December 30, 2009

2009 End of the Year Questionnaire:

Here are some fun questions to reflect on as 2009 draws to and end. I edited out a few questions from the original questionnaire that I saw on another blog.

Feel free to copy, cut and paste these and pass your answers on to friends and family. Some of the questions are a bit silly, but it’s still kind of an interesting way to recap your year and compare to years past.

Here are my answers::

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I got married!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, & will you make more for next year?
Didn’t make one (at lease one that I can remember)! For 2010, I am going to try to make the switch from soda to water - we’ll see how it goes!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, several friends gave birth to beautiful children.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My husband’s grandmother and uncle died in 2009.

5. What countries did you visit?
I stayed in the US this year, but visited several states.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
I would like to have more patience.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 10, 2009 – The day JJ and I got married.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Turning 30 and knowing that I married my best friend.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My attitude towards my job, but I’m determined to make that better in 2010.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
In the year of the Swine Flu, thankfully I didn’t suffer anything more than a mild case of the flu. But, I did fall down the basement stairs at our house and earned one nasty bruise on my tushy!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A handmade quilt wall hanging from Hawaii.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, bills, and more bills.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Hawaii for our honeymoon.

14. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Kiss of Life by Sade

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Maybe a little chubbier-?!?
c) richer or poorer? Richer, in my heart – but the bank statement has stayed about the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Talking about how I was going to exercise!

18. How did you spend Christmas?
Visiting with my family in Dayton and spent time with the “work-family” while working during the holidays.

19. Did you fall in love in 2009?
More than I ever thought possible!

20. What was your favorite TV program?
I really enjoyed a program on Showtime called the L Word.

21. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try not to waste time hating people.

22. What was the best book you read?
My Sisters Keeper – crazy ending in that book.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
A band called Iron and Wine, thanks to a co-worker for introducing me to them.

24. What did you want and get?
An iPhone – thanks JJ!

25. What did you want and not get?
I wanted something special to happen for two dear friends -who, someday, will make wonderful first time parents!

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Reader

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 this year! If my memory serves me right, the day kicked off with a nice card from my co-workers and then dinner with JJ, though I don’t remember where – how’s that for “old age”!

28. Who did you miss?
Grandma Millie

28. Who was the best new person you met?
I really enjoyed meeting our wedding photographer.

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
You can not make people change, all you can do is let them know how you feel about a situation.

30. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“I got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night…”
-Lyrics from “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas

December 27, 2009

iPhone test

Testing out posting from my new iPhone! Here's a pic of our Christmas tree.

- Posted using BlogPress from iPhone

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope your day is filled with friendship and love. This has been a wonderful year for me and it's hard not to get teary eyed this time of year when I reflect on how blessed I am with fabulous friends and loved ones. Thank you for being a part of my life!

December 24, 2009

Mele Kalikimaka...

The Hawaiian way to say Merry Christmas!
On this Christmas Eve morning, I'm here at work, thinking about how I'd like to have this year's holiday off and be spending it with my new husband. Alas, that is not the case this year, but maybe someday (she says hopefully)!!!

So I draw inspiration by listening to Bing Crosby's beautiful song called Mele Kalikimaka and remember the most amazing 2 weeks of my life that just occurred a few months ago when we spent that time together on our honeymoon in Hawaii.

If you stop by the blog today, I hope you're enjoying a wonderful Christmas Eve and that you have a very Merry Christmas this year!

December 23, 2009

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

This year's holiday baking started early when I decided to make a special treat for a friend's birthday. I wanted to try a new recipe, so I headed on over to one of my favorite websites called Bake or Break. The author of Bake or Break has great recipes and takes wonderful pictures that make you want to stop what your doing and head to the kitchen to try your hand at making their latest recipe.

Here's the Bake or Break recipe for Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes:
42 Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°. Line standard muffin pans with liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner...

Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla...
Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies...
Divide batter among pans...
Bake for about 22 minutes or until filling is set...
Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pans just before serving..
As you can see, I used the mint oreos for the bottom cookie crust and it was a big hit with those who indulged in these delicious treats!

December 20, 2009

Turkey Noodle Soup

This year I was fortunate enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with JJ's family and also with my family, so there were some awesome left overs stocking our fridge! So, after we'd had the traditional dinners for a few days, my mind wondered and wanted to find another way to incorporated the left over turkey meat into a new dish.

I browsed a few websites and came up with a recipe for Turkey Noodle Soup, which turned out to be pretty good. It was a pretty simple recipe. In fact I didn't really even measure any of the ingredients.

First I chopped and sauteed carrots, celery, and onions...
After a few minutes, I added about 2 cups of chicken broth and a little bit of water. Once that started to heat up, I added a bag of egg noodles... I let the noodles cook for a few minutes, then added the left over turkey I had chopped into bit size pieces... I added salt, pepper, and parsley to the mix and let the soup come to a boil. Then I backed off the heat and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes or so...
I toasted up some left over dinner rolls and served up the soup in our new dishes we received for a wedding gift... I think the soup actually got better as the days went by, and we certainly had some tasty left overs for lunches!

December 08, 2009

Ke'e Beach on Kauai

On our last day in Hawaii, we drove along the northern coast of Kauai. We cruised to the end of the road and stopped at the beautiful Ke'e Beach. This beach is said to be one of the most visited beaches on Kauai and is known for amazing snorkeling when the water is calm.

We decided to give one last toast to Hawaii, so as they say - Cheers!
Enjoy this short video of our trip to Ke'e Beach...

December 03, 2009

Waimea Canyon Hike

Located on the west side of Kauai, the Waimea Canyon is known as the largest canyon in the Pacific. It is often called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". It spans 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and over 3,000 feet deep.

Now knowing these stats, you'll understand why if you are a little afraid of heights, the thought of hiking in a place like this might make someone a little nervous. Lucky for me, I didn't know these stats *before* our hike and I managed to make it through our 5 mile hike along the Canyon Trail.

I used the word managed because it was quite challenging for me. The hike is 2.5 miles, all down hill to end up mid way down the canyon to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls and valley views of this amazing landmark. After you make the trek down and observe the wonder of the canyon, you turn around and hike the same 2.5 miles up to make it back out of the canyon. There were several points along the hike up that I wasn't sure if I could make it. I definitely stopped several times along the way and my face turned a rosy shade of red from being exhausted and super hot. But in the end, I finally finished the hike and felt a huge accomplishment.

Check out this video that JJ captured along our hike on the Canyon Trail. I made sure to stay as far away from the edge of the trail as I could and of course, JJ has no fear and practically stands at the very edge of the cliff as he recorded this clip!