Friday, December 23

The City of Lights

Whew! I can't believe that it has been almost a month since I posted about my parents anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun? Well that wasn't quite the case. Time flies when it's the end of the semester, is more like it.

I wrapped up the semester with three As and one B. I'm definitely pleased! My finals were not to bad but packing on the other hand, was just as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not only did I have to pack for a months time at home but for practically a weeks time for NYC! Oh not to mention that Jordan wouldn't be back in Texas until four days after I am... so I have to live off my NYC bags for that much longer at home. Craziness to try and separate the two and consider all the factors. Of course, things were overlooked. I forgot to bring some silly random toiletries to NYC, which was no big deal. I left some crucial things in the truck, for Jordan to bring home. For example: extra underwear, my laptop,  running gear, and Christmas presents! wha! However, I made it work.

So we spent five and a half days in the big city under all the lights and the honking horns. I had an absolute blast!  I adore all things about New York. The people, the places, the shops, the lights, and the noises. It's truly unique and nothing is more spectacular than NYC at Christmas time. NYC will always hold dear to Jordan and I's hearts since we were engaged there two years ago, right in the heart of Central Park. Of course, we had to visit again!

Let me reverse and start at the beginning of our journey to New York. We left Tuesday morning at 10, just after I had finished my last final at eight. Goodness! Can you say exhausting? Tyler, Jordan, and I piled ourselves and our stuff into the truck for the seven hour drive up towards the city. It was actually quite a fun drive since we got to go through Washington DC, Baltimore, Delaware, and NJ. We crossed into the city through the Lincoln tunnel in Hoboken. Of course, we entered the city at a great price - running tolls! Yes, we were cashless and acquired a great toll debt. I am just going to through this out there, WHY DON'T THEY ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS? It's so easy to swipe! If airports can do it, tolls can do it. Or hey, be like Dallas and have no booths - just drive under cameras. Bill me please. So after an hour of waiting to cross the tunnel after we exited for it and skipping out on the last 12 dollar toll booth, we made it into the city!

Has NYC ever seen a big ole honking Dodge Ram on it's streets? Doubt it! We made it to the hotel and then went out for dinner and visited Times Square!

As I already mentioned, we made it out to Central Park again. We wandered through the majority of the park, just enjoying the people, the performers, and the nature. We had the opportunity to eat at the Boat House but since the only thing on the menu I would eat was a hamburger, I suggested we skipped out. We then wandered our way around 5th avenue and found POP Burgers, conveniently a burger place, to eat lunch. It was such a fabulous little place. The food was immaculate. Tyler said he had the best burger there that he has ever eaten! Such a big deal, right?  After our bellies were filled with onion rings, burgers, fries, and shakes, we headed towards FAO Shwarz and walked down the rest of 5th avenue. We made stops in Berdorf Goodman, Henry Bendel, and Mckenzie Childs, of course!

Then we headed to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular! It was absolutely delightful. Such a good show!

The whole family went to the 9/11 memorial which was absolutely immaculate. You could totally feel the emptiness there. The memorial was incredible to see. Before we visited the 9/11 memorial, we also went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls since they happened to be in NYC the same time that we were. Those were really neat to to be able to see the manuscripts.

We also hit up the Metropolitan. It was my first time there. It was so neat!

Of course there was a ton of eating of fabulous food and a lot of shopping since that's what NYC is all about! We are so thankful to be able to share moments like these with our families. I had the best time! NYC truly puts you in to the Christmas Spirit, if I hadn't had enough of it at Liberty!

Merry Christmas to y'all & a Happy New Year,

It's About Time

So I haven't posted about a craft since I wrote about my sewing projects in "A Quilt or Two." It's definitely about time that I share. I have done tiny little crafts between now and then... I painted a couple picture frames, I decorated a couple of slippers with flowers and crystals, and I also painted an all white quote sign. Other than those, I haven't been too crafty this fall.

I took on a pretty big project for my mom for this Christmas. She had been talking with me all fall about wanting me to paint ornaments for Christmas presents for friends. For those of you who know my mother, know that she has an obsession with glass ornaments! So when I got back from NYC I had two days filled with painting and dolling up ornaments. I thought I would share my creations!

My mom had these great large magenta glass balls and some medium sized yellow ones for me to paint. We talked about various ideas that we had and took inspiration from Mckenzie Childs, one of our favorite designers ever!

So this is what we came up with...

Mckenzie Childs inspired Christmas tree 
Lovely roses
This was just to show that the roses are on both sides; this is before the addition of the bows!
Betsey Johnson inspired leopard print
My work station for the two days
I made four balls of each print. It was super fun to be able to do some handmade gifts this year. I'm very pleased with the way they turned out! :) Maybe next year you could try some yourself, since all you need is some ornaments, acrylic paint, and great ribbon!

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 21

A Silver Year

Here's to my wonderful parents!

Yesterday, they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary!
What a blessing their marriage and relationship has been to my life and others in their lives. Since Dad took Mom to NYC for their anniversary, I decided that I would make them dinner. I made them creamy grilled chicken picata and ceasar salad. I also surprised them with fruit pizza, the size of the Earth, for dessert! They were so grateful!

My parents met in Dallas in the early spring of 1986. They were at a dance thing in one of the sky-scrapers in downtown. The story goes that my mother saw my dad from across the room and thought "Ohhh! I want to dance with that guy!"

Well guess what? At the end of the year, they got married in Seattle at my grandma Anne's house. They were meant for each other. Dad is punctual, Mom is not. Mom is talkative and extremely outgoing, Dad is not so much. They both have the most tender hearts. Mom is creative, Dad is analytical. They both have a great sense of humor. Dad is organized, Mom is not. They are both brilliant. They are both hard working. They are both dedicated. They are each others best friends.

My parents have lived in several different homes and states throughout out their marriage but the love has been ever present. My parents lived in the Dallas for the first five years of their marriage. Mom surprised Dad with a cat, Pasha, for his birthday in 1989 and then she gave him the so important gift of me, one year later!They made it through only being able to have one child, enduring the winter chill of the Minnesotan air, the death of our cat, sending their daughter off to college, watching their young daughter get married to the man of her dreams, decorating for Christmas each year, being empty nesters, training two dogs, and the Texas heat. Of course, these are light hearted 'trials' but they just represent that my God-fearing parents have been in it for the long hall.

I believe that my mom and dad's relationship truly echos 1 Corinthians 13...

My dad is constantly having to practice patience as my mother finishes getting ready to go out although getting married in nine months is not very patient. [Love is patient]

My parents are incredibly loving towards each other. I have never ever questioned their devotion to each other. They are each other's greatest fans. Always cheering, always rooting, always supporting. Although, their may be a lot of teasing going on [Love is kind]

My parents always want the best for each other. They encourage each other to eat healthy, stay in shape, and love the Lord. [Love does not envy]

My parents consider themselves to be life long partners. My dad is the head of the household, however he walks side by side my mother. My mother does not 'wear the pants' but respects my father as he loves her. They are equals, taking on life hand in hand. Although, they like to argue who is the 'most favorite parent.' [Love does not boast and it is not proud]

My parents relationship is filled with the utmost respect. They communicate openly with each other. They speak in love about each other and towards each other. They have each others backs. Although, a joke about one another might be said here and there [Love does not dishonor others]

The purpose of their relationship is to get to know God better. They are not in the marriage to improve their self image or please their self but to honor each other and God. Although, Dad may wash the dishes every night so that he may be on mom's good side. [Love is not self-seeking]

My parents are able to communicate in love, most of the time. They have made it through 25 years of marriage solely on the basis that they can communicate. This does not mean that one might not get heated towards each other every so often but there remains respect, gentleness, and love. Although, Dad may whine at mom if she didn't walk the dogs during the day. [Love is not easily angered]

My parents are forgiving. In 25 years of marriage, they for sure have had disagreements and wrong doings but since God forgave them, they forgive each other. Although, Mom remembers when dad finishes the last bit of chocolate goodies in the pantry. [Love keeps no records of wrongs]

My parents have been faithful and truthful to each other for the past 25 years. Although, there may be secrets about upcoming Christmas gifts [Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth]

My parents always protect each other from harm, always trust each other , always hope for the best for each other, and always persevere through the tough times. [Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perserveres]

Their love hasn't failed. It definitely has not been their effort to keep their marriage together that has made it last but their believe in their Heavenly Father. Since He is the center of their relationship, he acts as the bonding glue. God has truly blessed them with each other!

So grateful for their love,

Tuesday, December 6

Coming to a Close

Well, it's just that time of the year. The semester is coming to a close. I have been finished with class lectures since last Wednesday but I have one more test tomorrow in Critical Care before finals, which I am supposed to be studying for right now! eek!

It's that crucial time when we are all calculating and figuring out our possible grades for each of our classes. What's do I have to get on my last two assignments to get an A? Can I even get an A? What is the lowest possible score I can get on my final to get a B?  Do I even need to show up to the final? These are the questions that have been passed around the past week. Tyler, Jordan, & I have been figuring out everything as I am sure every other college student too.

The good news is that I only have two legitimate finals. Two cumulative finals and one group presentation. The group presentation is on End of Life Care relating to Scientologists. Pretty Interesting stuff... weird but interesting. I get a cheat sheet for Critical Care - one side of a whole piece of paper! What am I supposed to put on it? Yikes! Mrs. Kennedy, one of my professors for the class, said that one semester a kid squeezed the entire semester's notes on it... pretty miraculous! That is going to consume my life after I finish this last test. Oh, can't forget about my other final for mental health!

I am ready to be done with this semester and I'm not exactly sure why. It honestly FLEW by. Perhaps, I am ready for a long non-thinking break or I am just excited for what next semester holds. Who knows!

I do know that I am absolutely dreading packing... already. Oh, how I hate it. So much energy goes into packing and the fact that we are making a pit stop in NYC doesn't help the packing situation (although it helps my excitement to get going!)  What do I want to wear at home? Well, what's the temperature going to be like? I have no idea! How much should I pack for a month? Should we bring some stuff back that we aren't going to use over the Spring semester? What am I going to WANT to wear? What about NYC? I must be fashionable when I am there... BUT it's freezing! How cute of clothes can you wear when its cold? Texas weather is so unpredictable... it's actually 30 degrees colder at home then in Lynchburg right now. So how is that supposed to help all my packing dilemmas? It doesn't. Don't forget the chargers for the computer and cell phones!

It is also that time where we are getting together with all of our groups of friends to have a last hoorah before the semester end. This past Saturday, Libby hosted a girls Christmas Party at her house and it was absolutely a blast! We had sweets & treats! We played Dirty Santa, other games, and chatted!

I met for dinner with my junior year clinical group last night for dinner at La Caretta. La Caretta is our typical meet up place from this year and last! We have had dinner together twice this semester just to get together. These guys will always be close in my heart since we survived junior year together!

I am having a small Christmas get together with my old roomies and still besties, Sarah W, Allison, Abbie, Sarah B, and Kari, on Wednesday for a last hang out session before Christmas break and a good-bye to Sarah W party as she spends next semester in Washington, DC. Can't wait for some time with these girls.

As the semester end craziness gets ready to settle in, I just have to remember that my Lord is my shelter for peace and strength. We will get through this thing!

Thursday, November 24

Italian Family Secret

Heritage wise, I mostly am a mut, however, I do have two dominant heritages.  My mother's side is mostly French (with some German/English) and my father's side is Italian. My great-grandfather, Augusta Semprini, immigrated over to the United States when he was a little boy. I claim my Italian side as my heritage because I seem to know more about it and we actually have Italian family recipes and traditions.

Every time I have ever walked into my grandma Ilene's house... there has been a pot of our family's traditional Italian soup on the stove. Literally, every time. We call this soup Kaplit (Kah-plit). Her mother made and grandma has been making it forever too. We believe it is a old recipe from Northern Italy. 

My dad and I made Kaplit for the first time by ourselves last Thanksgiving and it turned out pretty good. However, when Jordan got to taste the "real thing" from Grandma herself this summer... he said our Kaplit wasn't as good as Grandma's. So Dad and I had to try again this year...

My entire extended family absolutely loves Kaplit and grandma is not to quick to divulge the recipe out. Her brother, Ted, printed the recipe in a church cookbook but it's slightly different from the way my grandma does it. My dad's sister, Kathy, has never written the recipe down but just makes Kaplit from how she remembers her Grandma and mom making it. Kathy wrote down the recipe this year for us so that we could try and make it grandma's way... we mixed Kathy's with Uncle Ted's recipe to get ours... My dad thinks we need to share the family recipe for any other Italian's that might be missing their homeland. ;)

First, let me explain to you what Kaplit is. It is like a chicken noodle soup but it it has raviolis and no chicken? so basically a chicken broth. The ravioli stuffing is the deliciousness. It is mostly cheese with some special ingredients. So basically a cheese ravioli soup.

Printable Version with no pictures.
Start with a large dose of patience!
(it takes a lot of homemade work... but WELL worth it!!)

The dough for the Noodles:
2 cups flour
1 egg
dash of salt
some water
Make a batch of noodles - whatever recipe you like best.
Grandma used 2 cups of flour placed on a floured counter top. Make a well (hole) in the flour and she added an unbeaten egg to the well with a dash of salt.
Blend everything with a fork. Add dashes of water to make moist. Add enough water that the dough is moist but not soggy. Cover with a dish towel and set aside.

The Filling:
1 pound Ricotta cheese
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 large zest of lemon
2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 eggs
salt and pepper
Mix cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt
and pepper together. Use a grater and take off just the yellow part of the lemons. Mix
this in the mixture. Mix well to get a smooth texture.

Preparing the Ravioli:
Roll out noodles dough thin. Place little spoonfuls (about 1 teaspoon) of the filling and then fold the other half of the dough over. Press the dough down around the filling. Take a pastry wheel and cut small squares out around the filling lumps. Let dry overnight or for two days. You may have to make more noodles to use up the cheese mixture. These can be frozen for future use.

The Chicken Broth:
1 whole chicken
6 to 8 quarts of water
2 tbs tomato paste
onion & celery
salt & pepper
For the broth, cook the chicken in the water with the tomato paste, onion and celery, salt and pepper . Remove the chicken and all the veggies

Combining & Cooking:
Bring the broth to a boil. Add noodles. They take about 5 minutes to cook, if fresh. Can turn pot down to low and keep warm, just like grandma.


So now you have it, the Semprini family recipe of Kaplit. We ate it and enjoyed it! It makes me appreciate my wonderful grandmother. She is such a light to my life!

Thursday, November 17

Make Believe Thanksgiving

Let me start out by saying how grateful I am for the golf team guys. Jordan has made the best of friends throughout his four years of golf at Liberty. If you saw them interact, you would just think they were best friends not just teammates. I realize that a lot of teams can be this way in smaller ways but when your whole team only consists of ten to fifteen guys, it's a lot easier to be tight knit. Anyways, from day one, the golf guys have been like family to us. We have truly been blessed by them. Myself, especially, have loved being friends with all the girlfriends too!

Now onto the event of the week: Golf team family Thanksgiving Dinner!

I thought it was an absolute blast! It was actually a couple of the guys' first time ever having a "real" Thanksgiving dinner since some are not Americans! We have an Australian, a couple swedes, a korean, and a french guy on the team. So there is great diversity.

Everyone that came brought a separate dish of the traditional Thanksgiving courses from green beans to sweet potatoes to stuffing to mashed potatoes...! I neglected to get a picture of all the wonderful food together but I did manage to get a picture of the Frye's contribution to the meal... the turkey!

I would say that Jordan and I had a blast preparing our first turkey ever... but that's not exactly the right word to use. It started on Tuesday when we were trying to get the turkey ready to go into the brine. I couldn't figure out where the gibblits' package was or how in the world to get the neck out... so what is our solution? Call my parents! Of course my mother didn't answer but Dad definitely was a savior! He was on the phone with me when I found and got the neck out of the turkey... I flipped out. I am pretty sure that I will never do that job again, someone else can do it... like my husband. That turkey neck was the grossest thing that I've ever seen and I'm a nursing student. Yep. I was holding a gag pretty much the entire time I touched and looked at it. Wow, enough of that. We managed to get the turkey in the brine-ing bag and got the 19.85 pound bird into the fridge soaking in all it's glory for about 20 hours.

Since our dinner was at 6:30 on Wednesday, we thought the turkey would need to be in the oven by 2:00 to be able to cook fully and have time to sit afterwards. So early that afternoon, I rinsed the turkey after I took it out of the brine and placed my friend back in his little tin carrier. I buttered and herbed him up real good and set it him out so Jordan could put him in the oven when he got home from class by 2:00 since I was headed out to class and wouldn't be home until 4:30.

Well my husband did the best job ever! That turkey was put in the oven and basted with love... probably with help from his wonderful fellas, Tyler & Max. I was greeted at my door, when I got home from class, with the most delicious smell coming from my kitchen! I was so excited! Of course, I had to open the over door right away and look at the little guy! He looked wonderful! He was nice and brown and plump but he had only been in the oven for 2.5 hours! I thought they took longer to brown but hey, he was an early bloomer. I stuck multiple therometers over his body and he was done! He had reached his preset temperature of over 170. That little guy flew through his cooking time. I turned the oven down to 225 and tented the turkey with foil to keep him warm until dinner considering it wasn't for two hours!

Sarah came over before dinner and made her stuffing as I was finishing the wine infused gravy! I melted over the gravy, thought it was delish but I am a gravy girl! So the four of us, Tyler, Jordan, Sarah, and I headed over to the 'golf house' where a handful of the guys live with the stuffing, the turkey, the cranberry sauce, and gravy to start setting up for dinner!

We got there and we started to cut the turkey but his legs weren't done! He was everywhere else but his legs! I was shocked! So we cut those guys off and baked them a bit longer. The rest of the guy was absolutely done to perfect, if I do say so myself. He was juicy and delightful as was the rest of the Thanksgiving dishes that were brought!

We circled up to pray over the meal and dug in. I had such a good time, just taking a break from class and enjoying an "home filled" evening. It was such a fun night. A few people even tried some of the foods for the first time ever! Like Abi's family doesn't have stuffing at their Thanksgiving which was the most shocking thing that I think I have ever heard because the stuffing takes up more than half of my Thanksgiving meal! It was absolutely fun! That night made me so excited to get home for actual Thanksgiving dinner! Of  course, the night ended up in good ole Larson tradition... with me and Sarah washing the dishes. I think it runs in my family... who knows!

All in all, I had such a great time. It was wonderful that we were able to get together and enjoy a family style meal. I was so please that my turkey turned out wonderfully and that it was edible ;)

Monday, November 14

Red, Rich, & Refreshing

Since I've already posted on Christmas... I think I shall write on Valentine's Day? Jokes.  I am heading back to the actual time of the year... Thanksgiving!
[Warning: this post is long but it's because there is a lot of pictures]

I just made a trip to Kroger to find the goodies that I needed for the "Golf family Thanksgiving dinner" that we are having on Wednesday. I am bringing the turkey, the gravy, and the cranberry sauce. The gravy is probably the only reason that I eat on Thanksgiving... well besides the stuffing!

Anyways my point of all that was that when I was on a mad hunt for the cranberries that were NO where to be found, I came across plump pomegranates for a good price so I bought them! Have you ever had pomegranate seeds? I'm sure most people have tried some form of pomegranate juice or another whether its combined with blueberries or cranberries but I am not a huge fan of pomegranates that way.

Last fall, my mom had bought fresh pomegranate seeds from Costco that were absolutely delish! They actually POP in your mouth when you bite them. I almost can't describe their taste, probably because I've been eating them, tasting my cranberry sauce, and drinking some Welch's grape juice for the past hour... but they are seriously fresh and delightful.

I am encouraging y'all to try some pomegranate seeds of your own... if you want to buy them that's fine but I had fun cutting them and getting the seeds out myself. Here's how I did it...

Wednesday, November 9

It's [almost] that Wonderful Time of Year

Merry Christmas! 

Okay... not quite but pretty darn close. Did I scare anyone? I realize that we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet and I often do feel that this extravagant wonderful holiday is overlooked... often! However, when you are not going to be home over the majority of the Christmas season, it changes your outlook of when "the season" starts.

Jordan and I have a week left of classes until we go home to Texas for Thanksgiving, which we are so ready for, but then we are back in Lynchburg for only two weeks until we turn back around for the long awaited Christmas break.

Do you see my dilemma? We would only have TWO weeks to enjoy our tree if we put it up right when we got back from Thanksgiving Break... so we took the liberty to have our tree up for a week and a half longer... and put it up tonight with the very delightful Sarah. Well, if I am going to be honest, Sarah & I put the tree up. Jordan "observed" and "took pictures."

Notice: he is supposed to be taking pictures of the tree decorating occurring... :)
Sarah came over tonight just as I was finishing a batch of these delightful pumpkin scones and the Christmas music was blasted as the three of us tried to put the little tree together. A little Christmas mix was blasting with the voices of Michael Buble, N'sync, Chris Brown, Toby Mac, Will Smith, Christ Tomlin, and Justin Bieber. Yep, a pretty good mix! [Micheal's new Christmas CD is absolutely fabulous... I highly recommend it]

Not sure if Jordan quickly gave up or if we kicked him out... he wasn't fluffing the branches. He is a firm believer in the idea that Christmas trees are better "unfluffed." I am not exactly sure where he got this idea... but he's consistent with it. He said it last year too when he was helping me fluff the tree. I don't even think its a cop out of fluffing the tree... I think he is just silly. That's it.

So Sarah and I proceeded to rock out to Christmas tunes while hanging ornaments... then we were slightly distracted by the CMA awards... The final ornaments were hung to the tunes of our favorite Country music stars!
Some of my favorite ornaments: our topper [that I crafted tonight in about five minutes], two "love birds" [from mom], Our first Christmas wedding cake [from Sheila], Texas old tin roof [from Cottage In The Sun], and the sparkly rose ball 
More of my favorite ornaments: Our first Christmas with stockings [from Sheila], multi rose ball, Bride & groom [from my mom], rose snowflake, Rockefeller Christmas tree [from when we got engaged]
I am admitting that is is a little hard to get in that Christmas spirit when it was over 66 degrees the past two days. However, the Christmas Cheer has arrived to our little Frye home. Bummer, I just realized that I forgot to light my "Twinkling Tree" candle from Woodwick. wow. I was super excited for that. Well, guess I will have that light for the rest of the "season."

As we enter this Thanksgiving-Christmas season, I pray that you all remember the true reason that we celebrate these holy holidays. Yes, Thanksgiving is inspired by the pilgrims but I definitely take is the time to be grateful for all of God's blessings... for He is the only true reason that we can be thankful! Of course, Christmas brings to life the celebration of the reason we can have true joy, Jesus Christ.

Can't wait to truly indulge in these holidays this season with friends and family! Love y'all!