Archive | December 2012

Mini-Monday: 2012 in Review

I love a good annual report. Thanks WordPress.com stats helper monkey for putting one together for my blog!

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 990 times in 2012.
If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Mini-Monday: “O Christmas Tree”

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It’s Christmas Eve and celebrations have begun. Since my husband and I were born in the same city, each year we have not two, not three, but four family holiday dinners. I celebrated Hanukkah with my dad’s side of the family on December 16 and my hubby and I joined my mom’s family last night for Christmas Eve Eve. Today we will celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband’s mom’s family and tomorrow will be Christmas Day with his dad’s side. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it!

Luckily there is plenty of sustenance to give me the energy to make it through—from the traditional trappings of ham and potatoes to local delicacies like DeVinci’s ravioli and Boudin sourdough. Of course there are also plenty of Christmas cookies and last night we had a luxuriously decadent chocolate cream pie. And all this has to be washed down with heady red wines from Amador and the San Joaquin Valley.

But even better than the delicious things we eat and drink, we enjoy the opportunity to be with everyone each Christmas and this year is especially special since Brandon was able to return from Afghanistan to join us.

So as we settle around the Christmas tree (yesterday, today, and tomorrow), I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Share it Maybe?

One of the cutest things I saw this year was the Cookie Monster performing his version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” It’s been awhile since both songs were in the spotlight, but I couldn’t help but think about Cookie Monster yesterday when my aunt, mom, and I had our annual cookie decorating morning.

Although my aunt makes dozens and dozens of sugar and gingerbread cookies each Christmas and I’ve been decorating them for most of my life, I don’t possess the “vision” that others have when it comes to this important holiday task. My hubby—who decorates each cookie with such precision that a few years ago my aunt invested in decorating tweezers— wasn’t able to join in the fun this year, so the pressure was on. Still, all I wanted to do was cover each cookie in frosting, sugar crystals, and red hots then shove it into my face. I am pretty sure Cookie Monster would find this acceptable behavior.

Although I did find myself increasingly inspired as the morning went on, my first plate of cookies (below) weren’t nearly as impressive as my mom’s creations which included a Michael Jackson gingerbread man (with a glove and a curl of hair in his face), a rainbow trout, and a banana. But a cookie’s a cookie and they are certainly tasty!

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Mini-Monday: Chocolate Explosion

A few years ago a Ghiradelli outlet store opened about 20 minutes from my parent’s house. Now going to the real Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco and having an ice cream soda is a lovely experience, but I’ll take fabulous chocolate where I can get it. Ever since the store closer to us opened its doors, Santa Claus has been kind enough to give my hubby and I copious amounts of single serving squares in our stockings.

During the weekend I went with Santa Claus (aka my mumbo) to the store and six pounds of chocolate later, this is what we headed home with (don’t worry, it isn’t all for me). Santa still needs to divide it up, so I will anxiously await finding out which flavors I will get come Christmas Eve. Thankfully I know that Santa will give all the funky fruity ones to my dad, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for dark chocolate mint and dark chocolate carmel and dark chocolate truffle! (Are you sensing a theme here?)

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Wrapping It Up (with Rapaport): The 2012 Edition

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My holiday centerpiece — a tiny tree, an Icelandic wool sweater for the wine (because everyone needs this), and a few wintery candles.

When I was in college I wrote a weekly sports column (yes, the singing theatre major, history minor, never-played-a-sport-in-my-life girl wrote a sports column … and people liked it, I swear!).  The name of it — Wrapping It Up With Rapaport — struck me with some inspiration while contemplating the end of 2012.

As December 31 approaches there are so many things to “wrap up” — gifts, projects I’d like completed before 2013 (before I start my vacation really), and household chores to make sure I’ll be able to come back to a clean house in a few weeks.

Along with all these things, I though it was a good time to take a quick look back at my resolutions for 2012 to see how I’ve done during the past 12 months. Here’s an update:

Exercise: I had written that my hope was to attend my Jazzercise class as often as possible and continue my morning routine of walking to get in better shape without giving up all the foods I love. I’d say that I achieved this goal in a way I didn’t even imagine last January — by becoming a certified Jazzercise instructor during the summer. On top of regularly attending class, I have also been teaching between 4–8 times per month and can tell I am in better shape than I was during 2011. My regular walking routine hasn’t been kept up as well as it should, but my walking companion and I are both committed to getting into a better routine come 2013.

Food: As 2012 began, my hubby and I were hoping for a healthier year both in terms of exercise and eating. I switched to organic milk and tend to buy all our fish, meat and chicken from the vendors at Eastern Market where it is a bit more expensive, but also free from hormones. Plus I can get exactly what I want (although they do look at me like I am a little bit crazy when I get a third of a pound of ground meat).

In terms of veggies we didn’t do the CSA weekly box this year, but we did have more of our own veggies thanks to our backyard garden. While it wasn’t as prosperous of a harvest as I am sure is possible given the space, I learned some valuable lessons — like don’t plant 13 tomato seedlings and then refuse to thin them — that should help 2013 provide a more bountiful harvest. On top of this being the first year of navigating the garden in our own raised beds, being gone for 2 weeks of July and 2 weeks of August didn’t help. I am pretty sure we will be spending much of next summer stuck in DC, so that should help improve our luck.

Don’t Obsess About Weight: This one has definitely been the hardest to succeed at during 2012. I do my best not to be concerned with the number that pops up on the scale (and since I’ve been teaching Jazzercise it certainly has been, what I would consider, better), but even on days when I find that I am not as happy with what I see I remind myself that it isn’t the number, it’s the way my clothes fit that counts. I will do my best to continue this in 2013 and, hopefully, learn to let go of my concern for that silly number!

Now that I’ve wrapped up my resolution re-cap, it’s time to wrap up projects for the year and get ready for the craziness of the holiday season. I’ll head to California where I will spend my days visiting with old friends and family members, attending 4 different holiday dinners, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and just enjoying being “home.”

Mini-Monday: All Around the World

I love that WordPress stats has the ability to show me all of the places around the world that people have read my blog. Recently I discovered it also has the power to summarize views from the past 9ish months and while the majority of readers come from the United States, I wonder what drove someone in Kazakhstan or Moldova (which, I admit, I had to Google to find out where it is) to check out The Housewife Challenge?

But whatever brought you to the site, dear reader, I want to thank you for visiting, commenting and sharing in this digital adventure with me!

Mini-Monday: All Around the World

(Belated) Mini-Monday: Heat Wave Holiday

I didn’t get my mini-Monday post up on time for a number of reasons, but I am going to primarily blame the heat wave which not only distracted me from the fact that it was Monday, but also from the fact that it was December.

While I didn’t get any good pictures to “prove” how toasty it was in DC yesterday (and today is supposed to be more of the same — yippee), it was so warm I opened up windows to let in fresh air. It hit 70 at some point and while I am all for warm weather, that’s a little toasty in December, even for my California-girl tastes. I have found it’s a little bit difficult to get into the holiday spirit when wearing flip-flops.

What I did get a picture of are my teeny, tiny Christmas trees and the even tinier presents surrounding them. When trees are this small a girl needs a few! One for my office, one for the dining room and, well, everyone needs a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, right?IMG_6836