Saturday, December 20, 2008

And we're off!

Hi all! Just letting you know that we will not be blogging for the next few weeks because we will be in Pennsylvania!!! Yay hurray!

Our plans include, but are not limited to:

*Eating yummy food
*Playing with Ravenna and other lovely family members
*Going to Baltimore
*Playing with my friends Mara and Sara, and maybe more
*D.C. Temple
*Observing the Amish
*Oh, and other fun stuff

If you have any suggestions or if you are in the D.C. area and want to say hello, send me a message. Otherwise, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Many tags all in one!

I was tagged by Brighton Woman do this six things meme, but I was also tagged forever ago by Becky to do seven interesting things about myself and it wouldn't be fair to do one and not the other so I will combine them, and it will involve a pseudo holiday theme. The tag begins:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Seven Interesting/Weird Things about Carrie:

1) I don't like Santa. Yeah, yeah, bah humbug and all that. No, I don't think the idea of Santa Claus is a bad one, but I just don't want to lie to my children and make them think that if they don't pretend to believe then they won't get gifts. I don't think parents who do Santa are evil, but Andrew and I agreed that in our family Santa is not going to be a part of our family's Christmas celebration.

2) Follow up to #1: "What?! What a horrible parent you are!" some might be thinking, and while that very well may be, Andrew and I prefer the German tradition where children receive gifts not from Santa, but from the Christ child. In fact, we would like to incorporate many German Christmas traditions into our celebrations which include Advent. In many ways, I think the German traditions are much more Christ centered, and that is the way it should be.

3) I saved up for months to buy an Aero Garden so that I could include "grows own produce" to my domestic goddess C.V. I scouted the Internet anxiously looking for bargains and finally stumbled upon one on Ebay. The delivery day was the 15th and when the jolly UPS man dropped the long awaited box at our door, I was a bit puzzled: the box said The Ultimate Kitchen Gardener. Huh? I had been scammed! Sorta. Apparently Aero makes a cheaper (i.e. crappy) version which I ended up with. The seller on Ebay marketed the product as the genuine article, and he could do so because Aero makes the product. Now I am trying to figure out whether or not to return it. Sad day.

4) I am insulin resistant and should be on a diabetic diet but have you ever tried that at CHRISTMAS of all times? Ugh, my body craves carbs constantly, but they are oh so bad. How does one drop the cookie or cookie dough truffle, and grab an apple or carrot instead? The natural woman is winning this round...again.

5) Trailer parks are the bane of my existence. I have been driving around lost in gargantuan trailer parks too often than I care to recall since moving to Gillette. What do you expect? The whole town is pretty much one large trailer park. Anyway, it is nearly impossible to find where you are going with all the darned deadly speed bumps and invisible trenches, not to mention all the ice and lack of clear addresses on the trailers.

6) Now for something I love: I love my new sewing machine. It is the perfect gift for me as I try to add other divine attributes to my above mentioned domestic goddess C.V. Although it took me an hour today to figure out how to thread the needle and then another hour of cursing and intense irritation to sew a straight stitch, I feel gratified and successful. Maybe one day I will move on to bigger and better things, like pillow cases, curtains and dare I even suggest it? A dress!

7) Another thing I love: my Pampered Chef knives! Last month I hosted a party, with the sole intention of buying a can opener and the curiosity of actually attending what feels like is the only "home party" I have never been invited to. When it came down to my hostess rewards I could chose any item in the catalog for half price. Then I saw them! 8 of the professional series PC knives with a bamboo knife block, kitchen shears and a sharpener for the bargain basement price of nearly $400! With the half off it came to just under $200. Was I out of my mind? Probably, but I can now cut veggies like the the chefs on TV and that makes me feel pretty special.

As a Christmas gift to the blogger world, I tag: NOBODY!

Ravenna opens her gifts (early)

video

Here is Ravenna opening up one of her Christmas gifts from her Grandma and Grandpa Hettinger.
Since they are far away in California, we thought they might like to watch her "open" her gift.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

-11.9 F and Christmas Goodies

As I write this blog post it is -11.9 degrees Fahrenheit outside and bitterly windy. The above picture is of my breakfast dregs after I left my bowl of oatmeal in the car while we were in church this morning. We returned 3 hours later to find that the spoon and the oatmeal had frozen to the bowl. Pretty cool, I mean, cold.


For our Christmas goodies this year I decided to make Seven Layer cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough truffles and Gingerbread cookies. I didn't really feel like making the Gingerbread yet, but I will probably do so this week.

Seven Layer cookies are absolutely my favorite cookies during the holidays. My mom made these when I was growing up and my grandma made them as well. I will even bet that my great grandmother made them. I noticed that they now sell kits, calling them "Magic Cookie Bars," to make these which is so silly because they are super easy.

Seven Layer Cookies
1 package of graham crackers, smashed into crumbs
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
12 oz. (2 cups) butterscotch morsels
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
7 oz. (1 1/3 c.) Shredded coconut
1 cup. chopped walnuts
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 13X9 pan. Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Layer the remaining ingredients, topping with the can of condensed milk. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature. Makes 2-3 dozen bars.

*The Eagle Brand Recipe says to pour the condensed milk over the crumbs and then layer the remaining ingredients over the top, pressing down firmly with a fork, but I haven't ever tried it.

One day I was watching the Food Network and I saw this truffle recipe and I wanted to make it instantly, but didn't think it would be a good idea to eat 60 some truffles on my own. They really do taste like cookie dough, but without the worry of salmonella.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 lbs. chocolate bark candy coating, melted

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

Melt chocolate bark candy coating in a double boiler. Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. *Since the dough is sticky, roll your fingers into flour.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The "Mom" Hair

I guess now that I am a mom, I gotta have the hair, right? I had an idea of how I wanted my hair to look, but this wasn't quite it. It isn't the stylist's fault; she did EXACTLY what I told her to. That is what upsets me the most. Was I subconsciously wanting a hairstyle that would make me look like a typical 30-something Utah Mormon mom sans bouffant and highlights?

Maybe I will do something really wild and crazy, like a pixie cut next time?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravenna, Ravenna, Ravenna!

I have really been slacking on my "Ravenna Photo of the Week" posts so I will make up for it doing a photo-post extravaganza! Enjoy!

Ravenna helping with the laundry

So you think she is ready for solids? Right.

Ravenna loves to stick her tongue out

She still has great, big, blue eyes, but for how long?


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sometimes...


...I feel a part of my heart is missing.

My first experience with this emotion began when I went to SVU and observed the relationship my roommate Jennifer had with her parents and siblings. She hung pictures of them all over her desk and would call them often and talk with them just as you would a best friend. Weird. The next time I felt this way was when I visited my friend Mara's family for Thanksgiving. The genuine affection they showed one another was so bizarre, I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it.When I dated and then married Andrew I could not understand why I felt so irritated when I witnessed how he and his family members interacted with each other. They genuinely seemed to LIKE each other! What was wrong with them?! Eventually I realized that there might be something wrong with me.

I can't say I have a good relationship with my family members. I don't have a bad relationship with them necessarily, but it is not one that I would ever call friendship. It never really bothered me, though. I thought that was the way all families were. But then I started to feel an emptiness inside that grew every time I closely observed other people's families. I realized that I was jealous. Obviously these families are not perfect, but somehow over time they had been able to develop friendships with each other that I had not.

What got me thinking about this? Obviously, the holiday season and so many people blogging about their families, especially my cousin. I want so much to be friends with my family members. Maybe it will come in time, however even if it never does, I will always be so grateful for my own little eternal family of Andrew and Ravenna. It is such a blessing to know that we can be together forever and that the wonderful friendships that I have cultivated in this life will endure in the next.