Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Party Time in the City

I have never been called a party animal. ever. ever. ever.
I'm a low key kind of girl.
a home body.

and then things like New Year's Eve happen and people talk about going to parties, getting drunk, dressing up....oh my!

and my perfect New Year's Eve is dinner and a movie with guy I like a lot, and that can pretty much sum up the perfect night for me the other 364 days of the year as well.

Most of the time I get my way.

This year, however, we're headed to a party.

I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Wish me luck.

and Happy New Year.

(and as hard as I tried to find a New Year's Eve pic from a past celebration to post, I couldn't find a thing. I suppose it's time to attend a party. harumph.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Old Traditions

One thing that we have been doing for years, is Christmastime goal making.
It's different than a New Year's Resolution.

We just write down on slips of paper what we wish for ourselves in the next year.
It's a secret that's stuffed into the bottom of our stocking until the next Christmas.
It's never a big deal.
Sometimes I write 'floss more' or 'drink more water' or 'take Peanut on more walks'.

Most of the time, I forget what I've written until I unfold that tiny piece of paper Christmas morning.

Some of the time the goals are reached and sometimes they are not, but either way it's fun to see where I've come from and remember where I was in life the year before.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Traditions

This year I wanted to focus on making new traditions for Christmas. We already had a few in place, but I thought I would also be the chef of Christmas Eve dinner this year and every year to come.

I had been encouraged to make a Short Rib Ragu recipe by a friend who had tried it and loved it.

The week of Christmas, I was beginning to get cold feet-doubting my ability to pull this off successfully. Upon voicing my concern to some very encouraging friends, I was gently pushed into this cooking experience.

"It's only sauce" I was told.

Also, I was told that making it in advance would only make it better, so I started this adventure on Wednesday. After 3 hours in the kitchen I still wasn't happy with the state of the ragu. I was supposed to have a sauce, not a meat soup. Consulting my cooking friends, I was encouraged to just cook it longer.

So cook it longer I did, and come Saturday I packed up my culinary masterpiece to take to Columbia and that evening we ate like kings and queens.

The recipe turned out so delicious and in true Cheryl fashion, I praised myself highly for this culinary feat.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmastime

Last night we got in the spirit of Christmas, first visiting Christmas in the Park which was a fun light display, but ended up paling in comparison to a Kansas City resident's very own display- The Babick House.

This display wasn't even fully lit, which made me sad inside (there were some technical difficulties), but I'm hoping his house is lit longer than just through Christmas because the small bit of it I saw blew my mind. This is not an exaggeration.

Each display is full of moving toys. His garage is converted, and his living room is on display as well. It's an amazing thing to witness.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Homemade Dog Treats

I'm pretty into making things myself and not very interested in buying things I'm pretty sure I can make.
I have been known, on more than one occasion, to say, "I could make that".

and most of the time I do...most of the time.

This year I had the idea to make my dog friends some homemade treats.

I used this recipe:

1 Banana
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Oats
1/2 cup Apple Sauce
1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Mash banana with a fork until smooth.
3. In a large bowl mix all ingredients one at a time, kneading well after each addition.
4. Knead dough into ball and roll onto a floured surface 1/4 inch thick.
5. Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice.
6. Place on your prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until edges browned. Cool and refrigerate.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen dog houses.(I used candy canes) 

My treats didn't turn out like crunchy dog biscuits, and I'm not sure if they were supposed to. They are, however, delicious and Peanut loved them so much I couldn't get a good picture of her eating one.

Have you ever tried making dog treats before?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pretty Pretty Princess

It's not very often I treat myself to the luxuries of life.
I get a massage once or twice a year and have gotten a pedicure once in my life and a manicure twice.

I received a gift certificate this summer to get a manicure, and today I cashed it in for my third manicure ever.

I was, surprisingly, looking forward to getting my nails done all week long-thinking about what color I wanted to get and how much fun it would be.

It's funny how the simplest thing can make me feel a little bit prettier and a little bit more girly, and this time, like always, I am vowing to treat myself to more manicures.

How do you treat yourself?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

cut and glue and...

At one point last week I had taken over three areas of the house for scrapbooking and sewing projects. I had a station on the floor in front of the TV. I was sprawled out all over the kitchen table and had taken over the floor in the office/craft room. So far, two of the spaces are still occupied, but I have given some thought today to consolidating my mess to one area. We shall see.
I've been getting a lot of pages completed from Ireland and that feels good since I am sure Christmas will provide ample opportunity for more picture to be taken and more scrapbook pages to be made. Until then, however, I am going to focus focus focus and see if the chapter on Ireland can close before December 25th.
For now, show and tell:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I never said I was hip

I'm not hip at all. I never have and never will claim to be.
My fashion could be described as comfortable, never trendy.
I don't hangout at the coolest places in town.
I never have the coolest electronics.
I've never even seen an iPad (that's a joke).

When I was growing up and CDs had just come out, I clung hard to my tape player and tape collection (I love you, Bon Jovi!). I was sure this whole "CD craze" wasn't going to stick, and besides I was perfectly happy with my tape player and tapes.
"Works fine for me," I said.
I did eventually make the transition to owning a CD player and building a CD collection, but it may have been a little late.
Same thing with iPods-I don't own one.
Same thing with computers- I went through all of college without one (an an English major!).
Same thing with laptops-I just purchased one last month.

So when the e-readers came out years ago, I thought they were cool but knew I would never have one, not in this century, anyway. However, a friend recently gifted me the Kindle Touch and I love it. Now, I know I am not on the forefront of owning an e-reader, but I'm not the last one to get one either.
I feel good about that.

The Kindle is truly amazing and already I am reading more than I would without it. I checked out some books from the library and started reading right away. I'm currently reading Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult. Now, this is not my first choice in reading, but it was the only book I was interested in that was available for immediate check out from the library. I'm on the waiting list for others. (If someone wants to explain to me why I would need to be on a waiting list for an e-book I would appreciate it).

I am enjoying this book and reading it at a fast rate.
I am enjoying reading in bed without having to hold a big, bulky book up.
I'm enjoying reading while I eat and not having to hold a book open with one hand and eat with the other or find some clever way to prop the book up and open.
I really love this Kindle.

I can't wait to read and read and read some more.

Do you have an e-reader?
Let's talk books!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday 100 Update

I thought I would try the ole Holiday 100 this season and try to run 100 miles between Thanksgiving and Christmas. whoa! (I know)

Am I way behind? Yes.
Do I feel discouraged? Yes.
Am I still running knowing I won't make it to 100 miles by Christmas? Yes.

So in that, I feel successful. I'm still running.

So far, I've run 35.13 miles since Thanksgiving. That means I have almost 65 miles to run in 12 days which comes out to running over 5 miles a day. (math)

Is that going to happen? Probably not.

However, I'm going to keep running and I'm going to get as close as I can.

I feel good knowing that this holiday goal has gotten me back into running and thinking about future races.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My new favorite cookie

I'm making four kinds of cookies today to give as gifts tomorrow.
I had my favorite cookie on the list of cookies to make and picked a few other recipes to accompany it, one of which is a Martha Stewart recipe I learned about when she was on the Today Show this week.

This may be my new favorite cookie.

Chocolate-peppermint Thumbprints
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place balls, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove sheets from oven; with the small end of a melon baller or the bottom of a small round measuring spoon, make an indentation in center of each cookie.
Bake until cookies are just set but still look moist, 4 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool on sheets on wire racks. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and ¼ cup butter in 10-second increments until melted; stir in peppermint extract. Let cool until thick enough to pipe, 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large zip-top bag; snip 1/4-inch hole in one corner. Pipe chocolate into cookie indentations. (Store in airtight containers, up to 1 week.)
Active time: 35 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes + cooling
For extra sparkle, roll the dough balls in sanding sugar instead of granulated before baking.
Serving Size
Makes 4 dozen

My favorite cookie

I only get this cookie around the holidays and I've actually never made it myself...until today.
I'm not even sure if it's considered an actual "Christmas Cookie" or if it's just a Christmas cookie in my world.
I don't even know it's official name.

Let's make it!

First make a Ritz cracker and peanut butter sandwich.

Next, cover with vanilla almond bark that has been melted in a double boiler or the microwave.

Let them set up.
That's it!

I love a cookie that's easy to assemble and easy to clean up, especially if you have a little helper to clean the peanut butter knife.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I'm accustomed to knitting with pretty small needles most of the time, US size 10 is pretty standard around here, but with one week to make three knit hats, I had to figure out a different plan of attack.
I searched Ravelry and to my delight found the perfect pattern for a chunky knit hat.

Yarn: Cascade, magnum. 1 skein will make one small and one large.
Needles: size US 15 circular
Gauge: 2 stitches per 1”
Size: small (large)
Measurement: 20” (22”) round

Cast on 44 (48) stitches.
Knit in garter stitch for 6 (10) rows.
Change to stockinette and knit until piece measures 5 1/2 (6 1/2 ) inches, ending with a wrong side row.

Next row: (RS) knit 2 together until end. 22 (24) stitches.
Next row: (WS) Purl 2 together until end. 11 (12) stitches.
Next row: (RS) Knit 2 tog to end. {on this row, on the small size, you will
knit 2 tog 5x, and have 1 stitch remaining for 6 stitches total} 6 stitches also remain for
large size. Cut yarn and run through remaining 6 stitches.

Finishing: Sew together seam, being careful to line up garter rows.

NOTES: This can also be knit on 4 double point, size 15 needles, to avoid seaming.
Large size in parentheses.
Play around with the length of the garter stitch depending on your liking.
Garter stitch: Knit every row.
Stockinette stitch: Knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side. Both hats shown are
knit with the 44 stitch cast on (I like a tight hat, and have a smallish head.) I then
followed the large pattern, knitting 10 rows of garter, changing to stockinette and knitting
for 6 1/2 inches.

I deviated from the pattern just slightly.
I used two US 15 straight needles because after going to one craft store and calling two others, that's all I could find. I'm sure an actual yarn store would have been more helpful, but I was pressed for time, like I said.
I knit garter stitch for 8 rows (not 6) and knit stockinette until the piece measured 7 1/2 to 8 inches (not 6 1/2).
I decided on these changes after I read some of the reviews on Ravelry and am happy I made the hat longer than the pattern suggested.

I love this pattern. I can't wait to make more of these hats!
Do you use Ravelry?
What are some of your favorite patterns?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I apologize

I'm sorry that sometimes my nose will just not stop running.
I'm sorry that sometimes my nose is stuffed up.
I'm sorry I sneeze all the time.
I'm sorry I sometimes pull my nostrils apart to breathe better.
I'm sorry my nose is chapped on the outside.
I'm sorry I have used all the tissue.
I'm sorry I leave tissues around the house, on the couch, on the counter, in bed.
I'm especially sorry I leave tissues in bed.
I'm sorry that in an emergency I wipe my nose on my sleeve.
I'm sorry I cough too much.
I'm sorry I sometimes stick a tissue up my nose and just leave it there.


This morning I woke up to this dusting of snow.

There's not denying it now, winter is upon us in Kansas City.

Here's to
cold noses
fogged up glasses
scraping windows
the hope of 'snow days'
shoveling driveways
paw prints in the snow
hot chocolate
movie night
warm beds
chapped lips
bundling up
comfort food
snow boots

Happy Winter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a day

Saturday morning we were both up early so we decided to dive into some Christmas shopping.
The first stop was the donut shop to get our less than practical fuel for this adventure. My donut was delicious, but I dealt with a belly ache later in the afternoon. Lesson learned? Probably not.

Then the shopping began.

We made about five different stops, and were having a great time shopping for others and shopping for ourselves. At one store, Zeb happened upon the Forever Lazy pajamas that he's been talking about for a couple of months and got pretty excited.

Every time Zeb and I shop together, I am surprised by how distracted he gets. I forget that he doesn't really go shopping all that often so when he gets in a store, he takes a lot of detours to whatever may catch his eye. At one time, I looked back to find him studying his face in a magnifying mirror. In an other store, he was talking about some cute baby hats (we have no babies to shop for).

It was a fun morning, but we're still not finished.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Simple Sunday, eight

On Wednesday, I walked into the living room and Zeb was singing to Peanut.

For this week's layout, I used Shimelle's sketch of the week.


It's December and that can mean only one thing. I am in the middle of making gifts for Christmas. I am currently in the middle of knitting two hats, making a few scrapbook pages, collecting cookie recipes and looking up sewing tutorials online.

Do you make or buy most of your gifts?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Tree

I was against putting up the tree last year. I was a bit of a scrooge I'll admit. I didn't get the point really. You take all this time to put up the tree and then 30 days later you just have to take it down. Who really has time for all that?

This year, however, I made the decision to enjoy the holidays and that includes putting up the Christmas tree.

I am proud to say we have condensed all of our Christmas decor into one Rubbermaid container, and though I toy with the idea of starting some sort of Christmas collection, I am really happy to only get one box down from the attic every year. When I was growing up we would lug about 10 boxes (big boxes) up from the basement year after year. The house looked beautiful, but that was hard work. So although when I see collections of nutcrackers or snowmen and I think about how much fun it would be to start a collection, I remember my one single box of Christmas decor, and am determined to maintain that.

So we (Zeb) got the one box down yesterday, put on some music, and got to decorating. Zeb and I were both lucky enough to get one ornament a year while we were growing up, and continue to get one every year from his mom, so we have quite an assortment.

The tree looks so pretty sparkling at night. I love it!
Have you decorated yet?