Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things That I Love Today

It's not uncommon for me to shower around noon each day. After all, I like to get the "dirty work" done before I spruce up and get all clean-like. Working out, chores around the house, and sometimes even answering emails take priority before the shower finally gets its turn.

This morning, however, was a little different. I awoke around 1:00 AM with a killer sore throat. It was profound enough to inspire me to dream about it when I finally fell back to asleep. My dream consisted of my mom, a Registered Nurse, looking down my throat and shaking her head. "It's bad, Sis. Really bad." When I woke up this morning to tell my husband the good news, he jumped up to make me breakfast in bed. He takes such good care of me. I've noticed lots of little things today that sure make being sick a lot more bearable. And staying in bed is just one of them.

1) A great husband. John made me cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate this morning, knowing one would feed me, and other would comfort an aching throat. He's in heating up some soup for me now. John sat at the dining table this morning, while cinnamon rolls were creating baking heaven in the oven, and designed the new tool shed he wants to build. We will be recycling the massive tool shed currently in the back yard to something smaller that we can tuck away on the side of the house. This will ultimately create more grassy room for kids to play someday. So while he is taking care of his decrepit wife, he is also moving on to a project that he knows I'm anxious to have done.  

2) Clean Shower. When I finally decided to get out of bed today, it was only because I was convinced a hot shower would help me feel better. It didn't disappoint, and I am proud to say that, as an added bonus, I smell all clean and fresh-like! I am grateful for a newly-grouted shower to enjoy as it washes away feeling sickly.

3) Stephen's Hot Chocolate. I always accidentally add more than the suggested serving, but this sweet, hot drink sure feels good on a scratchy throat. I've had two mugs today already. Who's counting...I'm sick!

4) Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Ironically, I made a huge pot of this stuff yesterday to deliver to my sister and her family...all on their death beds from being sick (a different kind of sick, so I know it's not their fault). I purposely didn't touch anyone, and Evan couldn't figure out why I wouldn't pick him up. After I left their house, I was grateful that I had some soup leftover for myself. The recipe makes a lot! After feeling all puny today, I'm even more tickled that fresh veggies and homemade noodles await me for lunch.

5) Comfortable Bed. We bought a Sleep Number bed almost two years ago and have loved having it. Add that to some incredibly comfortable sheets and perfect pillows, and I am kind of relieved I have such a nice place to be sick today. I usually hop out of bed as soon as I wake up in the morning. I have never made a good lounger. But this morning? With my throat hurting, my body feeling weak, and breakfast being brought to me, I just took my own sweet time enjoying the comforts of a nice, clean, comfortable bed.
6) Warm Pajamas. After getting out of the shower, I was happy to just get back into some comfortable clothes. I plan to take today off and use it as a lazy day to try to beat whatever bug I've caught. Clean PJs and more episodes of Season 3 of LOST are also in the plan to help me overcome my illness. Maybe I should be sick more often!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cupcakes and Cakes Up To My Eyeballs

Please accept my apology for the length of time in between posts this week. I have been so busy! It's been hard to stay caught up on everything, but I hope these pictures of cupcakes make up for the delay.

I offered to make all the grub for my niece's birthday party this past week. If there is any excuse I can come up with to bake, I usually use it. I made a mini four-layer yellow butter cake with white chocolate cream cheese butter cream frosting for the birthday girl. She was a little shy and didn't dive in like we thought! For everyone else, we munched on cupcakes with the same batter and frosting, and I also made Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake, which is a fail-proof family favorite.

One could say that I started baking the night before, since that is when the butter came out to get to room temperature. However, our house gets a little chilly each night, and the butter didn't do a whole lot of softening! After I cranked up the heater the next morning and fired up the oven for a baking day extravaganza, the butter was soon a perfect temperature to whip into a yellow cake. I have two six-inch cake pans from Fat Diddio that I love, and they were used to make the miniature cake. Thirty cupcakes were the result of the remaining batter that I had doubled. Since some people had requested chocolate, and I am always happy to oblige, I next made the best chocolate sheet cake known to man.

After the cupcakes and cake were cooled, I got to frosting. I love piping, and it was fun to decorate with little edible pearls and a chocolate "cherry" on top. Then I loaded everything into the new cupcake carrier that John gave me for Christmas. It worked like a charm! Yet another excuse to bake cupcakes...I now have an easy and safe way to transport them! I love how everything turned out, and the taste wasn't anything to be ashamed of, either. Miraculously, I only tried one cupcake and one tiny slice of chocolate cake. I know...I don't know who I am any more, either!

I was amazed at how tired I was after spending all day on my feet in the kitchen. It was a complete blast and quite fulfilling, but it wiped me out! Luckily, I didn't have enough sugar in me to keep me awake for long!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day At The Park

I had a fun voicemail waiting for me last night. I missed the call because we were busy watching the second season of LOST. Hearing my phone ring didn't happen since I was completely engrossed in the show. When I later listened to the voicemail from my sister, she invited us to go to the park with her family today since we all had the day off! After checking the forecast and seeing the temperature was supposed to be a balmy 79 degrees, we told her we were in!

Along the drive to Gilbert today, John and I stopped at one of my favorite sandwich shops, Jimmy Johns. I usually have to find these establishments when on the road for work. Thankfully, in the past two months, several of them have opened here in The Valley. Oh, happy day! We picked up sandwiches for us and the Friends and were on our way to Warner Road near Mesa Drive. We pulled the car into the lot of a beautiful public park...the perfect setting for a day spent outside!

To keep little Evan out of the sun as much as possible, we ate underneath a canopy on a picnic table. We brought out the sandwiches, and T'liese and Joe brought chips, drinks, and apple slices. They also accidentally picked up frosted brownies at the store, which I appreciated. Shortly after lunch, we spent some time by the water feeding the ducks. Well, one duck. We have no idea what the other things were, though they sound like Canadian geese! It seemed as though bread was the best thing they had ever tasted, because the birds went berserk trying to get the next piece thrown into the water! It made for some pretty interesting entertainment!

Since our stomachs were full, it was time to hit the basketball court. We warmed up with some shooting and bantering, and then we played a game of Speed. I absolutely love basketball, and it always feels great shooting around. We played H-O-R-S-E, but I don't want to talk about who won or lost that game. I totally redeemed myself later by winning our last game of Speed. We played basketball for over an hour! Next came some Frisbee-throwing, but we were wading through some wet, muddy grass and listening to a boy getting more tired. By 2:00 PM, we were packed up and on our way home!

It was a nice day outside. People think I'm crazy for living in Phoenix because of our miserable summers. I just smile and reminisce about days like today, when I wore shorts and hoped for a tan as we played in the warm sun. It was a beautiful, perfect day with family. Who could ask for more?

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