Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

I'm really lost without internet in our house. But, we received our high speed modem / wireless router in the mail yesterday! I was so excited I actually did a little dance.

Of course, though, there's always one missing crucial piece that's 'not included.' Batteries, perhaps? Or a printer with no USB cable. Or cameras... no memory card. Instant gratification is the unattainable holy grail of technology. So I was preparing myself to open the box and not have a power cord, or a CAT5 cable, or a phone cord. Imagine my shock when every single necessary item was included in that little box of joy!! I added a few steps to my happy dance.

Plug and play, baby... plug and play!

Wrappers flying, twisty ties tossed aside, insert cord here, power up item here... wait a second... hang on...

I did not know until 11:32pm last night that we don't have any phone jacks in the house.

Thwarted again.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Keep Your Joy

My husband took me out to dinner the day after Christmas. The waitress, who seemed to have a hangover, asked us with a cheerless face and duldrum voice, "Did you survive the holiday?"

Um, yes... yes we did.

There are still 5 more days of the Octave of Christmas, and 9 more days of the liturgical Christmas season.

Don't throw out your tree! Don't lose joy!

Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

May the sweet omnipotent baby blessings of our Infant King be upon you and your family.

Merry Christmas! (Yes, it's a Solemnity, you can eat meat tomorrow in good conscience! YAHOO!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On Toothpaste

I walked into the bathroom a few weeks ago and was horrified to find not one, not two, not three, but FOUR open toothpaste tubes. How, pray tell, did we get so many?

Well, you see... two people got married and each brought a tube to the marriage. The others were added when the minty paste took a journey from one bathroom to the other and I thought we were out, so I bought another -- and my husband did the same (I kid you not). Now we have four.

My husband assured me we'd use just one tube at a time. He plastic-wrapped the extras together and stored them in the back of the medicine cabinet, not to be opened until direst need.

This system has worked wonderfully. But I think he's taking it a bit too far.

I spent what seemed like an eternity (when you've got socks on your teeth every second feels like an hour) trying to squeeze the last bit out of one of the nearly-empty tubes. "Can we please open a new one?" I begged.

With his iron-like farmer's forearms he squeezed a little blip out of the tube for me.

"Nah, this one's good for another two days."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Thief Made Me Honest

Our old laptop picked up a free wireless signal. Well, in two spots in the house, anyway... if you balanced it just right on your lap... and if it wasn't too overcast... and if it wasn't a bank holiday.

But it was free. And for the most part, it worked like a charm.

This new computer we have doesn't pick up the signal. So we actually have to pay for internet.

What's this world coming to?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Generosity

I was lamenting a bit earlier this year that we'd have no Christmas tree. I already purchased a nativity scene (which is gorgeous!) and couldn't justify the extra expense of more Christmas decorations this year.

Well, last week my husband brought home an 8 foot tree (our ceiling is about 7 1/2 feet). No tree skirt, no stand, no topper, no lights, no ornaments. But our house smells like pine!!

Our generous Aunt and Uncle (who also graciously opened their home, rent free, to me when I first moved up here after we were engaged) gave us lights, a skirt and a topper! My in-laws donated a tree stand. People from church have been giving us boxes of ornaments! It's incredible!

The generosity of these wonderful people is humbling. May the baby blessings of our sweet Infant Jesus richly reward them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Library Filters

So we thought we could live without buying another computer for a while (since the non-hamburglar stole our laptop).

But the local library has Blogger blocked. No Blogger, no City Wife, Country Life.

Suddenly the intensity of our shopping has escalated exponentially.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not the Hamburglar

At 1:40 in the morning on December 15th, an unwelcome guest came into our house. We were at home, asleep.

My husband (who could sleep through the Second Coming) woke up as he saw the man leaving our bedroom. He yelled after him. "What is it? You're scaring me," I said waking up. He didn't say anything. "Is there someone in our house?" I whispered. Almost imperceptibly, he nodded.

The next few minutes felt like hours. We waited and listened. All I could hear was our heartbeats and my husband's quickened breath.

Was the man armed? Had he taken anything? Was he going to come back into our bedroom? Was it someone we knew? I couldn't reach my phone to dial 911, I couldn't reach our gun, and I didn't want to get out of the bed. I couldn't have if I'd wanted to. My husband had thrown himself on top of me and held me with an iron grip... every muscle of his body tensed. I prayed the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, Memorares, and Acts of Contrition. I thought of my parents' prayers for us, how much I loved my husband, and yes... dear readers... I thought of how I was glad I'd put on clean underwear... for the coroner's sake.

After years of watching Perry Mason (where every minute is a crucial detail in the court case) I checked the time. 1:51am.

Finally the silence broke. The back door slid closed. Then, THUMP. Seconds later, THUMP.

Ever so slowly, my husband got out of bed, grabbed a piece of driftwood we keep (for decoration) and walked throughout the house to make sure a) the intruder had gone, and b) there was no one else.

The house was clear. Nothing appeared to be gone.

We called the police.

Minutes later the neighbors' Christmas lights were outshone by swirling blue and red. Loud shouting. Dogs barking. Screaming. Cursing. Barking. Screaming. Radio transmissions: "Suspect headed towards (such and such) Street." Yelling. Barking. An unholy shriek, and then a thud. "Suspect down."

I breathed.

The police were able to track him quite easily -- it had just snowed. He had been hiding in a nieghbor's yard. The K-9 unit helped sniff him out. He'd resisted arrest. He'd fled. He was drunk. They tracked him down and got him with a taser.

It wasn't until the next morning we'd discovered my laptop was missing. It had been right next to our bed; at the head. He was that close. That was probably the first "thump" -- him throwing it over a fence before jumping it himself.

The man is in jail now. No sign of my computer.

Other than a stolen laptop, a box of stolen Kleenex and a brown pile of DNA evidence in our yard (burglars are disgusting), everything appears to be fine.

My husband and I have tried to keep busy. We made 10 lbs. of bratwurst, 5 lbs. of Italian sausage, and 3 dozen tamales. Bratwurst: it's okay. Italian sausage: amazing. Tamales: perfection.

I'm going to make a chicken and sausage gumbo for tonight's dinner. And other than checking the locks on our house compulsively, we're doing all right. Though I haven't tired yet of asking...

"Did you lock the back door?"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Had a family... emergency... last night.

I won't be posting for an indefinite amount of time. :( Please pray for us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Renewal of Card Parties

While reading O'Henry's short stories yesterday, I was amused by the frequent references to class, good breeding, elegant manners, and high society. These social refinements are now relics of a not-too-distant past. Elegance was the first casualty of efficiency. Nobleness of character and manner are quaint fashions in the shock-and-awe crudery of modernity.

Not while I still draw breath.

My husband spent over an hour last night trying to explain Pinochle to me. I'm determined to revive the great American tradition of card parties. My goal is Bridge, but I'll settle for anything above Crazy 8's, Go Fish and Texas Hold 'Em.

This Saturday, we're inviting another couple over to play cards. I'll get to make hors d'œuvres and serve them on a silver tray. We'll sip sherry and laugh politely amidst trumps and tricks and queens and jacks.

Maybe I'll wear pearls.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Other people make beautiful cookies and truffles on lace doilies in cute tins to give for Christmas gifts. That's what I gave out when I lived in the city.

Now? Well... there have been multiple requests for Christmas boudin and fresh sausage.

I wonder how that would look on a doily?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Pasta

So I said I was going to make homemade pasta yesterday and guess what? We actually did!

I didn't whip out the camera until after I'd made the dough, though. But its 3 ingredients are:
  • 2 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs (yes, for once it does make a difference... they do need to be large)
Combine the flour and salt in your mixer bowl, add eggs 1 at a time using the flat paddle for 2 minutes, or until large clumps are formed. Turn off the mixer and try to form the dough into a ball. If it's dry and shaggy, add a tsp. of water at a time (mixing in between) and try to form a ball again. If it's sticky, add a Tbsp. of flour at a time (mixing in between) until it sticks together but not to your hand. (I ended up having to add about 5 tsp. of water because I originally put too much flour in).

Here's the main player: the glorious attachment called the pasta roller.

Here's my beautiful dough cut into pieces after "resting" for 20 minutes.

Let the rolling begin (on setting 1, speed 2).

 Lookin' pretty good, hm? So far so great.

"Uh oh. That's not what pasta's supposed to look like. Dear husband, you're doing something wrong!"

"No I'm not. It'll work, trust me."

"I trust you, but it's lookin' kinda funky." 

"It always looks like this. You just have to work the dough and don't put it in too thick."

"You're a genius! It's beautiful!" (still on speed 2, setting 1, after about 5 passes through)

Just keep working it. When it's the width of the roller you can move onto the next setting. (speed 2, setting 2)

"It's starting to look like real pasta sheets! This is amazing!" (speed 2, setting 3)

It's the width of the roller and is nice and flat and soft, it's ready to cut. (speed 2, roller setting 4 for thick noodles or 5 for "the-way-I-like-it" fettuccine).

Now we're using the fettuccine cutter. I'm so proud of this picture -- it looks like real pasta! (because it is)

Just a few more...  (you can flour the noodles a bit if they're sticking together. Try to cut each sheet right after you roll it [it's not that hard to switch the attachments], or it might dry out before you cut it).

In the meantime, make a nice pot of Swedish Meatballs (recipe coming soon).

Don't you love winter food?

Look at that steam!

This is why I could never be a vegetarian.

Boil the noodles as long as they need (ours were thicker so they took about 5 minutes, but it can take as little as 1 or 2). I snuck some cabbage into the swedish meatball sauce before serving.... because... well... I love cabbage.

And so does my husband. (This meal goes great with beer, by the way).

Cold winter Advent evenings with my husband are so nice. O Come O Come Emmanuel!

Yes, I use a broken pink candle in our Advent wreath. Just keepin' it real.

Free Friday continues. Get 20 free Christmas iTunes downloads. I don't even have an iPod, but I love these songs and thought you might, too :).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Small Stuff


1. I made bread this week! It's my 3rd try (and the first attempts weren't roaring successes, but I was determined to stick with it). I had my first true bread baking success. Light fluffy loaf, husband's nod of approval, cost a fraction of store-bought bread and has no dubious ingredients. Yay!

2. Made a rather mature financial decision (despite the fact my inner child was throwing a tantrum) not to buy a Christmas tree this year because we have no ornaments or lights (our first Christmas). Instead, we put our priorities straight and bought a nativity scene, I made an Advent wreath, and we'll slowly start accumulating ornaments and lights for next year (in the post-Christmas clearances). (I can't even buy this adorable dinnerware!! Ah well.)

3. I called my senators this week. I've sent form e-mails in the past, but I've never had the courage to call them. I don't know what I was afraid of -- it was so simple! Sadly our state's senators helped vote down the pro-life health care legislation, but at least I wasn't silent.

Check out others' small successes this week @ Faith and Family Live.


I'm going to try my hand at pasta making today! Say a small prayer it turns out well, please :).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I used to wake up to the sound of an alarm clock.

Now I wake up early in the morning to phone calls for my husband.

"The cows are out."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Forgetful Baking

A few months ago, I was commissioned to do a birthday cake.

I forgot about it.

The party is tomorrow. And I'm going on a long road trip tomorrow.

So I'll be baking and covered in icing all day today. Wish me luck. =)

But I'll be playing (yes I know it's Advent, but the radio stations don't) Christmas music! It makes me happy. Don't judge me. Just so you know, I play Christmas music in April, too. (hehe)

Enjoy some free Christmas MP3 downloads at Amazon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moving in the Right Direction


1. Gave in to my nieces' pleas for a craft project and we made Christmas countdown paper chains. (Yes I do think that's a success, actually.) See below.

2. I have finished almost all of the Thanksgiving leftovers. Fried stuffing balls are actually pretty good, hehe.

3. I made a pretty Advent wreath for $7 (yay Dollar Tree).

Check out others' small successes this week at Faith and Family Live!
It was a very simple project.

Made a simple bell using construction paper. (It just decorates the top of the chain).

Divided the construction paper up into 6 parts (fold in half, then fold each half in 3rds) and made swirly patterns on every other section with glue. Covered in glitter (notice how my table is PLASTERED WITH NEWSPAPER... that's of vital importance).

Shook off the glitter (and promptly funneled it back into the container).

So easy a 2nd grader can do it.

We cut the paper into strips. Then they started weaving them, and gluing.

And holding for a few seconds.

Many hands make light work.

Each day they'll rip off a chain until Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Homemade Boudin (blanc and rouge)

Well, many of you have asked me how the sausage making went.

In the words of my dear husband, "It was an unqualified success."

We made boudin rouge (blood sausage, solely for my father-in-law's sake) and boudin blanc, my absolute favorite Louisiana staple.

I was born in Louisiana, and most of my extended family still lives there. We moved away when I was 2, but I was still raised on the Cajun/Creole cuisine: red beans and rice, dirty rice, gumbo, boudin, jambalaya, etoufee, shrimp creole, cracklin, po'boys... YUM.

I used Emeril's recipe for boudin and doubled it.

I was SO PLEASED!! It's EXACTLY Louisiana boudin! Actually, it was better, becuse we made it :).

The blood sausage still gives me indigestion just thinking about it. I tried to have as little to do with it as possible. So my father-in-law and husband made it.

I love my father-in-law. He made sausage in his cap and suspenders.

But seriously, it was gory. It was bloody. It was disgusting.

The post-cooked pictures aren't that bad. (E-mail me if you want the recipe, but I'm not posting it here! Blech!)


Okay, think I'm being a baby? I'll show you a picture.

See? It was gross!

So there.

And my kitchen looked like a scene from CSI.

But I'm more than happy with my personal stash of real Louisiana boudin!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Made St. Andrew Chaplets!

  • .018" 19 strand bead stringing wire
  • 15 8mm purple beads (I used some kind of amethyst)
  • 14 4mm sterling silver filigree beads
  • 2 1.3mm crimp beads
  • 1 medal (St. Andrew is ideal, but use a Miraculous Medal in a pinch)
  • 1 St. Andrew prayer
Hail and Blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most Pure Virgin Mary
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.

In that hour, vouchsafe O my God,
to hear my prayers and grant my petitions,
through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ
and His Blessed Mother, Amen.

You, too, can make a beautiful chaplet like this.


I absolutely love these beads!

I made two... one for my husband and one for myself -- though I think I'll send one to my mom, too.

The chaplet began yesterday (on the Feast of St. Andrew) and will go until Christmas.

St. Andrew is one of the many patrons of want-to-be mothers.