Saturday, October 31, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #4 All About The Food‏

Christmas food is awesome and there is always lots of it around during the season. There are just so many things we get to enjoy this time of year.

Sausage Balls - I don't know why but they make me think of Christmas. Probably because lots of years we have them Christmas morning at Mom & Dad's after all the presents have been opened, the trash is picked up, and the parade is on TV. They are definitely tasty goodness.

Peppermint anything - Shakes (already being sold at Chick-fil-A), fudge, almond bark, canes, hot's all delicious and really says Christmas. I definitely enjoy my share of it during the holidays.

Cookies, bars, etc. - I attend an annual girl's Christmas party every year and in recent years we've started a cookie exchange. Talk about awesome. The women that attend are great cooks and very creative. There might be peanut butter cookies with a Hershey's kiss melted in the middle, pretzels with a tootsie roll and M&M melted on top, chocolate chip cookies, various bars, cake's all fantastic. I look forward to this get together all year long!

And don't forget about making Christmas sugar cookies. I love them! You get the fun of rolling the dough, cutting them in to cute shapes, and creatively decorating them with icing. The best part? After your done it's time to eat them!!!

Side dishes - I love my mom's Broccoli, Rice & Cheese Casserole. It's the perfect side to take to potlucks during the holidays. I've learned to make it pretty good too. Cranberry sauce is another favorite of mine. Nothing says Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner better. Of course there are the traditional mashed potatoes. You can't have a holiday meal without those.

Meat - We always have turkey and ham during the Christmas season. Brisket is sometimes thrown in there as well. Yum!

Chocolates - Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of chocolate. This especially rings true during Christmas time. My favorites are Reese's in the shape of Christmas trees and toy soldiers. There is just something about them being in those shapes that makes them taste better. Then of course there are the red and green M&M's and chocolate covered cherries...I can't get through the holidays without those.

I look forward to enjoying all these treats with Christmas time rapidly approaching. Of course come January 1st it'll be time to head straight for the gym and be strict on the diet. But we'll just worry about that then! ;-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - #3 Accent Craft‏

My accent craft is a Christmas Card Display. I got the idea from Better Homes and Gardens' Christmas section on Cards & Tags. My dilemma every Christmas is where to put the cards I receive. I love Christmas cards! They are one of my favorite parts of Christmas, however I do not have a good way to display them. I usually put a few on the fridge, prop some up on picture frames, or put them on my counter (where they get knocked over by my cat or from shutting doors). This year will be different. I found this great idea to tape ribbons to the front of an armoire or door, I'm going to put them on my kitchen cabinets, and then when the cards start to trickle in you just tape them to the ribbon. You can choose whatever design you wish. I'm thinking I'll just go with the random and buy a bunch of different Christmas ribbon and just randomly tape them up. I'm so excited for Christmas so I can try out this new idea. I realize this craft is not difficult AT ALL, but sometimes those are the best ones. I'll have to show you how it turns out come mid-December.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn at the Arboretum‏

I love arboretums! They are so beautiful and fun to walk through. I especially love the Dallas Arboretum. I've been to Dallas Blooms in the spring four different times but had never been in the fall. I mentioned it to Keelie and we decided we'd go.

I hopped in the car with Keelie and the kiddos early Sunday afternoon. After a sports quiz from Jonah "Kristi, do you know the Mavericks? Kristi, do you know the Dallas Stars? Kristi, do you know the Dallas Cowboys?", we headed to lunch at Jason's Deli, a quick trip to Old Navy for Jonah an outfit, and then we were on our way to Autumn at the Arboretum. We got there around 2 pm. A co-worker had given me a free admission ticket, which included free parking. That made the trip even better. We walked through the front gate and there were pumpkins EVERYWHERE. I loved it...and so did Jonah. It was a sea of orange. All the pathways were lined with pumpkins, and beautiful mums were popping up everywhere. There were many rare pumpkins at the arboretum as well. I had personally never really seen white and green ones. It was pretty cool. Jonah enjoyed the the Storybook Playhouses that were scattered throughout the grounds. We made it to Eragon, Treasure Island, Peter Pan, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Jonah enjoyed the streams with huge fish as well. I was personally paranoid that he would fall in and I'd have to jump in after him. I kept one hand on him the whole time. By the end of our outing Glory has passed out in the stroller. Thank goodness because we lost her bottle somewhere along the way! ;-)
I just love going to the arboretum and can't wait for Holiday at the Arboretum, which I didn't even know existed until I read the little book they pass out when you enter. So grab your camera, the kids, your friends, some walking shoes and head East on 635. You won't regret it!

Jo & Glo‏

swinging Glory

I kept Jonah & Glory during the day Saturday while Justin worked a double shift at the fire station and Keelie worked at The Mission. I love those kids. They are so much fun. Plus at the end of the day I get to give them back and go home alone. Hehe. But really, they are great. We had fun playing outside. Glory enjoyed her swing for a little while, although she had a cold and was a bit fussy after a bit and just wanted me to hold her and walk around. Jonah loved being outside, digging up worms, picking up rocks, and tree climbing. Tree climbing made me a bit nervous and after he got his foot stuck and I had to wiggle it out while holding Glory at the same time I told him tree climbing was over. He was pretty cute while up there though and exclaimed "I can see all of Gunter. I can see God!". I always have fun stories after spending the day with these little ones.

tree climbing

The original plan for Saturday was for me to take Jonah Halloween costume shopping, but after Justin had to stay at work I kept the kiddos until Keelie was done with The Mission work. Keelie had to borrow my car that morning because her battery was dead and after she ran home to drop my car back off and get a ride with Lindsey to head to another Mission appointment Jonah exclaimed "Now we're NEVER going to get to go get my costume!" It was hilarious. I told him that his mommy and Glory might go shopping with us and he told me he didn't want them to. Haha. While playing outside Glory was fussing some and Jonah said "Kristi...I don't think she likes you." I told him that made me sad and then he goes "Haha. I'm just kidding!". Such a stinker. Oh and speaking of stinker, I called Glory one as she crawl-sprinted out of the play room. Jonah said "Kristi, we don't call people stinker. That is calling someone a name and that is not nice." I let him know that he was right and I was sorry. He later told me people in preschool call other people stinker and poohead and we talked about how that was not nice and that he shouldn't do that. He said he didn't. lol. After Keelie returned home Jonah and I hopped in the car, he kept telling me to come on, and we headed to Sherman to check out costumes at Target. We talked the whole way there and back. Jonah sang a song about colors and pointed out everything that was the certain color he was singing out. Oh, and Jonah dressed himself for our trip. The dew-rag did come off before we got to Target. He asked if it would be okay in my car and I told him that it would because I would lock the doors. He then inquired about the windows to which I said they would be rolled up and locked as well. He then said "What if it grows legs and walks off?" I told him that I didn't think that would happen. Another interesting conversation that Jonah & I had on our outing was about babies. He said "Kristi, did you know Knox came out of Alicia's tummy? How do babies get in there?". I said "Well, when mommies & daddies are married they decide they want to have a baby and then the baby gets in there." Then of course Jonah asks "But how?". I then said "Well, God puts it in there" to which Jonah said "But how does he get his hands in there?". I told him "Well, you know that God can do anything, right Jonah?" and Jonah asked "Like Jesus?". I said "Yes, just like Jesus. So God gives the baby to the mommy." and Jonah just goes "Oh." Get ready Justin & Keelie!

ready to shop

Once in Target we scooped out the costumes. Jonah has to be a 'community helper' for school. In other words, not scary costumes or characters. We grabbed the two costumes that would fit the 'community helper' guideline, a doctor and a fireman. Jonah quickly decided on the fireman costume and then we were off to the toy aisle. We told him he could get a toy at Target after costume shopping. We were in the toy aisle FOREVER. I thought that kiddo would never decide on a toy he wanted. Of course he wanted everything that was expensive and I kept telling him "that's too much" so then he asked "is that too much?" on every item. After awhile I was really ready to go. We turned down a different toy aisle and I spotted a construction set for $10. I showed it to him and he exclaimed "That's what I want!" Yes! We were done. We headed to the check out counter with our purchases in hand. I threw in some gummy snacks for him to have on the ride home. As we were walking out he steered into the coffee shop and grabbed a milk he wanted and started to walk off. I told him we had to pay for it. lol. We got our milk and were good to go. I stopped at Chick-fil-A since I was starving and as the man asked me if that was all Jonah exclaimed "I want something!". I asked him what and he said chocolate milk, so I ordered that for him. After getting our purchases we headed home. As we were driving Jonah said "Kristi...are you sure you know what you are doing?" CRACK ME UP! I love this kid. We made it back to Gunter in one piece. It was a fun outing with Jonah. I'm so glad we both survived! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Leah!‏

Leah turned 32 on Friday. Whooo! We celebrated by having drinks at The Fillmore, dinner at Urban Crust, and then hung out at the rooftop bar at Urban Crust. I highly recommend everyone check it out. It's located in downtown Plano and is very yum. You won't regret having pizza there and the atmosphere is very fun. It was a great evening with a wonderful group of girls. Happy 32nd Leah. We love you!

3 L's - Lindsay, Lacy, & Leah

Leah, Leigh Ann, Beth, & Margaret

Leigh Ann & me

Yay! Birthday cake!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Red Writing's TWOC - # 2 Christmas Memories and Traditions

I absolutely love Christmas! I have fantastic memories of Christmas' past, as well as the traditions we uphold every year.

It has always been a tradition in our family that the presents are opened on Christmas morning. Not Christmas Eve, Christmas morning. One of my favorite memories from Christmas morning is the year I saw the reindeer tracks in the snow in the front yard. I was really young but I still remember this. My dad told me that Santa's reindeer had left tracks out front and he took me to see them. It was awesome. Now of course the reindeer tracks were not real. My dad had created them. But of course I didn't know that until years later. I love that memory.

We traditionally spend Christmas day at my grandparent's house. We open presents, have breakfast, get ready, and head there for lunch. Lunch has been and is always perfect, thanks to Grandma & Mom. When we were younger Court & I couldn't wait for lunch to be over, the dishes to be done, and for presents to be opened. We were beside ourselves until it was present time.

Keelie & I have always exchanged Christmas presents, as long as I can remember. I have many memories of this. For one, Keelie used to not be the best secret keeper and would sometimes tell me what she was giving me. lol. I loved when we would get together to open gifts and we would give each other the same exact thing. It cracked me up to find out in later years that our moms would discuss the presents and decide for us to give each other the same gift so we wouldn't want what the other had. Smart moms.

One year Courtney & I made a nativity to help decorate the living room. We used stuffed sheep, Cabbage Patches, dolls, and other various items to construct this. It was awesome! Our parents loved it. We still talk about it.
When I was in elementary school our Sunday school class made a nativity scene out of felt, glitter, glue, ribbon, and a dowel rod. It looks pretty funny since I was really young when I made it. I love that 20+ years later my mom still hangs it up every year as part of our decorations.

I am very particular about the way my Christmas tree is decorated. It's not that it has to be done any certain way, except that it has to be done my way. I've always been this way. I used to decorate the tree at mom & dad's and not let mom & Court help me. They didn't do it right. LOL! The ugly ornaments, like those given to us by my dad's Aunt Ann, always got hung in the back. I hung the stuffed ornaments that my mom made in the back as well, as they looked out-dated to me. I felt pretty bad the year mom realized what I was doing. She couldn't believe it. Haha. The ornaments from my parent's tree are awesome. They are a collection of ornaments throughout the years. Some of them were made in grade school my Court & me, others were given to my mom by students, still others contain pictures of us throughout the years. These ornaments were so special and mom still won't let me have them for my tree! :)
Okay, I'll stop. I could go on and on and on. I love Christmas and the traditions that are kept and the new memories that are made every year. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My 30th!!!‏

I turned 30 on Saturday, October 10th. Yes, no matter how much begging and pleading I did it still happened. The good news is that I survived.


I arrived at work on Friday to a desk decorated in 30th Birthday garb. Deborah had balloons, streamers, candy, confetti, and banners all over my desk. There was no doubt in any one's mind how old I was about to turn. She had given me a super cute card with a cat on it and a check! Whoo! Later in the day some beautiful flowers were delivered to me with the bible verse "For I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for good and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope. I love my child. Jesus". I have a feeling Deb was behind those as well. Vincent gave me some super cute earrings from Banana Republic. Everyone in my department signed a 30th sign for me and people walked by all day wishing me Happy Birthday. It was great!


After work I was supposed to have dinner at Abuelos with mom, dad, Courtney, Rashahn, and possibly Keelie. I knew my parents were running a bit late as they had headed over from Decatur around 4:30, were going to go get my key's at Discount Tire (I had left the car there at lunch because my tire pressure was low), were picking up dessert at Cheesecake Factory (I requested the Red Velvet Cake & Cheesecake dessert), and wanted to run by my apartment to drop off some items for Saturday that needed to be refrigerated. I was a bit annoyed because they were running late as usual and they even called at one point asking if I could figure out another way to get my keys. I had to work until 6:15 so I didn't know what I was going to do since Discount closed at 6. They said they should be able to make it in time. I asked Rashahn to pick me up at work at 6:15 since I had no car and she was coming to Abuelos with us. At this point I figured Keelie wasn't coming because I hadn't heard anything from her. I left my desk at 6:15 and headed outside but I didn't see Rashahn anywhere. I looked around for a bit but still didn't see her car so I stood at the front of the building waiting. By 6:31 I was starting to worry so I called her but had to leave a message. A few minutes later I was in the process of writing her a text when she called me. She thought I had said 6:45 instead of 6:15. She felt bad but was nearly there. I had called mom & dad and they were still at my apt because Court was not feeling well so we were still going to beat them to the restaurant. Rashahn and I got to Abuelos, put our name on the list and then waited for mom, dad, & Court. They finally called and asked what the exit was so I knew they were close. I kept staring at the door waiting for them to enter. Finally they did, but to my SURPRISE and SHOCK right behind them were Deborah & Elizabeth all the way from Houston, Vanessa all the way from San Antonio, and there was Keelie!!!! I was SO excited! I had NO CLUE! I knew Deb & Eliz were coming the next day but I had no clue Vanessa was coming at all and I didn't know Keelie was coming to dinner. What a great night! Courtney bought a crown that said Birthday Queen which they made me wear and the girls had brought me balloons. We enjoyed some good Mexican food and then headed back to my apt. Oh, and Court was never sick. They were killing time waiting for my surprise guests to arrive. :) Rashahn took me to get my car so we were the last to arrive. The girls wouldn't let me in my apt at first. When they finally did those sneaky girls had decorated with 30th Birthday decor. There was a table cloth, suckers that said 30 Sucks, confetti out the wazoo, a 30th centerpiece, streamers, presents, AND a trivia game board labeled "It's All About Kristi" (think the trivia episode from Friends). It was GREAT! I opened presents & we ate cake. Robert arrived after getting off work and brought cinnamon dessert from Papa Johns. Yum. We then played the trivia game. I had to determine who raised their hand first and what the correct answer was. Talk about pressure. Hehe. Courtney ended up being the winner. Go figure! She has known me my entire life! After that we just hung out eating and talking. I LOVE my family & friends! Everyone left after a while and Vanessa, Deb, Elizabeth, & I crawled into bed around 3:30.


The four of us were up by 10:30 and were snacking on cake, chips, cinnamon dessert, and whatever else we could find. I received birthday wishes from family and friends via text and phone calls. Keelie & Glory came by to drop off my birthday present and cupcakes for that evening, since Keelie wasn't able to make it. We eventually all got ready and left for the Belmont Hotel around 4:15. Hey, only an hour and fifteen minutes after we had planned to leave. Not too shabby with 4 girls, 1 bathroom, and 2 wild cats. Leigh Ann, Leah, & Margaret were already at the Belmont and had decorated with streamers, a banner, and had fun drinks ready for us when we arrived. We had met up with Robin & Erin in the parking lot. We hung out, took pictures, and got ready to go have dinner at nearby Tillman's Roadhouse in the Bishop Arts District. There we met up with Stephanie, Jessica, & Julie, and Brinda joined us later as well. We had the Trio of Fries as an appetizer. This consisted of parmesan black pepper kennebec fries, chili dusted purple peruvian fries and smoked salt scented sweet potato fries with housemade catsup and horseradish pickle mayo. Yum! For my meal I had Hickory Smoked Chipotle BBQ Ribs on white cheddar mac-n-cheese. Talk about amazing! Best mac-n-cheese EVER. The blood orange margarita wasn't too shabby either. The waiters surprised me with a smores dessert with a candle and sang Happy Birthday. After dinner we headed back to the Belmont for Keelie's awesome red velvet cupcakes, drinks, and presents. We just hung out, talked, took pictures, and played w/Leah's doggies (well hers and her parent's). I think we headed to bed around 1 am. Most people left on Sunday between 10 and 11. Elizabeth & Deb headed back to Houston and Vanessa rode back to my apt with me, we had some Taco Bell, hung out and rested for a bit, and then she was off to San Antonio.

It was a FANTASTIC 30th Birthday weekend! I could not ask for better friends and family. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life that care about me. Thank you all! You mean the world to me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2009 State Fair of Texas‏

I have attended the State Fair twice in the last week and a half. I LOVE the fair. What could be better than crazy foods, fun shows, and interesting exhibits?!

On October 3rd I went to see Mary Poppins at the Music Hall at Fair Park with Beth, Chris, & Emma. It was a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious show! It started at 2 pm, had one 15 minute intermission, and lasted until 4:50. It was as great as I remembered the movie being. Mary Poppins flew through the crowd and wowed the audience. The music was great, the costumes were perfect, and that big bag of hers was full of magic. It was practically perfect (as sung by Mary in the musical)! After the musical ended we decided to head into the fair. It was sprinkling so we decided not to stay long. We did make it to the 2010 Auto Show, grabbed a Fletcher's corn dog, saw Big Tex, and visited the animals in the Barnyard. By the time we headed out the sprinkling had gotten heavier. A new experience for me this year was riding the DART to the fair. It was a great alternative to fighting traffic and finding a place to park. We hopped on at the American Airlines Center and it took us right to the Fair Park Station that was adjacent from the Music Hall. It only cost $4 dollars to ride and $5 to park at the station. We had a great time, even if we were a bit water logged by the end.

Columbus Day was yesterday and I had the day off from work. (Thank you Bank of America.) Robert, Rashahn, & I decided to head to the fair, as Rashahn had never been and Robert hadn't been in a while. We arrived at the fair at 10 am and walked out at 7 pm. Yes, we were hardcore. We watched the Kroger Bird Show, Pirates of the Caribbean High Dive Show, Jump! Dog Show, and Dancing with Canines. I do not recommend the High Dive Show or the Dancing with Canines show. Skip that and eat more fried food! :) We visited the Children's Barnyard (it's for big kids too), the Cattle Barn where we saw two cows milked and watched a video about milking in the Milking Parlor (this made me crave milk all day and I bought it twice - yes I'm weird), perused the Gateway Pavilion, the Creative Arts building where we saw the butter sculpture, Food & Fiber Pavilion, Embarcadero, and the Craft Pavilion. We checked out the 2010 Auto Show as well. No, we did not see Oprah, although she was taping her show there yesterday. We weren't really interested in that at all so we stayed clear of that area until after her show was over. We did hear a horrid band called Honor Society on the Chevy Main Stage. I do not recommend running out and buying their CD. We did stop and listen to the celtic group the Killdares perform and they were pretty good. Now for the food...we ate a lot. We first hit up the Coca-Cola Food Court where I had a frito pie. Yum! Rashahn tried out the ft. long chili cheese dog and Robert got deep fried bbq brisket. We three split fried peaches & cream and a funnel cake. I had fried smores and it was awesome. I feel as though I need to learn how to make it. We got Fletcher's corn dogs as well. Rashahn had three bites of a pickle and disposed of that. She said it was sour, as in bad, not the way pickles are supposed to taste. Robert had a BBQ sauerkraut sandwich and a hand dipped nutty ice cream bar. Hmmm. I guess that was it. I wanted to try fried butter and fried cookie dough but the line was too long and I didn't want to wait. With all the walking we did I'm sure we burned it all off. Hehe. Of course we saw the Ferris Wheel and Big Tex, which Rashahn got to hear talk. We decided to drive and park at the fair which worked out very well since we got there so early. And we only had to pay $10. It was a super fun day but by the end of it each of us was complaining about different body parts hurting. We were ready to head home and crash.

I highly recommend the State Fair of Texas. There is fun to be had by all ages. I try to make it at least once every year. You still have time to make it this year as it runs until October 18th. If you can't make it by then definitely start planning for next year. By then someone will have invented some new fried food that we'll all want to try!