Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scrapbooking Frenzy

I came home early today (9:30 am) because I had a sore tummy from eating too many fiberlicious foods so, in addition to finishing my T for Trespass, I got a little scrapbooking done. I'd printed my Christmas pictures last Sunday and had a layout picked out so I was able to assemble everything in about an hour.
Chris took the cool picture of the Christmas tree a couple days before Christmas. We turned off all the lights, but the Christmas lights, and took the photo. The whole left side of the photo is where the TV is, but it's dark so I could write over it with white pen. I saw it done in a magazine.

Then, while I was putting that layout away I noticed I hadn't taken any photos of my Portland pages which I did last weekend.
I'd been carrying around the layout scribbled on the back of a receipt for at least the last six months. I finally got to use it! I did another page for the Japanese Gardens, but haven't taken a photo yet.

For all those curious, here's the proof that Wilson's tattoo is the real deal and not a sharpie tattoo (like Jessica's elusive tattoo nobody's seen):

Good thing I had my personal photographer, Raquel, in the thick of the action for all these great shots!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Hoe Down

Here's a look back at our festival of presents:

Grandma? Who's that??
The originator of the red sweater and jean look opening her jewelry.
The red sweater and jean copy cat and Tyler playing with his favorite gift of the morning...stickers!!
Chris and 9 of his new best friends.
Captain Cornball and Rick.
Mystery girl in the white sweatshirt who's face never made it in a photo. Whoever she is can now roll out some sweet cookie dough or pie crust.

We spent this morning putting away our gifts and watching 13 consecutive back to back episodes of Amazing Race. Important stuff. I actually made it over to CholoMaxx and did most of my shopping. It wasn't that bad there this morning. I think most people will be feasting on their holiday leftovers for a few days and were not in dire need of gummy dinosaurs and gingerbread creamer. Lucky for us!

The 'rents are over right now. Mr. A is helping Chris in the garage with the FV engine and Mum is out pruning our roses (as she should be!) while I sit inside drinking coffee and blogging. Yes, it's good to be me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Little Elves

I only had to work until noon today so after work I went over to Susan's to deliver our gifts to the boys. Andrew entertained me with multiple Christmas songs and telling me the tale of how Connor broke the lamp shade in the living room. He made us Merry Christmas signs with his hand prints. And C. made us apricot and plum jam. It looks delicious. After our lunch of leftover spaghetti we broke into the presents.
Here's comes Connor to get his gift.
Thank you, I'll take that.
A sippy cup! What every little boy wants!
Here's Andrew with his loot.
It's raining frogs! Andrew walked all over the house with his new umbrella. Even Connor wanted in on the action.
Susan and the crew have Christmas Eve plans with Todd's family in Oroville tonight. Then tomorrow and the following couple days she'll be visiting with various members of her family.

Chris and I both got home today around 2:00 pm. I had to do some last minute shopping at S&S Produce. Me and half the town apparently. Oh well, now I'm ready for the hoards of hungry troops tomorrow morning. Bring your appetite!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Spirit

Today was our work Christmas luncheon. I had sent an email out to all the ladies on Monday daring them to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters like Kari and myself planned on. We weren't let down. A whole group of ladies showed up in the holiday finest. Even Bruce, the animal control dog wore his Santa suit.
Ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas from the dorks at town hall!

Tonight was bible study down on the other half of Ceres Ave at my friend Luann's house. Luann is the best baker/dessert maker in the world (she went to school for it). She made a delicious homemade carrot cake for dessert and sent us of each with a plate of homemade cookies. Unfortunately for Chris, they're all full of nuts. He likes nuts if they're by themselves, but he thinks they overpower any food they're put in. Oh well, that's just more cookies for me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

City Lights

We went for a walk tonight to walk off Mum's pot roast. Since it was only 34 degrees out we had to dress for the occasion.
On our way back home I noticed the cholo neighborhood down the street that is all decked out in holiday splendor so we had to go home and get our camera so that I could get photos.

Very nice, very nice. Last weekend in the ER they printed a list of must see Christmas lights and the majority of them were right around our neighborhood. We're apparently super festive over here on the north side.

Wilson's new toy

I know I'm stealing Wilson's thunder, but I don't see her anywhere taking photos so here it is. Wilson's new 2009 Toyota Corolla. It's a bright blue, but it's a horrible time of day to take a photo.
It's hanging out at my house until the snow at Mom's melts. Don't want to go 4-wheelin' yet. Chris and I are going to take it out on long road trips before Wilson comes back to it. That'll learn her for leaving it here! Now we have to think of a name for it.

Let's all take a moment to think back to what we were driving when we were 20. Not a new Corolla, that's for sure! The youngest sibling always has it easier!

Chris' brother Mark (Mr. A's son) is staying with us tonight on his way from Redondo Beach to Medford for the big move. Then on his back, he'll stay over night again. He's not here yet like we thought he would be so Chris and I are heading over to the 'rents to eat all his portions of Mum's pot roast. Mwahaha......

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dinner Date

Guess where mom wanted to go for her birthday dinner this year????
Red Lobster! I know, you never would have guessed it!

Since it was a birthday dinner or course there were gifts.
Lovely sweaters. A burgundy cardigan and a purple long sleeve shirt.
This is the birthday girl getting chastised by the paparazzi for moving too much during the photo. Geesh!

I know you can't tell that well, but I got a haircut today. It's short and sassy. Meow!
I might actually be shorter then Chris'. No comment. When we got home after dinner we did our photo shoot for this years Christmas card. It's even cooler then last year. Start being on the lookout in your mailbox!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Fun Night

We finally got off our duffs and joined our neighbors in holiday decorations. It's the same thing we did last year, but that's because we left the nails in the wall of the garage.
Isn't it pretty?

We didn't have any big plans tonight so after we had our dinner (homemade turkey meatloaf, asparagus and corn) we had a rematch of Scrabble. Last time I tricked Chris into playing he gave me the smack down. This game was toe to toe.
Officially he won, but only because I was a good sport and helped him use his last letters for the maximum points.

Tomorrow night is my Christmas bunko. It's up by where I used to live (on Hollywood and Vine). Then Wednesday night I have to stay late for a union meeting and then I have bible study Thursday after work. Friday night we're taking the birthday Mamacita out to Red Lobster (surprise, surprise) and then Saturday night we have a Christmas party for one of Chris' customers. Phew, that's a busy week!

It's a balmy 41 degrees outside which is perfect walking weather. Thank God for wool coats and scarves. After our walk it's time to hit the gym (at 9:30)! Who has time for kids with a schedule like that?!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Crafty Loot

I finally remembered to stop by the Paradise Scrapbook Boutique today. I love the stuff they carry. It's a lot of 7 Gypsies and Maya Road merchandise. Of course they had the dinosaur paper I wanted so bad I had to have it transported across state lines. Curses! I managed to stop myself before I got too out of control, but here's what I found that I just had to have:
Not that I have any plans to do any scrapbooking this weekend. Last weekend I finished my Thanksgiving pages, but I haven't figured out a layout yet for my Portland photos.
It's out of my Page Maps book. I know if I don't fess up, Jessica will rat me out.

Tonight is the downtown Christmas tree lighting, but Captain Scrooge already said 'no'. Surprise, surprise since the downtown preview went so well...

Speaking of Scrooge, he should be home shortly at which time we shall head off on foot to Burger Hut (up at the corner of Cohasset & Lassen) to meet the 'rents for dinner. Neighborhood Special for me (burger and fries). Good thing we're walking!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

B.S. Night

Thursday is B.S. (bible study) night for me. It was my week to host so I had the crew of four other ladies over for dinner and a little yakking about J.C. I had a conference in Chico today that got over at 3:00 pm so I was able to get dinner ready in plenty of time and there was no last minute rushing. Actually I had found a crock pot lasagna recipe in one of Mum's cookbooks that I had scribbled down to try and it came out fantastic. When I got home all I had to do was put the salad together and make some Zella bread. I used Mom's free Marie Callendar's pie coupon for our dessert. I picked out a double cream lemon pie. Yum yum.

The excitement of the evening wasn't my lasagna or magical pie, but rather the 'rents hand-me-down table. Everyone was in love with it and fascinated by the expandable leafs. Then everyone wanted to sit in my chair because it was one of two at the table that were the 'rents, too. They have a padded cushion and a curved back and they thought it was so comfortable and have requested that the 'rents give us their other four.

Speaking of the 'rents, apparently we're going to Burger Hut for dinner with them tomorrow. They had asked us a week or two ago where a good burger place was and that was the best we could think of in Chico. Paradise actually has the best places (Barney's & Izzy's), but anyway I guess they have a hankering for a meaty flesh on a bun and good company.

As a total surprise, the 'rents bought us a year subscription to Netflix. It's the basic service of one movie at a time and only two a month, but in combination with how often we go to the movie theater it's perfect. We still have four movies left to watch from our free trial and then we can start ordering from our subscription. I think we're in line for Wall-E and Hancock. After that I think we're all out of ideas.

You know who called and left me a message yesterday?? Zella. Besides her telling me numerous times that she still loves me and misses me she said that at the end of the year they're closing the restaurant. They're going out of business. No other info as to what's going to happen now since they sold off the majority of their catering stuff, but I'm definitely going to call her back and find out. Yowzers!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Look who's ready for Christmas

I spent the better part of today getting the Christmas tree and decorations out. I've been hoarding presents in my craft closet for a couple of months now and wanted desperately to put them under a tree. At least I did until I sat down to wrap them all. Wrapping sucks. Curses to anyone who's gift wasn't a neat square or rectangle shape.
I'm so festive.

Chris spent today out in the garage with Mr. A. Something to do with the new race car engine. That's about as technical as I understand. Or care.

We're getting ready to have yet another round of leftovers for dinner. Then we're going to try to go to Barnes & Noble. I don't think it'll be that busy there. It's not like they do some kind of crazy Black Friday sale. Nobody likes books that much.

Tomorrow we're making plans to go to the first showing of Bond in the morning. Then Chris will meet back up with Mr. A. again to do some more engine magic. Woo hoo. Exciting, I know. We still have one more Netflix movie to watch. Doomsday, I think. We watched Smart People last night (Dennis Quade and Sarah Jessica Parker) and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead the night before. I wanted to see Wall-E, but it won't be available before our free trial ends. Bah!

Alright, time to go nuke some ham and taters!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day Success

Stress free Thanksgivings are wonderful. Since we only had to make half the dishes there was no scrambling to fit everything in the oven at once or have all four burners going at the same time. We started cooking at 2:30 (for a 3:30 eat time). We did ham, turkey breast, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and rolls. Mum brought sourdough and artichoke stuffing, brandy soaked cranberry relish and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.

Chris was in charge of the meats, while I took care of the sides.

Everything came out delicious. Of course both of us were drinking heavily so we probably would have thought gummy bears covered in gravy was delicious.
Enjoying our new table from the rents.

Mmmm....lots of warm gooey food. So good. After dinner we rolled ourselves over to the couch and watched some football and a taped episode of Frontline (liberal news stories on PBS). Then Mum cut us up some monster pieces of pie with her homemade whipped cream (my offer of cool whip was denied) to go with some fresh hot coffee. Then we kicked them out. Our hospitality only goes so far.

Once this ball of lead food empties out of my stomach we're going on a walk. Really we need to do about 10 of our walks to even begin to counteract all the damage we did today. I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's feeling though by not having at least two servings of their dish, right?

T minus 6 hours

Let the turkey day extravaganza begin! Or at least my portion; Chris is still sleeping. It's almost 9:30 am and we still need to clean house before the 'rents come over this afternoon. It's not too bad, just need to vacuum, sweep and clean my bathroom. Before anything happens though, I need food and coffee.
We're having breakfast burritos today. Turkey bacon, eggs beaters and ff cheese. Mmm....

Oh! The coffee pot just beeped that it's done. Must...go...get.....a mug....of...brain...fuel...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before and After

The backyard this morning before work:
The backyard as of 3:30 this afternoon:

This morning you couldn't even tell where the patio ended and the grass began. Trees suck.

That's all I can write because my right wrist is absolutely killing me now. These hands were not meant for raking. That's why I got married!

New Recipes

Last night I tried another new recipe from a new cookbook. It was crab burritos. I liked them, but Chris expected big chunky pieces of crab instead of pulverized crab out of a can.

The crab was mixed with sour cream, cream cheese and spices. Then layered with black beans and steamed broccoli. After it bakes you top it with warm green enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese. Mmm mmm...

I'm watching Traveling Pants 2 right now. I only had to work today until noon and then I have until Monday off for the holiday.

Gotta go - big traveling pant drama going on!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Preview

Sunday evening we took Mum with us to the downtown Christmas preview. We decided to have dinner downtown, too, while we were there. We grabbed Mum at 5:00 (the festivities were scheduled 4-8 pm) and headed downtown. I could not believe how crowded it was. We drove around, and around, and around. Finally we scored a spot in the B of A parking lot next to the parking structure. It was perfect because I had chosen Broadway Heights for dinner. It's upstairs in the Phoenix building (the brick building with the ice cream store and greek eatery downstairs) which is right next to the parking structure. We got there at about 5:15 and had around a 5 minute wait to be seated. That's when the fun began. Even though it was cold outside, it was sauna like upstairs in the building which only serves to make Chris cranky and uncomfortable. Follow that with an hour and 15 minute wait for our food and everybody's having a good time! Mine was delicious (I had the salmon with artichoke heart special), but their pizzas were only so-so. But nothing worth waiting over an hour for. I was a fool for thinking we could eat downtown on preview night. Bad Susan.

By the time we got out from dinner we only had just over an hour to puruse the stores. The streets felt less crowded than last year, but inside the stores were absolute mayhem. Zucchini and Vine? Forget about it! Made in Chico? Not a chance!

Here's Mum and I checking out the goods at one of the stores.

We weren't let down with our favorite part of Christmas preview. That's the live dancing in the storefronts. Our favorite are the young girls who do hip hop dancing to suggestive 80s music (like OPP, Baby got Back, etc). We love that stuff! And by 'love' I mean we're completely mortified that their parents/dance coaches allow them to dance to this stuff. I mean, really???
Go skanky dancers, go!

We didn't actually buy anthing, but I don't think that's the point on that night anyway. You just see what people have and go back later when it's not a super zoo. It was fun, but next year we're leaving wet noodle Chris home. He is not good at aimless wandering. Not good at all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keepin' it Real

I wasn't sure I was going to make it through a whole week of work without any holidays or conferences, but I did it!! We didn't do anything during the week, I had bible study Thursday night, but that's about it.

Mum and I went and saw The Secret Life of Bees yesterday. We both had read the book and really enjoyed the movie. We only cried like five times, so that's not too bad, right?

Since I was busy watching movies yesterday I didn't get my grocery shopping done so Chris and I went to CholoMaxx this morning after breakfast. We also stopped at Cash & Carry for some more sugar free coffee syrups. Holy Cow! I had never bought syrups there before. There is an entire wall full of every flavor and brand you can think of. I've never seen so many sugar free flavors in my life. And the best part is that they're so cheap there.

When we got back Chris got stuck doing some yard work. The trees have been dropping leaves like crazy and we needed to get them raked up before the ground got all moldy and yucky underneath.

We signed up for another free trial of Netflix over the next two weeks so that's how we plan on spending our weekend. Yesterday we got Sisterhood of the traveling pants 2, Charlie Wilson's War and Baby Mama. Movie watching shall commence right after we finish our lunch.

Tomorrow is the downtown Christmas preview. We're going to grab Mum and drag her with us. Maybe go have some dinner downtown while we're there. Not that there's much to preview since I've already purchased 90% of my Christmas gifts. Ahhh, the prospects of a stress free holiday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Slow News Week

Nothing much happened this last week. I had Tuesday off for Veteran's Day, Chris had to work. And we went to Barnes and Noble. That's about it. This weekend was a little more interesting. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, went and grabbed Mum (Mr. A is in Oregon) and went to the farmers market. We got green beans and eggplants. At home I worked on some scrapbook pages, finished grocery shopping, and did laundry. We went back to Mum's for dinner. Chris bbq'd some eggplant and sausage we'd picked up earlier at S&S, Mum made some fingerling potatoes and some well cooked zucchini and squash. It was very good. And then for dessert she served up some ice cream with sliced strawberries and sugar cookies (flavored w/ maple syrup and cut in the shape of leaves).

Today we walked over the movie theater and saw Role Models. It was hilarious. I actually was crying at one point I was laughing so hard. Earlier this morning I went to Target because they had all sizes of flannel sheet sets on sale for $15.99. Now we're just chilling at home watching TV until dinner. Then we're going to watch Mum's netflix copy of Mis Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Mum offered it to us last night, but we managed to sneak out of there without it. She must have thought we "forgot" it because she came over and dropped it off while we were at the movies. Apparenlty we really need to watch it.

Here's my scrapbook pages I finished:

Let me just save Jessica [the narc] time; my birthday is page 40 of Page Maps and Chris' is page 44 of Page Maps. What you can't see well is that on Chris' page I stitched on the lighter polka dot background paper with my cheesy hand held stitcher I won at Bunko years ago.

Here's the cute sheets I bought at Target this morning:
They're red and cream snowflakes. Cute!!! [and cheap]

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Chris and I agreed to house sit for a co-worker of mine over the weekend. They have two dogs, a cat and a gold fish. They were leaving Saturday afternoon so we didn't have to make a grant entrance until that evening. Once I got done (ditched out, really) with my Sustainability Conference we stopped at Papa Murphy's and got a mega meat delight to take with us up the hill. Oh, we also stopped at Long's and tried one of the Red Box movie rental kiosks (got Iron Man).

The house we were staying at is on Valley View, down at the end (past Valley Ridge) with all the rich houses. It's a three story house (you enter on the 2nd story, all the bedrooms are on the 3rd, and a entertainment room and guest bed/bath are downstairs). Since the house is so big there are intercoms throughout the house that we of course had to play with.

All the animals we were babysitting were old and therefore mainly just lay around and sleep. My kind of pet! The black one on the left is Max and the white and gray one on the right is Scully.

From the back of their house you have a awesome view of the canyon between Chico and Paradise. It rained last night so first thing this morning you could see the layer of fog sitting over Chico. Last night (before the rain) you could see Chico all light up.

We're home for the afternoon, but I'm heading back up the hill right after dinner and staying the night there again. I just have to check in on them tomorrow during my lunch hour and then part of the family will be back.

It wouldn't be so bad if my co-worker drank coffee and therefore had more than tea at her house. Arg!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of these leaves is not like the others...

Can you tell which of these items are not one of the many leaves covering our back yard??

I mean seriously, this stuff just popped up over night. Think of all the money I'll save from having to buy mushrooms at the store!

Speaking of growing produce, check out our cherry tomatoes:
They're like the size of basketballs, but won't turn red. It's probably too cold now. It's getting into the high 30s at night. That'll teach us to plant our garden two weeks before the end of the season.

So, today and through Saturday, I am attending a conference at Chico State called "This Way to Sustainability". It's three full days of concurrent classes about different topics of sustainability. Today I learned about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) from a Chico group called GRUB (Growing Resourcefully, Uniting Bellies). They're pretty much a couple of hippies who grow crops on a two acre plot that regular people, like you and me, pay to be members of and get a share of the crops they harvest each week. Currently they serve 40 families from their 2 acres, but have recently come across some additional land and will be planting another 2 acres in the spring. You pay a monthly fee of $65 and get a bunch of veggies, fruits and herbs. Of course after listening to them, I was ready to whip out my pocketbook and sign up right then. Same with my next class which was a status report from the City of Chico Sustainability Task Force. Afterwards I was ready to write all these policies and implement new sustainable development standards. My last class today was about recycling. What is, what isn't, and why. I came roaring out of there ready to fire off an email to all my co-workers (who are already sick and tired of emails from the "Green Team") about easy recycling rules of thumb. In between the concurrent classes are keynote speakers for all the participants. The last one of the day was about the benefit of local businesses over a global market and large box stores. So don't be surprised when everyone gets local Chico products for Christmas. I'm never going to be allowed to go to one of these conferences again. Next thing you know, I'll be convincing Chris to sell the house and live in a commune, growing our own food and only showering yearly.

Please intervene before I go that far!