30 January 2010

Friday Miscellany [on Saturday]: Boots, New Words and Happy Endings

I'm sure y'all are thinking that I didn't post yesterday because I had to catch up on the DVR. Well, you're wrong. I had to chaperone a dance, which was so much more fun. It was so fun that Husby went with me. And I just know he loved it. The Rave to Save 2010 (in support of Haiti earthquake victims) was exactly how we wanted to spend our Friday evening.

We worked the admission table. Other than checking to make sure guest names were on "the list," I didn't have a huge job and Husby had none. So I took it upon myself to make as many kids as possible feel guilty for keeping any change they received from paying admission to the dance. My signature line was, "The people in Haiti need it more than you." Considering the school where I work, it's true for 90% of the kids.

In other miscellaneous news from my slightly boring week:

1. My friend, Lindsey, received good news from her team of FIFTY doctors about her cancer. They were able to pinpoint why her last treatment was not effective. Hopefully, they've found exactly what will work to heal her body. Please pray big prayers for her. Our God can heal her body.

2. I bought some slouchy boots! It took me almost this entire season to buy them. I was so resistant to liking them. And then the first time I tried them on, I wasn't convinced. But I decided that ballet flats are not the most appropriate shoes to wear with tights on rainy days. And since I wear dresses and skirts most of the time, tights are a critical part of my winter wardrobe. Of course, when you wait till the end of the season, pickings are slim. I found these Steve Madden's at Dillard's. I wore the to last night's Rave, and I loved them. I foresee lots of use over the last few weeks of cold weather.

3. I heard the word "anthropromorphize" twice this week: once by Husby and once on NPR. (Yes, I listen to NPR. Don't laugh. It makes me smarter.) It's a good thing I wrote a paper on this topic in college! Otherwise, I wouldn't know that it's the ascribing of human qualities to things not human.

4. We're going to sees Avatar today. I've heard it's Smurfs meet Fern Gully with the Dances with Wolves plot. Husby wants to see it for the historicity. (It's the first time I'd heard that word.) I've seen Smurfs and Fern Gully, but I've never seen all of Dances with Wolves. I'm pretty sure that Kevin Costner dies at the end, though, so I'm expecting a main character of Avatar to be killed off.

5. Sometimes, I don't watch movies when I know characters will die. Or I turn them off before they die at the end. For example, my version of Love Story ends happily with the two characters in love. Why ruin a perfectly good story with tragedy? Oh, of course life doesn't always have a happy ending, but movies can. When you turn them off before they end. I should have walked out of Cold Mountain. I'm pretty sure I could have liked it without the ending.

6. I'm working on my monthly meal plan today. I'm really excited!

27 January 2010

King Ranch Casserole

Okay, I promise this won't become a food blog. BUT. We've only been out to dinner twice this month. Can you believe two times all month?! It's true. Now, we've allowed ourselves to schedule lunches out with friends or family, so we haven't completely stopped eating out, but it's been severely limited.

So, my monthly meal plan has worked. It's changed a little every week depending on recipes I've found or having people over, but I love it. I'm for sure doing this again.

One of my favorite recipes at my mom's restaurant is King Ranch Chicken. I love it. I could eat it every week. And I would if I had her recipe. Unfortunately, it's never been scaled down to 6 servings, and I don't need a casserole to feed 50 people. So I decided that I'd find my own recipe.

(This also allows me to share recipes because I think my mom might get upset if I began publishing her recipes on my blog for free.)

(If you're interested in buying secret recipes, contact me.)

(Just kidding.)

(Unless you have lots of money. And a mom that wouldn't mind me coming to holidays.)

I finally found a recipe for King Ranch Chicken that I was willing to try. It's from a blogger, Homesick Texan, and though I was skeptical when making it, it was amazingly terrific. She has two options; one is a little more "fancy" than the other. The non-fancy one uses cream of mushroom soup. I'm usually a believer of cream of mushroom soup going into every casserole, but I opted for the fancier version. Again, it did not disappoint.

I actually made the casserole two days ahead of time. I think leaving it in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to "meld" did a world of good. Because I didn't have ancho chili powder as listed, I used regular chili powder and added a teaspoon of brown sugar. Ancho chile's are similar in taste to a sweet raisin, so I thought I could create my own sweetness. And it worked. Oh, please notice the recipe calls for 4 teaspoons of chile powder. If you happen to add 4 tablespoons it might be a little spicier than you'd like, even after scooping out as much excess as possible and rinsing some of the sauteed goodness through a sieve. I've listed the recipe with a few changes I made.

Homesick Texan, October 2007
King Ranch Casserole
Serves 6
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 10-oz can Ro-tel
4 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups grated pepper jack & cheddar
About 10 flour and/or corn tortillas (I used equal parts)
Salt & pepper

1. Cook the chicken in the olive oil on medium, adding 2 teaspoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons chile powder and salt to taste.
2. When chicken is done (about 20-30 minutes), shred it and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium and add the onions, red bell pepper, and poblano pepper. Cook for ten minutes.
4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, 2 teapoons of chile powder, brown sugar and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and half and Ro-tel. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.
6. Uncover the pot and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless making ahead of time; then skip this step.)
8. Ladle 1/2 cup sauce onto the bottom of a 11x7 baking dish (I used an oval casserole).
9. Tear tortillas into about 8 pieces each and layer half of the tortillas along the bottom of the dish (on top of the sauce). Make sure entire pan is covered.
10. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
11. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese on top.
12. Cover with foil and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and finish cook 10 minutes or until brown and bubbling. (If you cook after storing in the refrigerator, add at least ten minutes cook time.)

23 January 2010

Friday Miscellany [on Saturday]

Because I often have random or boring weeks, I decided that a weekly miscellaneous post might be in order. One that doesn't require too much thought. Highlights of the week, if you will. And when catching up on my DVRed shows prohibits me from posting Friday Miscellany, I'll have this feature: Friday Miscellany [on Saturday]. Good, huh?

1. My friend Lindsey (and her husband, Brian) needs your prayers for a miracle. Folks, spread the word to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Lindsey is mid-20s and battling her second round of cancer. Now, if this were me, it would completely define my life. But it doesn't define her life. At all. Her life is defined by her love for our Lord. Her faith is amazing. Please join me in praying BIG prayers. Pray for her body to be healed of cancer. You can keep up with her story here.

2. It's a good thing for my laptop that I blog. Otherwise, we would have broken up. See, I upgraded to an iPhone, which is really like an additional appendage. I think I checked facebook 112 times in three hours, while catching up on the DVR. I needed to know if there were any new notifications waiting on me.

3. Husby has been sick for two days. He's stayed upstairs most of the time, so I've been in charge of the remotes. (We had a lesson on how to use the NEW remote for sound control. It's so confusing. I liked my 12-year-old TV. With duct tape holding the battery cover to the remote.)

4. As for the DVR. I caught up on What Not to Wear and Cougar Town. I act like I would follow fashion advice. Please, I actually thought at one point tonight, "I hope no one is filming me right now since I'm in polka dot pajama pants, 1 of 3 long-sleeved Racquet & Jog t-shirts, and my wool house boots." And that, my friends is a hot mess. A hot mess paranoid about checking her iPhone.

Y'all, I really like Cougar Town. It could be that it's only 30 minutes, and sometimes I have difficulty committing to an hour-long show. I've also loved Courteney Cox-Arquette since she was "Monica." And she's great in this. Of course, she's quirky, and I LOVE IT! And this right here is one of the funniest scenes the week: Jules is comforted by M&M Tea. And it made me want some. I talked myself into making some, but we don't have plain M&M's. Mostly because I only like peanut M&M's. Please watch it. Please?

5. At work today, one of my students asked me for the spelling of his middle name. He's 18, but since he "never uses it," he didn't know if it's spelled with a "-y" or an "-ey." I mean, it's perfect logic. Right?

I'm off to check my iPhone. (Okay, I've already checked it twice while blogging.) (I'll need an intervention in a week. The newness has worn off. This is pure addiction.)

22 January 2010

Root Beer Short Ribs

I've been the world's worst at buying a magazine for recipes, but never making them. However, I've recently become adventuresome in the kitchen. I actually use recipes out of cookbooks and magazines. It's crazy, I know.

Several restaurants I've visited recently all have some sort of short ribs on the menu. The most recent being Dublin Dr. Pepper Short Ribs at Fearing's in Dallas. Oh, they were great. Just melt in your mouth good!

After those, I decided that I'd get on the trendy-cook train and make short ribs. Not just any short ribs, but a recipe I drooled over in a magazine: root beer short ribs.

The end product was amazing. Even though they took longer than the 30 minutes I usually dedicate to making a meal, I would do it again.

As a side note, I bought 2 1/2 pounds of boneless short ribs. Also, I stopped at step three, put them in the refrigerator and continued the next day. Allowing the entire pot to cool makes the fat float to the top; it was super easy to spoon off.
Everyday Food, December 2009
Root Beer Short Ribs
Serves 6
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 4 hours

4 1/2 pounds short ribs, cut into 4 inch pieces
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
3 large celery stalks, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 small carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 whole star anise
3 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 cups good-quality root beer

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season ribs generously with salt and pepper. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil on high. In batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 20 minutes total. (I did about 4 minutes per side.) If oil gets too dark during browning, pour off and add more oil (do note wipe pot clean). Transfer ribs to a plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot.

2. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, cumin, and star anise. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until onions soften, 5 minutes. Return ribs to pot and add broth and root beer. Bring to a rapid simmer, cover, and place pot in oven.

3. Cook until meat can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 3 hours. (To store, refrigerate, up to 4 days.) With a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a large straight-sided skillet. Skim off and discard any fat from cooking liquid. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into skillet; discard solids. Boil over medium-high until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Continue to cook, spooning liquid over meat occasionally, until ribs are glazed and sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. (It took about 10-12 for mine to thicken.) Season with salt and pepper.

They're excellent with the mashed sweet potatoes. I do love sweet potatoes and don't need anything put with them, but since we had company, I dressed them up just a bit. I baked three sweet potatoes, then removed the skins and placed them in a bowl. I added about 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar, then mashed everything together.

Bon appetit!

20 January 2010

Adventures in Showering

Remember how I hate the getting-ready process? Let me tell you, I'm proud of the fact that I can shower in less than ten minutes. I've worked on it for years, and it comes in handy when I decide that sleeping-in is more important than personal hygiene. And since Husby came with a shower clock, every morning is a little competition. With myself. (I know, it doesn't take much.)

Let me share my latest in showering--a shower that lasted 20 minutes! Gasp. (Don't worry, it's by G-rated.)

1. Wet hair. Put on shampoo. Wonder why it's not lathering. Realize it's conditioner. Rinse.
2. Put on shampoo. Put on conditioner. Without rinsing shampoo. Rinse.
3. Put on shampoo, thinking it's conditioner. Wonder why it's lathering. Rinse.
4. Put on shampoo again. Rinse.
5. Put on conditioner. Rinse.
6. Continue with other showering activities.

Seriously?! How many times does it take for me to look at the labels on the bottles? They clearly show which is which. And let me tell you, my hair did not thank me for the repeated mistakes. It was super-ultra frizzy. And on a day that is East Texas-humid, it's not a good thing.

19 January 2010

Three Day Weekend Productivity

Oh, y'all. I love a three day weekend. They're such a treat. They allow for some relaxation and lots of productivity.

On Saturday, I stayed in my pajamas until 6pm. At which point, I decided to take a shower before I cooked dinner. For some reason, pajamas allow me to be super productive. Honestly, it's probably the lack of shower taking that helps. I loathe the process of getting ready. It takes way too long, and I feel like I'm a quick get ready-er. (I shower much quicker than Husby.) But then it's the hair drying and styling, finding something to wear, hunting for a pair of black tights, getting side-tracked by my iPhone because I'm so bored with the process, then getting frustrated because I've been too active after drying my hair so my bangs are a little sweaty, which causes a slight wave. So avoiding a shower on a day that I won't leave the house allows for so much more productivity.

Saturday's domestic productivity included: making pancakes, washing clothes (which I dislike more than the getting-ready process), organizing the pantry, starting Sunday's short ribs, making a pound cake, reading, and making tuna casserole for dinner.

(Don't turn up your nose as I did. I'd never had it, but Husby said he had a "hankering" for it. Being a good wife, I found a recipe and made it. And enjoyed it. It wasn't overly tuna-y. Probably because it had almost three cups of cheese in it and potato chips on top. I'd eat pretty much anything with that description.)

I doubt several of those things would have happened if I'd gotten ready for the day. I just hate when my clean hair gets sweaty after too much house-cleaning/organizing.

I did get ready for church on Sunday. We took snacks for our class; I made sausage-cheese muffins, and they were a hit. After church and lunch, we enjoyed our afternoon three monthiversary celebration. Since we had a friend over for dinner, I didn't feel that returning to pajamas would be in good taste. I opted for jeans. With my wool house boots. So cozy!

Monday was nothing but productivity. And a little facebook and Pandora radio. I rearranged all of our clothes. Mine moved to a new closet, which is closer to our room, so hopefully, I'll hang my clothes every night rather than one time a week. I assembled a shoe rack which will serve as a sweater rack for Husby. Bins and baskets are strategically placed to make our lives easier.

And by lives made easier, I'm referring to the putting away of laundry and my getting ready process.

I can't wait for President's Day. Come on, February!

18 January 2010

Too much, perhaps...

I may have come across the most disturbing thing on the internet. Ever. And I didn't even mean to find it. I still shiver when I remember it.

I find said item disturbing for a few reasons:

1. I'm a low-discloser, and secretly wish that more people fell into this category. (Sure, I have a blog, but I tell my 10 readers what I'd tell most of my friends. I mean, y'all are great and all, but I'm pretty cautious with my life details. No one ever new who I "liked" until college. Seriously.)

2. I know it's natural and ultra-healthy, but I don't want to know about it. (I won't share when I'm doing it.)

3. I'll think about this way too often. And I don't want to think about it.

4. It could get to the point where CPS needs a phone call. And I'm not afraid to call. (Just ask the family who got a little visit from the officials after I followed them through WalMart for an hour and then to their car so that the police could run a license plate number.)

Disclaimer: this is not my ticker. I don't care how long anyone does this. Well, until it crosses the line of inappropriate.

17 January 2010

Three Monthiversary

Today marks three months of marriage. And three great months at that!

Once we were done eating lunch, I declared that I didn't want to go home. We both love spending time at home, and given the option, we'll usually stay in. But today, I wanted to do something different; I just didn't know what the something different was. Husby thanked me for my ambiguity as I gave him the challenge of coming up with an activity.

(I really think that it helped spur him to come up with something once I mentioned I was in the mood for shopping.)

Since it was such a beautiful day, he suggested that we go to Tyler State Park. I agreed. Once we arrived and walked around for a bit, we decided that it would have been a great idea to change out of our church clothes. About an hour later, we arrived once again in jeans and tennis shoes with books, chairs and Crickett.

The three of us walked through the woods for about an hour. Of course, Crickett, being a hound, led the way with her nose to the ground. And she stayed on the trail the whole time. (She's just so smart!)

After our walk, we found the perfect spot of sunshine where we set our chairs and began reading. Currently, I'm set to finish Three Cups of Tea. The school where I work is doing an All-School Read with this book.

(I've wanted to read it for a while, but now that it's an "assignment", I don't want to read it.)

(And honestly, if it weren't required, I would have stopped reading it. It's just not well written. I think the contents would have been adequately written in 180 pages, not over 300.)

We read for quite a while, until it began to cool off, and we decided to head home. We ended our afternoon with a trip to Sonic.

Now, I'm about to start dinner. A friend is coming over, and we're having root beer short ribs with mashed sweet potatoes. I hope it tastes as good as it sounds!

07 January 2010

Meal Planning 101

I really enjoy cooking. I come from a long line of good cooks. I'm pretty sure that I somehow received a gene for cooking. And it's pretty decent, too.

However, since getting married, it's really tough to cook. I come home and need to clean, workout, do laundry, pick up around the house and cook. I still haven't figured out how to get all of these things done. I fear that one day I'll wind up on Biggest Loser for neglecting my workouts or as a news story for the clutter and laundry that's piled up and prevented my kids from attending school for three years.

Catastrophizing? Perhaps. But it's still an issue for me.

I usually meal plan for a week in advance. But last week during meal planning, I was very ambitious. I planned for the entire month of January. I figure that if I only have to plan 12 times a year instead of 52, it will work much better. And we can deviate from the original plan, if needed.

I'm so visual that seeing everything in a one month block is nice! I have simple meals during the week with more complicated meals on [some] weekends. Dinners for the month of January include: chicken and dumplings, grilled chicken by Chez Husby, bruschetta, hamburgers, pancakes and enchiladas. I think it's going to be a good month, at least a good month of dinners.

P.S. I'd love, love feedback on easy meals!
P.P.S I'm so thankful to have a husband who'll eat pretty much anything, especially leftovers.

05 January 2010

A Little Ridculous

The house we rent was built in 1920. It's quaint and has lots of character, great moulding, beautiful wood floors, and tons of windows (that are properly covered, which is non-negotiable for me). But one thing didn't exist in 1920: insulation. And that makes our house cold.

Okay, maybe insulation did exist. I really don't know, but I'm pretty certain that there is none in our house.

At two stories, with high ceilings downstairs, it's impossible for our house to be a consistent temperature. Our thermostat is set at a brisk 62 degrees. It's a little warmer upstairs--like 65, but if the thermostat is set any higher, we'll sweat profusely while upstairs. And the dining room? Well, it's all windows and about 10 degrees cooler than anywhere else in the house. On New Years Eve, I think our guests were frozen by the end of dinner. They were just too nice to complain.

What have we learned?
1. The house we eventually buy will have double-paned windows.
2. We're blowing extra insulation into the walls of our someday home.
3. A pier-and-beam foundation, although attractive, doesn't create for a warm home.
4. We'll continue to carry our little space heater with us, wherever we go. (Currently, I'm typing at the bar, and it's sitting on the stool next to me.)

So, after complaining about the super hot days during the summer and yearning for cooler days, I'm over them. I can't wait to have my breath taken away because the interior of the car is so stinkin' hot. Come on, summer!

04 January 2010

Book List 2009

I love to read. I always have. At the beginning of 2009, I made a list of books to read. Over the year, the list changed. For instance, I began reading one recommendation, Epicenter, but thought it was only days before Iraq and Russia joined forces to conquer Tyler, Texas. I had to put it down.

(Thanks to college roommate, Adriane, I now know that news and current events can be harmful for me to watch and read. I have bad dreams and anxiety that just isn't normal. Now I know when to stop. It was a sad day when I could no longer be a news junkie.)

I didn't read everything on the list, but I added quite a few books. I'm proud to say that even with a wedding, I read 18 books. I'll put a little star by those that I really enjoyed.

Here's to Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble*
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffennegger*
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist*
The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold*
Out to Canaan by Jan Karon
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver*
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My 2010 list is in full swing. Already in the works: Anne of Green Gables, Meet the Austins, and Three Cups of Tea. And maybe, just maybe, I'll convince myself to finish Lord of the Rings that I began over two years ago.

03 January 2010

Creating a Home

After almost three months of marriage, I feel like we're--well, I'm--developing a style for our home. I've always loved tons of styles, and still do, but I've felt that you have to pick one style for your home. I feel like I like I'm drawn to lots of different styles: traditional, modern, vintage, rustic, shabby chic. You name it, I'll find something about it that I like. I also love lots of colors: red, blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, black, brown, white. Oh, and also lots of patterns: stripes, plaids, argyle, animal print, polka dots. I now think it's okay to mix styles, patterns and colors--within reason--to create a house that we'll love.

While registering, it was so hard to find something in two days. I need time to make a decision. Sometimes lots of time. My go-to was neutrals. I decided that we could live with them without tiring as quickly. Our bedding is this white set with a blue quilt. With walls painted Latte from Sherwin Williams, our bedroom is nice and calming. But I think I found the bedding. I love this from Macy's! It's a little modern, but neutral. There's also this from Pottery Barn. With a little color thrown in to a neutral background, I really like it a lot. (If I had my way, I'd have multiple sets of bedding to change throughout the year. Oh, the choices!)

We recently ordered this new couch for our living room. Again, I went with a neutral. But with the intent of having a colorful throw pillows. We currently have a green rug, which works nicely, but what I'd really like is this zebra rug. And then maybe these red pillows. I think I could love it! And hopefully, Husby would, too.

It's so much fun designing a home. Although it takes some time since we do live on a budget, because I'm such a slow decision maker, I think it works nicely. I'd love feedback on mixing styles, colors and patterns!

02 January 2010


Since I'm headed back to work on Monday after a two week break, I decided that today was the day to be somewhat productive. Today, Christmas came down. And it took forever. Forever. Like five hours.

I began de-ornament-ing the tree without Husby. But I had to have him for any ornaments hung over six feet. It's little things like that make me love marriage. That and the fact that he worked with me all five hours of undecorating.

I really don't mind taking ornaments off the tree and packing things in boxes. It's like a big organizing party as I try to put them in their proper boxes, turned just right so that the box will close.

(I think I failed to mention in the Christmas tree post that I'm the proud owner of 14 dozen new ornaments. Yes, Husby's wonderful mom has been collecting them for his future wife for quite a while. And they're great, glass ornaments; there are a dozen Santas in red suits and a dozen white churches among them. Just one reason why our tree looked great.)

Back to organizing...it's a challenge for me to get Christmas decorations as condensed as possible. I have three tubs for non-ornament decorations and need one more. Okay, maybe two. The tubs are so heavy every year. And this was the first year that I didn't have to pack them in the closet under the stairs.

While Husby was wrestling the huge Christmas tree box into the closet, a box of grilling tools fell behind the tree. It would have been a huge pain to pull it out, so we thought it could stay. And it could have. If I hadn't seen that it was the perfect amount of space for two other boxes. Then Husby went outside with Crickett. I decided that I could crawl over the three tubs that are just a little shorter than me, around the Christmas tree box and lower myself while balancing one foot on the brick ledge in the closet so that I could grab the tools and replace them with said boxes.

It was a plan. It worked in my mind, but it turns out I wasn't realistic in my planning. I climbed halfway over the tubs when I couldn't move. I didn't take into account my really short legs. I sort of dangled over the tubs for a while. I decided I'd wait until Husby came back inside to help me down. Only, he was gone for a long time. I had to propel myself back to starting position. And it hurt. I suffered consequences the remainder of the afternoon.

Plan B worked. I moved out all three tubs, one at a time. Pulled the Christmas tree to a horizontal position. Walked across the brick ledge. Picked up the tool kit, replaced it with the boxes. Returned the Christmas tree box to a vertical position. Moved all three tubs back into the closet. Done. Do you see how much more work was involved? I actually had to move the tubs.

I have to say that one of the hardest parts of the day--other than poor planning on executing reorganization of the storage closet and the fact that I didn't think we'd ever finish--was getting the humongo Christmas tree wrapped with cellophane and put back into that oaf of a box. Glitter was everywhere. It took some time with the broom, vacuum cleaner and Pledge to get the living room back to normal.

I've decided that when we're super rich, I want a Christmas tree closet. We'll take the ornaments off every year--I mean it is really fun decorating the tree--but the tree will be on wheels, able to roll to it's starting position.

Until then, it's just me and Husby. And that works just fine for me.