Sunday, January 25, 2009

I had a knot in my stomache last week

I work in a very high end retail store and absolutely love what I do. I have been there 7 years and some of my co-workers have become part of my extended family. It is part time which is perfect, the benefits are great, it's close to home, and my 17 year old loves the discount. I was feeling very upbeat after the fabulous inauguration festivities and the support the country showed our new president and his family. That feeling was short lived. Last Thursday and Friday they had to terminate some employees. Thankfully, I am safe - for now. Unfortunately, retail is loaded with young people working to support themselves, get insurance, pay rent and food bills, etc. I do not know how they will find another job in the current retail environment. My entire department was spared. Saturday the store manager announced that the cuts were over.

Before the drama at work, I spent the day with a very good friend who supports herself (and many, many years ago her husband while he was in med school) with her crafts. She is a genius with glitter and a glue gun. And her home is a complete reflection of her artistic bend. It was soooo much fun brainstorming and sharing ideas in a bubble of eye candy. Her home has been photographed and published for a few magazines. Everywhere you look she has a great picture or fabric or plate or something. Like everyone, she is constantly investigating venues to showcase and sell her creations. She is unfamiliar with swaps so I gave her a tutorial. With all the flakers and lack of thank yous, she is not interested.

Once again the weather is bitter cold with sub zero wind chill. It is sunny so I am enjoying sitting at the computer which is positioned in front of a window. In a bit my daughter and I are going to see Marley and Me. I've been told to take tissue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A new week

I am completely alone enjoying the quiet. We had a major snow storm beginning early, early Saturday morning and continuing all day. Another was expected Monday, but it missed us. The temperatures have dropped and the windchill is below zero. For all of you Californians I am posting a few pictures. The landscape is truly beautiful with a fresh coat of snow, but the roads are a nightmare! I took these from inside the house where it is cozy and warm. You can see the snow that has filled the birdbath. Pretty to look at, miserable to deal with.

I finished another Valentine swap package. This one was from Prim and Whimsy and had a unique twist. Whatever you made had to have a heart theme and fit in a 5" box! I was very pleased with the outcome of my heart - perhaps I should photograph it resting on a mound of fresh snow! Now it is on to the mini swap. Not necessarily small items, just 3 items. Easy enough. How did I get involved in 3 Valentine swaps?!!!

I mixed the dough for Maida Heatter's Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. One of my very favorite cookies and so very easy to adapt to each holiday with an appropriate cookie cutter. Must get them ready for baking before it is time to prepare dinner. Bye for today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I have my swap partner

Yesterday I finished the package for my Very Vintage Valentine Swap partner, Carolyn. Sometimes you just know you'll click with that person and the excitement builds. That is how I feel about Carolyn. We have emailed back and forth a few times and she could not be nicer. Thank you,Heidi, for this match.

Saturday my oldest goes back to school and I will not see him for a few months. Glad he is happy at school, but I do miss him when he is away. When my children were babies I thought life could not get any better. Wrong - being able to share thoughts and jokes and have intelligent discussions with your kids is so enjoyable.

We had more snow last night and this morning. Another snowfall is expected this weekend with dropping temperatures. Driving is so difficult and the street plowing leaves a lot to be desired. A great weekend for hot coco, hot soup and a few good movies. Earlier this week I made a divine chicken pot pie. I got the recipe from my good friend, Marty Stewart. Here it is:

2 lbs chicken breasts, boned and skinned
Cook in broth until just done. Cool and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
In a sauce pan mix 1/2 cup flour with 4 Tablesp butter and brown.
Add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups milk stirring until thickened.
Season with salt, pepper, 1 teasp thyme and a pinch of nutmeg.
1 medium onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped medium size
3 carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
Saute in butter until barely tender
MIX veggies, chicken, 1 package frozen peas and 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley with cream sauce.
Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and cover with a pastry crust. (for ease, I use the Pillsbury rolled crust)
Bake in preheated oven 400 degrees until crust is browned. DELICIOUS

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Normal

Monday and things are finally back to normal. I have put away the last of the Christmas decorations and now it is on to cleaning and decluttering the house from top to bottom.

I have checked my email a dozen times today hoping to find my swap partner for Heidi's "Very Vintage Valentine Swap". I participated in her Christmas swap and met the nicest person
. My fingers are crossed that it happens again.

My youngest begins the ACT review course this week and then it is on to college visits. She is looking at one that is a 7 hour drive - ugh! That little petunia will be missed... She is my true soul mate. Who will tell me that my jeans are too short or my hair is bad? Who else even notices?

Almost all the snow is gone. With as much snow as the Midwest received, a white Christmas is way overrated
. Today is sunny and cold - a very nice winter day.