Friday, February 1, 2013

January In Our Home

January  2013

{These posts may be suited more for my own memories or for family who live states away, but perhaps others may find them interesting as well. :) }

      We rang in the new year first by joining a group of friends at a restaurant for dinner. We are still trying to get to know people in our new town, and the individuals we have met have been incredible at including us in their group of friends and introducing us to others. We were invited to join them afterwards to watch the ball drop, but neither of us were feeling so great after the meal and also weren't sure if we'd be able to stay up so late. It's funny to consider that just three months ago we were on a night shift schedule lifestyle and 2am was a typical bedtime. Now, it's more like 8:30-9pm. I much prefer our current schedule, even though I felt so lame for calling it a night so early on New Years. I did wake long enough to see the ball drop on the television, and then fell back asleep. Oh well, the new year came anyways. 
       The next day we had our traditional New Years dinner. Well, we had our take on it. We had pork steaks, black eye peas, cornbread and collard greens. According to Reader's Digest the supposed meanings are: greens- money, black eye peas- money again, pork- luck, cornbread- ? I don't really believe in luck or superstitions, but it's fun to play along. 

       The following week we were hopping planes to visit David's family. Now that we live at a more considerable distance from them, our trips to visit are much more spaced out. We certainly made use of our time there by visiting as many family members as we could in the short three day visit. We were going constantly while there. It was good to see everyone though. Our littlest niece is now six months old! The last time we saw her she was only two weeks old. I'm sure the next time she will be over a year old. Goodness!  She is absolutely precious. And so are her parents, who graciously hosted, entertained and fed us while we were there. I'm so grateful for such wonderful family! I really missed seeing our other nieces and nephew who live in yet another state. Someday we'll all have to arrange a trip to visit. 

      Soon after we returned home, we celebrate David's birthday. Birthdays are a big deal in our home. We care less about Christmas or other holiday and most about birthdays. I posted previously about how we like to celebrate birthdays in our home, and we essentially incorporate the same elements each year. 

      David is not a big chocolate or sweets person (crazy man!), and so coming up with a fruit based cake in January is always a bit of a challenge. I'm eager to take it on though! This year I used one of his favorite desserts for inspiration- vanilla wafer banana pudding. I made a banana cake, homemade vanilla wafers, homemade whipped cream, and homemade vanilla pudding. So, it was banana cake with vanilla pudding between the layers, whipped cream frosting and vanilla wafers on the side. It came out pretty tasty! 
       I also prepared his favorite meal- fried chicken. Well, okay, he prepared part of his meal. I don't fry. We also had zipper cream peas, masked potatoes and egg rolls on the side. Oh, and some nice cold sweet tea. Can you tell we're from the South?! haha. 
       The final part of the birthday was his gift. It barely arrived in time, but thankfully it did! I don't have a picture of it below, but you can easily see it in the video. I also attached a new card to the card stack I made for him. Each year I add a card with a message of a way I admire and love him. This year's said: "Your leadership. I admire how you've chosen to lead not by force, but by example. You've taught & led me daily in lessons on life and love. I've grown to be who I am now and our home what it is because of your gentle example of true and strong leadership." It's true. He's pretty amazing. 

     My birthday was later in the month. (It's pretty convenient to both be January birthdays. I've tried to convince him that we should plan for January birthday for children that way we can have one big family birthday party. He's not convinced. haha!). Anyways, he did so much and made my birthday fantastic. First of all, just look at the incredible cake he made! He had planned it for an entire year. It's a chocolate cake with peanut butter fudge filling and a hard white chocolate "shell" all in the shape of an M&M. How amazing is that?! He still talks about how it's not exactly what he envisioned, but I think it's absolutely fantastic. 
       He then made my favorite meal- meatloaf, pinto beans, cornbread, fried okra and macaroni and cheese. (Again, we are revealing our Southern roots. haha). It was mighty tasty!

      His gift to me was a couple of new cookbooks and a donut pan. I'm excited to begin cooking through them and to make some donuts! On a side note, it rather cracks me up that my cookbooks are "Dinner on a Dime" and "Money Saving Meals" while his is a giant "Glorious French Cooking" that is full of fancy French technique. Pair this with his fruit-based cake versus my sugar-loaded cake. We're so different! We've definitely embraced our differences and just have a good laugh at times. haha
     Last but not least, we had the privilege of being invited to join a some friends and their family for lunch one afternoon. I love seeing hospitality practiced! I really enjoyed that the kids were included and it was a family event. I personally find it encouraging and exciting to not have families split between adult / kids. The kids were very respectful and friendly, and a joy to have join us. We watched a hilarious comedian on DVD which had me in tears at one point. I'm a sucker for  good clean comedy. We played a couple of games afterwards. I always love playing boardgames or the like, but am hesitant to break them out when I have people over in my home. Perhaps I should be more daring in doing this because it was a lot of fun. We have certainly been blessed by getting to know such wonderful friends so quickly in our new town!

I made these brownies to take with us. I used my mother's recipe but they did not come out anything like her brownies. Mine were actually mistaken for cookies! Ouch! I'll just have to get a lesson in brownie making from her the next time we visit. haha

And that should pretty much sum up our January (if you can call that a summary because man, that's long!). If you read it all, then welcome to our home! If not, then I'm so glad to have a little memento of our life together! :)

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