requests to share the recipe.

All in all another successful night. Next week we are going back in time - movie list wise - and will watch a double feature of Saludos Amigos & The Three Caballeros, so it will be Mexican. After that who knows, we're debating if we want to go live action, Pixar, or what animated movie to do next (next in line would be 101 Dalmations).

Before going into the oven.
The relish all ready to go.

The chicken was sooooooooooooo goood!
Mom may have licked the bowl clean...

Here are the links for the recipes I used for dinner:
Grilled Chicken and romesco
Herb roasted potatos and carrots
Mixed Berry Sauce

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, so much for December posts! I just got so busy and I swear we skipped a week in there somewhere. Christmas came so fast and now it and New Year's is gone. What happened?!

After my last posts I fought the second wave of that stupid cold that has been hanging around. So far it hasn't been back, but man it seems everyone got sick in the last month. It's been nasty. When I wasn't sick I was busy with work. Tours were lining up and we were looking to be very busy. Danny is back for a while so we were able to open up huge blocks of time - double the work for everyone. Problem was we didn't have much snow, and Seward had none. We had to cancel the first weekend of tours. It was disappointing.

The week leading up to Christmas was busy with parties and gift wrapping and cookie baking and work. The Sunday before was the "office" Christmas Party at the Seavey's. My first, and it was fun. I got to chat with Janine and heckle the others as they play ping pong (I can heckle, but I can't play lol). Mitch and Janine gave me a really nice gift and I was touched that they did something like that for each of us. I really do love my job, mainly because of the people I work for.

Christmas Eve we went to First Baptist Kenai for the Candlelight service. Mom and Dad's church did their Christmas service Sunday night, so it was nice to have them in the old Church again. After the service we finished the baking and putting gifts out and then it was bedtime. Christmas morning we got up, played with teh dogs and then broke into Luke Chapter 2 before opening gifts. The dogs got theirs first so they wouldn't be all up in the tree trying to find theirs.

Gifts for everyone this year were awesome - considering we were all saying that it was going to be a "lean" Christmas gift wise I guess we all decided to get stuff the other person actually asked for. Ha ha! I ended up with a professional grade flash for my new camera, dad got his sound system for the boat, mom got a laptop, and Duane got stuff that he'll be able to use until (and after) bootcamp. It was a relaxing day for the four of us - dad and duane plowed the driveway, and we all got a turn playing our new wii games we got in our stockings, and it was an excellent prime rib.

Since then I've had a photoshoot, and lots of work, so I haven't had a lot of time for myself. Today was the first day I just vegged (once I got the go ahead to take part of the day off becuase the phone and email were both dead!).

I took a break from doing the Disney dinners over the holidays, but tomorrow we start again - so hopefully I can get that post out in a timely fashion.

Happy New Year! Let's make 2013 the best year yet!