Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holiday Goodness: Part Deux

I love never-ending holiday celebrations! Due to our hectic holiday travel schedules, we didn't get to celebrate Christmas with Aimee and Sky until last night. We had made plans for the week before Christmas, but Aimee had a sudden death in the family and had to fly to Florida. We left for Rhode Island when she returned to Michigan. When we were finally in the same state last weekend, a blizzard got in the way of our plans again. It's been ages and their yummy gifts have been waiting patiently in our refrigerator for over a month now. Finally the snow held off long enough for dinner, although it was cold enough here for school's to be closed (25 below zero windchill!).

I spent my day off roasting lemon rosemary chicken and baking cupcakes. I really wanted to test out these silicone cupcake liners that Eric gave me for Christmas. They were in my stocking with a mini frying pan that fries only one egg. Last year my stocking included E6000. You know you are a crafty nerd when Santa brings utility strength adhesives and baking tools. I was really excited about these liners, though, because you don't even need a muffin tin! They can withstand heat up to 500 degrees and are machine washable, so no more wasting paper liners. Sadly, the first test did not go as well as I had hoped. The instructions call for lightly greasing the cups before filling, but I think heavy greasing is probably better. The cake got so stuck that we had to scrape the middle out with our fingers, while Eric flipped his inside out and used his teeth. It could also be a cake issue, since I used the old Betty Crocker Silver White cake recipe from 1950. It's my favorite white cake recipe (so fluffy and light thanks to egg whites!), but it may be too soft of a cake for these liners. I do think these will have lots of fun other uses, though. Giant Jell-o Shots, anyone?
After we stuffed ourselves like gluttons, we moved on to the next and most important part of holidays: getting presents. Aimee and Sky gave what is now officially my favorite gift of the season (Don't tell Eric. We went to Ruth's Chris for our gift this year, so it doesn't really count :P). Anyway, I got lots of Lush! I adore good bath products, but all-natural, socially conscious bath products? Can it get any better than that? These gals know me too well. There was more than what is pictured above, but the Massage Bar is already in my shower. It is heavenly, by the way. The Charity Box (now sadly out of stock) is a gift set of fabulous fair trade, natural products wrapped in 100% recycled or recyclable packaging, and 100% of the cost goes to charity. My gift helped out Odd Squad Productions, check 'em out! The packaging even goes so far as to tell you who made your products, along with a happy Lush employee mug. So Thank You, Nic and Susan, thank you (and thanks again to Aimee and Sky!). Your smiling cartoon faces will make me happy every time I shower. I feel nice and soft and I smell much better now. My husband will appreciate your efforts.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lucky New Year

Happily, I get to start the new year off with a bit of a good news blog. The month of January has kicked itself off on a bright note, which is lovely and also unexpected. I have a history of crappy luck. Besides, the holidays can get crazy when you live away from home, turning what should be an enjoyable visit into a nightmare of buying, eating, driving, cooking, screaming mayhem. Thankfully, Eric and I got to spend two whole weeks back in R.I., so we were able to be lazy and casual about the whole thing. We also spent a good amount of time on D's new Wii Fit. This allowed us to begin the new year feeling optimistic about our selves, our new health goals, and our soon-to-be-renewed, svelte girlish figures.

We returned home to the first lucky gift. Free things! We all know I love free stuff, and it has nothing to do with our crumbling economy. Eric calls me the klepto, due to my habit of walking off with soap and showercaps. He will tell you that I will pocket anything that isn't nailed down, but that is only true if the "anything" is sample sized. So anyway, somehow I won a cookbook, and since cookbooks in all forms make me fabulously happy, I was thrilled. It is Hello, Cupcake!, quite possibly the cutest cookbook ever printed. I spent at least an hour reading it, pouring over the adorable creations I could whip up on a whim, and then realized that any such whipping would destroy our svelte-ness. I quickly hid the book between copies of The South Beach Diet and Biba's Italian Kitchen.

Then I got an email from Babette of Bakespace, letting me know that I won a holiday contest, for which I will receive a bunch of crap from some Christmas movie starring Debra Messing and John Leguizamo. The appearance of the latter means I will probably never sit through that movie. That voice is almost as painful to my ears as Owen Wilson's. Shiver.

The next bit of luck is only half lucky, since I don't yet know how it will pan out. I have been working as a long-term substitute since the beginning of the school year, and the full-time position finally opened up. I've been groveling around the community looking for support and any tiny edge I can get. I don't have much, since I don't know anyone in this town, but lo and behold... I called the mother of one of my students to ask if she would write a recommendation for me. She said, "You called the right woman!" Two school board members go to her church, the Superintendent is her neighbor, and another board member goes to her gym. Sweet. Now I just need to cross my fingers, since the job posting closes today. If the luck holds out, I'll score the job, and we all know what that means... Baby fund! But if my husband asks, it's for the big screen TV.