Sunday, December 30, 2012

spaghetti aglio, olio, e peperoncino

I feel like I say this about every recipe but this really was simple, quick and delish!!

I added some parmesan and bacon for some more bite and texture.  Yum, yum, yum.

christmas happenings

On the weekend of Dec 15, we traveled to Atlanta for a Christmas party at Megan and Adi's.

Brad and me

The Furman crew 

The Shingler and Filipovic families

On Friday, we had dinner at La Fonda and saw John Smoltz.  Pretty sure he knew I was snapping a photo of him.  Oops.

On Sunday, we had brunch with my cousins at Pastries a go go in Decatur.  Unfortunately, we all had a sad Christmas as our grandmother passed away on Dec 18.  She has been in poor health for years but it had gotten much worse since Halloween.  The family had been keeping vigil 24 hours a day for a few weeks.  My grandfather called her home on what would have been his 99th birthday.  The funeral was on that Thursday in Warner Robins.  Obviously, it was very hard but it was good to know she wasn't suffering anymore and to meet a lot of people that she loved and that loved her.  We will miss you Mana!

Because we had so much going on, I did not put up half of our Christmas decorations.  I had to do some because we had the work crew over on Dec 17 and hosted the Shingler Christmas Eve brunch.  We also went to an Augusta Christmas Party last Friday but I took no pictures.  Thanks to the Trotters, Rigsbys, Dunstans and Thigpens for hosting!  I wasn't sure how I would hold up one day after Mana's funeral but it was actually good to get out, see everyone and visit.  

Some of our Christmas cards.

More Christmas cards.  I swear our friends have the cutest kids!

The dining room all set for brunch. This room is done in more natural decor while the living room is more traditional green and red. 


Dining room table

Dining room tree

Front porch.  I need to find some better pots for those trees and add some ribbon.

Tree with all the gifts.  This may have been the worst tree we have ever bought.  We waited until late to get it and it was pitiful.  Oh well...

I made dog treats for our coworker and family dogs.  This was a new recipe and I really liked it!  I will say the dough was easier to work with when I used half whole wheat and half AP flour.  They were chewier though.  I also added some honey and wheat germ.  

Christmas Eve brunch

Adi's reindeer cookie during the traditional sugar cookie decorating contest 

Our lovely creations.  The icing was really runny so we got some messy ones.  

Megan's lady in red and Brad's UGA player

Bill dropped this cookie in the icing and broke off his arm.  He used frosting as glue and a toothpick to prop him up to dry.  That's an engineer for you!

On Friday, Dad and I traveled to Athens to see his family.  My cousins Steve (Uncle Tim's son) and Will (Uncle Stan's son) with Mema.

It has been years since all of Mema's boys were together!  Uncle Tim and Aunt Peggy live in Pennsylvania so they don't get down often.  We were just missing Aunt Karen.  
Tim, Jeff, Scott, Mema, Stan and Daddy

author debuts

I recently finished these three debut novels and thought they were all fantastic.  
Check them out if you like fiction!

Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew.
      She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, at a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored.
      Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they say they are, and she’s terrified that her own past is catching up to her. So Kate begins to dig, to peel back the layers of deception that surround her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun, a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money, and finally unravels the mind-boggling long-play con that threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.
      Stylish and sophisticated, fiercely intelligent and expertly crafted, The Expats proves Chris Pavone to be a writer of tremendous talent.

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.
In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.
As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?
The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.

A year ago, fresh out of Harvard Law School, Mike Ford landed his dream job at the Davies Group, Washington's most powerful consulting firm. Now, he's staring down the barrel of a gun, pursued by two of the world's most dangerous men. To get out, he'll have to do all the things he thought he'd never do again: lie, cheat, steal-and this time, maybe even kill.
Mike grew up in a world of small-stakes con men, learning lessons at his father's knee. His hard-won success in college and law school was his ticket out. As the Davies Group's rising star, he rubs shoulders with "The 500," the elite men and women who really run Washington -- and the world. But peddling influence, he soon learns, is familiar work: even with a pedigree, a con is still a con.
Combining the best elements of political intrigue and heart-stopping action, THE 500 is an explosive debut, one that calls to mind classic thrillers likeThe Firm and Presumed Innocent. In Mike Ford, readers will discover a new hero who learns that the higher the climb, the harder -- and deadlier -- the fall.

football, food, friends, family. and a new car!

Things have been crazy for us lately!  So, I will get right to it.  Here's our Thanksgiving recap...

We went to the UGA/GT game Thanksgiving weekend.  Because this is usually my brother's birthday and we have so much to do because of the holiday, I have never been to one of these games.  I remember once in college we all came back to go but after tailgating in the cold rain for hours, we went home  to watch it by the fire instead!  We met up with our college friend Roth on North Campus.  It was great to visit and hopefully we can get to Florida to spend time with his precious family at some point.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at Adi's parent's house.  My family came over as well.  It was a beautiful day so we snapped a Christmas card photo.  :) 

After the Tech game, we went out to the lake for a cook-off that some folks in Lincolnton host every year.  They are related to Amber and are lake-neighbors of Casey's family.  It was such a blast!  Brad with Alex and Eric.

With Amber, Mel and Tensley

Brad with Adi.  Somehow we missed a picture of Megan.  They were there to visit with the Maslankas.  

Alex made some delicious shrimp and grits!!  Bacon makes everything better.

All the food tables.  There were wings, soups, fried venison, etc.

With Casey.  She and Nick made bison burgers.  Yum.

Trailer set up for the band to perform.  

Cool grilling, cooking station.  Gonna have to build one of these!

Porch on lakehouse.  Great fireplace!

Serving up the grits.  They won the competition!!!

Then, on Sunday, my car died.  Ugh.  We knew it was on its last leg but I was really trying to put off getting a new one.  So, we spent all Sunday and Monday looking for and buying a car.  I ended up with a 2008 Lexus mid-size SUV.  It was the same price as others (4runner, tahoe, yukon) but had a warranty, new tires, etc.  I absolutely love it!!  Although, I am not so excited about having a car payment.  :(