Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fudge and a Disclaimer

On Wednesday afternoon I made fudge for the first time, which considering I grew up in a family of sweet toothes seems almost unbelievable. My aunt had (has) the claim of making the best fudge. I remember going over to her house as a kid and staying up watching late night TV and eating fudge. Really, it doesn't get much better than late night TV and an incredible sugar rush. I'd watch her in the kitchen mixing up all sorts of things and then wait for it to boil, hoping for a taste from the mixing spoon before the fudge was ready. I found a recipe on the back of a container of marshmallow creme recently and used it today and I have burnt lips as proof that some things you never quite outgrow, like licking a spoon of hot fudge from the pan as it comes off the stove. And yes, it was good. Here's the recipe, if you are interested:

Fantastic Fudge: (that's the name the marshmallow creme gave, not me, although it IS fantastic)
2/3 cup margarine
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
7oz. marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. In a heavy 3 quart pan, combine margarine, sugar and evaporated milk. Bring mixture to a full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. continue boiling over medium heat for five minutes of until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread into prepared pan and cool at room temperature; cut into squares.
(taken from the back of Hill Country Fare marshmallow creme)

Enjoy making this, it really is simple and tastes great.

Now, as for that appears I have been spreading false or inaccurate information on my blog! I know, I know, it seems very difficult to believe and I must say, in my defense, it was done innocently. My mother would like for you to know that, contrary to what I have written, we DID INDEED have a REAL christmas tree for several years until my dad got tired of finding Christmas needles in the carpet in April each year and they went with a fake tree. My older sister also corroborates this story as she definately remembers a real tree and can describe with clarity the green tree holder we used. I stand corrected. This is further proof that not all childhood memories (or lack thereof) can be fully trusted. So, sorry mom, I retract all statements discrediting us having a real christmas tree. Although, I am waiting to see the supposed "pictures" of said real christmas tree...

Have a "fantastic" day.
Take care,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Love!

Today is my sweet husband's birthday. Rather than post today about holiday woes or episodes at the Old Navy parking lot (see previous post if curious) I thought I'd take a moment and send out a special message for my hubby.

If you knew my husband (and some of you do) one of the things you'd pick up on pretty quick is how patient and kind he is, completely even keeled. (definately qualities that come in handy when you are an EM doctor). I've told people many times that if they were a fly on the wall observing our family, they'd see my husband exactly the same in private as he is in public. Me? Not always so. John works hard, plays hard and always makes the kids and I his number one priority. He loves God and genuinely likes others and always tries to do the right thing.
I am a blessed woman to have such an amazing husband and father. I thank God daily for him and don't take what we have for granted.

Happy Birthday Love! You are amazing! I love you.

Take care,

Monday, December 15, 2008

This will go down as the December I lost it in the Old Navy parking lot

Let me just preface this story with two bits of background info I feel are relevant to the story:

1. One of my pet peeves involves people who do not place their shopping carts back into the stalls in the parking lots at stores.

2. I live in Corpus Christi. It is a very windy city.

On Sunday I took the kids to Old Navy after church to find a pair of pj's for my daughter since today was "Pajama Day" and she has outgrown all of her pj's. Shopping at the store was fine. The lines were not too terribly long. We were in and out in very little time. We left the store and walked to our car. Since our van was side swiped at the movie theater parking lot over Thanksgiving break I have been parking as far away from the stores and cars as possible. (As a side note: the side swiping story has a very happy ending involving a kind older gentleman who took responsibility for hitting our car and whose insurance is paying to repair our van. It's a long story and maybe I'll post about it another time.)

When I got in our car the closest vehicle to mine was a blue SUV 4 or 5 spaces to my right. There were two younger women who were with the vehicle. The driver got in the car and then the other girl emptied their cart into the back of the SUV and then LEFT HER CART in the empty parking space on the drivers side. I proceeded to begin to back up and as I was their empty cart started rolling directly toward my passenger side of the van, in what felt like slow motion. The empty cart hit my car and I stopped mid backing up. Let me say that at that moment I just jumped out of the car and two things were going through my mind:

1. These ladies are going to get out and apologize for the cart and will put the cart away.

2. The cart has to be moved so I can drive away.

I jumped out of the car, got the cart and headed to the SUV. As I got to the SUV (which was beginning to back up since they SAW THE ENTIRE INCIDENT) I said "Your cart, you need to get your cart, it hit my car." They looked at each other and I have no idea exactly what they said to each other, but the jist of it was...Let's get the heck out of here! They continue to back up and by this time I am standing inches away from the passenger window and I am becoming more and more angry as I realize that they have no intentions of taking responsibility for their actions and are in fact going to leave. So I continue on, this time I am poking at the window while saying, "YOUR CART! YOUR CART HIT MY CAR!!" as I then point from them to my car. The girl in the passenger seat will not even look at me. She just stares straight ahead. I say it again louder, "YOUR CART!! YOUR CART HIT MY CAR!!" The driver then looks at me, gives me a half smirk/half grin and then drives away. I stood there in utter disbelief at such blatant disregard for another human being. I wanted to jump in front of their SUV and put my hands on their hood to stop it or jump on their bumper to try and stop them. I just could not believe it.

Here's my thinking: If you are able to push a cart around a store then surely you are able to take one extra minute and put it away in a cart stall. Down here in Corpus it is so windy that any cart left alone is bound to blow away and more than likely it will blow into someone else's car.

I guess that thing that upset me most was the blatant disregard for someone else's property and the complete lack of accepting responsibility for ones actions.

Now I am left in a quandry: Where exactly is the safest place to park in a parking lot? Any suggestions? Any personal experiences of your own?

After I told my husband about the incident he told me, "Julie, that's how people get killed in parking lots." I guess I never gave it much thought what danger I could have placed myself and my kids in when I got out of the van. I was completely expecting the people to do the right thing, like I would. I have learned my lesson. Next time I will just grab my camera, take pictures of the vehicle as they are leaving and write down their license plate. Hopefully though, there won't be a next time.

I think I am also going to avoid stores on the weekends during the month of December! Hope all is well with you! I will post more "happier" stories later.
Take care,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Checking In

Hey there! Just wanted to say "Hi!" and apologize for no new post today. These next two weeks have enough activities going on to fill a month! I am working on a couple of new posts and plan to have them up later this week when I am not at a Christmas program, class party or field trip to the Nutcracker, just to name a few of the activities for the week!

Take care,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"The Best Night Ever!"

This weekend has been pretty relaxing and just what we needed. Friday night the kids had their best friends come over after school. The girls got busy making Christmas cut out cookies and quickly got covered in flour. The boys, meanwhile, alternated between Wii Mario Super Sluggers and baseball in the backyard. I had book club Friday night and had a great evening. This months book was, "A dog named Christmas". Cute story.

Saturday I woke up with a head cold so the kids and I stayed home all day while John worked. After a week of school the kids love to just hang out at home and it ended up being extremely necessary and fun. We were originally supposed to go to a birthday party, but so much for that.

Sunday we stayed home as well. John had to work and Pete woke up with a cold. After John got home in the afternoon we piled into the car and drove the one mile from our house to the beach. It was so much fun. The sky was a beautiful blue, the waves were crashing and the temperature felt like a spring evening. The kids ran around climbing up and down the sand dunes. Then we drove over five miles down the beach towards the National Seashore in an attempt to get a view of a raging fire that's been burning the past several days in the grassy area. We couldn't get too close but could see the smoke billowing in the sky. Last night we watched from our deck the orange flames in the distance. On our drive back we found these sand dunes back away that were 20-30 feet high. The kids kept running up and down the dunes and rolling down them. Once after Pete came down he yelled, "This is totally awesome!" Jack and Ellie both said it was, "The best night EVER!" I have to agree. We had so much fun yelling and laughing and running in the sand. We finally drove home when it was dark out and we were completely covered in sand. After baths and dinner we spent the rest of the evening playing board games: Guess Who, Candyland and Jr. Monopoly. Who could ask for more? I feel blessed and grateful and don't take for granted for one minute fun family evenings.

Take care,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday's Favorites

Yes, I am back with Friday's Favorites! If you are new to this you can read about it here.
Last week my husband and I went on a date, a real date that included dinner and live music. Jon McLaughlin was in town and I jumped at the chance to listen to him live. He's on tour to promote his recently released second album. (If you've never heard of him you can check him out at Some people know him b/c one of his songs was featured in the movie "Enchanted" and he performed it in the movie as well) His first album, "Indiana" has been on almost constant rotation on my ipod this past year. He is an amazing piano player, but not only that, he managed to make the concert rock while playing the piano along with the rest of the band. He ended the concert with "Industry" and for his encore did "Human" and "Beautiful Disaster" which are all off his first album and were by far my favorite songs, along with "Beating my Heart". He played at a place here in town called Brewster Street which has a restaurant and an outside open patio with picnic tables and a stage. Thinking about this concert made me think of other concerts I have been to, so today's Friday Favorites is a list of some of my all time favorite concerts, in no particular order:
1. Over the Rhine: This was the first date and concert my husband and I went to. Over the Rhine was playing in Cincinnati, Ohio (which is where they are from) at a place called "Sudsy Malone's". Sudsy's was a bar/laundromat and if you brought in a load of laundry to do they would waive the cover charge. I remember the concert was so good and I was in heaven just being there with John, great, great memories.
2. John Prine: I saw John Prine with my husband in Des Moines, Iowa probably 10+ years ago. I remember Todd Snider opened up for him. John Prine is such an amazing story teller through his songs. I remember yelling out "Lake Marie" (which is one of my top 10 songs of all time) after every song and yes, he did do the song and it was just amazing.
3. Nanci Griffith: John and I saw Nanci in Ohio a long ago. I remember this concert as just being fun. I love her voice, love her music and the crowd was into it as well. It was a bit of a smaller venue and it just felt pretty intimate.
4. Counting Crows: I saw them at Polaris in Columbus, Ohio. Polaris is an outdoor place. It was a beautiful night and my sister came with John and I. We were on the grassy area where you just sit down on blankets. I remember two things about this concert, Adam Duritz, the lead singer was just mesmerizing...he did this probably 10 minute version of "Round Here" that was incredible. The second thing I remember is that this couple came around and asked if they could sit on our blanket with us. We said sure, so they sat for awhile and right away it became apparent that they were completely drunk. After a few minutes the girl just leaned over and puked all over the corner of our blanket! They both apologized and then got up to leave. My husband pulled out his swiss army knife, cut off the stinky puke part, threw it away and Voila! we continued to enjoy the rest of the concert!
5. Jars of Clay: This group is one of my favorite bands. I saw them in Iowa last summer. It was an outside concert and it was fun. I saw them last December when they were on their Christmas tour with Third Day. My friend Yvonne and I waited in line to meet them. They were a group of guys that I could picture my husband and I hanging out with and having over to dinner.
Other great concerts...
REM: Saw them in Ames, Iowa and I remember Michael Stipe stood with his back to the audience. I say it was almost the entire concert, my husband says it was not that long. Any way, the concert was good.
Chris Rice: Saw him at a fair and he performed outside. It was a perfect summer night and it was lots of fun!
Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, etc. Lots of great times
Well, that's it for now. What about you? Do you like going to concerts? Any favorites or good memories? Tell me about it, I'd love to hear!
Take care,
P.S. I asked my husband his favorites and he seconded the Over the Rhine, REM, Jars of Clay and added: Lenny Kravitz, The Rolling Stones, Bare Naked Ladies and the Ichthus festival.


Just wanted to let you know we are now down to 49 days until the premiere of LOST. Not that I am counting or anything. You can do a google search of "LOST season 5 trailers" and watch several of the new trailers for the upcoming season. Did you read the article last week about which dead LOST characters are coming back this season? Could it be Claire or Charlie or Jack's dad? I don't know and I can't wait to find out. Is there anyone you would like to see come back? Personally, I wouldn't mind to have Charlie back.

Just to let you know....I will be back with Friday's Favorites beginning tomorrow. Hope you can stop by.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December Advent

Kristin at posted recently about a family advent calendar for December she created full of meaningful and fun activities her family will do during this month. It's a great idea and you can read about it here.

I have adapted it for our family and it has been a lot of fun in the few days we've participated. What about you? Do you have any kind of advent calendar or some other way to count down until Christmas? I would love to hear about it.

Take care,


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Dilemma

Around this time of year my husband and I have what can be classified as one of our biggest "discussions" of the year. It's not about money or santa or where to spend the holidays but rather it concerns a somewhat "family tradition".

The Christmas family newsletter.

Do we write it this year or skip? If we've moved during the year or had a baby then yes, which for a while was an every year occurence since we moved and had a new child pretty often. If we are going to do a letter, who is going to write it? My husband says I use too many exclamation marks in my letters! And that I make our letters sound sooooo dramatic! Imagine that!! I say that my husbands version makes us sound dull like we could be a page out of one of his medical journals. (DISCLAIMER: Not all medical journals are dull. Some are in fact rather interesting and gross with their pictures, just ask my kids and myself)

What to do what to do? I don't mind writing the letter, I just don't want to address all the envelopes. Also, since I blog I don't feel the need to condense our last year into a letter. If you want to know about our lives this past year, just read my blog. We may skip the family newsletter this year. I will keep you informed concerning our newsletter dilemma. What about you? Do you write a letter, send cards, email a letter, do nothing or call people? Let me know.
Take care,