Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Soul of a Stranger"

I was so excited to learn my friend and coworker, Dana Abbott Celich, is a published author. Soul of a Stranger hit book stores in December, and I purchased it this past week.

Since I met Dana 10+ years ago, she had been working to this goal, and I always told her I couldn’t wait to read her book. There was no doubt in my mind she’d get there.

Well, my copy arrived yesterday, and I squealed when I noticed my name in the acknowledgements. SQUEALED!!

I mean how cool. Seriously, how cool 😍🤗

I was just excited Dana is finally in print, and that I would have a signed copy. That alone was so exciting. This is

This may be one of the most exciting events of my life. Definitely something I'll always remember, and treasure.

Soul of a Stranger has answered one of my life's burning curiosities.

Since I personally know the author, I wondered if, as I was reading, it would be as if she was speaking. What I found is that while she comes through in it - her values, her interests etc, but the characters have a life and a voice all their own.

This is fascinating to me. I'm only about 100 pages in, but I am enjoying it so much. Full review coming soon.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Winter Blahs

Ugh, this weather. This week we're experiencing a warm-up. We actually got above freezing today, and are supposed to hit the mid-50s later this week. I've already mentioned to Sal that I'd like to grill out if that happens. What I wouldn't do for a burger.

There are 70 days until Spring, but it probably won't get warm until late May. We even had chilly days into June last year, but I would love to see those little crocus pop.

In the meantime, I really do need to find a way to just deal with winter.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cooking Class

Sarah loves cooking so for Christmas Sal and I gifted her with a Mommy and Me cooking class. Crate in Greentree offers these classes, and they had one with a Mexican theme scheduled for January 6. Perfect for Sarah.

We weren't sure what to expect, but it was fun. There were 17 participants and they divided the menu up between us. Sarah and I were assigned to homemade tortilla chips and sweet mango guacamole with another little girl and her grandmother.

Also on the menu was chicken tortilla soup, which I thought was good and Sarah didn't care for (because of the bell peppers), sheet pan beef nachos with lime crema, faux fried ice cream with fresh whipped cream, and a slushy lime punch.

I don't love lime, but it wasn't over-powering in any of the recipes. It was pretty tasty with all the other flavors. Crate gave us copies of the recipes we had made and Sarah would like to recreate this meal for her birthday in March.

I didn't catch our instructor's name, but in addition to the lead instructor, there were Crate employees going between each station making sure we had the ingredients and tools we needed and assisting in any way they could. We learned how to slice and scoop an avocado, which was fun. And, I learned that crema is nothing more than flavored sour cream. I guess I could have googled each of these mysteries, but I hadn't.

We had a great time.

Friday, January 5, 2018

So Blessed Cold

For at least two weeks now, we've barely seen temps that hit the double digits. Today was especially cold, and all the schools canceled by 7:15 last night. Sal was home today with all three kids, while I came into work.

We met at Mount Alvernia Daycare at 4 to tour Seth's new room, and we love it. I cannot wait for him to move up on February 20. He's been potty trained at home for months now, and the 3s room will work with him (the 2s did not).

He'll take a back pack that will stay at school with all his extra clothes, and a sports bottle will stay as well. All I need to pack him every day is a lunch and two snacks.

There are only 11 kids, currently, in the 3s room and I think he'll do well in a small group. Right now there are over 30 in the 2s room and I really do think he's overwhelmed.

We also found out earlier this week that Mount Alvernia will not be closing, but they are relocating, perhaps to Jeffrey Primary. This won't happen until June so we'll finish out the school year and then return in the fall to a new school. Jeffrey isn't as convenient as the current location, but nothing would have been. It's not too far though and it will make sense that he continue there until he goes to kindergarten, in just two years.

Lots of exciting changes coming up.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome 2018

We spent New Year's Day at my parents in Franklin and my brother and I were both excited to see my mom had made "the good" sauerkraut. I'm not one for sweet potatoes, but my mom combined them and white potatoes in a scalloped potato casserole and it was delicious.

She had asked me to pick up dinner rolls and when we got to Giant Eagle, all that was left were the frozen variety that took me forever to find. They actually ended up tasting pretty good, but what an adventure.

I made a kahlua trifle for dessert, and wasn't impressed. Everyone seemed to like it, but I need some crunch in my desserts.

She had also invited my Aunt Judy and Sal's Uncle Ernie. The girls were with their dad, but we picked them up at 8pm to start their week with us.

It was a low-key holiday, but nice.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

NYE 2017

New Years Eve is a funny holiday for me. Some years I'm dying to go out and celebrate in some non-crazy way. Other years, I couldn't care less. This was a couldn't care less kind of year, and Sal seemed fine with that as well.

The madness and stress of the holiday caught up with me, I think, and I just didn't want to plan one more thing or do one more thing. Plus, it's been ridiculously cold -- as in single digits temperatures for a week with no "warm-up" in sight.

We stayed home, had a little wine, watched tv until midnight, and then went to bed.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Sarah and Emmy had asked me what time they could wake Sal and I up Christmas morning. Knowing that they would be going their dad's at 10am, I wanted to give them enough time to open gifts and enjoy them for a little while before having to leave. However, I also need my sleep. We agreed on 7am and promptly at 7am, they showed up.

This was the first Christmas Seth actually got into, which made it fun too.

Santa brought Sarah a cooking class, a new FitBit, and a few other small things. Emmy received new light up Sketchers (which you can see her trying on in the picture above). Seth loves his new work bench, but his favorite gift was probably the train set my sister got him. I gave Sal a new leather wallet, a few t'shirts, and an Art of Shaving Kit (which he gets every year for either his birthday or Christmas). He got us tickets to see Up and Away at the Caberet Theater next month, which will include lunch. He also gave me a gift card to White House Black Market, a place I haven't splurged on since we were dating. The kids got me a gift certificate for Salon 22, my hair salon, Starburst candies, a coffee mug, and some nail polish.

After opening gifts, I made Santa pancakes. I wish I had thought to put more effort into Christmas morning breakfast and come up with a fun centerpiece, napkins etc. It's on my to-do list for next year. I'm always so stressed around Christmas due to our commitments, but I think I can prepare for breakfast ahead of time and keep the menu simple.

Anyway, due to their dad's overtime/work schedule (thank God for snow), the girls didn't end up leaving until 11 which meant they got to see Grandma and Pop-Pop (Graham Crackers and Popcorn) for a little while first, which I think made their whole day. When Sarah and Emmy got picked up, we started preparing our Christmas dinner.

We had honey baked ham, scalloped potatoes, seasoned carrots, and a layered jello dessert. I used the same recipe for Emmy's birthday party in October. It was a really good meal and we just spent the rest of the day hanging out.

I had held my breath all December just praying that all of us would be healthy for Christmas, and we were. We had a full schedule, especially these last three days, and we made it. I'm grateful for that.