Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dear 2010

A visual summary of 2009: marriage, house, career, and cute cardigans

Dear 2010,

Hi, this is Christine. I wanted to personally greet you since you are gonna be around for the next 365 days. Your counterpart, 2009, promised to be fantastic, and for the most part, it was. However, there is always room for improvement… which means that you, 2010, will be  better.

I know you’re new, but try not to feel overwhelmed. I thought I’d share some tips for you, just in case you need some advice.


1. Bring on the motivation, especially in the fitness arena. 2009 brought lots of new beginnings, which was followed by stress… and pounds. For the sake of my resting pulse and my collection of very cute, very professional, and currently very tight trousers, let’s try some cleaner eating, less drinking, and a little more movement.

2. Money needs to be saved, not spent. 2009 was a spend-heavy year and I think 2010 needs to be “A Year of Living Thriftily”. Plus, I honestly don’t need any more shoes, handbags, or cute framed things to hang on my walls. What do you think?

3. A kitty is a girl’s best friend. If a small orange or calico kitty would happen to light up my eyes, I’d definitely have to adopt it.

4. Find some friends. 2009 made me move across the country- well, to the other side of Minnesota, anyway- and there is just Nathan and Chrissy here to keep each other company. Now, I love my husband, but we’re due for some good old-fashioned socializing. I’ve got very little time for people who aren’t sincere and real, but even a couple nights of drinking and debauchery would be a welcome change. Think about it.

5. Maybe a new hobby could be found that doesn’t involve alcohol or food? The last 5+ years have been filled with studying and partying, and I no longer feel the need to do either. The kitty, exercise, and friends should be helpful in this department, but in case we’re a little slow-going there, we could always try something new. Knitting, for instance, or possibly a recreational team sport. Darts or pool? Shake it up, ’10- surprise me.


That’s about it. I plan on ringing in your arrival with the hubs, some great seafood, and a bottle of champagne. The perfect welcome wagon, don’t you think?

Best wishes, 2010.

I know you can do it.


(This may have been adapted from

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Filed under Optimism

Barbeque Sauce

This is soooo good. I made this at McCorkle’s this past weekend to go with the pulled pork butt roast that Paul smoked, and now this is our go-to recipe. No more buying bottled bbq sauce with HFCS for this family!

Barbeque Sauce
Adapted from Paul McCorkle

1 c. ketchup
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. molasses
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. liquid smoke
4 cloves minced garlic
2 t. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 T. red pepper flakes*

*This amount of pepper flakes makes a SPICY sauce. My suggestion is to start with a teaspoon; you can always add more to taste.

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Cool at room temperature; can chill before serving. Keeps in a tight container in the fridge indefinitely?- if you’re like us, you’ll use it up in no time :)

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Filed under Condiments, etc.

101 Update #2 and Grandma Olson

Goals completed or progressed:

74. Clean out old cosmetics/products- completed 11-29-09 before moving

81. Read 10 new-to-me books off of the Modern Library Top 100 List (1/10)
            *The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, completed 12-08-09

89. Visit Jordan in Chicago – completed 12-4 -09 thru 12-6-09

I’ve also got a care package ready to send out to a friend this afternoon (21), and have talked to my grampa on the phone a couple more times (16) since my last update.

Speaking of Grandpa, my Grandma Olson passed away last Thursday around 1:30pm. She had a really good day on Tuesday and visited all afternoon with my aunt Val and Grandpa. She was out of it and quiet on Wednesday, and fell into unconciousness on Thursday morning. I guess she pretty much fell asleep and her heart quit beating. She was 81 years old. She didn’t once complain about any pain from the tumor that pushed out her entire abdomen and was even starting to push out of her back under her rib cage.

The funeral was Tuesday morning, and there was a viewing on Monday night. I went to Chicago through Sunday afternoon, flew to MSP, then drove home for the night. Drove to Brookings on Monday, back to MSP on Tuesday afternoon through snow and rain, and finally landed safely in Dallas around 11:00- the flight was delayed over 2 hours due to snow and ice. YUCK.

Heading home this weekend to move all of the big furniture to the new house. I am excited but nervous. I hope we like it as much as we like our apartment!! Homeownership will hopefully include a lot of perks that outweigh the ‘costs’– lawncare, snow removal, updates and improvements, fixing problems, additional taxes…. ay carumba. Hopefully will be able to post pictures of the bedroom post-paint and decor soon!

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Filed under 101 in 1001

Calico Beans

I never liked my grandpa’s second wife. There, I admitted it. She was pushy, she treated his kids and grandkids like crap and considered hers from her first marriage to be saints, and she didn’t like that we “took him away from time with her family.” Uh, what?!

However, the lady did make a mean calico bean dish. I wasn’t able to find a recipe online that was close enough to my favorite, so I’m posting it here for the good of humanity. Mmm, beans.

*Note– you definitely can sub in canned beans, but I like dried beans because they’re cheaper, and no pesky cans with goopy smelly bean-snot to rinse and drain off. Your choice.

Calico Beans
 per Darlene E.

1/3 cup each of the following dried bean varieties:

  • kidney beans
  • navy or pinto beans
  • butter or lima beans
  • black beans
  • great Northern beans
  • garbanzo beans (optional)

You want to end up using about 2 cups of dry beans, give or take. You can use more of your favorites, or include smaller amounts of even more varieties of beans. I don’t consider a recipe to be “calico” unless it includes kidney, butter, black, and white beans, but that’s me. :)

1 can pork and beans or baked beans of your choice
8-12 slices of bacon
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 clove minced garlic, or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard 
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with 5-6 cups water. Let sit at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Or, if using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans and toss together in a bowl; set aside.

Heat a large skillet and cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels; get rid of the majority of the bacon grease. In the same skillet, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Crumble or chop the bacon, and add back into the skillet. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes. Pour mixture over drained mixed beans and stir to combine.

This can be frozen or refrigerated until ready to serve. To warm with the crock pot: spoon mixture into a crockpot and add 3/4 cup water. Cook on low until warm, or up to 5 hours. To bake: spoon into greased baking dish and cover with 1/2 cup water. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and hot.

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Filed under Side dishes, Vegetarian