May All Your Christmases . . .

What a wonderful way to spend a Friday . . . celebrating Christmas. I write this post with so much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful life that I have. I have been blessed with amazing friends and the best family a girl could ever ask for.  That joy makes Christmas morning so wonderful. Christmas reminds me that we are loved, watched over and cared for. I pray that everyone reading this today feels the same way. If you don’t . . . consider this your wireless hug. 🙂

I have been enjoying the Christmas season as much as humanly possible. I have baked, gifted, shopped, shipped, listened and watched all that I could get in. But last night was my favorite thing so far. I had the luck to enjoy Christmas Eve with my best friend and her family. IT WAS WONDERFUL!! We had a traditional German meal. Shared Christmas memories. Listened to wonderful Christmas stories and the birth of Christ. We sang Christmas carols and opened presents. Needless to say, it was midnight when I was leaving to go home.

However, I have never felt so close to the spirit of Christmas then in that silent car ride home. It was lightly foggy; enough to cast a glow to all Christmas lights still on at various homes. I had many years of Christmas memories running through my head and a few tears slipping from my eyes as I thought of all the love that I have felt over the years. All I could hear in my mind was the song Silent Night and I was truly touched. To make it even more idyllic; I have a field right next to my house in which stood 8 deer at attention. I am sure in the darkness there was a sleigh. 🙂 (Really, this was no joke)

I pray for everyone to savor this holiday season. To find joy in life and peace in your hearts. We are blessed because of the birth of a beautiful child.

Merry Christmas!!

Silent Night by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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Miracle Fridays

I like every Friday (except maybe the ones when I am sick) but I do have some Fridays that are what I am going to start calling my miracle Fridays. Those are the ones that you never thought you would get to. The ones where it was so dark that you were only praying you were getting closer to the light of day. Then you finally break through . . . . BRILLIANT SUNSHINE!!! We have made it and it feels so wonderful!!

Happy Friday Everyone!!!!

Now on to my favorite things. I actually really like talking about my favorite things for two big reasons: 1. I love sparking people’s interest to see and do things. 2. I love reminiscing on the things that make me smile from my own life.

So in light of that and the crap-tastic week I had at the office all I could think about was food—comfort food, and for me, that comes in the form of Mexican food. I grew up in Southern California and was heavily influenced by the wonderful Mexican culture so I think every wound can be bandaged with killer tacos or chips dipped in a homemade mixture of beans and cheese. This post is just making me hungry. J

Lately I have been working long hours so I haven’t been able to make anything at home. So here are 5 of my favorite Mexican restaurants just in case you or I need a quick fix.

1.       Vida Mia Cuisine in San Antonio, TX (I literally made this a carry-on item. It was about 40 tacos—which I shared with my family and then froze the rest so we could continue to enjoy them for a couple of weeks)

2.       Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio, TX (If you don’t know what a puffy taco is—you should find out)

3.       Chelino’s Mexican Restaurant in Edmond, OK (Fresh pinto beans, homemade queso and an unlimited supply of tortillas—yes please!)

4.       Pepino’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Portland, OR (Do they have anything on their menu other than nachos? J)

5.       Red Iguana Killer Mexican Food in Salt Lake City, UT (MOLE, MOLE, MOLE—OLE!!)

Honorable Mention: Papi’s Tacos Al Carbon in Riverside, CA (I had to leave it on the list because it was a childhood favorite but I just found out that it has closed) RIP

Call Me Crazy

I have been super tired lately. Tired to the point that I have had a migraine for two weeks that I know is because of lack of sleep. Thanks to Excedrin PM, I will be getting some sleep tonight.

I have had so much to do with decorating for Christmas, working longer hours at the office, travelling, and trying to get Christmas presents done early this year. Of course this would be the year that I decided to bake up a storm and send Christmas early to all of my family. Little did I know that might not be such a good idea.

In the course of baking, I realized that all of my goodies were coming out a little more cooked then I would have liked. When I got to my famous scones at 11pm at night; I realized that I was obviously more tired than I thought. My scones are always light in color with golden bottoms but . . . this particular round found themselves on the long end of a tanning bed session. While still edible; I did have family members ask why they were darker than usual (thanks for being kind). 🙂

Nevertheless, I chalked it up to experience and vowed to start cooking before the witching hour from here on out. Then I took a drive . . . by myself . . . and I had time to think. I started wondering if it was really me or was something out to ruin my holiday cheer. That is when I turned into an investigator and the first suspect on my list was my oven. I needed to make a strong case or I was going to lose so I decided to catch the oven in the act.

I purchased an oven thermometer . . . and the rest is, as they say, history. I found out that my oven cooks hotter, by about 50 degrees hotter. Good to know. Hopefully my cooking will be better in the future.

So would you like to know what I made for everyone?! Here are 5 of the items that I made. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!

  1. S’mores Rice Krispie Treats
  2. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
  3. Salted Caramel Butter Bars
  4. 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Isn’t It Wonderful!

I did it! The first time ever was I able to get Christmas up by December 1st! In fact, I got it up on November 28th. I am so proud of me!!

Now that Christmas is in full swing at my house; I have to start planning all of the fun things that I want to do during the season. Since I am in a new state this year; I need to become well-versed in all the Portland traditions. If you are a local–please bring me up to speed. Below are 5 things that I am going to start out with and see how they go.

  1. Christmas in the Garden at The Oregon Garden
  2. Portland Christmas Ship Parade along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers
  3. The Miracle of a Million Lights at the Victoria Belle Mansion
  4. Handel’s Messiah performed by the Oregon Symphony and PSU Chamber Choir
  5. Scandinavian Fair at Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum

BTW–I am actually in Utah for the weekend, catching up with the family. So I owe it to everyone to give you a heads up on the things that you should do while in Utah this Christmas season. Here are my top 5:

  1. Candlelight Christmas at This Is The Place Heritage Park
  2. Holiday Central at Thanksgiving Point
  3. Pickleville Playhouse Christmas at The Grand Theater
  4. Holiday Window Display at The Grand America
  5. Temple Square Lights at Temple Square

ENJOY the season! 🙂