Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas update

I'm almost done shopping.  I figured out a gift to get for my brother-in-law and we ordered gifts for just about everyone this morning.  Just one little thing for my in-laws and then I have to finish my mom and my husband (who I've got quite a few ideas for) and I'm done.  Probably won't be done by Wednesday (though it's possible), but at least I'll be done early.  I'm really excited about some of the gifts we got this year. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Thanksgiving was a lot of fun.  We actually had two dinners.  On Thanksgiving we went to my mom's.  Her boyfriend BBQed a turkey and it was delicious.  I'm not usually a big fan of turkey, but I really liked his.  Then, because my brother-in-law had to work on Thanksgiving, we had a second dinner on Friday with DH's parents and brother.  It was also fun.  We played Monopoly (which I won) and Trivial Pursuit (which my father-in-law won). 

Unfortunately, the sugar free pumpkin pie that I posted about never actually got eaten.  On Wednesday night we left for my mom's house and after we'd been there for an hour or so I suddenly realized that I'd forgotten the pie.  I thought about it when we were getting ready, but I didn't want to leave it unrefrigerated for too long and I forgot to grab it before we left.  So she had to make another one on Thanksgiving morning.  It was a similar recipe and her boyfriend's dad sure seemed to like it so I guess it's a good recipe.  I planned to take it over to my in-laws for Thanksgiving because my father-in-law would eat it, but I forgot it on that trip too because I was so excited about Black Friday and going out to lunch with my husband that it slipped my mind.  So there's still a mini sugar free pumpkin pie in my fridge that I don't think will ever get eaten. 

Today, we got a new dishwasher (the last one stopped cleaning dishes) so while my husband worked on that with the maintenance guy I spent my morning ordering Christmas presents.  I got a pretty good amount for DH and I've got a pretty good shopping cart going for the rest of our families.  I even managed to find a real gift for my dad for the first time in 10 years.  Every other year I can't come up with anything for him that he will actually care about so he gets food.  This year I have something good. 

All I need now is for DH to double check it and let me know which gift he wants to get for his brother and I'm good to go.  There are a few things I will need to go into town to get so I don't know if those will be done by my goal, but I'll at least be done early this year and that makes me very happy.  I hate dealing with Christmas crowds and I plan to spend my Christmas season sitting inside my nice warm house enjoying my tree instead of stressed out and running around town. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sugar free pumpkin pie

I made a new recipe today.  We're celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom, her boyfriend, and his dad and brother.  His dad is diabetic so finding a pie that he can have is a little difficult.  My mom called me last week and asked me to make him a sugar-free pumpkin pie so that's what I made today.  I made a half recipe because it just needs to be a little one for him.  I guess other people might have some, but my mom doesn't eat fake sugars and I'm allergic to them.  Here's the full recipe.  It's pretty much the recipe on the back of the Libby's pumpkin puree can, but with a couple changes.

1 15-ounce can of Libby's pumpkin puree
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup splenda
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the eggs with your mixer, then add splenda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Once mixed, add your pumpkin puree.  Then slowly add the evaporated milk.  Bake at 425* for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 350* and bake another 40-50 minutes (it actually took me a little more than 50).  It's done when a knife comes out cleanly.  Let it cool for 2 hours and then either eat or refrigerate.

Since this one will pretty much be like the Libby's recipe, I imagine it tastes pretty good. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Yes, I know it's early, but tomorrow I'll be stuffing myself on a barbecued turkey and I won't be thinking about updating my blog. 

This year, I'm thankful for my husband (this is the first year I can say that) and for the job he got a few months ago that got us out of the awful town we were living in and allowed us to move to a place we love.  What are you thankful for this year?

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have my Christmas shopping done by the 1st.  I could order a lot of it this weekend.  I could even go out on Black Friday and get a couple things (which I plan on doing anyway), but there are a couple people that I haven't finalized my gift list for yet so I don't want to just buy something neither of us will be happy with just to hit my goal.  It also doesn't help that this next week is very busy.  So I'll just stick with trying to be done early in December and aim for my goal next year.  I'm so close this year that I think I'll have it easily by next year. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I spent the better part of this afternoon going through our filing cabinet and getting rid of old paperwork and organizing it a bit to make it more user friendly.  While I like the end product, I'm exhausted.  There are a lot more things I wish I could get rid of because I don't think we'll ever need them, but I'm afraid something will come up a year or two down the road and I'll regret throwing some of that stuff out. 

If I had more energy I'd keep going.  I love the feeling that comes with a clean space. 

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

I just finished reading Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.  I can now say that I've read all of her novels.  I love her work.  They always manage to suck me in so quickly and I'm disappointed when it's over because I've grown attached to the characters. 

I really enjoyed this book.  As usual, the writing is excellent.  Each chapter jumps between the stories of three of the characters who don't seem to have any connection at first, but eventually their relationships are revealed.  Getting used to the jumps took me a couple chapters, but I did get used to it. 

The plot is difficult to describe because of the three characters, but it is essentially about three characters and their lives in a small town in the Appalachians and their connections to farming. 

I really enjoyed this book.  Too bad Kingsolver doesn't have any more novels for me to read. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


It snowed here on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  We woke up to 2-3 inches on the ground and a little more fell.  DH grew up not too far from where we are and never got snow.  It didn't snow the entire 16 years he lived there and the first year he moved away it snowed and it has snowed a little bit every year since.  I've never lived anywhere with snow.  This was a huge deal for us.  The only downside was the all-day power outage that we got to deal with.  It wasn't bad until it got dark though.  No heat or light sucks. 

Tonight we're under a storm watch because it's supposed to come back.  I keep looking outside to see if it has started.  This is an entirely new experience for us, but we're loving it.  It is absolutely beautiful outside right now.  Unfortunately, I can't even post the pictures I took.  The card reader on DH's computer doesn't work and the laptop is dead.  We just got a new computer for me, but it doesn't have a card reader and we don't have a cord to hook up the camera.  So we'll be going out to get a multi-card reader sometime soon so that I can put pictures on here.  It really is amazing how pretty a couple inches of snow can make everything.  Unfortunately, this storm and the excitement of a new computer have kept me from completing anything on the list.  I'm sure I'll get something done soon though. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I donated to Toys for Tots last night.  Borders has a program going on right now so that at check out they ask if you'd like to donate a kids' book to Toys for Tots.  They have a ton of options and it looked like they were all under $5.  I donated one and so did my mother-in-law.  I love that they're including books.  Reading is so good for children and the younger they start the more likely they are to continue reading throughout their life.  I hope that I can incorporate a Toys for Tots gift into my Christmas shopping from now on.  We never really had enough money before.  I'd love it to be a tradition that we have with our own children to donate to other kids who might not have anything else on Christmas. 

First Gifts

I officially have my first Christmas gifts purchased and it's not even Thanksgiving!  I only bought a couple things last night because I can get better deals for most of it online, but I'm halfway done with my brother-in-law and my father-in-law.  I know what I'm getting for everyone else except for my husband.  I'm feeling good about this year.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making Progress

I'm going to try to get my Christmas shopping done before December 1st this year.  I'm not sure if I'll make it.  Some people on our list are difficult to buy for, but I have a significant portion ready to go.  My mother-in-law and I are going shopping tomorrow.  By the end of tomorrow I'll have her and my father-in-law done (she won't be in the store when I buy her gift).  I should also have something for my brother-in-law and I might even have a couple ideas for my mom (which never happens). 

I've spent the last few hours looking for ideas online and it looks like I'll be purchasing a lot from Amazon too.  I love Amazon, especially the free shipping they offer on a lot of items.  If I had all of my ideas finalized I'd be purchasing a huge order from them tonight.  But I'm going to wait so that I can get free shipping (or as least as low as I can get it).  I'm also curious to see what deals I can get on Black Friday (not that there are a ton of options here) and Cyber Monday. 

So tomorrow I'm hoping that the storm holds off and I'm able to get a ton of shopping done.  Wish me luck.  Where do you stand on your Christmas shopping?  Trying to hit any goals this year?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Asia map

I can label the countries on a map of Asia too.  I used a bunch of different maps because it's hard to find just one that includes all of Asia. 

All this geography stuff reminds me of my World History teacher in high school.  He passed away a couple months ago and I feel like students lost someone great.  The man got me interested in geography and got many years worth of students to at least know the basics.  For at least our sophomore year we knew the countries of Europe and Asia along with major cities, rivers and mountain ranges.  He believed that knowing geography was very important.  It helped make us competitive with other countries (since most Americans don't know much geography) and it also allowed us to really understand what was going on in the world. 

He was an amazing teacher in many ways and he even had a Facebook fan page for quite a while before he died.  He was inspirational and brilliant.  I hope that whoever replaces him recognizes what a huge space they have to fill and can teach that class with half the enthusiasm he had.  So, here's to you Mr. Hallen.  RIP.  And thank you for everything.

Monday, November 15, 2010

European Map

I've been working on it for a few days now, but I can consistently get a perfect score on this Europe map quiz.  It makes me want to travel.  Now I just need to work on Asia.

So, how do you do on the quiz? 

Two things from the list

I attempted to post last night, but thanks to a cut cable, our internet wasn't working.  It wasn't on our end.  Apparently someone wherever our internet connects to found it.  So thanks to whoever cut that.  I just love spending most of the day without internet. 

Anyway, I completed two things from my list yesterday.  The first is going a week without eating out.  I hadn't planned on doing that one.  I honestly thought I'd have to make an effort to not go out, but I just realized it on Sunday afternoon that we hadn't gone out to eat since the Friday over a week before.  I suppose actually doing some grocery shopping in advance makes it pretty easy to stay home.  We had really good food in the house this week.

The second thing I did was to attempt at least one puzzle on each page of an activity book.  That doesn't mean I actually finished it or that I actually completed each of those puzzles.  It just means that I tried.  This wasn't the best thing to put on the list because it makes you feel dumb.  I thought that I had a pretty good vocabulary, but I'm awful at coming up with words from some random description.  I still enjoy the puzzle books though.

So, it's a new week and I'm hoping to find something else to do on the list.  It looks like I actually have a shot at having my Christmas shopping done early this year.  We'll see if I actually finish it by the 1st though.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Business License

I spent the day researching my cities website and figuring out what I need to do to get my business license.  As it turns out, I don't really need one.  Yay for living outside the city limits.  Our county doesn't require a business license and as long as I don't work within the city limits (which I never realized were so incredibly small) I won't need one.  I'm trying to start my own event planning business, so if the location was within the limits, I would have to get one, but I can wait until it comes up before I need to do it.  The odds are in my favor that I'll never need one. 

I do, however, need to file a fictitious business name and put it in the paper so I will cross off number 95 when I get that done.  I'm so excited to be getting close and really feeling like this is going to happen. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Banned books

Since I've updated the list to show that I've read 13 books from the banned books list, I thought I'd point out which ones I've read.  I'm using this list.  These are the 13 that I've read before.  My goal is to be able to say that I've read 20 by the end of my 1001 days.  Here's the list of ones I've read:

1. The Scary Story Series by Alvin Schwartz.  I used to read these in elementary school and I loved them.  I wasn't the only one either because those books were always checked out. 

2. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.  Another one I used to read in elementary school. 

3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  I read this my junior year of high school.  Hard to get used to the writing style, but I really liked it.  After I complained to that teacher that all the books had crappy endings he told me to get used to it because they were all like that.  This was the only book out of 6 that didn't end horribly.

4. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  Another junior year book.  I hated this one.  Holden Caulfield is a whiny little bitch.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I read this in 8th and 9th grade English.  I love this one.  The movie is actually good too.

6. Gossip Girl Series by Cecily von Ziegesar.  An early high school series.  I enjoyed the series.  I never watched the show though.  I'm not really sure what is so bad about it that it made it on the list.
7. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.  I know I read it, but I really don't remember much about it.  Really tells you how great it is, right?

8. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison.  It's the first in a series, but the others aren't on the list.  I thought these books were hilarious. 

9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  Read my senior year of high school.  Or rather, read to me since my teacher would read half of our homework to us each day. 

10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Read it my freshman year of high school.  I love the irony of this book being banned.

11. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.  I read it in 5th grade at the urging of my dad.  I loved it.  I was so upset when I finished it because I wanted the book to be longer.

12. Goosebumps the series by R.L. Stine.  I read every one of these books I could get my hands on in 4th grade.  I also watched the TV show (which really sucked). 

13. Are you There God?  It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume.  One of many books on the list about growing up.  Apparently we aren't supposed to prepare children for the things that will change. 

So this is my list as it currently stands.  I have a few ideas for which books I'd like to add to it, but not all 7.  I find it interesting that most of the ones I read for school came in high school.  I didn't add a single book to this list while I was in college and I got my degree in English.  And some of those books definitely fit the criteria.  Maybe they'll be added to the next decade's list. 

For the couple people that have seen this blog, which books from the list have you read?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Like Water for Chocolate

My first book of my 101 in 1001 list is Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  I'd heard a lot about this book and kept seeing it at Borders, but never picked it up before.

I liked this book.  I don't really have much to say about it.  It wasn't one I hated or one that I loved.  It's a little strange and has some sci-fi elements to it, but it's pretty good.  It's definitely a quick read.  I just picked it up at the library today and finished it a few moments ago.  I liked that it wasn't predictable like some books are. 

Each chapter starts with a recipe and the descriptions will make you hungry so I definitely recommend having easy access to good Mexican food while reading it.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I completed number 94 on my list today.  I created a brochure for the event/wedding planning business I'm trying to start using MS Publisher.  I still can't decide on a name for the business so I will have to wait to print them, but I'm at least happy to have them.  I also have a contract ready to go for when I get my first customer.  Hopefully that won't be too far off.  I'm also hoping to figure out what I need to do to get my business license soon so I can take care of another item on my list and get started with this venture.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The First Post

Today I've started my 101 in 1001 list of goals.  You can see the full list above.  This is my place to keep track of the goals as I complete them.  My 1001 days ends on August 5th, 2013.