Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in December 2009

  1. Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb (NOTE: This book is the 30th book in her Eve Dallas series - not including novellas. The full order can be found here.)
  2. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  3. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

This was definitely a slow book-reading month. However, I prefer to think of it as quality over quantity. I really enjoyed all of the books I read. I don't think Kindred in Death is my favorite book in the series, but I did enjoy it. It did move the characters forward and had a decent case. I saw the film, Fantastic Mr. Fox and immediately went home to read the short book. Growing up, it was one of my favorite books and probably my favorite Roald Dahl book as well. It was nice to revisit and compare it to the film. I enjoyed Bel Canto as well. It's still staying with me, and I'm currently rereading portions. I'm not obsessed with it, but it was definitely worth reading. I have a pretty big To Be Read list. It is full of quality books. The next month is a slow book-release month for me so I'm hoping to tackle the books I already own. We'll see how successful I am and if the books turn out to be winners.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Weekend Update - Christmas Take Two

We arrived in Maryland late on Saturday (technically, it was Sunday already). On Sunday, we went skiing then all came home bruised and sore (but in a good way). Husband saw his football team win. So, all in all, a good day.

The next day, it snowed and wouldn't stop. We ended up having to stay an extra day to wait for the roads to clear out. The kids loved playing in the snow (as did the rest of us). This is the first time Little Miss really got to play in a significant amount of snow. Last year, she wasn't quite walking.

It was nice to see Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins. We hadn't seen them in awhile,and I don't even know if Little Miss remembers them. She did latch onto the youngest cousin. He's like the Child Whisperer. Both kids really gravitated towards him. Little Miss talked his ear off for quite awhile. Plus, she'll see them all again in February so she'll still remember them. She also loved seeing my parents' cat. She loves that cat. She gets so excited and just screams, "KITTY! KITTY!" Though Little Miss doesn't speak in sentences yet, she seems to add more and more words a day.

Little Miss was spoiled and received tons of presents from dress up shoes, boks, clothes, a whole baby play set with playpen, high chair, and stroller, a purse, vacuum, and art supplies. She loved them all.

Husband has the rest of the week off which he is spending with Little Miss, but it was back to work for me. It's a short week at least!

Weekend Update - Christmas

I got Christmas Eve off of work which was nice. Somehow we lost all day cleaning even though I was so good and did a lot of cleaning before. I can't even account for all the lost hours. Then, we went to Christmas Eve Mass and had all the In-Laws over for dinner. We had all the Polish food we cooked as well as pastries the boys all cooked the day before. Little Miss got all her presents from the In-Laws. She loved them. The above photo is the family photo taken at our place. I swear I'm fatter than I am in real life. I leaned back and wore plaid which was a bad mix. Ugh. Everyone else looked good and smiled though. The chances of a good retake were next to nothing.

On Christmas, we opened the family presents. Husband and I bought a mattress recently so that was our real gift, but we did small stocking stuffers for each other. We bought many gifts for Little Miss, and she seemed to love them all - especially her Minnie golf club set. Christmas night, we went to Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law's apartment to celebrate. We had a great dinner there, and Little Miss got another present. The below photo is of Little Miss in the giant chair Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law have. She always sleeps in this chair, ever since she was an infant. I'll have to find photos of her in the chair from last year to show how much she's grown.

The day after Christmas, we were supposed to wake up in the morning and go to Maryland where my parents have a place, but Little Miss had a stomach bug. So, we ended up leaving in the evening after dinner. More on that in a separate email.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


The day before Christmas Eve, we went to visit Santa. It went poorly from Little Miss kicking Santa in his jingle bells to screaming bloody murder.

I'll post more Christmas photos later, but Christmas Eve went well. This year, it was the In-Laws turn for us to celebrate with them. (We alternate holidays.) There was only a minor moment at Mass where Little Miss needed some bribery chocolate. She was very happy with her Christmas presents (Minnie golf clubs, Choo-Choo Express movie, Micky Mouse Clubhouse figurines, 2 pairs of Minnie pajamas, Minnie outfit, Minnie ornament, and a 3-piece New York Jets outfit. She got a train, an ornament, an animal that turns into a blanket, and a Fisher Price Santa set from the In-Laws and a really adorable outfit from Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law.

This morning, we were to drive to my parents' place to see the entire extended family and ski. However, Little Miss woke up and has been throwing up ever since. So, we hope it passes soon. For now, we're just having family cuddle time on the couch. Poor thing can't keep anything down.

Little Miss also receive this bib from the In-Laws which, surprisingly, she wore for a short time Christmas Eve night.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Day!

So, in case you hadn't heard, it snowed last weekend. I keep saying that the weather people don't know what they're talking about, but it turns out, they did this time. We got a ton of snow. We never get that much because we're closer to the city, but we got covered. Below is a photo of the front of our building early in the day on Saturday:Now, the grocery stores are insane in this area before a storm, even imaginary threats of storms. So, we were pretty sure it was going to be insane this time. So, we didn't go on Friday night despite the fact that we had no food at home. So, before the storm escalated, we walked to the grocery store on Saturday morning. We were going to drive, but the roads were bad. The photo below is Husband and Little Miss in the snow:
Little Miss wasn't very amused by the snow, but then again, she brought part of that on herself. She wouldn't let us put down the canopy for her stroller. She wanted the cool air but she didn't want the wet snow. So, either way, she was unhappy. We let her run wild at the grocery store so that helped. She also got free samples. Below is a picture of the snow accumulating on her:The snow kept increasing throughout the evening. When it was mostly done, we took photos of our balconies (which rarely get snow because they're fairly sheltered). Actually, upon further review, both of these photos are the balcony that isn't sheltered, the one off Little Miss's bedroom. One is straight from her room and the other is around the corner. A lot of the snow is gone now because that side of the building gets the sun. I'm sure the ice will come and go, but it'll clear off in a couple of days. We'll still have snow on the ground and a white Christmas though.So, today, the Federal Government was closed which meant a snow day for me! However, I have a lot of work to do so I'm still working from home. Husband is busy at work (did you hear the Senate is voting on something to do with healthcare?) so he had to go into work today after staying up most of the night watching CSPAN - which is weird because that channel is one I usually put on when I want to sleep. So, today is kind of a regular work day... except I'm wearing my pajamas. I also started tidying up for Christmas Eve dinner so I may continue to do that this evening so I don't have a mad rush on Christmas Eve morning. Very productive of me!


Do you want to win book(s) or a Nook? Click here to visit Anya Bast's website and find out how you can win a book or a Nook!

I'd wish you good luck, but then you'd win so all readers for themselves!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sexy Friday

Well, I'm going to risk it. After posting Jake and Reese last week, I heard they broke up. So, I'm hoping that this couple will rise above the jinx. This week, it is Gavin Rossdale and his wife, Gwen Stefani. I was a passable fan of No Doubt and Bush though I will admit to being a bigger fan of Gavin Rossdale's pretty, pretty face. I haven't seen either much in their acting endeavors though I did see Gavin in an episode of Criminal Minds this Fall. They are totally adorable together, have adorable children. It's almost nauseating... if they weren't so darned sexy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey! My Name is...

So, someone called me Rachel today at work. This is only unusual because 1. she knew my name and 2. I get Rachel a lot. Most of the time, people will accidentally call me Amy though. I wanted to add that we do have a Rachel in the office and, other than the fact we sit near each other, there's not much that would confuse us. This scene took place outside of the restroom not even near our desks anyway.

Then, I found
this site where you can generate your own Jersey Shore nickname. If I put in my actual name, I get A-Cat. If I put in my married name, I get The Rack (which is maybe why I didn't change my name because clearly, that's not appropriate). If I put in my username, princessapr, I get Pookie. If I just put in april, I got Vibe Time. I think I'm sticking with A-Cat.

A-Cat OUT!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Salad Recipe

The photo above is not of the salad I made for bookclub, but it's close enough. I used chopped pecans and used the organic mixed green mix from the grocery store (but the mix was similar to the photo actually). My onion was a little bigger than minced, too, but it looked similar. I kept the dressing separate and will serve the leftovers today to my family so we'll see if it keeps overnight in the fridge, too. Well, for a second night because I made it on Saturday and just kept the feta cheese and dressing in separate containers until right before serving. You can find it here if you would like a printable copy.


2 Tbs sesame seeds
½ cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp minced onion
¼ tsp paprika
1 Tbs poppy seeds (optional)

½ cup chopped pecans
Two 5-ounce bags mixed baby salad greens, thoroughly washed
4 ounce package crumbled feta cheese
¾ cup dried cranberries

1. Prepare vinaigrette: Heat sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or just until toasted. Microwave vinegar in a medium-size, microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute, or just until hot. Add sugar, and whisk until dissolved. Add next 3 ingredients, toasted sesame seeds, and, if desired, poppy seeds; whisk until blended. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

2. Toast pecans: Place pecans in even layer in a shallow pan. Bake pecans at 350°F. for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring once.

3. Assemble salad: Place greens in a large bowl. Top with cheese, cranberries, and toasted pecans. Drizzle with Apple Cider Vinaigrette just before serving.

Servings: 8

Weekend Update - Where Did the Time Go?

Last weekend was a fast one! First, the photo is from this morning as I didn't take any photos last weekend. It shows how much Little Miss loves her juice and juice cup. She actually takes her cup (and it's really any cup not the purple one in particular) to bed and has it in a death grip until she falls asleep.

On Friday, we mostly caught up on some television. I went to bed early. On Saturday, I woke up early with Little Miss. Husband ran errands. Then, in the evening, I went to Movie Club. I brought my Baked Macaroni and Cheese. We watched White Christmas and had lots of yummy things to eat. On Sunday, I had bookclub where we discussed The Help by Kathryn Stockett. We had many yummy things to eat. I made Mixed Green Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. It was better than I expected. Little Miss is teething. So, she was kind of miserable all weekend. She chewed and was generally miserable. She seemed in good spirits today at least. Later that night, we finished the Christmas tree and relaxed. OK, here is the photo album of our tree and special ornaments including Disney, a few of many pig ornaments (as Little Miss was born in the Year of the Pig so the poor thing has a big pig collection), ornaments to represent DC, among others. The photo caption will tell you why the ornaments are special. The link should work now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sexy Friday

So, it's getting closer to Christmas and, whenever I think of Christmas, I like to take a few moments to think of Jake Gyllenhaal. For those of you who saw Jarhead, you understand. For those of you who have not, at one point, Jake dances around in his Santa hat. Just his Santa hat. Currently, you can see him in Brothers which looks a little too depressing for me, but I'll watch it from the comfort of my own couch with my own box of tissues. His counterpart is a person who (as of this blog posting) is linked to him in all the magazines and whatnot - Reese Witherspoon. I've liked Reese Witherspoon since I sobbed through The Man in the Moon (which gives me another Sexy Friday recipient in the future). Both seem like likable people so I see them together, and I want to believe they're happy - and happiness is sexy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weekend Update - Baker's Joy

OK, maybe not so much joy, but there was a lot of cooking and baking. As we did last year, this year, Father-in-Law, Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law and our friends came over to cook and bake. We made pierogi (over 200 sauerkraut and around 300 potato and cheese), 4 loaves of nut bread, loaves of babka, and hundreds of chrusciki. Little Miss spent the weekend with Mother-in-Law because she's still a little too young to help, and we didn't have the room to have her underfoot. Unlike last year, I took photos of the actual final product. On Friday, we stayed up late working on the tree and then preparing for the weekend. On Saturday, we did the cooking of the pierogi. Sunday, we did the baking. Unfortunately, the only downpart is that we lost about 55 potato and cheese pierogi due to some freezing issues. We made more than our freezer could handle so, because of the humidity, they stuck together and couldn't be separated. Still, we have more than enough. Can't wait to start eating!

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's in a Name?

My name isn't uncommon, but it's not like there are Aprils running around all over the place. So, when they do show up, they stand out to me.

The first one I remember was from Days of Our Lives played by
Lisa Howard in the late 80's. Then, in high school, April O'Neill from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gained popularity in her yellow jumpsuit came around. This year, I saw Rent in which Roger sings about his ex-girlfriend, April (you can hear him say that Mimi reminds him of her at the :58 point of the video clip below) and Kristin Chenoweth played April Rhodes on Glee this season. Another exciting tidbit is that Kristin Chenoweth is about my height. So, short.

Anyway, it amuses me that my name pops up. I've known a handful of Aprils throughout my life and Husband's friend from high school married a woman with the same first and last name as me. They're all awesome. Plus, not every April I've met was born in April which also amuses me because I was not.

Is your name popular and are you like me and enjoy seeing things or hearing characters with your name on it?

Sexy Friday

Today's Sexy Friday belongs to John Cho currently of FlashForward. I know him from many films and television shows, but I never really thought he was sexy until Star Trek. I think it was the fighting. However, and I'm sure he hates this, he'll always be part Harold from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. For some reason, those movies tickle me (and I'll see the third movie if it ever is made). Because he'll always be part Harold, I chose a co-star from the sequel, Daneel Harris. I have seen Daneel Harris in a few things, but she's not very familiar to me. To me, she's most known for being engaged to the second ever Sexy Friday recipient, Jensen Ackles. I'm definitely a little jealous.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weekend Update - O Christmas Tree

Let's see. On Friday, we woke up and had our annual breakfast at IHOP. Little Miss had a great breakfast. Then, while waiting for Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law, we stopped in at Babies 'R' Us to pick up a few things. It was a little colder than we expected so we picked up Little Miss a new hat and mittens. Then, of course, we picked up a bunch of things we didn't really need. After, we headed to the tree farm. While we waited for Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law, we crossed the street to see the horses. They were very friendly and came right up to the fence to say hello to us. Little Miss wasn't too happy when one snuck in a kiss. We made quick work of choosing a tree and head back home. The tree was bigger than we expected when we got home so it takes up most of the corner and we had to shift things around, but it is a nice tree.

On Saturday, we went to
the mall to Macy's for the big mattress sale. We ended up treating ourselves to a new mattress (that arrives on Thursday and I'm sure it will inspire a new blog post on Friday). We then had lunch at Bailey's Pub & Grill and took a walk to a couple of grocery stores to find what we needed for dinner. Slim pickings right after Thanksgiving!

On Sunday, I mostly slept all day. There was football on, but I only really remember sleeping, waking up to eat and then sleeping again.

Books Read in November 2009

  1. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts (NOTE: This book is the second in her Bride Quartet. The full order can be found here.)
  2. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (NOTE: This is Book 1 of The Dresden Files series. You can find the order in which to read here.)
  3. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (NOTE: This is part of the Southern Vampire or Sookie Stackhouse series. You can find the order in which to read here.)
  4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  5. Hot on Her Heels by Susan Mallery (NOTE: This is the fourth and final book in the Lone Star Sisters series. The first three books are Under Her Skin, Lip Service, and Straight from the Hip.)

It was a more productive month than I expected. I thought The Help was going to take longer. It's for bookclub and 450 pages. However, it was a fast read. I also took a break from romance and read a bit of paranormal which helped change things up. I'm back in the reading mode now and have a ton of books piling up so it's nice to be back. I am really enjoying the Nora Roberts series. It's sweet. I tend to like a bit of dark and twisty in my books, but hers are just really sweet and cute. I almost wish there was more conflict but have decided to just take them as they are. Not a bad book in the bunch this month.