About Me

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Charlotte, North Carolina
I am starting out my social work career and my marriage. I write to relieve stress...mostly by sarcastically telling life stories.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fat and Happy

Does anyone else realize how often I use the term fat and happy? After an entire day of cooking my Mom and I successfully completed the Christmas day meal. We made everything we wanted except one thing because we ran out of time- my grandmother's angel biscuits.
You will note that our meal revolves around casseroles- plus enough mac & cheese for a small army. The rest of the meal is- turkey, squash casserole, cranberry sauce, dressing (not stuffing), and sweet potato casserole (with pecan topping not marshmallows). My brother thought he was going to throw up he ate so much! Most people would not worry about such a thing- but we have had a previous incident involving homemade lasagna. That is a story for another time ha ha.  
We also made chocolate chip pie- which I leave room for no matter how stuffed I am! We even posed for our required Christmas Eve pictures. My mom always forces us to take pictures when we are dressed up nice for the midnight Christmas Eve service. This time my husband even got to join in- but my dad was already at church.
And while this picture may be funny typically they are even worse. My brother and I are notorious for never taking serious pictures. We keep acting silly until my mom is at the point of breakdown for a nice picture and then we cave.
I am even annoying my brother at this point. Now we just have to make it through New Year's eve/my husband's birthday and all us women can join together on the post-holiday diet time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This morning and throughout most of the day my Mom and I are officially going to make the Thanksgiving/Christmas meal. In our home both meals are the same. I have made most of the items for this meal- individually- but never the whole meal at once. I hope to learn from her expertise.

Yesterday, we finally made cinnamon rolls from the legendary (at least in our home) Pioneer Woman. My Mom introduced me to Pioneer Woman several years ago. She was one of the first blogs I ever read and I truly believe she is amazing. I think I want her to adopt me.

My husband gave me her first cookbook last week just as a surprise gift. I may or may not have told him that it is a sacrilege that her second cookbook is about to come out and I still didn't have the first one. Anyway, most people who read her blog know about her famous cinnamon rolls. They are her go-to Christmas present for lots of people and her recipe makes a billion rolls. We halved the recipe and still had 6 pans worth!!

Waiting for rolls to rise

Fresh out of the oven gooeyness

Add maple icing= perfection
I'm telling you I could live in pioneer woman's kitchen year round. One more shining example of why I trust her recipes- As I was looking through her cookbook my husband noticed her meatloaf recipe. Currently, I usually use Paula Dean's meatloaf recipe- but how does Pioneer Woman make it better? She adds bacon under her ketchup topping.

This woman is a genius- as long as you don't mind getting "jiggly" as she likes to say.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Well, we have officially flown back to the state of Texas for Christmas. This is the first year that my husband has been able to join in on the Christmas festivities with me. It is always difficult to figure out holidays when we have family all over the country.

Mom already had the tree decorated and the presents wrapped under the tree

But since we are in Texas my world now revolves around "tex-mex" food. I would literally be 300 pounds if I lived out here. I absolutely love Mexican food- and Texas is my holy grail. My parents lived in Texas 28 years ago when my brother was born. My dad completed seminary out here.

One of the restaurants they loved is called Joe T. Garcias. Joe T.'s was almost a family legend as we grew up. My parents would always talk about it as one of the few places they could afford to eat at with a measly budget. My brother was too young to remember it and I never lived in Texas. When my parents moved out here it was a must that they bring the kids to eat this yummy food.

Since then my brother and I have been hooked and always request a visit out to Fort Worth for this food. This year it was time to allow my husband the pleasure of Joe T's. Yum Yum!
Joe T's has been open since the 1930s- it is an institution in this area. When my parents first started eating here (in the early 80s) they literally walked through the kitchen to get to a table. Now Joe T's is enormous with a "fiesta garden" in the back.
Often times there is a line to get in and you have to wait outside- but we are excited! Just look at those faces! In the summer this line can wrap around the building- especially if a TCU game is the same day.
The food is simple and delicious. No menu is given- you have two choices. Either you eat family style enchiladas or fajitas. We always- and I mean always- get the enchiladas. Every one's favorite part of the meal is the above nachos. They are magical and simple and divine.
Look at all that food! This is even one of those establishments that only takes cash. We were also serenaded by two men with guitars on this trip. Of course, we heard Feliz Navidad no less than five times while we were there. Our table requested Silent Night and they sang every verse to us- in Spanish. It was amazing!! My husband approved of the meal- of course, if he had not approved he would have been shunned from the family. Smart man ha ha. As we drove back east toward Dallas we were all feeling fat and very happy!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bad Luck

My husband and I always seem to run into little "issues" when we are out and about. Case in point- going to Biltmore. Hubby spent weeks trying to find me a nice hotel and planning the trip to surprise me for Christmas.

Hubby had planned a king suite bedroom where a hot tub is actually in your room. He was already plotting sitting in the hot tub and watching TV at the same time- he was practically giddy over this idea. We arrive at the hotel- and granted, it is a nicer name brand hotel (I will resist saying which one it is). As soon as we open the door and look in the room he is already irritated because the hot tub is actually in the bathroom- with no TV in sight. Plus it looks like it is from 1982- I wish I had taken a picture- it was an odd pink color and when we turned on the water I am convinced it would have taken an hour to fill up that tub.

We decided to go to dinner and forget about it. We drove out to downtown Asheville and had a nice dinner. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a gas station to get my husband his necessary supply of cookies and milk (I have explained the obsession in other posts). When we get into our room my husband finds out that the fridge is broken. Well, now he is irritated- you are messing with his cold milk supply. But- he takes it in stride and fills up a trashcan with ice because we are classy like that.

Then we attempt to figure out the 1980s pink hot tub again- and in the process we realize that the shower head doesn't work. Great- so you have now messed with the milk supply and I can't even take a shower in the morning. So, we call downstairs to report that our fridge and shower is broken and they report they will send someone up.

This is when bad goes to worse- the "helper" they sent was a young (quite frankly) stoner looking kid. He comes to the door and- no joke- says, "I hear your shower is broken, where is the shower"? Um- Einstein last time I checked most showers are located in the bathroom. At this point my husband, who throughout the years has learned to manage a bit of a temper, walks to me and reports what the stoner "helper" said to him and reports, "I can't do this". To illustrate this point- Hubby's face is now a lovely shade of red.

I go into the bathroom and watch said helper just wiggle all of the handles. We already did all of this but I let him feel helpful and do it himself. At this point he reports that the hotel is fully booked and he does not know what to do- and leaves. Thanks buddy.

Now, I don't know if I have ever mentioned this- but I don't really like people. I have an aversion to having to talk to strangers. But- in this situation I took control because I am pretty sure my husband would have killed someone. I marched downstairs and- politely asked them to find us another hotel. They helped us find a hotel at the same rate- but without the hot tub. At this point, we really didn't care what it was.

When we arrive at the new hotel we were both a little ill and not ready for any more nonsense. At this point- the story turns around. First off- this hotel had a fire blazing, warm cookies, and a beautiful Christmas tree when we walked in. Second- It is amazing how one person can make you feel so much better because they have a little knowledge of customer services. The lady who checked us in was happy, bubbly, and basically started telling us all about her family.

We realize that her daughter is trying to live where we live. At this point she finds out that we have had to give up our hot tub dreams because of the price. Well, she just finds this unacceptable and after thinking about it, gives us a king suite- with a hot tub- at our original price. Score!

When we get upstairs the room is AMAZING. There is a whole living room with a nice (not 1980s pink) hot tub with a TV, couch, and comfy chair. The bedroom is a whole other room- an actual suite. Then there was a real bathroom- with a working shower. Ahh- it's the little things in life. And just like that the trip turned around.

Hey at least it makes for an amusing story!
Oh- and this is my husband showing his true goofy self as he opens his Christmas gift- in our fancy hotel living room. I got him a Nook Touch- if you are poor and can't afford an IPad- like me- then this is a nice substitute. He has really enjoyed it- as the face shows you. Haha

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Yes, I have been a slacker with the blogging. I apologize for having nothing creative to talk about. Between working and trying to find Christmas presents I never seem to have time in the day. This weekend I got my Christmas gift from my husband. A weekend in Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate.

If you are not from North Carolina you may not know what Biltmore is. It is the largest privately owned home in America. I have been about a thousand times to see Biltmore and I still love it. Nothing compares- in the winter it has Christmas magic and in the spring the gardens make you feel like you should have on a princess ball gown as you walk thorough your roses and tulips.

Anyway, this year he wanted to take me to see all the Christmas lights and trees. I was very upset when I got into the home- all prepared with my fancy camera- taking this picture:
And attempting to adjust my horrible lighting when a lady informed me that no pictures are allowed. Seriously! No pictures- boo. I thought about going rogue and sneaking around- but then I thought I would get kicked out and I restrained myself.

If you get the chance to go they actually only have one real Christmas tree in the house. It is in the dining room. It is HUGE- I really can't even describe it. It is easily 20-25 feet, two draft horses bring it to the front door, and it takes 40 men and women to carry it into the house. They actually have two a year because the first one starts to die before the Christmas tours are over.

Anyway, hubby and I had to stop picture taking- at least till we got to the animals. Which, if you know us at all, is our favorite part anyway.

I will touch the donkey- I will touch the donkey

Best picture ever- he is even smiling!

Retired draft horse- Bert
We also made a friend- a baby goat who was being bullied. Enter the offenders:
This bag contains the hay they eat- this black goat will head butt any goat who comes near the food- including the baby. Well, I'm sorry, but this is just not allowed. So, hubby got out the hay (I'm not dumb enough to put my hand in there!) and I feed the baby.
Which led to:
So he doesn't exactly look happy- nor is this probably allowed- but really if you had the chance to hold a baby goat you would take advantage also.

On the way home we also saw a carriage ride coming back to the barn
We got pricing because we suddenly realized that you can actually ride horses on the Biltmore grounds. One package includes a 3 hour ride with a picnic lunch in a scenic view area. Um- our next trip is planned.

We wish we had the time to stay till night so we could see all the trees lit up. Maybe one year...but, if you live in the area this place really is beautiful this time of year. I highly recommend it!