Saturday, December 30, 2006


Two Days Ago

We had a wonderful Christmas despite the rain and mud. A few plans went awry when two of Jon's family members came down with the flu which moved breakfast to our house. I didn't have enough time to plan anything spectacular so omelets and hash browns it was and it was actually quite tasty. The remaining plans for the day went off without a hitch. We visited with his mom and her husband before they left for a week long trip to New York, and with his dad before he hopped a plane to Vegas for New Years. We returned to my parents house for a few rounds of Mad Gab and Quiddler which were among the many gifts everyone exchanged this year.

I'm now working on the 40 item grocery list for our New Years Eve party this Sunday. Lots of finger foods--vegetable and cheese trays, mini sandwiches on white, wheat, and rye breads, and a pumpernickel loaf loaded with spinach dip.

Present Day

The shopping is done and we are now ready for the party tomorrow. This is a good thing because we have one more Christmas (Yeah. It has passed, but we have to go anyway) party to attend tonight. I figure it will be great to see these people that we haven't seen in months and I don't have to worry about what to do for dinner tonight.


Pulling out of the market parking lot last night Jon and I were behind a jet black luxury car with Virginia license plates that read AKRONOH. At the next light we were behind a more sporty one with Maryland plates that read BROWNS#1. We both found this hilarious because while we will probably never leave Akron, if we do, we will most definitely never have vanity plates advertising it. And while we feel obligated to cheer for the Cleveland Browns due to proximity, we do not kid ourselves into believe that they could be #1 at anytime in the semi-near future.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Look Katie, It Opens!

Five years ago Jon asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve. He somehow managed to convince me that I had to open one of my gifts early. He said it would all make sense later. And when I opened the small but not-ring-size-small box and found a little porcelain ornament with a Mr. and Mrs. Claus standing on top of a box it did make perfect sense--by that time we had started a tradition of buying each other a new ornament each year to fill our very small tree. I thought he had presented me with a cute new addition to our Charlie Brown Tree, but once he realized that I was making a move amidst my "Oohs" and "Ahhs" to hang it up, he quickly pointed out the little box the couple were standing on.

"Look, Katie, it opens!"


I opened the box, confused, and saw my engagement ring. I looked down at Jon, in shock, who was now kneeling on one knee, smiling. I gave him my what-in-the-world-are-you-doing-?! look, and he just kept smiling.

"I love you, Katie. Will you marry me?"


I always look back on that moment and wonder why I couldn't use proper English and respond with a "Yes" or maybe an "Of course! I love you, too!" instead of a meager, yet very happy "Yeah." I think it was the shock. He had totally thrown me a curve ball. By that time it wasn't a question of whether or not we would get married but more when we could afford the ring. I had no idea he had already planned it all out himself. He was going for a surprise and he certainly got one. I got the best Christmas gift I have ever received, along with a little reminder to hang on the tree each year.

Oh! And the real reason he wanted me to open it early? It was so we could make the announcement at my parent's annual Christmas Eve party while everyone was together.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Goose is Getting Fat

Jon and I are entirely prepared for this holiday weekend. The planning, shopping, and baking are all complete. We will be mooching from our massive family for the entirety of Christmas day--his aunt's for breakfast, his Mom's for lunch, his Dad's for dinner, and my parent's for dessert, or more commonly known as the after-party where you may or may not munch on cookies and pies while enjoying a hilarious game of Taboo or Cranium. Yes, my family can't get enough of the guessing games.

My contribution to the baking this year turned out to be chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. I had never made them before, but have very fond memories of a friend's mother handing one each to my bother and I, and we popped the little ball of peanut-buttery goodness into our mouths, rolled our eyes into the back of our heads, and unanimously exclaimed "MMmmm!" And because I'm always looking for that same reaction from my family and friends when I try something new I decided to give them a shot.

I didn't pay much attention to ingredients before heading out to the grocery store. I saw that I had to pick up some more peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar, and remained oblivious to the overall amounts needed. So when I finally set all of the ingredients out on the counter-top and began reading the recipe you can imagine my surprise and insurmountable disgust when I saw that I had to use 16 oz. of butter--as in 1 entire pound of butter, or the entire 15 oz. tub I purchased plus another ounce! I continued reading and found that I also needed 2 and a half pounds of powered sugar which was, again, the entire bag that I purchased plus an extra cup! The thought of all that butter and sugar and how extremely unhealthy these little suckers must be made me walk away for a while, call my mother to make sure that I wasn't crazy and that 16 oz. really did equal one pound, and stop to ask myself if I really felt the need to give my family death by peanut butter and chocolate?

Apparently the answer was yes, because curiosity got the best of me and I mixed it all together. I spent the next hour rolling the dough into 150 tiny balls and stacking cookie sheet upon cookie sheet into my refrigerator. I felt a little better knowing that the recipe made so many--that way the butter and sugar were a little more dispersed than I had originally imagined.

I have since dipped them all in chocolate, making them resemble real buckeyes, stored them in three separate tupperware containers and did my best at cautioning Jon from thinking of them as a quick and easy snack. The last thing I need is to find out that my husband ate a whole tub of butter and bag of powdered sugar this Christmas season. I will be divvying them out on our Monday travels. I do not, however, know that I will ever make them again. They taste good, but I suppose it's sort of like fast food--once you know how it's made it doesn't sound so appetizing anymore.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Numbers Game

Six hundred and twenty-eight dollars. That is what I had to spend on a new water heater yesterday. Jon discovered the tiny river running through our basement yesterday morning, after I had already left for work. We were fortunate that it ran directly towards the drain in the utility room rather than veer towards the parquet floors in the finished portion of the lower level. The installer said we were lucky that it was discovered so soon because just a few warm showers later it could have burst, shooting water in all directions. I don't feel lucky to have spent so much money on a big chunk of metal, but you know, if he says so.

Ten miles per hour. That was my top speed as I inched my way north on I-71 through the so-called blizzard that ravaged Northeast Ohio this morning. We could have gone a little faster, but it is a known fact that Ohioans have to retrain themselves to drive on the snow every winter, making the first big snowfall the most nerve-wracking. It is only after the first four or five inches accumulate on the highway that we remember to not drive as fast or to pump the brakes instead of slamming our foot down on the peddle. Of course, I was moving at a very cautious fifteen miles per hour through my neighborhood, pumping my brakes every few seconds, and I still managed to careen directly into a curb, narrowly avoiding sliding right into someones front yard. The crunch of my rim as it hit the concrete curb was not a pretty sound.

Fifty-five minutes. That is how late I was to work this morning after facing the congestion on the highway. While the snow was very pretty once I got tucked away in the safety of my office building, it was not worth having to stay later than everyone else.

Seven. That's how many gifts I have left to buy before I have finished my Christmas shopping. I'm actually very proud of myself. I have been able to do most of my shopping while avoiding the over-crowded stores as they carry out the biggest sales, and yet I have still picked out some really great gifts for not a lot of money. Originally Jon and I had planned to go easy on gifts this Christmas because almost everyone (except us, of course) would be out of town, and we had to ship everything, but now I think I have truly been humbled this Christmas season, and I have more of a it's-the-thought-that-counts take on it all. I am buying these gifts to show my family and friends that I love them, and that I'm thinking of them, not to show that I can afford to do it bigger and better than the next guy. It has been a long time coming, and I welcome the humbling.