Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve (and Day)

New Year's Eve Day I ran around a little bit. I had to run to Wal-Mart to fill a prescription, and then to the liquor store for a hostess gift for Martina, since I was going to her house for dinner. I got home and worked on some ATC's. I finished the trial ATC for the Red and White for February ATC Swap, and am fairly happy with it. I made several attempts at an ATC to mount the charm on for the Romancing the Charm Swap. I was not happy with any of those, so I think I might try to Photoshop something. Lastly, I drew up and started to cut out hedgehog shapes for the Hedgehog ATC Swap. I think those little hedgehogs are turning out very well.

Red & White for February ATC (maybe)

For New Year's Eve, I went to dinner at Martina's house. She was having a little get together with some people from Marty's work, so she invited me and Brenda. Marty invited two couples, and Brenda brought Bill and Matt. Chloe, Marty's daughter, was there also. Cocktail hour started at 7, with dinner at 8. For hors d'oeuvres, she had shrimp cocktail, pita bread and hummus, BLT dip, vegetable sticks, and pepperoni and cheese. For dinner, she served a nice salad with french bread, roast beef tenderloin, crab cakes, baked potatoes, and green beans. Dessert was meringue topped with strawberries. It was all very nice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Change of ATC's

Today, I wasn't as productive as I had hoped I could be, but I did get something done. After posting my photo for the Four Elements ATC's, and getting the feedback I needed, I changed two of them. I added more contrast to "Water" and started over on "Earth." I think they turned out well.

Water and Earth

Now, the whole series has a more consistent look to it (aside from "Fire" being vertical).

The Four Elements ATC Swap

I did send out the ATC for the 2009 Birthday ATC Swap (January), which had to go to the United Kingdom, and got envelopes together to mail out for a couple of other swaps.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Four Elements & Birthday ATCs

Today I worked on ATC's for the swaps I'm signed up for. First off, I made extra Cancelled Christmas Postage Stamp ATC's for my sister and myself. Then I worked on my idea for the Four Elements ATC Swap. I really like one of them, two of them are pretty good, and the fourth needs something, but I'm not sure what. Please help me out, leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the set, or any ideas that might work for "Earth." I also made my first ATC for the 2009 Birthday ATC Swap.
When I got home from work, I started work on one of the spare ATC's from the ButtonMania ATC Swap from way back when (I try to make an extra whenever I can, usually one for my own "records" and one for my sister), and a trial ATC for the Red and White for February ATC Swap (which I am not signed up for, yet).

The Four Elements ATC's
2009 Birthday ATC (January)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ravens vs. Jaguars

Tonight's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars was an important one for us - it would determine whether or not the Ravens go to the playoffs this year. Fortunately, the Ravens won, 7-27. The game was pretty exciting because of how important it was. The team played well, and of course, the band was terrific. For halftime, all we did was march onto the field and form a "1958," because the halftime show was a tribute to the 1958 Baltimore Colts, today being the fifty year anniversary of "The Greatest Game Ever Played" - the championship game between the Colts and the New York Giants. That game brought football into the public eye like it had never been before, and boosted the sport's popularity considerably. As many survivors of that team as possible were present to be honored, and it was really quite touching to hear the cheers from the crowd for players like Art Donovan and Lenny Moore.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After...

The day after Christmas was a lot more eventful than Christmas itself. Donnie and I went on our annual movie outing, and saw "Doubt." It was good, better than I expected. It was not a movie I would normally watch, but with the time constraints that I had, it was what would fit. Then I had to head out to a pep band gig.
The pep band played for the 1958 Colts Championship Gala. In reality, we set up outside of the stadium, at the entrance where people were lined up to get in to the festivities, and played music for them. It kind of sucked, since we had no knowledge of what was going on beforehand. It was also cold, and there was nowhere to take a potty break. I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I had known ahead of time what to expect.
Then, on the way home, I picked up dinner from Popeye's, and later that evening, we watched another DVD, "Charlie Wilson's War." That movie was better than I had expected, too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas at my house was a toned down affair. Donnie arrived around lunch time, and we opened gifts. I started to prepare dinner shortly after we cleaned everything up. This year, I fixed some shrimp chips and chai gio to munch on while waiting for dinner, then for dinner, a honey-mustard glazed ham, wax beans, and potatoes (both mashed and baked). Afterwards, we sat down and watched a DVD, Wall-E. It wasn't a crazy Christmas, but it was pleasant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My First Day Off...

My first day off for the Christmas holiday was fairly productive, but in mostly a crafty sense. After loading the dishwasher and putting lights on the tree, I sat myself down in front of the television, popped in a movie (or three), and worked on ATC's all day. I completed all of my ATCs' for the Cancelled Christmas Postage Stamp Swap and the Recycled Christmas Card ATC Swap. I finished enough Recycled Christmas Card ATC's, so that I could join two of them! I am quite pleased with my productivity.

Cancelled Christmas Postage Stamp ATC's
Recycled Christmas Card ATC's

Monday, December 22, 2008

Huber Cookie Day 2008

Today was Christmas Cookie Day at Huber. Last night, I stayed up until after midnight finishing up two batches of cookies to bring to work. Wouldn't you know it, when I got to work, I found out that I was the only one who brought cookies! I feel kind of sad that the holiday spirit didn't carry on through this week, and the only reason why I didn't take one of my remaining vacation days today was exclusively because it was Cookie Day. But, on the good side, and there almost always is a good side, all of my cookies were eaten. I'm sorry that I didn't have enough left over to bring to work at Tidewater this evening, but I'm glad that people enjoyed the cookies enough to eat them up. I brought Cinnamon Crisps and Eggnog Cookies. I found the Cinnamon Crisp recipe on the label of a really old can of evaporated milk that I found in my pantry during the Thanksgiving holiday, and Tom really enjoyed them. The Eggnog Cookie recipe I got from Heather Ales' blog. These also got a thumbs up from Tom, but he said they were rich, meaning he couldn't pig out on them.

Cinnamon Crisps

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup PET Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, cream shortening and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture then the evaporated milk and then the remaining flour mixture; mix after each addition. Form rounded teaspoons of dough into a ball and roll in sugar. Place on greased baking sheets then flatten into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Eggnog Cookies

1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not over mix. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 15 to 17 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dinner at Price's

Tonight, I had dinner with a bunch of old Tidewater Grille people. Ernie and Helen, the previous owners of the resturant, invited a bunch of the old-timers to Price's Seafood for dinner. Let's see, who showed up? Ruth (the former bookkeeper), Chris K. (a former chef), Steve (Ernie's younger brother and dishwasher), Joyce (one of Ernie's sisters), Sandy (a dishwasher), Brenda (a former manager), Bill (Brenda's husband), Brian (Brenda's oldest son and former food runner), Olga (a former waitress), Tracy (Olga's husband), and Matt and Melanie (Olga's children). While we were there, David (a current bartender) and Huggy (a regular bar patron) showed up and joined the festivities. On top of all that, Mark (Ernie and Helen's old partner at the Tidewater), Deward (a former cook), and Theresa (a former manager and waitress), who currently own and operate Price's Seafood, were on hand to make it an extra special night. It sure was nice to get together with everyone, I wish that I could see them more often.
For you foodies out there, I shared a soup sampler (which included Cream of Crab, Maryland Crab, and Mark's Oyster Stew), Crab Dip with pretzel pieces and vegetable sticks, and Fried Calamari with Brenda and her family. Steamed crabs with tons of Old Bay and a Seafood Sampler (with mussels, clams, and shrimp) were brought for everyone, and I shared fried Crab Cakes with Brenda and family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I've Got My Own Crafting Space!!

Tom took me downstairs this afternoon to show me my Christmas present - I'm not sure why it had to be today, but... Much to my surprise, he had given over a desk and some wall space for me to have for crafting. He'd gotten drawers on wheels and bins, and I spent the next couple of hours emptying out my closet, and filling the bins. We'll still need more organizational tools, but it's a good start.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Favorite Dessert Recipe Card Swap

Today, I received the second and final recipe from my partner for the Favorite Dessert Recipe Card Swap. My first partner's recipe(s) arrived earlier this week. Anna sent me three recipes: Holiday Peppermint Fudge, Billini, and Creme Brulee French Toast. My second partner, Debi, sent me Luscious Lime Cheesecake and Pecan Delites. I am ready to try them all!

Holiday Peppermint Fudge

4 cups sugar
2 5-oz. cans evaporated milk
1 cup butter
2 cups semi-sweet choclate chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2/3 cup red and white peppermint candies, broken

Combine sugar, milk and butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; heat and stir for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and peppermint extract. Stir until chocolate and creme are melted and mixture is smooth; pour into a buttered aluminum foil lined 13"x9" baking pan. Sprinkle with candies; cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares to serve. Make 5 to 6 dozen.


1 loaf (18-20 slices) of thinly sliced white bread
1/2 lb. cream cheese
1 yolk of an egg
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 sticks of butter
sugar-cinnamon mixture
1/4 cup sugar

Cut off crusts from each piece of bread. Roll bread flat with rolling pin. Mix together cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk. Spread mixture onto each slice of bread covering completely one side. Roll each slice of bread into a log.
Melt 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 sticks of butter. Dip logs into butter and then roll logs in a large dish containing sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake on cookie sheets (with sides) in oven at 350 F for 15 minutes. Serve warm with sour cream.

Creme Brulee French Toast

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
an 8 to 9 inch round loaf country-style bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to one day.
Preheat oven to 350 F and bring bread to room temperature. Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Luscious Lime Cheesecake

1 18-oz package yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 8-oz cream cheese
1 14-oz condensed milk
2 tsp lime zest + 1/3 c lime juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 8-oz Cool Whip
Lime slices for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 F. Reserve 1/2 c dry cake mix. In large bowl combine cake mix, 1 egg, and oil - mix will be crumbly. Press into greased 13x9 pan - In bowl beat cheese til fluffy - add condensed milk, beat smooth, add remaing eggs and 1/2 c cake mix. Beat one minute. Stir in lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla - pour into prepared crust. Bake 55 minutes - cool room temp - Chill thoroughly - top with Cool Whip and garnish - Enjoy!

Pecan Delites

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup Heath Bits O'Brickle Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.
Stir together confectioner's sugar and flour in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut cream cheese and butter into flour mixture until crumbly. Press mixture into prepared pan, distributing evenly. Pour nuts over mixture and press into dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
For topping, whip cream and granulated sugar together with a hand-held electric mixer until stiff; fold in almond toffee bits. Spread over cake. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Luncheon

Today, at Huber (my full-time job), we had our annual Christmas luncheon. I brought a spinach artichoke dip, which I got nothing but compliments on. It was nice to get together with my fellow employees for some holiday cheer, and to see some of the retirees (who are invited every year).

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 bag frozen spinach, with water squeezed out
1 can plain artichokes, drained
minced garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
16 oz cream cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese
2 cups mozarella cheese, divided

Heat oven to 350 F. In a large pan, saute garlic in butter. Stir in spinach, artichokes, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozarella cheese. Mix until well combined. Put spinach mixture into 9x13 baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. Top with remaining mozarella cheese, and bake until cheese melts.

My Information

The initial intent of this blog is so that I can comment on other people's blogs that don't allow people other than Bloggers to comment. My usual blog can be found at On Flickr and Swap-bot, my username is wendyhue. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ravens vs. Steelers

This is an old post from my old blog. I intend to transfer them all over to this one.

Wow, what a disappointing loss! Yesterday was the game that was supposed to push the Ravens higher up on the Playoff scale, but unfortunately, they didn't produce. Not that I mind completely, I'm a Steelers fan from way back. The only reason why I prefer the Ravens over the Steelers in a case such as this, is because if the Ravens were to go to the SuperBowl, there is a slight possibility of them taking the band with them. Either way, we lost 13-9. I'm not sure what that does for our chances at a Wild Card berth, but it can't be good. The band sounded good, though. Our halftime show consisted of School's Out and Mr. Roboto, and Poe (the Ravens mascot) marched out with the band in a band uniform. Too cute!

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Pike's Team" Holiday Luncheon

This is an old post from my old blog. I intend to transfer them all over to this one.

Today, we had a holiday luncheon for everyone who works for Kathie. That includes the Lab Support Team, the Analytical Lab, and the Micro Lab. I spent the previous evening making Vietnamese spring rolls, and brought them to the restaurant an hour before the luncheon to get them fried up. I got a lot of compliments on them - I'm glad people liked them. We have another holiday luncheon coming up on Wednesday, for everyone, and I think I'm going to attempt a Spinach Artichoke Dip that Julia from the Tidewater explained how to make. The recipe isn't very exact, so I'm kind of scared to try it, but she swears it's wonderful.

My First Card

This is an old post from my old blog. I intend to transfer them all over to this one.

Well, way back on Wednesday, I completed my first handmade greeting card. It was a "Thank You" card for Aunt Ethel and Uncle Lyle for having us over before Thanksgiving. It didn't quite work out the way I had hoped it would, but it looked okay. I've seen other homemade cards on the Internet, and I was hoping to emulate them, but I think that with a little bit more experience, I could do a better job.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ravens vs. Redskins

This is an old post from my old blog. I intend to transfer them all over to this one.

Tonight, I experienced my coldest football game in a long time. How cold was it? It was pretty darn cold. It had to have been close to freezing, since after returning to our cars from the stadium, the can of soda that I'd left in the car for my drive back home turned out to be slushy.
Oh, well, enough about the weather. The Ravens did really well, and defeated the Redskins 10-24. Woo hoo, we're that much closer to playoff games. Our halftime show was comprised of only one song, Bohemian Rhapsody. I'd like to think that the show went well, but we had a guest guitar player, and the guitar feed was supposed to be broadcast throughout the stadium, but I didn't hear it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Empty Nest

This is an old post from my old blog. I intend to transfer them all over to this one.

Wow! What a holiday week! I'm very sad to see everyone go, since I don't see anyone on a regular basis (except Tom, of course). Last Friday, I started my Thanksgiving Week Family Extravaganza. Mom and Dad flew in from Utah, and I fixed them dinner that evening. On Sunday, while I was at the Ravens-Eagles game, Wanda and her family arrived. Wednesday, all of us except Tom (he had to work), drove up to Greensburg, Pennsylvania to visit Aunt Ethel and Uncle Lyle. We were also joined by our cousin Debbie, her daughter, Cathy, Cathy's fiance, Marty, and their Japanese exchange student Ai-Yu (pronounced I-U, I've probably spelled it wrong). Thursday, Donnie drove up from Virginia, and for dinner we were joined by Nathan and Bridget (Tom's son and his girlfriend). Saturday, Wanda and her family left, and shortly afterwards, Donnie left for home. Then, on Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went down to Virginia to see Donnie's apartment. We ate lunch at Mai Thai in Old Town in Alexandria, and visited the Newseum in Washington, DC. After watching the Steelers-Patriots game at Donnie's place, we left and stopped at our cousin Duane's in Columbia, Maryland. We visited with Duane, Teresa, and their younger daughter, Kimi, for a while, then went home. I had to return to a normal work schedule on Monday, and on Tuesday (today), Mom and Dad left. It was so nice to see everyone, and I feel guilty for not seeing some of the family that are so close more often. Maybe I'll make it a New Year's Resolution to get out and visit family more often.