Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Merry "Little" Christmas

I can't believe it's taken me so long to post on our happy little blog here. I figured I ought to update everyone on what we've been doing and tell about our "little" Christmas we are having, seeing as we aren't going home to see family this year. But we are a family just the two of us, so it's pretty great! First off, you like our Christmas card? Many of you have probably seen this already, but I'm sharing it here with those we weren't able to send it to so everyone can be wished a Joyeux Noel from the Black family! We were hoping to take a nice picture in front of a palm tree, to be true to the Floridian landscape, but instead we took a picture in front of our pretty live Red Cedar Christmas tree!

Here's a list of a few more things that have been going on with us:
  1. Michael and I have been getting even more settled in here in Tallahassee. We both now have callings in church, which makes us feel more like a part of the ward. Michael is the Assistant Scout Leader for the 11 year old boys. I'm the Assistant Leader for Activity Days (8-11 year old girls). Both groups meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. It's kinda like we're back in the Young Men and Young Women organizations. We're pretty used to leaving mid week for activities with kids at church. This should be fun!
  2. Everybody keeps asking us about the weather here in Tally, so I'll fill you in. We've decided that it's weird to not have snow surrounding Christmas. Even though I grew up in Louisiana, I think I got spoiled with the magic of the white stuff around the Holidays. And not only do we not have snow, but we have rain, humidity, and quite a bit of warm weather. It's actually been cooling down a bit the past week, so we've been appreciating that. Generally, we've been able to walk around in a light jacket or even without this whole time we've lived here. Which, I do have to admit is kinda nice. When I'm out and about for my internship, it's nice to not have to worry about bundling up and stepping in slushiness.
  3. What can I say, this internship thing makes me really BUSY! I spend 40 plus hours each week practicing, learning music, making home visits, documenting (the real time consumer), going to meetings, and driving all across the county to my visits. It's a lot of hard work, and I'm really enjoying it. I sang at my first funeral this week for a patient and I was honored to have been asked to participate even when I'd only met the patient once. I sang 4 hymns and accompanied myself on the guitar. It was a special occasion. People keep asking me how I can do work in Hospice and I have to tell you, it's really an amazing experience. I don't feel like I'm a "special" person or have superpowers that allow me to work with people who are dying, it's just what I do. There is a need for Music Therapy in Hospice, and I am able to provide it. The comfort that I see music give to people and their families is astonishing. I'm the facilitator, which I think is a pretty sweet job!
  4. Michael and I have made some good friends with a couple girls from my internship. Their families are from Pennsylvania and Connecticut, so we're all here in Tally for the holidays. It's just too far for us to go home, so we're having a little "Intern Dunch (Dinner/Lunch)" on Christmas Day. We're also making some good friends at church with 2 couples who both have babies that are about 1 year old. We're excited to spend more time with them as they are both fun. And one of the couples has a baby named Roman who is HUGE. Like 24 lbs. huge! He's the cutest thing ever and Michael and I call him "The Chunk". Michael is super good buddies with him while his father and I are in ward choir practice and Michael gives his mom a little break. 
Other than that, things are going well here and we're looking forward to waking up Christmas morning, opening presents, and having some fun video chats with loved ones. Thank goodness for technology being what it is so we can stay in touch with those we most cherish and miss!

I hope you are all having a Merry Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! I've tried out many new recipes that I hope to share with all of you soon. Let's hope 2012 allows me a bit more time to devote to this blog and keep everyone updated on our lives and good times.

Love you and Joyeux Noel!

    Sunday, December 04, 2011

    Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

    This recipe inspiration came from the awesome Sweet Paul. I look forward to their Recipe Mondays like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Everything they do is simple and amazing (even when they're doing crafts and design). The style is beautiful. 

    Mushrooms were on sale yesterday, and the weather was a little cool and damp, so I knew it was perfect timing for me to finally pull out this recipe. Follow it with some hot cocoa, and you have yourself a warm, comforting holiday evening. Here's the skinny.

    Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine
    (adapted from Sweet Paul)

    1 tbs. olive oil
    1/2 small onion, finely diced
    1 1/2 lbs. fresh mushrooms, sliced
    2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    1 tsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 cup chicken stock
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tsp. dill
    1/2 tsp. rosemary
    salt and pepper, to taste
    fettuccine (or vermicelli, spaghetti)

    1. In a medium sized pot, boil some water. Salt the water liberally, then add fettuccine and cook until al dente.
    2. While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute just until mushrooms start to turn color. 
    3. Add flour and mix until a slight paste forms. Add chicken stock and milk and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and add herbs. Simmer until sauce thickens.
    4. Plate fettuccine on a nice plate and ladle sauce over the noodles. Top with freshly grated parmesan.

    Saturday, December 03, 2011

    O Christmas Tree!

    Last weekend, Michael and I went out and bought our very first LIVE Christmas tree! I looked up Christmas tree farms on the internet and found a couple just down the road from us in Tallahassee. I grew up with a live Christmas tree every single year and so I've missed having one the past couple years of marriage. 

    When I found out that it would be quite cheap to buy one this year, I told Michael we just HAD to do it. So we got in the car and made our way to the Wright Brothers Christmas Tree Farm where we were greeted by kind people who handed us a saw, gloves, and a pole to measure our tree with. We walked around for half an hour and ended up returning to the very first tree we saw. Michael sawed it down, and it was ours!

    Our tree found the perfect home in front of our large window in the living room. We brought a few select ornaments with us, and I crafted a few more to fill in the empty spaces. I made some bows out of leftover fabric from my recent jewelry hanger project and then made those gold paper ornaments you see. I love how everything turned out! It's simple and cute, and "us". This tree makes our apartment feel so much more festive.

    I'll have to post pictures of the "fireplace" we created for the little mantel we have in our living room. It was Michael's brilliant idea and he was the mastermind and creator behind everything. It's a sight to behold! 

    We're looking forward to Christmas with just the two of us this year. We are surely going to miss our families, but we think it'll be kinda nice to have special time with just us. Most likely, this will be our only year to have a Christmas without family near (or without another member of the family in our house). And no, we're not pregnant. :)

    Hope everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit and enjoying the happy thoughts and feelings this time of year brings. I know we are!