New Year’s Eve: Goodbye 2012!

Obviously, the world didn’t end before Christmas. I knew it wouldn’t, because God tells us that no one will know the day or the hour that Jesus comes back. So I am quite willing to put my trust in Him and laugh at the end-of-the-world theories.

But now it’s New Year’s Eve! The year ending always feels like such a big event, doesn’t it? I don’t know why, but it does.

At any rate, it’s time now to list some of my goals for 2013. Yesterday I posted my book list, which is something I’ve been doing for a few years. Reading is my biggest passion. Writing is a close second. But I also have a passion for so many other things. My interests are incredibly varied, which always ends up meaning I don’t concentrate on any one thing for very long, which I don’t like at all. It makes me feel that I neglect my interests and passions, which is a terrible feeling. I’m not necessarily good at managing my time (though I have gotten better over the past few years), and then I try to do everything at once, and…well, that doesn’t go all that nicely.

Thus, one of my goals for the coming year is to manage my time better, in all things that I do. This just takes thought and willpower.

Other than that, I have set myself a goal of getting in shape. I don’t say back in shape because I was honestly never all that fit to begin with! I love hiking and camping and being outdoors, but I never really equated that with exercise. Plus, as I said above, reading is my favorite thing to do. So… But my husband is an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I really, really, really want to be able to keep up with him more so than I can already. And I ache all the time, so regular cardio exercise and stuff like yoga will help that! I really like the physical exercise of yoga. It’s more like strengthening than anything else, and that’s always a good thing. Plus it teaches you to listen to your body, and I think everyone would be a lot healthier if they could pay more attention to what their body needs instead of what they think it wants. Big difference right there. That leads me to my secondary goal under getting in shape: eating right. I eat pretty healthy food, as far as my actual intake goes. But the thing that I have a hard time with is that I so rarely eat at regular intervals. Eating breakfast is something I haven’t done regularly in years, and Nate doesn’t eat breakfast much, either. So I guess I should say that not only do I plan on eating better, but I’m going to help Nate to eat better, as well.

I have a few other goals, like sticking with a cleaning schedule instead of trying to do everything in one day, taking up knitting again, teaching myself crochet, playing the piano (and other instruments) more often, taking a walk every day it’s not gross weather outside, and doing more sewing projects.

Together, Nate and I are going to spend more time outside, as well as checking out cool places and museums together. We watch a lot of tv in the evenings, which is fine sometimes (especially if it’s Doctor Who, haha), but when the warmer weather and longer days come around again, we hope to remember more often that the outdoors calls to both of us. 🙂 Of course, we’ve been outside more in the last few days because it’s snowmobile season!! Gahh, I love it so much.

I realize this is an incredibly long post, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what you want to. Plus, I’m a writer. Oh yeah, that’s my other goal: write something every single day. Blog post, poem, short story, journal entry, fragment of a novel, etc. Just write.

So.

Hopefully you have a fantastic end-of-the-year celebration with lots of champagne and laughter. Happy New Year’s Eve from us (Nate and Beth) and see you next year!

‘Twas the day after Christmas…

…and I haven’t gotten anything done. There’s plenty I could be doing. But the last few days were such a whirlwind that today all I really can do is eat leftover goodies and stare into space. Not really stare into space as much as stare at a book. Which translates into something productive, I suppose!

We were hoping to go snowmobiling this afternoon, but since Nate won’t be home until a little after three o’clock and it pretty much gets dark an hour after that, it’s not going to happen today. Not that snowmobiling at night isn’t enjoyable, but the lights on his sled are iffy at best right now and I have trouble seeing at night, so… Tomorrow and Friday look like better choices!

Now that my “Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer” challenge is completed, my posting will probably lessen. The posts won’t be everyday, that’s for sure. I have no idea what I’d write every single day at this point. In the next week I will for sure be posting my New Year’s Resolutions, though they aren’t so much resolutions as they are actual, solid goals to work towards. It’s always good to have goals. I’ve always had goals. But they tended to be more long-term than anything. Things like go to college, graduate college, get married, travel the world, buy a Victorian house, etc…have filled my head for years. With the Lord’s help, I’ve accomplished the first three! I suppose that’s a good thing. 🙂

But short-term goals are good too. They prepare you for the long-term, or at least they can.

So, on this day after Christmas, I shall leave you all to your food-gift-and-family-fun-induced comas and hopefully you’ve got your own goals to set for the coming year! Me? I’m going to drink some tea and read a book.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 22nd (Oh, Fudge!)

It has arrived. Christmas weekend. Many of you will perhaps be celebrating with your families today and tomorrow, saving Christmas Eve and Day for your smaller celebrations at home. That’s what we are doing this year. Nothing today, but tomorrow we will be visiting my grandma’s house. I still have a few gifts to get before then…eek! Good thing the driveway is finally plowed. Also, it is barely 10 degrees outside. Brrr.

Anyway, it’s Christmas weekend. You’re hoping to be off to Auntie Bertha’s house in a few hours, but you don’t have a dish to pass or anything to share. Cookies usually take too long, but you really don’t want to go back to the store. Well, how about fudge? With just a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry from other baking endeavours, you can make some of the creamiest chocolate fudge ever. And did I mention it takes less than an hour? And doesn’t have that nasty marshmallow creme???

Quick & Easy Fudge

4 cups confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease a 9-inch pan or line with foil or wax paper. In a microwave safe bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Pour milk over mixture and place butter in bowl. Do not mix. Microwave until butter is melted, approximately 2 minutes. (NOTE: this took longer in my microwave, but I think that’s because it is only 700 watts.) Stir in vanilla and stir vigorously until smooth. Pour into prepared dish. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes before cutting into 1-inch squares.

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Ta-da! You have fudge. And nobody at Auntie Bertha’s has to know you made it in the microwave and freezer! Unless, of course, some favorite cousins simply must have the recipe. 😉

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have some fudge…

Comfort Food: Creamy Onion Soup

Over the past week, I’ve been ill with some strange virus that basically weakened me till I couldn’t do much other than read a book or watch television. Even watching a screen was hard, because my vision was all messed up. I think that today I am finally over the worst of it because I’ve spent the whole morning cleaning up the kitchen and catching up on laundry.

The other day, I was feeling well enough to get up and do a few things, so I decided to make one of my favorite foods ever. Onion soup is seriously one of my comfort foods. I make it a lot. The recipe I use comes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz, which, by the way, is a pretty darn awesome cookbook. The soup is absolutely delicious. It’s smooth, not too oniony oddly enough, and just one steaming bowl is enough to fill up my stomach.

Here is the recipe as it is written in the cookbook (I usually double it since Nate and I both love soup so much).

~Creamy Onion Soup~

1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) butter

2 large onions, cut lengthwise and then sliced 1/8-inch thick (HINT: just chop them up small…)

4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons chicken-flavored soup and seasoning mix (I make my own broth with chicken bouillon and that hasn’t failed me yet)

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt

2 cups whole milk, divided (I use 2% because that’s what we buy)

1/3 cup flour

1. Heat the butter in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions to the pot, and cook over low heat until the onions are golden, about 30 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth or the water and soup mix, along with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the onions are very soft, about 30 minutes.

3. Combine 1/3 cup of the milk with the flour in a bowl and mix well, beating out the lumps with a whisk. Add this mixture slowly to the soup while stirring constantly. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Add the rest of the milk and just heat through; do not boil.

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Supposedly, this recipe serves six people, but I really don’t believe that. Maybe if you only have small bowls…but small bowls of soup are just not my thing. The cookbook also recommends you serve this soup with Irish soda bread, which is fantastic, but any bread will work fine. Saltine crackers do, too.

Seeing as I’m attempting to be vegetarian (and somewhat vegan), I will probably try to modify this recipe to fit the requirements….though that might not work all that well. I think soy milk would work, as well as maybe using a vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. As for the butter, I’m not sure. I suppose I’d just keep the butter.

This is a perfect recipe for a cold winter’s afternoon or evening. If you make it, let me know what you think!