Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another storm?

I have to say - it sure is exciting (weather-wise) to live in the northeast of this country. I just caught the news and our area is expected to get another 9 inches of the white stuff again tonight/tomorrow. We've barely recovered from the ice storm we got right before Christmas. The kids ended up with 3 weeks (and a day) off from school! That should be fun for them come summer - they have to make up 8 days already and it's not even January.

God, I hope we don't lose power again with this storm. Believe me - we were not in bad shape during the ice storm compared to others. We only lost power from Thursday through Sunday. Other people lost it for 12, 14 days (and I'm pretty sure that others *still* don't have it back yet). We lost everything in the fridge and freezer, but I had been purging them both so that we'd be ready for all the Christmas cooking, so the loss wasn't huge. We were warm - we have a wood stove. We had hot water. We could cook using the gas grille and the top of the stove. We had plenty of candles and kerosene lamps. I put so many candles on the coffee table in the living room that it looked like we had a bonfire in the middle of the room. We ate like kings - eating everything in the fridge & freezer before it melted! We had a steady stream of company - word gets around when you have heat & hot water! I still haven't caught up on the laundry after every neighbor and relative came over to shower . . .

Our yard is still a mess - every tree got "topped" by the ice, and unfortunately, half of those tops are hanging by a thread. Dangling over the pool; the roof of the house. All of our beautiful birches are still completely bent over and touching the ground (and unfortunately - two of them are hanging over my neighbor's roof - just noticed it yesterday). I got an estimate from a tree guy in the area, and he gave me a great price. I just have to figure out how to come up with the cash for it. And pray that those toppers don't fly during this next storm!

Stay warm out there!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting a jump on the New Year

Well, I had all good intentions of being better at posting - was going to try for three days a week! Didn't happen - between losing power during a major ice storm for 4 days, and then Christmas . . . oh well.

Try, try again.

I made a list of my resolutions already for New Year's. BUT - I am trying to get a jump on them. Starting today - not on the 1st.

Number one on my list is to quit smoking. I took my first Chantix today, and that means that my quit day is Monday, 1/5. I've been doing some research on quitting smoking and it seems that there is a great book out there - "The Easyway to Quit Smoking" by Allen Carr. Has anyone heard of it, or had success with it? I'm going to try Barnes and Noble tonight to see if they have it. I guess he's had a lot of success with his method/book - he claims a 53% success rate. I know you can't add up percentages, but hey, with a 40%+ success rate for the Chantix and his 53% rate, maybe I have a good shot at this!!! (that is, as long as I stay away from shots - tequila, that is!). :)

And of course, number two on the list is to lose weight/get in better shape. Is there even *one* person out there that doesn't have that on their list? Getting in shape has been tough with the smoking; it seems that two of them are not very complementary. Tough to get in shape when you huff and puff doing a flight of stairs . . . and that is exactly how I plan to get in shape - I'm going to huff and puff twice a day on the stairs at work. Two times a day (15 minutes each) will burn about 350 calories. Giving up my Dunkins habit (sob) will save me about 330 calories a day. How bad. So, that would be 680 less calories a day which should net me about 1 - 1.5 pounds a week weight loss. Not too bad - and I think I may be able to keep my merlot habit.

Also added that "drink 8 glasses of water a day" thing too - just for shits and giggles. However, now I desperately need a toilet located in my office. I've only had 4 glasses so far today, and I've been the bathroom 20 times. Okay, maybe not 20, but definately 10! At that rate, I figure I should be down a good 5 pounds by tomorrow!

I also have a couple of really, really fun ones on my list too (yeah, right). Cleaning out the basement; painting kids bedrooms; putting in a floor in the bedrooms. Woooo whoo! Can't wait!
All this with a full-time job and being a full-time student (and a part-time job)! Fun, fun, fun! No wonder I smoke & drink & have a Dunkins habit!

So - any advice from out there? And why do "resolutions" always seem to be something that we are giving up? You never hear anyone say "I'm going to drink more this coming year" or "I'm really going to try to gain another 10 lbs" or "I'm going to give up cleaning my house for the year" or "I'm going to smoke until I spontaneously combust"! I think it would be refreshing to hear something NOT being given up!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Okay, I'm going to be brave this time and *actually* post something! I'm just going to pretend that only I can read this, so that I don't get scared off (like last time!).

I was so excited to start up a blog. I knew exactly what I wanted to say in my very first posting. I wrote it quickly and posted it. And, then, about 10 minutes later I promptly deleted it and put in a stupid recipe in its place. Unbelievable.

I really thought that I would be able to write about something (anything!) every day and not get all freaked out about it. Yeah, right. So what made me decide to put on my big-girl panties today? I happened to take a look at my blog (for the first time since that recipe post), and I ACTUALLY HAD A FOLLOWER!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes! I knew that it couldn't be anyone that knew me, as I hadn't told anyone that I was doing this. And I am trying to do this somewhat anonymously so that any innocent parties along the way aren't hurt/angered, etc. I HAVE A FOLLOWER. And he is a great guy - I put his blog in my favorite blog lists so that I can follow him as well; you can see his latest post here: http://kingofnewyorkhacks.blogspot.com/.

So, Edward, King of New York Hacks, I don't want to let you down. I'm doing my best here. It's not going to be the easiest thing for me to make public a diary of sorts, but I'll try!

And, since this is really my first "real" post (recipes don't count), I'll tell you a little bit about myself. I'm married (not necessarily happily) with two teenagers. I live in New England, and I work full-time as well as go to school full-time. I'm *almost* 1/2 way through my junior year, and will only have to take three more courses to actually complete my junior year (this spring). My goal is to graduate in May of 2010 with my BSBA (and to hopefully compete successfully for my boss' job). Once I graduate, I plan on "rewarding" myself with a class that I really want to take - ART. Unfortunately, there isn't much art in business . . . at least not in the venue in which I work. My education has come at a cost (see the "not necessarily happily" married portion), but it has been worth it. I don't have regrets for doing it. I only regret not doing it sooner. (Although doing it later has had its benefits too - besides appreciating it more, I also always tell my kids that they have to go to college now when they are young - that they don't want to have to do what I do!)

My favorite places to go: New York City; New Orleans; Provincetown. (Edward - if I get to NYC this winter/spring, I'll have to look you up!)

Favorite clothing: Levi jeans, "Life is Good" t-shirt, boiled wool clogs

Favorite drink: Merlot (night), unsweetened ice tea (morning)

Favorite foods: Sushi, lobster, steak, pesto.

Hobbies: Knitting (not very well - only scarfs and hats); Quilting (again, not very well, but warm for my kids and nephews); Reading (anything - newspapers; blogs; books; magazines).

Bad habits: Smoking; nail biting. (I had quit smoking for over 12 years. Sigh. I started up again when I started school, and other parts of my life got very stressful. It's on my list of things to give up. Again. Unfortunately, I don't know if I'll ever be able to get rid of the nail biting forever. I've done it from time to time, but always go back.) :( I know, I know. Both terrible habits.

Best friends: 2 (my sister, and someone else that has been in my life for just the past 2 years)

Fears: The economy; losing my house; losing my job; paying taxes; death of anyone I love. (and having the "wrong" people in my life finding my blog)

Goals: To graduate from college. To stop being so scared of what everyone else thinks. To realize that what I think is important to me. To be financially secure all by myself. (and of course, to get my damn house cleaned and the laundry done all in one freakin' day!!!)

Okay, that is enough for one day. Have to start somewhere!

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Miracle Chicken Soup

Okay folks, this soup does take some time, but it is so worth it! The smell of it fills your house, and the pot it makes will fill your belly for days. It only gets better after a couple of days.

3 1/2 to 4 lbs. of chicken pieces (bone-in)
3 large containers of chicken broth
8 carrots, peeled
6 ribs celery
3 medium onions, peeled
7 black peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic
10 sprigs of fresh parsley
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leafs
4 tablespoons of butter
4 leeks
fine egg noodles

Make the stock: Place the chicken and chicken broth in a large stockpot and put it on over medium heat. Roughly chop 2 carrots, 2 celery and 1 onion and add to the broth. Add the peppercorns, garlic, 2 sprigs of parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Bring broth to a boil; reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 1 1/4 hours. Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl to cool. Strain the broth through a fine strainer and discard the vegetables.

Make the soup: Slice the remaining carrots, celery, onions and leeks into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook about 7 minutes. Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken, and break meat into bite-size pieces.
Add the chicken and vegetables to the broth and simmer about 1 hours. Chop the remaining parsley. Stir in the fine egg noodles and chopped parsley and cook about 10 minutes more.

I promise you - you will get rave reviews for this soup! Store leftovers in the refrigerator; add more chicken broth if it is too thick after refrigeration.