Friday, January 08, 2010

BACK TO NORMAL...or close

All the decorations are down and stored away for another year. My life is back to normal and I’m happy. We had three family gatherings at our house over the holidays and I’m holidayed out. I’d planned to get some writing done in between shopping, decorating, cleaning and cooking, but it never happened. I was usually too tired to think.

We had an eventful Christmas. It snowed on Christmas Eve. In Texas! I don’t ever remember that happening before. We were at my brother’s for lunch and the kids started screaming, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing.” We thought they were joking, but as we looked out the window we could see beautiful white snowflakes falling. It was just gorgeous. It felt like Christmas. The temperature was 38 degrees so the snow didn’t stick, but it was such fun to watch. We live about thirty minutes from my brother and when we arrived home later that afternoon, tiny snowflakes were falling at our house. I took a photo from our patio but I don’t know if you can see them. West of Dallas received the big snowfall and it was difficult for travelers. We’re not used to this. It was a Christmas we won’t soon forget. Last year it was in the seventies on Christmas Day. What a difference.

Here’s my two-year-old great niece Addie wishing everyone a Happy New Year, except she says ear and leaves out new. Happy ear everyone.
Now it’s back to work. New Year. New Contract. New goals. It’s like the start of a new journey and I’m so ready to get started. All through the holidays the stories were running through my head and it’s nice to have peace and quiet to type my thoughts into my computer. And I love the quiet. I need quiet to write. But the crazy computer is acting up. I think it missed me.

Did you survive the holidays? January 4th most people went back to work. I can hear the groans across the miles. I like a schedule though, not that I stick to it. But, oh yeah, I like normal. How about you?

Skylar’s Outlaw - Jan ‘10

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Out With the Old by Megan

I bought my family a wonderful present early in December--a new writing sweater for me.

What? Yep, my sweater is really a present for them. Maybe I should explain.

I have an ancient sweater I love, Love, LOVE. The debate in my family is "just how old is that thing?" We all agree it predates the children. I'll admit to that.

My darling husband claims it came with me when we married, which I'm not too sure about. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of when I bought it. That's how old it is.

My dear daughter teases me about my wearing the poor, formerly-cream-colored sweater in high school. THAT one I can refute with surety. (I didn't have any money in high school for a luxury like my nice, thick cardigan.)

That sweater has needed replacing for years, but...did you read the part about me loving it? The buttons are long gone. The button replacements are long gone. The pocket has been darned--okay, I only had red yarn on hand at the time, but who would know except me? The cuffs are attached by one thin, frayed strand, and the hole in the sleeve was well-earned as I played with story ideas.

We have a history, that sweater and I. Several books written, two children, and lots of years of late night reading.

This year I found a replacement. It's brown, but it's warm, has all its buttons, the pockets are in one piece, and there are no holes. (Well, nobody's perfect.)

To be continued...many, many happy years from now.

Your turn to confess. Is there something you need to replace that just breaks your heart to part with? Do you have a deep attachment to some object? Is there something that's so "just-right" that nothing else measures up to it?

NOTE: my children begged me not to post pictures. Sorry.

Megan Kelly

Monday, January 04, 2010

Recipe of the Month; Turkey Enchiladas

Yipes, it's the 4th of the month and I've started off the new year by forgetting to post a new recipe today! Sorry to be so late.

I want to share the recipe for turkey enchiladas that I made for my lake house in Mineola, TX, full of family on December 28th. We had a wonderful dinner of the enchiladas, a packaged rice mix (Taco Rice - I don't know what major brand it was,) chips, salsa and queso. Around my $150 antique (read: desperately needs refinishing) dining room table from Craigslist were my husband and me, my stepdaughter and her partner, our daughter, son-in-law, and their two daughters. Full house!

Pull about 2 cups or slightly more turkey from the remains of your holiday dinner. Cut into bite size pieces if the chunks are large. I used all turkey breast meat but you could use whatever you have, or get a roasted chicken in the market and use that.

Mix one can of cream of chicken soup, one cup of sour cream (I used reduced fat,) one cup of salsa, and about one tablespoon of chili powder together. Mix in the chunks of turkey (or chicken) and stir just until all is blended. Use 12 flour tortillas, as fresh as possible. Place about two heaping tablespoons of the mixture down the center of the tortilla, then roll it up and place it seam-side down in a pan at least 13 x 9. Don't put the mixture all the way to the edge or it will fall out of the tortilla. Repeat until you have an absolutely full pan. Bake at 400 degrees until heated and slightly brown, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven.

Serve with extra salsa and sour cream, diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce, and other favorites such as jalapenos or guacamole if you like. Some people liked the enchiladas just as they were from the oven, though.

These were absolutely great and everyone loved them, even my one and half year old granddaughter. She also loved the rice. I wish I'd taken a photo of her signing for "more." Enjoy, and have a great January.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Almost Over

Here at our house, Christmas break is almost over. Tomorrow, my daughter starts back to school. On Wednesday, my husband and I will drive our son to the airport so he can head back to college.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm thinking that we have all had just about enough of Christmas vacation. I thrive on schedules, and living almost a month with our vacationing college freshman and for two weeks with a sleeping-in high school junior pretty much means I get no sleep. For the last few weeks, ten o'clock doesn't mean bedtime for me. Oh, means the night has just begun.

Unfortunately for me, the beagle never got that memo and insists on waking me up every morning at six. So, I've been a little sleepy.

This morning we all went to church together and then celebrated our last full day together by going out to brunch. That's a rare treat for us. Usually no one wants to stand and wait for thirty minutes for a table. But we used the time together to reflect on some of December's highlights. I thought I'd share a few of them with y'all.

* We hosted twelve people for Christmas. Amazingly, I was able to ask everyone invited to help cook every meal. So, everything turned out great.

* My family has now learned how to play Mad Gab and-Big Surprise-I'm the worst player. (I have no competitive spirit)We also played marathon games of Hearts. I lost all the time, too.

* We went to four movies, including Avatar in 3-D. How fun were those 3-D glasses?

* My sister-in-law made her amazing homemade truffles, the beagle ate them, and vomited all over the kitchen floor at midnight on Christmas Eve.

*We shopped and ate and shopped and ate some more-including my son, who for the first time in six years, was not watching his weight for wrestling.

*I read seven books over break-my husband Tom read even more than that on his new favorite toy...the Kindle.

* Somehow, through it all, I managed to write 70 pages.

Now, though, our break is just about over. Soon, the house will be dark by eleven, I'll be writing by 7:30, our son will call us when he needs money, and my husband will be traveling again. In short, things will return to normal.

It's time. But before January is gone, I know I'll miss the noise and the crazy schedules too. I'll miss the mess and the laughter and the chaos. No doubt, I'll wish we had just a few more days of it all.

Anyone have something they'll miss?

Happy New Year!