Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve Breakfast Menu:

Granny Jones' Sausage-Egg Casserole:
(hand-written on an index card in my grandma's beautiful script)

Brown 1 lb. sausage and drain. (I use turkey sausage)
Beat 6 eggs
Mix: 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 slices bread (diced....I use whole wheat and it's still good). Mix with eggs and sausage. Refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Make-ahead Ooey-Gooey Sticky Buns
From (which is awesome!)

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated skim milk, divided
1/4 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place 3 3/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until blended. Combine 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, and egg.

2. With processor on, slowly add milk mixture and yeast mixture through food chute; process until dough forms a ball. Process for an additional minute. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Combine 1/3 cup milk, 1 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and margarine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Divide pecans evenly between 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Top each with half of brown sugar mixture.

4. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll into a 24 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; coat entire surface of dough with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a smallbowl; sprinkle evenly over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Cut roll into 24 (1-inch) slices, using string or dental floss. Arrange 12 slices, cut sides up, in each pan. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and let rise in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Bake rolls at 375° for 23 minutes. Run a knife around outside edges of pans. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert onto plate.

Pictures to come! Also, I promise to post pictures of our beautiful Griswald-esque tree and house.

Merry Christmas!

Love, The Herndons

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Traditions and Passing the Torch

School is officially out and I have 2 glorious weeks of celebrating, resting, and recooperating to do! I'm trying hard not to think about the HUGE folder of papers that have to be graded, the laundry that has been piling up and needs putting away, or the dust that has been accumulating around this house that I have subtly turned a blind eye to over the last month or so (yes, it's been a month since I've dusted...I'm busy, what I can I say?). This year is the first in a long time that actually feels Christmasy and festive. I have been enjoying Christmas music more and have really enjoyed the anticipation leading up to this time! I attribute this to this being my first year back in school after taking a 2-year break from teaching to run an after school program and daycare. This year I'm going to sleep in the day after Christmas instead of having to drag myself to work to watch a thousand sugared-up kids still hyped up from all the toys and excitement from the day before. Not that I don't love children. Or sugar and toys. I will just enjoy being off and free to do my own thing.

As the anticipation builds, I've really been reflecting on our Christmas traditions. My Christmases have changed dramatically over the last few years as I've graduated from college, moved out, and gotten married. As a person of staunch tradition, these changes have been hard, but I'm trying to talk myself through it by embracing the new and looking to create traditions of our own with my husband to make Christmastime something we look forward to together, while still enjoying the things we've always done with both of our families.

That being said, this is the first year that I will hosting our annual Christmas eve breakfast! I have taken this over from my grandma, who does such a fabulous job, but is just overwhelmed by doing breakfast and dinner for our family (she is quite the hostess!). I'm excited to take this long-standing Zimmerman family tradition and make it my own, keeping the best of what my grandma has always done, but also adding my own two cents worth. I'll post pictures and let you know how it goes. Our menu has varied over the years, but I'm planning to serve sausage-egg casserole, some sort of sticky buns, fruit, coffee, and juice. I'm also looking forward to breaking out our china (passed down from my great aunt, Osie). Hopefully this will be the start of a great old/new tradition in the Herndon family.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Herndon Family Christmas Tree

So Patrick has decided to use Clark Griswald as his personal role model for our yearly Christmas celebration. Complete with lights on the roof and finding the perfect tree (hopefully, minus the crazy family members, house fires, and squirrel in the tree parts). Today we went to the tree farm in Floyd County to cut down our own tree. I was SO EXCITED for this activity. We always had an artificial tree growing up, and I was always jealous of my friends who had what I considered to be "the real deal." It really put me in the Christmas spirit and was a great kick-off to the holiday!

The one Patrick wanted...

The one we got :)


Patrick and I had a WONDERFUL restful Thanksgiving break. I'm so thankful to be a teacher and get 2 glorious days off! It was a much needed break. We slept in (fabulous) and went to my parent's house at 2:30. We also went to his parents house that same evening at 6:30. Needless to say, we were STUFFED despite trying hard to pace ourselves. Here are the pictures from my parents. We got carried away and forgot to break out the camera for part deux.

My brother Big Dave and his baby, Roxanne.

Mother and Daughter (beauitful)

Lovely, happy cousins: Scott and his wife, Mandy :)

Granny and Granddaddy Jones

Neva and Granddaddy Zimmerman

My cousin Evan and his wife Michelle got to come! Here's Michelle with Maya, the cutie :)


Monday, November 17, 2008

This is the attire you wear for:

A) Winter Weather

B) Fun

C) Giving your cat a bath


Good news: The fleas are gone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Things:

#1: I have become my mother. This is not a bad thing at all; my mom is the most loving, beautiful, caring person I know. I'm truly blessed to have such a great mom. That being said, I did find myself at Wal-Mart last night literally stocking up on hosiery (the pun was unintentional). The thought actually occurred to me as I got dressed for work Friday morning and put on skirt that I felt extremely unprofessional with bare legs in November. Flashback to a March wedding my freshman year of high school where I fought my mom right down to the sanctuary entrance on the issue. Mom, you win after all! I think this means I'm official a grown up...

#2: I discovered fleas on Fergie, our cat, last night around 10:30 p.m. Suffice it to say, it has been a stressful weekend of bombing, spraying, cleaning, vacuuming and laundry. Of course, Patrick is out of convenient. I called the emergency vet tonight to make sure I'd done all the right things and taken care of everything. Apparently, I treated them with the wrong (read: cheap) kind of flea killer. She suggested that I give both cats a bath before giving them the correct treatment. Seriously, lady...have you ever tried to bathe a cat?????

Having proper hosiery=Good.
Fleas in your house=Bad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On Humility and God's Love

So the last Bible Study that I participated in was called Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. It was such a thought-provoking study and really opened up discussions in our group on exactly is humility and how can we cultivate it in Godly manner so as to grow and humble ourselves before an all-powerful, yet all-loving God. Humility is such a hard thing because no one actually wants to be humbled. No one wants to be laying open and exposed with their faults spread out before them to be corrected and dealt with. It's just not a desirable thing. Yet the Bible continually commands us to be humble:

"With humility comes wisdom." -Proverbs 11:2
"Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life." -Proverbs 22:4
"When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: 'Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.' " - 2 Chronicles 12:7
"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." - Psalm 25:9

The list goes on. Humility is a good thing. It should be a desirable thing. But it hurts so much when it happens to you.

Today at work, I was humbled. I did something I should not have done. I went about asking for something in the wrong way. I really felt like I had not done a terrible thing and really it wasn't the big deal that some had made it out to be. But after praying and really spending some time just laying my thoughts before the throne of the Lord, this thought really came clearly: "Emily, you hurt some people and THAT is the fault. THAT is the sin. You got prideful and did what you wanted without thinking about how it would affect others around you." I heard God asking me: "What is it you're REALLY upset about?" The fact is, I was upset with the system. But I was even more upset and truly embarrassed that I had been called out. I kept saying to God, "I DON'T LIKE TO BE TOLD I'M WRONG! I DON'T LIKE HEARING WHAT I DID WAS A BAD THING." And then I remembered the sweet, sweet verse: "...because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." (Pro. 3:12)

What amazing love the Lord has for me and for us that he takes the time to correct us. I took the opportunity to change my tone right there and thank God for his unfailing love. For showing today to me (yet again) that through this discipline, he proves his love.

Oh, amazing grace, how sweet the sound...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Patrick's artistic ability

I thought I would share this despite the fact that Halloween has come and gone. We enjoyed carving pumpkins with Cassidy and Ryan! Patrick and I both love having them in Salem (Cass and Ryan, if you're reading this, that is a subtle hint to stick around!). We even went old school and roasted the pumpkin seeds afterwards for snacking. Patrick decided that ours should be a reproduction of Butters from South Park. He did an outstanding job if I do say so myself:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Making a comeback...

So it's been awhile since we've blogged. We realize this. Actually, we're not sure it matters because we aren't sure that anyone is actually reading this anyway. I (Emily) almost gave up on blogging about our life. But the other night Patrick and I happened to be getting ready to go to bed and were talking about other people's blogs that we read. I reminded him that we have one of our own that we have never really posted anything on (except the glorious picture of our beloved cat). I said to him, "I'm not sure why I even started a blog. What did I think we would write about...all we do is go to work, go to church, hang out with friends, and watch Thursday night TV...we don't even have any kids to post cute pictures of!" That is when my brilliant husband reminded me that we know a lot of people here in Salem, and, really, all over the place. We are also in positions of influence because we touch so many people daily. (I teach 9th grade English, Patrick works with 9 other people and waits on customers all day, he also works with the youth at church, the list goes on.) So, we decided that there might actually be people out there that have some small interest in what we have to say. Maybe??? We'll see. But in the meantime, we'll post anyway.