Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 is over one second past 11:59:59 tonight.

I'm glad it's done, but I'm cautious about what
2012 will bring. 

The Mayan calendar means nothing to me,
but I don't feel right about expecting 2012 to be glorious for any reason.

I do, however, hope -
I also, somehow, thank.

From 2011:

I'm thankful we moved to Chicagoland, as hard as it's been to be here,
and I hope we can continue to appreciate a place we know just isn't our home.

I'm thankful we made such good friends this year, and I hope
we can stay in contact with our many old, good friends and meet more new, good friends.

I'm thankful we got the chance to see family as much as we did this past year,
and I hope we can still seem them often next year.

I'm thankful I got to spend as much time with my Dad before he died, and
I'm hopeful (and SO thankful) that I'll get to see him in Heaven again.

I'm thankful for the new babies that came into the world for many of my friends this year
(I just met Cade - WHAT a cutie!  but I have some catching up to do with Mollie, et. al. in the future),
and I'm hopeful that my many other friends will bring healthy babies into the world when
they have theirs this year.

I'm thankful for the friends of mine who brought babies home from other families
or countries via adoption,
and I'm hopeful that, in some way or another, God will bring us children sometime soon.

I'm thankful for the job I've had here at the school, and I'm
hopeful that God will continue to provide for us.

I'm thankful that God has been providing John the ability to join the U.S. Army,
and I'm hopeful that He will also provide me with the crazy amount of patience I'll need to deal with that fine, monstrously huge institution. 

I'm thankful God has provided me with so much comfort, and
I hope He instills in me his perfect joy.

I'm thankful for all that was good in 2011,
and I'm hopeful for much good to happen in 2012. 


2011 - what a year.

I knew this year would be different, but I hadn't more than a hint exactly how different it would be. 

One thing was obvious: Chicagoland.

Moving again - the fifth time in 2.5 years of marriage -
was on the docket this time last January, but
something else inside me told me about what would be happening this past summer.

That something was Christmas last year; we sang carols in the car, and
it was something my family had NEVER done before all-together.

Something about that said "last christmas" to me -
I remember thinking that in that car ride on the way to mass
that Christmas Eve.
It was the last Christmas with my dad, and it was a great one. 
We got to see all my family,
we had a ton of fun with our family-friends,
and we made a ton of wonderful memories.

So, with only the memory of him around,
this Christmas was different.
There weren't many pictures,
and there were as many smiles as there were tears,
but we made it.

We - John and I -
made the trek from IL to PI, MN, then
St. Martin, MN, then
Newton, IA, then
back to IL.

We saw and spent good time with family,
we had a ton of fun with friends,
and we had the first Christmas with us on earth and Dad in Heaven.

I'm thankful so many of you who have posted have
had a good Christmas.  Ours was as good as it could be,
and for that I am thankful.

So, with that all being said,
I hope you all have a very wonderful last day of 2011
and a very, very joyful 2012.

p.s. the dark chocolate pistachio fudge
was kind of meh.  I'm still undecided
on how that turned out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Did you know I like to make lots of treats for Christmas?

It all started in my senior year of HS - ten years ago to this week, probably -
when Mrs. Arel handed us a packet of recipes full of

Lots and lots of

Hard rock candy,
etc. etc. etc.

Just in time for Christmas,
these recipes were exciting for all of us,
and I do believe that this was the food unit
where Mrs. Arel finally deemed us to be "Good Eaters."
2nd period always had that title over us;
I think we were more picky.

Unfortunately, my recipes got lost in our last move. 
I have no idea where they are, and
my best guess would be that they are
decomposed into dirt by now.

So, I've been looking at other recipes this year,
and here's the first one I'm going to try:

Fudge!  (photo from the Eagle Brand website)

I've made this before and have done a lot of different
variations with it.  It's the easiest treat ever, but I will
say that you need to know your stuff when
it comes to cooking chocolate before you go at it.
Let's just say one year my burnt white chocolate chips
miraculously tasted like s'mores.

Anyway, check out the recipe for yourself - it's super easy.
I'm going to change it up a bit and make
dark chocolate-pistachio fudge.  

I'll let you know how it turns out!

More recipe adventures to come.