Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gimme a Break

At 12:20 today I am officially on vacation.  Is it weird that I cannot wait to get home and clean the house?  We have not had a spare moment to ourselves to get anything done around the house and with Christmas fast approaching, there is so much stuff scattered around.  I had the brilliant idea this year to give out more homemade gifts, which includes some pretty bad ass apple butter if I do say so myself!  There is stuff everywhere!  And by everywhere, I mean I'm moving stuff around just to have a place to rest my feet on the coffee table.  When we got furniture we went for the giant square coffee table so that you could use it from both couches.  It looks awesome, and is very functional, especially for wrapping presents.  It is in the perfect location where I can watch tv, wrap presents, and give my back a break all at the same time.  Problem is, all the supplies are scattered all over the table.  Last weekend I had some time to myself and I found myself with two choices.  1 - I could work on cleaning the living room, or 2 - I could wrap presents.  After much debating I chose #2...my logic?  Why clean the living room just to drag out all the wrapping paper in a couple of days anyway?  Great plan...if I had put everything away when I was done.  Problem was, I was exhausted after wrapping all those presents!  So after I was done wrapping presents Saturday night I curled up with a blanket and watched the rest of The Holiday while admiring our Christmas tree glowing with pretty presents underneath.  Two thoughts...Why does Jude Law have to be so darn sexy?  Even while doing Mr. Napkinhead for cryin' out loud!...and...man British kids have the cutest accents! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

Most of you will be getting this in the mail but I just wanted to brag on my bff Lori, who is an amazing lifesaver when it comes to anything photography related!  Check out our first Christmas card...

If you get a chance, check out her website http://www.loricrockett.com/ 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Get In My Belly!

I know, the last thing you wanted on your Wednesday was a mental picture of Mike Myers with his giant turkey leg and grease everywhere...sorry.  I wanted to give you the inside scoop on some of my absolute favorite holiday recipes.  In our family, Christmas Eve is a pretty big deal.  There is the most amazing spread of finger foods.  Yes I know it isn't healthy, but what about the holidays is healthy?? That's what New Years resolutions are for!  So bust out those sweatpants (the ones with the drawstring...don't let sizes put a damper on your celebration!) and start stuffing that pretty little face of yours. 

Jalapeno Popper Dip
1 packages softened cream cheese

1 cup mayo
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles (drained)
1 (4 oz) can diced jalapenos (drained)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl until smooth. (I use a hand mixer) Stir in the green chiles and jalapeno peppers. Stir in parmesan cheese or you can save some for topping. Place in a small baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

This can be served with tortilla chips but I prefer to serve it with toasted slices of French bread

Carla's Famous Cheese Ball
My mom made this for Christmas Eve growing up and now my husband and his friends even request it. It is soooooo simple. Only a few ingredients and some messy hands will have you on your way to a delicious cheeseball. I made this for work the other day and they were like animals!

2 packages softened cream cheese
2 packages of beef deli meat (I use Carl Buddig Beef. I'm also pretty sure that my mom only uses one package, but I like a cheese ball with more substance!...Love you mom!!)
1 bunch of green onions

Chop meat and green onions and add to cream cheese. Mix with hands and form into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until ready to eat. Serve wth Ritz Crackers.  If you have a very sharp knife it is easy to chop the meat and onions. In a pinch I have been known to use kitchen shears, which makes things super easy. I also spray my bowl and my hands with just a little bit of cooking spray so more of it ends up in the ball and not on your hands!

Cocktail Meatballs
1 pk frozen frozen meatballs
1 jar chili sauce
1 jar grape jelly

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker...sooooooo easy and so yummy.  Sounds weird, but perfection is sometimes weird!

These are just a few of the recipes I have in my arsenal... :)  Most of you know that I absolutely love to cook...so if you get a chance, visit my collabo-blog with my bff Lori yum-in-my-tum.blogspot.com for more ideas!  Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"I'm Busy" is the understatement of the year

This week is crazy...here's how it goes:
  • Today - make food for work snacks, grade papers all day at work, find time to address and send out all the thank you notes from our wedding that have been done for a month but have not been sent out because of basketball (sorry people, hope you understand), practice after school, scout/videotape in Moberly, come home to my already sleeping husband
  • Tuesday - Tutor in the morning, grade papers/make the final all day, basketball game at home, come home to my already sleeping husband
  • Wednesday - Tutor in the morning, grade papers/make the final all day, cancel practice because I need to or I'll hurt somebody, staff Christmas party at Emmet's, take Christmas card picture because we will both be dressed up for the first time since Thanksgiving, order Christmas cards, actually see my husband and go to bed at the same time!
  • Thursday - Grade papers/make the final all day, make labels for Christmas cards, basketball practice after school, pick up Christmas cards, appointment in Columbia, finish Christmas shopping (may do this Friday instead), stuff Christmas cards and send those suckers out!
  • Friday - Give finals, no practice, actually see my husband!!!
Whew!! I'm exhausted just reading this back, but I just have to get through this week and I will be home free.  I don't even drink soda and a diet coke is sounding lovely right now...

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Look Forward To...

Here are the things I am looking forward to the most this Christmas:
  1. Hanging with the fam.  This is the first year that I am officially part of 2 families, which can get really crazy but it's so worth it. 
  2. Seeing my besties.  Kristin and Lori will be in town!  Lori and I need "face time"...we get ear time often but sometimes that's just not good enough.  I can't wait to see Kris and have a drink with her.  It's been a long time!
  3. Snuggling with my honey.  Baby it's cold outside!  (side note - this is my all time favorite Christmas song.  All. Time.) I really enjoy snuggling with him on the couch and looking around at all the blessings we have.  All while enjoying some seriously terrible tv.
  4. One word...FOOD!  I absolutely love me some holiday food.  Christmas Eve is my favorite...all the snack food and wine you can handle.  Christmas Day, more traditional but still good.  I have a major lack of self-control over those two days (+ New Year's Eve) but that's nothing January 1st can't fix. 
  5. Getting Christmas cards.  This will be our first year getting Christmas cards sent to Mr. & Mrs.! 
  6. The massive amounts of "1st Christmas Together" ornaments we will receive (I already know of 4. Yes 4.)  2009 has been an amazing year for us.
  7. Christmas break.  Thank the Lord that I will finally have some time to catch up around the house, with no school work to do!
  8. Giving all the great gifts away!!!  That's the best feeling.
  9. The after-Christmas sales.  Although I may have to contain myself this year...trying to save money sucks!
  10.  Hectic relaxation...there is nothing like it in the world.  Two weeks of pure bliss, a whirlwind of seeing family and friends, cooking, wrapping, giving, celebrating, drinking, talking, laughing, loving, cleaning, and sleeping.  I am really looking forward to some serious sleep. 
Sometimes I get caught up in what I want or think I need.  Then I look at this list and realize that I really do have it all!  God has really blessed us, and I love my life!  Bring on the holidays!

I Did It!!

It took me the better part of one day (my kids were taking a test...sue me) but I made my own banner!  It was pretty hard I have to say.  I know nothing.  I repeat...nothing about photoshop (never even had it) so I tried our school's version of photoshop and whew! that was rough.  But I survived and I have a pretty new header to show for it.  And to top it all off, a new Christmas background.  Wooo Hooo, Christmas is right around the corner.  I'm so close to Christmas break I can feel it in my bones...or maybe that's the sub-zero temps, but whatever.  Maybe I'll wrap some presents tonight...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Favorite Time Of Year

No, not for the weather.  You see, if I could have Christmas in July I would be super happy.  But that's wasn't quite in God's plan now was it?  This is my favorite time of the year because I absolutely love to give gifts.  I could seriously have Christmas and not get a single gift and still love it because I get to give to others.  Although I have been accused of going overboard...I try to be reasonable with my purchases, but I have a bad habit of forgetting how many things I have gotten for one person or how much money I have spent so far.  This is the part that Timothy doesn't like.  This is the one time of the year that I get a little carried away.  Any other month, I would be the penny pincher that everyone knows.  I am obsessed with saving money (although I don't have much to show for that) and I get buyer's remorse right after any purchase...except for in December.  I wish I was better about buying things before December, like throughout the year, so that I had it all and just had to wrap it, but who does that??? Seriously?!?!? 

One of my favorite things is wrapping presents.  Sarah came over last saturday and we wrapped presents for about 5 hours.  It never got old...I just got tired.  I love the look of a well-wrapped present and I am slightly OCD about having it wrapped perfectly.  I also love different bows and trimmings.  I haven't tried this yet but I would really like to make some of my own bows in the future...check out this website: http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2009/10/make-gift-bow-from-magazine-page.html  This is Christmas tip #1 from me (I'll try to do 10 before Christmas, who knows if that will happen ;)

Also...I am in the process of trying to do a better job of taking pictures with my camera.  I have an awesome camera, but I don't use it enough.  I'm really bad about that because it is always charged and in my purse, I just don't take a lot of pictures.  Hopefully will have some up here on the blog soon. 

Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leggo my Preggo!

I love living in a small town.  I love the fact that I can walk around town by myself without getting anxious.  I love that I can go to the neighbor's house for sugar if I need to (well, I could go to Cana's house...nobody else), I love that I know a lot of people...but I don't love that people think they know your business.  Last night someone congratulated Timothy in the grocery store...it went a little somethin' like this:

Random Person:  I hear congratulations are in order (in that sing-songy voice)
Timothy: For what?...
Random Person: That you and Jessica are expecting.
Timothy: WHAT?!?!...ummmmmm no.
Random Person: Well I heard it from 2 different people.
Timothy: ummmmm no.  I can nip that one in the bud for you right now...we are definitely not pregnant.
Random Person: Well...I'll have to tell those people that they were wrong...

Darn right you will!  Timothy took it better than I did.  He said, "well at least the rumor is that you and I are pregnant, not that you're pregnant by someone else, or someone else is pregnant by me!"  Touche...  But still...I have to admit I was semi-flattered until I got to thinking...do I look big enough to be pregnant?!?!?  Emergency 2010 Diet begins January 2nd people!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

For those of you that don't know my husband, he loves to hunt.  With hunting season comes less time together (boo) and...the beard...(cue the horror movie scream.)  Let me clarrify a few things.  I love my husband with all my heart, seriously I do...but I'm not a big fan of the beard.  No I'm not going to pick up and leave one day just because he had a beard.  I just deal with it...just like he dealt with me packing around 15 extra pounds for the past couple of years, but we're not gonna go there...

But much to my surprise, last night my honey did something he has never done...shaved that sucker off early.  Gasp!  He usually waits until the first couple weeks of January to shave it off and surprises me then, but I have to survive through Christmas.  He told me that he had been planning on doing it because he "wanted to look nice for Thanksgiving" but whatever the reason, I love him, I love him, I LOVE HIM!  Maybe I'm just super pumped because now we can take Christmas card pictures (yes I was still going to take them with the beard...I won't discriminate)...but either way, I am very excited to have my husband back!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Busy To The Gazillionth Power

Yes I'm a math teacher...most of you know that.  My post might only make sense to me, but I'm ok with that.  I can't believe how incredibly busy we have been lately.  I started basketball about 4 weeks ago, and this was our first week of games.  I am officially pooped.  Timothy has been working from about 6 am-9 pm every day, and he's pooped.  To top it all off I'm feeling like I might be getting a tad bit sick, so I need my sleep (vitamin C is my best friend this week) I'll be honest, when I get home at 9 I want to brush my teeth and curl up in bed.  I figured that Timothy would be even more eager to go to sleep and be kind of grumpy that late.  But he said something the other night that made me think...He said, "I'm tired but I don't just want to come home, eat dinner and go to bed.  I want to hang out with you for awhile"... Instantly I felt bad.  I want to hang out with him too, but I'm soooooo tired.  So I've been sucking it up this week and we've been staying up until 10.  This was pretty much the sleep schedule I had last year when I was living with my roommates before we got married, so my body is slowly getting used to it.  I hadn't realized how much my body was loving going to bed at 9:00 every night, until now.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for quality time with my wonderful husband, even though right now time is limited.  We're making the most of it!

Side note:  Our new dishwasher was installed yesterday.  Our good friend Brooks came over and put that baby in.  I didn't think it was going to be done yesterday so I hadn't taken the time to pick up detergent from Walmart...but as soon as I saw that wonderful white machine in all it's glory, I knew I had to run a load last night!  So I hopped in my car and flew down to the local grocery store to pick up the goods before they closed at 9.  I was floating on air all the way to the cash register and out to my car even though I had just paid $11 for two tiny bottles of Cascade and Jet Dry...I didn't even care!  I got home, loaded my new love up and smiled when I pushed "start"  And I'm thrilled with the results...very quiet, and all the dishes were dry (even the plastic ones) this morning without even opening the door to let them air dry!  As Mr. Deeds would say...I'm in Lub!...with my dishwashing tub!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Slowly But Surely

I feel like I'm drowing.  Drowning in a tub full of dirty dishes, dirty laundry, sweeping (sweeping refering to the massive amounts of dog hair I have to clean), and dusting.  Timothy can be very helpful, the problem lies with the fact that we are both insanely busy.  I just started basketball and Timothy has been really busy with work lately...in fact, pretty sure he's going to be working 60+ hrs all the way up to Christmas :(.  So when neither of us get home until 8 (this is early compared to some nights) all we want to do is eat and spend time with each other.  We definitely do not want to be cleaning.  Fast forward to the weekend...Woo Hoo!! We finally get some time off (well unless he has to work on Saturdays...but it's all good) so who wants to be cleaning on the weekends.  Case and point...ever seen that show where the British women come in and do a massive clean to some of the dirtiest houses I've ever seen? Well that's what needs to be done to our house.  Not only is it an older house (which I'm convinced get dusty quicker and need constant care) but we've never actually gotten caught up in cleaning (I'm talkin the whole house here) since I moved in...which was a couple weeks before the wedding!! That's 6 months PEOPLE!  I know our house isn't that bad...but I feel like it looks like this...

Ok so I know our house isn't that bad, but sometimes I feel like it.  I keep telling myself that "this week I'm going to get it done" or "this weekend I'm just going to have to buckle down and do those 15 loads of laundry" but it never gets done.  I can honestly attribute this inability to get a handle on things to the fact that I can't keep on top of the kitchen.  Let's face it...I like to cook...and my husband likes to eat...good food.  All of you out there know that in order to cook good food sometimes you have to dirty a lot of dishes
*If any of you beg to differ, please give me tips!
So my kitchen sometimes looks like this...literally..

Well not exactly literally...if you've been in our house you know that only in my wildest dreams would my kitchen even be that big.  But that's neither here nor there...it's our first house!  This feeling of being overwhelmed led me to have the biggest breakdown of our married life so far.  I'm talking MASSIVE BREAKDOWN.  I think it went something like this (yes I'm airing my emotional dirty laundry to the world...I don't care)...read it as is, I'm pretty sure I never paused in this rant, so there's no punctuation..get over it!

"I just don't feel like I can keep a handle on this house I know that most of it is because we never really had the house clean when I moved in but it's really starting to wear me down I want to have a clean house where people can come over and I want to cook and clean and do all those wife things and I know that you would help me if you could but we're both so busy and now I don't feel like I'm being a very good wife and I'm really starting to lose it and I don't want you to think that I can't handle a house let alone children someday and I just don't know what to do anymore!

So my amazing husband looks at me, smiles, tells me I'm a great wife, and asks me this very poignant question..."Did you just have that breakdown because you really are overwhelmed? Or was it because you just haven't cried in awhile?"  I love him! Let's face it, I hadn't had a good cry in awhile, ladies, you know what I'm talkin about!  So I dried my eyes and we ventured off to the big city to pick up this

Yes that's right! It is officially the end of the road for those dreaded yellow gloves and sponges (well except for when I wash my stoneware and my anodized cookware, but who cares!) I am so extremely excited and unless you have lived without a dishwasher, you may not understand this...That one little trip to the big city changed my attitude towards cleaning...now I look forward to the day when that sucker gets put in so I can do dishes! I know the feeling will wear off but let me live in this dream world for at least a little while...

Friday, November 13, 2009

With This Ring...I Take Your Family

Getting married has its perks.  One of those perks is extending your family.  Sometimes this can be a good thing, or it can be a nightmare.  Thank goodness that I like my in-laws, and Timothy likes my side of the family too!  Although I wish my parents lived in the same town as us, I am glad that they don't live very far away.  Here are a few pictures of our extended family (I hope they don't mind having their mug on the internet...)

My side: Papa J, Mama C, and Bro D

Everybody plus my grandparents! They look awesome.

Timothy's side of the fam: Sister B and her brood, Brother T, and Mama L

And Timothy's paternal side...Sisters S and M, Mama M, and Papa J

So there it is...Mi Familia! I love them all!! 

Which brings me to my next point, you can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family!...And since the holidays are getting close I felt the need to reference one of the most amazingly disfunctional families of all time...The Griswolds...So here for your viewing pleasure are my Top 10 Christmas Vacation Quotes (**Disclaimer, if you don't like a little language for affect, don't read below):

10.  Bethany: Is your house on fire Clark?
Clark: No Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

9.  [Todd and Margo Chester, the Griswold's yuppie neighbors, appear]

Todd: Hey Griswold. Where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?
Clark: Bend over and I'll show you.
Todd: You've got a lot of nerve talking to me like that Griswold.
Clark: I wasn't talking to you.

8.  Clark: Burn some dust here. Eat my rubber.

Rusty Griswold: Dad, I think you mean burn rubber and eat my dust.
Clark: Whatever, Russ. Whatever.

7.  Ruby Sue: Rocky bit my thumb. Him's nervous.

Clark: Nervous or excited?
Ruby Sue: Shittin' bricks.
Clark: You shouldn't use that word.
Ruby Sue: Sorry. Shittin' rocks

6.  Eddie: I don't know if I oughta go sailin' down no hill with nothin' between the ground and my brains but a piece of government plastic.

Clark: Do you really think it matters, Eddie?

5.  Eddie: Every time Catherine would turn on the microwave, I'd piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour.

4.  Clark: Since this is Aunt Bethany's 80th Christmas, I think she should lead us in the saying of Grace.
Aunt Bethany: [turns to Lewis] What, dear?
Nora Griswold: Grace!
Aunt Bethany: Grace? She passed away thirty years ago.
Uncle Lewis: They want you to say Grace.
[Bethany shakes her head in confusion]
Uncle Lewis: The BLESSING!
Aunt Bethany: [they all pose for prayer] I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands/ One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Clark: Amen.

3.  Ellen: Clark, I think it'd be best if everyone went home... before things get worse.
Clark: WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We're at the threshold of hell
2.  Clark: Hey, Kids, I heard on the news that an airline pilot spotted Santa's sleigh on it's way in from New York City.
Eddie: [after a pause] You serious, Clark?
And the #1 Quote...
1.  Clark: Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, fore-fleshing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?
Merry Early Christmas! Hope you are as thankful for your family as I am of mine! :)

Our Baby

I know what you're thinking...but no, no babies yet...
But we do have a new addition to the Howell household...Champ!  We got him in May right before the wedding.  Here are some pictures of him as a puppy.  He is a point chocolate lab that we got out of South Dakota.  I know what you're thinking, why the heck would anyone drive all the way to South Dakota for a dog? and what's so great about a pointing lab? Labs aren't supposed to point! Or so they say!!...
Timothy has always loved labs for their retrieving abilities, but after Tuff died, he didn't want just any chocolate lab.  He wanted a hunting dog.  His father has raised bird dogs his whole life and he wanted one of his own.  Let me say that we would not trade this dog for anything in the world!  He has been a great dog so far and he is learning so fast.  He went out on his first hunt a few weeks ago and according to Timothy did very well.  I will make sure to post some pictures of him pointing soon...

Being first pick was pretty sweet!

on the way back from South Dakota

sleeping in the truck, when he fit...

after bathtime...not very happy, but hungry!

chewing on everything...

mom, can I sleep in the clean, warm laundry? ok...

sleeping again

and again...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 In A Nutshell

I am very new to the world of blogging but I'm getting better.  I had grand plans to create a blog before we got married but it just didn't happen.  So now I have decided to start fresh, but we have a lot of catching up to do.  2009 has been a whirlwind year.  Timothy and I finally got married...and I say finally lovingly.  It was an amazing and amazingly hot day.  It was so wonderful to have so many of our family and friends there to share that moment with us.  Here are a few of the snapshots from July 11th, 2009

Whew! Once the wedding was over and we were officially married, we jetted off to Jamaica for our honeymoon.  Well...we didn't exactly jet off immediately.  That was our plan, but Northwest had a different idea for us.  Our flight was delayed for about 12 hours...4 stops later, we were in Jamaica!  Here are just a few pictures from that amazing trip.

So once the honeymoon was over we attempted to settle into life as we now know it.  Me teaching and him working his butt off as a machinist.  I love being a newlywed!  Up next...Our baby...Champ!